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President Trump Cancels Summit with North Korean's Kim Jong-un. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired May 24, 2018 - 10:00   ET

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


[10:00:00] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: A great question, Poppy, because I think the fundamental question here is what is going on inside Kim Jong-un's head. What has led him to engage in this new round of rhetoric that then led the president to put the summit off.

Look, Kim Jong-un, 100 percent, at all times, is about his own survival. His own survival and keeping his regime in power. If he feels that is threatened, he will react. That is what the CIA has believed, what the Pentagon has believed, since he came to power. So is he reacting simply to the comments about the Libya model, give up your nukes and you could still get murdered by rebels like Moammar Gadhafi did? Perhaps.

Perhaps there is also something going on inside his regime that we are not aware of. Was he feeling threatened? Was he feeling vulnerable by reaching out to the U.S., by reaching out and trying to have this summit? We don't know that yet. But what is so important is that he's about his survival. That is what is motivating him. And as recently as yesterday, pardon me, analysts in the government were telling me that they think that is really all important to watch.

That Kim had laid the table for this summit, Mr. Trump was in the position constantly of reacting and still to this day, the U.S. is reacting to what Kim's regime is saying, to what the North Koreans were saying. The U.S. never really grabbed control of that agenda. It was in a reactive mode. And Kim knows that. So now the question is what is his next move.

I can tell you the U.S. military never gave up keeping its satellites, its intelligence assets, its reconnaissance, the spies in the intelligence community, watching North Korea all the time, making calculations about their weapons program, even over the last several months, what they have, what they could do, how quickly they could restart it. All of this intelligence gathering has continued as you would expect to go on for months now. And it's never stopped.

So the administration is in a position to be ready if the North Koreans take action. But the real question is what is going on in Kim's head right now that made them engage in this rhetoric.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Right.

STARR: And lead to the summit being put off.

HARLOW: Just weeks before it was set to happen.

Barbara Starr, thank you. Stay with us.

It is the top of the hour, 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Let us bring you the breaking news.

Welcome again to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Significant breaking news on this Thursday morning. The planned summit, the historic summit in just a few weeks between Kim Jong-un and President Trump is now off. This coming in a letter that President Trump has written to Kim Jong-un.

Let me go straight to our global affairs analyst and correspond Elise Labott.

Elise, if you could just read us the entirety of this letter.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, this letter is really stunning, not just because of the news it contained, but the way it's written to Kim Jong-un from President Trump. It's addressed to "His Excellency Kim Jong-un, chairman of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea."

And it goes, "Dear Mr. Chairman, we greatly appreciate your time, patience and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12th in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I looked very much forward to being there with you.

"Based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate at this time to have this long planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit for the good of both parties but to the detriment of the world will not take place.

"Your talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used. I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me and ultimately it is only that dialogue that matters. Someday I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and very much appreciated.

"If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world and North Korea in particular has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history," and we see --

HARLOW: Elise --

LABOTT: And we see Secretary of State Pompeo walking in --

HARLOW: Yes. This is -- Elise, thank you for reading the letter. Stay with us, Elise, because this is -- was already a significant hearing, now much more significant. This is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who has met twice with Kim Jong-un, setting the groundwork for this summit that was supposed to happen between the president and Kim Jong-un. He will testify now in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You will hear from him, his opening remarks in just moments.

[10:05:05] As we wait for that, Jim Sciutto, let me get to you and the significance of this letter, and I'm so glad you pointed out moments ago, this is not a political story, this is about global security, national security. What stands out to you, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: What a remarkable letter and so clearly in President Trump's voice. This reads like it was dictated right from his mouth, you know, a beautiful gesture, it sounds very much like Donald Trump. But just a few lines apart, you have the president of the United States in effect threatening or making clear that the U.S. has the ability to wipe out North Korea.

"Ours are so massive and powerful," that is nuclear capabilities, "that I pray to God they will never have to be used," fire and fury but by different rhetoric there. And then a few lines later, as if you're writing an e-mail to a friend, "Please do not hesitate to call me or write."

You know, a remarkable --

HARLOW: Let's listen to the secretary of State.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The State Department recently transmitted to Chairman Kim and North Korea letters to Chairman Kim Jong-un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic Of Korea, and it reads as follows, "Dear Mr. Chairman, we greatly appreciate your time, patience and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties which was scheduled to take place on June 12th in Singapore.

"We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement I feel it is appropriate at this time to have this long planned meeting," or inappropriate, excuse me.

"I feel it is inappropriate at this time to have this long planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about your nuclear capabilities but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used. I felt that a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me. And ultimately is only that dialogue that matters.

"Someday I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated. If you change your mind having to do with this important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world and North Korea in particular has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth.

"This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history. Sincerely yours, Donald J. Trump, president of the United States of America." Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Thank you, sir.

We want to thank you for joining us today. And although you're here for a confirmation, you're here just six weeks ago for your confirmation hearing, in just a month, again, I want to commend you on an energetic and forceful start to your tenure.

We hold a budget hearing each year and that's a formal subject of today's meeting. But as you and I have talked, budgets coming from administration these days and for many years are not really focused on that much as you know and there is a process we go through here to really determine what expenditures are going to be made. So since it really doesn't have a great effect on the outcomes here, it's -- it would be my guess that there really won't be many questions around the budget, and I think you know that even though you're going to present it, fulfilling your responsibilities.

While a discussion of the budget is not a productive use of our time today in all likelihood, I'm hopeful that your remarks will outline your management plan for the department and steps that you've taken thus far on that front. Also I want to discuss with you our efforts to update authorities. We used to fight terror abroad. And just for members on both sides of the aisle, today we have agreed to two rounds of questions if necessary.

And we realize that there have been questions around the AUMF. And so I know many questions may focus on the AUMF we've been discussing in recent times. A bipartisan legislation would replace a 2001 and 2002 AUMF with updated AUMF against al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic State and Iraq and Syria. It provides the administration the flexibility necessary to win this fight while strengthening the rightful and necessary role of Congress, and I believe it is the best chance we have to finally address this issue in a constructive way for the first time in almost 17 years.

Since last June, our committee has held four public hearings, a classified briefing and a number of meetings on authorizing the use of military force.

[10:10:05] We have heard testimony from legal scholars, policy experts, and secretaries of State and Defense twice. During your confirmation hearing, you testified that you believe that we should update the AUMF and that you would welcome continuing to work with us towards that end. I know you've had experience working on this topic when you served in

the House and I appreciate your support for Congress' appropriate role with respect to this important issue. I also hope while you're here that you can speak to our strategy to get a new and better Iran deal. Now that we have withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as you know, along with a majority of the colleagues on this committee we staunchly oppose the JCPOA because it allowed Iran to maintain an enrichment capacity and the limits on that enrichment capacity expired after only 10 or 15 years.

While I'm disappointed, no doubt that the Europeans were unable to reach an arrangement with the administration to address the serious flaws in the JCPOA, I'm hopeful that moving forward a new agreement that addresses Iran's nefarious nuclear and nonnuclear activities can be reached. With Iran's proxies performing well in recent -- in the recent Iraqi and Lebanese elections as well as Iran's rising threat to our partner Israel and Syria, Transatlantic alignment and countering Iran comprehensively have never been more important. I know you share that belief and have spoken to that recently.

HARLOW: All right, you just heard the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo read in full the letter, the remarkable letter that was just written by President Trump to Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea. And now this was meant to be a budget hearing, about the budget and so they're going through some of this technical stuff that's required. We're going to keep monitoring this. As soon as they begin speaking about North Korea and the fact that President Trump has canceled this summit that was set to take place in Singapore if just a few week, we will get right back to it so you can hear the secretary of State in full.

In the meantime, we have all of our players here, Elise Labott, Kaitlan Collins, Jim Sciutto, Ivan Watson is in Seoul.

And Jim, if I could go back to you, if you can hear me, Jim, I interrupted you in the middle of your important thought here.

SCIUTTO: No, no problem. Listen, we want to hear from the secretary of State there.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: But a remarkable letter here that the president, you know, clearly disappointed about this but going back to fire and fury rhetoric with different words, threatening nuclear capabilities so massive and so powerful that I pray it God they will never have to be used, saying again mine is bigger than yours in effect here in terms of those nuclear capabilities, but then this very conversational tone of, you know, please don't hesitate to call me or write.

Now what's significant about that is he does not in this letter say that there will never be a summit any -- ever. He says for now this summit is off, perhaps leaving the door open there to -- if there are better conditions, if North Korea's rhetoric tamps down, if they don't make the comments like they've made in the last 24 hours, if he would be open to revisiting this idea. That is key. Because as I said earlier, Poppy, this is no Washington story. HARLOW: Jim Sciutto, I apologize to interrupt you again. But I do

have to go to our Will Ripley, our correspondent who is inside of North Korea. To remind our viewers, Will Ripley hours ago traveled far into North Korea to witness the destruction of one of North Korea's nuclear sites. They were doing this in front of Western journalists to try to make a point ahead of this summit.

Will Ripley joins me on the phone now.

Will, as you learn about this news that President Trump has written this letter to Kim Jong-un, canceling the summit, what is your reaction and what are you hearing from those around you inside of North Korea right now?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Hey, Poppy, we were just sitting, kind of wrapping up the day. It's now late in the evening here. We are on the train headed back to Wonsan after witnessing the -- what North Korea claims is the destruction of a nuclear site at Punggye-ri. So we were sitting around the (INAUDIBLE), I got the phone call and read out the letter from President Trump and I can tell you there was just a real sense of shock amongst the people that I was sitting with.

The North Korean officials, they didn't give any official comment, but immediately they got up and left, and are now on the phone kind of relaying the news up to the top. And imagine how they're feeling at this moment given the fact that they just blew up their nuclear site today as a sign, they say, of their willingness to denuclearize, that they were doing this to make a point and as you mentioned ahead of the summit in Singapore on June 12th that was scheduled with President Trump. That until literally minutes ago they thought was still going to happen.

That said, the North Koreans have said that they're not going to beg for dialogue and they were infuriated by comments made by the vice president, Mike Pence, and before that, President Trump's National Security adviser John Roberts (sic) talking about North Korea, saying that North Korea could follow the Libya model. Of course Gadhafi in Libya gave up his weapons and was overthrown by U.S. rebels and died several years later.

HARLOW: And Will --

[10:15:06] RIPLEY: And they said they're unwilling to accept that here.

HARLOW: Will -- Will -- Will Ripley, please continue. Sorry about that.

RIPLEY: Yes, I just was saying that the North Koreans have said that they're not going to beg for dialogue. They have said they'd be willing to walk away if they don't like what they're hearing from the United States. But the fact that they went through with this trip, you know, they invited us in and we were kind of on hold for 24 hours. I was frankly unsure if this was actually going to happen. But the trip did happen. We were taken to the nuclear site, we spent nine hours, we watched

them blow up three tunnels in the nuclear site and all of the buildings on the site as well, and we don't have experts here to verify with us if this destruction is actually -- if it is absolute, if it means that the nuclear site is unusable, as the North Koreans claim. But they say -- you know, they told us we're being transparent here, we're showing you our nuclear site for first time, the first time for journalists.

We're blowing it up, we're willing to denuclearize, we're willing to talk with the United States, but they don't want to be compared to Libya, a country whose government was overthrown after giving up its nuclear weapons and that's why they felt they had to respond with that very strongly worded statement, targeting the Vice President Mike Pence. They've also targeted -- they've also targeted President Trump's National Security adviser as well, saying that he -- they don't want him in Singapore, they don't want him to be in Singapore. They feel he's going to disrespect them. Nonetheless --

HARLOW: Yes.

RIPLEY: Being inside this country just hours after they blow up the nuclear site and learning of this, it was a very awkward and uncomfortable moment, and we'll have to see what happens in the coming hours and days on the ground here.

HARLOW: Will, thank you for that remarkable significant reporting inside of North Korea, where, again, will just witnessed the destruction, partial destruction of one of these nuclear sites within North Korea as somewhat of a goodwill gesture, at least the appearance of one from North Korea just hours ago ahead of this letter. All our players are back with us. But I do want to go to you, Kaitlan Collins, at the White House because you have some new reporting on what the last straw was for President Trump before he wrote this letter.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. We're getting some more insight behind this decision to formally cancel this summit. Now we have long expected for weeks that the summit would at least be delayed, especially after North Korea first thought to pull out of it because White House officials weren't really sure what the North Koreans' thinking was here. But then this statement came from the North Koreans, where they called Vice President Mike Pence a political dummy, and went on to threaten nuclear war, saying, quote, "We can also make the U.S. case an appalling tragedy, it has neither experienced nor as even imagined up until now."

And I'm told that it wasn't so much the insult to Pence that drove the United States to pull out of this summit, but it was the threat of nuclear war there at the end from the North Koreans. Something like that a lot of people inside this White House just did not see that as something feasible to go and meet with Kim Jong-un in a matter of weeks here after they just made a threat like that.

HARLOW: Right. COLLINS: And I am told it was the final straw and that the summit

could have never worked under these circumstances from a White House official -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Kaitlan, just staying with you for a moment. You just heard Will Ripley saying that a lot of the anger within North Korea that prompted sort of their remarkable statement overnight came because of what John Bolton, the National Security adviser, said on CNN to our Jake Tapper about look at the Libya model for this. And look what happened when, you know, we in Western forces got Libya to get rid of its nuclear weapons and then, you know, Western-backed forces eventually killed Moammar Gadhafi.

