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tv   Happening Now  FOX News  April 12, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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discussion online, come with us there or facebook live. geraldo rivera, fun to have you. so let's get to it, shall we? pop up online and go right now to "happening now" ." >> jon: fox news alert, we are awaiting a joint news conference with the secretary of state rex tillerson and russian foreign minister sergei left off. >> jenna: this is after he gave second tillerson earful about the u.s. air strikes in syria. we're killing all of the news happening now. >> jon: president trump sticking to his pledge to repeal and replace obamacare. >> healthcare is going to happen at some point. if it doesn't happen fast enough, i will start the taxes. >> jon: we look at the time table and what plan could please both republicans and people enrolled under obamacare. plus the president dialing up his chinese counterpart to deliver another message on north korea. what he is hoping the president of china will do.
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and a vertical landing, what happened to the pilot who made this unusual touchdown. it is all "happening now." ♪ >> jon: but we begin with bombshell revelations that a former advisor to president trump's campaign was monitored by the fbi, suspected of being a russian agent. welcome to the second hour of "happening now," i am jon scott. >> jenna: i'm jenna lee, interesting news story to lead with as we await rex tillerson in russia who is currently speaking with vladimir putin. we will put that aside for a moment, the name is a name you likely know by now, former investment banker carter page had a short-lived stint as a foreign policy advisor for the trump campaign. fox news can report that the fbi has been keeping tabs on him since last summer. what is significant is the surveillance was granted in a court order, meaning the fbi had to show probable cause. our chief intelligence correspondent catherine herridge
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joins us live from washington with more peer what else have you learned today? >> government sources confirm the fbi was tracking former trump campaign advisor carter page as early as the summer of 2016 and because page is an american citizen, the fbi request went to a special national security court and the bureau had to make the case that paige was acting on behalf of russia. this morning, the senior democrat on the senate intelligence committee said the fbi probe into alleged contact between russia and the trump campaign is ongoing. >> if the fbi director has said there is enough evidence that he can open an investigation, i cannot comment on specific investigations. i cannot comment on fisa board, but if a fisa warrant has been issued, it is very, very serious matter. >> and a statement to fox news, carter page said "i'm excited the truth is coming out -- referring to "the washington post" that first broke the story. i've done nothing wrong, he
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said. i have no concerns. i was an obvious target because no one has been more thoughtful and methodical in their criticism of the clinton and obama administration foreign policy." he said he stood behind his statements in a march 28th with fox. did you work with the russians to help the trump campaign? >> absolutely not. >> did you work with the russians to hurt the clinton campaign? >> absolutely not, in no way, shape, or form. >> did you share information with the russians that hurt the clinton campaign? >> absolutely not. >> the fbi is offering no comment on fisa ward and we are expecting some kind of response from the white house at the briefing later today. >> jenna: we will be waiting and watching for that. a quick follow-up question, how unusual is it that we even know about eight fisa warrant regarding a specific american? >> like everything else in this story, highly unusual for people to be openly discussing the existence of a fisa board and it would be considered a grave leak
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of information that an american citizen was identified in this manner. >> jenna: just want to underscore that. we are in different territory. it is pretty strange, don't want to say anything different, just want to underscore that for our viewers. thank you, catherine, i appreciate that. we have more on this now. >> jon: for some in-depth analysis, we will bring it chuck, former advisor to clinton and mayor bloomberg and the reelection campaign of 1984, both are fox news contributors. catherine just teed up a question i want to run by both of you, and i will start with you. does it concern you that this information about a private american citizen has somehow been leaked? >> it bothers me. i think the critical thing here, though, is before you go to fisa fisa court, you have to have a lot of information. it's not just i have a suspicion someone is doing something. you have to put a very thick document forward and the court
