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Donald Trump Set To Meet Vladimir Putin One On One In Helsinki And The Us President Plans To Ask Again About Russian Election Meddling, The Justice Department Indicted 12 Russian Military Officers As Part Of The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 US Election, A New Chapter In US-North Korean Relations Is Opening By Closing An Old Chapter. Aired: 12m-1a ET

Aired July 16, 2018 - 00:00   ET


CYRIL VANIER, HOST, CNN NEWSROOM: We're a few hours away now from what could be a historic summit. Donald Trump set to meet Vladimir Putin one on one in Helsinki and the US President plans to ask again about Russian election meddling. Well, as a show of goodwill from North Korea, Pyongyang agrees to restart a search for the remains of American service members missing in the Korean War.

Something to cheer about for French football fans, a resounding victory in the World Cup finals, Le Bleu are world champion once again.

Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. Great to have you with us.

In just a matter of hours the US President will sit down for a one-on- one meeting with his Russian counterpart and the world will be watching for what comes out of that. Donald Trump arrived in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday after a European trip filled with criticism for US allies and raising concerns about NATO unity.

Heading into Monday's summit, Mr. Trump called the European Union a foe when it comes to trade. He said he would ask Vladimir Putin about Russian election meddling in the 2016 Presidential run, but added that he didn't expect much progress on that front. About 2,500 demonstrators protested in Helsinki.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we feel very passionate about what's happening in our country and so we want to share our voice with others to let people that we really do care about immigrants, women's rights and families that belong together - very important issues that are not getting due respect in the US right now.


VANIER: Nic Robertson is in Helsinki. He joins us now with what's ahead. What is Trump's mindset going into this meeting?

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: It's one that he's sort of characterizing as having relatively lower expectations. He has described this as a loose meeting, that this is not a meeting between friends, not a meeting between enemies, but a meeting between people who are representing their countries, and these countries are in competition with each other.

So, I think broadly, that's his mindset. I think, typically trying to play down expectations, but we understand that there is really no set agenda, the sort of legwork that you would normally expect ahead of a summit of the leaders of the United States and Russia meeting, the sort of preparation groundwork that would give some deliverables, the idea that there could be a clear view, this early stage of what the two men might agree to, that doesn't seem to exist, so at the moment, it really seems President Trump having decided to make this one-on-one first of all with President Putin.

It's almost a go win and see where you get to. There are issues that he wants to get to, but that broadly, speaking that's the appearance we've been given.

VANIER: So, if the expectations are low and we don't know exactly what Donald Trump wants of it, what does a successful meeting look like then?

ROBERTSON: Yes, for President Trump again, having set the expectations low, he has also said that for him, an important thing is sort of the nuclear proliferation and he has said on a couple of occasions in the past few days, how both countries are spending massively on buying new equipment and buying new technologies, upgrading existing technologies, and he said, "This can't continue.

In that respect, this does seem to be something that he would want to achieve and there certainly is - there is a body of evidence out there that says the INF and the START treaties - these are treaties that are eroding, that they have expiration dates that are due to run out, both countries accuse each other of sort of cheating on the INF Treaty and the START treaty is - the START agreement is due to expire in a few years' time.

So there is good reason for them both to want to tackle this issue that's costly to their countries and that they might be able to reduce the cost to their countries, and make their countries safer if they begin to establish a dialogue in the absence of a dialogue at the moment.

VANIER: Nic Robertson reporting live from Helsinki, Finland. Thank you very much. We'll speak to you again in the next hour, Nic. Thanks.

Now, there is a cloud hanging over this meeting. It came in the form of an indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday. The Justice Department indicted 12 Russian military officers as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. The officers are accused of hacking Democrat's e-mails and computer networks and stealing the data of some 50,000 US voters. Their goal ...

[00:05:16] VANIER: ... hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign. Steve Hall joins us

now from New York. He is CNN's US security analyst and the retired CIA chief of Russia operations. Steve, do you think the US President should be meeting Vladimir Putin in this context?

STEVE HALL, RETIIRED CIA CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: Cyril, it's difficult for me to imagine a situation under which it is positive for the interest of the United States for Donald Trump to be meeting with Vladimir Putin. It's obviously in the interest of Vladimir Putin.

You have to remember what Putin is really all about and what he is interested in and that is establishing and reminding people that Russia is still a great power, it has a place at the table and all of those things.

