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Historic Summit Underway In Singapore As President Trump Meets With Kim Jong-Un. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Also at the table, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton. And we're learning that during that expanded bilateral, Kim Jong-un said, of course, there are challenges ahead, but I am ready or willing, it's unclear exactly which word he used, to do this, he said.
That meeting is to be followed in the next half hour or so by a working lunch with the Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, and others joining them. But this is the moment seen around the world right here, the President of the United States shaking hands with the leader of North Korea. Moments later, President Trump saying this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel really great. We're going to have a great discussion, and I think tremendous success. It will be tremendously successful. And it's my honor, and we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: North Korean President Kim Jong-un following up with this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM JONG-UN, SUPREME LEADER OF NORTH KOREA (through a translator): It has not been easy to come to this point. For us, the past has been holding us back, and old 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: Well, this really is a moment for the history books. But what's going on right now could really make history, when we get to the bottom of it, if they come out of this meeting -- of these meetings with a deal.
I want to get right to the ground there in Singapore. CNN's Anderson Cooper is there, along with our Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, and Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto. Anderson, you've been there. You're witnessing this. You are in Singapore. You saw that historic handshake between the two men. Give us the very latest from Singapore. What's your assessment of it?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think all eyes are waiting for this bilateral meeting, which has been become just working lunch. Once that is over, that's when we really expect to start getting some word, at least from the U.S. side about the way the President thinks that this went, and what, if any, kind of declaration, or communique, or joint statement is going to be made from both these world leaders.
And that's really going to be critical because as you know, Don, it's really the next steps that are -- you know, are crucial, and we're not just talking about one or two meetings moving forward. I mean, this is the beginning of a very potentially long process.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think you're absolutely right. And it reminds me of the Rose Garden presser that the President had with Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, ahead of this meeting where he said the hard work will come after the meeting.
He almost said this meeting will be the easy part. The hard work will come after the meeting, which is an absolute truism. I must say, though, that the substance of what Kim Jong-un said in his opening remarks during that seated, ala White House-Oval Office sort of spray was been really significant.
In fact, he actually said we've had so many obstacles, it's been so difficult to come to this point where the past, and the prejudices of the past, and the affects in the past, have made it incredibly tough for us, but here we are. I think he really put himself on the table just with those comments.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think we're going to get a real measure of the substance of these conversations based on the word of any joint statement or communique, and I've spoken to a lot of North Korea experts who said to look for particular things.
I mean, certainly the word denuclearization, right? Is there any written commitment from the North Korean leader to that? Are there any details given or definition to denuclearization, because we have spoken many times about different U.S. and North Korea interpretations to that.
Is there any timeline specified or is it a kind of a serial (ph), or this will be something we aim for over many years, months, et cetera. Is there any timeline? And also scope, does that apply just to North Korea, or does it apply to the whole Peninsula? What is the U.S. giving in exchange in terms of security guarantee there, in terms of the possibility, if not removing the nuclear umbrella that protects South Korea some how tempering that to give North Korea a sense of security.
COOPER: Which is obviously going to raise big concerns not only for South Korea, but also for Japan, any lessening of the nuclear umbrella that the U.S. supplies for Japan against North Korea is...
SCIUTTO: Absolutely. And remember, that umbrella, and even those troops on the peninsula are not purely about North Korea. It's very much a show of force in the region. It's a message to China. China looks at that presence as a threat to its own influence and power in the region as well. So anything you pull back there, remember, is also in effect a concession to China. And China is going to be watching this very closely.
COOPER: There is also the question of sanctions. Secretary Pompeo talked about sanctions remaining in effect until denuclearization. But already given sort of the legitimizing of this regime, you have China, you have Russia already stopping some of theirs.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's true. I think Secretary of State Pompeo did actually say it again last night, he said that we want to see the direction of what in terms of what they call CVID, Complete, verifiable, irreversible, and Disarmament, or Dismantlement, or Denuclearization, whatever the D stands for.
[23:05:09] But it's got to be verifiable. And to be frank, in the past, the verifiable pit has been the one that has tripped people up the last time around, and certainly was that. But Japan was also incredibly clear in again the Rose Garden presser.
We care about not just nukes, but we care about the medium and long- term missiles because they obviously threaten Japan, and we also care about our abductees. Bless you, Anderson. I know it's an emotional day for everyone.
COOPER: And nuclear devices that can be delivered by bombers.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, indeed, indeed. So, I think, you know, obviously everybody is quite concerned with how much, if anything, the U.S. decides to give away, which they probably won't. But they are concerned because America already has sort of a feeling in the region that is pulling back, that China is filling the vacuum, and that China would be just thrilled to replace the United States forces, and the influence in the Pacific area.
