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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  July 6, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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with the president still casting doubt on the u.s. intelligence committee going into his meeting with vladimir putin, we have breaking news about what u.s. intelligence has uncovered now. namely, still more russian spy. pamela brown has the latest and joins us once again tonight. pamela, what can you tell us? >> we've learned that russian spies are gearing up with their
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intelligence gathering and they've noticed an increase since the election so the russians' efforts have not been slowed by the intense focus of the assessment that russia meddled in the u.s. election and since the election, john, u.s. authorities have detected an uptick in suspected russian intelligence officers entering the united states under the guise of other business. officials say they have been trying to replenish their ranks since the u.s. dispelled russian diplomats and, in some cases, russian spies have tried to gain employment at places as part of their intelligence gathering effort. the fbi, which is responsible for counterintelligence efforts, would not comment on the story. john? >> if u.s. intelligence says they think this is going on, why don't they stop it? >> well, partisan political disagreements over the russian activity and president donald trump's reluctance to accept
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intelligence inclusions about russia's meddling in the election. we heard today it's slowed efforts to counter the threat. and we're told that counterintelligence is seeking -- fbi counterintelligence is seeking to keep an eye on the cases and the fbi will track the suspected intelligence officers as part of the counterintelligence efforts and that's how the u.s. was able to identify and expel 35 russian diplomats accused of spying last december in response to russian meddling and we're told some of the russian diplomats have violated protocol by leaving the washington, d.c., area without notifying the state department. that's been a big concern for those in the intelligence community. russia, we should mention, has similar rules for u.s. diplomats. another issue is the ongoing frustration with the state department over granting of visas to people that the u.s. intelligence community suspects. a state department official would not comment specifically on the visas.
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john? >> pamela brown, thanks so much. >> thank you. more now on the president's day, first in warsaw and then in hamburg, germany, as he prepares for a very important friday. cnn's jim acosta reports. >> reporter: the president of the united states once again contradicted the u.s. intelligence community assessment of russian meddling in 20916. >> nobody really knows for sure. >> reporter: at a news conference in poland, president trump held open the possibility that other countries were involved. >> well, i think it was russia and could have been other people and other countries. it could have been a lot of people interfered. >> reporter: even as he insisted it was not clear moscow alone interfered in the election, the president tried to form prior president obama. >> he did nothing about it. why did he do nothing about it? he was told it was russia by the cia and as i understand it it was well reported and he did nothing about it. >> reporter: while even some democrats say the obama administration didn't go far enough, obama did confront
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russian president vladimir putin directly last september and the obama administration officially accused the russian government of interfering in the election in october. president trump's uncertainty on the question runs completely counter to the analysis. >> do you believe that the january 2017 intelligence community assessment accurately characterized the extent of russian activities in the 2016 election and its conclusion that russian intelligence agencies were responsible for the hacking and leaking of information and using misinformation in order to influence our elections? >> yes, doi. >> yes, i do. >> yes. yes. >> reporter: the president also issued a stern warning to north korea over its missile launch this week. >> i have some pretty severe things that we're thinking about. that doesn't mean we're going to do them. i don't draw red lines. >> reporter: later in his speech, the president did make a course direction of his own, stating his support for nato's article 5, that an attack on one
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of the alliance members is an attack on all. a stance he declined to take on his last foreign trip. >> to those who would criticize our tough stance, i would point out that the united states has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind article 5, the mutual defense commitment. >> reporter: at his next stop in germany, the president made sure to shake the hand of german chancellor angela merkel, something he did not do earlier this year. but it's his meeting with vladimir putin on friday that the whole world will be watching. it's believed to be mr. trump's first ever face-to-face encounter with putin. the president has given a range of answers on this question in the past. >> i was in moscow recently and i spoke indirectly and directly with president putin who could not have been nicer. i've never met putin.
