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tv   Wolf  CNN  July 16, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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any of your devices come from your business number. them, not so much. we let you keep an eye on your business from anywhere. the others? nope! get internet on our gig-speed network and add voice and tv for $34.90 more per month. call or go on line today. hello. i'm wolf blitzer. we're live here in helsinki, finland. we're following breaking news. we want to welcome our viewers around the world who are joining us. a truly, truly extraordinary moment in american history. something i thought i would never see. up first, the president of the united states delivering a stunning rebuke to his own u.s. intelligence community with the entire world watching.
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not just the intelligence community but the u.s. law enforcement community, including his own justice department and his fbi. standing right next to the russian leader vladimir putin at a joint news conference here in helsinki, the president simply refused to side with his own u.s. intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the russia investigation. the president described vladimir putin's denial, on the other hand, that russia interfered in the 2016 u.s. presidential election as in, president trump's words, extremely strong and powerful. here's how the president responded to reporters' questions. >> just now president putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. every u.s. intelligence agency has concluded that russia did. what -- who -- my first question for you, sir, is who do you believe? my second question is, would you now with the whole world watching tell president putin, would you denounce what happened
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in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again? >> so let me just say that we have two thoughts. you have groups that are wondering why the fbi never took the server. why haven't they taken the server? why was the fbi told to leave the office of the democratic national committee? i've been wondering that. i've been asking that for months and months, and i've been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. where is the server? i want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying? with that being said, all i can do is ask the question. my people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others. they said they think it's russia. i have president putin. he just said it's not russia. i will say this, i don't see any reason why it would be, but i really do want to see the server. but i have confidence in both parties. i really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but
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i don't think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. what happened to the servers of the pakistani gentleman that worked on the dnc? where are those servers? they're missing. where are they? what happened to hillary clinton's e-mails? 33,000 e-mails gone, just gone. i think in russia they wouldn't be gone so easily. i think it's a disgrace that we can't get hillary clinton's 33,000 e-mails. i have great confidence in my intelligence people, but i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. and what he did is an incredible offer. he offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. i think that's an incredible offer. >> truly a shocking barrage of statements from the president of the united states. i want to bring in our senior
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white house correspondent jeff zeleny and our senior international correspondent matthew chance. they're both here in helsinki. they've been watching the president's summit with vladimir putin. jeff, did the president just throw not only the u.s. intelligence community but the u.s. law enforcement community, including the justice department and the fbi, completely under the bus? >> wolf, there's no question about it. we saw it unfolding here, and that was a surprise to many people, including people inside the trump administration and the u.s. government. i talked to a u.s. official just a few moments ago who said this. this was not the plan. of course, the president met one on one with vladimir putin, and it seemed that something changed from the morning meeting when he was first greeting vladimir putin, when he was talking about a variety of issues he wanted to bring up. election meddling, of course, was not in there. the white house knew these questions would come up, but they were hoping the president would pivot away from them on to
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something else. but that is not what happened. hearing that candidate donald trump sounded like he was the candidate again. the fact he would be here in helsinki, the site of so many summits over the years, talking about the electoral college, talking about the server, hillary clinton's server, of course sounded like an aggrieved president there. it frankly is shocking and surprising many people inside his administration. wolf, he's flying back to washington right now. air force one has just taken off a few moments ago. he'll be in the air for eight hours, most likely watching television coverage of this. we'll see how he reacts, if he reacts, in realtime. one thing that was also very news making in this press conference, for months and even a couple years, president trump has repeatedly said russia did not want him to win the election because he would be harder on them. we have in the words of the russian president asked specifically by jeff mason of reuters, did you want presidnt trump to win? he said, yes, i did, wolf.
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those are the words, of course, of vladimir putin. >> yeah, he was very, very blunt in saying that the russians did want donald trump to beat hillary clinton in that election. let's get reaction from the russian side. matthew, what are you hearing? the president's truly stunning, extraordinary comments. the russians must be high-fiving each other. >> high-fiving, cracking open bottles of champagne, toasting president trump, i imagine on the way back to moscow, which they'll be embarking on that journey shortly. a statement has come from the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov, who's normally very restrained in his praise. he called the talks magnificent, better than super, is the phrase he used. that gives you an indication of just how happy i think the kremlin is and the russians are at how this all went. they always expected this was going to be a win. of course, the fact it was staged at all was a political
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victory. they've faced isolation from much of the international community, particularly from the united states over their various acts of maligned activity around the world over the past couple years. but i don't think anyone really expected that they were going to get such a comprehensive pass by the president of the united states. i think that's how it would be interpreted on the russian side, that all of those misdeeds, the annexation of crimea, the shootdown of mh-17, the backing of bashar al assad, the poisoning on the streets of britain, none of that matters now. there's a line been drawn underneath it, and president trump just wants to speak with his russian counterpart about denuclearization, about various other issues, trade, and things like that. that would be music to the kremlin's ears. >> it's really amazing, shocking i should say. matthew, thank you. jeff zeleny, we'll get back to you. let's get more insight right now and analysis.
