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Quest Means Business
Biden And Putin Hail Productive Talks In Geneva; Major Averages Sink After Fed Comment. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 16, 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: Good evening, everyone. Tonight, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have presumably laid down their red lines in an
historic bilateral Summit.
At this hour, the U.S. President is en route back to the United States after meeting with his Russia counterpart. At this pivotal moment for the
United States, Russia, and the world, we'll have, of course, team coverage across this hour for you.
So, really, high temperatures and high stakes and relatively high hopes that the two countries can at least stabilize their relationship. Joe Biden
said he did what he came to do in Geneva. After the Summit, the U.S. President had explained his agenda to Putin as for America not against
Cybersecurity was one of the top issues with Mr. Biden declaring attacks on critical infrastructure off limits. He also spelled out the U.S. position
on human rights in no uncertain terms. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told him that unlike other countries including Russia, we are uniquely a product of an idea. You've
heard me say this before, again and again, but I am going to keep saying it. What's that idea? We don't derive our rights from the government. We
possess them because we're born. Period. And we yield them to a government.
And so I pointed out to him that that's why we're going to raise our concerns about cases like Alexei Navalny. I made it clear to President
Putin that we'll continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Now, the meeting was expected to last more than five hours. It wrapped up after about two and a half, not counting a 45-minute break.
Still, both leaders said their talks were productive. As for what was accomplished you may ask, well, Mr. Putin, Russia and the U.S. have agreed
to return their respective Ambassadors to their posts in the coming days. He also said, the two nations will begin consultations on cybersecurity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I don't think there was any kind of hostility. On the contrary, our meeting was obviously a
fundamental one. Many of our joint positions are divergent, but nevertheless, I think both sides manifested determination to try to
understand each other and try to converge our positions. And I think it was very constructive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Phil Mattingly is in Geneva for us, and Phil, we heard President Putin say that it was constructive. President Biden also has some very
positive words, but he did say, President Biden that "I did what I came to do with Putin." Did he achieve it, Phil?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Isa, I think it's really interesting that when you set expectations as low, as
U.S. Officials did going into this Summit and I think, when the bar is so low for a relationship that is at its lowest point probably since the Cold
War, it is easy to meet those expectations and exceed that bar.
And I think what President Biden made very clear, his intent was to kind of set a baseline for the relationship. Obviously, a new administration,
someone who has been in foreign policy for more than four decades, has met with President Putin before, but basically to lay out how his
administration sees its approach to Russia playing out.
And I think the President saw value in that and I think, the President believed, he accomplished that goal, laying out areas where he thought the
two countries could work together, whether it is on Afghanistan, Syria, perhaps, other issues, and where there are other serious areas of
Obviously, on cyberattacks, Ukraine, on human rights, especially, and I think a critical component of this was laying out particularly on the issue
of cyberattacks and to some degree, human rights as well, that the U.S. would not hesitate to respond if the President believed that President
Putin was acting in a way that was against U.S. interests.
Now, the takeaway, I think from all of this at this point in time is, let's wait and see. And I think President Biden acknowledged that as well. He
made it clear, the next three to six months, as they launch intensive discussions on strategic stability, as they launch kind of an expert work
group on the cybersecurity space, does anything come from that, or is this just kind of throwing stuff against the wall that just ends up dissipating
and the relationship will be back in its same place again?
SOARES: You and I were at the G7 and we remember clearly, President Biden basically said he wanted a predictable relationship from President Putin,
but what we heard today, Phil, from President Putin, was really a man that was deflecting many of the questions that were thrown at him, many of the
allegations against him.
What kind of relationship does President Biden expect from this? What did he have to say at this press conference regarding Putin's dodging of
MATTINGLY: You know, I think from the U.S. side, there's an expectation that this was how President Putin was going to act. I think this was
something -- my understanding is this happened inside the meeting as well at certain points and President Biden had to firmly say, your
characterization is wrong.
But I think, the way the President prepared for this, talking to experts, Russia experts both from his administration and from past administrations,
those who have been in the room for past meetings, they kind of expected this to some degree.
