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Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on June 9, 2019

6/9: Face the Nation
6/9: Roy Blunt, Amy Klobuchar, Steve Bullock 47:28

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. (read more)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. (read more)
  • Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont. (read more)
  • Mexican Ambassador Martha Bárcena Coqui (read more)
  • Panelists: Karen Tumulty, David Nakamura, Mark Landler and Kelsey Snell (watch)

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's Sunday, June 9th. I am Margaret Brennan and this is FACE THE NATION.

Eight months until the first votes are taken in the 2020 race, and the twenty-four Democrats are off and running hard, especially in the traditionally Democratic states that went to President Trump in 2016.

CORY BOOKER: I may be a Jersey boy but my grandmother was born and raised in Des Moines.

(Crowd cheering)

MARGARET BRENNAN: And since it's Iowa, it's about trade.

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: And you ask any Iowan farmer if they're doing well and they'll say no.

PETE BUTTIGIEG: We need a comprehensive strategy, not just a pattern of poking folks in the eyes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He is talking about the President's threat to put steep tariffs on Mexican imports if they didn't agree to help with Central American migrants travelling through Mexico to get to the U.S.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Look, millions of people are flowing through Mexico. That's unacceptable.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mister Trump's threat seemed to work, crisis averted at least for the moment. We'll have a closer look at what was agreed to when we speak with a member of the Senate Republican leadership, Missouri's Roy Blunt. Then, we'll hear from two 2020 candidates, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Montana Governor Steve Bullock. We'll also take a look at a show of unity in a not very unified world, as the U.S. and our allies honor the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

Plus, we'll have analysis on all the news of the day, just ahead on FACE THE NATION.

Good morning and welcome to FACE THE NATION. Late Friday after days of negotiations with Mexican officials, and amid warnings from Senate Republicans that they could not back the President's threatened tariffs on three hundred and sixty billion dollars of Mexican imports, President Trump tweeted that a deal had been reached. That Mexico had, quote, "…agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of migration through Mexico..." But it is unclear what those new measures are. Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, commonly referred to as AMLO, addressed crowds last night in Tijuana--

(Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador speaking foreign language)

MARGARET BRENNAN: --insisting that President Trump, quote, "Did not raise a clenched fist, but an open and frank hand," with his threatened tariffs.

We begin with one of the Republican leaders who expressed some doubts about the President's threatened tariffs. That's Missouri's senator, Roy Blunt. Welcome to the program. What can you tell us about this declaration of what was agreed to with Mexico? Is there more to it than the press release?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT (R-Missouri/@RoyBlunt): Well, I talked to the President Friday night, actually, and he-- he, of course, understood that I'm always pretty reluctant to use tariffs. I am more of open-the-markets kind of guy rather than look for ways to close those markets. But he was, I think, appropriately pleased with the-- the agreement that's been made. About ten days ago we made an agreement with Guatemala to work with them on that southern border of Mexico, the northern border of Guatemala. Having the Mexicans agree to be a big part of that is a huge thing. And-- and I actually think--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Weren't they already going to do that?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: I don't know that they were. You know no deal is done until it's done and announced. It's like were the Chinese going to do all the things they agreed to that, suddenly, at a meeting a month ago, they decided they weren't going to do that they had agreed to. I'm not sure if that discussion that occurred before or not, but I think both presidents here have tried to find a good place to be. The new president of Mexico, frankly, has surprised me in his willingness to reach out. That rally that was talked about last night in Tijuana was a rally that honored both a growing Mexico and a strong friendship with the United States. So I thought that was a good thing. They have fifty people, President told me this Friday night on the phone, they currently have fifty people, five zero, on the Guatemalan border. I-- I think we're going to get closer to about-- about six thousand Mexican National Guard down there helping with that. We've already announced-- I think we-- we were sending-- a previous week, about a hundred and fifty people to work with the Guatemalans. Obviously, if you look at, sort of, the funnel of Mexico in your mind, it's easier to secure that bottom border than it is the big border between us and Mexico and, frankly, also, Margaret, it can't be a good thing for Mexico to have hundreds of thousand or even tens of thousands of people kind of wandering through the country from south to north. I think this is a big win for both sides and I think the President's willingness to use tariffs, even though I'm not a big supporter of tariffs, he is and his willingness to use that--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --probably help produce a result. I hope we don't have to go back to that as an issue again with Mexico. But--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the President tweeted this morning that tariffs remain on the table. And, as you just said, this is an agreement in principle. It's not a signed binding document, right?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: Well, I-- I think they're both--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So are-- are you concerned that--

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: I think they're both committed to it. I think if you listen to the President of Mexico yesterday there's no reason to believe that they don't understand the important part of this. You know, if we look at this as a-- a one-way win that the only country that's affected by all these people coming through Mexico--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --is the United States, that's the wrong way to look at it. This is actually--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you want more aid to Central America?


