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Trump's Speech at U.N. Stirs International Talk; Trump Meets with Israeli P.M. Netanyahu at U.N.; Prison Spokesman: Cosby Was 'In Good Spirits' Last Night. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired September 26, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:09] DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Now he's got a president who has exited that agreement and says he will confront Iran. What's missing right now from all of this is the strategy of how they will confront Iran. Because what's happened is we've separated out the United States from all of the other allies who have been economically isolating the Iranians. The Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese affected. Europeans issued an announcement the other day here in New York saying that they would continue to enforce --

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: They're all signatories to the nuclear deal.

SANER: They are all signatories, and they're hoping to stay in.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And doing business with Iran as we speak.

SANGER: And doing business, and a group of us went to see President Rouhani on Monday night. And his strategy, as he laid it out very clearly and on the record, is stay inside the agreement and just show how much he can split the Europeans away from their American allies.

HARLOW: Good point.

SCIUTTO: Aaron David Miller, as the president was entering the U.N. today, you saw his national security adviser, John Bolton, with him. Bolton has advocated a very aggressive strategy against Iran in the past, even advocated for a military strike against Iran.

Although, it's interesting. There is reporting from inside the White House that the president, resisting that, in effect, saying to Bolton, "I don't want you to get me in a war in Iran. But the U.S. certainly taking a more aggressive posture here.

Does Bolton have the influence to push Trump, push the administration towards military confrontation with Iran?

AARON DAVID MILLER: You know, it's an intriguing question. Look at the last 500-plus days of the Trump administration. What you see, particularly when it comes to the use of military force, is a highly risk-averse president.

Whether it's a moderate surge in Afghanistan or proportionate strikes argued by Jim Mattis against Syria and chemical weapons, I -- I suspect this president is not interested, frankly, in a -- in a kinetic strategy -- strategy that burdens the United States with another trillion-dollar social science experiment along the lines of Afghanistan and Iraq.

And in fact, one of the issues that the prime minister is going to raise in this meeting is the tricky situation that the Israelis now have with Mr. Putin. The shoot-down and the killing of 15 Russian crew by Syrian anti-aircraft is being blamed on the Israelis.

And the Russians are about to sell the S-300 system, which is pretty sophisticated -- all the Israelis have a way around it -- to the Syrians. So Mr. Netanyahu is going to be looking for an answer to the question. Do you have my back in Syria if, in fact, there is escalation. Nobody wants a conflict with the Russians. But --

SCIUTTO: Aaron and David, stay with us. There's more to talk about here. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.


[09:36:36] SCIUTTO: We're live now. We're just getting video here live of the president speaking with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Let's have a listen in as he makes comments.

The two men in the room have very similar positions on Iran. Both of them very much favor the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

HARLOW: This is the fifth time that the two leaders have met since the president took office.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel and his representatives. Obviously, we have much to discuss. The prime minister was just thanking me again for what we did in Jerusalem with respect to the embassy. That's been something that, I guess, was controversial, but it's turned out to be very positive in many ways; and a lot of progress is being made in many other areas.

We're talking trade. We're taking military. We're talking defense, and we are very much in favor of what Israel is doing, as far as their defense is concerned. They're aggressive, and they have no choice but to be aggressive. It's a very difficult part of the world. So I just want to let Benjamin let all of the people know, let Bibi know that we are with you. We are with Israel 100 percent. Thank you, Bibi. Thank you.


TRUMP: Excuse me.

NETANYAHU: Mr. President, Donald, thank you. This is a many-fold thank you. First, thank you for your strong words yesterday in the General Assembly against the corrupt terrorist regime in Iran. You back up your strong words with strong actions. And I think the fact that you have brought American sanctions there has cut the cash machine of Iran and its campaign of carnage and conquest in the Middle East.

And we who live in the Middle East, Israelis and Arabs, who are subject to this Iranian danger, want to thank you especially.

Secondly, I want to thank you for the extraordinary support that you have shown for Israel in this building, in the U.N. No one has backed Israel like you do, and we appreciate it.

Third, this is the first time that we meet after the American embassy has been moved to Jerusalem.

TRUMP: That's right.

NETANYAHU: You've changed history, and you've touched our hearts.

And fourth and last, I want to say how much I appreciate it. A more robust defense of the right of self-defense, which you just expressed. I think everybody should understand that Israel will continue to do what is necessary to defend ourselves against Iranian aggression in Syria and Lebanon, anywhere else.

And I want to say also that we have no doubt, as we do so, we'll enjoy the support of President Donald Trump and the United States of America. I think -- and I say this with deference -- that the Israeli-American alliance has never been stronger. It's stronger than ever before under your leadership.

And I look forward to working with you and your team to advance our common interests, security, prosperity and peace with Israel's neighbors and for the region. And we can do it with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, when are you going to present your peace plan?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can you talk --

HARLOW: All right.

SCIUTTO: We just lost the live feed there from the bilateral between President Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, but as you see there, really, statements of confidence in both directions. The president saying to Netanyahu, "We are with Israel 100 percent."

Netanyahu saying to the president, "You have changed history, and you have touched our hearts."

HARLOW: About moving the embassy to Jerusalem, right.

SCIUTTO: One of the many things they agree on and also on the Iranian deal.

We're going to take a quick break here. We'll be right back.


HARLOW: All right. We just heard a lot from the president and his counterpart in Israel, Bibi Netanyahu.

