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Quest Means Business
Joe Biden Meets With NATO Leaders To Reaffirm U.S. Commitment; Lockdown In England Extended As Delta Variant Spreads; Biden Holds News Conference At NATO Summit; Biden: We Must Prove That Democracy Can Prevail Against Challenges Of Our Time; Biden Hopes For NATO Springboard Ahead Of Putin Summit. Aired 3-3:55p ET
Aired June 14, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Dow is on course for its worst day since last month. Let me show you the big board as it is playing out now,
220 points, down six-tenths of a percent at 34,000. Those are the markets, and these are the main events.
NATO says the world can't afford to ignore China. We'll hear a press conference from U.S. President Biden any moment now.
Boris Johnson has delayed England's full reopening as the delta variant continues to grow.
And Novavax says its COVID vaccine is 90 percent effective in the newest trial data.
Live from London, it is Monday, the 14th of June. I'm Isa Soares, in for Richard Quest, and I, too, mean business.
A very good evening, everyone. Tonight, we are awaiting U.S. President Joe Biden, who will speak any moment after meeting with NATO allies in
Brussels. You are looking at the stage there in Brussels, which is just one minute past 9:00 or so, slightly delayed. When I say slightly, I think
several hours late, in fact, but when that happens, of course, we shall bring it to you. We are keeping our eyes on the podium.
Well, Biden spent the day really reaffirming the U.S. commitment to NATO, part of his message that America is back. His leadership contrasts from his
predecessor, as you can imagine, Donald Trump, who questioned the very value of NATO, and criticized members for not paying their share of its
Well, the NATO narrative largely picked up where the G7 Summit left off really scolding Moscow and Beijing. NATO members approved a joint statement
labeling Russia a threat and highlighting, quote "challenges" posed by China.
Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg went so far as to proclaim China doesn't share our values. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY GENERAL, NATO: China's growing influence and international policies presents challenges to alliance security. Leaders
agreed that we need to address such challenges together as an alliance and that we need to engage with China to defend our security interests.
We are concerned by China's coercive policies, which stand in contrast to the fundamental values enshrined in the Washington Treaty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Clarissa Ward joins us now from Brussels. Clarissa, we are monitoring the podium in Brussels, waiting for President Biden, who is
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He is somewhat delayed, indeed. We know that earlier on, he met with the Turkish
President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the two of them had a significant meeting. Biden said afterwards that it went very well. But we don't know
any details yet as to the context or content, rather, of exactly what was discussed between the two leaders.
As you mentioned, though, Isa, this had a different feel to previous NATO Summits under President Trump. We heard from Stoltenberg who said perhaps,
characteristic Scandinavian understatement that it was "different" quote, meeting with President Biden.
The Spanish Prime Minister also saying that Biden's election had been an inspiration and that essentially, he was providing a lot of succor to
people, the 30 member states of NATO particularly on the issue of Russia and that upcoming Summit with President Biden and President Putin, it is no
secret, Isa that some other NATO member states had been quite concerned about the prospect of the U.S. and Russian leaders sitting down together,
part of what President Biden was doing today at this NATO Summit was essentially reassuring them that he is going to deliver a very stern
message to the Russian President and also asking them to weigh in and offer their input as to the nature of the topics that he should be bringing up
with President Putin.
SOARES: And Clarissa, I was reading the communique and the communique like you were saying, it is very much China is a challenge, but Russia is a
threat. How has the alliance -- how is NATO going to counter that threat from Russia, first of all?
WARD: So, what Stoltenberg said when he talked about dealing with unprecedented Russian aggression was the need for robust defense, and also
the importance of dialogue, and what was very interesting in this communique is that in one part, they essentially say that in certain -- in
certain contexts, essentially, cyberattack, if it is big enough, could be tantamount to an armed attack.
That meaning, potentially, that that could result in Article V being called in.
WARD: Now, they said that this would be just on a case by case basis, but certainly, it is significant. It shows that NATO is really addressing the
fact that the threats coming from Russia are multivalent. They talked about cyber. They talked about misinformation. They talked about aggressive war
And there is an understanding that the NATO Alliance needs to sort of move with the times and form new ways and new means of defending themselves
against these various different threats.
SOARES: And for our viewers, stay with us, Clarissa. For our viewers who are just joining us, we are watching a live feed really of the podium, NATO
in Brussels, in Belgium. We are expecting to hear from U.S. President Biden any moment now.
