tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 13, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
that there are some upcoming conversations about trade and the budget and the health care bill. one of the problems is there is so much going on right now it is hard to know how to focus any conversation. the fire hose has been turned on and it is flowing freely right now. charlie: there was an interview with fox news yesterday or this morning, in which he said that the next big effort is health care, not tax reform, that helfrich care follows tax reform -- that health care follows tax
reform. >> where are you going to go on tax reform? there is a giant issue. rewriting the tax code is a big issue. cutting taxes is an important priority for republicans. every time we try to go down the tax reform path, he has reverted to health care. we are going to get the health care bill done. we are going to kill obamacare, replace obamacare. that all seemed to die away a couple weeks ago when the house could not muster the votes to get it passed. the present himself suggested -- the president himself suggested we are going to set health care aside, do taxes him about that's not the case. now the message is we are going back to health care. we have to get this done first. we are close to making a deal. arrangementut an with the republican conservatives who didn't like the approach we took before, and i'm close to doing that, or democrats can come to me when we
squeeze obamacare and it starts to wither on the vine and say let's make a deal. one way or the other, he said, we are going to get health care done. i thought that was a striking change from a week or two ago. charlie: he seems to be changing on a number of issues since the campaign. >> and on foreign policy, a number of issues. one of the things i wrote about after the meeting was the extent to which he is developing a good working relationship, even a close one, with president xi of china. china was the subject of a lot of very tough campaign rhetoric, you will remember, on trade, on cheating the u.s., on not playing fair. it was vladimir putin, the russian leader, who was supposed to be the one who was going to be the president trump pal. the reverse has actually happened. he is developing a very good relationship with president xi, which he talked about at some length. they met for hours and hours in
florida, mar-a-lago. they talked for an hour on the phone this week on tuesday night. basically, i like this guy. we have a good chemistry. we can work together. when asked about vladimir putin, he said, well, i got a nice call from him after the election. i called him after the terrorist attack recently in russia to offer our condolences, but i don't really know putin. you have a quite different reality than the one that was presaged during the election. charlie: we know secretary of state tillerson met with putin today in moscow. coming out of that meeting were not very positive notes about the future of u.s.-russia relations. >> there is tension. there is a lot of tension. syria has brought all those tensions to the surface. the idea that the u.s. was going to work with russia in syria, not against russia and syria, now seems a distant memory. there is still a common goal, let's eliminate isis, but a
clear desire on the part of the u.s. now to get rid of president assad in syria. and president trump told us today i'm not demanding that, but i think it's going to happen eventually. the secretary of state said he has invalidated himself as a future leader of syria. the russians continue to prop up president assad. there is certainly tension there. it came to the surface this week when u.s. officials said we about the russians knew the chemical weapons attack that happened recently in syria. we think they may have condoned it. we think they are trying to cover up the evidence. we asked president trump about that. he said we are investigating whether all those signs of russian complicity -- he was cautious, but there is a lot of tension in the air. charlie: he was also cautious in terms of saying that assad did not necessarily have to go. >> and i think that's a way of saying, that's not the goal of our policy, but if our policy produces a departure from assad,
we would like that. and more than that, and this is the real message that you are seeing play out at the united nations, the world is going to decide that assad can't stay. we don't have to make that happen. president trump was very clear and said a couple times, we are not going to get into the quicksand of syria. the missile strike was not a prelude to some big, deep involvement of boots on the ground in syria by any means, but i think the message is the world is going to get rid of assad. we won't have to do that ultimately. charlie: he did say they would -- the president would order the launch of other missiles if there was another use of sarin gas or even perhaps because of barrel bombs. >> he did say that. he said we already sent that message. if there is other chemical attack, we will act. the question we post was what about something short of a sarin gas attack. what about barrel bombs? he said, we will see, maybe. it's a hard line to draw.
