tv First Look MSNBC July 16, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT
this morning history is being made in helsinki. in just a short time, president trump will meet with russian president vladimir putin. the tensions, as we know, quite high, but president trump insists he has no expectations. good morning, everybody. it is monday, july 16th. what a day it is. we have nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of "andrea mitchell reports," a andrea mitchell. also with us, christopher dickey. and in washington, former senior director at the national security council and former special assistant to president obama ned price. welcome to you all. thank you for joining us so early on what should be a monumental day, to say the
least. president trump is in finland, where later today he'll sit down with his first official meeting with vladimir putin. this summit comes on the heels of his controversial uk visit and that highly contentious nato summit from last week where among other things, the president asserted that the russian leader was not a friend nor an enemy but actually a competitor. over the weekend, trump discussed his goals and expectations for this meeting. watch this. >> what's your goal from the putin meeting? >> i'll let you know thafter th meeting. nothing bad's going to come out of it. i go in with low expectations. i'm not going in with high expectations. i don't really -- i can't tell you what's going to happen. i don't expect anything. i frankly don't expect -- i go in with very low expectations. i think that getting along with russia is a good thing, but it's possible we won't. i think we're greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt going
on in the united states, the russian witch hunt. >> the summit also comes three days after special counsel bob mueller indicted three russian intel officers for their role in the hacking of the dnc and the clinton campaign back in 2016. more on that in just a moment. >> in a series of tweets last night, trump says he's, quote, looking forward to meeting with president putin. unfortunately, no matter how well i do at the summit, he wrote, if i was given the great city of moscow for all the sins and retributions -- evils committed by russia over the years, i would return to criticism that it wasn't good enough. president trump also b sesent h congratulations to putin for, quote, putting on a truly great world cup tournament, one of the best ever. president trump said he'll
discuss russian election interference with president putin today, although without any note takers scheduled to be present, it will be impossible to verify if he does that. yesterday, jon huntsman discussed what we should expect. >> it isn't a summit. i've heard it called a summit. this is a meeting. in fact, it's the first meeting between the two presidents. no state dinner, no joint statement, no deliverables that are going to be prepackaged. you don't know what's come out of this meeting. the objective here is to meet to put our cards on the table. there isn't a thought that there would be a reset or a redo. >> so according to huntsman, not exactly a summit but, in fact, a meeting. i want to bring in live from helsinki andrea mitchell. good morning to you. i know it's been a long 24 hours or so for you, so we appreciate you getting up so early for us to do this. let's talk about what we can actually expect from this meeting or summit, whatever you want to call it. aside from the fact that these
two leaders are likely going to censor exactly what is said in that hour and a half meeting between them, we are going to have a joint press conference with them. but what should we expect to hear from them walking out of this meeting? >> well, that is one of the perils of this meeting. they're going to be one on one, we're told. then the advisers, the secretary of state, the national security adviser will join. but until that happens, no one will know except donald trump and vladimir putin. and one of the problems in this relationship has been that the russians have announced things at every step of the way. it was the russians who told us that lavrov and kislyak were in the oval office last year. the fact that the u.s. did not announce that, that there was, in fact, russian media in the room, not americans. at every single stage, including the putin/trump phone call when they discussed having this
summit, that was all announced by moscow before the u.s., the white house press corps, anyone else. we would expect vladimir putin will put his own cast on this through his media. we see the president here now in helsinki this morning. he had breakfast with the finnish president. he went out of the way, the president did today, to reaffirm support for nato, to say that nato emerged stronger than ever from brussels. of course, that is revisionist to say the least, given the fact he opened the nato meeting with the nato secretary-general with a blast at germany, the strongest european union member and the strongest nato member militarily and economically. so there was so much disruption in brussels, and the president now coming from that to this meeting with vladimir putin. in fact, also today, this tweet from the president late
yesterday saying, our relationship with russia has never been worse thanks to many years of u.s. foolishness and stupidity, and now the rigged witch hunt, capitalized. so he's blaming previous presidents, president obama, perhaps even president george w. bush, for their relationship with russia, not the russian annexation of crimea, the russian invasion of ukraine, for which russia has been sanctioned by the europeans, the u.s., blaming the u.s. for the problems in the relationship, not russia. also, blaming the mueller investigation and calling it a witch hunt again, only three days after that extraordinary indictment where robert mueller went chapter and verse in that indictment through the details. incredible forensic details of what vladimir putin's kremlin did, the russian military intelligence operatives from what is known as the gru. the military component of the
fsb, which is the successor to the kgb, which putin once was a top officer in. the concern, of course, about a one-on-one meeting with no official note takers, no advisers, is that vladimir putin is a spy master, a former spy master. he's so experienced in all of this. donald trump has shown in brussels and then in london, of course, how inexperienced, if you will, he is on the world stage given his quick gyrations on everything from the european union policy to of course his insults to theresa may. chris dickey is here with me. today theresa may is facing challenges in parliament, in her party, over brexit, over her separation from the european union and over her negotiations in part exacerbated by the trump visit.
