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Trump And Putin Meet Face-To-Face On Friday; Pentagon: NK Missile "Not One We've Seen Before"; US Officials: NK Missile Classified As "Brand-New"; US Gen: 'Self Restraint' All That's Preventing War with N Korea; Haley: "The World Is On Notice"; Facing Off; Reassessing Relationships; Trump Arrives In Poland; Trump Arrives In Poland Ahead In G20, Putin Meeting; Trump in Europe as Global Flashpoints, Putin Meeting Loom; US-Backed Forces Breach Wall in ISIS Stronghold Raqqa; NYPD Officer Killed In Ambush Attack; Commissioner Officer Was 'Assassinated In An Unprovoked Attack'. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 5, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:01:14] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Facing down a nuclear arm adversary who has over the years intimidated its neighbors, divided its adversaries and bedevilled more than one U.S. president, we'll get to Vladimir Putin in a moment.

President Trump meets with him on Friday. The more immediate concern is the other nuclear armed adversary who has bedevilled U.S. Presidents, Kim Jong-un. Yesterday, North Korea tested a long-range missile capable perhaps of hitting Alaska. Today the diplomatic version of all hell breaking loose as the U.S. convened an emergency session of the UN Security Council convened. The president threw up his hands with China. China and Russia tried to forestall military action against the North and America's top commander on the Korean peninsula fired a verbal warning shot at Kim Jong-un.

The latest from all of it now from CNN's Michelle Kosinski who joins us live from the State Department. And Michelle, where is the U.S. with this crisis right now diplomatically speaking.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: John well, nothing the U.S. has said, and we're talking over the last few years, has made any difference obviously to North Korea. But the U.S. does have this military option. It's been there, it's always an option. North Korea is the reason why the U.S. has these military alliances in the region and keeps working on them, so that is why you see the U.S. now repeatedly put that out there as a threat.

Put out the visuals, the capability right in North Korea's face. The leverage, though, seems to lie with China economically. It is 90% of North Korea's trade. It hasn't been so willing, though, to tighten the screws just yet as the U.S. wants it to do. So that is why today you hear the U.S. not only strongly rebuke North Korea, but issue this warning to other countries, especially China, if they continue to do business with North Korea. The U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley saying today that the world is on notice and the U.S. is willing to follow its own path if necessary. Listen.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: There are illegal missile launch was not only dangerous but reckless and irresponsible. It showed that North Korea does not want to be part of a peaceful world.

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.


KOSINSKI: In this same meeting you heard Russia and China together criticize the U.S. for those kinds of statements and threats, saying that's only making the situation worse. The U.S. response, though, is that nothing is working so it's time to act. Making it very clear that the U.S. will act against other countries. So what we're likely to see in the near term is not the military option, since that is so risky and it is so much of a last resort, but we're likely to see sanctions on other countries and entities doing business with North Korea, a greater military presence in the region and more sanctions on North Korea itself. And the U.S. has been encouraging other countries to try to limit their diplomatic engagement with North Korea. John.

BERMAN: Michelle Kosinski at the State Department for us. Thank you so much.

Digging deeper now into the size and scope of North Korea's missile program. CNN's Tom Foreman has the facts and figures. Tom, what does this test launch tell us about Kim Jong-un's capabilities?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What this tells us, John, is that the North Koreans are going full steam ahead. They are on course to have a record number of missile tests this year, more than a dozen already. And each one is steadily expanding our sense of how far they can probably send some part of their arsenal. The latest one is a real milestone. Analysts saying now for the first time they believe that they would be capable of actually reaching onto U.S. territory somewhere up here in Alaska.

[21:04:58] So let's take a look at this missile and talk about what we're deal with here. This is a life size model of it. Not terribly tall, little more than 50 feet, so it's about as tall as a basketball court is wide. And even if you believe what the North Koreans said about it, it didn't fly that far horizontally, less than 600 miles. So why is everyone so excited? Because of how high it went. The altitude of this thing took it way, way, way above the international space station. And if we believe everything we've seen here, it came back under some sort of control to a splashdown. That speaks an awful lot about their advancements in propulsion and in guidance.

So where do we stand now? In terms of range, we have to give them a green light because they have shown now for the first time they can launch an intercontinental missile of some sort. They'll have to replicate, but yes if they keep going this way they could hit places maybe in Hawaii eventually, maybe in the lower 48 if they keep making progress.

