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Isa Soares Tonight

Zelenskyy Meets With Erdogan in Istanbul; U.S. Contemplating On Sending Cluster Bombs To Ukraine. White House Holding Briefing; Sullivan: Ukraine Would Use Cluster Munitions Defensively; Grain Deal And NATO On The Agenda For Zelenskyy In Turkey; Kremlin To Watch Zelenskyy-Erdogan Talks Very Closely; U.S. Treasury Secretary Walks Diplomatic Tightrope In Beijing; A Week Of Record-Setting Heat Across The Globe. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 07, 2023 - 14:00:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I`m Christina Macfarlane in for Isa Soares. Tonight, Ukrainian President

Zelenskyy and Turkish President Erdogan are meeting in Istanbul. The grain export deal that Ankara helped broker with Russia is under the spotlight.

The U.S. is expected to announce a new military aid package for Ukraine, it includes controversial cluster munitions. And putting criminals on notice

in order to save the Amazon. We`re live in Bogota for an explanation. And we`re watching Istanbul this hour, where the Ukrainian president has

arrived for talks with his Turkish counterpart.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have a lot to discuss. Ukraine`s Black Sea grain deal with Russia is set to expire this month. And

Moscow has signaled, it won`t renew it. There`s also NATO expansion where - - because we`re days away from the start of that NATO summit in Lithuania.

And Turkey and Hungary are deciding votes on whether Sweden joins the club. Ukraine has NATO ambitions of its own, of course, and it`s relied on a

steady supply of weapons from NATO members to fight Russia. Well, Mr. Zelenskyy has been thanking some of those countries this week. He`s in

Slovakia earlier today, after visiting Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

The trip comes as his forces report progress around Bakhmut. Ukraine says they`ve advanced more than a kilometer over the past day, facing fierce

Russian resistance. Well, now, the question still remains. Where in the world is Yevgeny Prigozhin? The Wagner mercenary boss was supposed to be

exiled to Belarus after ending his rebellion against Russia`s top generals.

But the leader of Belarus says he`s actually in Russia. And that raises questions about whether Wagner will move into Belarus. But the government

is showing off a camp where they could be housed. CNN`s Matthew Chance took the tour and filed this report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the closest we`ve ever come to a Wagner camp. Not in Russia, nor the Ukrainian

frontlines, but standing empty for now in Belarus.

(on camera): Well, this is where we thought that Wagner soldiers invited to Belarus could be housed in vast tent city that this supposedly, this used

military base, about a 100 kilometers, 70 miles or so outside of the Belarusian capital. In tents like these that have been set up to house a

couple of dozen fighters at any given time.

For the most part, empty at the moment. And that`s because the plan to invite Wagner and its leader over here into Belarus, after their military

uprising in Russia, now appears to be on hold.

(voice-over): Recent satellite images showed how quickly the camp Osipovichi was transformed, readied to house large numbers of troops at

short notice. And the Belarusian general, who gave us access, told me Wagner forces could still be deployed here if the political decision is


"There is room for up to 5,000 soldiers at this camp alone", he tells me. And we have other facilities too."

(on camera): Have you been told to prepare this camp for the possible arrival of Wagner fighters? Is that what you were told?

(voice-over): "We`ve prepared it for training and for territorial defense", he says. It was the sudden announcement by the leader of Belarus that

neither Wagner nor its leader was in fact in the country, that seems to have thrown planning into disarray. Lukashenko insists his offer, which

helped bring Wagner`s armed uprising to an end last month, is still on the table.

But with new questions over Wagner and its leader, it seems unlikely this would-be Wagner camp will ever now be filled. Matthew Chance, CNN,

Osipovichi, in Belarus.


MACFARLANE: Our thanks to Matthew for that report. Now, Israel says its security forces have killed two Palestinians who carried out a shooting

attack against Israeli police earlier this week. It says the suspects were killed in exchange of fire with Israeli forces during a raid on the West

Bank town of Nablus.


No Israelis were hurt, the raid comes days after Israel launched its biggest operation in the West Bank in decades, killing at least 12

Palestinians in a crowded refugee camp in an effort to eliminate what it calls a safe haven for militants in Jenin. And we`re just getting word now

that a third Palestinian has been shot and killed in the West Bank today.

Let`s bring in our Salma Abdelaziz with the details, she`s live in Jerusalem. And Salma, what more can you tell us about this third fatality

that reportedly taken place.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, yet another incident of violence in the West Bank today. We have information from the Palestinian health

ministry that a Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces near the village of Ummar(ph) Masafer in the West Bank. There was an organized

protest, demonstration today by Palestinians from the village of Ummar(ph) Masafer against an illegal settler outpost that had been established there

just about two weeks ago.

According, again, to Palestinian sources, this 24-year-old man sustained a gunshot wound to the chest and later died of his injuries in hospital. We

do also have a statement from the Israeli military, it says that rioters were attacking, hurling stones at an Israeli border force checkpoint. And

that riot dispersal means were used, including live fire.

The statement obtained by CNN from the Israeli defense forces goes on to say that the incident is under review. We did also just see just a short

time ago, video obtained by CNN from the scene, that shows this 24-year-old man after he`s passed in hospital, his mother crying over his body, calling

him a martyr. Just family members crowded around him, of course, all of this happens within the wider context of this escalating violence in the

West Bank.

And this massive incursion of air and ground assault on the city and camp of Jenin this week, described as the largest raid on that camp in some 20

years by the Israeli military -- just as a side note, to understand here, again, the broader context. The U.N. says this year is on track to be the

deadliest year in the West Bank since record-keeping began in 2005.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and on that point, Salma, we know it`s been a deadly, a dark week in Jenin. Israeli military have been saying that its incursion

there was aimed at breaking the mindset that Jenin was a safe haven for militants. But I know you`ve been on the ground there for a few days,

you`ve spoken to people. What have they told you about what it`s been the real impact of those actions?

ABDELAZIZ: Absolutely. And this incursion into Jenin, this massive assault on Jenin, it is absolutely a shift. It is a sea change. It begins to show

us that things on the ground are changing. The bloodletting, if you will, is increasing in the West Bank. As I mentioned, on track to be the

deadliest year since record-keeping began. And you might ask me, well, why is that?

And there are several factors at play here. First of all, you have the most right-wing government in Israel`s history right now. Many right-wing

figures in Prime Minister Netanyahu`s government want to see a heavy-handed military response in the West Bank. There are also these right-wing figures

supporting not just settlers, but the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

And an empowered settlement movement we see has also led to more attacks on Palestinians by settlers. The United Nations says more than 440 attacks

have taken place by settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank. Those varying from physical assault to attacks on property. Now, the question is,

in all of this, where is the Palestinian voice? Who do they turn to for representation?

Rather, the obvious answer is the Palestinian Authority. But the Palestinian Authority in places like Jenin, of course, where this incursion

took place, basically have a hands-off approach. They are basically hated by local residents, seen as widely ineffectual, widely corrupt, in fact.

When we were there on Wednesday, they were being booed out of Jenin.

And this has allowed this armed insurrection, these armed Palestinian factions to really take hold and take rise in the West Bank.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and it certainly means that there will be no end to this conflict in the immediate future. Salma, we really appreciate your

reporting, thank you there, live from Jerusalem. All right, still to come tonight, a cooler-than-expected jobs report in the U.S. What does Wall

Street make of it? And will it be enough to stop the Fed from raising interest rates again?

Wall Street, meanwhile, is giving Meta the thumbs up over its new app that`s trying to take on Twitter. But now, Twitter is fighting back. We`ll

explain after the break.



MACFARLANE: Welcome back. The U.S. is expected to announce a controversial new weapons package for Ukraine today. Defense officials tell CNN, it will

include cluster munitions. Now, cluster bombs, seen being tested here by the U.S. Air Force are canisters filled with smaller bomblets. They`re

banned by more than 120 countries, because of the threats they pose to civilians.

But they`ve been used by both Ukraine and Russia in the ongoing war. CNN`s Natasha Bertrand is at the Pentagon with the latest. And Natasha, as I was

saying, this is ammunition bound by more than a 100 countries condemned by human rights groups and the U.N. So, what has prompted the U.S.` move to

supply these cluster bombs now?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Christina, so, essentially, the U.S. has been watching this counteroffensive that Ukraine

has been conducting play out over the last several weeks. And it really has not gone as quickly as U.S. and western officials had anticipated. They had

hoped that by this point, Ukraine will be making a little bit more progress.

And they also did not anticipate that Ukraine, necessarily, would be burning through this much artillery ammunition, throughout the

counteroffensive. And so, the concern is that they will not have enough ammunition to carry them through this counteroffensive, unless the U.S.

begins to tap into those stockpiles of cluster munitions.

Because the U.S. simply doesn`t feel that it can produce it fast enough, given the rate at which Ukraine is using it. There`s also a question among

U.S. officials about whether this could prove a significant game-changer for the Ukrainians in the war. Because these cluster ammunitions would

allow the Ukrainians to target much larger areas, and larger concentrations of Russian troops and also allow them to better attack Russian tanks.

And so, this is something the administration feels, based on what`s happening on the ground, on the battlefield, could be something that

Ukraine could use very effectively in order to carry out its counteroffensive. Now, of course, this -- they had to overcome a lot of

concern by allies. And that is something that the administration has been conducting conversations with foreign partners about over the last several

weeks, as they weighed whether or not to give Ukraine these ammunitions. They had conversations --

MACFARLANE: Just want to interrupt, Natasha, apologies. We`re actually going live now to the White House where they are briefing on cluster

ammunitions right now. Let`s listen in.

JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER OF THE UNITED STATES: If Russian troops and tanks roll over Ukrainian positions and take more Ukrainian

territory, and subjugate more Ukrainian civilians, because Ukraine does not have enough artillery.


That is intolerable to us. Ukraine would not be using these munitions in some foreign land. This is their country they`re defending. These are their

citizens they`re protecting. They`re motivated to use any weapon systems they have in a way that minimizes risks to those citizens. So with that, I

would be happy to take your questions. Annie?

ANNIE LINSKEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Thank you so much. Annie Linskey at the "Wall Street Journal". I mean, I was hoping you could

comment on news earlier this week, that the Russians may be open to a prisoner swap for Evan Gershkovich. And I also will have a question for you

about how the uprising by the Wagner group may, in your view, impact Russia`s leader`s willingness or lack of unwillingness to make a deal that

would release Evan?

