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Historic U.S. and North Korea Summit Ongoing in Singapore; Dennis Rodman Received Death Threats; Trump Tweets That Larry Kudlow Has Had A Heart Attack. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Don't go anywhere. We have nonstop of the coverage of the summit. It continues right now with Don Lemon, CNN TONIGHT. Don?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: All right, Chris, thank you very much. And thank you very much, Chris. As you said it's been surreal to watch that interview with Dennis Rodman and also watch the two leaders, President Trump and Kim Jong-un meet there for the first time.
This is our breaking news coverage now. President Trump and Kim Jong- un meeting face-to-face right now in Singapore.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us. We have it all coverage for you.
And this is the moment seen around the world here. A moment a lot of Americans and a lot of our allies never thought would come. The president of the United States shaking hands with the North Korean leader.
That was a moment it was captured live on camera moments ago. And then later, President Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel really great we're going to have a great discussion, I think tremendous success, I think tremendously successful. And it's my honor and we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Right after that, Kim Jong-un going on to say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM JONG-UN, LEADER OF NORTH KOREA (through translator): It has not been easy to come to this point, for us the past has been holding us back. And all practices and prejudices have been covering our eyes and ears. But we have been able to overcome everything to arrive here today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, all of this is certainly one for the history books, but what's going on now could really make history. I want to talk about all of it. Our Anderson Cooper is in Singapore for us, along with CNN -- CNN's Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, and our Chief National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto, also with us, CNN Senior White House Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny and our Global Affairs Analyst, Joseph Yun.
Good evening to all of you, or hello to all of you, it's daytime there where you are. So, Anderson, historic day in Singapore for the United States and for the North Korean bi -- North Korea bilateral meeting, what do we know there? What was said there?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We don't know much about obviously or really anything at this point what was said between the two leaders when they were alone with their interpreters.
President Trump is going to be making some sort of a statement, we believe, after all is said and done. Kim Jong-un, as far as we know will not be making a public statement. It's likely as you know, Don, you know, president in recent -- last week was kind of reshaping this meeting as a meet and great plus.
And that's really what it seems to have been, Jim Sciutto pointed out their one on one meeting was about 45 minutes or so, half that time is taking up with interpretation. So it's not that clear how much detail they actually got in. In meetings like this, usually some sort of joint communique is put out afterwards, basically summing up what took place and also what the next steps are.
And that's really going to be critical. They're going to have to be a number of different working groups on a number of different issues of importance both to United States and to North Korea. And that's really where the hard work of actually accomplishing something from today is going to take place, Don.
LEMON: And listen, the president has said Anderson, as you know, he was going to do this by gut, by feel. And he said he would know right away, I would imagine. We don't know what happened in the meeting but it must have been gone pretty well so far. It must have gone well so far because they are now still sitting down, still talking, because if he didn't think it was going to go well, I think the president indicated that he would just leave initially after -- you know, not long after that.
COOPER: You know, it's difficult, as you know during even an interpreter view with an interpreter, DNI Clapper raise this point it's a difficult thing to try to gauge somebody else or even have a conversation with somebody when you have simultaneous transition on both sides.
So, you know, whether the president is really able to look into the eyes and the soul of Kim Jong-un, that certainly remains to be seen. We've heard other presidents in the past say that about other world leaders only to find that what their interpretation was, was not accurate.
Obviously, this is a regime which has a terrible human rights record. Kim Jong-un has done really horrific things as his father and grandfather to large numbers of people in North Korea, there are obviously labor camps, camps throughout the country, gullah-like camps.
So, how much human rights was on the table or will be on the table moving forward, that's the question. Really, it seems like denuclearization has been the main focus. But again, the definition of what that actually means to the United States and what that means the North Korea is very different.
LEMON: Anderson, let's bring in some of the folks that you have there with you, and I want to talk about this. We just got and as I said, President Trump says the summit with Kim Jong-un is going very, very well. The president said Tuesday his historic summit with Kim Jong-un is going very, very well. Excellent relationship.
[22:05:04] He said, as he emerge from his one-on-one talks after 48 hours, and the two leaders of course were seen walking along that column colony on the grounds of the Capella hotel followed by their respective translators.
So, Christiane Amanpour, very, very good the president says. Excellent relationship. What do you make from that?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Well, I think it's a good thing. You know, they're on Sentosa Island, it means peace, and I think it's a really good thing if the president saying it's going very, very well. We're obviously going to wait and see what actually the nuts and bolts and the nitty-gritty is that they discussed.
But you know, let's not forget that a few months ago everybody thought that the world was on a much different trajectory. That it was on a trajectory where the military options would the option. And I think one has to pay a huge amount of tribute to three people, the president of the South Korea who insisted on the diplomatic option.
The fact that the U.S. administration allowed that diplomacy the leader of North Korea who seized the opportunity at a New Year's speech to change the tone of what he wanted for his country and from the world using the South Korea circle peace Olympics to really break out into this new international posture. At least a new international public posture.
And this is the fruit of what we're seeing right now. We know quite clearly what both sides have sort of said around the parameters of what they want for the United States. It is complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament and destruction of the nuclear arsenal and the nuclear capacity.
We don't know and we don't think that that will happen in any short order. We also know from Secretary of State Pompeo that they have pledged to North Korea that they would give, quote, "unprecedented new security guarantees." And he added that the only two people who could actually make things happen would be the two people in the room, in other words, Trump and Kim. So, we know that.
We know from Kim that he wants to use his nuclear prowess, which he actually has. He's not a nuclear power but he's a nuclear arms state and he is able to negotiate from a position of strength and he is now on a coming out party, if you like, as an international leader.
This cannot be overestimated. The fact that he is meeting President Trump is a huge victory for him, and whatever happens he will go away with a huge victory. And they want economic development but also security.
What we don't know as other have said, is the limits to their nuclear denuclearization and we don't know what they will say about the U.S. military presence on the Korean peninsula.
But I just would say that they already have done things. They've suspended their nuclear test, they've suspended their missile test, they blown up at least the entrances to the Pyunggye-ri nuclear test sites and they have released those three U.S. hostages who they kept for many years.
So they have actually done stuff that they said would not be done without any reciprocation from the U.S. They've done it without any reciprocations so far. Don?
LEMON: And of course the big question is, complete disarmament and denuclearization, what exactly does that mean, you know, what is denuclearization, what does that mean to the two gentlemen?
Jim Sciutto, I want to bring you in and take our viewers behind the scenes a little bit more here. We're getting a little bit more information about what the president said to Kim Jong-un. He said, "we will be successful," as they were sitting across that table.
Sitting alongside, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the national security adviser John Bolton, the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, and the interpreter told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, that he believes we will be successful. "We will be successful," Trump told Kim sitting directly across. "And I look forward to working on it with you, it will be done."
Jim Sciutto, weigh in on that.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, that was part of the function of these face-to-face talks, is to build a relationship between the two, have them see each other face to face. You remember the president has said now famously in the last 24 hours that he would know in the first minute whether that relationship has potential.
It appears that the president has made that judgment and that he believes that he can have a working relationship with the North Korean leader. And that is valuable to amplify the point Christiane made, right.
Within the last few months it wasn't just talk of war, but we know my colleague Dana Bash and I reported earlier this year that there were internal discussions of military action by this president. That's just a few months ago.
So to have them across from the table that's substantial. But it is really is the next step because it's the "I" in that now famous acronym CVID, complete verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. It's the "I" that's really one of the big questions. What is irreversible? The steps that North Korea has taken so far they are all reversible. It can begin launching missiles again, it could begin testing nuclear devices again. It can begin other means of rattling the saber.
[22:09:53] Again, what does it offer that is irreversible? Is it willing to give up its fissile material, for instance, as Iran did, 98 percent of it or so in the Iran nuclear deal? Is it willing truly to dismantle its missile systems?
This will be the test as to whether that relationship that these two leaders appear to have built somewhat in the face to face, that will be the test.
And I tell you, Don as they sit there now, and we look at those pictures now of them sitting across from each other, the words of this joint statement are going to matter enormously. Denuclearization is it next to the word peninsula? Does that mean the U.S. is giving up something of the nuclear umbrella? What commitments, during what time frame is key? Is it general?
Some day we hope too, or within the next two years or five years or months, these are the words we're going to have to look forward to see if beyond the relationship the substance of this meeting is a success.
LEMON: Yes. Anderson Cooper, I understand that our Jim Acosta yelled a question to Kim Jong-un about whether he would get rid of his nukes, he didn't answer. I know you have Jeff Zeleny our other White House correspondent there, perhaps he can talk to you about that, but certainly interesting he would not answer but they did get the question in.
COOPER: Yes, it was actually Jeff Zeleny, and we'll also hear with Ambassador Joseph Yun. It was interesting just to hear Kim Jong-un speaking publicly to foreign reporters, something we rarely, rarely have heard.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And something he rarely has done. So I think that is a sign, and clearly briefed going into this, so that is the possibility that's going to happen, that U.S. reporters are going to shout questions at you. He seemed fine with it.