Let's bring back Aaron David Miller, David Sanger.

David, looking at the two of these, let's pull up the shot of their body language, because you said that's notable compared to what we saw between President Obama and Netanyahu.

SANGER: You know, Poppy, when President -- when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would go see President Obama, it was always very tense. There was the Obama criticism of the settlements. There was their disagreement on Iran. There was an overall suspicion that the Israelis were trying to draw the U.S. into a war.

[09:45:16] What you heard from President Trump was basically completely -- complete endorsement of everything the Israelis are doing.

HARLOW: Everything.

SANGER: Right. Which will be taken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a license to keep doing everything that he's been doing.

And you heard even last night from John Bolton a much more aggressive view of what the U.S. would do in Syria. He basically said, "As long as the Iranians are there, we're going to stay there."

SCIUTTO: Aaron David Miller, of course, the president's most consequential move regarding Iran was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. But the fact is, and that's been reaffirmed here at the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. allies in Europe are staying in the deal, and they've recommitted to staying in the deal, as they have been here in New York. Is it fair to say that the president's policy regarding the Iran nuclear deal is failing as a result? Because every other party is remaining in.

MILLER: Well, failure or success, Jim, depends on exactly what the objective is? Is the objective to put so much pressure on the regime that it implodes? Is it to weaken it so it -- to prevent it from asserting its power abroad? Or is it to bring it to capitulation to negotiate a new JCPOA?

I don't think think, frankly, that the administration knows what it wants. And in the absence of that, you are going to get what you see now: an effort by the Iranians to be cool about this with the Europeans, to examine their options, to see what the Europeans can do for them, including the Chinese and the Russians. So I'm not entirely sure that there is an end state here, and that is a problem.

HARLOW: That is a really interesting point. Quickly, David, to you. Because we heard, I mean, it seems like mixed messages out of the White House of those close to the president. It was just a few days ago that the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said, "I don't know when we're going to overthrow them," meaning the Rouhanian regime, "but it's going to happen."

Nikki Haley was asked by Jake Tapper about exactly that this weekend and said the United States is not looking for regime change in Iran.

SANGER: We see this kind of dissonance in the Trump foreign policy all the time. You have different players in different places. Secretary Mattis yesterday saying North Korea remains the most immediate threat. You didn't hear that from the president.

So, you know, it's somewhat remarkable. This is all understandable in year one. By the end of year two, you're all supposed to get on the strategic playbook and the same priorities.

SCIUTTO: Yes, I think we should -- we should dispense with that expectation.

David Sanger, Aaron David Miller, thanks very much. We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Bill Cosby is waking up in prison this morning. This after being sentenced to three to ten years for sexual assault just yesterday. A prison spokesperson said that he was, quote, "in good spirits" last night. Two of his accusers speaking to CNN.

HARLOW: Listen to them.


LISE LOTTE-LUBIN, TESTIFIED AT COSBY TRIAL: It's not something you want to totally hold onto, because I think the disappointment is devastating if it doesn't follow through. So it's really touch and go and a little bit scary. So I'm -- I'm still reveling.

HEIDI THOMAS, TESTIFIED AT COSBY TRIAL: To actually think that we'd see him led out in handcuffs, I didn't want to be disappointed. I didn't know if that would happen or not. So yes, there is a part of me that still -- when you -- when you led off by saying he woke up behind bars in a blue jump suit, even that is still inconceivable.


HARLOW: You hear some of Cosby's victims there. Jean Casarez joins us, who's been covering this trial from the beginning.

Jean, you hear the victims feeling like, you know, the justice system finally worked. They didn't think they'd see this day.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it took a long time for some of those accusers. And for Andrea Constand, it took a long time.

You know, Poppy, we're right here. We are at this maximum-security prison, SCI Phoenix. Bill Cosby behind those walls somewhere getting used to this brand-new life.

Now, this is a state-of-the-art facility. It just opened this year. It has almost 4,000 beds, but it is maximum security. And although it sounds really great -- there are classes and courses you can take, there is a gymnasium where you can work out, there is a yard. And I actually saw so many inmates out in the yard today. It's like a football field. They're exercising; they're walking around. There are barber shops inside. There are chapels inside where they can take courses.

But for Bill Cosby, because he is that sexually-violent predator, he is going to have to take a lifetime of courses of sexually offender counseling. That is mandatory because of that classification of that sexually violent predator.

You know, one other thing. In the courtroom yesterday -- and it was packed -- it was a feeling -- so many accusers from around the country had come to, really, I think, get their justice through Andrea Constand. And when the judge stood up and said that the sentence would be three to ten years, there was no moment for them to rejoice or feel justice or any emotion, because the defense immediately stood up and said, "Your honor, we have a video -- an audio tape. We believe it's tampered with. We are going to appeal this, and we want him out on bail."

[09:55:00] That didn't happen yesterday. But there were no audible gasps or emotions in that courtroom, because that really changed the course of, suddenly, Bill Cosby is sentenced.

But we do know he started off this morning here, 6 a.m. They have roll call. And what that means, Poppy, is that the inmates have to stand up, and they are counted. And we know he had dinner here last night. It was a meat ball, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy.

HARLOW: Jean, thank you for the reporting for us. Appreciate it this morning.

Moments from now President Trump is expected to go after Iran. He leaves the United Nations Security Council meeting. You'll see it live. Stay with us.