tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC July 7, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PDT
that these guys still get hurt even when they're dressed like this. >> well-protected but exhausted, dehydrated. stay safe, have some water, move back. we appreciate it. that's going to wrap us up for this hour. >> be sure to join us saturday afternoon 12:30 eastern. now it's over to andrea mitchell reports. right now on andrea mitchell reports, meet and greet. donald trump and vladmir putin face to face for the first time. >> look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for russia, for the united states, and for everybody concerned. and it's an honor to be with you, thank you. thank you. >> did the president raise the russian meddling, if not? why not? plus, protests and violence as thousands clash with german police in the streets of hamburg. we'll have reaction from our experts. former national intelligence director, retired general james
clapper. former u.s. nato ambassador ken burns and vice presidential chief of staff. former cia acting director john mclaughlin on the spy craft behind today's meeting. and good day, everyone, a big day, we're in washington, breaking news as president trump holds his first meeting with vladmir putin outside the g 20 summit in germany. >> thank you very much. we appreciate it. president putin and i have been discussing various things and i think it's going very well. we've had some very, very good talks. we're going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. but we look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for russia, for the united states, and for everybody concerned. and it's an honor to be with
you. thank you. thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> putin said he was delighted to meet with president trump in person. trump did not respond to a shouted question about whether he'll bring up election meddling in this meeting. we begin with hallie jackson live in hamburg, germany. all indications were that he was not focused on bringing that up. of course we won't know until we get the readout afterwards. >> reporter: we won't know for sure, you're right. the indications from what we heard from the president today, the signaling, that that may not come up. we don't know if president putin could potentially bring up what the russian government has denied in the past, that russia interfered would the u.s. election. as a way to maybe needle president trump or push buttons. we expect to find out but not until after the meeting which by the latest guidance -- pardon me i just got a text. i'm checking my phone to make sure i'm not missing something.
it's still going on. it started roughly, what, an hour and a half, nearly two hours ago approximately. and there is no sign that it has concluded just yet. it had originally been set on the schedule for half an hour or so. we're very curious to see how this is unfolding. we know what we think they're talking about, syria, for example, the situation there. this is something that secretary of state rex tillerson hinted at earlier in the week. we believe, according to the russian government, they want to talk about ukraine. both sides have said to the administration to us privately and the kremlin publicly they want to sort of lay out the current state of u.s./russia relations. remember, there's not a lot of people in this meeting, six people, two are translators, so four principles having a lengthy face to fact discussion. last week the administration said we don't have an agenda the president will talk about what he wants to talk about in an attempt to downplay expectations
here. obviously, both sides going in with some clear objectives. we will see if those are met afterwards. and apologies, we're hearing choppers go by. we've heard sounds from the protests kier has been covering. that is the backdrop to all of this as the sun begins to set. we expect to see even more protests continuing. >> and it was an answer to your persistent questioning yesterday that the president said memorably that he wasn't really convinced it was just russia. it could have been others. this is sending quite a signal, whether or not he raises it, of course, another signal. the other thing is, ukraine, russians want to talk about that, the lifting of sanctions. even as the senate has voted 98-2 to increase sanctions on russia. so if the president wavers on sanctions or returning the calm pounds to russia from the u.s. that were part of those sanctions for the election meddling from president obama,
that will be politically explosive back home. >> reporter: and he's going to absolutely going to get an earful from those on capitol hill, andrea, you're exactly right about that. i'll point out the administration, the white house, has indicated nothing would change on the sanctions related to ukraine, at least perhaps at this point. there was some questions, some reports out there about those diplomaticcompounds. the idea that the president has stopped short that acknowledging it was russia saying he thinks it was russia. you heard a spokesperson for the kremlin say listen to the nuances. the president says other countries could have been involved in this election interference, too. you're seeing the russian government already seizing on that. it's kind of an opening,a. >> there was also a noteworthy meeting with mexico's president there first after the mexican president during the transition canceled the meeting.