in terms of basically striking out at syria for specific actions, that gain is -- game is on to some extent. the message to the syrians is, watch it. we don't want you to know for sure when we are going to strike back, but we are willing to do it. charlie: the russians and a rainy said we will meet force with force -- and the iranians said we will meet force with force. does he feel this is becoming precarious? gerald: we did not discuss it at that level of specificity. the message was sort of, we will be proportional. if we see misbehavior, we will respond accordingly. not we are going to basically force the hands of the syrians or the russians or the iranians. i think what the president is trying to do here is walk a pretty fine line, or at least this is my impression, between washing your hands of the problems in syria on the one
hand or of getting deeply involved. this is exactly the line that president obama saw out there and it's one he tried to avoid having to walk, because it's very hard as a superpower to get engaged a little bit. once you getting gauged, you are expected to stay engaged and ultimately to fix the problem. best not the message from the trump administration right now -- that's not the message from the trump administration right now. charlie: the message from the secretary of state is our goal is to get rid of isis. gerald: but he also said after that, then we will figure out how to solve the syrian problem. he is acknowledging that there is a syria problem out there that you can didn't -- can't avoid forever. we will deal with isis first, then we will worry about president assad and what happens to him. that's not inconsistent with what president trump told us today.
he was more explicit in saying we are not going to go diving into syria. . am saying that's a mistake that's not what we are about right now. charlie: how does he expect to get the russians to negotiate? gerald: that's not clear. one of the things that was hanging in the backdrop of our conversation was the meeting that was going on at the time we were talking between secretary of state tillerson, foreign minister lavrov, and the conversation with president putin. clear. one of the thing that have hanging in the backdrop of our conversation was the thing that were going on with tillerson and the conversation with president putin. and i think he was holding back a little bit. there is a question, when does president trump meet with them. at a minimum that's probably
where they're going to have to sit down and look at each in other in the eye and say what are we going to do? what my plan, what's your plan? charlie: he almost in kiss enjer's style has basically played the china hand as we believe between china and russia that china is the better place for to us do business. gerald: that's an interesting way to put it and i think that's right. you know, the superpower relationship that we're going to have to invest our time and our effort in and the one that we really need to make work, maybe the one with china. that's kind the impression you got. and by the wearing i'm very happy to discover that the chinese president is someone i can work with. he's a serious guy. president trump said he's a real leader. i get along with him.
there was a lot of indication in the body language as well as a the actual worlds, we're going to work this china account. we're going to be touch, tough on trade, but we're going to make this rhythm work. the win -- one thing that didn't come up and i think still looms in the background is the way china is asserting himself or bullying its neighbors in its own backyard in the south china sea. there a lot of tension in that area and some of that tension involves close call between the u.s. and russian navy as the u.s. try to assert their rights to water and islands in that part of the world. there are places where there rhythm could still go sorryly off the tracks but for now, the impression that donald trump has is that i can make this rhythm work. charlie: he did talk about chinese currency, didn't he? jarred: he did and contrary to what he said in the campaign,
the u.s. government is not going to officially declare that china is manipulating its currency to increase it power in trailed, in kruise crease its ability to export and make it harder for people to send their products to china. that is a decision the government has to make in a few day and they've already made the decision that they're not going to declare china a currency manipulator. why? because they're not trying to drive down their currency to gain trailed advantage. in fact trs opposite is happening. he trade is appreciating and the chinese are trying to drive up the value of their currency. the trump administration said we warned them they better change their behavior. that's kind of the way the chinese have been heading in a
while. that's one area that's not going to be an area of conflict. charlie: he talked about janet yellen and the fact he's opposed to the idea of raising interest railts? gerald: he did and said basically i like low interest rate, which is a bit of a warning shot to janet yellen and the fed not to go too far and certainly not too fast in raising interest rates. there's a question down the road and this is a ways off, another year or so of having to reappoint janet yellen as chairwoman of the fed or not. he wouldn't engage in narcs saying that's a way off but he essentially said when -- what he thinks about fed policy, which is interest rate lower better than interest rate higher and i'm reserving judgment on janet yellen. he said along the way he thinks the dollar has appreciated too much. and that makes it difficult for
americans to sell their products abroad, makes it too espnive. when president say those sorts of things, they're taken seriously in the financial market. charlie: and then there are the questions that were swirling around the touch presidency before syria and before the hinese president came to miralago. steve bannan on the one hand. the faxal fightinging. did he speak to that? gerald: a little bit. not much. he basically said steve bannan is a smart guy. i like him. he didn't join my campaign until late and i'm my own strategist. i make my own zig on strategy, which was kind of a difficult formulation to read precisely. we asked him explicitly, are you going to make some change in
