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Spicer at Newseum Event; Spicer Apologizes Again; Trump Backing Away from Bannon; U.S. And Russian Envoys Meet; U.S. Stance on North Korea. Aired 9:30-10:00a
Aired April 12, 2017 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Make no mistake about it, I think the president showed last Thursday night that he will use decisive, justified and proportional action to right wrongs.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS: Secretary of State Tillerson is in Russia today, in Moscow, and do you know if he's going to meet with Putin and if he - has that been confirmed or not confirmed?
SPICER: I - it has not been confirmed.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Do you know if he's going to meet with Putin?
SPICER: It has not been confirmed.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I'll leave it at that then. I won't give you another (INAUDIBLE).
Assuming he were to meet with Putin, hypothetically if he were to meet with Putin, what would be his mission - what - what would be the mission? What's the message to Putin?
SPICER: Probably - I mean I think that there's going to be two folds to the - at the front of the agenda, whether or not he - you know, he's going to meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov and he will communicate the same message, which is, number one, I think there is a shared interest in defeating ISIS in the region, that we have a national security concern that should align with their national security.
And then with respect to Syria in particular, we have all been party to an international agreement on the use of possession of nuclear weapons - of chemical weapons and that Russia should live up to its obligations. Remember, Russia right now is an island. It's Russia, North Korea, Syria and Iran. That is not exactly a group of folks that you want to be associated with. Russia is, among that group, the only non-failed state. So if you're Russia, you are really isolating yourself by aligning yourself with Assad and not calling out the actions that both you and he specifically said that you would not engage in.
VAN SUSTEREN: So - but what are the consequences? I mean suppose that Putin -
SPICER: I think we had a consequence there (ph).
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, some consequence. But suppose today that Putin, should this meet occur, hypothetically, suppose Putin says, OK, I get it, no chemical weapons. But I'm going to help Assad with his barrel bombs and everything else there because I like my base in Syria and I'm going to do everything to prop this guy up. Meanwhile, Assad just, you know, continues to annihilate civilians and push refugees out of the country.
SPICER: I think, first and foremost, we have a shared interest in not only defeating ISIS but stability in the region. I think that is something that we can talk about. They're - they're - Russia is - is in Syria. I think we can all agree that defeating ISIS should be - and stability there is important.
And then I think with respect to regime change, we can't possibly see a stable, peaceful Syria in the future with Assad in charge. So we can have that discussion with them. I'm not going to - I will let the secretary of state have that discussion with his counterpart at this point. But I think we have projected our interests and concerns to Russia very clearly.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the USS Carl Vinson is steaming its way towards the coast of DPRK, North Korea. Kim Jong-un has provocative words, which he has done before, but they've had five nuclear tests and they have had multiple missile tests recently. What's the ends game on this? Are we just waiting for Saturday to see if Kim Jong-un does something, has another missile launch on the birth date of Kim Il-sung, his grandfather, or what's - what - we're - what's the program?
SPICER: I think we need to get the world community in agreement, particularly China. I mean we've - we've had very productive talks with both Japan and South Korea. But China can play a very important role. And it's something the president discussed with President Xi last week, Thursday and Friday, about, again, this is almost like Russia with ISIS. But we have a shared interest with China of making sure that we don't have a nuclear North Korea. That are -
VAN SUSTEREN: We do have a nuclear North Korea.
SPICER: Well -
VAN SUSTEREN: We do. I mean they have a nuclear weapon. They have 25 - 20,000 artillery weapons on the border at the basin of Seoul.
SPICER: They - they have - they have short and medium term missile. Again, I'm not going to get into discussion about their nuclear capability. I would just say that it is in our shared interest to not have them have the nuclear capability to fly and launch rockets with nuclear capability. And I think that the president had very productive talks with President Xi last week. And I think we need to continue to make sure that the world community stands strong with us, which they have, to make sure that we all understand the threat that North Korea poses. VAN SUSTEREN: I - I don't pretend to have the answer to North Korea at
all, but that's the same thing that we heard from President Obama before President Trump, President George Bush 43 before that, President Clinton before him. Nobody's been able to in any way deter -
SPICER: Yes, I would just -
VAN SUSTEREN: Deter North Korea and it keeps inching, inching forward.