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i have nothing to do with putin. i've never spoken to him. i have no relationship with putin. >> then why did you say in 2013, i do have a relationship. in 2014 -- >> because he has said nice things about me over the years. >> reporter: and there will be other encounters to watch here at the g20, any interaction between the president and president xi. asked whether he's giving up on that relationship the president said, quote, never give up. as for the president's meeting with vladimir putin, officials say it will be a small crowd in the room, secretary of state rex tillerson and sergey lavrov. john? >> jim acosta in hamburg, germany, thank you. congressman jim hines, a democrat, member of the house intelligence committee, thank you for being with us. the breaking news from cnn tonight, russian spies have increased their efforts to gather intelligence in the u.s. they feel emboldened to do so,
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we are told, because of the lack of the interference from both the trump and obama administrations. have you seen evidence of this? >> well, very haven't seen specific evidence of it but it's not at all surprising, right? if you're a russian intelligence boss, you're saying, look at the election hack caused no response from the united states president and the united states president is talking about maybe giving back those two diplomatic facilities and refuses to criticize anybody. if i were a russian intelligence boss, i would be doing all i could to get folks over here. >> just to be clear, you have not seen evidence of more spies coming in or increasing their activity in the united states? >> well, i have not. but remember, the oversight committees are not, you know, real-time -- we don't get briefed moment by moment on what's happening. so it wouldn't surprise me a bit. but, no, i have not seen reports that there are more coming in. >> the president's statement
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today, "nobody knows for sure whether the russians hacked the u.s. election." what's the impact of a statement like that? >> well, you know, first of all, it's a contradiction of something that we know to be true. and jim comey and his testimony after he was fbi director said it in a lot more clear fashion than he could when he was fbi director. there's not any doubt that the russians attacked not anybody else but the russians attacked our election process. and the problem with that statement, of course, is that it makes it very hard for the president to sit down with vladimir putin and go on the offensive on this issue to say we know that you did it, it cannot happen again, i'm dead serious about this. he's on global tv raising questions about whether it happened at all and that, of course, puts him in a terrible negotiating system, a very sophisticated adversary. >> one of the things the president said today is something he said before, that other countries could have done it as well. again, you said on tit on the h intelligence committee. have you seen evidence that any
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other country besides russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election? >> none. none. and, yes, there are other countries out there with sophisticated capabilities. the chinese are pretty good at this stuff. they've been stealing our industrial secrets for a long time. this was an issue under the obama administration. there are plenty of other countries out there with capabilities. the fact is, a very serious attack occurred and i don't understand how the united states president can protect the country if he's not willing to sit down with vladimir putin and look him in the eye and say, i know you did this. it will stop. >> so again, you've seen no evidence that any other country hacked into the 2016 election, the president of the united states just said today it's possible other countries did. is he seeing different intelligence? what do you make of what he said? >> no. john, we have the 400-pound guy sitting on his bed. for some reason -- and i suppose i understand it. i think president trump thinks
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that the fact that the russians attacked the electoral system somehow damages the standing of his own election. i get that. but he is president of the united states. he won. he should move on and speak in very, very clear tones about what happened. again, vladimir putin is -- that guy plays ten-dimensional chess. you heard it previously in your broadcast. you had a statement, why did you say you have a nice relationship with him? because he says nice things about me. unless the president can speak with great specificity and great authority that we know that it happened and must not happen again, guess what, it's going to happen again. >> he did speak out today, clearly the president did, about what he called the destabilizing activities of russia. that's further than he's gone before. is he on the right track? >> credit is where credit is due. he very specifically articulated our support for article 5 of the
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nato treaty, something that he did not do in the last trip to europe. so the man can learn and i give him credit for saying some things that will kind of allow the germans and rest of europe to think that we remain on their side and perhaps give vladimir putin some pause. again, on this particular issue, how you go into a discussion, you know, muddying the water about whether the attack occurred or not, i just don't understand how you advance the ball in making sure it doesn't happen again. >> congressman jim himes of connecticut, thank you very much. >> thank you, john. just ahead, breaking news on whether they think the president is responding perhaps naively to nefarious russian acts. later, more on president putin's tactics that may not be bringing a gun to a knife fight but bringing a dog when you're meeting with someone who is scared of dogs is pretty close. we'll get all of the ways that vladimir putin tries to get the upper hand when "360" continues.
