tv Inside Politics CNN February 15, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PST
advisor michael flynn and now the questions facing the president of the united states. did his associates with the campaign, his aides with the campaign -- >> i'm going to interrupt you for a moment. hold that thought for a second because i want to alert our viewers to what we're seeing. this is the south lawn entrance to the white house. you see the color guard, the marines are already there. the first lady, melania trump, you see her. she's standing there together with the president of the united states. the prime minister and his wife, they'll be driving in, and they will be receiving the prime minister at this entrance to the white house. you can see the marines. they're getting ready for this formal arrival ceremony. it's a little modified arrival ceremony. netanyahu is the head of government of israel. he is not the head of state. there is an israeli are president who is the head of state. it's not a traditional full scale arrival ceremony, but a nice arrival ceremony for the prime minister. you see his limo arriving right
>> nice short little arrival. the photo op taking place. they're going to go inside and spend a few minutes quietly and go into that news conference right away. jim accosta is still in the east room of the white house. jim, you were making an important point that this comes at a very, very tumultu oous
moment. there's so much going on, and the president's national security advisor, as you point out, michael flynn, he was just fired only three weeks into this administration. go ahead. >> that's right, wolf. president trump, according though this white house, fired his national security advisor, michael flynn just a couple of nights ago as all these questions are now swirling about whether or not the president's aides or associates during the campaign had contacts with russian individuals who are known by the intelligence community, the operatives in the russian intelligence community, and that is going to be a dominant question here at this news conference if the white house elects to give that question -- this is a two plus two news conference, as you know, wolf, to -- questions for the american press to questions for the israel press. if the white house allows somebody from the mainstream news media to ask a question, which has not happened in the last few news conferences,ing
that could get asked of the president. what did he know and when did he know it? that age-old question will likely be asked of this president. getting back to the he issue of israeli prime minister netany u netanyahu, you and i both, though, wolf, this is a president that benjamin netanyahu wants to deal with. he had a very frosty and prickly relationship with president obama. they had massive disagreements over the middle east peace process. in particular the iran nuclear deal and what you heard during the campaign from president trump, then candidate trump, was a move in bing netanyahu's direction. also, talked about moving the embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem. that was music to benjamin netanyahu's ears. there was also this issue of settlements as well as the two-state solution and, wolf, we should mention just the last 24 hours white house officials have acknowledged that they are now
perhaps backing away from any kind of insist ens that there be a two-state solution as part of a middle east peace deal. white house officials were telling reporters last night that that's not necessarily going to have to be the case. that they're not going to insist on the israelis abiding by that, be and that is really a shift from a u.s. foreign policy for republican and democratic administration's going back many years now. that is obviously a question that's going to be asked. wolf, you know, the one thing that has not changed so far is that this administration has not abandoned the iran nuclear deal. you know, so much talk about this during the campaign. the president went after the iran nuclear deal just about every chance he got during the campaign, but it stands at this point. they did add additional sanctions on iran because of that recent ballistic missile test, but they have not given up on the iran nuclear deal. one of the questions from the israeli news media, wolf, will be what does benjamin netanyahu, what does the prime minister think about that, the fact that the trump administration has not thrown that nuclear deal over
board? there's a lot of questions to be asked of this president and prime minister. if all of these questions weren't swirling around the president and his contacts or his aides' contacts with russia, there would be plenty to be asked just about this relationship between the u.s. and israel, wolf. >> four questions. two american reporters, two israeli reporters. very often there are multi-part questions. we saw ron dermer, the ambassador to the united states walk in, lay out a little folder on the lecturn where the prime minister will be speaking. presumably some remarks, his opening remarks. both of these leaders will have opening statements followed by the q and a with reporters. barbara star is over at the pentagon. barbara, there's a lot of discussion that will involve the u.s.-israeli relationship hovering over this much more significantly for the president. is the turmoil involving his national security team. you're getting insight from your sources over at the pentagon and
elsewhere. update our viewers. >> well, wolf, one of the key questions, though, even if mr. trump doesn't get a question about it because he doesn't ask someone who might ask him that question, he is not going to be hide from this forever, if that is what the intention is because you are seeing growing calls in congress for some type of investigation into all of this. the latest information is that we now know that trump aides throughout the summer, while trump was the nominee, had constant and frequent contacts with russian officials, with russian persons. it was all monitored by the u.s. intelligence community. the intelligence community growing so alarmed by the frequency of the contact and what might be being discussed that they briefed then president obama and briefed mr. trump about all of this. now, to be clear, we do not know publically what was discussed in these conversations that were monitored by the intelligence community, but it is another
