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CNN NEWSROOM

Former Thai Navy SEAL Dies in Cave Rescue Efforts; U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Goods Now In Effect; Coach And Two Boys Reportedly Malnourished; EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns Amid Ethics Scandals; Pompeo under Pressure on Denuclearization; Japan Executes Leader Responsible for the 1995 Sarin Attack; U.K. Demands Answers From Russia on Novichok Poisoning. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired July 6, 2018 - 00:00   ET

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


[00:00:14]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching NEWSROOM L.A.

And we start with breaking news out of Thailand where a former Thai Navy SEAL has died during rescue operations trying to save a youth football team trapped in a flooded cave. Officials say the diver ran out of air after bringing oxygen tanks into the cave system.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASSAKORM BOOOYALAK, CHIANG RAI DEPUTY GOVERNOR (through translator): The SEAL died on the way back. Lack of oxygen around 2:00 a.m. King Rama X heard about the story and regretted to hear it. He ordered to hold a funeral for the Navy SEAL in the evening. The Chiang Rai governor and Navy will hold the funeral. The body will be sent to the Navy base by plane. The king said the children and the family will be well taken care of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The diver's death highlights the dangers facing the 12 boys and their coach if they try to use scuba gear to swim to safety, but they're up against the clock with more rain in the forecast.

CNN's David McKenzie is live in Northern Thailand. So, David, what more do we know about the circumstances surrounding the death of this Navy SEAL?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it's a very tragic morning here in Thailand. Saman Kunan, that former Navy SEAL diver from Thailand, he came back from the private sector, was working in airport security, came back to lend a hand, use his expertise.

And at around 2:00 in the morning, he was pronounced dead. He was taking the oxygen tanks through those narrow chambers, as an ambulance passes by me now, John, taking those oxygen tanks to move into where those boys are hunkered down to try to increase oxygen level. Critical work. Tragically he denied. I can tell you just moments ago the rain has started in earnest. The first time in several days here. That will add to the sense of urgency here because as it rains, experts telling me that those caves could become flooded against despite all the water they're trying to pump out to make it feasible for those boys to get out.

So, even amongst the tragedy, they are pulling together here, John, to try and work against the clock because this military operation hasn't had results yet, and people are getting very nervous that it could be, with this rain, even more difficult to get those boys out -- John.

VAUSE: Dave, just very quickly, we also know there was a medical assessment of the boys and their coach. At least two boys and the coach were believed to be suffering from exhaustion through malnutrition. The overall assessment is they're not healthy enough to be able to attempt a rescue. How long before they will be, I guess, is the main question right now?

MCKENZIE: That nine days or so without food, so you can imagine the impact that has on the human body and the psyche to be stuck deep in that cave in the dark for so many days. Then they had hope, and now it's dragging out. They don't know when they can bring it out.

So, yes, the doctor's assessment, according to our source, says at least three of the people in that cave, the coach and two boys, not healthy enough to get out. But whether they can improve the health in these conditions is another question.

And when you consider that this fit Navy diver died trying to get them oxygen, you know, one of the risks involved in trying to get these boys out who just don't have the experience, the training, and are weak from all these days stuck in this cave?

So, you know, there are hundreds of people here from different nationalities trying to help out. The world has focused attention on this extraordinary rescue effort. But at this stage, it's just unclear how they're going to do it.

And as the monsoon rains here start, John, that time might be really becoming short because they believe possibly even the cavern that the boys are relatively safe could be flooded in the coming days.

VAUSE: And also, we know that the former Navy SEAL died while delivering oxygen tanks into that cave area where the boys are. Why are they needing oxygen now? The boys have been in there for almost two weeks at this point. Is there an issue now with the buildup of carbon monoxide? Is this to do with the exhaustion that some of them have been suffering? What more do we know?

MCKENZIE: Well, in a confined space over time, of course, John, you're going to deplete the oxygen by just breathing for many days, even if it's a large cavern. So, at late evening yesterday, we were here when they brought in those oxygen tanks.

They're back behind me there, the green tanks, maybe about four-foot high. Those tanks will be brought into the chambers and released, I expect, to try and increase the oxygen levels. The officials saying that, you know, oxygen levels were getting down to 12 percent, 15 percent. That's extremely low and extremely damaging.