and the president said absolutely when he said that as to whether mexico is going to pay for the wall. i know you've got to go and we'll follow up later with you. thank you hallie jackson in hamburg, germany. joining me now is retired air force general james clapper, who served as director of national intelligence for president obama and retired after more than 50 years in u.s. intelligence. thank you very much for being with us. i guess your retirement was january 20th or the 19th, thereabouts. so right through that period. let's talk about what just has happened. you've got a meeting face to face for the first time between these two men and it comes on the heels of the president saying yesterday he wasn't so sure it could have been russia, could have been somebody else. what signal does that send to vladmir putin, first of all? >> well, i don't think it conveys a good signal at all to putin. in fact, i think it kind of weakens president trump's position when he publicly just
disparaged the very high confidence assessment done by u.s. intelligence community about russian interference in our election. so i think in a sense that actually gives strength to putin's position as he walks in and sits down for this meeting. >> and sally yates, the former deputy, acting attorney general, tweeted today and she was part of that national security structure back in the day before she was fired. she said she tweeted it's inexplicable refusal to confirm russian election interference, insults career intel pros and hinders our ability to prevent in future. what about her point that this is an insult to the pros, the professionals in the intelligence community? >> well, it certainly isn't a morale building, i put it that way. i do think, though, that the intelligence community will
continue to convey truth to power, even if the power ignores the truth. and that's one of the great strengths of the intelligence community and the superb men and women who are in it. and i know they'll continue to do that. but the continued doubt that's cast on what, for us, is a leadpipe cinch as far as the russians interfering in our election. yes, it's possible others might have. but there wasn't any evidence of that. it was only the russians. and they did so very aggressively and effectively. >> and the president, again, yesterday in his news conference demeaned the intelligence community's record by again bringing up wwmd iraq. he remembers when everyone was 100% sure that iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that led to one big mess. what is the effect of him
criticizing the intelligence community on foreign soil within 24 hours of his meeting with vladmir putin? >> well, again, this further, i think marginalizes the intelligence community. i was around when that occurred the weapons of mass destruction, national intelligence assessment that was promulgated in october 2002 and i was in the intelligence community then. that was 15 years ago, almost. and it's too bad he won't a acknowledge the many improvements that have since been built into the system to preclude an eventual aity like that. having lived through that experience that i had such high hop hopes about. >> as far as we know that meeting is still going on, far longer than one expected.
two hours now they've been in this meeting together. if president trump does not raise the issue of russian hacking, russian meddling in our election, what's the impact? >> well, i think one thing is that putin will be even more emboldened to continue their activities. looking ahead to 2018 elections they'll be more aggressive about it. reports that came out yesterday about increased soviet -- russian collection activity in this country, which i think is probably part of this. and simply -- >> they're sending more spies here. >> exactly. and i would expect them to, having lost 35 of their more prominent intelligence operatives who are png'd -- >> kicked out told they were persona nongrata.
>> kicked out, that's a blunter turn that png. >> let's talk about how you would prepare a president for a meeting such as this. intelligence experts would give -- in the presidential daily brief, or a special preparation memo for a meeting like this. a psychological profile of the leader you're about to meet. you would be getting a brief, certainly. >> one would hope. that is certainly my experience in the previous administration'ses i've served. >> you would help prepare those briefs. >> and be part of elaborate. as much as we can convey to the president about what the intent is for his opposite number in
the way of discussion items, agenda items and what positions they may take. profiles, backgrounds, their life history, as much as we can convey to our principle, in this case the president, about the meeting and our assessment of what will happen in the meeting and what will be said by his opposite member. >> certainly in vladmir putin's interest to try to be chummy and cozy and produce a tangible evidence, certainly what tillerson told reporters the other night, they want to make progress on syria. so they may be announcing, quote, a cease fire in syria. which could take a lot of attention. but the details could be concerning. john kerry negotiated cease fires in syria. nothing held. >> first, i think the length of the meeting, i think, should be
interpreted as a good sign. when you have translations involved, whatever the length of meeting was, cut it in half because of the time it takes to translate back and forth. they may not necessarily -- as far as syria goes the problem in the past with cease fires is the people declaring the cease fires may not be connect would the people actually shooting. that's been the problem with past cease fires. you know, hope springs eternal. it's a terrible situation in syria. terrible humanitarian disaster there. so, you know, again, i hope this cease fire unlike past cease fires is effective. >> this president, we're told, doesn't like to read. likes to get bullet points or
