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Police and Protesters Square Off as Trump-Putin Meet; Trump and Putin Hold Face-to-Face Meeting; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired July 7, 2017 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:31:02] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. These were the pictures from just moments ago. The first sit-down meeting between U.S. president Donald Trump and the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.
President Trump said that he looks forward to a very positive discussion. Very positive happening for Russia and the United States, he says, and everyone concerned. Vladimir Putin said while they've had phone conversations, he was very excited to meet President Trump in person.
While that meeting is going on -- and they are behind closed doors right now. They have been behind doors for about 25 minutes. While that's going outside on the streets of Hamburg in Germany there have been protests. You can see some of the pictures here. Many police officers have been injured.
Our Frederik Pleitgen has been in the middle of it since yesterday. He joins us now.
Fred, what are you seeing today?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, about 160 police officers have been injured since all this started yesterday.
I want to show you where I am right now, at your right on the water here in Hamburg. And this is a demonstration that really was unofficial to begin with. But there is I'd say tens of thousands of people who are here. And then you have a big police cordon back there. You can see some of those water cannon trucks that we've been seeing so much of here.
And actually if we go over here a little bit, I want you just move over here, you can see that there's another police cordon over here this way where you have some more of those water cannon trucks standing by there as well.
Now a couple of minutes ago, we did have some skirmishes that were sort of on the front lines when they were happening as well, where you have some people attack police officers with water bottles, throwing water bottles, throwing beer bottles, crash bottles at the police officers. The officers then retaliated by shooting what appeared to us to be
some sort of stun munitions. They seemed to be big sort of flash bangs that went off. So there was a bit of a commotion that went on.
It seems as though what's going on right now is that the protesters have changed their tactics from what they were doing yesterday. Yesterday there was one big demonstration that started and stopped at various points. But then at some point, you know, also broke up some of the skirmishes as well.
It seems as though now it's all smaller, it's less organized and it's really very difficult for the police to keep up with a lot of the things that are going on. So it's been really happening since the early morning hours that there have been issues here in and around the G20 Summit with a lot of these protesters coming out.
There were several cars that were set on fire earlier today. It's quite a tense situation here in the city as the protesters have vowed to try and get into the secure area there of the G20 Summit -- John.
BERMAN: You know one of the things we should note, again while these protests are commonplace at events like this, they did keep the U.S. first lady, Melania Trump, from attending an event with the spouses of the world leaders. She was not able to get through the protest. Security told her not to go. So they have had at least some impact there.
Our Frederik Pleitgen on the streets. Fred, terrific reporting. Thank you very, very much.
So it is now under way, the first meeting between President Trump and Russia's leader, Vladimir Putin. They have been behind closed doors now for going on 19 minutes. The meeting expected to last maybe a half hour, perhaps longer. We are keeping an eye on that. We will let you know when they emerge.
Now before they went behind closed doors, there was a brief moment where reporters got to go in, take some pictures. There were brief remarks. We'd like to play those once again. Listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. We appreciate it. President Putin and I have been discussing various things and I think it's going very well. We've some very, very good talks. We're going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. But we look forward to a lot of good, positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned. And it's an honor to be with you. Thank you.
[10:35:36] PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): Your Excellency, Mr. President, we have spoken on the phone with you several times. And a very important bilateral and international issues. Well, phone conversation is never enough.
I think the one (INAUDIBLE) development and bilateral and be able to (INAUDIBLE). I'm delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President. And I hope our meeting will have good results.
TRUMP: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. There you have it. The first public comments from President Trump and Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, just prior to their first official meeting, which has been going on now for 22 minutes.
We are waiting for them to emerge from behind closed doors and perhaps get a readout of what the two leaders discussed.
Joining me now, Sara Murray, CNN White House correspondent, Matthew Chance, CNN senior international correspondent Patrick Healy, CNN political analyst and editor at the "New York Times" and David Swerdlick, CNN political commentator, assistant editor at the "Washington Post," and back with us, again, Jack Kingston, CNN political commentator, former senior adviser to the Trump campaign.
