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Date and Location of Trump-Kim Summit Undecided; Protesting Shootings on Columbine Anniversary; David Copperfield Trial; Robots to the Rescue for DIY Disasters. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 20, 2018 - 01:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN HOST: Joining CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, North Korea appears to be caving to the U.S. before talks even get started with Pyongyang willing to give up its nukes without demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops upon the peninsula.

CNN obtains former FBI Director James Comey's memos about his meetings with President Donald Trump and there are political Rorschach tests. And, David Copperfield's magic secrets revealed in court and it's not really magic.

Hello, everybody. Thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause. We've already had the first hour of Newsroom LA. We're now into the second hour of Newsroom LA and there is one more after that.

Well, it seems North Korea may have just made a major concession ahead of that possible summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Now, according to South Korea's president, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has not raised a long standing demand that U.S. troops leave South Korea as a condition of the denuclearization.

More than 28,000 America forces are stationed in the south and there's no indication that they will withdrawal anytime soon. So, the only gesture coming from the north, last month the North Koreans dropped their opposition to military drills between the United States and South Korea. These drills have long outranged Pyongyang.

Meantime, the leaders of the North and South Korea will have their own historic summit one week from now. Both sides have scheduled rehearsals in the coming days to make sure everything goes according to plan. Paula Hancocks, live this hour from Seoul. So, Paula if the North Koreans confirm what the South Korean president has been saying about the presence of U.S. troops, does (ph) it seem it just got a whole lot easier to make some kind of deal between the U.S. and the North Koreans.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, this was really a sticking point in the past when it came to negotiations between North Korea and the United States. The United States had no intention of moving those 28,000 plus U.S. troops out of South Korea but it was always something that North Korea had pushed for.

And it's been one of the reasons that talks have broken down in the past. So, I think what we're seeing here, at least, if what the South Korean President Moo Moon Jae-in is saying is an accurate representation of what he perceives is that the North Korean leader is doing what he can to make sure that at least the beginning of these summits goes well.

The fact that there have been no missile and nuclear tests and Kim Jong-un himself said there wouldn't be while negotiations were going on. There have been some concessions by the North Koreans but there are many also including former member of the elites in North Korea that I spoke to who say that this will not stay off the table for long as far as they're concerned.

North Korea does still want the U.S. troops out of South Korea as an ultimate goal. But they may bring it up in negotiations further down the line. So, they're not using it as a condition at this point. But it is a step in the right direction. We also heard Moon saying that he believed that the terminology of denuclearization didn't mean two different things to the leaders of North and South Korea.

That's something that we - that everybody's been focusing on, as well. So, certainly from President Moon's point of view it is a positive start to the week before the summit. John?

VAUSE: OK. So, is there any indication what exactly the North Koreans are looking for here beyond that vague term that we keep hearing of security guarantees? Do we know what that actually means?

HANCOCKS: It's open to interpretation. All of the language that we're hearing from North Korea, from South Korean quoting officials and Kim Jong-un in North Korea is fairly vague. It can all be open to interpretation. A willingness to talk about denuclearization. Now, certainly they say they don't want the hostile policy that the U.S. has against North Korea to continue.

Now, whether they consider that hostile policy to be having U.S. troops on the peninsula, that's open to interpretation, as well. It's one of those situations where everybody appears to be saying the right things before they sit down to this summit. And it appears as though all three leaders are keen for it to go well, the leaders of North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

Donald Trump also saying that he has a willingness to make it work and he's hopeful it will work. Although he also pointed out if it doesn't he's willing to walk away. So, it really is a case of waiting until they sit down and then finding out probably down the line what the actual conditions are and what the actual desire of North Korea is.

North Korea ultimately wants regime survival. They want to feel secure and they want that, what they perceive as a hostile policy from the U.S. to go.

VAUSE: I'm finding (ph) we're hearing these reports from the same (ph) media [01:00:00]

in North Korea that the central committee of the commerce party will meet on Friday. The meeting was convened to discuss and decide policy issues of a new stage to meet the demands of the current important historic period. Can you translate the translation? What does it mean?

HANCOCKS: Absolutely. This is effectively a cleanery (ph) - it's a statement. It's the Congress getting together if you like. It will be a big deal. We're being told by a number of different sources in the fact that Kim Jong-un may mention the U.S. Summit, may mention the fact that denuclearization is on the table. Now, of course, it won't be in a statement as blunt as I've just put it. It may be inflary (ph) statements, but the expectation from analysts that I've spoken to and for ex members of the elite I've spoken to say that this might be his way of introducing to the North Korean people that denuclearization may be discussed. And, of course, it is an important step for the North Koreans because they have this nuclear power written into the constitution. It is what Kim Jong-un has stated claim on his reputation on, so he now has to explain why he is looking to at least talk about that or show willingness to denuclearize. John -

VAUSE: Yes, it is incredible why he's returned for the North Koreans if it is as advertised and it all goes ahead. We'll see, early days. Paula, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Well, CNN has obtained a copy of former FBI Director James Comey's memos about his conversations with Donald Trump, and they appear to be consistent with what he told Congress last year. Comey says the president asked him repeatedly to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation. In one memo referring to the salacious claims that infamous Russia dossier, Comey writes, "the president said the hooker thing is nonsense," but that Putin had told him, "we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world." CNN's Laura Jarrett has more.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN REPORTER: While the memos are out and they almost read like unedited pages of Comey's book providing a glimpse into how Comey interacted with the president despite the cloud of the Russian investigation. Discussions of loyalty, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and a clear sense that those salacious rumors about Trump's visit to Moscow in 2013 really got under his skin. One of the unclassified memos includes the now famous conversation where Trump allegedly told Comey, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go."

