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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Many Trying to Reunite Separated Families; Trump's Behind- Closed-Doors Meeting Scheduled With Putin Raises Questions; Trump's Visit to London without Royal Pomp and Circumstance. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 7, 2018 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- of drug dealers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got the best product.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of teachers, or politicians, just make the entire city into the character, itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and dealers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's low oxygen levels that now pose as grave threat as the ever-looming monsoon deluge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't want to pull the trigger on this difficult and dangerous rescue attempt until they know it's their only option.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have no other option, we should take them out by diving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIANNE GALLAGER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Dianne Gallagher in for Christi Paul today.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning.

GALLAGHER: We start with breaking news out of Thailand. A Navy official says that rescue efforts to evacuate that soccer team trapped deep inside of a cave could start soon.

BLACKWELL: So, rescue teams are racing against the weather right now. The beginning of more monsoon rains, you see the radar already starting. To make matters worse, oxygen levels where the 12 boys and their coach are stuck are dangerously low.

CNN's David McKenzie is live in Chiang Rai, Thailand. David, tell us what's happening around you now.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor, Dianne. Yes, there is a real sense of urgency here because those rains could come very soon and those rains could be sustained, the beginning monsoon season here in Thailand.

And if that happens, all of the water that they have been pumping out to try to keep these 12 boys and their coach safe underground, well, that could all come to naught as the water comes rushing in.

And a Thai Navy official just recently told us here at CNN that they could begin this extraction very soon indeed. We don't know exactly when, but all sides at least at this stage point to them trying to bring those boys out through those narrow tunnels with full-face masks. Many of them can't swim.

It's going to be harrowing and dangerous, and their parents certainly hope that they will come out alive, just like the rest of the world -- Dianne, Victor.

BLACKWELL: David McKenzie for us there just outside that cave, thank you.

GALLAGHER: Joining us on the phone is Benua Kapitan (ph), he returned from the cave site yesterday. He is continuing to work with the rescue operation. Benua (ph), thank you so much for joining us. Talk to us a little bit about the work that you have been doing there at the cave part of this mission.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Thank you. I was not on site. I'm sorry. There's some confusion here. I was not on site in Chiang Rai.

GALLAGHER: OK. You were not on site is right. Talk to us then a bit about the rescue operation, if you can. What is happening there?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: The situation right now is those kids have been trapped for two weeks now in a very narrow, muddy shelf inside that cave. They have been found, but two weeks is a long time now with no sunlight and the lack of food, that has been taken care of.

Since they have been found, they have been provided supplies, food, medical care, they have medics with them. The Thai Navy SEALs are training them to swim and dive so in case they get a green light to have extraction, (inaudible) some kind of preparation.

BLACKWELL: We're told that could happen soon from a Thai Navy official. Benua Kapitan, thank you so much for being with us.

Let me bring David McKenzie back in. David, what are the things that I've wondered about is you've got these 12 boys and their coach, very narrow paths. Are they going to bring them out individually? Are there 13 trips into and out of this cave? Is there a caravan or sorts? Is there any description of how many they bring out at a time?

MCKENZIE: The one thing we do know, just based on how these rescues work, it must be said that they've never attempted a rescue like this before, is that, Victor, they will have to bring each boy out from that inner most cavern individually probably paired up with two Navy divers through those narrow caves. It's hard to contemplate. But the reason for that is if any of the boys panic or it goes badly wrong or there is some kind of a lock down in that very tight space, if there are a whole lot of boys in that channel at once, it could be catastrophic.

So, someone will have to be the first brave young boy to go first with those divers, it's an extraordinary effort. And you know, it's an extraordinary international effort.

[08:05:00] Just a moment ago, they shared with us how the Thai Navy divers are joined by an American specialist, British, Chinese and Australian all working together in this real attempt to get these boys out alive -- Victor, Dianne.

GALLAGHER: David, real quick, before we let you go. I know it's starting to become nightfall there. Does that impact this whatsoever?

MCKENZIE: No, it doesn't really impact this. In fact, under the ground there, they have been blacked out or very limited light as they bring that in there because it's deep within the cavern, about a mile into the mountain behind me.

