Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

CNN Special Coverage Of President Trump Visiting The United Kingdom; President Trump Greeted With Protest In Britain; Trump Criticizes Teresa May In British Tabloid, White House Defends; North Korea A No-Show, Reschedules Meeting With Mike Pompeo; Explosive Congressional Hearing With Peter Strzok; Steve Mnuchin Downplays Trade War With Partners; Coverage of Trump Travel; Examining Protests of Trump During England Visit; Preview of Trump/Putin Meeting; Thailand Rescue Operation. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired July 13, 2018 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. I'm Becky Anderson in London. This is CNN's special coverage of U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to the United Kingdom. We are seeing the U.S. President leaving the U.S. ambassador's residence known as Winfield House. He'll be boarding Marine One and heading to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst that is located just west of London there.

He'll be watching what's being called a military exhibition. On to a working lunch with the U.K. prime minister and then off for tea this later this afternoon with Queen Elizabeth II. The White House trying to soften the blow this morning from President Trump's interview with the British tabloid, The Sun.

The newspaper publishing just hours after Mr. Trump's lavish state dinner with Prime Minister Teresa May and in it he declared that Ms. May has quote, wrecked Brexit and ignored his advice. The president is quoted as saying her soft blueprint will kill any future trade deal with the U.S. because the U.S. will be dealing with the E.U., not the United Kingdom.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would have done it much differently. I actually told Teresa May how to do it but she didn't agree -- she didn't listen to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did she say?

TRUMP: She didn't listen. Now, I told her how to do it. That will up to her to say, but I told her how to do it. She wants to go a different route.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, all this comes as the president prepares to meet with Prime Minister May for a working lunch later today. For more on how the White House is trying to sweep up after the president's comments, CNN's Jeremy Diamond joining me now live from London. We've heard from Sarah Sanders this morning, there is somewhat of a mop up going on. Just explain.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: -- statement that we have from Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary. She says -- do I still have you, Becky?

ANDERSON: Jeremy, apologies. We seem to be having some technical difficulties. So you have now got me in your ear and the question was quite simply this, just explain what sort of damage limitation is going on behind the scenes and front of (inaudible) indeed from the White House administration at this point?

DIAMOND: Absolutely. So the White House statement from Sarah Sanders reads as following. The president likes and respects Prime Minister May very much. As he said in his interview with The Sun, she is a very good person and he never said anything bad about her though that's quoting the president.

She says, he thought she was great on NATO today and is really a terrific person. He is thankful for their wonderful welcome of the prime minister here in the U.K. This I don't know how much it's going to do though to kind of try and cool some of those tensions between the president and the British prime minister. By all measures what the president did yesterday, by giving this interview to a British tabloid as he was heading to the United Kingdom.

The first tidbits of that interview coming while the president was at a dinner, a gala dinner hosted in his honor by the British prime minister. I don't know how much this can do because it is a stunning diplomatic affront and a break of the kind of protocol that you would expect from a visiting foreign leader let alone a visiting U.S. President.

Keep in mind, the president not only criticizing Teresa May over the soft Brexit compromise deal that she came up with, but also all but endorsing one of her chief political rivals within her own party, Boris Johnson, the previous foreign secretary, who recently resigned over this very issue.

And if you look at the British tabloids this morning here in London, you will see nearly every single front page is dominated by these comments, biting comment from the president.

[04:05:07] So, I'm not sure how far the statement from the White House is going to go because again, there are, you know, minutes and minutes of sound of the president criticizing Teresa May, making these comments and there are verbatim quotes just pointing directly to what the president was thinking just yesterday as he prepared to arrive here in London.

ANDERSON: Just moments ago the president's leaving the ambassador's residence. You see him there on his way to what is a busy series of events today. He'll be swerving the protests that are happening in London, demonstrating against this visit. The international -- our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is outside the U.S. Ambassador's residence known as Winfield House where Mr. Trump and the first lady stayed the night.

Nic, the U.S. president doesn't do rules and he doesn't do rule books. He does disruption. We knew that before he arrived here and hot on the heels of a very divisive meeting with NATO allies, but what sort of impact do you think these comments about the prime minister, about the London mayor in this article in The Sun newspaper will have?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Becky, I think I caught all of your question there. Just struggling to hear a couple of those Osprey flying (ph) helicopters just landed in the ambassador's residence just after we've seen President Trump take off. No doubt all the people in his delegation getting ready to follow on to his first engagement. This time to see the British military office of training academy there.

Look, I think this is -- the timing is absolutely terrible for Teresa May. Remembering that she was the first world leader to get to Washington after its inauguration to congratulate him on his electoral triumph because she wanted to position Britain close to the United States, reaffirm that special relationship, be able to say to her detractors in the U.K. that leaving the European Union was going to mean that Britain could do better business with the United States.

