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STATE OF THE UNION
Russians Indicted for Election Interference; Putin and Trump Set to Meet; Interview With Virginia Senator Mark Warner; Election Meddling Charges Hang over Helsinki Summit; Trump To Europe: "You're Losing Your Culture"; Melania Trump's European Adventures. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 15, 2018 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper, live from Helsinki, Finland, with a special edition of STATE OF THE UNION.
Behind me, Finland's Presidential Palace, the site of tomorrow's summit between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The stakes are high, especially after Friday's indictments in the Russian election interference investigation.
And in a new interview this weekend, President Trump set a rather low bar for success at the summit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing bad is going to come out of it. And maybe some good will come out.
But I go in with low expectations. I'm not going in with high expectations. I don't -- I don't really -- I can't tell you what's going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Tomorrow's summit, of course, comes just three days after President Trump's own Justice Department charged 12 Russian military intelligence officials with hacking into the systems of the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign to interfere in the U.S. election.
Now, few think such an attack could have happened without President Putin's direct knowledge and approval.
These charges were brought as part of the Robert Mueller's investigation. President Trump was briefed about the indictments earlier in the week, which means he knew about them when he said this on Friday:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think that we're being hurt very badly by the -- I would call it the witch-hunt. I would call it the rigged witch-hunt. I think that really hurts our country and it really hurts our
relationship with Russia. I think that we would have a chance to have a very good relationship with Russia and a very good chance, a very good relationship with President Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, the U.S. government looking into the Russian cyber-attack on the United States is hurting the impact of U.S.-Russian relations.
Let's bring in CNN's Kaitlan Collins.
Kaitlan, what do we know about President Trump's mind-set headed into the summit?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, we know that, for the past 48 hours, President Trump has been at his golf course in nearby Scotland meeting with aides and advisers ahead of this summit, preparing for this summit, as well as doing a little golfing.
He also had a phone call with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Vladimir Putin in recent days.
But, Jake, one thing we haven't seen from the president is a critical statement of Vladimir Putin, of the Russians, in light of those indictments of those 12 Russian intelligence officers who attacked an American election.
Instead, the president has focused on President Barack Obama, noting that this happened when he was in office, and saying as much on Twitter, but nothing critical of Vladimir Putin, who he is going to meet with.
And so far, Jake, the White House has resisted calls from Democrats and even a few Republicans to cancel this summit in light of those indictments.
Instead, President Trump is preparing for it. He will be heading to Helsinki soon.
And in that interview clip that you just played, the president was asked what his goal for this summit with Vladimir Putin is going to be. He said he would let us know afterward, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thanks.
I do want to note that we invited the White House to join us this morning to offer their perspective on the summit.
The White House confirmed an interview with National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton. We arranged our show and schedules and crews accordingly. And then the White House canceled the interview for -- quote -- "bad behavior."
What was the -- quote -- "disrespect" the White House took issue with? Well, nine minutes after President Trump attacked CNN unprompted
during a press conference in the U.K., our correspondent tried to ask the president a question.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: John Roberts. Go ahead, John.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Can I ask you a question, sir, since you attacked CNN?
TRUMP: No. No.
John Roberts, go ahead.
CNN is fake news. I don't take questions -- I don't take questions from CNN.
ACOSTA: Well, sir, if you call us fake news, can you take a question?
TRUMP: CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN.
John Roberts of FOX.
ACOSTA: If you continue to attack us, we should be able to ask you a question.
TRUMP: Let's go to a real -- let's go to a real network.
John, let's go.
ACOSTA: Well, we're a real network, too, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We're told that Ambassador Bolton was prepared to do the interview. And we invite him to join us at any time.
I want to bring in now Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. He's the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
He joins us now live.
Senator, thanks so much.
I want to play for you what President Trump said this morning about those 12 Russian military...
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Well, Jake -- Jake, first of all -- Jake, let's...
TAPPER: Yes. Go ahead.
WARNER: Well, Jake, let me just make clear, I'm not -- I'm not afraid to come on CNN.
