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North Korea, South Korea Announce Ends to Hostilities; Cosby Found Guilty of Aggravated Indecent Assault. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 27, 2018 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. We begin with breaking news. History on the Korean Peninsula. Kim Jong- un and South Korea's president agreeing to end the war this year, vowing to reunify the two countries and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-HOST: Kim Jong-un says that North and South Korea are, quote, "the same people, the same blood." This extraordinary moment in history playing out in the South-controlled territory of the Demilitarized Zone. President Trump hails the news as he prepares for his own meeting with Kim Jong-un.

Does Mr. Trump deserve credit for this significant moment? We'll analyze all of that, but let's begin with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. She is live in Seoul, South Korea, for us with all of the breaking details. What a day, Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What a day indeed, Alisyn. And it really is a massive switch from what we'd all been reporting for so long, the incredible tensions on this peninsula and the way they were being felt and the way it was reverberating all across the world all the way to the United States.

So this is a very important day. They have the two leaders of North Korea and South Korea have done something that they've never done before. They have stood together at the DMZ. They walked back and forth across the demarcation line between the North and Southern parts of the Demilitarized Zone.

And they have, in public, together signed a joint declaration. They have come out and, in public, stood together and given a joint statement and accepted what's known now as the Panmunjom declaration. President Moon was much more expansive about the details of what he hoped the South Korean president who his foreign minister told me his leadership was on the line over this summit and over what might come of it and over whether or not it would do enough to lay the table -- set the table for a summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

So he came out today and said that we have agreed there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula. There is no specific date for a peace treaty, but they are all hoping that it can happen sooner rather than later. Some have even suggested maybe by the end of this calendar year. But there's no specific date on that. And at the very end of their

joint declaration, after talking a lot about how to better their relations between North and South, they talked about and they enshrined the commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

And we do really need to wait for the details as to how that comes about. There was no tick-tock detail of dates, times, time frame, is how that should come about. But according to the Blue House, which is the presidential palace here in Seoul, whatever they said, it is, as they say, enshrined in that declaration. So, you know, we will wait and see. There have been other times when the leaders have made similar commitments.

This is different because of when it comes, how it comes, and the fact that they're both together in public talking about it. And we'll just wait and see whether it plays out in the way that the allies want. The South Koreans, the U.S. and all the allies.

And we were told that there will be no letup in sanctions until the world sees verifiable dismantling of the nuclear facilities, its program, and its current weapons -- Alisyn.

CUOMO: Christiane, just quickly, other than the legion of Amanpour fans on the streets of South Korea, how are people reacting to this news?

AMANPOUR: Well, incredibly well you can imagine. We're in Seoul, where they have put up -- and you can probably see there are lights flashing. There are all sorts of screens and public lights that keep going on and off. They've put up screens all over town, and chairs and a lot of media, a lot of people have been stopping by and looking.

The foreign minister told me that they had holes (ph) and they had a huge percentage of support for this process. Because South Korea is right in the direct line of fire of not intercontinental ballistic missiles. But you know, really perfected short- and medium-range missiles. And they're very afraid of what might happen if this turns into a conflict. So that's what really concentrated the mind of the president here.

Of course there are those who have suffered deeply at the hands of the North Korean regime, whose families have been torn apart, who escaped or defected from horrendous conditions. And they are, quite rightly, wanting to know, really, how this is going to affect them and how it will affect their family still left behind that sort of DMZ. But in general, the people here are supportive.

CAMEROTA: OK. Christiane, so great to have you on the ground there for us.

Joining us now to discuss this historic day, we have CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger.

David, you've done so much reporting on North Korea. Let's start with you. Have do you see the import of today? DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, the

first thing, Alisyn, is the optics were pretty unbelievable, particularly sitting here in Seoul and watching the image of a South Korean president, one who had come into office vowing to engage the North, walking around the DMZ in seemingly easy conversation with Kim Jong-un.

There was a remarkable moment when the two of them first met this morning at about 8:30 in the morning when Kim stepped into South Korea, the first time a North Korean leader had done that since the '50s, then took President Moon's hand and had him step over the stones that are the demarcation line and have him step into the North. And then they went off to their meetings.

They had done the choreography of this, the charm offensive of this, quite brilliantly. The issue is that when you read the actual statement that came out, there is a timeline in it for reaching the peace agreement that would end the armistice was established 65 years ago.

