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Efforts Continue to Rescue Boys Soccer Team and Coach Trapped in Cave in Thailand; North Korea Calls Meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Regrettable; Rep. Susan DelBene Interviewed; President Trump to Attend Meeting of NATO Members and Then Meet with Russian President Putin; President Trump's Legal Team Indicates President Will Likely Not Accept Questioning from Special Counsel Robert Mueller; Decade of Reality TV Reviewed. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 7, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo describing the meetings as productive. He briefs his Japanese and South Korean counterparts. The question now, is the U.S. deal falling apart? North Korea released a statement that reads in part, "We expected the U.S. to bring constructive measures to build confidence and according with the spirit of the US-NK summit. However, the attitudes of the U.S. in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable."

CNN's Ryan Browne is in Washington here. So, Ryan, you have Pompeo saying progress has been made. North Korea is essentially criticizing the U.S. how do we balance that out?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're hearing very different tones from the North Korean and U.S. sides with regards to how these conversations went. Now, Mike Pompeo went first, speaking to reporters there in Pyongyang right before boarding his aircraft, and he struck a very optimistic tone, saying that both sides agreed on the denuclearization of North Korea and were committed to that.

JOHNS: But what's denuclearization? Does anybody know?

BROWNE: That's the key question here, and I think from the U.S. side, they thought they understood what it meant. They thought it meant inspection of North Korean nuclear facilities, concrete steps being taken on the front end. North Korea very clear that they want this to be kind of a tit for tat. They want to take steps and see matched by the U.S., different areas, things that they've long sought. They said in their statement that they were very much against this idea of complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization, something that most watchers of North Korea thought would be a challenge, but something that the U.S. had kind of implied it was not stepping back from in these talks.

JOHNS: Now, speaking of tit for tat, if you take a 30,000-foot view, over the last week we've had the United States and China essentially engaging in what could be the very first salvos of a true trade war, and then suddenly, North Korea pulls back on its language relating to denuclearization. Do we see a linkage here? Is it reasonable to question whether China may be putting itself thumb on the scale, or whatever?

BROWNE: Well, China has a vested interest in the situation, and you've seen the U.S. Trump administration attempt to delink these things. They've sought cooperation with China on the North Korean nuclear issue, believing that it was in Beijing's interest to denuclearize North Korea as well. You've seen Trump publicly praise his Chinese counterpart, President Xi, on North Korea, the enforcement of sanctions. They've tried to keep these trade issues separate. It's unclear whether Beijing views these things as separately and whether or not they're using their longstanding links with Pyongyang, with North Korea, to kind of play a multilevel game of chess here.

JOHNS: Yes, absolutely. Definitely multilevel game of chess. Thanks so much for that, Ryan Browne.

So, what does this mean for President Trump's relationship with Kim Jong-un? Well, CNN's White House correspondent Boris Sanchez joins us now live from Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, near the president's Bedminster golf resort where he is spending the weekend. What can you tell us, Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Joe. The White House declined to comment on the news coming from North Korea, that statement put out by the North Koreans. The president has not weighed in on Twitter, though he was active this morning, tweeting out some attacks against the press.

Look, Joe, ultimately, this could be seen as just the latest chapter in what has been a very volatile process. It wasn't that long ago that President Trump was referring to Kim Jong-un as little rocket man. We went from there to having the president call the chairman smart and gracious. And as the president was receptive to calls that he win a Nobel Peace Prize for setting up this meeting in Singapore, a short while after that he cancelled the meeting altogether, saying that it would be inappropriate for the two leaders to gather. Ultimately, he ended up meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

You also have the discrepancy between the president and his own secretary of state, President Trump just a few days ago on the north lawn saying that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat. His secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, sort of dismissing that idea, acknowledging that the two sides are still very far apart. It appears that President Trump wants to be on good terms with Kim Jong-un. He wants to have a good relationship with him. The question is how far will that go in guaranteeing that the United States does not enter an armed conflict with North Korea, Joe.

JOHNS: Boris, Trump is also set to meet with Putin in a little over a week. How do you think this is going to affect that summit?

SANCHEZ: Well, those two leaders already have a plethora of items on the agenda. The war in Syria, Russia's annexation of Crimea, Russia election meddling. This would add another part of the conversation with President Trump potentially asking Vladimir Putin for Russia to reinstall certain crippling economic sanctions that the administration has argued brought North Korea to the table. Again, it is a possibility, but not something that we know may happen just yet, Joe.

[14:05:03] JOHNS: Thanks so much for that, Boris Sanchez.

Now, let's talk about these developments with North Korea and more. Joining me is Congresswoman Susan DelBene, Democratic representative from Washington state. Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining me. Let's start by getting your reaction to the news of the day, the developments out of North Korea, the North Koreans calling the U.S. attitude regrettable, gangster-like. Does this signal worries to you that a denuclearization deal is in doubt?

REP. SUSAN DELBENE, (D) WASHINGTON: Well, I think this shouldn't be a surprise. This is consistent with North Korea's behavior in the past. I support diplomatic efforts. I think that's so important. It really should be an international effort so that we are bringing other parties in to play, to continue to put pressure on North Korea. I am concerned the administration was willing -- the president was willing to make concessions on military exercises with nothing in return from North Korea, so we need to continue to push forward and take a strong stand.

JOHNS: North Korea talks are coming at a time when the Trump administration is also essentially launching what appears to be a trade war with China. Do you have any concerns about the tariffs impacting jobs, businesses, the agricultural industry in the United States?

DELBENE: I have great concerns. I am hear in Washington state. We are the most trade dependent state in the country. This was critically important for us to make sure that we have sound trade policy. If you look at our agriculture producers, they've been hit very hard. Cherries, pears, apples, they had a 10 percent tariff from China to begin with, and then with -- in April, 15 percent was added because of the tariffs, a retaliation to steel and aluminum. And now as of Friday we've seen 25 percent added to that, so that's a 50 percent tariff on important agriculture products in our community like cherries and apples.

And we have no sense of where this is going forward. We don't have a sense of what the administration is trying to achieve here. We have issues we need to address in trade. This should be a multilateral, we should be working with international community in a multilateral approach to address these trade issues.

JOHNS: Now, jumping around a little bit, but I have to mention that you traveled to Texas recently to tour a detention facility housing migrant children separated from their parents. Give me an idea of your reaction to what you saw. And also, by the way, the Trump administration has been claiming that members of Congress going to these facilities is slowing the ability to reunite the children with their families. How do you respond to that?

DELBENE: Well, first, I was in Texas, in McAllen, Texas, to see what was happening directly at the border in terms of immigrants being processed as they came through the border as well as going to a detention facility down there. I think the only reason we're seeing the response to the terrible behavior that the administration took in terms of separating families is because members of Congress have really shined a light on this issue.

So it's very unfortunate that the administration is trying to make it harder for members of Congress to go and to see what's happening. We are the oversight body. We are holding the administration accountable, and we need to see what's happening.

But I talked to parents who had had their children removed, who were in detention facilities, who didn't know where their children are, they were told if they just asked that they would be connected to their children. They asked and asked and asked and were not provided any information on where their children were.

I have continued to ask Department of Homeland Security for how they keep those records, do they connect a child to an adult when they come across the border so we know who came together. It's not clear that there's been good recordkeeping, that they know how to connect parents and children back together, and that's why it's so critically important that we continue to understand all the efforts being taken by Homeland Security and Health and Human Services who are right now caring for those children, to understand what they're doing to reunite these families. We have to make sure every single family is reunited.

JOHNS: Now, is it intentional, do you think, these delays, or is it more just an issue of bureaucrat bumbling?

DELBENE: Well, I think there's clearly this zero-tolerance policy has been immoral and cruel, and there's also just been incompetence in terms of making sure that we have the records and the information that's needed to make sure we're tracking families and we can reunite them.

[14:10:00] That lack of information means we're not getting straight answers from the Department of Homeland Security. It's why we can't always get a straight answer in terms of number of children who have been separated where they are, how they're going to be reunited. We should have been able -- it wouldn't have been hard to make sure that we kept track of children and their parents and had information of where they were being sent so we could put those -- reunite those families right away.

JOHNS: Boy, it sure seems hard right now. Thanks so much, Congresswoman Susan DelBene.

DELBENE: It's heartbreaking.

JOHNS: Still ahead, the race against time in Thailand. The rain has started. Rescuers are desperate to get 12 boys and their coach out of a cave before floods threaten them any further.

