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U.S. Analysis: North Korean Missile a 'Probable' ICBM; Trump Preps for Putin Meeting; U.S. Requests U.N. Meeting on North Korea. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 4, 2017 - 17:00   ET


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for that writing and also for the recommendations for the other two books. Can't wait to read them all.

[17:00:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jim Sciutto. You have a very happy Fourth of July. I turn you over now to Brianna Keilar She's in THE SITUATION ROOM.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: missile crisis. North Korea test fires a long-range missile powerful enough to reach Alaska. The test seemingly timed for the July Fourth holiday, sending a message to President Trump and testing him with a major foreign policy crisis.

Commander in tweet. President Trump responds to North Korea on Twitter, saying of Kim Jong-un, "Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?" Meantime, the leaders of Russia and China hash out a plan of their own to deal with the Russia threat without any input from the U.S.

Face to face. President Trump and Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, will sit down for a formal meeting at the G-20 summit on Friday. This is their first face-to-face meeting. Is President Trump ready to negotiate?

And states push back. Forty-four states have refused the Trump administration's request for private voter information. Why did the voter fraud commission request it in the first place?

Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

North Korea has crashed America's July Fourth party with fireworks of its own, successfully launching a missile it claims can hit anywhere in the world. Well, anywhere is an exaggeration, and there's no indication that Kim Jong-un's missile can deliver a nuclear warhead yet, but the latest U.S. assessment suggests this was a more advanced missile, traveling farther than any previous test. Experts say the missile could reach Alaska, and the launch sent U.S. officials into urgent meetings today to assess the growing threat and weigh options for responding. President Trump's initial response was to fire back with a tweet,

asking about Kim Jong-un, quote, "Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?"

We're waiting to hear from the president at a White House picnic for military families, but the North Korean launch comes as he prepares for a critical overseas trip. It includes talks with the leaders of Japan and China and his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That meeting has been upgraded from a pull-aside chat to a formal bilateral sit-down meeting. And Putin and China's President Xi met in Moscow today, freezing President Trump out of their proposed solution, calling on a freeze on North Korean missile and nuclear tests but also on U.S. military exercises with South Korea.

I'll talk to Congressman Tom Suozzi of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, and our correspondents, specialists and guests standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories.

North Korea's missile launch has set off an urgent U.S. effort to identify the nature of the threat and to come up with a response. The initial analysis has chilling implications. We begin with CNN correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, what are you learning?


The Trump administration spending its July Fourth in meetings, still trying to figure out how to respond to this North Korean missile test. Increasingly, it looks like it was an intercontinental ballistic missile.


STARR (voice-over): These are the first images of the North Korean missile launch the U.S. never wanted to see. U.S. officials calculate this is likely a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile, an ICBM, that could someday hit parts of the United States.

U.S. spy satellites for days had picked up imagery of a potential KN- 17 missile launch, like this one launched in May, being readied. Now the latest assessment suggests the new launch was a more advanced missile that traveled farther than any previous missile test. The South Korean and U.S. Military estimates the missile traveled more than 580 miles in 37 minutes.

Based on this, experts calculate the missile could have a maximum range of roughly 4,160 miles, long enough to reach all of Alaska but not the rest of the U.S.

DAVID WRIGHT, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: You have to remember that missile technology has been around for a long time, so there are no particular secrets. A lot of it is -- is just figuring out how to do the hard engineering and basically get everything to work at the same time, which is not always easy to do.

STARR: The new launch comes as North Korea also continues to pursue the development of a nuclear warhead.

ADMIRAL HARRY HARRIS, COMMANDER, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND: Combining nuclear warheads with ballistic missile technologies in the hands of Kim Jong-un is a recipe for disaster. So I must take him at his word. I must assume that his claims are true. I know his aspirations certainly are.

[17:05:04] STARR: Top officials from the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House held meetings throughout the July Fourth holiday. Administration officials emphasizing diplomacy, but with tensions rising, everything is on the table.

WRIGHT: I think essentially everyone agrees, and I believe the Trump administration agrees, as well, that there are no good military options.

So if you take the military option off the table, you come back to sanctions. We've seen in the past it's not going to solve the problem.

