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Hours Away From Trump And Putin's One-On-One Meeting; Several People Hurt In Violent Weekend On Israel-Gaza Border; Paragliding Trump Protester Arrested; Source: Timeline For North Korea To Return U.S. Remains Is 14-21 Days; Judge Accuses HHS Of Covering From Trump Administration; Crisis Text Line Offers Help To Those In Need. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 15, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[17:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Vive la France. Thanks for joining at CNN Newsroom. Wolf Blitzer with Ana Cabrera as well pick up our special coverage right now.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York, and this is CNN's special coverage of the upcoming summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. My colleague Wolf Blitzer is live in Helsinki, Finland with us. President Trump arrived there just a short time ago. Wolf, take it away.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Ana, thank you very much. I'm here at the Allas Sea Pool, and you can see behind me right now, Finland's presidential palace, that is the site of tomorrow's historic meeting between the Resident of the United States and the President of Russia.
The two leaders will come face-to-face just days after a grand jury back in Washington indicted 12 high level Russian military intelligence officials from Putin's own government from meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While the stakes for this summit are very, very high, the President of the United States is trying to set a low bar for what will actually come out of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out. But I go in with low expectations, and I am not going in with high expectations. I don't -- I don't really -- and I can't tell you what is going to happen, but I can tell you what I will be asking for, and we will see if something comes of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Well, get's right to our Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski. She is also here in Helsinki. Michelle, President Trump, he has publicly promised to raise the topic of Russian election meddling. He has promised to raise the topic with Putin when they meet tomorrow, but what are you hearing right now?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, he said that he would raise it firmly, but the way he talks about it, dismissively, and he made a joke about it in an interview earlier, and what we have been hearing from him in these interviews that he has been doing as well as the tweets is basically the Kremlin company line.
And still using the phrases like witch hunt, fake news on the way here to Helsinki tweeting that much of the press is an enemy of the people. I mean, these are the kinds of things that we would expect to the hear coming from Vladimir Putin. So there is no indication that he plans to actually confront Putin about election meddling.
Whatever he has said in public that sounds like he might bring it up again firmly, we know that privately according to a source of ours, he is saying that he feels he must raise it, that he will bring it up, but he doesn't feel like it is going to go anywhere.
So it is not as if he is raising it to rebuke Putin in person, or to warn him for the future, in fact, he has been saying behind the scenes, I already know what Putin will say. And we have heard him lowering expectations for this meeting. Listen to part of what he said in one interview with CBS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your goal from the Putin meeting?
TRUMP: I will let you know after the meeting. I have absolutely -- it is mutually agreed, let's have a meeting. I think it is a good thing to meet. I do believe in meetings. Look, I believe that having a meeting with Chairman Kim was a good thing. I think that having meetings with the President of China was a very good thing. I believe it is really good. So having meetings with Russia, China, and North Korea, I believe in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: One thing we are hearing is that President Trump is fired up about now like he has not been before, according to the source, is working on the nuclear nonproliferation with Russia, and that could be something of low hanging fruit to call a win out of this meeting, and he is excited about it.
He feels like at least Russia and the U.S. could agree to start talking about extending a treaty on the nuclear nonproliferation, and that is one thing. It is also possible according to a source that on election meddling Putin might offer something like an agreement not to interfere. It would likely be on both sides. But because of the nature of that, because of the timing of that, it is unlikely that the U.S. would agree to it, Wolf.
BLITZER: Michelle Kosinski in Helsinki with us. Michelle, thanks. We're going to get back to you, but joining us right now, the former CIA director, CNN National Security Analyst and retired General, Michael Hayden. General, thank you so much for joining us.
RET. GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: Thank you.
BLITZER: As you know there have been very loud calls for the President Trump to back out of the summit after the indictment of those 12 Russian military intelligence officers. What do you think President Trump has to achieve to make this entire meeting worthwhile?
HAYDEN: Well, I think, he acts -- has to act in a way inconsistent with the report that Michelle just gave us. I mean, the verb he uses with regard to the Russian meddling is I'll ask. He doesn't have to ask.
[17:05:00] He's got an indictment. And I would -- if I were still part of the White House staff, I would be trying to prep the president to be able to use that indictment, and not completely, and not in great detail, but to push hard core facts into the direction of Vladimir Putin.