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we have our senior international correspondent fred pleitgen. he's normally based in moscow. he's here in helsinki. our senior diplomatic correspondent michelle kosinski. john kirby and susan glasser. guy, thanks very much. susan, this is a moment in american history where the president of the united states right here in helsinki not only seems to suggest there are very fine people on both sides, he seems to really go with the leader of russia in this argument that's going on, a blistering argument, a confrontation with the u.s. intelligence and law enforcement community. >> i think you're right. i think this is something that all of us are going to remember for many years. i've covered vladimir putin for 18 years, since he first became the president of russia. this moment today, i think, marks something that he never could have imagined, even when george w. bush was looking into his soul. this is an act that we've never seen. could you imagine -- not that president trump would attack the
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mueller investigation. he's been doing that publicly and in his tweets literally for more than a year now. but to call it a disaster while literally standing next to vladimir putin, i think, is something that i'm not going to forget. and you know, going into this summit, right, it seems to me we've come out of it really with what were the worst-case scenarios that experts had in mind. i spoke with one long-time state department official who had been involved for decades in preparing superpower summits between the soviet union and then russia and the united states. beforehand, he said to me, we all fear that this is something like mohammed ali going up against an amateur boxer. in that see their yoerks letceny the president of the united states was not mohammed ali. >> i want to play a clip, john kirby, then we'll discuss it on the other side. listen to this. >> i do feel that we have both made some mistakes. i think that the probe is a disaster for our country.
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i think it's kept us apart. it's kept us separated. there was no collusion at all. everybody knows it. people are being brought out to the fore. so far that i know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. they're going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. that was a clean campaign. i beat hillary clinton easily, and frankly, we beat her and i'm not even saying from the standpoint -- we won that race. it's a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it. people know that. people understand it. but the main thing, and we discussed this also, is zero collusion. and it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. we have 90% of nuclear power between the two countries. it's ridiculous. it's ridiculous what's going on with the probe.
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>> how does the director of national intelligence, dan coats, or the secretary of state mike pompeo, the former cia director, or secretary of defense mattis, even john bolton, how do they continue to stay on the job when the president throws all of them under the bus? >> i'll tell you, wolf, their job today just got 100% more difficult than it was yesterday. and what i've been looking at and thinking about since this press conference is how does the national security establishment now react to everything the president laid out there? he's absolutely wrong. first of all, soluticollusion wt know yet. the investigation is not over. number two, the argument that it affected in a negative way u.s./russia bilateral relations is just false. what has affected u.s./russia bilateral relations has been russia's maligned activities around the world, which are significant and real. so now if i'm jim mattis or i'm mike pompeo, i'm thinking, holy cow, what do i do now?
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how do i wake up tomorrow and figure out what am i going to do in terms of policy? real policy, wolf, on syria, on ukraine, on cyber, on counterterrorism around the world. what am i going to do? >> it is shocking. i want to get to everybody in a moment. but i want to bring in chuck hagel, the former secretary of defense under president obama. he's a former republican senator from nebraska. senator, thanks so much for joining us. let me get your reaction to what we just heard from the president of the united states. you speak with a lot of authority on these very, very sensitive issues. what did you think? >> wolf, thank you for having me. i watched the news conference, like all of your guests, and digested it and still digesting it. i have a summary sentence to respond. it would be this, wolf. president trump failed america today. he failed america, our interests, in every way. i think what's been said here
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the last hour and a half on cnn and i suspect other networks about the specifics of why he failed america, and this will be brought out in more detail as we develop the story, is pretty clear. when you start, wolf, with this, this was not a golf outing. this was not a real estate transactional kind of arrangement. meetings are important, obviously. i'm a strong believer in engagement. but engagement must be connected to a strategic interest, a strategic purpose. i don't know what that strategic purpose was. i'm now convinced we didn't have one, according to what i have just watched the last couple of hours. so it's a sad day for america. it's a sad day for the world because i'll end with this, wolf. when america is off balance, when america is not leading, the world becomes more dangerous, and the world is off balance. all you need to do is just go to the german foreign minister's comments today.