But especially in the wake of these indictments, which indicate that Russian military intelligence officers at the command of Vladimir Putin have attacked the United States, attacked the electoral system in the United States and not just in the United States, but in the west as well. It's sort of like going to visit the Japanese after Pearl Harbor, and perhaps a bit of an extension there, but this is pretty close to an act of war when you have military intelligence officers attacking US infrastructure. It's difficult for me to understand where is the win for the United States? What is it in our national interest to sit down and talk to Vladimir Putin?

VANIER: Does that force the President's hand in any way. He's not acting. He's not talking and he's not tweeting like he feels boxed in.

HALL: Well, it's difficult to tell what President Trump is about and what's after. Of course, his base will say and his supporters will say, "Look, he was elected to do things differently." He was elected so that he would take a different approach and so that you wouldn't have these pre-meetings which didn't lead to deliverables, which then leads to a summit and a handshake and a signature.

But again, that maybe, you still have to go back and say, "What interest of the United States and indeed the west, the western allies, NATO - what interest is there in meeting Vladimir Putin and giving him this basic win at this summit?" It's difficult to understand.

VANIER: I want your security analyst's perspective on this. The President was asked if he would try and get those 12 Russian agents that are mentioned in the indictment brought to justice? Because we know full well that those Russian military officers are not going to travel to the US, they don't have to. Listen to his response.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russians who were indicated, would you ask Putin to send them here?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I might. I hadn't thought of that, but I certainly now will be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration.


VANIER: So Donald Trump hadn't thought of it. Russians are identified by name and by military unit as the ones who had interfered with American democracy and he had not thought to ask for them to face justice. What do you make of that?

HALL: It's sort of mind boggling. I mean, it's difficult again for me to imagine that his advisers didn't say, "Hey, you need to think about ..." - at least raising with Putin the idea that these indicted individuals who were involved in a Putin ordered attack on the United States shouldn't be put right on Air Force One with him.

But you get this reference back to Obama, which is a common - it's almost a knee jerk reaction. "This didn't happen on my watch," Trump will say, "It's not my fault." It doesn't absolve the President of the United States from carrying out his responsibilities in following what is in the US interest and it is definitely in the interest of the United States to get these officers back to the United States because they've been indicted, so that's what should happen. I'm almost certain, that will not happen.

VANIER: Right, you mentioned the reference to Obama, that is something that Donald Trump wrote in a tweet, in fact, multiple tweets if I am not mistaken just recently. So, Donald Trump is willing to blame Barack Obama for failing to stop Russian meddling, but he is not willing apparently to crack down on Vladimir Putin for doing the meddling in the first place.

HALL: Again, difficult to explain. I mean, it would be nice if all Presidents or Prime Ministers around the world could say, "Well, it happened on the other guy's watch." All of us have professional responsibilities that extend back and you can't just say, "Well, look, I wasn't around, so I am not responsible." This is the President of the United States, a position that we used to refer to as the sort of the leader of the free world, basically looking over his shoulder and saying, "Hey, it's that guy's fault. It's not my fault." It still has to be resolved. It still has to be dealt with. These are very, very serious attacks on not just the United States, but the west, which Putin hopes to divide and something needs to be done about it.

It used to be the United States' President which would go in and talk tough, and now, it's the United States' President going in and I don't know, having a chat? Shaking hands? I still couldn't see ...


VANIER: Donald Trump has a ready answer for this. Just listen to this.


TRUMP: I know you'll ask will we be talking about meddling, and I will absolutely bring that up. I don't think you'll have any "Gee, I did it, I did it. You got me." There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think.


VANIER: So, look, does Trump have a point? Vladimir Putin is in no way, shape or form going to cop to election meddling, so perhaps, at some point, if you're the US President here and if you want to move forward, maybe you have to let bygones be bygones. I mean, that's his argument.

HALL: Yes, it's a fallacious argument, it's an argument that appeals very much to our western sensibilities. You get into a fight with somebody, your best friend gets mad at you and you get mad. You say, "Look, let's put all of this behind us." The Russians know that this is how the West acts. The Russians know that we have this sense of fair play.

But it's childish in its one-dimensional nature. You cannot let an attack like this - and again, remember, this is not just an attack on the United States elections. This is Vladimir Putin because he is afraid of the spread of democracy and wants a weaker west, he is trying to divide and split and has been very successful to date in dividing the west and the United States.

