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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Rudy Giuliani Under Fire; President Trump Not Preparing for North Korea Summit?; Pompeo on Giuliani: Rudy Doesn't Speak for the Administration. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired June 7, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: And that, two, he understands that we can't do it the way we have done it before, that this has to be big and bold, and we have to agree to making major changes.
We can't step through this over years, but rather need to acknowledge it will take some amount of time. This doesn't happen instantaneously, but that the model for succeeding, security assurance and political normalization and denuclearization, completely, verifiably, and irreversibly, for that to take place, we have got to make bold decisions.
And I am hopeful that Chairman Kim Jong-un is prepared to make that decision for his country, a big shift in his strategic understanding of his security.
QUESTION: Thank you.
So you said that you were -- the president's prepared to talk about security guarantees for North Korea. We have seen in this administration that you can -- that when new administrations come in, they can undo things prior administrations have done.
How can President Trump guarantee long-term security for North Korea, and for Kim in particular?
POMPEO: Well, look, we are going to have to do things that convince Chairman Kim that that's the case. All right? That's what we will have to do.
So, let me give you an example. We are hopeful that we will put ourselves in a position where we can do something the previous administration didn't do, all right?
They signed a flimsy piece of paper. And we're hoping to submit a document that Congress would also have a say in that would give currency and strength and elongation to the process, so that when administrations do change, as they inevitably do, and this one will six-and-a-half years from now, when that takes place, that Chairman Kim will have comfort that American policy will continue to -- down the same path, on the course that we hope we're able to set in Singapore.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We will take one last question.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
How (OFF-MIKE) when you say the document that Congress would sign off on, are you referring to a treaty?
Then, second, at the top of your remarks, you said that there's (OFF- MIKE) allies from North Korea's WMD, as well as ballistic missiles. Is that a condition for the president in any negotiation agreement with Chairman Kim, that its ballistic missile program and chemical weapons also be part of that?
And, third, finally, can you discuss the format of the meeting between the president and Chairman Kim, what it will look like (OFF-MIKE)
POMPEO: So, I will leave it to the White House to talk about the format of the meetings when the time is right.
With respect to proliferation risk, it is very real. There's a history of with respect to North Korea and some of our other difficult challenges in the world today. They're connected.
The reason you want complete, verifiable and irreversible is precisely that. To the extent there remain stockpiles, knowledge bases, warehouses, systems, infrastructure, fissile material, production facilities, I could go on, to the extent those remain, the risk of proliferation continues.
And it is our aim through the CVID process and providing the security assurances that Chairman Kim will want, that we can greatly reduce the risk that proliferation ever happens as a result of North Korean action.
HUCKABEE SANDERS: Thanks so much.
QUESTION: One more, please, sir?
QUESTION: Can you explain the president's shift when he's gone from talking about a -- defining success for the meeting as denuclearization of the peninsula, and talking about the need for more meetings?
Can you explain what happened there and why the shift? And can you also describe your disagreements over North Korea internally with the national security adviser?
POMPEO: Yes. With respect to the second one, I have read a little bit about this. And I love good fiction as next as the -- as much as the next person,
but it is without foundation, so much so that, you know, I will be polite since I'm a diplomat now. Suffice it to say, those articles are unfounded and a complete joke.
POMPEO: Oh, no, sure. Ambassador Bolton and I will disagree with great, great consistency over time, I'm confident.
Great. We're two individuals. We're each going to present our views. I'm confident that will happen on issues from how long this press conference ought to go to issues that really matter to the world.
So it's absolutely the case that Ambassador Bolton and I won't always agree. I think the president demands that we each give them our own views. So...
POMPEO: So, you had a first -- your first question, I will try to answer. I will try to answer your first question, too.
I don't see the shift as disjunctive as you do.
The president's always understood that this was a process. It's been very clear that it would always take a great deal of work to do this.
So, I think you're -- you can interpret how you will, but I think your characterization of that also doesn't reflect the president's understanding.
I think his understanding about this process has been pretty consistent since I have been working with him now almost a year-and-a- half now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, West Point class of '86.
And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
You have been listening to the secretary answering questions about President Trump's upcoming summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un just five days from now, coming up on Tuesday, saying North Korea has confirmed to the administration its willingness to denuclearize, but it needs to do so in a big and bold move, and also that the U.S. wants concrete steps, not just words from North Korea.
My panel's here with me. Let's dive in.
First of all, one of the questions, Phil Mudd, let me start with you, was about President Trump saying that he didn't think he needed to prepare much for the summit, that it's about attitude more than anything else.
The secretary was asked about it and he said he's confident President Trump will be fully prepared.
Are you concerned at all about that?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, watching how the secretary speaks here, he is a pro. We went from the president using language like Little Rocket Man at the U.N. to a secretary of state who has got a clear sense of where we need to go, a clear sense that this needs to be complete and irreversible.
He came from the CIA, where, as I'm well aware, they had a recent history of dealing with verification of Iraq and got burned there. So, I guarantee, when he was CIA director, he heard a lot about questions like, what facilities do you get access to? How much time do you give the North Koreans to respond to a request for an inspection?
So, the president is going to have to be involved in details here at some level. But anybody who just watched Secretary of State Pompeo has to walk away saying, that guy is game on regarding...
TAPPER: So, David Urban, one of the other things that Secretary Pompeo said he was assured personally from Kim Jong-un was that the North Korea's prepared to denuclearize, that the current model doesn't work, that he understands that, but that it needs to be done in a big and bold and major way.
Does that suggest to you at all that possibly U.S. troops, the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea is one of the big and bold ways that there would be some sort of deal?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
So, look, there are a lot of things that could be on the table, right, in terms of the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, which we can neither confirm or deny right now. Right?
URBAN: There's lots of things along those lines.
There are a great deal of troops on the Korean Peninsula. That could be drawn down to some extent. We don't know what we're going to see. Obviously, this president is somebody who likes grand gestures, who loves to come back and be able to talk about the release of these prisoners. Those things show good will and demonstrate good will.
I think that you're going to -- at a minimum from this meeting, there is going to a takeaway of something big on their side, something big on our side. That's what I see as a takeaway.
The first steps to a continuing dialogue, perhaps a visit of Kim Jong- un here to the White House, as was talked about earlier during the Abe press conference. So, I think there's a lot more to come. And I think you will see some -- there has to be some grand gestures out of this initial meeting, maybe not, you know, ultimately -- this won't ultimately result in denuclearization, that first meeting, but it will be a great step towards that.
TAPPER: So, one thing I have heard from Trump skeptics, Symone Sanders, is that President Trump might talk a big game when it comes to how good a deal-maker he is, but the evidence is not truly there.
And a lot of skeptics point to the president in the public negotiations he's invited cameras into with lawmakers back in January. He sat down with lawmakers to talk about immigration reform. He seemed to agree to a clean bill for the dreamers.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: What about a clean DACA bill now?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no problem -- I think that's basically what Dick is saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Then there was the meeting on guns. You might recall that, where President Trump said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: To go to court would have taken a long time. So, you could do exactly what you're saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And needless to say there haven't any big legislation -- legislative achievements on either immigration or guns.
This, skeptics say, is what President -- what happens when President Trump is not prepared.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely.
And, you know, I was actually reassured by Secretary Pompeo just a moment ago. But Secretary Pompeo is, in fact, not the president of the United States.
And so why could Donald Trump not come out in that press conference with Prime Minister Abe and speak with the depth and knowledge that secretary of state could? That is concerning, when it is Donald Trump that will be in those negotiations.
So, I'm -- I haven't drank the Kool-Aid yet, Jake. And I'm just not convinced.
I really think that what we're going to see when it comes to these negotiations is a president that is willing to put on a show for the cameras, but doesn't have the depth and breadth to go in there and have the hard-talk negotiations.
You cannot leave this up to Secretary Pompeo.
TAPPER: So, everyone, stick around. We got more to talk about.
I want to bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny, who is at the White House.
And, Jeff, in the last hour, President Trump seemed -- he seemed very optimistic for that meeting with Kim Jong-un.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He did, indeed, Jake.
So, optimistic, that he opened the idea of inviting Kim Jong-un here to Washington, here to the White House if those meetings go well.
Now, this certainly was a stark contrast to how the president is anticipating allies in Canada as he heads to the G7 tomorrow.
ZELENY (voice-over): President Trump saying today his landmark North Korean summit could lead to a historic invitation to Kim Jong-un to visit the U.S., but only if he's serious about abandoning his nuclear program.
TRUMP: Well, the answer is yes to the second part of your question, but certainly if it goes well, and I think it would be well-received. I think he would look at it favorably, so I think that could happen.
ZELENY: At a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Mr. Trump said he's approaching the first meeting of an American president and North Korean leader with wary optimism.
TRUMP: All I can say is, I'm totally prepared to walk away. I did it once before. You have to be able to walk away. If you are not going to be able to walk away -- we didn't walk away from the horrible Iran deal that was signed.
And if you look at what has happened since I signed that deal, Iran is acting a lot differently.
ZELENY: The president isn't cramming for his Singapore summit. He said in the Oval Office earlier today he's barely studying at all.
TRUMP: I think I'm very well-prepared. I don't think you have to prepare very much. It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done.
ZELENY: He said he's relying on his deal-making instincts for diplomacy.
TRUMP: Well, so this isn't a question of preparation. It's a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we will know that very quickly.
ZELENY: As Mr. Trump is poised to shake hands with one of the biggest U.S. enemies, his fraught relationship with longstanding and loyal U.S. allies is taking center stage.
As he travels to the G7 summit in Canada on Friday, leaders from Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Germany are ready to give Mr. Trump an earful over new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum that could spark a trade war.
TRUMP: It will be a pretty crowded number of days, but very exciting, and I think a lot of good results can come about.
ZELENY: The president has complained to aides that the G7 summit in Canada is a distraction from the North Korean meeting.
And CNN has learned he's asked whether his presence is required. But officials say he is on track to spend a day-and-a-half there before leaving early on Saturday.
TRUMP: So, we will have some pretty good discussions and, as you know, we leave from there. We leave for Singapore.
ZELENY: It will leave little time to win over angry allies.
But the president made clear today his priority for friendly talks is at the summit with Kim. He said he's keeping sanctions in place, but he's retiring the term maximum pressure, for now at least.
TRUMP: Maximum pressure is absolutely in effect. We don't use the term anymore because we are going into a friendly negotiation. Perhaps after that negotiation, I will be using it again.
ZELENY: So, the president saying repeatedly the meeting in Singapore next week far more than simply a photo-op. He said it could be extended longer if the meeting goes well.
Now, Jake, interestingly, at that briefing just a few moments ago, the secretary of state was asked specifically about Rudy Giuliani's comments about Kim Jong-un. Of course, he said in the last day or so that Kim Jong-un was begging for the summit, was begging for this meeting.
The secretary of state says Rudy Giuliani does not speak for this administration on foreign policy matters -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny at the White House.
We will have more on Rudy Giuliani in our next block. After all, the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has been saying all
sorts of things, speaking candidly about foreign policy and any number of items.
Yet the secretary of state, as you note, just said that he doesn't speak for the administration.
That story next.
[16:17:56] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Moments ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, when it comes to North Korea, does not speak for the administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I know Rudy. Rudy doesn't speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation and this set of issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: He was referring to the former New York City mayor saying this in Israel about Kim Jong-un.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Well, somehow North Korea after he canceled the summit because they insulted the vice president, they insulted the -- his national security adviser and they also said they'll go to nuclear war against us. They were going to defeat in a nuclear war. We said, well, we're not going to have a summit under those circumstances. Well, Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Hands and knees. Not something that the administration wanted to convey to North Korea. That's only the half of it.
Let's bring in CNN's Dana Bash.
Dana, Giuliani stirring a little bit of controversy.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's an understatement. I thought what Mike Pompeo did there trying to laugh it off but still send a message to Pyongyang that he doesn't speak for the administration actually spoke volumes because there was concern. Barbara Starr did reporting at the cabinet level about the fact that they would get spooked again in North Korea as they did before.
As you said, that's one of the controversial things that Rudy Giuliani has said in the past 48 hours. He's on a trip to Israel. Another one was talking about Stormy Daniels. I spoke to him this morning while he still is in Israel. I asked if
he wanted to clarify or recant some of those remarks, the answer was no. And in a Donald Trump way, he doubled down.
BASH (voice-over): America's mayor visiting the Holy Land talking about a porn star.
GIULIANI: The business you were in, entitles you to no degree of giving your credibility any weight. So, you're gong to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation.
BASH: In the face of a firestorm about antiquated comments, Rudy Giuliani told CNN in a phone interview he's standing firm even waxing about his idea of feminism.
[16:20:10] If you're a feminist and you support the porn industry, you should turn in your credentials. Adding about Stormy Daniels, our real point about her is that she's not just generally uncredible, she is uncredible from the point of view of wanting to get money. She is a con artist.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: His comments are piggish. They're outrageous, especially in today's day and age and he should be fired immediately by the president.
BASH: Don't hold your breath. Giuliani regularly makes attention- grabbing comments that many dismiss as irresponsible.
(on camera): Do you think that the Mueller probe is legitimate?
GIULIANI: I -- not anymore.
BASH (voice-over): Or way over the top.
GIULIANI: I was a high ranking official in the Justice Department. So you got to -- a group there's a lynching mob.
BASH: So far, his client, the president is largely OK with it all. First, because the slash and burn style is decidedly Trumpian. Second, because Giuliani is making progress in Trump's main objective, chipping away at public support for the Russia investigation.
GIULIANI: Remember, Dana, we're defending here, it is the public opinion because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach.
BASH: But many fellow Republicans are exasperated by Giuliani.
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.
BASH: Especially this week after he openly talked about a Trump legal team memo suggesting a president may be able to pardon himself. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me god.
BASH: And then the reality that trump's lawyer also the former New York mayor, a past presidential candidate himself who likes to comment on topics beyond the Russia investigation and even sensitive ones like the summit with North Korea.
GIULIANI: Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.
BASH: In a phone call from Israel where Giuliani is still visiting, he told CNN he hadn't heard any concern from the White House about his Kim Jong-un commentary saying, I didn't say anything personally bad about him.
But other Republicans are clearly cringing.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I like Rudy. But because you can talk about something doesn't mean you have to.
BASH: Being an unapologetic Trump frontman has its downsides, like getting booed on his birthday watching his beloved Yankees.
But he's also loving being back in the game.
BASH: Now, there's some bad news for Giuliani. A new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll out today tested his popularity and found that more have a negative view than positive view, and that's pretty much where he was when he had to bow out. He did run for president in 2008. Didn't do very well and it's a far cry from where he was after 9/11 and, of course, his popularity was sky high.
TAPPER: I covered him in the 2008 race.
TAPPER: And showed none of this zest and pepper and pugilism. None of it.
Dana Bash, thanks so much.
You can't make this stuff up. So much more to discuss. Stay with us.
[16:27:24] TAPPER: We are back with the controversy Rudy Giuliani's creating with his willingness to talk about seemingly anything and everything at any moment of the day, throughout the world.
Moments ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Giuliani does not speak for the administration when it comes to North Korea. A U.S. official also told CNN that Pompeo is trying to get North Korea to ignore Giuliani's comments that he made in Israel, saying that Kim Jong-un got on his hands and knees and begged President Trump for a summit.
Does Giuliani seem to know how sensitive that remark may have been?
Let's talk about with our panel.
Phil Mudd, the argument was that Giuliani was making that President Trump walking away from the table got Kim Jong-un on his hands and knees, but that could offend Kim Jong-un theoretically.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: It could often Kim Jong-un. Remember the partner -- potential partner we're talking about here. This is not a Democratic society. This is third generation leader who has to ensure the image projected to generals and he just replaced some of them is a man of power.
And you have this clown Giuliani who's not even known to most North Korean saying that the dear leader on the hands and knees? I don't think so. There's another piece to be aware of. The president is right to say if we get a bad deal, don't get it we can walk away.
You cannot walk away every time the North Koreans thumb their noses at you and the president's temperament, which tens toward conf of walking away won't work if he's ticked off every time they say no because they will.
TAPPER: Giuliani is the president's attorney on the Stormy Daniels and on the -- no. Not on the Stormy Daniels matter, I'm sorry on the Mueller probe. Not a diplomat. Should he maybe consider not talking about these things?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look. So the mayor freelancing a little bit, right? This is the same guy who went down to Times Square and busted heads and kicked the squeegee men out of New York, right? This is a tough guy. Rough and tumble.
TAPPER: You're dating yourself.
URBAN: Yes, there you go. OK. Who's freelancing and may not recognize that, you know, what he says in Israel is picked up in the United States. So, he might want to rein it in a little bit. He's a free wheeling guy, the president loves him, big personality. But it does get him in trouble sometimes.
TAPPER: So, Maggie Haberman, our friend from "The New York Times", just tweeted, yikes, I asked about the first lady's spokeswoman about Giuliani saying that the first lady believes her husband regarding Stormy Daniels. Response, quote, I don't think Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hot fire emoji, hot fire emoji, hot fire emoji.
Look, one can argue -- little old fire emoji. Is Rudy Giuliani -- is he -- could he possibly not be telling the truth about speaking with the First Lady Melania Trump? Gasp. Look, I think Rudy Giuliani is a free wheeling liar that's willing to say anything he wants to say to make himself look good in his eyes. And I think he thinks he's serving Donald Trump well and he's not.