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itself has a responsibility to make sure you're not illegally or improperly investigating anybody. there had to be smoke there somewhere appeared i don't know if there was a crime or anything developed, i take it that mr. carter page's words appear the problem with the trump campaign as they did not have a lot of people that were establishment types, their people from him to paul manafort to general mike flynn, no one asked the question is there anything you are doing right now or in your background that would embarrass the campaign or if it came out that you were doing, what a blow the campaign up? that is a fundamental question that doug or anyone would ask in a campaign peered we have to wait to see how it plays out. i think it is pretty serious. >> jon: what you have asked that question? did the trump campaign failed to ask that question? >> and i know what they asked, but i certainly would ask it. when i worked for bill clinton, i was asked the same set of questions back in the '90s. frankly, with carter page having gone to russia during the summer
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of 2016, giving a speech that attacks america in moscow when he was part of the trump campaign and having had contact with russian intelligence agents as far back as 2013, it strikes me that all of what is going on is prudent and sadly necessary. it probably should not have happened, but under the circumstances is right, reasonable, and responsible for the fbi to assume. >> jon: you mentioned during the clinton era, that is one of the most recent examples of a president sweeping into washington with a whole new team and sort of issuing the outsiders who had been t are there parallels here? remember, both of got into some trouble early in his first term with people who did not necessarily know the ways of washington or people who were not experienced. >> mike recollection is one christopher was the first secretary of state, and my sense of him and cody who i
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think was the deputy national security advisor or the national security advisor at the time was that these are old washington hands. >> jon: talking about things like the travel office in broglie out and so forth, not necessarily the secretaries. >> it is very different levels even if you draw different conclusions from that which was drawn about the travel office, this was not was not about betraying the united states to a foreign government. >> jon: so where do we go from here? we know that carter page has been sort of added that he has been under fbi investigation. what does the trump administration do about its past contacts? >> the bottom line is they have to totally cooperate with whoever wants it. justice the department, if there's anything there with him serving as a foreign policy advisor or foreign agent and did not disclose it, obviously it is up to the justice department to
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get to the bottom of it. certainly a congressional investigation. i think the code word, anything that is russian, you have to be very careful and i don't know if they did it properly or did anything improper, but the bottom line is the russians always try to get someone in a campaign, whether it is a campaign that doug or i were involved in, they always want an advantage peered my sense is they were playing around the ages and this guy was willing to do business with russia. i don't know if anything he did was improper, but he did something to create enough suspicion that they got fisa warrant. >> jon: and yet we know secretary of state rex tillerson has finally obtained that meeting with vladimir putin. we expect to hear from him and sergey lavrov momentarily, but relations between the russians and trump administration seem anything but warm right now. are you surprised, given some of these allegations, some of the whispers that the trump campaign was colluding with russian agents? >> first car me he is right, we
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need to get the facts before we reach to conclusions. i am a democrat, and let me be honest, president obama dropped the ball in syria, he has acknowledged it was with his worst mistake, red lines were crossed, and as a democrat, i praised donald trump as our president for having done what he did when the syrians potentially with russian knowledge used the sarin gas on the syrian people. i am pleased that rex tillerson is they are and is going to talk about this, and i'm proud of our president as an american first, democrat second, for having stood up for what the democratic president barack obama should have done when the redline was last crossed during his term. >> jon: you spent a long time advising ronald reagan. he obviously had plenty of words for mikhail gorbachev and other soviet leaders, was this a reaganesque moment for donald trump? >> in a way, it is.