You know, I've seen them take these glow sticks that you crack and can last up to eight hours. They will most likely place that along this narrow route. Even if the visibility is near zero, it will give some possibly psychological reassurance to the boys if they get a sense in front of them maybe there is an exit.

Because you can't -- it's hard to imagine the sheer terror that will be going through their mind as they pull out day or night, it will still be black as night for those buys.

BLACKWELL: Give us a sense of the atmosphere there now, the feeling amongst the people who have gathered around this cave, now that we are hearing from this official, that the extraction may happen soon?

MCKENZIE: Well, you might see behind me, you know, there are Thai Navy officials, ambulances or in this area, a bunch of ambulances waiting for the possible moment when the boys are brought out. It's definitely a much more tense environment. They have blocked the press (inaudible) understandably from the area where all day the compressors have been putting air into the tanks to get ready.

That logistical situation, and just mustn't forget the poignancy of this moment too, the young boys have been able to get messages out to their parents. One of them nicknamed Tung, he wrote on a notebook saying he wants to get out and have fried chicken. Here's his father who we spoke to a little bit earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TANAWUT VIBOONNUNGRUANG, SON TRAPPED IN CAVE (through translator): I felt better as my son said that he was fine and strong. I felt relieved after I've been worried about my son that he would be exhausted, tired. I felt better but I don't know whether he is tired or not. I just want to give him what he wants. Whenever he comes, we would go together. Before that he and his aunt had agreed to have those fried chicken at KFC together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: His mom wrote a better back, which we hope that he has read at this point. She said, "I will be there at the entrance when you come out" -- Victor, Dianne.

BLACKWELL: David McKenzie for us there, outside this cave. Thank you so much. We'll check back in with you soon.

Right now, search crews, they are trying to find an alternative to making the boys swim out of that cave. More than 100 chimneys as they are called, being drilled into the mountainside. This is an effort to reach the boys from above. Here's Asia correspondent, Jonathan Miller, with details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN MILLER, ASIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From high above on an adjacent mountain, close to the Bermis (ph) frontier, the geography is striking.

(on camera): That is what the Thais call Bear Cliff Mountain and the great cave in which the boys are trapped is just down there. Limestone cast formations like this are often characterized by potholes and chimneys connecting the ridge line high above to the caverns deep below.

And it's up there on that ridge line that the focused for an alternative escape route is focused on right now. The search teams scouring the dense jungle for a possible way in.

(voice-over): If these search teams can identify an opening, which could preclude a risky drive, they'll have to find one soon. Experts say caves breathe. In the suffocating heat, you can feel them from below.

The men employed to explore these potholes are collectors of edible birds nests from limestone caves in Southern Thailand. Here they descended 300 meters before hitting a dead end. By GPS, they ascertained they weren't far above the chamber in which the boys are trapped.

This chimney didn't go all the way, but the hope that there may be others. That's all they've got now, hope, hope the rain will hold. Hope they will find that illusive chimney and hope the 12 exhausted little adventurers below won't have to do that desperate dive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Jonathan Miller. Let's go now to Allison Chinchar is watching the weather, of course. How much rain is in the forecast and how soon we're expecting the heaviest of these rains?

[08:10:10] ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. Because it's a two-fold, really. It's how much rain are they going to get and long is that rain going to last? Now, we know the rain is already starting to move into the area. They've been lucky enough to have a little bit of a break.

It hasn't rained from July 2nd all the way through July 6th. They haven't had more than just a trace of rain. This is good. This has allowed some of that water inside the cave to begin to recede.

But it's not going to last long because look, this is the location around where that cave is, all the reds and oranges, that's the moisture. It's returning. With it are the rain chances.

Now, today, on Saturday, even though it's mainly Saturday night there. A 50 percent chance of rain, but Sunday and Monday, those rain chances tick up to 80 and 90 percent. Now not only do the rain chances increase, but so does the total amount of rain, widespread amounts for these locations.