In fact, we have been waiting for some time. We shall bring it to you, of course, when that happens.
Clarissa, on the question of China, similar to what you and I discussed when we were actually in Cornwall regarding G7, the language was pretty
strong. Was everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, particularly those in Europe who perhaps have other economic interests?
WARD: Yes, no, I mean you are absolutely right to point that out, Isa, and there is discrepancy and difference of opinion on how to deal with China
and what kind of a threat China constitutes within the 30-member states.
And you will notice that they do not call China a threat the way they do call Russia a threat. They call it a systemic challenge, choosing those
words very carefully. At the same time, though, the very fact that China is even mentioned is a departure from NATO norms, and so it is significant.
You also played that sound from Stoltenberg, where he makes clear that essentially in his own words, China does not share our values.
He went on to talk about the crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong, about aggressive surveillance technology that is being used by the Chinese, about
the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, and a number of different areas where he said China's values do not coincide with the values of NATO
But as you mentioned, countries like Germany, more than $250 billion a year in trade with China and they favor a much more measured approach, an
approach that relies on cooperation, economic cooperation, as opposed to confrontation.
SOARES: Yes, Clarissa Ward for us in Brussels, Belgium. You are looking on the right of our screen at the live feed coming to us from Brussels, where
we are awaiting President Biden.
We just saw Secretary of State Blinken sitting down there, which perhaps signals that the U.S. President will be arriving at the podium shortly. Of
course, we shall keep an eye on that for you and bring it to you when it happens.
Let's bring in Rana Foroohar, she is a CNN global economic analyst and associate editor of "The Financial Times," a well-known face here on CNN.
Rana, if I have to interrupt you, apologies. As you well know, we are waiting for President Biden to appear any moment. But you know, what struck
me from hearing what Clarissa said, you know, I don't know whether it is because we have had four years of Trump and we have seen his disdain, Rana,
for the Alliance -- the NATO Alliance.
But I was surprised by the tough line that NATO is taking on China, basically not just naming it, but scolding it. How real is this challenge?
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: It is tremendously real, and I think this tough language reflects the fact that the U.S. is still driving
NATO. And for the U.S., China is an existential threat.
I mean, there are a couple of important points here. One is that Joe Biden has in many way as similar view Of China as a potential, not only economic
threat, but even a military threat as Trump did. There is a lot of overlap between the right and the left on that point.
It's interesting to see NATO coming on board. I mean, clearly, the Europeans are very ambivalent about this. I mean, the Germans have -- and
Clarissa was making this point, you know, a tremendous trading relationship with China. They feel very, very squeezed, but ultimately the U.S. runs
NATO, and I think that's what we are seeing here.
SOARES: Yes. We are seeing the alliance, the strengthening of the alliance. But really, Rana, change of focus for an Alliance really created to defend
Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, which really speaks to this new threat, authoritarianism, military might. How does the U.S. then
counter this systemic China challenge from an industrial manufacturing point of view?
FOROOHAR: Well, you are already seeing a number of things happening. You know, Joe Biden came out in the first few days of his presidency and said I
want to create an Alliance of liberal democracies to address the China challenge, economically, from a defense perspective, you are seeing the
quad coming together -- Australia, Japan, India, the U.S.
FOROOHAR: You are probably going to see some big announcements about potential deals, economic deals, in South Asia that will be led by the U.S.
and other allies to try and counter Chinese influence.
The very fact that the U.S. is now thinking, hey, what do we have to counter the One Belt One Road Strategy? All of this is testament to the
fact that we live in a one world, two systems paradigm now, and that is not going away.
SOARES: Yes, I wonder though how going back to Europe, if I could, you know, how do they toe this line? Because at least in the messaging, they
seem be the aligned on that. We saw that from the G7, but there are clear economic interests.
I mean, total German trade, I was looking at earlier with China was more than $250 billion just in 2020. Then you have investments in European
ports. How is the messaging, you think, within the Alliance?
FOROOHAR: It is rocky.
FOROOHAR: There is a lot of infighting. You know, you have the French and the Germans on different sides of this issue. You have a very pick and mix
situation in a lot of ways right now. You know, in the past, the E.U.-U.S. Alliance would have been a given. The NATO Alliance on any number of issues
would have been a given.
Now you see countries saying, look, all right, the U.S. was the leader of the last 50 years, but we think China may be the preeminent power in the
next hundred. Where are we going to put our chips down?
