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President Trump Slams Media, Democrats At Campaign Rally; Trump Attacks Former FBI Director James Comey; North Korea Vows To Close Nuclear Test Site In May; Potential Tornado Outbreak Expected Next Week Aired 6-7a ET

Aired April 29, 2018 - 06:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Strength is going to keep us out of the nuclear war. What Jon Tester did to this man is a disgrace. Well, I know things about Tester that I could say too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, Trump isn't here if you haven't noticed. I would drag him mere myself.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondents Dinner? Russian collusion. Give me a break. We will impeach the president. I don't think we will have a lot of happy people if that happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think give the president credit when he deserves it. He pulled out of the Paris agreement and I think he should get credit because he pulled out when he said he did and that is a refreshing quality in a man!


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning to you.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's Sunday morning, after that sound bite, it's Sunday morning, people, and welcome.

BLACKWELL: All right. It's the politics and the punch lines that so many people will be talking about and probably arguing about today. President Trump dodging the jokes at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner to rally his base in Michigan.

PAUL: The crowd at the dinner in Washington seemed skeptical of the comedian's speech apparently. The crowd in Washington Township, Michigan, they were all in for the president's message which included criticizing James Comey, rift on Russia and personal progress on North Korea.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: One of the fake news groups, this morning, no, they were saying, what do you think of President Trump had to do with it? I tell you what. How about everything?


BLACKWELL: Well, the president also told the crowd that he is not playing around when it comes to Pyongyang and Kim Jong-un and drawing this reaction from the fans.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's very nice. Thank you. That's very nice. Nobel.


PAUL: As in peace prize there. We're covering these developments from every angle. Paula Hancock is reporting from the Korean Peninsula. We start with CNN's Sarah Westwood who is live in Washington for us.

So, Sarah, President Trump, full steam ahead it seems when it comes to his meeting with Kim Jong-un. What do we know about that?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Christi. President Trump was very eager to talk about his meeting with Kim Jong-un at the rally last night, the very friendly crowd answering that with crowds of chants of Nobel as in the Peace Prize.

Well, President Trump brushed that off saying he just wants to get the job done. He certainly had no problem claiming credit for progress and talks between North Korea and South Korea. We saw those unfold this week.

And teasing his upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un hinting that it could come within three to four weeks reiterating his promise to walk out of that meeting if it doesn't go his way. We know that this all comes after the administration has been behind the scenes working for more than a month to set up these potential talks between North Korea and the U.S. at the highest levels.

There are sticking points, though, over where exactly those talks will take place at a neutral location that's acceptable to both sides. We know, though, that President Trump has dispatched now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet Kim Jong-un ahead of that meeting.

And so, three to four weeks is a pretty quick timeline. It will be interesting to see just how close the administration really is to striking a deal that is acceptable to both sides of those talks -- Christi.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's bring in Paula Hancocks now. Paula, North Korea offering some new concessions overnight.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor and Christi. This is information we have just got from the presidential office here in South Korea. It's second-hand that they say it came from the mouth of Kim Jong-un saying that he has said that he will shut down his (inaudible) nuclear testing site in May.

So, a timetable there that we really haven't had before. Also saying that he was going to invite experts and journalists from South Korea, from the U.S. to show complete transparency.

He also said an interesting thing that he is not the kind of person that would fire a nuclear weapon against South Korea or against the United States. Obviously, a very different Kim Jong-un we were seeing on Friday than we have seen in recent months and years.

[06:05:02] As we have heard threats from North Korea against Washington, against Seoul, a number of other capitals but saying that he is not the kind of person that would do that. Now, he also said about this nuclear test site in the northeast of the country that he is going to shut down.

He refuted claims that it collapsed anyway. That Chinese geologists have said and so needed to be shut down. He said there were actually two more tunnels there that nobody knew about and they were in very good condition, but he was still going to shut it down.

One more thing as well, he also said that he was going to change time. A few years ago, Kim Jong-un decided to change the clocks back half an hour in Pyongyang, so they were different from Seoul. He's now going to move them into the Seoul time again so Kim Jong-un moving time twice in just a few years -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Moving time twice in just a few years.

PAUL: Who has the power for that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Paula Hancocks, Sarah Westwood is officially a CNN reporter. Welcome to CNN, Sarah.

WESTWOOD: Thank you.

PAUL: Welcome to the family, Sarah.


BLACKWELL: The president used his rally to attack Democrats who are calling for his impeachment and addressed the latest developments in the Russia investigation. Watch this.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have to keep the House because if you listen to Maxine Waters. What? She goes around saying, we will impeach him! And people said but he hasn't done anything wrong. That doesn't matter. We will impeach the president.

So, I don't think we are going to have a lot of happy people if that happens. I think it's going to be a little bit tough. She goes around and some others and says we will impeach him. Doesn't matter if you do anything right or wrong. They will do that. We have to win the House. You know what? We are going to win any way, but we are going to win the House. Have you heard about the lawyer? A year a woman lawyer saying I know nothing. Now, all of a sudden, she supposedly is involved with government. You know why?

If she did that, because Putin and the group said, you know, this Trump is killing us. What are you saying that you're involved with government so that we can go and make their life in the United States even more chaotic? Look at what has happened. Look at how these politicians have fallen for this junk. Russian collusion, give me a break.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about it. Joining me now, CNN political commentator, Errol Louis, and deputy managing editor at the "Weekly Standard," Kelly Jane Torrance. Good morning to both of you.

All right. So, Kelly, first to you, the president has used this line of argument before to keep Republicans in control of Congress or they are going to impeach me, Republicans have been some groups have been fundraising off of this. How effective is it?

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, "WEEKLY STANDARD": I think it actually can be fairly effective with the Republican base. I mean, let's face it. One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected is because you had a great number of people in the United States, who felt that their voices weren't being heard by traditional politicians.

And when you have politicians saying, hey, we don't like this guy who was elected we want to impeach them that makes them feel the lesson was not learned. The people in Washington are still not hearing their voices. So, I think it's a strategy that could backfire some, some ways for Democrats although I think they are strong going into the midterms.

BLACKWELL: So, Errol, you have to consider that this is a pretty impressive contortion here because the president over the last 16 months now has, by name, criticized Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Murkowski and McCain, and on down the list and ran against the Washington establishment and now he is saying keep the status quo to protect me.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. Look, you perceive, I think properly, the gap between the politics that work for Donald Trump and the politics that work for the other members of his party who are very worried going into the fall midterm elections.

So, for Donald Trump, when he pulls out impeachment, yes, it rallies the base, it brings a lot of waivers in line saying we didn't want to throw the guy out. We may have some misgivings, not like how things are going, but we don't necessarily want to see him impeached.

The polling suggests that it works not only to his favor, but also to that of some of the Republicans who are running with him. That is why, by the way, Victor, you see a lot of the Democratic leadership has access to the best polling data, Pelosi and the rest of the leadership, they keep saying not so fast on impeachment. This doesn't work for us.

It really spurs turnout. If there is going to be a blue wave, it's because there is an enthusiasm gap that the Democrats can win. When Trump starts warning about impeachment and when Republicans warn about impeachment, that sort of gets the excitement going in the Republican base.

[06:10:10] BLACKWELL: Kelly, let's talk about Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer that he brought up at the rally last night that now claims she is an informant for the Russian government. The president's explanation really corresponds with what the intelligence community and Russia analysts say was initially the reason that Russia first started meddling in the election was so chaos and then they chose their candidate. But there are some people believe on this one the president might be right that now is the time to start to bring up some other chaotic elements.

TORRANCE: Yes. I have to admit I was a little surprised to hear Donald Trump complaining about chaos in Washington. He normally seems to like to cause it and revel in it. Maybe Donald Trump is finally thinking that the deep state might be right about a few things and let's face it, when you look at what came out of that meeting, the Russians actually were not very successful, and nobody really got what they wanted.

The Trump people did not get the dirt on Hillary that they were going into that meeting thinking they were going to get and the Russians, in fact, did not get any sanctions lifted after Trump was elected and, in fact, we have only seen more sanctions on Russia.

Now admittedly some of those may have come reluctantly from Donald Trump, but he has a great team behind him that do understand what is going on in Russia and that Russia is trying to sew this chaos.

And it sounds like maybe they are getting through the president and he, himself, is starting to see, sometimes the Russians seem to like to do things to help me and other times they don't, and he finally realizes they do not support a single candidate but cause chaos and make western democracy look bad.

BLACKWELL: Errol, if the president believes she is telling the truth, is and was an informant for the Russian government, does not make the June 2016 more egregious? Is he serving himself and his team by acknowledging it?

LOUIS: Well, no. I mean, first of all, by acknowledging it he simply is coming along with reality as reflected in a ton of information, shall we say, as well as some indictments and some ongoing investigation.

It's no great sort of concession for him to simply acknowledge what everybody has already sort -- no. He does put himself and his team, those his former campaign team, including his son, in a little bit of a tricky position because, yes, if you go back and look at that meeting and what was said about it, it was supposed to be a nothing burger and nothing about a meeting about adoptions.

We know the candidate at the time was involved in trying to spin what that meeting was about. All of that now changes if the new line is going to be it was a direct intervention by the Russian government, and it cries out for further explanation from the president.

Now that you know this, what are you prepared to do about it shall what were all of those former statements about that meeting and what does Donald Jr. have to say about it and Paul Manafort have to say about it and how does it the legal problems that Paul Manafort has. Maybe more in the rally he shouldn't have gotten into.

BLACKWELL: And Kelly, you'd expect that Bob Mueller already knew that she was an informant. Does this, from your perspective, from your understanding, change anything legally, substantively that she is now telling reporters that she was an informant?

TORRANCE: No. Despise this being one of the leakest Washington's of all time even Bob Mueller is definitely a step ahead of the game and he knew all this. His office has been relatively good about not leaking.

It's really the people that are meeting with him that have been doing it. He knows all about this and has been a part of his investigation. So, if there are questions, I agree, need to be answered you know that his team is already looking to try to answer those.

BLACKWELL: All right. Kelly Jane Torrance and Errol Louis, thank you for being with us this morning. Stay with us. There is a lot more to discuss later this hour.

Also, later this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION," Governor John Kasich, Senator James Lankford as well as Stormy Daniels attorney, Michael Avennati will be with Jake Tapper at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

PAUL: Well, there are some mix reviews this morning regarding the White House Correspondents Dinner. A lot of people saying did Michelle Wolf speak truth to power? Did she deliver too many cheap shots? Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Should have done more research before he got me to do this.





PRESIDENT TRUMP: You may have heard I was invited to another event tonight, the White House Correspondents Dinner. But I'd much rather be in Washington, Michigan, than in Washington, D.C. right now. MICHELLE WOLF, COMEDIAN: Of course, Trump isn't here, if you haven't noticed. He is not here. I know. I know. I would drag him here myself, but it turns out the president of the United States is the one (inaudible) you're not allowed to grab!


BLACKWELL: All right. President Trump went head-to-head with the White House Correspondents Dinner. He held a campaign rally in Washington Township, Michigan, as he was slammed in Washington, D.C.

PAUL: Yes, a lot of people wondering was the dinner an effective counterpunch to a combative president or a political gift to him? Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent, and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" is with us now. What is your take and what is the word on the street at the end of the day the effectiveness or the success of the dinner?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You can judge it based on the comedy or judge it based on all of the controversies that ensued and certainly has been a split reaction to Mitchell Wolf's performance and maybe what she wanted.

[06:20:08] She wanted to stoke controversy and make some political points and many saying it was highly inappropriate. Others saying it was very funny. Either way her performance was definitely shocking. Here's a look at some of the highlights.


WOLF: You guys got to stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. All she does is lie. If you don't give her a platform she has nowhere to lie. Like the old saying if a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree?

I'm not suggesting she gets hurt, just stuck under a tree. There is Ivanka who was supposed to be an advocate for women, but it turns out she is about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons.

She's done nothing to satisfy women, so I guess like father, like daughter. You don't think he is good in bed. Come on. She does clean up nice, though. Ivanka cleans up nice. She is the diaper genie of the administration. On the outside she looks sleek, but the inside is still full (inaudible).

And of course, we have Sarah Huckabee Sanders. We are graced with her presence tonight. I have to say I'm a little star-struck. I love you as Aunt Lydia on the handmade tail. Mike Pence, if you haven't seen it, you would love it.

Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I'm not really sure what we are going to get. You know? A press briefing, a bunch of lies or a divided into softball teams. I actually really like Sarah.

I think she is very resourceful. Like, she burns fax and then uses that ash to create a smoky ash. Maybe she is born with it. Maybe it's lice. It's probably lice. It's 2018 and I'm a woman so you cannot shut me up unless you have Michael Cohen wire me $130,000. Michael, you can find me on Venmo under my porn star name, Reince Priebus.


STELTER: All right. There you go. Let the debate continue and some of Michelle wolf's jokes and especially when she was really criticizing the Trump administration officials who were in the room and I think that's one of the reasons why there's a lot of controversy over her performance.

She was, of course, doing it in an edgy stand-up act and what comedians sometimes do at the dinner but calling out the Trump admission officials who snubbed the dinner last year and decided to attend this year made for awkward moments at the dinner.

There are some people this morning saying the jokes about Sarah Sanders went too far. That it was about her physical appearance, looks. Michelle responded to Twitter saying, "Actually I was talking about Sarah Sanders capacity for lying and being misleading, quote, "her despicable behavior."

Meanwhile, Sean Spicer responded overnight saying the dinner was a disgrace. Michelle wolf had a two-word response saying, thank you, so Sean Spicer.

BLACKWELL: So, does it appear as if Kellyanne Conway and some of the other former administration officials and current, Sarah Sanders, went there to make those faces and not laugh or was this really more (inaudible), risque than in the year's past?

STELTER: I do think reactions broke down in two basic camps and I hate to over generalize, but here's what I saw in the reactions. Mercedes Schlapp, who is a White House aide and her husband, Matt Schlapp, they walked early during the performance.

I think they wanted to do that as a protest. Later, Matt Schlapp says that he is tired of elite's mocking up so that was a comment from the Schlapp family. You saw other conservative activists and Trump allies expressing disappointment with the performance saying that Michelle Wolf went too far.

You also some prominent journalists agreeing with that position. Peter Baker of "The New York Times" saying, quote, "Unfortunately, I don't think we advanced the cause of journalism tonight."

Our colleague, Jeff Zeleny, said he agreed with Baker that this was an embarrassment to the room that we should have the focus on journalism and not on comedy at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Look, this is a tension that exists every year and exacerbated this year because I think our politics are polarized, in some cases so poisonous because there are arguments on both sides that are so intense and Michelle Wolf was going right at that addressing the media's coverage of Trump and the lies and deceit that comes out of the White House.

I noticed a lot of comedians did up for Michelle Wolf after the performance and said you hired an edgy comedian so what were you expecting? I thought telling when Wolf said to the crowd you should have done more research before you invited me to Washington to do this.

[06:25:12] PAUL: I mean, it's not as though Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Sanders didn't expect to be part of the show. I mean, if you're in the room and you're part of the administration, you almost expect it to some degree I would think, but do you find it odd that the president would encourage them to go knowing that they'd have to probably sit there in that uncomfortable position and yet he would go himself?

STELTER: I think the president appreciates the split screen appearance of a night like the White House Correspondents Dinner. He likes seeing a bunch of journalists in tuxes and ball gowns in a ballroom he while he is holding a rally with the voters and he likes the appearance that that creates.

To him he's showing the swamp on one side and the voters on the other side. I think he likes that perception and leans into it and I'll guess. Maybe see him weigh in on Twitter later criticizing Michelle Wolf and part of this continuous battle that is going on.

I think what Trump allies saying she is showing the liberal media are out to get the Trump base. That argument which we have seen for years this tug of war is exacerbated by events like this one.

I would at one more thing. I think something Wolf was trying to do with these very risque jokes and x-rated jokes, I think she was trying to point over to President Trump and saying why is the behavior accepted in some cases by the leader of the free world, but I'm criticized up here as a comedian saying some of the same sorts of things? I think it might have been what she was going for and we will see if her message comes across or not.

PAUL: All right. Brian Stelter, thank you so much. We appreciate it. He is not going anywhere.

BLACKWELL: Be sure to catch Stelter on "RELIABLE SOURCES" at 11:00 a.m. Eastern today right here on CNN.

PAUL: Still to come, President Trump is continuing to attack Senator Jon Tester over the allegations of misconduct against White House Doctor Ronny Jackson. Now, he says he has something on the senator that could put his reelection in jeopardy. We have more on that.

BLACKWELL: Plus, we are tracking the potential for multi-day tornado threats across the plane. CNN meteorologist, Allison Chinchar is joining us next with your forecast.


[06:32:16] PAUL: Welcome back to Sunday morning here, 6:32 is the time.

I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

President Trump he held a campaign rally in Washington Township, Michigan, last night where he took shots of the media, and Democrats, and former FBI director James Comey among others. This was during the same time as the White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, D.C. which he skipped for the second consecutive year.

PAUL: Now over the course of the president's speech he touched on pretty much everything from border security to the misconduct allegations brought against White House doctor Ronny Jackson. Here is some of what he said.


TRUMP: We have to have borders and we have to have them fast and we need security. We need the wall. We are going to have it all.

And again, that wall has started. We got 1.6 billion. We come up again on September 28th and if we don't get border security we will have no choice.

We will close down the country because we need border security. You watch Comey and you watch the way he lies and then he has got the memos. I wonder when he wrote the memo, right?

Then he has got the memos and he puts them up. Watch the way he lies. It's the most incredible thing.

Do you remember Jon Lovett? Do you remember? The liar.

Well, Comey is worse. Comey is a liar and a leaker.


PAUL: Political panel is back with us here to discuss. Errol Louis and Kelly Jane Torrance. Thank you both for sticking around here.

I want to look at a couple of things, reference a couple of things that he said. First of all, Errol, regarding Jon Tester. He said, well, I know things about Tester that I could say too and if I said them he would never be elected again.

Is he going to have -- is he going to have to live up to that and do those kinds of really -- it sounds like a threat, does it affect Tester going forward as we look to midterms?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it depends on whether or not the president actually has any relevant information that voters in Montana would care about. I'd say it's a coin toss.

We have heard the president do this before where he says Comey better hope I don't have any tapes and I might have information on Obama. He has made sort of a career out of making these kinds of unsubstantiated charges. Half the time they fizzle out, the other half of the time they are not relevant.

So in this case I don't think Jon Tester necessarily is going to lose any sleep with the important caveat that -- like any politician he may have some embarrassing information that somehow has escaped the notice of voters for all these many years. If the president has it he would be well-advised to use it as soon as possible because it's a pretty tough race out there, but Tester as an incumbent looks like he plays very well right now.

We'll know better after the June primaries out there. But there are four Republicans coming after Jon Tester right now he looks like he's in a descent position to beat them all off.


PAUL: Kelly, do you believe that President Trump has something that could derail Tester?

KELLY JANE TORRACE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I have trouble believing it because if he had it, why wouldn't he have used it immediately to get away from all of the terrible allegations about Ronny Jackson?

As Errol said he said it before about having the Comey tapes, hinting that he did and he didn't. I think he's just very angry. And I have to say, you know, I think both sides have questions about this whole nomination.

I mean, if everything Jon Tester said was false, then why did Ronny Jackson withdraw his nomination? At the same time, it seems like a lot of the allegations may have been the case and if that is the case, obviously, the Trump administration did not vet him properly but I also have to wonder how he has kept his job this long.

A few of the allegations have to do with him not being able to perform his job properly when he was personal physician to Barack Obama. If that is the case how is he allowed to keep that job? It's an important job.

So still a lot of questions here and I'm not sure that Trump's veiled threats are going to help us answer any of them.

PAUL: Yes. I mean, he's had that job for 12 years.

One other thing that the president talked about, Errol, that I want to get your take on, border security. He said we have to have borders and we have to have them fast and we need security. He said we got 1.6 billion and here is the key.

We come up again on September 28th that if we don't get border security we have no choice. We will close down the country because we need border security. This is what stood out to some of us here. He didn't say we need to have the wall. He said we have -- he said we need to have border security. That could be cameras, that could be agents, that could be revitalizing parts of the wall or fencing that is already there.

Do you sense a shift in the president getting away from the wall sticking with the border security verbiage and does that matter?

LOUIS: Well, it certainly is a moving target. I mean, I thought Mexico was going to pay for all of this. I'm wondering why we are even wondering about whether or not a government shutdown would be necessary.

Let's be clear. When he says shut down the country he means a government shutdown based on that September deadline. So, no.

I think this has been evolving all along. This has always been purely a political issue. The Mexicans are not going to pay for it.

It's not even clear whether Congress is going to pay for it. And as you properly suggest, it's not clear whether or not it's going to be this wall that has been so heavily advertised.

One thing I'll tell you for sure, though, is it's unlikely that the Republican Party is going to look favorably on the idea of a government shutdown in the closing weeks of a very tough general election campaign. So if shortly after Labor Day there is a question about whether or not the government should shut down my guess is that Democrats and Republicans alike will figure out some way to move that particular question past Election Day.

I would be very, very surprised if in order to help the president or for any other reason they would allow a government shutdown right before a general election.

PAUL: I want to move to North Korea here real quickly, Kelly Jane, because the -- we know this morning that the North Korea says their nuclear test site, it's being destroyed next month and they are going to allow international experts to come into that. And witness I guess the destruction.

The internet -- international community, do you get a sense that there is a true gauge of what kind of resources, nuclear resources North Korea has? Because he may be saying, yes, you could come into this site we're going to -- but how do we know there is not another site somewhere?

TORRACE: That's a great question, Christi. And I will say there is a certain amount they can keep quiet but I was actually in Seoul in the DMZ at the end of February for the part of the Olympics and I talked to a senior analyst that we have there and he said that our intelligence tends to be very good. And we have a pretty good idea of what they have going on.

Now there is certain amount they can keep quiet but there is a lot of things that we have great satellite footage. We have got, you know, intelligence coming out so we do have a lot of information.

I have to tell you though when I was there, I mean, we are hearing a lot about denuclearization. We are not hearing a lot about will Kim start treating the people of North Korea better?

I have to say, you know, when I was looking at a pair of binoculars at the DMZ to North Korea I saw an oxen pulling plows. I mean, this country is poor, it's backwards. There's about a hundred thousand political prisoners right there.

I hope that we are going to hear a bit more about the people while we are talking about denuclearization.

PAUL: Errol, I see you shaking your head. Yes. I have a couple of seconds but I want to get your take on that.

LOUIS: Yes. No. Absolutely.

I mean, it's not just run-of-the-mill repression. People have to understand this is classified as crimes against humanity so bad as the repression there.

So this isn't just about making sure that there isn't a nuclear threat. This is also about thousands and thousands of people whose human rights and very existence are also at stake here.


PAUL: All right. Errol Louis, Kelly Jane Torrace, always appreciate having you both here. Thank you.

TORRACE: Thanks, Christi.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So let's dig more into that. Mike Pompeo's trip to North Korea, a historic summit between the Koreas now seeming to yield some positive results at least rhetorical.

South Korea says, Kim Jong-un will shut down his nuclear test site in May what (ph) questions are still ahead and will it really happen?


BLACKWELL: The new secretary of state Mike Pompeo is on his first official trip aboard. He is on his way to Israeli this is after a series of meetings in Saudi Arabia.

PAUL: So this morning we are learning more about his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un however ahead of President Trump's meeting with Un in the next three to four weeks, we now know.


Joining us to discuss, CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott. Elise, so good to see you this morning. What are the Secretary Pompeo say about his meeting with the North Korean leader?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really interesting, Christi and Victor. Secretary of state, former CIA director Mike Pompeo was kind of leading those discussions in the North Korean -- with the North Koreans up until then made that secret trip in the eastern to have that meeting with Kim Jong-un. He said it was a very good meeting and said that Kim Jong-un has committed as President Trump is looking forward to denuclearization the Korean peninsula.

Take a listen to what he told ABC News this morning.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: The president said that you have a good relationship with Kim Jong-un after this, a good relationship. Do you?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have a good conversation. We talked about serious matters. He was very well prepared.

I hope I've matched that. We had an extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries. I had a clear mission statement from President Trump when I left there, Kim Jong-un understood the mission exactly as I've described it today.

And he agreed that he was prepared to talk about that and to lay out a map that would help us achieve that objective and only time can tell if we can get that done.


LABOTT: And obviously now that he is secretary of state, Mike Pompeo will play a greater role in preparing that summit. You know, maybe we will see a trip to North Korea for him to lay the groundwork for the summit but clearly there's a lot of details that need to be worked out particularly what it means for denuclearization.

I think the North Koreans and the U.S. may have two different ideas of that, guys.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We need one group working definition of what denuclearization is.

