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Trump to Face World Leaders at G20; The Long-awaited Face-to- Face Meeting of Trump and Putin; Merkel Criticize Trump; Steve Scalise Not Yet Safe; . Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 5, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This right here, this is the kind of moment that could make or break a presidency. And it could change history.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
President Trump and Kim Jong-un in a showdown that has the whole world watching. And fearing, quite frankly, the unthinkable. North Korea armed with a missile that could potentially strike Alaska. So what will it take to stop Kim Jong-un? Who will blink first in this?
Then, there's President Trump's first ever face-to-face meeting with, guess who, Vladimir Putin. It's on Friday in Germany. The White House refusing today to weigh in on the agenda but we know what they probably won't be talking about here and that's Russia's meddling in the U.S. election.
Will U.S./Moscow be an ally or an enemy in hot spots around the world. We'll discuss all of that. But first, we're going to get to our senior diplomatic correspondent, that's Michelle Kosinski, she joins us now with the very latest. She is at the State Department.
Good evening to you, Michelle. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting today following North Korea's missile test. We were talking about an intercontinental ballistic missile. The stakes could not be any higher.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Sorry. I wasn't sure if you were tossing to some sound here. Sorry about that, Don.
LEMON: That's OK.
KOSINSKI: Yes. I mean, these were some pointed words today from the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. Clearly they were directed at China. I mean, she was talking about the fact that not only -- you know, not only was this a rebuke of North Korea and its behavior, it was a warning to countries that are doing business with North Korea, especially China.
Saying that, you know, these countries think that they are also going to be doing business with the U.S. And, as she put it, that is not going to happen. And we've seen the U.S. increasingly critical of China. Over the last
couple of days, they've used words like complicit, aiding and abetting in terms of its role in this crisis. So even though the U.S. has its other statements on North Korea, its ways of putting pressure, its threat of military action which was brought up very clearly today, it still seems to believe that the real leverage is with China economically.
And it's made it clear that it's going to continue putting on that pressure, even if that means potentially sanctioning China or companies. As we saw last week with the U.S. sanctioning of a Chinese bank. And we could see a lot more of that in the near future, Don.
LEMON: China and Russia, are they actually working on this together, Michelle?
KOSINSKI: Yes. I mean, they were very aligned today in the Security Council meeting. This was intense. This was an emergency session in the midst of a crisis but even yesterday, remember we saw Vladimir Putin meet with Chinese President Xi and they put out this joint statement that read like a rebuke of how the U.S. was handling this and it was more of the same today in this meeting.
Both China and Russia saying some of the same things, that they think dialogue needs to come, first and foremost, even if it's without preconditions. And that's not how the U.S. sees it at all. Russia especially, even though this didn't get really heated, that language was pointed, too, and it was pointing right at the U.S. saying that, you know, you need to stay away from this kind of rhetoric and threats that only exacerbate the situation.
LEMON: Let's talk more about Russia now because President Trump is set to meet with Vladimir Putin on Friday, Michelle. The Kremlin says they'd like to establish a working dialogue with the U.S. What's the agenda for the meeting and how will North Korea factor into this, if at all?
KOSINSKI: Yes. From the White House, very little has come out on what the agenda is going to be. But there are very obvious ones. Syria, first and foremost and also in North Korea, in fact, it's the night the secretary of state put out a statement really elaborating on Syria and we're expecting to hear from him giving some statements soon before he takes off on the same subject.
But they also want to kind of put Russia -- just as the U.N. ambassador said today that the world is on notice for the North Korea problem, in this statement from the secretary of state, he put Russia on notice saying that it has a responsibility and an obligation to work with the U.S. And help ease this problem but also to prevent Syrian President Assad from using any kind of chemical weapon again.
So you can sort of see where this conversation is going in that respect. The U.S. side wants to work with Russia and is willing to on de-escalation zones or no fly zones. That's an area of progress.
On North Korea, it's a little more hazy, not really sure where that could go. But we know that Russia definitely has room to put more pressure on North Korea economically because it does business with North Korea and also has a lot of guest workers within Russia that, of course, funnel money back into the North Korean regime.
[22:04:58] LEMON: A lot to talk about and a lot is going to go in the next couple of days internationally, especially as it involves the President of the United States. Thank you very much, Michelle Kosinski.
Now I want to bring in Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS. Good to see you, Hope you had a good Independence weekend.