And it is going to be a very bumpy ride. I think that ultimately, the Biden administration does have a plan. They are trying to pull together the
strings of foreign policy, economics, you know, leveraging goodwill, but you know, a lot of it is going to depend on what happens in the U.S.
midterms coming up in 2022.
If the Democrats lose their support in the midterms, you are going to see Europe saying oh, boy, we don't know if we want wait around another four
years, have another Trump, maybe we are going to go with China.
SOARES: Such a good point, Rana, and of course, you know, they called China a systemic challenge, and while China is a challenge, Russia it is seems
from the language, from their communique is a threat. How does -- if you move on to Russia, how does NATO counter this threat? Because, in
particular, cyber threat.
FOROOHAR: Yes. That's a fascinating one. Let me back up for one second. The physical threat in how NATO counters Russia, that's a very tricky business,
because you know, Germany and Russia have a close relationship in terms of energy, in terms of finance. You know, I mean, that is boots on the ground
Cyber is a whole other thing. And I think that this agreement, this sort of nodding to the fact that the new field for warfare is really your computer.
FOROOHAR: You know, it is not about wars waged by human beings. It is about cyber threat. And I think that you are going to see a lot more talk, a lot
You are going see tech companies getting more involved in this discussion, too, which of course is going to add another element to potential frictions
between the E.U. and the U.S. because the E.U. is going to say, well, wait a minute, do we want all of these big U.S. tech giants coming into your
backyard potentially at a time when we are trying to have antitrust actions against them? It is a very tricky business.
SOARES: Yes, it a lot given -- I mean, considering of course that we have seen sanctions against Russia, we have seen diplomatics expelled, but it
has really done little, hasn't it, to really stop Russia in its tracks. And we have also heard, Rana, over the weekend just at the G7, President Biden
basically say, you know, we want a stable and predictable relationship with Russia. How can you do that?
FOROOHAR: You know, that's very wishful thinking. Stable and predictable would be a big ask. I think that that's sort of tactful diplomatic language
that you are hearing.
The reality is that the U.S. administration sees Russia as, in some ways, a Chinese basal, a Chinese partner. You know, you can put the power dynamic
wherever you will, but they are in the same camp, they are on the same team. For some time, Russia has been a supplier of natural resources to
China. That relationship is tightening.
Again, you see Germany sort in the vice as a European nation that also has a close relationship with Russia, that also depends on Russia for energy
needs, but also needs China for trades, and yet from a value standpoint, still stands with the U.S.
It is, I think, probably going to come down to the wire politically in terms of what you see and we may see one trade deal being made to favor
China, another security deal being made to favor the U.S. as Europe tries to walk this middle line.
SOARES: Rana, do stay with us. I just want to bring our viewers up to date. We are waiting for President Biden. He is expected any moment. You are
looking at live video from Brussels, Belgium where his press conference is delayed. We are keeping an eye on it.
I want to go back, if I can.
Rana, do stay with us. I want to go back to our Clarissa Ward. Clarissa, I mean for President Biden here, what is the aim, besides assuaging members
concern after four years of Donald Trump?
WARD: Well, I think there is concerns on two fronts. One, as you mentioned is making it clear that things have changed now in the U.S., that there is
new sheriff in town so to speak and one who views the NATO Alliance as being crucially important, who regards Article V as being, in Joe Biden's
words, a sacred obligation.
But also, he has been trying to alleviate concerns about his meeting with President Putin. There are member states, particularly, I am thinking of
the Baltic countries who really see Russia as an existential threat and who want to be sure that this Summit will not just be essentially a public
relations opportunity for President Putin. Because of course, any time you put President Putin up on the stage next to President Biden -- and I am
speaking metaphorically and not literally because they are not going to be having a joint press conference this time -- you are essentially equating
the two leaders. You are putting them on a level footing.
And there are plenty of people, not just NATO member states, but also people in the U.S. who feel that that's incorrect and that there has been
some criticism, let's say about the decision to meet with President Putin, a lack of consensus on whether something can actually, tangibly be achieved
by setting up this meeting.
Hopefully, we will hear potentially as well more areas in which President Biden thinks that common ground can be found with Russia. We heard him
yesterday mention briefly Libya, Syria as two countries where potentially, they could work together.
There has also been focus on Iran and Afghanistan, essentially trying to find small areas of common interest to try to build up elements of the
relationship. Not because anyone is anticipating or expecting some radical overhaul, but because the hope is that at least a further degradation could
be prevented -- Isa.
