tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN July 7, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
>> thanks so much, erin. >> you can also catch him on "sha "sharknado five." have a great weekend to all of you. see you next week and thanks for joining us. "ac 360" starts right now. so did the president of the united states stand up to vladamir putin on election hacking or let him off the cyber hook? john berman in here for anderson. the answer may depend on what really happened after this hand shake. presidents trump and putin met today. they talked far longer than expected, or at least longer than we were led to believe. then two vastly accounts emerged of what transpired. tonight, they're driving two competing assessments how president trump handled his first encounter with someone more than just a key player on the world stage, but a central figure in the president's own political drama.
the meeting was, in political jargon, bilateral. but the implication, multidimensional. we begin with jim acosta. so jim, what came out of this meeting today? >> reporter: well, john, president trump did what a lot of his critics thought would be unthinkable, that is he confronted vladamir putin on this issue of meddling in last year's election. secretary of state rex tillerson came out and talked to reporters and said at the very top of this meeting that president trump did press vladamir putin on this issue, and that this was a lengthy exchange. it went on for several minutes and happened repeatedly throughout their meeting. what's interesting, though, john, is a couple of things. one is rex tillerson said that president trump was presenting what he believed to be the concerns of the american people during this meeting. not necessarily his own concerns. and that leads one to believe and raises questions as to whether or not president trump is coming to the conclusion that
yes, russia acted alone in meddling in the election last year. yesterday in warsaw, he was holding out the possibility that other countries were involved. potentially, an even more important and significant disagreement. after the meeting was over, rex tillerson's foreign counterpart serge lavrov, the foreign minister for russia, said that president trump accepted vladamir putin's denials of int interference in the elections last year. a senior administration official said no, president trump did not accept those denials. however, because it is an anonymous administration official saying this, you have some critics now saying, especially people who worked with the hillary clinton campaign, saying that president trump needs to come out and definitively say he's not buying vladamir putin's denials that the russians were meddling in last year's election. that is going to be a question put to the president next time he speaks in front of the
kamrakamraca cameras. >> the meeting was scheduled for 30, 35 minutes, it went more than four times that. do we know why? >> reporter: well, part of the reason, and they had big issues to tackle, not only the election interference that went on last year, john, but they talked about syria, and there was an agreement reached, despite some of that clashing over the issue of russia meddling, there was an agreement reached to bring down the hostilities in parts of syria. no real definitive sense as to whether this is going to be a lasting cease-fire. they were talking about it in those terms today. but we'll have to see how things play out moving forward. they also talked about the situation in ukraine. they did not come to a final decision or agreement to end russian aggression in ukraine or anything of that kind of importance. but the president did talk with vladamir putin about that subject as well. of course, there are lots of
other issues discussed between these two men. keep in mind, john, at one point rex tillerson said during the briefing with reporters earlier today, that they had good chemistry with one another, and apparently it was so good that the first lady had to come in at one point and check on them to speed things along. john, i think one thing we want to press on our viewers in terms of what happened today, i think it's very striking that coming out of this very historic meeting between president trump and vladamir putin, there was an on-camera briefing and off-camera briefing. the russian serge lavrov, talked to reporters on camera after this important meeting today. the united states, the greatest democracy on the face of the planet, the secretary of state rex tillerson, they did not talk to reporters on camera. that briefing was held off camera. i think the juxtaposition today was striking. it was an opportunity for the president today, and his administration to tout something of a victory today, they
answered their critics and talked to vladamir putin about election meddling but did it off camera. john? >> jim, thanks so much. more now on the meeting. cnn's michelle kaczynski has the latest and joins us from the state department. michelle, we have a he said-he said right now. president trump claims one thing, russia claims another. >> reporter: this is russia we're dealing with. you have to take these statements often with more than a grain of salt, maybe a pile of salt. this is not unusual. the readouts are often different. each side is going to emphasize or interpret things to their advantage. the obama administration officials described sitting down with putin as like listening to an alternate reality. but these things that the russian foreign minister said were surprising. he said that trump told putin that the allegations of russian
meddling were strange, because there's not facts to support it. he said that trump accepted putin's very clear statements that russia was not involved. now, that prompted the white house to shoot back with a response saying no, trump did not accept putin's claims of non-interference. but watch how secretary of state rex tillerson described this meeting. >> the president opened the meeting with president putin by raising the concerns of the american people regarding russian interference in the 2016 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. >> reporter: so many questions here, though. did this come up off the top of the meeting to get it out of the
