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Trump, Putin Hold "Full-Fledged Bilateral" Meeting; Obama Laments "Absence Of American Leadership"; 40 Plus States Push Back On Request For Voter Info. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 4, 2017 - 12:30   ET



[12:30:20] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. A significant change in the president's schedule for this week's G20 Summit in Germany. The meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will be upgraded to a formal bilateral meeting instead of the initial plan for a shorter or casual conversation.

Candidates Trump voiced hopes for a more friendly relationship with Putin. But the expectations are more frosty now. One big question is whether President Trump will rebuke Putin for the Kremlin's election interference, Syria, Iran, Ukraine and now North Korea also likely topics of conversation.

CNN's Matthew Chance live in Moscow for us. Matthew, how's the Kremlin see the stakes of this big meeting?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, John, they see the stakes in this meeting as being incredibly high. This is a very important meeting for the Russians. It's the first time, of course, Trump and Putin met, and his American counterpart, and the Russians have got a lot riding on this. I mean they want first and foremost the sanctions that the United States has imposed against Russia over its actions in Crimea in Eastern Ukraine to be lifted. They want a seat at the table. They want to have a normalized relationship with the United States. But, first and foremost, they want their position. They want their rights as a nation, as they would see it, respected by the United States and its western allies over as like Ukraine, over the issue in Syria and over other theaters as well in the international arena.

And so for Vladimir Putin this is a crucial meeting, a crucial first opportunity to suppress the flesh of President Trump and get a gauge of the man in person, John.

KING: And Matthew, in the Russian media, how is Trump portrayed now let's say opposed to say four, five months ago?

CHANCE: Well, four, five months ago he was portrayed as the sort of, you know, god-sent hero of the Russian people. Though expectations was so high, that President Trump was going to be able to deliver a transformation in the relationship which has been very poor between the United States and Russia. Cooperates over NATO, meets Russia's concerns over that U.S. missile defenses, cooperated international terrorism in Syria of course because of the poisonous political environment in the United States, and allegations that have been increasing about collusion, and Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, none of that has been possible. None of this has come to pass.

And so, as a result, the expectations are much lower. While the Russians say even if there's an agreement for these two guys to meet again, that would be considered to be a success, John.

KING: Big change fascinating few days ahead. Matthew Chance live from Moscow. Matthew Chance, thank you very much.

European leaders long frustrated by Russia's behavior will be closely be watching the Trump-Putin meeting already, their alliance with the American president over climate change, trade and what they view as lectures from President Trump about migration and military spending, CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is in London with more of the Free Summit Translantic tensions. Hey Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's certainly a lot of, John, transatlantic tensions especially between the Germans and Americans. Of course one thing's that's going to take place before the summit even starts is that bilateral meeting between Angela Merkel, who in many ways, of course, is really the leading power right now in Europe, and President Trump. And she went in front of German parliament and she laid out the fact that she believes that this is going to be a very, very difficult meeting. She said, "to gloss over the disagreement would be disingenuous" that of course refers to things like climate change but trade as well.

She took one barb that many people believe were aimed at President Trump, she said, whoever believes that the world's problems can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is mistaken. That's one of the things that Angela Merkel said of course referring to the fact the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate agreement which Angela says is not going to be renegotiated and Germany is not going to back away from, and quite frankly, the rest of Europe as well. But also of course trade with Germans of course who have huge pro-free trade power.

One of the things that we expect could happen is that there could be a major free trade agreement signed between Japan and the European Union. That, of course, is something that really is contrary to a lot of the things that President Trump has been saying and some of the things the U.S. has been doing ahead of this meeting as well, John.

KING: You're fun to watch, fun week ahead. Fred, I wanted to be back in White House media would be now, Frederik Pleitgen in London, thanks very much.

And to that point, I was still learning a lot both have fashion style about this president, and the first trip including which include the NATO meeting. The Europeans didn't like it. Do you get a second chance to make a first impression? Let's get into the details of the Putin meeting and the details somebody will sum up in a second. But just more broadly, there's no question the Europeans prefer Barack Obama to Donald Trump. Donald Trump would say, so what? Donald Trump's voters would say, good. But how important is this trip for the president from the sense that whether you agree on everything or not, you need to do business?

OLIVIER KNOX, YAHOO NEWS: Pretty daunting -- pretty darn important. It's a really packed schedule. I mean as his first trip was enormously packed schedule. He's going to run into a lot of meetings where they already know what the disagreements are.

[12:35:09] The two most important ones I think are probably going to be more Putin and Shaeden than Angela Merkel but it's a high-stakes trip, again.