You're talking about four-to-six inches of rain in some spots. Keep in mind, this is on top of what they've already had, but we also talk about the long-term effects. Because here's the thing, we are just now getting into the peak rainy season, which for this location, it's July and August.

So, again, this isn't just going to be, Victor and Dianne, something they can wait another week or two until the rain goes away, because in reality the rainy season doesn't really end until the end of October.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

All right. Coming up, a shift in strategy from President Trump's lawyers on the Russia probe. How they may be planning to fight back against Robert Mueller's team.

Plus, the Trump administration is asking the court for more time, as the deadline nears to reunite children who have been separated from their parents. We'll have a live update from the Brownsville Detention Center in Texas.

GALLAGHER: Also, preparations under way in Puerto Rico as Hurricane Barrel continues on its path through the Caribbean, coming up, how the storm could impact the island that is still recovering from last year's storm.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:16:11]

BLACKWELL: There are signs of a shifting strategy for the president's legal team. They set new conditions for a sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

GALLAGHER: Yes. The "New York Times" reports that President Trump's lawyers want two things before their client will agree to an interview. Number one, the special counsel's team must prove that it has evidence that the president committed a crime. Number two, the Mueller team has to show that they need testimony from the president to finish the Russia probe.

BLACKWELL: For more on what the new conditions may signal, let's go live to CNN White House reporter, Sarah Westwood live in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, near where the president is spending the weekend. All right. Sarah, tell us more about this new strategy from the president's attorneys.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Well, President Trump is sending yet another signal that he will not cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The "New York Times" is reporting that Trump's legal team made these demands of Mueller yesterday, telling investigators that in exchange for President Trump's cooperation with an interview request, they must prove that they have uncovered evidence that Trump committed a crime.

And they must prove that Trump's testimony is necessary to wrap up the probe. Now, Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump's top attorneys told the "Times," "If they can come to us and show us the basis and that it's legitimate and that they have uncovered something, we can go from there and assess their objectivity."

Of course, Trump and his allies have escalated their attacks on Mueller in recent weeks questioning the foundation of the probe and raising unsubstantiated claims of rampant bias within the FBI.

It's important to note that all the way back in January, Trump told reporters that he would be eager to sit down with investigators. So, these new preconditions certainly mark a shift in Trump's legal tactics, perhaps setting the president up to approach the investigation in private as aggressively as he's approached it in public.

But, of course, setting new standards for Mueller to meet is at odds with demands by Trump and his allies, the special counsel wrap up the investigation as quickly as possible -- Victor and Dianne.

GALLAGHER: Sarah Westwood in New Jersey, thank you so much. Now, we are also learning about a Trump campaign connection to Paul Manafort's money laundering trial.

BLACKWELL: Prosecutors say a banker who has not yet been named helped the former Trump campaign chairman get $16 million in loans while he was trying to get a role with the Trump campaign.

Mueller's team says they plan to show the loans were approved and the banking executive got a position advising the campaign. Meanwhile, weeks before the trial is set to start, Manafort's lawyers are also asking to move the trial and change its start date, this is the Virginia trial not the D.C. one.

Joining me now to talk about this, Amie Parnes, CNN political analyst and senior political correspondent for "The Hill." Amie, welcome back.

AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you. BLACKWELL: So, you believe that this is -- let me also say this, co- author of "Shattered, Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign," cannot forget the book plug. All right. Let's go now to the latest reporting. You believe that this is a credibility play, right?

This is to try to again chip away at the credibility of the Mueller probe, in case there is something that comes out, whether it's an indictment or naming the president as a co-conspirator to try to convince the country, the president's supporters that it's as he calls it a witch hunt?

PARNES: Right. I mean, you are seeing a complete shift in strategy, the president, as Sarah said earlier, wanted to initially cooperate with this investigation and now you are seeing Emmet Flood and Rudy Giuliani saying, wait, not so fast. He will not cooperate until these conditions are made.

I think it's pretty obvious that what they are trying to do is delay, delay, delay here. They want to sway public opinion. They feel like it's working for them, by the way, because they see shifts in public opinions, in polls that are backing them up.

That people are getting tired of the Mueller investigation, people want to move on from it. So, the more they think they can delay the better off.

