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U.S.-North Korea Summit; Harvey Weinstein Charged; Amazon under Fire over Echo Error. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired May 26, 2018 - 00:00   ET




CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A day after canceling what may have been a historic U.S.-North Korea summit, usptru says it may still happen after all.

Plus exit polls showing overwhelming support for legalized abortion in Ireland. The Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution that recognizes the right to life of an unborn child may soon be history.

And Harvey Weinstein handcuffed. The disgraced Hollywood mogul is charged with rape and sexual abuse.

Live from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier. It's great to have you with us.


VANIER: Just a day after Donald Trump pulled the plug on a summit with North Korea's leader, the U.S. president now says it may take place after all. A few hours ago Mr. Trump tweeted that U.S. and North Korean officials were holding productive talks.

Earlier, the president told reporters that he was now encouraged by the conciliatory tone coming from North Korea.


TRUMP: We're going to see what happens. We're talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out. We'll see what happens.

It could even be the 12th. We're talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it. We're going to see what happens.


VANIER: What is going on?

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us from Seoul, South Korea.

Paula, we do not know if the U.S. is sending its advance team to Singapore as scheduled. We also do not know really who is talking to whom and about what. To the best of your knowledge at this point in time, what is going on behind the scenes?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Cyril, I am just happy I have not canceled my flight to Singapore yet because you never know. We're going back-and-forth with the North Koreans and the U.S. both suggesting that they're not going to turn up.

Then Mr. Trump saying he definitely won't turn up and now it could potentially be back on. We do not know if his U.S. advance team is in Singapore but just judging what hearing from the U.S. president, it would suggest that the plans may be getting ahead.

He is suggesting that it could be back on. It could even be back on for June 12th. So I think the North Koreans' reaction to the U.S. president canceling the summit has helped push this forward. It was a measured response, saying that they're still willing to sit down.

And it showed that the North Koreans still want this meeting to go ahead, even though just a week ago, according to a senior administration official there was supposed to be a meeting between North Korean and U.S. delegations.

But the North Koreans did not show up. So what we're hearing from Mr. Trump now is that talks have resumed, that there is communication between the two sides again. So it is anyone's guess at this point. They really are going back and forth. But let's not rule it out.

VANIER: You're' in Seoul. So tell me about the South Korean side of the story because they were heavily invested in making this happen.

Are they once again hinting that the summit might happen?

Or are they sort of buying this positive vibe coming from the U.S.?

HANCOCKS: They're welcoming what they're hearing from the U.S. president. They're still very much heavily involved in trying to push this very sensitive diplomacy forward. The South Korean president Moon Jae-in has really staked his credibility on the the talks with North Korea.

We did have a statement from a bhouse spokesperson, which said it is fortunate that the emebers of the North Korean-U.S. dialogue are not going out but are coming back up again. We're watching the development carefully.

So certainly from the South Korean point of view,they want the summit to go ahead on June 12th in Singapore. We hear from the Singaporean officials that they are saying that their doors are open to all at any time.

So they're certainly welcoming this happening again. And when President Moon this week went to Washington to talk to the U.S. president, he did go with the message that the North Koreans are committed to the summit, that they definitely want it to happen. So from the South Korean point of view, they certainly would welcome this suggestion from the U.S. president that it will go ahead. It is a very steep learning curve on all sides here, the North Koreans realizing that when they play games, they have an unorthodox U.S. president who is willing to play games as well -- Cyril.

Paula Hancocks, not canceling her flight to Singapore just yet, joining us right now from Seoul, South Korea, thank you very much.

And joining me now, Daniel Pinkston, who teaches international relations at Troy University in Seoul, and political analyst Peter Matthews joins us from Los Angeles. He changes teaches political science at Cypress College.

Daniel, it is hard to follow Mr. Trump's strategy. But you know what, it is even harder to follow the North Korean strategy.

What do you think they are doing here?


DANIEL PINKSTON, TROY UNIVERSITY: I have to totally disagree. I don't have anything really to say about Trump and the incoherent incompetence but I would argue the North Koreans are very clear and they've had a long-term strategy --


VANIER: So what's the coherence?

PINKSTON: Excuse me?

VANIER: What's the coherence from the North Korean side?

Because, just a week ago, they were essentially -- they were putting signals out there that they had to know were going to anger the American side. And now they are acting like they are surprised that Trump has canceled the summit. And they are saying we're ready to do this.

So what is the coherence from their point of view?

PINKSTON: There's party discipline in North Korea. All officials follow the party guidance. All state institutions are under the guidance of the Korean Workers' Party. The leadership at the top of the party wants this summit to take place. They want a meeting to take place.

North Korean leaders have wanted to have a meeting with a U.S. president for decades. This is not new. So the lowlvl officials, the vice one minister, the foreign minister last week, the statements that came out from the foreign ministry are in line with that party guidance.

VANIER: Peter Matthews, Trump was asked whether the North Koreans were playing him. This is what he replied. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Everybody plays games. You know that. You know that better than anybody.


VANIER: So, Peter, is everyone just bluffing here?

And if so, if this is a big game of bluff, then who is winning?

PETER MATTHEWS, CYPRESS COLLEGE: This a very dangerous game. But on the other hand, I think what it has to do with is the view of denuclearization is different on both sides. The president, our, the American side believe that it should be complete denclzn right away on the part of North Korea.

North Korean leadership didn't believe that. They believe it should be gradual. It should also be accompanies with South Korean reductions of U.S. troops in South Korea and a few other things.

So there was a little different view of what was going to take place. And that is when John Bolton stuck his mouth in there and said, we should perhaps pursue the Libya model if North Korea doesn't comply with our wishes.

Libya model?

That means that Gadhafi, who was thrown out of power after he gave up his nuclear weapons program, would be the example of what Bolton was talking about. And that made North Korean leadership furious. And they said, no, we're not going to take the Libya model.

We have always -- be concerned about what happened in Libya and we're not going to give up our nuclear weapons that easily.

So this really threw a lot of salt on the wound when Bolton came out of with that statement and Vice President Pence repeated it to make it even worse. And that's when things deteriorated after that.

But now we'll see if this is back on track again.

VANIER: Yes, that reference to the Libya model was really reckless. Anybody who in foreign policy circles knows that that is synonymous for dictators looking at this around the world, that is synonymous with you end up with a bullet in your head, which has happened to Mr. Gadhafi.

Mr. Trump's approach to negotiation seems very off-the-cuff, very spur of the moment. But, Peter, past U.S. presidents have tried the diplomatic, incremental, reasonable approach with North Korea and it has always failed.

So I wonder if Mr. Trump's impulsive, unpredictable approach is the only thing left perhaps. MATTHEWS: I think it may appear that way to some people but it is not

true, Cyril. If you look at it, President Clinton had the agreed framework that was working on. For eight years he had that in place and the agreed framework allowed North Korea to have energy from our side. We'd provide energy in exchange they decided to shut down the two heavy water nuclear reactors that could produce bombs.

They allowed inspectors to come in. And we promised them two light water reactors, which we never delivered. When President Bush came in, he came in and put North Korea in the axis of evil, he invaded Iraq and it looked like North Korea could be next to there from their point of view.

And basically what happened was we broke the promise on supplying energy and Bush pulled out of it. They accused him of cheating. Rather than working it out with them and negotiating, he just withdrew the whole thing and the agreement collapsed.

It was not because of the fact that North Korea just wanted to give it up. I think it has to do with the actions of each president. And Clinton was much more successful than Bush, I believe. He was more measured, more diplomatic.

It would behoove President Trump to follow Clinton's example much more so and bring it up-to-date for today and really work with North Korea to take the world back from brink.

VANIER: Daniel, how much do you think the whole talk of Nobel Peace Prize, for as premature as it was, but the talk that Mr. Trump could potentially earn a Nobel Peace Prize if this summit went through and actually yielded some results, how much do you think that really played into Trump's decision?

PINKSTON: I am not prepared to talk about Trump. People can draw their own conclusions about Mr. Trump. One piece of this that is missing is the strategy and the policy of the Moon Jae-in government, which I think is important. This has been totally overlooked here.

President Moon has an engagement --


PINKSTON: -- policy with North Korea, trying to interact and have increased exchanges with the North to change their minds and change the view of the leadership so that they view the world as not menacing and not threatening to them and that they will take a less belligerent attitude, and more cooperative attitude and eventually abandon their weapons of mass destruction program.

So that's part of this. That is why the Moon government has been so -- put so much effort into making this summit happen because the face- to-face meeting might be able to change the minds of the senior leadership in North Korea.

VANIER: And do you think the Blue House, Moon Jae-in in particular, overplayed his hand, perhaps? PINKSTON: Well, that's what he has to try to do. He is the president of the Republic of Korea. He has a constitutional obligation to seek the peaceful unification of Korea. The previous two progressive or liberal presidents, Kim day jung and nomihano over the past 20 years have tried to engage North Korea with this long-term process and this long-term goal of changing the identity, changing the perceptions of the leadership.

So we saw that with the Winter Olympics, with the exchange of artists and singers and so forth. I think they will continue this and they have faith that, over the long term, this will change the views and the identity of North Korea. Whether or not that will happen, we just have to wait and see but that is the strategy of the Moon Jae-in government.

VANIER: Peter Matthews, that question that I asked earlier about the Nobel Peace Prize, how much do you think that was in the mix when Donald decided to pull out of this meeting?

How many do you think he was thinking about that previously, that he might have earned a Nobel Peace Prize?

And how much do you think he thought when he canceled the meeting, well, maybe I am not going to get it so I shouldn't walk into this room?

MATTHEWS: I think it plays some role definitely in his mind because he wants to get the Nobel Peace Prize as President Obama. He is always competing Obama. It's something you don't throw away lightly. It's something that would be really prestigious and he has a chance to possibly be in the run for it if he can bring about this peaceful solution. Then you get a peace treaty signed between North Korea and South Korea and the United States. I agree with what Daniel said about the importance of President Moon. You can't underestimate how much he has put into this. His whole life has been spent on trying to bring about detente and be more reasonable between the two Koreas and unify them in a proper way.

So the American president should behoove himself not to get in the way of that. But is said to be supportive of that, in my view. And I think maybe he'll have to do that and maybe President Trump will be, see, look, I cannot get into a Nobel Prize out of this as well. That'll be the icing on the cake.

VANIER: Yes, and you know, President Moon's statement, I think it was yesterday, on Thursday, was was really quite telling. He said, we cannot solve any sensitive problems with these styles of communication. He did not name anybody. But he did not have to because he is in the middle of two really unpredictable negotiators, whether it's Donald Trump, whether it's Kim Jong-un.

I want to thank my panel, Daniel Pinkston, Peter Matthews, thank you for joining us.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

PINKSTON: My pleasure.

VANIER: Now on to U.S. politics. CNN has learned that Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with a Russian oligarch during the transition period just before Mr. Trump's inauguration in January 2017. This is according to a source and a video reviewed by CNN.

Special counsel Robert Mueller questioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg about the meeting at Trump Tower -- that is him, screen left. The source says the aim of the meeting was to improve U.S.- Russia relations.

A firm connected to Vekselberg paid Cohen more than $0.5 million for consulting work. Last month the U.S. imposed sanctions on the oligarch for election interference.

And Friday was a big day for #MeToo and timesup as Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to police on Friday morning. We'll have more on that after the break.





VANIER: About four hours from now, they will start counting the ballots in Ireland. Voters went to the polls to decide whether to overturn a constitutional amendment that effectively bans almost all abortions. That amendment has been in effect since 1983, under heavy influence from the Catholic Church.

Exit polls project a victory for those wanting to overturn it. But even if the official tally bears that out, it will still have to be debated in parliament. Atika Shubert has details from Dublin.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly seems like some very decisive numbers coming from Irish broadcaster RTE and their exit polls; 69 percent in favor, 30 percent against. And that is good news for abortion rights campaigners who have been campaigning for decades for a change like this.

Now we, of course, will have to wait for the official results to come in on Saturday morning. That is also when we will find out more about the exact turnout. It does seem, though, that turnout was very high and that would certainly have helped the yes campaign.

And throughout the night now we have been hearing reactions, shouts of celebration on the streets of Dublin and Ireland's prime minister putting out a tweet, thanking voters and saying it looks like history will be made tomorrow.

What is interesting and we will have to wait to see exactly the vote breakdown as it comes out on Saturday. But the exit poll seems to show that the country was not as divided as had previously been feared.

There was especially concerns about an urban-rural divide and yet it does seem that while 72 percent of those urban voters voted in favor, according to that exit poll, 63 percent of rural voters voted in favor as well. If there was any gap, it seems to be generational.

Those under 65 years old voted overwhelmingly in favor, according to exit poll numbers. But the over 65 age group seems to have been the only age group to vote against the amendment.

Again, we're going to have to wait for the full breakdown when it comes in on Saturday but it does seem so far like good news for abortion rights campaigners here in Ireland -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Dublin.


VANIER: And Harvey Weinstein, once one of Hollywood's most powerful players, is facing charges of rape and sexual abuse. His bond was set at $10 million and he is required to wear a GPS monitoring system at all times.

Weinstein has repeatedly denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex. But the arraignment Friday was a victory for more than 80 women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault over several decades. Brynn Gingras has more.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood megaproducer Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs, walking into court today, facing rape charges. They stem from the accounts of two women, including an aspiring actress, who first spoke out in a 2017 "New Yorker" article, alleging Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him at his office in 2004.

Tonight, Weinstein is out of jail after posting a $1 million cash bail but not before surrendering his passport, being forced to wear a monitoring device 24/7 and traveling only between New York and Connecticut.

The criminal charges are the first to be filed against Weinstein after dozens of women including, several A-list actresses, made various sexual misconduct accusations against the media mogul last year, among them, Gwyneth Paltrow...


GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTOR: We had one instance in a hotel room, where he tried to -- where he made a pass at me. And then I really kind of stood up to him.

GINGRAS (voice-over): -- Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Lupita Nyong'o, Ashley Judd... ASHLEY JUDD, ACTOR: I fought with this volley of nos, which he ignored.

GINGRAS (voice-over): -- and actress Rose McGowan, one of the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of rape.

ROSE MCGOWAN, ACTOR: We got you. Yes.


MCGOWAN: To see him in cuffs on the way out, whether he smiled or not, that is a very good feeling.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Weinstein denies having nonconsensual sex with any of his accusers and his attorney insisted today, his client is innocent.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- not to defend behavior. My job is to defend something that is criminal behavior. Bad behavior, Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood. And to the extent that there is bad behavior in that industry, that is not what this is about.


GINGRAS (voice-over): It is a stunning fall for the man behind several major movies, like "Silver Linings Playbook," "The King's Speech" and "Shakespeare in Love," just to name a few, some of which earned Weinstein dozens of awards for his work behind the camera.

But now he is the focus of investigations for alleged sex crimes, not just in New York but also in Los Angeles and London -- Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


VANIER: More reaction now from Weinstein's accusers. Activist Tarana Burke, who started the #MeToo movement, said "This moment isn't to revel in how the mighty have fallen but to celebrate how the silenced have spoken up, stood up together and survived."

Italian actress Asia Argento compared them to a baroque Italian painter, famous for her portraits highlighting oppressed women.

And Mira Sorvino, another Weinstein's accusers, thanked all the women who came forward and sent loved to all her, quote "sisters today, who stood up to the monster."

Coming up, Alexa, are you spying on me?

How Amazon's voice assistant ended up sharing a user's private conversation with a random contact. (MUSIC PLAYING)



VANIER: You are looking at cyclone Mekunu making its way across the Arabian Peninsula, battering Oman and sideswiping Yemen. According to local officials, at least 11 deaths on the Yemeni island, beautiful island of Socotra, have been blamed on the storm.

Another 45 people are reported missing there. It is not only bringing heavy rains, winds and flooding, it is also hindering rescue operations. Officials say limited aid from a Saudi- led coalition has now arrived.



VANIER: Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, you might have heard of her. She has got many skills, she plays music, sets timers, orders pizza if you want her to. She also, turns out, sends recordings of private conversations to random people on your contact list.

At least that is what a couple in Portland, Oregon, claims. Amazon says an erroneous series of unlikely events caused the snooping. Anna Stewart explains.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a cautionary tale of technology telling too much. A woman in Oregon says Amazon's Alexa recorded and then e-mailed a random person with a private conversation that took place in her house.

DANIELLE, ECHO OWNER: I felt invaded, like total privacy invasion. Like immediately, I'm like I'm never plugging that device in again. I can't trust it.

STEWART (voice-over): Amazon Echo owner Danielle says she was chatting with her husband about hardwood floors when the device sent an audio file to a man who worked for her husband. She only found out about the recording when she received an alarming phone call.

DANIELLE: The person on the other line, said unplug your Alexa devices right now. We go around and unplug them all and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files, recordings from what was going on in our house.

STEWART (voice-over): Amazon told CNN affiliate KR7 (ph) the device misinterpreted commands like "send message" and the contact's name as part of the background conversation and called it an extremely rare occurrence. It is unknown if the couple didn't hear Alexa's voice replies or see the speaker light up when it was activated. Or if the device responded at all. By the way, it is a case of mixed

signals that has a lot of consumers thinking twice about just who or what they bring into the house.


VANIER: All right. Thank you for watching. The headlines are next after the break.