Return to Transcripts main page
Alice Johnson Calls Release from Prison A Miracle; Kate Spade's Writes Letter About Wife; Trump Saves ZTE While Hostile To G-7 Allies; Pompeo Says Both Sides Very Serious About Korea Summit; Pompeo Says Giuliani Does Not Speak for Administration on Foreign Policy Issues. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired June 7, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: The last 21 years, what would you be doing?
ALICE MARIE JOHNSON, LIFE SENTENCE COMMUTED BY TRUMP: At this time yesterday, I was locked up, but I was in ready to be released soon yesterday. The hour before, they printed the paper and it said life and the out date, not any and an hour later it said, time served. If I tell you, Brooke. I have those papers. That is when I broke again. I was so happy. My papers are wet with tears.
BALDWIN: For the paper to say life without a date -- did you give up hope?
JOHNSON: I never gave up hope. Not every day was a good day. I would pull out my family pictures and look at my children and I hoped to see my parents again. But that passed, away while I was incarcerated, my mother in 2007 and my mother in 2013. My family is full of faith. I pull out letters. My sister sent me a letter, so I can read it and be encouraged. I read it so many times.
BALDWIN: So, it is the family, the words through years and then there is this woman who it is my understanding, Kim Kardashian West, just a couple of people who are familiar with who she is. You didn't entirely know who she was up until last fall. She sees this article on you and on this website, and she jumps in and wants to help. Flash forward to last week, goes to the White House and pleads her case to the President and here we are speaking today. She is the one who broke the news to you, is that correct?
JOHNSON: I heard my name paged in the dining room and I went back to my unit and the my case manager put me on the phone with my attorneys and then Kim and the attorneys did tell me they were waiting for Kim to come on. And when she came on, she asked me if I was ready to go home and I start screaming and crying and jumping and shouting and it looked like I don't know what the view was the people passing by thought was beginning on. I guess they knew this news came and my hair was all over my head. I can't stop jumping and screaming and the attorneys and Kim was crying. Everybody was so happy.
BALDWIN: Will you get to meet her?
JOHNSON: I will, soon. BALDWIN: OK. We know the President's son-in-law been working on
prison reform. A lot of people spending their lives in prison, minor offenses first time offenders like you. I'm sure you are wrapping your head around day-to-day, Alice, what role do you plan to play in this fight?
JOHNSON: I will play a very big role in this fight. I believe because I'm recognized now, and my case is magnified through media, it has caught the attention of others. People don't know unless it is brought before them. I'm thankful for the media that has been covering this because they have magnified the plight of those serving these sentences for non-violent crimes. I will be a force in this fight.
BALDWIN: We'll keep that conversation going. Before we let you go, we talk about your family and hope, and you said you wanted your first meal at red lobster. Have you eaten there yet?
JOHNSON: Not yet. I went to the a smaller one and they gave me shrimp, but I have my taste buds set for red lobster.
BALDWIN: Alice Marie Johnson, thank you so much and congratulations and welcome home.
JOHNSON: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your support Brooke. Later Van Jones will be talking to Kim Kardashian West at 10:00 p.m. eastern.
Coming up, Kate Spade's husband speaks out for the first time about his wife's suicide and the impact that is having on their 13-year-old daughter. Another woman who experienced the suicide of her father joins me live to discuss what we should focus on in the wake of this tragic death.
[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Kate Spade's husband breaking his silence after the famous fashion designer's shocking suicide two days ago. Andy Spade says he and his teenage daughter Frances Beatrix are devastated by the Kate's loss, and I want to read Andy's letter in its entirety.
Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world, she was the kindest person I've ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss and can't begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heart broken and miss her already.
[15:40:00] Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years and she was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. No indication or warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock and it clearly wasn't her.
There were personal demons she was battling. For the past ten months we had been living separately within a few blocks each other. Bea was living with both of us and saw and spoke every day. We ate many meals as a family and continued to vacation together as a family, our daughter was our priority.
We were not legally separated, and never even discussed a divorce, we were best friends trying to work through our problems in the best way we knew how. We were together for 35 years and loved each other very much and simply needed a break. This is the truth. Anything else that is out there right now is false.
She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety. There was no substance or alcohol abuse. No business problems. We loved creating our businesses together.
We were co-parenting our beautiful daughter and I have yet to see any note left behind and I'm appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media. My main concern is our daughter and protecting her privacy as she deals with the unimaginable grief of losing her mother.
Kate loved her so very much.
