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President Obama Meeting With Potential Presidential Contenders; Trump Set to Meet With Kim Jong-un. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM GERAGHTY, "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": What I don't like -- and I think a lot of people see it -- that, sometimes, Twitter enforces the rules, sometimes, it doesn't.
It gets very kind of ad hoc, arbitrary basis. And you have this nagging feeling, a sense of like, well, wait a second, you enforced the rule against that person, you didn't enforce it against that.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Right.
GERAGHTY: So, again, I don't think Twitter is -- I'm not surprised that Jack would do something like that. I think it's just -- it's pouring more fuel onto the fire of a very angry online community on Twitter.
BALDWIN: Yes. Yes.
Jim Geraghty, thanks for weighing in. Good to see you.
GERAGHTY: Good to see you.
BALDWIN: We continue right along on this Monday afternoon. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me.
I am here in New York City, alongside my colleague John Berman who is very in Singapore all where the whole world will be watching for this unprecedented handshake between two unprecedented world leaders here.
You have President Trump and, of course, North Korea's Kim Jong-un meeting face to face for the very first time. This summit will be a one-on-one affair, at least, we're told, at the beginning. No one else except their translators will actually be in the room.
And talks, John Berman, we're hearing, are moving faster than expected.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Faster than expected.
Very careful language from the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and then put out an official statement by the White House, which said discussions with this working group between the United States and North Korea are going more quickly than expected. But that's very different than better than expected. We don't know if these talks are going well. There are some signals that U.S. negotiators are realizing it might be hard to push North Korea towards specifics.
And the specifics here really, really count. So, that's fascinating, that language. And on the subject of fascinating, what we have seen over the last few hours -- and it's nighttime here in Singapore -- what we have seen has been remarkable, this surreal spectacle, with Kim Jong-un taking this surprise late-night walkabout, along with his entourage, this motorcade tour of the city.
And Kim -- you can see it right here -- was met by crowds and cheers in some places, cheering this man who is a brutal dictator. The foreign minister of Singapore, he was along with him in some cases. He posted a selfie with the hashtag "Guess where?"
That same official, the foreign minister, attended an early birthday celebration for President Trump. President Trump turned 72 on Thursday. Kim is 34 years old, we think. The official version on that is a little bit unreliable.
The meantime, now, I guess for we're, what -- we're six hours away from the likely handshake between these two leaders. We have been told that Kim has been preparing for months. The president, who promised us he is prepared, says he's going to work on instinct, feel and touch.
And if all that is not enough to wrap your mind around, the self- appointed sport ambassador, Dennis Rodman, arrived in Singapore just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: It's fair just to say that both of them will just see what -- this meeting is going to go. So, it should go fairly well.
But people, though, should not expect so much for the first time. So, hopefully, like I said, the door is opening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Now, despite the fact that they Kim has actually met with Dennis Rodman before, there's no indication that Rodman will be involved in anything that's going to go on here over the next several hours.
There are serious discussions at play.
Joining me now, CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson and CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
Ivan, I want to start with you with this remarkable tour, this surprise tour, because we didn't know it was going to happen, that Kim Jong-un took around Singapore just a few hours ago. IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
I mean, this is a pretty big deal. He was touring at that hotel behind you, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, escorted by two cabinet ministers from the Singaporean government, and posed for what may be the first ever selfie photo of Kim Jong-un that was taken by both ministers and then posted online.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, yes, people were cheering for Kim Jong-un. They were welcoming him, the bystanders. And this is all the more striking when you consider North Korea's dismal human rights record, the fact that he's accused of executing his own uncle, of ordering the assassination last year of his half-brother in an airport in neighboring Malaysia with V.X. nerve agent, charges, of course, that the North Koreans have since denied.
But getting almost a rock star's welcome here in Singapore on one of his first few visits as leader of North Korea out of the country, and also exuding confidence and calm hours before his face-to-face meeting with President Trump.
Now, we also know that there were working group meetings, John, between the Americans and the North Koreans at a hotel in the run-up to that meeting. We have also heard that 9:00 a.m. meeting local time here in Singapore between the two leaders, it will be followed by a working lunch, by a bilateral meeting.
And the White House says that President Trump will leave later at night from Singapore, suggesting that there could not be an extension of the summit additional days, as the Trump administration had previously hinted -- John.
