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China: Missing Interpol President Under Investigation; North Korea Invites Inspectors to Confirm Irreversible Dismantling of Nuclear Site; Russian Military Intel Accused in String of Plots; New "This is Life" Episode Looks at Gender Identities. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 7, 2018 - 18:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[18:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel like this is a win you can be proud of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh hell yes. Republicans are at the move of the country and we can tell that people really wanted Kavanaugh. Everyone is packed from white men over 60 to white men over 70.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Schumer, what went wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My doctor thinks it might be sciatica.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I meant with the Kavanaugh vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, right, yes. Well, the Dems lost another one, you know. It's what we do now. Look. We thought this time would be better than the Anita Hill hearing because Dr. Ford was white, but then it turned out Brett Kavanaugh was white too and, you know, we were completely blindsided by that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alex Marquardt in Washington, in this afternoon for Ana Cabrera.

We are beginning this hour with the deadliest transportation accident in this country in nearly a decade. Twenty lives were lost in a horrific limousine crash. Passengers in a limo were on their way to a birthday party. Officials now saying that the limousine was speeding down a hill in upstate New York. It didn't stop at a T intersection. It then crossed that intersection and plowed into an unoccupied SUV and killed two people who were standing outside the apple Barrel (p) country store and cafe, which is a popular tourist spot in Schoharie, New York.

Witnesses described chaos, screaming and a huge response from ambulances and first responders. We are now hearing from state and federal investigator who is are on the scene. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTOPHER FIORE, FIRST DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: The limousine traveled across the intersection into a parking lot and struck a 2015 Toyota highlander that was unoccupied and parked. Two pedestrians standing nearby were also struck and killed.

ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB CHAIRMAN: Twenty fatalities is just horrific. I have been on the board for 12 years. And this is one of the biggest losses of life that we have seen in a long, long time. This is the most deadly transportation accident in this country since February 2009.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: You heard the NTSB chairman there, a horrific crash.

Let's go to straight to CNN's Polo Sandoval who is on the scene in Schoharie, New York.

Polo, we have the death toll now. Twenty dead, 18 who are inside the limo including the driver and two who are outside that store. What are you hearing from people who saw this crash?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They of course described what took place yesterday, Alex. I mean, really, you have a new perspective standing here just a few feet away from where the lives of those 20 people were cut short just over 24 hours ago. It was supposed to be a joyful ride ending in tragedy here in upstate New York.

I can tell you that both state and federal investigators are back at the scene tonight again. I saw a member of the New York state police as well as the national transportation safety board survey the scene here. Really, the only reminder of what took place here.

You see that scarred earth behind me, which is what we believe was a path that that limousine, that 2001 Ford Excursion took yesterday when according to investigators it failed to stop at a T intersection resulting in a death of those 20 people.

And that really is the key information that we have heard right now particularly as we potentially wait to hear from investigators again as we look behind me. Again, you can see that go team with the national transportation safety board that arrived on scene today. We heard from one of the officials with the federal agency earlier today say that it is likely going to be at least five days before their investigators leave the scene here as they continue to gather information, to try to find answers to those critical questions.

What are those questions? What led to this accident? Of course, that was main one. Was the vehicle speeding? Was it over capacity? Were there issue with the brakes?

Investigators not yet ready to answer that question. And it is something else that we hope any will hear more about in the future. The circumstances of that limousine ride, who was aboard in those 18 people. We know at least, the driver and his 17 passengers, all confirmed dead as that investigation still in its very preliminary stages, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And of course, authorities not revealing the identities now of the victims because they are still in the process of informing families.

Polo Sandoval on the scene in Schoharie. We will check in with you in a little bit. Thank you very much.

Now, I want to bring in a woman who witnessed the limo crash earlier today. Bridey Finnegan joins me on the phone.

Bridey, if you can hear me, tell me what you saw, what happened?