contradiction, it is another underscoring that the trump camp did, in fact, have frequent constant communications with russian persons, with russian entities. you are seeing those calls in congress for a more open transparent look at all of this. now, as far as the israeli meeting goes, one of the things we're beginning to hear here at the pentagon is there's some anxiousness to get a new national security advisor in place, get the nsc, the national security council back up and fully running because as one official said to me a short time ago, if we call over there, we don't know who to talk to. we don't even know who is going to answer the phone. there's a lot of frustration and a lot of urgency in the various departments, i think, around washington for the white house to get this sorted out and to get moving to get the nsc up and running fully. wolf. >> the israeli delegation clearly is seated there. the u.s. delegation, the american officials, have not yet
walked in, although i assume they'll be walking in very, very shortly. >> john king is here. our krbt. he is joining us. alice is our global affairs correspondent and david, global affairs analyst, former advisor to numerous secretaries of state, aaron david miller with us. orin lieberman is still in jerusalem. we'll get to him shortly. you and i have covered the white house in a long time. i don't remember, if ever, a joint news conference that a president has with a visiting foreign leader that begins their conversation, and then they sit down afterwards for a substantive dialogue. almost always, i think always, the news conference is at the end of the meetings, not at the beginning before the meetings. >> everything about this president and everything about the first 27 days of his presidency is different from the scheduling. you are right. normally they talk first. now, what does it do?
it allows them to say we haven't talked about that yet if you press them on the two-state solution or how hard will president trump push back on israeli settlement expansion, israeli settlement growth. it's at least the beginning of a process to start a peace process back in place. he can say i'm going to talk to the prime minister. you can deflect those questions. that arrival ceremony, as you noted, want an official state arrival ceremony, but i have never seen that done for a visiting head of foreign government to go out to the south. we've seen the president on the north side, prime minister abe, here last week. again, the president trying to send the signal this is an elevated u.s.-israeli relationship. these are two men that know each other from the new york days. this is very important. interesting dynamics. as we talk about -- you are talking to barbara about general flynn being missing, that was prime minister netanyahu's best voice inside the trump administration for a tougher posture with iran. he is now gone. the flexties of these conversations between these two leaders, just in the u.s.-israeli context, are fascinating, and then you have the much larger bubble, cloud, over this white house right now about the dealings with russia and the entire political
standing of this president. it's a big day for the president. quite unusual. remarkable that they would come out and talk first before they've had any conversations. >> make a good point. maybe they'll be able to say we're going to discuss that. we'll get back to you later. sensitive issues. alice, moving the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem during the campaign. donald trump said, yes, that was going to happen. that was going to happen quickly. now he is saying not so fast. as far as a two-state solution, the last night -- a trump administration official suggested, well, maybe that's not necessarily the u.s. objective right now. it was a pretty sensitive -- pretty sensitive moment because for decades republican administrations and democratic administrations have always said in the end there should be a peace agreement between the israelis and palestinians. israel along side a new state of palestine. >> i think a lot of this right now is for prime minister netanyahu's benefit. i mean, this arrival ceremony, as you saw, this press conference before the actual
meeting allows netanyahu to get this on the evening news, although maybe they could have done the meeting a little bit earlier. you see netanyahu has walked away from a lot of the things that he said in the campaign. he said that he wanted to negotiate the ultimate deal. he said that he was going to be very firm on supporting israel on settlements. he said he was going to move the embassy, and now he seems to be walking not necessarily walking away, but softening these positions. i think this is really a visit right now to boost netanyahu's standing at home. he is facing multiple investigations and his own government. he needs that kind of boost that they are rekindling this relationship. i don't think anything is really going to be -- you're not going to see any deliverables out of this meeting. i think you want to see a reaffirmation of the commitment to the relationship. >> we're seeing more people coming in this. we're still waiting for the arrival of others. momentarily this news conference will begin. orin lieberman, the prime
minister right now, he is facing enormous problems domestically in israel, including criminal investigations. he has been interviewed at least once, maybe twice by israeli police right now. update our viewers on that. >> he has been interviewed three times for more than eight hours. more than ten hours, i believe, over the course of the last few weeks, and there are some reports that there's a fourth interview coming related to a couple of different cases here. as of right now, those cases are a criminal investigation. they don't move quickly. wolf, you know that there are multiple prime ministers, including netanyahu himself that have been faced with -- or have faced criminal investigations, and the question is where do they go? netanyahu himself has been investigated. those led nowhere. there were no charges filed. there was no indictment. that is what he is predicting will happen again this time. he is trying to portrait a confidence, and yet, the investigations have shaken public confidence in him. there's some politicians who said if he is indicted, he should step down. others have said stay on until
charges actually come and until you're convicted. under israeli law, he is allowed to stay in power to remain the prime minister. not only until he is convicted, but until those convictions are upheld through the entire appeals process. again, though, it's important here that as he faces these investigations, nothing here is happening quickly. the police are being very careful. the attorney general here is a netanyahu appointee. he, too, will be very careful. alise is right that he is facing that, says and he also facing tremendous political pressure. his right wing coalition. many in his own party have called on him to walk away from a two-state solution. his public commitments to a two-state solution and simply abandon that. that's the political pressure he is facing ahead of this. >> we see the first lady melania trump and mrs. netanyahu. they sat down, and jared kushner and ivanka trump there. steve bannon, the top strategic
advisor steven miller is there. other u.s. officials there. i think reince priebus, we saw as well. the president and prime minister with all of the aides, the israeli delegation, the u.s. officials, now there jared kushner, he has been discussed by the president as a middle east envoy. a special negotiator sitting next to ivanka. that would be pretty extraordinary for the son-in-law to emerge now as the peace negotiator, if you will, between the israelis and the palestinians. >> i think the two leaders are going to walk in any second. sean spicer put the president's remarks on the podium. it is unusual. there was the whole conversation about is this nepotism to bring your sobl into a key role in the white house. we saw the president's daughter play a key role at a business roundtable yesterday. >> all right. there they are. the prime minister and the president. the president will speak first. >> thank you very much.
thank you. today i have the honor of welcoming my friend, prime minister benjamin netanyahu to the white house. with this visit the united states, again, reaffirms our unbreakable bond with our cherished ally, israel. the partnership between our two countries built on our shared values has advanced the cause of human freedom, dignity, and peace. these are the building blocks of democracy. the state of israel is a symbol to the world of resilience in the face of oppression. i think of no other state that's gone through what they've gone, and of survival in the face of
genocide. we will never forget what the jewish people have endured. your perseverance in the face of hostility, your open democracy in the face of violence, and your success in the face of tall odds is truly inspirational. the security challenges faced by israel are enormous, including the threat of iran's nuclear ambitions, which i've talked a lot about. one of the worst deals i've ever seen is the iran deal. my administration has already imposed new sanctions on iran, and i will do more to prevent iran from ever developing -- i mean ever -- a nuclear weapon. security assistance to israel is currently at an all-time high, insuring that israel has the ability to defend itself from
threats of which there are, unfortunately, many. both of our countries will continue and grow. we have a long history of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and the fight against those who do not value human life. america and israel are two nations that cherish the value of all human life. this is one more reason why we reject unfair and one sided actions against israel at the united nations, which has treated he israel, in my opinion, very, very unfairly. other international forums, as well as boycotts that target israel. our administration is committed to working with israel and our common allies in the region towards greater security and
stability. that includes working toward a peace agreement between israel and the palestinians. the united states will encourage a peace and really a great peace deal. we've been working on it very, very diligently. very important to me also. it's something we want to do. it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement. we'll be beside them and working with them. as with any successful negotiation, both sides will have to make compromises. you know that, right? i want the i says really people to know that the united states stands with israel in the struggle against terrorism. as you know, mr. prime minister, our two nations will always
condemn terrorist acts. peace requires nations to uphold the dignity of human life and to be a voice for all of those who are endangered and forgotten. those are the ideals to which we all and will always aspire and commit. this will be the first of many productive meetings, and i, again,ing mr. prime minister, thank you very much for being with us today. mr. prime minister, thank you. >> president trump, thank you for the truly warm hospitality. you and melania have shown me, my wife sarah, our entire delegation. i deeply value your friendship
to me, to the state of israel. it was so clearly evident in the words you just spoke. israel has no better ally than the united states, and i want to assure you the united states has no better ally than israel. our alliance has been remarkably strong, but under your leadership, i'm confident that we'll get even stronger. i look forward to working with you, to dramatically upgrade our alliance in every field, in security, in technology, and cyber and trade and so many others, and i certainly welcome your forth right call to insure that israel is treated fairly in international forums and that the slander and boycotts of israel are resisted mightily by the power and moral position of the united states of america.
