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North Korean Leader Visits China Ahead of Trump Summit; Daniels Attorney: 8 Women Have Come Forward with Similar Stories. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired March 28, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim Jong-un came to China to get the relationship back on track.
[05:59:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This visit is seen as a clear sign he's preparing for upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think that's a step in the right direction. That's starting to address the concerns the concerns of his neighbors. That's the big question. Like how is Donald Trump going to react to that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump reaching an agreement with South Korea to rework a trade deal.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The deal with South Korea. Going to have a wonderful deal with a wonderful ally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stormy Daniels's attorney seeking to depose President Trump. Why we haven't heard from the president is really beyond me.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I didn't say he punches back on every single topic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who elected Donald Trump, I think they realized they were not electing a choir boy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president's approval ratings are up. Why would he talk about it?
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, March 28, 6 a.m. here in New York. Here's your starting line.
It's true. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did make a historic visit to try and meet the Chinese president. This is the dictator's first foreign trip since he came into power in 2011. The surprise three-day meeting comes as Kim prepares to meet with President Trump in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, President Trump delivering on his promise to negotiate better trade deals. The president using a carrot-and-stick approach to get South Korea to limit its steel exports to the U.S. and to open up its auto market to American manufacturers. In exchange, President Trump will exempt Seoul from his new tariff on steel.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We also have breaking news this morning from the Stormy Daniels situation. The attorney for Daniels is asking a federal judge to allow him to depose President Trump under oath, as expected.
The starting point will be what Trump will admit about the affair and then what he knew about that $130,000 payment to Daniels just days before the 2016 election. This comes as the White House is defending the president's silence on these allegations, made by the porn star, arguing both that plenty has been said and that the president doesn't always respond to opponents.
And sources tell CNN that President Trump is privately floating the idea of having the Pentagon foot the Bill for his controversial border wall with Mexico. The president even discussed the idea with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Will Congress get on board with repurposing funds from the military's budget after all that talk about how underfunded our defenders are?
We have a lot to cover. Let's begin with CNN's Ivan Watson, live in Seoul with our top story -- Ivan.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
This was a top-secret summit. The North Korean leader, for the first time since he assumed the throne more than six years ago, made an official foreign trip. And both China and North Korea kept it quiet until the visit was over.
He traveled by special train from North Korea to Beijing, met for several days with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping. This is really important, because China and North Korea, although they're traditional allies, their relationship has been pretty frosty for a while.
But now Xi Jinping is saying that the alliance is a strategic choice. And very interesting, Kim Jong-un floated the idea of denuclearization provided South Korea and the U.S. cooperate in the future.
That brings us to the U.S. and South Korea. Those two allies have come to an agreement on trade. This following up a 2012 trade agreement now, it appears that the U.S. will be allowed to export more cars to South Korea from a 25,000-car cap to now 50,000 cars.
But last year U.S. carmakers only sold about 11,000 cars to South Korea. So we'll have to see how that unfolds. The two countries also talked about controlling currency devaluation,
though they didn't put into the text of the agreement. So you see, China and North Korea working together. The U.S. and South Korea working together. And of course, the big question is going to be what happens when President Trump and North Korea's leader sit down for talks. That is expected to take place in the coming months, and it will make history -- Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, Ivan.
CUOMO: All right. Joining us to break it all down is CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger.
So David, how have the chess pieces on the board moved, and what will be the implication?
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's really fascinating to see, Chris. Because Kim Jong-un is trying to make sure that he has lined up all of the neighbors in a way that they will be at least partially on his side before he goes into these twin summit meetings. One with Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, and of course, the next one with President Trump, if it happens.
It was very important to him to make sure that the Chinese had sewn up that relationship, which has been under great strain, as your report indicated. Because he was concerned that President Trump would somehow bring President Xi over to the U.S. side here.
He's really been a master manipulator at this. If you think back to his decision to go participate in the Olympics, then to use that to try to slice the South Koreans away from the U.S. Now to go try to do this with Xi. The big question is whether we all define denuclearization the same way. And history suggests we certainly do not.
CAMEROTA: So interesting, David. And John, so listen, it sounds like what David is saying is that Kim Jong-un is sort of triangulating the -- his -- what he considers now allies, maybe away from the United States. But does President Trump get credit for creating this climate, for loosening this sort of isolationism that was North Korea?
[06:05:04] Here's what Sarah Sanders said yesterday: "We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea."
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the Trump team does deserve credit for changing the terms of the debate in North Korea. They have been much more hawkish at the outset. We buy belief that they could not kick the can without North Korea really having nukes that could hit the United States.
So they reshuffled the calculation. Maybe you can call it madman theory. You can call it the carrot and stick with South Korea. But they did reshuffle things. So what you've got now is not only the prospect of a meeting on the table, which is far from clear, A, it will happen; B, it would be a good thing for Trump.
CAMEROTA: I mean, they're both saying it's going to happen in May. Anything is possible.
AVLON: It very well may. And how John Bolton interacts with that versus H.R. McMaster. There are a lot of x-factors. But what is true is that the stalemate that had been in place, and the agreements in theory followed by North Korea just pursuing nukes, regardless of U.S. policy and international agreements, that seems to have been reshuffled right now. That could be a good thing for peace. It could also portend further escalation.
CUOMO: All right. So David, help me understand something here. Maybe this is too in the weeds, but I don't know. Not to me.
The idea of doing this with South Korea on trade now, so you're putting pressure on them, which is in part negative pressure on them at a time when you need their cooperation more than ever. You go after them on steel. But they're less than 10 percent of our take internationally on steel.
You go after him in cars, but we underperform with cars there in terms of what their market can absorb. And you now have a precedent -- a precedent of using trade tariffs to spur a deal, which I think is in contravention of international law may trigger a WTO action.
SANGER: That all sounds right, Chris. The only difference here is that, by striking this agreement now and getting it -- getting it announced last night, they take this source of tension off the table for a while.
They -- you know, trade deals with South Korea have always been about bolstering the alliance, same reason that we've had, you know, trade deals with the United Arab Emirates, for example, and other key allies.
So the -- the element of this that I think is important is that they read something that does not strike me as a major change in the trade deal that President Obama pushed through, but it allows president Moon saying I'm not dealing with this while we're dealing with the North Koreans.
CAMEROTA: John, here's a tweet hot off the presses, one minute ago from the president: "For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility. Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong-un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!" exclamation point.
AVLON: Look, again, I think the Trump administration being tough and aggressive, changed the calculation in North Korea deserves credit. They're a long way from being done. We're a long way from Wellville and the prospect of peace here." That summit itself is incredibly high-stakes.
The North Koreans have wanted to sit down face-to-face with the president for decades. They're going to get that optics. How that will turn out is still to be seen. But the Trump administration boke the national security seam, deserves credit, I believe, for forcing the issue and changing the calculus on the peninsula.
CUOMO: Now obviously, David, you remember very well and have written extensively about where the Clinton administration have gotten with similar talks and similar sets of expectations. You know, you wrote a piece that -- with some of your colleagues that I encourage people to read. It will take some time. But you say that the idea isn't just about weaponry; it's about fuel. That South Korea has reactors. They say, you know, the typical Iran argument.
We only want to use it to get energy for our people. But it can also make the same fuel that you need for nuclear weapons, plutonium. How does that play into it with these expectations at the North while everybody's getting in Kumbaya mode? May fire up a reactor.
SANGER: Well, they're getting ready to fire up a reactor. The satellite photographs show it. And what our story has is a series of these satellite photographs that give you a sense of what the progress is.
This puts North Korea in basically the situation Iran was in before the deal was negotiated with them in 2015, which is to say that they've got missiles. They've got weapons and, of course, they have the capacity to go make the fuel. And that would all have to be part of denuclearization. Now, why is that problematic?
Two things. The first is they have signed two or three deals before to denuclearize. I'm old enough to have been in the room when they did their first one with South Korea back in the early '90s.
SANGER: They did another one with the Bush administration. So their concept of denuclearization is they will begin to takes things apart if the U.S. pulls all of its troops out of the Korean Peninsula, gets far away from the entire territory, things the U.S. is not prepared to go do with a major ally in -- in East Asia. So that's the key part.
John Bolton, the new national security adviser who's taking over April 9, so before these talks get going, has been quite explicit in both the cases of Iran and North Korea that he believes that the way that you go deal with these facilities is you bomb them the way the Israelis took out the reactor in Iraq and then the reactor in Syria.
If that becomes the predominant thought at the next moment of crisis in these talks -- and there will be several crises in these talks -- that could be problematic.
CAMEROTA: Indeed. Thank you very much for all of that context, David Sanger, John Avlon.
So we are also following breaking news. The lawyer for Stormy Daniels seeking to depose President Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, about that secrecy agreement for which Daniels was paid $130,000 days before the 2016 election.
CNN's Abby Phillip is live at the White House with all of the breaking details. What do we know, Abby?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Alisyn.
It seems that every day there's a new development in the Stormy Daniels saga, perhaps designed to get under President Trump's skin. This time Daniels's attorney, Michael Avenatti, is asking to question President Trump.
PHILLIP (voice-over): Stormy Daniels's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, wants to know what President Trump knew about the $130,000 payment to his client days before the 2016 election. Avenatti asking a federal judge in California for permission to question the president under oath for up to two hours.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: We're going to prove that Mr. Cohen's statements to the American people are false. That at all times, Mr. Trump knew about this, knew about the $130,000, was fully aware of it, and with the assistance of Mr. Cohen, sought to intimidate and put my client under his thumb.
PHILLIP: The president's lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said that he paid Daniels out of his own pocket and that the president knew nothing about the agreement.
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president strongly, clearly, and has consistently denied these underlying claims. And the only person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims.
PHILLIP: The court filing comes as President Trump remains silent about the alleged affair. The White House sparring with reporters over that characterization.
SANDERS: The president has addressed this. We've addressed it extensively. There's just nothing else to add. Sometimes he chooses to specifically engage and punch back, and sometimes he doesn't.
PHILLIP: A source close to the White House tells CNN the current plan is for Mr. Trump to continue avoiding the topic, because the controversy hasn't hurt his poll numbers. Avenatti telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that eight women have now come to him with stories similar to Daniels.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER FOR STORMY DANIELS: We're still exploring their stories. We're going to be very careful and deliberate.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you know if any of these eight women who have come to you, have come forward to you, also signed confidentiality or hush agreements?
AVENATTI: We understand that two of them have. PHILLIP: the president's legal troubles mounting healed of a
potential interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Two more lawyers declining offers to join Trump's legal team Tuesday due to business conflict.
Just days after the president insisted that many top law firms wanted to represent him.
SANDERS: The president has a highly-qualified team with several individuals that have been part of this process.
PHILLIP: Well, this is the fifth day in a row that President Trump has had no public events on his schedule. But as you just read, he's been tweeting this morning. He's tweeted about North Korea.
And also this about the Second Amendment. He said the Second Amendment will never be repealed as much as Democrats would like to see this happen. And despite the words yesterday from a former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, "No way. We need more Republicans in 2018 and will always hold the Supreme Court.
The president here weighing in on an issue that has been so fraught with tension over the last several days because of those marches here in Washington and around the country. But still so far, nothing on Stormy Daniels and this other legal trouble that he is in here, Chris.
CUOMO: Another boogeyman that is sure to do nothing to create any kind of rational debate in Congress about how we stop these shootings.
Abby, thank you very much.
So the Stormy Daniels scandal has legs when it comes to this court proceeding. That's always been the case. What is the chance that the president will be deposed under oath? We dig in. It's not as simple as you think. Next.
[06:18:06] CAMEROTA: OK. Some breaking news. Stormy Daniels's attorney is asking a federal judge for permission to depose President Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Daniels's attorney wants to find out what the president knew about that $130,000 payment that Daniels received from Michael Cohen right before the 2016 election.
So let's bring in CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN legal analyst Areva Martin.
Great to have you both. Areva, I'll read to you a little portion of the deposition that was just filed by Michael Avenatti. Specifically, "The plaintiff requests, No. 1, a deposition of the defendant, Donald J. Trump, of no greater than two hours and a deposition of defendant Michael Cohen of no greater than two hours." What do you think the precedent is here legally? Will a judge go
along with this?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Alisyn, I think there's some bigger questions that have to be decided in this case. We know that Trump's team is making the argument that this case this should not be in federal court.
