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What Did Trump Achieve At Summit?; Soon: Pompeo Arriving in Seoul; Trump-Kim Summit Huge Success for China. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 13, 2018 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:12] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs. It is Wednesday, June 13. It's 4:00 a.m. in East, 5:00 p.m. in Pyongyang.

With the Trump-Kim summit behind us, we can turn our attention to more important matters like a raccoon scaling a skyscraper in Minnesota. We will actually bring you that story shortly. No joke.

But we start with President Trump landing at Joint Base Andrews in about 90 minutes 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. Trump's announcement that the U.S. will school 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. The lack of clarity is causing confusion on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Critics and experts say the president made significant concessions to 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, give the president credit for moving things in the right direction.


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.


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, South Korea, this hour. He will brief the South Koreans on the Trump-Kim summit. Then, he's charged with negotiating an agreement that leads to the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula.

And for the first time since President Trump and Kim Jong-un shook hands, we're getting reaction from the North Korean regime.

Nic Robertson joining us live from Seoul with that -- Nic.


Reaction coming from the North Korean regime has been positive. It's absolutely glowed, given a lot of coverage to the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. President Trump announcing his satisfaction on, you know, approaching his arrival back to -- to the United States.

I'll just read you here the tweet that we have from him. 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 in the Korean peninsula.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he touches down here very, very shortly expected on Thursday here to go into meetings with President Moon, also will be meeting with the foreign minister and with Japan's foreign minister. What we hear from officials here about the stopping of those joint military exercises, they're saying they want to understand better what President Trump's accurate intentions are here. But they are indicating that potentially this may be a necessary measure.

Secretary Mattis for his part was briefed on this ahead of time. So, this didn't come out of nowhere. However, it does seem to have caught the South Koreans a little off-guard. But it seems to be something they're willing to work with -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Yes, Certainly a bit of a surprise to our allies there. Nic Robertson live for us in Seoul, thanks.

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

Let's go live to Beijing and bring in Matt Rivers.

Matt, what is reaction there?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Chinese government is extremely happy at least with how this started out so far, publicly congratulating both sides.

But let's look at why China might be happy here. Start with the fact that the U.S. president brought up the fact that he wants to eventually remove troops from the Korean peninsula, U.S. troops from the peninsula, even if that's not on the table right at the moment.

You know who really hates those troops on the peninsula, Dave? The Chinese government. For decades, they have felt threatened and constrained by those troops. So, when the U.S. president talks about removing them, that makes Beijing smile.

Next up, those war games as President Trump called them with military personnel -- that military personnel call military exercises here. China hates those exercises as much as the North Koreans do because those exercises are conducted not only with North Korea in mind but with China, as well. So, when the president said that they're going to be stopped at least for now, that makes Beijing happy.

[04:05:04] And, finally, they used all of that as an opportunity to bring up the notion, the concept that we could start to see countries roll back sanctions on North Korea. They say they're not ready to do it yet, but they're using the summit as a way to roll back those sanctions that China never really wanted to put on in there in the first place.

So, Dave, taken in totality, that's a good day for China.

BRIGGS: Right now, they sure look like the big winner.

All right. Matt Rivers live for us in Beijing, thank you, my friend.

These days, President Trump full of praise for Kim Jong-un, a stark contrast from 2017 when he was calling him little rocket man and bragging about having a bigger nuclear button. The president now claims those insults were by design. Listen to what he told Sean Hannity in Singapore.


TRUMP: I think without the rhetoric we wouldn't have been here. I really believe that. You know, we did sanctions and all of the things you would do.

Other administrations -- I don't want to get specific on that -- but they had a policy of silence. If they said something very bad, threatening and horrible, just don't answer. That's not the answer. That's not what you have to do.

So, I think the rhetoric, I hate to do it, sometimes I felt foolish doing it. But we had no choice.


BRIGGS: Sometimes he felt foolish.

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

Good morning to you once again, Gayle.