[08:20:03] And also, by the way, the mid-terms are coming up, and they don't want this to impact midterm elections, which they feel is very crucial right now for the Republican Party.

BLACKWELL: Right. Giuliani also reportedly told the "Times," "I'll admit, this is something you knew." It's the first time I've read that the attorneys for the president will write their own report. They'll submit their own summary of the case.

Are they going through as the special prosecutors are, interviewing all of these witnesses and creating another narrative? Is this going to be a single sheet that says no collusion? They will release that? I mean, this is a substantial promise?

PARNES: Yes, I don't think they are going to interview obviously everyone the Mueller team are interviewing, but I think they are trying to counter whatever the Mueller team is trying will do. You saw objectivity being the key word in one of the quotes that Giuliani said.

He is trying to demonstrate that they are not being objective. The Mueller team is out to get them, Donald Trump is right when he says witch-hunt every time. So, this is something they will continue to press and say in the weeks and months to come.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn now to this reporting on Manafort and this unnamed banker, who had advisory roles with the campaign, was not involved with the administration, but helped them get the $16 million in loans. What is the significance for a White House that says anything that Manafort is charged with happened years before he was involved with the campaign, has nothing to do with Trump or any of Trump's associates?

PARNES: Well, I think it sets them back a little bit. Obviously, they want to continue to say, no, this has nothing to do with the campaign. This is all foreign interest. This has nothing to do with us.

But, once again, here we are. There are ties to the Trump campaign. So, they can no longer say, you know, there is nothing to see here, this is a witch hunt because they can. You know, there are ties now and Mueller is trying to obviously prove that there is a connection here. That's what they're trying to do.

BLACKWELL: Detail for us the case that these attorneys are making in this Virginia trial to get it moved out of the D.C. suburbs and southwest to Roanoke about 240 miles away?

PARNES: Right. They feel like that 4-hour difference is going to make a difference. They see that Hillary Clinton voters will, you know, come out and make this a very biased kind of case and that they'll have an opinion on this.

And they feel like the D.C. area is obviously not the place to do that, that Arlington that area, Alexandria, very much in favor of the Democratic Party. So, they're trying to move it to Roanoke, which they think is a more even keel kind of place for Republican voters. It was kind of 50-50 over there in the 2016 elections.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the president did far better in the southwest part of the state than he did in those D.C. suburbs. All right. Amie Parnes, thanks so much.

PARNES: Thank you.

GALLAGHER: All right. Still to come, as deadlines quickly approach, the government is asking for some more time to reunite migrant families they separated. We have a live update from the Brownsville Detention Center in just a moment.

BLACKWELL: Plus, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, two places that will not be on the itinerary during the president's first trip to London as president of the United States, but there will be Big Baby. Coming up a live report from London on the president's trip to the U.K.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:28:07]

GALLAGHER: Welcome back. I'm Dianne Gallagher.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. The Trump administration is now facing several federal court orders to reunite migrant children with their families. First, yesterday, the U.S. government was supposed to have made sure every separated parent had a way to contact their child. A government attorney says she believes they met that goal, but lawyers representing some parents say their clients have not spoken to their child at all. GALLAGHER: Now the government has until Tuesday to make sure that every single child they separated under the age of 5 is reunited with their parent. By July 26th, every family must be reunited regardless of age of the child. So as the deadlines get closer, U.S. officials are now asking the court for more time to comply.

BLACKWELL: And of course, all of this confusion and uncertainty is just adding to the anguish of these separated families. CNN correspondent, Miguel Marquez, who is at the Brownsville Detention Center. Miguel, this is where a Guatemalan mother is expected to arrive a little later today to demand her child back?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is -- we are starting to see this happening. We are starting to see parents, who are claiming asylum starting to get out under sort of a normalized process. It typically wouldn't take this long, but they are getting out.

She got out of a detention center in Taylor, Texas about 48 hours ago. She is making her way down this way. She says she knows her son is here and she wants him back. She had no indication of what the process was when she got out. DHS, Department of Homeland Security was holding her.