But there's also new information including a claim that President Trump told Comey at a dinner back in January of 2017 that he had "serious reservations about Mike Flynn's judgement" and that former Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, asked Comey if Flynn was under surveillance just days before Flynn was fired. Now, almost immediately lawmakers jumped on this news. The top Democrats like minority leader Nancy Pelosi tweeting the release of these Comey memos are further proof of Trumps contempt for the rule of law, but Republicans say the memos are indicative of what they don't say and they're actually proving that former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. Laura Jarrett, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: As expected, President Trump is tweeting about the Comey memos, didn't take long. Late Thursday he tweeted this, "James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?" I believe the investigation will continue, Mr. President.

Joining me now, CNN political commentators (ph), Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson and Republican Consultant John Thomas. You know, you look at those memos and it is a political raw tactics (ph) depending on who you see, what you want to see, if you're a Republican -


VAUSE: Yes, so he's (ph) a Republican or a Democrat, but they do kind of - to a Democrat, they reveal the president's contempt of the legal process. If you're Republican, like the president says, nothing to see here. So Dave, talk about the contempt and why it's already bad. John, tell me how everything's good.

JACOBSON: I just think anyway you look at it, it's not good for the president. We're having a conversation about Donald Trump firing the FBI Director, the potential of - and by the way, that triggered the Mueller investigation, which we talk about every single day with the Russian investigation that continues to grow every single day. I just think it's a lose-lose issue for Donald Trump any way you look at it.

VAUSE: And John, you know, is it a good thing when you're talking about hookers and the U.S. President and the Russian President and -

JOHN THOMAS, CNN REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: No, of course it's not a good thing, but I thought the Comey memos did reveal - it did reveal that Comey didn't seem to feel threatened by the president at all in these conversations. And so, I think a lot of these postmortems are being overblown than what Comey's own notes said five minutes after he left the room there. So look, is this a conversation the president wants to have? Of course not, but we saw today that Rod Rosenstein apparently told the president that he is not -

VAUSE: A target.


THOMAS: He's not a target. And then all of a sudden you see ...

JACOBSON: As the president he won't be a target ...

VAUSE: Well at the moment its all working.

THOMAS: Well but right and you're seeing the president now back off and going maybe this thing just needs to play its course out.

VAUSE: I guess with these - with the memos. Do they shed any light on anything or is it all pretty much confirmed what we already knew right? JACOBSON: I think we already knew everything. Everything has already been leaked out as part of that drip, drip, drip. Look I think the person that's benefiting, John.

THOMAS: Maybe literally, maybe not.

JACOBSON: Yes, what you so eloquently said last show. He - Comey's out there to sell books.


JACOBSON: Bottom line and so for him to be part of the conversation, to be part of the national narrative, this is a good thing because he's cashing checks.

VAUSE: OK with that in mind. Comey has been doing the rounds, a bunch of interviews. He (inaudible) CNN with Jake Tapa on Thursday. He actually said he's feeling fine with the release of these memos.

JAMES COMEY: I'm totally fine with transparency. I've tried to be transparent throughout this and I think what folks will see, if they get to see the memos is I've been consistent since the very beginning. Right after my encounters with president Trump and I'm consistent n the book and try to be transparent in the book as well.

VAUSE: John how much harm is Comey doing to his reputation though? Because here is a guy who is this stand up - the only ...


VAUSE: ... honest guy in the town of - in the dirty town and he was the sheriff who was going to clean it all up. And he was above the politics. And you know if you read the book, if you hear what he's been saying, sort of slinging(ph) about with the president.

THOMAS: Well yes it's not good for him. And he hasn't been quite consistent. There are some inconsistencies in the memos we say leaked, he talks about reassuring the president that he - Rod Rosenstein has his full trust, he's fully capable. Yet in some of these interviews he's saying, well I always suspected Rod Rosenstein couldn't do the job. I don't have total confidence in Rod Rosenstein but in your memo you told the president you did. So there are some inconsistencies but the bigger challenge is he's becoming a partisan figure.

VAUSE: Right.

THOMAS: He said - he's left Republican Party, his wife and kids march the woman's march, nothing wrong with that, but he's gone from a non partisan figure to somebody who's questionably disgruntled, looking to sell books and dinging the president for his tan lines. That's just beneath the dignity of the former FBI director.

VAUSE: So is it - I've got - so I'm just wondering because it's a bit like the pig in the pruke(ph) you know because he's also the - he's the way prig with the starched white shirt, he's always a (inaudible). He gets a little bit of mud on him and it really stands out.

THOMAS: Right.

VAUSE: And it looks really bad. The president who's always in the mud, you don't even really notice it, it doesn't stick to him no one cares that that's the president.

THOMAS: Right.

VAUSE: And if there is a mud slinging match here, Comey comes off a lot worse then the president I'd say(ph).

JACOBSON: I think he does. And like this isn't new by the way. Comey's been like tweeting out these very snarky tweets ever since he was fired right. There was like that pseudo like secret Twitter account ...


JACOBSON: ... that came out.

THOMAS: Right typical voices.

JACOBSON: Right, right, right this isn't a new thing. Again I think he's just trying to create headlines, you know blow up his media appearances and try to do everything that he can to generate more sales for his book.

THOMAS: It's the same challenge a political candidate has when they run as family values candidate and then it turns out their - have shinny shoes and are seeing prostitutes right. It's ascetical to their brand promise and that's Comey's problem. He was running on - his book title of a higher loyalty, you know holier than thou and now it turns out he can be pettier than just about anybody.