as you have said, our alliance is based on a deep bond of common values and common interests. increasingly, those values and interests are under attack by one malevolent force. radical islamic terror. mr. president, you have shown great clarity and courage in confronting the challenge head on. you call for confronting iran's terrorist regime preventing iran from realizing this terrible deal into a nuclear arsenal. you said that the united states is committed to preventing iran from getting nuclear weapons. you call for the defeat of isis. under your leadership, i believe we can reverse the rising tide of radical islam, and in this great task, as in so many
others, israel stands with you, and i stand with you. rolling back radical islam, we can seize an historic opportunity because for the first time in my lifetime and for the first time in the life of my country, arab countries in the region do not see israel as an enemy, but increasingly as an ally. i believe that under your leadership, this change in our region creates an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen security and advance peace. let us seize this moment together. let us bolster security. let us seek new avenues of peace, and let us bring the remarkable alliance between israel and the united states to
even greater heights. thank you, thank you, mr. president. >> thank you. again, thank you. >> we'll take a couple of questions. david brodie. christian broadcasting. david. >> thank you, mr. president, mr. prime minister. both of you have criticized the iran nuclear deal and at times even called for its repeal. i'm wondering if you are concerned at all as it relates to not just the national security advisor, michael flynn, who is recently no longer here, but also some of those events that have been going on with the communication of russia. if that is going to hamper this deal at all and whether or not to keep iran from becoming a nuclear state. secondly, on the settlement issue, are you both on the same page? how do you exactly term that as it relates to the settlement issue? thank you. >> michael flynn, general flynn is a wonderful man. i think he has been treated
very, very unfairly by the media. as i call it, the fake media in many cases. i think it's really a sad thing that he was treated so badly. i think in addition to that from intelligence papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. it's criminal action, criminal act, and it's been going on for a long time before me, but now it's really going on. people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the democrats had under hillary clinton. i think it's very, very unfair what's happened to general flynn, the way he was treated, and the documents and papers that were illegally -- i stress that -- illegally leaked. very, very unfair. as far as settlements, i would like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit. we'll work something out, but i would like to see a deal be made.
i think a deal will be made. i know that every president would like to. most of them have not started until late because they never thought it was possible. it wasn't possible because they didn't do it, but b.b. and i have known each other a long time. a smart man. great negotiator. i think we're going to make a deal. it might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand. that's a possibility. let's see what we do. >> let's try. >> doesn't sound too optimistic, but -- good negotiator. >> that's the art of the deal. >> i also want to thank -- i also want to thank sarah. could you please stand up. you've been so nice to melania, and i appreciate it very much. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you. your turn.
>> please, go ahead. >> mr. president, in your vision for the new middle east peace, are you ready to give up the notion of two state solution adopted by previous administration and will you be willing to hear different ideas from the prime minister and some of his partners they're asking to do? frafrp, an annex diagnosisation in parts of the west bank, construction, and one more question. are you going to fulfill your promise to move the u.s. embassy in israel to jerusalem, and if so, when? mr. prime minister, did you come here tonight to tell the president that you are backing off the two-state solution? thank you. >> so i'm looking at two state and one state, and i like the one that both parties like. i'm very happy with the one that both parties like. i can live with either one. i thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two, but
honestly, if bebe and if the palestinians -- if israel and the palestinians are happy, i'm happy with the one they like the best. as far as the embassy moving to jerusalem, i would love to see that happen. we're looking at it very, very strongly. we're looking at it with great care. believe me. we'll see what happens. okay? >> thank you. i read yesterday an american official said that if you ask five people what two states would look like, you would get eight different answers. well, mr. president, if you ask five israelis, you would get 12 different answers. rather than deal with labels, i want to deal with substance. it's something aye hoped to do for years in a world that's absolutely fixated on labels and not on substance. here's the substance.