SCIUTTO: And, you know, there's been a lot of criticism and questions about what is the depth of President Trump's knowledge on this issue. But when you look at the group of folks who are around us at working lunch, there is a tremendous amount of experience there.
Matt Pottinger and folks at home find out or heard about this, is the Asia policy head on the National Security Council, told us about experience, but also respect from both sides of the aisle, Sung Kim, current U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, but was the U.S. Representative to North Korea on that issue.
And of course, Director Pompeo, who long time in Congress, but he was the Director of the CIA. He himself has been twice to North Korea, and has certainly seen the intelligence, right? I mean, he knows it well. So there's a great depth of knowledge around the table there to aid the President. COOPER: And there is on the North Korean side as well. Don, a lot to
be watching for in the hours ahead.
LEMON: Yes. And we'll get back to you guys there in Singapore. Thanks, Anderson. Thank you, Christiane and Jim. I want to bring in now a man who knows exactly what goes into making a summit like this a success. Frank Lavin put together the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik. He also served as Ambassador to Singapore under President George W. Bush. Welcome, Ambassador, thank you for joining us here on CNN.
FRANK LAVIN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SINGAPORE: Hi, Don.
LEMON: So, from what you've seen and heard so far, do you think they are making substantive progress?
LAVIN: All we've seen so far is really the curtain go up, and we've seen a bit of the tone, which is positive. It looks like there's good rapport, looks like both sides are taking this seriously, looked like they're getting into it in the right way, but we don't have any formal readout yet. But all the conditions are there for some kind of positive, or at least a reasonable outcome.
LEMON: Did you think that you would ever see a sitting U.S. President meeting with a North Korean Leader in a summit like this?
LAVIN: Well, that's quite a surprise, I have to say. I don't -- I don't think we would have seen it move so rapidly. Usually as these things are staged, Don, you would go through a series of ministerial level discussion, a series of staff level discussions, and some of this had taken place. Pompeo did go to North Korea. They have been talks with the U.S., but this is a rather accelerated timeframe that I think caught everybody by surprise.
LEMON: Yes. As I mentioned in the introduction to you, that you were responsible, Ambassador, for planning the Reagan-Gorbachev on summit in Reykjavik over nuclear arms. They met multiple times. Do you see any similarities here?
LAVIN: Yes. I think so. I think both sides have to be a little forward leaning, Don. I think you are saying there is a little bit of a potential risk or potential cost if you're going to sit down face- to-face with an adversary. Because there can be reputation damage, the whole thing can blow up, and you can go down the wrong path.
So you have to be a little bit sure of yourself, and be willing to take that extra step toward peace. So I think I would give Trump credit for this, and I give Kim credit for this, too. Now Kim's a bit painted into a corner, so maybe he doesn't have a choice. But it's to both of their credit that they're willing to take this extra step.
LEMON: So I think you're talking about competence here. Do you think the President's competence is -- in his deal making, is that an asset or liability? Sounds like you're saying it's an asset so far.
LAVIN: Yes. Look, I think it helps him set the right tone. I don't think Kim would be in the room unless China was putting pressure on them, and the United States were putting pressure on them, unless they had real genuine concern that the U.S. was going to keep those economic sanctions in place.
So it's that -- it's that posture of Trump I think that got Kim in the room. But now, to your point, Trump has to be able to, I think, work within a system, look to Pompeo, and Bolton, and Kelly, and the whole international policy structure that we've got with the U.S. side to come out with the right kind of outcome. So the details of this remain to be seen. And that's where Trump really, to my mind, should rely more on his team, and less of his personal impetus.
LEMON: Let's talk about some of the other players here, Ambassador. How important are the other players in the summit, South Korea, China, Japan, Singapore?
LAVIN: Don, I think you are absolutely vital, if you're going to get some kind of sustainable out come, you need -- the United States needs to have its allies on board in this, not just because Japan and South Korea share the same security concerns the U.S. has.
[23:10:05] South Korea even more accurately, but South Korea also has enormous psychological attachment to Korean unification, and to what some kind of -- some kind of comity with North Korea means. This is central to their identity. So there's got to be a mechanism of the U.S. showing leadership here, that were showing leadership, and working with our allies.
And I would say flanking all of this is China. That China doesn't have to be 100 percent on board to what the United States was doing, but it better not be 100 percent opposed. And if it is adamantly opposed to what we are doing, it's unlikely that this will be sustainable as well.
So it behooves the United States as these talks come to an end that we, the U.S. undertakes outreach activities in Tokyo, and Seoul, and Beijing to give them a readout, to make sure they know where we are going to try to build some kind of a consensus. So we're all moving somewhat in lock step.
LEMON: Ambassador, listen, it is no secret that the President wanted this badly, and reportedly those around him said he did. You could see it in his body language, some of the things he said as he was out on the road with some of his supporters just through his actions. How does President Trump's ambition come into play? Because he was eager to have this historic summit.
LAVIN: Yes, I think you have to guard against this. There's a potential pit fall there, Don. I think your information is correct that if you look too eager, all you're really doing is raising the price. And Kim and North Korea is very adept at raising the price for activity.
This is why to my mind, Trump did exactly the right thing in sending Kim that friendly, but very tough note two weeks ago to say that the Singapore summit is off because you guys are missing meetings, you're insulting my vice president, and so we'll put it off.
But he said -- he made a positive statement about Kim, a personal statement but he said we're not going to meet. So the point is you have to be able to tell North Korea you're willing to walk away from the table. Once they figure that out, that you're not always going to walk toward them, you want to walk away as well, then they come back to earth in terms of what their demands are.
LEMON: I don't now if this is -- you know, you can't say that this is normal or usual, but I'm wondering if, you know, with President Trump and Kim, they had a one-on-one meeting with just their translators in the room. That is unusual. Does that concern you?
LAVIN: No. Look, I think that went all right. First of all, it was 45 minutes long, and when every single word has to be translated, it's actually a 20-some minute meeting. So it's not an extensive discussion.
It strikes me that all they're doing in 20 minutes of talk is establishing a tone, I think, making general statements about what their vision is for Korea, what their vision is for the U.S. role for the nuclear policy.
Then why I'm not concerned about that, Don, is because immediately afterward, the two leaders go right to a general session of four-on- four, and the first thing you do in those general session issue, recapitulate what just took place to the one-on-one.
So the very first thing they are going to say as soon as they sit down is to restate what happened. So if there is an odd statement, or a digression, an anomaly, this will come out in the wash during the larger meeting.
LEMON: Ambassador, A complicated big story, and you have boiled it down into terms that everyone can understand. And I appreciate you joining us here on CNN. It's been very valuable. Thank you, sir.
LAVIN: Don, thanks so much. It's been fun.
LEMON: Yes. When we come back, much more on our breaking news tonight. The historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, and how it could rearrange the global balance of power.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Here's our breaking news. The historic summit underway right now in Singapore as President Trump meets face-to-face with Kim Jong- un, a meeting that could change the global balance of power.
I want to bring in CNN Political Analyst Carl Bernstein, also CNN Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley. So good to have both of you on. Good evening to you. Douglas, I'm going to start with -- this is a really big historic day. Put it to context of our presidential summits, how high of stakes is this one?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Very high stakes. It means a lot for Donald Trump. He's been a bully on the world stage. We saw that over the weekend, how he treated Canada and Trudeau. But it's bringing a result here, you know. Remember Ronald Reagan in the 1980s used to talk about Mr. Gorbachev, turn down the wall, and called Russia the evil empire.
Donald Trump was all about little rocket man. And there they are today. And they had not just a meet and greet plus one. That plus one was the genial atmosphere we've been watching tonight. But it seems to be the Singapore process that's taking hold.
It's the beginning of a long and arduous negotiation, but the vital signs looked good tonight. I think it's a big deal. And Donald Trump really acting not like a president recently, but more of a track to diplomacy practitioner, meaning the John the Baptist of this was Dennis Rodman, and people like Jimmy Carter, Bill Richardson, where you kind of ignore conventional wisdom, ignore what the State Department, and foreign policy professionals say, and go with your gut, and try to arrange a one-on-one talk for peace.
LEMON: I want to talk about the G-7 summit in Canada, if will you, Doug. The senior European diplomat from a country with the President at that G-7 meeting said the conversations with President Trump were very intense, and difficult. What's your takeaway from this, this weekend's diplomatic shake-up?
BRINKLEY: Disastrous for the United States. You know, Barack Obama in 2009, his first foreign visit was to Canada when he said, you know, I love Canada, how much we love this country, honored U.S.-Canadian relations. We have the world's longest most peaceful border.
What a great friend and neighbor we have, and here Donald Trump seemed to stick a finger in their eye, unleashing his advisers to, you know, belittle Navarro and Kudlow, who I'm sorry to hear had a heart attack tonight, but they were sort of unleashed to trash Canada. That's not a good diplomatic mode.
I mean, Kim, who we're dealing with now is a murderous dictator, a thug, but he has nuclear weapons, we have to deal with them. But Canada's our great friend, and so are our European allies, and I think Donald Trump needed to act more like a states person than kind of like a playground, you know, wounded bully.
LEMON: Yes. So back to Singapore now. The truth is, Douglas, is that President Trump's moves on North Korea are very popular with the American public. A Quinnipiac poll last week found 72 percent of Americans approved of the President's meeting with Kim Jong-un and the President surely knows that, doesn't he?
[23:20:05] BRINKLEY: Absolutely. And that is the big thing here. This is a big political risk, and a chess move for Donald Trump. You know, he's going to head into the midterms here in November, you know, this fall saying I've got a great economy, Wall Street's going great.
But in foreign policy, it's been a lot of bluff and bluster. People in the world don't really like Donald Trump. But if he could pull something out of this, even something cultural exchange, basketball diplomacy, dance troupes, consulates, you know, between our two countries, you know, just something that would make people upbeat.
You know, tonight, Don, I was thinking about our U.S. troops, I mean we have 29,000 soldiers in South Korea. They must be able to breathe easier. The whole world can for at least this blinking moment here while there seems to be an unlikelihood of a nuclear showdown or ICBM square-off in the Pacific.
LEMON: Well, there was certainly some concern about the President's mood after leaving early from the G-7 summit. But let's -- since I'm talking about this, let's put up this photo. It's this photo that might sum up the G-7 best.
Do you think that this image will go down as one of the truly iconic photos of the Trump presidency with everyone there sort of standing over the president, looking as if they're trying to convince him, especially Angela Merkel there of Germany?
BRINKLEY: Yes. And Merkel seems to be aghast at Donald Trump, and seems to be in a scolding mode. But, you know, Donald Trump likes to always say everything is great, and warm, and fantastic, and you know, even though he was being reprimanded, and clearly he's a smart enough man to know they weren't happy with his potentially starting a trade war with our closest allies, you know, he makes the mistake of not knowing history.
And why Merkel's important, what Germany means to the United States, what incredible friends Canada, Japan, Great Britain, and France are. And the one thing you never do is belittle your friend, or your allies, and he did that. So he's become the odd man out.
And what made it stranger is why he's seeming to be mocking Canada, and our European allies, he's praising Vladimir Putin, saying they should be brought back in, and now he's with Kim. He always seems to gravitate to the dictators, the authoritarian figures, the people that, you know, pound their chest the most, instead of understanding the beauty of our democratic, constitutional society, and what freedom is, and what human rights mean.
And I'll be curious if he even mentioned with Kim, you know, human rights at all today. My one part of tonight that really makes me a little hesitant is that private meeting with Trump and Kim because there was no tape recorder going, and we won't get a transcript of it.
And that could lead to big disagreements. You know, FDR didn't allow people to take meetings. It became what it free and fair elections in Europe. And I'm worried about verification process, what Trump may have on an off-the-cuff comment send to him, that will create a kind of disagreement later over in language.
LEMON: Yes, we'll certainly know as it plays out in Singapore in the coming days. Thank you, Douglas Brinkley. I appreciate that. Sorry for the technical difficulties with Carl Bernstein. We wanted to hear from him on this. Unfortunately, we could not.
Thanks to both gentlemen. When we come back, President Trump about to begin a working lunch with Kim Jong-un. Any minute now, we're going to go live to Singapore. And the stakes for this meeting are incredibly high. How did the President prepare for it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've been preparing all my life. I always believe in preparation, but I've been preparing all my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Is that enough when this is a deal that could make the world safer?
[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Here is the breaking news, the historic summit happening in Singapore right now. President Trump is sitting down face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. I want to go to CNN's Anderson Cooper in Singapore. Anderson has been there throughout this summit covering for us. Anderson, any moment now Trump and Kim Jong-un, they're going to move into this so-called working lunch with other members of the American and North Korean delegations. What can you tell us about it?
COOPER: And that group is going to get a little bit larger. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is going to join, among others. You know, the question remains, Don, as we've been talking about really all evening long, all morning, what is going to come out of this, what sort of communique, what kind of joint statement, or declaration is going to be made, how much detail is there going to be in that.
We haven't really gotten those details yet. Of course, that's something that the U.S. and North Korean officials have been working on even before today to try to figure out the path forward. Both leaders expressing a desire to have a path forward, which is probably the most significant thing that can come out of today, which is obviously what makes this meeting so historic.
LEMON: You know, they send out the White House all of this information, including who the delegations were on both the U.S. and the North Korean side. But as we know, Kim Jong-un is -- has a propensity for exotic foods, and we have the menu here, Anderson.
It says they're going to start with traditional prawns, cocktails, serve with avocado salad, green mango caribou with honey lime dressing, and fresh octopus. It goes down with oyster and Korean stuff, cucumber, haagen-dazs, vanilla ice cream, and cherry coulis, all kinds of stuff there. So they're certainly going to be well fed, so to speak, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. You're making me hungry there, Don. But...
LEMON: I didn't even mention the beef short ribs either.
COOPER: Wow, there you go. Yes, I mean, you know, it's -- again, it's just the continuation of as much face time as possible between these two leaders, and also between their counterpart, you know, sitting across the table, sharing food.
You know, the most important meeting according, you know, to most observers was the face-to-face between these two leaders, and then you had this bilateral meeting, and then you move into the working lunch.
So, there's certainly a lot of details to be hammered out which probably were not gotten into in the face-to-face between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. And this is just yet another opportunity to try to build some bridges, to try to figure out what that path forward is.
LEMON: Anderson Cooper is covering this historic summit there for us in Singapore. Anderson, thank you. We will get back to you.
Now, I want to bring in Jonathan Wachtel. He is a former director of communications at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, CNN National Security Analyst Samantha Vinograd and Global Affairs Analyst Max Boot, also CNN Contributor, Michael D'Antonio, who is the author of "The Truth About Trump."
Now that I made everyone hungry here, let's talk about a little more substance and maybe we will get back to the menu. But certainly, the White House now is sending out who the delegations were and also what's for lunch at the summit. So, good evening. Welcome to all of you.
Michael, you know, you spent a lot of time talking to and studying President Trump. You said that he believes a force of his personality is enough to shape the world. Talk to us about that.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think he definitely believes that. At this moment, who are we to argue with the idea that Trump is shaping the world and so is Kim? So we have these two men who very much wanted the photo opportunity. They got it.
They got the world cameras focused on them and clicking away and then they went into their meeting. I believe both men also imagine that their personal rapport is very important. So, no matter how you judge the president's motivations, he got to this point. So that's a good thing, I guess.
LEMON: Well, listen, Max, I mean, I think Michael is right there. Both these gentlemen have quirky personalities so to speak, and they like the spotlight. They like the attention. So far garnering, given the number of news people who are there, how this is being broadcast around the world, both of them are certainly getting something out of it, Max.
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: There's no question that the spectacle, you have to give it a 10, which is what they're both interested in, because for Kim Jong-un, this television drama with him appearing is an equal to president of the United States, legitimates him back home, increases his stature in the eyes of his own people and helps to buttress his regime.
And of course for Donald Trump, it does something similar. I mean, this is a president who despite the positive economy and mass of (ph) scandal, he's coming from a disastrous summit in which he blew up at the prime minister of Canada, and so he does really needs a win here. And just on the optics, obviously they're hugely positive. The eyes of the entire world are riveted on the summit, as Donald Trump knew that they would be.
But, you know, I enjoyed hearing the list of the menu items. What I'm really hungry for is some substance here because the glitz is great but this is like having ice cream before you get the main meal. I want something nourishing here. And Kim Jong-un has to deliver denuclearization in a verifiable and irreversible manner as Trump and Pompeo and others have demanded.
And, you know, maybe we're going to be surprised, but there are no indications whatsoever leading up to the summit that he will in fact do this. And in fact, there's been a downsizing of the expectations from everybody concerned.
LEMON: Yeah. Well said. Sam, you're shaking your head. You agree you want to see some substance as well?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURIT ANALYST: I do, but I want to bring it back to the menu for a second, not just because I am hungry, but because typically the White House releases these kinds of details after, after for example, the French president comes to White House or another head of state comes for a state visit.
So, by releasing the details of the menu, this is again legitimatizing Kim Jong-un and putting him on equal footing with other world leaders, which is what he wants. And I really want to stress here that this working lunch is perfunctory at this juncture.
If Sarah Sanders is in the room, if we have the press secretary there, they are not diving into the kind of classified details that are going to lead to the substance that Max is referencing. And so that makes me think that we are going to have more of a general communique come out of this.
LEMON: I want to know what you have to say about this, Jonathan, because in the room, obviously the president's secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, General John Kelly who is the assistant to the president's chief of staff, Ambassador John Bolton, Sarah Sanders, Ambassador Sung Kim and Mr. Matthew Pottinger.
So what do you say to that? She says that it is perfunctory, especially if you have someone like Sarah Sanders in the room. Do you agree with that?
JONATHAN WACHTEL, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, U.S. MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, there is a perfunctory aspect to it. I mean, you can't anticipate that you're going to achieve so much so quickly. You know, all this is going to be ironed out in the months and years ahead as they actually go into the verification issues and other things should the summit all work out and we head in that direction.
So, yes, of course, you're not going to get as Max alluded to, a fulfilling of that food in terms of substance at this point. Really, it's actually a good thing that you have a broader perspective on things now that you're not getting into the nitty gritty.
[23:34:57] That, you know, you can't have the president of the United States sit down with the leader of a rogue state and immediately start, you know, working out the details right there and then. They're going to have to, you know, work something out in terms of finding some rapport as we saw that, you know, some of the pictures so far have been pretty positive.
We've heard some sense that there's a will to actually get something down here, but it's going to take time. One particularly interesting thing about the menu is I was thinking as you were reading all that out, Don, the North Korean people, if they knew what is being dished out there, they can't even imagine the types of foods that you've rolled off your tongue.
LEMON: Right, because they just don't -- it's a poor country and because of Kim Jong-un himself and his family. Again, you're right. Beef short ribs, combination of sweet and sour crispy pork, Yangzhou (ph) fried rice, soy braised cod fish. I mean, that sounds really yummy and very expensive, by the way.
Listen, I want to talk about this and perhaps I'll get the answer on the other side of the break. Do you remember when it was revealed what President Obama told President Trump what his greatest challenge would be? Is this president taking care of that? Is he following the direction from the former president?
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump meeting right now with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, but America's traditional allies are reeling from the way the president treated them at the G7 summit over the weekend.
Back with me now is Jonathan Wachtel, Samantha Vinograd, Max Boot, and Michael D'Antonio. Also joining us now, CNN Political Analyst, Carl Bernstein. Carl, I'm so glad that you can be with us. I want to get your assessment on this. Let me just give you the new reporting here that we are getting in to CNN.
It says North Koreans officials who negotiate in the summit logistics with U.S. counterparts were very conscious about the optics of presenting the U.S. and North Korea on level footing, a U.S. official involved in the discussion said.
And then also goes on to say that the images of the six U.S. and six North Korean flags in the background of the Trump-Kim handshake will undoubtedly be used by North Korean propaganda to suggest that the U.S. and North Korea are on level footing. What do you say to that, Carl Bernstein?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's true. I think they can use it for propaganda purposes. But at the same time, I think we have to look at this as an extraordinary development that Donald Trump has been partly responsible for bringing about. And the one thing we know about Donald Trump is that he does drama, he does spectacle, and that's what this is, as was what occurred in Canada over the weekend. A horrible spectacle. Trump at his worst, dishonest, lying.
And now we see the kind of spectacle that he wants, that elevates him, that brings him the adulation he hopes that he believes he deserves. There's a long way to go. But could this be Trump's Nixon in China? Again, we don't know yet. We got to see the details. But with Nixon in China, it was a great accomplishment.
And at the same time, Richard Nixon remained Richard Nixon, a criminal president of the United States from the day he took office until the day he left. I don't think we can expect Donald Trump to change his stripes. We are seeing a tapestry in which Canada and this summit are all part of the same stage, staged by the same dramatist.
And I don't think we can expect to see much change in Donald Trump, especially in regard to moving towards Vladimir Putin, towards lying about the investigation that are ongoing. And at the same time, he is playing not just to his to base here, but he is also playing perhaps to some people. He has not been able to get the support with this summit in Singapore.
LEMON: I want to talk a little bit more because I don't know if we made the point. You made a very good point in the break because I think, Sam, some people may think, you know, he's talking about the menu. But you made a very good point why that is so important. Because?
VINOGRAD: There are an estimated 18 million North Koreans, according to the United Nations, that don't have enough food every day. So Kim Jong-un is dining alongside Donald Trump on really tasty stuff, we all love these other items or delicacies, while his people are starving.
And I think that brings up the larger point that Kim Jong-un isn't just a bad actor because of his nuclear weapons. I hope that Donald Trump is successful in getting him to denuclearize. Human rights (INAUDIBLE) cyber threats.
Our intelligence community has judged that North Korea, China, Iran and Russia are the biggest cyber threats to the United States. There's a range of other activities that I hope Donald Trump either raised today or that this conversation serves as a foundation for addressing them.
LEMON: Let's talk about the point, Michael, that was raised before the break. In their conversation before President Obama left office, Obama warned Trump that North Korea would be the greatest challenge of his presidency. Do you think from that moment the desire for a grand deal was planted in President Trump's mind? Is this about making history here, you think?
D'ANGELO: Well, in some ways, I think that is true although President Trump when he was businessman Donald Trump talked about North Korea in the 1990s. He actually talked with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the danger of waiting more years, five years more and then five years more and how much more difficult it would be. So he obviously had a sense of the threat that North Korea posed.
But in that moment with Obama, if you recall the photos from his meetings at the White House, it was probably the most sober period of his transition. And he was almost shocked that he had won the best reporting coming from the Trump camp indicated that he didn't expect to win.
And so was back on his heels. He offered words of respect to Obama and I think he would have taken this advice to heart. And it was an opportunity. President Obama was pointing him in the right direction.
[23:45:00] LEMON: Yeah. I want to talk about the G7 summit. We'll do it on the other side of the break and will get Jonathan and Max in there. We'll be right back.
LEMON: Back now with our breaking news, this historic summit underway right now between Kim Jong-un and also President Trump. I want to bring in now, CNN's Jim Sciutto live for us in Singapore.
Jim, can you take us behind the scenes a little bit and how the press is covering this, especially the Korean press, the North Korean press, and who's documenting this for Kim Jong-un?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Let me tell you, you know, we often say that President Trump likes spectacle, likes to manage the message. But Kim Jong-un will give him a run for his money on that. This is enormous.
[23:50:00] Of course, the media in North Korea works for the government. It is state media. You don't have independent press there. But, boy, do they document every move of the supreme leader. Enormous number of cameras, cars fitted to allow the cameraman to peek out the top to video the convoy as it is moving.
And that's not just for fun to fill the evening news. That is because at home, this is an important message, important symbolism for him to show, because you have the North Korean leader treated on an equal footing with the American president, something that Kim, his father Kim Jong-il and his grandfather all sought, never got.
And now he has that today. And it goes right down to the smallest details. Our White House colleagues reporting that the North Koreans were very interested in being on that equal footing and having symbols of that equal footing, an equal number, for instance, of U.S. and North Korean flags behind that now famous handshake between Trump and Kim.
There's a lot of history there, Don. This goes back to negotiations at the demilitarized zone on the Korean Peninsula. There used to long battles over how tall the flag poles were carrying each flag. That matters to them and that gives an enormous amount of face and power to this North Korean leader. LEMON: All right. Jim Sciutto in Singapore. Jim, we'll get back to you. Thank you very much. Back again, Jonathan Wachtel, Samantha Vinograd, Max Boot, Michael D'Antonio, and Carl Bernstein. So, Jonathan, the president is facing criticism from fellow Republicans for the turmoil he unleashed at the G7 summit. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Seems like the president loves infuriating our friends and befriending our folks who've been our natural opposition. So, that's just who he is.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: That is completely unhelpful. The alliance is strong enough to withstand this disagreement, this unacceptable rhetoric, but it does not advance the cause.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Back now live. We want to get you back to Singapore before we address that. Let's go there. Leaving this working lunch now, if we can put the pictures. Do we have that? OK, we lost the shot. But again, several events happening there in this long bilateral meeting and now they're going to that working lunch that we mentioned that would be obviously both with North Korean and U.S. officials there.
Let's get back to our panel now. That kind of rebuke is rare, Jonathan, that we heard from the lawmakers in Washington.
WACHTEL: Yeah, I mean, we were all pretty surprised to hear the exchange between Trudeau and President Trump, especially after there was an expectation that a communique was going to be worked through and announced and everything was hunky-dory with that meeting. Unfortunately the president felt differently.
LEMON: What do you say to that? Let's bring in Max. Max, what do you think of that?
BOOT: I think it's appalling, Don, that the president of the United States has kinder words for Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un than he does for the prime minister of Canada, our friend neighbor in the north, our friend and our ally.
It's appalling and it's really indicative of his long-held world view which is that our allies and trading partners are ripping us off in Donald Trump's estimation. And so, you know, we need to break up our trading relationships, we need to impose tariffs, we need to get different terms from our allies for military protection.
And at the same time, he's eager to reach out to dictators so, you know, trying to get Vladimir Putin back to the G8 at the same time as, you know, his aides are saying that the prime minister of Canada has a special place in hell reserved for him.
I mean, we have never truly heard this kind of language used by any American official against the leader of an allied nation. I mean, this is unprecedented and I fear that in the long run, this may be more significant than the summit that we are seeing here in North Korea with the North Korean leader, whatever comes out of that.
The basis of American power is our relationships with allies, and Donald Trump is placing that in jeopardy.
LEMON: I want to put some pictures up now. This is the working lunch, a couple of pictures we have from Singapore now. They're headed into the room for the working lunch.
In that working lunch of course will be the U.S. delegation which includes the president, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, General John Kelly, assistant to the president obviously, chief of staff, Ambassador John Bolton, Sarah Sanders, and Ambassador Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines. Also, you can see the president right there. Can we hear him?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beautiful. I think we are done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to hear what the president is saying. Let's re-roll that and see if we can listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
[23:55:12] TRUMP: Very nice. Getting a good picture of everybody. Nice and handsome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beautiful.
TRUMP: Perfect. Thank you very much. Please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So I think from what I heard, he said, we got a beautiful picture of everyone, so I can look nice and handsome and thin. I think that's -- is that what you got from?
VINOGRAD: He wanted a photo-op, literally.
LEMON: So a photo-op, you say.
VINOGRAD: He did. I think what this shows is we have ourselves a North Korea model. If you're a sadistic dictator, you get to push the envelope on proliferation and other illegal activity, you get to show off and have a really nice lunch with the president of the United States.
BERNSTEIN: Let's look at one other aspect.
LEMON: Hang on, Carl. I'll get you in. Michael, quickly and then Carl.
BERNSTEIN: Sure, sorry.
D'ANTONIO: I think we're seeing that in some ways North Korea is reshaping the world more than the United States. We have America losing friends because the president is pushing them away. And we have North Korea being brought into the warm embrace of the United States. So, when we observe this, we have to think that there's a bigger shift afoot here than just the photo-op indicates.
LEMON: Go ahead, Carl.
BERNSTEIN: It's the juxtaposition of the two events, so extraordinary. What we saw in Canada is the absolute disdain and contempt that the president of the United States has for the western alliance, for the greatest alliance of modern times that has brought the modern world and particularly the west so much.
And now he is willing to blast it apart. And at the same time, we see him courting dictators, courting Putin, courting the leader of North Korea.
Look, it makes some great sense to come to an agreement with North Korea if it can be done, but they can be done at once to have a real alliance with our traditional friends and not to declare war on those who had gone the hard distance with the United States over the past 75 years. They should be with us in all these endeavors.
Instead, we have a president who hates and this contempt that he has for Merkel, for the leader of the United Kingdom, for the Canadians, for the French, it's extraordinary.
BERNSTEIN: It's inexplicable in terms of anything that has to do with traditional values that American presidents have shared.
LEMON: And the idea that an American president would have a week when he had tougher words, Jonathan, for North Korea -- tougher words with Canada, right, rather than for North Korea, that would have been unfathomable before this.
WACHTEL: One thing that we have to remember though, Trudeau is the representative of the Liberal Party in Canada. We had Harper before who saw the world in some ways as Republican, for instance, in the United States. Trudeau is, you know, going to espouse liberal ideas, ideas that the president will not like from the onset.
LEMON: Does that matter with an ally, whether it is Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative? Does that matter?
WACHTEL: Your point is well taken that, you know, we have a wonderful relationship with Canada that we need to preserve and love and enjoy, and we need to move forward and try to set our differences aside.
But he looks at Trudeau presumably as yet another Democrat, a liberal Democrat who is espousing ideas that are an aftermath to what he believes in.
LEMON: Max, do you want to weigh in on that?
BOOT: Well, I mean, if you actually see what's happening in Canada, the conservative opposition is rallying behind Prime Minister Trudeau because they see what Donald Trump is doing. It's not just an insult to the prime minister but it is an insult to the entire nation of Canada that he is all of a sudden labeled a national security threat.
And just the sense of hurt that I see from the Canadians, to me, is very hurtful to me because, you know, I've been out there with the Canadians in Afghanistan. I know that they've lost 159 soldiers fighting alongside American troops in a NATO mission in Afghanistan and now to be treated this way.
What Donald Trump is doing is he is uniting all Canadians, liberals and conservatives, against him. And he is doing the same thing in Germany. He is doing the same thing in France.
I mean, there's a survey that came out that only 14 percent of Germans now view the United States as a reliable ally. That is a shocking development. And that's really the -- could spark the end of the western alliance which we've depended upon since 1945.
LEMON: Quick, just a few seconds. I will give you the last words.
VINOGRAD: Calibration is king. The president could be upset with Justin Trudeau and pick up the phone and say he is disappointed. The president could have a summit with Kim Jong-un and not serve him (INAUDIBLE). It's all about calibration.
[24:00:00] LEMON: Thank you, all. I appreciate you joining us. That's it for us tonight. I will see you right back here tomorrow. Our live coverage of the Trump-Kim summit continues now with Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper, who is live in Singapore.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN JOURNALIST AND ANCHOR: All right, Don, thank you very much. I am Chris Cuomo.