SULLIVAN: So, first, as Karine mentioned before, today is the 100th day of Evan`s unjust and unlawful detention. And for those 100 days, President

Biden, the entire national security team, our embassy in Moscow, our Secretary of State, myself personally, have been invested in trying to

bring him home safely. Second, I had the opportunity this morning to meet with Evan`s employers at the "Wall Street Journal" and the personal

representatives of his family to talk about the latest status in his case and our efforts to bring Evan home.

Third, we did see the comments from the Kremlin that there have been contacts between the U.S. and Russia regarding Evan and other unjustly-

detained Americans. It is true, and we have said that we remain in contact with Russian authorities at high levels on these cases, to try to figure

out a way to bring unjustly-detained Americans home, including Evan.

We have also made clear for months now, even before Evan was detained, as we were dealing with Paul Whelan, that we are prepared to do hard things in

order to get our citizens home, including getting Evan home. I do not want to give false hope. What the Kremlin said earlier this week is correct.

There have been discussions.

But those discussions have not produced a clear pathway to a resolution. And so, I cannot stand here today and tell you that we have a clear answer

to how we are going to get Evan home. All I can do is tell you that we have a clear commitment and conviction that we will do everything possible to

bring him home. With respect to the question of whether the recent actions by Prigozhin and the fallout from that creates new openings or

opportunities, I can`t say that I have perceived that directly.

But of course, this is a story that continues to be written day-by-day. So, we will have to see how things continue to play out in Moscow. In the

meantime, we`re going to stay laser-focused on doing everything we can, both directly with the Russians, and then with other allies and partners

around the world, who are invested in his safe return to try to get him out as soon as possible. Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Zelenskyy said invitation for Ukraine to join the NATO would be the ideal outcome for this time. Why does the

administration believe that`s not the right approach for the time?

SULLIVAN: Well, as you know, the United States strongly supports the open- door policy which says that Ukraine and NATO can make a decision together about its pathway towards membership. And Vilnius will be an important

moment on that pathway towards membership. Because the United States, our NATO allies in Ukraine will have the opportunity to discuss the reforms

that are still necessary for NATO -- for Ukraine to come up to NATO standards.

So, this will, in fact, be a milestone. But Ukraine still has further steps it needs to take before membership --


SULLIVAN: Ukraine will not be joining NATO coming out of this summit. We will discuss what steps are necessary as it continues along this path.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what -- understand the cluster-munition. What convinces the President Biden as the right time to do cluster munitions

given the concerns that allies expressed concerns to him? And are you suggesting that the reason you`re buying cluster munitions is because

Ukraine is running out of military artillery rounds? Is there -- is it the back of that?

SULLIVAN: So, first, we have been looking at this for quite some time. And what we have been weighing is this basic question of civilian harm. The

challenge of cluster munitions, as you know, is that even at low dud rates, there are some unexploded ordinance that is left, and that could

potentially pose a risk to civilians down the road.

So, we did not immediately come out of the gate and provide this. But we had to balance that against the risk to civilian harm, if Ukraine did not

have sufficient artillery ammunition. We are reaching a point in this conflict, because of the dramatically high expenditure rates of artillery

by Ukraine and by Russia, where we need to build a bridge from where we are today, to when we have enough monthly production of unitary rounds, that

unitary rounds alone will suffice to give Ukraine what it needs.

So, as a result, this is the moment to begin the construction of that bridge so that there isn`t any period over the Summer or heading into this

Fall, when Ukraine is short on artillery.


And being short on artillery, it is vulnerable to Russian counterattacks that could subjugate more Ukrainian civilians. That is the thinking behind

our decision, we consulted closely with allies, in deciding to do this. And some allies who are not signatories to the Oslo Convention embraced it with

open arms, said this is absolutely the right thing to do.

Even allies who were signatories to the Oslo Convention while they cannot formally support something that they`ve signed up to a convention against,

had indicated both privately, and many of them publicly, over the course of today, that they understood our decision, and fundamentally, that they

recognize the difference between Russia using its cluster munitions to attack Ukraine, and Ukraine using cluster ammunitions to defend itself, its

citizens in its sovereign territory.

So, we feel that this will, in no way disrupt the very strong, firm unity that we have heading into the NATO Summit in Vilnius next week. Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks Jake. To follow up on the cluster ammunitions, last year in March, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, she

described those ammunitions as, quote, "exceptionally lethal weaponry which has no place on the battlefield." So how do you square those comments with

this decision.

And secondly, has Ukraine provided you with any assurances or guarantees in terms of their use in civilian areas, that they won`t use them within a

certain radius of civilian areas, for example?

SULLIVAN: So, Ukraine has provided with assurances that it is going to use these in a very careful way, that is aimed at minimizing any risk to

civilians. And by the way, Ukraine, the democratically-elected government of Ukraine has every incentive to minimize risk to civilians, because it`s

their citizens. It`s Ukrainians who they are trying to protect and defend.

This is not Ukraine taking these and going and using them in the Middle East or in southeast Asia or in some far-away land. They`re using them on

their territory to defend their territory. So, we believe that they`re highly motivated to do this. And beyond being highly motivated, they have

to directly answer your question, provided these assurances to us.

