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Trump: G7 Summit Was "Good" Despite Spat With Allies; Trump: U.S. To Stop "War Games" With South Korea; Ruling Expected Today On AT&T-Time Warner Merger; Former White House Aides Tasked With Taping Up Trump's Torn Up Papers. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired June 12, 2018 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:33:08] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I'm John Berman live in Singapore.
The sun has set on this city and the sun has set on this historic day. History, in the sense that no sitting U.S. president has ever met with the North Korean leader. That has now happened.
President Trump sat down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. They held a series of these rolling photo ops, six in total. They met for about five hours.
You're looking at these pictures of them signing that document. That was history.
This day in Singapore also historic for what we saw from Kim Jong Un, walking along the streets of Singapore. Actually, I can see the area where he walked here in this thriving capitalist mecca.
Kim Jong Un took that walkabout and was greeted very much like a celebrity, cheered at times. So that was history.
But the big question is how will history record what was achieved here toward the ultimate goal of denuclearization. Has the United States pushed North Korea any closer to that actual goal? Remember, that was the purpose of this meeting and as of now, that is unclear whether anything new or different was achieved than the past.
I'm going to throw it back to New York and really, an Algonquin (ph) roundtable with two best-selling authors. Alisyn Camerota, author of "Amanda Wakes Up" now available in paperback. And, Jake Tapper of "The Hellfire Club." A meeting of the minds the likes we've never seen, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Jake's busy ready right now or he would -- or he would -- please take this shot.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER," AUTHOR, "THE HELLFIRE CLUB": I've already read it. I'm reading it again. I just can't -- I can't tear my eyes away.
CAMEROTA: It's that riveting, out in paperback today. God, you guys are good. BERMAN: I read it six times on the 20-hour flight here.
CAMEROTA: You guys are good. John, thank you.
There are other images though that we do need to --
CAMEROTA: -- talk about as well, equal riveting.
CAMEROTA: President Trump holding a wide-ranging news conference after his historic summit with Kim Jong Un.
[07:35:00] Mr. Trump also addressed questions about the G7 summit just a couple of days ago and this picture that made headlines around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The picture with Angela Merkel, who I get along with very well, where I'm sitting there like this -- that picture was we're waiting for the document because I wanted to see the final document as changed by the changes that I requested.
That was a very friendly -- I know it didn't look friendly and I know it was reported like sort of nasty both ways. I was angry at her, she -- actually, we were just talking, the whole group, about something unrelated to everything -- very friendly -- waiting for the document to come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right, let's bring back Jake Tapper.
So, Jake, the split-screen image, OK --
CAMEROTA: -- of the seeming tension with allies and then the warmth with Kim Jong Un is fascinating.
CAMEROTA: I mean, this week has been mind-blowing.
TAPPER: And look, President Trump was elected to be a disruptor and he is disrupting. He is disrupting the old ways of doing business. He's obviously very hawkish when it comes to pushing back on allies when it has -- when it has to do with trade. And he's -- he really wants a denuclearization deal with North Korea.
So yes, I mean, the split-screen is fascinating. Actually -- and Michelle Kosinski has some reporting -- our State
Department correspondent -- on what exactly President Trump was pushing back on in that photo. Apparently, he was objecting to a term in the communique referring to the rules-based international order. It's something that previous presidents have signed off on all the time.
And also, insisting that the term "reciprocal," when it comes to trade, be included.
CAMEROTA: But then, did he ultimately bow out of it altogether?
TAPPER: Well, he agreed to the communique initially, and then it was only after the Justin Trudeau press conference which apparently offended his sensitive sensibilities.
CAMEROTA: Well, it's not that it offended his sensibilities, I mean, if you believe the White House. It's that Justin Trudeau, they claim, said one thing to the president privately and then said something completely different in the press conference where he seemed to insult the -- I guess that Trump interpreted it as an insult or at least a difference in tone than what Justin Trudeau had agreed to privately. But that's just the president's interpretation.
TAPPER: Right. I mean, if you look at what President Trump has said I don't -- you follow the news pretty closely so --
TAPPER: I mean, you're an anchor on the morning show. You've picked up --
CAMEROTA: Right, right, three hours as opposed to just one.
TAPPER: You've picked up on this -- and five days a week as opposed to six -- that sometimes the president insults people.
TAPPER: You might have picked up on this.
CAMEROTA: You know what?
TAPPER: And sometimes he does so in a way that is far harsher than what we heard from Justin Trudeau.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but you know what else?
