tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN April 12, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
again you have putin come to the aid of assad, not just in the united nations but also in these diplomatic discussions where, frankly, we need to get down to brass tax. this is not something that's in the interest of stability anywhere in the world to introduce or allow to be introduced the use of poison gas, and so i -- i think that's what really changed the dynamic. >> your counterpart on the senate foreign relations committee, senator bob corker of tennessee, told me last week initially he was concerned that president trump might make what he called, quote, a cheap deal with russia, something along the lines of working with russia in syria against isis and permitting putin to get away with aggressive action in crimea and ukraine. did you at any point share that concern? >> my concern about putin's actions here and what we should do about it is referenced with the legislation that i passed through the house with elliott
engall, my ranking member, to try to put additional sanctions on putin's russia and on iran as a consequence of their support here for assad. we're now bringing that bill up again, and this time i think we'll get it through the senate, and this time i think we'll get a presidential signature on it, so i -- i think everything is moving in the direction of additional sanctions. >> russia's foreign minister lectured secretary tillerson warning the u.s. not to conduct any more strikes in syria. are you at all concerned about a military confrontation with russia over syria? >> look, you can see how measured this response was, what effort was taken to make certain that the assets that the were take own out were the syrian air force planes, 23 of them were destroyed. those planes that were carrying out chemical attacks, and so i -- i think you're going to concede if you see another chemical attack or a proven sarin gas attack, yeah, then i think you'll probably see the
president respond. but i think it will be in a measured way, and he's made it very clear he does not intend to, you know, put infantry on the ground in syria with respect to any of this. >> based on what you've heard from sean spicer and from secretary of dev fence mattis over the last few days, do you think the use of barrel bombs by assad against his own people is a new red line, or does that not quite reach the threshold of a chemical weapon? >> you know when i heard that i think what he was talking about was the latest suggestion that chlorine gas was being used in these chemical bombs or in these barrel bombs, so i think what he was talking about, and i don't know for certain, but i presume it was dropping by barrel bomb chlorine. that would be another gas attack. if that's the reference, then that needs to be followed up. there's an allegation of that, but, you know, we have the hard evidence on the sarin. i don't know yet if in this
particular instance we have hard evidence on the chlorine in a barrel bomb. >> do you think that the u.s. government should present the evidence that assad was behind this attack and any other evidence to the world given the fact that russia, assad and others are challenging the united states and even comparing this to the inaccurate wmd predictions before the iraq war? >> jake, here's what's surprising in this case. we just at the united nations supported a resolution that would have an investigation, the very investigation that putin himself had called for, right, and there's the russian ambassador and when our ambassador and the other members of the international community put this forward in the security council, he exercises his veto. the very thing he claimed he was asking for, an international investigation by the united nations. they vetoed it. putin's agent vetoed it, so i
think we see the spin coming out of the kremlin on this right now. >> republican congressman ed royce, chairman of the house foreign affairs committee and here come the secretary-general of nato and president trump. let's listen in. >> thank you. >> secretary-general stoltenberg, it's a pleasure to welcome you to the white house, especially at such an important moment in our great alliance. i also want to acknowledge the great work being done by our secretary of state rex tillerson to strengthen the relationship with the united states and its allies. he did a terrific job. just watched parts of it.
