Return to Transcripts main page
Bolton Sidelined for Summit; Capitals Advance with Win; Melania Trump Attends Event. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired June 5, 2018 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:31:47] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The timeline is now set for President Trump's historic summit with Kim Jong-un. The two leaders will meet face to face in Singapore in less than a week. But a key White House adviser is being sidelined from these talks.
CNN's Alexandra Field is live for us in Seoul, South Korea, with more.
What have you learned, Alexandra?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly seems to be the priority to make these talks happen whatever they accomplish. Alisyn, you'll remember when a detailed agreement about denuclearization was the prerequisite for these talks. Well, certainly that isn't the case anymore. The administration is tempered. All expectations calling this a get to know you meeting.
And in the process of making sure that get to know you meeting happens between President Trump and Kim Jong-un on 9:00 Tuesday morning in Singapore, it does seem that the most hawkish figure within the administration, National Security Adviser John Bolton, is being sidelined. Sources familiar with this say that there's a growing rift between the national security adviser and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who has been leading these efforts to negotiate with North Korea, to make sure that they are at the table in Singapore on Tuesday.
It all came to a head, it seems, over the comments that Bolton made over Libya, equating North Korea with Libya. Words that certainly enflamed tensions with North Korea so much so that there were hostilities to the extent that President Trump felt that he had to cancel the summit. When the whole thing was smoothed over, when North Korea's number two traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with the president, Secretary Pompeo was in the room, Bolton was not. Sources are now saying that Pompeo advised the president that would be counterproductive to have Bolton in the room with this North Korean official.
Don't forget, this is again the member of the administration who has taken the hardest line against North Korea, calling it counterproductive to have that man in the room as the administration works to make sure the meeting, now billed as a meet and greet, does, in fact, happen.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, keep your national security adviser out of the room on a key matter of national security.
Alexandra Field, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
So how is the White House preparing the president for the North Korea summit? We're going to ask a man who knows, former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden. That's next.
[06:37:31] BERMAN: President Trump will meet with North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-un, in just days. CNN has learned that the president national security adviser, John Bolton, has been sidelined as the president prepares for this historic summit.
Let's discuss with CNN national security analyst, retired General Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and the NSA.
General, thanks so much for being with us.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good morning, John.
BERMAN: Sidelining the national security adviser, John Bolton, prior to an historic summit is either, a, shrewd, b, extraordinary, c, all of the above. What do you pick?
HAYDEN: Yes, if true, certainly all of the above. And you certainly see a difference in tone on the part of the president. And, John, for me, the pivot point was last week when Secretary Pompeo came out of his meetings in New York with Kim Yong Chol and I think the secretary gave a very masterful press conference there with a nuanced, patient, historic interpretation of what it is we intend to do with the North Koreans. He backed away dramatically from our demanding the North Koreans give up their program and then in return we would begin giving them some sort of assistance. That's quite a dramatic change, not just from what Ambassador Bolton had been saying, but, frankly, what the administration had been saying for most -- all of last year.
BERMAN: And the president flat out says --
HAYDEN: He did.
BERMAN: He doesn't want to use the term maximum pressure anymore.
HAYDEN: That's right. And the president then echoed Secretary Pompeo's words with the kind of get acquainted, begin the process, a long -- a long-term effort.
BERMAN: Well, you've been in the middle of these types of things for a long, long time. So is there anything wrong with that? What if the goal is just to meet? Just go to Singapore, meet Kim Jong-un, take the measure of the man, perhaps open the door to future discussions? Is there anything inherently problematic with that?
HAYDEN: Absolutely not. In fact, John, I'm a fan because I think that approach reflects what the intelligence community and other experts have been telling the administration that the north Koreans have their own very powerful reasons for not disarming from their nuclear arsenal. And so if we're going to get to a better place, it's going to be a very complex and I think long-term deal that we have to negotiate with the North Koreans.
John, it's very interesting. You know, I think Ambassador Bolton's been hammered a bit with regard to bringing up the Libyan model. And Libya's actually a two-act play. Act two was the American led NATO effort to unseat Gadhafi, but act one was the Americans demanding the Libyans disarm in return for the promise of better relations. And act one was kind of our model for most of last year. We've backed away, not just from act two, overthrowing the government, but act one as well. For lack of a better word, the Iranian model, where you sit down and over a long period negotiate seems to be what we're pursuing right now.
[06:40:34] BERMAN: Very quickly, general, though, is there a risk, though, to giving Kim Jong-un what he wants, which is clearly a picture with President Trump -- it's something North Korean leaders have wanted for decades -- giving him that picture without getting anything in return, without any commitment, real commitment, verifiable commitment to denuclearization?
HAYDEN: And that I think was the unforced error, John, that we decided to begin this at the -- at the head of state level. But now the price of admission is giving Kim Jong-un that photo op.
And, you're right, that is a major concession on our part, but we baked that in about three months ago when we agreed to the meeting at this level.
BERMAN: Right, which is something that I think Kim Jong-un's father actually asked for from President Clinton.
BERMAN: President Clinton wouldn't give it to him.
BERMAN: President Clinton wouldn't go and meet with him as president. Instead, sent Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
You're a renaissance man, general. You care about many, many different things. And I want to ask about what's going on at the White House right now with the president disinviting the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House. It seems he disinvited them because fewer than a dozen were going to go, largely because, I think, there's some disagreement on the Eagles with the president's statements on kneeling over the national anthem and racial unrest.
What do you make of the president's action of disinviting them? HAYDEN: So, as you correctly pointed out in your last segment, John,
the -- none -- no members of the Eagles took a knee during the regular season or the post season last year. So that's a made up crisis. And, frankly, John, my personal view -- and, look, I was irritated with Colin Kaepernick interfering with what was a moment of unity, or at least three hours of unity every weekend for the American people. But the president created this issue. When he gave that speech in Huntsville last September, bringing this issue forward to his base, I calculated that there are about 1,750 American athletes who suit up for the NFL every weekend. And the Sunday before the president gave that speech, a total of six did anything other than stand at attention during the national anthem. This was not a national crisis, it was manufactured by the president as a convenient issue. And, frankly, I was glad to see that the Eagles decided not to go.
BERMAN: When you say it's manufactured, note that no Eagles actually kneeled.
BERMAN: It seems like he's punishing them for what that think.
HAYDEN: Right. Exactly.
BERMAN: General Hayden, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: OK, so a new book is shedding light on the relationship between Vice President Mike Pence and former VP Joe Biden. What Biden says about his successor, next.
[06:47:19] BERMAN: The Washington Capitals just one win away from putting more than four decades of playoff failure to rest. Lindsay Czarniak, Caps fan, with more in the "Bleacher Report."
LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You didn't have to say it, but, hey, it's true. Are you familiar with the hockey gods?
BERMAN: They're powerful, the hockey gods.
CZARNIAK: They are and they appear to be in the Capitals favor.
This story, however, transcends sports because on one side you've got the Capitals and their likeable Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin. The team hasn't made it this far in 20 years. On the other side, Vegas, a team of misfits in its first year of existence that has done the unthinkable, making it to the fourth and final round. Last night, though, it was D.C.'s turn to host game four. Look at this
crowd, you guys. This doesn't happen, right? A huge sports town, but finally there's something huge to cheer about, this the visiting, you know, team having to deal with that in D.C. And look at this, the Knights missing a golden opportunity early. And it really shifted momentum towards the Caps. And it was all Capitals after that. Washington led 3-0 after the first period. They never looked back. Taking the game, 6-2. So the Capitals now lead this series three games to one. If they win Thursday in Las Vegas, they will lift the Stanley Cup for the very first time in franchise history. I would like to say that line one more time.
BERMAN: And I didn't mean to out you as a fan, but it's not like it wasn't obvious and then when you read it here, the gushing --
CZARNIAK: No, no, no. No, no, no, it's OK. No, look, I mean I'm going to be serious. It's that D.C., it's been such a struggle in terms of sports, making it this far. So this is -- what I saw down there this weekend, you can feel it. It's amazing. It's awesome for that town.
CAMEROTA: They should offer more pizza.
CZARNIAK: Oh my gosh, I forgot.
CAMEROTA: OK. OK. So, as you know, that works for the fans to get excited. I've never cheered harder.
CZARNIAK: And if we win, we'll bring it on in.
CAMEROTA: OK. Fantastic. Thanks, Lindsay.
CZARNIAK: I love it.
CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump was seen in public last night for the first time in more than three weeks. So, what's going on behind the scenes? That's next.
[06:53:13] CAMEROTA: First Lady Melania Trump appeared at the White House -- a White House event last night. This was her first public appearance in more than three weeks. It was an event honoring gold star families. The event was closed to the press, but the first lady did post some pictures on Twitter of herself at the ceremony, which we're showing you.
So what's going on behind the scenes?
Joining us now is CNN contributor Kate Andersen Brower. She's the author of the new book "First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power." She's also written extensively about first ladies in her other book "First Women."
Kate, great to have you here.
KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having me. CAMEROTA: So, as we said, the first lady was out of the spotlight for
24 days. It raised a lot of questions. People were concerned about her because it followed a medical procedure for a kidney condition of some kind. They've been vague about it. And do you think it's OK for the press and the public to ask questions about the first lady's whereabouts, or is she -- is it also OK for her to be an extremely private first lady and we sort of have to accept that?
BROWER: I think we forget that for five months she didn't even live in the White House. I mean we had come -- you know, right after a week of her doing the Be Best announcement of her campaign initiative. You know, we had seen a lot of her after the state dinner. There was a period of time there where we didn't see her much at all.
So I -- but I do, at the same time, think that journalists and people, the public, have a right to be curious and know what's going on with her. And when I talked to her spokeswoman, she said, you know, she's meeting with her staff every day. She's asking us all to write thank you notes to the people who have expressed concern after her surgery.
But I do think that people have a right to know where their first lady is, absolutely.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, look, other first ladies have been sick while their husbands were in office and the public has been able to go on that odyssey with them, that medical odyssey. And in some ways that's been, you know, a bonding or teachable moment.
[06:55:02] Nevertheless, she hasn't been as visible as other first ladies. However, as you report, she has been instrumental in some major decisions, including the picking of the vice president, Mike Pence. Here is what you write. At this final decisive meeting, it was Melania Trump, the aloof former model, married to the outspoken and impulsive real estate tycoon, who drew the bottom line. Whoever is chosen for VP must be clean, she insisted. That meant no affairs and no messy financial entanglements. In short, it meant no drama. She realized that her husband has a surplus of that already. That's interesting.
BROWER: I was really struck by that, too, because we think of Melania Trump as this former model who's not engaged in politics, but she -- she's astute politically. I mean he had Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie on his list of VP candidates. And she could see at that final meeting that these are two people that come with a lot of baggage. I mean Newt Gingrich got pretty far in that process, I was told. And she was the person who said we need someone who's clean.
And I think that shows a side of her that we have never seen before. And I was also struck by some reporting about her refusing to do interviews that President Trump would say, you know, Melania Trump will talk to you for this segment, and she would say, no, I won't. I mean --
CAMEROTA: Even on Fox.
BROWER: Yes. CAMEROTA: I think that he was trying to set up interviews with her with -- for friendly hosts --
CAMEROTA: And she said no.
And also just I think it shows that he trusts her opinion for something that big.
You, for your book, interviewed I think all six living vice presidents --
CAMEROTA: Except you had a problem trying to interview Mike Pence. What happened?
BROWER: I did. I mean I -- this is a two-year process. As you know, books take a long time. And I tried with Vice President Pence again and again but I was told that, you know, there isn't much in it for us. I got very far down the line. But, you know, I was told that for them if a book makes him look like he's doing a lot and is very involved, President Trump will not be happy because it makes him look less powerful, and if it looks like he's not doing very much, that doesn't help his political aspirations in 2024, which they are clearly planning for.
So, he's surrounded by a very smart group of people. Nick Ayers, his chief of staff, who I did interview in his West Wing office. Nick, you know, is somebody who is 35 years old, he ran the Republican Governor's Association and he's very protective of Mike Pence. And they don't agree to work with authors. And perhaps, from their perspective, that's smart because the president he's swerving, who's reading and watching TV constantly.
CAMEROTA: Yes, that does seem to be a no-win situation for Mike Pence.
CAMEROTA: But what did Vice President Joe Biden tell you about Mike Pence?
BROWER: Well, I think it's really interesting that Vice President Biden and -- former Vice President Biden and Vice President Pence speak about once a month.
CAMEROTA: That is interesting.
BROWER: Yes. And really unprecedented. I mean Biden and Cheney weren't talking once a month.
CAMEROTA: What do these two talk about?
BROWER: Foreign policy. And so when Biden goes on a trip or when the king of Jordan came here to visit President Trump and he flew out to Delaware to talk to former Vice President Biden, he is calling the White House with read outs of these meetings. And it's kind of a back channel because he sees Mike Pence as a -- sort of someone you can work with. And foreign leaders are nervous about President Trump. You know, they don't know what to expect. And so Biden told me that he kind of offers them advice.
CAMEROTA: And is Mike Pence receptive to Joe Biden's advice?
BROWER: Biden said he is. He's compared it to Bill Clinton talking to Newt Gingrich. You know, they disagree about everything politically, but they can speak civilly. And Biden said, you know, President Trump doesn't have the bandwidth or the experience on foreign policy and Mike Pence is a politician. He gets it more than President Trump does.
CAMEROTA: Well, Kate Andersen Brower, the book again is "First in Line," out today. So, a fascinating read on all these vice presidents and what their role is.
BROWER: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for sharing with us.
BROWER: Thanks. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm proud of our Eagles and I'm proud that they're not going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's being used by some to wage a political protest. The president doesn't have to be complicit.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the field right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Donald Trump they're sons of bitches. This is an imperial presidency.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: If I were president of the United States and I had a lawyer that told me I could pardon myself, I think I'd hire a new lawyer.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: The pardon power is complete and there is no limitation on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The framers of the Constitution did not want a king.
BERMAN: The special counsel's office accusing Paul Manafort of witness tampering.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will he plea facing now clear jail time? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's witness tampering, there is a huge cover-up
underway by Manafort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
BERMAN: And good morning, everyone. Good morning, John.
[07:00:00] BERMAN: Good morning to you.
CAMEROTA: This is your NEW DAY.
BERMAN: Yes, it is.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Though some of it may seem like deja vu. President Trump canceling the White House visit for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles citing the team's fans on national anthem protests