And say, you did this, we know that you did this, you're going to be paying a cost for it, and you are really going to pay a cost if you continue to do it. And, Wolf, just to add on to the last point, you know President Trump's director of national intelligence last Friday said that this is still continuing.
BLITZER: That would be Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence...
BLITZER: ... who was named, as you correctly point out, by President Trump. Robert Mueller's indictment released on Friday is full of very, very specific details of how Russia hacked Democratic political institutions in the United States, the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, all happening during the 2016 presidential election. If you were advising President Trump, how would you want him to use those details in this meeting with Putin?
HAYDEN: He would actually use them as part of the brief -- facts, figures, dates, personalities, so that Putin gets the impression that one, the President is knowledgeable, that he has personalized this, and that the President is willing to press him on it.
And, Wolf, again, if I am advising this president, and we will find out about collusion, or no collusion, or cooperation, or synchronization, put that all aside, I would brief the president, Mr. President, based on the view of this, you have won this election fair and square.
But what Vladimir Putin has done has called into legitimacy -- called into question the legitimacy of your victory. And I would personalize it on the part of this president saying that Putin had done something to me, personally, and that we need some movement on his part.
He could ask for extradition of the Russians to say we don't have a treaty, and I can't make that happen, but then he could demand some sort of satisfaction, and insist that Putin get back to him.
BLITZER: Instead of Condemning Putin for the meddling, and condemning Putin directly, and strongly, the President has been pointing the finger at former President Obama. Here is how he is reacting to the news of the indictment. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration. I think that the DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defense, and they were able to be hacked, but I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans, too, but -- and this may be wrong, but they had much stronger defenses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: General, should the Obama administration have done more?
HAYDEN: Absolutely. And the DNC should be ashamed for having such weak computer security. But, Wolf, that has nothing to do with the circumstances we are now in. We as a nation know far more about what the Russians did than we did during the Obama administration.
I mean, when you read that indictment, as a former intelligence officer, it is just breathtaking in what the Russians did, and how much we now know about it. And for the President to simply say, that was then, and this is now, is just inexplicable.
BLITZER: And that specific point of view, we discussed it briefly, but I want to press you, do you believe that the President should go into the meeting tomorrow here in Helsinki, and flatly tell Putin that he wants those 12 Russian military intelligence officers extradited to the United States?
HAYDEN: Of course, he should. And of course, that will be unsuccessful, but it is all right. That is a go again position, and as I suggested earlier, he will demand, and I think he should do it on a personal rather than institutional basis, on a personal basis that he, Donald Trump, needs movement, needs satisfaction from Vladimir Putin. Otherwise, this the relationship is not going anywhere.
BLITZER: And let me get your reaction to something that the president tweeted today on the eve of this historic summit with Putin, and I will put it up on the screen. Let me read it to you. It is a very specific statement that he said. Much of our news media he said is indeed the enemy of the people.
Let me repeat that, the enemy of the people, and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct, this is why there is such hatred and dissension in our country, but at some point it will heal. That is what the President said today. What does it say to you, General, that the President of the United States is calling the news media the enemy of the American people before meeting with someone like Putin?
[17:10:00] HAYDEN: Yes, when the president first said that, Wolf, and it has been months ago now, and I was actually was so taken aback by it on a Saturday night that I actually tweeted out a fairly sharp response about perhaps having wasted 39 years of my life defending a nation that I thought would defend the freedom of the press.
I have never heard a president say that kind can of thing so publicly, so consistently, and now, he is walking into a meeting with the President of the Russian federation for whom that kind of statement, that kind of action is routine. It is disappointing.
BLITZER: Yes, more than disappointing, and it is pretty shocking when you think the message it sends to some totalitarian leaders out there, that they can go after their own news media, it is pretty shocking when you think about it. Another sense point...
HAYDEN: And after he said it the first time -- after he said it the first time there were autocrats around the world who were using fake news as their reason to go after their own press. So it is not just a theory that you are suggesting.
BLITZER: Let me quickly get the thoughts of all of the details that were released in that indictment on Friday. All of the names of the Russian operatives, and how they did it, when they did it, all of that kind of stuff, you are the former CIA director, it is very sensitive information.
BLITZER: At what point does it potentially become counter productive, endangering what they call sources and the methods by going that far. Did you see stuff in that indictment that potentially could haunt the U.S. if the Russians for example reversed engineer, and figure out if the U.S. may they have some sources and methods in their own government?
