Trump administration to back down on foreign aid

The president announced his administration will cut 4 billion dollars of foreign aid assistance.
26:11 | 08/22/19

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Transcript for Trump administration to back down on foreign aid
Everybody welcome to the briefing room happy Thursday and Devin Dwyer in Washington a great show for you today we're gonna get out to the Minnesota state fair the great Minnesota get together. Senator Amy Klobuchar is standing by at interview with her. Coming up at first some breaking news out of the White House this hour of the administration now backing off deep cuts to foreign aid. That had been a major sticking point in the budget battle also. I something that hit in breach of diplomatic. Forces in this country the foreign aid of course to so many countries seen as critical to stabilizing. The global environment promoting global health and human rights all around the world let's go right to the State Department are Connor Finnegan. I has been breaking this news Connor what do we know about this change in approach by the administration. Well DeVon president trump has backed down off of this plan to cut up to four billion dollars worth. A foreign assistance this was a list that was put together by the Office of Management and Budget. A law a wide variety of programs including as you mention global health amid a deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Programs for things like women's development which is something that Yvonne could trump president's daughter has really pushed. Promoting religious freedom which is ending his vice president Mike Pence. Has also pushed as well as countering Chinese influence and Russian influence. In particular in the Indo Pacific region we've learned today according to three sources. That prison trump is now backing down from this plan. After really intense opposition from Capitol Hill the chairs of both. He Senate Foreign Relations Committee the house foreign affairs committee. Republicans and Democrats wrote a letter to the president weeks ago urging him not to undertake this cut because they said it would both. B a violation of congress' intent here and it would be really an abdication of US leadership on the world stage. Yes so much foreign aid goes out to him a much needed places in causes Connor it's also been a target of president from from the beginning not to miniscule portion. The federal budget Jordan Phelps is over to White House she's been talking. To administration officials about the storm what do they say in about why the president took this extraordinary step of backing off the demand to cut the aid. Seven this is ultimately Cason who won out in the administration. We know that nick Maloney his acting chief of staff and rest bout. Over at the office management and budget wanted the president make these cuts both of those men are fiscal hawks and like to see a Trimmer. Leaner federal government but ultimately secretary of state Mike Pompeo and treasury sec or. And thanks very mature I'm so sorry we have to interrupt you guys you do have to go out now are to the Minnesota state fair I'm sorry were about to lose our special guest Amy Klobuchar and senator. Of the great state of Minnesota senator great to see you thanks so much for taking the time to talk district dead integration and what I'm best TV is so far. I see so much food are. I don't mean he's heard. It's sad she's guard Charlie bass we're out here it's a beautiful day. We've got tons of he thought here at Minnesota clubs are big get together it's the biggest state fair in the country. Exact Texas but there are open for thirty days. I'm partial I used to work at the Minnesota state fair so I know it is the best. But don't start by asking your reaction to this news out of the White House and foreign aid I know you've been an advocate for it. What do you make of this decision on their part to back off of cuts to in the budget. Well I think there was so much pressure because it's that. General Mattis who wants that that what he doesn't get in for NA the FDA is the money for bullets basically and that you wanna be able to support. Countries that end up being your trading partners that you end up buying your debts. I mean I sought in Africa. Where countries where we have had good relations with. They buy American banks. And we want to keep that out we don't want to let China. In front Abbas and they're starting to all over the world. And so that is part of the argument for an eight the other is it's a security issue for our country. I once did with one of our Republican congressman Tom amor. To oppose the trump administration's attempt to cut ornate wedding came to countries like Somalia. Because we know that if we don't. At least get some semblance of order in those countries that we silence about make threats against their own country style a lot of it has to do with baton. You've talked a lot of a true Minnesota roots has been a key. Component to your electability in this presidential campaign you're the only Minnesotan running of course are you the most electable Democrat out there. And what do you make of Joseph Biden's comments this week that her husband's the most electable and everyone needs did in her words swallow it. Even if they prefer someone better. I'm glad all the campaign speak for themselves