Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Korean Leaders Holding Historic Summit in DMZ; Trump Airs Grievances in Revealing Fox Interview; Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault; At Least 37 Killed in Nicaraguan Protests. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 27, 2018 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everybody. Thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says a new history begins now. He's meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the demilitarized zone, the first summit between the two countries since 2007.

VAUSE: Denuclearization is a top priority for the South. The two leaders are also expected to talk about improving relations and a peace settlement, possibly ending the Korean War.

After their initial handshake, Mr. Kim took Mr. Moon's hand and invited him to step north of the demarcation line. South Korea's Blue House says that was an unscripted moment.

SESAY: So far, everyone seems to be in good spirits. Mr. Kim proclaimed the summit is a starting point in history, an age of peace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): I walked 200 meters with (INAUDIBLE). I came here with the mindset that I'm standing at the starting line of the new history of North-South relationships and (INAUDIBLE).

I would like to frankly discuss current issues and matters of interest and have a good result rather than not being able to fulfill it and go back to square one. I would like this to be an opportunity to look at the future and move forward, holding hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT, SOUTH KOREA (through translator): The moment we crossed that demarcation line to Panmunjom, it became a symbol of peace, not a symbol of separation.

The entire world is watching us and I once more want to appreciate your bold (ph) (INAUDIBLE). I want to have a frank talk and make a good agreement and give the world a good result (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: CNN has correspondents throughout the region, Paula Hancocks not far from the demilitarized zone; Matt Rivers standing by live in Beijing and Anna Stewart standing by in Tokyo.

Paula, we'll start with you, standing there with North Korea right in the background. Kim has invited the South Korean President Moon Jae- in to Pyongyang. He also says he's willing to go to Seoul and visit the presidential Blue House.

Seems these talks, at least as far as Kim Jong-un is concerned, might be continuing for some time.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right and this will be music to the ears of the South Koreans because that's exactly what they wanted from this summit. So we heard from the Blue House that they wanted very few protocols, make this summit more practical and make sure that it's not a one-off, as it has been in the past, to make sure that -- they want at least one or two more this year alone.

So the fact that Kim Jong-un is saying that said that he would welcome Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang, something he has said before, of course, will be music to their ears. But what we have at this point, John, is optics, the optics of good.

It appears as though these two leaders are getting on well. They are both saying the right things, that they want to make progress, that they want this to be better for the world.

We don't have any substance up until this point. We have heard from Kim Jong-un at the end of the morning session. He said what we have agreed is the tip of the iceberg but I hope that people are pleased with it is.

So this is something that clearly they're going to announce later; at the end of the day we're expecting some joint statement, some declaration from the two leaders. But there is no guidance at this point as to what exactly they have agreed.

So the optics are very strong. The North Korean leader is appearing extremely keen to please, extremely keen to show the world that he wants to open up, that he wants to talk about things that are important.

But once you get down to the very difficult question of what does denuclearization mean to you, that is what we would like to hear about and exactly what those two leaders decide to agree on by the end of the day.

The Blue House has been clear. They're not going to sort this out in a day. I don't think anyone would expect them to. But it is important, how this statement is worded and what happens after this -- John.

VAUSE: It does seem, if nothing else, this summit, this meeting has sharply lifted the mood of the region, which was quite dire there for a while.

Let's go to Matt Rivers now, who is standing by in Beijing.

The mood may have lifted in the region but maybe not so much in China. It seems they have been left on the sidelines, not just for the inter- Korean summit, but also of the possible planned meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

As they look at all the chummy handshaking and all the praise of Kim Jong-un coming out of the Korean Peninsula, how much concern is there right now among officials in Beijing?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, officially, it's all roses here, John. The government is saying that they're thrilled that this negotiation is happening, that this is what has been calling for --

[01:05:00]

RIVERS: -- all along. that the only way to truly solve this issue is through peaceful negotiations like this.

And not only will be true but just about everyone you speak to here in Beijing, analysts, otherwise will tell you that there will be concerns in the halls of power here in Beijing about what you just said, being left out in the cold as these negotiations move forward.

Why is that the case?

China has massive strategic interests with North Korea on the Korean Peninsula, not the least of which would be that North Korea continues to serve as a buffer between South Korea and all those tens of thousands of American troops there; if there was some sort of reunification down the road, those troops could conceivably rewrite on China's border.

That, of course, is way down the road but that is a concern that China has, that could maybe one day happen, who knows if it will. But that's what they're planning for. And so they want to make sure that, as these negotiations go forward, they have a seat at that table.

But as of right now, they don't. I mean, you've got the North Koreans and the South Koreans talking together right now; then it's the North Koreans and the Americans.

Where are the Chinese in that calculation?

So I think what you're going to see from the Chinese government is a push with their contacts in North Korean to say, as these negotiations go forward, let's do it in maybe the six-party talk framework. Let's do four-party talks between South Korea, the United States, North Koreans and China, in some sort of bigger summit.

That's going to be that the line that the Chinese government pushes because they're concerned that that they're not being invited to the party.

