tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN April 12, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
welcome back. you're watching cnn special live ru coverage. i'm brooke baldwin. first of all, as we look at pictures of the white house in the west wing, you see a member of the military, which means the president is in residence. he's awaiting the arrival of the nato secretary general, jens stoltenberg to be there at the white house holding this meeting, a news conference in an hour from now. it's significant because as we watched candidate trump on the trail continuing to call nato obsolete. we're watching that for you. in the meantime, let's begin with this unexpected face-to-face meeting in what a number of people are calling this new version of the cold war.
russian president vladimir putin's nearly two-hour meeting with the u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson. until that meeting actually took place, it was entirely unclear whether these two leaders would meet in person. one sign of the intense tensions over the u.s. missile strike in syria. secretary tillerson just held a news conference with his russian counterpart. they were candid about tillerson's words, the low point in the relationship between the u.s. and russia, especially regarding the current situation in syria. russia's foreign minister lavrov insisted on an independent investigation over who was behind that gas attack despite the u.s.' certainty that it's syria's regime to blame. here is more from secretary tillerson. >> the current state of u.s./russia relations is at a low point. there's a low level of trust between our two countries. the world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of
relationship. as time goes by and more and more evidence continues to be gathered, it is possible that the threshold necessary to charge individuals, including bashar al assad, may be achieved. as you know, this is a very high legal hurdle in order to bring such charges against an individual. so i would not suggest to you that all of that evidence is in place but i think the longer time goes by, it's possible that the case will be made and there are certain individuals who are working to make that case. speaking of our coverage in moscow, cnn international correspondent phil black is joining me. talk about what happened during this meeting. secretary tillerson stopped short of calling assad a war criminal. what did you hear in that news conference? >> reporter: brooke, what came
out of it is not a lot of change. they were discussing the difficulties in the relationship but that's really stating the obvious, i think. what became clear is they broke down all of the issues, their positions, the differences between them. they haven't really moved. syria is the big one that a lot of people were talking about leading into this talk and the russian position remains the same. they say they are not wedded to assad but that doesn't mean that outside people get to decide who the leader is. they are helping syrian leaders fight terrorists there. and tillerson said assad has to go and his family. they have no future in the governing of this country. what was interesting, though, when you think about the fact that we've been talking about all of that for a week now, we've been talking about the very inflammatory language that both sides have been using, especially since the united states launched that missile attack against the assad regime
air facility. that was gone. from both of those head diplomats. in acknowledging the differences in stating their positions, which still remain very separate, there was still a use of language and tone that seemed to indicate they are trying to do better. they are trying to rebuild this. both sides said that the nature, the current nature of the relationship is unacceptable. it can't go on. they are committed to trying to stabilize it and then working out where they can move forward from there. they are talking about workiset up a working group. lavrov repeatedly talked about the differences and difficulties going back to decisions and policies from the previous u.s. administration, the obama administration. essentially blaming them for many of the tensions that still exist today. now, you could argue about just how accurate that is, but it is clearly an attempt, i think, to at least open the door somewhat to not allow russia's
relationship with the new american administration to deteriorate as rapidly or continue with the same momentum as it had done under president obama. so what we saw today was by no means a reboot or a reset but i think you could say that things didn't get worse, that in itself is something both men are committed to improving the relationship but doing so with a very healthy understanding of what a difficult challenge that will be going forward from here. brooke? >> phil black says from moscow things didn't get worse. phil, thank you. let me bring in a very powerful voice, someone on the front lines of similar tense negotiations and diplomatic discussions overseas. george mitchell from the middle east peace under president obama. he also is a former democratic senator. so senator mitchell, an honor and privilege to have you on, sir. welcome back. >> thank you. nice to be here. >> just hearing phil say, well, at least things didn't get worse, was the bar that low?
>> well, i think president trump has a great opportunity today in his meeting with the secretary general of nato. for the past few months, president trump has been critical of nato and very praising and supportive of president putin. >> correct. now it's like -- >> right. >> but during that time, his appointee, secretary of state, united nations have had the opposite statements. i hope that the president himself personally today will bring american policy into the line that has been set by his appointees, that we are friends and supporters of nato. it's an important alliance. not just for the europeans but for the united states of america. this was part of an effort after the second war led by the united states to encourage stability and peace in europe and it's been largely successful. putin seeks to undermine that
alliance and we should make it clear that we will not only not join in that effort but we will oppose it. secondly, the tension between the united states and russia now originates in the illegal actions taken by russia in crimea and ukraine under the direction of president putin. in violation of the international law, the united states led the effort to impose sanctions on russia and the president should make it very clear today that those sanctions will not be lifted so long as russia persists in its course of action. >> you, senator, know what it's like to walk into a conversation like this with regard to middle east peace and trying to broker that. >> yes. >> this is different but it is, in a sense, equally as delicate and tenuous. how, if you are secretary tillerson and we know he goes back with mr. putin and we also know that this meeting wasn't even initially on the table until this 11th hour.
