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Trump Tweets About His Meeting With Putin; Trump Asks If West Has "Will to Survive". Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 9, 2017 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:16] JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): The long-awaited faceoff.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject.

KING: President Trump brings up Russian election meddling with Vladimir Putin at a meeting that runs way overscheduled.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rex and I had a tremendous meeting with President Putin.

KING: More critical diplomacy with China, as North Korea once again defies the world.

TRUMP: I have some pretty severe things that we're thinking about.

KING: Plus, a warning to feuding Senate Republicans: Make a deal on Obamacare repeal or be prepared to consider Obamacare repairs.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: We have to solve the current crisis and I think repealing and then delaying the replacement doesn't work.

KING: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.


KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday.

The White House says President Trump's first meeting with Vladimir Putin went well and the Russian president couldn't agree more.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): If our future relations will unfold the same way as our meeting yesterday there's every reason to believe we can restore, at least partially, the level of cooperation we need.


KING: Mr. Trump was very much the issue at his first big economic summit, differences on trade, climate and other issues were obvious and part of a bigger question. Just what is his world view?


TRUMP: The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.


KING: And here at home, a tense week ahead in the health care reform debate. There's anger now at the Senate's top Republican after he warns the GOP to settle indifferences or prepared to make Obamacare fixes with Democrats.


SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: I'm still hot about -- frustrated about the developments this week in the health care debate. For seven years, the party that we're all a part of in this room has said that it was for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, for seven years.


KING: Lots to discuss. And with us to share their reporting and their insights, Karoun Demirjian of "The Washington Post", CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Michael Shear of "The New York Times", and Mary Katharine Hamm with "The Federalist".

The United States and Russia say they have turned a page into a new chapter of better understanding and cooperation. Be skeptical, because we've heard this before from Vladimir Putin and both of President Trump's immediate predecessors. Still, the prospect is always fascinating.

And one test starts today. You see the map there. Washington and Moscow say they are implementing a ceasefire in a small part of the frustrating and bloody battlefield that is Syria. This new talk of cooperation comes after a first Trump/Putin meeting that ran so over- scheduled that at one point the White House sent in Melania Trump to try to break it up.


TILLERSON: Yes, that's true. We went another hour after she came in to see us. So, clearly she failed. But I think what I've described to you, the two hours and 15 minutes, it was an extremely important meeting. I mean, there's so much for us to talk about. And it was a good start.


KING: A good start says the secretary of state. President Putin agrees.


PUTIN (through translator): Regarding personal relationship, I think that was established. I don't know how this will sound but I will tell you how I see it. TV Trump is very different than the real person. He is absolutely specific, absolutely adequate in his perception of the dialogue partner, he analyzes things quickly, replies to the raised questions or new elements in the conversation.


KING: We've heard that conversation here in the States. Interesting to see the president of Russia saying TV Trump is very different than in person. The president is already tweeting this morning about the question, the dispute over him raising the election meddling and how the Russians responded and whether he accepted it.

Let's get to that in a second. Let's start first with the big picture, because the U.S./Russia relations are critical. Russians believe they got everything they wanted from this meeting, especially two hours, and 15 minutes at the G20. The president of the United States far his longest meeting, which says to Vladimir Putin, there are 20 countries here. I am the most important.

That's what he wanted, right?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: And that has been the motivation for Putin for a very, very long time. Russia has had a giant chip on their shoulder for the entire post-Soviet period because they're not the major player at the table again. You heard in speeches since, what was it, 2011, 2012, when Obama called Russia a regional power. They bring it up every single time. They can't forget it.

So, the idea that they were kind of ordained as being the big kid was -- it could be everything for at least their mindset going forward.

[08:05:06] Now, is that everything in a good way for the United States or bad way for the United States? That's an open question --

KING: Well, that's my question. So, Russia is celebrating. They got the time with the president. We'll get to the specifics of the election meddling that they think, OK, you know, Trump said, why did you do this? Putin said I didn't, and I think, the Russian side, that Trump's prepared to move on, and do other things. We'll see if the Syria, let's pray to God that Syria ceasefire, even though it's a small piece, takes impact.

