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Kim Jong-Un's Ex Top Spy to Deliver Letter to Trump; Conservatives Complain of Double Standard on Saying Offensive Things; Samantha Bee Apologizes to Ivanka Trump: "Crossed Line"; Dow Falls as Trump Slaps Sanctions on Mexico, Canada, E.U. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 31, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Another remarkable thing, to see Trump sitting across from Kim in Singapore if this goes forward. We heard Secretary Pompeo there saying things are moving in the right direction.

What's interesting and the most revealing answer in that press conference is when Secretary Pompeo was asked in effect what changed? Not just what changed in the last week but what changed to lead the Trump administration to believe that there's a chance that North Korea will go down this path of denuclearization? And he said, carefully worded -- Secretary Pompeo has been around a long time, he knows how to answer questions like this. I believe they are contemplating to make a path forward to make a strategic shift. So -


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So they're contemplating.

SCIUTTO: Contemplating. He hasn't been told. He's been shown the good. They haven't apparently said to him the nukes are out of the country tomorrow, which is the U.S. demand, completely verifiable, irreversible, whether it's tomorrow, but over the course of time, they want them all out. His answer to that question was I think they're thinking about it and we're convincing them.

BALDWIN: Is the "I think they're thinking about it" good enough to sit in front of --


SCIUTTO: That's the decision of the president. It is a risk. Even if they agree in these meetings, we'll go down this path, North Korea is fond of and has a lot of experience with changing their mind. It a risk for the president to fly over there. What if Kim wakes up that morning and says, you know what, I might not survive this, I'm going to take a 180. It possible.

BALDWIN: Christiane, how risky is this? And why -- we've been familiar with people who have been familiar with North Korean policy and nukes for years and years and years and not single one of them has said, yes, I can totally see how they'll say bye-bye to nukes.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, and that's the whole point, right, the whole idea of what denuclearization means to each side. Up until now, the North Koreans have said denuclearize the Korean peninsula, which basically means all sides, all sides. The U.S. does not have nuclear weapons in South Korean. But it does on ships that can be pulled in very quickly. It is considered to have its nuclear umbrella over South Korea and the allies in Japan, et cetera. So when, up until now, whenever the North Koreans have said denuclearization, they mean everybody. So I think that's the issue.

The other interesting thing is there were a lot of people who said that perhaps, and it was as Jim said a week ago, that President Trump basically pulled out after the comments by North Korea, and though he did leave that opening in the letter, didn't he? He said if you change your mind, call, write, we would like to have this meeting take place because it's good for the sake of the world. And it is good for the same of the world. It is. We want talk, we want negotiation, we want de-escalation in a way that is a diplomatic one and not a military escalation. So that's good. But it's very kind of cart before the horse again. Presidents and leaders generally don't meet before all the issues have been itemized and agreed and all the ministers have done it all and then they come in, shake hands, sign the book, have a press conference and there we have this incredible thing going forward. That's not the case. It's backwards. So what they're doing this week is trying to reduce that very big space, a very big space, between what the United States and its allies wants and what North Korea thinks it wants and what's good for its own security. However, North Korea has already made a strategic shift in the words of Chairman Kim. He's already been telling his people we are a nuclear power, now I will keep my promises to make this an economic reform in this country and help you guys out. I'm sorry I haven't done it before. That's what he said. I'm sorry I haven't yet done it. I will do it. In order to do it, he need a meeting and a deal with the U.S. He needs the sanctions off.

SCIUTTO: To Christiane's point, a story Christiane and I have both covered is the Iran negotiations. Played out over more than two years, multiple meetings at multiple lower levels to bridge those severe differences. And keep in mind, Iran did not yet have deployed nuclear weapons, which North Korea does have, and the missiles to deliver them.


SCIUTTO: And they never came -- there was never -- there was a phone call but there was never at the start of these talks, or earlier on, there was never a presidential face to face with Rouhani and Obama. You never had an Iranian official march into the White House with a letter from the Iranian president.


SCIUTTO: So as Christiane was saying, cart before the horse. A lot of things are happening way -- can you imagine trying to bridge those differences in two weeks rather than two years? It's remarkable.

AMANPOUR: But they won't. They won't. They won't be able to. BALDWIN: Yes.

AMANPOUR: You heard President Trump himself. We heard Secretary Pompeo. We shouldn't raise those expectations. North Korea has said this is going to be a phased process anyway.


AMANPOUR: And they talked about years. You heard President Trump say to Reuters that this could be more than one meeting. And obviously that's going to be the beginning of what happens.

BALDWIN: The beginning of the conversation.



SCIUTTO: Christiane, quickly here, keep in mind that the president, as Christiane notes there, teed that up the possibility of, well, it may be a phased denuclearization, there may be more than one meetings. So he is adjusting expectations as well.

[14:35:10] BALDWIN: Yes.


AMANPOUR: Listening to the experts finally. By the way, the letter from Kim Jong-Un is entirely correct. President Trump sent a letter, now Kim Jong-Un is sending a letter. It's very formalized, it's very ritualized, and it diplomatic.

BALDWIN: Those photos tomorrow will be rich.

Christiane and Jim, thank you very much for all of that.

Want to move on to other breaking news. Samantha Bee now apologizing to Ivanka Trump after calling her the "C" word last night on her TV show. The statement and the double standard, next.


[14:40:09] Before we move on, I have to get this out. Words matter. What Roseanne Barr said is racist, anti-Semitic, outrageous and unacceptable. What President Trump said is racist, outrageous and unacceptable. Anyone who says those things deserves to be called out, chastised and held accountable. And the same rules apply no matter which political side you call home. Conservatives have been pointing to a double standard on how liberal stars who say these offensive things are treated versus their conservative counterparts. In many cases, rightfully so.

Take Keith Olbermann.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEITH OLBERMANN, SPORTS & POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & WRITER: Donald Trump is a loser. Trump is, indeed, F'ing crazy. I'm setting aside policy for a moment because, as mindless and as evil as the baboon's policy is, it can and will be rolled back sooner or later. His policies all hang together if you just keep asking yourself, what would have happened here in this country if the Germans had won World War II. I'm talking about the man himself now. His brain does not work correctly. There's a myriad of possible explanations, and we have hit them all here, congenital disease, drug use, any of a dozen post-concussion traumas, Alzheimer's, senility, lack of common sense, lack of awareness of things in the world besides himself, and endless specific emotional, psychological or intellectual incapacities, or all of these things at the same time.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: You said recently via tweet that, "Trump and his family have done more damage to America than bin Laden and ISIS combined."



BALDWIN: In addition to telling the president to go to hell, he has spewed the following to describe Trump and his family, cowardly "F" word, a mother F'er, a Nazi, a stupid trader, a git, and often tells the president to go "F" himself. By the way, these are all recent comments. But despite all of this, he just got another plumb job. A job, ironically, at the same company that just booted Roseanne for violating its values.

And just last night, on a network owned by our parent company, liberal TV star, Samantha Bee, said this to millions of viewers.


SAMANTHA BEE, COMEDIAN: Ivanka Trump, who works at the White House, chose to post the second most oblivious tweet we've seen this week. You know, Ivanka, that's a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


He listens to you.


BEE: Put on something tight and low cut and tell your father to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) stop it.


BALDWIN: A couple of things. One, imagine how liberals would have reacted if Roseanne or another TV star had used that language describing Valerie Jarrett? Whether you agree with the president's policies or not, calling a senior advisor in the U.S. government or anyone, for that matter, the "C" word is, like I said at the top, it is outrageous, it is unacceptable and should be called out. She could have easily made her point without using those words, a point that, by the way, is totally lost because she used that language. Doing this, she is no better than the very behavior she criticizes. In fact, she becomes part of the problem. Now like most entertainers who go political and get into hot water, she'll say, whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm just a comedian. But the problem is, it doesn't work here. She's Samantha Bee. She's a role model to millions of women and young girls. And to use that word, from a woman to another woman, offensive is offensive, wrong is wrong, whether you are on the left or the right. And what Samantha Bee did is not only beneath her, it is beneath where we should be as a society.

And on this, we are just now getting a statement.

I'm joined now by S.E. Cupp, CNN political commentator and host of our sister station, HLN, "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED," and Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES.

I've said my piece.


BALDWIN: I had to get it off of my chest today.

You, sir, she's apologizing here.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Yes. Let's see if she lives up to what you just said.

We also just received a statement from her company, from TBS. Here is bee's statement. She said, "I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line and I deeply regret it."

She's acknowledging she cross the line.

Interestingly, Brooke, we also received a statement from TBS, the cable channel, again, owned by Time Warner. One of the questions here, how did this get on the air? This is scripted and pre-taped. That means it wasn't just about Bee. It was about her producers and her bosses. TBS said in a statement that "Bee has taken the right action by apologizing. Those words should not been aired. It's our mistake, too, and we regret it."

So no disciplinary reaction, but apologies all around.

[14:45:28] BALDWIN: It sat, because the show isn't live, it sat for five, six hours. It was scripted. No one else in her orbit said, you shouldn't say that?

CUPP: That makes it worse than had it been a spontaneous sort of outburst. Remember back when MSNBC fired Martin Bashir (ph) for saying something disgusting about Sarah Palin? The problem wasn't just that he said it but that was scripted, producers signed off on it. That kind of organization makes this worse. It was intentional. And for Samantha Bee, who as you rightly noted, used a word so many women find incredibly offense, what she said wasn't just unacceptable. Welcome to the misogyny club. She's joined by Keith Olbermann, one of the world's most prolific misogynist, and I speak from personal experience. That is a terrible club to be in. And Samantha Bee just walked right into it for no reason other than pure unadulterated hatred of the president and his family.

STELTER: Was it shock value? Is that what she was doing, to shock the public, to shock the conscious?

CUPP: I think --

STELTER: It backfired.

CUPP: It did. I think her point was a valid one about immigration and we should have a policy conversation. No one at this table is having it. I'm not having that conversation on my show tonight.


CUPP: We're talking about this.

BALDWIN: What about this whole double standard?

STELTER: You mean liberal hosts who are able to get away with more?


STELTER: I don't think we should draw false equivalents between Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee. We should be able to take each of them individually and not put them all into a pot. What Roseanne did was racist. What Samantha Bee did was hateful. Each of them bad. Each of them different. We should be able to separate them. In Bee's case, the issue is, why can't you make your point without resorting to those words? Why can't you have a -- why can't you disagree with Trump's policy without going there? That's on her. But it's on her writers and the writers and producers as well. Bee ultimately is responsible and TBS is responsible. So it's notable they're saying they know that but not taking any action.

CUPP: I think Brian is right, there's a spectrum when it comes to these offenses. But it's impossible, especially when you look at Keith Olbermann's history. You just played some of his anti-Trump stuff. There's a long history of misogynist comments about women, mainly, that should disqualify him completely from getting a platform. Yet, he keeps getting fire and rehired. Looking at that case, it's very difficult to say there isn't a double standard here.

BALDWIN: Did you get something?

STELTER: The rest of the TBS statement. I was looking at part of it before I came on. TBS is also saying what Samantha Bee said was vial and inappropriate and that's how they are describing it. I think that's notable. And they're saying those words have not have been aired, it was our mistake. That's how the company is choosing to respond. It's difficult to separate this from the ABC case, where ABC took a much more drastic action, but I do think we should view each of these individually. I do wonder if Bee will have to say more about this on her own show. I would like to see her do that. Remember what Valerie Jarrett said about Roseanne, a teaching moment. This is a teaching moment, too.


Brian and S.E., thank you very much

We watch S.E. on HLN weeknights 5:00 and, of course, Brian Sunday morning at 11:00.

Thank you guys so very much.

[14:49:04] Just head, stocks are sliding today after news that Trump is slapping new tariffs on America's closest allies. That has some in the president's own party none too thrilled. One Republican calling the move, and I quote, "dumb."


BALDWIN: The Dow is falling as the Trump administration slaps new tariffs on America's closest allies. President Trump is formally imposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steal and a 10 percent tariff on Canada, Mexico and the E.U., three of America's biggest trading partners. These tariffs are prompting retaliation and sparking new fears of a trade war that could hurt America's everyday products.

Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich said this.


GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R), OHIO: I see they're going to put these tariffs on now on the Europeans.


KASICH: It's no longer America First. What we're seeing now is America alone. I don't care who you are, how powerful you are, how rich you are, how famous you are, if you go alone, you're going to fall short. And that's what I'm concerned about with our country. We're losing our worldwide leadership and what we need to do to inspire free people across our globe.


BALDWIN: "Yahoo Finance" columnist, Rick Newman, is with me now.

You heard the governor saying he is going it alone, irritating allies. A, what do you think of that? B, what if someone like the U.K. asks to be exempt?

RICK NEWMAN, COLUMNIST, YAHOO FINANCE: He's not just going it alone. He's making enemies out of friends. We've been through this process with steel and aluminum tariffs. There are other tariffs behind this where it looked as if for a while our allies, our friends would be exempt from these tariffs and they would only apply to other nations, most notably China. He said that's not the case, these tariffs are going into effect on almost everybody. I think there are three countries, Argentina, Brazil and a couple others, maybe not, that will be exempt. But this applies to our major trading partners, and that means all of them.

[14:55:05] BALDWIN: Ben Sass, Senator, Republicans, has said -- he didn't hold back. We'll put the quote on screen. He basically called the move dumb. Do you agree?

NEWMAN: It's not smart, put it that way. What's missing here is a broader strategy. What is the strategy? Is this just finding a way to fulfill a campaign promise where he can have something and say, I'm getting tough against our trading allies, or is there a strategy? Is he really trying to do something that will make the overall U.S. economy better? He has not articulated what that strategy is. It just looks like he's shooting from the hip. In his campaign, he did talk a lot about China and Mexico. He didn't say, we need to get tough against those dastardly Europeans. Where is this coming from? No one really quite gets it. But he's a true believer in trade protectionism and we have to start taking him at his word on that.

BALDWIN: Rick Newman, thank you very much.

Her show may be cancelled but Roseanne is far from silent, going on quite a Twitter tirade in the last 24 hours. Why her ex-husband said he knew the show's reboot, quote, unquote, "would not end well."


[14:59:58] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

We'll begin this hour with this new proposed pardon from President Trump that begs the question, is he sending a specific message through his mercy.