if you're the secretary of state, what is your mission? >> it is first to make clear that our differences are real. and our views are based upon fact and principles which we support. but secondly to make clear that we seek no dispute. we don't want to worsen relations with russia or with anybody. and that we ought to be able to work constructively but that will take a change in policy by the russians. >> how do you work constructively when you have the u.s. saying it was assad and his regime who murdered dozens of people and you have russia saying we're not sure, we need an independent investigation? >> rush shaz interest in syria is long standing. they've had a huge knave vnaval.
they've had thousands of syrians women come there for years. the fact of the matter is, i know president assad. i met with him when i was over in the middle east. it's sad to see what has happened to what was once an ancient country but the reality is he can't remain the leader of that country. the hundreds and thousands dead, the 5.5 million people displaced, the devastation and destruction of the country all so one person can cling to power. >> here is president trump and nato leader.
>> okay. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> see you in a little while. >> thank you. >> all right. so in tv lingo, that was a pool spray. it was a handshake there in the white house. secretary general jens stoltenberg has just arrived. you talk about meeting assad and from what i remember reading about assad, he was an eye doctor who never wanted to go into medicine because he was afraid of the sight of blood and it seems ironic now. you say this all hangs on the fate of assad and he cannot continue. we talk about the administration
saying we need to create a better political climate in which the people of syria can choose that. i come back to this point as the president who is gassing and killing his own people, how will there ever be that kind of climate created? >> a transition process through which there comes a new leadership in syria. it cannot be a process that has as its objective or as a result a continuation of assad in power. the united states cannot simply lend itself to that. it is so contrary to our values and to the values of the people around the world. and if the russians think that we will participate in a process that will keep him in power, i think we have to make it very clear to them, that's not going to happen. >> senator mitchell, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> i really appreciate it. an explosive report that the fbi received a warrant to monitor a former trump campaign adviser on the belief that he was acting as a foreign agent for russia. we're going to talk about this fisa warrant and how difficult
it is to get, how significant this is. also, two fates of the president's inner circle. sean spicer saying he let the president down over his remark on adolph hitler and the president himself with some strange words to a new york newspaper about his chief strategist steve bannon. could changes be afoot? we're watching cnn's special live coverage. i'm brooke baldwin. [vo] quickbooks introduces jeanette
welcome back. i'm brooke baldwin. we have information from paul manafort who is expected to register as a foreign agent soon. evan perez is all over this for us, our justice correspondent. what does this mean, evan? >> an attempt to resolve one of the questions that u.s. prosecutors and the justice department and fbi have with paul man forth. this has to do with him doing lobbying work for the government
of ukraine, the former government of ukraine. this is under the ousted leader victor y victor yanakovich ousted because of questions of corruption. what we expect in the coming days, as he files a a foreign agent for the ukrainian government for that work that he did back in 2012 and 2014, as i mentioned, this is just one of the many questions that the justice department has. he's under scrutiny for his ties to russians and pro-russian people during last year at the time that the russian intelligence agencies were trying to meddle in the u.s. election so that's a big question that the fbi and congressional investigators are still looking at as well as some of his finances. and the former ukrainian
government and any money laundering by that oh former government in ukraine. there's a lot of questions here, kind of a financial mess, actually, for paul manafort. this is all, of course, all of it started emerging last year while serving as the chairman for donald trump's campaign. we expect that some of those questions are going to linger in the coming months, brooke. >> evan, thank you very much. and now to this exclusive cnn reporting that congressional insiders are telling cnn that a review of the classified documents contradict surveillance claims made by house intel chairman devin nunes and president trump. both republicans and democrats telling cnn that there is no evidence that the obama administration was illegal. jessica schneider is on this one for us. what are they saying about the documents?
