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tv   Wolf  CNN  July 7, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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hello. i'm jim sciutto in for wolf blitzer. 1:00 p.m. who washington, 7:00 in hamburg, germany. 8:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watch aring from around the world, thank you for joining us. the highly anticipated meeting between president trump and russian president vladimir putin just ended after more than two hours. keep in mind, the meeting was supposed to go around 40 minutes. we expect officials to brief the media sometime this hour and will bring you that information soon as we get it. both presidents trump and putin spoke to reporters before their private meeting, and here's what president trump had to say.
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>> thank you very much. we appreciate it. president putin and i have been discussing various things, and i think it's gone very well. we've had some very, very good talks. we're going to have a talk now, and obviously, that will continue, but we look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for russia and the united states, and for everybody concerned, and it's an honor to be with you. >> thank you. >> an honor to be with you, he says. afterwards a cnn producer sh shouted a question about election meddling but neither trump nor putin answered. and also following growing protests outside the g-20 summit and told dozens of people now arrested. more than 150 officers have been hurt, but first now, reaction to the meeting between trump and putin. our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny is live in hamburg. senior correspondents matthew chance is live in moscow.
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jeff zeleny, this is much longer a meeting than expected, or officials, are they telling you why it went so much longer? >> reporter: it is much longer, jim. the meeting was originally scheduled for about 35 to 45 minutes, and indeed went on 2 hours and 16 minutes, but important to keep in mind with consecutive translation, that means the english is translated into a russian, and the russian translated into english, that means the meeting is about, probably, only an hour worth of substance or so. still, a long meeting and so much to talk about, of course. we are going to be getting a briefing. i'm told from secretary of state rex tillerson and perhaps other administration officials here on the grounds of the g-20 meeting. i'll be walking back into that briefing soon as we finish here, jim. we believe syria was a major topic, obviously, of this meeting. we do believe that is one of the deliverables that could come out of this meeting. the u.s. is not confirming exactly what was said in there, but, jim, the question obviously
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is, if the elephant in the roomy essentially, the meddling in the election in 2016, if that came up at all. obviously that's our question for the secretary of state as well as other things, but this is the beginning of a new relationship. of course, it's the fourth american president that vladimir putin has now contended with during his time. the beginning of one with donald trump. we'll get a readout of that meeting shortly and report back to you what they say in there, but now the president has just left the grounds of the g-20. taking down time before going out to an evening event. certainly, that meeting, that handshake is overshadowing most things here at the g-20. jim? >> thanks very much, jeff zeleny. pictures now of donald trump and the first lady melania trump arriving at the dinner for the g-20 summit. those are the live pictures you see there right now. matthew chance, he's in, in russia right now. we know matthew chance russia actually pushed for a one on one
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meeting with trump. a longer, perhaps more formal meeting. the fact this went longer, private, would that seem like a victory for vladimir putin? >> reporter: i think so, because pretty low expectations leer in russ here in russia and the kremlin about what this first meeting could achieve. the media saying, agree to meet again, it would be considered success. very apprehensive what donald trump can deliver in terms of meeting russia's interests on various issues. so they were trying to play down the significance of the meeting saying a first step in what will be a long relationship. breaking news is coming to us from the russian state media tass quoting president putin and what was discussed with the 2 hour -- almost 2 hour, 20 minute meeting with donald trump. according to putin, on the tass news agency, they discussed the situation in syria, in ukraine
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as well as countering terrorism and cyber crime. so those are the issues, that, according to the state media in russia, the tass news agency were discussed apparently in detail 2, hours, 20 minutes, before donald trump and vladimir putin in their first face-to-face meeting. >> interesting. cyber crime by the russian definition. could that be included, russian meddling? >> could be. we don't know what the americans said about this. the u.s. side said on this. maybe a topic raised by donald trump himself. of course, he's been coming under a lot of pressure domestically to raise these allegations of russia meddling allegedly in the election democratic process in the united states, in the election that swept him to power. so perhaps this is the russian way of acknowledging that that issue may have been addressed but the russian position has always been the same on this.
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categorically denied they had any involvement in manipulating the election result and often called the united states and russia to join forces, to fight against the global scourge as they characterize of. how the kremlin is spinning this and seems that issue was discussed in some detail between the two figures. >> interesting. we'll wait to hear more detail from administration officials. jeff zeleny, matthew chance in moscow. thanks very much. bringing in a cnn analyst and others joining us from fort worth, texas, david drucker. begin with you. you have had a long career as a diplomat in the state department. been in meetings like this. 2 hours, 16 minutes to be exact. you've heard a lot of topics discussed. if it goes longer, sign of a good meeting?
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>> could be. i doubt if this is a transformation transformational movement. if a.p. reports are true, a cease-fire announced for southwestern syria sunday, in the works for quite some time. they didn't agree to this at this meeting. this has been developing for months, but it's still a success and interesting to see whether or not tillerson refers to this agreement, or whether they allow others to announce the israelis and jordanians are informally a part of this, because it bumps up against important real estate near the golan heights. it demonstrates, jim, i think that there is a basis for cooperation. one last point. we're treating this as if it were the seventh game of the world series in which there was going to be somehow a clear winner and a clear loser. maybe from a stage management point of view that's true, but i doubt on substance. i suspect both will claim success and may have some reason
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to do so. >> if tass is correct, counterterrorism, cyber crime. listen, each of these is a difficult issue in its own right. u.s. accuses russia of occupying eastern ukraine, stealing crimea, syria, even with a cease-fire, there are different sides of that war. that's a lot to try to process even in a much longer meeting than expected? >> that's right. look, all along president trump has said, even during the campaign, i want to have a better relationship with russia. there are a lot of issues we need to work on. the relationship with the obama administration wasn't so well. if we had better cooperation maybe we could good some of this business done. everyone thought this would just be a meeting about atmospherics. who got the upper hand in the handshake, whether or not a bear hug. look, i think president trump could come out and say, we talked about syria. we talked about ukraine. we talked about, maybe he did raise the election issue. we'll have to see, but i think this will make his point that if we have better cooperation with
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russia, maybe we can get something done. i think the test is going to be what happens after this great meeting, this two-hour meeting they had. you know, secretary tillerson has been talking and working with russian officials on syria for some weeks. maybe this meeting is a further data point in the issue of cooperation. we have to see. a great meeting, great. have a, would go, constructive dialogue both sides want to have, that's good, but can president trump look towards the next meeting with president putin and say we've been able to get a., b. and c. done since our last meeting? the real test whether this relationship is a budding one that's working. >> to remind viewers, we'll get a readout from the u.s. side, senior administration briefing shortly and will bring you that read as soon as we have it. david, right now, what we can work with, the tass, official russian state news agency readout saying they discussioned syria, ukraine, counterterror and cyber crime.
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certainly caught my eye. your reaction when you hear that list? >> it's a significant list and this is -- this is a lot of atmospherics. this helps trump and helps putin. trump said all along, we can get so much out of having a relationship with russia. four major areas, a deliverable. maybe a cease-fire, erin mentioned. for putin, russia, central player. big, most important countries at the g-20, russia and the u.s. you know, when actually russia is a very small trading partner for the u.s. many more powerful countries economically, but putin is at the center of the action, and for trump, he says, look american voters, having better relations with russia is worth it. >> and people won't say russia is about the size of new jersey. it's a small -- at least by global standards. david drucker, putin -- trump, rather, would not be the first american president at the beginning of his term has high
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hopes rejiggering, resetting, if i could resurrect that word again, the relationship with russia. bush tried it. obama tried it, and both of them had no success whatsoever. >> and i think the question going into this meeting and after is whether or not the president learned lessons of his president sirs. one a democrat, one a republican. vladimir putin's interests has always been in asserting russia's dominance and sort of reasserting russia's influence over the global sphere, and i think the question is, not so much werther this relationship exists between vladimir putin and donald trump, but whether or not it exists on american terms. clearly, what vladimir putin's goal here is, and the reason he always liked trump over hillary clinton, is that he saw donald trump as a fellow nationalist who in a sense deferred to a lot of what russia is trying to do around the world and wouldn't push back as strongly, as past presidents both republican and
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democrat. the question coming out of this meeting is, was it conducted on american terms? is russia working as hard to reset the relationship as it has appeared donald trump has tried to do? and let's not forget that one of the areas that the president is still getting a lot of pushback from his party, especially in congress is on the russia issue. there's a sanctions bill sitting in the house now supposedly because of the technical snafu. republicans in congress and hearing are ushipushing the president to get tough and stay tough on russia. that's in the back of his mind and whether or not he communicated that to vladimir putin in this meeting or went further than the russian president to try and re-establish ties than the russian president did from his point of view. >> david, let me tell viewers, we're seeing there the famous class photo for the g-20 leaders and their wives, just wrapping up there, before they go on to their dinner. official state dinner at the g-20 and a reminder in hamburg,
