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tv   Ayman Mohyeldin Reports  MSNBC  June 14, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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good evening, everyone. we're waiting for president biden. he is expected to answer questions on a host of topics. we will bring it to you live as soon as it begins. the news conference comes after a day filled with meeting with nato leaders, with the president working to repair relationships with key nato allies that became frayed during the trump administration. we're going to have a lot more
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on all of this. also as well a wide-ranging interview with my colleague keir simmons with russian president vladimir putin. the top doj national security official is resigning. it comes as it deals with the fallout of a subpoena over phone records of members of congress and reporters during the trump administration. all of this as attorney general merrick garland says the department will overhaul the rules and procedures for obtaining such records. but we are going to begin first with that news conference that is expected to get underway. we cross over now to brussels where nbc news correspondent mike memoli joins us, as well as andra mitchell, affairs correspondent and host of "andrea mitchell returns" here on msnbc.
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mike, it's 90 minutes past when this press conference was supposed to get underway. do we have any sense of why the delay is happening, and more importantly, what can we expect out of this news conference? >> reporter: well, eamon, i can't help but think as we've been covering this trip, the first foreign trip the president has taken since assuming office. this is the first time he's really had an opportunity to meet one on one, face to face with a smaller group in cornwall, the g7, now a larger group, 30 heads of government from nato countries plus other related officials in the eu summit tomorrow. while we're trying to explain what has indeed been a very long delay, one of the surest explanations is the president is taking every opportunity he can to have some meetings on the sidelines. looking back at what has already been a fairly full day for this
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president, this has been a trip the president wanted to make a larger case about the strength of democracies versus autocracie autocracies in the 21st century. we saw at the g7 summit a final statement from those leaders where for the first time they called out china specifically for some of inunfair labor practices, human rights abuses, and a stronger word today from the nato countries not just focused on russia and its aggression, of course, a huge part of the discussion is the summit in two days with vladimir putin, but also naming china in a significant statement. this is all a part of upgrading the nato alliance and also discussing cyber authority in
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the next year. president biden has been telling them america is back, all setting the stage for what will likely be a number of questions ahead of that summit with vladimir putin on wednesday, eamon. >> andrea, if there was a meeting that a lot of people were watching before the meeting with vladimir putin, it is the one with president erdogan which just concluded before this news conference was to take place. you recently traveled to turkey, and you can understand why turkey is such a delicate balance for this administration. all of the topics we've been discussing whether it be russia, syria, authoritarian leadership, they intersect with this president in turkey. what did both expect to get from this meeting?
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>> reporter: the state of the relationship has been terrible to put a fine point on it, because joe biden as vice president and erdogan had clashed a number of times over erdogan's desperate efforts to try to get a cleric opposition leader who he blamed for a coup a number of years ago, an attempted coup against him which had been in exile in pennsylvania in the pocono mountains. he demanded the president turn him over to turkey for some kind of punishment or jailing or worse. of course, the president said we don't do that in the united states. we have a rule of law. if there is a reason he should be extradited to turkey, that should be done through the courts. biden was not taking a call from erdogan until president biden called erdogan to tell him something he really did not want
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to hear, which was the united states was finally recognizing that the massacre on armenians was, in fact, a genocide back 100 years ago. that's how tense the relationship has been. most recently turkey is working with the u.s. -- i was there last week when, in fact, there was a mission with the help of turkey to try to get humanitarian aid to continue to flow to syrian refugees across the border. as you know, turkey already has 600 refugees fleeing from syria and there are people from providence living in terrible conditions. they are still being bombed by russia. russia is planning to stop, and two others have been closed because of russia and now russia is threatening next month to shut this one down and it will completely choke down
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humanitarian aid. keir simmons asked president putin about it and he said, why should they go through the country's leader or through the regime -- he did not say regime -- through assad? they know they're not going to get anything from him and the u.n. is not going to deliver aid to assad and take the aid for himself. there is a real reason why the u.s. wants in this meeting with putin, to get him to back off of the veto and say let's talk about the politics of coming up with an agreement. extend it for a year. let's get some kind of diplomacy together on turkey. also russia has an interest in not spending enough money as there is on this war, so there is some issue there. and turkey helps with the
