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Trump Attends Welcome Ceremony In Philippines; Trump Says He "Trusts U.S. Intel On Russian Election Meddling"; Trump To Talk Human Rights With Duterte; The Russia Investigation; President Trump's Asia Trip; The 31st ASEAN Summit Aired 6-7a
Aired November 12, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I believe that is he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The president told reporters, quote, "Every time Putin sees me, he says, "I didn't do that. I really believe when he tells me that he means it."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is saying I will take the word as a foreign dictator over the advice of my government. It's outrageous!
ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: They are completely false and untrue. I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone. Only four and a half weeks before the general election, why now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe the good Lord has forgiven him. As a Christian, I have to forgive him also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, we are start with the violent protest with riot gear and flag burning. Protesters were clashing with police in the streets of Manila as President Trump arrives in the Philippines. They are yelling anti-Trump slogans and setting American flags on fire.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Air Force One just landed a few moments ago here and soon President Trump is going to start the last leg of his Asia tour at a summit with world leaders.
Now today's meetings we know will likely be overshadowed by the president's latest comment where he not only attacked Kim Jong-un, but also former U.S. intelligence officials and refused to say definitively whether he believes Russia interfered in the 2016 election. BLACKWELL: A lot has happened in the last few hours so let's get straight to Jeff Zeleny, who is live in Vietnam. Jeff, the president has been on script for several days, but then there is a press conference and a few tweets, and somehow, he is now derailed near the end.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. President Trump certainly had been on message and on discipline really for more than a week here as he traveled across Asia, but a different story overnight when he was lashing out on a variety of topics.
At a press conference here earlier today in Hanoi, Vietnam, he was asked again, of course, about the Russia meddling in the election and he inched a little bit closer to agreeing with the fact that Russia may have meddled in the election saying he supports his intelligence agency's point of view, but he didn't go nearly as far as some would like him to do. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.
I believe in our intelligence agencies. I've worked with them very strongly. There weren't 17 as previously reported. There were actually four, but they were saying there were 17, there were actually four. But as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: So the president talking about intelligence agencies. Well, one of the reasons he was doing that yesterday when he was flying across Vietnam, he talked to reporters aboard Air Force One and he was talking about political hacks, talking about the people who led those agencies in the last administration.
That prompted the CIA to release a statement saying that the current director appointed by this president believes in that assessment that Russia, in fact, meddled in the election.
Now all of this has prompted a lot of views from the outside. John McCain first and foremost, he weighed in on the comments that the president was talking about Russia. He said this. Let's take a look.
He said, "Vladimir Putin does not have America's interest at heart. To believe otherwise is not only naive, but also places our national security at risk. Of course, this was in response to the president saying that Vladimir Putin is sincere when he believes that Russia did not meddle.
Now this is also interesting this continued back and forth between Senator McCain and the president that it's happening in Hanoi, Vietnam, of course, where John McCain was shot down and a prisoner of war for more than five years in the late '60s and early '70s.
Of course, President Trump left Hanoi without visiting the site of the prison where John McCain was at. As many American presidents have done over the years. It is, of course, Veterans Day so significant that the president did not visit that.
Of course, he and John McCain, there is no love lost. You'll recall during the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump even, at one point, said that John McCain was, in fact, not an American hero because heroes aren't captured -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Jeff, before you go, there was also the tweet that came out from the president about North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, very different from the scripted remarks during his time in Vietnam. Let's talk about that tweet.
ZELENY: The president has been urged by his advisers and largely followed sued suit by not going after Kim Kong-un directly for most of his time here in Asia, but that changed overnight again. Let's take a look at this tweet, of course, on Twitter.
[06:05:08] He says this, "Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat. Oh, well, I try so hard to be his friend and maybe someday that will happen."
Of course, strange words there, but the president asked at the press conference if he actually thinks that that could happen to be friends and he said, look, stranger things have happened.
He believes a good thing for the world for them to be friends, but a long way from "Rocket Man" that the president referred to him as just a couple of months ago. But I can tell you, Victor and Christi, before we sign off from here on this hour, I visited that prison today where John McCain was and seeing those images of him and pictures of him certainly a striking way to commemorate Veterans Day here in Hanoi.
BLACKWELL: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.