VAUSE: Everybody has issues right now. Matt, thank you.

Let's go over to Anna in Tokyo.

Because, Anna, after Japan, the issues and concerns are essentially Japanese citizens being held by the North Koreans. They've received reassurances by both Seoul and Washington.

But those issues and concerns will be raised with little Koreans. But reality is, seriously, will they? Will those concerns actually be raised?

ANNA STEWART, CNN PRODUCER: The feeling in Japan is certainly one of skepticism, particularly with all the local media reports today. There are reporting on every part of this story that's unfolding.

And Japan has asked for a meeting with North Korea. And that invitation has not been answered. So there's also a feeling that Japan is being left out of this, much like Matt was talking about with China.

Now there have been a flurry of diplomatic activity from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He went to the United States last week to meet President Trump. This week he spoke to President Moon on the phone.

And he has been getting assurances that Japan's interests, particularly on those abductees, will be taken into account. They will be raised in any discussions. But there is a huge amount of skepticism that until any action is taken, it'll be worse.

VAUSE: Anna, thank you.

Let's quickly go back to Paula because, Paul, the North Koreans, they've been good at making grand gestures in the past. Back in 2008, they blew up the cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear facility. They started dismantling their reactor there but about a year or so later, they started rebuilding it and putting everything back together and we are where we are today because of that.

So what's the chances here that, whatever the agreements the North Koreans make with the South Koreans, they'll actually keep their word?

Because it seems the cloud over this summit right now is the question of trust and will Kim Jong-un keep his word?

HANCOCKS: It's a question that nobody knows the answer to except for Kim Jong-un himself. It was put very well to me by Andre Lankov (ph), who's a long-time North Korea watcher.

And he said this is what North Korea does when it wants concessions. It drums up the rhetoric and the threats and the missile and the nuclear tests to the point where people think there could actually be a second Korean War. And then they pull back dramatically and say now we would like to talk, what concessions can we have?

And Professor Lankov (ph) doesn't see this as any different in that respect, although he did say he is quietly optimistic because it appears as though things are slightly different this time around because all three of North Korea, South Korea and the United States appear to be on the same page.

In the past, the Blue House has said these agreements didn't work because Washington wasn't on board with them. So that's why they've been at pains to drag Mr. Trump along with them. President Moon was called an appeaser by President Trump at one point because he didn't agree with what he was trying to do.

But he managed to pull the U.S. with him when he's coming to these summits. And that's what they think is crucial to make sure that they have U.S. backing. Otherwise, it's just the North and South Koreans talking.

But, of course, the question as to whether Kim Jong-un would keep his word, we simply don't know. One point worth mentioning is it's not always just been North Korea that hasn't kept its word when it's come to these kind of agreements.

The United States in the past has not followed through on pledges. So it is -- there's distrust on all sides. There is not just a distrust of North Korea. But North Korea does not trust the United States or South Korea. This trust needs to be built up.

VAUSE: Yes, it cuts both ways or three ways, I guess.

I want to finish up --

[01:10:00]

VAUSE: -- with Matt Rivers in Beijing because, Matt, the U.S. president will tell you that all this is happening as a result of this maximum pressure, which the United States has applied to the North Koreans. Part of that maximum pressure were the increased sanctions, which China has played a big part in enforcing.

So I guess the question is, is Kim Jong-un there having those negotiations right now just across the DMZ with the South Korean president because those sanctions have essentially bankrupted the country, strangling the country and they have no other choice because they're about to run out of hard currency?

Or is this a genuine desire by Kim Jong-un to actually try and strike some kind of peace deal and talk about denuclearization?

Is there any way to know?

RIVERS: Definitively, no. But what you -- what you will hear from Chinese government officials is that they do believe that these sanctions are having an impact. We've done a lot of reporting up along the North Korean border, the Chinese-North Korean border.

And anecdotally, I can tell you the border towns up there have seen a wild drop in business with their North Korean counterparts.

Does that make its way all the way to Pyongyang?

Hard to officially say but there's no doubt that China is enforcing sanctions in a way that it never has before.

And that is part of the reason why China is so interested in seeing these negotiations with the South Koreans and the United States actually go well because what you hear from people here in China is that the government is looking for any excuse to not enforce the sanctions.

They don't want the Kim Jong-un regime to collapse. They want to walk some of the sanctions back. So if the Kim regime does say, we're going to give some concessions then the Chinese can go back to the U.N. Security Council and say the North Koreans are playing ball. Let's walk back some of that maximum pressure campaign, as the U.S. administration calls it.

But I think the general feeling here, John, at least amongst officials in the Chinese government, is that they are doing their part and that is having an effect.

VAUSE: OK, Matt, thank you.

Matt Rivers there live for us in Beijing; Anna Stewart also in Tokyo and Paula Hancocks -- long day for Paula just across the line from North Korea. Thank you all.

Joining us now, Duyeon Kim, a visiting senior fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum and Paul Carroll, senior adviser at the nuclear disarmament group N Square.

