tv Morning Joe MSNBC July 16, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
somebody who has been covering for vladimir putin, they had no choice but to get the information out because it might be the only way that the russians and the world would find out just how much detail, how much forensic evidence the united states of america has on the russians and what they did not only in 2016 but as the director of our intelligence community says what they're planning to do in 2018 and beyond. so, now i guess would be as good as any time as any to welcome you to "morning joe." with us, we have nsnbc contributor mike barnacle. president of the council on foreign relations, richard haass. former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments elise jordan. former fbi special agent clint watts and associate editor for the washington post david ignatius.
former chief of staff as c.i.a. and department of defense now an nbc news national security analyst jeremy bash. and washington anchor for bbc world news america katty kay who cheers for england who will win the world cup four years from now and host of andrea mitchell reports, andrea mitchell. congratulations to france for their victory in the world cup. we are coming up on some big news events the next 15, 20 minutes. vladimir putin is arriving right now from russia where he was the host of the world cup. and he's arriving in helsinki. he's going to be meeting with donald trump. we will see him and the president of the united states over the next 15 to 20 minutes. but before we go there, let's try to put into context what
exactly has happened this weekend and what the backdrop is for this meeting that has caused him a great deal of concern across washington, d.c. and the world. david ignatius, i want to start with you, how do you put into context weekend where the president of the united states calls our closest allies of the european union, our chief adversaries and then dismisses vladimir putin's attempts to undermine american democracy, which we now have in bold, living colors. it's just like dna evidence on a gun. we have the forensic evidence. our intel community knows exactly what the russians did. we know who did it, why they did it, when they did it and how they did it and yet you still have donald trump trying to
blame the united states for vladimir putin's attempt to sub merit american democracy. how do we digest all this on the eve of this meeting? >> joe, i put it together this way. i thought trump's comments over the weekend in his interview with cbs calling the european union a foe was a bizarre end to one of the least successful trips to europe by an american president that i can remember in my life time. every stop he was making trouble for others but really making trouble for himself. he arrived in helsinki with an image of alliance in disarray. vladimir putin, many people said the most successful world cup ever, something that gave joy to the russians and the whole world. mueller did with the blessing of our intelligence community on friday in releasing this indictment is an extraordinary
step. people talk about the deep state. this isn't the deep state. this is just the state. this is the united states of america saying to vladimir putin. we're not asking you to stop. we're telling you to stop. we're telling you to stop because we know what you're doing. and the wonderful thing for viewers to think about is what is putin wondering as he heads toward this meeting room about what else america knows. if we were to put so much detail in that indictment, how much else did we hold back? how many of their operations are compromised? how many of their tools are now exceptionally useless? so it was a significant effort i think to protect the interest of the united states regardless of what donald trump does over the next few hours. >> well, i just would ask that anybody who has any questions about the united states of america's investigation into what happened in 2016, do
yourself a favor, go on google. look up the indictment, the detail is absolutely stunning. and again, it tells you exactly what the russians did, how they tried to do it. and it's in such vivid detail that david ignatius is right. they know we're on to him and they can't use the same methods again. despite having this glaring evidence blinking in front of his eyes, this weekend donald trump did not criticize vladimir putin, because he never has, instead, this is what he said about the european union, our closest allies. >> i think we have a lot of foes. i think the european union is a foe, what that do to us in trade. you wouldn't think of the european union but they're a foe. russia is a foe in certain respects. china is a foe of economically certainly they're a foe. but that doesn't mean they're
bad. it doesn't mean anything. it means that they're competitors. they want to do well and we want to do well. and we're starting to do well. >> you know, mike barnacle, we've talked about it before. the european union remains our closest economic ally, our strongest economic ally. they also remain our strongest military ally with a military budget larger than china's and far larger than russia's and donald trump actually singles them out first as america's foe. as someone on russian state television said last week, this is something that russia could not achieve during the cold war, but we are now achieving a split between the united states and europe because of donald trump. >> joe, you're absolutely right. this whole episode is surreal. part of it began on friday with
that aforementioned indictment, 29 pages, 11 counts, incredibly insightful peek into russian intelligence operatives and what they were trying to do to the united states of america. an investigation led in part by peter stroke, fbi agent who was on the stand in that horrendous republican-led hearing on thursday. and richard, as we get ready to see president putin emerge from his plane, it occurs to a lot of people that he has already achieved success. he's gotten a free pass from the president of the united states in his invasion of ukraine, the fourth anniversary tomorrow of shooting down the malaysian airline, disrupting and declaring war on the american political system and here he is on board with the president of the united states side by side. >> and he's also on the cusp of essentially making bashar al assad's position in syria
permanent. >> this is extraordinary for putin. whatever his plan or his hopes were, this has far exceeded them. no way any russian president could agree this disarray of the western alliance by the leader. any normal president would have done two things over the last week. one, he could have made sure that the foundation of the alliance, u.s./european relations looked robust heading into a summit. that's a foundation of strength. two, all these indictments were to come out from the justice department, he would use that as ammunition to go after a russian president and say this has to stop. here is the price you're going to pay for what you've done and here is the price you're going to pay if you do it again. that would be something that we would call a normal president. and i think we have to accept we have anything but. donald trump is more of an outlier as the 45th president than any of those 1 through 44 that came before him.
>> and he's not only an outlier of the other 44 presidents. he's an outlier of most of the people that served for him in this administration. we now have vladimir putin coming off the plane, getting ready to meet donald trump. just little background on putin. of course, he was a career kgb agent. he became prime minister in russia in 1999, acting president, 1999 to 2000. served his first presidential term from 2000 to 2004. his second presidential term from 2004 to 2008. and then of course he became prime minister for the next four years and then assumed the presidency ever since. and during that time from 2008 to 2018, over the past ten
years, he also between his attempts to intervene in western democracies like the united states and france, he's also invaded two countries, georgia and ukraine. it's been quite an active 18 years for a man who has seen -- actually over the last 18 years by many metrics become weaker, but the weaker russia gets the more resentful they become the more they try to subvert western democracy. >> yeah. it was those actions first the actions in georgia and then particularly in ukraine and the annexation of crimea that led to the concerted western effort to awe industry size russia. what you have just seen is president putin walking in from the cold, out of that plane and into the embrace of the american president, effectively, who is saying i'm going to hold a one
on one summit with you. the years of russia being seen as a pariah by the west, donald trump seems to be saying those are coming to a close. i'm prepared to deal with you one on one. i'm prepared to have this big fanfare with you. we'll look at issues like syria. we'll look at potentially easing american sanctions around the issue of crimea, accepting the annexation of crimea which nobody else in europe does. this is a huge coup who is president of the where the russian economy is doing badly, who actually has a very poor hand but has played it incredibly effectively at not very much cost to russian public in order to exert his influence around the world. and this san extraordinary reward for somebody who just a couple years ago was really seen as somebody nobody in the west would be prepared to do business with. >> well, and of course one of
the slides, one of the great slights that vladimir putin felt is when barack obama called russia a regional power. donald trump mentioned repeatedly that he believes it was a great mistake. you know, i think one of the more surprising things for me was the fact that after friday's indictment, an indictment that began proved beyond a shadow of doubt, beyond any reasonable doubt that vladimir putin tried to do exactly what the head of our intelligence community said he tried to do, tried to subvert american democracy and is still trying to subvert american democracy, that after that indictment came out with stunning detail, we actually had house republicans say they were going to move to try to impeach
rod rosenstein which say what you will, it makes them look like they're doing vladimir putin's bidding. why in the world would you want to impeach a man that brought forward information on charges that proved to americans and proved to the world and proved to vladimir putin that russia has tried to interfere in american democracy and is still trying to interfere in american democracy. that is depressing. i will say there were some leading republicans including trey gowdy who can't seem to pick a side, but at least he's on the side of protecting american democracy this weekend, there were some republicans that did not kowtow to vladimir putin and russia this weekend. and i suppose we can take that as a win. this first clip is from trey gowdy. >> this is an attack on all of
us. our elections are just that, margaret. they're our elections. republicans and democrats are free to fight among and with themselves, but that fight ends at the border. and i would ask the president to give some serious consideration. your first request of vladimir putin needs to be tell us which airport we can pick up the 25 russians that tried to interfere with the fundamentals of our democracy. if you really claim you had nothing to do with it, then you should be as shocked as we were that your military was being used to impact our election. tell us where you're going to extradite those folks because an american grand jury indicted them for undermining our democracy. >> okay. so, great job by trey gowdy there. jeremy bash, here is the problem. just a week or two he was talking about the need to end the mueller investigation. if we had ended the mueller
investigation when he said the mueller investigation needed to be ended, then we wouldn't have had this information coming forward now. and this information opens up an entirely new set of questions that must be answered. so we can figure out how the russians tried to interfere in the american election and if any americans, which the indictment seems to claim suggests there are, if any americans were involved in that process. now, this weekend after this damming evidence came out, you now have rudy giuliani saying, oh, yes, this is terrible. now we no the russians did this. and this is great information to have. now let's end the mueller investigation. of course you have the president of the united states calling the mueller investigation a witch hunt. this investigation is not over. it is far from being over. and yet you have republicans on
the hill trying to impeach justice department officials that are showing americans and the world that russian spies, the gru, is trying to undermine american democracy. we've now indicted 25 russians to undermine american democracy. we indicted the president's campaign manager, the president's national security adviser, the president's assistant campaign manager, the man that the president said was one of his two top foreign policy advisers. we have five guilty pleas already. we've opened up an entirely new phase of the investigation on friday and we don't know where it's going to go. more questions are now raised than ever before, and yet you have rudy giuliani saying this
investigation must end. it's a good thing there are some republicans, jeremy, that actually have come out and said we need to see where this investigation leads us. >> and more should, joe, because the only reason why trump's lawyers and trump's allies on the hill want the investigation to wind down because of course they are frightened to death as to where it might lead. i'm so glad that you're talking strongest possible terms about what the mueller indictment actually shows. the one word we got to retire is meddling. meddling is something that's anowing, something that's bothersome, something your mother-in-law does. this was a sophisticated military attack using cyber weapons on our country. we have to talk about it in those terms and the response from the american president sitting face to face alone with the russian president has to be in those terms. it has to say the president has to say vladimir putin, we know what you did. we know what you did two summers ago and we need you to stop. we need you to cut it out and
there will be retributions. of course i don't think anybody on this panel today, i don't think anybody in our country actually believes the president is going to do that because in fact what we're seeing from the whole last week of diplomacy is in fact putin's return on investment. >> well, his return on investment and, again, let's just for people that haven't actually read the indictment or even red news stories on the indictments, maybe they've just seen a stray tweet here or there and want to talk about a witch hunt, again, let me be clear, if you just go on google, if you use the google machine and just spend 60 seconds, you will find that the united states of america, our military, usa, remember that when we were for the american military and the american intel community rooting out russian subversion? remember when we all were for
that? that was unifying? we were actually against russian aggression. there was a time when we all were. if you go on google, you will see that vladimir putin is lying. we've got a president who won't call him out on it, and our military and our intel agencies, the best in the world, the most powerful in the world, the strongest in the world, the smartest in the world, we have -- you can see in the indictments, we know what the russians are doing, we know how they did it, we even know what computers the russian agents were sitting at, what key strokes they used, what buildings they were in. we even know what their slang terms for the buildings they were in. we know everything about what the russians tried to do when they tried to subvert american democracy and yet the president tweeted about what he called,
quote, the rigged witch hunt. the rigged witch hunt. which by the way uncovered all of putin's lies. uncovered the dirty, ugly truth of what our intel community has been saying for two years now, that the russians tried to subvert american democracy. by the way, that intel community, not the deep state, these are people donald trump appointed himself. but this is what he tweeted earlier this
morning, quote, 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 had struck. he went on to write our relationship with russia has never been worse thanks to many years of u.s. foolishness and stupidity and now the rigged
witch hunt. andrea mitchell, it should not be surprised that tweet was liked by the russian foreign ministry. i wonder if it's the russian foreign ministry and sean hannity and maybe info wars and maybe some of the other people who have been useful idiots for vladimir putin and russia calling this investigation which really shows how the united states military and our intel agencies are the best and the brightest in the world, we have ripped down any va near of respectable from vladimir putin and proven he's a common thug who tried to infiltrate american democracy and it's all there in black and white, isn't it? >> it's playing absolutely into russian propaganda. we have long criticized how for the last 18 months or more the russians announce everything that happens with the u.s.
