tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN July 8, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
newsroom. thanks for spending some of your weekend with us. i'm ana cabrera in new york. we begin this hour with the e end/he saend he said/he said. we heard from some of trump's top advisers. right now they are flying home with the president after his trip to the g-20 summit. two of those advisers were asked three times to knocking down putin's claim that trump accepted his word that moscow did not interfere in the u.s. election. those advisers flying on air force one simply deflected the repeated questions. mean while the president did not hold a press conference to share his own version of the meeting. something putin and many other world leaders did this morning. i want to bring in athena jones. so set it up for us what we're about to 45er frhear from steven as he spoke to reporters aboard air force one. >> reporter: that's right, secretary mnuchin was one of
those three administration officials who did not take an opportunity after given multiple opportunities to correct the record about these competing and contradictory readouts coming out of the u.s. and the russian side after that two hour plus meeting, first meeting, that president trump had with vladimir putin. we though that boknow that both that president trump bruought u early on the issue of russian meddling in the u.s. election. we heard from rex tillerson that this was a somewhat extensive discussion. but we also heard from the russians from foreign minister sergey lavrov and from the president putin himself that they believe that president trump took putin at his word when he denied any russian meddling in the u.s. election. that of course is the no the con be collusion that the u.s. intelligence agencies came to. now, a senior administration official told jim acosta last night that that is not what
happened in the meeting, but today during this gaggle an be board air force one on the flight home, as you mentioned, those three administration officials, gary cohn, hr mcmaster and steve mnuchin were asked about this and didn't set the record straight. listen to part the exchange with secretary mnuchin. >> another country making a statement about the president of the united states. do you not want to respond to that and correct the record if it's long? >> i won't make comments about what other people say. president trump will be happy to make statements himself about that. but the president handled himself brilliantly. he made his position felt and after substantive dialogue, they agreed to move on to other discussions and i think that it is very clear that they have opened the dialogue, that it's important to have a dialogue.
as we said, they focused on a cease-fire on syria, focused on making sure that we have a cyber unit to make sure that russia and nobody else interferes in any democratic elections and we focussed on the issue of north korea which is a major concern to us and all our allies. >> so you hear secretary mnuchin dodging that question and you also heard that president trump himself will be happy to make statements about this. well, as you mentioned, the president left europe without holding a cuss can tomorrow area press conference to wrap up his days at this summit to talk about what he believes he accomplished. so there hasn't been an opportunity to hear directly from the president himself after that meeting. the last time we heard the president speak about this whole issue of russian meddling in the election was on thursday in poland the day before he sat down for that meeting with putin. and in that statement he was not at all definitive. he said yes, he believes russia
did some meddling, but maybe other people and other countries did, as well. and so a lot of critics are clamoring for a much more definitive of statement from the president on this matter of russian meddling. and so far we haven't gotten it. >> athena jones, thank you. the russian president is revealing new details about his views on president trump after their big face-to-face heating. putin speaking out about trump bringing up railroad are shan hacki ha russian hacking. watch. >> translator: theu.s. president raised this question and devoted a lot of time to this issue. our position is well-known and i repeated it, there is no basis for thinking that russia interfered in the election process. what is important is that we agreed that the uncertain heity on these matters cannot exist especially in the future. >> joining me now from moscow, matthew chance.