SPICER: Yes, well, I would -
VAN SUSTEREN: What's different now?
SPICER: I would just say that I'm not - two - one is, I - I would go back to last Thursday night. We also had, you know, six-plus years of the last administration drawing red lines and saying that they weren't going to do anything. This president took very decisive action. The world community, a bipartisan domestic group here applauded the president's action. I think with North Korea, as I mentioned, the president's had very productive talks with President Xi. Those, you know, we'll see where those talks land. But I - but again, I think that -
VAN SUSTEREN: What - what could - what could China do? What - what do you foresee China doing?
SPICER: Again, I don't - and this is not a discussion that is - is one that you have in an open setting. I believe that the president and a lot of the cabinet had very productive talks with China. There is a lot of stuff that can happen diplomatically to continue to isolate North Korea and to undermine their ability to possess and launch nuclear capabilities that threaten us.
[09:35:23] VAN SUSTEREN: Will we - we have historically had very low intelligence about what's going on in this hermetically sealed organization.
SPICER: Again, and I'm not going to -
VAN SUSTEREN: But, let me just go a little bit further there, if - if China were - China's the purse for - for North Korea. If China were to cut off money it to, I think, and I don't know, it's just a guess, but I think is that - that Kim Jong-un has had no problem starving his people.
SPICER: Well, I think that China plays a both economic and political role of influence in North Korea. But we'll see. You know, again, I think this president has clearly shown both the country and the world that there's going to be a change in how the U.S. interests are pursued and we'll have to see how that shakes out.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, tax reform, are we going to get it this year?
SPICER: I feel - I know that the president and a lot of members of Congress want to do this, on two fronts.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why can't they - why aren't they doing this now? I mean, let's say, why can't that multitask?
SPICER: Well, but - well, they are multitasking. I think -
VAN SUSTEREN: Congress? Congress?
SPICER: No, no, the - but - but - I - respectfully, I don't think that's true. I mean we've actually talked about this for the last couple of weeks, the meetings that we've had internally and externally. We've met with the Ways and Means and Finance Committee and leadership. You know, it's interesting how a couple weeks ago, as we're rushing too quick on something, and then we talk about the other day on multiple occasions how we're laying out a very systematic plan to engage folks - I mean tax reform hasn't happened since 1986 and -
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not saying it's easy, not blame them, I'm just asking where are we on it?
SPICER: No, no, but - but you're asking - and I just - and I - but I think that we've been talking about this. And so I - I literally probably have been talked - asked about this multiple times in the briefing and laid out where we are in the process. We've had internal discussions. We're starting to engage with stakeholders. They've started to engage with members of Congress. But we've gone 30-plus years without comprehensive tax reform. There's a lot of people who have a lot of ideas on two fronts. One is, on the corporate side, we - we have a big problem with our corporate tax rate, maintaining and growing businesses here in the country. They are fleeing our country. And I think this president is committed through both tax reform and regulatory reform to create a better business climate that allows companies to stay here, to want to start here and to grow here. And you're seeing the progress on a lot - especially on the regulatory front. The president's made tremendous progress on the -
VAN SUSTEREN: He can do those by executive orders, though. But he -
SPICER: Yes, and he has. And it -
VAN SUSTEREN: But the comprehensive tax reform has got to get this thing up Capitol Hill to move, you know?
SPICER: Sure. I - absolutely. But I think on the regulatory reform, and I think that gets overlooked a lot, one of the things, whether it's the automotive sector, the steel sector, the coal and mining sector, and a lot of other manufacturing sectors, that we're seeing a lot of progress. Companies coming back to the United States, talking about investments they're going to make because they think the president's accomplishments and actions on regulatory reform is creating a better business climate for them to be here. But there's the other piece of this, which is the tax piece. It's going to take some months to get this done.
VAN SUSTEREN: And, believe me, I actually am more critical of Congress on this. The president just said we're going to have it and he's the leader, but Congress is the one who's - is the engine for this. The Congress has got to do this. So -
SPICER: Right. And we're engaging with them.
VAN SUSTEREN: So will be by the ends of the year, you -
SPICER: I view that as clearly our goal. And I think we've got to look at both the corporate side and then making sure that we - we really get some relief to middle class Americans.