SOARES: Our chief international correspondent there, Clarissa Ward. Thanks very much, Clarissa.
Now, of course we will keep on top of those live images as soon as the President appears at the podium, we would of course, shall bring it to you.
Still to come though, freedom day is delayed in England by four weeks. Businesses that have been preparing for an imminent reopening may not make
that it long, though. We will talk to a Liverpool nightclub owner. That's coming up next.
SOARES: Now, any moment now, we are expecting -- excuse me -- a news conference with U.S. President Joe Biden. We are showing you the live
pictures from Brussels, where Mr. Biden is due the take questions from almost three hours ago. We are keeping a close eye on it, of course, as
soon as he comes to the podium, we shall bring it to you live.
Meanwhile, the U.K. has delayed England's full release from lockdown by four weeks. Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out what needs to happen in
order to safely lift the last COVID restrictions. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Since today, I cannot say that we have met all our four tests for proceeding with Step Four on June 21st. I
think it is sensible to wait just a little longer. By Monday, the 19th of July, we will aim to have double jabbed around two thirds of the adult
population, including everyone over 50, all the vulnerable, all frontline health and care workers, and everyone over 40 who received their first dose
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Now, Johnson's decision is a caution to other countries of course planning to reopen. More than 40 percent of people in the U.K. are now
fully vaccinated, but the so-called delta variant is still spreading and still a concern. The variant first identified in India is more contagious.
A study in Scotland found it doubled the risk of hospitalization and the British Health Secretary says it now accounts for 91 percent of the new
cases in the U.K.
Scott McLean is in London for more and Scott, I mean, it seems the PM is being guided by the data and we see the surge in cases of the delta
variant. How worried is he by this surge in cases because it seems like it is doubling week by week.
And I can hear protesters, correct me if I'm wrong?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can hear protesters. That is right. There is a small group now, it was much larger earlier today. And I can
tell you, Isa, the Prime Minister undoubtedly heard those protesters because he popped out of the door at Number 10 with the Australian Prime
Minister, Scott Morrison, for a brief smile, a brief elbow bump for the cameras.
And so, he heard the protesters. He knows that this decision is not popular with a large segment of the population, but he is pleading with people to
give the healthcare system in this country, the National Health Service, N.H.S., a little bit more time to get more vaccines into more arms to try
to give this country a little bit more protection before moving on.
And as much as he tried to make the case that, look, he believes that July 19th, this new Freedom Day that he is setting out, four weeks after the
originally scheduled one, he believes that will be the ending of all of this, the end of all the lockdown restrictions.
He wouldn't make an ironclad promise, and that is because, he said there is a risk of another variant coming along, an even more dangerous one, an even
more deadly one. And so, he said, look, yes, I think this is the end, but I am making no promises here -- Isa.
SOARES: And it is clear from the noise just behind you that people are not happy. Many looking forward to this, many businesses planning for this.
What else are people telling you? How frustrated, how angry are they that their Freedom Day as so many have been calling it has been put -- you know,
has been stopped, really?
MCLEAN: Yes, well, I mean, there is even frustration from within Boris Johnson's own party for two reasons. MPs were not consulted before this
decision was made, and also the simple fact that there is a lot of concern we will be in this forever lockdown, that nothing will ever be good enough.
The Prime Minister tried to kind of allay those fears by making the point that, look, at some point we have to learn to live with this virus, but we
have to -- we can prevent thousands of needless deaths if we do something now, if we can wait just a little bit longer.
This variant spreads 64 percent faster than the previously dominant strain of the virus, and this is a staggering number, Isa. It now makes up 96
percent of all new infections. So, certainly, people are eager to get back into the soccer stadiums which right now are operating at diminished
capacities. They are eager to go back to the theater. That industry has been particularly hard hit by this, as it relies heavily on freelancers,
not necessarily permanent employees.
Obviously, people are desperate to go back to nightclubs as well. That industry has been wiped out during this time. And there are questions to be
asked as well about the financial support and how much that will continue on.
The Prime Minister says, look, we have built these furlough schemes to go until September, so people should be in a decent position, but they just
need to hold on a little bit longer.
SOARES: And Scott, as you were talking, we are looking at live images of President Biden. We expect him to hold a news conference any minute now in
the next few minutes, making his way to the podium.
Apologies if I interrupt your next question, but here we live pictures there from President -- the U.S. President Joe Biden in Brussels in Belgium
where he has been meeting other members of NATO, other NATO allies. We know he had a meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
We are awaiting for that press conference. As you see, there is everyone else's members of the media are waiting. Of course, we shall bring it to
you as soon as that happens.
