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Soon: President Trump to Speak; U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley Warns North Korea; ISIS Caliphate Crumbling: What's Next? Aired 4- 4:30a ET
Aired July 6, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[04:00:26] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump set to speak abroad just minutes from now as he begins his European trip. The G20, the North Korean threat and Vladimir Putin meeting all on the agenda. Stakes are high.
We are live in Poland, Germany, South Korea, and Abu Dhabi, this hour on the president's trip and more.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a special EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, July 6th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.
We welcome all of our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. A busy morning.
In just about 15 minutes, President Trump will speak at a joint press event with the Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw. It's part of a brief stop in Poland before this president heads to the G20 Summit in Germany. He has meetings scheduled in Hamburg with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.
BRIGGS: North Korea's recent saber-rattling, the issue hanging heavily over the G20. America's U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley taking Russia and China to task for failing to curb North Korean aggression after Pyongyang's tests this week of an apparent ICBM. Now, more on that in a moment.
But our coverage of the president's trip begins with White House correspondent Sara Murray live in Warsaw.
Good morning, Sara.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
Well, this is certainly going to be a high-stakes trip for President Trump. And his visit here in Poland may be the warmest reception he gets the entire time. As you mentioned, he's meeting with the Polish president. They will hold a press event together.
Later on today, President Trump will actually be delivering a speech in Poland. One of the political parties here has offered free bussing from other parts of the country for people who want to attend this event in Warsaw.
This is a way to just shore up diplomatic ties with one of America's closest allies, but he faces some more difficult meetings coming up in the trip. And not just with potential adversaries. Tonight when he heads to Germany, he'll be meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Now, they have had a bit of a frosty relationship, and one that should have grown even more strained after President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. And all of this comes before this highly anticipated meeting later this week between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The first time these two world leaders will get a chance to size each other up one on one.
Now, the president's advisers have been preparing him behind the scenes. They say he seems receptive to their advice. But there is some concern that President Trump tends to be unpredictable. You never know exactly what's going to say in his meetings, a very different style from Putin who prepares meticulously for his meetings with world leaders.
Back to you, guys.
BRIGGS: Yes, we've heard no set agenda from H.R. McMaster. Sara Murray, live for us, thank you.
ROMANS: And let's turn to our Jeff Zeleny. He is in the hall where the Presidents Trump and Duda are expected to speak to reporters in less than 15 minutes right now.
Jeff, set the scene for us. What are we expecting to hear?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine.
I am here in the Royal Castle here in Warsaw. The scene you can see behind me there is the flags are set up here and the podiums are set up. We certainly believe it looks like what could be a press conference.
The White House has not confirmed officially that it will be a press conference. They'll be making statements for sure. But it certainly has that look. If that actually happens in the next 15 minutes or so or coming up in this half hour, it will be the first press conference, the first opportunity the president has had to answer questions about everything that's going on really for a month. It's been since June 9th, was his last setting in the Rose Garden with the president of the Romania.
But here inside the royal palace, the president has been meeting with the president of Poland. They're doing a bilateral meeting as we speak right now. They are talking about a lot of similarities that they have, their populism, their strain is pretty similar here. The Law and Justice Party here in Poland similar to the strain that helped elect the U.S. president.
But this is such a critical moment here beyond this, as Sara Murray was just reporting, as the president moves on to the G20 in Hamburg. This is going to be the highest stakes meeting this president has. So, even though Warsaw is at the top of the agenda at the moment, the White House is looking forward, looking ahead to meetings later in the week.
But there is going to be a major speech the president will be delivering here in Krasinski Square here in Warsaw. That will be coming up in a few hours or so. The largest audience he's had outside of the U.S. here, addressing many supporters and many people, of course.
[04:05:00] But, first, what we believe could be a press conference coming up in this next half hour -- Christine and Dave.
ROMANS: And, of course, we will be watching all of that. Both the press conference if it is a press conference or if it's just statements and the speech later today. We know you'll be in the room for us. Thanks, Jeff.
BRIGGS: President Trump one day away from that highly anticipated bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tamping down expectations during his flight to Germany. Listen to his best-case scenario for the Trump/Putin encounter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I would say at this point it's difficult to say exactly what the -- what Russia's intentions are in this relationship. I think that's the most important part of this meeting is to have a good exchange between President Trump and President Putin over what they see as the nature of the relationship between our two countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Read into that as you will.
