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President Trump Attacks CNN Through Tweet; President Trump Finally Met President Putin; No Negotiations with North Korea Could Lead to Nuclear Catastrophe; Interview with Bill Richardson; The Fight for Charlie Gard's Life; Trump and China's Xi Meet Amid North Korea Threat. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 8, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Allison, thank you. We're pulling for you, friend out in Phoenix.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00 eastern for an hour of "NEWSROOM."
PAUL: Yes. Don't go anywhere. SMERCONISH is with you right now.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
So, President Trump finally met President Putin, but what exactly happened? That depends on who you ask.
Secretary of State Tillerson reported that President Trump confronted Putin with a lengthy and robust discussion about the U.S. election hack.
Russia's foreign minister said Putin denied those assertions and that Trump accepted his denial. Where does this leave us?
And, President Trump talking tough as North Korea launches yet another missile, I'll talk to former U.N. ambassador and Governor Bill Richardson about why he thinks the Trump administration should speak directly to Kim Jong-un.
Plus, a look at the heart breaking battle between the parents of this 11 month old baby with a rare disease and the London hospital that wants to take him off of life support.
But, first President Trump just announced, that after the G20, he's headed to London which is where I visited last week when I was off.
Whenever I travel abroad, I try to err on the side of offering too many yes, please, and thank-yous. I wouldn't wear a t-shirt if my itinerary included a historical church or temple or mosque and if I'm confused as to whether their gratuity is included, I make sure to leave some kind of tip.
If the local language is something other than English, I'll make the effort to say good morning or good evening in the native tongue. I'm ever mindful that whenever I'm beyond my natural borders, I'm a representative of the United States, albeit just one of more than 300 million without portfolio.
Still, I try to do my small part to dispel the image, the false stereotype of the ugly American. Think Ryan Lochte at last summer's Olympics.
But last week, in London, all my efforts seemed an exercise in futility. No amount of person-to-person encounters, this summer travel season, can offset the recent actions of our President.
Prior to my departure, the President sent a vulgar tweet commenting on a female cable news host's plastic surgery. By the time that I land overseas, he'd tweeted an internet meme which showed him body slamming CNN.
His impulsivity, apparently, wasn't slowed by the fact that the meme originated on Reddit, via someone whose online identity is HanAssholeSolo nor was the President deterred by this individual's prior listing of CNN personalities next to Stars of David, an anti- Semitic suggestion of over representation in the media.
After CNN reporters identified and tracked down Han, he apologized but the President has not. President Trump's behavior transcends our borders and it's often embarrassing.
The news now from within England, it's all about Wimbledon. Meanwhile, President Trump's hateful tweets were the story from America and the source of befuddlement for several Brits with whom I spoke including during a visit to Borough Market, the scene of a bloody attack on June 3rd by three radical Islamists who killed eight people.
My London hotel room television, it had many offerings that were global in reach, various BBC channels, Russia Today, and Al Jazeera to name a few.
As has often been my experience when traveling abroad, amongst the American cable offerings, only CNN was available. No Fox News, at least not the American version, and no MSNBC.
CNN "International" is the only one with a global footprint, a point perhaps not considered by the President when circulating the image of himself body slamming the network logo. When the President attacks CNN, he's trying to pillory a new source that's viewed and respected worldwide, including by foreign leaders.
By the time I landed in Philadelphia, North Korea was claiming to have tested an intercontinental ballistic missile and President Trump was seeking global partners to do something about Kim Jong-un. Too bad those leaders had already themselves seen his recent video.
So did President Trump, quote, press Vladimir Putin about interfering in the U.S. election or did Putin simply debunk the charge and move on? That's the biggest lingering question about the two hours plus meeting between Trump and the Russian President Friday afternoon. Here's how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the interaction to reporters in an off-camera briefing after the meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The President opened the meeting now with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.
You know, they had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement as I think he has in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: However, his Russian counterpart, who was the only other person in the room, told him a very different story. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, quote, President Trump said he's heard Putin's very clear statements that this is not true and that the Russian government didn't interfere in the elections and that he accepts these statements. That's all.
Just the day before, President Trump had equivocated as to whether Russia was behind the 2016 hacking. So, where does that leave the fraught relationship?
