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Trump Lashes Out at NATO, Germany; Trump: American Victory Against Allies on NATO Spending; John Kasich Weighs in on Trump Blasting NATO Allies, A Softer Tone for Vladimir Putin; Protests in London Ahead of Trump Visit; Trump Administration Says Most of Children Under 5 Returned to Parents; North Koreans No-Shows at Meeting Fueling Skepticism on Nuclear Talks. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired July 12, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Is talk like that towards U.S. allies and friends really beneficial?
REP. CHRIS STEWART, (R), UTAH: Well, it probably -- on the surface, I understand why people are questioning that and frankly, I do as well. It's one of those circumstances where were I president, I wouldn't have said it probably in that way. But the outcome of this is what I'm more interested in. My heavens, for years I and others and the president more recently, as he's begun to campaign and act as president, we pointed out something that's just very obvious. That is NATO has not carried their share of the weight. When I was a pilot flying in the air force, I loved my NATO brothers and sisters. But they were not capable of going to war with us the way that we hoped they would be. Just because they simply didn't fund their own self- defense the way we needed them to. I think it's perfectly appropriate for the president to point that out. Though he does it again in ways perhaps you and I wouldn't, if we get a better outcome, if they're willing to take that burden and say we'll take responsibility for defending Europe, I think that's a positive thing.
BLITZER: But wouldn't it be more effective to have these kinds of serious discussions with NATO allies behind closed doors, quietly, privately as opposed to a public rift developing, which only plays into the hands of the Russians and Putin, who want to see the U.S. break away from NATO?
STEWART: Well, I think two things, Wolf. One is we've had to have those private conversations. As my role on the Intel Committee and other positions in Congress, I've been to Europe many, many times and have had these conversations. It didn't have any effect. Of course, they're not going to listen to a little old congressman from Utah, but there have been many others who tried to persuade them. Again, they didn't respond to that. In this case, they did. Maybe that public pressure made a difference. The second thing is the last thing Vladimir Putin wants is for the United States and for NATO to increase their defense spending. That's going to be the outcome here. Even though some may say it stressed the alliance a little bit, once again I think we understand NATO is a foundation for defending democracy in Europe. I don't think that goes away because of some of the things President Trump has said. And in fact, at the end of the day, it's probably strengthened if we better fund NATO's military expenditures. BLITZER: Congressman Chris Stewart, I know you've got to vote.
Thanks so much for joining us.
STEWART: Always a pleasure, Wolf. Thank you.
BLITZER: All right. From blasting NATO allies to taking a softer tone when it comes to the Russian president, Governor John Kasich standing by to weigh in on the latest diplomacy from the president of the United States.
[13:37:11] BLITZER: Right now, President Trump is in the United Kingdom, moments away from meeting with his British counterpart, the Prime Minister Theresa May, and just hours removed from an eye-opening appearance at the NATO summit in Brussels. The president declaring victory over American allies with his demand for greater spending, defense spending.
Here are some of the highlights from the president's rather lengthy news conference wrapping up the NATO summit. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tremendous progress has been made. Everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment. They're going to up it at levels they've never thought of before.
We have a very, very powerful, very strong NATO, much stronger than it was two days ago.
If you asked Secretary-General Stoltenberg, he gives us total credit, meaning me, I guess, in this case, total credit. He thanked me, actually. He actually thanked me. And everybody in the room thanked me.
Germany is coming along. We still have to figure out what's going on with the pipeline. I brought it up. Nobody brought it up but me, and we all are talking about it now. I think I probably can, but that's unnecessary.
In a sense, we're competitors. Not a question of friend or enemy. Not my enemy. That was on Barack Obama's watch. That was not on Trump's watch.
I said I'm going to a few hot spots. We have NATO. We have the U.K.. And then we have Putin. I said, Putin may be the easiest of them all.
I think they like me a lot in the U.K.
Brexit is Brexit. I think that's why you have Brexit in the first place, because of immigration.
I have Turnberry in Scotland, which is a magical place. I have property in Ireland. I have property all over. There
have been no rocket launches. There have been no missile tests. There's been no nuclear tests. No explosions. No nothing.
