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North Korea Claims to Fire First ICBM; Trump To Meet with World Leaders at G20 Summit; New Jersey State Parks Back Open; Trump Preparing to Leave for Trip Abroad. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 4, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to a special Independence Day edition of NEW DAY. It is Tuesday July 4th, 8:00 here in the East. Chris is off. John Berman joins me for the holiday edition.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: America, 241 years old today.

CAMEROTA: You're doing math again.

BERMAN: Happy birthday!

CAMEROTA: I told you not to do that.

Meanwhile, we do have some breaking news. North Korea claims it has successfully launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile. If true, this would be a significant advancement in the regime's efforts to build a nuclear weapon that is capable of reaching the United States.

BERMAN: After the launch, President Trump seemed to mock Kim Jong-Un on Twitter, asking if he, quote, "has anything better to do with his life". And he suggested that China increase pressure on North Korea.

Now, this comes as the president is preparing for a crucial international trip where he will have a face-to-face meeting with the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. This comes at the G20 summit.

We're covering all of this. Let's begin with CNN's Paula Hancocks, live in Seoul, South Korea, with the latest on the missile test. Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, John. Well, we know right now that the U.S. and South Korea intelligence authorities are working together to try and analyze the data and figure out if in fact North Korea did fire an ICBM.

North Korea claims it was a great success. They say it was an intercontinental ballistic missile, and they also claim that they can now hit anywhere in the world. Now, I don't think any experts believe that claim, but they are looking at the facts and the figures to figure out exactly if they have the range to be able to hit any part of America. Some experts suggesting Alaska could be in its sights.

But at this point, the U.S. and South Korea not accepting it's an ICBM, but also not denying it. We heard from the joint chiefs of staff here, saying they evaluated today's launch, had an improved range from the one fired on May 14th. That one fired on May 14th was touted by all experts as one of the most significant developments when it comes to the nuclear weapons program of North Korea. So by default, this is a very significant missile launch today. John?

BERMAN: All right, thanks so much. Paula Hancocks in Seoul.

Now, after the launch, President Trump responded immediately with a statement on a Twitter. He took something of a dig at the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and he called on China to put on the pressure. This comes as the president is preparing for the G20 summit this week. He will have his first face-to-face meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux live at the White House with all this. Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, good morning, John. North Korea's aggression very much a test, a critical test, for President Trump as he is preparing later this week to leave for that international trip that you had mentioned. So far, all eyes are on his response and whether or not that response escalates the tension with North Korea. So far, the response has been mostly putting pressure behind the scenes and publicly on China.


MALVAEZU (voice-over): President Trump defiant in his response to North Korea's eleventh missile launch this year, tweeting about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. "Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer." "Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all."

The president prodding China to do more to confront North Korea, coming one day after a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The White House saying in a statement that president Trump raised the growing threat of North Korea's weapons program. The Chinese offering a more critical take, noting that the U.S.-Chinese relationship is being affected by some negative factors.

President Trump issuing this stern warning on Friday, after meeting with the president of South Korea.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The year of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Frankly, that patience is over.

MALVEAUX: National security advisor H.R. McMaster confirmed publicly that the U.S. has updated its military options against Pyongyang.

H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We can't repeat the same approach -- failed approach of the past. The president has made clear to us that he will not accept a nuclear power in North Korea.

MALVEAUX: The president's posture towards China clearly changing in recent weeks, Trump appearing to lose faith in Beijing's willingness to take on North Korea.

TRUMP: I wish we would have a little more help with respect to North Korea from China, but that doesn't seem to be working out.

MALVEAUX: Trump warning in April that he is willing to take unilateral action if China does not do more to contain the threat.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: They have a diplomatic responsibility to exert much greater economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime.

MALVEAUX: This growing tension coming as President Trump prepares to leave for the G20 summit this week in Germany, where he's expected to sit down with President Xi and the leaders of Japan and South Korea, two other countries that the U.S. considers essential to confronting Kim Jong-Un.


[08:05:07] MALVEAUX: President Trump's meeting with President Xi is just one of many significant high stakes meetings that he's going to have with world leaders at the G20 summit. All eyes will be on that meeting that he has of course with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but also look for his meeting with the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. They had a phone conversation yesterday. She famously did not get that handshake here at the White House during her visit. She has already come out publicly saying that she's warning against protectionism and isolationism, and she says that she thinks the talks with Trump will be very difficult.

John, Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Suzanne, thank you very much for previewing all of that for us.

Joining us now to discuss, we have CNN military analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton, senior Washington correspondent for Anna Palmer, and Karoun Demirjian, congressional reporter for "The Washington Post". Happy Fourth to all of you.

Colonel, this is very troubling news, obviously, for Americans to wake up to, if in fact it's true, if North Korea's word can be trusted, that they did actually test this intercontinental ballistic missile. How concerned should Americans and of course the White House be this morning?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Alisyn, I think we should be concerned, but we also have to take this with a grain of salt, looking at the range of the missile is of course the key thing that intelligence agencies are going to do at this point in time, because they want to see if the threat is actually going to be one that includes places like Alaska, Guam, the West Coast of the United States, and possibly more.

Based on what we see with this missile right now, I'm leaning toward the idea that this was not an intercontinental ballistic missile, because of the range of the missile test, how far it flew, the altitude that it took, and where it impacted.

But having said that, we have to be prepared for the North Koreans to actually create an intercontinental ballistic missile and create that threat that they've been talking about, bragging about for so long. But it's just not going to happen today.

BERMAN: If it did become an intercontinental ballistic missile, if does have that range -- we're talking about 4,000 miles there, which would include Alaska, maybe ultimately the West Coast of the United States -- you know, how close, Colonel, is North Korea to weaponizing these missiles?

LEIGHTON: Well, this is one of the big questions that the intelligence agencies are focusing on right now, and so there are a lot of best guess scenarios. You know, we talk about it in the press, but the intelligence agencies also have a lot of dark areas that they really can't get into when it comes to analyzing North Korea.

But the best analysts are really looking at this and saying they could possibly do this as early as a year from now. And you know, given that fact, it is clearly a danger, and it is clearly something that could upset the balance of power in the East Asian area. And once that balance is upset, then you can also have a lot of other things happen that, you know, could potentially spiral out of control.

CAMEROTA: So, Anna, just another historic reminder, the world is a complicated and dangerous place on the eve of the G20 summit. So there are a lot of things that are going to be discussed at this G20 summit.

ANNA PALMER, SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO.COM: That's the understatement, right? I mean, I think this obviously puts into real play what the U.S. relationship is with all of these other countries. We've kind of seen what Trump has said publicly; we haven't seen what Vladimir Putin has said at all. Russia is closer to North Korea than the U.S. And so this could be maybe one of those areas where you could find some alignment.

BERMAN: And of course he'll meet with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin face-to-face. President Xi of China will be there. The leaders of South Korea and Japan will be there. He's going to have to juggle, the president will, you know, not just the situation with Russia that we already knew about, but now this as well.

PALMER: It definitely complicates things, right? In some ways, you could see some alignment happening. Maybe they can talk about this. What Trump obviously doesn't want to talk about is hacking, intervention in terms of the election, so this could put that maybe a little more on the back burner, although there will be intense pressure from Congress and other lawmakers to -- for him to actually take on Putin and mention this. CAMEROTA: So Karoun, what do we expect President Trump to focus on

with the G20? We've gotten some reporting that he wants to talk to -- because this will be his first face-to-face meeting with Putin, we should say, after, you know, all of the discussion about what their relationship is and if there's any corner that can be turned.

But the reporting is that he's not going to bring up the Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Right. And it would be frankly surprising if he did, given that he has not really been willing to accept this as the problem that the entire intelligence community has said that it is to the American public. If he then tells a different story and becomes very, very tough about it with the Russian President.

