tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN October 29, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT
the two men is. the two of them prayed for peace and for each other. >> fascinating. great detail there as well. >> thanks for joining us today. i'm jim sciutto in rome. >> i'm erica hill in new york. stay with us. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts right now. i'm kate bolduan. here's what we're watching that the hour. president biden on the world stage, a warm welcome from the pope. this hour, biden meets with the french president amid strained relations. live rounds on a movie set, the armorer defending her role in the tragedy that led to the fatal shooting by alec baldwin. and one step closer. the fda could soon authorize a vaccine for children as young as 5, leaving only the cdc to weigh in before we see younger kids
get vaccinated. thanks for being here. we begin with breaking news, which is president biden is about to meet with french president emmanuel macron in rome where he will conclude his -- after which he'll conclude his first day of meetings in his high-stake trip to europe. relations between the two countries, the u.s. and france, are strained after france declared a crisis of trust last month, i'm sure you remember, over a u.s. deal to sell nuclear-powered submarines to australia, undercutting another deal with the french. things even devolved to the point where france recalled its u.s. ambassador for the first time in history. and already today, president biden met with pope francis at the vatican for a lengthy 90 minutes. the white house says the second catholic u.s. president hand the pope discussed a range of issues including the pandemic and the climate crisis. let's begin there. kaitlan collins is live in rome and has been following all these
big moments that have been playing out today in this very moment of a big trip. kaitlan, can you set the stage for us for this first face-to-face between biden and macron that's about to play out, this first face-to-face since that falling out? >> reporter: yeah. it's the first of several meetings he'll have with world leaders during this summit on the sidelines. but this one could be the most tense given of course the backdrop, that this is coming a few months after that huge dust-up between the two of them, this major diplomatic feud at times because of course the french were so angered by this deal they were cut out of, derail thard own deal, that they re-called their own ambassador to the u.s. for several days before sending him back. the tensions have calmed some over some phone calls they've had between president biden and president macron, but this is their first time meeting in person. those meetings are much more critical according to both sides because they are in person, they're not conducted over the phone, they don't have a
tran translator, any of that. it's a world leader one-on-one with another world leader talking about the issues. so of course this issue with this submarine deal, this nuclear submarine deal that the u.s. had not informed the french of, that is what they said was really the biggest affront to them, they were kept out of the loop for so long. it's going to be the backdrop of this meeting that is going to happen in just a few moments from now. there are other issues that are going to be discussed, and the white house seems to have this idea that largely they have moved past this and this is a time to try to mend that relationship between these two very old allies. they are going to focus on other issues that of course are definitely up for debate, counterterrorism in the middle east, talking about technology and trade, and of course all these issues that are important to france, including european defense is another one. so one thing we should note, kate, is that to give you a sense of how maybe the french have not completely forgotten what has happened with this submarine deal, this is a meeting that is being held on french territory technically, because it's going to be held at
the french embassy in rome, not at any of the g-20 sites that will be happening with the world leaders tomorrow. i'm told by a diplomatic source this is intentional on the french behalf because of course they wanted this meeting to kind of be on their turf given, of course, the power balance of them going into this meeting following that diplomatic feud. >> or power imbalance, right. exactly right. kaitlan, stay with me. also joining us is cnn global affairs analyst susan glasser, a staff writer for "the new yorker" and wolf blitzer joining us live in rome. wolf, what are you going to be leaning into and listening for in this meeting with macron? >> i'm going to be listening to see what they say publicly, and then we'll all be waiting to hear what went on behind the scenes inside that room. i'm sure there will be leaks coming from the french, leaks coming from the u.s. side. i want to hear what's going on. this is america's oldest ally, france, going back to the revolutionary war. and i think u.s. officials,
including the president of the united states, the vice president, secretary of state tony blinken, the national security adviser jake sullivan, they were all stunned at how this very, very confidential deal that the u.s. and the uk made with australia on these nuclear-powered submarines, that stunned the french. they had no idea. remember, france had a deal to sell dieseseldiesel-powered sub to australia for tennings of millions of dollars. that's going away. there is no consultation between the u.s. and france. france had no advance word. the french were really upset. jake sullivan, the national security adviser, went to paris to try to improve things. the secretary of state tony blinken, who speaks french and has had a long u.s./french relationship, he went to paris. now the president is going to meet with macron and the vice president, kamala harris, is going to go to paris herself to try to ease this relationship, improve the relationship. it's been nasty and ugly.
