tv Charlie Rose PBS July 18, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT
. >> rose: welcome to the programk we begin this evening talking about politics and coming up on six months of the trump administration. we talk about health care and other legislative priorities with robert costa of "the washington post" and also the moderator of washington week on pbs. >> the it is pervasive, every time i talk to people close to this administration or working in this administration, they're wondering where are they perhaps vulnerable personally or in terms of the president, legally, politically when it comes to the russia question am and don, jr.'s involvement in this meeting last summer with a russian lawyer an a former russian military official and jared kushner and paul manafort, the former campaign hands has really caused alarm within the west wing because don, jr. is
seen as someone who hasn't really thought through his response, hasn't really worked closely with the lawyers, has left many people vulnerable, has left this white house vulnerable. and if you think about the context of how this all unfolded it's telling. >> rose: we continue with ian bremmer president of the political risk consults ansi eur asia group. >> never in my life as a political scientist have have i seen two countries, major countries with a constellation of national interests that are as dissonant while the two leaders seem to be doing everything possible to make nice nice an be close to etch a other, that is what people don't understand. >> rose: we con cleul julia ioffe of the atlantic about done alt trump, jr.'s meeting with the russian lawyer last area. >> she was a good russian lawyer. but the thing is what makes a good russian lawyer isn't what makes a good american lawyer. it's not about how how you present your legal arguments or what you find in discovery.
it's about who you know, it's about who, you know, who you bring the briefcase full of money to, who are you connected to, who your cliebts are connected to and how-- and that's how the judge determines how he or she will rule. >> rose: politics, international relations and the investigation about russia's attempt to influence the election when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: bank of america, life better connected. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york
city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with politics and a republican plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act, encountered another hurdle over the weekend when john mccain senator from arizona announced he was recovering from a medical procedure he had on friday. mccain's absence is expected to delay a senate vote by at least a week. two gop lawmakers senator rand paul and susan colins have already said they will not support the bill. many while as president trump approaches the six month mark in office later this week, new polls show his approval ratings are at historic lows. joining me is robert costa a national political reporter at the wash continue post and moderator of washington week on pbs. i'm always pleased to have him here. so it is good to talk to you, bob, after being away for a week and a half. tell me what has happened since i was away. anything changed here in america? >> you've missed everything but
nothing, charlie. with regard to this republican effort to pass a repeal and replace of the affordable care act it remains stalledment and for the predictable reasons that we've been covering here in washington for quite some time. this is a republican party that made a pledge to its base voters that it would go through with this promise. at the same time privately, charlie, many of these senators i talked to, they don't really want to pass this specific piece of legislation. the moderates think it rolls back too much of the medicaid expansion. the conservatives tell me it doesn't do enough to gut obamacare. no one is really happy with it. there have not been public hearings. and any real sense, there's not really been a public debate am you just have the republican party plotting forward, trying to do this, a president who doesn't really want to get involved with the sale of the bill. so it's a dismall atmosphere within the gop here in d.c. . >> rose: who is insisting on a vote?
>> leader mcconnell, mitch mcconnell, the kentucky republican, he believes that in order to have any chance in 2018, his friends tell me, that the party must fulfill this pledge. and he is putting pressure on a lot of republicans when he bringing them into his office on the second floor of the capitol. and he tells them, you do not want to be the republican who stops obamacare from being repealed. don't put me in the position of saying you are the senator who stopped this entire enterprise. but most senators think that this, in spite of their conservative beliefs, in many respects, that this is settled law, that this has been in place for almost a decade now and many of their voters and republican governors, some of the states have come to expect the benefits. >> and because pem have that expectation, taking it away isn't a politically easy thing to do. >> rose: a lot of that has to do with medicaid? >> we're talking about a heal care debate. and i've watched your programs on this. and it is so different than it
