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WAPO: North Korea Working on New Missiles; Trump & Administration Out of Sync on Iran Approach; 3D Guns Plans Go on Sale at Midnight Amid Backlash; Competing Books Clubs: Reading in the Trump Era. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired July 31, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:32:12] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: There's new evidence, including satellite images, that appear to show North Korea is building more missiles. The "Washington Post" is reporting that intelligence officials say work is under way on one or possibly two new intercontinental ballistic missiles, missiles that could theoretically reach the United States.
After the summit in Singapore, President Trump declared that the nuclear threat from North Korea was over. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, he also said there was no rush for North Korea to dismantle its arsenal.
Susan Glasser is a CNN global affairs analyst, staff writer at the "New Yorker." Josh Rogin is a columnist for the "Washington Post." He's also a CNN political analyst.
Thanks very much for joining us.
What do you think? All of a sudden, the nuclear threat was over, everything is great, and now there are indications the North Koreans are working on new intercontinental ballistic missiles.
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's what happens when you eat dessert before breakfast. This process of the North Korea nuclear deal was really a deal in name only. So Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was still filling in the details. North Korea never agreed to dismantle its missiles. That's what brought them to the table. In that sense, of course, they're not going to give up that. Their development of one that could reach the United States is why arguably Trump was negotiating with them in the first place.
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. This is what the North Koreans do. This is what negotiating with North Korea is like. Pompeo knows that, OK. He bought the ticket. Now he's got to take the ride all the way to the end. They're not going to give up anything without something in return. What they want next is they want a declaration of the end of hostilities of the Korean War, a path towards a peace treaty and normalization. What the U.S. wants is for North Korea to declare its nuclear arsenal. That's the first step that we want. There's an opportunity. Mike Pompeo is going to Singapore for a meeting with the North Korean foreign minister. It's expected they're going to have a talk. In advance of that, the White House held a high-level meeting chaired by John Bolton on Friday to discuss what they're going to do. All right. This is going to be a very long process. Patient diplomacy. One step forward, two steps back. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.
BLITZER: Let's talk about Iran while I have you guys. Yesterday, the president at that news conference with the Italian prime minister, he was asked about Iran, and he very flatly, all of a sudden, despite the threats of a few days earlier, said, you know, he's ready for direct talks.
I want to play precisely what he said and then I want you to listen to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo because he, quote, "clarified" what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe in meeting. I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don't know that they're ready yet. They're having a hard time right now.
No preconditions, no. They want to meet, I'll meet. Any time they want.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their maligned behavior, can agree that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he's prepared to sit down and have a conversation with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:35:14] BLITZER: Except that's not what the president said. The president said no preconditions at all. Secretary Pompeo outlined three specific, very tough conditions that the Iranians would have to endorse before there could be such a meeting.
GLASSER: You know, being secretary of state for Donald Trump means you're on perpetual cleanup duty when it comes to issues like this. Secretary Pompeo has a really tough job in that Trump has given to all[caps tweets in the middle of the night, he's given to things that are at odds with the negotiating strategy, even if perhaps there's more coordination than we realize to those tweets, which I think is often the case. But interestingly, I think that we thought, well, gee, Mike Pompeo is going to be different than Rex Tillerson. Obviously, he's been more successful so far in managing his relationship with the president, but on this Iran issue, if you listen to his remarkable testimony last week, it's very similar. He's saying, there's no change in U.S. policy. Don't pay attention to exactly what the president of the United States says. I'm going to fill in the blanks for you. So my question is, how long is that going to work as a Trump management strategy?
And then there's the question of the Iranians.
I think, you know, Josh, they're going to be a lot less likely to come to the table right away than the North Koreans were.
BLITZER: There was a statement from the Iranian foreign ministry broadcast on state television in Iran saying, not so fast, we're not yet ready to meet with President Trump.