I mean, what we know that he's probably going to talk about is he's probably going to talk about Syria situation. That's very serious, especially as we're moving into what's going to happen after Mosul, after Raqqa.

[08:10:00] And the Russian government does support the Syrian regime, which is probably going to move into those areas, at least around Raqqa.

And also to discuss Ukraine. This is a constant, constant sticking point between Russia and the United States. It's why we have sanctions against Russia right now, because of their annexation of Crimea, because of their continued aggressive activities in Eastern Ukraine, the war that continues to go on there.

And Russia wants to see some of those sanctions go away. The thing that we know is that they're actually starting to lose their patience with is that the United States to give them back these two compounds the Obama administration kicked the Russians out of in Maryland and New York at the end of the Obama administration, which does have more to do with the election meddling.

But these are all things on the table that are just the moving pieces in the Russia-U.S. relationship. We haven't even talked about what it is with everybody else that has to be brought in to now this North Korea discussion.

And the question for me, actually, is how much of this discussion is Trump going to drive? Because, again, remember, he's sitting across from Putin and many other world leaders that have more experience than him. But especially in this Russia-U.S. meeting, Putin is probably the best at this game, one of the best players there are on the international stage at this game. And he has experience doing it. So will he be driving the conversation and getting Trump to make promises? Or will Trump actually have a moment where he can control this? And can he do that if he's not even willing to talk about the election?

BERMAN: And, look, that's just one of the relationships that will be on display at the G20 -- you know, President Trump-President Putin. And we say President Trump-President Xi Jinping of China, and it's interesting, because when you're dealing with North Korea and China, this is an area where the president has invested some political capital and some time. I mean, he had a meeting with President Xi Jinping where he tried to make it seem they hit it off, that they had a real connection there. But it doesn't seem, at least now, as if it's delivering anything in terms of North Korea.

PALMER: Right, I think he tried to have a reset moment compared to the Obama administration with the Chinese. And, you know, he tried to have that -- this kind of show of warmth, that they were going to work together, particularly on North Korea. That hasn't happened. I mean, his tweets today clearly showing some frustration with what, you know, is a bad hand. He doesn't have a lot of cards to play, and I think he was trying to work with the Chinese as much as possible, but it hasn't real borne any fruit so far.

CAMEROTA: So Colonel, where does that leave us? What should President Trump be pushing for when he meets with these world leaders? And what carrots can he dangle with China?

LEIGHTON: Well, it's really going to be tough and, as Anna mentioned, it's very, very difficult to actually do this in the right way. But what he should be doing is he absolutely needs to exercise as much influence has he possibly can with the Chinese and explain to them that this kind of activity on the part of the North Koreans, these missile launches, are really a destabilizing force in East Asia. And the fact that they are a destabilizing force really makes it important for him not only to insist on that, but also to get the Chinese to do things that they might have been unwilling to do before that.

The Chinese want to keep the North Korean situation under control. They don't want a reunified Korea. They don't want any type of upsetting of the balance that exists there. And that is really what they're looking at, and that's what they have to work towards. So I think that's his primary job right now.

BERMAN: Big complicated week ahead for the president.

All right, guys. Thank you so much.

Just in time for the Fourth, state beaches and parks are open again in New Jersey. The long national nightmare is over. This after lawmakers reached a budget agreement ending the three-day government shutdown there. But residents may not be ready to move on after this picture emerged, showing Governor Chris Christie basking in the sun at a beach that was ordered to be closed.

CNN's Jason Carroll live in New Jersey with the very latest. Good morning, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that picture, that picture. Liberty State Park is now open. We've actually seen a few people starting to stream on in here, this after the governor signed that $34.7 billion budget measure, reopening the parks, reopening the beaches. But a lot of folks aren't going to forget those pictures, those pictures of the governor sitting out on a beach with his family over the weekend, on Sunday, there at the Island Beach State Park. The governor originally said that he didn't get any sun, then later a spokesperson came out and clarified those statements after those pictures came out and showed him very clearly out there on the beach, His spokesperson basically saying, look, he wasn't getting any sun because he was wearing a baseball cap. That explanation not setting well with a lot of folks here in the state.