In terms of the ambassador`s comments, and other comments that have been bandied about, let me just say that the use of cluster ammunitions by

Russia in this conflict is completely unacceptable on multiple counts. First, they are using them to attack a sovereign country in flagrant

violation of international law. Second, they are using them specifically to strike after civilian targets.

Not only military targets, also in flagrant violation of international law. And with this weapon system, as well as other weapons systems, we have

identified war crimes committed by the Russians. Third, and critically, there is a big difference between the type of cluster ammunitions being

used by Russia and the type that we would provide to Ukraine.

As I mentioned before, hours have a maximum 2.5 percent dud rate. The dud rate at the Russian ammunitions is between 30 percent and 40 percent. And

just so, I don`t get this wrong, I will read it to you, "the Department of Defense assesses that during the first year of the conflict alone, Russian-

fired cluster ammunitions deployed from a range of weapon systems have, likely expanded tens of millions of sub ammunitions or bomblets in Ukraine.

And then the final point, I think this is an important point, when I talk about what Russia is doing with cluster munitions, I`m not making an

argument which says they do it, so we`ll do it. The argument I`m making is that Russia has already spread tens of millions of these bomblets across

Ukrainian territory. So, we have to ask ourselves, is Ukraine`s use of cluster ammunitions on that same land?

Actually, that much of an addition of civilian harm, given that, that area is going to have to be de-mined, regardless. So that is why, when we look

at the situation today, as opposed to a year ago. And when we look at what Ukraine would be doing with these weapons as opposed to what Russia is

doing with these weapons, we see a substantial difference.

It doesn`t make it an easy decision. And I`m not going to stand up here and say, it is easy. It`s a difficult decision. It`s a decision we deferred.

It`s a decision that required a real, hard look at the potential harm to civilians.


SULLIVAN: And when we put all of that together, there was a unanimous recommendation from the national security team, and President Biden,

ultimately decided in consultation with allies and partners, and in consultation with members of Congress, to move forward on this step.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Jake, are you satisfied with the pace and progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive thus far?

SULLIVAN: We get this question a lot. I`m not grading or judging the Ukrainian counteroffensive. I`m standing here in Washington D.C., I`m not

on the battlefield, my life is not on the line. So, for me to sit here and say, I`m satisfied, I`m not satisfied. What I would say is that it is hard-

going. The Russians are dug in. They have thrown a lot of defense and manpower ammunitions at this.


And the Ukrainians have bravely, systematically, been punching and pushing forward, and will continue to do so. The Ukrainians also have a substantial

amount of capacity, they have not yet committed to this fight. So, the story of this counteroffensive is far from written, and we will continue to

support Ukraine along the way.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that Ukraine provided written assurances for how they would use these ammunitions. When was that provided? And also, can

you just provide more details on what are those assurances?

SULLIVAN: So, they provided them in the context of their written request to us for these ammunitions. So they reached out and requested them. I

couldn`t give you the exact date. But some weeks ago, and in doing so, the assurance that they provided was that they intend to use these ammunitions

in a way to minimize the exposure of civilians.

So, outside of civilian areas, and outside of areas that civilians traffic, that is to say on the battlefield, where they are presently both trying to

defend their territory and to move forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other specific locations though, red lines in those assurances, or did the administration advise them, you know, only use these

ammunitions in these support cases.

SULLIVAN: This is going to be an ongoing conversation, because obviously, the battlefield is shifting at all times. So it`s impossible to set down a

map and define this with a level of specificity that maybe your question implies. But it does mean that this conversation needs to be ongoing. Just

as it is with every other weapon system that we`re providing Ukraine.

And so far, we have found that when Ukraine provides assurances to the United States about the use of its ammunitions, it is followed through on

that, in terms of the limitations and constraint it`s placed on those. And we expect the same, in this case. And I just want to underscore, again, I

know I sound like a broken record, but the idea that Ukrainian men and women fighting for the armed forces of Ukraine want to willy-nilly use

these things in a way that do not harm Ukrainian citizens.

Which is somewhat implied in the questions, I find, you know, at odds with, their fundamental desire to protect their countrymen and their willingness

to put their lives on the line, to protect their countrymen. So, that`s --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prigozhin`s location?

SULLIVAN: I do not, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Follow up on Ukraine, and then a second question related to that. Is it the U.S. view that President Zelenskyy should attend

the NATO Summit? And how might his presence affect the outcome of discussions?

SULLIVAN: So, we would welcome President Zelenskyy at the NATO Summit. President Biden would welcome the opportunity to meet with President

Zelenskyy at the NATO Summit. The NATO Summit will dive into the question of NATO`s relationship with Ukraine. Both the question of its pathway

towards future membership, and the question of an ongoing partnership that has existed for several years.

And there will be important practical announcements in that regard at the summit. So, President Zelenskyy`s attendance, that would be very much



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m sorry, eastern European nations want NATO allies to beef up their security on the eastern flank, especially with Mr.

Prigozhin expected, as all the Wagner group expected exile into Belarus which shares a border with Lithuania. Is the U.S. planning to announce any

new security guarantees at the summit?