pictures. with going into this meeting without a structure or game plan, according to his own national security advisor, is that wise? >> well, it certainly wouldn't be the way i'd go about it, but everybody's got their own style, i guess. i have to believe that -- there has been some preparation here. i think the likes of h.r. mcmaster would see to that. certainly do his best to insure that the president is as prepared as possible >> our own reporting is that your successor, dan coats told the intelligence committee that the president seems obsessed with the russia probe. was that your impression? did you have that impression with him? >> i have to say that when we briefed then president elect trump on the 6th of january that it was very clear to me that anyone or anything that casts some doubt on the legitimacy of
his election is something he has a great aversion to. i think that's just consistent pattern of his. >> have you talked to jim comey since he was fired? >> exchanged e-mails with him, yes. >> and in terms of his belief that there's not any evidence of doubt -- i should say no doubt about the evidence that russia was involved at the highest levels, which means vladmir putin, the man sitting next to president trump today. >> well, i think he reaffired that publicly about his confidence as he was departing. in his last congressional hearing, public congressional hearing, he made that statement quite clear. that the russians are going to come at us. i think even more aggressive than they have in the past. >> you were just in seoul, south korea, as i understand it. and we now have this first
intercontinental ballistic missile. we don't know about the warhead, but we're now getting within a very -- much closer window of the threat. what about all the talk about preemptive military action when you've had a missile that was launched from a mobile launcher, hard to spot from satellites. >> point one as i said in seoul publicly last week when i was there. as i learned, when i met with the north korean interlockiers. they are not going to give this up because it is their ticket to the survival. i don't think realistically a preemptive military action is responsible. if we were to do that, i think the north koreans would react reflexively, without deliberation and would rain all
that artillery and rocketry on the northern part of south korea, which is where half the south korean population lives. that is not a realistic option in my view. be very reckless because you're endangering millions of people and there would be untold death and destruction, i believe, if such war were to ensue. the chinese don't like kim jong-un's behavior here. they don't like the missile test, they don't like the underground tests and they don't like kim jong-un. it's a strategic imperative they preserve the buffer state and that is utter most in the chinese mind. the only out here is diplomacy. >> i wanted to play for you some sound for the prest, whident, comparing the intelligence community you led and which you
served for more than half a century to nazis. and let's play that and i want to ask you about it. >> i think it was disgraceful, disgrisful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. i think it's a disgrace and i say that. and that's something that nazi germany would have done and did do. >> you called him, was it to tell him that there hadn't been leaked or are suggesting that was an inappropriate and offensive message. >> when i called him i felt i had to say something to him. just to defend the intelligence community and the men and women in it. i thought that was a egregious inference, that we're nazis. we're not. and what i tried to do is appeal to his higher values and impart to him what a national treasure his intelligence community he
was about to inherit is. and that the institutional instincts of the community are to support the president of the united states whoever it is and to make sure he's as successful as possible. and, obviously, took exception to that characterization. i guess first instance i was amazed he took my call. i only had nine days left in call, but he did. >> finally, if you had a message to deliver to president trump, vladmir putin today says return our compounds in maryland and long island. what would you say to president trump? >> why? as a reward for what? the compounds, particularly the one in maryland was a major intelligence operation. collecting intelligence against us. and so i don't see what the russians have done that would merit the return. >> speaking of what russians are doing, one other quick question.
rat rachel maddow had what looked like a highly official looking document. what about false information, the real fake news being put out by russians, russian propagandists, russian operatives? >> that's certainly possible. that's well in their bag of tricks of something they might try to do. that was one of the things they did quite aggressively in the run up to the election, was fake news. social media trolls and the like. i don't know the source of this documents. all i know about it is what i've read in the media. that's within the realm of possibility. >> general clapper thank you so
much. as far as we know the meeting is still underway. a closer look inside the high stakes trump/putin face off. they've been meeting for more than two hours. you're watching andrea mitchell reports only on msnbc. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel, i want someone who makes it easy. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. visit booking.com. booking.yeah! but their nutritional needs (vremain instinctual.d, that's why there's purina one true instinct. nutrient-dense, protein-rich, real meat number one. this is a different breed of nutrition. purina one, true instinct.
