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Report: Trump Says, I Can Guarantee Kim Jong Un's Safety If Deal Made; Trump Says Summit with North Korea May Not Happen in June; Trump Calls Xi A World Class Poker Player; DHS Chief Says Russia Did Not Interfere in U.S. Election; Border Agent Stops U.S. Citizens Who Are Speaking Spanish. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired May 22, 2018 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you very much for being with me on this Tuesday. We have a lot to talk about. Moments ago, President Trump guaranteed the safety of North Korean dictator Kim Jong un if he eliminates his nuclear weapons program.

It's a major carrot if you will in this whole lead up to their historic summit to de-nuclearize, it's easy for me to say, the rogue nation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will guarantee his safety, yes. We will guarantee his safety. We've talked about that from the beginning. He will be safe, he will be happy. His country will be rich, hard working and very prosperous. They're very great people. They're hard working, great people. Look what happened with South Korea. He will be extremely happy if something works out. And if it doesn't work out, honestly, he can't be happy. But he has a chance to do something that maybe has never been done before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: President Trump made his comments during an oval office photo-op with South Korean President Moon Jae-in who is making a critical pitch for Trump to stay the course. Some say moon oversold just how willing North Korea is to give away their nuclear program. Now the president is saying the meeting is set for June 12th in Singapore. Well, he says, it may not happen by that scheduled date.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There's a very substantial chance that it won't work out and that's OK. That doesn't mean it won't work out for a period of time. But it may not work out for June 12th but there's a good chance we'll have the meeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Our senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny, listening from everything to North Korea may not happen to China and the role of president as the master poker player to disgraceful spies in his campaign. Where do you want to begin?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It definitely is a sign that all of these different topics are linked. This is what the president has on his plate. This is what the president has in his mind. He certainly has downplayed and is ratcheting expectations back for the summit in Singapore, which is only about three weeks away. The president said it may not happen at that point. He hopes it happens in the long term. I was struck by the president of course talking again about the Russian investigation, asked a question about something he has been trying to undermine and discredit and ask some questions about it saying again today if there were spies in the FBI, something should be done about it, people should be alarmed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. If they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country. That would be one of the biggest insults that anyone's ever seen, and it would be very illegal, make probably every political event ever look like small potatoes. But if they had spice in my campaign during my campaign for political purposes, that would be unprecedented in the history of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: So, the president clearly wanting to use the word spies, saying the word spies over and over. The person in question is a confidential source is an American citizen who has a longstanding relationship with the intelligence community, the FBI and others. And so, the word spy there is certainly implies likely more than was there. The FBI certainly not saying there's any evidence of spies in the campaign. But this is something that is weighing on the president's mind, largely by his own making here. He wants this to be an issue front and center to discredit the Russia investigation. Of course, all of this happening as one of the bigger diplomatic things happening was the sim it with Kim Jong un. That was a pretty interesting snapshot what the president is saying there.

[14:05:00] BALDWIN: Interesting. You could say that. I have with me are CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and former CIA intelligence officer David Priess who wrote the book. "The President's Book of Secrets, The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents."

Good to have both of y'all on. Gloria, let me dive in to you, the headlines, about how Trump said he would guarantee Kim Jong un's safety. Now, he said that but let's remember what his own vice president said in the last 24 hours warning that Kim could wind up ala Libya and Muammar Gaddafi, dead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was some talk about the Libyan model last week and as the president made clear, this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong un doesn't make a deal. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people saw that as a threat.

PENCE: I think it's more of a fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: How do you square that?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It is kind of hard. After John Bolton, the national security adviser originally made the statement about Libya, then the president backtracked on it and said no, no, no, the Libyan model is not the model we are thinking about and that threw things off track. I don't understand and maybe someone can explain it to me how the president can say that we will guarantee Kim Jong un's safety. What if he is under threat from his own people, for example? Does that mean that the United States would intervene on his behalf? I think he's trying to do is bend over backwards to say forget all that stuff about Libya, but then you have the vice president coming out and saying, well, that's what's going to happen if there's no deal. So, there are really mixed signals coming from this administration.

BALDWIN: Yes. David, to you on how Trump is also in the headline saying he's not entirely sure the meeting is happening, right, which is in stark contrast, again mixed messaging from what we've heard in the last at least week but he does say he thinks Kim Jong un is serious, Trump is saying he'll be happy, his country will be rich, they'll be extremely happy if this deal is worked out. Does it sound to you like president Trump and the United States wants the summit more than North Korea does?

DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: He certainly does. And the confusion in the policy statements between the president and vice president and national security adviser and president, the president's own words are mixed because he lays out a very good logic by which North Korea will benefit if they move forward, get the benefits of international cooperation and later in his comments he said, but it may happen, it may not happen. Whatever it is, it is. And I just can't believe that you go off to get married, the president goes off and becomes a stoic philosopher. This president is not Emperor Marcus Aurelius but is clearly taking an attitude on this and so many issues of we'll see what happens, which leaves him open to say, well, I didn't promise anything, I just laid out a good situation for him to follow and he chose not to.

BALDWIN: Yes, that whole wedding thing happened, and I came back. At the same time the we'll see what happens, that's a similarity that I knew before. The bit about China, because it seemed to me all his language, it's almost like he was talking to Kim Jong un. He was blaming it sounded like President Xi will being the one to have Kim move away from the summit. Blaming him, calling him this master poker player. Here he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think President Xi is a world class poker player. Probably may be doing the same thing that he would do. But I will say this, there is a someone different attitude after that meeting and I'm a little surprised. Now maybe nothing happened. I'm not blaming anybody. I'm saying maybe nothing happened, and maybe it did. There was a different attitude by the North Korean folks with -- after that meeting. So, I don't think it was a great meeting. Nobody knew about the meeting and all of a sudden it was reported that he was in China second time. The first time everybody knew about. The second time was like a surprise. And I think things changed after that meeting. So, can't say that I'm happy about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Can't say I'm happy about it. Gloria, to you does this explain, though -- talk to me about the role of China in all of this and Trump's recent behavior toward China and the terrorists.

[14:10:00] BORGER: Look, China is a very important player and they know it. You had Marco Rubio, conservative Republican tweeting today that basically he said sadly China is out-negotiating the administration because they're winning the trade talks right now. They have avoided tariffs and he said the United States hasn't gotten anything meaningful in return by using North Korea and agriculture issues as leverage. This is not winning, he says.

BALDWIN: Fair criticism from Mr. I'm going to get tough on China?

BORGER: That's right. You have Donald Trump backing down. They say they're not backing down but they are backing down. And the question is why? And you have somebody like Marco Rubio coming out and saying this is not winning, this is not the way anything ought to be negotiated. And I -- my major point in all of this quite honestly is that you can't have this kind of ad hoc foreign policy. These kind of meetings are usually set up with months and months if not years of negotiations before the principles even meet or talk.

And what we've seen go on here over a period of time of, I don't know, weeks or a couple of months is that this is being negotiated in public and we see the ups and downs and I think the president was really optimistic that he could do something nobody else could do just by sheer force of nature and suddenly he sees the Chinese decide, well, we're going to get some leverage here, so he seems a little surprised and perturbed by it.

BALDWIN: He's perturbed and then you have Moon, who according to officials we're talking to, that the U.S. is pretty irked that it was Moon who kind of oversold North Korea's willingness to hold the summit in the first place. When you listen to the language, it was Trump saying maybe, maybe not this whole thing will happen, it was moon saying upcoming summit as if it was certainty. What's at stake here for South Korea?

PRIESS: We don't know exactly what he said in private conversations with US officials about this. It would surprise me if he came in and said there will be a summit, this is happening. That may not be what the president heard. All of us suffer from confirmation bias. We see and hear what we expect to hear. The president has it to a very large degree. The president will hear what he wants to hear. Our policy of maximum pressure has pushed the North Korean leader to agree to a summit. So, he probably heard it little more firm than the South Korean president said it.

BALDWIN: What if it was Moon who oversold the whole thing? I'm not even talking about Trump.

PRIESS: I'm not convinced he oversold it. He probably came to the president and U.S. officials and said the North Koreans are willing to come to the table, he probably didn't lay out, and they don't have to de-nuclearize or the do. He probably did not lay out the are going to say this or the aren't. He just said we are getting to the point where we can talk. The president heard that as we won, we've got all these concessions going into the talks, and I'm just not sure where the truth is on that.

BALDWIN: I got you. David Priess and Gloria Borger, thank you so much for the conversation here on North Korea.

We do have breaking news that I need to pass along. Law enforcement officials have confirmed they're on the scene of an active shooter at an apartment complex in Panama City, Florida. We're working to get those details for you. We will be right back. You're watching CNN and I'm Brooke Baldwin.

[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Reaction pouring in to a pretty stunning comment today from President Trump's homeland security secretary. Kirsten Nielsen emerged from a closed-door meeting on election security this morning and pushed back on intelligence assessments that Russia interfered to help Trump win. I want you to listen as our own Manu Raju follows up for clarification.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you have any reason to doubt the January 2017 intelligence community assessment that said it was Vladimir Putin who tried to meddle in the election to help President Trump win?

KIRSTEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I do not believe that I've seen that conclusion, that the specific intent was to help President Trump win. I'm not aware of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The intel assessment that Nielsen says that she was not aware of was handed over to top U.S. officials in January 2017, and it concluded that Russia sought to undermine the American Democratic process, damage Hillary Clinton and help Trump. David Frum is with me now, he's a senior editor at "The Atlantic" and author of "Trumpocracy, the corruption of the American Republic." And he's a former speechwriter for George W. Bush.

