Return to Transcripts main page


CNN Poll: 54 Percent Say Trump Will Lose in 2020; Korean Leaders Set a Date for Historic Summit; Christiane Amanpour Explores Dating and Love in Beirut; Judge Denies Stormy Daniels' Motion to Depose Trump; John Bolton and Mattis to Meet at Pentagon. Aired 12:30- 1p ET

Aired March 29, 2018 - 12:30   ET



[12:31:48] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Most Americans do not expect a second term for President Trump. This is according to a new poll just released a few moments ago. And in this CNN poll conducted by SSRS, 54 percent of those asked if they think the president will win in 2020 said no. Forty percent say he is going to be re-elected.

Let's compare that to the last time a president was up for re- election, Barack Obama. At this same time in his first term, the same number of people felt he would not win a second term. CNN Political Director David Chalian is here.

So, the last slide told us that polls are not always reflective of what is really going to happen, right? How much weight we even put on this data?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Not a much of weight. But it's not supposed to be predicted, right. What it is, is a snapshot of right now. People thinking about 2020, do they think President Trump is going to get re-elected? It's not necessarily an actual poll about the 2020 election which is very far away.

And you're right to note he's in the same place Barack Obama was. Of course, then there was sky high unemployment and he was battling to bring back an economy. But what is similar is, his party was facing major headwinds and the Republicans were about to take over the House. And it was precarious for him and his party at the moment as it is now for the president.

KEILAR: When you break down these Trump win or lose numbers, what you see is that the results are a lot more lopsided on the party line, right? Seventy-nine percent of Republicans say he is going to win re- election, you got 87 percent of Democrats who say he's going to lose.

Is this just their wishful thinking respectively?

CHALIAN: Totally. It's exactly what it is. Everybody puts on their jersey when answer questions like this and you can see the partisan polarization in the country.

KEILAR: So, according to the new polls, who are Democrats or Republicans likely going to be supporting in 2020?

CHALIAN: So, I'll do the Democrats first because it's so interesting because there's not an incumbent Democrat right now. So, you take a look, we didn't poll the field sort of a ballot test if you will, but we asked Democrats, are you likely to support.

Take a look -- well, that's the Republican number that you're looking that among Republicans 75 percent say Trump will be the nominee. But among Democrats, Joe Biden at 84 percent, 84 percent of Democrats in this poll, Brianna are somewhat are very likely to support Biden. Seventy-five percent say that for Sanders, 68 percent say that for Elizabeth Warren.

And as you go down to Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, those other senators there, their numbers are a little bit -- their name ideas not as high there. Their don't know is much higher so they got a lot of work to do to get introduced to Democrats nationally. But Joe Biden is going to see those numbers, and as you know, he's been touring the country, campaigning for Democrats and he's going to feel pretty good about his position for the moment.

KEILAR: The feisty men who are old or long in the tooth, I should say, they're doing well in that lineup there.

OK, there is an interesting part of this poll when you're talking to Republicans and you ask them -- the pollsters asked them whether Trump should even be nominated.

CHALIAN: Yes. So, 75 percent of Republicans in this poll say he should be nominated for second term. Twenty percent, one in five Republicans say he should not be.

Now again, just to compare to the previous Democratic president at this point, the same thing was true of Barack Obama. Seventy-six percent of Democrats at that time said he should be re-nominated.

So, this isn't some big, huge percent that I do think one in five Republicans, it's just that persistent group inside Republicans who are never warming to Trump.

[12:35:08] In this poll, he's at an 86 percent approval with Republicans overall, his approval ratings is up, his numbers have been on the rise, but there's still a segment inside the Republican Party that just have never warmed to him, and I imagine that's what that 20 percent is representing.

KEILAR: I wonder if it's different than -- and I don't even know if there's a way to measure this, but it seemed like with President Obama, he'd gotten so much support, there was so much hope for him and then there were a lot of Democrats who said, well, I'm disappointed, this isn't what i wanted. It seem like Donald Trump didn't actually win over -- there are a lot of Republicans (INAUDIBLE) won over and maybe they're still not in his camp.