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extrication of troops from afghanistan. we have some relationship with turkey, but he has become so authoritarian that nato is decrying today. one thing i want to mention importantly. i think the biggest thing to come out of this communique and the secretary general's comments, for the first time nato in 73 years ordered against aggression for the first time is saying china with its expanding nuclear power, china's growing influence in the world is a threat to europe, to the americans, to the u.s., to canada, the other nato members. that is a first, and that is exactly what joe biden wanted. a strong statement against china -- he didn't get as strong a statement as ept out -- he
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wanted out of the g7, and ukraine desperately wanting to get into nato, all of these countries that used to be part of a former soviet union want a strong statement against russia. >> andrea, i was going to say quickly, there seems to be a bit of activity in the room. i see the secretary of state antony blink on has arrived, an indication perhaps that president biden may be making his way to the podium any minute now. let me ask, because i know you had the chance to talk to the secretary of state about the u.s. and russia. what did he ever to say about some of putin's assertions, that the u.s. is basically not a force for good, so to speak, in some of these hot button issues, whether it be ukraine or syria? >> well, i asked him about -- he said to keir what putin said to keir simmons that the u.s.-russia relationship is at
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its worst, that it's at its worst it's ever been. he said, that is one thing i would agree with vladimir putin on, it is. he said, we'll stand up to putin when he's being aggressive on ukraine, on human rights, on navalny, on american rights who are in prison, unfairly on trumped-up charges and convicted in kangaroo court. but they still want to deal with putin, and if he can prove that he wants to make progress on iran, on climate change, on syria, on any of the issues where they have a mutual interest, then they do want to have a constructive relationship. president biden keeps saying i want a stable relationship, a predictable relationship with vladimir putin. but so far in the days leading up to this summit, he's been anything but indicating he wants a constructive relationship. he has been very aggressive,
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cracked down on navalny's organization last week in particular and some of the other support for the belarus air hijack thing, none of this is showing any design as well as cyber hacker activity on solar winds. he did, of course, offer this cyber accord where he would turn over cyberhackers from russia if we would do the same. the view of the u.s. would be, sure, if they've duchb things illegally, but we don't protect cyber hackers in the u.s., we go after them. >> the same disclaimer i gave andrea, if we see the president come out i'll have to interrupt you, so i do apologize for that.
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this summit was to try to repair relationships with world leaders, the french president declaring that america is back with the election of president biden. does the white house feel the president has made a lot of progress in accomplishing this singular goal, that european allies feel that america is back? >> reporter: well, one white house official put in a very warm embrace when they came over here, but even they are surprised just how warm it is. but you only need to continue to look at what continues to happen back home, that the president talks about an assault on voting rights that former president donald trump has not ruled out running himself again. some of that is tempered than it would perhaps be otherwise, that this president is doing his best to assure our allies we are back and we are back for good. but these allies, especially some of them who themselves are
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leaving the stage, german chancellor angela merkel for one, have a real concern about what's next. it's interesting, the white house just released a short video of some excerpts with the president's sit-down with angela merkel and he called her really the sort of bedrock of europe, the real leader of europe over the last decade. he said he was going to miss her, and with her leaving the scene, the uncertainty about the u.s. political association, something the u.s. had never had reason to question before, you can understand a nervousness that remains below the surface. but that's why the president wanted to come over here, to convince his allies that there is a reason to have a tangible effort in these summits. having a billion vaccines to share with the developing world, to have what they call the built back better world, sort of an infrastructure for the world
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proposal to counter china's influence, their belt and road initiative, and the number of other steps they're taking. it's really part of what biden has been arguing about. what's needed at the summit is more than just talk but some concrete things we can work in our own middle classes in our respective countries, because a strong foundation is a strong democracy. we're waiting to ask the president, perhaps it will be coming shortly, is to what extent he really has been able to reassure our allies. i thought it was an interesting tack he took when he sat down with the french president. he chose not to answer himself but to pass the question along to emmanuel macron who replied definitely, definitely he's been reassured. that's the conversations that biden is having. so many on the sidelines are all about sharing information about their own respect active political considerations at home as well.