before we are even told about it, the white house, the state department, the american people are informed via russia announcements, russia propaganda. now the president of the united states going into a meeting with vladimir putin is calling the mueller investigation which details all the intelligence forensics of the russians gru, the military intelligence, doing that in such detail, as you point out, three days earlier and he's going into a meeting saying that this is a rigged witch hunt, capital rigged, capital witch hunt. it's just amazing. and of course now liked by lavrov's foreign ministry. they're retweeting on twitter accounts and liking what he has said. so he's doing the bidding of russia whether he realizes it or not. >> 11 counts.
you've been in investigations before. let me ask you, in closing the circle, closing the investigative circle, what's your assumption? what's your guess as to where this is all headed? could it be possible, would it be possibly potentially that vladimir putin could be indictmented? >> yeah. the goal at this point is to move up and down the chain of command. you start -- we've seen two indictments so far. the one in february was about the social media influence. last week was about the hacking and the indictment last week really put the two pieces together. it showed how they laid out the information so that they timed it to influence the political system here in the u.s. and to insert it into the media. at this point you go in two directions. one, who is responsible, overall in charge making decisions to launch this operation. remember back to 1998, the embassy bombings, this is how they went about osama bin laden. the other part in this case is we're going to see them move the
investigation towards america. so now that they have indicted the principles doing the activity, were there any conduits. organization one mentioned in there. other conduits that maybe had contacts with these individuals. they'll run those investigations in the middle. if there are any americans involved, that's where we would see the investigation logically move here on out. >> elise, the investigation, the indictments revealed on friday, president putin meeting with president trump today. reading the indictment has got to be common knowledge now to vladimir putin that the americans were intelligence his intelligence agencies. and now clearly they must be inside putin's head right here at this meeting. >> i wonder, though, if vladimir putin is more excited about being inside donald trump's head, which he clearly has accomplished in a way that no other world leader has managed since the time donald trump was a candidate. and to the present day when we have never heard donald trump
utter a bad word or about vladimir putin. he reportedly got upset by a video during putin's campaign that had missiles directed at florida but other than that, that was reported on background. so, this isn't something that donald trump has, of course, proclaimed publicly. but donald trump has been so excited about this meeting and going about it against all the wishes of his advisers he has been determined to make this meeting happen. it shows donald trump's priorities. he hasn't been to iraq or afghanistan. he's gone far longer than president obama or president bush in that regard. he saw it as a priority to meet with vladimir putin despite there being no agenda his top staff, his own ambassador to russia jon huntsman was unable to say what the agenda actually was. >> you know, these are -- this
footage from earlier this morning, we're waiting for donald trump to actually arrive in helsinki, just following up on what elise said. i got a call the week donald trump was inaugurated from somebody extremely close to donald trump saying that they were considering vladimir putin summit. this was in january of 2017 talking about trying to shock the world and have a summit with vladimir putin within a month of his being sworn in and they asked what i thought immediate response would be and i said you are idiots. i said are you kidding me? you've got a national security adviser who is already under investigation. but this is something that's been a singular obsession of donald trump's from the moment he was sworn into office. this is, again, vladimir put
putinman a man that donald trump refused to criticize going back to december of 2017 when he was on our show and we brought up the fact that he assassinated politicians and journalists that putin didn't like and donald trump still called him a strong leader. well, donald trump is going to get to meet that man that he calls a strong leader. as you can tell, we have half the population of the united states of america on this show this morning. and we all will be talking about what is one of the most extraordinary meetings of the united states president with the world leader when we return. good without the stripes. hi'y margo and sam had a vision, brought to life in one coat. whatever your home may hand you, behr through it, in one coat.
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russians trying to infiltrate our democracy and we've been talking about this information war between countries, i always thought how fascinating it was that nobody ever talked about our capabilitiecapabilities. and you know that our capabilities are extraordinary. leading the indictment, you wrote about this this morning in your washington post column. the indictment on friday morning was chilling for many americans, it had to be far more chilling for vladimir putin to find out while he was trying to infiltrate the united states political system that we were already watching him at extraordinary close range. what, as you call it, what a shot across the bow to vladimir putin. basically mueller is saying, anything that you do, we're watching. and we're always one step ahead of you. >> i think you're absolutely
right, joe. that the specific detail of this indictment sends a message. it sends a message first of all to putin. we see you. we know your techniques. no matter what donald trump says to you at the meeting in helsinki, our intelligence services are on to you. it also sends a message obviously to trump's entourage. it says if we've been watching the gru, russian military intelligence use its contacts to cut out people close to the trump campaign, what else do we know? it's that suggestion, if we know this much, how much else do we have that probably is sending shutters through gru headquarters, it should, and through other parts, also among those close to trump. i think we'll be on parallel tracks as we have been for so
long with this investigation kongt and trump trying to conduct diplomacy with russia. the idea that u.s. and russia should talk and open a dialogue. i don't think many would say that's an awful idea. i'm actually glad that trump has low expectations, or at least he says he does for this meeting. i think all the while that this other dimension will keep going and we'll see and maybe we'll learn from statements from the intelligence community whether the russians are backing off now whether they see how much insight we have into their tools and operations. >> and andrea mitchell, of course we talked earlier this morning about how lavrov's ministry liked donald trump's tweet attacking robert mueller's investigation, outed vladimir putin as a liar, and the response, we agree.
what do you think? >> right. now they've retweeted saying we agree. i mean, could not be more explicit. and putin also keeping president trump waiting here. president trump in helsinki and putin now has arrived. he was quite a bit late. i think -- 30 minutes late. that is not as long as putin has kept other leaders waiting. putin is now here in helsinki as well. we're expecting very shortly we're going to see movements where the two leaders will be moving to their joint meeting. what's so significant, of course, is that it's one o one. no note takers that we know of. unless there is a change, they will not be changed by their secretaries, their foreign ministers, by pompeo and lavrov and other experts. first there could be as much as 90 minutes in the schedule budgeted for a one-on-one
meeting between donald trump and vladimir putin. putin knows very well how to flatter donald trump, former spy master. trump has not been preparing for this as his predecessors will prepare for a putin summit. we'll see whether his ad hoc diplomacy works. already today we've seen that the german foreign minister said we can no longer rely on american. donald trump calling the european union a foe. we see the motorcade now. that does appear to be president trump's motorcade going to the presidential palace. is it putin's motorcade coming in? it's hard for me to see. >> actually, andrea, i'm being told it's vladimir putin's. yeah, vladimir putin's motorcade coming in from the airport. and richard haas, what are your chief concerns between a
one-on-one meeting between donald trump and vladimir putin? we certainly know the last time that donald trump met russian officials in the white house, it was the day after he fired james comey and he bragged to the russian foreign minister and the russian ambassador to the united states that he had fired the fbi director and had taken pressure off the russian investigation. what's the concerns today as we watch vladimir putin coming in to meet donald trump? >> only real concerns, joe, are what he does and doesn't do. people are obviously concerned that there might be certain signals and discounting everything we're talking about the aggression as germany described it against more than democracy. there might be some sort of shrugging of the shoulders and saying, look, you can do what you want in syria. we're not going to push you on ukraine. giving away a lot of things. then just a general vagueness what the singapore summit with kim jong-un should be something of a real warning here is in the
absence of staffing and the absence of careful preparations and the absence of careful followup, what goes on in this room could send all sorts of signals. it's not clear what's been the relationship between what happens in helsinki and what happens out there in the real world afterwards. so, it then gets to vacuum. this is not taking place in a vacuum. the fact that this is taking place against this backdrop of russia having emerged as the biggest outlier in the world, essentially trying to undermine the basics of the post world war ii. this administration looking the other way. this is anything but a vacuum. yeah, people ought to be concerned. we don't know what's going to be said. and even afterwards, joe, we will not know what was agreed to and we might not know for months or years or ever. >> if ever. and we were looking before at
vladimir putin going in, where he's going to be meeting donald trump. and he's first, though, going to be meeting the finnish president and then donald trump will arrive later and they will meet. it's been a troubling year and a half, 18 months for european leaders. i would guess that this weekend would have been about as troubling time for those leaders as any time since 1947, 1948 with the creation of the atlantic alliance, north atlantic alliance. but we are hearing the germans saying they can no longer depend on the united states of america, a concern that angela merkel said in a campaign rally several months ago. but now we're hearing from their foreign minister i would guess those feelings are shared, though, also in france, great britain, and across the continent. >> look, that was the feeling going into the course of the
events last week that this would be a rough week. everybody recognized this. but having spoken to european diplomats over the course of the weekend the two things i heard, we knew it was going to be rough. we didn't know it was going to be this rough. particularly that was true with britain after that interview. european unions are saying nato, the transatlantic alliance, carefully built up under the relationship of the united states, they can last four years of donald trump. now people are starting to ask can they last eight years of donald trump? could the amount of unpicking that the president is intent on doing be irreversible if he's in office for the course of eight years? it's interesting watching the different signals coming out of moscow, you had russian state television quite openly saying last night, that was a side show. the president was just passing through. now the real work begins and the focus of the president's trip, president trump's trip, that is
in helsinki. if that's what's coming from russian state television, that's what's coming from the kremlin. that's the belief from the kremlin. at the same time you have dan coats saying the director of national intelligence, you want to get into a tit for tat with the united states over this kind of operations and meddling in elections and the kinds of things you've been doing in cyber, we will win that. that's what you expect the president to go to president putin saying we know you know what you're doing, you want a tit for tat, we will win that. but all of the indications have donald trump are that he's going into this free and easy and if anything russia is likely to come out with concessions, not criticisms and restrictions from the united states. >> well, and jeremy bash, let's take a listen to what dan coats said and then i want to talk to you about what katty just said and follow up right after this. go ahead. here is dan coats.