not just talk for my south. I am vision for this country which kids to bring people together I said it that day when I announce in the middle of the snowstorm in the middle of the Mississippi River. That we need to bridge the rivers of our divides a higher place and our politics I believe it even more today when you have a presence. Trying to divide people when things go lock. We're concerned about the economy what is he doing wines I can tell you people in the wet midwest don't wanna Weiner in the White House even if they voted for him. And my strengths as best I tell the truth I win and Republican districts that one in every single Republican district. In Minnesota at time and time again every place every race every time and I'm able to get things done. I've passed over a 100000 type band in the United States Bennett. I want people want is they want an optimistic economic agenda for this country that's what I'm giving them and that's why he made the debates in the fall both of them. And we're looking forward to the debate got ABC. Hi and it's why am gonna win I'm I didn't really believe that strongly. That when people hear my message I'm great like that lead arts. Let me let me ask you about you're you're victory in Minnesota 60%. Of the vote 48 team it is no small feat but Donald Trump of course you know well. Senator twin sixteen came very close in Minnesota two basking in Hillary Clinton there. He's talking about beaten winning in Minnesota he's teaches tweeted last week that he is get a win in Minnesota. It. And as part of Georgia congresswoman do you do you really do you think this strategy and demonizing Illini Omar is is going to be effective. I know I can tell you this I won 42 of the counties that he Warren and when it comes to his tweets. Last week and I bested them with a simple tweet that that what's the difference between Donald traffic Greenland. Greenland is not for sale. People are tired of us they want someone that's optimistic in the White House and I'm ready to go. And I'd tell people around here it's like I've met the playoffs I'm in those debates and how we're excited about that ABC debate. And you know the wild card team as won the super ball big time. Current C you're at it. Year in it to win it just like the Minnesota Twins this year of course you know we've been talking a lot of your growers there about your candidacy actually the question for you from Bob in Cali from here our home state. I don't know declared clear right now that this is this is Bob and Kelly heard it. Is there any role too lenient presidential powers. Ang Ole congress party has the power and land knowing congress isn't doing him. And if you could if you can hear that is there any way to rein it is there any way to rein in presidential powers. They feel like congress already has the power and they're not doing anything what do you say the body count. I I can feel their pain here because it's frustrating to me the way you rein in president from his back following a lot. Pop by having is that it follows a lot. And right now Mitch McConnell is not reining in his power and in fact there's really pragmatic legislation like birds gun safety. The majority of tribe voters want to see. That's above background checks that Mitch McConnell won't let it come up for about. See you rein in bad things I want winning elections and getting Donald Trump out of the White House. But to her right now the public just have to keep pushing they want to see that gun safety legislation passes. They want to see backup paper ballots. And they're tired of doubtless gridlock and wanna get things done that and I'm running and I got to get covered our. By the haunted house and the our job about it today and the snake zoo can't get directions. They pay much for coming on great to see him. Very much great to see everybody out there on the campaign trail in my home stay a lot of the candidates. I stopping by the Minnesota state fair in Saint Paul before or after their trip this weekend a California. For the DNC's summer meeting of delegates with a lot of them out there. I'd check in out there tomorrow we should be put in a plug now as the senator mentioned the ABC news debates are just around the corner one week from today. We'll have to cut off for who will make those debates already ten candidates had in the democratic field have qualified for the debate including senator Klobuchar. How we'll have that results next week one week from today on the 29. You can also catch the entire ABC news debate here from Houston Texas September 12 at ABC news has just announced. The forum moderator is for the debate George Stephanopoulos. Our chief anchored anchor of world news tonight David Muir are ABC news dot correspondent Lindsey Davis and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos. What all be moderating that debate in Texas. Turning out of the economy in the recession fears that have gripped. Discussion on Wall Street for the past week as stocks have gone on a roller coaster even spooking the president. For the past few days talking about possibly taking sent emergency measures. But all of us are asking here what are the odds that a recession is actually going to happen. Our economists spot Annan in their predictions are that one could be right on the corner while our friends at 538 have been taking a look at that I'm joined now by Emilio Thomas. Devoe who has a great piece separate around 530 looking at that very question it turns out Emilia. Economists don't always have the best prediction skills on this one. That's right yeah economists are generally not good at predicting exactly when Rick passion will. The current winner Rick action we'll strike out and keep it in studies that responds study that looked at protection from all over the world over several decades here in and economists predicted really very very few of Abner. I'm and part of the trouble is bit it's just really hard to predict with any certainty what's going to be happening in the economy you know as far as people are talking about what would happen in. I'm there's a recession during the twenty when he raised what happens. I'm ignorant fashion comes here after that and the fact is that it's just very difficult to stay with any certainty when the recession will be coming. You can say you know there are clues and sign that. An economic downturn made he impending. But I'm economists. Just don't have the tools to stay you know Nino or recession is going to economy in twenty funny warrant went on well. In simple you know it its interest in because. We we know that recessions happened when almost certainly as you wrote in your piece will happen again sometime so really the question is one of timing. On you talk about indicators and anyone ask you about this one it's getting a lot of play on social be. Inverted yield curve this funky bout chart that basically it is a sign warning sign to some investors that perhaps. One is near tell us about that does that actually. Give us any of firmer sense that when could be at least coming in in the near future. What continent I'm threatening pointed out that it's been a reliable indicator. A coming economic downturn. And that's because it's basically a reflection of how investors are feeling about the future the economy so it's not that an inverted yield curve causes a recession economy. But it sort of a way of seeing how cook their feeling about whether they think the economy is going to continue. To be strong and those are people who were you know investors following the market have a lot at stake here. I'm and it has been quite accurate. Ad. But the trouble is you look at the lead time between when the yield curve in birds and when a recession actually com. And it anywhere between. Six months which you know it is quite England and almost two years so it's a really really why they hadn't. And that's the difference between you know every fashion coming right in the middle of the presidential race and one coming well actor and next. President kind of an opera. Huge political stakes in that window which is as you say pretty wide so when I think we all need to take a breath this is a good reality check. In your piece a melee are wondering Jordan Phelps back into this over at the White House because. If it does seem to two in the alias porn Jordan that this is sort of pseudo science nobody really knows in fact. The president keeps insisting that one is not happening now a recession is not happening and it's not imminent and yet. Aides are sort of is sending me these mixed messages where there are sort of scrambling to did to talk about emergency measures for an emergency they claim. Isn't actually happen. Yet Kevin on one hand the president doesn't want to let on that there could be a recession coming. But on the other he has been pinning these signals. That heat to in the administration is concerned just to give you this week as an example it's really been head spinning when it comes to tax cuts. They first told us that payroll tax cuts were not on the table that that was not under consideration. And it just hours later the president himself told us. He actually was thinking about it but in just 24 hours later the president had never mind not thinking about that after all because the economy is so strong. But DeVon you'll recall was just last week that the president how to rally in New Hampshire and air he put the economy front and center and that rally telling people. Whether they love them where they hate him they have to vote for him because. Otherwise he warned there for a one case will go down the tubes so the president very much trying tech have it both ways here saying arguing that he is the only president who can. Kind of bring the economy to to new heights but at the same time. There are some real worrying signs in the economy right now whether or not the president wants to acknowledge that publicly. In summary of the signs Emilia are sort of at consumer sentiment related investor sentiment related they're not actually. It's sort of you know concrete meaningful indicators of actual economic growth for example but we did get some new numbers today from the Bloomberg consumer comfort index which. Is down to a seven month low suggesting consumers are at least starting to absorb some of this anxiety. About the economy you also took a look at. Whether or not some of these headlines and all this talk could be self fulfilling what's your sense anatomy could we talk ourselves in a recession. Well that's something that I asked the economist that I spoke to Bernanke you know is discussion of a recession I think it could actually. Beat him one happening and what they fed is you know it's possible. It's possible that gives