your senior team and he said i don't think so. we'll see down the road. a classic trumpian form lailings, if you think about it. for now, know, but don't hold me to that later. charlie: he also said you guys fix this or i'll fix it. gerald: that's what he's saying impliftly in his public complefpblets and i expect ex plift lip in private conversations with his staff. i like steve bannan fine but let's not be queued. he's not the president. i'm the president. charlie: also, with respect to health care and some other things, he's got to risk his base and he's got to negotiate with his base, which is in part the freedom caucus in the how. is he prepared to abandon them? gerald: well, i think what he was suggesting was that we're going to bring the freedom
caucus around. they like me, he said. they want me to succeed, i want them to be happy so we're going to find a way to do it. one of the things that happened in the health care debate that actually works to the president's advantage is that some of the things the freedom caucus, some of the changes in obamacare or some parts they were trying to eliminate turned out to be fairly popular with those blue collar pop allows voters who supported donald trump. he's got a little bit of leverage i think on the freedom caucus because as people understood some of the changes that were being suggested in health care, they realized those things weren't playing all that well with trump voters who benefit from some of those voter. i think trump is saying i may be able to bring those people around but also saying if that doesn't happen, i'm willing to
cut a deal with the democrats. if i do, you guys in the freedom caucus aren't going to like the outcome so much. charlie: where does he think north korea is going? gerald: i asked him what's the message you're sending by sending an aircraft carrier and it associated ships toward north korea in recent days. he said you cannot allow a country like that to have nuclear weapon. that's the message he wants people to get. now, the north koreans already have nuclear weapons. they have nuclear devices that they've exploded. but i think his message was i'm sending this as a sign to the north koreans and probably to the chinese as well that this program is going to have to be stopped one way or the other and in particular, the ability to develop missiles that can.com nuclear war heads is going to have to be stopped. charlie: finally this you have interviewed him before, you've seen him in action before.
you've been you been reading and writing about all the controversy about the first how many days it's been so far. what was his demeanor? jarred: i thought he was more relaxed than i expected. given all the controversy, given the syrian episode. gifrpbl the fact he'd just been through this high-stakes episode with the chinese. he seemed pretty relaxed about all of that. maybe surprisingly so we asked him, you've been in this job 75, 80 day, whatever it is. how's it changed you? what's your reaction? he said i don't think every changed but the gravity of the office does kind of present it to you. you can't avoid the fact that every decision is a big decision. they're life and death decision. he said it's not like closing a real estate deal where you win or somebody else wins. knees are life and death decisions and every one of them is a big zig.
it was an interesting look into the sober reality of being president, which donald trump has figured out. charlie: it's that and all president say there's no experience nall give you everything you need to handle this job. they all said that. gerald: and he said you have to have -- all the skills you have need to be brought to bear in this job. there's clearly some element of being president that is humbling to anybody, everybody who's ever walked into that office and certainly the current occupy pant. -- ok pant. charlie: jarred, thank you so much for joining us. gerald sure, charlie. clearly: we continue with
david sanger of "the new york times," who was in moscow. there was a meeting late today at the kremlin. tch the first face-to-face meeting of the russian lead we are a top trump administration official. earlier this week, the white house accused putin's government of covering up bashir assad's role in the chemical attack. today's meeting could determine future relation between russia and the united states. david sanger is the national security correspondent from the "new york times." he joins me from moscow and i join him by complathe --
congratulate him on the recipient of his team or a -- of a plitser prize. congratulations. david: thank you very much, charlie. it was a great time and all russia related. the story of the russian hack and the information program. charlie: there was much drama this morning as we went to broadcast at cbs about whether vladimir put listen meet with rex tiller son. why did he decide to do it, did he always decide -- decide to do it. was there any reporting on the subject? david: that would be inside vladimir putin's held. but we've seen this before. moments when he kept john kerry and president obama at various points about whether or not or when he was meet. we've seen this happen. in this case, because he's known mr. tiller son from the days
that he was the chief executive of exxonmobil, it surprised us a little bit because he was obviously dealing with a known quantity here. this have the first meeting between anybody senior in the trump administration and vladimir putin, or at least the first we know about. it have somewhat critical to watch whether or not they could get past this remarkably difficult set of fact they've been describing and based on the only voice we've heard since then, tiller son with the russian foreign minister, it doesn't sound like they've gotten any closer on the facts. the american view is that it have the syrian regime that have responsible for the sarin gas attack. mr. putin himself in other broadcasts today gave some completely alternative theory.