And new demands -- President Trump's legal team says there will be no meeting with Special Counsel Robert Mueller unless there's proof of Trump committing a crime.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:15:00] JOHNS: Breaking news in the race to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Officials say it's critical they act quickly as the window to save them may be closing. Dive teams say they have a plan to free the boys. It could happen soon. Meanwhile, monsoon conditions are moving in, putting added pressure on rescue operations. Officials are closely monitoring oxygen levels inside the cave, but right now the boys are said to be safe.

Asia correspondent Jonathan Miller standing by at the scene. Jonathan, where are the rescue operations right now?

JONATHAN MILLER, CNN ASIA CORRESPONDENT: I think they're pretty much ready to go, Joe. The situation on the ground right now is that the governor has said that the conditions are appropriate for this incredibly daring and risky cave rescue of these 12 boys and their coach stuck four kilometers, three miles into this cavern system.

In order to do this, they will have to dive some of these boys out, and it's very, very risky. There could be some last-minute hitches and delays. The boys have to get medical checks before they'll be allowed to even attempt this. But as far as we can ascertain from officials here on the ground, they're pretty much in a position to give a green light on this very risky operation.

JOHNS: So, what's the weather like? And how long is it expected to rain?

MILLER: Well, about an hour or two ago we had an absolutely torrential downpour, and it was a stark reminder of just what's in store for us here. I think in the days ahead, it's going to be -- there's going to be some very, very heavy monsoon rain. But they reckon they've got about a two-day window max to get the children out. Right now, the rain's holding off, which means that the cavern system isn't filling up with water. The water level inside has dropped significantly in the past few days, which has meant that many of the passageways which were completely flooded are now passable. But there are still some submerged areas, so it will involve some diving for these boys, which is the very risky bit.

JOHNS: All right, thanks so much for that Jonathan, and we'll get back to you soon.

This rescue will be far from easy. Joining me now, ocean explorer and CEO of Tiburon Subsea, Tim Taylor. Tim, what are some of the unique challenges rescuers could be facing in this situation?

TIM TAYLOR, OCEAN EXPLORER: Well, I tell you, rescuers are extremely professional. If you're a cave diver, you're extremely experienced, but generally you don't enter a cave with someone that's inexperienced. So tendering and caring for someone coming out, especially kids of this age and with this kind of stress on this project, puts a lot of that stress square on those divers.

So in addition to their abilities and skills to navigate these caves, they are now responsible for a child's life and the world is watching. So you add that level of stress and I think it kind of brings this to a monumental level of rescue. It's something they'll have to live with either way, successful or not successful, and that's a lot to ask one person to do.

JOHNS: So one of the questions that comes to mind is about panic, particularly under water, when you have young kids who presumably have no experience with scuba diving equipment simply trying to figure out how to keep that mask on, how to breathe, how to see even in limited light. Panic could be a big challenge, could it not.

TAYLOR: That's -- the skills they taught these kids are going to be the basic skills of how to clear that mask and how to deal with that. What they can't instill in these kids is experience. And so you never know how -- what can happen. Straps can break. Masks can flood. Gas can free flow. There's all sorts of things that experience teaches you how to deal with, and unfortunately experience takes time and they don't have that. So, yes, panic is the nemesis here. Generally --

JOHNS: And the other thing -- go ahead.

TAYLOR: They're going to have enough gas -- they should have gas staged throughout -- the divers should have plenty of gas. They don't sound like these are really strong sections that they have to traverse without having to come out and go through another section. So it's not like they won't have enough gas. It's just the equipment failures and equipment maladjustments and dealing with this in zero vis in single file by themselves is a whole lot of things that it just takes experience to understand, and that's where the risk factors skyrocket.

JOHNS: Including, I would think, depending on the type of equipment they're using, just getting snagged on rock, certainly under water, could be a huge issue because even for experienced divers, that can be a problem in broad daylight.

[14:20:00] TAYLOR: Yes. Yes. Knowing your equipment, being able to get yourself extricated from sites, I do this at depth of 250 feet or more inside of wrecks, so there's a lot more jagged things sometimes in wrecks and life and animals that pop up on you. So you can get stuff caught, but you have to know to stop, think, breathe, and know your equipment and figure your way out.