CAMEROTA: Sometimes the president insults people after giving them warm man hugs.
CAMEROTA: So, that's what is, I think, is so interesting about what has happened with Kim Jong Un is that just because there's warmth today --
CAMEROTA: -- doesn't mean that there will be warmth tomorrow.
CAMEROTA: Ask Macron.
TAPPER: Oh, absolutely true. And, you know, I think the next six months are going to prove whether or not today was anything other than a public relations gesture or whether it really was, honestly, a breakthrough.
And look, it might be. There might be some chemistry that these two have that allows there to be a true and lasting peace on that peninsula.
Again, I'm a skeptic of the North Koreans. I do not believe the North Koreans and time will tell. I hope the president is correct.
CAMEROTA: Of course.
And then, with the allies, where are we today? When the president lands is there still tension with the E.U. and Canada? What happens after that summit seemed to have gone awry?
TAPPER: I mean, I think that they'll just move on and pick up.
And he has done this throughout his presidency. Remember when he went to NATO and he had some rough comments there about how people weren't pulling their weight?
I mean, his throwing haymakers at our allies -- at U.S. allies -- traditional allies -- Europe, the -- Australia, Canada is nothing new. I think they're getting used to it. I think that they -- the European allies and our -- and I think they're stunned that it keeps happening.
But I think -- you know, I think that are settled into a world where a lot of us are, which is constantly stunned but not necessarily surprised.
CAMEROTA: President Trump said that it will cost Canada a lot -- Justin Trudeau's comments. So we shall see when he lands what mood he's in and what that means -- cost Canada a lot.
Let's move on to Larry Kudlow who --
TAPPER: Can I just say one thing?
TAPPER: This is one of our most important allies as a country.
TAPPER: They fight in wars with us. They fight in -- they fought in Afghanistan with us.
CAMEROTA: Lost people.
TAPPER: Lost people. I mean, it's not -- it's not an alliance to be taken lightly.
CAMEROTA: Let's move on to the White House National Economic Council director, Larry Kudlow, who suffered what we're told is a mild heart attack.
CAMEROTA: We saw him a day before that news was announced on "STATE OF THE UNION." Here is Larry Kudlow after a question you asked -- watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: POTUS is not going to let a Canadian prime minister push him around. He is not going to permit any show of weakness on the -- on the trip to negotiate with North Korea nor should he.
[07:40:04] TAPPER: So this was about North Korea?
KUDLOW: Of course, it was, in large part -- absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: People felt that he was fairly exercised on your show and then the news broke the next day that he had had a mild heart attack.
CAMEROTA: But today we're told that he's recovering.
CAMEROTA: What was your impression when he came on your show?
TAPPER: He seemed -- I mean, he seemed to be slurring a little bit and I assumed it was just because he had just gotten off a long flight the night before and he's 70 years old. I don't mean to make light of that. I'm almost 50 and like I know, the years catch up with us.
CAMEROTA: So you felt physically, he wasn't in perfect shape?
TAPPER: I mean, maybe.
CAMEROTA: No, I mean --
TAPPER: I might be projecting back a little bit but I mean, I do think that he didn't seem to be -- he seemed tired to me at the time. He seemed tired to me but that's not so odd for somebody who just got off this international flight late the night before and had to get up early to do a Sunday show. It's not so strange. But, Larry is a -- whatever you think of his politics, he's a nice guy and I know that we're all wishing him the best in his recovery.
CAMEROTA: But in terms of the tenor of what he said to you, was that more animated and sort of exercised than we had heard him in the past -- how he was talking about North Korea and the message that was being sent to the allies?
TAPPER: I think it's been an adjustment for him because he is a free trader and he's known for having a very different position on economics than President Trump.
But I think that he was in that moment, in pushing back on Trudeau, the way that the White House wanted him to. Finding his legs, in other words. Like, he was trying to represent the president's point of view perhaps more so than his own, which is his job.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely --
CAMEROTA: -- and he seems to have embraced it --
CAMEROTA: -- at least in that interview with you.
Jake Tapper, fabulous to talk to you.
TAPPER: It's always great to be here.
CAMEROTA: Your book again is "The Hellfire Club." I would hold it up but I have it on my bedside table. Oh, there it is.
TAPPER: Oh, there is it. There it is.
CAMEROTA: There it is, "Hellfire Club." Fabulous read -- a fascinating a mystery story skyrocketing its way up the bestseller list.
TAPPER: Thank you so much. I appreciate it and it's great to see you.
CAMEROTA: You, too.