What did the president did? What did the United States get if Russia got what it wanted, which is stature, prestige, you're the player?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think that's very unknown at this point and certainly did not get as much. I mean, by seeing Vladimir Putin there who's holding a press conference at the G20 at Hamburg, something the U.S. president did not do, was one of the only major leaders who would not answer questions and talk about this. But I think the -- you know, there's not -- the flattery memo certainly was received in Moscow by saying, you know, the president is smart, engaged and other things.

You know, but by agreeing to move on from the election issue and move on to Syria and other things, he's giving Putin a free pass on this in some respects. It's unclear what the U.S. got out of this. I mean, it seems like, you know, this is the latest U.S. president who is promising a new relationship with Vladimir Putin and we've seen how that's worked out.

So, I think by acknowledging some Republicans in this Republican Party that are still very skeptical of Russia, I think the meeting is not going to be viewed very well by Senate and House Republicans when they come back to Washington tomorrow.

KING: Waiting to see that. You know, Steve Hayes, a conservative writer for "The Weekly Standard", has plugged in very well amongst conservatives said that Trump was deep hands by Vladimir Putin. I mean, that's tough talk.

MICHAEL SHEAR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, look, to follow up on what Jeff said about the lack of a press conference, you know, a lot of times, folks think it's just the press whining about wanting to have, you know, the ability to raise our hands and ask questions. The truth is these meetings are all a kind of public relations dance. And the winner between Putin and Trump is going to be the one that better describes and better gets out there in the public their point of view of how they think the meeting went.

And when you only limit the meeting to the president and Rex Tillerson, you don't have the other people out there who can go out to testify, to what they -- to put their spin on it, and then the president doesn't put his own spin on it.

KING: And Tillerson won't go on camera.

SHEAR: Tillerson won't go on camera. So, you don't have -- so, you're handing the other side the public relations cudgel over which they hit you and you can't spin it the way you want to spin it.

KING: The question is, did the American side come away with something that in a month or two or three or four, the president of the United States can point to and say, you all criticized me, you said I shouldn't just move on, but look what I got because I turned the page with Russia. Any evidence that that brick, that foundation was laid?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, THE FEDERALIST: Well, I think his hope is that that's the Syria ceasefire. I'm skeptical. And on that front, you know, as Steven Hayes pointed out just a couple of months ago, the U.S. and Trump were saying, look, Russia knew about this chemical attack on children before it happened, civilians before it happened. Now, we're saying we're going to get together on work on the cease fire. Whether that happens is a question.

The other thing is I never want to take Russia's readout as gospel truth. And you're right, they're leaving an opening here. It's hard to know who to trust in these back-and-forths, partly because the whole week we were hearing he wasn't going to talk to him about election meddling and it turns out he did at least talk to him. We don't know how that went.

But it all gets very confusing in this back-and-forth.

KING: And so, let's get to that point. Rex Tillerson told reporters right after the meeting the president started with this. He looked Vladimir Putin in the eye and say, I know what you did. You meddled in our elections. You can't do it. You must stop.

How did that go? Well, President Trump hasn't talked publicly about it, but President Putin has.


PUTIN (through translator): The U.S. president raise this question and we discussed it. It wasn't just one question. There were a lot of them. He devoted a lot of time to this issue.

Our position is well known and I repeated it. There's no basis for thinking that Russia interfered in the election process.


KING: So, Putin said he told President Trump there's no evidence. You can't prove it. We didn't do it, right? So, then, Putin was asked, when you deny that Russians interfere in the election, did President Trump agree with your position? Did he accept that?


PUTIN (through translator): I repeat, he asked lots of questions on this manner, I answered as many as I could answer. I think he took it into consideration and agreed with it, but you should ask him what his opinion is on that.


KING: We can't ask him because the president of the United States has not made himself available for questions. He did just tweet moments ago: I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion.

Well, we could debate for a couple of months about the president of the United States have said about this. But he said we negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria. Now, it is time to move on, move forward and working constructively with Russia.

That last part is going to annoy if not more Republican hawks who think essentially, so Putin robbed the bank.

