tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 16, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
disaster for our country, as he u bashed -- heading for the exit. the director of national intelligence is rejecting the assessment of putin and russian interference. will other top administration officials call it quits after being rolled over by their boss. and putin's pushover. even republicans are warning that president trump looked embarrassingly week. how far would president trump go to turn a very dangerous u.s. foe into a friend. we want to welcome those in the united states and around the world. # . breaking news tonight as
president trump flies home from the summit in helsinkhelsinki, president trump is being blasted by the words--saying he doesn't see why russia would interfere in the 2016 approximate presid election in the united states and calling putin's denial strong and powerful. the president deferred to the russian boss and deferred to him over and over again during their press conference. i'll talk to senator plublument and jim heins. let's go to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, even administration officials were truly shocked by how this played out. >> reporter: shocked but given a chance to confront vladimir
putin over election meddling in 2016, president trump threw the u.s. intelligence community under the bus and putin drove right over it. vladimir putin could not have scripted the moment better himself, as the president tossed aside the u.s. government's conclusion that moscow interfered in the 2016 election and cozied up to the russian leader. in a statement, president trump blamed america too. >> i do. i hold both countries responsible. i think the united states has been foolish, i think we have all been foolish, we should have had this dialogue a long time ago, a long time frankly before i got into office, and i think we all are to blame. >> translator: could you name a single fact that would definitivity improve the
collusion allegations are nonsense, just like the president e president's recent -- >> reporter: accusing 12 russian agents of hacking into u.s. emails. >> i don't know the full extent of the situation, but president trump mentioned this issue and i will look into it. >> the russian president did admit one thing, he wanted president trump to win in 2016. >> yes, i did, because he talked about bringing the u.s.-russia relationship back to normal. >> it was clear who was in control of this field. there would be no public confrontation to stop meddling in u.s. elections. >> would you denounce what happened in 2016, and would you want him to never do it again? >> let me just say we have two thoughts, you have groups that
are wondering by they never took the server, why was the fbi told the leave the office of the democratic national committee. >> reporter: the president was all but admits he'll take putin's word over that of the u.s. intelligence officials. >> i have great confidence in my intelligence people, but i know that president putin was extremely strong in his denial today. >> translator: i would like to add something to this. after all, i was an intelligence officer myself. and i do know how dossiers are made up. >> reporter: pugh tib weitin wen perhaps the biggest lingering question. >> does the russian government have any control over president trump or his family? >> at first putin smirked at the
question. as laughter broke out in the room. then he dodged again. >> i did hear rumors that we allegedly collected compromising material on mr. trump when he was visiting moscow. my distinguished colleague, let me tell you this, when president trump was in moscow back then, i didn't even know he was in moscow. i treat president trump with utmost respect. but back then when he was a private individual, a businessman, nobody informed me that he was in moscow. >> both leaders quickly left the room with so many unanswered questions in their wake. back in washington, leaders of both parties were shell shocked. senator john mccain issued a statement saying that today's press conference in helsinki was one of the most disgraceful in american history.
gop senator bob corker captured much of the bipartisan disappointment. >> i did not think this was a good moment for our country. >> now as one senior republican congress leader put it to me earlier today, it was shocking to see the president side with putin, but another source close to the white house who's familiar with the president's thinking is that the people around the president are too air frayed air afraid to confront the president. >> pretty shocking indeed. we're following all the reaction to the trump-putin summit here in helsinki and around the world. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim sciuto and our senior national correspondent matthew chance. we did hare president putin say
yes, he did interfere with the presidential campaign, and he wanted trump to beat clinton. >> you remember, part of that question was did you instruct any of your officials to do that. he said yes he did, he said he wanted better ties with russia and so why not. all he had to do is show up for it to be a success. having a platform one-on-one with the president of the united states. it was never going to go wrong for him. but i don't even think the kremlin thought it was going to go this well. but what about mh-17, it's the anniversary today, this side of the atlantic, four-year anniversary, 498 people were shot out of the sky, an international investigation says the russian army was responsible for that.