What about accuracy. Now this is a yellow light, a caution light here. They've not yet proven that they can make something fly this far and necessarily hit what it is aiming at. That is also a big hurdle to get over there. And remember, they had some big failures in their missile tests earlier this year as well. And the real stopper, of course, is the last one here. The purpose of an ICBM quite frankly is to carry a nuclear warhead and there is no indication that they have been able to miniaturize a warhead and make it reliable enough to be carried by any of their missiles. But still, consider all of this, put it altogether, and you still have to say they are making progress on all these fronts in a very worrisome way for the rest of the world. John.

BERMAN: Right, Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

So given the military hardware, given the way Kim Jong-un operates and given the state of play and power dynamic in the region, what are the options right now for President Trump? Questions all for, Georgetown University's Victor Cha, former ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns and CNN military analyst, retired air force Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona.

Ambassador, let me start with you. The ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said today, "Time is short, action is required, the world is on notice." What did you hear from that? What are you hearing from the Trump administration?

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. UNDERSECRETARY, POLITICS AFFAIRD: I'm not sure what the Trump administration means by the world is on notice. We are the victim here. We and the South Koreans and Japanese. The North Koreans have done something quite significant technologically but I'm not sure there's an easy fix here for the United States. And we're going to have to take a series of measures designed to put more pressure on them, so that's why you saw the Security Council action, the call for more sanctions.

Certainly President Trump needs to continue to make it absolutely clear that we are committed to the defense of both South Korea and japan. I think he's well within his rights to remonstrate with the Chinese, but we know the Chinese are only going to help so much on this. They won't go as far as we'd like them to go. We have to work on missile defense long term. So a series of things we can do, but there's no quick fix. And it's going to take principled consistent American diplomacy to try to get the North Koreans into a place where they can at least perhaps freeze their nuclear tests and their missile deployments.

BERMAN: Victor, let me ask you the same question a different way, again Nikki Haley says the world is on notice. How does Kim Jong-un take that tonight? In other way I've asked you know is, has anything that the United States has said or done in the last 24 hours deterred North Korea in any way from doing this again?

VICTOR CHA, FORMER DIRECTOR ASIAN AFFAIRS, WH NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, I would say the answer to that question is no. But nothing that this administration or the previous administrations have done have been able to deter North Korean missile testing over the past nine years, North Korea has done well over 75 ballistic missile tests and four nuclear tests. So we haven't been a very successful at deterring these sorts of exhibitions by the North Koreans. Having said that, I do think that this missile test, this ICBM test as well as the treasures reaction that was taken against a Chinese bank last week does provide a platform for the Trump administration to go into the G20 and really put pressure on the Chinese and the Russians to do more. I mean you'll have five permanent members of the Security Council there, their leaders there, so there's an opportunity to try to work quickly on a resolution that would put more sanctions on the regime. So, you know, you always try to make lemonade out of the lemon. And in this case the fact that there also was a treasury action is a shot across the bow to Chinese banks that if they don't cooperate, they could be listed by the treasury department as well, hurt their financial reputation. So, you know, I think they just have to keep working at it.

[21:09:59] BERMAN: You know, Colonel Francona, Ambassador Burns brought up missile defense. People talk about military options in dealing with North Korea and often they're talking about offensive military options. But now that they have tested successfully apparently an ICBM, you know, the defensive options here aren't that great either.

RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, they never have been until we get a viable ballistic missile defense system, we're going to be vulnerable as they continue to develop this ICBM. And looking at their engineering and physics capabilities, it's only a matter of time before they get that warhead for the ICBM and put the west coast of the United States at risk. So the viable -- there are no real viable military options right now. We could launch some sort of strike, a conventional strike against North Korea, go after these facilities. The problem is you have to assume that you're not going to get them all because the Koreans have spent years, decades, burying all of the stuff. They've got bunkers, caves, everything like that. It's a very, very difficult target set.

But -- then you also have to assume that there will be some sort of retaliatory action. And the Koreans have also planned for that for decades. So there's nothing easy about this. We -- the military options we have right now are not good. But if ordered to do them, of course, the Pentagon would do it, but the consequences would be, I think, tragic.

BERMAN: And Victor, you say one of the most alarming things here is that it is more proof of how quickly the North Koreans are advancing with their technology.