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to a certain extent, no accusations toward him, he wanted to have family relationships with some people were objecting to but at the end of the day, secretary tillerson is going to get a lecture today like he has never had before, i am sure. put it in proper perspective, the russians are not our friends or allies, and maybe we can have a relationship long-term, but they have to start behaving properly on the world stage which they have not done for a long time. >> jon: fascinating to see what develops from here. thank you for bringing your expertise. tu-95 bear secretary of state rex tillerson meeting with russian president putin in moscow after an initial meeting with his russian counterpart this morning. we are expecting second tillerson and the russian foreign minister lavrov to hold a joint news conference. in fact, we just got some breaking news that the meeting between secretary of state tillerson and vladimir putin just wrapped up, so justice at the scene for you, what you are seeing in that video was the beginning of the early meeting today and russia between the two
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counterparts, foreign minister of russia as well as second tillerson. that started off with the expectation that we were going to get to a press conference by 11:00 eastern time, so little more than two hours ago. that never happened. during the 11 11 -- 11:00 houre learned rex tillerson had a surprise meeting, was in an unexpected, unscheduled meeting i should mention with vladimir putin, so that is where we are right now. we understand that meeting has wrapped up, and we do expect the press conference to take place. in the meantime, back here at home, as we continue to watch what is happening in russia, the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., nikki haley with more strong words for the kremlin on combating threats like syria and iran. this occurred just a short time ago. >> we need to see russia choose the side with the civilized world, getting serious about peace also means we have to be honest about iran's role in syria. iran is assad's chief accomplice in the regimes horrific acts.
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iran is dumping fuel on the flames of this war in syria so that it can expand its own reach. >> jenna: ambassador haley getting a lot of attention for her blunt, direct talk on foreign policy. she added that they want not just words but actions from all allies when it comes to keeping peace in syria. >> jon: a suspected islamic extremist is in custody now after multiple explosions on the bus of a top european soccer team. more on that attack ahead. also, the g.o.p. narrowly holding a house seat in a kansas special election. what it might mean for that party's chances and another red state congressional race.
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>> jenna: returning overseas for a moment, german authorities arresting a suspected islamic extremist today in connection with a bus explosion that hospitalized a soccer player from one of the country's top teams. investigators say metal strips were used and the explosion that
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went off near that blast as the team was headed to a game last night. police say they are also investigating a letter found near the scene where the writer claimed responsibility for the attack. >> jon: it was close, but republicans won their first congressional race since president trump's election. the g.o.p. keep the house seat in kansas with the state treasurer at ron estes defeating democrat james thompson last night. the seat was vacated by [boos] cia director mike pompeo. william la jeunesse is fly from wichita, kansas, . >> there is a lot of spin here, so let me give you the fact that both arguments, ron estes is a former farmer, current state treasurer, he won this congressional seat and a very red district. where republicans outnumber democrats by more than 50%, and democrats have not won here and i was 25 years. they voters know him and like him, so he won by seven points and eight district that trump
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won by 27 and his predecessor won by 31, so is that margin of victory a sign of weakness that republicans nationally are in trouble, ron estes says no. >> it was a chance for the democrats. they were motivated. there was a lot of angst against the president. they were going to fight back, but we really sold the pundits tonight, didn't we? >> also controversial why ron estes won. some said this would be a referendum on donald trump, others a referendum on the governor, sam brownback who is now -- not popular. there is no evidence in james thompson's campaign that trump was an issue. in fact, he credited trump and the robo calls he gave at the last minute including some negative ads from the national g.o.p. for his loss. >> it took a president of the united states, the vice president, the speaker of the house, a senator coming into our state and a bunch of lies --
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[cheers and applause] >> so on one hand, democrats lose by 7, that is like a division ii school losing to alabama by a touchdown, they are happy. republicans lose by 7, they say it was not our best game, but the season is not over. i remind you the midterm elections are still 18 months away, so draw your own conclusions. back to you. >> jon: another election just around the corner. william la jeunesse, thank you. >> jenna: fox news alert, some sadness on a well-known hollywood family. tmz is reporting that comedian charlie murphy is dead at the age of 57. you may know him as the older brother of actor eddie murphy, but he is also a well-known comedian in his own right. apparently, he had been undergoing cancer treatment the mashed -- cancer treatment at a new york hospital and lost the battle with cancer, he leaves behind children. our thoughts are with them today and we continue to keep you updated as we know more. in the meantime, want to bring
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you back to russia and what is happening there. we do have some shots, this is where we expect secretary tillerson and the foreign minister of russia, sergey lavrov. what was discussed in their meetings today? what did secretary tillerson discussed with vladimir putin during this very unexpected meeting of world leaders? what will we learn? we are waiting and watching, and we will be right back with more. ? ...only allstate sends you a bonus check for every six months you're accident free. silence. it's good to be in, good hands. hey, need fast try cool mint zantac. it releases a cooling sensation in your mouth and throat. zantac works in as little as 30 minutes. nexium can take 24 hours. try cool mint zantac. no pill relieves heartburn faster.