>> 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 are at a critical point. >> that was by the way dan coats who runs the intel community, oversees the intel community. just for our viewers that don't know this, you want to call him a deep state actor, he was appointed by, wait for it, wait for it, donald trump. so jeremy bash, it is very interesting as david ignatius and katty just said, the mueller indictments on friday seem to be more of a message to vladimir putin. we know what you're doing. not only does the united states military and the intel community know what you're doing, we're three steps ahead of you.
and if you continue to in the words of the head of our intel community try to, quote, undermine american democracy on a daily basis, there will be consequences. was your in reading the mueller indictment on friday, was it your -- did you view that also as much of a statement to vladimir putin as it was an indictment against these individuals who tried to subvert american democracy? >> definitely. i think it was a big move by the intelligence community to declassify these details. it's a big diplomatic move to hold criminal liability over the heads of foreign government officials. there could be repercussions against american officials but it was manifested the right thing for bob muler to do. i just come back to this issue about trump goes into this summit today and he doesn't have any idea about what he wants to achieve. he's kind of a weather vain, willing to be blown in any
direction. i'm struck by the fact that trump's aides, jon huntsman, the ambassador, john bolton over the weekend said we don't know what's on the agenda of the summit. i'm calling it the seinfeld summit. it's a summit about nothing. the american president doesn't know what he wants to achieve. the old quote goes, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. >> yeah. which is of course the fear of so many right now as we're waiting for donald trump to arrive and meet with vladimir putin for what he calls a summit. for what the united states ambassador to russia calls a meeting. let's bring in right now u.s. senator from the state of connecticut and also member of the judiciary committee, senator blumenthal. thanks for being with us. i'm curious what your reaction is to the shocking amount of forensic evidence, the detail that actually places the
proverbial gun in the hand of vladimir putin in the undermining of american democracy and what the next step should be for the united states senate, the united states house, and the united states president. >> the forensic evidence and the allegation. remember, every one of them supported by evidence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is enormously compelling but also equally important is what's left unsaid to the americans who are named in the indictment, not by name but, in fact, they are included. and the other americans that may be targets of the investigation. there's also a message to the members of the house of representatives who engaged in that stunning spectacle last week where they were ha ranging and harassing constituents their
concerted campaign to discredit and stop this investigation. it is about our national security. the next step for the united states congress has to be to persuade or compel the president to address this threat to our national security. it affects not only our american democracy but also democracies around the world. and now more than ever at a time of threat to western democracy from this cyberattack by vladimir putin, we need to be rallying together. i think the united states senate is going to make an effort, as we did last week by stating our commitments, 97-2 for a resolution that says to nato we are with you. we want you to be with us. we are continuing to be committed because we are facing a continuing act of war by vladimir putin. he has tried to divide us, cause
disarray and he will stop at nothing to destroy the western democracy. >> you said he would stop at nothing. can't we introduce something that might get him to stop, the oldest indictments shows a degree of knowledge about what the russians are up to that's quite profound and it seems to me implicit in that is -- we don't have to just play defense. we could play offense. vladimir putin cares nothing -- he cares most about his own political position, his own personal wealth and so forth. do you think there would be support from your colleagues for essentially saying, here is the price you're going to pay for what you did. by the way, if we find more evidence that you're carrying out acts of aggression against american politics, here is what we're going to do to weaken your political base. here is what we're going to do to deal about it, here are ways we can interfere your ability to maintain control in russia. is that something there would be support behind? >> i think there would be very
strong bipartisan support on the armed services committee where i also sit as well as judiciary committee the congress a as a whole. we can accomplish many of them by revealing some of the assets that putin and his oligarchs have in this country and other western democracy, some of the corruption that exists in his own country. if you want to name and shame, as mueller is doing in his investigation, plus heightening sanctions, we need to hit back hard and make the russians pay a price and also define what cyber war means. what is an act of war in the cyber domain? we have been hit by one. we need to fight back. and i think there would be very strong support for going on the offense, not just simply playing defense. >> do you think what dan coats is suggesting -- i was just trying to unpick what he's saying when he says, look to the russians, if i were to say to
the russians, we know what you're doing. you know we know what you're doing. if you want to get into a tit for tat we will win this one. is there serious conversations going on in the u.s. intelligence community about what that tit for tat would look like from an american perspective, what would be the retaliatory measures? >> without disclosing what i know from intelligence briefings that i receive classified information that we receive, certainly there is a lot of consideration about what can be done. you heard dan coats describing the extent of the threat. i thought this summit or whatever the meeting may be called never should have taken place. donald trump should walk out of it if vladimir putin refuses to turn over those 12 russian spies that are named for a trial in this country. and i believe strongly to avoid the show sort of press conference that typically
happens afterwards. but there is serious discussion and has been for some time. >> katty, one of the things that has always been troublesome for us in cyber warfare has been that we have great tools butdif adversaries saying yeah you strike us, we'll take your banking system out. you hit us we'll turn your navy off. those asymmetries in cyber is what held us back. what's never been clearly define in any administration is how many hits like this will we take. imagine we had 12 russian operatives come in to the united states and steal out of people's
actual homes, files, dump them out into newspapers or on to the internet. we would have looked at this different. it would have been an act of war. in cyber space we hear everybody does this. gop congressman says this. moral equivalent. whether the hacking is financial, infrastructure, even our electoral process when will we launch a counter attack that's a national decision that pertains to russia but not just to russia but all of our adversaries. >> let's go back to helsinki with andrea mitchell. andrea, what do our allies make of the schizophrenic nature of american government, even the administration towards russia? you have, whether you talk about the vice president, when he's in the baltic states delivering fiery anti-russian addresses in
the baltic states or nikki haley at the united nations voicing strong concerns about russian interference and meddling. can you go up and down the line, and you can look at the sanctions. you can look at so many things the trump administration actually is doing. how do they -- we're looking at the trump motorcade right now going towards the presidential palace where the meet is going to be between donald trump and vladimir putin. how do they sort through the fact that u.s. policy towards russia actually has been rather tough and yet the words of donald trump and some of his stooges on capitol hill actually seem to provide comfort to vladimir putin? >> reporter: that's the dysfunction. that's why you hear things like the german foreign minister describing america as to longer acreliable partner today. you know, we have defense secretary mattis who has been traveling in europe and has been
silent on all of this. was not present at that last minute impromptu news conference that the president had in nato. sort of clean up news conference where he had tried to fix his previous attacks on the nato members. all of this dysfunction is really profoundly disturbing to the allies. i want to reinforce what you were talking about dan coates. what we heard on friday from dan coates the director of national intelligence is that russia of all the cyber actors who are working against the united states, russia is the worse. worse than china, iran, north korea. they are all players. we do things as well. we know about the way we and the israelis went after iran's nuclear program back under president obama. but the fact is russia according to this indictment in tremendous
detail as you've been reporting all morning, joe, russia went after our election process. the fact that they declassified that was to say to putin we know what you're doing and we're so into your spy operation, we know exactly who did those key strokes being what their names are. and the busiest office in moscow on friday night after that indictment must have been the russian counter intelligence office not the office in charge of the upcoming world cup finals, you know, in moscow that weekend, the big celebration, because they now know that we are so into their business in such detail that we've named their spies. and as you've been reporting we don't do that unless there was a reason and declassification was important. the fact is america is no longer relied upon because no matter what the vice president or anyone else says, donald trump is the person in charge and he is pursuing his own policy with
vladimir putin. >> we're watching donald trump's motorcade moving towards the presidential palace right now. to meet the president of finland and also vladimir putin. mike barnacle do you have a question for the senator >> yes. senator, you mentioned the vote last week in the senate in support of nato. you mentioned senators gathering for intel briefings in the united states senate. russia declared war on the united states several years ago. it's a sustained assault that continues through today. the vote is one thing. why are there such a lack of voices out of the united states senate specifically among republicans about the fact that this country had war declared on it by russia, our adversary? >> there are republicans who have stood up and spoken out, and i can recall vividly john
mccain and i in one armed services committee after another at hearings with our cyber experts saying to them, under the obama administration as well as this administration, why has there been no definition of an act of war in cyber, because we have been attacked. it is an act of war. and i think the answer is that republicans, most especially on the house side, the surrogates and cronies who defend donald trump see an attack on him. they see the investigation as moving towards criminal culpability for members of the trump campaign, and with good reason, because clearly, as you can see from the indictment, the russian hacking operation and intelligence mechanism reached out to trump operatives.
donald trump jr. met with russian agents after he was promised in effect incriminating evidence on hillary clinton taken from the russians. that meeting occurred. then donald trump, the president, tried to disguise it and deceive about it in his famous, now infamous air force one statement. so there are clearly links here to an ongoing criminal investigation that, unfortunately, colleagues in the house see as a threat to the presidency and rightly so. >> senator, we thank you. just interrupt right now. we're seeing images of the president of the united states and the first lady of the united states entering the presidential palace in helsinki, finland. he'll be meeting with the president of finland and then also meeting with vladimir putin. we believe -- we see the
secretary of state there, mike pompeo as well. we thank senator richard blumenthal for being here. coming up at the top of the hour, and let's bring into our conversation peter baker. peter, as we see the president of the united states entering to meet with vladimir putin, a meeting, that, of course, many foreign policy analysts and experts suggested he not -- he not undertake, there's a heck of a set up to that. the president of the united states has spent this weekend in interviews when asked who america's biggest foe was, the first name off of his lips was the european union. then he congratulated vladimir putin. he called the indictments on friday, called them part of a witch-hunt. those indictments that proved, though, what dan coates the head of america's intel agency called
an attempt to undermine american democracy daily. so you attack the eu, you congratulated putin, and he also, of course, called the press in stalin's terminology, enemy of the people. not exactly a lead up to a summit that any of the previous 44 presidents would undertake. what's at stake here and what concerns the world leaders rightly have? >> yeah. it's an extraordinary thing. in the tweet he sent out overnight, our time, that american relations with russia have never been worse not because russia interfered with american elections but because american authorities are investigating russia interference in america's election. that's an extraordinary
statement. other meetings in helsinki, ford, bush, and mikhail gorbachev, i can't imagine a u.s. president going into this meeting this way. not that american presidents haven't tried to have friendly relations with russia and they have. there's a reason to think about how about the constructive with the other power on earth that has the capacity to strodestroy with nuclear weapons. but the context is so extraordinary, berating nato allies after saying the eu is the real enemy, after indictments of the 12 russian agents that the president seemed to dismiss as insignificant. it begs the question of why. what's at stake are really big things. what's on the table in the future of europe? the future of the middle east? and in allowing russia basically back on to the center stage of international community.
the sanctions that the international community has put in place over these last four years since the 2014 intervention inkwurgs in ukraine and crimea were meant to isolate russia, meant to say nobody who takes these kind of actions against a neighbor should drobd a member of the civilized world. and what president trump is doing here in effect is saying that you're welcomed back on the stage. >> david ignatius, you have the president of the united states doing what he did again after the disastrous g7 summit where he suggested russia become the eighth member again. he insulted america's closest allies to having a summit with one of america's, i would say most feared if you look at their capability of striking the continental united states with nurngs one of our most feared
adversaries, north korea, now we leave a disastrous nato summit and we have the president going to the former head -- former officer in the kgb, vladimir putin, again with a backdrop that suggests that we shouldn't even be taking this meeting because, once again we're putting at the center of the world stage someone who is not only acting badly but also acting directly against america's interests. >> joe, if there's one thing we've learned about donald trump, it's that he likes to be the disrupter, the man who just arrived at the helsinki presidential palace. i suspect is pleased that he left a wake of bitterness, confusion in european capitals. he likes to overturn the furniture before these big events. we'll see what the next few hours bring. i have to assume that what
donald trump would like to see, also what vladimir putin would like to see is sort of a spirit of let's turn the page now. trump in his tweets this morning and recently has been very focused on, this is barack obama's fault. this hacking of american politics described in the indictment friday that happened on obama's watch. the invasion of incriminata, that -- crimea, this is obama's fault. i'll move on and solve it. let's move on idea is dangerous because it doesn't hold russia accountable for the actions that it's taken. if you turn the page now without that accountability because of fear russia will significantly enhance its position, but, again, the man who is entering that meeting does not disrupt by accident. these are not mistakes. this is what he wants to do. >> well, richard haas, american
presidents often take chances. certainly richard nixon did with china w-an opening to china. first step towards opening of that country. obviously, that upset a lot of concerns when he did it. nixon also upset a lot of conservatives when he -- same with gerald ford when they pushed detent with the soviets as well. there was a lead up to that, there was a strategy with that. what we have right now -- literally three days since the world has seen the evidence that vladimir putin again in the words of the man donald trump selected to run and oversee our intel agencies, that vladimir putin tried to actively undermine american democracy on a daily basis. what in world can the united states of america hope to get from a summit three days after
vladimir putin's -- the evidence is released that put tried to do that and second of all what message does that send to other bad actors, to other adversary? >> you're exactly right. it's fine for presidents to take calculated risks. you prepare for them. you see that there's a strategic case to be made. for example, with china the idea was there's a break through because we had a shared concern against the soviet union. you have to push back against your common adversary. there's nothing wrong in principle about the united states and russia having an improved relationship turning the corn per but there's a big gap between principle and practice. united states would push back in syria, push back more on ukraine. we had a strong relationship with nato, the president was pushing the presidents on what they've been doing in the cyber space, made clear what our
nuclear modernization plans would be in the absence of arms control framework and so on that we basically say look you have two paths, russia, mr. putin pup have a path of being a responsible international actor. but if you continue to be a rogue state here's the price you're going to pay for that. that's the way you would prepare for this. we can take risks with russia. we can be prepared to turn the corner. only on our conditions. what's so odd about all of this we seem to be giving russia the diplomatic equivalent of a free pass. you can turn the corner on your conditions rather than ours and when we have a potentially strong hand to play, we're essentially playing a weak hand. >> you're looking at national security adviser john bolton standing clearly at the entryway to the room where this meet is to take place between two presidents, president putin and
president trump. it occurs to me that one of the participants in this meeting will be fully briefed, have a plan going forward and it's not the president of the united states. >> donald trump doesn't think that he needs to plan. he doesn't believe in reading his briefing books in basic preparation. i wonder if we're making this is a little too complicated if we just need to apply our common sense. sometimes we get into lofty ideas of grand strategy and what has to be going on here and because this just doesn't seem to make much sense. why would he do this? and i think we need to look a little bit more at our common sense and i think that the underlying trait that defines donald trump is it's always about him, it's always about donald trump. why is it so important for donald trump, the man, to meet with vladimir putin in this one-on-one meeting after a sustained attack on american
democracy? >> katty kay, we're looking at john bolton, who, of course, this weekend scoffed at the idea of donald trump asking that these officers being extradited to the united states, said that it's against russia's constitution and would be a silly question to even ask, but certainly didn't stop bolton from suggesting that we do the same thing for edward snowden and criticizing barack obama for not doing that. how fascinating to see john bolton there, part of an administration that actually has a president, run by a president who is apologizing for put time and time again when it's hard to find an american diplomat who over the past five, six, seven years has said harsher, more
brutal things about vladimir putin than john bolton himself. >> yeah, i was exactly thinking of that when that picture popped up of john bolton outside of the room where it's happening. what he is thinking? has he come around now? what was the conversation that took place between donald trump and john bolton that either persuaded john bolton that this meeting was worth having and that inviting, as david ignatius said, vladimir putin back into the international community, that that was something worth doing, or has john bolton decided well look i work for this guy, i just have to acset up. i've been a russia hawk for most of my career but i have to get on board because this is something the boss wants. fascinating to know what the conversations are, what donald trump has told john bolton, and why john bolton finds himself in that position.