there was one thought the president himself after scotland would go to paris and try to improve the relationship, but that's gone away. they're meeting at this hour here in rome instead. but the vice president will be going to paris. but it's a very important relationship, and this is one issue that's really been at the center of this rupture, and there's no doubt, i will say, no doubt, i think this was the first time in u.s./french relations that france re-called its ambassador. normally that happens when countries are in a real dispute. for france to do that with the u.s. underscores how serious this crisis was. >> we're watching and waiting to see, as we've been tracking all of the live movements of the president as he's been moving about rome. we'll bring that to everyone as it happens this hour.
susan, you know, biden -- when i'm thinking about this rift and this kind of crisis in confidence and friendship, i started thinking about that video from biden and macron when they were literally arm in arm back in june of this year when that was of course a moment, i think the g-7, that macron declared that america was definitely back when asked about it by reporters. so does that mean the same thing, do you think? if america was back, what it meant in june of this year, does it mean the same now? would macron say the same thing now four months later? >> look, i think the point of this meeting and all this flurry of diplomatic activity, kate, is to send the message we're moving on, that this was a spat between friends as opposed to a major rift of strategic divergence between the two. i think it's been an enormous distraction from two of the top priorities of the biden administration when it comes to foreign policy, one, working to restore alliances that were sort
of battered and bruised over the previous four years of the trump administration, a key part of this administration's strategic goals in the world, working with europeans on things like not just how to counter china and its rising authoritarianism in the world but russia, for example, climate change, not only a subject at the g-20 but also at the cop-26 meeting. so that i think has been a distraction, number one. number two, the heart of the biden foreign policy is the idea that china represents the biggest almost existential geopolitical challenge for united states in the 21st century. and this deal, the submarine deal the french were so exorcised about was a tactical screw-up, a diplomatic foul with the french but not any remorse when it comes to the bigger
strategic decision to make a new -- and to the chinese very challenging alliance with the australians in the region. so those are two things i think have gotten lost a little bit in the sort of -- how mad is france right now as a discussion. >> kate, you mentioned it a little bit, but i wanted to dig deeper into it. moving on, maybe, but forgetting about it completely might be a different thing. the biden team has been working overtime it appears to try and -- i don't know if repair this relationship is kind of the best way i'm thinking about it right now. but what do they say about it? >> reporter: they say they believe this is something that they've kind of moved on from in the sense that it's not going to be a big point of contention in this meeting between the french president and president biden today. it's not to clear that that is going to be the case. it remains to be seen how the french president decides to proceed with this. it is unlikely we'll see the
same level of camaraderie we did four or five months ago at the g-7 summit. i was there and you saw the two of them not just in that moment you shared with macron's arm around president biden's back, but there was another where the two of them were sitting there laughing, talking, and macron was saying, yes, he did think america was back, and making a pretty clear dig at the former president of the united states during that meeting in cornwall in england. so it's unlikely that is going to be the same kind of relationship that you see at least publicly between the two of them when they do neat here at the french embassy in rome in a few moments. i think when it comes to broader relationship between the united states and france, it's not like that relationship will change in a major way. the question of whether or not it undermines the trust between if two of them when that is what president biden came to office saying he was seeking to restore after the way former president donald trump treated a lot of these alliances, that of course undermines that argument in the eyes of the french and of other nations. so i think that is going to be
what president biden is working to try to restore when they are meeting. so we'll also be looking really closely at the joint statement that these two sides issue afterward. often that is a side, a statement that is agreed upon by both sides. i'm told they spend days working on that statement, sending back and forth edits and what not. we'll be waiting to see what it says, do they make concessions toward the french side, any concrete things coming out of that as a way to heal this relationship. >> i think we have some video of the french president, emmanuel macron, arriving. i would assume he's arriving at the french embassy. there's the french first lady. arriving ahead of this meeting. wolf, your final thought on this. kaitlan was talking about the joint statement afterward. you've seen so many of these high-profile, high-stakes, whatever descriptor, and there's
a lot of jockeying and back and forth before those things go out. >> absolutely right. i don't know if they'll say it's fruitful, productive, whatever they say will be diplomatic. no doubt that the strained relationship exists. it's not just --ly say this, kate, it's not just because of the deal, the nuclear-powered submarines deal with australia that caught the french completely by surprise, it's also other issues including the chaotic and deadly u.s. withdrawal of troops from afghanistan. the french were not happy seeing what was going on, the way the u.s. withdrew. they were certain -- and france was deeply involved in afghanistan as we know. so like the other european allies, there has been serious questions raised about u.s. diplomacy since june. i was in geneva at that summit when president biden met with
russian president putin that followed the g-7 and the uk. things were moving seemingly in the right direction. since then there have been these setbacks in u.s. diplomatic efforts including afghanistan, and i think that's undermined confidence that the french and other european allies, the germans, have differences with the u.s. on several of these issues. that's why this g-20 summit taking place this weekend in rome is so critical. >> absolutely. great to see you guys. thank you so much. we'll be watching and bringing you the moments as they happen live as the president will be meeting with french president, we believe, this hour. we'll bring you that as it happens. while the president is overseas, house democratic leaders in the united states, they were again forced to delay a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill yesterday. this is after the president's trip to the hill yesterday, laying it all on the line to his party in that closed-door meeting. so where are things then headed? where are things at this moment?
:'s manu raju is live on capitol hill with the latest reporting. manu, what is the latest you're hearing about the infrastructure bill and broadly speaking where they are in terms of the framework that president biden laid out yesterday? >> reporter: now it's almost certain that progressives in the house will get what they want, the infrastructure bill, that $1.2 trillion plan that the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, had been pushing hard to get a vote on yesterday, that that will move in conjunction with that larger economic bill that joe biden laid out, $1.75 trillion. the progressives have threatened to block that infrastructure plan unless they had an agreement to move that bill along the larger proposal, and also they are pushing to get all 57 democrats to support, say they will back the biden economic framework. right now to this point, there have not been 50 democrats who said they will be yes votes. the two holdout senators who have been that way for votes, joe manchin, kyrsten sinema, have not gone as far as saying
they will endorse the plan. i'm hearing from sources who have been in contact with arizona senator kyrsten sinema, that they are feeling more confident that she will ultimately be a yes on this proposal. people have spoke on the her and have come away with that belief particularly after she brought a statement that was positive about the bill yesterday but stopped short of endorsing it. her office will not comment about whether she will ultimately be a yes, but that is the feeling on democrats. at the same time, joe manchin, it's uncertain where he will come down. i talked to him multiple times yesterday. he would only say he's talking in good faith, but he suggested support for that $1.75 trillion. there is some belief democrats can get there after months of painful and messy negotiations, punt after punt and deadlines being pushed back and blown. perhaps they believe they can get there in the next several weeks. still an open question about when exactly that might be, kate. >> good to see you, manu. thanks for tracking it all.
