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Historic Summit Between Trump, Kim Jong-un to Take Place Tomorrow; Interview with Sen. Bill Cassidy. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired June 11, 2018 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR: -- not see America's weakness.
[07:00:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) does not believe that the ad hominem attacks are a useful way to conduct a negotiation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is driving our allies away from us while welcoming in the Russians.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn Camerota is in New York. I'm John Berman live in Singapore.
We are just 14 hours away now from this historic meeting, this historic summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. And there is already breaking news on this meeting.
We just learned a short time ago from administration officials that this meeting will be a one-on-one affair, at least at the beginning. This administration official tells CNN that it will just be President Trump and Kim, along with their translators for their first two hours or so when they first sit down, that before the rest of the delegations come in to continue that meeting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just briefed reporters a few minutes ago.
He said the president is confident. He says the president is fully prepared for this meeting. He says the United States is prepared to provide security guarantees it never has before to North Korea. And the ultimate goal is denuclearization. The key question here in Singapore and the key question around the world is the version of denuclearization that Kim Jong-un will talk about the same as the president's -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right, John. Fascinating developments from Singapore. Obviously, you will bring us all the breaking news as it happens.
Meanwhile, President Trump also escalating his war of words with America's closest allies, slamming the G-7 countries on trade and pulling out of the joint statement they all tried to issue. The president's top economic advisers accuse Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau of, quote, "betraying" President Trump. And they added there is a, quote, "special place in hell" for leaders who engage in bad- faith diplomacy with President Trump.
So we begin our coverage with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She is live in Singapore. What's the latest, Kaitlan?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, we're really down to the wire here. Just 14 hours away from that firsthand shake between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.
We just heard from the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in the building next to me who briefed reporters. These talks have been moving rapidly between the United States and North Korea as we race towards that first meeting between the two leaders.
But he did raise some eyebrows when he said that the United States is prepared to offer new, different, and unique security assurances to North Korea if they do make the steps to commit to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The ultimate objective we seek from diplomacy with North Korea has not changed. The complete and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept.
COLLINS (voice-over): President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un touching down in Singapore just hour apart, ahead of the historic high-stakes summit.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got a very interesting meeting in particular tomorrow.
COLLINS: Both leaders meeting separately with Singapore's prime minister while aides spent the day hammering out last-minute details.
POMPEO: We're prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique that have been provided -- that America has been willing to provide previously. We think this is both necessary and appropriate.
COLLINS: North Korean state media broadcasting these pictures of Kim Jong-un leaving North Korea and arriving in Singapore. And officially announcing the trip, which they say will be focused on peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
TRUMP: I think within the first minute I'll know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How?
TRUMP: Just my touch, my feel. That's what -- that's what I do.
COLLINS: The summit coming as President Trump escalates his feud with America's closest allies on the heels of a contentious G-7 minute. President Trump lashing out on Twitter, accusing Germany, the European Union, and Canada of unfair trade practices and not spending enough on security, adding, "Then Justin acts hurt when called out." This after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that
Canada would retaliate after new U.S. tariffs.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Canadians, we're polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.
COLLINS: President Trump responded by calling Trudeau "dishonest" and "weak" and instructing U.S. representatives not to sign the G-7's joint statement. The president's advisers fiercely attacking Trudeau on the Sunday shows.
KUDLOW: Trudeau posed this sophomoric political stunt for domestic consumption.
PETER NAVARRO, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: There is 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.
[07:05:06] COLLINS: Trudeau publicly ignoring the feud. But his foreign minister saying this about the insults.
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Canada does not believe that ad hominem attacks are a particularly appropriate or useful way to conduct our relations.
COLLINS: Mr. Trump's top economic adviser telling CNN that the strong response is related to the summit with North Korea.
KUDLOW: He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the -- on the trip to negotiate with North Korea.
Kim must not see American weakness.
COLLINS: Now, as he briefed reporters, Pompeo was asked how the North Koreans are supposed to trust the United States, given what just transpired at the G-7. He said it was ludicrous to compare the two situations, and there's got to be trust on both the North Korean side and the United States side for all of this to work.