JACOBSON: Well he is human ...


JACOBSON: ... after all, right.

THOMAS: Yes but fired ...

VAUSE: That's a good point, probably being related in five ...

JACOBSON: Yes he totally would.

THOMAS: Yes but he had a brand here and now he's brought it down.

JACOBSON: To the - but to his credit, the president does that everyday. Look at what he did it Rex Tillerson, to Comey, I mean there's been ...

VAUSE: And tried to Dickey Hanny(ph) and didn't get away with it.

JACOBSON: That for sure ... VAUSE: OK those close to the president are becoming increasingly worried about his personal lawyer Michael Cohen who is some serious legal hot water. That way he will flip, he will strike a deal with prosecutors in return for a plea deal. Trumps old friend and his divorce lawyer from the 1990's, Jay Goldberg, 85 years old. Warned Trump on Friday that Cohen was likely to do a deal but by Thursday, at least publically, Goldberg was sort of clarifying, maybe doing a little back sliding on this. This is what he said.

JAY GOLDBERG: I didn't except the notion of flip, flip means to me that when faced with the potential of spending time in jail, he will tell the truth. I don't think that's what the president was concerned about and that's not what I'm concerned about.

VAUSE: And Jay Goldberg went on to add that he though it was highly likely that Cohen could just start making stuff up to get a good deal with the prosecutors. But really does he need to make stuff up when you think about you know where all the bodies could be buried here?

THOMAS: Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. I don't know I haven't seen the bodies that are buried. But a - I mean ... JACOBSON: But there are bodies buried.

THOMAS: Yes I - I don't know. But certainly it has to be a concern because you know you have such a private personal relationship with an attorney and you tell him things that you think will never, ever, ever be exposed. You have to be worried about that.

VAUSE: And that probably was mistake number one for Donald Trump back - you know confiding in someone like Michael Cohen.

THOMAS: Trust no one maybe, yes.

VAUSE: Trust no one.

JACOBSON: Yes look this is a - and some of Trumps advisors have be caught in the political story that came out earlier today. The nightmare scenario for Donald Trump.


THOMAS: Trust no one maybe, yes.

VAUSE: Trust no one?

THOMAS: Yes, look this is a - and some of Trumps advisors have been quoting that political - politico story that came out earlier today, the nightmare scenario for Donald Trump. If Cohen actually flips who knows how many bodies are buried.


THOMAS: And so the question is, like you know how strong is the loyalty factor right there, right? And I think if its a couple year jail sentence that Michael Cohen's looking at that's one thing, if it's 20 plus years that's a whole new ball game.

VAUSE: That's a whole different story.


VAUSE: Imagine never seeing your kids or family again. And he started talking about the family and the toll its taking.


VAUSE: And that's usually an indication that their wavering.

THOMAS: It's tough.

VAUSE: OK, the President is running out of lawyers it seems. But don't worry its Rudy to the rescue. In an interview with "CNN" Rudy Giuliani said he wants to make it clear that this new role he will be taking on with the legal with be limited. Giuliani told "CNN" his focus will be on interfacing with Special Council Robert Mueller. And the Russian probe and to help bring everything to a conclusion, saying it needs a little push. OK, John how long before Rudy get's canned?

THOMAS: Well I don't know. Rudy was making some big promises today. He said he's going to have this whole Russia thing wrapped up on two weeks.

VAUSE: Yes. Right, I think it's going to be - really? OK.

THOMAS: He said two weeks. And then somebody said well how are you going to do that? And he goes well I'm going to sit down with Mueller and say what do you need? What do you need to just wrap this up right now? I don't know if it works quite like that.

VAUSE: A video tape in the (Muslim) hotel room possibly.

THOMAS: I know but - I mean the President and Rudy Giuliani have had a long term relationship, their both New Yorkers.

VAUSE: Yes, no it's a basic relationship.

THOMAS: No it has been, it has been rocky because they've known each other a long time. We'll see. I think this is an illustration of Rudy Giuliani's desperation to get some sort of job with in the Trump world. Let's not forget, he was going for Attorney General. didn't get that job. Going for Secretary of State, didn't get that job.

VAUSE: Secretary of State, didn't get it.

THOMAS: Clearly he wasn't good enough to be in the Trump Administration. So because Donald Trump is in this place now where he's having a very difficult time getting any high profile credible attorney to represent him. He would like Rudy Giuliani -

VAUSE: (inaudible) Rudy Giuliani when he hasn't listened to anybody else?

THOMAS: I - I can't answer that.


THOMAS: But wasn't - but wasn't Rudy the U.S. Attorney?


THOMAS: Yeah, yes.

VAUSE: He's got experience.

THOMAS: He's - so he's got experience.

VAUSE: Yes, OK. Well let's finish off here. Because with all this turmoil around the President. All the controversy's, all the scandals. Huh, what a surprise it seems some republicans are thinking maybe 2020? Maybe we go with somebody else. Listen to this.


RON JOHNSON, US SENATOR REPULBICAN : It could be a completely different world by 2020. We have a 2018 election first.

SUSAN COLLINS, US SENATOR REPUBLICAN: I think it's far too early to be discussing what the political landscape will look like in 2020.

UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: I haven't even thought about that election. I'm worried about the midterm elections.

BOB COHEN, US SENATOR REPUBLICAN: I have no idea whether the President runs for reelection, nor what the field will be on the republican side. So I think its way too early to weigh in on who one might support.


VAUSE: Dave it's amazing how so many republicans haven't even thought about 2020. Really?