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developing this morning, for the first time you're hearing from the armorer at the center of the investigation on alec baldwin's movie set. the movie cinematographer was killed, the director injured after being shot by what was supposed to be a prop gun. now attorneys were armorer hannah gutierrez say she has no idea where the live round came from. cnn's josh campbell is live in santa fe, new mexico, following all of this for us. josh, what's the latest you're hearing? >> reporter: we heard from investigators and prosecutors that their main focus on deciding whether to bring charges is going to come down to how those live rounds got on a movie set. up to now, we haven't heard from this armorer, hannah gutierrez. she's breaking her silence today in a statement from her attorney. they are defending her, saying she wasn't responsible for wa transpired. part of it says "safety is hannah's number-one priority on
this set. this set never would have been compromised if live ammo was not introduced. hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. the whole production became unsafe including lack of safety meetings, not the fault of hannah." the question whether she raised issues as the person responsible for firearm safety on the set. we have not heard that answer. we do know that in court documents hannah gutierrez, the armorer, said there were never any live rounds on that set. that was contradicted by the sheriff who said it was a live round of ammunition, suspected live round that fatally shot and killed halyna hutchins. the sheriff was also on cnn "new day" today and said as it relates to hannah gutierrez, he would like her to come in for additional questioning. >> we encourage ms. gutierrez to come in so we can try to determine, you know, how those live rounds ended up on set, who brought them there and why they were there. a lot of questions as far as my
investigators are concerned. she is cooperating, but the sooner the better that she comes in, we can clarify some of these questions. >> reporter: the other individual that is the focus of the investigation is the assistant director, dave halls. we're waiting to hear from him as well as additional information from alec baldwin, the actor himself. we know that the sheriff here has said that thus far all the witnesses have been cooperative, but they have additional questions as they try to answer that key question, how did a live round of ammunition make its way on the set into that firearm that ultimately took the life of the cinematographer. kate? >> halyna hutchins. thank you so much, josh. i really appreciate it. joining me right now is richard howell, a film armorer with 30 years' experience, and cnn senior legal analyst alan hoenig. richard, your reaction to what we're hearing from the armorer through her attorney, saying that she had no idea where the live ammunition came from. when you hear that, just what do
you think? >> well, i just don't agree with it at all. you know, the armorer is completely responsible for the on-set security of the actors, of the crew, and the armorer is responsible for making sure you only have blank ammunitions on the set and no live ammunitions. so this is a colt revolver and so you should check that you're only loading blank rounds and nothing else. so live rounds shouldn't be on the location, on the set, at all. it's an absolute no-no. and this all goes down to the preparation of the job in the first place, so when they're back at the armory base, they should test the firearms, test fire the batch of blank ammunition for the sound and the flash and so on. so that all works well. then you go out to your set and, you know, there's no way there should be any live ammunition there at all. the other thing the armorer is
responsible for is all the set security and safety that when you've done dry rehearsals to make sure everything's lined up with the camera, then when that's all cleared by the armorer and the armorer is totally in charge of this, you make sure with dry rehearsals nobody is front of the firearm, in this case, alec baldwin. nobody should ever, ever be there. it's just not necessary. >> to that point, what richard is getting at, elie, the attorneys for gutierrez also say that she -- the way the structure was set up, she was hired to do two jobs on the film and could not focus on responsibilities as an armorer and that she had asked producers for support. that part of the statement they say she fought for training days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department. she seems to be casting blame on
producers here. what do you see here? i think we have an audio issue. we'll try to reconnect. but i guess honestly, richard, what do you think when you hear that from gutierrez, that she fought for training, days to maintain the weapons, and says she was ultimately joemoverrule basically saying she couldn't do her job? >> well, this goes back to, you know, the first point on the investigation, and that's the appointment of the armorer company. does that person, that company have sufficient experience to actually go on set and have a certain amount of gravitas personality to calmly, politely deal with all issues on the set in terms of safety.
that is the 100% responsibility of the armorer, nobody else. you're in control of that in a nice, polite, calm way, and everybody defers to what you state are safe conditions. i would also like to add that on set, you know, you have a close working relationship between the actor and the armorer, and nobody else should be involved with the handling of the firearms at all. i'd also like to say that in all cases it's not the actor's responsibility at all for the safety of, you know, the blank rounds, you know, the setup of the firearm, and who's in front. of course actors will have a great deal of experience in this area, and i'm sure alec baldwin did, but it still boils down to all responsibility is with the armorer. >> richard, great having you on. >> i don't blame the actor here
at all. that's my personal opinion. it's a direct relationship between armorer and actor. and the actor has to trust the armorer. that's the way it works. >> richard, thank you so much for your perspective on this. i really appreciate it. i want to get back over -- let's go back overseas, back to rome. phil madingly joins me from outside the french embassy. we're awaiting the arrival -- tell me where we are in this. i believe we're stating the arrival of president biden to meet with french president emmanuel macron. what are you seeing? >> reporter: yeah, kate. that's correct. we're here at the french embassy to the holy see, the president having meetings with the italian prime minister and the president, and the next one is the most consequential of the day related to the french and american relationship. you and wolf and kaitlan and susan were talking about the details here. there's a couple interesting things talking about the u.s.
officials and french officials we'll be watching when the president pulls up behind me. he'll walk up those stairs between the two columns and shake hands with president macron. for a president that prioritizes the personal, makes clear when it comes to meetings whether with lawmakers or foreign leaders he wants to be face-to-face, embraces the face-to-face meetings, this is an incredibly important face-to-face meeting. the personal relationship masters. we were all in at the g-7 a couple months ago in june when the president was sitting next to president macron and macron said america is definitely back. however, underneath that comment and certainly an exacerbated manner over the course of the last several mos, there is skepticism between president macron, top advisers in terms of america's role in the world, what europe should be doing, how france should europe in potentially a new direction. that was just underscored about 10 to 12x based on the submarine deal. the outrage based on that deal was very real, but i think the broader issues there in terms of
defense for europe, whether or not it should be more autonomous, the french policies in terms of what they pant want to pursue counterterrorism-wise in africa, collective defenses, all of those are real issues. i think french officials, according to diplomats i've spoken with, don't just want to shake hands, just have a friendly conversation. they want deliverables. they want concrete things out of the u.s. delegation in this meeting. as your panel was talking about, the u.s. has made an extensive effort behind the scenes over the course of the last couple weeks to address those concerns and maybe set the groundwork for delivering on some of those issues, whether it was the secretary of state, national security adviser jake sullivan, obviously the vice president will be heading to paris next month. those conversations are incredibly important to basically set the parameters for what this meeting will entail. but besides just how two leaders shake hands with one another or look as they're sitting or standing next to each other, it's what comes out of this meeting. you mentioned the communique,
what the u.s. offers or is willing to provide to the french given their concerns over the last several months will be the most interesting take-away and most substantive take-away from this bilateral meeting long awaited. >> let's stick with this control room because i lost phil for just a second. i don't know if we lost his audio or if it was just mine. just flagging that for the control room. phil, on a basic level when it comes to these very important meetings of world leaders, there is this strategic nature and the necessary strategic relationship between longtime allies, and there's also the personality. you can't -- there really can't be more of a contrast between the biden personality when it comes to his approach to allies than his predecessor, with donald trump. and i'm curious as to what
you're hear ing maybe is taking more importance now in the relationship between biden and macron. they clearly have a long-standing relationship, but is it the personal relationship that you think is the focus here or is it because of the recent past, is it the strategic relationship and where that stands? >> reporter: you know, i don't think they're mutually exclusive necessarily, kate. but when you talk to white house officials, they feel like the president's focus on the personal is an asset, unquestionable asset in these moments, particularly given the fact we saw weeks of basically public comments being thrown back and forth like bombs more from their end to the united states than the other. i think the other thing that matters here, too, is the united states, the officials i have spoken to in the administration don't believe they made a mistake in terms of the australian agreement, basically dropping their submarine contracts with the french and
moving towards nuclear submarines. they believe that was the right move strategically, geopolitically, given the clear focus of the administration on china and trying to elevate that issue in the region and basically better defend regional actors p actors. there's no regret there. they're underscoring the point they don't think it was a mistake, the action. however, the personal aspects leading up to that action in terms of keeping people informed and in the loop, trying to lay the groundwork for what was coming given the long-standing relationship absolutely could have been better when you talk to officials. that is something that i think the president in a personal manner can address. he has addressed it in two calls over the course of the last couple of months. white house officials have been in paris, but that's where the personal matters more than anything. when it comes to substance and policy, the french have questions about the u.s. because
four years prior to president biden, questions about the u.s. overriding focus on china and where that leaves europe, questions about collective defense. and they have asked clearly for more counterterrorism assistance in africa. those are things that the united states could potentially put on the table as they seek to mend the rift between the two countries. it's definitely a possibility. it's been part of discussions i've been told. from a substantive side of things, that will be the thing to keep an eye on coming out of this meeting in the next couple hours. >> it looks like as phil has been talking, seeing more people kind of gathering. looks like the arrival of president biden could be soon. phil, if you could, stick with me. i want to bring back in kaitlan kol collins and wolf blitzer as well. kaitlan, why is it significant thats this being held at the french embassy in rome? >> it's very significant because not only are they hosting it, they organized this, that's a