way fairly quickly or did it take 30 minutes? you heard tillerson say that president trump brought up the concerns of the american people. so is that him saying that well, there are others that have these concerns or was president trump saying he also shared these concerns? did president trump say we know you did this, here's what we're going to do about it, and this has to stop? it doesn't sound like he said those things, john. >> michelle, secretary lavrov also commented that president trump down played the russian interference in the election. what did he say? >> reporter: he said that president trump said in this meeting that there are groups within the united states that are trying to fan the issue of russian involvement without any facts to back it up. some are interpreting that saying there are groups trying to exaggerate this. the white house did not respond to that statement, but this is not inconsistent with things
that president trump, even yesterday when he was in poland, he said well, russia may have played a role, but it could have been others. and that nobody knows for sure. john? >> remember, as you say, michelle, this is the russian version of events, so take that into account. michelle, thanks so much. however secretary tillerson characterizes it, it does not seem either he or president trump offered a factual rebuttal of president putin's hacking denial. as you know, the president going in was still equivocating on russian blame. ed a he cared to make more of an issue out of it, it's not like he would have lacked the ammunition. jim sciutto joins us now with more on that. jim, again, we talked about this almost every night, this question of hacking, to our intelligence community is not, in fact, an open question. they believe they have definitive proof. >> reporter: not at all. they've had -- they released publicly, they don't always do this with sensitive intelligence
issues, but on october 7 in 2016 and in january of 2017, they released assessments with confidence that russia was behind this, and they detailed in some degree in that classified report in january as to why they believe that to be true. we have a special on at 11:00 that teals with the open source evidence why intelligence agencies traced this back to russia. some of it obvious. the hackers who were operating were operating on moscow time. they were operating in the russian alphabet, as well as other indicators. donald trump has been briefed repeatedly on the evidence, and the intelligence agencies, who contributed intelligence to this assessment, the cia, the nsa, the fbi, they concurred in a high confidence assessment that russia is behind this. so i suppose the difficulty for us, for the american people, and for people in the intelligence
communities to rectify president trump's statements yesterday in the press conference doubting that russia was solely behind this, and today having confidence when he delivered that message to president putin, that he did so with the strength and certainty that you would expect from an american president. we don't know, we weren't in that room, but on two different days, the president seemed to be delivering two different messages. >> again, just to belabor the point from yesterday, any evidence that any other countries other than russia attempted or succeeded in hacking during the 2016 election? >> reporter: i interviewed former director of national intelligence james clapper yesterday. the most senior most intelligence official in the country until january, who has served, to be clear, republican and democratic administrations going back four decades. he said, and he saw and supervised these assessments, saw no evidence of anyone else but russia. you can't get a more definitive statement than that. and if you want to accept that,
listen to the democratic and republican chairmen and ranking members of the house and senate intelligence committees who also have been briefed on this, and they say the same thing. it is not a partisan issue, it's a fact. and the fact that the president won't say that in explicit terms in public is a question. we don't really have an answer as to why that is. >> jim sciutto, stick around. going to bring in some reinforcements here. i joining me now is my panel. david gergen, i want to start with you here. these divergent views of what happened in the meeting, the russians saying that president trump accepts russia's versions
of the hacking in the election, how big a deal is this that we have these different views tonight? >> it's serious, because it goes to the credibility of each side. obviously, what's needed now is for president trump -- [ overlapping speakers ] i'm sorry, what's obviously needed now is for president trump to talk to the american people, to talk to the world and make what rex tillerson would call a robust statement, making it definitive and clear that he believes the russians hacked in this election. they tried to help him get elected and he's taking it seriously, and he needs a full statement. that would make the american account of this, the tillerson account of what happened in this meeting much more credible. and one would like to think that is credible. but if he dodges, if he continues to duck and waffle, then the lavrov, the russian interpretation of what happened
in that meeting is going to become much more credible. i think it's that simple. >> it strikes me that the administration wanted the story out of this meeting to be that president trump confronted russian leader vladamir putin over election hacking. it happened at the beginning of the meeting. the fact that there are these div divergent views, is this the russians trying to gaslight the administration? >> so in some ways, president trump did what he was pushed politically to do, asked and answered. he asked about the interference, it was answered. and in some ways, both serge lavrov and rex tillerson had, in some ways, the same things to say, meaning that this is an intractable disagreement, and secretary tillerson said we've got to move forward. and lavrov has said, well, we didn't do it, we're going to move forward. we're not addressing the fact that a foreign power interfered in the american democratic