>> translator: come to basically discuss our -- >> a great world cup, one of the best ever, from what everybody tells me, one of the best ever. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i watched quite a bit. in the united states we call it soccer. i watched quite a bit of it. i watched the entire final and the semi-finals and they were really spectacular games. but it was beautifully done.
so congratulations on that. [ speaking foreign language ] >> most importantly we have a lot of good things to talk about and things to talk about. we have discussions on everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to china. we'll be talking a little bit about china. our mutual friend, president xi jinping. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i think we have great opportunities together as the two countries -- frankly we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years. i've been here not too long, but
it's getting close to two years, but i think we'll end up having an extraordinary relationship. i've been saying it and i'm sure you've heard over the years and as i campaigned that getting along with russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. [ speaking foreign language ] >> i think the world wants to see us get along. we're the two great nuclear powers. we have 90% of the nuclear, and that's not a good thing. that's a bad thing. i think we hopefully can do something about that, because it's not a positive force, it's a negative force. we'll be talking about that, among other things. [ speaking foreign language ]
with that, the world awaits and i look forward to our personal discussion which i think begins now and then we'll meet our whole team. we have quite a few representatives. we all have a lot of questions and hopefully we'll come up with answers, most importantly. great to be with you. [ speaking foreign language ] >> thank you very much. thank you, everybody. thank you.
thank you, everybody. thank you very much. you're looking right now at, overhead view of helsinki, finland where donald trump and vladimir putin will be meeting now. you just had the president of the united states talking in his introductory remarks about vladimir putin. he said that they are going to be talking about trade, missiles, china and our mutual friend president xi. also, david ignatius, the president said we have great opportunities together and the president believed that they could end up with quote an extraordinary relationship, not surprising, but nothing was said about the u.s. government
uncovering of vladimir putin's attempt to disrupt american democracy, which was laid out before the american public and the rest of the world on friday. what are your takeaways from those initial talks? >> the body language was anything but confrontational. it was congenial. it was relaxed. trump repeated the statement he often makes, talking with russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. he clearly believes that. he laid out an agenda that, as i heard him stress more than i might have thought the question of nuclear weapons. he referred to it several times. he talked about the two great nuclear powers having such dominance in that area, that was a bad thing not a good thing. that made me think one subject that may be on tap here for the discussions is arms control. that's a good thing. the situation, strategic instability between russia and the united states over the last couple of years has been a cause
for worry. but we saw donald trump kind of inviting a broad discussion, welcoming president putin, saying that he hopes for an extraordinary relationship with him, and that, you know, it was a congenial mood of helsinki. we'll begin to refer to this as. as for the first signs that's the way the president wants to go. >> and richard haas, david ignatius brought up the congenial body language between these two gentlemen. though, i was not as supportive of barack obama and had many, many problems with his foreign policy. i remember the first time barack obama and vladimir putin met, i remember being deeply offended as an american by how, how vladimir putin slumped in his chair, looked disinterested, and was clearly trying to throw
barack obama, the american president, off of his game. certainly you saw none of that here, and you can, again, look at those past meetings with american presidents and vladimir putin is a world leader who let's you know how he feels with his body language. this, again, based on their opening statements, though, certainly seems like it's going to be a friendly meeting, or as donald trump calls it a friendly summit. >> i'm sure it will be and the president used the phrase, there's nothing wrong with the united states and russia getting along. that misunderstands america's foreign policy. the purpose of foreign policy is not to get along with other governments it's to try to influence their behavior in ways that are consistent with your interests. so whether there's a spirit of helsinki is quite honestly irrelevant, whether these two gentlemen quote-unquote get along sir relevant. the question is do we see anything more responsible in russia's aftermath. there's a good chance that arms
control will be the substantive centerpiece, the strategic nuclear agreement expires in a couple of years. the agreement covering shorter range systems is fraying. this is one, important, but two russia would love. the reason is arms control was something that was uniquely in the province of the united states and soviet union. that's what made them superpowers. so to revive the u.s.-russia now arms control relationship is a way of saying these two countries uniquely matter in ways that others doesn't. it's actually the one area where russia can beat out china. so i think there's a decent chance that this will happen because russia would love it and it is objectively important. >> andrea, following up on that, one of the thing that jumped out during that conversation that they both had with the news media, is president trump describing nuclear, our nuclear power, both of ours, russia and the united states, describing in
detail that the two countries can hold 90% of the nuclear capacity, nuclear missiles in the world and he referred to it as a bad thing. quote-unquote, a bad thing. what was your reaction to that? >> reporter: well, i think this is the way that the president is seizing on one thing that could come out of that summit today, that he thinks is a good thing for him, for his legacy, for the united states, to resume our arms control talks with the former soviet union and russia and to reduce arms down the road to talk about lowering the level of arms in an extension of that arms control agreement that's going to expire in a couple of years. as richard said this, puts him and you put on an equal level and we don't want vladimir putin to be on an equal level with the president of the united states because he's such a bad actor. but it's one deliverable of this
very unscripted summit that has no agenda. what you did not see is any kind of pose toture either in the bo language or verbal language that he'll take on vladimir putin in any way. he was as friendly and opening session in this one-on-one as can you imagine, talking about our relations have not been very good but it would be a good thing if it were improved, not a bad thing. the kind of rhetoric he's used in the run up to this summit and the fact thaet talks about everything but cyber attacks. he talks about nuclear missiles, he talks about trade and about china and their mutual friend president xi. he is talking about the world at large but not talking about europe, nato and the other things that are essential in europe and the rest of the world. so, it's not a very auspicious beginning that anybody would hope that the president would
address the mueller probe in anything like an aggressive posture based on the evidence that was alleged in that indictment. that is not going to happen. >> peter baker, what do we expect in they meetings. >> they start off with the one-on-one with their translators. attention paid on why he wants to do that alone. it's not unheard of. but they will then have a larger meeting with the secretary of state, national security adviser and so forth. you mentioned, joe, the meeting between president obama and putin when they first met. i was in moscow when they first met. putin was still the prime minister at the time. and that meeting went very badly. right out of the box after reporter left the room, president obama said something to the effect of, you know, we
you know have grievances against the united states and that set putin off. 40, 50 minutes later monologue ended about how bad the united states was. i wonder we'll hear that kind of thing or president trump will hear that kind of thing in this meeting. we don't know. sounds like some arms control might be on the agenda. that's usually a constructive area for the united states. it would be odd in the sense that john bolton doesn't particularly like treaties of this sort. i remember being in moscow for four years an john bolton would visit all the time as state department representative of president bush, very secretcle of the kind of agreements that president obama put in place on nuclear arms and other presidents have put in place. so, you know, it's hard to see what comes out of this on a tangible deliverable basis that they can call success other than the fact of the meeting itself. >> richard haas, obviously this morning we've been suggesting that the president of the united
states should talk about russia's interference in american democracies, described by dan coates. that aside, though, if you have the president's ear or if anybody had the president's ear, what would be the three issues that you would want the american president to bring up with vladimir putin in the summer of 2018? >> well, it would be the one we were just talking about which is arms control. they can't negotiate that themselves. what they can do is set up a mechanism by which the experts and senior officials from both sides would address follow on agreements to the existing ones, because as bad things are between the united states and russia the last thing we feed to see is unstructured nuclear competition. secondly, i would say ukraine. we're not going -- we should not relax anything on crimea but russia is still interfering in eastern ukraine and tissue is what could we do to reduce or ultimately eliminate the russian
involvement, there perhaps involving some type of international force which the russians themselves had talked about. thirdly, would be the middle east and syria. can you -- the russians are behaving be a b behaving abnominally. can we get russia to work with us to push back against the iranian presence which has been large and growing in syria, and fourth thing would be north korea. russia has over time violated the sanctions quite regularly. what can the runs do to show up russia support for u.n. security council resolutions that exert pressure on north korea. that's a rich foreign policy agenda in addition, obviously, to the whole cyber related domain. >> let's bring in right now ambassador mcfall.
he's also in helsinki. mr. ambassador, what should donald trump be trying to get right now from vladimir putin, or what should they talk about, but before you answer that question, you obviously know vladimir putin better than most. not personally but you've studied him more as ambassador to russia from the united states, and you also know the country better than most of us. it seems that vladimir putin in the mind of many americans has been reduced to a two dimensional character over the past several years and russia, our view of russia also a bit more two dimensional than perhaps it should be. why don't you give us insights, a little more insight into russia right now, vladimir putin, his hold on power, what he's concerned about domestically, what he's concerned about internationally, and what we should be concerned about. >> reporter: we're not facebook
friends, at least to the best of my knowledge. but i have known vladimir putin for a long time. and i've participated in half a dozen of these summits with various president obama and other officials with vladimir putin. where he is right now i think he's feeling pretty confident. he has a firm grip on power at home. no challengers at home. he's just had a fantastic world cup where the whole world saw russia from a different side. and he's now engaging with president trump who is coming in at a very weak point. he's arguing his allies. he's calling his allies a foe. the e uconn assists mostly of nato allies. he's calling our friends foe. he's feeling pretty confident going into this meeting right now with president trump. >> david ignatius, i'll ask you the same thing, based on what you know. what is vladimir putin's standing in russia right now? what are his chief concerns?