You can't simply say, "Okay, yes, that's all true, but you know, let's just let bygones be bygones," and let you go ahead and continue to annex other countries, divide the west. It's simply not appropriate. He ought not to have the summit at all, and if he did have the summit, he ought to go in with some very, very strong demands and words for Vladimir Putin, which again, I just don't think will happen.

VANIER: All right, Steve Hall, CNN national security analyst, thank you very much.

HALL: My pleasure.

VANIER: We'll have more coverage of the Helsinki summit just ahead, including a look at protests in the city's main square. What makes those different from what we saw in London, plus, North Korea's denuclearization may still be undecided, but there is some progress in Pyongyang's new relationship with the US. Stay with us.


VANIER: Donald Trump is in Helsinki, Finland right now preparing for his first standalone summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. On many key issues, the US and Russia are at odds. Syria, Ukraine, and of course not to mention, Russia's meddling in the US election, but in spite of that, Mr. Trump is hoping he can build a quote, "great relationship" with Russia as Jake Tapper reports, he is not the first.


JAKE TAPPER, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, CNN: President Trump will be the fourth US President to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. TRUMP: Putin's fine. He's fine, we're all fine with people. Will I

be prepared? Totally prepared.

TAPPER: So, as President Trump prepares or doesn't to meet the Russian leader, he should remember that others have been there before him with very mixed success. Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama all tried kicking things off with flatter.

GEORGE BUSH, 43rd PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A man deeply committed to his country.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he's fully capable of doing it.

BARACK OBAMA, 44th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The extraordinary work that you've done on behalf of the Russian people.

TAPPER: In 2001, President George W. Bush took a soulful approach.

BUSH: I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul.

TAPPER: Presidents Bush and Obama both tried to soften the Russian leader by attempting to find common interests.

BUSH: At first, I'd like to congratulate President Putin for being the only person that caught a fish today.

OBAMA: President Putin's expertise of Judo and my declining skills in basketball.

TAPPER: The relationship between US leaders and their Russian counterparts has been warm in the past.

BORIS YELTSIN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (Through a translator): Well, now, for the first time, I can tell you that you're a disaster.

TAPPER: Still, American presidents have taken note of the former KGB agent somewhat unique negotiating technique.

BUSH: Putin says, "Would you like to meet my dog?" And how comes a giant hound kind of loping across the Merceline yard? And Putin looks at me and he says, "Bigger, stronger, and faster than Barney."

TAPPER: And with some Putin officials, the language barrier has led to some awkward diplomacy.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got it wrong.

CLINTON: I got it wrong.

TAPPER: Still, if there's one thing we know about President Trump, he'll do it his own way. TRUMP: Putin, maybe the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who

would think?


VANIER: Okay, Jake Tapper reporting there. Let's bring in CNN political commentator Doug Haye; Republican strategist and former communications director for the Republican National Committee. Doug, as a Republican, do you feel confident that Trump will protect American interests in his meeting with Putin?

DOUG HAYE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: The short answer is I just don't know. If we've looked at what Trump has said before, time and time about Putin, it's always very complimentary, time and time about Russia, it's always complimentary and his comments earlier and you talked about this in the previous segment of how he pushes the blame constantly on Barack Obama that this happened before his watch, that may be true, but we also know that it is happening now as well, it's happening on his watch with the 2018 midterm elections.

So we don't know what Donald Trump were going to get in these meetings, and we also don't know what Donald Trump considers to be an accomplishment here. If you look at the previous meeting with Kim Jong-un, we don't know if actually the accomplishment of the Trump administration wanted was some kind of an agreement or just the photo op to demonstrate that they were able to do this.

VANIER: I want to play a sound bite. Something that Donald Trump said at a rally a few weeks ago describing Vladimir Putin.


TRUMP: Putin is KGB and this and that, you know what? Putin is fine. He is fine. We're all fine. We're people.


VANIER: So, look, that earned the President a lot of criticism. Putin is fine, when there is overwhelming reason to believe that Putin masterminded the hacking of American democracy just a year and a half ago. Why in your view is Trump so willing to give Putin the benefit of the doubt?

HAYE: Well, I think first, there is a lot of unknowns out there. This is what the Mueller investigation is still looking into with his campaign. Obviously, there have been a lot of indictments, but we also know that Donald Trump reacts to whether you like it or you don't like it ...


HAYE: ... it's the reality, reacts to what he views as strong leaders. It's why he has spoken so kindly about Kim Jong-un. It's why he has spoken so kindly about the Turkish Premier and obviously, with Vladimir Putin. This is what he responds to. He views himself as a strong leader, and he looks at those that he views as his colleagues who are strong, speaks about them very favorably. Those who he doesn't view with that same kind of strength, he doesn't talk about favorably. Unfortunately, that causes a lot of problems here in Europe.