So, even if the White House doesn't want to send someone, I'm happy to be on your show.
TAPPER: We appreciate it, sir.
I want to play for you what President Trump said this morning about those 12 Russian military officials who were indicted. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.
I think the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses. And they were able to be hacked. But I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans too.
But -- and this may be wrong, but they had much stronger defenses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, Senator Warner, obviously, the Russians are responsible for Russian actions.
But looking at the indictment and everything we know now about the Russian election interference, in retrospect, shouldn't President Obama and his administration have done much more?
WARNER: Jake, our committee will lay out what the Obama administration and the FBI should have done or shouldn't have done shortly. But the basic facts remain.
The reason why we have difficult relations with Russia is not because of the Mueller probe, but because Russia intervened in our elections. They hacked into the Democratic National Committee, hacked into Hillary Clinton's team.
They interfered in over 20 states' electoral systems. They used social media in ways that were unprecedented. This was a full-on assault on our democratic system.
And, matter of fact, as the intelligence community assessment made and our committee reaffirmed, they did it with the intent of helping Trump and hurting Clinton.
That's the reason why we have difficult relations with Russia. And I'm stunned that this president will not call out Vladimir Putin or Russia's bad behavior.
And, frankly, one of the things I'm most worried about is, I'm not -- we need to have other Americans in the room. I -- Vladimir Putin is a trained KGB agent. He may come in with maps of Syria or maps of Ukraine.
And, frankly, I think he will take advantage of this president, who we know doesn't do much prep work before these meetings. We need other individuals from his administration in the room, so we know that at least someone will press the Russians on making sure they don't interfere in future U.S. elections.
As a matter of fact, this is not just happening with us. I'm meeting tomorrow with parliamentarians from across NATO countries who have also been the victims of Russian intervention to see what we can do in concert to make sure it doesn't happen again.
I wish we would have that same kind of attention from the president.
TAPPER: Well, with all due respect, you didn't answer my question, which is, President Obama did not do enough to stop this while it was going on in 2016.
I think that seems obvious to anybody reading the indictments or reading the newspaper for the last two years. Do you disagree?
WARNER: I think that the FBI could have done more.
As a matter of fact, when the October 7 letter came out where the Obama administration did point out the threat of Russian interference, strangely enough, it was the exact same day that both the Podesta e- mails were hacked and released, and it was the same day of the famous so-called Bush "Hollywood" tapes.
TAPPER: President Trump was asked this morning by CBS if he would consider pushing for the extradition of these 12 Russian military intelligence officials accused of hacking and interfering in the election. Take a listen to his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hadn't thought of that, but, certainly, I will be asking about it.
But, again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, he says he hadn't thought about requesting the extradition of these 12 officials.
What do you want President Trump to do when he meets with Vladimir Putin in the building behind me tomorrow?
WARNER: Listen, I don't think Putin will probably deliver those 12 Russian spies, but I sure as heck think the president of the United States ought to ask that these Russian spies are actually released to the American government for American legal process to continue.
They attacked our government. This is -- and, again, let's take the Mueller investigation in full, over 30 indictments, five guilty pleas. And we still have whole questions around obstruction of justice, and the various people who were part of the Trump campaign who are now cooperating with the government to see whether there was absolutely collusion.
These are still questions that Mr. Mueller's investigation have to answer. And I just wish the one thing the president would stop doing was stop calling this a witch-hunt. This has been a very productive investigation that has put further proof to the facts around the Russian intervention in our elections.
TAPPER: After the indictments were issued, Michael Hayden, President Bush's former CIA director, said to me that the next indictments he anticipates, when they come, will likely name American citizens.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN (RET.), CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The more this goes, the richer in detail we get, the more I begin to believe that we're probably going to see a widening circle here of people becoming involved.
I would not be surprised if this were not the last indictment we see that doesn't mention an American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Do you anticipate indictments of American citizens next?
WARNER: Well, Jake, I'm not sure what Mr. Mueller is going to do next.