PAUL: Well, President Trump says he's, quote, you heard there, "with our agencies" when it comes to Russia meddling, but a lot of people say, is he really because he is not answering whether he believes it actually happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, why won't say definitively whether Russia meddled our democracy? Why won't you say that definitely, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So, CNN political commentator and political anchor at Spectrum News, Errol Louis, with us now as well as CNN political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University, Julian Zelizer. Thank you both, Gentlemen. We appreciate it. How important is it, Julian, for him to say this is what I believe -- he said I'm with our intelligence agencies, but he didn't say I believe Russia did this.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It really shouldn't be much of a puzzle coming from the president of the United States. It's not much of a debate. Intelligence agencies have confirmed this. Politicians in both parties have agreed to this.
Members of the president's administration, including the head of the CIA, are unambiguous and it would be very important for the president to put this behind and acknowledge what happened, most importantly, so that we understand and have confidence that the president will be dealing with this kind of intervention in 2018 and 2020.
So, it is important. If he is serious about trying to establish relations with Russia on other issues like Syria, he needs to begin by acknowledging what happened in the election and stopping with this kind of rhetorical game.
PAUL: All right. Errol, I want to ask you about this tweet to North Korean leader or about North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, that Jeff just talked about. You know, I almost can't say it without laughing. I would never call him short and fat, as though he just did essentially. But then go on to say, I try so hard to be his friend and maybe someday that will happen. What is the possibility do you think anything like that would ever happen?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I think there --
PAUL: That there would be a friendship, that there is some sort of connection between North Korea and the U.S.
LOUIS: As we have seen in the case of Russia, the president's friendships can actually be somewhat problematic for U.S. policy. So, even if that were to happen, it wouldn't unambiguously necessarily be a good thing for the country.
The reality he is treating the North Korean leader as if he was one more Republican candidate, as if we were back in 2015 or 2016 that is going to insult him off the stage. It doesn't work that way in this case. That is the kind of disconnect I think between the president's rhetoric and the reality on the ground.
PAUL: All right. Errol and Julian, stick around with us. We want to talk about in the next block here after the break about President Duterte and what is to come here because the president's admiration of so-called strong men will be tested there.
But Duterte on Wednesday said to reporters that if President Trump tries to talk to him about the drug campaign, he said, you want an answer? I'll give you an answer. Lay off! This isn't your business. Where exactly do we go with this?
BLACKWELL: Also, we are hearing from former boyfriend of one of the Alabama Republican nominee for Senate, Roy Moore's accusers. What he says she told him.
BLACKWELL: This is President Trump arriving in Manila. He is in the Philippines to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit known as ASEAN. They will be discussing issues of trade and security, those South China Sea islands as well.
Being hosted this year by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a man who has launched this war on drugs that many say has ended the lives of almost 10,000 people. Many in the U.S. are asking the president to comment on that. We will see if he does.
The president also plans to -- we are told -- address human rights during this meeting. That war on drugs, we have discussed, has led to those extrajudicial killings and drawn international condemnation.
President Trump's affinity for strong men will be tested, though, during this visit. The dictator, Duterte, has bragged about killing people in his bloody drug war even comparing himself to Hitler.
President Trump praised Duterte's crackdown on drugs during their first call earlier this year. There is a leaked transcript. Maybe you remember their conversation to "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" and it revealed this.
President Trump said to Duterte, "I just want to congratulate you because I'm hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem."
CNN international correspondent, Matt Rivers joins us live from Manila. Matt, how will the president strike this balance between the praise that we have seen that he has heaped on these leaders during this visit, and the condemnation that many are calling for in relation to this drug war?
[06:15:07] MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, it's going to be walking on very fine line, Victor. I think it's going to be a tricky situation for the president to navigate. I mean, in President Duterte, you have a big fan of Donald Trump.
He has said nothing but praise for the U.S. president, but he is also a leader that is incredibly sensitive when people criticize his ongoing crackdown on drugs. The reason why that human rights groups across the world have really condemned this is really because of the extrajudicial killings.
He has targeted not only drug dealers, but drug users as well, and has been bloody. Thousands of people have died. It's an ongoing controversial issue in this part of the world but.
But at the same time, you have a White House official telling reporters that the president has a warm rapport with President Rodrigo Duterte. So, how forcefully he brings up these human rights allegations -- the violations of human rights allegations that's the big question.