so you have obviously interviewed vladimir putin twice as we have discussed previously. what is the reaction there in russia to this much anticipated meeting between the two leaders? >> reporter: it's been a euphoric creation because the expectations were so low here that this meeting wasn't going to turn anything up because of the fractious relationship between russia and the united states and of course the preliminary pressures on donald trump particularly surrounding the toxic russia issue was so great that people here didn't think there was any chance of them even agreeing to anything substantial at all. russian state media were saying if they even agree to another meeting, that would be considered a success. so we look at that backdrop and the meeting went on for 2:16 and
they discussed a wide range of topic s and even had agreement n several areas, so this is seen as a major step up, a major victory. and of course it's restored some faith in russians amongst russians that donald trump is indeed the u.s. president that sees the world from a similar point of view that their leadership does. and it's restored their faith that he is somebody who is going to be able to do deals so use donald trump's own terminology with the kremlin. so i think that there is a renewed sense of hope that this could be a transformational moment in the relationship between the united states and russia. >> one of the things that this russian president said before the cameras today was that he had a lot of good things to say about president trump, he talked about how he really felt that they connected during the meeting. he sang his praises. is that typical after meeting
with past u.s. administrations? >> reporter: it's typical that the chemistry between vladimir putin and the new u.s. president, whoever that is, is usually quite strong. vladimir putin is very accomplished at making a good impression on people he needs to make a good impression on. who can forget the 2001 moment when george w. bush peered into putin's eyes and got a sense of his soul i think is what he said. president obama likewise in 2009 was very impressed according to his officials by putin. so there was no surprise -- >> was putin impressed with those administrations as he seems to be with president trump? >> reporter: no, that is what i was coming on to. what i do think is unusual is that president trump should praise so highly in public in
such a formidable way what he thinks of donald trump, what he thinks of the u.s. leader. normally he's a bit more tight lipped and it's the other ones that do the praising. but this time he's being quite gushing, talking about how he sees him as a good partner. and so i think that putin sees him as somebody that he can really into do business with. thank you so much. i want to talk more about the white house declining to knock down putin's claims that president trump accepted putin's word that russia did not interfere in the u.s. election. joining me now, democratic congressman ted lew from california. thank you so much for being with us. this is coming from key white house players who were giving a briefing aboard air force one. hr mcmaster, steve mnuchin, who were asked multiple times about whether the president rebuts the claim that he agreed with the president of russia that they
did not meddle in the election. what is your reaction? >> thank you for your question. i have read the classified intelligence report. i've attended classified briefings. and vladimir putin is lying when he says russia did not meddle in u.s. elections and it's highly disturbing that the white house and president trump has not contradicted putin's assertion because it shows that the american president seems to be believing putin a former kgb agent over american intelligence officials and that is not acceptable. >> so let me play devil's advocate here. is it possible president trump is playing a long game here trying to set the stage with putin allowing the u.s./russia relationship to move on perhaps to an agreement on north korea or syria? could that be the reason he is staying quiet? >> the problem is if you don't confront putin and you accept his word, then this in-sent advises the russians to hack
america again. now, count now, it's okay to have a disagreement and talk about other issue, but the president needs to not accept this kgb agent's word because the evidence is very clear russia hacked america last year. >> why do you think the president then isn't coming forward and rebutting the claims from putin? >> that is a question many people are asking. i can't answer that. but it does appear that the president acts as if putin has something over him. and i don't know why that is. but this meeting certainly did not help to make those perceptions go away. >> and remember going into the meeting there were a lot of questions can whether the president would even bring up election meddling. should president trump get credit for indeed bringing this up? >> he does get credit for bringing it up, but i think he just made the situation worse by not denying that he accepted putin's word that russia did not medal in u.s. elections last
year. that is just false. and in fact so false that nikki haley went on cnn earlier today and said everyone knows russia meddled in u.s. elections. so we clearly need to get the president on the same page. >> that's correct she will be on state of the yun oig tomorrow and there w "state of the union" tomorrow and we played a portion of her interview.k you about other takeaways. they say that they are looking forward to working together on important issues like syria. can a positive working russia b good thing? >> yes. i don't have an objection with having the u.s. improve relations with other countries including russia. my objection is that the white houses and president seems to not have taken the russia interference in u.s. elections last year seriously. that was a really big deal. we don't want that to happen again. but on other issues, we absolutely need russia to cooperate with the u.s. more in
