Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Report: Trump and Kim Jong-un to Begin Summit Tonight; U.S. Says Talks with North Korea Moving Quicker Than Expected; Trump Aides Say Trudeau Deserves A Special Pace in Hell; Trump Provides Misleading Figures on Trade with Canada. Aired 2-2:30

Aired June 11, 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: Wolf, thank you so much. Hi, everyone, I'm Brooke Baldwin, live in New York alongside my colleague, John Berman, who is there live in Singapore, where just a short time from now, two men will stand at the threshold of history, President Trump and Kim Jong-Un will meet face to face for the first time. They'll meet one on one, aided only by their individual translators, and talks are moving faster than expected. Berman, you're there, tell me more.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-HOST: That's really a fascinating point there. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the White House put out an official statement that discussions are going more quickly than expected. More quickly, but that's different than better than expected.

We don't know where that stands. It seems possible that U.S. negotiators are realizing it might be hard to push North Korea toward specifics. On the subject of fascinating, what we've seen here over the last few hours, is truly remarkable. The surreal spectacle with Kim Jong-Un taking a surprise late night walk about with his entourage. A motorcade tour of the city. He was met by crowds and cheers in some places.

Remember, this is a brutal dictator being cheered as he walks down the streets and inside buildings. The foreign minister of Singapore posted a selfie with the #guesswhere. That same foreign minister attended an early birthday celebration for President Trump. On Thursday he turns 72. Kim is 34 years old, we believe. The official version is unreliable. As we stand here we are just seven hours away from this likely handshake. We have been told that Kim has been preparing for months.

The president tells us he will depend on instinct, feel and touch. If that's all not enough to wrap your mind around, self-appointed sports ambassador, Dennis Rodman is here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS RODMAN, SELF APPOINTED SPORTS AMBASSADOR: Both of them will see -- it should go fairly well, but people should not expect so much for the first time. Hoping like I said that doors open.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: That's Dennis Rodman, the worm, here in Singapore on the eve of an historic summit, there's no indication that Rodman will be anywhere near this meeting at all. Still, he decided to come. Joining me now, CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlyn Collins and CNN national security analyst, David Sanger.

Kaitlyn, I want to start with you. We know what Kim Jong-Un has been doing over the last several hours, how about the president and his advisers?

KAITLYN COLLINS, CNN White House correspondent: President Trump spending his time differently than Kim Jong-Un. He decided to stay behind closed doors as he puts the final touches on the sit down with Kim Jong-Un happening in just seven hours. We have not heard from the president since earlier today when he did say he believed that this meeting with Kim Jong-Un was going to go very nicely about two different approaches from those leaders, both of them are going to be in the same room, one on one in a few hours here, and we know the logistics of what this day is going to look like, a one on one followed by a bilateral expanded meeting, and a working lunch between the two leaders and their delegations.

President Trump is going to hold a press conference with reporters to answer questions about whatever they discuss during that meeting. What we don't know is what's going to come out of that meeting. Mike Pompeo briefed reporters earlier, he made clear the North Koreans had not made any firm commitments in the conversations leading up to this sit down. Which is raising eyebrows among some experts. We do know the president is going to lead the summit a little earlier than expected. The White House says he will depart Singapore at 8:00 p.m. local time here. That is maybe sending a signal to the North Koreans, we're doing one talk and let's see what we're getting out of this. The president hinted last week, these talks were going well, they could extend into the days afterwards. That is what we're waiting to see, just how well these talks go, and what president Trump has to say about it.

[14:05:00] BERMAN: Kaitlyn, stand by for a moment. This was a spectacle, this was a planned spectacle, something he clearly relished. What does he get out of that? What do you think he was trying to do?

