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Trump Sides With Putin Over U.S. Intel On Election Attack; McCain Reacts To Helsinki Summit; Trump And Putin Give Interviews To Fox News After Summit; Moscow Delighted By Trump-Putin Summit. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired July 16, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast live with all the new developments for you tonight. President Trump back at the White House after meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and a stunning move for an American President throwing his own intelligent agencies under the bus.
The reaction tonight, of course, is outrage. Even the editorial board of "The Wall Street Journal" owned by Trump ally Rupert Murdoch says quote, details from the private trump-Putin talks in Helsinki will spell out in coming days, but Monday's joint press conference is a personal and national embarrassment for a rare moment in this presidency, Mr. Trump also projected weakness.
He was the one on the stage, beseeching Mr. Putin for a better relationship, while the Russian played it cool and matter of fact. On the eve of today's summit, the Trump appointed Republican confirm director of the National Intelligence Agency had this blunt warning. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: In regards to state action, Russia has been the most aggressive foreign actor. No question. And they continue their efforts to undermine our democracy. The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. And it is why I believe we are at a critical point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, yet when President Trump was asked a direct question, who did he believe? Vladimir Putin, a trained KGB officer who denies all involvement or American intelligence community which unanimously concludes otherwise. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Putin, he just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be. I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The President publicly undermining his own Director of National Intelligence, opting to believe the Russian President. When asked if he holds Russia responsible for anything, the murder of political opponents targeting civilians in Syria, the military invasion and annexation of Crimea, Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. I think we're all to blame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Both countries responsible. Does that sound familiar? On both sides. Sounds like a lot in what he said defending white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville. When directly confronted, President Trump could not come up with one bad thing to say about Russia. Not one.
He brushed aside actionable U.S. intelligence concluding Russia attack our election, standing side by side with President with the Russian President, he made it clear he would hold Putin accountable for nothing and went out of his way to flatter him and he made it clear who he thinks is real, who our real enemies are, Robert Mueller, the Justice Department and Democrats, according to him. I want to bring in now Jeff Mason, he is a White House correspondent for Reuters.
And he stepped up and asked President Trump, what may have been the toughest question of the day. Thanks for joining us. Good to see you.
JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: My pleasure.
LEMON: Stunning day for U.S. history and you were there. I want to play some of your exchange with the President. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASON: Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular and if so, what would you consider them that they are responsible for?
TRUMP: Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago. A long time, frankly, before I got to office and I think we're all to blame. 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: So that moment shocked everybody around the world. What do you think, what did you think when you heard the President blaming both countries?
MASON: Well, I mean, I think it was shocking, and it came after the beginning of his day in Helsinki that started with his tweet in which he also used the word foolishness and stupidity and referred to the witch hunt probe, which is what formed the basis of my question and I mean, you sort of got to this earlier in your segment. There is a whole list of things that his advisors that other Republicans, that Democrats, that Russia watchers would put together on what to hold Russia responsible for.
[23:05:04] And he didn't name any of them. He just went straight for these lists of grievances that he has and so it was extraordinary and certainly it went fully against what his advisors have been suggesting he would do during this big summit.
LEMON: Jeff, and then there was this -- when you asked Putin a question, here is how that went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASON: Why should Americans and why should President Trump believe your statement that Russia did not intervene in the 2016 election given the evidence that U.S. intelligence agencies have provided and will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week, but a U.S. grand jury.
TRUMP: Well, I would let the President answer the second part of that question, but as you know, the whole concept of that came up perhaps a little bit before, but it came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election, which frankly, they should have been able to win, because the electoral college is much more advantageous for Democrats, as you know, and it is to Republicans, we won the electoral college by a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what do you think when you ask Putin the question, Trump jumps in and talks about the Electoral College victory. That was just part of Trump's answer.