big conception. it may not be something most people think of when they think of these two sitdowns with world leaders, but it is significant, a concession by the white house to let the french organize this and host this given typically these are neutral meetings between the two sides on the sidelines of a big summit like this one where so many world leaders are present. this was intentional, i'm told, and intentional it's being held at the french embassy in rome and not a hotel or other site. that's because the white house is kind of deferring to the french here as part of that effort to try to rebuild and restore this relationship back to where it was. remember, when this happened, you saw the french so angry that they were seething over this. it wasn't just that they brought their ambassador back to france because they were so angry about the deal. they also were comparing biden to his predecessor, to trump, to not only the person he has painted this stark picture against saying he is not like trump, of course, but they were saying he was adopting these kind of tactics and just dropping something on them and
not letting them know and not having a clear line of communication. we're told that that really bothered president biden, that comparison from the french. but it speaks to the level of severity that they viewed what the u.s. actions were when it came to this. >> wolf, i'm wondering as we're talking about this, and this is of course part of the backdrop against which they're going to be meeting a ing in what seems minutes, but the cameras will go in to see the handshake and then they'll go into the real meeting. what are the chances there's not a whiff or mention of any tension between the world leaders? i feel like there's a decent chance that while this is lingering in the background, they don't mention it at all. >> i don't know what they're going to do publicly, but privately they'll obviously talk about it. one thing that to me, as someone who has covered u.s./french relations for many years, was how the u.s. side from the
president, who's got an enormous amount of foreign policy experience, to the secretary of state tony blinken, an enormous amount of foreign policy experience, especially with france, he grew up in paris, speaks french, jake sullivan, who knows u.s. foreign policy, how they so badly miscalculated on this issue keeping france in the dark on a very sensitive issue. france is a close u.s. ally, the longest u.s. ally going back to the revolutionary war. the fact that they miscalculated and the president himself was surprised, i think kaitlan will agree, how much this ruptured the relationship give the enormous experience they all had, they didn't do it right and acknowledge that now. they're trying to fix it. we'll see what diplomacy does right now and what the statement is. i'm sure they'll say it was fruitful and productive and all that, but they always say that. let's see what's going on behind the scenes. >> constructive is always in there too. >> all that diplomatic speak.
you can often read between the lines and see how the meetings went. but when this happened, the white house was asked if biden had apologized for it, because there were those two subsequent calls between the two leaders after this trying to mend those because they were seeing these public statements coming out from the french that were incredibly fiery about their feelings on this. they did not try to hide it auto v at all. they did not say the president apologized, but jen psaki, the secretary, did acknowledge there could have been greater consultation between the u.s. and france on this issue. that in and of itself maybe doesn't sound like an apology, but when you talk about the different diplomatic speak, that is something you don't normally see between two nations. they still believe the essence of this deal will help greater deter china when it comes to australia, it will help, but the way it was handled of course is something they are going to have to defend and maybe not publicly. maybe it won't happen in front of the cameras, but it will be interesting to see how warm and cheery this relationship and this interaction we do see is
compared to that last one we saw at the g-7 summit. >> i'll just add at this point, kate, when it comes to china, yes, there was irritation on the part of french and other european allies as far as the withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan. yes, the submarine deal caused a lot of pain in the u.s./french relationship. but right now there's a lot of difference in the way the u.s. is dealing with china and the european am lies, especially france and germany for that matter. they want to have this economic relationship with china, and there's a serious issue and a strain of sorts, and i'm sure that issue will come up in this meeting between president macron and president biden as well. china, china, china. right now it's really important, especially when you see the tensions going on involving taiwan. there's a lot of concern the europeans have, the u.s. have, and they want to get their act together. >> absolutely. please stick with us, everyone. wolf, kaitlan, and phil are standing by for this very
important meeting, president biden and french president emmanuel macron, the first face-to-face meeting since this diplomatic rift that we've been discussing. we'll take a quick break. more live coverage from rome in just a second. always look fore grown in idaho seal. ♪ your new pharmacy is here. to help you compare prices, and save on your medication. amazon prime members get select meds as low as $1 a month. who knew it could be this easy? your new pharmacy is amazon pharmacy. opportunities... are all about timing.