This was a message also, a negotiating tactic if you will, to get a show to European Union leaders in Brussels that she's got tough powerful friends who can muscle in and help her. So, coming to have this precise criticism from President Trump on the week when she's lost two cabinet ministers because of her strategy over Brexit that has had to soften and she admits that.

To have President Trump suggest that Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign secretary earlier this week would be a good prime minister is really the worst of all times for her to be going through this. It shows in a way that her political acumen that was already called into question when she had that snap general election last year that turned out so disastrously, where she lost her parliamentary -- almost lost her parliamentary majority.

You know, that was such -- seen as such a bad move for her -- just delayed here slightly. There's a truck tying to move into Winfield House behind me and the gates are very narrow here. But the point being here, Becky, look, is that she had invested a lot in President Trump and that's being thrown back in her face. So it makes it look like her political calculations have been wrong. It makes her look like what she's doing with Brexit isn't going to work out.

It makes it look like her cabinet ministers that quit were right. It makes them look like her critics within her own party, you know, are on message. So, it's a moment when she has a weakness. Now, she has always been able to in the past muscle through, get ahead of these issues, but right now, this is -- this is very damaging and I think we're going to have to look to her to see how she'll handle it when she meets with President Trump later today, but she has to save face and she probably need to do that publicly and that's going to be tough. ANDERSON: It will be interesting to see just how she responds, what

her attitude is, what her demeanor is, so that when we are likely to see them together after what is a working lunch later on. Thank you. You've been struggling there to cope against the sound of those ospreys behind you, you've done a good job there. Thank you. And Nic Robertson is our diplomatic editor and he is at Winfield House.

For a deeper look into President Trump's visit, we're joined now by Nile Gardiner. He is the director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation. You have certainly said ahead of this interview that the U.S. is in a position to help the U.K. post Brexit.

[04:10:2] Well, this is the front page of The Sun newspaper today. Whatever you think the U.S. President doesn't agree with you. He says May has wrecked Brexit. U.S. deal is off. There wasn't a deal by the way, but it says any potential U.S. deal he says is now off. Thoughts?

NILE GARDINER, DIRECTOR, MARGARET THATCHER CENTER FOR FREEDOM: Well actually I think the president's intervention, which is extraordinary, is probably the most powerful intervention by a U.S. president in the British political scene in many decades.

ANDERSON: Extraordinarily good or bad?

GARDINER: In my view, actually I think it's going to be helpful and the reason is, is that Donald Trump clearly is weighing in against Teresa May's very soft Brexit proposals, which have split the conservative party, led to two cabinet resignations and deeply unpopular action with conservative activist.

ANDERSON: An intervention to domestic politics by a U.S. president such as this and you think that's helpful? I think a lot of people will disagree with you.

GARDINER: I think it's justified in this case and the reason is because the United States has a clearer interest in the success of Brexit. Donald Trump has championed Brexit and the U.S.-U.K. free trade deal. He sees the May proposal as threatening the viability of the U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement. So he's trying to rescue that agreement and I think this is going to force the prime minister to shift her trajectory.

ANDERSON: And I'll just pause you for one second. This is, one assumes, part of the exercises in getting Donald Trump and his entourage across London swerving, by the way, demonstrators who are protesting his visit today. That sounds like it was potentially one of the Ospreys going over. It's gone now. So we can continue.

You say championing -- you've talked about the idea that Donald Trump believed he could champion this free trade deal potentially were the U.K. to leave Brexit in a hard and fast way. What he's doing in this newspaper today is championing the potential as prime minister for a man who was foreign secretary until the beginning of this week, who has left the cabinet, the prime minister's cabinet. This is not something that's going to work well for Teresa May at this

point. And whether you buy that or not, I mean, I still find it very difficult to understand how an intervention like this in domestic politics can be helpful.

GARDINER: Yes. I think it's an important intervention because this is an extremely vital moment in British history and at the end of the day Donald Trump could be the man who saves Brexit as the British people voted for it.

ANDERSON: How? Just explain that.

GARDINER: Well, I can explain that. And that basically that works by the U.S. president applying pressure on the British prime minister to shift her course, to shift her trajectory. At the moment, she's moving toward a soft Brexit which is not what the British people voted for.

ANDERSON: Well, I'm going to the Brexit. They didn't know what they -- a lot of people will say didn't know what they were voting.

GARDINER: Well I think it was -- it is very, very clear on what they were voting for and I trust the good faith of the British people and their judgment on this. And here the U.S. president is saying that a U.S.-U.K. free trade agreement for example will be absolutely brilliant great for America and great for Britain as well.

But with the May proposal, it may not become a reality. And so he's really trying to salvage that, rescue that. This is an intervention that a great deal of British conservatives, especially the House of Commons, just over the river here, will support.