Let's start with the positive here -- is the world a safer place as a reaction to what happened at the Singapore summit? GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS:

Look, I mean, tensions are lower than they were. And if you compare it to six months ago, 12 months ago, we really are seeing a difference in rhetoric. You know, we're not talking about little rocket man or fire and fury. You're talking about what is the diplomatic process, what is the way forward?

And I do think that this diplomatic mad libs that we're going to see come now that Secretary Pompeo is really going to be charged with. I think that will be the test of how durable, how enduring, what the next steps might be in terms of ratcheting down the tensions even further.

BRIGGS: So, certainly, positive where we stand. But right now, until we get the "V" for verify that Mike Pompeo's talked about, who is the big winner?

Here's what Ian Bremmer said about just that yesterday on CBS.


IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: What we now have is a freeze for freeze. It is the North Koreans are freezing their ICBM and nuclear tests, and the Americans are freezing our military exercises with the South Koreans. That is exactly the formations the Chinese have asked for over the course of past year, and we've said absolutely not.


BRIGGS: Is this exactly, Gayle, what the Chinese would want? Are they right now where we stand the big winner?

LEMMON: Certainly the Chinese have gotten a great deal of what they have sought and what they have wanted. I think the big question now is what comes next, right? I mean, will we see maximum pressure which has been the policy in terms of sanctions and enforcement give way to minimum enforcement? Is that what's coming next?

China, Russia, they have already both been vocal in saying that they think sanctions should be eased. And the question we have to answer is who benefits from time's passage, right? Is this going to be a slow roll of a process in which the North Koreans get to say, look, we have this process going, you should ease sanctions in exchange for very little, or really will we see a process in which there is a measure for measure and you start to see an accelerated process that the Americans have wanted to see in terms of denuclearization, in terms of demobilization.

You know, the North Koreans all along had wanted de-escalation and development. So, if we can get these four D's and two on each side, perhaps you have a process that actually could lead to success, but we don't know that yet, and it's very early days.

BRIGGS: In addition to China, North Korea is a clear winner from all of this. They get the flag right alongside the United States flag. Kim Jong-un elevated to a status he could not have accomplished any other way, legitimized the way many feared he would always be.

And the question is, what will Republicans do in Congress if we don't see some progress, some verification, some -- and some actual, tangible benefits before we relax sanctions?

Here is some of the criticism from Republicans yesterday.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: He obviously I would imagine doesn't truly believe this guy is that talented. I mean, he inherited the family business from his father and his grandfather. The family business is dictatorship.

But I think the president's trying to butter the guy up to make it easier to get a deal with him.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think sometimes the president has a tendency to stand up and say things that are ad hoc, that haven't been vetted.

[04:10:07] And sometimes those things are walked back after he's had conversations with people that are relevant to what he said. So, again, I think that's why it's important to get Pompeo in.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you try to play Trump or back out, there's going to be a war and nobody wants a war. Look what Trump does with Canada when he thinks he's wronged. So I wouldn't go down that road if I was North Korea.


BRIGGS: Gayle, who will act as a check on the president if he doesn't get deliverables, if he doesn't get verification?

LEMMON: I think that there are people inside the administration, and certainly in Congress, who will be looking at that.

If you look at Secretary Pompeo, he's been very clear as to what the administration was seeking in terms of a verifiable denuclearization. And I think the administration itself does not want to be seen as being played for a fool by North Korea.

And I do think it's important to think back to where we were six months ago, nine months ago, 12 months ago, and to see that if the diplomatic process is allowed to play out in a way that makes sense to the Americans, then I do think that there will be people inside the administration who feel like they've gotten something in exchange for the pageantry.

On the other hand, there are many who are very skeptical of the fact that this time will be different, right? We've gone, we've seen part of this play before. But even for those who said, look, this is a reality show that we've seen play out in Singapore, at least there's a second season that we all see coming in terms of what comes next with Secretary Pompeo and the process going forward.