HAYDEN: Well, first of all, Wolf, the busiest office in Moscow Friday night, wasn't anything involved with the World Cup, it was the counter intelligence division of the GRU, because exactly what you said, they are going to try to reverse engineer this to learn how the Americans found out these details.
A lot of the stuff was forensics, just our policing the crime scene, but there seemed to be more than that in the document, but, you know, Wolf, we face this dilemma all of the time. Make use of the intelligence, or preserve the source and method.
You know, we collect this stuff for a reason, and from time to time, that reason is so powerful, so dominant that you are willing to lean way far forward even though it might jeopardize sources and methods for the future.
BLITZER: Yes, having covered the U.S. intelligence community for a long time, and as soon as I read all of those details, and that indictment reads like a novel -- a spy novel, I said to the myself, I wonder if people like General Hayden are nervous right now that some sources and methods potentially -- potentially could have been compromised. We will continue this conversation down the road. General Hayden, thanks so much for joining us.
HAYDEN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, the Putin perspective. Our live coverage from here in Helsinki continues with a closer look at how the Russian president and former spy master may be preparing for the summit tomorrow. We will be right back.
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He is a competitor. Somebody was saying is he an enemy? He is not my enemy. Is he a friend? No, I don't know him well enough, but the couple of times that I've gotten to met him, we got along very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Welcome back. We are here live in Helsinki just ahead of Monday's historic summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And it may benefit President Trump to remember that others have been in this position with mixed results.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that he is fully capable of building a prosperous, strong Russia.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I looked the man in the eye, and I was able to get a sense of his soul.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We forget notes on President Putin's expertise in judo, and my declining skills in basketball, and we both agree that as you get older, it takes longer time to recover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, they all tried kicking things off with some flattery, but is that the best strategy against a former Russian spy master?
Let's talk about with CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser who covered Putin's first years in office as the Washington Post Moscow bureau chief, and Jim Acosta our CNN Chief White House Correspondent, and CNN diplomatic and military analyst retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, served as both at the State Department and the Pentagon spokesman under President Obama.
And, Jim, President Trump clearly not the first to try to flatter the Russian leader, what are you hearing now, and how is that going to work out this time? JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, he
could try to do that, but obviously, the whole world is watching. And so, if he -- if he lace it on too thick, I suppose he will be subject to a lot of criticism when he gets back to the United States.
One thing that we do know, Wolf, is that this one-on-one meeting will be roughly 90 minutes. The White House has put out the schedule. And then they are going to have this expanded bilateral meeting where other officials will be in the room, they will have lunch, and that is going to go on for another two hours.
So, the President is going to have a lot of face time with Vladimir Putin. And, you know, you heard the President say earlier today, he has low expectations for the summit, and even his own National Security Adviser John Bolton is saying they don't expect any deliverables to come out of this. And so the question is, where is the beef?
You know, what is he going to, you know, deliver to the American people at the end of this summit beyond just, you know, a couple of meetings with the President of Russia.
And, obviously, a lot of people back home are wondering, is he going to tell Putin to stay out of U.S. elections, that is the question I asked him the other day at that press conference. And he said, yes, that is what he is going to do, but we need to follow up, and find out if he indeed did that.
[17:20:02] BLITZER: And he already does it, and what the consequences are all significant. Susan, at one point, the two men presumably, at least this is what we have been told, and it could change, will meet one-on-one with only their interpreters present.
Senator Mark Warner, among many others is concerned about a one-on-one meeting between President Trump and President Putin. You write something similar. You say this, Republicans and Democrats alike are resigned to Trump being outplayed by Putin.
A former State Department official spent decades preparing meetings between U.S. and Russian leaders has said, I am afraid our guy here is like an amateur boxer going up against Muhammad Ali. What is making officials so concerned?
SUSAN GLASSER, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: Well, first of all, I got a little bit of feedback on that one. A lot of people said well, maybe Trump isn't even looking if this is a boxing match at all. And, you know, I think one of the issue that really needs concerning and striking here is like given a political controversy surrounding President Trump, given an on going investigations.