President Xi spent two days there. Was among the most magical two days I've ever lived.
We had 306 electoral votes. We had a great night. I'm very consistent. I'm a very stable genius.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That's it. A 40-minute news conference in 90 seconds. Some of the highlights. There you see some video from the president and the first lady walking down the stairs of Air Force One, now in London. Getting ready for the next round of talks that the president is having.
Let's bring in Governor John Kasich, Republican of Ohio, who's been watching all these things unfold.
What's your reaction to what the president said this morning about NATO, in effect gloating he got exactly what he wanted?
JOHN KASICH, (R), OHIO GOVERNOR: I think, Wolf, it's undeniable that our relations with our NATO countries is fraying. This has been a relationship since World War II where we've invested a lot and worked a lot with our allies that share our values. It's kept the peace for 70 years. I think at times the president has engaged in a wrecking ball diplomacy, which you go in, you wreck everything up, then at the end you declare great things. Pushing them on burden sharing is good. There's no increase about what was agreed to a few years ago. Maybe accelerating it, give the president credit for that. If you take the withdrawal from the Paris Accord, the unilateral effort around Iran, when you look at the tariffs that have been imposed on our allies based on national security grounds, our withdrawal from the PTT trade agreement, it's just one thing after another, and the G-7 summit where they couldn't even reach a communique. I'm not here to personally attack the president, but I'm here to disagree with what I think is a foreign policy initiative that I think are undermining the strength of something that's kept the peace for 70 years.
[13:40:50] BLITZER: Diplomats from the NATO allies are calling the president's performance at the NATO summit "disgraceful, destructive, an embarrassment" to the United States. Do you agree?
KASICH: I don't want to use that kind of harsh rhetoric, but what I am saying is when you are doing these things unilaterally, when you are raising questions about, for example, Germany under Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, when you go in and rock the boat in a wrecking ball style and can't reach agreement at a G-7 summit, then it begins to weaken our ability to be together. NATO is not stronger. It's more frayed. Now, can it change? Can the president change direction? Can we repair this relationship? It's vital because if it is not repaired, it weakens us. We need our allies. We worked together as a team. We have since World War II.
BLITZER: The president was asked by a reporter at that 40-minute news conference if the U.S. could abandon, could walk away from NATO without congressional action. As you know, you were a member of the House of Representatives for a long time. The president said probably, he thinks he could. What do you think?
KASICH: Well, I don't know about that. But what I will tell you is we finally are hearing some peeps out of Republicans in the Congress of the United States. The United States Senate reaffirmed U.S. commitment to NATO, not any hesitation whatsoever. I think it passed the House as well. They also have registered --
BLITZER: A 97-2 vote in the Senate.
BLITZER: And it passed the House by voice vote.
KASICH: OK. And that means unanimously. Also, the Senate took action on tariffs, these unilateral actions against our friends based --
BLITZER: And 88-11.
BLITZER: Criticizing the administration.
KASICH: So they're finally beginning to say something. The bottom line on all this is I think that -- look, my purpose is to say the president's got his foreign policy views, I as a leader in my party and in the country and in my state, have an ability to express my foreign policy views. It's not personal. It's based on what I think advances America, our allies. Wolf, I have relatives, my father, my uncle, that fought. Why did they fight? Human freedom. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. These are the values that people are willing to die on a battlefield for. And there are allies over there who joined us and work with us. We have allies in Afghanistan. They've been in Iraq. They stand with us. And frankly, we're going to need their support as we confront a China that is becoming much more aggressive, including stealing our intellectual property. We need friends. We need strength. We don't need to have divisions.
BLITZER: We have a lot more to discuss, Governor. Stick around.
We're going to continue our conversation, including the North Koreans dramatically failing to show up for a scheduled meeting with U.S. officials. It's fueling skepticism about their intentions in the nuclear talks.
Also, the president releases the letter he just received from Kim Jong-Un. We'll have details.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:48:23] BLITZER: The Trump administration says most of the youngest children separated from their parents at the border have now been reunited. The administration says, as of today, 57 children under the age of 5 had been reunited, 46 have not been reunited, they say, because of issues involving the parents. A federal judge had ordered that all the children under 5 be reconnected with their mothers and fathers two days ago.