Now they have the divers to help them with that, but some of these times in these restrictions, the divers can't be next to each other to help. They've got to be ahead of them or behind them, so these children are going to have to have a comfort level with their equipment as best they can, and that's the risk. Again, I can't emphasize more the lack of experience cannot be instilled. You cannot take a disk out of the diver's head and stick it in the kid's head and they know what they're doing. It will be -- it's a tough thing.

JOHNS: Tough situation. Yes, the other thing I talked a psychologist about this, and one of the things you think about the most and perhaps one of the most chilling things you think about is which kid do you take first and which one do you take last? What's your view? Do you go with the most courageous one? Do you go with the one who might need the most time? What's your view about how they get started? TAYLOR: I'm not a psychologist, but I would think you would take the

strongest and most -- person that's adapted most to the skills of diving. They're not going to get any better in a day. And those better performing children will, if they get through and they make it through this, God willing, they will learn from the process and be able to help the ones that are less able. If they learn something along the way, we got snagged here, we didn't get snagged here, we can use this or that, refine the techniques, you've got 12 people to bring out of here and each time you're going to learn something on that journey.

JOHNS: Well, we're all keeping our fingers crossed that this will be a great adventure that these kids remember a long time, and that they get out of there OK. Thanks so much for that, Tim Taylor.

Officials are also watching as powerful storms move into the region. Flash flooding could add another snag in an already dangerous rescue mission. Let's bring in CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, what's the timing look like for these storms from your perspective?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We've already seen the first wave come in and more rain is on the way. As Jonathan mentioned, too, the last few days we've really been lucky in the sense that it's been relatively dry. Technically from July 2nd all the way through the 7th they had no real measurable rain. That allowed the water that was already in the cave system to recede very, very much, and that was fantastic news for them. As he mentioned, some of those channels actually being really low in terms of the flooding. But with more rain on the way, that's going to be the big concern is getting those boys out before those caves fill back up again.

Here's the location around where that cave is located. Notice all the orange and red colors on your screen. That's the moisture returning to this area. Now, it's not just going to be a short-term problem. It's going to be a long-term problem as well. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, we have an 80 to 90 percent chance of rain in the forecast. When you talk about how much rain they're going to get, most of those places, you're talking about two to four inches. That may not seem like that much but you have to understand this is on top of what they've already had for the last few weeks.

And again, some of those channels and tunnels within the caves are very narrow. It may only take two to four inches of rain to really fill those back up, so you don't need much. That's just the amount of rain we expect over the next five days. When you look even further than that, you can see we will expect to have measurable rain for at least the next seven to 10 days. And the reason for that, it's the rainy season, Joe, really peak is July and August of this year, and that's right where we're sitting at this time.

JOHNS: That's a lot of rain, seven to 10 days, even by U.S. standards. We've had a lot here in Washington, D.C., but nothing like that. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much for that.

Still ahead, President Trump's attorneys reportedly draw a line in the sand, laying down their terms for an interview with the special counsel. Does this signal a shift in strategy in how the Trump team plans to handle the Russia probe going forward?


[14:29:04] JOHNS: President Trump and his legal team appear to be shifting their strategy in the Russia investigation. "The New York Times" says Trump's lawyers have laid out new demands before President Trump would agree to any interview with Robert Mueller. The legal team now insisting the special counsel must prove it has evidence of Trump committing a crime and that his testimony is crucial to ending the probe before any sit-down happens.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani admits to the "Times" that Mueller likely will not agree to those conditions, but it highlights the legal team's increasing confrontational public stance.

Joining me now, CNN contributor Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, CNN political commentators Matt Lewis and Joan Walsh. Larry, just start with you. The first question, I think, is does he have a legal foot to stand on here, and what's the point of it?

[14:30:02] LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the point of it is I think to delay. But legal foot to stand on, yes, he can refuse to have Trump testify, and then Mueller can subpoena Trump, and it can go to the courts. And if the courts order Trump to testify, he can take the Fifth Amendment. There's no way to really force Trump to testify.

I don't think he has a legal foot to stand on with the demand, with the idea that I want to know all the evidence you have and you have to prove to me that you have evidence he committed a crime before I'm going to talk to you. Every defense lawyer would love to be able to do that for your client but you generally can't. I think this is about the fact that they don't want Trump to testify and they're just trying to throw up smoke screens.