Sara Murray, word cloud here. President Trump, very well. Very good. Very positive. An honor to be sitting with you. You covered President Trump, then candidate Trump, for a long time. This is the way he talks, but painting a rosy picture heading into this meeting.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the way he talks. And look, I don't think we should be surprised to see that it was a cordial greeting there. It wasn't exactly the smiling and the backslapping that we saw when Trump welcomed other Russian officials into the Oval Office. But it was a positive greeting.
Remember this is the first time that he and Russian president, Vladimir Putin, are meeting face-to-face. It's the first time they're really going to get a chance to size each other up. And President Trump has hardly made a secret of the fact that he wants to improve U.S. relations with Russia.
Now maybe there will be a stick that goes along with that carrot. Maybe we'll get a sense of that in the readout. But it should be no secret and no surprise that this is a relationship Trump wants to build and something he wants to improve upon.
BERMAN: Matthew Chance, one of the things that Vladimir Putin said, beyond the fact that it was good to meet President Trump personally, clearing up I guess definitively, you know, the previous claims from Donald Trump as a candidate that he'd already met Vladimir Putin, he backed off of those claims but President Putin made clear this was the first time they had met personally.
He said he looked forward to resolving most acute international problems, you know, discussing some of these problem spots around the world. Is that the goal of President Putin, Matthew, in this meeting?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think in the meeting, that's probably too much of an ambitious goal for President Putin. They've got very low expectations about what this can produce. I think the fact that president -- President Putin, rather, was going on about how it's important to have personal meetings and telephone conversations aren't enough, I think cuts to what the Russian president really thinks about the way international diplomacy should work.
He wants a seat at the top table next to Donald Trump. This is exactly what he wanted, a one-on-one meeting with the U.S. president.
And the expectation, the hope, rather, coming out Moscow at the moment, because of all the political problems in the United States facing Donald Trump, when it comes to the relationship to Russia, the hope is that they can agree in another meeting. That would be considered a success.
It's been so bad, the relationship between the two countries in the past couple of, you know, months. If it's not just an abject failure, they consider that a success.
BERMAN: You know, David Swerdlick, in that brief moment there was obviously no mention of Russian election meddling. That is not the place it would likely come up, if it is to come up. But there was also no mention from President Trump of the challenges facing the United States in the relationship with Russia.
Some of our diplomatic experts before noted that it was only positive, and no mention of that and that was notable, David. Your take away?
[10:40:01] DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I would expect them to start this out being cordial and positive.
This is a situation, John, where, like Sara said, they're sizing each other up, right? And the issue for President Trump is less what specific issues he might bring up in this meeting. Like everybody else, I agree that he would be missing an opportunity to bring up the Russian meddling in our election if he does not do that.
But the bigger picture is really about this idea that Vladimir Putin -- this is not his first U.S. president. He is going into this with a very specific, very clear agenda about advancing Russia's interest, Russia moving in Crimea, Russia moving in Syria, reestablishing themselves as a global elite power, and whether or not President Trump is approaching this meeting with the same long game, this idea that we want to maintain our leadership role in the West and looking at Russia as a rival, rather than getting these specific deal points on the table in the very first, very brief meeting.
BERMAN: Now, Congressman Jack Kingston, you know, back with us again. Should President Trump have said something about the challenges facing these two nations more than just the very well, very good, very positive, honor to meet you brief words that he gave?
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: John, I think there will be time to do that. And I think that they are going to cover the substances -- the substantive issues. But I think, also, the meeting is underscores why Rex Tillerson is important because he does know Putin. He does know Russia. He's dealt with him. He's familiar with it. That kind of rapport can be transferred between Trump and Putin.
And I'll say this, between Reagan and Gorbachev, and the great presidents and the great leaders of the world, there has always been a rapport that underscores everything. And this also shows how important the G20 is. That the two of these men can get together with the tensions that we're having, but do it in a neutral location with a neutral background. So I think this does say a good thing about the G20 as well.