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see nothing wrong with that statement. nobody really knows. nobody really knows for sure. i remember when i was sitting back listening about iraq, weapons of mass destruction. how everybody was 100% sure that iraq had weapons of mass destruction. guess what, that led to one big mess. they were wrong and it led to a mess. so, it was russia and i think it was probably others, also. >> earlier today, former director of national intelligence james clapper told cnn's jim sciutto he saw no evidence whatsoever that others weren't involved. let's get the panel's take. matt lewis, kirsten power, general psaki, david gergen. this is not the first time that the president has sowed doubt about the u.s. meddling in the election. he happened to do it overseas
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and you don't go to warsaw and cast shadow over your intelligence agency. what do you make of that? >> that's true. you also don't attack a former president or attack the american media, which he did so he's doing a lot of things that are unprecedented and in his speech, which he got a lot of praise for, he did condemn russia for their destabilizing efforts in other countries. maybe people read into that, he could be talking about what happened here and then, of course, you have to take the full picture which is he's back to his other story which is who knows. >> matt lewis, you loved the speech in warsaw today but did that statement, "nobody knows for sure," which he delivered an hour before, did he undermine what was otherwise a very positive message? >> yes. he gets mad at the media for being critical of him and this
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is a case at the press conference and an example of president trump stepping on his own story. i would love more than to sit here tonight and talk slowly about what i do think was a great speech, defending western civilization. i think he sent a clear message to vladimir putin in the speech to be careful but then he sort of mixes his message with that press conference and undermines on foreign soil the intelligence communities. he's his own worst enemy here. >> destabilizing activities but refused to include russian meddling as a destabilizing activity, jeffrey lord. and again, he seemed to say, yes, russia hacked, which he's been unwilling to say at certain times, he did say russia did hack but he says he thinks other countries probably did hack, too. jim himes who sits on the
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intelligence committee says he has seen no evidence of that whatsoever. has the president seen evidence of this or is he making it up? >> i don't believe he's making it up. i think he believes it. >> hey, the chinese were hacking even though i see no evidence of it? build when you look at his statement on the intelligence community, and i don't think he meant it as a knock on them. good lord, the media in the bush era was all over the fact that the intelligence community said that there was -- that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq and then they weren't. so this is like saying the obvious here. i don't think it's meant to be a slur. he's just simply being cautious when it comes to this. and i will say, i think matt may be right here, that he did do a great speech today in poland. i mean, it's really, if i may say, reagan-esque. >> this is the least shocking thing, jeffrey lord. >> i didn't want to --
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>> between churchill and reagan. >> right. right. but, you know, it was a good thing to do. but i don't think -- and one of the things that would help here, at least it's my understanding and maybe you guys know better than i, whether the democratic national ske wicommittee is withholding forensics on its server. that certainly would tell us, wouldn't it? >> i suppose the president didn't bring that up today, jeffrey, while he was doing that. i think that's a rabbit hole. that isn't part of what happened overseas. >> if we find out, if they do the forensics to see with some degree of accuracy who hacked, we would know. >> well, look, you and i haven't seen the intelligence that the intelligence leaders have and they have said in no uncertain terms, they believe russia hacked t hack hacked the election. robby, you know, how do you think this plays -- you know, we hear jeffrey lord sit here and
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talk about this. does it play to the entire base of the republican base or president trump's base when he talks about u.s. intelligence like this? >> i think it plays to his own ego. i think what donald trump cares about is donald trump. and i think one of your earlier guests had it right. congressm congressman himes. he thinks it's an attack on his legitimacy of his win. he's got to get over that. he wasn't adult enough to turn this over to acknowledge the problem and turn it over. and i have to say, what's most damaging about this, bringing up the dnc, trying to drudge up the past, we've got to solve this in a bipartisan way. when the president does that, he undermines our country's ability to come together and solve the problem. this was an attack on all of us, both parties, everyone in this room and the president is trying to divide us because that helps him feel better about his own election win. that's dangerous. >> david gergen, this is all on the eve of a giant meeting with