JOHNS: Matt, also about public opinion, right? Obviously, Rudy Giuliani even quoted in "The New York Times" suggesting that they're not going to try to impeach Trump if public opinion is going against Mueller. But is that a realistic strategy?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think it actually is. I think when Rudy Giuliani came on board, it was a very clear shift of the strategy. They went from worrying about legal matters primarily to worrying about public relations.

JOHNS: Well, politics, because impeachment, for example, is a political issue.

LEWIS: Right. And so I think that was probably a smart strategy. And a lot of people have criticized Rudy Giuliani. He was going on TV and maybe complicated things on occasion for Donald Trump. But at the end of the day, I think it's actually been pretty shrewd, and I think, look, who knows how this is going to turn out. If Mueller ends up having the goods on Trump, no amount of maneuvering is going to save him. But I think probably the best cards they had to play, they're playing. JOHNS: Joan Walsh, ask about this delay strategy. On the one hand,

it sounds good because you can push this thing past the midterm elections, and then deal with it. But isn't there a downside?

JOAN WALSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. There are downsides everywhere. And I agree with Matt that Rudy Giuliani has done exactly what he's being paid to do, which is of obfuscate, which is just throw mud at Robert Mueller. It's really disconcerting to see somebody who was himself a prosecutor, who was once a U.S. attorney, play this role and kind of undermining the rule of law, but he's doing what he's paid to do. And for the most part, he's done it decently. It's horrifying, but it's worked. We've seen, for example, polls show the public is a little bit less supportive of the Mueller probe. This is disturbing to me, but it's just a matter of politics.

On the other hand, you know, as Larry -- I defer to Larry on this, and they can delay, but to say that the president isn't going to testify unless there's evidence that he committed a crime, his testimony could be necessary because someone else committed a crime. It's a preposterous stance, but it looks like they're going to require a subpoena and drag this out.

JOHNS: And Larry, again, this question of politics, and even if you're getting into the realm of impeachment, we haven't gotten there yet, deciding not to testify before the special counsel wouldn't seem to help you particularly politically, would it?

NOBLE: It shouldn't help you politically, but what we've already seen with Trump's base is that they're very tolerant of what he does. And so with Giuliani setting up this whole idea, and Trump setting up the idea that the Mueller probe is corrupted, they're setting up the rationale for, well, he's not going to testify because it's unfair.

In fact I think at one point Giuliani said that he wanted to make sure this was fair, that they weren't biased. And I think what they're getting ready to do is say, well, they're clearly biased and he's not going to testify. And it's not about whether Trump is guilty of anything or has any evidence in their view. It's going to be all about whether or not this is a fair probe. So he shouldn't get away with it, but I think he might.

LEWIS: And I would think from Trump's standpoint, there's a benefit to trolling Democrats and teasing them a little bit. If he can get the Democratic base to talk about impeachment, then that actually might benefit Republicans going into the midterms. So I hate to take a very serious legal issue and talk rank politics, but that calculus actually does benefit Trump as well.

JOHNS: OK, so let's go back to the talk of delegitimizing the special counsel. I think we have a graphic that essentially shows all the times the president has, in one form or another, used the word "witch hunt." There you go, witch hunt tweets. And June 2018, all the way up to 25. So it appears the president is on to a strategy that he believes is working.

LEWIS: Well, this is not an accident. This is obviously -- this is an intentional strategy that Trump is engaged in. It's the same thing he does to the media. Basically what he tries to do is anybody who criticizes him or looks into him, he wants to undermine their legitimacy, and by the way, it works.

[14:35:00] JOHNS: Now, Joan, I've got to say, if you look back at the Clinton administration, which was the last time a president had this kind of legal controversy surrounding his administration, the Clintons and President Clinton himself certainly spent a lot of time delegitimizing, if you will, Ken Starr. Is it very different from what Mr. Trump is doing?

WALSH: I think it's very different. Certainly they did raise questions about his partisanship, but in this case, actually, the questions had some bearing. Ken Starr was a conservative Republican. Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been referring to people like Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller and James Comey as Democrats and talking about the angry Democrats who are running these probes. Those men are all Republicans. So there is absolutely no partisan bias driving this.