The American general who's leading the U.S. troops in South Korea said today that, and this is a quote, "self-restraint is all that is separating the United States and South Korea from going into war with the North." What's your reaction?
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN: I think that's very wise words and I sometimes wish that the rest of the administration would follow his lead in emphasizing self-restraint. You know, you've heard a lot of things from President Trump, Secretary of State Tillerson and now the Ambassador Nikki Haley that are quite belligerent, almost threatening war.
And everyone who studied the problems seriously sees there is really no military option. It's very, very tough for all kinds of reasons. You're talking about an almost World War II-like configuration except this one would also have the nuclear trip wire.
So in that context, it seems that, you know, this kind of public belligerence might not be the right strategy. If you think about the way the Obama administration (AUDIO GAP) Security Council together (AUDIO GAP) to enforce real sanctions against Iran which finally brought Iran to the negotiating table, there wasn't a lot of this kind of public shaming and naming. It was much more intense private diplomacy.
The idea that, you know, if we start bad-mouthing China, then suddenly they're going to say, God damn it, of course, let's suddenly start enforcing these sanctions. No.
LEMON: That's not good.
ZAKARIA: They've got deep strategic interests in the area. They live right next to North Korea. We've got to persuade them that it's in their interest. Some pressure will help. But I think that there's a real danger here that this is getting China's backup, it's driving into an alliance with Russia. Look at the results right now. We've had a terrible Security Council meeting.
ZAKARIA: This is exactly the opposite of what Washington would have wanted. LEMON: I said in the opening of the show, I mean, this was something
that could change a presidency and the whole world is watching and it feels threatening. So you mentioned a little bit in your first answer but, in your perspective, what does a war with North Korea look like?
ZAKARIA: So we've had wars over the last 20, 30 years that are really insurgency activities. You've got, you know, a small band of insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan and these things cause, you know, a few hundred casualties in a month, certainly on the American side.
What you're talking about on the Korean Peninsula is two massively armed countries, North Korea and South Korea, which are going to engage in your classic, as I say, World War II or Korean War-type war; amies, tanks, throwing each other, throwing themselves on each other.
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, is within miles of the North Korean border and North Korean's missiles, rockets, can hit it easily. And they have, you know, prepositioned thousands and thousands of rockets. The South Koreans will fire back.
In the midst of all this, remember there are 30,000 American troops and North Korea has nuclear weapons and the United States is committed to the defense of South Korea no matter what meaning all the way escalating up to nuclear weapons.
So that's the nature of this war. If you talk to anybody who has done a war game on the Korean Peninsula where they actually see what it looks like, you're talking about hundreds of thousands of casualties.
LEMON: With the nuclear...
ZAKARIA: With the possibility of nuclear escalation.
LEMON: Escalation, on top of that. And you said that America is committed to South Korea?
ZAKARIA: We have a treaty alliance with South Korea that is iron clad.
LEMON: Do you think South Korea feels that? Even because do our allies even know what to expect from this administration?
ZAKARIA: Well, so far on South Korea, the administration has not done what it did with the NATO allies. So I think we're OK there. But, look, you know, people would always be -- any country would be unsure at that ultimate moment. This used to be the great question in the Cold War.
Do the Europeans believe that the United States would risk L.A. for, you know, ban Paris or London and that's part of what keeps this so tense and which is why it seems to me you want a very considered step- by-step approach, first gather your allies together, engage China and Russia seriously rather than publicly trading insults.
LEMON: Yes. That happened on the eve of G20 summit which is in Hamburg, Germany. In the interview published today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this. "Globalization is seen by the American administration more of a process that is not about a win-win situation but about winners and losers."
Is she sending Trump a message?
ZAKARIA: Without any question. She's also said that Germany probably has to fend for itself and Europe has to fend for itself a couple of weeks ago, which is even more worrying.
[22:10:00] Look, a lot of countries are beginning to feel that the United States is no longer the kind of guarantor of world order, the country that would set the agenda, that would try to right the rules to maintain a certain amount of stability.
The Canadian foreign minister a couple weeks ago, Chrystia Freeland in the Canada's parliament gave this very eloquent speech where she basically said, thank you, America, for 70 years of having preserved the peace and order but we can see you've decided it's not worth it anymore and it means we Canadians, like other countries, will have to start pick up the slack and we'll have to -- we'll have to get involved and do more because it's important to preserve this order.