I do know that we have in the public domain the fact that Russian agents reached out to Mr. Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign official. We know that Russian agents met with Trump's son, his son-in-law, and his then campaign manager to try to offer dirt on Hillary Clinton.
We know from the indictments that Mueller put out on Friday that the very day that Mr. Trump called on the Russians to try to hack into the Clinton e-mails, well, Russian spies actually that day did try to attempt to hack into Russian -- or hack into the Clinton campaign.
So, I would not be surprised at all if whatever is coming next from Mr. Mueller might end up involving Americans.
Let's face it. There are a number of individuals, from Trump's former national security adviser, General Flynn, to his deputy campaign manager and others, who are cooperating with the government. I don't know what that cooperation involves, but I believe we have not seen the results of all that work yet.
TAPPER: Let me just ask you, do you have any hesitation criticizing President Trump while he's overseas, given the old adage that politics should stop at the water's edge?
WARNER: Listen, I'm saying to Mr. Trump and to his White House, let's make sure that we put more people in that meeting with Vladimir Putin, a trained KGB agent.
We need to make sure that the Americans and, for that matter, the world gets the straight story of what happens in that meeting.
But let's also examine the fact this is a president throughout the last week who has basically treated our allies like adversaries in ways that were, I believe, totally inappropriate, and continues to treat our adversaries -- tries to act like they are -- like they are friends.
I don't believe that is in the best interest of making America safer.
TAPPER: The indictment also outlines Russian government hackers targeting political committees in campaigns, as well as voter software and state voter registration systems in 2016.
The intelligence community has been unanimous in warning about similar attacks in November's midterm election. The U.S. has imposed sanctions as punishment.
Do you think that these sanctions are simply not working? And is the U.S. ready for the midterm elections, ready to have these elections without interference?
WARNER: Well, Jake, I think there's more to be done. And I'm very proud of our Senate Intelligence Committee, where we have got bipartisan legislation that would actually improve election security.
I'm proud of the fact that Congress acted to put out $380 million of additional funds, so that states could upgrade their voting machines, so there actually is a paper trail.
In a normal administration, in a normal administration, because elections touch federal, state and local, there would be someone designated out of the White House on election security to make sure there's better coordination, because, as you have mentioned, even the Trump election -- or intelligence officials have said, Russians will be back.
I think it's an embarrassment that this White House has not made election security a top priority and has not put the kind of attention and focus on it that we need.
The truth is, I'm not sure we're fully prepared. We had hearings just this past week where we brought in the -- some of the vendors who control -- three vendors control 90 percent of all of the I.T. systems that deal with the voter files. I think we need to do more education at the state and local level.
In a -- again, a normal administration, you -- this kind of election security coordination would be done out of the White House. But, as Trump's own intelligence officials have indicated, there's been no signal from the White House that election security in 2018 should be a priority.
TAPPER: You raised president behavior -- President Trump's behavior at the NATO summit.
The NATO secretary-general has said that President Trump has had success in pushing U.S. allies to spend more on defense, which has long been a charge of U.S. presidents.
Take a listen to this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: Last year was the biggest increase in defense spending across Europe and Canada in that generation.
TRUMP: Why was that last year?
STOLTENBERG: It's also because of your leadership, because there is a clear message.
TRUMP: They won't write that.
STOLTENBERG: No, I have said it before. And -- but the thing is that it really has -- your message is having an impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's the U.N. secretary-general, Stoltenberg, crediting President Trump with getting U.S. allies to chip in more.
Isn't it fair to say that his strategy here is working?
WARNER: Well, Jake, clearly, I think other NATO company -- countries should chip in more. That's been a goal of American through Democratic and Republican administrations for decades.
But, at the end of the day, we will see if that actually happens. This president has a tendency to make bold statements after meetings, and there may or may not be results afterwards.
Let's go back to the president's photo-op opportunity with Kim Jong- un. After that meeting, he said -- if I remember correctly, he tweeted that Americans can sleep soundly because North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.
