Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Pulls U.S. Out of G7 Statement on Trade; President Trump and Advisers Criticize Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Donald Trump Arrives in Singapore for Upcoming Meeting with Kim Jong-un; Navarro: "Special Place In Hell" For Canadian PM Trudeau; Trump: Adding Russia Back In G8 Would Be A "Positive Thing"; Senator McCain: U.S. Stands With Allies Even If President Doesn't. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired June 11, 2018 - 8:00   ET


[08:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That initial meeting could last up to two hours before other members of the delegations are brought in. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presumably one of those members, he briefed reporters just a short time ago. He says the president is confident. He says the president is fully prepared for this meeting. And he says the ultimate goal as it has always been is the complete de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That language is very interesting in and of itself. We'll tell you why. Another key question here and around the world, is Kim Jong-un's version of denuclearization the same as President Trump's? Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of questions, John, so keep bringing us the breaking news and developments as they happen.

Meanwhile, President Trump slammed the G-7 countries on trade and pulled out of their joint statement. The president's top economic advisers also accuse Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of betraying President Trump, adding, quote, "There is a special place in hell for leaders who engage in bad faith diplomacy with this president." So we begin our coverage with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She is live for us in Singapore. Give us the latest, Kaitlan.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, it's all really happening. We are just 13 hours away from that first handshake between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. The president's secretary of state Mike Pompeo just briefed reporters in the room next door to where I'm standing. And as he briefed us he made clear that North Koreans have made no firm commitments about denuclearization yet even though we are just hours away from that potentially historic meeting. And while he sounded optimistic and said President Trump is confident about that meeting, he also raised some eyebrows when he said the United States is ready to provide security assurances to North Korea if they do commit to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.


MIKE POMPEO, 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 Korean peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept. COLLINS: President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

touching down in Singapore just hours apart ahead of the historic high stakes summit. Both leaders meeting separately with Singapore's prime minister while aides spent the day hammering out last minute details.

POMPEO: We are 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.

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.

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 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 meeting. 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 are polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.

COLLINS: President Trump responding 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.

LARRY KUDLOW, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL DIRECTOR: 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 on the back on the way out the door.

COLLINS: Trudeau publicly ignoring the feud, but his foreign minister saying this about the insult.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN RELATIONS: 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 trip to negotiate with North Korea. Kim must not see American weakness.


COLLINS: Secretary of State Pompeo was asked about what happened at the G-7 and if that could affect the president's negotiations with Kim Jong-un tomorrow. He said it was ludicrous to compare those two situations, but what's clear here, John and Alisyn, is that what the president did in Canada, upending those relationships with close America allies, has followed him all the way here to Singapore.

[08:05:08] BERMAN: It certainly has. Kaitlan Collins with us here in Singapore, Kaitlan, thanks so much.

Joining me now, CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto, also here with me, CNN global affairs analyst and former U.S. special representative for North Korea policy Joseph Yun. Ambassador, I want to start with you. Thirty-three years in government service, 33 years in diplomacy. Have you ever seen anything the likes of what we just saw over the last 24 hours? The president not signing this declaration. His aides saying Canada, one of America's closest allies, stabbed us in the back, and there is a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau.

JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: John, I have never seen anything like it. Certainly we use a lot of words, but behind the scenes I have never seen such a statement. Number one, protocol is a little unusual for staff to go and say something like that publicly about head of government. And so I feel a little bit uncomfortable.

BERMAN: A little bit uncomfortable. Let me just ask you this. Any strategic value that you can see in using those words as the president arrives here in Singapore with this meeting with Kim Jong-un?

YUN: I think the two situations are so not comparable. We have G-7 which is our closest ally, and Canada probably the closest ally. And then we have North Korea. We have never had a summit meeting with North Korea. G-7 every year we have a summit meeting. So they are -- one is a group of allies likeminded we call it, very comfortable with each other, very agreeable. The other one we have never met.

BERMAN: Will this behavior play with Kim?

YUN: I don't think. I think he will be a little bit confused on why this is relevant in Singapore, quite confused on what people are saying. We heard one of the White House -- Larry Kudlow say this is about Singapore. What? What is it about Singapore?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It just doesn't stand to reason because you are showing strength by attacking an ally who like you sees North Korea's nuclear program as a threat while in the same 24 hours you throw an olive branch to Russia which is a U.S. adversary on many levels, inviting them back to the G-7, the G-8 as it would be if they were in it. Why is it showing strength to take a shot at your ally and embrace your adversary?

BERMAN: And also the notion that somehow it would show strength or it shows us how President Trump, how stiff his spine will be with Kim Jong-un, it just doesn't bear out because President Trump did act this way when he was in Canada. He reached an agreement with the G-7. It was only after he was gone.

SCIUTTO: And after he watched the press conference.

BERMAN: But it was after he was gone, and he did it on Twitter. That's not doing it face to face. That's not confronting a perceived threat face-to-face.

SCIUTTO: And it also does not appear to be part of a strategy. If he agreed before seeing the press conference that he was going to sign that communique, which they really had to battle to get something that they can agree on, and he watches the press conference, how does that show a thought out strategy somehow connected to North Korea?

YUN: Jim, I would hope we can really keep these two separate.


YUN: This is nuclear diplomacy. It is so tough, and quite honestly, we have been at it for the past 30 years. And so we have an opportunity. Let's not forget that. We don't want to be back where we were in November and December. We talk about bloody nose. We don't want to be back there. And so to make this something of a wrestling match is just not helpful.

BERMAN: Let's bring it to today, because we did hear the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, deliver a briefing to the press. And it does seem like he wanted to deliver some messages. He talked about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Is he telegraphing that the give to North Korea -- so the expectation give up your nuclear weapons, and the give will be we will not place weapons, does that mean on the Korean peninsula physically, does it mean around it, because part of the U.S. nuclear umbrella for South Korea, one of it's closest allies in the world, are U.S. nuclear assets in the region, nuclear submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers based in bases far away but that can carry nuclear weapons. Was Secretary Pompeo putting that on the table? That would be a significant security concession.

[08:10:00] YUN: I think, Jim, you make a good point, which is we are moving towards the language itself, denuclearization of Korean peninsula, which is different from what we have been saying, which is CVID, complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization.

BERMAN: It's the language of Kim Jong-un.

YUN: They're moving towards that, yes.

BERMAN: It's the language that North Korea prefers. There are a lot of people who look at this and say wait a second, here. You have given Kim everything he wants by having this meeting to begin with. It appears you are giving him more of what he wants by using the language that he prefers. Is this meeting worth it, then, ambassador? YUN: It is worth it, and I want to go back to where we were last

year. I really don't think there is any other solution but negotiated diplomatic solution. Let's face it, North Korea has the weapons. They have tested them. They have the weapons, so on the one hand they believe they are in a position of strength. The irony is we, too, believe, or the White House believes, President Trump is in a position of strength. This is why the meeting tomorrow, what comes out of it will be fascinating.

SCIUTTO: And when they war game out the military option, right, which is something the president was briefed on, you are speaking of deaths in the tens or hundreds of thousands. In Seoul, U.S. military soldiers and their families, but residents so close to the North Korean border. Just to amplify your point that where we were a few months ago, where the military option was front and center, it is progress that they are sitting down across from each other.

BERMAN: Right now what we have, though, ambassador, is only vague language. And one of the things we are going to be watching for tomorrow as we sit here is has the language moved beyond this squishy stage? It isn't clear at this point.

YUN: At this point actually what is clear is it has not moved beyond squishy stage. And so how do we look at the whole agreement if it comes out, it is only that? And on the one hand I think we are missing a big opportunity to get to the objective of denuclearization. But at the same time, if it kicks off a process that gets us there, I think we have to welcome it. It's a positive step. Let's face it. It is a positive step.

BERMAN: Ambassador Joseph Yun, Jim Sciutto, great to have you here with us. We will be watching this very closely. And we'll analyze, we will pick apart that language tomorrow because it is absolutely crucial.

President Trump and his advisers, as we've been talking about, slam the closest allies to the United States, rejected in this G-7 statement on trade. Alisyn, it is remarkable to hear all of it.

CAMEROTA: John, we still need to analyze this because our analysts say that he is blowing up the international world order. What does that mean? That's next.




LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, WH 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.

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.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The tension between the U.S. and our western allies intensified Sunday after President Trump's top economic advisers directed a series of harsh comments towards Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Let's talk about this. We want to bring in CNN global affairs analyst, Max Boot, and CNN political commentator, Charlie Dent. Great to have both of you here to help us try to figure out what happened at the G7. So, Charlie, is there a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely not. This behavior is simply strategically and economically incoherent and self- destructive. To enter into this kind of engagement with the Canadians just a few days after the Normandy invasion where Canadians died right alongside Americans in heavy numbers, I just think is unconscionable.

This western alliance, this transatlantic relationship, is the foundation of American national security and economic policy. We should do everything we can to keep this together. You know, Vladimir Putin would love nothing more than to see this disunity among western nations and including Japan and North Korea as critical partners.

He would love nothing more to that than to see that and the fact that our own administration is undermining this alliance is simply unacceptable, and I would be curious to hear what Max has to say about this because this is just beyond the pale in my view.

CAMEROTA: Here is your opportunity to hear what Max says. Max, I believe that you say to all of the people stunned by what we saw at the G7 you saw it coming that Donald Trump ran as sort of an international disrupter.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's right. I mean, Donald Trump has long had this animosity against our allies. He thinks that our allies are the problem and are ripping us off and at the same time he has a soft spot in his heart for every dictator around the world.

You see this bizarre view playing out where his aides seem to be suggesting that there is a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, but then there is also a place for Vladimir Putin, the dictator of Russia, and Vladimir Putin's place is not in hell, it's at the G7. It doesn't make any sense.

CAMEROTA: Yes, explain that one. That one is so hard to wrap your head around. Why is he suggesting that?

BOOT: Well, I think everybody would love to know what is the source of Donald Trump's mystifying affection for Vladimir Putin? We know that the affection is there. He hardly ever says a cross word about the dictator of Russia even though he says very, very mean spirited and ugly things about our allies. Now he wants to include Putin in the G7 even though he was kicked out because he invaded Ukraine in 2014 and since then Putin has committed war crimes in Syria, interfered in the U.S. election and tried to murder a dissident in Great Britain. He has done nothing to warrant inclusion in the G7 and Russia is not even a top ten economy.

[08:20:07] CAMEROTA: Yes. So, Charlie, explain how your fellow colleagues in Congress, Republicans react. What is happening behind the scenes when President Trump says we should reinclude Russia in the G8 and never mentions anything about what Max just outlined.

DENT: Well, first, it's inexplicable to allow Russia to rejoin the G7 or G8. That makes absolutely no sense, but what Republicans should do right now is reassert their Article 1 authorities specifically on the trade issues.

Senators Corker and Toomey are leading the charge on giving Congress a say in whether or not these national security tariffs could ever be imposed. That's important. Just before I left Congress, Congressman Ron (inaudible) and I introduced legislation to give Congress the authority to basically approve or disapprove whether or not the United States could actually exit a trade agreement.

So, Congress needs to really step up right and reassert itself on this relationship. For the president to embrace this policy of nativism, isolationism, and protectionism, these are just not characteristics of a great country.

To treat some of our allies as if they are a bunch of free loaders, I mean, I was in charge of military construction projects. It is less expensive for us as the United States to base our troops in Korea and Japan than at home. They do make significant contributions.

I wish the president would speak in a more friendly manner with our allies. These alliances we have challenges within them and have to work to make them better and stronger. No one should be talking about divorce right now.

We can make the relationship better. I just simply can't explain why the president has some of these harsh feelings toward some of our truest friends and allies.

CAMEROTA: Max, we just had Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana on. He basically said that these trade alliances or agreements are outdated, and that President Trump should be blowing them up basically. They keep citing the dairy imbalance with Canada that there is 275 percent tariff on American farmers. What of that?

BOOT: You know, I am just so sick of these ridiculous outdated nativist, xenophobic, protectionist arguments. We saw where that led us in the 1930s, let's keep that in mind. This notion that Canada is somehow an offender on trade is just bogus.

And yes, they do have some tariffs on having to do with dairy products, but we have tariffs too. I mean, we have very high tariffs on sugar, for example, but overall, Canada has a very low level of tariffs and so does the United States.

And if Donald Trump and these other Trumpian Republicans are actually concerned about tariff barriers let's enter into new free trade accords. The Transpacific Partnership would have actually decrease Canadian dairy protection and Canadian farmers who weren't happy about it.

But Donald Trump pulled out the Transpacific Partnership the very first thing that he did. There is no logical reason behind what Trump is doing. I mean, for example, he complains all the time about the United States having a trade deficit.

Well, if you talk to any economists, they will tell you that there is nothing inherently wrong with the trade deficit. But in the case of Canada, we don't even have a trade deficit. He is lying about that.

We have an $8.4 billion trade surplus with Canada according to his own U.S. trade representative and yet he constantly just lies and says we have a trade deficit. So, logic and reason have very little to do with what Trump and his supporters are doing.

I think it is vital for the mainstream Republican Party to repudiate that if in fact they disagree. But right now, they seemed completely enthralled to Trump.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that, Charlie, why aren't we hearing anything from the so-called mainstream Republican Party talking about this?

DENT: I think you are starting to hear it on the trade issue. With Senators Corker and Toomey that this is a step. This trade policy of the president simply defies Republican ideals and principles. I think our party learned a hard lesson that protectionism is not a path to economic growth.

And so many Republicans I think are deeply dismayed by this. I think you will see pushback on trade. If we don't see it on the trade issue we will never see it because this violates such a core principle of Republicans.

The Democratic Party is really more the protectionist party. We've always known that and they just can't get out the wrong way on the trade issue, but it's up to Republicans in Congress now to reassert what has been the traditional American foreign policy and economic policy since Second World War on trade regularization.

CAMEROTA: You know, I shouldn't have said it. Very quickly, Max, John McCain did tweet about this. John McCain this weekend said to our allies, "Bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro free trade, pro-globalization in support of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you even if our president doesn't." Go ahead, Max.

BOOT: Well, John McCain, of course, is a stalwart believer in the western alliance and the international order that the United States created after 1945. [08:25:05] But what is very dismaying to me is how many of his former colleagues and Charlie's former colleagues are abandoning those viewpoints basically because they are following Donald Trump over the cliff.

I think it's imperative for Republicans to find a voice. I think that they are terrified of breaking with Donald Trump. They are afraid that he is going to tweet against them and oppose them and humiliate them and are basically throwing their ideals out the window.

I think, you know, if they do have any allegiance to the free market principles I think it is imperative for Congress to take away Donald Trump's power to impose these tariffs on these bogus national security grounds where he calls Canada our closest ally a national security threat.

And beyond that you know what would be really nice, I would love to see both houses of Congress unanimously pass a resolution saying that Canada is our friend, that we love Canada that Canada stood behind us and lost 159 soldiers fighting alongside the United States in Afghanistan.

We completely repudiate these bizarre and deranged views expressed by the president and his aid as animus towards our closest friend and ally.

CAMEROTA: Is there any chance of that bipartisan message for Canada?

DENT: Yes. Absolutely. They are our brothers and sisters.

CAMEROTA: OK, there you go. Charlie Dent, Max Boot, thank you very much for the conversation. Great to talk to both of you.

We want to get back to John in Singapore. John, the White House has just released a statement. It lays out tomorrow's schedule and says the president plans to have media availability at some point tomorrow. So, he will answer some questions -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He will do a news conference tomorrow 24 hours from now. It will happen on NEW DAY. What is interesting about this is he is departing Singapore perhaps earlier than we thought. They'd left the door open to staying another day. Does this mean they anticipate the meetings won't go quite as well as he thought?

Because they wanted to leave the door open to perhaps to a second day of meetings between President Trump and Kim. So, we will try to understand exactly what is going on here if this is a development worth exploring more, Alisyn.

Also, President Trump rips our allies on the eve of this historic summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. How will G7 fallout effect this sit down?