process. russia is doing this in france, in germany. they're increasing their influence, and this sort of back and forth does not get us to the place where we need to be, which is protection of the american democratic process, for upcoming elections and to make sure that we can prevent nato allies from being interfered with by the russian government. >> matthew, on that point, secretary tillerson says no, no, they want to turn to the future and face the future here, but can you say just bygones over the russians hacking the election? what is the impact of saying that's in the past? >> look, i certainly agree, john, the president would have bought him an awful lot of domestic political capital, maybe even breathing room from the investigation on the hill, from the pending new sanctions legislation which would tie his administration's hands, tillerson has opposed that, because he wants s ts to be ab use sanctions as leverage against the russians.
if he had released the transcripts to what he said with putin, or clear and strong statements from the administration about what the consequences will be, not only for what russia has done but if it continues to do this. but it's varietiable to understand that the moving forward aspect is also the responsibility of the president of the united states on all of our behalf. it's not to bury what has happened, but it is that we have to deal with the russians. this is a major nuclear weapons power. like it or lump it, they hold the keys to solving problems like syria, ukraine, north korea. what troubles me most of all, to be honest, is i didn't hear any readout from secretary tillerson or anybody else, that they talked about the near collapse of the u.s.-russian nuclear arms regime or they got anywhere on the north korea conversation. this is the stuff that worries me, when you have a leader of the united states and russia sitting down for two hours. >> jim sciutto, on the different views, though, it strikes me that the administration thought that the president delivered or at least they portrayed it as a
firm message to vladamir putin. rex tillerson came out of that meeting and made clear it was the first thing that was brought up and brought up repeatedly. it also seems to me that the reason now that it's being questioned so much is because of what the russians did after, which seems like an intentional effort to put donald trump, the president of the united states in an awkward situation. >> listen, i think a couple of things. had president trump not brought up the election meddling in this conversation, we would be having a very different conversation tonight. so credit where credit is due. that was not expected. officials inside trump's own white house have been telling reporters they did not expect him to bring it up and he did, apparently at multiple times. that is something. that is certainly something. two, in principled meetings like this between u.s. leaders and foreign leaders, you often have divergent readouts of what happened inside, because both of them are speaking to different
audiences. and frankly, sometimes in diplomacy, that's allowable, right? listen, i understand you're going to say that's your take on what happened here to your population. i understand this is what i'm going to say to my population. so it's not that unusual. that said, we know how russia operates. lavrov has a reputation for this kind of thing. putin, a former kgb agent. so it's not that surprising to have divergent views. but to president trump's part is what allows for that russian interpretation to have life is president trump has contradicted himself on how seriously he takes the russian hacking. in fact, 24 hours ago. that's one of the reasons he undermines his own message. >> in diplomacy, very often is trying to make both sides look good. the problem here is the way the russians handled it puts the president of the united states in an awkward position, where
now he needs to say outright he doesn't accept what vladamir putin said. i imagine if he takes any questions, that will be the question that's asked. steve hall, back to the original point here that president trump did bring up election meddling, which is something maybe he wasn't planning on doing as recently as a week ago. will that have any impact on the intelligence community here who has at times been in conflict with the president? how do you think it will play with the skeptics, even politically in congress? >> it's kind of interesting how low the threshold has gotten here. we're giving accolades to a president for raising what should be extremely obvious, an attack on our democracy. there's a couple typical russian things here. number one, when you get these denials and where's the facts? the russians know this is intelligence, they're not going to get proof, but they like to say that because it leaves us in
a difficult position. the other thing is, and to jump on what jim sciutto was talking about. i think secretary tillerson perhaps without intending to, made life easier for foreign minister lavrov when he said our relationship with russia is important and we need to find a way to move forward. the russians will interpret that or use it politically to say look, that's the acceptance right there that we didn't meddle in elections because the u.s. government wants to move on and they want us to forget about things like ukraine and crimea, they want us to forget about meddling in elections. when a secretary of state says we're trying to move on to the next important thing, the russians say this is great, we paid very little and we can do it next time again with little fallout. that i think was maybe inadvertent on tillerson's part, but the russians ran with it. when we come back, how meetings like this can shape american presidencies and sometimes world history. think jfk and kreshav.
