Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Agrees to Meet North Korea's Kim Jong-un by May; Economy Adds 313K Jobs Best Month In One and A Half Years; Angel Ryan, Woman Named In Stormy Daniels Document Accused Trump Of Inappropriate Sexual Contact; Ex-Trump Aide Nunberg In Court To Testify Before Grand Jury. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 9, 2018 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: They were severely abused. Jess remembers seeing Delilah for the first time while working her shift. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was just so almost lifeless, but she still, like, held on to my finger.


CUOMO: Jess was so touched by these beautiful kids that she wanted to take them home. So guess what she did? She adopted them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're completely different kids. If you had met them when I met them, you would be amazed.


CUOMO: Just think about that. Just think about taking that step, just a regular person doing something completely extraordinary and changing lives in the mix.

All right. That's it for us. It is time for "CNN NEWSROOM" with John Berman, the man, next.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. John Berman here. Unprecedented and until this morning nearly unthinkable.

No U.S. president has ever met face-to-face with a North Korean leader. Donald Trump will be the first. Kim Jong-un has never met with a foreign leader, period. This is a moment without parallel but not without peril. What is being hailed as a breakthrough by some, it is also bringing in some new serious warnings.

It also sets up one of the most bizarre White House split screens ever, the highest of high stakes diplomacy for a White House dealing with the new fallout by a lawsuit from a porn star. We're getting new information this morning about how the North Korea

move went down and what happens next.

CNN's Abby Phillip at the White House for us this morning -- Abby.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, we often expect drama from this White House, but yesterday it was even more dramatic than usual. It's a series of events unfolding suddenly and in just a few short hours here as the president accepts an invitation to meet with the leader of North Korea.

Yesterday South Korean officials came to the White House to brief National Security officials on their talks with North Korea, and in those briefings there was an invitation from Kim Jong-un to meet person-to-person, face-to-face with President Trump. President trump then invited those officials into the Oval Office to have a meeting with him, brief him directly on that invitation where he accepted it.

In that room, you can see in this photo that we're showing you, James Mattis, the Defense secretary, John Kelly, a general himself, and who is not there in that photo is the secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who is traveling in Africa at the moment. But it just goes to show how sudden this move and invitation, and then later acceptance was.

The president popped his head into the briefing room within an hour of meeting with South Koreans and said to some reporters who were gathered there, they're going to have an announcement by 7:00 p.m. That announcement happened under the cover of darkness in the White House driveway.

And now we are awaiting word on when and where such a meeting could potentially happen. The South Koreans have said that they are looking at doing this before the end of May and White House officials telling reporters yesterday that there's no word on where such a meeting would happen. Kim Jong-un is not one to leave that country and it would be extraordinary if President Trump were to make a move to go to North Korea to do a meeting like this.

But the White House is saying nothing at all about where or when that could happen. And they're also saying, I should say, John, that they are going to maintain a maximum pressure campaign that the South Koreans have credited with bringing us to this point on North Korea. The White House is saying pretty strongly this morning, they are not going to relieve any pressure on North Korea over the issue of sanctions until more is done, not just said, on what they're going to do to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

But we are waiting. It's an extraordinary moment here. And President Trump who told reporters yesterday, he wants to make sure he gets some credit for this move because there have been a lot of questions about whether his rhetoric is helping or hurting the situation. It seems that there could be -- and I should emphasize here -- could be a breakthrough in this relationship with North Korea -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Abby Phillip at the White House for us. Abby, thank you very much. The South Korean president calls the U.S.-North Korean summit plans,

quote, "almost miraculous." Many other nations are cautiously optimistic. Emphasis on caution. But in North Korea this morning it is a nonstory literally.

Our Paula Hancocks in Seoul. And, Paula, not a peat, no mention at all in North Korean state media, correct?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. But that's pretty much what you would expect. They usually take about 24 hours before they react to any kind of thing like this. Certainly the North Korean state-run media does not move as quickly as we do. So you would expect to have some kind of reaction, an article on this tomorrow morning local time.

But I think that quote that you gave from South Korean President Moon Jae-in that this was almost a miraculous event really sums it up, to call this a diplomatic whirlwind would be a massive understatement.

[09:05:03] There are many raised eyebrows here in South Korea, around the region of just what has happened over the past 24 hours, the fact that the two leaders who just months ago had been threatening to wipe the other one out, trading personal insults, are now agreeing to meet each other. So certainly a tremendous series of events that has happened.