there are two prerecollect qpre peace that i laid out several years ago. they haven't changed. first, the palestinians must recognize the jewish state. they have to stop calling for israel's destruction. they have to stop educating their people for israel's destruction. second, in any peace agreement israel must retain the entire area north of the jordan river, because if we don't we don't know what had happen. otherwise, we get another radical islamic state in the palestinian area's ploeding the peace, exploding the middle east. now, unfortunately, the palestinians vihamently reject both prerequisites for peace. first, they call for israel's destruction, inside their schools, inside their mosque, inside the textbooks. you have to read it to believe it. they even -- you know, they even deny, mr. president, our
historical connection to our homeland. i suppose you have to ask yourself why do -- why are jews called jews? well, the chinese are called chinese because they come from china. the japanese are called japanese because they come from japan. jews are called jews because they come from judeah. unfortunately, the palestinians not only deny the past, but they also poison the present. they name public squares in honor of mass murderers who murdered israelis, and i have to say who also murdered americans. they pay monthly salaries to the families of murderers like the family of the terrorist who killed a wonderful young american, a west point graduate who was stabbed to death while visiting israel. so this is the source of the conflict.
the persistent palestinian refusal to recognize a jewish state in any boundary that's persistent rejection. that's the reason we don't have peace. now, that has to change. i want it to change. not only have i not abandoned these two prerequisites of peace. they've become even more important because of the rising tide of fan aticism that has swept the middle east and affected palestinian society. i want those two prerequisites of peace reinstated, but if anyone believes that i as prime minister of israel, responsible for the security of my country would gladly walk into a palestinian terrorist state that seeks the destruction of my country, they're gravely mistaken. the two prerequisites of peace, recognition of the jewish state, and israel's security needs west of the jordan. they remain pertinent.
we have to look for new ways, new ideas, on how to reinstate and how to move peace forward, and i believe that the great opportunity for peace comes from a reasonable approach from involving our newfound arab partners in the pursuit of a broader peace and peace with the palestinians. i greatly look forward to discussing it with you in detail, mr. president, because i think that if we work together, we have a shot. >> and we have been discussing that, and it is something that is very different, hasn't been discussed before, and it's actually a much bigger deal, much more important deeshlgs in a sense. it would take in many, many countries, and it would cover a very large territory. i didn't know you were going to be mentioning that, but that's -- now that you did, i think it's terrific.
i think we have some pretty good cooperation from people that in the past would never ever have even thought about doing this. we'll see how that work out. okay? katie from town hall. where is katie? right there. katie. >> thank you, mr. president. you said in your earlier remarks that both sides will have to make compromises when it comes to a peace deal. you've mentioned a halt on settlements. can you lay out a few more specific compromises that you have in mind, both for the israelis and for the palestinians? and, mr. prime minister, what expectations do you have from the new administration about how to either amend the iran nuclear agreement or how to dismantle it altogether and how to overall work with the new administration to combat iran's increased aggression? not only in the last couple of months, but the past couple of years as well. >> it's actually an interesting question. i think that the israelis are going to have to show some flexibility, which is hard. it's hard to do.
they're going to have to show the fact that they really want to make a deal. i think our new concept that we've been discussing actually for a while is something that allows them to show more flexibility than they have in the past because you have a lot bigger canvas to play with. and i think they'll do that. i think they very much would like to make a deal or i wouldn't be happy, and i wouldn't be here, and i wouldn't be as optimistic as i am. i really think that -- i can tell you from the standpoint of bebe and from the standpoint of israel, i really believe they want to make a deal, and they would like to see the big deal. i think the palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they're taught from a very young age. they're taught tremendous hate. i have seen what they're taught. and you can talk about flexibility there too, but it starts at a very young age, and it starts in the school room,
and they have to acknowledge israel. they're going to have to do that. there's no way a deal can be made if they're not ready to acknowledge a very, very great and important country. and i think they're going to be willing to do that also. now i also believe we're going to have, katie, other players at a very high level, and i think it might make it easier on both the palestinians and israel to get something done. okay? thank you. very interesting question. thank you. >> you asked about iran. one thing is preventing iran from getting nuclear weapons. something that president trump and i i think are deeply committed to do, and we are obviously going to discuss that. i think beyond that, president trump has led a very important effort in the past few weeks. just coming into the presidency. he pointed out there are
violations, iran yan violations, on ballistic missile tests. by the way, these ballistic missiles are inscribed in hebrew. israel must be destroyed. the palestinian -- the iranian foreign minister said our ballistic missiles are not intended against any country. no. they write on the missile in hebrew israel must be destroyed. challenge iran on its violations of ballistic missiles. imposing sanctions on hezbollah, preventing them. making them pay for the terrorism that they form throughout the middle east and beyond, well beyond. i think that's a change that is clearly evident since president trump took office. i welcome that. i think it's -- let me say this, very open. i think it's long overdue. i think that if we work together and not just the united states and israel, but so many others