BRIGGS: Yes, Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary and a big supporter of the president, said this feels like the agreed framework of the '90s all over again. But to your point, the world a safer place for now.

Gayle, thanks. We'll check back in about 30 minutes.

Ahead, a clear message, big night of primaries across the country. Republicans who challenged the president feeling the wrath of voters. Mark Sanford, what is his political future? That's next.


[04:16:16] BRIGGS: Four-sixteen Eastern Time.

A very busy primary night with a hard lesson for Republicans. Candidates who criticized 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 into 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 saying, Sanford is better off in Argentina. That, of course, a shot at Sanford's scandal-rocked time as governor there which ended when he jetted off to Buenos Aires with his mistress, not hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Sanford, a frequent Trump critic, told supporters he had no regrets.


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.


BRIGGS: 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, is heavily favored to win.

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

In another noteworthy race is South Carolina congressional candidate who once admitted abusing his ex-wife 45 years ago won his primary anyway after coming clean. Archie Parnell lost all support from national and state Democrats.

Breaking overnight, Republicans announcing there will be a vote in the House next week on two immigration bills. Late last night, GOP leaders reached an agreement that satisfied conservatives and headed off a moderate-led revolt. One of the bills is a conservative measure that is not expected to pass. The other still being drafted and is expected to offer a solution for DACA recipients while adding resources for border security.

The Senate has not indicated whether it will take up the bill if it does pass the House. Remember, there are very real implications for immigration law. The Department of Health and Human Services is now considering three military bases in Texas as possible temporary shelters for unaccompanied immigrant children.

Coming up, two women kicked out of an Uber in New York City for kissing. Hear the exchange and what the driver is saying, next.


[04:23:25] BRIGGS: Soccer's international governing body is about to vote on the host nation for the 2026 world cup. FIFA officials choosing between Morocco and North America with the result expected within the next two hours. President Trump has sent three letters to FIFA, assuring officials foreign teams and their fans will be able to travel to the United States if North America is chosen. There have been concerns about the president's travel ban. The 2018 World Cup kicks off tomorrow in Russia.

Two New York City women say an Uber driver kicked them out of his car this past weekend after he saw them kissing in the back seat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said don't do it --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, is it illegal for Uber?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kissing is not illegal --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is illegal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't do that here in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyone can kiss in Uber. You are sick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You aren't allowed to do this --




BRIGGS: Alex Iovine and Emma Pichl tells CNN several minutes after their kiss, the driver pulled over, opened the passenger door, and told them to get out. The driver is identified as Ahmed Elbotari. His New York City taxi license has been suspended, pending an investigation.

Elbotari told "The Daily News" that he was uncomfortable with their behavior. He said they played loud videos and one put her feet up on the seats, a claim the couple denies.

Congratulations and happy birthday to George H.W. Bush, the first former president in history to reach the age of 94. President Bush marked his birthday Tuesday with his family in Maine.

[04:25:02] The oldest former president had been Gerald Ford who died in 2006 at the age of 93. Instagram, Bush's son, President George W. Bush, celebrated dad saying, I'm a lucky name to be after George Bush and to be with him on his birthday.

Bush 41 will be joined in that exclusive club on October 1st when former President Jimmy Carter set to celebrate his 94th birthday. Happy birthday, Mr. President.

Well, this critter climbing the social media charts. That's a raccoon scaling the side of a sky scraper in Minnesota. The little daredevil 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 #nprraccoon.

It also has its own twitter account with one tweet saying, "I made a big mistake."

Animal control officials say any effort rescue it would be too dangerous for humans and the raccoon. They say the raccoon will have to save itself. This may not have a happy ending yet, folks. But #NPRaccoon is the top hash tag on twitter at 4:26. You got to love it world.

Ahead up, President Trump lands back at Joint Base Andrews in the next hour, fresh off his summit with Kim Jong-un. Plenty of work remains for the president to secure a verifiable denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula.