TRANSCRIPT

Highlights from President Trump's whirlwind overseas trip

From the Middle East to NATO to the G7, analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel

 

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," May 26, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people, all in the name of religion.

So you had to know the storyline -- never mentioned the word "Israel."

I have heard it's one of the toughest deals of all, but I have a feeling that we're going to get there eventually, I hope.

Innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life.

Thank you very much. Thank you. I won't forget what you said.

And we will work together on various problems. Number one right now is terrorism.

And 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying.

I have seen you today, and I'll be seeing you I'm sure many times over the years to come.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: President Trump on this trip, a look back on some of the images and sights and sounds as the G-7 continues, the economic summit. Let's bring in our panel: Michael Needham is the chief executive officer at Heritage Action for America; Tom Bevan, Real Clear Politics cofounder and publisher, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, Michael, your perception of this trip as he is coming to the end of it here. And what was accomplished and what wasn't?

MICHAEL NEEDHAM, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: I think it was a very successful trip. You had him first start off in the Middle East, show a clear difference between Barack Obama whose first trip involved him going to Egypt and kind of apologizing for American history. Instead this was a president who went, showed strength, recognized that Iran and its hegemonic ambitions for the region was a threat for America, has gone to Europe. And look, it's no secret that a lot of the president's supporters have differences of opinions with the kind of G-7 cosmopolitan worldview, and some of those things came up with regards to trade, the Paris climate protocols. And so I think this was a successful trip of Trump being Trump and really laying out a strong path forward for America.

BAIER: There were two sides to this trip, the beginning with Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Pope, and then obviously these European leaders probably are more aligned with Barack Obama than they are Donald Trump. But some hard messages were delivered.

TOM BEVAN, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Yes, exactly. Definitely the latter part of the trip was the tougher part, the bumpier part. You had that flap with Theresa May and the U.K. over the intel which I think Trump sufficiently patched up. But certainly, as Michael mentioned, trade and climate change are the two big issues on the European radar where Trump is significantly less interested. I mean, and I think he did a good job of staying focus on his message, which was uniting around fighting extremism and terrorism.

BAIER: One of the big questions, Charles, is what is going to happen with the climate change with the Paris accords. Gary Cohn, a senior aide on the economic issues to the president, here is what he said in background.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY COHN, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: He did, quote, say "Environment is very, very important to me, Donald Trump. I care a lot about the environment." He talked about environmental awards that he has received in the past. So he didn't want anyone to think that he didn't care about the environment.

I think his views are evolving, and he came here to learn and he came here to get smarter and he came here to hear people's, world leaders' views, some of which have been involved with the Paris agreement for many, many years. His basis for decision ultimately is going to be what's best for the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Obviously on the record but off camera. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, I don't think there is going to be a great decision on climate change. He may or may not, I'm not sure that it is going to matter very much. The climate change accord is extremely weak. It doesn't have any enforcement. We are in it or out of it. I think it's a marginal difference. Everybody knows that we are not where the Europeans are.

I thought overall the trip was very strong at the beginning because it sent a message to Iran that eight years of appeasement are over, and not only is it America that has now a new policy but it looks as if Trump has rallied the Sunni Arabs with Saudi Arabia on that policy, and that is an extremely important message to the Middle East.

I thought the European part was a disaster, his speech in NATO, and not because of the scolding and the paying the dues. That's OK. The Europeans deserve a scolding. This has been a 50-year complaint. But because the world was waiting for Trump to say I support Article 5. That was the purpose of the visit, and he wouldn't say it. And that omission, I think, is going to have a lot of repercussions weakening NATO unity over time. And it's really hard to understand why he didn't say it.

BAIER: He was speaking at NATO in front of the Article 5 memorial. He talked about 9/11. Do you think that it's not -- that the U.S. is not going to live up to Article 5?

KRAUTHAMMER: The point is, what do the Russians think? What do the Estonians think? Every president since Truman has declared fealty to an attack on one is an attack on all. And precisely because he was standing in front of the wall, 9/11 is the only time the article has been invoked, and it was invoked in support of us by our European allies. That was the point of the ceremony. So it is exactly the kind of place and time and occasion for a president who has been skeptical of NATO, called it obsolete, called into question our coming to the aid of the others, to have simply said we support Article 5 as we have ever since the late 1940s. He didn't do it. The omission was a statement.

BAIER: Michael, what has not happened on this trip a lot is tweets. We haven't seen a lot of tweets, very few. And the president has been busy. He is going to head back eventually to a White House that has been under siege with leaks of different things. The latest is that Jared Kushner is at least someone that the FBI is looking at and some of his connections. The Kushner statement, "Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings with the Russians. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry," saying through his attorney that that has not happened, but heading back to this environment.

NEEDHAM: Yes. Look, I think over the months and years that are going forward, this is going to keep coming up. There will be distractions. There will be news stories around the Russia probe, around where former Director Mueller's investigation will lead. Jared Kushner said he is happy to testify before the Senate. He said he is happy to participate in this investigation. So I'm not sure that there is much of a story here other than it's a distraction from everything else that is going on.

Charles mentioned earlier kind of the nonbinding nature of the Paris climate protocols, which is important because this is a decision that apparently the president will make when he comes back. I think really it is the only the nonbinding nature of this that has made a difficult decision. It will have very little impact on global temperatures. It will have a big impact on jobs and people's electrical costs.

The reason that I think that the president is still going to pull out of the Paris protocols is twofold. One, he was absolutely clear on the campaign trail this is a promise he has made and he was elected to do. And second, when the United States speaks, the United States should hold its promises. And if we stay in the Paris protocols, we shouldn't rely on the fact that they're nonbinding. We should pull out. And I think that because the president knows from a policy standpoint pulling out is the right decision, I think he will follow through in the spirit of keeping that campaign promise and keeping America's promises to the world.

BAIER: Tom, on these investigations, short of coming forward with some evidence, what has triggered the most response is the president's response. And because he has been on this trip, there hasn't really been the tweets responding to stories day after day after day.

BEVAN: No, there hasn't. But the leaks have continued. Every day coming out in The New York Times, Washington Post, whatever, the same story, right. Former and current and former government officials basically promoting stories. As Mike mentioned, this story about Jared Kushner was reported two months ago. There is really nothing new here. Yesterday The New York Times splashed on front page a story where there wasn't a single new fact involved if you read it closely. And yet it's still front page news. And that's something the administration is going to have to deal with.

KRAUTHAMMER: I agree. There is no news here. Kushner is going to be questioned. He knows things. There is no indication he is a subject. There is no indication he's a target. There is no even allegation he did anything improper. So what's the story here? Why is it on the front page?

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