what should be our chief concerns? >> well, he's, obviously, personally popular and that's especially true after the world cup which was a celebration of russia that putin wants to display to the world. he's still stuck with essentially one commodity economy but helped in that by his new working alliance with saudi arabia. saudis now speak of something they call opec plus, which is traditional arab led opec plus russia. so putin has some interesting new allies. final point i would make as we talk about the agenda, syria is a key part of vladimir putin's foreign policy. it was a decisive intervention and it's been very successful in the sense of consolidating power for the assad regime, it's now commonplace to say assad has
won. it's a fact that the u.s. has basically acceded to that, no longer resisting. the key ally that putin has had in shaping that diplomacy over the last couple of months, interestingly, is israel. benjamin netanyahu, has a very good working relationship from everything we can tell with putin. so putin comes to this summit meeting with trump with more cards than you might think. he does have popularity at home in the world of somewhat recovering oil prices. he has more money to work with. he's gone through the worst of the period of sanctions without terrible damage to the russian economy, and as i said earlier, i think for putin the theme presumably is let's by gones be by gones. let's turn the page now. you, mr. president, you see
russia in a different way. you're not caught like your predecessor, barack obama was. let's walk into the future together, try to cooperate on arms control and other issues. so i think that's probably the tone we're going to see. >> we're looking at pictures of meeting earlier in helsinki, finland, of vladimir putin and donald trump, and when they first met, gave brief opening statements. phil neely of nbc news noted that vladimir putin came prepared with a note pad and pen. donald trump not so for their one-on-one meeting will there be no note takers other than it appears vladimir putin. let's go to moscow right now and talk to richard engel and ask richard what, richard, do the russians want out of this meeting with donald trump? what is vladimir putin's strategic goal? >> reporter: so strategically i
think russia feels as you were just talking about with david ignatius and ambassador mcfall very confident. as you said numerous times they had a successful world cup. the whole world's attention was focused on russia and the overwhelming majority of the coverage was positive. president trump went through europe like a bulldozer, blasting nato, blasting the eu and is now showing up to meet with vladimir putin, even though this indictment which has just accused russian intelligence officials of carrying out ewater get. strategically russia is feeling in a good place. now it's about the tactics, what will they specifically ask for in this, in this meeting. and if you look at the statements that have come out of the kremlin even this morning it seems like they might have specific asks regarding syria. there are about 2,000 u.s. special forces in syria. russia doesn't want them there.
russia backs the government of bashar al assad, and those 2,000 american special forces who have been primarily fighting isis but also helping kurdish fighters are seen as getting in the way of russian influence in that country. so what russia will likely offer is we promise, we russia will promise to lower iran's influence in syria in exchange your troops have to either leave or stop being quite as active as they have been. the question is can russia even deliver on that. will russia deliver on that is the specific ask just to reduce the u.s. footprint in syria. also likely, we're understanding specific asks regarding nato. while nato has taken a bruising and a battering from statements, we'll see if there are specific asks that russia doesn't want nato exercises to continue right on its borders.
strategically russia is in a good place. now they will come in with a notebook full of things that seem minor to president trump like those military exercises that got cancelled in south korea, but which to russia or to south korea in that case or to north korea are very, very big deal. >> all right. richard engel in moscow, thank you so much for those insights. let's go to ambassador mcfall, back in helsinki. mr. ambassador, we didn't really comment yet, didn't hear your insights yet on donald trump's continued attacks of nato, donald trump's continued attacks of the european union, when asked who america's chief foe was, he brought up the european union first. that must be music to vladimir putin's ears as one commentator, push opinion leader in russia said on russian television last week that's something that even the soviets weren't able to
achieve but now they've achieved it through donald trump. >> yeah, joe. just really disappointing. the eu is not our foe. that's ridiculous. most of that country of nato are also in the european union. they are our allies and partners. number two, the president also tweeted that america is at fault, blame america first for the tensions in u.s.-russia relations. not mentioning the fact that russia annexed territory in crimea and sparked a war, 10,000 people have died in eastern ukraine. not mentioning he support this brutal dictator in syria where half a million people died. and not mentioning the fact he violated our sovereignty in 2016. so that's why there's tensions in u.s.-russia relations. for president trump to just insinuate as he just did, well by gones. let's forget about all that
stuff and move on because i want a great relationship with you putin. that's just not serving america's national interest, in my view. >> no. and, of course, framing his opening statements with a congratulations for a world cup well run, not exactly what is on the hearts and minds of not only many americans but also a lot of europeans and democratically elected countries across that continent. >> just to add to that, remember the things that he didn't mention. he mentioned arms control. he threw in china out of the blue. we're going talk about china. but he didn't mention ukraine, didn't mention syria and didn't mention the russian intelligence officers who interfered in our election in 2016. setting the agenda for the meeting that the things he didn't say were really striking to me. >> again, it did not mention
that interference despite the fact that the man that he picked to oversee america's intel community just this past weekend said that what russia did was an attempt to undermine american democracy on a daily basis. mr. ambassador, thank you very much for being with us. peter baker we would like to thank you. we appreciate both of your time. right now, in helsinki the president and vladimir putin are behind closed doors in their one-on-one conversation. that meeting will be expanded later and then we'll have a longer joint press conference between the two leaders of russia and the united states. and our coverage on "morning joe" will continue in a moment.
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>> you don't want to dismantle nato. >> i don't know why you're asking the question. we have a much more solid nato than they've had for years and last year since i was elected we picked up $34 billion extraditional. now, you add that into all of the other things i've done, president putin has to respect
what eve done. i don't know him. i met him a couple of times. i met him at the g-20. i think we can get along very well. somebody said are your friends or enemies. i said it's too early to say but right now we're competitors. but for russia and the united states and uk and other places to get along with russia and china and all of these other places, peter that's a good thing not a bad thing. it's a really good thing. >> that is donald trump talking to pierce morgan this weekend. we'll have pierce on the show at the end, and going to be asking about that interview. also his tour of air force one and the president seemingly very impressed by the fact that britain, you can use several names to identify the country that pierce morgan is from, one of the more baffling -- one of the more baffling comments all weekend. with us now former
undersecretary of state for political affairs and information special adviser to president clinton and policy coordinator on north korea ambassador wendy sherman. we also have the chairman of the financial integrity network and a seniors in security analyst for nbc news and msnbc, juan zurati. wendy, let megyn with you. what does america need out of this meeting with vladimir putin? >> america needs a president of the united states to remember which team he's on and that he's fighting for us, and to, indeed, hold vladimir putin accountable for what the gru did to invade our democracy. dan coates who is the director of national intelligence says this is akin to the warning signs of 9/11 and quite frankly, of course, 3,000 americans were killed in that, which was just horrific. but, in fact, our democracy is being killed by what vladimir putin is doing, trying pit us one against the other. and i can't imagine that
president trump would be meeting with osama bin laden and so if vladimir putin is, indeed, killing our democracy, i'm not sure what we're doing except to hold him accountable. >> well, juan, i guess that's the larger question. why would donald trump be meeting with vladimir putin today if on friday we had on information that, again, in the words of dan coates, that vladimir putin has been trying to undermine american democracy, quote, on a daily basis. >> yeah. i think ultimately you would want the president to confront vladimir putin on precisely these issues. so frankly i don't mind the meeting so much. the question is what happens in the meeting. indictments would actually be fodder for a president, be leverage because president putin's response to any of these allegations, and we've heard it time and time again, is prove it. prove that russia has meddled.
prove that the russia was behind the downing of the mh-17. here you have actual proof in the indictments of exactly how the gru, the military intelligence for russia went about hacking u.s. systems, u.s. persons and trying to affect the u.s. election. ultimately, you would want the president to say you want proof? this is proof. and you have to stop this. i think there's two things i would hope comes out of this meeting. one, do no harm. u.s. policy towards russia has been, despite the rhetoric, relatively strong on sanctions with respect to syria. we've killed russian measu mercenaries. the one thing i fear here is that vladimir putin sees this as an opportunity to divide the president from his own policy. to wendy's point this has to be a moment where the president tries to deter vladimir putin,
because vladimir putin feels unrestrained by the international community. there's virtual impunity to what he's doing internal to russia and externally. the one check on russian power is american power. and the president has to not only lay out these issues with respect to the 2016 election but also has to think forward to that we have to deter russia from provocations in europe, provocations against our systems, provocations against our allies. >> katty kay, speaking of provocations against our allies, how surreal it must be for theresa may and also for the british people to have donald trump kowtowing to a man whose fingerprints are on the death of a british mother, her 19-year-old son said i'll never support donald trump but i hope
he gets some answers on why my mother was murdered. and, again, murdered by a russian nerve agent that can only be traced back to the gru and put. >> right. the news coming out of britain this morning is that they are now linking that novichok nerve agent to russian intelligence services. we haven't mentioned the poisoning of the sergei skripal and dawn sturgess. one thing that may would like president putin to bring up. so we got the indictment here in the u.s., news that the russian intelligence service is coming willing to novichok. if we come out of this meeting, this one-on-one meeting and there has been conversation about syria, there's been conversation about arms control, which you've suggest cod be potentially a good thing coming out of this meeting, and there isn't a mention of the 12
russian intelligence officers who were indicted last weekend, on friday, does that make this meeting a win for president putin? how much of a mention do you need of them to think that donald trump has pushed putin on this? >> you know, i think in a sense what putin says in response almost doesn't matter. this is a covert action, which means that you lie about it if you get caught, and that's what putin will do and it's up to our intelligence agencies acting through special counsel robert mueller to put as much on the record as they can, in a sense i think putin's reaction is secondary. what i worry about is after this very fractious visit by the president to europe and then sitting down for what the first glimpse looks like a very chummy
meeting with vladimir putin, that there will be further decoupling of the u.s. and europe. the president describes europe as our foe. he talks about an extraordinarily good relationship with putin. we're heading in to territory i think should really worry europeans and worries me as someone who has seen american security based on this strong nato alliance for so many decades. i think that's one of the puzzles that we'll be examining over the next few hours and days. has the nato alliance begun to fray and decouple. is trump trying to work with putin to solve problems? >> ambassador, you're a long serving diplomat and participated in the preparation for these kind of high stakes meetings. how has the preparation for this summit or as ambassador huntsman
says conversation surprised or reassured you? >> as you have side there has not been a principle competing meeting or national security council meeting to prepare about this. this is about john boll on the making one trip to months dmouf this forward. you know, i think we all believe in the importance of relationships, i worked for senator john kerry when he was secretary of state. i was with him in sochi for a four hour meeting with vladimir putin. even john kerry, who really, really believes in the importance of personal relationships, he had our ambassador to moscow and myself in the meeting with him, along with an interpreter because he understands how good vladimir putin is. you know, we haven't talked about the fact that offer the last few days, vladimir putin has been visited by benjamin netanyahu, by abbas, by an adviser to rouhani of iran.
he's been visited by the foreign minister of jordan. everybody has basically come to see vladimir putin and so now donald trump has come to meet s vladimir putin and now donald trump has come to meet with him. after all, it was a suggestion by putin such a meeting take place in their march telephone kfrgt conversation. we have participated in putting vladimir putin at the center of the world stage, as a power to be reckoned with. he is very good in meetings. he is very well-briefed. he is very well h-prepared. he too believes he is the one who knows everything. he has been at this for years. he knows what is going on in the world and understands the nuances. president trump, not so much. >> juan, given what wendy just pointed out, the reality of it, vladimir putin will be incredibly well-prepared for this meeting. >> right. >> and given what wendy had said earlier, that the principle mission of -- one of the
principle missions of donald trump is to remember what team he's on, and we know everything about putin that we know. can you or do you know of anyone else who could tell us today what is donald trump's plan for this meeting? >> i don't know if he has a plan. i think this is part of the hyper-personalized diplomacy of donald trump. you start with a summit, you don't end with a summit. you don't do the preparations that wendy talked about and elise asked about. the challenge here is in a private meeting without a note taker, without a secretary of state, without a national security adviser, you are not quite sure what is interpreted in the meeting itself. what comes out of this will be quite interesting. in fact, if they have the press conference as scheduled, it will be interesting to hear the interpretations of what comes out of this. the danger, of course, and the great fear is that you will have president putin able to manipulate president trump in a
way that gives not just president putin greater normalization and centralization in terms of being on the world stage, but also begins to peel away u.s. policy where it matters. does president trump say something about crimea, that rye mia should be part -- crimea sh be a part of russia, does he say something about lessening sanctions, does he say something about withdrawal of the u.s. troops from syria? that will be really interesting and important to watch what comes out of this because i don't think, mike, there's actually a game plan other than to create the personal relationship and perhaps create opportunities for agreement. the danger here is we roll back policy has are important to u.s. interests. >> and that is the grave concern, that we do as juan said, we start to peel away u.s. foreign policy where it really matters. at that point it stops being about reckless tweets and it starts being about the national
security of the united states of america. juan, am bass don wendy sherman, thank you for being with us. coming up next, we will dig deeper into the unthinkable message robert mueller is sending to vladimir putin's spy operation. it is unmistakeable. we know exactly who you are and we know exactly what you're doing, and we know who's doing it. we are going to break that down straight ahead. also, the white house has released an official photo if the trump/putin summit courtesy of sanders' twitter account, and it is an unusual selection. a black and white image where putin's eyes are closed. we will be getting much more from their sitdown when they hold a joint news conference a short time from now. "morning joe" will be right back.
great world cup. one of the best ever from what everybody tells me, one of the best ever, and also for your team itself doing so well. i watched quite a bit in the united states, we call it soccer, and i watched quite a bit of it and i watched the entire final, the semifinals and they were spectacular games but it was beautifully done. so congratulations on that. most importantly, we have a lot of good things to talk about and things to talk about. we have discussions on everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to china. we will be talking a little bit about china, our mutual friend president xi. i think we have great opportunities together as two countries that, frankly, we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years. i have been here not too long, but it is closing close to two years, but i think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. i hope so. i have been saying and i'm sure you have heard over the years
and i campaigned that getting along with russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. i really think the world wants to see us get along. we are the two great nuclear powers. we have 90% of the nuclear, and that's not a good thing. it is a bad thing. and i think we hopefully can do something about that, because it is not a positive force. it is a negative force. so we'll be talking about that among other things. and with that, the world awaits and i look forward to our personal discussion, which i think begins now, and then we will meet our whole team. you have quite a few representatives with you and we all have a lot of questions, and hopefully we will come up with answers most importantly. it is great to be with you. >> and the world does in fact await the outcome of that meeting. that was brief comments made, brief press when vladimir putin and the president of the united states, donald trump, met in
helsinki for a series of meetings that the president outlined there. welcome back to "morning joe." it is monday, july 16th. we have msnbc contributor mike barnacle. president of the council on foreign relations, richard haas. we have former under secretary of state for public die ploem'sy, rick stengel. columnist and editor for "the washington post", david sinke. you also andrea mitchell. correspondent for gq magazine. fellow from the london school of economics, brian klaus. former u.s. attorney for the northern district of alabama, joyce vance. why don't we, andrea mitchell, start with you in helsinki. why don't you zealous for us, a
lot of activity over the weekend. unfortunately, a lot of activity this morning from the president's twitter account. i say unfortunately because he is undermining findings that show very clearly, with clear an unequivocal evidence, that vladimir putin and the russian spy network tried to undermine american democracy in 2016. so with that as a backdrop, what are we looking for today? >> reporter: well, that is not just a backdrop because now it is in the foreground. he not only tweeted calling the mueller probe a rigged witch-hunt and blaming former u.s. policy for the bad relations between the u.s. and russia, but lavrov's foreign ministry has retweeted that saying, i agree. first, they liked it now they retweeted it and agreed with it so it is playing right into russian propaganda. we just have a translation of what vladimir putin said in very
brief welcoming remarks at the one-on-one when it started, the two men sitting down for the first time together in this kind of one-on-one, not on the sidelines of another meeting. putin made that point, saying that this is different because he says it is nice to see you, meet you in fin land. we continue to have contacts. we speak by the phone, met several times at international events, but, of course, the time has come to thoroughly discuss our bilateral relations and talk about various problems of the world. another translation in media saying pain points in the world. that is all putin said, but that sets the stage that this is a summit as president trump has said himself, not as his ambassador to moscow, to russia said on "meet the press" yesterday, that it was just a conversation and as john bolton tried to play it. they're meeting one-on-one. president trump said they would discuss nuclear, missiles, trade
and china, never mentioning the cyberattacks even though the head on friday said in a prepared speech russia is the most aggressive of all foreign nations attacking the u.s. on cyber and that the red lights were blinking red as they have in a threat level since before 9/11. all of that is the context, plus the insult to the european union, most of our allies, calling them an american foe. the comments he has made in other interviews this weekend, that sets the stage for playing directly into vladimir putin's hands. joe. >> thank you, andrea. david ignatius, it was said this is what vladimir putin was trying to do, what robert mueller's investigation revealed was a direct attack on american democracy, an attempt to undermine american democracy on
a daily basis. i guess you would say this is almost robert mueller's foreign policy except for the fact that all of the intel chiefs that donald trump has appointed and that the rep senate has confirmed, all agree with robert mueller and not donald trump. this is no witch-hunt. this is a defining moment for american democracy. >> it was a strange little photo opportunity just now. now we know what the president of the united states, this president of the united states would say three days after the justice department laid out detailed evidence of russian military intelligence plot to interfere in america's elections and manipulate american individuals. this american president says, congratulations on a great world cup. you know, it really seems to have gone well and we're going to have an extraordinarily good relationship.
so that's the course that donald trump has set. as you suggest, joe, we have a very interesting -- and over the coming weeks and months, a difficult problem, which is that our intelligence agencies and the justice department with special counsel mueller as the lead figure are pursuing a policy to deal with russian covert action, russian interference in our politics that very different from the policy that the president seems to be pursuing. that is not a tenable long-term split for the white house to be going in one direction as other parts of the government go in another. somehow that has to be straightened out. we sense from that initial conversation that they're going to pursue a limited agenda, that arms control will be high on that agenda. it was talked about by president, and that gives them a list of working topics to go forward as a common enterprise. but this split in our
government, how we deal with russia i think is something we really need to think more about. >> and, brian klooss, what do yu make of the lead-up to this meeting? donald trump calls it a summit. america's ambassador to russia wisely calls it a meeting. but what do you make of the lead-up to the summit where the president of the united states calls the european union our chief foe and congratulates vladimir putin for a world cup but doesn't talk about the invasion of ukraine, the annexation of crimea, the shooting down of commercial airliners over ukraine, the propping up of assad who already slaughtered 500,000 people in syria and the undermining, according to the director of national intelligence, of american democracy on a daily
bases? what are we to make of that? >> well, it is becoming clear that trump's signature foreign policy achieve if you want to call it that so far is trying to turn our allies into our enemies. if you look at the breakfast at nato and compare it to the remarks he just gave with putin, you would think russia was the long-standing allies of the united states and european union and nato were our foes. because he went into that breakfast and lambasted our closest and most important allies. remember, a week ago here in the uk a woman died from a nerve agent. trump didn't say anything about that. i think what we're really seeing is an inversion of america's security policy. all of these constructions, the west, democracy, the international security order, nato, they're not just god given. they are artificial constructs that need to be tended to. when the white house attacks them, it is not a guarantee that
they will survive. what i'm worried about is why is trump going into this one-on-one meeting attacking our historic allies, cozying up to the kremlin and parroting their talking points? over the long run that will be the damage donald trump does not just to the presidency but to international security. >> julia, you know donald trump better, you know vladimir putin probably better than donald trump. and vladimir putin shows up late in typical putin style. vladimir putin sitting there, slumped down in the chair sort of in classic putin style. it occurs to several people putin has already won, just by virtue of the fact we have this picture of the two together. is that an accurate assessment? >> absolutely. that's actually how moscow sees it. people who are in official positions in moscow have not exactly been hiding it. they've been crowing all over social media all morning.
the main russian state television, the main newscast last night was saying this is already a victory for vladimir putin. donald trump is coming in there after a crazy visit through brussels and london, and it was all kind of a pit stop on the way to helsinki which is the most important stop, and trump is going in from a position of weakness. these are all official russian news outlets or kremlin officials saying this publicly. they're not hiding anymore who they see the power dynamic. they're not pretending it is a meeting of equals. >> i would make one short comment and i want to ask rick a question. the short comment is the fact that these indictments have come down just before the summit, it does send putin a message unlike russia's policy toward the united states, it is not 100%
controlled by one man. nobody freelances. in this case we have independent institutions. i think it is a bit of a shot across his bow. rick, in your time in government as undersecretary, you met and you were in meetings with putin. what is your sense of ---age you only kn -- and you only know the sides better. what worries you coming into this meeting? >> i saw the last picture of the meeting i had in putin in 2007 when i was editor of times and i remember going to see kissinger beforehand and kinger said, you will be surprised what little effort he makes to charm you and i was surprised. he has a frosty, chilly presence. you can see it when he is sitting down with donald trump. he was four hours late for that interview. he was only 45 minutes late for donald trump. >> a sign of respect being only 45 minutes late. >> the thing that it is a victory for putin, somebody once
said the chairman of mcdonald's never talks about wendy's. what that means is the president of the united states, we have ten times the military power, we have ten times the gdp. russia is a regional small power. what trump is doing is putting putin back on the world stage. after russia annexed crimea all of the headlines in russia were, russia is back, back on the stage of a superpower. barack obama would never acknowledge putin as a superpower because they're not. but trump has done that. he's in the '80s fixation of two super rivals that he can't get out of the -- >> let me push back a little bit. putin has showed his willingness and ability to be effective. he has done it in syria. al assad is now ensconced. he has changed it in crimea. he interfered in our elections. he may not be a great superpower
but he has a lot of nuclear weapons. he plays "we can" probably better than any other leader on the world stage. >> well, yes, but i would say -- >> let me interrupt and say to both of you, he plays a weak hand better than anybody else on the international stage if the person -- if the country that's holding four aces doesn't play any cards, any of their cards at all. everything you mentioned, if you talked about ukraine, we had no response to the invasion of ukraine and the annexation of crimea. we had no real response to what vladimir putin did in syria. we let the russians, we let a president who wishes it was still the soviet union go into syria for the first time since, what, richard? 1973? he is able to do this in the absence of american leadership abroad, in the absence of an
american presence saying, if you send any more troops into ukraine we're going to send twice as many into poland and conduct military exercises. or we're going to immediately provide ukraine with weapons to stop your advances. isn't it true that he's only been able to play this hand the way he has in the absence of an american response? >> yeah, i would -- i'm glad wendy sherman is not still on because i have to say i do think president obama was not as strong as he could or should have been in some of those instances, in the annexation of crimea and the invasion of ukraine. i mean president obama's take on that, is it worth it to us to possibly start world war iii for an area that is not in our sphere of interest. i think we did allow russia to come back in syria. in fact, one of the things that russia did in syria, i would argue, is that he weaponized
immigration by the indiscrimina indiscriminate bombing putin did in syria it created the refugee flows that ended up in germany that donald trump would say is destabilizing europe. that's part of his warfare, joe. that's why he can do these things. he doesn't have the full power and might we do, but he does it in places he has leverage including, you know, using the gru to suborn our election in america. that's also asymmetric work there. >> you know, it is certainly easy to be monday morning quarterbacks, especially when the stakes are as high as they are. but we didn't have to start world war iii to have a strong response to what vladimir putin did in ukraine, and you're exactly right, richard. that was -- that was the attitude, well, we don't want to start world war iii over crimea. we didn't have to, but we did nothing, just like we did nothing in syria to speak of, and all it did was send a
message to vladimir putin that he could continue -- richard, he could continue to do whatever he wanted to do and the united states was not going to push back. >> yeah, the sequencing there is critical because putin only jumped in with both feet in syria after the united states blinked on the so-called red line following assad's use of chemical weapons, and that came after the british decision to not do anything following the failed parliamentary vote. it shows putin is not reckless. he moves into these situations of opportunity when he perceives the coast is clear. he did it in ukraine and in syria. he will react -- almost like a businessman, his return on investment will be high and so far, by the way, the other area where his return on investment has been extraordinarily high in what he has done to us domestically. that he has used his cyber tool
in a concerted way repeatedly here, he has used it in britain and elsewhere on the brexit vote and, again, there's no price he has paid and he has gotten quite a lot for it. >> you're right. he has leveraged his position, which is not a very strong position if you look at the size of their economy or even how much they spend on their military now compared to the united states and has had an extraordinary return on his investment. and, again, without going too deeply into this, you didn't have to start world war iii to push vladimir putin back. you could have picked up the telephone and said, you can withdraw your troops from ukraine, you can withdraw your troops from crimea or you can expect the united states to conduct military exercises in poland that will humiliate you and russia even more than your invasion of crimea right now is bolstering your polls there. anyway, so friday's indictment fills in several gaps of key moments in the russia probe. there's, of course, the
