Return to Transcripts main page


AT&T Merger Approved; FIFA Votes on World Cup Location; Trump Returns from Summit; Trump Pitched Peace with Video. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 13, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] HADAS GOLD, CNN MONEY, POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: 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 mergers typically don't get this sort of scrutiny from the Justice Department. There were questions about political motivation in the beginning. Now Time Warner is pointing the finger directly at this political motivation since putting out a very strong statement questioning whether there was political motivation behind this case. The White House and Justice Department has denied this. But just how clear this ruling came down in favor of AT&T and Time Warner, those questions have continued to linger.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So, Hadas, now what? Is this merger a done deal or is there a possibility for an appeal?

GOLD: There's always the possibility of an appeal. And the Justice Department has said that they are considering that option.

But in a very unusual move during the hearing yesterday, the judge in the case, Judge Leon, issued a very stern warning to the Justice Department, not only about an appeal, but also about a stay, where the Justice Department could ask him to freeze the merger from going forward so that they could go through an appeal.

I want to read part of his opinion, just because it was so unusual. He said, I hope and trust that the government will have the good judgment, the wisdom, and the courage to avoid such a manifest injustice. To do otherwise, I fear, would undermine the faith in our system of justice of not only the defendants but their millions of shareholders and the business community at large.

Now, the judge in the case never explicitly said, you know, I think that this case was frivolous or I think that it had political motivations. But that sort of statement, coming from a federal judge in a case like this, telling the Justice Department, I don't even want you to try to get me to freeze this merger because this is taking too long and it's a manifest injustice to the defendants.


CAMEROTA: Strong words.

Hadas, thank you very much for explaining it to us throughout this entire process.

GOLD: Thanks, Alisyn.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: The United States bidding to host the 2026 World Cup, along with Mexico and Canada. Voting underway. So will soccer's biggest event come to America?


[06:36:07] HILL: We are just one day away from kickoff for the World Cup in Russia. But just moments away, at this point, from hearing whether the U.S. actually has a shot to host the 2026 World Cup.

Coy Wire has more for us now in the "Bleacher Report."

Good morning. Welcome back.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Thank you, Erica.

Soccer's world governing body is meeting in Moscow right now. The vote result expected at any minute. It all comes down to two candidates, a joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada, and a bid from Morocco. This is the first time in more than 50 years that all of FIFA's member associations get a vote, all 207 of them. So 104 votes is the magic number.

Now, before this, FIFA executives decided who would host the World Cup. But after the controversial award of this year's tournament to Russia and to Qatar in 2022, FIFA has promised a more open and transparent vote. The 2026 World Cup will be the biggest ever, 48 teams playing 80 matches across 34 days. We're talking potential U.S. cities like here in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, 25 in total. Morocco, they scored low on the FIFA's evaluation of everything from transportation to services to accommodations for players and coaches. A 2.7 out of five on the ratings system. The United bid, they scored a four out of five. So we will see and soon know if the World Cup will be coming to the states.

CAMEROTA: OK, lots of people waiting with baited breath.

Coy, thank you very much.

WIRE: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: All right, listen to this story. You're about to meet the world's new social media star. This little raccoon captured the hearts of thousands well into the night after it scaled a 20-story building in St. Paul, Minnesota, and appeared to get stuck. Live cameras followed his antics all day until, thankfully, look at -- watch this. This is the outside -- oh, my gosh. First of all, are we sure it's a raccoon and not a man in a raccoon suit up there?

HILL: It -- you know, it looks like -- it's amazing it can climb up the building. CAMEROTA: I know. I did not know that it could hang on like that. But,

listen to this, it scaled the building and made it to the roof where a trap was set. That's the thanks it gets --

HILL: Yes.

CAMEROTA: For scaling the 20-story building? It's not clear if the daredevil has been captured yet. The critter was dubbed MPR raccoon by Minnesota Public Radio, who had on office near the one it was climbing. Hmm, I wonder what message it was bringing up there. Several Twitter accounts were created in its honor.