in the region who see eye to eye on the great magnitude and danger of the iranian threat, then i think -- i think we can roll back iran's aggression and danger. that's something that is important for israel, the arab states, but i think it's vitally important for america. these guys are developing icbm's. they're developing -- they want to get to a nuclear arsenal, not a bomb. 100 bombs. they want to have the ability to launch them everywhere on earth and including and especially eventually the united states. this is something that is important for all of us. i welcome the change, and i intend to work with president trump very closely so that we can thwart this danger. >> do you have somebody? >> mr. president, since your election campaign and even after your victory we've seen a sharp rise in anti-semitic and --
anti-semitic incidence across the united states, and i wonder what do you say among the jewish community in the states and israel and make around the world who believe that your administration is playing with -- and maybe racist tones? mr. prime minister, do you agree to what the president just said about the need for israel to restrain or to stop settlement activity in the west bank, and a quick follow-up on my friend's question. simple question. do you back off from your vision to the end of the conflict of two-state solution as you lay out in bolly land speech or do you still support it? thanks. >> well, i just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had. 306 electoral college votes. we were not supposed to crack 220. you know that, right? there was no way to 221, but then they said there's no way to 270, and there's tremendous enthusiasm out there. i will say that we are going to
have peace in this country. we are going to stop crime in this country. we are going to do everything within our power to stop long simmering racism and every other thing that is going on. there's a lot of bad things that have been taking place over a long period of time. i think one of the reasons i won the election is we have a very, very divided nation. very divided. hopefully i'll be able to do something about that, and i -- you know, it was something that was very important to me. as far as people, jewish people, so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now. a son-in-law. and three beautiful grandchildren. i think that you are going to see a lot different united states of america over the next
three, four, or eight years. i think a lot of good things are happening. you're going to see a lot of love. you're going to see a lot of love. okay? thank you. >> i believe that the issue of the settingsments is not the core of the conflict. nor does it really drive the conflict. i think it's an issue. it has to be resolved in the context of peace negotiations. i think it also -- we also are going to speak about it, prosecute trump and i, so we can arrive in an understanding so we don't keep on bumping into each other all the time on this issue and we're going to discuss this. on the question you said, you just came back with your question to the problem that i said. it's the label. what is -- it mean by two states? what does he mean? a state that doesn't recognize the jewish state, a state that basically is open for attack against israel.
what are we talking about? are we talking about costa rica? are we talk about another iran? obviously it means different things. i told you what are the conditions that i believe are necessary for an zbreemt e agreement. it's the recognition of the jewish state, and it's israel's, israel's security control of the entire area. otherwise, we're just fantasizing. otherwise, we'll get another failed state, another terrorist islamist dictatorship that will not work for peace, but work to destroy us, but also destroy any hope, any hope, for a peaceful future for our people. i have been very clear about those conditions, and they haven't changed. haven't changed. if you read what i said eight years ago, it's exactly that, and i repeated that again and again and again. if you want to deal with labels, deal with labels. i'll deal with substance. finally, one -- if i can respond to something that i know from personal experience, i have known president trump for many years, says and to allude to him
or to his people, his team, some of whom i have known for many years too -- can i reveal, jared, how long we've known you? well, he was never small. he was always big. he was always tall. i have known the president, and i have known his family and his team for a long time. there is no greater supporter of the jewish people and the jewish state than president donald trump. i think we should put that to rest. >> thank you very much. very nice. i appreciate that very much. >> contact with the russians -- [ applause ] >> president trump, prime minister netanyahu, wrapping up their joint news conference in
the east room at the white house. going through a lot of issues involving the middle east peace process, the israeli palestinian peace process, trying to get it started once again. also, the president interestingly, blaming the leaks for all the troubles involving his national security advisor whom he fired earlier this week. he basically said that the michael flynn was fired. it was totally unfair. he is vea very, very good man. he didn't explain, didn't go into details, why he actually went ahead and fired michael flynn. two questions from american journalists this time from town hall and the christian broadcasting network. two questions from israeli journalists. john king, if he was treated so unfairly, michael flynn, in this process and he is such a good man, why did the president fire him? >> well, it would be nice, it would be nice, if the