june 30th e-mail to donald trump jr. to where he is offered dirt on hillary clinton to which he responded, if that's what you say i love it. five days later, the indictment says russian intelligence officers launched dclaeks.com and began releasing stolen dnc e-mails. the very next day don jr., jared kushner and indicted trump campaign chair paul manafort met with kremlin-connected russians at trump tower. fast forward to july 27th. on the same day the indictment says the russians tried for the first time to hack into servers in clinton's personal campaign office, then republican nominee donald trump said this. >> i will tell you this, russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. i think you will probably be
rewarded mightily by our press. >> joyce, first of all, we've been talking all morning about how specific the evidence was, the forensic evidence was against vladimir putin. it is remarkable what our u.s. military and our intel community is able to do. but the timeline is fairly damning towards the trump campaign, is it not? >> it is incredibly damaging. i think that remarkable is the right word for this indictment. it is have you unusual. any federal prosecutor who has ever tried to rest even a small piece of evidence from the intelligence community and receive permission to use it in an indictment will tell you that that's a battle that prosecutors often use because the intelligence community's equities are so high in protecting their sources and their methods. so here we have an indictment
and it is what prosecutors call a speaking indictment. it tells a story through the conspiracy counts. who is it speaking to? it is speaking simultaneously to the president and his team but it is also clearly speaking to russian and other foreign interests because mueller combined the forces of the justice department and the intelligence community to layout with very precise detail his knowledge of how the russians conducted these intelligence operations, especially on u.s. soil. and he's so specific that there's even a count where he is talking about one of the defendants and he relates that this is the individual who controls russian development of malwar malware that he was responsible for overseeing the development of x agent that was used to conduct the strikes against the u.s. so if you are the russians, you have to wonder how does mueller know all of this. not just be amazed by the depth
and specificity of knowledge his knowledge, but you have to figure out where your defenses are weak and what mueller knows that you don't know that may come out in the future. it is a remarkable indictment in so many ways. >> julia, following up on what joyce said and andrea mitchell also said, after the indictments came out on friday, chances are good the russian government was far less focused on the world cup and far more focused on how the united states government had all of the information they did on their spying. how did they respond to that? >> well, officially at least they've -- the russian foreign my industry said it was an informational false flag designed to spoil the atmosphere of the helsinki summit. whatever is happening behind closed doors or in the secret parts of the russian government where they're trying to plug the league r leak leaks and i think a lot can be traced through computer signatures, i think publicly they understand at least for a
while to come there won't be much of a consequence, right. you have the president of the united states tweeting on the eve of the summit this is all a hoax, it is all a witch-hunt, playing into -- i move dove tali dovetailing perfectly with the russian point of view that it didn't happen, it is a false flag operation. so as one former obama official told me, if hillary clinton had been elected there would have been hell to pay for this and now putin doesn't have to pay much of a price at all. >> joyce, let's stick with the indictment. 29 pages. multiple counts. it is a remarkable document as you pointed out because it gives us insight into data collection, sources and methods kind of. it is a remarkable insight into what the intelligence community did and what the fbi did, led in part this investigation,
ironically, by peter strzok who was on the witness stand thursday, the day before the indictment was released. looking at the indictment itself, in your experience closing the circle of an investigation like this, what is your assumption about where they're ultimately headed. the 12 russians who were indicted, it just seems it reeks of an open-ended investigation as you read that indictment. in terms of direction, where do you think they are headed? >> they're headed towards american participation in this conspiracy, and that's always been the open question. would mueller take that final step? did he have evidence that could prove that there were americans who conspired with the russians, and then how closely will those americans be linked to the trump campaign or to trump's inner circle. this is sort of like the pregnant pause following this indictment where we have now seen the russian participation and the russian interference
exposed. but, you know, we knew most of the facts that are repeated in this indictment. most of this had been pieced together by the media and by other sources, and it didn't come as an enormous surprise. and so we have this almost as though mueller is trying to give the american public time to digest each new bucket of information, and now we will digest this bucket that says russians interfered with our election. they hacked. they stole. they selectively leaked information, and their goal was to influence the outcome of this election. and, you know, their horse in the race was trump. now we'll see where mueller goes, which americans, if any, he will indict. but i suspect he will indict and we will see it in the not too distant future. >> joyce, over the weekend i had someone who is quite familiar with investigations like this at a federal level suggest the possibility that the ultimate target here for an indictment
might be vladimir putin. your thoughts? >> i think that that's an interesting thought. it is very likely given the layout that we see in this indictment that they are considering putin as a subject or as a target. they talk about people -- you know, they detail the role of these 12 russian military intelligence community employees and what they are doing, and they executed this work at the direction of someone. so the question for mueller will be how good is the quality of his evidence. does he have evidence that directly links putin? and then does it make sense, is there a goal, is there an outcome linked to actually indicting a foreign leader or is it better to move on solely to american participation. it is a really interesting open question here. >> david ignatius, i have a question for brian. brian, one thing we know about donald trump is he likes to sit
down with people i think of as the big guys, the xi jinping's of china, the kim jong-un's of north korea. now he is sitting down even as we talk with vladimir putin. could you just speak a little bit about the seeming affinity for the authoritarian big-guy leader than president trump seems to have? >> sure. so across the globe trump has praised virtually every major authoritarian meter from duterte in the philippines, putin, but this one is particularly striking with putin because on the eve of the summit he called the press the enemy again. in my work i have interviewed heads of state in southeast asia, sets, who look to
washington to see what they can get away with. when the president praises authoritarian leaders, it trickles down to countries we don't think about on a daily basis. that's why i think some of the trump policy will be hidden from us. for example, the committee to protect journalists reported 8% of journalists arrested last year were accused of fake news. so there is a trump effect. think it is very dangerous not just for international security but also for journalists in the rest of the world. >> julia yaffe, obviously trump tower's meeting with north korea's leader was seen as a big victory not only for him but the entire country. russia is coming off a successful world cup, what many people call the most successful world cup ever. the russian team itself, i'm shocked they got as far as they got. now you have this meeting between vladimir putin and donald trump. i've got to believe that in moscow and across russia there
is a more positive feeling towards their leader than any time since 1991. is that accurate? >> actually, it is not. actually, on the first day of the world cup putin's government announced it would be raising the retirement age, which of course, you know, cuts deeply into the foundation of his kind of populist support, which is kind of government giveaways to, you know, high pensions, big salaries for bureaucrats. so his approval rating actually has taken a nose dive, a bigger hit than we've seen in years. that said, on the international stage, you know, this isn't getting much coverage inside russia. on the international stage it is hard to think of a better stretch putin has had in a long time. he has gotten away with pretty much everything. he has trump doing kind of the dirty work for him at the -- you know, during the nato summit i ran into an old source from moscow.
i asked him, how to people see donald trump in moscow? he said, they see him as a total idiot who happens to be a really useful batter ingrin battering r the world elites and nato for us. coming off a successful world cup where he bestowed victory on these players on such a big sporting event, i can't remember a better stretch of time putin has had. >> but it does seem that social security is not only the third rail in american politics, it appears to be the third rail in international politics as well. >> that's right. >> all right. julia, thank you for that insight. brian klaas, thank you as also. joyce vance, thank you for being with us. it is always great talking to you. still ahead on "morning joe", we will be talking to one of the pentagon's top officials on policy, plus a former cia station chief who recruited
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so the trump/putin summit has implications across the board, and with us now to talk about it experts from the defense, diplomatic and intel arenas. we have former pentagon official and former executive director of the graham talent wmd commission, dr. evelyn farkas. also with us former cia station chief scott eulinger. he served 12 years in the former soviet union, recruiting spies for u.s. intelligence. also, former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfall is back with us as well. scott, let me go to you for something as i get rocket j. squir squirrel on the rocky and
bullwinkle show, you think the summit is a good thing and you believe donald trump has played vladimir putin as much as vladimir putin has played donald trump. explain that. >> certainly. putin's motivation is based mostly on leg matitimacy and appearing larger than he is on the world stage, and he succeeded in doing that. president trump i think understands the key, if there is a key forward to any success with improving our relations, is to use that against putin. he is flattering putin, to a certain degree complimenting him diplomatically. he plays the good cop while administration people play the bad cop and i think it is appropriate. the way forward with russians is not by publicly criticizing but privately criticizing them behind closed doors, which i hope will happen today, and that will allow us to move forward.
certainly overt criticism of russian policy is not going to be the path to success in improving our relations. >> so, mr. ambassador, let's pick up on that. donald trump told me right before he got sworn in he felt one of barack obama's biggest mistakes was calling russia a regional power and he thought by doing that he insulted putin, backed them into a corner. i want to pick up on what scott just said. it is true that donald trump tweets a lot of things, says a lot of things that shocks and stuns most of us, but at the same time he allows his ambassador to the united nations, he allows his vice president, he allows his secretary of state, he allows his intel community to speak out as strongly against vladimir putin as ronald reagan's government would. so does scott have a point? is there a good cop/bad cop
dynamic here that could play to america's advantage? >> you know, joe, if it led to results, concrete things that were good for america, i could understand it. but with all due respect, scott, i think that's putting way more strategic coherence on what i think is a lot of incoherence within the trump administration. the trump administration as a whole has, i think, a pretty good policy towards russia, pushing back on a lot of things. the president just doesn't agree with it. and, you know, i don't think improving relations with russia should be the goal of american foreign policy. the goal should be concrete things, getting russia out of ukraine, getting russia to agree to a new arms control agreement, getting russia to stop interfering in our rexs. those are concrete deliverables. >> absolutely. >> improving relations, happy talk, you know, we're friendly now, nose are means to other outcomes. so far, i can't think of one
tangible outcome that the trump administration after a year and a half has achieved with their policy towards russia. >> but, evelyn, just again following up on what scott said and playing devil's advocate, donald trump is a president of the united states. he is the commander in chief and he has put people in place and kept them in place after they said highly critical things about vladimir putin and russia, and we could talk about what dan coates said on friday after the indictments came out, that putin was trying to undermine democracy every day. we could also talk about mike pence, vice president, going to the baltics and delivering a speech right out of ronald reagan's anti-russian playbook. >> the problem, joe, is he is sending mixed messages. i agree 100% with mike mcfall. of course you wouldn't be surprised. but basically you want to have a good relationship to achieve your objectives on behalf of the
united states of america. donald trump is not in office to forge some sort of friendship with vladimir putin. this is not about two individuals. yes, if he can establish a personal rapport which leads to results, that's great. but what we know about vladimir putin, what we know about the kremlin is that they don't respond to a charm offensive. they don't respond to people telling them their great. it may not have been helpful for president obama to refer to russia as merely a regional power, that is true. however, still even if he had said the most wonderful things about vladimir putin and russia we still wouldn't have achieved our objectives because the kremlin views us as an adversary, they want a sphere of influence throughout eastern europe in particular. they want to meddle in our elections to make us weak. they want to give assad syria again. you know, the whole kit and caboodle, which is something i don't think is ten achblt able.