>> well, yeah. really, trump is a classic bully. he likes to strike out at people. he knows they're not going to be able to hit back. theresa may really can't hit back. the various nato leaders and g7 leaders, they can express a little irritation, but they are trying to be america's allies. he calls them foes. who does he flatter? who does he say he wants to be friends with? kim jong-un, vladimir putin. and you really have to wonder about what he is thinking in all this. you know, the word that keeps coming to mind after looking at the negotiations with kim jong-un in korea and the one on one with him and the way that ended up is sucker. i think president trump is essentially a sucker in these negotiations. maybe he's good at real estate, but when it comes to negotiations with other world leaders, he inflates them. he makes kim jong-un, the leader of a hermit kingdom, on par with
president of the united states. he says that vladimir putin should be part of the g7, or the g8, when in fact russia's economy is about the size of australia's. it's smaller than california's. he plays up to these people. what does he think he's going to get out of it? it really isn't clear, but he thinks he can -- i think he believes in all of these meetings he can do what he did in north korea. he can come out and say, i won big, i scored these great gains, nobody else was able to do this. as we saw with north korea, nothing's come out of it. >> let me give us an update on north korea. we still have yet to hear any details on denuclearization. secretary of state pompeo had a disastrous visit to north korea a week and a half ago. that said, there is some news on that today because secretary
pompeo said on sunday that for now there is the first meeting, military to military, at the dmz. they're supposed to be continuing today. that north korea is going to begin dealing with the 200 remains of american service members who are still unaccounted for from the korean war. that was one of the promises in singapore, but it's the only promise they have yet delivered on. the concerns by a number of foreign policy leaders here in europe and in the united states is that singapore will be replayed and even expanded on here in helsinki, that the president will freelance and will make concessions perhaps on military exercises in the baltics or on acknowledging russia's annexation of crimea, which has not been acknowledged and recognized by any western leaders. that's the concern.
>> i want to bring in ned price. he worked at the nse. i was looking at that breakfast this morning, who was seated next to the president, mike pompeo was there. a few days ago we heard from john bolton saying we shouldn't look at this meeting, as the administration is calling it, in concert with that summit in singapore. these are two different things, he said. i wonder you make the same distinction. >> well, david, it's really hard to disaggregate these two things. as andrea was alluding to, there are so many similarities between the two. donald trump going from a meeting of our closest allies. in the case of kim jong-un, it was the g7. now in helsinki, he just left the nato summit in brussels and a meeting with prime minister theresa may, leaving our closest
alla allies to meet with some of our staunchest adversaries. in the wake of what should have been friendly meetings, he's left the ashes of some of our alliances. those alliances he's not totally a blit -- obliterated he's chipped away at. now we see him going to the warm embrace of vladimir putin. it's hard to not find the similarities between these two as much as john bolton might like to say. >> ned, we heard that story lavrov told yesterday or so that it was america that asked for the one-on-one meeting, not the russians. we haven't confirmed this on our end, but is this a precedent for these one-on-one meetings where there's only interpreters involved? also, is there an advantage for that from a diplomacy perspective? >> so there is one precedent, one and only one precedent during the obama administration. that, in fact, was with this
same vladimir putin, the president of russia. president obama in the final weeks of his administration had a brief, heavily scripted, highly choreographed, well-rehearsed one on one with president putin as the intelligence picture of russia's meddling in our election was coming clear. this was in china on the sidelines of the g20. president obama took vladimir putin aside on the sidelines of a bilateral meeting and told him, we know what you're doing and any further escalation of this will be met with severe consequences. but again, this was preplanned. it was scripted. it was highly choreographed. what we hear from president trump and even from president trump's advisers is that there's no agenda, there are no precooked deliverables. we learned yesterday from the white house that the one-on-one meeting alonie could take up to 90 minutes. that's longer than most bilateral meetings in total.
