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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Putin to Meet With Trump; North Korea Nuclear Fears; Trump Arrives in Poland Before G20 & Putin Meeting in Germany. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired July 5, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Is the U.S. running out of options with North Korea?
THE LEAD starts right now.
Brand new, U.S. intel official now saying the missile North Korea launched through busy commercial airspace and it's something they had never seen before from Kim Jong-un, as the U.S. fires back warnings.
And breaking news. President Trump landing in Europe this hour for a key summit and the most anticipated meeting of his presidency. Will he confront Vladimir Putin over Russian hack attacks during the 2016 race?
Plus, the chilling emergency call from right inside the car after a New York City police officer and mother of three is killed in what police are calling an assassination.
Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper.
We begin today with our world lead and new alarming details on North Korea's first ever intercontinental ballistic missile launch. U.S. officials are telling CNN the missile was brand-new and hadn't been seen before and with the potential of possibly reaching Alaska.
At this hour, the U.N. Security Council is holding an emergency meeting, and just moments ago, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley sent a stern warning to North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The nature of the North Korean regime is clear. Only the scale of the damage it does could become different. That's why yesterday's escalation is so alarming.
The North Korean regime openly states that its missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, South Korea, and Japan. And now it has greater capacity to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I want to bring in Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
Barbara, how concerned are U.S. officials about this new missile?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Pamela, it may have been just a test by the North Korea regime, but new information tonight about the threat it could pose to all of us.
STARR (voice-over): Dueling North Korean videos, first, North Korea showing the world its new intercontinental ballistic missile, then hours later, a U.S. and South Korean show of force, holding a drill, firing missiles that could destroy North Korean targets.
The Pentagon warning even the test of the North Korean missile poses new dangers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This missile flew through busy airspace used by commercial airliners. It flew through space. It landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone in an area that is used by commercial and fishing vessels, all of this completely uncoordinated.
STARR: There is an internal debate within U.S. and allied circles about whether this never-before-seen missile really shows a North Korean capability to hit a target 3,400 miles away, the definition of intercontinental range.
The current calculation is it's right on the edge of being able to go that far, but would need extensive improvements, exactly what Defense Secretary James Mattis recently said would not be allowed.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Is it the policy of the Trump administration to deny North Korea the capability of building an ICBM that can hit the American homeland with a nuclear weapon on top? Is that the policy?
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Yes, it is, Senator Graham.
STARR: U.S. commanders have updated options for President Trump for a rapid military response to North Korean provocations, a likelihood that had Russia's foreign minister issuing a blunt warning.
SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): For Russia and China, it is absolutely clear that any attempts to justify the military solution using the Security Council resolution as a pretext are not acceptable.
STARR: Meanwhile, South Korea showing its own graphic video simulating a response to a North Korean attack, which experts believe is a strong possibility if the U.S. were to strike.
BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Some have advocated that there be a military strike to prevent North Korea from completing development of an ICBM, but that kind of strike would escalate the likelihood, or at least the potential, of an all-out war on the peninsula. (END VIDEOTAPE)
STARR: And, as always, the notion of trying to strike all of North Korea's weapon sites at once before they could strike back, that remains a very significant challenge for the U.S. military -- Pamela.
BROWN: It's clear there is no easy option here. Barbara Starr, thank you very much for that.
Any moment now, we're going to see President Trump arrive in Warsaw, Poland. This is his second trip to Europe in six weeks, as North Korea pushes the limits. Russia is now signaling its willingness to work with the U.S. on another ongoing conflict, the civil war in Syria.
But will President Trump bring up Russian meddling in the U.S. elections in his first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin now just two days away? That is the big question.
I want to bring in CNN's Sara Murray. She is traveling with the president. She is live right now for us in Warsaw.
Sara, what kind of reception do we expect President Trump to get there?
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, we are certainly expecting a warm reception for him here in Poland, so much so that some of the Polish people are actually being offered free busing so they could come into Warsaw from other parts of the country to see President Trump's speech.
This is after the Polish president made quite a to-do about the fact that President Trump would be visiting here before he visits Germany or France, other key allies. But that warm reception certainly is not enough to mask some of the complex diplomatic problems that will plague President Trump on this visit.
MURRAY (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.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to do very well.
MURRAY: 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: 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: ... 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 believed 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."
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 5, 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 can 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: But before Trump heads to Germany for the G20, he will first stop in Poland, where Eastern European leaders are sure to brief Trump on the ongoing threat to Russia in the Balkans and Ukraine.
That summit in Poland coming ahead of President 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: Or whether he surprises even some of his own advisers by taking a tougher line with Putin.
MURRAY: The president's adviser have said there is no real agenda going into this meeting with Putin. It all depends on what President Trump wants to talk about.
A number of them have said they don't necessarily expect the president to bring up Russian election meddling, but, of course, this is President Trump, so he could always call an audible and choose to do so -- Pam.
BROWN: That's right. You never really know. All right, Sara Murray, thank you very much.
With Kim Jong-un refusing to negotiate, what options are left for President Trump? We're going to talk about that up next.
BROWN: And we are back with our politics lead.
Moments ago, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley threatened to use force against North Korea as President Trump is about to land in Europe for his second overseas trip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must. But we prefer not to have to go in that direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: All right.
I want to bring in my panel now. Lots to discuss today.
And I want to turn first to you, Admiral Kirby, because we just heard what Nikki Haley had to say. And the question is, what military option exists that would not escalate things to the point where there would be widespread carnage, given North Korea's proximity to South Korea and Japan?
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, bear in mind that the proper use of military force in this case would be to actually have to defend, knowing that you have to do something to preempt an immediate launch to defend your allies and partners or our homeland not necessarily more strategic long-term use.
Number two, there are a range of military options short of open conflict that can be used. You saw one of them yesterday, when we did this joint exercise, this missile exercise, which was an offensive, straight capability exercise with the Republic of Korea. That's potent.
We also can do shows of force. You can fly a bomber over them.
BROWN: Potent, but we have done these things before and it clearly is not stopping Kim Jong-un from moving forward with the program, nuclear weapons program.
KIRBY: No, they have not deterred him from moving forward. That's why there are no great military options to be had. That's why it's been so difficult.
BROWN: Right. KIRBY: The real answer is, look, he's not going to negotiate these
The only way to get this to happen is to find a way to sit down with him that he can find palatable, but it's not going to be shows of military action.
BROWN: And on that note, Jason, you go back to January. Right before taking office, President Trump declared that North Korea would not get an ICBM capable of reaching the mainland.
And it looks as though we could be passing that point, given the test yesterday. Do you think that President Trump overestimated his ability to deter the North Koreans from pursuing their nuclear weapons program?
JASON MILLER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think there may have been a little overestimating on what our allies or what some of the other folks who could be affected by this might do to help step up to stop it. Clearly, that has not happened.
[18:15:00] We have not seen the cooperation from the Chinese like we'd like to see. I think the president will be looking to try to get some more cooperation from Russia when he sits down with Putin on Friday. Obviously, I think the topics of North Korea and Syria will be front and center on this.
But, look, this is very serious. I was glad to hear the tougher words from Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, today. I think we are unfortunately moving in a direction where things are starting to escalate. But here's the bottom line: they might be getting close with an ICBM, but we can't let them get to the point where it could hit U.S. soil.
BROWN: Right, and that is the big sort of quandary, how do you prevent that from ever happening?
Robin, when you look at what's happened in the last seven months, North Korea has launched, I believe t 11 tests? It's launched 17 missiles during 11 tests. That's a lot more than his father ever did, his grandfather ever did. Do you think that Kim Jong-un is trying to taunt President Trump and sort of test his mettle and resolve?
ROBIN WRIGHT, JOINT FELLOW, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE: Well, I think with each generation of North Korean leadership, it's become tougher and tougher. They've become more erratic, more paranoid, more cultish, insular. It's become increasingly difficult to figure out a compromise.
I was with North Korea with Madeleine Albright when she made her effort to deal with the father of the current leader. And, you know, there was some hope that there was the possibility of dialogue. It's much harder to see how it happened with this guy, but at the same time, military force is not an attractive option.
And at the end of the day, we're probably going to have to figure out some way to sit down and talk. There is no other way. The problem is, it's very hard to see how you get to the point that both sides are willing to sit at a table together when we're engaged in these kind of psychological war games.
BROWN: Right. And just as you're talking, we're seeing Air Force One land there in Warsaw, Poland. The president there, and then go to Hamburg, Germany, of course, for the G20 Summit. Certainly, a big week for him particularly as he is dealing with this North Korea threat, this crisis, in a sense.
And, you know, Robin pointed out, Josh, this idea of going to the negotiation table and having a discussion. North Korea, as we've heard, has said -- Kim Jong-un has said he's not interested in doing that.
How could -- how could that be possible? How would you be able to bring North Korea to the table, and would that even be a worthwhile pursuit?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think everybody understands we're going to have to sit down with the North Koreans. The question is under what terms, OK? The strategy, the Trump administration strategy, which I think a rational one, is to ramp up the pressure and then engage, right? It's maximum pressure. We're not at maximum pressure, we're about medium pressure.
So, we're going to see what maximum pressure looks like. If you watched that United Nations Security Council meeting, it was clear, the Russians and the Chinese are not onboard, all right? We're not going to strike North Korea. That would result in the death of 10 million South Koreans. That's just not going to happen.
So, we're going to sit down with them and they're not to sit down with us and we're going to have to negotiate. And we're not going to get everything that we want. They're not going to get everything that they want. First, we've got to go through these exercises, see what the pressure can yield. And when we get the best terms that we possibly can, that's when the negotiations begin.
BROWN: When you look back, Admiral, of course, you were spokesperson for the Pentagon, for the State Department. Before now, do you think that the Obama administration did enough in dealing with this threat from North Korea?
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think there was an awful lot of effort applied to this over the course of eight years. Obviously, it didn't succeed in getting him to give up his nuclear program. But it goes well before. Their pursuit of these types of capabilities before President Obama was in office. Bush 43 tried it, Clinton tried it, and they have just been moving inexorably to this capability and where they are now.
And so, you have to wonder, when do you get to a point where you just have to acknowledge the obvious? That they are a nuclear-armed state and then deal with them from that, sort of start fresh from that piece of paper -- BROWN: Right.
KIRBY: -- and maybe that's a way, to Josh's point, to find a way to get them to the table, because right now, under the rubric that they're working, there's no way they're going to come to the table.
BROWN: Right. And what's the incentive? Exactly. What is the incentive? Because North Korea looks at his nuclear program and Kim Jong-un looks at it as a protection of his dynasty.
KIRBY: That's right.
BROWN: This is -- this is the way to control policy on that peninsula, and, of course, as we know, Jason, the president -- you again were looking at the picture again of President Trump just landing in Warsaw, Poland, he had sort of leaned on China to help with this, to help put pressure on North Korea. It seems like he sort of threw in the towel at that. If we look at a tweet from just this morning, he tweeted: Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with U.S., but we had to give it a try.
This data came out in April at the time when he was still trying to get China to help. So, why? Why is he giving up now?
MILLER: Well, I think one of the things that's important to keep in mind is that, the president's cabinet secretaries. He probably spent more time with Rex Tillerson than any other cabinet secretary, and I think the president's in pretty strong coordination with Secretary Tillerson, and I think they probably have talked about this and have a strategy and thinking through how they want to approach this with the Chinese.
[16:20:05] It's clear the olive branch that has been extended previously hasn't been working. Obviously, they're trying a different tactic here. But I would imagine there are a number of behind the scenes meetings that will be happening later this week at the G20 and I'm sure the administration is still pushing forward with this. What kind of cooperation we're going to get, we don't know yet.
BROWN: Go ahead.
ROGIN: There's another statistic. The Russians have been increasing their trade with the North Koreans, OK? So, there's a reality here. The Chinese and the Russians are intent on thwarting U.S. policy in North Korea. That's as important to them as anything else. Sure, they want a denuclearized Korean peninsula. But mostly, they want to stop us from having control over that region. So, once we acknowledge --
BROWN: You saw the statements yesterday from the two leaders.
ROGIN: Exactly. And today during the Security Council meeting.
BROWN: Right. ROGIN: So, OK, sure, we had to try. OK, we tried. We failed. Now,
we've got to come up with a policy that acknowledges to the fact that China and Russia want different things. They have different goals, different objectives. If we can internalize that, then we can come up with a new policy that makes some sense.
WRIGHT: We are never going to get to the negotiating table without China. There is no other leverage that anyone has over the North Koreans. And to think -- I mean, what's so striking about these tweets is how undiplomatic they are, how dismissive they are, how utterly insulting they are to the Chinese.
And, remember, this whole idea of 40 percent increase in trade was through when the two men in Florida.
WRIGHT: This is not something new.
WRIGHT: So, this is not going to go down well with very face- conscious Chinese, and the idea of insulting them and just dismissing it in 140 characters and say, well, they didn't do their job, is not going to be conducive. This is only throwing -- you know, fueling the fire even more, and that's the danger that we're going to -- this is going to get far worse before it gets any better.
KIRBY: Not to forget that we also have a spate of other issues with China that we're grappling with. I mean, there's tensions in the South China Sea, there's cyber issues, there's space issues. So, this is why President Obama struggled with this, particularly with China's influence, because, you know, you can push only so far. We need the Chinese on so many other issues.
KIRBY: We don't want to escalate the bilateral relationship in places that we're not trying to --
BROWN: It's a delicate dance. And then today --
WRIGHT: He's going to bully everybody. That's just it, we're bullying, you know, whether it's the Europeans on climate change, the Chinese. This is -- and it may even be with Mr. Putin on Friday. But this is the time that the administration needs to kind of play the diplomatic game and that's something that President Trump has not learned how to do yet.
BROWN: And it's really an opportunity for him to flex his diplomatic muscles as he goes to the g20 summit. As we see here, Air Force One. We expect him to be coming down the stair shortly there in Warsaw, Poland. So, this is a beginning of a big trip for him, Josh.
ROGIN: Sure. He's got a lot of things on his agenda. He's got Poland. That should be a good meeting, right? BROWN: Right.
ROGIN: We're focusing on Eastern Europe. They're spending 2 percent on the NATO defense. That's a good thing. They want to buy U.S. energy. That's a good thing. They've got a nationalist leader who doesn't like refugees. Trump and that guy should get along pretty well.
So, that should be an easy one. The tough one is then the meeting with Putin and Germany, and that's going to be a big test, all right? We know they're preparing, we know that they've got an agenda. They've made it into a form of bilateral meeting. They're taking it seriously.
But nobody knows what President Trump will do when he gets into that meeting. You don't know. I don't know. You don't know. And anything could happen.
And there is a risk there. If it goes bad, it goes really bad. Not just for the Trump administration.
BROWN: What do you think, Jason? What do you think he needs to do in this meeting?
MILLER: Well, I think he needs to be very forward looking. He needs to talk about the issues that are right in front us, talking about North Korea, Syria, ISIS. I think what the president shouldn't do is anything in the past or talking about the election or trying to appease any of the election denier folks who are out there and talk about what is right in front of us, which is North Korea.
We have to get more buy-in from the Russians and we have to try to find a way to get more buy-in from the Chinese. I think it's smart for the president not to telegraph exactly what he's going to be talking about when he goes in there. We know Putin likes to play the mystery game or the come off with different tactics, try to throw people off before meetings and I think the president would be smart not to show his cards in advance of that meeting as well.
BROWN: But will it be weak if he doesn't bring up and focus to some extent on election interference? Given that it's happened, given there's concern it will happen again, given the fact that the Russians also meddled in our U.S. allies' election recently.
MILLER: No, not at all. As we know from recent congressional testimony, the Russians have been attempting to influence U.S. elections for decades now. This isn't anything --
BROWN: But they stepped it up a notch with the information warfare by all accounts --
MILLER: But this isn't specific to President Trump, and I think what President Trump is going to say --
BROWN: Well, the U.S. intelligence community came out and said the Russians were trying to tilt the election in favor of President Trump. But regardless --
MILLER: Right, and still at this point, after a year of looking at it, there's not one single piece of evidence that says any votes were changed or any -- there's any actual real influence that was done here. But I think the president would be very --
BROWN: You know, that's not what they're saying. No one has said that any votes were changed. They are just saying that the Russians had meddled in the election and used information to try to sway the voter.
[16:25:05] There is no indication vote tallies were changed. But is this an opportunity? I mean, could it be an opportunity for the president to confront Vladimir Putin about it and show strength? It's clear he wants to flex his muscles on the world stage. Would this potentially be an opportunity to show strength and presumably also with our allies who have also been impacted?
MILLER: I think the stronger -- the smarter place for us to show strength is with regard to North Korea and with Syria and defeating ISIS. I think that would be the smarter play. I think looking in the rearview mirror I think isn't going to get it done. We have to look at the bigger things --
BROWN: But there's concern about moving forward, Josh, am I right?
ROGIN: Yes, it would be great if the president brought up the Russian interference in the election. I don't think he's going to do it. He doesn't see a political upside in it, right?
ROGIN: He doesn't agree with the consensus of the intelligence community, at least for those agencies that said this really happened. So, yes, he should do it. He's not going to do it, OK. He deserves some criticism for that.
Putting that aside, there are good things that he can do in this meeting. We've got issues that we need to work on with the Russians, Syria, Ukraine, right? These are things going forward that require U.S.-Russian cooperation. So, if the president is not going to confront Russia on election meddling and hacking, which he should do, but he's not going to do, then at least he can make progress on these important issues, right?
The bad state -- I agree with President Trump on one thing. The terrible state of U.S.-Russia relations is dangerous for the world, OK? You've got two big nuclear powers who can't work together on big, important issues. That needs to change. We need to find a way to work with them on stuff we can work with them on, and then confront them on this other stuff. If you can't do both of those things, at least you can do one of them. That will be a successful meeting.
KIRBY: I think they'll probably get back into talking a little bit about the (INAUDIBLE), just because I think we can expect the Russians, whether it's Putin or not, or somebody that will probably bring up the issue of the compounds and the fact that they want their diplomats, you know, back in the country and that back right up into a discussion.
BROWN: I just want to interrupt you quickly. We see the president, President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump departing from Air Force One. They just landed in Warsaw, Poland.
And we're just discussing the fact that he has a lot on his plate this week. This is really a big trip for him. His second trip overseas as president, first stop here in Poland. We expect him to have a warm reception.
And then, of course, he goes to Germany where he has some big challenges that he will be facing.
KIRBY: He has some great opportunities, though, on this trip. I mean, we talked about the issues and I agree with everybody on the issues, but he also has a great opportunity to sort of reset our relationships in Europe. Some of them that were upset a little bit by his meetings in Brussels and his speech there at NATO. I mean -- so there's not a lot of confidence right now and his willingness to lead on the world stage, at least in Europe.
This is a great chance for him and he's got such terrific forms to do it, to really kind of reset that.
WRIGHT: But the problem is, on what issues are they actually going to make tangible progress. You can see maybe little steps, but when it comes to Ukraine, there are fundamental differences when it comes to Syria. There are some very differences even though the United States would like to figure out some way to end the war, to work with Russia on that issue, but they don't also want to hold Iran when there's more and more anti-Iran sentiment within the administration.
The election, they can talk about it kind of on the edges, but they're not likely to make any progress. So, I think one of the things the U.S. officials are very concerned about, who have been preparing for this trip, is the danger that you get a repeat of the 1986 meeting between President Reagan and President Gorbachev when there was enormous hope for progress and disarmament. It fell apart over difference in Star Wars.
These were two men who were beginning to see the potential for change, for better relationships, really first time, you know, kind of beginning of the end of the cold war and it collapsed. And I don't think this one will collapse. But I think that there's a great fear that the differences that had been so profound would be very hard to overcome when it comes to what you get out of it.
So I think whatever comes out of this would be kind of face-saving. We've launched the (INAUDIBLE), we've engaged in the first conversation and it will continue.
BROWN: Go ahead. ROGIN: Let's let Reagan be the example here, because although he
called the Soviet Union the evil empire, he struck a series of arms control agreements with the Russians in the years after that first meeting. So, Ronald Reagan showed that you can be tough with Russia, then the Soviet Union, and also work with them on things that are of mutual importance at the same time. If Trump were to follow that model, I think a lot of people in the foreign policy could get behind that.
The problem is we don't see that. What we see is going out of his way to be chummy with Russian leaders. Remember the meeting with Lavrov where he gave up the Israeli intelligence and bashed the FBI director. Like that's not the right way to have a balanced, strong, principled stance (ph) against Russia.
BROWN: I mean, you look at Vladimir Putin, he is a savvy operator. I mean, you recalled the time, when he got a Labrador in to meet Angela Merkel because she's afraid of dogs. I mean, he's someone who probably is coming into this meeting some ideas up his sleeves, of how he's going to be able to show some force with President Trump.
MILLER: I don't think we're going to have to worry about President Trump being too chummy with Vladimir Putin in this meeting. I think President Trump knows what the stakes are here. I think he knows the historical nature of this sit-down.