STARR: The Russian and Chinese presidents offering up another solution at their meeting in Moscow, announcing they'll work together to freeze the North Korean program but demanding the stop to U.S.- South Korean military exercises and an end to the THAAD missile defense deployment to South Korea, both non-starters for the U.S.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There is, of course, the whole question of the Korean Peninsula, the building of peace and stability. It is very important to push forward our joint initiative on settling the Korean problem, with a view of immediately freezing the ballistic missile strikes and also dealing with the U.S. deployment of weapons in South Korea.


STARR: U.S. military commanders recently had updated military options specifically to be able to give President Trump some ideas about what he could do for a rapid response to any North Korean action. Now, tonight commanders tell us there's no contemplation of any kind of conflict, but they are ready to up the U.S. presence on the peninsula if they are asked to by the White House -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Barbara Starr for us at the Pentagon.

And we are standing by live at this moment, waiting for President Trump. He is going to be there, along with some military families, on the South Lawn of the White House, and we expect for him to speak live. You can see there at the lectern, and we're going to bring that to you as soon as he begins speaking.

Meantime, North Korea's missile launch has sent U.S. officials into urgent huddles on this holiday on how to respond. This comes as President Trump is preparing for a crucial overseas trip that includes his first meeting with Russia's President Putin. I want to turn now to CNN's Ryan Nobles. He is at the White House.

This is a lot for the president to juggle this week as North Korea is sending a loud message, Ryan.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. And now we know that this with Vladimir Putin is officially a bilateral event. That means it's going to get a much greater public focus, and it could mean that both sides are open to cooling off diplomatic ties.


NOBLES (voice-over): As Donald Trump prepares for the second overseas trip of his presidency, rising tensions around the globe are raising the stakes for his meetings with world leaders at the G-20 summit in Germany.

From yet another missile launch by North Korea to ongoing conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. And the growing international threat from ISIS and terrorism.

But nothing will likely get as much attention as Trump's face-to-face meeting Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an encounter that will now be a formal bilateral discussion, the first between the two countries' presidents in nearly two years.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability. Because we have a horrible relationship with Russia.

NOBLES: But the Trump administration is hopeful for a breakthrough.

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Our relationship with Russia is not different from any other country in terms of us communicating with them, really, what our concerns are, where we see problems in the relationship but also opportunities.

NOBLES: The meeting comes amid an ongoing special counsel investigation and multiple congressional probes into Russia's meddling in the U.S. election, though it's not clear if the issue will be raised when the leaders meet. Instead, administration officials tell CNN the president plans to focus the time on Syria and Ukraine.

Trump will also meet with China's president, Xi Jinping, a discussion that will be critical after North Korea's latest missile test and recent U.S. sanctions against a Chinese bank for allegedly aiding North Korea.

TRUMP: The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years that it's failed. And frankly, that patience is over.

NOBLES: Trump signaled his impatience with the regime during a meeting with South Korea's leader a week ago. Last night on Twitter he went a step further, specifically calling on the leaders in the region to do more, writing, quote, "North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all."


NOBLES: And of course, this all comes on the heels of the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned by the North Koreans and then returned back to the states in a condition of being in a coma.

[17:10:04] And of course, don't forget, Brianna, that when President Obama met with President Trump, he warned the incoming president that North Korea would be among his biggest challenges.

KEILAR: Ryan Nobles at the White House, thank you.

We do have some breaking news right now. The United States is now requesting a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea. This is a request that was made by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. I want to get more information now from CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.

So Jim, what does it tell you that the U.S. is calling this a probable ICBM? That certainly makes it sound like this is very serious and there's a high state of alarm.

SCIUTTO: No question. Listen, the U.S. may not believe that North Korea is there today with being able to put a nuclear weapon at the tip of an ICBM. That is, a missile that could cross continents and hit, crucially, the United States. But they believe they're making crucial progress virtually every day, every week with all of these missile tests you've seen, all these nuclear tests and, crucially, miniaturizing a nuclear weapon.