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. and back to hamburg, germany. more violent g 20 protests erupting today as world meleade are meeting. there's a mix of people, people in masks clashing with police. kier simmons is right in the middle of it. joining me now live in hamburg. kier, bring us up to date if you can hear us. >> reporter: we're with the police now. and we just caught a face full of tear gas. you'll have to excuse me if my eyes are watering a little. you can see the smoke there, that looks like a smoke bomb fired by the protesters. we just passed the -- move the camera around in this direction. we were in the square when tear gas rained down. you can see where the protesters have put barriers, can we still go in this direction guys?
miguel? let's take you this way so we can show you what was happening. let me just show you some of the stuff that was being thrown by the protesters at that police line. it looks as if the amount of tear gas that the police just fired has cleared. has cleared this area. as quickly as the protesters arrived, andrea. another skirmish here. skirmishes between police and protesters breaking out -- excuse me -- breaking out around this city as the protesters try to avoid the police and try to get to the place where the g 20 leaders are meeting. we expect them to hold a dinner at the concert hall down by the river later. and the protesters are, we think, are beginning to target that area now as well. >> kier simmons, kier please stay safe and try to clear your head. i know how painful that can be having been out there in past
and, in fact, i think it kind of weakens president trump's position when he is publicly just disparaged the very high confidence assessment done by u.s. intelligence community about the russian interference in our election. i do think, though, that the intelligence community will continue to convey truth to power, even if the power ignores the truth. >> that was moments ago, james clapper moments ago. the pool is reporting, the reporters there in hamburg that the meeting ended. it went about 2 hours, 20 minutes. joining me now is the former u.s. ambassador of nato. and jeremy bash, the former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense during the obama administration. welcome both of you.
we have been told the meeting has now ended. when they first met at the g 20 earlier today before their one-on-one session, i wanted to show you a video of the initial handshake when these two men first met and then you'll see a trump back slap of vladmir putin. it's really kind of interesting the way that president trump reaches out and tries to sort of slap him, it's a two handed and there's the back slap. very friendly. nick burns, you've actually been in meetings with vladmir putin. i guess when you were ambassador to nato, perhaps in a previous life. how is putin reading trump, do you think from what we know of vladmir putin, the former kgb colonel? >> we know a lot about vladmir putin. he's astute, intelligence, very experienced and opportunistic. and, obviously, he wants what president trump wants out of this first meeting. it's good it went for two and a half hours. they need to get to know each other and learn to communicate effectively. because as you know, andrea, there will be crisis and
misunderstanding ahead of them. they're going to have to be able to get on the phone and work things out. that i thought was the primary reason for this meeting. but i hope president trump raised the ukraine issue. the sanctions. i hope he raised russia's cyber attack on our election. and the deep sentiment in the congress that russia needs to be sanctioned for that. and i'll bet they talked about syria because you saw rex tillerson two days ago signal that the united states and russia had been talking about how to end the war there. we'll see what the details are. >> what we also see from russia, nick, and jeremy that russia blocked us from proceeding at the security council with a simple resolution to north korea for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile. >> i'll jump in here and add, it's unclear why russia would want to block our efforts to isolate north korea. after all, north korea crossed
its critical 3,000 mile threshold where they now have a missile that could potentially reach alaska, maybe even hawaii. once they militarize that weapon that could put american cities in grave danger. just to loop back to the length of the meeting. i think it's good the leaders talked. i do worry a little bit that the leaders will come out and say that the relationship is solidified, on a strong path. i think we have to start from a little bit of a different premise. we have to start from the premise that russia is our adversary, that russia is playing a very unproductive role in europe. that russia is playing currently an unproductive role in syria and we have to take them on more forcefully, not to mention the fact that we have a consensus intelligence assessment that says they tried to undermine the most precious thing we have, our own election process. unless the president is tough on putin in his first meeting and communicates that in the meeting and out of the meeting i don't