I am not sure if Scott is still with us. Oh, Scott, if you are still with us, I wanted to ask you this. What happens to the holidays, you know, if
you are planning for holidays coming up, what is the government's advice? And apologies if I have to interrupt you again.
MCLEAN: That's okay, Isa. Yes, so I will give you a brief answer. And the answer is, well, continue to stick to the rules as they have been laid out
right now. Red, amber, green countries that's the way that the government has divided up the rules.
And the Prime Minister was asked about that, asked whether the advice would be to plan on foreign holidays this year or to plan to stay domestic. He
didn't give a clear answer. He just said, look stick to the guidance as it is.
But a lot of people have been upset by that, because the green countries, only one of them was added to the list initially, that was your country,
Portugal. That one was swiftly taken off a couple of weeks ago, and obviously, a lot of people had to scramble to get back into this country,
Isa, before they ended up -- before they would have ended up having to quarantine.
SOARES: Yes, and it seems as well, Scott, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, is that, the message hasn't always been very clear for members of
his own party, some saying, yes, you can go on holiday; others are actually saying holiday at home.
MCLEAN: That's right. And that's endlessly frustrated the travel industry, which is looking for some very clear guidance and some kind of leeway here.
They are calling on the Prime Minister at the very least to allow people who are fully vaccinated to go abroad and come back. Obviously, they are
concerned, Isa, that you can still be infected and bring something back with you and maybe infect someone who is not vaccinated at all.
But you are right, there has been, certainly, conflicting advice here. The government just continues the say, look, we are revisiting this every
couple of weeks. So, if you do go on holiday, you have to be aware that the rules can change at short notice.
But we are trying to at least give some people options to say green countries, yes, you don't need to quarantine when you come back. Amber, you
can quarantine at home. Red, be prepared for a lengthy stay in a government-run hotel quarantine hotel.
SOARES: Yes. What is clear at least from what I heard from the Prime Minister today, Scott, is that the delta variant is a huge concern. The
number, of course, the shots, the jabs everyone are getting, COVID injections, that is clearly working, but it is a huge concern. How quickly
-- how contagious that delta variant is -- Scott.
MCLEAN: Yes. So, it is 64 percent more contagious. You mentioned earlier the risk of hospitalization being double. But here's what's really scary is
that the government continues to say that, look, these vaccines remain 96 and 92 percent effective against preventing hospitalization. But when it
comes to infections more broadly, even people who have two doses of the vaccine, with the old variant, the U.K. variant or the alpha variant,
efficacy you could count on being about 88 percent --
SOARES: Scott, I'm going to interrupt. Let's listen in to President Biden.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... today's meetings, I want to stay a short word about our ongoing fight against COVID-19 at home. We
made enormous progress in the United States. Much of the country is returning to normal, and our economic growth is leading the world, and the
number of cases and deaths are dropping dramatically.
But there is still too many lives being lost. We're still averaging in the last seven days the loss of 370 deaths per day -- 370 deaths. That's
significantly lower than at the peak of this crisis, but it's still a real tragedy.
We are approaching a sad milestone, almost 600,000 lost lives because of COVID-19 in America.
My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one. I know that black hole that seems to consume you that fills up your chest, when you lose
someone's close to you that you adored. That's why I continue to say to America, if you have not been vaccinated, get vaccinated, get vaccinated as
soon as possible. We have plenty vaccination, plenty of sites.
We have more work to do to beat this virus. And now's not the time to let our guard down. So please, please get vaccinated as soon as possible. Had
enough pain, enough pain. Folks, I know, it's after 9:30 Brussels time, 9:30 p.m. and I'm still at NATO. You're all excited about that. I know. But
I've had a chance to meet with several leaders recently, and I've had calls with others. It's been an incredibly productive day here.
I just finished meeting with President Erdogan of Turkey. We had a positive and productive meeting. Much of it one on one. We had detailed discussions
about how to proceed on a number of a number of -- number of issues. Our two countries have big agendas. Our teams are going to continue our
discussions and I'm confident we'll make real progress with Turkey and the United States.
But now I want to thank Secretary General Stoltenberg for leading a very successful NATO summit today. I have the honor of leading off the
discussion today among the 30 nations. And I pointed out that we're facing a once in a century global health crisis. The same time the Democratic
values that undergird our alliance are under increasing pressure, both internally and externally.