So all of these major countries, Germany, and Canada, and France, feeling like the United States is resigning from world leadership and they need to step in and, of course what that would mean is a tremendous loss of influence from America on the world stage.
Because guess what, if you're not setting the agenda and writing the rules, they don't reflect your interests as much as they will, Germany's interests or Canada's interests.
LEMON: Yes. Stick around because I have a lot to talk to you about, Fareed Zakaria.
When we come back more on the President's face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin and why you say Trump has put himself in a box when it comes to Russia.
LEMON: We're back with some breaking news. Fareed Zakaria is here. Before we get back to Fareed, Secretary of State Tillerson, Fareed, spoke at Joint Base Andrews just moments ago before leaving for the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Let's listen and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:15:03] REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think as we talk about our relationship with Russia previously and we, and I characterize it as being at a very low point. We have been engaged with Russia for some time now to identify areas that we should have mutual interest in.
Syria is certainly one that is a very complex situation in terms of how we transition from the conclusion of a successful effort to defeat ISIS, destabilizing Syria so that we can begin what will no doubt be a lengthy process of political solutions that will lead to the future for Syrians and Syrian people.
I think the important aspect of this is that this is where we have begun an effort to begin to rebuild confidence between ourselves and Russia at the military-to-military level but also at the diplomatic level. So I think it is an effort that serves both of our interest as well as the broader interest of the international community.
We hope that this is going to be the beginning of other important areas that need to be addressed in order to strengthen our relationship. But we're at the very beginning and I would say at this point it's difficult to say exactly what the Russia's, what Russia's intentions are in this relationship and I think that's the most important part of this meeting, is to have a good exchange between President Trump and President Putin over what they both see as the nature of this relationship between our two countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right And we're back with Fareed. So you heard the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson there, Fareed, talking about the relationships, saying that the relationship with Russia is at a low point now and when identified some areas with mutual interest, transition from defeating ISIS to political solutions in the future of the Syrian people and also, he said, you know, that this is, you know, the beginning of, hopefully this is a beginning of a relationship with Russia that can actually work out. Did not mention meddling in the election as part of it.
ZAKARIA: Yes. It struck me as strange in that the, you know, Syria is important and I would think at a moment like this that might be item three on your agenda with Russia. Item one would be what, essentially an act of overt hostility that Russia undertook against the United States, the cyberhacking, the defense of the elections.
The second would be North Korea because it is a massive pressing crisis. Russia has a veto on the Security Council. If you're trying to tighten sanctions against North Korea, to try to get implementation of it, you need Russia on board. That is the urgent crisis. Obviously Syria is important.
But it's interesting that he chose only to talk about Syria, which suggests maybe they are not going to talk about interference in the elections. Maybe they don't think they could get anything any Russia cooperation on North Korea, which is disappointing on two fronts.
LEMON: You say that President Trump has placed himself in a box when it comes to Russia. Why do you say that?
ZAKARIA: Well, because right from the start, there was always this puzzle of why -- of all the countries in the world, President Trump, candidate Trump had a nice thing to say about only one country, which is Russia. Everybody else was always -- you know, had somehow swindled the United States.
And so there was this puzzle. And then you get the scandals and now Trump is in the situation where he seems to be trapped. He's paralyzed himself. He can't seem to make a concession to Russia, be nice to them and try to work out some kind of deal because that will raise suspicions, why he is doing this, is he in Putin's spot?
He doesn't seem want to be too tough on Russia and that's a bit of a mystery but as a result American policy towards Russia for the last three months has been do nothing. It is zero, it's really frozen, which is not productive. Russia's major power, 3,000 nuclear weapons have vetoed at the Security Council, we have major issues with them regarding Ukraine, regarding Syria and now North Korea and this is the first time that there will be a substantive conversation.
LEMON: Did Secretary Tillerson's remarks did it contradict anything or did it offer more of a perspective in the administration at least the President has offered as it comes to the relationship with Russia meeting with Vladimir Putin what they're trying to get. Is this the most we've learned from this administration?
ZAKARIA: Well, it was -- it was very substantive on the one thing you talked about, about Syria. And it was very sensible. You're looking for a political solution, you're trying to see you can find some alignment of interest.
LEMON: The obvious.