The Russians yesterday came out, and they said this one-on-one meeting was requested by Donald Trump, and not by Vladimir Putin, why is it that President Trump has initiated a one-on-one conversation with no one even present to record their conversation, or to, you know, take action to supplement the president. It is very unusual to do so, especially with President Trump having
asked for it. And so, Jim's point is well taken here, is it a summit without the agenda? Well, why are they having the meeting at all, and that's been a question that I have asked people over and over again for the last several months, and it appears that the agenda is President Trump's agenda.
BLITZER: And he keeps saying, John Kirby, the President -- President Trump, he wants to have good relations with Putin, and with Russia, what's wrong with that, and he wants to have good relations with China, he wants to improve relations. What are the deliverables that you see emerging from this meeting?
RET. REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST, CNN: I don't see any specific deliverables right now. That is what worries me that there isn't anything. Normally, all of this stuff is precooked. Usually, we have a summit around one issue, and that issue is already precooked before the two principles sit down.
Now, with that said, Wolf, I think that they will come out with a statement that says the United States and Russia are going to cooperate on some things. I think they -- both men are driven to try to find some way to prove that they will cooperate.
Now, what is that going to be? It could be counter terrorism, or we have heard talk about maybe an extension of the Newstart, maybe trying to find a political solution in Syria, there is lots of things where the U.S.-Russia cooperation could bear fruit. The question is, how deeply are they going to get into that, and this meeting?
BLITZER: How is been preparing, Jim, for the summit?
ACOSTA: Well, he spent the weekend playing golf at his golf course, Wolf. And we heard the president ask about this the other day, and he said basically what he said about his meeting with for Kim Jong-un, he has been preparing for this his whole life. Officials say he has been meeting with advisers and talking with advisers about all of this. But, Wolf, I think this boils down to some very key questions.
We saw those indictments come down by Rod Rosenstein last Friday. Is the President going to ask Vladimir Putin to hand over those Russians? We obviously don't expect Vladimir Putin to do that, but it would be something of a dramatic moment for the President if did demand that publicly, and in front of the cameras when we are all holding that press conference.
But my guess is, Wolf, that they are setting this low expectations, and I think John Kirby might be right about this, they are setting this low expectations, and they may actually come out with something to say, we did something, and here's what it is.
And it may have something to do with, you know, the situation down in Syria. We understand that that is one area where they are expected to have some pretty serious conversations about the way forward in Syria.
BLITZER: Yes. I suspect they will have something on Syria, maybe as John points out the START, the Strategic Arms Reduction nuclear negotiations, maybe they can get some statement to revive that kind of effort. We will see what they come up with.
I want to play another clip. Some of us remember this. This is George W. Bush, when he was President of the United States, talking about his meeting with Putin. Listen to the jab he says Putin made about his dog. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: He looked at him like, you think that is a dog. Anyway, so...
BUSH: ... a year later -- a year later Putin says would you like to meet my dog, and out comes a giant hound kind of loping across the birch lined yard. And Putin looked at me and said bigger, stronger, and faster than Barney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And all of us remember, you know, he had a dog at that very famous meeting with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, and she doesn't even like dogs, but he brought that dog. Take a look at that picture, and you can see she is not very happy with that. And you have spent years in Moscow, you studied Putin very closely, and talk about that kind of strategy in the meeting like this.
GLASSER: Well, that is right. I said, one of the things I think that is bear to remembering, and going into tomorrow is that while they have some ideological similarities, right, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, stylistically as politicians, they couldn't be more different. Vladimir Putin is a KGB officer. He is thoroughly prepared at all times.
[17:25:00] I remember when we first met Vladimir Putin, the small number of American correspondents in Moscow went after that famous summit with George W. Bush when he looked into his soul, you know, Putin had clearly spent all night reading the briefing books.
And he wanted you to know it, he knew facts and figures. He kept us in the Kremlin library until nearly midnight. Now, that is almost the polar opposite stylistically of Donald Trump. And when he met Bush, in addition to insulting his dog, though he tried to find commonality as a good KGB officer would.
And he saw that Bush was really interested in the fact that Putin also was religious, and, you know, that means a lot to George W. Bush, and Putin really played skillfully upon that, and so, again, we know President Trump's penchant for being flattered, his desire to be treated with great respect. Vladimir Putin is well aware, and will have a deep knowledge of, you know, what are the buttons to push with Donald Trump.