ANDERSON: Well, less than 50 of them actually. I think our government --

GARDINER: I think a lot -- I think, you know, you will look at -- ANDERSON: Well, I beg to differ on that.

GARDINER: -- probably well over 100 MP's who would back that intervention.

ANDERSON: Let me put -- let me put one thing to you very, very briefly. Is this an example, do you think of the U.S. president who we know doesn't do rules or rule books, with destabilizing another world leader, let's be frank, in order to manipulate her?

GARDINER: No, I don't think he's destabilizing.

ANDERSON: He is destabilizing --

GARDINER: Not destabilizing the prime minister. I think he's giving her some very valuable advice and I think in this case the president is absolutely right. The British people voted to completely leave the European Union. That's not what Teresa May is offering the British people (inaudible).

ANDERSON: With that we will leave it there. Thank you very much for joining us.

GARDINER: Thank you very much. Thank you.

ANDERSON: Stay with us for our continuing coverage of President Trump's U.K. visit. Then, after North Korean officials failed to show up for talks with the U.S. on Thursday, we go live to the Korean Peninsula for the very latest.

[04:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: All right. We are seeing the inflating of -- I haven't seen the pictures like this before in London so I'll explain exactly what we're seeing. We're seeing inflating of what's known as the baby Trump balloon. This is a blimp that will be flying over London today as protesters gather to demonstrate the trip to the U.K. of the U.S. President Donald Trump.

He doesn't like the idea of this particularly. He said overnight in an interview with The Sun newspaper that he used to love London as a city. I haven't been for a long time, he says, but when they make you feel unwelcome why would I stay there?

Well, he's not staying. He stayed the night. He's not staying. He's on his way as we understand it now to Sandhurst where he will watch a military parade and then on to a working lunch with the prime minister. Meantime, this is what will be flying over London.

U.S. and North Korean officials are set to meet Sunday after the North Koreans failed to show up Thursday for talks at the DMZ. The two sides are expected to discuss bringing home the remains of U.S. troops killed in the Korean War. CNN's Andrew Stevens joins me now live from Seoul in South Korea. Andrew?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky. Theere was a meeting scheduled for Thursday, July the 12th, which Mike Pompeo had been touting coming out of his meeting in Pyongyang just a week earlier with Kim Yong-chol who is the number two to Kim Jong-un. Mike Pompeo saying there would be a meeting to discuss the remains or the repatriation of those remains of U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War on the 12th or maybe one or two days later, but he was sort of focusing on the 12th.

The Americans turned up on the 12th at the DMZ where the meeting is supposed to take place, but the North Koreans were a no-show and it wasn't until midday of the 12th that the North Koreans did get in touch with the U.S. to say that they wanted the meeting on the Sunday. So, it will be held as far as we're aware on July 15th at the DMZ.

But it just all underlines, Becky, that sort of -- the growing breakdown in the relationship and in the moves to try to create some sort of frame work for a denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. That actual meeting I referenced between Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol was widely regarded in the U.S. as a failure.

Mike Pompeo coming away with very little to show for it apart from this meeting about the remains, which was then postponed. And he did not get to meet Kim Jong-un. Kim Jong-un apparently was touring a potato farm -- potato factory when Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang and Pompeo apparently had been promised that he would be meeting Kim. So, there is a lot of concern.

Donald Trump continues to say the things at progress -- great progress is being made, that's his latest tweet. That's when he tweeted out a letter from Kim Jong-un dated on July the 6th to the U.S. president. Kim Jong-un, referring to Donald Trump as your Excellency five times in that four-paragraph letter talking about the relationship and the willingness to move forward, but absolutely no specifics whatsoever.

And the latest news on this, Becky, is the fact that the U.S. is now pushing the U.N. Security Council to stop what they say is sanctions busting North Koreans.

[04:20:10] The North Koreans have been getting fuel oil products in illegally. They are over their quota that have been given by the U.N. for their annual supply, and the Americans say that the U.N. has to now pressure China and Russia into not giving them any more fuel. So, all in all, the optics are pretty bad. There's very little progress. Only Donald Trump seems to think at this stage that things are going with great progress, in his own words, is being made.

ANDERSON: Andrew Stevens is in Seoul in South Korea where it is 5:20 p.m. in the afternoon, 9:20 in London.