conservative outlets the president is calling on would ask him tough questions, and instead of curry favor with the president, they might do him a fare by letting him answer these questions because until he does, this story is not going to go away. he just made it more complicated by saying that. yesterday the white house said the national security advisor was fired and the president asked for his resignation after he is eroded trust. he lost trust of the vice president first and then the president looked into this, and then the president of the united states just told the american people and the world something different. unfair media attacks on his national security advisor led this man to unfairly be run out of the white house. well, who is telling the truth? who speaks for the president? who should we believe? the president? his press secretary? other people around the president? they all give different accounts. you have a white house now that is in crisis, and calling on conservative news outlets, fine, but it doesn't answer the questions that the american people should have. not just the news media. i will also say this. you just had the president -- this is his right -- quite casually throw years of u.s. foreign policy down the grain every drain on the i don't care
if it's a one state or two-state solution. this is up to the parties. the united states came up with the two-state stloougs solution because it knows the parties are in their positions. they know it was unlikely to negotiate peace. it was part of the u.s. effort to push them. yes, you negotiate the details, but we want to give you a broad framework. it is remarkable that even before the first official meeting with the israeli prime minister, the president of the united states just ripped up the bush administration, the obama administration, u.s. policy and said i don't care. you guys figure this out. >> he said whatever the palestinians and israelis want. one state, fine. you want two states, that's fine. jim, you wanted to make a quick point. >> this week russia is the story. his national security advisor forced to resign, pushed out because of communications with russia about sanctions. last night and today you have our reporting, "new york times" as well, on tremendous evidence of contacts at the highest level. constant contact between his campaign and the russians in the midst of an unprecedented attack on the u.s. electoral process. first of all, he is not asked about that. that's an issue with who he
asked and the folks that ask their questions and why. his only answer to it which he gave an answer to another question, one he said it focused on the leaks. he didn't challenge the merits of these contacts. he just said the leaks are illegal, a point he has made before, and then he said something that he repeated on twitter that it's all about people trying to cover up for the terrible loss of the clintons based on what, i don't know. who is trying to cover up for the terrible loss? his national security advisor just got drummed out of the white house because of contacts intercepted by u.s. intelligence. that's just -- it's the reddest of red herrings. >> there's the coverup. >> i want to quickly go to jim accosta. he is in the east room. jim, was that you who shouted out a question to the president at the very end which he ignored? >> yes, wolf. guilty as charged. that was me. i tried to ask that question there as president trump was leaving the room. it got quiet for a few moments, and when those moments come, you take full advantage. i tried to ask the president about his associates' contacts with the russians during the
campaign. he seemed to pause for a moment as if perhaps he wanted to answer the question, but then he turned to prime minister netanyahu and left the east room. just to pick up on what you were saying a few moments ago, yes, what president trump said during this news conference about michaeling flynn being treated unfarley by the "fake news media," that is not consistent with what his own officials said yesterday in the white house. the white house briefing room. white house press secretary sean spicer said that the national security advisor, who is now gone, misled the vice president of the united states about his phone conversations with the russian ambassador, and so that is not something that michael flynn was treated unfairly about. he did this. he had to pay the price. now, the president is obviously very upset about leaks coming from the intelligence community or the laufrmt community to the news media, but these are questions that are being asked, and they're being answered by officials in this government. that is something that has gone
on long before donald trump occupied the oval office. i think one other thing we want to comment on very quickly, wolf, just because you mentioned this a few moments ago. yes, the two questions that were asked or called upon from the president in this news conference went to the christian broadcasting network, accident which is obviously owned by pat robertson, the televangelist down in virginia. it's a very conservative broadcasting network, and town hall.com, which is a very conservative news website, and so in the last three news conferences, wolf, all of the questions to the american news media have been handled by conservative press, and i think, wolf, there's no other way to describe it but the fix is in. this white house, this president, does not want to answer questions, critical questions, about his associates, his aides' contacts with the russians during the course of that campaign just as his national security advisor is being run out of this white house on a rail. i think that this only, you know -- they may think that this
is being cute or they think this is strategic in terms of trying to shield the president from questions, but those questions can only be shielded for so long, wolf. >> an important point. david, just to summarize what the president said about michael flynn, the man he fired as his national security advisor just three weeks into his administration, flynn was treated very unfairly by the fake news media. this is sad. treated so badly. sensitive papers were leaked. this is a criminal act. it's all part of a democratic coverup. very, very unfair. these were all illegally leaked. he says all that, but then he doesn't say what we heard from sean spicer, the press secretary, yesterday that the president lost confidence, lost trust in his national security advisor because he misled them on his conversations with the russian ambassador to the united states on sanctions. >> also called him a wonderful man. now, i don't know, but if i had a spokesman -- i don't, but if i had one, and i sent them out to the briefing room and said that
