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South Korean President to Dine with Kim Jong-Un's Sister as Pence Talks Sanctions; Hope Hicks Was Dating Porter, Helped Draft White House Response; Dow Drops to 600; Sheryl Crow on Mixing Politics & Music; White House Officials New About Porter. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 8, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST & AUTHOR: We know the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, will try to broker a meeting between the United States and North Korea. It was reported a couple of days ago in South Korea they're trying to get Pence to meet Kim Jong-Nam. Sorry.



CHANG: No. The head of state of North Korea.


CHANG: And he is the head of the delegation. But it would be much better for Pence to meet the sister of Kim Jong-Un. She is, in a sense, a real decision maker. I would like to see our vice president sit down with Kim Yo Jong and actually talk about issues. That could be substantive.

BALDWIN: Can we talk about this lunch between the president of South Korea and the Kim sister on saturday? What does that even look like? How do they communicate? What do they eat?

CHANG: I think it's going to be important because, you know, Moon has, obviously, wanted this reconciliation. He wants to speak to Kim Jong-Un, the ruler of North Korea. He can do that through his sister because she's somebody who actually has influence on her brother. You know, so for instance, take the head of state of North Korea, nominal number two. These people are just note takers. If Pence talks to them, that's fine in a sense.

It's good. But it doesn't really advance the ball. He needs to talk to someone who actually has influence on her brother. Because there are certain things we can say right now. One of the most important things is a simple one, just deterrence, that the United States is going to deter North Korea. If we make that message and put it out there, we can have chance of peace of being able to coexist with the North Koreans. It's important that Pence be able to do that.

BALDWIN: Another point, because the big, opening ceremony is tomorrow, right, our time tomorrow morning, you'll have this Korean delegation all marching together. And something you mentioned to me yesterday, when I was still just picking your brain after the cameras stopped rolling, which is a lot of younger people in South Korea, they're not happy about that.

CHANG: No, they're not. This is a very surprising development. You have older North Koreans, they remember the Korean War, American sacrifice. They're very pro-American. You have the people in their 60s. Moon Jae-in just turned 65. They're very anti-American. They're the ones who really struggle for democracy. They fought against the generals and they sort of see the generals were backed by the United States. Not entirely true, but mostly true. So they don't like us. You look at the younger generation right now. They don't buy into this notion of Korean nationalism.

BALDWIN: They don't?

CHANG: They believe in South Korean nationalism. They say their society is separate and apart from North Korea. Yeah, they're Koreans but they're not us. When Moon Jae-in tries to have this reconciliation it doesn't work. Women's ice hockey team, it's a joint team. What happened, though, is South Korean athletes who trained for a long time --

BALDWIN: They got booted off the team for the North Koreans.

CHANG: A political decision and people, all stripes of South Korea are saying, no, that's wrong. More than seven out of ten South Koreans say that was wrong. And more than seven out of 10 South Koreans say, look, this whole thing has gone much too far.

BALDWIN: Just something for everyone to keep in mind as you watch this historic moment at the opening ceremonies tomorrow.

Gordon Chang, thank you so very much on that.

Any minute now, deputy press secretary at the White House, Raj Shah, will be making his White House press briefing debut. This comes as the West Wing is facing serious questions about this alleged abuse scandal. We'll take you there any moment now.


[14:37:34] BALDWIN: The White House is facing a massive scandal following explosive allegations of domestic violence against a White House adviser. And White House communications director, Hope Hicks, is leading crisis control. We're told Hicks helped draft the White House's original statement defending Rob Porter. He is being accused of beating two of his ex-wives. We have also learned that Hicks is romantically linked with Porter. She has been somewhat of an enigma even though she was part of both the Trump campaign and the Trump White House.

Joining me to talk much more, Olivia Nuzzi, Washington correspondent for "New York" magazine.

Olivia, you wrote about Hope Hicks in 2016. You called her "mystifying, major operative, and accidental press secretary." Who is she and why don't we actually hear from her very much?

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: It's pretty remarkable. She is the communications director who has never really communicated. She has never submitted to an interview during the campaign. I believe she e-mailed a few questions to a women's magazine.

Other than that, we heard very little directly from Hope Hicks other than statements she sent out, campaign spokesman and now, of course, as White House communications director. Compared to Anthony Scaramucci or any of the other people who have acted as the spokesperson for this White House and the campaign, she is very, very quiet.

That's by design. She is someone who, I think, is pretty shy, even though she's in this very high-profile position. I think she knows Donald Trump well enough to know that any attention might lead to her falling out of his good graces and she's very savvy about that. She's from Connecticut, 29 years old. Her family is a P.R. family.

Her father is a P.R. professional who use to represent the NFL. She first started out at the Trump organization. And then in the winter of 2015, Donald Trump brought her to Iowa with him and that's how she became part of his campaign.

BALDWIN: She goes way back with him. Diving head first into politics and the White House.


NUZZI: Right. She's the longest serving. She is the longest serving political aide.

BALDWIN: She's hung around.

NUZZI: Right.

BALDWIN: She's hung around the longest of them all. The fact that we're reporting she has been romantically linked with Rob Porter, crafting that message, as the comms director, how far fetch would that be she didn't know about this?

[14:40:02] NUZZI: I don't know how much we can speculate about that. We don't have a lot of answers. It began with the daily mail of the British tabloid. That seemed to lead quickly to this story. Trump's White House and political career in a nutshell, a silly little story ends up leading to something very serious and very important.

BALDWIN: In talking about crafting the message in the wake of this, these allegations and how the White House responded to it, that is the second time we really know Hicks was involved, right? Missed Trump Tower meeting and on board with the president, Air Force One. Everyone initially said the meeting at Trump Tower was all about Russian adoption and really it wasn't. NUZZI: Right. It's interesting that Hope Hicks, not just as

communications director, but a very close adviser to the president, someone who literally, is outside the Oval Office most days, that she's part of crafting many different statements and is part of many different conversations with the president. It has become part of the narrative of the Russia statement that is now part of Mueller's investigation and now, of course, with the Rob Porter situation.

BALDWIN: Olivia Nuzzi, thank you very much. Good to see you.

NUZZI: Good to see you.

BALDWIN: We're watching for that briefing to begin.

We're also watching Wall Street. Wow, the Dow back down to nearly the 600 mark, about an hour and 20 minutes to go to the closing bell. Keeping an eye on that.

Any minute now, deputy press secretary, Raj Shah, will be briefing the White House now. This comes, as Olivia and I were just discussing, the West Wing is facing serious questions about the alleged abuse scandal. We'll take the briefing the moment it starts.


[14:45:16] BALDWIN: Another wild day on Wall Street here. The Dow down just about 600 points, about an hour and 15 to go from the closing bell.

Let's check in where things stand right now. We'll bring in CNN's Claire Sebastian.

Claire, what's going on?

CLAIRE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, another wild day on Wall Street. Not like the ups and downs we've seen the past couple of days. This has been pretty much all down. It dipped below 680 points a couple of hours ago. The trigger for this is the bond market, the U.S. Treasury 10-year yield. That was up at four-year highs. It's coming back down a little bit. That is really spooking the markets. People start to worry that because of that higher yield, people will move out of stocks and into bonds.

It's also fears of inflation and that the Fed may step in and raise rates faster than expected. The other bit of news we got today are weekly jobless claims in the U.S. were at a 45-year low. That paradox all week, that what's good for Main Street isn't necessarily good for Wall Street. Again leading to fears of inflation and that the Fed may act. Before the break, just over an hour of trading, last hour, can be particularly volatile. We'll keep watching those stocks. Not just today but days to come, we are in for a prolonged period of this volatility.

BALDWIN: We will keep close tabs.

Claire Sebastian, thank you so much. The White House, meantime, will be facing some tough questions about

this scandal rocking the West Wing moments from now. These allegations involve staff secretary, Rob Porter. It is going to be Raj Shah briefing reporters, Sarah Sanders' number two, at the podium. We'll take that live.

Also ahead here, why the White House, which has blasted the Iran nuclear deal, tried to create some dialogue with Tehran. Stand by.


[14:50:20] BALDWIN: We want to take a moment and honor the American woman. This series is an idea I had after covering the 2016 presidential election, listening to so many women who showed up and wanted to be involved. I had a hunch that something was about to happen as women were speaking up and showing up in record numbers. And standing on stage at the women's march.

Just like so many of you, I witnessed the collective strength of those who traveled great distances to be seen and heard and it was overwhelming. And so I just decided the next chapter of my career would really focus on women.

I got to talk to Ashley Graham, Diane von Furstenberg, Tracy Reese, Pat Benatar, Betty White. Yes, these are all incredible women who shattered glass ceilings, whether in fashion, music or film. But these are trailblazing women who shared with me some very personal stories of success and failure, who are not afraid to talk politics, frustration and hope. And they want to help other women realize their dreams as well.

Here is American woman, Sheryl Crow.



SHERYL CROW, SINGER: Hi, I'm Sheryl Crow. I'm an American woman because I was born here, and it's a small town in the Midwest. And I am grateful that I live in this country.

BALDWIN: What would you say to just young women who are still trying to find their footing in this new era of America?

CROW: I find when there's discomfort that can be a galvanizing moment for people. And I also find hope in the fact that when our people are going through real unrest, like what we did in the '60s, some of the greatest art came out of that. That will be whatnot only documents who we were at this moment in history, but it will create a collective experience and voice for us. I feel like it's a necessary moment for artists to get busy.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Sheryl did get busy, with the release of the single, "Halfway There," which reflects how divided the country became during the 2016 presidential election. CROW: It speaks to the ugliness that we were as neighbors to each

other in our towns of not actually being able to hold a discourse that revolved around disagreement with moderate of decorum or even dignity.


CROW: The differences we bring to our nation are what makes us strong. But to not be able to value that in a way that is respectful, even in our dialogue, is the undermining of civilization.

(on camera): What would you offer up to women?

CROW: Feminism, I think, at its best, is when you're not becoming more masculine to exist in the world, but actually becoming more feminine. I think that's one of the reasons I would love to have seen a woman in the White House. I want to tell all the young women, the power that exists within you cannot be quietened by a man. Tap into that on a daily basis. Call it up.


BALDWIN: Love that so much. Please, check out my entire interview with Sheryl and all these other women. Go to

And just one other ask, because I love hearing from you. We all need a little inspiration, don't we? Go to my Instagram, @BrookebCNN. Upload a video and you tell me. Tell me your name. I'm so-and-so. I'm an American woman because, and tell me what defines you as an American woman. And don't forget the #Americanwoman. I've been reposting so many of you. Thank you so much.

Coming up here, former White House Adviser Omarosa making some pretty interesting comments on her time in the White House, including talking about haunted by tweets every single day. We'll show you the clip in just a second.


[14:58:41] BALDWIN: Hi, there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me here on CNN.

Again, just a heads up, the White House briefing will begin in minutes. Officials there, will, no doubt, be confronted with tough questions, necessary questions about how accused abuser, Rob Porter, could have kept his job at the White House, often times right by -- there he is, with the paper there -- often times right by the president's side. What's more, the accusations of beating not just one, but two of his ex-wives, kept Porter, the White House staff secretary, from getting security clearance. A fact known since last fall, by senior White House officials, including chief of staff, John Kelly, according to our sources. And yet, in a just-released statement, the chief of staff said he was, in his words, "shocked" by the, quote, "new allegations" against Porter.

Now, Porter's star certainly has been on the rise in the administration until he resigned Wednesday. Here is a look of what he has been involved in. He helped draft the

president's State of the Union. He went over to Switzerland and attended the World Economic Forum in Davos with President Trump. And Porter was one of a select few who shook the hands of the Chinese president when the president traveled overseas to Beijing.

So why did it take until now for Rob Porter to leave, just a day after these pictures of his alleged abuse against his first wife went public. Porter denies all the abuse allegations against him.