Well, we have clearly seen that that declaration was not true in terms of the follow-up meetings and in terms of our own intelligence assessments that North Korea has done virtually nothing to actually denuclearize.
So, the proof will be in the pudding. Let's see if these European countries actually step up and spend more. I would be very -- I would be pleasantly surprised if that proves to be the case. TAPPER: All right, Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the
Senate Intelligence Committee, thanks so much for your time, as always.
Coming up next: the Putin perspective.
How is the Russian president himself prepping for tomorrow's summit? And what's it like to be in a room face-to-face with Putin? I will talk to someone who has been there next. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we are live from Allas Sea Pool in Helsinki, Finland. You can see the Presidential Palace behind me. That's where tomorrow's historic -- historic U.S.-Russia summit will take place.
President Donald Trump will be the fourth U.S. president to face off with Vladimir Putin, who first took office on New Year's Day in the year 2000.
My next guests have spent years studying the Russian president.
David Remnick is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who started covering Russia in the waning days of the Soviet Union. Susan Glasser covered Putin's first years in office as "The Washington Post"'s Moscow bureau chief. She now works for David at "The New Yorker." And Ambassador Nicholas Burns is a veteran U.S. diplomat who has taken part in several rounds of negotiations directly with President Putin.
My thanks, one and all, to all of you.
I want to start with you, David Remnick. Set the stage for us.
Putin has been watching Trump criticize NATO all week. He saw these indictments go down on Friday.
What do you think is going through Putin's mind? And how is he likely to be interpreting President Trump's behavior?
DAVID REMNICK, EDITOR, "THE NEW YORKER": He's delighted. He's absolutely delighted.
You have to -- it's very important to think, what does Vladimir Putin want here? Vladimir Putin is the authoritarian leader of a country that's struggling, that used to be in a Cold War struggle with the United States where there was a kind of global conflict between the United States and the old Soviet Union.
That no longer exists. What does he want? He wants to reassert Russian strength on the global stage. He wants to throw the United States off-balance, and he wants to divide the United States with its allies. Mission almost accomplished. If you look at the last week...
REMNICK: ... you saw the United States president berating and humiliating the chancellor of Germany, doing the same to the prime minister of England, and completely ignoring indictments against 12 operators of GRU, the Russian military intelligence.
It is -- he is succeeding on the world stage with a very weak hand.
TAPPER: Susan Glasser, let me bring you in.
You spoke to 16 U.S. former U.S. government officials who have worked with every American president going back to Ronald Reagan about preparations for the summit. They all said there's no historical precedent for the meeting that's going to take place.
You write in your piece for "The New Yorker" -- quote -- "Republicans and Democrats alike were resigned to Trump being outplayed by Putin. A former State Department official who spent decades preparing meetings between U.S. and Russian leaders said -- quote -- 'I'm afraid our guy here is like an amateur boxer going up Muhammad Ali.'"
TAPPER: What could Vladimir Putin do in this meeting?
I mean, he doesn't have Jedi mind tricks. What actually can he achieve?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, first of all, I have to tell you, I thought that was an interesting observation, but a lot of people have said, well, that implies that President Trump is -- views this as a boxing match, which perhaps he does not.
Many people think that President Trump, who personally sought this meeting, that his goal, in fact, is to have a much more friendly encounter with President Putin. He said that just the other day. While he was busy bashing our allies, as David pointed out, he was also saying he would like to make friends someday with Vladimir Putin.
But I think the thing about President Putin to understand is that he's a former KGB officer. He is the exact opposite in many ways of Donald Trump when it comes to a meeting like this. He's not about winging it. He's not about just following his gut.
I was at the first interview that President Putin had with American correspondents back in 2001 after George W. Bush looked into his soul. Remember that one?
TAPPER: Yes. GLASSER: And, you know, the thing that really stuck with me then was,
this is a guy who had literally read and almost memorized his briefing books. And he really wanted us to know it.
He's careful. He's methodical. He knows what he wants, but, arguably, he's already gotten what he wants, which is the meeting itself, being welcomed back onto the world stage after illegally annexing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
TAPPER: Nicholas Burns, you have actually been in meetings with Vladimir Putin. Tell us about your firsthand impression.