JACOBSON: It's incredible. I mean you've got a sitting republican President who already has the committee open. Who's already been doing campaign rallies.

VAUSE: Who's raised a ton of money.

JACOBSON: Right. And "CNN" reported earlier today two dozen republicans have come out and said that their not ready to commit to the President. Or they've skirted the issue right, and haven't answered the question. That is incredible. Think about that with Barack Obama's President. You would never have seen that.

VAUSE: Right.

JACOBSON: And so I think that is indicative of Donald Trumps bottom level poles. He's at 39 percent in the recent "NBC/Wall Street Journal" polls. That's down four points from just last month. But here's the big factor in that poll, enthusiasm. 66 percent of democrats are enthusiastic, 49 percent of republicans. Why it's so note worthy? 2010 that same poll had those exact numbers flipped 180 and we saw the republican wave take over congress.

VAUSE: (inaudible), yes.

THOMAS: Yes I think what your seeing is the (senators)ph that you were quoting, and those are places where it's not advantageous to them to hug Trump yet. Not in 2018. There's no reason for them to do it. You look at Senators like Ted Cruz who claim that the apocalypse is going to happen if Donald Trump got elected. Just today is hugging the President even more. Saying he's been the political bomb that we needed in Washington. So it's just the - it's a fickle business. It really is.

VAUSE: (I figure you)ph take Cruz as the Zodiac Killer.

JACOBSON: (Why?)ph

THOMAS: He has nothing but nice things to say about the President now.

VAUSE: He's not; we know that he's not. OK. Good to see you both.

THOMAS: Thanks.


VAUSE: Thank you. Well still ahead here Raul Castro bowed out as Cuba's President and passed the revolution torch to someone who wasn't even alive back then. And his name is not Castro. And passengers aboard a Southwest flight (they've)ph killed one person this week say their receiving some financial compensation from the airline. We'll get details next.



VAUSE: Southwest Airlines is reaching out to passengers on that terrifying flight when an engine exploded. Three (ph) of them have told us they will receive $5,000 from the company is compensation, also, a $1,000 travel voucher. In the meantime, we are still hearing some dramatic stories from those who were onboard when debris shattered a window; 43-year-old Jennifer Riodan was partially pulled out of the plan at more than 30,000 feet. She did not survive. One passenger who tried to save her was an off-duty firefighter.


ANDREW NEEDUM, FIREFIGHTER: There was a family that lost a loved one. And I -- I feel for her family. I fell for her two kids, her husband, the community that she lived in. I can't imagine what they're going through.

And I looked across the aisle to my wife, after we heard some commotion in the -- the rear of the plane. And I looked in her eyes and -- and she basically gave me the approval to go back there. In fact, I think she may have told me to go. But, anyways, at that time is when I went to the rear of the plane. And what took place back there, I -- I'm going to leave -- out of respect for her family I'm going to leave that alone.


VAUSE: Riodan leaves behind a husband and two children.

For the first time in almost 60 years, the leader of Cuba is not named Castro. Raul Castro has stepped down and handed the presidency to a much younger man, someone who wasn't even born when Fidel Castro came to power. We get more now on this historic moment from CNN's Patrick Oppmann, reporting in from Havana.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was the moment that Cubans' knew they had a new president and that the revolutionary torch had been passed. The result was never really in doubt. Cuba's National Assembly picks the island's president in theory, but the only candidate on the ballot was this man, Cuban first vice president and Raul Castro's hand-picked successor, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Cuba's new president won the vote, such as it was, 603 to 1. It could have been that 100 percent of the vote was just too much or that one Cuban lawmaker simply didn't get the memo on who to support. Diaz- Canel is 58 and was born after the guerrilla (ph) fight that swept the Castros to power. A bureaucrat replacing revolutionaries, but one who at least still talks tough.


OPPMANN: "No one will weaken the revolution or defeat the Cuban people," he said, "because Cuba doesn't make concessions against its sovereignty or independence." For another three years, ex Cuban President Raul Castro, will hold onto the title of the first secretary of the Cuban Communist Party that sets the island's long-term agenda. Then he will turn that job, as well, over to his successor.


OPPMANN: He will stay on as first secretary, Castro said, "To keep the road open." As Raul Castro leaves the scene, Diaz-Canel is on his way to become Cuba's new strongman.

In less than a decade, Miguel Diaz-Canel has vaulted from obscurity to the pinnacle of power in Cuba. It's clear he now inherits Cuba's economic problems and still unresolved disputes with the United States. The future of the revolution is in his hands. [01:25:00]


OPPMANN: --pinnacle of power in Cuba. It's clear he now hurts (ph) Cuba's economic problems, and still unresolved dispute with the United States. The future of the revolution is in his hands. The marks that Fidel Raul Castro left on this island will endure for

generations. Elian Gonzalez tells me, himself a supporter of the government, and possible future leader.


OPPMANN: Many people say that the Castro's Mandate will end, Elian says. But their ideology won't end. What they have taught us, the ideas of the Castros won't end with their mandate, because Cuba is more than its government.

Both worshipped, and vilified, the era of the Castro's is coming to a close. And now begins the hard work of figuring out what comes next.

DIAZ-CANEL: (Foreign Language).

OPPMANN: Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.

VAUSE: And there was history made at the U.S. Capitol. Newborns are now allowed on the Senate floor. The change was spearheaded by Senator Tammy Duckworth, who showed up to cast a vote with her newborn daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Senator, how does it feel to be here?

TAMMY DUCKWORTH, SENATOR, D-IL: How are you? It feels right. It's about time, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: (Ph) How does it feel to be allowed here with Maile?

DUCKWORTH: I think it's encouraged. I just think it's amazing. I want to thank all my colleagues for the unanimous consent vote to be (ph) disputed. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: She's pretty young to be making history.

DUCKWORTH: She is. You know, there's - I hope we're not setting expectations too high for her.

VAUSE: The Duckworth's gave birth to the little girl, her second child a month ago. She was the first Senator to give birth while in office. Not surprising, given the fact there are so few female Senators.

Next here on USMAL (ph), the location of a U.S.-North Korea Summit is critical, but Kim Jong-un may be reluctant to travel too far from home. We'll explain why.

Also, we go inside the trial of a man suing magician, David Copperfield. And we'll ruin the magic. Spoiler alert, it's not magic.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: This week, powerhouses in design are crafting a new narrative for Africa through their style.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: It's a revival. It's an embracing. It's let's be proud of who we are.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: African Voices, Sunday on CNN. The Subject, Saturday on CNN, in association with DHL. Wednesday, James Comey, Anderson Cooper, the only live Town Hall through lies and leadership, Wednesday live. Only on CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: You may not have heard of Leonardo Del Vecchio. But if you own a pair of Ray-Bans or kleets (ph), you have a piece of this Italian Billionaire's empire. Luxottica is the world's biggest eyewear company headquarter in Italy. It wasn't always luxury, fame, and fortune.

His family was poor, and sent into an orphanage in Milan when he was just 7-years-old. And he started work young. Assisting a tool maker in his early teen, where he helped making parts of eyeglass frames, the beginning of a lucrative career. He founded Luxottica in his 20s, and over the years built an empire.

Owning some brands outright, and holding the license for countless others, Chanel, Prada, and Ralph Lauren to name a few. Del Vecchio also owned many of the shops they're sold in. He may be in his 80s, but this CEO is still family (ph) in the spotlight. And that's Leonardo Del Vecchio in 60 seconds.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: I'm Becky Anderson, and this is CNN.

VAUSE: You're watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

The president of South Korea said the North is not (ph) demanding the U.S. military leave the Korean Peninsula as a condition for denuclearization. The apparent concession comes ahead of a possible summit between North Korea and the United States. North and South Korea hold their own inter-Korean (ph) summit next week.

The man who was once known as America's Mayor is joining Donald Trump's personal legal team. Rudy Giuliani says his role will be limited, but he wants to help push the Russia investigation to a conclusion. Giuliani was the mayor of New York during the September 11th terror attacks.

After nearly two years, officials have closed the investigation into the death of recording artist Prince, and no one will face criminal charges in his fatal drug overdose.

Authorities say the rock star took counterfeit Vicodin that was laced fentanyl. But there was no evidence showing how he got those drugs.

All indications now pointing to a summit in late May or early June between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong- un but the date and location is still undecided along with other important details. And Mr. Trump says he's willing to walk away from the whole thing if it just doesn't work out.

CNN's Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump playing the role of the ultimate dealmaker seems to be hedging his bet on a potential summit with Kim Jong-un. On one hand the President says he hopes the meeting will be a great success. But on two occasions this week, he's implied the summit may not happen at all.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maybe we won't even have a meeting at all depending on what's going in.

If I think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go.

TODD: Is he leaving himself an out to not have the summit at all?

FRANK JANNUZI, MANSFIELD FOUNDATION: He is. But more importantly he's trying to boost his own negotiating position in the run-up to the summit. He wants the North Koreans to know they have to deliver on the key promises of denuclearization. They also have to deliver in terms of return of the Americans who are currently imprisoned in North Korea.

TODD: But the President is also hedging in another way.

TRUMP: If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.

TODD: How would the impulsive young dictator respond if the President walked out on him?

MICHAEL GREEN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: The North Koreans may go back to more testing. But if they had no intention of giving up their nuclear weapons, this is the path we're going to be on anyway.

TODD: Another key sticking point -- where to hold this historic meeting. U.S. and other officials familiar with the matter tell CNN possible locations have been narrowed down to a few cities in Asia or Europe. The most likely, according to observers -- Singapore, cities in Vietnam or Thailand, the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, possibly Stockholm, Sweden, or Geneva, Switzerland.

If the summit is held in Europe, it's not clear whether Kim has a plane that could get him there without stopping. Some analysts say Kim's got a fleet of Cold War-era Soviet-made that can't fly long distance and are poorly maintained.

JANNUZI: They're extremely old. They've been refurbished. But I wouldn't trust -- I mean I flew on them because I had to choice. If he's got a choice, he should stay off of North Korean airlines.

TODD: But Kim has been photographed on a presidential jet nicknamed Air Force Un which one aviation expert says is a capable Russian-made Illusion-62.

CHARLES KENNEDY, AUTHOR, "JETLINERS OF THE RED STAR": The aircraft has a published range of 6,200 miles. That's with full passengers, bags and cargo. So with a VIP configuration and a much smaller passenger load, that puts pretty much everywhere in the world within non-stop range including all of Europe and most of North America.

TODD: But Kim may want to travel to a location he can get to with his armored train which he recently took to a secret meeting with China's president in Beijing.

GREEN: The train allows the North Korean leaders to bring a larger security detail, to bring their own autonomous communications, food supplies. And the train is safe.

TODD: Analysts say another reason why Kim Jong-un might now want to fly long distance to a summit could be the signal it might send to potential plotters at home. That the man who's executed so many members of his inner circle could be paranoid of internal enemies moving against him while he's far away.

Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.


VAUSE: Paul Carroll is a senior adviser with the nuclear disarmament group N Square. He joins us now from San Francisco.

So Paul -- you know, all these new diplomacy on the peninsula, it seems to be moving near faster than Kim Jong-un's train right now. What is difficult though is actually to pin down one data point, one moment, one event to explain how to get started.

PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISER, N SQUARE: Well, I actually think, you know, no kidding intended -- you have to credit the International Olympic Committee to some extent for having Seoul host the Winter Olympics.

And what I mean by that is North and South Korea really are in the lead here with this diplomacy and no one could have predicted, you know, what the outcome of South Korea last election might have been and so on. But this is where, you know, events in history unfold in ways you might not imagine.

So when President Moon was elected in South Korea and then the Winter Olympics were on the calendar, there was an opportunity to have some, you know, athletic diplomacy, if you will. And we saw the show in Seoul in February with Kim Jong-un's sister and then announces soon after about the possibility of meetings and summits.

[01:35:01] And so really, seriously, no kidding -- this kind of diplomacy often starts with, you know, neutral, generic, sort of athletics, ping-pong diplomacy from the China days.

And so I would say let's credit these leaders for taking opportunities of sort of non-traditional events to make the most of it.

VAUSE: Yes. I guess very similar with what happened in the 80s with Summer Olympics in South Korea and, you know, the talks and the diplomatic goal (ph) which came after that.

Are the North Koreans bending over backwards to make the summit work or are they giving the appearance that they're bending over backwards here? Because we're talking about this concessional -- this apparent concession by the North Koreans about the presence of U.S. troops on the peninsula. That was never up for discussion in the first place. That was a non-starter as far as the U.S. is concerned.

CARROLL: I think some thing new might be happening here with North Korea. In the past when there has been engagement and diplomacy, it's often been because the North was hurting. Sanctions in the past were having an effect, if not on the population, on the leadership itself. They had famines in the 90s.

I think we may be looking at a situation where North Korea is actually coming in to a diplomatic engagement from a position of strength in a couple of ways. They have a nuclear capability now. They may be rudimentary, it may not 100 percent reliable but they have demonstrated the ability to detonate large, sophisticated nuclear weapons and fire long-range missiles.

It's unclear whether the sanctions are having much bite. Kim Jong-un recently visited Beijing and it's unclear what came out of that meeting. So rather than North Korea having its hat in its hand, it may be, you know, have quite a few cards to play.

VAUSE: And you know, we're hearing about these talks from the very get-go has come from the South Koreans, working as intermediaries with the North Koreans and the Americans. With that in mind, is there concern about the messenger here -- President Moon, not exactly impartial in all of this?

CARROLL: No, he's not impartial but I'd rather have someone who has an engagement and an openness policy with the North leading this charge than someone who's particularly hawkish.

In fact, if it was someone hawkish in the South, we'd probably be having it a very different conversation. We'd probably be having a conversation about the latest missile launch from Pyongyang or something like that.

Now, it's important to keep in mind that there are forces in South Korea and in the political world, in the military world that don't want to see too much given away ahead of time. And I think that President Moon's security apparatus and his advisors would be well advised to keep that in mind.

VAUSE: You know, from what we've seen, it's pretty clear that Donald Trump, the U.S. president looks at this as an historic opportunity for him. There is this reporting from Axios that "Trump mostly projects strength internally but there's also been at least one quiet moment when a source saw Trump reflect on how he doesn't know what Kim is capable of. That happened during the escalating verbal sparring between Kim and Trump last year. The stakes have moved so far beyond what he's dealt with before. He definitely became aware of that." Ok. So when you hear that, is that reassuring to you that there is this moment of self-reflection for the U.S. president or is it terrifying?

CARROLL: Well, it's a little bit of both but I would put the balance slightly in favor of reassuring. I think it's probably one of the few if any times we have heard President Trump admitting, you know, something less than superhuman prowess. And with that even small dose of humility it might mean that he is willing and able to listen to advisers, those with expertise in Korea, those with expertise in diplomacy and engagement and that he will go into this meeting with a sense of gravity and seriousness that it deserves.

VAUSE: Yes. And maybe the preparation as well.

CARROLL: Absolutely.

VAUSE: Paul -- good to see you. Thanks so much.

CARROLL: Thank you -- John.

VAUSE: We'll take a short break. But when we come back, a magician never gives up his secrets unless he's ordered to by a judge. Up next we'll go inside the trial of the man suing magician David Copperfield and see what really happened during the magician's tricks.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.

We have some incredible video now out of Texas. It was recorded on a police car's dash cam. Keep your eyes on the right side of the screen. An officer escapes serious injury when a house blows up as he approaches. He was responding to a call about a car which had crashed into that residence.

The "Dallas Morning News" reports the vehicle apparently ruptured a gas line, triggering the blast. Five people were hurt but all are expected to recover.

At 10:00 a.m. Friday, students across the United States will walk out of class to observe a moment of silence for school shooting victims. National School Walkout Day takes place on the anniversary of a tragedy 19 years ago -- the Columbine school massacre which saw 13 people killed.

Students there took part in a rally that were joined by students from Florida where 17 people were killed in a school shooting just two months ago.

Scott McLean joins us now live from Littleton, Colorado with more on this.

So Scott -- like we said, you know, this is incredible to think these school shootings have gone on and have gotten worse for almost two decades now. SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right -- John.

And there were 60 students from Parkland, Florida who are in Littleton, Colorado to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. But believe it or not if you had asked these students just a few months ago about Columbine, chances are you would have gotten a blank stare.

Many of them had never even heard of Columbine High School before they had their own tragedy because many of them, in fact all of them, weren't even born when the Columbine shooting took place back in 1999.