people respond to be headlines by. For example you know with saving their money and not going on vacation in the next few weeks at that amor or you know not spending in other ways your business district. By saying you know work we're gonna hold off on hiring for an hour expanding industry to see what happens that that could be something that they're further slows and the economy and Aaron. Actually kind of reinforces that. Issue that everyone's pointing to. On the other hand you know it's possible that that discussion these aren't sort of worrisome science. Could be an opportunity for arms and kind of intervention. I'm that could certainly change that the odds of earth ash in coming and I think that's what about the typical scene in taking it signals and saying. You know we know that a recession is going to come next year it's going to come in two years because so much of this as he adds noted yesterday. Based on how people feel about the economy and so much can change. Great reporting at 538 dot com from a million Thomas Devoe thank you so much million for coming on our thanks to Jordan tops at the White House as well you can. Check out that article. On our website about how bad economist traditionally have been in predicting that time mean a recession. And a perhaps one could come generally soon. Are our thanks to that attorney now to disturbing story about the climate you may have heard that the Amazon rainforest is facing in extraordinary season. I fires down in Brazil this one direct threat to what scientists. Called the planet's long spam is on rainforest which sucks tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. Is now at risk with so much of the force rapidly deteriorating not. Re growing in that area could accelerate. Climate change from warm what this. Means in for what policy makers can and should do about it joined now by National Geographic a spore in her Rizzo his joins us from Miami spent a lot of time. Down in in the Amazon enter thanks so much for coming in. I'd give us your bottom line on what what we are seen down there in these extraordinary images. And why people should care about us. Yes so I'm on my name's undertakes a crucial and I'm in my arm National Geographic Explorer and conservationist. I've been working in the Amazon from ten years now. And you know this really is. An exceptional partner globes this is one of the most violent response on the planet the city's not only clings are our air but provides water itself. And also in a future with a lot of uncertainty here is route relating super bugs to climate change all sorts of issues. The Amazon itself really presents a sort of genetic bank of botanical banked too. A lot of our potential salvation to a lot of the worst problem so. This burned down I mean each it's a serious serious issue. It's a did this is thing going on for some time. Andres as well right and in their not only have been some in deforestation performing another. Reasons that these fires as you say is there anything that can be done. Or is being done to re grow the force in these areas or is this is this something like once it's destroyed it's done. So yeah okay you got you a statement couple hundred questions that are so the first one has hasn't been gone on for a long time. Yes in the Amazon basin is about 90% the size the United States. About 70%. The size of the United States equivalent rank would be covered in forest. Like should be she's one of the most bio diverse places on earth. And a we have been losing about two soccer fields roughly every single minute. The deforestation. And that he's a major major issue as far as what we're seeing now. That's even worse because suddenly you have aim I work a lot with colleagues in Brazil are art Murray improve working. Most of our work isn't true but you know one of things and members and colleagues are constantly saying is. We have an administration in Brazil that is very much no police force this year to destroy this force is here to develop. We need to make money off of this and if it's you know it means there's a treat it's worth money let's cut it down if there's and it William cleared for cattle let's cut it down. That's no problem that it's getting out of control. And one of the issues would add is that well. Look at the rain forest produces its own weather systems really so when you have mass burnings tradition unfortunately something not too many people have. And I haven't seen too much in U sources. It creates its own ring. So when you start getting large swathes of this damaged that impacts the entire forest for ever. In look on the head of a nonprofit. That supported by national Jaeger us. Take the boy you're a project to check. On border you're dot org for example. And among other things we were one of many groups doing work to conserve to protect to reef forest parts of the Amazon. Put it this way if you. The massive tree they could take streak hundred years to grow. In notched gets chopped down burdened. You're not losing that tree you're losing entire ecosystem around it does the microbes in no soils that are helping give life to the serie so. You might reach forest I mean even the best case if I plan if I was able to re force the huge off for Amazon now it might be 300 years or more. Until that's back to normal so we're losing a treasure right now and that's a serious issue for