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Trump Embarks On His First Presidential Trip To Asia; S. Korean Officials Warn Of New N. Korea Nuclear Test; Ex DNC Chair: Clinton Secretly Controlled DNC Before Nom.; Twitter Employee Shuts Down Trump's Account. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 3, 2017 - 12:30   ET



[12:31:41] JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: The President is on Air Force One this hour headed to Hawaii then to Asia. It's a big trip. Twelve days, five countries. His third international trip as President, his first visit to Asia as the commander in chief.

And once again, his deal making diplomatic skills will be put to the test. He'll travel first to Japan then South Korea, China and Vietnam where he attends the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, otherwise known as APEC. We might see some funny shirts there.

He wraps up the trip in the Philippines where he'll have meetings with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Topping the agenda throughout the trip, trade, economic and security issues with China and North Korea. South Korean officials say the North might be preparing for another missile test.

The President's National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster says the rouge regime will be an issue at every stop. What he does not see as an issue is how the President, his boss communicates about this threat.


H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The President will use whatever language he wants to use, obviously. And what the President has done is clarified in all of his discussions and statements on North Korea. Our determination to ensure that North Korea is unable to threaten our allies and our partners and certainly the United States.

I don't think the President really modulates his language. I mean, have you noticed him do that? I mean, he has been very clear about it. I've been aware of the discussions about his, this is inflammatory. You know what's inflammatory is the North Korean regime and what they're doing to threaten, to threaten the world.


KING: Pretty honest assessment there from General McMaster. I can't change him so I'm not going to try. I think we heard that from General Kelly a week or so two ago. We're laughing about this because the President's communication style does raise eyebrows sometimes. Rocket Man, locked and loaded, fire and fury. Do they expect on this trip to be able to move the ball? And obviously North Korea is not part of any of these conversations, but China is, Japan and South Korea, the highest stakeholders in this are. Do you think they can move the ball?

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: Yes. I think they have been setting expectations pretty low on the China side although they think these continued meetings are important. I think on Japan and South Korea, what they are hoping to do, and this is a little nuance to talk about, is get Japan and South Korea closer together and on the same page.

So the things they are doing now with the U.S. and South Korea and the U.S. and Japan and some stuff, that's all the three of them, to make it a little bit more stuff. And these policies have two purposes. The purposes they want to talk about is to provide a stronger front, stronger unified front with regard to North Korea.

But the other reason obviously is for the U.S. to have more leverage in a region that's dominated by China right now. And this is part of this broader game changing this from kind of an Asia-Pacific approach to the Indo-Pacific approach which is sort of wonky to talk about it. But it's redefining the region and how the U.S. can leverage the region.

OLIVIER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: They are bumping right up against at least the notional deadline to decide on whether or not to re-lists North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Part of that briefing with the National Security Adviser General McMaster, he said that that was under serious consideration that we would find out about it soon. And typically when you (INAUDIBLE) that means you're going to do it. But let's see whether they do it.

It would tighten the economic, diplomatic and political pressure on North Korea. That would be a purely domestic question. They're not happy that South Korea has made a bunch of concessions in the last few days saying they won't take another missile defense system. They won't be part of a regional missile defense framework.

[12:35:08] They're not happy about that. They see that as a move in China's direction. So there's a lot riding on this trip on both of those issues. Of course you can't separate China and North Korea all that neatly. But there's a lot of pressure on both of those issues.

KING: As we continue the conversations, let's show our viewers something. The President often says, you know, I inherited this. And he's right about that. You can question, you know, you can go over back to the Bill Clinton administration, the George W. Bush administration, the Barack Obama administration, they knew about this problem. I'm not saying it was easy to solve because it's not easy to solve. That's one of the most intractable (ph).

But just look at the issue of North Korea's nuclear test, go back to -- how big these tests were in 2006 just before Obama became President. That's that little dot on the left of your screen.


KING: The most recent test during the Trump administration back in September is that 160 kilotons, it's just to the right of the 10 kilotons is Hiroshima. And so if you think of -- Hiroshima is about 15. So if you look at 15 is Hiroshima, 160 is the current nuclear test, the President is right when he says that he is the -- receiving the cumulative end of this. The acceleration of the nuclear program, the acceleration of the missile technology, however, is there an out, is the question.

TALEV: Yes. I mean, it doesn't matter. It's true when you're talking about in terms of blame or how much blame should he get for whatever. Yes, it's true that everyone thinks the time to stop this was 25 years ago, but this is here and it's now and it's real. And I think you have seen China move much more decisively than they have in the past because of the urgency of this issue.

And I think you can argue if that big dark red circle you just showed on the graphic, not Donald Trump's great negotiating skills that have prompted China to take the issue more seriously, but this is -- it was with the Obama administration and it is with this administration absolutely front and center in their calculation (ph).