CHA: Yes, I really think that since December of 2012 where they were able to put a satellite into orbit, there has been a rapid acceleration in their passing key technical thresholds to field an ICBM with a nuclear warhead that can reach the continental United States. I think they beat every timeline that the experts, at least in the outside community, have come up with to try to determine how fast they have gone. They still have a way to go. There's still certain things that we don't know that they can do in terms of their targeting capability, the re-entry vehicle. There are a variety of things they still have to perfect, but there's no denying that they are on a path that is quite rapid and there's nothing that's stopping them right now.

BERMAN: Colonel Francona, you know, no doubt there will be people that watch this and say I've seen this movie before. North Korea has tested plenty of missiles before. The international community always responds and says, hey, stop that. But what's going to be different this time?

FRANCONA: Well, this time they've actually reached the goal of an ICBM. Now, we don't know the exact range of this, it depends on, you know, which analysis you read. Tut they're getting close. They may be able to reach Alaska, they maybe hit the pacific northwest. It's really immaterial because at some point they're going to have the range to strike the United States. It's just a matter of time.

So this clock is ticking. And where we used to sit back and say well, they're not there yet, they're not there yet, well, they're there and now we have to address it. And of course our missile -- our ballistic missile defenses have not kept up. But we've always said we've got time, we've got time. We're out of time.

BERMAN: Victor Cha, Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Colonel Francona, thanks so much for being with us.

We have plenty more to talk about because there's plenty more on the president's plate. We're going to look closer at the upcoming Trump/Putin meeting, one we are told by the way that has no formal agenda which is in itself pretty notable.

Also, the G20 summit and the question of the president's relationship with long-time allies who have begun reassessing those relationships.


[21:16:34] BERMAN: Few relationships have added more to the planet's survival than the one between the two nuclear super powers. And now, the world is no longer divided between the west and the old soviet empire, the bolts of the atomic scientist has said it's famous doom's day clock closer to midnight than it has been in decades. Part of the reason is Vladimir Putin's determination to reassert Russian power and the challenge of dealing with him. Here's what some President Trump and before that candidate Trump has said about Vladimir Putin.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin who could not have been nicer.

Putin did call me a genius said -- he said I'm the future of the Republican Party. He's off to a good start.

I like him because he called me a genius.

He is really very much of a leader.

He said nice things about me.

I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me. If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him.

It would be nice if we got along. We don't, we don't. But it would be nice.

He could not have been nicer. He was so nice.

If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that's called an asset, not a liability.

I hope we have a fantastic relationship.

I don't love, I don't hate. We'll see how it works. We'll see.


BERMAN: Fast forward to Friday and the meeting in Hamburg. Let's talk about it with Jim Sciutto and David Gergen.

David Gergen, any and every meeting between the leaders of the United States and Russia always fraught with tension, always huge expectations, but here I think they're even higher. You can't overstate how closely people will watch this meeting, what is said and not said. As you sit here tonight, what do you think will happen at this meeting?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not really sure what's going to happen at this meeting. It depends on whether they go off script or not. If they stick to the script, then I think you're going to have the president only press lightly on the question of meddling, it was something many people in the United States think he ought to push very hard. I think he may make a couple of concessions, minor concessions to the Russians, which again will not be greeted well here. The big question is, is he going to get serious cooperation on Syria and ISIS and fighting ISIS? It's not at all clear Putin wants to give in on that. Putin has made big gains in the Middle East.

And then there's also the question of North Korea. Can the Russians help with the Chinese? Can they help with the North Koreans? And I doubt the president is going to get much from this. The big, big issue is going to be whether the president comes out holding his own, or whether he's going to -- Putin will manage to shove him around and whether in fact Donald Trump holds himself in check, sticks with the talking points, keeps pressing ahead, makes some small progress but not big headlines. BERMAN: Jim, on the issue of election meddling, which David just brought up there, aside from whatever domestic political concerns he might have or personal issues he might have with the Russian meddling story, is there any geopolitical strategic reason not to bring it up? From everyone I've spoken to, the one thing that President Putin responds to is strength.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Right. Listen, I mean, you hear from Democrats and Republicans, bipartisan concern not just about Russian meddling in the 2016 election but by current probing attacks by Russian hackers setting up for possible interference in 2018 and 2020. It's not an old issue, it's a current issue, it is a future issue. And from them -- and again, it's bipartisan. They want further pushback against Russia.

