Transcript: Nikki Haley on "Face the Nation," July 9, 2017

President Trump returned to the U.S. Saturday night from his trip to Europe for the G-20 summit. While there, he engaged with some uneasy U.S. allies and came face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking office.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke to "Face the Nation" as Mr. Trump concluded his three-day trip, and just days after North Korea successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. Haley discussed North Korea's missile launch, Russian election meddling, and more. 

What follows is a transcript of the interview with Haley, which aired July 9, 2017, on "Face the Nation."


JOHN DICKERSON: Good morning and welcome to Face the Nation. I'm John Dickerson. There's a lot of news to cover this morning, and we begin with the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. When we spoke with her yesterday, we asked her if President Trump accepted Putin's assurances that he didn't meddle in the US elections.

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: I think we need to be realistic about what happened. You had two men walk into the room. You had two men who knew the exact same thing, which is Russia did meddle in the elections. I think President Trump wanted to make sure that President Putin was aware that he was acknowledging it, that he knew it. I think President Putin did what we all expected him to do, which was deny it. And I think that is what it is. President Trump still knows that they meddled. President Putin knows that they meddled, but he is never going to admit to it. And that's all that happened. 

JOHN DICKERSON: But given that the president, as you said, knows that the Russians meddled, what-- what consequences will they face as a result of that action?

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY:  I think you're going to have to ask the president. I think that's one of the things is-- first is confronting them, letting them know that we know this happened. Letting them know it can't happen again. I know that they had quite a bit of cyber conversation in terms of cyber meddling or cyber abuse during not just political situations, but also from a security situation, and they talked quite a bit on the cyberattack -- risk. And so I think we'll see what happens there. You know, keep in mind -- yesterday's meeting was all about talk, but at the end of the day, this is all going to be about actions. We now have to see where we go from there.

JOHN DICKERSON: That's right. And on that question of action, the president is criticizing-- criticized his predecessor, President Obama, saying he "choked" when he found out the Russians were interfering in the elections. So is it your expectation that President Trump will take stronger action against the Russians for interfering than President Obama took?

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: I think that they're going to wait and see how all of the investigation plays out. There's not anybody that thinks that Russia didn't meddle in the elections. And I think we all are very clear on that. And I think we're going to see what Congress does and I think the president will continue to work on this going forward, but yes, I don't think this is over. I think what this was, was one leader telling another leader, "Look we know you did it. Don't do it again."

JOHN DICKERSON: So nobody should have the misimpression that the Russians are going to go scot-free on this. They are going to pay a price, it's just a question of what that price is.

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: I think that President Trump was letting him know, "Look, we know you did it. This is being talked about." I think that President Putin had to deny it, even though he knows that we know and I think we see where it goes from here.  You know-- when you put President Trump in the room with any leader we can kind of cut through all the diplomatic tape and I think that's exactly what happened.

JOHN DICKERSON: During the campaign and-- and during Secretary of State Tillerson's confirmation hearings, there was this idea that if Russians are shown weakness on anything, that then that's an invitation for them to-- to act and to-- take advantage. And so on this question of what some people in the intelligence community say is a political equivalent of 9/11, what is the message in terms of the consequences to the Russians for that action?

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: Well I think the message is, look, we are not going to have you interfere, not just with our elections, but with any part of how the United States functions and I think that's not just us. Russia has been meddling in multiple ways in multiple countries. And so I think we don't just stand up for the United States and say it doesn't happen here. I think we stand up and say it shouldn't happen anywhere and we have to keep that voice strong and we have to keep that moving forward, because the one thing we never want is for any country to think that they can cause chaos in our elections.

JOHN DICKERSON: But it seems like it's just words at the moment. Will there be any actions?

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: You know, look. Everybody keeps saying, "But what next, what next?" Well, first, they wanted him to bring it up in front of President Putin and he did. So things are happening, and those things are taking place. But yes, this is going to have to play out. This isn't something small. This is a big deal. I think you saw a big step when he brought it up to President Putin first thing to say, look we know you did this. And I think now we see where it goes from there. But I think the first thing was face-to-face acknowledging the fact that we knew that they meddled, and face-to-face looking them in the eye and saying don't do it again.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about North Korea. You said this week that Pyongyang was quote, "quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution." What does that mean exactly?

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: You know, I mean, how many tests does it take and how many more-- times do we have to tell them no-- no escalation? The fact that they launched a ICBM test is hugely dangerous not just for us, but for so many of our friends in the world and we've got to put a stop to it. And so what we wanted to tell North Korea is, look, we have told you we are not looking for regime change, we are not looking for war. But don't give us a reason to get involved in any of this, and so we're going to go ahead and push for a strong resolution against North Korea. I think it will be very telling based on how other countries respond whether they want to hold Kim Jong Un's hand through this process or whether they want to be on the side of so many countries who know that this is a dangerous person with the access to an ICBM. And we don't want that to happen.  So we're going to fight hard on this.  We're going to push hard not just on North Korea, we're going to push hard on other countries who are not abiding by the resolutions and not abiding by the sanctions against North Korea.  And we're going to push hard against China because 90 percent of the trade that happens with North Korea is from China and so while they have been helpful, they need to do more.

JOHN DICKERSON: Has China let America down in their -- work on North Korea that the president put trust in them on?

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: I-- I think that they actually followed through on the things that we asked them to in terms of -- you know, whether it was coal, whether it was talking to them, whether it was dialog, whether it was letting them know and condemning. They did that part. Now we have to say, okay, clearly that's not enough.  With the security council resolution that we're negotiating now, we don't expect a watered down resolution, it will be very telling as to whether China works with us, which we are hoping that they will and we'll know in the-- in the next couple of days whether that's going to be the case; whether Russia is going to stand with North Korea and, you know, and-- and just oppose us for the sake of opposing us or whether everybody is going to say once and for all to North Korea, stop, this is reckless, it's irresponsible and we're not going to take it anymore.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you something you said about China. Or you seemed to be referring to China this week when you talked about countries that do business with North Korea.

(Nikki Haley, United Nations: "There are countries that are allowing - even encouraging - trade with North Korea. // Such countries would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United States. That's not going to happen.")

JOHN DICKERSON: Are you saying that China is going lose trade with the United States if they don't do more on North Korea?

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: I'm saying that ammunition comes with multiple options and it's not always military. Ammunition also comes with sanctions. Ammunition also comes with trade. We do a lot of trade with a lot of countries. If there is a country that we don't think is looking out for our security and looking out for our confidence in that, then yes. That is one of the ammunition options we have on the table.

JOHN DICKERSON: You - you mentioned countries in general though. But, China is obviously as you mentioned 90 percent of the trade with North Korea. So this is really a direct threat to China about their trade with the United States.

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: This is encouraging and motivating China to say, look, we appreciate what you've done. This is a whole new level. This is an ICBM test. We need you to not only do more but we need the pressure on North Korea and China has the ability to do it. They know that. We know that and we need to see some more action going accordingly. And I think the resolution is going to be a really big test on that.

JOHN DICKERSON: Ambassador Nikki Haley. Thanks so much for being with us.

AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY: Okay.  Thanks, John. Appreciate it.