When FBI agent Peter Strzok sent disparaging text messages about Donald Trump in the months before the U.S. election, he says he didn't think they'd become public, but they did. And now President Trump's Republican allies in Congress are holding them up as proof that Strzok and the FBI are biased against the president. They grilled Strzok for nearly ten hours Thursday and there could be more. Manu Raju reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): FBI special agent Peter Strzok took a firm stand from the very beginning of the hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER STRZOK, FBI AGENT: -- in the suggestion that I, in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI, would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this is astounding to me. It simply couldn't happen. And the proposition that that is going on, that it might occur anywhere in the FBI deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission and it is deeply destructive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU (voice-over): Strzok saying he was removed from the Mueller probe because of how the texts were perceived, not because of bias.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STRZOK: I am stating to you it is not my understanding that he kicked me off because of any bias, but it was done based on the appearance. If you are to represent what he said accurate, I am happy to answer that question, but I don't appreciate what was originally said being changed.

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't give a damn what you appreciate agent Strzok. I don't appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level animus working on two major investigations during 2016.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU (voice-over): Republican Senator Darrell Issa even making Strzok read his texts aloud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STRZOK: You want me to read this?

SEN. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Yes please.

STRZOK: OMG, he's an idiot. Hi, how was Trump other than a douche? Trump is a disaster. I have no idea how destabilizing his presidency would be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU (voice-over): Strzok publicly disclosed why he sent an August 2016 text to FBI lawyer Lisa Page when he said, quote, We'll stop it, referring to Trump as president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STRZOK: That was written late at night, off the cuff and it was in response to a series of events that included then candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero. And my presumption based on that horrible disgusting behavior that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the United States.

It was in no way unequivocally any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU (voice-over): The lawmakers also turned their fire on themselves. At one point, erupting over whether or not the full transcript of Agent Strzok's closed door testimony should be released. Something Democrats have called for and Republicans have resisted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: And I ask the chairman now to order the release of that transcript. Will the chairman do so? REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R), VIRGINIA: Not today.

NADLER: Will the chairman ever do so?

GOODLATTE: The -- you can direct your questions to the witness. That's your time to do that. Not to discuss this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU (voice-over): The hearing grew incredibly personal with one Republican spotlighting Strzok's extramarital affair with Page.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: And I've talked to FBI agents around the country. You've embarrassed them, you've embarrassed yourself, and I can't help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lie to her about Lisa Page.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous.

GOHMERT: The credibility of a witness is always an issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, please --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you note Mr. Chairman, this is intolerable harassment of the witness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is wrong with that? You need your medication.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: There you go. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin denies the U.S. is in a trade war with its partners. He told a U.S. House hearing in Washington there are, quote, trade disputes. But the U.S. was not fighting Canada and Mexico. They have retaliated against American tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. He also dismissed the tit-for-tat penalties between the U.S. and China.

[04:25:02] The remarks coming after Beijing said it would hit back after the U.S. proposed fresh tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. China's foreign ministry blamed the Trump administration for what it called typical trade bullying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): Clinging to the zero sum game of the past and stubbornly provoking a trade war will not only damage the interest of both sides involved but will also harm interests of all those in the global industrial chain. There will be no winners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Mnuchin says he has not seen any negative impacts on the U.S. economy due to the administrations current trade policies.

President Trump may say Britain's like him but thousands will be sending him a different message today as protesters take to the streets of London and beyond. We will be in amongst them, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back to our special coverage of U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to London. The view from parliament square behind me right now. The giant orange Donald Trump baby blimp pumped up and ready to go. Protesters are preparing for their march to Trafalgar Square. Some say it's simply an exercise in free speech, others say, well, it shows disrespect to a head of state.

And potentially adding fuel to that fire, British tabloid The Sun has published a bomb shell new interview with Donald Trump in which he criticizes everything from Teresa May, the prime minister, to immigration, to the mayor of London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have enough difficulty with the European Union. You know, we are -- we're cracking down right now on the European Union because they have not treated the United States fairly on trade. Now, if they do that, I would say that that would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:30:06] ANDERSON: And that is the voice of Donald Trump speaking to one of the journalists here with the newspaper The Sun owned by Rupert Murdoch I hasten to add. Here with me now Inderjeet Parmar, Professor of International Politics at City University.

What do you make of what has been this extraordinary intervention into U.K. politics?

INDERJEET PARMAR, CITY UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: Well, I don't think it's extraordinary in the sense that we didn't expect it to happen. President Trump intervenes in the politics of other countries and other institutions all the time. And what it does suggest is that he's got a particular strategy towards the E.U., had a particular strategy towards Britain.

ANDERSON: Well, that's interesting because his detractors will say he doesn't have a strategy for anything. Go on. Tell us, what do you think his strategy is?

PARMAR: I think we've observed him for now for 18 months in office and, obviously, a year before in the election campaign. A lot of people thought he was incoherent, he was unable to have any kind of ideas or program or strategy, but now we've seen that America First does actually mean something in real, political - quite in policy and strategy.