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germany. elise labott, seeing headlines coming through? >> this is actually from the jordanian news agency petra coming from a jordanian source that the minister of information is announcing an agreement between jordan and the united states and russia to put back in place the cease-fire in southwest syria near the jordanian border has been agreed to. it will go into effect sunday night. that is kind of along the lines of what tass has been reporting. and, you know, basically this is along the line of contact that syrian government forces and other forces in the area have agreed to. i mean, the united states really not a party to this, because they don't have forces along that area, but certainly these discussions, this is all coming out of the meeting between president putin and president trump and you've heard these talks for weeks between u.s., russian, jordanian officials. >> now you know what they might
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be talking about. >> exactly. >> seeing donald trump and melania trump there, of course, as he leaves the class photo. heads into that dinner of g-20 leaders. erin and david miller, remind viewers, a cease-fire indeed in western syria who is ceasing fire? >> regime -- >> u.s.-backed. >> u.s.-backed opposition. clearly, open season on the jihadis. and the question really is, is this the beginning of a broader alignment of russian/american interests towards safe zones or de-escalation zones? already under discussion between the russians, iranians and turks. one area, in fact it is a bit of a surprise. i think before we start popping champaign corks, though, a couple things to realize. u.s./russian relations are nots in alignment, almost across the board on so many issues. number two, mr. putin still needs washington as a sort of adversary in order to legitimize
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and justify his own foreign policy. so this is -- this is a hopeful first step, but i suspect many bumps in the road. >> and some of those enlisted there, ukraine, enormous disagreements and you might mention cyber attacks and election meddling as well. thank you all for joining me. david, stay with me. as world leaders meet in hamburg, the threat posed by north korea. we discuss what options are on the table with the former ambassador to china and cnn, es collusive report from inside raqqa, where u.s.-backed rebels are making gains against isis inside the de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate.
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tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis right for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you. president trump and russian president putin dominated headlines, understandably at the g-20, the issue of north korea's nuclear program center a major talking point among leaders. every option from military action to diplomacy has complicated ramifications. welcome former u.n. ambassador to china and former senate from montana max baucus. thank you for joining us today,
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mr. ambassador. >> you bet, jim. >> as you know, viewers may remember earlier this week north korea with a very momentous test of what appears to be to the u.s. a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a sister forward in north korean capabilities. an issue central to your stint in china as ambassador there. how concerning was this launch, this test, to you? >> well, it's quite concerning. i attended many meetings, president obama, with president xi, secretary kerry, top chinese officials. discussing u.s. advocating china to step up the pressure on kim jong-un to get him to stop doing all of this and none of it worked. lots of words, lots of words, but none of it really worked. so i'm not surprised kim jong-un has done so well. i frankly think he's done a pretty good job, jim.
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built this missile. has nuclear capability. re69 the rest of the world complains but he still goes right ahead and we have a big question facing us. do we change gears dealing with kim jong-un and i think we have to. >> the trump administration policy for a time depended on chinese pressure. president trump tweeted about that frequently. in the last few days said that he's done. china hasn't come through. we have to take care of this on our own. is it possible for the u.s. to successfully pressure north korea without china? >> well, when i heard of president trump talk about china helping us and china saying it wants to work with the u.s. i just rolled my eyes and smiled. i've heard this song -- been to this rodeo and expect no progress whatsoever. no. i think china is central to a solution in north korea, because it's on north korea's border, such a big country, but it may mean that the united states has
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to change gears here and do something different. that is, regarding kim jong-un, not totally as a nut, maybe as a rational figure. rationally, a messy power here. not going to push the button, rather building it up to put pressure on the rest of the world so he can get maybe, get rid of that armistice, a peace treaty, food into north korea, aid, whatever. we have to begin to talk to kim jong-un. start back-channeling, indirectly. start with other countries. but i think what we've didn't doing is not working. we have to find some way to -- policy to manage kim jong-un's nuclear arsenal. we're not going to be able to eradicate it, get rid of it. there's no good military option. diplomatically he won't give it up's we have to manage his having nuclear and missile capability in a way that's a lot more stable than it's been thus far.