And I think, the President is clear eyed in the sense that he knows he and President Putin are not going to have a friendly relationship, or certainly
never going to be allies. I think what the President wanted to convey, and I think what he feels like he at least accomplished in the near term is
that these are the areas where, I think, we can work together, and these are the areas where we will respond if you continue your actions.
I think the biggest question right now, and again, we were all listening to that press conference with President Putin where he continued to deny that
they were involved in any cyberattacks, is kind of the same stuff that we have been used to, is that an indication that President Putin has no
intention to change how he has acted, how he operates? Or was that just him doing what he normally does?
And I don't think White House officials have an understanding of that yet, either, and that is why the next several months are going to be so
critical, not just to whether or not this Summit will actually have a broader effect on things, but whether or not the President's broader
foreign policy approach when it comes to Russia has a chance to at least change the tone a little bit.
SOARES: So given everything you've just laid out for us, Phil, how do you think this Summit will play out at home?
MATTINGLY: It's a good question. You know, I think that critics will certainly still be critical, you know, particularly on the Republican side
of the aisle, despite the fact that they were loathed to criticize the last President who was much friendlier and elevated President Putin to a degree
that no American President has, including undercutting his own U.S. Intelligence.
They have been very critical of the decision to hold the meeting at all, of the decision to act like there is parity between the U.S. and Russia, when
their belief is that there clearly isn't. I think on the broader scale, though, when you start from the baseline of this relationship being at the
level that it is, any movement towards moving away from that, no matter how incremental, I think, will be viewed as a positive step.
I do think, and this is not just Republicans who are critical of President Biden, this is Democrats as well, who have certainly moved into kind of a
more anti-Russian posture particularly in the wake of the 2016 election hacking, they will want to see results.
And I think incumbent upon this administration over the course of the next several months will not just be saying, we have working groups or we are
having intensive dialogue, it will be showing tangible results, and I think that is a very complicated process in something other administrations have
repeatedly failed that.
And so how the administration follows through on this, I think will play a much larger role in how this Summit is viewed than those two press
SOARES: Of course, I suppose the metric for success from what we have seen today, Phil, is -- you know, how do you prevent degradation? Can you
predict President Putin's moves?
Phil Mattingly there for us in Geneva. Great to see you, Phil. Thanks very much.
Now, at the start of their meeting, Putin said a lot of issues had accumulated really between the United States and Russia. Among the biggest
sticking points were these, let me outline them for you. The White House blamed Russian-based hackers for a recent spate of cyberattacks on U.S.
The Kremlin says it had nothing to do with them. Washington also accuses Moscow of interfering in U.S. elections. The U.S. is worried about Russia's
military buildup on the Ukraine border as well as its occupation of Crimea. Russia fears Ukraine will join the NATO Alliance.
Finally, there's the issue of human rights and the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, which President Putin wouldn't even mention. To the White House,
he is the Russian opposition leader, the Kremlin says as we heard today, that he is a criminal.
David Gergen is a senior political analyst at CNN and a former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. He joins us now from
David, it is always great to get you on the show. I want to start with really your thoughts from what we heard between the meetings between
President Putin and President Biden. What stood out to you -- David?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Isa. It's good to talk to you again. There were no big breakthrough -- major breakthroughs in
these meetings, and the tensions remain.
Nonetheless, I think this was an extremely important meeting, very constructive for both sides. Very constructive for the world. Joe Biden has
spent -- clearly spent a lot of time preparing for this. He read a couple of biographies, he has read other things. He read a lot of briefing books
He was spending his mornings -- he came in extremely well-prepared and very self-confident. This is an area where he feels extremely familiar, and he
was able in the first few days of his trip overseas to rally the developed countries, to rally the Western nations behind him.
GERGEN: And then he went to see Putin with Putin knowing he is not here just representing the United States, he is here representing the NATO
countries. He is here representing the E.U. countries. We're playing in the big leagues here with this, of what he is coming to.
And then Joe Biden said, look, I'm not going to try to negotiate agreements with you now. We're going to have standards, and if you live up to these
standards, our relationship will change, we will reset the relationship.