[08:10:02] We have evidence of Putin robbing the bank. Trump walks into the meeting and says, you robbed the bank, and we have evidence of it, Putin says, no, I didn't. So, Trump agrees and says let's move on.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes, this is -- that's not going to satisfy members of Congress who are not going to be comfortable going on to say, oh, we can fix it for 2018, 2020 and beyond unless you have some sort of consequences between 2016. But this has also been the weirdest part of the aftermath of this meeting, that you have Lavrov coming out and saying as well, President Trump heard Putin's clear explanation and he accepted that explanation. Then you have Trump saying, no, I didn't, and then you have Putin backing off what Lavrov said, too. So, what exactly -- you know, was the body language agreement of what was accepted or just heard unclear?

And that -- still, though, the fact that we've been talking about this right now and that there's a question of, you know, has Trump just said, oh, cool, bygones are bygones, it's casting -- it's what could have been a strong point for him to say I brought it up that is now a potentially very, very weak point.

ZELENY: And at the end of the day, it's an extraordinary sort of back-to-back series of developments. One day before this meeting, he stood in Warsaw. I was at the press conference and he criticized U.S. intelligence agencies on foreign soil about this. He has questioned the validity of all of this. And then he goes into this meeting and accepts this.

So, it is -- I think it is more muddled than it has ever been before here, what the president says, and so interesting in his words when the secretary of state came out. He said he shared the concerns of the American people. He didn't say he shared the president's concerns. We still do not know, he says I've given my opinion. Actually, the president has given multiple opinions on this.


KING: Let's listen. It's very important, because you're going to -- the ambassador, Nikki Haley, is on "STATE OF THE UNION" after this program. She taped that interview with Dana Bash yesterday, where she says, you know, everyone knows that Russia meddled in our elections. She says everyone knows, right?

She speaks strongly. She speaks declaratively. She speaks forcefully. That's the president's ambassador to the United Nations.

To Jeff Zeleny's point, if everyone knows that Russia did this, then why in Poland did the president say this?


TRUMP: I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.


DEMIRJIAN: Technically, technically, it could have possibly been other countries. There's many other countries than Russia that disseminate this sort of bad information where you have a lot of, you know, hackers that are based, but this is kind of like playing at the edge of truth.


KING: And even if other countries were involved in this particular case, your first meeting with the nuclear superpower, Russian Federation, everybody, including the president's own team, wanted him to be very focused on you, Mr. President, to Putin. And now he says, before you jump, Putin and I discussed forming an impenetrable cyber security unit so that election hacking and many other things will be guarded. So, the Russians hacked our systems, were trying to hack voter machines and all that, hacked into state voter databases, they tried. They did not. There's no evidence they change the election.

So, now, we're going to work with them on getting better at this? Somebody help me. Fox, hen house?

SHEAR: I mean, I just don't -- it's sort of baffling to know what that means and whether there's going to be some sort of, you know, some sort of commission or something that's going to have, you know, Americans and Russians on it at the same time.

But either way, what's very clear is that those statements at the press conference that Jeff was at just handed a huge opening for Putin, because Putin knew then, coming into that meeting, that the president's stated public opinion was it could have been other people. So, no matter what they said in some ways, there was always going to be a level of doubt. And it's pretty clear that the president didn't go into that meeting intending to sort of come out and spin it a certain way.

KING: To the point about working with the Russians, there have long been conversations among these governments, China involved in this, other governments as well, about setting up some protocols, what is espionage, what is crime? What are the penalties if you get caught doing this? The fact that all of governments have talked about this is an urgent global crisis, if that's what it means.

But the idea that the Russians -- let's let the Russians involved on this one is going to make some people suspicious. You had a point.

HAM: No, I think -- no, the point about what he's saying and not saying here, I think this is simply an immature refusal to say what everyone wants him to say. I think that is partly where he comes from.

KING: Stubbornness.

HAM: Which is not what you want to see in a president and hawks, including Republicans, will be upset about this idea of working with them, depending on how -- what this means. That remains to be seen. There has been too much resetting, too much looking into Vlad's soul over the years. They're not going to be happy about it.

And the problem is, if there are no consequences for this to get a deal in somewhere like Syria that's questionable, that still has consequences for future elections because they will think they can do it again with no consequences.


ZELENY: And the question at the end of the day here, though, is the U.S. government fine with allowing Moscow and Putin to sort of frame this discussion? We asked three senior administration officials multiple times on the flight last night over from Germany.

[08:15:01] I was the pool reporter on the flight. And they simply would not talk about this election interference. It's like, we have to move on.