they're still not in the same place about who hacked into the election process. while mr. tillerson hasn't wanted to dwell on it since his boss is a skeptic. he said it's basic live an established fact that russia messed with it and of course putin denied that. charlie: a lot of people from putin to tillerson to others are saying that the relationship is at a low point. what are the implications of that? david: the implications is what happens if it spirals downward? i mean, we can fight over syria. we have proxy war that went on throughout the cold war. we don't have the numbers of nuclear weapons pointed at each other, thank goodness, that we did at the height of the cold war. we don't have the sense of russia as a rising power that is going to challenge us that we had during the cold war. that roam has been taken on now by china. but we certainly do have a sen
of contention and that contention is really in three or four different different places. it's over crimea and the ukraine and mr. tiller son said today there would be no relaxation of sanctions until that's solved. it's over europe where the russian are now meddling in the elections, the way they did in our kay. it's over the election investigation. whether or not this is supposed to be a distraction from, that chugging guard. and then, of course, it's over russia's general view that its for is to be the spoiler the united states. the counter weight. and i think that the big transition we've seen over the past week is that donald trump has come around to thinking that maybe the russians have been pretty disruptive actors. not something you heard during the campaign or the first 80
days of the presidency. charlie: the interesting thing is where the president is tonight with respect to the future of bashir assad. david: part of the difficulty we've had in the past weeks, since the mitchell attack last thursday, has been getting the administration to explain what it strategic objectives are in syria. the narrowest explanation was this is to stop the use of chemical weapons again. then smean spicer, the press secretary came out and said no, it's to stop violence against the syrian people and left open the possibility we could retail yamente for barrel bombs and all the horrors that have been rained on the syrian people by the assad regime. then we heard from nikki haley that maybe this was about regime change, something mr. tiller son
denied. then we heard it's about protecting the syrian people. setting up safe dones -- zones and no-fly zones and so forth. you could argue, you have an administration only 0 days into it time in offers. they haven't had time to figure out their goals but that's very different from what donald trump was saying during the campaign, which was we shouldn't be involved in these kind of conflicts at all. america first means focus on america within it border. charlie: it's interesting, too, how the president, president trump, has referred to the president of russia as saying he's supporting a very bad man and clearly we happened the secretary of defense presenting evidence why they were sure this came from bashir assad and that it notes that there were russian connected to where the took
place and would have clearly expected to have known not only that there were chemical weapons there, which is a violation of the treaty but also that the russians should have seen what hey were planning to do. david: tillerson said the other y the russians were either incomp tenlt or had the wool pulled over their eyes by the syrians. so even though it's a big base, it is hard to believe that the russians had no idea what was going on. the russians today called for an investigation, led by criminal investigators of the hague to figure out what happened and who is some. but putin just hour before he met rex tillerson laid out these different theories, including that the syrians had mistakenly hit a warehouse that have full
of this material. that had belonged to terror groups or that the united states and its allies had set this entire thing up as a hoax in an effort to try to force assad out. what is clear is this -- the american view now, not a week ago, is that assad has to go and the only question is how do you orchestrate that? and the russian view is that this set of events has driven them close dore bashar assad and -- bashir assad and more intent to holding on to him. charlie: their special interest is having a port there, which is their largest ports outside the russian boarder? david: the port is part of it but i think a good deal of it as well has been that with the military move into syria, president putin has, on the cheap, given russia a mump
larger role in the middle east than itself it's had in decades. it's made it deciding force that has kept assad in power, along, of course, with the iranians. so all the early talk that president trump had about why can't we be friends, don't we have common interests here. can't we come to some common interests in fighting isis and all that. i think the overall message of tillerson tookr. here was not anytime too soon. you have to wonder whether or not mr. tillerson came equipped with another -- enough policy option to break in logjam. you didn't hear much about reviving the process that john kerry started up, calmed the geneva process. you heard about some small working groups to try to work out smaller differences between russia and the united states but that seemed to be mostly a