Duyeon, I just want to pick up on that last issue about the sanctions, these really tough sanctions which China has been playing a very big role in, which have apparently taken quite a toll on the North Koreans.

But sanctions never forced North Korea to the negotiating table before.

Do you think that maybe those sanctions is the reasons why Kim Jong-un is suddenly decided to turn up just across the border in South Korea and begin these discussions with the South Korean president and then maybe later the U.S. president?

DUYEON KIM, KOREAN PENINSULA FUTURE FORUM: Thanks for having me. I think it's a combination of factors. The sanctions, I think we have heard definitely that sanctions have been taking effect, not their full effect because that would take months and months to see their full effect.

But they have been and I think Kim Jong-un might have calculated in advance that current sanctions and future sanctions, if they are implemented completely, could actually cripple his economy.

The other objective really is to try to lure Seoul away further from Washington, closer to Pyongyang, to try to create this mood of nationalism, meaning the two Koreas nationalism, and also try to weaken not only the sanctions but make it difficult for Washington to take military action toward the North regarding its nuclear programs.

VAUSE: Is that why reunification is on the agenda for the North Koreans?

DUYEON KIM: Well, unification has always been on the agenda for both Koreas. But if Kim Jong-un's New Year's address is any guide, he definitely talked about -- he brought back nationalistic rhetoric and appeal that really do resonate to some circles in the South Korean society as well.

And that really for him, it really is a call to all Koreans to really rally around the North Korean flag against what he calls outside big powers. And so that's the kind of picture that he's looking for when it comes to unification.

VAUSE: And Paul, how do you see the situation here in terms of the motivation for Kim Jong-un to be doing what he's doing right now?

PAUL CARROLL, N SQUARE: Well, thanks, John. I think -- I'm glad you said motivations because the earlier correspondent you had, when you're talking about trust, trust really doesn't have much to do with the orchestrations and the negotiations and the discussions going on.

In fact, this is why arms control agreements and treaties, the ones that are effective, have very elaborate and intrusive verification and inspection regimes. The old Reagan adage of, "Trust, but verify," in this case, I wouldn't even say trust is on the table.

[01:15:00]

CARROLL: What we need to get down to is an architecture of monitoring and verification once there are agreements on the table. But before we even go there, what's really important and what's encouraging, I think, is seeing that the North, for whatever its reasons -- it may be the bite of sanctions; it may be the fact that they feel confident, that they now have an effective nuclear deterrent, their motivation is something else.

Their motivation is probably more positive than negative. And what was said a few minutes ago about sanctions never bringing them to the table, that is not entirely true. It's not the sole thing that has brought North Korea to the table in the past but it's been a component of other motivations. So --

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: Duyeon, back to you, because there was a lot of praise for Kim Jong-un when he took the South Korean president by the hand, stepped back into North Korea. It was unscripted and seen as symbolic, made for television. I was looking at your Twitter feed a little earlier. You wrote this, "Kim Jong-un yanks Moon across border to Northern side while shaking hands. Geez. Kim Jong-un's game has begun playing offense on Southern territory."

OK, tell us, what did you see that we didn't see?

DUYEON KIM: OK, first of all I got slammed on Twitter for saying that. I did not say or mean that anything was hostile in that picture. Definitely not hostile. That was classic charm offensive in action.

So that's exerting his influence in South Korea, with the South Korean president but with a big smile and with charm.

(CROSSTALK)

DUYEON KIM: -- he's not coming here with altruistic reasons. Sure, and Kim Jong-un does not have altruistic reasons for coming here. He wants something out of this. He's here to protect his country's interests, his regime's interests.

So he's going to fight as hard as he can but, of course, in a very charming manner to get what he wants. But really I think we'll see -- at this rate, I think we'll see a pretty successful inter-Korean summit. Both leaders want it. Everybody wants a successful summit.

But both leaders really want a successful summit badly. President Moon needs a good result here, especially on the nuclear front or mentioning of North Korea's commitment to denuclearization so that he can use this to keep the political space open and springboard to a Trump-Kim summit.

VAUSE: Paul, it almost seems like we're being asked to suspend reality at the moment. Forget about Kim Jong-un, the nuclear armed dictator, who threatened to nuke the West Coast to the U.S.

This is Kim Jong-un, the international statesman, smiling and handshakey.

CARROLL: Right. No, you're absolutely right and I was somewhat caught up with it -- in it myself today. And I think, you know, there may be -- I'm no psychologist but I think, you know, there's a fear and bad news fatigue that maybe Korea watchers and those that pay attention to this issue are feeling.

And we all would love some good news. Here, we have what seems to be some actual, credible good news in the offing, with all of the caveats and all of the conditions that we need to be reminded of.

This is a long road to hoe. But here is the first time on live television, where we see the North Korean and South Korean leaders -- when I saw them step across, I thought of Neil Armstrong. I thought that's one small step for these two men but one giant leap for inter- Korean relations. And so I think we can revel in this moment but we also need to realize there is a lot of homework left. VAUSE: I guess, Paul, very quickly, if this is, in fact, Kim the manipulator and he's just doing this for sanctions relief and other less than honorable motives, then the North Koreans are going to string this out for as long as possible, right?