the novachek poisons. president trump gave putin a pass on all those issues. >> as far as this summit is concerned. jim sciuto, the director of national intelligence, put out a statement responding to what trump had to say, you're getting new information on this, what are you learning? >> reporter: i'm told this morning after the president's comments, the director of national intelligence and his team saw a choice, they saw the president's intelligence assessment, they were not expecting it, and it was deci d decided. the national intelligence director himself, who was appointed by president trump, he decided to release a statement in his name that directly contradicted the president, and i'm going to read from that statement, he said the following, the role of the intelligence community is to provide the best information and fact based assessment as
possible. it continues for the president and policymakers. we're clear about the russian meddling in the 2016 election, and they're ongoing, they're pervasive meant to undermine our democracy a democracy. i am told this as well, wolf, the office of the director of national intelligence did not clear that statement with the white house prior, so that is the unvarnished view of the senior most intelligence official in the u.s., note his comment in there, not only are they standing by russia's interference in the last election, but, and this is something i hear from democrats and republicans briefed on the intelligence and multiple intelligence officials that russian interference in the u.s. democratic process continues to this day, as it was described by the dni, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and
they're concerned about the same thing happening, perhaps even to a greater degree in 2018 and 2020. >> it was interesting that vladimir putin said he didn't even know that donald trump was in moscow during the miss universe pageant in 2015 when trump was there? >> i thought that was striking, not least because we know that not to be the case. i have spoken with people who spoke with trump at that miss universe contest in 2015, trump actually got a call from the president's aid. it's not the case that he did not know that trump was there. and so that's extremely interesting. >> yeah, it was very interesting that he would say that even though everyone knew that donald trump was there there in 2013. that's when the miss issunivers
pageant was taking place and donald trump was one of the organizers. >> he didn't deny, if you listen carefully, he didn't have compromise with president trump. >> about compromising, a reporter asked him that question and he weaved and dodged. let's talk about all of this with congressman jim heins, he's a key democrat he serves on the house intelligence committee. are we seeing attempts to undermine american democracy. >> and what happened today was that there was probably a chance to get the russians a chance to stop their ongoing meddling in the 2016 election, if the president said we're not arguing about if you did this, you did this and now we're going to talk about why you're never going to do it again. maybe putin and the russians
would have taken a step back, but now he has a free pass to meddle in our elections. i sit on the intelligence committee, thousands of men and women who work to develop the kind of reporting that they did, that provided the indictments, that provided the intelligence community assessment of the russian hack of our election. some of these people, by the way, put their lives at risk every day, and they just heard their president say regardless of if you risk your life or simply show up on time to do the country's work, i don't care. >> what's your reaction bottom line to what you heard the president say here in helsinki with putin by his side? >> you know, i think i speak for the institution here when i say this place is reeling, democrats and republicans alike really stunned by the extent to which
the president really went out of his way, here's a deal guy, a hard charging supposed negotiator, and i'm pretty sure that either of my daughters could have done a better job than vladimir putin in this discussion. putin has a green light not just to go after our elections, but where was crimea, and where was the mention of murdering people in london and foreign countries. what vladimir putin got today from the united states was this, there's nothing you can do, nothing you can contemplate so bad that the most powerful country in the world the united states will call you on it. >> does it raise national security concerns, congress mba, that president trump seems to take a former kgb officer at his word, mike pompeo, the secretary
of defense, every one of his national security and intelligence officials say there's no doubt that russia did it and the president seems to be taking putin's word over them. >> of course it does, wolf, and in at least two or three ways, as i referred to today, there's lots of dedicated people who work for the cia, fbi, who have spent their lives providing the president with good information. and those people will go do something else. and if we don't have those people at the nsa and the fbi and the cia, our country is a lot less safe. but putin is given a green light for all of his activities, we will see more of these actives. how are republicans, i would hope in this institution, they might stand up finally for the national security of this country, but how are john
mccain, people in the national security establishment if they're going to deliver information to the president, that they're going to be fired or whatever. i agree with jim, this is a peculiar performance that puts our country in deep risk. >> just ahead, we'll have more on the potential damage done by president trump's refusal to side with u.s. intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies with president putin with the whole world watching. and we're also learning more about the kremlin's efforts to infiltrate the united states as a russian woman has now been charged with spying for moscow. for as little as $15 a month. right now, buy one hp ink and get a second at 30% off
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donald trump praises vladimir putin and meets with him on foreign soil, while rejecting our own law enforcement officials who say putin launched a hostile attack on our last election and is planning to do it again this year. why would an american president want to meet with a dictator who's trying to undermine our democracy? is trump again getting played by putin, or is he conspiring with a man who helped put him in office? if paul revere and other patriots had waited to act until it was safe or politically correct, we would never have the country we have today. it's time for congress, republicans and democrats, to put their political interests aside and act on behalf of our country. to put their political interests aside this endangered species is getting help from some unexpected friends. these zebra and antelope. they're wearing iot sensors, connected to the ibm cloud. when poachers enter the area, the animals run for it.