cover, an effort to say we've done something. charlie: the other thing, it's apparent from the interview that president trump has done here in the united states with "the wall street journal" and fox news is that i still hold to the position they held before, that we have no business in going in and getting involved in a civil war in any significant way. david: well, that's true and he has said that repeatedly but at the same time he hasn't made that compatible with a strategy that would actually remove assad from power. with the help of the syrian people. you have to stop the war to be able to do that so the syrian people can take an honest and real sloment. and that means a lot syrians no longer living in syria and he hasn't made it compatible with the rest of the strategy. i did think it was interesting tonight when we were at the
russian foreign mini city and labaroth gave tillerson a five to 10-minute tutorial of all the times the united states had gone about regime change in his minds and zone -- seen it go bad. we talked about blibblet's policy on the balkans. then saddam husain under the false message of weapons of mass direction -- destruction then cadaffive. the message was every time you americans go and do this, you then get out and leave a vacuum with a giant mess, which sounds a lot like what donald trump used to say on the campaign trail. charlie: we still don't know how president putin size up president trump, do we? david: they both revel in being
unpredictable. we didn't see putin go in to grab crime yeah for example. they're not terribly ideological and the thing the -- think the final one and the most important one is they both have this sense that their countries have, for some reason or another, not been able to exercise the kind of power that they're due and they're determined to fix that. you could imagine two people with those common views finding a way to have an accord because they're not ideological enemies. you could also imagine this spinning a built out of control because both of them are vying to bring their countries back to the kind of global influence that they imagined from a previous glory era. charlie: david sanger from moscow, thank you for joining you. david: thank you, charlie. great to be with you. ♪
how nice. i'll be right there. and the butchery begins. what am i gonna wear? this party is super fancy. let's go. i'm ready. are you my uber? [ horn honks ] hold on. don't wait for watchathon week to return. [ doorbell rings ] who's that? show me netflix. sign up for netflix on x1 today and keep watching all year long. charlie: we continue our coverage of the trump administration's big week on the national security stageful joining me from washington, david ignatius. foreign affairs columnist if the "washington post." and nikola burns who served as secretary of state for political affairs under george bush.
i'm pleased to have both of them back on this program. nick, you said this was a remarkable day in the foreign policy history of a president. nicolas: it could be, charlie. donald trump is so unpredictable but rex tillerson went to moscow and said we're at the lot ehlo -- lowest points we've been with russia in recent memory. they took the to the rush and were extremely critical of what the russians have been doing in syria. and rex tillerson brought it back rightly to crime yafment he said russian interference in our election was a problem. i also thought it have interesting to see donald trump, who for 1 months has been
railing against nato saying it's obsolete and you'll forgive me, i'm a former ambassador to nato and today he said nato is no longer obsolete. he said nato used to not be fighting terrorism and now they are. nato wasn't spending enough and now they're on track to spend more. he tried to put a positive gloss on these issues woo where herself been extremely criminal -- critical. and we may be seeing a repositioning of the position. commearl: david, your column says some similar things so you two seems to be on the same page. david: i agree with what nick said. in that column this morning, i quoted the national securement advisor for president obama thought a -- the strike on syria
was appropriate but said the changes on policy on russia, china, and syria from the administration in recent weeks ad been whiplash-inducing. such sharp changes from what donald trump talked about during the campaign. he was going to get closer to russia and china was raping america and was our biggest adversary. now we're seeing he's changed all those. i-do think the president is listening more to his foreign policy team than he did and listening a lot less to the person who's encouraged him to be a disruptor, a by mandtler and that steve bannan. it's really striking to me how the knives are out for steve bannan. the things that journalists like me are hearing from the white house about bannan. the president angry at banner for -- bannan for his claim to grab attention for himself tells
that you trump that is moved from being very pro-bannan to considerably less so on these foreign policy issues his next stems, we're just going to have to say. i'm struck by the way donald trump is doing what henry kiss injer prided himself on doing, which is playing the ring the already relationship. the u.s., russia and china, playing a touch the two superpoump rivals, seeking advantage, leaning one way then the other. that's classic kiss injer balance of power diplomacy and oddly enough, donald trump most inexperienced president in my lifetime, seems to be doing a little bit of that. charlie: and i think jared kushner is being schooled by him. there have been conferring as jared kushner realizes that he has a lot to hearne and he reaches out to learn as much as