Opening up the dialogue in a 35-minute meeting to say we have to get together. We've got to talk about North Korea. We've got to talk about NATO. We've got to talk about election meddling. We've got to talk about sanctions. We've got to talk about Syria and ISIS. There's so much that they have to start engaging with in a very serious, very ongoing level. And this is a very important first step.
BERMAN: Right now we're going on I think 38 minutes behind closed doors by our math now. This is about as long as we expected the meeting to go. If it goes longer, you know, Patrick Healy, then people would say, they had a lot to talk about, it was going so well that they extended it. We're not there yet but just one of the many things that will be discussed.
And then the way the meeting is portrayed, Patrick, by both sides will be fascinating. You know, the president, we've been noting in now, going in, had only positive things to say. How do you think the White House wants to frame this coming out of it?
PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they very much want to frame it as President Trump being a very strong figure going in, sort of toe-to-toe, and not being cowed by any kind of clouds about whether he or his campaign is still under investigation, involving any kind of collusion with Russia during the campaign. They want it to be seen as a strong, confident American president, you know, meeting someone who is the head of another major power and is able to defend and argue American interests.
But the reality, John, is that President Trump, going into this meeting and not making, you know, what our American intelligence community has found about Russian collusion in the election, the top issue of this meeting, it would be demoralizing and disheartening to I think many in the intelligence community, to a lot of American voters.
If the president isn't going to be the one to confront Vladimir Putin about this, John, you know, who is? And the degree to which he, you know, is sort of going into a meeting. He loves, we have to remember, too, John, he -- Donald Trump loves meetings like this. And usually, he, someone as a CEO of his company, who felt like he had a lot of leverage, who he kind of ran the table.
And right now he's going in, he's got these different issues, very important issues that America is facing. But the question is, does he talk about the issue that he is -- whether it was his CEO days or as president, would be uncomfortable talking about, which is, you know, Russian collusion in his own election. BERMAN: And we are waiting to see if that, in fact, has come up.
They have been in there for 40 minutes. That would be the first question I'm sure anyone asks coming out of this meeting. Unclear whether or not that will be the first thing mentioned by the White House or Russia after the meeting. But we are waiting to see that.
Sara Murray, I really don't want to let this moment pass. I think because it has been obscure. We say this is the first meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. You did cover the campaign. You know that candidate Trump, you know, in the years prior to the inauguration, he had said that he had met President Putin before.
[10:45:00] We now are told by the White House that that's not the case. This is now the first time. President Putin just said, you know, they have spoken on the phone before. It was great to meet him personally. So this -- you know, again, it is just notable that everyone accepts now this is the first meeting when before candidate Trump did muddy the waters on that.
MURRAY: That's right. He had said that they met before, that they got along very well. He talked about inviting him to Moscow for one of the pageants that Trump was associated with. And then, in 2016, all of a sudden, it became I've never met him, I have nothing to do with Russia, I have no business in Russia. There's that and the next thing. So he certainly has changed his story.
One of the things we have learned about Trump along the way is it's not out of his nature to embellish things. So the White House has said they do believe that this is actually the first meeting between Donald Trump and between Putin, and so that has been kind of the last word.
And it is, you know, just another chapter on what is a very bizarre relationship between Trump and Putin. We also found it bizarre along the campaign trail that he would just continue to lavish praise on Putin and on Russia, regardless of what was going on, regardless of any act of progression.
And that's not the way President Trump of course have treated any other country, whether we have an adversarial relationship with them as the United States, or whether the United States used them as an ally. So it was always a very different tone with Russia.
BERMAN: You know, Matthew Chance, one of the big question is, will President Trump or has he already at this point, 42 minutes in, brought up the Russian meddling in the U.S. election? You know, we know that President Obama confronted President Putin in the closing months of his administration. And we know that there have been press reports.
There's all this mystery about whether President Trump will bring it up. There's not much mystery about how President Putin would respond to it because typically the Russians basically say the same thing whenever it's brought up.
CHANCE: Yes. They categorically deny it, they say this is an invention by the media, to discredit them and of course to discredit Donald Trump as well. I mean I think Putin's emphasis in this meeting is very much going to be on that personal relationship with Donald Trump.
Remember Putin has a record of charming American presidents. Remember when George W. Bush back in 2001 met Putin in very early on in his presidency, and looked into his eyes and caught a sense of his soul. Obama was equally charmed in 2009 when he had his first meeting with Putin, when he was the prime minister of Russia.
And so, you know, the big question here is will Trump have one of those sense of his soul moments? Will he walk out of that meeting even more convinced in this idea that he and Putin should tackle international problems together?
BERMAN: All right. Sara Murray, Matthew Chance, Patrick Healy, James (sic) Swerdlick, Jack Kingston, Congressman, thank you all so very much.
Again this meeting has been going on for about 43 minutes right now behind closed doors. You are seeing the first picture there as they went in. President Trump says, so far, their relationship going very well, very good, very positive. An honor to meet Vladimir Putin, he says.
We will wait for a readout of what's happening behind closed doors. That could come very shortly. Stay with us.
[10:52:29] BERMAN: All right. These were the pictures earlier this hour from when Russian leader Vladimir Putin sat down with U.S. president Donald trump for their first official meeting. This bilateral conversation began at 10:04 Eastern Time. They talked for a few minutes. Then the press was brought in for these pictures you're looking at.
They spoke out loud for two minutes where President Trump said the meetings were going very well, very good, very positive, an hour to meet Vladimir Putin. The press then left. The two leaders have been behind closed doors since 10:14 Eastern Time. So going on 38 minutes alone for the second part of this meeting and counting.
We were given a heads up that it's not expected to go much longer than that, but we will keep you posted.
Want to bring in CNN senior diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, live for us in Hamburg, Germany watching this alongside of us.
You know, Nick, it's been said that even before this meeting started, the Russian leader have achieved much of what he wanted from the G20 in terms of the United States. One of his goals as we said was to divide the West. And obviously there have been issues, confrontation between President Trump and the other world leaders on a range of issues. The other thing that Vladimir Putin could basically want is to be a
player, for Russia to be a major player on the world stage. So this picture between the two leaders and have President Trump say it's an honor to sit with him, in some ways is the picture and the words that President Putin wants even before anything else is said.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It is and he sat there. Both President Trump and Putin both sort of sat there looking fairly, you know, presidential, of course. But in sort of a strong position. They weren't sort of gazing wistfully into each other's eyes. They did look at each other a little bit and not a lot. They had their hands in front of their laps and sort of fingers together or fingers interlocked.
So there was sort of a projection of confidence, strength of each of them. But it is a fact that the Russians are hoping to engage here at the G20. But absolutely, specifically, to be sitting there with President Trump, that's the picture. Whatever is said by Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, whoever tells us from the Russian side what happened in the meeting, they will have that picture, they will have that moment and they will have President Trump's words saying it's an honor to meet you.
But, also, we have to acknowledge that Putin for his part said he was delighted to see President Trump. And he said, you know, phone calls aren't enough. A clear indication that there have been perhaps a number of phone calls that have gone on between the pair in the lead up to this and perhaps gives us a hint of why President Trump doesn't want to publicly criticize President Putin because he has been building to this moment, that there have been these phone calls as confidence building behind the scenes.
[10:55:16] But what the Russians would like on top of it is to be seen to be valued on the international stage and to see, you know, a narrative that emerges where somehow the United States can support Russia and Syria in some way, even if it's just a fight in terrorism.
BERMAN: CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, live for us in Hamburg.
Again, this was the picture. Everyone was waiting for this. Russian leader Vladimir Putin and U.S. president, Donald Trump, before they went behind closed doors at 10:14. 41 minutes now on this second part of their private meeting.
While that's going on, there are protesters on the streets of Hamburg outside the G20 summit. CNN's special coverage continues right after a quick break.