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when the german foreign minister, one of our strongest allies since world war ii, always there with us, says that we can no longer depend on the white house -- i thought it was interesting. he didn't say america. he said the white house. so let me end there and go wherever you want to go. >> you know, i want to read to you a tweet. john brennan, a man you worked with during the obama administration, a career intelligence official who's now out of the intelligence community, he tweeted this. donald trump's press conference performance in helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. it was nothing short of treasonous. not only were trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly not pocket of putin. republican patriots, where are you? what a reaction from john brennan. do you agree with him? >> well, i generally agree with
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john brennan. there's no one more knowledgeable, more decent, more honest, more committed to the interest of america than john brennan. he's procven that throughout hi career. but now is the time -- and i noticed that some of your colleagues have been reporting on congressional reaction. now is the time the congress of the united states must step up and step into this. it isn't just tariff wars anymore. it's not just all of the craziness that's been going on the last year and a half. this is serious. this is very serious because it ricochets around the world, and everything we know is woven into the same fabric. so the congress is going to finally have to get some backbone and some spine and show some leadership as to what they were elected to do. i never thought i would say that. i've had differences with presidents when i was in the senate in different times, but i always warespected the presiden of the united states in his ability to do his job the way he
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thought it was important to do for america. the congress played a role, had to play a role. constitutionally, it must play a role. now is the time for the congress to step up. i fear if the congress doesn't, wolf, then this problem is going to get deeper and wider, and we'll end up with no allies in the world. that's where we're headed now. no one can trust us. no one can count on us. >> very quickly, before i let you go, mr. secretary, high crimes and misdemeanors. that's what john brennan says. treasonous. are we talking, at least from your perspective, impeachment? >> well, i'll let that stand as it is, as to the responsibilities of the congress on impeachment. i would not have said it the way john did. i said it the way i said it. john can say it the way he wants to say it. as to impeachment, we'll see how this plays out. that's a congressional responsibility. they must -- the congress must do what they think is in the
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interest of this country, not only for our present but always for our future. >> secretary hagel, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> you know, the reaction is really pouring in, michelle, from all over the world. you just heard the german foreign minister, but others here in europe. and we're right in helsinki right now. people are gasping. they're wondering what is going on with the president of the united states. >> yeah, to be very blunt, we're hearing words like i feel sick, this is frightening, calling it an abomination. and you can say, sure, european allies are going to want to gloat about this, especially after they were just rebuked by president trump, which of course you could argue they should never have been rebuked by one of their closest friends, the u.s., but people are reeling after hearing this. and you see the president in this press conference hand win after win to putin. they started out small. oh, yeah, there's an idea for that -- remember that
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cybersecurity unit? yeah, there's that. oh, putin has this incredible idea. he called it incredible that putin offered to interrogate u.s. suspects for attacking the u.s. election. then the wins started getting bigger with, oh, we've all made mistakes, we're all at fault. and now refusing to answer that he believes u.s. intelligence over vladimir putin, and in fact compliments russia and their process of justice, saying that hillary's servers and e-mails would have been found if this was russia. people aren't really sure yet how to respond. what we see from senior diplomats around the world is that they're reacting brutally at first, and they're just trying to get their heads around this and put together something that will be a coherent response to the fact that they are reeling. >> fred, you're based in moscow, but you spend a lot of time in germany. so you understand what angela merkel, her government are going through. putin said the summit was very,
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very productive, very useful, very positive. he had glowing words for the president of the united states. >> i presume right now he's doing back flips on his plane as he's going back. it seems as though this whole summit seems to have been stage managed according to what the russians wanted. we talked about this earlier. he came late to the summit, but he landed just as the main political talk show in russia was going to air. so that's what they see in russia. they see only the russian president arriving. they see only the russian president's plane taxiing. they didn't see him come here and a waiting donald trump then comes to him. they just heard that press conference as well with all the things that michelle just said. just as the press conference ends, it ends right as the second edition of their main political talk show starts again. it seems as though this was all stage managed according to russian time and according to the audience that vladimir putin wanted to reach. we've been monitoring some of the things going on, on russian tv. obviously all of them are glowing about this. there's an analyst who said it's clear that president trump has never said anything bad about president putin, that he