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vladimir putin tomorrow. i want to remind you and some of the viewers about some of the things he has said about vladimir putin in the past. >> i spoke directly and indirectly with president putin who could not have been nicer. >> putin called me a genius. he's off to a good start. >> i like him because he called me a genius. >> he's very much a leader. >> he's said nice things to me. >> i've never spoken to him. i don't know anything about him other than he will respect me. if we get along, we do, if we don't, we don't but it would be nice. >> he could not have been nicer. >> if putin likes donald trump, guess what, folks, that's called an asset, not a liability. >> i hope we have a fantastic relationship. >> i don't love, i don't hate. we'll see how it works. we'll see. >> david gergen, how does that set the stage for the meeting tomorrow? >> well, i think that it opens
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up for the russians the possible psychoanalyzing donald trump and how they might work with him or work against him in the putin meeting with him tomorrow. and namely, what we know, john s. a number of countries have been analyzing his tweets to try to figure out, if you go in and ingreesh ate yourself with donald trump at the beginning, if you play to his narcissism, say he's one of the great leaders of our time, you might get concessions out of him more easily because he thinks he has a friendship that is budding there. so people are -- i think of all the people we know, the russians will spend the most time trying to figure that out before going in. i just want to add one thing, john. the real news out of the united states on the russia front was pamela brown's reporting about the growing number of soviet or russian spies coming into the country and posing as business men. there are at least 150 or so right now according to the cnn reporting. it does raise a question. do we need a travel ban on
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soviet businessmen or russia businessmen? maybe we do. but it's a serious problem. one more reason why the president needs to be firm and tough, tough. not be talked in, not let his ego get in the way, be tough with putin about this meddling. >> guys, stand by. jen psaki, we'll start with you after the break and talk about the new polling wlrks that has an impact on u.s. public opinions. stay with us. ♪
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on the eve of tomorrow's trump/putin bilat, as it's called, a marist polls shows that a majority of americans, 54%, believe trump has been unethical or illegal in his dealings with putin and 36% he's done nothing wrong at all and 10% are unsure. this breaks down on partisan lines. back now with the panel, jen psaki, 54% say it's unethical or illegal, but i doubt they've
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moved much in the last month and i doubt they'll move much in the comi coming months. what will convince americans one way or the other. >> well, i think the fever may be breaking a little bit. the trump supporters are with him almost regardless of what happens but i think we see a little bit of movement in terms of people say, something doesn't feel right here. what will change it? as people focus on the fact that there are elections coming, two gubernatorial elections in virginia and new jersey, this could impact them. there are 36 elections -- gubernatorial elections next year, 21 states were hacked. we learned just last month. as it starts to impact people and their lives, people are worried about their data, their financial data, student loans, how it impacts them. we're starting to see that because it's, frankly, on the news every day, on the front page of newspapers. >> you worked in the obama administration. president trump oversees brought
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up president obama and what he did -- >> a favorite past time of his. >> he said president obama knew about russian hacking and did nothing about it. president trump had this weird quote. people say president obama choked. i don't think he choked but he did nothing. your reaction? >> first of all, last summer when president obama learned that there was a potential hacking taking place, he asked the intelligence committee to look into that. they did that. he asked them to issue a new report that came out in january that president trump was briefed on. the fact is, this is ongoing. what president trump is not doing, he's placing a lot of blame on obama but he's not addressing this ongoing attack, this ongoing effort to impact our democracy. so he's going to place a lot of blame. we're not sweating that too much. what should be concerning to the american people, to democrats but certainly republicans, too, is that this effort to impact our elections in november, next
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november, special elections. their efforts are ongoing. we learned that from pamela brown's reporting and he's doing nothing to stop it. >> robby, when you hear president trump say president obama did nothing about this, some say he choked, you obviously were in the middle of all of this. what is it like to see that? >> well, i think what is fair is for all of us to ask what would we do differently and now that we have a benefit of a lot more intelligence, i would have done things differently and i'm sure president obama would have as well. i would hope that president trump would have done things differently, like he wouldn't have called on the russians to hack hillary clinton's e-mails. i think that's where the president is putting this debate in completely the wrong place. the other thing i'll say, this is sort of hidden in today. think of the opportunity the president has to bring the entire world together around this north korea situation. this is potentially the most dangerous situation we've seen since the cuban missile crisis since 9/11. the president should be rallying the free world. we're talking about russia e-mail hacking in the last