Because they have every (INAUDIBLE) --

(CROSSTALK)

CARROLL: I think that's true but I will say Andre Lenkov (ph), I have a lot of respect for and his perspective, your correspondent told us about, I think is very wise. I think if any sanctions relief were done, it can be very quickly put back on.

And the North knows that as well. If they want to play another game of tennis, where they give a little and get a little and then they take their ball and go home, there's nothing stopping the U.N. or the United States from re-imposing sanctions.

So I'm hopeful that maybe they are playing a longer game this time.

VAUSE: We'll see. I've said that so often today, "we'll see what happens. We'll see how it plays out."

I didn't get to the point where "time will tell," but that's basically it.

Duyeon and Paul, thanks so much. Good to see you both.

CARROLL: My pleasure.

SESAY: Give it time.

VAUSE: Time will tell.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., time's up for Bill Cosby. The TV star is found guilty of sexual assault. His accusers react. Just ahead.

VAUSE: Also, President Trump unloads. We'll tell you who was under fire when he called into his favorite morning TV show (INAUDIBLE) television.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:20:00]

(MUSIC PLAYING)

VAUSE: (INAUDIBLE) on the breaking news out of the Korean Peninsula. The leaders of North and South Korea are holding their first face-to- face talks in more than a decade.

Kim Jong-un and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in are meeting in the demilitarized zone.

SESAY: After the official welcoming ceremony, the leaders got down to business. Mr. Kim told Mr. Moon that he would be willing to go to Seoul if he's invited. Leaders took a break for lunch but will resume talks in the coming hours.

VAUSE: Well-known comedian Bill Cosby has been found guilty of sexual assault. A jury has convicted him of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. Cosby faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts.

SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) allegations, she is not alone. More than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct and the attorney for some of them says they are finally being heard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: I said before the verdict, how many women does it take for one woman to be believed over the denial of one rich, powerful, famous man?

And the answer in this case is four.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Let's discuss this further with CNN legal analyst Areva Martin.

Areva, good to have you with us again.

To Gloria's point, it took six women to get here. Everyone's saying that the five women really were key to getting to this guilty verdict.

How do you see it?

What was it they brought to this case, bearing in mind Bill Cosby's fame and his wealth?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they told a very similar story and listening to Andrea Constand tell that story is one thing. But hearing five women, who have nothing to gain, whose cases are time- barred, who were never in the position that Andrea Constand, you know was -- found herself in, having them tell that story over and over and over again, the similar fact pattern, the grooming that Cosby did, getting close to their family members, drugging them on and then sexually assaulting them while they were drugged, that's a very powerful narrative for jurors to hear.

And undoubtedly it had an impact because, we know on the first trial there was only one similar fact witness that was allowed to testify. In this trial, the second trial, the judge allowed five even though the prosecutor had asked for 19 women to testify.

So those five women, I think, had a significant impact and we can't forget how much the climate has changed as well from that last trial to three weeks ago. SESAY: Talk to me about that change in climate. Before we get to it, I want you to take a listen to one of the individuals that was at the court today, who talked about this was a watershed moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTORIA VALENTINO, COSBY VICTIM: We are vindicated, we are validated and we are now part of the tsunami of women's --

[01:25:00]

VALENTINO: -- power and justice. We are shutting up and we're not going away. Get over it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Janice Baker-Kinney is a Bill Cosby accuser/survivor. She talks about we're not going away; this is a watershed moment (INAUDIBLE) the bigger movement and bigger moment of #MeToo.

Talk to me about how that fed into what we saw play in court, the fact we had the Harvey Weinstein moment and now we're here.

MARTIN: In a court, the judge instructs the jurors not to take in any extraneous information. They are to take the facts, the evidence that were presented at trial and then apply the law that the judge has read the instructions, that the judge gives them before they start the deliberation. That's it.

But we know these jurors are humans. And if they've lived in the United States for the last year, which all of them presumably have, they've had to have heard all of the news reports, all of the stories, all the courageous women that came forward to tell their stories.

And they what happened. For the first time, we saw very powerful men losing their jobs losing their entire companies, reputations --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: -- the Rubicon, if you will.

MARTIN: -- oh, absolutely. And that's really different. I've been a civil rights lawyer for two decades. I've tried; I've represented women in sexual assault cases for the better part of that timeframe. And I can tell you, from personal experience, something different happened with the #MeToo movement.

Women weren't being maligned. They weren't being attacked. They weren't being called gold diggers and promiscuous. People finally were listening to these women and believing their stories.

SESAY: You say that but then we saw in this case, the defense actually used some of that, some of that old school tactics of calling Constand a gold digger and basically saying that she was a con artist and all the rest of it.

But it did not work.

MARTIN: Yes, that was the central theme of this case and this is a new defense team for Cosby. His first team focused more on the consensual nature of the relationship between Constand and Cosby. This team decided to go after Constand and to really play up the theme that this is a woman that was out for money, that she went back to Canada; she was broke. She hatched this entire scheme just to get to Bill Cosby because he had deep pockets. That didn't work.