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>> we're going to continue to watch this biden press conference. as soon as it gets underway, we'll bring it to you. thank you, andrea mitchell. mike, i'm going to ask you to stay with us within the next hour. ambassador of global affairs, thank you for taking this time. compared to what we heard a few years ago from donald trump who at one point called nato obsolete and threatened to pull the u.s. out of it if other nations did not start fulfilling their commitment under the nato treaty to spend agreement at least 2% of their gdp on the collective defense of the organization. andrea was just talking about how this communique identified china as a great risk to the trans-atlantic relationship into the collective security of europe and america. what do you make of the pivot there? we often think of the greatest threat to nato being russia. now it seems with this communique it is china.
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>> well, rightly, i think, in my mind it points out that both russia and china are a real problem for nato and security in europe. russia is described as the security threat. that's understandable. it's right in the neighborhood. it's deploying military forces at the border and threatening targets inside nato with its nuclear capabilities and its conventional capabilities, with hits cyber warfare capabilities, so correctly pointing out that we need a strong deterrent to deal with russia. but for the first time, as andrea rightly pointed out, the challenge that china presents to both the system of international order, of international relations by trying to break the rules of the international system by cheating on its economic efforts, on stealing the international intellectual property rights, by engaging in
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threatening behavior with its military force in asia, and in so many other ways including on human rights in its own country and hong kong and other places, that china represents a new forum and a new challenge that nato in alliance with democracies needs to be aware that china is that systemic rival, as the communique puts it, and now needs to be more aware of how the countries of north america and europe can come together to deal with that challenge. it's new, it's important and it's necessary. >> given that, is it possible, is it realistic given the economic dependence of europe, and certainly to some extent, the united states on china that it can be effective in identifying the risks that china poses on the risk it poses before the trans-atlantic relationship? >> well, clearly, many of the
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issues that china has, so does the united states and they're not willing to threaten those relationships. so they're willing to balance a more assertive posture with regard to china with a continued need to engage economically with them and, as well, to try to find mutual areas of cooperation, areas like climate change, areas like the covid disease and the pandemic that originated in china. one needs to have cooperation to find out where it came from as well as to prevent future diseases. so the relationship is not going to be confrontational. it is going to be a mixture of cooperation and confrontation. but now europe will be part of that confrontation and
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cooperation, which is how biden tried to get nato modernized for the 20th century. 25 years ago, 50 years ago, china was not an issue systemically or for security in the trans-atlantic area. now china is patrolling in the arctic. it has military operationsiterr. it has a base in chapute. it has a presence in northern europe and it needs to be seen for what it is, about a challenge to be dealt with. >> let me play for you what secretary of state tony blinken told my colleague andrea mitchell over the weekend about the impact of the president's meeting so far while he's been in europe. watch. >> these democratic alliances are an incredible source of strength for us. a unique access that russia doesn't enjoy, china doesn't enjoy, and we are finding we're able to bring them together effectively, diplomatically,
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politically, economically, militarily, and that's a strong congregation appointed by china or anyone else for that matter. >> do you think they're looking to new threats to kind of bolster the alliance. this is the long haul strategy of america given what they just saw. you know, he's bun what he can. the reality is we did have four years before donald trump. the kind of things we saw on january of demoralized our country, which is deeply concerning to our allies. what president biden can do is say we're back, what you
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represent to our security, our prosperity, our freedom that your alliance with the framework that secretary blinken was talking about, that we need to strengthen that, find ways to reinforce it as we move forward, and that in finding ways that we are demonstrating that our engagement in the world with our partners can actually address real problems that benefit the american people, that benefit equal in all democracies, so that, as president biden likes to say, we demonstrate that democracy can still deliver for our people. if we do so, then presumably political support at home will be translate into a stronger engagement abroad. >> i have to ask you about one major issue that doesn't seem to be getting enough attention. i'm sure it was brought up with the turkish procession ten years-plus. it obviously borders nato because of turkey. what more should nato be doing
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to both help observe the authoritarianism in that country? >> it needs to work together with the european union, which is an organization with a greater stake and direct involvement in this issue to work with turkey to deal with the very real humanitarian crisis that remains. turkey is a difficult ally at times, but it has also taken on a very difficult task, being a neighboring country to civil and being the host of skbril yonz that we mind as a solution,
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which andrea am i familiar said early. ly also with vladimir putin in geneva tomorrow, we need to find a solution so that the people going home to syria can go home to syria. they need to live in peace and start rebuilding their lives. >> ambassador, let me ask you looking ahead to the news conference while we await the president there, we're not yet sure what the delay is. certainly when he comes out, we'll bring that to our viewers live. but if we were looking ahead to the summit with vladimir putin and the concern among russia is nato's expansion over the years, the point of contact would most likely be ukraine, and perhaps we will hear about ukraine.