everybody. It sure is and I know that ABC news and other organizations are trying to put a spotlight on this National Geographic as well. I have one more question for runners and also when shore viewers new pictures were just getting in high risk satellite. My photos from Max our satellite images the cystic our snapshot really. You're looking here Odyssey can see the plumes of smoke from where some of these fires are burning if you look on the right hand side of your screen. You can see all the cleared or farm to burned. Land in this section of the upper Amazon river basin on the left hand side you see obviously the dark green. Portions of preserve forests that has slowly been. Dwindling away in just a snapshot right here affirms from satellite but. Andres me what can be done from the US perspective. That we we asked the Pentagon in the State Department today here in Washington whether. The trump administration had reached out in any way to help. The Brazilian government fight these fires in support the Amazon didn't get an answer back but is there something. From your point of view as a conservationist that the US government should be doing. So I I'd definitely there's more that the US government can be doing that's definitely putting pressure speed your priests. That's a big branches from aren't Sharm about. Making sure doesn't lend them. But yes you know as governments at this point are should be our first line of defense as far as what procedures and whole. Pressure funding aid. All of that helps and it dollars but the problem is you don't have a political system in this case in Brazil. Willing to receipt or willing to deny science to gag order Brazilian scientists that are forefront and this. I think that's a bigger problem and that's where you meet. All of the consumers watching this honestly. Also had a big role to play. We can dual three things at fort things in particular number one there's all sorts of great organizations mentioned line would Argentines and National Geographic. There's a lot of other ways you can donate to groups like ours that are helping out warm in my it being in my personal favorite. Com BZT Amazon and I'm not kidding about that. Look one large treatments BC and tried you can sell for between 101000 dollars illegal markets. That's an issue how do we make a tree worth more standing up and laying down eco tourism is one of our best bets come experiencing Amazon com leave it is one of the most. Bio diverse places on earth it's a celebration of life. And everywhere you look something's buzzing slithering doing something and you leave the job each and the rest of the world stare like. Experiencing it leading it is or where you can help planting trees even here in the United States. The US was once covered and forced to announced unfortunately. The argument to the Brazilian administration. Is using against the United States rice right now they are actively show. Okay Europeans okay Americans you guys got to be forced all your stuff it's our turn to do the second. Summarizing pursuing but that's effectively at where you have different states across the globe that are telling high schoolers you can't graduate until you print retreat. That's not a bad idea re force the United States. I'm and then also as far as the last thing that you can do as a consumer. What are you buying where's it come coming from. A lot of the deforestation insult America in the Amazon basin. He's a direct result of cattle farm. If you are minimizing your red meat intake or avoiding it altogether or if you're making sure that your Paul whatever art products which but. That has palm oil in Nam are sourced sustainable. And in areas that do not damaged or enforce that is a big spending big thing but again I intra best we can do as individuals frankly. Go visit the jungle it's not a scary place it's not. A plea should just hear it depletion wonder fascination and you go now shortly you will. Fulmer. And I want to make these things heard all the more that you put you pretty pretty pretty good sell on that hundreds trees though I'm National Geographic Explorer I think we might attack a line. I down there on a trip to the Amazon to save the Amazon by by air travel to great point tourism charity you mentioned planting a tree. Here at home and of course you exercise and some consumer power. On looking at there were those goods are coming from here at home picky so much great pointers as all of us watch this horrific images. From the Amazon rainforest which is burning an extraordinary rate. Are right now finally today some good news out of the Smithsonian National Zoo just a few miles from here. There's birthday today they were celebrating the Smithsonian's national panda bade day. Is celebrating half four years old today a giant panda cub a gift from China on loan from China. Celebrated by former First Lady Michelle Obama win now day they first arrived here. Now four and apparently enjoying some bamboo. And but a bird maybe birthday cake there I don't know. It's always fun to look at those furry creatures. Great to have you with us here in the briefing here on this Thursday we hope you join us tomorrow averaging 3:30 eastern time I hear an ABC news live from DeVon alarm Washington. We'll see you next time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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