And also, in the end, President Clinton did wind up testifying, and it looks like President Trump will not. So this is clearly -- it's true, it's what he does to the media. He cries fake news, he cries Democratic witch hunt, but we'll see. I think that the Mueller probe is proceeding very aggressively. There have already been 20 indictments. I really wouldn't shrug -- none of us are shrugging, but I wouldn't say this gambit of discrediting it is going to ultimately be successful. If he has the good, he's got the goods.

JOHNS: All right, Joan, thanks so much for that. Matt Lewis, you and Joan are going to stick around. Larry Noble, thanks for coming in on a Saturday.

NOBLE: Thank you.

JOHNS: Still to come, President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is days away. On the agenda, arms control, the Syrian conflict, and Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. So how could it all play out? We'll talk about that coming up next.


[14:41:13] JOHNS: President Trump spending a quiet weekend at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, before a busy week ahead. Let's take a look at his calendar. Monday, we're expecting a Supreme Court nominee announcement. Tuesday, the immigration deadline for the administration to reunite children under the age of five with their parents. Later on that same day the president is expected to head to Brussels. Wednesday and Thursday he's at the NATO summit in Brussels. Later Thursday night, he heads to Britain where he has dinner with Prime Minister Theresa May. And Friday he'll meet with the Queen of England. Now, that's a calendar.

Mr. Trump has a weekend in Scotland before his big sit-down summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Finland on the 16th. So back with us now, CNN political commentators Matt Lewis and Joan Walsh. Joan, starting with you now. So the president tweeted this morning that, quote, "a big decision will soon be made." Do we think the president is going to choose a nominee Democrats are going to have a tough time opposing and might even have to go for, or does the president welcome a huge fight over this in the midst of a midterm election?

WALSH: He welcomes the fight. He has decided that his strategy is simply to galvanize his base. The list of judges that he put out two years ago -- it's three years almost now, Joe, was preapproved by the Federalist Society. Those are very, very conservative judges. They will overturn Roe v Wade, so there's no one of that list the Democrats can easily go for. And I think he relishes a battle.

JOHNS: Certainly some questions there about some of those people and their positions on abortion, whether they are revealed or hidden. Matt, a new Supreme Court pick could also, by chance, be the same person to cast a vote on whether the president actually has to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller. Do you think that would present a conflict of interest should that nominee, whoever he or she is, decide to recuse themselves from a vote like that?

LEWIS: I really don't think so. That's going to be your -- you're certainly going to hear liberals and Democrats make that argument. Once somebody is on the Supreme Court, they are there for life. They can't be recalled. And it happens very frequently that presidents nominate somebody, the Senate confirms them, and then they have to rule on something to do with the presidency. So you're certainly going to see calls for recusal, no matter who Trump picks. I don't think you're going to see it actually happen, and I don't actually think it's necessary.

JOHNS: So Joan, President Trump has written letters to the leaders of individual NATO countries basically telling them to pay their fair share. Now he's headed to Brussels for a NATO summit. Do you think he's going to be able to smooth things over, or is this going to be another one of those rough trips, as it were?

WALSH: I don't think he has the least bit of interest in smoothing things over. I think he's doing this deliberately. I think he has a lot of hostility to our NATO allies. I think that he -- whether it's deliberately or it's a matter of agreement, he really is allied on this particular issue with Vladimir Putin. He doesn't have that much interest in a common defense strategy with our traditional allies, and he undermines them at every chance he gets.

We've had some really disturbing reporting this week about that and about the way he's treated some of the allies, while we know he's courted Vladimir Putin and he's about to sit down with him without any aides, anybody from the -- our national security establishment to witness this. It's all a little chilling.

[14:45:03] JOHNS: So, after this NATO meeting, then we have the big sit-down with Vladimir Putin. Any idea how that's going to go down? And two, what exactly has Russia done to deserve a summit with the president of the United States? LEWIS: I think you make a really valid point. There are a lot of

people saying Trump shouldn't meet with Kim Jong-un because that is putting him on an equal status and sort of lending credibility to the regime. I think you could almost make the same argument about Vladimir Putin at this point. We're treating him as if he's the head of the Soviet Union, sort of the two super powers, and he's not. Russia is not the Soviet Union.