But what's clear here, John, is what transpired at the G-7. And the president upending that is following him from Canada all the way to Singapore.
BERMAN: Oh, it certainly is. All right. Kaitlan Collins on the other side of the city. Kaitlan, thanks so much.
Joining me now, CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto with me. And also with me, CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger.
David, we just heard Larry Kudlow provide some kind of linkage between the president's behavior on the way here with the G-7 summit and the North Korean summit. He says the United States, the president can't afford to look weak. So the way to look strong is to kick your Canadian ally so you look somehow more powerful to Kim Jong-un?
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Mr. Kudlow's comments left me a little bit confused. Remember what happened here. The United States agreed to a communique before the president got on his airplane.
He gets on the airplane. He hears something he doesn't like from Justin Trudeau, and he un-signs the communique. That, I think, may be the bigger message to Kim Jong-un here. It may be, you know, he could come to an agreement tomorrow and then if -- you know, we're at the beginning of what's going to be a long and rocky road with the North Koreans. And I'm not sure the message you necessarily want to set is what he agreed with the leaders he walks away from once he gets on the airplane.
BERMAN: You know, Jim Sciutto, it's interesting. Normally, and I know President Trump operates in different ways. Normally, when you approach a summit like the one we're going to have her in about 14 hours in Singapore, you want the world behind you. The president would want to walk into that room, knowing that every ally and most countries in the world have his back.
However, he has now pushed the rest of the world away. And so Donald Trump, as he often is, is on his own diplomatic island.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: He is. I mean, at least with his allies.
Meanwhile, he makes an olive branch offer to Russia, right, twice in the span of 24 hours, to invite Russia, which America's western allies and America's intelligence and military services agree is a national security threat to the U.S. And he makes an offer then to re-join the G-7 and make it the G-8 again as he takes a shot at one of America's closest allies.
It's just hard to reconcile the strength shown to ally Canada with the warmth shown to adversary Russia if you're trying to send a message to adversary North Korea.
And keep in mind this: What was Prime Minister Trudeau reacting to? He was reacting to President Trump declaring Russia a national security threat to the U.S., which is required under WTO rules to impose tariffs on a trading partner. Typically, that declaration is reserved for countries that are trading in nuclear materials, trading in arms, acts of war.
And yet, the president has somehow defined Canada as being a national security threat to justify the tariffs. And that's what Prime Minister Trudeau was talking about. That's what he was saying was a little bit insulting, kind of insulting, in his words, in light of how often Canada has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S.
So it's interesting for he and his allies, Trump, to be ratcheting up the rhetoric against Canada, knowing what the origin of those comments were. BERMAN: You know, there's this photo that Angela Merkel sent around
the world that has been picked up and analyzed and used, I think, by every side, which shows the president sitting down with the rest of the leaders at the G-7 summit surrounding him, you know, Angela Merkel glaring at him and the rest of the leaders -- I think we have that photo -- staring down at him.
You know, David Sanger, it is interesting, as you think about that and you think about the way that President Trump meets with his allies, you know, you've written a whole piece this morning, that he is coming in and he will sit down face-to-face alone, we just learned, in a room with the likes of a person that he has never faced before.
[07:10:08] SANGER: Not only facing somebody he's never faced before. That happens in diplomacy, especially when you're a new president. But faced with somebody whose motivations may not be the same as what President Trump is accustomed to.
Think about it. In the past two weeks, John, what's happened is the president has said if the North Koreans give up their nuclear weapons, wonderful things will happen to them. Trade will begin to happen to them. There may be McDonald's in -- in Pyongyang.
It's an assumption that Kim Jong-un values getting money and investment into the country more than he values the security that comes from having nuclear weapons that force the rest of the world to deal with it.
I'm not sure that assumption is right. John Pack (ph), who used to be leading a lot of the intelligence assessments for the intelligence community, said to me over the weekend, "You know, Kim Jong-un isn't really interested in getting wealthy. He's got all the wealth in North Korea." His whole family has had all the wealth. Now, certainly, he wants prosperity for the nation, because he wants a long rule. But that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to give up everything. It may mean he's just give up some things.
BERMAN: It's interesting. I read that piece. You say it's not about security for Kim. It's about legitimacy. Legitimacy may be the face- to-face meeting. Legitimacy might also be security. And we heard language from the secretary of state today I feel that we've never quite heard before about the nature of the security guarantees that the United States might be willing to provide.
Let's listen to Secretary Pompeo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: We're prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique, than have been provided -- that America has been willing to provide previously. We think this is both necessary and appropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Security assurances, Jim, that are unique. He specifically would not answer the question about what this means for the 28,000 or so U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. That omission was notable, even though Mike Pompeo said not to read too much into it.
SCIUTTO: Well, he did. He did say something, though, that might indicate what the U.S. is willing to give up here, saying that denuclearization relates to the entire Korean Peninsula. So not just North Korea giving up its nukes but the U.S.
Then, it would seem, based on that language, agreeing not to deploy nukes in a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" policy that we have right now. That would be a major concession. Because those nuclear weapons, to protect the South and the nuclear umbrella there, an enormously important security guarantee to our ally of many decades, South Korea, was he telegraphing there that the U.S. is willing to withdraw that nuclear umbrella, at least on the peninsula, in exchange for North Korea giving up, to some degree, its nuclear weapons? That would be a remarkable concession on a par, perhaps, with those 28,000 U.S. troops you have there. Although I would say on the troops that, remember, that's not just about North Korea. That's also about China. That military presence there is about showing -- a show of force as it were for China and the region, as well.
BERMAN: So, David, during the Kudlow-palooza with Jake Tapper yesterday, not only did he diminish the Canadian prime minister as weak, he said that the president doesn't want to look weak sitting down with Kim Jong-un. And he also used some language, describing Kim that you would think maybe the administration would want to avoid leading up to the summit. Let's listen to what Kudlow said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUDLOW: They should have said to him, "Godspeed, you're negotiating with this crazy nuclear tyrant of North Korea, and we are behind you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: "Negotiating with this crazy guy with nukes." That language from Larry Kudlow. The president has avoided that kind of language. The president has also said he will know within the first minute. He'll walk into that room and he'll get a feel. He'll get a sense of the touch. He'll know right away whether the meeting is going well.
Well, David Sanger, you put together this entire checklist of things to watch for in this meeting. I'm not sure you'll know within a minute whether it's going well for the United States or not. But what are the keys here? What are the deliverables, the things we should look for?
SANGER: First of all, Mr. Kudlow didn't seem to get the memo. The memo was you did crazy last summer when it was, you know, Little Rocket Man. You haven't heard that out of the president's mouth.
Instead, he's saying things like Kim acted very honorably and so forth and so on.
BERMAN: That was so 2017. SANGER: That's right.
BERMAN: Honorable is 2018.
SANGER: Right. For denuclearization, there's a long list we're going to have to go look at. But it's going to start with moving weapons out. It's then going to move to dismantling the facilities that make material: plutonium, uranium.
[07:15:06] It's going to move on to the question of whether they get rid of their chemical weapons, their biological weapons. It's going to move on after that to the question of what happens to the scientists who have the knowledge in their heads of how to go build this. You remember in Germany after World War II, we moved some of those scientists to the United States.
This is going to be a long, long process. And if the president doesn't have a pretty specific list of what the North Koreans are agreeing to do over a timetable, it's going to tell you that he didn't get a huge amount.
BERMAN: It seems much more likely, he'll say, "I'm going to set up meetings in the future to talk about these things" than actually come to concrete conclusions on those.
SANGER: Which is what every previous president has done.
BERMAN: Indeed. All right. David Sanger, Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.
Obviously, we have a lot more to talk about coming up. Alisyn, let's get back to you.
CAMEROTA: Thanks, John.
So what do members of Congress expect to come out of the Trump/Kim summit? Republican Senator Bill Cassidy here with us next.
CAMEROTA: President Trump is just hours away from meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore. This follows a tough G-7 meeting that ended with members of President Trump's administration slamming some of America's oldest allies.
[17:20:10] Joining us now to talk about all of this, we have Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
Senator, great -- great to have you here.
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK. Let me start by playing for you the president's economic advisers and what they said yesterday about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUDLOW: He really kind of stabbed us in the back. He really actually, you know what? He did a great disservice to the whole G-7.
NAVARRO: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Do you agree there's a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau?
CASSIDY: I'd rather think we all live under grace and he'll go to heaven, along with many others. But that said, I think your overall point is the tone of their comments. I can't comment on that.
CAMEROTA: Well, it's not the tone of their comments. It's why alienate America's closest allies -- closest allies; neighbor, Canada -- while seeming to not use harsh words for murderous dictator Kim Jong-un and democracy destroyer Vladimir Putin?
CASSIDY: How Trump and his team choose their rhetoric is not how I would choose my rhetoric. But if you want to go to the basic point that the Trump administration feels like the Canadians have an advantage relative to us in international trade and that costs American jobs, then you have to go to that part.
Now put their rhetoric aside and focus on what the issue is. Is there -- are we disadvantaged in the U.S.? Are we losing American jobs? Arguably, yes.
CAMEROTA: But is Canada screwing us over, or did we agree to these different trade agreements because we thought that NAFTA, at some point, would advantage the U.S.?
CASSIDY: So let's just back up for a little bit of context. After World War II, the United States put in a worldwide trading system that was designed to rebuild Europe, rebuild Japan. We paid for the defense of that and allowed them to import to us and we not necessarily to export as much to they. All to contain the USSR. That's now gone.
So those relationships still exist where, for example, Peter Navarro and "The New York Times" had an editorial yesterday speaking of Canadian dairy products and how they -- tariffs on ours doesn't allow us to send them in. So there are these situations where we're at a disadvantage.
CAMEROTA: Understood, but honestly, it's all a chess game. There's sorts is of consequences for every single move.
Here's what John McCain had to say about this. OK? "To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro- globalization and supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn't." Do you agree with Senator McCain, or with President Trump on this?
CASSIDY: I agree with both, and I'll tell you why I agree with both.
CAMEROTA: But they're diametrically opposed.
CASSIDY: They are not diametrically opposed. For example, again, if you look at what Germany is contributing to NATO, it's supposed to be 2 percent of their GDP. It's 1.2 percent.
Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense, said the United States cannot care more about your defense than Europe does. So Europe has not funded their defense of Europe, and yet they've relied upon us to do so. At the same time, they've had high tariffs against our goods going in whereas we have low tariffs against their goods coming out.
CAMEROTA: I understand, and these are important issues to bring up. But is it worth alienating our closest allies to do so? These are some ad hominem attacks.
CASSIDY: The ad hominem attacks I would put aside. That said, the old saying, nothing is accomplished by a reasonable man. So I don't know if we're going to be able to readjust longstanding agreements without a certain amount of tension.
CAMEROTA: Are you comfortable with President Trump seeming to be closer to Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un at this moment than with Justin Trudeau and the E.U.?
CASSIDY: It is a seeming. It is not true. Who do we have troops in wars with with Russian mercenaries? The United States actually shot up a group of Russian mercenaries. We actually have troops stationed in Germany, and we do cooperative exercises. So seeming is not reality. I'm comfortable with reality.
CAMEROTA: So you're saying -- OK, so I hear what you're saying. You're saying ignore the words and look at the actions. Is that what you recommend?
CASSIDY: Totally. Totally.
CAMEROTA: So ignore the words of President Trump and his top advisers?
CASSIDY: Have you ever had a fight with your spouse?
CASSIDY: And in -- really?
CASSIDY: And in that fight, you just make a decision, "OK, listen, things were said that we wish were not, but there's an underlying issue that has to be addressed." Now you put this to a side. You hope it doesn't happen again, but you begin to address the issue. I think we as a -- as a western alliance need to address the issue.
CAMEROTA: Yes, of trade. But is Canada -- is Canada a bigger national security threat to the U.S. than Russia?
CASSIDY: Of course not.
CAMEROTA: Well, that's the -- that's the justification that President Trump is using to change these tariffs with Canada.
CASSIDY: No. I think he's using the fact that American workers are at a disadvantage.
CAMEROTA: They're also saying that aluminum and steel represent a national security threat.
[07:25:06] CASSIDY: So -- so if you look at Chinese steel, there clearly is an attempt by the Chinese. The Chinese have 50 percent of the overcapacity of steel in the world. And they are systematically attempting to put other country's steel manufacturing out of business. Now that is a threat to the global security, which is why the president wants to have an alliance with western Europe to combat Chinese dumping of steel into the world market. I totally get that.
Now do I agree with him that Germany sending steel here should have a tariff? I do not. That hurts people in my state. It hurts the port of New Orleans, which by tonnage brings in more steel than any other product. So -- not Chinese steel but from Japan and Germany.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but what about Canada?
CASSIDY: And so Canada, again, the Navarro article yesterday points out things like dairy. Twenty-five percent -- 25 percent tariff on dairy products going across the border. The way that a lumber market is structured puts our lumber producers, if you will, at a disadvantage. And so there might be a rationale but nonetheless, they are able to produce lumber at an artificially lower cost --
CASSIDY: -- relative to U.S. producers.
CAMEROTA: Quickly, I want to talk about something near and dear to your hear, which is health care.
CAMEROTA: So the White House has joined with 20 states to try to change some key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Here it is. "The states argue that, after Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate last year, effective 2019, it destabilized other sections of the law. The provisions the DOJ says should be invalidated are central to the Affordable Care Act and would gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions."
There it is. That's the Jimmy Kimmel test that you talked about so passionately. Do away with pre-existing conditions? Are you comfortable with that?
CASSIDY: So I've already introduced legislation, along with Susan Collins, that would have addressed this issue. The problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it is unaffordable. It is not sustainable. There's families in my state who, without getting a subsidy, have to pay $50,000 a year after-tax dollars before the insurance kicks in.
CASSIDY: So we need a new system, and I've introduced legislation to address that.
CAMEROTA: But what's happening with that new legislation? In other words, what it sounds like to me is that preexisting conditions and coverage for people with preexisting conditions will go away before any new legislation is in place.
CASSIDY: So if we're talking only about the individual market, there will continue to be -- most of the people on there are getting subsidies, and they would continue to get a subsidy relative to their premium.
CAMEROTA: But will pre-existing conditions continue to be covered?
CASSIDY: But in that, they would be, because they're subsidized. The point is, that is not sustainable.
So one, we've got to lower drug costs; we've got to decrease the costs of medicine. I am working on that, put out a white paper on that. We also need an alternative to what I call the Unaffordable Care Act. An alternative in which states have the flexibility to stabilize their insurance market and make premiums more affordable.
By the way, there is bipartisan legislation introduced to that end.
CASSIDY: But after some of the senators on the other side of the aisle, Democrats, negotiated it, they then voted against it.
CAMEROTA: But just so I'm clear, you can tell us today that there will be no gap in coverage for people with preexisting conditions moving forward?
CASSIDY: If you are in a subsidized policy, your subsidies will continue.
CAMEROTA: If you're not?
CASSIDY: If you're not getting subsidies, you're paying $50,000 a year now, and probably you can't afford it anyway. They are in the lurch.
Believe me, I am not turning my attention away from that. Actually introducing legislation to -- had introduced legislation to address that issue; have encouraged the reintroduction of legislation which would stabilize insurance markets. It's something we have to focus on.
CAMEROTA: Senator Bill Cassidy, thanks so much for being here to talk about all of this.
CASSIDY: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right. So President Trump and Kim Jong-un will be face-to-face in just a matter of hours. One man has already met with both, the prime minister of Singapore. And he just sat down with our Christiane Amanpour. She joins us next.