he can. david: i have that same impression. jared kushner, 36 years old. young man, harvard grad but not much experience, certainly in foreign policy. i think henry kis enjer has taken gerald on as a project. the last project he may undertake in trying to teach him about the way in which a great power like the united states maneuvers, especially during a period of adversity. kiss jer came in at a time the vietnam zillion war had really enfeebed the united states, it was thought. we don't read or hear about this, it seems that kissinger is giving advice to kushner and through him to the president. charlie: how do you perceive the russians to be react something
nick:ic the -- i think the russians are angry and a little bit stunned. we all heard from the first weeks of the administration, all those positive words from donald trump. the russians were thinking this could be a sea change in the united states. there's tremendous disappointment in moscow. president putin commit tillerson waiting until the end of the day. i think there's fall hope there but what do the russians expects given everything they've done in the middle east to undercut the united states, plus the interference with the election. i think president trump is bocked in on charges that make conclusion between the trump campaign and the russian government. we do know the russians interfered. interesting that tillerson raised that this week. interesting that president trump still won't criticize president
putin. he was asked about his rhythm with president putin today and he pivoted away and said a lot ping. gs about president and david's points i think is central here. it looks as if the united states has flipped. now very open in praising china, very critical of russia. the opposite of where president-elect trump was during the transition. charlie: what do you guys both see as our options in north korea? the president has said in the last couple of day, i'm sending an armada to want wearments off north korea. what do you make of that? david: charlie, i'll begin and then hand it to nick. i think trump has pretty much told us the baseline, that he happened extensive, said four
hours of one-on-one conversation with the chinese president. north korea was a central part of that. i'm told that each explained how they look at this north korea problem. trump sid -- said it's intolerable for the united states to get a nuclear tipped mitchell that could strike mernl territory. the chinese president talked about how difficult it is for china to deal with north korea. what a difficult neighbor they are so they talked it through and then interestingly, after the visit, the chinese have been unusual cooperative. they abstained on the u.n. vote on the syrian resolution, taking a different position from russia. trump said today that china has already started turning around north korean coal shims, exports that are crucial for the north korean economy. the chinese issued a press
statement today basically warning north korea that the current situation of confrontation is intolerable to china, so it seems as if trump has managed to pull the chinese president toward him in this crucial con prison take. obviously the chinese want this o be resolved without military for. it's been an interesting, surprisingly nuance to me built of diplomacy from a very inappearanced president. i'm not sure he'd ever mad a -- had a meeting quite like that. charlie: it is so interesting to me that the strike took place on thursday night and the chinese perspective is having dinner with the man what ordered the strike. nick: i think it must have stunned him the way all of us were stunned with the
the strike speed oaf and the chinese much thought is strump -- trump trying to signal us about north korea? i agree with david in that the inese are -- banking on this coal begun to restrict eck ports to north korea. but i'm skeptical that president trump is going to be any more successful than president obama or president bufrpblt i was part of the bush e. to try to get the chinese to do so. at the ends of the day, the chinese, i think, are more comfortable with the status quo of a nuclear armed north korea than the possible alternative. the collapse of north korea at some point, refugee into china and north korea, democratic, based in seoul, aligned with the
united states and that would border choirnl. i don't think if donald trump and secretary mattis and secretary tillerson will be able to pierce this they'll give a little but will they actually change chinese core position? 'm not sure they will. david: trump has said that the u.s. will take unilateral military action on their border. that has to be the least attractive suggest of all. i've heard people in the trurp administration talk in a very general way about the possibility that some day a different north korea may -- might be a buffer state. the chinese obviously fear a unified korea dominated by south korea would be in effect an american proxy on their boarder and thrention -- threatening so
i think there a little bit of creative thinking about some way to say to the chinese, we understand that you have nterest. we would be explored to -- prepared to explore an outcome and recognize an interest that would leave you more secure. harlie: in terms of diplomacy, nothing makes another nation happy, especially if they're weaker, if you believe that they're listening to you. that their point of view is being heard. nick: and it's interesting to see donald trump' first foray. i think this has been the moe important two weeks of his president si with foreign olicy. he spent a lot of time with xi