Joining me now to discuss is Alyona Minkovski, former anchor for RT, the Russian state news channel, and Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to candidate Donald Trump and a central figure in the investigation into Russian meddling in the election.
He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Carter, were you surprised? Were you disappointed that President Trump brought up the subject of meddling to President Putin given that you've been dismissive of those allegations in the past?
CARTER PAGE, FORMER FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR TO DONALD TRUMP: Not surprised, Michael, but I think you have to ask the question -- but there's nothing -- there's no -- you know, it was in the intel report, so, it completely faked Intel report from January 6 done for political purposes, et cetera.
So, I guess, you have to ask the question but I'm wondering whether they -- you know, President Putin asked something about the fake allegations that were made against one of his leading business leaders, Mr. Sechin, who I was falsely accused by the intel community or in this unverified dossier.
So, it will be -- it's interesting and we'll see how that plays out but -- and, again, all of these -- all these falsehoods will be resolved in time. So, when further disclosure got --
SMERCONISH: Right. But, Alyona, the President didn't treat it like it was a falsehood. I mean, he said what he said in Poland but by the time that he gets to Hamburg and meets with Vladimir Putin, now, he's treating it as if it's the real deal. Explain that disconnect to me and where you think this is going. ALYONA MINKOVSKI, LEAD POLITICAL HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: I wish I could
explain it all to you but, honestly, I was surprised myself that President Trump even brought this up because what's the benefit to him of bringing it up?
He has been very inconsistent on the issue either calling it a hoax or the other day at a press conference when asked by Howie Jackson, he said, yes, I think, Russia did it but, probably, it was other people too.
And so, because he hasn't taken a consistent stance on it, it just -- it makes it very hard to follow where exactly the President stands and no matter what he does, he's going to be continuously criticized here at home just because of the current political dynamics and, so, I don't think that anything that he could've said or done would've been forceful enough about it and, of course, Vladimir Putin is going to keep denying it.
That has been his position and why wouldn't he? There is absolute no incentive for the Russian government to change their tune on where they stand about election meddling and hacking.
SMERCONISH: Alyona, in advance of this meeting, you had written and said these are two individuals who have big egos. These are two men who like to win. I want to show a brief snippet of the greeting between the two and have you read the tea leaves.
Go ahead and roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening, for Russia and for the United States and for everybody concerned and it's an honor to be with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: How do you read it? What's the body language between the two?
MINKOVSKI: I think, so much of politics is optics and so it makes sense that both of these leaders are going to try to portray a very positive and a very firm and strong type of position but, I also think that optics don't tell us much, right?
Optics are just what we resort to or what we lean back on in the lack of more concrete results and concrete information and, so, I think, that Vladimir Putin probably went into this meeting knowing that he wasn't going to get very much out of it.
What Russia really wants is for sanctions to be lifted and given what's happening here in the United States, that's a nonstarter because congress is trying to make it so that the President's hands are tied on that issue.
And, so, the same thing for Donald Trump, he knows that he is going in with not all that much to give. The two, obviously, are looking at issues like Syria, Ukraine. They didn't actually discuss North Korea but areas in which the two countries need to cooperate on an international level.
But otherwise, I think both had to go in with lowered expectations and, so, it ends up being all about body language, right, and just how it looks rather than what we actually get out of it.
SMERCONISH: Carter, this is what you've been waiting for. I mean, if I understand your world view, it is one of the U.S. being trapped in this cold war prism, unwilling to think outside the box and regard Putin as a potential ally and not an enemy. How did you read what you just saw?
PAGE: I -- it was one of the greatest moments in U.S. diplomatic history. The strength that --
PAGE: Well, the bravery that he showed going up against this fake Intel report and all of the, you know, political shenanigans that drove this investigation from the very beginning, a year ago this month.
So it's -- he showed an amazing bravery. If President Kennedy had had the same approach in the Bay of Pigs invasion when he's given this stupid idea by the Intel community and is told to run with it with his first six months of the -- of his administration, things would have turned out much better for him and President Trump had great judgment and really it's great that they actually got to talk about Syria as opposed to this fake story that was brought up in his lap.