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I don't mean to be a downer, but to answer the question of is there an out, I think, yes, there are outs. But they might be worse from the idea of not having a nuclear weapon. Which is, you know, how much conventional work there would you do to make that not a possibility and how much potential humanitarian disaster would you wreak on the people of North Korea who you'd hope would not rally around the flag. If you did, you know, in order to get rid of the possibility that they might have a nuclear weapon.

We are afraid that they would use it more than anybody else who might have one (INAUDIBLE). And that's the problem, right? But what's the alternative? It might be actually more --

KING: Which is why this has come to Bush, to Obama, to Trump, because what is the alternative question is pretty daunting.

I'm glad you are here. But you've been a lot of this trip. I'm glad, you know, just for your insights here. And it's interesting when you take these trips. When you meet the press corps in the other place, the diplomats from the other countries, they always ask about the polling back home. Is the President weak? They took his trips when -- that George W. Bush is weak near the end of his president or Bill Clinton who was dealing with the impeachment saga.

This President goes overseas. Everybody around the world knows he is dealing with the investigations here back home. His poll numbers have been steady and he has not lost his base but statically low. And they know there are disagreements within the administration over some big issues. The President taunts (ph) publicly undermined his secretary of state. This was interesting last night. He did an interview on Fox News. His 28th interview on Fox News. Amazing. On the question of, hey, there were some divides in your administration, there were a lot of vacant positions, is that matter?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't need all the people that they want. You know, don't forget, I'm a business person. I tell my people, where you don't need to fill slots, don't fill them. But we have some people that I'm not happy with their thinking process.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS: But assistant secretary of state, you're not getting rid of hat position.

TRUMP: Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I'm the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be.


KNOX: So that's an interesting rewrite of the buck stops here. He's not wrong. I mean, fundamentally at the end of the day, if there's decision to use military force in North Korea, it's on President Donald Trump. He's not wrong about that.

But in light of comments from various senior administration officials and governing so it's not to be a difficult proposition. That health care does not -- it turns out -- it's a difficult proposition that diplomacy -- it turns out as a difficult proposition. I don't think he's right about the vacancies.

Typically, a lot of these vacancies, he always feel that he wouldn't -- people who may not even meet Donald Trump if they held these jobs are still vital to the process of crafting actual policy. Bringing some level of expertise to the table to discuss whether there are outs on some of these major policy questions.

If you go back to this point in the Obama administration, there was a prominent pundit who is describing a neckless government saying you have the head and you have the body and you had this missing group of important bureaucrats. I realize that sounds silly but they are actually are important bureaucrats. They are saying that now again about this. And you're seeing knock-on effects in some of these big policies.

KING: That is a frequent complaint when you talk to diplomats some other countries or people on the international organization (INAUDIBLE) talk to (INAUDIBLE) on simple stuff. Yes, on simple stuff.

We have the conversation this week and have this conversation when we come back. The President is very happy to tweet about something that takes him back to the good old days. Hillary Clinton rigging the system against Bernie Sanders.


[12:44:12] KING: President Trump just couldn't resist weighing in on the latest revelation about the distrust and dysfunction in the Democratic Party. Take a listen.


TRUMP: You want to look at Hillary Clinton and you want to look at the new book that was just put out by Donna Brazile, where she basically bought the DNC and she stole the election from Bernie. So, that's what you ought to take a look at.


KING: Mr. President noted the book issued by Donna Brazile. She took over as the interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign year. Now Brazile says she settled in on the job, she learned of a deal that essentially seeded control of the DNC to the Clinton campaign.

In a book excerpt she says, "The agreement specified that an exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party's finances, strategy and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director. And it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics and mailings. I have been wondering why it was that I couldn't write a press release without passing it by Brooklyn."

[12:45:15] Well, here was the answer. It is a pretty stunning account. It has Democrats now. If you're a Bernie Sanders supporter saying I told you so, we felt it at the time. Keith Ellison is the congressman for Minnesota who was the deputy chair, the co-chair of the Democratic National Committee who just put out a statement saying you cannot dismiss this out of hand. That they need to have reforms at the DNC, the President clearly having a blast with this and who can blame at.

SEUNG MIN KIM, REPORTER, POLITICO: Now you have Elizabeth Warren, you know, telling CNN yesterday that she believes the process is rigged. And it's important because it shows division and discord at a time when Democrats really do need to unify this fight, these Trump proposals like the tax proposals. The reason that Democrats were so effective during the health care site was because they were unified.

There was no one who supported the health care plan from Republicans. You're already seeing the start of a little bit of a defection on taxes. You have the moderate Democrats like Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp perhaps, you know, flirting with the -- we're supporting these tax proposals. But again this is a problem for Democrats that they don't want to bubble up right now.

KING: Look at the Daily News (INAUDIBLE). I just want to show people the Daily News probably because it's just easy fodder for politics, how hell burned Bernie there.

And let's listen before we get to Jeff Weaver, was Bernie Sanders campaign manager, complained a lot during the primaries about how things seemed like someone had a thumb on the scale. He says told you so.