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election. it's an enormous missed opportunity. so i just think he's misguided on a number of levels here and, again, i think it comes back to him. he's got to let it go and lead the people and not protect his own people. >> kirsten powers, we're less than 12 hours away from all of this happening. what will you be looking at tomorrow as this all unfolds? >> i don't know. there's always this hope that he's going to do what robby was just describing. that there will be a pivot towards being a leader and actually trying to unite. i think if you look at today, yes, he read a speech from the teleprompter that was a pretty good speech but when he is sort of left to his own devices, he goes back to his basic personality, which is to attack the media, to complain about president obama, to not really behave in a real leader-like way and to complain -- look, he's complaining about president obama not doing enough but he's done nothing. he doesn't even really make sense. he's on the one hand claiming he doesn't even know if it happened and on the other hand saying
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that president obama didn't do enough to combat it. >> on a rate of one to ten, the likelihood that president trum b surprises us and brings up russian meddling with vladimir putin. >> i think it's at least 50/50 and it would surprise us and he might do it because we don't think he's going to do it. >> it's hard to see what the political risks of the whole thing are. >> and he doesn't like to telegraph what he's going to do. >> unpredictability. >> unpredictability. is he going to talk about it tomorrow? >> i don't know. he does this deliberately. >> should he? >> maybe. >> you nodded yes. he should bring it up tomorrow? >> yes. yes. >> jeffrey lord, you heard him say it right there. jeffrey lord wants the president to bring up russian meddling in our elections. there is disagreement whether president trump should make nice with vladimir putin in hopes of having a better
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relationship with russia or keep him at arm's length. we'll get into that with experts coming up. you wouldn't believe what's in this kiester. a farmer's market. a fire truck. even a marching band. and if i can get comfortable talking about this kiester, then you can get comfortable using preparation h. for any sort of discomfort in yours.
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russian meddling in the u.s.
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election aside, the relationship between president trump and vladimir putin is important right now because the two super powers are working, if not together, at least on the same issues, on syria, north korea to name just two. the question remains whether president putin is better as a friend or foe. joining us to dig in, steven cohen and fareed zakaria. fareed, you've described vladimir putin as the most powerful man in the world right now. can russia be a reliable partner to the united states right now? do you think there's any room for real cooperation? >> i do think there's room for real cooperation. the most important thing to understand about vladimir putin is he's a russian nationalist. he's not a rogue actor. he's very intelligence, very purposeful and has a view of russia's interests that is very logical. so what the united states has to do is not believe it can charm vladimir putin, you know, serving him chocolate cake and things like that.
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the idea would be to ask where do those interests intersect and at least theoretically, there are many points of intersection, on syria, for example, and in general the russians have many shared interests, whether it's with islamic terrorism or north korea. they don't want instability either. the big problem for the trump administration is, of course, the -- they've put themselves in a box where they can't seem too cooperative, can't seem too hostile so they've ended up being paralyzed and for some reason, particularly on ukraine, i notice that trump refuses to be very tough, even in this last speech there was a couple of lines and didn't mention crimea at all. the challenge trump has is to find those cooperations. if he can find them, putin is willing to deal. we need a russia policy which means trump has to get out of his defensive crouch about the
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election interference. >> you say this could be the most dangerous time including more than the cuban missile crisis, you said. why? and how much of that is on vladimir putin? >> well, let's start with the objective reality. we've argued about this before. this may be the most dangerous moment in russia relations because we're in a new cold war. >> you've said that for a few years so i don't know whether it still applies. >> i have said it for a few years. >> or that it hasn't happened. >> but here's the difference. unlike in the last cold war, we have three cold war fronts that are full with hot water. ukraine, the baltic region and syria. this is exceedingly dangerous. we've had a lot of summits between american and russian leaders. i participated in a few of them. i have followed them. this is both, in some ways, the most unusual and the most dangerous. and the most important, for better or worse.