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>> it's interesting. yesterday i interviewed the former director of national intelligence, james clapper, just returned from south korea and he said as well, talks, dialogue, really, the only way forward. but i asked him this question and i want to ask you as well -- how do you talk with a country that in all previous iterations of uk tas, they've either walked away or cheated on the agreements made in those conversations? >> well, the thing in life, you got to try. the only option is keep trying. if somethingdoesn't work, try again. we could try different ways. talk through other countries. have clandestined meetings with people in north korea. talk more candidly with the chinese, perhaps, or clandestinely with north koreans. got to keep trying at it. that's life. something doesn't work, you keep going at it until you find a solution. >> the south korea, newly
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elected the south korean president i should say, sees a role for russia. for president putin to help de-escalate the situation. interesting earlier in the week, russia and china jointly issued a statement urging the u.s. to back down to some degree, remove missile defense from south korea. would you see russia as a positive player in resolving this? >> i see -- russia, i.e., putin, being an aggressive, shrewd, cunning plan who's going to look to take advantage of any opportunity he can to advance his own personal country's interests. same with china. countries act according to their national interests. sometimes there are friendly relationships. sometimes not. but that's not terribly relevant. what's relevant is what countries do. deeds, not words. i've seen putin seeing an advantage joining with china to try to muscle the united states
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into a disadvantageous position with respect to north korea. >> ambassador max baucus. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, jim. all the best. we're going to be back very soon and i want to give you an update that right now senior administration officials are briefing reporters on that very long meeting between american president trump and russian president putin went nearly two hours. an update what exactly was discussed and will bring it to you as soon as it happens. as we speak, u.s.-backed rebels are fighting to retake the group's de facto capital of raqqa in syria. cnn correspondent nick paton walsh on the front line inside raqqa with this exclusive report. >> reporter: we are now inside the city walls of raqqa. the capital of isis, self-declared caliphate territory in which they will make their final stand in syria and, really, the middle east. that wall, a key milestone to
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coalition forces and the syrian kurds and arabs who control about 200 meters inside of the old city here. down that way, 200 meters, are isis' positions. the forces here don't move around much in the daylight because of the risk of isis snipers. less so in these streets, but at night the majority of movement forward is, in fact, made. we've seen u.s. forces here not far from these positions, anxious not to be filmed or noticed, frankly, but understand it's them calling in air strikes, and artillery allowing these forces to move forward so quickly. frankly, i'm surprised how little isis is in in the city. an area probably 1.5 to 3 miles in terms of size. increasingly small terrain they hold and as we saw? iraq, unable to hold, an impediment for syrian, kurdish
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fighters and marking potentially the last time isis can say they hold a city in syria. nick paton walsh, cnn inside the old city of raqqa, syria. >> remarkable exclusive cnn report, nick paton walsh inside raqqa. de facto capital of isis. i want to bring you an update. as we speak, senior administration official it's are briefing the media about the putin/trump meeting. update, discussed the general u.s./russia reses. headline news, that the jordan r a cease-fire between regime forces and u.s.-backed rebels. more details. please stay with us. we'll be right back after this break. these days families want to be connected 24/7.
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cnn. two major headlines coming out of a momentous meeting summit between presidents trump and putin at the g-20 summit in germany. one, we are told in a briefing to reporters by secretary of state tillerson that trump and putin had a lengthy discussion of russian interference in the u.s. election. you remember, questions going into this meeting whether that was a topic president trump wa was going to raise. you may remember yesterday president trump raised his own doubts, once again, about whether it was indeed russia that led, directed interference in the u.s. election. again, secretary of state tillerson saying they had a lengthy discussion on this topic. second headline, that presidents trump and putin reached agreement on curbing violence in
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syria. secretary of state tillerson saying that this cease-fire could be in his words a precursor to further cooperation between the u.s. and russia in syria. joined now by cnn's senior white house correspondent jim acosta, traveling with the president. he is in hamburg, germany. jim acosta, a remarkable and i think fair to say unexpected development here, this lengthy discussion between putin and trump on russian meddling in the election? >> jim, i think it's a huge development. i think it's a sign that president trump has been listening to his critics on this issue. it was just yesterday when the president was saying at that press conference in warsaw that perhaps other countries were involved in the meddling in last year's election. that it was not russia alone despite consensus from the u.s. intelligence community. you mentioned, a few minutes ago after the meeting with vladimir putin, secretary of state rex tillerson told the press gathered there in that briefing