[21:20:03] BERMAN: David Gergen, you know, Donald Trump, he's used to meetings. He's used to meeting with cagey people over the course of his business career and he's won many of them over. He's a good negotiator. You know, he is a showman. Vladimir Putin isn't just a Russian leader though. He's a former head of Russia intelligence. This guy's on a different level than the characters that President Trump has met before. Is he ready for it?

GERGEN: You're absolutely right that Vladimir Putin represents the big leagues. And President Trump, in terms of international affairs, public international security has not been playing in the big leagues. And Vladimir Putin has a strategy, he has a game plan that he's been pursuing with considerable success, I might add. It's not at all clear that Donald Trump has a game plan going into this meeting. So it is -- it would be easy to understand why this could not go well, but on the other hand this will appeal to Trump that he will not -- Trump doesn't like to lose.

And I think he will push back in some degree. I don't think on the meddling, but I think he'll push back on some other things.

What you would fear as an American is the first kind of meeting Jack Kennedy had when he went overseas and met with Khrushchev and it was in Vienna way back in 1961 and Khrushchev just beat him up in the meeting. Kennedy left there saying, telling Scotty Reston of the New York Times, we've got to find a way to get back at him and I think we need to do it in Vietnam. It was the roots of Vietnam pushing back. So these can be very consequential meetings.

BERMAN: You know, Jim, one of the things that's interesting and you know this from covering this is after this meeting, there will be the U.S. readout and then there will be the Russian readout. We're going to hear from both sides about what happened on the inside. It will be really interesting to see how much these two versions align.

SCUITTO: No question it will be. You'd expect differences. What's interesting is that the U.S. side has not been particularly forth coming with details about meetings that Trump has given in the past. Oftentimes some of those details leak out from the other side, if it's not Russia, from U.S. allies, et cetera, other leaders, those kinds of calls. It is interesting that this is a formal bilat. Because of that you will have no takers in the meeting. You will have a whole host of record keeping that wouldn't be the case if it was just a pull-aside on the sidelines of the G20 meetings so that gives you more opportunities to actually chronicle what happens inside that room.

GERGEN: I just want to say having been in bilaterals with -- between the United States and Russia with the heads of state of each country, the fact that it's a bilateral is more formal, it's a safer venue for the president. It's not an open-ended conversation. They'll sort of have three or four things on the agenda. And I think the White House is trying to play this one safe as best we can tell.

BERMAN: David Gergen, Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.

SCUITTO: Thank you.

GERGEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Now, in addition to Russia and North Korea, there's everything else the president has ahead of him on this trip. More on what's on the schedule and what's at stake, next.


[21:26:55] BERMAN: So you've heard correspondents and guests lay it out all night, what a big week this is for the president of the G20 Summit, the meeting with Vladimir Putin, China, the allies, global challenges and crises. You name it, we've got it. Before we take it all up with the panel, a quick roundup from CNN's Sara Murray.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump leaving the White House behind as he embarks on his second overseas trip and faces a new round of challenges on the world stage. The most vexing issue may prove to be growing tensions with North Korea. Trump indicated last week he's prepared to take a tougher line with Kim Jong-un.

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.

MURRAY (voice-over): And that was before North Korea's latest missile test, all but ensuring the issue will be a central focus in Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 Summit in Germany. While the leaders of the world's two largest economies appeared to hit it off at an April summit in Mar-a-Lago --

TRUMP: The relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding.

MURRAY (voice-over): -- the relationship has since cooled, as Trump grows impatient with China for failing to significantly step up pressure on North Korea. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, "Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us, but we had to give it a try."

The dynamic between China and North Korea is just one of the sensitive issues Trump will face abroad. Trump has irked some European allies by withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, but also for failing to offer a full-throated endorsement of Article V, NATO's mutual defense pledge on his last overseas trip. Even putting allies like Germany on edge.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I have experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.

MURRAY (voice-over): But before Trump heads to Germany for the G20, he'll first stop in Poland where eastern European leaders are sure to brief Trump on the ongoing threat from Russia in the Balkans and Ukraine. That summit here in Poland coming ahead of Trump's highly anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. All eyes will be on whether Trump keeps up the warm tone he used toward Russia on the campaign.

TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia.

MURRAY (voice-over): Or whether he surprises even some of his own advisers by taking a tougher line with Putin.


MURRAY: Now, President Trump's national security advisers say there's really no set agenda for this formal bilateral meeting with Putin. They say it's really up to President Trump to decide what he wants to bring up, but of course everyone will be watching to see if he does bring up Russians meddling in the U.S. election in 2016. Back to you, John.

BERMAN: All right, Sara Murray, thanks so much.

[21:30:00] Lots to discuss tonight with our political panel. With me, Alex Burns, Matt Lewis, Kirsten Powers, Margaret Hoover, Steve Israel, Scott Jennings, an all-star group of people here. Thanks so much.

Kirsten Powers, first toy you. A big week. We've been talking about it all night. What do you expect we will learn about President Trump this week?

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY COLUMNIST: Well, I don't know. I mean I think he's coming into this after obviously the first meeting with the European leaders not going very well. He's somewhat isolated. And so the question is, is he going to go there and continue to remain isolated or is he going to do something to try to, you know, soothe the relationships a little bit and try to get, you know -- not be so on the outs with, I think, our allies? Because you heard Angela Merkel there basically saying, you know, we don't have the kind of relationship with the United States we used to have, and I think they're at a point where they're about ready to start looking other places for people to partner with.

BERMAN: You know, Alex, that's a great point. I mean, all of us, we like being around people who like us. President Trump is about to go somewhere where those people might be few and far between. It might be hard to find them right now, even though these are allegedly some of, you know, America's great allies there. How do you think that will color, you know, how he tries to navigate it?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and that's part of what makes our Republicans, including Republicans who are supportive of the president, nervous about his meeting with Vladimir Putin. That of all the leaders he is going to be meeting with this week, Putin is probably the one who has been most favorable to President Trump in his public comments. And it's also, you know, President Trump is not a tremendously careful improviser.

And so when he's in a situation with the other G20 leaders, including a number of European leaders like Angela Merkel, who have their own home country politics to think about, that do not tend to point them towards accommodation with Donald Trump, it's not clear that he's terribly at ease in navigating that kind of situation.

BERMAN: You know, Scott Jennings, you know, Alex just mentioned Republicans are nervous. Well, we're joined by a Republican tonight, Scott Jennings. It's great to have you here with us tonight.

When you look at this, one of the things "The New York Times" is reporting that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump might talk about their, you know, their shared disdain for the media. Well, they could talk about that or what I consider to be a lay-up, the president could bring up Russian election meddling. He can bring it up right now and that would pass, you know, a fairly low bar for a lot of people watching this meeting. Why not just do that, Scott?

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSITANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: He could bring it up. What good would it do to say, hey, stop doing that. Vladimir Putin will deny it and we'll go on about our business and the Russians will go on and do what they do which is meddle in elections around the world.

Look, they know that we know and they know that most likely we're going to respond to it in some way in the future. The pressing issues that I think the American people care about right now, the Syrian issue has not gone away, this North Korean issue is dominating the news today. President Trump in the past has shown that he can rise to the occasion on some of these foreign stages. He did it a couple of times during the campaign. He's done it in the first six months as president. I think the American people want to see a strong American response to these international issues and I think he's going to give it to us.

BERMAN: There are plenty of Americans who think an international issue is Russian election hacking and they'd like to see a strong response to that also.

Congressman Israel, it's interesting his last foreign trip he went to the Middle East and then to Europe as well, he was a bit of a respite from, you know, the Russian crisis here in the United States and all the questions about the election, various investigations and whatnot. Do you think he will escape that this time?

STEVE ISRAEL, (D) FORMER NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN: Well, it remains to be seen. Look, any time a president arrives on the international stage, you want that president to be projecting a foreign policy that is clear, consistent and credible. This president arrives at the G20 lacking all three.

Last time he went to the NATO Summit, he, as we just heard, alienated our allies. He wouldn't endorse Article V, the entire premise of collective defense. He complained about the cost of the alliance. On North Korea, the Trump doctrine, as candidate was, we'll let China take care of this for us. Today he did a tweet that essentially admits the failure of that policy. When a president arrives at a summit, you want that president to command respect and even awe. Not the scratching of heads and the raising of eyebrows.

