Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Tariffs Spark Retaliation Plans; Populist Italy Five Star Movement Has Lead ahead of Vote; The Voice behind Merkel's Future; Transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill. Aired 2-2:30a ET

Aired March 3, 2018 - 02:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A trade war waiting to happen. The European Union prepares to hit back if the U.S. president follows through on steel tariffs.

Thousands of flights cancel as a massive winter storm pushes through the northeastern United States.

Plus we'll be meeting the Oscar nominee who came out of retirement to make this happen: a perfect likeness of Winston Churchill.

Thank you for joining us. We are live from CNN HQ here in Atlanta. I'm Cyril Vanier.


VANIER: So countries around the world are now threatening to retaliate if the United States imposes tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as the U.S. president has promised. The Union European is getting ready to target American products: Harley-Davidson motorbikes, Bourbon whiskey, Levi's jeans. The European Commission warns protectionism is not the answer.


ALEXANDER WINTERSTEIN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: We strongly regret this step which appears to represent a greater intervention to protect U.S. domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification.

We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with (INAUDIBLE) measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk. The E.U. will act firmly and commensurately to defend our interests.


VANIER: Well, none of this appears to worry U.S. president Donald Trump. He tweeted this.

"Trade wars are good and easy to win." Mr. Trump has also gone after the World Trade Organization, calling it

a disaster for the U.S. Well, former WTO boss, Pascal Lamy, tells our Richard Quest, President Trump is wrong.


PASCAL LAMY, FORMER DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WTO: Mr. Trump obviously believes that trade is a win-lose game, like a war. You win, I lose; I win, you lose. Most of the people on this planet do not believe that trade is a win-lose game.

What binds people together on this planet about trade, the reason why everybody agree that other some conditions, more open trade is good, is that it's a win-win game. It's not a win-lose game.

And this is where I think he departs from a world consensus and from the way the modern economy is organized around this planet with global value chains.


VANIER: Richard Quest shows us what a trade war could look like.


RICHARD QUEST, CNNMONEY EDITOR AT LARGE (voice-over): Think of this as the war room, as the rest of the world gets ready to retaliate against U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from around the world.

The various countries are getting their weapons ready in retaliation. The European Union, for instance, promising tariffs on Levi jeans, on Bourbon and on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. These are symbolic gestures that would hurt right in the heartland of America.

And China, which could impose tariffs on large amounts of soybeans -- or worse, it could go for tech goods like Apple and Intel.

Across the world, countries are now working out how to hit the U.S. hard if these tariffs on steel and aluminum come into play. And, again, look at two countries, Mexico and Canada.

Now south and north, part of NAFTA, a treaty that is already in trouble, being renegotiated. Both Canada and Mexico are major exporters of steel to the United States.

Make no bones about it, as we look around the world, you are seeing a serious situation, the first salvo in this trade war has been fired or is about to be fired by the United States. The rest of the world will not be far behind in retaliation -- Richard Quest, CNN, New York.


VANIER: So who actually sends the most steel and aluminum to the U.S.? Let's take a look at the actual numbers, aluminum first. Canada is way out on top, $6.9 billion worth of aluminum. China comes after but a distant second, $1.8 billion. Then Russia, then the United Arab Emirates and then Germany.

Let's look at steel. Remember Mr. Trump would impose 25 percent trade tariffs on steel, against Canada comes in first on that list, $5.53 billion worth of imports of steel towards the U.S. Then South Korea --


VANIER: -- Mexico, Brazil and China.


VANIER: Let's bring in Peter Matthews, he's a political analyst and professor of political science at Cypress College.

Peter, good to have you back with us.

Are trade wars really easy to win?

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: No, they're not. I think President Trump was way off when he said that. Going back to the 1930s, the Smoot-Hawley tariff, we find that very bad repercussions can occur internationally.

We don't need to have trade wars and to put tariffs up on these products. They have a globalized economy. The better way to do it is to do what China does. China subsidizes the steel industry there to make it less expensive to export the Chinese steel to other parts of the world.