ROGIN: Right. Trump may think that Iran is like North Korea. If we get real belligerent then play nice, they'll come to the table and make a deal. Iran is not North Korea. You have to ask yourself, why would they come to the table now? What Iran is actually doing right now is they're working with our allies to sustain the deal we left to isolate us. And it's working. They have more cards than North Korea. They have a different kind of country, a different kind of government than North Korea. What Pompeo laid out, if Iran changes its government, changes all its activities and then yields to all of our demands, then we can talk. Well, that's a recipe for policy stagnation and diplomatic intransigence. We're looking at a standoff with Iran that will last a very, very long time, no matter what Pompeo or Trump says.
BLITZER: The preconditions Secretary Pompeo laid out are tough for any Iranian regime. President Rouhani, is he going to accept a commitment to make fundamental changes in how the Iranian regime treats their own people, reduce their maligned behavior? And they have to agree to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation. And remember, the State Department still regards the Iranian regime as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
GLASSER: Well, that's right. And that's where you see this conflict between Trump and Pompeo. Again, Pompeo just gave a very strongly worded speech at the Ronald Reagan library in California, in which he basically encouraged opponents of the regime to rise up against it.
BLITZER: Sounds like regime change.
GLASSER: Well, that's right, number one. Number two, you still have a legally binding U.N. resolution that the six major powers in the world agreed to in negotiating with Iran. The United States unilaterally walked out of that. No one else has ripped up the deal. It's a much harder thing to negotiate with a country after you've just unilaterally ripped up a deal with it, which is not the case with North Korea.
ROGIN: And if the administration is demanding that Iran give us a great, fabulous deal, how are they going to defend a deal with North Korea that doesn't meet those standards? They've got two different philosophies, two different ideologies. Neither of them really seems to be working. And what you got is broad confusion, both inside the government, outside the government, around Washington, around the world about what the policy actually is. And that cannot be a good thing, either for the United States or its interests.
BLITZER: Josh Rogin, Susan Glasser, thanks very much.
Still ahead, President Trump is embracing the defense laid out by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Why he's now also saying that collusion is not a crime. Are they getting out ahead of something? [13:39:11] And downloadable death. That's what printable 3D guns are
being called. These untraceable weapons could be widely available as early as tomorrow here in the United States. Anyone could go out and get them despite any criminal background records or being on a terror watch list. What is the president of the United States saying about it? Stand by.
BLITZER: Untraceable and undetectable, that's the fear surrounding the production of 3D printed plastic guns, which tomorrow becomes much easier here in the United States with the sanctioned online release of detailed instructions. It's the result of a settlement between the Trump administration and a man who calls himself a crypto anarchist. Though, today the president said he'd look into the issue but says it doesn't make much sense at all. Democrats are pushing for the president to take more action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: On issue after issue, the Trump administration's M.O., when there's a crisis is to say, we'll look into it. Working with the NRA. Then nothing happens. Sure as we're here today, nothing is going to happen from this administration. We're going to have to pass legislation because they are just enslaved by the NRA.
[13:45:05] SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, (D), NEW JERSEY: I don't care if a gun is made out of metal, made out of plastic. If it can fire a bullet and take someone's life, then it needs to be regulated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: CNN's Tom Foreman is joining us now with more on what are being called Ghost Guns.
Take us through the controversy Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you said the two key words, undetectable and untraceable. Those two do not always go together when talking about these guns. Undetectable, you're talking about something like this. A fully plastic gun, one that's been made out of a machine and basically is sort of milled out in such a way that it cannot be detected by a metal detector.
However, what we're also talking about here are guns like this. This is a device made by Defense Distributed called the Ghost Gun, which helps mill some metal parts so you can make a gun that is untraceable. In that case, you're talking about something much more advanced than that single-shot plastic gun we're talking about. You can make an A.R.-15 or something like that with an amalgam of these parts.
The concern with the untraceable gun is, in fact, people are being given the capability to make a gun in their garage or their basement that nobody knows exists until the gun is finished and in their hands. Now, in truth, under law, people can do this right now. They've done
it for many years. It's just that this new machinery and 3D printing and this automatic milling of devices makes it a lot more effective and more likely that people could get guns like this are people who maybe should not be able to get guns, who would be forbidden from a legal purchase or would be on basically a list to be watched of people who have problems out there -- Wolf?
BLITZER: What's the National Rifle Association, the NRA, saying about this?
FOREMAN: Well, they are all in favor of it from all indications out there. There's a tweet by Dana Loesch that basically said, "3D printed Ghost Guns, as they call these, which can be made at home and don't have serial numbers, rendering them untraceable, symbolize freedom and innovation."
That is not the view of all people out there. There are certainly a lot of hobbyists who find this very interesting. But it is a bigger question. As this technology advances and it gets even easier for people to just make a gun, a fully functional, big-league firearm at home with nobody knowing about it, that's where the concern steps in for other folks out there. The technology is not quite there yet in terms of an undetectable gun, all plastic. But in terms of untraceable guns, yes, that's moving along very fast -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Clearly, no background checks necessary.
Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
Any moment now, by the way, the jury for the former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, will be seated. What we know about the 12 people who will decide his fate.
Plus, the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly committing to his role in the White House for the next two years. A source telling CNN Kelly wanted to send a message to his staff. We have details. Stay with us.
[13:52:23] BLITZER: A new book on the Trump administration is about to hit the shelves. The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, Bob Woodward, is releasing his new book entitled "Fear" right before the midterms on September 11th, by the way. The book will join the dueling book clubs covering the Trump presidency with President Trump singing the praise of pro-Trump books in an attempt to discredit the anti-Trump books.
CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, is joining us.
The reviews are coming in. Update our viewers on all these books.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: OK. Let's start with the fact that we know Donald Trump is not an avid reader, per se. He skims, he's into visuals, he's not a big book reader. But that hasn't stopped him from offering a lot of opinions on books.
We will start the sense on what he likes. "The Russian Hoax, The Elicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump." Where do you think he came down on that one? "Hot seller, already number one."
Let's go to the next one. "The Case Against Impeaching Trump." You'll notice Alan Dershowitz, noted lawyer and someone very skeptical of the impeachment of Donald Trump, and has been on the air talking about it a lot. "I would encourage all people with Trump Derangement Syndrome to read." More of a medical recommendation than anything else.
And to the next one, you'll recognize that guy, Wolf. That's Sean Spicer. This book has been savagely reviewed. People say his facts are wrong and it's not a good retelling of his time in the White House. There's one critic who really liked it. "It's a story told with both heart and knowledge." Donald John Trump.
OK, now, what really happened? You may not notice. This is a conservative radio talk show host. "What Really Happened: How Donald Trump Saved America." A book which everyone is talking about. Last time I checked on Amazon, not that many people were talking about that book, but whatever.
OK, now things turn and you'll see why. "Fire and Fury," if you didn't know this book existed, you haven't been paying attention, you have been living on another planet. Michael Wolfe has been very critical of Donald Trump. "The fake book of a mentally deranged person." Another tweet, "Full of lies, misinterpretation and sources that don't exist." He does that a lot as it relates to news coverage he doesn't like.
Let's go to the next one. This is not the only book Donald Trump didn't like. "A Higher Loyalty," by James Comey. Where do you think he came down on that one, Wolf? "Third-ranked book that should never have been written."
And now, let's go to the next. The book we're all waiting for. Bob Woodward, my colleague at the "Washington Post," legend of Watergate, has written lots and lots of books on presidents, eight at last count. "Fear: Trump in the White House." Donald Trump has not offered thoughts about Bob's upcoming book but he did offer a thought on Bob in 2013 on Twitter, "Only the Obama White House can get away with attacking Bob Woodward." They weren't really attacking Bob Woodward. It was sort of a misunderstanding, but that's here, nor there.
"Fear," let's see, is it pro? Does Donald Trump like it, positive or negative review? I'm going on the negative review side, is my guess, but we'll see. We have another month or so, Wolf. Back to you.
[13:55:32] BLITZER: September 11th. We'll all have a chance.
Chris Cillizza, good review. Thank you very much. More on the breaking news. Facebook discovering dozens of new fake accounts ahead of the midterm elections here in the United States which may be linked to the Russians. We have new details, standby.