SULLIVAN: We have the ultimate security guarantee for Poland and the Baltic states. And it`s Article 5 of NATO. And we are in -- we intend to defend

every single inch of NATO territory. We`ve also put our money where our mouth is. In terms of enhanced U.S. deployments in both Poland and the

Baltic states, as well as Romania and other eastern flank allies.

I had the opportunity this morning to meet with my counterpart from Poland, the Polish national security adviser. The first and main topic of

conversation was the evolving threat from Belarus. Both this question of whether Wagner will ultimately end up there, which by the way, is still

very much an open question, and the assertions about potential deployments of nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.

And the role of Belarus and complicity of Belarus and Russia`s aggression in Ukraine. These are all things that we have been taking account of, going

back to the start of this conflict. And we constantly look at everything from the positioning of NATO forces to the pre-positioning of various

stocks and ammunition in the eastern flank, that will be a continued discussion at Vilnius.

But this is an evolving picture. And so, I don`t think Vilnius is going to be the place where we put the final storyline down. It will continue to

evolve as we go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Jake. Does the U.S. support eliminating the need for Ukraine to fulfill a membership action plan that essentially

establishes benchmarks they have to meet to qualify for NATO membership?

SULLIVAN: So, we`re looking at that question. That is an active discussion among allies right now. Whether Ukraine has in fact, moved beyond the need

for map, I won`t get ahead of where leaders will end up at the summit. But that`s under active consideration. Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just primary on a bilat with Erdogan, is this going to be a pull-aside that the president is planning to have, or almost be like

full-blown bilateral meeting to discuss Sweden`s NATO membership.

SULLIVAN: I don`t have anything to announce today, but I think you can expect that President Biden and President Erdogan will talk in Vilnius in

exactly what format that takes remains to be seen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two questions. First, on ammunitions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two questions. First on the munitions. Germany has opposed them. Does that suggest any cracks in the Alliances to you? What do

you make of that opposition?

SULLIVAN: So, first, what I saw Germany saw today was three things. Number one, they`re confident that the United States took this decision carefully

and after weighing all considerations. Number two, Russia has used these in an -- in an intolerable way to attack Ukraine. And three, every weapon

system Ukraine is using it`s using to defend its people and to retake its own sovereign territory.

I think if you read what the German chancellery and the German spokesperson put out today, you will see that they are a signatory to Oslo. They don`t

transfer -- they don`t have or transfer cluster munitions. But nothing in what they have said today suggests there are any cracks in NATO unity.

Quite the contrary, there is deep understanding, we believe, across the Alliance about the fundamental challenge Ukraine faces and about our

collective desire to ensure that we`re providing Ukraine with what it needs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Follow-up to Vilnius?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Q When it comes to -- sorry -- when it comes to Sweden --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us specifically when the President signed the authorization? And also, we have seen over the course of this war how

there were some no-go topics: F-16s, cluster munitions. Both of those are moving forward.

Is there a line where the U.S. won`t cross? Obviously, the President has said no U.S. personnel inside Ukraine. Is there some other limit, or does

this suggest to President Zelenskyy that whatever he needs, ultimately, he will get?

SULLIVAN: The President has been very clear from the very beginning of this conflict about two things that have been unwavering. First, the United

States is not going to war with Russia in Ukraine. And second, the United States is not providing weapons to Ukraine to attack Russia. We do not

encourage or enable attacks on Russian territory from Ukraine.

The question of weapon systems has evolved as the conflict has evolved. But those two fundamental precepts have been true from the start, they remain

true today, and they will be true tomorrow as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did he sign it? Sorry.

SULLIVAN: I can`t give you the exact specifics on that. But -- because, you know, I`ll let the internal processes, kind of, have their -- have their

sanctity. But he approved it, as I said, after a unanimous recommendation from his national security team.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said that NATO is stronger than ever at this point. What does it say that there are two NATO members who have been

holding up Sweden`s ability to join the Alliance for more than a year now?

SULLIVAN: So, the last NATO Ally to come into the Alliance before Finland - - I believe it was Montenegro. And I think it took something like 19 months for them to come in.

I think a lot of people`s perceptions about the accession process have been shaped by just how fast we moved to get Sweden and Finland ratified here in

the United States on a bipartisan basis, how fast Finland came in, and then how it has only been a year since Sweden sought membership. And we are

confident that Sweden will come in in the not-too-distant future and that there will be unanimous support for that.

And then I would go beyond that to say, in terms of what it says about NATO`s strength: Here you have two historically non-aligned countries who,

for decades, did not join NATO seeking to join NATO. I think there is no clearer indication of the strength, attraction, and cohesion of NATO than



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Jake. So, I understand your point about reforms that Ukraine still needs to do in order to fast track its

membership, also you point out the (INAUDIBLE). But just going kind of broader from that, my understanding is that the President believes that a

fast-track membership for Ukraine is an invitation rather than a deterrence to war with Russia. He has several times expressed his concern for nuclear


Can you first confirm whether my understanding is correct? And if so, can you explain the calculus behind the President`s decision on that? What led

him to that conclusion?

SULLIVAN: The President has repeatedly said that there is an open door, that there is a pathway for Ukraine, and that Ukraine needs to take

additional reforms to complete its work towards NATO membership. That has been his position from the beginning. That remains true today. That will

remain true at Vilnius.