it's really remarkable they're sending the president in there by himself without, it seems, a preset agenda. my concern, of course, is that even if president trump doesn't have an agenda, we absolutely know that president putin will have an agenda, and he'll put it to good use. >> and it just broke that the meeting was initially slated for 50 minutes or so then changed to 90 minutes. all right. our panel obviously sticking with us. all-star panel. coming up, everybody, president trump's meeting with president putin comes just days after 12 new indictments by bob mueller's team. >> plus, what national security adviser john bolton has to say about those new russian indictments. those stories and much more from finland coming up next. we all want to know about the new thing.
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systems of democratic political groups and the clinton campaign with the explicit goal of interfering in the u.s. election. officials say the russians hacked the systems, stole e-mails and other documents and began releasing them in stages under the persona of guccifer 2.0. an unidentified organization which matches the description of wikileaks coordinated to disrupt the party's convention. russians were in contact, an unknown person who communicated with senior trump campaign officials. a former trump campaign aide, roger stone, said he believes that unknown person to be him, although he denies any collusion. >> and president trump responded to mueller's latest indictments by pointing the blame at his predecessor, president barack obama. on saturday, he tweeted this. the stories you heard about the
12 russians yesterday took place during the obama administration, not the trump administration. why didn't they do something about it, especially when it was reported that president obama was informed by the fbi in september before the election? he went on to write, these russian individuals did their work during the obama years, why didn't obama do something about it. because he thought crooked hillary clinton would win, that's why. had nothing to do with the trump administration, but fake news doesn't want to report the truth, as usual. and here's what he had to say during an interview with cbs. >> the russians who were indicted, would you ask putin to send them here? >> well, i might. i hadn't thought of that, but certainly i'll be asking about it. again, this was during the obama administration. they were doing whatever it was during the obama administration, and i heard that they were trying or people were trying to hack into the rnc too, the republican national committee,
but we had much better defenses. i'd been told that by a number of people. we had much better defenses, so they couldn't. i think the dnc should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. they had bad defenses. and they were able to be hacked. but i heard they were trying to hack the republicans too, but -- and this may be wrong, but they had much stronger defenses. >> in fact, i believe on page 27 of the indictments released on friday, it said republicans were actually hacked. all right. still ahead everybody, new details of a daring raid by israel to seize nuclear documents in iran. that story is coming up next. stay with us.
welcome back, everybody. so "the washington post" has some new reporting on the iran nuclear deal. in light of new revelations discovered in a trove of iranian nuclear documents stolen by israeli spies, the documents taken earlier this year show iranian scientists were actually race towaring towards nuclear w and going to great lengths to hide it from the international community. according to the post, iran was on the cusp. of mastering a key bomb-making technology when the research was ordered halted 15 years ago. critics of the iran nuclear deal say it proves the regime cannot be trusted. supporters of the international agreement say it proves the multi-nation pact pulled tehran back from the brink of nuclear proliferation. andrea, i want to bring you into
this conversation. benjamin netanyahu basically handing over these documents to the president. so this is information we already knew, that iran had a more robust nuclear program prior to 2003 than they alluded to. but what more are you learning about the situation? >> well, it's very interesting. these reports are coming out of tel aviv. this is israel clearly mining these documents from an extraordinary raid they conducted right in the heart of tehran. they obtained those documents. they were obtained by american intelligence. the fact is this is israel on the day of the trump/putin summit trying to make sure this becomes part of the conversation, pushing back against iran, which is russia's partner on the ground in syria, propping up bashir al assad.
this is in sync with president trump's position, as we've reported on msnbc.com, that there are new sanctions afoot and that secretary pompeo and the state department has written to our european allies and denied them requested waivers from the iran sanctions so their companies now cannot do business with iran. ned price, you've seen this act before. you're a former intelligence official. this is being used by the administration to say, you see, we were right to cancel and get out of the iran deal, but withdrawing from the iran deal is one of the key irritants
against germany, france, and in particular great britain, the three partners in the european union who are fighting so hard to keep it going. >> that's right, andrea. we did learn something very important from this trove of documents. that is the skill, the bravery, the dedication of the israeli intelligence services. the fact they would undertake this raid deep in the heart of iran, inside tehran, in this heavily fortified research area really speaks to all of those things. what we didn't learn, however, was anything we didn't previously know, in the big picture at least, about iran's nuclear program. in fact, the intelligence community in 2007 came out with an assessment that said -- and this was under the administration of president george w. bush. the assessment said that iran as of 2003 had halted its weaponization program. this is something we've known
for 15 years p. i understand almost all of the files the israelis came out with are 15 years old. clearly this was used for theatrics just days before president trump's decision on staying in the nuclear agreement. it seems very much conspired, to use these files as another pretext for the united states to leave the iran nuclear agreement, even though there was nothing in this cache to indicate iran had violated the terms of that accord. >> that now is likely going to be one of the big subjects of certification with vladimir putin. >> well, yeah, and that's exactly what i wanted to talk about. do we think iran is going to be a topic of conversation with regards to syria as we very well know iran is very much involved with and has interest in assad,
or do we believe it's going to be the iran nuclear deal because we know vladimir putin had a phone call with a top iranian adviser ahead of the meeting with president trump. we also know at the same time president trump had a phone call with bb netanyahu on saturday. so the president is certainly going to have to reconcile those conversations as well. >> well, netanyahu also met with putin. so there is a heavy attempt by the anti-iranian influences, by netanyahu, and certainly by this administration, the u.s. administration to try to use this summit to separate putin from iran because iran is pugh ton's partner in syria, keeping assad propped up. so that's going to be one of the efforts. it's clearly not in putin's immediate interest to abandon iran, which has been his ally in syria against the u.s.
that is just one of the issues. nuclear weapons, another possible issue. one of the concerns is that president trump might even talk about suspending u.s. exercises, military exercises in the baltic states, which are very important to our nato allies. so there are a lot of imponderables here, especially because as we've been pointing out here, there's going to be a one-on-one conversation of 90 minutes. >> all right. much more to come, everybody. still ahead, much more on what to expect as president trump gears up for his meeting with vladimir putin. >> and we're counting down to that historic meeting in helsinki. the president having some down time here as we await the arrival of president putin in helsinki. stay with us. ahh... summer is coming.
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welcome back, everybody. it is the bottom of the hour. let's start with the morning's top story. president trump in finland, where later today he will sit down for his first official meeting with russia's vladimir putin, a summit in helsinki coming on the heels of his controversial uk visit and that highly contentious nato summit, where among other things, the president asserted that the russian leader was neither a friend nor an enemy but a competitor. over the weekend, trump discussed his goals and his expectations for the meeting. >> what's your goal from the putin meeting? >> i'll let you know after the meeting. nothing bad's going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out, but i go in with low
expectations. i'm not going with high expectations. i don't -- i don't really -- i can't tell you what's going to happen. i don't expect anything. i frankly don't expect -- i go in with very low expectations. i think that getting along with russia is a good thing. but it's possible we won't. i think we're greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that's going on in the united states, the russian witch hunt. >> he also told piers morgan that he -- >> let's bring back our panel. we have andrea mitchell. sitting next to her, christopher dickey. and in washington, former senior director at the national security council, former special