If he's going to bring it up, what does he say exactly? What human right groups that we've spoken to in the region are worried about is if the president isn't forceful in condemnation of what President Duterte is doing with this ongoing drug war that he, in essence, gives him a pass to continue to do what he is doing.
Now it's worth noting Duterte has said he is going to keep doing what he's been doing no matter what anybody else says. He had extremely strong words for President Obama this time last year when President Obama criticized the ongoing war against drugs.
But what we are really interested to see amongst all the other things going on, this being the last leg of the president's trip here, this will be certainly the most watched meeting between President Duterte and President Trump, how far is the U.S. president willing to go in his criticism.
BLACKWELL: All right. Matt Rivers for us there in Manila. Matt, thank you.
PAUL: All righty, so something else from the dictator, from President Duterte. He's actually as he said praised President Trump saying that the two are alike because they "both curse for the slightest reason," a quote there.
Remember, his relationship with President Obama, that was a bit strained, to say the least, toward the end of the Obama administration. In fact, Duterte called him an s.o.b. and told him to go to hell. So, where do we go forward with this?
CNN political commentator, Errol Louis, is back with us as well as Julian Zelizer. Gentlemen, thank you so much for sticking with us here.
I want to listen together to something that President Duterte said late last year when he was talking about President Trump and world leaders really as they were talking -- they were talking about the drug war that he has imposed, and the 6,000 to 10,000 people who died just since last June since he came into power. Ne is none too happy that people are weighing on it. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: You are interfering in our affairs. (Inaudible) then you start to orchestrate what things should be done and which should not happen in my country. You (inaudible). We passed the colonization stage. (Inaudible). We ASEAN members could export to each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: I should point out that on Wednesday Duterte also told reporters regarding President Trump and his drug campaign. "You want to ask a question? I'll give you an answer. Lay off! That is not your business. That is my business. I take care of my country and I'll nurture my country to health." President Trump, Julian, can't not bring this up, can he?
ZELIZER: No. I think it's very important because if he doesn't, it is true that he will give some legitimacy to the policies of the country. President Trump is bringing youth in that respect and if he doesn't say anything, it's as if the United States doesn't notice or doesn't care about these pretty brutal activities that are taking place. So, I think it's incumbent on the president to say something, even if he understands the kind of response he is going to get.
PAUL: And regardless of what that response is, if this point of contention deteriorates the relationship that they seem to have somewhat of a friendly relationship as we noticed yesterday as they met for the first time face-to-face, Errol. What is the consequence of that, if they don't have a relationship?
LOUIS: Well, for those who are committed to human rights and democracy, not having a great relationship with the murderous thug is probably not the worst thing in the world. I mean, one of the things I'll be listening to hear is whether or not the president mentions Leila De Lima, who is a senator who's been critical of Duterte.
And has been held for months on end in probably illegal, certainly brutal pretrial detention for months on end, with people being denied visits, including her own lawyers and members of the European Parliament.
[06:20:13] Traditionally, an American president would take steps to have specific political prisoners at least mentioned, if not actually given some kind of clemency, amnesty, or due process. We will see if the president is going to adhere to even that minimal standard or just sort of, you know, talk about his friendship with someone who, under the guise of calling it a war on drugs, we should be very clear about this.
He is launching just a brutal, raw political crackdown that has nothing to do with actual addiction treatment or improving the status of this country.
PAUL: Julian, I just have one quick question. What would make it a success for the president to leave the Philippines with what? What would make it a success?
ZELIZER: I think a success would be conveying this message, would be conveying that the United States doesn't tolerate these kinds of abuses, yet, opening the door to negotiation and conversation, not necessarily friendship. I think that is what you're looking for with diplomacy.
PAUL: Errol Louis and Julian Zelizer, always appreciate your perspectives. Gentlemen, thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right. Can we take that shot of the arrivals live? Take it full here? Because we are awaiting President Trump arriving here. We have seen several world leaders pull up here for the welcome ceremony in Manila at the start of this ASEAN Summit. There will be an official welcome and we hope to hear from President Trump this morning. If that happens, we will bring this to you. Again, live pictures from Manila.
Also, another story we are following this morning, a former deputy district attorney, who worked with Alabama Senate Nominee Roy Moore back in the 1970s. Coming up, hear what she says was common knowledge about his dating life at the time.