And that requires basically a large amount of military spending, leveraging all your economic power and your market access and the power of the dollar, and he's trying to do that with every other power in the world whether it's an ally, a friend, an enemy, or a foe or a strategic competitor. So there's a strategy there, yes.

ANDERSON: So the headline that runs, "May has wrecked Brexit - U.S. deal if off", how does that help America First?

PARMAR: The way it helps America First, I would say, is that first of all, the E.U. as a block is a very powerful weapon for negotiating trade deals for the European Union. If you weaken that, then you strengthen those who would negotiate with them. That's the United States.

If you peel away parts of the European Union, like a hard Brexit would, then that would strengthen the hand of the United States in doing various kinds of trade deals, and we know this is exactly what he has been doing with the tariffs on steel, aluminum, with China, and also what he's been saying about Germany and the pipeline to Russia.

ANDERSON: Well, destabilizing another world leader in order to benefit or manipulate for U.S. purposes as you say is nothing new, what do you think the impact of this sort of rhetoric given that the U.S. President today has a working lunch with the U.K. Prime Minister, bilateral talks, clearly what would be what were expected to be on the table.

That is demonstrated, and we're watching pictures here of the Baby Trump blimp being launched over the protestors in the square - in Parliament Square just behind us here. Protests in London this visit and this meeting between the U.S. and U.K. leaders. What sort of impact is this sort of rhetoric going to have?

PARMAR: Well, it's not just rhetoric. It's backed up by that strategy, and the rhetoric, what does it do? It strengthens the hands of all those who want a - what is called a hard Brexit. It intervenes directly the sovereign affairs of a sovereign state, which he claims to support sovereignty, yes.

ANDERSON: Brexiteers being the opponents to Theresa May in her own party -

PARMAR: Yes, exactly. So I think he's doing that. And the more he's strengthens their hand, I think the more he strengthen America's hand as well.

ANDERSON: Calling Boris Johnson the former Foreign Secretary who resigned from his position criticizing the Prime Minister's position on Brexit -

PARMAR: Yes.

ANDERSON: - and her plan for getting out of the E.U., saying that Boris would be a great PM (ph), also criticizing the London mayor, saying terror is Sadiq Khan's fault.

PARMAR: Well, the first one with praising the possible future prime minister, Boris Johnson, is precisely part of the strategy of the supporting of a hard Brexit to weaken. And I think what he wants to do overall, if you like, reassert American supremacy in a world which has moved a long way from where it used to be in the 50s and the 60, for example, and having weakening all other blocks whether they be Russia or China or the E.U. is a strategy.

The second thing, to blame Sadiq Khan for terrorism is probably his path of the course. He is - what is he doing?

ANDERSON: Do you think that's a racist comment?

PARMAR: I - it phased to a gallery in the United States which responds to the idea that basically Muslims are a threat and there is a Muslim mayor in the city. There have been terror attacks having effectively - that's sort of the (inaudible) association, and he has had that sort of approach for quite a long time now.

ANDERSON: There is an argument which goes that Donald Trump is criticizing the London mayor who has approved the inflation and flying of what we are seeing on our screens today, this Baby Trump, but some people have said, look, I mean, this is just a freedom of speech. This is protest and having a bit of a laugh.

Others have said that that image as we're - that we're seeing on our television screens now is actually just insulting and outrageous. You know, we're talking - this is a demonstration against the sitting U.S. President. What's your position?

PARMAR: It is all of those things, but above all, my own view, it symbolizes that kind of opposition that, in my view, it actually realizes (ph) a great deal of the seriousness that this presidency actually represents.

If you look at the record of this president in regard to working people inside the United States, people who are migrating or are refugees from south America or from Mexico, the separation of children, the equivalence of fascists and antifascists of Charlottesville and the deregulation of big corporations, the reduction of real wages, increase of the inequality, that's the big thing.

So this blimp, you can call it free speech or whatever. In my view, it does not actually get to the core of the matter, which is that President Trump has been highly effective in the strategy he's pursuing and he's had very, very large impacts. And that's what really ought to be upfront and center in if you want to criticize -

ANDERSON: (inaudible) demonstrators get set for what our schedule protests across the country. Mr. Trump is dodging the noise. He won't hear or see what's going on in the streets of London because he's staying away. We're going to show just what he is missing, though.

Joining us now from the protests as they kick off is our very own Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, atmosphere if you will?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Strange, Becky. You would not really expect, and we saw with Barack Obama coming here a matter of years ago crowds together taking pictures of the president, instead is of a likeness of an inflatable president dressed up as a baby in a nappy - in a diaper holding a mobile phone.