ZAKARIA: Yes with Russia. It was kind of the exactly somewhat latitude. But perfectly sensible the right thing to do. But as I say, kind of odd that that was the only thing he said that they were going to talk about with Russia.
Look, if we know -- so far what we know about this administration, I think he has no idea what President Trump is going to talk to Putin about. He was kind of freelancing a little bit.
LEMON: Well that's the thing. He's being very diplomatic, the secretary of state. But as we know, Donald Trump likes to trust his gut. Could that be an issue when it comes to, especially with this meeting, because you know, with the meetings with the other leaders but this meeting with Putin.
[22:20:03] ZAKARIA: It could be a huge problem. Look, Donald Trump -- by the way, a lot of American Presidents do this. Skilled politicians that got in to that job by being skilled politicians and the danger is that you forget that foreign policy is not a branch of psychotherapy.
If you have a great relationship with this guy one on one, it isn't going to change the deep internal interests of that country. So you have Xi Jinping at Mar-A-Lago, you know, your granddaughter sings Chinese songs to him, you offer him a piece of the most beautiful chocolate cake in the world and you think he'll suddenly just abandon the North Korea policy China has followed for, you know, 50 years, 60 years? No, that's not how it works.
You know, the British foreign secretary from the 19th century (Inaudible) said nations don't have permanent friends and enemies. They have permanent interests.
ZAKARIA: And our issue is that China has deep strategic interests in North Korea. Look, it's the next door neighbor. They have worries about it imploding. We need to get at that rather than thinking we can wow, you know, the leader, so similarly with Putin. Putin is a Russian nationalist. He has a very clear intelligent view of Russia's interest. You have to get to him at that level rather than thinking you can just pal around and somehow finish...
ZAKARIA: And somehow he'll say, I forgot, yes, I'll just sign up with the American agenda.
LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned Putin because what was there, your documentary, you said the most powerful man -- one of the most powerful men in the world, right? You met with him what, just about a year ago?
ZAKARIA: About a year ago.
LEMON: Just a year ago. So tell us, these two personalities coming together, big personalities coming together, take us to that.
ZAKARIA: It couldn't be more different actually as people. Both are very -- you know, think of themselves as strong and tough. Putin is quiet. He's short. He's obviously well-built but he's quite unassuming in many ways until he starts to speak and he's very intelligent, very cordial, very knowledgeable so he will take you through the history of U.S./Russian relations for the last 25 years almost year by year and it's a very one-sided Russian account of how the west has basically pushed Russia around.
But it's all, you know, it's all based on facts. He's very carefully and it's imagining a lawyer presenting the best brief he could, you know, bullet by bullet. Trump is, shall we say, a lightly briefed person without much knowledge about that history and facts who believes that the most important thing is the E.Q., the kind of relationship, how it feels, how it looks.
LEMON: Who wins, who loses.
ZAKARIA: Well, and it's all atmospheric. You know, it's a kind of, it's theater. And so, it would be very interesting to see whether these two end up, you know, respecting each other or not. I mean, I can't tell. All I can tell you is personality-wise, you couldn't find it would be more different. Trump tells jokes, he's funny, he's charming, he's charismatic. Putin does not. He takes, he uses his time efficiently to advance his agenda.
LEMON: I've got -- I've got to run but I want to ask you something quickly. Can we put up Juliette Kayyem's tweet up. Because she basically says that if he doesn't ask about hacking it's a dereliction. It means that he's scared or he has no problem with it for his re-elect. No third option. Do you agree with that? Dereliction or he's scared? ZAKARIA: You know, I would put it differently. I think you know, if you put a positive spin on it, it would be such an act of statesmanship for Donald Trump to say, look, I may have benefited this time but as President of the United States, my job is to protect this country, its institutions, its systems of government and its democracy. We cannot have this happen.
You know, of course I raised it and here's what I said. Just imagine how statesmen-like it would be for Trump and actually I think how it would help him politically. I think he's hurting himself politically by getting into this defensive crouch where he assumes any discussion of this somehow delegitimizes. Get over it. You want now be President.
LEMON: Yes. Good luck with that. Thank you very much, Fareed Zakaria. Don't miss Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. right here on CNN.
