Return to Transcripts main page


Trump: U.S. Will Halt Joint Military Exercises with South Korea; Trump Critic Mark Sanford Loses GOP Primary; House to Vote on Two Immigration Bills Next Week. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 13, 2018 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is committed to get airtight verification.

[05:59:15] SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: This is the most anemic communique. There is very little substance on anything.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I support stopping the exercises. Training with our allies is money well spent.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's smart. He loves his people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim Jong-un is a butcher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can do it, but you have to do it very, very carefully.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, June 13, 6 a.m. here in New York. John Berman is on his way back from Asia, and Erica Hill joins me.

Great to work with you.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: So nice to be with you this morning.

CAMEROTA: Well, we have a busy morning.

HILL: That we do.

CAMEROTA: Let's get right to it. Here's our starting line.

President Trump is back in Washington after making history with his North Korea summit, the president celebrating with a series of tweets touting his great relationship with Kim Jong-un. Now America's top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, will arrive in South Korea to face questions about what happens next.

Meanwhile, back at home, Republican Congressman Mark Sanford, a vocal critic of President Trump, lost his seat after the president slammed him on Twitter for an extramarital affair years ago while the polls were still open. So we have a look at all the primary results in five states, as Democrats hope to take control of the House next year.

HILL: Republican leaders reaching a deal to vote on two competing immigration measures next week. This news comes as moderate Republicans fall two votes short of forcing a vote on protections for DREAMers.

And a federal judge giving AT&T the green light to proceed with its blockbuster $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, CNN's parent company. The approval is a major blow to the Justice Department and also sets the stage for other mega media deals.

We've got it all covered for you this morning. We begin with CNN's Joe Johns, who is live at the White House.

Joe, good morning.


The president this morning overheard calling this a great trip as he made his way from Air Force One to the presidential limousine at Joint Base Andrews. The president also tweeting very optimistically this morning -- I'll read it to you -- "The world has taken a big step back from potential nuclear catastrophe. No more rocket launches, nuclear testing or research. The hostages are back home with their families. Thank you to Chairman Kim. Our day together was historic."

But the fact of the matter is there are some competing realities with this trip that the president took to Singapore. The question is how much he gave up for how much the United States got.


JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump returning to Washington amid criticism over the concessions he made to North Korea in exchange for a vague commitment to denuclearize.

TRUMP: We have some things that you don't even have in the report. We made a lot of progress, tremendous amount of progress.

JOHNS: The president defending his, quote, "great relationship" with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, tweeting that the world has taken a big step back from potential nuclear catastrophe.

But the president's announcement that he is suspending joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea provoking alarm and confusion in Seoul and Washington.

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. And sometimes those things are walked back.

JOHNS: Senator Cory Gardener tweeting that Vice President Mike Pence later attempted to reassure Republicans that readiness training and exchanges will continue, although, quote, "war games" will not. TRUMP: We'll be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus, I think

it's very provocative.

JOHNS: The lack of detail in the joint agreement signed by President Trump and Kim Jong-un also garnering criticism.

MENENDEZ: This is the most anemic communique that has ever come out of a U.S.-North Korea engagement.

JOHNS: Critics noting that North Korea has agreed to complete denuclearization multiple times in the past and that the document contained none of the language the administration has previously demanded.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept.

JOHNS: Also raising eyebrows, the president's glowing praise for Kim Jong-un, despite his atrocious human rights record.

TRUMP: 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, not that I'm surprised by that. But he loves his people.

JOHNS: The president's complimentary tone in stark contrast to his rhetoric just six months ago.

TRUMP: No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

JOHNS: Mr. Trump insisting that his harsh rhetoric brought Kim Jong- un to the table.

TRUMP: I think without the rhetoric, we wouldn't have been here. I really believe that.

JOHNS: CNN has learned that President Trump wooed Kim with this four- minute Hollywood-style movie trailer to pitch him on the idea of peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two men, two leaders, one destiny.

JOHNS: On the Hill, congressional Republicans offering measured praise in the wake of the summit.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The president has gone down that road and should be given the chance to succeed. But I also think it's important for us to be cautious.


JOHNS: And even more optimistic tweeting from the president this morning, upon landing here at Joint Base Andrews. I'll read a couple of them for you. "Just landed a long trip. But everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong-un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future," the president writes. "Before taking office, people were assuming we were going to war with North Korea. President Obama said that Korea was our biggest threat and most dangerous problem," he writes. "No longer. Sleep well tonight."

[06:05:10] So the president very optimistic this morning, though some of the things he tweets remain to be seen.

Back to you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right. Joe, thank you very much.

So as far as what happens next, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Seoul, South Korea for meetings on the U.S.-North Korea summit. South Korea says it needs clarity on what President Trump meant when he said that war games would end.

CNN's Nic Robertson live in Seoul for us with this angle of the story. Hi, Nic.


Well, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo didn't brief journalists on the flight on the way in. But he's going to have a fairly full schedule ahead of him on Thursday here. He'll meet with President Moon. That's expected to -- first off in the morning, perhaps lasting as much as an hour. President Moon, we understand, will likely have questions. One of them in particular that we're being briefed about here, is they want to understand -- the South Koreans want to understand precisely and accurately what President Trump means by suspending these important, very important joint military exercises.

The concern here is this is an important part of South Korea's defense. It seems that they didn't expect this statement coming. But we're also being briefed here that, you know, South Korea wants to go that extra mile to do what it takes for the United States to develop that relationship with Kim Jong-un to help bring peace and stability. So there seems to be wiggle room here.

And Secretary of State Pompeo, after that meeting with the president of South Korea, will meet with the Japanese and the South Korean foreign ministers. So perhaps a lot of more detailed questions that he'll face about precisely what went on behind the meetings, what led to that particular statement.

One view from here, very interesting from a senior national security adviser yesterday, picking up what President Trump said about the cost of those strategic training bombing runs coming all the way from Guam to North Korea. That strategic national security adviser here believing that may be a prelude to President Trump saying that that will also be dropped from the equation.

So a lot of questions on the minds of South Korean officials today -- Erica. HILL: We'll see how many of them get answered in North Korea. Thank

you, Nic.

In North Korea, state-run media is highlighting President Trump's concessions while downplaying talk of denuclearization. CNN's Will Ripley, who has been to North Korea more than a dozen times, is live in Singapore with more on that for us.

Good morning.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica. Good morning. Those images were beamed instantly around the world, exempted for the place it matters most. It took 24 hours of the news of the summit to meet North Koreans. They have been told ahead of time Kim Jong-un was traveling to Singapore. But they had to wait much longer than everyone else to see the images of the two leaders standing side by side, smiling in front of American and North Korean flags.

But the images were certainly played up. Full-color spreads on "Rodong Sinmun," the leading newspaper. They devoted at least the first three pages just to photos and coverage of the summit. And as expected, they downplayed the issue of denuclearization. It barely got a mention. Instead, they focused on the concessions that President Trump is making such as the end, he says, of those joint military exercises that North Korea has long viewed as a dress rehearsal for an invasion.

North Korea brought out the big-name newscasters to deliver this news, telling its 25 million citizens that this really matters. Of course, the biggest name of all Ri Chun-hee, who we have seen announce nuclear tests and missile launches, and now really, probably, for the first time in her career -- that is the first time in her career, announcing what all three North Korean leaders always wanted but only Kim Jong-un has been able to accomplish. A sit-down face-to-face with the president of the United States.

And even on the ground here in Singapore, in the hours after the summit, we have noted some significant changes, including the flags that are waving just outside of our hotel here. Now for the first time, we're seeing a North Korean flag flying side by side with an American flag, along with the flags of South Korea, China, Singapore. Truly extraordinary and something that many people here never expected to see -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Will, thank you for all of that context. What an extraordinary day it was, regardless of what happens next. So thank you very much for all that reporting.

So coming up in just a moment, Air Force One has just landed. OK? So after traveling all the way around the world, truly, it circumnavigated the globe. And our Jim Acosta was on board. So we will talk to him about this historic trip and what he saw, next.

HILL: Also, the Trump effect impacting primaries in five states last night. One big-name candidate losing after the president endorsed his challenger. The final results are ahead, as well. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:13:18] CAMEROTA: President Trump is back in America after making history with his North Korean summit. Air Force One has just landed after truly traveling all the way around the globe. And CNN's Jim Acosta was with President Trump, aboard Air Force One. Jim was the pool reporter for the historic Trump-Kim summit.

Jim, we know that your head must be spinning because you've just circumnavigated the globe.


CAMEROTA: And we haven't given you a moment to catch your breath. You truly just stepped off the plane. But just share your impressions. I mean, what do you come home with?

ACOSTA: Well, it's a little bit like what Kim Jong-un told President Trump through that translator. It's sort of like a science-fiction movie. And I somehow or another traveled through time. It was one day when I left. Now I think it feels like I've been traveling for two days, and I only traveled one day.

You know, listen, this was an historic summit. Obviously, you can't take that away from President Trump when a U.S. president meets with a dictator like Kim Jong-un. It obviously is history.

The question now, moving forward is what exactly did he accomplish? We do know that before he landed at Andrews here outside of Washington, he spoke with the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and President Moon of South Korea.

We also know that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is over in Asia, is in South Korea. He's supposed to move on to China after talking with Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary.

But we were, just before we left Singapore, Alisyn, we were pressing the president. He came back to the press cabinet of Air Force One. And we were pressing him, "OK, so what happens next? You have this two-page signed document with Kim Jong-un. What does it mean? What happens next?"

Honestly, Alisyn, he did not have a lot of of answers. He said he simply trusts Kim Jong-un, as I asked him during that press conference. He trusts the process moving forward. But at this point he doesn't really seem to have any iron-clad guarantees to get the international inspectors and so on inside North Korea to verify that Kim Jong-un is giving up his nuclear arsenal, which is that question, obviously, you heard me ask a couple of times during that entire summit. "Are you giving up your nuclear weapons?"

I don't think we're closer to any kind of clarity on that question at this point, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Don't we think that that's what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is doing now, I mean, that he's ironing out those details? ACOSTA: That's right. And that's what he's supposed to do next.

Iron out those details and then communicate back with John Bolton, national security advisor and other folks at the White House.

But of course, you'll remember, Alisyn, we all saw this during the 2016 campaign. The president still talks about it when he's out on the campaign trail. He'll refer to the Iran nuclear deal crafted by the Obama administration as the worst negotiated agreement ever reached in the history of the world.

Well, now he has something a little bit less than that, in that he has really sort of a handshake and a two-page agreement with Kim Jong-un without any kind of details as to how all of this is going to happen. And so at this point it's sort of like they signed a deal without really getting into the nitty-gritty. And that's what Mike Pompeo is going to have to do moving forward.

And as you heard from the president at the press conference, it was a moment of stunning clarity and truth, when he said, "Listen, in six months I may come back and admit that this was a mistake." He said also, "I'll come up with an excuse at that time if that moment comes."

But clearly at this point, the president has put his credibility on the line that he's going to get this to happen with Kim Jong-un. But at this point he hasn't offered any details.

HILL: Is there a sense, though, Jim, in your conversation, especially when he came back to speak with reporters on Air Force One, as I know, you and other reporters will be pressing for the answer that so many want -- so many of us wanted in terms of details.

Is there a sense that -- that he sees this, that he sees how large this opportunity is and why there are so many questions at this point? In terms of that lack of detail?

ACOSTA: Absolutely. Well, I think they certainly see how big this moment is. I think they see shades of Reagan and Gorbachev and what they accomplished out in Singapore. Obviously, we're going to have to allow some time to pass to be able to make that kind of comparison.

But the president was beaming. He was in a very confident mood when we saw him on Air Force One. Other advisors, when we talked to them throughout the course of our trip back from Singapore, they were very -- just about jubilant. They were beaming with pride over what had happened in Singapore.

But you don't get the sense at this point that they have any kind of information as to how they're going to force Kim Jong-un's hand here. Because obviously, he came all that way. It was remarkable.

I mean, I was standing just a few feet away from this -- this person who is a tyrant, a murderer, somebody who's jailed tens of thousands of people in these gulags. But yet, he is this baby-faced, young dictator. You know, I'm only a few feet away from him, and I'm wondering, how is it that President Trump and Kim Jong-un can accomplish something as big as denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula over just a couple of hours of conversation?

And I think that's where the rubber is going to meet the road, guys. I think that this -- this administration has essentially given itself a huge challenge moving forward, in that they've laid down this historical marker and said, "Listen, we've done something as big as Reagan and Gorbachev." But at this point, they haven't really delivered anything solid or concrete that the entire world can seize upon and say, OK, yes, they did actually denuclearize North Korea. At this point, it's, as the president would say, all talk and no action.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Jim, you're getting some heat, I guess, online for asking Kim Jong-un, "Are you going to give up your nukes?" Which strikes me as the $64,000 question.


CAMEROTA: Do you understand -- can you explain to us why that would be a problem, a journalist asking that question?

ACOSTA: I mean, to me, you know, I couldn't think of anything else to ask North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un but whether he's going to give up his nuclear weapons. Wasn't that the entire point of this summit? That was the reason why we all hauled our butts all the way to Singapore, was to see whether he was going to do that.

And the question I have, people are saying, "Why did you ask that question? Does he speak English? Would he understand the question?" and so on.

It doesn't matter. There's a dictator right in front of you who has nuclear weapons. Why on earth would you not ask that question? You know, the question I have is you play the same video of him walking past us with President Trump and you turn the sound down, and the reporters covering this trip didn't ask any questions, what would the rest of the world have said about the White House press corps? If we hadn't asked any questions of Kim Jong-un when he was right in front of us?

And so I really thought it was a golden opportunity for a reporter to ask a dictator, really, the most important question of the moment. And that is, are you going to give up these weapons that threaten much of the world? He's threatened to -- to vaporize parts of the United States. My goodness, I could not have thought of anything else better to ask at that moment than that question.

HILL: And a reminder, too, that in a democracy, you can ask those questions. And where there's a free press, you should be able to ask those questions.

ACOSTA: That's right.

[06:20:08] HILL: So there's that, too. Jim Acosta, thank you very much.

