September 25th, 2013
04:20 PM ET
8 years ago

CNN Interview: Clinton suggests Putin can be trusted

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin can be trusted, but cautioned the United States will "just have to see what happens" over efforts to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons.

"You work for the best and prepare for the worst in this business. But I think it would be a terrible mistake not to take advantage of the opportunity," he told CNN's Piers Morgan at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York. "And, you know, look, Mr. Putin is very smart."

Watch more of the interview Wednesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live," starting at 9 p.m. ET.

Inside the mind of Vladimir Putin

Clinton said he knows the Russian president well, and they have a "brutally blunt" relationship. He said Putin had never reneged on a personal agreement with him.

"He kept his word in all the deals we made," Clinton said.

Putin looks on as Kerry and Lavrov meet at UN

While Putin became president shortly after Clinton left the White House in 2001, he had served as Russia's prime minister during the latter end of Clinton's second term.

Shortly after Russia announced that it would work with the United States to try and forge a diplomatic solution on disarming Syria of its chemical stockpiles, many congressional lawmakers raised questions over whether Moscow could be trusted, given its strategic alliance with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Obama focuses foreign policy on Iran and Middle East peace talks

President Barack Obama has even expressed doubt, but argues diplomacy would be preferable to military action, though he's not against using force if an agreement doesn't materialize.

During his speech Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, Obama challenged the international community to enforce its ban on chemical weapons by agreeing to put pressure on Syria - even militarily - if the regime fails to relinquish those weapons to international control.

He called for a "strong" resolution from the Security Council, of which Russia is a member, to "verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments."

Bashar al-Assad says Syrian rebels may attack chemical weapons inspectors

U.N. inspectors returned to Syria on Wednesday to look into at least a half-dozen claims of chemical weapons use. The United Nations, as well as the United States, confirmed sarin gas was used in an attack on suburb of Damascus on August 21. U.S. officials blame al-Assad's forces and have said more than 1,400 were killed. Syria denies it used chemical arms.

- CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Russia • Syria • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Putin can be trusted because his political butt is on the line as well.

    September 25, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. DustyOnes

    I bet Clinton can't and won't say the same about Obama. Obama has never kept his word.

    September 25, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. RAC

    we can not believe you Bill, your a liar!

    September 25, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Bonnie

    This coming from a man who sat on national tv and lied in the faces of all americans

    September 25, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Tom

    Once again, Bill Clinton seems to be one of the few people out there thinking rationally. Why not take Putin at his word until he demonstrates otherwise? We've already established there is no immediate threat to the U.S. from Syrian chemical weapons. If Putin and Assad are lying, there will be another chemical attack somewhere in the middle east, which will draw significant international condemnation and will diminish the credibility of both Putin and Assad on the world stage. So what does Obama really have to lose? Best case, the history books will show U.S. played a critical role in eliminating the threat of chemical weapons in the middle east by doing some strategic sabre rattling, but never actually resorting to force. Worst case, we tried to find a peaceful resolution but Putin and Assad lied. Then there would be a more justifiable rationale to proceed with military action.

    September 25, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. ryan

    Remember when W got lambasted for basically the same statement? Pot, meet kettle...

    September 25, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    But does he pass the George W., "Look into His Soul Test" ?

    September 25, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. liberal disease

    is Bill Clinton still the President?

    September 25, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. dplandry

    I trust Putin more than I do barry obama!!!!

    September 25, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. phil_177

    damned if we do, damned if we don't ... let's go with 'we do' and then if it doesn't, blame Putin.

    September 25, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Richard

    Good enough for me. I like Clinton.

    September 25, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Hmmm, interesting timing for Clinton to say this (right after meeting with Barack at the Clinton Global Initiative). Well this clinches no military action.

    What happened was Barack begged Bill to say this so that Barack doesn't look so bad when he eventually has to "trust" Putin and not take any military action. Bill's presidency overlapped with Putin (as President or PM) for like 16 months total. How many "deals" did he really strike with Putin? This is a pretty gross image boosting tactic by Obama that promotes style over the substance of what he really believe(d) (that we should take military action against Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people, including children).

    September 25, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. John Q.

    There is nothing wrong with working with the Russians for a mutual non-violent end to this situation. People seem so concerned due to Russia's ties with the Assad regime. Do you think that we don't have questionable alliances as well?

    September 25, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. massms

    I wouldn't trust Bill Clinton...why would I trust his opinion of Putin?

    September 25, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Whatsthedifference

    Today chemical is banned, tomorrow a smart scientist will figure out how to make something even worse. Will be ban that as well? Or is it just a strategic ploy for something even bigger.

    September 25, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. Pat

    Clinton may trust Putin, but I can't trust Vlad as far as I can throw him.

    September 25, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. DaveYoung

    ...and exactly why should we trust you, Bill ????

    September 25, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    @Malory Archer

    Hi Malory:
    I was real busy and couldn't respond to the article egarding Chelsea Clinton. That was actually my response not an imposter but that does not mean I would ever vote republican.
    Thanks for watching my back and I continue to enjoy your intelligent posts.

    September 25, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Notice how republicans embrace a commie, but not the twice elected president of the US?

    September 25, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Scott

    This coming from a guy that lied under oath in court proceedings, and twice let Osama Bin Laden go for the sake of his own political skin.

    September 25, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Donn W.

    Clinton must be looking at Putin through the looking glass.

    While our "current" Presidents (Obama and apparently Clinton) fall all over themselves to be enthralled with this evolving Syrian situation, we have apparently backed off any direct demands the "Asaad must go.".

    Clinton and Obama's operative rationale is "As long as the situation gives off the appearance of being OK, then it's all good." This is the diplomatic equivalent of how we deal with fiscal issues in this country: Go to the brink, give off the appearance of doing something and kick the can down the road until the next manufactured crisis.

    It's amazing how all of these politicians think we're brain dead (and, sometimes, I wonder if we really are).

    September 25, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. sly

    Thank God we have real leaders running this country, with intelligence.

    Can you imagine what would happen if these ignorant bloggers on here ran things? Generally, you can add up 10 of these bloggers IQ's and it would be about equal to President Obama's or Bill Clintons. Even GW Bush was smarter than 5-6 of these bloggers combined.

    There are some intelligent Americans, but your average American doesn't go to college, sits and watches tv all day, and logs into blogs to complain about everyone and everything.

    Note: You will NEVER hear one good idea from any of these bloggers. See, it's easy to criticize, but if you are ignorant, it is real hard to come up with an intelligent solution. That is the problem facing the Tea Party, which is the Party of No. Never a good idea, just negativity.

    This story? Of course you work with Putin and Iran and Syria. An educated 8 year old will tell you that negotiation beats bombs. What we need on here are more intelligent 8 year olds commenting, not these grown idiots.

    September 25, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. luckjoe

    Maybe Putin can give us answers about Benghazi. It's a cinch that this administration dropped the ball.

    September 25, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. mrkhrrs

    Of course Putin can be trusted. Out of Clinton and Putin, only one of those two was convicted of perjury.

    It is a sad state of affairs when you can trust a foreign leader over your own.

    September 25, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. joe

    Obama and Clinton are two peas in a pod " LIERS"

    September 25, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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