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Trump Caves in to Putin; Americans Are Upset with Trump; Putin Continues to Deny Meddling in the U.S. Elections; Trump Sided With Putin Over U.S. Intel On Election Attack. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 16, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You've got Democrats and right now they're on the same page. And if they move together they will wind up in a better place.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon takes it from here. Don, that's the hope out of all the hysteria, is that we saw left, right and reasonable come together in unison today in a way that we have not seen and they did it in the right time for the right reason. What will they do next?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes. The reasonable part of that what you just mentioned is probably the most important part. But, listen, you played that sound bite. Hearing it all over again is just as shocking and just as stunning every single time you hear it.
You can't believe the president of the United States is undermining his own intelligence community and America while standing on an international stage with one of our enemies. I can't believe it.
CUOMO: I wish it weren't true, but it is. And now we've got the move past that and figure out what the hell do we do now.
LEMON: Yes. Well, let's hope in the news cycle that, you know, this doesn't just become next week, it's over and it's something else and we're onto --
CUOMO: I don't think so.
LEMON: Yes. This is really important. Yes.
CUOMO: Not on our watch. This matters too much. And I'm going to watch your show right now. Good afternoon, my friend.
LEMON: yes. Thank you. Have a safe trip back. We'll see you soon, Chris.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
And what we all saw and heard in Helsinki tonight is really frightening. An absolutely shameful display by an American president with the whole world watching. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you tweeted this morning that it's U.S. foolishness, stupidity and the Mueller probe that responsible for the decline in relations U.S. with Russia. Do you hold Russia at all responsible for anything in particular, and if so, what would you -- what would you consider them that they are responsible for?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish, I think we've all been foolish. But I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it's kept us apart. It's kept us separated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Both made some mistakes. Stunning. By the way, the reporter who asked that question is going to be on a little bit later. That was stunning to watch.
President Trump caving to Vladimir Putin, refusing to side with his own country. His own country against an attack by a foreign foe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just now President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. What -- who -- my first question for you, sir, is who do you believe?
TRUMP: So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven't they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee?
With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Wow. That was deflection. That was President Trump trying to deflect, more interested in talking about the Democrat's server than about what Russia actually did.
It is pure capitulation for him to stand next to Vladimir Putin and say he doesn't see any reason why Russia would attack our democracy.
All I can do is ask the question, that's not true. He can do a lot more than ask the question. He can stand up for the truth and condemn what we all know Putin did instead of siding with Russia.
He could be a strong, tough leader, the person he thinks he is instead of quailing beside the Russian strong man.
His own director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, saying this today.
"We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and they're ongoing persuasive efforts to undermine our democracy. And we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security."
Can we still call President Trump the leader of the free world? Can we still call him the leader of the United States? He has gone from snarling alpha dog in Brussels, blasting our allies to Putin's lapdog in Helsinki.
Just take a look at the front page, this is the New York Daily News, that's tomorrow. Accusing the president of showing him and showing him shooting Uncle Sam in the middle of Fifth Avenue, accusing him of treason I should say, and shooting Uncle Sam in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
There have been so many moments over the past year and a half when we all thought that this was madness. But this time this is different. This is not just Trump being Trump. This is something no president in recent memory has done, even with Putin saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:05:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election, and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing in the right U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But President Trump, he'd rather talk about Hillary Clinton's e-mails, bought her e-mails. And we know what happened the last time he did that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What happened to Hillary Clinton's e-mails, 33,000 e-mails gone? Just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn't be gone so easily. I think it's a disgrace that we can't get Hillary Clinton's 33,000 e- mails.
I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Sorry. It's not funny. It's laughable. An incredible offer? Is he serious? President Trump thinks Mueller should work with Putin? Obviously that will never happen, nor should it happen. We have all -- we've been asking all along why Trump -- why is he refusing to condemn Russia? And we might have gotten a clue today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN (through translator): Yes, I did heard these rumors that we allegedly collected compromising material on Mr. Trump when he was visiting Moscow. Well, distinguished colleague let me tell you this, when President Trump was in Moscow back then I didn't even know that he was in Moscow. I treat President Trump with utmost respect, but back then when he was a private individual, a businessman nobody told me that he was in Moscow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That needs to be fact checked. But Putin knows exactly what he's doing there, though. Standing next to Trump and not quite denying he has kompromat.