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fareed alluded to this. it's clear what putin wants. he says it every day. there's no mystery. we think we know what president trump wants because he said repeatedly wouldn't it be great to cooperate with russia and we know the agenda first and foremost is terrorism in syria. but trump is a crippled president because of this russiagate series of allegations. and so you mentioned the cuban missile crisis and we give kennedy credit. we don't disagree. imagine if kennedy, faced with these russian soviet missiles in cuba had been accused daily of somehow being an agent of the kremlin, he would have had no room to negotiate. so what worries me, even if trump knows what the right thing to do is, we can debate that, is it free to do it because of the political situation? >> it's when he's created -- it's his own making.
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if he said we'll hand this over to an independent commission from the start and neither i nor any member of my administration is going to make any public comment on it until that investigation is done, he would be free because he keeps contradicting u.s. intelligence because he keeps refusing to accept it and keeps saying -- this is a problem of his own making. >> let me ask both of you, because you both seem to agree on what vladimir putin wants. steven, or professor, do you think president trump understands what vladimir putin wants? have you seen any evidence of that? >> one of the things that concerns me and i don't mean to denigrate anybody. i'm not confident that there are people around trump knowledgeable enough and willing enough to give him good advice on how to, quote, cooperate with russia. reagan wasn't sure either when he decided to cooperate with
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gorbachev but knew who to put around him. >> do you think he's capable of making a better relationship? >> yes. >> why? >> he's not a stupid man. his instinct of cooperation is there. putin has his own politics. there's deep suspicion in moscow at the highest level of any arrangement that putin makes with the americans because in moscow's eyes, we have broken our promise to one american president after another since clinton, have broken the promises to russia. >> there is politics in russia but it is a politics that's allowed vladimir putin to rule this country since 2001 and it appears to allow him to rule for another 15 years. that's a strange kind of politics which allows you to be a czar for 30 years. >> fareed zakaria and stephen cohen, thank you. will vladimir putin play hardball tomorrow like beyond bringing a dog when your
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when president trump sits down with russia's president vladimir putin tomorrow at the g20 summit, he won't be dealing with a typical politician. the former kgb officer has a
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reputation for threats beyond typical maneuvering. randi kaye has more. >> reporter: when angela merkel met with vladimir putin back in 2007, they were not alone. he brought along his big black lab bra door even though she was afraid after being attacked by a dog. she seemed uncomfortable while the president seemed to smirk. >> this is a way of showing the russian people, hey, i'm a powerful man, i'm a manly man. >> reporter: years later, putin tried to explain to a german newspaper, i wanted to do something nice for her. when i found out she doesn't like dogs, of course i apologized. >> it's well known that putin is a former kgb officer and in that role he was trained to be a handler of people. what that means in an espionage context is exploiting people's
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vulnerabilities but also their desires, their ambitions, their insecurities to achieve your objectives and it's not always to shame that person. it's not always to have dominance but it's to advance your interests. >> reporter: this wasn't putin's only apparent ploy involving a dog. an how putin, quote, dissed his dog, barney. >> putin says, would you like to meet my dog? laura and i were with putin and his outside of moscow, i said, yeah, i'd like to meet him. out comes a giant hound. kind of loping across the yard and putin looks at me, says bigg bigger, faster, stronger than barney. it speaks volumes to when you listen to what somebody says. in other words, he's got a chip on his shoulder. >> putin at the end of day is a human being. he's certainly has his ego, he's got his insecurities. >> reporter: putin is well known for keeping important people waiting for long time. in 2014, he left germany's angela merkel waiting more than
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four hours to see him. he kept the prime ministers of japan and ukraine each waiting three hours. he even made the pope wait almost an hour. the waiting game, it seems, is just part of the power play. >> it puts them in a position of being appreciative of that time, and automatically taking putin more seriously, even if they're actually there to chide putin or to try to pressure him into changing his views. >> reporter: in a meeting with putin back in 2011, then-vice president joe biden referenced a conference conversation he'd had with the georgian prime minister. putin's response seemed to hint that russia had eavesdropped on the conversation. his response to biden according to the "washington post" was, we know exactly what you're saying. biden reportedly laughed. putin did not. and in 2007, putin may have succeeded at unnerving the president of france. in a documentary that aired on french public broadcasting, a journalist said putin berated