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putin made news. but the repercussions may play out far into the future. heather, it's good the white house and the kremlin said this was is good first meeting. that is what you want out of the diplomacy. but you made the case this doesn't necessarily foreshadow a long, fruitful relationship. >> we've seen where many presidents have many first meetings, where president george bush looked into putin's eyes and saw his soul and felt very convinced after september 11 that counterterrorism would be the issue that would bring these two issues together and the relationship at the end of president bush's tenure collapsed with the russianization of georgia. president clinton had his own challenges and president obama did the same. it starts out fruitful, but we run into the long list of issues that we don't agree on.
and this is just our values do not coincide. so beware, we've been here before. lots of positive chemistry in meetings in those first initial sessions. but we'll see if the cease-fire in syria works, if russia will be supportive on north korean issues at the security council or if they'll implement a cease-fire and pull back from the ukrainian border or stop interfering in the german election. all of these issues we'll have to see. we've got to see the action next. >> matthew, we listened to you last night talk about the power plays that vladamir putin has tried in all kinds of meetings with past foreign leaders and everybody analyzed the photo-opes with the two leaders sitting side by side and the readouts of the discussion. aside from what may have been a very big power play with lavrov
saying president trump accepted the russian stance on meddling in the election, did you see any gains by president puten? >> remember that putin doesn't always put his enter locketer in a negative position. part of his experience as a kgb officer is what he calls working with people. sometimes that means flattering them. sometimes it's about making them feel good or fortunate that they have so much time with him, that he's gracious. again, we don't know what was said. we do know to some degree how it was said, the body language was basically positive rather than you saw putin with obama, often leaning back in his chair, looking very grim, almost sarcastic. and president obama reacted very negatively to that. here you have trump and putin
leaning towards each other, slapping each other on the back and smiling. the last point, john, this is a win simply because it happened. putin previously was subject to a u.s. isolation policy after the ukraine invasion. the fact that he had a meeting with the leader of the united states on the margins of a gathering with more than a dozen other powerful world leaders is a huge win for vladamir putin no matter what was discussed. >> dave david gergen, i know yoa believer in diplomacy. the fact this went more than two hours, the white house may have been setting a low bar here, saying the meeting was only supposed to last 35 minutes, but two hours is a long time, period. >> we should welcome the fact that they spent two hours and 15 minutes together and not the 30 minutes that was on the schedule, because it does mean they went deeper, they were more serious, they've engaged more. listen, earlier in the week,
david sanger, world class journalist, wrote a piece in "the new york times" recalling how john kennedy went to his first russian leader khrushchev. he was a bully, and he walked over kennedy. it was a mess. and from that, as you said earlier in the show, cakennedy said way back then we have to show khrushchev how serious we are, maybe vietnam is the place to start. trump didn't do that today. he didn't crumple in front of putin. and putin didn't bully him into a corner. there were no apparent shouts or anything like that. i think we should be, you know, when the president gets something -- does something better than expected, we should say so. but i do think what has been -- all of our focus on putin, one thing that's being overshadowed
is this is the first time i've seen a president coming to a g20 meeting no longer regarded as the world leader and europe is going its own separate way. japan just signed a big trade agreement with europe. that is troubling. >> steve hall, we are going to talk much more about a global implication of everything going on at the g20 in a little bit, but what do you think president putin learned about president trump today? >> well, i think putin and russia, they're just enjoying this and living large in this. the reason is because one of their primary geopolitical goals is to be relative, to be a great power and return to super power status. that's why they're in syria and why they have these meet wgs the president of the united states. that's one of their goals, we're out there doing things and making ourselves needed in a place like syria. they'll probably do the same