The United States should actually have an industrial policy, where we would actually support the steel industry to export our steel to other the countries. Germany does the same thing. The countries are successful in having a balance of trade surplus, have their governments supported the industries much more actively and the bottom line in the end is also equalizing wages across the board.

That will help countries grow in a better way. This tariff idea is a terrible idea in my view and it will result in a trade war.


VANIER: And not just in your view; essentially, apart from the U.S. steel and aluminum industry, I can't think of anybody who has voiced support from this -- for this, even within the White House.

Gary Cohen, Mr. Trump's chief economic adviser, is said to have been staunchly against this. He warned that he might leave if these tariffs were indeed imposed. Obviously we saw the rest of the world reacting to this.

So let's look at the politics of this then. We've addressed the substance. This is something on which the president has been remarkably consistent, starting from his days as a businessman to the campaign and now to the White House, this issue of trade.

Assuming he actually implements those tariffs, how do you think this plays out for him politically?

MATTHEWS: Politically, it will certainly solidify his base, which are the 32 percent of the super nationalists, who believe that America first is the best w to go. He'll get those people to vote for him again. But that's not going to win him the next election. And that's a problem politically. He thinks he's going to be able to do that unless someone -- and since there's a split vote in the opposition, there are more than two candidate, maybe three candidates running, he might be able to hang onto his base and win.

But this is a losing strategy politically as well as economically. I would advise him to actually change directions and work in a better way for fair trade.

VANIER: But the thing is, he'll be able to point to the fact that he kept his promise, right, as he's done on a number of important things, rolling back regulations, cutting taxes and imposing tariffs. Those were all parts of his campaign and he has kept his promise -- if he implements the tariffs, of course.

MATTHEWS: He will claim that, of course.

But the question is, what kind of rewards will he get for that?

Will that mean that more of America will actually support him?

And look at how many people are affected; 80:1 ratio in terms of how many workers there are in the industries that would be hurt versus the ones that benefit. So we saw those numbers in your earlier part of the report.

So I don't think that it's going to really help him get more political support than what he has right now.


VANIER: So even without starting potential trade wars, it's been a chaotic week at the White House. Chief of staff John Kelly says the administration's handling of classified material has not been up to the standards that he expected.

And also this reporting from "The New York Times," that President Trump asked Kelly to help remove his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, from the White House. Mr. Trump is said to be upset that Kushner's security clearance was downgraded and also unimpressed by Ivanka's trip to South Korea.

Now campaigning ended in Italy ahead of Sunday's general election and this one is hard to call. It's going to be messy. In the thick of things is disgraced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. He is not allowed to hold office because of his prior convictions but that didn't stop him from campaigning.

He aligned himself with the far right with the hopes of emerging as a power broker. Leading the polls, however, is the populist Five Star Movement with almost 30 percent. But it's had setbacks and it's been bitterly denounced by both the Left and the Right.

Former prime minister Matteo Renzi's left-wing Democratic Party is polling in second place. If it were to align with the Five Star Movement it could potentially lead to a coalition government.

It's all about coalitions come Sunday night. The other major player is the far right League Party; it has been gaining traction among some voters with a campaign of harsh anti-migrant rhetoric.


VANIER: Let's bring in Dominic Thomas, he's CNN's European affairs commentator.

Dominic, good to talk to you again. The Five Star Movement, tell us about them and this sort of paradox that they're in. They lead the polls, the latest polls, before the campaign ban but yet they're unlikely to be in power.

Why is that?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, everyone is unlikely to be in power right now, because, as with other European elections that we have followed over the past year, whether it's the Dutch elections or the German elections, it's all been about coalition formations.

Right now, the four leading parties, nobody will reach the sort of magic threshold of 40 percent --


THOMAS: -- that it takes to lead single-handedly. So coalition talks will have to come into play.

The Five Star Movement initially talked about the fact that they were not interested in forming coalition parties with anybody. They're sort of the antiestablishment, antibusiness as usual party.

But increasingly, there's been the possibility of them forming coalition with the only other group that they have interest in speaking with right now, which is this Northern League, this far right political group. And the M5 has points of commonality with them, skepticism about greater European integration.

And they've, like everyone else, been very outspoken on the question of migration and Islam and so on.