assistant to president obama, ned price. chris, let me turn to you. we saw that breakfast take place this morning between president trump and his finnish counterpart. i look who's next to him at the table, you had ambassador john bolton, the national security adviser, the secretary of state mike pompeo, and fiona hill, his chief adviser on russia issues, somebody who's an expert on russia and european relations. let's talk about prep, how the president has prepped or not for the meeting that's going to take place today. two days of golf in scotland. he said at the beginning of this trip that this conversation might be the easiest one he has over the course of the week. how worried are you about the degree to which he has readied himself for this conversation with somebody who's led russia for the better part of two decades? >> well, it's not only that putin has led russia for the better part of two decades. it's that he was trained as a
kgb oagent, an operative controlling other agents. he does know how to control this kind of conversation. he knows how to play to somebody who's got a big ego, who likes to brag, who likes to show how important he is. i think all those descriptions would fit donald trump. i think when they get one on one in a meeting of 90 minutes, anything could happen. it's perfectly conceivable that trump will be manipulated in that conversation into believing he's achieved some kind of major breakthrough or vik ri on syrcta or ukraine or some other issue and in fact he will have given away the farm. >> sticking with that attitude, let's go to ann drdrea on this . how out of the ordinary is it we have a president walking into a meeting with vladimir putin, a former kgb officer, who doesn't have any deliverables, who hasn't necessarily prepared much
for a meeting like this one, who we don't necessarily know if he's going to address crimea or if he's going to address the ukraine or the situation in syria? how unlikely is it to have a leader like that? >> well, it's unprecedented in that there were no national security meetings in the run up to this meeting. there was a conversation in march where the president ignored advice not to congratulate vladimir putin, advice from his staff not to congratulate vladimir putin on his fixed re-election in the presidential victory many moscow and then went on to discuss they wanted to have a meeting, they wanted to have a summit. this was against the advice of many of the people in the white house, foreign policy advisers. but he could not be deterred. he wanted to have this meeting. there are issues between the united states and russia, especially on nuclear weapons, which should be resolved at the expert level, no the with all of the pomp and circumstance of this summit. this summit is really not
warranted by the relationship between the united states and russia. certainly there are reasons to have a meeting, a working visit, but this has much more seriousness, much more gravitas. while john bolton suggested that it was not going to have any deliverables while jon huntsman, the u.s. ambassador to russia, said to chuck todd on "meet the press" yesterday, this is not a summit, it's a conversation. the president called it a summit with a capital "s" in his tweets yesterday. so he's looking at it as a summit. that's given vladimir putin exactly what he would desire, which is a summit with an american leader who's not met with advisers in a deliberate way to come up with an agenda, to come up with deliverables, to come up with exactly what they want to come out of this meeting. >> andrea mitchell, we'll talk to you again here in a few minutes. >> and let's talk indictments, everybody. ahead of today's trump/putin summit, national security adviser john bolton said the
president was not blind sided by bob mooueller's indictment of 1 russian intel officials. >> he was perfectly prepared to have it come before the meeting with putin. i would say, in fact, it strengthens his hand. it shows that the justice system, the department of justice are aware of these russian efforts in election meddling. i think the president can put this on the table and say this is a serious matter, we need to talk about it. >> however, bolton said trump is unlikely to ask the russian president to extradite the indicted russians. >> you know, i think it's pretty silly for the president to demand something that he can't get legally. this is a very serious matter. the russians take the position, you can like it or not like it, that their constitution forbids them to extradite russian citizens. so i think for the president to demand something that isn't going to happen puts the president in a weak position, and i think the president has made it very clear he intends to
approach this discussion from a position of strength. >> well, the nation's top intelligence officer is sounding the alarm on the growing rate of cyber threats and attacks against the united states. director of national intelligence dan coats calls the current level of technology threats similar to pre-9/11 concerns. his comments come on the heels of special counsel robert mueller's indictments of 12 russian agents for interfering in the 2016 election. here's what dan coats said on friday. >> these actions are persistent, they're pervasive, and they are meant to undermine america's democracy on a daily basis. the warning signs are there. the system is blinking. and it is why i believe we're at a critical point. >> all right. still ahead, everybody, much more on president trump's summit with russian president vladimir putin. >> we'll be back in helsinki. we'll talk with nbc news chief white house correspondent hallie jackson and the president's