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nicolas sarkozy in a public meeting leaving sarkozy visibly shaken for his press conference that followed. >> this is, again, a way of setting a tone in a relationship where if you have anything resembling empathy for the story he tells, you kind of feel like you owe them something, what are we going to do to make up for it, how to we apologize, how do we make it right? >> reporter: vladimir putin's power play, his next target could be president donald trump. randi kaye, cnn, new york. lots to discuss now with an expert on each president, ben juda, author of "fragile empire: how russia fell in and out of love with vladimir putin." michael dantonio, author of "the truth about trump." ben, i want to start with you here, knowing what you know about vladimir putin, which direction do you expect him to go in tomorrow? are we talking about a power play intimidation here or maybe flattery? >> i think it's very important to remember that vladimir putin is hugely experienced in meeting and dealing with world leaders. vladimir putin first started
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meeting the western ruling class when he was deputy mayor of st. petersburg in the early '90s and got a chance to meet cole, ronald reagan, jacques sha rack, met tony blair, obama, clinton, bush, and judging by the bodies that he has, i think the first meeting he had with bush is possibly one of the more illustrative in which putin went for a very hard seduction on bush, trying to use his christian faith to manipulate him. much to the alarm of his aides. telling him many stories about a little golden cross that he claimed to have had to save from burning dacher and had been a gift from his mother. >> so you think perhaps more the charm route tomorrow in this first meeting. michael, what about you? obviously, president trump likes to fashion himself as a big negotiator here, but we see a fighter or a charmer on his side? >> oh, i think he'll try to be
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charming. that's usually his set point. in an encounter with someone he hasn't met before. and despite what president trump has said over the years he's never actually met vladimir putin, never dealt with him face-to-face. but i also think it's important to remember there are really three presences in this meeting. one is the russian interest which is represented by putin. the second is america's interest, which is represented by president trump, but the third interest is donald trump's ego. i think vladimir putin will have the ability to set aside his own feelings and he'll have a purpose that is nationalistic and pretty set. i think in donald trump, we have a person who's already capitulated in a way by having this meeting in the first place and the second part of this is that he is far more wounded and far more vulnerable than vladimir putin is and will have
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a need to satisfy. he wants to be recognized by putin far more than putin needs to be recognized by trump. >> interesting. ben, you note that one of the best analyses of vladimir putin might be a kgb assessment of putin and that's what the u.s. should be looking at right now to get some direction. explain. >> well, this is one of the more fascinating documents that exist on vladimir putin. when vladimir putin was sort of training to sort of join the elites of the kgb, foreign service, an assessment done on him found that he was not at all vulnerable to flattery or women or drink, but he was very vulnerable to a lowered awareness of danger. what does that mean? it means rushing into conflicts or situations without havinger properly mapped out how dangerous these could be for you as an ajegent or perhaps, indee
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as a world leader. >> he doesn't know when he's in trouble, in other words. michael, just a bit of time left here. you do think that president trump may draw a line when it comes to syria? >> i think he may and i actually think president trump may recognize that he has an opportunity here. this is if he has capitulated by having this meeting, he now has an opportunity to show himself to be forceful, syria is probably one place where he can both be direct but also seek that accommodation, the shared interests that he talked about during the campaign when he said, wouldn't it be great if we got along? so, let's hope from america's point of view that the president sees an opportunity here, has the presence of mind to put forward our interests and make something happen. >> it will be fascinating to watch. ben judah, michael dantonio, fascinating perspective. thanks so much. we'll be right back.
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thanks so much for watching 360. time now to hand it over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. new developments in the russia story. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. cnn learning that vladimir putin's spies are digging even deeper into this country since the election. that's according to current and former u.s. intelligence officials. and meanwhile, just hours away from his first face-to-face meeting with putin, trumpb, president trump, still doesn't seem to believe his own intel agencies. telling reporters in poland today, "it could have been a lot of people interfered." let's get right to our new reporting on that concern in the u.s. intelligence community about the stepped up efforts of russian spies here in the u.s. pamela brown reported the story with evan perez and shimon and