CHALIAN: That's totally true, no doubt about it. But again, for the most part, Republicans are with him. Eighty-six percent approval among Republicans which is going to make a possible challenge to him for the Republican nomination as a sitting incumbent president very difficult. So if you're John Kasich or Ben Sasse or Jeff Flake looking at to see if you might take on your own party's president, it's going to be pretty tricky.

KEILAR: Yes. It might be more of a statement than actually something that's going to pan out.

All right, David Chalian, thanks so much for that.

Coming up, North Korea's diplomatic dance. Days after his first meeting with the president of China, Kim Jong-un makes plans for a summit with his counterpart in South Korea.


[12:40:45] KEILAR: Welcome back. The leaders of North and South Korea are about to come face to face for the first time in more than a decade. The two sides have set a date in late April for a high-level summit between Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson is joining us live now from the South Korean capital. What all do we know about this meeting, Ivan?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's going to be a one- day meeting. It's going to take place on April 27th. It will be in the so-called Peace Village along the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.

And this will be the third time ever that the leaders of these two neighboring countries will sit down face to face. It hasn't happened in more than 10 years.

Now, the South Korean official who led the talks about the talks today in that same compound, he says that on the agenda will be denuclearization, and that's the key question here. Is North Korea willing to negotiate about trying to dispose of some of its nuclear weapons, some of which were being tested just last year?

The Chinese, the South Koreans say Kim Jong-un has talked about this as a possibility, but we have not seen any mention of it whatsoever yet in the North Korean state media. And in the past, North Korea has said this is an non-starter. It will never negotiate about its nuclear weapons because it sees it as an un-existential offense against its foe, the U.S. and South Korea.


KEILAR: It seems like Kim Jong-un could be on a bit of a diplomatic blitz here, right? China, he's going to be talking to South Korea at the end of April, Japan maybe trying to get in on this, of course, the U.S. is. What's behind this diplomatic push?

WATSON: Yes, this is incredible. I mean, just a few months ago you had North Korea arguably the most internationally isolated country in the world. Countries were piling on economic sanctions on North Korea, and now, suddenly, Kim Jong-un might feel like the prettiest girl at the high school dance. Everybody wants a turn.

You had the Chinese Leader Xi Jinping meeting with him earlier this week. The South Korean president will meet with him next month. President Trump is hoping to meet with him in May, and now the Japanese are saying they're trying to reach out through different diplomatic channels. They are going through the North Korean Embassy in Beijing, for example, trying to possibly set up their own summit. On top of that you've got the president of the International Olympic Committee in Pyongyang right now for a two-day visit that was scheduled some time ago.

So yes, it's gone from incredible isolation to now everybody seems to want to be part of whatever this diplomatic process is that is now unfolding in what has been a remarkable cascade of events and diplomacy in just the last couple of months. Brianna?

KEILAR: Ivan Watson in Seoul, thank you.

I want to bring in Chief Correspondent Christiane Amanpour with us. She is live from London.

And Christiane, I wonder what you think of this. Is it a hopeful sign this meeting that we're seeing all of this diplomatic touching base that Kim Jong-un is doing with China, maybe with Japan, with South Korea coming up? Is this really the verge of a diplomatic breakthrough, or should we be focusing on the fact that, hey, they may have stopped nuclear drills but they're still proceeding with their program?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, listen, any time there's talk of diplomacy as opposed to military action, it is a good thing. And I just been speaking to (INAUDIBLE) you know, he is the (INAUDIBLE) of experts on not only on the technical aspects of what North Korea possesses in terms of nuclear capability, but also he's been around for all the decades that there's been attempt to bring them in for denuclearization. And he strongly believes that this moment is very, very important.

First, the meeting with South Korea, of course that's massively important. And then, if the meeting happens with President Trump, that, indeed, is going to be very important.