Now, the controversy behind this blimp has been raging in Britain for a few days now. Many think it disrespectful for any U.S. sitting president, but it was given permission to be here by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Now, he's long shared (inaudible) towards Donald Trump on Twitter and vice versa as well, but in fact, in the interview that you've been discussing they gave to The Sun, Donald Trump presumably referenced this when he said he felt unwelcome in London. It's hardly a flattering likeness and it shows him a mobile phone, which presumably is a reference to his use of Twitter.

But interestingly enough just before this was put up in the sky, we saw another likeness of Donald Trump. Aman dressed as a gorilla wearing a Donald Trump mask in a cage shuffled onto Abington Green outside Parliament. He was swiftly escorted away by a London police because interestingly you have to have a permit to protest on this green. This does have a permit to be up in the air for the next hour and 50 minutes or so.

And I have to say, you know, as that was getting ready we saw two U.S. military style off sprays (ph), the sort of vehicle of choice moving the Trump entourage around the United Kingdom, fly over parliament. Kind of very military looking beasts, rotisms (ph), fixed wings, and people have sort of seen them and seem surprised that choice given such a - the sort of military aspect they have flying over civilian population like that.

But weirdly, that probably is the closest the sitting President Donald Trump is going to have to Parliament period where you would normally expect U.S. Commander in Chief to spend much of his time here in Buckingham Palace. Instead, we should be pointing out they are geographically as distant from Central London as possible because in the hours head from Oxford Circus towards Palaga Square (ph), a procession of tens of thousands of people will be voicing their discontent at Donald Trump simply being here.

This, frankly, behind me is just the beginning. It will be here for a short period of time, but it's already caused Donald Trump to hit back at the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, refer to how he's been terrible on crime, terrorism, immigration, things that aren't really the policy choice of the London local government mayor, central government, but that hasn't stopped Donald Trump lashing back out.

Some say organizers here testaments the fact that really he is a Trump baby in his reactions.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh in amongst the - well, those who seem to be gawking at the Baby Trump blimp rather than protesting the U.S. President's visit here. But as things build up today, I'm sure we are likely to see more protestors during exactly that.

Remember 2003 back in the day 15 years ago and President Bush, here protestors hitting the streets. Those were antiwar protestors at that point. The U.K. has seen protest of a U.S. President before. We know that, and that was the first official state visit for a sitting U.S. President. This is just a working trip for the U.S. President Donald Trump. His overseas trip is in full swing.

When we return, we'll preview his visit to Finland, which happens after this where he say's he'll confront the Russian President about U.S. election meddling. More on that after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you. Once President Trump wraps up his visit to the U.K., he'll head to Helsinki in Finland to meet with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Now, Mr. Trump has said this might be his easiest meeting on what is this overseas European trip and that it wouldn't be a bad thing if the two leaders got along.

CNN Senior International Correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen, joining me now from Moscow. So we know how the U.S. President feels about this trip. How do - how does Moscow feel about it? What's the perspective through the prism of the Russian President?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Well, there's official statements from the Kremlin and then there's what Russian politicians and Russian State media are talking about.

If you talk about the Kremlin, they're really trying to be very careful about their messaging ahead of this upcoming summit. They are saying that, look, it's great that the two men are talking. However, they don't want to expect too much from this meeting. And they also say they believe that there are going to be a lot of very tough things that will be discussed.

Obviously, for them, Ukraine is one of those topics. Syria is going to be one of those topics, although it seems, though, the two countries might be able to come to some sort of conclusion on that one.

And then, of course, election meddling is one where the Russians say that, look, if President Trump wants to bring that up, he's going to get the same answer that he's always gotten from the Russians, which is that they're simply going to say they didn't do it, and if the U.S. has evidence that they will want to see it.

It's a very different story if you talk with other politicians, if you also see State run media. They believe this meeting's going to be very important, that is could be a stepping stone to better relations between the Kremlin and the White House. Obviously, they are very much looking forward to it.

To them, also, the optics are going to be very important for this meeting and, obvisouly, right now from what they've seen at the NATO summit and also what they're seeing right now in President Trump's visit to London, they believe that the optics for Vladimir Putting are going to be a lot better than on the previous stops on President Trumps trip. Becky -

ANDERSON: A recent congressional delegation that's been in Moscow, I believe, is now back home in the U.S. One of the senators who was part of that delegation with some sage advice it seems for President Trump, go prepared and don't go alone to see President Vladimir Putin.

One assumes that the White House will say that he is prepared. Do we know whether he will be alone at this point?

PLEITGEN: Well, it seems as though the two men are going to be alone with a translator at least for part of it. The summit is going to kick off with a one-on-one meeting between President Trump and President Putin where, as you mentioned, President Trump has said that, look, there have been warnings about having to be prepared when meeting with Vladimir Putin, but President Trump believes that he is prepared and he said, quote, that "President Putin is fine."