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room that, yes, president trump opened the meeting talking about this issue, that he pressed vladimir putin on this subject on a number of occasions. that they had a lengthy exchange on this but that vladimir putin, as he has so many times, denied that russia was interfering in last year's election, and in the words of rex tillerson, he said it's not likely the u.s. and russia will come to an agreement on this issue. so "the question is, what do we do now?" so sounds, jim, that they did not resolve this issue at all in this meeting between the president and vladimir putin. but as you said, they did go on during this 2 hour and 16 minute meeting to discuss other topics. talked about the crisis in syria. obviously, you just mentioned, it doesn't appear that they have reached some sort of agreement on that issue to reduce hostilities in parts of that country. they also according to the russian state media talked about the situation in ukraine, and other issues involving
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counterterrorism and cyber security. and rex tillerson is brief reporters right now. the would us is not allowing that briefing to be broadcast live on camera. an audio-only feed of that, jim, and highlights and tidbits as they come out. no question, the big headline out of the summit, president trump, despite his own expressed reservations on this issue of russian meddling in last year's election did broach subject, did press vladimir putin on this subject during a very long meeting, jim. >> and i should remind, should note to viewers what we're watching here. pictures of the musical performance for the g-20 leaders there. you see angela merkel. we saw president trump earlier speaking with the newly elected french president macron as they await dinner, which will follow this. jim acosta, while i have you here, to put a finer point on this, yesterday president of the united states traveling in europe, raises questions about his own intelligence agency's
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judgment. that it was russia, that directed these attacks. president trump raising the possibility of others. even though intelligence officials have said there is no evidence of others meddling in the election and yet today it's our understanding according to the secretary of state tillerson that president trump even opened this much-anticipated meeting with the russian president by talking about this election, and repeatedly pressed it. just -- you've been in the white house for a number of months during the trump administration. explain to our viewers how big a turnaround that is. >> i think it's a, a big turnaround. we have to gauge, i think, in the coming days to see whether president trump himself is convinced of this. rex tillerson did say at the beginning of this briefing that the president raised the concern that exists back in the u.s. that russia meddled in the election. at least he felt it was his duty to raise this subject with the russian president. it doesn't exactly state
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definitively that president trump believes that, yes, russia meddled in the election and meddled to his benefit as the u.s. intelligence committee feels. so we might have to separate those two from one another. so we don't come to the conclusion that president trump now believes definitively that russia meddled in last year's election. as you said, after all, he was talking about other countries potentially being involved. but, jim, as you were saying, i think this is a significant, significant moment for president trump, because as we've heard in the last five to six months of this administration, there is a feeling inside this white house, there are some bitterness, inside this white house, inside the oval office, that the subject has raised time and again as an effort to delegitimize donald trump's election as the 45th president of the united states. so the very fact that he was able to swallow some of his own pride, perhaps, some of his own bitterness over this issue and broach this subject with vladimir putin suggests that he
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feels at least it was his duty to talk about this subject with the russian president, and keep in mind, as you know, jim, you covered this subject a long time. the russian president, he has tangled with more than one u.s. president over the years. tangled with george w. bush and barack obama. he might have thought he had the upper hand going into this meeting, but i think even some of president trump's critics, strongest critics, will give him credit, after all of this discussion over the past week he did bring up the subject. he did not go through this two-hour meeting and not bring up this subject. and i think a lot of people are going to say to president trump that he succeeded to some extent of this g-20 summit by brings this up and pressing vladimir putin on this issue. from the sound of it, he did press him on this issue, jim. >> and new information, this from the briefing by secretary of state tillerson with reporters saying that also when election meddling came up, that part of the discussion was, how do we move forward from here? and again, i think for all of
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us, none of us were in the room. we're getting a viewpoint from inside the room. there's a lot of nuance, how far did president trump press president putin, for instance, when he denied? how much emphasis moving forward as opposed to moving back? all important, i think, as you were noting there, jim acosta, but at least raising it is something that many were not expecting. and, in fact, i believe you reported earlier, jim, that the people inside the white house said that this was not on the agenda, to raise election interference? >> that's right. it was not on the agenda, or at least not on the stated agenda going in, but they were very close to the vest in terms of what they would talk about, jim. i think the fact president trump brought this up at the very beginning of this meeting. keep in mind, just earlier this morning president trump put out a tweet hitting john podestpode
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false claim he didn't turn over information to the authorities. during hillary clinton's campaign. we could dive into that issue but don't want to get into the weeds too much, but deflecting attention away from this issue somewhat going after john podesta, campaign chairman, to which podesta sent back spicy tweets later in the day. beside all of that, the president's stated concerns about this story, he did go into this meeting and did races this issue. so it cannot be said he avoided the subject. he did tackle the subject in this meeting with a longtime u.s. adversary, jim. >> right. thanks very much, there. now joined by the cnn global affairs analyst and former deputy secretary, former deputy national security adviser. tony blake, enormous experience inside face-to-face meetings like the one we're getting in reporting on. first if i could ask your