VAN SUSTEREN: In light of the fact that by the end of the year, and it's - if there is comprehensive tax reform, that's a - there's going to be a huge revenue shift one way or another. And do you expect that the - that the - it will be effective as of the year 2017 or do you think - are we talking sort of prospectively the tax? Any idea?
SPICER: Well, that's - that's going to be part of the discussion. So to get ahead of when that reform would go into place, whether it's fiscal year 2017 or fiscal year '18, again, that's - that would be probably a part of a lot of the discussion.
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump also spoke about Steve Bannon last night and about - it appears that there's some sort of feud going on in the White House, or maybe feud's a strong word, but something between Jared Kushner and steve Bannon, at least by the president's remark. What's going on there?
SPICER: Well, I think a couple things. Number one, I think a lot of it is overblown what you see in the media. There's - the president has brought together an unbelievably talented team of successful individuals, whether it's in business, academics, government, and there's a lot of opinions but that's - frankly it's the same team in a lot of ways that had a very successful campaign. I think sometimes we see some of that spill over into public, and that's unfortunate because there's a - there's going to be on policy issues a very spirited debate. But I think that's very healthy for the president that he's not getting a monolithic group of advice that says you only should do this and here's how this is. He gets a lot of opinions and ideas and policy shifts that help guide his ultimate decision making.
[09:40:01] That's a very healthy thing. And I think that what we bring together is a lot of really talented individuals, whether it's, you know, Mick Mulvaney and his service in the Congress and his understanding of the budget process, or Steve's understanding of where the policies that the president campaigned on and how to enact them, or Jared's business acumen. There's a lot of things that are being done to help improve the government, to help enact policies that I think both keep us safer and help grow the economy. But there's obviously, you know, going to be spirited debates. I think that is a healthy way for the president to get guidance and ultimately make decisions.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does the media get in the way of the White House doing its job? I mean do you feel as - is a - I mean is this a distraction?
SPICER: In what way?
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean in terms of like, you know, we report about the feuds. I mean we're all - you know, we ask questions about those things.
SPICER: Yes, I mean -
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean - but, I mean, in many ways they're important because they're important people in the White House. We've got the - you know, the president's two top aides seemingly having disagreements and we don't know the extent of it and whether it's just an ordinary course of business, two people with two different ideologies or if it's something more.
SPICER: Well, I think from a process standpoint, whether or not someone's getting along or not getting along, or whether or not one idea is getting floated or another, it doesn't make anyone's life safer or better, right? And I think, you know, to your question, I think the more that the focus is on, what are we doing right or wrong to make the country better, to strengthen it, to make it safer is - is where I'd love to see the focus, right? Is that, you know, what are we doing on tax reform? Where is it? How are we getting done? Who's being involved in the process? What are we doing to make our country more competitive and to grow jobs? Because I think whether or not you live in California or Connecticut, your focus right now is, you know, am I doing OK? Am I able to help my family? Am I able to help my kids? Am I saving something for the future? Is my job safe? Is the business that I work for growing? Am I going to be able to get a raise? Am I able to contribute to my 401(k)? Am I - are my seat - you know, my streets safe? Is my country safe? Those are, I think, the issues that most Americans worry about and plake (ph) - you know, that concern them.
You know, what am I doing about health care premiums? How am I going to keep up? Can I actually go see a doctor anymore? My guess is that that's - whether or not you live on the East Coast or the West Coast, north or south, those are the issues that most Americans I think are waking up, not whether or not two individuals or three individuals are, you know, going back and forth in the White House. So I understand that there's always going to be a little palace intrigue, but I think that the proportion that I've seen of palace intrigue versus policy is a little out of whack.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Here's - what's your wish list? If you had your wish list about the media - I'll give you a chance - what's the - what do - what do you want? What do you want? Want do you want to change? What - how can the media improve?
SPICER: We only have a minute and 50 seconds. We'll have - I - I will - look, I - it doesn't really matter. I - in all honesty, the media's got a job to do. We've got a very robust media in this country, both right leaning conservative, left leaning and then - and so I think as long as we have a healthy and robust media, I'm fine. That's - you know, I wish more people would focus on the policy and get it right, but it is what it is. This is the beauty of living in a free country. And so while I may want a lot of things, I think what we all should want is a media that takes their time, gets the stories right, doesn't worry about being first, but rather being right.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, how much do you like the job, one to 10? SPICER: I love it. I honestly - I know that's - people - like, I - you
know the funny thing is, honest - that is probably one of the - the things that people say all the time, like, oh, you've got - I - I truly do believe it's an honor to have this job. It is a privilege. And if you don't believe it's so, then you shouldn't be here.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask about the White House Correspondent's Dinner since we only have 52 seconds left. Nobody's going. The president's not going and members of the White House aren't going. Your thoughts?
SPICER: Well, would you (ph)?
VAN SUSTEREN: Your thoughts?
SPICER: Look, I think that it's, you know, I - we're just, you know, this is not the appropriate year to go.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why?
SPICER: Because I think there's - oh, gee, let's go back to the question before that that. I don't - look, I think the relationship and the coverage that we've gotten, I don't think that we should fake it. Going to a dinner where they sit around and you pretend that everything's all hunky dory is probably not an appropriate year to be doing this. I think, though, they should go have their dinner and I know that I've - I know they've put a lot of time into it and that's great. But I don't think that just sitting there and watching a bunch of celebrities walk by is somehow a - an indication of how much you care about or respect the press or the First Amendment. I think they should have their dinner, but I think we have an - a right and the same First Amendment gives us a right to say this isn't appropriate to go and it sends the wrong signal. And if things get better, maybe we'll attend next year. But this is not the year to do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: So next year you'll go as my guest.
SPICER: I -
VAN SUSTEREN: And the time is up.
Nice to see you, Sean.
SPICER: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much. Sean Spicer.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer with a pretty revealing discussion at the Newseum.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
BERMAN: It spanned over half an hour, covered a wide range of subjects. I do think the headline is Sean's continued response to his own comments that he made yesterday at the White House briefing where he talked about Adolph Hitler and suggested that he didn't use chemical weapons against his own people. Sean, once again, apologized. He said, "this was mine to own, mine to apologize for, mine to ask forgiveness for." And he also said, I've let the president down.
[09:45:18] HARLOW: That was an major headline, that he let the president down. Also talked somewhat about what the president had said on Syria. And I thought it was interesting, John, at the end he said, you know, when she asked him, want do you want out of the media, he said, I want a media to take its time and get things right. A little bit of irony in that considering sometimes the president's tweets, that he is the one who has to defend when they don't' have any evidence.
BERMAN: Indeed. And Sean Spicer himself said something yesterday at the lectern that was wrong and offensive.
BERMAN: Joining us now, David Gergen, CNN's senior political analyst, former presidential adviser, Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator, Republican consultant, Chris Cillizza, CNN Politics editor at large and reporter, making his 9:00 a.m. debut, and CNN's senior media correspondent, host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter.
David Gergen, you know, let me start with you.
You know, Sean Spicer said things yesterday that were false and offensive, yet he's done something, which all politicians, all humans can learn from, which is to apologize, fully and completely.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Again, good for him. He manned up. He offered an abject and contrite apology, which I thought was sincere. And it's so rare from this White House. Can you remember anybody else in this White House who has actually apologized the way he has? But at the same time, as Chris pointed out, and, you know, it's out in the blogosphere now, he really blew it yesterday. You know, it - it - there's no question that he's been damaged by this. It's part of a series of things. I do think in his defense, this is a particularly hard job because every day something comes from somebody in the administration, often in tweets, that are extremely hard for him to defend and he has to go out and be a propagandist to get around it.
I mean, just think, he's got - you know, Donald Trump doubling down on Susan Rice today in the face of evidence going totally the other way. He's got Secretary Tillerson and this jaw-dropping comment, why should American taxpayers care about Ukraine? And the president's himself, just after Sean Spicer, earlier this week, you know, equated barrel bombs and chemical weapons and said, in either case, we might intervene, and he had to walk back from that. In that interview you showed earlier today, here's the president bringing up barrel bombs again right in the context of chemical weapons, as if the two are equated. And, clearly, American policy just the opposite. So he's - Sean Spicer has to earn his keep every day and often he gets banged around for it.
HARLOW: Hey, Brian Stelter, according to Jeff Zeleny's reporting from a person very close to Spicer, even though he has had this, you know, full apology, you know, no buts included, right. He said, I've let the president down.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right.
HARLOW: A person close to Spicer said, quote, "he will have to wait to see if the president thought it was effective." That's interesting.
STELTER: That's the key quote I think Zeleny is reporting is signaling what everyone in Washington, in political circles is asking. I was over at the Newseum a few minutes ago, right before Spicer took to the stage. What everybody is talking about there is, has Spicer become too much of a liability? Has he become too much of a liability for this president?
Now, on the other hand, we've been here before. This press secretary has made so many misstatements, so many mistakes, whether they're accidents or intentional, so many errors from the podium that we see them being mocked on late night TV on a regular basis. Obviously this case is extremely serious, though. It's more significant than most of those past errors, most of those past mistakes. And I think what we saw on stage just now is something I've not seen from Sean Spicer in the past 80 or 90 days, humility, a contrite tone, a subdued tone, a very respectful, you know, tone. That is very different from what we've all seen at the press briefings on a daily basis. So clearly he knows the stakes here. He knows folks at the White House and outside are asking if he's become too much of a liability.
BERMAN: You know, and, Chris, just to wrap this up, because we - there are other subjects to talk about, but humility is one thing, honesty is another. And the White House press secretary still needs to demonstrate a consistent relationship with honesty, as does this white House. I mean President Trump today saying things that aren't true. He's saying Democrats spent in this congressional election, which isn't true.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR AT LARGE AND REPORTER: Yes.
BERMAN: Democrats predicted victory. That's not true. You know, he's been talking about statements. Again, that is a different thing than humility, Chris.
CILLIZZA: Two things. One, I think there is so much misleading coming outs of the White House. And this guess back to the Trump campaign. Muslims were celebrating on New Jersey rooftops after 9/11. Ted Cruz' father was involved in the assassination of John Kennedy. There were three to 5 million illegal votes cast. I mean you only have - you only have so much time in a cable news show to go through them, but there are a lot of them.
The one thing I will say, though, John, is, I wonder if honest - in terms of Donald Trump's assessment of whether Sean Spicer is doing a good job, I'm not sure strict adherence to the facts is the number one measure that Donald Trump is taking. I think he doesn't like when someone who is a subordinate of his makes bad news for him. And this is now two days in a row, Monday and Tuesday of this week, that Sean Spicer has done just that.
[09:50:17] HARLOW: I do want to get to the Steve Bannon news because you heard Greta ask him about that. And he said, well, it's sort of palace intrigue and the media is more focused on that and it's overblown. I mean when he said overblown, I thought, hmm, "The Post" is quoting the president's own words. So let's read them to you about Steve Bannon and this call that the president gave this phone interview last night.
"I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late." By the way, that's not true. He also said, "I had already beaten all the senators and governors and I didn't know Steve. I'm my own strategist and it wasn't like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary."
Now, aside from the important fact that that statement is not completely true, Bannon was involved before the - you know, the end of campaign, Margaret Hoover to you, what does Bannon do now? I mean it's pretty clear Kushner wins out in these fights.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And there's the president of the United States clearly separating himself from the guy who has an office across from the chief of staff. The two people who are placed in the most important offices in the West Wing. And there are many people on the right especially who think that Steve Bannon deserves a lot of blame for the failures of the president's first 100 days. Remember, he spent his late career cultivating and fomenting the forces on the far right, which stumped thee health care bill, right? They gave the fuel to the Freedom Caucus and fuel to its supporters, which - at Breitbart News and others - which ultimately created failure for the president. So he is a liability for the White House on a policy issue, let alone the fact that he has said he's going to create a home for the alt-right.
HARLOW: What's (INAUDIBLE)? What's your crystal ball? I mean is Bannon out in a matter of weeks?
HOOVER: It's that - well, look, I don't read the tea leaves in the Trump White House. I don't know if you do. But this - this is not a good smoke signal.
BERMAN: When the president doesn't embrace you, the president stiff- arms you, so everyone in America can read it. That is a tea leaf that I think we can all read.