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welcome back. president trump tweeting about what he calls the rigged witch hunt ahead of his meeting with president putin today. just this morning he wrote this. president obama thought that crooked hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the fbi about russian meddling, he said it couldn't happen, was no big deal, and did nothing about it. when i won it became a big deal and the rigged witch hunt. >> joinsiing us now from helsin, nbc news correspondent hallie jackson. the big question here, really, is what are you learning about where the president's mind set is right now going into this meeting? >> so this is one of those
things where the president is making pretty clear where his head is at because he's tweeting about it and talking about it. let me highlight a couple things before we get into what we will be watching for over the next six hours or so here in helsinki. first, you have the president clearly talking about the state of u.s./russia relations and blaming, it seems, america first for those problems rather than russia. pinning the blame on years of u.s. foolishness, in his words, as well as that rigged witch hunt, the special counsel investigation that has just recently indicted 12 russians linked to the military intelligence unit, gru, that answered to vladimir putin. so the president in this remarkable moment is pinning the blame on past u.s. policies rather than on vladimir putin's election interference or the myriad other aggressive actions or malign activities. in the words of his own state and treasury department, that russia has been a part of. you also have the president saying very explicitly he has
low expectations for this coming in. this is something we've been talking about for the last week or so. ambassador huntsman said the deliverable out of this meeting is the meeting itself. it's the fact, in the eyes of the white house, that donald trump and vladimir putin are sitting down at all that is significant here. a couple other things. you've also got, as far as what we're looking for, clearly the president weighing in on the indictments friday is first and foremost. it's not something he's talked about much publicly on camera other than that cbs interview. so pressing him as he's standing alongside the guy responsible for it, vladimir putin, is going to create interesting not just policy but the optics piece of it as well. you also have questions about, for example, what russia will do vis-a-vis iran in syria. will there be any kind of deal worked out there, as has been rumored? additionally, you have the issue of crimea. the issue has refused to say so far whether he'll recognize crimea as a part of russia. he has not yet, but he hasn't definitively said, no way,
that's off the table. >> all right, big day ahead. thanks for joining us this morning. still ahead, our coverage of president trump's meeting with president putin continues. we're going to bring back andrea mitchell, christopher dickey, and ned price. >> we're going to break down what's at stake for president trump with this sit-down and what the king of the deal may be able to actually accomplish with this summit. we'll be right back. i knew at that exact moment, whatever it takes, wherever i have to go...i'm beating this. my main focus was to find a team of doctors that work together. when a patient comes to ctca, they're meeting a team of physicians that specialize in the management of cancer. breast cancer treatment is continuing to evolve. and i would say that ctca is definitely on the cusp of those changes. patients can be overwhelmed ... we really focus on taking the time with each individual patient so they can choose the treatment appropriate for them. the care that ctca brings is the kind
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welcome back, everybody. we're just hours away from the face-to-face sit-down between president trump and vladimir putin. i want to bring back our panel here. co-anchoring this morning we have nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. also with us, the daily beast world news editor and foreign correspondent christopher dickey. and former special assistant to president obama, ned price. andrea, we just heard hallie jackson talk about some of the deliverables we can expect from this meeting, and the deliverable was one. it was the meeting itself. now, who does that deliverable benefit more, president trump or vladimir putin? >> absolutely vladimir putin. putin is the real beneficiary of this just by the fact that it is taking place, especially three days after the mueller indictment of 12 russian military intelligence operatives
who work for the gru, the powerful military spy operation run out of the kremlin. ned price, you are as familiar as anyone with all of this. what is really interesting is the pr value for vladimir putin. the russian ministry of foreign affairs, lavrov's operation, has just liked the tweet that the president sent earlier today or late last night, depending on which time zone you're in, calling the mueller probe a witch hunt and blaming america and previous u.s. policy, previous administrations for the fact that u.s./russian relations are the worst they've been in years. how about the fact that the russian propaganda operation run out of the foreign ministry is liking trump's tweets? >> this is just another indication this is playing precisely into the russians' hands. you can call this a summit.
you can call this a meeting, as ambassador huntsman has insisted, contrary to what president trump has said on twitter, but i think you're right. i call this a victory for vladimir putin. i call it a victory for vladimir putin for one very simple reason. when you go back to 2016 and you recall the strategic goals of russia's attack on our democracy, yes, it was to denigrate hillary clinton. yes, it was to advance the electoral prospects of donald trump, but it also was to make putin a player, to make russia a player on the geopolitical stage. that's something that we had seen from the time of russia's intervention in both ukraine, crimea, and syria, but also in the attack on our election. and by affording president putin an extraordinary sit-down in a third country capital, something donald trump has not done for any other world leader during his presidency to date, that gives vladimir putin exactly what he wants and that's exactly why you see the ministry of foreign affairs virtually gloating over all of this today.
>> and with me here, chris dickey. when we see the impact of this, the president having asked the g7, demanded as he went into quebec, that russia be reinvited back into the g8, which it was kicked out of because of its aggressive behaviors, and the indictments. so the only way the president could have a real victory here is if he were to march into that one-on-one meeting that could go as long as 90 minutes and lay it on the line with putin to stop attacking our election process, to stop the cyberattacks with the head of national intelligence dan coats just saying russia is the worst foreign actor of all the cyber actors. >> i think we're pretty sure that's not going to happen, andrea. you know, i think one of the things that we need to understand here -- i hear this from my russian friends all the time -- is that russians know perfectly well that putin was
doing exactly what we're alleging that he was doing, and they don't want it publicized because they think that is good for putin. it makes him look powerful, that he can disrupt american democracy. you're hearing it on russian television over the last couple days, that he's dividing the west, that he's disrupting american democracy. they're not acknowledging explicitly he did all the things that are alleged, but he is relishing this idea that he is this powerful player on the world scene. and he did it at relatively low cost. certainly the sanctions, the efforts to impose a cost on him have been minimal. even under obama, they were not great. under trump they've been nil. >> and the administration has -- in defense of the administration's policy, they, after congress imposed sanctions, reluctantly embraced them and tried to implement them, but their real enemy on sanctions has been iran, not russia. they've not gone after russia, precisely because any time
they've tried to, the president with his embrace of vladimir putin undercuts them. >> the president's very comfortable with the russians. the russians helped make him a rich man. they helped restore his fortune when he lost it. they helped him get elected to be president. and they are now helping him to make his family even richer than it was before. so he likes the russians. he gets along with them. we saw during the campaign in 2016 he has great buddies who helped him put on the miss universe pageant in moscow. so he feels very comfortable with them, and he expects that he's going to feel very comfortable with vladimir putin. not so with iran. not -- they're muslims. they're iranians. we don't like them. >> as we hear the bells tolling the hour here in finland, seven hours ahead of you in the u.s. >> all right. everybody stay with us. our coverage of president trump's summit with vladimir putin is just getting started here.
hello, everybody. this morning history is being made in helsinki. in just over an hour, president trump will meet with russian president vladimir putin. tensions, as we know, quite high. president trump insists he has no expectations for this meeting. good morning. it is monday, july 16th. what a day it is. we have nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of andrea mitchell report, andrea mitchell. and in washington, former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense, jeremy bash. stand by, everybody. president trump, as we know, in finland. in less than 90 minutes, he'll sit down for his first official meeting with russia's vladimir putin, this summit in helsinki coming on the heels of his controversial uk visit and that highly contentious nato summit where among other things the president asserted that the russian leader was not a friend
nor an enemy but actually a competitor. over the weekend, trump discussed his goals and his expectations for this meeting. take a listen. >> what's your goal from the putin meeting? >> i'll let you know let you kn meeting. nothing bad is going to come out of it and maybe some good will come out, but i go in with low expectations. i'm not going in with high expectations. i don't really -- i can't tell you what is going to happen. i don't expect anything. i frankly don't expect -- i go in with very low expectations. i think that getting along with russia is a good thing, but it is possible we won't. i think we're greatly hampered by this whole witch-hunt that's going on in the united states, the russian witch-hunt. >> and this summit coming three days after special counsel bob mueller indicted 12 russian intelligence officers for their role in the hacking of the dnc and clinton campaign in 2016. we will get to that i