And so, look, you can always make an argument, people made it with Kim, that you should be talking to everybody. You don't need preconditions. I would be just concerned about Donald Trump going into any sort of negotiations with someone like Vladimir Putin who I think is an incredibly devious and shrewd operator. And we've had several presidents now who did not fare well kind of going up against him.

JOHNS: Joan, what about the optics of this meeting, the president with Vladimir Putin, when you consider the Russia investigation going on here? Does that help clear him or make him look better in the public eye? Or is it a wash because the people who like him are going to continue to like him and the people who don't are going to continue to not like him.

WALSH: Joe, I think sometimes we act like the people who like him are roughly equal to the people who don't like him. His approval rating is terrible. He has a core of Republican support, and sadly I'm sure Matt laments this as well, he is remaking the party in his image by and large. The never-Trumpers are brave people but they're not having a lot of influence.

But when we say some like it, most don't like it. And I think most have concerns about his ties to Russia. Most have concerns about the possibility, well, the confirmation from our intelligence agencies of Russian meddling in the election on behalf of Donald Trump. So I think this looks terrible to a lot of Americans, specifically that he's not going in the way any other president would do it, with his foreign policy experts, his national security experts, his team by his side, that he's going to go in alone with this guy who is, I think, much -- certainly much shrewder, much more skilled in the ways of the world, and perhaps smarter than Donald Trump. That he's going in without any help, I think, is scary. The optics and the reality are scare scary to a lot of Americans.

JOHNS: I think the president would probably disagree with you on that, Joan Walsh.

WALSH: I'm sure he would.

JOHNS: We'll leave it there for now. Thanks to you and Matt Lewis as well.

LEWIS: Thank you.

JOHNS: South Carolina Representative Katie Arrington is speaking out for the first time following her serious car wreck. The accident happened last month just about a week after her GOP primary win over Congressman Mark Sanford. Arrington and a friend were traveling to an event in Hilton Head, South Carolina, when their car collided with a vehicle that was going the wrong direction. That driver was killed in the crash. Arrington appeared emotional, reflecting on her recovery.


REP. KATIE ARRINGTON, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: First and foremost, thank you, God, because two weeks ago today, I -- there are no words other than thank you, God.


JOHNS: Arrington is headed home and expected to make a full recovery. She says she'll be back on the campaign trail soon.

Still ahead, a sneak peek at the CNN original series "The 2000s" and how the era transformed reality TV.


[14:53:13] JOHNS: Can you believe it was almost 20 years ago reality TV became a world of its own. In the 2000s, we were introduced to everything from "Survivor" to Snooki's antics on "The Jersey Shore" to the start of the Kardashian empire. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes us back.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know what's been a survivor? Reality TV starting with "Survivor" in the year 2000. Hatching memorable moments like winner Richard Hatch without clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never get used to seeing Richard naked.

MOOS: Some of us managed to duck reality TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's two types of people in this world, educated and uneducated.

MOOS: But this Nielsen chart of the decade shows reality in blue grows while sitcoms in orange become almost extinct and drama in green shrinks. Even if you didn't watch "American Idol," you couldn't escape the worst vocalist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, thank you.

MOOS: The allure of train wreck TV. Be they real house wives or denizens of the Jersey Shore, from Snooki drunk to Snooki punch, to Kim flailing at Khloe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll hurt you. Don't do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they call this reality romance? You're pulling our leg, right?



MOOS: Oops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I forgot her name. That wasn't the girl I wanted to give it to.

MOOS: Who knew a future president would have reality show on his resume.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're all fired. All four are fired.

MOOS: Even if firing turned out not to be his forte in real life. Sure, there were reality flops. "Are You Hot" wasn't.

[14:55:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pectoral muscles, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the hottest man because I have this to offer.

MOOS: And greatest American dog didn't do so great, even if Presley stood up to an elephant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good boy. Stay. Presley, stay.

MOOS: In actual reality, pounds don't stay off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm giving you my best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you're not.

MOOS: And couples don't stay together.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought you'd never ask.

MOOS: When it comes to reality TV, we tend to behave like a good dog.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


JOHNS: OK, that looks great. Don't miss the CNN new original series "2000s" starting tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern and pacific only on CNN.

I'm Joe Johns in for Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks for joining me today. CNN's Newsroom continues after this short break.