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. we're back with more of our news coverage of the trump-putin summit. in the midst of all of this, we're now following another breaking story of an individual in washington charged with being a spy for washington. >> the woman who's facing charges, her name is maria bettina, she's a russian national. she's 29 year s old and she was
arrested on sunday. these are separate charges from robert mueller's investigation into meddling. these are charges that were brought into washington, d.c. and they offer sort of a new window into ways that russia was trying to influence american politics leading up to the election in 2016. maria bettina spent years trying to infiltrate u.s. bi based on what we know, those overchurs
appear to be rebuffed by the trump campaign. but she was trying to use the americans she used to further russia's political interests. she does have a lawyer, her lawyer is dismissing the allegations that she was a russian agent. his statement, there is simply no indication of butin that she was trying to infill trait american -- explained her interest in the nra in trying to meet these various people. sarah murray reporting in washington. joining us now, senator richard blumenthal, he's a democrat and he serves on the judiciary committee. what was the impact from your
perspective of president trump's statement today in his joint news conference with putin? >> it was shocking and dismaying, in effect appeasement. that is a worth that has very significant meaning in our history. donald trump was a patsy and a pushover and a puppet. not an opponent. he in effect instead of putting america first, he put russia first and he blamed america. now what do we do? there's bipartisan dismay and i think it's time for bipartisan action that forces impleme implementati implementations. and also exposing the health, the illicit, corruption fed
wealth that putin and all of his oligarchs have around the world, to the potential disgust of the russian people. >> how concerning, senator, is it to you that the president doesn't know who to trust, whether to trust putin or his own intelligence agencies? >> as i listened to the president today, he stood before the cia, they are all anonymous, as you know, wolf, they are americans who gave their lives for intelligence operations around the world. only their families and their fellow cia operatives know who they are. and that kind of sacrifice was so betrayed today, it was really, the president of the youth failing to fulfill his oath of office, he sided with putin, against america. he betrayed his oath of office and i am so deeply disappointed
and sad as an american that on foreign soil, of all places, the president of the united states has in effect made himself a puppet of a totalitarian daear n the worst way possible. and i think we need to force the intelligence agencies to implement measures and implement measures that are already in the cyber command. >> the director of national intelligence, dan coats, he was appointed by president trump, he made a comparison to the september 11th, whole 9/11 issue, the warning signs are there that russian actors are targeting american digital infrastructure right now.
what happens if president trump dismisses those warning signs, not coming from previous intelligence directors, but his own people. >> most of my life, wolf, has been spent in law enforcement. and regardless of these insidious attacks, whether by house republicans on the fbi, or the president of the united states on his own intelligence community, that these guys and gals are going to do their job, they go to work every day defending america, they are the real patriots in this country, and they are going to continue to protect america. but here's the other point. we need our allies just as we did after 9/11 to come to our side. of putin has attacked not only the united states and our election systems, he has attacked western democracies, his goal of sewing discord and dividing each other and is
applicable not only to the youth, but also to our allies. we should honoring our allies. it's a disservice to an alliance that has served us well in wars, in iraq and afghanistan where these allies have spilled blood, spent resources and sacrificed lives. and i believe we now need the better instincts of america to come together better in the united states congress. putin understands only action not words. >> "the washington post" editorial board, in helsinki mr. trump again insisted there was no collusion with russia. yet in refusing to acknowledge the threat of russia's behavior, while trashing his own country's justice system, mr. trump was
colluding with a leader of a hostile power. >> he was colluding with a leader of hostile power. what does president putin have on president trump? and this is why talk about impeaching the deputy attorney general, who supervisors that investigation, is so reprehensible and i responsible, trying to intimidate and stop and threaten this investigation will stop us from gaining the truth, and this collusion, that's the right word for it. that resulted in today's appeasement to a totalitarian dear, who has oppressed his own people, invaded crimea, participated in war crimes,
hacking united states and other western democracies, poisoning hiss own former intelligence people in britain and an attack on britian soil. the list is so long, it's almost too long to be recited here, and i just think the united states of america has to rally arm your intelligence community, our law enforcement to make sure that truth is upheld. >> senator blumenthal, thank you very much for joining us. coming up next, the message that trump sent his own country while largely giving president putin a pass. >> i think we're all responsible, i think the united states has been foolish, i think we have all been foolish, i think we should have had this dialogue a long time ago, i think before i got to office. i think we're all to blame.
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indeed interfere in the u.s. presidential election and that putin is a foe of the united states and simply can't be trusted. we have a team of experts with us to talk about all of this, the breaking news is continuing. phil mud, i want to play a clip, this is putin, he granted an interview with chris wallace of fox. i want to play a clip to underscore how putin is reacting to all of this. >> translator: my request was filly e ld no one sent us a sin request. >> let me move on to other subjects. why do you think robert mueller issued this indictment three days before you and president trump met here at the summit? >> i'm not interestnot -- zplts
interested in this issue a little bit. i don't play games between russia and the united states. i don't hold it hostage on this internal political struggle. and it's quite clear to me this is used in the internal political struggle. and it's nothing to be proud of to use such dirty methods and political rivalry. >> do you think that mr. mueller is trying to sabotage the relationship? >> translator: i don't want to make any assessments about his operation. it is his congress that appointed him, to do this, to assess his performance. and i think court had some doubts about appointing special counsel mueller to the position he now holds. but that's none of my business.
>> says none of his business there. let me get a quick reaction. >> none of my business, of course not. this is covert action, the part that conducts the covert action furthermore why would hi ever comment. this is a brilliant success. if your goal is interfering in an american election, to sew discord, how about the president with allies, he didn't have a conversation with the eu and the brits. it why would he comment? he's already won, take it to the bank. >> i couldn't agree more, i'm not at all surprised by the way that putin responded to chris wallace's questions. i'm not at all surprised that putin would simply wave it off. >> that is why it's so strange that president trump was citing his very vehement denials today,
president trump said i have great faith in my intelligence agency, but putin was very forceful in his denials that he didn't interfere. and today he acted dumbfounded on an indictment just four days ago. there was 12 russian -- >> when specific questions were asked about the president and the russian interference. listen to h. >> president putin, did you want president trump to win the
election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do th th that. >> i did because he talked about bringing the russian relationship back to normal. >> is putin act nothinging that russia was engaged in specific efforts to try to help him? >> he's a real pro, the only time i heard him make a mistake that i can remember, he may not know how to acknowledge not only the russian interference in the election, but the further intelligence judgment that the russian interference was predicated on trying to influence the election in favor of donald trump. really embarrassing to the president. two republicans in congress will say never say again that this wasn't done in favor of donald trump, i just told you it was,
what intelligence do you need? >> the russians would have preferred for hillary clinton to win, because she would have been a weaker person toward them. the president can no longer say that because vladimir putin said yes we would rather have donald trump in office in america. >> he confirmed it bluntly when he said, yes i did, yes i did. let's talk with a u.s. intelligence official, he was deputy director and left his post back in april of last year. in your former position as the nsa deputy director, you saw all the evidence that went into that intelligence community assessment. are you concerned about the president's remarks that he seemed to believe the russian president vladimir putin over his own intelligence agencies. >> wait a minute, wolf, i was actually shocked and i was disappointed on two fronts. one front was the president
missed a prime opportunity to confront putin face-to-face, and assert with some level of forcefulness, that we know that you did this, and here's what we're going to do if you don't stop. and the second thing that's disappointing was the way that he threw the intelligence community as a whole under the bus. these are great american men and women who work tirelessly and senator blumenthal, your guest said they will still do this in spite of it. >> is there any doubt of in your mind that russia was behind the attack in the u.s. election? >> i looked at every single piece of the cia information, the fbi investigation and the department of justice investigation. the fact is russia was behind it, the fact is president putin
directed it. >> the president again discounted the u.s. intelligence community today, what does that say to russia? >> well, it says that the gloves are off, there's no reason for them not to keep doing this, and there's always indications that they're doing it in this election. i expect that that will likely ravrp ramp up. and i think it's also a message to other countries who might choose to do the same thing to the united states and other western countries. >> do you think dan coats should resign, because he really has been publicly humiliated by the president on this day. >> i think dan's in a really tough spot. i liked the note he said earlier, i these that was a very smart thing and well done and a principled thing to do. officials are caught in a little bit of a counnundrum.
but on the other hand all these americans that are in charge of these intelligence agencies feel a great sense of responsibility to the nations and the people that are in those organizations. so resigning in protest leaves a gap, and there's no guarantee that the position would be filled with somebody who would defend those people and the nation as well as the incumbe incumbents. >> what i hear you saying, rick, is someone like dan coats, or mike pompeo, or the cia directo, if they were to leave, because the president represents a danger. is that what i'm hear from you? >> i think there's got to be a consideration in their personal calculus, everything's going to have a different take on that, they have got to do the things that work for them as individuals but that's certainly a factor in their
considerations. >> are russians still active in u.s. systems? >> without question. >> without question, you say. >> without question, yes. their activities have continued and they continue to this day, and the corresponding activities in social media, the influence operations, they continue as well. >> so why does the president continually reject those notions and side with the russians. i really don't know, wolf, it's p perplexing to me. i think he thinks it refers to the legend massitimacy of his e. there's the man manchurian candidate, but what's allowing
is the picking apart of the system that brought him to power. >> thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure, wolf. >> thanks so much for your service in the u.s. intelligence community over many years. there's more breaking news on all of this, we'll be right back. man: it takes a lot of work to run this business, but i really love it. i'm on the move all day long, and sometimes i don't eat the way i should. so i drink boost to get the nutrition i'm missing. boost high protein
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helsinki. we're covering all the truly stunning public comments by president trump and vladimir putin at their summit here in finland. after the summit, putin sat down for an interview with chris wallace of fox news and refused to even look at a copy of robert mueller's indictment charging a dozen members of the russian military intelligence agency. listen to this. >> i have here the indictment that was presented on friday from the special counsel robert mueller that says that 12 members of russian military intelligence, the gru, and they talk specifically about units 26165 and 74455. they say -- you smile. let me finish. you say that these units were specifically involved in hacking into democratic party computers, stealing information and spreading it to the world to try to disrupt the american election.
may i give this to you to look at, sir? here. >> translator: well, let me start answering your question. with something a little bit different. let's have a look at it this way. people are talking about a purported interference of russia with the election process in the united states. i've mentioned this in 2016 and i want to say it now again, and i really wish for your american listeners to listen to what i say. first of all, russia as a state has never interfered with the internal affairs of the united states, let alone its elections. >> phil mudd, the president of the united states seems to believe him. >> yeah, but, i mean, i want to -- i think we've been spending the past few hours talking about
the sort of political aspects of this, what vladimir putin has said. think it's worth for a moment making this a little more personal. i joined the service in 1985. >> when you say the service -- >> the cia. that was the ussr, the soviets fomenting -- when i left the service in 2010 and beyond, even going up to today, my peers who still serve look at everything from the novichok attacks in the uk to vladimir putin's support for a murderer in syria. i talk to friends who have 30-plus years, one of whom i met on the street a week ago and he looked at me, put his life on the line in an al qaeda fight and said, why did i do it? wolf, it's 1:52 a.m. go down stairs after we get off the air and explain to me over a drink why we did it so that the president can say i don't trust american intelligence, but i trust the adversary thatment forred revolution overseas in the favor of communism and that murdered people in the uk. that's why we did the service
for 30 years. i don't get it, wolf. it's not only political, there are personal aspects to this of people that served in the business. it's painful. >> rick ledgett spent nearly 30 years at the national security agency. you spent almost 30 years in the u.s. navy, became an admiral. how do you feel about it? >> the same way phil does. look, i sailed in the baltic sea not far from here. in 1988, my first deployment at sea chasing soviet sub-marines. they were the threat. they -- and russia still is the threat. for the last ten years in particularly. it makes nato even more relevant than it was now. so when i listen to the commander in chief get up there today and take 9 side of the russian president, against his own intelligence community and the national security establishment, i think that's a disgrace. as commander in chief, i'm absolutely shocked by it. >> for both of you, phil, this is emotional for you. >> its. i mean, you look back. when you join, you have friends join who become accountants, bankers, they become lawyers and make a heck of a lot of money
and you go to work and say, you know, we have a higher cause to protect things we think are a value in this country, freedom of speech, freedom of democracy. forget about economics, forget about whether the eu is or is not an economic foe, we have a rival, an adversary in russia that doesn't respect the rule of law, doesn't respect democratic opposition and doesn't respect the freedom of the press. the president says i like him better than i like the eu and his meeting's easier than my meeting with theresa may. i don't get it, wolf. that's not why i did 25 years. >> attacks our country through cyber. supports the taliban in afghanistan. if you don't think there have been american lives put at risk, if not taken through the results of russians -- russians interference in the world. think again. the they're supporting assad against the syrian democratic forces and the opposition and their continued coddling of iran and iran's malign influence in the region. all of that leads to huge national security threats. and, again, our commander in chief stood up there today and basically wrapped his arms
around what is indisputably an american enemy. >> and it's interesting. everything we're hearing, kaitlan, you're well plugged into this, the white house simply doesn't know how to respond to all of this. >> they don't. there have been so many crises of the administration's own making throughout donald trump's time in office, but this is one time today where i called several people who work in this white house, not low-level staffers, very senior officials, and they simply didn't know what to say. they were speechless. the ones traveling with the president, got with him on air force one, turned their phones off for that 8 1/2 hour flight back and the rest of them were left to clean up with what president trump had just said. welcoming someone who attacked an american election in front of everyone, in front of these cameras on television, and for once they simply weren't able to spin this or frame this in a way that was favorable for the administration. they simply had nothing to say about what the president had said at that press conference. they were just as stunned as we were. one of the them, i asked them, do you think people are going to
resign over this, including potentially dan coats or john bolton or someone like that who has previously said very critical things about russia interfering in the election? they said that was a good question but couldn't answer it. >> stick around. i want to bring in fareed zakaria, the host of "fareed zakaria gps." who is joining us. fareed, what's your reaction to what we all heard today from the president of the united states? >> well, look, for all of those who wondered whether donald trump would at some point normalize, whether he would somehow get reined in by the strictures and constraints of the presidency, of the white house, of listening to those daily presidential briefings, we've had ample evidence to say it, but here is the most final conclusive evidence the answer is no. donald trump is as bizarre a candidate as we have ever had in american history. he has turned the political world topsy-turvy. he's taken a party that used to be deeply anti-russian, pro-cia, pro-free trade and pro-immigrant
under ronald reagan, and reversed course on all of those things. what is striking is there is really no opposition within his party. think about this, mitt romney, the presidential nominee of the same party, when campaigning against barack obama, and this was the last presidential election before donald trump, said the biggest problem with the obama administration is they are not tough enough on our single greatest geopolitical adversary, russia and vladimir putin. donald trump has essentially taken the polar opposite position and the entire republican establishment, all of these storied intellectuals and policy wonks who have had high-level positions, they've all just fallen in line. >> you know, it's interesting that former cia director john brennan said it was treasonous what the president is doing and saying right now. is that too much? >> well, i don't know how -- you know, how do you judge donald
trump? if you use any normal metric, he sort of overshoots it in so many different directions you don't know whether to laugh or cry. think, jane fonda was regarded as engaging in treasonous behavior because she was in a photo-op in a north vietnamese anti-aircraft -- here you have the president of the united states saying he supports vladimir putin's version of events. saying why would they interfere when there is, of course, not just evidence but clear intent. we know everything about why putin hated hillary clinton. he saw hillary clinton as having tried to support the pro-democracy movement in russia during his re-election bid for the -- for the presidency. therefore had this personal grudge against her. we know that he has used these kinds of operations in ukraine, in other european countries, so this is not just the u.s. intelligence, there are multiple intelligence agencies from across the western world. the pattern is the same. the motive is clear. yet you have the president
saying, you know, i believe the adversary. i don't believe our own government, the government he heads, his own director of national intelligence. yes, but it almost feels like, you know, treasonous is too -- is too weak a word because the whole thing has taken on an air of such un-reality, you don't even know what standards to apply to somebody like donald trump. the really interesting question is, will there be any blowback? will there be, i mean, will the kinds of things you're describing when you're talking about on the panel, will it matter? will it matter to the republican establishment? will it matter to senators? will it matter to the party and will it most importantly matter in his approval ratings within the party. remember, donald trump is still at the last polls taken more popular as -- among republicans than any republican president in recorded history. that includes george w. bush the week after 9/11. is that going to change?
>> and just to be precise, john brennan, the former cia director, said what trump did today exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. it was nothing short of treasonous. fareed, thank you very much. i'm wolf blitzer. i'm reporting live from helsinki. our special coverage of the trump/putin summit continues with "erin burnett outfront." "outfront" next, not okay. the president's own party and closest confidants say he crossed the line today. newt gingrich calling trump's defense of putin the most serious mistake of his presidency. and putin confronted. not, of course, by the president of the united states, but by fox news. putin tonight, breaking news on mueller's indictment of 12 russians. putin reportedly wants him dead. on putin who called him out today by name in his press conference with the president. let's go "outfront." and good evening to all. i'm erin