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Trump Bloomberg Interview: Iranian regime may go under

Al Drago/Bloomberg

Trump speaks during an interview in the Oval Office on Aug. 30. Trump Says Europe's Offer for No Auto Tariffs Isn't Good Enough - Play Video -

- U.S. left international nuclear accord with Iran in May

- Iran faces high inflation, weakening currency, oil sanctions

By John Micklethwait , Jennifer Jacobs , and Margaret Talev

NEW YORK
Petroleumworld 08 31 2018

President Donald Trump said the Iranian regime may collapse because of his administration's policies, including leaving the international nuclear agreement with Tehran negotiated by his predecessor.

“When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Now it's a question of will they survive. It's a big difference in one and a half years.”

The president didn't elaborate on the comment.

Trump -- encouraged by Iran's regional foes -- pulled the U.S. from the 2015 international nuclear accord in May, accusing the Islamic Republic of threatening Middle East security as it expands its regional influence. He reimposed sanctions on Iran this month, with Iran's vital oil industry due to face penalties beginning in November.

Inflation in Iran has surged and its currency weakened, placing added pressure on President Hassan Rouhani as he tries to navigate through the crisis.

Trump has said he'd be willing to meet Iran's leaders to negotiate a tougher nuclear deal that would avoid sanctions pain. But that offer has been ruled out in Tehran by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. That leaves little room to avoid harsher penalties coming online in early November, as the U.S. seeks to cut Iranian oil sales abroad to as close to zero as possible.

He's‘Very Disappointed' in Erdogan Over Pastor

President Donald Trump said he felt personally let down by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his refusal to release an American evangelical pastor after the U.S. had helped a Turkish citizen detained in Israel.

“I'm disappointed in him,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News, after initially declining to comment because the episode was “too dear to my heart.”

“I got somebody back for him,” Trump said. “I'm very disappointed in him, but we'll see how it all works out.”

He has ‘Patience' for North Korea's Kim to Make Deal

Donald Trump said he can be patient with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has yet to take appreciable steps to give up his country's nuclear weapons following a summit with the U.S. president in June.

“I have greater patience than any human being in the world,” Trump said in a White House interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. “People don't understand that about me.”

He said that his relationship with Kim remains “good” and pointed that before their summit in Singapore in June, North Korea returned several Americans it had detained and has continued to refrain from tests of nuclear weapons or missiles capable of carrying them.

“You've had no missile testing, you've had no rocket testing,” Trump said. “We got back our hostages. And there's been no nuclear tests. And that's pretty good.”

Highlights: WTO, Sessions, Capital Gains Taxes

President Donald Trump sat down in the Oval Office for an interview on Thursday with Bloomberg News conducted by Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait and White House reporters Margaret Talev and Jennifer Jacobs. Here is a roundup of the news that emerged from their conversation.

Considering Capital Gains Tax Break, He Says in Interview

President Donald Trump said he's considering a capital gains tax break by issuing a regulation that would index gains to inflation. “There are a lot of people that love it and some people that don't,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “But I'm thinking about it very strongly.”

Threatens to Pull U.S. Out of WTO If It Doesn't ‘Shape Up'

President Donald Trump said he would pull out of the World Trade Organization if it doesn't treat the U.S. better, targeting a cornerstone of the international trading system. “If they don't shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. Trump said the agreement establishing the body “was the single worst trade deal ever made.”

EU Offer for No Auto Tariffs Is ‘Not Good Enough'

President Donald Trump rejected a European Union offer to scrap tariffs on cars, likening the bloc's trade policies to those of China. “It's not good enough,” Trump said of the offer from Brussels during an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”

U.S. ‘Much Stronger' Than China in Trade Disputes

President Donald Trump declared Thursday that China won't outlast the U.S. in their trade dispute, and said his administration is re-examining how to determine whether countries are manipulating their currencies. Trump has repeatedly complained that China manipulates the renminbi, also known as the yuan, a charge that isn't officially supported by his government. “We are a much stronger country,” Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office. “Nobody's waiting us out. Our country is stronger than it's ever been financially.”

Has No Regrets Over Appointing Fed Chair Powell

President Donald Trump said he doesn't regret appointing Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chairman, even after criticizing interest rate increases by the central bank. “I put a man in there who I like and respect,” Trump said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office.

Google, Facebook, Amazon May Be ‘Antitrust Situation'

President Donald Trump, stepping up his criticism of technology firms he says are favoring liberal points of view, said they may be in a “very antitrust situation” but repeatedly said he can't comment publicly on whether they should be broken up. “I won't comment on the breaking up, of whether it's that or Amazon or Facebook,” Trump said in an Oval Office interview Thursday with Bloomberg News. “As you know, many people think it is a very anti-trust situation, the three of them. But I just, I won't comment on that.”