The attacks, the really vicious attacks that he made during cross- examination didn't work. And one key witness in this trial, in addition to Constand, those five woman, was Andrea's mother.

She talked to Bill Cosby when Andrea finally told her what happened. She had that 2-hour-long conversation with him, asking him, what did you give my daughter?

What did you give my daughter?

Why did you do this?

And the defense team went after her pretty aggressively and that can always backfire on the defense team. You have all these women testifying to something very similar and you have this defense team saying basically all of you are lying.

So the jurors had to weigh, this was a he said/she said. But if you have five witnesses and now, with Constand, really six. And you have one. And we didn't even hear from Cosby in the trial.

But you have his narrative versus the narrative of these six women. And in this case, those six women, their narrative won out.

SESAY: (INAUDIBLE) out guilty, guilty, guilty but he wasn't taken into custody.

MARTIN: No, he wasn't. The judge allowed him to make bail --

SESAY: Were you surprised?

MARTIN: I was surprised and clearly, had Bill Cosby not been Bill Cosby, your typical defendant that had just been convicted on those kinds of serious charges would have left that courtroom in handcuffs, would've been remanded into custody.

I think the judge, in his effort to be fair, said this was a significant verdict. This was a significant victory for women, for the #MeToo movement. Bill Cosby is 80 years old. He's appeared at every court hearing that has been scheduled for him. He does not appear to be a flight risk. And there is no danger in allowing him to go home.

SESAY: Were you disappointed?

MARTIN: I was disappointed because I think we struggle in this judicial system not to play favorites, not to allow money, power and influence to impact the kind of justice that is meted out.

So when you have a powerful man who can post $1 million bond, when he leaves the courtroom --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: -- headed home, it sends, I think, the wrong message. But it doesn't overshadow what happened today, which was a momentous moment, a monumental moment for women who have been fighting for decades to have their voices heard.

SESAY: As they stood outside that courtroom, guilty, guilty, guilty.

MARTIN: Yes.

SESAY: Areva, thank you.

MARTIN: Thank you, Isha.

VAUSE: I did think was a strange legal strategy by the defense -- sorry -- to argue that it was all motivated by money --

SESAY: Yes --

VAUSE: -- when four other women --

SESAY: -- yes, absolutely --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: -- it was a calculated risk that they took. They had a very difficult case and they knew they had a difficult case so I'm not sure there was a better strategy. That was a losing strategy.

VAUSE: Areva, thank you.

SESAY: Areva, thank you.

VAUSE: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: No, I think it's a good point.

VAUSE: Thank you.

Well, when we come back, we'll go live to Seoul and we'll speak with South Korea's former ambassador to the United Nations. We'll get his thoughts on what has been a day filled with symbolism and history on the Korean Peninsula.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back -- everybody.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says his discussions with North Korea's Kim Jong-un have been really good. The two are holding a historic summit in the Korean demilitarized zone. Mr. Kim says the talks meant to focus on denuclearization as just the tip of the iceberg.

VAUSE: A jury has found the TV icon Bill Cosby guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. More than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct in recent years. The 80-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts.

SESAY: One human rights group in Nicaragua says at least 37 people have died after widespread anti-government protests and arrests began more than a week ago after President Daniel Ortega announced changes to the country's pension plan. He reversed his decision but the demonstrations haven't ended. The government is being criticized now for the violent police crackdown on demonstrators.

VAUSE: Oh Joon is South Korea's former ambassador to the United Nations. And he joins us now from Seoul. Mr. Ambassador -- thank you for being with us.

It has been a remarkable day there so far. And from what you have seen of North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Is that what you expected of the North Korean leader? Is that the tough man you expected to cross the border?

OH JOON, SOUTH KOREA'S FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, it's not exactly everyone was expecting, let's say three months ago.

But it is happening and I think the bottom line is that Kim Jong-un is here to talk peace, you know. He would not have come down to the summit if his intention was to fight. But that's what we should take as it is.

VAUSE: I guess the question is will this day ultimately be big on symbolism and short on substance because planting a tree is one thing, making an agreement on issues like denuclearization is quite another.

JOON: That's right. So we are all waiting for the announcement of the outcome of the summit probably in four or five hours from now. And as you've said we are waiting for the substance. Substance would be probably about denuclearization of North Korea.

[01:34:58] And, you know, opinion is divided as to his intention to go for denuclearization, is it genuine or not? But we will see. And everyone seems to think that probably there would be some strings attached or at least some adjective (ph) attached if the agreement talks about denuclearization.

VAUSE: You know, just a couple of months ago, North Korea and the United States -- the two leaders were exchanging insults. The North Koreans were firing off -- were test firing, you know, a missile almost every other day it seems. They carried out significant nuclear tests in September of last year.

You know, for all intents and purposes, it seems like, you know, this was heading for some kind of military confrontation. And then suddenly it turns around. The U.S. President Donald Trump would like to take credit for that. Where do you put the credit for this sudden turnaround in events?

JOON: Well, we think we should at least admit that the sanctions or what is called maximum pressure are working. That might not be the only reason why North Koreans are coming out now but we all think that must have worked.

There must be other reasons -- some if you are very skeptical, you might think, you know, they are done with their tests. They have completed their nuclear program. So now they want to turn around.

Whatever the (INAUDIBLE) it is, I think we can take advantage of this turnaround to bring more peace on the Korean Peninsula.

VAUSE: What was also remarkable is that in the midst of all of the hostilities, you know, the firing of the missiles, the nuclear tests and everything else, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in kept on pushing and pushing and pushing for this kind of diplomacy. And then eventually here we are now which seems to be a test of, if nothing, his determination.

JOON: Yes. The South Korean president is very much interested in promoting peace and going for diplomacy with North Korea. And that's, of course very understandable because if there is any danger of a military conflict, you know, this Korean Peninsula is very small and nobody can avoid this risk.

So I think that's why people in South Korea right now, people in Seoul most of them are excited about this meeting. But as you've said, what is important is that whether the outcome of the summit will go beyond a symbolism.

VAUSE: And follow-up question here, Mr. Ambassador. Is that a mistake that human rights are not being discussed between these two leaders today?

JOON: Well, I think we shouldn't forget human rights. But probably because the issue of a North Korean nuclear admission (ph) of the environment is so enormous right now, you know, it is understandable that they are focusing on these weapons issues rather than human rights issues.

But I agree with you. We shouldn't forget human rights issues and those issues should be taken care of continuously.

VAUSE: Mr. Ambassador -- thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. And you know, it has been an incredible day and clearly there is a lot of hope and optimism I guess that this is the start of something very meaningful and historic. Thank you -- sir.

JOON: Thank you. Thank you.

SESAY: We'll pause here for a quick break. Next on NEWSROOM L.A. the U.S. President vents his frustrations in front of kids at the White House and in a wild TV interview. We'll have all the details.

[01:39:02] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, the U.S. president's vitriol on Twitter is well-known but on Thursday, well, he unloaded during a call to a television show, talking room (ph) also in the rose garden being with a bunch of kids.

SESAY: He vented his frustration on a slew of topics from his failed pick to run the V.A., to the cloud hanging still over the White House, the Russia investigation. It was a long list.

VAUSE: He unloaded on Jim Acosta as well because that usually happens but he is out, of course.

SESAY: He has all the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Talking to children gathered in the Rose Garden.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Only, you know, we ask friendly questions today. We don't want to embarrass the children.

ACOSTA: President Trump used some adult language to complain about White House doctor, Ronnie Jackson's decision to withdraw his name from consideration for secretary of Veterans Affairs.

TRUMP: He's a great man. And he got treated very, very unfairly. He got treated really unfairly. He's a hell of a man.

ACOSTA: The President was already fired up about Jackson after a wild phone interview on his favorite morning TV show, "Fox and Friends" where he threatened to go after Democratic Senator Jon Tester for raising questions about the White House doctor's past.

TRUMP: I think Jon Tester has to have a big price to pay in Montana because I don't think people in Montana -- the admiral is the kind of person that they respect and admire. And they don't like seeing what's happened.

ACOSTA: Sometimes into shouting into the phone, the President made other threats sounding as if he won't cooperate with the special counsel's Russia investigation.

TRUMP: They have a witch hunt against the President of the United States going on. I've taken the position and I don't have to take this position and maybe I'll change, that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over. ACOSTA: He also weighed in on former FBI director James Comey who claims the President denies spending the night in Moscow in 2013 when, as alleged in a dossier written by a former British spy, Mr. Trump watched prostitutes urinate on each other. But the President seemed to confirm that he did spend the night in Moscow in 2013.

THOMAS: He put a lot of phony stuff. For instance, I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two because I own the Miss Universe pageant. So I went there to watch it because it was near Moscow.

So I go to Russia -- now, I didn't go there -- everybody knows the logs (ph) are there, the planes are there. He said, I didn't stay there a night. Of course, I stayed there. I stayed there very short period of time. But of course, I stayed.

ACOSTA: The President also acknowledge for the first time that he is represented in the Stormy Daniels saga by his personal attorney Michael Cohen --

TRUMP: How are you feeling today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're great.

ACOSTA: -- who's also under federal investigation.

TRUMP: He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal. He represented me and, you know, from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong.

ACOSTA: When the conversation turned to North Korea, the President said his upcoming meeting with dictator, Kim Jong-un may not happen after all.

Still the White House teased the potential sit-down by releasing these stunning images of new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the North Korea dictator over Easter weekend.

TRUMP: Could be that I walk out quickly with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn't even take place, who knows? But I can tell you right now, they want to meet.

ACOSTA: As the President ranted and raved, it was the Fox host who seemed to cut off the interview.

TRUMP: There is no collusion with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

TRUMP: And everyone knows that.

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Everyone -- we could talk to you all day but it looks like you have a million things to do.

TRUMP: You bet.

KILMEADE: But I hope you can join us again, Mr. President. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

ACOSTA: On the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, another cabinet headache for the President played out as EPA administration Scott Pruitt addressed a series of heated questions about his ethical behavior.

SCOTT PRUITT, ADMINISTRATOR, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: I've made decisions to switch and make sure that they make changes from first class back to coach.

REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: You are unfit to hold public office and undeserving of the public trust.

ACOSTA: Aides to the President were watching his performance on "Fox & Friends". As one official described it, staffers were quote, "wincing over some of the President's comments especially his remarks about the Russia investigation. Even their friendly media outlets, some of his aides wish he just wouldn't go there.

[01:45:05] Jim Acosta, CNN -- the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, Michael Genovese is a political analyst and president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Michael -- the President's aides may be saying to themselves, wishing he wouldn't go there. Once again, proof that this President cannot be controlled from that display on "Fox and Friends".

MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE-LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, it got so bad that General McCaffrey tweeted just not long ago that General Kelly has to get him under control, has to put him away for a week so he can rest because General McCaffrey was worried about what's happening with the President.

I mean clearly he's a bit unhinged. He's gone over the top. And it is disturbing because, you know, he's the President and he controls the levers of power as well as nuclear weapons.

But, you know, there's an old saying when you're in a ditch and you want to get out, stop digging. He keeps digging and digging and digging.

And this must have been humiliating for him this morning because it was disturbing for me just to watch it. It was frightening because he looked unglued, and the poor -- I never thought I'd say this, the poor folks at Fox were trying to help him get out of that and he wouldn't. He just kept -- no, no, let me dig some more.

SESAY: But again, this would have been a display that, you know, lawyers up there in Washington, D.C. would have looked at and thought to themselves, this is why we didn't take him on as a client.

GENOVESE: Yes.

SESAY: Because as the interview, you know, proceeded said things that stepped all over his legal counsels' game plan.

GENOVESE: Silence -- that's what you're supposed to do. Just keep quiet. Don't say anything. Let the lawyers handle it. He can't stop himself. He just starts rattling on and ranting and he basically said, yes, Michael Cohen is my attorney for the Stormy Daniels case. That could get him into legal difficulty.

He also kept on trying to, I think, throw Michael Cohen under the bus by saying well, you know, he only does a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of legal work for me but he's really in business. And he must have referred to the business four, five or six times as if to say to prosecutors, hey why don't you look at that because, you know -- I mentioned earlier that in the old Watergate case, attorney general and then Committee to Re-elect the President leader John Mitchell in trying to get of the prosecutor said, you know, maybe if we give them an hors d oeuvres, it was John Dean, maybe they won't come back for the main course.

I don't know that Michael Cohen wants to be the Hors d oeuvres and if he thinks he's being made the hors d oeuvres, he just might very well flip.

SESAY: And again, I was about to say, was that the President trying to head-off the flipping? You know, was that President Trump being two steps ahead and saying this guy may actually flip so I need to create more distance between myself and Michael Cohen?

GENOVESE: No, I think he just kept on ranting and going back and forth, up and down. And I think he said seven or eight different things.

The question is what does Michael Cohen take from that? Michael Cohen has been very loyal but now you can probably hear him saying wait a minute, maybe loyalty is a one way street and maybe it won't come back to me. And maybe I need to protect myself and my family.

You've got to remember the incredible pressure he must be under, Cohen. And saying well, what should I do? Do I stick with the President and hopefully get the pardon or is he going to throw me under the bus completely and then I need to flip and make the best deal I can.

SESAY: Well, you're talking about loyalty. If the President is still standing by his failed pick for the V.A., you know, Ronny Jackson, saying that he was treated unfairly and he's an incredible man, he said hours after he withdrew.

But again, it comes back to the spotlight and the fact that this White House has had problem after problem when it comes vetting people they put out for these big jobs.

GENOVESE: Well, they clearly didn't vet him. The President likes him and when the President likes you, he'll promote you. And then Jackson probably is one of those guys, he seems to be the guy who manages up, who tells the people above him what they want to hear and ingratiates himself to them. He seems very good at that because he's very personable. He's going on public television and talking about the President's physical. He can live to be 200 years old. And he's only 239 pounds, he's not obese.

SESAY: Just one pound short.

GENOVESE: I know. Well, if he's 239 pounds, I'll tell you this. I'm the sexiest man alive.

SESAY: You are to us, anyway.

(CROSSTALK)

GENOVESE: -- George Clooney from being number one.

SESAY: You are to us, anyway -- Michael.

Quickly, the scenes we've been seeing play out on the Korean Peninsula between the North and South Korean leaders -- again the Kim Jong-un we've seen on display has been very self assured, very at ease, and from the sort of, you know, the world's media.

Do you President Trump will look at that maybe -- will it give him pause? Will he think maybe I should prep more for this summit?

GENOVESE: Well, he's already backing off a little bit. He's talking about what an honorable man he's been after calling him little rocket man.