BRIDEY FINNEGAN, EYEWITNESS (on the phone): Well, I didn't actually see the crash. I was inside my house, which is next door to the Apple Barrel. And I heard a loud crash and I ran out to my front door just see if it was somebody in my driveway. It was that loud. And I could just look up and see the Apple Barrel. There were all of these people running out of the restaurant and the store. And then I heard all these screams.

And it wasn't until I walk up a little bit closer that I could see there was this unusual vehicle that looked like it had so many windows. I thought it was bus and then figured out it was a van flesh limo. And it was in the bushes and did not know how it all happened. Eventually, I heard that it ended up coming down the hill. Route 30 is a very steep hill. At the top of it says no trucks allowed. Perhaps this limo driver was unfamiliar with this road and felt maybe his car, the limo wasn't so heavy. That could have played into it. It is a very dangerous intersection. I have lived there as a child. And I came back to live there last year as an adult. And there's been three crashes at that intersection already in this one year.

It's a very dangerous place. And I think something that is to be done with making the signaling better. Unless, of course, the brakes failed, you know. There's nothing you can do about that.

[18:06:19] MARQUARDT: Right, of course. We don't really know right now what. We don' know at all, in fact, what exactly happened in that car. But others like you have described this intersection, this T intersection where state road 30 juts into 30A as particularly nasty and particularly dangerous.

Bridey, this is a small town. I'm told earlier around 3,000 people. What kind of effect is this going to have on your town?

FINNEGAN: Well, it is devastating to think that an accident at this magnitude could happen right next door to me. And then this little town where people come to the Apple Barrel just for a weekend out from the tri-state cities. And of course, this weekend is a great leaf weekend. Schoharie is absolutely beautiful and has attracts a lot of tourist.

So this was this happen where people were enjoying themselves is so tragic. So it's going to be awhile. And I hope the New York state authorities can look at this intersection and make some changes to it. They did make some changes to the intersection five or six years ago. They had a very big redoing of the road and apparently it didn't help.

MARQUARDT: Yes. Some saying facts that change in fact made it worst.

Bridey, you mentioned how popular the area is right now. Two of the victims were just bystanders who were at the Apple Barrel Country Store. What can you tell us about that location and how busy it would have been on a Sunday morning?

FINNEGAN: Well, in October, of course, this is apple season. And the Apple Barrel started its business selling only apples. It's expanded quite a bit into a gift shop and a restaurant. It's a very lovely spot to go. My husband and I walk up there to have dinner. And we shop there to get gifts and cards. And it's often on the weekends there's a lot of tourists. It's not a commercial area. This is a rural area and there's homes all along route 30 and route 30A. By me, there is a school going the other direction on 30A and Dunkin Donuts and a hotel and an entrance to I-88(ph). But as you -- this is located about two-and-a-half miles outside of the village of Schoharie. So it is -- there's no other commercial buildings right near it.

FINNEGAN: Well, Bridey, an incredibly sad day for your town. Our thoughts are with you and everyone in Schoharie. Thanks so much for joining us this afternoon.

FINNEGAN: OK. Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Now switching gears, Democrats are angry about Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, but could they be focusing too much on his Supreme Court appointment that it would backfire politically? How one democrat is telling her party to move on ahead of November's midterms?

Plus the White House wants another summit with Kim Jong-un as soon as possible, they say. This afternoon, North Korea is accused of - accused the U.S. of behaving like gangsters. So, are the two sides ready for more talks? We will discuss that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:08:41] MARQUARDT: We are just hours into Brett Kavanaugh's new job and already, divisions are running high as both sides fight to use this moment as a rallying cry for their respective bases for the November midterms.

Control of Congress, no doubt still on the line, but Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell already looking ahead to 2020 and the possibility of confirming yet another Supreme Court nominee. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Donald Trump were to name somebody in the final year of his first term in 2020, are you saying that you would go ahead with that nomination?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I understand your question. And what I told you was what the history of the Senate has been. You have to go back to 1880 to find the last time a vacancy created in a presidential election year on the Supreme Court was confirmed by a Senate of a different party than the president. That's the history us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it you can't answer my direct question --

MCCONNELL: Well, the answer to your question is we'll see whether there's a vacancy in 2020.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: We'll see if there's a vacancy. We are going to explore that in a little bit with my panel.