BERMAN: Well, look, the stop in Poland may be an answer to the Article V question right there. He's going to Poland, that sends a message that he's standing with NATO right there. As for North Korea, what the White House says is that, you know what, it was worth a try with China. You know, they had the right to do that. They say the beginning of the administration, it didn't work and now they're going to try something else.

Matt Lewis, you know, that meeting, it was really a tale of two trips when he went to the Middle East and then to Europe. By the time he got to Europe, that's when you saw the questions, you know, the pictures of the president pushing aside, you know, the leader of Montenegro on other things. This time just the weight of the issues seem so great between North Korea and in Syria and Ukraine and, you know, trying to get back with the other European leaders that maybe those, you know, less consequential things will drift to the side.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, Donald Trump inherited a very dangerous world. He has not done a terrific job with it, but he inherited it. And, look, I think a ton of problems, right? But to me it's Russia.

[21:35:00] I think Russia is the key here. And I even think Russia is the key when it comes to Article V, right? So I don't think that Donald Trump needs to reassure Germany so much as he needs to reassure Vladimir Putin that aggression against NATO members will be greeted swiftly. And I think that's the key. I think that George W. Bush looked Vladimir Putin, the KGB agent in the eye, and saw his soul. And I think that Barack Obama said there was a red line and he allowed it to be trampled. And I think Vladimir Putin said Barack Obama can be pushed around. I don't think we want our president pushed around by this guy. I think that's the big thing. That's what we need to do. That's what Donald Trump needs to have come out of this.

BERMAN: So he's got to prove that to Vladimir Putin.

LEWIS: Absolutely.

BERMAN: He may need to prove that to the other G20 leaders, certainly the NATO leaders.

LEWIS: It's about machismo. That's more important than any deals he's going to cut.

BERMAN: So handshaking, frowns, smiles and the like. Margaret Hoover, there's an audience there, no questions, you know, that a national audience but also a domestic audience for President Trump here. What do you think he needs to do for the domestic audience?

MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: He needs to appear strong and in command of foreign policy. And the challenge with Donald Trump domestically is it we know it reminds me of this line that Roger Ailes has, you are the message, right. For Trump, he is the message, he is the policy. It is all about his ego. And so it's important to keep in mind that Vladimir Putin has bested two previous American presidents, one that I worked for and President Obama. And he is a high -- he is excellent in the spy craft of sizing up his opponents and then figuring out how to exploit their weaknesses and their strengths against them.

BERMAN: What about the America first message? How much of the Steve Bannon message will he bring with him, do you think?

HOOVER: I think with Vladimir Putin he's not going to lead with that, right? That's what he does in Warsaw. I mean this is what he has in common with the Polish government but not what he has in common with Vladimir Putin. With Vladimir Putin what he's convinced the American base of is that Russia should be our friend. And so I highly doubt he mentions anything about the election. I think he wants to try to build a friendship or relationship but he has to risk looking like he's being duped like previous presidents who he said he would be better then.

BERMAN: Alex Burns, I saw you jumping out of your chair a moment ago.

BURNS: Yes, no -- I think I mean Margaret well largely said what I wanted to say. But the part of the basic proposition that President Trump sold the American people was that if only we had a president who had a clue. If only we had a president who knew how to make a deal and work with people who we have shared interests with, we would knock off these problems one after another, right? He's acknowledged that that has not really panned out with North Korea and China. And in a lot of ways, I think the biggest test of encountering Vladimir Putin, it's not can you show him that you're tough in the way that a conventional American president is tough, it's can you convert this sales job that you've made that, you know, a nicer, warmer, more cooperative relationship with Russia will get results into actual results. If he came back from the trip able to say, yes, I'm softer on Russia than my predecessors and here's what we have to show for it, that would be a huge change for him because so far he has no results to show for all that softness. And Congressman Israel has a lot of easy attack lines, you know, to use for his side.

BERMAN: And we heard them moments ago. Kirsten Powers, you know, quick closing thought to you. NATO aside, Russian security aside, anything he could give to the European leaders who are really mad about the Paris climate accord and the U.S. withdrawal?

POWERS: Well, I mean the problem is he's at odds with them on a lot of important issues and so, you know, I don't know -- he doesn't want to substantively -- he doesn't agree with them on climate change. He doesn't agree with them on migration. You know, and I think with climate change, they're ready to wash their hands of him at this point and just start working with other countries.