Russia and China are both seeking to drive a wedge in our transatlantic solidarity. We're seeing an increase in malicious cyber activity. But our
alliance is a strong foundation on which we can - our collective security and our shared prosperity can continue to be built. And I made a point to
make clear that the U.S. commitment to Article V, the NATO treaty is rock solid and unshakable. It's a sacred commitment.
NATO stands together. That's how we met every other threat in the past. It's our greatest strength as you meet our challenges of the future and are
many and everyone. Everyone in that room today understood the shared appreciation quite frankly that America is back. We talked about Russia's
aggressive acts that pose a threat to NATO and our collective security. That's why I met with the Bucharest Nine.
The eastern flank allies in advance of this summit, and today also met with the leaders of the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. I
shared with our allies that I've conveyed to -- what I'll convey to President Putin. But I'm not looking for conflict with Russia but that we
will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities. And we will not fail to defend the Transatlantic Alliance or stand up for Democratic
As allies we also affirmed our continued support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We agreed to keep consulting closely on
nuclear deterrence, arms control and strategic stability. And there was a strong consensus in the room among the leaders in that meeting on
Afghanistan. Our troops are coming home where we agreed that our diplomatic, economic and humanitarian commitment to the Afghan people and
our support for the Afghan National Defense and Security forces will endure.
And I welcomed our allies and partners to recognize that counterterrorism, the counterterrorism efforts must continue to ensure that Afghanistan never
again becomes a safe haven for attacks on our countries, even as we take on terrorist networks in the Middle East, and Africa. And I'm deeply gratified
that as an alliance, we adopted a far reaching plan to make sure NATO can meet the challenges that we face today and in the future, not yesterday.
BIDEN: The NATO 2030 agenda and that we agreed to fully resource that agenda. The last time NATO put together a strategic plan was back in 2010.
When Russia was considered a partner and China wasn't even mentioned. We talked about the long term, systemic challenges that China's activities
pose to our collective security today. We agreed to do more to enhance the resilience of our critical infrastructures around the world.
Including trusted telecommunications providers, supply chains, and energy networks. We agreed to enhance our cooperation with our Democratic partners
in the indo Pacific to meet challenges that exist there. We also endorsed a new cyber defense policy, NATO's first in the past seven years to improve
the collective ability to defend against counter threats from state and non-state actors, against our networks and our critical infrastructure.
And we adopted a climate security action plan, which several years ago people thought we would never would do for reducing emissions from NATO
installations and adapting to the security risk of climate change while keeping a sharp -- very, very sharp on our ability to deter and defend
against threats. And finally, we agreed that among the most important shared missions, is renewing and strengthening the resilience of our
By pointed out we have to prove to the world and to our own people, that democracy can still prevail against the challenges of our time and deliver
for the needs of our people. We have to root out corruption that siphons off our strength. Guard against those who would stoke hatred, and division
for political gain is phony populism, invest in strengthening institutions that underpin and safeguard our cherished democratic values.
As well as protecting the Free Press, and independent judiciaries. All of those are on the agenda. That's how we'll prove that democracy and that our
alliance can still prevail against the challenges of our time, and deliver for the needs and the needs of our people. This is going to be looked at 25
years from now is whether or not we stepped up to the challenge because there's a lot of -- a lot of autocracies that are counting on.
Then being able to move more rapidly and successfully and never complicated world than democracies can. We all conclude we're going to prove them
wrong. And now I'm happy to take some questions. Cecilia Vega of ABC.
CECILIA VEGA ABC, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you so much, sir. Good evening. You mentioned your sit down with Vladimir Putin and Russian
aggression that came up in your conversations today. I'd like to ask you two questions, if I may, on that front. Is it your sense walking into this
meeting that Americans back home shouldn't expect much in terms of an outcome?
Could you provide some specifics on what a successful meeting would look like to you? Are there going to be specific concessions you want Putin to
make? Then I'll just give you my follow up right now. You've met Vladimir Putin before, what have you learned about him that informs how you approach
this sit down with him and what's your mindset walking into a meeting with a former KGB agent who you've said has no soul?
BIDEN: I'll tell you all that when it's over. Look, I've been doing this a long time. The last thing anyone would do is negotiate in front of the
World Press as to how he's going to approach a critical meeting with another adversary and/or someone who could be an adversary. So, last thing
I'm going to do. But I will tell you this. I'm going to make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can't cooperate if he
And if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities. Then we will
respond. We respond in kind. There need not be we should decide where it's in our mutual interest in the interest of the world to cooperate and see if
we can do that.