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reaction to what i think would be reasonably described as a describes discussion even leading off this meeting of russian election meddling? >> jim, a welcome development and particularly welcome in the president led the meeting, as has been reported, going after president putin in regards to the election. very good to hear the president himself clarify once and for all whether he, too, acknowledges what the entyrant entirety of intelligence community said, russia interfered with the election. vitally important for two reasons. one, not doing it, especially at the top, simply emboldens the russians to do what they've done. in 2016, in 2018 repeat it. and next time, republicans the victims of this. this is something beyond president trump, republicans, democrats. it goes to our country and its institutions and security. second, the other reason this is so important is that what
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putin's game plan is, try to sew doubt and undermine confidence in our institutions. and the president not engaging on on this issue plays russia's game for it. creating questions, why isn't he doing it? if today as reported he led the meeting with this, it's a very positive thing and hope we can hear from him directly about it. >> a public expression, just yesterday, he was denying in public. more details, tony blake. i want to run it by you. secretary tillerson said the talks also focused how the two countries can "secure commitment to the russian government has know intention" of interfewing in future elections. key and gets to your point going into 2018, 2020, as well as evidence we know that russian hackers continue to probe voting systems, elections, et cetera. that's a key point as well. to come up in this meeting. >> yeah. it is, jim, and, again, the hope is that president trump is clear with president putin that if
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this continues, there will be real consequences. and if it came to it, there are things to do to make life very uncomfortable for mr. putin in russia and none of us wants to go there, but this has to stop. not only did it raise it but consequences if he continues. >> and syria, agreement reached, cease-fire in effect, between russia and the u.s. more spircecifically, russian-backed regime forces and u.s.-backed rebels there. and includes this based on comments from secretary tillerson that assad will eventually leave power. that's somewhat remarkable, because not just russia -- russia has been resisting that, even the trump administration and tillerson himself has said, well, in public comments, questions whether the u.s. even is pressuring for that anymore. >> yeah. that, too, if accurate, is encouraging. look, russia has an interest in trying to find a way out of the syrian morass.
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certainly we have a profound interest as we have for a long time trying to end the civil war. if this is one step in that direction, including acknowledgement at the end of the process assad can't be there. because as long as he is, a magnate for extremists and terrorists not only attacking us but also attacking russia. that's a positive thing. now, we've gone through many of these so-called cease-fires before. cessation of hostilities and they haven't held up, but every step that moves in that direction is a good one and particularly interesting as you said that there apparently was acknowledgement at the end of this process assad has to go. >> one more thing about the cease-fire in that part of the country. you know this well, you've been involved directly. this is very important to jordan and israel. is it not? >> it is. >> this is a part of that war that's been in effect seeping across their borders? >> yeah, it is, jim. and as the other part of this war moves forward, that is, the
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fight against the islamic state, as they get squeezed, jordan is very concerned that some of them get pushed towards jordan. others get pushed towards iraq. and jordan wants to make sure that it's secure as possible. now, if you've also got the regime fighting with the opposition, that creates vacuums in which the islamic state can operate more effectively. it's profoundly in jordan's and israel's interest this get locked down as best possible. again, encouraging step, but i'm wary, because we've had these kinds of announcements before, indeed during the obama administration. thought we advanced the ball a number of times and it's very hard to actually implement and sustain them. >> no question. cease-fire, only as long as the fire is creased. tony, stay there. and elise, you've covered the state department, inside that building. did you have a sense there that state was scentral to this issu? >> i was going to say you can
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really see the hand of secretary tillerson, defense secretary mattis, even fiona hill, the putin critic who just joined the national security council in prepping for this meeting. we've seen president trump at mar-a-lago, at the white house and many of these meetings, i would say one of the most substantive readouts we've gotten about a meeting from president trump for all of our talk of the last couple of days, there's no agenda, he's not really prepping. he seemed to be very prepped for this meeting and i think you can see the hand of his aides and not only setting the table for the president, but in setting the table in the weeks prior in working with the russians and working with other countries, jordan, you know, israel, obviously. with isis coalition. i think, you know, this administration has been very slow in its policy to roll out, but you can now see a little bit of the building blocks, and i think you have to give credit to h.r. mcmaster, secretary tillerson, defense secretary mattis for that.
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>> we just got in the audiotape of secretary tillerson's briefing with reporters on this more than two hour meeting with president putin. let's listen in. >> thanks for staying with us. president trump and president putin met this afternoon for 2 hours and 15 minutes right here on the sidelines of the g-20. the two leaders exchanged viewers on the current nature of the u.s./russia relationship and the future of the u.s./russia relationship. they discussed important progress that has been made in syria and i think all of you have seen some of the news that just broke regard iing a de-escalation agreement and memorandum, agreed between the united states, russia and jordan for an important area in southwest syria that effects jordan's security, but also is a
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very complicated part of the, of the syrian battlefield. this de-escalation area was agreed, well defined agreements on who will secure this area, cease-fire has been entered into, and i think this is our first indication of the u.s. and russia being able to work together in syria, and as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and the violence, once we defeat isis, and to work together towards a political process that will secure the future of the syrian people. as a result, a the, of president putin, the united states has appointed and you've seen i think the announcement, a special representative for ukraine. ambassador kirk volcker, who
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will draw on his decades of experience in the u.s. diplomatic core both as a representative to nate ea-- nat and his time as a political appointment. the two leaders also acknowledge the challenges of cyber threats and interference in the democratic processes of the united states and other countries, and agreed to explore creating a framework around which the two countries can work together to better understand how to deal with these cyber threats. both in terms of how these tools are used to interfere with the internal affairs of countries, but also how the tools are used to threaten infrastructure, how these tools are used from a terrorism standpoint as well. the president opened the meeting with president putin by raising the concerns of the american people regarding russian interference in the 2016
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election. they had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. the president pressed president putin on more than one occasion regarding russian involvement. president putin denied such involvement. as i think he has in the past. the two leaders agreed, though, that this is a substantial hindrance and the ability of us to move to russian/u.s. relationships forward and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of non-interference, in the affairs of the united states and our democratic process as well as those of other countries.workon regard. might i take your questions?
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represent is representative -- >> [ inaudible ] can you tell us whether president trump said there would be any consequences for russian interference in the u.s. election? any specific consequences -- [ inaudible ] and the cease fire, when does it begin and what makes you think that the cease-fire will succeed this time when in the past [ inaudible ]. >> with regard to interference in the election i think the president took note of actions that had been discussed by the congress. most recently additional sanctions that have been voted out of the senate to make it clear as to the seriousness of the issue, but i think what the two presidents, i think, rightly focused on is, how do we move forward? how do we move forward from here? because it's not clear to me that we will ever come to some agreed upon resolution of that question between the two nations.
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so the question is, what do we do now? and i think the relationship, and the president made this clear as well, it's too important. and it's too important to not find a way to move forward. not dismissing the issue in any way, and that is why we've agreed to continue engagement and discussion around how do we secure a commitment that the russian government has no intention of and will not interfere in our affairs in the future nor in the affairs of others, and how do we create a framework in which we have some capability to judge what is happening in the cyb hold accou this is obviously an issue that's broader than just u.s./russia, but it certainly, we see the man fesation of that threat in the events of last year so i think, again, the president's rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable
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disagreement at this point. as to the syria cease-fire, i would say what may be different this time, i think, is the level of commitment on the part of the russian government. they see the situation in syria transitioning from the defeat of isis, which we are progressing rapidly, as you know, and this is what really has led to this discussion with them as to what do we do to stabilize syria once the fight against isis is won. russia has an interest in syria becoming a stabilized and unified place but ultimately a place where we can facilitate a political discussion about their future, including the future leadership of syria. so, i think part of why we're -- and again, we'll see what happens as to the ability to hold the cease-fire, but i think part of what's different is
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where we are relative to the whole war against isis, where we are in terms of the opposition's, i think, position as to their strength within the country and the regime itself. you know, many respects, people are getting tired. they're getting weary of the conflict, and i think we have an opportunity, we hope, to create the conditions in this area in the south is our first show of success, we're hoping we can replicate that elsewhere. >> mr. secretary, you spoke when you were speaking of the cease-fire about there being detailed information about how to enforce it. can you give any more information about what comes -- and the future of the leadership of syria, do you still believe assad is no role in their government. >> i would like to defer on the specific roles in particular of security forces on the ground because there are a couple more
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meetings to occur. this agreement, i think, as you're aware, was entered into between jordan, the united states, and russia, and we are -- we have a very clear picture of who will provide the security forces, but we have a few more details to work out, and if i could, i'd like to defer on that until that is completed. i expect that will be completed within the next less than a week. the talks are very active and ongoing. and your second question, again? >> does the administration still believe that assad has no role in the future government of syria. >> yes, our position continues to be that we see no long-term role for the assad family or the assad regime. we just -- and we have made this clear to everyone. we've certainly made it clear in our discussions with russia, that we do not think syria can achieve international recognition in the future, even if they work through a successful political process. the international community
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simply is not going to accept a syria led by the assad regime. and so if syria's to be accepted and have a secure, both secure and economic future, it really requires that they find new leadership. we think it will be difficult for them to attract both the humanitarian aid as well as the reconstruction assistance that's going to be required because there just will be such a low level of confidence in the assad government. so, that continues to be the view. and as we said, how assad leaves is yet to be determined. but our view is that somewhere in that political process, there will be a transition away from the assad family. >> on north korea, did president putin agree to do anything to help the u.s. to put more pressure on north korea? and secondly, you seem to have
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reached somewhat of an impasse with china in terms of getting them to put pressure on north korea. how are you going to get them to go beyond what they've done already and what's president trump going say to president xi on that issue tomorrow? >> we did have a pretty good exchange on north korea. i would say the russians see it a little differently than we do. so, we're going to continue those discussions and ask them to do more. russia does have economic activity with north korea, but i would also hasten to add russia's official policy is the same as ours, a denuclearized korean peninsula, so i think here again, there is a difference in terms of view around tactics and pace, and so we will continue to work with them to see if we cannot persuade them as to the urgency that we see. i think with respect to china, what our experience with china has been and i've said this to others, it's been a bit uneven.
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china has taken significant action and then i think for a lot of different reasons, they paused. and didn't take additional action. they then have taken some steps, and then they've paused. and there are, i think, in our own view, there are a lot of, perhaps, explanations for why those pauses occur, but we've remained very closely engaged with china, both through our dialogues that have occurred face-to-face but also on the telephone. we speak very frequently with them about the situation in north korea. so, there's a clear understanding between the two of us of our intent, and i think the sanctions action that was taken here just in the last week to ten days certainly got their attention in terms of their understanding our resolve to bring more pressure to bear on north korea by directly going
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after entities doing business with north korea, regardless of where they may be located. we've continued to make that clear to china, that we would prefer they take the action themselves and we're still calling upon them to do that. so i would say our engagement is unchanged with china, and our expectations are unchanged. we have not given up hope. you know, when you're in an approach like we're using, and i call it the peaceful pressure campaign. a lot of people like to characterize it otherwise, but this is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution, because if this fails, we don't have have more good options left, so it is a peaceful pressure campaign, and it's one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure, and it takes a little time to let these things happen. you know, you enact the pressure, it takes a little while for that to work its way through. so, it is going to require some level of patient ce as we move
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this along, but when we talk about our strategic patience ending, what we mean is we're not just going to sit idly by and we're going to follow this all the way to its conclusion. >> you just mentioned -- china and russia recently said they asked north korea to freeze the nuclear activities, and also, they asked the u.s. to stop the thaad system. so, did president putin bring up his concern about the deployment of thaad system. and also, what's the expectation of president trump tomorrow's meeting with president xi jinping and other than -- >> the subject of thaad did not come up in the meeting with
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president putin. in terms of the progress of north korea and this last missile launch, again, those are some of the differences of views we have between ourselves in terms of tactics, how to deal with this. president putin, i think, has expressed a view not unlike that of china, that they would support a freeze for freeze. if we study the history of the last 25 years of engagement with various regimes in north korea, this has been done before. and every time it was done, north korea went ahead and proceeded with its program. the problem with freezing now, if we freeze where they are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability and we do not think it's also -- sets the right tone for where these talks should begin. and so we're asking north korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that
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these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program. that's what we want to talk about. we're not interested in talking about how do we have you stop where you are today. because stopping where they are because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us. -- captions by vitac -- >> fluffy cover question on general impressions. we thought this was a 30-minute meeting. it ended up being two hours and 16 minutes. it was a long time to watch those two leaders interact. any insights on those. any update on the ukraine sanctions to any