Obviously, the Russians believe that President Putin is very much prepared. He's obviously a veteran of very tough negotiations in the past. He is someone who is obviously seen as a very strong leader not just here in Russia, but certainly around the world as well.

So the Russians certainly believe that Vladimir Putin is going to be very well-prepared for this meeting. He's going to know the topics. He's going to know exactly what he wants to achieve in all this. And I think for the Russians, they believe that they can achieve a pretty good atmosphere between these two leaders.

I think one of the things that they find - found quite irritating over the past day and a half was President Trump's comments about that has pipeline between Germany and Russia because that is -

ANDERSON: Sure.

PLEITGEN: - really a very important project for them economically and certainly politically as well, Becky.

ANDERSON: Does Vladimir Putin have anything to lose from this meeting with President Trump in Finland this week?

PLEITGEN: You know, Becky, I think if the meeting went badly, for whatever reason they had some sort of falling out, then obviously that's something that wouldn't necessarily reflect positively on Vladimir Putin, but I think by in large, the Russians feel that they don't have very much to lose in the upcoming Helsinki summit. For them, obviously, it's very important to get Vladimir Putin back on the international stage, especially the bilateral meeting with the U.S. President.

It's been a very long time since we've had a one-on-one bilateral summit between a Russian President and a U.S. President, so just that for them is, obviously, very important than any topics they could touch on they certainly believe that Vladimir Putin will be able to stand his ground when he's facing President Trump, Becky.

ANDERSON: Frederik Pleitgen is in Moscow where it is 11:46 in the morning.

Well, the Thai Navy SEALs who helped rescue the trapped football team in a flooded cave were given a heroes welcome.

13 foreign divers and five Navy SEALSs helped guide the 12 boys and their coach to safety. The SEALs return to a military base in Southern Thailand on Thursday and were honored with a special welcome home ceremony.

A little while ago, the British divers who helped in the rescue described what it was like finding the kids.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

RICK STANTON: As they were coming down the slope, we were counting them until we got to 13. Unbelievable. We gave them a little bit of - some extra light. They still had light. They looked in good health. But, of course, when we departed, all we could think about was how we were going to get them out. And so, there was relief, tempered belief, uncertainty.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the families of the rescued boys are finally getting a reuinion that they had waited 18 days for. Thailand's Ministry of Public Health says relatives wearing protective gowns and masks can visit them in their hospital rooms, and one of the boys being held as a hero for the special that he played in the rescue.

CNN's David McKenzie with this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very strong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes (ph).

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For days, they had no food, were in total darkness when the British rescue diver finally discovered the boys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many of you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 13?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, 13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brilliant.

MCKENZIE: A clear confident voice acting as a translator from Thai to English. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know, I understand. We've come. OK, we've come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)

MCKENZIE: That young voice is from 14-year-old migrant Adun Sam-On, a star player of the Wild Boar soccer team. Adun's teacher believes that he played a key role. "He helped save those boys," he says. At Weyondpan (ph) school, that put up Adun's soccer trophies and image as a kind of shrine praying he would return.

"When he is at school, he's a good kid," he says. "Such a happy kid, but Adun didn't come from a happy place."

He was born in Myanmar's border region, infamous for militant insurgencies and drug trafficking rings.

The border to Myanmar is right over there, right in the center of town, and like many people here, Adun had to flee as a child to seek refuge in Thailand.

His parents brought Adun to a church mission when he wasn't much older than these migrant children. In a country where migrants are sometime shunned, Adun thrived. With a near perfect GPA, his Thai teachers call him a champion. His Thai best friend says he can't wait to play football again with Adun and give him a hug.

"I think Adun is a hero," he says. "He helped get everyone out of that cave."

The extraordinary international effort to rescue the boys brought together military specialists and dive experts from across the world, and putting their prejudices aside helped unify a country.

David McKenzie, CNN, Northern Thailand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Busy day in London, we'll tell you why after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

I'm Becky Anderson in London. For those of you who are just joining us, you are more than welcome. President Trump's U.K. visit hasn't even been a full 24 hours yet and already diplomacy - well, it's gone out the window with the president telling Britain's Sun newspaper that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, has wrecked Brexit.

For those of you who haven't seen it, this is the front page. For more on what could be next, I'm joined by Peter Goodman, the European Economics Correspondent for the New York Times. If the Prime Minister has got anything to do with it next, she'll be as quickly out of this country as possible one assumes.

Do you think that the U.K. Prime Minister is regretting this visit?

PETER GOODMAN, NEW YORK TIMES JOURNALIST: Well, I mean, so much for the love end. Yes, I mean, she initially did cancel the visit under pressure from the public. I mean, we know that this is a president who is seen by the British public - roughly two-thirds of the people think he's done a terrible or poor job.