Now the schools, they have this ill-fated connection. They are part of this club that nobody wanted to join, a club of people that understands the sheer terror of gun violence. The students from Parkland, as we know, they are hell-bent on making sure that no other school has to experience that terror. They want tougher gun laws. This is something that both Parkland survivors and Columbine survivors tonight said was long overdue.



CARLOS RODRIGUEZ, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: This nation should have realized that the right to life and the right to live, the right to feel safe is more important than the right to bear arms 19 years ago.

PAULA REED, COLUMBINE TEACHER: What has changed is the kinds of drills that we do with kids. Nineteen years ago we only had fire drills. Today we have active shooter drills. And they always while I am teaching in the room I was in 19 years ago tomorrow when the fire alarm went off.


MCLEAN: So John -- as you mentioned tomorrow, more than 2,500 schools -- students at more than 2,500 schools across the country will walk out of their classroom to call for these tougher gun laws but students from Columbine will not be among them. That's because those students don't have class tomorrow. Every year on the anniversary of this tragedy, those students are instead asked to go and do community service.

You could also imagine the sheer volume of attention that this school receives every year on the anniversary -- from media and from outsiders as well. And not all of that attention from outsiders is positive. In fact the former principal of Columbine at the time of the shooting, Frank DeAngelis said that there are people who glorify the shooters and many of them actually make the track out to Littleton, Colorado to see Columbine for themselves.

VAUSE: Yes, I guess people do strange things. Scott -- how are the kids from Parkland doing there? How are they coping with everything? [01:44:59] MCLEAN: Yes. It has undoubtedly been a tough two months for these students. I spoke to one student who said that he is just fine one moment and then the next moment he is crying in his classroom.

He also said that some students in his class, they're working hard. Others are so distracted that they end up playing card games or playing on their phones for the class because they're just having a hard time focusing.

Another student told me that she came out here to Columbine, in part to ask survivors a single question. That question is when will things get better? The answer that she heard from survivors is that they will get better for sure but maybe not right away. These students undoubtedly, John, have a very long road of recovery ahead of them.

VAUSE: Yes. And those kids are in it for the long haul as well when it comes to demanding change to the gun laws. So you know, they're setting an example.

Scott -- thanks so much. Appreciate it.

MCLEAN: You bet.

VAUSE: Ok. A magic trick allegedly gone wrong has landed David Copperfield in court and the producer of his stage show has been forced to reveal the secret behind all of that magic.

Omar Jimenez has the story.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's called the Vanishing Crowd or Lucky 13 Illusion. David Copperfield takes participants at random by throwing 13 balls into the audience. The volunteers are placed in a cage that hovers over the stage and abracadabra -- they disappear and then reappear in the back of the room.

Well, the cat's out of the bag.

CHRIS KENNER, DAVID COPPERFIELD EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Once these lights come on, they are outside of the physical prop.


KENNER: Once that group of lights comes on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During this time period, they're en route -- that's it, right. They're en route to appear in the back of the theater.


JIMENEZ: That's executive producer Chris Kenner explaining how the magic trick works. KENNER: And then this is the little hallway going to the top. They would come through and then step down the stairs. That would be the first exit out of it.

JIMENEZ: In reality, the participants are led through back passageways in the hotel, through a kitchen at a quick speed so they can pop up and surprise the audience.

A man named Gavin Cox took part in the trick in 2013 and says he tripped backstage and fell into a dark construction zone. He claims to have permanent brain damage.

A year after the incident, Cox files suit against Copperfield, the MGM Grand Hotel and three other companies connected to the show. Copperfield told the court the night Cox participated in the trick he ran the course with no problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that if there was an obstacle or a problem in the way --

DAVID COPPERFIELD, MAGICIAN: And I didn't deal with it. If I didn't do anything about it during my run around -- I took a pass before, I didn't deal with it, it would be my fault.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The parts are standing right here.


JIMENEZ: Copperfield's executive producer says he never got the impression Cox was seriously injured.

KENNER: He said that a gentleman slipped during the trick and fell. After the trick he spoke to him and asked him if he was ok. He said yes. Mr. Cox said yes.

JIMENEZ: Copperfield has been performing the illusion in the showcase for ten years. It's unclear if it will remain part of the show.

COPPERFIELD: Everyone -- look behind you.


VAUSE: Omar Jimenez is there with that story.

Anyway -- ok, joining us now for on this is Los Angeles-based attorney Anahita Sedaghatfar -- I hope I got that right.


VAUSE: Thank you -- Anahita. It's been a while.

SEDAGHATFAR: It's been a while. Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: Thank you for coming back here. Ok. So David Copperfield's lawyers tried really hard in a pre-trial motion to keep this part of the hearing basically closed to the public.


VAUSE: They argued that if it was put out there, how this magic trick was told to the world, there would be financial harm done to David Copperfield. And that seems actually a pretty reasonable request. So why was it denied?

SEDAGHATFAR: I agree with you that that's a reasonable request. His attorneys fought hard to not have this secret disclosed in open court because this is his brand. This is his business. It's kind of like having Apple go and publicly disclose all of their coding.

VAUSE: Sure.

SEDAGHATFAR: It's unreasonable. But the judge held, no, no, no -- we can talk about this in open court because guess what, he's performed this trick thousands of times over 10 years. People knew the secret about the trick and it hasn't damaged Copperfield. So having it happen in open court is not going to damage him.

I disagree with that ruling.

VAUSE: It's like putting the recipe for Coca-Cola out there or something.

