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Kim and Moon Pledge to End Korean War; Trump and Merkel Discuss Iran; Lawyer at Trump Tower Meeting an Informant; William and Kate Name New Royal Baby; Abba to Release New Songs. Aired 0-1a ET
Aired April 28, 2018 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Writing the history of the Korean Peninsula, the leaders of North and South Korea promising to end the war and denuclearize.
Plus a revelation that a Russian lawyer at the center of a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower has closer ties to the Kremlin than we first thought.
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VANIER (voice-over): Abba making a comeback. The Swedish group making music again after 35 years of silence.
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VANIER: We'll have the details on that. Live from the CNN Center, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.
VANIER: So the past 24 hours may just be the beginning of a new chapter in the Korean Peninsula. The one-day summit to the demilitarized zone, the DMZ, gave us our first real look at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
He is one of the most secret dictators in the world yet he appeared affable, relaxed and charming as he interacted with South Korea's president. Everything about their meeting was scripted in detail, including the symbolic planting of a tree.
And at the conclusion of the meeting, both leaders vowed to formally end the Korean War and to denuclearize the peninsula. U.S. president Donald Trump, who might meet with Mr. Kim in coming months, called it "a very positive thing."
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I have a responsibility. I think other presidents should have done it. I think the responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of the President of the United States. And I think we have -- I think I have a responsibility to see if I can do it.
And if I can't do it, it will be a very tough time is for a lot of countries and a lot of people. It is certainly something that I hope that I can do for the world. This is beyond the United States. This is a world problem. And it is something that I hope that I'm able to do for the world.
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VANIER: Historians and scholars will perhaps study this moment for years to come. There hasn't been anything quite like it recently. See for yourself. CNN's Will Ripley has highlights.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A charm offensive for the history books: Kim Jong-un, the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South, going off script, urging South Korean president Moon Jae-in to cross the military demarcation line onto his turf.
Kim, writing his own rules with a bold message in the Peace House guest book, "A new history begins now."
Each carefully choreographed photo op designed to project a budding bromance, a surreal first date between two leaders, that seemed to go so well you could almost forget, just 12 months ago North Korea threatened to turn Seoul into a sea of fire.
Rolling away in a black Mercedes, flanked by his elite security detail, North Korea's strongman made an abrupt rhetorical U-turn, even cracking jokes about his country's lack of infrastructure.
"Our roads are uncomfortable," Kim said. "I know it because I just came down here," a self-deprecating dig on the struggling North Korean economy, a situation made worse by the biting sanctions led by president Donald Trump.
South Korea and Trump himself giving credit to his maximum pressure campaign.
TRUMP: Said there were two alternatives let them have what they have or go to war. And now we have a much better alternative than anybody thought even possible.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Secretary of state Mike Pompeo, after his own meeting in Pyongyang, says he believes Kim is serious in his efforts. By day's end Kim and Moon signed a stunning but vague statement, pledging to end the Korean War and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula without specifying what denuclearization actually means. RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: One question
is simply how far does it go?
Then the other bigger question to me is, what would North Korea ask in exchange?
RIPLEY (voice-over): Kim Jong-un, projecting confidence and swagger, giving an unprecedented press conference before the international media, serving up a side of himself the world has never seen at a lavish banquet featuring Pyongyang's now famous cold noodles and a champagne toast to peace.
Now the question many are asking, what happens when the buzz wears off? Will Ripley CNN, Seoul.
VANIER: OK, with me now from Los Angeles is political analyst Peter Matthews, also professor of political science at Cypress College.
VANIER: Peter, when you saw all of this unfolding -- and I presume you were looking at the pictures during this, while this summit was happening -- did you -- and you saw Kim Jong-un and this side of him that we've never seen before, what were you thinking?
Were you thinking, oh, what a trickster, or were you thinking, so this is finally what he's like?
PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: You know, Cyril, I think the optics were incredibly remarkable. And I believe Kim Jong-un knew what he was doing and he played this to the hilt.
A question, what substance will come out of this?
I think it was a great first step for the two leaders of both North and South to meet like that. It's never happened before. And to cross over in each other's country, those optics are great.
But what will happen?
Will South Korea and North Korea sign a treaty that will denuclearize the peninsula?
Will they in fact unite once again and have a peace treaty with the Korean War and end it finally?
The U.S. is a big player there so the U.S. will have a lot to say about it. But I think this is a great step that President Moon in fact has to be given a lot of credit for putting forth his agenda and going to the North and the North offering to meet with President Trump.
It all came together so far but substance have to be accomplished now. VANIER: Yes, and we don't know. We don't know at this stage. We just can't. Whether this is a real turning point or whether North Korea is perhaps just playing everyone. So we have to look at the signals.
Did you see anything in this summit, any signal that tells you South Korea and North Korea is not faking it this time and this is for real?
MATTHEWS: We've got to go back to the agreed framework. That's our best time to look at what happened back in the 1990s under President Clinton, where there was an agreement for about eight years, where the United States agreed to provide heavy fuel oil in exchange for North Korea shutting down its heavy water nuclear reactors and to build two light water reactors in order to get fuel to them.
And this was actually supposed to continue and it went quite well. But after a while toward the end of President Clinton's presidency, things got a little bit off track because the heavy fuel wasn't delivered on time; the light water reactors were never built and North Korea was accused of cheating.
And rather than working things out, the United States, based under President Bush, decided to go the other way. And President Bush accused North Korea of being part of the axis of evil.
And while President Bush was invading Iraq and North Korea got concerned about being invaded itself and that's when the nuclear buildup started up again. Then North Korea ends up now with nuclear weapons.
So President Trump needs to learn from the agreed framework and see how he can work with North Korea on this. I think there's a good chance this could be different this time -- Cyril --
VANIER: Well, listen to how Mr. Trump reacted. This was one of the things he said after he looked at the summit.
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TRUMP: I don't think it's ever had this enthusiasm for somebody, for them wanting to make a deal. And, yes, I agree the United States has been played beautifully like a fiddle, because you had a different kind of a leader.
We're going to hopefully make a deal. If we don't, that's fine. The United States, in the past, was played like a fiddle. Money going in and nobody knew what was happening.
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VANIER: So Donald Trump doesn't want to be played. And it's quite understandable, given North Korea's track record.
How do you do that, make sure you're not played and still give negotiations a chance?
How do you balance those two things?
MATTHEWS: We go back to "trust, but verify," as the Russian proverb goes, "trust but verify." And you've got to have inspections. You have to have the United Nations involved, the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency has to be involved in it.
And definitely the most important thing is that the U.S. has to come through with its promises, as North Korea will also be expected to.
And here is a question: will North Korea eventually give up those nuclear weapons?
Because that is what President Trump wants and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, he wants to be able to be sure his regime will survive, will not be invaded by the U.S. and he wants a peace treaty with the United States, South Korea and North Korea ending the Korean War.
So those things have to come together, step-by-step. But there has to be inspections. There has to be international inspections' involvement in it as well as more than one country, some of the other countries that were involved with negotiations earlier should be brought back into it.
I think it's going to happen if those things are ensure. It has to be step-by-step, though. It has to take some time. If all of a sudden President Trump gets obsessed and flustered and walks out of the meeting that's going to be a real tragedy, right. It'll be worse than what happened with meeting with the North Korean leader.
VANIER: All right, Peter Matthews, professor of political science at Cypress College, that meeting between -- that potential meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim expected either late May or perhaps early June. We don't know where yet; two or three locations are now still on the short list.
Peter, thank you very much.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Cyril. Take care.
VANIER: Remember that Russian lawyer from the Trump Tower meeting with Trump campaign officials?
There's new information about her and her government ties. Stay with us.
VANIER: Welcome back.
Just before the break we were talking about the inter-Korean meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Let's continue the discussion.
With me from Seoul, South Korea, is Robert Kelly's, political science professor at Pusan National University.
Robert, the inter-Korean meeting was a scene setter for the possible Trump-Kim meeting in May or June.
What needs to happen in the next two months for that meeting to go well?
ROBERT KELLY, PUSAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Yes, I think the North Koreans probably need to give us some signal that they really are prepared to make concessions when they meet the president.
The president will not be patient. The president just said today he's not going to get played, we're not going to do the same things we've done in the past. I think Donald Trump is going to look for deal pretty rapidly.
I don't really think Donald Trump wants to sit in a room for eight hours and have dinner and everything like that. I think there's going to be a directness to this. And as the president said, he may simply walk out if it's not fruitful.
So if I were the North Koreans right now, I'd be thinking about what kind of serious concession can I give to the Americans the next eight weeks or something like that to signal that this is -- that we're really going deal with the Americans and make this successful. Because I just don't think Donald Trump is going to dither.
VANIER: Yes, but, Robert, this is the thing. You say a rapid deal. Think back to the previous negotiations involving North Korea. They took years or think to another nuclear deal, Iran, that also took years.
How can there possibly be a rapid conclusion to this?
KELLY: Yes, that's right. The overall package, if there's some final denuclearization deal or something like that, that's going to take a while to hammer out. I agree. These summits are going to get the ball rolling and there's going to have to be a lot of staff work and diplomacy in the coming months and years to hammer it all out.
The North Koreans aren't going to give away a lot immediately. What I'm suggesting is that the North Koreans can make some kind of goodwill gesture in the next 6-8 weeks, right.
You had said how can we make sure that the Trump-Kim summit goes well. And my sense is the North Koreans can give us some kind of costly signal, can signal to us in some way that they really want to do this, that they're prepared to actually make a genuine concession. Because if you look at the declaration from yesterday, it's long on principle and it's short on detail. And this is going to be the problem with previous deals right is that we set up all these good words and happy talk and then things start to come apart, as we get into implementation and sequencing.
And that's -- if North Korea really wants to change it, if the North Koreans really want this thing with Donald Trump to work out, I think a stronger signal needs to be sent and than has been sent in the last couple of months.
VANIER: The ball is in Donald Trump's court. The ball is in Kim Jong-un's court. But there's also China. We're not talking enough about them. They're a huge player in this and they possibly are the country that has the most influence on North Korea at the moment.
Where do you think they are on this?
What do you think they're telling Kim Jong-un?
KELLY: I think the Chinese broadly are supportive of this. We know that the Chinese don't like North Korean freelancing. They don't like things like, for example, the assassination in Malaysia last year. We know the Chinese are uncomfortable with North Korea having nuclear weapons.
So my sense is the Chinese actually want this to proceed. My sense is that when Xi and Kim met a couple weeks ago, it was probably just to feel each other out and find out what's going, just sort of swap information.
It's not actually clear to me that the Chinese want this to fail or something like that. I think actually they're quite happy to see this.
KELLY: So as long as this continues to look like it's rolling forward, as long as it looks like the North Koreans are negotiating in good faith as we were saying before, as long as it looks look the North Koreans make a genuine concession on nuclear weapons or human rights, something, then I think the Chinese will support it.
And I think Donald Trump will, too. Ultimately, I would argue that the ball really is in Kim's court. As you said before, we've been here before and it's important that the North Koreans prove that this time is going to be different than previous summits, which ultimately collapsed during implementation.
VANIER: Donald Trump wants denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea just committed itself, in the declaration it signed, to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. So much hangs around that word.
Do you think it means the same thing for Donald Trump and for Kim Jong-un? KELLY: Yes, and there's been a lot of talk about this in this last couple of weeks and I think that's probably not the case. We're all waiting to hear what exactly the North Koreans mean when they say this, how rapidly would they give stuff up, would they give up everything?
I would be amazed if the North Koreans go to zero. I don't think anyone really believes that they would do that. They spent 40 years developing these weapons and a huge amount of money and they're a very poor economy.
So it would be remarkable if they gave them up. And then what do the North Koreans think, that denuclearization means for us, right?
We know that the Americans don't station nuclear weapons in South Korea but the United States has a lot of nuclear weapons back in the United States that could strike North Korea.
Do the North Koreans expect us to put some kind of constraints on that or something?
The United States is not going to denuclearize for North Korea. So we're really waiting to hear from the North.
What does this mean?
How far will they cut, will they allow inspectors back in and things like that?
Again, that's the problem with the declaration yesterday. It's long on principle and short on detail and we have to start finding out what the North Koreans are actually going to concede.
VANIER: OK, Robert Kelly, great to talk to you. We will be keeping you busy over the next few weeks. Thank you very much.
Let's talk a little bit about what happened in Washington on Friday. There were no state dinners or backslapping, like when President Trump met with French president Macron earlier in the week, not at all.
Mr. Trump's meetings with German chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House Friday were more businesslike. Trump railed against Germany's trade surplus with the U.S. as he's done in the past.
Merkel pointed out that German companies produce cars in the U.S., creating American jobs, as she has done in the past. Merkel also tried to soften President Trump's threat to rip up the Iran nuclear deal. There's no indication if she succeeded however.
Mr. Trump refused to rule out military action should Tehran resume its nuclear program.
Also two key developments Friday and investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. On Capitol Hill, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee issued their report, saying that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign in Russia.
President Trump hailed the report on Twitter, repeating his claim that the investigation is one big hoax by Democrats, calling it, of course, a witch hunt. Democrats on the committee, however, issued their own statement, blasting this report.
And there is new information on that Russian lawyer who was at the now infamous Trump Tower meeting with Trump campaign officials. Manu Raju has the details on that.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russian lawyer who attended a 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr. now acknowledging she's an informant of the Russian government.
In newly released e-mails from 2013, reported by "The New York Times," Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is shown coordinating closely with the office of a senior Russian official, the prosecutor general.
"I am a lawyer and I am an informant," she told NBC News.
"Since 2013 I have been actively communicating with the office of the Russian prosecutor general."
The disclosure shines a new light on a June 2016 meeting she attended with the president's eldest son and senior campaign officials, when Trump Jr. initially was promised dirt on the Clinton campaign, that never materialized.
The Republican who ran the House's Russia investigation acknowledging he was unaware that she was an informant of the Russian government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's new information.
RAJU (voice-over): This on the same day that the House Intelligence Committee released its report from the Russia probe. The Republicans' conclusion: they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
RUBIO: Is it troubling to you in any way that she was a Russian informant and had a meeting with senior level Trump campaign officials in 2016?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Because that's how she presented herself and there's no evidence that she acted on that.
RAJU (voice-over): The House GOP report does fault the Trump campaign's periodic praise and communication with WikiLeaks as, quote, "highly objectionable" and demonstrating "poor judgment."
Plus, it says both the Trump and Clinton campaigns took ill-considered actions, including the Trump campaign's decision to meet with Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower. In one interaction described in the report, Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, met in December 2015, before he joined the Trump campaign, at the Russian embassy with then ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Flynn traveled to Moscow.
The report cite emails exchanged between Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and business associate Felix --
RAJU (voice-over): -- Sadr, over a proposed Trump Tower Moscow project and an effort to set up a Trump-Putin meeting.
Sadr told Cohen, that if Putin gets on at stage with Donald for a ribbon cutting in Moscow, Donald owns the Republican nomination.
The efforts to set up a Trump-Putin meeting didn't end there. In one brief interaction, the report says Trump Jr. met briefly with a Russian government official during the National Rifle Association's annual meeting.
The GOP report concludes that the brief meeting centered on shooting and hunting and not the campaign. Democrats say that misses the point.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TEXAS), MEMBER, HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: The sad part of this is that this was not a real investigation. This was basically a kindergarten investigation.
RAJU: And Democrats also released their own findings that disputed a lot of assertions made by the Republicans in their own report. In the Democrats' report, it actually discusses that NRA meeting that occurred at a convention, in which Donald Trump Jr. had that brief interaction with that Russian official.
So now they said that in the run-up to that convention, actually there were emails that showed there was an effort at that meeting was never by the Russian government to create a, quote, "first contact" with the Trump campaign because Moscow was very insistent on having good relationships between Putin and then candidate Trump.
Now on top of that, that same report shows that Emin Agalarov, who's the Russian oligarch, who orchestrated that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, he actually sent a gift to then candidate Trump the day after that meeting, a birthday gift.
It was, quote, "an expensive painting," in the words of this report and Trump apparently responded afterwards, saying in an e-mail, "There are few things better than receiving a sensational gift from someone you admire and that's what I received from you" -- Manu Raju, CNN. Capitol Hill.
VANIER: Here's what President Trump had to say Friday about the release of that report.
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TRUMP: We were honored. It was a great report. No collusion, which I knew anyway, no coordination, no nothing. It is a witch hunt. That's all it is.
As I've said many times before, I've always said there was no collusion, but I've also said there's been nobody tougher on Russia than me.
I was very honored by the report. It was totally conclusive, strong, powerful, many things said that nobody knew about and said in a very strong way. They were very forceful in saying that the Clinton campaign actually did contribute to Russia. So maybe somebody ought to look at that.
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VANIER: Coming up about break, why fans of these disco pop darlings are celebrating across the world. Stay with us.
VANIER: Welcome back. The duke and duchess of Cambridge have announced the name of their new son. Meet Louis Arthur Charles, fifth in line to the British throne after his grandfather, Prince Charles, his father and his brother and his sister.
Many French kings were named Louis, you might remark. But the choice of name for young prince is thought to honor Prince Philip's uncle, Earl Louis Mountbatten. He was killed by the Irish Republican Army in 1979 and was a beloved mentor of Prince Charles.
Mamma mia, here we go again! The Swedish pop group Abba is making music together for the first time in 35 years. But as Richard Quest reports, they never truly left the music scene.
RICHARD QUEST, CNNMONEY EDITOR AT LARGE: Abba, one of the biggest pop acts in history, whose songs still blare out at wedding parties and karaoke get-togethers, and whose music has spawned a musical and a movie.
Now the group is back together, more than three decades after calling it quits.
BJORN ULVAEUS, ABBA SINGER/SONGWRITER: In just took moments and we were kind of looking at each other because -- and then straight back, like no time had passed at all. It was amazing.
QUEST (voice-over): The question is, why now?
Their Instagram page reveals that after avatars were made of the group for TV, they wanted to sing again, recording two new songs, one's called "I Still Have Faith in You."
I had faith in them in 1974, when they won the Eurovision song contest. And these two married couples hit the big time. A music factory churning out questionable knitwear and a string of hits from "Voulez Vous" to "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" and, of course, appropriately for us "Money, Money, Money." Some people don't know when to say no.
You can even sing and dance like them at the Abba museum in Stockholm. The museum says Abba has sold 375 million albums and Abba was once rumored to be Sweden's second biggest export after Volvo.
But talk of a comeback was crushed only a few short years ago.
ULVAEUS: We want people to see us as we were during the '70s, that young, ambitious, energetic group.
QUEST (voice-over): Now, thanks to modern technology, recreating their energetic selves, Abba is back. And so is "Mamma Mia," the movie, a sequel due this summer with new songs, a new movie and avatars.
QUEST (voice-over): Old fans like me will lap it up. New fans will be found. And Abba will live on for the next generation -- Richard Quest, CNN, New York.
VANIER: We knew Richard Quest was a fan.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us.