we will continue to see terrorism there. there are things the russians want that are counter to u.s. security interests and the way to get there is not to charm vladimir putin. >> scott, you spent a dozen years or so in maldova in the former soviet union. obviously like ambassador mcfall it was your job to get in the head of vladimir putin as much as possible. what does putin want and what message do we want to send to him today? >> again, as i said, president putin wishes legitimacy. he is actually a little more running scared about his own popularity in country as has been indicated earlier with cuts in social security in russia. and a lot of times the assassinations such as the skripal assassination in great britain i think indicate someone who is sort of running scared and projects confidence on the world stage that he actually somewhat lacks in private.
so i think that the path to follow is to harness that, to use that in his craving for legitimacy, in hopes that you might be able to resolve some mutual issues. for instance, looking forward increased support against iran against syria, which seems to be making some progress. b.b. netanyahu has also made progress with weaning russia off its ties to iran. that may be one example of something concrete we can get out of these discussions. >> all right. scott, thank you for being with us. evelyn farkas, thank you as well. coming up next, the president is more than an hour into his alone time with vladimir putin. next up, working lunch where both leaders will be joined by their foreign policy teams. we will be keeping an eye out for that. plus president trump says his trip to the uk was, quote, absolutely perfect. never mind the insults of
theresa may and the baby trump blimp and tens of thousands of protesters. we have piers morgan with us on the heels of his interview with the president of the united states. i will say again the president's fascination that you can use so many different names for the country where piers lives. keep it right here on "morning joe." my father passed this truck down to me, that's the same thing i want to do with you. it's an emotional thing to watch your child grow up and especially get behind the wheel. i want to keep you know, stacking up the memories and the miles and the years. he's gonna get mine -but i'm gonna get a new one. -oh yeah when it's time for your old chevy truck to become their new chevy truck, there's truck month. get 18% of msrp cash back on all silverado 1500 crew cab lt pickups when you finance with gm financial. that's $9,000 on this silverado. plus, during truck month make no monthly payments for 90 days.
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let's bring in the editor at large of ""daily mail".com" and presenter on "good morning britain" piers morgan. i want to talk about your interview with the president of the united states about his meeting with vladimir putin, also about all of the great dynamics right now that actually are going to impact the united states, britain, russia and the world. first let's talk about important things. i know you were extraordinary grumpy when it comes to following your favorite football teams. arsenal loses a game in august and you say the season is over. i know all brits are incredibly grumpy about england, but i have bad news for you. this young england team, if you look at what they did at the world cup, look at the u-20 team, u-17 team, i'm predicting you guys will be in the top four next time and may even win the
whole thing. how do you out-grump that? >> i'll find a way. i think it was a good world cup for england because expectations were so low. we haven't won the world cup since i was ten months old. to have a team that got to the semifinals, that actually played with great spirit and great quality and behaved on and of the pitch, that was a remarkable thing. we also have a manager that appears to know what he's doing, so all in all my grump levels are quite low. >> very good. you can focus on arsenal and how it is over before the season begins. we'll skip over the fact that the president was absolutely fascinating there are so many different names for the realm. what was your takeaway in your interview with donald trump? >> you know, it was interesting because he came in like a bull in a china shop as he does and he threw things up in the air.
but actually despite all of the protests and despite all of the, you know, was he rude and so on debate about him doing this to theresa may with the interview he gave, when i got to him i felt he wasn't entirely wrong in saying it was a successful trip. i will tell you why. this country makes you guys at the moment look like a calm oasis of beautiful serenity. we are in complete political meltdown over brexit, over our decision to leave the european union. one of the key parts of the debate is whether at the end of the process, when we leave the union, we will be free to trade with allies like america, and the american deal could be the biggest deal we do. theresa may, our prime minister, has come out with a big plan she says allow that. most of the critics and supporters say it doesn't. boris johnson quit. the brexit secretary quit. trump comes in and throws it up and says, look, i'm told she
can't do difference with us, so the deal may be off. queue complete mayhem. she gets together with him, and i interview him on air force wond and he says, look, she has said she can do a deal with him after brexit happens. i don't think we are freely under her current plan to do that. it is so fundamentally important, joe, because ultimately the future and success of brexit may depend entirely on that ability to trade freely with countries outside of the european union. >> hi, piers, it is katty here. maybe they're going to rethink whether they can support the brexit plan. one thing that was interesting about your interview, we have been speaking about his
relationship to vladimir putin and the importance donald trump attaches to personal relations. he said the same thing about meeting the queen, there was a good feeling and they had a good remgs during the course of that meeting. to what extent do you think he goes into those meetings -- obviously not with the queen, but with putin with a clear strategy in mind or is it about feeling and personal relations with him? >> i think it is predominantly feeling and personal relations. he did do business often with people that he couldn't stand, but he thought it was good for business to try to get on with people. i said, look, is there a trump doctrine developing on the world stage, which is you getting in the room with bad guys, whether the kim jong-un, vladimir putin, america's traditional enemies and trying to do business with them? are you the of the philosophy it
is better than war, and he said an interesting thing. he said, when i won everybody assumed i would be at war quickly with everybody, and let's be honest, most had that relationship. the fact he's gone to see putin and feels the same way, if he get in a room, they can sort stuff out. i have to say, from the wider, global point of view, i'm just happy if america and russia and america at north korea are not at war so let's start from that position of a good position, not at war. in the end, the proof will be in the pudding. can he achieve a lasting peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship between the united states and some of the more conventional historic enemies? i think in the end that will be -- it will be down to trump, down to putin, down to kim jong-un. at the moment, i'm happier they're talking and not shooting missiles at each other. >> richard haass, you described british politics in something of a meltdown.
this morning's news suggests exactly that. it's not clear what the prime minister wants to do with brexit she's got the support for. talk about essentially whether this government comes undone and whether brexit gets revisited. at least as an outsider, i don't take it any longer as a given that we're -- the only question is the details, but whether brexit itself is now up for grabs. >> here's the problem with brexit. 17 million people in britain voted to leave european meeting. the person in charge of driving the train to destination post-european union is theresa may, the prime minister, who voted to remain in the union. she does not believe in this. she doesn't want brexit to happen. so predictably, because she doesn't want it to happen, she's trying to please everybody by making it a watered down brexit. all that's achieving is deeply
distressing the brexiteers who want a clean, hard brexit, which means we actually left completely. all the remainders who want us to stay part of the same club without having full membership. i don't think she's pleasing anybody. i think her position is becoming extremely perilous. i voted to remain myself. cards on the table. i don't want us to leave. but the majority of people in this country did in a free and democratic referendum, called by the prime minister at the time, david cameron, and we have to respect the democratic process, a bit like america in trump. may be absolutely enraged that he won, but he won and he beat hillary clinton. in football, like we discussed earlier, you just don't replay a game. we have to get into a place now where we try and somehow get through this impasse, where nobody in parliament actually thinks any vote at all is
possible, that we'll approve any form of brexit. i think the only way this ever gets worked out is if you put the brexetiteers in charge of t train. the boris johnsons. the david davidsons. all these people actually believe in it. they believe britain will be fundamentally a better country and more prosperous country if we are out of the eu. so let's put them in charge and stop pretending that somebody who doesn't believe in it actually can drive this through. >> all right. piers morgan, thank you. so much for being with us as always. by the way, i'm told england is a 14-1 that they win the world cup four years from now. put the money on them. >> get your money on them. we got a good chance. good young lads. >> yes, in 2022. yes, exactly. all right, thank you so much, piers, greatly appreciate it.
now, let's go around the table. got a lot of people here. let's get some final thoughts as the president, ambassador, the president still apparently in that one-on-one meeting with vladimir putin before they bring other members of their foreign policy team together to discuss larger issues. so what are your final thoughts this morning? >> i was intrigued by the fact that president trump went out of his way to mention arms control as part of the agenda. that suggests to me that might be something that there could be some agreement about. to set up some negotiations to the follow-on start treaty. in the past, president trump has said the new start treaty was a complete disaster. i wonder does he tear up that as well, because that was an obama agreement, or does he negotiate a follow-on agreement. that was an intriguing bit he gaev us at the beg gave us at the beginning of the meeting. >> david ignatius, what are your
final thoughts? >> joe, i think after this initial encounter, this looks like it's going to be the "turn the page" summit, in that sense, a restart by donald trump and vladimir putin. the issue for me is less the summits. hard to disagree about the importance of talking and what accompanies them. what's accompanied this one is sharp criticism of our nato allies and the european union. that bothers me. what's accompanied this has been president's attacks on robert mueller, on the press, as enemies of the people, and the usual kind of whirlwind, leaving chaos in his wake on these foreign trips. i think that's, you know, we can't do well in the world without friends andally lies and i think trump needs to think more about that range of friends and allies than he does about
dealing with people like putin or kim jong-un. >> katie dkay, what are your final thoughts? >> if trump's dealing with foreign policy is getting in the room with other leaders and having good relationships, that's one thing. but the outcome of that has to be shaping those country's actions in america's self-interest, and that's where things get much more complicated. we just haven't seen either with north korea or russia yet, whether getting in the room leads to consequences, and today's critically important for that. >> mike barnicle? >> joe, on friday, we had a 29-page indictment issued by the department of justice. and i've been consumed as well as several other people i think have been consumed by the idea that the president of the united states has continually gone out of his way to disparage and delegitimize the people who put this indictment together. the department of justice, the
fbi, the intelligence communities. that, in addition to calling the media the enemies of the people. i would just hope some in the republican party would come to address the fact that this is not a witch hunt being conducted by bob mueller and i wish that some members of the white house press corps would stand up and ask sarah sanders or the president of the united states himself, give us the evidence why the media you think is the enemy of the people. >> elise jordan, final thoughts? >> donald trump can be incredibly revealing when he's around someone that he perceived as a sympathetic audience. i'm very curious how in the press conference it's going to happen within hours, how donald trump is going to respond to press questions as he stands alongside vladimir putin and addresses meddling in the 2016 election. >> rick stengel. >> joe, there's a continuum in
american foreign policy about russia that ranges between people who feel like you have to put the russians up on the world stage and treat them well and those people who believe you have to be harsh with them. in my dealings with them in the department, i feel like you have to be tough with them. what i fear today is donald trump will reverse that. he'll start to unravel the sanctions. that will unravel our relationship with the eu. that will unravel our relationship with nato. that would be a very awful precedent and begin to unravel the post cold war order which the united states has been the bastion of. >> richard haass, wrap it up for us. >> what doesn't matter is the mood of the summit, even the summit itself. what matters is russian behavior down the road. so the measure of helsinki will come out over the next 2 1/2 years of donald trump's term as president. whether we see a pulling back of trying to interfere in america's
democracy. whether we see the russians pull back at all from syria or ukraine. those will be the real measures. rather than the mood or the personal relationship, which is what the president is so want to emphasize. >> you're right, and donald trump does depend so much on personal relationships and believes that that's going to make the big difference. we've already found that with kim jong-un, at least in the short run, it really doesn't make a difference, and you're looking at pictures from earlier this morning of vladimir putin meeting president trump and the first lady melania trump. but in the end, the president of the united states will not be judged on what he tweets today or what he says today after his meeting with vladimir putin. he will be judged on the direction of u.s. foreign policy and russian foreign policy and the coming months and years, whether it's with syria or whether it's in the ukraine,
crimea, or whether it's with vladimir putin's attempts since 2014 to interfere with american democracy on a daily basis. that in the words of donald trump's own director of national intelligence. well that does it for us this morning. thank you so much for joining us. brian williams picks up our special coverage of president trump and vladimir putin's meeting in helsinki, fenland, right now, brian. >> thank you, joe. thank you, joe. thank you, all. the 9:00 hour, 4:00 p.m. in helsinki, finland. we take over now. a little bit of a waiting game before we see both leaders emerge to take questions in a bilateral press event. perhaps it will be useful to show you what we've missed thus far. to show you their comments to camera earlier before they went in for their one