did an absolutely terrific job. 68 years ago this month not far from where we are gathered today president harry truman spoke at the signing of the north atlantic treaty. in the nearly seven decades since harry truman spoke those words, the nato alliance has been the bulwark of international peace and security. nato allies defeated communism and liberated the captive nations of the cold war. they secured the longest period of unbroken peace that europe has ever known. this enduring partnership is rooted out of so many different things but our common security is always number one, and our common devotion to human dignity and freedom. since 1949 the nato member
states have more than doubled increasing from festival to 28. on monday i signed the protocol to approve the 29th, the country of montenegro. in the coming months and years i'll work closely with all of our nato allies to enhance this partnership and to adapt to the challenges of the future of which there will be many. this includes upgrading nato to focus on today's most pressing security and all of its challenges, including migration and terrorism. we must also work together to resolve the disaster currently taking place in syria. we are grateful for the support of nato members and partners in their condemnation of assad's
murderous attack using the most horrible weapons. the vicious slaughter of innocent civilians with chemical weapons, including the barbaric killing of small and helpless children and babies, must be forcefully rejected by any nation that values human life. it is time to end this brutal civil war, defeat terrorists and allow refugees to return home. in facing our common challenges, we must also ensure that nato members meet their financial obligations and pay what they owe. many have not been doing that. the secretary-general and i agree that other member nations must satisfy their responsibility to contribute 2% of gdp to defense. if other countries pay their fair share instead of relying on the united states to make up the difference, we will all be much
more secure, and our partnership will be made that much stronger. the secretary-general and i had a productive discussion about what more nato can do in the fight against terrorism. i complained about that a long time ago and they made a change, and now they do fight terrorism. i said it was obsolete. it's no longer obvious lieutenant. it's my hope that nato will take on an increased role in supporting our iraqi partners in their battle against isis. i'm also sending general mcmaster to afghanistan to find out how we can make progress alongside our afghan partners and nato allies. every generation has strived to adopt the nato alliance to meet the challenges of their times, and on my visit to brussels this spring, which i look very much
forward to, we will look together to do the same. we must not be trapped by the tired thinking that so many have but apply new solutions to face new circumstances, and that's all throughout the world. we're not here to stand on ceremony but to develop real strategies to achieve safety, security and peace. we're here to protect the freedom and prosperity of our citizens and to give them the future they so richly deserve. secretary-general, i'm honored to have you here today and to reaffirm our commitment to this alliance and to the enduring values that we proudly, and i mean very proudly, share. thank you very much. thank you for being here. thank you. >> thank you so much, mr. president. we just had an excellent and very productive meeting, and
it's really an honor to meet you for the first time here in the white house. we agree that nato is a bedrock of security, both for europe and for the united states. two world wars and cold war that taught us all that peace in europe is not only important for europeans but is also important for the prosperity and the security of north america, so a strong nato is good for europe, but a strong nato is also good for the united states. and, therefore, i welcome the very strong commitment of the united states to the security of europe. we see this commitment not only in words but also in deeds. over the past months, thousands of u.s. troops have been deploying to europe, a clear
demonstration that america stands with allies to protect peace and defend our freedom. and yesterday you announced the completion of the ratification of montenegro's membership in nato, another expression of your strong commitment to europe and to the transatlantic bond and we thank you for that. in a more dangerous an unpredictable world, it is important to have friends and allies, and in nato america has the best friends and the best allies in the world. together rerepresent half of the world's economic and military power. no other superpower has ever had such a strategic advantage. this makes the united states stronger and safer. we saw that after the 9/11
attacks on the united states. that was the first time nato invoked our article 5, the collective defense clause. allies sent awacs surveillance planes to help patrol american skies. and we launched nato owes biggest military operation ever in afghanistan. hundreds of thousands of europeans and canadian soldiers have served shoulder to shoulder with american troops. more than 11,000 have paid the ultimate price. earlier today i laid a wreath at arlington national cemetery in tribute to the fallen. it was a deeply moving experience. we owe it to our service men and women to preserve the
hard-earned gains that we've made together in afghanistan. we were reminded of their sacrifice just this week when a u.s. soldier was killed there fighting isil. our mission in afghanistan is a major contribution to the fight against international terrorism. nato plays a key role in many other ways also. all nato allies are part of the global coalition to counter isil. and nato provides direct support to the coalition with training for iraqi forces in their fight against terrorists and more intelligence-sharing, and you are right. we have established a new division for intelligence which enhances our ability to fight terrorism and working together in the alliance to fight terrorism in an even more
effective way. but we agree today, you and i, that nato can and must do more in a global fight against terrorism. in the fight against terrorism training local forces is one of the best weapons we have. nato has the experience, the expertise and the staying power to make a real difference. and fighting terrorism will be an important topic when nato leaders meet in brussels in may. the other major topic will be fair burden-sharing in our alliance. and we had had a thorough discussion on this issue today. mr. president, i thank you for your attention to this issue. we are already seeing the effects of your strong focus on the importance of burden-sharing in the alliance. we agree that allies need to