But if you don't live up to the standards, there are going to be consequences, negative consequences for you. we are not telling you what
they are, but if you look at that pattern raw, I must tell you, it is a -- it strikes me as a wise and smart move and it seems to be working out
We'll have to wait -- you know, obviously, as he said himself that we will figure out -- pudding is in the pace, you know, that's the past.
And so, if you look at it from where we were two weeks ago in the relationship, with the relations at the lowest point in decades, there is a
chance -- there is a chance now that the two countries can reset their relationship and move on. And what Biden wants to do is keep that Alliance
going, bet the Russians to calm down, and then we can deal more successfully with the aggressive quality of the Chinese.
SOARES: David, you mentioned the tensions were still there. I'm not sure whether you feel that this was a win for President Biden. But we also know,
and you would have heard this, you know, back at the G7 that he wanted a predictable relationship with Russia.
But we also heard President Putin today, as you would have heard too, really brushing off all of the questions on cybersecurity, human rights,
and Navalny. How can you have this relationship if your adversary doesn't acknowledge his actions?
GERGEN: Well, I think that -- and in fact, you just sort of have to hold him to the next set of standards or questions that come up. If we have more
cyberattacks that come from the Russian homeland, you know, he is going to have to crack down.
If there is something that goes on in the Ukraine or the Russians push again there or they push in Syria, he is going to -- he can't -- Joe Biden
can no longer -- he's woven himself into the solution. So, he is going to have to crack down if things go badly. It is all going to be a test what
happens, not what people would like to happen.
Biden is a very pragmatic guy, not a very ideological guy. He likes to think about, what are the real world consequences of something? And as I
say, he is quite confident in this area, much more so than he is in the domestic sphere.
He feels right at home on these big league issues. And I think he is -- I think you're going to see that this will prompt the rest of the world to
breathe a little more easily. Just compare what we were talking about when we were in Helsinki a few years ago with Trump and Putin and contrast this
now with Biden and Putin. It's a world of difference, it is a much more optimistic world -- essentially, an optimistic world.
SOARES: Yes, he definitely looked like he felt -- he was very at ease. He had a spring in his step during this press conference, I think.
SOARES: Is that how you read the body language and his demeanor today?
GERGEN: Yes. That's exactly how I read it. That's exactly how I read it and he was gracious enough. You know, he cut some reporters, including Kaitlan
Collins, cut them short at the end of the press conference. But he went on Air Force One, before they flew off, he went to the back of the plane as we
have now learned and he talked to the press, and he apologized.
He said, I didn't mean to -- you know, I don't know what the full apology was, but nonetheless, that's the sign of a man who is relaxed and feels
like he did a good job. He did do a good job. He has a long way to go, and he has got this huge domestic problems waiting for him as he comes back to
the U.S. So, the next few weeks in his presidency overall are going to be a big test, not only on the international side, but on the domestic side as
SOARES: But as you well know, I mean, Vladimir Putin is really a veteran, David, of U.S.-Russia Summits.
GERGEN: Yes, he is.
SOARES: Joe Biden, as I was looking at some of the numbers is the fifth American President he's met. Over the last 21 years, he has held talks with
Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and so forth. And each meeting really has brought truly memorable moments, but few
breakthroughs. So, how does this Biden meeting -- how do you expect this to be any different?
GERGEN: Look, a lot depends on what Russia -- what Putin sees as his self- interest. You know, both these countries are operating out of self- interest. There is not some sort of ideological drive that -- we talk about a strategic conversation now going forward, but what is the vision? We
don't know that.
So, I don't think we know yet how all of this is going to unfold. What I do think we know is that, the future is in the hands of very pragmatic
leaders, and some tough decisions are going to come up. They are both going to be pushed. Their self-interest will push them away from each other.
GERGEN: But now, I think after this Summit, there's more pressure on the Russians and the United States to behave. And that is a good thing.
SOARES: But David, you said we don't know how things are going to unfold. But what is the metric -- what would you say is the metric for success
GERGEN: I think first and foremost, in the next few months, it's going to be -- the test is going to be on the cyber side. The cyberattacks, do they
disappear? Are people arrested? Are people charged?
