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Trump Sides With Putin over U.S. Intelligence; Angry Mob Slaughters Nearly 300 Crocodiles in Indonesia; 23 Injured After Lava Bomb Hits Hawaii Tour Boat; Tesla Founder Insults Diver Who Helped in Cave Rescue. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 17, 2018 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:00]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: (Inaudible) great to have you with us. I'm John Vause and this is "News Room L.A." We begin with the Summit shocker in Helsinki, Finland. Donald Trump has been the focus of a borage (ph) of criticism from around the world after his joint news conference with the Russian President.

In particular, we're given the chance to confront Vladimir Putin on Russia's interference in the U.S. election in 2016. He sided with Putin in his denial despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. We begin our coverage with CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: He just said it's not Russia. I will say this; I don't see any reason why it would be.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With the eyes of the world on Helsinki, President Trump accepted the word of Vladimir Putin over considerable evidence from the U.S. intelligence community and Justice Department that Russia attacked American democracy.

TRUMP: I have great confidence in my intelligence people but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

ZELENY: It was an extraordinary moment in American history. A new chapter in the long rocky road of U.S. Russia relations. It wasn't the President's repeated denial of election interference that threw Republican condemnation (ph) but the fact that he did so at Putin's side.

TRUMP: It was a clean campaign. I beat Hilary Clinton easily and frankly we beat her and I'm not even saying from the stand point. We won that race. And its shame that there could even be a little bit of a cloud over it.

ZELENY: Going into the Summit, it seems Putin's biggest victory would be his re-entry on the world stage away from his isolation. But yet in the end, Trump offered a far bigger gift suggesting the slate be wiped clean of Putin's old misdeeds and atrocities. And he blasted the Special Counsel's investigation into election meddling.

TRUMP: I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the -- the probe (ph) is a disaster for our country. I think it's kept us apart, it's kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it.

ZELENY: The President repeated that point again and again.

TRUMP: Zero collusion. And I say it all the time. There was no collusion. There was no collusion with the campaign.

ZELENY: Putin echoed those words.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We should be guided by facts. Can you name a single fact that would definitively prove the collusion? This is utter nonsense.

ZELENY: The two leaders met privately with only interpreters in the room for about two hours. That's when the topic of election meddling came up with no other aides to hear the conversation.

As Democrats, Republicans and officials from within the Trump government expressed disbelief; Russia had another view. Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, calling the Summit magnificent and better than super.

Trump started the day cooling his heels. After Putin's plane landed nearly an hour later than scheduled. A diplomatic delay perhaps, making clear the Summit was on Putin time. By day's end, Putin answered another lingering question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

PUTIN: Yes I did. Yes I did.

ZELENY: But that of course is not what Trump has been arguing for more than two years. He has consistently said that Russia wanted to elect Hilary Clinton because she would be softer on them. He said he would be the tough one. That, of course, was dispelled at the Presidential Palace when Putin said himself that he supported Trump to become the 45th President.

Now as President Trump flying back to Washington, already trying to explain some of what happened here in Helsinki saying he has great respect for his Intelligence Community (ph) but he said it's important for the two world nuclear powers to get along. The follow up from this Summit will continue for weeks, if not longer, to come. Jeff Zeleny CNN, Helsinki.

VAUSE: Joining me now, CNN contributor and former Moscow Bureau Chief, Jill Dougherty. CNN Euro Security Analyst, Julie Kayyem. And CNN Intelligence and Security Analyst, Bob Baer. Bob's also a former (inaudible). And Bob I'd like to start with you. This news conference was everything the U.S. President was willing to say publically. What did he say during his alone time with Putin?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: That's what we would like to know. I mean it's -- it's completely unprecedented not to bring somebody in. And the fact that Trump wasn't taking no. So you're just going to have to rely on the translator. He clearly wanted to tell Putin something that he didn't want to become a matter of official record.

VAUSE: Jill, looking back now, the past few months apart from lifting the sanctions on Russia, which Congress has refused to do. After this meeting in Helsinki, is there anything this U.S. President could do, which would either intentionally or unintentionally benefit Vladimir Putin. Is there anything left?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, that's kind of a hard thing to answer. I mean, wait (ph) there is so much unknown about exactly what they talked about. I -- I think there's -- the Russians are getting the impression that there was more that they talked about substantively behind the scenes.