She gets out. They say you have family in Florida, just go there, and don't worry about anything else. She says I'm not leaving the state of Texas until I have my kid back. I know where he is. I want him back.

She got no information on how to do this. She hooked up with local groups. They got information from HHS for the paperwork, process for her to get verified and get her son back. It's 32 pages long. It's essentially a security background check and it is almost impossible for someone who just got out of detention who has no documents, who doesn't have a phone, who doesn't have a computer to figure out. You or I would have a tough time doing it with all of that in a couple of days; it is a very long and laborious piece of paperwork. So she wants to come here and try to get him back. She's talked to him a couple of times. She knows he is here; he's 10 years old and she hopes to get him back.

On the under fives, the government today has asked - the judge has asked the government to provide a list of all 101 kids that they say are under five that are in the care of HHS. They want to know exactly where they are and where their parents are. That is the part the government is having problems with. They say they know where most of the parents are; they don't know where all of them are. Some of them are still detained, some of them have been deported, and some of them have been set free because they're on bond for an asylum claim.

The ACLU said if you can get us that list, we'll help find the parents because the government can't do it. So that's one side of it and the phone calls as you mentioned which were supposed to happen yesterday, we have heard all the way along that it is an imperfect system. Some parents are in regular contact, some parents have had one phone call, other parents haven't heard from their kids at all and even those that have had one or two phone calls since they've been detained say that they're five, six, seven minutes long; the parents are crying, the kids are crying, it's almost impossible to communicate. Back to you guys.

BLACKWELL: Thirty-two pages to try to get your child back. Miguel Marquez for us there outside that center there in Brownsville.

GALLAGHER: Thank you. So President Trump will be at the NATO Summit next week but NATO allies are unhappy with the way the President has been going after them with military spending. We are going to explain what this might mean for that meeting.

BLACKWELL: Plus, look at this, people packing stores. This is in Puerto Rico. They're stocking up with supplies because Hurricane Beryl is tracking now through the Caribbean, coming up, when this storm could impact this island.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:36:34] BLACKWELL: President Trump heads to Brussels next week for the NATO Summit and he plans to talk to world leaders about one of his pet peeves, not spending enough on their defense while the U.S. puts as he says most of the bill. The Candidate Trump had described countries as free loaders, owing back payments to NATO, threatening to shift U.S. military presence unless they increase defense spending. But let's take a look at how NATO works. The first question, what is NATO? Well the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a group of countries in North America and Europe committed to, very simply here - simple terms -- defending one another. Founded in 1949, this was after World War II, the start of the Cold War, started with 12 countries focused on fighting off then Soviet aggressions, the expansion, and communism across Europe, and as NATO characterizes it, to encourage European political integration.

The U.S. was the leading founding member here. NATO gave the U.S. a strong foot hold in Europe and today there are 29 member countries. Now that number could grow to 33 in the next round of expansion. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine all want to join. Why? Well in large part the security of NATO's Article 5, it guarantees an attack on any member of NATO is considered an attack on all members and all members are bounds to respond or assist the attacked member country. Now Article 5 has been invoked just once in the nearly 70 year history of NATO. It was in the U.S. in the days and weeks after 9/11.

So why would those four countries want to join NATO now? For the same reasons the organization was founded, common defense now against Russian aggression. Putin has been expanding Russian influence in the Balkans. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and of course you know about Russia's annexation is of Crimea in Ukraine. This organization was expressly formed against Russia, President Trump is warning to Putin and hostility towards NATO understandably worries some of its members. So let's talk now with General Wesley Clark, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and contributor for the United States "Armed Forces Magazine." General, welcome back to "New Day."

WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Thank you very much Victor.

BLACKWELL: So let's start at the very basic here. It seems like a pedestrian question but this is the level at which the President is attacking NATO. I want you to listen to him at a rally this week in Montana.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said you know Angela, I can't guarantee it, but we're protecting you and it means a lot more to you than protecting us, because I don't know how much protection we get by protecting you.

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: The central question here, what does the U.S. get out of NATO?