This is a matter that should be referred to a private arbitrator, pursuant to the original nondisclosure agreement. So I think a federal judge looking at this is going to have to first make the decision, the foundational decision about jurisdiction. Is this a matter and everything related to this matter, including discovery such as a deposition, should that be decided by a private arbitrator, or is this matter going to remain in federal court, at which point the judge will allow the parties to move forward with discovery.
But I think that fundamental question about arbitration has to be decided before the judge allows that team to depose the president or Michael Cohen.
CUOMO: Right. I mean, look, this is a maneuver by Avenatti. He wants to get away from this deal. He's saying it wasn't signed, so it doesn't make it a contract. I think he's got to show us some precedent from that. You'll hear a lot of lawyers debate that, even from California where he's going to try to prove that.
It's going to be compared to Summer Zervos and her litigation. She was one of "The Apprentice" candidates, people on the show. And she says that she was harassed.
[06:20:05] However, there's a material difference, which is she's not part of an NDA. There is no arbitration clause there. She didn't contract to settle any dispute a certain way. And in that case, the judge pointed out the Paula Jones precedent where Bill Clinton was forced to deal with that litigation and got deposed, even though he was president. You'll hear that defense from this White House, as well, if it gets any further.
AVLON: Absolutely. And that's really the key point here. I mean, obviously, the Paula Jones deposition is what led to the Monica Lewinsky scandal and, ultimately, impeachment.
So you've got strange political bedfellows here. I mean, you know, you're going to see the Trump administration citing Bill Clinton's precedent in certain ways and as well as the prosecution. I think the NDA is the differentiating factor.
But I think it's also a reminder for folks that it's not just Stormy out there. It's also -- there are other cases, as well, particularly Summer Zervos. And that decision's already been made. That's going to go forward in some way. But this is definitely a legal tactic designed to ratchet up the pressure.
CAMEROTA: So Areva, it seems that Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels's lawyer, is prosecuting this in the court of public opinion. He's been on, as we know, tons of media appearances, including our program. So he also -- what he's doing is he keeps planting seeds.
I mean, in sort of Trumpesque tease fashion, he keeps saying there's more to come. Stay tuned. Here's what I have. So last night, yesterday, along with Wolf Blitzer, and he claimed that there were more women that he knows about. So here's that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You suggested earlier in the month that you had perhaps as many as six, maybe more women who have come to you with similar allegations against Donald Trump and that you were vetting their stories. Have you found them to be credible?
AVENATTI: We are still exploring their stories. We're going to be very careful and deliberate, Wolf. But I can't announce that the number is not six. It's now eight.
BLITZER: And how credible are their stories, and are they similar to what your client, what Karen McDougal have suggested?
AVENATTI: There are similarities, but again, we have not fully vetted them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: But you know, ultimately, he's just gotten them out there. So if these women never come forward, it's already planted, you know, the seed. Are there legal problems for the way Michael Avenatti is conducting this?
MARTIN: Not any legal problems. And what he's been able to do is to force the president's team into, you know, working overtime, trying to get this matter out of, you know, a court where these documents and everything would be public, trying to force this into private arbitration.
And so far he's been pretty successful, because we're hearing about, you just said, potentially eight women who has similar claims. And we've heard from Stormy Daniels on the things that could be held private or confidential, as a result of the nondisclosure agreement. We heard her talk about in the "60 Minutes" interview.
So when you think about what he has done, he's essentially pled his case, allowed her to talk very openly about the case, as he's asking the court to make a decision about whether she can talk about it.
CUOMO: That's the benefit of litigation, is that in your pleading, you can say all the things that you're disputing whether or not they should be allowed to be said.
However, Cohen's lawyer says that he believes that Avenatti is approaching a point of potential malpractice. You're not allowed to go on and make things up on a regular basis and be a hype man as an officer of the court.
You know, I made this offer to Avenatti to be made in the open also. Let us help you vet these other people who've come forward. Who is "we" who is looking at these different things? Let journalists help you. Let them have the information. Let's see what's true and what isn't true and get it out there, as opposed to just tantalizing it, because he hasn't delivered on any of the things he's teased to this point.
AVLON: He's going to need to start to deliver but also made the right point that Avenatti is basically playing the media through Trump rules. Right? This is congratulations, everybody. We've got Jerry Springer's presidential reality show happening in real time.
But he's going to have to start putting up specific examples and the two examples he gave, two more women with NDAs, that's really significant. Because certainly, the NDA has the appearance of being almost a form letter. And if that's true, that's significant.
If Avenatti is just simply spinning and acting as a hype man, that's a deeper problem. Not only for him, not only for his client but also for the way our media gets played and the country gets devolved.
MARTIN: President Trump has been characteristically --
CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead, Areva.
MARTIN: One thing about Michael Cohen saying that Avenatti is getting close to malpractice, that's a weird statement coming from him, given that, if we are to believe him, he entered into a $130,000 settlement without informing his client that he was entering into a settlement. That's the definition of malpractice and a violation of most state rules. I'm not sure he's in a position to point any fingers here.
CAMEROTA: Areva is using logic.
CUOMO: But it also assumes that -- assumes that, you know, he didn't know anything about it. And it is --
CAMEROTA: Who, the president?
CUOMO: Yes. And it assumes that, because there would have been nothing wrong with Cohen telling Trump, "I'm doing this. This is what's happening. I'm going to take care of this. You deal with what you're dealing with."
CUOMO: And it assumes that Cohen is --
MARTIN: That is not typically how clients and lawyers work.
[06:25:03] CUOMO: Well, I know. But nobody is saying difficult. Nobody is saying it's a difficult relationship. It wouldn't make it de facto unethical. I'm saying we'd have to know a little bit more, as we would with Avenatti. You know, they're both short of that line. You need to know more things.
CUOMO: So my point is, is that the president would be uncharacteristically silent about these accusations from Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, and though his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, seemed to claim that all of this has already been addressed, so here's that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why the silence? Is someone advising him to be silent?
SANDERS: I don't think it is silent when the president has addressed this. We've addressed it extensively. There's just nothing else to add just because you guys continue to ask the same question over and over and over again doesn't mean that we have to come up with new things to say. We've addressed it. We've addressed it extensively. And there is nothing new to add to this conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Hey, she makes a good point, John. There's nothing new to add. So what more -- what more are we looking for?
AVLON: The problem is that they haven't addressed it. They haven't addressed it.
CAMEROTA: They say that the president denies it.
CUOMO: You missed that point. They say it. He doesn't say it.
CAMEROTA: But they say it.
AVLON: He's already entered into -- he's into litigation surrounding it. I mean, it's already been undercut, frankly, by Sarah Sanders first at the podium and then by the president's legal action surrounding the attempt to push this back. It's fundamentally false. And to try to say there's nothing to see here, because I've already told you there's nothing to see there, doesn't make it true. That's a Baghdad Bob defense. Not befitting the podium in the press room.
CUOMO: I mean, you're really falling for a canard there, because the idea that he doesn't take on all opponents, yes, he does. Yes, he does, Areva. That is what he does. That has been his biggest plus and minus. And we all know that there is a reason that he's not talking about this one. It's not simply a process of self-selection.
MARTIN: Yes. There have been so many new developments in this case from the time in which they are telling us they've said something. We've heard this story from Stormy Daniels in great detail. So I think Sarah Sanders is being less than genuine when she makes the statement that they've already said everything there is to say about this case.
We have not heard him address this whole hush agreement and the efforts by the president to force this matter into private arbitration so that will not be litigated in a public forum. So there's so much more that the president could be saying about this, but clearly, he knows that there's no great or good answer for him in this case. And we're seeing that it's a struggle. When he tees -- when he
tweeted yesterday so much fake news. Never been more voluminous. Good word. Or more inaccurate. But through it all, our country is doing great. He went after Joe Biden. Joe Biden was talking about how he is with women. This is hard for him. We'll see how long he can keep it up.
CAMEROTA: Areva, thank you.
John, thank you.
CUOMO: All right. Lawmakers are demanding it. But will Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify before Congress about the Cambridge Analytica scandal. How can he avoid it? Details next.