But there is no timeline right now on the one thing that President Trump and the rest of Washington care about the most, which is the denuclearization. Instead, there's wording that sort of picks up from the 1992 accord that never actually got enforced. And that's where the big tension's going to come. When President Trump meets Mr. Kim, assuming that goes ahead, he's going to be interested in denuclearization first and all the rest of this later. The South Koreans are in the opposite position.

CUOMO: John, let's talk about the politics of perception here. OK? The president of the United States very aggressive in posture. Does he deserve credit for helping precipitate this, even with all the caveats and the what-ifs. Who knows what really happens?

AVLON: No, I do believe President Trump deserves credit creating the conditions that we bring this about. But the right way to think about it isn't just Donald Trump. But President Moon in South Korea.

And between the two, you've got sort of a carrot and stick approach on a geopolitical level. The president talking incredibly tough, being very aggressive out of the gate, taking the North Korean nuclear escalation very seriously. And President Moon being the carrot in this equation, someone who really wants reunification and conciliation and campaigned on that.

Between the two, those -- those two actions really changed the dynamic and the center of gravity in this global hot spot for decades. And we are a long way from getting there. But this is a step 65 years in the making. And the next step will be the high-stakes summit with President Trump and Kim.

CAMEROTA: David Sanger, how do you see it? Do you give President Trump credit for this, that his tough rhetoric and, of course, the tough sanctions did allow this to happen, did bring Kim Jong-un to the table? SANGER: Well, I certainly think that they did. And we've talked

about this in weeks past. The sanctions, I think, made a big difference. And it raises a really interesting question, which is why President Obama could not have done the same sanctions. Because it didn't require new legislation. They just required real focus on -- on the issue.

The rhetoric of, you know, fire and fury and Little Rocket Man and so forth, I think the question there is did that actually scare Kim Jong- un into coming in and doing this, or did it speed him along in going ahead with those missile tests and nuclear tests last year?

Certainly, Kim's calculus at this point is that he has demonstrated so much about what he can do in the nuclear field and how far his missiles can go that it allows him to do this pivot as long as he holds on to that technology.

And I think that holding onto it as long as he possibly can is his one ace card for getting what he wants out of these agreements. And I think that's where it's going to be difficult. You talk to people in the White House. They talk about a six-month disarmament period. You talk to people here in Seoul. They talk about one that might be two years or more. So I think that's -- that's a hard issue. And I'm not convinced yet that Kim really thinks at the end of the day that he's going to have to give up everything.

CUOMO: Now, back to the politics of perception here. So we have what is a legit good headline. Amazing optics. Optimism. A promise of something better. No guarantee, right?

The president comes out of the box going after James Comey with an inaccurate tweet that only raises the specter that he would pardon someone for purely political purposes. And then he goes to this and talks about North Korea and he says, "Look, we'll have to wait and see."

And then in his next tweet, in all caps, the first phrase is "KOREAN WAR TO END." The United States and all of its great people should be very proud of what is now taking place.

So there seems to have been, in two tweets, a complete escalation in what he sees as the potential here from "Let's be qualified like Sanger and every expert is saying" today, to "It's a done deal." Explain.

[07:10:09] AVLON: Well, you know, he's imagining up his own headlines. Now literally signing an ending of the armistice agreement would mean technically the Korean War is over after 65 years. That's one of the reasons it's an historic moment.

But I think what's fascinating is the president's instinctive focus first thing in the morning was not on this major breakthrough, this geo-political breakthrough that, really, he does deserve and his administration deserves major credit for. It was on James Comey making these sort of, you know, real accusations that are not rooted in reality. But he seems to have been recalibrated, refocused towards the bigger picture.

CAMEROTA: Maybe "FOX & Friends" just got to that segment.

I'm not kidding. I mean, maybe --

CUOMO: Well, he had to know.

CAMEROTA: That's what he watches in the morning.

CUOMO: He had to know that this happened. Don't do that to me.

CAMEROTA: I'm not sure.

CUOMO: He had to know.

AVLON: It's Mike Pompeo's first full day.

CAMEROTA: He wakes up, he watches "FOX & Friends." They've been reporting on this.

AVLON: That's true. But this is Mike Pompeo's firs full day on the job as secretary of state. Not a bad way to begin. Presumably, he's nudging the president.

