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Trump Arrives in Poland Ahead of G20 Summit, Putin Meeting; U.S. General: "Self Restraint" All That's Preventing War with Korea. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 5, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:13] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The challenge that President-elect Trump said would not happen is happening now --to him, to us. A nuclear armed North Korea testing missiles that can reach this country. Now, it's up to President Trump to deal with it, and it's only one of many challenges he's now facing.

John Berman here in for Anderson.

By the time the president arrived in Warsaw tonight, a lot had already transpired, none of it especially positive. Some of it deeply troubling or worse.

North Korea had launched an ICBM. The president launched a salvo at China for not doing more to stop it. At an emergency session of the Security Council, his U.N. ambassador issued a warning to Pyongyang and Beijing.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Their actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution. The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies.


BERMAN: And to that, add the words of the top American general in South Korea who said that self-restraint is the only thing keeping the peace right now on the Korean peninsula. Ominous stuff and it's just item one for the president who is in Europe to meet allies made uneasy by his words and actions lately. He will also have his first formal meeting with Vladimir Putin who has made a career out of charming, bullying and generally bedeviling his share of foreign counterparts, including several U.S. presidents.

To say there's a lot at stake hardly says enough. We'll talk about it all tonight.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny starts us off.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump arriving in Poland tonight for a critical overseas trip, his second since taking office, striking an optimistic tone while leaving the White House today.


ZELENY: He's facing rising tensions in Europe and mounting challenges across the world. The most urgent: North Korea's nuclear program, the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could be strong enough to strike the U.S.

TRUMP: Together, we are facing the threat of the reckless and brutal regime in North Korea, the nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response.

ZELENY: The North Korean nuclear ambitions are at the top of his agenda for a meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit later this week in Germany. A friendly relationship only months ago when Mr. Trump hosted his Chinese counterpart at his Mar-a- Lago resort has soured now. The president blames China for not doing enough to apply economic pressure on the North Korean regime.

Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with us, but we had to give it a try.

Six weeks after his first trip abroad, the stakes are even higher this time. Mr. Trump is set to come face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first meeting between the two leaders, as relations between the two adversaries are highly fraught.

Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election at the center of investigations in Washington has placed a cloud over the Trump White House. It's also complicated the U.S.-Russian relationship that Mr. Trump once suggested could be far stronger than President Obama's frayed alliance with Putin.

TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That's called an asset, not a liability. Now, I don't know that I'm going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there's a good chance I won't.

ZELENY: At the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, the president is also likely to receive a chilly reception from key allies over his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and his harsh words on NATO.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, facing a re-election of her own, not sugarcoating her strong disagreements with Mr. Trump's brand of populism. In an interview published today, she telegraphed the confrontation.

Globalization is seen by the American administration more as a process that is not about a win-win situation, but about winners and losers.


BERMAN: Our Jeff Zeleny joins us now from Warsaw with the president. Jeff, I understand that on the flight to Poland, the White House was

asked about the situation in North Korea. What did officials have to say?

ZELENY: John, they were indeed. And the White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to talk at all about the next steps toward the regime that is really bedeviling President Trump. This is his biggest crisis yet, his biggest challenge on the foreign stage. But the White House is not saying what they're going to do about it, the next steps here.

That, of course, is a subtext of all of the meetings the president is facing at the G20 in Germany, which begins tomorrow. He's going to be rallying the faithful here in Poland at his biggest rally he's had yet on foreign soil early tomorrow, but then going to that G20, North Korea front and center in all of that here. But the reality here, John, not many good options for this president.

[20:05:01] BERMAN: No, and we should note that some White House officials we're hearing from say watch this speech tomorrow in Poland. There could be some news in that. So, we will be watching very closely.

Jeff Zeleny --

ZELENY: Indeed.

BERMAN: -- thank you very, very much.

More now on what's at stake tomorrow and Friday in Hamburg for a president who has seen major Western counterparts begin distancing themselves from Washington over the last several months.

Joining us, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, who serves at the State Department and Pentagon spokesperson during the Obama administration. David Gergen, who has been there in the room during countless crises dating back to the Nixon administration. Also, former Obama National Security Council member Shamila Chaudhary.

David, I want to start with you. You know, I count three at least major issues facing the president. The North Korean missile test, his meeting with Vladimir Putin, and the array of allies that are wary about the U.S. role in the world going forward. Any one of these issues would be all-encompassing at a G20 Summit.

Now, president Trump has to deal with all three. How important is the way he navigates the next few days?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: These are probably the most important international meetings that he's going to have the first couple of years in office, because everyone is still taking a measure of Donald Trump as a world leader, and whether he's really going to retreat from the stage, as he's given indications that he would in terms of international collaboration, and whether he's going to be able to persuade others who are not in his corner to take tougher actions against North Korea. He's going to have tough conversations with the Chinese, because he's very disappointed.

And they've gone angry with his responses to it. He's going to have very tough meetings with Putin there, because Vladimir Putin is a master manipulator. And Donald Trump thinks he is. And they may well clash. We'll have to wait and see.

But then again, this is the first time I can remember a president going to a meeting in Europe with our European friends of old which he's getting a frosty reception from the most important and most powerful player in Europe, Angela Merkel of Germany, who is very happy -- loved Obama and is very unhappy with Trump. This could be a fractious meeting. And it could come out without a lot of progress on the issue that Americans consider so important, North Korea, because there's going to be pushback from the Chinese and Russians against the U.S. position that we've got to get a lot, lot tougher.

BERMAN: Admiral Kirby, on the issue of the meeting with Vladimir Putin, different audiences, right? There's the U.S. domestic audience, heavily politicized over this meeting. You have the Russian audience, and you have the rest of the world leaders watching to see how tough this president is willing to be with Russia. You know, perception matters in diplomacy and politics here.

How do you think the president wants to be perceived here?

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.), FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: I think he wants to come off of this meeting being able to say that he reset -- maybe that's not the best verb, but he certainly got the U.S.-Russia bilateral relations into a better place, or at least the beginnings of a better place, sort of moving it forward in a positive direction. I think he wants to show that he's not intimidated by President Putin, that he is willing to meet eye to eye with him and be strong.

But I don't think that we're going to see a lot of tangible results out of this, John. I think they'll come out of this thing and they'll say, look, we had a constructive meetings, talk a lot about a lot of things. Some things we disagree on. Our teams are now going to back and sort of work on issues going forward. I don't think you're going to see a lot of real results here.

But I do first meeting as president with Putin, I think this is a key opportunity for him to lay down some markers. You're not going to achieve deals. But you do have an opportunity to make some strong points to Putin of things we're not going to tolerate, things we can work together on and we're willing to and things that we're just going to have to, you know, have our teams work even harder on.

BERMAN: Shamila, you see this, the G20 Summit as a possible pivot point for the entire presidency here. There are a number of nations, you know, U.S. allies waiting to see which way this administration will go, and you think it's possible that some of these leaders will make their judgment how the next four or eight years will be based on the next two days.

SHAMILA CHAUDHARY, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: I agree. And, in fact, let's remember that this isn't Trump's first engagement on the international stain. He did meet with NATO leaders in May, and he spoke to them in quite a condescending way and they were not happy with him.

And so, the way they respond to him and publicly message on the issues they disagree with him on, such as climate change or Syria or North Korea will be indicative of the decisions they've already made during that time from May until now, and how they plan to treat the Trump administration. And I do think they've moved beyond, you know, trying to figure out what Trump means by his tweets and what his plans are.

And we can Judge Merkel's response in that vein, but he's been giving him these chilly vibes from across the ocean, and we should anticipate that when he attends these meetings. That being said, there will be other countries there, such as Saudi Arabia, India, Australia, who actually do like Trump's populist rhetoric, because it appeals to certain domestic sentiments they want to tap into at home. And so, we might see some favorable views of Trump coming out of this trip.

[20:10:01] And in particular, I think Poland will be very positive on Trump. The far right government there is a fan of his, and there will be people there supporting him very vocally during his time there. So we'll see a mixture of response to Trump.

BERMAN: And, Shamila, the Poland visit is fascinating in and of itself. Poland is a nation with a leader who, as you say, is somewhat Trump-like, or something that maybe Trump, the president, can identify with. But it's also a nation that juxtaposes itself with Russia, with the former Soviet Union here. Poland and Russia are very wary of each other. By going there tomorrow morning and giving what, you know, the White House is billing as a pretty important speech, is the president sending a message to Russia?

CHAUDHARY: He's absolutely he's sending a message. The Polish government is looking for affirmation from Trump that he will maintain American commitments to NATO. That's in Poland's interest because they're threatened by Russia.

It will be -- it's not that inconsistent with Trump's demeanor so far in Russia. I mean, he has spoken positively about Putin, but at the same time, he's been inconsistent and he has criticized Russia and the State Department has taken a hard stance on certain Russian behavior. So, I think that's part and parcel of the instability and unpredictability that Trump wants to generate in government and to kind of the foreign governments that he's dealing with.