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Well, Putin is the most experienced leader in the world today. He's been in power for 18 years.
He is -- he's very smart. He's very well-organized. It's obvious that he -- he prepares for these meetings. He tends to be able to go down layers deep on these issues. He's not at all superficial.
And he's very -- he can be very aggressive. One way to look at the big issue for tomorrow, Jake, is that Putin fired the opening salvo in a new cyber-war against the United States two years ago.
And there has not been a response by President Trump. There's been no acknowledgement of it, no pushback by the president, no warning to Putin. And I think that's the big question for tomorrow. Can the president finally respond? Putin is going to be prepared.
TAPPER: David Remnick, let me ask you, how do you explain this fact? How do you explain the fact that President Trump has never criticized Vladimir Putin in any real, meaningful way, the same way that he's, for instance, gone after the cast of "Hamilton" or attacked me or Chuck Todd?
How do you explain the fact that he has yet to acknowledge Russian election interference firsthand or even say anything about the indictments in terms of condemning Russia?
REMNICK: Well, he must see you, Jake, as a much greater threat to global stability than Vladimir Putin. I -- it's inexplicable.
I don't think -- I'm not ready to leap to the conclusion that somehow -- that -- somehow that this is a meeting between a control -- a controller, a KGB controller, and his agent. That, I think, is leaping way beyond the evidence.
But I do think that it is the combination of -- you have a president of the United States that is interested in one thing above all, and that's domestic politics, domestic politics.
And he is playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin. He is dividing his own country. He is dismissing threats to his own country when it comes to Russia. He is completely misreading what's going on in the globe, all to create greater and greater support among his base.
He's creating a hero out of Vladimir Putin among kind of cultural conservatives. This is inexplicable to me.
I -- it is -- you know, what Donald Trump does on a day-to-day basis, which we struggle to explain on programs like this or in "The New Yorker" or "The New York Times" or wherever, but there are some days where you have to throw up your hands and say, what the hell is going on?
And that's what leads to, I think, part of the deep suspicion against him. It is sometimes beyond explanation. But the effects...
TAPPER: Susan Glasser...
REMNICK: The effects on our foreign policy...
TAPPER: Go ahead.
REMNICK: ... are deeply, deeply destructive.
TAPPER: Susan Glasser, I want to show some images from a meeting that President Putin had with Angela Merkel in terms of showing how he uses power plays to exert dominance.
President Trump, of course, is well-known for his handshake where he does this kind of thing.
But look at these images. This is -- Angela Merkel has a well-known fear of dogs. And this is in 2007 Russian President Vladimir Putin bringing his dog, which looks like a stand-in for Cujo, to a meeting with Merkel. Look at her. She looks absolutely terrified.
Do we expect that he could try to do something like that? Obviously, he's not going to bring his dog here to Helsinki, but that he could try to do something like that with President Trump?
GLASSER: Well, look, I think that both Putin and Trump have gone out of their way to suggest that what they want is not pictures of each other cowering in fear, but quite the opposite, that this is a summit that was arranged by both of them with the goal of making nice.
Remember that it was Donald Trump who actually invited President Putin to have this meeting back at the famous "Do not congratulate" phone call in March, when he actually did congratulate President Putin for his reelection victory. And, actually...
TAPPER: Reelection victory in quotes, yes.
And so what's really interesting is that Vladimir Putin then spent months personally encouraging Trump to actually go ahead and schedule the meeting. They have taken a position that it's Donald Trump vs. his own advisers, vs. the American establishment -- I guess that would be people like you and me -- as well as many senators in Donald Trump's own party who are very suspicious of President Putin.
They have been the party of Cold War hawks up until now. And so it's -- it's almost this political reversal that you have going on.
And so Putin, he doesn't want to scare Donald Trump with a dog, but I think he's going to be very well prepared to get inside Donald Trump's well-known love of flattery, pomp and circumstance.
