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Trump Cancels Meeting With Kim Jong-un; Trump Look Forward To Meeting Kim "Some Day"; CNN Crew Witnessed Nuclear Test Site Explosions Justice Department Meeting with Lawmakers Examined; Latest on Kilauea Eruption. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 25, 2018 - 00:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, the historic North Korea/U.S. summit has been scrapped amid heated angry rhetoric sparking concerns words could turn into action.

Donald Trump's lawyer representing him in the Russia investigation allowed into a classified intelligence briefing. One lawmaker calling it the craziest, you know what, he has ever seen.

A situation right now in Hawaii, two paths of lava advancing towards the Pacific Ocean sparking fears of more toxic clouds.

Hello. Welcome to viewers all around the world. It's great to have you with us. I'm John Vause. We are now starting the first hour of three hours of NEWSROOM L.A.

North Korea says it is still willing to meet face to face at any time with the U.S. and that comes just hours after Donald Trump scrapped his summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un. The U.S president agreed off to the meeting back in March triggering contagious optimism even talk of Nobel Peace Prize.

But in the weeks which followed it was easy to see all the diplomatic steps that was skipped. Cracks started showing last week when the North got cagey and threatened to pull out of the summit scheduled for June 12th.

Then it officially crumbled on Thursday in the form of a letter from the U.S. president. Hours later, he elaborated on his decision.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I hope that Kim Jong-un will ultimately do what is right not only for himself, but perhaps most importantly what's right for his people, who are suffering greatly and needlessly. All of the Korean people, North and South deserve to be able to live together in harmony, prosperity, and peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: We have extensive coverage this hour of what went wrong, what happens next, and of course, regional reaction. So, for that, CNN's Paula Hancocks is standing by live in Seoul. We also have Alexandra Field in with us in Hongkong.

Paula, first to you, the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, he received no advance no warning about Donald Trump's decision to scrap the summit. He found out the same time as the rest of the world. What does that now mean for U.S./South Korea alliance and does it mean there are some difficult times ahead?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, John, it does. I mean, South Korean officials are reeling from this. President Moon had only just got back from a visit to D.C. He met with the U.S president, Donald Trump.

He may have got a little advanced warning because when he was in the oval office sitting next to him, Mr. Trump suggested that maybe June 12th summit wouldn't be happening maybe a little later. That's really all the warning he had.

Exactly the same warning as we had. So, there was a National Security Council meeting at midnight overnight. They were -- they were certainly trying to figure out what was going on, but, they're reeling from this. This is not what they were expecting.

They went to Washington with the message that North Koreans still wanted to talk. They wanted this summit. Although we are hearing from senior administration officials that they've had no, no, no contact between the U.S. and North Korea since at least last week.

They had a delegation in Singapore ready to meet with the North Korean delegation. That simply didn't show up. Now, we've also got some exclusive images to show you, John, of Max Thunder, this is the joint Air Force drill between the U.S. South Korea.

We went and filmed it exclusively a couple of weeks ago, and just ten days ago, this is what North Korea cited as the reason for cooling temperatures and cooling relations between North Korea and the U.S.

And South Korean calling it a military -- intentional military provocation. And said that's the reason that they're now deciding or were at that point that maybe the summit wasn't such a good idea.

Now we don't know, whether this drill was truly the turning point for all of this in Pyongyang's mind or whether it's just a convenient excuse. We do know that these drills consistently annoy Pyongyang -- John.

VAUSE: Paula. Thank you. You'll be busy for the next few hours. Stand by. Alex to you, if there is one winner in all of this it would seem to be China. Once again it seems all road to Pyongyang go through Beijing. That's powerful leverage for President Xi Jinping.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, China clearly showing that they will not be sidelined in this process. Let's be very clear here, John, Chinese officials have publicly said that they want this summit to go forward.

They have openly encouraged dialogue always on this issue. They want to see stability and peace. What they don't want to see is an expansion of American influence in the region and certainly they want to protect their own influence.

It seemed that their influence was impacting this summit in the run-up in recent weeks. When President Trump pointedly said that it appeared that North Korea had changed its tone becoming more openly hostile after meeting again with Xi Jinping.

[00:05:13] That was the second meeting that happened between Kim Jong- un and Xi Jinping, and President Trump says that that's when North Korea changed its interactions with the U.S. in the leadup to this summit.

It was, of course, that hostility, that the U.S. noted in citing reason to at least delay the summit or really to cancel the June 12th date for now. So, it certainly does show that China may have had a very significant role in this.

We have definitely seen a warming in the relationship between North Korea and China in these recent weeks and months since the summit has been announced. This was a summit that was largely orchestrated by South Korea and by the U.S. and North Korea.

China didn't seem to have a role, but they are certainly showing now that they want their voice to be heard. This is an opportunity as North Korea and China to have a stronger ally as they work toward conversation with the United States and for China to make sure that its interests are relayed should North Korea and the U.S. ever come to the table together -- John.

VAUSE: Alex, thank you. Also, Paula Hancocks before you as well. Thanks to you both.

Well, joining me here now in Los Angeles is Clayton Dube, the director of the U.S. China Institute at the University of Southern California, and in San Francisco, Philip Yun, the executive director and chief operating officer of the Ploughshares Fund.

Philip, you know, was this summit essentially doomed to fail from the very beginning because there was actually no agreement on what the objectives or what the negotiating here. So, at the end of day, this decision to scrap the summit was actually the right decision.

PHILIP YUN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF THE PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Well, I think the jury is still -- again, I've always said with North Korea never too high, too low. I think what I want to do is look at what was the real reason for why they'd scrapped this summit.

And why Donald Trump did what he said -- in the sent letter. If he believes it is because North Koreans didn't show up. I think, they -- definitely misread the North Koreans. Bumps in the road always happen and remember the first negotiations I was in the North Koreans with. After the first meeting, the next day they never showed up as well, and then the next day, they are three hours late.

So, they may have misinterpreted, that's a possibility. If the real reason isn't that, it's either that this is gamesmanship, which is entirely possible. Donald Trump is known for that or as you say they're really kind of spooked that the substance wasn't really there.

That the North Koreans and the United States don't really have a meeting of the minds. North Korea wants the -- give of its nuclear weapons much later in time. The United States at the very beginning and that gap was never going to be breached.

And so, this is why they decided they couldn't do this, so it just really depends what the -- what is really behind the thinking of the administration right now.

VAUSE: Because there is a report, that the, the author of the "Art of the Deal" basically said that Donald Trump does not like to be humiliated. He was worried that they would not show up at the summit or they will withdraw from the summit without any kind of agreement. He doesn't want to be embarrassed.

YUN: Yes, I think that's absolutely right. That's one, one thing that they to really be worried about. But I also think that, you know, there is -- this meeting should happen because the only way we will find out what North Korea really wants, and that begins with Kim Jong-un is to have a conversation.

So, whether that happens with Donald Trump right away in the next couple of weeks or a little bit later really doesn't matter. It just as long as it happens. I've got a feeling that there is a lot of incentive for both of these folks to have this kind of meeting. So, we will just have to see what happens.

VAUSE: Clayton, North Korea's tone and rhetoric had taken much off of tone in recent weeks. The U.S. president believes that it is a direct result of China's influence on Kim Jong-un. This is what he said.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have a wonderful dialogue. We have a wonderful -- there has been a very good working relationship. It started with the hostages coming back home. The hostages came home. We didn't have to pay. We wouldn't have paid, but they came back home. They're now safely ensconced in their houses. They're very happy and thrilled. And they never thought it was going to happen. So, the dialogue was good until recently. And think, I understand why that happened.


VAUSE: Is that how you see it? CLAYTON DUBE, DIRECTOR, USC U.S.-CHINA INSTITUTE: Not necessarily. I think that -- there is no question that the contact between the North Korean leadership and China's leadership has had an impact. There is no question about that. And Xi Jinping sent very strong signals first of all to get Kim Jong-un to go to Beijing and then later to go back to (inaudible) that sort of thing.

But in addition, one of the things that is not mention, of course, is the North Koreans have always resented these military exercises. And Xi Jinping resents these military exercises and said this is something that you can hammer at.

VAUSE: Do you think that maybe now that Xi Jinping is how you re- exerted his influence over the North Koreans, and the whole situation, if you like.

[00:10:06] That we could hanging towards maybe four-party talks, Beijing, Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang, which maybe is a better format anyway.

DUBE: I do expect that. There is not much question that nothing would ultimately be worked out without Seoul and Beijing. That it couldn't just be between Pyongyang and Washington.

VAUSE: There is also this suggestion that Xi was using his influence over North Korea or you know, maybe to gain leverage on other issues with U.S. trade talks, for instance. Do you see that a possibility? Because nothing ever happens in isolation.

DUBE: That's right. And their relationship is that multiple dimensions always moving and there is no question that the troubled trade relationship is part of this. It's -- there's little doubt about that. In addition, you have got China making moves in the South China Sea. The United States responding to those moves. There's a lot of what's going on.

VAUSE: Philip, to you, putting the president's allegations to one side, is it unintended consequence here that, you know, the collapse of the summit will push Kim Jong-un much closer now to Beijing?

YUN: I think that's a possibility, but I think, you know, in certain ways, Kim Jong-un seems to me in certain ways in the driver seat to some regard because I think that, what his grandfather and his father have done very well.

Just North Korean generals play the big powers off of each other. So clearly this is what has been happening over the last six months. If you recall, China did not really want to meet with Kim Jong-un whatsoever.

And then Donald Trump said, I'll meet with you, and then suddenly China invited Kim Jong-un over, and then they had subsequent meetings in (inaudible) and others. So, I think what's going on here is a game in a sense where Kim Jong-un is trying to decide, you know, who is going to offer more.

So, I think we'll have to see what comes out of all this. It's a very complicated game as been said before.

VAUSE: You know, we had this attitude coming from the White House that, you know, everything is OK here. There are no consequences from scrapping this summit. We'll just go back to business as usual. Again, here is the president.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: If it when Kim Jong-un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting. In the meantime, our very strong sanctions by far the strongest sanctions ever impose, and maximum pressure campaign will continue as it has been continuing.


VAUSE: Can that maximum pressure strategy continue on without Beijing? Because there is some suggestion now that the sanctions are being eased and that this whole strategy is dead?

DUBE: It all turns on Beijing. Beijing is the source of exports to North Korea, it's the only place that buys North Korean products. It is key in this. So, they have always been a crucial player, and Donald Trump understood this, and that's why beginning last year in April, he was very conciliatory towards the Chinese.

VAUSE: But there is no going back to business as usual?


VAUSE: The president announced he is scrapping the summit just hours after the North Koreans set off a series of explosives at their nuclear testing site. It was mainly a public display of North Korean goodwill. Destruction of three tunnels at the site, apparently making it no longer operational.

Only there are many doubts that is in fact the case. No one there from the U.N. No one there from nuclear watch dogs, for instance, but we did have CNN's Will Ripley, one of the handful of journalists who has this report.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We were on the way back from the nuclear test site at Pyunggeri here in Wonsan when the news broke overnight that President Trump has canceled the upcoming summit in Singapore. It was incredibly awkward and uncomfortable to be on the train with North Koreans after just witnessing the destruction of their nuclear test site at Pyunggeri.

Something that they had hoped would lead to substantial progress in relations between the U.S. and North Korea, and instead the situation went downhill.

I'm here at North Korea's nuclear test site at Pyunggeri, a place foreign journalists have never been allowed before. We are here, the North Korean government says to witness the destruction of the site. They say it will never be able to be used again.

With each powerful explosion, the earth shakes. We travel around 15 hours to get here. First, by bus, through the coastal city of Wonsan. Compartment seven here we are. Then, some 12 hours by train.

It is one of those moments where you blink and realize I'm having dinner on a train going through North Korea.

(voice-over): A luxury ride, by North Korean standards.

[00:15:07] (on camera): They just came through and they closed all of the blind and told us that for the entire train ride, we can't film anything out the windows.

(voice-over): We pulled into Pyunggeri Station. Then begin the nearly two-hour drive to the test site. Once again, no filming along the way.

(on camera): We passed through a number of what look like small farming villages. There was no sign of life. Completely empty except for the handful of soldiers at the guard posts along the way.

(voice-over): We get a briefing from the deputy director of North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Institute. He won't tell us his name. Then we are allowed to inspect the tunnels. North Korea says they could have easily conducted more nuclear tests here. They say two tunnels have never been used.

(on camera): So, they say by rigging with explosives and blowing it up, that is a meaningful step towards denuclearization.

(voice-over): No nuclear weapons experts in our small group, only journalists.

(on camera): It's actually quite beautiful here. The North Koreans say that the eco system hasn't been damaged by all these nuclear tests for more than decade. They say no radiation has seeped out. Journalists aren't allowed to carry radiation detectors ourselves. They were taken away at the airport, so we have to take their word for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The dismantling of the nuclear test grounds conducted with high level of transparency has clearly attested once again to the proactive and peace loving efforts of the government of the DPRK.

RIPLEY: You really do get the sense that you are witnessing history here, which is why we are documenting every single building on this site because by the end of the day, it will all be gone.

(voice-over): We hiked to an observation post, built just for us and watch Pyunggeri go up in smoke.

(on camera): The official statement from North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that Pyongyang is still interested in dialogue with Washington. They say they are ready to talk with President Trump at any time. They say, dialogue between the two countries is crucial to improve the situation on the peninsula.

And they say that the nuclear test site destruction was, in their words, a meaningful transparent step towards denuclearization, a sign of good will ahead of any potential talks with the United States. Will Ripley, CNN, Wonsan, North Korea.


VAUSE: Phil, the North Koreans, they blew up the cooling tower of the (inaudible) plant in 2008. They dismantled the reactor. But they put everything back together when relations went bad. How much stock do you put into this destruction, if you look of the nuclear testing site?

YUN: Well, I think it is a meaningful step quite clearly. I think there were some false reports that said that the facility was not usable anyway, but that's not true. There is always settling in a large explosion. There not used.

So, that destruction, that is not going to be -- used for tests again. However, we have to realize that, the North Korea has many, many tunnels. It's a country of tunnels and I think that if they needed to and wanted to, they could certainly reconstruct another test site if they needed to.

Ultimately, all of this stuff is going to come down to North Korea generally saying that they're going to give these up because all the technology, all of the, the know-how is, is in their minds. They know how to do this.

And -- they have the -- the raw resource at least of the test site to be able to reconstruct it. So, it's a meaningful step, but it's not permanent.

VAUSE: OK, 30 seconds, Clayton. Because you know, regardless of whether it is meaningful or not, it gives Beijing something to point to at least when it comes to easing sanctions. They blew up the testing site.

DUBE: Beijing has said to the United States over and over. You have to talk to Pyongyang and that's now not on the table.

VAUSE: OK. Clayton and Philip, we appreciate you both being with us. Thank you so much.

And we'll take a short break. When we come back we will have the political fallout for President Trump after canceling the summit with North Korea.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Now to the political fallout from President Trump's decision to cancel the summit with the North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un and more on that joining me now is Wendy Greuel, former councilwoman for the city of Los Angeles, and conservative radio host, Joe Messina.

So, Joe, if there is one lesson, one big lesson from is that negotiating real estate deals is not the same as, you know, negotiating nuclear treaties?

JOE MESSINA, POLITICAL RADIO HOST: OK. Negotiating is negotiating, isn't it. Basically, the bottom line, what are you looking out of the deal. I think him pulling out of the deal. Love this. I mean, we heard from the left that over and over again, we shouldn't be doing this, we shouldn't be doing this. Now we are, why aren't we doing this? Look what you did to make this not happen. I think this is going to turn out to be lot better than you think.

VAUSE: Wendy?

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER LOS ANGELES COUNCILWOMAN: Well, I think Trump created these high expectations of a Nobel Peace Prize as he was going to be able to do this --

VAUSE: (Inaudible) with midterm elections for the Republicans is going to destruct from the Mueller investigation, Stormy Daniels affair -- coffee in the morning.

WENDY: Calling, you know, him names to the next time -- you know, saying he was honorable. I think that, you know, in this instance where he sent the letter. I mean, it kind of reminds me of when you are breaking up with someone, you want to be the first to do that.

And so that letter going forward, I think there had been signs for many, you know, weeks here that were problems with this potential negotiations and unrealistic expectations. I think all of us whether you are Republican or Democrat wanted this to work, wanted there to be a summit. I think, though, a lot of us were I think cautiously thinking this is not going to happen.

VAUSE: I think, Joe, once the summit was on everybody was hoping for the best, but there was an expectation that this could not go bad. And this, if it doesn't go ahead, it's not without consequence.

MESSINA: (Inaudible) is a real statement because you heard the left. You say Democrats or Republicans want the same thing. I don't buy that. They've been on this since the day you wanted a meeting. Why would you meet with somebody like that. Everybody was looking for something to come out of it, no, that's not true.

Look at the halls of Congress, the Democrats were running around saying don't expect anything out of this. He has done this before. He's not going to come through with it. You don't know that. We had a president kind of Peace Prize before he stepped in the -- what I'm saying is there are lots of protocols.

GREUEL: (Inaudible) there is are protocols and there's history, and this was not done in the way that you would do diplomacy.

VAUSE: In the past few weeks, the president had sort of been hedging his bets. Maybe the summit things weren't going so well. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Hopefully that will work out. So, we'll see what happens. So, we are going to see what happens. Hopefully everything will be able to work out.

A lot of good things is going to happen. A lot of bad things is going to happen.

We'll see what happens. I think it is going to work out well. We'll see.

We will see what happens. And if it doesn't work out well. That's the way it goes. We'll see what happens. You know, I often say, who knows?


VAUSE: Which oddly enough it reminds me of a very famous song from a classic Hitchcock movie. This one.


VAUSE: That movie was the "Man Who Knew Too Much." In this case, President Trump when it comes to North Korea, the man who knew too little?

[00:25:06] GREUEL: Again, people had warned him. Kim Jong-un is not reliable. That he is a dictator and that there are challenges with it. Do you try everything, absolutely, but I think he was so optimistic and set up accusations and he doesn't like to walk in anything that he doesn't think he's going to win.

And we've seen that time and time again where he steps back and said, just kidding, I really wasn't going to do that. And I think these are the consequences.

VAUSE: Joe, you know, we are in a year and a half into this presidency, and the world's greatest deal-maker doesn't have a lot of runs on the board when it comes to things like renegotiating NAFTA, you know, having an Iran nuclear agreement, 2.0. You know, he scrapped the Paris Climate Accord and came up with nothing else. The list does go on.

MESSINA: Well, he hasn't come up with anything yet, but let's put it that way. Number two, you know, I love this conversation. He wants -- starts to make a deal with the North Koreans and we got three of our people back. (Inaudible) happened before.

We took plane loads of money to them, then what did we get? We got a half dead American back. So, how about we start really acting like Americans, giving credit where credit is due, and these negotiations can take a long time. You know, what we've done in the past, we bring boat loads of cash to the North Koreans and what we get, nothing. We get a nuclear program that's far, far further along that we thought it was going to --

VAUSE: We are almost out of time, but you guys are sticking around. But Wendy, very quickly, to that point about getting the three Korean- Americans back in return for pretty much nothing. I mean, that is a success. If nothing else comes of this summit that never happened.

GREUEL: Absolutely. You give credit where credit is due. Those three individuals coming back. Again, they were holding the hostage. It wasn't they were doing something great for all of us, they had held them hostage. So, but it was an important step and give him credit for being able to bring those three Americans home. That was a big deal.

VAUSE: Joe, there you go. The president does get credit.

MESSINA: Well, thank you.

VAUSE: Those three Korean Americans who were being illegally detained by the North Koreans, absolutely. Wendy, Joe, thank you so much. We'll see you in a bit.

In the meantime, we'll take a short break. Ahead here in NEWSROOM L.A., find out what happened in Washington to prompt one Republican to call it the craziest -- he's ever seen.


VAUSE: Hello. Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. We are following breaking news in Ontario, Canada. There are reports of multiple injuries after an explosion at an Indian restaurant in Toronto.

Police say 15 people have been taken to hospitals as well as a trauma center. Three with critical injuries. Not a lot of details right now, but how all this happened. We'll bring you more information as soon as we get it.

[00:30:00] Also in the headlines this hour, Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself into New York Police, Friday morning. According to a source familiar with the investigation of former Hollywood producer, will be charged with raping one woman and forcing another to perform oral sex. His attorney has declined to comment.

A CNN investigation has uncovered a pattern of alleged inappropriate behavior by legendary actor Morgan Freeman, (inaudible) and his production company Revelations Entertainment.

Eight women told us they were the victims of what some call harassment and others called inappropriate behavior. Freeman has a issued a statement saying, quote, "Anyone who knows me or has worked with me, knows that I'm not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected. That was never my intent."

North Korea says it is still willing to make face-to-face with the U.S. at anytime, after Donald Trump called off his summit with Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang says, cancelling a meeting is not inline with its hope for peace and stability, but it will keep an open mind in dealing with the United States.

U.S. Justice Department officials have met with lawmakers on Thursday, for two briefings, focused on a confidential intelligence source in the Russia investigation. White House attorney, Emmet Flood and chief of staff, John Kelly also attended the start of the meetings to deliver brief remarks, a move, a senior democrat has called inappropriate.

Welcome all. Wendy Greuel and Joe Messina are here, to give us their insights into what all of this means, so let's start with a White House press secretary statement from Sarah Sanders, came out late Thursday, which read, "Neither Chief Kelly nor Mr. Flood actually attended the meetings, but did make brief remarks before the meetings, started to relay the president's desire for as much openness as possible."

Joe, regardless, this all seems fishier than a dumpster outside Red Lobster.

MESSINA: Well, look, it obviously depends on what sides of the isle you're on. You know, going there and making a statement, like, the president wants things open and transparent and wants to know, really, what took place.

Again, I love -- I love doing this. No different than Loretta Lynch and Mr. Clinton meeting on the Tarmac.

VAUSE: Which republicans screamed (inaudible) --

MESSINA: And I -- I hear -- I hear what you're saying.

VAUSE: And he was a former president, not a sitting president.

MESSINA: But it was acceptable, the left shows, and it should be acceptable to the left, shouldn't it (ph)? Same principle?

VAUSE: Well, I mean --

GREUEL: Totally different, totally different. I mean, look, this is an instance where it is a planned event that they have. It's unprecedented that would have the lawyer representing the President of the United States and as chief of staff in a meeting like this, when the topic is something of that nature, which is close to the investigation of what is happening, with Mueller.

It is just unprecedented, and it doesn't matter, whether you're a republican or democrat. It is just not the right way to approach, and they said the reason they did it was to -- to encourage, you know, relationship between the Justice Department and these elected officials. And they talk all the time. They're part of that briefing all the time. There was no need for that.

VAUSE: You know, the Department of Justice, last Wednesday night, put out a list of those who would be attending this meeting. No mention of Emmet Flood, the attorney for Donald Trump, because this is an investigation into Donald Trump, and the attorney of the president should not be present for the same reason that Pablo Escobar's lawyer doesn't get to go to a meeting in the DEA and find out whatever evidence they have in their investigation.

So, I mean, isn't it the same? Why does the president's guy get to set in and try and find out what these guys have got?

MESSINA: Because you said he wasn't sitting and he wasn't making a statement (ph) and left.

VAUSE: That's because he got spotted by the reporters. He had to make a (inaudible) --

MESSINA: Now, you know, again, my crystal ball doesn't work that way, so I'm -- I'm just --

VAUSE: Okay.

MESSINA: -- going -- you know, we -- either we believe what they say or we don't. And I know that depending --

VAUSE: Who's that now (ph)?

MESSINA: -- on where you're standing -- depending on where you're standing, again, is to whether you believe somebody's lying all the time or telling the truth all the time. They just think -- you know, again, politics are just fine (ph), just isn't it (ph)?

VAUSE: Absolutely. Donald Trump's lead lawyer, the world's greatest lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, this is in the Russia investigation, he told Politico, "The briefing might pave the way for an interview between President Trump and the Special Counsel of Robert Mueller."

This is what he said. "We honestly know how the briefing went today (ph) and how much we learned from it." Guiliani said in a Thursday phone call, "If we learned a good deal from it, it will shorten the whole process considerably." Wendy, again, I mean, does this some acceptable (ph) and above board?

GREUEL: It shows intent of wanting to find out that information, and while we don't have crystal of where -- where, if they had planned or not, but that says they intended to find out information that would be useful to them. So, whether or not they stayed for that 10 minutes or before, it was unnecessary and unprecedented for them to be in that room.

And then, they didn't invite Adam Shipman until the last minute. I mean, it was, he's invited, he's not invited. He's invited, he's not invited. It was an unusual circumstance and I think it's not something that we want to see repeated in the future.

VAUSE: And Joe, when you hear these things coming from Rudy Guiliani, I mean, to you, does that sound acceptable?

MESSINA: Well, I think what he's saying is that, look, depending on what -- what they found out, not him directly but what they found out as a whole, as to the information they actually have, why -- why do they have to ask some of the questions they ask? Maybe they could shorten the question list for the president. Maybe they'll get some of the answers they're already looking for.

VAUSE: Are we talking about the definition of they, as in --

MESSINA: Well, I'm not talking about Giuliani directly, I'm talking about, you know, the congressional leaders that were there, the Senate leaders, whoever was there today and the information they were able to pull out of it. Because we don't know everything (ph) --


VAUSE: Well, exactly, but are you sort of suggesting that Giuliani's sort of distancing himself from what they find? I'm -- I'm --

MESSINA: I think -- I think Giuliani's saying -- depending on what they -- I mean, maybe he should have said depending on what "they" find --


MESSINA: -- depending on the information they get, they might -- the might decide to (p) shorten this or even lengthen this. Maybe they'll have more questions now.

VAUSE: As opposed to how much we learned from him when he's (ph) --

MESSINA: Yes, I think -- I think that was probably the meaning of support of his words (ph).

GREUEL: The way he said it made it seem like whatever they -- whoever "they" is -- and we're going to know about what they found out, and that -- it's confidential. I mean, that's the whole idea about this, of the -- of the legislators that are there are supposed to -- those congressional leaders, it's supposed to be confidential and not shared with the President of the United States, who is the subject of this investigation.

VAUSE: But the concern that a lot of people have, especially Democrats, but other -- you know, Republicans as well, is that you now have the President of the United States essentially directing the Inspector General to look into the FBI -- an investigation which he is the focus of, which is abnormal.

You then also have, you know, the White House's lawyer turning up at a classified briefing for lawmakers. Now whether he stayed or not, you know, you can argue the case, but again it's a breakdown of one being (ph) you know, the normal (inaudible) within the -- within a, you know the, U.S. government since the days of Nixon.

MESSINA: OK, so we're screaming for transparency, we want to see everything except, right? Is that where we're going now?

VAUSE: Yes. Exactly (ph). MESSINA: The IG says that there is some proof there, that -- that

some of the emails point right back to the FBI --

VAUSE: Right.

MESSINA: And some misgivings by some of the FBI members -- not all of them -- you know, think -- you've got some great agents in the FBI, let's not try to make it sound like somebody's painting with a broad brush. There -- there are some issues between the FBI and the DOJ and the way -- you want to go all the way back to the emails forever, all the way into the Trump campaign --

VAUSE: Right.

MESSINA: -- that were handled incorrectly and sometimes illegally. So --

VAUSE: If there's a problem, it should be down there (ph).

MESSINA: -- how do you get there?

VAUSE: OK, well, let's stop there, because Giuliani -- you think he's so giving (ph) -- remains concerned about the president's legal exposure, telling the Washington Post -- Giuliani said he was concerned that the president would become a target or that the interview would be a perjury trap, because "the truth is relative."

They may have a different version of the truth than we do. Which is essentially is the Costanza defense. Listen to this.


JASON ALEXANDER, ACTOR: Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.


VAUSE: Wendy, it sounds like we're back to alternative facts.


GREUEL: Yes, definitely alternative facts. I mean, you know, when you go in you don't perjure yourself. If you tell the truth, if you're transparent, there's nothing to be perjured on. So I think, you know, it's like our kids, we tell them not to lie, not to do that. A lie is a lie.

VAUSE: So Joe, is there an alternative truth, or is the truth the truth is the truth?

MESSINA: I don't -- you know, again, I do a whole piece -- 13 minutes about Hillary Clinton lying about ducking bullets. I mean, what is the truth and when does it come out? When it comes to things like this, well, what do we know and what don't we know yet, you know what I'm saying? I mean, we need to get the information from the DOJ, we need to get the information from the FBI, before we sit down and make -- make decisions or come up with what we think actually happened.

GREUEL: But that's the whole point --

MESSINA: You said yourself it's secret, right? You said yourself it's secret.

GREUEL: The whole point is -- the whole point is, though, Mueller's the special investigator. He has -- he has been hired to do that. To do his job. This is a total separate, you know, case that he's going (ph) --


MESSINA: But you asked (ph) Mueller to investigate his best buddy. Are we serious? You don't see any problem with that?

VAUSE: Mueller and Comey are not best friends. They worked together for -- anyway, that's beside the point --


VAUSE: Anyway, but we'll leave it there, because I think we're going down a rabbit hole.


Joe and Wendy -- thank you --

GREUEL: Thank you

VAUSE: -- both so much. OK, incredible images from Hawaii as the Kilauea volcano continues to erupt and the lava continues to flow towards the Pacific Ocean. A lot more on that in just a moment.


VAUSE: Well, you're looking at live pictures of the explosive eruptions that continue at the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. The largest was on Wednesday, blasting an ash plume more than 2 kilometers into the sky.

At this hour, lava is flowing into the Pacific Ocean at two locations; but the good news is, that's actually down from three. Residents, though, are still being warned that dangerous hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass are being sent into air as the sea water mixes with lava, and that's how it all happens.

OK. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us with more. You know, it's the toxic glass, I think, which seems to be the most threatening out of all this.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're right, John. In fact, this is -- the -- the technical term is laze. It's actually the, kind of the chemical reaction when the hot lava reacts with the cool ocean waters. And it's left with hydrochloric acid gas as well as steam mixing in with some of those tiny glass particles. If that's inhaled, it has the potential to be lethal. There have been no reports of people being injured or killed from this.

Most people actually evacuated out of this particular area but, nonetheless, this is a concern, especially considering that winds can gust anywhere between 20 and 30 kilometers per hour -- the trade winds, I should say. And transport that laze or lava haze any direction that the wind feels necessary.

Now, the good news is that we're starting to minimize that ocean entry location. It's still crossing Highway 137. It continues to flow into the ocean but only at two locations versus three, so that's a positive. There's still about 5 kilometers distance where that active lava flow is occurring, between the Kilauea Volcano and where the ocean -- or where the lava meets the ocean.

And then just yesterday, we started to report on these methane flames, the blue flames that were starting to show themselves on the roadways just outside of the Leilani Estates where the Kilauea Volcano is more or less located. And this is all thanks to the lava actually entrapping some of the vegetation within that area, and releasing that methane gas, and igniting and creating that blue flame.

Bottom line here though, John, is that Hawaii is still open for business, only about five percent of the archipelago is actually being impacted by this volcano. If you put it into perspective, to get to Kauai, it's over 500 kilometers away from the volcano. That's the same distance, or more or less, from London to Glasgow. So don't cancel your trip to Kauai, that's point, back to you.

VAUSE: That is good advice, Derek. Thank you. Thank you for watching CNN Newsroom Live from Las Angeles. I am John Vause. Please stay with us, World Sport with Kate Riley is up next. You're watching CNN.