And that sort of thing to get these off the table, but right around the corner, I think another big test is going to be how much are the Russians
going to try to interfere in the next American elections? That will throw this country into a real dizzy if they wind up working with the Trump
forces for example. Then, all bets are off in this relationship.
SOARES: Yes, and President Biden said there were no threats, but it seemed from what I heard from his press conference, he made the message very clear
in regards to cyber threats.
GERGEN: Yes. I agree. And the cyber threats, they're tricky. They're very hard to sort of understand, but we have extremely good data, and we have a
strong Intelligence operation.
I must say, this is another place where the Biden administration is different from the Trump administration. Trump didn't trust his
Intelligence people. You know, he kept on -- at Helsinki, he chose Putin's view of the world over his own Intelligence people. But I think Biden is
someone who believes in his Intelligence, he has a close relationship with the Intelligence people in the U.S., and he will keep a close eye on it.
The people -- I was in the White House in the last few days, and I can tell you that there is a real sense that these are professional managers. They
are very -- the people around Biden and Biden himself, they're very good at professionalism of -- they are not visionaries particularly, but they are
professionals and they are very good at getting big things done.
SOARES: You know, given your expertise in this, David, I know we heard President Biden saying that there was Khumbaya moment.
SOARES: But where do you think this leaves the relationship? How optimistic, I should add, should ask really, are you that given the
animosity, given the low points of Russia-U.S. relations, how confident are you that that relationship will improve?
GERGEN: Well, first of all, I think it's worth remembering that Putin is a congenital liar. That every President he has worked with, he has betrayed
in some fashion. The United States no longer -- President Reagan used to talk about with the Russians, trust, but verify -- trust, but verify. The
people in this government do not trust Putin. I mean, the U.S. government, they experienced this guy, you can't trust the guy.
So, it's all going to be a test in the arena itself, does Russia behave itself? Does it have the -- do these men just behave themselves or are they
going to -- or do they think their self-interests lie in, you know, continuing to try to pull the tail on the U.S. political system?
I can just tell you, the Biden administration has its eyes wide-open. They're not -- and Republicans agree with this, and just as they do on much
of what is going on with regards to China. I think the downside, the fear may be -- you see this among some Western Europeans such as the Germans,
they're worried that we may, that by being aggressive towards China, by being aggressive towards Russia, we may drive those two nations into each
other's arms and start off a new Cold War.
We're not there yet, but there are fears that are circulating and were cited by both Putin and Biden in their conversations here.
SOARES: Such important context. David Gergen, thank you so much. Always great to have you on the show.
GERGEN: Yes, Isa, thank you.
SOARES: Appreciate it.
GERGEN: It's always good to be with you.
SOARES: Thank you, sir. We'll have much more, of course, on this historic Summit ahead. Cybersecurity took center stage as you heard me discussing
there. Find out what our own Matthew Chance asked as he first spoke firsthand to President Putin at his news conference. That's after a very
You are watching CNN.
SOARES: Now, the U.S. and Russia have in the last 45 minutes or so issued a joint statement on strategic stability after a Summit between Joe Biden and
Vladimir Putin that we have been showing you in Geneva.
The U.S. President set out a red line over cyber security, saying infrastructure should be off the table when it comes to ransomware attacks.
In return, Mr. Putin said Russia and the United States will begin consultations on cyber security adding that both sides have obligations.
CNN's Moscow correspondent, Matthew Chance asked Mr. Putin about the tone of today's meeting and about his commitment to cybersecurity issues. Take a
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, could you characterize the dynamic between yourself and President Biden? Was it
hostile or was it friendly?
Secondly, throughout these conversations, did you commit to ceasing carrying out cyberattacks on the United States? Did you commit to stopping
threatening Ukraine's security? And did you commit to stop cracking down on the opposition in Russia?
PUTIN (through translator): Well, the first overall evaluation as far as that is concerned, I don't think there was any kind of hostility. On the
contrary, our meeting was obviously a fundamental one. Many of our joint positions are divergent, but nevertheless, I think that both sides
manifested determination to try to understand each other and try and converge our positions. I think it was very constructive.