A key question for this test today is what condition was that vehicle when it came down to earth? It's called a reentry vehicle. That's the thing that would carry the nuclear weapon if they were able to put it on a target, if they were able to launch this very high up, send it a great distance, and it splashed down and made it back to earth, what condition it's in. That's an open question.

But there is no question, Brianna, that North Korea is making progress every week, every day, and they're getting closer to what successive administrations, Democrats and Republicans, have said they would never let happen, and that has become a nuclear power.

KEILAR: And the president tweeted, Jim, he suggested that China put, quote, "a heavy move on North Korea." What's he trying to do here.

SCIUTTO: Well, what's interesting about that tweet, he said -- he said Japan and South Korea, they're running out of patience. And maybe China will do something.

This is, frankly, a different message from the president early on in his administration or even during the campaign, when he said, "If I'm president, in effect, I'll take care of this. I'll be tougher." That tweet, with this latest missile test, seems to place the onus not on the U.S. but on China, South Korea and Japan.

And, of course, South Korea and Japan don't have the military capability that the U.S. does or the economic muscle that the U.S. does. And China has kind of questionable allegiances here in that they are a North Korean ally who sometimes applies pressure on North Korea, and sometimes that pressure is not as great as the U.S. or other western powers want.

So it's a curious question there. Is Donald Trump, in effect, saying, "Listen, it's up to you"? Remains to be seen.

KEILAR: Yes, it did seem odd that he was saying maybe South Korea and Japan won't put up with this, considering they do rely so much on the U.S. Jim Sciutto, thank you so much for that.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

KEILAR: Joining me now to talk more about this is Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi of New York.

And I do want to let you know, sir, we are certainly awaiting President Trump, who's going to be at the White House. So if he does speak, we're going to jump out, go listen to what he said, and we'll have you react to that, as well.

I do want to ask you, though, about something that the president said when he took office in January, actually before he took office in January. He tweeted, "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen."

Is that a promise that he can keep at this point?

REP. TOM SUOZZI (D), NEW YORK: Well, it's happening, and it's going to happen. And it's been progressing for decades, long before Donald Trump, and it's gotten a lot more serious over the past six months as we've seen more and more tests every single week.

The president has always told us that his philosophy is he doesn't want to share his strategy and that he's going to be tough. But we need to know what the strategy is as to how we're going to deal with this, not only as the United States but in the community of nations.

KEILAR: It seems like the options are evaporating in a way. Is there anything that can be done to stop North Korea at this point? I've even heard military experts say you may have to think about a diplomatic solution and going farther on relations than the U.S. would have ever stomached before.

SUOZZI: Yes, well, obviously, Japan and South Korea have a huge self- interest in making sure that North Korea doesn't become nuclear capable, more than they are so now. China and Russia don't want to see the Korean Peninsula ever become unified again. They don't want to see the United States have the influence it now does in the Asian theater. So everybody's always going to be acting out of their self- interests here. North Korea is a bad actor. They're not going to do anything -- any

favors for us. They're not going to respond just because the president does tough tweets. This meeting this week is essential for the president to demonstration that we're going to be great friends to our allies and build close relationships with our allies, and we're going to be able to negotiate with those folks that are not our allies and try and stand strong up against them but recognizing they're not going to do it because they like the president; they're not going to do it because they think he's tough. They're going to be doing it based on what's in their self-interest and what they can get away with at a negotiating table.

[17:15:12] KEILAR: But they don't -- you know, they don't want North Korea to be a nuclear power at this point, is there anything that the U.S. can do diplomatically or militarily? It sounds like a lot of experts are saying, look, many military solutions aren't going to fly. They're untenable. But the idea of maybe at least mobilizing options that you see?

SUOZZI: Well, you know, we've always known that China and Russia, well we thought, they wouldn't want to see a nuclearized North Korea. We've always believed that that's in their self-interest.

However, China could be doing a lot more to hold North Korea economically accountable. So it's really a matter of figuring out what everybody's self-interests.

Our interests are clearly aligned with Japan and South Korea. So we've got to team up.

China and Russia want to have the outsized influence in that region more than the United States of America. We've been there for 50 years. Now we hear talk about trying to get us to stop our military operations with South Korea in that area as something they want us to give up. That's a big thing to give up. It would be very detrimental, I believe, to our great ally of South Korea and to Japan.

