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EARLY START

Trump En Route to Washington; Soon: Pompeo Arriving in Seoul; Trump-Kim Summit Huge Success for China; AT&T-Time Warner Merger Wins Approval. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 13, 2018 - 04:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[04:30:59] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump lands at Joint Base Andrews next hour fresh off his summit with Kim Jong-un. Can the president deliver a verifiable deal to denuke the Korean peninsula?

Back the president or pack your bags. Voters sending a clear message to lawmakers in primaries nationwide.

And the 2026 World Cup will be awarded in just hours. Will it be Morocco or North America? And could the president's policies on immigration tip the scales in Morocco's favor?

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. It is 4:31 Eastern Time.

We'll answer that question. You're waking up to why is an #NPRraccoon the top trending topic on Twitter just 24 hours after the Singapore summit.

Well, we start with President Trump, landing at Joint Base Andrews in an hour following his historic meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The president has plenty of work to do to show the summit was more than just a photo op, saying the U.S. will stop military exercises with South Korea, what he called provocative war games, caught Tokyo and Seoul off-guard.

"The Wall Street Journal" reports the military would continue to train with its South Korean counterparts, but not large-scale joint exercises.

Lack of clarity causing confusion on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Critics and experts say President Trump made significant concessions with Kim without getting anything meaningful in return. And 24 hours later, the White House still has not explained how the U.S. will verify North Korean denuclearization. Some observers like former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, a critic of the president, give the president credit for moving things in the right direction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER (RET.), CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We're in a much better place where we're on the diplomatic path as opposed to where we were say, six or eight months ago, so that's the only real solution here in my mind. But remember, Kim Jong Un is not term-limited and he's in it for the long game, and I think President Trump is more in it for the, you know, immediate self-gratification.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump may know something about the art of the deal, but now it's up to Mike Pompeo to close the deal. The secretary of state is scheduled to touch down in Seoul any moment. We'll show you that when it happens. He'll brief the South Koreans on the Trump-Kim summit.

Then he's charged with negotiating an agreement that leads to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. And for the first time since President Trump and Kim Jong-un shook hands, we're getting some reaction from the North Korean regime.

Nic Robertson joining us live from Seoul with that.

Good morning, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Dave, good morning.

Well, for the North Koreans, something you don't, I would say, don't often ever hear -- high praise for the United States, high praise for President Trump, high praise for how the meeting with Kim Jong-un went. This from the KCNA, the North Korean News Agency. I'll read what they had to say -- this is exceptional, I think we have to frame it that way, exceptional.

They say President Trump expressed his belief that the summit will improve the U.S.-North Korea relations and also said the supreme leader's active and peace-loving measures that were started earlier this year established peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. So high praise for President Trump, that's abnormal. The praise for Chairman Kim Jong-un, that's quite normal for KCNA.

But the framing of all of this is the optics that President Trump hoped he would get, that the North Koreans are selling the message of this new relationship to their people, that is -- that is a step one. What we're expecting from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he arrives here later may be to clear up some of the misunderstanding that seems to have occurred with allies in the region here. He'll meet with President Moon, the South Korean president, both the South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers.

What we're hearing from the South Korean side about that President Trump's announcement of stopping the joint military exercises is that they want to understand better precisely what President Trump was meaning.

[04:35:13] However, they also are saying that they are -- that they are ready essentially to go the extra mile, to make that commitment and give that political space for the relationship between the United States and North Korea to develop. So while on the one hand they seem to be called out here south of the border, they also seem to be giving the potential for space and explanation -- Dave.

BRIGGS: OK, we're expecting Mike Pompeo there shortly. We'll check back with you next hour. Nic Robertson, thanks.

The true impact of the Trump-Kim summit may not be known for years, but for now one country certainly has emerged as a clear winner, China.

