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Analyzing Trump’s statements on Mexico, Amazon and Putin

The U.S. military may soon be guarding the nation's border with Mexico. That's according to President Trump, who also warned he could tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement if the Mexican government doesn't cooperate. Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to discuss revelations and questions that came out of the president’s news conference.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also tonight, the U.S. military may soon be guarding the nation's border with Mexico. President Trump raised that possibility today and warned that he could tear up a new North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico doesn't cooperate. Mr. Trump talked up the idea as he met with president of Baltic nations at the White House.

  • President Donald Trump:

    So what we are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States. We have a meeting on it in a little while with General Mattis and everybody. And I think that it's something we have to do.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Our own Lisa Desjardins was at today's press conference and she joins me now.

    So, Lisa, you have spent the day trying to talk to folks about what the president is talking about here.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Judy, in total, unfortunately, we don't know what that meeting is that he's talking about.

    The White House staff has not gotten back to us. We reached out to many communications staffers over there and other sources. The Department of Defense has also not responded yet to their calls. Our team also reached out to border state governors and members of Congress.

    None of them said they had details of this plan yet. But it's interesting. The state of Texas did respond and say that they already are using National Guard troops under state direction since 2014. They have had 1,000 state troops at the border. Now, whatever this is, the president does have the power to send National Guard troops to the border.

    President Obama did it in 2010. But it's interesting, Judy. The reports after that show that that was very complicated. It took at least six months or up to six months to even begin that process, so whatever he's doing, if this is a plan, it can't happen right away.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we know this has just popped up literally within the last day.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That's right.

    So the president talked about a couple of other things that I think is raising interest. One was a comment, Lisa, that he made about Amazon, the tech giant.

    Let's listen to that.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The post office is losing billions of dollars, and the taxpayers are paying for that money, because it delivers packages for Amazon at a very below cost, and that's not fair to the United States.

    It's not fair to our taxpayers. And Amazon has the money to pay the fair rate at the post office, which would be much more than they're paying right now.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, Lisa, you have also been talking to folks to try to understand what it is the president has in mind.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Here's what we know.

    The post office is losing billions of dollars, but not in package delivery. That's an area where they are actually seeing their revenues go up. Now, Amazon does have a special rate with the post office because of the very large volume that Amazon gives to the post office. We do not know what that rate is.

    But, by law, Judy, the post office cannot charge a rate that actually causes a loss to the post office. That is a law right now. Now, there's even bigger context here, though, because of course Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in America and the owner of The Washington Post.

    The president has obviously lashed out at media companies before, but interestingly enough, Judy, there is a problem with big business here. We haven't seen a president be this critical of a successful American business in this way, and the Chamber of Commerce actually sent us a statement late today, saying, "It is inappropriate for government officials to use their positions to attack an American company."

    That is remarkable coming from the generally Republican pro-business Chamber of Commerce talking about a Republican president.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Which generally has been favorable of the president. We know the president has been critical of The Washington Post reporting.

    Finally, Lisa, another thing the president brought up today, which is raising questions, and that is his relationship with Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia. Here's what he said–

  • President Donald Trump:

    There's nobody been tougher on Russia, and with that being said, I think I could have a very good relationship with President Putin, I think. It's possible I won't. And you will know about it. So I think I could have a very good relationship with Russia and with President Putin.

    And if I did, that would be a great thing, and there's also a great possibility that that won't happen. Who knows.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, Lisa, this comes after just a whole lot has been happening in the relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Especially news from the Kremlin and the White House yesterday that the president and Vladimir Putin talked about meeting some time in the not-too-distant future. We don't have any more details of that.

    Judy, in that room, it was so fascinating during that moment to watch the Estonian president in particular, who has a long border with Russia, stone-faced. She is someone who does not think it's a good idea to be friendly with Russia.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Wow. As we said, in the middle of just so much going on between the United States and Russia, not to mention the investigation.

    Lisa Desjardins, thank you very much.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You're welcome.

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