MARGARET BRENNAN: Because that wasn't detailed in that declaration.

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: I think more aid to Central America is a good thing to try to help stabilize those economies in ways that are good because they're our neighbors. This is our neighborhood we should be interested in our neighborhood. But the principal point is that the Mexican government itself and the people of Mexico will benefit from trying to get this particular movement of people illegally through their country with people--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --taking them illegally through their country with all kinds of cartel and other involvement cannot be a good thing for Mexico. And we're going to be working together with Mexico and Guatemala to get this under control at the easiest place to get it under control which was the Mexico-Guatemala border.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you know what these side agreements are that the President announced?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: I don't know exactly what the side agreements are. I-- I do understand that what I just mentioned. I also understand that there is an agreement that people who do come through the system--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --while they're waiting for their asylum claim to be dealt with will be waiting in Mexico rather than here. And if you do those two things, you know--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, I mean in your own state agricultural--

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --one out of ten people--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --is huge. So the President's declaration that there's an agricultural deal, you don't know what that is?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: I don't know what that is--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --but I know it's good for my state--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --Missouri's second largest trading partner, they have three billion in goods.

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: It-- it's a huge thing for my state and the whole NAFTA agreement has been really good for, particularly, the middle of the country, we'd be the fifth most negatively impacted state if NAFTA went away. And--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think that this--

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: And autos and agriculture are the two read-- the two things that probably are our biggest connections right now to Mexico.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But what I hear you saying is for you on this, the ends justify the means. But, at the same time, this kind of brinksmanship going to the edge with tariffs. Can you reuse that threat? I mean if-- if the deal is not done, you have to keep talking. That must make you very concerned.

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: I-- I think the bigger message here if-- if I--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would Republicans block tariffs if the President tried to do this?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: If I was guessing-- well, that's very hypothetical. I think the biggest lesson here, probably, the biggest message here is now not to Mexico but to China. That the President is clearly willing to use tariffs and, actually, the President believes that tariffs are a significant positive economic tool. Lots of people in the country agree with that. That's never been my view--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --but it's always been the President's view, so he is consistently willing to use something that he has always said was-- should be part of our arsenal.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know part of the immigration conversations is what to do with the migrants already here. You've been raising concern that funding is about to run out for the unaccompanied minor program--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --within thirty days. When will Congress be voting on this?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: Well, thank you for letting me talk about that. I think this is truly a humanitarian crisis. I hope our-- our friends on the other side, the Democrats will step up and join us in providing the money needed to take care of unaccompanied kids. Now it's important to understand these are not kids who've been separated from their parents. This is no argument about separating kids from their parents. These are kids who are left-- under eighteen who came on their own, about thirty percent--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --of them are under twelve or so. The others are teenagers of various ages but they're minors. They get here on their own--

MARGARET BRENNAN: And there's no vote scheduled yet?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: We're going to have about eighty-eight thousand come this year, eighty-eight thousand kids by themselves. And everybody when they think about this surely understands you can't let twelve- and thirteen- and fourteen-year-old boys and girls, you can't say, okay, we don't have any place to go with you.


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: And it's illegal to return you back to your home country. We're just going to let you loose in the United States and you-- you show up at some future time to--

MARGARET BRENNAN: When will that vote be?

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --have your case handled. Well, it should have been--I think--when we voted on the other emergency, but, hopefully, it will be soon. Two point eight--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --billion dollars will go to homeland-- will go--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --not to Homeland Security, but Health and Human Services for the sole purpose--


SENATOR ROY BLUNT: --of taking care of these kids who are here by themselves. And we need to deal with that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, thank you.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to campaign 2020. This weekend most of the candidates are either in Iowa or headed there. And there is a Des Moines Register poll out this morning. Twenty-four percent of Democrats likely to participate in the February 3rd Iowa caucus support former Vice President Joe Biden as their first choice. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders comes in second with sixteen percent of support. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are right behind him at fifteen and fourteen percent respectively. California's Senator Kamala Harris comes in at seven percent. Minnesota's Senator Amy Klobuchar and former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke are both at two percent with the rest of the field getting one percent or less.