VANIER: I understand what you're saying, but why does he trash American institutions and allies in the process? Look, on Sunday alone, Trump called the European Union a foe. He called the American media an enemy of the people and he congratulated Putin. Does all of that make sense to you?

HAYE: The short answer again is no. These are troubling signs and it's why, as a Republican who is very critical of the - what we call the Barack Obama apology tour worldwide, that we see Donald Trump kind of doing the same thing that cause a lot of Republicans to privately say or in some cases, publicly say to their European counterparts or colleagues, "I'm really sorry about what my President said this time. He doesn't speak for the party. He doesn't speak for me." It may play well at home with portions of his base, but ultimately, causes more problems than it does, and especially leads to - put this way, I had a British diplomat say to me two weeks ago, "I question now whether or not that there ever really was a special relationship."

That is a damning and very difficult statement to even begin to address and really speaks to the trouble that we saw coming, even before these meetings in London started, much less what we'll see in Helsinki right now.

VANIER: What do you hope he gets out of this summit?

HAYE: Well, I hope for things that I think are probably impossible. I hope that there is some kind of a concession and admission from Vladimir Putin on the ...

VANIER: Let's be realistic. What do you realistically hope can come out of this summit?

HAYE: Honestly, that the United States doesn't lose any more prestige or credibility with its allies. If that is the least we get out of this, then this will have been, if not a positive step, less of a negative step on what a trip that's been pretty disastrous for this administration and our standing with our allies. It's got to be uplifting.

VANIER: What about the idea that Donald Trump as you said, he understands and respects power, and maybe that's why he is critical of allies and that's why he appears soft or let's say respectful of leaders like Vladimir Putin? What about the argument that that is the only way to do business with them? It's real politic.

HAYE: Yes, I think there's a broad part of the American population who looks at what Trump is doing say with Germany and NATO and just wait a second, maybe Germany does need to pay more and maybe, that some part of negotiation isn't just saying nice diplomatically kind things about your allies, but some tough talk. And Donald Trump certainly specializes in tough talk. What we don't know yet is what is the strategy behind this or if this

is just a series of tough talk tactics that ultimately hurt our relationships with our allies and don't really produce any return in the meantime.

VANIER: Doug Haye, thank you very much for joining us on the show. Thanks.

HAYE: Thank you.

VANIER: All right, now let's take a look at some other news, a new chapter in US-North Korean relations is opening by closing an old chapter. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says North Korea has agreed to restart the search for thousands of American service members missing since the Korean War.

According to a US official, the two countries are also working on transferring up to 200 sets of known war remains. It's part of a plan both countries agreed on during last month's summit in Singapore. Let's bring in Andrew Stevens. He's covering the story from Seoul in South Korea.

Andrew, it is slow progress. We were talking yesterday, but it is progress nonetheless.

ANDREW STEVENS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It certainly is progress nonetheless. Mike Pompeo talking specifically about North Korea and making firm commitments from that meeting between senior military leaders of DMZ yesterday and the fact that the US and North Korea have agreed to restart the search for the remains of some 5,300 US service people who are believed to have perished on the northern side of the Korean border during the Korean War.

So, that search was suspended back in 2005, Cyril. So that is a very positive step to start looking at once again, for the remains of those soldiers. This is going to be a very long process once they have found the remains, just identifying them as to whether they are in fact even US service people or not.

But what Mike Pompeo didn't say, what CNN learned separately was the remains that the US believes as the remains of some 200 US servicemen is currently being held by North Korea that that remains would be returned in the - within 14 to 21 days subject to change without notification, that was the rider they used.


STEVENS: So, there is movement for sure and this plays into more - not so much specifics about denuclearization, but more about creating goodwill going forward.

VANIER: Also experts at offering just tiny incremental bits of progress and dragging things out. Do you think that might be what's happening here?

STEVENS: Well, I think just looking at the rider that was used, that's subject to change without notification in that timeline to return the remains does give an indication that the US remains skeptical, remains wary of North Korea carrying through with its promises until it actually happens. So these are incremental steps. The North is known to drag out these processes.

It's interesting, there is skepticism, there is concern in Washington about North Korea's real intentions and real commitment to full denuclearization. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is still tweeting the great progress that's being made and pointing to the fact that there hasn't been a missile test, there hasn't been a nuclear test for the last nine months or so, but - so he is remaining upbeat on this.