SMERCONISH: But Carter, he's not -- he wasn't confronting what you regard as fake information. He was acknowledging the veracity of that information. Otherwise, why would he have even raised it with Putin?
PAGE: Well, you've got to raise the -- you know, yes, I guess, you have to raise the question because, you know, I think, as Secretary Tillerson's comments reflected, you know, some people in America are concerned about it because they were they were misled.
And, you know, you talked about the ugly American in your intro, Michael. Really, a lot of this ugly American's phenomenon, right now, has been driven by these falsehoods and I, actually, don't blame the media.
This is really -- you know, the media has been just kind of following up on lies that they were told by political operatives, both from the Clinton campaign and the people they were colluding with in the Obama administration.
So, let's -- you know, eventually as the truth is finally told and disclosed, you know, with my FISA warrant, through the freedom of information act, there's going to be a great renaissance in media government relations. You watch.
SMERCONISH: Alyona -- I think, respectfully --
MINKOVSKI: Just -- if I may, this makes one little point.
SMERCONISH: I think, respectfully, that what this presents is the contradiction that we just saw between the President on Thursday and the President on Friday.
He's trying to have it both ways insofar as one day he equivocates, might have been Russia, might not have been Russia, might've been somebody else and then in his very first meeting with Vladimir Putin, the very first thing that he raises is the meddling in the U.S. election. Unravel that.
Raising the question. Yes.
MINKOVSKI: Well, I first want to make a point about this ugly American notion. I think, probably, Carter, that the fact that we have a President who doesn't respect women and makes demeaning comments about them.
A President who makes demeaning comments about immigrants, their contribution to the society and who maligns them, that probably has something to do with the notion of an ugly American, too, because it goes against the values that we claim to be pushing all over the world.
You know, these values of freedom and liberty and respect for human rights and other people. I just want to make that point.
But yes, it's very hard to you keep track of President Trump and where he stands on certain issues and that's always been the case and that's why I think that also, you know, from just a Russian perspective, we saw that there was a lot of excitement right after Donald Trump was elected.
But now, those expectations have all been lowered because they've realized, a, that he is unpredictable and, kind of, flip flops on positions that he's taken.
And also, again, I keep mentioning the current political dynamics at home but those are a real issue, not something that's being reported in the Russian press too and, so, all of those expectations have now been lowered and, as well as the rest of the world, you know.
Just to even look at the positions the United States has taken on the Paris Climate Accord and the Trump administration pulling us out of it.
Again, to me, that is part of being an ugly American. If we're not going to care about the future of the planet and its sustainability and that's another thing where people feel like they can no longer depend on the United States to be consistent because of President Donald Trump.
SMERCONISH: Respond to that, Carter. PAGE: Well, you know, it's interesting, the cover story of the "New
York Times" today, once dominant U.S. is now isolated at the G20. It's completely the opposite.
The -- you look at -- you talk about dominant -- domination -- the dominatrix approach that they were suggesting with this Intel collaboration between the Clinton associates and the Obama administration, that's the real meddling in the election and, I think, that is really what a lot of people don't like.
The Intel community -- again, going back to the Kennedy example, going back to the original Dodgy Dossier in 2003 leading us into the Iraq war. Just time after time these really dominatrix type approaches.
And the American public voted against that, just like they voted against it in 2008 with Barack Obama, when he came out against the Iraq war and was going to make some changes there.
The difference with President Trump is that he has a solid plan, an incredibly solid team and he's going to make it happen. I'm counting on that.
MINKOVSKI: You didn't actually address any of the points that I made about American values, Carter. Yes, the intelligence community and its not-so-stellar track record is certainly something to be considered.
As well as American foreign policy, the de-stabilization that it's caused, especially in the Middle East, but what about all the other points?
PAGE: Well, exactly those points.
SMERCONISH: Alyona --
SMERCONISH: Carter, take 15 seconds and then I've got to wrap. The final word is yours. Go ahead.
PAGE: Well, the domination which they've done is really what concerns people. I -- similarly with you, Michael. I live most of the -- spend most of my time in London. At least until recently.
And, you know, the people are concerned about the problems with U.S. foreign policy and I think some of the chaos that it's created around the world. So we shall see.
SMERCONISH: Alyona Minkovski, thank you. Carter Page, appreciate you being here.