We go now to one of those candidates campaigning in Iowa today, Senator Amy Klobuchar who is in Cedar Rapids. Senator--

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-California/@amyklobuchar/2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate): Hey, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good-- good-- good to talk to you today. We just went through those polls. Are there just too many candidates running? Why do you think only a handful are-- are actually breaking through?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, I am happy to be in the top six and ahead of eighteen people and we've got a long campaign ahead of us. I am always been a-- a Vikings fan, and I can't tell you how many games, Margaret, where the Vikings were leading in the first quarter and go on to not quite make it. So I think you see a fluid race and, yes, there are a lot of candidates and you're going to see that narrowed down over time. I-- I am, clearly, on the debate stage and expect to be there in the fall. And I think that's going to give opportunity to voters in Iowa and all across the country to really narrow it down. And for me being from the Midwest and someone that's running on a track record of getting things done, being effective, passing a hundred bills where I was the lead Democrat since I've been in the Senate--I think those are things that are going to matter to people. They want to see a vision that is not Donald Trump's, that's not chaos every morning with every single tweet. The people here in this state, like all states around the country, want a true leader who's going to get stuff done for them and cares about things that matter in their everyday lives--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --like the cost of pharmaceuticals, or the fact that we've got so many farms going under here in Iowa because of his trade war, and the way he's handled biofuels with secret waivers that he's given to the oil companies--you name it. There's a lot of people despite the fact that our economy has been at a stable state in the last decade--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --it's getting harder and harder for a lot of people to make it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Senator Kamala Harris made this case last night that she is a prosecutor. That's her definition. Joe Biden, the former vice president, you know, sort of paints himself in restoration--familiar. You hear Bernie Sanders as a revolutionary. As a Midwest moderate what actually defines you and breaks you out of the pack?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Well, what breaks me out of the pack is the fact that I have passed a hundred bills where I am lead Democrat and has been-- have been consistently considered one of the most effective senators on a lot of different surveys. The other thing is I am able to win in red districts. I've done it every single time, won every single red congressional district. And that's not by selling out of my values. I'd say I'm a proven progressive and that means I put the progress back in progressive. But it's because I go where it is not just comfortable.


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: I go where it's uncomfortable. I meet people where they are. I was in Cresco, Iowa, just last night. We had big crowd there. Proud to announce two new legislators supporting me down here in Iowa. So I am running this as a grassroots campaign, and I'm doing it the right way, with grit. I have always been the one that people didn't expect to win, but I have won every single race I've ever run and I'm going to go in there with looking at our entire ticket and how we lead from the grassroots--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --and bring people with us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about on-- on the issue of abortion? This is clearly emotional. It is divisive. It is something that does bring people out to vote. Is there any room for a Democratic candidate who supports abortion, or excuse me, who does not support abortion and like Joe Biden doesn't-- in the past doesn't think there should be federal funding for it?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Okay. Well I'll-- I'll just make my position clear on this. I think what's going on in Alabama and Georgia, in these states that basically have said doctors should go to prison, that women should not have a choice at all. I think that is just wrong and the vast majority of Americans are going to be against that. And I think that has been proven out. And seventy-three percent of Americans don't want to overturn Roe v. Wade. I also think you do have pro-life Democrats in our party and they-- that's their personal view and that's fine. I think you also see them not wanting to put that view on other people. And that's why it is my position and the strong position of our party that we believe you shouldn't be putting doctors in prison for women just simply exercising their right to choose what they want to do with their body.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But-- but on that specific issue of using taxpayer dollars, federal funding of abortion, the Hyde Amendment issue that came up this week, you when you were asked about Joe Biden changing his position on it you said it would have been a big problem for him. Do you think that this was a-- a difference in conviction or just a matter of politics?

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Look at the numbers here, Margaret. We have a number of states that are red, including my own, by order of the Supreme Court, have said it's not fair that women who don't have as much money, don't have the same choices as women who are wealthy. That's basically what the issue is here. And those states that have given that right to those women actually have also seen decreases in abortion. So, for me, the goal is this: we have choice in our country, but that we also make sure that we have reduced the number of abortions which we've been doing. Why? Because we have contraception available--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --because we funded Planned Parenthood. So, for me, I didn't agree with Joe Biden's position. I'm glad he changed it. It has long been my position. But you look at the facts here. We have reduced the number of abortions by funding Planned Parenthood and we have a President that I want to replace who doesn't even support funding Planned Parenthood where one out of--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --five women sometime in their lifetime go to get their health care.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly since you're in Iowa, do you think President Trump's brinksmanship will pay off? Particularly for farmers there.

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: I don't think so. I mean he's--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --becoming the threatener-in-chief. He is, literally, treating--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --these farmers--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm running out of time here.

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --he is treating these farmers--

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Okay. But like they're poker chips basically at one of his bankrupt casinos. I think it's wrong. And I think that--


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: --we should have a consistent strong trade policy that works for everyone in America.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to Montana Governor Steve Bullock who is in Denver, Colorado, a stop on his way to campaign in Iowa today. We have seen this new Iowa poll, Governor. And it says about two-thirds of likely caucus voters say they prefer someone who can beat President Trump versus someone whose agenda they actually agree with. Given that read, you're not breaking through in these polls. How do you make the case that you should be the candidate?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK (D-Montana/@GovernorBullock/2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate): Yeah. Margaret, thank-- thanks for having me, first. Yeah, and I just got into this about three weeks ago because I had a job to do. My legislature was still in session. But really we need to make sure that we can not only bring out our base but also win back places that we lost last cycle. And I'm the only one in the field that actually won in a Trump state. He took Montana by twenty-one points. I won by four. So I think that I have something meaningful to offer to this. I've also-- my whole time I've been, governor I've led with a legislature that's about sixty percent Republican, but we've been able to get progressive things done like getting dark money out of our elections and getting health care for ten percent of my population, record investments in education. So, look, number one focus certainly is beating Donald Trump. But we also got to bridge some of the divides to make our economy and government work for folks outside of DC again.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But if what's convincing voters is your viability rather than your platform, and, at this point, you do not qualify to appear on that debate stage at the end of the month, you have just a few more days to kind of rectify that. How long can you stay in this race and can you make it on to that debate stage?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK: Yeah, and we still have two hundred and forty days before Iowans first express their preferences in the caucus so was certainly disappointed this week when I heard that they wouldn't count one of the polls but if I had to choose between chasing a hundred thousand voters and getting health care for hundred thousand Montanans, like I just did, I'd make that choice for health care each and every day. I think we still have a long way to go before this thing is decided. You can go back to 1991. Bill Clinton didn't even get into this race until October of the year before so--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But how do you get the kind of money you need to be able to sustain the race if you can't make it onto the debate stage?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK: Sure. Well, was so pleased even the day I announced about three weeks ago a million dollars came in don't-- contributions from all fifty states. So we'll continue to get out there. We'll continue to both listen to folks and also travel. Like this week I'm going all throughout rural Iowa and you look at a third of the counties in Iowa voted for Obama twice and then Trump. If we can't win back places like that, if we can't win back places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania we're not going to actually win this election. I can do those sort of things.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Your campaign certainly was critical of how the DNC made the determination regarding qualifications for the debate stage that you just were explaining. Given all the controversy back in 2016 how the DNC handled things, do you trust that they are playing fair with you?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK: Well, I get that, you know, we want to make sure that we get on to making sure that we have a candidate that can beat Donald Trump. But really, at this point, we still have a long way to go in this and this is about people talking to people and actually the voters expressing their preference more than the DNC rules.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you trust that the DNC will play fairly by you?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK: Well, I hope that the DNC will play fair by everyone in the field because that's their role is to facilitate the voter's options. Not to try to limit it. And, certainly, am-- did have frustration, disappointment that a poll that was by their standards I think viewed as you know one of the qualifying organizations that this is where we are. But where we are, you know, there's some things I can control some things that I can't.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You're talking about those campaign finance issues. I mean that's really the only policy platform on your website right now. What do you stand for? What is your main agenda item that defines you?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK: Well, yeah, I was attorney general when Citizens United decision came up and I've done more to try to make sure that elections are decided by people not corporations than anybody else in this field. Fundamentally, we got to get the economy working for all of us not just the Donald Trumps of the world and we have to make sure that people believe that their vote and their voice matters. Once we start doing that we can deal with--and that's the way we'll make meaningful progress in other areas.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, farm bankruptcies have doubled over the past five years. So if you were President, how do you change that? How do you handle China in a way differently than President Trump has?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK: Sure and, first of all, we have to ma-- do everything we can to make our farmers and ranches viable. Even in Montana, we did like student loan assistance to try to get people back to the family farm. I was talking to someone in Iowa two weeks ago, lost a hundred and forty-seven thousand dollars last year. And the notion that USDA will pay seventy thousand bucks back is what this farmer was saying not only do they have the financial hit but they're also, you know, we're going to lose markets. So the way that the Trump administration's approached this is just sort of the blunt instrument of tariffs, certainly, isn't working. And I think he's kind of turned America first into America alone. We've always made sure that we have open access to markets not by going alone but by going with other partners across the world and doing everything we can to open up markets.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, your state's senator, Jon Tester, was recently on the program. He said he hadn't, yet, made an endorsement when I asked if he would back you. Have you persuaded him yet?