But first, CNN's White House reporter Sarah Westwood is joining me from the north lawn of the White House.

Sarah, we know that the President went out golfing today. In fact, with Lindsey Graham who is a huge supporter of Brett Kavanaugh's, clearly taking a victory lap on arguably one of the best weeks of his presidency. So how are the White House and his Republican supporters for that matter celebrating and capitalizing on this momentum?

[18:15:09] SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Alex, President Trump has spent the past couple days basking in the success of that narrow confirmation of now justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. And heading into a week where he will be crisscrossing the country. He is showing no signs of letting up on that victory lap.

Last night at the campaign rally in Kansas, Trump dedicated much of his time not just to touting the confirmation of Kavanaugh, but also to highlighting some of the other big wins that he notched over the past week including the negotiation of new trade terms with Canada and Mexico and the release of the lowest unemployment rate in 49 years.

And what we are seeing is Trump and his allies forming what could become a central theme of the political messaging heading into November. And that is using Kavanaugh's bitter confirmation battle as a warning to Republican voters about the kinds of things they might expect to see if Democrats retake Congress in November.

Last night we saw Trump use the Supreme Court fight to paint Democrats as extremists, partisan obstructionists. And it's all part of the GOP efforts to try to motivate Republican voters who might otherwise be complacent come next month to go to the polls. That's because Democrats have for months had an advantage in polling of voter enthusiasm. And that's just one reason why experts have been predicting a potential blue wave heading into November.

Now the Trump and allies clearly think that the Kavanaugh situation helps their side. But there are some Democrats who think that the Kavanaugh situation is actually more helpful to the left given the level of opposition and the intensity of the activism that we saw develop across the country over the past couple weeks in opposition to Kavanaugh's nomination.

So really, that Kavanaugh effect on the midterms remains to be seen. But Trump will have several chances to try to keep that excitement level of his base up over the next week. On Monday, he will head to Orlando for an official event before heading two rallies in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, finishing in Kentucky on Saturday. So Trump will have a lot of chances this week, Alex, to try to keep that voter enthusiasm up, translate the celebration of his wins into some electoral results.

MARQUARDT: And will that (INAUDIBLE) what we have been talking about in the last few months which is a blue wave.

All right, thank you so much.

All right, on the other side, Democrats are hoping their voter's anger will drive them to the polls next month. Listen to this from Democratic senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii earlier today on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D), HAWAII: We have an election coming up. And I said to the women who are justifiably angry but determined. And I said they should just focus like a laser beam on the elections because they are connected with that. They know that the senators who are making these confirmation decisions are the people who are elected by their voters. And so as voters, they have a role to play.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: All right. So to dig into this more with us now is Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic, associate editor and columnist for RealClearPolitics A.B. Stoddard and Republican strategist Alice Stewart.

Thank you all so much for joining me this afternoon.

A.B., let me start with you and let's go back to that McConnell sound where he has been asked about 2020. Of course, he was the main architect of blocking Merrick Garland from getting on the court and yet, today, he is refusing to say what he would do in 2020. What do you make of that?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR/COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: It's very clear what Mitch McConnell will do in 2020 if there's a vacancy on the Supreme Court. He will do whatever he can to get a nominee confirmed as quickly as possible because that is the sole focus of McConnell's agenda right now, is the court.

President Trump has an incredible opportunity to fill between a half and a third of the seats on the court, far more than President Obama did.