think it's a win for the united states. >> what about the fact as the president as recently in yesterday was expressing doubts it was just russia alone, it could have been anybody who hacked the election and demeaning the intelligence community by bringing up the faulty, you know, tragically faulty assessment 15 some years ago on wmd in iraq. why does this president have such a problem criticizing vladmir putin? >> well, that's the $64 trillion question. i agree with jeremy, russia is an adversary of the united states. what we know about putin is that he is rational. and he's brutal and cynical but he also responds to power and strength. and so jeremy's right. i would hope that what president trump did in this meeting, in addition to getting to know him was to say we're not moving an inch on the sanctions, we're going to keep them on you until you withdraw your forces and we're certainly now going to put additional sanctions on you because you interfered in our
election. if you do it again there will be severe consequences. putin understands that. i think he would not understand, or maybe he'd understand all too well, a weaker approach he might think he could take advantage of donald trump. so i hope that's the kind of meeting they have. and it's good that they might have talked about syria, that was one reason for the length of this. we've got to be careful there, too. we don't want to be aligned with russia, iran, and hezbollah in a power play in syria if we can help to end the war and help refugees. that's good. but we shouldn't be supporting russia and iranian interests to gain control of major parts of syria. >> and, in fact, jeremy, one of the points that general clapper was saying is that the people signing the cease fire, if that's what they're about to announce, they are not the combatants, not all the combatants, factions neither russia or the u.s. controls. >> our primary objective in isis
-- syria is to take on isis. we've trained and equipped on the ground to take on raqqah and take out isis' command and control. we've seen in the last several weeks is that syrian air forces have fired on those, quote, our allies on the ground. russia controls the skies over syria in certain parts because they have integrated air defenses and they have given cover to the assad regime in effect to affect our counterterrorism forces. i think the number one talking point for the president in this meet ing with putin is get out of the way while we take on isis. if you want to be our partner, join us if not get out of the way. >> how about stopping the syrians from using chemical weapons. you've sat down with vladmir putin and you've been able to assess him over the years. how is he going to read this is president trump does not bring up the election hacking?
>> he'll consider it a major gift in this meeting. frankly i think he will not respect president trump again. he respects people who are self-confident and strong. we know from general clapper's interview with you and from his previous testimony that our intelligence community is 100% sure of what happened here. so the president's primary obligation in foreign defend policy is defend the united states. if our elections were breached in a negative nefarious way by the russians he has an obligation to raise that as president obama did one-on-one with putin last autumn. and the senate voted 97-2 republicans and democrats together, to fully sanction the russians. the president is going to be very exposed politically here at home, but i think guilty of a dereliction of duty of his basic duty to defend us if he doesn't raise it in a tough way today. >> ambassador nick burns, jeremy bash, thank you both very much.
coming up, first impressions. how president trump's first meeting with vladmir putin stacks up against his predecessors. you're watching andrea mitchell reports on msnbc. i just saved a bunch of money on my car insurhuh. with geico. i should take a closer look at geico... geico can help with way more than car insurance. boats, homes, motorcycles... even umbrella coverage. this guy's gonna wish he brought his umbrella. fire at will! how'd you know the guy's name is will? yeah? it's an expression, ya know? fire at will? you never heard of that? oh, there goes will! bye, will! that's not his name! take a closer look at geico. great savings. and a whole lot more.