This is not something that Congress will move on from. I think it is just -- again, he's ending this in a more muddled way. There are still three congressional investigation and the special counsel's investigation on this. This is not done.

KING: It's not done unless you have your coffee at home. Jeff Zeleny, fresh off the plane, the man's got stamina.

Up next, from lofty talk of Western values under attack, to the thorny specifics of climate and trade, the president's world view came into sharper focus and pointed debate.


KING: Welcome back.

The big speech of the president's trip was in Poland, just before the G20. He spoke of dire threats from radical Islam to, yes, in his view, government bureaucracy and over regulation.


TRUMP: The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?


[08:20:07] KING: He surprised us in that speech with a little texture.


TRUMP: The world has never known anything like our community of nations. We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore or discover brand new frontiers.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: That speech, and the bigger question of the president's world view, is a dividing line on both sides of the Atlantic. Here at home, this from conservative writer David Frum, the most troubling thing about the speech was the falsehood at its core. The problem is not with the speech Frum writes, but with the speaker. The values Trump spoke for in Warsaw are values that he has put at risk every day of his presidency and that he will continue to put at risk every day thereafter.

David Frum wrote speeches for George W. Bush, Peggy Noonan for Ronald Reagan. She too, no Trump loyalist, but Noonan concluded her take with this: If he talked like this at home, more of us would be happy to have him here. If he gives serious, thoughtful prepared remarks only when traveling, he should travel more.

That's kind of a compliment. What did we learn? This is the president's second international trip. The NATO summit was the first big meeting. That's more of a security alliance. Now, at the G20, economic alliance, stopped in Poland first, as presidents do. They pick a place to give a big speech.

What did we learn about the president's world view?

ZELENY: I think we learned something about his world view. I would argue that this speech is one of the best speeches in terms of thematics and staying on message and sort of offering a world view that he's given yet. And the meeting was interesting. It was in the Krasinski Square in Warsaw, you know, thousands and thousands of people were waving American flags and Polish flags.

But this is not a speech he could have given really any place else. And this is a white America, America first kind of speech. He was offering a very stark view, actually, about the -- about migration, about immigration, about other things. It was very -- it wasn't a modern day speech, if you will. It was sort of a throwback speech but he was offering a sense of be afraid of what is happening in the world now.

This is a Steven Miller written speech. He's one of his top policy advisers here. And it was praised in a lot of corners. But he probably couldn't have given that speech here in America.

KING: Whether you agree or disagree with it, it is good to hear a coherent speech from the president outlining his world view. People at home can disagree, they'll have a debate about it. But it was -- he connected some dots that a lot of people were saying, how does he get from here to there? The speech did that. The question is, how did it go over?

In that speech, he is very critical of bureaucracy, government regulation. He meant the European Union. You know, here at home as well, I don't mean just -- he picks his fights and at this meeting, Chancellor Angela Merkel, the president pulled out of the Paris climate accords. Merkel called that deplorable.

Another "D" word from the prime minister of the U.K. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Like other world leaders here, I'm dismayed at the U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris agreement and I have urged President Trump to rejoin the Paris agreement.


KING: He's not going to. He's not going to rejoin.

It was interesting to see on a number of issues -- and we'll get to more of them in a minute. Let's start with climate. The president was alone. These are big meetings where people come together. The goal is always consensus. They wrote a statement on climate change that said, we, 19, agree on this. And the United States is there.

And the president -- the president has no hesitation about that, makes no apologies about that. He believes that's where he -- let me put it this way. He wants to be there and he believes that what his voters want him to do.

SHEAR: Look, most times when presidents have -- in recent, you know, decades, when presidents have gone abroad and they talk about the defense, collective defense of western values or Western civilization, that's been a common theme. Most times, where that leads to is a coming together of those Western nations behind that defense.

The problem is that the president has demonstrated in the first six months a kind of isolation of the United States, vis-a-vis the rest -- not the rest of the world but the rest of the western world, right? I mean, on climate change, perfect example, where the United States is going alone and there are 19 other nations that are standing together. And so, I guess the real question is, when he talks about the sort of Western civilization being at risk, is he standing with the rest of that Western civilization or is he sort of pulling the United States inside and kind of trying to --

KING: Well, in the speech he's essentially saying, you know, we want to be friends. We need to be friends but you're wrong. I mean, that's what the president is essentially saying, you're wrong on these issues, whether it's climate, whether it's bureaucracy. That's his point. The question is, can he sell it?