MASON: It was just part of his answer. It just goes again to show that any suggestion that his election was illegitimate, is a complete thorn in his side and he does not see a distinction between the accusations of collusion and the accusations of meddling by Russia and it's -- it just -- he can't stand it and he is standing there right next to the Russian President and gets a chance to talk about that and again, instead of confronting the President of Russia about what he's intelligence agency, the United States Intelligence Agencies have concluded, about Russian collusion, he goes off and talks about his election and the electoral college and Hillary Clinton.
LEMON: What did you think about the way Putin responded?
MASON: Well, you know, I think Putin is smooth, and Putin was no doubt ready for that question and also, he didn't play this just now, but he will go on to say that, you know, he would be willing to cooperate in some way and bring over U.S. Investigators to talk to some of these 12 indicted officials. So he had a smooth answer and then President Trump foreshadowed it a little bit. He said even before President Putin responded that Putin got a good idea and that was the big idea and so --
LEMON: Let's play some of this -- your exchange. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASON: 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. Yes, I did because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, how significant is that answer and did you realize the significance at the moment?
MASON: Yes. I absolutely realized the significance of the moment, yes. It's funny just to give a little bit of detail or behind the scenes sense right there. There was somebody pulling the microphone away from me at that point, but I got that last question in, because I think it was important to ask, and the fact that President Putin responded so directly and so honestly was remarkable.
I'm not sure he heard the second part of my question, because he did spend a good chunk of time at the press conference denying any collusion, but I do think he was -- it was clear that the first part of my question about did he want Donald Trump to win and his answer to that was straightforward and he said yes, I did.
LEMON: Yes, I did. What response have you been hearing form the White House when White House officials or your sources?
MASON: You know, I flew back along with the rest of the White House press pool on Air Force One tonight from Helsinki. We didn't have a lot of interaction with White House folks on the plane, a little bit, but none -- nobody said anything about that to us or to me directly.
The President, of course, did tweet during the flight, but his tweet didn't really change much of his answer. So, you know, I think that the President no doubt the people around him are recognizing the blow back and how big this story is going to be and are probably starting to think about how they are going to handle it in the coming days.
LEMON: I was going to ask you, you were on the plane, you said you didn't have much interaction, but did you get a sense they know that this was not good.
MASON: I think so. I mean, it's impossible not to. I mean, you have "The Wall Street Journal" editorial at the top of the hour. It's not just Democrats. It's not the media. It's Republicans. It's people across the country.
LEMON: Jeff Mason, thank you.
MASON: I appreciate it.
LEMON: Yes. Top members of the President's own party condemning his performance today.
[23:10:01] Senator John McCain saying in a statement quote, today's press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American President in memory.
The damage inflicted by President Trump's naivete egotism false equivalence and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate, but it is --, but it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was tragic mistake. President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Dick Cheney's daughter tweeting as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I'm deeply troubled by President Trump's defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. and his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.
Here is what Newt Gingrich, who is a big Trump supporter, he is tweeting this, he says, President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected immediately. And Senator Ben Sass blasting the president's claim that both countries are responsible saying quote, this is bizarre and flat out wrong. The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people, but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for soviet style aggression when the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.
And tonight, President Trump's former National Security Council spokesman, Michael Anton cancelled his interview with our very own, Erin Burnett, because he says, he can't defend what President Trump said and did today. So I want to bring in now, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota and a member of the judiciary committee. Good evening to you. Thank you so much.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: What do you think of what the Republican leader said?
KLOBUCHAR: There is not much more to add to that except to say we need to also move forward and figure out what is going to happen now, and I think we need to bring in before Congress some of the people that were there at that meeting to figure out what really happened, not the meeting was private, but were with him and then also to make Putin extradite and bring in, we want to bring in those 12 people that have been charged in the complaint. You think to get someone like John McCain to say this, I stood with Senator McCain and Senator Graham on the front line with the Ukrainian troops, right across from where the Russians were and he went there right after Donald Trump was elected.
He knew that there was a problem. He knew that Trump was not going to stand up for these countries. We want to Estonia and Lithuania and boy we have seen it today. He chose to stand with someone who not only attacked our democracy, but has poisoned his political opponents as through his military, brought down a plane and this was just established in the Dutch investigation over Ukraine killing 300 innocent people.