He's very astute in American culture I think. But I was struck by looking there John Bolton. Ambassador John Bolton at the table right there. There is no one inside the Trump administration who the Korean regime has held as much angst and really hatred toward than John Bolton. At least in this team.
But the president, I'm told, was insistent on having John Bolton in the room not just my confidant.
ZELENY: And there's been a split between the secretary of state and the national security adviser. I think this is the president's sort of forceful way of showing he's on our team too. So I'm going to watch that dynamic going forward as we move on from Singapore. But I was struck by the president said working together, we'll get it taken care of. We'll solve the big problem, the big dilemma here.
So, this is the president, different context, different topic, but he sounds like he does on every other topic.
ZELENY: From healthcare to taxes. We'll get it done, we'll get it taken care of. The follow through I think is the big question here.
COOPER: Yes. Ambassador, you know, it's interesting to watch the president clearly making a lot of direct eye contact with Kim. Explain who else on the North Korean side is there at the table in these extended bilateral talks.
JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Right. You are seeing essentially counterparts for U.S. side. So you have their foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho is there, and his chief of staff. Kim Chung-sun is also there. And you also have the spy master who came to Washington and New York.
COOPER: And how much actually gets done at a bilateral meeting like this--
YUNL: I think this is a serious meeting. The reason why I say that, is in one on one, it's a friendly exchange. Here, you have different agencies. You have obviously the foreign ministries. You have intel agencies. And so, they're going to say, hey, you know, does he sound good to you? And you'll say, yes, it's OK but we have such and such issues.
So, this is a place where you're seeking consensus, not only in your team but make sure the other team has equivalent consensus.
COOPER: Having been in a number of these kinds of meetings, the -- what can people at home who were watching actually expect to learn by the end of the day. Will some sort of joint communique be put forward?
YUN: If things go fine, I think there would be a joint declaration. So joint communique they don't sign. Joint declaration they would sign together, so that's a much higher form of communication, joint declaration, than joint communique. The worse would be joint press. Or even below that, single press. Not even joined.
YUN: You say this, we'll say this, you don't agree, well you say your own thing. You know, so, that will be the worst. The best would be joint decoration.
COOPER: All right. A lot to watch for. Don, back to you.
LEMON: Al right. Anderson, thank you very much. Anderson, and Jim and Christiane, stand by. We'll get back to you throughout the coming hours on CNN on a historic morning in Singapore, a historic evening here in the United States.
And when we come back, much more on our breaking news. President Trump and Kim Jong-un meeting, making a history meeting face to face right now in Singapore.
Plus an emotional Dennis Rodman tells CNN he got death threats as he tried to help North Korea over the years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS RODMAN, BASKETBALL PLAYER: I got so many death threats. I got so many death threats where I was sitting up protecting everything. And I believe in North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Here's the breaking news on CNN. The historic summit underway in Singapore at this very moment. President Trump and Kim Jong-un talking face-to-face for the very first time. It is undeniably a huge moment but will it lead to a North Korea actually, North Korea actually giving up its nuclear weapons?
I want to bring in now CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Max Boot, the author of "The Road Not Taken," and CNN Political Commentator, Scott Jennings.
Gentlemen, good evening. Scott, I've got to ask you, how do you think this is going, this look like win so far?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it looks great for President Trump so far because he has done what he promised the American people he would do, and that's drive the North Koreans to the table for the purpose of then getting up their nuclear weapons.
Now we'll have to see if North Korea is willing to follow through on what they say they want. And I think the president must be prepared for these people to lie to us because they've been lying to the world for a very long time. But right now, from a policy perspective, from a political perspective, Donald Trump looks like he's in command of this situation, and I suspect that the American people are rooting for him to succeed.
Nobody wants to be in a nuclear war with anybody. And this is the most and president danger to that. So, good for the president to try to make some progress with a guy that no one previously has been able to solve.
LEMON: And Max, a sign of the times that we're seeing here actually surreal, former NBA star and apprentice contestant Dennis Rodman landing in Singapore ahead of that summit. He was on with Chris earlier tonight. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODMAN: Obama didn't even give me the time of day. I asked him, I said, I have something to say from North Korea. He just brushed me off. But that that didn't deterred me. I still kept going back I kept going back. I kept going back.
[22:20:07] I showed my loyalty and trustworthy to this country. And I said to everybody, I said, the door will open. When I went back home I got so many death threats. I got so many death threats, I was sitting up protecting everything.
And I believe in North Korea. When I went home, I couldn't even go home, I couldn't even go home. I had to hide out for 30 days. I couldn't even go home. But I kept my head up high, brother. I knew thing were going to change. I knew it. I was the only one, I never had no one to hear me or see me.
But I took those bullets, I took all that, I took everything that ever went came at me and I'm still standing. But today is a great day for everybody. Singapore, Tokyo, China, everything, it's a great day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Max a lot to unpack there. What's your reaction?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I just think that the Rodman comments kind of add to the spectacle of the day. And from the standpoint of spectacle you would have to say what happened is certainly a success, and I think that's why primarily what both Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump are interested it.
As we know President Trump is all about the ratings. He view success as being the center of attention. And now he has the entire attention of the world on him.
You know, I'm sure people are watching and they're riveted by what's going on, they're riveted by Dennis Rodman's comments. For Kim Jong-un this is already a victory because he wants legitimacy, he wants a place on the international stage, he wants to be recognized as an equal by the president of the United States, he wants to be seen as a nuclear power, and he's achieving all that.
This is a tremendous propaganda for him. Now Scott has suggested it was a huge victory for Donald Trump simply to come to the summit. Well, you know, I beg to differ, because, in fact, any previous president could have easily had a summit with any previous leader of North Korea because they've all been very eager to be legitimated by the president of the United States, and Donald Trump is the first one to agree to do that.
Now the question is, is he actually going to receive something substantial in return? At the end of April Donald Trump says that he's going to judge the success of the summit by whether they give up their nuclear weapons or not. And there is so far zero indication that the North Koreans are actually going to give up their nuclear weapons. But I suppose we can always be pleasantly surprised.
LEMON: So let's talk about, Scott, let's talk about what Max just said. Do you think this gives Kim legitimacy? That's the first part and then I have another question for you.
JENNINGS: Well, sure. I think that in the short term they're both operating from a position of legitimacy, and that's OK for now. The North Koreans do have to ultimately give up their nuclear weapons and they have to be better world actors. And the president has to be ready for them to lie about that in the short term and disappoint us in the long-term. I absolutely agree at that -- with that
Where I think that Trump has gotten it right and I don't think that Hillary Clinton could have pulled it off had she won. I don't think Obama tried to pull it off. The Bush 43 White House didn't pull it off. The Clinton White House didn't pull it off.
Where they came up short was they never drove the sanctions deep enough to drive Kim to the table and they never made Kim believe that the military option was truly on the table. I think Trump did that on both fronts. And that's why Kim is here. So you can say that its legitimacy in the short-term but I'm willing to give that up if it means long term denuclearization.
LEMON: OK. That's the second part then--
JENNINGS: I don't want him to let him off the hook.
LEMON: That's the second part then, so what does the president get out of this? Because complete denuclearization, it has been said that they will never give up their nuclear weapons, they might, who knows. What does the president get in return?
JENNINGS: Well, I tell you what he gets and what America gets today is we get to stop banging our head against the wall. We've been banging our head against the wall on this problem for decades. And today it feels like at least there's a light open here, a door open, a window is open for us to go through it and see what's on the other side, what are the possibilities.
When Trump ran for president, like it or not like it, he said I'm going to do foreign policy different than the way the political establishment has done it. He's clearly doing that today. And if he manages somehow to pull this off he will have pulled off what the political establishment could not for all those decades. So what does he get, Don, I think he gets--
BOOT: That's a huge.
JENNINGS: -- America for a short time we're not banging our head against the wall.
LEMON: Go ahead, Max.
BOOT: That's a huge what if that Scott is throwing out there. Let's remember how he and other Republicans would be reacting if this were Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama who would agree to a sit down with Kim Jong-un without having about any significant concessions in return they would be apoplectic.
Now, I mean, I'm all in favor of diplomacy and I certainly hope this works out but let's not get ahead of ourselves and claim that simply meeting with Kim, which again is something that any previous president could have done.
Simply meeting with him is not an achievement, the achievement comes if he agrees to complete verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. And so far there's very little indication that he's going to do that.
[22:24:55] And I have to give, I mean, I do have to give President Trump credit for his maximum pressure policy on North Korea. I mean, I agree with Scott there. I think increasing the sanctions was a good move and it may well have brought Kim Jong-un on to the table.
But unfortunately, if you look at what's happened in the last couple of months, President Trump has conceded that he is not talking about the maximum pressure policy anymore.
And we know that China has de facto relaxed sanctions. So Kim Jong-un is already getting his reward without actually having to denuclearize and that's the potential danger.
LEMON: The other presidents the other administrations have said that they didn't want to do this. They could have but they didn't want to give parity to the Kim Jong-un regime because they didn't him to be seen on the stage with an American president because they thought that that give him legitimacy.
But Scott said in the short term, maybe so but let's see how this works out in the long-term.
Before I let you gentlemen go, I want to ask you, Matt, about this G7 summit. I want to talk about President Trump in his meeting there in Canada and the frenzy that followed.
And here's what he wrote -- here's what you wrote in your latest column. 2You said, "In just the past few weeks, he, President Trump has taken a giant step towards destroying the global system that the United States created in 1945. There had been Transatlantic spats before but none of those disputes called into question the fundamental unity of the west in the way that Trump is stupid and self-destructive actions do. The Atlantic alliance was born in Canada in 1941 and may well have died there in 2018." That is abiding assessment, Max.
BOOT: Well, I mean, this was just the fiasco of the G7 summit. I've never seen anything like this. And the contrast is all but greater when we see the way that Donald Trump is glad handing Kim Jong-un who is the enslaver of his people. Somebody who keeps more than 100,000 people in slave labor camps, and he's talking about how honored he is to meet him and how what a great relationship they have and how they are going to get along great.
And on the other hand, his aides are saying that Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of our closest ally and neighbor Canada he's going to rot in hell, I mean, that is a striking contrast and the difference between the way that Donald Trump approaches dictators and Democrats.
And you know, we're not going to be successful in dealing with our problems whether it's North Korea, China, Russia, Syria and so many others unless we have unity in our western alliance. But Donald Trump is destroying that unity, he is waging trade war with our allies. He is in the war of words with the prime minister of Canada.
I mean, let's remember how amazing this is, Canada, one of our closest allies, a country that has fought with us for 100 years and Donald Trump is angrily castigating its prime minister. This is not something that should be happening. This is destructive with the American position in the world.
And whatever, and in fact, this may ultimately turn out to be more significant than whatever happens here with Kim Jong-un, we'll see what happens. But the fact that Donald Trump is undermining the unity of the western alliance, which has been the underpinning of American peace and prosperity since 1945, I think that's it's a calamitous development.
LEMON: That's going to have to be the last word. Gentlemen, thank you very much. We had to get back now to Singapore.
When we come back, President Trump meeting with Kim Jong-un right now, what will it take for them to make a deal that could make the world safer?
Plus, right before he went in before that summit, the president tweeting that his chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, is in the hospital after a heart attack. We have the latest on how he is doing and we're going to be live from Walter Reid for you.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We're back now with our breaking news. And there you see it in Singapore right now, the two leaders meeting in Sentosa, in Singapore, a luxury -- a luxury resort and hotel there.
President trump and Kim Jong-un meeting face to face right now in an expanded bilateral meeting with top advisers. And we have some more breaking news for you right now. President Trump tweeting that his Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow suffered a heart attack, and is in Walter Reed tonight. CNN's Ryan Nobles is there for us. The President tweeting this just as the summit was about to take
place. Larry Kudlow just returned to the U.S. from the G-7 summit. He was on CNN yesterday, Ryan, and tonight you have a statement from the White House. What does it say?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Don. We're learning a little bit about Larry Kudlow's prognosis, and it appears to be very good at this point. A lot of people are not sure exactly just what type of condition he was in after that tweet from the President that didn't provide all that much clarity.
We're learning a little bit more with this statement that came in from Sarah Sanders just a few minutes ago. It reads, quote, earlier today National Economic Counselor Director and Assistant to the President, Larry Kudlow, experienced what his doctor says was a very mild heart attack. Larry is currently in good condition at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
And his doctors expect he will make a full and speedy recovery. Of course, Kudlow, one of the President's closest advisors, he's been on the job since March. He is -- someone thought to have a great relationship with President Trump.
And he was one of the people that were sent out to send the President's message to the public about exactly what took place at the G-7. He was even on CNN on Sunday, being very critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. So, this is something the President thinking about during this high stakes meeting with Kim Jong-un. But we're told tonight, Don, that Larry Kudlow expected to make a full recovery. Don.
LEMON: Ryan Nobles live for us at Walter Reed. Ryan, thank you very much. We'll get back to you as soon as we get more on that situation. I want to go back to Singapore where the historic summit between President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un is underway as we speak.
CNN's Anderson Cooper is there, along with CNN's Senior White House Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, and Correspondent Will Ripley. Hello to all of you. Anderson, you know, we saw President Trump and Kim Jong- un meet face to face. The big question is, when will we find out if they have some sort of deal?
COOPER: Yes, we expect statements from President Trump, and also some other decorations, or communique, or some of joint statement about what if anything came out of this meeting, and what comes next. And that's really the big question right now that we frankly don't have the answer to.
I mean, Jeff, the critical question is, what are the next steps? Because no matter what happened in the face to face between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, they surely didn't get into the level of detail that they're going to need to, to at least even get into the real serious verification issues which Secretary Pompeo has raised.
ZELENY: No questions. I mean, the photos here today, it's more than a photo op without a question. We should be up front about that because this is an extraordinary moment that these two leaders are even here. But in some respects now, it probably is the easy part, because President Trump is very good at this.
Kim Jong-un also seems to be very reveling in the moment of this carefully staged event. Just look at those photos there, you know, in front of the flags. But at this point, the President is going to hand out the details to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And that statement that you mentioned will be key. One word he said over and over at the Secretary of State is verified.
[22:35:01] How will this be verified? So going home, and going forward here, that is the question. And also, I have a question, is this enough to invite Kim Jong-un back to the United States, or to the United States? Because the President said in the Rose Garden last week, he would like to have him in the U.S. if things go well. Will that happen?
COOPER: That will certainly be fascinating.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And President Trump to Pyongyang. Can you imagine if that trip happens? What that -- those images will be like?
COOPER: Short-term and long-term well though, I mean, you spent so much time in North Korea, what are they -- are they looking for?
RIPLEY: Well, immediately North Korean wants sanctions relief as soon as possible, obviously.
COOPER: Which they're already starting to see some from China and Russia.
RIPLEY: China and Russia, yes. I mean, they basically told Kim Jong- un they have his back no matter how things go here in Singapore. He can count on China and Russia feeling that North Korean is being sincere here in this denuclearization process.
Obviously, the United States is a bit of a harder sell. You know, at the Punggye-ri nuclear site, there are a lot of questions about how authentic the explosions and everything that we've witnessed actually were in terms of the permanent shut down at that site.
You know, verification is going to be a huge challenge in North Korea. So whatever deal they have to get inspectors inside the country when access is so limited, and to get to these places that North Korea kept so secret, that's going to be a big ask, and so that's one question I have.
In the short-term, sanctions relief, and beginning the process of normalizing relations, North Koreans would love to have a U.S. embassy in Pyongyang. They love to -- they love to have, you know, trading ties with the United States obviously, because it would open up a world of economic opportunities.
And I have seen some estimates that, you know, North Korea has so many well commodities that are -- that are untapped as of now, not to mention all the infrastructure projects, the energy projects, the agriculture projects. And they do have a highly educated populations for the most part, want to work, want to kind of contribute to the world, so there are literally trillions of dollars to be made in North Korea if they open up.
COOPER: But any kind of opening up, I mean, comes with real dangers for Kim Jong-un whose, obviously, the primary goal is to remain in power.
RIPLEY: Well that is the trick because you have a country that completely keeps the majority of its 25 million citizens isolated from the outside world in terms of Internet access, television broadcasting, anything that they can read is all carefully controlled.
And when you have a population that start to become more affluent, and you see is, you know, play out in China, you know, the people have, the more that they expect in terms of they're liberties, and whatnot, freedom of movement. I mean even in North Korea right now, travels are restricted inside the country.
If people have more money and they have more means, where is that going to lead North Korea? But, you know, I've spoken with some people who said that the change is already happening. That, you know, the North Koreans are already starting to think differently about the life, and about the world.
And if Kim Jong-un can improve their living standards, they're going to be loyal to him for doing that, for -- just like in China where people accept an authoritarian government, a one party state, they accept the tight government controls, because they've become so affluent so quickly. So if Kim Jong-un can do something similar in his country, I think a lot of people will happily still continue to stand behind him.
ZELENY: The sanctions will be controversial in Washington. I think we should point that out. And Congress will get involved, and this is probably not something that probably will be done during one presidential administration. This is a long-term -- but, boy, what's been started here today is extraordinary.
COOPER: Don, back to you.
LEMON: I want to ask you -- Will, if I can ask you a question, you've been the correspondent whose been covering this story, one of the only western reporters whose been on the ground there in North Korea for years now. And I'm just wondering how this moment feels for you? I hate to keep using this word surreal, but you sitting there, if this feels different?
RIPLEY: Yes. I mean, it was just so many times last year where it felt really hopeless. And you'd see and hear the things that President Trump was saying. And then the angry, furious response from North Korean officials that we were with in Pyongyang, and the missile launches kept happening, and the nuclear tests kept happening. North Koreans were defiant. They said that there were absolutely no
way they would ever give up their nuclear weapons. And you were hearing from the United States, that North Korea is just one step further, has faced to military option was going to take effect.
So, I would sit in Pyongyang -- I had a meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs, and I sat across one officials and said, look, I don't, you know, want to be a war reporter, I'd rather cover the opening up of your country, and you know, the opportunities, that can happen here. But if you were talking -- they were talking about detonating a nuclear device above ground.
And I said, do you really think that you can get away with an above the ground nuclear detonation, and not have that across for the United States, and they said, that's what we said, you should take our words literally. So they go from that in just a few short months to where we are now, it's truly extraordinary, and you have to give credit to President Trump and his maximum pressure campaign.
But also to Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in in South Korea. President Moon has kind of been the middle man, he's kept North Korean engaged, he's kept President Trump engaged, he has given President Trump a lot of credits, some argue, you know, how much credit President Trump deserves in this situation.
And, you know he's obviously not apart of the mix here in Singapore, but he has been a major factor in kind of bringing this about. The Olympics were the opening -- the reopening of the inter-Korean hotline, and now here we are in Singapore, and we have seen something I've never expected to see.
[22:40:00] A handshake, and a friendly walk, and stroll with President Donald Trump and North Korea's Leader Kim Jong-un.
LEMON: Yes, it's certainly fascinating to sit here in the United States, and watch you guys -- you, and Jeff, and Anderson there. You're not in the Korean Peninsula, but you know, sitting there, and watching you guys, it's fascinating to watch.
We will get back to you in just a moment, standby everyone. When we come back, President Trump and Kim Jong-un face-to-face tonight in a high stakes negotiation. Some of our top intelligence experts will weigh in on what they have seen so far.
LEMON: Breaking news right now, the historic meeting in Singapore. President Trump and Kim Jong-un meeting face-to-face right now. On the U.S. side, the President is joined by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton. Can they convince Kim to give up his nuclear weapons? That's the question.
And can President Trump trust what the North Korean tells him? A lot to discuss here. I'm going to discuss it with CNN Military and Diplomatic Analyst, Rear Admiral John Kirby, CNN Counterterrorism Analyst, Philip Mudd, and Jung Pak, who is the Chair in Korea Studies at the Brookings Institution.
[22:45:07] Welcome, everyone. Admiral Kirby, I want to give you this because we're getting information that's coming out of this bilateral meeting right now -- the extended bilateral meeting. It says -- this is from Kim Jong-un, this is through an interpreter, OK?
It says, of course, there are challenges ahead, but I am ready or willing. It's not clear if he said ready or willing, he could have said either one, to do this. And that's what Kim Jong-un said during that extended bilateral meeting. What do you think of that, Admiral?
RET. REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Well, certainly hopeful. I mean, I'm optimistic like so many people that this summit can lead to some real success here, our framework for negotiations in the path of denuclearization.
But look, this is something North Koreans have said before, even as recently as 2005, Kim's father said very much the same kind of things coming out of that meeting as well, and of course, it all fell apart.
And they -- and they just further advanced their nuclear weapons program. So, look, I'm hopeful about this, but I think we all need to be very clear eyed and pragmatic going forward about what can actually be done on what kind of time scale.
LEMON: I want to ask you -- let me ask you this. We are getting a little bit more information -- Jung, this is for you. This is during the walk along the colony, North Korea's Kim Jong-un to President Trump as conveyed by the translator, OK, here's the quote, many people -- he's talking to President Trump -- many people in the world will think of this as -- and it's un audible. Form of fantasy from a science fiction movie. Jung.
JUNG PAK, CHAIR IN KOREA STUDIES, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: You know, I find that reference to a science fiction movie so fascinating because this is Kim Jong-un, who is the son of a film buff, and an actress. His wife is an entertainer, and his sister is in charge of propaganda.
So -- and he's talking to a reality T.V. star, turned U.S. President. So I think it's such an appropriate way to craft that kind of statement to President Trump.
So, you know, as Rear Admiral Kirby said, I think -- you know, I think a lot of people are optimistic, but we have to take all of this with a grain of salt, and remember that Kim Jong-un is in many ways like his father, and that North Korea does have a way of using charm offensive to try to reduce tensions.
LEMON: So, Phil, in these -- you know, the -- what we're getting from inside the meetings, it's, you know, inaudible or unclear, and imagine with interpreters in the room, right. So, that they have met for 48 minutes. The President and Kim were in a room alone, only with interpreters, there is some danger in that.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: There is sort of. I mean the President's going to walk out of, as he's walked out of other meetings with a story about what happened. I suspect there will be some element of fiction, and moderate element of facts.
There is a different story here though, the point player here we have describe is President Trump, I don't believe that. I think the point player here is the Secretary of State. He knows the details of what did he expects out of conversations.
And the issue here is not whether somebody walks over -- out of the room saying we have a deal, the issue is on implementation, things like, how do you access facilities, how do you talk to North Korean scientist and engineers over the next couple of years, how do you get access to documentation, really nitty-gritty detail.
What if you find that the North Koreans have a facility they haven't declared, and they don't want to give you access to that facility, Don? The President is not going to deal with that kind of detail, the Secretary of State will.
So when they walk out in 48 minutes with the President and Kim Jong- un, and say this great, I'm going to walk -- I'm not an optimist, I'm a realist. I'm going to say maybe at the end of the Trump administration, the first -- the first administration in a couple years, we'll have a picture of whether this is going to work. We will not know within a day or two of whether we have a really optimistic picture of the future, no way.
LEMON: It's interesting, because this is CNN's reporting that Mike Pompeo who led the outreach as CIA Director traveled twice to North Korea for preliminary talks, with sessions with Kim amounted to the most robust contact ever between the United States and the North Korean Leader, providing critical information about a man, about whom little is know.
So you are exactly correct on that. Is he going to make a friend out of Kim Jong-un, and after making foes out of some of our allies at the G-7 summit? We'll discuss that right after the break.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Our breaking news tonight at this moment, President Trump and Kim Jong-un are meeting in Singapore. Trump says he is anticipating a -- this is a quote, a great discussion and a terrific relationship with the North Korean leader.
But what does that mean for U.S. allies? Back with me now, Rear Admiral John Kirby, also Phil Mudd, and Jung Pak. So, listen, Phil, this weekend -- let's talk about this G-7 summit. We saw a war of words erupt between President Trump and our key allies. Do you think that these countries will still be willing to help keep a potential deal here together?
MUDD: I do. If you look at what happened over the weekend, I mean, this was an abomination from American perspective. You can have a difference of opinion over an ally, but these are allies who contributed men and women who died with us in Iraq and Afghanistan. And you walk out, and you embarrass them over a statement you saw on Air Force One. That's not acceptable, Don. That said, we're going into a circumstance in North Korea that could
potentially change not only what's happening in the Korean Peninsula, but nonproliferation around the world. This is an historic opportunity. I think security professionals like me look at the comical performance of the President of the United States and Canada.
And say let's step back, let's discount that for a moment, and whether you're in Canada, Germany, France, the U.K., if there's an opportunity to take a step forward from where we were when the President of the United States referred to the North Korean Leader at the U.N. as little rocket man, let's discount the embarrassment of the President in Canada, and let's move forward.
[22:55:07] That's what I'd say and I suspect that's what our allies would say.
LEMON: Jung, how essential are China, Japan, South Korea to any U.S.- North Korea agreement?
PAK: The support of our allies and partners are critically important. And whether we put maximum pressure or maximum engagement with Kim Jong-un, it's important that we're in complete lockstep with our allies. China, as your viewers know, have 90 percent of North Korea's trade.
South Korea obviously is very much interested in economic engagement and peace on the Korean Peninsula, and Japan also is in the line of fire from North Korea's ballistic missile threat. So it's critically important for the U.S. to make sure that our allies are all on board. I mean it seems like the Trump administration is doing its part to try to at least maintain some element of coordination with our allies.
LEMON: Yes. Having said that, Admiral Kirby, I mean, what happens if these countries aren't on board with a potential deal between Trump and Kim?
KIRBY: Well, then it's going to be a very hard deal to implement and to execute, and to get some sort of meaningful path to denuclearization, and verification of that process. Look, I mean, today, this is a bilateral discussion between the United States and North Korea.
This is exactly what Kim has wanted for his legitimacy, and the world -- and the world theater that it provides him. But tomorrow, Don, it becomes multilateral. You've talked about our allies, Japan, and South Korea, all have interest in the outcome here.
And they're not all the same interests, by the way. But you also have China and Russia who are not our allies, who are very much going to be interested in getting a back brief from Kim Jong-un after this is over, and making sure that their interests were or are in the future are properly represented. It's going to get complicated very, very fast.
LEMON: John, Phil, and Jung, thank you very much. Back to Singapore right after this break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon. It's just before 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, it's before 11:00 a.m. in Singapore. And we're live with breaking news tonight. President Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting face-to-face in Singapore, also at the table, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.