But these incremental steps are expected to continue. We've talked to people who are involved in this and they are expected to continue because this does seem to be the way the North Koreans want to progress, and we know that they want to do a step by step process which is basically simultaneous moves where the North Koreans give something and the US gives something in return and this is - this was the sticking point actually in Pyongyang a couple of weeks ago when Mike Pompeo went over there, the North Koreans were complaining bitterly that the US wanted unilateral denuclearization.

The North Koreans want step by step, so that in itself suggests this is going to be a much slower incremental process if the North Koreans get what they want.

VANIER: Reporting from Seoul, Andrew Stevens. Thank you very much. Global attention is turning to Helsinki. After the break, we will ask what the US President might achieve in his meeting with Vladimir Putin and the flip side of that coin, what would be success for the Russian President? Plus, an inside look at the candidates and controversies fuelling Pakistan's violent election.



CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Let's look at those headlines. We are just hours away now from the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Finland. And protesters are raising their voices. About 2,000 people turned out, Sunday, in Helsinki, speaking out on a climate change, on U.S. immigration policy, and Russian military action in Ukraine.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says arson attacks threatened a ceasefire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. If they continue, he says Israel will "respond appropriately." The militant group says a ceasefire deal will reach on Saturday after a day of heavy fighting. And after a thrilling shootout, France are again World Cup champions.

Les Bleus topped Croatia, four goals to two, in the Sunday final. They took an early lead with what was actually an own goal by Croatia, and then goaled by Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe sealed the win. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has announced that the U.S. and North Korea have agreed to restart the search for thousands of U.S. service members who never returned from the Korean War.

That comes after a weekend meeting between the two countries, which included discussion of returning the known remains of some 200 U.S. service members killed in the war. President Trump says he is going into this Helsinki Summit with low expectations. Once source says there is still no set organized agenda for the meeting. But Mr. Trump will look toward establishing a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the U.S. and Russia.

The Summit comes days after the special council indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents, accusing them of hacking Democrats' computer networks during the U.S. presidential campaign. Mr. Trump says he will ask Vladimir Putin about Russian meddling but he doesn't expect much progress.

Finland is home to about 5 1/2 million people, a small country compared to the super powers. But it has a long border with Russia, and a long history of dealing with aggression from Moscow. CNN's Matthew Chance, reports on the lessons that has learned.


KARIM PELTONEN, DIRECTOR, FINNISH NATIONAL RESCUE ASSOCIATION: This is one of the entrances to this shelter, back facility.

CHANCE: This is Finland's last line of defense. The vast network of underground bunkers, hewn from the granite, deep beneath Helsinki, designed to shelter tens of thousands in event of a military attack.

PELTONEN: We are taking care of the whole population in this country. And when we are defending the country, we also have the proper civil defense capacity,

CHANCE: Are you defending against Russia?

PELTONEN: Well, it's a potential enemy, yes.

CHANCE: With its long Russian border and painful history of invasion from Moscow, there were no illusions down here, at least, about the threat and who poses it.

And this ceiling, above us, this is all solid granite?

PELTONEN: Yes, very nice, solid granite.

CHANCE: But above, on the streets of the Finnish Capital, preparations are now underway to host an extraordinary Summit, a meeting at this presidential palace of two unpredictable presidents, will talk despite the recent tensions between their countries of a deal.

It's not clear yet what will be agreed here in Helsinki or even discussed inside this building. There's no shortage of issues, though, including allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections, the shoot down of a civilian airliner, in 2014. All the recent use of a Russian nerve agent in Britain, in all of which, Moscow, of course, denies involvement.

The Kremlin says it expects Arms Control and the conflict in Syria to be on the agenda. There's also a possibility of an unexpected concession. President Trump recently suggested he would discuss suspending military exercises in the Baltic, if his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, requests it.

Making concessions to Russia for the sake of getting on is something Finland has turned into a fine art for decades, striking a delicate balance between the interests of its giant neighbor and its own independence, the advice from here, talked to Moscow, but beware.

[00:35:22] CHARLY SALONIUS-PASTERNAK: You could kind of see Finland's approach to Russia is about dialogue, and an extremist deterrence. So, your neighbors' trade politicians civil servants talk, but in extremist, you have to be ready to defend yourself.