SEDAGHATFAR: Absolutely it's a trade secret. This is his brand. So I disagree with that court's ruling.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, we had David Copperfield. When he was testifying, the lawyer for the injured man, a guy called Gavin Cox, the attorney kept hammering away on the issue of fault. Who was to blame for this construction dust which they claim was along the path where Cox fell?

Listen to part of the exchange here.


[01:50:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there's a route and they fall and get injured it's never your fault. Is that a correct statement? It's never your fault.

COPPERFIELD: If there is a piece of debris in the middle of the way, if we were forcing him to do it -- all these hypothetical things -- then of course, it will be the fault for us.


VAUSE: So why is this question of, you know, fault so important to hear about what was in that tunnel and what wasn't?

SEDAGHATFAR: They're trying to blame him for his own injury. I can tell you this attorney here was being very aggressive. He's acting like a bull dog.


SEDAGHATFAR: And that's good. That's ok. You want the attorney to kind of be like an advocate. But sometimes that can backfire. And a jury can hold that against you. And I think this attorney was taking a little bit too far and when you're asking for millions of dollars in a case and you have an attorney that's that aggressive, not so good.

VAUSE: So it can go against him -- ok.

SEDAGHATFAR: Yes. It can backfire.

VAUSE: So the accident happened back in 2013. The lawsuit was filed a couple of months after that. And again, Copperfield was pressed if he knew anything about this accident when it happened at the time. Again, this is another example of sort of aggressive exchange between the attorney and Copperfield.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did know about it.

COPPERFIELD: I found out a year later. We were --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it happened, you didn't know about it -- correct.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was my question.


VAUSE: So why -- again, why is this relevant?

SEDAGHATFAR: So the attorney is probably trying to say you didn't care. You don't even know about things that happen in your show. You're just about making money.

I think that's just his, you know, trying to be a bulldog. That's his tactic. It's going to backfire. I've seen this in trials before where the attorney tries to blame the defendant personally for something that he really had no part in. And I think that's what he was trying to do there.

VAUSE: Is he going after Copperfield because Copperfield is just so high profile? Because there are other parties named in this lawsuit.

SEDAGHATFAR: Absolutely. Absolutely. So he's going after Copperfield because he's the star. That's why we're talking about it. If it was just the MGM, we wouldn't be all over TV talking about this case.

VAUSE: And Copperfield I guess has really deep pockets too. SEDAGHATFAR: Yes. So the insurance company will pay part of this judgment or whatever happens. But they're going after Copperfield personally and they know that he has the money to satisfy any judgment they get.

VAUSE: Just one thing for the plaintiff here. It does seem like a really tough case because I always thought that if you go to a magic show like this. You want to go and watch tigers, you know, at Mandalay Bay or wherever it is, you assume a certain amount of risk when you go to this. You've got a certain amount of responsibility here --

SEDAGHATFAR: That's right.

VAUSE: And even more so, I guess, if you participate in, you know, a magic trick like Copperfield's show.

SEDAGHATFAR: And that's a great point. And when this case goes to a jury, they will make that decision. They will say how much of it was this individual's fault? He contributed to his injury. They can then make that allocation when they're giving a judgment. They can say, ok, we award a million dollars but he was 40 percent at fault, he assumed the risk that something like this could happen.

I think that's absolutely reasonable. And in fact, it could be that they get a dissent verdict in this case, that the plaintiff gets absolutely nothing.

VAUSE: It's a shame David Copperfield isn't a real magician and he could go back in time and fix everything, you know. Ready the magic wand.

SEDAGHATFAR: Yes. If he was a real magician he could get rid of this lawsuit, right.


SEDAGHATFAR: No, unfortunately.

VAUSE: Anahita -- good to see you.

SEDAGHATFAR: Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: Thank you.

Next here on NEWSROOM, L.A. forget those tools and screwdrivers -- what are they. There could be help for everybody who struggles with IKEA furniture, like me.


[01:54:58] VAUSE: Sunday is Earth Day and Apple is doing its part with a major recycling initiative. The company is unveiling a new robot named "Daisy". She can take apart 200 iPhones an hour to recover valuable materials inside. Apple will make a donation to a non-profit group Conservation International for every device turned in for recycling at one of its stores or through Customers can also earn credit for other eligible prizes. The Apple give-back program ends April 30th.

Have you ever had cursed, you know, bad words trying to put together, you know, a chair from IKEA, wishing maybe that you bought something from some place else, maybe a little more up market and already assembled. Well, don't worry because robotic help may soon be on the way.

Here's Sam Burke.


SAM BURKE, CNN BUSINES AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Sitting on the floor, puzzling over diagrams, finding out that after three hours of DIY, the final piece just won't fit. It's the classic IKEA furniture assembly situation for us humans.

Now this autonomous robot built by scientists from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has been given the ultimate stress test -- assembling an IKEA chair from scratch.

While many humans would crumble in the face of DIY disaster this robot made it look like a piece of cake. It built IKEA's desk and chair in just about 20 minutes with assembly taking just eight minutes and 55 seconds.

But even for robots, IKEA assembly doesn't always go to plan as these bloopers show. Sensors on the wrist of the robot help it figure out how much force to use and the 3D camera acts as the robot's eye.

It took three years of research to get it to this point without the use of any artificial intelligence and while the creators believe we don't need to worry about a robot takeover just yet, they are hoping its skills can be applied to a range of industries.

I'm Samuel Burke in London -- back to you.


VAUSE: First they came for the furniture but I did not speak out.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Please join us on Twitter @CNNNewsroomLA for highlights and clips to the show. But don't go there just yet because there is another hour straight ahead.


[02:00:07] VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.