thing in north korea. this is a primary goal of theirs. until they understand we might be able to do this without the russian's help, i don't think they'll take this as seriously as they need to. >> thanks so much. do not miss jim sciutto's special report, "the russia connection, inside the attack on democracy" at 11:00 p.m. eastern on cnn. up next, more on the big developments from the meeting. the partial syria cease-fire agreement. because each day she chooses to take the stairs. at work, at home... even on the escalator. that can be hard on her lower body, so now she does it with dr. scholl's orthotics clinically proven to relieve and prevent foot, knee or lower back pain, by reducing the shock and stress that travel up her body with every step she takes. so keep on climbing, sarah. you're killing it. dr. scholl's. born to move. i work ovi need when i my blood sugar to stay in control. so i asked about tresiba®. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪
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from secretary of state rex tillerson. both presidents along with jordan agreeing to a partial syrian cease-fire. here's what mr. tillerson said. >> 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 deescalate the areas and violence once we defeat isis. and to work together towards a political process that will secure the future of the syrian people. >> joining us is retired admiral john kirby, cnn military analyst lieutenant colonel rick francona, and robert ford. admiral, how significant is this cease-fire that the u.s. and russia reached common ground on this? >> it's certain hi good news,
john. any cease-fire that can put into effect is good for the syrian people. but the devil is in the details. when asked about the details, secretary tillerson didn't have a lot. when it comes to who is going to monitor this, how is it going to be enforced? number two, it's in southwest syria. again, any cease-fire in syria is a good thing. but that is an area of syria where there isn't a whole heck of a lot of fighting and certainly not a lot of isis. so we need to bear in mind the localities. and number three, we've been to this movie before, and the russians don't always have the same idea of who is a terrorist or vice versa. so these things off times break down. i hope that's not the case, but we'll have to see. again, the devil is in the details. >> there have been other cease-fires that the u.s. and russia have been involved with over the last few years and they have not worked. why would this one be any different? >> i don't think it's going to be any different. as the admiral says, this is not
an area of critical importance, but there is fighting going on and there is an isis group there. but we see fighting three ways. you've got the regime, isis, and the free syrian army. any cease-fire is good, but the important point here is that the russians and the americans are now talking to each other, talking to each other at high levels, and that's how this is going to -- this problem is going to get involved. we're not going to solve it on the battlefield, but solve it between diplomats. and that has to be russians and americans. >> secretary tillerson said that the u.s. position continues to be they see no long-term role for the assad regime, and that was made clear in discussions with russia that was the case. but saying it and doing something about it, putting any muscle behind it, that's another matter, isn't it? >> it's completely a different matter. what i read in -- from secretary tillerson's comments today reminded me frankly of the obama
administration saying that assad should step aside, but having no strategy, much less any tactics that would actually make that happen. >> do you believe that is essential for any long-term solution in syria? >> i don't think there's any visible long-term solution in syria right now. i think that assad is not leaving. he has largely won the war in syria. he controls all of the cities in western syria. and he's advancing now steadily into eastern syria. with the russian and iranian help that he has received far greater than anything turkey, saudi arabia, and the americans ever provided to the opposition. assad has basically won. the real question going forward is, how do you contain extremist insurgents against that assad government?