was in 2009 and 2010 when are you talking about the health-care system and you were having a vigorous debate about what that would look like. this has boiled down to a medicaid debate. and this law would-- this legislation would get rid of a lot of the laws, taxes but really would just roll back promised medicaid money that is under the expansion and the affordable care act. and it's about what politics really comes down to in a lot of things, money, it's about money. the states believe the money is guaranteed to them with this medicaid expansion and they want to keep that money. >> rose: even republican governors like john kasich from ohio came to washington to lobby for his own senator. that the medicaid expansion was very popular in ohio. >> and a lot of republicans are facing this dynamic. you look at senator heller, a moderate from nevada, he's under pressure from governor sandoval, a republican. you mentioned governor kasich of ohio, he's putting pressure on senator portman who is usually a rank and file conservative on these sorts of things to not
vote for this bill. it's because a lot of these governors whether you are republican or democrat, you do not want to have to make cuts in your budget to cover health care in your state. if the federal government has already promised under the affordable care act to take a lot of that responsibility. it really comes down to money and budgets and states don't want to budge if the federal government is already there. >> rose: i saw a poll over the weekend, i'm sure you saw it, that said 50% of americans now like obamacare. >> because most americans, if you look at a lot of thieves polls, they associate their own health care coverage with obamacare, in particular if they're a on medicaid. so medicaid in effect has become in the eyes of many people obamacare. and that association makes passing this legislation very hard because it's not just a political creature that's created by the obama white house like it seemed ten years ago, it's something that is real to people. and with the expectations in the
white house, that if this bill doesn't pass, and the insurance markets continue to struggle, maybe democrats will come to the table at some point to work with republicans. and that if this bill does not pass you are really just looking at piece meal fixes of the insurance markets rather than wholesale reform. >> where is the president? >> the president is at the white house this week, returned from a weekend at bedminister but he's not fully engaged in selling and marketing this bill to lawmakers or to the country. it is a different kind of approach than we saw from president trump when he tried to get the bill over the edge in the u.s. house earlier this year. you had trump step back, let mcconnell take control of the process. mcconnell is the one without can really be the deal maker here, not the deal maker president because he knows with portman what he needs with opoid funding in ohio or he knows in alaska, what he needs with the moderate there, what she needs in terms of medicaid guarantees. this is an inside game. the white house has acknowledged that. mark shorts the legislative
director is working closely with mcconnell. but you have the president really hesitant to be out there having rallies. he's not doing that this time around. he's not making the sale, in part because as he told me back in january, he wants insurance for everybody. he's not really comfortable with embracing the ideaological side of the republican party. even if he made the pledge to repeal obamacare he doesn't really like to do things to take away benefits from people. >> rose: the argument was that he wanted to go with health care first because he needed it for tax reform. now there are people stepping forward saying he should have gone either with infrastructure or tax reform first. does that, does that resonate with the president at all? >> the president publicly resists the idea that he maybe should have started with infrastructure. by privately, charlie, you can be sure, when the history of the trump administration are written there is going to be a lot of wonder about why did president trump and his allies in december and january of 2016/2017, why
did they go along with house speaker paul ryan and leader mcconnell with this idea that you had to cut obamacare taxes first to lay the ground work for tax reform in the future. because when i talk to people inside the white house, i won't name names here, this is background reporting, they say looking back they wondered why they did that. they adopted a strategy which sounded smart at the outset but there was no hard and fast rule that you have to cut health care tacks to do tax reform in a bigger sense. there is no rule about that. you could just do straight forward tax cuts in the white house's perspective now. to me, charlie, the take away, this whole first six months has been experience for this white house, learning experience, that they went along wth capitol hill, they have been burned in many respects in that endeavor, and they're just trying to learn from this process. what can they control, what do they have to go along with, what do they not have to go along with. >> can they imagine going to the
country in 2018 with nothing, with no significant legislation passed, albeit they do have the confirmation of the supreme court justice? >> they're going to have some kind of argument to make. it would be about regulatory reform, they've rolled back a lot of president obama's regulations. they have gotten a supreme court justice in there. but you're right, there is no signature legislation. there is a hope that something is going to pass on health care, even if it's not this legislation, something down the line will pass that can be considered a repeal of the affordable care act and some kind of tax cuts will pass eventually, maybe later in 2017, early 2018 and maybe they can start on infrastructure. but of course the cloud over all of this is russia. democrats do not feel compelled to work with republicans right now because they see in the latest "washington post" poll and abc poll a president who is in the mid 30st in his approval rating. a president who hasn't gotten traction on capitol hill so they don't feel the need to come to the table.