We have some breaking news to tell you about tonight. Congressman Steve Scalise back in the intensive care unit. His office issuing a statement saying "Congressman Steve Scalise has been readmitted to the intensive care unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center due to new concerns for infection. His condition is listed as serious. We will provide another update tomorrow, July 6th." And we'll keep you updated on this story.
We'll be right back.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We're back. North Korea escalating tensions with the Unite States with its latest missile test putting on officials saying Pyongyang launched a new kind of missile not seen before.
I want to turn to Gordon Chang now. He's the author of "Nuclear Showdown North Korea Takes on the World," and Laura Rosenberger, the senior fellow at the German Marshal Fund. Good evening to both of you. Thank you both for coming on. Laura, I'm going to start with you. The United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley today on North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile launch, she said this. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Make no mistake, North Korea's launch of an ICBM is a clear and sharp military escalation. The United States is prepared to use a full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And this is what the President tweeted yesterday. "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." And then your piece for the Washington Post today is entitled, how President Trump could tweet his way into a nuclear war with North Korea. So how are North Korean official officials interpreting the President's tweet?
LAURA ROSENBERGER, SENIOR FELLOW, GERMAN MARSHALL FUND: You know, I think that what's important to remember here is North Korea is an incredibly complicated challenge and problem that has troubled numerous administrations and it is one that requires a sophisticated strategy that brings to bear all of our national security tools in order to figure out a way to address it.
[22:30:09] And that simply is not going to be able to captured in a 140 characters. Twitter is not the appropriate place to be articulating our North Korea strategy. And frankly, my concern as I articulated in that Washington Post piece is that, in fact, President Trump doesn't actually understand that he is signaling things to both our allies and our adversaries that could lead to real miscalculation.
And it's that miscalculation whether it comes to deterring North Korea or reassuring our allies that I think is one of the greatest threats that we could face in this scenario right now. This problem deserves a real sophisticated strategy that is well thought through and brings to bear all of the pieces of our national security tool kit.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You have an issue I know, Gordon, with this 140- character diplomacy, international diplomacy, don't you?
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: Yes. This tweet right after the launch undercut a lot of Trump's diplomacy of last week and also was very flippant. We got to put it in context. On New Year's Day, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea in his televised address said look, we're going to launch a ballistic missile, intercontinental ballistic missile.
Trump the following day said it won't happen. And then when it did happen, because it was an ICBM launch, you know, Trump, if he wanted to tweet, if he wanted to say something, it had to be resolute. This was just sort of, you know, Kim Jong-un, he must not have something better to do, that's not the proper tone in a situation which involves the security of Americans.
So, yes. I think that was really the wrong way to go. Now today he had another tweet about North Korea and China's relations. That wasn't so bad but the problem is he's stepping all over his messages.
LEMON: What about this North Korea when he says because Laura's piece talked about it, she said how President Trump could tweet his way into a nuclear war with North Korea and she explained that but he's also saying he's hoping that North Korea will end this, that China will put a heavy move on North Korea. Is that realistic?
CHANG: Well, it's not realistic unless we give China the incentives to do so, and so far, you know, Trump has signaled last week that there will be costs for unacceptable behavior but he hasn't provided sufficient incentives. You know, the one thing, Don, that the United States needs to do,
regardless of what we think about or China and North Korea policy this will enforce our own laws. And Chinese banks have been laundering money for the North Korean regime for a very long time and there been no cost for that.
You know, last year, a couple years ago, the U.S. imposed fines of hundreds of millions of dollars on European banks for foot faults on the Iranian sanctions and you know, we have let the Chinese banks go Scott free. So, you know, I think that the President needs to have some substantive policies to back up these tweets because otherwise, as Laura points out, this is dangerous.
LEMON: Quickly, before I get back to Laura, is he misinterpreting the relationship with China and North Korea do you think?
CHANG: Yes, I think so. Because the Chinese have been supplying ballistic missile technology and equipment to the North Koreans. So for instance, yesterday's launch came off of a Chinese transporter erector launcher.
That's a real indication that Beijing has been weaponizing the North Koreans and so, you know, this is indication that Trump doesn't understand this relationship between Beijing and Pyongyang and until he gets it right, he won't get his China policy or his North Korea policy right.
LEMON: Laura, do you want to respond to that?