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respects president putin, and that clearly he feels very grateful to president putin. so you could already see the russians sort of taking their victory lap about this. i think, wolf, one of the things that's so interesting when you're in russia and you hear what they say there, is they've had a lot of criticism -- >> by the way, the president and first lady just about to board air force one to head back to joint base andrews outside of washington, d.c. they'll be taking off momentarily. >> in russia, what you often hear is that they all criticize the u.s. diplomats getting expelled. they've always taken president trump out of that criticism. they've always said they believe in president trump, they believe he wants better relations with russia. they believe that it's the american establishment, which no doubt is us as well, and is also pretty much large parts of american policy. clearly in their books, today they've won a great victory. we're going to be monitoring
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that, but there's going to be more to come. >> you just have to ask yourself, what for? what could have been so great coming out of that meeting between trump and putin that trump would say these things? or is he just still obsessed with it not taking away any amount from his election win? for what? >> by the way, this was donald trump's idea. i think we've lost sight of that. donald trump invited vladimir putin to visit him in the white house back in march. he insisted upon this summer over the objections and concerned, well founded as it turned out, of his advisers. now his advisers are left to deal with the situation where they basically misrepresented it. jeff zeleny reported this was not the plan. i'm sure u.s. allies were not told that this was how the president of the united states would handle president putin. so it's really -- in a way, it's a debacle of the president's own making. >> there's a lot more we need to assess. we're going to take a quick break, but there were truly stunning moments coming from the president of the united states here in helsinki.
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how will they play out up on capitol hill, back in washington? our own manu raju is getting reaction, and the reaction is pouring in. the president of the united states will not be happy.
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we're following the breaking news, the fallout from president trump's truly shocking news conference with the russian president vladimir putin here in helsinki. reaction is rolling in from capit capitol hill back in washington. manu, i know you've been tracking down lawmakers, democrats and republicans. what's the reaction you're hearing? >> well, democrats not surprisingly are sharply critical, jumping all over these statements today, saying this is a disgraceful play by the president of the united states. you're hearing some republicans side with them and raising their significant concerns about what they heard, about the president casting doubt on the russian interference that occurred in the 2016 elections as he stood
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by vladimir putin. but we're hearing those criticisms from the typical usual suspects of sort, republicans who are typical to criticize the president, like senator flake, who called this a shameful display. ben sass saying this is a bizarre statement by the president to blame both sides, russia and the united states, for the tension that has occurred and this deteriorating relationship. but i spent the morning on the house side of the capitol talking to a number of the president's closest allies. they were aligning themselves in large part with the president, including daryl issa of california, a republican, who says he understands why the president would throw cold water on the intelligence community's assessment. mark meadows, after the president tweeted his criticism
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of the united states, he said, well, he believes the president just wants to have an open dialogue with russia. what you're seeing is a sharp split between republicans on the republican side of the aisle about how hard to go after russia, whether to side with the president or not. we're still waiting for reaction from top leaders in congress, including mitch mcconnell, who's not yet weighed in on this controversy of this morning. clearly, wolf, republicans are waiting to -- some republicans are probably going to speak out strongly. we're expecting to hear from bob corker, the senate foreign relations committee chairman, here momentarily. he's had strong opinions himself. we'll wait to see what he has to say as well. >> yeah, we'll get a lot of reaction, i'm sure, including from republicans. although, i suspect a lot of republicans are so embarrassed, they're simply going to want to stay silent right now. they're not going to rush out and make any statements at all. manu, we'll get back to you. fred pleitgen is still with us. at the end of the news conference, you heard a reporter
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ask putin directly if they have damaging information about the president of the united states that some have suspected could be used as pressure or leverage on him. you heard his response. >> yeah, and he obviously said, oh, no, there's absolutely nothing like that, that he respects president trump. it was very interesting. >> he doesn't really say no. >> he sort of hedged on that. he didn't flatly say no. he said, you know, there are a lot of people who come to visit. i didn't even know he was visiting russia when he was there. >> so many business people came here, 500 business people. do you really think we have damaging material on all of them. so he was sort of trying to hedge the question but also saying, look, was this really something that was in my interest. it certainly is interesting to see him debate it that way. also, i think the other thing that was interesting in that news conference is when he said, look, i was a kgb agent, as you all know, so i know how to deal