PAUL: It's so good to see you. It's 26 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.
PAUL: President Trump just landed in the Philippines a little while ago and greeted there with violent protests and flag burning.
BLACKWELL: So, the president will meet with the Philippines president to discuss human rights, just one of many topics. But as the president arrived, protesters clashing with police, yelling anti-Trump slogans, and also setting the American flag on fire.
PAUL: Today's meetings could be overshadowed by the president's latest comments. He not only attacked Kim Jong-un but also former U.S. intelligence officials and refused to definitively say whether he believes Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
BLACKWELL: Now, you are looking live here at Manila as world leaders arrive here for the ASEAN Summit. President Trump will arrive at any moment and we will take this live again when we see the president.
Let's start this discussion now. Joining me, Andre Bauer, CNN political commentator and former lieutenant governor of South Carolina, Brent Podowski, columnist at "The Hill," and Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES." Gentlemen, good morning to you.
So, Andre, let me start with you and what we saw overnight our time on Twitter. In this comprehensive multilateral strategy to try to convince North Korea and Kim Jong-un to abandon his nuclear weapons program, where does name calling and calling him short and fat sit in?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he is trying to continue to -- to, in some way, invoke him and say, hey, look, you know, we are here, we are paying attention to you. He's visiting our friendly neighbors everywhere around Kim Jong-un and hopefully, sometime Kim Jong-un will at some point in time say, you know what, I have picked a fight with someone I cannot win.
And hopefully, his neighbors will reinforce, in fact, what the president is trying to say. Hey, you're messing with a much bigger crowd than you can handle, and you need to throw (inaudible). BLACKWELL: But using those kind of insults is really the way to convince a world leader, hey, I'm fighting with somebody I can't beat here. He acknowledges that I'm overweight.
BAUER: Well, I think that Kim Jong-un is clearly motivated by different things and I think President Trump has stoked him to get his attention in many different ways to try to get his attention, several ways haven't worked so he hadn't quit trying.
BLACKWELL: Brent, I want you to listen. Let's put up the tweet first of what the president said about Kim Jong-un. "Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat? Oh, well. I try so hard to be his friend and maybe someday that will happen."
Now compared to what we heard from the president when he was in Vietnam at this news conference with the Vietnamese president and his reference to what the president wants moving forward with North Korea. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We want progress. Not provocation. I mean, we have been provoked. The world has been provoked. We don't want that. We want stability, not chaos, and we want peace, not war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Brent, reconcile what the president said with what he tweeted.
BRENT BUDOWSKY, COLUMNIST, "THE HILL": I can't and I won't even try. What we have going on right now, Victor, is a very, very serious moment in American democracy and American security. Russia is engaging in a massive attack against America first to elect Trump and divide our country race against race.
We have a nuclear crisis that could develop in Korea. We have a president who inspires the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to say he worries that this president could precipitate a nuclear war.
We have dictators around the world, one of them the president is about to visit, Duterte, and what Trump should begin by saying is I join every human rights group around the world against this. He won't say that but he should.
He should have criticized the Chinese more than he did. He said they were raping the American back during the campaign and he basically was praising them for succeeding in what he previously had said was raping an America. I'd like to hear what Steve Bannon thinks about that.
So we have a situation --
BUDOWSKY: -- where there was an unprecedented attack on America, a digital cyber war's Pearl Harbor and imagine a Franklin Roosevelt after June -- December seventh, 1941 had told America we are not being attacked by Russia. The problem is Hillary Clinton's fault. I want the justice department to investigate Hillary Clinton.
BUDOWSKY: The CIA here is not to be believed. And the Russians are celebrating when he says those things. No American president should ever do that to this country.
BLACKWELL: We are going to talk more about Russia in a moment.
But, Brian, the distinction -- does this president create a distinction between what he says and what he tweets as if they are completely separate audiences?
STELTER: I do think he risks undermining some successes on his foreign trip when he's on Twitter saying he's more provocative or (INAUDIBLE) comments. You know, a lot of the headlines about his trip have been about his strength, about America first.
And then when he was on Twitter, he makes comments to make you wonder, who is the real Trump? Which one is the real Trump? Is it the man behind the microphone speaking to the world audience or is it the man with his keyboard tweeting off insults?