>> they are saying no smoking gun. that's according to both republican and democratic sources on the senate and house intel committees. multiple lawmakers and aides have reviewed those documents that chairman nunes showed unproper masking of names and there's no evidence that obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal. in fact, the sources personally viewed the classified documents at nsa headquarters in maryland and after finding what they call a, quote, normal and appropriate requests by susan rice to unmask certain names, they say that it followed proper protocol and these sources are now saying that they want the white house to declassify the documents to make these conclusions crystal clear to the american public but as for president trump, he is not backing down. in fact, just saying this morning that he still believes that susan rice acted improperly. >> when you look at the extent of the surveillance, me and so
many other people, it's terrible. >> she said she didn't do it for political reasons. >> does anybody really believe that? nobody believes that. even the people that try to protect her in the news media. it's such a big story and i'm sure it will continue forward. but what they did is horrible. >> so president trump there doubling down on his belief that rice did something wrong. no information about declassifying that documents so people can see it for themselves. he did threaten to derail the house intel investigation at one point but now it looks like it's back on track. brooke? >> we should mention, it's simply untrue. jessica schneider, thank you very much in washington. meantime, this new report
from "the washington post" claiming that the fbi was monitoring carter page, former trump campaign adviser. it indicates that the fbi and justice department obtained a fisa warrant to monitor the investigations of carter page during the trump campaign. a fisa warrant is an acronym for foreign intelligence surveillance. a fisa warrant. to be crystal clear, the bar is ex true emily high even to approve the surveillance of any citizen. here's the fbi making that point a couple of weeks ago. >> every morning i'm in washington, i put a stack of fisa applications that goes like this, thunk. the reason there's a thump, fisa applications are significantly thicker than my wrists. it's a pain in the neck to get permission to conduct electronic
surveillance in the united states. a pain in the neck. and that's great. >> michael moore is with us, former u.s. attorney. and bob baer. on this fisa warrant, michael, let me begin with you. you've been in the room as judges consider fisa warrants. we heard comey say that the applications are as thick as his wrists. to have that sort of information, how much do they have to have on you? how much would they have had to have had on carter page to get this? >> you know, the process is intense. i think the director is right when he talks about the stack of paperwork and i've certainly sat in a room as judges have considered regular probable cause warrants and things like that. but it's a secret process and it's not taken lightly. i can tell you this, i promise you, they didn't put in front of a judge that carter page was talking about sean spicer
calling it russian salad dressing as some basis to get a fisa warrant in this case. they had to have something. they had to have some basis and it likely was heightened in their view because he's an american citizen. that probably played in, too. it's not something that's done willy-nilly and, you know, fly by the seat of your pants and run to a friendly judge. the presiding judge is appointed by the chief justice of the united states supreme court. it's a detailed process sat out in the statute and i imagine he likely got caught up in a another surveillance activity that they were having and at that point they needed to move over and ask that he be is willed listed on the application as well. >> i need to explain that carter page has cooperated, he's denied all of this, he's offered to testify before congress. not really the actions of a man, would you think, with anything to hide. but if he truly did anything
nefarious, wouldn't he have been indicted by now? >> well, i don't think necessarily so. these investigations can take a long time. and after the bell is running and cooperates and testifies, that's how it goes. especially as they start to feel that the vice is starting to tighten around them a little bit. i don't think he was offering to testify back during the campaign. i think it's after the news story broke that there may have been interruption in the investigation and collusion and whether it be asking for a immunity or carter page wanting to come forward. and let me say this, i'm not suggesting that he necessarily has done something criminal. >> sure. >> this is simply a time when somebody has looked at it. he likely got caught up in some surveillance of a foreign national or spy operation and may have been mentioned in it. his mention was enough to lead to go seek to get a warrant.
>> one of the last times i spoke to you on tv, bob, was a couple years before carter page was involved with the trump campaign and was being questioned by some russian spies. he said he had no idea that they were spies. one of them ended up getting arrested actually -- forgive me, we're going to go to the ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley. >> with those in favor of document s-2017/315, please raise their hand.
those against? abstentions. the results of the vote is as follows. ten votes in favor, two votes against, three abstentions. the draft resolution has not been adopted, a permanent vote of a member of sicouncil. >> richard ross over covering the united nations. this is a vote that would have required syria to fully cooperate with investigators, face accountability for the chemical attack there and did it just fail?
richard, are you with me? >> yes, brooke. for the eighth time, russia has vetoed a u.n. security council resolution regarding the horrors going on over in sear yeah. the russian veto was expected but considering the nature of the chemical weapons attack in syria last week, some thought there might be some relenting. this resolution would have called on moscow and president assad of syria to cooperate with an investigation and to turn over helicopter pilots for interviews, flight logs, find out what was going on in the skies over that town hit by the gas attack, brooke. >> okay. richard roth, thank you so much, on the notion that assad would have cooperated, thank you. bob baer, let's pick up on this fisa warrant that was obtained. your thoughts on this conversation. >> well, brooke, what happened, as they were listening to the telephone conversations of
russian officers and picked up carter page and intelligence officers were talking to 20 people but the nature of the conversation between carter page and the russian intelligence officer made them think there was a clandetine relationship here. you need proof of probable cause to listen in on a phone or do it in the house and the rest of it. the fbi asked him for a fisa or the department of justice said this is not enough. i see the cia provide very sensitive, sensitive intelligence through the department of justice to get one of these fisa warrants through. so this was not just a casual fishing expedition listening to carter page's phone. he said something or did something that caused the department of justice to move on this. this is very serious.
>> while i have you, bob, let me ask you about a story that evan perez reported about a couple minutes ago about how paul manafort has officially registered as a foreign agent, something he probably should have done a while ago. your thoughts on that? >> well, the president of ukraine, brooke, was a russian proxy. so he wasn't just working for a ukrainian government which may or may not have been neutral vis-a-vis the united states. he was, in effect, working for the russians. the fact that he felt necessary to work as a foreign agent tells me there's a certain amount of culpability and it all goes back to moscow rather than kiev. so i think you'll see a lot of these guys willing to come to the table and explain what their relationship is with the russians and they better not lie. >> all of this swirling as we know. secretary of state rex tillerson just wrapped a one hour and fifty meeting with lavrov and vladimir putin. thank you both very much.
also on carter page, let me mention that jake tapper will be interviewing him next on "the lead." do not miss it. coming up, white house insiders potentially in trouble. sean spicer apologizing after he referenced adolph hitler while talking to reporters in the briefing room yesterday. and chief strategist steve bannon who essentially was thrown under the bus by the president himself. we'll talk about why either of them are on their way out. hi, i'm frank. i take movantik for oic, opioid-induced constipation. had a bad back injury, my doctor prescribed opioids which helped with the chronic pain, but backed me up big-time. tried prunes, laxatives, still constipated... had to talk to my doctor. she said, "how long you been holding this in?" (laughs) that was my movantik moment. my doctor told me that movantik is specifically designed
for oic and can help you go more often. don't take movantik if you have a bowel blockage or a history of them. movantik may cause serious side effects, including symptoms of opioid withdrawal, severe stomach pain and/or diarrhea, and tears in the stomach or intestine. tell your doctor about any side effects and about medicines you take. movantik may interact with them causing side effects. why hold it in? have your movantik moment. talk to your doctor about opioid-induced constipation. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help.
ceo of the trump campaign a couple of months before the election. he's now one of the president's closest advisers. he's the chief strategist in the white house. of course you remember on newly elected trump on election night praising steve bannon, among other top members of his staff. >> you know, they kept saying we have a small staff. not so small. look at all of these people that we have. and kellyanne and chris and rudy and steve and david. we have got -- we have got tremendously talented people up here and it's been very, very special. >> that was then, this is now. when asked if president trump still has confidence in steve bannon, the president said, and i quote, i like steve but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until the very, very late. i had already beaten all of the
senators and all of the governors and i didn't know steve. i am my own strategist and it wasn't like i was going to change strategies because i was facing crooked hillary. and then this final remarks, quote, steve is a good guy but i told them to straighten it out or i will. let me bring in s.e. cupp and soon to be host of an hln primetime show. congratulations. >> thank you. >> he was late to the game with the campaign but he did join in august so it's not the ninth inning. >> nope. >> adding to that, sara murray over at the white house has this reporting. a source familiar with the situation says trump made his bannon comments to the new york post because trump was ichrked the suggestion that he's adopts his policies. and he deserves credit.
>> you've seen "snl." the bannon treatment is this idea that steve bannon is pulling the strings and trump is sort of a puppet. i can't blame him for being irked by that but we've heard similar things like this before about paul manafort. he wasn't really involved in my campaign. actually, he ran it for some time. >> carter page said they didn't even know him. >> but he was announced as a new adviser. so i'm not surprised he is trying to step back from steve bannon. it sounds like the trifecta of advisers, steve bannon and reince priebus, jared kushner, these three-headed beast in the white house is getting unruly and it was always going to be pretty untenable to have three people vying for the president's ear, especially like someone like steve bannon who has not
built these relationships in washington to fall back on the way reince was. >> this is delicate in a sense for the president because when you look at where he comes from, breitbart -- >> you don't want to piss him off. i said it. this is not a guy you want to be on the bad side of and, you know, who knows if steve bannon's loyalty to trump exists if he's outside of the white house or if it's only while he's on the payroll. i don't know. but i would certainly worry if i was president trump that steve bannon might be more useful inside than outside. >> so you think he will stay? >> maybe find him a new post. >> within the white house? >> yeah. or you need to find a way to -- not to piss him off. you've got to be blunt because you know what breitbart, his website, can do to people.
their attack dogs can be wish shous. if steve bannon is going to spend the rest of his life trolling president trump, it wouldn't be good. >> it would not be good. >> s.e., good to see you. >> thank you. coming up next, the ceo of united airlines publicly apologizing for the first time since a passenger was dragged off of one of their flights. what the ceo says when asked if he would resign. next. you do all this research on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates. maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch and you could save $509
oscar munoz publicly apologized for this incident showing security officers violently dragging a passenger off a plane. the ceo had previously described him in a letter to employees as, quote, belligerent. but this new video shows nothing of the sort. this is the moment he was yanked off the plane, calmly but firmly refusing to leave. >> no, i am not going. >> sir -- >> i am not going. >> well, this morning, the ceo changed his tune. >> it's not so much what i thought, it's what i felt. probably the word of shame comes to mind. you know, as i think about our business and our people, the first thing i think is important to say is to apologize to dr.
dao, his family, the passengers on that flight, our customers, our employees. that is not who our family at united is. and you saw us at a bad moment and this can never -- will never happen again on a united airlines flight. we're not going to put a law enforcement official to take them off the air. >> a law enforcement official will never come on one of your planes again? >> to remove a booked, paid, seating passenger, we can't do that. >> munoz, who refuses to resign, says the incident is under investigation. that's too late for two passengers on the very plane who witnessed the whole thing. i talked to them just a while ago. >> that's such an unfair question. >> i'll tell you, no, you can't say never again. we can't just -- you know, we
have to get places in today's world. there just aren't enough airlines. i hope that all the airlines look at this and say what are our policies how do we care for our passengers and show dignity. our passengers are the most important thing. i think that's what has to be established. >> i agree. i mean, at this point i'm hoping that other airline companies can look and say how can we learn from this, how could this have been avoided and how can we increase the quality of the care given to all passengers on the flight regardless of when they purchased their tickets, regardless of when they checked in. i'm hoping that everyone can learn from this and we can just do better. >> joining me now, travel expert brian kelly, founder of thepointsguy.com. so nice to see you. that whole ordeal was not a laughing matter for either of them. e only reason they were laughing is i asked a question,
show of hands, who is ever flying united again and you saw neither of them putting their hands up. for you, sir, and you're on a couple of planes a week. when you initially saw or heard about this story, i understand you thought, well, hang on. let's make sure that -- >> more often than not, it's the passenger behaving badly. when i first saw the officers drag him off the plane, my first instinct was, he probably did something wrong. for some reason, passengers act poorly on the plane. that was not the case in this incident and unlike oscar munoz, i turned my position around. >> but i think this has resonated because a lot of us are on planes and i can't remember i was on a plane when it wasn't overbooked or oversold? >> overbooking is fine but you need to have processes in place beneficial to the consumer. you know, like delta will give amex gift cards to get people off the plane. united should have just kept
going higher. as a couple of minutes ago, their stock was down over 1% again. think about how many hundreds and millions of dollars -- when you're oversold, you have to give the passenger something to make it enticing for them. >> i've been on flights where delta is handing out so much money, people are begging over who will get bumped. >> you can -- so bumping in the frequent flyer community is a good thing. you can make out like a bandit. >> totally. in terms of travel, your whole thing is, we all need to be compassionate and that goes for passengers and the airlines? >> absolutely. oscar munoz hit it on the head, they can't use the police to solve their customer service issues. that happens far too often. power-tripped airline attendants. they say we're going to boot you off the plane. passengers need to understand, sometimes you will get booted off a plane. there are federal air marshals.
>> just not dragged. >> not dragged. sometimes when a pilot or police officer asks you get off and you may not understand the reason, i don't want there to be a rash of people say i'm never getting off the plane now. you have to stand up for consumer rights but sometimes if the plane is overweight, it's unsafe. sometimes it stinks but you have to get off sometimes. >> brian kelly, thank you. by the way, we're minutes away from this news conference over at the white house between the head of nato and the president of the united states there. the room is filling. we'll take that live at the top of the hour. first, take a look at this new piece of technology that could revolutionize train travel and make it green. >> the advantage of this train is that you can drive on lines without diesel engines, without emissions of diesel engines. it's using water, steam and some
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i'm jake tapper. we'll begin with breaking news. right now you're looking at a live picture of the white house. we're just moments away from seeing president trump and the secretary-general of nato jens stoltenberg after a critical meeting, one that comes at a very tense time for the world with alliances unclear and a military strike in syria with no stated strategy for what's next. visible chills seen today in moscow as secretary of state rex tillerson met with his russian counterpart and then behind closed doors with russian president vladimir putin with the only apparent agreement that the relationship between the two nuclear superpowers is at something of a low point and moments ago russia vetoed a united nations security council resolution which condemned the deadly gas attack in syria allegedly committed by bashar al assad against his own people. of course, the major concern among u.s. allies right now dealing with this meeting is the low regard that president trump and stop trat gist have seemed to have held about nato and the
european union in the past. president trump has described nato, perhaps the most critical of military alliance of our team, as obsolete. frankly many foreign policy observers say a lack of support for the eu plays right into the and of vladimir putin as he tries to destabilize eastern europe and see ukraine and meddling in elections here in the united states and around the world. today, despite all of that, the president is expected to reaffirm america's commitment to the that alliance, one that his own defense secretary said is essential for peace in this world. cnn's jim acosta is live at the white house where we're awaiting the news conference with the nato secretary-general. jim, what are you expecting to hear? >> reporter: jake, i think we'll hear a very different president trump when it comes to this matter of nato, as you just mentioned a short while ago. he was highly critical of the decades old alliance during the campaign regarding it as obsolete because he felt it wasn't doing enough to take on
terrorism. he also was quite critical of nato member countries saying they weren't pulling their own weight when it came to contributing their share of funds to the nato alliance, and so you may hear the president talk again about that here this morning or this afternoon. you may hear the secretary-general jens stoltenberg echo the president's remarks in that regard. but when we get started you'll hear the president talking about the operation to deliver missile strikes against syria just last week. that is something that obviously is top of mind over here at the white house. the president, i'm told, according to senior administration officials regards that operation as being a success, but there is the manner of whether russia is going to be taking any responsibility for what has been occurring in syria over the last couple of years with respect to bashar al assad's use of chemical weapons and i think a critical question that might be asked at this press conference, jake, is whether or not the president has taken a different attitude
towards vladimir putin given the fact that he hasn't had much criticism for the russian leader in recent years. that may change. we may here that at this news conference in just a few moments. jake? >> thanks so much. let's talk with republican congressman ed royce, chairman of the house common relations committee. thanks so much for joining us. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> until six days ago relations between trump and putin seemed frankly, great. now apparently because of russia's support for assad there seems to be serious tensions. how seriously do you take this rift? >> well, i take the rift very seriously. i think when you look not just at this use of chemical weapons by assad and then russia's attempt to cover that up, but add to that the fact that the russians are now using their air force to hit hospitals, to hit unconscionably -- putin has given this order, right, to hit schools, to hit markets, to hit
civilians across syria. this is a very serious war crime that's being committed, and -- and, hence, the reaction and revulsion, not just from the united states now but from the international community. >> i guess the question is putin and assad have been doing this now for several years. the russian foreign minister today suggested that u.s. foreign policy is a bit all over the map and something of a mystery, and it's true that the trump administration seems to have done a 1 is 80-degree turn on its posture towards both russia and assad and syria just in the last week. there have been worse chemical weapons attacks, as you know, so what changed? >> i think that's what changed. for some time now we've heard from the russians that they audited this. they got rid of the chemical weapons, and now with a wink and a nod suddenly we see that assad has carried out these brutal attacks suffocating children. this time he's caught in the act, red andehanded, and now on
again you have putin come to the aid of assad, not just in the united nations but also in these diplomatic discussions where, frankly, we need to get down to brass tax. this is not something that's in the interest of stability anywhere in the world to introduce or allow to be introduced the use of poison gas, and so i -- i think that's what really changed the dynamic. >> your counterpart on the senate foreign relations committee, senator bob corker of tennessee, told me last week initially he was concerned that president trump might make what he called, quote, a cheap deal with russia, something along the lines of working with russia in syria against isis and permitting putin to get away with aggressive action in crimea and ukraine. did you at any point share that concern? >> my concern about putin's actions here and what we should do about it is referenced with the legislation that i passed through the