syria, on iran and also in north korea. >> all right. congressman, thanks for being with us. and we will be talking with a republican lawmaker later this hour, so stay tuned for that. and in the meantime, i want to talk with former u.s. ambassador to russia thomas pickering. he served this both democrat and republican administrations. ambassador, thanks again for spending time with us. vladimir putin is now claiming during this meeting between him and president trump that president trump agreed russia did not interfere in last year's election. three separate times today, white house officials declined to refute this. you can think of a reason why they would do that? >> i think one can only conjecture that it happens to be true and they don't particularly care to admit it but they are not interested in provoking a crisis over this issue by a personal confrontation between
president putin an president trump over this question. >> so let me read you what the state department spokeswoman jen psaki had to say. quote, you don't get a lot of shots at pressure in ploes and after you've let youred adversa off the hook, you certainly don't get to apply that pressure again. stars the russians are concerned, the public case is closed. you know the russians and how they rate. do you think putin feels like he is off the hook? >> i can't tell you that. that is off obviously a personal conjecture on anybody's part. what i can tell you is that sergey lavrov yesterday when he said in fact that president trump had let putin off the hook was clearly exploiting an opening that had taken place in the meeting. he's not a foolish man and he's not -- he may be given to exannual race, bexan exannual raexaggeration, but no
fabrication. so in that regard there is probably something that russians believe they had good can reare think that they were off the hook. fr the fact that the white house has gone quiet is the fact as i said a moment ago that theyinte center piece of future conflict. they are interested in seeing if we can make some about progress. whether this issue will remain front and center or not, i have no idea. it is not an issue that will be resolved until former fbi head mueller responds and provides the information and the evidence. and i would look forward to that to seeing in fact what it is that he as i think a really first class individual and man of both courage and probity has
to say about what in fact really took place here. and who in what way is responsible and at fault. my own sense is that the 18 u.s. intelligence agencies are not involved in the fabrication business on an issue of this importance. and i believe they have strong reason to feel that way. the putin challenge to show me the evidence is clearly a fishing expedition to see in fact whether the u.s. would reveal information inadvertently or otherwise about sources and methods that are extremely important to the united states and i would strongly object to seeing them do anything as foolish as that. despite the public interest in this particular problem. so i think the situation now is that mr. mueller will have to provide us i hope with a final answer and maybe congressional committees will also
investigate. let's hope that we have a single answer and a single view and a single conclusion and then we can move on because i don't know that what is going to undo what has been done or reorganize the united states around the past as important as this is as an attack on our democracy has been. i don't know whether even after we find out the truth here much more is going to be done or can be done to deal with the issue. one can seek obviously further conflict with russia and demand apologies and things of this sort. putin is seeking obviously now to avoid that. >> all right. ambassador, thank you very much for joining us. coming up, vladimir putin says he thinks president trump agrees that russia didn't medal in the u.s. election. top white house advisers are not disputing putin's account. so what is going on here? we get reaction from republican congressman francis rooney next. when you have something you love,
the white house is refusing to deny vladimir putin's claim that president trump appeared to accept his word that russia did not medal in last year's election. putin made the claim earlier today while talking to the press. later on air force one, white house officials were asked three separate times about putin's remarks. each time they declined to answer. joining me to discuss, republican congressman francis rooney of florida. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me. >> you served on the foreign affairs committee. are you concerned that white house officials won't come out and say putin is lying? >> no, i'm really not. i think we need to put this into perspective. it appears that russia tried to conduct espionage but weren't successful and until we hear some kind of facts other than cyberattacking the dnc successfully, i think we need to keep perspective on some this
issue. and i wouldn't expect president putin to do anything different than try to can't liz on it. this is espionage and disinformation is one of the primary trick s of the trade. >> are you surprised president trump isn't refuting what putin said? >> no, i'm not. i think we need to move on. the comments that were made by secretary tillerson that they decided not to relitigate the past and move on to try to improve our fight with our common enemy and see if we can engage russia in north korea is a whole lot more important since we have an ongoing involve that will solve it anyway, a whole lot more important about who he said and who didn't say -- russia never really admitted -- >> are you tell williing me you not concerned about russia meddling in the election?
>> he espionage is happening al over all the time. yeah, they can try. evidently from what i've heard, they didn't get very far. a >> so you're not worried about russian entities, people, bots we've heard that they used to deploy during the past election being able to do more in future elections if we don't get to the bottom of it? >> well, sure you it's concerning, but all dibd of espionage and operations are concerning, but we have to be manned up enough to fight it back. >> how do you fight back -- >> well, i think that we have pretty strong cyber capabilities. and i think that there are many efforts under way in the congress to beef those up to make sure that we can repel any cyberattack no matter how forceful. you know, a bot is just a modern version of a leaflet drop.
>> we have heard from former administration officials and current intel tetelligence offi who said that they believe the russians will strike again, they ever not been deterred. what is your response? >> well, i'm sure they are striking august the time. this business is relentless game played all around the word ald we're pretty good with at it ourselves. >> let me play for you what the president said. >> mistakes have been made. i agree i think it was russia, but i think it was probably other people and/or countries and i see nothing wrong with that statement. nothing really knows. nobody really knows for sure. >> congressman, how can the
president publicly question the intel community's unanimous conclusion that russia hacked our election on the world stage and then expect to have credibility when he confronts putin about it 24 hours later? >> well, i guess the other way you could look at this is you can say they tried to penetrate some security barriers and were unsuccessful. so in some ways that is a vehicle tear fictory for us. >> they were unsuccessful in throwing the election or at least changing any votes. we have heard from the intelligence officials that that did not happen. but at the same time, intelligence officials said that they did successfully hack. >> but we haven't heard any results that they accomplished out of it. they didn't change any votes. they actually exposed their hand. i've said before to cnn that i think that they were more interested in making sure that the world knew they could too it than they were in trying to influence the election.
>> kind of sounds like you don't care about russia eye meddling at all. >> no ma'am, i care a loot befo lot but we have to keep it in perspective of the fact that espionage and cyberattacks are conducted constantly all around the world and we have to keep it in perspective. this is one thing, it's not the only thing. there is an investigation going on by director mueller. and now he we need to focus on the bigger picture issues that the united states and russia bilateral relation demands. >> congressman, we appreciate your take. thanks for coming on. >> thanks for having me. coming up, russia ramping up spying on the u.s. nearly 150 operatives now believed to be in the country. a brand new cnn reporting next. boost. it's about moving forward, not back. it's looking up, not down. it's being in motion. boost® high protein it's intelligent nutrition with 15 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. boost® the number one
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with vladimir putin may be grabbing all the headlines, but we have new information now suggesting moscow has ramped up its spying efforts since trump was elected. multiple current and former senior u.s. intelligence officials say that they have detected an increase in suspected russian spies entering the u.s. they believe russians now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives here in america. and i want to bring in our crime and justice reporter. what are you learning from your sources about this uptick in russian espionage? >> reporter: a couple things happening here. certainly are since the election we're told the u.s. intelligence started seeing an uptick in some of these activity. back in december when obama expelled the 35 russians alleged spies and the compounds were closed and they were forced to leave the other country -- this country, since then the russians have been trying to replenish
them, bring more people back into the country here that they can use for spying reasons. the other issue here is we're told the political climate. president trump's reluctance to accept that russian sha meddled in the election and the lack of response to the intelligence threat by president obama and no the slow response by the trump administration has emboldened the russian activities. and we're toold that tld that t department continues to grant visas to those who are suspected spies. and the fbi is still continuing to do their work as part of their intelligence efforts, they conduct surveillance on people that they suspect who might be here working for other governments, whether russians or others. all of that is still ongoing. >> and do we know what the focus is of the new russian spies, what are they trying to accomplish? >> reporter: we're told it's
some of the obvious stuff. it's to build relation are ships with business leaders, people who can provide them information. we're told there is a lot of concern that a lot of them are trying to get access to people who may be able to obtain classified information, people who work in the government or some contractors or other maybe energy companies who have access to really sensitive information that they can somehow gain knowledge about or work with people, build relationships to get some information that they can then report back to russia. there is also a concern within education institutions and financial institutions. >> all right. interesting stuff. thank you very much. coming up, president trump praises china for its help with north korea days after slamming beijing for not helping enough. so which is it in and will we see more cooperation? we'll discussion.