CUOMO: I will get dyspeptic if it is true that the president didn't know, David Sanger, what happened in Korea.

CAMEROTA: You're already dyspeptic.

CUOMO: No, it's actually very good. I take the Nexium. It helps. David Sanger, it can't be that this is news to the president that this happened. He has to know. He has access to the best intelligence and information in the world. Whether he acts on it is something else.

But how do you read his taking less initiative than we would have expected to this news?

SANGER: Well, you know, it's been funny watching his tweets. Because on the one hand, he wants and deserves credit for what is going on here.

And on the other hand, I think he recognizes that, if he sounds too enthusiastic about it, he's setting himself a pretty high bar and could actually be heading at some point to something of a failure if things fall apart.

And so he's trying to move back and forth between the optimism that comes from the fact that, if you can move from armistice to a peace treaty, well, you know, people have been trying that for two generations. It would be a really great thing.

And yet, on the other hand, I think he also wonders whether Kim is ready to give up the weapons. And you know, that gets you to what's going to make next month so very fascinating. Because if you believe President Macron that President Trump will still going to try to pull out of the Iran deal. I'm not sure he really is, but perhaps he will. And then the question is can he get more out of North Korea than

President Obama and John Kerry got out of Iran? And in the Iran case, as you know, they shift 97 percent of their fuel out of the country and close their facilities. That would be a huge step if they could convince the North Koreans to do it.

But anything short of that would give him less than an Iran deal. And I know that makes a lot of people in the White House nervous.

CAMEROTA: So today is Mike Pompeo's first full day on the job. Secretary of state, going well so far. The White House also just released this photo. So we have heard of this secret trip over Easter weekend where Mike Pompeo went and actually met with Kim Jong-un.

Here is now the photographic evidence of this. They are not broadly smiling in the way that we saw today,, all the smiles within the North and the South. But they're shaking hands. And clearly, this greased the wheels for something.

AVLON: Presumably. I mean, there's broad symmetry in the photos. This is the great secret Easter meeting between these two. It obviously didn't hurt, because the effort is going forward. But this is obviously when Pompeo was CIA director, now Secretary of State Pompeo. And, as you say, a very good first full day on the job, even if the groundwork is laid well.

CUOMO: All right. So Mike Pompeo becoming secretary of state. You know, in fairness, there was a lot of hype around whether or not he gets through committee. And then he wound up getting through and you didn't hear very much about it, including him being sworn in by Justice Alito, as Alisyn was just saying.

So what does this mean that we get this news on the first day of his watch and what it might mean about the prospects of how he will be different than Rex Tillerson.

CAMEROTA: And Angela Merkel is visiting the White House today. So there's a lot of --

CUOMO: Even though he's not even here, right? He's in Brussels. But this is about the president. The thing, you know, what do you make of these different events?

SANGER: Well, the first thing is that Pompeo has the president's ear, clearly, and the president's confidence in a way that Rex Tillerson never did. That's No. 1.

No. 2 is even before he becomes secretary of state he executes this piece of secret diplomacy. And remarkably enough, in Washington, it actually stayed secret. That's -- that's something of an accomplishment right there.

The fascinating thing about that photograph, to my mind, incident was Mike Pompeo last summer speaking out at the as salesperson institute who said the problem with the North Korean regime was that you had to separate the leader from his weapons. And there they were standing in the same room. It didn't look like a meeting about regime change.

[07:15:09] CAMEROTA: All right. David Sanger, John Avlon, thank you both very much.

There's so much news today that we have to keep getting -- moving this along, because there's all sorts of breaking news.

So as you know, a big trial ended with Bill Cosby being guilty of sexual assault. One of the women who testified against him at that trial says it was an honor for her to take the stand. She explains what happened in that courtroom, next.


CAMEROTA: A jury convicted disgraced comedian Bill Cosby on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Many of his accusers called it a win for all survivors of sexual assault.

Cosby has denied the allegations, and his attorneys say they plan to appeal.

But joining us now is one of the women who testified against Bill Cosby in the retrial, Heidi Thomas. Good morning, Heidi.


CAMEROTA: So tell us what your reaction when you heard guilty, guilty, guilty, those verdicts.

[07:20:06] THOMAS: I didn't hear. I was in a meeting.

