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AT THIS HOUR
Trump: "Germany is a Captive Of Russia;" Trump Slams Allies, Calls Out Germany at NATO Summit; Dozens of Kids Still Separated from Parents after Deadline. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired July 11, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. From insults and attacks, to smiles and handshakes, the NATO Summit is just getting started, and it is already proving to be yet another roller coaster ride for everyone involved.
President Trump meeting with Germany's leader this morning, just after attacking that same country for being, his words -- captive to Russia. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they are getting from 60 percent to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. You tell me if that's appropriate because I think it is not.
I think it is a very bad thing for NATO and I don't think it should have happened. Germany is a captive of Russia because they -- they got rid of their coal plants, they got rid of their nuclear. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: We're going to dig in to those details in just a moment. Angela Merkel pushed back on the president offering something of a history lesson today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Because of current events, I wanted to add that I myself lived through a part of Germany being controlled by the Soviet Union and I am very happy that today we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany, and that we can also say that we manage our independent policies and manage our independent decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: All right. So, let's get to it. CNN's Kaitlan Collins is traveling with the president joining me now from NATO headquarters in Brussels. Kaitlan, all of this playing out this morning in Brussels. There's much more to come, but what then happened behind closed doors when the president met with Angela Merkel and the president met with the French president?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He did. There certainly is much more to come. But you saw Merkel there firing back after the president came out swinging this morning, going after Germany while specifically complaining about those countries that don't meet that defense spending percentage that NATO has pledged to meet.
The president did not even wait a few minutes, Kate, this morning before he got into those complaints. We knew he was going to have a quite combative tone, but he really singled out Germany specifically.
That led to what we believe was going to be a pretty awkward sit-down between the two when they met one-on-one here this afternoon, but instead they seemed to try to make nice, at least when the cameras were in a room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're having a great meeting. We're discussing military expenditure. We're talking about trade. We have a very, very good relationship with the chancellor. We have a tremendous relationship with Germany.
MERKEL (through translator): It is very important to have good exchanges because we are partners and it is important to cooperate in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So, the president did say at the end of that that he did bring up the gas pipeline with Merkel. That was what really he got into this morning going after them saying that they are held totally captive by Russia.
His main complaint here overall, not just with Germany but with France as well, he met with both of their leaders this afternoon is that defense spending. Several countries do not meet that required 2 percent that they are supposed to meet by 2024. The president saying that he doesn't think that they are trying hard enough.
The U.S. clearly meets that well, above and beyond that. But Germany and France are two countries that have not met that 2 percent spending on military of their GDP. That is certainly likely something we are going to hear the president continue rail about over the next 24 hours while he is here in Brussels -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right. Kaitlan, great to see you. Thank you so much. Much more to come.
Joining me now, John Kirby, CNN military and diplomatic Analyst and former spokesman for the State and Defense Departments under President Obama, and CNN's Chief International Anchor, Christiane Amanpour. Great to see you both.
So, Christiane, the president smacking Germany for this major gas deal that it struck with Russia in years past. You spoke with the German defense minister about this. I want to play what she told you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER: First of all, this is a pipeline, this economic project started back in 2002 or '03, so way before Russia changed its behavior in 2014. We have a very diverse mix of energy supply, so the president hasn't to be worried that there is any kind of dependency.
On the contrary, if there is one person who has been dealing all the time with President Putin, very hard on the issues of you Ukraine and the hybrid war in the Ukraine was Chancellor Merkel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: But, you know, as we well know, Trump isn't the only one critical of this deal between Germany and Russia. I mean, Poland and other countries have thought it is a mistake.
[11:05:10] What does it mean though bringing it up in this setting, though, Christiane?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think it is apples and oranges. I think we should really look at this very factually and not keep repeating these conflations that the president makes without really driving a factual nail through all this because that's obviously our job.
What the defense minister said was absolutely correct. Of course, there are some people who are uncomfortable with it. However, it is not a government project first and foremost, so it has absolutely nothing to do with the share of GDP or allocation of budget in the regard that President Trump is talking about.
It is a commercial enterprise. That we learned today from the German foreign ministry, sources told us, as we asked for more details on this issue. So, we're doing our homework and we're getting the facts on this and the American people need to know that.
It is not just as if they are willy-nilly throwing money at Russia instead of their joint military commitments. Added to that, Germany has been moving its military commitment up. It happens to be the second-biggest contributor to NATO after the United States.