He's ‘Very Disappointed' in Erdogan Over Pastor

President Donald Trump said he felt personally let down by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his refusal to release an American evangelical pastor after the U.S. had helped a Turkish citizen detained in Israel. “I'm disappointed in him,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News, after initially declining to comment because the episode was “too dear to my heart.”

He Has ‘Patience' for North Korea's Kim to Make Deal

Donald Trump said he can be patient with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has yet to take appreciable steps to give up his country's nuclear weapons following a summit with the U.S. president in June. “I have greater patience than any human being in the world,” Trump said in a White House interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. “People don't understand that about me.”

Iranian Regime May Collapse Because of His Policies

President Donald Trump said the Iranian regime may collapse because of his administration's policies, including leaving the international nuclear agreement with Tehran negotiated by his predecessor. “When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Now it's a question of will they survive. It's a big difference in one and a half years.”

Will Keep Sessions Until November Despite ‘Illegal' Probe

President Donald Trump said Attorney General Jeff Sessions's job is safe at least until the midterm elections in November. But the president also blasted Sessions for failing to rein in what he called an “illegal investigation” by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether Trump and his campaign aides colluded with Russians in the 2016 election. “I just would love to have him do a great job,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. Asked if he'd keep Sessions beyond November, he declined to comment.

His ‘Great Job' Means Democrats Can't Impeach Him

President Donald Trump said that Democrats shouldn't try to impeach him, citing a strong economy, his performance on foreign policy and the danger of setting a precedent making it too easy to remove future presidents. "I don't think they can impeach somebody that's doing a great job," Trump said Thursday in a White House interview with Bloomberg News. “You look at the economy, you look at jobs, you look at foreign, what's going on with other countries. You look at trade deals. I'm doing a great job.”

Weisselberg Is ‘Wonderful Guy' Who Didn't Betray Him

President Donald Trump said Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, didn't betray him when he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their investigation into Michael Cohen. “100 percent he didn't,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News, when asked whether Weisselberg had turned on him or put him in legal jeopardy. “He's a wonderful guy,” adding that the cooperation was related to “a very limited period of time.”

McCain Flag Flap Wasn't Fumble After ‘Disagreements'

President Donald Trump insisted Thursday he properly honored John McCain following his death but wouldn't say whether he thought the Arizona Republican would have made a better president than Barack Obama. Asked if he missed an opportunity to unite the country and made a mistake, Trump disagreed. “No, I don't think I did at all,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office. “I've done everything that they requested and no, I don't think I have at all.”

Won't Say When He Learned of Cohen Payment to Porn Star

President Donald Trump refused Thursday to say whether he knew before the 2016 election about his former lawyer's $130,000 payment to a porn star.
“I don't want to get into it because it's been covered so much,” Trump said Thursday in a White House interview with Bloomberg News. “I can say this: There's no campaign violation whatsoever, and if you watch all of the good legal pundits you'll see that.”

Says He Predicted New York Democrat's Upset Primary Win

President Donald Trump said he knew political novice Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would beat fellow New Yorker Joe Crowley, a prominent Trump critic who was seen as a possible future Democratic House speaker until his upset primary loss. “So I'm watching television and I see this young woman on television and I say, ‘who's that?'” Trump said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office. “Oh, she's campaigning against Joe. You know who Joe is, right? Queens. Crowley. So, I say, ah, let me just watch her for a second. Wonderful thing, TiVo. So you go back. Hah. Tell him he's going to lose.”

EU Offer for No Auto Tariffs Is ‘Not Good Enough,' Trump Says

President Donald Trump rejected a European Union offer to scrap tariffs on cars, likening the bloc's trade policies to those of China.

“It's not good enough,” Trump said of the offer from Brussels during an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”

Trump's comments come just hours after Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told European Parliament lawmakers that the EU would be “willing to bring down even our car tariffs to zero, all tariffs to zero, if the U.S. does the same.” Autos were previously excluded from the discussions that focused on manufactured products bought and sold between the two markets.

Trump compared the EU to China, where the president is engaged in another escalating trade war.

“The European Union is almost as bad as China, just smaller,” Trump said.

Last month, the U.S. and EU agreed not to impose new tariffs on each other after Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met at the White House. The two sides agreed to open discussions about a trade agreement on industrial goods but at U.S. insistence left out cars. Trump has set achieving zero tariffs, zero subsidies and zero non-tariff barriers for industrial goods as part of those talks.

With assistance by Michael Shepard

_________________________

Story by John Micklethwait, Jennifer Jacobs , and Margaret Talev from Bloomberg News.

bloomberg.com 08 30 2018

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