tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 13, 2018 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
dream more, dream faster, and above all... now, i'll dream gig. now more businesses, in more places, can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. happening now omarosa's revenge. the fired presidential aide releases a secret recording of her former boss, and mr. trump hits back calling her a whacky lowlife. tonight even the president is acknowledging that this ugly grudge match is not presidential. better than expected we are learning more about the kremlin's take on the trump-putin summit why russian officials were especially please would the u.s. president's performance there. new reaction this hour to our exclusive reporting. lying for loans. after more testimony accusing paul manafort of borrowing
millions of dollars under false pretenses robert mueller's team has rested its case against the former trump campaign chairman. tonight there is some mystery about what happens next. and family feud. the son of a top republican lawmaker publicly slams his father, accusing him of ruining the career of the fbi agent who sent anti-trump texts. we are following all the new fall out, now the bureau veteran peter struck has been fired. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim sciutto, and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. and breaking tonight, president trump is gloating about the firing of the fbi agent who disparaged him in text messages, using it to unleash another rant against the russia
investigation. but peter struck's lawyer is warning that his client's ouster flies in the face of bureau protocol and should be deeply troubling to all americans. as mr. trump slams a veteran law enforcement official he's also trying to vilify would russians show how the russians turned on him. omarosa m omarosa m omarosa manigault has now released a secret recording. first to cnn white house correspondent katelyn collins who has more on president trump versus omarosa. katelyn, this is really ugler than an episode of the apprentice. >> reporter: well, jim, it's a fight only two former reality tv stars could have. the president alleging one of his former highest paid staffers here in the white house is a whacko, that would be omarosa
manigault-newman who is making allegations of her own about the president and revealing conversations she recorded of her conversations with white house staffers and even the president himself, which is raising questions about why omarosa was hired to work here in the first place. president trump addressing soldiers. >> i'm here today to sign our new defense bill into law. >> reporter: as former white house staffer omarosa manigault-newman escalates her war with the administration, revealing she recorded her conversations with the president. >> omarosa, what's going on? i just saw on the news that you're thinking about leaving. what happened? >> general kelly came to me and said you guys wanted me to leave. >> no, nobody even told me about it. >> reporter: omarosa breaching major security protocols secretly taping her firing by john kelly in the white house situation room, one of the most secure places in washington with no devices allowed.
>> i think it's important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure we can all be -- you know, you can look at your time here at the white house as a year of service to the nation and you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to our reputation. >> reporter: trump tweeting today that despite intense pressure to fire omarosa he kept her around because she only said great things about me, adding whacky omarosa skipped work, missed meetings and was a vicious colleague. despite promising this on the campaign trail. >> we're going to get the best people in the world. >> reporter: asked about it he said this. >> a lowlife. she's a lowlife. >> reporter: she carried the title assistant to the president. she's also claiming the trump 2020 campaign aufoffered her a
$15,000 a month position if she agreed to keep silent, something she says she refused to do. trump also admitting for the first time she signed an mda, writing on twitter whacky omarosa already has a fully signed nondisclosure agreement. when cnn reported that senior staff signed mrkdas earlier thi year the white house denied it. but kellyanne conway said this yesterday. >> we have agreements. >> reporter: one white house official telling cnn they don't consider omarosa's recordings to be a national security threat but added they're worried she wasn't the only staffer recording conversations. >> do you have more recordings? >> oh, absolutely. >> are you planning on releasing them? >> i don't know. i'll watch to see if they threaten legal action. they've been trying to figure how to stop me. i'm expecting they're going to
retaliate. so i'm going to stand back and wait. >> reporter: the president was happy to bring up omarosa today but there is one critic he did not mention. that would be senator john mccain. signing a massive spending bill that is named after senator mccain that made it a top priority of his wheel he was on capitol hill and back at home battling cancer, he did not mention mccain's name, not once, not at all. jim? >> and he was speaking in front of soldiers. katelyn collins, thanks very much. peter struck was terminated by the bureau's deputy director despite a finding by the fbi that he should get a demotion and a suspension for sending those anti-trump texts. let's bring in cnn senior congressional correspondent manu raju. manu, this was not standard operating procedure. the fbi did its own investigation here. >> yeah, and peter struck's
attorney raising concerns that this appears to have broken from the precedent of the office of professional responsibility did suggest that peter struck had demoted, but the director of the fbi came in overruling that and firing him on friday. now in the aftermath of the revelation of this firing president trump today doing a victory lap, demanding an end to the russia investigation and also calling to reopen the clinton investigation. peter struck, a controversial figure in the russia probe terminated by the fbi because of his text messages disparaging donald trump. struck's lawyer says fbi deputy director overruled a recommendation to demote and suspend the special agent while trump quickly took to twitter to celebrate and call to an end to the russia probe. the list of the bad players in the fbi and doj gets longer and longer based on the fact that struck was in charge of the witch hunt, will it be dropped?