VANIER: Is that what this election has been about, migration?

THOMAS: This election has absolutely and unequivocally been about the kinds of themes that have shaped the discussions around all European elections going back over a year, which is essentially national identity.

So we have political parties talking about Italy first and, therefore, the question of what it means to be Italian and what the role and the position of migrants and so on are in Italian society.

The one difference being that Italy, sitting on the Mediterranean as it does, has been affected by the migration crisis in a very real and tangible way. And it has been quite easy for parties to galvanize people around the question of immigration and the migrant crisis and to use that as a scapegoat for all the problems that Italy faces today.


VANIER: OK, let's stay in Europe. There is another set of results that you need to look at on Sunday. This is to do with German chancellor Angela Merkel's quest to form another grand coalition with Social Democrats. And on this key question, a 28-year-old naysayer has become a major thorn in her side. CNN's Atika Shubert explains.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kevin Kuhnert is a T-shirt wearing 28-year-old who's managed to turn the normally staid world if German politics upside down with just three syllables, NoGroKo, short for New Grand Coalition.

He tells CNN, "We cannot continue like this. The cozy politics represented by Angela Merkel which does not decide anything. This is now slowly ending," he said.

Kuhnert, who was elected as the Social Democrats' youth leader just three months ago is on a mission to get his party to reject Angela Merkel's proposed coalition government. And that is why he's campaigning at this youth center, offering coffee and cake to the mostly elderly audience members. Many are here simply curious to see him.

Peter Vitzelen (ph), SPD member for 52 years, stood up to ask a question.

He said, "I'm skeptical but I'm impressed with you, Kevin.

"My worry is what happens if we really say no?

"Will this mean new elections?

"Or does it mean for our country and Europe?" He asked.

Angela Merkel has led Germany to prosperity for the last 12 years, eight of them in a so-called grand coalition between her conservatives, the CDU Christian Democrats and the central left SPD, Social Democrats. The September 2017 election was supposed to be an easy victory, cruising Merkel into a fourth term in office. But voters revolted against the status quo. Both the CDU and the SPD barely maintained their leads as top parties, suffering record losses to the far right nationalist party alternative for Germany or AFD, which took nearly 13 percent of the vote.

That's pushed Kuhnert to demand that any coalition government with Merkel must be approved by the rank and file of the party. And now, more than 400,000 are casting ballots in a postal vote. Results will be announced on Sunday.

Yes, would mean Merkel can get back to running the country with her coalition government in place. No, would mean Merkel must take her chances with a minority government or face new elections.

"The differences between the political parties has systemically become blurred," he told CNN.

"That will only end up strengthen political parties like the right wing populists. I think a new grand coalition is playing right into that and this is more dangerous for democracy than possible new elections," he said.

Twenty-five thousand new members have joined the SPD since Kuhnert started his campaign, including Hasam Jozivayat (ph), who's worried about the rise of the far right. He came to see Kuhnert in person.

"He's quite impressive and authentic, although he's young, he's very talented," he said. "I've voted against the GroKo. I think this will just cause more problems for us in the end."

Kuhnert does all this in his spare time, as he holds down his day job as a lawmaker's assistant.

Do you have any ambition to be a chancellor one day?

"No, not the chancellery, please," he answers. "I like my free time --


SHUBERT (voice-over): -- "too much," he jokes.

But considering what he's accomplished in his free time, so far, Germany's political elders maybe wondering what he will do next -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Hamburg, Germany.


VANIER: The U.S. is staring down another day of the powerful bomb cyclone. Coming up, we'll have a check of the forecast; see how long that's supposed to last.

Plus the anti-sexual harassment initiative #TimesUp will be represented at the Oscars but not like previous awards shows this season. Stay with us.




VANIER: OK, we have to update you on what's been going on in the northeastern United States because the weather there has been severe. That region is being pummeled by a winter storm that meteorologists are calling a bomb cyclone. This is the second day.

So what are we looking at?

Strong winds, pouring rain, surging tides across that region. Officials say that more than 1 million customers are without power. In Massachusetts, emergency officials warn of astronomically high tides in the coming days. There's already been widespread flooding; you're seeing that right now.