CLARK: Well we get, first of all, we get protection for the United States, our way of life, our economic zone, our values. The United States fought two world wars in the 20th century to make sure that powers that didn't share our values couldn't dominate Europe. Europe is the group of nations closest to us in terms of value and interests. They're our great trading partners, great friends and great support for U.S. actions and interests worldwide; so they are indispensable allies of the United States and while we provide and have always provided the preponderance of military power, it's their terrain that we would be fighting on if any conflict were to break out.

[08:40:17]

BLACKWELL: The President has often framed his dissatisfaction with NATO in an economic argument. He pairs trade deficits with these countries respective defense spending in the same sentence often. Is that the appropriate or proper framing of the benefits to the U.S. from NATO?

CLARK: It's not appropriate because the security relationship of NATO is the bedrock of all of the economic development that's taken place since the late 1940's in Western Europe and in the United States. It's the freedom of these countries and their ability to organize and follow democratic procedures and work against corruption which enables this extraordinary economic growth. They know what the lack of NATO would mean in Europe. It would mean domination by Putin and his, let's call it a cleptocracy. It's no longer Marxism, Leninism, it's mafia-led state extortion and corruption. The benefits flow to a very few people run by the former Soviet Russian Intelligence Services in Russia.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk specifically now, let's move to past Brussels and go down to Helsinki where this meeting is coming up between President Putin and President Trump. Reportedly they're going to meet one-on-one just the two of them in a room. I want you to listen to what the President said. This was soon after the summit in Singapore about how the President would engage Putin just if they were sitting over dinner and how he'd hit some of the main topics that the U.S. is concerned about. Here's the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

TRUMP: I can say will you do me a favor? Will you get out of Syria? Would you do me a favor? Will you get out of the Ukraine? Get out of the Ukraine?

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: Now, first the President is suggesting that it's just personal relationship and that would be the best way man-to-man to sit down. But that would require Putin to abandon his life-long dream of putting Mother Russia back together to abandon Assad, that just doesn't seem realistic the way the President frames this or do I have it right or wrong?

CLARK: You have it exactly right Victor. It's not realistic and this is -- I don't want to characterize it in any particular way except the talk of someone who doesn't really understand how the world works. These are not real estate deals. This is not a matter of hey, I got a good relationship with so and so, I'm sure he'll sell me the piece of property I need. That's not what this is about. Countries and systems have long-term interests. Putin represents those interests; the interests of a whole group of people who want to restore Russia's border security by if not occupying then dominating its neighbors.

So it's not a matter of Putin and Trump having a nice conversation. But more than this, there's a deeper issue because our European allies understand fully what's going on in the United States. They know Putin and Russia helped President Trump in the election or attempted to. They know that Trump has been much more comfortable dealing with autocrats than with our traditional allies like France and Germany. So they see this upcoming summit as a threat to the sense of security and support that Europe has traditionally received from the United States. So it's not only what's said in the room but it's the atmospherics; it's even a sense that there is a private meeting like this that sows concern and confusion among our necessary and traditional allies in Europe.

BLACKWELL: What's the realistic best case for this meeting coming out of Helsinki with the Presidents? We know the President likes to come out having gotten something, that there is a deal of some sort. From your perspective on what is idealistic, what's best case?

CLARK: I think it would be really great if Putin said, let's go back, reinforce this intermediate nuclear forces treaty and we'll get rid of our long-range nuclear missiles. Don't you develop any? That would be great. I think the discussion is more likely to talk about Iran and Syria and it's not realistic to think that Russia will enable Iran or push Iran out of Syria. So I think what's probably going to happen is the President is going to say he had a great talk, that Putin agreed to get Iran out of Syria, but it is unlikely there's any concrete measures that will come out of this summit that will actually show that Iran will leave Syria.

[08:45:00] I don't think that's something Russia wants. I think this is about hand holding and we still don't know really whether there is any compromise held by Putin over President Trump as the dossier suggested. So a lot of people not only in the United States but around the world are kind of holding their breath for the outcome of the Mueller investigation.

BLACKWELL: What do you make of these two men meeting one on one alone with no official record, no secretaries or ministers in the room with them?