What are your thoughts at home? Tweet me @smerconish. Visit my Facebook page and I'll read some throughout of the course of the program.
What do you got Katherine? Smerconish, you either trust Russia or you don't. You are saying Tillerson is telling a lie. Hey, Max, what happened to Ronald Reagan's trust but verify?
Give me another one, please. Smerconish, the President takes the word of a murdering thug about the 2016 election, but rejects his own intel community. Yes, Michael, I am struck by the fact that all our senior leaders regard Putin through their words as a thug or a murderer. Republican and democratic.
And then you've got that image of the President saying, you know, it's an absolute honor to meet you. There's a disconnect there somewhere.
One more if we have time. Our daughter was just abroad -- this is from Facebook. You're right after decades of trying to rid Americans of being known as the ugly Americans, we are now just that.
Tani, I'm on my best behavior when I'm outside of my house in a foreign country. And I just -- I was moved by the fact that I'm minding my Ps and Qs, and trying err on the side of appropriateness. And yet, the news from home, it was unsettling.
Up next, North Korea launched another missile on Tuesday, leading President Trump to warn that North Korea could face some pretty severe consequences. Several experts on North Korea have signed a letter encouraging the Trump administration to have direct negotiations with Kim Jong-un.
One of those signatories, former U.N. Ambassador and New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson, has himself negotiated with North Korea and he's here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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, but I have some pretty severe things we're thinking about.
SMERCONISH: Unless President Trump sits down for face-to-face negotiations with North Korean President, Kim Jong-un, he's facing a, quote unquote, nuclear catastrophe. That's the headline of this letter, sent to the President by a half dozen experts with decades of involvement with that country.
It reads in part, show good faith and jumpstart talks. The United States could send a high level presidential envoy to North Korea. Washington should make clear that the United States does not have hostile intentions toward North Korea and wants to explore peaceful paths forward.
Now, the signers include a number of heavyweights, Diplomat Robert Gallucci. Nuclear scientist, Siegfried Hecker. U.S. Senator Richard Lugar.
Former Defense Secretary William Perry. Former Secretary of State George Shultz and my next guest, former U.N. Ambassador and New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson.
Governor, why do you endorse that strategy? Why do you think there might be something to gain from direct communications with Kim Jong- un?
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: I've negotiated with the North Koreans for the last 15 years. I've been there eight times. They want to be seen as an equal power to the United States.
They may not be, but they don't want inner (INAUDIBLE) like China, like the Six-party talks. They always want to be sort of the big guy in the region.
Now, I admit that diplomacy is the best of a bunch of bad options. Especially right now after the North Koreans mistreated that kid, Otto Warmbier. I was involved in that and trying to get him home and he ends up with a coma, and without an explanation from the North Koreans.
I agree, Michael, with the Secretary of Defense. A preemptive military strike is catastrophic. Those were the words he used. You don't want this kind of outcome.
And in between what we've tried before, sanctions, increased sanctions, putting pressure on China, cyber efforts to degrade their nuclear capabilities, a lot of those options have not worked. But I think we have to continue towards a pace that eventually involves diplomacy. I think that's the only way out.
SMERCONISH: Is there more here than meets the eye? I mean, to my untrained eye, from the sidelines, it looks like we have no conversation at the level you are advocating. In fact, are there overtures that get made from the United States to the North Koreans, and vice versa, that the public wouldn't be made aware of?
RICHARDSON: Well, I'm not an insider in the Trump administration. You know, they don't talk to me.
RICHARDSON: But I expect there are at the state department, mid-level with the U.N. representatives the North Koreans have. That did successfully. At least we got Otto Warmbier back home to his parents.
But I think this is a role that the Chinese can play. I saw the European Union. Maybe they can be mediators. We need new mediation there, Michael.
I mean, right now, I don't think there's any direct high level contact for sure. Maybe lower level, but this is an area where the Chinese can help us. But they don't want to help us. They want turmoil in the region for us.
They're doing as little as possible. Russia, too. The United Nations, Russia and China -- I was the U.N. Ambassador -- just teamed up to block some serious sanctions that involve Chinese banks that would really squeeze the North Korean leadership.
So, you know, the prospects are not great for any kind of lessening of tensions in the short term. But I think there is a strategy. There should be a strategy short term and long term. And I'll be glad to outline it if we get to that.
SMERCONISH: I'm curious as to how much we really know about Kim Jong- un. And I thought my colleague, Fareed Zakaria, wrote something interesting for "The Washington Post." I just want to quote a paragraph or two for you, Governor.
TEXT: We think North Korea is crazy. What if we're wrong?
SMERCONISH: He said in Washington, there's a conventional wisdom on North Korea that spans both parties and much of elite opinion, and it goes roughly like this. North Korea is the world's most bizarre country run by a crack pot dictator with a strange haircut.
He's unpredictable and irrational and cannot be negotiated with. Eventually, this weird and cool regime will collapse. Meanwhile, the only solution is more and more pressure. But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong?
Perhaps the right way to look at North Korea is as a smart, rational, calculated government that is functioning shrewdly, given its priority of regime survival. More pressure only strengthens its resolve to buy even more insurance. How to handle it under these circumstances?
Does Fareed have a point?
RICHARDSON: He has a partial point, but I believe that they're somewhere in between a potential right answer. And that's where I think it is. One, he wants to keep his nuclear arsenal. He doesn't want to be another Iraq, Iran, Libya that gives it up because he thinks that weakens those countries.
Secondly, he desperately wants to stay in power. We can see how he treats his political opponents. He kills them. He goes after his own family.
So for some reason, he is still not sure of his legitimacy and leadership even though it appears he has substantial support from the military, from the party. Third, he is unpredictable.
He is somebody that you -- nobody knows what makes him tick. The Chinese don't know. I mean, he snubs the Chinese. Look, you know, Dennis Rodman is the only American that's ever talked to him.
And my view is that there has to be an end game that he has. He can't just continue these efforts. I think he knows that he would be massively defeated by the United States, but he must want something and his big card is his nuclear and missile capability.
And in the end, I think like his father, like his grandfather, he's going to say OK, I'm the big player in the world stage, this is what I want. But I think there's got to be more sustained pressure for him to reach that point.
SMERCONISH: Final question. Can any amount of sanctions make an impact? When I hear the word sanctions -- pardon me for an animal house reference -- I think of Dean Wormer putting the house on double secret probation. How many times are going to try that before we realize it doesn't make an impact on this guy?
RICHARDSON: The only sanction that might have a little bit of bite, George Bush put it on the North Koreans, but it was taken off when we all started to negotiate. That is the sanction on Chinese banks that launder money into North Korea, that gets to the North Korean leadership.
You need the U.N. to get those done. And Russia and China would probably veto them. In other words, some sanctions on Chinese banks that do business with North Korea. After all, 80 percent of the commerce that goes into North Korea comes from China.
China gives them food. China gives them economic assistance, coal. Gives them natural gas, energy. So China has that leverage.
Something that basically also says to China, OK, if you don't put some real sanctions on, China, we're going to sanction you.
[09:30:10] Now there are going to be cost to that because China is a big player commercially, trade wise, especially in the region. So I think, you know, I'll give credit to the president. He talked about, well, we're not going to list you as a currency manipulator. We're going to maybe put some steel sanctions if you don't help us.
I think you've got to really put a little bite on the Chinese and we haven't really done that yet. That's our best hope. A lot of --
SMERCONISH: Governor Richardson --
RICHARDSON: A lot of bad options. Yes.
SMERCONISH: Thank you for being here, Governor. I appreciate it.
RICHARDSON: Thank you. Thank you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts at home? Let's see what you're tweeting and posting on my Facebook page.
Katherine, what do we got? "If we grant Kim the honor of Trump hosting him at the White House, we merely make him even bolder. He's desperate to be a global player."
Christine, I think what they're saying is send a presidential level envoy. Not necessarily the president going there. This is not Nixon going to China or having Kim here in the United States. But let him see some level of a sign of respect.
One more if we have it from Facebook. Let's see. "Kim may be nuts, but we need to do something." Jessie Timberlake, yes. Agreed on that. What that might be, I don't know. Up next, an 11-month-old baby in the U.K. has gotten worldwide
attention. Should his parents have the right to keep him on life support or should the courts rule on his behalf?