But tonight, Chris Wallace of Fox News he doesn't have anything on the president and at the same time managing to sneak in an insult.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN (through translator): We don't have anything on them. There can't be anything on them. I don't want to insult President Trump when I say this, and I may come as rude. But before he announced that he will run for presidency he was of no interest for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Vladimir Putin out-foxing President Trump at every turn. And remember, Putin is the man who supports Bashar al-Assad's bloody regime, who annexed Crimea, who is meddling in Ukraine, who has been blamed for a chemical weapons attack on British soil.
This is the man President Trump says he trust over his own intelligence people. Why? You have to ask yourself why. In the wake of all of this you've also got to wonder what Trump and Putin said to each other behind closed doors. But one thing is for sure. What we all saw and heard from President Trump today was shameful, and it demeans the honor it is to be the leader of a free world.
Can we still call him that? I want to bring in now CNN National Security Analyst, Michael Hayden, a former director of CIA -- of the CIA and NSA. Thank you for joining us. He is also the author by the way of "The Assault on Intelligence and American National Security in the Age of Lies." So happy to have you here, sir.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.
LEMON: I told Chris I was going to ask you about the president's patriotism. Do you question it today?
HAYDEN: The president is so self-focused, self-centered that I think he finds it sometimes difficult to near impossible to get beyond the definition of self to the broader definition of the national interest. So I'm not going to say he's patriotic or not patriotic. But, Don, you
mentioned the book so let me refer to it. That's one of the core themes of the book, that the president can't get beyond self, beyond the questions of his own presidential legitimacy and what the Russians have done even though there is overwhelming evidence that the Russians did that.
So the effect is as if he doesn't care about the well-being of the republic that he's sworn to protect.
LEMON: You know John Brennan, I'm sure.
HAYDEN: Yes, I did know very well.
LEMON: Yes, former CIA director. So here's what he tweeted today. He said "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments embolic or imbecilic, excuse me, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots, where are you?"
Do you share his view, what do you think of that statement?
HAYDEN: Those are John's words, not mine. And I think John is regularly been a little sharper in his pros and I've chose to be.
[22:10:00] But, Don, I knew I was going to be on this show tonight so I actually watched the press conference live. I was even taking notes, and for about 80 percent of it I judged, OK, Vladimir Putin is way ahead on points here that there have been no serious knock downs or knock outs here. We're probably going to survive this summit.
And then at the very end, the last 10 percent or 15 percent we get this nuclear detonation in terms of what the president said. Don, I was born a month or two before Franklin Roosevelt died. So I've been around a lot longer than you have. I have never seen an American president act that way or say such things in any circumstances let alone on an international stage. So I can see what prompted John's anger.
LEMON: General Hayden, do you believe Vladimir Putin -- he denies it. Do you think he has kompromat on President Trump?
HAYDEN: I think he's got things that he knows that he thinks he believes he can use either now or in the future to pressure the president. Look, the Russian intelligence services are very invasive. They don't just go after on information on people they know to be American presidential candidates.
By the way President Trump has been poking at the idea for running for president for a very long time. So I do think the Russians have information that they might think would be embarrassing. Does it meet the definition of kompromat, something that was illegal and then they could expose, I have no idea. But I'm hopeful that the special counsel finds out. LEMON: General, President Putin spoke to Fox News tonight, down-
playing the e-mail hacks since the information they stole reveal accurate information. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN (through translator): The idea was about hacking an e-mail account of a Democratic candidate. Was it some rigging of facts, was it some forgery of facts? That's the important thing that I'm trying to, the important point that I'm trying to make. Was there's any false information planted? No, it wasn't.