HAM: Yes, I mean, I saw his speech more as a defense of the West speech than America first speech as someone who has been critical of the America first impulse of the Trump presidency. I don't think he has a real cohesive overarching world view, which is why I think you run into problems with realism and pragmatism versus your ideology in protecting the values of the West.

[08:25:12] And actually, Marco Rubio just tweeted this morning about his meeting with Putin and the cyber crimes unit, which is a good reflection of how Trump doesn't really walk this line, while reality and pragmatism requires that we engaged Vladimir Putin, he will never be a trusted ally or reliable constructive partner. Partnering with Putin on the cyber security unit is akin to partnering with Assad on a chemical weapons unit.

So, this little preview of where hawks in the Senate might be on this. But I think it is a problem with Trump's -- because he doesn't have that world view, he can have -- do a speech and then he can go behind closed doors and do something entirely different and contradictory.

KING: And so, the question you mentioned, the Putin meeting, Marco Rubio being very critical, thinking, sorry, Mr. President, bad call. Another one, this president I think is more transactional than, you know, philosophical, if you will, as he sits now with President Xi, who he had criticized on Twitter, saying China is not helping us enough with North Korea, but then in the meeting, and this is smart diplomacy, I'm not making issue here, but Twitter, China is not doing enough. Sitting across the table --


TRUMP: I appreciate the things that you have done with regard to the very substantial problem that we all face in North Korea, the problem that something has to be done. And I'm sure that whether it's on trade or whether it's on North Korea or any of the many things we'll be discussing, we will come to a successful conclusion.


KING: Trying to be a bit more optimistic there after being very pessimistic about China's role helping with North Korea.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes, quite -- a lot more diplomatic than before. But just to get back to what we're talking about, about what his approach is to all these things, I think it's interesting, Jeff, you said it was a throwback speech when he was in Poland, because once upon a time the United States could just say if you want to be friends with me this is how we're going to do it, because we were the most powerful people on the world stage and nobody was kind of checking us anywhere.

That's not the case anymore as you've got the European Union banding together in various things, when it comes to climate change and also, remember, you can make a speech about the West in Poland. You cannot do that at the G20 because you're not just talking to the West.

And so, the president is kind of like trying to figure out basically where he's standing in all these arrangements and he ends up taking what seems like a rather strong stance of, you know, pushing his friends around and rather conciliatory stance with Russia and China. And that is a strange position to be in when we're talking about climate change, trade, other things where what would benefit the United States and its standing in the world.

KING: And more sparks about to come in the weeks ahead on trade. Angela Merkel saying Trump was too protectionist. The president says he's got some trade announcements coming in the days and weeks ahead. So, this drama will continue.

Up next, though, fireworks long after the Fourth of July. Is the party that for seven years promised to repeal Obamacare about to propose fixing Obamacare?


KING: Welcome back. Congress returns to work this week after a Fourth of July break. And yes, fireworks, cliches are in order.

Senate Republicans went home divided over how to replace Obamacare. They return just as divided, maybe more so. And their leader just stirred things up even more.

"If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to private health insurance market must occur," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said back home in Kentucky.

"No action is not an alternative. We've got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state." Now, to many, that likely sounds reasonable, right? If you can't agree on the big change, we have to at least fix the urgent problems.

To conservatives, however, that borders on treason. After seven years and four election cycles of promising to repeal Obamacare, leader McConnell essentially saying there that if Republicans can't agree and soon on a repeal and replace plan, then they have an obligation to fix Obamacare.


SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: What is the Republican Party deciding to send national signals about over the course of the last 48 or 72 hours? Well, if we can't repeal and replace at once, then maybe we should just start working with Democrats to fix Obamacare, though that is the exact opposite of what we ran on. It's bad policy. It's bad politics.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's Republican senator Ben Sasse speaking in Iowa, which is not Nebraska. He is speaking at Story County Republican dinner there. We can ask questions about that later.

Look, he is - this is a moment for the Republican Party here. Mitch McConnell has 14 days to sort of get this right. But this raises the question, how much did Senator McConnell actually wanted to get this bill through? He knows that there are some policy questions about this bill.