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what do you think that existential threat is? should ukraine join nato? should nato take on that responsibility and be effectively involved with a conflict with russia directly if you maintain work toing. >> independent sovereign countries should be able to decide md. the first and most important question is sdwhal line? does it want to have a closer affinity in. as of today, the ukranians would like to become part of nato. they have decided that is something that they would like to do. then the question is for nato
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strictly would enhance the unite nations which is key whether a country should back part of nato. the united states has led the effort to say, no, ukraine in nato is a good thing. there are other countries, germany and france, who say, no, this is not a good chance to be at nato. one of the reasons, russia is likely to react with a great fury. there is also the reality that russian troops today and is joining separate forces in eastern ukraine. it's a complicated issue. the key, however, is nato and the united states can never say russia has a veto -- it may have a voice -- but has a veto over
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the question of nato alliance. >> it looks like the president is starting to make his way, so i do apologize if i have to cut you off. what should the president do about ukraine and nato? >> i think we should make sure ukraine remains an independent country, that the conflict with russia gets resolved diplomatically. first of all, economically and providing it to succeed. to continue with the reforms and thirdly and more importantly, providing it as a means of self-defense, in order to protect itself against that attack. i do not think today is the issue of ukraine becoming an
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independent country, deserves to be able to defend itself, and when it comes to russia and ukraine that america stands up together with all its allies to make clear that those decisions cannot and will not be contested. >> i want to cross over to our white house correspondent mike memoli is in brussels. do you ever any hint as to the holdup or any news operations in there. the secretary of state is in that room in nato headquarters waiting for that news conference to get underway. >> reporter: yeah, secretary tony blinken, someone who has been alongside biden the last two years is one of his advisors. the fact he's now in the room waiting along with the rest of us is significant.
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you've been asking the same questions about -- >> a tweet was just put out did iful. it would be a significant. . ahead of especially president biden's meeting with president putin, he wanted assurances that ukraine would not be sort of a bargaining chip as part of those discussions for any negotiations that might be taking place. based on at least his initial tweet from the ukranian president, perhaps the president coming out about a significant announcement or at least some news to make about ukraine and a potential path to nato membership. of course, nato itself is an alliance that's rooted in the cold war, post world war ii,
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east versus west, so ukraine that's been at the nexus of east and west russia and the russian democracies has been at the front of the battle here, especially in the past decade, so any news regarding a path for ukraine would be truly news and one coming out of this summit which the president has looked to lean on his allies for advice ahead of the analysis. >> i appreciate that, mike, now we head over to the president in brussels. >> i'm going to first talk about covid-19 at home. we made much progress in the united states. much of the country is returning to normal and our economic growth is leading the world and the number of cases and deaths are dropping dramatically. but there is still too many lives being lost.
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we're still averaging in the last 70 days 370 deaths per day. that's significantly lower than at the peak of this crisis, but it's still a real tragedy. we're approaching a sad milestone. almost 600,000 lost lives because of covid-19 in america. my heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one. i know that black hole that fills up your chest when you lose someone close to you that you adored. that's why i continue to say to america, if you've not been vaccinated, get vaccinated. get vaccinated as soon as possible. we have plenty of vaccinations. plenty of sites. we have more work to do to beat
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this virus. and now is not the time to let our guard down. so please get vaccinated as soon as possible. we've had enough pain. enough pain. folks, i know it's after 9:30 brussels time, 9:30 p.m., and i'm still at nato. you're all excited about that, i know. but i've had a chance to meet with several leaders recently, and i've had calls with others. it's been an incredibly productive day here. i just finished meeting with president erdogan of turkey. we had a positive and productive meeting, much of it one on one. we had detailed discussions about how to proceed on a number of issues. our two countries have big agendas.