So it's -- there's -- (INAUDIBLE) back in that confusion territory. I saw Chief of Staff John Kelly quote overnight saying I really -- you know, I see the tweets but I'm not dictated by the tweets. Quote -- "Believe it or not I do not follow the tweets. I find out later what he has said."
That would be like CNN management saying we don't watch this channel. We only hear later what happens on the channel.
It doesn't make a lot of sense that there is not more involvement in crafting these presidential statements but, you know, we see the proof right there. There's definitely no one editing President Trump's Twitter feed before it goes out.
BLACKWELL: Yes. That's like CNN management saying we only watch television. We don't read CNN.com.
STELTER: Right. Exactly.
BLACKWELL: You got to -- you got to have coverage of the entire brand.
BLACKWELL: Andre, back to you. And let's talk about Russia. Brent brought it up. I want you to listen to what the president did in Vietnam during this news conference to try to what appears walk back what he said earlier to reporters regarding President Putin's denial of meddling in the 2016 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election.
As to whether or not I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intelligence agencies, our intelligence agencies. I've worked with them very strongly.
There weren't 17 as previously was reported. There were actually four. But they were saying there were 17, there were actually four.
But as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Andre, what has changed since July when he was in Poland? He said nobody really knows? Same leaders of these organizations, of these agencies, and several times since when he has shed doubt on Russia being involved.
What happened? What changed?
BAUER: Well, I think he has seen several things as a president. I'm sure he is presented with multiple different factual situations to say, hey, here is what we have as a country. Here is the operations we have to look over.
I mean, things that we would never hear about. And so he continues to get information. He continues to formulate an opinion based on the new information he has given.
But, you know, a lot of things the president has speculated and was right whether it was wiretapping, whether it was Hillary's involvement with Russia as well. And so you continue to see a drip, drip, drip.
And a lot of things he tweets out that people immediately jump on and say, oh, this is -- it's totally ridiculous that he would tweet this. In fact, has come full circle back and proven him correct.
BLACKWELL: I don't know if the tweets that we are referencing this morning, he -- Kim Jong-un being short and fat, I don't know how that helps the effort to get him to abandon his nuclear weapons program. But we -- we've --
BAUER: And, Victor, I don't know either. But I do know that President Trump has a way of connecting with people that most folks at first kind of --
BLACKWELL: Yes. But who is he connecting with? Is he connecting with his base or is he connecting with Kim Jong-un who is the person he is actually trying to persuade.
BAUER: Well --
Andre, stay with us. Brent, Brian, stay with us. We need to move on for just a second.
Live pictures again. We are waiting on President Trump to arrive for ASEAN Summit dinner, other world leaders arriving here. We will be back to continue the conversation after a quick break.
BLACKWELL: All right. Live pictures here from Manila as world leaders are arriving for the ASEAN Summit, the association of southeastern nations -- East Asia nations. President Trump will arrive very soon.
So let's continue our conversation here. Back with us, Andre Bauer, CNN political commentator, former lieutenant governor of South Carolina. Brent Budowsky, a columnist at "The Hill." And, Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent of "RELIABLE SOURCES." We just saw there Shinzo Abe arriving -- of Japan.
Let me start here with Russia for this segment. And, Brian, first to you. And I want to go to again another tweet from the president overnight.
He seemed to be on topic and, you know, in line with the agenda for the first several days of this visit and kind of derailed at the end.
The president tweeting, "When will all of the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There always playing politics -- bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!"
"Haters and fools," I mean, he's stopping short of calling people jive turkeys here on Twitter. Does he include members of Congress? Does he include the intelligence agencies he just praised earlier today?
Because -- I mean, they are not calling for a bad relationship but they're certainly not prioritizing friendship and chemistry as President Trump is with Putin.
STELTER: And this is where I'm grateful for the president's tweets because we are getting to how he truly feels, how he really feels about Russia and about this ongoing investigation into Russian interference. He tried to clean up the comments he made about Putin by saying that he does side with the intelligence agencies but he had every opportunity to say that when he originally made a comment on Air Force One about how Putin feels that he is under attack from us, that the investigations are an insult, et cetera. He had every opportunity to say that.
Then he didn't. He had to clean it up a few hours ago by saying that he does side with the intelligence agencies. But then on Twitter, I think we really see how he truly feels about this matter that he does not believe Russian meddling is a priority.