And I came out of the meeting, went into my car, turned my phone on, and my phone had exploded. And there were texts and e-mails, and voice mails. My mailbox was full. So I knew nothing until I went out and sat in my car and just looked at all of these words, "guilty, guilty, congratulations." Friends and family supporting. And -- and I'm not sure it really sunk in.

I figured I needed to address all of these people. I went home. And I walked into our house and saw my husband. And I looked at him, and I said, "We did it. We won. We beat Goliath."

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

THOMAS: That was my reaction.

CAMEROTA: Wow. I mean, you're not alone. I think that a lot of the women feel that way today. You did it. I mean, you testified, and you didn't have to. What made you want to speak so publicly after 30 years?

THOMAS: Oh, this wasn't a question of being made to. I would encourage anybody if you get an opportunity to speak your truth, to say it out loud. It is so empowering. I feel honored that I was able to get that chance. So many people are not. It was a reclaiming of any form of power that you feel like was -- was

ripped from you. If you've been assaulted, you know that you feel that you didn't have any choice. And now you get to look at that person in the face and say, "You didn't win. I'm still here. And you're going down." So it's incredibly empowering.

CAMEROTA: Did you hear that Bill Cosby had an outburst in the courtroom?

THOMAS: I did, which -- I guess I -- I'd love to say that was a surprise, but it's not.

CAMEROTA: You know that side, that angry --

THOMAS: -- darker side.

CAMEROTA: -- profane side?

THOMAS: I don't know that side, because I don't remember that side. But somebody who has done the things he has done, there are clearly facets to that person that most of us don't see.

CAMEROTA: He could be facing --

THOMAS: In that sense, it didn't surprise me.

CAMEROTA: Understood. He could be -- he is facing 30 years in prison. The sentencing hasn't happened yet. He's 80 years old.

THOMAS: Right.

CAMEROTA: How do you feel about that?

THOMAS: I think it's tragic. I think the man was incredibly gifted, brilliant. And I don't know if this is an illness. Something is broken there. And he's endured his own personal tragedies in the loss of children in his family. This is tragic. That such a gifted, brilliant person who had so much going for him and who could do so much for so many, has self-destructed like this. It's -- tragic is the only word I can come up with.

CAMEROTA: That's awfully kind of you, I mean, to have such grace in the -- you know, not to feel vengeance --


CAMEROTA: -- but to feel sympathy and sadness for the tragedy of all of this.

THOMAS: Oh, it's so sad. It's so sad. We were all fans, all of us. And -- and the way he found the humor in everyday life. The intelligence that it takes to do that and the gift of giving so many people laughter. That -- that can't be overlooked. And that's why I say I'm not a mental health expert, but something is broken there. Something inside went wrong. And I don't know when, and I don't know where and I don't know why. But it's just very, very sad. CAMEROTA: You know, the first trial of Bill Cosby's ended in

mistrial. That was just a year ago. I mean, less. That was June 17, 2017. And then in October, OK, a few months later, all the news about Harvey Weinstein broke and that exploded the "#MeToo" movement.

Do you think that this verdict of guilty yesterday is connected to that movement and moment?

THOMAS: I don't know how it couldn't be connected. I know that the jury was asked about that while they were in voir dire. I don't know, obviously, how any of them answered that question. But unless you have been living under a rock, you had heard about the "#MeToo" movement.

[07:25:14] I do think it helped. I think that women and men, and I'm making a point of saying that, are beginning to find their voice, and beginning to be able to speak up because they're seeing people are getting believed, finally. The tide is shifting. And all of these stories can't be just people who are out for fame or media attention or a monetary settlement.

And therefore, people are beginning to say, "OK, maybe I can also come forward with my story. Maybe I can also stop this flood of these crimes."

That's my hope. I think that's the hope of a lot of us. That this is going to change the tide a little bit and maybe -- maybe leave the world a little bit better for our daughters, our sons. That would be my hope.

CAMEROTA: Well, Heidi Thomas, millions of people are listening to you today and during the trial and, obviously, you played a role in changing that tide. So thank you so much for telling us your story.

THOMAS: Unbelievable. Thank you very much.


CUOMO: All right. So we know that Dr. Ronny Jackson has withdrawn as the nominee to head up the V.A. Now, CNN is learning new details about the White House medical unit that he is still running. The concerning accusations about the handling of prescription drugs, next.