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Meeting Between North and South Korea; Macron Relationship with Trump; Pompeo Vote in Senate; Trump on North Korea Denuclearization; Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to Boy; Interview With Rep. Joaquin Castro. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired April 23, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That would be a big issue for France and many of its neighboring countries.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Sabrina Siddiqui, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.


BERMAN: As we were mentioning, the first official state visit of the Trump presidency begins later today, then another European leader visits this week. Angela Markel comes to town. What do both of them want to get from the president?

Stay with us.


BERMAN: All right, huge developments on the Korean peninsula this week, the first meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea in more than ten years. It's clear that President Trump is watching very, very closely.

Our senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski joins us from the State Department now.



Yes, we're seeing things start to progress leading up to this meeting this week between the leaders of North and South Korea. Now we know that the key moments are going to be broadcast. And South Korea has stopped broadcasting its own, I guess you could call it, propaganda or anti-regime broadcasting across the border into North Korea.

We're also -- we've been, over the past several days, hearing all the right things from North Korea that they are willing to shut down a key site, that they're not planning on doing any missile testing, that they're willing to talk about denuclearization. So there are positive points leading up to this summit and hopefully setting the groundwork then for the meeting that we're all watching that will happen between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

BERMAN: Michelle, we were just talking about the pending meetings this week with French Leader Emmanuel Macron and later in the week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. We know what Macron and Merkel might want from President Trump. Any sense what the U.S. government, the State Department or even the president wants to get out of these meetings?

KOSINSKI: That's a good question. I mean I think that there's much more to try to convince Trump of than the other way around. But this is going to be an opportunity to showcase the relationship that Trump can be accepted by leaders in Europe. If this meeting goes well, and it likely will -- I mean I don't know that Emmanuel Macron is going to get all of these wins that he really needs to bring home to his country, where his public opinion polls, his ratings are very low.

So he's not going to get everything he wants, but this could be a way to show the kind of comradery that here's a world leader -- an up and coming world leader that gets a lot of attention, that Donald Trump can truly get along with. Trump might be able to show that he's willing to work on certain issues to build this relationship, to build a relationship with Europe, and Macron might be able to get him to say at least that he's willing to move on certain things. Maybe he'll take another look at the Paris Climate Deal.

Because, remember, it wasn't so long ago, one year ago, Macron was trolling Trump on Twitter and mocking him and saying, let's make the planet great again. Now we're talking about this as a bromance. Macron as the Trump whisperer, he's sometimes called. So there's likely to be, at the very least, positive feelings and a good working relationship coming out of this.

As for any movement on either side towards each other's opinions, strongly held opinions on some big topics, I think that's a big let's wait and see, John.

BERMAN: State dinner or no. Michelle Kosinski, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

The president's pick for secretary of state faces a battle on Capitol Hill. And this morning the White House has a strong message for Democrats. Are you going to play politics, or as they put it, put the safety of the country first?


[09:42:06] BERMAN: Just a short time ago, a new message from the White House firing back just hours before a Senate committee is expected to vote against the president's pick to be secretary of state.

Listen to this.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president. And they have to decide that they want to put the safety and the security and the diplomacy of our country ahead of their own political games.


BERMAN: Joining me now to discuss, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. He serves on the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.

This is happening over on the Senate side. It's the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that has the vote, obviously, not the House. But what do you make of the framing that Sarah Sanders just put there, that Democrats are voting against Pompeo because they hate the president more than they love the country.

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: I guess that's -- she's playing politics with that. There's some big concerns about Mike Pompeo, the fact that he's been against the Iran deal and the idea that he may take the president basically in very hawkish and wrong direction.

For me, as somebody who has sat on the Intelligence Committee, I've basically been concerned about the direction that Mike Pompeo has taken the CIA and, of course, all of this is classified, so I can't discuss it. But as a person, I respect him. But I think as somebody who's led the organization, I think he's taking it in a very wrong direction and a direction that in a few years could lead to scandals.

And so I haven't been privy to -- I haven't watched the hearings. I didn't watch the confirmation hearing. Obviously it's been going on in the Senate. But, you know, I sense that there's some real reservations, obviously, among Democrats, and even among Republicans about his confirmation.

BERMAN: Well, Republican Rand Paul is a no vote. Republican Senator John McCain is not there to vote on this. So he would not get through the full Senate without some Democratic votes. Heidi Heitkamp of North Carolina says she will vote yes. And there are some other Democrats likely to go that way.

Are they letting you down, congressman?

CASTRO: No, I think it's each senator's individual decision. And, look, we have to consider this in the context that traditionally a president is given a lot of flexibility in terms of who they can put into their cabinet. My brother was the HUD secretary under President Obama. So, in a sense, I guess my family has been through this process. So a president does get to pick their cabinet members.

I think one of the big differences this time, in addition to the concerns about Mike Pompeo, is that this president has not been your average or normal president. This president has shown that he governs on a whim, that he's let the agencies of the federal government basically be depleted and neglected. And so, yes, there is a lot of concern about who you're going to put with this president because this president is not doing his job in many ways. That means that you need people who are going to excel. BERMAN: Let me ask you -- let me ask you about the issue of North

Korea right now which I'm not sure there's a foreign policy issue of greater urgency right now than what's going on there.

[09:45:05] One of the things the president wrote this weekend on that was, wow, we haven't given up anything and they have agreed to denuclearization. So great for the world. Site closure and no more testing.