and that is what rex tillerson was saying, how do you restore stability in such a way that they don't take advantage of cracks in the stability that is arranged. >> let's listen to something that secretary tillerson said today about what was discussed. listen to this. >>ly tell you that by and large, our objectives are exactly the same. how we get there, we each have a view, but there's a lot more commonality to that than differences. so we want to build on the commonality, and we spent a lot of time talking about next stips. >> our objectives are the same, he said. is that the same that u.s. and russian objectives are the same? >> what he's inspecting about is the geneva communique that set up a framework to get to a political setup in syria. the russians, chinese, even the iranians were at the table when that framework was crafted, lajly led by the united states. if that's what he was talking
about, he's not wrong. there was a common picture signed up two years ago about what the future of syria should look like. that said, and this is where the cease-fire is tricky, our objectives in syria have never been the same as the russians. the russians have always been about propping up assad, keeping a friendly regime there to keep a foothold in the middle east. our objectives have been to go after isis and try to get the opponents in this civil war back to the negotiating table. what we're not hearing, and the ambassador is right when we talks about this, what we're not hearing is let's say it works, then what? where is the plan to get the opposing sides back to the table in geneva, and we haven't heard that from this administration. >> colonel francona, what are these negotiations, what does this cease-fire, what does it mean for the deconfliction going
on over syria? >> that framework exists, that seems to be working very well. but i think that this is a process. this is the next step in the process. but i'm encouraged. i know the ambassador said that's no visible solution, but at least this might be a start. and one thing i wanted to say, the russians are there to prop up assad, but i don't think they're wedded with bashar al assad. they could live with a follow-on regime as long as they honor that 49-year lace for the air base. >> ambassador ford, you were the last u.s. ambassador to syria. as you sit here today, do you think the situation in syria is better than it was yesterday? any reason for optimism? >> the islamic state is much weaker, and is in retreat. and that's a good thing. and if this cease-fire in
western syria takes hold, it will probably reduce the refugee flow into jordan, an important ally of ours and of israel. and that too would be a good thing. i don't think we should kid ourselves. the chances of the cease-fire working are not great. neither is the iranian government, which has troops in ze southwest syria, nor the syrian government were involved in these u.s.-russia talks. and russia's ability to deliver iran and the syrian government is really questionable. the experience of aleppo with john kerry should remind us all of that. so let's be hopeful that this is a step, but let's not kid ourselves. this is a very difficult process. even if it works, the long-range solution to syria's essentially political problems are very far away from resolution. >> thank you all for your time.
up next, the democratic congressman on the intelligence committee reacts to president trump's meeting with vladamir putin. especially the conflicting accounts. how if guests book direct ater, choicehotels.com and stay twice they'll get a $50 gift card? summertime. badda book. badda boom. got you a shirt! ...i kept the receipt... book now at choicehotels.com
as we mentioned after president trump's long meeting with vladamir putin, both sides are telling a very different story about the discussion on russian interference in the election. joining me now for his take on all this, congressman jim heins. congressman, when we spoke on this program last night, you said that president trump should speak with great specificity, great authority on russian interference. did he do that? >> no, john, he did not. what you saw today was just a dog's breakfast of uncertainty and lack of charity about what happened. john, what i met yesterday, presidenting is hard, but writing the script for this meeting is not hard. that script goes, the president of the united states, when the doors close, looks him in the eye and says mr. putin, i have the very best intelligence agencies in the world. they caught you red handed. if you ever do this again or think about this again, at a
time and place of my choosing, i will put you in a world of hurt. that's the script. that's far from what was said today. we had conflicting accounts today. if you listen to tillerson's words, the president talked about the concern of the american people. not of the president of the united states, but the concerns of the american people. so sadly i think we're teeing up to see this again. >> look, if he didn't bring it up at all, you would be all over him. does he get any credit for discussing what you say is a very important thing to discuss? >> well, i guess so. look, i'll tip the hat to the fact that apparently they worked out some sort of cease-fire in syria. we'll see if that sticks. any conversations with the russians i think are good conversations. we need their help with north korea and syria. i actually am glad that the m t meeting occurred. i'm glad that the president was clear on article v. but we had this attack on our country, and if the president had not mentioned that, it would
be just a historical catastrophe. so, again, i'll give him credit for some of the things that happened today. but he did not speak with great clarity. he did not have putin walk away from this meeting thinking i better not try that again. >> of course, there are the div divergent views of what happened. the fact that there are two versions now, the russians say president trump accepted president putin's assurances that there was no russian involvement, a senior administration official says that's not the case. what do you make of this? >> well, i don't know. if i were the president of the united states or the secretary of state and the russians came out with a dramatically different account of the meeting, and one that is profoundly embarrassing to me, i would have wondered if i was just a mark at the poker table. so again, i'm concerned. look, it doesn't surprise me.
we watched for months now as the president has equivocated, even denied this attack took place. so i'm not surprised there was some uncertainty what took place in the room. >> you're not suggesting you believe the russians more than the white house, are you? >> i am not suggesting that. since there are conflicting versions, it's hard to know. i would hope, maybe there's a role here for congressional oversight. it is our job to do oversight. i would hope that perhaps secretary tillerson, because this is a matter of such importance to our national security and to the integrity of our system, i would hope that they would come before one of the committees of congress and elaborate what happened in that room. >> just to be clear, the russians say that president trump accepted president putin's denial. a white house says that's not the case. given those two stories, who are you more inclined to believe? >> well, all i can do is reflect on how i've heard the president talk about the russian attack on our election over the course of
the last four or five months. and he has ranged from denying that it occurred, and denying the conclusion of his own intelligence community, to saying that maybe it's i would be shocked if he turned around when the doors closed and ran the script i suggested he should run. looking putin in the eye and saying, we know you did this. that would be contrary to what he's done the last four or five months. i am worried we didn't get the point across in the way it is hopefully going to preserve the integrity of our elections going forward. >> thank you for being with us. have a good weekend, sir. >> thanks, john. melania trump on the world stage taking on an unexpectedly prominent role in the g-20 meetings, including a drop in on the president's meeting with vladimir putin. to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business
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including a visit to a climate center and a boat and lunch on the river. instead, melania trump was on lockdown, as protests raged outside her hamburg hotel. deemed too dangerous for the first lady to depart, she had to skip the outings. her spokeswoman telling cnn that instead, mrs. trump held staff meetings at the hotel and asked to be regularly updated on the protests. this morning, the first lady tweeting her concern and hope that people stay safe. the g-20 visit came on the heels of a quick stop in poland yesterday, where the first lady gave brief remarks, introducing president trump before his speech. >> thank you, again, for this wonderful welcome to your very special country. your kindness and gracious hospitality will not be forgotten. >> reporter: it's her second time stepping on to the global stage. her first in may, a nine-day
trip with stops in five cities, brought glowing reviews for melania's glowing diplomacy, her style, visits to children's hospitals and even, yes, her independence streak after that event on the tarmac in israel. ending with remarks to troops with a message of unity. >> this trip for me has been very special, and i will never forget the women and children i met. as one of the kids at the hospital that i visit said in a picture he drew for me, we are all the same. >> reporter: even her husband was effusive in his praise for the first lady. >> america is very blessed with a lot of great diplomats, and i have to say this as she just walks over here. but i don't think the united states could possibly have a
better emissary than our magnificent and wonderful person, our first lady, melania. thank you. >> reporter: today, back at the g-20, once she was finally cleared to leave the confines of her hotel and join her husband, mrs. trump was back to using those diplomacy skills. sent in to help wrap the lengthy meeting between trump and russian president vladimir putin. it didn't work, and the two men talked for at least an hour longer. but by dinnertime, the trumps emerged. melania in a fringed white dress by michael kors, greeting the other leaders for a family photo, before attending a performance by the philharmonic. and at dinner, separated at the table from her husband, who was seated next to the first lady of argentina, the first lady's companion was none other than vladimir putin. >> now, russian isn't one of the five languages the first lady
speaks, but she does speak german and so does putin. maybe they communicated that way. either way, there was a translator. interesting dinner companions. >> interesting to find out what they discussed, if we find it out. thank you so much. more on the two accounts of today's meeting between the two leaders when we come back. i have the jefferson nose right there on the front of my face. when i think about being related to thomas jefferson, it certainly makes me feel a sense of pride the tenacity of not only that he showed in his life
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