But having said that, the governor offering no apologies.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The way I took Claude's (ph) question was, hey, were you like, laying out getting a tan today? That wasn't what I was doing and that's not what those pictures show, sitting there with a baseball hat in shorts and a T-shirt, talking to my wife.

Now if they had flown that plane over that beach, and I was sitting there with a 25-year-old blonde in that beach chair next to me, that's a story.


[08:15:10] CARROLL: You know, a lot of people don't realize, but this is a governor who for many, many years had such a reputation, a very good reputation and the state of being very plain spoken and getting out there and saying what he means, he's had an incredible fall from grace, if you consider these numbers. He's had just 16 percent approval rating in the state, that's the lowest of any governor in this state in recent memory. And if you look at governors across the country, he rates the absolutely lowest at 15 percent.

But Governor Christie saying for his part, those numbers don't mean anything, but we have heard this before from politicians who simply don't have those numbers -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right. Jason, thank you very much.

BERMAN: A lot of opportunity for growth, you can look at it like that, nowhere to go but up.

CAMEROTA: All I hear is the beaches are open. That's all I hear right now, which is a good news.

Meanwhile, President Trump getting set for his first one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin. Why this could be the key to the future of the global political landscape. We discuss all the implications.


BERMAN: President Trump preparing for his second overseas trip where he's expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 Summit in Germany. Will the president speak to the Russian leader about Russian interference in the 2016 election? The White House tells us basically no.

Let's discuss with CNN senior political commentator, former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, and Samantha Vinograd, a former senior advisor to the national security advisor under President Obama.

And, you know, Samantha, a lot of play about the fact that the president will not discuss Russian interference in the election with Vladimir Putin. However, he is sending something of a message to the Russian leader by where he is going before the G20 Summit. He's going to Poland first.

How should we be looking at that?

[08:20:00] SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think it is very wise of the national security team to plan this stop in Poland before the president sees President Putin in the G20 for the following reason -- we know that President Trump is giving a major speech in Warsaw. In that speech, he has been well-advised to make a strong commitment to the NATO alliance, to Article 5, and to underscore that the United States will respond to any threats to the alliance including by Russia. That can be an important precursor to his meeting with President Putin in Hamburg just a day later.

BERMAN: And that is a bit of a show of strength, Senator, before the meeting with Vladimir Putin, and Russia experts all say that one of the very few things that Vladimir Putin does respond to is strength.

So, why not in this pull aside meeting, say hey, President Putin, stay out of our elections?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, I agree with Samantha that the stop in Warsaw and making that commitment to the alliance is very, very important. I think that's a great start to the trip.

I would say that I think he should say something to President Putin about the interference in the Russia election. This is where I hope President Trump doesn't conflate false accusations of collusion and all the things that so far there's been no evidence of with the serious issue that the Russians were involved in this election and trying to influence it one way or the other, and that we as Americans don't appreciate when foreign powers try to do that. So, this is one where I think you would actually show some strength in defending American values and not get tied down with the fact that there are political gains trying to be made at his expense to avoid some sort of collusion and therefore avoid the issue.

BERMAN: And, Samantha, this is the second trip to Europe in a pretty short period of time. The first trip was with NATO leaders and after the trip to the Middle East, you know, sort of upsets some people with what he said about Article 5 or didn't say about Article 5 there, maybe not the best reception.

What are they looking for this time? VINOGRAD: I think this time, all European leaders as well as G-20

members are looking for the United States to bring itself out of an acute national security crisis. Right now, the United States is distracted, there's a lot of internal finger pointing, Senator Santorum just pointed out, the United States needs to arrive in Hamburg and send a clear message that it will not tolerate direct attacks on U.S. soil against the United States and also send a message that the United States stands with its allies, stands with its partners in the face of national security issues like global terrorism, like Syria and like Ukraine. It's really important for U.S. credibility that President Trump makes all those things clear.

BERMAN: And, Senator, does President Trump arrive with the United States being as respected as it was or has been around the world by these other G-20 leaders?

SANTORUM: Well, I think in some ways yes, in some ways no. I think the fact that the president has been much more decisive in dealing with some of the enemies that we're confronting than the previous administration I think has upped our status. I think a lot of the political turmoil that you see here in the United States has not helped this president.

I think -- obviously I'm very much in favor of what the president did on the Paris accords, but that's not possible among a lot of our allies in Europe in particular. So, I mean, it's a mixed bag, but I think the fact that the president has been clear and more determined to confront our foes is actually a positive sign.

BERMAN: It's interesting. Obviously, this has all changed in the last 24 hours, with North Korea a new missile. Was it an intercontinental ballistic missile? We're not sure.

But it is a serious provocation, Samantha. And he's going to be meeting and seeing the Chinese leader there, not to mention the leaders of South Korea and Japan. What can he accomplish in just a few days?

VINOGRAD: Well, I think he's going to be hindered by the fact -- and I disagree with Senator Santorum here, pulling out of the Paris climate accord really diminished U.S. credibility abroad and really leads both our allies and our enemies to question whether the United States is going to keep its word, and that's directly important when we think about the U.S. relationship with China, the United States needs China substantively involved if we're going to have any kind of solution vis-a-vis North Korea. Today is just one example of another provocation.

As President Trump prepares to meet with President Xi, he's coming from a weaker position in light of our withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. He would be well-advised to continue to try to mend fences with President Xi, in light of the fact that North Korea is the most imminent national security threat that the United States faces.

BERMAN: Senator, I want you to respond to that and also note that the last presidents have had plenty of difficult with North Korea. You can make the case that every president has failed in dealing with North Korea. President Trump said the era of strategic patience is over. That was under President Trump.

But what he's trying doesn't seem to be working any better. He's invested quite a bit in this new relationship with China and so far, it hasn't paid off.

SANTORUM: Well, let me -- first I address the issue of climate, which is climate is not a national security issue, I understand that President Obama said it was a national security issue. I don't think really anybody seriously believes that climate change is a national security issue.

[08:25:04] There may be an economic issue, it may be a political issue. But I think most folks are serious when you get down to, you know, when you look at the threat of ISIS and you look at the threat of North Korea and other hot spots, Iran and other hot spots, those are national security issues and ones that this president I think is very focused on appropriately, as opposed to the political issues.

And North Korea, I would agree with you, it's not just the previous administration that had trouble with North Korea. President Bush, President Clinton, it's a long line of folks who have not done very well in dealing with North Korea, it continues to advance, it continues to develop nuclear technologies, missile capabilities and combining those two to potentially threaten the United States. And this is where I think President Trump is showing some resolve here and talking tougher, making statements that I don't think previous presidents would make, and threatening a potential action here.

And I -- if you look at the past, under Republican and Democratic administration, there wasn't a whole lot of tough talk. There was a lot of negotiation, a lot of pandering to this regime, obviously different people, the same blood line if you will, and it seems like each successive generation is a little bit more crazy than the previous one. And I think President Trump is doing the exact right thing and raising the specter of action by the United States. We have to try something different because I don't think we can stand on the sideline and let this country which is clearly not predictable, not stable have a weapon that could actually hurt the United States.

BERMAN: You know, quick, final thoughts, Samantha, and I will note in his statement overnight, which he put out on Twitter, the president mentioned China, South Korea and Japan, suggesting to some people that, he's saying at least this is other countries' problems.

VINOGRAD: It's not other countries' problem. This is our problem. North Korea will be the defining national security for this administration, and President Trump wisely is meeting with the leaders of other countries in Hamburg as part of a strategy to counter their aggression.

BERMAN: All right. Senator Santorum, Samantha Vinograd, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

Alisyn? CAMEROTA: I'll take it, John. Thank you very much.

The White House voter fraud commission is having a hard time getting people to cooperate. Why these showdowns between states and the White House? We're going to get the bottom line on this next.