Trump is willing to praise those who praise him. And there's no question in my mind that Vladimir Putin is well aware of that headed into this meeting.
TAPPER: Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for this segment.
Coming up next: Hurricane Donald barrels through Europe and questions the leadership of some of America's closest allies.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He's a competitor. Somebody was saying, is he an enemy? He's not my enemy.
Is he a friend? No, I don't know him well enough. But the couple of times I've gotten to meet him, we got along very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: President Trump trying to sum up his relationship with Vladimir Putin of course for most of us, a major geopolitical summit isn't the place to sum that up. But let's talk about this with our panel.
And, David Gergen, I want to bring back this tweet of President Trump's from a year ago this month in which he talked about trying to set up a partnership with Vladimir Putin. If we can put the tweet up, you will see that he's talking specifically about discussing -- forming an impenetrable cyber security unit so that election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded. One year after that tweet the U.S. Justice Department indicts 12 Russian military intelligence officers with a cyber attack on the United States.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you for bringing that tweet back up because I think it does underscore that nothing has happened since then in fact things have gotten a lot worse.
We have should be focusing more on what the director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, said last week. He is a Republican, a former senator from Indiana, a presidential appointee. Here is what he said, we're at a critical point in attacks on our infrastructure. We've being attacked daily by four countries, Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, those are four great wonderful friends of ours, aren't they? And -- but he said Russia is the number one and most aggressive at all in attacking us.
Where red lights are blinking and he's using an interesting analogy, he said, ever since Putin was put in charge of Russia, it was like the Russian bear was coming out of its cave. It's a bear that is hungry, that is clawing for more territory and more influence.
That's what we need to be focusing on. Not just sort of brushing it aside and let bygones be bygones.
This country is under attack. The president must know that and he must bring that into the conversation with Putin.
TAPPER: And, Phil Mudd, in fact Dan Coats also suggested that the blinking lights were going off in terms of attacks -- cyber attacks on the United States by Russia and others. Akin to the way that the United States was getting warning signs before 9/11.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: That's right. We're seeing not only from intelligence but also from the Department of Homeland Security and the president characterized this as an Obama problem.
We saw this from the Department of Homeland Security this week. They're talking about continued Russian efforts to go against U.S. social media.
I think that the most bizarre thing about all of this is that NATO has been -- one of the foundations of NATO is predictability. That predictability led to trust, led to NATO deployments with the United States and Afghanistan in this age, you would expect the president to go into conversation with Theresa May and say you're the one who should be partnering with us and our Europeans and NATO to figure out how to defend not only physically against Russia but also in cyber space.
Instead he says Theresa May, let me tell you how to negotiate Brexit and Vladimir Putin is the one who is not only attacking us but is the potential partner in cyber warfare. It's this sort of upside down, Jake.
TAPPER: In fact one other thing that's interesting, Susan Glasser, is that if you look at the Trump summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un, North Korean dictator, and there's -- according to the U.S. government, according to the Trump administration, there has been no progress in terms of the North Koreans dismantling their nuclear weapons infrastructure.
Still on July 9th, President Trump wrote -- quote -- on Twitter, "I have confidence that Kim Jong-un will honor the contract we signed and even more importantly our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea."
Skeptics of President Trump, skeptics of Singapore say, boy, he got played and he doesn't even know and there's concerns that could happen here.
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, look, it is my view that President Trump is a much better deal breaker than he is a deal maker so far in the presidency.
You know, he has withdrawn from the Iran deal. He has withdrawn from TPP, the trade agreement, and other things like it. What's amazing about this summit is that there's no actual agenda.
There's very little preparation. It was hastily called. You know, in many ways there's less preparation even than the Trump/Kim summit.
We knew what was on the agenda there, the North Korea nuclear program. It's not clear exactly what it is President Trump hopes to get out of this.
And I think that, you know, David and Phil are making an important point about what doesn't seem to be on President Trump's agenda, he's coming from a NATO summit at which the official communique agreed to by President Trump as well as all the other leaders suggested absolutely no -- letting Russia back into the international community, maintaining the sanctions on Russia because of its illegal annexation of Crimea, strong concern about cyber war.