His red state senators Jerry Moran, Senator Hogan, huge questions about this. I've never been convinced that Senator McConnell is that into this bill.

KING: This is clearly a warning shot for Senator McConnell, saying when you come back, prove to me you can settle your differences, children, or else I'm moving on. I'm not spending more time on this. To your point, the people have been home. Jerry Moran, Kansas, a conservative, generally friendly to the leadership, not someone who goes out and stirs things up. Susan Collins, a more member from Maine. Her state, one of the rural states that loses a lot, in her view, Medicaid funding here. Here's their view.


SEN. JERRY MORAN (R), KANSAS: What I would say is that I would not vote for the bill that's in front of the Senate today. I would be anxious to see if that bill can get to the point in which I think it's beneficial for Kansas.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: What I've been hearing the entire recess is people telling me to be strong, that they have a lot of concerns about the health care bill in the Senate, they want me to keep working on it, but they don't want me to support it in its current form. I still am a no unless the bill is dramatically changed.


KING: So, a conservative from Kansas wants dramatic changes. More moderate from Maine wants dramatic changes. Again, this is four straight election cycles the Republicans have run, promising give us power, we will repeal and replace Obamacare.

They won the House first. Then they took the Senate. Then they took the presidency. And here, this is my favorite, Senator Pat Toomey in what I think he probably wishes was his inner voice.


[08:35:07] SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I didn't expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn't. So, we didn't expect to be in this situation. And given how difficult it is to get to a consensus, it was hard to force that until there was a need to. And so, that's what we've been working on.


KING: We didn't actually think we had to keep this promise, is what he's saying. What?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, SENIOR WRITER, THE FEDERALIST, AND CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that's the trick of politics. (inaudible 0:32) going to be super easy and then you have to actually do it.

And, look, messing with healthcare is really complex. It's very hard. Any disruption is going to count against you. The only way Democrats got it through was to brazenly promise nothing would change except to make things more awesome, which was not actually what happened.

And they took a 1000-seat hit for it over the whole United States. So, a big deal. So, when you're tackling it again, yes, you're going to face some of those problems as well. There is this other deal in the works where Cruz has this idea -

Senator Cruz has this idea where, look, if you offer one Obamacare compliant plan, you can offer less stacked programs as well, which would make, yes, that grouping more high-risk group, which is I think - there is a policy question there.

But what it would also do is stop taking the very small number of private plan people, private market people, I've been there, have a lot of experience with it, stop them from subsidizing that and actually make it a more straightforward, taxpayer-subsidized pool, which I think is not the worst idea in the world and could bring more people in.

Question is, is it compliant with budget reconciliation which is where they have to pass this?

KING: The policy questions are profound and real. This is not just politicians being children, which they often are. They disagree on a lot of this, the details here, depending on where they are in the country, their views on the role of government, and then they have the process here of hurdles too.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": I'm sorry. I was just going to say, the fact that we're in a situation where Cruz who's saying, I want (inaudible 1:58) leave nothing on the table, he's now saying, let's protect the principles of Obamacare for at least one plan. It shows you what sort of situation we are in.

What we're in right now, though, at this moment, heading back to DC, is exactly what the Republican planned to avoid. They wanted to do this before the Fourth of July recess. So, they did not have everybody going home and, clearly, getting an earful from their constituents who do not want to lose their healthcare, who do not want to - seeing that 22 million number and not comfortable with it.

And aside from that, how crazy, though. I know this is a very trite point at this point, but to say, if you guys don't behave, we're going to make you work with Democrats is just a vision of everything that's just wrong.

KING: And so, you mentioned Senator Rubio tweeting on Syria and Russia and being skeptical about the president speaking with Putin. He's also tweeting this morning saying I can't vote for the health care plan as is.

Senator Chuck Grassley, again, friendly to the leadership, 52 Republican senators should be ashamed, we've not pass health care reform by now. We won't be ashamed. We will go from majority to minority. That's the politics of it.

Michael, as you jump in, I want to put up - Axios published this chart the other day. It's an MIT professor who looked at polling on this. The GOP health care plan, as people now believe it to be, and there are changes being debated, you mentioned Senator Cruz's idea.