The President also has been clear that we are going to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and provide them an exceptional quantity of arms and

capabilities, both from ourselves and facilitating those from allies and partners, but that we are not seeking to start World War Three.

That is the course that we`ve been on since the start of this conflict. That is the course we remain on today. And we believe that we have been

able to mount a vigorous, concerted, effective, dynamic response to Russia`s aggression in support of the brave people of Ukraine.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you confirm reporting that former U.S. officials have held secret talks with Ukraine with prominent Russians to lay the

groundwork for a negotiation towards a peace deal?

SULLIVAN: I actually appreciate this question, because I think that the reporting suggested something that, in fact, has not happened.

My understanding is there was a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations with the Foreign Minister of Russia. That meeting did not include

participation from the United States government. The United States government did not pass messages through that meeting. The United States

government did not seek to pursue diplomacy -- direct, indirect, or otherwise -- through that meeting, period.

There are also contacts between private American citizens and Russians. That has been happening not just in the last year but for the last 75

years, since time immemorial. The United States government is not using any of those contacts to pass messages, to promote demo -- diplomacy direct,

indirect, or otherwise. And any suggestion to the contrary is simply untrue.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Jake. I have two questions. South Korea President Yoon and the Japanese Prime Minister Kishida will discuss the

issue of discharge of contaminated water at the NATO Summit this time. Do you know the -- already know that?

Yesterday, IAEA Secretary General Grossi visited South Korea, and he said that he will not take responsibility for the discharge of contaminated

waters. What is the United States` position on the IAEA`s report on the -- the discharge of contaminated water in Fukushima?

And I follow up second question.

SULLIVAN: From our perspective, the IAEA Secretary General`s report was based on the professional analysis of the competent international

institution, and I`ll leave it at that.

I would also say that the ROK government made its own statements and reactions to that, which we thought were quite constructive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And second question --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U.S. and South Korea NCG meeting -- I mean Nuclear Consultative Group meeting -- will be held in Seoul very soon -- I mean,

this month. Do you have any contents of this meeting? Who is going to be attending this meeting?

SULLIVAN: I don`t have anything to announce today. I will say, though, that I spoke with my South Korean counterpart last evening to discuss

preparations for that meeting.

It will be an important meeting. There will be high-level participation by the United States because this is an important issue on which we place

priority. And launching the Nuclear Consultative Group is a specific outcome of the Washington Summit between President Yoon and President

Biden, an outcome of the historic Washington Declaration. And you will see in this meeting that we are quite serious about taking this effort forward.

Last question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Jake. Five days after cocaine was found here in the White House, congressional Republicans seem like they`re very close

to launching some sort of formal investigation. I`m curious, from a national security perspective: A, what was your reaction when the drugs

were found? And, B, was there any risk to security either to the President, to your staff, anybody that would work out of the Sit Room for this stuff

to be so close to where you work?

SULLIVAN: So, first, I would refer to the Secret Service when it comes to questions of the security of the President. I won`t speak to that.

Second, I would make a point about the Situation Room because I think there`s been a lot of questionable reporting on this. The Situation Room is

not in use and has not been in use for months because it is currently under construction. We are using an alternate Situation Room in the Eisenhower

Executive Office Building. So the only people coming in and going out of the Sit Room in this period have been workers who are getting it ready to


By the way, it`s on time and on schedule to be -- to be back on station here in the not-too-distant future. But no, there was no issue with the

Situation Room relative to this.

And then, finally, look, we have rigorous drug testing policies at the White House. We have rigorous drug use policies here at the White House. We

take those extremely seriously. So we`ll let the investigation unfold. If it involves someone from the White House, the appropriate consequences will

ensue. If it involves some visitor who came in and left it, then that`s a different matter that raises a different set of questions that are less

relevant to my line of work. So I will leave it at that.

But I do not believe at present, as things stand here at the podium today, that we are facing some national security threat -- ongoing national

security threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About the drugs.

SULLIVAN: Yes, yes, exactly. We are facing other national security threats.


SULLIVAN: Yes, last one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Jake. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said after his meeting yesterday that there is good progress towards Sweden

joining NATO, but there are still gaps. So how would you assess the likelihood at this point of an agreement on Sweden`s NATO membership next


SULLIVAN: I will make no predictions. I will just say that President Biden had the opportunity to meet with the Swedish Prime Minister here in

Washington to express his solidarity for -- with Sweden for its application for membership.

We believe that Sweden should be in NATO as soon as possible. And we would love to see it happen in Vilnius. It is possible that it does. It is

possible that it doesn`t happen until some period after, but we believe it will happen in the not-too-distant future and that those gaps can be

closed, everything can be resolved, that there is fundamentally goodwill from all of the parties to get this done.

It`s a question of time, and I can`t predict whether that will happen next week or at some point in the ensuing weeks.


And with that, I said it was my last question. So, thank you guys.


MACFARLANE: You have been listening to U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan there addressing a number of topics in a press conference there at

the White House, including Ukraine`s pathway to NATO membership. But most crucially, of all, of course, addressing that now unanimous decision we

know has now happened to supply controversial cluster munitions to Ukraine.

To that point, he was squarely questioned on the ethics of the United States doing that. And he responded with a robust defense that I now want

to discuss with CNN`s Natasha Bertrand who`s at the Pentagon. Let`s bring her back to talk about this. There were several points on which she was

challenged then, Natasha, in several lines of defense that he had. He also was at pains to say that this was not an easy decision, that they had to

take a hard look at the potential harm of civilians. So, just walk us through there what the United States defense is in moving forward with


BERTRAND: Yes, so there were a number of really interesting justifications that he gave for President Biden`s decision to ultimately move forward with

sending these cluster munitions. The first interesting point that he made was that the cluster munitions that the U.S. would be providing to Ukraine

are very different from the ones that Russia has been using, for example, in its war in Ukraine, namely the fact that the ones the U.S. would be

providing would have a much lower dud rate, meaning that fewer of those little bomblets that are scattered as a result of this munition being

deployed would fail to explode and pose a long-term risk to civilians.

The second point he made is that Ukraine would be using these munitions to defend its own territory, whereas Russia has been using the munitions to

attack a sovereign territory and a country that, of course, is not its own. And so there is a moral distinction there that he was trying to draw.

And then the third was a more practical logistical distinction, which is that look, the areas that Ukraine would be deploying these munitions on

have already been heavily mined, essentially, by the Russians. And so, the idea that these could pose a long-term risk to civilians, it`s kind of moot

because the Russians have already been using these cluster munitions and have already launched these bomblets that have scattered all over Ukraine,

therefore already posing this risk to civilians. So, he was essentially arguing that, look, they`re going to have to clean all of this up anyway.

So, Ukraine should at least be able to fight fire with fire, in that sense.

He also said that the cluster munitions, in terms of Ukraine`s use of them, they have provided written assurances to the United States that they would

not use them, of course, to target civilian areas. And the broader point he made was, well, why would they? I mean, Ukraine is defending its sovereign

territory. And so, why would they take the risk of deploying them anywhere where they could, you know, hit civilians?

So, this is the way the U.S. is justifying it at this point. We`ll see if it calms critics. It likely will not calm human rights advocates who say

that this is just not a good precedent to set. But the United States seems to believe that this is really the right call at this point, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And it`s really interesting as well to hear him say that there have been countries who have privately signaled that they are happy

with the United States moving ahead with this position.

Natasha, it`s great to have you as this news break. Thanks very much for giving us that breakdown. I appreciate it. And we will have more after this

short break. Stay with us.



MACFARLANE: Welcome back. We want to get you up to speed now on our top story. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Turkey meeting with

officials like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The visit comes as the Black Sea Grain Deal with Russia is due to expire. Ukraine`s bid to

join NATO is also likely on the agenda.

For the latest on Ukraine and Mr. Zelenskyy`s trip, CNN`s Nadia Bashir joins me live in the studio. And we`re expecting this press conference to

happen any time soon. We understand the two leaders are still in talks. A lot of issues on the table to discuss today, of course, but chief among

them, the focus is going to be on that grain deal set to expire in 10 days from now.

NADIA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yes, absolutely. It`s a clock is settling and taking on that. And it is a matter that is of huge concern to the

international community. And we saw Turkey last summer playing a key part in mediating that deal between delegations from both Russia and Ukraine.

And President Erdogan has played a crucial role because, of course, he has been vocal and active in supporting Ukraine, both on the diplomatic front

and also supplying Ukraine with armament and weapons, which has been crucial in the counter-offensive effort.

But President Erdogan has also maintained cordial relations with President Putin. And that has allowed President Erdogan to position Turkey as a sort

of mediatory figure over the course of this conference. And so, that will certainly be a key focus this evening as the two continue with their talks.

We understand that this will be high on the agenda. That deal is set to expire in 10 days.

And there is a significant concern because, of course, when that deal was first struck last summer, the world was in the midst of a severe food

security crisis. And, of course, there are many countries that are heavily independent on Ukraine`s green exports.

MACFARLANE: High on the agenda as well, we expect to be NATO inclusion, not just for Ukraine itself, but for Sweden as well. It`s interesting in the

press conference just now with Jake Sullivan. We were hearing about the potential for support for Ukraine moving forward with that with the NATO

summit expected next week in Lithuania.

What do you think President Zelenskyy is going to try and extract from Erdogan related to that?

BASHIR: Well, President Zelenskyy has been very vocal in trying to bring about firm concrete commitments from NATO allies. And we have seen his

efforts on various fronts. And the focus is certainly will be on Turkey this evening. But, of course, Turkey at the moment is one of the key

holdouts when it comes to Sweden`s potential accession to the NATO alliance.

We saw months of negotiations between the Turkish government and the governments of both Finland and Sweden. Of course, Finland and Sweden both

had originally wished to join the NATO alliance together. Finland obviously got the green light ahead of Sweden. There are real concerns on the part of

the Turkish government when it comes to the Swedish government`s approach to Kurdish groups.

Now, it has accused the Swedish government, as it did with the Finnish government, of taking too light an approach, too lax an approach when it

comes to holding the Kurdish groups currently operating, according to the Turkish government to account. Of course, Turkey considers these groups,

particularly those aligned to the Kurdistan Workers` Party, to be a terrorist organization. So that is a huge concern and a huge priority for

President Erdogan.