and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. visit booking.com. booking.yeah! we had a very good dialogue. i was able to get a sense of his soul. >> i found him to be very smart and i found him to have a practical bent. >> well, and then it all went downhill with vladmir putin and american presidents. by 2012 at the g 20 in mexico, putin and obama were barely speaking. just take a look at the body language from this picture. joining me now is rick sangal, msnbc political analyst and ron claim from the white house senior aide and former chief of staff to vice presidents gore
and biden. i want to ask you, because in 2007 i think we've got pictures of this, you interviewed vladmir putin when you were a managing editor of time magazine for a man of the year portrait and cover story. you actually met with him. >> uh-huh. >> that's quite a picture. little foreboding there. the artwork is kind of stunning. tell me about vladmir putin from your perspective and from your time as a journalist and then as a state department official. >> actually, in that picture, andrea, by a great photographer, we had just a few minutes after the first interview. and he wasn't allowed to bring an aid. he reached out to touch vladmir putin and putin's body guards completely tensed up. one of the things i was amused by the handshake by putin and trump, one of the things they tell you do not under any circumstances ever touch vladmir putin, nor reach out your hand to shake first. he is paranoid and wary about
that. he's a very, very difficult customer. he's very frosty. cold air seems to come out of him. he actually is -- has a temper. and in the interview that we did, one of the first questions, question that got his date of birth wrong, and within 30 seconds he was banging the table to say how could you get my date of birth wrong. this is a fundamental thing. i thought the whole interview was going to fall apart. eventually it did when one of our questioners asked him about religious freedom in russia and he walked out of the interview. so this cool, calm customer is not so cool and calm always. >> it's really interesting because not only did the president shake his hand but he then patted him on the back. i guess he was psyched or steeled putin was not to react adversely. maybe it's not paranoia if you're vladmir putin and avoiding shaking hands, it's more than being a germaphobe.
what about the political impact of the things that president trump has said in hamburg? demeaning the intelligence agencies and suggesting that, well, who knows whether it really was russia meddling in our election. >> i think it sends a very bad signal here at home but more importantly a very bad signal to vladmir putin. this is a man who understands strength. if president trump did not confront him directly in that one-on-one meeting with the evidence, that the russians tampered in our elections and was insistent that it stop. all we can expect is that it will get worse in 2018 and 2020 with more corrosion of our democracy and systems. this is a man that respects strength. the question is did donald trump go in there with smiles or a really strong approach. >> there's been a twitter war between donald trump and john podesta who had the job, ron,
and worked with top white house officials as you did.
trump tweeted today, everyone here, meaning in germany, is talking about why john podesta refused to give the dnc server to the fbi, disgraceful. john podesta was not at the dnc and had nothing to do with his server. it's a complete mix match between wwikileaks. podesta, who has been cross country, driving cross country with his wife on a trip to the west coast, he tweeted a series of tweets, tweeting, pulled in for a pit stop in east fairmont west virginia to see our whack job potus is tweeting about me. the russians committed a crime when they stole my e-mails to help to get you elected. i had nothing to do with the dnc god only knows what you'll be
raving about by the time we get to utah. obviously, podesta responding, but, he's been victimized by this. ten years of his g mails were dumped out by wikileaks. to you, rick, is this the way for the president of the united states to prepare for a g 20 meeting with vladmir putin, to be tweeting about john podesta and the dnc? >> i think it diminishes him terribly and the role of the u.s. at the g 20. the russians are very adept at social media, they're seeing that. in fact, i think trump is a kind of putin's dream. he's always wanted a transactional american president who doesn't preach to him about values and human rights. who also could endorse the idea of a sphere of influence world, which is what trump wants. which is what putin really wants. this is why i think it's so dangerous and as ron was saying to show any kind of weakness to
not bring it up that will make trump uncomfortable. he needs to be talking about that. >> what about the political impact of this stage if the president does not raise the issue of the russian hacking and doesn't, you know, say to vladmir putin, cut it out. >> if donald trump isn't upset about the fact that the russians tried to corrupt our democracy, and indeed, to some extent corrupt our democracy in 2016, then it must suggest that he thought it was correct. it may suggest his campaign was part of that. and so i do think it casts a shadow over his presidency. and the fact that, as you alluded to, that on the eve of the moments before he met with vladmir putin he was obsessed with recycling the charge that somehow it was the dnc's fault and not the russians fault of the russianins hacking in our election.
that suggests bad things about where his head is as opposed today where it should have been before going in to face vladmir putin. >> thank you both so much. coming up next, what did donald trump and vladmir putin talk about for two hours and 16 minutes minus translations. we'll find out when senior administration officials brief from hamburg. you're watching andrea mitchell reports, only on msnbc. ...i kept looking for ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i was doing okay... then it hit me... ...managing was all i was doing. when i told my doctor,... ...i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease... ...even after trying other medications. in clinical studies,... the majority of people on humira... saw significant symptom relief... ...and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability... ...to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened;... ...as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure.