President Trump doesn't seem to agree with the foreign policy of his own government or of that of the NATO alliance. And so, you know, who knows what they'll do.
TAPPER: And, John Kirby, you used to work at the State Department. You used to work at the Pentagon. These are organizations, agencies, departments that know full well what Vladimir Putin has been doing to the world and to the United States.
What is the feeling there when they see the commander in chief, their boss, not taking seriously everything that they're telling him?
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes, they're flummoxed and they are frustrated quite frankly in both places because if you look at the national security establishment, there has been significant pushback on some Russia, the sanctions and kicking out of diplomats.
You heard Mattis coming out of Brussels just a couple of days ago saying, rock solid, a hundred percent committed to NATO and Article 5 commitment.
So they're flummoxed and frustrated. It's harder for them to do the day to day work with -- at working levels with their counterparts when they hear the president undermine and the way he does and way he probably will do tomorrow.
TAPPER: All right. Everyone stick around, we have got a lot more to talk about in the next panel.
Coming up next, President Trump bringing the hard line immigration rhetoric with him to Europe, saying that countries such as France and Germany are -- quote -- "losing their culture." What exactly does he mean? Stay with us.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think what's happened to Europe is a shame. I think the immigration -- allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.
I think it changed the fabric of Europe. And unless you act very quickly, it's never going to be what it was and I don't mean that in a positive way. I think you're losing your culture.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: "Losing your culture." President Trump bringing his immigration rhetoric and views to the United Kingdom as Europe faces crisis of its own. Will the president's world view find an audience here in Europe?
Let's bring back the panel. John Kirby, when you hear an American president in the U.K. tell them that they are losing their fabric, they're losing their culture, what do you hear?
KIRBY: I hear xenophobia and I think it's entirely inappropriate for a United States president to say that in a foreign country. I think it's appropriate to even say that back home, certainly to the Brits.
The other things that bothers me when I heard him talk about this is that he and his administration particularly with Syria have done nothing to stem the tide of these refugees. We are in the worse refugee crisis since World War II largely because of what's going on Levant, Syria and Middle East, and this administration has done nothing to try to bring a political solution to that civil war and stem those tide -- the tide of refugees.
TAPPER: Phil Mudd, the response to that tweet from a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power was -- quote -- "This dog whistle is so loud, you can hear it all the way across the Atlantic."
The president's critics say that he's echoing the words and rhetoric of white nationalists.
MUDD: This is not about culture. This is about race.
I guess if we don't want immigration in the United States we get rid of little Italy, we get rid of Irish out of Boise (ph), and we get rid of Mexicans out of the southwest, we get rid of Asian Americans out of the West Coast, and my hometown which was revitalized in the 1960's and 70's by Cubans, they've got to go home too.
The difference here that he's talking about and that I see this as a white guy, is it's brown people and black people who are going into Europe, people from embattled states in Africa and people from the Syria conflict.
If we want to talk about this straight, we shouldn't talk about culture. We ought to talk about race.
It's a white guy, who's a rich guy from Manhattan saying, I don't like people coming in who don't look like that -- like us. That's what I see here, Jake.
TAPPER: Is that what you hear, David Gergen?
GERGEN: I think, Jake, talking about immigration is legitimate. It's a difficult, difficult problem for most countries.
What goes beyond the bounds is taking a view for and about the Europeans. I think most Americans would rather have him spend time reuniting families back there and dealing with the immigration problem than telling the Europeans (ph) -- and what the dog whistle here that's really objectionable, it's not just a white nationalist in the United States, it is the white nationalist in Europe.
And part of the problem with Europe is having is that the president keeps appealing to the far right, the Steve Bannon types in Europe. And that is unsettling and it undermines the authority of government that have been close allies of ours, especially in Germany and the U.K. Susan was pointing out earlier, that the president has taken aim in this trip at two countries led by center right parties.
TAPPER: The U.K. and Germany.