So, this is in some ways not fair. But what the public thinks does matter in politics. They may not know all the specifics. That's health care plan at 28 percent. Think about other big initiatives passed over the years. It is so much less popular than other things. They're trying to sell a product nobody wants.

MICHAEL SHEAR, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: The irony here is that, in some ways, they put themselves in this mess because the way they decided to gin up the intensity for repealing and replace is by focusing on how much of a disaster Obamacare had become.

How many times have we heard them all talk about, oh, it's collapsing, it's ending, it's blowing up. That they thought was going to provide the intensity to get this done.

Now, what it's done is it's forced them into the place that McConnell was suggesting, which is that they have to do something right now. Otherwise, they look like they're not addressing.

ZELENY: But is the president going to talk about it? This is what a bully pulpit is for, for him to talk about it. We'll see if he does this week.

KING: We'll see. He's back this week. I said in January, I predicted that Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, Democrats and Republicans are going to end up at the Blair House in August at a bipartisan healthcare summit. I should have put a dollar on that one.

Up next, doing things his way, the Trump style on full display on the world stage.


[08:43:28] KING: The G20 was President Trump's second big international meeting and just his second trip out of the United States as president. So, what did we learn about his style on the world stage.

Well, for starters, his affinity for recalling the November election results travels with him.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Polish Americans have also greatly enriched the United States and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.


KING: This was important. The president and Chancellor Merkel, despite their policy difference, remember, get the handshake right this time. And the first handshake with Vladimir, well, no surprise, got a lot of attention, of course, as did the second.

There were times, the president, you could say, appeared alone in a crowd. Not talking there as someone else seems engaged.

But others - look here - where he clearly enjoyed the give-and-take that make these gatherings so unique, mixing it up here with the leaders of the UK, Australia and France.


Reporter: Mr. President, what's going on with Macron and May?

Trump: Great friends. Great friends.


KING: And we shouldn't discount that. You can have relationships in which you profoundly disagree with people, but to develop a rapport, that's important for when there are big, when there are international financial crisis, when there is international terrorism, when there's a big event.

You want to have at least, you know me, I know you even if we disagree on things, right?

ZELENY: No question at all. And I think, right before there, when he said great friends, great friends, we witnessed this incredible scene of the leaders going into a very small room, one-on-one, talking about the climate change things and others.

Yes, they disagree. But in my mind, my observation is he seemed much more comfortable this time on the world stage and likes this new club that he is in.

He may not agree with them, but he wants to see and be more a part of it than it looked like at the G7 when he was sort of on the side. So, I think this is a fascinating thing to watch. All presidents change in office, grow in office, develop in office. I think they can have an effect on him and they're trying to.

KING: And relations - just getting to know each other. He is the new - Macron as well. But they have two new presidents.

As we're sitting here this morning, to fallout from the trip continues. The Secretary of State went from the G20 to Ukraine. Obviously, they want to know what happened with Vladimir Putin.

Secretary Tillerson saying that sanctions will not be lifted on Russia until Russia reverses the actions that caused those sanctions to be levied, including the occupation of Crimea.

President Trump tweeting this morning as we're on the air, "Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian and Syrian problems are solved."

Now, for all the conservative worries, doubts, skepticism about saying, we're going to move on past the election meddling, that will make conservatives happy that the president says the existing sanctions aren't going anywhere until Russia improves its behavior, while there are still questions about perhaps additional sanctions.

DEMIRJIAN: Also surprising given that the Russians were so dead-set on bringing up at least the compounds issue when they were heading into that meeting. And so, that is sanctions. It's a different part of sanctions.

KING: Right. Russian compounds that were essentially seized. The Russians were kicked out by the Obama administration.

DEMIRJIAN: And lead to somewhere, exactly, in response to the allegations of election meddling. And so, it is certainly going to be - it will make Ukraine kind of rest a little bit easier to know that the president is not going to start scaling back the sanctions that exist because of annexation of Crimea and the interference in the war in the east.

KING: And for the Trump skeptics out there, we will watch to see what happens with this modest, but still important cease-fire in Syria. Again, whether you want to dwell election meddling or not, the United States and Russia have to try to work together sometimes, and this is a chance right.

HAM: I think this is an illustration too of how sometimes his style, which many people do not like, and the things he says, which we do not like, or tweet - does it affect policy? And sometimes it doesn't as much as we think it is going to.