Earlier this week, President Trump said there's a simple way to prevent this problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I have a solution. Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That's the solution. Don't come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Republican Governor John Kasich, of Ohio, still with us.
What's your reaction to that? About 100 kids under the age of 5 were separated. Maybe half have been reunited.
BLITZER: But another 3,000 under the age of 17, in the next two weeks, they're supposed to be reunited. It's a problem.
KASICH: Wolf, I mean, in America, we find this hard to believe. People of all stripes. Republicans, Democrats, and even the faith people who have been so with the president have spoken out. So I'm a mom down in Guatemala. I have drug lords, gangs. They're threatening to kill my son or rape my daughter. I'm going to apply for asylum. I'm not going to stay in Guatemala. My life is at risk. So I come to the United States and seek asylum. What we need are more asylum judges. We have to have facilities. When parents come here with their kids, when people are refugees, they need to be Housed. We need to find out if they're at risk. In addition to that, yes, we need to do things at the border. But we need a bigger strategy than that. We got to get to the root of the problem, like we did in Colombia. Not that it's perfect there. We need to invest militarily and economically with our neighborhood. We need to help Mexico get on its feet. We need to stop all this crime, these drug cartels which are flooding our country. We need to go to the root of the problem, not with another big, big federal program, a targeted program that relies on their leaders to get on their feet. And we have to do something to make sure we protect our border.
[13:50:47] BLITZER: You have confidence in this administration can do it?
KASICH: No. I haven't seen anything like that. I haven't seen anybody, any administration really talk about this. This gets to the root of the problem, what is happening in our neighborhood. For people that come here, if they're seeking asylum because their family is being threatened, might be killed, think about -- think about what it's like in our country when you feel threatened. You get out of the neighborhood. That's what they're doing. And that's what the whole purpose of refugees and asylum is. If I have a legitimate complaint, you get to come in here. In the process of that being determined, you don't to take people's kids away. I know there are people that say, well, they brought this on themselves. Folks, we're all humans. Think about what it would be like if your family got put into this kind of a position or if your children were separated from you.
So the administration had this policy. Now guess what, they're back to the old policy that they said was not acceptable. That's basically what they're doing, catch and release. So deal with the problem in the whole neighborhood. Make sure you strengthen the borders. Stop the drugs because the drugs are a big problem. But you got to get to the root cause of this.
BLITZER: Quick question before I let you go, governor. Congressman Jim Jordan, he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University a couple decades or so ago. Now some are accusing him of knowing about sexual abuse by someone else on that wrestling team. I know this is a big issue in Ohio. What's your analysis?
KASICH: First of all, there's a law firm, reputable, that's doing an investigation. When we looked at Michigan State or Penn State, we feel terrible for the athletes. For Jim Jordan, he's always been pleasant with me. I'm not a close friend, but we are friends. When I heard this, I was sad. In fact, I said a prayer that this would pass, that this would all be resolved. But you also have an investigation, and what I hope will happen is the athletes will be taken care of and Jordan will be cleared. I hope. We'll see how it all unfolds.
BLITZER: He's not -- just to be precise, he hasn't been accused of sexual abuse himself.
KASICH: No. No.
BLITZER: He's just been accused by some of the wrestlers of knowing about this and not doing anything.
KASICH: That's right. In this business of politics now, we tend to be -- because you're on different sides or whatever, we tend to demonize. We stopped doing it. We all have to be thinking for the best outcome for all of our friends and neighbors. This whole business of rooting against people and tearing people down, it's not a good way to build a stronger country.
BLITZER: Governor, thanks so much for coming in.
KASICH: Wolf, always a pleasure.
BLITZER: You want to be president of the United States?
KASICH: Well, I don't. I have my own job now, governor of Ohio. And you know Ed Koch won -- (CROSSTALK)
BLITZER: This is not a difficult question.
KASICH: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
BLITZER: Do you want to be president of the United States?
KASICH: I man, would I like to be? Yes, but you have to earn that. I didn't get elected. I tried to run.
BLITZER: But you --
KASICH: But Ed Koch ran for governor of New York and didn't win. On election night, he said, you know, I'm not governor of New York, but I'm mayor of New York and that ain't bad.
BLITZER: I think you said yes when I asked you if you wanted to be president of the United States.
KASICH: Of course, I would love to be in a position to help our country, but so what. There's a long distance between that and how you get there. I also, by the way, would like to play on the PGA tour. I don't think that's in my future.
BLITZER: I have no idea how good you are.
Governor, thanks so much for coming in.
KASICH: Thanks, Wolf.
[13:54:02] BLITZER: Right now, we're getting live pictures coming in from London where protesters are gathering ahead of President Trump's visit with the British Prime Minister Theresa May. We'll have a live report.
And fireworks here in Washington up on Capitol Hill as lawmakers grill the FBI agent who sent anti-Trump text messages during the campaign. The hearing about to begin -- to resume, I should say, any minute. We'll have live coverage. Stay with us.
BLITZER: Right now, protests over President Trump's visit to the U.K. are getting underway.
Let's go to our senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, in London. He's talking to people in the crowd.
Nick, first, will the president actually see the demonstrations?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It would be hard for him to not necessarily because they are about 300 or 400 yards away from where we saw his vehicle and two helicopters land. We believe they'll be transported to Blenheim Palace 60 miles north- northwest where he'll meet Prime Minister Theresa May. What's extraordinary, Wolf, is how pains are being taken to keep him away from central London. This is the part of the city where he'll see. And it is fenced off behind this intensive security apparatus, a fence where we have about two or three protests around. Important not to overstate the size here, but they're noisy. Some are hitting the fence with sticks gently. This is not threatening by any means but slogans are quite clear. "Orange is the new Nazi," is what I have seen behind me. "No to racists," "Trump for prison" is another use of "Trump for president" signs that we've seen in the campaign, too.
This is just the beginning, Wolf, because it is tomorrow, at the capital, you would expect to see a lockdown because of security measures to assist a presidential tour around the capital. That will be in lockdown because to protests about Trump's presence, 50,000 possibly. This behind me, I am sure he'll hear some of it. Whether he'll care or not about what they have to say unclear, but it is really the message from London, the heart of the United Kingdom, about how they feel about the U.S. president -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Nick Paton Walsh on the scene for us. We'll standby with you.
Oher important news that we are following, a snub today by North Korea and it's raising deep concerns about talks involving denuclearization. U.S. officials were supposed to meet with North Korean officials at the Demilitarized Zone. The meeting was to discuss the repatriation of the U.S. soldiers remains from the Korean War, but the North was a no-show.
Let's bring in our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
It is a big deal. They scheduled a meeting and, all of a sudden, the North Koreans did not show up.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's the second snub because, when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to North Korea, to Pyongyang, he was supposed to meet with Kim Jong-Un himself. Kim Jong-Un did not show up. More importantly, it gets to the substantive issues. They were supposed to discuss the repatriation today of U.S. soldiers remains from the Korean War, which something the president claimed a couple of weeks ago to have achieved from these talks. Yet, still stumbling blocks here.
The other thing here, the president advertising the letter Kim Jong-Un sent to him. And we should note, six days ago, one, in this letter the word denuclearization is not mentioned once. No commitment here. And of course, since then --
BLITZER: July 6th letter --
BLITZER: -- that they released today, and since July 6th, a lot of stuff has happened, and not good in terms of U.S./Korea relations.
SCIUTTO: Yes. The phrase I think they used the very next day was the "gangster-like" tactics of the U.S. in these negotiations.
The bottom line is there's nothing hard that has conceded by the North Koreans since the summit in Singapore.
BLITZER: As you point out, Kim Jong-Un refused to receive directly the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his third visit to Pyongyang. And now they did not show up for what should have been just standard talks. Significant development.
BLITZER: All right, thanks so much.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
BLITZER: We'll continue to stay on all of this news. We'll be back at 5:00 p.m. Eastern in "THE SITUATION ROOM."
In the meantime, the news continues right now.
[14:00:12] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and thanks for being with us. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke Baldwin.