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our teams are going to continue our discussions, and i'm confident we'll make real progress with turkey and the united states. now i want to thank secretary general stolenberg for leading a very successful nato summit today. i had the honor of leading off the discussion today, among the 30 nations. and i pointed out that we're facing a once in a century global health crisis at the same time the democratic values that undergird our alliance are under increasing pressure both internally and externally. russia and china are both seeking to drive a wedge in our trans-atlantic solidarity. we're seeing an increase in malicious cyber activity, but our alliance is a strong foundation in which our
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collective security and shared prosperity can continue to be built. i made a point to make clear that the u.s. commitment to article 5, the nato treaty, is rock solid and unshakeable. it's a sacred commitment. nato stands together. that's how we met every other threat in the past. it's our greatest strength as we meet our challenges of the future, and there are many. and everyone in that room today understood the shared appreciation, quite frankly, that america is back. we talked about russia's aggressive acts that pose a threat to nato and our collective security. that's why i met with the bucharest nine, the eastern flank allies in advance of the summit. and today i also met with the leaders of the three baltic
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states, astonia, horvath and lithuania. but we will not let russia lessen our activities and we will stand for our democratic allies. as allies, we also affirmed our continued support with the sovereignty and territorial integrity with ukraine. we agreed to follow closely on nuclear deterrents, arms control and an equal stability. there was a strong consensus in the room among the leaders in that room on afghanistan. our troops are coming home, but we agree that our diplomatic, economic and humanitarian commitment for the afghan people and our support for the afghan national defense and security forces will endure.
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and i welcomed our allies and partners that recognize that counterterrorism efforts must continue to ensure that afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for attacks on our countries, even as we take on terrorist networks in the middle east and africa. i'm deeply gratified that as an alliance, we adopted a far-reaching plan to make sure nato can meet the challenges that we face today and in the future, not yesterday. the nato 2030 agenda, and that we agreed to fully resource that agenda. the last time nato put together a strategic plan was back in 2010 when russia was considered a partner and china wasn't even mentioned.
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we talked about the long-term systemic challenges that china's activities posed for our collective security today. we agreed to do more to enhance the resilience of our critical infrastructures around the world, including trusted telecommunications providers, supply chains and energy networks. we agreed to enhance our cooperation with our democratic partners in the indo-pacific to meet challenges that exist there. we also endorsed the cyber policy, the first in seven years, to improve the counterthreats from state and non-state actors to protect our critical infrastructure. we adopted a climate security action plan which several people ago people thought we would never do, for reducing emissions for nato installations and adapting to the security risk of
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climate change while keeping very sharp on our ability to deter and defend against threats. and, finally, we agreed that among the most important shared missions is renewing and strengthening the resilience of our democracies. i pointed out we have to prove to the world and to our own people that democracy can still prevail against the challenges of our time and deliver for the needs of our people. we have to root out corruption that siphons off our strength, guard against those who sulk hatred for political gain and populism. invest in institutions that underpin and safeguard our cherished and democratic values as well as protecting the free press and independent
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judiciaries. all of those are on the agenda. that's how the alliance can still produce for the challenges of our time and deliver for our needs and the needs of our people. this is going to be looked at 25 years from now as whether or not we stepped up to the challenge. because there is a lot of autocr autocracies that are counting on them to move more accurately than other democracies can. we're going to hopefully prove them wrong. now i'll take some questions. celia vega of abc. >> reporter: thank you so much, sir. good evening. with things that came up about eruption today, i want to ask you two questions on that front.
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is it your sense walking into this meeting that americans at home shouldn't expect much in terms of an outcome? can you tell us what a successful meeting would look like to you? are there going to be concessions you want putin to make? you've met vladimir putin before. what have you learned about him that informs how you approach this hit-down with him, and what's your mindset walking into a meeting with a former kgb agent who you've said has no soul? >> i'll tell you that when it's over. look, i've been doing this a long time. the last thing anyone would do is negotiate in front of the world press as to how he's going to approach a critical meeting with another adversary and/or someone who could be an adversary. it's the last thing i'm going to do. but i will tell you this. i'm going to make clear to
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president putin that there are areas where we can cooperate if he chooses, and if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will respond in kind. there need not be. we should decide where it's in our mutual interest and the interest of the world to cooperate and see if we can do that. and the areas where we don't agree, make it clear what the red lines are. i have met with him. he's bright, he's tough, and i have found that he is a, as they say when i used to play ball, a worthy adversary. but the fact is i will be happy to talk with you when it's over,
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not before, about what the discussion will entail. nancy corder, cbs. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president. i also have two questions about vladimir putin. the first is, have any of the world leaders you met with this week expressed concern that by meeting with president putin this early in your presidency, it will look like you're rewarding him? >> what's the second question. >> reporter: the second question is what it will mean for the u.s.-russia relationship if alexei navalny were to die or be killed in prison. >> every world leader here as a member of nato that spoke today, and most of them mentioned it, thanked me for meeting with putin now. every single one.
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i think there were probably 10 or 12 that spoke to it, saying they were happy that i did that, that i was going to do that. they thought it was thoroughly appropriate that i do, and i had discussions with them about -- in the open about what they thought was important from their perspective and what they thought was not important. and so the interesting thing is, i know -- and i'm not being critical of the press, i really mean this, give you my word. but generically you all thought biden is meeting with him too soon. i haven't found a world leader that has thought it was soon enough. everyone i spoke to privately and publicly. it doesn't mean there aren't some out there, but it's not likely that a head of state is going to stand up in front of 29 other heads of state and say, boy, i'm glad you're doing this, in effect. so there is a consensus.
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and they thanked me for being willing to talk about them about the meeting and what i was -- what i intended to do. so i haven't found any reluctance. there may be someone but not today or any of the meetings i had privately as well. and navalny's death would be another indication that russia has little or no intention abiding by basic fundamental human rights. it would be a tragedy. it would do nothing but hurt his relationships with the rest of the world, in my view, and with me. jeff zeleny, cnn.
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>> reporter: sir, good evening. thank you. in a weekend interview, vladimir putin laughed at the suggestion that you had called him a killer. is that still your belief, sir, that he is a killer? and i'll continue the trend, if you don't mind, of asking a second question. do you believe if he does agree to cooperate, then what kind of a challenge do you find yourself in? however would you trust him, and if ronald reagan said trust but verify, what do you say about vladimir putin? >> can i answer the first question? i'm laughing, too. actually -- well, look, he has made clear that -- the answer is i believe he is in the past
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essentially acknowledged that certain things he would do or did do. but, look, when i was asked that question on air, i answered it honestly. but it's not much of -- i don't think it matters a whole lot in terms of this next meeting we're about to have. the second question was -- [ inaudible question ] >> i would verify first, then trust. everything would have to be shown to be actually occurring. it's not about trusting, it's about agreeing. you know, when you write treaties with your adversaries, you don't say, i trust you. you say this is what i expect, and if you violate the agreement we made, then the agreement is
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off. i'm hoping that president putin concludes that there is some interest in terms of his own interests in changing the perception that the world has of him in terms of whether or not he will engage in behavior that's more consistent with what is considered to be appropriate behavior for a head of state. ann gearin, "washington post." >> reporter: thank you, mr. president. here at this meeting and earlier at the g7, you said several times that america is back at allies' side. but a lot of those allies are themselves pretty rattled by what happened on january 6th, an attempted overturning of your election, and they may still be alarmed by the continued hold that donald trump has over the republican party and the rise of nationalist figures like him around the world.