That has been attempted to be walked back by some in the White House since then. But clearly it has been a huge issue for the North Koreans.

COLLINS: It certainly has, Poppy. It has been a center of a lot of debate here. That was what drove the North Koreans to issue that first statement, essentially signaling that this summit may not happen after all. After John Bolton compared this to the Libya model.

Now John Bolton was referencing what happened in 2003, of course, when they got Libya to give up their nuclear weapons.

HARLOW: Right.

COLLINS: Of course, several years later the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown and brutally killed, which is what the North Koreans took that to be about. Then we later had -- it wasn't just John Bolton who made a comment like that. We also had the president and the Vice President Mike Pence later say that if they don't -- if North Korea does not try to make a deal with the United States, for denuclearization, that they could end up like Libya.

So those were those statements that were coming. So it wasn't just John Bolton but after John Bolton did make that remark, North Korea did put out a statement going after John Bolton, someone they said that they have made their distaste clearly known for but then those statements were later reiterated by President Trump saying that if they didn't make a deal, the same thing could happen to North Korea, that did happen to Libya.

But that certainly has been the subject of much debate. Then it drove the North Koreans to issue this statement about the vice president, calling him a political dummy. So a lot of insults and aggressive language from the North Koreans, but I'm told it wasn't just that, it was that last line about nuclear war that really led them to pull out of this.

[10:20:09] And, Poppy, we have to highlight just how quickly this has happened. There was certainly some skepticism in the recent days about the potential of this summit actually happening in Singapore on June 12th, but just to give you a sense of how much the United States was still moving forward with this, they were preparing to send a coterie of aides to Singapore to handle the advance planning, where this meeting would be, who would sit where, exactly the logistics and the details of that summit on June 12th.

So they certainly were planning to move forward with this, despite those threats from North Korea and so it just gives you a sense of just how quickly this decision was made by the White House to withdraw from this summit.

HARLOW: Until just hours ago.

Kaitlan, thank you. Stay with me.

Let me go to the Pentagon, Barbara Starr there.

And Barbara, you made the important point just moments ago that nothing has changed from the U.S. in terms of an intelligence gathering perspective, in terms of our, you know, military capability ahead of this summit that everyone was hoping would happen but was still unknown whether it would actually take place.

What challenges do these present to the intelligence community? How does this change any preparations on either side militarily?

STARR: Well, you know, Poppy, if you'll permit, throw all the politics out for the moment. What you are left with is a very practical military matter, really on all sides here. For the North Koreans, they had to know raising the prospect of nuclear weapons again would risk the summit. They know that that is a real red button, a hot button for President Trump. So they're willing to risk not having the summit again because Kim Jong-un is all about his own survival, his own regime. And there is only so far he's going to go in acceding to any U.S. wishes on all of this.

So that said, for the Pentagon, for the intelligence community, for the White House, the practical key question is what now? Keeping an eye on North Korea to see if they do have any kind of military reaction, if you will, to the summit being put off. What does that mean? It means satellites and surveillance aircraft, radars, listening, working the human sources like spies, getting any intel they can and any imagery, satellite imagery, on movement of North Korean forces.

That's going to be something that is always important, but really important in this time frame because no one is certain if, how, when the North Koreans may shift some forces around, may do something in reaction to all of this. So all of that regular military and intelligence surveillance continues, but it really is going to get a lot of focus in the coming days. And you know --

HARLOW: Barbara, let me just -- hold that thought. Apologies for interrupting. I do want to go back to the testimony the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now giving on the Hill. He's talking about North Korea.

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Ask you to give me a sense of yes or no on some of these questions. Do you believe that the current nuclear test suspension must continue and that denuclearization means that dismantlement and removal of all nuclear weapons facilities, technology, and material from North Korea?

POMPEO: There are two questions there. The second one is with respect to dismantlement. I think the answer to that is yes. We are looking for the complete dismantlement of their weapons systems, the delivery capability associated with that, and all of the elements of their program that would lead them to have material, enriched material, fissile material that could be used at some time to build out a weapons system.

MENENDEZ: So --

POMPEO: But I think the answer to that is yes, but I wanted to make sure I clarify.

MENENDEZ: OK. I appreciate that. Do you believe that any deal must include an agreement that North Korea must end the production and enrichment of uranium and plutonium for military programs?

POMPEO: Yes. But as we begin to head down this path, I have to tell you, I've had discussions with Chairman Kim personally, there have been other discussions, I am going to reserve some space for us to be able to conduct these discussions outside of the public sphere, I think that's important, I think it's important for our eventual ability to achieve the outcomes that I think everyone in this room hopes we can achieve.