She has tethered herself to him as the antidote to the idea that Brexit's going to be negative for the British economy. This was supposed to be about delivering at least the beginnings of a great trade deal with the United States. That's now gone by the boards. It's very hard to see what Theresa May gets out of this visit.

ANDERSON: It is easy to see what those known as hard Brexiteers will get out of an interview like that -

GOODMAN: Sure.

ANDERSON: - which the president did with The Sun newspaper. I mean, it's absolutely stuff with lines that those -

GOODMAN: Sure.

ANDERSON: - hard Brexiteers will like. And you know, there is an argument that says Britain voted to Brexit. They aren't being delivered what those who voted to leave the E.U. wanted, and this intervention, which is extraordinary in U.K. domestic politics -

GOODMAN: Right.

ANDERSON: - will pump up and support her opponents in her own party -

GOODMAN: Right.

ANDERSON: - which, I guess, there's an argument there.

GOODMAN: Well, the irony here is that, of course, Barack Obama comes here before the Brexit referendum in June of 2016 at the invitation of David Cameron who said - the Prime Minister David Cameron who said, "please come and tell the British people what's at stake here," and Obama famously said that if Britain voted to leave the European Union, Britain would go to the back of the queue in its pursuit of a trade deal with the United States.

That brought cries of, you know, this is a breech of protocol, how dare the American President come here and lecture us on our future. Of course, this time Trump was not invited to make these remarks. He effectively undermined a sitting British Prime Minister, and yet the people who actually favor a hard Brexit, who want a clean break with the European Union are delighted because Mr. Trump has trashed the one thing that Theresa May says we're going to get.

ANDERSON: So it's not unique in getting involved in national politics. It is also not unique that there will be protestors on the streets of London and elsewhere today. Back in 2003, there were antiwar protestors and - GOODMAN: Right.

ANDERSON: - there are tens of thousands here in London -

GOODMAN: Right.

ANDERSON: - protesting the State visit as it was then of George W. Bush. What is different and, I think, unique -

GOODMAN: Yes.

ANDERSON: - is that this is a president who clearly gets hurt by remarks against him, remarks about him, and by what we are seeing on our screens today, which is a Baby Trump blimp being flown over Parliament Square. This is wrangled him, isn't it?

GOODMAN: I mean, clearly. I mean, he took a shot at Sadiq Khan in this Sun interview -

ANDERSON: Who allowed for this to be flown over London today.

GOODMAN: This is the Mayor of London, yes. It clearly hurts his ego. It hurts his vanity. He specifically say, you know, "why would I go to London, a city that is now going out of its way to essentially hurt my feelings." He's not enjoying it.

ANDERSON: He rips up the rulebook. We know he doesn't play by the rules. He is the chief disruptor. He seems to love that idea. So should we be surprised that after going after Angela Merkel and Germany only yesterday at the NATO summit he goes after Theresa May, you know, destabilizing, perhaps he would say, the arch negotiator in order to manipulate or carve out a better negotiating stance. Is it any of that?

GOODMAN: Look, if we're surprised by Donald Trump at this point, we haven't been paying attention. I mean, if there's one thing that's clear, the area of his life in which he has consistently -

ANDERSON: But he matters, doesn't he? That's the problem.

GOODMAN: He was an - and he excelled at reality television. I mean, on some level this is a reality television presidency. I mean, he seems to be winging it day-by-day, but he certainly understands that an attack will dominate the conversation. And every day that's his instinct just to go and attack someone.

ANDERSON: And what we know about him is he will say one thing to a journalist to grab a headline and he will say something else entirely behind the scenes to Theresa May, for example, as a world leader when she meets him for a working lunch today. That was certainly the strategy (ph) that we seem to have - or the atmosphere that we seem to have had in NATO - saying things out loud, you know, looking as if he wants to blow up (ph) this meeting, but -

GOODMAN: Yes.

ANDERSON: - behind closed doors, world leaders say he's very reasonable and responsible it seems.

GOODMAN: Well, I mean, he's been consistent on Brexit. He's been consistent on his hostility to the European Union. And so, this attack on May is effectively his way of saying, OK, you've tied your future to the European Union. We're not friends anymore. My friend, Boris Johnson, made the right call on Brexit. And, you know, by the way, he would make a wonderful Prime Minister. That actually is consistent with what Trump's been saying all along.

ANDERSON: President Trump has spent the night in London. He has now, though left, he's off to a military parade in his honor at Sandhurst, which is the military academy. Thank you for joining -

GOODMAN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: - me on the show today. And then he's off for a working lunch with the Prime Minister and tea - with the queen meantime. Here in London, behind me, the beginning of the demonstrations against what is this visit by the U.S. President to the U.K. Stay with us. I'm Becky Anderson in London. I'll be back with another hour of CNN Newsroom right after this.