TAPPER: And congratulations on your new work husband, John Berman. How's that working out?
CAMEROTA: It's going really well --
CAMEROTA: -- so far, yes. I mean, you'll always be my first work husband.
TAPPER: One would hope. CAMEROTA: Yes but, you know, I'm a work polygamist --
CAMEROTA: -- so I don't have to like break up with you to have John Berman.
TAPPER: Yes, that's not how I roll, but OK.
CAMEROTA: OK. More on this when we come back.
Meanwhile, South Korea is surprised by President Trump's announcement about putting a stop to war games. What they are saying about future military plans -- that's next.
[07:46:18] BERMAN: So, President Trump surprised the world by announcing the United States will stop military exercises -- these joint military exercises with South Korea. The president called these exercises "war games."
South Korea responds to the news just moments ago so let's go straight to Seoul. CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live there with more. Nic, what have you heard?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, John, of course, these joint military exercises are what gives the government the knowledge that it can respond to aggression from North Korea.
It's what gives the people of South Korea the sense of security that they've got a ready military force that's battle ready -- that's ready to fight tonight. That's what -- that's the motto that they stand by.
So what we've heard from the Blue House, the president's office, this evening gives us a little insight into what the president here is thinking about this issue of suspending or stopping entirely those military exercises.
I'll read it to you. It says this. "At this moment, we need to figure out President Trump's accurate meaning and intention [of that statement]."
It goes on, "However, we believe we need to seek various measures how to efficiently move forward to the dialogues during serious talks are being conducted to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and to establish relations between North Korea and the United States."
I think what we're hearing from the Blue House here is that they want to understand what precisely does the president mean. But more to the point, that they're willing to go potentially that extra mile if that's what it takes to move this overall peace process forward -- John.
CAMEROTA: Oh, I'll take it. Thanks so much, Nic. Thanks for the reporting from there. So in just a few hours, back here at home, a federal judge will announce his ruling in the AT&T-Time Warner merger and this decision could have a domino effect on other proposed blockbuster media deals. CNN, of course, is owned by Turner and that is a division of Time Warner.
CNN's Hadas Gold has been -- Hadas Gold has been in Washington covering this case from gavel to gavel and she has a preview. What are we expected, Hadas?
HADAS GOLD, REPORTER, "CNN MONEY": Alisyn, this is a day that the business community has been eagerly awaiting for a month. As you said, at 4:00 p.m., a federal judge here in Washington will rule whether or not AT&T should be allowed to buy Time Warner, our parent company.
As you said, this ruling will have implications not just on these two companies but on all these other companies considering major mergers as well. Think Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox. All of these mergers will be directly affected by this deal.
As soon as this week -- as soon as pretty much the judge rules, we'll expect action on some of these other deals.
Now, this is going to be like a stoplight in the industry. If the judge rules yes, the two companies can merge, it will be a like a green light for more consolidation in the media industry. If he rules no, then it's like a red or yellow light and they're going to probably hold off on some of these mergers.
Remember, the Justice Department sued to stop this merger last year because the government believes that if AT&T owned Time Warner they would have too much power in the industry. They think that would harm competition and possibly raise prices for consumers.
AT&T and Time Warner say they need this merger to compete with the likes of Amazon, and Netflix, and Apple -- all of these new players in the television content game.
And, AT&T claims that prices wouldn't actually go up. This would -- this would help all of these -- all of the -- all of these companies.
Now ultimately, this is not the end because even though the judge will say yes or no there is going to be an appeals process. So today is just the beginning of an even longer process, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Hadas. This is -- this is a lifelong employment for you, so that's the good news.
Thank you very much for all --
GOLD: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: -- of your reporting.
OK. So you have to hear this next story. [05:50:00] These two men say that they taped up the president's ripped-up papers for the sake of history. So now, these two former aides describe their very strange assignment and why they got fired. That's next.
CAMEROTA: You have to hear this story.
Two former White House aides say their job was to tape together official papers that President Trump had torn up. Memos and other official documents that are annotated by any president need to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act, but for some reason that was not happening.
Joining us now are those two former records management analysts at the White House. We have Solomon Lartey and Reginald Young, Jr.
Gentlemen, great to see you. Great to have you with us.
Solomon, can you just elaborate on that for us what your job was with these documents?
SOLOMON LARTEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE RECORDS MANAGEMENT ANALYST: Well, in the beginning of the administration after the transition period we would get torn up documents, letters, and memos like you said, and we would have to tape them back together for records.
So we was like --
[07:55:14] CAMEROTA: Yes, for posterity.