BALDWIN: With me now to discuss the editor of "Ricochet" and columnist Bethany Mandell. I need to take a minute, just from reading that. Then of course I read your piece in the "Post" this morning which just was so powerful about your own father who you lost to suicide 13 years ago. Tell me first just about the phone call that day that you will never forget.
BETHANY MANDEL, EDITOR OF "RICOCHET": You never know when somebody is about to do t. Andy is right, that there was no indication. The day he committed suicide, he was supposed to visit me at college and I had been there for about a week and I was texting him all day. Where are you? We were supposed to -- there was a big ding hall event that I invited him to and he was not answering my being text messages. So, all day I was sending him teasing text messaging and I was pretty mad he was a no show. I got a call from my cousin. I assumed when somebody call that is late, somebody is dead. I picked up the phone and I'm like nobody is dead, she is just calling, and she said Bethany I don't know how to tell you this, your dad committed suicide today. I screamed about an hour, I just screamed. And then I sort of handed my phone to my boyfriend who I was with and got all of the details and this like 18-year-old kid got to tell his girlfriend you got orphaned today. It sucked.
BALDWIN: I applaud you for speaking up about something that we don't talk enough about out loud. You make that point in your piece. It is one of the leading causes of death that are underfunded and researched and thank you for talking about t. And you talk about the weight you carry for the rest of your life that bee Spade will carry and that you are a survivor.
MANDEL: It is not just that event. But any time something like this happens. Robin Williams was a huge trigger for me and I said it on Twitter and people privately reached out, that was a tough week. Because and even with Kate Spade's death this week, it is a horrible thing for her family, but anyone touched by it, it is just this national conversation about suicide is so important but so painful. BALDWIN: But lastly, you have said because of this piece that you
wrote, you heard from so many people. Not only people who have been touched but those considering it.
[15:45:00] MANDEL: That's what made me sort of come on tv. I planned -- I never written about it. He died 13 years ago and never wanted to write about it and I have been asked about it and it is not something that I want to touch. I was 19 and she is 13, same matter of death and same age. I feel so badly for her and it is an awful thing to go through. I expected to hear from people who had lost brothers and sisters and moms and dads, and I have, but I received messages from a father, two fathers who said they have been considering it over the last year and when they read my piece, they saw their daughter's perspective for the first time. I didn't have the best relationship with my dad, but it still destroyed me. When your parent decides to leave on your free will, it messes with you for a long time and doesn't go away.
BALDWIN: Thank you for talking about it and sharing your story and we'll make sure your piece gets out, so more people can use it, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255 thank you. We'll be right back.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: From sanctions to saved by Trump, President Trump just struck a deal to save jobs in China. That is correct. Today the Trump administration announcing it has reached an agreement with Chinese telecom giant ZTE, same company the FBI, CIA and NSA warned about this year. Warning ZTE cell phones are not safe and the company can't be trusted. This controversial deal with China comes amid report that Trump has little interest in meeting with U.S. allies -- forgive me. Let's go to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Trump has been and continues to be committed to ridding the United States and the world of threats posed by North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. These programs threaten our homeland, our allies and partners. And the broader nonproliferation regime. North Korea's past activities also make clear that it is proliferation to other actors that creates a risk in addition to the primary risks. It is -- has supporting infrastructure that is also of concern. In early 2017, the Trump administration decided on a policy we referred to as the maximum pressure campaign. The campaign enacted the strongest economic and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea in history. The goal was to set the conditions for the DPRK to make a strategic decision to denuclearize by the best ways to secure its own security.
American leadership rallied the community to send a strong message we would not stand for the illegal weapons program. The President's bold decision to meet with chairman Kim Jong-Un grew from incredibly strong and targeted campaign. The President's policies led to the summit that will take place on June 12th in Singapore.
Back on March 8th, chairman Kim Jong-Un expressed desire to meet with President Trump as soon as possible. And then May 9th I met with chairman Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang and explained America's expectations and secured the release of three Americans. We view this as a sign of goodwill from chairman Kim Jong-un. The United States and North Korea have been holding direct talks in preparation for a summit. A comprehensive, whole of government effort in support of President Trump is under way.
White House and State Department led advance teams are finalizing logistically preparations and will remain in place in Singapore until the summit begins. The President continues to follow every development closely and is getting daily briefings from his national security team. The fact that our two leaders are coming to the table shows that the two sides are very serious. The diplomatic model today is different. Our efforts give us hope to find real success where past efforts have fallen short. President Trump is hopeful but he's also going to the summit with his eyes wide open.
We've seen how many inadequate agreements have been struck in the past and you can be sure that President Trump will not stand for a bad deal. The United States has been clear time and time again the complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is the only outcome we'll find acceptable. The President recognizes that North Korea has great potential and he looks forward to a day when sanctions on did DPRK can removed. However, that cannot happen until the DPRK eliminates its weapons of mass destruction programs.
[15:55:00] President Trump and chairman Kim will certainly also discuss security assurances for the DPRK, establishing a peace regime and improving relations between our two countries. Until we achieve our goals, the measures that the world alongside the United States has put on the regime will remain. In the event diplomacy does not move in the right direction these measures will increase.
Throughout the entire process, the United States has been unified with Japan and South Korea in response to the threats of North Korea. I will be traveling with my -- excuse me. I will be traveling to meet with my Japanese and South Korean counterparts after the summit to continue to coordinate with them. I will also stop in Beijing following the Singapore summit. I will provide an update and underscore the importance of implementing all sanctions imposed on North Korea.
President Trump recognizes North Korea's desire for security and is prepared to ensure a DPRK free of its weapons of mass destruction is also a secure North Korea. President Trump has made it clear that if Kim Jong-un denuclearizes there is a brighter path for North Korea and its people. We envision a strong and prosperous North Korea that's integrated into the community of nations. We think that the people of the United States and North Korea can create a future defined by friendship and collaboration and not by mistrust and fear. We believe that chairman Kim Jong-un shares this positive vision for the future and we are committed to find a path forward and we assume and hope that that belief is sincere. We're looking forward to being in Singapore in just a few days.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As a reminder, we'll take a few questions. Roberta?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What progress have you made in narrowing the gap in your understanding of denuclearization and North Korea's definition of denuclearization? Has there been progress in bringing that closer together?
BALDWIN: Can you describe that a little bit?
SANDERS: That was quick. John?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Sarah. Thank you, Secretary Pompeo. As you mentioned in your remarks, North Korea in the past has reneged on prior agreements made with the U.S. government. So, I have two questions for you. First question has to do with your experience meeting with Kim Jong-Un. Do you trust him? And my second has to do with the negotiations that are upcoming with North Korea. Who in your opinion has the upper hand in the negotiations and why?
POMPEO: So, with respect to your first question, I had a chance to meet with chairman Kim Jong-Un twice now. I can tell you he is very capable of articulating the things he is prepared to do, present clearly the challenges that we all have to overcome. It's why the two leaders are meeting. It is the opportunity to lay those out clearly between the two leaders so that we can see if we can find a path forward. Together. It is outcomes that both countries want. And your second question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who has the upper hand?
POMPEO: Yes. I -- we don't think about it in terms of who has the upper hand. We know this is a long intractable challenge. Gone on for decades. The President said previous administrations with respect weren't prepared to do what we have done already. We can get concrete steps and not just words to resolve the challenge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary, first of all, the President said that he doesn't believe he needs to prepare very much. Ahead of this summit. Do you think that's a prudent approach and Rudy Giuliani's comments that Kim Jong-Un got back on the hands and knees and begged for the summit to go on? Whether he should be weighing in on the international affairs or whether you agree with the assessment?
POMPEO: With respect to the second question, I took him as being in a small room and not being serious about the comments. I think it was a bit in jest. We are focused on the important things. I know Rudy. Rudy doesn't speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation and this set of issues. You know, with respect to your first question, you know, progress, we're making progress. Inch by inch. And we are going to travel there. This is different.
[16:00:00] The approach that President Trump taken is fundamentally different. In the past, months and months of negotiations. They got nowhere. This has driven us to a place we have not been able to achieve before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. The President said if the Singapore meeting goes well, he'd like to bring Kim Jong-un to Washington possibly for further meetings. Has Kim Jong-un invited the President to come to North Korea?
POMPEO: So, I don't want to talk to you about the conversations that the -- that have been had between the North Korean side and the United States. I'll leave that for the President to talk to, but I want to get to and this is the other question about the President's preparation. So, in my previous role and I have said this before, you can look it up, there were few days that I left the oval office after having briefed the President that we didn't talk about North Korea. So over months and months, days and days, President Trump has been receiving briefings on this issue about the military aspects, commercial, economic aspects of it, the history of the relationship and in the past few months near daily briefings including today where we have been providing the President all of the information that he needs, and I am very confident that the President will be fully prepared meeting with the North Korean counterpart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having met the man twice now, what can you tell us about the opinions you have formed of Kim Jong-Un as a person?
BALDWIN: Listening to Secretary Mike Pompeo. We'll keep an eye on this.