but president trump, he's not an ideaological republican in the traditional sense governing as a paul ryan wood or mcconnell would from the white house. so it's hard to say exactly how 2018 will play out. but certainly they will need some points on the board to get that republican base out. >> rose: speaking of six months, i will read for you now some observations, this comes from-- they went out and talked to political reporters and friends of yours and asked what had been most surprising about the first six months. and this is what some of them said. i would love your comment, chris wallace said what's been most surprising to me is how little trump has changed as president. it's the same strength and same weakness he has always had. washington hasn't been bent to his will and he hasn't bent to the ways of washington. >> spot on. this is the same donald trump that i first encountered in 2011, this the same reince priebus and steve bannon on the same note but this is a president who has come to
washington, has not returned to new york city, in any real way. has moved here but has not fallen in love with the town. still is an isolated figure in washington. and he has not changed his ways with twitter. he still surrounds himself with the same kind of people, with stan and hope hicks his loyalists with steve bannon and steven miller, his populist nationalist at his side. this is not someone who has come to washington as an outsider president and tried to incorporate washington. he has, in some ways, on his staff and cabinet done so. but tempermentally, everyone i know who talks to trump daily say this is the same trump who trusts his gut, the same trump who follows television by the minute, to understand where the public mood is. that is how he digests information. that has not changed. >> rose: michael wolf, called and said his surprising thing is that in the face of the onslawt he seems, he the president seems to be enjoying himself. >> i think the president is
deeply frustrated on several fronts. he is consumed with how russia has dominated his administration. i have heard from his friends and associateds that he often he fumes privately about how russia has a grip over the public narrative, in particular in washington about how he is perceived. but he does seem to enji hiself. he does watch television a lot. he goes to golf tournaments, he went to bedminister this past weekend. he still talks to his friends all of the time on the telephone late at night from the residence at the white house. this is still a donald trump who relishes being at the center of the public conversation, on top of every front page in the country, on every newscast. he gets happiness out of attention. and i mean that just as a reporter. this is someone who covets attention. and when he is at the center of it, as bad as it is, as long as he is there, it's okay to an extent. >> rose: chuck todd of nbc's meet the press said i'm surprised he didn't make more of an effort to develop a personal
relationship with chuck schumer and nancy pelosi. >> todd's per septemberive analyst there, you would think he has donated to pelosi and schumer in the past. he has had a personal rapport with them. but people close to trump tell me he has been in some ways chab writtenned at how political-- then again what did he expect, that schumer has been since inauguration dean when schumer gave a pretty political speech on the grounds of the capitol. he has pelosi really working in lock step to keep her conference together against the trump agenda. but in a way, it's not so much about the lack of outreach on trump's part, it's that his agenda, he has gone along with ryan, gone with mcconnell, and because of that, because as you said he didn't start with infrastructure for something that is more bipartisan, he is seen as approval ratings plummet while he has gone along with the republican agenda. and it hasn't given him much room to win the good will of
democrats or to build relationships with democrats. >> rose: john carl noted that he has held only one real press conference and has never set foot in the white house brief briefing room. >> that has perhaps been the most surprising thing. that the press-savvy president, the press obsessed president who is so engaged on social media and twitter and does seem to enjoy the back and forth with reporters has become so angry about the russia coverage that he has not really had the kind of daily interactions from the lecturn, on the telephone, doing the call-in interviews that you would have expected. he's really retreated from that, that whole style, and stayed with fox news for interview after interview, stayed within twitter which he can control, as his anger has grown over russia coverage. i think if the russia story ever abates you could see trump step out more with the press. but until that happens, it's such a he blizzard of information and questions that are out there i think he doesn't
want to engage with that day to day. >> rose: ian bremmer who is coming in later this evening for a conversation with me said that trump, the president's best relationship with another head of state is in fact with putin. >> it's lard to say. the relationships i'm told with-- heads of state are complicated. trump wants to be treated as a grand leader on the world stage. macron in france has recognized that. trump loved being part of the parades for bastille day. he enjoyed being in saudi arabia in his trip throughout the middle east and how he was treated there. he built a relationship that is strong with abe in japan. he is a little more edgy with china because he's trying to confront them on trade and the trade deficit. but it is hard to say who is the best friend for trump on the world stage. putin, of course, sees an opportunity in trump unlike he's ever probably seen in his lifetime running russia to
really build a different kind of relationship with the united states that's not as hostile. but trump does not have a deep relationship with putin. he's an opportunistic transactional deal-making president who's not really clear about where all his loyalties lie at all times. >> rose: then there is chris ruddy, c.e.o. of newsmax, who said some day historians will join me in looking back in a-we at how donald trump wielded the power of the bully pulpit like no other president. is there some truth to that? >> praption with the use of twitter, though i would contest that, there's been a use of the bully pulpit but it's been limited. you have a president who has last rally was in late june. this is a president who loves rallies as a candidate. in the same way that president obama loved rallies as a candidate and speaking to the people, and having that populist flair. but he has been a creature of the white house for many weeks
here in washington over the last six months. he is not someone who has been out there day in, day out on television, beyond fox news. so i think he has the potential to be perhaps the biggest bully pulpit president we've ever seen because of his reach on social media and because of his use and his understanding of what creates a headline. but because of controversy and scandal, he has not fully gone in that direction. >> rose: finally, there is this. the russian probe, its reach to the family. and it seems to be getting even deeper. you've got robert mueller, a respected former fbi director,s ahead of it. he has hired some of the best criminal investigate ares and criminal lawyers in the country with experience in doing this kind of thing. how fearful is the white house that that is a powerful jugger
naught coming at them? >> the fear is pervasive. every time i talk to people close to this administration or work in this administration, they're wondering where are they perhaps vulnerable, personally or in terms of president, legally, politically when it comes to the russia question. an don, jr.'s involvement in this meeting last summer with russia, a russian lawyer and a former russian military official, and jared kushner and paul manafort, former campaign hands has really caused alarm within the west wing because don, jr. is seen as someone who hasn't really thought through his response, hasn't really worked closely with the lawyers, has left many people vulnerable, left this white house vulnerable. and if you think about the context of how this all unfolded, it's telling. the president is coming back from g20234 europe. he has just met with putin. he's trying to reimagine
u.s.-russia relationships. he's trying to rebuild his presidency and he's on the plane ride back and he gets the call from "the new york times." they're coming out with this story on don, jr. so every time this president and this presidency try to take a turn, a turn back to the mid 40st, a turn back away from russia, a new story, a new bombshell seems to come right at them. and that has been the story of this first six months. they do all these different things on populism and bannon and trump and steven miller but at the end of the day, it's the cloud, as the president itself has called it that hangs over him. >> rose: bob casta thank you for coining us, pleasure. we'll be right back, stay with us. >> president trump returned to washington from france this weekend. it was his second trip overseas in as many weeks. earlier this month he was in hamburg, germany for the g20 summit. during the annual trump sat down with president putin in a widely covered bilateral meeting.