And in New York State now, heavy snow shut down roads and grounded planes. Thousands of planes, in fact, are grounded. Five deaths have also sadly been reported. The nor'easter is still hammering the U.S. East Coast.



VANIER: Gary Oldman is a 59-year-old actor with a nice head of hair, it has to be said. But you wouldn't know that from his performance in "Darkest Hour." How the Oscar nominee was transformed into Winston Churchill. Stay with us.




VANIER: Welcome back. The Oscars are this Sunday. And one nominee is already reaping honors. Gary Oldman played Britain's gruff World War II leader, Winston Churchill, in the film, "Darkest Hour." To say that Gary Oldman and Winston Churchill do not look like each other is an understatement. Nick Glass talked to the makeup artist who also has an Oscar nod for the transformation. Look at this.



GARY OLDMAN, ACTOR, "WINSTON CHURCHILL": You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.

NICK GLASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So how did they do it?

How was Winston Churchill reincarnated so convincingly by Gary Oldman?


GLASS (voice-over): On the face of it, even in the shadows, the actor and politician don't exactly look alike.

KAZUHIRO TSUJI, MAKEUP ARTIST: Gary's face, for example -- like Gary looks like a greyhound. But Churchill is like a bulldog.


GLASS (voice-over): The extraordinary transformation from greyhound to bulldog began here in an artist studio in Los Angeles. Kazuhiro Tsuji is a sculptor of hyperrealist faces. He likes to recreate historical figures, the bigger the better. But once upon a time, he used to work in the movies.

OLDMAN: I needed not only a makeup artist but I needed an artist, I felt, for this. And I remember saying, there's only one man, Kazuhiro Tsuji. And my playing Winston was really contingent on Kazu.




"CHURCHILL": -- not buggering it up.


GLASS (voice-over): Kazu, as he's known, created the makeup for Jim Carrey in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and for Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." But in 2012, he decided to leave the industry.

TSUJI: I love to do special effects makeup but it was stressing me too much to the level that I felt like I'm shortening my life.

GLASS (voice-over): So Gary Oldman had to coax Kazu back just for this one movie.

TSUJI: I never had opportunity to do a historical character in a film, like a main character, with the makeup. And I felt like, OK, well, this could be once in a lifetime.

GLASS (voice-over): Under the liquid resin, Gary Oldman with a shaven head, this process gave Kazu the mold for a life cast and, from that, he began to design the prosthetics.

TSUJI: This is the neck. It's like a hood piece that goes over his head.

GLASS (voice-over): Kazu did the tests on Oldman himself, everything like real skin, including a prosthetic Adam's apple. In all, he designed six pieces, including cheeks, nose and chin. Kazu left the meticulous daily application to British colleagues, David Malinowski (ph) and Lucy Civic (ph).

The process took them more than three hours every day, for 48 consecutive shooting days. Kazu made a series of wigs from baby hair and angora rabbit fur.

TSUJI: The great thing about Gary is, like, he just disappears. After 10 minutes, I start to forget about the makeup and start to forget about the Gary, because it's just became Churchill. And that's really rare.

GLASS (voice-over): Nick Glass for CNN, with Kazu Tsuji.


VANIER: We will have special live coverage of the 90th Academy Awards. Join John Vause and Isha Sesay for that. They will have latest reaction to Hollywood's biggest night. That will be on Monday right after the Oscars, that's 1:00 pm in Hong Kong, 5:00 am if you're in London.

CNN and young people around the world are fighting modern-day slavery with a student-led day of action on March 14th. Ahead of My Freedom Day, we asked actress and U.N. goodwill ambassador Ashley Judd what freedom means to her.


ASHLEY JUDD, ACTOR: Hi, I'm Ashley Judd and I believe that all human beings have inherent dignity and deserve to be free. And freedom means freedom from harm, emotionally, physically, spiritually ad mentally. I am a sex and labor slavery abolitionist. And I believe that all folks everywhere are entitled to their bodily integrity and their sexual autonomy. And that's why I'm an abolitionist.


VANIER: And please share what freedom means to you. Use the #MyFreedomDay.

That's it from us. We're back with the headlines in a moment.