tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 8, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
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i don't see a possum! it's been an hour of breaking news. the president is serving up a surprise to everyone tonight including the pentagon. on the table the meeting, perhaps in may, between president trump and kim jong-un. if and when it happens it will be the first meeting between the leaders of the country. where did it come from? who did it come from? was it against the law? later former trump aid goes before the house intelligence committee. president trump and kim agreeing to meet. and kim agreeing to freeze missile testing. cnn jim acosta starts us off. explain why president trump
agreed to meet us with kim jong-un. what do we know about it? >> senior administration officials were briefing reporters about the stunning development as you described it a while ago. one senior administration official asked why the president is taking this bold step as to meet with kim jong-un of north korea. president trump has made his reputation on making deals and so they are essentially framing this as the ultimate art of the deal. the art of the nuclear deal. they are trying to take credit for the president's what they call strategic rhetoric. that's a phrase you hear at the white house. pushing on kim jong-un can have a net positive effect. they are pointing to that tonight as a result of this. they are still working on exactly how all of this will play out. where it's going to take place. when it's going to take place. they say the president is going to meet with kim jong-un.
this came as such a surprise that rex tillerson, the secretary of state was telling reporters earlier today that the administration was not really close to any kind of a situation where they would engage in direct talks with the north korea as the secretary of state was saying that, the south korean delegation was hear in washington making its way over here to the white house and it was within a matter of an hour, i'm told by senior administration official that south korean envoy met with the national security advisor. we should point out was a verbal offer, not laeter. administration officials are clarifying that. then the president came into the briefing room and sprung the news on all of us. the big question is how serious north koreans are about denuclearizing and the administration says they will keep the pressure on while we wait to see these plans being worked out for that meeting between the president and kim jong-un.
>> our next guest has seen the ups downs of the relation, mostly the downs. director clapper, i'm wondering your reaction to this invitation. certainly unprecedented. >> it is. i was on with don lemon and i was lamenting what was going on with the north and south was significant. i said we perhaps missed an opportunity to change the dynamic. i was quite surprised of this. the reason people answer, i also think president moon should be given a lot of credit for his
very astute handling of this. i think kim jong-un sees an opportunity with a rock, south korean administration that would be more amenable to dialogue and negotiation. president moon is taking advantage of this. using first the winter olympics as leverage because the north koreans wanted to participate in the olympics and he took advantage of it. but the third factor that i think is important to bear in mind is the fact that i believe the north koreans have developed their nuclear capability such is as it is, that gives them sufficient confidence that when they do sit down and negotiate that they will not be
supplicants, it is quite pro found. >> this all played out within about an hour. i've talked to a number of people who worry is there a frame work for negotiations? has the groundwork been done? and there's not been a lot of direct meetings to set this up. is there time? >> well, actually i agree, which is something for me with president trump's inclination to meet right away. i think there's a virtue in this striking while the iron's hot. i would also recommend, for what it's worth that this be a listening occasion. i think we have a great opportunity here to get straight from the horse's mouth which we've never had before an expression of what it is the north koreans need to feel secure so they don't need nuclear weapons. if could just that first meet ing elicit a clear expression what they want.
it means reducing the presence of u.s. forces on the peninsula. now, this -- i'm getting ahead of the headlights here but i do think -- i hope we're thinking about the long game here. i do think this is a breakthrough and significant opportunity for us if we play it right. i would start with understanding what do they want. a way to start this would be the conditions for negotiations of a peace treaty. all we have there is a cease-fire. we've had forces, military forces on the peninsula for 68 years. i served there for two of them. at some point we need a make a
determination when they are able to defend themselves. when i was participating in tract two at one of these dinners and one of the north koreans suggested, for example, that we might morph the united nations command, which is what the defense of korea during the korean war. morph that into a peace keeping force. there's thought about that. i hope we don't beat our chest here and risk coercion. in addition to what we've done with the sticks, we also need some carrots. one of which would be, at least
discussing entering into negotiations for peace treaty. i've long been a proponent of establishing intersections in pyongyang and washington respectively which would be a way of enhancing dialogue at the working level. >> general clapper, i appreciate your time. i want to bring in our panel. it's hard to overstate how a change of policy this is. >> it's huge. it's historic. it's a complete gamble to a great degree. it's the first time we've seen a sitting american president meet with the leader of north korea. this is a first. as general clapper was saying there are risks associated with this but as he puts it, if this is a listening occasion, then it
may lead to some progress. obviously there's no ground work that's been done on this. maybe it will just be a photo op but an opportunity to listen in which case it could be beneficiary. >> the president came under a lot of criticism for the rhetoric he's been using. did it work? do you think that sort of tough stance, as the white house says, brought this about? >> no question. for the last a eight years the north koreans didn't think there was a president in the oval office with resolve to follow through. he's a serious person. the president and his team deserve credit for rallying the international community to strengthen those sanctions. as we heard from the cnn reporting the president deserves credit for getting chinese trucks here. across this board what this
president has done, i think you can fairly state has driven north korean to the table. what we've been doing for the last 25 years has given us a north korea with nuclear weapons. for the american people, that's not working. the president will try something. we shouldn't mistake that the north koreans are all of a sudden trustworthy, credible negotiating partners. they have been reneging for decades. you have to give him credit for his resolve for trying something new and relieve this pressure we might been on the brink of a nuclear war. >> north korean leaders have long sought meetings with american presidents for decades. that's not a new ask or new invitation. he has broken the fever that's existed for some time on whether we should or should not directly negotiate. that's something that many people in the obama administration thought we should have considered more. in that sense, he deserves credit.
this is far preferable to going to war or taking military action by all accounts. i think the big question is what next? when they say they agreed to duh nuclearization we don't know that's going to mean access or they will sign anything. it will require a very detailed negotiation. we can give credit for this being better than military action. >> he tweeted i told rex tillerson he's wasting his time with trying to negotiate with little rocket man. he's had change of heart. >> the maximum pressure campaign is working and north korea is feeling the pressure to have to come to the table. the united states didn't give up anything to have this meeting. it's the north koreans who said we will suspend our nuclear and missile testing during this diplomatic process. we recognize that u.s. korea and japanese, military exercises
will continue and the sanctions will continue. in essence we have given up nothing to get this meeting. what do we do with it going forward? that's the key. >> we also didn't get anything. that's what people will be critical of for justifiable reasons. >> in the past that's the reason why a u.s. president wouldn't meet one-on-one, is that right? >> typically the president would be the closer. that's how it worked with the iran deal, successfully. it doesn't mean it has to work that way in every capacity. there will be months if not years of discussions and negotiations to come to the point you're going to meet on the basis of. >> the argument being made is if a dictatorship like north korea where the power resides in one man, why not deal face-to-face
with that one man and maybe that will alter the negotiations at a lower levels. >> an offer like this has been on the table for a long time. yes, the president has ramped up the rhetoric against north korea but really the teeth of the sanctions which have been a key cog of the obama years have sunk in. that's being brought to bear here. that's what's bringing kim jong-un to the table. i think democrats should not react to this for pessimism for pessimism sake. there's a lot of key questions that need to be asked. president obama said he would be willing to meet with leaders. the republicans beat him up for it for eight years. this president, donald trump, campaigned on tough rhetoric and called this president week and within a year he's meeting with kim jong-un. >> negotiations like this, beyond this one meeting, there's so much to be worked out. it's three dimensional chess.
>> it solves people who we have never heard of because they are experts on these very fine tuned nuclear issues. people from the cia, state department, defense department who have been preparing for this for decades. they will come to an agreement. democrats shouldn't be critical just to be critical. it's a positive step to be pursuing diplomacy as opposed to military action.
we shouldn't count this as done. >> i got to get a quick break. we'll have more including looking back at the non diplomatic things the president has said. tonight's breaking news about an upcoming meeting between president trump and kim jong-un comes as a surprise. i'm babysitting. that'll be $50 bucks. you said $30 dollars. yeah, well it was $30 before my fees, like the pizza-ordering fee and the dog-sitting fee. and the rummage through your closet fee. are those my heels? yeah! yeah, we're the same size in shoes. with t-mobile taxes and fees are already included, so you get four unlimited lines for just $35 bucks each. ♪ ♪ there are two types of people in the world. those who fear the future...
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here is a small sample. >> the united states has great strength and patience but if t forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. >> north korea best not make anymore threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> we can't have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place. by the way, rocket man should have been handled a long time ago. >> back now with the panel. mark, you worked in this administration. are you confident there are enough staff in place, quality staff, to get a frame work into place?
>> i am. they have a great team there. you're going to draw on a lot of different people to do it. it's going to be a quick turn around if the president will do like may. >> there's a lot of empty slots. >> there's no ambassador to south korea or no envoy. those are two people that would be central to a negotiation. there are career staff who have worked on these issues for decades. it would be in their interest and i'm sure they would serve. >> the secretary of the state was saying diplomacy is in the cards. >> the pentagon said they had no idea. pence said we wouldn't sit down with them. it's clear this wasn't the result of internal policy process. >> it was general mcmaster, national security advisor who is on thin ice. we've all reported that who was thanked publicly by the south koreans tonight. the he's on thin ice, does this
mean he stays through may. >> he's been skeptical we can do the north koreans to let us do things like let us inspect their country enough to let us know if they denuclearized. i love john bolton. i think ultimately we need both sides of this coin. we need the people who know north korea for what they are. people who renege on promises all the time. we need the new thinking the president has injected which is to say we've been doing the same thing. banging our head against the wall for 25 years, let's try something different.
>> does this help kim jong-un in his own country? there's concentration camps opinion there's three generations of punishment if somebody does something wrong. not only do they get sent to a concentration camp, their parents do, their grandparents do. does this build him up in way that's appropriate? >> there's big risk. it's likely he will use this as i summoned the president of the united states to meet with me. does it mean he shouldn't do it? not necessarily. >> president trump gets something out of it too. obviously, he's on the global stage and looks like he's breaking with precedent and doing something pretty extraordinary. >> you had reporting on cnn where north korea knows there's only two outcomes. they will denuclearize or their
allies will take them tr them and they will cease to exist. this is the way out for them. they need to take it. >> not necessarily. if you look at will ripley's interesting reporting, north koreans are all for bombing the united states. they are all for military action against the united states. that's not actually what north koreans think. his audience are the north koreans. >> also point out that china is not really interested in a unified korea centered toward
the united states on their border nor they interested in huge instability with tens of thousands of refugees pouring into china. >> all this said you cannot fault the president for taking a meeting. i'm more concerned how the president will perform in the meeting. it's not just a matter of palace intrigue to pay attention to how haphazardly into this meeting today. it's another way how donald trump operating. he was sitting across the team with democrats and republicans welcoming them to the white house and he said he would be willing to get rid of due process. he put the assault reps ban on the table and reversed himself 24 hours later. this is a president who always eager to portray himself as a deal maker and alie key details. we have become used to taking donald trump seriously not literally. does he know to do that? >> maybe that's why it's going
to become a photo op. i spent a lot of time covering the russia story. i know his lawyers in the russia story don't want him to testify before bob mueller because of the amount of prep work it could take and afraid that he might say something wrong that would contradict someone. i think it's the same thing with meeting with kim jong-un. they would have to prep him so much for this if it were serious and detailed that it would a lot of time. >> he doesn't like to read the pdb every morning. >> kim has never met with another head of state. this is his first go at it. >> i can't worry about kim. >> this man is a rookie. he's never been out of north korea. i'm not sure we're dealing with a sophisticated of a world leader as you think. all the cavs yets, it's the president's job to defend america. how many nights did we sit here wondering are we on the brink of
nuclear war? tonight that pressure is off because of what the president has done. that's a win. >> how do you know if it succeeds? >> i know right now it's less likely we'll have a nuclear war with north korea than last summer. >> i think so too. >> we'll take a look at the latest developments. thanks man. imagine if the things you bought every day... earned you miles to get to the places you really want to go. with the united mileageplus explorer card, you'll get a free checked bag. two united club passes. priority boarding. and earn fifty thousand bonus miles after you spend three thousand dollars on purchases in the first three months from account opening plus, zero-dollar intro annual fee for the first year, then ninety-five dollars. learn more at theexplorercard.com
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more twists and turns in the stormi daniels story. here is her attorney from my conversation with him last night. >> we're not going to disclose at this point all the facts in evidence that we have substantiating the allegations and complaint. we certainly have more facts in evidence to support the allegation or allegations than what has already been disclosed. back now with the panel. this story sifts to whether or not there was a relationship between stormy daniels and donald trump as a civilian but also the money trail and where does this $130,000 where did it come from. why did it raise red flags immediately at this bank that a
report was issued about it. >> we know that michael cohn said it was his own money. it wasn't a campaign contribution. did it come from the campaign? that would be illegal to stormi daniels. why did the bank start paying attention to $130,000? >> it's not a huge amount of money for bank to pay attention to. >> we don't know the answer to that question yet. >> the white house has said there was no affair and said the president had no knowledge of this deal. the idea that michael cohn, as loyal as he is to the president, not just would use his own money
but enter into an agreement in which he was representing that donald trump was involved in this agreement without telling his client, donald trump. just from an ethical stand point, that's a huge ethical violation. it's as if i formed a contract with somebody else claiming i was representing you without telling you. >> it makes no sense to me. donald trump and michael cohn are close. he's been his fixer for many, many years. it seems to me, 11 days before an election and you know a lot about these relationships that it would be absurd to think he wouldn't tell the candidate who might become the next president of the united states that you have a problem and i'm fixing it. don't worry about it. i'm fixing it mr. trump. >> he would be very proud he's fixing it. i think it's preposterous to imagine the president, then candidate trump didn't know. we'll find out more from michael cohn. we're going to get the word from the check writer's mouth because
he's, according to my sources just made his book deal. he'll recover some of the $130,000 probably through that deal. i've heard it's about half a million dollars. it's not quite enough to indicate he will spill everything because if that were the case, it would be a million. he's going to tell his story. >> he's as loyal as he says he is, it's highly unlikely he'll be giving details about stormi daniels. >> i would expect him to go at length on the subject of why i wrote this check and why perhaps i did it out of the goodness of my heart. this will the argument he makes. >> when a bank red flags incoming money there's a report that goes to the fbi ultimately. the fbi would know already where the money came from and what about it was possibly suspicious. >> that's what makes this a
story. the fishiness of the transaction. the unbelieve explanation that he out of pocket this without any reimbursement. i've seen trump surrogates go on air trying to suggest that people are trafficking in smut and tabloid style allegations. this is not about the affair. i can't imagine if this came to light before the campaign it would have made a meaningful difference considering everything we knew. it's curious because he felt a need to pay hush money to this woman. >> he was just trying to get through two weeks. >> the settlement was signed on october 28th. maybe this was let's clear the deck. >> also around the time of access hollywood tape and other women coming forward. it's more likely they will start to believe other women even though she's not alleging anything but a concensual relationship. >> i think there's two hills here. the hill about the affair that
most people believe it happened. i don't know if it happened but people generally believe that something happened. then there's the hill of this legal issue that cohn has caused. i think in order to preserve credibility on these issues they need to probably not dial on hill number one and focus on hill number two. it's something like that, some thing where this guy lies and doesn't tell the truth and ends up roping the president into some conspiracy to cover up a payment. that's where this unravels. i think they need to preserve their credibility on this first issue of the relationship for the purpose of separating the president from cohn, making him deal with this personally. the president can't go out and take the fall for this.
if cohn did this -- >> how do you know he didn't say? >> i don't know but i know if i were constructing a strategy around this, i would not be allowing cohn to go out there and either accidentally or inartfully drag the president down. >> he's done that. >> there might be some bad facts here. >> the credibility on the first piece is suffering right now. they are trying to hold out this idea that he doesn't know stormy daniels. we need to push that off and focus on wa really matters. >> this may sound completely insane but they probably be in a better spot if they fessed up to the affair. early on probably during the week before the election and said we did this. it's not introducing new information or a new personality characteristic. i don't think the white house, if that's what they are concerned about, they are
missing the point. >> i think they are concerned about melania trump here. she's the wife. there's been a lot of discussion about her being angry about the stormy daniels story having been caught off guard. you see them travel to the state of the union this separate cars. i think there is that concern on the president's part. i don't think you can discount that. >> we'll have more. former campaign manager testifying. the word is he refused to answer questions on certain topics. don't we need that cable box to watch tv? nope. don't we need to run? nope. it just explodes in a high pitched 'yeahhh.'
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former trump campaign manager spent more time with the house intelligence committee saying he answered all quote relative questions. it wasn't good enough for adam schiff. he said he should be subpoenaed for refusing to answer questions. congressman, did the testimony today provide anything valuable. what was it he wouldn't talk about, if you can say? >> not really. there's a growing wall between our investigation and the truth and mr. lewandowski added bricks to that wall. he had help of some of our republican committee members. he refused to answer questions about what he knew and what he
talked about with donald trump about the june 9th trump tower meeting. he refused to talk about discussions with donald trump about bob mueller and whether he would be fired and he refused to talk about anything he discussed with donald trump with respect to james comey's firing. >> i don't mean to be disrespectful but is your committee just hopelessly divided and useless? >> i hope not. people sent us hear to understand what the russians did. what role, if any, the trump campaign members played in working with the russians. what the government response was and whether it was adequate and what we can do to make sure it doesn't happen again. we have worked in the past. after september 11 our committee worked to make sure we wouldn't be attacked from the skies again and be safer from terrorism. we have models of it works but our committee members, i think,
show today more fidelity to protecting donald trump than protecting the ballot box. >> it does seem like person after person comes to testify and invents their own rules oobts executive privilege and decides what they will answer and not answer. then the democrats on the committee, like right now, ranking member schiff wants to subpoena lewandowski. is there any indication it might be different this time? >> it's not snarky. he joins a long list of witnesses who have come in and made up privileges, straight out refuse to testify or he decided he was going to tell us what was relevant or not. that included any conversations he had with donald trump about pretty pertinent issues surrounding the russia investigation. our job is to understand what happened and to make reforms. the republicans seem to believe their job is to respond to
russia's attack with an attack on our law enforcement and undermine bob mueller's investigation. i still believe that the american people are going to speak this november and that they're going to want checks and balances in place and we may have to do this all over again. >> this news that eric prince was looking to set up a back channel between the kremlin and trump transition team, do you think he mislead about that meeting and should he have to come back and answer more questions. >> in the story is true, eric prince lied to our committee. he wouldn't be the first person who tried to establish a kremlin back channel. we know that this michael cohen was trying to connect donald trump to vladimir putin. we know that multiple offers were made to carter page to connect donald trump to vladmir putin. this is unprecedented. we have never seen before a presidential campaign on either
side of the aisle receive so many approaches and offers to work with the russians. they're not our friends. at best this demonstrates bad judgment that we would be drawn so close to the russians. at worse this may be witting cooperation. >> appreciate your time. thank you. >> he had not been told by the white house not to answer questions. back now with the panel to talk about that. we'll be right back. oh, not so fast, carl. ♪ oh no. schwab, again? index investing for that low? that's three times less than fidelity... ...and four times less than vanguard. what's next, no minimums? ...no minimums. schwab has lowered the cost of investing again. introducing the lowest cost index funds in the industry with no minimums. i bet they're calling about the schwab news. schwab. a modern approach to wealth management.
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at&t, not so much. we give you 75 mbps for $59.95. that's more speed than at&t's comparable bundle, for less. call today. as we discussed before the break, corey lewandowski was before the house committee today. the ranking democrat, adam schiff, is not happy. he said that lewandowski refused to talk about some topics and doesn't get to pick and choose which questions to answer. it seems like everybody who goes before this committee does get to pick and choose what questions they want to answer. >> the democrats don't control the committee. they don't know who the ranking republican is on the committee. is it nunes or conway? and they're just daring them.