Let's just remember (INAUDIBLE) every time we talk about it, meddling is not about just what happened last year. It's about what is happening now and in the midterms and what happens to the next presidential election. And I think every leader in this country is almost united on the idea that the government has to take aggressive action to protect our election system.
Every leader, I mean, except for President Trump.
PAUL: So, Andre, let me ask you, on that note does it help or hurt President Trump and his effectiveness, his initiative with Duterte as he goes into these meetings with him to know from Duterte's point that the president seems to have questions about the U.S. intelligence? How does that affect what is happening today in (INAUDIBLE)?
BAUER: Well, Duterte immediately is more concerned about see channels being blocked. He's concerned about exactly what could happen with North Korea. His economy is finally doing well.
He is concerned about that. Those are his immediate concerns in talking to the president how he's going to be affected by that. Not so much what the president is tweeting about Russia right now.
PAUL: Right. But, I mean, in terms of knowing whether the president defends his own intelligence agencies, where the president's mindset is. Does it give -- if there are questions about that, does that give Duterte hope that he can get to President Trump in some regard?
BAUER: Well, I think if I were a leader speaking with another leader I'm going to -- I'm want to have a direct conversation with that person.
Look, there is no reason why a leader, if they have concerns about their own organizations that they actually oversee, if they have questions about that, there is no reason not to call that out. And we know over time some of these organizations have become political. There is no question about that.
The president may be travelling (ph) back (ph) but I can tell you as an American citizen, I wonder sometimes if, in fact, some of these organizations have become too political or have gotten people that have been bureaucrats for too long they only see things one way. And that is a concern even if the president doesn't talk about it anymore. And so at the end of the day the leader needs to trust the president more than he needs to trust president's underlings or organizations under the president.
BLACKWELL: Brent, the president yesterday, in his conversation with reporters, was asked if he prioritized, and I'm paraphrasing here, human rights offenses when visiting with world leaders where that is a concern.
He did not call out the Saudis. He did not call out Vietnam. He did not call out China. He is now in the Philippines.
We will see if he calls out President Duterte. But from your perspective what is the impact of the president's silence face-to-face or in these news conferences on those issues?
BUDOWSKY: Well, the president is effectively giving a comfort and support to human rights abusers, human rights violators and dictators many of whom he effusively (ph) praises which is just something that is astounding and unacceptable.
Somewhere in heaven right now, Victor, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan are shaking their heads with indignation and anger that an American president could behave like this. I wrote in my column just last week that Special Counsel Mueller could indict President Putin for crimes against America law in this attack against America that Donald Trump doesn't believe is happening.
You could name his an unindicted co-conspirator and list every American war that Vladimir Putin is violating, every crime that they are committing, all of which Trump denies. He is not standing up for America. He has been attacking American intelligence and law enforcement and the FBI in ways that align his interest with Russian intelligence and a Russian dictator.
It is inexcusable. Reagan, Kennedy, no president would ever tolerate this kind of behavior from somebody. It is inexcusable and we have to understand the magnitude of what we are up against.
And in brief, Hillary Clinton's role in Russia, Andre, was that Putin's dictator attacking America hated Hillary Clinton. She should get a presidential medal of freedom for standing up to him.
Ronald Reagan should hang his head in shame for not challenging when Putin attacks America and if he thought Vladimir Putin really believes that they didn't do it, which is what he said yesterday, he was so sincere. With all due respect, that is a level of delusion that is dangerous for any American president to believe when we are under the kind of attack we are right now today continuing by Vladimir Putin.
I want better relations. The way to get better relations is for Russia to stop the crimes against America. Then we can do what we should do (INAUDIBLE) have relations and mutual respect but only then. PAUL: He also says that he wants to have better relationships with President Duterte in the Philippines. And I want to tell you a little bit about Duterte here. So, gentlemen, please stick with us here.
But for our viewers Duterte he has made a name for himself as a brutal dictator and one with little regard for human life. There's an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 people who have been killed in his so called "war on drugs" since he took office. That was just last June. So just a little over a year here, about a year and a half.
The United Nations, along with other international organizations, the U.S. Congress, the E.U., they have accused him of indiscriminate killings and undermining justice. Duterte makes no qualms about his violent past. He bragged that his first kill happened when he was just 16.