struck helped oversee the start of the russia probe and played a key role in the clinton e-mail investigation, which trump today said should be properly redone. struck was taken off special counsel mueller's team after the discovery of texts between him and former fbi lawyer lisa page. those messages including one in which it said he'd stop trump from becoming president led to a tense ten-hour congressional hearing in july. >> i'm saying to you its not my understanding he kicked me off because of any bias. >> i don't give a damn what you appreciate, agent struck. i don't appreciate having an fbi agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on investigation during 2016. >> reporter: but found no evidence it impacted the decision to prosecute hillary clinton, something struck made clear at that raucous house hearing. it was in no way unequivocally
any suggestion that me, the fbi would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process. >> reporter: the news comes amid questions whether trump will sit down with the special counsel. trump's lawyers said the president won't answer questions but will he ask then fbi james comey to back off firing the security advisor michael flynn. rudy giuliani now changing his story. >> the reason i keep saying is i took it as a direction. i mean it's the president of the united states with me alone saying i hope this, i took it as this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that, but that's the way i took it. >> reporter: giuliani now saying this on cnn's state of the union. >> there was no conversation about michael flynn. >> reporter: the comments of jake tapper contradict what
giuliani said repeatedly. >> how is he a good witness for the president if he says the president was asking him, directing him in his words to let the michael flynn investigation go? >> he didn't direct him to do that. >> reporter: and this last month. >> he didn't tell him don't investigate him, don't proshim. he had to exercise his prosecutorial discretion because he's a good man with a great record. >> reporter: when giuliani denied making that claim he offered this explanation to tapper after being shown video of his past comments. >> i said it but i said before i'm talking about their version of it. look, lawyers argue in the alternative. >> reporter: another remark by giuliani about the interview that may or may not occur with the president telling "the wall street journal" the president would not sit down with the special counsel's team after september 1st because it's getting closer to mid-term election day. also, jim, rudy giuliani called
again for this investigation to be wrapped up by september. but again no sign that's going to happen especially in light of the fact rudy giuliani's team has subpoenaed an associate of roger stone, one of the president's former advisers to come before them in october 7th. >> mr. congressman, thanks very much for joining us tonight. >> great to be with you, jim. >> you were serving on the foreign affairs committee. you may have heard our story there that intelligence officials tell myself and mclaughlin that russian officials were pleased with the helsinki summit, that it exceeded their expectations. i wonder in your view should the american people be concerned that a hostile foreign power was pleased with the performance of the u.s. president next to the russian president and pleased with what he said there? >> absolutely.
i don't know how any patrotic american could be happy with trump's performance in helsinki. especially a two hour meeting, nobody knows what happens and then a 45-minute press conference that was sickening. the president of the united states almost salivating next to the dictator of russia and actually questioning his own government, his own intelligence community, his own allies at the benefit of mr. putin. that was a shameful moment for the united states. but the lowest moments of any u.s. presidency, and yes, all of us ought to be troubled by the fact now we know from intelligence sources that russia was understandably pleased with that performance. >> let me ask you if i can about the news today, the firing of peter struck by the fbi. of course, the president celebrating that firing, but he said something in his many tweets about this today that
caught our attention. first of all, he said inaccurately struck was in charge of the clinton e-mail investigation, and he was not in charge of it. but he did say that investigation should be in his words properly redone. it strikes me the president makes a lot of demands by this oftentimes by twitter. many of those demands are frankly ignored by many of the officials the president appointed himself. but is this one here you believe the fbi will take seriously to reopen that investigation based on this president's statement? >> i hope not. when james comey testified before our committee as the fbi director at the time on why and how the fbi came to the conclusion that there was nothing to be prosecuted, he made it very clear that it wasn't even a close call. no crime had been committed. in fact he improperly at the press conference that summer characterized secretary clinton's behavior which he
really had no business doing, but he made it very clear there was nothing further to be investigated. i find that ironic that the man who was the subject of an active criminal investigation, the very thing he wanted done to hillary clinton wants to shutdown his own investigation. i'd call that a double standard by any stretch of the imagination. >> the fbi did its own investigation. the inspector general of the struck texts and recommended discipline, but that discipline being a demotion, and 60 day suspension. what you had today -- actually the firing took place on friday, the deputy director overruling by firing peter struck. i wonder if you're concerned about the politics around this, the president's comments, demands from republican colleagues of yourself here, whether that influenced the fbi decision here to go beyond what the inspector general recommended. >> you know, jim, i've
participated in both hearings. the hearing with the inspector general mr. harowitz which he certainly took issues with peter struck's behavior, but he went out of his way to say there's no evidence that clouded the investigation. i also attended the hearing chaired by mr. goodlatte and mr. gowdy with mr. struck, and i was really disgusted at the decision pie those two gentlemen to essentially have a scalp on the wall. and that's what they did. they discredited this man, they destroyed his reputation, and now they've destroyed his career. and even though it flies in the face of the recommendation of dig. i think unfortunately that's what washington has descended to where we destroy people in order to make a political point, or in this case in order to protect the subject if not the target of a criminal investigation, that's donald trump.