We're also getting a few more details as well from that meeting of the South Korean officials who went to meet Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in Pyongyang saying that he really rolled out the red carpet, that there was a fair bit of alcohol at that meeting trying to loosen tongues potentially. There were several bottles of wine, there was ginseng liquor, Pyongyang soju which is a local liquor and also Korean hot pot and cold noodles.

Now clearly when Kim Jong-un meets Donald Trump, it's not going to be a similar situation. The U.S. president being a teetotaler. But it just shows you the change in attitude from the North Korea leader, laying out this kind of show for South Koreans when just a few months ago he's threatening to destroy Seoul in a sea of flames. So it is really a remarkable turn of events and of course many are cautioning a lot of realism.

Is the U.S. president walking into a massive trap? In fact even the South Koreans are saying we have to be cautious -- John.

BERMAN: Paula Hancocks, for us in Seoul. Paula, thank you very much.

Joining me now the host of CNN's "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," Fareed Zakaria.

Fareed, thrilled to have you here to get some sense of how you think this will proceed. You know, we woke up yesterday morning, I don't think any of us expected to go to sleep last night with this news.

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: No. It is extraordinary. It's huge news. It's important to point out, though, this is a diplomatic breakthrough for the North Koreans. The North Koreans have long wanted to be treated as equals to the United States, to have peer-to-peer negotiations, to have their leader meet with the U.S. president.

It has been the U.S. position for at least 30 years that that is premature until they behave themselves on a variety of issues, particularly the nuclear one. So Kim Jung-il, Kim Jong-un's father, wanted to meet with Bill Clinton. He managed to persuade them to a meeting with Madeleine Albright, the secretary of State. But the Clinton administration determined they had not done enough to merit a meeting with the president.

Kim Dae Jung, the president of South Korea, announced a sunshine policy which he hoped would lead to a similar kind of summit. The Bush administration quashed that from the start. They said there would be no contacts with North Korea. And President Trump, frankly, seemed to suggest precisely that just a few months, even weeks ago when he said, look, there's going to be no talks unless there are substantive concessions from the North Koreans.

So this is -- what's extraordinary here is that the president of the United States has made this very large concession. So far we don't see anything in return.

BERMAN: OK. Let's talk about nothing in return. What the White House will say is, well, you know, the North Koreans have agreed not to test missiles or nuclear weapons until or beyond when these talks happened. The North Koreans have also agreed to discuss denuclearization. The North Koreans have also agreed not to object to the joint U.S.-South Korean drills. Are any of those concessions, in quotation marks, major from the North?

ZAKARIA: Look, it's all promising. And I think we should all be approaching this with a sense of hope and optimism that some of these does work out. I would point out that the key issue is the denuclearization. The rest of it the North Koreans have in the past, you know, dealt with. We don't have any confirmation from the North Koreans that this is, in fact, true. We are hoping that the South Korean characterization of this is correct.

It's important to point out the South Koreans did not believe they had this locked down enough to propose it. What happened as our reporting pointed out is that the president decided to meet with the South Korean National Security adviser impromptu. He discovered in that meeting that one of the things Kim Jong-un said was, I'd like to meet with President Trump at some point. He seized on that and said, all right, go in and announce it.

So it's not yet clear what the South Koreans have said. But again it's worth pointing out, whatever it is they have only said it.

BERMAN: Right.

ZAKARIA: To the North Koreans -- to the South Koreans privately. Actions we have zero. And until now, the U.S. position has been talk is not enough to get you a meeting with the American president. We need to see substantive action. BERMAN: The White House almost immediately -- the president almost

immediately wanting to take credit for the maximum pressure campaign, suggesting without this maximum pressure campaign which in action is sanctions, this meeting would not be taking place. Is that true?

ZAKARIA: Look, the pressure I think always helps. It is more likely, and a lot of career experts predicted this, that the North Koreans now have what they want, which is a robust nuclear arsenal with intercontinental ballistic missiles that seem capable of reaching almost any part of the United States.

[09:10:13] Once they got to that point, once they in a sense got their insurance policy, they're willing to talk. Again, let's be hopeful, let's be optimistic and let's -- you know, if President Trump is able to denuclearize North Korea, it would be a big accomplishment. But it's important to point out, if he's not able to do that, then it is he who will be making all the concessions, not the North Koreans.