But definitely, I think Poland is playing their cards really well right now.

BERMAN: Admiral Kirby, obviously, you know, the North Korea ICBM test, which may be the most proximate challenge facing the president right now, how much will he have to deal with on the ground there during the G20, how much can he get done on that?

KIRBY: I think it's certainly -- look, it's going to be a backdrop issue. There will be plenty of opportunities for him to discuss it. I -- there's no doubt that the Chinese are going to want to talk about this with him and I'm others will, as well.

BERMAN: South Koreans, the Japanese, they're all there.

KIRBY: Of course. This will be a major issue he's going to deal with for the whole trip. That said, John, remember, the G20, their agenda is transnational crime, financial regulation, Africa, refugees, lots of issues that they believe can only be solved multilaterally. And, of course, this is a president who is all about America first, and unilateral solutions or bilateral trade negotiations.

So, I think there's going to be a real frustration to get any progress on the agenda of the G20 itself, which is by design multilateral. But clearly, North Korea will be shading all of this.

BERMAN: John Kirby, David Gergen, Shamila Chaudhary, thank you very, very much.

Next, we're going to dig deeper on the military options for handling a North Korea with nuclear weapons and perhaps soon a fleet of missiles to put them on. Former Defense Secretary William Cohen joins us.

And later, why many states including plenty of red states are voicing such objections to the president's election integrity panel.


[20:16:31] BERMAN: Self-restraint is all that's stopping the U.S. and South Korea from going to war with North Korea, those words from a joint statement by General Vincent Brooks, commander of combined forces in the South, and the chairman of South Korea's joint chiefs of staff. This was not impromptu, not off the cuff. It's a message, and they don't get much blunter than that.

As for what military action could look like, the options and the outcome range from difficult to nightmarish, in part because China is nearby and especially because Seoul is within artillery range of the north.

Joining us now with more on all the mentions of this really difficult problem, CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.

Jim, first tell us what U.S. officials are saying happened during this missile launch.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, when they look at it, they're saying one, it's new. And that's interesting, because the U.S. and the international community has been aware of most of North Korea's missile classes and they've been seeing advances in each class, but this one is a new category.

Two, it does appear to be an attempt at an ICBM, an intercontinental ballistic missile. And what you need for that is something that can be multiple stage, can go high, can go outside the atmosphere and come back. This one did all that.

One remaining question is did that so-called reentry vehicle, did it come down to Earth in a situation that was controlled, meaning they had control from start to finish. That's not clear yet.

But they're certainly getting closer here. That's a lot of the ingredients, a lot of steps to get to that eventuality that everybody has been fearing, which is that North Korea has the ability to hit across continents, including hit the U.S. continent.

BERMAN: Well, and that's just the point here, theoretically how far could this type of missile potentially reach?

SCIUTTO: To Alaska. If successful, it could go to Alaska. Then the question becomes, can they take the next step of reliably miniaturizing a nuclear warhead to put on the tip of that missile? That's another step that the U.S., U.S. intelligence believes North Korea is moving closer to.

They don't believe that they're at that step today. But they know they're making progress. It's interesting. James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, he told me this last year, he said that our footing is we have to assume that North Korea can do that. It's a pretty remarkable and alarming assumption to have to make that today.

BERMAN: And we heard from the generals both U.S. and South Korean saying self-restraint right now is operative. It's the only thing keeping the U.S. from going to war here. If that changes, realistically, what are the U.S. options?

SCIUTTO: Well, here's the thing, the military option, at least in terms of a preemptive strike, taking out North Korea's nuclear facilities preemptively is really not an option because of the consequences. And you named them. Seoul is very close to the North Korean border. North Korea has got a lot of weapons, rockets and artillery trained on Seoul, so that the price of a U.S. or international military strike would be very high. James Mattis said it would be unlike war we've seen in decades.

Because of that, your actual options that are going to be familiar to ones that everybody listening tonight have been tried before, right? Pressure on China, economic sanctions, the possibility of talks.

Where does that lead you in the end? Really, the reality that's approaching, the world recognizing that North Korea is a nuclear power and contain North Korea. That's a remarkable and alarming reality, as well.

BERMAN: That's what Richard Haass, chairman of the Council of Foreign Relations, calls acceptance. An Acceptance is not something that a lot of diplomats are willing to deal with.