[12:45:00] But, of course, the idea that this absolutely has to be held onto is what is going to be the goal of these meetings? And what -- and who defines denuclearization? And I think that is the key to understanding how this is going to go.

If it's what the U.S. wants, which is maximum denuclearization, everything from plants to fuel to warheads, obviously, to missiles, to all of that, that is going to take a long, long time, and it's going to require give and take on both sides. And that is going to be a very intricate negotiation with hundreds and hundreds of people across all the relevant U.S. Departments, across all the nations that you've just been talking about, whether it's Japan, South Korea, China, obviously the United States. Russia now wants to get in on the game as well. It's going to take a long time, a very disciplined process.

So, we don't know how it's going to end up. We do know, for instance, that already -- satellite imagery has seen a startup, a little bit of some react through activity at Yongbyon. North Korean say it's just a civilian power generation, but who really knows at this point.

So we're waiting to see, but people who I've been talking to say, you know, the idea of getting together is better than the idea of hurling military threats around.

KEILAR: You are also -- and this is one of the reasons we have you here. You are also hosting a new original series on CNN. It's is very interesting. It's about sex and love around the world.

And this week you're in Beirut, Lebanon. I want to take a look at one of the moments from this episode.


AMANPOUR: Do you think that being your own boss, being your own entrepreneur, is that a plus for a guy as you try to seek dating and marriage, or is that a minus in a society like Beirut?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. You hear that these guys want this strong, independent, hard-working woman who can juggle everything. You hear they want these things, but then they end up going for the other kind of girls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We live in a society where gender roles have changed in the sense that women are working. All my friends are working. They all are career focused, but at the same time, the gender role has not really changed for men.

So the men go to work, but it's very rare to find men who will help at home. On the surface we seem very liberal, we seem very open, yet deep down, I think we're still quite traditional, and I think most guys want a more traditional woman to marry.


KEILAR: It's so interesting, you're hearing them tell you, basically, that it's hard to find a date when they are more educated and career- oriented in Beirut. So when it comes to dating and it comes to marriage there, what are the big forces at play?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, Brianna, you know, they're saying the kind of things you would probably hear anywhere in the west as well. And I talked to them, as you saw. I also talked to women who are more conservative wearing the hijab about very intimate issues. And they're all very, very keen.

You hear those women saying, well, you know, it's a little bit different and little bit difficult. The other woman who I talked about were very clear on what they wanted from their partner, what would make them happy, what would make them fulfilled. And it's really fascinating to hear that coming out of women in the Middle East where the west certainly has a particular view and a particular sort of stereotype about women in the Middle East. So that's why Beirut is so interesting.

There is also a thriving LGBT community but, I say thriving, but it's not really allowed to be public because it's still very, very difficult in countries like that to be public and to be gay or transgender or any other of the different norms that people choose with their sexuality. So we had incredibly interesting conversations on that. And then because this is all coming out now, we talked about the idea of consent, the idea of women's rights in these most important parts of personal politics. And it's a fascinating look into a whole different side of Middle East politics, if you like.

KEILAR: You have so much experience covering the Middle East. A lot of times you are in war zones, you're covering policy, you're covering conflicts there. Was there anything that you learned in covering this, sex and relationships in Beirut that surprised you?

AMANPOUR: Yes. I learned -- so the obvious was that, you know, religion and politics have come to a collision over the last -- you know, since at least 1979 where it really does, you know, affect everything you do behind closed doors or in public.

So that's one thing. But on the other hand, I also, in Beirut, was taken by an antiques dealer to the collection of antique literature that they had, and I saw these books that you could call the Beirut version or the Islamic version of the kama sutra. In other words, these manuals of sexuality and how both men and women have a right to their own pleasures, their own demands, their needs, and how they have the right, both of the men and women, to be fulfilled in every single way.

[12:50:16] And I think that to me really let it out. I hadn't expected that there, and to think that all these years of conspired against women's rights, and it is because of these very conservative politics, very conservative religion, and of course, in that part of the world, war and all the rest of it that's played into it.