These hackers that I'm being discussed and I'll get back to it, just bear with me for a moment. As we're getting told, they hacked a certain e-mail account and there was an information about manipulations conducted within the Democratic Party to incline the process in favor of one candidate.
And as far as I know the entire party literature resigned. They admitted the fact of their manipulation, so that's one thing that manipulations where in the public opinion should start and an apology should be made to the public at large instead of looking for the responsible party at fault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: General Hayden, he's defending the hacking?
HAYDEN: Actually he's pretty knowledgeable about the hacking.
HAYDEN: Is the lesson I took from that interchange, Don. And I think the public record is that there was no manipulation of the e-mails. Frankly, if you're going to do such a thing, which the Russians did, the GRU, you probably don't want to manipulate the e-mails. Because once you're found out even on one exchange, one e-mail, one communication, it puts into doubt your whole trove of e-mails that you're trying to use to embarrass the third party.
So I wouldn't be surprised if that's not absolutely correct, no manipulation of the e-mails. Just quite different from all the fake news that the Russians produced down the other track when they were going into American social media with their bot farm in St. Petersburg.
LEMON: I've got to ask you about this Russian woman Maria Butina who was charged with acting as a foreign agent for Russia in the U.S. Isn't this another example of the president being wrong about Russia?
HAYDEN: Yes, in many ways. And we'll let this play out. I read the news today just like you did, Don. A couple of things I took from it. Number one, this inexorable movement of the Mueller investigation, relentless, sweeping up people in its path. And we will learn more from each step of the investigation as it evolves. That's one. Second, it reinforces the point I tried to suggest just a moment ago.
This was multi front effort on the part of the Russians, the e-mail hack, D.C. leaks, the social media attacks, and almost echoing the alt-right media here in the United States.
And dare I say, Don, the synchronization of some things with members of the Trump campaign including the president's own son. And now you've got this third front, this woman working closely with the NRA and based upon this allegation funneling money into American institutions to support the Trump campaign.
[22:14:59] I mean, when you step back, there's no brilliance here on the part of Putin and the Russians, but there is an awful lot of energy coming at us at exposed weaknesses in our system.
LEMON: I've got to ask you as someone because you know, you worked for presidents, what do you do when the president contradicts you and you have to put out your own statement that is not, you know, doesn't match up with the president's own words?
LEMON: Should -- and we ask, we talk about this a lot.
LEMON: Should folks who work there like that should Dan Coats, the director Dan Coats, should he resign or should he and others stay in their jobs to frankly protect the American people from their own president?
HAYDEN: Yes. The only good answer I can give you, Don, is the little longish and I'll try to be efficient here. When you talk about the heads of agencies, Gina Haspel at CIA, Paul Nakasone at NSA and other folks like that, we need them because they're responsible for the basic blocking and tackling, and they are career intelligence professionals.
So what I'm going to say now doesn't apply to them. But Director Coats, Senator Coats is in the job because of his political gravitas, and so there might be different requirements on him.
Now, I frankly, and I watch this very closely, Don. I frankly think he's very straightforward and frankly somewhat courageous in saying things without a whole lot of fanfare that are more than one note off the hymnal being sung by the white house.
So I'm not surprised that he put that statement out today, didn't clear it with the White House. It's almost as if he's saying I'm not leaving, but I'm not changing my tune, over to you. Now it's your decision.
HAYDEN: And so people like Senator Coats have to make a really tough choice here, Don. Do I serve the nation better by serving and staying and being a guardrail or have I lost the ability to do that and now I serve the nation better by leaving and calling attention to how severe, extreme the situation is? I do not envy these people of that choice.
LEMON: General Hayden, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, does Russia have kompromat on President Trump? That's what we're going to keep asking and we try to the bottom too, right. That's a million dollar question. Putin danced around that question when reporters ask, then he said he doesn't. So what is the truth?
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight Vladimir Putin denying he has damaging information on Donald Trump. Here's what the Russian president just said to Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN (through translator): We don't have anything on them and there can't be anything on them. I don't want to insult President Trump when I say this, and I may come as rude, but before he announced that he will run for presidency he was of no interest for us.
He was a rich person, but well, there's plenty of rich persons in the United States. He was in the construction business. He organized the beauty pageants, but, no, it would never occur to anyone that he would think of running for president. He never mentioned his political ambitions. It sounds like it's an utter nonsense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's discuss now with CNN National Security Analyst, Steve Hall, retired chief of CIA Russian operations. Global Affairs Analyst, Max Boot, the author of "The Road Not Taken." Julia Ioffe is the correspondent for G.Q. magazine, and Michael Isikoff is a chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News who is a co-author of "Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump."
I'm glad all of you are here, but also, Michael, I'll get to you in a moment but Michael has some interesting reporting that's in the book that sort of contradicts what happened today, what was said today.
So Steven, you just heard from Putin there denying this whole, you know, kompromat don't have anything on, but you say there's got to be something because nothing like this has ever happened.
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, first of all, just as a matter of how the Russians work, yes, they absolutely must have kompromats on a guy like Trump. They will follow any American of any interest who comes to Russia or his, you know, under links.
So I think at the time Putin probably saw Trump as sort of an American oligarch who I believe has turned into now Mr. Putin's oligarch because I think that's the kompromat that's probably financial.
It's conceivable to me having worked in the counterintelligence business against the Russians for about three years, they would not have information on Trump and any on the members of his team as well.
LEMON: A U.S. president saying, standing next to Vladimir Putin on the international stage that he believes Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies. What is -- what the hell is that?
HALL: For me that's -- really up until today, Don, I was -- I was not the dark sider. I was the mentoring candidate guy. I was not the guy who thought that, you know, that our president had somehow had some sort of special relationship with the Russian intelligence services or Vladimir Putin.
But now I have to ask myself what else explains his behavior? We can talk about his egoism, but he express his egoism to our NATO partners in a way that it wasn't acceptable but it wasn't like this. So how come he treats Putin differently? Everybody else even rocket man gets kicked around.
HALL: Today who got kicked around? It was our president who got kicked around by Putin.
LEMON: It was stunning. It was stunning to watch, even the body language. Max, you spoke with two retired senior U.S. intelligence officers who came to the same assessment. What was the assessment?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, exactly what Steve was just saying, that there has to be something Putin has on Trump because it's impossible, Don, to explain the president's behavior in any other way. We are running out of innocuous explanations, because think about this, even from the president's own political self-interest he is accused of colluding with Putin. So how does he defend himself?
Well, the best way to defend himself would be to show that he's tough on Putin, to stand up to Putin, but he refuses to do it. And why does he refuse to do it? Maybe he's hoping that Putin will help him out in the future as he help him out in 2016 or maybe Putin has information on him that Trump can't possibly be revealed.
Either way Donald Trump is not up holding the oath of office that he took as president of the United States. And we're in a very serious debate for the first time in our history. I just want to stress how huge this is. We are in a serious debate for the first time in our history, Don, about the loyalty of the president of the United States to the people of the United States.
[22:25:05] We have never had a debate like this, but there are legitimate reasons why we're having that debate right now.
LEMON: Yes. And it is serious, it is. But, Michael, listen, Putin was also asked about whether he has kompromat on Trump at the press conference. Let's listen to it and I'll get your response. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Does the Russian government have any compromising material on President Trump or his family?
PUTIN (through translator): Now to the compromising material, yes, I did hear these rumors that we allegedly collected compromising material on Mr. Trump when he was visiting Moscow.
Now, distinguished colleague, let me tell you this. When President Trump was in Moscow back then I didn't even know he was in Moscow. I treat President Trump with utmost respect. But back then when he was a private individual, a businessman nobody told me he was in Moscow. Please just disregard these issues and don't think about this anymore again.
TRUMP: And I have to say if they had it, it would have been out long ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So here's the problem with that, Michael, because Putin says he didn't know Trump, right, he was in Moscow back in 2013, but according to your reporting that's just not true, correct?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Yes, I mean, I hate to break it to you, but you know, Putin's credibility isn't much better than Trump's on this matter.