DAVID SANGER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The main thing he gets out of it, he gets to establish himself as a world leader like other world leaders who go out among their people, get cheered by foreign crowds, explore things, you don't walk around much in Pyongyang. There's not a lot to see at night. Think about this. A few months ago, if we were having this conversation, we would have said the only American we could think of that would talk to the man was Dennis Rodman, our recent arrival. In the past two months he has seen the president of China twice after basically keeping the Chinese at distance. He has seen the president of South Korea twice, including one emergency meeting, one president Trump temporarily cancelled this, he's going to see the president of the United States, he's probably going to see Putin at some point in the next few weeks. He's making this radical change from being the hermit to being the diplomat. BERMAN: He is in a very different place, no question about that. I

was a little surprised by the timetable that the White House put out all of a sudden a few hours ago. Saying they are going to meet one- on-one behind closed doors then bring in the advisors and then a working lunch. And then a press conference.

Then the president is leaving heading out from Singapore back to the United States. He says the White House says and the Secretary of State say that meetings are going more quickly than anticipated. It doesn't necessarily mean better. What have you learned about what they're trying to accomplish in what U.S. negotiators are finding right now?

SANGER: I think the United States negotiators are finding, as every negotiator with North Korea has found the last 25, 30 years. It is very slow slogging here. The president of the United States said even before he took office. I'm going to solve this problem. He may solve it, but it's not going to be solved as quickly as he wants.

From what we are hearing, there's going to be a three-part communique tomorrow. One part is going to deal with denuclearization as we discussed. They don't all define this the same way. It is interesting that Mike Pompeo is beginning to use the same phrase North Koreans use, which is complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. Which means we may need to do some things as well to pull back --

BERMAN: That's the concession. That's a linguistic concession.

SANGER: We'll have to see what that means. The second part of this we believe is going to deal with something dealing with a peace treaty, whether it's an actual peace treaty. Or the intent to go move to one. This would end the armistice that stopped but didn't finish the Korean war. The third part is going to be, what is it the North Koreans are going to give up over a short timetable. And on that, I suspect it's not going to be as aggressive as the U.S. would like.

BERMAN: Having a problem getting those concrete promises, perhaps the president doesn't want to stick around unless he gets them. And that may be the message --

SANGER: Maybe he will stick -- maybe he'll say, I'm going to delay my plane, we'll all have dinner. It could be a technique.

BERMAN: After undelaying the plane, delaying it again.

SANGER: That would be very much Donald Trump.

BERMAN: That would be Trumpian as they say. David Sanger, great to have you here with us. Thanks so much. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Sanger brings up a good point, you never know, gentlemen, thank you so much. As for President Trump here, the self-proclaimed greatest deal maker, this is arguably the ultimate deal, to talk about what that negotiation may look like, I'm joined by CNN contributor, Michael D'Antonio, he's a Trump biographer, he spent hours and hours with the man. Michael, the president says this will be quote, a one- time deal. He says, I've been preparing for this all my life.

You know the man, what do you think Trump is thinking going into this?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: I can be certain of the first claim, that this is a one-time event, is very soft. If he sees an opening for additional contact. I think he'll take it up when he's mentioned Kim could come to the White House I think he's serious about that. He likes the display of that.

The other claim he's been preparing for this all his life is in a way quite true, he imagined himself a nuclear negotiator back in the '80s, talking about how he should be sent to Moscow or Reykjavik to negotiate with the then Soviet Union. He's been preparing for this all along in his imagination. There is a difference between studying up for it, this is not a dog who likes to learn now tricks. He's been thinking about this for a very long time.

[14:10:00] BALDWIN: Speaking of age, we know that President Trump turns 72 on Thursday. And Kim, we believe is 34. I mean, that's more than half of Trump's age. How does Trump typically negotiate, deal with someone who is so his junior. Even though he's a dictator, he's half his age.

D'ANTONIO: I think the president admires Kim on some level. This is a really strong individual. He really likes strong men. He has some affection for people who wield power in a way that he doesn't. I think he's going to treat him with some respect. He might try the handshake trick, but as Emmanuel Macron has proven that's not a trick the old man can win with the younger man.

