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Trump Arrives In Germany, Putin, Merkel Meetings Await; Trump Warns North Korea Of "Severe" Response; Trump Urges Russia To Stop "Destabilizing Activities"; Trump Reaffirms U.S. Commitment To NATO's Article V; Trump Questions U.S. Intel Agencies On Foreign Soil. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired July 6, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thanks so much for joining us.
President Trump, the star player on the world stage today, with the scene and the spotlight now shifting to Germany. The president is now in Hamburg for the G20 Summit and the biggest foreign policy test of his young term.
This hour, he is meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and then later will focus on the North Korea issue in a dinner with Japanese and South Korean leaders. It's already been a busy day for the leader of the free world.
He spent most of the day in Poland and the culmination of that visit, a wide ranging speech in Warsaw where he praised the courage of the Polish people. He reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to NATO members, and declared the fundamental question of our time, is whether the west has the will to survive.
He also called out Russia for trying to destabilize Poland's neighbor Ukraine and other parts of the world. That combined with comments President Trump made earlier about Russian meddling in the U.S. election should make his high stakes sit-down meeting with the Russia's president tomorrow even more interesting.
Our Nic Robertson will have more on that in just a moment from Hamburg. But let's begin with Atika Shubert. Atika, we know President Trump is now on the ground being greeted by protesters.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is a very different reception than what he saw in Warsaw. The protests, I don't know if you can see the stage behind me has a big banner that says welcome to hell. That is what this protest is being called today.
It's basically a show by demonstrators of how they reject the G20 and many of the leaders of top nations such as President Trump. So in fact, we believe that President Trump may have had an overview. Look, we saw two Blackhawks and a Chinook flying overhead earlier just after President Trump landed. So he may have actually seen this protest under way. Police aren't taking any chances. They expect more than 100,000 people to come out over the next three days.
Starting tonight, they expect thousands to come out, and they do say it could get rowdy. That's why they have two water cannons here today along with an armored personnel carrier with dozens of riot police.
They are not taking any chances, but demonstrators here say they are determined to send a message to President Trump and to block the G20.
CABRERA: All right. Atika Shubert, we know you will keep us updated. Now before the president's big speech to a friendly crowd in Poland today, he also got several questions from reporters. It was the first time he took questions, in fact, in about a month. He talked about North Korea, the media and Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, I think it was Russia and I think it could have been other people in other countries, could have been a lot of people interfered. I said it simply, I think it could very well have been Russia, but I think it could well have been other countries.
Now the thing I have to mention is that Barack Obama, when he was president, found out about this in terms of if it were Russia. Found out about it in August. Now the election was in November. That's a lot of time. He did nothing about it.
Why did he do nothing about it? He was told it was Russia by the CIA, as I understand it, it was well reported, and he did nothing about it. They say he choked. I don't think he choked, I think what happened is he thought Hillary Clinton was going win the election and he said let's not do anything about it.
Had he thought the other way, he would have done something about it. I heard it was 17 agencies. I said that's a lot. Do we have that many intelligence agencies, right, let's check it. We did some very heavy research. It turned out to be three or four. It wasn't 17.
Many of you compatriots had to change their reporting, and they had to apologize and correct. Now, with that being said, mistakes have been made. I agree, I think it was Russia but I think it was probably other people and/or countries and I see nothing wrong with that statement.
Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure. I remember when I was sitting back listening about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction. How everybody was 100 percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? That led to one big mess. They were wrong. It led to a mess.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN's Nic Robertson joining us in Hamburg. Nic, the president there once again questioning the intelligence communities conclusion that Russia was a big mover behind the 2016 meddling?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Then he went on a well scripted speech that he gave in the big square in the Central Warsaw to the Polish audience to tell Russia to stop being a disrupter. Stop disrupting in Ukraine and other countries as well.
[11:05:08]It was a very, very clear message, a shot across Russia's bows on that issue. So when he goes to meet in the next 24 hours now with President Putin, that much awaited one-on-one meeting, we can certainly anticipate that president Putin will have heard both messages.
And he'll know that perhaps one was the well-scripted, well-crafted message and the other one he will perhaps get a sense that was President Trump speaking from the heart, if you will, questioning, you know, the veracity and the accuracy of his own intelligence agencies.
And that will certainly be something that President Trump, a former intelligence agent himself will want to exploit in that conversation. So we can certainly anticipate that that will be part of the narrative, but of course, on President Putin's sight.
But of course, the issue of Ukraine expected to come up in the talks. I don't think there will be a meeting of the minds and another tough meeting that President Trump is going to face is the one with Xi Jinping, China over North Korea.
He wants to get more sanctions on North Korea. He's going to need China's support for that. How is he going to achieve that? Well, he was asked that question in the press conference as well. He said he wasn't going to give away what his redlines were. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: As far as North Korea is concerned, I don't know. We'll see what happens. I don't like to talk about what I have planned. I have some pretty severe things we are thinking about. That doesn't mean we are going to do them. I don't draw redlines. President Obama drew a redline and I was the one that made it look a little bit better than it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So, plenty of weighty and meaty meetings to come with the whole G20, plenty of bilaterals as well. The first one with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Massive differences there on trade, climate change. So this is going to be a very different environment and a very different series of meetings than the president just had in Warsaw -- Ana.
CABRERA: A lot at stake and of course, coming off the meetings during the G7 Summit on his foreign trip, a lot of people questioning how these relationships are going to evolve since then. Thank you very much, Nic Robertson.
Joining us to further discuss, CNN international anchor, Hala Gorani, a former staff member of the National Security Council and State Department, Jamie Metzl. He's an expert now on Asian-American relations and is now with the Atlantic Council, and joining us "Daily Beast" columnist and author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World," Gordon Chang.
Jamie, let me start with you. We heard in some of those clips from this morning, the president still questioning whether Russia actually meddled in the U.S. election. Why do you think he continues to question the intelligence?
JAMIE METZL, FORMER STAFF MEMBER, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, it's really preposterous and there's only one reason is that he knows, that if, as the evidence comes out, Russia played an important role meddling in the U.S. election, the credibility of his own election is at stake.
And so on one hand, when he's in Warsaw, he's saying, well, Russia is doing these bad things because that's what the Polish audience wants to hear and needs to hear. On the other hand, the more that he accepts what all of our intelligence agencies are saying, which is that the United States essentially was attacked by Russia.
We don't know the level of the influence that it had on the election outcome, but it was big, and that undermines his own credibility. So he's trying to do two different things at the same time. While he's doing that, he's undermining the creditability of the United States and the credibility of the presidency.
CABRERA: And of course, we know that he's going to be meeting face- to-face with President Putin tomorrow. And President Putin being a former KGB guy, when he hears the response from the president in that Q&A, what do you think is his read?
METZL: He's going to say, we very aggressively took on the United States political system. Russia had a major win against the United States and now the president of the United States is covering up for Russia. So that weakens the United States and it empowers Putin and Russia.
CABRERA: Do you think he is -- it's in the U.S. best interest for the president to put a question to Putin about the Russian election meddling?
METZL: Absolutely. The United States was attacked, essentially by the Russians. This is not just about the election of President Trump. This is the integrity of U.S. democracy and U.S. elections.
If the Russians can do this sort of brazen attack and not be held accountable in any way, and have again the president of the United States covering up for Putin and the Russian intelligence services, that's very, very bad for the United States and really dangerous for our country.
CABRERA: We are now learning that there are five Senate Democrats, who are planning to ask and urge the president in a letter to confront Putin on election interference. It's still unlikely we are hearing at the moment, at least from his White House officials that he will be addressing the election meddling.
But Hala, we did, and in his formal address in Poland, here President Trump call out Russia for what he says are destabilizing activities in Ukraine. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We urge Russia to siege its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and support for hostile regimes, including Syria and Iran.
[00:00:00]And to, instead, join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and a defense of civilization itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: This morning, the kremlin said that it, quote, "still has no understanding what Washington wants." Trump is laying out specifics here. Hala, will Russia take notice?
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, they will. They also know who Donald Trump's audience was in Poland. It was a very friendly crowd. It was also an event hosted by the Polish president who was elected in 2015 of the law and justice party. Controversial party there.
Quite -- certainly, in terms of political ideology, shared some kinship with the president. But what I found interesting was from Donald Trump, the idea somehow that this is an existential threat that western civilization itself is under attack by Islamic extremism by open borders.