First of all, just his interview tonight with Fox News where he said Trump, nobody thought Trump was going to run for president back then, Trump had publicly talked about running for president in 2011. He was widely talked about as a potential Republican candidate at the time. That's when he was pushing the birther stuff, so that's not true.
But on the specifics of what Putin said at the press conference, look, as we reported in "Russian Roulette," Putin was well aware of Trump's presence. In fact, he had been invited to attend the Miss Universe pageant. He couldn't make it because he had a meeting with the king of Holland.
But he has his right-hand man and press spokesman call Trump, I'm talking about Dimitri Peskov, calls Trump apologizes that President Putin can't make it and says he's going to send a high level emissary, one-of his top aides to the Miss Universe pageant, invites Trump to the Sochi Olympics, and says he has a gift for him, which was later delivered.
And just sort of punctuated even further all that in the book, there was an interview with Aras Agalarov that was recently done, who confirms because it was Aras Agalarov who setup this phone call between Peskov and Trump that, in fact, Trump had been invited. Trump express regret that he couldn't make it. So what Putin had to say just actually isn't true.
LEMON: Julia, in 2014, Trump himself admitted to being in touch with the Kremlin during that 2013 trip. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Interestingly I own the Miss Universe pageant. We just left Moscow. He could not have been nicer. He was so nice and saw everything.
When I was in Moscow a couple of months ago, I own the Miss Universe pageant, and they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I mean, there it is, you know.
JULIA IOFFE, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: He was so everything.
LEMON: Yes. What do you think of that?
IOFFE: I mean, I agree with Michael. His credibility is not much better than Putin's. But you know, he's pretty clear, he was in Moscow, the Russians treated him well. OK, it's all about Donald Trump. It's always the Donald Trump show.
About the kompromat or blackmail in English -- we could also use that word -- I would -- I'm going to wager one thing. I think Donald Trump is right, that if the Russians had it, it would already be out there. And it is already out there. The kompromat was the election.
The fact that Russians helped Donald Trump win the election, that's the kompromat. It's now coming out through various investigations like Michael Isikoff's but primarily through Robert Mueller's indictment where we're learning all kinds of things.
That you know, like Max said we're running out of innocuous explanations and we're running out of ways to possibly say that all these efforts didn't change any votes. So I think the kompromat is out there and we just saw a stunning confirmation of it today.
LEMON: Yes. And an excellent reminder, blackmail. That's what we call it in English. Yes.
So, hey, stick with me everyone. I want to continue to talk with you guys. When we come back, if the president when he's with Vladimir Putin in public, how worried should we be about what was said in private?
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So President Trump throwing his own intelligence agencies under the bus today in Helsinki, and now Texas Senator John Cornyn, well, tells CNN that there's talk about pushing back on the president, that GOP lawmakers may issue a resolution supporting Intel community's assessment that Russia interfered in the election. We shall see.
Back with me now Steve Hall, Max Boot, Julia Ioffe, and Michael Isikoff. So, interesting to see if -- you know, if Republican lawmakers can actually stand up to the President,a nd get together on this. But I've got to -- I've got to --
BOOT: I'm not holding my breath, Don. I got to tell you.
LEMON: We shall see. We shall see, yes. This is Ash Carter, right?
IOFFE: Don, I'm old enough to remember their outrage at the judge imperial comments, the Charlottesville comments, the Access Hollywood tape. There were still outrage overtime.
LEMON: Yes. Well, there is still outrage, and then, you know, a strongly worded tweet or statement, and then nothing happens after this. So, this is from -- I want to read this. This is from Ash Carter. He is the former secretary of defense, OK -- regarding the President in Helsinki today.
He said in my almost four decades with national defense starting in the Pentagon under Ronald Reagan, I never saw, or imagined so uneven a hand over of American security interests, and principles with nothing in return at a meeting. It was like watching the destruction of a cathedral. What do you think of that, Steve?