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>> jenna: fox news alert, two illinois men charged with conspiring to provide material support to isis. we know their names now, just announced, joseph jones also known as use of. he is in his 30s along with edward, they are residents of zion, illinois, they were arrested on a federal complaint charging them with conspiracy
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and attempting to provide material support to isis. the complaint describes many things including doing training at a gym comparing to go to war, all of them saying they would like to see the isis black flags waving about the white house. needless to say, the authorities got them, they are scheduled to make their first appearance in court today, this afternoon in chicago, illinois. authorities are also executing a search warrant at one of their residence, so we will keep you posted as we get more. >> jon: is fox news alert, we are going on two and half hours of waiting now for the press conference involving the secretary of state rex tillerson and his russian counterpart of the foreign minister there, sergey lavrov. it was to have taken place at 11:00 eastern, then it was postponed because, as we understand it, secretary tillerson wrangled a meeting with the top guy in russia, vladimir putin. that was originally not supposed to happen. putin was turning his back on tillerson, supposedly in a
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critique over what happened with the u.s. attack on syria. so now second rex tillerson has met with putin. he supposed to step to the podium there any minute now and have a joint news conference with sergey lavrov come his russian counterpart. when it begins, we will take you there live. some new super vitally by russia, this time aimed at japa. sources tell fox news that today, russia sent three nuclear capable bear bombers over the sea of japan along with a spy plane. officials say the fight was a clearly meant to send a message. this latest provocation comes as the secretary of state tillerson meets with vladimir putin in moscow. >> they have to do healthcare before tax reform. i speak with business managers, they say tax reform is so much more impactful to moving the needle on >> they are all right, but because i'm saving a surrendered amount, hundreds and hundreds of
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millions of dollars we are saving on healthcare, so we are going to have a much better plan for obamacare which is failing. the health care is going to happen at some point. if it doesn't happen fast enough, i will start the taxes, but the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if i can do healthcare first. >> jon: >> jenna: president trup giving us a sense of his priorities, it looked like he was shifting on healthcare reform, but based on his own words, he is back to the obamacare repeal. is this politics, practicality, a little bit of both for what's best for the american people? that spring and cohost of "the five" and the former chairman of the missouri republican party and author of "the conservative case." let us to start with you. is it a momentum play with the white house sending mike sensing there is a compromise available and try healthcare one more time or the white house realizing, we really need to do healthcare first because tax overhaul is going to be so much harder
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without that reform? >> i think it is all of the above, to be honest. for one, trump promised, the president promised to deliver on healthcare. he knows the people out here in missouri in the midwest you voted for him want him to do that, so i think he knows politically it is smart to go back. but practically, and juan williams might know better, they need the money, they need to show the healthcare savings to move on to do taxes. what i say about this president is wonderful is he is leading. everything that is happening in the world is being led by a strong leader, that his people are paying attention to, in that feels a lot better. i think that is what he wants, to keep that momentum going. >> jenna: what do you think about that? >> i think the key here is if you do not have the money for a low-cost health care plan, it is hard to justify the tax cuts that the president has in mind. so we have seen not only in interviews as president trump did with maria bartiromo but paul ryan going back to the middle of the healthcare debate, he made the case to his house
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caucus, guys, we have to get this done because we can't get tax reform done without it. so to pick up on what was being said earlier, that is the promise the president made, not only healthcare reform, something much better than obamacare, but tax reform. i think that is so important to so many of his allies in the business community. >> jenna: i like that your regular green money type for this segment. just asking you for a moment, do you feel that there is a shift in general, meaning do you think that based on your own reporting as well as talking to folks in d.c. that there is an opening for this healthcare repeal and replace that there was not several weeks ago, that there has been a real paradigm shift? >> a shift in terms of trying to accommodate people who really, the freedom caucus thought the bill really was just what they called obamacare lite, but the problem is that they are not talking right now with people in the so-called tuesday group, moderate republicans, and they
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have not dealt at all with the democrats in terms of their votes, so the basic energy has not changed before they went on this easter break that began this week. but there is hope because they know they need something p that is why you're hearing all this talk coming from ryan's office, paul ryan, speaker of the house, because he knows it is a necessary precedent if they were going to do anything for tax reform. that is where the big pressure is right now. >> jenna: we will talk more about that as well. i'm curious on your thoughts about whether or not you think that republicans can get this right? what do our viewers expect from them? >> listen, they are two questions. i think he touched on it, but let me go further. this president has momentum. he got gorsuch last we come pull numbers up, syria strike played out well, and russia they are not talking about a reset, putin in -- clinton and obama on their heels, but tillerson is strong so now there is momentum including to the republican congress. they have to pay attention to a president who is winning and moving elections in kansas, the
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special election, moving toward them. that's going to make the negotiation better. here is my warning. the republicans have to do a good bill. they cannot do something the american people look up and say, hey, the insurance companies dominate it and we did not get what we need, and that is what trump is going to push. yes, there is momentum, but the devil is in the details, and we will see how it plays out. >> jenna: i'm curious if you think about that momentum that he is seeing, if there is an increased focus on getting this right for the american people, if you see any movement from democrats to be part of the process to get on board in any way? >> not at the moment. in fact, i think it was nancy pelosi who said it a wild back in the middle of the healthcare debate that basically, republicans have to explain why they are taking $600 billion away from healthcare in order to give their wealthy friends a tax break. that is just rhetoric. that is just talk. the real conversation here is not involving the democrats. it is among republicans. can republicans get consensus?
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remember, president trump wanted to do away with carried interest, but guess what? a lot of conservatives don't think that is a good idea. he wants to look at what the home owners think, that is crazy, various deductions for business, and even charitable donations, wants to take them o on. these have been sacred cows and american tax policy for years, and even going back to the last time we had tax reform and the '80s, president reagan, tip o'neill then speaker, that is how long it has been since we have had any tax reform because they have been no consensus on how to do it. >> jenna: to both of your points, maybe this is where it matters, where healthcare reform changes the environment, makes people a little bit more open to other changes if they can get this one thing right. so that is one of the reasons we are paying such close attention. great to have you both, thank you very much. >> jon: still awaiting the joint news conference between secretary of state rex tillerson and sergey lavrov, the russian foreign minister. that is expected to take place
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any minute now. we will take you there live. and president trump speaks to the president of china once again, trying to stop north korea from conducting more nuclear tests. >> the first thing i brought up was north korea, get with us on north korea because we can't allow it, it is no good for you. you have a tremendous power because of trade. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever?
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>> jon: fox news earlier it, we've been telling you that joint news conference between secretary of state rex tillerson and sergey lavrov, the russian foreign minister is about two and a half hours delayed now. we are seeing some signs of what some might call life in the room. we expect it will be getting underway shortly. we will take you back there when it begins. in the meantime, china's leader, xi jinping and president trump speaking again by phone last night -- never mind, let's go back to the briefing room in moscow because the two men are there for this joint news conference, let's listen in. >> there are places here. speak a good evening, this has been a long day. we have had talks with the state secretary of the u.s.
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right now, we have a long conversation with the president of russia for hours. it has been very essential and ran the whole gamut of issues including foreign relations and our interaction in the international arena. we have taken stock of the current stage of our relations as well as international issues at a time when there are certain issues that have been -- there are certain issues that have been inherited, so to speak, as
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time bombs from the previous administration, the obama administration. we are being realistic, and we do understand that in order to overcome the obstacles, we have to make effort, and we seek to do that and understand our american counterparts are going to move toward us as well, and our president has reaffirmed to do that, we have seen that presenting eric cooperation, their attempts to de-escalate the confrontation, but with that, we do not believe --e understand if moscow and washington cooperate, this is for the benefit not just of our nation but also for the sake of the whole world. we have reaffirmed that we both seek to fight without any compromise international terrorism.
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the issue has been raised by our president in the course of their telephone conversation including the telephone conversation on april 4th in the night when president trump called president putin in order to express his condolences on the terrorist attacks that had taken place in st. petersburg and the context of fighting international terrorism, we have talked about syria, talked about the incident that took place after april 4th when any inference do make and versions in syria, chemical weapons were used. we have talked about the ensuing missile attack of the u.s. against the airbase on april 7th. we have stated our position on many occasions to date. we have said that there needs to be a very thorough investigation into this incident which has become the subject of many
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speculations. russia has spoken in favor of drawing the attention of the abc w and saying that they have all the necessary confidence and power to look into this incident that has been an official letter by the syrian government to the u.n. and to the opcw with the request to dispatch as soon as possible a group of experts in order to conduct an unbiased and frank investigation as well as the airbase that was struck. we have taken note of the american counterparts willingness to support such an investigation. we do hope that the power of the u.n. and the opcw will be resolved to do it as soon as possible. in this context, we believe that it could be conjured to my
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counterproductive to try to adopt a resolution at the u.n. y council which would be not dedicated to investigating the incident but more legitimizing the accusations against damascu damascus. we do have some argument, but we are not trying to impose on anyone. we want there to be a frank investigation. we have also talked about the state of affairs and the interaction of our airspace forces as well as the coalition with the u.s. and the context of the memorandum we have on presenting incidents as well as ensuring the safety of air traffic over syria. as you know, we have to have the
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memorandum, but today the russian president has reaffirmed that we are willing to put it back into force on conditions that the primary force is going to be reaffirmed of both the american coalition and the russian airspace, that is the objective of fighting as well as the associated terrorist organizations. we assumed as well that the publicly stated position of both russia and the u.s., there have been no intention to interfere with domestic affairs of syria or under do make any other state, and we do hope the iraq example as well as those of libya and other countries is going to be an admonition against trying to recreate that similar situation anywhere else. let me say once again that we are willing to achieve an
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absolute defeat of isis as well as all of the other terrorists. this is our common objective, that is to enforce, and we have seen that this has been reaffirmed today as well apart from syria and fighting terrorism in the region, we also have another political challenge, common challenge, that is to seek a political solution to the syrian crisis. the u.s. and russia have been at the forefront over the recent years of international air force finding solutions and rallying all of the parties concerns, both parties to the syrian conflict and external players, bringing them together, having the negotiation table at the u.n. we today continue to work by and large to push the process forward. we appreciate the fact from the
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geneva process which we are full-fledged members together with the american counterpart. we also have another platform, and both, the american counterparts are represented as observers. russia and the u.s. have other opportunities to help the international community settle the conflicts in libya, yemen, and last but not least, try to find common approaches to break the stalemate around the israeli-palestinian settlement. i do hope that our ongoing contact to that end are going to be fruitful. we also have another matter now, agenda, that is afghanistan. as you know, over the last two years, there have been different forms resorted to seeking to rally an external support for the afghan settlement, one of the attempts, one of the avenues
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we pursue is going to take place on april 14th and moscow. a meeting has been scheduled for the so-called moscow foremost, it's going to be attended by afghanistan, neighbors, the american counterparts, so we do have two be able to participate in these meetings. we have also touched a pawn the crimean crop due to crisis, ande have made sure things are being observed and absent thematic respected, and we have also recalled how under the previous administration, a bilateral consultation channel had been forced between moscow and washington to supplement the end for, and we felt the interest of the current administration and resuming bilateral contact in
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this dimension so as to help find practical solutions to implementing the agreements to the full. we are going to welcome these efforts. we are ready for them. we have also talked about the korean peninsula, which is a source of concern for all of us, both russia and the u.s. speak in favor of rigors observance of that u.n. security council resolution to that end. we have also talked about how we can find a way out of the confrontation spiral which would allow us to create the necessary conditions for negotiating process to settle the nuclear issue of the korean peninsula through diplomatic and political efforts. as has been pointed out, russia in the u.s. have a particular responsibility for political
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security both at the regional and international level. we have compared notes with regard to implementing the strategic stability treaty such as the arms reduction treaties which are enforced between our countries. we have agreed to overcome the pause as we have been witnessing in these processes. the white house team has changed, and it is quite natural we do have our contact on strategic stability and arms control going to be resumed. they intend to be held in a businesslike manner pragmatically with a view to observing rigorously the agreements we have reached. we have touched upon our economic ties. we see that there is an interest
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among businesses on both sides to build up our cooperation to buck the negative trends which we have been witnessing in trade and investment due to objective reasons. we, for one, have promised to support the business initiative on both sides. we would like these efforts to get the support of both the russian government and the u.s. administration. there is another agreement we have agreed to designate special envoys both from the state department of the u.s. and the russian foreign ministry. these envoys are going to have pragmatic conversations about the irritants, so to speak, that have piled up in our relations under the obama administration
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primarily. i believe that should both sides demonstrate a pragmatic approach to those avenues, than it is going to yield results and help improve our relations as well. on the hole, i believe we all understand how difficult the situation and our relations around the world as a whole, there are many who would like to give it a try at using the current communication, technologies and cyberspace and reality, and we know that there are people who abuse the opportunities presented by the modern technologies they are trying to use these technologies to their advantage to pursue their goals which are far from decent. but luckily, both in the u.s. and russia, there are enough
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people who will be able to separate right from wrong and he will be guided by the fundamental interest, not just short-term interest, of both our peoples as well as the international community as a whole. this is my take out from the negotiations that have taken place despite all of the issues both objective and artificially created, we still have many prospects for cooperation. russia is willing to cooperate with the u.s. to be engaged in dialect, not just dialect but also common actions to pursue the interest of both countries. we will look forward to the u.s. reciprocating our approach, and i do hope that the many hours that we spent with rex tillerson together as well as with the president of russia have not been spent in vain.
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we understand each other better after the talks today. we do have these contacts and hope they will be followed up by us and our staff and by others in government agencies above the russian government and u.s. administration, thank you. >> good evening. we just came from a productive meeting, as you heard foreign minister lavrov mention, of about two hours with president putin. we frank we discussed the current state of u.s.-russian relations. i expressed the view that the current state of u.s.-russia relations is at a low point. there is a low level of trust between our two countries. the roads to foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship. we further discussed approaches
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to improving our channels of communication. we had a lengthy exchange of views regarding the situation in syria and shared perspectives on possible ways forward. earlier today, foreign minister lavrov and i had a lengthy conversation about issues that require immediate attention and issues that require longer-term attention. we understand that improvement in the long term relationship will be required if we are to make progress on issues where we have different views. we spoke extensively about syria and in some areas, we share a common view. specifically, we both believe in a unified and stable syria, and we agree we want to deny a safe haven for terrorists who want to attack both of our countries. we agree that north korea has to be denuclearized. we agree there needs to be more senior level communication
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between our two countries both at a diplomatic and military level. but there is a broad range of other issues in which we have differences. some have global implications with long-term requirements. others are understood to be bilateral. over the course of the past two years, a number of reciprocal actions have been taken to demonstrate the dissatisfaction each country has with the other. we need to attempt to put an end to this study degradation which is doing nothing to restore the trust between our two countries or to make progress on the issues of the greatest importance to both of us. we have agreed to establish a working group to address smaller issues and make progress toward stabilizing their relationship. so that we can then address the more serious problems. foreign minister lavrov and i agreed we would consider further proposals made about the way
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forward in syria, including consulting with our allies and coalition members. and we will continue discussions about how to find a solution to the syrian conflict. we also discussed current threats posed by the north korea regine on their development of a nuclear program in the constructive role russia can play an encouraging north korea to change its course so that we can create that conditions for talks regarding the future. on minsk, we consider the importance of the accord. russia can make progress and limitation by the escalating violence taking steps to withdraw separatist armed forces and weapons so that the observers can fulfill their role. until full progress is made under the minsk accords, the situation in ukraine will remain an obstacle to improvement in relations between the u.s. and russia.
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i thank the foreign minister for a productive round of discussions, and i look forward to future conversations. thank you. >> now we get down to questions, russia 24. >> reporter: a question to you, mr. tillerson. over the last days from washington, we've been hearing contradictory and aggressive statements like mr. trump calling mr. assad in animal as well as mr. sean spicer who compares mr. assad to mr. hitler who said that mr. hitler never used the chemical weapons. do you think the rhetoric can change? and is it helping the diplomacy or not? thank you. >> i think that perspective from
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the united states supported by the fact that we have are conclusive that the recent chemical weapons attack carried out in syria was planned and it was directed and executed by syrian regime forces, and we are quite confident of that. this is just the latest in a series of use of chemical weapons by the assad regime. notwithstanding their use on more than 50 occasions of chlorine bombs and cluster bombs and other types of weapons that are intended to maim and kill and the most horrific ways. so i think the characterization is one that president assad has brought upon himself. >> reporter: it is quite evident this is a topic with
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regard to which we have differences of opinion. russia insists that there needs to be an objective investigation into seeing the u.s. and russia eliminating the use of serious chemical weapons and record terms. we had prepare the necessary agreement, had the opcw and as well as the security council of the u.n., they have been reports from the opcw which state the progress that has been achieved in eliminating the full stock of the chemical weapons that syrian regime has. the reports also state that the number of places the chemical weapons were stored were under the control of extremists, so the process between damascus and the hague has been ongoing. there've been some difficulties, and we use our relations with
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the syrian government to encourage them to cooperate fully with the opcw, and we are fully committed to finalizing this work. we are going to seek its completion. as for the investigation into the incident, there is a fact-finding mission of the opcw. there is also a joint mechanism for investigations set up together by the opcw of the united nations. we've gotten questions. we want to be answered by these mechanisms, all the accusations against the syrian and arab republic government of having used for chemical weapons. all these accusations are based on the so-called evidence provided by some mps. i'm not going to point out the
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white helmets that have discredited themselves on many occasions. they have been found to be guilty of fraud. as for all the evidence we have got, of chemical weapons having been used in the territory in control of the opposition, i can say on many occasions, russian armed forces and the syrian government have provided physical evidence, including samples required to conduct an investigation to the opcw. these were not some remote evidence. these were pieces of physical evidence. the study of these material evidence has been dragging on for quite some time. i am not trying to level
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accusations at anyone, nor are we trying to exonerate anyone. we just insist that there should be an investigation into what has happened and what happened on april 4th. just as it happened in the past, the time is quite interestingly was the start of a conference in brussels, so when reports emerged on chemical weapons being used in the province, we demanded vociferously that the conference should be used to look into those accusations, even though this was a conference dedicated to the whole gamut of syrian conflict related issues. so we see there has been so much talk about that, and that is why we
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we believe it is sensible to have an international unbiased frank investigation into this incident. a group of professionals of unbiased experts has to be dispatched to the place where chemical weapons were used, as well as to the airport where our american partners say was used as the starting point from which took off the plane delivering the chemical weapons. we are not convinced that this was the case. nor are we convinced by the tv images or by the statements of people who were at the airport. there were no signs that would support the statements, the allegations, that chemical agents were


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