But again this is all, you know, not recorded and we don't know. I think definitely there's no question that Putin goes away having accomplished, at least, if not more than he wanted to because, you know, I was looking at a treat by the Senator -- Russian Senator whose name is (inaudible).

And it -- it is so perfect because it describes precisely how the Russians look at this. He said that here are the two Russia and the United States deciding the fate of the world and that these are the heads of the leading states of the planet.

So that gives you the idea. You know Putin's back on the stage. He's no longer isolated. He is out there. He is totally in equal of the U.S. President and they together are going to decide the problems of the world. It's exactly what they wanted.

VAUSE: So it was just a good day Vladimir Putin even (ph) if it wasn't for anybody else. But after the Summit, Putin appeared on FOX News who is again asked about the hacking of the 2016 election. During his answer, he talks specifically about the emails, which were stolen from the Democratic campaign. Listen to this.

PUTIN: Was there any false information planted? No it wasn't. And there wasn't information about manipulations conducted within the Democratic Party to incline the process in favor over one candidate. And I swear that I know the entire party leadership resigned. They admitted the fact of their manipulation. So that's one thing that manipulations with the public opinion should stop.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

VAUSE: So Julia, to you, what he was essentially saying is because the information in the emails was accurate it was real it wasn't forged, that should be the end of it, which is a single line that I've heard actually, you know, from Dana Rohrabacher, the Congressman from here in California who is considered to be Putin's Congressman. You know it's been -- this is a talking point which has been out there for some time.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN EURO SECURITY ANAYLSYT: That's exactly right and it's one that (inaudible) Russia have been saying for awhile essentially that it was the Democrats faults that these things were said and I think it just goes to show sort of the gravity of what happened today that essentially the United States President -- there's really no other way to put it.

The United States President sided with a hostile foreign power in an assessment of a hostile act against the United States and its Democracy. And so of course, Putin's going to be giving the line that protects himself.

I think the thing that's so shocking to all of us is President Trump is giving the line that protects Putin. And I think in the end -- I think what you're seeing now and the response in the United States as well as the White House trying to do some clean up is a recognition that Trump is, you know, fill in the verb.

Is compromise, is -- is paranoid, is (inaudible) is simply was just played by someone much more sophisticated than him

VAUSE: And after Donald Trump threw the U.S. Intelligence Community (ph) under the bus and sided with Putin and his denials over the election meddling, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, issued a statement, which we have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

And their ongoing pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy and we will continue to provide unvarnished (ph) and objective intelligence in support of our national security. (Inaudible) a very tame statement but if the Commander-in-Chief won't accept the findings of U.S. Intelligence what are the options which are left? Should Coats resign at this point?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: No, we need Coats. Coats is telling the truth. We are currently under attack. We were attacked in 2016 by Russia. It's absolutely clear. The evidence, the intelligence doesn't get any better than that.

And by the way, I'm going to use this word, I hate to do it, but Trump siding with Putin and Russian Intelligence is flat out treasonous and we need Dan Coats to tell the truth. We need the FBI to continue to arrest Russian agents operating in this country.

And I'm -- I'm frankly, I'm very proud that the American government now is standing up to this President. And by the way, the Republican Party, which is for the first time this has occurred since the election.

VAUSE: But -- but can you actually be charged with treason outside a period of war or is that just a technicality?

BAER: No, anybody can -- no, and its (inaudible) state of war -- in the Cold War we were arresting spies. I mean we simply do not know why Trump has sided with Russia. There's no easy explanation. He's been in business with the Russians.

You look at Toronto, you look at Soho, Trump and the rest of it and there's a lot of suspicious money coming in to Trump. I mean are they floating him? Are they carrying a note on (ph)? We simply don't know because the only person he has not criticized, since he's been President is Vladimir Putin and he is an adversary of the United States. And by the way, he's just killed somebody in Britain with a fourth-generation nerve agent. He shot down airplanes, he's invaded the Crimea. He is not America's friend and this President has no explanation why he sided with Russia instead of his own government. This has just - this never happened in American history period.