[00:05:13] So, that will affect the health of both the rescue workers who have a staging ground in the third chamber within this complex, and the boys that they're trying to survive. But you look at the huge stakes of someone just taking that oxygen to the boys died in trying to do that.

This has taken on a whole new level of seriousness. It was always a huge rescue effort, of course, but there's a sense of mourning here today throughout Thailand and resolve that they need to somehow figure this out and figure this out quickly.

VAUSE: Yes, time is against them. We were told earlier in the week they had all the time in the world. Clearly that is not the case right now. David, we'll be back with you next hour, so stay with us. Thank you.

Bobby Chacon, retired FBI special agent and a former FBI dive team leader joins us from Palm Springs in California. Bobby, I guess the obvious question here is how will a bunch of kids who can't even swim make it out alive when a Navy SEAL can't survive in those conditions?

BOBBY CHACON, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Yes, it's hard to see how they're going to do that. This is the most dangerous of types of diving endeavors that even professional divers do. And these are, as was exposed today, these are perishable skills. So even someone that is a trained cave diver, if they haven't done it in a little while, these skills fade.

So, you have to be on your game when you go into a situation like this. Getting those kids out via by diving should be -- you know, I'm not saying it shouldn't be considered, but it should be considered absolutely the last option.

Now, because it's an option, they should be having those kids wear those masks, getting them used to it. But it should not really be considered unless and until they exhaust all other options. This is not easy diving.

I've dove every kind of dive there is, hard-hat diving, deep sea diving. I'm a commercial diver. Cave diving is the most dangerous of diving you can do. The guy who wrote the book, who wrote the actual seminal cave diving textbook died diving in caves.

So, there's nobody that this can't reach. You know, when you see a situation like today where someone was pressed into service, you know, out of retirement, you know, you can see that they're reaching for people that, you know, maybe haven't dove in a while. Maybe their skills in this area, you know, aren't up to speed.

And, so this is bound to happen. You know, so maintaining control of the scene is pair amount. Instituting an incident management system by the team leaders is paramount. You've got to take it very slow and carefully or more people could die. VAUSE: We're in a situation now, Bobby, where earlier we saw the Thai military delivering all of these extra oxygen tanks to the rescue site. We know this former Navy SEAL was actually taking those oxygen tanks down to the cave where the kids are because as David McKenzie just reported earlier, oxygen levels are now down to around 14 percent.

We also know that the rains are coming and that this entire cave system could be flooded, not just cutting the boys off, but maybe this one safe haven, this air pocket where they're at could actually be flooded as well. This now seems that this is their only way out.

CHACON: You know, that's terrifying to me when I hear that. You know, I was hoping every hour when I'm watching your coverage that some new option becomes available because this option, while it's viable, it is extremely dangerous, and I have serious doubts whether they can get all those kids out through that means.

You're talking about 14 percent or 15 percent oxygen. The air you and I are breathing right now is about 20.9 percent oxygen, about 78.9 percent nitrogen. That's to survive healthy. If they're I an environment that -- the air we exhale is about 16 percent oxygen.

So, if they're in less than 16 percent or 15 percent oxygen, they're in a deficit already. That's no time to start diving. And so, they've got to get oxygen into that cavern. They've got to get those kids healthier before they can even -- and I say think about this, because as I'm seeing it in my mind's eye, it's going to be a terrible situation if those kids -- these are small caverns.

There's no visibility. There's no orientation. You don't even know which direction you're moving in, up, down, sideways. It's very disorienting. It's very claustrophobic inducing for someone that hasn't' been.

When we train our divers to do cave diving, first, we start in caverns, environments that are large and open, and we slowly get them into tighter and tighter spaces. If you're going to thrust somebody into a situation like that, there's a big chance for panic. Anxiety leads to panic. Panic leads to catastrophe.

VAUSE: Let me jump in very quickly. If you're in there with those kids right now, and you've got about 24 hours, what is the most important things you'd be teaching these kids to do in that period of time?

[00:10:05] CHACON: I'd be having them in the water, in chest-deep water, with full face masks on, having them drop below the surface of the water, closing their eyes, getting used to being in dark water, you know, breathing off that mask, and just getting comfortable in the water because if they're not comfortable, they'll never make it.