CNN's Nic Robertson live from Hamburg, ahead of the G20 summit.
Nic, good morning to you.
Any details about what else the two presidents might have on the agenda since as we know the Kremlin's election meddling seems to not be on the agenda?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there's no shortage of topics, is there? I think another hit the top perhaps of the agenda today, and that was the announcement that the United States is going to supply Poland with Patriot missiles. That's absolutely guaranteed to anger the Russian president. So, you can expect that to be on the agenda as well, Syria. We know it's going to be on their pressure.
We heard from Rex Tillerson last night saying that he believes that there's going to be a responsibility on Russia going forward. This is something President Trump will have to explain to President Putin that there's going to be a responsibility. You're engaged in Syria. You're the big player in Syria.
Once ISIS is defeated, there's a responsibility to make sure there's stability, that ISIS doesn't come back. Perhaps that can be a shared view. But that's not clear that that's going to be the picture at the moment.
But, look, it doesn't matter which way you turn right now. There is a huge amount of pressure and stress waiting for President Trump when he gets here. There are huge differences on trade. There are huge differences with the partners here. Most of them on the issue of the climate change -- Paris climate change agreement.
There's the ongoing crisis in the gulf in the moment with Qatar, the Saudi king isn't coming. That's been downgraded. What message does that send? But on those big central issues of President Putin, yes, that's going to be a tough meeting.
But don't rule out the stakes of the meeting with Xi Jinping, the Russian president either, because the United States is looking forward to support at the United Nations for its resolution to increase sanctions on North Korea. Both President Putin of Russia and the Chinese oppose that. We know already the relationship between President Putin and President Xi Jinping of China is already strained.
So, this is going to be a very interconnected series of meetings where one thing is going to connect another thing. The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone. This is going to be a very tough leg after coming off Warsaw here in Hamburg for President Trump.
BRIGGS: Yes, certainly a different greeting by the German people as opposed to the Polish people.
Nic Robertson, live for us in Hamburg, thank you.
ROMANS: I haven't heard that, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, in a long time. Nic Robertson, thanks for putting that in my head this morning.
Eight minutes past the hour. Let's assess the developments in Europe this morning with CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University. He joins us live via Skype from beautiful Sag Harbor, New York.
Nice to see you bright and early here, 4:00 in the a.m. in the East. Just past 10:00 a.m. in Warsaw.
And this president begins this trip, this really second international trip on friendly ground it appears, maybe giving him a little bit of a boost in trickier territory, Julian, because he has been criticized by Angela Merkel and some of his partners -- America's partners in the G20 are frankly suspicious of his intentions, his America-first intentions.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. This part of the trip is in many ways a setup for the next part of the trip. Part of it is the optics. It's about being in a very friendly area with large crowds that are not filled with protesters but are filled with supporters.
It's also about aligning himself to some extent with the right wing populist forces that are taking place all over the world. And it's to give himself a little leverage, I would suspect, when he goes into the G-20 to have to deal with all kind of issues including climate change, but most importantly North Korea.
BRIGGS: You mentioned the word optics, and sometimes, that sounds like a beltway term. But let's be honest. When you look at the international summits and meetings, that is what people remember when they think about the NATO gathering. That was the president pushing a world leader who ended up being the prime minister of Montenegro out of the way.
When we think of U.S./Russian relations, it's Sergey Lavrov and President Trump all chummy in the Oval Office.
[04:10:05] How important are the optics of this trip specifically for President Trump?
ZELIZER: They're incredibly important. I do think many people suspect this is superficial, but it really does matter. And as he heads into the next part of the trip, what his interaction with Putin will matter not just publicly, but privately. It will matter what his demeanor is. It will matter what his posture is in dealing with very tricky issues, including questions like what to do in Syria.
And when he meets with Merkel and others, I do think Trump wants to go into those meetings with a sense of confidence and appearance of confidence because those are important in diplomacy. They are not secondary matters.
ROMANS: We know in terms of an agenda, we know -- we were hearing even yesterday about the Russian agenda for this meeting. We know that Vladimir Putin is meticulous as he prepares for the meetings. He is -- I guess some would say cunning, you know.
He is -- he brought a Labrador retriever famously to a meeting with Angela Merkel because she's afraid of dogs. We don't know what the agenda is for the United States.