And this is, you know, Trump's America. There are no rules anymore. There is no Biden rule. There is no Merrick Garland. President, there is no nothing. He is going to do exactly what he wants to do. (CROSSTALK)

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Talking about McConnell for a second that I think people forget. He is more than any other majority leader, I think in history, is devoted to this because of his own personal experience. Back in the '70s when he was a Senate staffer, he followed the defeat of two of President Nixon's Supreme Court appointees. And then when President Obama was elected and came in in 2009, he wrote a letter as minority leader then saying watch who you put on the lower courts because we will be scrutinizing them.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And he is really careful when he is talking about this issue to say when the president is a one party and the Senate is led by a different party, that's when you have things jam up. And that is where they withheld Merrick Garland. And that in terms of making up the rules that it goes along, when the Senate is in control, they can. And they realize this is an important issue, 26 percent of Republicans, myself included, voted for Donald Trump and Republicans on the Supreme Court issue alone. And it is a very motivating factor.

[18:20:004] MARQUARDT: Yes. So, in crisscrossing the country, that is what you hear like you hear a lot of Trump supporters saying, I'm disappointed with this that or that tweet that you know, that others at a rally or whatever. But they just see this president as the driver of putting all these judges on the different courts. And that's really their foremost priority and they are willing to do away -- ignore a lot of other things.

But Alice, let me ask you this question of momentum as we have now four-and-a-half weeks. You can you can make the argument that this is going to galvanize a lot of Democrats even more to take part in this blue wave. Any chance that conservative enthusiasm will dissipate because Kavanaugh has been sworn in?

STEWART: This has been the shot in the arm that conservatives needed and Republicans needed. There is clearly when you are in the party in power and the first term of a presidency, that you lose seats. And the enthusiasm people are complacent. But this was the shot in the arm Republicans needed in addition to an unemployment rate at an historic low. The economy and the Supreme Court are huge boosts for Republicans.

On the flip side, what does this mean for Democrats? If they get their heckling class into a voting class and register these people to vote and get them out, they certainly will have good numbers. But right now, I see this blue wave is not quite so blue anymore.

MARQUARDT: So A.B., what is next? I mean, do they just cancel each other out? Do you think that Democrats still have an edge?

STODDARD: Democrats have all the edge in the poll in terms of enthusiasm. They have all year. The problem is Democrats don't vote in midterms. It is usually a whiter more --.

MARQUARDT: Even this year? STODDARD: That would have to change. If it changes this year, then

that would be a big problem for Republicans. But the Democratic coalition let Obama down in 2010 and again in 2014. We know, they reelected him in 2012. They just tend to not vote. So it's going to have to be a new model on the Democratic side to capitalize on the anger and excitement that we know exists from polling, but that's why President Trump is using fear. He is telling - he is not just saying that they are obstructionists. He says these people are angry mob and they aren't capable of governing. And you need to be scared out of your mind into voting, even though you got Kavanaugh. And that is what really here for the next four weeks.

MARQUARDT: A lot of Democrats would admit they are an angry mob and that this is a unique time.

Joan, let me turn to you. In terms of the court, I want to read you a quick tweet from former attorney general Eric Holder. He wrote, with the confirmation of Kavanaugh and the process which led to it, and (INAUDIBLE) of Merrick Garland, the legitimacy of the Supreme Court can't justifiably be questioned. The court must now prove through its work that it is worthy of the nation's trust. With Kavanaugh now on the bench, is there a legitimacy issue?

BISKUPIC: I think even the justices think there might be a legitimacy issue. And it's not just because of how partisan the hearings became. It's because there's no longer any center to this court.

Anthony Kennedy was a centrist conservative whose vote was in play sometimes with the liberal justices. We don't have that anymore. And justice Elena Kagan just last Friday even spoke to that using the word legitimacy saying that the public was able to look at the court as it was before Anthony Kennedy retired and to wonder which way rulings would sometimes go.

There is no center. And I think it's going to fall to, if anyone, chief justice John Roberts who along the ideological spectrum would be closest to the left, even though he hardly is the kind of flexible conservative. But he has spoken about the importance of the court looking impartial, looking as he said like an umpire rather than a partisan warrior as we might have seen during the confirmation hearings. So I think even the justices are concerned about the legitimacy in the public eye.

MARQUARDT: And Alice, after hearing Kavanaugh during his testimony following Christine Blasey Ford, how fired up he got and how he accused the backers of Clinton and these conspiracy theories about the left wanting to sort of take him down. When he joins the court, I mean, he said that he will be an independent minded justice. He wrote that in his "Wall Street Journal" op-ed. But will there be and occasions where people will be expected to recuse himself?

STEWART: I don't see that being the case simply because if you want to look at his jurisprudence or his judicial temperament on the court, go back and look at the 12 years he has been on the bench and look at how he has ruled on those cases. And you will see someone who interprets the constitution and his judicial integrity has been intact throughout his tenure to date. And that is why he got such tremendous support by those on the senate judiciary committee. And that is what we need to judge him on. Clearly, when he was on that hearings, he was defending his honor. He was being accused of horrendous things. And it links to which the Democrats --.

[18:25:04] MARQUARDT: That was an outlined (ph) as a unique moment?

STEWART: I think so. He was extremely frustrated. And this was the lengths that Democrats went to to try and take him down. And he was someone who is defending his honor. And I would be surprised if anyone didn't come back with those allegations with such fury and anger and frustration.

And I think as I said, don't judge him based on that. Judge him on his history on the bench.

MARQUARDT: All right, Alice Stewart, A.B. Stoddard, Joan Biskupic, thank you so much for joining me this afternoon.

All right. And now this week's before the bell. Here is chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: With so much evidence coming in that the U.S. economy is very strong, the focus now shifts to corporate profit this is week as companies begin delivering the third quarter results to Wall Street. JP Morgan Chase City group and Wells Fargo is scheduled to report on Friday.

Overall, third quarter earnings got S&P 500 companies are expected to grow more than 19 percent, 19 percent. That's strong, but down slightly from expectations in June. It's still marks the third strongest earnings growth in seven years.

On the economic front, investors are watching for signs of inflation. The producer price index and the consumer price index are out this week. Both readings were tamer than expected in August.

Last week, fed chief Jerome Powell said he has seen no evidence of inflation building in the economy. And September's wage gains were in line with expectations growing at an annual rate of 2.8 percent. Economists are wondering when wages are going to hit the three percent mark or three percent given just how tight the labor market is.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUARDT: All right, Christine. Thanks so much.

For more on that coverage of tech, media, finance and the future, you can head on over to our new site, CNN Business. We will focus on the single biggest financial story of the generation. That's the digital transformation of business. So go ahead and check that out at CNN.com/business.

All right. Well, the mystery deepens in the disappearance of an international police chief. A strange message appears after a week of silence. Is he in danger? We will have all the details, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:31:32] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: There's been a new twist in the mysterious disappearance of the president of the international police body, Interpol. Meng Hongwei, who is also a senior Chinese government official, was reported missing last week after flying from France to his home country, China.

And now, his wife is revealing that the last contact she had with him came in the form of a cryptic text message showing a knife emoji and the words, "wait for my call." This as Interpol officials say that they received Meng's resignation today.

So for more, we go to CNN international correspondent Sam Kiley who is joining us now from Hong Kong.

Sam, so many twists and turns in this crazy story, so let's everyone -- let's walk everyone through it. But first, what is China now saying about Meng's whereabouts?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at last, the Chinese, Alex, have confirmed that Mr. Meng is, indeed, in China. That was in some doubt as recently as yesterday when, actually, the Chinese were blocking CNN transmissions about the story altogether.

That was following reports in the "South China Morning Post" here in Hong Kong that suggested that he had, indeed, been taken into custody by the Chinese Communist Party, not by the police but by the party, which gives the party a greater latitude in hanging on to him during interrogation before any charges are laid.

Now, this all coming as the French Interior Ministry had said that, Grace, his wife had been subjected to threatening phone calls as well as threats over social media. She's now in a hotel in Lyon, which is the headquarters of Interpol.

Now, let's not forget, the Interpol, as you say, is the international police liaison body that links 190-plus countries together in terms of policing. And it was presided over by Mr. Meng when he was elected back in 2016, Alex.

There was some controversy over that because there were fears that his position might be used to round up dissidents or people accused of corruption by Beijing. And there is some suggestion that that is exactly what has happened to him, although the Chinese authorities, I should stress, are not saying why he is under interrogation, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yes. And to your point, Sam, the Chinese were happy when he was elected president. He was, by all accounts, a loyal soldier in the regime of President Xi Jinping. So is there any indication as to how he might have run afoul of Chinese authorities?

KILEY: No, there isn't any indication as yet. And often, these things are very opaque in China. Let's not forget that he's actually not only president of Interpol, he's also vice minister of public security and, as such, would have a role overseeing police forces and other security bodies.

So it is a highly controversial -- I was going to say arrest but he hasn't been arrested. He's simply been detained by the authorities. And this is against a background of many tens of thousands of people inside China, Alex, who have been detained over the last few years by the regime as part of their clampdown against corruption and tax dodges allegedly.

[18:34:54] The most recent, the most celebrated, of course, is Fan Bingbing, the Hollywood actress who is massive in China -- she's a Chinese national -- who was detained for -- still under detention, we understand, but is -- her release is conditional on, the Chinese authorities say, the payment of $130 million, allegedly, in back tax.

So people are trying to put two and two together and get 22, but the reality is that we do not know, from the Chinese authorities, why he is under investigation, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Right. And if we follow the example of that case, it could be several months before we find out the fate of Meng is.

Sam Kiley in Hong Kong. Thank you very much.

All right, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling his two-hour meeting with Kim Jong-un a good productive conversation. So did they lay the groundwork for another summit with President Trump? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:27] MARQUARDT: Just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, the State Department now says that Kim invited inspectors to visit its nuclear test site to confirm that it's been what they called irreversibly dismantled.

Pompeo's trip to North Korea is his fourth as Secretary of State, and it was aimed at breaking a gridlock in the ongoing nuclear talks.

So for more, I'm joined by global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. Elise, I'm getting a bit of whiplash. There was -- Pompeo was supposed to go out there in August.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

MARQUARDT: That was canceled because President Trump felt like not enough progress had been made.

LABOTT: That's right.

MARQUARDT: Now, you've got the State Department saying that these were productive meetings.

LABOTT: Right.

MARQUARDT: But beyond that, do you have any sense of they actually talked about in Pyongyang or got done?

LABOTT: Well, there were a couple things that they're trying to get worked out, and one of them is these verifiable steps towards North Korean denuclearization.

So the North Koreans said that they would invite inspectors in, so let's see that invitation. There doesn't seem to be a date for those inspectors to come in. Who would those inspectors be? Where would they be able to go? The U.S. is also looking for a timeline for this kind of things.

MARQUARDT: Right.

LABOTT: They're also looking for North Korea to give a declaration of its nuclear program. So I mean, look, the atmospherics are very good, the Secretary of State shaking hands and laughing and eating with Kim Jong-un. You know, no U.S. leader up until now has been able to, you know, meet with the North Koreans, and this is happening now on a regular basis.

But now, I think the U.S. is really looking for some demonstration, some actual physical evidence, that North Korea has made that choice to give up its nuclear weapons.

MARQUARDT: Eating, I should mention, a pate. Is that true, though?

LABOTT: And grapes.

MARQUARDT: And big grapes. I don't know where the ducks for the pate came from. But there was a big meeting between the North Koreans and South Koreans last month.

LABOTT: Right.

MARQUARDT: And the North Koreans said that they were willing to denuclearize in exchange for corresponding measures from the U.S. But we haven't really gotten much of a sense of what those measures could be, and there is some fear among opponents of the administration that the U.S. may be willing to give up too much before North Korea even does anything.

LABOTT: Well, this is a North -- vintage North Korean playbook, right? Drag out the negotiations for as long as they can, get as many concessions from the U.S., and giving up very little.

What is the North looking for? Obviously, they're looking for aid. They're looking security guarantees for the Kim Jong-un -- for the Kim regime. They're also looking for a declaration for the end of the Korean War.

MARQUARDT: Right.

LABOTT: And President Trump has said that he'll be able to do all these things once the North Koreans start taking the steps. So I think, very wisely, the administration is keeping sanctions on, is not giving too much. But even just the idea of a second summit that President Trump is

talking about with Kim Jong-un is a concession to this North Korean leader. He is giving him a lot of legitimacy around the world.

And I think experts and analysts and even State Department officials and White House officials would like to see the North Koreans actually do something instead of saying all the right things, which they're very famous for.

MARQUARDT: All right. No date for that second summit.

LABOTT: Not yet.

MARQUARDT: But Trump did tweet today that he hopes to see Kim --

LABOTT: Very soon.

MARQUARDT: -- in the near future.

LABOTT: Yes.

MARQUARDT: All right, Elise Labott, thank you so much.

LABOTT: You bet.

MARQUARDT: All right, spies unmasked. An alleged cyber attack by secret agents was foiled. Just some of the recent embarrassments by Russian agents. So what does the Kremlin have to say about these blunders? You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

[18:43:52] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: So are they international men of mystery or bumbling, not- so-secret agents? Recent events are raising new questions about just how well Russian spies are doing their jobs.

Now, as prompted by an event last week, when the Dutch government says it foiled an attempted hack by Russia's military intelligence agency, which is known as the GRU, that very same day, the U.S. announced its own charges against seven GRU agents.

Moscow, for its part, is fighting back. They are calling the accusations fake and the results of anti-Russian hysteria. So we go to CNN's Matthew Chance in Moscow. He has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROWAN ATKINSON, ACTOR: Johnny English. I'm here to see Pegasus.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's all too easy to mock a bumbling spy. More Johnny English than James Bond is how one British minister dubbed Russia's GRU agents with a series of embarrassing blunders.

Take the four agents recently expelled from the Netherlands. Not only were they caught red-handed trying to hack the global chemical weapons watchdog but one of them even had a Moscow taxi receipt in his pocket showing a ride from GRU headquarters in the Russian capital to the airport. Great for accounting, not good for espionage.

Of course, even the best secret agents can make mistakes. Not that long ago, Russia mocked British spies after filming them using an electronic gadget disguised as a rock to receive information. And it's just a few years since an alleged CIA agent was unmasked in Moscow and shown on T.V. wearing a particularly bad blond wig.

[18:49:56] The concern about the recent sloppiness of Russian spies, though, is that they don't seem to really care about being caught. The suspected GRU agents accused of poisoning the Skripals in Britain early this year made little attempt to hide their tracks. The pair were repeatedly caught on CCTV traveling to and from Salisbury. Even novichok, the poison used, is identifiably Russian.

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

CHANCE (voice-over): And as for their cover story as broadcast on Russian state television, unconvincing is one word that springs to mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our friends have been suggesting for quite a long time that we visit this wonderful city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Salisbury, a wonderful city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What makes it so wonderful?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's a tourist city. They have a famous cathedral there, Salisbury Cathedral. It's famous throughout Europe and, in fact, throughout the world, I think. It's famous for its 123-meter spire. It's famous for its clock.

CHANCE (voice-over): Implausible deniability. That's one way of seeing it, the Kremlin sending a blunt message to its enemies.

ATKINSON: I remember every agent would carry a pen that looked just like this. Completely innocent to the untrained eye, but click it twice --

CHANCE (voice-over): Plain old incompetence, though, cannot be ruled out.

TIM PIGOTT-SMITH, ACTOR: Have you seen my secretary?

CHANCE (voice-over): Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: Never a good day when you're being compared to a Rowan Atkinson character. My thanks to Matthew Chance.

A new episode of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" is premiering tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. And up next, we'll speak with her. She'll join us with a sneak peek of tonight's episode. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:55:54] MARQUARDT: These days, more teenagers are rejecting the words boy or girl when it comes to gender identities. A new study in the "Journal of Pediatrics" says that young people are turning instead to what are called nontraditional gender labels like agender or gender queer.

On this new -- on this week's episode of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING," she explores how we think about and express our genders. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA LING, CNN HOST: Your parents said you played with dolls under your bed?

E.J. JOHNSON, SON OF MAGIC JOHNSON: Yes. I mean, I hid them. And I have, like, a whole collection of them. My mom would take me to go and, like, buy dolls and, like, the little dresses and stuff like that.

LING: So your mom actually bought you girly stuff?

JOHNSON: Yes, even though she wasn't supposed to.

LING: Why wasn't she supposed to?

JOHNSON: I mean, like, my dad wasn't, like, really keen on me playing with certainly, like, girly stuff.

LING: You're Magic Johnson and you have this son who only wants to play with dolls?

MAGIC JOHNSON, RETIRED PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: Well, it was hard for me in the beginning. You know, I kept taking them away and tried to put something else in his hand.

(LAUGHTER)

M. JOHNSON: And about an hour or two later, I go back and it's back in his hand.

COOKIE JOHNSON, MOTHER OF E.J. THOMPSON: Because you think, oh, they're so young.

M. JOHNSON: Right.

C. JOHNSON: If we just steer him the other direction and say, no, boys play with this, girls play with this, you know, that, eventually, he'll get it and it will be fine.

LING: A turning point came when E.J. started elementary school and Magic got a call that set him on a different path.

M. JOHNSON: The principal called us and said, you know, E.J. likes playing with the girls, likes being a girl in terms of when you --

C. JOHNSON: Dressing up in the dress up corner.

M. JOHNSON: Dressing up, exactly. And so I said, OK, now I got to start working on me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: We're joined now by Lisa Ling who's the host of "THIS IS LIFE."

Lisa, thanks so much for being with us tonight. This concept of gender fluidity, that's something that has been much discussed but a lot of people still don't really know what it means. And now, you've explored that in this new episode, so tell us more.

LING: So someone who is gender fluid will not conform to the binary genders, meaning that the person would not subscribe to being entirely male or female. And it's a term that we're going to be hearing about more and more because there is a gender revolution happening.

And it's really being led by young people. If you go to many high schools or colleges throughout this country, very often, you'll be asked about your -- how you identify. And so understanding the pronouns and really understanding that there are a lot of people who don't feel like they check one or -- one of the two boxes.

MARQUARDT: And you talked to people across the spectrum. In that clip there we just saw Magic Johnson and his son. What commonalities are you finding in terms of how people are dealing with gender fluidity and what they face?

LING: Well, I think the most challenging thing that people who are gender fluid face is criticism. I know that we've been promoting this episode which I think is a very, very special one, and I hope a lot of people tune in. Particularly parents if you want to better understand some of the things that this gender is -- this generation is going through.

And Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, they're perfect examples of parents who really struggled with this. As you heard in the clip, Magic and Cookie tried really hard to put their son in every sport and tried to push him in the direction of all things that are male, but E.J. just wasn't responding to that.

And Magic realized, OK, now we need to figure out what we need to do. And if we are going to support our child, if we are going to love our child, then we have to accept our child for who he is.

The pronouns are also something that you're going to probably be hearing about a lot more in the future when you visit high schools and colleges. Very often, you'll be asked about what your pronouns are. And instead of referring to someone as he/she, they might prefer to be referred to as they/them.

[19:00:05] MARQUARDT: All right. Lisa Ling, thank you very much. With a very serious issue that a lot of people are talking about these days. So don't miss tonight's episode of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING." That's airing at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right --