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with situations like this. i think that he really spoke from a position where it seemed as though vladimir putin was the one who was controlling the scene, i would say, in that press conference. >> he basically said, you know, don't believe the intelligence community. go before a court, have a jury decide whether or not it's true, the allegations against russia. >> yeah, again, very superficial, clearly trying to sidestep the issue. the intelligence is solid here. and look, before i left government, i stood at the state department podium and talked about the intelligence that we were allowed to talk about in terms of russia's activities in 2016. it's long been known they've had these nefarious efforts writ large in terms of cyber and counterespionage. i think it was totally disingenuous. >> the president wanted to interject at the end, too, without being asked that, oh, it would have come out by now. really? not necessarily. there could be any number of things. >> it's also one of the ways
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that vladimir putin in the past has tried to kill the argument. he's always said, look, america as a state with justice needs to put this through a process. in a free country, you also have the prez that tends to investigate these things, which is totally uncommon in russia. they don't understand the debate that we have in america. it seems as though president trump is almost trying to quell mu -- squelch that debate as well. >> there could be nothing like that in existence. president trump made a point, why wouldn't it have come snout but he doesn't help himself by handing putin the whole plate. that only raises the question again. is there something else, and why would you do this? it's unnecessary for him to psi these things. >> senator corker is speaking out right now. i want to listen in. >> i got here last night and was here to watch it today. i, too, want us to have good relations with russia. i think everybody would like to
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see that happen, but i was disappointed especially by the comments made after the formal presentation. i felt like that everyone who's dealt with putin understands fully that the best way to deal with him is through strength. i just felt like the president's comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover. i was disappointed in that. when he had the opportunity to defend our intelligence agencies, who work for him, i was very disappointed and saddened with the equivalency he gave between them and what putin was saying. so i was very disappointed in that. you know, congress has spoken
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strongly. very few bills around here pass 98-2, but we led on pushing back against russia for many of the things they've done, which have been counter to u.s. interests. i just felt like the president should have been more forceful in talking about those grievances. again, putin only understands strength. i did not think this was a good moment for our country. >> he said he doesn't believe there's any reason to believe whether or not putin interfered in the united states election. what's your reaction to the president casting doubt on the u.s. intelligence agencies? >> yeah, i just don't know where that comes from because there's no question that putin interfered in the elections. i was just in the region, i think you know, in four countries that are near or on the border of russia. they experience it nonstop.
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they definitely interfered in our election. that's not debatable. again, i just don't know what it is about the president that continues to deny that that occurred. i get the feeling -- i mean, i've seen it first hand, actually. sometimes the president cares more about how a leader treats him personally than forcefully getting out there and pushing against things that we know have harmed our nation. i thought that's what we all experienced today. >> do you think he's made the country weaker? >> our country? i certainly would not say that. >> is there a role beyond speaking out for congressional republicans now? should you do more in the face of this? >> yeah, i think, look, there are many people who feel like the actions that we took were too strong, just for what it's
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worth. i don't believe that, but i think we spoke very clearly and very strongly. again, we worked very hard to get it into the right place. so again, we pass laws and that's what we do. and i think we've done an outstanding job of that, actually. it is, in fact, affecting -- it is affecting russia. the sanctions that went in place prior to that in conjunction with europe on crimea and eastern ukraine is affecting russia. so i think we've spoken very, very strongly, very effectively. by the way, in a most unusual way for congress to come together in such a strong manner. >> would you want to see secretary pompeo or john bolton or one of the other folks who was in this bilateral meeting come to your committee and explain to you what, if anything, the u.s. got out of this? >> well, he is coming to our dme committee. i think he's coming -- i think,
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let me underline that -- i think he's coming on the 25th. currently we're planning on doing that so we can have a wide-ranging conversation about north korea, this, and other things. but look, i actually had hoped that nothing much came out of this, okay. i've been concerned about it, as you know. hopefully there were no dealings that were discussed. hopefully this was just a beginning meeting, and hopefully pompeo and bolton, who i know, know well how russia operates, will now help take the ball and move it ahead. >> how much do you think that putin gained from this meeting? >> oh, i think he gained a tremendous amount. i mean, here he has been ostracized on the world stage. as many difficulties as europe