GOVERNOR STEVE BULLOCK: Yeah, I-- I think that Jon Tester is now on board and I'm awfully excited about his endorsement. I've known and worked with him for a long time now. But he's also been such a voice in both rural areas, places that we need to win back, bridging some of the divides, he got over a dozen bills just dealing with the veterans' passed under even this President, and he's also--though DC hasn't done much--he's been a voice for making sure that we get the big money out of the system, which we have to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Governor, thank you very much.

We'll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Next week we'll debut our CBS News 2020 Battleground Tracker poll in partnership with YouGov. This will be the largest primary polling effort we have ever done. We will be talking to voters across the early states and through Super Tuesday about what people want in a nominee and what they think the country needs. That's next Sunday on FACE THE NATION. We will be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but we will be right back with the Mexican ambassador to the U.S., and we'll hear from our panel. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. Joining us now is the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Martha Barcena Coqui. She was part of the Mexican negotiating team working to prevent the Trump administration from imposing tariffs on Mexico. Good to have you here. Your president held a rally in Tijuana last night. But, President Trump tweeted this morning that tariffs aren't totally off the table.

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI (Mexican Ambassador to the U.S./@Martha_Barcena): Mm-Hm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is it too soon to celebrate?

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: Good morning, Margaret. I'm really thrilled to be here in FACE THE NATION. And, yes, we were following the rally yesterday at Tijuana, with the saying Mexico united is stronger, and we want friendship and dialogue with the United States. So the idea of the rally was to inform the declaration that we agreed to and saying we avoided the imposition of tariffs and we want to continue to work with the U.S. very closely on the different challenges that we have together. And one urgent one at this moment is immigration.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm. And this is just a declaration of principles. This isn't a signed agreement.

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: It's-- it's a joint declaration of principles, which is a base-- that gives us the base for-- for the roadmap that we have to follow in-- in the incoming months on immigration and cooperation on asylum issues and development in Central America.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So in ninety days negotiators will reconvene according to this announcement. There's a ninety-day timeline. How quickly do you-- does your country think that you will see a drop off in these migrants?

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: We will deploy the National Guard from Monday. I want to explain that this deployment will take place now because until two weeks ago we were still discussing the laws to implement the National Guard. So the deployment throughout the country has been-- has already begun and it will increase next Monday. So we will see how the results of the deployment of the National Guard which by the way, is not similar to the National Guard of the U.S. It is not like the National Guard of the U.S. It is a-- it is a police force based on the models of the European military police like the Carabinieri, like the gendarmerie, like the Guardia-- Guardia Civil Espanola. So we have to understand that.


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: When people talk about deployment of troops, they are wrong. What we are deploying is a police force, and we are deploying it to put order in the borders.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you have said this--

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: So we would hope that these will bring results in-- in a very relative short term, like in a month or a month and a half.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, for the past three months, there have been more than a hundred thousand migrants--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --crossing the U.S. border. Last month alone a hundred and thirty-two thousand apprehensions. That was up thirty percent.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Did the Trump Administration give you hard numbers? Say we need to see a thirty-percent decrease before we go back to putting a tariff threat on the table?

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: No. What we talked was that the numbers have to go down like to previous levels that we had maybe last year or in 2018. What we are seeing is that these surge of migrants really it was totally unexpected both for Mexico and for the U.S. If you think that one-- almost one percent of the Honduran population has left the country in the last five months and the same for Guatemala, then you have to realize that we are really in-- in front of a humanitarian tragedy. And that is why we need to address the humanitarian tragedy with the elements that were put on in the declaration, the enforcement search and enforcement of Mexican migratory loss--


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: --the expansion of the MPP. Then we will continue to have technical talks almost weekly and then to evaluate constantly what is going on in these ninety days and then the commitment to cooperate--


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: --with Central American countries for their development and prosperity.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it sounds like there are a lot of details that will still be worked out and how this is actually going to work. What are some of these side agreements that the president is tweeting about?

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: I-- I think there are a lot of the detail-- details that we discussed during the negotiations and during the conversations that we didn't put in the declaration because this is different-- different paths that we are to follow. Let's say, we even discuss at a certain time, how to put more emphasis in the rural areas of Central America, where sixty percent of the migrants are coming from.


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: So-- and we have been putting more effort on security and good governance and-- and in training police, but very little in the rural areas. So this is the kind of things that we will continue to work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly, though, was there any kind of agreement by your government to buy agricultural products?

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: It is our understanding that without tariffs and with USMCA ratification, there-- there will be an increased rates both in agricultural products and manufactured products. Even now--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But nothing that was actually agreed to as part of this negotiation, because the President's been tweeting, saying that Mexico agreed to buy all sorts of agricultural products.

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: I would-- what I would say, is that even now, we are the second buyer of the U.S.--


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: --grains and-- and meat and this. We have an integrated economy in the agricultural sector.


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: We export fruit and vegetables to the U.S., also contributing to a healthier diet in the U.S., and we bet-- we buy, basically, grains and meat, so--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But nothing new?

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: --the trends are already there. So what we are expecting without the tariffs is an increase. You have to remember that until last year we were the third trade partner.


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: We are now the first. So we are your most important market and you are our most important market. Our-- is trade on agricultural pro-- products going to grow? Yes, it is going to grow, and it is going to grow without tariffs and with USMCA ratification.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But there was no transaction that was signed off on as part of this deal is what I understand you're saying.


MARGARET BRENNAN: You're just talking about trade.

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: I'm talking about trade--


MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: --and I am absolutely certain that the trade in agricultural goods could increase dramatically in the next few months.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Ambassador, thank you for joining us.

MARTHA BARCENA COQUI: Thank you very much, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be tracking to see--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --how those negotiations continue to go.

We will be right back with our political panel.


MARGARET BRENNAN: It's time now for some analysis from our political panel. Mark Landler is a White House correspondent at The New York Times and soon-to-be London bureau chief, Karen Tumulty is a columnist covering national politics at The Washington Post, David Nakamura is also at The Post and he covers the White House and Kelsey Snell is a congressional reporter for NPR. Good to have you all here. Mark, let's pick up where we just left off with the ambassador. It sounds like there is no signed agreement. There are a lot of details that still need to be figured out here, but the President has declared victory in avoiding the tariffs he threatened to put on Mexico.

MARK LANDLER (New York Times/@MarkLandler): That's right. And-- and it's a pattern we've seen repeatedly with this President. He-- he sort of creates a crisis, has some sort of a fairly general resolution to it that's lacking any details and then declares victory. This is what he did with the North Korean nuclear crisis in Singapore. There-- in this particular situation, there is some very important sort of unresolved business. The most important of which I think is this concept of third safe country.


MARK LANDLER: The United States wanted Mexico to agree to this. The Mexicans have not, in part, because doing so would require them to get their own Senate to ratify this measure. And I think there is a great deal of concern in Mexico that announcing something like this before it's ratified would lead to a renewed surge in migrants. So there-- there are key parts of this that are unresolved, but you have to say from an economic point of view, from the market's point of view, from the potential impact on the economy, he stepped back from the brink. I think he will probably be rewarded with a very strong market opening tomorrow morning. And-- and in some sense, he is right. He has resolved for the moment the sense of crisis. He hasn't resolved the problem longer term.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Karen, we had Republican senator who had been concerned about the President's threat, praising this brinksmanship. Does this in some way empower the President to defy his party and continue to use tariffs as his chief tool negotiating?

KAREN TUMULTY (Washington Post/@ktumulty): Well, certainly, everything with this administration ends up being defined as an economic question. And it-- it will be interesting to see if there is anything that comes along that-- that-- what the ambassador said that was so striking is that, you know, the-- the countries that are sending--Honduras, Guatemala--have each lost one percent of their population in the last five months. It seems like any kind of long-term solution is going to have to deal with the factors in those countries that are driving desperate people out. And, you know, ultimately, you are not going to see the kind of reduction in-- in numbers that the President is going to want and need unless you are dealing with what, in fact, is causing the migration.

DAVID NAKAMURA (Washington Post/@DavidNakamura): Exactly right. We quoted former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, the Obama administration just this week talking about unless you address those push factors which takes years you're not going to see the numbers. And he has personal experience. We saw the numbers at the borders from Central America swell under the Obama administration in 2014, we saw children being held in Border Patrol stations and agents trying to deal with-- with changing diapers and feeding them. And that-- that had a huge impact politically in the United States, there was a big response, including from the Mexican government, law enforcement. The numbers dipped the next year but then went up even more in Obama's last year. And that pattern has happened again under Trump. We saw the lower numbers in 2017. Now they are higher than they have been in-- in twelve years. And what you saw with the President announcing this deal is he has kept the threat of tariffs on the table. He said, "I could come back in a few months, ninety days or more, come back at this again if Mexico does not respond." And the truth will be in the numbers, at the end of each month where you got-- you could see a dip but it could go back up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that general agreement, the declaration we saw, Kelsey, did mention support for these Central American countries but there were no specifics. You had Senator Blunt say, "I support more foreign aid." But does Congress actually do anything to back up what the President, essentially, promised to do?

KELSEY SNELL (NPR/@kelsey_snell): Well, the problem with Congress is they have traditionally shown that they cannot get immigration bills passed. And one of the question that still remains out there is what do they do about people who are coming to the border, or how do they handle the people who are already coming, and what do they do about asylum seekers and the legal immigration process? All of which they haven't been able to answer in a way that actually moves the ball forward or brings them any closer to actually passing anything. And that's even further complicated by the fact that, you know, immigration is now because of these tariffs become very deeply intertwined with the conversations about trade. And that's something that Congress is deeply concerned with. And there are particularly in the House, a number of people who are very worried that if the-- if they don't get this USMCA, the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, through that they're-- they will just lose all of their trading opportunities with these countries. So the two issues are now so deeply intertwined it's-- it's hard to see how they figure it out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And-- and you had the ambassador gesture to that, but, diplomatically, acknowledge there was no deal--


MARGARET BRENNAN: --to buy American agricultural products that the President said on Twitter there was.

MARK LANDLER: That's right. And that's sort of, again, typical of President Trump. He often will sort of go a little bit further than the details in the agreement. I think it's worth pointing out one other thing, though, and this is where the intertwining of trade and immigration becomes important. There were some real warning signs late last week in the latest jobs number, in some of the financial statistic, the bond yield that suggest that the-- the economy is actually more fragile and more vulnerable to being hurt by tariffs, the impact of tariffs on the economy than, perhaps, we thought as recently as three or four weeks ago. And I have to believe that entered into the President's calculus. He has to be thinking about all of this in the context of 2020, what he really has going for him has been the resilience of this economy. If that doesn't hold up, he has another much larger problem on his hands. I think that played into his thinking.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And it's interesting, Karen, when you talked to some of the 2020 candidates and you asked them about running against the Trump economy and the strength of that, they often point to the vulnerability of American farmers, but American farmers, have they shown any sign of pulling back from supporting President Trump?

KAREN TUMULTY: They-- they are concerned and-- and they are feeling the-- the impact already of the trade wars. But in my own interviewing and what you see, too, in-- in other reporting is the support does remain relatively strong for the President and a lot of his supporters in middle America say, okay, this is causing a little bit of short-term pain for me but-- but, you know, I have confidence the President has a long-term strategy out there that is ultimately going to pay off. The question is whether they will still feel that way a year from now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And do we see any vote, by the way, on what Senator Blunt was saying in terms of these unaccompanied children running out of money to take care of them in U.S. custody within thirty days?

KELSEY SNELL: No. It's very hard to see how that becomes part of the things that they need-- that they-- they pass before Congress goes out of town. I mean they-- they don't have much time left. They are going on breaks that they go on every year and at the beginning of August and they need to get a lot of things done like spending agreements and they have a lot of nominations to process. The calendar's just very tight.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very tight and it doesn't seem like there's much momentum--

DAVID NAKAMURA: It's a big problem. I mean, they, you know, the-- the Trump's own DHS came out and said we read this emergency funding and we need a lot of it to deal with this crisis. This is not politics. This is a humanitarian crisis, Trump's own department said this. And in 20-- if you just look back I mentioned this before, but this-- a similar crisis in 2014, not as big, the-- the Obama administration put forward a similar four million dol-- a billion-dollar emergency spending proposal supplemental to try to deal with their own crisis at the border. It was not passed. Both parties went into recess. Republicans were blocking that idea in the House. Now you have it flipped, Republicans are saying, well, Republican administration is saying we need the money but that doesn't look like the political will to do anything and that's a real problem as these numbers as high as they were they could come down a little but they're still going to remain fairly high, though, you know, over time. It's going to take a while for Mexico if they are even going to be able to do anything dramatic to bring any kind of these numbers down, so I think they were looking at a real potential problem here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Senator Blunt blamed Democrats for that, Kelsey. What is the issue with approving this funding to take care of these underage kids?

KELSEY SNELL: Well, because it always gets intertwined with the wall and that for a lot of Democrats at this point when the President says immigration, they hear the wall. And it's very difficult for Republicans to separate that out, because a lot of constituents, a lot of voters hear when the President says immigration, the wall, the same way Democrats do. And the longer that that goes on, the more that Democrats default to having a conversation about the wall, the harder it gets for them to pass anything. And I think that if they want to get this border supplemental done, the best opportunity they have might be to combine it with some other thing that absolutely has to pass, but we know that that has its own perils.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And when is that going to happen?

KELSEY SNELL: It's a great question. They-- I mean they have to keep the government open after September 30th, and they-- they would like to get a-- a deal to increase spending before then. So there is a lot of moving parts at this point.