LEMON: All right. I mean --
KLOBUCHAR: That is who he chose to stand with over our own intelligence community.
LEMON: That speaks for and you know everyone knows what Vladimir Putin has done, at least some of what he is done, but I have to ask you, what is your message to Republicans who are not speaking out as forcefully against the President's performance as the ones that I read before?
KLOBUCHAR: I think they need to step back and think what are the values of America? We are a free democracy and they didn't just mess around in our own general election, they messed around in the Republican primary. They messed around in Brexit. They messed around in free Democratic elections and outside of elections all over the world. So, if you're going to stand up for our country and for patriotism and for democracies all over the world, then you have to say something. And I'm glad these Republicans have come forward and that is helpful, but it's just the beginning.
LEMON: Well, doesn't it have to be more than a strongly worded statement, because I say that because the Senate Majority, John Corner, told CNN that there are talks on Capitol Hill to reaffirm support in the Senate of the Intelligence Community's assessment that Russia interfered in our election.
LEMON: Have you heard this?
KLOBUCHAR: I have heard them talk about it. I love to just take Senator McCain's statement and vote on that. I think, that would be a good idea, but I have also, there is bills that I'm working on right now, one with Senator Lankford that we're leading along with Senator Graham and Senator Harris and that is a strong bipartisan bill that basically says, let's give the states additional funding. We've already given them 380 million to get back up paper ballots to do audits. Let us make it very clear that when there is hacks, we just know from the indictments, 500,000 voters that had their information broken into, let's get that information out to the states right away.
So that is called the secure elections act and then Senator McCain and I along with Senator Warner are leading the Honest Ads act, which would put some requirements in place for paid media ads and we know in the last election, there were bunch of ads bought with (inaudible) and the Russians were involved in that business, as well. [23:15:06] LEMON: Senator, do you think there is a fine line that was
crossed today with your Republican colleagues or do you think it is going to go by the wayside as, you know, when the President says or does something outrageous as it has so many times?
KLOBUCHAR: You know, I don't know how this can just go by the wayside when you in addition to the Republicans you brought, you have Senator Corker who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee basically saying that he made -- that the President made our nation look like a pushover in front of the whole world.
You have our allies. I just met with them with Senator Warner, we met with members of the parliaments from Europe, from all over Europe while this was going on. We were meeting with them. And they are looking for leadership from the United States and we are in a position where we may break off that alliance if this continues when he goes and berates the head of Great Britain and berates the head of Germany and then be embraces this thug, basically, someone who has been, came out of the KGB who has attacked our democracy and then lied on TV in front of the world and said he didn't do it.
It's not true. Our own intelligence agencies run by Donald Trump, appointed by Donald Trump have all said that this happened. They attacked our democracy and the Director's Coats words, they are getting bolder and they will do it again.
LEMON: Senator Amy Klobuchar, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you very much.
LEMON: When we come back, the unbelievable moment that started the Trump-Putin summit today and you got to see it to believe it.
[23:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So the sit down between President Trump and Vladimir Putin started with this incredible moment. Trump winking at Putin. I put my glasses on to watch that again. OK, so listen, now hours later with the President back on U.S. soil, the White House is really trying to do some damage control tonight sending out talking points to Republican surrogates and members of Congress insisting the president believes the assessment of U.S. Intelligence, that Russia hacked the election despite the president's public denial in Helsinki.