JEFF WEAVER, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN: We know from various leaked e-mails that they colluded on the whole debate process about how many debates they would be and when they would be. We know that the Clinton campaign lawyer was telling DNC staffers how to respond to criticisms from our campaign. So it is not just about a fiscal diet. It was about one campaign controlling the DNC. It's just unacceptable situation.


KING: The capital D, Democratic Party was not lower case d Democratic.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes. And finally he didn't just mentioning the Clinton campaign where Marc Elias had quite a weak (ph) between this and the decision they'll say, you know, coming out as well.

Yes. Look, it shows that basically nobody's hands are clean, right? Everybody kind of cheated. Everybody was a little bit dirty. You know, love does exist what have you. But it's just -- If it's a little bit -- and it gives the President at this point, interesting to hear and come out and say Hillary stole the election from Bernie because a lot of people think Bernie Sanders could have beat Donald Trump in the general election hadn't been that service set up. So he is just kind of letting so loose in a way that there might be a little bit self critical.

KING: But if you look at -- put the President's tweets up a little bit, we talks about this. He says, you know, Bernie Sanders people have every right to be apoplectic. And now to your point, he uses Pocahontas, his favorite derogatory and unacceptable term for Elizabeth Warren to say even she said it's rigged.

TALEV: Yes. This is total fight show in political destruction from the issue that he doesn't want to talk about which is the Justice Department, who the attorney general is, the status of the Mueller investigations. None of what is been revealed by Donna Brazile is good for unity in the Democratic Party. It's all going to trigger discussions about reforms.

But at once, there are some revelation that nobody I think at this desk is aware of has nothing to do with anything the Justice Department would investigate --

DEMIRJIAN: She even said, it's not illegal, but it seems really unethical on that article. And you're right. The person who's going to get dinged in this, and this is not Hillary Clinton, it's Nancy Pelosi. KING: You make a point that the President is using it as a distraction, you're actually right. However, yet another example of the Democratic Party being its own worst enemy. But when it comes to trying to advance the cuts or

oppose the cuts.

When we come back, President Trump's Twitter account, take a breath, went down after a Twitter employee goes rogue. Is that just funny or could it have national security consequences?



[12:52:58] TRUMP: Kellyanne, I just retweeted the best tweet. I mean, wow, what a great, smart tweet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, we're in a security briefing.

TRUMP: I know, but this could not wait.


KING: That, of course, Saturday Night Live's play on Trump as tweeter in chief. As President Trump uses his personal Twitter account to get on the record about, if you follow it, you know just about everything. Last night though for 11 minutes @realdonaldtrump disappeared. That was a work of a rogue Twitter employee who was on his or her last day with the company. By the way they go out, right.

Those looking for Trump's personal Twitter got this, "Sorry, that page doesn't exist. Message and Trump's tweets on mobile, a blank page. The President on Twitter of course had this to say. "My Twitter account was taken down for 11 minutes by a rogue employee. I guess the world must finally be getting out and having an impact."

The New York Post had a different take. We got the Daily News so we have the right (ph) post in. Its cover today, @'s All Folks. That's pretty good. Now this is funny and comical and if you do, you know, whether you're a Trump supporter, whether you're a Trump critic, whether you're a journalist, you have to follow this account. Is this just funny? Is this some guy's or girl's last day protest that they'll have to answer to the lawyers for?

Or is this potentially a national security issue because those are official statements? And if someone got access to that account, they could say something that could move financial markets or cause jitters around the world.

KNOX: I mean, it's obviously a problem. Right now there is a screen writer in Hollywood who is writing a screen play about the President's favorite social media, a President's favorite social media platform being disrupted, being hacked, posting something either I'm sending 40,000 troops, more troops to South Korea or this company is about to get indicted. Doing things that can really mess the things. I -- That's the heavy part of this. The lighter part is I was just thinking (INAUDIBLE) this in the green room. Does anyone read the @potus account? Does anyone read the official Twitter account of the President of the United States? I don't know that they do. I certainly know that political reporters have never ever written a story based on the @potus account. It's always the personal account of the President.

[12:55:07] KING: I look at it but it's always the personal account where he drives thing that says it's the insights into his mind.

TALEV: I think he understood to see how little or how much he tweets and about during this Asia trip. Because, and I hope I'm not shocking anyone here, there are some cyber issues that have known to be the case with China. So, is the President going to have proximity to his phone? Will he using it liberally? Is there a way to kind of protect that phone, you know?

And I just think -- and how will he use dialogue and will North Korea be one of your respond -- and like -- but there's about a million questions both on the security, framework and on a politics diplomacy framework about how he uses Twitter in the next week and a half, two weeks during this trip.

KING: Right. I think the person who did this is going to run a Democratic primary somewhere instead. Don't have a position on taxes, on health care or in North Korea but I'm the guy or gal who shut down Donald Trump's Twitter account for 11 seconds (INAUDIBLE) in a landslide.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS. I'll see you back here Monday. Also, wake up early with us Sunday, 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Wolf Blitzer is right here after a quick break.