VAUSE: Bobby, stay with us. We want to talk to you next hour as this story continues to develop. Bobby Chacon, appreciate you being with us. There are more complications for this rescue effort. We've mentioned that. It's the rain. The weather is starting to turn bad. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is with us with more on that. We saw David out there on the scene, live at the scene. He said the rain is really starting to fall.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Just starting to see the first drops of rain on his live shot, John. I was noticing that as well. David mentioning it. So, I'm investigating on the satellite loop just to put you into geographical reference. Here's Northern Thailand. We've got Laos and Myanmar.

You can see some stratus cloud indicative of low hanging cloud that produces light shower activity. Of course, we don't want to see that start to thicken up because that's when we notice the monsoon rains picking up intensity.

This is tropical rain, very moisture laden atmosphere. We put together a climatological order of events. The 23rd of June is actually when the boys went missing. They had 5.7 millimeters of rain fall that particular day. Just imagine what that did to the situation, flooding the caves.

Then they saw an uptick in the precipitation, all the way to over 16 millimeters as we worked into the end days of June. Then we had that brief lull in the rainfall. That gave the rescue operations a promising outlook to let some of that water alleviate out of the cave systems.

But going forward, these green bars that I'm showing you here, this is actually the forecast rainfall totals going into the middle of July. It is expected to pick up in intensity, and the monsoon rains across this region will become more prominent, especially over the golden triangle.

That is a particular area we reference quite frequently. In fact, the Thai Meteorological Agency predicting a 10 percent above normal monsoon season for the months of July right through September. So, time is narrowing very quickly here. John, back to you.

VAUSE: Derek, thanks. We appreciate the update.

The U.S. president, Donald Trump, has fired the latest shot in his global trade war with tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports now in effect. More than 800 Chinese goods have been targeted including auto parts and medical equipment. And now we wait for China to hit back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAO FENG, SPOKESMAN, CHINESE MINISTRY OF COMMERCE (through translator): It is the United States who initiated this trade war. We don't want it, but when necessary, we will take countermeasures to safeguard the interests of our country and people. China will never fire the first shot, but if the U.S. imposes additional tariffs on Chinese imports, China will have to take countermeasures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Global business executive, Ryan Patel, joins me now with more. Good to see you, Ryan. So, it's on. You know, we just heard from Gao Feng, spokesman for the Commerce Ministry there in Beijing. He made the point. China did not fire the first shots here. That's important, and it's notable because it's true.

This all sort of started back in March. Donald Trump threatened the tariffs over Chinese trade practices. That got everyone to the negotiating table in a panic. They came up with a tentative deal. Trump didn't like it, scrapped it, and put the tariffs on. So essentially, he owns this.

RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: He definitely owns this. China -- the government makes it completely clear to the rest of the globe, this message just isn't to the U.S. We didn't do this. We are just reacting. It gives China a pass on this negotiation saying Trump has to come back to the table and make this even conversation to a certain degree.

VAUSE: The tragedy in a way of all this is that they had made some real progress in those talks, right?

PATEL: Yes. I think that's where this has got a little bit murky because as they sit now as of today, we're going to see China most likely retaliate back to the $34 billion. People are feeling this. You've got a lot of economists come out, well, it's over $34 billion.

It's like peanuts to the economy, but talking about small business, companies. They're asking how does this affect me now? And they're making moves to, and this will push either China or the U.S. government in a certain way they haven't seen before.

VAUSE: OK. On Air Force One flying to a campaign-style rally a few hours ago, Donald Trump confirmed the tariffs on the $34 billion for the Chinese exports. He also, you know, was talking about what comes next. He's speaking off-camera to the press pool. This is what he said.

"And then you have another $16 billion in two weeks. Then we have another $200 billion in abeyance. Then after the $200 billion, we have $300 billion in abeyance, OK? So, we have 50 plus 200 plus 300." OK. So, clearly, the way he's talking right now, he has no interest in backing away from this trade war.

[00:15:10] PATEL: And you know what scares me is those other countries besides the U.S. and China that are being affected. You talk about the suppliers who are supplying the materials. South Korea, Singapore who has $100 billion in bilateral trade with China.

This is all going to affect these other countries. I cannot imagine in a way if this continues to go down this route that other countries will have to have a voice and step in. I think that's why China's message here is really clear about how they didn't fire the first shot. VAUSE: One point with the president's numbers. He was talking about tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods. According to the U.S. government, that's almost $50 billion more than the U.S. actually imports from China or actually imported last year from China.