What do you suspect -- who do you suspect has the upper hand if anyone does in this meeting with Vladimir Putin? Because you could argue that Donald Trump's unpredictability maybe gives him the upper hand, because the Russians may have no idea how to handle him.
ZELIZER: I would agree with that. I think what Putin enjoys or capitalizes on is taking the formal settings and up ending the decorum through all kind of tricks. But that is what President Trump does all the time.
So, I don't think he will enter this room knowing exactly what the president is going to do. We don't even know exactly what the agenda on the trip is. So, this is a case where that style might help him a bit.
That said, President Trump needs to have some clear roadmap of what he wants to achieve, what he wants to accomplish, because unpredictability of substance won't be very effective in a meeting with someone who knows exactly what he wants to achieve for Russia.
BRIGGS: We know one thing about Putin is he is notoriously late to all of these meetings. He was even late to the pope. This is, again, by design. Everything is by design with Putin.
We remind folks, you are not just a political analyst, you are a historian. So, when it comes to North Korea and stopping their nuclear threat, what have you learned from history about what absolutely will not work to give us a pathway forward, and what might work with North Korea?
ZELIZER: Well, look, we've been doing this through the 1990s, and we've learned that being provocative toward them or aggressive doesn't necessarily stop their actions. We've learned that negotiations can quickly break down, and agreements don't hold.
I think the answer -- there is no good answer on this. This is the problem the president faces, is working through others. So, the key remains, how to work with China not necessarily just through threatening China, but also creating incentives that they will break a bit from North Korea.
I think that's really going to be the key, as well as putting pressure on Russia. I think direct interaction either through aggression or through negotiation will always have limits with North Korea.
ROMANS: All right. A bunch of bad choices essentially on North Korea.
ROMANS: And it's been that way for a long time.
Julian Zelizer, thank you for getting up early for us this morning. We'll talk to you again in just a few minutes.
Again, we're waiting -- in 16 or 17 minutes, we're waiting for the live event in Warsaw with the two presidents.
BRIGGS: Could be any minute we expect to hear from the president.
The U.N. ambassador, meanwhile, with a blunt warning on North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Yesterday's ICBM escalation requires an escalated diplomatic and economic response. Time is short. Action is required.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: But what kind of action can slow the regime? We're live in Seoul.
ROMANS: And we're awaiting remarks from the president in Poland in just a few minutes reporters are gathering in the room. Our Jeff Zeleny is there. We'll have it live for you.
[04:18:26] ROMANS: All right. We are awaiting remarks from the president of the United States. A news conference with the Polish president is in just a few minutes. There's the room in Warsaw, Poland. It is 18 minutes past the hour, 10:18 there. We will bring that live for you when it happens.
BRIGGS: The president expected to answer some questions. It should be a fascinating press meeting.
All right. With North Korea's latest and most alarming provocation looming over the G20 Summit, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley took direct aim at the Pyongyang regime during an emergency Security Council meeting in response to North Korea's first ICBM test. Haley saying North Korea's actions are quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: The world is on notice. If we act together, we can still prevent a catastrophe, and we can rid the world of a grave threat. 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 that direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Haley calling for an escalated diplomatic and economic response and calling out China and other countries trading with North Korea, warning their trade with the U.S. could be at risk if they don't stop aiding Pyongyang.
Let's bring in CNN's David McKenzie. He is live for us in Seoul, South Korea, with some reaction.
Good morning to you.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.
Yes, you know, the meeting with Putin and Trump will be very closely watched.
[04:20:02] But another meeting at the G20, the meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping is perhaps the more critical one right at the moment, because North Korea is the issue everyone talking about the ICBM test. Those direct and crude threats towards the United States and rapid progression, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry of their nuclear program and their missile program. All of that leads to possible tense discussions between President
Trump and President Xi Jinping at the G20 where the U.S. will presumably try to pressure China to do more to rein in their ally, North Korea, when it comes to trade. Something that China has been really loathed to do in recent years -- Dave.
BRIGGS: David McKenzie live for us in Seoul, South Korea, thank you.
ROMANS: All right. A new report says President Trump's aggressive stance on trade is working in favor of the U.S. among the G20 economies, hits against U.S. trade fell 29 percent this year.
What are we talking about? We're talking about things like tariffs and quotas on U.S. imports. This report claims America's biggest trading partners fear retaliation. That's because the worst offenders before the election are the ones who cut back the most.
Meanwhile, the president's protectionist rhetoric is turning into policy. America took 189 measures against its trading partners this year. That's more than double last administration.
But the U.S. has long been the worst offender, taking nearly 1,200 measures since 2008. That's more than Russia, China, or Mexico, and that fact is hard to square with the president's claim that global trade is rigged against the U.S.
Before the G20 Summit, America's policies are prompting other leaders to talk up free trade. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says anyone solving the world with -- world's problems with isolation and protectionism is making a big mistake.
All right. ISIS is on the verge of losing two critical strongholds here. Coalition forces making advances in Mosul and Raqqa. But is there a plan to defeat ISIS once it is out of those cities?
BRIGGS: And we're awaiting remarks from President Trump in Poland any moment now. We'll bring it to you live as it happens.
[04:26:21] BRIGGS: Welcome back.
Congressman Steve Scalise is back in intensive care this morning. A statement from his office saying Scalise was readmitted to the ICU at a Washington, D.C. hospital because of concern about an infection. His condition is listed as serious. The House majority whip is recovering after being shot last month during a GOP practice for the annual charity congressional baseball game. He was released from intensive care less than two weeks ago.
Another update on Scalise's condition expected later today.
ROMANS: We certainly wish him well.
The so-called ISIS caliphate is on the verge of crumbling. Iraqi forces are about to liberate Mosul. A few hundred remaining ISIS soldiers clinging to less than a square mile of land.
The Syrian city of Raqqa also close to being recaptured with U.S. trained and equipped fighters now entering from all sides. That's Raqqa.
CNN's Muhammad Lila is tracking the latest developments. He is in Abu Dhabi for us.
Muhammad, now that the two ISIS strongholds are about to be retaken, what's the plan for U.S. and coalition forces to keep this terror group out and prevent it from capturing new territories to use as a base?
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, that is a great question.
Let's start first with Iraq and where things are right now. ISIS has basically been cornered into an area about the size of a few football fields. But within those football fields, it's a very densely populated area. The fighting is sometimes building to building, fighting reportedly very intense. And, of course, ISIS is known on to use civilians as human shields.
So, the fighting is ongoing. But the Iraqi military is expected to announce the full liberation of that city sometime within the next week or so.
Now, the question is what happens once that announcement is made? Well, there's the very human toll that you have to remember. About a million people displaced from their homes, many of them will want to go back to their homes.
Unfortunately, they won't have anything to go back to. Several parts of the city have been completely destroyed. In fact, the latest estimates are that it will take about a billion dollars just to get the basic necessities of the city of Mosul back up and running. That's the human side.
But what happens on the military side? Look, just because the Iraqi military announces that ISIS no longer has a, quote, geographic capital in the city of Mosul doesn't mean ISIS is defeated. They do control smaller cities in Iraq. They control areas in the desert and along the riverbeds. And it's believed they can use those areas to stage bigger attacks against bigger cities, something that they've been doing for quite some time now.
Now, when you shift over to the Syrian situation, it's a little bit more murky because what we know is that U.S.-backed forces have breached the perimeter of the city of Raqqa. Now, once they move in and once they clear out ISIS from the city of Raqqa, the big question is, well, what happens then? Syria's a much more complicated battlefield than Iraq. You've got Russian involvement, you've got Iranian involvement, and, of course, the involvement of the Syrian government itself.
So, once ISIS is kick the out of the city of Raqqa, the bigger question is, well, who's going to control the city of Raqqa? Is it going to be the Syrians, the Russians, the Iranians, or will the United States have some say in all that? So, it's still a little bit murky.
But the big takeaway from this, Christine, is that, look, even once ISIS is militarily defeated, it doesn't mean they can defeat the ideology. That ideology is going to take many more years to defeat, both in Syria and Iraq -- Christine.
ROMANS: Certainly, and it has been years, years of, quite frankly, misery for the civilian populations of both of those cities. Who knows what happens next for them? Thank you so much, Muhammad Lila for bringing us up to speed.
BRIGGS: All right. A high-stakes foreign trip starts with the president's remarks alongside President Duda of Poland. We will take his remarks live as they happen.
EARLY START continues right now.
ROMANS: There is the room. There are the podiums and the flags, all set up for the president to speak to reporters just minutes from now.