BERMAN: All right, thanks, Ivan. Stand by for good -- with -- just one moment here.
Christiane, we saw Kim toward the city looking like he was having the time of his life. He looked very happy.
It gets to his state of mind as he goes into this meeting just six hours from now. You spoke to the prime minister here in Singapore, who also has a sense of Kim's state of mind. What did he tell you?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he does.
And to echo what Ivan just said, he thinks that he's a confident young man, that he's come here to, A, be legitimized on the international stage -- let's not forget that -- as a nuclear state, as a reclusive leader, all those things that Ivan was just saying about him.
He is going to get the photo-op of a lifetime with the most powerful leader in the world, the president of the United States. And he has given nothing yet. And it's going to be very, very interesting to see, because the prime minister and many believe that Kim is willing to make some kind of a historic shift.
But other analysts, while they believe that, that he wants to lift the sanctions, he wants to bring economic renewal, he wants to be a respected leader around the region and a member of the international community, does that mean he wants to give up his nuclear weapons, certainly, the ones he already has, the intercontinental ballistic missiles he already has?
And if he does eventually, it's certainly not going to happen at this meeting, obviously. We know that. But even the idea of giving them up is at least 10 to 15 years away, according to all the major American experts.
And so, what is the best that can happen here? Perhaps, for President Trump, a declaration that the North Koreans are willing to take that shift, are willing to denuclearize. But you can't overemphasize the disparity between what each side means by that.
BERMAN: Oh, sure, yes, willingness someday to do it, with plans that are yet to be determined.
And to that point, Christiane, what do you make of the fact that the meeting at first will be a one-on-one, with just President Trump and Kim and their translators, no one else in the room? What does that mean for the version of history that we will see there?
AMANPOUR: Well, I pushed Ambassador Joseph Yun on that, as you know. And you have spoken to him. He's the previous American envoy on North Korean affairs. He resigned earlier in the year.
He actually thinks that's not a good idea. He hopes very, very, very much that there is either the secretary of state in the room or another senior official. He hopes that the North Koreans will have a senior official as well, because if the two leaders say -- who knows what they might say?
But what do they say when they come out? And will that be recorded in history? And does one then contradict the other and all that kind of stuff?
So I think that is viewed by the experts as difficult and not a good thing, if they going talk nitty-gritty. If it's just a handshake, it's just a handshake.
BERMAN: And that's what we don't know at this point, if it is just a handshake.
BERMAN: That may be the biggest thing to come out of this giant spectacle here.
Christiane Amanpour, great to have you with us. Appreciate it.
AMANPOUR: Thanks, John.
BALDWIN: All of this just beyond fascinating. John and Christiane, thank you.
Let's drill down a little bit more on this meeting.
With me, Bruce Klingner. He's the former CIA deputy division chief for Korea.
And, Bruce, couple questions for you. Number one, what do you -- for the summit, what do you expect the president to demand?
BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, certainly, CVID is the major issue.
And that's really what the whole meeting is revolving around. Back in April, he said it would be easy just to have a meeting where we claim success because establishing a relationship, but he wanted to get the nuclear weapons.
Since then, we have watered down that requirement. And I think now is the White House is defining success is if they establish a good relationship and have enough progress to justify follow-on summits or at least meetings and negotiations.
BALDWIN: What about on the other side?
What do you expect Kim to insist upon?
KLINGNER: Well, I think -- I think Kim will be coming in with a big package deal. He wants denuclearization according to North Korean terms, which are different from U.S. terms, in return for normalization of relations, easing of sanctions, and having a peace declaration or a peace treaty, which could create momentum for reducing U.S. forces on the peninsula.
BALDWIN: Listening to the president before he left Washington last week, he was saying that he didn't have to prepare too terribly much for this meeting because this is all about attitude.
I mean, what do you think is the biggest curveball he should be preparing for?
KLINGNER: Really, there are a lot of the devils in the details or road mines on the road to success here.
Because the North Koreans define things differently -- denuclearization for them is not unilateral disarmament, as the U.S. thought they meant -- but really it's global arms control. As a self- professed member of the nuclear club, they will go to zero when everyone else goes to zero.
Even the Korean Peninsula, they define as anything that impacts or influences it, including our bombers, our strategic bombers in Guam. A peace treaty sounds good. Who can be against peace? But if you sign a treaty,it removes the basis for United Nations command, though no impact directly on U.S. forces. But it would create a mood of the war's over, why not bring the boys home from Korea?
BALDWIN: Lastly, the words from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying that Trump would be leaving earlier than expected, why would -- why would they announce that now?
Do you think that that's all part of the strategy?
KLINGNER: Well, right now, we're really parsing words. We're only six hours away from the big game, the Singapore smackdown, let's get ready to rumble.
BALDWIN: But the pregame matters, right?
KLINGNER: Exactly. We're all making our predictions.
But we're now parsing words as to whether it means it's a positive preparations or negative. So, really, we're kind of in a wait-and-see mode right now.
BALDWIN: All right, Bruce Klingner, thank you so much.
KLINGNER: Thank you.
BALDWIN: We are fascinated by the big game.
As President Trump sits down with his longtime enemy North Korea, he is hurling insults at some of America's closest allies. We will talk about why his attacks on the Canadian prime minister are so unprecedented.
Also ahead, President Obama making news, secretly meeting with Democrats hoping to run in 2020. Find out who he's talking to and why this has been so hush-hush.
And, later, a pizza delivery man arrested and threatened to be deported when he tried to deliver an order to a military base. We will talk to the lawyer who just helped him get a stay in the case.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
BALDWIN: We're right. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
As the world counts down to this historic meeting between the United States and North Korea, we cannot forget the state of President Trump's relationships with his key allies.
His weekend G7 summit in Canada may have even more long-term consequences than what happens in Singapore. What was to be a meeting of friends turned out it was anything but.
The president hit Twitter after leaving the G7 summit, lashing out at all allies in this ill-tempered tweetstorm, called the Canadian prime minister -- quote -- "very dishonest and weak," this after Justin Trudeau held a news conference saying that Canada was insulted by planned U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Trump further stunned allies by refusing to sign this document agreed to by every other member of the G7.
I want you to listen as to Trump aides joined the attack on Trudeau. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump, and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.
President Trump did the courtesy to Justin Trudeau to travel up to Quebec for that summit. He did him a favor. And he was even willing to sign that socialist communique.
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: He really kind of stabbed us in the back. He really, actually -- you know what? He did a great disservice to the whole G7.
We were very close to making a deal with Canada on NAFTA, bilaterally perhaps. And then we leave, and Trudeau pulls this sophomoric political stunt for domestic consumption.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With all of that, I want to just to consider this.
Before President Trump got on the plane to leave Canada to head to Singapore, where he is now, he was asked to rate his relationship with his G7 allies on a scale from one to 10. He is asked this by one of our CNN White House producers.
Here is his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The relationship that I have had with the people, the leaders of these countries has been -- I would really rate it, on a scale of zero to 10, I would rate it a 10.
That doesn't mean I agree with what they're doing. And they know very well that I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Let's start there with the man who asked the question, Kevin Liptak, CNN White House producer. And also with us, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel.
But, Kevin, to you, now over in Singapore. But you got this great question into the president this week. And there was much more context within the question. I want you to tell us, what did you ask President Trump? And what did you make of his response?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Well, what I wanted to know, Brooke, was how the president viewed the U.S.' closest alliances in this very fractured moment.
And, remember, even before the G7 summit, these rifts were appearing. The evening before the president traveled up to Quebec, he was engaging in this Twitter spat with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. He called the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, indignant on Twitter.
And at the same time, he was offering far warmer words for the man he's meeting here, Kim Jong-un. And so I wanted to get the president's take on that dynamic and just ask him whether he thought that the U.S. alliance system was shifting.
And what the president said, you heard just there. He said that the relationships with the allies that he was meeting in Canada were a 10. He was boosted by these positive meetings, in his view, these face-to- face meetings that he was having up there in Quebec.
Aides at the time did say that those meetings were generally positive, not to say that they papered over their differences, but they were candid about their views, and that the relationships were strong.
Now cut to nine hours later. The president is flying somewhere over the North Atlantic on Air Force One on his way here to Singapore. He sees something on TV that Justin Trudeau said. At this stage, it's still not even clear what Justin Trudeau said that set the president off.
And, as you said, he withdrew his name from that joint statement at the G7. And he's continued lashing out. His advisers all over the Sunday shows saying some -- some striking things, suggesting that Justin Trudeau was going to hell for whatever it is that he did it. As I said, it's still not exactly clear what the president was responding to -- Brooke.
Jamie, I was talking to a U.S. -- former U.S. ambassador to Canada last hour. And he just kept saying, it's unconscionable. Canada deserves an apology.
Now, I don't know if it president going to apologize for that, but what are you hearing? JAMIE GANGEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, I have been speaking to Republicans all day yesterday, all day today.
Heads are exploding over this one, even by Trump standards.
GANGEL: One senior Republican said to me, this is Donald Trump. Water is wet, night is dark. With Trump, it's personal.
He came, he saw. Then, all of a sudden, he didn't like something, so he is tweeting.
And I think the other thing to know is that I spoke to Republicans of all stripes. None of them could understand why he did this. These are our allies. Some of them think he may not understand the substance of what was going on. And some of them think he just got annoyed.
BALDWIN: Well, we just -- on Twitter -- thanks, Phil Mattingly, for catching this.
Orrin Hatch, who we know is...
BALDWIN: ... on his way out, right, he tweeted, on the whole -- it was Peter Navarro who said that there is this special place in hell for Justin Trudeau.
And so Senator Orrin Hatch tweeted, "I think he should have kept his big mouth shut."
Why aren't more Republican speaking out?
GANGEL: So, it is very simple.
If you are leaving, you can speak up. If you have been a critic all along, there are some Republicans who feel they're safe. Susan Collins, John McCain, they have spoken up.
But I spoke to several Republicans who were really very, I thought, honest about it. They said, it's suicide. If we speak up, then we end up being primaried. And what one said to me is, we're looking for a strategy. If we're going to take him on, it has to, in effect, be something where we're going to win. And we haven't figured that out yet.
We have seen him just get Republican after Republican.
BALDWIN: Kevin, does President Trump understand the repercussions of this, that -- the alienation of allies here, leaving -- leaving the G7 and his friends to go be with this longtime foe?
LIPTAK: Well, I think you're really -- I mean, I think you are going to see that dynamic play out here. The president is engaging in the biggest diplomatic attempt of his entire presidency, not that it's a very long presidency at this point. But this a major step. And he's going out at a point when he's estranged from the U.S.' closest allies.
And, remember, these are allies that helped get North Korea to the place where it is now, by applying sanctions and applying pressure to the North Korean regime, so that they're at a place where they want to come to the table and talk.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters here in Singapore yesterday that he doesn't believe that this rift with the allies is going to affect the sanctions for now. But you can't help but notice that the president is going into this more isolated than he ever has been on the diplomatic front.
And he's trying to pull off something so major and so huge, that he's inevitably going to require some assistance from these allies. If you remember the Iran nuclear deal, which, of course, the president has long derided, that was a joint effort with European allies and China.
That couldn't have come together necessarily with just the United States. And so he's attempting this major, major diplomatic effort here in Singapore without these people behind his back. And it could affect how this goes forward
It's obviously too early to tell whether they would support any kind of nuclear deal with North Korea.
LIPTAK: But it's something that -- it's something certainly that he has to think -- be thinking about.
BALDWIN: It's important to think about the long game, the long game with all of this.
Kevin and Jamie, thank you so much on that.
Live pictures, let's show you, out of Singapore, as the president and Kim Jong-un get set to meet face to face. We're going to talk to one of President Trump's top advisers in a couple of minutes.
Also ahead, President Obama holding private meetings with at least five Democrats who may run for president in 2020. Details on who they are and what those conversations were about.
BALDWIN: CNN has learned former President Barack Obama has been holding a couple of meetings behind closed doors with a number of Democratic contenders looking to potentially throw their hats in the ring for 2020, at least 10 hopefuls, including Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
So, let's go straight to our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, there.
And, Dana, first, just tell me about the meetings. And who called whom?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's -- as you noted, it's been a series of meetings.
My understanding from a Democrat familiar with these meetings is that, for the most part, it has been those who are in office right now, those who are seeking higher office, essentially the office that President Obama held, going to him, going to see him in his office here in Washington, having conversations with him.
He did have one conversation with former Mayor of Los Angeles Garcetti -- the current mayor, actually -- in Los Angeles, talking about a potential -- potential run, or just really the future -- the future of the Democratic Party. That happened in L.A.
And I -- and what I was told was that, obviously, by definition, given the who's-who of -- of these individuals meeting with the president, that --