there was an eroding and evolving trust factor over several weeks duei don't think say, he's a wonderful man. i'd ask for his resignation. i got it. it makes no sense. here's what makes sense. it gives us the real insight into how donald trump thought about this entire scenario. he didn't think what michael flynn did was so bad because what he really believes is that it got out in the newspapers and it was exposed that he was lying to vice president mike pence. and because of the exposure of that fact, that's why he had to go. that's what he's thinking. that's not the thinking that his spokesperson said yesterday. >> this is the third press conference with a world leader that this situation with russia is dominating the news, distracting from his other foreign policy agenda. this is a very important meeting
with prime minister netanyahu, a good story for donald trump to talk about, rekindling this relationship with israel after eight years of acrimony. this story continues to dog him and continues to distract his entire administration. >> i want to get some analysis from distinguished scholar aaron david miller who served for multiple u.s. secretaries of state, was intimately involved in the peace process. you heard what both of these leaders say, the president of the united states making a policy, two-state solution, fine, one-state solution, fine if that's what they want. but israel now has an emerging relationship with a whole host of other arab countries, presumably referring to jordan or egypt or saudi arabia, united emirates, bahrain, other countries. and this could be part of a regional peace agreement. what do you make of that? >> you know, as a "star trek"
fan, wolf, this is nothing short of a vulkin mine field. clearly each leader was going to drastically improve the personal relationship that they allotted one another. particularly the prime minister comment about laying to rest the sense that the president or anyone in his immediate circle was anti-semitic or anti-israel. second, on the iran issue, they both hate the agreement. they didn't talk about details but it's clear they will be operating in a much closer way and then finally, on the issue of israel palestinian peace, if they didn't completely close the door to the two-state solution, which at the moment is going to be almost impossible to implement, they almost completely buried it. both of them talked clearly and the president was surprised that the prime minister raised the issue of broadening the circle. but the prime minister talked about new avenues and out of all
three things, i think you're going to see at least for now a profound improvement in the substantive relationship between these two. one additional point. it's striking that the president of the united states said how important the pursuit of peace is to him. and the signaling out of jared kushner by the prime minister -- yeah, by the prime minister, also suggests that for the first time that i know, in my long experience, the con for this, the control for this is repositive not just in the white house but a man who is not only a family member of the president but deemed to be one of the his closest personal advisers. that's good news if you found an approach to arab/israeli peacemaking. >> oren liebermann is our correspondent in jerusalem. oren, we heard the president say
something that the prime minister presumably was not that excited about when he said to the prime minister, as far as israeli settlements on the west bank are concerned, hold back. i'd like to see israel hold back. he then went on to say i think we're going to make a deal but he was pretty precise in telling the prime minister he's not very enthusiastic about israel going ahead and building more settlements. >> reporter: especially after we saw the few announcements after the election by donald trump, more than 5,600 settlements approved by netanyahu. that prompted president trump to say settlement expansion is unhelpful to peace. so making it clear here, hold off on this a little bit. you're right, that's not what netanyahu wanted to hear. when he was asked about that, he said we'll come to some agreement. it will be interesting to see if they come to some agreement,
perhaps one of the options floated by the defense minister here and is expansion and settlement growth within the settlement blocks and freezing them outside of the settlement blocks. although, thousands of settlement homes is a large number. it's the largest settlement approval we've seen from israel in years. it's not enough for israel's right wing government and many who want to see not only thousands of settlement homes but all of the west banks and the education minister tweeted right after the end of this conference and here's what he said. "a new era. after 24 years, the palestinian flag has been taken down and exchanged with an israeli flag. i commend prime minister netanyahu for looking out for security." he clearly heard what netanyahu said, which was dodging the question of a two-state solution. he looked at that as netanyahu backing away from that commitment a few years ago to a
two-state solution. so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. there weren't many details here but netanyahu working for wriggle room as they figure out the middle east policy. >> everybody, stand by. there's much more of our special coverage coming up. more on president trump's meeting with the israeli prime minister. this is amid new questions about the trump camp's ties to russia. more after this. across new york state, from long island to buffalo, from rochester to the hudson valley, from albany to utica, creative business incentives, infrastructure investment, university partnerships, and the lowest taxes in decades are creating a stronger economy and the right environment in new york state for business to thrive. let us help grow your company's tomorrow - today at esd.ny.gov
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