BALDWIN: What handshake trick?

D'ANTONIO: He has this thing that he always does, he grabs your hand and squeezes as hard as he can and doesn't want to let go. It's a dominance thing, it's a very old-fashioned male to male ploy, you try to get one up on the other fellow by making him give up and go limp.

BALDWIN: That's right, the white knuckles with Macron. Speaking of Macron, let's go back to the last couple days. The G7 a lot of lawmakers are disappointed with how the U.S. president behaved there, escalating this argument with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, David Axelrod tweeted, "He just blew up our closest allies, and is headed off to sit down with a dictator of North Korea. And after complaining that he didn't need much prep, he declares that he will know in the first minute if the talks will be worthwhile. This is madness."

And then later writing, I don't say this casually, at what point do we ask, is the president off his rocker much, Michael? You want to take that?

D'ANTONIO: I don't know that he's off his rocker, but he's the Donald Trump he's always been. He focuses on the moment at hand. He's saying America has no friends and no enemies. It's whatever happens right now. If Kim offers him something spectacular, he could walk out of this meeting beaming about denuclearization, the North Koreans could get something enormous in return. And our allies in Asia will left shaking their heads. The big winner is China about they're playing the long game. They're rising while we're falling.

BALDWIN: I want to know is how anyone is going to know how the summit goes? Because you have these two men and just translators, and we know they both have a penchant for hyperbole, so what will the truth be? Were going to continue to nail it down, Michael D'Antonio, thank you so very much. I always appreciate your insight.

As this summit happens in Singapore, the president and his advisers attacking and insulting G-7 allies. Saying Trudeau has a special place in hell. We'll talk live to the former U.S. ambassador to Canada to respond to that.

Also, ahead a new report suggests the president routinely rips up documents that need to be preserved. They go into the archives this is the president of the United States we're talking about. There are staffers who have been tasked to tape them back together. There were these staffers. Details ahead.

And did Robert De Niro's f bomb rant against the president actually play into the president's hands? Let's go there, I'm Brooke Baldwin.

[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: As we count down to this historic meeting between the U.S. and North Korea, let's not lose sight over what happened this weekend. President Trump lashing out at allies, refusing to sign this piece of paper, agreed on by every other member of the G-7 and calling the Canadian prime minister dishonest and weak. He attacked Canada's tariffs in particular writing this, "Canada charges the U.S. a 270 percent tariff on dairy products? They didn't tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers. What is the real state of trade with Canada?

CNN's Christine Romans has a fact check.

CHRISTINE ROMANS. CNN MONEY CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A remarkable trade dispute brewing here with Canada. The president slamming our northern neighbor for its trade relationship with the U.S., and his new biggest complaint Canada's 270 percent tariff on imported milk. Yes, Canada does charge that on some milk products. And even more on butter, but it's a relatively narrow slice of the trade pie. Canada isn't unusual, though.

[14:20:00] Most countries do this with certain products to protect ways of life. As the United States does it to for example, America charges a 350 percent tariff on some tobacco imports, and clothing and footwear imports face tariffs as high as 55 percent. By focusing so much on tariffs, many global trade experts think

President Trump is missing the bigger picture. After all, Canada is America's biggest export market. It bought more than $340 billion worth of goods last year. When you take services into account, not just goods, the U.S. has an $8.4 trillion trade surplus with Canada.

When President Trump talks about trade deficits, he's focusing on goods, which is misleading. Because the U.S. economy is driven by hospitals, tech companies, banks. Manufacturing and industry Trump fixates on, only makes up about trade deficits, he's focusing on goods, which is misleading. Because the U.S. economy is driven by hospitals, tech companies, banks. Manufacturing and industry Trump fixates on, only makes up about 10 percent of U.S. economic output. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Christine, thank you. Let's bring in the former U.S. ambassador to Canada. Bruce Heyman, Mr. Ambassador, welcome.