>> i want to ask you if i can, disturbing allegation emerging today about your -- one of your colleagues, democratic congressman keith ellisen, his former girlfriend accusing him of not just emotional abuse but also one incident, physical abuse saying he tried to drag her off the bed. her son saying he saw a video of the incident, and she apparently shared this story with three friends, and those three friends telling cnn she told them about this incident as well. congressman ellison, dying this. do you believe congress should open up an investigation of this event? >> i know-nothing about this, jim, other than what i read earlier today. and i think it would be improper for me to comment until more facts are known. >> let me ask you this, just based on at least the allegation and precedent leading up to this with other similar allegations against democratic and
republican lawmakers, isn't there at least an investigation by the house warranted here? >> that will have to be decided by the ethics committee. there is a process, and every member and every victim is entitled to due process. so hopefully that due process will work out. >> do those allegations concern you? i know you served alongside congressman ellison, but the allegations against him, do you find them concerning? >> any time this kind of allegation is made is a concern hopefully to all of us. but that doesn't -- that doesn't prev prejudge the situation. i want to let the ethics committee process if there is one work out. >> congressman, thanks for joining us tonight. >> thank you, jim. coming up just ahead will the firing of peter struck help or hurt the fbi's credibility? i'm going to ask a former bureau official who worked alongside of struck. and the trump camp's many conflicting claims about what it president said to james comey.
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bureau. he's now a cnn law enforcement analyst. josh, thanks for joining us tonight. >> thanks, jim. >> president trump of course railing against peter struck today. he did so for months in public. are you concerned the president's opinion influenced this decision by the fbi, not just the president but the politics around this? >> i don't personally believe that for two reasons, first being i know the deputy director of the fbi, the person who ultimately made this decision. i think what happened is he looked at the facts here and said this warrants dismissal. these have very serious allegations. but i also think there's instances where two things can be true at the same time. if you look at the way the president approached mr. struck and congressman gowdy and others have politicized struck and this hearing is disgraceful. but i think the fbi officials
looked at it and said this is serious incident and he has to go. >> how unusual would it be, though, for a deputy director to overrule what was a recommendation from the inspector general who said, yes, these texts were bad but did not interfere in the investigation and he should not be fired? >> i think it's unusual and takes you behind the scenes when there's internal division. anytime there's allegation of wrongdoing against an employee that's been substantiated the office will look back at precedent and try to determine okay, what makes sense here as far as punishment? what other cases in the past have we seen and what was the punishment? because you want to make sure there was some kind of baseline and people weren't treated unfairly. there hasn't been an instance like this where you had an employee that was engaged in these actions that we've seen. so i think what they've decided, internal affairs they weren't going to wield the cudgel.
>> let me ask you this, there's a big question picture here whether this firing helps or hurts the fbi's credibility. you could argue on the one hand struck for instance was removed by mueller from the mueller investigation, and now he's been fired. okay, it shows they take this bias seriously and that they've removed it. on the other hand you see the president and a number of other lawmakers today citing the whole investigation is, you know, adu adulterated somehow. >> i think the external view of from the public obviously trying to rebuild confidence in america's premier agency, the public would like at this and say this is an agency that takes allegations of wrongdoing seriously. but if you're the deputy
director, the director, those in charge of running this organization, you're probably wondering how you can sit there and look the rank and file in the eye in the organization and say we expect you to adhere to a rigorous obedience to this institution's core values, the rank and file. at the same time they're giving a pass and going lenient on a senior leader. so i think the primary audience was internal. they wanted to ensure the organization adheres to the core values, and again another page is being turned in a very sad chapter in the bureau's history. >> the president call fed for t reopening of the clinton investigation as a result of this. but the tweets and presidential statements here, is this a demand that the fbi would take seriously? >> i don't think it is because the men and women of the fbi don't wake up and read presidential tweets and decide how they're going to order their affairs that day.