BLITZER: And yes, there is an excellent point that he is going to flatter the President of the United States who likes to be flattered as we all know. You know, it's interesting Putin is coming into this meeting seemingly very tough, very smart, knows what he is doing.
But he has got some weaknesses coming into this meeting with the President of the United States. And especially the Russian economy which is under a lot of international sanctions right now. People in Moscow, people all over Russia, they are complaining, they want a better life, they want better money, more food, and better resources. The U.S. could potentially -- it could play on that.
KIRBY: Absolutely. And a smart President of the United States would do exactly that. Putin doesn't come in here from a great position of strength, he is not enormously popular at home. He may face significant protests at the recent round of elections. He is considered a pariah across the European continent.
And that is why the Europeans allies are so nervous about the outcome of this meeting, and again, with the indictment on Friday, the president could actually -- even though there wasn't an agenda for this summit, could use that as fulcrum to the go into this meeting, and say hey, we know what you did.
And here are the consequences if you do it again. So, yes, the president could play on some of the very real and tangible weaknesses that Putin demonstrates everyday. I just don't see that happening.
BLITZER: And all of us can agree that Helsinki is a beautiful city, and we are so happy to be here covering this moment in history. Guys, stick around. There is a lot more, we are waiting for. Susan Glasser, Jim Acosta, and John Kirby, good discussion.
Also an important programming note for our viewers in the United States and around the world, I will be live once again here in Helsinki tomorrow, from noon to 2:00 p.m. eastern, and once again, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow in The Situation Room, we are covering every angle of this summit. And in the meantime, I will be back with a lot more coming up, and I will send it over to Ana Cabrera in New York for today's other major headlines. Ana.
CABRERA: Well, thank you. Great discussion there. And we are following a very volatile situation in Gaza right now. Will a cease- fire hold after the biggest bombing campaign in Gaza since the 2014 war? We will go live to Jerusalem next on the CNN Newsroom.
[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Welcome back. It has been a very welcomed few hours of relative quiet in the Israeli towns near Gaza.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: This is where Hamas and other militant groups have been fiercely battled Israeli forces since Friday, rockets and mortars flying out of Gaza, air strikes and bombing raids from Israel with heavy damaging, casualties reported on both sides.
CNN's Ian Lee is in Jerusalem, and joins us now. Ian, the militant leaders in Gaza say that there is a cease-fire in place, and Israel is saying not necessarily, but it has been a quiet day.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, it is a bit quieter than it was yesterday when you and I were talking, when we were hearing of additional rockets and mortars being fired in Israel, responding with the air strikes over 200 rockets and mortars we fired according to the Israeli military.
And they've responded with that very heavy bombing campaign, but today, the Israeli air force carried out a number of strikes against what they say were Hamas units trying to send over these fire balloons which go from Gaza into Israel, and start brushfires.
So we heard from the Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that these fire kites or fire balloons are going to be treated just like mortars and rockets. So when you have Hamas' Islamic Jihad saying that there is a cease-fire right now, it is a very tentative cease-fire at most.
You know, Egypt and the U.N. are working hard to try to make this cessation of hostilities more permanent. But to kind of give you an idea of the mood right now, we are hearing from the was Israeli military that today they have deployed additional iron dome anti- missile systems around Gaza, as well as the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
So at least they think that it possibly could flair up again. That is definitely been the trend. We saw it flair up in May, and flared up yesterday, it likely to flair up again, Ana.
CABRERA: Fragile and volatile situation there. Ian Lee, thank you for that update. Coming up, a potential breakthrough involving the remains of the Americans killed in the Korean War. And what North Korea is now agreeing to. Plus, high flying crime, police finally catch up to this paraglider who got shockingly close to President Trump.
[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: This low-flying protester is very lucky he even got this far is under arrest now. Police in Scotland managed to track him down after he flew that powered paraglider very close to President Trump Friday night. Police says he is a 55-year-old man. He ignored security, and flew a green peace protest banner over the president's head there. He is expected to appear in court tomorrow.
New today, a potential -- negotiations with North Korea over the return of U.S. soldiers remains from the Korean War. A U.S. official telling CNN the time line for transferring these remains is the next 14 to 21 days, subject to change without notification. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. got a firm commitment today to get the remains back.