GERGEN: U.K. and Germany. And for Republicans to turn on center right parties when they've been always been friends in the past has been startling.
TAPPER: Steve Bannon is in London with something of a pro- nationalistic war room, not only encouraging President Trump but also talking up some of the figures in the U.K. and elsewhere who are on the hard right.
GLASSER: Well, that's right. I think that Steve Bannon and also Donald Trump have this vision of a sort of right wing populist internationale and they see Europe as a key partner in that.
I think it is not an accident that Donald Trump is doing this. He sees immigration as a key and bashing immigrants as a key to his own political success and also that of those he wishes to encourage here in Europe.
And you know, that's something else he has in common with Vladimir Putin by the way, who has always had a strong tone of xenophobia in his rhetoric, both inside Russia and now he's sort of become a hero of the far, far right wing in Europe as well. And so, you know, Trump and Putin have that in common too.
But I was struck by the -- watching the coverage, watching some of the comments, Trump is still shocking to Europeans across the political spectrum in a way that we who have been living with this new shock politics in the United States and the constant untruth from the president of the United States, the constant demagoguery, the very personalized style of attacks even on other world leaders, this is not something to say the least that's normal in world affairs. And these are our close allies and partners.
Again, as David pointed out these are conservatives Angela Merkel and Theresa May. And it's still shocking to European publics in a way that might just tell us a little bit about America and how we've all gotten used to Donald Trump.
TAPPER: And in fact one of the things John Kirby was interesting, the interview he gave -- President Trump gave to a Murdoch paper, The Sun, and he called that fake news and they pushed back they said, it's just an interview and here's the audio.
KIRBY: Yes. I mean, if it doesn't -- if the sound bite, whatever it is that comes out doesn't accord with whatever his narrative or what he wants out that moment, it's automatically fake news. And the height of irony to call a Murdoch owned paper who also owns FOX, fake news.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks one and all
Coming up next, Melania Trump European adventures while her husband spent the week criticizing their host, the first lady turned on the charm. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back. We're live in Helsinki. On these big overseas trips, the spotlight on first lady Melania Trump, is sometimes harsh, sometimes soft, but it's always bright.
CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett has been following Mrs. Trump throughout Europe.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (voice-over): As President Trump confronted NATO leaders in Brussels this week --
TRUMP: Many countries are not paying what they should --
BENNETT: -- and ruffled feathers in the U.K., controversially weighing in on Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership --
TRUMP: I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn't agree with -- she didn't listen to me.
BENNETT: First lady Melania Trump spent an afternoon at a Belgian music school with NATO spouses, listened to concerto of classical music, and in London went lawn bowling, and then arts and crafts. Perhaps never more than this European trip has the juxtaposition between Trump's fiery rhetoric --
TRUMP: Germany is a captive of Russia.
BENNETT: And Melania Trump's activities differed so vastly. But this is what first ladies have often done throughout history. As presidents tread the contentious and murky waters of global politics their wives (INAUDIBLE) to diplomacy in other ways.
The fine art of representing America aboard that Melania Trump has all but mastered whether it's using her style to nod to the host country yesterday wearing British designer Victoria Beckham while talking to school kids about her "Be Best" initiative with Philip May, who also bought a new suit for the occasion. Or quietly observing protocol for her first ever meeting with the queen of England.
Her husband awkwardly trying to do the same. Melania Trump who grew up in Slovenia and worked as a model in France and Italy is demonstrating her comfort on the world stage, able to sidestep the bombshells dropped by the president and practice a less complicated type of diplomacy.
BENNETT: So we will see Melania Trump in Helsinki tomorrow, she's having tea with the first lady of Finland. So we'll definitely feel her presence here for this last leg of the trip.
TAPPER: All right. Kate Bennett, thank you so much.
That is all for us right now. We're going to be back in two hours.
Coming up next on Fareed Zakaria, a preview of the Trump-Putin summit with the journalist who interviewed Putin back last year.
Again, we'll be in two hours, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. Stay with us.