KING: When you mention Putin, let's get to it. Let's just go back -- we go back a little at a time when they thought the two leaders, Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump, thought perhaps they could get along, other words from our conciliatory.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Russia is ready and wants to restore the full pledge relations with the United States. I repeat, we understand this will be difficult but are ready to play our part in it.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That's called an asset not a liability.


KING: This was it, constant in the campaign that he thought, sure, we'll disagree on some things but let's get along, let's do some business, let's talk about the Iran nuclear agreement, let's deal with Syria. Now, because of what the Russian's consider poison, the election meddling, which the intelligence says absolutely happened. I guess the big question is, now that they agree that this is not a five or 10-minute pull aside. They're going to sit down with their teams have a full bilateral meeting.

Can the president of United Sates walk out of that meeting and not have looked Vladimir Putin in the eye and say, "stop it"?

MICHAEL WARREN, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes. He can. I don't know if he should. But I think this is a problem. I will say this, the White House is emphasizing that everybody's talking about this Vladimir Putin bilateral meeting, will be very sort of formal in this sort of things. What's more important according to the White House is what happens the day before. In Warsaw right next door to Russia with a speech that the president is giving to Warsaw invited by the ruling party there.

And I actually agree that that's more important, because of what that substance of that speech is going to be. And we don't know that for sure, but if this is a speech that sort of plays to that ruling party's to the of sense of nationalism and identity, that's something that's very sort of ideologically in line with Putin's view of Europe, that's going to anger western European leaders who are looking for a more globalize ideology from the United States, so that see President Trump go to Warsaw and if he gives a speech that pleases Putin, that seems to me might have some more impact on this sort of broad relationships.

JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST: And Trump is the third president to have a rude awakening by Vladimir Putin. You remember -- I mean we all remember looking to George Bush looked into Putin's eyes, and saw his soul. The Russian reset and now this. This is certainly not the first White House to go in with one image of Vladimir Putin and to come out on the other, or you know, the two actually be hit with the reality that this is not necessarily someone who's going to be a straight shooter. And it's something that -- I'm sure the White House is working on right now in terms of this meeting preparing the president for.

KING: And someone who doesn't share your interests in Syria, some who doesn't --


KING: -- share your interests when it comes most likely to the Iran nuclear deal that was more debatable. Who's playing a game of chess with you right now when it comes to North Korea. So the Putin one is complicated. Also you see -- we mentioned President Xi earlier, President Trump had a first initial meeting with President Xi was quite happy with that.

He had a first initial meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May of Great Britain that he's quite happy with it. In both of those cases the relationship has deteriorated, so my question to the president goes to a big meeting, 19 other world leaders there.

A couple of when we thought (INAUDIBLE) was building good friendship but instead listen to this some sampling, especially from the Europeans here. They are openly skeptical now from the American president.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: If he's asking me whether I had advance notice of a ban on refugees, the answer is no. We believe it is divisive and wrong.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I am convinced that protectionism cannot be the solution. It harms everyone involved and that's why we need open markets.

PRES. EMMANUEL MACRON, FRANCE: Whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility; make our planet great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: And if your significant brand is "American First", maybe you say, amen. But if you're Donald Trump and your signature legacy of your life is make a deal, you're heading into a strong headwind to your people who don't trust you and aren't sure what to make of you.

SARAH WESTWOOD, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well I mean President Trump's world view was always fundamentally at odds with the world view of people like Angela Merkel, like Emmanuel Macron. There was never going to be a lot of symbiosis between the two, just because, you know, on one side, on the Western Europeans they want this you know more globalize society. President Trump at his heart what's a nationalist protectionist society. So there was never going to be a lot of clicking between the two leaders.

And obviously tensions are a little bit enflamed right now because of the proximity of this meeting to the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and because, you know, there were some feathers that were ruffled the first time he was over Europe for the G7.

But some of President Trump's pressure on Europeans are working. I mean, think of, you know, his performance at the NATO Summit criticized a little but NATO member states are stepping up their defense contributions.

[12:40:07] So, from the standpoint of President Trump and his supporters some of those tactics are very controversial are working towards the end that he set up.

WARREN: And this is a two-way street. Remember, I mean, let's go back to that baaing to the G7 meeting. What did Angela Merkel do? She invited President Obama to that big sort of Lutheran Christian Democratic confab. Basically a slap in the face to President Trump while he was there. So, you know, for all the talk about Donald Trump sort of being alone here, it is a two-way street with the western European leaders after realizing this is the American president they have to deal with.