As far as cyber security is concerned, we agreed that we would begin consultations on that issue. And I believe that's extraordinarily
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: CNN senior international correspondent is with us now for much from Geneva, Fred Pleitgen. Fred, I mean, yet again, we heard him say there that
you know, it was a constructive, a fundamental meeting. But he dodged pretty every single one of Matthew's questions or anyone's questions. How
much do you think this was a success for President Putin? Because after all, he stood tough. He leveled allegations at the U.S., shook hands with
the leader of the U.S. How is he going to spin this?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it was an extraordinary -- it will be seen as an extraordinary success for
Vladimir Putin. He obviously had that one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. He was obviously welcomed here in Geneva as a very
important world leader, if not one of the world's most important leader.
And if you look at President Biden's trip as a whole, he obviously had that meeting with the G7, he had NATO, he had the European Union as well, but
there was only one leader who got a one-on-one meeting with President Biden, and that was Vladimir Putin, and it was of course at this very
historic venue here in Geneva, where in 1985, Gorbachev and Reagan already met.
So from that vantage point, just that meeting taking place, that already is something that is very important. And if you look at President Putin's
press conference, you could tell, I think that he was in a fairly upbeat mood.
PLEITGEN: He was quite combative with some of the journalists, with Matthew as well, and you're absolutely right. He didn't answer any of the
questions. Obviously, Matthew pressed him very much, however, he did do it in a very combative tone. He essentially said on the topic of Ukraine, that
right now, he doesn't really see Russia backing down in any way, shape or form. He says that the Minsk agreement is still the only way forward.
On Alexie Navalny, and I thought that was really probably the most telling answer if you will of that entire press conference. He essentially said
that he believed that Alexie Navalny was at fault himself for coming back to Russia, saying that he essentially came back to Russia because he wanted
to get detained.
So, you could tell that Vladimir Putin, the press conference went on a lot longer than he actually wanted it to. He was clearly, I would say, enjoying
pretty much the limelight, and I'm pretty sure that if you look at Russian media and his ratings, that this will be seen as a success -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes, he definitely looked like he was enjoying and he definitely looked to be very confident. There was no chest thumping, but on the areas
-- I mean, he talked about the areas of cooperation, the areas that we know they already see eye to eye on, but in terms of meaningful change, Fred,
what can we expect from this relationship? Because he is not agreeing, he hasn't acknowledge acknowledged that he was behind the cyberattacks or any
other allegations that were being thrown at him.
PLEITGEN: Well, I think the cyberattacks is certainly one of the most important points. I'm glad that you raised that because of course, he said,
look, we agreed to start these consultations.
Of course, that's very important, but then, when you look at exactly what Vladimir Putin said after afterwards, it really didn't look as though he
was acknowledging any of President Biden's points because President Biden had said that he gave Vladimir Putin a list of 16 critical infrastructures
that he said should be off limits for countries to conduct any cyberattacks on or any sort of cyber warfare or cyber activity in that realm.
And when Vladimir Putin had his press conference, he essentially said, look, there are also things that are going on in Russia and the Russians
had asked for the United States to look into certain things that the Russians believed were going on.
And he sort of tried to water all of that down. So, yes, these consultations are going to start. Yes, that's important. But it really does
seem as though it's far from the two sides seeing eye to eye on those issues. And that was the case with a wide range of issues that took place.
We mentioned Ukraine, we mentioned some others. So there is still a long way to go. But I do think, Isa, one thing that is very important is that
both leaders came away from this and said it was all very productive. It was all aimed at trying to move things forward.
So it certainly seems that at the very least, what they've done now is that they have established a mode of communications, each side knows what the
other side wants. Where its red lines are, what it doesn't want. It doesn't mean they agree on anything, but it certainly does seem as though, at least
the two sides are closer in terms of being able to communicate how they feel to one another.
SOARES: Absolutely. Building blocks right there. Fred Pleitgen, thanks very much. Great to see you, my friend.
Now, President Putin is on his way home. We'll discuss what awaits him when he returns with a prominent Kremlin critic, Bill Browder joins me next.
SOARES (voice-over): Coming up on the next half-hour of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, the investor famously mentioned in Vladimir Putin's last press
conference, I'll ask him how things have changed between the countries under Joe Biden.
U.S. stock markets are falling after the Fed signaling it may be more open to raising interest rates.
Before that, these are the headlines on CNN this hour.
SOARES: Let's get more now on our top story this hour. The meeting between the U.S. President and his Russian counterpart. For Vladimir Putin, he said
this meeting was constructive and there were no hostilities.
When talking to reporters, he really batted away questions about his human rights record or any other U.S. criticism. He's now heading back home,
where a tough economic situation awaits. The pandemic is not under control, as you know.
Moscow has asked people to work from home again. And there's growing backlash over the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny. President Biden had a
warning if something were to happen to Navalny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What do you say would happen if opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Bill Browder is the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and a prominent Kremlin critic and he joins us now.
Always great to have you on the show. I would love to start off by getting your thoughts on the press conference that we heard today from President
What did you make of it?
No, I think we're trying to get Bill Browder. I'll just check if we have -- how is -- we don't have his signal?
We'll try and reconnect with Bill Browder. It's super important to get his view, of course. But in the meantime, let me bring you up to date on what
was happening in Israel in the last 24 hours or so.
The government there is already facing its first test, as I mentioned. The military says it's carried out airstrikes on Gaza over night. It's the
first major flare-up since last month's 11-day conflict and preserving the fragile cease-fire is one of the challenges facing prime minister Naftali
Bennett. He now leads the coalition that doesn't seem to agree on much.
SOARES: Our correspondent Oren Liebermann has a look at what is next.
No, we're back after a very short break. Do stay right here with CNN.
SOARES: We have re-established connection with our guest, Bill Browder joins me now.
I believe we see you now, you're not frozen. Wonderful. Let me get your thoughts on the meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.
Did you see any indication of a change of heart from President Putin?
BILL BROWDER, CEO, HERMITAGE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: No, none whatsoever. Basically, he offered nothing in this meeting. He didn't offer to -- he
didn't say I'm going to hand back American hostages. He didn't say I'm going to release Navalny. He didn't say I'm going to pull my troops out of
He didn't say he would stop bombing civilians in Syria. He didn't promise he would stop cheating in international sports. Basically, for him, this
was a huge success. He got to sit on the main stage with the most important person in the world and will carry on doing all the malicious things he's
done, which has caused so much trouble for everyone in the world.
SOARES: Talk about what the relationship may look like, you're saying he will go home and sell this as a win.
BROWDER: It's a big win. Basically, he shouldn't have been given that stage in the first place. He's done nothing to deserve the kind of respect and
recognition that he got sitting on the stage with the most powerful man in the free world.
It looked like he was on par with President Biden when he's not. He's running a kleptocracy with a tiny economy, hacking elections, messing up
pipelines and this kind of stuff. He doesn't deserve the gravitas that this thing gave him.
SOARES: You are not alone. Bear with me, Bill. Garry Kasparov said this ahead of this meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION ACTIVIST: Putin really got what he wanted, a summit. He may get more but the main exchange has already
KASPAROV: President Biden gave the credibility of the United States to a brutal dictator. Let's not forget, Biden called Putin a killer; rightly so.
And the President of the United States, having a summit with a killer who attacked his country, the United States, on multiple occasions, it's only a
sign of weakness.
It doesn't matter what Biden or the Democrats think about it. It's what Putin and his mafia and their cronies around the world think that matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: So along the lines of what you're saying what he's giving him is, by having this summit, it's credibility.
BROWDER: Indeed. It's completely and absolutely, it was the wrong thing to do. It made no sense. And Putin is the only person walking away with a win
from this whole thing.
If we wanted to express our displeasure with the things that Putin is doing, we didn't need to do it with all this pomp and glory. We could have,
the United States or NATO or any other group of people could have issued a press release, saying here are the red lines you do no not cross. If you
do, there will be consequences.