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mr. president! >> how do you think the relationship is right now? >> how's the alliance right now? >> all right. there is the arrival of president biden meeting with emmanuel macron. can we go over to phil mattingly? phil is ready i think. hopefully he could hear more than we could. with the helicopters overhead, it was hard for us to hear what was asked and what the president -- how president biden
responded. but if you heard more, you tell me. >> reporter: i can tell you what was asked. we had the hepthelicopter ess a the president's car he travels in. they were asked if he felt the breach had been fixed with the relationship, what the state of the relationship currently is. it didn't appear he could hear us or if he could, keep in mind, kate, some of us are on this side of a group of hedges and some of us, the u.s. pool, the press pool that travels with the president, is about 15 feet away and they were asking questions as well. it appeared he was asked something about the pope. but he couldn't hear and eventually president macron decided to bring him inside. we do expect the two leaders may have once again be in front of cameras in a short time where they'll be in closer proximity to maybe hear more and let them expound a little bit in terms of the relationship and perhaps what they're looking for in this meeting, kate. >> absolutely, phil. wolf and kaitlan, let me bring you in as well.
just the body language matters and how leaders approach each other. what do you see, wolf? >> i saw two leaders smiling. i saw macron putting his arm around the president of the united states, reminding me of when he put his arm around the president of the united states back in june in the uk during that g-7 summit. so at least on the surface it looked like business as usual, getting back to normal. let's see what happens behind closed doors. kaitlan, i don't know if you agree, but it looked pretty good, at least that welcome at the french embassy by the french president. >> yeah, smiles and handshakes. of course we weren't expecting president biden to show up and get the cold shoulder from the french president. the devil is many the details and how do they interact sitting down and answering questions. obviously the french have been pretty blunt about how they felt about this, but officials have also said that they are seeking to move on from it. i think that is really going to be the president's strategy as they go into this meeting, because they have a lot of other issues to also talk about.
this isn't the only one, though it may be obviously the latest issue for the french. it's not always a top priority. they have a lot of things to discuss, a lot of things important to the french, and they may try to use this moment to their advantage. they want explicit american support for european defense. as, you know, france is trying to establish itself and also maybe potentially develop further intelligence-sharing capabilities, that kind of nature, that could be something you see come out of this. pit may be it may be something like that and not necessarily in in-person interactions where they did seem very warm there. you saw the french president -- >> i'm going to jump in real quick as we're getting live pictures as the pool is heading in. let's listen in. >> tell us when you're ready. >> we are ready. >> okay.
european union. with both members. we want to underscore the importance of the cooperation in the indo-pacific region. thirdly, i would like to invite discussion about coordination in the fight against terrorism, and in particular the presence to get our european and international partners. over the past few weeks, president biden took some fundamental decisions which benefited our armies, and these are very much -- this is the embodiment of the support. then we acknowledged some
bilateral agreements on armament exportations, nuclear sector, the space industry, and of course the most advanced technology. and we want to have some we want to have some cooperation on regulations as well. we'll continue to work together on the main international issues, climate change, the digital sector, health which will be on the agenda of the g-20 and we'll also upgrade our discussions on the arms control which remains a key issue. and in a few words this is what was at the heart of our work over the past few weeks, but we'll be discussing today these very concrete decisions that are being taken to support some initiatives, some joint initiatives, joint actions on all of these matters, and for me
this is very much the beginning of the process of trust of confidence which we're building together. thank you very much for the work undertaken over the past few weeks and for your presence here today. >> we have no older and no more loyal ally than france. they have been with us from the beginning. in reason in part why we came. as a matter of fact, we're trying to run this down, but my father always told me i have a little medallion and some of our
t thank you. thank you. >> is the relationship repaired? >> you're asking me? my answer is i think what happened was to use an english phrase, what we did was clumsy not done with a lot of grace. i remember things that happened hadn't happened and france can be an extremely, extremely valuable partner and so i don't know any reason -- we're in the same values together. >> what do you think happened that cannot happen?
>> i was under the impression that france had been informed long before. honest to god. i did not know that, but having said that. there's too much we've done together, suffered together and celebrated together. and we're at one of those infliction points in the world. and it happens every 15 to 75 years. it's happening. i want to be in the same ward. >> thank you! thank you, everyone.