redouble their efforts to meet the pledge we all made in 2014 to invest more in our alliance. it is about spending more on defense. it is about delivering the capabilities we need and it is about contributing forces to nato missions and operations. this means cash, capabilities and contributioned. fair burden-sharing has been my top priority since taking office. we have now turned a corner. in 2016 for the first time in many years we saw an increase in defense spending across european allies and canada. a real increase of 3.8% or $10 billion more for our defense. we are now working to keep up the momentum, including by
developing national plans, outlining how to make good on what we agreed in 2014. we know that we all need to contribute our fair share because we need to keep our nations safe in a more dangerous world. we discussed many different topics during our meeting today, including the horrendous use of chemical weapons in syria. any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, cannot go unanswered and those responsible must be held accountable. so, mr. president, thank you once again. i look forward to working with you to keeping the alliance strong, and i look forward to welcoming you to brussels in may when heads of state and government and alliances meet there to discuss the challenges and the need to continue to adapt the alliance to a more
challenging security environment and to respond both to the need for sharing and stepping up our efforts to fight international terrorism. thank you once again. >> thank you very much, great. thank you. so we'll have a couple of questions. jeff mason. >> thank you. thank you, mr. president. i would like to ask you about two topics, if i may. first, has your view of vladimir putin changed after what's happened in syria, and what -- what is the united states prepared to do if he continues to support assad, and on a separate question, have you made a deal after your chat last night with the president of china about china helping to rein in north korea, and is that one reason you've decided not to label beijing a currency manipulator. >> well, i'll be speaking to -- yeah. you want to go ahead. >> may i. for the secretary-general, do you believe that nato should consider to bolster its presence along the alliances' eastern
border, and are you confident that you have president trump and the united states support for that? >> thank you. >> i'll be speaking with rex tillerson in a little while, calling in. i think he had a very successful meeting in russia. we'll see. we'll see the end result which will be in a long period of time perhaps, but the end result is what's most important, not just talk, and i think that based on everything i'm hearing, things went pretty well, maybe better than anticipated. it would be wonderful as we were discussing just a little while ago if nato and our country could get along with russia. right now we're not getting along with russia at all. we may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with russia. this is buihas built for a longd of time, but we'll see what happens. putin is the leader of russia. russia is a strong country. we're a very, very strong country. we're going to see how that all works out.
last night separately i spoke with a man that i've gotten to know. i don't know putin, but i do know this gentleman. i've spent a lot of time with him over the last two days, and he's the president of china. you were there, most of were you there, and it was quite an interesting period of time. president xi wants to do the right thing. we had a very good bonding. i think we had a very good chemistry together. i think he wants to help us with north korea. we talked trade. we talked a lot of things, and i said the way you're going to make a good trade deal is to help us with north korea. otherwise we're just going to go it alone, that will be all right, too, but going it alone means going with lots of other nations, but i was very impressed president xi, and i think he means well and i think he wants to help. we'll see whether or not he does. >> do you feel like you have a
deal with him, and if i could -- do you feel like you have a deal with him in terms of the currency manipulation designation and have your views changed on putin? >> we're going to see. we're going to see about that, and i'll also see about putin over a period of time. be a fantastic thing if we got along with putin and if we got along with russia, and that could happen, and it may not happen or it may be just the opposite. i can only tell you what i would like to do. i would love to be able to get along with everybody. right now the world is a mess, but i think by the time we finish, i think it's going to be a lot better place to live, and i can tell you that speaking for myself, by the time i'm finished it's going to be a lot better place to live in because right now it's nasty. >> nato is in the process of implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the cold war, and one element of that is to increase our military presence in the eastern part of
the alliance, and we are now deploying four battle groups to the three baltic countries and poland, and there's also been more u.s. forces in that part of europe, and this is the first time in many, many years that we see an increase in the military presence of the united states in europe. so we are increasing our presence, and we're also increasing the readiness and the preparedness of our norses so that we can quickly reinforce, if needed. we consider the presence that we'll have in when the four battle groups are in place as sufficient given the current security situation in europe, but, of course, we'll assess the situation and follow the developments very closely. the message from nato is that what we do is proportionate. it is defensive and we don't want a new cold war. we don't want a new arms race, and we actually believe there's no contradiction between a
strong nato, a credible deterrence on defense and political dialogue with russia. actually we believe that a pre-condition for a political dialogue with russia is that we are strong and that we are united, but based on that we can talk to russia because russia is you're neighbor. russia is here to stay, so we have to find ways to manage our relationship with russia. and i'm absolutely certain that the united states supports this approach, partly because the united states is contributing with forces to our enhanced presence in the eastern part of the alliance and also in the southeast of the alliance in romania, and the united states and the president has clearly expressed that they want dialogue with russia, but based on unity and strength in the alliance. then the next question is from john chappell. >> thank you very much. secretary-general, how long do you think it will take to you persuade the other european