BERMAN: Let me read you what Victor Cha, who was to be the U.S. ambassador of South Korea, has said about the stakes here. He says be careful. He says, "Everyone should be aware that this dramatic act of diplomacy by these two unusual leaders who love flare and drama may also take us closer to war. Failed negotiations at the summit level leave all parties with no other recourse for diplomacy in which case, as Mr. Trump has said, we really will have run out of road on North Korea."

ZAKARIA: So, I mean, that's a cautionary note. The point to emphasize here is, this is why, generally speaking, a presidential summit is the end of a diplomatic process, not the beginning. You start at a lower level, you see whether the other side is actually willing to make concessions, you get some of those concessions and then you work toward a presidential summit because the presidential summit is the final carrot that you can provide.

I mean, look, Trump has done this before. You know, moving the Israeli -- the embassy to Jerusalem. Similarly, you know, we made the concession without really getting anything in return.

BERMAN: What do you make of the fact that the secretary of State seems to be out of the loop here. There is no U.S. ambassador to South Korea. The main U.S. negotiator for North Korea has just left. Does the infrastructure exist to make this successful?

ZAKARIA: No, not to do something that would be along the lines I described, which is a careful step-by-step process. What we're relying on here is the personal chemistry of Trump, his ability to convince Kim Jong-un. Obviously Trump has an enormous confidence in his own powers in that regard. You know, so far it hasn't worked that well with Congress.

The great dealmaker has yet to -- I mean, I'm just saying this as a factual matter, whether it's on DACA or any of these other issues, the president has found over the last year that there are actually great limitations to his persuasive powers when you don't have all the work done, all the ducks lined up, all the political calculations -- that's true when dealing with Chuck Schumer, imagine what it's going to look like when you're dealing with Kim Jong-un.

BERMAN: All right. We have no idea where this meeting will be, what the -- you know, the planning will be for it. There's so many things we have yet to find out.

ZAKARIA: I know where Trump would like it to be, Mar-a-Lago, of course.

BERMAN: Well, and I'm sure Kim Jong-un would like it to be in Pyongyang. I don't think either of those things will take place.

Fareed Zakaria, thanks so much for being here. I appreciate.

And be sure to watch "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS" Sunday, 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Fareed, thank you.

The president, the porn star and now another woman. CNN is learning that another adult film star may have a secret settlement with the president's personal lawyer, and the disgraced deputy who did not go inside during the Parkland massacre told other officers stay at least 500 feet away. Hear the dispatch calls next.


[09:17:29] BERMAN: All right. Breaking news, this was moments ago in Washington, D.C. The man on the left there is Sam Nunberg, the one- time adviser to then-Candidate Donald Trump who received a subpoena to appear before the special counsel, Robert Mueller, a grand jury. He's walking into the grand jury. This video from moments ago.

Believe it or not, it was just Tuesday when this news broke that Nunberg received the subpoena, not just to testify, but also for all communications with several important Trump advisers. At the time, Nunberg said he would not testify.

But you just see him walking in the doors to do it now. It seems like so much time has passed, but that was Tuesday when that was an issue. We will bring you much more on that story as it develops throughout the morning.

There is more breaking news, so a really, really strong jobs report came out just moments ago. CNN chief business correspondent, Christine Romans here with that -- Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's 313,000 net new jobs in the month. That's the best since July of 2016. The last three months particularly strong. You had January -- December and January really revised upward here, John. So, that's a good performance here. You're seeing strong jobs creation.

At this stage of the cycle, you could think that maybe you would slow down a little bit, but not showing any slowing down at all. The unemployment rate steady at 4.1 percent. You can see just -- I love this chart really because it shows where we've been over the past decade.

At 4 percent, 4.1 percent is what it came out at, a 17-year low here. It would have been lower if you had not had people coming in off the sidelines. You saw the labor market actually grow a little bit because people are hearing about jobs from friends, family and the news.

And they are trying to get job coming as the job market. Job gains were across the board, John, in construction, retail, manufacturing, even a little bit in mining, in education, in health care. So, I saw strong broad-based job growth here, again, 313,000 wages, though, 2.6 percent, that was a little bit of a disappointment.

A disappointment for workers but not a disappointment I think right now for the fed or for the markets because this means, there have been some concerns about inflation. This means at least on the wage front you're not seeing the strong job market cause much inflation in paychecks.

BERMAN: Pre-market trading the Dow actually shot right up, correct?

ROMANS: Yes, because it's a strong jobs report, but not too strong on the wage front to concern people about what the fed is going to do. I think this could be the year of the raise. What is your takeaway from this? I think this is the year of the raise. This is seriously almost full employment many economists are saying. You've got to start to see some wage increases here eventually.

[09:20:05] BERMAN: The 313,000 jobs is a big number, the strongest since June-July of 2016.

ROMANS: So, when you look at the past three months, really, you have to go back to 2016 to see that kind of strength.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, great to have with you us. Thanks very, very much.

New development this morning in the standoff between the porn star and the president. Another adult film actress is now mixed into the Stormy Daniels legal battle with President Trump. A month before the election, Jessica Drake, accused then Candidate Trump of sexual misconduct which he denies.

Now we have learned that Drake's name is listed in a secret settlement that the president's personal lawyer hashed out with Daniels. CNN's Sara Sidner joins us now with more. Sara, what have we learned?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is getting more and more complicated, more and more interesting, if you will, John. So, when adult films star, Jessica Drake, came before cameras a month before the election and accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, the president's spokesperson, he was the candidate back then.

His spokesperson said, look, we do not know this woman, and the president has no interested in ever knowing her. What is very interesting is that just a week after that statement was made, the woman whose real name is Angel Ryan showed up on a non-disclosure agreement that was signed by the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

That non-disclosure agreement had to do with Stormy Daniels, someone's name everybody now knows. She is the porn star who had an alleged sexual relationship with Donald Trump between 2006 and that went through 2007.

The question is, if the campaign said that the president had no idea really who this woman is, didn't know her, didn't want to know her, and then suddenly just a few days after saying that she ends up on this non-disclosure agreement as someone who was aware of what went on between Stormy Daniels and the president, it does seem like somebody is not telling the truth.

Then there's this, John. The attorney for Stormy Daniels has been all over the news. He came and spoke to "New Day" today and had a lot to say about whether or not there is more evidence potentially in this case that we don't know about and that the lawyers for Donald Trump know about.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: Coverups matter. We have substantial evidence and facts that were not included in the complaint. We're not going to lay all our cards out on the table. I am confident that when those evidence and those facts come to light, the American people are going to conclude that Attorney Cohen and the White House have not shot straight with him on this issue.


SIDNER: Now the White House and Attorney Cohen have long said that there was no affair between Stormy Daniels and President Trump. The question is, if that is the case, then why go to such great lengths to try to shut her up -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Sara Sidner for us following the Stormy Daniels saga. So, you have the situation with Stormy Daniels on the one hand, you have this breakthrough with North Korea on the other and this fantastic jobs report. How does it all work together? Much more straight ahead.



BERMAN: All right. More on the breaking news out of Washington, just moments ago, that's Sam Nunberg, the one-time adviser to then- Candidate Donald Trump, who said he would not testify to the grand jury after receiving a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he has relented. You can see him walking in to testify before that grand jury.

Our Jessica Schneider outside the Washington, D.C. federal district court -- Jessica. JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, in a week that started off with Sam Nunberg showing defiance and then waffling a bit and then indicating compliance about midweek. Sam Nunberg has in fact arrived at the district court here. We saw him walk in just a few moments ago with his Attorney Patrick Brackly.

We know that he be going before this grand jury. Of course, this will all be in secret. Sam Nunberg will go in himself. He will not be accompanied by his lawyer into the grand jury room. The question remains what exactly will he tell the grand jury and what will he produce?

Of course, it was earlier this week that Sam Nunberg went on the media blitz talking about the subpoena that he was issued by the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. The subpoena asked for all documentation and communications between Sam Nunberg and a list of about ten people, containing people like the president as well as Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, Roger Stone, Steve Bannon.

So just a list of people who had worked in the White House as well as the campaign. Sam Nunberg, of course, initially refused to comply, but then did say he would comply with that document request and appear before the grand jury here.

Earlier this week, Sam Nunberg gave a glimpse of what he had told the special counsel in an interview that happened last month. It was over about five and a half hours. So, the question remains will he divulge everything he told the media earlier this week? What will he tell the grand jury? He had a lot of bombshell claims earlier this week with really no evidence.

He said he said he believed that the president did know about that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. as well as that Russian lawyer. He also indicated based on the questions the special counsel's team asked him in the interview last month, he believed that the special counsel in his words have something on the president.

So, John, of course, this is all taking place behind closed doors in secret. But yes, in fact, Sam Nunberg after a week somewhat of waffling and initial defiance, he has appeared here at the courthouse to talk before the grand jury and tell them what he knows -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Jessica Schneider in Washington, D.C.