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what do you say to those allies, what have you been saying to them at these meetings about how the next president of the united states can keep any promises you make? >> what i'm saying to them is watch me. i'm not saying anything, quite frankly. i'm just going out. people, as i've said before, don't doubt that i mean what i say, and they believe that i keep my commitments when i say it. i'm not making any promises to anyone that i don't believe are overwhelmingly likely to be kept. i think that we're at a moment where -- let me put it this way. you may have had a different view, but i think an awful lot of people thought that my showing up at the g7 would not produce any kind of enthusiasm
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about american leadership and about where america was. i would suggest that didn't turn out that way. i would suggest that there is a -- the leaders i'm dealing with in nato and the g7 are leaders who know our recent history, who know generically the character of the american people and know where the vast center of the republic stands. not democrat republic, but who we are. we're a decent, honorable nation. and i think that they have seen things happen as we have that shocked them and surprised them it could have happened, but i think they, like i do, believe the american people are not going to sustain that kind of behavior. and so i -- you know, i don't want to get into the statistics
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because that old phrase of the israelis, there's three kinds of lies. lies, damn lies and statistics. but i think it's appropriate to say that the republican party is vastly diminished in numbers, the leadership of the republican party is fractured, and the trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the american people. and we'll see. we'll see. i believe that by us standing up and saying what we believe to be the case, not engaging in the overwhelming hyperbole that gets engaged in by so many today that we -- i guess that the proof of
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the pudding is in the eating. when we said -- when i said i was going to deal with feeding the virus, i was going to focus on that and i was going to get millions of shots into people's arms, it wasn't me. i just the kind of help i'd get from the defense department, from police departments, from the hospitals, from retired docs, i just knew. and look how rapidly we moved. now, we have a group of people who, everything from the political rejection of a notion of taking a vaccine to people who are simply afraid of a needle and everything in between. we have a way to go. but i never doubted that we would be able to generate the kind of support we got and get so many millions of people to step up and get vaccinated. so, i think -- it is a shock and surprise that what's happened in
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terms of the consequence of president trump's phony populism has happened. and it is disappointing that so many of my republican colleagues in the senate, who i know know better, have been reluctant to take on, for example, an investigation because they're worried about being primaried, but at the end of the day, we've been through periods like this in american history before. where there has been this reluctance to take a chance on your re-election, because of the nature of your party's politics at the moment. i think this is passing. i don't mean easily passing. that's why it's so important that i succeed in my agenda. the agenda, whether it's dealing with the vaccine, the economy, infrastructure, it's important that we demonstrate we can make
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progress and continue to make progress. and i think we're going to be able to do that, so -- as i said, the proof will be in where it is, you know, six months from now, where we are. but i think you're going to see that there's -- that god willing we're going to be making progress and there's going to be a coslessing of a lot of republicans, particularly younger republicans who are coming up in the party and last question, sebastian smith of afp. >> thank you, mr. president. ukraine wants a clear yes or no on getting into the nato membership action plan. so, what's your answer? and if i may a second part to the same question, now that russia has invaded parts of ukraine, does that rule out ukraine ever entering nato?
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thank you. >> second question is, the answer is no. the first question, it depends on whether they meet the criteria. the fact is, they still have to clean up corruption. the fact is, they have to meet other criteria to get into the action plan. and so, it's -- you know, school's out on that question. it remains to be seen. in the meantime, we will do all that we can to put ukraine in the position to be able to continue to resist russian physical aggression and it will not just depend on me whether or not we conclude that ukraine can become part of nato, it will depend on the alliance and how they vote. but i know for one thing, there has to be a -- they have to convince and it's not easy. i made a speech years ago saying that ukraine had an opportunity to do something that's never
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occurred in the history of ukraine. actually generate a democratically-elected and not corrupt, led by of jar can is, nation. and i pointed out to them, when i made that speech, that they will go down in history as the founding fathers of ukraine, if, in fact, they do that. they have more to do. but that does not justify the fact they have more to do. russia taking aggressive action, on the sea, or in any part of ukraine and we're going to put ukraine in a position to be able to maintain their physical security. thank you all so very much. sorry you're all here so late. thank you very much. >> all right, so you were just watching president biden wrapping up a news conference, 30 minutes after a long day of meetings at nato headquarters in