before leaving germany, president trump met with the president of china. it's a relationship that if you only read president trump's tweets ranges from frustration to mutual good friendship. trump tweeted this today. leaving hamburg for washington, d.c. and the white house. just left china's president xi where we had an excellent meeting on trade and north korea. this was just three days ago. quote, trade between china and north korea grew almost on 40% in the first quarter. so much for china working with us. but we had to give it a try. elise labott is with us now.
also the man who runs east asian nonproliferation program at the james martin center for nonproliferation studies jeffrey lewis. first to the president's mixed messages. what is going on? >> i think he's been hoping to build up the relationship with president xi. you saw that meeting at mar-a-la mar-a-lago. he went in talking tough but then came out hoping they could have a better relationship. he hasn't seen the progress that he wants, but i think he doesn't have a choice but to work with china 2r50iing to get some cooperation on north korea and i think it will be a mixture of carrots and sticks. you saw that they agreed for more defense cooperation, china is going to join some u.s. military drills in the pacific. and they will have some visits by the defense ministers. but on the other side, i think president trump is really using trade as a weapon. he wants to see china decrease
its trade with new york. and he is promising a better trade deal if that happens. but if china does not cooperate, he is threatening worse trade conditions and also sanctions against chinese banks and companies that are doing business with north korea but i has no choice because all roads to north korea lead through beijing. >> so jeffrey, how optimistic are you that the president's dfr conversation today with the chinese leader turned the tide. >> i'm not optimistic at all. i don't think the president really has a strategy for dealing with north korea. so it's easy to imagine that somehow the chinese will get us out of this problem. but i think when it really comes down to it, the fact is that the chinese are happy to make nice noises to the president and they are happy to talk about helping him out. but i don't think that they have the kind of influence that he hopes they have and ultimately u.s. will have to get out of this problem itself it. >> so treasury secretary steve
mnuchin, you alluded to some of what he told reporters regarding the conversation. we hear the president's talk was very direct and that trump said that he is ready to make progress on north korea. you talked about some of the different areas in which china could do more. but what would the measuring stick be for saying they are doing something different than in the past? >> well, i agree with jeff that chinese kind of political and dip lee matt tick influendiplom limited, but china is north korea's primary financial backer and so that is why i thinklee d limited, but china is north korea's primary financial backer and so that is why i think the u.s. is threatening financial actions to put that pressure on north korea. they want to see decreased trade. you saw in that tweet that president trump one thing i've been told that trump s. has really been surprised at the amount of trade between north korea and china. so they want to see reduced trade. they want to see china continue and strengthen banning of coal
exports, other types of things that are depending the north koreans that kind of financial money to keep building up their programs. because really china is really only going to do it if it's in their interests. aside from the diplomatic pressure, china has its own interests not wanting to push the regime too far. and so i think it's about putting maximum pressure on china to cooperate and getting china to put maximum pressure on north korea to get it to cooperate. >> what is the best way to deal with china do you think, jeffrey, is it the carrot or the stick approach? because we keep hearing so much nice things the president is saying after he meets directly with the chinese president. seems like maybe he's trying to be strategic and playing nice. >> well, i think the president is yoefrp thioverthinking it.
the chinese toobt have thainese interests that we do. they try to influence north korea by building up people in north korea that support them and north koreans actually don't like that very much. i think one of the reasons that you saw that kim jong-un had his half brother murdered was he felt like because he was living under chinese protection that he was some hugh an agent of chinese influence and represented this chinese participation in north korea's governance. so, you know, at the end of the day, the chinese want to be nice to north koreans because they think that that is the way that they have influence. but again, i think the chinese and people in the united states both dramatically overestimate when push comes to shove how much the chinese can do. >> all right. thank you both. coming up, the last stand for isis in raqqah on. u.s. backed forces fighting to retake the tde facto capital. a rare look next.
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i want to show you the seen in northern iraq today. celebration. these are iraqi soldiers in high spirits as news that nearly all of the city of mosul has been liberated from isis. a general says the fighting is not completely over, but that isis fighters have been pushed all the way to the banks of the tigres river. these are familying caught in the cross firings. iraqi troops killed several dozen isis fighters and freed dozens in mosul. we go to the heart of syria where u.s.-backed rebels are close to retaking the city of
raqqa. our international correspondent got rare access to the front lines for this exclusive report. >> reporter: we are now inside the city walls of raqqa, the capital of isis, in which they make their final substantial doubt in syria, and, really, the middle east. that wall, a key milestone for forces and the syria kurds and arabs who control 200 to 300 meters inside the city herement down that w200 meters, the forcs r and they don't move much in the daylight because of risk of snipers, or much in these streets, but night, the movement forward is, in fact, made. we saw u.s. forces here not far from the positions, not to be filmed or noticed, frankly, but it's them calling in air strikes and artillery allowing forces to move in quickly. i was surprised how little the
city of isis are in right now, and area possibly one and a half to three miles in terms of size. increasingly smaller terrain that they hold, but as you saw in mosul, iraq, civilians held unable to flee for the isis snipers, impediment for the fighters, but, still, progress marking potentially the last time that isis can say they hold a city in syria. >> incredible look there. thank you. this is just into cnn. the death of someone you know if you were a regular watcher of "true blood," nelsan ellis played a short order cook in all seven 17s, he was 39 years old. death confirmed to cnn by an hbo spokesperson. no word on how he died, but reactions coming in from the entertainment world. a tweet from oscar winner spencer writing, got word we
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about the drill team and what it meant to me. she told me, like, oh, i think that you should nominate her for cnn heros. >> to know that someone in the program nominated me for cnn hero, it means so much more because they were a part of the struggle. they were a part of those humble beginnings, so that was a tremendous honor, and i wore with it a badge of honor. >> log on to cnnheros.com to nominate your hero. the heat is on in the western united states. sweltering temperatures expected to continue today. 17 cities out west are forecasted to possibly hit record highs. forecast range from a record breaking 97 degrees in los angeles to a near record setting 118 degrees predicted for palm springs, california. this, of course, also means increased risk for wildfires. here's a look at one of more than a dozen fires raging in california right now.
this is the winter wildfire. firefighters believe it may have. sparked by a blown tire on highway 128. police in florida say some new evidence has led to more questions about fatal accident involving the tennis star venus williams. she lawfully entered the intersection seconds before the fatal crash on june 9th. the palm beach guard police say video from the guard gate of a residential community shows williams had a green light, but she stopped in the intersection to avoid hitting a car that turned in front of her car. the light changes to green for the other traffic lanes in the interim, and when she continues on through, her suv is hit. police initially said williams was at fault, but their new statement does not assign blame. the crash injured 78-year-old clarkson who later died and badly injured his wife, linda, driving. they filed a wrongful death
lawsuit against williams filing negligence. on friday, they ruled the suv can be searched in connection with the crash. that's all for me in new york. i'll be back in one hour here in the cnn newsroom. have a great one. ♪ we're in philadelphia and welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. so, president trump finally met president putin, but what happened? that depends on who you ask. secretary of state tillerson said trump presented putin with a lengthy discussion about the u.s. election hack. they said putin denied assertions and trump accepted the denial. where does this leave us? president trump talking