ACOSTA: It's a reminder.

HILL: Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: That's right. You got it. Take care.

HILL: Results, meantime, back state side, in from primaries in five states last night. Republican Congressman Mark Sanford, a Trump critic, defeated in South Carolina. Another sign GOP voters are rejecting lawmakers who break with President Trump.

CNN political reporter Rebecca Berg is live in Washington now with more. Good morning.


Well, the message last night loud and clear is that Republicans who criticize President Trump do so at their own risk. Mark Sanford in South Carolina losing his Republican primary to state lawmaker Katie Arrington by roughly four points.

Mark Sanford had been a vocal critic of President Trump, but he was also a political survivor. As we all know, he faced a famous scandal as governor of South Carolina for visiting a mistress in Argentina secretly. But he came back. He won the seat for Congress after that scandal.

However, he could not survive the Trump effect. The president tweeting that Sanford was, quote, "very unhelpful" to his agenda. He tweeted this yesterday afternoon just as the polls were closing and hours as voters were finishing up casting their ballots in South Carolina. But it might have had an effect on the -- on the race.

Take a listen to what Mark Sanford himself had to say after the results last night.


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, at the end of the day, it was either concurrent with the promises I made when I first came to office or the voices of the very people that I represent.


BERG: So Mark Sanford unapologetic for his tack in this race. But clearly, his criticism of Trump had an impact. Katie Arrington throughout the race raised this as an issue against her opponent Sanford.

But we did not see the Trump effect across the board last night. Scott Taylor, the incumbent congressman in Virginia, handily won his Republican primary. He has also been a critic of the president as a Republican but was able to survive that race. Showing that this isn't necessarily consistent across the board.

But in those more conservative districts especially, Mark Sanford, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, very conservative Republicans in his district that he represented. In those districts, Republicans do run a risk criticizing the president.

Also, last night coming into focus, some key Senate races. As I mentioned, Congressman Kevin Kramer in North Dakota won his Republican primary. He will face Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the fall. And Jackie Rosen, the Democrat who will face Senator Dean Heller, the most vulnerable Senate Republican running, in Nevada.

CAMEROTA: OK, Rebecca, thank you very much for helping us read some of those tea leaves from last night.

So the mutiny by moderate House Republicans on immigration is over after a frenzied late-night deal. The House will vote on two competing deals next week.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live on Capitol Hill with more. What do we know, Suzanne?


It really was near mutiny that we saw last night. That this breakthrough in immigration happened late in the evening. You had House Republicans, conservatives as well as moderates, meeting behind closed doors with House Speaker Paul Ryan in high-stakes negotiations on whether or not to put immigration front and center.

Now, they needed 218 senators to a petition, it's called a discharge petition, to go around the leadership and force a vote on four different immigration bills by the end of this month.

Two of those bills would have highly embarrassed Paul Ryan. One of those sponsored by the Democrats calling for full citizenship for DREAMers or DACA recipients. The other one, a bipartisan bill that also called for citizenship but with additional security measures.

Now, the Republicans did not get the 218 that they needed. They got all 193 Democrats but fell short of the 25 Republicans they needed. Instead, they struck a deal between the moderates and the conservatives, and now House speaker Paul Ryan, through a spokesperson, says they will consider two bills next week. One of them a conservative bill that is backed by the president. The other one that is still a work in progress.

And that's what we're going to see this morning. Republicans working on that legislation to see what comes of that.

But, again, Alisyn, as well as Erica, you are talking about immigration again front and center.

CAMEROTA: There it is. Back front and center, as you point out. Suzanne, thank you.

A judge approving the $85 billion mega merger between AT&T and Time Warner with a harsh warning to the Justice Department. Details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:29:03] CAMEROTA: OK. A federal judge approving the AT&T-Time Warner mega merger while ripping the government's case to shreds. In his decision, the judge also strongly warned the Justice Department against dragging this legal battle out any further. Time Warner is CNN's parent company and CNN's Hadas Gold is live in Washington. She was in the court this whole time. She was there when the approval was announced.

I'm no legal scholar, but I don't think the judge liked this case

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, my gosh, Alisyn, when I was reading his opinion and sitting in that courtroom, I don't think AT&T and Time Warner could have had a better outcome. He went through point by point through the government's arguments, where they said that AT&T owning Time Warner would harm competition, potentially raise prices for consumers, and he didn't seem to believe any of their arguments.

He even called some of their documents gossamer thin. A very clear repudiation of the government's case here. And I don't think most of the anti-trust experts were really expecting this far of a ruling in favor of AT&T and Time Warner. But it sent a clear message to the Justice Department. And now it's also bringing up more of these questions of why was this case brought in the first place.

Because these types of charges typically don't get the sort of scrutiny from the Justice Department. There are questions about political motivation from the beginning.