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readout of the trump-putin meeting from senior administration officials to begin shortly. we'll bring it to you we can. joining me, john mclaughlin, joining us from the west coast. thank you very much for being with us. let's talk about this meeting from what we know so far. it went for two hours and sixteen minutes. we know they'll have an announcement, perhaps a joint announcement, about perhaps a cease-fire teed up by rex tillerson and now the ap is reporting it. the caution is a cease-fire would not include necessarily all of the combatants, a cease-fire between russia and the u.s. and we have seen these cease-fires before. what about the key issue, which is what if the president of the united states did not even mention the russian hacking of the election to vladimir putin? >> well, that would be a very bad thing, andrea. that with russian officials and with the russian intelligence service a number of times. one of the things you have to have very clear in your mind going into a meeting with
russian officials is what are your interests, what is it precisely that you want, because you can be confident that they will always know precisely what they want. so if you go in with any kind of ambiguity in your mind about where you want to come out, say on this issue, and you're not clear to putin that you understand that they did hack our election and that that has huh stop, putin will interpret that as a sign of weakness. and, you know, one of the things that strikes me as i've been listening to the conversations today is that while he expresses doubt about the intelligence on this issue, russian hacking, he apparently has no doubts about, let's say, american intelligence on syria, because he used that to send cruise missiles there. and presumably, has no doubts about american intelligence on north korea. because that's the only way we understand in any precise way what happened with their missile
tests. but on this particular issue, he seems to have trouble accepting the conclusions. >> and it has to be demoralizing the workforce to have him demeaning the intelligence community while he's on foreign soil and about to meet with vladimir putin, a former kgb colonel. >> yeah, i would say this, andrea. i've said this i think before to you. intelligence community is very resilient. they're used to controversy. they bounce back. speaking truth to power is never a -- an easy business. but they'll be fine. however, i think the -- the error here, the regretful thing, is that by saying this on foreign soil, just before a meeting with putin, it gives putin a pretty good talking point. i would be very surprised. very surprised if putin doesn't say something along the lines of, "too bad you don't have the same confidence in your intelligence community that i have in mine."
so it in a way hands a talking point to putin. never a good idea. >> and one person who clearly -- one leader who clearly has taken his measure is angela merkel. she was raised in east germany when vladimir putin was in charge of the kgb there. and take a look at -- if you can see it, we're going to show ow viewers at this moment where it was captured, he was talking there, both fluent in both russian and german. and you can see her sort of rolling her eyes. angela merkel does not look sort of -- falsehoods or fake news or anything else. >> well, you know, the europeans generally have lived with the russians, of course, closer and longer than we have. and they are taking steps across the board, i think, to make visible russian fake news. after all, the russians are the inventors of fake news and have practiced it for over 100 years.
they just have social media now that is boosting the effectiveness of what they do. angela merkel knows this very well. as do the swedes, as do the pols and so forth. and so i think putin has a rougher time with them. you know, i think -- here's the other point, though. i will be very surprised if putin and trump don't emerge from this meeting saying that they have a very good personal relationship. >> right. >> in many respects, they're quite alike. >> john mclaughlin. we have to leave it there. to be continued. and thank you so much. and this sunday, tune into nbc's "meet the press" for an exclusive interview with former cia director, john brennan and lindsey graham. check your listings for local air times. we'll be right back.
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thank you. that's it for us. here's katy tur. >> thank you, andrea. coming up on this hour, we start with that highly anticipated meeting between president trump and russia's vladimir putin. any moment, we're expecting a briefing from senior administration officials on the details of that meeting. the two leaders wrapped up their first face-to-face about a half hour ago. it lasted more than two hours behind closed doors. and it comes during a second day of protests at the g20 conference in hamburg, germany. prior to their meeting, both leaders spoke to the press. take a listen.