HALL: You know, I just -- I have to think back to my former colleagues, comments like that, not just in the CIA, but in the intelligence community. We're large, and frankly you can expand that out into the U.S. military. I mean, this undermines, when you -- essentially when the commander in chief, the guy that you're producing your final intelligence for, he's the number one, you know, consumer, or when you're in the armed services, you know, the one who is the commander in chief.
[22:35:04] When this guy says, you know, I think I'm going to go with Putin on this one. You know, I've worked with a lot of incredibly motivated folks who really take very seriously the Russian threat.
And I know it's not just the intelligence community, but it's also our brothers, and sisters in arms. And to hear something like that, It's -- I just cannot imagine what the impact of something like that must be, and I think that's what -- I think that's what that quote sort of reflects.
LEMON: Julia, you were a bit animated when I read that. Why? What's -- what do you think?
IOFFE: I mean, to me it just recalled, you know, the Taliban destruction of the -- destruction of the Buddhas, ISIS bombing, you know, cultural artifacts, that's why I kind of had that expression. But, you know, I think as will everything, loyalty with Trump runs one way.
So, there -- you know, he loves the military, and he loves that there are all these people who will lay down their lives if necessary for the country, and he thinks for him. He's not willing to do the same. He will do only the things that exonerate him, that make him look good, that are good for him.
And I don't think he sees -- you know, this doesn't look -- this doesn't seem bad to him because he doesn't see Russia as a foe. Russia helped him. You know, it's -- why would he see them as a bad actor?
IOFFE: Putin has been very nice to him. He was everything as, you know, as Trump said. He has been everything to him. He helped him win. Why would he go with those of us who are questioning his legitimacy, and the legitimacy of his electoral victory?
LEMON: Well, so, here's the thing, Max, you mentioned this earlier, and I thought -- I thought about this why would he? Because he wants their help again, right? So, he's -- maybe that's why he -- one reason that he's being soft on him.
LEMON: I want to get your answer to that. but just -- you have to put this up because this is what you wrote today in The Washington Post. It was a great piece, because this has been called repugnant, disgraceful, a surrender.
So, you said, if anyone is the enemy of the people, it is Trump himself, adding even if Trump were thinking only in terms of his own political survive, his usual mode, he would be tougher on Putin because he must realize that kowtowing to the Russians -- to the Russians only strengthens suspicions of collusion. So, talk to me about all of that. Does he want the help again, and what did you mean by that?
BOOT: Well, Don, here is the suspicion. There's really no other way to explain what he's up to. Because again, as I was saying earlier -- I mean, if he wants to try to exonerate himself from these charges of collusion, he needs to stand up to Putin.
I mean, it's a political no brainier. He needs to show that he's tougher in order to show that there really is nothing to these charges that Mueller is investigating, but he can't, or won't do it. And you know -- so, therefore you have that speculation.
I think the only two reasonable lines of speculation are either, A, he knows that Putin helped him in 2016, and he wants that help in 2018. He wants that help in 2020. Or B, he can't speak out against Putin because as Steve was discussing, and others have said, Putin actually has something on him beyond what has already come out.
Either way, he's not up holding his oath of office to protect and defend the constitution. And that's why you have very serious people like John Brennan all of the sudden talking about is the President of the United States, a traitor to the United States. And I -- you can all (Inaudible), this is an unprecedented
conversation. In the past the only people who talked like this were like, you know, crazy John Birchers who were accusing President Eisenhower of being a KGB agent. But this is a serious conversation that we are having right because Donald Trump is not upholding the interests of the United States.
LEMON: Michael Isikoff, I've got to point out that what we saw today was a public news conference. I mean, how concerned should we be about what happened behind closed doors? Folks like you who report on this, who write on this, you may not get a chance to write it, or even know what was said in that -- in the meeting today? That should -- that is concerning.
ISIKOFF: I mean, it's not clear that we know -- although I think somebody has pointed out that translators who are there for the President can be asked to testify before Congress. They can be subpoenaed. I don't think there's any privilege that would cover that. But, you know, I also want to point out that there was another development today that's worth noting because, which is --
LEMON: Yes, go on.
ISIKOFF: -- there's a woman who had -- named Maria Butina.
ISIKOFF: A very close ties to the NRA. She was actually the first woman to question Donald Trump while he was running for president about sanctions at some event in Las Vegas, and Trump for the first time, this is early in the campaign, when sanctions were not at all in the political dialogue --
LEMON: Can we get that? We have that sound bite. Can we get that?
ISIKOFF: You have it? OK. Because I want to -- I want to point out what happened after this exchange.
LEMON: Yes. Do we got it? Trump and Butina. I think we got it. We got it, here we go. We're going to play it. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA BUTINA, FOUNDER, RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS: I'm visiting from Russia. So, my question --
[22:40:00] TRUMP: Good friend -- good friend of Obama, Putin.
BUTINA: My question --
TRUMP: He likes Obama a lot. Go ahead.
BUTINA: If you would be elected as a president, what would be your foreign politics especially in the relationships with my country, and do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that are damaging both economies, or do you have any other ideas? TRUMP: OK, Obama gets along with nobody. The whole world hates us.
I know Putin, and I'll tell you what, we get along with Putin. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So just for the record here, the Justice Department charged her, she is a Russian national, with conspiring against the U.S. as a secret agent, and that she attempted to set up the fact telecommunication between Trump and Putin. Go on with your comment, Michael.
ISIKOFF: Yes. So that video was in July of 2015. Months later, actually nearly a year later the top officials of the Trump campaign, Steve Bannon -- this is all in Russian roulette, by the way. Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus would be watching that video trying to figure what is going on here, why is that woman there, why does Trump call on her, why does he have this answer about sanctions, and he goes on to say, you didn't play this part of the clip, you won't need sanctions if I'm elected.
And this was something of concern at the highest levels of the Trump campaign about the President's potential relationship with this woman, and how this all unfolded. Today, we learned from the Justice Department that Maria Butina, that woman had been arrested on Sunday by the FBI, and has been charged with being a secret agent of the Russian government.
LEMON: Yes. I've got to run. Thank you very much. Fascinating conversation. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So what we heard from President Trump today in Helsinki, throwing U.S. intelligence under the bus while standing side by side with Vladimir Putin, it was shocking. And it could end up changing the global order as we know it.
So what are the worldwide ramifications here? Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS." Good to see you. So, can we take a step back? Why did Trump want to even have this summit in the first place, especially considering what's come out of it?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: You know, it's like the mystery of Donald Trump and Russia remains -- it's growing bigger every month rather than smaller. For those who thought, look, there was some -- clearly the Russians did something, Trump benefited from it, he is embarrassed by it.
But it'll blow over, and he'll normalize, and he will listen to the intelligence community. None of that's happened. In fact, Trump has gotten weirder and weirder on Russia, and in some sense deepened the mystery. You know, is he part of it because he intentionally is trying to drive us all crazy, or is there something deeper?
We don't know. All one can say is what Trump is doing is leaving every indication that there's something very strange and special about the relationship with Putin. He never criticizes him. He criticizes every other foreign leader in the world.
He doesn't criticize him. He insists on having private one-on-one meetings. He keeps talking about how important it is to have a good relationship with Russia, and then, of course, now and bizarrely, he sides with Putin, versus, not just his own intelligence community, but the intelligence community of essentially the entire western world.
You know, let's put it this way, if somebody would have written this as a Manchurian candidate thriller, I guarantee you any editor, any movie maker would say, this is too implausible.
LEMON: And there is so much -- you were saying, you know, maybe he's trying to drive us all crazy, it's gaslighting. And speaking of gaslighting -- this is Mike Pence, this is the vice president. He gave a speech after the summit. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Disagreements between our countries were discussed at length, but what the world saw, and what the American people saw is that President Donald Trump will always put the prosperity, and security of America first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Did we see that today? Was he watching a different --
ZAKARIA: He was watching a different press conference. Look, what's striking here about what Trump has done, you know, there's so many different elements to it. But he's taken the Republican Party's foreign policy, and turned it on its head.
The Republican Party was defined particularly by Ronald Reagan. The modern Republican Party was very tough on foreign policy, and very hawkish on foreign policy, particularly towards Russia. The last Republican nominee for president, his signature foreign policy speech was criticizing Obama because he -- Mitt Romney argued Obama didn't recognize Russia was our principle adversary.
It was (Inaudible) towards Republican foreign policy was positive about free trade, tolerant towards immigrants, and positive toward them. And by the way, a very strong law and order component, respect for the FBI. Trump has literarily turned this foreign policy -- this policy on its head.
And what's striking to me is where is the Republican revoke, where the Bush family, where is John McCain, where is Mitt Romney? They're all busy either being quiet, or actively courting Donald Trump. They cannot believe in this.
There are two generations of Republican foreign policy hawks who have argued for a tougher line on Russia. They must have watched this press conference, and felt like their entire life's work had been destroyed. And yet they barely say anything. LEMON: I want to continue this conversation, but I got to get a break
in. Stick around. We'll be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So we're back now with Fareed Zakaria, the host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS." So devastating and pathetic, that's how one western diplomat -- that's what one western diplomat said today about what was going on. Someone also said it was a sad and dark day, I think, told one of our reports here at CNN.
But I have to ask you, in subsequent interviews since this summit today, and since this press conference, is he -- he seems to be saying the president, he thinks that we have this great relationship with Russia, and saying that the Mueller investigation has driven a wedge between this relationship. When did that ever happen?
ZAKARIA: It's a bizarre theory of U.S. Russian relationships. As Trump sees it, you know, we had great relationship with Russia.
[22:55:03] And then, we screwed it up. The United States screwed it up. It reminds me of, you know, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan's ambassador to the U.N. famously assail the Democrats in the 1984 convention where she said, the Democrats, they always blame America first.
And here you have Donald Trump, the Republican president is saying -- you know, he says it's all America's fault. But here is the real story of what happened with the Russian relations. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Boris Yeltsin becomes President of Russia, and the Clinton administration showers aid, and support on him, $500 billion roughly of foreign aid.
It creates the G-8 rather than the G-7. The whole idea is to try and bring Russia into the family of nations, then Yeltsin turns out to be too drunk to govern, and Putin becomes president, and Bush (Inaudible), says I see into Putin's soul, and he's a good Christian man. None of it works.
The Russians become adventurous in the neighborhood. They have become bullies, they -- you know, whether you look at Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, all over the place you had to deal with Russian aggression, and then Russian interference in western democracies beginning with eastern Europe, Ukraine, eastern Europe, western Europe, and then, of course, the United States.
So, it's not like the United States didn't try to have a good relationship with Russia. It is Russian actions that have caused this. Again, Trump needs to listen to his intelligence briefings, the problem is not the United States. The problem is Putin. The United States did enormous things for Russia.
The Russians rejected them in a sense, and instead sort of -- kind of thuggish bullying poster towards the work, that's the real story. And for Donald Trump to say it's all foolishness in the part of the United States. Again, you know, when was the last American president who had stood up
in an international forum, and said it's all America's fault. I mean, you know, if George McGovern had said something like that, you know, the Republican Party would have a assailed him for treason, and that president is now asserting similar kinds of things.
LEMON: That's a problem if you don't read -- when you have a president who doesn't read. You said he should listen to his intelligence briefing, he could pick up a history book, or maybe a Russian diplomacy --
ZAKARIA: We know he doesn't listen to the intelligence briefings, because he says he knows -- he knows better than they do. And, of course, Putin demonstrated that in the Fox interview where he said I don't need to look at the Mueller indictment.
You know, these guys have already made up their minds, and in away, Putin must be thinking, well, if your own president doesn't believe the Mueller indictment from his own Justice Department, why should I believe it?
LEMON: Exactly. Thank you, Fareed. Appreciate it. We'll be right back.