BERMAN: Thanks, guys. So much to watch over the next few days to understand (ph) week here.

Up next, a major milestone in the fight against ISIS. Tonight coalition-backed forces are pushing further into Raqqa and Syria completely surrounding ISIS fighters. The latest on the battle when 360 continues.


[21:42:53] BERMAN: A critical moment tonight in the fight against ISIS. U.S.-backed forces are closing in on the terror group's last two major cities. Only a section of Mosul in Iraq is still under ISIS control and ISIS fighters are now surrounded in their self-described capital, Raqqa in Syria. And not too far from there is where we find CNN'S Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): I'm about 40 miles away from Raqqa City itself and how things have changed since we were here 18 months ago. This used to be the front line but now ISIS surrounded entirely, cordoned off in what they still called the capital of their self-declared caliphate.

Coalition backing the Syrian, Kurdish and Arab fighters behind me here and moving into remarkably, they said in the last 48 hours, the old city area of Raqqa itself, pushing through the substantial wall around it using air strikes and trying to bypass the mines and defensive positions the ISIS have put in place to try and slow this attack down. It seems they're moving very fast indeed. We've seen American military vehicles moving around here at a reasonable frequency. This fight is moving fast and it's the last population center ISIS really control because they're pretty much days away from losing the largest city they ever had, which was Mosul in Iraq.

There's literally a matter of hundreds of meters now for Iraqi Special Forces to clear. They smell victory, but it's pretty far away because the people they're facing have suicide bombers with civilians being used as human shields. A very difficult task there, but still a difficult task later after that when they try and rebuild. Iraq fractured as a society between the Sunni ethnic group that backed ISIS, many of them, and the Shia that dominate the military and the government. They need healing so they could rebuild.

And here in Syria too, the broader question of what happens when Raqqa is finally liberated of ISIS, who rebuilds it, who moves in. Not really answered satisfactorily. The U.S. have a plan to move in quickly and try to get things going but it probably haven't got the budget or patience to stick it out until the end and the Syrian regime is close by with an eye on getting back as much territory as it possibly can.


BERMAN: Our Nick Paton Walsh reporting for us from outside Raqqa in Syria. A lot to discuss with CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr and CNN Investigative Reporter for Internation Affairs Michael Weiss, co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror."

[21:45:06] Barbara, if or when ISIS does lose control of Raqqa and Mosul, what kind of an effect will that have on its overall strength?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it takes away one of its biggest propaganda values to radical people around the world, people who radicalize. It can no longer really claim it's an Islamic state. It takes away their state. But they still have considerable propaganda value. People get inspired by them. They can still recruit overseas potentially. They can still inspire terrorist lone-wolf attacks, if you will, in Europe. We're already seeing that, of course, in recent weeks and months.

So it takes away sort of their military state in Iraq and Syria, but it doesn't take away the fact that they can still be a potent force. They can be a guerrilla movement essentially in many places in the world.

BERMAN: Michael, is ISIS still a caliphate if it has no real territory under its control?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: No. I mean it wasn't a caliphate to begin with, even when it had Raqqa and Mosul and, you know, dozens of other population centers. I mean, but Barbara is right. Look, we've been at war with this organization under its various incarnations for 14 years.

Leon Panetta stated it very well when he said this is going to be a 30 years war. If anything, I think he undershot the bar. I think it's going to take much longer than that. They have a very strong ideology. They are changing and evolving as they have done throughout the course of their history into something now that is actually not all that Arab in composition. I mean, the trend that I've been noticing for the better part of two years is what I would call the Europeanization of ISIS. You see a lot of people obviously from western European countries, Germany, Britain, Belgium, France coming over. They don't have a word of Arabic, you know, to speak.

And also the more prominent and I would say potent phenomenon, former members of the Soviet Republics, Russian-speaking jihadists, many of them who had served in the country's military, in some instances in counterterrorism, strike forces ironically enough, who are battle hardened, well trained, and considered the worst of the worst in terms of their zealotry and their enthusiasm for holy war. A lot of these guys are going to end up back in Europe or, you know, western countries and they blend in. They're whites. They don't look Arab, they're not (inaudible) they're not the people that are going to be pulled out of lines in international airports.