HARLOW: Although - although, do you want Steve Bannon as an enemy? That's some other interesting reporting this morning. And there are senior aides saying to Zeleny, do you really want Bannon as an enemy?
HOOVER: Or Steve Flynn or anybody else who leaves.
HOOVER: Look, the point is, does he deserve a West Wing office right next to the Oval Office? Absolutely not.
HARLOW: All right, thank you, guys, very much, David Gergen, Margaret Hoover, Brian Stelter, Chris Cillizza. Nice to have you all.
BERMAN: All right, joining us right now, we're going to shift gears and talk about some of this policy, former governor of New Mexico, ambassador to the United Nations, secretary of energy, a man who has done a great many things, Bill Richardson joins us right now.
Governor, I don't know where to begin because there's so much news today, but let's start with Syria if we can because Sean Spicer just made clear that when the president said we're not going into Syria, he was talking about ground troops. But Sean made clear that very much on the table the possibility of future air strikes. Does that make sense to you?
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: No. I think what we're seeing is a topsy-turvy, unpredictable foreign policy that changes by the day. And what needs to happen is coherence in the foreign policy team and in the policy. This is what I think the president needs to elucidate his end gate in Syria, his objective. And I think another thing that came out of this press conferences is, the secretary of state, I think, is starting to build his stature, but he doesn't talk to the press. He should be making these foreign policy statements on North Korea, on Syria, on air strikes, on red lines, along with the president, not the press secretary. I mean this man, Sean Spicer, he's got a very difficult job. I acknowledge that. But he's making policy by talking about tax reform, talking about Syria, talking about North Korea. He shouldn't be doing that. The president's economic spokesman, secretary of the treasury, the secretary of state, secretary of defense, you know, there's a vacuum, and I think the president needs to find a way to get a coherent message from his domestic and foreign policy team.
HARLOW: You know what's interesting, Governor Richardson, and you have a particularly unique view of North Korea considering you've traveled there at least eight times, worked very closely on getting some Americans released from North Korea. You're working on one current case right now. Tillerson came out recently about North Korea and just said, we're not saying anything. But then the president, in this interview with Maria Bartiromo, talked about sending an armada into North Korea, et cetera. This as North Korea is messaging that they are ready for war. What do you make of all of that and is something more dangerous about Kim Jong-un now than before?
RICHARDSON: Well, the danger is in his unpredictability. The danger is that there's a tinderbox in Asia with China making geopolitical moves, South Korea having an election coming up. And then the stakes for us is, we have 28,000 American troops in South Korea, 50 in Japan and North Korea about to launch either another missile or a nuclear test.
[09:55:02] So we need to develop a new policy toward North Korea. It seems that the latest Trump initiative is to let China do the dirty work, lean on North Korea. I think that's sensible. But I think it makes sense to spell out the region's objectives, the U.S. objectives on Syria, on North Korea. I do think the Trump foreign policy is starting to move in the right direction on Syria, on North Korea perhaps. It's been cautious, but so far so good. But it's so critical that there be a president that elucidates this policy.
The Russians, you know, they're so confused. They don't know if Tillerson speaks for the U.S. or the U.N. ambassador. They want to hear it from Donald Trump. And I think what's happened with Russia is right now this whole conflict with Russia helps the Trump administration deflect from some of the investigations in Washington. Tillerson was awarded an honor from the Russians years ago as Exxon's CEO. It's good for him to be in contentious with Russia right now. So, you know, but let's have a coherent policy. Right now the Syria and Russia policy of President Trump are the same as President Obama's, yet he criticizes Obama every second.
HARLOW: You know, it's interesting, you heard Greta van Susteren saying that to Sean Spicer, what's different about your North Korea policy than, you know, your predecessor's?
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, it's nice to have you here. Thank you.
RICHARDSON: Thank you.
HARLOW: A very busy morning. A major meeting. A four-hour meeting between Tillerson and Lavrov in Russia just wrapping up. In minutes we could hear from Tillerson, the secretary of state and his Russian counterpart. We're on it. We'll be right back.
[10:00:05] BERMAN: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.
HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow.
We are following an extraordinarily busy morning on the world stage. At any moment, the United Nations Security Council will discuss