lewandowski would be able to claim any kind of privilege. lewandowski does not have privilege. it's not like with hope hicks. or was it bannon, on the phone to the white house, trying to figure out what he could and couldn't say. this is corey lewandowski thumbing his nose at these guys, saying, i don't have to answer it. >> when sitting white house officials have tried to dodge answering questions, they haven't invoked any privilege. they said, we're not going to answer that. you heard jeff sessions go before congress and say, i'm not going to answer that because i want to hold open the possibility that the president may want to invoke executive privilege, which is another invented privilege. you can do one of two things, you can invoke privilege and have a legitimate claim or you can plead the fifth, in corey
lewandowski's case, where he doesn't want to cop to cases that may implicate the president. we were talking during the break. this only losts as long as republicans control the gavel. adam schiff is going to subpoena things and subpoena people and he will told people in contempt. >> and eric alluded to that. >> regardless of where you stand on the russia story and whether this community is doing what it needs to be doing, just for the future, is this a line that has been crossed and we're going to see more and more stuff? >> i have my thoughts on how the democrats conducted themselves on this committee. but the white house committee has been more amateurish than
the senate intelligence committee. a lot of the policy committees, they get partisan. the intelligence committees are doing important things. should be above partisan politics. the senate intelligence committee has handled itself professionally. most people will agree the house has devolved a bit. we have to get the committees back to above the partisan atmosphere. most americans are looking at both sides going, i don't know if i trust any of these people. >> they're not going to get the answers. mueller will get the answers. it won't come from the congress or the politicians. it will come from the special counsel. as the story unfolds, i think that's where we're going to really learn it because he does subpoena people. and he can indict people. and he has cut deals with people. >> i know there's politics. should republicans subpoena
people that are not answering questions? >> i think it's important to remember that what we heard congressman schiff talk about is corey didn't answer questions about the drafting of the statement of the june trump meeting. he doesn't in the administration. talking about firing of james comey. he wasn't in the administration. or possible discussions, which have always been denied act potentially firing bob mueller. >> that doesn't matter. >> it seems like democrats are grabbing at more straws than stable hands. >> ultimately, i think what the staff needs to remember is president nixon didn't go to jail and about a dozen of his staff did. this may fly with these committees. but it's not going to fly with mueller and it's not going to fly with all of the committees. that's why it's going to come back. >> you're seeing it this week. a former trump adviser had a meltdown on television, saying he was going to defy bob
mueller. and he's submitting because it takes one conversation with a serious lawyer that tells you, if you don't comply, you're going to jail and it could be for a long time. >> this is a side show. if people can show up and not answer questions. mueller is the key to all of this. the partisan nature of this committee means, if democrats win the house, they'll do what they do next year. but the only thing we ought to care about here is getting this mueller investigation concluded, which has gone on for a very long time. appears to be moving forward at a rapid pace. this is a side show compared to that. if i'm the white house tonight, i'm going, i'm worried about mueller, not this. >> i think congress' responsibility is to shine the light. they did it on iran-contra. there was a separate prosecution going on. these committees have not done that. there was comey testifying.
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was another family, this country's most famous family. this sunday night, tune in for a new cnn original series, called "american dynasties: the kennedys." here's a preview. >> you know their name. you don't know their whole story. ambition. >> he was the bear of walt. >> you're never running against one kennedy. it's a full family affair. >> wealth. >> the kennedys always find a way to make their dreams come true. >> power. >> this compound is the center of the world. >> where only the beginning. >> let us not forget, they were not angels. >> they had more of their share of scandals. but there was these moments of greatness. >> we choose to go to the moon, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. >> a rare and intimate reveal of america's most famous family.
>> some people enjoy a life that is normal and mediocre. other people respond to challenges. that's who we are. >> "american dynasties: the kennedys" on cnn. thanks for watching "360." time to hand it over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. our breaking news tonight, president trump agreeing to meet with north korea's kim jong-un reportedly by may, eight weeks from now. that's according to the national security adviser, who says that kim promised to, quote, refrain from any nuclear missile tests. sarah sanders confirming that the president will meet with kim but not giving a timeline for the meeting. the stunning news catching officials completely offguard tonight. one telling officials, this was not planned. it was all-him. not just the president's own st