ISIS has been preparing for the loss of its caliphate even before it established its so-called caliphate. So let's not undercut -- underestimate the resiliency of this organization.

BERMAN: So Barbara, what about that? U.S. officials, intelligence officials, are they preparing for what could be an influx of trained fighters at this point who had been in Syria and Iraq but now may be returning to Europe or even United States?

STARR: Well, possibly an influx but also the so-called homegrown. People who are radicalized where they live, radicalized online. You know, we're shifting very much into a cyber movement here. And think of it this way. Donald Trump campaigned that he would get rid of ISIS by, paraphrasing the president, bombing the heck out of them. Well, an F-16 doesn't do much good when you have terrorists walk into an airport with suitcase bombs in Europe. An F-16 does you absolutely no good. So the U.S., the world, has to prepare for that. It's a very different circumstance. It's a very different set of threats that's really emerging now.

BERMAN: Well what kind of a step, Michael, to wrap it up? How significant of a step will it be in the longer-term battle against ISIS if or when these cities fall?

WEISS: Well, let's put it this way, John. If the loss of a population center meant the death knell for ISIS or Al-Qaeda in Iraq, as it was formerly known, it should have been destroyed in 2004 during the first battle of Fallujah, then again during the second battle of Fallujah, and then again when it first took and lost the city of Mosul.

So, this is a sort of, you know, my way of saying, we've seen this movie before. And as I say, just because they lose ground, just because they're caliphate shrinks, does not mean that they are still not a lethal and long-term deadly insurgency. I mean, this is the -- this is just the, you know, their bread and butter is being -- is resorting to guerrilla warfare. It's not governance, it's not administrative services, it's not all of the things that I've spent the last four years writing about. It's being a terrorist organization the way that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had founded it as.

BERMAN: Michael Weiss, Barbara Starr, one step but a lot more to go. Appreciate it.

Up next, the New York City police officer shot and killed while sitting in a marked van. Why the police commissioner is calling this an assassination, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:53:32] BERMAN: Earlier this morning, a New York City police officer with 12 years on the job and three children at home was shot and killed, what the police commissioner is calling an assassination. Police killed the suspected gunman after he fled the scene. CNN'S Brynn Gingras has the latest from the Bronx.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Heartbreaking pleas for help coming from an NYPD officer after he witnessed his partner getting shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My partner's shot.

GINGRASS (voice-over): Authorities say 34-year-old Alexander Bonds walked up to these policemen and fired through the window, striking Officer Miosotis Familia in the head. On Twitter, the police commissioner called the killing an assassination.

COMM. JAMES O'NEILL, NEW YORK CITY POLICE: We are conducting an extensive search video at this time. Based on what we know right now, it is clear this was an unprovoked attack on police officers.

GINGRASS (voice-over): Officers in the nearby unit tracked down Bonds just a block away and shot and killed him after he pulled out this gun, according to police. A police source close to the investigation says, the revolver was stolen in West Virginia in 2013. Bonds had previously been sentenced to eight years in prison for a 2005 robbery in Syracuse, New York, according to the local district attorney.

It's unclear why he targeted police but Familia and her partner were stationed in that neighborhood in the effort to deter a recent gang violence. Familia was 48 years old and a mother of three. Her family, understandably grieving and in shock.

[21:55:05] Devastated, said her brother-in-law. A neighbor described Familia as a happy person. The Bronx native served in the NYPD for 12 years. The killing is tragically similar to the 2014 ambush of two NYPD officers both fatally shot in their patrol car in Brooklyn. At this precinct house where Familia worked, flowers and notes covered the doorstep. By the afternoon, the police commissioner and mayor visited the squad. Officers hugged, others joined in prayer.

BILL DE BLASIO, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: She was on duty serving the city, protecting people, doing what she believed in and doing the job she loves.


GINGRASS: Now at this point tonight, it is still unclear why Bonds carried out this killing. We do know that detectives were at his home here in the Bronx talking to family members. We also know that they've been combing through several of the social media sites and they have found some rants against the police, also many anti- government statements, all part of this ongoing investigation. John.

BERMAN: All right. Brynn Gingras from the Bronx, thanks so much. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: Thanks for watching "360." Time now to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.

[22:00:03] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This right here, this is the kind of moment that could make or break a presidency. And it could change history.

This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon.