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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Giuliani Assumes President Trump Ordered Emmet Flood to Attend Briefings; Special Counsel and Trump's Lawyers Discussed January Date for Presidential Interview with Mueller. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired May 24, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Quite a day.
The president canceled his upcoming summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un praising the wonderful dialogue that was building between them, hinting at nuclear annihilation, and telling him to call or write anytime. It took both Koreas by surprise. And we'll have the latest shortly on North Korea's reaction.
But we begin tonight keeping them honest with the Justice Department briefing that took place today with members of Congress about the FBI's use of a confidential source during the 2016 campaign to investigate what we now -- what we know now was Russian interference and disinformation.
The first meeting and originally the only one scheduled for today was for Republicans only. Trey Gowdy and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes who as you probably know is already facing accusations of carrying water on several occasions for the White House. The second briefing which came only after pressure from the Republican and Democratic leadership was bipartisan, the so-called Gang of Eight members of the House and Senate which is the norm when it comes to sensitive intelligence.
But keeping them honest, there was something abnormal about one particular aspect of the meeting, the person who turned up unexpectedly and set off criticism and suspicions about whether the president is more interested in his own legal defense and his unfounded claims of a deep state conspiracy against him than anything else.
This is the person who unexpectedly showed up, presidential lawyer Emmet Flood, an attorney on the White House staff. He appeared with the chief of staff John Kelly.
Now, no one knows who invited Flood to today's meeting. Flood was there at the start of those briefings. In case you're wondering what Flood's focus is, here's what White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said about him when he was recently hired.
Emmet Flood will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt, she said.
So, an attorney representing the president and his administration and the Russia investigation shows up to address two meetings of lawmakers and law enforcement officials who are going over highly sensitive information having to do with the Russia investigation.
Now, according to White House, Emmet Flood and John Kelly only made brief remarks before the meetings to relay the president's desire, and I quote, for as much openness as possible. We're told they then left the meetings. So, a desire to relay the president's desire for openness is one explanation why Flood was there.
Here's another, Rudy Giuliani, also the president's lawyer, telling "Politico", quote, we want see how the briefing went today and how much we learned from it. If we learned a good deal from it, it will shorten that whole process considerably.
As we said, a number of people in the room were very surprised to see the presidential lawyer there, and we're also just now learning that even of the White House are having second thoughts about Flood's appearance. An official there saying his presence likely did not help with concerns the briefings had become politicized. And remember, both meetings took place today in the middle of the president's effort to brand this FBI source as a spy targeting his campaign. He's tweeted or said some variance of the word spy 17 times since last Friday.
We don't know what was revealed at the meetings today, but intelligence vice chair and Democrat Adam Schiff who was at the second meeting said he heard no evidence of a spy in the campaign today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: There is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash joins us now. She's got new reporting on Rudy Giuliani's takes on the briefings today.
So, I know you talked to Giuliani about Emmet Flood and how exactly he ended up in the briefings. What did he say?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I talked to him a couple of times tonight before coming on. I did ask him if it was his understanding that Emmet Flood to these meetings at the behest of the president or maybe under orders of the president.
Now, said that the president hasn't told him, the answer is yes, but Giuliani told me that he assumes that was the reason why Flood went, because the president, his client, and the person who Emmet Flood now works for inside the White House wanted him to be there.
Now, Anderson, you mentioned the context of this, of why this is even a story in the beginning, but I can tell you as someone who's covered Capitol Hill for many, many years, the protocol for most if not all so-called gang of eight meetings, when the intelligence community or the law enforcement community is briefing the top intelligence lawmakers and leadership about issues like this, the White House isn't there. And that's even under the most benign circumstances.
This adds a layer of the fact that the White House, meaning the president, is part of the investigation that they're talking about, which makes it so unbelievably unprecedented.
COOPER: Right, I mean, the idea that the president, according to Giuliani or what Giuliani believes, that the president would have told the presidential attorney, Flood, to go along with John Kelly and address both meetings just to give them a sense that, you know, the president wants things to be as transparent as possible. I mean, that's pretty stunning.
BASH: And I had a bit of a back and forth with him on the phone about this saying it just doesn't really make any sense for Emmet Flood to have been at these meetings.
[20:05:08] And he argues that he obviously he and the president and clearly Emmet Flood disagree, that it is the president's prerogative as someone who is part of the investigation and the executive branch to know exactly what went on. And that is where the rub is. A very, very different point of view on what's appropriate.
COOPER: And about all the concerns over this confidential source, Rudy Giuliani now appears to be raising the stake.
BASH: That's right. He also earlier today said to me that effectively that knowing what went on with this confidential source is a prerequisite for any conversation, any interview that the president will sit for with the special counsel. In fact, tonight he even used a word, trapped. He said, I'm not going to send him in to get trapped in an interview without knowing exactly what went on.
And so, that is certainly -- does raise the stakes. It also, let's be honest, kind of feeds into what the president's legal team, what most of the legal team has wanted all along, which is no interview. And they are still facing a client, the president of the United States, who is still saying even publicly today he wants to sit down for an interview.
COOPER: Yes. Dana, stay right there. I want bring in our legal team.
CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, former FBI supervisory special agent Josh Campbell.
I mean, Jeff, does it make sense to you, Rudy Giuliani, I mean -- does he have the leverage to demand this information about a confidential source as a condition of an interview?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he can decline to give an interview for any reason or no reason at all, and then they'll just fight it out in court over a subpoena. What looks to be going on here is that Giuliani is looking to create some sort of impasse so that he can decline an interview. And he seems to be erecting obstacles just so for the purpose of avoiding the interview --
COOPER: He's latching onto this so-called spy issue.
TOOBIN: Right, and this so-called spy issue, first of all there's absolutely no evidence there was a spy. Second of all, even if they learn the identity of this person, that has very little to do with what the president's going to be asked about. So, it's really a fake issue.
COOPER: And what do you make of Flood showing up at both meetings?
TOOBIN: Again, what the president has been trying to do is discredit the investigation, discredit the FBI, discredit Mueller. And if he, you know, sends his lawyer in to sort of preview what's going on, again that looks like advocacy. It doesn't look like a neutral investigation of the facts, which is what Gang of Eight investigations is supposed to be.
JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: And this is too rich. I mean, if you look at the underlying allegation here, that the FBI sent someone into a scenario in order to gather information inappropriately, I think that's what you saw today, when you take a conflicted party like the president's lawyer who was hired to refute these allegations of Russian collusion, he's now being sent inappropriately into a local and he's obviously going to report back.
Now, I spent the better part of today giving the White House the benefit of the doubt. I described this as a perception problem. They just don't understand this just looks bad to send someone in. But now, to see Rudy Giuliani to come out and say, no, this is actually strategy, we're going to learn what he said and incorporate that into our investigation, it's a definition of inappropriateness.
COOPER: Dana, I mean, what's the reaction you're hearing in Washington to the fact that the president's attorney, Flood, was brought in for a possible impeachment fight was there for at least the beginning of the briefing today as far as we know?
BASH: Look, we've seen so many examples of the norms being shattered, and this is a pretty explosive example, I think. And the reason is because, as I said, this isn't just about kind of the protocols which were not followed in that -- I mean, they had to fight, they the Democrats, and even some Republicans had to fight for the Democratic leaders and the lead Democrats from the intelligence committees even to be briefed in the first place. This time yesterday, we weren't even sure that was going to happen.
But then once it happened, the fact that it included somebody from the White House, whether or not he gave a statement at the top or he sat for the briefing, it's sort of not even relevant. It is unbelievably, really unprecedented. And this is again not just in covering it. This is from talking from people who have been involved in these kinds of briefings for years who have said they've never seen anything like it.
COOPER: Jeff, I also don't understand the rationale they're giving that he was there to express the president's desire for transparency. I mean, that just seems --
TOOBIN: Also at this late stage in the investigation, they know what the president's position in transparency is. This investigation has been going on a long time.
[20:10:02] This looks what Giuliani said it was, which was an information gathering and advocacy mission by the president's chief of staff and his lawyer about something, a factual matter that Congress is looking into.
But that's not where they're supposed to be. It's a congressional investigation, and it is as Dana keeps pointing out, the Gang of Eight, you know, four Republicans, four Democrats, four from the House, four from the Senate. It's a formal process that is meant to be neutral in its political orientation. And to have the president's lawyer in there is just wildly inappropriate.
COOPER: Josh, what impact do you think it has on, you know, Chris Wray or the FBI, you know, Dan Coats, DNI, anyone else from the Justice Department?
CAMPBELL: So, we've talked about the intelligence sources and methods and how that chilling effect is now going to go out around the world initially for any officer of the government who's charged with running a human source. They're now going to -- their job is going to become harder to help convince someone to come to their side, to help them provide information. If you're Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein and the DOJ, you likely went into that meeting with eight members of Congress who again are known to be a little loose-lipped to Congress writ large, knowing that anything you said in that meeting could make it to the air waves.
So, that's an unusual place to be in. But I think it's interesting if you look at, you know, what may have happened. I think it's safe to assume that there wasn't some giant revelation of impropriety on the part of the FBI. And I think the reason we know that is because we didn't see Chairman Nunes tripping over his colleagues raising to the microphones to tell us about what he learned.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, Dana, all -- really all we've heard is from Adam Schiff so far.
BASH: Right, and that's not much except that he indicated that there was nothing to suggest that there were nefarious spies as the president and his aides are suggesting.
COOPER: And Nunes and Gowdy reportedly didn't see the documents, they wanted, right?
BASH: Right. And that's a whole other issue, that this is not over politically when it comes to the president's allies on Capitol Hill. Everybody from Mark Meadows to others who kind of started the ball rolling demanding from the DOJ that they get to see information about this, they weren't satisfied with the briefings that were set up in the first place.
So, you're right, the fact that they seem to have gotten even less access than they thought that they would means that the sort of drum beat is going to continue from Capitol Hill.
TOOBIN: And Dana's making an important point here because this conflict as she says is not resolved between the House Republicans in the White House on one side and the Justice Department on the other is perhaps an attempt to force Rod Rosenstein to resign in protest or to fire him, which is something that the White House has been itching to do for a long time. So, the fact that this crisis isn't over is very significant.
COOPER: All right. Thanks to everybody.
A lot more ahead, including more breaking news. We're learning not only did the president turn down a meeting with Kim Jong-un, his team also said no back in January to Robert Mueller. We have details on that, including why that happened.
Also, North Korea's reaction after the plug is pulled on the Singapore summit. We're live in North Korea ahead.
[20:17:04] COOPER: There is more breaking news on the Russia investigation to tell you about. Not about the briefings that happened today, but a meeting that almost happened back in January between the president and special counsel Mueller. Now, tonight, we're learning more about how it might have played out and why it ultimately did not.
Our chief political analyst Gloria Borger and Evan Perez broke the story.
Gloria joins us now.
So, I mean, this is really the first time we've heard of any possible date for an interview between the president and Mueller. What happened?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there was a meeting in early to mid-January, and it was a very different time from the time Dana Bash was talking about just earlier, because it was a time when the president's legal team actually wanted to get this all over with and have the president sit down. So, there was a meeting with Mueller. He suggested let's get the president on January 27th and laid out 16 subjects, and the president's legal team listened to it.
They met among themselves later on, and they were even thinking oh, maybe we can have this at Camp David. It might be a good place, we could do this on a Saturday. And then after thinking about it, and there was some disagreement among the president's lawyers. But the lead of the president's team John Dowd on January 29th sent
Mueller a letter, a 20-page letter which one source says the president read and approved saying there's no way we are going to do this both were constitutional issues, and we believe that you have all the information that you need from the millions of documents that we've handed over to you.
COOPER: And right around that time, the president was actually sounding sort of enthusiastic about talking to special counsel, right?
BORGER: Right. He was, he was. On January 24th, when reporters asked him, and here's the quote, I'm looking forward to it actually. That he would have liked to have an interview, but -- and I think he probably was telling the truth at that time. I think after the Michael Cohen raid, I've been told the president said, no way, I'm not going to do it.
And you've seen them ratcheting up their attack on Mueller and his team and the investigators since that point.
COOPER: I also understand you have reporting about meetings between the president's legal team and Mueller that happened two months later in March.
BORGER: Right. So, you know, after this happened in January, there was kind of a lull, because the Mueller team and the Trump team were on very different places. So they had a meeting on March 5th and another one on March 12th.
But at the March 5th meeting, I'm told by a source, Mueller reiterated that he needed to see the president, he needed to talk to the president because he needed to know his intent before making certain decisions in his presidency and, of course, we know what that refers to, is the firing of James Comey.
And at this point, Mueller has not changed his mind, and the Trump team remains pretty entrenched about not having the president testify as you keep hearing publicly from Giuliani.
[20:20:09] COOPER: Gloria, thanks very much. Fascinating.
COOPER: More legal aid now. Joining us is CNN legal analyst John Dean, Carrie Cordero. John Dean as you now has seen these things from the inside. He was White House counsel to President Nixon.
So, Carrie, what does it say the president was even one time closer to sitting down for an interview with Mueller?
CARRIE CORDERO, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, it really just shows how his -- not only his legal team in terms of the personnel just changed and been a revolving door but the strategy has changed. So at one point with a different set of players it sounds like they were negotiating and they were perhaps didn't have the same -- they had one set of constitutional concerns and now maybe there's a different set of constitutional concerns.
And so, the legal strategy, the legal analysis and then the actual approach in dealing with the special counsel's office just constantly seems influx.
COOPER: And, John, certainly things are not what they were back in January to say the least. A lot has happened since then, including the raid on Michael Cohen's office.
What do you think the odds are of the president sitting -- going to down to an interview without a fight at this point?
JOHN DEAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think there will be a fight. I don't think it's his option either, Anderson. I think what we're witnessing is very Trumpian, where he is on all sides and all moods at different times and different stages of his thinking. And I think it's only going to be resolved as it has been with other presidents who had to appear, the threat of the subpoena will bring him to a decision very quickly.
And I'm not sure he can win in court. I think this is -- I think indeed the law favors the special counsel and the Supreme Court. I looked at the number of precedent setting instances where Ken Starr went to the Supreme Court and how quickly he got those rulings, for example, on the protective privilege for Secret Service testifying. He broke that privilege and did it very quickly.
So, these things can happen faster rather than slow.
COOPER: Carrie, I wonder what you think about that, because the argument the president's legal team is making is that because they believe Mueller is following the Justice Department guidelines and that a sitting president can't be indicted, that the president can't be subpoenaed for something which is an un-indictable offense.
CORDERO: Well, there are -- I mean, there is no specific case on point of whether or not a sitting president has to appear before a grand jury to give oral testimony. So, there's document cases, but there's not something on the specific issue.
So, it could be litigated. It seems like the president's team is leaning towards trying to drag this out and leaning towards perhaps forcing the special counsel's office to make that decision to serve a subpoena and fight it out in court. The irony is that the longer they drag this out, they increase the chances that the president will do more things that could add to the obstruction case.
So, the longer this drags out he could fire more people. He could sort of verbally or through Twitter intimidate witnesses. He could do other things in terms of his coordination with Congress, trying to unearth things about the investigation that have the tendency to disrupt it.
So, there is actually I think a jeopardy in them dragging this out as well. COOPER: John, CNN reported this week that the president's legal team,
they're trying to narrow the scope of any possible interview to questions on Russia-related matters that occurred before President Trump's election, meaning no questions on possible obstruction of justice.
Can you see any possible situation in which the special counsel agrees to that?
DEAN: It's an interesting argument that they would have no ability to restrict what happened before he became president and then have an ability to restrict under an executive privilege theory once he became president. It's never been litigated as we've just noted. I don't think it'll play either.
I think that once they get it in there, they're not going to agree to the questions. We've seen the breadth of the proposed topics they want to discuss, as Gloria's reporting showed earlier today. And they're all over it, and Trump is not going to be able to control that.
COOPER: John Dean, just curious given that you lived through Watergate, I wonder what do you make of the president's efforts to tag this using the term "spygate", that's clearly trying to kind of have a reference towards Watergate and basically saying, you know, if true, it's the biggest political story ever.
DEAN: Well, it seems he's taken -- got his hands on the fog machine that Rudy Giuliani has been handling. And he's just trying to put smoke out there, and it's not going to hold up.
I think the briefing today pretty well showed that this was standard operating procedure by the FBI, and if anything, the FBI was protecting him and not spying on him but rather being cautious in how they proceeded, trying to see if these people even knew that they were dealing with potential Russian infiltration of some kind.
[20:25:17] So, the spygate doesn't work for me at all.
COOPER: John Dean, Carrie Cordero, thanks very much.
Coming up, North Korea has just reacted to the president, calling off the summit with Kim Jong-un. There's been a lot of question marks and anxiety what they might say given the stakes. The latest from the White House next, and a rare live report from inside North Korea as well.
COOPER: North Korea says it is still willing to meet with the United States at any time and in any way. A short time ago, a North Korean official responding to a letter from President Trump that called off the summit. It was planned for less than two weeks from today.
In a statement to state media, the official said the president's statement on the summit isn't in line with the wishes of those who hoped for peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and in the world.
The president's letter came after North Korean official called Vice President Mike Pence a political dummy and threatened to, quote, make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experience nor even imagined up to now.
In the letter, the president says in part and I quote, sadly based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it's inappropriate at this time to have this long planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit for the good of both parties but to the detriment of the world will not take place. You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.
Our Pamela Brown joins us now from the White House.
Can you explain just why, how this summit fell apart, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, a senior White House official, Anderson, says that the summit was cancelled after a series of broken promises and odd judgment calls on the part of the North Koreans. And things really started to sour last week. The U.S. officials say that the U.S. delegation in Singapore was there to set things up for the summit.
We're essentially stood up by the North Korean. The North Koreans, they have seemed never showed up. They said that a number of inquiries they sent to North Korea went unanswered. So that was a big red flag.
But also came into time when North Korea had a change in tone when it released a statement last week criticizing the U.S. for asking North Korea to disarm and threaten to pull out of the summit. And then you had a statement, of course, that came last night from North Korean calling the Vice President a political dummy and threatening nuclear war.
So, you had all of that on top of the fact that Kim Jong-un had been a little bit skittish, showing some skittishness about flying to Singapore. There was still a big distance on certain issue. And so there was growing skepticism up until this point. But it really all culminated with that statement last night from North Korea, which led to this letter that the President sent to Kim Jong-un today.
I'm told that the administration had been expecting a response from North Korea through national security channels. They knew there would be a response to Mike Pence's statements he made on Fox News talking about the Libya model. But when they received that statement from North Korea threatening nuclear war, that is when the President met with his national security team, and the prevailing option on the table last night was to pull out of the summit. The President wanted to sleep on it, and then this morning, of course, that letter was sent. Anderson.
COOPER: And, Pamela, while the President did threaten North Korea of military action this morning, I mean, he also left the door open for the summit to happen, even possibly on its original date of June 12th, right?
BROWN: That's right. It was interesting, in a letter he sent to Kim Jong-un, on one hand, he's, you know, boasting about the military prowess in the United States, and on the other hand, he's inviting Kim Jong-un to call him or write to him. The President has signaled that he still wants this summit to happen even if it doesn't happen on June 12th as originally planned.
Now, I asked White House officials today, what would it take for the summit to be back on the track? And basically the official said that the administration would need to see the opposite of what it has seen from North Korea this past week for it to happen. Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Pamela, thanks very much.
Now, even as the summit was being called off, North Korea was taking steps to scale back its nuclear program, destroying structures at a nuclear test sites. Journalists were there, including our Will Ripley, who joins us now from North Korea.
So, first of all, when the news broke that President Trump was pulling out of the summit, you were actually the one to break the news to the North Korean officials there. How did they react? How did that play out?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we were on the train riding back from the nuclear test site, and it was late at night. We were actually getting ready to go to bed when I got the phone call. And look, it was incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.
They didn't give me a response but they immediately got up and they got on the phone, and I assume were relaying the message directly up to the office of Kim Jong-un. I'm told that we were actually the first ones to tell the North Koreans that this had happened. I was expecting an angrier response, given the tone in the statement of Vice President Pence. When they came out, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with this more measured diplomatic response, it shows that the North Koreans still want these talks to move forward despite some of the rhetoric in recent days.
COOPER: And just in terms of the nuclear sites itself, what were you able to see today?
RIPLEY: We were on the ground for more than nine hours. It was surprising. It took us more than 15 hours to get there, and they showed us each of the tunnels that North Korea has used to conduct nuclear test -- six nuclear tests since 2006.
They opened up the doors. We could see that they were rigged with explosives as far as the eye could see. Then we went up to this observation post. We kind of hiked up the ravine, and we watched them blow up each of the tunnels one by one.
We also see them blow up all of the structures that were on the site as well. So it's pretty dramatic images, but it was hard to really know exactly what we were seeing, like how deep the explosions went, for example.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, there's no way, I guess, to verify the North Korean claims that the tunnels are now permanently unusable.
RIPLEY: That's right. Because we didn't have any nuclear weapons experts in the group. They were not invited in. It was only journalists.
And so the North Koreans said, "Look, you've seen it with your own eyes. We're being transparent." But our point was, well, we saw explosions, but we don't know exactly how this works. Could a bulldozer go in and reopen those tunnels tomorrow or is it really permanently unusable as the North Korean's claim? And obviously it was dramatic to see them blowing up all the building that were used to house researchers and soldiers that were stationed at the nuclear site, but those building could also easily be rebuilt.
So there is some skepticism from people that because experts weren't invited, was this really the step towards denuclearization as the North Korea's claim that they showed us it was? But nonetheless, to have them to blow the nuclear site and then a couple of hours later, we learned that the summit was canceled after talking with officials who were already kind of feeling sad, frankly, about all of their work over more than a decade being blown up, thinking that it was going to lead to something better for North Korean then they find out the talks are off, it was really a surreal moment.
[20:35:11]: Yes, I bet. Will Ripley, thanks very much.
Much more ahead on this, we're going to talk about the North Korean response to the President's letter and what could happen next.
COOPER: The breaking news, the response from North Korea after the President called off his planned summit with Kim Jong-un. Today, the President said the United States is ready if North Korea does anything "foolish and reckless."
Tonight, a North Korean official says it's still willing to meet the U.S. at any time and in any way.
Joining me now, our CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, CNN Global Affairs Analyst from "Washington Post," Columnist Max Boot, and Former CIA North Korea Analyst Sue Mi Terry.
Christiane, I wonder what you think happened here. Do you really believe it came down to the President's words, the tremendous anger and open hostility coming out of North Korea?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's really interesting because those are the very words that Kim Kye- gwan, who is North Korean Vice Foreign Minister in charge of the U.S. nuclear brief, who I met back in 2008 around the same kind of issue, and is a moderate on this issue. He used those words.
[20:40:03] And he said those words were in response to, as he called it, a resistance to the U.S., as he said, unacceptable and disgraceful attempt to pressure North Korea into unilateral disarmament ahead of the summit. So that's obviously how they're seeing what was going on.
And I've spoke to U.S. officials who have also been on this brief and they said that, look, the cart frankly was put ahead of the horse from the beginning. That there were no parameters, the actual technical work had not been done to decide what were the red lines, what were the negotiations, what was the step by step process. So not enough work had been done to actually have a summit between two leaders, between the President of the United States and the leader of North Korea.
COOPER: So, Dr. Terry, I mean, do you think that played a big role? I mean in the administration, you know, this was -- usually summits are started from the bottom up. There's a lot of groundwork that's done, a lot of meetings, weeks, months, if not years in some cases and then the two leaders meet and shake hands and sign something. Do you think it was partly a realization that, wait a minute, there's a lot of details to be work out?
SUE MI TERRY, FORMER CIA NORTH KOREA ANALYST: Certainly. We were not prepared to have this summit just a few weeks away. But I have to say, I think Kim Jong-un was actually not planning to cancel the meeting by the statement that was made by Kim Kye-gwan and his other deputy Choi Son Hee.
Actually, they were trying to signal to Washington that they were very displeased about all this talk about Libya which is obviously a nightmare scenario for North Korea because it always reminds them of Gaddafi, that they didn't appreciate this talk. They did not going to just cave to U.S. pressure. But I think they wanted this meeting and this is why North Korea says, release a statement which is very measured, tempered and disciplined for North Korean standards.
So I think that message didn't come across to Washington. We just thought they were being very aggressive. But North Koreans were trying to send a signal and it was just lost in translation, the whole thing was.
COOPER: Max, you tweeted somehow and to reach to our viewers about how President Trump canceled the summit with quote, "The kind of letter that he might have written to a high school crush with whom he was breaking up." I take it you're not that impressed with his style of diplomacy?
MAX BOOT, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, this is just the latest bizarre episode of Trump-style diplomacy. And remember, this is not the only diplomatic debacle this week for President Trump. This comes a few days after his attempts to reach a trade deal with China also crashed and burned. And he had to kind of admit that he hadn't achieved anything. He hadn't achieved $200 billion in reductions in the U.S.-China trade deficit. And then you see what happened in the case of North Korea. He rushed into the summit with no preparation and no (inaudible) in early March something that I don't think anybody would have advice him to do without the kind of groundwork you need to lay for such a major diplomatic undertaking. And then he hyped up the expectations to the ceiling.
A month ago he was saying that North Korea had a written a tweet (ph) to continue terrorize which obviously was not the case. The White House was matching coins to commemorate this. The President was talking about how he's going to go a Nobel Piece Prize and all of the sudden over the last week or two things kind of spiraled downward and they realized, wait a second, the North Koreans, they're not actually going to denuclearize, which anybody knows anything about North Korea could have told them.
BOOT: But so they rushed into the summit, set high expectations and now has backed out of it, which I think is probably the right thing to do at this point but it just shows this kind of impetuous trampy and diplomacy that the same style that he used in business, which by the way led him to six corporate bankruptcy, he's now applying to the business of the United States.
COOPER: Christiane, do you see a scenario in which the summit does take place, whether it's on the original date or later date some time this summer?
AMANPOUR: Look, it's hard to imagine it happening on the original date. But, again, you know, many diplomats, people who have been working this issue for a long time, especially on the U.S. side. They do see that both sides want to have a summit. It was clear from President Trump's body language that he's pretty disappointed because of this and he also wanted this sort of historic summit into our president, all the other president and all the things that Max and Sue Mi have been saying that he kind of wanted you to take away from it. So it might happen some time down the line, but it's clear that a huge amount of proper work needs to be done.
However, there's also a bit of a problem brewing because what President Trump has done similar to dissing his European allies at the last minute on Iran. Remember Macron of France came to the United States, you know, had a real love in with President Trump trying to persuade him that diplomacy was the right way to go with Iran and to keep the deal. And then the minute he's on a plane back to France, the President pulls out of that deal, similar with the South Korean President, who was in Washington a couple of days ago basically as a U.S. official told me betting the farm on this diplomacy and being the intermediary, only to land back in Seoul and find that this whole rug has been pulled out from under him.
[20:45:05] So we're being so told that it's possible that Chinese may now step in and be the main mediators if you like. In other words, this may have given China a much bigger role than it might have had had if just been going between the U.S. and North and South Korea.
AMANPOUR: So we'll wait to see how it -- what happens.
COOPER: Dr. Terry, is this a win for Kim Jong-un even if the summit never happens simply by being legitimized by a sitting U.S. president and having a sitting U.S. president, you know, who say reached out to me and called me, you know, that's never -- I mean, that's something the North Korean leadership has wanted for quite a while.
TERRY: Right. No, absolutely. On North Korea and Kim Jong-un is a much better place today than he was in couple of months ago and since the Olympics and summit and diplomacy and Trump agreeing to meet with him, now Kim Jong-un has had a makeover, he looks like a normal leader and now he had this statement, does making him sound like a normal president, a responsible guy even. And he has actually loosened or weakened political will for sanctions implementation when it comes to China. And he also put a wedge between U.S. and South Korea alliances as Christiane was just talking about.
South Korea was completely just floored by this -- Trump just scrapping the meeting. When President Moon was here, he was assured that this meeting was going to take place. So now they are completely surprised. So I think Kim has gained a lot here and without even sitting down with President Trump.
BOOT: And I think what we're seeing, Anderson, is more evidence that Trump is better at breaking deals than he has at making deals. He's broken a lot of deals as president. He pulled out Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate accord, most recently the Iran nuclear deal. But he touts his abilities to negotiate deals. He says he's the world's greatest deal maker. There's no evidence of that so far.
He just, you know, is he going to negotiate a deal with Iran? There doesn't seem to be any plan B after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, and now he raised this high hopes that he would negotiate a deal with North Korea and those hopes of crash that it has been suggested maybe the summit will still take place at some point, but, you know, he's not living up to his hype as a deal maker.
COOPER: Well, I mean, that's the thing about a summit between the dictator of North Korea and the President of the United States, that would be in the past administrations or in the future administrations a reward for some sort of behavior change, some sort of action on the part of North Korea, which it's sort of done backwards.
BOOT: It's backwards. And Trump consistently shows his contempt for established norms and kind of the established way of doing things. He trusts his gut. He doesn't want to listen to advisers. He doesn't want to read briefing papers. He thinks that he knows what he's doing and clearly the evidence of his presidency shows that's not the case.
BOOT: He is not reaching any of these great deals.
COOPER: I got to get a break in. And Max Boot, thank you, Christiane Amanpour, Sue Mi Terry, good to have you on both.
BOOT: Thank you.
COOPER: More breaking news regarding the Russia investigation, this time involving Roger Stone who details about why specifically the Mueller team is interested in him.
[20:52:10] COOPER: More breaking news tonight. Sources telling CNN prosecutors, the prosecutors from Robert Mueller's team have been looking into the finances of President Trump's long-time adviser Roger Stone. Mueller is also seeking to interview witnesses to gather more information about Stone. Our Sara Murray joins us now with more.
So the interest in Stone's finances, what have you learned?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know there are a number of witnesses who have been in, who have been asked questions about Roger Stone's finances. They've been asked specifically, for instance, about his tax returns. And this comes in recent week the special counsel's team seems to be calling in or subpoenaing a number of Roger Stone's current and former associates. He said publicly that he knows of at least eight people who have been called in. At least one that might we know has direct knowledge of some of his financial information, others were dealing with social media, still others were associates of Roger Stone's when he was working on Donald Trump's presidential campaign. But at a minimum, there's certainly a lot of interest from Mueller's team about Roger Stone, his finances and his communications, which, of course, our experts say should be worrisome to Roger Stone.
COOPER: And is this connected to the reported links between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the Secretary Clinton's e-mails?
MURRAY: Well, look, Roger Stone got a lot of public scrutiny because during the 2016 presidential campaign he sent some tweets out, he made some public statements that looked pretty pressy and made it look like he was essentially predicting what WikiLeaks was about to do next.
And Stone has denied that he had any foreknowledge of the WikiLeaks is going to release any hacked e-mails related to senior democratic officials related to John Podesta, who was then a Clinton campaign staffer. But that certainly drew a lot of public scrutiny. And we know that Mueller has been asking about that as well and may have put him on the radar in the first place.
COOPER: And what has Stone said about all of this?
MURRAY: So Stone has denied that he had anything to do with the Russian collusion, and he and his allies now believe that essentially this is a witch-hunt to try to pin him on anything and bring down a long-time ally of the President.
So, I'm going to read you a portion of the statement Stone gave me where he said, "The special counsel now seems to be combing through every molecule of my existence including my personal life, political activities, and business affairs to conjure up some offense to charge me with, either to silence me or induce me to testify against the President." Stone insists he will never turn against the President. And as for the special counsel's team, they're not commenting.
COOPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks very much.
A lot more ahead including the latest on these classified briefings on Capitol Hill about the Russia investigation with the White House attorney Emmet Flood unexpectedly showed up.
Also, North Korea responds to President Trump calling off to summit. First, here's a preview of the CNN Original Series "1968," it's a special two-night event starting this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern. Take a look.
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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I've seen the Promised Land. But I want you to know tonight that we are the people will get to the Promised Land.
[20:55:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For my parent's generation, King was the dream. And then he's gone.
ROBERT KENNEDY: I am announcing today my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god. Senator Kennedy has been shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was really the death of hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wallace knew how to get a crowd energized.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police and the demonstrators tussle over this busy intersection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Graduate is probably the most important movie of the '60s.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I hope to restore respect to the presidency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the most dramatic and consequential years in history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "1968," A Four-Part, Two-Night CNN Original Series Event, starts Sunday at 9:00.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Breaking news tonight, fall-out from the decision to send the President's lawyer to a pair of classified congressional intelligence briefings in the Russian investigation. A White House official voicing regrets that the briefings were politicized. This is who expectedly -- unexpectedly, I should say, showed up, Emmet Flood.
Here is what White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said about Flood when he was recently hired. "Emmet Flood will be joining the White House staff to represent the President and the administration against the Russia witch hunt."