CHANCE: And is that a lesson, do you think, that Donald Trump could take from Finland's experience as he prepares for the Summit with Vladimir Putin?


CHANCE: Engage with Moscow but also prepare for the worst.

PASTERNAK: I think so, absolutely.

CHANCE: It is how tiny Finland has survived in the dark shadow of its Russian neighbor. The United States with its vast wealth and power, could soon follow suit. Matthew Chance, CNN, Helsinki.

VANIER: CNN Political Analyst and Washington Post Columnist, Josh Rogin, joins us now. He's in Washington, Josh, good to talk to you again.


ROGIN: Trump is planning to bring up Russian election meddling. This is what he said about it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm meeting with President Putin on Monday. And I think we go into that meeting not looking for so much. We want to find out about Syria, we will of course ask your favorite question about meddling. I will be asking that question again.

VANIER: What if he denies them?

TRUMP: Well, he may, I mean, look, he may. And what am I going to do? He may deny it. I mean, it's one of those things. So, all I can do is say, did you and don't do it again, but he may deny. I mean, well, you'll be the first to know.


VANIER: Trump gets a lot of criticism for saying this. But if he wants to move on as every other -- as every past president -- the three past presidents before him have done, and if he wants to improve relations with Russia, isn't that exactly how the conversation is going to have to go?

ROGIN: I think what many in Washington would argue is that the only way to move on from Russian election interference is to make sure that Russian election interference doesn't continue, and if the consensus in the Congress and in the National Security Community that the only way to do that, is to increase the costs on Russia and to deter them for doing it again.

When the President says all I can do is ask him if he did it and if he says no, oh, well, that's the end of the conversation. That kind of saving causes concern that the President is not prepared to do what's necessary to deter the Russian government from continuing to interfere in American politics. Now, yes, every administration seeks to better relations with Russia, and ultimately, every administration has failed.

But no administration has faced its own FBI and Justice Department, concluding that the Russian government interfered directly with an active measures campaign to affect the presidential election. That's a new dynamic that has to be dealt with. And the President, sort of, perfunctory raising of the issue and then dismissing of it, is short to fall short of what critics wanted.

VANIER: But, so, what is Trump's leverage, here, in this conversation?

ROGIN: Well, he has options at the ready if he chooses to avail himself of the maths, more sanctions, more pressures, and the whole doubt on the things that Vladimir Putin wants until he gets the things that America wants. Now, there are lots of things that Vladimir Putin wants in Syria, sanctions relief for Crimea, sanctions relief for Ukraine, cooperation on Arms Control, cooperation on regional issues. Some of the other things are also with the American interest.

There are overlapping interests to be discussed. But without a resolution of the election interference issue, it's hard to conceive that the rest of Donald Trump's administration, much less the rest of Washington congress and the U.S. government in particular, would be able to stomach moving forward on a better relationship with Russia. You simply can't repair a bridge while the bridge is on fire. It just doesn't work that way.

VANIER: But the entire western international community has imposed sanctions on Russia since, what, 2014? So four years now. And they appeared to have little impact or at least little ability to reign in Russia's aggressive behavior on international stage. Donald Trump says as much. And --

ROGIN: Well, he says that but I don't think that's necessarily true. First of all, you know, it has a severe impact on the Russian economy, and that is partially why Vladimir Putin wants to meet with Donald Trump to get --

VANIER: He didn't stop -- he didn't stop Russia from supporting Bashar al-Assad with great success in Syria.

ROGIN: Well, that's certainly true and as Jon Bolton argued shortly before he became National Security Adviser, perhaps the sanctions weren't enough, perhaps we need more sanctions, in fact, that's what Congress has. When the Congress has --

VANIER: But my point -- my point is this, Trump's answer is what we need as a deal, and that's my question to you. Isn't that a good idea?

ROGIN: Yes. No one would say a deal is a bad idea. The question is on under what terms.

[00:40:09] And under the terms of just releasing the sanctions, giving Syria to Russia, and pretending that (INAUDIBLE) interference issue is over, those are not deal terms that are in the United States' national interest. At least in the opinion of Donald Trump's own cabinet, his National Security team, the U.S. government, both parties in Congress and most Russia watches here in Washington.

So, yes, you can make a deal right now that's simply absolves Russia of all of its bad behavior and pretends like everything's hunky-dory, that's a possible deal. I just want to argue that that's a terrible deal. And that's the fear as President Trump goes into this meeting. For example, he made a deal with Kim Jong-un, you could say a deal in itself is a success, but if you look under the hood a little bit, you'll see that America is giving up certain things and North Korea has yet to give up certain things.

And that is the nature of diplomacies, striking a deal that benefits both sides and delivers for both sides' interests. And it's not clear that Donald Trump is prepared to make a deal that reflects American National Security interests. And again, that's what everyone's watching. It's, of course, yes, I hope he makes a good deal.

I hope -- I think everybody would agree with that. But all of the indications including his behavior this week, at NATO and the E.U. in London, suggests that Donald Trump is leaning towards terms of a deal that are more beneficial to Russian state and less beneficial to American National Security.

VANIER: And Josh, great talking to you as always. Josh Rogin there in Washington, thank you. And President Trump has been the target of protests throughout his European trip and Finland is no exception. About 2,000 people have gathered in Helsinki's Senate Square on Sunday, to raise their concerns on issues including climate change and U.S. immigration policy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that it's a good place to have a discussion here. It's good that people discuss not only protest. And we're also here to discuss about things (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're here to show support for Human Rights. Both Presidents should take action on climate change, Human Rights, of course, and we're here to show our support for those causes. I feel controversial about it, at the same time, I feel like Finland has had tradition from -- of this keeping, and in that matter, like, this is kind of like suitable, but we have to show that we're not supporting their politics here. And this is a chance also to, you know, give a message.

VANIER: Russian President Vladimir Putin was the target of protest as well. Demonstrators spoke out against Russia's record against Human Rights, its annexation of Crimea and military action in Ukraine. Israel strikes back amid reports of a ceasefire with Gaza militants. Why a deal between the two sides seems unlikely at this time, plus, breakout the champagne, how Frenchmen are celebrating their team's huge World Cup win, ahead.


[00:45:31] VANIER: The youth football team rescued from a cave in Thailand, is promising to honor the diver who died in trying to help them. These are scenes of the boys' emotional tribute to former Thai Navy SEAL, Saman Kunan.

Kunan ran out of air while delivering oxygen tanks to the trapped boys and their coach. The 12 boys wrote thank you messages on Kunan's portraits and promised to be good guys to respect his sacrifice. The team and their coach are recovering currently in hospital. They spent 18 days in the dark, cold cave before an international team of divers pulled them out one by one.

Now, let's go to the Middle East, Israel says if Gaza militant groups continue to launch arson attacks, there would be no ceasefire. Hamas and Islamic Jihad said that they had reached a ceasefire deal with Israel on Saturday, after a day of heavy fighting. Here's our Ian Lee with the latest.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Today is definitely a lot quieter than yesterday when over 200 rockets and mortars are fired from Gaza, by Gaza militants, into Israel, that according to the Israeli military. Israel responded with the largest bombing campaign in Gaza, since the 2014 war. But today, the Israeli air force did target what they say were Hamas units, trying to send fire balloons from Gaza into Israel, were they create rush fires.

And earlier today, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said that these fire kites, fire balloons are going to be treated just as if they were mortars and rockets. They said there won't be a ceasefire until these sorts of tactics stop. And so Egypt and the U.N. have their work cut out for them to bring about a complete cessation of hostilities.

That seems to be unlikely at this time. Just to give you an idea of where, at least, the Israeli military thinks this is, having today. They deployed additional iron dome anti-missile systems around Gaza and the Metropolitan area of Tel Aviv. Ian Lee, CNN, Jerusalem.

VANIER: Tensions are boiling over in southern and central Iraq, where a wave of angry protesters and has authorities on high alert. The latest violence reportedly left dozens of people wounded on Sunday. A police source says protesters tried to storm a gate, leading to an oil field near Basra. The demonstrators are angry about issues like employment, like corruption.

The scorching summer heat combined with spalty water and electricity has made matters even worse. The interior ministry says security forces didn't fire on crowds and protesters on Sunday. Multiple reports challenged that claim.

In South Africa, five minors have died in a copper mine, north of Johannesburg. A fire trapped them underground on Sunday. One worker is believed to be still trapped in the mine, a search is underway. Officials say an investigation into the cause of the fire will begin once that miner has been found and the fire is contained.

Pakistan goes to the polls on July 25th, and it's proving to be a high stakes election for very violent reasons. At least 149 people were killed in a suicide attack, Friday that targeted the convoy of a political candidate. CNN's Sophia Saifi takes a closer look.

SOFIA SAIFI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Targeting the convoy for political candidate, it is Pakistan's deadliest terrorist strike of the year, and the third this week to target political campaigners, just 12 days before (INAUDIBLE) a high stake election has become more violent. Meanwhile, for the north, police deployed in large numbers as protesters marched and to find some city orders. Supporter of Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who returned with his daughter in a high stakes gamble (INAUDIBLE) struggling party.


NAWAZ SHARIF, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN (through translator): Pakistan is at a decisive juncture. And I have done what is in my power and what was in my power. I know that I was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and I am to be directly taken to jail. I want to tell Pakistanis that I have been doing this for you. I am making the sacrifice for your future generations.


SAIFI: Sharif and his daughter had been sentenced to an abstention corruption charges last week, in a case related to the 2016 Panama papers. Once the pair touched down in Lahore, they were apprehended quickly on charges he denies and his supporters lambast as politically motivated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Let them do whatever police and their bullies want to do. We are here to face it. We will not turn back.

SAIFI: Sharif Sultan could shake up a fast approaching election. His brother leads their ruling party which is fighting for survival, particularly against their most formidable challenger and arch rival, Cricket legend, Imran Khan. [00:50:24] Khan has campaigned hard on populous promises to end

persistent corruption in Pakistan, a message that has resonated with some after Sharif's ousting last year. But this election has been marked by accusations that Pakistan's past military is working to skew the contest in Khan's favor, something the 65-year-old opposition leader rejects outright.


IMRAN KHAN, CANDIDATE FOR PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN: Public is demanding accountability of corrupt leaders of political parties. Now, this time, there is an attempt to hold them accountable. They all get together and start saying it's anti-democratic. And in this case, they're saying as people rigging.


SAIFI: And Sharif supporters are not the only ones came in foul play ahead of the election. The Party of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, similarly criticized what they called pre-poll riggings, when a criminal case against its co-chairman and Bhutto's husband was reopened.

As the party's helm is Bhutto's 29-year-old son, who is campaigning for the first time despite the violent end to his mother's political career. More than a decade has passed since his mother's death, tragically, political violence still plaguing Pakistan's elections. Sophia Saifi, CNN, Islamabad.

VANIER: At Sunday's World Cup Finals, it turns out it wasn't just the players and the referees on the pitch. How Pussy Riot made their championship debut. Plus, these photos are from Prince Louis' christening just last week. And believe it or not, the new official portraits just released by the British family (INAUDIBLE) in cuteness. Stay with us.


VANIER: Well, French football fans get bragging rights for the next four years. France emerged victorious from a thrilling tournament finals, Sunday, best in Croatia, 4-2 in Moscow. It's the second World Cup title ever for Les Bleus and French fans just can't get enough. CNN's Melissa Bell has more on the Paris celebrations.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many hours before the start of the match, French fans were already queuing for the fan zone. The blazing sun did nothing to detract from the sense of excitement as France sprinted to the finals (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're excited. Come on, France. Come on.

[00:55:11] BELL: Waving flags and chanting a hundred thousand fans gathered at the foot of the Eiffel Tower to watch, pray and cheer. One of the most promising and populous squads France has filled with. But faced with the Croatian side, remarkable for its strength, the mood was tensed. And then (INAUDIBLE) scored goals. By the final, the fans knew that 20 years on, the World Cup would

finally be coming back to Paris, carried by a side as youthful as it is diverse. And it is here to the Deschamps Elysees that the cup will be brought and where the celebrations are already well underway. For those old enough to remember 1998 or for those too young to care, France is once again, a country united around the victory beside, that represents the very best of it. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

VANIER: This was undoubtedly a successful World Cup for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the host of this competition, but some of his fiercest critics refused to be silent. Pussy Riot is claiming responsibility for rushing the pitch during the final, dressed like police officers. The punk rock protesters say that they wanted to bring attention to political injustice.

And we'll have more World Cup coverage in about an hour, that will be with Patrick Snell and it will be on "WORLD SPORTS." The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are wearing their proudest smiles in their newest family portraits. Let's take a look. Prince William and Duchess Catherine, just released these official photos, showing the beaming family after their youngest son's christening last week.

Prince Louis is just shy at three months old, and is the fifth in line to the throne. But two familiar faces are absent, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, who missed the event. It was not due to health issues. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier, the news continues. We have a lot, lot more for you, right after the break at the top of the hour.


VANIER: All eyes are on Finland. Donald Trump faces massive pressure to confront his Russian counterpart about attacks on U.S. Democracy as the two men prepare to meet --