[01:50:01] But I think there are three keys -- one is Trump, one is Kim Jong-un, but the real key might be South Korea's President Moon who has been the puppeteer. He's been playing everyone, getting them where he wants to go and he's done a masterful job, I mean.

And I think Kim Jong-un is responding to that, seeing an opening, saying he had a better deal with Moon than with Trump. And if I have Moon on my side, Trump's going to have to come over.

But, you know, we still don't know what Kim Jong-un means by denuclearization. And until we get a definition of that, I think you know, anything would be wild speculation. I mean Donald Trump knows that he's meeting someone who is smart, who's very disciplines, who's also tough to the point of, you know, eliminating -- I mean that literally -- his political opponents.

So it's not going to be easy for Trump, even if he is prepared and he is always notoriously unprepared.

SESAY: Speaking of difficult encounters, the German chancellor is coming to Washington Friday. She's meeting with President Trump. Macron got a state visit. She gets a working visit. She may go furthers. I mean, who knows?

But what are your expectations? I mean she comes hoping to talk to him about trade and the Iran deal. Does she suffer from the fact she's coming after Macron?

GENOVESE: Or maybe she benefits from it. I mean she's the number two of the one-two punch. Macron came in -- had the Tuesday love-in feast with the President. And then on Wednesday turned, spoke in front of the Congress and did a smack-down on President Trump that was shocking.

He just went down the list of issues in which he disagreed and Europeans disagreed with the President. I think that softens the ground for Angela Merkel to come in. She's tough and experienced. She's very polished. She's smart as a whip.

And I think after Macron did his damage, let's say, she's going to come in and say, ok, now it's time to get in line with the rest of the Europeans. We're a team. We need you, you need us. Let's try to work together.

And to do that let's keep the Iran deal. Let's do something about climate control. Let's do something about free trade. There's a whole list of things at which they just -- on which they disagree. And I'm not sure Merkel can swing that but I think that's going to be the message.

SESAY: I don't think Macron is getting another invite any time soon.

GENOVESE: Not soon.

SESAY: Not soon.

And Michael Genovese -- you are welcome any time here.

GENOVESE: Thank you so much.

SESAY: Thank you.

VAUSE: Absolutely. I won't even joke Kushner will be some guy that dated Ivanka. Ok.

Next on NEWSROOM L.A., more on the landmark Korean summit. We'll have a live report from the demilitarized zone in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Let's recap our breaking news for you.

History is being made on the Korean Peninsula. The leaders of North and South Korea are holding their meeting today at the demilitarized zone. Kim Jong-un wrote in a guest book, "A new history begins now." And reportedly said he's willing to go to Seoul, if invited.

[01:54:57] VAUSE: He was greeted by South Korean President Moon Jae- in. Both men smiled and appeared very much at ease. Mr. Moon even briefly crossed into the northern side of the DMZ and said the demarcation line has become a symbol of peace.

Ok. Last time this hour, CNN's Paula Hancock is live -- Hancocks rather -- is live in the DMZ for the latest because we're now hearing that yes, they have talked about denuclearization. They've also talked about ending the armistice and having a permanent peace deal. Those talks went on for about an hour and a half.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Yes, we just heard this from a blue hat official. A hundred minutes is how long they spoke for this morning. They'll also have another session this afternoon.

And they did talk about denuclearization we understand that as expected. And also talking about how they can have a permanent settlement of peace on the Peninsula. They still have an armistice here which technically means that both sides are still raw. In fact that was back in 1953.

But of course, this is a bigger issue. This isn't just something for North and South Korea to decide on. South Korea wasn't even a signatory to that armistice. It has to be the United States and China involved, as well as they signed the armistice.

But this is what we were expecting. We were expecting denuclearization, peace and inter-Korean relations to be the three top agenda issues. And we're being told that all three were talked about. No substance at this point that we're waiting to hear -- what was decided within those three agenda.

Another piece of information we're just getting through here as well is that the wives of the two leaders will be meeting this evening. They will be attending a banquet that will be held at the Panmunjom.

Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un's wife will be arriving around 6:15 in the evening at Panmunjom to attend that and Kim Jung-sook who's the wife of Moon Jae-in will also be at that banquet. They'll all meet -- the four of them -- and have a brief reception beforehand.

So even though this isn't officially a state visit, you get the wives or the spouses involved as well. And it seems more like a state visit. So certainly the optics very important -- John.

VAUSE: Guess who's coming to dinner? Paula -- thank you. Paula Hancocks -- I'm about to leave but you're not. Thank you for everything you've done today -- Paula.

HANCOCKS: Yes.

VAUSE: Appreciate it.

HANCOCKS: Thanks.

SESAY: Who does that?

VAUSE: Me.

Paula has been amazing. She's --

SESAY: She is. But you are indeed heading off. VAUSE: I am -- early matinee.

SESAY: I will staying for the next hour of NEWSROOM L.A. You've been watching CNN. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. The news continues, but I won't, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:00:12] SESAY: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour --