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Year Two of Mueller Investigation; June Summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un in Question; 10 Killed, 13 Wounded in Texas School Shooting; Ryan: Trying to "Address Our Members' Concerns" on DACA; NYT: Gulf Emissary Offered Trump Jr. 2016 Campaign Help. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired May 20, 2018 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:17] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Mueller marks one year on the job with team Trump telling him wrap it up.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I wonder what the heck is the legitimacy of the Mueller investigation in the first place.

HENDERSON: Plus, is the U.S.-North summit in jeopardy?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If the meeting happens, it happens. And if it doesn't, we go on to the next step.

HENDERSON: And tragedy inside a Texas high school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our teachers are telling us run, run, go, like run.

HENDERSON: Another deadly school shooting leaves students asking, is this the new normal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been happening everywhere. I felt like eventually it would happen here, too.

HENDESON: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.


HENDERSON: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Nia-Malika Henderson. John King is off today.

To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thanks for spending your Sunday with us.

The country is grieving for Santa Fe, Texas, this morning. Authorities say a 17-year-old student opened fire at his high school Friday, killing 10 and injuring at least 13. The alleged gunman is in custody now facing charges of capital murder and aggravated assault.

Officials say he used his father's guns, a gunshot and a revolver during the deadly rage. Investigators say that gun fire erupted at the school not long after classes began and authorities later found explosive devices, pipe bombs and pressure cookers in and around the school. For the teen survivors of this latest school attack, the emotion is all too raw and sadly all too familiar.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was scared for my life. Nobody should go through this and feel that in school. This is a place where we are supposed to feel safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the thoughts on my head is, I don't really care much what happens to me. I'm just thinking, I hope my friends are OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know why somebody would do this. Nobody in that room, nobody in that school deserved that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been happening everywhere. I felt -- I've always kind of felt like eventually, it was going to happen here, too. So, I don't know. I wasn't surprised. I was just scared.


HENDERSON: The shooting comes three months after a school massacre in Parkland, Florida that reignited a national debate about guns, including a march on Washington, school walkouts and legislative changes at the state level.

After the Florida massacre, the state's Republican government signed law raising minimum age to buy a gun to 21 and also allowed some teachers to carry guns.

Now, Texas Governor Greg Abbott who will attend a church service in Santa Fe later this morning says condolences aren't enough.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It's time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history of the state of Texas.


HENDERSON: With us to share the reporting and insights, we've got Carl Hulse from "The New York Times", "Bloomberg's" Margaret Talev, "Politico's" Rachael Bade, and Perry Bacon of "FiveThirtyEight".

Perry, I want to start off thinking about these kids, right? If you think about the 1950s, it was sort of the duck and cover generation, right? And now you have a situation where these kids, you heard from one of them there, essentially are expecting this kind of thing to happen at their schools. It's like they are the lockdown generation, almost.

PERRY BACON, SENIOR WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Yes, I can't stop thinking about it happened everywhere. I wasn't surprised.

Just think about this, we should be surprised that there are shootings in schools like this, but we are not. And like the students feeling that and saying that I can't stop thinking about this weekend. In terms of what happens next, the governor saying, we have to do something about it is important but I don't know what that means. I mean, Republican governors are the president committed to not pushing much gun control. Lieutenant governor saying we need fewer doors at schools which I don't this can anybody thinks is a serious idea except for him. I don't know what can happen in terms of policy.

HENDERSON: We have seen is this sort of new activist from the Parkland massacre that happened there in Florida and some kids involved in that. Emma Gonzalez, for instance, who is one of the activists reaching out to the kids at Santa Fe saying, Santa Fe High, you didn't deserve this. You deserve peace all your lives not just after a tombstone, saying that's put over you. You deserve more than thoughts and prayers. And after supporting us by walking out, we will be there to support you by raising up your voices.

[08:05:02] Rachael, one of the things that you've heard come out of this is some solutions. You hear Abbott there saying that he's going to look for some solutions, but also some people saying nothing could have been done in this situation. Particularly, that's one of the things that the NRA has said.

RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, I think that, you know, at the state level, Republicans are feeling some pressure. It will be interesting to see if Texas which is a red state. Republicans, you know, after the shootings often emphasize school safety. So, you know, getting more -- through grant money they can give to local officials to potentially bring in more security.

HENDESON: Hardening the schools.


BADE: The interesting thing I noticed is that a lot of advocates, gun control advocates have realized that they are not going to change policies in Washington right now. And so, what they're doing is they're really emphasizing getting young people registered to vote, getting them out to vote.

And there's one district in particular that I'm watching in Colorado that had two shootings in the past two decades. Mike Coffman, right around Denver, remember Columbine and Aurora. This is going to be a key district to watch to see if Democrats can really energize and push him out of office because he has been there, he's with the NRA.

We'll just see if they can make that change they are talking about.

HENDERSON: It will certainly be something that comes up in the midterms here. You had Ted Cruz who is up for reelection in 2018, he talked about the idea of gun control and whether or not this was a good idea. He said he talked with students at the hospital. Here is what he had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Every single student gathered in that hospital room said gun control is not the answer. They volunteered that unprompted. They said, listen, if you take away our guns, that's not going to make us safer because the murderers and criminals are still going to have guns.


HENDERSON: And it is true, Margaret, that Texas is different from Florida. Those students obviously very different growing up in a different sort of gun culture than possibly students in Florida. What do we think the national conversation will be around this?

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: I mean, I think there are two separate issues. One is, what are the politics of the terrible disaster shootings going to have in swing districts where gun control could be a pivot point or an issue? And then the separate question probably more important outside of the beltway most Americans is, how do you tackle this problem to keep our kids safe?

It seems obvious after Parkland and after all of these shootings and the most recent one that there is not an easy solution. Even if there was gun control, there would be -- this has to be a peace meal thing where law enforcement agencies are talking to each other. Schools are tough about gathering information about troublesome kids, because these things never come out of the blue after the fact.

It's always like that guy was a bully. That guy wrote weird stuff in his locker, you know? It's a combination of these things. I think it really is a separate issue than the political question which is, is the Republican recalcitrance to do really anything substantive on gun control reached a tipping point in swing districts in America?

HENDERSON: And, Carl, how do you see it? We've obviously seen a president reacting to the tragedies on his -- reacting in very different ways, sometimes flip-flopping.

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, remember the meeting where he said take the guns first. One interesting thing I thought by watching the governor there was him saying we can't just say our prayers anymore. That has been a talking point from the left against the Republicans in this. For him to say that I thought was very interesting.

You know, obviously, there is not anything big happening with gun control. I think the big difference is the Democrats are willing to talk about gun control. For years they wouldn't go near this issue during an election. They just didn't want to bring it up.

Now, I think they think that it is slowly becoming a more positive message for them in some of the swing states. I think you will hear a lot more people talking about it. And we'll see what happens in Texas. But I do think -- I think Rachael is right. It's going to go more to, you know, how we put more security officers in these schools. There was security there.


HULSE: So, one of the immediate reactions is not the solution. It's on the ballot this year and we'll see how it plays out.

HENDERSON: And, Margaret, the president, what are you -- I mean, you cover him day to day. What do you expect we might hear from him?

TALEV: So, you think I know what he's going to do --

HENDERSON: Tell us now.

TALEV: Look, he did set up this commission and promise to be committed to banning bump stocks. On the second category, the progress on that has been incremental. On the first category, I think the commission is the only structure he has to turn to. I don't know how immediately responsive a commission can be, but I do expect we're going to hear more from him in the coming days on this.

HENDERSON: Yes, we'll. Unfortunately, this might happen again.

Coming up, a Republican uprising over immigration and why Speaker Ryan can't quiet the revolt.


[08:l3:56] HENDERSON: An immigration showdown in the House is exposing deep GOP divisions as they face tough midterm prospects. Moderate Republicans are turning to Democrats, you got that right, turning to Democrats, to force a vote on DACA, saying they are sick of waiting for GOP leadership to act.

Speaker Ryan tried and he failed to calm the rebellion.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have been laboring to get to 218. It's clear that we don't have 218 for a specific bill. That is why members are now trying to figure out, well, how they can get their version of what they think should happen to the floor. I think it's futile to bring a discharge through, which would guarantee nothing goes into law. So, what we are trying to do is look at our members, to address our members' concerns and have a process that could actually get law.


HENDERSON: With moderates close to getting enough votes for their immigration petition, conservatives demanded a House vote on a hard line immigration plan. And when they didn't get their way they blocked a massive farm bill dealing a blow to Ryan.

[08:15:00] As the vote went down, CNN's Phil Mattingly reports that while Scalise continued to work on whipping members, Ryan walked to the back of the floor, leaned on a railing and looked on. At one point, he made a motion of wiping his hands as if to make clear that he was done with the process for the day.

Now, the failure raises questions about Ryan's ability to control his conference and his credibility as speaker. A senior Republican source told "Politico's" Rachael Bade, of course, Rachael is right here with us, that this is a problem -- this is a problem when you have a lame duck speaker who announces he is leaving eight months in advance.

He can make calls to members to vote -- to urge them to vote for something but who will care?

Indeed, Rachael, who will care? One of the things, you got Paul Ryan wiping his hands of this process. It seems like some of his members are wiping their hands on Paul Ryan in this instance.

BADE: Yes, I think some people are starting to get antsy. They would like to see new leadership and they are ready to move on.

I mean, listen, Paul Ryan has had a really tough couple of weeks. It began obviously with the chaplain flap. He fired, you know, a Catholic priest who, you know, was basically the minister for the members.

And then there was a huge backlash to that. You've got the moderates who are sick of waiting for a bipartisan DACA fix. And they are revealing against him.

And then the failure of this farm bill was particularly embarrassing because conservatives weren't the only ones who took this bill down. You know, there was a back story we're not talking about. There were a bunch of allies who voted against the bill that he should have been able to corral.


BADE: And that's why I think you are seeing some people push on him. Yes, you have folks blaming conservatives, you know, conservatives blaming leaders. There is the narrative out there, the sort of under the radar thing going on where, you know, he should have been able to twist some arms that he was unable to twist.

HENDERSON: And one of the arms he was unable to twist, Representative Jeff Denham. Here is talking about what the issue among those moderates in the House.


REP. JEFF DENHAM (R), CALIFORNIA: We have given a lot of time, years actually, to not only secure our border but find a permanent fix for Dreamers. I have asked the speaker every single week, give us a timeline when these bills, when we can have a full debate in front of the American people. And we failed to get one.

And so, we are forcing one. This is Republicans and Democrats coming together just to say let's have a debate. Let members answer to their own districts on what their position is to doing this.


HENDERSON: Carl, this is all about immigration. It's all about where the folks are running. He is in California. A lot of people who sign this petition I think 20 Republicans so far are in districts that Hillary Clinton won.

HULSE: This to me is the really interesting thing about this, because it's been the conservatives for years in the House who have caused trouble and stirred things up. This time I hesitate to call them moderates. But more moderate Republicans who are saying, we are the ones who are on the line in November. We need to be taken care of. You can't just go with what these conservatives want.

And so, Ryan, they have been kind of cooperative and helped Ryan push things through. Now they are saying it is our turn, we are the ones at risk.

And I think to Rachael's point on the farm bill, this was really a double disaster for the Republicans because not only do they have to face immigration, but they have brought down the farm bill. They need farmers. This is one of their core constituencies. Farmers are seeing House Republicans abandon us.

I think it was a bad --

HENDERSON: A double disaster.

HULSE: And it's one of the reasons that previous speakers haven't announced early that they were leaving.


TALEV: I also think this is something that John Boehner struggled with. Remember John Boehner, it wasn't that long ago, struggled before Paul Ryan took over, where Speaker Ryan has got to juggle what he believes personally with what he believes his Congress wants and it is hard to understand that caucus. It's so diverse.

But remember, Paul Ryan, the Catholic -- you know, a sort of his brand of compassionate conservatism and how you can minister to the poor, that sort of aggressive immigration in the opposite direction are certainly not what he wants either. So, this tension with the House Freedom Caucus and more conservative elements has just been this fissure that has been very difficult to manage personally and to try not to say what he's really thinking.

BACON: One thing I wonder, we started off with a clip of Ryan saying there is not 218 votes. I don't think that's actually true. I think if the bill protects Dreamers probably has a majority almost all Democrats and a bunch of Republicans. I understand that.

But it's not -- the underlying issue here is that the bill with the majority support in the Senate and the House among hall chambers is not something Trump supports. The core of this is Ryan doesn't want to pass a bill that Trump doesn't support. And the core of this is what we're talking about all earlier, which is that Trump is not clear what immigration bill people like and Trump will sign.

[08:20:05] I think the answer is nothing we can figure out.

HENDERSON: We'll see what it means for the midterms. Obviously, people who are incumbents as well as congressional candidate Dan David who is running in a Philadelphia suburban district. Here is what he said.

I would like the president to do his job and I will do mine. That's what Dan David said. I win or lose on my team's merits. I think that the president has a very, very full plate with foreign affairs and special prosecutor investigations.

Burn there. He is a Republican.

What is the president doing? I mean, the president in terms of immigration, he seems, Margaret, you (INAUDIBLE) about the president, he seems to want to be hard liner on immigration. You hear the rhetoric coming out of this White House.

TALEV: Yes, and I think we'll continue to see that. And he -- when the president needs to he will tack a little more specifically to the criminal or national security threat aspects to some, you know, slice of illegal immigration. But that's different than the question posed to voters on the ballot in swing districts. It is going to be much more --

HENDERSON: Narrow and about DACA.

TALEV: Yes. About the economy, about DACA, about compassion for children who came here. That is the political debate in November, in the places where a lot of control over the chamber is going to be decided.

HENDERSON: Those 23 seats, can Democrat --

TALEV: Different than base politics.

HENDERSON: Yes, next President Trump and his allies say it is time for Bob Mueller to wind down his Russia meddling probe but there is word this weekend it might still be expanding.


[08:26:04] HENDERSON: It's now year two of the special counsel probe and Robert Mueller is facing fresh attacks from the White House and its allies. And Rudy Giuliani, one of the newest additions to Trump's legal team, is leading the charge.


GIULIANI: Mueller should now bring this to a close. It has been a year. He has gotten 1.4 million documents. He's interviewed 28 witnesses and he has nothing.

If you can tell me that this investigation is worth the time that it has gotten and the money spent, then you don't know what you are talking about.


HENDERSON: So far, Mueller has brought 75 criminal charges against 22 people and companies and he secured five guilty pleas. And we are learning this weekend that the probe is expanding into possible foreign campaign interference beyond Russia.

"The New York Times" reporting on previously unknown Trump Tower meeting in August of 2016 that included Donald Trump Jr., an emissary for two wealth Arab princes, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, and prominent Trump supporter Erik Prince who is former CEO of the controversial private security firm, Blackwater.

Now, "The Times" says the meeting's participants offered to help the Trump campaign and he responded positively and that is unclear if anything came of it. Trump Jr. says nothing did. But the emissary, George Nader, met frequently after that with Trump advisers and CNN reported two months ago that Nader is cooperating with the special counsel investigation and has testified before the grand jury.

Just want to make clear that it's Trump Jr. who said nothing came of it and that the meetings were with Trump Jr.

Carl, this is your paper. Someone jokingly referred to Donald Trump as the forest gum of collusion. He seems to be open to it at some point meeting in Trump Tower in July 2016, and now, this meeting coming to light. This doesn't look great.

HULSE: Yes, I think it is an important new development obviously. Remember a couple of weeks ago when Rudy Giuliani was brought on, it was because he understood Bob Mueller and knew the process and could work with him and he was very cool and calm about it? Look how much that has changed over these weeks.

They are super frustrated, but Bob Mueller is not going anywhere. And I think that that is what we're seeing. And one of the problems is, is that the president had been told time and time again that this was -- that they were going to get this over with, you know? At the beginning of the year, it was going to be over with. They are sitting there and it is getting bigger and bigger.

I think that we will see a lot of pushback from the White House on this latest meeting like the pushback that came last week. We had a plant in our campaign and that turned out to be not exactly the case.

HENDERSON: Yes, and this is the president tweeting on Thursday and Friday about what you are mentioning in this so-called plant. The president of the United States tweeting: Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted for political purposes into my campaign for president. If true, it's a big if true, all time biggest political scandal. He also tweeted if so this is bigger than Watergate.

It does seem like they have gone from sort of a witch-hunt to sort of spygate in terms of the way they are talking about this. TALEV: Sure, and, of course, what he tweeted, it does not reflect

what the --

HENDERSON: The report actually says, right.

TALEV: -- is going on.

No, it's just -- the story is confusing and a little hard to follow but it's important for people to understand what's really going on. This is a serious investigation that so far keeps finding new areas to investigate. It's not like they are creating tangents that have nothing to do anything.

We are talking about every time you sort of peel away the onion, there is a new direction to follow in terms of contact with somebody close to the president or deeply involved with the candidates had with somebody in at least unorthodoxed manner that requires further investigation.

[08:29:57] And you have to imagine that if this were a different president, a previous president in office or a different president now that each one of these revelations in and of themselves would be a major news story, grounds for congressional investigation.

One of the challenges that Robert Mueller faces, at least in the court of public opinion and maybe in real life, is that people expect things to be resolved very quickly now. People are used to, you know, instant everything.


TALEV: And this is very complicated stuff. And another problem is that the Republican leadership either isn't sure if they will want to stand up to President Trump on this and draw a protective line --

HENDERSON: Particularly in a midterm year, right.

TALEV: -- or if there is a political calculation. But what Mr. Mueller has on the other side sort of going for him is that there seems to be some substance behind each door, something further to pursue.

HENDERSON: And Rachael, you've got Trump tweeting basically to say release the documents -- calling on DOJ to release the documents. What do you make of that? Where does this go? What does Congress do?

RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: It seems like one of the new lines of attack we are seeing Republicans do on the Hill is that they are demanding things from the Justice Department that Justice is not comfortable giving over whether it's, you know, the identity of an informant.

TALEV: The identity of an informant.

HENDERSON: Right. BADE: Yes. You know, the FBI director said just this week that the day we can't protect a human source is the day that Americans are less safe. So Republicans have found this avenue where they ask for something DOJ is not comfortable giving it. And then they say sort of say well, we're going to hold you in contempt of Congress. And so they're sort of attacking the investigation that way through documents.

I do think it's important to note that, you know, the President's allies are saying time to wrap this up. It's been a year. You know, in FBI terms one year, this is nothing.

HENDERSON: Yes. You think about all the other investigations -- Valerie Plame.

PERRY BACON, SENIOR WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Whitewater, Benghazi matter, Iran contra. One year is not a long time. We did a (INAUDIBLE) one year is a very short time actually particularly with the number of guilty pleas as you have shown. So the idea that -- wrap it up is a very odd thing to say.

Also I don't want to, you know, forget about this week. What we saw this week where it appears that Devin Nunes with the President and some other people basically outed an FBI informant as a very important story. We are now beyond just investigating an investigation to be sort of almost looking like Christopher Wray was trying to say -- the FBI director -0- please stop doing these types of things. They really hurt not only this investigation but future investigations and they will not stop doing it.

It appears, you know, we are in a dangerous (INAUDIBLE) era I think of like trying to break up DOJ investigations.

HENDERSON: And Mark Warner who is, of course, senator from Virginia -- he spoke to this idea. He said it would be at best irresponsible and at worst potentially illegal for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russia interference in our election.

Margaret -- what is the President's next move here in terms of talking about this? Is this just going to be where he is in terms of hammering this whole idea, this wrong idea that there was a spy embedded into his campaign?

TALEV: Yes. I think if nothing else, if no ramping up occurs we will see certainly see a continuation of this effort to sort of discredit the validity of where the investigation is going or what's happening and to try to kind of wear the public down, give it alternate ways to think about this. And that is certainly what he has done.

And the big question has always and continues to be will he try to do something more extreme than that? And will there be any recourse for Congress.

HENDERSON: And we have seen some of that, I mean kind of the wearing down on the public. A recent CNN poll shows that Republican support for Mueller fell from 29 percent in March to 17 percent in May.

The next big question -- does the President testify? Right. I mean that's part of the debate here. You've got Rudy Giuliani in some ways being all over the place on this; the President himself in some ways being all over the place. What do you think they are laying the groundwork for -- Carl?

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think, you know, what they're laying the groundwork for here is what everyone just talked about. This isn't really aimed at Mueller, the pressure. It's aimed at the public to create this perception. "Boy, this is really dragging on. And look at this investigation, they don't really have anything."

And so they're trying to undermine Mueller and they're having some success. I have no idea if the President will testify. I think that idea still makes a lot of people very nervous.

BACON: I asked -- we talked about it this December --

TALEV: Right.

BACON: He doesn't want to testify. I think it's pretty obvious. No, I don't think he's going to testify.

HENDERSON: Yes. Rachael?

TALEV: We'll see. Yes, it's the big --

BADE: Trying to predict Trump is very difficult.

HENDERSON: Yes. You are exactly right.

Next up, North Korea speaking of unpredictability, goes after Team Trump and threatens to scuttle the summit. What the White House is saying now about the meeting.

But first politicians and former cabinet members say the darnedest things. Check out this pointed commencement message from former secretary of state Rex Tillerson.


[08:34:59] REX TILLERSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The central tent of a free society, a free people is access to the truth. If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.

When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth, even on what may seem the most trivial of matters we go wobbly on America.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:40:05] HENDERSON: Will they or won't they? The summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un still isn't a sure thing. Now that uncertainty comes after North Korea issued a scathing statement saying they wouldn't be driven into a corner and forced into unilateral nuclear abandonment. They also called out national security advisor John Bolton citing feelings of repugnance towards him.

But President Trump who had touted progress and praised the North Korean leader says the summit will go on or maybe it won't.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing has changed on North Korea that we know of. We have not been told anything. And if it does that's fine. If it doesn't I think we will probably have a very successful meeting.

We've heard certain things from South Korea. But we'll see what happens. If the meeting happens it happens. And if it doesn't we go on to the next step.


HENDERSON: And officials in Seoul say South Korean President Moon spoke for about 20 minutes last night with President Trump. A statement from Moon's office says they discussed North Koreans' various reactions to the scheduled summit and promised to continue working together to prepare.

Margaret -- is this thing happening? I mean is this kind of part of the whole theater of it -- the kind of cliffhanger aspect that Trump likes to have with everything?

TALEV: Well, the President is right in suggesting that the White House is proceeding as if it were going to happen. They are proceeding with those plans to put together all the plans for the travel and logistics for a summit like this.

The problem strategically is the President has won is that he has shown his hand. And North Korea can see how bad he wants it. And he wants it. Talk about the Nobel Peace Prize although that is sort of the cherry on top. He has just shown how eager he is to have them.

When you hear him in that cliff saying if it happens, it happens; if it doesn't it doesn't; like obviously that's meant to kind of downplay the idea that he is always edging (ph) about.

But Kim Jong-un is a smart guy. And he can see that the President has some domestic trouble at home. The President has not a whole lot of foreign policy accomplishments outside of this and this difficult midterm. And that the President has used this idea that he could be leading the U.S. to a huge moment of diplomacy to boost his political standing at home. And Kim understands that for every president your power base, your strength starts at home.

So certainly it's a test.


TALEV: But beyond that, is it more than a test? Is Kim -- we're getting down to brass tacks now -- I mean downsizing the military exercises is one thing but --

HENDERSON: -- which is what they did in reaction.

TALEV: -- that's right. And that was --

HENDERSON: Concession, yes.

TALEV: -- a win for Kim. But Kim understands that the President is talking about total denuclearization. Obviously Kim is not going to go into any summit giving up all sorts of stuff.

And so it is at the very least a signaling, a political shot across the bow. But it may signal more than that. I don't know if the summit will happen. I know that they are planning for a summit to happen.

HENDERSON: And we know that Trump wants to talk directly to KJU obviously at this moment. And did that on Thursday, as well, when he talked about the Libyan model and really essentially threw John Bolton --

TALEV: The Libya model.

HENDERSON: -- under a bus several times. Here it is.


TRUMP: The Libyan model isn't a model that we have at all when we're thinking of North Korea. In Libya we decimated that country. That country was decimated. There was no deal to keep Qaddafi -- that model with Qaddafi. That was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him.

Now that model would take place if we don't make a deal most likely. But if we make a deal I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy.

HENDERSON: And Carl -- one of the things that Trump talked about was offering protections to Kim Jong-un which he is a dictator, isn't he. And this idea --


HENDERSON: -- I mean what did you make of that?

HULSE: What I make of all of this is that this was never going to be easy, right. You are dealing with North Koreans and they're going to try and play you as much as they can and they are having some success in doing that. I just think that as Margaret was saying, the President wants this so bad. And there is a possibility that it might not happen and that's going to be a disaster for the President who has built this up so big.

You know, I think that we're going to be going through this for the next few days. The Chinese and the trade is all part of this negotiation. And you know, we'll have to see how it plays out. You have two extremely unpredictable people at the top.

HENDERSON: Yes. I'm going to quickly play Lindsey Graham essentially offering a warning to the North Korean leader and Trump really saying how bad he sort of wants it. Here it goes.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The worst thing you could do is sit down and meet with President Trump then try to play him because if you do that we're going to have a war and you're going to lose it.

TRUMP: I want to have peace in the world. That's what I really want more so than Nobel Peace Prize or any other prize. I'd like to see peace in the, ideally in the Middle East but in the entire world.


[08:45:05] HENDERSON: And that's what we have been getting at -- Trump's sort of thirstiness around a deal.

BADE: Yes, it's interesting. You see people in the administration playing like the good cop/bad cop with the Libya example, for example. Remember with Libya Qaddafi gave up his weapons, right -- his nuclear weapons and then he was overthrown by an uprising that was backed by the United States and then he was killed.

So Bolton going out there and saying --

HENDERSON: The Libyan model --

BADE: -- yes. So going out there and saying, you know, well we're going to use this model for, you know, North Korea -- of course, they would say wait a second. So Trump had to push back on it and say now that is not really what we are doing.

But then at the tail end of that, notice he says unless they don't work with me then we will consider that.

HENDERSON: And Perry -- do you think we will see sort of lowering of expectations around this? I mean Trump talking about being the peace maker and then saying, you know, maybe not? What is your sense?

BACON: I don't think Trump lowers -- I don't know if that's how he thinks about the world. It's not a criticism (ph).

I do think the key thing is the summit is June 12. He has to avoid in my mind negotiating before then. Like if he is giving up more things before then it makes it harder to, you know, push further. So I think that's the key thing is you (INAUDIBLE) the summit so you have to actually be willing to walk away and he is saying he is but I'll be curious to see if he can actually do that, you know, walk away if he has already given up too much to have the summit in the first place.

HENDERSON: Right. And we'll have to see what happens over these next, you know, three weeks or so before it happens.

And next our reporters will share a page from their notebooks including why Harry and Meghan's big day ignited a new and diverse generation of royal enthusiasts.


HENDERSON: Let's ahead around the INSIDE POLITICS table and ask our great reporters to share a little something from their notebooks to help get you ahead of the political news that is upcoming this week.

Carl -- we'll start with you.

HULSE: Well, there is a big fight brewing on criminal justice reform which is really interesting because there is a bill that's emerged from the House that to people who want a bigger package only does really half of it. They want -- there's advocates in the House and Senate who want more on sentencing reductions and it's created this fight where both Democrats and Republicans are split.

The White House is behind the bill that is coming out. And I think you're going to see some interesting things where people who are for criminal justice reform are going to be fighting over this bill.

HENDERSON: And some unlikely alliances here -- Van Jones, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump --

HULSE: Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley on the other side; John Lewis went from some of his friends in the Black Caucus. It's really shaping up to be something.


HENDERSON: Interesting to watch.


TALEV: I'm keeping my eye on China this week and maybe more specifically on what President Trump does or doesn't say about China. As we all know there was this visit a couple of weeks ago with U.S. officials to China this sort of wildly regarded as not particularly successful.

And then another round in D.C. and this most recently we saw a statement over the weekend, a joint statement, from the two countries very positive talking about -- essentially suggesting things are much better and were on a very good track but really very little detail.

How much money are we talking about? China says they're going to buy more U.S. goods. What does that mean? Is President Trump backing away from this tariff threat that he was so explicit about?

And as you know this comes after the President made these very positive statements suggesting he would help ZTE --


TALEV: -- the telecom company that was involved in Iran and North Korea. Why? What is this all building up to?

It is very important to watch now what the president and team signal in these last couple of weeks ahead of what he hopes is going to be this North Korea summit.

HENDERSON: Another test of his great negotiating skills. We'll see what happens.

TALEV: Indeed.

BADE: So House Republicans in their battle to keep the House have basically been building this shadow campaign. There is this super PAC that sort of bills itself as the super PAC to protect the House for Republicans and it's doing something particularly interesting. Usually super PACs put a lot of money in at the last minute and do a lot of sort of negative advertising on TV.

This super PAC has hired 4,000 -- well, recruited 4,000 volunteers and has set up a ground game in 34 swing districts -- something that we have never seen done before.

And for comparison Democrats don't have anything of this sort on their own super PAC. And they are able to take unlimited campaign contributions and basically funnel all this money into these key districts. So time will tell if it works.


BADE: But it's certainly interesting what they're doing.

HENDERSON: We'll see what this looks like.


BACON: So big set of primaries on Tuesday. And I'm watching two races -- two Democratic primaries. There is one in Houston in the seventh district in that area and there's one in Georgia for governor. And they have the same dynamic though. We're both down -- you have two Democrats running.

One Democrat says I'm going to win the general election by going out and mobilizing our base. Everyone who stayed home who voted for Obama last time or something like that. So the one candidate says that.

The other candidate says there is not enough base voters. We need to win some of those Trump people, too. And so the Democrats in both Georgia and Texas will choose which is a path that's working better and which patch can get them over the line. My guess is neither for Georgia.



BACON: But we'll find out which candidate -- you know, which candidate wins the primary.

HENDERSON: Georgia and Texas -- sort of the holy grails of --

BACON: Of Democrat.

HENDERSON: -- Democrats, yes.

And I will close with something fun -- the royal wedding. I was one of the millions, actually probably might have been billions who got up and watched Meghan and Harry get married. And what a service it was. A passionate sermon about love that quoted "Martin Luther King" and enslaved Americans, a gospel rendition of a classic soul song and wrapping it all up with an Etta James civil rights anthem.

[08:54:59] The wedding sparked a kind of royalism among a new and diverse sector of society, sparked enthusiasm among the younger generation and opened up a whole new chapter in the relationship between Brits and Americans.

So what's next? When will they visit America and will they stop by the White House? And what will Meghan Markle, a proud feminist, mean to conversations around inequality? It will all be fascinating to watch for millions and millions around the world.

And that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Again, thanks for sharing your Sunday morning.

Hope you can catch us on week days as well at noon Eastern.

And up next we've got "STATE OF THE UNION" where Jake Tapper will interview the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner. Tune in.