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North Korean and South Korean Leaders Meet in Seoul; President Trump Thanks Chinese President for Possible Breakthrough in North Korean Relations; President Trump Says Michael Cohen Did Very Little Legal Work for Him; Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Aggravated Indecent Assault. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired April 27, 2018 - 8:00   ET


[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: He's preparing for his own meeting with Kim that's going to happen sometime soon. Let's begin with CNN's Christiane Amanpour live in Seoul, South Korea, with the breaking details. What are the geopolitical angles? How is it being received in the streets behind you?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Well, Chris -- well, as you can imagine, it is dark now. It's morning your time, evening here. And so there are not as many people around and the screens have gone dark, which the government here set up for people to actually gather around all day and watch.

And that's because they are, in fact, outside of the sort of media right now, the two leaders. They're in having that dinner, the farewell banquet with their wives and all the assembled dignitaries. There have been champagne toasts or some kind of toasts, and they have been praising each other again, talking about friendship, talking about trying to end this conflict that has separated them for, as you said, 65 years, since the armistice. Then, of course, before that there was the war.

So here's the thing, it is an amazing day. It isn't historic because North and South Korean leaders have met before, albeit not for more than a decade. The changes are that both presidents, one chairman Kim, the other President Moon, have jointly signed in public a declaration. They call it the Panmunjom declaration after the peace house where they did it. They have come out. They've faced the press. They talked about what they decided and what they signed up to. And those, of course, are first.

But there have been meetings before and there have been pledges before and there have been great hopes before. And it hasn't actually materialized. So what we're waiting to see is what comes of this. And most particularly, we were told by the foreign minister, who is also there, that President Moon will be on the phone, if he hasn't been already, with President Trump asap to tell him exactly what happened, exactly the parameters of the conversation, and to essentially tell him whether he thinks it is the right time, the right opportunity to meet with Kim Jong-un. They believe that that meeting will happen, but they were going to tell him what they thought. So that is essentially where we are at the moment right now, Chris and Alysin.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Christiane. Wonderful to have you no Seoul for us. Thank you so much for all the reporting.

Joining us to discuss it, we have CNN political director David Chalian and Gordon Chang, "Daily Beast" columnist, and author of "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea Takes on the World." Gordon, I have to start with you. All of these optics that we didn't think we would see as recently as, I don't know, a couple of weeks ago. The toasting between the two countries' leaders, what is it like for you to watch everything that happened in the last 12 hours here?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": This really is breathtaking. And we've got to remember, this is one breathtaking event after another, because you had a couple of weeks ago, they're talking about a peace treaty, talking about unification of the two Koreas, and then, of course, the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un himself. And that's going to trigger a whole new series of events.

I think the issue here is that you have national leaders who won't be able to control the situation because events are happening so fast. And once you -- once President Trump broke the deadlock with his sanctions enforcement, that created all sorts of opportunities for leaders on the peninsula to do what they wanted to do. And therefore that's why we're seeing these dramatic issues today.

CUOMO: Politics. We have to deal with the policy, obviously, David. There are so many what ifs and conditions and all that. But if you take it at its best possible result, President Obama got a Nobel peace award for a lot less than bringing actual peace instead of an armistice to the Korean peninsula.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Without a doubt, Chris. Remember, in the meeting and the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election between President Obama and then President-elect Trump, this is the issue that President Obama told President Trump, this is what you're going to be consumed with. This is what's going to keep you up at night. This is what your presidency is going to largely be focused on.

And if, indeed, that it ends up that President Trump, which -- who deserving obviously quite a bit of credit for even looking at the optics, as Alisyn said, the images that we're seeing now. He certainly gets some credit for that. If, indeed, this continues down a path of real peace and it's all verified, and there is good reason to remain skeptical right now, this is a legacy-building item for President Trump.

CAMEROTA: Gordon, President Trump does something funny, I've noticed. And I can't think of the other example right now, but I know I've felt it before. When he truly deserves credit, when he has done something truly positive and he could take all the credit, he then graciously spreads it around. And he's doing that right now. This tweet, he says, "Please do not forget the great help that my good friend President Xi of China has given to the United States, particularly at the border of North Korea. Without him, it would have been a much longer, tougher process." So, Gordon, what was the role of China versus Donald Trump? And when you say that President Trump helped break the deadlock with the sanctions, can you just explain to us what he did that Obama hadn't done or people in the past, presidents in the past?

[08:05:05] CHANG: I don't quite understand President Trump's relationship with Xi Jinping. If you look back two years, Alisyn, China's sanctions enforcement is much improved. There is a world of difference.

But if you look at the last two months, China has markedly busted sanctions and they've done so publicly. So for instance when Kim Jong-un went to Beijing at the end of last month, Chinese state media allowed pictures being taken of all of the gifts that Xi Jinping gave to Kim. That's violation of U.N. sanctions. That's basically $394,000 worth of jewelry and porcelain which the U.N. just said is completely sanctioned.

Now, the problem here, though, is if we are able to end up with a good deal for Kim Jong-un, then we should just ignore China's sanctions busting. But if the sanctions busting gets Kim Jong-un to a place where he thinks he can ignore Trump and the rest of the international community, then that means there is going to be more friction between the United States and China because we're going to have to go after the violations of the U.N. rules.

CUOMO: One political play here makes sense. Being nice to China right now, spreading the credit for this one step towards potential peace, is smart. Not only are they an official part of the armistice, but they're a fundamental part of any progress on the peninsula.

CAMEROTA: Sometimes it seems un-Trumpian to do this, but he does this. In other words, this is politically wise, and I think also just personally he when into a good moment does tend to spread this around.

CUOMO: Maybe. I would have to do a little research to see when in the past he has spread love for other people.

CAMEROTA: I have to look at that too.

CUOMO: I don't know. But there is another political play he made today, David, that makes a lot less sense, which is he came out of the box this morning going after James Comey, breathing air on to those embers with an inaccurate tweet that raised the specter of him being open to pardoning somebody just for political motives. And he didn't tweet right out of the box about Korea.

Then in his second tweet of the day, 15 minutes later or so, he did tweet about Korea and he was somewhat qualified. Wait and see. Then in a tweet immediately after that, his headline was, "Korean war to end," which is, of course, getting ahead of the ball. So what do you read in these tweets in terms of strategy?

CHALIAN: Well, Chris, as you know, no matter how big the global headline might be and one he wants to claim credit for, he's never going to stop being consumed by the Russia investigation and all things related to it. I mean, his Texas on Jim Comey are part, I think, sort of part of the stage play we've seen throughout the presidency of Donald Trump, which is it's a base play. It gets his core supporters riled up. Keep hitting Jim Comey, hurt his numbers. By the way, Jim Comey's numbers are now reflecting a little bit more in polling the polarized nature of our electorate because the White House, the RNC has been out there really trying to soften him up, and Donald Trump doesn't want to let his foot off the gas because he sees it is a healthy political thing for him to have an enemy in this Russia investigation battle.

CAMEROTA: So, Gordon, how does what we're seeing today, this historic moment, this thaw between the North and the South Korea, how does it change the equation for what President Trump hopes to accomplish when he goes there next month?

CHANG: I think the most important thing is that Kim made promises about denuclearization. Now, he very well may define it in a different way. He may think that there are other elements to this that we don't like, but nonetheless he has created that marker. And I'm sure that President Trump and others are going to hold him to it.

And that is going to be the interesting thing because when President Trump meets Kim, it's going to be an unscripted event. Today was very scripted. When Trump meets Kim, it's unscripted. And the other thing, it begins a long series of negotiations, and that is where we could end up in a much less optimistic scenario. Today was really feel-good. We should all enjoy it. And it does create a path to denuclearization and a path to peace on the peninsula, but we've got to remember going forward, Kim has said some things that he's not going to want to honor.

CUOMO: Such as?

CHALIAN: To Gordon's point there, remember, President Trump earlier this week with Emmanuel Macron in the press conference, he defined what denuclearization meant to him. He said it means getting rid of all the nukes off the peninsula, basically. And that -- out of North Korea. And that seems mindboggling to think that that is Kim Jong-un definition of denuclearization. So clearly there is a rub there that is going to have to be work out.

CUOMO: All right, fellas, we get it. Today is a good day but we don't know what tomorrow brings. And we'll approach it that way. Thank you very much.

CHANG: Thank you.

[08:10:00] CUOMO: So the German chancellor, Angela Merkel is set to arrive at the White House in just hours. That's why we teed up this week as a big one in terms of international politics. You had the French president, now you have Angela Merkel. And she comes amid drama involving President Trump's cabinet and this interview that he gave on FOX News, which certainly did not help the cause of his personal attorney. CNN's Abby Phillip live at the White House with more. In fact, you

know, the president gave us reason maybe not to call Michael Cohen his personal attorney anymore.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps. The president seemed to be willing or eager to dabble into some tricky legal issues at a time when this week otherwise could have been about a potential foreign policy breakthrough in North Korea, this meeting with Angela Merkel today. Yesterday, he called in to "FOX and Friends" and had a lengthy interview in which he talked about his relationship with Michael Cohen and about what exactly Michael Cohen did for him. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much of your legal work was handled by Michael Cohen?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me. And from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong.


PHILLIP: So, meanwhile, the president is -- this is really relevant because a couple of weeks ago when the federal agents raided Michael Cohen's office and home, they seized a bunch of documents that the president's lawyer said were privileged, privileged because Michael Cohen was the president's attorney.

Now, the government had argued that there was very little legal work that Michael Cohen was doing for him and it seems that President Trump has only reinforced the government's argument that there wasn't a whole lot of privileged documents in there. And just yesterday, those prosecutors from the southern district of New York used the president's interview in an argument in the court case. So President Trump is actually opening up a Pandora's box for himself in terms of his legal problems. And also he has another issue with his cabinet, he just lost his V.A. nominee, Ronny Jackson. The White House now is busy looking for someone else to fill that critical position, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, Abby. It's very busy. What a tangled web all of it is. Thank you so much for explaining it.

Now to this breaking news. Bill Cosby was found guilty in the sexual assault retrial, and several of his accusers who testified against him will join us live with their reaction, next.


[08:16:07] CAMEROTA: A jury found Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004.

Constand reacting this morning, saying, quote: A very profound and heartfelt thank you to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, for their service and sacrifices. Congratulations. Truth prevails.

Five other women testified during the trial that Cosby had drugged and sexual assaulted them. Two of his accusers, Lise-Lotte Lublin and Victoria Valentino join us now, as well as their lawyer, Gloria Allred.

Ladies, what a morning. Great to have you here.

Lise, tell us what it was like in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.

LISE-LOTTE LUBLIN, COSBY ACCUSER WHO TESTIFIED AT RETRIAL: I was in my classroom when the verdict was announced. And my husband Benjamin gave me a call and he just said, he's guilty, Lise, he's guilty.

I said, I couldn't believe it. Are you messing with me? He said he's guilty on all three counts. When he said guilty on all three counts, that's when I knew -- I knew that he was not messing with me and this was real. Very exciting.

CAMEROTA: Oh my god.

Victoria, what was it like for you?

VICTORIA VALENTINO, COSBY ACCUSER: It was the most exciting thing I've heard in a long, long time. I was so thrilled.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's been a long journey, Victoria. You know have -- I've interviewed you so many times. And it just seemed impossible this day would ever come because the statute of limitations passed for so many of the women who were his accusers. It seemed like justice could never be reached for you all.

So, in that moment when you heard guilty, guilty, guilty, what happened in the courtroom?

VALENTINO: Well, I was outside. I took that ridiculous moment to go get a breath of fresh air and I came back in and there was, like, a crowd of people across the street. And I went inside and the sheriff wouldn't let me up the stairs. I was going, oh, no, I can't believe after 3 1/2 years, I'm missing the moment.

And so, I stood there. However, when they did the perp walk and he went out and they were pushing us back into the hallway, I stood right in the front and listened to my mother in my head, and I said, shoulders back and chin up, and stare him down. And I did.

CAMEROTA: Good for you.

Gloria, what a day. Let's remind everyone less than a year ago, nine months ago, he had been tried for the same thing and it was a mistrial. What happened during those nine months? Was there a change in the strategy of the prosecutors that allowed for there to be a guilty verdict yesterday when there wasn't one nine months earlier? GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS' RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I would say there was

a change in the decision of the court. After the first mistrial, I called on the prosecutor to renew his motion to allow more prior bad act witnesses, in other words, more accuses to be permitted to testify. In the first trial, the prosecution asked that 13 be permitted to testify. The defense wanted zero. And the court only allowed one, Kelly Johnson, also my client. That, I think, was not enough.

Second trial, the prosecutor renewed his emotion, asked for 19 accusers to be able to testify. Again, defense said, no, zero, but the court said this time, five. And I represent the majority of the accusers who were permitted to testify. Lise-Lotte Lublin was one of them. Chelan Lasha, Janis Baker-Kinney.

I want to give them such commendation because they endured scorching cross-examination, trying to discredit them, attacking them, you know, attacking their character and their motives. So unfair, but they were sifted, they endured. This is courage displayed by these women, all my 33 of my accusers I represent. I'm proud of them and proud of you, Victoria, as well.

VALENTINO: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: And, Lise, what was it like to testify against Cosby there in the courtroom?

[08:20:06] LUBLIN: It was great to get into that courtroom and know that I was going to be able to tell my truth, that people were going to hear the truth, and I really put a lot of faith in the jury, that they would understand where we were coming from, and they would see the pattern that he so clearly executed in so many of his situations, his assaults that he did.

It was clear to them. I'm so grateful that they could see that. He was -- he was looking very sad, very pitiful, and loss of control. And that's something that we've gained back with doing what we've been doing all this time for the last three years. So, we've got that control back. That feels good.

CAMEROTA: I bet. You know, that brings us to the -- Victoria, Mr. Cosby had an outburst after the guilty verdict was read. There was a question about whether or not he was a flight risk. What was that moment like?

VALENTINO: I wasn't there. I heard it secondhand.

ALLRED: I was there.

VALENTINO: But I was thrilled.

CAMEROTA: What did he say? You know, obviously, it's morning TV, but what happened?

ALLRED: Well, it was about whether or not he had a private jet and might flee, and he used words that I don't use. CAMEROTA: Yes, but could you basically --

ALLRED: It was the A-hole for the prosecutor who was organizing that his bail should be revoked because Mr. Cosby might flee. He only has $1 million bail. And that, according to the prosecutor, would not be sufficient.

CAMEROTA: Why was he allowed to go home after this?

ALLRED: The court cited his age and that he didn't feel he was a flight risk because he had come to all the hearings so far. The prosecutor, of course, argued, these are different circumstances. Before, it was just a trial, but now, he's actually convicted of three felonies that could send him to prison, potentially for 30 years.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that, Victoria. He's 80 years old, OK?


CAMEROTA: So, he's looking at 30 years in prison. How do you feel about that?

VALENTINO: Well, think it's a death sentence, if he is actually going to be in prison and serve that time. But I don't think he's going to. I think he might be given a little lenience just because of his age, but, you know, I also have to laugh about that because he's only five years older than I am.

ALLRED: Yes, he's only four years older than I am. I think he should spend time in custody. He has hurt so many women. And it's time for him to pay the price. I don't care if he's 80 or 90 or 50, he has to be accountable, and that's what I think --

VALENTINO: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Lise, one of the things that has changed since the trial is the Me Too movement, OK?

So, two or three months after the mistrial of Bill Cosby, the news broke about Harvey Weinstein. There was a tidal wave of stories that came forward about sexual harassment, about sexual assault.

Do you think that played a factor in the outcome yesterday?

LUBLIN: I believe the Me Too movement has definitely played its role. I think that the women of Cosby have led the charge. They've taken the brunt of the abuse and the racism that's gone along with this.

But I think the Me Too movement has helped just tip the needle over so that we can feel a little more comfortable when we're talking about our information. That people are actually going to hear what we have to say and take it literally for what is said, what we've done and that we're good people. These are beautiful women who have come out and told their stories --

CAMEROTA: Yes. LUBLIN: -- to everyone, you know?

ALLRED: And that women are now being believed in a way that they have never been believed before. This is the age of empowerment of women. They're not going to be bullied. They're not going to be silenced. They're not going to be intimidated. They're going to speak out and speak their truth.

CAMEROTA: Lili Bernard joins us now.

We often said Cosby survivors come out of the woodwork. You've just come into the studio to join us. And we welcome you.

I want to play the moment, OK, I think this was the moment that the guilty verdict was read and you came out of the courtroom for the first time. Let's listen to this.

Lily, what was happening? Here comes Victoria hugging another woman. Tell us about that moment.

LILI BERNARD, COSBY ACCUSER: I was totally overwhelmed with emotion when the guilty verdict came out guilty, guilty, guilty, I had this explosion of emotion. I was trying so hard to contain my shock, that I put my head down and had banged my forehead on the bench in front of me. I actually had a bruise and a headache.

But we were very graciously asked to leave. The judge banged on his gavel, bang, bang, bang, order in the court, because we were crying.

[08:25:03] The other Cosby survivors and I, my friend Caroline Heldman (ph). We were weeping and wailing. And so, we were asked to leave and the --

CAMEROTA: You didn't expect it to be guilty?

BERNARD: No, not at all. I was expecting another hung verdict, absolutely. I was -- we were shocked.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. Victoria, what were you expecting?

VALENTINO: Well, I think I was really steeling myself for another mistrial and I was going to focus on what the next step was going to be. And so, when it came back guilty, guilty, guilty and I was standing out in this hallway with this wonderful, blond, tattooed woman cop keeping me back, I just, you know, I wanted to bust through and go run up -- which they finally allowed me to do.

I was just absolutely elated, jumping up and down, wanted to do the Zorba dance, you know?

ALLRED: I will say, guilty, guilty, guilty, three of the most beautiful words I ever heard and he earned them by hurting women --

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

ALLRED: -- damaging, changing their lives. So, this is something that has been long overdue.

CAMEROTA: Well, we have followed these stories for years. Yesterday was a truly remarkable day in court.

Gloria, thank you. Victoria, thank you so much. Lili, Lise, thank you so much for sharing your personal story with us on NEW DAY. Great to talk to all of you.


CUOMO: Important conversation, Alisyn. Thank you for having it.

There was an important development yesterday we have to discuss. Embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in the hot seat facing tough questions, kind of, about lavish spending and ethical concerns. How is his job doing? We'll give you the state of play, next.