KING: Absolutely. They're politicians too. And they're playing to their bases at home.

WARREN: That's right.

KING: This is -- everybody involved here. There's not just one politician involved here.

KNOX: That's exactly where I was going to take this. There was that big poll by the non-partisan pew center that found the -- there was a deterioration in the image of the United States in a lot of countries except Russia and Israel. I think those are the two exceptions. They're politicians they got to evaluate where are the cost -- what's the cost benefit of taking on Donald Trump and how do I take him on.

Look at Emmanuel Macron really interesting. He made a big deal out of confronting the American president in their first meeting at the G7. Now his invited him to Bastille Day. What's he doing? I'm not sure yet, but they are politicians. They're making the same calculations. KING: He's leaving himself options.

KNOX: Yes.

KING: I think that's it. Which is interesting.

KNOX: He's uniting status.

KING: Here we go. That's a great way to put it.

Up next, the 44th President of the United States is also traveling the world and delivering some not so kind words about the 45th. And as we go to break, remember, it's Independence Day here in the United States. Let's take a peek of Lady Liberty. Beautiful day.


[12:45:03] KING: The 44th president of the United States was also out on the world stage this weekend as we traveled Asia, Barack Obama not shy about criticizing the man who succeeded him.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: In Paris we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change. And that agreement, even with the temporary absence of American leadership was still be a critical factor in helping our children solve this enormous challenge to humanity.


KING: That was Monday in South Korea. Over the weekend in Indonesia, there was this.


OBAMA: Right now we're seeing the rise of a different kind of politics, but I don't believe that the future favors strong men. I believe the future favors those who believe in tolerance, who believe in an international order based on rule of law who believe on principles and human rights and individual freedoms.


KING: Now he could have been referring to leaders in the region. He could have been referring to China. But one thinks there he was also referring to the 45th President of the United States. Good form, bad form doesn't matter?

KUCINICH: It's certainly unusual. It's certainly unusual.


KUCINICH: Because usually there is this very long-standing tradition of the President who leaves office not really commenting on what the current president is doing. And because they do share a bond whether or not they agree on anything that very few living people in this country have.

WARREN: I think its bad form because, you're right. It is an ambiguous statement he is making here. Look, if this is something that needs to be said, he ought to be unambiguous about it. And if he is criticizing the President in foreign countries in front of leaders who have, I would argue much more, much worse on records or in regions where there are much worse human rights issues and problems with democracy.

I mean there used to be the old phrase, right, that all of these politics stop at our shores. You can complain all you want about what the pres -- President Trump is doing to hurt alliances and hurt our standing in the world. But this doesn't really help either.

KING: That mean you can get it. And again whether you're a Trump supporter or Obama supporter you can understand his peak in the sense that if you are Obama, Paris climate change was one of yours. If you are Obama, that thing called Obamacare was one of yours. And this president, he said he was going to do it in the election. Should not be surprise to anybody by Donald Trump trying to run back the tape and rewind much of the Obama legacy.

It's just interesting though, just the -- President Obama knows the schedule. He knows President Trump is about to go back on the world stage. He knows the reception President Trump that was first trip to Europe. And he's out there knowing he's going to get attention when he says those things.

WESTWOOD: Right. And this is setting of a president very recently after his presidency ended not, you know, not waiting a couple of years, taking on a public role and it's a partisan role. Now even president whose have had public personas after they've left office like Bill Clinton did so in a non-partisan way. Focused on charity, focused on, you know...

WARREN: Disaster relief.

WESTWOOD: Right. And things that were non-partisan. President Obama --

KING: George W. Bush spent a lot of time with veterans.

WESTWOOD: Right. But President Obama is public persona since living office has been one that is partisan commenting on the health care law, commenting on the travel ban. And not something that, you know, bigger than politics.

KING: You mention this poll that was (INAUDIBLE) before you jump in. I just put numbers up on the screen. Pew did a survey. Essentially Barack Obama versus Donald Trump. Who do you trust to dot right thing? And if you notice in Germany, in Canada, in the U.K, in Japan, negatives for President Trump. People trust Obama much more. And you mention Israel and Russia to the numbers go off the charts. Are you surprised?

KNOX: Yes. And the reason -- again, this isn't -- it's not that we care in the abstract how people feel about us in Hamburg or in Paris, is that it makes it harder on Democratic elected leaders to make bargains, to make tough choices. If look -- if they survey their political landscape and say, wow, if I make a deal with Donald Trump I could be in real trouble either in the next parliamentary election or the next presidential election.

KING: It was supposed to be so different. I just want to go back to the very beginning, Super Bowl Sunday. Donald Trump sits down with Bill O'Reilly and --


TRUMP: It's a very strange phenomenon. We get along. I don't know if he'll admit this, but he likes me.

BILL O'REILLY, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: How do you know he likes you?

TRUMP: I like him, because i can feel it.


KING: What happened?

WESTWOOD: Life's an interesting thing.

WARREN: Yes. I have a feeling that --

KING: Politely put on Independence Day.

WARREN: Exactly. Yes. I have a feeling that that may be -- was then maybe the president -- future president was stretching the truth a little bit there. Look, I mean there is a sort of personal animosity going on here, too because what did President Trump, how did he really get into politics was sort of alleging or suggesting perhaps President Obama was not born in the United States that there has to be bad blood there.

KING: Yes.

KNOX: But they also blames the Obama administration propose who still in government for propagating these stories about alleged collusion regression.

WESTWOOD: They said Obama is wiretapped him.

KNOX: And this -- it needs -- hard to over say how the White House views all those as an effort to make him -- make Donald Trump illegitimate undermine his presidency. So, if he's blaming Obama loyalists for this stuff, you figure that, the hostility trickles up.

[12:50:10] KING: Trickles that's if trickle. Trickle-up hostility. That's a new term for Washington.

Up next the heats keeps coming from state tying to Trump, White House it's request for voter records is out of bounds. And 4th of July parade, right here. Middle America, Waukesha, Wisconsin. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Outside of American landmark, this iconic Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois, Happy Independence Day. The people of Chicago, they are already world champ -- series champs and now they get to celebrate Independence Day, beautiful place. Second only to Fenway, sorry a little credit.

The voter fraud commission board from an evidence-free tweet, now struggling to gather evidence. The Trump administration has asked States to hand over private voter information. They want the basic outline of your life in a file, name, address, date of birth, plus four digits of your Social Security Number, military status, if you live overseas, the party affiliation you might have. It's a big ask. Too big of an asked for an overwhelming number of states.

The CNN inquiry has found so far 44 states say they cannot or will not comply with the Commission's for request. One reason --


MAGGI TOULOUSE OLIVER, NEW MEXICO SECRETARY OF STATE: It's actually causing fear and concern among voters. Folks have called my office to say, I'm not sure I want to be registered to vote anymore if you're going to be providing my name to the White House.


KING: This thing isn't getting off the ground. Number one, there's been a lot of criticism. But the president tweeting out one of their initial reaction came in for about 20 states. "Numerous states refusing to give information to the very distinguished voter fraud panel. What are they trying to hide?" If you haven't followed this at home, this is borne of the president's idea that he lost the popular vote because 3 to 5 million undocumented voted illegally in the election. That's why he lost the popular vote. There's no evidence of that. There maybe some problems with the registration policy around the country but there's no evidence of mass fraud like that. What becomes of this?

[12:55:09] KUCINICH: Interstate laws is said, some of these states can't give over some of this information. So, short of changing --

KING: Do you think a presidential commission should have known that before they asked for the information?

KUCINICH: You think. You think but I also wouldn't underestimate -- that they also underestimated the importance states really place on how they conduct elections. That is a point of pride for many, many states. So that, in addition, to the fact that there are laws blocking this.

WARREN: Well, let me -- when you stipulate that the sort of existence of this commission is essentially built on silliness. There's no reason to have this commission. But that being said, I think we should, you know, exercise some skepticism of all of these, you know, secretaries of state, they are now on national television getting to tell the Federal Government off about asking for information. This is a sort of longstanding going back 200 years of states versus the federal government, and they like this.

So, I'm not sure about exactly how much of this information is available. But you talk to people and who have, you know, who run political campaigns, a lot of this information, you can buy. You can purchase. I don't know about the Social Security Numbers, but names, addresses, there are political campaigns have this information. And so I do want to add a little bit skepticism to the claim that this is something sort of unconscionable, stipulated, course of the whole point of this -- which is ridiculous.

KNOX: Which is quickly is there a lot of secretary of state resent this because they are, no, no I ran my election just fine every 2016. Why do you -- don't butt in, there's no evidence of any problem here.

KING: That's adding to the resistance like that. That they're being told they don't know how to run their job in their state but to your point, some of them also want to run for governor some day.

Thanks for joining us the Inside Politics. Happy Independence Day. Please be safe, enjoy yourself back there. Spend your time with friends and family.

Brianna Keilar in the chair after a quick break.