it was revealed earlier today that trump and putin had a second informal meeting on the sidelines of the g20, my guest ian bremmer broke the news of this private meeting. he is the president of eurasia group and a frequent guest of this program. i'm pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. >> charlie, good to see you. >> rose: so tell me about this. >> the first thing i thought of when i heard it was you know, the fact that when sessions was having these meetings with kiss ill ak that weren't meetings but they were-- you don't really need to talk about it but it turns out that is where they are conducting business, it is what it sounds like am but given the extraordinary focus and attention that everything involving putin and trump have had, and this was the one guy that he hadn't met with, he met with all the other major leaders around the world and waited on putin because it was so troafersz, then he has a meeting, with a lot of people not in it, only tillerson, the translator, lavrov, the russian foreign minister and putin,
lasts over two hours, don't have a clear readout on exactly what was said from either side. then on top of that, you have an hour that evening that no one has even heard of. and so look, we clearly know that trump does not care what the media has to say about his desire to have a close personal relationship with the russian president and what drives it. >> rose: you have suggested it is his best one-on-one relationship. >> it's clearly his best personal relationship. but i will also say never in my life as a political scientist have i seen two countries, major countries with a constellation of national interests that are as dison at while the two leaders seem to be doing everything possible to make nice nice and be close to each other. like that's what people don't understand. because there are clearly all these ways that the americans, at an objective reed, the u.s.-russia relationship is as bad as it's been since andropov.
>> rose: sa putin has said so, it is a terrible relationship right now. >> and the entire foreign policy establishment in the u.s. has too but the one policy that trump, everyone says he is flipflopping on china, is it an enemy, currency manipulators, tie want, flipflops on nato, on all these things. yet on russia he has been remarkably consistent. i want to find a way to work more closely with this guy. >> rose: because he has in his mind some grand strategy or something else? >> you know, i was discussing this with richard hoss on the council of foreign relations earlier today. and we're both a little flum oxed, right. because you flefl can say trump likes the strong man. he likes erdogan in turkey, he likes duterte in the philippines, xi jinping in china, that gets you some of the way. >> like sisi in egypt. >> people that can get things done, sure. and you definitely can say about trump that he also is very
transactional and so he's willing to sort of put his chips in to see if he can get something done. and then see how they fall. and that was with obama when he first met obama in the oval office, and with xi jinping and then maybe cools off. and also the fact that obama's relationship with putin was quite damaged by the ends. so there is an opportunity here. but you put all those things together, they don't-- they don't add up to where trump is with putin right now. they don't add up to subgorka for example, security advisor saying well, maybe we will give back. >> it is not grand strategy, what is missing here when he said it doesn't add up, what missing. >> so i think that is some strategy. the explanation i think we will learn either through leaks or through the mueller investigation, the explanation-- . >> rose: or from the leaks from the mueller. >> the explanation says more. they have just been lying and covering up too much stuff. i don't-- i have not believed that there has been direct
collusion between putin and trump. >> rose: you j not. >> i have not believed that. >> rose: but are you more open to the idea of perhaps? >> there are two reasons i don't. >> rose: it also depends how you define collusion. >> true. but first because it's hard for me to imagine that putin plus kremlin really would have believed that they could have swung the election for trump. you have to understand that these guys are as cynical as can be. and they believe that the american system is as brutal and as damaged as the russian system. that the way they see all politics. >> ultimately just about, follow the money, is the way you figure out policy in russia. and so from their perspective, hillary was going to win. because the establishment was going to figure out a way to ensure that their people ended up winning. and i think that the russians were probably more surprised than the americans that trump actually won. i absolutely believe that. but it is, and it's hard for me to imagine that trump would have
been-- . >> rose: but you have no doubt that they hacked and attempted to influence the election one way or another. >> i have no doubt whatsoever. none in my mind. >> rose: but where you can't go yet is a collusion between the president of russia and his government. >> right. >> rose: and his intelligence operatives. >> right. >> rose: and members of the trump team. >> right. >> rose: providing them something which would have early been beyond the pale. >> and that they would have gotten something in return, some commitment of meaningful, you know, sort of offers to shall-- . >> rose: or perhaps they wanted to do it because they felt they had some leverage on the president and if he was elected president that they would have some advantage. >> it clearly seems that there were many people around trump, some quite high level that were compromised by the russians. >> rose: exromsed in what way? you mean michael flynn. >> flynn, i mean paul manafort and certainly the amount of money that we're talking about supporting, getting 17 million
dollars in one year. >> rose: how was manafort compromised by the russians rather than the ukrainians? >> that ukrainian party, he was supporting was the kremlin supported party. >> rose: right. >> i mean where did he go when he was forced out, too moscow, right? that some of the carter page stuff, so i mean given the amount of attention that this investigation is giving, the number of lawyers that are on with serious capability on the financial side, on the anticorruption side, they clearly believe that these connections are meaningful. i expect that we will learn from them, whether that goes directly to president trump, i don't have any view of that. i don't think we-- at this point we can't look at all of this is happening between u.s.-russia and say this is just smoke t doesn't make sense. and i think the good thing about our system is we will find out what it is. >> rose: let me go to iraq for a minute.