[17:40:00] But we should remind you that is all happening more than a month after President Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains, and in fact, today, already 200 have been sent back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's talk it over with Jamie Metzl, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who worked on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. So, Jamie, the President said we already had the remains back, his meeting with Kim Jong-un was more than a month ago. How do you explain that these remains still are not back in the U.S.?
JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: I think it's a side show. I mean, it's great that we are getting these remains back. We should have gotten them back a long time ago, whether we got them back at the end of the summit, or now, is kind of inconsequential because they are remains.
What is more important is that the President of the United States met with Kim Jong-un, and then announced that now this nuclear problem is solved, and nothing has happened.
The North Koreans never said they were going to give up their nuclear weapons. They haven't taken a single step that indicates that they are going to do so. And now the world is moving on. Everyone is talking about the meeting with the Russians, but the situation in North Korea hasn't been solved at all, and it was a huge victory for the North Koreans, and a huge loss for the United States.
CABRERA: Although the President is saying he isn't getting the credit he deserves for what he has accomplished. He points to North Korea having stopped firing rockets and missiles, no recent nuclear test, the U.S. did get hostages back. Does he have a point?
METZL: No point at all, because, yes, it is true that the North Korea has a freeze -- has frozen, their nuclear tests, and their missile test, but they have already established a nuclear and missile deterrent.
So the reason we have the meeting in the first place is that the North Koreans realize that they have nuclear weapons, they launching missiles, so they don't need to do any more test. And so the President of the United States went and he negotiated giving away everything that the North Koreans wanted really in exchange for nothing.
And so to declare victory, because we got a few hostages back that they never should have taken in the first place, they were frankly two of the three were taken under Trump's -- under Trump's watch that we don't see anymore of these test. And yes, it is a small positive, but in exchange for what? In exchange that the United States has given up our sanctions influence, our sanctions are weakened. We have put a...
CABRERA: But have they actually stopped the sanction, because I was -- my impression, and my understanding is that they haven't let up the sanctions until North Korea follows through in denuclearization. METZL: They have, because President Trump himself said that the
maximum pressure is off along the border between China and North Korea, there is significantly more trade than there was in the past.
So the pressure -- there wasn't a period of maximum pressure, but that has now significantly eased. And yes, from the North Korean perspective, it would be great to have sanctions fully removed, but there is much more of a lifeline -- North Korea has much more of a lifeline now certainly than they did before the negotiations.
CABRERA: When we talk about North Korea's commitment, and whether it keeps its word, let's just take a look at this issue of returning the remains, because I will recall it was a few weeks ago now that there were wooden boxes that were there to transport the remains that were sitting there ready to do it. And then North Korea was supposed to have a meeting with the U.S. officials to discuss the logistics of doing this.
METZL: They didn't show up.
CABRERA: They stood up...
CABRERA: ... the U.S. officials, and then there was suppose to be talks earlier this week which were postponed until today, and do you think North Korea is actually going to follow through this time?
METZL: Well, it is kind of a trick question, because for years North Korea doesn't follow through. We have had agreements with them in the past where they have made commitments, and then they haven't followed through.
And as a matter of fact, Donald Trump was the one who was criticizing his predecessors for taking the North Koreans at their words. And he said that the past U.S. Presidents had been suckered because they didn't know how to negotiate with the North Koreans.
And in this historic meeting in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump gave away everything in exchange for vague promises that the North Koreans very likely had no intention of realizing.
And so, if we are saying, wow, they said they are going to give up these remains, and they haven't done it in as timely fashion as possible, and they will give over these remain, because they get kudos for doing it, and it really cost them nothing.
Are they going to give up their nuclear weapons, are they going to make some tough decisions to have a cost, why would they when we have given them everything up front including the legitimacy of a leadership level meeting, really an exchange for nothing.
CABRERA: Well, I want to talk at least quickly about that issue, because North Korea could come up at this summit with President Putin in -- the Helsinki summit with the Russian President, and source telling CNN Putin likely may offer technical assistance of some sort in terms of the North Korean denuclearization, such as expertise and removal of nuclear material.
CABRERA: I 'm guessing, Jamie, you think that is not a good idea.
METZL: Well, we already experienced this once in Syria where we had an agreement with the Syrians. They are going to give up their chemical weapons, and possibly biological weapons.
[17:45:03] The Russians were going to help, and we know that that didn't happen. We know that the Russians weren't helpful at all, and we know that the Syrian government used those weapons with no cost.