LARTEY: Yes, exactly. We were -- when we first got them we were like what is this? I'm thinking -- we thought it was a joke and I think we all talked among ourselves like what's going on here? Then we were like this is an adult puzzle for us. It was like we had never -- I hadn't messed with a puzzle in years.
CAMEROTA: Now, hold on a second --
CAMEROTA: -- because I think the question that you were asking is the right one. Oh, my -- what is this?
Why was the president tearing up officials documents?
LARTEY: We never got that explanation.
CAMEROTA: OK. So what did your boss tell you about why you had to tape them back together?
LARTEY: We needed to do some work and we needed to tape these documents back together because I guess they knew that it was against presidential records to tear up documents. So we were told tape this stuff back together -- CAMEROTA: OK.
LARTEY: -- and make it a record.
CAMEROTA: Reggie, can you -- I know that you have a little demo that you're going to show us of the kind of things that were delivered to you.
Can you just hold up, both of you, for us the kinds of things that were delivered to your desk and the -- like what size little pieces of paper? Show me some of the sizes.
LARTEY: Oh, different sizes. It was -- it was -- it was --
REGINALD YOUNG, JR., FORMER WHITE HOUSE RECORDS MANAGEMENT ANALYST: Tiny pieces.
YOUNG: Medium size.
CAMEROTA: OK, and then what would you both set about doing? Demonstrate it for us.
LARTEY: All right. Like a puzzle.
YOUNG: We had to lay it out on the table --
LARTEY: Lay it out on the table.
YOUNG: -- or a big desk. We poured the contents on the desk --
YOUNG: -- and we literally had to spend hours per day --
YOUNG: -- piecing together the puzzle prior to taping them.
CAMEROTA: Reggie, did your boss ever tell you why President Trump was tearing up official documents and if anybody had told him that he shouldn't do that and that these are official documents for history?
YOUNG: Well, I can't speak on what they were told as we were not privileged to be in those meetings with them. However, I did pose questions to my immediate supervisor for her to challenge our director --
YOUNG: -- to the validity of us doing this type of work.
Clearly, we are paid government employees and we serve at the interest of the American public. So our jobs are to generally do things that are more important, especially for the salary that they're paying us. LARTEY: Exactly, right -- yes.
CAMEROTA: But like what? I mean, so before President Trump you both had, I think, worked for the government for decades.
LARTEY: Yes, ma'am.
CAMEROTA: What sort of things were you doing before you were taping up tiny pieces of paper?
YOUNG: Well -- you want to start?
LARTEY: Well, we were -- we was preserving the records for the President of the United States.
Any correspondence that would come in or different files like this summit. We would have been heavily involved in this because they would call back a document or something that he needed, right, or -- and say if he wrote a letter. We would pull the letter and say he talked to you on this date and with such and such, for talking points and everything like that.
So that's what we did.
CAMEROTA: That makes perfect sense. And then -- and then after you would dutifully, laboriously tape together those documents for weeks and months, that President Trump had torn up, you were fired.
LARTEY: Absolutely, yes.
CAMEROTA: Why, Reggie, were you fired?
YOUNG: That is a million-dollar question that I have yet to get an answer to no matter how --
CAMEROTA: What were you told?
YOUNG: We were told that we are at-will employees and that we serve at the pleasure of the president --
LARTEY: Pleasure of the president, yes.
YOUNG: -- and that we can be removed at any time of their discretion of our position.
CAMEROTA: You know, we reached -- we reached out to the White House for a response to all -- an explanation to all of this. We've yet to hear back from them.
But, Solomon, why do you think you were fired? Do you think it's that you saw too much on those ripped-up documents?
LARTEY: I don't know because it became a control factor because they was telling us we're not supposed to tell this.
We were told to stay off social media -- those type of things. It was like OK, that's my personal business. If I want to make a comment about something I should be able to make a comment about it. But that's what we were told directly -- stay off social media.
LARTEY: Do not tell anything that was going on.
LARTEY: But it's only been this administration so I -- we don't --
LARTEY: -- that's how we was doing.
CAMEROTA: We're going to follow this story because this is really fascinating and it is really important that you've let America know that official documents that are supposed to be preserved for history are being torn up.
So, Solomon Lartey, Reggie Young, Jr., thank you very much --
LARTEY: Thank you.
YOUNG: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: -- for coming in and telling us your story. We will follow it.
LARTEY: All right, thank you.
YOUNG: Thank you so much.
CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news. Let's get right to it.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: All right, good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Alisyn Camerota in New York.