BRUCE HEYMAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CANADA: Welcome to you, thank you. Welcome to Chicago, good to see you.

BALDWIN: Love Chicago. Let's get right to it, you've heard some of what the president has said, even his own trade adviser said, there's a special place in hell for Justin Trudeau, I want to know what went through your head when you heard the comments from the president and his advisers?

HEYMAN: Let's stay with that just a minute. That's unconscionable. Anybody who represents the United States of America from the White House using that kind of language with any world leader of any type, I think is uncalled for, when you use it with your best friend, your next-door neighbor, your greatest ally, and I think one of your singular best trading partners, it's completely uncalled for, unprofessional, and I call for today an apology. I think he should apologize to the prime minister. But more importantly, he should apologize to the Canadian public. Using that type of language is not professional, it's not called for, and I tell you, I was deeply disappointed to see this lack of professionalism on his part many.

BALDWIN: I'm not so sure, it seems to me the president doesn't have the penchant for apologies. Are you almost embarrassed for him or the U.S.?

HEYMAN: Well, of course I'm embarrassed, let's talk about before this, and what happened over the last several weeks. Leading into the G-7. The U.S. was doing everything it could do to disrupt this meeting, you know, on the first of June they made the decision to apply steel and aluminum tariffs on our allies that are attending the meeting. Then coming in, the president stands before the cameras and says, why don't we add Russia to the group.

Seriously, Russia, who took over for Crimea, all the violence that's taken place in Ukraine, the poisoning of people in the U.K., the influence in our election this last time period. This is completely unacceptable, and he knew it would be, he arrives, he comes late, he misses some meetings, he shows up late to meetings, leaves early and on the way out the door, takes a shot at the Mexicans and Canadians in particular, about sunset clauses that need to be in NAFTA.

BALDWIN: I'm listening to you, but this is what his advisers have essentially said, it was all ultimately about North Korea, they didn't want to show any bit of weakness as he is now in Singapore ahead of this historic meeting, is that a fair point? HEYMAN: No, he said he was going to North Korea. Excuse me, have the

meetings on North Korea, and the most important part was attitude. Well, look, he's had a really bad attitude with his partners and his allies, and I think he set the news in a completely wrong direction as he headed off to Singapore, I think we're in a difficult place now, I'd like to see this thing settle down. Let's use diplomacy and find a path to success with the Canadians in particular. I think NAFTA negotiations are in a difficult spot now at as a result of the president's behavior.

BALDWIN: Looking ahead, Ambassador Heyman, you heard the quick piece from Christine Romans, the president is focused on goods when it comes to trade instead of goods and services. Do you think he's misinformed? Or is this all a strategy to sell his hardline?

[14:25:00] HEYMAN: Well, it could be both, actually. It wasn't that long ago he joked with his own supporters that when the prime minister came in and told him that the U.S. had a surplus, he said, I didn't know, but I just told them, no, we don't. And laughed about it, I don't -- I didn't think that was very funny at the time. Now they constructed a narrative to make sure he looked good. A large portion of our economy is services. That's true with the U.S./Canada relationship. We have a surplus in dairy, agriculture and steel. And so, this is our best trading partnership in the world, and the president's going after them, and I think it's a huge mistake.

BALDWIN: Ambassador, thank you very much.

Also new today, President Trump apparently has a habit of ripping up documents inside the White House, and staffers are forced to sit there and tape documents back together. Two of those staffers have been fired, they are now speaking out.

Also, the head of Twitter, shame for eating a Chick-fil-A, and now he is expressing regret. Let's talk about that ahead.

[14:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Little teenie tiny pieces. Apparently, this is what the president has a habit of doing to documents inside the White House, documents that need to be preserved, we're now being told need to be taped back together by staffers, everything from memos and notes and letters and negative news articles he doesn't like. He rips them up. The problem is, those are all official records in a need to be kept in tact.