jinping. and they didn't play golf together. i think we've learned that china is two things to the united states in a way china is going to be our most important partner on big issues like north korea and climate change. if the trump administration would see its way forward on a climate change. but it's also a competitor for strategic and military power to the united states. and balancing that retires real subtlety. i think president obama and president george w. bush were able to keep the plans and frankly, i think president trump has been a good week dealing with xi jinping 6. his statements today were supportive of a stronger relationship between the u.s. and china and gave the back of his hands to russia. didn't want to talk about the russian relationship. so let's hope this ideological battle in the white house is really swinging toward people
who know what they that about -- talking about. our secretary of state and secretary of defense. charlie: has this country made a choice to whether going to leave assad a alone regarding the use of chemical weapons or do we have a larger strategy that includes not just minimizing isis and then going after some transition in the syrian government? david: charlie, as near as i can tell from my reporting, the strategy remains pretty much what it was under obama and strategy is generous in implying clarity but in eastern syria, the united states will lead a coalition that will take the isis capital of racha. the u.s. is going forward with a force that is led by syrian curledish elements who are good fighters. drives turkey nuts that the u.s. is pushing ahead with that. in terms of the ultimate political balance in the west of
syria, damascus and aleppo in the north and the cities in between, i think the u.s. ntinues to believe that negotiated political settlement there that gets assad out eventually after a transition of some length is the only policy that makes sense. when i talk to senior commanders in the pentagon, that's still what they tell me. i'll see whether any progress was made by rex tillerson and his conferring with putin about some e. by the united states and russia to broker that transition. john kerry tried it. admirably. worked so hard on it under president obama. never really got it done. i think trump is basically trying that again, although they're not saying it. arlie been -- charlie: but john kerry always bemoaned the fact that the u.s. had no leverage on the ground so
therefore gork were very difficult. david: they have more. fire missiles and you have more leverage. charlie: do you think this have a shot that was heard around the world, that the united states intends to lead? nick: this was president obama's points of weakness. the failure to defend the red line in syria. i do think president trump earned a little bit of credibility with nose air strikes -- air strikes last week. but it's going to be hard to perceive because tillerson has been talking about going for a transitional government and some kind of cease-fire. that could take years. he's right to try it but i'm not sure we have the leverage on the ground. the russians are far more powerful than we are in syria. they have the iranians and hezbollah and the syrian government. president trump said today time
to ends the war but 'em not sure they have the leverage yet. can the united states build co-lies with fighters on the ground? whether with syrian kurds or sunni militias to get that leverage? charlie: someone said to me that in. conversation between rex tillerson and the foreign minister that l africa baroth reeled out seven or eight examples -- examples where american intervengs had come to nothing. david: that's a standard russian refrain. i think we all understand there's a way in when that -- which that carry an important proof. i think, in case, rush heir gained the strategic advantage when it intervened in sear -- syria in september 2015 and has been in the driver's seat and u.s. diplomacy has been boot he.
it hasn't had the clout to be effective. what i hear from the white house as they talk about what they're trying to do, is the idea that the u.s., by being more decisive. in two day respondsing to chemical weapons attack, puts the russians on their back foot a little bit. i quoted one official in a column this morning saying the russians are catching for a change after pitching for so long. now they're catching. now they're responding. charlie: i saw that. david: so i think that tells you how they're looking at this. they want to make russia own the syria problem. once russia owns it. do they really want to stick with bashir assad? that's the kind of conversation i think they want to have. charlie: nick, thank you so much. david, thank you so much. ♪ >> coming up on "bloomberg
best," the stories that shaped the week in business around the world. ceos get into the hot water. united airlines, after a shocking video. thanks for fired up after the start of their earnings season. >> the main street side is not as strong. >> janet yellen says the fed is ready to change its focus. others focus on the balance sheet. >> it is higher than anyone thinks it should be. >> who do you think will be the next french president? what will happen to germany?