And that's an important part of this and how people perceive him. Largely, many of whom who were out during July 4 stuff and went, oh, he gave what looks like a normal speech and move on. That is part of the issue with him and how people perceive him.

KING: And the fall-out will continue in the week ahead. Thanks everybody. Up next, our reporters share from their notebooks including a possible new slogan as Democrats try to get ready for 2018.


[08:51:51] KING: Well, as we always do, head around the INSIDE POLITICS table, ask our great reporters to share a little something from their notebooks, help get you out ahead of the big political news just around the corner. Karoun?

DEMIRJIAN: Well, after this buzz around the president's meeting with the president of Russia, the question is what happens now in Congress where many lawmakers wanted to precede this meeting by passing this very stiff sanctions bill that would have tied the president's hands.

They are still stuck in a little bit of political impasse which they're blaming on technical violations and various things like that, but the question remains, after this meeting, with everything that's come out of it, will Congress actually step in front of the president to block him on what he can and can't do vis-a-vis sanctions policy with Russia going forward.

KING: Interesting conversation in the week ahead. Jeff?

ZELENY: Well, the president has made a lot about he is here to represent the voters of Pittsburgh, not Paris, but later this week, he's actually going back to Europe, going to Paris. So, bonjourno Mr. President.

But he's going to speak in a bilateral meeting with President Macron. They're going to have a security meeting. They're going to be talking about a variety of things. And then, he'll be appearing at the Bastille Day parade on Friday.

Interesting that he's going back again. This is a president who is not all that fond of leaving his bubble at the White House, but he does want to make the point that he wants to be a player on the world stage. But what kind of a player is sort of uncertain. But very unusual that he's going back. But I think it is something that he wants to develop a relationship with President Macron.

The problem here is for him that his issues and policies are simply not in alignment with the rest of the world here, but watching him again on Friday in the world stage, interesting. We'll see if those protesters will be held at bay as they were in Hamburg.

KING: And we'll see if Allegheny County starts a new Bastille Day celebration. Michael?

SHEAR: We're entering a period on the Russia investigations, which may be a little bit publicly fallow, but there's no big public hearings coming up. Senator Mark Warner, who is helping to lead one of those investigations, say it may be a couple of months before we get significant sort of public developments, which gives the president a little bit of an opportunity to maybe focus on the rest of his agenda. We've got healthcare and other things that he'd like to accomplish.

The big question is can he keep from tweeting about it and thus bringing attention back to a subject that he really doesn't want to talk about. And obviously, this morning he already has started tweeting. So, we'll see what comes for the next couple of months.

KING: Discipline. That's an - yes, discipline. Yes, Mary Katharine?

HAM: Meanwhile in Democratic Party politics that are easy to ignore while the president is tweeting, they're having an argument in the Democratic Congress about whether to oust Nancy Pelosi and there's a lot of pushback on that front.

She turned out to be an anchor in the special election in Georgia, which even surprised me that that was still potent. And the DCCC is trying a new slogan that they got roasted for online.

I mean, have you seen the other guys, which I think actually is not a bad beat on where politics is right now. The problem for them is that, surprisingly again, the Democratic party polls behind Trump in favorability and in do-you-understand-people-with-my-problems, in the in-touch, out-of-touch metric.

So, the problem may not be that the slogan is a bummer, but that it's not that accurate. People have seen the other guys.

KING: Yes. People have seen them all, I think. A pox (ph) on all the houses maybe, we shall see. I'll close with more on a question now out front and center for Republican campaign strategists. How the GOP incumbents run next year if the party fails to repeal and replace Obamacare?

[08:55:07] Yes, these strategists know the president has called the House Republican plan mean and the current Senate plan polled below 30 percent approval.

So, walking away can at first glance look pretty appealing, but midterm elections are about base intensity. And many veteran Republican strategists worry failure to pass something could cripple GOP enthusiasm.

Now, would passing just Obamacare fixes make it better or worse? Several GOP campaign veterans predicted a House conservative revolt at any fix Obamacare talk. And if the choices do nothing or fix, one of the strategists called that "like picking between a hurricane and a tornado." Tough choices for both parties in the days and weeks ahead.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Again, thanks for sharing your Sunday. Don't forget, you can catch us weekdays at noon Eastern. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley among the guests up next on State of the Union.