KEILAR: All right. Congressman, I'm sorry. I'm going to interrupt you just so that we can listen to President Trump.

SUOZZI: The president always does this to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the singing of our national anthem by Master Sergeant Kevin Benier (ph) and the United States Marine Band.




TRUMP: What a fantastic voice. Wow. Thank you very much.

Welcome, everyone. The rain stopped just as we came out. I don't know what that means, but it's not bad. And happy Fourth of July. Great honor to have you with us.

Melania and I truly appreciate and celebrate America's independence with those who courageously defend our country, the men, women and families of the United States military. It is because of you that well over 300 million American citizens can live in freedom.

There is one military family here today I am especially excited to recognize, our great vice president, Mike Pence, and our second lady -- never heard that term before, but that's what they say -- and she is some lady, that I can tell you -- of the United States, Karen Pence, are here along with their son, Marine First Lieutenant Michael Pence. Where is Michael?

Great. That's great, Michael. Michael, not only are your parents proud of you, not only am I proud of you, but America, Michael, is very proud of you. Thank you.

And America is proud of all of the brave men and women who serve in every branch of our great military. We have outstanding representatives of each service, each branch. They're with us today. We have Army. We have Navy. We have Air Force. We have Marines. We have Coast Guard. We love our Coast Guard.

[17:20:32] Representing the United States Army is Captain Jean Guan (ph). She served 14 years, and today she is company commander in support of Old Guard, where she oversees the 120 soldiers who protect the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier. It's beautiful. Captain Guan is joined today by her husband, Captain James Falwell. Thank you both for your service and thank you to every soldier here with us today and serving our nation and serving us all around the world. You're truly the Army of the free.

From the Marines we have Marine Sergeant Yanek Tumokunde (ph). He's with Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, an outfit I've come to know and admire very much since arriving at the White House. Sergeant Tumokunde (ph) is senior technician and is the sole chief martial arts instructor and trainer for the entire squadron. Thank you, and thank you for being here, and also we lay claim to a very special title. You are a United States Marine. That is a special title. Thank you, Sergeant.

From the Navy, we have Lieutenant Commander Allison Maybury (ph), a Navy oceanographer. Her leadership has improved he atmosphere and really what she's done is so incredible having to do with sensing, modeling and predicting the electronic warfare capability of various countries. And hopefully, we won't be thinking about too much, but she's there and she's got the information like nobody has. We thank Allison and her husband, Lieutenant Commander Michael Maybury, here with their children, Emma, Lily and Amelia.

Our incredible sailors embody the Navy credo, "Not for self but for country." Thank you.

From the Air Force, we have Technical Sergeant Ralph Bunel (ph). Sergeant Bunel (ph) is responsible for leading 50 security forces personnel that protect the president, the vice president and visiting foreign heads of state. A big job, a very important job. We want a thank you to Ralph and to your wife, Patricia.

And thank you to every member of the Air Force who gives our nation total superiority in the air, striking fear into the hearts of our enemies and inspiring hope in the hearts of our friends all around the world.

Finally, representing the Coast Guard, we have Petty Officer First Class Tony Franklin. Tony is a gunner's mate and is directly responsible for the armament of 17 units. He has led countless gunnery and pyrotechnic demonstrations, so I don't think the fireworks are going to impress him very much, but I will tell you, they're going to impress you.

Thank you, Tony. I want to thank everyone in the Coast Guard. I was at the Coast Guard Academy this year, gave the commencement address, and it was an amazing group of people and a really great day. Thank you, Tony, very much.

Each of you here today represents that rare combination of patriotism, virtue and courage that our citizens have always -- and I mean always -- admired and that our enemies have always feared.

At this moment, your brothers and sisters in arms are posted around the globe, fighting our enemies and standing watch to protect our nation. They're fighting for us. We are thanking them, praying for them and saluting them for their selfless sacrifice.

There could be no greater privilege than to serve as your commander in chief. I pledge my unwavering support for you, for your families and your missions. I will always have your back. I will always, under all circumstances. You'll be coming back here; and I will always have your back.