And, as Angela Merkel has told the president and told everybody else, German troops, German military logistics, German intelligence, all of that contributes hugely to the NATO activities, wherever they might be, most notably right now on the ground in Afghanistan.
So, you know, there is a lot of apples and oranges being conflated over this whole thing today. And the big, big issue, frankly, is the tone of all of this and the idea that President Trump has come out swinging at one of the leading European western democratic officials in the world, who have taken the charge and taken the lead, standing up very tough to Vladimir Putin and Russia for their misdeeds in 2014 vis-a-vis invading, annexing of Crimea and invading, as you know, Eastern Ukraine. So, one has to be very clear about what's going on here.
BOLDUAN: John, what gives then? As I said off the top, you have insults and attacks this morning. But then when the president is sitting down with Angela Merkel, when cameras were brought in, the president says they have a very, very great relationship.
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think there's two things at work here. One is his absolute distaste for multilateral institutions and his feeling that at the molecular level, that the United States gets taken advantage of by its allies and its partners.
I think that just sticks in his craw and he just won't let that go. This is something he's been harping on this for a long, long time. Number two, this is about trade. Christiane hits the nail on the head when she talked about conflating.
He's conflating the trade issues with the E.U., with his concerns over defense spending at NATO and he's basically holding American military strength sort of hostage to -- or holding our European allies hostage to American military strength, threatening to withdraw troops from Germany, our contributions to NATO operations in return for trying to badger and bullying our European allies into better trade deals.
And this pipeline gets right at that because back in May, the Trump administration tried to talk Angela Merkel out of moving forward with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which takes gas from the Baltic Sea down through in New York because he wanted to (inaudible) with American oil and gas. This goes right to the basis of what he's trying to do there.
BOLDUAN: And Christiane, Trump's NATO ambassador was with him this morning, kind of in that contentious breakfast that we all kind of saw play out. She also spoke with you beforehand and had this to say kind of about the state of play, I guess. Let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: I think the discord is music to Putin's ears. But I do think that coming from this summit, which is allied, is strong, and is going to increase our deterrent capabilities with our 30, 30, 30, 30 goals, that is I think going to put President Trump in a very strong position with President Putin and I think he will be tough with President Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Christiane, so discord is a problem, but does Kay bailey Hutchison think Donald Trump is a source of that?
AMANPOUR: Well, yes. Because she said the discord that Trump is sowing amongst western allies is music to Putin's ears. But she also -- look, American officials are furiously trying to spin the best image they can put on what's happening over there in Brussels right now.
They know perfectly well -- remember, Kay Bailey Hutchison has been a long-time U.S. senator, elected by the people of Texas. She understands the politics. Therefore, she is trying to put the best spin on this.
They're saying on the one hand, yes, this discord, this disunity, take what happened in Canada -- people are terrified now about what's going to happen, the final communique here in NATO.
[11:10:06] They have low expectations they told the "Wall Street Journal," but I think they may be even lower than what they expected. All of that ahead of Trump going to see Putin in Helsinki.
So, what they are trying to say is let's keep this alliance stay strong and not let Putin drive a wedge between us because that will damage us all, but on the hand, they are also trying to say that President Trump has a strategy and that strategy is to look and act tough.
So, they are trying to thread a very difficult diplomatic needle. But I must say, it is the first time that I have ever heard a U.S. president speak so abnormally against a key European ally.
To say that the Germans were "captive" to Russia, were "totally controlled" by Russia is so against the norm, it is so unusual, that it is very hard to figure out. It is so counterfactual that we really need to be clear about this because the American people need to understand that Germany is a very strong ally and it is not controlled by Russia. Quite the opposite.
BOLDUAN: That also leads to a bigger question that has come up again and again, John, which -- is this all -- I don't though -- a bending of, a realigning of, a bending of the world order as people have known it since World War II or is this just words?
KIRBY: I don't know the answer to that. I think we're going to wait and see how this plays out. That said, look, Kate, I'm not worried about the future of NATO. I'm not worried about the liberal democratic order.
I think these institutions have survived now for 70-plus years because they are strong, because they are resilient and because they don't rely on personality and proclivities of any one United States president.
Now I do believe that Donald Trump can do damage to those institutions, and I believe he already has. I think we have to be mindful of that. We also have to be mindful most of the American people support NATO, 62 percent of them.
But it breaks down along partisan lines and that support for NATO is declining among Republicans. That's why Trump keeps hitting this. That's why he got applause lines when he went out to Montana earlier this week.