It is just fantasy to think that the United States and Russia under Putin have the means to collaborate on anything like this when the United States has been under attack, our democracy has been under attack by Putin, and the Russians.
And that the President of the United States is going in for a one-on one private meeting with Putin where most people, at least knowledgeable people in the United States have no faith in the ability of Donald Trump to represent this strategic interest of the United States.
So, who knows what kind of agreement the two of those men could come to, but one thing is sure that Putin is so much smarter in negotiations than Trump. And that Trump like with North Korea may come away with something that he can announce as what feels like a victory, but in that match-up, Putin will certainly have the upper hand.
CABRERA: We hope otherwise...
METZL: We hope it, but we have so much experience that it may not be.
CABRERA: Jamie Metzl, thank you as always for joining us.
METZL: My pleasure.
CABRERA: And we have an update now in the situation at the U.S.- Mexico border, a federal judge blasting the Trump administration saying they are trying to cover up for failed family reunifications with claims children could be endangered through this reunification process. Now, the administration is responding to the judge. We will get a live report from the border next.
[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: The federal judge who oversees the reunification of migrant families is blasting the Department of Health and Human Services. He says the Department is trying to cover for the Trump administration under deadline pressure to reunite parents and children who are separated at the border. HHS says meeting that court imposed deadline to reunite families will
actually be more harmful to the children. Let's head to McAllen, Texas and CNN's Rosa Flores. Rosa, HHS has essentially hit the brakes. In fact, we have learned they stopped doing DNA testing, which has been part of the verifying of family members. What exactly is going on?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ana, this relationship started amicable -- the relationship between the judge and the government. The judge even saying before this that he was very happy with the reasonable efforts that the government was making to reunify children with their parents.
Now, that all changed Friday when Christopher Meekins who's the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response in HHS has said that the HHS would definitely comply with the judge's order, but then also added that it could materially increase the risk that HHS will reunify a child with a parent who will abuse them.
Now, this is when the judge fired back saying, quote, it is clear from Mr. Meekins' declaration that HHS either does not understand the court's orders, or is acting in defiance of them, going on to say to be clear, determinations of parentage, fitness, and danger must be made before any class members are reunited with their children -- class members meaning parents.
The judge goes on to say there is no reason why one of these goals must be sacrificed for the other given the vast amount of resources available to the federal government.
Now, HHS coming back after the scolding from the judge saying, quote, defendants have been striving to comply with the court's orders in good faith, and the plan indeed requires HHS to make a determination of parentage based on the information available to it before reunifying families within the deadlines.
HHS even sending out a flowchart showing what they will be doing, Ana, to make sure that children are safe, but they are following the process, they say, that was issued and ordered by that judge. Ana.
CABRERA: Of course, you and all of us will stay on top of whether they end up meeting that deadline, and any developments that happen between now and then. Thank you, Rosa Flores in McAllen, Texas.
According to the National Institutes of Health, suicide rates often climb in the moths after high profile deaths like Anthony Bourdain's or Kate Spade's, but there are ways to get help, and help others who are struggling. And here's this week's Impact Your World.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I live another day. There's someone who's supposed to be alive right now and they're not.
ANNA AKANA, ACTOR AND DIRECTOR: I'm Anna Akana. I'm an actor, and director, and contact creator on YouTube. I lost my little sister to suicide when I was 17. When I first started talking about it, I was very afraid how it was going to be received.
And at the same time, I knew that my main demographic was young girls, and that no one ever talked to me about mental illness. I am a huge advocate for crisis text lines because suicide is the second-leading cause of death. The texting aspect is much more familiar, and much more comfortable. I believe that they have the capability to really connect with kids who want that help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You text us when you are in pain, and we are there for you so we can help you right in the heat of the moment. You text 741741, you can also reach us inside Facebook messenger and text. We are handling about 100,000 conversations a month.
[17:55:00] And we expect for that to double by the end of this year. We need more crisis counselors. So, America, you are needed, and your empathy skills are needed. As long as you have a laptop, and a good Wi-Fi connection, this is a great way to volunteer, and have an immediate impact on someone's life.
CABRERA: Coming up, we go back to Helsinki, where we are just hours away now from President Trump's high stakes sit down with Russia's Vladimir Putin. We are live at the presidential palace next.