[09:35:48] SMERCONISH: A twist in the heartbreaking case of 11-month- old Charlie Gard Friday when a London hospital decided to revisit its decision to remove the infant from life support. But the case is far from resolved and I find myself wrestling with this question. Who should be responsible for the final decisions regarding his medical care? His parents or his physicians?
Charlie suffers from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, MDDS. The condition causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. There are only about a dozen kids in the world who are known to have it. He's brain damaged and according to both the lower court and the high court ruling in this case, still suffering pain. He breathes with the benefit of a mechanical ventilator and the disease is draining energy from his body's organs and muscles.
His parents want to keep him alive by any means necessary but the hospital had decided that his condition had deteriorated to the point where he was not going to benefit from any further efforts. When I first learned of this case, and I read in just superficially on the facts, I said to myself this really is a death panel and how outrageous that any court or any third party would step in, and make a decision for this young man and his family where the parents so desperately want to pursue alternative medical treatments.
And then I learned more and I thought more about it and I concluded that it's just not so simple. Charlie's 11 months old. The British system necessitates that his interests be represented independently of those of his parents. Think about it. What if the reverse were true, that the parents wanted no treatment? We've had cases like this in the United States.
In fact right here in my hometown of Philadelphia. In 2014 a mother and father who believe in faith healing were sent to jail after causing the death of their young sick child by refusing to take him to the doctor and they already had another child die under their care.
So what if Charlie were suffering from a medical condition for which there was treatment and his parents because of a religious conviction or some other rational didn't want to have that treatment offered? We'd all be saying don't listen to those parents. Protect him.
As much as it breaks my heart for these parents in this particular case, I think I do understand the rational which says that there needs to be an informed medical opinion that determines the outcome of this case that has Charlie Gard's best interest at heart regardless of what the wishes of the parents might be.
I know it sounds harsh. I pray for him and I'm happy that he's been given a reprieve. But the Brits have the right idea. And in the end, medical science, not emotion, needs to best protect Charlie's interests.
Up next, what are the legal ins and outs about the Charlie Gard case? I will talk to two legal eagles, Areva Martin is here, so too our own Danny Cevallos.
[09:42:50] SMERCONISH: So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my Facebook page and Twitter file are being overwhelmed with so many of you making comments about what I just said about the 11-month-old Charlie Gard and this fight between his parents and the London hospital as to whether he should stay on life support.
Show me some of what we've got, as a matter of fact, Katherine. Can you put something up there right now?
"Smerconish, it's so absurd that the court gets to decide what the parents could do with the baby even when Trump and the Pope offered help."
But, Kevin, that was my gut reaction as well. But then you say well, what if parents were making an irrational decision? If the parents were refusing treatment, like the case that I described in Philadelphia where a family lost two of their children, we'd all be saying somebody do something. Let the court intervene for crying out loud. So maybe the reverse needs to be true. If, in fact, the infant is feeling pain. I mean, that's one of the things that I evaluate.
Time for one more before I welcome my guests. I said it's overwhelming. Don't have -- there we go. "Smerconish, right shmight, let the parents love him as long as they can."
Ellen, I'm thrilled that he has a reprieve. I don't want life support removed. I'm trying to say that there are two sides to this and I think that there's been a tendency to think that the court system in the U.K. has been irrational in its handling.
Let me welcome two experts on all matters of the law. Areva Martin and Danny Cevallos, two CNN contributors who are both legal eagles.
Areva, how do you sort this one out?
AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I think the problem with this case, Michael, is Americans are used to parents and the parents' rights and the parents' preferences being respected by the court system.
I think what's troubling about this case is the family is saying look, we have the money, we have the means, we're not asking the government, we are not asking insurance to pay for this. We're just asking for our child to be allowed to travel to the United States to get additional care. And the courts are saying no, you can't do that.
In the Jahi McMath case which we saw in San Francisco, she goes into the hospital for a tonsil surgery, something goes wrong, she's declared brain dead. The parents, though, even though the experts said she was brain dead, this little girl, they were allowed to take her to another state, to a rehab facility because those were the parents' preferences.
[09:45:04] And that's what has I think Americans so concerned about Charlie's case. Why can't he just come to the United States and get the help that some doctors say they can provide for him?
SMERCONISH: Danny Cevallos, respond to that, and I guess the answer is, OK, so if he were to come to the United States and there were no relief but the parents wanted to go further, at what point does the court system step in, if at all, and say, OK, it's gone too far, he's suffering pain? Go ahead, Danny.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Since the early '90s, hospitals, doctors, and even courts have begun to recognize a change in policy. That sometimes medical autonomy, the decision to make whatever choice you want with your body, or parents for their child, can be overridden by the concept of medical futility.
Now as medicine improves, what is and is not futile constantly evolves. But this concept is nothing new in the United States. Hospitals have sued many, many times for the right to withdraw life saving treatment in cases -- in futile cases and parents have long opposed them.
The one thing that you mentioned earlier, Michael, should we look at it both ways? Should courts intervene when parents do and do not want life saving treatment?
Well, we have long recognized that the state has an interest in life. We see that in abortion cases. And because of that interest in life, the courts can take a biased view and err in favor of life. But they don't always have to do so. And medical futility recognizes that truth.
MARTIN: I think --
SMERCONISH: Areva, anytime there's -- go ahead.
MARTIN: -- is troubling for me because American doctors apparently are telling these parents that there is some experimental treatment that could help their child. So again why will the U.K. -- why would they prevent this child from traveling to the United States when there are medical professionals who are saying they can help?
CEVALLOS: Well, just because --
SMERCONISH: When I -- go ahead, Danny.
CEVALLOS: Your position would be that as long as somebody somewhere says they can help, then a court cannot withdraw medical treatment. And that's a nice concept. It's just never been the law either in the U.K. nor in the United States for the last 30 years. MARTIN: Well, first of all I'm not saying -- you got my point wrong.
I'm not saying somebody somewhere. I'm talking about qualified medical professionals.
CEVALLOS: What is qualified? What is futility? How do we define futility, Areva?
MARTIN: Well, doctors can disagree -- doctors can disagree about treatment. And in this case as long as you have qualified medical professionals in the United States saying that they can provide treatment, why would a country deny the child the right to travel here to get that treatment?
CEVALLOS: Because --
MARTIN: And I disagree with your point about the law in the United States because the law in the Jahi McMath case allowed that family, despite doctors saying she was brain dead and treatment would be, in your terms, futile, they allowed that family to take her to another state to a rehab facility. So there is precedent for families being able to control what happens with their child.
CEVALLOS: In that sense, you are right. But courts have gone both ways. And federal law and state law, including Texas, have enacted statutes that allow hospitals to override the choices of parents. And in certain federal cases, it can go both ways. So you are right. The courts have gone both ways. But that does not mean that it isn't reasonable and isn't justifiable in some cases of medical futility for a hospital to sue for the right to say no.
SMERCONISH: Danny, Areva, a wise course for me would be to say absolutely nothing further, but I can't resist, so I have to just say this. Someone needs to speak for Charlie Gard. That might not be his parents. It might not be in his best interest.
At some point, for this to continue, if, in fact, he's -- if he's feeling pain and it is an exercise in futility. That's all I'm saying. When I first read in, I said, my god, it's a death panel, this is horrific. Then I read more about it and I thought that little guy's interests need to be advocated by someone and I think the British system takes that into consideration.
I wish we had more time. It's an unbelievable debate. It's like a law school exam, and it's so damn sad that his life hangs in the balance.
But thank you, Areva. Thank you, Danny. You know I appreciate you both.
Katherine, one more if I've got time. As I say I'm being overwhelmed with Twitter and Facebook comments on this case.
"Smerconish just advocated for death panels." No, see, I didn't just advocate for death panels. What I said is that to the superficial analysis, like yours, this is going to seem like a death panel that makes a great headline. But when you read in more about the case, you come to an understanding. But the Brits have decided that someone needs to be an advocate for this little guy.
Let me ask you, if he's feeling pain and it's an exercise in futility, is it not worthy as an exercise to weigh what's in his best interests? That's all I've said.
[09:50:11] Still to come, your best and worst tweets of which there are many. Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Hey, if you ever miss the program, you can catch us any time on CNNGo, online and through your connected devices and apps.