SOARES: President Biden said at the press conference he's not confident in the behavior of President Putin.
What can we expect, given the fact that President Putin pretty much dodged every challenge, from cyber attacks to Navalny to the Ukraine?
What can we expect?
BROWDER: More of the same and a lot more of the same. Vladimir Putin is not doing this because of anything we're doing. In order for him to stay in
power, he needs an enemy. He needs the United States and the West to be his enemy.
He doesn't want his people to be mad at him. He wants them to be mad at someone outside of the country. As his own situation becomes more tenuous,
as the economy suffers, he will be doing more of this stuff.
The only thing that Vladimir Putin understands is raw, hard power and consequences. Until we have the guts to impose them, he will continue to do
more of the same.
SOARES: You know, when I was listening to President Biden, he said that he came to the meeting prepared. He said he had read biographies about Putin.
And he said that Russia is being squeezed by China.
Does that work?
Has that ever worked with Putin?
BROWDER: It's never worked with Putin. If you go back 20 years, George Bush, in his first summit, looked Putin in the eye and said he saw his
soul. President Obama then wanted to reset relations. President Trump said, I want Putin to be my buddy.
Now you have this. It's the same version of -- it's all the same thing. You have a new president. And Putin laughs at this. He knows in our democratic
system, every four or eight years, some new guy will come along and want to look inside his mind, inside his soul, whatever and convince him to behave.
And it never works. I think it was foolhardy to get into this situation. I think the United States got nothing out of it and it was a mistake from
start to finish.
SOARES: President Biden definitely seemed like he had a spring in his step. I don't think he expected anything to come out of it per se. But he got the
message across, he told them what the red lines were.
But the question becomes, what is the metric for success?
Where does this go?
BROWDER: The only metric for success is communicating to Putin that terrible things will happen if he continues to send cyber attackers into
the United States, if he continues to assassinate people on foreign soil.
And the way to communicate that is by having horrible consequences when he does these things. Until that happens, Putin will do more of the same.
Putin is a thug, an international mafia boss running a country. And he only understands hard consequences. Until those consequences are imposed, he
will continue to do these bad things.
SOARES: He was, you know, this is Putin's fifth meeting with a U.S. President. You know him better than any of us, Bill.
Were you surprised at, you know, the way he spoke of President Biden and just how confident he was?
SOARES: Were you surprised at all by some of the compliments he gave to President Biden?
BROWDER: Well, these are sort of backhanded compliments. On the one hand, he's complimenting him and on the other hand, he tried to do everything
possible to make sure that Biden wasn't elected.
Putin is a professional secret policeman, who extracts people's nails out of their fingers to get confessions. And so for him to make comments, for
him to smile, to bluff, this is what he does on a day-to-day basis, through his whole career.
So yes, he will flatter Biden, make him seem like they're buddies, whatever. But in the end, this is a man who would kill somebody with his
bare fingers if that's what it took for him to get ahead. That's the kind of man Vladimir Putin is.
SOARES: Very important perspective, Bill, that you bring to the show. Of course, very important voice on this from the Russian side. Really
We'll have much more after a very short break. Do stay here with CNN.
SOARES: The Federal Reserve says it isn't raising interest rates for now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: You can think about this meeting as the talking about-talking about meeting, if you like. I now suggest we
retire that term. Committee participants were of the view that the economy has clearly made progress. But we're a ways away from our goal. We expect
continued progress ahead toward that objective. Assuming that is the case, it will be appropriate to consider announcing a plan for reducing our asset
purchases at a future meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Major averages dropped sharply after the announcement. The Dow was down more than 350 points; the Nasdaq tumbled, then came back, pretty flat
right now. And Clare Sebastian is here.
What has changed?
SOARES: Any sense of signals of concern from the Fed regarding inflation?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a really important meeting for the Fed. Because of the surge that we've seen in inflation over the past
few months. And we had this disconnect in the economy with a big expected surge in GDP this year.
But the labor market lagging behind a little bit. So we got today, very little change in terms of the statement; some positive noises about the
vaccinations helping the economy in the U.S.