Let's go live to Beijing and bring in CNN's Matt Rivers. Matt, is this exactly what China may have hoped for?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Dave, who knows how long the negotiations go for, who knows how China will make out in all of that. But if you're looking at one day, one summit, yes. Things went great for China. Let's tell you why.

First of all, really, it has to do with what President Trump said. He specifically brought up potentially removing U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula. He said it's not on the table at the moment, but he said it could be down the line.

And it's something he actually wants to see happen. That is also exactly what China wants to see happen. They have been threatened by the troops for decades, so they were very happy when they heard that.

Secondly, those military exercises, the war games as President Trump called them, they're now done, for at least the time being. China hates those exercises almost as much as the North Koreans do, because those exercises are not only aimed at North Korea, they're aimed at China, as well. Between those things, China's government feeling good.

And last but not least, yesterday at a ministry of foreign affairs press conference, a spokesperson brought up the notion that countries could start considering removing sanctions against North Korea. They're still being enforced for now. China says they're still committed to them.

But the fact that they chose to bring that up tells you that China's government is feeling pretty good right now.

BRIGGS: And that is a huge win for Kim Jong-un.

Matt Rivers live for us in Beijing -- thanks.

Joining us via Skype to discuss the summit, CNN national security analyst Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Good morning, Gayle.

As a result of this Singapore Summit, is the world a safer place?

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, ATLATIC MEDIA'S DEFENSE ONE: I think right now what we see is a ratcheting down of tensions. And some steps toward a diplomatic process that Secretary Mike Pompeo will really be filling in the details of. So, I think we have a wait and see.

The big question is what is next. There is a process, there is a start of a dialogue, there's a ratcheting down of tensions. And the question now is how do we get from here, the moment we reached, to really verifying denuclearization. And there are a lot of people on the side of -- in part experts, in part those who watch closely who say, listen, we are so far from that moment, and the summit didn't bring us any closer.

And on the other end, you have folks who say, listen, compare this to six months ago, nine months ago. There's certainly a ratcheting down of tensions that is only helpful in terms of using diplomacy to move us to a different moment that is -- has much less tension in it and less potential for really dangerous activity.

BRIGGS: So, perhaps we've moved the football, but still at least a good 80 yards to go on this 100-yard field. So, this deal that President Trump calls comprehensive appears anything but. Here are the four points we can put up for you of the deal.

And then there are what's left to be resolved. Ari Fleischer said, former White House press secretary and a big fan of the president, said this is essentially the framework of the Clinton talks in the mid '90s, that framework.

How far are we from, say, the Iran deal that President Trump called the worst deal ever?

LEMMON: Well, I think we are in a very different moment right now, because listen, this was a real concern among many players that you would talk about some kind of kinetic action that was really going to be happening if North Korea did not stop with some of the testing, right? And so, there are a lot of folks who say, listen, it's much better that you have folks across the table talking than having North Korea launching atmospheric tests.

The question now is really who benefits from time? Time I think is the pivotal question that we have for us. On one side, you have folks who are very concerned that the North Koreans will use the time to slow roll any kind of diplomatic process, to get exactly what they want which is an easing of sanctions in exchange for very little, right? And there are real concerns that maximum pressure will give way to minimum enforcement.

[04:40:02] But this is really what the coming weeks and months will tell us, you know, how serious is this in terms of a real diplomatic process, is this time different, and what comes next in terms of real denuclearization and demobilization?

BRIGGS: Yes, the V is what matters and time is always what North Korea has always wanted, they've always been trying to buy time in these negotiations. We talked last half hour about how Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group

said that China is the big winner here. The freeze for freeze is exactly what they've always asked for. But what about North Korea in all this, they get the North Korean flag right there alongside the United States flag, and they get this type of flattery from President Trump about a murderous dictator?

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a very talented man.

He's got a great personality. He's a, you know, funny guy. He's a very smart guy, he's a great negotiator. He loves his people. He loves his country.

His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor, they have a great fervor.

I think that he really wants to do a great job for North Korea.