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is having right now, one thing they've stayed together on has been continuing to push back on the rules, the international norms that he broke in eastern ukraine and crimea. i felt like, no, i think he gained a lot. there's nothing -- he gained a tremendous amount. it was almost an approval, if you will, a public approval by the greatest nation on earth towards him. he knows he gained a lot. i would guess he's having caviar right now. >> how concerned are you what happened in the private, one-on-one meeting? we heard what happened publicly. what could have president trump even said? will you find that out from secretary pompeo or others? >> again, i hope on the 25th we'll have a wide-ranging discussion about all that's occurred. it would be difficult for something that really mattered
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to happen without us knowing about it. no matter what may have been discussed behind closed doors, you know, still you've got mattis and pompeo and bolton that are carrying out these activities. they're visible. we can see them. we can touch them. we know what they are. we will know how hard it's being enforced. so there are things that can give you a strong indication whether anything's changed or not. again, i think this was a very good day for -- >> some critics say the president has engaged in almost treasonous comments. would you go that far? >> i think what happens here, people say things over the top and lose a degree of credibility saying it. i will say this again. it was saddening and disappointing to see our
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intelligence agencies on parody with the words that were coming out of president putin's mouth. you know, these people work for the president. you understand that. these intelligence agencies work for the president of the united states, and for him not to defend their activities, to me, was a very sad point. >> president trump called europe a foe. what do you make of that? >> you know, i've been with him many times when he -- he does believe the european union was created, you know, to -- at our expense. i look at them as a trading block that shares values and common interests with us and think we should do everything we can to really strengthen the transatlantic relationship. there's no doubt that today, in a way, this helped to continue
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to undermine that to a degree. so i don't view them that way. there are imperfections in the european union. there's no question in how they're able to consider themselves a union without having the fiscal union and having the differences that, you know, the central bank creates within those entities. they've got tremendous issues, but look -- and they're going to have to sort them out themselves. and the whole migration issue is a difficult issue for them. look, they are our friends. they are our allies. they're going through a very difficult period of time right now. you know, our role should be to help the stability of that area and know that they are people who share our values. you look at where the world is today -- i just read a book by a
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swedish writer called "fact ability." i just heard a talk this week by someone else saying the world has improved tremendously. people don't realize this. so much of it is because of the institutions that we have put in place post world war ii. we need to continue to build on a world that shares our values. i think that things like what was done last week, and i'm talking about more about the nato situation, even though, again, i like the way it ended, along the way we're damaging that relationship. it's a relationship again that has stood well for the american people. so it's been a week of calamitous types of events. today's event, which again i
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thought the presentation before the questions was actually pretty good, i thought. when we moved into q&a, i found it deeply disappointing. >> you've said in the past that -- >> did the united states get anything out of this today? >> well, i don't know. i know they did mention the area in southwest syria. you know, if you remember several months ago, we said if certain activities occurred, we were going to intervene. those activities occurred, we didn't intervene. so we -- it's just difficult to tell. again, i want our relationship with russia to improve. i want us to end up having a good relationship with russia, but we all know that putin does not respect someone who does not push back strongly against what
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they're doing, and i felt today that did not occur. again, i can't speak to what took place privately, but what took place publicly to me did not -- >> senator, you said republican leaders -- >> all right, senator corker, a strong statement. very, very critical of the president of the united states. i want to read a statement we just received from the house speaker paul ryan, another tough statement. quote, there is no question that russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. this is not just the finding of the american intelligence community but also the house committee on intelligence. the president must appreciate that russia is not our ally. there's no moral equivalence between the united states and russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. the united states must be focused on holding russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy. that statement from paul ryan,
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the speaker of the house. more statements are pouring in right now. so many of them condemning president trump for this moral equivalence, in effect siding on so many sensitive issues with the russian president as opposed to his own u.s. intelligence community and law enforcement community. let's take a break. we'll be right back.
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we're continuing our special coverage, the breaking news of today's summit between president trump and russian president vladimir putin right here in helsinki, a meeting that included this characterization of the relationship between president trump and president putin. have a listen. >> our relationship has never been worse than it is now. however, that changed as of about four hours ago.