the discussion of the russian probe, because you just had a significant victory in mosul, you have a kind of encirclement over raqqa in syria, the caliphate is essentially being shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. already in iraq you have one. biggest issues there is, what is next, or as paul freedman likes to say the day after the day after. >> well, let's start with at least some positives which is people can now go back to mosul and start to rebuild. >> rose: and it's one of the most destructive places, ie it has just been ripped down. >> yes, yeah. >> rose: not unlike aleppo. >> sure. but having said that, these people want to sb in their homes and humanitarian aid from the u.s. and others will be forth coming, some public, some private. and given that that is one of the things that seriously was destabilizing jordan has been this crush of my grants having an opportunity for them to return is a big and positive
thing. and also the fact that the caliphate was established by isis. they had the land. they had a capitol, they could put their flag up. that did raise them money. that did get people to want to join isis, that did make it nor plausible that you would become a lone wolf but in support of this organization. and i think that there are people-- . >> rose: something that was visible to them. >> and i think there are people now that aren't going to die because ice ises has been, is being, has been destroyed in its capitol. >> rose: but isis arose after the iraq war, and from remnants of al qaeda that were there because in fact, the sunnies didn't feel like they were getting a fair break. >> right. >> rose: so therefore they found a whole portion of iraq that was not willing to oppose them because of the bad deal they were getting by the baghdad government. what is to say that won't happen again, it simply won't be isis, it will be somebody else. >> it is happening again. it is hard for me to imagine that everyone that was in isis
has either fled or was killed or imprisoned. a lot of people say we're not isis, we've been with the good times the whole time. when they have an opportunity some of those people will strike gen. there are still villages that need to be cleaned up. they will still perpetuate violence. they are operating in southeast asia. they are operating in yemen and in other countries. so i don't for a second believe that we're out of the woods for isis. and i don't also for a second believe that we're out of the woods in temples of the sunni problem in iraq. when you destroy saddam hussein, you destroy the bawtist party and destroy all of the infrastructure military and civil and political around sunni leadership in iraq and now the shia and iran are going to be much more in charge of everything but the kurdish region, then the sunnies are going to feel on the back foot. >> rose: i want to stay with the kurds and go back and raise another point. with respect to the kurds. >> yeah. >> rose: is there going to be an independent kurdish state. >> i think there will be in
iraq. well, they have a referendum coming up in the fall. and. >> rose: does he want it soon or are they willing to wait. >> i think they are willing to wait because they know they have toment but they want a mark thary says we have voted and we're completely in favor. that will give more legitimacy to barzani. the turks cannot say that they want an independent kurdish in iraq. >> rose: are they less resistant. >> i think they are in part because they have a state under barzani who is someone the turks have been able to do business with, they have a lot of investments there, including energy investments. they were some of the first. and it means, you know, you have satisfied a level of kurdish independence without doing anything in syria where the turks are fighting organizations they consider to be terrorists, as well as kurdish separatism inside turkey. the problem is that erdogan can never say any of this publicly because of his challenges with the kurds in southeast anatolia. >> rose: groups he considers revolutionary terrorists. >> an he considers mountain
turks, which is also a problem. so you have that issue, and then you have the iran issue who also are going to have big problems with the idea of kurdish independence in iraq, that the iranians have more influence over. but over time i don't think either of those things can stop. >> rose: how much influence das iran have over iraq. >> they're dominant power influencing iraq right now. the united states and iraq are the two countries with the most influence over the government as it stands. but ultimately the iranians are spending more money, they're calling more shots, they're developing more infrainfrastructure, they have the direct religious influence and ties with the shia population there. and they are going to do everything possible to ensure that there is never again going to be an iran iraq war. >> an how much influence do they have over bashar al-assad. >> because of their influence over hezbollah? >> and because the iranians have a military cap abilities on the ground in syria too.