All right. Let's talk about what we are hearing from the South Korean official second hand that he says or they are saying coming from North Korea about shutting down this nuclear test site next month and the type of person Kim says he is and is not.

LABOTT: That's right. Apparently when he met with South Korean President Moon he said, I'm not the type of person that needs to, you know, launch nuclear weapons or even make a nuclear test, and committed to getting rid of that test site in May, you know, in advance of this summit with President Trump. I mean, look. These are, you know, what we saw over the last couple of days is certainly ground breaking. Even the North Koreans said now that they are going to change their time zone to meet the South Koreans. He's talking about a new history, a new beginning.

We have been there before, guys. You know, many years ago the North Koreans blew up one of their cooling towers that was key for nuclear material processing and then they reconstituted everything. So it remains to be seen whether they are really committed to giving up their nuclear program.

Certainly they are saying all the right things, they are, you know, going through the motions. It remains to be seen what could come out of this meeting with President Trump. I don't think we are going to see a nuclear deal but if we keep going down this road, these steps, it certainly a process that takes everyone much further and much improved situation than we were just, you know, several months ago.

BLACKWELL: Just a dramatic and rapid change from hell fire on Guam. Remember when our reporters are there on Guam --

LABOTT: Fire and Fury.

BLACKWELL: Fire and fury back and forth and, you know --

PAUL: I've got (ph) my -- you push a button. It's ready to go.

BLACKWELL: I have my button on my desk to --

PAUL: Yes.


LABOTT: Mine's bigger than yours.

PAUL: That was just the first of the year.

BLACKWELL: The propaganda speakers going across the DMZ. I mean, this was not very long ago.

Elise Labott, I know you remember it. Our viewers remember it too. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

LABOTT: You bet.

PAUL: Thank you.

And this is still ahead. There is some severe weather out there you need to know about possibility of tornadoes today.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is watching it all.


Normally, Oklahoma would have 63 tornadoes in a year. So far, they have had zero. Likely that is going to change in the next three days. More on that coming up.



PAUL: So this year is the longest in which Oklahoma has gone without any tornadoes thus far.

BLACKWELL: Which is a good thing.

PAUL: It is.

BLACKWELL: Now the season is off to a late start but severe weather could change that next week.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us now. So first why haven't there been or why haven't we seen any tornadoes? What are the conditions that prevented those for the first part of the season?

CHINCHAR: Yes. So that is actually a really good question. So we take a look at a couple of different things for starters. Much of this area which we refer to as tornado alley has been so incredibly dry this year. You need moisture to help fuel those thunderstorms that later could develop tornadoes.

But also talk to anybody in the Midwest this year they have felt winter has just lingered. Well, the thing is having that extra cold air also helps prevent a lot of severe storms. And the other thing to note, a lot of the warm moist air there has really been suppressed down around the Gulf Coast region.

So when you look for that one area that is really lacked the ingredients for severe weather, it's this. Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, which surprisingly is where you often think there would be tornadoes. All three of those states have had zero tornadoes so far this year.

In fact, we have only had 270 total tornadoes for the entire country so far this year. We normally would average about 475. That is only about 57 percent.

So where have they been? Because we have had tornadoes, it's just not in the usual spots that you would think, OK?

So here is a look at the map. We have had some in Texas, that is also an obvious spot. Louisiana has actually been one of the highest states that so far that we have seen.

And then a few other scattered areas. But here is the thing. The area where we normally expect to see them, tornado alley, basically North Dakota all the way down to Texas, those are going to be the areas that are going to have the biggest threat in the coming days.

[06:55:01] Here is a look at Monday. You can see again South Dakota stretching down towards Texas. Then Tuesday, it starts to shift just a little bit further east but it also enhances the risk.

We are now starting to get a bigger threat for severe weather on Tuesday. And then you go into Wednesday. Again, a very similar area, Victor and Christi, but the threats are still the same.

And, yes, when we talk about this, this is expected to potentially be a tornado outbreak. Meaning not just one or two tornadoes but a lot of them and perhaps large tornadoes.

PAUL: All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for the heads- up, take note if you're in that area and do stay safe certainly.

BLACKWELL: All right. We are back after a quick break for the next hour.

PAUL: Yes. We have more highlights for you from President Trump and Washington Township, Michigan, as well as the Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, D.C.

You're watching CNN NEW DAY. We are glad you're here.