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i really believe that. nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would not accomplish anything. as president, i cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media or democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct. >> i want to bring in the former u.s. ambassador to russia, spent many years there. ambassador, thanks so much for joining us. have you ever seen anything like this before? >> no, i think i really share the sense of shock and dismay that all of the previous speakers and the statements rolling in from around the world
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expressed. i've been involved in u. u.s./soviet, u.s./russian relations for years. i sat in on president bush with his first meeting with putin. many clinton/yeltsin meetings. we used to worry a lot about overpersonalization of the u.s./russia relationship that, bill and boris or reagan and gorbachev were too close and that we need to somehow broaden the relationship. i think we need, at this point, to look very, very seriously at broadening this relationship away from any more meetings between president trump and president putin. president trump's inability to deal forthrightly with the major issue between russia and the united states, the election interference, it's the major issue now in american political discourse, i think really raises
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questions about the wisdom of continuing to invest a lot in leadership of this relationship from the top. i thought it was interesting, i heard mr. kirby say earlier that he wondered what was being discussed on the plane going back. i think that there's an opportunity here based on some of the things that i heard come out in the press conference. and of course, we don't know at all the full measure of what was discussed in the two-hour one on one. but there does seem to be an opening for secretary of state pompeo to build a better relationship or at least some sort of dialogue with his counterpart, secretary lavrov. my understanding is that they were meeting in helsinki at the same time the two presidents were meeting. secretary mattis obviously with his counterpart. my understanding is that the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff has a good working
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relationship with his russian counterpart. we need to invest more in that dialogue right now because the u.s./russia relationship is in dangerous shape. and we need to work to improve that. >> we're going to see how these senior u.s. officials react and if any of them decide it's time to move on. this is a very, very sensitive moment in american history right now. we're going to continue this conversation down the road, but our special coverage will continue right after a quick break. alright, i brought in new max protein give you the protein you need with less of the sugar you don't. i'll take that. [cheers] 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. new ensure max protein. in two great flavors. new ensure max protein. tap one little bumper and up go your rates.
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welcome back. we are continuing our special breaking news coverage, an extraordinary moment in american history today here in helsinki, the joint news conference between the president of the united states and the president of russia. phil mudd is with me. i want to play for you a clip when putin act knowledged, confirmed publicly, that yes, he wanted donald trump to beat hillary clinton in the u.s. presidential election. listen to this. >> did you direct any of your officials to help him do that? >> translator: yes, i did. yes, i did. because he talked about bringing the u.s./russia relationship back to normal. >> what's your reaction, phil? i'm anxious. you served -- you had a career in the cia and the fbi. when you heard what the president said today, how did you react?
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>> my first reaction is vladimir putin rarely makes a mistake. he makes a mistake. you heard debates when the president was debating hillary clinton. actually, putin wants her. putin today came out and said not true. i wanted -- i wanted donald trump to win. the second thing i heard was n my experience in 35 years of doing this, foreign policy stops at the oceans, the atlantic and the pacific. what the president has said in the last couple of days is it's actual three democrats' fault in a their servers were so vulnerable that they could be exploited and it is the fault of the department of justice, the fbi, the director of national intelligence, the cia, the nsa to be telling me that the russians are interfering. i believe the rm forekgb agent. i don't remember seeing anything like this. >> i haven't seen anything like this either. jim sciutto, what is the reaction from your sources in
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washington? >> shocked. i have been speaking to those closest to the russia investigation. these are their neighbors. one said like so many people around the world who hold america dear i am exploding now being thrown under the bus as russia perpetrates war in ukraine. i have heard from former ukrainians who describe their reaction a stunned, outraged, sadd saddened. there is great fear here. it was the fear i was hearing from the leadup to this summit from diplomats that the president would give the keys on the principle european conflict of the team. that is the west and russia. they are feeling like those fears were confirmed today. >> anna perez, you cover the
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justice debt for us. the fbi, the president clearly not accepting their decision this the russia election attack? >> right, wolf. the president essentially siding with the russians over the fbi. the curious part of the press conference where vladimir putin said that the special counsel robert mueller can simply send information over to the russians on those 12 indicted russian intelligence officers and they can is a conversation, whereby the russians could have the same thing with the americans. we have reached out, but they have not given a comment on that. but they spoke in and out the court filings. back in february after the russians were indicted with regard to the troll farm operation, the special counsel sent summonses over to the russians to the office of the prosecutor jen flal russia. the russians declined to accept those summons, wolf. so we know the answer from the russians, which is they don't want to do anything about this. >> truly an amazing moment in
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get internet on our gig-speed network and add voice and tv for $34.90 more per month. call or go on line today. i'm anderson cooper live from helsinki, finland. we begin with the extraordinary fallout of president trump's meeting with the russian president vladimir putin. president trump said he doesn't see any reasonu russia would interfere in the 2016 presidential election despite the fact that his intelligence community said russia


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