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Trump unleashes attack on Twitter. TRANSCRIPT: 8/23/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Ron Insana, Tal Kopan, Barbara Perry, Philip Elliott, AndrewDesiderio, Josh Gerstein


PICCIOLINI:  -- in the sense of identity community in purpose --


PICCIOLINI:  -- you have to replace it.

VELSHI:  To rebirth of sort.  What an interesting thing.

Christian, thanks for the work that you do and thank you for joining us tonight.  You can watch the premiere of the latest episode of "Breaking Hate" this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.

And that is "Tonight`s Last Word."  I`m Ali Velshi.  "The 11th Hour" begins now.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATL. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Tonight President Trump takes off for the G7 while accelerating his trade war with China and branding the Fed chair he appointed an enemy.  Why some economic analyst fear the President`s actions could speed up a slowdown.

Plus, as multiple candidates drop out of the Democratic race for President, the remaining contenders have a little more than 100 hours to make the debate stage.  We break down their chances for you.

And a look at the fallout from Ruth Bader Ginsburg`s latest bout with cancer and a battle in the bay state.  All of it as "The 11th Hour" gets underway on a Friday night.

Good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.  I`m Steve Kornacki in for Brian Williams who has the night off.  Day 946 of the Trump administration and the President is just now leaving Washington.  He is on his way to France where he will meet with key U.S. allies at the G7 summit.  This, just hours after escalating the trade war with China and sending the stock market tumbling with a series of furious attacks over Twitter.

Late this afternoon, the President sent out word that he is hiking U.S. tariffs on Beijing, raising existing rates, as well as those that have been set to kick in next month.  "Starting on October 1st, the $2050 billion of goods and products from China currently being taxed at 25 percent will be taxed at 30 percent.  Additionally, the remaining $300 billion of goods and products from China being taxed from September 1st at 10 percent will now be taxed at 15 percent."

Now this was in retaliation for China`s move earlier in the day when it announced retaliatory tariffs of its own on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.  China`s decision sparked outrage at the White House and a barrage of tweets attacking Beijing as well as an attempt to order all U.S. companies to cut ties with China.  "We don`t need China and frankly, would be far better off without them our great American companies are here by ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China including bringing your companies home and making your products in the USA."

Those comments sent the market plunging.  It closed more than 600 points down for the day.  The impact of those tweets on stocks was illustrated realtime on CNBC with this banner Trump tweets spark market sell off.  Trump`s words also brought these comments from anchors on CNBC and Fox News.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don`t know that the President is briefed at all on some of these issues.

There`s a bit of chaos in the White House and what seems clear is that the President is making policy through the tweets and not necessarily through any policy process.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  When you have the President of the United States sort of flailing around this way and ordering companies to move back to the U.S. and saying that the head of the Federal Reserve is an enemy of the country, is that going to create more consumer confidence about the state of the economy?

Hold on to your hat, this could be a bumpy ride this weekend.


KORNACKI:  And the President`s tirade also included attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a speech this morning.  He told bankers and economist, "Trade policy uncertainty seems to be playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in the United States.  While monetary policy is a powerful tool that works to support consumer spending, business investment, and public confidence, it cannot provide a settled rule book for international trade.

Powell was barely done speaking when Trump fired off this on Twitter, "As usual, the Fed did nothing.  We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed.  Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?"  The President referring there to China`s leader.

During his campaign Trump seemed to relish the idea of remaking America`s trade agreements and talked about how good he would be at it.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Trade is so easy for me.  It`s so obvious what`s happening when our companies are flocking out.  We`re going to fix our trade.  We`re going to bring jobs back to our country.


KORNACKI:  Tonight, "The New York Times" reports the White House was not exactly prepared for how today unfolded, "Mr. Trump`s tweets caught most of his advisors and staff by surprise, and prompted alarm.  Some of Mr. Trump`s advisors privately expressed concern that the ferocity of Mr. Trump`s response could derail the negotiations permanently and could unsettle supporters during an election year."

As mentioned, Trump is now headed to the G7 where he will deal with some of the United States most important allies.  POLITICO noting Trump, "remains diametrically opposed to many of the positions held by his European counter parts on trade, has said he does not intend to back away from policies, including his aggressive stance on China."

And Bloomberg points out, "The global economy is weakening, trade wars are escalating and major economies like Germany are sliding toward recession.  But the Group of Seven allies are so divided there is little hope for the type of coordinated response that sprang from similar meetings a decade ago."

Former Obama Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, who attended several of these summits points out this one is taking place at a critical time.


BEN RHODES, FMR. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR:  We need this G7 really badly.  Just right now look at all the international crisis, the trade war with China, climate change and amazon on fire, Iran reaccumulating stockpile of nuclear weapons, North Korea firing up missiles.  These are the things that you want to talk to those countries about.  And instead of thinking about those, our allies are thinking about, how do we prevent the United States from blowing up the summit?  It`s a sign of how far the United States is falling in terms of standing in the world.


KORNACKI:  And here for our lead off discussion on a Friday night, Jonathan Allen, NBC News National Political Reporter, CNBC Senior Analyst and Commentator, Ron Insana, and Tal Kopan, Washington Correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.  Thank you-all for being with us.

Well, Ron, let me start with you.


KORNACKI:  The day begins with China saying "OK, United States we`re going to retaliate, here`s some tariffs worth throwing down."  Then Trump announces "OK, I`ll see those tariffs now raise some more."  For the economy in this country, what are the implications of this going to be?

INSANA:  Steve, I`ll be blunt.  I think the Recession in 2020.  We have nine major countries around the world that are in or near recession.  As was pointed out, Germany had a contraction in the last quarter.  They may have another one going forward.  They sell a lot to China.  China`s economy is weakening.  Japan is not that strong.  France and Italy have their own problems, the U.K. may crash out of the European Union in October in a so- called no deal Brexit that Boris Johnson will preside over.  So there are a lot of spots around the world that are weakening.  This does nothing to help and in fact very likely makes it worse.

KORNACKI:  So Tal, you also -- we had the comments that you saw there on CNBC, other places today, trying to decipher where this exactly is coming from, what the President was saying on Twitter today, the decision here on new tariffs.  What can you tell us about the policy making team, policy apparatus around Trump?  Who is he getting feedback from on this?  Who is he getting advice from?  Is it anybody?

TAL KOPAN, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I think by now in this administration, at the end of the day it`s Trump, right?  You know, his advisors can give him whatever kind of guidance they want.  They can put whatever they want in front of him but he makes decisions.

And often those decisions that come from him most directly are the ones we see playing out just as we did today on Twitter where we have this sort of string of tweets that announces some sort of policy.  I mean, obviously, you cannot just tweet you hear by order something and have it become, you know, sort of binding law especially something that orders U.S. companies to do something, which isn`t even within his power.  But when we see that type of language from Trump, it tends to be one of those moments where he is making sort of a gut decision on his own based on the input that we know come from a variety of, you know, official White House advisors and also a kitchen cabinet of sorts of people he phones and talks to on a regular basis on top of, you know, this background music of concerns about a recession, the retaliation from China, this need to feel like a strong leader going into the G7.  All of that sort of swirling, sort of pours out in realtime as we can watch unfold on Twitter.

KORNACKI:  Another interesting thing obviously to keep an eye on has been the reaction from Republicans before Donald Trump came along.  Of course the Republican Party was known generally as a free trade party.  Here is the reaction.  This is Lindsey Graham who was emerged as a Trump ally.  Here was his reaction to the President`s latest moves on tariffs.  Here`s what he said earlier tonight.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC):  The goal is to get China to stop cheating the United States out of market share, to play by the rules that everybody else in the world plays by.

When it comes to a trade war, we have more bullets than they do so I think the President is determined to get China to change their behavior and I`m 100 percent with him.

Well, we feel this is consumers, yes, but pay now or pay later when it comes to China.


KORNACKI:  So Jon Allen, Lindsey Graham there is publicly not wavering at all there staying with Trump.  Look for Republicans, if the economic implications are potentially what Ron Insana was just laying out, Republicans, many will be facing reelection next year, election in 2020.  How much latitude are they going to give the President on this?

JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER:  China has got President Trump by the electoral votes right now, Steven.  And there`s no reason for them to release that pressure.  And I think you`re going to see House Republicans and Senate Republicans stick with the President for just about as long as they can.  And when they see that it`s no longer in their interest, if it becomes no longer in their interest.  And I to Ron`s point, if you start to see a recession in 2020 and I think nobody in this country wants to see that but if you do see that happening, you will start to see some of the Republicans make different decisions about what they support the President on.

I mean, we see polls where the President has the vast majority of support among Republicans but see a Republican Party that in a lot of places is shrinking.  The fact most Republicans support Trump is partially evidence of the fact that that party is shrinking.  So a lot of these Republicans to win reelection, they`re going to have to get swing voters, they`re going to have to get people who are more identifying with Democrats right now at the federal level or at the presidential level to come and vote for them in House and Senate races.

KORNACKI:  It`s late on a Friday night right now past 11:00 obviously on the East Coast and yet this story is playing out as we speak.  The President right now is talking to reporters.  He is about to depart Washington as we say for the G7 summit in France.  He has decided to talk to reporters.  We are getting a tape of that that we can turn around and play for you here in a minute.

I can just tell you, though, the President in the last minute or two telling reporters the economy here in the United States, he says is doing great.  He says we`ve put some tariffs on China that will make a lot of money.  He says he`s always open to talks with Chinese leaders.  He`s also saying the tariffs so far are working out great for us.\

Again, he`s continuing apparently to talk to reporters.  As soon as we can turn around some of that to play for you we will.

Ron Insana, let me ask you about what I think the President apparently is talking about here.  One of the things at least.  He`s saying that the tariffs he`s imposed on China are causing pain in China, are giving him some kind of -- is that fair at all?

INSANA:  Yes, that`s fair.  I mean, and it`s causing pain to American businesses and consumers who have to pay for them.  The average American household is paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 more for products than they otherwise would.  Companies are also paying those taxes to the government, the government is taking in roughly $65 billion so far in import taxes instead of calling them tariffs, that`s exactly what the import taxes.

So yes, I mean, it`s not exactly swelling the Treasury`s coffers but the money is coming in.  The problem is, as you weaken China -- Ian Bremmer (ph) who`s political analyst spoke a couple days ago on Twitter himself saying the only thing worse for the United States than a strong China is a weak China.  And if China were to slip into some sort of recession, two percent growth or less, because of this on going trade war, that has reverberations around the world.  That`s going to affect not only Europe and this other trading partner but the United States, as well.

So, yes, the U.S. economy looks fine now.  The consumer strong, unemployment is low, but that can change.  I mean, we -- you don`t go into a recession from a trough.  You go in from a peak and we are at peak numbers in a lot of different areas.  And this is just, I think, going to make matters worse down the road.

KORNACKI:  And Tal, again, trying to work to turn this tape around but the President apparently, you know, reiterating what he said.  He`s willing to talk to China.  We know there have been conversations before.  What do you know about the state of those conversations, the state of the dialogue negotiations between the United States and China especially in light of this massive escalation we saw on both sides today?

KOPAN:  Well, look, certainly you and I are not sitting in the room but, you know, from where we are sitting, I don`t see temperatures cooling in any respect.  In fact, it seems like every time they have sort of said we`re getting really close, something like this happens and we end up farther apart.  And you know you talk about, you know, the impact to Americans.

Here`s an example just from, you know, the bay area where I cover Washington for their readership.  California wine makers hate this trade war.  These tariffs are hurting them tremendously.  China was a huge market for American wine and you -- these are the types of products that China is sort of now retaliating against and making it very difficult for these American businesses.  So, you know, when you talk about the ripple effect throughout the economy, that may not be an example that leaps into American`s minds but it`s the type of example that makes this trade war so real for so many sectors of the economy in American businesses and that type of thing reverberating over time may be something that, you know, by the time we get to an election scenario, consumers really are actually feeling at the end of the day at their kitchen tables.

KORNACKI:  Jon, we mentioned as well the President`s attack today on Twitter on the Fed chairman, on Jerome Powell.  Explain what the President would like Jerome Powell to be doing and why Powell is not doing it and is Trump going to do anything about that?

ALLEN:  I don`t think he really -- well, I mean, let`s back up for a minute.  The President likes to blame other people for situations that are either out of his control or may be in the President`s control that are not going his way.  One of the sort of key tenants of his politics is to argue that he is part of an oppressed group, that he leads an oppressed group in terms of his voting based of support, oppressed by the forces in Washington including those who he appointed like Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Fed.  And so I think it needs to be viewed in that context.

What he would like the Fed chairman to do, I think, is waive a magic want.  I think he would like for the Fed chairman to keep inflation low.  I think he would like to, I mean, to keep interest rates low, I`m sorry.  But ultimately, he just wants somebody that he can blame.

And he likes to look at the Fed chairman and say the Fed chairman is the problem.  He would like monetary policy that is more dexterous, more flexible.  He believes China is manipulating its currency in ways that are hurtful to the United States.  He wishes the Fed would counter in similar ways.  But ultimately, this is mostly about trying to find somebody that he can scapegoat for what is really a self-created situation here with China.

Most people when they touch a hot stove as he has with the trade war, they learn the first time that it`s hot.  With this President he continues to touch the stove and holds his hand on there longer and longer each time.

KORNACKI:  Is that, Ron, is that how you read it?  Is he looking for a scapegoat here or is there other specific policy things he`s looking to get out of this?

INSANA:  Well, he would like the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates by a full percentage point over the course, the remainder of the year now.  The bond market is pricing some of that in.  We`re seeing bond market indicators that are flashing warnings of recession that would suggest the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates at least one or two more times this year.

Having said that, the President has shown a great deal of cognitive distance when economic understanding because he`s saying, we have the strongest economy in history and yet he`s calling for lower interest rates, those things typically don`t go together.  Now he is creating an environment in which, as we said before, the global economy is weakening.  So the Federal Reserve in order to inoculate the U.S. from weakness overseas and having a contagion effect here probably should be cutting rates.

His statement calling the chairman of the Federal Reserve, an enemy of the United States is unprecedented, not just in modern economic times, the Fed has existed since about 1913, 1914.  This creates a problem for the Federal Reserve and attacks on the credibility, attacks on its leader, create concerns among investors that the Fed may lose control of its -- of the operations that it under takes, may knuckle under to presidential pressure on interest rate policy and that becomes a real economic policy problem down the road, one the President certainly hasn`t given much thought to.

KORNACKI:  We mentioned again, the President, he is now wrapped up talking to reporters again on his way out of Washington to head over to the G7 summit.

We are turning the tape around but also Mike Viqueira is joining us now, I believe, from the White House.  He was there as the President talked.  He asked some questions.  Mike, take it away.  What are the highlights?

MIKE VIQUEIRA, NBC NEWS THE WHITE HOUSE:  Well, the President is now on his way to Andrews Air Force base, Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland.  Just left the White House.  He spoke with reporters for all, I guess, about 15 minutes on his way out late on a Friday night here, Steve.  Here are the highlights.  Of course he was asked about the spat with China.  I asked him on what authority do you have to forbid or as he put it, hear by order U.S. businesses not to do business in China or not to manufacture their goods or import their goods from China.

He sited -- this is a new one, Steve, 1977 Act that was passed by Congress but he didn`t have any more details for us on exactly what it was in that act or what even what act he`s talking about that gives him the authority.  We`re going to have to look into that to say the least.

He repeated what he had tweeted over the course of the day that caused so much turmoil in the stock markets and elsewhere, even around the world on the eve of this G7 in Biarritz, France that the China is taking some $500 billion a year or $300 billion a year from the United States in terms of the trade deficit with this country.  That is an over statement.  And of course, the trade deficit does not signify that one country is getting more than another.

The U.S. consumers are buying goods made in China is all that really signifies.  He talked about the $550 billion in Chinese goods that the tariffs are going to be increased on -- starting on September 1st for the first traunch and October 1st for the second traunch.

I asked him if he felt responsible because of his tweets to the 623-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average today.  He began by saying that on balance, the stock market has increased over the course of last year.  But then he concluded by saying, "Don`t tell me about 600 points."  As if it`s not that big a deal.  And in a larger scheme of things, it`s going to be insignificant.

On Jay Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman, of course, who came under for withering criticism, the President`s tweet today when the President said he`s not sure who is the bigger enemy he asked, Chairman Xi of China, chairman of the communist party who also have to be president of China or Jay Powell, that raised a lot of eyebrows, cost a lot of consternation.

He said Jay Powell is not much of a chess player, he said.  And then later in the discussion back and forth with reporters that have become so familiar now upon the President`s departure from the White House.

He implied that he wouldn`t mind if Jay Powell stepped down.  But here is the interesting part of this, Steve. He seemed to acknowledge that there is really nothing he can do to remove Jay Powell as the chairman of the Federal Reserve, of course, he appointed him just last year to a four-year term.  The chairman of the Federal Reserve is supposed to be insulated from these kinds of political back and forth.  And in fact, he is in terms of trying to fire him.

One final thing on Justice Ginsburg, he said he wished her well in the wake of the news about her cancer diagnosis.  Steve.

KORNACKI:  OK, Mike Viqueira, thank you for that.  And again, he was recapping, Mike was, what the President just said to reporters before leaving.  Here is the tape we`ve turned it around.  This is what the President said.  Take a listen.


TRUMP:  Today, I think, it will be very protective, seeing a lot of the leaders who are friends of mine for the most part, wouldn`t say 100 percent of the cases, but for the most part.  And I think we`re doing very well.  Our economy is doing great.

We`re having a little spat with China and we`ll win it.  We put a lot of tariffs on China today as you know they put some on us, we put a lot on them.  We`re up to about $550 billion.  They`ve been hitting us for many, many years for over $500 billion a year, taking out of our country much more than $500 billion a year.  So we want that stopped.  OK?  OK?


TRUMP:  Well, we`ll see what happens.  At this moment they want to do that.  So we`ll see what happens.  They want to have to talk.  So -- I`m always open to talk.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) American companies, (INAUDIBLE) with China?

TRUMP:  Well, in 1977 we had an act passed, a National Emergency Act.  I had the absolute right to do that.  We`ll see how that goes.  But I have the absolute right.  1977 check it out.


TRUMP:  No, I think our tariffs are very good for us.  We`re taking in tens of billions of dollars.  China is paying for it.  They are, as you know, manipulating their currency.  I think that our tariffs are working out very well for us.  People don`t understand that yet.

At the same time, China had the worst year probably in anywhere from 30 to 50 years, their worst year.  And they want to make a deal.


TRUMP:  No, I`m not happy with Jay Powell.  I don`t think he`s doing a good job at all.  I don`t think he`s much of a chess player, but I got him.  So, you know, that`s what I have.  That`s what I have.  What can I tell you?  He`s not much of a chess player.


TRUMP:  I`m going to see Prime Minister Abe.  I look forward to it.  He`s a great gentleman.  He`s a great friend of mine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE), are you worried about that?

TRUMP:  We`re going to see what happens.  President Moon also, a very good friend of mine.  And we`ll see what happens with South Korea.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President, (INAUDIBLE) like further missile test?

TRUMP:  No, I don`t think so.  I think that we have a very good relationship.  We`ll see what happens.  That can always change.  But, we`ll see what happens.  Kim Jong-un has been, you know, pretty straight with me, I think.  And we`re going to see what`s going on.  We`re going to see what`s happening.  He like testing missiles but we never restricted short- range missiles.  We`ll see what happens.

Many nations test those missiles.  We tested a very big one the other day as you probably noticed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE), do you feel responsibility for that?

TRUMP:  Not at all.  Not at all.  Because if you look it from November 9th, the day after the election, we`re up 50 percent or more, we`re up many, many points.  We were at about 16 or 17,000.  We`re at 25,000, so don`t tell me about 600 points.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you have any message for Justice Ginsburg?

TRUMP:  Say it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you have message for Justice Ginsburg?

TRUMP:  Well, I hope she does really well.  And our thoughts and prayers are with her.  It`s a very serious situation.  I`m hoping she`s going to be fine.  She`s pulled through a lot.  She`s strong.  Very tough.  But we wish her well.  Very well.


TRUMP:  Yes, I am.  I don`t like what France did.  They put a technology tax on our tech company and is not that I`m the biggest fan of the techs companies -- the tech companies because as you know, they were very much opposed to the Republicans and they are very much opposed.

Somebody came in the other day, said the election that we had in `16 with Hillary Clinton, that it could have cost me anywhere from 2,600 from 2,600,000 votes to I think he went up to close either 10 or maybe even 15 million votes.  So I`m not a big fan of the tech companies but I don`t want foreign companies and foreign countries, I don`t want them doing anything having to do with taxing unfairly our companies.  Those are great American companies and frankly, I don`t want France going out and taxing our companies, very unfair.

And if they do that, we`ll be taxing their wine or doing something else.  We`ll be taxing their wine like they have never seen before.  I don`t like it.  That`s for us to tax them.  It`s not for France to tax them.

Other than that, I have a very good relationship with, as you know, with Macron, as you could say.  And I think we`re going to have a very good couple of days.  I look forward to being in France.



TRUMP:  Let me tell you, you know exactly what I meant.  It was sarcasm, it was joking, we were all smiling and the question like that is just fake news.  You`re just a faker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President (INAUDIBLE), are you interested in taking your ideas about digging reparations (ph) to African-Americans in Wisconsin?

TRUMP:  Well, I never stated my ideas.  So, you tell me what my ideas were.  I never stated them.  They are you`re ides.


TRUMP:  No, no, no, no, no.  Don`t put a question like that.  I`ve never stated my ideas.  So don`t put the question like that.


TRUMP:  Say it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you want Powell to resign?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you want Powell to resign?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you want Powell to resign, sir?

TRUMP:  Do I want him to resign?  Let me put it this way, if he did, I wouldn`t stop him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. President --



TRUMP:  He`s a very good competitor, but we`re going to win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mr. President, why did you decide not to pursue your foreign aid cut?  (INAUDIBLE) for foreign aid cut (INAUDIBLE)?

TRUMP:  There are going to be, yes.  Spending that money in different ways.  But rather than renegotiating everything again, I`m going to do it the way I just said.  We`ll be redistributing that money differently.


TRUMP:  (INAUDIBLE), a wonderful woman.  We had a great conversation.  We have a very good relationship with Denmark and we agreed to speak later.  But she was very nice.  She put a call in and I appreciated it very much.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How far are you willing to speak with China?

TRUMP:  Look, China has been hurting our country for 30 years with the money they have been taken out.  Other presidents should have done something about it and they should have done it a long time ago.  Whether it was Clinton or Bush or Obama, any of them, they should have done something about it and they didn`t.  I`m doing it.  And I have no choice because we`re not going to lose close to a trillion dollars a year to China.  And China understands that.

I hope that with President Xi, I have a good relationship, but they understand we`re not going to do it.  And this is more important than anything else right now, just about that we`re working on.  We have to make sure that our taxpayer -- look, we have helped rebuild China like nobody else and they have done a great job. And I don`t blame China, I blame our presidents, our representatives, past administrations for allowing that to happen.  It`s a disgrace.


STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST:  All right.  And that was the scene just outside the White House as you`ve seen.  Moments ago that was the President emerging talking to the press.  We weren`t sure if he was going to on a range of topics there, though.  Obviously, that now massively escalated trade war with China featuring prominently in the questions and responses from the President.

You see the first lady there joining him.  They are now on their way to France for the G7 Summit.

Our panel is still with us.  Ron Insana, one of the comments the President made and I think I heard him reiterate towards the end there, on the subject of China and the trade war, he says we will win it.

You`ve said this all but certainly sets off the path towards a recession over the next year.  Do you see a scenario through the economic pain that you`re forecasting that he could achieve his goals with China through this trade war at all, and win it in his words?

RON INSANA, CNBC SENIOR ANALYST AND COMMENTATOR:  Look, if China were to collapse and have internal strife and things in Hong Kong spun out of control with President Xi face all kinds of internal pressure to get the economy back on track, it`s possible.  China has been shows in the past to withstand internal political pressures better maybe than a president of the United States.

Xi is president for life.  Donald Trump is not.  So he has more political pressure coming at him in the next several months than President Xi does.

I would say that, you know, despite the President`s assertion early in his term, that trade wars are easy to win.  We`re finding out that is not the case and there is a considerable cost that comes with this.

I don`t like to draw parallels to the 1930s but when you get into a scenario, in worldwide trade war.  And remember also, Steve, that Japan and South Korea are having a trade dispute.  The UK and EU are separating in a meaningful way.  We have a lot of flash points around the world in which we might start to see competitive currency devaluation that could wreak havoc in global financial markets, particularly for China were to rapidly devalue its currency in the days and weeks ahead in retaliation for some of these moves.

That could cause the types of problems that are difficult for even a Federal Reserve to deal with.

KORNACKI:  I think Mike Viqueira, we still have with us at the White House.  And he was among those who is asking the President questions there.

And, Mike, as we said, there was some suspense whether the President was going to talk to the press I think sometimes for this late night exits from the White House that`s not always the case.  Clearly, he had things he wanted to get out there into the public square.

MIKE VIQUEIRA, NBC NEWS THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Well, and there`s no question about it, the President have been in (inaudible).  We haven`t seen today, certainly.  I`m not certain about yesterday.

When he departs the White House, typically the pattern now from President Trump is he does stop and talk to the press, you know, these sort of situations and this environment is advantageous inherently and intrinsically I might say for the President, because, you know, we`re this braying mob, we`re shouting questions at him, and then, they are important questions.  But he can say things like, "Well, there`s a 1977 Act of Congress that enables me to order American companies where to do business and whether in fact they can do business in China or elsewhere for that matter.

And, you know, that`s sort of out of blue.  And then when you try to ask a follow-up, he walks to the other side of the press room and answers a question or not, doesn`t answer a question about a -- a completely unrelated topic.

You heard questions about the trade relationship with Japan.  Japanese reporters are always ubiquitous here at the White House.  You heard a question about reparations, you heard a question about his relationship with Macron, President Macron, where in fact, the President once again threaten tariffs on French wine if the French don`t drop their threat of tariffs.

So, you know, it gets back to the President`s favorite tool.  This presidency of the White House that he has sort of discovered over the course of the last year and that is his ability to levy tariffs.

We`ve seen him threatening with Mexico.  We`ve seen him threatening with other Central American countries.  We`ve seen him threatening with Japan.  And now we`re, of course, we`re seeing it actually happen with China.

And so, a tumultuous time here at the White House, the President perhaps understanding that he needed to get ahead of the cycle here a little bit.  He had that answer prepared about the 1977 law, didn`t even bat an eyeball, was shaking his head as I asked the question like he anticipated that question.

But, you know, typically it`s hard to get into this President, really President`s mind of why, what motivates them to do the things that they do.  We`ve talked about the idea whether President Trump is some sort of master of 3D (inaudible) shooting from the hip.

I think the prevailing opinion at this point is that, he`s shooting from the hip, and yet I think there`s an understanding that he -- there were a lot of questions after a wild day of tweets.  You know, people losing millions of dollars, you know, individuals losing hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars, individual retirees or those who have IRAs and 401(k)s, and all the these that Ron Insana is always talking about.

These questions had to be addressed in one shape or form or another, Steve.

KORNACKI:  Yes.  And he did have an answer it seemed there ready on this supposed 1977 law although he was very unclear on what that law even was or any specifics there.

Tal, Let me follow up on that question this way, is this something that the White House in any way, that anybody at the White House that anybody in the administration in any way has been talking about behind the scenes or been talking about with reporters saying, "Hey, there is this law X that we believe dovetails with the president`s tweet."  Is that something that`s ever come up?

TAL KOPAN, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, SAN FRANSCISCO CHRONICLE:  I don`t think so.  And I saw, you know, some reporters asked them, you know, is there an executive order that you can point to that`s coming, can you explain exactly what this supposed order looks like and there was no answer.  So it seems to be perhaps a bit of maybe retrofitted answer to explain, you know, what he was saying on Twitter.

You know, the other thing, you know, that I think is sort of permeating our discussion tonight, is that when you look at, you know, going into a trade war with a country like China, I mean, that is not am entirely free economy.  And, you know, the Chinese president certainly has various levers that he can pull in terms of controlling the Chinese economy that are simply not available to an American president.

And I think when you look at the way that the president continues to go back to tariffs, which are something within his authority alone, that he doesn`t have to get Congress` by in to do, when you look at him attacking the Fed and the Fed chairman for what he believes they should be doing instead of what that independent, you know, economic policy body is sort of using its own judgment to do.  It goes back to the fact that we`ve seen time and time again that President Trump seems to be grasping for powers that the American presidency simply doesn`t have.

And so, this is sort of all coming to ahead with the economy where he doesn`t have the levers to sort of control the American economy the way that China does and yet, he`s gotten us into this sort of, you know, head- to-head match-up with them.

And so, you know, you see these sort of things playing out in real-time as he looks for ways that he can perhaps make a dent or steer the ship in the direction he would like it to go.

INSANA:  Steve, I`m racking my brain whether or not the President can intervene in certain business activities.  Dwight Eisenhower in a steel strike, John F. Kennedy when steal companies tried to raise prices, he went to war with them.  They eventually backed down.  Ronald Reagan fired air traffic controllers to break that union.

Those are the only three major interventions that I can think of among presidents in our period.  The risk here, US companies can pick up and move somewhere else.  The President hasn`t thought about that.  Irrespective legislation may exist.  They can redomicile and no longer -- no, of course, they`ve faced tariffs and other retaliatory measures, but they can leave if they so choose.


KORNACKI:  Yes, go ahead.  Yes.

ALLEN:  I was going to say, it`s important to remember that the Congress spent many decades giving lots of powers to the President that are unused for a long time.  They have been seeding power to the presidency.  And this President more than any other in our lifetime has found new powers that we didn`t know existed or tried to use them in ways past presidents have not.

By the way, to Ron`s list, I would add Franklin Roosevelt during World War II really forcing companies to get involved in the war effort, using some powers of the presidency there, certainly some coercion if nothing else.

But, I think we should really investigate this, what he is talking about because I know there are lot of advisors who are pouring through laws at all times trying to figure out what executive powers do exist.  We`ve seen him move money to try to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, in a way that had not previously been anticipated.  We`ve seen any number of efforts by this president to use executive powers in ways that were unimagined before.

And so, when he says something like that, I`m not sure it`s entirely cavalier.  He is probably come from a briefing with an advisor or somebody who has gotten in his ear, who read something and believes that it can be applied in that way.  And we`re now looking at a court system that has recently been stacked with federal judges appointed by this president and confirmed by a Senate that is very favorable to this president.

KORNACKI:  Right.  You know, he did seem the 1977, you heard him repeat that year several times there.  So it did seem that he had something specific in mind.

I know, John, you referred to the money being reshuffled for the wall.  The White House had invoked, of course, the 1976 Emergency Powers Act, I think was invoked then.  So yes, we will see if there is something there that they are talking about.

And if there is something there that they`re actually going to try to invoke and something, other than a presidential tweet, I guess that`s the to be continued aspect of this among others.

Jonathan Allen, Ron Insana, Tal Kopan, Mike Viqueira there at the White House, where all that news was breaking this hour, thank you all for being with us.

And coming up, a new health scare, you`ve heard about it a little bit from the President there, a new health scare for supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the latest on his treatment and her status for the next term on the high court.  And later, yet another Democratic candidate leaves the race while another hopeful has some sharp words for what he calls celebrity candidates.  "The 11th Hour" just getting started on a Friday night.



RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE:  I always said I`ll stay on this job as long as I can do it, full steam.  And if that means at my age, 86, you have to take it year by year.  So I know I`m OK.  I was OK this last term.  I expect to be OK next term.  And after that, we`ll just have to see.


KORNACKI:  That was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just days before she started a three-week course of radiation therapy for what`s being described as a localized malignant tumor found on her pancreas.

According to a statement from the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg has completed her treatment and tolerated it well.  The statement says aside from canceling a trip to Santa Fe, she has maintained an active schedule and adds, "the tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body."

Justice Ginsburg well continue to have periodic blood tests and scans, no further treatment is needed at this time.

This is not Justice Ginsburg`s first cancer scare nor is it her second.  POLITICO points out, "Ginsburg has survived multiple cancer diagnoses.  She was treated for colorectal cancer in 1999, in an earlier bout of pancreatic cancer in 2009.  Most recently Ginsburg underwent surgery in December 2018 to remove cancerous nodules from her left lung, which were identified after she fell and fractured three ribs last November."

With us for more, Josh Gerstein, Senior Legal Affairs Contributor for POLITICO and Barbara Perry, Professor and Director of Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia.  And important to this conversation, she is a former Judicial Fellow for the United States Supreme Court.  Thanks to both of you for being with.

Josh, let me start with you.  Obviously the subject of Ruth Bader Ginsburg`s health has been front and center for Supreme Court watchers for literally years now.  This latest news that we are learning about publicly after the fact, after the fact of this treatment, is this something that was for folks like you who were closer to this, were there rumblings of this behind the scenes or were you as blindsided by this as everybody else today?

JOSH GERSTEIN, SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR, POLITICO:  Not -- I had not heard rumblings before today.  I think there was -- there were some photographs that came out either in the day or yesterday that showed her going to a hospital.  And everyone knows because of her cancer history, she has to get, you know, more regular checkups than a lot of people would.

So, it wasn`t something we were aware of.  But I have to say that those of us who cover the Supreme Court are always wary about these announcements.

As you`ve mentioned, Steve, to hear this announcement come out and say that she`s been getting treatment for a recurrence of cancer, and that`s she been in it for three weeks.  And we`re learning about it at the very tail end.  And right after, there are photographs of her going into the hospital, it has become a bit of a pattern with Justice Ginsburg that when these health scares take place, we don`t get very prompt reports on them or very clear information.

I remember one time when she collapsed at the court or at least felt light- headed and had to be taken to the hospital.  And then, we were later told that this occurred while he was getting an intravenous iron infusion.  And of course, the court had said nothing to us before that that she was going down on a regular basis, one, two times a week to get iron infusions in the court`s physician`s office.

So it doesn`t feel like we`re always getting the full story when it comes to her health.

KORNACKI:  And, Barbara, as we mentioned, the subject of Ginsburg`s health has been there for a long time.  And just for the practical reality of the balance of power is so delicate when it comes to the Supreme Court, it is so dependent on who happens to be the president when any vacancy happens to occur.

This question has been asked of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for years about potentially timing any exit, any retirement from the court.  You had a front and center view of her.  What is your sense how she thinks about that question?

BARBARA PERRY, FORMER JUDICIAL FELLOW, US SUPREME COURT:  Well, I think she thinks, first of all, as you`ve had in the clip from her, that she loves this job.  She`s committed to it.  She`s committed to the court and to public service.  And that she will continue to do it as long as she feels she can do it full steam, as she says.

And she`s an amazing woman to be sort of a bird-like figure.  But I say she has the strength of somebody three times her size.

My sense is that if she was going to time her leaving of the court for political reasons and ideology reasons, and partisan reasons, she obviously would have left during the presidency of Barack Obama.  So I think she puts first and foremost, the court, and I think her service on it and as she said she can do the job, she`s going to stay there.

KORNACKI:  Barbara Perry and Josh Gerstein, my apologies to both of you.  The breaking news out of the White House has just truncated this entire show.  We do appreciate you staying up with us late on a Friday night.  We did want to get this story and we appreciate your time.  Thank you very much to both of you.

GERSTEIN:  Sure, Steve.

KORNACKI:  And does the Kennedy name meanwhile still mean anything to Massachusetts voters?  How the Bay State may soon get to test that out, when "The 11th Hour" continues.



REP. JOE KENNEDY III (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  To all the dreamers out there watching tonight, let me be absolutely clear.


You are part of our story.  We will fight for you and we will not walk away.


KORNACKI:  Congressman Joe Kennedy III displaying his bilingual skills in a nationally televised State of the Union Response back in 2018.  And earlier this week, report surface that Kennedy, the grand son of Robert F. Kennedy, is considering a primary challenge next year against Senator and long time Congressman before that Ed Markey.

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times points out that Massachusetts has long prioritized seniority and clout, but adds, "The power of incumbency is now being tested here after a century long record of sending three House Speakers to Washington, as well as perhaps the most influential senator in history, Edward M. Kennedy in a steady line of powerful committee chairs."

"It is a different political world today", said Mayor Martin Walsh of Boston, "This idea of being elected and thinking it`s your seat until you leave, that game has changed."

For more, we are joined by our Phil Elliott, Political Correspondent for Time Magazine and Andrew Desiderio, Congressional Reporter for POLITICO.

Thanks to both of you for being with us.

Phil, let me start with you.  This has the potential if Kennedy gets in this race and challenges Markey to test a few different things here.  One is just that basic question of the Kennedy name, the Kennedy mystique, the allure of the Kennedys, whatever you want to call it.  Does it still matter?  Does it still count for much in 2019 or in 2020?

PHILIP ELLIOTT, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME MAGAZINE:  Well, that`s the question that has a lot of Senate Democrats would hear.  That Kennedy getting into this race will make them force to choose between an incumbent colleague and someone who could raise them a boat ton of money.

The Kennedy name still carries a tremendous cache both in Massachusetts and nationally.  You could instantly see Congress or then potential future senator candidate being a top fundraiser for the party.

But he hasn`t decided yet.  I`ve talked to some folks up in Massachusetts tonight just to double check.  No decisions have been made.  But he`s very seriously weighing it and it has tremendous consequences not just for the party but for the future of the party, that -- in a party trying to confront, not only generational change but ideological change, what are Massachusetts Democrats going to tell us they want more of.

KORNACKI:  Yes.  And, Andrew, what`s interesting about this is, a lot of times you see these primary challenges, there`s an obvious issue or set of issues where the incumbent add odds with the party base.

Joe Lieberman in Connecticut on the Iraq War, got challenged, lost the Democratic -- but Ed Markey has bee sort of a down the line Liberal Democrat for as long as he has been in Washington.  This one certainly reads, I think, to the lament as this potential Kennedy challenge having a lot more to do with ambition, personal ambition, than any kind of ideological state.  Does that complicate things for him?

ANDREW DESIDERIO, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO:  Personal ambition and age, of course.  Usually when we`re talking about these instances in which Democratic incumbents are being primary, they`re usually being primary from the left.  And as you just mentioned, Ed Markey checks all the boxes when it comes to the progressive vote, right?

And I think, you know, I`m out here in California this week attending a bunch of town halls, trying to find out what voter, democratic voters really care about.  And I`m really hearing a sense of yearning for younger leadership.

Obviously, in the House, in the Senate, the Democratic leadership there, they are on their 70s and 80s.  And I think, you know, these younger class of freshmen Democrats that was elected in 2018, really invigorated this sense.

That is I think pervasive among voters all across the country, you know, the idea of getting younger blood injected into one of the most powerful, political, you know, brasses in the country, that being the Massachusetts` delegation.

But again, Ed Markey is as progressives as it gets.  He checks all the boxes for Democrats.  He`s been in Congress for about 40 years, that`s longer than Joe Kennedy has been alive.  Joe Kennedy is only 38 years old.

KORNACKI:  Phil, you hear this argument, I think, certainly from folks on Markey`s side of this, that, hey, all Democratic has to be taking on Donald Trump as president.  There is no room to waste that in a primary fight on any level.  Does that have resonance you think with Democratic voters?

ELLIOTT:  In Massachusetts, sure it does that, I mean, this is one -- When we were looking at the map of all the competitive Democratic primaries for Senate, Massachusetts is alone and having an incumbent Democrat.  In the other states, where there are competitive race, I can name Colorado and Texas, that`s what pick up opportunity.

So there, it`s not about ideology, it`s about electability.  And you`re seeing the candidates in those races along with potential races in Georgia and Iowa you use the electability argument.  It`s an unfortunate spill over effect of the presidential race when always seem to be talking about is who can beat Donald Trump.

KORNACKI:  And, Andrew, on Ed Markey, it`s interesting, you mentioned that age disparity between them.  I mean, Ed Markey, he actually ran for the US Senate in Massachusetts back in 1984.  He was briefly in the race then, he was already a congressman when he backed out of that race.  And John Kerry ended up winning the seat back then.

And then Markey waited 39 years to get -- so certainly in Massachusetts, these openings do not come around that often.  It does seem that that also might be part of the calculation.

If you`re Joe Kennedy -- if you`re a Kennedy family fan, you don`t get many opportunities.  You don`t want to get stuck in the House for decades.  You maybe had to -- you know, if you see any kind of an opening, you have to take it.

DESIDERIO:  That`s exactly right.  And, obviously, the Kennedy name is very prevalent and very popular in the state of Massachusetts.  You mentioned personal ambition being a potential driver of this, potential primary challenge.  I think that`s a big factor here.

But again, I really do think that the main thing here is injecting younger blood into the Congress and into the higher brass of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, which, as we`ve mentioned before, is exclusively Democrats.

I`ve talked to people who know Ed Markey, for example, and characterize him as sort of like an energizer bunny.  He`s fired up.  He`s ready to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.  He wants to be on the ballot with Donald Trump in 2020 next year.  He`s 73 years old but he is showing no signs of stopping.

He is focused on trying to, you know, defeat Donald Trump and get these progressive wish list item passed.  You`re talking about things like Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, impeaching Donald Trump, that`s something that Ed Markey supports as well.

So again, he checks all the boxes for progressives and that`s something I think Massachusetts voters are going to continue to take into account over the next couple of years.

KORNACKI:  And, Phil, very quickly, it occurs to me too, Elizabeth Warren this week coming out and endorsing Ed Markey.  And if Elizabeth Warren were to be successful in her presidential campaign, opens up a Senate seat.  And so, you could forget the Markey seat at that point, maybe for Joe Kennedy, you`re getting a little trial balloon out there now and you have another opportunity if Warren somehow win the presidential election.

ELLIOTT:  Yes, definitely that is something that`s a possibility.  Or if Warren retires, that`s also a possibility.  I mean, I don`t see her being in the Senate forever.

The one thing I notice, we all notice on the day Elizabeth Warren did her formal announcement, Congressman Kennedy was among those introducing her.

KORNACKI:  That`s right.  And they have a history, too.  Elizabeth Warren, I think was his professor for a class back then.  So -- but no, that did not translate into an endorsement this week.  As we`ve mentioned Warren getting out there behind her Senate colleague Ed Markey.

Phil Elliott and Andrew Desiderio, thank you both for joining us. We appreciate that.

DESIDERIO:  Thanks, Steve.

KORNACKI:  On this, again, what has been a unexpectedly busy Friday night, with the President speaking to the press there just before heading off to the G7 in France.

And with that, that is our broadcast for tonight and for this week.  Thank you for being with us, and good night from NBC Headquarters in New York.