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brussels, belgium, taking several questions, most of them focusing on u.s./russia relations in the upcoming putin/biden summit that is scheduled to take place wednesday and taking some broader questions just about the state of u.s./european relations. let's bring back into the conversation with us nbc news white house correspondent mike them momly and with us former u.s. ambassador to nato, ivo dadder. let me get your thoughts, your reactions to the overall news conference. the messaging coming out of the president and the white house, certainly as it pertains to some of the issues we were talking about, having to deal with ukraine becoming a member of nato and specifically the relationship with vladimir putin and what lies ahead. >> well, i think you saw a very important message. on the one hand, just as the president said, we're back, he made very clear and we're
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hearing this from other leaders that this was a summit where all of the 30 nato members came together on a common purpose, to make sure that the alliance is ready for the 21st century, as the president put it, through the nato 2030 action plan. and there was widespread agreement. 45 pages were released, that's a long text, that has to be agreed word for word among all 30 nations and it's that unity, that cohesion that will provide president biden with the necessary backdrop when he meets with vladimir putin in -- in geneva in the next few days. in the sense that, rather than -- we have seen in previous times the alliance being divided on russia, the alliance being divided between the united states and its european allies on russia. you now have a united alliance represented by president biden
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who will be able to sit down with vladimir putin and says, your problem is not just with me, your problem is with the entire nato alliance, because -- not because of what we are doing, but because of what you are doing. and let's therefore now find a way to have a relationship that at least limits the unpredictability that we have seen for so far and more importantly, find ways in areas we can cooperate. and if you agree to cooperate with me, i can bring the rest of the nato alliance together in that purpose. and that's a strong message, that gives him the basis. i think that's why he came to nato first, it was important to come to nato first and then went to see vladimir putin. >> mike, one of the lines that stood out to me, the president saying, there are going to be areas of cooperation with russia, but he is prepared and is going to tell the russias, we will respond in kind. a very strong message from the white house. >> yeah, that's right. as i'm listening to the president there over the last
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half hour, i was thinking of the question i posed to the first lady just the other day about whether her husband was prepared for this meeting with president putin. she laughed and said, oh, my gosh, he's overprepared. what we just saw was a president who, yes, understands that this is not going to be an easy meeting by any means and that there's certainly a lot to coverer in that meeting, a lot of difficult aspects of that conversation to come, but he feels very well armed for that conversation. he talked about the fact that over the course of his time here in brussels, as well as in cornwall for the g7 summit, some of his fellow leaders have said to him that they were so glad he was holding this summit with president putin. and you could see the degree to which he's taken in their feedback, their perspective, as he's approaching this meeting. also i was struck by the degree -- it is interesting when a president traveling abroad, the degree to which they are speaking to an audience outside of the u.s. and to the domestic political situation back at home
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and you saw how he began his remarks talking about the coronavirus, the number one issue he's been tackling as president, but then in that answer that he gave about what the reaction of republicans is back at home, he continued to say he believes, he knows some republicans know better in terms of their reaction to things like a january 6th commission, the way they're still following former president trump, but he still believes that is a very narrow perspective, even if it is a majority of the republican party, but narrow, a smaller percentage of the american people as a whole. so, certainly a president who feels he -- one more day here in brussels, he's going to be meeting with the european union tomorrow, an important conversation, to be sure, but then it's onto geneva for a very interesting conversation, one that he was not willing to get too far ahead of in terms of what he wants to lay out to the president. >> and we're going to have continuing coverage of the president's trip overseas as he continues his meetings with european officials before that one-on-one meeting with vladimir
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putin. mike memoli, thank you very much for your reporting. ambassador, thank you for staying with us and your analysis throughout the hour. certainly appreciate your insights. that wraps up the hour for me. i'll see you right back here tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern on what is expected to be yet another busy day. "deadline white house" with nicole wallace starts right now. hi there, everyone. it's 4:00 in the east. just moments ago, president biden in a press conference at the g7 summit following a packed day of meetings with world leaders. president biden just now defending his decision to hold a summit meeting with russian president vladimir putin saying this, quote, every world leader from here -- from nato thanked me for meeting with putin. he affirmed repeatedly the united states commitment to nato's article five defense agreement, that an attack on one member is an attack on all. in doing so, president biden


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