HILL: It's classic (ph).

CAMEROTA: What did it want up there?

HILL: IT's such a good question. You know, they -- they, even, at one point, "The Star Tribune" put out a piece on how the raccoon is able to scale a building.

CAMEROTA: I would like to know that.

HILL: Right. So it has these special talons and how it can actually get into the building and they apparently couldn't try to rescue it because, a, the windows don't open in that building, and, b, it could have been too dangerous. So they have to -- they had to hope that it would make its way to the roof, which it did.

CAMEROTA: All right, we're going to follow this story for you.

HILL: Meantime, also following this one, Secretary of State Pompeo, of course, is in South Korea, landing a short time ago, trying to iron out details of what is next for North Korea. So, what are the benchmarks of success here? We'll discuss those, next.


[06:43:22] CAMEROTA: OK, so where are we today with North Korea? What did they concede versus what the U.S. did? President Trump's announcement that the U.S. will stop military exercises with South Korea is raising concerns that he made a major concession to North Korea without consulting all of the vital parties.

So joining us now to discuss all of it, we have CNN political analyst David Gregory and foreign affairs columnist Bobby Ghosh here in studio with us.

So, Bobby, where are we today with whatever decision agreement was made with North Korea?

BOBBY GHOSH, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST: Well, we are in the first or maybe the second block of a game of Chutes and Ladders. And Mike Pompeo's job will be to get us from here towards -- closer towards the end. And there will be lots of -- hopefully there will be some ladders, but there will be lots of chutes, as we know from having dealt with North Korea.

A nuclear deal is not a one and a half page document signed by the two leaders. It's much, much more complex. There's a lot of minutia to go through if, that is, the North Koreans are sincere in actually wanting to give up the nukes. That is far, far from certain. So we're just at the starting point in what could be years and years of negotiation towards the ultimate goal of denuclearization.

HILL: And that's, obviously, more on the negotiation side and on the international side.

But domestically here at home, we know, too, there's also a fair amount of skepticism politically. Here's a little bit of what we heard from Senator Corker. Take a listen.


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 after he's had conversations with people that are relevant to what he said. So, we'll -- again, I think that's why it's really important to get Pompeo in.


[06:45:07] HILL: Important to get Pompeo in.

But, David, we know, too, it's also important at some point to get folks there in Washington on board. The president has said nothing would happen without approval by Congress.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And Congress will look hard at this, as Bobby says, over time. I mean now you have a really process that will unfold, if it's a real process. If there's anything to actually negotiate.

I mean all we can say thus far is what the president has achieved is something that's very big on the world stage, deciding to engage with this tyrant, and forget all, you know, the hypocrisy of sitting down with tyrants that if a previous president, like a Barack Obama had done that would have been castigated by the right. The president doesn't care about any of that.

And I think where you have to give him his due is that there was a course that the U.S. and North Korea were going down that was potentially catastrophic. And he has defused that by getting into a round of engagement and negotiation, again, if it actually comes to negotiation. All of these questions about what the North is actually prepared to do is I think the critical question. And now Pompeo, the secretary of state, will get into that, into negotiation, what they might give up, how you verify that.

And what we know is what the president has said about these kinds of matters with the Iran deal. If that's a bad deal, given everything that has been achieved with Iran and how much Iran gave up of its nuclear program, that that should be the minimum. And that is still something the president considered to be a failure.

So the goal is complete denuclearization, as the president said. That's a pretty tall order. What we have today, what we do have to focus on, is a defused crisis with North Korea as long as they're actually talking.

CAMEROTA: Just in keeping with the hypocrisy theme for a moment, we do have an example from the White House Communications Office. Mercedes Schlapp, a lovely woman, obviously, who's there as part of the communications team, back in 2016, when President Obama was meeting with the Castros, Raul, she tweeted, so Obama shakes hands with Dictator Raul Castro. What's next, shaking hands with North Korea Dictator Kim Jong-un. Yesterday she tweeted this, feeling great. Obama failed in his diplomacy when dealing with Cuba, gave it all to Raul and expected nothing in return. President Trump is the real deal maker and is successfully moving North Korea in the right direction with maximum pressure campaign and working towards denuclearization.

Maximum pressure campaign? I think President Trump said he wasn't dropping that one?

GHOSH: Yes, that's done. Maximum pressure is done. Once you start saying he's a lovely guy, he's a funny guy, he's a talented guy, that's not pressure any more.

So that policy is over. I think to a point --

CAMEROTA: I mean they also -- I mean beyond just the flattery, they also decided not to do the sanctions. I mean he -- President Trump consciously decided not to impose more sanctions before the meeting because he wanted to make sure that the ground was fertile for --

GHOSH: And the biggest instrument that we've ever had of pressure was the military exercises. Once you take that off the table, there's no pressure anymore.

Now, if there's going to be pressure, I make a prediction. There's going to start to be pressure from China and from South Korea to remove the existing sanctions or to ease up on the sanctions on North Korea so that Kim Jong-un can begin to repair the damaged economy. There's going to be a lot of pressure because, from China's point of view, from South Korea's point of view, they all say, look, he's done a lot. He's walked across the border in P'anmunjom in the DMZ. He's come all the way to Singapore. He's made promises, vague as they may be, but he's made promises. Now you've got to give the guy a break. There's going to be a lot of pressure to give the guy a break. There is no pressure to put him back in the box. He's out. He's free.

GREGORY: Well --

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, David.

GREGORY: The one -- the one -- the one point here is that there's a -- it was obviously a gamble. That much we can agree on.

GHOSH: Yes. GREGORY: The gamble by President Trump is that he somehow, by going top down, by flattering Kim, by meeting with him, by, you know, going around the world to sit down with him creates a different dynamic. And maybe the moment is right. Maybe some of that moment is that he's achieved a lot, Kim has, by getting to this point, forcing a U.S. president to acknowledge him in this way, having the nukes, and that he wants a better economic future and that he wants to be able to achieve that. So maybe there is this moment that they -- that they can seize on. That's the gamble.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that remains to be seen. But that's -- you've just spelled it out perfectly. David, Bobby, thank you.

HILL: So, where did President Trump get the idea to stop what he called those very provocative war games? One report suggesting an interesting source. That's next.


[06:53:4] CAMEROTA: OK, so it turns out President Trump used an unconventional pitch to Kim Jong-un to give peace a chance. President Trump showed him this Hollywood-style video. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two men. Two leaders. One destiny. A story of a special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated. What will he choose? To show vision and leadership? Or not.


CAMEROTA: We're not kidding. That was for real. That wasn't "Saturday Night Live."

Joining us now is CNN national security analyst James Clapper. He met with the North Korean government in 2014 as director of national intelligence. He also has a fabulous new book out called "Facts and Fears."

Director Clapper, great to have you.

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Great to be here in New York with you.

CAMEROTA: That's a creative tactic. So they know, right, that Kim Jong-il, the dad of Kim Jong-un, loved Hollywood movies. He had a collection of something like 30,000 of them. He claimed to have seen every single one. So what do you think of that tactic of showing his son a Hollywood-style trailer?

CLAPPER: Well, I thought it was a little weird. I -- actually, the idea is not bad. I'm just not sure that due deference was paid to perhaps Korean cultural nuances here.

[06:55:15] CAMEROTA: But, wait a second, I mean they showed him playing basketball. We know Kim Jong-un loves basketball.

CLAPPER: Well, he likes basketball.

CAMEROTA: He loves basketball. And so, I mean, something won him over. It seems like showing him the Hollywood splashy trailer worked.

CLAPPER: Well, I'm not sure the movie won him over. I think conceding on the war games is probably a bigger deal to Kim Jong-un than the movie. And I think -- my guess is the North Koreans reacted to that clip, much as we do to their propaganda.