So, David it is wonderful to have you on, just beginning with Kirsten Nielsen's comment. Is that she is misinformed, is that misspeak or does she know exactly what she is doing like a.k.a. riding the Nunes train.

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR AT "THE ATLANTIC": She saw the bear trap in the room and stepped around it.

[14:20:00] Secretary Nielsen is not the head of the food and drug administration, not the person who is in charge of school testing. This is the secretary for homeland security and not just the physical integrity of the homeland but important systems, electromagnetic systems and voting systems. For her to say this, it's a confession of disengagement from one of her prime responsibilities. And we know why she's doing it. Secretary Nielsen is one of the more professional members of Trump's cabinet and for that reason she's been subject to Trump's abuse and bullying and tirades. She nearly quit just a few weeks ago. It's been made clear the price of keeping her job is surrendering her independence.

BALDWIN: Stepping around the bear trap she knew her audience of one was the president on that.

FRUM: Right.

BALDWIN: Let me move off of that and talk to you about how the DOJ is expanding its inquiry into whether the FBI planted this source, this confidential source in the Trump campaign. And how this spy would be a disgrace to the country. What do you make of his choice of words?

FRUM: A whole series of completely imaginary and fictious scenarios that if true would be a disgrace to the country. Fortunately, those imaginary and fictitious scenarios are not true, so the country is not disgraced. The fact is Donald Trump was running a campaign, the most penetrated campaign ever run since maybe Henry Wallace who was running as a third-tier candidate. What Donald Trump is doing is what President Nixon did when he tried to use the power of the presidency in the 70s. The dilemma facing Rod Rosenstein is how much to yield to President Trump because he's afraid if he doesn't yield, he'll be fired, and a worse person will be put in his place.

BALDWIN: Overseeing the entire Mueller investigation. Just noting the use of the word "spy" instead of confidential source has a much more nefarious meaning. I want to get to one of your tweets and will throw it up on the screen. You tweeted about this whole FBI informant theory. And I just want to dissect it here. In your view Trump world is saying their campaign as you pointed out may have been so riddled with foreign agents that the FBI was concerned, felt compelled to investigate. You ask why on earth does that reflect poorly on President Obama?

FRUM: Paul Manafort, the person working for free for Donald Trump, had these deep financial connections with Russian oligarchs and the pro-Putin regime in Ukraine. Michael Flynn, who would go on to be first national security adviser was on the payroll of the Turkish state, reportedly was involved in a plot to kidnap a U.S. permanent resident on U.S. soil on behest of the Turkish state. Sat beside Vladimir Putin at a dinner and did all of this, he was a three or four-star general, he required Pentagon approval, didn't get the Pentagon approval and was scolded for it by his colleagues.

At the lower level you had people like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page who are suspected of being close to Russian intelligence in a way that raises questions about any American citizens. Of course, the FBI investigated. Trump is asking for a grant of impunity that he has a right to operate his campaign riddled with foreign agents and with the FBI would do in any other case, if this were happening at General Electric or the University of Pennsylvania or any American institution, he alone should be exempt from the normal scrutiny.

BALDWIN: As Asha Rangappa points out in "The Washington Post" that the entire appointment of this confidential source was an issue in essence to protect Trump and now we see where this is going with him. David Frum, thank you so much for joining me. Coming up, two U.S. citizens stopped by a border patrol agent in Montana forced to show identification. The reason they were stopped?

[14:25:00] Because they were speaking Spanish, the whole thing is on video. It's under review. We'll discuss what exactly happened next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Remember the lawyer who went on the racist rant threatening to call ICE on New York restaurant workers for speaking Spanish?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going to come here and live off my money? I pay for their welfare. The least you can do --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[00:30:00] BALDWIN: Well, now, Aaron Schlossberg is apologizing, and he posted this, quote, to the people I insulted, I apologize. Seeing myself online opened my eyes. The manner in which I expressed myself is unacceptable and is not the person I am. I see my words and actions hurt people and for that I am deeply sorry. While people should be able to express themselves freely, they should do so calmly and respectfully. I am not racist.

In other news, this U.S. citizen out picking up a couple groceries in Montana said she and her friend were stopped and briefly detained by border patrol agent solely because they were speaking Spanish. She recorded the whole thing on her cell phone. And later talked to CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us in the video, please, why you asked us for our ID's please?

UNIDENTIFIED BORDER PATROL AGENT: Ma'am, the reason I asked you for your IDs is because I came in and saw you guys were speaking Spanish and that's very uncommon here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's racial profile, right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)