So, we do have to be mindful of the resilience of it, but I'm not worried about the sort of bending of the international world order just because of Donald Trump.
BOLDUAN: John, Christiane, thanks so much. Stick close because who knows what's going to come up next. I really appreciate it, guys.
Now turning to a fact check. As Christiane was saying, cut through it and get to the facts? Let's get to this. Was President Trump on target when he said this today -- that Germany was getting -- will be getting from 60 percent to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.
That is what led the president to say that Russia controls Germany, that Germany is captive to Russia. Well, CNN's John Defterios is joining me now in London. He's been looking into this. John, how do those numbers check out?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, first and foremost, Kate, this is a nasty game of pipeline politics. Where there's oil and gas, there is a lot at stake, including some influence here. But let's get to those numbers first and foremost. The president talked about up to 70 percent of the gas going into Germany and the broader European Union is coming from Russia.
That is actually incorrect. What the president's talking about here, that overall in the European Union, they import 70 percent of their gas. Let's break it down here. I'll make sure my notes are absolutely accurate.
The European Union overall, 70 percent of their natural gas is imported, but 37 percent of that comes from Russia right now, 33 percent from Norway, and 11 percent from Algeria. Now Germany's the largest economy in Europe right now, importing 94 percent of its natural gas.
But again, the average on a yearly basis coming from Russia is about 35 percent. The president singled out the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It is a soft spot because it's quite controversial. This is negotiated by the former chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schroeder.
He became chairman of the Stockholders Committee, 51 percent controlled by the gas giant from Russia. Then there's five other players all from Western Europe and two of them are German companies, as well. So, Russia's influence will grow. The demand for natural gas will grow, but it is nowhere near 70 percent -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Real quick, John, any suggestion that with the pipeline, it will grow to 70 percent of natural gas coming in?
DEFTERIOUS: No. But I think also -- no, definitely not. It will grow by 20 percent over the next two decades. Quickly though, President Trump has another alternative here -- or another motive, that is. The U.S. is growing as a major natural gas exporter. It is going to be behind Qatar and Australia. But in the next few years it will have six terminals exporting natural gas. He wants to push this product in to the European Union. He's just not saying it outright. That is a fact.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, John. Thank you for that.
[11:15:06] BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, yesterday was the deadline for all of the migrant children under the age of 5 to be reunited with their parents. Less than half are with their parents today. Why can't the government bring these families back together? We keep asking. Let's see if we can get more answers and what happens next?
President Trump threatens another round of tariffs on China. Now the response from the markets and the criticism from the president's own party coming up.
BOLDUAN: A 37 percent success rate and a missed deadline, that's the kind of performance that could easily cost you a job. But in this case, it is young children who are paying the price. Out of 102 children under the age of 5 who haven't seen their parents for weeks, or months, since they were separated at the border because of the president's zero-tolerance policy.
[11:20:09] The Trump administration reports they reunited 38 by the court-ordered deadline that came and went yesterday. Government officials said the reunions would be continuing throughout the night. Right now, we're waiting to hear how many, if any, more families are back together.
CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Southeast Texas with more much on this. So, Rosa, what is the latest from the government today on reunifying more families?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, the latest is that there is a lot of waiting. The parents are still waiting to be reunited, thousands, several thousands of them. The children are still waiting to be reunited with the parents.
What reporters have been asking for updates, we're still waiting for an updated count. But here is the latest, of the 102 children who were separated by the government, 38 have been reunited is the latest number that we know, 37 are still stuck in the process or going through background checks and such, and 27 are unfit to be reunited. Here's why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX AZAR, HHS SECRETARY: The remaining ones are children whose parents didn't confirm to be parents. They were lying about being parents. They are demonstrably unfit. We've got one alleged to be a murderer, one who is a kidnapper, one rapist, one who is a trafficker, one alleged by the child to be a child abuser. We've got another 23 who are unavailable because they're in marshal service custody or jails or have been deported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: While we wait for information from the government, we are getting more information and details from the parents who have been released. We talked to one who said he woke up yesterday and didn't know he was going to be reunited with his 4-year-old son after being transferred to an undisclosed location, shackled, signing some paperwork and fitted with an ankle monitor. He finally got to reunite with his son yesterday.
Kate, the little boy, four years old, the dad saying that all that little boy did when they were embracing was crying, crying after being reunited with his dad after 43 days -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Forty three days, wow. Rosa, thank you so much. Let's see how many more stories there are coming out and if the government will offer up some new numbers.
In the meantime, joining me right now, ACLU Attorney Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney suing the Trump administration over separating families at the border. Lee, thanks for coming in.
LEE GELERNT, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: What's the latest from your earned on the lawsuit against the government?
GELERNT: Amazingly, we still haven't heard from the government about how many reunifications actually occurred yesterday. You know, maybe there were 38. We're waiting to hear. But if it was only 38, then there is serious noncompliance.
And the court said it wants to know by Thursday why the others didn't get reunified and wants to know from us what remedy we think is appropriate for the government missing the deadline for little children not getting back with their parents.
BOLDUAN: So, Lee, what is the remedy? What should the punishment be here for missing this deadline?
GELERNT: Yes, we are trying to figure out that. We'll wait to see the government's numbers and we'll wait to see what justification. I think we are considering a range of sanctions. We don't want to say now until we have a final decision. The court obviously has enormous power to issue fines. Variety of sanctions, but I think it is too early for us to say exactly what we're going to ask for tomorrow.
BOLDUAN: Lee, I'm honestly curious what the realm of possibility is. It would be universe of possibility that the government could bring to bear on the government for this. You say "fines." What is it?
GELERNT: Right. I mean, the range is obviously imprisonment of officials. I don't think we're there yet, although, you know, I know that a segment of the public is calling for that, very serious fines. There also could be money given to help the families from the government. We're going to consider all those possibilities.
Right now, what we're concerned with is finding out exactly how many children were reunited and why the others weren't and getting them reunited immediately. We would like to hear from the government. Right now, we are relying on media reports about what's happened, but I don't think --
BOLDUAN: Wait, wait, wait. You're relying on media reports while you're supposed to be -- you have to be rely on media reports? You can't even get a straight answer when you guys are the ones in court battling this out and the judge is demanding that they provide answers.
GELERNT: Right. We are going to ask for an answer. The government hasn't reached out to us yet. It is early. We're going to reach out to them very soon and ask exactly how many reunifications occurred.
BOLDUAN: Have you got an answer why -- just why in general it's taking them this long? I mean, you can hear from Alex -- from Secretary Azar.
[11:25:12] There is a portion of this group, right? That they deemed that couldn't be unified, were unfit to be unified, ineligible to be unified. Is that what it is? Are you getting a sense of why?
GELERNT: No. No. So, let me be very clear. There are -- there is that group that the government said are not eligible for reunification. We are going to follow up with the government and not just simply trust the government that those individuals have committed those crimes or are ineligible for the reasons they say.
That's only 27. The court made very clear that 75 were eligible for reunification, 12 had been deported. The government said, forget them. Court said absolutely not. They've been deported without their child. You need to find them and reunite them --
GELERNT: Wait. They said on the parents who had been deported, forget them? Like -- forget what to -- what do we do with the children?
GELERNT: Right. They said they're outside of this court's ruling and the court said, absolutely not, they are part of the ruling and you need to find those parents and see about quickly reuniting the children with the parents.
But there are 63 parents inside the country the government has said we're -- we only promise to reunite 38 of them by the deadline. The court said, absolutely not, get those reunifications done. That was yesterday, the deadline.
And if you don't, I want to know specifically why you didn't get all 63 done and what the plaintiffs think is the remedy. The reason I think the reunifications are not being done is three-fold. It they were not even trying really hard until recently when the judge made it clear -- there are no excuses here. Second is the tracking system was horrendous. As the judge pointed out, they track property better than they track these little children. And the third reason, I think is just confusion and that they were using inefficient procedures and the court said yesterday, let's streamline these procedures and let's get this done.
So, we need to hear from the government immediately about how many reunifications occurred, and then we will think about the remedy. Ultimately the remedy needs to be about getting the job done. It's not about being punitive at this point, it is about getting these children reunified.
BOLDUAN: This is just the first step. You have the older children to reunite by the end of this month. There's another deadline coming up so there's a lot more to come here. This is how it's gone so far.
GELERNT: That's exactly right.
BOLDUAN: We thank you for coming on. Please, we'll check back in with you honestly tomorrow because I am very curious as to the answers you get. I appreciate it.
GELERNT: Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much.
Coming up for us, President Trump is threatening China now with even more tariffs, this time to the tune of $200 billion. How is the market taking the news? We'll go live to the New York Stock Exchange for a little bit of much needed perspective, next.