It's as though the U.S. president has taken some of his campaign themes to the international stage. Again, speaking to Polish fans, very, very friendly reception there from those who crowded into that square in Warsaw.
The big question is going to be, obviously, his meeting with Angela Merkel. There was some tension between the two when the German chancellor visited the White House a few months ago. Also, that G7 meeting, the summit that happened in Brussels.
It was very interesting to observe the body language between President Trump and, among others, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel. So those important meetings, beyond the rousing welcome party he got in Poland that we could have expects and predicted, the important meetings are today with Angela Merkel in the next hour and also tomorrow with President Putin of Russia. CABRERA: Jamie, you talked about credibility the U.S. has on the world stage. When he hear the president in his remarks go after his predecessor, point fingers at the U.S. media, an institution here among leaders like Douda and Xi and Putin, people who have tried to limit free press in their countries, does that empower them?
METZL: Obviously it does. I mean, it's deeply concerning that the president of the United States is partnering essentially with strong men and dictators in a critique of the free and open media, which is a hallmark of our democratic system and our way of life.
So it's deeply, deeply concerning. The president is representing this great tradition that our country has built and fought for over centuries. As we move away from that tradition, and I think it's not just terrorism. Terrorism is a concern for everybody.
But to say that that is the organizing principle of world affairs undermines what the United States and our allies have together built particularly out of the ashes of the Second World War, which is this liberal, international world order, free trade, human rights, growing democratic systems.
And that is what has allowed big parts of the world to grow and prosper and unleash this incredible potential. If we say that the U.S. mission on the world stage is to fight terrorism, we are undermining this magnificent structure that we and our allies have built over the last 70-plus years. We are doing it at our own peril and at the world's peril.
CABRERA: I got to ask about North Korea. Gordon, obviously, you are an expert in this area. That is also expected to be a huge topic of discussion during this G20 Summit. We know the president is going to be meeting with the Japanese leader, South Korean leader later today. You heard the president saying severe things are planned. What's your take on that?
GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, there has to be severe things because we don't have very much time to figure this out. The North Koreans within a year, maybe 18 months will be able to position a nuke on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile, and hold the U.S. to ransom.
And you know, I don't think they are going to try to use the nukes to extort and blackmail South Korea and the United States. This could get very, very dangerous. We could go to the brink of war.
And you know, Trump needs to change policy because the policies we have had the last two or three decades with North Korea just have not worked. So, I think we have to do something, which is really going to be beyond imagination of say a year ago and do some pretty severe things as he says.
CABRERA: So, get specific there because you talked about the policies. The policies in the past have been sanctions, diplomacy. Are you saying that there could be a limited military option? CHANG: Well, there is a limited military option and that is to interdict North Korean ships as they take missiles on their way to places like Iran and we don't have the authority under U.N. rules to do that.
[11:15:02]But the North Koreans have given us that authority by aggravating the Korean War armistice at least three times this century. And so we have the right to sink their ships. We are not going to do that.
But we do have the right to inspect and we do have to prevent this really dangerous trade in missiles that have come from China to North Korea, and now North Korea and to places like Iran. So that is one limited military option that people have not been talking about.
CABRERA: Wouldn't North Korea still retaliate, though? Wouldn't that really open the door to a much bigger conflict?
CHANG: Well, they could retaliate, but the point is we cannot allow the North Koreans to sell nukes and missiles around the world. So you know, every solution going forward will have real cost for the United States. We've dug ourselves into position of peril.
There are no good solutions. No cost solutions. So we are going to have to run some risks. Those risks are going to be really horrific, but this is the consequence of really bad policy pursued over the course of the last three administrations.
CABRERA: A lot of administrations you point out with Democrats and Republicans. Stand by everyone, much more to discuss.
New today, we are learning how the president's inner circle is preparing him for his face-to-face meeting with Putin and why Russia is now saying it has no idea what the U.S. wants from this meeting.
Plus CNN gives you a virtual look at North Korea's new missile, including its capability to hit the U.S. mainland.
And moments from now, President Trump meets with Germany's Angela Merkel, a frequent critic of the president. Hear what she says this morning that suggests their meeting may get tense. This is CNN special live coverage. Stay with us.
CABRERA: The crowd size for President Trump in Poland, huge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Many in this crowd were bussed in from across the country by the Poland's right wing government. President Trump declaring that the fundamental question of our time is whether the west has the will to survive.
I want to bring back CNN international anchor, Hala Gorani, and also bring in CNN national security analyst and "New York Times" correspondent, Matthew Rosenberg. Matthew, President Trump, for the first time in his speech to that big crowd, confirming the U.S. commitment to NATO's Article V. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words, but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article V, the mutual defense commitment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Matthew, will that now reassure nervous allies? Matthew, can you hear me?
I can hear you. But if I'm on, all I hear is music in the background.
CABRERA: You are live with us. We just talked and heard a clip from President Trump, confirming the U.S. commitment to NATO in Article V. Does that now reassure U.S. allies?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That leaves a huge open question. Trump has, you know, in the past, has raised questions about NATO. Those questions are going to linger no matter what he says today.
There's another bigger question here, which is what's going to happen in the meeting with Vladimir Putin and how close is the U.S. going to look to be with Russia, how friendly is Trump going to be with Putin.
That, you know, will send a message to other European allies. Many fear Russia, some like Poland with large, long, historical memories, and the U.S. is willing to play ball with Putin. Really set a tone more than a simple, straight forward statement.
CABRERA: Hala, as Matt points out, it is the most anticipated meeting that is coming up with Russia's President Vladimir Putin that is expected to happen tomorrow. The kremlin this morning saying he has no understanding of what Washington wants from Moscow.
But we do expect Trump to talk about Syria and Ukraine. He talked about those in his speech there. How straight forward should the president be with Putin about America's expectations in terms of actually being effective in this conversation?
GORANI: Well, it's -- I was going to say, sorry, Matthew, it's quite telling that the Syria and Ukraine topics are the least controversial saying that the president could bring up with Vladimir Putin.
But I wouldn't discount, though, the meeting with Angela Merkel. Here is why. Angela Merkel, in May, you will remember, said Europe can no longer rely on its traditional allies essentially after the election of Donald Trump and Brexit.
Those two leaders are meeting in the next hour. There was a tense oval office, lack of handshake a few weeks ago. You will remember that. There's a development today. The E.U. has just signed a landmark free trade deal with Japan.
These are two of the world's biggest economic areas and they have just signed a big trade agreement with each other. Now, I think these summits are more and more bringing into sharp focus the idea that the E.U. could be looking beyond its traditional allies to a new world order.
And one of the leaders who has, in fact, publicly expressed that at a campaign event, Angela Merkel, and others perhaps not as publicly, are essentially keeping a very close eye on how the U.S. president, Donald Trump, is acting with regards to Russia, with regards to how the president has been seen by some of its traditional allies as lecturing them over NATO, and defense spending and the rest of it.
So these are historic times. These summits are an opportunity for us to observe them on this public stage. It will be very interesting to see how that Merkel/Trump meeting goes in a few hours.
CABRERA: Matt, the president this morning made another comment about the U.S. intelligence agencies and questioned their credibility. I'm curious if you are hearing any reaction in the intelligence community to the president's comments this morning. He even brought up Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction mistake from way back.
ROSENBERG: You know, those are the kinds of comments that make most intelligence professionals in this country bristle. The way they see it is there are in the past. This country is strong in the world. That has nothing to do with their assessment right now.
[11:25:07]And their assessment is broadly shared unlike the weapons of mass destruction that Trump keeps referring to. Those were far more questionable, far more debated topics. There's not much debate about Russia's interference in the election and attempts to interfere.
The way they see it is, this is Trump saying, well, we don't think it's a big deal. I don't want to deal with it and diminish the credibility of it. He's also been talking about, well, not all 17 intelligence agencies actually breathe. That's a bit of a dodge there, too.
The intelligence agencies that do the work, CIA, NSA, parts of the FBI, they all agree. They agree that Russia has interfered. Their assessment was rather detailed, even a public one.
And we are told the classified one is far more detailed, which Trump has obviously seen. So there is again a lot of bristle at this suggestion.
CABRERA: All right, Matthew and Hala, we have to leave it there. Thank you both. We appreciate your time. Now CNN takes a virtual look at North Korea's new missile, the one that some officials say crosses a redline. So what are the president's options and does the U.S. feel prepared for a potential conflict?
Plus the president calling out his predecessor on foreign soil about his role in Russian meddling, but are his claims about former President Obama accurate? We'll discuss.