VAUSE: Again, here's Coats talking about security issues. This was over the weekend. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: It was in the months prior to September 2001 when according to then-CIA director George Tenet, the system was blinking red and here we are two-decade nearly, two decades later and I'm here to say the warning lights are blinking red again. Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Also the Secretary of Homeland Security says US Intelligence has seen quote, " ... persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople, and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people. They're not necessarily focused on specific politicians or political campaigns."

So Juliette, in light of the face of the November midterm elections are coming up, is there any possibility that any of that information has not reached the President?

KAYYEM: No. I mean, the President certainly knows of the ongoing attack, it's just his unwillingness to absorb it. So, here's the good news about the fact that we are, you know, a divided government in many ways - state and local authorities, secretaries of state, local mayors, governors are taking this very seriously to try to protect their system.

We've seen a little bit of movement on the you know, social media platforms although certainly not enough responsibility for them propagating fake news or news that comes from Russia that disrupt elections. So, there is activity, but that activity can only go so far. You need leadership from the top.

So while Coats is doing what he needs to do, and the Secretary of Homeland Security - she's trying to do what she needs to do, they haven't been invested with the powers by the President to stop this from happening from 2018 and just getting back to what Bob said. That is why people like us you know, are - the red alarms are going off, too because you know, if Trump is unwilling to stop this for 2018 to expose it, to admit that it happens, is ashamed and try to do things that stop Russia, one has to assume because there's no other way - there's no other explanation that he is welcoming it for the midterm elections in 2018.

I don't come to that statement easily, but I have no other data to analyze this than to say he actually welcomes it for 2018 because he's not stopping it.

VAUSE: Right. Okay, so during that joint news conference, they are asked about if there's any chance that the Russians have gathered kompromat or compromising material on Donald Trump and after the - that joint news conference, Putin again made this appearance on Fox News. He said basically, no we couldn't because when he came here as a businessman, there were so many businessmen, we couldn't actually blackmail them all. It's kind of what he said. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that our special service is actually making organized surveillance on each and every of them?

PUTIN: Well, unlike you, unlike in the United States, we don't do this. We don't have enough resources, we don't have enough manpower to organize the total state of control. That's not part of our plans and it's clear that we did nothing of that kind against Mr. Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: But Jill, is it fair to say Trump's ties to the Kremlin, and you know - suspect Russians go a lot deeper than your average businessman on a trip to Moscow?

DOUGHERTY: But you know, just on that point, John, the President - President Putin was talking about a specific conference - you know a business - I believe it was the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, where there were, let's say 500 business people, and maybe it would be a little bit difficult to get agents on each and individual.

But, you know, President Putin - President Trump was in Russia back going into I think, in 1987. And certainly, he had to have been on their radar. I mean, I will tell you that I, as a student, many years ago in St. Petersburg, then Leningrad know that we were followed. And there was information collected on us. I mean, and we were kind of idiotic young people.

It just doesn't make sense to me that they would not in some fashion or another have their eye on him. He was an important business person. He kept coming back, he wanted to do deals, and it just makes sense, unless I'm totally wrong.

[00:15:10]

DOUGHERTY: But you know, in this John, the President was - that Mr. Putin was answering very specifically.

VAUSE: Right. DOUGHERTY: And that is what he does. You know, he can take one point

and he can be utterly correct. Whereas the entire picture, there are a lot of other facts that should be brought into it.

VAUSE: Okay. Let's listen to the former FBI director James Comey, talking about the infamous Russian dossier and the salacious allegations it makes against the current US President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Honestly, I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don't know whether the current President of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013. It's possible, but I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Bob, the former director of the FBI can't rule it out. But what was notable during that joint news conference is that neither Trump nor Putin when the question came up gave a definitive no, there's no compromise.

BAER: No, exactly he didn't. And let's keep in mind, Juliette is absolutely right. Donald Trump was under observation by the KGB in New York as far back as '86; 1987, he goes to Moscow. He was being cultivated by the KGB and the Russian Foreign Ministry. And they were looking at him to replace Armand Hammer, who was an agent of influence. Unwitting but, this was a very close plan and the chances that he's not going to Moscow and being filmed are close to zero.