In his words, he said, just because we just looked at each other, that was the reason that he killed somebody, he says. The dictator has praised President Trump we know saying the two are alike because they both -- quote -- "curse for the slightest reason."
His relationship with President Obama, remember, that was strained toward the end of the Obama presidency, Duterte called him an SOB, told him to go to hell.
We saw Duterte and President Trump meet for the first time face-to- face at APEC. But we are expecting the president to talk about human rights with Duterte since there is so much talk of his war on drugs and what is exactly happening there.
And Duterte on Wednesday at APEC had this to say about President Trump asking about his war on drugs. He said, "You want to ask a question, I'll give you an answer. Lay off. That is not your business. That is my business. I take care of my country and I will nurture my country to health."
How, Brian -- or how, Brian, does the president have this conversation with him if this is a man who believes he is nurturing his country to health by indiscriminately killing people?
STELTER: I don't know if President Trump feels that he need to have a conversation about this -- about this ongoing human rights problem in the Philippines.
I think what we learned about President Trump is he likes people who like him. He is friendly to people who are friendly to him. But sometimes when you have that friendship that is when you're able to have tough conversations, when you have a personal relationship you're able to broach sensitive subjects. So there could be an opportunity for President Trump to bring up these human rights violations.
Certainly I think President Trump's visit is bringing more attention on to these concerns which could be a good thing, a silver lining here. But it remains to be seen if the president wants to engage on this subject.
BLACKWELL: Andre, should he?
BAUER: He should engage. I think he should do it behind closed doors.
But look. Evidently many of the leaders didn't think it was such a big problem that they wouldn't all meet there. But a lot of this is who is formulating articles because for some people's perspective is the drug lords he has taken out and the people have actually risen up and are helping him, in fact, take on so many of these people that have taken over their country.
PAUL: But (ph) -- go ahead.
BLACKWELL: Let me read for you a comment in 2016. You said that, in many cases, that he is taking out the drug lords.
Actually, I think we have this video. Do you have the video, guys, in the control room, the comparison to the holocaust from Duterte, the comments he made about slaughtering millions of people? Do we have that available to play? If not, I'll just read it.
All right. I'll just read what he said. He said, after noting that Hitler slaughtered 3 million Jews -- rather 6 million Jews. His number was three. What he said was, there are 3 million drug addicts in the Philippines. I'd be happy to slaughter them.
So, Andre, he is not going after drug lords here. This is a man who is killing or wants to kill, says he is happy to kill millions of people and we have him on screen now.
This is the president of the Philippines. Your response to now hearing that, Andre?
BAUER: My response to hearing that?
BAUER: Again, you know, it would be -- I haven't been over there. I can't quantify whom is he killing and whom he is not killing. But my understanding in several articles I've read that these are people that are drug lords that he has gone after and made it a point to try to protect his country much like we need to do in our country.
BLACKWELL: But why is it acceptable for a U.S. president to go, even if this is where the ASEAN Summit is being held and he hears the president of that country say and make a comparison to the holocaust, no less, said that there are 3 million drug addicts in this country, I would be happy to slaughter them. And if he comments on it, why not do it in public where the entire world can hear him say?
BAUER: Because that is what -- that's exactly where you don't make progress. You call somebody out like that and then go over there and expect to work with them you're not going to get that type of reception. He needs to have that -- there are several things I agree with the president, sometimes I don't. But as a person that had to work with the legislature I didn't go in and immediately stick my finger in there and say, OK, now vote for the bill I want. I don't think you go over to his home turf and immediately in public start picking a fight with him --
BLACKWELL: But this is exactly what he has done with Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Lisa Murkowski and along with the Republicans domestically. But when he's eye to eye with another president he won't say it when millions of lives are on the line potentially?
BAUER: Well, Victor, we don't know that he is not going to say that. He's just not brought them out --
BLACKWELL: You're suggesting he should?
BAUER: I think it's a conversation that needs to be had. But, again, I can't -- you know, I'm Andre Bauer, not Donald Trump. And so there -- I don't agree with everything.
BLACKWELL: I got you.
BAUER: And we carry ourselves differently. But again I'm not the president of the United States. I don't have that opportunity afforded to me to be able to conduct it like I would want to do.
And as a whole I appreciate that he is approaching many problems quite differently than his predecessors and he is getting results that I like so many Americans are glad to see that we haven't seen in a long time.