HILL: You could point out that we are, at this point, in a slightly better place. That you were frustrated after your visit there. That the rhetoric needed to change.


HILL: Is this where the rhetoric, though, should be going?

CLAPPER: Well, I -- you're quite right, that's -- my observation, certainly when I was there, was the North Koreans were clearly stuck on their narrative and we were kind of stuck on ours. And the emblematic of that were the talking points that I was assigned to recite to the North Koreans. The first, one of which was, you must denuclearize before we'll talk to you. Well, that was a nonstarter.

So, President Trump, to his credit, has changed that narrative, I think. And in a dilemma like this, only the bigger partner, meaning the U.S., could do that. So that's a good thing. And we're in the diplomatic lane as opposed to where we were headed say six months ago or so. So that's a good thing.

CAMEROTA: Right. So President Trump's unconventional style seems to have broken whatever loggerheads or whatever dangerous trajectory we were on. So now what do you think Mike Pompeo is going to do in terms of ironing out these details?

CLAPPER: Well, I hope that's exactly what he does is -- and, of course, to use the well-worn cliche, the devil here clearly here is in the details. And I hope that Secretary Pompeo, I'm sure he's thought about them, but --

CAMEROTA: But where does he start?

CLAPPER: Well, the first thing would be to lay out, I think, a proposal to the North on a timeline for -- well, first, the definition of what denuclearization means. And then to try to sit with the North Koreans and get to the specifics. I would -- I have observed -- I don't think either we, nor the North Koreans, have any idea how long it will take to denuclearize once a definition of that is agreed on.

HILL: Even in terms of that timeline, Alisyn and I were just talking with Bobby Ghosh even in the break, and he was saying, it is absolutely to the advantage of the North Koreans, as we've seen in the past, to drag this out as long as possible. President Trump, understandably, that's the last thing he wants. and we know that this is a president who likes to move quickly on things.

CLAPPER: Exactly. Well, and it's worth noting that Kim Jong-un is not term limited.

HILL: Right.

CLAPPER: He's in it for the long haul. And so he can stretch out denuclearization, again, whatever that means, for a long time. And I -- and I anticipate will.

CAMEROTA: There is an interesting piece in "The wall Street Journal" of where President Trump got the idea for halting the joint military exercises, where that seed was planted. I'll read you a portion of this. Mr. Trump had an idea about how to counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, which he got after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If the U.S. stopped joint military exercises with the South Koreans, it could help moderate Kim Jong-un's behavior. Defense secretary Jim Mattis used an approach that aides say can work. He says, your instincts are absolutely correct and then gets the president to do the exact opposite of what his instincts say. That's just an interesting bit of -- sort of psycho analysis of what Mattis does. But do you think it's possible that Vladimir Putin planted the seed of this?

CLAPPER: Yes, I do think that's possible. And that kind of adds to this. I think that was a mistake to do that. It was unnecessarily and premature certainly given the fact we didn't get much in the way of specifics from the North Koreans. And having served in South Korea myself, I think there's a couple of points to be made about those -- the value of those exercises. One, they are all defensive. They are in response to an invasion by the North into the South, and they've been that way for decades. They were -- that's the tenor of the exercise when I was there.

CAMEROTA: Right, but while you're negotiating peace -- and I think President Trump's point is, aren't -- he used the word provocative. While you're trying to negotiate peace, shouldn't those be halted?

CLAPPER: Well, the point is, Alisyn, the North Koreans well understand the nature of those exercises. We've been doing them the same way for decades. And the reason they're important operationally is that our forces there are basic (ph) -- all there on short-term, either one year or two-year tours. So the turnover's constant. So not only to exercise among the joint forces, the U.S. forces, but also on a combined basis with the South Korea.

And regrettably, it appears, that the South Koreans weren't consulted about that ahead of time. So a huge win for the North and a big win for the Chinese.

[07:00:11] HILL: And a lot to talk about for Secretary Pompeo today.

CLAPPER: Yes, for sure.