countries to burden-share, and what are you going to do to persuade them? mr. president, could i ask you -- >> i like that question. >> i'm here to help. and mr. president, do you think it's conceivable, what's your instinct? was it possible that syrian forces could have launched that attack in idlib last week without the russians knowing, and have you been disappointed, surprised by vladimir putin's reaction since then? thank you very much. >> i think it's certainly possible. i think it's probably unlikely, and i know they are doing investigations into that right now. i would like to think that they didn't know, but certainly they could have. they were there. so we'll find out. general mattis is looking into it with the entire pentagon group that does that kind of work. so i -- it was very disappointed to see. it's disappointing no matter who
does it, but when you get into the gases, especially that form, it's vicious and violent, and everybody in this room saw it all too much times over the last three our-for-days, young children dying, babies dying, fathers holding children in their arms that were dead, dead children. there can't be a worse sight, and it shouldn't be allowed. that's a butcher. that's a butcher. so i felt we had to do something about it. i have absolutely no doubt we did the right thing, and it was very, very successfully done, as you well know. thank you. >> on defense spending and burden-sharing, that has been my top priority. i have raised it in all my meetings in all capitals. i've visited with prime ministers, presidents, ministers of finance and also defense and foreign ministers, and i expect, of course, all allies to make
good on what they decided back in 2014. and the very strong and clear message from president trump has been very helpful so now we see that things are starting to move in the right direction. for the first time after many, many years of decline in defense spending, we now see an increase in defense spending across europe and in canada, so they have started to move in the right direction. 3.8% real increase in defense spending across europe and canada is a significant step in the right direction. it's not enough. we still have a long way to go, but at least they have turned a corner. the european allies have turned a corner. instead of reducing defense spending, they are starting to increase defense spending. then i think it's important to remember that this is something the europeans do because they know that this is in their own security interest. it is a in their interest to invest more in defense because the world has become more
dangerous. many european allies or all european allies reduced defense spending after the end of the cold war because, of course, tensions went down, but if you're decreasing defense spending when tensions go down you have to increase defense spending when tensions are going up, and now they are going up. so we have still a long way to go, but i'm encouraged by the fact that we have started to move in the right direction. last year there were five allies spending 2%. this year romania has declared that they will reach 2% and next year latviaa lithuanian will reach 2%. we go from five to eight which is going in the right direction, but still we have some work to do. >> and i did ask about all the money that hasn't been paid over the years also, that money be coming back? we'll be talking about that. we want to talk about that, too. anita kumar, where are you.
hi. mcclatchy, hi. >> [inaudible question ]. how does that affect your relationship? >> we did talk last night. i think it's wonderful that they abstained. as you know, very few people expected that, and, no, i was not surprised that china did abstain. very, very few people thought that that was going to happen, so we're honored by the vote. that's the vote that should have taken place. >> mr. secretary-general, you talked a little bit about moscow. [ inaudible question ] >> the most important thing is to have a strong alliance, to stay united and be firm and predictable in our approach to
russia and that means that we have to invest in our collective defense. deploy more troops and increase the readiness of our forces and increase defense spending, and i welcome the very strong message from president trump on the necessity of increased defense spending. we're starting to implement the biggest reinforcement of collective defense since the end of the cold war providing credible death reference, but at the same time we have to find ways to engage russia, to talk with russia because russia is not -- will not go away. russia will be our biggest neighbor, and we have to find ways to live with them and to try to avoid a new cold war and arms race and that's exactly why i am very much in favor of what we call the dual track approach to russia, and as a former norwegian politician i have the experience to work with russia because norway is bordering russia and norway was able even during the cold war to develop a pragmatic working relationship
with russia, cooperating with them on energy, on boarder issues, on environment, on fishery, and also on military affairs, and that was not despite our membership in nato, but it was because of our membership in nato because nato provided the strength, the predictability, the platform for a small country to have a political dialogue with russia so i strongly believe that the only way to deter russia is to be strong, but only way to avoid a new cold war, avoid an arms race and akrois increase tensions is to continue to engage russia in a political dialogue and make sure what we do is defensive and proportionate in response to russia. >> mr. president, i'm from
norway. russia is our neighboring country. what do you think the european countries have to fear from russia if this tension continues to escalate, and for you, mr. secretary-general, the president has said the attack in syria last week was warranted and was also an attack on u.s. allies. do you think that this attack was warrant, and do you see nato playing any supporting role in future actions in syria? >> well, i want to just start by hopefully saying they are going to have to fear nothing ultimately. right now there is a fear. there are problems, certainly problems, but ultimately i hope that there won't be a fear and there won't be problems and the world can get along. that would be the ideal situation. it's crazy what's going on. whether it's the middle east or you look at -- no matter where -- the ukraine.
whatever you look at it's got problems, so many problems, and ultimately i believe that we are going to get rid of most of those problems and there won't be fear of anybody. that's the way it should be. we have a very big problem in north korea, and as i said i really think that china's going to try very hard and has already start started. a lot of the cold boats have been turned back. the vast amount of coal that comes out of china for north korea has been turned back. we'll see what happens. it may be effective. may not be effective. if it's not effective, we will be effective, i can promise you that. thank you. >> nato has constantly condemned the use of chemical weapons in syria, and the use of chemical weapons is horrendous and it's a
clear violation of international law. and any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and cannot go unanswered, so those responsible must be held accountable. the strike against the air base in syria was a u.s. operation based on the u.s. intelligence, but you have seen that within the alliance this has been something which has been met with a lot of understanding because nato allies do not accept that chemical weapons are used, and, therefore, we also strongly support the efforts of the fact-finding commission to try to find out actually what happened and to make sure that we don't see any use of chemical weapons in the future. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> thank you very much.
>> okay. you were just listening to president trump and the nato secretary-general addressing the media in the east room of the white house. after meeting this afternoon president trump saying he's honored to reaffirm the u.s. commitment to nato, that contrary to previous statements he no longer believes nato to be absolute, although he did underline, as did the secretary-general, that nato members have to pay their fair share. that is a reference to the fact that all of the countries who are members pledge to spend 2% of their gdp on defense spending. on the syria chemical attack president trump referred to the syrian dictator as bashar al assad as a butcher. cnn's jim acosta is at the white house where we just heard president trump and the secretary-general. jim, the president had a strong declaration that the alliance is no longer obsolete. he also said relations between the united states and russia are perhaps at an all-time low. >> reporter: that's right, jake, and that echos what the secretary of state rex tillerson
said today when he was in moscow with the foreign minister there, sergei lavrov, that u.s.-russia relations are at an all-time low. that's as close as we heard president trump either as president trump or as candidate trump really criticize russia. you've not heard that very much from donald trump over the years. i do think it is interesting, jake, that when given the chance on a couple of occasions during this press conference, he was asked had his views changed of vladimir putin, the president sort of retreated to this -- this notion that, well, you know, russia is a powerful country. we're a very powerful country we'll have to see how things go and it would be great if the u.s. and russia could get along with one another. once again when presented with an opportunity to directly criticize the russian president, this president did not elect to do that, and i think that what makes that even more interesting, jake, is that you heard president trump during the news conference refer to syrian leader bashar al assad as a
butcher and questioning whether or not the russians may have had advanced knowledge of those chemical weapons strikes against a civilian population in syria. that was not enough, apparently, during this news conference for the president to come out and say, okay, now i am changing my attitude. now i am changing my opinion of vladimir putin. you just didn't hear that today from the president, but, yes, there certainly was a reversal when it comes to the nato alliance. the president time and again referred to the nato alliance as obsolete. he did not do that today. he no longer thinks it's obsolete. didn't really provide a whole lot of insights as to why that attitude has changed, although you know, jake, and i know that a lot of foreign policy, you know, smart minds out there have impressed upon this president that you can't abandon nato alliance after decade of relying on that global alliance for peace. >> jim acosta, stick around. let's bring in my roundtable and let me start with you, congresswoman harman.
what struck you the most from this press conference? what do you think was the most intriguing as we were watching to it be charitable, the evolution of president trump when it comes to his views on foreign policy? >> trump's tone, the fact that he stuck to his message and didn't veer off at all, the civility of the whole thing. nato is a place that he said just a short while ago was obsolete, and i was in munich in mid-february at the annual munich security conference and the audience, mostly europeans and nato members were terrified. vice president pence showed up and said president trump believes in nato and he didn't make the sale. he made it personally but he didn't make it for the president, so this is a big deal, and it comes after a good week of operating on many fronts, and i think the tillerson visit and the two-hour meeting with putin was impressive, and i also think the fact that we welcomed a 29th member to nato just today shows that we actually can operate on
multiple levels. >> danielle, one of the things the congresswoman just mentioned is europeans have been very concerned as the european union is showing strains with the uk leaving and other nationalist movements perhaps threatening the eu as well with other defections with putin wanting to extend his control over eastern europe. a lot of -- a lot of our allies in europe were very worried. would i think that this press conference might reassure a lot of them. >> i think the press conference overall was very reassuring. since last week was this a one-off, was ivanka telling the president, this was so terrible and look at the poor babies and he'll go back to business as usual, putin is my friend, we can manage, i don't care about assad. the answer is no. this actually appears to be -- we can call it an evolution. we can call it a change or whatever we want, but we like it. this appears to be the president
taking very seriously our commitment, our american commitment to nato, how important that is, how our european allies rely on us and how the united states is, in fact, standing for what is right in the world in had the strike on syria. he's giving it to the russians. yes, he wasn't personal with mr. putin, but i think he was very straightforward about potential russian involvement so he didn't shy away from any of that. i thought this was good donald trump growing in office. >> and yet, bill kristol, it's possible that the flexibility the president brags about might rear its head and seeing that putin is a strong leader and nato is obsolete in the. >> he internalized that in the q&a, wasn't just reading talking points that h.r. mcmaster and we remember when donald trump made excuses for dictators using poison gas, wanting to stay out of wars in the middle east and
so forth. for me the one question that -- so i think on some of these things he's certainly moved to a much more traditional, you might say, american posture. the one place we've been fighting with nato for over a decade was afghanistan which was barely mentioned by either of them. there's big decisions to be made and it slid to the back of people's consciousness because syria is such a big story and then russia and so forth, but actually that's a question of how many troops we'll leave there, up our troops a little bit. are we going to try to maintain control of the country or let it the go? we've lost the capital of helmand, the army did, so afghanistan is another issue where we'll see these wars, i don't want to be part of it. we don't winways anymore and are we going to be serious about making sure. >> when secretary of state tillerson met with his
counterpart lavrov, where do you see the u.s.-russia relationship going right now? snow know, i think the russians are really on the back foot right now. they did not expect this 180 from the trump administration. they did not expect them to go in a matter of days from saying that, you know, it's the syrian people who decide assad's fate and we're not a part of this to in a matter of hours taking it the decision to bomb an airfield in syria, so they are still trying to figure out what the russians -- sorry, what the trump administration wants, what their policy is. they are now -- they are talking a lot about how the state department under trump is not staffed up. they don't know who to talk to. they are clearly had a little bit flustered, and they are trying to keep the channels of discussion open and trying to paper over differences as much as you can. so you saw secretary tillerson taking a very firm stance during his press conference with
foreign minister sergei lavrov who was trying as much as he could to keep russia's position strong but also to paper over differences, to keep things kind of moving, to keep things looking more smooth than they really are, so usually, you know, we're used to in the u.s. to putin being the unpredictable one and now the shoe is on the other foot. >> julia, just as long as i have you, there is something of a disconnect, president trump certainly being more vocally critical of vladimir putin than he has been in the past, but members of his administration, whether defense secretary mattis or united nations ambassador haley have been much stronger on russia, so it seems as though president trump is still keeping the possibility of better diplomatic relations out there. do you agree? >> reporter: yeah, i do agree and you actually had secretary tillerson in moscow say, you know, it's kind of -- the case is closed on russia meddling in
the u.s. elections. he said we talked about it a little bit but all the evidence is there, you know, and the jury is not out anymore on this. but as you saw with president trump saying about president xi of china, you know, turns out when you meet with this guy, turns out he's very nice. we have great chemistry. we have some great chocolate cake. i think he's hoping and the russians are certainly hoping that once he and putin meet that the same kind of chemistry will take ahold and something will be able to be done. that's very much the hope here in moscow. >> congresswoman? >> what's missing though is a central artery sdwri. it doesn't have to be -- what's missing though is a strategy. i don't sense we have a strategy for what our next acts are, maybe bombing again, maybe not, no boots on the ground. isis is a bigger problem to iraq to us than it is in syria. congress is on vacation. nancy pelosi was right in saying congress should come back in
session and debate an authorization to implement force, the aomf, the one i voted for having to do with afghanistan in 2001 is doa. >> that's never going to happen. they don't want any open ownership anything. >> they don't and we were talking about this. >> except you. you were brave. >> there's several members who do. >> but nancy pelosi isn't one of them. nancy pelosi wanted them to come back into session so they could constrain this president so that they could criticize this president, and i've got to say, i'm -- i'm with you, jane, on the question of whether or not this is part of a strategy, but i do give enormous amount of credit to the professionalism of someone like h.r. mcmaster. >> so do i. i totally agree with you. >> and jim mattis who is our secretary of defense, they have some terrific, terrific people staffing up the nsc. they are too slow, but they are putting together a strategy, and frankly, i am happier that they don't roll something out and posture and actually think this through and do it seriously.
>> bill, final word? >> i agree with that, but i think they should force the debate in congress. it would healthy for the country because otherwise we'll speculate about the internal machinations of the trump administration. ful people say we should be more constrained in dealing with poison gas attacks than president trump has been, let's have that debate on the floor of the house and senate. i think you can get bipartisan majorities to support a sensible, strongish foreign policy which would be a healthy thing for the country. >> i agree, and the debate should be in places other than just this table. >> thanks so much with one and all being here. as a former trump adviser was speaking to individuals and was monitored, how will we respond? we'll ask him next. carter page. stay with us. strong, reliable bond. at safelite, we stand behind our work... because the ones you love, sit behind it. (parents whisper jingle) safelite repair, safelite replace.
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hold on to your tiara kind of day. get 24/7 digestive support, with align. the #1 doctor recommended probiotic brand. also in kids chewables. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. let's shift to the politics lead now and news on the fbi investigation into possible but yet unproven collusion between advisers to the trump campaign last year and russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election. the "washington post" is reporting that the fbi obtained a fisa warrant to monitor the communications of then trump advisers carter page during the campaign, a fielder's choicea warrant, stands for foreign intelligence surveillance act, is granted by a very closely
guarded court that handles some of the nation's most secretive government decisions. it is granted, a fisa warrant, determines that there's a question of whether the american was involved with a foreign agent. he was once an adviser to the russian energy giant gas prom and has repeatedly denied any impropriety with any meetings during the trump campaign and joins me now, former foreign policy advisers to the trump campaign, carter page. thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> "the washington post," as you know, has reported last year the fbi went to a fisa judge and argued successfully that there was probably cause to believe you were acting as an agent for a foreign government, so my question is were you? >> of course i wasn't, jake. this is -- it's just such a joke that it's beyond words, and what's interesting about is march 20th, director comey, he
made the point that people -- people can lie to the press. people can lie to the american public all they want in politics. what's interesting about last night's report is if it's true, there's a different standard when it comes to evidence in court, so all of the -- all of this false evidence that you've been hearing about, myself with the dodgy dossier and other false reports going back through most of last summer, well, that will -- that will have very different implications so this is a real game-change fer it turns out to be true. >> what do you mean it's a game-changer? how is it a game-changer? i mean, hat least two times we know of the fbi has investigated your links with russians. in 2016 last year when they went to the fisa court and got a court order and received permission to monitor your communications and earlier as you know in 2013 the fbi interviewed you, you were dealing with a man who was later charged with being an
unregistered agent of a foreign government so that was 2013. at the time did you have any idea that he was a russian spy. >> i talk to diplomats all the time, and based in new york a good portion of the time, the united nations is based here. you're always meeting with foreign diplomats, and the reality is whenever you talk to a foreign government representative, the assumption is that on some level it's going to go back to the government in question, so, again, i never gave him any information which is material or classified or in any way improv, and the assumption is that it would go back, so it's quite an irrelevant question in my view in terms of my involvement. >> it's not irrelevant. i mean, there is -- you know, if you meet the german ambassador or the french ambassador, maybe they will pass on the information, but we're talking about clandestine services, and he was charged in the u.s. with
being an unregistered foreign agent, so i guess my question more specifically is, okay, you knew that he was russian, but did you know he was a spy? >> i did not know that he was a spy when i -- when i first met him, although eventually it came out. >> did you think he was trying to recruit you or get intelligence that would have been inappropriate for you to have shared? >> he never made any indication that he was trying to recruit me. it was all just a casual conversation, exactly what i told my students at new york university. so -- and no offer was made, and -- and there was no negotiation whatsoever. i met at a conference at asia society and at some point later within a month or so i believe, it was several years ago, we had coffee once, had had a slight conversation. i gave him a couple of my information from my lectures, some public research reports, and that was the end of it.
>> let's talk about the 2016-case. the fbi director has said that convincing a fisa judge to approve surveillance on a u.s. citizen requires so much evidence that the court files are often thicker than his wrist. do you have any idea what might have been in the filing last year that convinced a judge to approve surveillance on you by the fbi? >> well, it's just like president trump just said when he was discussing the allegations about, you know, who knew what with the chemical weapons. let's not jump to any conclusions, and until there's full evidence and a full investigation has been done, we just don't know. i have the same attitude about this. however, if you look back at all the information that has dribbled out and false information going back to really the first major one was the letter from senator harry reid to director comey in late august of last year, and it was citing -- it was giving some
indications of this false evidence which eventually kept dribbling out, and we saw it in its full glory in early january with the buzzfeed report. >> have you talked to the fbi about the russia investigation? have you been interviewed by them or questioned by them in any way? >> i tried asking lisa monaco at a breakfast meeting in early january about the ongoing allegations about fisa warrants which had been coming out about me going back to october, and she -- she avoided the question completely, and she also made the point that we don't talk about any ongoing investigations, and i -- you know, again, i've always respected confidentiality. i have nothing to say about any ongoing investigations that may or may not be going on. >> you're not going to comment, is that what you're saying? >> i have no comment, no. >> i mean, just -- i prepared for this interview and i read, you know, a year's worth of stuff but, and until february
you would say repeatedly the fbi had not contacted you. you stopped saying that in march. is it fair to assume from that that you have now talked to the fbi and you are just declining to comment because now the facts have changed? >> well, i have been very forthcoming that i want to get as much information out there as possible, and that has stood from the very beginning, and in several documents which i've sent to both house the senate committees, and i really look forward to having those discussions and really supporting this ongoing process as it -- as it continues. >> so there are a few questions. you talk about wanting to be as honest and open as possible. there are a few questions that in the past you have declined to answer. so let's give you another opportunity. i think you owe it to the american people and frankly you owe it to yourself if you're innocent as you say you are. the first one works brought you into the trump campaign? >> you know, jake, even if you
look on -- many shows on cnn, they always have these line diagrams with various faces of people who have supported the trump campaign over time and various wire diagrams back to president putin, and -- and very often it's, you know, based on these false reports. i don't want to mention any names because that's just going to add one other senseless dot on that diagram. >> carter, i mean, you want to clear things up. there's nothing wrong about bringing a russia expert on to a campaign. i'm just asking you who -- who brought you into the campaign. was it paul manafort? >> it was not paul manafort. i've never met paul manafort and i've never spoken with him. again, out of respect to their privacy, if i told you a name, jake there, would be dozens of phone calls on that individual's phone within the next ten
minutes. >> it was -- was it sam cloveies? >> i have no comment. >> i mean, i know you want to get out all this information, but then you refuse to answer questions. >> if it's not relevant. >> someone trying to bring you into the campaign, trying to find out who it was. >> it's an irrelevant person. he was not the first person that brought me in. i can assure you of that. >> at least we know it was a man. you told anderson cooper that when you talked to russian ambassador is kislyak around the time of the republican convention, there was a group, a bunch of ambassadors and people filled with the trump campaign, you said you spoke with him for fewer than ten seconds. i get that. when you went to russia last summer did you ever talk to any russian about the trump campaign or the clinton campaign or about the 2016 election in general? >> no russian official. i was speaking at a university, and i spoke with many scholars and students and parents that were at the graduation celebrating their kids' achievements. other than that flog.
>> i didn't ask russian official, i asked any russian because russians, as you know in russia, people are affiliated with private industry but they also do work with the government, et cetera. >> sure. >> but you did not talk to any russian at all other than students and parents and scholars about the presidential election? >> i met a few business people, but no negotiations about anything in terms of anything related to the campaign whatsoever. >> i'm not talking about negotiations, but as long has you bring it up, i mean, have you ever conveyed to anyone in russia that you think president trump might have been more willing to get rid of the sanctions that were imposed against russia after they invaded and seized crimea which i know our sanctions that you oppose and you think are ineffect sniff did you ever talk to anyone there may be president trump if he were elected, candidate trump, would be willing to get rid of the sanctions? >> never any direct
conversations such as that. >> what do you mean direct conversations? i don't know what that mean, direct conversations. >> i'm just saying no -- that was never -- that was never said, no. >> you never said that to anybody that you think -- that -- that if donald trump won he might be willing to get rid of the sanctions against russia. >> one of the matters the fbi is investigating whether any adviser discussed the released of the hacked and phished and stolen documents from the dnc and from clinton campaign chairman john podesta. did you ever discuss any of those documents or the release of them or the timing of them when you were in russia, or with a russian? >> absolutely not, absolutely not. >> did you ever. >> no advance warning. i mean, people may have mentioned it after -- after it came out, but -- or alluded to some of the findings, but no -- no direct discussions, absolutely not. >> during the senate intelligence committee hearing on this subject on russian
involvement in the u.s. election, the vice chairman mark warner talked about how there was a lot of information in which disinformation about hillary clinton was sent to specific precincts and counties in key states like pennsylvania, wisconsin or michigan. is that the kind of information, the kind of knowledge about what states president trump or then candidate trump was trying to win, did you ever have any discussion about state by state or counties or precincts where president trump, donald trump, might be able toll do well? >> jake, absolutely not, and, if you want to talk about disinformation, i tuned in on cnn when they had the first public hearing, and they had my old professor from georgetown when i was doing masters in national securities study program, roy godson and he kept using the term soviet, soviet, constantly,