>> the u.s. was -- the only one at stake, and now what's important is precisely to be sure that such a situation will not be possible for our future. we'll have continued cooperation and we want to be positive that we built these past weeks some very concrete actions in order to strengthen the partnership with the help and clarification between what the european defense means and the how that is compatible with nato. what european sovereignty means and how it's important for global security and to be important and plus we announced a series of cooperation that i mentioned so only what really matters now is what we will do
together in the coming weeks, the coming months, the coming years. >> thank you, everybody. thank you so much. thank you. thank you! come on, guys. let's go. thank you, thank you. thank you. come on you guys. thank you. >> all right. so. there's quite a bit that we just heard from president biden and the french president there. yes, some audio issues. we're going to piece through it together. there is always a refeed so the audio will likely become more clear as there is a refeed, but from just what we heard, let me bring in wolf blitzer, kaitlan collins back with me. wolf, your first impressions of what you heard there in that important meeting? they address it had head on, this rift. >> yeah. they certainly did, and they knew their reporters would be shouting questions about it during this photo opportunity over at the french embassy here and in rome, and they responded. look, they are trying to patch things up. as the president said this is the oldest alliance the united
states has. france is america's oldest alice and the two countries have gone through a lot over all of these sen trishs and there's no doubt about that. there was a serious problem. they are now trying to fix it. they got a lot of work to do, and i think substantively in this private meet, kaitlan, and you agree. they are going to have serious heart-to-heart discussions and france still wants a good explanation why france was kept in the dark on this sensitive deal that the u.s. making nuclear powered submarines available to australia and then in the process killing for all practical purposes tens of billions of dollars in a french diesel-powered submarine deal that was already in the works with australia. >> yeah. kate, it's so notable to hear how candid the president was there, given how his aides have handled this and i was saying earlier talking about the diplomatic speak that they sometimes use saying greater consultation could have happened. the president there said this was handled clumsily. he said it was unfortunate how this happened and he said france is a valuable partner to the united states, of course,
something he reiterated in that sentiment several times, but also, kate, he said something that was really surprising to me. he followed up on a sentiment that he said previously which is he thought france was better informed of what was happening with that submarine deal between the united states and of australia and the united kingdom than they were. of course, that's what infuriated them so much, not just that they lost out on this deal as wolf noted. it was worth tens of billions of dollars, but it was the consultation and the way it went down and the lack of communication the french said about what was happening, and the president said there he thought france was better aware of what was actually happening, and so that's going to raise some questions, of course, you know, who was responsible for communicating that better to france, and so the president admitting there that that should have been handled better. it's quite something, but also how the french president responded. he was talking about it as well, but he said what's important to him now is what happens in the future. of course, the future of the relationship between biden and macron and, of course, the u.s. and france here, but quite a notable candid moment.
you don't often see moments like that so candid with world leaders. these are often very carefully scripted. they usually make short remarks. you saw earlier the president only answered a few questions in some of those get-together with the italian heads of state but there was the french president. he was pretty blunt. >> there's no doubt, kate, that so much of what has been over the past few years on france's wish police about to be realized as a result of this u.s. blunder in miscommune capital gains tax or not communicating at all with america's ally about the nuclear-powered submarine deal. >> the way the question was asked, is the relationship repaired and biden's full answer was to use an english phrase, what we did was clumsy, not done with a lot of grace. that's getting to exactly what you were talking about, kaitlan, and how candid it really was. it was interesting as macron also said, this is the beginning of the process of trust of confidence which we're building
together. noting that trust was broken, but that they clearly are looking forward now. wolf, kaitlan, thank you both so much for walking through with us. now they go in a closed-door meeting and much more to come out of this very important meeting of president biden and the french president. kaitlan collins and wolf blitzer, thanks so much for being here with us. thank you all. i'm kate balduan. "inside politics" with john king begins now. >> thank you, kate and welcome to i-polltic. i'm john king in washington, a very busy consequential day for the president on the world stage. just moments ago, you see them right there, pictures at the french embassy in rome. a very important meeting between two allies after significant tension in the relationship between the united states and france. you can see president biden there with president emmanuel macron of france. asked by reporters if the relationship is repaired, there was a big dustup last month. france had a deal