DAVID NAKAMURA: I mean the President shut down the government for thirty-five days over--


DAVID NAKAMURA: --his border wall and he-- the numbers continued to go up at the border, he then said I'm going to shut down the entire border to tourism and trade, had that threat in April--


DAVID NAKAMURA: --the numbers continued to go up. Now he's threatened these tariffs, the number is at the highest ever. We don't know that any of this stuff works.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, this, though, what we do know is that immigration is something that President wants to talk about on the campaign trail, though; Republicans would like to stay focused on the economy. The other thing that seems to be resonant on-- on both sides is the abortion issue right now. Karen, by having this be so front and center in the 2020 race does this hurt Democrats? Does this help Democrats?

KAREN TUMULTY: You know, traditionally, abortion has been a voting issue, primarily, on the side of-- of people who oppose abortion. It's-- it's been a top priority for them. But if you look at, you know, the changing make-up of the Supreme Court, if you look at some of the laws that are being passed out in the states in places like Alabama and Georgia, specifically, as an effort to overturn Roe versus Wade, what you are seeing is that it is rising as a priority among Democrats, and the fervor I think right now is there. The fact is public opinion on abortion has always been complicated, going all the way back to Roe versus Wade. What you had was a plurality of people having, you know, moral difficulties with abortion, but a majority, a small majority, a close majority of people want to see it remain legal in most of the circumstances in which it is used. This is now being tested in a way that I think is energizing Democrats.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And, Mark, when those people who's openly had a moral issue, as you put it, with abortion has been Vice President Biden, who's been very open that, as a Catholic, it is problematic for him but then we saw this, what's characterized as a flip flop by some this week where he now says he can no longer block federal funding of abortion.

MARK LANDLER: Yeah, that's right. So Joe Biden like many other Democrats, even though, he had these-- these sort of very ambiguous views felt that sort of the right balance to strike was to not oppose a woman's right to abortion but to acknowledge that federal funding shouldn't be used to pay for it. This was-- this was known as the Hyde Amendment, it passed on a bipartisan ba-- basis for many years. But what Joe Biden has discovered is he's no longer in the mainstream of his party. He's really an outlier at this point, and not only that it's really not a sustainable position so after initially sticking to the position via aid saying he's not changing his view on this, he was forced to do this rather embarrassing flip flop which, you know, raises questions in the minds of some Democrats about the other elements of Joe Biden's very, very long legislative record. Is he going to have to flip flop on Iraq? He's already acknowledged he-- he regrets the-- the Iraq vote. Is he going to have to flip flop on the crime bill? There's a lot of things in Joe Biden's record which is very different than many others in the field--


MARK LANDLER: --just because of how long he's been doing this. That we may see this kind of pattern of him being forced to reckon with the positions he took.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And  we'll talk about that on the other side of this as well. It's going to be a challenge in 2020.

We'll be back in moment to look at the legacy of American leadership, seventy-five years after D-Day.


MARGARET BRENNAN: On June 6, 1944, Allied troops landed on a fifty-mile stretch of French coastline, poised to fight Nazi Germany. It was the largest sea invasion in history and it helped change the course of World War II. From that alliance grew a new world order that is being tested today.

(Begin VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was a rare moment of unity, comity, and reflection Thursday on the hallowed ground of Normandy where ten thousand soldiers, more than two thousand of them American, lost their lives in the fight for freedom.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You are the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

(Crowd cheering)

MARGARET BRENNAN: It has been seventy-five years since D-Day but as France's President Emmanuel Macron expressed, some debts can never be repaid.

EMMANUEL MACRON: We know what we owe to you veterans: our freedom. On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you.

(Crowd cheering)

MARGARET BRENNAN: He also thanked those veterans for, as he put it, the heritage of peace they left behind, the world order that America shaped. Out of the ashes of war America rebuilt its broken and bankrupt allies through the Marshall Plan and even shored up its defeated enemies. The IMF and the World Bank were created to lift countries out of poverty, the United Nations to preserve world peace, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, to guard it. Standing at Normandy in 1984, President Ronald Reagan described it as America's vow to our dead.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN (June 6, 1984): The strength of America's allies is vital to the United States and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe's democracies. We were with you then. We are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes and your destiny is our destiny. Here in this place, where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead, strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Today those ideals and values are being challenged by populist movements in Europe causing fractures in their union and in the U.S., where some wonder whether America still benefits from the world order it crafted. President Trump himself often calls into question America's alliances, including with those countries who fought alongside it at Normandy. But on Thursday the tumultuous political moment we now live in seemed to pause, to remember the enormous legacy of American leadership.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The American sons and daughters who saw us to victory were no less extraordinary in peace. They built families. They built industries. They built a national culture that inspired the entire world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Politics may no longer stop at the water's edge, alliances may be cracked or frayed but, for a moment, on Normandy shores this week the world celebrated again the values and veterans who continued to define American greatness.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we'll be right back.



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