The president's wrong about denuclearization. Kim Jong-un has not agreed to that. What he's agreed to is no more testing and closing one of the sites here. Leave the denuclearization out of it for a second. But in and of itself, the no more testing, the site closure, do you see that as a positive development? If there were a Democratic president in office right now, President Obama, would you not be out lauding this as a move in the right direction?

CASTRO: Yes, these things could be very good. I think -- what we have to remember that in the last dozen years we've been to this same point a few times and then everything fell apart. So one of the reasons, for example, that they may be offering to freeze testing is because they've already achieved a certain amount of nuclear capability and that testing is no longer required or could be frozen for a while while sanctions are lifted.

So I think we should give the president some credit in getting us to this point. In fact, I gave the administration a lot of credit when they went to the United Nations and got the strictest or strongest sanctions placed on North Korea that the country's ever seen. But I also don't think that it's time for the president to beat his chest yet because, like I said, in the last dozen years or so, we've been here a few times and it's all fallen apart.

BERMAN: You're on the House Intelligence Committee. The House Intelligence Committee has basically wrapped up its investigation of the Russian meddling matter. If the Democrats retake the House in November, will you move to reopen the investigation?

CASTRO: Yes, I think the investigation in some form would have to be reopened. In fact, we keep seeing every week in the news more stories coming out about alarming things that are directly related to this investigation. So I don't see how, as a responsible Congress and a responsible committee, you couldn't have some investigation reopened.

BLITZER: OK. That's interesting. I think people will find that interesting heading into the election.

One note I want to task you about. The president just put out a statement that I think will interest you as a border state member of Congress. He says, despite the Democrat-inspired laws on sanctuary cities and the border being so bad and one sided, I've instructed the secretary of homeland security not to let these large caravans of people into our country. It is a disgrace. We are the only country in the world so naive. And then, in all caps he writes, "wall."

You care to react? CASTRO: Well, I mean, I guess you've got to understand that every time

the president gets in a political jam, anytime he's feeling threatened politically, he goes back to a few of the same things. And one of them is the wall, beating up on immigrants, Mexicans are criminals, MS-13 gang members, you know, basically all over the place, the border -- the border is completely open. So this is a playbook that he's been using now for a few years and I guess this morning he did the same thing.

BERMAN: Congressman Joaquin Castro, from Texas, thanks so much for being with us.

CASTRO: Thank you.

BERMAN: I know this will interest the congressman because it interests everybody.

The duchess of Cambridge just gave birth to the newest member of the royal family. We are live outside the hospital with every detail you can possibly imagine. That's next.


[09:52:41] BERMAN: The wait is over, and it's a prince. This morning the duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, gave birth to an 8 pound, 7 ounce baby boy. This is the third child for the duchess and the duke of Cambridge.

Our royal correspondent, Max Foster, outside the hospital in London with all of the latest.

Max, lay it out for us. Give us the details here.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's healthy, that's the main thing. They came into the hospital early this morning, the duchess, in the early hours of labor and then she delivered late morning. And we're expecting to see the family appear on those steps behind me, John. A family of five, hopefully, if George and Charlotte can come along and make it. They've be allowed out of school. But we've had the formal announcement at Buckingham Palace. That happens on an easel, an ancient easel, which has been used since Buckingham Palace was first set up, really, first built and used as a palace.

So there's been some pomp and ceremony today. But, really, it's all about the photo, which we're expecting a little later on, John.

BERMAN: Can't wait to see that.

Now, the nuts and bolts here, Max. Where does this baby boy, name yet to be determined, fit in the line of succession?

FOSTER: Well, that's interesting, you see, John, because not only has Prince Harry been bumped down the order to number six, this baby will be at number five. But in the past, in previous generations, he would have gone up to number four and bumped his older sister down the line of succession. But because they've changed the succession laws after a thousand years, they finally got to the point where women have an equal right in succession. So this baby will be fifth in line of succession and will stay there, has a guaranteed place there. Harry goes down the running order there.

BERMAN: Harry gets pushed down, though I don't think it will diminish the interest on that royal wedding, which is still coming up right now --


BERMAN: Even though his path, you know, to the throne just became more difficult.

All right, let's talk potential names here because unlike many families where the baby is born and you learn the name right away, it doesn't exactly work like that, or necessarily work like that.

FOSTER: Well, no. It's complete guesswork as well. But why don't we join the guesswork, which is sort of gripping social media right now. These are the top three names that are being bet on at least, Arthur, Albert and Frederick. Also people talking about Philip, could be named after his great grandfather, he's in his 90s, of course, was recently in hospital, is due at that wedding as well. This young baby will be the youngest guest at the royal wedding. So that's really what we're building up to next.

But, as you say, it's not a senior position in the line of succession, but will play into the royal story, as it were. And I can feel your excitement, John.

[09:55:06] BERMAN: I'm hoping it's Severis Albus Windsor (ph). That's the name that I want right now. Let's tie it all together.

FOSTER: Don't we all.

BERMAN: Let's tie it all together.

Max Foster outside the hospital for us.

Thank you so much, Max, I appreciate it.

All right, we are following breaking news here in the United States. Where is Travis Reinking. Police say they have no credible leads yet the day after he shot and killed four people inside a Waffle House. We are following the latest twists and turns in this manhunt.


[10:00:07] BERMAN: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

The breaking news this morning. A two-state manhunt for a mass shooter.