ROSENBERGER: Yes, I have to say, I completely agree with Gordon. I mean, I think that, number one, the way the president chose to flippantly conveyed as Gordon said his message in a very vague terminology. I mean, I don't know any national security expert who know what a heavy move is that China would put on North Korea. I think that some of us could guess. I think that guessing when we're talking about this kind of scenario is a very dangerous game. I think if we want to be able move the Chinese...
LEMON: Guessing what, you said some of you can guess. What do you mean?
ROSENBERGER: I mean, guessing in terms of what does a heavy move mean? Some people may interpret that as being some kind of military action that he might be pressing the Chinese or urging them to take. Some people might say it's just heavier sanctions. Some people might say it's, you know, it's the proliferation that China is facilitating, as Gordon was speaking about.
But that kind of lack of clarity I think is really, really damaging to the kind of strategy that he may be trying to take. As Gordon said, providing incentives for the Chinese is important but I also think that providing clarity on what we want from the Chinese is important.
When I worked on this issue at the State Department and National Security Council, we would actually give the Chinese a list of the kind of things we wanted them to do, the steps that we wanted them to take, very specifically. And if they did not take those actions, it was very clear what the consequences would be.
I think that the kinds of measures that Gordon is talking about to be imposing on the Chinese are exactly the kinds of things that we need to be considering but we also need to be very clear with them in terms of what we want them to do. And that needs to be based on a realistic understanding of the China/North Korea relationship.
[22:34:59] And I also agree with Gordon that we need to understand that the Chinese here have their own limitations and how farther they are going to be able to go or willing to go. Our interests are not their interests and it's very important that President Trump understand that.
LEMON: I want to ask you quickly, Laura here, because you -- we've been talking so much about this Twitter diplomacy. You say that the North Korean officials will look for clear signals of intention within the president's tweet but is there intention there? Is any possible intention and harmony with what this national security team has been saying?
ROSENBERGER: Well, that's the problem, I think. The North Koreans will be looking for intention whether is intention there or not and they will read things into his words that he may or may not have intended. We parse the North Koreans words incredibly carefully. When they put out satements from any of their propaganda pieces it is based on very, very sophisticated formulas that they have used over time, that they changed to signal particular things. We look incredibly carefully at those.
And the North Koreans mirror us. They will do the same. And from their perspective and frankly, the perspective of pretty much every world capital, the words of the leaders of the country carry the greatest weight.
And so I agree with Gordon that the President is stepping on his own message he's also stepping on the message of many of the members of his cabinet and others who I believe are trying to execute a more coordinated sophisticated strategy and he's simply getting in their way and completely undermining them.
LEMON: Gordon, you've been watching these tweets, how do you see this playing out?
CHANG: I get very worried about this. Because as Laura said, the interests of the important countries in this are very -- are diametrically opposed and it's a real possibility that there will not be clarity and resolution until we're at the brink of hostilities and that you know, is just something which is unacceptable.
But we seem to be heading there because a lot of people in Washington are saying that that's exactly where we're going.
LEMON: You wrote a great piece in the Daily Beast. I would urge everyone to read it where you're talking about what's happening with North Korea and their missiles and what have you. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Gordon. I appreciate it.
CHANG: Thanks, Don.
ROSENBERGER: Thank you very much.
LEMON: When we come back, the president is meeting with Vladimir Putin going from informal to full-fledged bilateral talks? What both sides expect and is Trump ready?
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Two unpredictable world leaders face-to-face for the first time. What will happen when President Trump meets President Putin in Germany?
Let's discuss with Matthew Rojansky, the director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, Jill Dougherty, CNN contributor and former Moscow bureau chief, and Jonathan Sanders, at Stony Brook University School of Journalism. He's the author of "The Russians Emerge."
Good evening to all of you. Jill, you first. After all the talk about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, their first face-to-face meeting is on Friday. You say this will be a top balancing act for President Trump. How so?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, I mean, if you look at the situation, first of all, anything broadly speaking that President Trump does that helps Russia, helps Vladimir Putin, can be interpreted back in the United States negatively. It can boomerang on him, excuse me, politically at home because we know with all of the investigations and allegations of collusion, et cetera, it doesn't always -- at least the optics don't look good to be kind to Vladimir Putin.
And yet the whole problem is he really does need a better relationship with Vladimir Putin and basically with Russia, these are very dangerous times. And it's very important that the two men sit down and begin to normalize this relationship. But the balance is really tough.
LEMON: Jonathan, help us understand this. Because this was supposed to be originally it was going to be a full-aside meeting, now it's a full-fledged official bilateral meeting but we're told by the administration, administration officials there's no official agenda. So what does that tell you about this meeting and what is it?
JONATHAN SANDERS, PROFESSOR, STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM: Well, I think the Russians very well recognize that the person of the United States is not an agenda kind of guy and they want -- they're not expecting a great deal out of this. What they'd like to see is a relationship at the top between Putin and Trump that is gracious, that is respectful, that maybe lay ground work but we need more than the top man to top man relationship. You need all those people in the middle to start talking to each
other, to have diplomats talking to each other, to have engagement on a number of issues and to find a couple of places where we can start rebuilding confidence because confidence building is important in a Cold War and boy, are we in a Cold War.
The election thing has nothing to do with the hostility coming out of the area around the Woodrow Wilson Center called Washington, D.C., where if you were to poll members of Congress, you might get 100 percent agreement that Russia is a bad and evil place and undoing everything in America and that has to stop and the President has to begin to explain to the Americans why he is open to a different policy towards Russia.
LEMON: OK. So then who else besides the Presidents do you expect will attend that meeting?
SANDERS: I think Mr. Tillerson is going to go to the meeting. I think Mr. Lavrov is going to go to the meeting. The unspoken person in the room is going to be the person that Putin and Donald Trump have in common. Hillary Clinton. The Clintons are despised, disparaged and dismissed by both Putin and Trump. And Trump is going to say he is not Hillary Clinton and not Bill Clinton and that's a good starting point for commonality.
LEMON: Matthew, to you now, since you mentioned the Woodrow Wilson Center, we know Vladimir Putin comes to meeting very prepared. What tactics has Trump used with other world leaders and how do you expect him to approach this particular situation?
[22:45:09] MATTHEW ROJANSKY, DIRECTOR, WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: So Putin really is a master of detail. I think he will be prepared. He may not be looking to get into a detailed conversation, for instance, about what a final settlement may look like for Syria how he would do a global fight against ISIS and terrorism and how you might move forward on the Ukraine crisis, what would be the conditions for relief from American and European sanctions.
But should the conversation move in that direction and I don't think we can exclude that the President of the United States may mention any number of those issues because they have been very much in the public discourse. He may also mention the investigation in Washington. Putin will be the master of the details of all of those questions.
You know, my advice, therefore, to the President is -- and I suspect that this is going to be similar to what's coming from some very serious experts, at least one very serious Russia hand Fiona Hill who is now on the National Security Council. The message is going to be, look, let's focus on the top line issue here, which is these are the world's two big nuclear powers.
We exist still as Jonathan said correctly in a Cold War-style relationship with mutually assured destruction. That means we have thousands of nuclear warheads pointed at each other at any given time. We cannot afford to be in a relationship like this. But to get past it, I think the President would be wise to send the message. I think he buys himself a lot of breathing room, frankly in the United
States and getting out of the box that Fareed Zakaria described earlier by saying you've got to stop messing with American democracy, you've got to stop attacking cyber attacks American critical infrastructure which is an ongoing problem.
It didn't stop in November after the elections and on Ukraine. This was something that was much talked of after November, was there going to be a grand bargain. The President simply needs to put that to rest by saying look, we're going to try to work together on Syria and counterterrorism. There's not going to be a grand bargain where we trade Ukraine for Syria or vice versa. He buys himself a lot of political room if he can do that.
LEMON: Yes, I can see, I can feel people at home shaking their heads when you mention Russia meddling in the election saying never going to happen. But we'll see. Don't go away. We'll continue our conversation. We'll be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: And we're back now with my panel. Jill, I'm going to get to you first in this segment. President Putin can be particularly calculated when he goes into meetings like this one, he wants the upper hand. Tell us about that.
DOUGHERTY: Well, I mean, there are numerous examples, but I'm thinking of the one with Angela Merkel, which is really a pretty famous one where he went to a meeting with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. She does not particularly like dogs apparently. She is kind of fearful of them, and he brought a dog, and of course, the understanding was he wanted to kind of, you know, put her ill at ease. Kind of put her back on her heels, and he could use a technique like that.
I mean, there are many things. I don't think he plays golf, but, you know, who knows? Maybe he'll final commonality there, or maybe he'll do something else. But I totally agree with what everyone has been saying that, you know, Putin is going to come very, very prepared, and yet he doesn't really expect a lot from this, so the mere that that he sits down with Donald Trump is good for Putin because, you know, he is back on the stage. Russia is not as isolated. After all, he is meeting with the American President.
But he knows this is a President who can turn on a dime. I mean, witness what is going on right now with China and North Korea. You know, not so long ago at Mar-A-Lago, President Trump and the Chinese President xi were best buddies because Mr. Trump thought China would do something with North Korea.
And now, you know, we're ready to slap sanctions on Chinese steel. So it can turn very quickly, and I don't think Putin will buy into anything other than a meeting hopefully maybe get some sort of -- convince President Trump of something that Putin believes and then move on and then let the, you know, top officials on both sides work out details if they even get that far. LEMON: Jonathan, this is what Putin said after it was reported in May
that President Trump shared classified information. Remember, with the Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during the Oval Office meeting? Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We see that political schizophrenia is developing in the U.S. I can't find any other explanation for the president supposedly revealing some kind of secret to Lavrov. Incidentally, I had a talk with Lavrov this morning and had to rebuke him giving him a telling of that he didn't share the secret with us, neither me nor the Russian special services. That was very bad of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you think Putin takes Trump seriously?
SANDERS: Yes and no. I don't think he takes him seriously as what the Russians would call a serious man. Somebody who is well-read, thoughtful and philosophical. I think he takes him seriously as somebody who is the dually elected President of the United States, and as such, has vast resources at his command.
And I think, you know, Fareed Zakaria said that a few minutes ago that foreign policy was not a branch of psychotherapy, but there are a lot of psychotherapists working around the Kremlin trying to figure out why Donald Trump likes them, why he's hoping them, how to predict his mercurial attitudes and what do they have in common?
And they so have some interesting comment as people who approach things differently. Trump is visceral and Putin is a tactician. The seminal influence in his life was learning sambo, a form of martial arts. He uses people's exercise and body weight to throw them back and to plan their moves against his moves. He is not a great strategic thinker. Neither is Mr. Trump.
[22:55:10] LEMON: Yes. That was an interesting story there. Matt, right now Russia is China are pushing their own plan for North Korea to stop testing ballistic missiles. The U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley said this earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The world is on notice. If we act together, we can still prevent a catastrophe, and we can rid the world of a grave threat. If we fail to act in a serious way, there will be a different response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But the Russian deputy ambassador to the United Nations is disputing whether the test was, in fact, an ICBM, Matthew. How could this complicate that meeting? ROJANSKY: Look, Don. The simple fact is as it has been stated
headline after headline; this is the problem from hell. The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions, multiple resolutions and it hasn't been adequate to solve the problem. Russia and China have been part of that discussion.
We may have, you know, a very forceful U.S. ambassador at the U.N. Security Council, it's not going to change the basic interest that we were talking about earlier in the show that dictate Russia and China's position.
If I can I want to comment on just two things I think Putin brings to the table on this. You asked earlier to add to Jill's point, Putin has been late to every meeting with every world leader that he has ever held. Now that is so much of a pattern. He has been late with the pope. He was late to President Obama, intentionally late to Angela Merkel. That's not an accident.
I'm very curious. How late -- he is going to be late. How late is he going to be with Donald Trump? is it going to be 10 minutes like he was for Obama? Is it going to be hours like he has been? Recall, you know, if you watched the Oliver Stone interviews. He kept Oliver Stone waiting for hours.
This is part of his tactic. The second thing I think Putin brings to the table is, remember he tangled with Russia's very wealthy men. With Russia's wealthy, powerful, you know, self-centered, highly branded oligarchs. Fifteen, 20 years ago, and he beat them.
And I think Putin has an image of Trump that Trump is kind of mega- oligarch. Now he is President of the United States he brings a lot of fire power to the table, but I think he is going to be thinking about this, like, sitting across the table from one of those guys that he tangled with before, and he is going to deploy a lot of tactics frankly that he used against them to try to achieve dominance.
LEMON: But no dog.
ROJANSKY: If Trump is afraid of dogs, there will be dogs.
LEMON: Thank you all. Great conversation. See you soon.
When we come back, President Trump is set to meet with world leaders only days after North Korea test a brand new missile that has not been seen before. We're going to tell you how the launch could affect relations with Russia and China.
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