MENENDEZ: Well, I certainly want to give you negotiating space, but I at least want to understand, as a committee responsible for oversight, what is our standards that we're going into. That's what I'm trying to determine. What is the standard?

POMPEO: Sir, I think we've made very clear what our objectives are.

MENENDEZ: OK. So let me ask you then further, would a deal have to include an agreement that North Korea must permanently dismantle and disable its nuclear weapons infrastructure including test sites, all nuclear weapons research and development facilities, particularly with respect to advanced centrifuges and nuclear weapons enrichment and reprocessing facilities?

POMPEO: That is certainly our objective, Senator.

[10:25:04] MENENDEZ: Would any deal have to include agreement that North Korea put forward a full, complete and verifiable declaration of all its nuclear activities?

POMPEO: Yes, I only wish the Iranians had done so.

MENENDEZ: Would any deal include robust restrictions to assure that nuclear material technology and expertise are not exported?

POMPEO: Sir, we have a deep aim, wholly apart from denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula and a lot of work under way to ensure the proliferation does not occur.

MENENDEZ: Does any deal have to include an agreement that North Korea continue its current ballistic missile test suspension, including any space launches and that any agreement must include the dismantlement of all ballistic missiles and a prohibition on all ballistic missile development?

POMPEO: Sir, I think I said this at my confirmation hearing, I'm happy to reiterate it. It is the case, it is our objective and I shared this with Chairman Kim when I met with him as well, that the missile program is a central component of their capacity to hold America at risk, and that it is our aim that is part of this agreement that we would reach that they would no longer possess the capacity to achieve those kinds of launches that I think you're speaking to in your question.

MENENDEZ: And to be truly completely verifiable and reversible any agreement with North Korea should be permanent in nature with no sunsets on its provisions?

POMPEO: Yes, sir.

MENENDEZ: OK. Well, those are all very helpful in understanding the standards of what we're trying to achieve.

Let me ask you, so as we walk away from the summit, where does that put us with the rest of the world? Do you believe that somehow we are strengthened in this regard or are we weakened as a result of walking away ourselves because of some statements?

POMPEO: Senator, I don't -- I don't believe in that sense that we're in a position to believe that there could be a successful outcome. I think that's what the president communicated pretty clearly in his letter. I can add to that over the past many days. We have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed was to put teams, preparation teams together to begin to work to prepare for the summit. And we had received no response to our inquiries from them.

So we -- in addition to what the president laid out in his letter, it is also the case that the -- I disagree with what you said in your opening statement, I think the America team is fully prepared. I think we're rocking. I think we're ready. I think we're prepared for this meeting. I think President Trump is prepared for this meeting. We were fully, fully engaged over the past weeks to prepare for this meeting. So I disagree with your assessment that the Americans are not ready.

(CROSSTALK)

MENENDEZ: When I said not ready, I'm talking about -- you know, we needed to test all of the propositions and lay out all of the elements of what was ultimately to be decided in a way to find out whether North Koreans were truly true. But I get --

POMPEO: Yes, sir, that's been done -- that's been three times before in American history and Kim Jong-un today possesses the most robust nuclear program he has ever had.

MENENDEZ: And as a result of canceling the summit, he still possesses.

Let me ask you this, in your confirmation hearing you noted that Russia bad behavior is the driver behind the currently acrimonious bilateral relationship, and this behavior presents a clear danger to the United States.

HARLOW: All right. You just heard a very significant exchange between the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez. Senator Menendez, as I bring Jim Sciutto back in, Barbara Starr, Elise Labott, Kaitlan Collins.

Jim, Sciutto, to you, you know, Senator Menendez was just ticking through the demands that this administration has, trying to get some clarity on where this administration heads despite the canceled summit to reach any sort of agreement with Kim Jong-un. What stood out to you most in that?

SCIUTTO: Well, Menendez asked the key question.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: He asked director or Secretary Pompeo, I should say, what does a deal look like to you? What does it look like to the president? Does denuclearization mean no nukes whatsoever or are you willing to negotiate? Is there some kind of middle ground there and while Secretary Pompeo said listen, our position, our public position is very clear, he then said, I don't want to in effect prejudice any future negotiations we might have.

So he doesn't want to set, you know, red lines in effect on that issue. He did not answer the question clearly to say, listen, there is no deal unless all nukes off the Korean peninsula forever, right? From North Korea.

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: He didn't say that because he said, you know, future negotiations, we have to -- I don't want to prejudice those conversations, et cetera. That was an interesting point there. And a key one. I think really the key question for many officials but also for many Americans following these talks.

HARLOW: Absolutely. When asked if the U.S. would demand --