I thank you so much for watching and following me on Twitter and my Facebook page. Here's some of what just came in during the course of the program. Let's see what you've got.
"Double-secret probation. Classic. Perhaps D-Day and Flounder should run the country."
LZ, every time -- I mean, you get my "Animal House" reference, right? Dean Wormer puts, what is it the Delta house on double-secret probation? Every time I hear the word sanctions, we're going to sanction North Korea, I can't get "Animal House" out of my head. It didn't work for Delta House and it's not working for Kim Jong-un.
[09:55:07] I hope I wasn't disrespectful to Bill Richardson. I don't know if the governor ever watched "Animal House." I'm sure he didn't see it like the 14 times that I have.
What else? "Smerconish, proud to be Canadian traveling abroad. Wondering what the impact of your new president is on tourism? I'm rethinking U.S. travel."
Look, Suzanne, I am proud to be an American. I am proud to present my passport when I travel. When I'm at immigration and I see the people who are around me and I get to hand over the United States of America, damn, I get goosebumps. I'm just saying some of the stories coming out of the States these days have been embarrassing.
And to go after CNN, I am not sucking up to the home team. Nobody asks me to come in here and deliver a commentary supportive of CNN and CNN International. But I've traveled and I am mindful that CNN International has a global footprint. And when you take on CNN International, people around the world, they scratch their heads.
I wish I had more time. I'll see you here next week.
PAUL: Good morning, everyone. So grateful to have you with us. We are watching closely what is happening the G-20 Summit there. These are pictures that are just coming in to us moments ago. Let's listen.
OK. Looks like we caught the tail-end of it as they were just wrapping up there. But the critical moment today is this meeting with President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China because surely North Korea is going to take center stage in the middle of that meeting and the president is saying he doesn't know how much he can count on China anymore.
BLACKWELL: The president tweeting out just one day before coming to Hamburg there that they tried the option with the Chinese -- I'm paraphrasing here -- but it didn't work out. Just six months into the administration the president sitting down, obviously North Korea at the top of the list. But trade obviously will be a discussion there.
The islands in the South China Sea also up for discussion likely so we'll wait for a readout from one of the representatives to tell us exactly what they discussed there during that meeting.
PAUL: Yes, no doubt about it. And when you look at some of the controversy over the last few months of what's happened just a couple of weeks ago, this $1.4 billion arm sale to Taiwan has not left China very unhappy with the U.S.
In terms of military we've got last Sunday the U.S. Navy had a destroyer that sailed within 20 miles of the disputed island there and then Thursday, two U.S. B-1 bombers flew over the disputed waters in East and South China Sea. So China has concerns of its own when it comes to the U.S.
Let's go to Jim Acosta now. He is there in Hamburg, and he's going to help -- walk us through what it is we're looking at, Jim, and what we know was said in that meeting.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, yes. We expect to have some kind of readout and hopefully some pictures, unless you're already seeing those pictures coming in. This is happening as we speak between President Trump and Chinese President Xi here at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg.
Yes, there's a lot for these two leaders to discuss, right at the top of the list, obviously is North Korea. President Trump has been expressing his frustrations over the last several days, essentially saying that well, I tried to work with President Xi on this issue of reining in North Korea. But they keep launching these missile tests and so on.
And in the last few days, the president said well, I tried. Now we should point out during this foreign trip, the president was asked, well, are you giving up on working with President Xi when it comes to North Korea? And he said no, never give up. And so I think it's going to be interesting to find out what the body language is going to be like here in the next few moments as all of this information comes in.
And then what exactly is said, if past is prolog, there may not be a whole lot of substance that is said in front of the cameras, as we've noticed in a lot of these bilateral meetings, when the press is allowed in and they allow the press to take their pictures and take their video of what's said between these two leaders.
There isn't a great deal of substance. We have to rely on officials after these meetings are over to ascertain exactly what happened. But, you know, one of the things we want to point out as this G-20 Summit is wrapping up, President Trump is not expected to hold a news conference as he leaves this G-20 Summit. That is breaking with a precedent that American presidents have shown in the last several years, President Obama would typically hold an end of G-20 Summit news conference. He is not doing that. I don't know if you could see this over my shoulder right now.