PAUL: Brent, the president, it has been said that he is adroit at face-to-face meetings, at one on ones, behind closed doors. But when you hear what President Duterte has said, about -- you know, look, lay off, don't ask me about this, it's not your business, how does the president -- do you think the president has the ability to make some progress with Duterte behind closed doors if he brings it up?
Not in public but just between the two of them? Do you think there is an actual chance there could be some progress made on this discussion?
BUDOWSKY: Well, if President Trump changes his ways completely, yes. I don't think that he will. And I don't think he'll make progress if he doesn't.
Something wrong profoundly wrong with an American president who goes to criminals like Duterte and praises him. There is something wrong when the president allows, enables, supports dictators who kill and imprison their people, who torture their people and the president of the United States can't speak with honor and integrity and justice about that. When he does those things, President Trump, he gives them support. He gives them a green light and whatever president we have next in the post-Trump era which may have begun last week with the election results, we need a president who makes Americans proud.
It is not true that Americans from sea to shining sea, as Andre said, are applauding this guy. The fact of the matter is 60 percent of Americans despise what he is doing, voting against it. I hope they vote against Judge Moore in Alabama as well.
There is a time for decency and honor in a country. I mean, decency and honor in a president.
PAUL: Well, we're looking at President Duterte right there as we await President Trump's arrival in Manila this hour.
We're going to take a quick break. We're back in just a moment.
BLACKWELL: All right. Live pictures here in Manila. The welcoming continues here as we have Aung San Suu Kyi, you just saw there of Myanmar with Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines. The leaders are in Manila for the ASEAN Summit, the association of southeastern nations.
We are awaiting the arrival of President Trump, of course, will be in attendance. This is the final leg of his 12-day visit to Asia.
Our Panel Brent Budowsky, Andre Bauer, Brian Stelter still with us.
Brian, I want to come to you back on this topic of confrontation potentially or just putting a flag in the sand in the -- on the issue of human rights abuses and this war on drugs. We have seen several times in the past the president has a lot to say when he is not face- to-face with the world leader.
We just saw an example of that with President Xi of China where, during the campaign, he said that China was raping the U.S. and very aggressive but, face-to-face, he says he has a personal, warm relationship and now doesn't blame China. Criticizing Angela Merkel of Germany but welcoming her with a warm person-to-person relationship.
If past is prologue and that is going to be a predictor of what we are seeing, do you expect that there will be any public condemnation, any public statement with Rodrigo Duterte, the president, about the war on drugs?
STELTER: It would surprise me. Given President Trump's track record on these issues it would surprise me.
This visit to the Philippines, you know, it is striking because this is one of the strongest examples of President Trump seeking warmer relations with leaders of countries that are deeply controversial. I think you all outlined it really well earlier in the hour. The human rights violations that have been clear in the Philippines for some time.
President Trump had to have been briefed on that, have to have known about that when he started complimenting Duterte sort of saying kind words about the Philippines' president in recent months. So there was a moment early on in his administration where he was invited to the Philippines. He said he would take him up on the offer and here it is happening.
I would be surprised if we hear the president be critical of this rampant killing that we have seen in this country. It is -- it is disturbing and then some of the reports from CNN and the "The New York Times" and other outlets, some of the photo illustrations of the death toll, the impact of the violence in this country is really heart breaking. But it seems, based on President Trump's track record it would be surprising to hear him address these issues.
PAUL: So, Brent, what is -- what would be a success for -- an end game? What would be a success for President Trump as he leaves Manila this last leg, as we said?
BLACKWELL: Just highlighting that we are seeing Justin Trudeau of Canada here, the welcome ceremony.
PAUL: That's right. Sorry about that. Good way to point that out.
But I'm wondering, Brent, in your mind what would it take for the president to leave here and for people to say he had a successful trip with Duterte?
BUDOWSKY: If he denounces the human rights abuses. If he says, I stand with human rights groups all over the world and, above all, to boil it all down, right now, Democratic leaders around the world are alarmed and worried about President Trump.
Dictators around the world are happy with him because he has a high tolerance for their crimes. What would be a success is if that flipped around and the Democratic leaders applaud him and the dictatorships don't.
PAUL: All right. Listen. We are showing you live pictures here as dinner and diplomacy gets under way. President Trump getting ready to sit down with those world leaders.
BLACKWELL: The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.