There were cameras there, guys. So, I want to bring in now, Michelle Kosinski, she is CNN senior diplomatic correspondent, Chris Cillizza, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large and also Matthew Rojansky, is the Director of the Wilson Centers Kennon Institute. Thank you all for joining us. Michelle, you are in Helsinki, so you first, a U.S. official is telling CNN that comments President Trump made today were not part of the plan, how would the Trump administration officials reacting to this.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to imagine that could be part of the plan. Remember for a long time the White House kept saying there is no set agenda almost like there is no plan. Well this is what happened when the President cannot be restrained by those around him, because this ultimately hurts him. I mean, he is only making those questions loom larger over suspicions why, why would he defend Russia, why would he trash his own American people over this? Those questions are only going to continue and intensify, so CNN is hearing from people around the President saying that those around the President are too afraid to try to stop him from doing things like this. Well, no kidding. We had seen this before, but not to the extent that we saw it in Helsinki.
LEMON: This is a source close to the White House said to our Jim Acosta, said, everyone around him is afraid to tell him he should not do things, that is a quote. What do you hear? Are you hearing more about that?
KOSINSKI: What's your job? What good are you then, if you're too afraid to express your opinion over what is right over what will hurt the President or not hurt the President and what will hurt the country or not hurt the country? From my vantage point where I cover the state department, there is a lot of negative reaction to this, as well. What you hear from people is that something like this happens and there had been other, you know, outrageous things that happen, but they struggle over their own usefulness and whether they stick with the administration or not.
LEMON: Got it.
KOSINSKI: Whether it serves the purpose of the country more to stay and try to make a difference and try to stand up for what you believe is right or by sticking around are you just enabling and legitimizing some of the things that you think are very, very wrong. And I can guarantee you there will be lots of soul searching among those who work in government after this, especially those who work closest to the President.
LEMON: Matthew, you say today's summit was very thin on substantive details, but Russia had another view, Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov is calling it magnificent, better than super. Could this have been any better you think for the Russians?
MATTHEW ROJANSKY, DIRECTOR, KENNAN INSTITUTE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: So, so that is exactly right, Don. I will concede the point here, actually, so my job is to watch these kinds of meetings and figure out where the relationship itself is going, this long list of stuff that the world's two biggest nuclear powers actually have to do together and my impression from the press conference was, this was very thin on substance.
I'll admit, I wasn't expecting there to be a lot of substance going into it, it was sort of one of these meeting to demonstrate that you can have a meeting. But here is the thing, coming out of the meeting, Putin men gave about a 15-minute stand up one on one interview to Russian state television and in it, he goes down without notes.
[23:25:05] I mean, this is really impressive, the entire content of this one on one that he had with Trump and so he talks about a number of actually pretty significant things that they apparently discussed, none of which came out of the presser, they talked about a deal in southern Syria which would possibly be about pushing Iranian forces out. That this has been pre agreed with the Israelis, that this would increase security, but in exchange that Assad clearly was going to retake the country.
Putin noted he has already got 90 percent of the country. They talked about Ukraine and Putin described something as a very interesting offer. We don't actually know of what the offer consisted, but it's very interesting to me that they discussed Ukraine and Putin saying as an offer there and then here is the kicker, they talked about sanctions without talking about sanctions.
So, when asked whether Putin asked for sanctions relief, Putin of course as a matter of Russian pride and also I think a negotiating tactic knowing that Trump could never simply hand over sanctions relief, given congressional legislation, he simply says no, but we talked about the interests of our two business communities in increasing economic ties and how we might do that in the current environment. So that is code for yes, they talked about how to get around sanctions. So they actually had it as surprisingly substantive conversation. We just heard none of it in the press conference between the two presidents.
LEMON: So, Chris, great piece that you wrote for CNN, it is titled the 21 most disturbing lines from Donald Trump's press conference with Vladimir Putin. I want to play some of the key moments you mentioned.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed. As of about four hours ago. I think we're all to blame. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CILLIZZA: He was extremely strong in his denial, Don. I don't see what the problem is.
LEMON: And in your opinion, what was the worst thing the President said today?
CILLIZZA: Yes, I think if you go through the bit where he says, you know, he talks about the intelligence community and what Dan Coats, as the Director of National Intelligence said, he said Putin denies it and then he says and I can't see why they do it. We played it, it was in the middle of that run eclipse there, Don. It's not even as though Donald Trump said well, 50 percent this, 50
percent this, he says on the one hand we have the American intelligence committee and my DNI and on the other hand we have the Russian President and I think the Russian president is probably right, because he says -- I'm paraphrasing, but it is very close to this, I don't see why they would do it.
LEMON: Yes. That it would be he said.
CILLIZZA: That is remarkable. That is beyond just saying I don't know whether I should believe my U.S. Intelligence community and Senate Intelligence Committee which by the way is run by Richard Burr, a Republican, but that I actually think that Putin has the right and of course, I think the reason for that is because it makes sense to Donald Trump and his world view which is acknowledging any sense that the election was interfered with by the Russians means in his mind, he is somehow invalidated as President, even though that is not what it means, he is unable to do that. He can't see the forest through the trees.
LEMON: So, the reporting on this and all the criticism that he has gotten from Democrats, Republicans, a like supporters to him is all fake. It's all fake news.
LEMON: But we're going to talk about some of that reporting and some of his response and also Vladimir Putin's response, as well, coming up. Don't go anywhere.
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: There are some major questions tonight about what actually happened in that one-on-one meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump, and we certainly didn't get the facts from Trump's interview tonight on Fox News.
I'm back now with Michelle Kosinski, Chris Cillizza, and Matthew Rojansky. So, Chris, unlike President Trump, Chris Wallace actually confronted the Russian president about the country's attack on the U.S. But Trump sat down Sean Hannity for an interview full of lies and propaganda, conflating collusion with Russia meddling in our election as if the two can't co-exist. If the president will only talk to Fox, right, how are we supposed to really know what happened during that one-on-one meeting?
CILLIZZA: Well, it's going to be extremely difficult especially down because Donald Trump pushed for a one-on-one meeting with just translators. And look, I sit in as few meetings as I can every day, but at once it being two or three, if you ask me -- they are probably about 15 minutes long each, maybe 25, if you ask me to recount what went on in the first of the three meetings of the day or even the second, I'm not sure that my recall would be what you would like it to be.
Now, these meetings are not about sanctions. These meetings are not about what to do in Syria. These meetings are not about election meddling. These meetings are about, you know, should I write this or should I write that? That should concern people. I also add just on your collusion point one very quick thing. Donald Trump said in the press conference, there was no collusion with me because I didn't even know and hadn't met Vladimir Putin.
[23:35:00] So the idea that you were defining collusion as the president of the United States and the president of Russia had to have known one another for there to be any collusion in any part of the campaign is just not right. He's trying to redefine collusion in a way that doesn't, whether or not it happened, that doesn't sort of merit that comparison.
LEMON: Yes. Matthew, I'm just wondering, is this a tactic that Putin would love to use to control the messaging from this meeting with the Russian state TV and Fox News, which is essentially Trump's state TV?
ROJANSKY: Putin of course took over the Russian media, you know, 15 plus years ago. It's one of the very first things he did when he became president, even before he ran for a second term, and he is now on term number five, depending on how you count.
So, it's clearly something he understands crystal clear. You have to control the message. But, Don, I would note Putin is such a master of manipulation and of what he calls working with people. He doesn't even need to control the media message after the fact. He could have been in a meeting with lots of staff on both sides of the table.
He would have still been able to bring this classical Moscow approach, which is Trump says, hey, you guys interfered in our election. We have a criminal investigation. We need to be able to interview these guys. He says, great, you can come over to Russia. Your investigators can interview our people. The condition is reciprocity.
So we can go over to the United States and interview anyone we want including law enforcement if we accuse people of a crime. It's obviously an offer the president can accept. He's completely flipped the tables and yet he's looked like he is open to the proposal and he is open to cooperation. Masterful move.
LEMON: Yes. Michelle, I've been wanting to talk to you about this. This is a local newspaper in Helsinki. Put up this billboard in the area that Trump would have passed on his way to the summit and it says, Mr. President, welcome to the land of the free press. And there may have been a couple of those. You can correct me if I'm wrong. But what does it say that a newspaper in Finland is going after Trump for his treatment of the press?
KOSINSKI: It's trolling the president as he comes into town. There is so little support for President Trump here in Finland. One poll that was done showed that there was more support maybe for President Putin than there was for President Trump.
People do get upset around the world when they hear phrases like fake news come out of the mouth of the American president, somebody who is supposed to be the ultimate upholder of democratic values, somebody whose supposed to be a shining example for other countries around the world who don't enjoy the same freedoms that we do in the United States, Don.
LEMON: Yes. Michelle, Chris, Matthew, thank you, appreciate your time.
CILLIZZA: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, there is a lot of smiling on Russian state TV today. Wait until you hear what they are saying, Russian media, about President Trump. That's next.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump's enduring bromance with Vladimir Putin is sending shock waves from Capitol Hill to capitols to the capitols of Europe. But his dismissal of U.S. intel's conclusion on Russian election interference and his public distrust of NATO and the European Union are being welcomed with open arms in Moscow. CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley explains why.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian pundits delighted. No real challenge from Trump of Putin over Russia's alleged meddling in his election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): An attempt to blame Russia. Twelve people from Russia for the meddling in 2016, which was absolutely designed to tie Trump's hands. We had no room for maneuver and talks with Putin to turn the theme of meddling into the main topic of discussion between the two presidents. This attempt failed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Well, can you imagine tomorrow's headline of The New York Times? It seems to me that it will be easy. I wanted Trump to win. This is what Putin said.
KILEY (voice-over): In Russia, there were no surprises from the Helsinki summit. Here, people have come to expect to hear Putin and Trump sing the same tune. Take for example the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which was set up to defend against the Soviet threat. Donald Trump, not much of a fan.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: NATO is really there for Europe, much more so than us. It helps Europe. No matter what our military people and your military people say, helps Europe more than it helps us.
KILEY (voice-over): Putin, happy to see frictions in the ranks of his rivals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Putin, does all this squabbling over NATO help Russia?
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF Russia (through translator): Well, in the sense that maybe they should completely be falling apart, that will help. But we don't see that falling apart just yet.
KILEY (voice-over): A former U.S. ambassador laid out the arguments.
ALEXANDER VERSHBOW, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Putin sees NATO as kind of the main obstacle to his efforts to kind of re-divide Europe. He doesn't like the European Union for the same reason because it's spreading democratic values to places like Ukraine and Georgia. And Trump seems to see these institutions as problems rather than bastion of the defense of freedom.
RILEY (voice-over): When Eastern European nations flooded into the European Union following the end of the Cold War, Putin was furious and he sought to undermine it ever since. Trump also names the E.U. as a rival.
TRUMP: I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. You wouldn't think of the European Union but they are foe.
RILEY (voice-over): A dozen Russian secret agents have been indicted by Robert Mueller's special counsel for trying to hack and disrupt the U.S. elections. Trump insists that this is a witch hunt and fake news. Putin agrees but admits that they did work for Russian interests.
[23:45:00] PUTIN (through translator): Hackers are free-spirited people like artists. If they are in a good mood in the morning, they wake up and paint. It is the same for hackers. They wake up today, they read at something that is happening in the interstate relations, and if they are patriotically minded, they start making their contributions.
KILEY (voice-over): But given this bromance between these world leaders, Trump's critics and America's allies remain fearful that the U.S. president himself has been hacked by a master of that dark art.
Sam Kiley, CNN, Moscow.
LEMON: And when we come back, it's one of the most valuable things any political campaign has, data. And now, Russian hackers might have some extremely sensitive campaign data from the DNC.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Despite President Trump's refusal to agree with U.S. intel's assessment that Russians interfered in the election, experts warned Putin will do it again.
I want to bring in now CNN Political Commentator Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and Joe Trippi, a Democratic consultant. Gentlemen, good evening. Let's get to this. Kevin, just two days ago, the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for hacking Democrats' computers, stealing their data, publicly posting it.
It is a little technical, but I just want to read a little bit of it. I will put it up on the screen. I won't read all of it. "In or around September 2016, the conspirators also successfully gained access to DNC computers hosted by a third-party cloud-computing service.
It just talks about how they gain the access. We will put it up. What exactly does it mean when a campaign's data analytics are compromised, Kevin?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it sounds to me like what these conspirators received or what they got from the servers was probably a very rich profile of what the DNC knew about the electorate and the electorate that it was targeting in order to help then- secretary of state Clinton.
And with that information, they probably have a road map into the political strengths of a campaign, as well as the political vulnerabilities inside that electorate.
So, they're looking to exploit or target a particular demographic, whether that's using behavioral, analytics or whether it is using response analytics, they would be able to have a pretty good snapshot of what would motivate some of those voters to act one way or the other.
LEMON: We don't know what happened to the analytics after the hackers got it, Joe. If one campaign got a hold of another campaign's analytics, what benefit could it be to them especially late in the campaign?
JOE TRIPPI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It would be a treasure trove, a gold mine. I mean, a campaign that spent a lot of time identifying its own supporters and had developed data on the undecided voters it had identified.
Having that information, you could then attack the undecided voters with negative information, even drive negative stories or misinformation to supporters to kind of depress them to make them, yo know, maybe I'm not voting for somebody who I thought I was -- the person I thought they were.
So, there's all kinds of things that you can do to manipulate once you have those targets and once they're identified, once you have that rich data that Kevin talks about. The problem, though, is it goes well beyond that.
You could have the campaign's entire sort of forward-looking schedule, knowing where someone like Hillary Clinton is going, weeks in advance and be able to, you know, sort of just start discerning the electorate strategy and things like that that a campaign is trying to keep close to the vest. That's just the beginning of it with the data manipulation.
MADDEN: Yes. Just to Joe's points, Don, campaign analytics, what they do is they inform your messages and how you're tailoring a particular message to a particular demographic and a particular state. And then they also inform the deployment of resources, whether that is where you're spending money on ads and who are you targeting in those ads. And then also the deployment of the candidate, where you're going to send them? Areas that you need to bump up some of your strongest supporters, areas where you need to send some surrogates, like President Obama when he went into the Detroit area in the closing days of the election. All that is driven and formed by those analytics.
LEMON: So if you get your hands -- if the opponent gets their hands on it, I mean, it can --
MADDEN: It's like a football team getting the other team's playbook.
LEMON: Playbook, yeah, got it. So Kevin, listen, Mitt Romney came out with a statement regarding the Trump-Putin summit. He said, President Trump's decision to side with Putin over American Intelligence Agencies is disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles.
Russia remains our number one geopolitical adversary. Claiming a normal equivalence between the United States and Russia not only defies reason and history, it undermines our national integrity and impairs our global credibility.
You know Mitt Romney very well. You admire him greatly. What kind of senator you think he will be if he wins this race, makes to the Senate? Will he stand up to President Trump when so many others won't?
MADDEN: I believe he will. I think he is somebody who obviously stands up on principle and has studied and has taken very strong positions on national security and foreign policy, particularly on the Russia issue.
[23:55:01] If you read that statement again, it sounds very familiar, it sounds like the warnings that he offered to then-President Obama in 2012.
LEMON: In the debate.
MADDEN: Right. He has been vindicated of his statements back then. And I think these, again, are because he has studied the issues very closely. He feels very strongly on these issues. I think he will stand up to anybody who believes that we ought to be -- have any sort of posture toward Russia that isn't a strong one.
LEMON: Joe, I will give you the word here. What do you think?
TRIPPI: I think this thing is just -- I mean, you just can't make it up how this has just gone off the rails. And I hope a lot of Republicans are starting to speak out and hopefully they will continue to do so. But I certainly welcome what Mitt Romney said. I think more Republicans need to step up and challenge this president on this issue.
LEMON: Kevin Madden, Joe Trippi, thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
MADDEN: Great to be with you.
LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.
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