and i think-- . >> rose: it is mainly hezbollah. >> but the answer there i think is also a lot. that there has been incidents in the political negotiations where the russians have been frustrated because assad feels more independent, why because he also has iranian support. the russians an iranians are working closely right now on syria and sharing military bases and the rest. the russians supported the u.s. sanks against iran. >> rose: they supported the iran nuclear deal. >> absolutely they did. because-- so i don't feel like the russians feel like they have a long-term strategic alignment necessarily with the iranian government. >> rose: in terms of the ceasefire there is some explanation that the iranians, hezbollah had sort of threatened it and was going to come in and try to do something and that the russians said, first time didn't acquiesce and second time said no. >> and of course the israelis pulled out very quickly from any support of it because they felt like this didn't have any ability to hold. >> rose: so when you look at
today, when you look at this deal that took place when the president went to ree ad and basically said i'm joining with the arab countries and their effort to isolate iran in the battle for sprem see in the gulf region, and then later you have this deal which the saudis and emiratis and he gpt and others, against the qatar. >> yeah. >> rose: qataris, what is that about? >> i think there are a couple of things at play here. the first let's not forget that we now have a new crown prinsz in saudi arabia, capable, strong, more nationalism, the son of the king. and he wants to prove his stripes. there is a lot of opposition to him internally among the leading princes in saudi arabia. >> rose: within the former crown prince, who was. >> rose: under house arrest. >> apparently under house arrest for a period of time.
and you don't believe that secretary session battle is through. i think there are others like prince mataib who is running the internal security forces that many believe is next to be on the chopping bloc. but the point is that if you are now trying to consolidate power and the big thing that the prince solman has doon in the region under his authority when he was running defense was this very ill-fated yarr on-- war on yemen. so now he is leading the charge with a bunch of countries in the regon and more broadly against qatar. he put these demands in place on the qataris that clearly were not meant to create a negotiation or deal, they were meant to isolate and force cappitylation or basically unwind the gulf cooperation council. so i think there say domestic dynamic at play now in saudi
arabia that makes it much harder for the united states or anyone, or the french or you can waitis, anyone that is trying to calm the situation down. >> rose: but when you talk to the saudis and emirateis you get a sense that they think this was a severe effort of a sport by the qataris. and the amir senior and president amir, in order to support groups within their own countries that were intent in overthrowing their government. >> that's right. >> that's what they say and that's what they believe. >> so the first component is the saudi component, the seconds component is the fact that trump went and said anti-iran, anti-iran, went to saudi arabia. >> rose: isolating. >> so no matter what tillerson or mattis would have said, suddenly crown prince solman thinks i've gt an opportunity here, i'm going to take it. and the third is what you said, which is that this is not the first time that the saudis and others have had problems with
qatar. they actually looks like leaked a document of the secret agreement that was-- . >> rose: from the story. >> before, from 2014 when there was an agreement that the qataris were going to stop supporting the brotherhood and they were going to be more cautious and temp rat what they used al jazeera for and crack down on terrorist funding and all the rest. and the contents of that secret deal were made public and the saudis and emirateis said yep, that say correct thing, which means they probably leaked it. so clearly these countries have had serious problems with qatar. >> rose: why does qatar do it? i mean i tell you why i think they do it, because they want to play above their weight. >> that. >> rose: and they also do it because they have got a lot of money. >> they have resented for a very long time. >> rose: we're the junior part here. >> partner in the region, that's right. >> rose: they take us for granted.
>> and that has been the case for a long time am and they do feel like balancing and hedging between the iranians and others is the way to go. >> rose: its gulf countries the gcc also feel like al jazeera has been on one hand stirring up things against their own autocratic power. >> correct, with the exception of al jazeera's treatment of qatar itself, right, pretty much everything else in the region f they see something they bant to criticize, they can that is not the way saudi news runs. so the saudis see. this qataris they have basically seen the muslim brother had as the future of the region. and even though qatar is a monday arcky, they think that long-term these gulf arab monday arckees aren't going to work. the future is going to be more democratic, more religious, national. >> rose: more arab springy. >> yeah, so they've made that bet. and the saudis have not made that bet. and trump has come in and
said-- . >> rose: syria syria didn't make that bet. >> trump came in and said the saudi bet is the right bet to make. so cat qatar is on the wrong side and they have a relationship with iran doing better in the region but also with turkey who has sent troops into qatar to support them. and i will tell you something else interesting. i was when i was with haas earlier today we were talking about turkey and he said yes, turkey is a member of nato but turkey is not a partner, they are flot a partner of the united states in-- right now, any more, haas said that. >> rose: how is trump getting along with chancellor merkel. >> i think of the traditional american allies, the merkel relationship is by far the most challenging, by far the most challenging. and that is because merkel is the one that isn't focused-- you have macron and he's transactional. he invites putin. he invites trump, if he can find a way to work with you, he
disagrees on climate but other things they can work on. with merkel-- . >> rose: with the assertion of a new trans. >> absolutely and is doing it well and so far has popularity and when behind them is charismatic and everyone is coming at him, god bless him, right. that's been a positive for the trench. in the case of germany, merkel leaving aside her election which clearly plays because trump is obscenely unpopular. >> rose: to the point where she loved obama and trump is the anti-obama. >> she had a good personal relationship with obama, clearly the way obama handled snowden shook her. >> rose: or the fact he was listening to her phones. >> and handled it badly. and the fact that when she took all of those refugees, o bma didn't help and i know she was personally deeply disappointed and surprised by that. but i think that-- . >> rose: neither rhetorically or any other way. >> i think that intellectually and personally they got along very well, i think are you right. >> rose: he said to me, in an
interview in germany, that she was the foreign leader he most admired. and i said why. and he said temperment 6789 he said she's-- it's a bit like it used to be called no drama obama, she's the same way. >> well, let's put it this way. i think that merkel probably, if trump were being honest with us, the foreign leader that trump has the hardest time with, maybe the least time for, is least comfortable with. >> rose: did the polander speech. >> hurt. >> rose: hurt. >> absolutely. it helped him in poland. >> rose: leult absolutely. >> but what does he do,the american president, with 15,000 people cheer him on nsm you are merkel, she didn't necessarily love the fact that when obama gave the brandenburg speech there were 100,000 or whatever it was. >> exactly. didn't love it. >> rose: or a million. >> but it was legitimate. it just came out. where you know, trump gave a speech, he did not mention the
word democracy in that speech once. now have i to tell you, i think for poland this was a masterful speech because it was nation t was civilization, it was family. >> rose: a lot of people believe that the west is being destroyed. >> it was a church. >> rose: exactly it was church. >> and in polander that really played, that speech was written very well and it was all of these things that are a part of the western judao christian-- . >> rose: it is unraveling. >> but none of them have to do with liberal democracy am and for merkel, those things are utterly critical nsm fact she would argue they are more porn than the things that trump was bringing up in poland. these are two personality types if we have on a spectrum, they would be off the charts. and the fact that merkel was under so much pressure to make europe work, get brexit done and now be the leader of the free world? like it's just not happening.
so i think this is a really challenging relationship for trump and it's not going to improve any time soon. >> rose: great to see you. >> charlie, thank you. rose: thank you, ian emmer, eurasia group. back in a moment, stay with us. >> rose: we conclude this evening with a look at the controversy surrounding donald trump, jr.'s meeting with the russian lawyer last summer. attorney natalia veselnitskaya met with donald trump, jr. and members of the trump campaign including the president's son in law jared kushner and his campaign manager paul manafort two weeks after trump received the republican nomination. according to emails released by donald trump, jr. himself last week, the meeting was originally presented as an opportunity to receive damaging information about hillary clinton that could possibly influence the campaign on friday it was reported that a russian american lobbyist named-- was also present, he has been described as a former soviet-era spy who now advocates for russian interests in washington. the atlantic's julia ioffe offers a detailed portrait of the russian attorney at the
center of this story in a new article for atlantic magazine, she joins from washington. >> thanks for having me, charlie. >> rose: i did not do as much justice to those russian names as they deserve. let me just begin with the question who is natalia and why was she in that meeting. and what is her connection to this guy from london? >> so as one veteran russia watcher put it, this would be like a real estate lawyer from hoboken showing up in an international scandal. she comes from the moscow region which is basically the suburbs of moscow, military town, very rich but also very corrupt, rife with organized crime, and thases' where she cut her teeth first as a state prosecutor, then as a private attorney, so the clients then brought her to new york. that's why she was in new york. she wasn't necessarily there to meet with trump, jr. but she got a meeting. she was there to defend one of her clients who was being sued
by the now fired u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york preet berara t is very complicated, lots of names. but basically she is a kind of hard-nosed, very tough provincial attorney who is very well-- who is connected to the prosecutor general of russia who is mentioned in the donald trump, jr. emails as the crowns were cuter of russia. that he is apparently the one who wanted to pass damaging information to hillary clinton. >> >> rose: is there skepticism about her and that she had exaggerated her possibility? >> i think people just, nobody had heard of her, really n moscow. she is a really obscure figure, she is a real estate attorney, really, who has dealt with you know fixing problems between the organized crime world and the official russian legal world and the business world that was kind of her purview. then she got involved in
lobbying against the magniskiak which is a law passed in the fall of 2012 sanctioning russian officials involved in the death of lawyers matknitsky. >> when you quote bill broader, not broader, who is talking to us tomorrow morning on cbs this morning as saying that she was ven dik tiff and ruthless and unrelenting. >> uh-huh, yeah, she was a good russian lawyer. but the thing is what makes a good russian lawyer isn't what makes a good american lawyer it is not about how you present your legal arguments or what you find in discovery it is about who you know t is about who, you know, who you bring the brief case full of money to. who you are connected to, who your clients are connected to and how, and that's how the judge determines how he or she will rule. >> rose: so what lead up to this meeting? let's review that. >> she was defending a man named knit ddz scutoff, a business man
