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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump, Kim About to Leave Hotels For Historic Summit; Interview with Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, moments before he leaves for the biggest meeting of his presidency, Donald Trump, in an early morning Twitter frenzy, sending a message to haters and losers.
Plus, Trump's doctrine, according to a new report, we're America, B. Is that the attitude he's bringing to the table with Kim Jong-un?
And more breaking news, the story behind the G7 photo that has gone viral. We know exactly what was really happening in this picture. That's tonight.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT this evening, the breaking news. We are just moments away from the historic meeting between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un. As we speak, the two men are about half a mile apart in Singapore. Their hotels, literally, that's the distance.
This is a live shot we're going to show you right now of Kim's hotel. You can see the security barricades outside. He and President Trump are expected to leave their respective hotels for the summit within moments.
Twelve hours' difference. So it is Tuesday morning in Singapore, and they are heading to Sentosa Island just off the coast there. These are live pictures of the island, that's where the summit is going to be held.
Once there, they're going to head to the Capella Hotel. They'll then walk outside there to have an official greeting for the cameras, a historic handshake. And then that will be the beginning of the first one-on-one meeting between a sitting U.S. president and the leader of North Korea. And we do understand it will be one-on-one. Just the two men and their translators.
Now, President Trump seems to have slapped little if at all, that's the issue with Asian jet lag. But he started tweeting just after 5 a.m. Local Time this morning. His most recent tweet slamming critics of the meeting calling them, quote, haters and losers. And then this one, maybe the tweet that ultimately matters the most. The president saying, quote, meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly, but in the end, that doesn't matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen.
He's making it clear, he believes this is all about him, his personal power and ability, mano a mano with Kim, and that's what it's all about. Two larger than life showmen have turned the summit about life and death into a sort of reality show in Singapore. You know, listen to the cheers for Kim when he went out on a town in Singapore.
So they're chanting, Kim, Kim, Kim, Kim, Kim, which they had also done for Trump hours before. You can see him smiling, waving to the crowd. Then he took a selfie with Singapore's foreign minister. You know, just a sort of a stunning thing when you think about it, right. It's a dictator who has put hundreds of thousands of people in camps, his people are starving. He's arranged for the killing of people even close to him and yet, this is the image that we're now seeing.
Adding to the side show, Dennis Rodman is in Singapore. The former celebrity Apprentice contestant knows both Trump and Kim and says he deserves some of the credit for the entire thing. And this is what's going on.
Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT live in Singapore where we begin our coverage this evening. Early this morning as it is for you, Jeff, and what is going to happen here through the hours of the night in the United States?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, good day from Singapore. President Trump, as you said, is going to be making his way to the Capella Hotel, and there is going to be that historic photo-op, really in front of the hotel, I'm told. It looks something like the front of the White House, the colonial-style building. But we are going to be struck, of course, by the very large differences in the images of these two leaders.
President Trump, 6'2 or so, he's turning 72 this week. Kim Jong-un, he's about 5'7, he's 34 years old. That says so much about what is going into the dynamic here. But of course Kim Jong-un is coming into this meeting with the history of his father, the history of his grandfather, who very much wanted to make a deal a couple decades ago in the Clinton administration. But this now is going to be the one- on-one meeting as he said.
I am told, Erin, that is going to be about 45 minutes long or so. A translator on each side. So that is about half the time usually. And then they are going to go into a larger meeting with aides from both sides. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of course front and center in that meeting. That is going to be about an hour and a half or so and then a working lunch.
And then after that, we do expect things to essentially end. The president is downplaying expectations somewhat for what can come out of this meeting of course. But, Erin, I am told by a U.S. official here this morning in Singapore, that they are still working on a joint statement that could be released from the U.S. and the regime of North Korea as well, talking specifically about the steps forward. But that also could be held up by what the U.S. is willing to give.
[19:05:02] So this communique, this statement, may not happen. We saw the G7 of course over the weekend. The U.S. ended up not signing that. So that is something we are keeping our eyes on here, Erin.
But there's no question, the chemistry here, so important. The president thinks he can win over Kim Jong-un by talking about why it's good for North Korea to denuclearize. But, Erin, a question hangs over Singapore. What is the definition of complete denuclearization? We still do not know that from North Korea.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny.
And of course the U.S. has already given a lot, right, North Korea's top envoy allowed to come to Washington, D.C., that also unprecedented, and of course the summit itself.
OUTFRONT now, Jean Lee, former Pyongyang bureau chief for the Associated Press. Joel Wit, former State Department official who worked on North Korean negotiations from 1994 to 2002, Retired Major General James "Spider" Marks, and the former intelligence officer on Korea, and Bob Baer, former CIA operative.
OK, so thanks to all. So, I just want everyone to know, you know, we talk about the schedule for the day, right. You start with this 45- minute one-on-one. And then you have an hour and a half meeting. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, has just departed his hotel, so he's on his way. So now we're going to be seeing all of this happen momentarily as they get into these giant entourages to head over to Sentosa Island.
Bob, a senior Trump administration official is telling us they're going to, you know, go in front of the cameras for this first very formal handshake, and then there is this one-on-one, and we really do understand it to be one-on-one. Trump, Kim, translators, that's it. No aides, no other secondary tertiary sources on what actually happens in the room. Your take?
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: That's a bad idea. You've already mentioned the jet lag, the issues are too complicated for him. He's said in so many words he's not really up on the issues. In the sense, it starts a process and it's better than threatening each other. So that's the good part of it.
But at the end of the day, I don't see what you could get out of a one-on-one meeting like that. And will he even remember what was said at that point? And will he cover the main points? I tell you, I couldn't.
BURNETT: And General Marks, I mean, 45 minutes obviously, you know, you've got translation time, but nonetheless the president's made it very clear from this morning.
RET. MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's all about --
BURNETT: It's all about the one-on-one.
MARKS: It's all about him and it's all about Kim and how they're going to interact.
MARKS: The big concern as Bob indicated is, you're in the room, you're now starting this conversation, these are very high stakes, and you're trying to size this individual up. Who is picking up the different cues on what's really happening?
And also, when you conduct a meeting like that, I've done many meetings like this through an interpreter, there's always subject to interpretation, there is nuance in the language. Often there should be somebody else in the room who has competency and a real grasp of the language to come back so they can check each other.
That's not going to take place. So I'd be concerned about time to take notes and try to codify what really was agreed to.
BURNETT: And yet, Jean, you know, when you see what's happened here, you know, the North Korean envoy was able to come to Washington, D.C. right? An unprecedented move, something that the Iranians were never granted when they were working on the deal with President Obama. You have this meeting itself, the cheers, the selfie. Kim Jong-un is sort of a, you know, -- I don't know what the right word is, but certainly approachable figure. You say he's already won hugely.
JEAN LEE, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR KOREAN HISTORY AND PUBLIC POLICY AT WILSON CENTER: He has. We've given him this platform to make his international debut. He's done very little in return. Now, he will come into this saying, look, I blew up our nuclear test site and Joel can talk a bit more about that. He'll say, I released the American hostages.
We may see another symbolic gesture, perhaps the return of the USS Pueblo which was a warship that was captured 50 years ago this year. But we haven't had anything concrete. We'd just given him this platform to show himself as a world leader and a nuclear power. It's a bit unsettling for me to be honest because he has not changed. He's still the same person who we were just giving him this platform.
BURNETT: I mean, Joel, here we are, you know, this is happening on -- close to his time zone, you know, sort of in his realm, right? Trump has traveled around the world to go there. And the U.S. keeps saying, denuclearization is what this is all about. We're not going to move on that.
The secretary of state as I said just departed his hotel to head to Sentosa Island. But he's made it very clear today or a few hours ago, what this is all about. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The complete and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: North Korea already has entered the nuclear club at this point and we know that. Are Trump and Kim on the same page on denuclearization? I mean, is there any way that North Korea would truly denuclearize in the way the United States defines it?
JOEL WIT, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL, WORKED ON NORTH KOREA NEGOTIATIONS FROM 1994-2002: Well, of course that's the game here. What is denuclearization mean? And each side has a different definition of that.
The trick is, can they reach a compromise in the negotiation at the summit. And I'm willing to say they will reach a compromise. It won't be the maximum position of either side. But it will be a compromise and hopefully it will be something that we feel is good enough to move forward with dealing with this threat.
[19:10:08] BURNETT: Doesn't Trump have a problem, though? Because, I mean, the Iran deal is the standard. Right? He's gotta have more verification than was in there. He's gotta have -- and that's pretty hard to do.
WIT: Yes, you're absolutely right. In a logical world, that's a problem. But not in this world. And so I think what Trump will do is take ownership of this problem and he'll say, this is enough.
And then the Iran deal, well, he didn't make that deal. So it was a bad deal. He makes this deal, it's a good deal.
BURNETT: So it's about personality. I mean, go ahead, Spider.
MARKS: I was going to suggest that if I were Kim, if I was talking to Kim, I'd say sign up for everything. Just agree to it all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, exactly.
MARKS: Play the long game. This president will either be gone in two years or gone in six years. This guy is not term-limited. And he can agree to everything and then just play stall ball, lie, cheat, hide, obfuscate, which is what this regime does very, very well.
BURNETT: Well, Bob, I mean, the history has shown they did, 2005, right, committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons. Thirteen months later, we get the first test. 2008, it was another big explosion, the cooling plant -- cooling tower for nuclear weapons that journalists got invited to see. And then a year later, a second nuclear test.
So history has shown that when deals are made and sanctions relief is given, it has been ended around. BAER: Well, you know, what we have to look at is, in terms of cognitive empathy, we have to put ourselves in Kim Jong-un's head, and the only thing he has as a deterrent right now is his nuclear weapons. The reason he's in Singapore right now is because of his nuclear weapons. He gives them up, he's got nothing. And he's --
BURNETT: He's Gaddafi. Well --
BAER: He's Gaddafi so --
BURNETT: I said that in purpose.
BAER: It's the Iran deal, it's WTO and on and on. We're reneging on all these deals. He cannot -- he does not trust Trump to assure his security. And he's going to push this down the road and it's a matter of process, just like Oslo.
BURNETT: And Jean, you know, Kim has now suddenly put a heart out. All right, so we're heading to the meeting. Trump was intending on staying another 12 hours later than he's saying but Kim suddenly said, as soon as the meeting's done, I'm out.
Now Trump's moved his departure time up 12 hours. What does that -- what do you read into that? The fact that Kim is now putting -- is that giving him an opportunity to say, oh, let's extend it, or is he sending a message with that?
LEE: I think both of these leaders have the opportunity to extend their stays if things go well. But one of the things that my reaction was, oh, it really is just a photo-op, or as if he's saying, I got what I needed, I'm out of here.
But I do hope --
BURNETT: I got my selfie.
LEE: I got my selfie, I got my stage. I got this moment that is going to be -- I will -- I can tell you, it is going to be promoted all over North Korean state media. It's going to be on paintings for the next year, on stamps. It's going to be some -- he got his moment, he got his photo-op.
BURNETT: All right, all of you are staying with me. We're going to take a brief break. When we come back, Kim Jong-un's hotel, we're going to go outside there. You saw the barricade, but he's going to be coming out in just a few moments, literally we think in just the next few moments coming out of the St. Regis as you can see there.
Plus, Trump's gut-check negotiating style. It may have worked in real estate, but is it in any way a model for negotiating a nuclear deal?
And angry allies glaring at a defiant looking Trump, who looks very self-satisfied is the only one sitting there. What was actually happening at that very moment? We now know. We'll tell you.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:17:04] BURNETT: Breaking news, we are moments away from the historic summit tonight between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. And I want to go straight to the hotel where Kim Jong-un is staying. Alexandra Field is right outside.
Alexandra, literally at any moment, he could come out of that hotel ready to head to the summit.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He's getting ready to make this ride to a meeting that will be a defining meeting for North Korea's future essentially. We should see him come up that ramp. He's been staying at the five-star St. Regis Hotel. He's been traveling in a motorcade that has several dozen vehicles in it.
And what we're seeing right now, Erin, are signs of some security increasing on the street outside the hotel. Certainly, we have seen a number of North Korean guards who have been with Kim Jong-un since he touched down in Singapore. You can also see that they wear those red, North Korean regime loyalty badges. They're certainly being helped out by the Singapore police force.
We have seen police officers out here this morning. We've also got police officers who are on motorbikes and just in the last few minutes or so, we've seen some officers coming through with sniffer dogs. You can see some of the larger vehicles now starting to come through. All indication that Kim Jong-un could set out very shortly on a ride to this meeting.
This is a meeting, the significance of which cannot be overstated. He is accomplishing something here and sitting down with the U.S. president that his grandfather and that his father failed to do. Once he leaves this hotel, he'll have about a 15-minute journey to the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. That location was of course selected because it was a place that delegations from both countries felt could best be secured for this meeting.
We are learning that Singapore's navy is also stepping up its patrol in the waters around this island. Erin, we'll certainly keep our eyes peeled on the hotel entrance. Again, that is exactly where you should see Kim Jong-un's motorcade arriving shortly to set out on this journey. We'll bring it to you just as soon as we have it.
BURNETT: All right, we'll be going back to Alex in just a moment as that happens. In the meantime, my panel is back with me.
Spider, you know, when you think about Kim coming to Singapore and what that -- OK, we understand he went to high school in Switzerland. But as a leader, so in the past, what, nearly 20 years, he's only left the country a few times, twice to China, once to the DMZ, I'm not going to count the DMZ. So I'm going to say that mean essentially he's left the country twice to go to China which is friendly and very different. I mean, Singapore is this economic marvel that he's already been talking about. What is the significance of this place to him?
MARKS: This is a debutante. This is a coming-out party for Kim. It's already been described I think very, very well. He's getting a world stage.
Whether it's Singapore or at some place else in the region, or could have been any place internationally --
MARKS: -- Singapore works to his advantage, it's a one close at hand. He can get there very quickly. He's fresh as you indicated. But this is a global, financial powerhouse. The world converges on Singapore as a matter of routine.
And he is right there in the middle of it. And he is comfortable, and he's being embraced. This is to his great advantage. So that gives him some stature, certainly to the home audience.
[19:20:01] I mean, when you look at this, his home audience is looking at this, and this puts -- this keeps him in power forever and ever.
BURNETT: Which is a really important thing to say. I mean, Bob, you know, the thing is, we know Kim is very paranoid, his security preps is an epic. I mean, we're not just talking about the motorcade and everything else we've been seeing. But there is an opportunity here that U.S. intelligence, for example, has never had before, to find things out about him, right? You know, if U.S. intelligence -- I mean, all right, we do have a presence up at the DMZ clearly with our troops. But this, Singapore, is extremely different than China or the DMZ.
BAER: Oh absolutely. Remember, the North Korea is a hermit kingdom and intelligence on North Korea is abysmal. It always has been. You can't put agents in, it's restive. So he's going to come out and he's going to bring advisers.
Give me the list of advisers he brings with him and I'll tell you something about him. How often does he consult them? Ideally, I'd like to wire his room to see if he has a bad temper. All sorts of things, and there are even rumors about that he's brought toilets out so that the CIA doesn't get samples of you know what, because you can tell a lot about health in his --
BURNETT: Well, you can tell if someone -- if they're sick. You can tell if they have some sort of dependency on --
BAER: Opioids for instance.
BURNETT: -- some sort of substance. Yes, you would get all that information from that.
BAER: And that's what we've done for years and years and it really pays off.
BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty stunning, Joel, when you think about it though that an opportunity like this has come up just to learn some very basic, but very important things about the North Korean leader that we've, you know, we've never had the opportunity to do before.
WIT: Yes. And it's an opportunity, but don't think the North Koreans don't understand that.
WIT: And there are lots of things they can do to limit that opportunity. So, you know, I wouldn't get too excited about it. I think you're likely to learn more about him and the others with him through the discussions you have with them. Because my experience in dealing with North Koreans for 20 years is, the more you talk to them, the more you understand what's going on in their heads. And the more you understand what they're interested in.
BURNETT: Now, Jean, you know, the location of this, obviously, we're talking about how Trump is disadvantaged in a very physical but important sense, right? We talk about the jet lag going from, you know, North America to Asia, is about as bad as it can get, right because your nights and days are flipped.
Kim Jong-un meanwhile was able to take an Air China flight to Singapore. The North Korean state carrier flew his armored limo and his sister, Air Koryo. So there were two planes from North Korea and then there was the Air China flight.
His Air Koryo which is the North Korean carrier, this plane is about 40 years old. So Air China comes in -- China comes in and helps him out with this plane that's going to be reliable. And it, I think, happened to be a Boeing. What does this say about China's influence on Kim Jong-un? That he had to turn to them at this moment and that they were there to help him?
LEE: China does remain the economic life line for North Korea. And I actually look at this a little bit differently. When I looked at that picture and I saw Kim Jong-un on the cover of the Rodon Sinmun which is the main party paper, the main newspaper in North Korea, and they did show very clearly that Air China plane, which is a 747 --
LEE: It also had a Star Alliance logo on it. So I know -- you know, I was in North Korea last year, and one of the things that the North Koreans were asking me is, what's happening with the relationship between our country and China? They were very concerned. They look at their state media and they were saying, I can -- we're reading between the lines and we sense some tension.
By showing those pictures of him flying in that plane, he's also reassuring his people, look, China still loves me, we are on better terms now. But also dangling the prospect of broader economic engagement with the outside world with that Star Alliance logo very prominently displayed on that plane.
So a lot of little signs here, as somebody who reads this stuff very closely. That's what I look at as well. But, yes, China -- I mean, it's an acknowledgment to China as well, that they play an important role. It's an acknowledgment to China that they are keeping them in mind because China is certainly very nervous about being left out of the loop -- BURNETT: Yes, certainly nervous because they're possibly the biggest
beneficiary if U.S. troops were withdrew or -- I mean, you know, denuclearization, I mean, the country that benefits the most, Spider clearly is going to be China.
MARKS: It's going to be China. China's biggest concern however if everything turns to a level of normalcy that we've never seen before, China's concerned that the capital of that peninsula, if there were to be reunification, it would be in Seoul, it's not going to be in Pyongyang. China does not want that. So that's why I don't see the additional step of reunification ever --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not going to let it happen.
MARKS: It's not going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not going to happen.
BURNETT: What do you make, Bob, by the way of the fact that Kim Jong- un apparently has been reading "Art of the Deal" but also "Fire and Fury", the Michael Wolff book. That talked about (INAUDIBLE).
BAER: He's probably more confused than we are about Donald Trump. What he's going to do next. He's unpredictable, impulsive, and he is studying his personality to figure out what he can get out of him. And I -- North Koreans are very good when they get all of the stuff and they do background. I bet you he read his briefing books on Trump and a lot of them.
[19:25:04] BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much. And as I said, we are moments away from that first motorcade and also Trump's motorcade could also be coming in the next half an hour. So, as we see the procession of the pomp and circumstance, we're going to bring that to you along with our panel.
And, we have breaking details now on the real story behind this picture. We actually know what was happening at that moment.
And the basic rule of negotiating, Trump lowering expectations ahead of the North Korean summit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE United States: Well, I think the minimum would be relationship. We'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Welcome back to this special edition of OUTFRONT. We are moments away from that meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong- un. As I said, we are literally waiting for that motorcade. We believe Kim Jong-un will be first to depart his hotel. As we await that, we are learning exactly what was going down in that now viral photo taken as Trump's stop at the G7 on route to the summit in Singapore. That's the picture you see there. If you haven't seen it yet, you can see, it's the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, standing, she's staring at President Trump, who looks, I don't know, depends on your perspective, maybe smug, maybe satisfied. He's the only one sitting, certainly his arms are crossed.
Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT. Michelle, you now know what was going on at the exact moment that photo was taken. What was it?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, it definitely looks contentious, right, in that defensive posture of arms crossed. But, it's still a split second in time. You never know, was it really contentious? Well, yes, now we know that it was.
Multiple diplomatic sources say that those meetings with President Trump were very intense. They were difficult. And at this particular time, they were trying to hash out what was going to go in the communique, the joint statement by the G-7 that at the end is supposed to show unity. So, there were points on which the U.S. disagreed.
President Trump particularly doesn't like the World Trade Organization. He thinks it's unfair to the U.S. He didn't want any mention of it in the final communique. So they did reach a compromise. Instead, they talked about rules-based international trading.
Also, you often hear President Trump talk about reciprocal trade, when he's talking about trying to level the playing field. He wanted that in there, in particular. Allies did not feel the same. The compromise on that language was free, fair, mutually beneficial trade, while creating reciprocal benefit. So, you can see how everything hinges on the placement of words here.
It was a big surprise when Trump ended up pulling out of this joint statement after he agreed to be in it. As one diplomat told you today, the whole thing doesn't make sense -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Michelle, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to the Democratic senator from Oregon, Jeff Merkley, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
And, Senator, you know, in the context of looking at this picture, it seems important to note a senior White House official with direct access to the president is thinking, has just told "The Atlantic": The Trump doctrine is, we're America, b -- bleep. That is the Trump doctrine.
What's your reaction?
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR), SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, this is such a diplomatic mess, because it's all about -- it starts with trade, with the developed countries, the countries that have similar labor standards and environmental standards and wages. And it's trade with those countries that made America very prosperous from 1945 to 1975.
The things that have been the challenge have been countries having full access to our marketplace, but having very low wages and low environmental standards, and that's China and other friends. But China is the big player here.
So, Canada's a positive partner, Europe is a positive partner in trade. China is a problem. So, the president is just completely off track.
BURNETT: So, during the G7, the president praised Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. That, though, suddenly changed when Trudeau had a news conference which caused this pull-out of the communique by Trump, because Trudeau vowed that Canada would respond to American tariffs with tariffs of its own.
I want -- I just wanted to play the operative sound bite that got Trump so angry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do, because Canadians are polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, that's how he put it. Trump went DEFCON on Twitter, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our G7 meetings, only to give a news conference after I left saying that U.S. tariffs were kind of insulting and he will not be pushed around. Very dishonest and weak. Our tariffs are in response to his of 270 percent on dairy.
Senator, what's your reaction? Trudeau comes out and says, as his very Canadian manner, very polite, and reasonably, but that he will go ahead and respond in kind. Trump obviously came out and called him, meek, mild, dishonest, and weak on Twitter.
MERKLEY: Trudeau was carrying the same position he had in private. He announced it in public, that Canada is going to be firm on this exchange. It's a conversation among long-time, very close allies. This is not a case where America can just simply dictate changes and expect for Canada to suffer the consequences.
And so, I thought it was a very polite response, but I think what you referred to about the White House staff, saying that the Trump doctrine is we're America, is a --
BURNETT: Well, it's we're America and then it's an expletive B word.
MERKLEY: Yes, I --
BURNETT: I mean, I think it's important to make people understand. It's a little bit more aggressive than that. Yes.
MERKLEY: Yes, and I was going to spare your audience repeating that.
But -- yes, what he means by "we're America," is we get to do whatever we want and too bad for the rest of you. And so, you all just get in line, I'm the big bully here, I'm the puffed-up President Trump.
And the rest of the world is not having it. Europe is not having it. Canada is not having it. And the president to be directing all of this bitter exchange towards the wrong target while he's embracing and cozying up to dictators around the world, it's almost just beyond belief.
[19:35:06] BURNETT: Senator, I'm curious, though. You know, Trump does -- he's correct. Canada has a 270 percent tariff over, quote, dairy imports, right? So, he has a point. There are some serious tariffs from countries that are supposedly our friends.
I understand your point of view here is that he's taken it too far. His former senior adviser David Axelrod has come out and said something pretty provocative. He's a senior political commentator here at CNN, I should note. His comment is, quote, I don't say this casually, at what point do we ask, is the POTUS off his rocker?
Is that a fair question, or, in your view, is that stooping to the same level?
MERKLEY: Well, I will say that just the fact that he's attacking the wrong target suggests he's deeply ignorant, deeply misinformed, or he just likes to get angry as part of an ongoing soap opera. So, there's -- certainly, we see kind of an instability there. And so, it's a concern for all.
But listen, Canada, depending on whose statistics you take, we either have a small surplus, or a small deficit in trade with Canada.
MERKLEY: It's a tiny fraction of what we have with Mexico. And Mexico is a tiny fraction, maybe a seventh of what we have with China. So, this is -- this really makes no sense at all, to alienate those who share our values, from whom an exchange of trade has been extremely beneficial to both nations, and not to put your target where it should be, that's on China.
And how do you explain ZTE? Because suddenly, Trump's all worried about jobs in China. Wouldn't it be great to have a president who was worried about jobs in the U.S.?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Senator Merkley.
MERKLEY: Thank you, Erin. BURNETT: And next, breaking news, moments away from that departure,
as you can see, security presence ramping up outside -- this is outside Trump's hotel, which is about a half a mile away from Kim Jong-un, who also is expected to depart momentarily. We're going to be watching this.
Of course, it is so much about the pomp and circumstance, you're going to see it here live in a moment. Trump saying, as soon as he gets to the location, it won't take long for him to size up Kim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think within the first minute, I'll know.
TRUMP: Just my touch, my feel. That's what -- that's what I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sixty seconds.
Plus, Trump's habit of tearing up memos and notes, forcing staff to spend hours every day finding the little pieces because sometimes it's in half and sometimes it's really shredded, taping them back together.
[19:41:12] BURNETT: New tonight, tearing it up. The president has been ripping up memos, letters, things he's finished reading or does not like. It's causing a major problem for the White House because by law, the White House must preserve the documents, most of the documents that the president touches -- so certainly memos and letters among them.
So, staffers literally have, you know, been going in his trash can and getting his hand-shredded papers and taping them back together with scotch tape.
Career government employee Solomon Lardy (ph) says he was abruptly terminated from his job as a records management analyst in March. He says he spent several hours each day with tape, piecing documents back together.
Our White House reporter Sarah Westwood is OUTFRONT.
And, Sarah, you spoke to Lardy. What did he tell you about his job, what he was supposed to be doing every day, and how long this had been going on for, the president's destruction of the documents?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Erin, President Trump apparently has been making life difficult for the people who's job it is to ensure that he complies with the Presidential Records Act, a law that requires most of the papers a president touches to go to the National Archives. I spoke with Solomon Lardy, that former White House records management analyst, who says he and his colleagues spent hours on a nearly daily basis piecing together papers that Trump had shredded by hand. Lardy likened that pain-staking work to doing an adult puzzle.
And among the records that Trump that tore up, memos, invitations, even letters from members of Congress, and unflattering news stories. Those were torn to shreds. Now, the practice of piecing together Trump's papers is confined to a small group to ensure it didn't leak out. Lardy told me earlier today, we weren't supposed to tell anybody if it was negative. It was definitely going to get torn up, but it's a presidential record.
Now, according to a "Politico" report, Trump has warned about his obligations to preserve his documents, but one former White House official tells me the paper tearing is just an old Trump habit.
BURNETT: It's pretty incredible, though, what it says, and, you know, to know sort of what the things were that he was tearing up specifically. But also that this kept happening. I know that you talked, Sarah, about the fact that he was told not to do it, that it was against the law, he didn't care.
We've seen him publicly, by the way, show that this is the way he likes to do things. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, this was going to be my remarks. It would have taken about two minutes, but the hell with it. That would have been a little boring. Little boring.
(EDN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Obviously that was tongue in cheek, Sarah. But how common is him shredding important documents?
WESTWOOD: Well, Erin, another former White House official tells me this is something that Trump does all the time. That people who have worked in previous administrations, including Solomon Lardy, say this is totally abnormal, something totally inconsistent with federal record keeping laws. You'll remember it wasn't that long ago that Trump railed against his former political opponent for her own struggles with document preservation. Obviously, Trump hasn't quite mastered the in and out of document preservation so far.
BURNETT: All right. Sarah, thank you very much.
And next, the president, as I said, we are now awaiting sort of this -- I don't know if it's dueling because we believe they've agreed on his going first . But obviously, a tiny bit of a delay here on getting out of these hotels. The St. Regis for Kim, supposed to be the first departure. Trump's hotel is on the left.
And we are going to watch those motorcades in just moment, half a mile apart, and soon side by side.
We're live in Singapore.
[19:48:07] BURNETT: Breaking news, this is the St. Regis, Kim Jong- un's hotel in Singapore. And we have just seen his motorcade pulling in to pick him up. So, as soon as that happens, we see him, we see that start to move.
Obviously, I'm here with Spider Marks, General Spider Marks and Bob Baer, CIA agent. So, soon as we start to see the motorcade move, but we do believe it is pulled in, so he's going to be pulling out literally momentarily at this point for this one-on-one meeting.
The president of the United States, of course, has said that it will take him 60 seconds to size up Kim. That's all that he needs and he'll rely on his touch, he said, and his feeling. And that is it.
Joining me now, the former Trump Organization executive Jack O'Donnell and former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes as we watch this motorcade.
So, gentlemen, so bear with me. Obviously, if I bring in Bob and Spider, you'll know why.
Jack, you worked with President Trump, then-Donald Trump with one of his Atlantic casinos. You were the president of one of those. And your comment was, when it comes to a deal Trump wants, he would say to you, quote, get it at any price.
Do you feel that that's how things are right now?
JACK O'DONNELL, FORMER PRESIDENT AND COO, TRUMP PLAZA HOTEL AND CASINO: Well, he can be over-anxious to get a deal done. But I think he has, to some extent, lowered the expectations in this one. And created a scenario where dialogue going forward is going to be good enough for him.
So, I think he's probably playing this the way he should at this point.
BURNETT: Steve, is he anxious, over-anxious to get a deal done? I mean, that's the big question, right? I mean, you know, here he is in Singapore on a 12-hour time change. Here's Kim with just a six, eight-hour flight, very little time change.
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.
BURNETT: You know, he's got some disadvantages that he's playing from here to begin with. How badly does he want this deal?
CORTES: Right. Listen, Erin, I think it's a fair question.
[19:50:01] You know, how badly does he want a deal, and will he sacrifice good judgment for a deal? I think it's a very fair question. I don't think he will and here's why -- the reason that Kim Jong-un is here and is negotiating in this way. And when I say in this way, meaning, he has stopped lobbing missiles into the ocean, he returned our hostages. He's not talking crazy any more.
You know, why are these things happening? Not because he's a good guy, but he's been put in a corner, quite frankly, by President Trump and by his negotiating tactics. We have a negotiator in chief now a businessman, I think this is part of what's brilliant about this presidency.
And the sad part, by the way, which I can't stand this, I've seen this all day on news and social media is a lot of his opponents in America, in media and politically, they're actually rooted against his success. They would rather see Trump fail than see America succeed, than see the Korean peninsula become peaceful.
And wouldn't that be an amazing victory? Particularly for the young American men who six decades ago sacrificed their lives and took so much risk on that peninsula? And we have been at a stalemate basically ever since. We have an opportunity here that I think is amazing because of Trump's leadership.
CORTES: All American should be rooting for him.
BURNETT: Of course, it will take a lot longer than one day, or one meeting or one year or many years.
BURNETT: To even know whether anything that comes out of this actually is legitimate or not. That's just the way it is with these kinds of things.
BURNETT: But what do you make, Jake, about the fact that the president has said it will take one minute, 60 seconds for him to size up Kim. They're about to get in their motorcade. Sixty seconds. Obviously, you're dealing with cultural, linguistic, many other divides he would have never dealt with before in the real estate world. But when he says one minute, how did that work in the past for him?
O'DONNELL: Well, it's a silly comment particularly in this scenario with all the differences between the two. I mean, he's not Carnac the Great, and yet his base would think he is, that's really why he made that statement. It won't work in this scenario because I am sure his advisers understanding his limitations are going to take this to the highest level it's going to be a broad stroke conversation, because that's all he can handle.
I hope it doesn't get into an intellectual dialogue between Trump and Kim. I hope they keep at a very high level, and there's a framework at the end of it. I think that's the most you can expect from Trump out of today.
BURNETT: Steve, what do you make of the -- 60 seconds, that's all I need? Bravado?
CORTES: Look, I think that was hyperbole. Yes, that's a bit of bravado. And, by the way, that's not unnecessary, you know, in negotiations. A bit of bravado at times can be effective, in bravado.
But, you know, to Jack's comment that he is somehow going to be intellectually outmatched, we hear this constantly about this president. I wish I were as dumb as Donald Trump. I wish I had an Ivy League degree, and I wish I were a self-made billionaire.
The idea that he's dumb or that he's intellectually incapable of this level of diplomacy, this level of negotiation is just absurd. His entire life has been nothing but succeeding against expectations that he could not succeed. Whether it was real estate, whether it was wining the presidency, or whether it's now conducting the presidency.
So, this is a man who defies expectations and he's not dumb, he's the opposite, he's a genius who may times I think lulls his critics into thinking that he's dumb. At times I think purposely so, by the way, which can be a brilliant negotiating tactic. And my guess is, at worst, he's going to come out of this with what we've already achieved, which is again, Kim Jong-un is not sending missiles into the Pacific. He is no longer threatening verbally his allies --
CORTES: -- or excuse me, his adversaries, and we have our hostages back.
BURNETT: All right. Yes, three hostages that President Trump obviously was able to secure the release of, interesting in the annals of history, it was I believe 11 for President Obama but he never did it with pomp and circumstance of Trump, so we never hear about it.
All right. Both of you, please stay with me. I want to bring Bob Baer and Spider Marks back in.
So, we're looking here at this motorcade preparation.
Bob, what do you see? This is outside the St. Regis Hotel. So, this is Kim Jong-un. He's going to be getting in one of these cars momentarily. There's been a lot of buzzing going on now.
BAER: Well, look, the security in Singapore can't get any better, really. He's got an armored car. The chances of anybody taking a shot at Kim Jong-un are about zero.
BURNETT: He flew the car in on a North Korean plane. His own car.
BAER: It's a level C. There's no risk to anybody there. There's probably more risk in Washington, D.C., than in Singapore. It's a police state.
BAER: And that's probably one of the reasons why they picked it. And -- but, you know, you're still going through the motions of protecting a world leader and the fact that he got there in the Chinese plane basically is, by the way, Chinese have assured his security as well.
MARKS: You know better than anybody else, Bob, that the motions that the government of Singapore put in place are phenomenal.
[19:55:02] There certainly is a large price tag to all of this. But this is weeks and weeks in the planning, plus, I would suggest there's a playbook they have in place, that they had to polish. They're probably 85 percent there and they can do almost at a drop of a hat. But in this case, with President Kim, totally unprecedented, they had to put the additional 15 percent in place, and you got this incredible security that you're going to see, plus Singapore really is a very safe place.
BURNETT: And you see, I mean, when you go to Singapore, we all heard about, you know, no gum in the streets. I can say, I hadn't seen any gum on the streets when I was in Singapore.
MARKS: You don't.
BURNETT: It doesn't seem to be hyperbole.
Will Ripley is there. Obviously, Will, you have been to North Korea so many times, know more about Kim Jong-un than really any other foreign journalist. Can you tell us a little bit though about what you know? I mean, the size of these motorcades, it seems to be extremely big, is it?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Forty-three vehicles in the motorcade on his way from the airport here in Singapore, to the St. Regis, I don't know if there are that many vehicles in this motorcade, but he has a huge staff. I mean, they sent several planes, including that Air China 747 here.
He has a huge delegation. So many security officers, so many photographers capturing his every move. But in many ways, it's very similar when I've seen him moving around inside North Korea.
He travels by a black stretched Mercedes limousine. That's his car at home. That's the car he's using here in Singapore. We don't know if that car was brought in from North Korea. More likely, I would imagine, it was provided by the Singaporean government, which is spending about US$15 million for this summit, that includes some large contributions to pay the way for the North Koreans, who obviously are a cash-strapped country.
The imaging and the security both are very important for Kim Jong-un. But even inside the country, he always has, you know, a very large security detail around him. Sometimes we've run through up to five hours of security just to be in an event where he might show up. And so, you're seeing that similar treatment here, you know, such a long row of vehicles, for what's estimated to be about a 30-minute drive from St. Regis to Sentosa Island to the Cappella, where the summit will take place. And that handshake will happen just over an hour from now.
BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty stunning. Bob, you know, when you think about it, 43 vehicles, as Will is reporting, in Kim Jong-un's motorcade from the airport to the hotel. We now understand White House staffers are loading up their motorcade, and, you know, we all know -- if you've ever been in one of those as a journalist, right, you get the staffers and the journalists in first, right. That happened, you wait a few minutes, and then the actual principals get in.
But now, it's this sort of who goes first.
BAER: Well, he's going as an equal. With this way, we have to look at it. He's a nuclear power now, he's a world player, and this is what this summit is about. He's arrived, and he's bringing all the cars, the security, the guys in the suits, all the rest of it.
I mean, he's taken North Korea in a matter of a couple months and brought it on the world stage, and he's playing the part.
BURNETT: I mean, General, because that's the big question here, right, is that Kim Jong-un has always wanted to talk to an American president, Trump is allowing it to happen. That's a risk, but also a great opportunity for President Trump.
But here we are, it is -- two equals, two hotels, two motorcades, it looks like they're starting on the security.
MARKS: Yes, this really -- as we all know, it's certainly very, very unprecedented. Kim has achieved a platform that he otherwise wouldn't have achieved. It's not just President Trump's rhetoric that has pushed him into the corner. Look, this is a confluence of things that have occurred. What Kim has achieved his grandfather and father could not have achieved -- missile technology, nuclear technology, and now we have to ascribe to them the capability to marry those two up and to deliver a nuke, almost globally.
We now have a president that is very interested in how he's going to be presented and accepting on this global stage as well.
MARKS: This is President Trump's big chance, this is Kim's big chance.
BAER: They're both getting something out of it.
BURNETT: They're both getting something of it. And look at these two motorcades. I mean, it's pretty incredible when you this, just side by said, and you realize this moment, you realize how much of a reality TV show it is, but obviously, of such historic import.
Thank you for joining us.
Our special coverage of the historic summit continues now with ac 360.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It is just before 8:00 a.m. here in Singapore. Any minute now, President Trump will leave his hotel here on the mainland and travel south by motorcade to another hotel, the Capella on Sentosa Island, where he'll become the first American president, sitting American president, to sit down with a North Korean dictator, first, with only Kim and each side's interpreters in the room.
Kim's motorcade, it looks like it is gearing up to go very shortly outside his hotel, so are the vehicles for President Trump. That's a view right outside the hotel of Kim Jong-un at St. Regis. President Trump is expected to leave a short time after Kim Jong-un. This will be at least to start a one-on-one meeting with a nuclear-armed dictator, who runs perhaps the most repressive regime on the planet.
The summit's goal right now unclear. The president last week described it as a getting to know you meeting plus.