But, of course, we have seen that unanimous support from other NATO allies. And that pressure is building ahead of NATO summit on President Erdogan to

really come to a decision on that.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And we will wait to see in this press conference expected in the next hour whether anything comes out of that or indeed this crucial

grain deal on which so much depend.

Nadia Bashir, thank you.


All right, now, CNN has learned that special counsel prosecutors are honing in on a meeting held in the waning days of Donald Trump`s presidency. The

group was debating some of the most radical ideas about ways to keep Trump in power, including declaring martial law and seizing voting machines. This

meeting between outside advisers and White House counsel was chaotic to say the least, but don`t take my word for it. Listen to some of the people who

were there, including one of the three people prosecutors are focusing on, former Trump lawyer, Sidney Powell.


PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I don`t think any of these people were providing the president with good advice. So, I didn`t

understand how they had gotten in.

ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: And what they were proposing I thought was nuts.

SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Cipollone and Herschmann and whoever the other guy was showed nothing but contempt and disdain of the president.

If it had been me sitting in his chair, I would have fired all of them that night and had them escorted out of the building.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: I`m going to categorically describe it as you guys are not tough enough. Or maybe I put it another way, you`re a

bunch of (BLEEP).


MACFARLANE: Now, the U.S. does not want a winner-take-all economic standoff with China, but rather a healthy competition with a fair set of rules.

That`s the message delivered today by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. She`s walking a diplomatic tightrope on her visit to Beijing as she tries

to thaw frosty relations.

Our Marc Stewart is in Tokyo with the latest.

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even though Janet Yellen is Secretary of Treasury and an accomplished economic scholar, this trip to China is part

of a broader effort to try to cool things down amid a very tense relationship between the United States and China.

On Friday, she did spend time in her comfort zone meeting with many Chinese economic leaders. She met with Liu He, a former vice premier and her

previous Chinese counterpart in what`s been called a meeting of old friends. Yellen also sat down with members of the U.S. business community

that`s invested in China. She expressed some concern about some of the practices from Beijing.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF TREASURY: I`ve been particularly troubled by punitive actions that have been taken against U.S. firms in recent

months. I`m also concerned about new export controls recently announced by China on two critical minerals used in technologies like semiconductors.


STEWART: With that said, Yellen recognizes the relationship between the two nations stressing she doesn`t want the two countries to decouple from each

other. In the past, she`s felt the two should work together on specific and urgent global challenges, a sentiment shared by China`s premier Li Qiang,

who told her that both countries should see consensus on key issues in their bilateral economic relationship.

Mark Stewart, CNN, Tokyo.

MACFARLANE: Now, Threads, Metas` new app is taking off. And for Twitter, that is, of course, a problem. In fact, Twitter is now threatening to sue

Meta over it. Meta launched its new microblogging app this week, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says 70 million users have signed up as of Friday morning.

An attorney representing Twitter has reportedly sent him a letter accusing the company of intellectual property theft by hiring Twitter`s former

employees. Meta is now dismissing that letter.

Now, record-setting temperatures continue across the globe this week. Thursday mark the fourth straight day of record temperatures. Yesterday,

the average daily temperature hit 17.23 degrees Celsius. That`s 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday had a new record temperature of 17.18 degrees Celsius.

And Wednesday, tied that heat record.

So, how much longer is this going to continue? CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers joining us now. Chad, is this record going to continue into the weekend?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST Oh, I think we continue to go up from here, sure, because the old record back set in 2016, the last time we had an El

Nino. That record didn`t even get set until August 6. So, we`re way back here in July. We have another month before we actually get to peak heating.

So, here`s where we are right now. Here`s where the high was back in 2016.

If I follow this 2016 line, it ends up right about there. So, if I parallel that and think that this is going to be almost a similar year, we`re going

to end up significantly higher than we are right now. So, yes, temperatures are still going up, 17.23. That`s globally. That`s over the entire globe as

the satellite goes around and measures all of the temperatures worldwide.


Why does it get hot in the northern hemisphere summer? Because there`s so much more land up here. It`s like standing on the beach, and then all of a

sudden you go in the ocean, it`s much cooler. Well, there`s a lot of beach up here, and there`s not much beach down here. There`s all ocean down here.

So, it heats up slower down in the southern hemisphere.

But yes, the warmest June on record at 1.41 degrees C, and there`s no stopping this. I think we still probably get to the warmest July as well.

We have an El Nino here. We have some cool water, but not very much. Notice, all of the above-normal temperatures. These are anomalies. How much

above or below temperature we should be? So, there`s just so much in the warmth, and really not very much colder than normal across the globe right


Still seeing a little bit across the western part of the United States and parts of the Pacific, but look at China, 41.1 in June. And here`s another

big thing in Beijing. 40-degree days or more, they`ve had five of them in the past two weeks. Before that, since 1951, there were only six other

days, six days since 1941 that were above 40. And we`ve had five in two weeks.

MACFARLANE: That is insane, Chad, and certainly, I would not want to be with the people of Beijing tonight, but our thoughts go out to them. Chad

Myers, thank you, I think, for bringing us that.

And everyone, stay cool this weekend. That is it for the show. We`ll be back after this quick break with "QUEST MEMES BUSINESS." Stay with us.