BIDEN: And areas where we don't agree, make it clear what the red lines are. I have met with him. He's bright. He's tough. And I have found that he
is a, as they say, when he used to play ball a worthy adversary. But the fact is that I'll be happy to talk with you when it's over, not before
about what the discussion will entail. Nancy Cordes of CBS.
SOARES: You have been listening to President Biden's news conference, a very short speech he made just now in Brussels in Belgium, it's been a very
busy, productive day, according to President Biden, but he touched on Russia, you heard that and he said, we're not looking for conflict, he said
with Russia, but really would -- but no have harmful activities. But we will respond to Russia (INAUDIBLE) continue with its harmful activities.
Pamela Brown picks up now for the rest of the coverage.
NANCY CORDES, CBS NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: -- that by meeting with President Putin this early in your presidency, that it will look like
you're rewarding him.
BIDEN: What's your second question?
CORDES: The section -- the second question is what it will mean for the U.S.-Russia relationship. If Alexei Navalny were to die or be killed in
BIDEN: Every world leader here as a member of NATO, that spoke today, and most of them mentioned, it thanked me for meeting with Putin now, every
single one that spoke. And I think you were probably about 10 or 12, that spoke to it, saying they were happy that I did that.
I was going to do that. And I thought it was thoroughly appropriate that I do. And I had discussions with them about -- oh, in the open about what
they thought was important from their perspective and what they thought was not important.
And so, the interesting thing is, I know -- and I'm not being critical of the press, I really mean this, to give my word. But generically, you all
thought it was Biden meeting him too soon. I haven't found a world leader who doesn't think it's not soon -- just soon enough.
Everyone that I've spoken to privately and publicly doesn't mean there aren't some out there. But it's not on -- it's not likely that a head of
state is going to stand up in front of 29 other heads of state and say, boy, I'm glad you're doing this in effect.
So, there is a consensus. And they thanked me for being willing to talk with them about the meeting. And what I was -- what I intended to do. So, I
haven't found any results. There may be someone but not an open today or in the meetings by privately had as well. And Navalny's death would be --
would be another indication that Russia has little or no intention of abiding by basic, fundamental human rights.
It would be a tragedy, it would do nothing but hurt his relationships with the rest of the world, in my view, and with me. Jeff Zeleny, CNN.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Sir, good evening, thank you. In a weekend interview, Vladimir Putin laughed at the suggestion
that you had called him a killer. Is that still your beliefs or that he is a killer? And I'll continue the trend if you don't mind asking a second
Do you believe if he does agree to cooperate, then what kind of a challenge do you find yourself in? How would you ever trust him? And if Ronald Reagan
said trust but verify, what do you say to Vladimir Putin?
BIDEN: Thanks for the first question. I'm laughing too. They actually -- I -- well, look, I mean, he has made clear that the answer is -- I believe he
is in the past, essentially, acknowledge that he was -- there certain things that he would do or did do. But look, when I was asked that question
on air I answered it honestly.
BIDEN: But it's not much of a -- I don't think it matters a whole lot in terms of this next meeting we're about to have. The second question was --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
BIDEN: I'd verify first and then trust. In other words, everything would have to be shown to be actually occurring. It's not about, you know,
trusting, it's about agreeing. You know, when we -- when you write treaties with your adversaries, you don't say I trust you, you say, this is what I
expect. And if you violate the agreement, you may then we -- the, "the treaty is off, the agreement is off."
And I'm hoping that President Putin concludes that. There is some interest in terms of his own interest in changing the perception of the world has of
him in terms of whether or not he will engage in behavior that's more consistent with what is considered to be appropriate behavior for head of
state. Ann Guerin, The Washington Post.
ANN GUERIN, THE WASHINGTON POST WHTE HOUSE REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Here at this meeting, and earlier at the G7, you've said several
times that America's back at ally side. But a lot of those allies are themselves pretty rattled by what happened on January 6th, an attempted
overturning of your election. And they may still be alarmed by the continued hold that Donald Trump has over the Republican Party and the rise
of nationalist figures like him around the world.
What do you say to those allies? What have you been saying to them at these meetings about how the next president of the United States can keep any
promises you make?
BIDEN: What I'm saying is -- to them, is watch me. I mean, I'm not saying anything, quite frankly, I'm just going out. People, as I've said before,
don't doubt that I mean what I say. And they believe that I keep my commitments when I say it. I'm not making any promises to anyone that I
don't believe are overwhelmingly likely to be kept.
I think that we're at a moment where -- I mean, let me put it this way. You may have had a different view but I think an awful lot of people thought
that my showing up at the G7 would not produce any kind of enthusiasm about American leadership and about where America was.
I wouldn't suggest that it didn't turn out that way. I would suggest that there is a -- the leaders I'm dealing with in NATO and the G7 are leaders
who know our recent history. Know generically the character of the American people and know where the vast center of the public stands, not Democrat,
Republican, but who we are. We're decent, honorable nation. And I think that they have seen things happen as we have that shocked them and
surprised them to could have happened.
But I think they -- like I do believe the American people are not going to sustain that kind of behavior. And so, I, you know, I don't want to get
into the statistics because, you know, that all phrases (INAUDIBLE) there's three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies and statistics. But I think it's
appropriate to say that the Republican Party is vastly diminished in numbers. The leadership of the Republican Party is fractured.
And the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party. But it makes up a significant minority the American people. I will see, we'll see. I believe
that by standing up and saying what we believe to be the case, not engaging in the overwhelming hyperbole that gets engaged in by so many today, that
we -- I guess that all expression, the proof of the pudding is in eating. When we said -- when I said I was going to deal with beating the virus, I
was going to focus on that.
BIDEN: And I was going to get millions of shots in people's arms. It wasn't me, I just knew the American people. I knew the kind of help I'd get from
the Defense Department, from police departments, from the hospitals from, from retired docs, from -- I just know. And look how rapidly we move. Now
we have a group of people who were everything from the political rejection of a notion of taking a vaccine.
To people who are simply afraid of a needle, and everything in between and we have a way to go. But I never doubted that we would be able to generate
the kind of support we got and get so many millions of people step up and get vaccinated. So, I think it is a shock and surprise that what's happened
in terms of consequence of President Trump's phony populism has happened. And it is disappointing that so many of my Republican colleagues in the
Senate who I know know better.
Have been reluctant to take on, for example, an investigation because they're worried about being primary. But at the end of the day, we've been
through periods like this in American history before, where there has been this reluctance to take a chance on your reelection, because of the nature
of your party's politics at the moment. I think this is passing, I don't mean easily passing. That's why it's so important that I succeed in my
The agenda, whether it's dealing with the vaccine, the economy, infrastructure, it's important that we demonstrate we can make progress and
continue to make progress. And I think we're going to be able to do that. So, as I said, the proof will be in where it is, you know, six months from
now. We're where we are. But I think you're going to see that there's that God willing, we're going to be making progress.
And there's going to be a coalescing a lot of Republicans, particularly younger Republicans who are coming up in the party. And last question,
Sebastian Smith, of AFP.
SEBASTIAN SMITH, AFP WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President. Ukraine wants a clear yes or no on getting into the NATO membership action plan. So what's your answer? And for me a second part of the same question.
Well, now that Russia has invaded parts of Ukraine, does that effectively rule out Ukraine ever entering NATO? Given that being a NATO would mean the
U.S. and NATO having to defend Ukrainians against Russia? Thank you.
BIDEN: The second question is, the answer's no. The first question, it depends on whether they meet the criteria. The fact is, they still have to
clean up corruption. The fact is, they have to meet other criteria to get into the action plan. And so, it's, you know, school's out on that question
and remains to be seen. In the meantime, we will do all that we can to put Ukraine in a position to be able to continue to resist Russian physical
And it will not just depend on me whether or not we conclude that Ukraine can become part of NATO, it depend on the alliance and how they vote. But I
know for one thing, there has to be a -- they have to convince and it's not easy. I made a speech years ago to the Rada saying that that Ukraine had an
opportunity to do something that's never occurred in the history of Ukraine. Actually generate a democratically elected and not corrupt led by
oligarchies in any of the regions nation.
And I pointed out to them when I made that speech, that they will go down in history as the founding fathers of Ukraine if in fact, they do that.
They have more to do. But that does not justify the fact that had more to do. Russia taking aggressive action, either the dumb boss or in on the sea,
or in any part of Ukraine. And we're going to put Ukraine in a position to be able to maintain their physical security. Thank you all so very much.
Sorry, you're all here so late. Thank you very much.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: You been listening to President Biden answering questions from reporters after meeting with allies abroad and before Biden
meets with Vladimir Putin.
Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown in for Jake Tapper.