from russia very well connect, his father very well connected businessman in russia. and former regional minister. he was sued by berara for allegedly laundering money that he allegedly stole from bill broader and laundered in new york real estate. now that brought natalia veselnitskaya in new york over and over and over again, at times she was denied an visesa and had to be granted an exception to come in and defen her client here, she was also involved in lobbying against-- and actually senate judiciary chair chuck grassley, a republican, filed a complaint in march, this march saying that she should be investigated along with the-- who was at the meeting at trump tower last summer for lobbying for the russian government but not registering as foreign agents. >> rose: how does her description of the meeght, she is being interviewed on the
"today show," at least, and prapsz other places, what does that say about, and how does it differ from what donald trump junior said? >> well, in some ways both of their explanations align and it seems like if you just look at their descriptions of the meeting, it looks like it was kind of a bathed and swrich, that she got in the door by saying hey, i have some damaging information about your political o upon ent, let's talk. and she gave him some information he didn't find, here i'm conflating their two explanations. he gives information, he doesn't find plausible or satis factory, she tries to change the subject to magknitski ak and repealing it, he is bored and doesn't want to hear about it. but then you started talking to other participates in the meeting, for example, mirchin who says she actually passed documents to dan ald trump, jr. and jared curb nsh-- kushner and paul manafort allegedly
detailing illegal payments to the dnc on behalf of hillary clinton. she denies it-- says she did pass the documents so there is still a lot we don't know about this meeting. >> rose: and why did jared kushner and paul manafort leave early? >> i don't know. i think just jared kushner left early and according to-- a description paul manafort was just looking at his phone and was kind of bored. but who knows if that was really happened. you have so many self-interested people trying to cover their derrieres now that this meeting that apparently none of them thought was going to be a huge deal has become a huge deal. >> rose: where is she now? >> she is still in moscow in the moscow region working. she is now involved in a case in trying to win back the land under the first ikea in moscow claiming that it had been frauds lently sold. so she is-- people are charging her with participating in yet
another corporate raid. >> rose: as someone who knows how to see the difference between smoke and fire, i mean what do you see? >> it's hard to tell. i think we need to know more facts about what happened in that meeting. you know, on one hand it's plausible that she went in there to talk about the-- and did pull a bait and switch, knowing that the trump camp wanted to talk about hillary clinton, wanted damaging information on her. on the other hand, there is that first original email where rod goldstone says hey, the crown pros kiter of russia, the general prosecutor of russia with whom-- is very close and she admitted as much, that he has damaging information that he wants to pass to you through her. so it's hard to square those two things am but i think we need to know more about what happened in that meeting. >> let's assume that you are in
fact the prosecutor in russia. what would you most likely go to to pass that information? >> i don't know, i mean people who are trained in the world of spy craft and counter intelligence. >> does she seem like a person to do that. >> so people say that she's a plausible candidate because she is what is called a cutout because she is just-- she doesn't know the full scope of the operation. she doesn't understand what is really going on. and she thinks she is just doing this small favor, this small thing, doesn't see how it fits into the larger picture. maybe, maybe so. i don't know. at this point i think there is a lot of speculation. we need more facts. >> and for those who think that that she does have the capability of being used in that way, are there other examples of how she has been involved in this kind of activity, representing someone through one source or another that powerful? >> well, she has been involved in lobbying against magknitski
ak which is something that really rankled the kremlin. they and advice illknit ddz sky without i should add very patriot eck, very ardently proputin, healths russian liberals, hates american liberals, if you go to her facebook post, she is an ardent foa of president obama, a supporter of president trump, but she was voferred in lobbying against magknitskiak which she and putin see as the tell plate for which sanctions for the invasion of ukraine where implemented which was a huge blow to the russian government and russian elite because it gets at their basically very reason for being. they steal a lot of money at home, they can't keep can it at home because someone else might steal it from them the same way they stole it the magknitski ak, the sanctions cult that channel of getting money out of the country. >> rose: do you believe the son would have done this without pell telling the president.
>> trump, jr.? >> rose: yes. >> i very much doubt it. from what we know about donald trump during the campaign, he was very involved, micromanaging, especially when it came to smeering his opponents an keeping track of which attacks were made when against whip opponents. >> rose: and when he might have information to deliver another attack. >> yes. >> rose: here's what director of the intelligence and defense project at harvard wrote, he says this bears all the hallmarks of a professionally planned, carefully orchestrated intelligence soft pitch designed to engage receptivity while leaving room for plausible deny ability. could it be that? >> absolutely could be. i mean that also sounds like what putin does all the time. again he was trained in the kgb. we know this is repeated all the time. but this is how he does politics at home. he puts that little trial balloons, he sees how that trial balloon goes over and then if it doesn't go over well, he denies
that it had anything to do with him. if anything it would mirror his modus on randi. >> rose: always great to you have on this program, thank you so much, good reporting. >> thanks, charmie. >> rose: thank you for joining us, see you next time. >> rose: for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlie rose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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