It may sound like nitpicking, but if the president is determined to have an all-out, knock them down, drag them out trade fight with China, shouldn't he get his numbers right at the beginning?

PATEL: One, yes. I'd rather have the administration just go really hard and not back down, right, and just stay at their position. But to your point, they got to a negotiation perspective. So, anything from at this point you feel like this is either for not just the base, but he's trying to find something where he can take a win back. It's no different than what we've seen some other countries do when he's dealing with the E.U. right now.

VAUSE: Yes, it's a bit like what Xi is facing in China. The politics is still trumping the economics. Very quickly, Donald Trump, we know, does not like the WTO. But here's the director general who was on CNN a few hours earlier. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If all that the tariffs in the world reverted to what they were before the trading system was created, WTO (inaudible) we estimated that about 60 percent of global trade would disappear, and a 2.4 percent contraction of the global economy would occur. That's bigger than after the 2008 crisis, which was the biggest contraction in 80 years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The point here, you know, it's probably worth a conversation whether or not the benefits of removing tariffs have been shared equally around the globe. That's for another time. The point I think he's making, at the end of the day, removing tariffs is universally being accepted as a good thing. Putting tariffs back on, bad thing.

PATEL: And that's I mean, you know that this is going to affect the U.S. economy. Right now, just China and the U.S., yes, they'll lose a few basis points for the overall economy. But with the tariffs, this is about business sentiment, about investments. These things are not being calculated --

VAUSE: There's a multiplier effect, right?

PATEL: Yes, and that's where this gets scary. No one is really talking about that. You see this sentiment on the ground. Even in China you see all the reports. You see the executives. They're worried. They are not just coming out and this could multiply faster than most people could think of and that will lead to a scary path. If it just stayed still and we're talking economics, then we're OK.

VAUSE: The snowball is at the top of the hill, though. OK, Ryan, thank you. Good to see you. Come back next hour. Thank you. OK, a break. When we come back, the top U.S. diplomat is on another mission to North Korea. What commitment Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wants to get from Kim Jong-un?

Also, ahead, an unceremonious exit for the U.S. Environment chief Scott Pruitt, we'll look at the ethics scandals that brought him down. That's next on NEWSROOM L.A.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:20:31]

VAUSE: It wasn't a great start to the week for Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. On Monday, he was at a restaurant in Washington when Kristin Mink, an everyday mom, confronted Pruitt and urged him to resign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just wanted to urge to resign because of what you are doing to the environment in our country. This is my son. He loves animals. He loves clear air. He loves clean water. We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, somebody who believes in climate change and keep it seriously for the benefit of all of us including our children. So, I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Maybe Pruitt took her advice to heart because by Thursday, he submitted an obsequious letter of resignation to the president, "It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it as a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also because of the transformative work that is occurring.

However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizeable toll on all of us." What is truly unprecedented is the number of federal inquiries into Pruitt's behavior, the number of scandals, controversies, alleged ethical breaches. And just outright weird stuff, which has occurred during his 18 months as head of the EPA.

For more now, CNN contributor and former ethics czar for the Obama administration, Norm Eisen, is with us. Norm, nice to see you.

NORM EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: John, glad to be back.

VAUSE: OK. So, in a scandal-ridden administration, no one was more scandal-ridden than Scott Pruitt, at least from what is known publicly. By last count, he was the focus of more than a dozen investigations. What is truly amazing about all of this, the president didn't care. Pruitt didn't care. Republican lawmakers apparently weren't bothered. Pruitt resigned because he was getting too much bad publicity and that's what angered Donald Trump.

EISEN: Well, John, you know, it's the opposite of ethics. You're supposed to do things because they're right, not because you're caught. That's the definition of criminality, not of ethics. Now, I'm not saying Scott Pruitt has committed crimes.

I will say if I were a prosecutor, I would take a hard look at this situation because what summarizes it all, John, you have a man here who instead of believing that public service was for the public good, he approached his public office as a chance to benefit himself.

And this flourishing of scandals, as you say, is exceed by no one else in this cabinet. The only person who may come close is the president himself with all of the civil and criminal investigations, and unlike Scott Pruitt, the president has been named a subject in a criminal investigation. So, I think Pruitt was taking his marching tune from the president.

VAUSE: A few hours ago, the press actually asked Donald Trump -- it was all off camera -- about Pruitt's resignation. And Trump said, Scott is a terrific guy. He came to me, and he said, I have such great confidence in the administration. I don't want to be a distraction. I think Scott felt that he was a distraction.

Question from the reporter, his choice or yours? The president answered, it was very much up to him. So, assuming that's an honest answer from the president, what does it say about this administration that, you know, it just allowed Scott Pruitt to decide under what circumstances he would go?

EISEN: Well, first of all, it's hard to accept that it is an honest answer, John.

VAUSE: Yes.

EISEN: You know, that distraction line has been used by far less proficient liars than President Trump. Over 3,000 lies in just a year and a half in office to cover up pulling the rip cord. So, it became too intense, the political heat.

That's what Trump is really saying, that it was becoming a burden that the president couldn't carry anymore. I think the interesting question here, why did the president tolerate this for so long when his own allies in the White House, in the press, in Congress were calling out Pruitt?

[00:25:06] I believe it's because the president has so much exposure. And if he shows a sign of weakness, if he puts blood in the water, the critics next are going to turn on him.

VAUSE: You know, there was a lot of weird stuff around Pruitt. He sent the secret service agents to find this Ritz-Carlton body lotion, $1,500 of expenditure on tactical pants, whatever that is. He sent the staff out to get a used mattress from the Trump hotel, and then there was this. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another report today, low level staffers, people who are 23, 24, 25, being asked to charge trips on their credit card and then not being reimbursed, which is just an astounding detail. Is that something you witnessed firsthand?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. I actually saw where the Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson had to give one of the younger staffers -- literally pulled six $100 bills out of his wallet and gave it to this young lady.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And then there's the serious allegations of egregious wrongdoing. Again, listen to Pruitt's former deputy chief of staff this time talking to CNN's Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: So, he would meet with an industry lobbyist, somebody from industry itself, and decide later that that was not going to look good, so let's scrub it off the calendar?

KEVIN CHMIELEWSKI, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO SCOTT PRUITT: Sometimes later, even before. We would always put on the schedule, meeting with staff. That was the default button, was meeting with staff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The situation of scrubbing the record, "The New York Times" reports one aide actually questioned this and was fired. So, if this is true, it sounds like falsifying or hiding public records, which is a federal crime.

EISEN: That's right, John. The watchdog group I chair, Crew, is involved in litigation. In fact, we have 20 legal matters involving Pruitt, and some of that litigation concerns these bizarre document practices. They're frankly illegal.

This is one of the potential criminal issues that I think prosecutors may look at. They should look at. I'm not saying how they should come out, but it needs to be investigated. Pruitt took no responsibility at all. He intimated it's the unfair attacks that drove him out. No. He created this mess for himself and the president who he so adores.

VAUSE: Two very quick questions here. Will these investigations continue even though he has now resigned? And just quickly the other one. He got Senate approval to be the director of the EPA. Does that carry over? Should Trump appoint him to another cabinet position that needs Senate confirmation?

EISEN: Well, he will continue to face investigations. They may even intensify now. That gentleman you saw on-camera, by the way, he was no, you know, Democrat. That is a Trump supporter who went to work for Pruitt, and his own people have turned on him. Now that he's gone, there may be even more allegations. John, the underlying problems, we don't know the truth. They haven't been fixed. So, some of these investigations will continue. And until Pruitt's resignation is effective, Trump could stick him in under what's known as the Vacancies Reform Act, a U.S. law.

He could replace him, slide him into an empty job elsewhere. Maybe that was the reason that Pruitt was so obsequious in the letter. But I think the ethics and legal stench is so strong, the superfund site has got so many of these foul swamp gases coming out of it, that Trump won't dare to do it.

VAUSE: We shall see. Who knows? Norm, as always, good to see you. Thank you.

EISEN: John, great to see you.

VAUSE: When we come back, the U.S. secretary of state believes the leader of North Korea wants a brighter future for his people, and as Mike Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang for a third time, he might be about to find out one way or the other.

[00:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause, with the headlines this hour. A former Thai Navy SEAL has been killed during efforts to rescue a youth football team trapped in a cave. Officials say the volunteer died that died from the lack of air. He was trying to reach an underground command center. The 12 boys and their coach have been trapped now for 13 days.

The world's top economy terror due to exchange fire in the global trade war. America's latest rounds of tariffs on China are now in effect. They target $34 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing has promised retaliation within its own tariffs.

And U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, due shortly in North Korea for talks on denuclearization. He's under pressure to get commitments on the timetable and next steps from Pyongyang. The visit comes amid new intelligence reports said North Korea has no intention, rather, of giving up its nuclear stock pile.

Jasper Kim is the Director of the Center for Conflict Management at EWHA University. He joins me now from Seoul in South Korea. Jasper, thanks for taking the time to be with us. You know, Mike Pompeo, he was traveling -- he still is travelling to North Korea. He sent out this tweet, I spoke with POTUS, President of the United States while we were both in the air. The President told me he believes that Chairman Kim sees a different, brighter future for the people of North Korea. We both hope that's true.

OK. So, Pompeo actually gets a firm commitment to denuclearize and especially a time table for Kim Jong-un, that it'll be a good sign, an indication that maybe the President's assessment is correct that Kim does want a brighter future. But if Pompeo leaves with little more than handshakes and a smile, that would suggest the process for all intents and purposes, is done.

JASPER KIM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONFLICT MANAGEMENT, EWHA UNIVERSITY: Well, that could be. I mean, this is a very complex multi-stage set of negotiation for dealing with ICBMs, nuclear missile material, secret hiding areas for these missiles. So, I mean, it's not one of these things like an M&A where you can just kind of crack down on it, barrel down and (INAUDIBLE) and get it done over the weekend.

This would take many weeks, many months, and possibly, many years. And I think we've got to just, sort of, brace for that. I think John Bolton, the National Security Adviser, wants a very quick timeline, and that's very interesting because that really puts pressure on Pompeo. So, it's very ironic in a sense that a lot of the pressure placed on Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang is within.

VAUSE: But, after that -- the Singapore declaration which was, you know, wafer thin, it was like barely a page long, isn't there now a requirement from North Korea? I'm not talking about all the details and everything he worked through but some kind of serious commitment that they are actually into the process, as opposed to just dragging out, you know, the negotiations and the diplomacy, to try and loose some sanctions up and move this process along and stall it for as long as possible.

KIM: Yes, I mean, that's truly, sort of, two sides of it. I mean, from a realistic perspective, which might be the perspective that comes taking. The initial Singapore declaration, that's kind of like an MOU. It's not really a binding contract per say, it's really just kind of an I-should-really-get-to-know-you type of agreement. That's sort of where he might, kind of, place that.

And moving forward, you can either, kind of, barrel down in a binding agreement and under -- being in a convention, a lot of treaties that binding a contract is called a treaty. But, at any rate, no matter what packaging term you put on it, I think both sides would, kind of, want to take the next step. North Korea, I think they're going to have to give up something here because Pompeo is making a very high- profile trip to Pyongyang. His legacy is -- it's a visible trip and Trump is really watching it very, very closely.

So, you don't want to get Trump edgy or angered in any way, Kim Jong- un knows that. So, you really have these two leaders, kind of, feel other out through this trip that Pompeo is making.

[00:35:16] VAUSE: We had the U.S. President at a rally for supporters in Montana, a few hours ago. He was talking up his diplomatic success with North Korea. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I got along very well with Chairman Kim. I got along very well. That's a good thing that I got along well. Now, what hasn't happened in eight months, in eight months, first of all, we got out prisoners back before I even went there. And I didn't pay $1.8 billion, by the way, in cash. We didn't bet 1.8, right? We paid slightly less than 1.8, we paid nothing. And yet -- and yet, it was a very smart deal for North Korea. Good will is very important. But we signed a wonderful paper, say they're going to denuclearize their whole thing. It's going to all happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: There is so much wrong with pretty much everything he said. But I guess the most important part that's wrong. U.S. intelligence has pointed out there is no likelihood that Kim Jong-un would go up his entire nuclear stock pile. He's not going to denuclearize completely. It's not going to happen, and that's far from a one whole piece of paper.

KIM: Well, I think, basically, you have to take it stage by stage, John, and although you can't dismantle (INAUDIBLE) complete nuclear arsenal or the potential for it, I think the first thing to do -- first thing to do with Pompeo's trip is focus on the ICBMs. Those are the ones that pose a national threat to the United States.

I think that's the first thing that should be in order in terms of Pompeo, basically putting down into the spotlight and sing to Kim Jong-un and his advisers, is that, listen, this is threat, we need to get rid of it. And then we'll talk about everything else after that, the intermediate range missiles, the short range missiles. Yes, they do have a security interest against South Korea where I met in Japan, Guam, et cetera. But first and foremost, the stakes goes to the ICBM. I think that's what Pompeo might be thinking right now.

VAUSE: But, you know, just for your -- this is all very logical, it makes a lot of sense, you know. But, where is the point where the North Koreans haven't even made good on their promise to return the remains of U.S. soldiers which they're still holding, I mean, that was meant to have happened by now. Donald Trump said it has happened, but it hasn't. I mean, the very basic steps have not even been taken by the -- by the North Koreans' side of this point?

KIM: Well, it's good point, John. Negotiation is a perception game and an information game. So in terms of perception, if we just take a look at this agreement from North Korea's perspective, they will probably say, why blame us, why point the finger at us? There's no timeline here. It's not very specific. And that's sort of why the (INAUDIBLE) Singapore Summit, that's where it's aimed at.

It's just very broad. There's a lot of oratory language. You can't really barrel down. There's not any details, no numbers in there. I think that's what we're looking for at this stage, it's basically some numbers and locations. I think that's what's really needed to give this added credibility here.

VAUSE: OK. Jasper, thank you, we appreciate you being with us. Some good insights there, thank you.

KIM: Thank you.

VAUSE: A short break. When we come back here on NEWSROOM L.A., will Britain and Russia face blame and accusations of the nerve gas that poisoned a British couple. Are they still any closer to finding out the truth?

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[00:40:37] VAUSE: The leader of the cult behind the sarin gas attack on a Japanese subway in 1995 has been executed. Chizuo Matsumoto, who went by the name, Shoko Asahara, spent 22 years in prison for the deadly attack. Japan's justice minister confirmed six cult members who took part of the sarin attack were also executed on Friday.

They've placed plastic bags of sarin on crowded Tokyo train during rush hour in 1995, 13 people died and more than 5,000 became ill. British investigators are searching for the source of the deadly nerve agent that poisoned two people on Saturday. Police say the sickened couple held an item contaminated with Novichok, a Russian-developed chemical weapon. But, as U.K. government presses for answers, Moscow is pushing back. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen, reports.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another two people in Britain, poisoned, by the military grade nerve agent, Novichok, and London demanding answers from Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAJID JAVID, SECRETARY, BRITISH INTERIOR (through translator): It is the actions of the Russian government that this -- that continue to undermine our security and that of the international community. It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets or for our streets, our parks, our towns to be dumping grounds for poison.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: Former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, barely survived poisoning by the nerve agent, Novichok, in Salisbury, England in March. The Brits blamed Russia, the U.S. and many other allies, agreed, and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats. The Kremlin still fuming today rejecting the allegations, again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DMITRY PESKOV, SPOKESMAN, RUSSIA (through translator): Russia has categorically denied and continues to deny the very possibility of any Russian involvement. You also know that the U.K. side has not provided any convincing evidence to support the faceless accusations against Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: Now, Moscow firing back at the British government, demanding to be part of the investigation, but the Brits say, that won't happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA ZAKHAROVA, SPOKESWOMAN, FOREIGN MINISTRY, RUSSIA (through translator): We urge Theresa May's government to stop playing games with chemical poisonous substances and stop creating obstacles for a joint investigation on what happened on the U.K. soil with the Russian citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: And Russian state controlled T.V. launching a media blitz with guests claiming it's all a conspiracy against Russia, and that undermining improved relations with the White House, ahead of the upcoming Trump-Putin Summit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Russia's image on the international scene has significantly improved, thanks to the World Cup and because of the upcoming NATO Summit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They had to do something, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And the upcoming Trump and Putin meeting, this doesn't look like an accident, but is known behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: For the preparations for the Summit between President Trump and Vladimir Putin well underway, it's the latest incident that has critics warning the dangers of trusting the Russian leader. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause, stay with us. World Sport starts after the break.

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