[17:25:12] And I want to just tell you that our country is doing really, really well. No matter where you look, the economy is blazing, and on every front, we're doing well; and we do have challenges, but we will handle those challenges, believe me.

You're part of a new and a truly great generation. Two days ago, I spoke with Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole, who served as the co-pilot of the lead B-25 bomber pilot and piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle during the daring 1942 raid after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lieutenant Colonel Cole and the rest of the Doolittle Raiders launched their aircraft into the sky. knowing that they would not have enough fuel to return to friendly territory. That's not a good feeling. That's a lot of courage.

Our servicemen and women are preserving the legacy of courage and selfless service that they inherited from Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole and so many others.

May God bless you all. May God bless our military. May God bless forever the United States of America. Thank you very much for being here. Happy Fourth of July. Thank you very much. Thank you. Happy Fourth of July, everybody. Thank you very much. KEILAR: President Trump hosting military families there at the White

House ahead of the fireworks, telling them that he will always have their backs. I want to bring back Congressman Tom Suozzi. Now, he is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Sir, you're also a member of the Armed Services Committee. So in that light, as you look at this event and you hear the president's message to military families, what's -- what's your reaction?

SUOZZI: Well, you know, the president has done a great job giving a very simple, straightforward message throughout his campaign and now as president that he supports our military. And I think that that is not a partisan thing. That's not Democratic or Republican, and we need to always make clear in a bipartisan way that we need to support our men and women in uniform.

KEILAR: As you look forward on this holiday and you look at some of, certainly, the concerns and we have these added challenges, even just when you think about what's going on with North Korea today and in Syria and all these pressing foreign policy issues, there -- a different message or more reassurance to military families that you'd like to give or that you think government officials should be giving?

SUOZZI: I think when it comes to the military and it comes to veterans and it comes to every single issue in this country, everybody is sick and tired of the politics. These are life and death issues, people putting their life on the line whether it's Afghanistan and terrorism or North Korea and Russia or it's here at home with health care and jobs. These are life and death issues for people, and we need to stop politics from being so small and so petty.

And on this Fourth of July, we need to really raise it up a notch and take our jobs seriously, try to work together across party lines to try and actually try and solve these problems and make people's lives better.

KEILAR: I also want to go back to some of what we're talking about, some of these foreign policy challenges, and just in light of on July Fourth, North Korea launching what appears to be in intercontinental ballistic missile. You now have the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, requesting a U.N. Security Council meeting to deal with the issue. What are you hoping comes with that?

SUOZZI: North Korea, I don't believe, would have acted without having actually discussed it with the Russians and the Chinese. And, you know, they're acting in a very concerted fashion.

And we need to recognize that in this global world that we live in today, it's essential that we are continuing to build friendships with more allies of ours and demonstrate the solidity of a relationship with our allies.

KEILAR: Can I ask you real quick, just because you think they discussed it with -- do you think North Korea discussed it with the Chinese and the Russians. So do you have reason to believe, I mean, do you have reason to believe, other than assuming that happened, that there was coordination between North Korea and Russia and China?

SUOZZI: I have no -- I have no specific information. I just don't believe that North Korea would act on its own in such a serious way with the G-20 summit coming up. And it just so happens that we're going to have this bilateral negotiation with the Russians now.

I mean, this is the -- the Fourth of July, G-20, America and Russia. I mean, it's a little convenient, too convenient.

So we have to recognize that we have to build relationships with our allies. That's why it's so important that the president demonstrate his commitment to our NATO alliances. I can understand why he wants to get more money from the different NATO members, for them to participate more in carrying their weight in paying the bills. But he's got to demonstrate clearly our solid relationship with our NATO allies, more than he's done so up until this point.

And he needs to lay out a strategy. I mean, think of all the complex things that are going on now between terrorism, between Syria, between Iran, between what's going on with Qatar and Yemen. I mean, there's so many -- the famines in Africa. Think of all the different moving pieces that are going on in the chess board right now.

America has to make sure that we are making more friends and trying to reduce our enemies. So this is what the president needs to do: I think a clearer job of articulating how he's going to foster those relationships.

KEILAR: All right. Congressman Tom Suozzi, we do appreciate your time on this Fourth of July. A happy holiday to you, sir.