Now, we don't know what happened in that room, but that's what the Russians do. I have worked with the Russian intelligence service, and this is what they do for a living is blackmail. They incriminate people and that's how they control them. Whether they've done this with Trump or not, it's the $64,000.00 question. And I certainly, don't have the answer. But Juliette is absolutely right. They watch this guy on every visit he made to Russia and were looking to recruit him in some fashion.

VAUSE: Okay, Bob and Jill, we'll ask you to stay around for - after the break. In the meantime, Juliette, I'd like to say thank you for being with us, most appreciated.

We will take a short break. When we come back, a Russian woman who tried to establish backdoor meetings between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is now facing charges. She is a foreign agent. Those details up next.

And later this hour, a close look at the fall out of Donald Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin and the growing criticism from and between his own Party.

[00:20:16]

VAUSE: A Russian woman accused of trying to establish back-channel communications between, then-candidate Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin has been charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without registering as required under US law.

Maria Butina appeared in Federal court in Washington on Monday. According to the Justice Department, she received orders from a senior Russian official and allegedly was told to cultivate connections to the National Rifle Association, as well as, religious groups to promote pro-Russia policies.

Back with us now, CNN contributor and former Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty. CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer, former CIA operative.

Okay, Bob, the significance here seems to Butina's connection to the NRA given the investigation of millions of dollars which have been funneled through the gun rights group from Russia, allegedly, to the Trump campaign.

BAER: Yes, that's the accusation. Now, the question is how do you trace this money down? Because her boss, Central Bank or Torshin is a mobster, frankly. He was intercepted in Spain giving orders to the Russian government. He is connected to mob groups. This is the whole problem with Russia's, this organized crime in the KGB are one and the same. It's like an octopus, as somebody has described it. You know, it's got multiple arms.

I think what's encouraging about this is the FBI, while the President is in the air, arrests a Russian agent. The FBI has basically told the President, we're going to cut - we're going to run this down. And clearly, Bob Mueller, will as well. So, that is good news.

But, I mean, the Russians were much more aggressive than just getting Facebook ads and the rest of it. They were out actively trying to recruit and subvert our political system. And I think, this is what the FBI and this arrest is telling us.

VAUSE: Yes, back in 2011, Butina helped establish a group in Russia, it's called "The Right to Bear Arms." A few years ago, John Bolton, who is now Trump's national security adviser, addressed that group via video. This is part of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER OF THE UNITED STATES: Should the Russian people have the right to bear arms? I can share with you a word about what this particular freedom has meant to Americans, and offer you encouragement as you consider embracing that freedom, which so many nations and cultures have found to be the essential defense for all other freedoms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Jill, it seems that the last thing Vladimir Putin, would want is a well-armed, well-regulated militia - you know, in Russia. So, what is known about this, group "Right to Bear Arms?" DOUGHERTY: You know, this is not an issue in Russia. This is very,

very different. I mean, here we all know the role of the NRA in guns and the Second Amendment and everything. But in Russia, it really isn't. And that always struck me as kind of odd that this woman would start, or at least, be that I could - one of the heads of this organization. It just doesn't seem to make sense.

There are, of course, some supporters that I think when you put this together in the allegations coming out from this criminal complaint from the Justice Department, that this was a way of currying favor with a - and I believe, as I read it, it is not named as the NRA, but this gun rights organization.

A way of currying favor and getting connections with political leaders of a certain party. Then, it begins to make sense. So, what she was doing kind of reminded me of the sleeper cells, in the almost like the Americans TV show where this woman who's 29 years old, graduate student at American University is having this kind of dinners, friendship dinners, dialogue dinners, she called them, and making contacts, getting people who would be influential, and then, talking to the man who allegedly controlled her which is this central banker et cetera. So, then, it begins to make more sense.

VAUSE: So, Bob, how this does this all fit into the - you know, the Russian playbook?

BAER: Well, what they do is they send students here to spot and assess potential recruits - Americans that the KGB can recruit. This is what it sounds like she was. She doesn't actually go out and make a proposal for an American to work for the KGB, but she - once she finds somebody who's sympathetic, and there are a lot of people sympathetic to Russia in Washington, DC, then, she identifies them for the residency in DC or New York, and then, they get in touch separately.

The Russians are very good at this, a very good Intelligence Agency, and they're all over the United States. And I think, by the way, I think there's going to be more arrests because there's a lot of FSB agents in Washington, DC operating.

VAUSE: Very quickly, during that joint news conference, the US President talked about this often, he had from Vladimir Putin, to help with the investigation into the 12 Russians indicted last week for election meddling. This is what Donald Trump, said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And what he did is an incredible offer.

[00:25:14]

TRUMP: He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Jill, Putin's tried this once before, they didn't go for it

then. Why would he try a second time?

DOUGHERTY: You know, when -- actually, that was one of the lighter moments I thought in that news conference. Because when I heard that, the level of naivety is stunning. I mean, an incredible offer because it actually is incredible.

This is the classic - I would say, Putin. I mean, he knows that there is no way that the United States or Mueller would ever accept an offer to come work with Russian intelligence agencies, let them in on some of the information that Mueller has. It's unthinkable, but apparently, the President thought that, that actually was kind of a great idea.

I think, again, we have Putin who is very good at all of this, as Bob, said. And essentially, trolling or at least, leading on the president with this idea that would never take off.

VAUSE: Loyalists of Pablo Escobar are now hoping to work with the DEA. Jill and Bob - thanks so much. We appreciate it.

BAER: Thank you.

VAUSE: Next up on "Newsroom LA," the US President's graciousness to a hostile power is baffling for members of his own Party. We'll take a closer look in just a moment.

Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. The US President Donald Trump is facing harsh criticism for refusing to challenge Vladimir Putin over Russia's interference in the 2016 elections. The US intelligence community has concluded Russia did meddle just last week. Twelve Russian officers were indicted on charges related to just that.

Hours after President Trump's Helsinki news conference, the US Justice Department revealed the arrest of a Russian national accused to conspire to act against the US as a spy. The US alleges 29-year-old Maria Butina worked with two unnamed US citizens and a Russian official to try to influence US politics and infiltrate the National Rifle Association. Her attorney denies the charges.

And British Prime Minister Theresa May won a series of votes in Parliament after giving in to pressure from Brexit supporters on their customs bill. It's designed to create an independent customs policy after Britain leaves the European Union. Junior Defense Minister, Guto Bebb, resigned after voting against the government, is intent conservative to quit over the Brexit plan.

Let's go (INAUDIBLE) out the Trump-Putin meeting and the fallout from it, where I join now by Talk Radio Host Ethan Bearman and Shawn Steel, Republican National Committee Member for California. It is good to see you guys. Now, I want to start with you, Shawn, because clearly, I want you now, without mentioning Hillary Clinton, without mentioning Barack Obama, anyone else other than President Trump and President Putin. Do you believe that what happened in Helsinki, on Monday, was a good day for you as National Security and a good day for you as interest?

SHAWN STEEL (R), NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN, CALIFORNIA: I don't like Russians. I don't like Putin. I don't like anything about the KGB. I don't like communist. And I wish that Trump was a little more manly. Instead, he's being nice. He's being nice to Putin, he's nice to Xi of China, he's nice to North Korea, he's nice to -- are friends in Saudi Arabia. He's acting kind of presidential like a peacemaker and I'd rather he give some good insults against Putin. I was just disappointed that he didn't.

VAUSE: Well, then, why though? Do you see a trend here? I mean, you kind of, you know, not -- you know, name check a few -- more of the (INAUDIBLE) leaders around the world. Most of the same time, he's being a bully to some of the, you know, the longest standing allies that the U.S. has ever had.

STEEL: Well, listen, Merkel needs a lot of it, a lot of re-education.

VAUSE: But why --

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: Trump was on a roll. It was a wonderful week in Europe. And in fact, you know (INAUDIBLE) of NATO saying this is a good thing, NATO is stronger, more money is coming in. Billions have been raised. The Germans were properly showed what hysterical hypocrites they are. And they're getting 70 percent of their energy from Russia.

VAUSE: Yes, OK.

STEEL: Who's taking the --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: Here's an editorial from the New York Daily news, before the entire world Monday, the self-styled tough-guy, America-First President revealed himself to be Russian President Vladimir Putin's poodle. It would be high comedy if it were not a national tragedy and a national emergency.

Here's another opinion piece of the Washington Post, in Helsinki, Mr. Trump again insisted there was no collusion with Russia. Yet in refusing to acknowledge the plain facts about Russia's behavior, while trashing his own country's justice system, Mr. Trump in fact was openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power.

Ethan, will the Democrats and the (INAUDIBLE) Republicans will see this moment as possibly one of the worst of the Trump presidency, will have any impact on the President and that call group of supporters that he has.

ETHAN BEARMAN, TALK RADIO HOST, CALIFORNIA: No, until there's an impeachment hearing. And that's what's going to happen next, because this was a dark day in American history. This is equal to Neville Chamberlain coming home from Germany in 1938, in the U.K., and say, I made peace with Harald Hitler and I'm not violating government's law that is actual history. So, in this case, that's what -- in the history books are going to write about today, with what President Trump did with Vladimir Putin.

Russia remember actually attacked us, a cyber-attack is an attack. It's like an act of war, every single intelligence agency, anybody, and you don't know this about me, I have a background in info sec. They've been attacking us for a long time. They clearly, openly, attacked us. They are openly attacking us now. DNI quote has said as much. The red lights are blinking. They're attacking us now for the midterms.

VAUSE: Based on CNN's reporting, aides wondered whether the summit was a mistake from the start, even if Trump insisted repeatedly it be arranged over a matter of months, spending the weekend at his golf resort in Scotland, Trump underwent brief preparatory sessions with aides who tagged along to the Scottish coast lugging briefing binders and topic papers, most of which went unseen by the President himself.

So, in a basic question, why did the president, the U.S. president, want this meeting on the first place, especially after the indictment last week of 12 Russians that, you know, sort of, meddling last year or (INAUDIBLE)

STEEL: I don't mind any time a President meets foreign leaders. It's really what actually takes place. And, you know, Trump was inarticulate at the best. And I would see it and looked and confronted Putin.

VAUSE: So, this was a bad day? Do you think this is a bad day for Trump?

STEEL: Well, yes. it was - it was. But, the actions, he has done so much more in the last 18 months --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: So, let's just see it today.

STEEL: Don't sidetrack.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: One point, his actions have been far more hostile than all of Obama's eight years.

VAUSE: No, that's not true. That is not true. That is not true.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: Obama's the one that surrendered as soon as he got elected. It was a reset button.

VAUSE: That is not true. No, no, no.

STEEL: That was a huge (INAUDIBLE) our entire missile system was taken down.

VAUSE: Shawn, Ethan, tell Shawn it's not true.

BEARMAN: That's not --

STEEL: You're making him your --

BEARMAN: Words matter in diplomacy. That's the most important thing here. Words matter when it comes to diplomacy. What you say to an adversary, matters, not just actions. Actions also matter. And no, we haven't done anything. It was Congress that had to step up and do something upon Trump's election because Trump threatened to remove the sanctions that we had in place. So, Congress had to act to stop Trump.

VAUSE: Here's (INAUDIBLE) tone and language Donald Trump used when he was talking about his bestie, Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have taken the first steps toward a brighter future. This was a very constructive day, and a good competitor he is. And, I think, the word, competitor, is a supplement. I have great confidence in my intelligence people. But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[00:35:39] VAUSE: And listen to how Ronald Reagan used to talk about Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK. That was the evil empire speech from 1986. I know it's a different time, Shawn, it was before the clash of the Soviet Union. But, as a Republican, tell me, what would Ronald Reagan think about what happened in Helsinki?

STEEL: You know, I am so impressed to hear Ronald Reagan on this station and in mainstream media.

VAUSE: What do you think?

STEEL: I'm so overwhelmed because in those days, the liberals were against Ronald Reagan. They were pro-Soviet.

VAUSE: But that was -- STEEL: It's so nice to see Ethan discovered the segment in the last year.

VAUSE: Answer the question. What would Ronald --

STEEL: Their questions were bad.

VAUSE: What would Ronald Reagan think about what happened in Helsinki?

STEEL: I think he would think, again, trust but verify. That's what he would simply say. And that's what he was doing. He said look -- Putin has made a position. Remember, there were other things that came out of that --

BEARMAN: Trump did nothing of that sort today. Trump did a capitulated --

STEEL: He said -- he said Crimea was illegal.