if the president were serious about this he'd pick up the phone and call the director of the fbi and attorney general and say i order you to do this. i have to tell you the way this would go over inside the fbi is like a lead balloon because peter struck wasn't the only one who worked on the hillary clinton investigation. there was a large team in place. and if you go back to 2016 when he stepped in front and said there wouldn't be charges, now to try to cloud the issue and say because peter struck was engaged in some type of wrongdoing we need to start over again isn't going to square with the men and women of the fbi. >> breaking a heck of a lot of precedent as he does. just ahead omarosa at war with the president. what he's revealing about the dysfunction inside the trump white house. and the prosecution rests in its case against the president's former campaign chairman paul manafort. will manafort take the stand now
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president bears repeating. let's have a listen with our viewers and let's comment on it. >> omarosa, what's going on? i just saw on the news you're thinking about leaving. what happened? >> general kelly came to me and said you guys wanted me to leave. >> no, nobody even told me about it. they run a big operation, but i didn't know it. i didn't know that. goddamn it, i don't love you leaving at all. >> gloria, are we to believe the president had no idea about this? >> no, and i don't love you leaving at all, does that mean i'll take care of this, and i'll get your job back? no, of course he knew. he knows everything that's going on, every piece of gossip. and it's strange credulity to
believe. he doesn't do it himself because that would be too confrontational and so he has somebody else do it and at some point he welcomes that person into the fold. so who knows, they could do a talk show together. >> didn't he have a television show where he fired people. he does it in a show but not in the white house. >> not in reality. >> he said when general kelly came onboard he told me she was a loser and nothing but problems and i told him to try working it out if possible because she only said great, in all caps, things about me until she got fired. the president used this justification to express support for a whole host of people,
vladimir putin including. he said, she said nice things about me. it's a remarkable step for leaders or aides at the most senior level of our government. >> right, and some of them of course do have actual qualifications but when it comes to omarosa and it comes when someone doesn't say negative things about this president, he tends to welcome them more with open arms. and this is perhaps an admission of that. we're seeing it right there. what else can you say about it? al also, this is classic example of the president feeling the need to punch back, flow does that mean the doors are closed forever? i don't know he's fired her, four time, three times on a tv show. >> which means he had to hire her again. a lot of potential has been focused on the fact that she recorded a conversation inside the situation room with kelly as he was firing her.
but i just wondered bigger picture about the dysfunction that is writ large for the world, how the president of the united states handles staff decisions here, the kind of comments he makes publicly that people are recording conversations with this president. what -- does that damage or threaten u.s. national security for people to look at how this white house is run? >> i -- this is but a conversation through today, are we getting a picture of the white house security based on someone bringing a recording device into the situation room. i don't buy it. let me give you scenario, the chief of staff and others another general, general kelly, could you imagine them walking around the west wing and saying we need it get omarosa briefed on strategic missiles so we can get her opinion. my point is i don't think she had access to national security information. the prospect that she could
reveal something is pretty low. >> but don't we suspect the president uses an unsecured phone himself? >> that's a different story. >> he's the commander in chief. >> if i was overseas i wouldn't be looking at omarosa. i'd be saying where is his phone, and not only his phone. i would be working backwards saying i want to intercept his friends because then i want to get into his phone. >> the president seemed to reveal something today saying that omarosa signed an mnda, a nondisclosure agreement. and the white house in fact has often denied but the president seems to have contriadicted thoe denials. in this case it's not just an nda, what you might call a nondisparagement agreement as well, because "the washington post" got a copy of what was a punitive agreement and in it
requires people not just to not reveal classified material but not to discourage in anyway mr. pence, plump and any trump company. >> you've seen this in businesses. we know there was the famous nda that is stormy daniels, stephanie clifford, they are familiar with nda agreements. what's odd about this one in particular is that you can't just contract away your first amendment recognizes. the government cannot baby you. you cannot speak about issues that are not classified material, ones you can have some would say that's not in your public interest or one you're saying through the course of your actual employment. there's a case talking about a teacher who said unfavorable things about a school board and then was fired. you can't say they don't have first amendment rights. but you can say there's job consequence if you disclose matters of national security.
what phil talked about we don't have that risk with omarosa but you do have a punishment for those who are disloyal. and when they talked about ndas silently emerging saying i really can enforce this agreement, and president would feel satiated in a way to say, listen, you don't have many leaks and that's not happened in this administration, but this is one that has formed over substances. >> stay with us, there's a lot mer to talk about. more on the firing of peter struck from the fbi. was a breach of the bureau's protoc protocol. plus breaking news in the trial of paul manafort. ... we had a vacation early in our marriage that kinda put us in a hole. go someplace exotic? yeah, bermuda. a hospital in bermuda. a hospital in bermuda. what? what happened? i got a little over-confident on a moped.
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we're back now with our correspondents and analysts. of the many things trump said today in his tweets reacting to peter struck he called for via twitter the reopening of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. gloria borger, not the first time we've heard him say that. is this something the bureau takes seriously? >> well, he's the president of the united states and jeff sessions probably has to take it seriously since the president's been tweeting about hip. and i'm sure christopher ray has to take a seriously. but do i believe that they're going to do it at this point, i
don't -- i don't see it. he tweets about it every day, so, you know, i don't him doing it. i think what they did today with the firing of peter struck is something that will make him very happy because he could have been just disciplined and demoted as was recommended. but instead he was fired, and so i think that kept the president happy on that front. but they can't keep him happy on all fronts. and the hillary clinton investigation given the fact there's a russia investigation going on, i would not think it's front and center. >> any other dramas today, battling in this case the son of bobby goodlatte, house republican. his son saying he gave the maximum donation allowed to jennifer lewis who's a democrat running for rather his father's seat. he tweeted the following today.
i'm deeply embarrassed peter struck's career was ruined by my father's political grandstanding. that was a low point for congress, thank you for your service, sir. you are a patriot. quite an interesting battle, jackie, to have within a very prominent republican standing. >> there is such a vibe, but i imagine he's around millennial age, and you see a very sharp divide between pretty much all generations about approval to trump. is it that unusual for a political child to be different from their parents? no, it's not. take it from me. but to do this publicly, to do it on the internet, to fund raise -- he also had another tweet that was raising money for a democratic in the race to replace his father that's retearir retiring this year. >> the generational battle you have the white house advisor
steven miller who's obviously quite young finding himself with his uncle david glossner writing a very sharp op-ed in politico today, he said the following i've watched with display and increasing horror as my nephew who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family's life in this country. i wonder if the kind of battle you're seeing around the thanksgiving table or the table around the country, that kind of sharp division among families with the administration's policies. >> absolutely, and you could have taken out the words my nephew and many people would said anybody who has a different
idea what the immigration policy has been would have a different viewpoint of that. the idea of families being separated at the border and beyond, all these discussions are hotbed issues not just internal for families but people who are part of the american electorate. now, whether it'll have an impact, that uncle statement in the actual white house or in the west wing or on steve miller's conscience is left to be desired. but certainly it displays the type of frustration and proof of hypocrisy people are seeing. >> no matter how many generations back you go, it strikes me, phil mudd, short memories, some of the loudest voices against it, you don't have to look back to when you or your ancestors faced the same situation. >> i must have been ignorant at a child, but i remember growing up democratic, politics, defense
spending, the school board, if you look at how people define themselves today what do you think about gay marriage, who somebody sleeps up, what do you think about separating a mom from her kid at the border? it's not just politics anymore. it's who i am, and that's why people are hot. >> you're having culture wars within families, and that's really what's going on here in steven miller's family. in goodlatte's case, it is. his son believes that struck has been mistreated and has served his country well and that his father embarrassed him at the hearing. and clearly he was sad to see him fired, whether he should have been or not is a whole other story. but the culture wars have taken -- they've grown so personal within families i think everyone's going to have interesting thanksgiving dinners. >> well, they are.
and this is going to be an interesting mid-term. because the decisions are looked at very emotional not just politically. just ahead, breaking news. prosecutors resting their case against former trump campaign chairman paul manafort. plus what an upcoming summit between kim jong-un and south korea's president would mean for the trump administration. disease is out there. and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association. at ally, we created a savings account with a great rate. but if that's not enough, our app helps monitor your spending too. and if that's not enough to help you save, we could start a carpool. look at this traffic. don't worry. ok, if that's not enough we'll start a trainpool. oh i have a meeting in five minutes. and if that's still not enough... i got it. we'll just create a shortcut. we'll do anything, seriously anything to help you save. ally. do it right.