SUOZZI: Thank you. Same to you, Brianna.

KEILAR: And we have a lot more coming up with that request from the U.S. for a U.N. Security Council meeting following what is really an unprecedented missile launch by North Korea. We're back in just a moment.


KEILAR: Our breaking news: the Trump administration is asking for an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council in the wake of North Korea's ballistic missile launch. The meeting likely will be tomorrow afternoon.

I want to bring in our specialists to talk about this: Josh Rogin, John Kirby and Jackie Kucinich.

Admiral, to you. When you see requests like this, what does that signal?

JOHN KIRBY, CNN DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it signals that they're obviously taking this very, very seriously. This does not surprise me. This is the normal course of things when you have a situation like this: you want to get the international community behind some sort of movement forward, and the U.N. Security Council is the right venue to do that. So I'm not surprised by this. I think it's a good move.

KEILAR: What comes -- what comes out of it, Josh?

JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, basically, they've got two options. They can press for more sanctions, more pressure. Right? They say they're at maximum pressure, but they're not. They're at, like, medium pressure. If they can get maximum pressure, then we might see something.

KEILAR: So what's maximum pressure?

ROGIN: Maximum pressure is where you start punishing all the Chinese companies, all the Russian companies that are helping North Korea. They can't set off these missiles by themselves. There's people helping them. But you need the Chinese and the Russians to go along with that. Or you need to coerce the Chinese and the Russians by putting pressure on their governments.

We're not there yet. That's the option. If you're not going to do that, there's only one thing you can do, which is make a deal. And the terms of that deal, as it stands, would not be something that the Trump administration is going to like.

KEILAR: China is already, Jackie, increasingly irritated with the U.S. There seemed to be a bit of an olive branch between President Xi and between President Trump as they visited. And then you've seen sanctions against one Chinese bank that was helping out North Korea, and things have soured. Not only that arms -- arms sales to Taiwan that really -- yes, that really bothered China.

So where -- where does that stand right now, that relationship, and how that could be helpful or maybe not?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they seem committed to keeping things cordial between President Trump and President Xi, because they have this foundation that they -- that they started to build very early.

That said, China is upset about talks of tariffs. There's likely going to be -- Trump is really still pushing for those. So we'll have to see what comes out of the meetings in the next couple days, because they -- they were consequential to begin with, but after this test, they're even more consequential, because Trump definitely wants China to -- to get a little bit more skin in the game here when it comes to North Korea.

KEILAR: Admiral--

KIRBY: I was going to say, and to Josh's point before, part of this is that China has not uniformly implemented the sanctions that have been in place. So you know, Josh is right. Could there be more? Could they be tougher? Yes. But they were already the toughest sanctions regime in more than 20 years, and China still won't uniformly do it.

ROGIN: That's because China doesn't have the same goals and objectives as we do in North Korea.

KIRBY: That's right.

ROGIN: And what the Trump administration keeps saying is that, oh, they're testing the Chinese; they're testing the Chinese. At some point, they're going to have to determine the Chinese have failed the test. And then they're going to have to turn to a tougher strategy against China. They're almost there. They're not quite there yet, but we're getting there pretty fast.

KEILAR: But it seems like, Admiral, you now have this increased urgency because of this test, which seems to be an intercontinental ballistic missile. I mean, you look at the map here, and this takes you into Alaska. This means that, as we move along in time, people on the West Coast are starting to worry.

So this increased urgency and yet decreased options as -- North Korea becomes increasingly dangerous, right? I mean, you -- just sort of drill down for -- for us the options that are disappearing.

KIRBY: There are -- there's certainly, with his longer reach, some military options are obviously harder to put into place and to implement. And obviously, nobody wants to see this get into open conflict. But he -- this is a bargaining chip for him, and the more capable he is, the longer his reach is, the more powerful he'll be, if and when negotiations ever start again. So it makes diplomacy much harder. It makes military options much more difficult, too.

KEILAR: We have a lot to talk about. Stay with me. We will discuss more in just a moment. Coming up, we're going to talk about just the stakes for President Trump. This is a big meeting, his first meeting that he has coming up with Russia's Vladimir Putin. Are the potential rewards worth the risks?


[17:43:28] KEILAR: We're back with our specialists as we follow some breaking news.

The Trump administration asking for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council because of North Korea's ballistic missile launch. This is a meeting likely going to take place tomorrow, the same day that President Trump leaves for Europe and is looking towards his high-stakes economic summit and a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This is going to be, panel, a fascinating meeting. We don't know exactly how this is going to turn out. All eyes are going to be on this, and as we look towards that, because we believe this is the first actual meeting, face-to-face, between President Trump and Vladimir Putin, it's interesting to note that the president has a long history of claiming a personal relationship with Vladimir Putin. Let's listen.



TRUMP: He's a tough guy. I met him once.

I do have a relationship, and I can tell you that he's very interested in what we're doing today.

We just left Moscow. He could not have been nicer. He was so nice and so everything.

I was in Moscow recently, and I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin, who could not have been nicer.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: You think you'd be able to get along with Vladimir Putin. Have you had any contact with him?


HANNITY: Explain.

TRUMP: So I was there two years ago. We had a tremendous success with the Miss Universe contest. I own Miss Universe, Miss USA, all of that, and it does great. It's on NBC, but that's OK. But it does fantastic.

And two years ago we had it in Moscow, and it was a tremendous success; and I got to meet everybody. I got to meet--

HANNITY: Did you talk to him?

TRUMP: I don't want to say.

I got to know him very well, because we were both on "60 Minutes." We were stable mates, and we did very well that night.


KEILAR: OK. But it doesn't actually -- it's sort of you chuckle at it because it appears they've never actually been in the same place at the same time.

But I wonder what you think it indicates. I wonder if it indicates a desire on his part, Admiral, to have some sort of relationship, or is it just to seem scene of import? Do you think that he has this desire to have a genuine relationship with him?

KIRBY: Oh, I have no idea.


KIRBY: I have no idea. I mean, whether he did or he didn't, I think having a better bilateral relationship with Russia is something we should be pursuing. It's going to be very tough, if not dang near impossible to get there, given all the tensions between us right now.

But that the administration wants to try to forge something better going forward, I think, is commendable. I just think that they need to do it from a sense of pragmatism and understanding, you know, to something Josh said earlier, that their interests don't align with ours in many, many important places and are not likely to.

KUCINICH: And what's interesting, to have used that as something as a way to prove that he had the mettle and what it would take to be President because he had a relationship with someone who Hillary Clinton, in particular, had a very bad relationship with, who President Obama had a very bad relationship with.

KEILAR: But they had had exposure to him that Trump had not have.

KUCINICH: Well, exactly. But by Trump saying, during the campaign and before the campaign, that, oh, but look, I had a good -- he was so nice to me, what's the problem with these other people? Now, when it didn't serve his purpose, when the Russia investigation was going on, he's saying, I never met the guy, I don't know what you're talking about.

So I think that's why you heard him say that. It was because it suited a purpose at the time, frankly.

JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. What we've seen so far is the President meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, OK. It was a very chummy meeting. Remember, he gave up some top-secret Israeli intelligence. He bashed Comey, the FBI --

KEILAR: Called Comey a nut job.

ROGIN: -- Director, right? He wants to be friends with these guys. He sees a kinship. He sees a leader who he sort of sees in his own image -- a strong man, a tough guy, a guy who is in control, a guy who leads a big power, OK. This is the type of leader that Trump likes to interact with, OK.

Then you have what Admiral Kirby was talking about, which is the real need to improve U.S.-Russia relations, right? The problem is that when he has this meeting, it's not going to be two chess masters sitting down. One guy is playing chess, one is playing hungry, hungry hippos.

And if Donald Trump doesn't prepare for this meeting and if he isn't well-briefed, he doesn't know exactly what he wants to achieve, exactly what he wants to get out of Vladimir Putin, there is a chance -- there is a risk -- that this meeting could go very badly for not only the President but for the United States.

KEILAR: Do you think, Jackie, that the President, knowing that he wants to come out of this looking good, looking strong, may have listened to those appealing to him to stay on script in what is now a more formal meeting?

