White House Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus joins Chris Wallace to discuss President Trump's dimplomatic positioning at this week's G-20 Summit and the latest GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Wallace also focuses in on a small discrepancy between the American and Russia accounts of Friday's Trump-Putin meeting:
WALLACE: OK, I want to clear up, speaking of foreign policy meetings, what really happened in the Putin-Trump summit in Hamburg on Friday. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says that after Putin denied meddling in election, he, Trump, this is his quote, said that he had accepts these assertions, and that President Trump said, this is Lavrov quoting Trump, certain circles in the U.S. are still exaggerating, although they cannot prove this, the topic of Russia's interference with the election.
Reince, is that true? Did the president say what Lavrov says he said?
PRIEBUS: No, it's not true. The president absolutely did not believe the denial of president Putin. What he did his he immediately came into the meeting, talked about Russian meddling in the U.S. election, went after that issue at least two separate times.
This was not just a five-minute piece of the conversation. This was an extensive portion of the meeting and after going at it with President Putin more than once, two times, maybe even three times, the president at that point, after spending a large part of the meeting on the subject, moved on to other topics.
WALLACE: So, to be clear --
WALLACE: And we're going to get to that. He does not accept Putin's denial. He believes the Russians meddled?
PRIEBUS: He's answered this question many times. He said they probably meddled in the election. They did meddle in the election. The one thing that he also says, which drives the media crazy, but it's an absolute fact, is that others have as well, and that's true. China has, North Korea has and they have consistently over many, many years.
So, yes, he believes that Russia probably committed all of these acts that we've been told of, but he also believes that other countries also participated in this --
WALLACE: Let's move to the next subject, which is, what is the response? What are the consequences for doing that?
I want to put a tweet that your president -- your boss has been very busy on Twitter today. I want to put up this tweet. Now, it is time to move forward and working constructively with Russia.
Does that mean that they're off the hook as far as Russian meddling is concerned?
PRIEBUS: No, it doesn't mean they're off the hook, but what it means is, is that we're not going to forgo progress simply because we have a disagreement in regards to this meddling in the United States election, what it means is that we need to move forward with things like a cease-fire in Syria, which is going to save a lot of lives, which we are doing I think starting today in southwestern Syria. It means we need to move forward with working together with ISIS. We need to move forward with working together in resolving the conflict in Ukraine.
WALLACE: So, how do you --
PRIEBUS: So, you can have -- you can chew gum -- walk and chew gum at the same time, Chris.
WALLACE: How do you respond to Democrats like Chuck Schumer who are saying it's disgraceful that the president comes out of this meeting and basically says, oh, we're going to move forward?
PRIEBUS: Right. Well, we can solve world peace and world famine and I think Senator Schumer would say the same thing. So, look, they're programmatic when it comes to trashing the president.
When you look at what President Trump did in Europe and recommitting ourselves to our NATO allies, committing ourselves to our partners in Europe, our partners across the world, committing ourselves to the values of the West, delivering a speech in Poland which many people said are the best speeches since Ronald Reagan. You look at what he did in Hamburg. I mean, other than our small disagreement on trade and the Paris agreement, we have unification with our allies.
WALLACE: All right. Well, I want to get to that with you. But let's talk about one more aspect of the Trump-Putin meeting and that is progress in Syria. They did discuss it. Here is how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described it afterwards.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I would tell you that, by and large, our objectives are exactly the same. Maybe they've got the right approach and we got the wrong approach.
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WALLACE: I want to ask about that. The secretary of state says the U.S. and Russia have exactly the same objectives and that maybe they have the right approach and we have the wrong approach. Russia, Putin are backing Assad who has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of civilians, and they may have the right approach?
PRIEBUS: Well, look, I think what he may have been referring to is that Barack Obama put a red line in the sand and didn't actually follow through with the threat that he made in Syria and we find ourselves from -- we find ourselves behind the eight ball in Syria because nothing happened for many, many years and now, we are looking -- from the outside looking in. That all being said, we need to move forward and actually maybe work with Russia on bringing peace to Syria and I think that's what you're seeing the beginning stages of happening.
WALLACE: But they want Assad. They want somebody who, the butcher of Baghdad who was slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people.
PRIEBUS: Maybe not long term. I think it's yet to be seen what is going to be of Assad. I mean, certainly, he's a butcher and he's a bad person.
And you've seen President Trump act decisively when it comes to Syria. It didn't take him long to pull the trigger in regard to a response to the chemical attack. That's a decisive leader and that's who the G20 leaders saw in Hamburg, as someone who is decisive, someone who is not afraid, someone who doesn't kowtow, and stands up for himself when it comes to issues of disagreement like trade and the Paris agreement.