Jim Sciutto, thank you very, very much.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

BERMAN: Perspective now from someone who dealt with North Korea and Kim Jong-un's father as defense secretary during the Clinton administration, William Cohen, former Republican senator from the state of Maine and currently CEO of the global consulting firm bearing his name, the Cohen Group.

[20:20:07] Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us.

When you hear the commander of U.S. forces in the Korean peninsula say that self-restraint is all that is preventing war with the North, to a lot of people watching tonight, that sounds pretty terrifying. How long do you believe that this self-restraint can or should last?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFESEN SECRETARY: Well, it's been lasting for some time now. The North has been engaged in provocative action for years, has been building its nuclear capability and missile technology, is engaged in attacking South Korean boats, killing a number of sailors, et cetera. So, this has been going on a long time.

And the South has exercised, as has the United States, great restraint, because of the fact that there are some 800,000 troops on the border of South Korea that could -- from the DMZ, at least -- that could rain havoc on Seoul and other places.

So, nothing has changed except it's gotten worse. And it's gotten worse because his allies, the North Korean allies, China and Russia, have been helping his economy grow. We used to say you can't have guns and butter. Well, he's had guns, but he's also had butter, furnished by the Russians and the Chinese and others.

And so, the reaction is going to be on the part of the United States, to go after those countries who are, in fact, supporting the North Korean regime, saying if you do business with them, you can't do business with us. That raises the issue of China itself.

Now, we're not going to get into a trade war with China, but we are and should take a number of sanction steps against those companies, and those banks who have been, in fact, moving money through in order to help the North Korea have the butter as well as the guns.

BERMAN: You said this has been going on for some time. But everyone we've spoken with has said this time it's worse, the fact that it's an ICBM, that it's a device that now in theory soon could reach Alaska, changes the calculus here. So, you know, at what point do you have to go beyond the diplomatic scolding? At what point or how can you force China to do what you're saying needs to be done?

COHEN: I'm not sure you can force them. We still have two very important thing we have deterrence and we have defense. When we talk about beefing up our capability, I think we can do more in South Korea and Japan. For example, the South Korean president was just here, I spoke with him.

He has had some apprehensions about the deployment of THAAD, because he wasn't aware of the implications. I would see this as an opportunity for him to say we're going forward with a full-scale THAAD. I think the same should be said and encourage Japan to do the same, not only to employ Aegis land-based systems in Japan, but I'd even start talking about Japan having a cruise missile capability.

So I think we can do things on a defensive basis that will make life much tougher for the North Koreans if we, in fact, really imposed the sanctions that need to be imposed and say to the North Korean regime, if we're going to negotiate, we're going to negotiate on a basis which you don't gain, as you have been in the past.

BERMAN: Such so our viewers all know, THAAD is a missile defense system that has been placed in South Korea that the current South Korean leader has actually had some opposition to because they felt it might be too provocative to the North Koreans. It's there, but the question is how long will it stay? Maybe they will enhance it even more.

You know, I was thinking today how remarkable it was, while you were secretary of defense, your counterpart in the State Department, Madeleine Albright went to North Korea. It seems like a generation -- I mean, it was a generation ago, but it seems like, you know, a world ago. We're looking at this video right now. Should negotiations, should the idea of direct talks with North Korea at this point be on the table, and if so, in what way?

COHEN: At some point, there can be direct talks, but not at this point because what you've seen is the North Koreans have simply engaged in extortion after extortion and now at a much higher level. They would say, let's just stop things the way they are. So, then, they can sit down and start talking some more so they continue their testing and research and development, and then we're at a much more difficult place.

So, I met with the North Koreans, as well. I think there is an opportunity to make a deal at some point. But we're not ready yet, because they're not ready, and the Chinese and Russians have to be a part of it, and they've been too willing to allow the regime to continue to enjoy the benefits of that commercial relationship.

BERMAN: U.S. says it won't talk unless North Korea gets rid of its nuke. North Korea says it will never get rid of its nukes and won't talk unless the U.S. stops doing military exercise in the peninsula, which the U.S. won't do. It doesn't seem like there's a starting point.

COHEN: Well, there is. The notion that we should give up our exercises with the South Koreans, well, that means, if you don't exercise, you don't train and you become less capable. And over time, that capability erodes. And so, therefore, when the time comes to negotiate with the North Koreans, you're at a great disadvantage in terms of capability.

So, there is a way to negotiate this. It has to be done from a position of strength and I think we have to talk in terms of even talking about regime change in North Korea, because we haven't been doing that.

[20:25:001] And I think if this regime continues on the path it's going, we should at least start talking about it, if not considering --

BERMAN: How do you do that? How do you change the regime? COHEN: You change from within. You start, again, crushing the

economy. We haven't done, but I think we can do more to make it much more painful for the North Koreans to continue to do what they're doing and enjoy an increased quality of life.

The South Korea's president said, the economy of North Korea has increased. It's been improving. Why is it improving with all these sanctions? Because other countries have been evading it, helping them to continue their guns policy, and also helping to feed and fuel them.

That has to stop if we have any hope of ever coming to a negotiated settlement.

BERMAN: Secretary Cohen, fascinating discussion. Your perspective really from the inside over the last several decades, thanks so, so much.

COHEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: President Trump's first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin just days away. Forget the fact that he said he'd already met with him during the campaign. What is on the agenda or lack thereof and whether the small matter of Russians meddling in the U.S. election will come up. That's next.


BERMAN: In just two days, President Trump meets with Vladimir Putin face for the first time. Leave aside for the moment, the fact that Mr. Trump had previously said that the two had met, he said that at least twice. The major question looming over this meeting, will Russia's meddling in the U.S. election come up as a topic of conversation? Elise Labott reports.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one of the most highly anticipated meetings between two world leaders in year President Donald Trump will come face to face for the first time with Russian President Vladamir Putin. A man he has cozied up to.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That's called an asset, not a liability.

LABOTT (voice-over): And one U.S. intelligence agency say directed a plot to help Trump win the white House. With the U.S.-Russian relations at their lowest point since the cold war, the stakes couldn't be higher. Yet aides preparing the President for the sit- down are in the dark about what he might say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no specific agenda. It's really going to be whatever the President wants to talk about.

LABOTT (voice-over): White House officials don't expect the President to dwell on Russian interference in the 2016 election despite intense political pressure even from Trump's own party.

LEE ZELDIN, (R) NEW YORK: As Americans, it's important for us to be united on this front, protecting the process, not just looking backwards but looking forwards as well and to send that message to make sure it doesn't happen again.

LABOTT (voice-over): Moscow is lowering expectations and setting the tone. A Kremlin spokesman telling reporters they hope "A working dialogue will be established" and they claim Putin may not have time in that meeting to fully explain Russia's actions in Ukraine and its position on the civil war in Syria.

TRUMP: I would love to be able to get along with Russia.

LABOTT (voice-over): With an FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia and the threat of Congress approving new Russia's sanctions, making significant breakthroughs on any issues is unlikely. U.S. officials say the best hope for the meeting is good optics, but even that is a gamble for a president prone for off the cuff remarks. Trump raised eyebrows at his last meeting with Russian officials smiling and laughing in this photo with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, reportedly discussing his firing of FBI Director James Comey, and revealing intelligence from Israel. Putin has sympathized with Trump, recently describing the U.S. as locked in "political schizophrenia" that prevents Trump from improving relations with Russia.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): This is clearly sign of an increasingly intense domestic political struggle and there's nothing we can do here. We are ready for constructive dialogue.


BERMAN: Elise Labott joins me right now. At least we know from both sides that Syria is on the table for discussion. What do you imagine will come up there?

LABOTT: Well, I think President Putin is looking for support from President Trump for his political process, dealing with President Assad and the opposition, which essentially would mean that Assad would say. And just minutes ago, John, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put out a statement saying yes, the U.S. does want to work on a political process in Syria. But put Russia on notice really before this meeting that Russia has a lot of responsibilities as a main backer of the Assad regime, that it has to support a genuine political process that it has to make sure that as ISIS is liberated from Raqqah and other parts of Syria, that they don't give Assad an advantage to go in there. And that they have to provide for the needs and humanitarian situation of the Syrian people. And that includes making sure that Assad does not launch any more chemical weapons against the Syrian people, really putting President Putin on the back foot as they go into this meeting later this week, John.

BERMAN: All right, Elise Labott for us at the state department. Elise, thank you so much. Joining me now is Steve Hall and Jill Dougherty. Jill, you know, from so many years covering Moscow, watching summits like this. I call it a summit bilateral meetings of both sides will go and try to carefully choreograph what this meeting is like. How do you see it playing out?

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, I think Vladamir Putin will do that. I think his people are very adept at that. I'm not quite sure what will happen on the American side, because as we know, there are a lot of conflicting right now factors for President Trump. He wants to have a good relationship with Putin. He wants to make this summit look like a success. But anything that he does that really is very positive towards Vladamir Putin can boomerang back home, because it would be considered, you know, being week toward Putin et cetera. So it's very delicate.

And then also, you have Vladamir Putin is a very experienced person. You know, he's been in power for 17 years, started out as we all know as a KGB operative. And part of what he does is he looks at the other guy, evaluates what the other guy wants, and he plays to that other guy. So if he figures that Donald Trump wants a deal, he might suggest a deal. He might suggest a deal that's not good for the United States but would be interesting in perhaps attractive to Trump. It's very difficult, I think for any person to sit in a room with Putin. She's quite a, you know, strong debater and also a person who knows how manipulate.

[20:35:24] BERMAN: Sure, Jill, and you know that this will be hyper analyzed down to the facial expresses, right? I mean, if Donald Trump frowns, he runs the risk of offending Vladamir Putin perhaps coming off as one way. But if he smiles too much on the other hand, he'll, you know, to the domestic audience seem like he's cozying up.

DOUGHERTY: Exactly. I think that's really the other thing, the hand shake. One question I would love to know the answer to is what are the cameras going to be in that room? Will there be video cameras? Will there be video camera? Will there be still cameras. How many will there be, who did they belong to, will there be any media in the room? I tend to doubt it. If so, I think those who are important questions to look at and things to follow.

BERMAN: So Steve Hall, Former Chief of Russia operations for the CIA, you've been watch thing guy for years, you know how Vladamir Putin operates. He shows up to these meetings prepared. There's that story from ones bringing a Labrador to a meeting with Angela Merkel because she knew that she was afraid of dogs. You know, what do you think he is after here? How will he approach this?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, let's start with what Vladamir Putin has been up to over the past couple of years. So there is the annexation of Crimea, the dismembering of Ukraine, now supporting a civil war in the eastern -- shooting down an airliner with an American on board not to mentioned a whole bunch of allies. And then of course there's the meddling of our -- in our elections and in Western European elections.

So if you're Donald Trump, and you're the great negotiator, and let's say that you're -- have experience in Europe real estate and you're contemplating negotiating with a businessman, what is your opening position with someone who has stolen your buildings, tried to break into your systems and killed your friends, is it going to be let's see where we can cooperate on, let's see where we can come to an agreement? What it ought to be is, look, Putin, there has been some really unacceptable international behavior that you've undertaken. And you're not going to get anything that you're interested in. And we can't discuss much at all, until we come to some sort of conclusion as to what it is you should been up to these activities of the past couple of years.

People are making a big deal, a lot -- well, maybe there's not going to be enough time. That didn't take much time. All you have to do after that is say look, on Syria, which by the way is an important thing now that Russia has gained a seat at the table, you say, look talk to my national security team. They'll talk to your guys and we'll figure something out. Without a strong lead, though, Putin will view that as a weakness and he'll say OK, so I'm good -- I guess they're good with all the stuff that I've been up to of this past couple of years. We can go forward after this independently (ph).

BERMAN: How do you see Vladamir Putin walking into this meeting, though, knowing what you just said? Knowing the domestic pressure that Donald Trump faces over the Russian election meddling, do you think Vladamir Putin will try to use that to his advantage?

HALL: Sure. Putin will use everything to his, you know, everything possible to his advantage. Much is made of the fact that he's a former intelligence officer, and that's certainly helpful in terms of, you know, identifying motivations and vulnerabilities in people. But I think even more variable is simply the fact that he's dealt with four presidents in the past, four American presidents not to mentioned all sorts of others, you know, senior officials and for a long time as Jill pointed out.

So he has gained a lot of experience and he really understands how the west thinks and works and knows that we want to cooperate and those in American presidents want to do this great reset or they want to do a great, you know, I'm going to fix the Russian problem.

BERMAN: You know, what will they look like? Will there be cameras, will there be a U.S. policy fascinating discussion guys? Jill Dougherty, Steve Hall, Thanks so much.

In addition to the upcoming meeting with Vladamir Putin as mentioned, the President has a North Korea problem to deal with. The White House says, it will not broadcast any next steps. I'm going to for Fareed Zakaria about that and the Putin meeting, next.


[20:42:38] BERMAN: The President faces at least two major challenges this week. He is in Poland right now ahead of the G20 summit in Germany, and that's where he's scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladamir Putin, that has us on Friday. Looming over the whole trip and over the whole country is North Korea's first successful intercontinental ballistic missile test. A lot to talk about with Fareed Zakaria, a host of Fareed Zakaria, GPS.

In some ways, the intercontinental ballistic missile test from North Korea is the first real international crisis the President has had to face. We learned a lot about presidential leadership at moments like these. What do you think we're going to learn about the President in the coming days?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Well, we really don't know, you're absolutely right. And so I think it's fair to say that on the basis of what we know in the past, what you've seen from President Trump is somewhat impulsive, you know, the tweets come immediately in a way that isn't quite disciplined. That's not necessarily all bad, you know, it could be unpredictability is helpful. What worries me about it is, this is one of those cases where the United States actually has very limited leverage.

The United States does not have much of the military option. The South Koreans wouldn't go for it, and they are the battlefield in a sense. And it would cause an enormous configuration. So when you're looking at it diplomatically, you really have to get all your ducks in the row. You've got to get to the Chinese, and they are the absolute key. But you've also got to talk to the South Koreans, the Japanese, the Russians. You know, it's a kind of complicated minute. And in that process, you have to be very consistent.

BERMAN: He is meeting with Vladamir Putin. How important do you think the first impressions that these men make with each other will be and what could be, you know, four or eight-year relationships?

ZAKARIA: My great worry about Donald Trump in this regard is, you know, partly his skill and success, which is he's a good salesman. He's a good negotiator. Clearly in the private sector, if you think about his ability to create his brand and sell it. You know, and if you -- when I met him personally, you get that feeling, you understand why. He's, you know, he's charismatic.

The problem is foreign policy is very rarely just about that personality interface, as he learned I think with the Xi Jinping situation. I think he thought, you know, I give this guy a great welcome in Mar-a-Lago, I give him a great piece of chocolate cake, the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you've ever seen and suddenly China was going to pressure North Korea in a way they hadn't for 25 years. No. China has permanent interests with regard to North Korea that are very hard to move.

[20:45:11] I think, you know, similarly with Putin, the most important thing to remember about Putin is, Putin is above all a Russian nationalist. He believes in following Russia's national interest that he sees and he's very clear about it. He's very defines, he's actually quite intelligent about it. I've always struck when you talk to him, he has a very consistent, very logical way of thinking about things from Russia's point of view.

BERMAN: So the G7 meeting that took place in Italy, the meeting with NATO leaders, controversial, rocky from some perspective. How much of U.S. standing is on the line this week with the G20?

ZAKARIA: I think that there are a number of countries that have begun to say things similar to what Angela Merkel said just I think was yesterday, which is that the United States sees the world very differently than we do. We have to, in a sense, chart our own course. There are other leaders who have made similar kinds of observations. The foreign minister of Canada gave a speech saying it is now up to Canada to defend the liberal international order since the United States is not going to do it.

BERMAN: Do you think we'll have a better sense the other G20 nations, the nations the world will have a better of what America first means by the end of this week?

ZAKARIA: Yes. I think the truth about Trump is, he's pretty transparent, you know, I don't think he's going to go and it's going to be complicated, diplomatic language and, you know, of a kind of minutes. He's going to, he can help himself, he says what he thinks and, you know, he's in those NATO meetings and all he can talk about is you guys don't pay your bills. When he talks to Merkel, he says you didn't pay your bills. You know, you're too tough on paying with us, you don't get a sense that this is a guy who thinks that, but can say wonderful to meet you, madame chancellor, I reaffirm our historic friend and relationship between our two countries. That's not Donald Trump, what you see is what you get.

BERMAN: May be it brings a lot of chocolate cake. Fareed Zakaria. Very big week. Thank you so much.

ZAKARIA: My pleasure.

BERMAN: Coming up for us, 44 states and the District of Columbia saying not so fast to the Trump administration's voter fraud commission. The panel is asking for certain personal information on pretty much every voter in the country. We'll going to hear from one Republican, Secretary of State who says the request is just part of a political game, when "360" continues.


[20:51:18] BERMAN: Almost every state in the union is now refusing to hand over at least some of the voter information to President Trump's election integrity commission, falling into that camp Louisiana's Republican Secretary of State, Tom Schedler the former President of the National Association of Secretaries of State. I spoke with him earlier.


BERMAN: Mr. Secretary, 44 states are refusing to provide at least some type of voter data to the election commission, and your state, Louisiana, is one of them. What exactly are you refusing to provide and why do you have a problem with what has been requested?