KUCINICH: Hopefully, for the sake of the country that he does stay on script. It is good that it's more of this formal meeting than something that's a little bit less formal and freewheeling.

KEILAR: Off the cuff like that Oval Office meeting with the Russians? KUCINICH: Right. We wouldn't want to read about something the next

day where he, you know, accidentally revealed classified information to Vladimir Putin. That would not bode well.

That said, I'm sure that the White House has been prepping him for this for some time at this point. And now that it is a more formal setting, it does seem to be a better setting for the President.

KEILAR: Yes, we will --

ROGIN: Two real things they really need to be covering, right?

KEILAR: Real quick, we got to go. Yes.

ROGIN: Ukraine, OK? We need to make progress on Ukraine. And Syria.


ROGIN: Things are getting very dangerous there. If they can talk about those things in a constructive way, then it will be a good meeting.

KEILAR: They say they're going to. We will see.

All right. Josh, Admiral, Jackie, thank you so much. Happy Fourth to you as well.

ROGIN: Thank you.

KUCINICH: Happy Fourth!

KEILAR: And still head, more on the U.S. and this global response to North Korea's missile test.

Next, a top official of President Trump's election fraud panel defends his commission's work but his arguments are raising new questions and controversy.


[17:52:45] KEILAR: A top official of President Trump's voter fraud commission is defending its controversial request for the personal information of every registered voter. Most state officials are saying no. The rejection count, in fact, is up to 44 states.

CNN's Tom Foreman here with us now. And, Tom, tell us why some of the arguments for cooperation are raising new questions.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Because they're not answering the old questions, Brianna, the questions of how can this be legal when many states do not feel it is? How can they do it while protecting the privacy of citizens out there? And because there is still not a credible study showing there was ever widespread voter fraud out there, why is the White House pursuing this so doggedly?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN (voice-over): Fourth of July and states coast to coast are showing their independence in the face of the sweeping presidential request for voter information.

All but a handful are either flat out refusing to share data, offering only some of it, or saying the White House needs to go through other channels to obtain it. Many are citing privacy concerns and legal barriers while others are openly questioning the administration's motives.

MAGGIE TOULOUSE OLIVER (D), NEW MEXICO SECRETARY OF STATE: It's not really clear what this data is going to be used for. It seems to maybe be a phishing expedition or a witch hunt of some kind.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The President has long argued, with no proof, that massive voter fraud occurred in last fall's election involving millions of ballots.

TRUMP: So many things are going on.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But even some states willing to provide some information don't necessarily buy that.

WAYNE WILLIAMS (R), COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE: I do not believe that vote fraud occurred on the scale that's been described. I do believe that vote fraud occurs, and it is important to take steps to prevent it.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy advocacy group here in D.C., has asked a federal court to temporarily block the White House effort. Meanwhile, the point man on the President's commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is steadily defending the request for info.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: There is a lot of skepticism that it's essentially trying to validate what the President said and/or could lead to voter suppression.

KRIS KOBACH (R), KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: So let me answer your questions. First of all, the commission's purpose is not to prove or disprove what the President speculated about back in January. The purpose of the commission is to find facts and put them on the table.

[17:55:02] FOREMAN (voice-over): But the facts are already being twisted. As many states have looked at the White House shopping list and noted their own laws forbid releasing some of that data, especially any portion of a voter's Social Security Number, Kobach penned an op-ed on Breitbart, a far-right Web site saying, the commission didn't request that information.

Really? Look at his letter to the states. While Kobach noted some laws might prevent it, he did indeed ask for the last four digits of Social Security Number, if available.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN: Now, this whole dispute could be moot if the court sides with that privacy group. A ruling could come on that this week. But either way, it's hard to see how this effort will move forward effectively with so many states raising red flags about their willingness or legal ability to cooperate. And, Brianna, that includes many, many states that voted for Donald Trump.

KEILAR: Yes, and many officials who are Republican as well. Tom Foreman, thank you so much for that great report.

FOREMAN: Thanks.

KEILAR: Coming up, as President Trump prepares for a crucial meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin, he gets a new challenge from North Korea testing a missile powerful enough to reach Alaska.