Trump welcomes Israel's Netanyahu for Middle East talks

ABC News' Amna Nawaz and joins ABC News' Cecilia Vega, Rick Klein, and Molly Hunter.
17:12 | 02/15/17

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Transcript for Trump welcomes Israel's Netanyahu for Middle East talks
Hey everybody down and Abbas here live in New York or joining our continuing coverage of some of the biggest stories. The de east and we just left her special report there with president trump and his first face to face meeting. With Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu there act the White House making headlines and only for just. What was a sad but what wasn't as well for more on that I wanna bring in my colleague Rick Klein he's down in Washington DC is of course our network's political director Rick I got to ask you. Right off the back not a single question about. Rush out one of the biggest stories of the last 24 hour that has actual real potential consequences for this administration immediately. The president didn't take any army surprised. That news conference with several levels of astounding on one level you shouldn't be surprised because he's made it his practice to call on. Outlets that he considers friendly not part of the so called mainstream media in this case the Christian Broadcasting Network and town hall black comic conservative web site. Our attitude that he calls and he talked about how great the questions were but of course they did avoid the very big story out their right now detailing connections between his campaign. And the Russian government during the campaign he has not answered a direct question on that. And he again avoided today but this was just an amazing. It display on so many levels the body language between him. And Benjamin Netanyahu the Israeli prime minister the fact that he is being slamming fake news. For Michael Flynn ouster despite the fact that he just fired Michael Flynn 36 hours ago. And of course that the non answer despite our attempts by our our colleague Jonathan Karl. And others to try to get a direct answer on this rush of hi this is the White House in crisis right now and this was an attempt at deflection and distraction. Just incredible stuff right let's get back to this actual meeting today between prime minister Netanyahu. And president Trout Eleanor bring in our colleague Molly hunter. Who has been in Jerusalem covering the region for us for so long Molly thanks so much for being here one of the biggest headline to come out of this. A potential shift in US policy it doesn't look clear. If the US will support a two state or a one state solution there could be a change there how do you think that news will. Oh down where you are. I'm know very little is clear out of that now I will say for context for the last 34 weeks of his presidency. Netanyahu with an acting as if yet carp launched from the White House that the White House has said very little. About the two state solution about settlements about moving embassy but we have seen tram pump the brakes. And a lot of those campaign promises not on a lot of the really pro Israel campaign. Rhetoric and out. I will just trying to the most impressive the most astounding moment to me in that. Press conference which already I'm sure everyone here is talking about was this settlement on the this hysteria make actually authority mentioned on that network's special was when. It struck turned to Netanyahu told into. Hold back a little bit on the settlement which he has not had last three weeks we have seen the most intense and systematic settlement expansion here. In the last three weeks that needed for the last eight years Netanyahu has approved more than 6000. Housing units in the occupied Palestinian territories in addition to the first new settlement since the 1990s. And the White House hasn't set a lot about in the last couple weeks we did get mild warning. And Netanyahu did speak a newspaper over the weekend that he doesn't think that's helpful but to say publicly. You know hold back a little bit and then Netanyahu's response was clearly kind of taken aback trump looked at him smiled and said we'll work something out. And then the most astounding thing on the to me watching this with he then said. BB and I've known each other a long time with a big smile that's a town not to shift that we would never have seen. In an Obama Netanyahu press conference so I think snatching at who came and hoping. That it would be all smiles that they would present its the united front that this would be Donovan knew -- of Israel units relationship and as you mentioned. It's just not clear. If that's the case I think that we will learn a lot and after this meeting of course having the meeting. After the press conference allows both Netanyahu and shot to say. You know we'll talk about that in the meeting we don't know yet which is exactly when next you sad with the settlements. That's exactly right I think a lot of questions still remain we'll have to see if they do get answered in the days ahead hate reclined back to you in. Washington real quick though this this conversation that Molly has brought up here about some of the differences in policy there is a difference for seeing now between. Candidate trump in the things he said during the campaign and president truck and the way in which he is choosing to govern there isn't big shifts there it specifically when it comes to Israel and some of the US policy there. On settlements number one that's and that is a shift on the on the two state solution or one state solution saying I'll take it wherever you want obviously if the two parties could agree on that we would have Middle East peace that's kind of the issue. Right now and also moving the embassy to Jerusalem is very clear that he wanted that done but he is he's much more careful now that he's president realized that there are niceties that there intricacies. I have to say having Molly's Mel hit on it that was an extraordinary moment we have expected in and continue to expect a much warmer relationship between Netanyahu. And trump than we did between Obama and Netanyahu but they Wear shades of the kind of lectures that President Obama heard. From Netanyahu in the Oval Office very famously over the last several years. In though did the told that he talk about what's in it Palestinian textbooks. Where the blame lies he was very clear on that point and the fact that he did not budge. On that settlements issue despite as public a lobby advertiser ever gonna get the president United States sitting right next you. At the White House saying we can do this for peace. He did not give any inch. There are signs all over the place of calming tensions on policy even if the personal relationships and the fact that Netanyahu is known Jared Kushner this on a long tunnel found since he was a little boy all of those things go by the wayside when you get to the actual policy mr. right. What he's saying now as the president is different nobody said as a candidate and it does not cheating in the direction that Netanyahu would like to see ago. If the real time negotiating going on in the states there let's go now to the room where it happened. Our senior White House correspondent you know you Vega was there Cecelia we've talked a little bit about how both leaders Cayman thing they hope that this meeting would usher in. A new air out a relationship between the two countries is that what you saw unfold there. Well I think it's what we might be seeing I think it's still very early on right they do have a very long shared history these two leaders. But this is the first time that the prime minister and president trump have met face to face since inauguration. I think the fact that the prime minister. Point it out and made jokes if you will about Jared Kushner has a long relationship he's known him since he was a child. That the prime minister will lean heavily on Jericho Assurant we note that in this White House Jared Kushner. Is basically playing the role of a de facto ambassador de facto liaison. To Israel and to the Middle East and he was right here. In the very front row with his wife Yvonne. And and that is significant significant step that they were both here I should point it out point out an assertive us I note if you will First Lady Maloney intro was here today after her first official. As one of her first official. Orders of business in this White House we've not seen her. Very much around here I don't know it and forgive me if you guys have touched on this already so to stop on if you party talked about this. But I do want to get back to what I think is one of the big takeaways of this press conference. And it really doesn't have very much to do with the fact of the prime minister was standing up there has to do with the fact that president trump. Did not take questions about the issue of the day general Flynn who knew why who knew what went. And how much the president has known and what he has told the public about this issue and whether he's been forthcoming. You know that that this administration is under fire right now with with some very serious questions that have yet to be answered. And once again NN in I think it's his third. Forced perhaps press conference with us international leader. Call on predominantly conservative outlets friendly outlets if you will. Ignored questions from the mainstream media and I'm not you can still see this room is it's starting to breakdown here you know I'm in the middle of the NBC The New Yorker Yahoo! real clear politics and Politico. As I often watch your step and I think that. As I almost thought my bets. Let's just say that I'm very well balanced got. I felt about what. I would you. Is Howell. There was right over this people very and the mainstream media that the president did not take questions. Real questions about the issue today and so I think this is this is going to be content to our have. I'm gonna look down and make sure I can't solve. He grounds keep your balance there at the Pentagon temperatures this back a lot of credit doing it your perspective on this just a little bit further on that point because you're there you're there in the room. You're there in the press briefing. Now that the story's unfolding in a different way we've been hearing one set of facts are the information I should say coming from Press Secretary Spicer. And then the reporting. Comes out directly contradicts that so at some point don't that doesn't the administration have to answer for that. Yes is the short answer and then they'll say yeah I don't know and I don't know that they feel they have to you I do. I do think that you note. And we've sock shots Chrysler's press briefing yesterday where he did answer a number of questions and and we were all very pleased to see him. Call on outlets not just including ours but many other a mainstream. Traditional. News outlets and and had a lot of hard questions ants asked and answered like you know Bentley last night as you know the New York Times and others are reporting. That many. Multiple people incite the trauma team. Had contacts with Russia leading up to the campaigns of the big question that everyone has today it is. How much did the president know and when did the president know and the president told me in January I asked him point like at that press conference. Acts front tower the first press conference after he won the election. I said did you or anyone in your campaign have any contact. With Russia a leading up to this election and he said no not at all and this report is out today refutes that entirely. All right affiliated a united Jon Karl mention yesterday he think Sean Spicer has one of the toughest jobs in Washington I think it's about to get. A little bit tougher since it that's. Thanks for so much for joining us there from the east room of the White House back to Molly hunter who's been keeping an eye. On all of this from Jerusalem lay there are two other big issues that are sure to come up. During this private meeting between prime minister Netanyahu and president trump happening now in the Oval Office that is the Iran deal they hinted at it ash a little bit in that briefing. And also the issue of the and the seat potentially moving this was something that came up during the campaign. And president I think sort of shied away from but coming a little bit about how those of resonated about where you are. That's exactly right those are addicts you either big issues that we're certainly be on the table today. And on Iran I will say that president trot opening up with Iran. Nancy I would have been thrilled by that that's exactly when Netanyahu wanted to do today he wanted to stand next to the American president. Smiling appear to be on the same page and talk tough on Iran you did your president can't say this is one of the worst. Deals in history and that's exactly what Netanyahu's it but you also notice that Netanyahu stopped short. Of asking or saying that he would advocate to completely scrap the deal which is certainly when Netanyahu wants. And certainly his coalition backed it would push into do but he he certainly talked tough on it he wanted the reassurance from president trapped. The US wouldn't let Iran. Kind of off the hook at the end of this deal. At babe he wanted more assurance. That the US was watching this that after Annapolis that missile tests. The US would in fact put Iran on notice and rock and watching and very very carefully and that's exactly I think what trumps that they were going to get. Sid that we'll certainly play. Very very vague and meeting and that's exactly what Netanyahu wants to put in his statement after that meeting. Saying you know the American president and I agree on our you know collective approach to Iran. How to limit and deter Iran in the region the other issue you mentioned on it was the US embassy. And that's something that almost every single president has talked about for the last two decades. Multiple presidents act have talked about moving it and have actually promised to do that we did hear that campaign rhetoric that president Tran. Said he would absolutely do that now with actually reporting in the last couple weeks that he was. Slade it did do it that first week even that he was not fit and what he's learning as Rick act Klein mentioned before is that. Actually stay craft is a lot harder than campaigning that this is a really complicated world and perhaps nowhere as complicated. As right. Here's there was since he started getting the briefings as soon as he started speaking with people on both sides both Arab leaders we know that Jordan's King Abdullah visited. The White House was exposed to meet with trumpet and actually did have a meeting which ran an ad he's speaking more with Israeli leaders. He's realizing that this is there would be leave really tricky issue potentially. The tricky yes the thorniest issue in the peace negotiations that it. You know been lasting for decades now with no solutions so Netanyahu would really like trapped in that the embassy it would signal that the American. President and that US policy had shifted and that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at Netanyahu does. But also drew slammed is what the Palestinians claim as the city for their future state as well cementing. I think. After listening to this back and forth and you did hear Netanyahu go until election which we saw a lot during the Obama presidency. He. Kind of read the real a little bit of history and his at side of history to trump. I'm several times and some kind of listen quite carefully but specifically on that and that's the issue. Shots that we are looking at it which is very so much what other president since that and we will examine the issue with great care. My sense is we could still see kind of completely from the galleries seeking entries than we could still see an embassy in the but it's certainly we. An angry about that Netanyahu knows that and so if Netanyahu wants a peace deal it Netanyahu wants to work with this new administration. And wants to get some concessions. And in return from this administration. My sense that he won't be pushing that too hard on Hollywood. One more real quick thing I wanna get your take on it while we have you had not is. The US role in the peace process moving for at there was a slight tweaking of language in the way mr. trump talked about it there he talked about encouraging. The peace process he said it's going to be a great peace deal but the parties themselves. Have to negotiate the agreement will be there alongside them. To support it if that different from US policy in the past I realized for sort of par thing words. Here but I have left to hear your take on that. Aptly I think kind of by the letter it's not that different I think the US would always say whether President Clinton or whether President Bush or whether president Bob I would say. That the negotiations. Have to happen between the two players bet that big decisions like this status injuries plan. Have to be decided with the players but. Absolutely trump. Kind of took a backseat and will be along side we're not going to be that doesn't suggest that will be in the center of you know prime minister tramp our sorry a prime minister Netanyahu or President Abbas shaking their hands as we've seen at previous American president. And we don't know what his role be I think we don't know what this peace process will look like if it gets kick start at right now there's no peace process to talk about there's no. Peace process the plug back into you patents that it if he does want to get some negotiations off the ground. We don't know I don't think he necessarily know that I think US policy right now. Knows what role. Trampled by what role cushion will play I think all we know is that he does want to deal that yes I completely agree I think that it did sound a little hands up. Add a little bit non committal and it'll be interesting on as we see. Whether the US does and does kind of make it depart. Meet greater departures from previous US policy whether moving the embassy. Or allowing more settlements not necessary that we'll see that but I think if the US starts to allow and it's to go. Further to the right to do more of what his coalition here wants him to do we'll CVS become more of a pariah in the international community here. And what that means for a peace process whether the US still. Holds kind of at the biggest eaten at room I am as an international mediator is to be seen I think it's going to be really really interesting in and all we know right now. Is that apparently Chris as the man for the job. And and and we heard that Netanyahu is very very Spain. With commissioners that we'll have to see how this thing. There you go at least we know that one thing coming out of that we're going to be watching it all from here Molly hunter of course will be tracking it for us from Jerusalem Molly thanks so much for being with us. Thanks to all of you for joining us as well stable right here for all the latest live streams happening around the country and the world for now I'm on an Abbas for all of us here ABC news. Seek and soon.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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