But it was all about the forecast, a prediction of 7 percent GDP growth this year. Inflation, they put a full percentage point higher in March at
3.4 percent. And the Fed board members say where they think the path of interest rates will be.
You can see that was for March, that looked flat through 2023. Most people didn't expect any rate rises through 2023. Now a much less flat picture for
2023; 13 out of 18 participants expect at least one rate rise in 2023.
So that is what I think has the market's attention today. This is an imperfect forecast, because it's based on what they know today, not what
the economy will be doing at that time. No one can know. But it is closely watched by the markets.
SOARES: I had forgotten how much you love that dot plot. But this is a great reminder. How much -- we were talking about this, in terms of the
communications challenge for Jay Powell, trying to balance this out, trying to explain how the Fed will handle inflation versus this lukewarm labor
SEBASTIAN: He's faced a lot of criticism from some very key figures, who think the Fed may not be paying enough attention to inflation and may be at
risk of acting too slowly and then may have to raise rates quickly.
Jerome Powell was humble, he said forecasters have a lot to be humble about. This is an extraordinary, unusual time. But he was also bullish on
the economy. He said he does expect that inflation, that surge that we've seen, will start to calm down.
He thinks, by the autumn, we should see a stronger recovery in the labor market as kids go back to school and enhanced unemployment benefits start
to go away. He thinks inflation is still temporary and he will continue to face criticism.
But what everyone wants from the Fed is that any change in policy will be gradual and well communicated. And that's what he's striving for today.
SOARES: Thanks very much, Clare.
Expo 2020, the world's largest in-person event to take place this year, opens in Dubai. Becky Anderson visits the woman responsible for delivering
the event. Take a look at this.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): We are in what is the beating heart of the expo site. This is the alwasal (ph) plaza, this is where people will
gather during this six-month event.
What can we expect?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): What we're really hoping for when people do gather in this garden, that they see a phenomenal show, that when they
come to the expo site, they have the opportunity to experience and explore countries from all around the world who are present here as well and really
use this as an opportunity to chart the path forward for what the next couple of years are going to look like.
ANDERSON (voice-over): We are 3.5 months out. We're still in a COVID crisis.
How will that affect the visitor experience?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): So first, their safety is paramount. We're not compromising that at all. We also believe that there's enough
science and there's enough metrics out there that show that wearing your mask, being distant, having a touch-free experience, being vaccinated,
proper ventilation is all going to really help significantly in ensuring that this is a safe environment.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Your target was for 25 million visits.
Is that still a target?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): So we're very keen on fulfilling that 25 million visit target.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Our mix will probably be a little bit different, especially in the beginning. We're going to rely a little bit
more on domestic visitation as opposed to international.
Having said that, we think there will be a pretty good rebound. We're already seeing a little bit of that now in the summer.
ANDERSON (voice-over): This isn't a cheap infrastructure project. It came at a cost of something like $7 billion.
Will Expo 2020 deliver for the wider good of Dubai and the UAE?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): The investment was not to build an expo. The investment was to have a new city of the future. This is a 480-hectare
site that is very well connected with topnotch infrastructure with 5G technology.
What is interesting to me on a personal level, I see how new technologies have come forward due to COVID. There's more of a focus on biotech. New
industries can bring more value to the economy and this is the perfect place to be able to do that.
SOARES: That story there from Becky Anderson.
There are just moments left to trade on Wall Street. We'll have the final numbers and the closing bell, right after this.
SOARES: And there are just moments left to trade on Wall Street. Let me show you the big board to see how it's doing.
The Dow is still down, as you can see, 0.75 percent, the U.S. reacting to interest rates in rising sooner than predicted. That followed that press
conference from Fed chairman Jerome Powell.
I want to show you the Dow components as well. We had a lot of red on the board. Merck and JPMorgan in the lead; Nike, Apple, JPMorgan Chase seeing
green as well as Merck there.
A very different story in Europe. The FTSE, the CAC 40 all up again, actually, on optimism about the economic recovery, so a very different
picture. The DAX are the only one in the red.
That does it for me. That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'll be back tomorrow. "THE LEAD" with Pamela Brown starts right now.