TOM SCHEDLER, (R) LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE: OK, John. The data that's available to anyone, myself as a candidate and you as news media is one that we sell, it's called our commercial list. It is an individual's name, address, party affiliation, and the frequency of their vote, not how they voted. The information that has caused the big stir nationally and certainly here in my state was the -- they didn't come out directly, they asked for only the public information available under law, but then they went on to say social security number, mother's maiden name, date of birth. That's the part that I had a heartburn over because, you know, I refused under a federal lawsuit that some time ago with the Obama administration, Eric Holder DOJ, NAACP and the like that very information that they've ultimately backed off on. Matter of fact, I almost got contempt the court for refusing it.

So I'm not refusing to give President Obama anything I didn't give President Trump, anything I didn't do for President Obama. So it's a matter of protecting people's confidentiality, I think there's other ways that we can get assistance from this commission and the federal government.

BERMAN: Mr. Secretary, you do say you think this commission has been politicized. How so?

SCHEDLER: Well, I think it became politicized when, you know, the whole avenue of the loss of the election on the popular vote, just that whole avenue and that there was massive voter fraud. And you know, on that particular issue, John, quite frankly I welcome an investigation because what it's done, whether you're a Democratic secretary of state or Republican secretary of state, the participation rate of voters in this country has been on a downward slide for years.

BERMAN: Well, sure.

SCHEDLER: Certainly when you start questioning the integrity, you start keeping people from the polls.

BERMAN: Sure. We should have more people voting, not fewer people voting. Obviously, it should all be done legally but the question is, you said, it has been politicized in the whole issue of the popular vote. It was President Trump or then President-Elect Trump who questioned whether the election was valid because he said that 3 million, up to 3 million people he argued voted illegally. Have you seen any evidence of that?

SCHEDLER: Well, I haven't seen that in the State of Louisiana. I can't speak for the other 49. But again, John, what I would say is that I have nothing to hide. And to restricting this information, I have nothing to hide. I'm just protecting the sensitive part of the confidential information.

BERMAN: One of the things that some Democrats say, and again the goal here, you just said it, is to have more people vote legally, as many as possible. Some say this is -- this data collection is a step toward voter suppression. Do you see any merit in that argument?

SCHEDLER: Well, no, I do not. You know, that's the argument from the left side, voter suppression. The argument from the right side is voter fraud. When can we get over all of this debate and just get on with the most precious right Americans have to vote. All of this chatter that's been going on from both left and right side, to be fair here, is totally irresponsible and it has done nothing to increase participation.

[20:55:02] BERMAN: As you sit here tonight in closing, just simply yes or no, are you happy with the way that this voter commission has gone about its business so far?

SCHEDLER: I think that procedurally they fumbled the ball coming out of the gate. And quite frankly, if you look at the letter and you read the letter, he does ask strictly for public information available under the state law, but he only yesterday in an interview, I'm speaking of Kris Kobach, my colleague.

BERMAN: Right.

SCHEDLER: I watch him on Fox and your channel. He let this rhetoric go on and on and on about social security number and mother's maiden name when that was a secondary request.


SCHEDLER: But he put a lot of us in a real trick bag, by the way, they handled that coming out of the box. And of course, the rest of its history and now we're all picking up the pieces.

BERMAN: All right. Secretary of State Tom Schedler, we'll let you get back to picking up the pieces. Thank you for joining us tonight.

SCHEDLER: Thank you, John. I appreciate the opportunity.


BERMAN: Up next, more on the rising tension with North Korea and the limited options for dealing with it now that it could be close to deploying long-range missiles. First, though, a sneak peek at a moment when the world may have been a whole lot less serious, but people still found time for an unforgettable soundtrack. CNN's Original Series "The Nineties" which debuts Sunday at 9 p.m. Easter.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight this is a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of my favorite shows up all time aired in that decade.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't talk about the '90s without so many monumental bands. Nirvana gave the record industry a wake-up call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pressure was building up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gangster rap it really starts to take hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a hip-hop tsunami.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the '90s represent so much growth, so much progress, we still had so much farther to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rodney King in 1992 exposed some of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J. was a guy who felt like he was above race.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find the defendant --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Columbine, the bombing in Oklahoma City, the Davidian compound in Waco, something dark is moving in this society.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something is happening outside. The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The promise of a new world order --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush took the loss to Bill Clinton very hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill Clinton was a president who was turning the corner to a different time. There was scandal, scandal, scandal, scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Clinton is christened the comeback kid because he was resilient.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Gates' game plan was world domination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could see the start of this online culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got mail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the equivalent to the industrial revolution, it is the equivalent of electricity, the changes are just so profound.