KEILAR: Christiane Amanpour, thank you so much as always. And be sure to tune in. You can see Christiane Amanpour, "Sex and Love Around the World" airing this Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

But we do have some breaking news in the CNN about Stormy Daniels and her lawyer's attempt to depose Donald Trump. Our MJ Lee is here with the details.

This is what he wanted to do. This is what Michael Avenatti wanted to do. He wanted to depose Michael Cohen, he wanted to depose President Trump. So, what's happening here, MJ?

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, you know, this was the big news from yesterday, this request to depose President Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen. Well, now we have a new development, this motion has been denied for expedited trial and expedited discovery which essentially means that there is a temporary halt in Michael Avenatti's efforts to depose Donald Trump and Michael Cohen.

Now just to walk you through this a little bit, a federal judge in California, this is where this motion was filed overnight yesterday, if you recall. This judge said this motion was essentially premature. What he says is that Trump and essential consultants -- this is a company, you remember, that Michael Cohen set up in 2016 to make the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. That neither Trump nor essential consultants has had enough time to file a petition to compel arbitration which is what it is expected.

Now, if you look more closely, as a part of his decision, the judge also notes that he will discourage folks from making requests for expedited proceedings, hearings and discovery that are not clearly supported by the law, and that that is basically discouraged. In other words, sort of trying to send a message that this kind of sort of premature or rush actions are very much discouraged.

Now, Michael Avenatti has sent out a tweet in reaction to all of this. He said he plans to re-file the motion as soon as Donald Trump, Cohen or essential consultants file their motion to compel arbitration, seeking to hide the facts from public view. We expect this any day.


KEILAR: Does Avenatti and Stormy Daniels, do they win, in a way, even when they lose there in court, because this keeps all of this in the news. He seems to have mastered this drip, drip, drip and getting Michael Cohen and Michael Cohen's lawyer to respond.

LEE: I think you're right. I'm sorry, I'm getting some sound in my ear that I'm not supposed to be getting. You're right, but I think every time Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels are successful in staying in the headlines, staying in the chyron on television, they do view this as a bit of a victory because they want to remain important and pertinent to the news cycle.

You know, I assume that Michael Avenatti would not necessarily be happy about the judge's decision today, this temporary denial of his desire for expedited trial and discovery, but he's making it very clear, as you saw in that tweet, that he plans to re-file this motion as soon as the next steps are taken. So expect another news cycle of this motion and this request being made sometime in the near future.

KEILAR: All right. MJ Lee, thank you so much. And note that Michael Avenatti will be on CNN in the 1 p.m. hour, if you stay tuned for that. And we'll be right back.


[12:58:17] KEILAR: In just a few minutes, incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton will meet Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon, and this will be the first time that the two will met. Mattis said earlier this week that he's looking forward to a partnership with Bolton.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live for us from the Pentagon. So Barbara, they have very different views when it comes to foreign policy. What is this going to mean?

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, they do have differing world views so the first item of business really in Mattis' mind apparently is for them to get to know each other. They've actually never met before. So Bolton coming here to the Pentagon meeting with the defense secretary, and I think it's fair to say they're going to take the size of each other, look at each other's views, how they might get along, have an initial conversation.

The big issue on the table? North Korea. I mean, Secretary Mattis has very much said that diplomacy leads the way on North Korea. He's been saying that for months. Mr. Bolton a much more hawkish view about the potential need for war with North Korea.

On Iran, Mr. Bolton not in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement. Secretary Mattis has several generals telling him that the Pentagon needs to advocate for staying in the agreement.

So it's a combination of having differing world views. Not sure how much it may change Mr. Mattis' access to the president with a new national security adviser in the White House. A long way to go in figuring out what it all means. They're talking about teamwork, but we'll see how it plays out.


KEILAR: Barbara Starr, thank you so much. And thank you for joining me at this hour. Wolf starts right now.