trump campaign chairman paul manafort. justice correspondent jessica snyder is at the courthouse in virginia. prosecutors have just rested their case. what was the final word today. >> they have, jim, after ten day, 27 witnesses, prosecutors have announced that they have concluded their case. it really wraps up a whirlwind of testimony out here that we've heard from accountants and real estate agents and car dealers and of course rick gates himself, the former right-hand man of paul manafort who flipped and is working with prosecutors. prosecutors at this point have laid out all of their evidence for the jury. they've now left it in the hands of the jury to see what the defense does. on this last day of the prosecution's case we heard from two witnesses. one of them was a vice president of a bank who said that he felt pressured to approve a $16 million loan for paul manafort even though that vice president knew that paul manafort had lied on his loan application.
of course it was just last week where the jury heard that the chairman of that bank had approved that loan at the same time that he was talking with paul manafort about potentially securing a high ranking position within the trump administration. so now the prosecution has laid out all of their evidence and it remains to be seen exactly what the defense will do here. jim. >> we have the defense up tomorrow. do we know on the key question will manafort take the stand? >> reporter: that is the big question here. so judge ellis has said that he needs the defense to lay out their plan first thing tomorrow morning and that means we will finally get the answer to the question will paul manafort testify. that is the first thing that the judge will want to know here. of course, court watchers would be very surprised if paul manafort does take the stand, but we'll have that question answered tomorrow. you know, the defense has not submitted any witness list, any exhibit list, so it remains to be seen what their case will be. of course, jim, there's that possibility that they won't even
present a case and they could rest and we could hear closing arguments as soon as first thing tomorrow morning as well. jim. >> we'll be there standing by for surprises. cnn jessica schneider at the courthouse. north korea kim jong-un is planning to host a summit with south korea's president next month. it will be their third meeting since april and it comes as the kim regime and the trump administration appear to be at an impasse over north korea denuclearizing. bring in cnn's will ripley. he's reported extensively from inside north korea. do we expect progress at this summit? >> reporter: actually, jim, within the last few minutes there's breaking news. secretary of state mike pompeo is likely to take a trip himself to pyongyang before the end of this month. that was mentioned in seoul by an advise are to president moon jae in and as i'm now being reported a bit for widespread. as far as president moon's trip, it will happen sometime next
month. he's expected to slip back in his role of diplomatic middleman trying to figure out what north korea wants. they want a piece trooeaty endi the korea can war. wh man will b there trying to talk to kim jong-un as he has done in the past and will likely debrief president trump to prepare him for any future conversations with the north koreans. >> the president of course declared the north korean nuclear threat over a number of weeks ago but there's been increasing evidence the north may actually be increasing its ability to produce nuclear weapons. what are we learning? >> there's been a lot of satellite imagery being taken a look at. "the new york times" actually tt cited some of those saying that the nuclear react or they are constructing a second react or to enrich plutonium, one of the ingredients in nuclear fuel. it's supposed to have four times
the capacity which means they can make a lot more fuel and nuclear weapons. this is keeping with what kim jong-un said on now yeew year's. we also know pyongyang is producing those missiles at a plant in the suburb of their capital. some experts are telling "the new york times" this is not unusual, north korea would continue this type of activity because they haven't agreed to denuclearize yet and if they stop the production they would be giving away their leverage. >> secretary pompeo now traveling there. might this be a warning message from the trump administration to get serious? >> reporter: well, we can look at it in a couple of ways. maybe it could be a warning message if president trump has decided he is not open to another summit with kim jong-un even though on the north korean side they believe that was a very lyingly possibility. but it could also be fracnkly te u.s. coming in with a different approach. in early july it was a contentious meeting. the u.s. was asking for a big
surrender of nuclear weapons right up front. the north korean rejected that. they went back and forth. it got very tense. the north koreans felt they might not be able to work with pompeo. the fact he's going back maybe indicates they're willing to give it another go. >> will ripley, thanks very much. thanks very much for watching tonight. erin burnett out front starts right now. out front next. when they go low, trump goes lower. the ugly fight between two reality tv stars, one of whom happens to be the president of the united states. plus bob mueller talking to roger stone's associates. is the special counsel closing in on stone himself? roger stone is out front. an audio of a moment an airport working stole a plane in seattle. why security experts fear it could happen again. let's go out front. and good evening. i'm erin burnett.