He wants to do what's right.

He was really very gracious.

I think he trusts me, and I trust him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: He's also arguably the world's worst human rights abuser, a man who ordered his half-brother and his uncle killed, who imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people for criticizing him.

How is Kim Jong-un elevated by this type of praise?

LEMMON: Listen, I think the entire last several weeks to months have seen a real rebranding of a regime that was a rogue regime and a pariah nation moving to the absolute center of the diplomatic dance floor. I think what is striking about it is if you think about this, really this is a country the size of Ohio with the population roughly the size of Texas. And an economy smaller than Wyoming's, which is now really with its nuclear program put itself at the center of the global agenda.

And I do think we're going to see ramifications of that. But that said, that doesn't change the fact that where we are now is different in terms of tensions than where we were six months ago. And the real question is, who wins from the next six months? You know, China and Russia are already very aggressively talking about easing sanctions.

And as one expert I was talking with the other day said, the challenge with North Korea is not so much when they are acting as a rogue actor. The biggest challenge the international community will have is staying together when North Korea is coming off as a respectable nation, right? It wants to be seen as a respectable nuclear power.

And the real test will come in exactly, you know, these whole two D's and a V, right, a denuclearization, demobilization and verification, of how serious they are about denuclearization which the United States has already said must be center stage if anything is to go forward.

BRIGGS: Perhaps it's the first chapter in the art of foreign policy. We shall see. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, thanks so much. One-forty-three there in San Diego. Thanks for staying up late, not getting up early. We appreciate the time.

Coming up, a federal judge green-lights AT&T's merger with Time Warner. The deal could reshape the media industry. But will the Justice Department file an appeal? That could still kill this deal. The latest, ahead.

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[04:47:39] BRIGGS: Four-forty-seven Eastern Time, a check on CNNMoney.

Denuclearization in North Korea could mean easing years of harsh economic sanctions. China hinted yesterday Pyongyang deserves relief. But with the regime cut off from foreign cash, how does it earn money? Mainly thanks to China, its economic bedrock.

China makes up more than 80 percent of North Korea's foreign trade and is its largest export market. What does China buy? Mostly coal, millions of tons of it. Coal is 41 percent of all exports. The rest, mineral products, textiles, animal products, and metals. That's official numbers.

What about off the books, though? Overseas slave labor is actually a big source of income, up to $2.3 billion a year. The U.N. says the North Korean government sends thousands of citizens abroad for forced labor in China, Russia, and the Middle East. They work 20 hours a day under constant surveillance in mining, logging, and construction.

North Korea also relies on an illegal arms trade, sanctions prohibit Pyongyang from selling weapons, but it finds ways to work around restrictions, allegedly using its embassies to sell arms in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. One finding from the U.N., there were 40 unreported shipments from North Korea to Syria between 2012 and 2017. Those shipments went to front companies for Syria's chemical weapons program.

If North Korea can't earn money, it steals it, specifically by hacking banks. North Korea is linked to cyber attacks on financial institutions in 18 countries. Last year, the U.S. accused North Korea of stealing $100 million from a Bangladesh bank account at the Fed Bank of New York.

Well, it was a big primary night. A hard lesson for Republicans. Candidates who criticize President Trump do so at their own peril. Congressman Mark Sanford suffering the first loss of his career. CNN projects the incumbent won't even make it to the runoff in the GOP primary for his House seat in South Carolina.

The president endorsed the challenger, State Rep. Katie Arrington, hours before the polls closed with a tweet that said Sanford is better off in Argentina. That, of course, a shot at Sanford's scandal-rocked time as governor which ended when he jetted off to Buenos Aires with his mistress.

[04:50:04] Sanford, a frequent critic of the president, told reporters he has no regrets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It may have cost me the election in this case, but I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president because I didn't think he at the end of the day would be concurrent with the promises that I made when I first ran for office or the voices of the people the first district that I represent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Going the way of Bob Corker and Jeff Flake and those who have criticized the president.

CNN also projecting conservative Corey Stewart will win the Republican Senate nomination in Virginia. Stewart built his career championing Confederate symbols. His opponent in November, Senator Tim Kaine, who is heavily favored to win.

Two vulnerable incumbent senators found out who they'll face in November. North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp will go up against Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer. In Nevada, Republican Dean Heller will face Congresswoman Jacky Rosen.

And in another noteworthy race, a South Carolina Congress candidate who admitted abusing his ex-wife 45 years ago won his primary anyway after coming clean. Archie P[arnell lost all support from national and state Democrats.

Ahead, Elon Musk wants Tesla to be profitable, so he's laying off several thousand workers. What does that mean for its first mass- market car?

CNNMoney is next.

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[04:56:05] BRIGGS: A federal judge approving AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. The Justice Department sued back in November arguing the merger would mean fewer choices and higher prices for consumers. The decision could trigger a wave of media mega mergers.

CNN's Jessica Schneider with more outside the federal courthouse in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave, in approving this deal, the judge really ripped apart the government's case. He read from his nearly 200-page opinion for just about 30 minutes, picking apart government's case point by point by point, all three of the government's main arguments, saying that the government had failed to prove their case that this merger between AT&T and Time Warner would substantially lessen competition. This is a big blow to the government.

The judge also went a step further here. He said it would be manifestly unjust if the government now asked him to put his decision on hold and issue a stay here. The judge even going so far as to say it is unlikely that the government will succeed if they move forward in any sort of appeal.

Just minutes after the judge announced his ruling, the Department of Justice seemed to push back. They said that they would carefully review this ruling and consider next steps. So, not exactly closing the door on any sort of appeal here.

AT&T, of course, released a statement saying that they were very pleased with this decision, and they also said that they will be moving forward swiftly to get this deal done. They say they expect to close this merger deal between AT&T and Time Warner by June 20th. Of course, all along, the clock has been ticking because the merger deal essentially expired on June 21st.

Either one of the parties could walk away. It now looks like they will close the deal. Of course, it is still unknown what the government will do. Will the government ask the court of appeals for a stay, and will they try to move forward with an appeal?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: Jessica, thanks.

This critic climbing the social media charts. A raccoon scaling the side of a sky scraper in Minnesota. The daredevil has descended a couple of times only to turn and head skyward again up some 20 stories. Minnesota public radio branded the raccoon with the hash tag #mprraccoon. Always has its own Twitter account with one tweet saying "I made a big mistake."

Animal control actually officials say any effort to rescue the raccoon would be too dangerous for humans and for the raccoon. They say #mprracoon will have to save itself. #mprraccoon the top trending hashtag at 4:58 Eastern Time.

Speaking of, a check on CNN this morning. Global stocks, mixed ahead of a meeting with the Federal Reserve today. U.S. central bank is expected to raise interest rates. The Fed intends to hike rates three times this year, Wall Street looking for any sign it might change those plans.

The U.S. budget deficit widened to 23 percent during the first eight months of the fiscal year. The deficit tracks the difference between how much money the government spends and takes in. The total, $532 billion.

Why the big jump? Lower corporate tax revenue coupled with ramped up spending.

Elon Musk wants Tesla to be profitable, so he's laying off 9 percent of staff, several thousands jobs. In an email to staff, Musk said the cuts will affect salaried positions and will not touch Model 3 production. Tesla has consistently missed production deadlines for its first mass-market car but promises to reach its goal by the end of the month.

EARLY START continues right now with a big winner and the big loser from the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.

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BRIGGS: President Trump lands at Joint Base Andrews in 30 minutes., fresh off his summit with Kim Jong-un. But can the president deliver a verifiable deal to denuke the Korean peninsula?

Back the president or pack your bags? Voters sending a clear message to lawmakers in primaries nationwide.