BEARMAN: Oh, that's the extent of it.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: He also said --

BEARMAN: He had murdering people in the U.K. He has murdering journalists in his own soil.

STEEL: I don't like Putin.

BEARMAN: He is murdering people in Ukraine.

STEEL: Trump stopped murdering anybody.

VAUSE: If you don't like Putin, Shawn, isn't there an obligation by the U.S. President to stand up to this guy and say, stop the election meddling, stop killing people on foreign soil, stop invading countries, you know, that would be a good start.

STEEL: And Georgia too.

VAUSE: Yes.

STEEL: Listen, of course, I agree with you. I'd certainly do. And I'm very strong on this. And I probably have a better track than anybody in this building, all 10 stories, about opposing Russia. But I will say that --

VAUSE: Why didn't you --

STEEL: I like Obama.

VAUSE: No, no, no. No Obama.

(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: No, why didn't -- why didn't --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: We got to go. We're out of time. Answer this question, why didn't Donald Trump confront the Russian president on a variety of issues which are pertinent to the U.S. national security's interest?

STEEL: He may have done that on a four-hour meeting. I don't know.

BEARMAN: Please. Please.

(CROSSTALK)

BEARMAN: Horrible day in American history, horrible day.

VAUSE: Come back next hour. Thank you, Shawn and Ethan. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., there is fallout from bizarre comments about a rescue diver in Thailand which were made by the famous billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk, what they were and what's about to happen, we'll tell you in a moment.

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[00:40: 11] VAUSE: A mob in Indonesia slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles, revenge, for a local man's death. A warning here, the video you're about to see is graphic and it is disturbing. Hundreds of villagers stormed a crocodile farm in West Papua, went on a killing spree, shortly after the funeral of a man who was killed by a crocodile. Authorities say he wandered unto the farm. Maybe he was there to cut grass for his livestock when the attack happened. The farm was operated, legally, had a license to breed sometimes of crocodiles.

Nearly two dozen people were injured in Hawaii after a lava bomb tore through the roof of a tour boat. You see group of people on board, taking video of the glowing lava in the distance and the plumes of smoke near Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, which began erupting back in May. And suddenly, a lava bomb hits the boat. The video goes dark but you can hear the screams as flying chunks of molten rock tore a large hole through the boat's roof and hit the passengers below.

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Thirteen people were rushed to the hospital including a young woman, who fractured her femur, 10 others were treated at the Harbor for superficial injuries. Tesla and SpaceX founder, Elon Musk, is facing serious backlash after inexplicable and completely unfounded comments about one of the rescue divers in Thailand. We got the details from CNN's Samuel Burke.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Unfounded and ugly, that's the reaction from many twitter users to disparaging comments from billionaire, Elon Musk, to a man that some say, is a hero, in a tweet that since been deleted, Musk, attacked Vern Unsworth, a diver who helped in the rescue mission of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

The tech entrepreneur called Unsworth, a "pedo" or pedophile, without offering any proof or context to back up his statement. Unsworth says there may be legal action ahead.

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VERN UNSWORTH, CAVE DIVER: I'm not going to make any further comment about him but I think people realize what sort of guy he is.

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BURKE: Unsworth's knowledge of the Thai cave system helped rescuers find the trapped boys. Musk proposed using a miniature submarine to extricate the boys. An idea which Unsworth had sharply criticized, saying it would never work.

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UNSWORTH: And sticky submarine (INAUDIBLE) hurts. It wouldn't have made the first 50 meters into the cave, from the dive start point. Just a (INAUDIBLE)

BURKE: Musk's Twitter outburst was broadcast to his 22 million social media followers, some of which complained about the tweet, saying the outburst was dangerous and irresponsible and violates twitter's policy. Samuel Burke, CNN.

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause. World Sport starts after the break.

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(WORLD SPORT)

VAUSE: Hello, very great to have you with us, I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A. Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, called it a sad day for the world, Former CIA Director John Brennan said it was nothing short of treasonous. There has been no shortage of outraging criticisms for the U.S. President after his joint news conference on Monday, with Russia's Vladimir Putin.