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Trump Open to Talks with North; Boardroom Trump verses Cabinet Room Trump; Jones Diagnosed with Leukemia; Physical Wall for Border. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired January 11, 2018 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:15] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump reversing course, now signaling that he's open to talk with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un when the time is right. His words are just the latest twist in the nuclear showdown.

CNN's Will Ripley is live in Seoul with more.

What's the story from there?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, South Korea's president Moon Jae-in showered President Trump with praise, Chris, telling him that it was his influential leadership that helped bring about the environment for those inner Korean talks that resumed this week. President Trump saying that the U.S. will not conduct any sort of preemptive strike against North Korea while those talks are taking place. That's a shift from the past when he said he wouldn't tell his enemies what attacks he may or may not be planning.

President Trump also indicating a willingness to talk with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. According to a readout from the call he said, quote, President Trump expressed his openness to holding talks between the United States and North Korea at the appropriate time and under the right circumstances.

This is certainly a confusing change in tone for someone who just a week ago was insulting Kim Jong-un about the size and strength of his nuclear button. And just three months ago told the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson he was wasting his time trying to engage with North Korea. Clearly, the president no longer feels that way, at least for now, as North Korea prepares to send an all-expenses paid trip -- his -- their delegation to the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, which kick off less than a month from now.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Will, great to have you there on the ground. Thank you for the update.

So, President Trump praising his own performance during this week's televised meeting with lawmakers. He also referred to the White House as his, quote, studio. We review the latest episode in the Trump reality show, next.


[06:37:49] CAMEROTA: President Trump praising himself for that televised meeting with lawmakers this week, very reminiscent of his time as a reality TV star.



Yesterday we had a bipartisan meeting with House members and senators on immigration reform. Something they've been talking about for many, many years. But we brought them together in this room. And it was a tremendous meeting. Actually, it was reported as incredibly good. And my performance, you know, some of them called it a performance. I consider it work. But got great reviews.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now, someone who knows all about the president's reality TV performance, Heidi Bressler, a former contestant on the first season of "The Apprentice," and CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter.

Great to have both of you here.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I never had a chance to be on "The Apprentice." It's kind of disappointing.

HEIDI BRESSLER, 2000 CONTESTANT ON "THE APPRENTICE": I know. Nice to be on here.


BRESSLER: I don't know if you would go far, no offense. No offense.

CAMEROTA: Wow. Wow. Heidi --

BRESSLER: No, I don't think I should say that.

CAMEROTA: When you watched the performance, as the president just called it, of the televised meeting with lawmakers, did it remind you of your time on "The Apprentice"?

BRESSLER: Yes and no. And there were three main differences. The first one I noticed, not the whole time, but Trump sat like this at that meeting on TV. He never did that with us on "The Apprentice." And I don't --

CAMEROTA: So the body language was different. I noticed that too.

BRESSLER: The body language was much different. Number two, I also felt that this meeting he was live. With us he's not. So he could say something and it could be edited. When he was live in this meeting, he had to be a little bit more careful on how he spoke and how he reacted. And also, the third thing I noticed, these congressman, they weren't scared. They weren't vying for a job with Trump. They weren't going to be fired in front of millions on TV. So we kind of more kiss up to him so to speak.

CAMEROTA: Brian --


CAMEROTA: The fact that we're even having this conversation of comparing the immigration talks with lawmakers to "The Apprentice" --


CAMEROTA: Tells you something here.


CAMEROTA: And here's why we're comparing it, because of the language the president is using.


CAMEROTA: OK, so let me just go through it. He called -- he yesterday called the White House his studio. He called his leadership a performance. He called the commentary around it, the announcements, reviews. He talked about the ratings for that immigration meeting.

[06:40:02] Does this answer once and for all the question of whether we're all just living in a reality show that is the Trump show?

STELTER: I think it does and I thought it was actually quite revealing to have him say to the cameras, welcome back to the studio. This was in some ways giving up the plot, showing us the script. The subtext of the past year has been that President Trump is taking reality TV techniques and applying them to the White House and that the cabinet room is like the boardroom. Now he's explicitly saying that. And I think that's useful to hear from him, to know that that's how he views it.

CAMEROTA: I think my favorite character in the show is you, because you're sort of to me like a jaded realist. Is that the part you're playing?

STELTER: I think I'm trying to. I'm trying.

BRESSLER: And (ph) trying (ph).

STELTER: But I also think, you know, at the same time he -- you know, we are seeing these tactics apply to politics in ways they don't work as well as they do in reality TV, right? I mean it's one thing, as you said, on "The Apprentice," he can have a retake. He can do it again. It was partially scripted. It's different now.

CAMEROTA: I do want to get your impressions of what he was like during "The Apprentice." And we have some b-role (ph) of you on it actually being fired. If we can just play it.

BRESSLER: Oh, I have to see it again?

CAMEROTA: All right, let's play it.

BRESSLER: No, you can do it. Let's do it.

CAMEROTA: Let's watch it.


DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": You want to be president of one of my companies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've, as a team --

TRUMP: All right, listen, enough of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leaders are born. They're not -- they're not made. But if you are a born leader and it's in your genes.

TRUMP: There's a long, boring explanation and I didn't want to hear it. Do you have anything else to say?


TRUMP: Anything else to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't have anything else to say.

TRUMP: Heidi, you're fired.

That was good, right?


CAMEROTA: So what were your impressions of Donald Trump back then?

BRESSLER: People ask me all the time. I can look at Donald Trump differently as a boss than a president. He was also very nice to me. You have to remember that I found out on national TV that my mom had cancer. And so, on TV, on -- yes, I'm sure they were happy for ratings, but he was very nice and considerate to me and showed compassion when I was down.

CAMEROTA: He was supportive and showed compassion.

BRESSLER: Very supportive. And I didn't want to leave. You know, my mom's like, you are not leaving. You are staying on the show. And so he was very good.


So, Brian, one of the things that the president said yesterday, what's hard for reporters is when he isn't factual. And so even if it's superficial stuff -- STELTER: Right.

CAMEROTA: It's hard for us to let go these falsehoods.

STELTER: You're talking about anchor letters?


STELTER: There's no such thing.

CAMEROTA: So he said -- he said -- well, let's just hear it. I won't quote it. Here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Two networks, who were phenomenal for about two hours. Then after that they were called by their bosses and said, oh, wait a minute. And, unfortunately, a lot of those anchors sent us letters saying that was one of the greatest meetings they've ever witnessed. And they were great. For about two hours, they were phenomenal. And then they went a little bit south on us, but not that bad.


CAMEROTA: It turns out the White House cannot produce those letters from anchors because that was peculiar that letters could have been delivered the same day that he had this. What's the truth?

STELTER: Yes, I thought maybe Sean Hannity might have sent a fax, you know, something like that. But clearly what he meant was he was showed these tweets and these other positive comments on TV.

To me it's a reminder, aside from the exact inaccuracy and, by the way, "The Washington Post" now says we're at 2,000 -- 2,000 false and misleading claims from the president ever since he was elected. That's an astonishing figure, 2,000. The dishonesty of this White House is a huge story on a daily basis compared to past administrations.

But putting it aside, if it's possible to put that aside, I think this is also about how President Trump talks, how he communicates. We're -- I think some of Americans are getting used to it, for better or for worse. This is, in some ways, a logical culmination of 50 years of television in America, right, that we have a reality show star president. We're all, I think, still getting used to it. But the way he communicates, the way he talks, we're almost a year in and we're learning how it works.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, I do think that one of the things that he was praised for was transparency.


CAMEROTA: That's one of the things that the media and voters seem to like.

Brian Stelter, Heidi Bressler, thank you very much for reliving your days on "The Apprentice" with us.

BRESSLER: All right, thank you for having me. Thank you. My pleasure.


CUOMO: So what were you writing then yesterday when you were writing the thing on the top and it --

CAMEROTA: Letter to him?

CUOMO: Yes, and you put it in that little -- the pigeons. You put it in the pigeon's talon and it flew away.

CAMEROTA: Carrier pigeon. Yes. Well, I'm sorry that that had to (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: I mean not to out you or anything.

All right, so, the University of Texas basketball team playing with heavy hearts. They got a very emotional win. Why? We have the details in the "Bleacher Report," next.


[06:48:40] CUOMO: All right, the University of Texas basketball team coming through with an emotional win after their star player was diagnosed with leukemia.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

This was a really tough story and it's so difficult to deal with young people dealing with this kind of illness.


This "Bleacher Report" is brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

So sophomore guard Andrew Jones, one of the leaders of the Longhorns team, he fractured his wrist in December and when he returned from that injury he barely played because he complained of being tired.

Well, after undergoing many tests, Jones' family announcing yesterday that he was diagnosed with leukemia. Now, Texas draping Jones' jersey across one of their chairs on the bench as they took on TCU last night. And the Longhorns ended up getting their biggest win of the season, winning the game in double overtime.

Afterwards, players held up Jones' jersey as they sang "The Eyes of Texas." The head coach, Shaka Smart, with tears in his eyes, said they love Jones and they won the game for him.


SHAKA SMART, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS BASKETBALL COACH: Andrew's the best fighter on our team. And, you know, he's got a fight ahead of him but I know he's really going to fight. And our guys really fed off of his spirit tonight.


SCHOLES: So definitely an emotional night in Austin, Texas.

And, Alisyn, our thoughts and prayers are with Jones and his family.

[06:50:01] CAMEROTA: That is beautiful. I mean that is just beautiful, the sentiment that they expressed in their win.

Andy, thank you very much.

So President Trump says no deal on protections for dreamers without his border wall. We're learning more this morning about what that wall might look like. That's next.


CUOMO: What is a wall? Why are we asking that question? Well, we have to. The president's definition appears to be changing. He used to say the obvious. You've heard it a million times. I want a 2,000 mile physical wall. I know I can build it. It's a big wall that makes me different than everybody else. It's a beautiful wall. It's 30 feet high. Remember? Here's what Kellyanne Conway says now.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: After conferring with the experts who are involved in this process, Christopher, the president has discovered that part of it will be -- he knows part of it will be the physical wall, part of it is better technology, part of it is also fencing. You know, there are rivers involved, I'm told. There are mountains involved. There are -- there's terrain that isn't conducive to building an actual, physical structure in some places.


CUOMO: There are rivers involved, she's told. Kellyanne is one of the smartest people I know. She knows that this has always been the reality. It can't be newly learned. Border states are paying close attention to this discussion because they've been saying this forever.

[06:55:01] Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke of Texas, he's challenging Senator Ted Cruz for his seat this year. We'll talk about your prospects in that race.

But what do you make of this definition of the wall? Do you agree with the shift in this definition? Do you believe in the genuineness of the shift?

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS: Well, I don't know what to believe because there have been so many different stories from this president about what he means when he talks about a wall that could stretch from Brownsville 2,000 miles to San Diego, 30 feet tall, pure concrete we've heard in the past, at a cost of $25 billion to $30 billion. I'll tell you, as a lifelong resident of El Paso, which forms the

largest bi-national community in this hemisphere with (INAUDIBLE), we do not need a wall. The community I represent has been ranked using FBI crime statistics, the safest, the second or the third safest city in the United States of America for 20 years in a row.

We absolutely don't need a wall. We've had record low levels of northbound apprehensions. I think last year was one of the lowest on record.

And more Mexican nationals now are flowing south than are coming north. We have less than zero migration from that country. And those who are coming across are very often kids fleeing some of those brutal, violent countries in the world, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, asking us for asylum and refuge.

We're spending nearly $20 billion on border security right now. We are long past the point of diminishing returns. Instead, we need to focus on the business before us, including ensuring that those 800,000 dreamers are able to stay and flourish in this country.

CUOMO: All right, we'll talk about the DACA situation. But let me take one step back.


CUOMO: The president makes a very different case. I want to test it to you. He said at the interdict signing yesterday, which is an ambitious proposal to try to stop the movement of fentanyl illegally into this country. Fentanyl, an important component in opioids, certainly ending -- adding a lot to the lethality of that drug combination. And he said the wall will make a big difference.

Last night, one of his main advisers, Kellyanne Conway, the wall will stop the drugs from coming over the border. In your experience, is that kind of physical barrier the difference between a legal drug flow and not?

O'ROURKE: No. And I'll tell you, just from my perspective of living and representing the border, raising my kids there and having grown up and worked with border patrol agents there, the wall is not the answer. In fact, most of what flows into this country comes through our ports of entry.

In El Paso, for example, you've got $90 billion of U.S./Mexico trade that flows through there. $32 million lawful, legal crossings. If we want to secure this country, let's staff up our ports of entry with customs officers who facilitate that trade, insure economic and job growth in this country, and keep us more secure.

I've worked with John Cornyn, a Republican in the Senate, so bicameral, bipartisan, on legislation that would staff up our ports of entry. If we're concerned about the flow of illegal drugs --

CUOMO: Right.

O'ROURKE: That's the place to invest and to work.

CUOMO: OK. So let's flip the script. Why don't you Democrats put your arms around this new definition? Stop being so hard line on DACA needing to be a clean bill. You know security provisions matter as well. You're living it down there. You're elected to represent those interests. Stop playing politics on the clean bill. Put your arms around this new definition of a wall, which meets the common sense definition that everybody else has already, and get it done now. Don't play hardball on a clean bill. It's not worth it.

O'ROURKE: Yes. Look, no one has a greater interest in the security of the border than I do. I've got 11-year-old Ulysses, nine-year-old Molly, 7-year-old Henry that Amy and I are raising in that community. We want us to be as safe as possible. And today, again, El Paso's one of the safest cities. And it's not the outlier.

The U.S. cities of the U.S./Mexico border are far safer on average than interior cities. We have no common sense reason to spend more on border security in the form of walls. If we want to invest in the ports of entry, there's a bipartisan proposal with John Cornyn (INAUDIBLE) to do that.

CUOMO: No, I hear you on that, Beto, but I'm saying, this push for a clean DACA bill that Feinstein's talking about, why? Why not be reasonable, compromise, put in some security provisions that the Gang of Eight already agreed to in the past --


CUOMO: And embrace this new definition of the wall and stop saying it's a blocking point?

O'ROURKE: Yes. Well, I guess I'm trying to tell you that I'm willing to -- and I think it's important that we invest additionally in security. I think the best value for dollars spent is at our ports of entry, where you have the greatest proportion of trade, both licit and illicit coming through into this country.

CUOMO: All right.

O'ROURKE: So if you want to make us safer, let's invest there. And that's a compromise that I'm willing to make.

CUOMO: All right. Beto, let's let that serve to your case to the American people why you should replace Ted Cruz as senator from Texas. As we get more into that campaign, you're welcome back to make the case, as is Senator Cruz.

Thank you for joining us.

O'ROURKE: I'm grateful. Thank you. Good morning.

CUOMO: All right.

And thanks to you, our international viewers, for watching us here. For you, CNN "NEWSROOM" is next. But for our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.

Let's get after it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When they have no collusion, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview.

[07:00:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the special counsel wants to interview him, they will be able to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's asking his party to give him political cover to end this investigation.