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Trump's Week: Cohen Hearings, Second North Korea Summit; Denuclearization Uncertainty Looms Ahead of Second Meeting; Pompeo: People Will Ensure Maduro's Days Are Numbered. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 24, 2019 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: Cohen finally set to spill what he knows about Trump's 2016 election and other things.

Also on Wednesday, Trump's second summit, round two with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. The pressure now squarely on the President to convince Kim to scale back his nuclear arsenal.

Now, important to note, the President and the Secretary of State aren't exactly on the same page when it comes to the threat that North Korea poses. Here's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think North Korea remains a nuclear threat?


TAPPER: But the President said he doesn't.

POMPEO: It's not what he said. I mean, I know precisely what he said. I know --

TAPPER: He tweeted that there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.

POMPEO: Right. What he said is that the -- what he said was that the efforts that have been made in Singapore, this commitment that Chairman Kim made, have substantially taken down the risk to the American people. It's the mission of the Secretary of State and the President of the United States to keep American people secure.


NOBLES: After their first summit last year, Trump tweeted that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat. Let's go straight to the White House. Correspondent Sarah Westwood standing by.

Sarah, President Trump today firing off some fresh tweets on North Korea. What is he saying?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Well, Ryan, President Trump is showcasing what is likely to be the primary message from the U.S. to North Korea at the summit, and that's all about the prosperity that Kim Jong-un could secure for his country if he were to denuclearize.

Trump is pressing that issue on Twitter this morning, writing -- Chairman Kim realizes, perhaps better than anyone else, that without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the world. And he goes on to say, because of its location and people and him, it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation.

Now, of course, White House officials had hoped to use the backdrop of Vietnam, which was once hostile toward the U.S., as an example of the kind of economic revival that could be possible for the North Koreans if they were to soften their stance toward the U.S.

This morning on Twitter, Trump also responding to critics who have said he's too optimistic about the chances of success out of these meetings in Hanoi, writing -- so funny to watch people who have failed for years telling me how to negotiate with North Korea. But thanks anyway.

And, of course, there have been mixed messages out of this administration about the willingness of North Korea to denuclearize, about whether North Korea still poses a nuclear threat, so the administration looking for some clarity on that in Hanoi.

And they'll also be looking for a clear verifiable step from North Korea to signal that it is, indeed, willing to start giving up some of its nuclear arsenal -- Ryan.

NOBLES: And, Sarah, also, the President's tweets may be an attempt to shift the spotlight away from his former fixer, Michael Cohen, who's going to get a lot of attention in Washington next week?

WESTWOOD: It very well could, and that is going to be quite the split screen on Wednesday when Michael Cohen appears before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to testify publicly for the first time since his conviction.

At the same time, on that same day, the 27th, President Trump will be meeting face-to-face, one-on-one, with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam to kick off the second round of talks with the North Koreans.

There are concerns that Cohen's testimony could overshadow the President's diplomatic efforts. But, Ryan, the White House insists that President Trump is focused only on preparing for these meetings with Kim Jong-un and that they are not going to be focusing on what Cohen is telling congressional committees.

NOBLES: I wonder if TVs will be tuned in to any of that in Hanoi. We'll have to wait and see.

All right, Sarah Westwood, live from the White House tonight. Sarah, thank you.

And earlier today, I spoke with the former New Mexico governor and ex- ambassador -- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson. He has experience on the ground in North Korea, negotiating with the rogue nation for the release of an American civilian. I asked him what he's most concerned about ahead of this Trump/Kim summit.


BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: My worry is that -- Kim Jong-un, he is prepared, he is ready. He wants to stretch out negotiations. He wants a one-on-one with the President. He doesn't want to give up his nuclear weapons.

And my worry is that the President is going to say, OK, what is it that you want? And Kim Jong-un is going to say, I want a peace treaty for the peninsula. The President gives him that and doesn't get, in exchange, a substantial dismantling of nuclear weapons, missiles, weapons of mass destruction, and settles for something less than he should.

And this is where Pompeo and Biegun -- and here, I'm also rooting for John Bolton. You know, he's a hardliner --

NOBLES: Right.

RICHARDSON: -- but he, I hope, is saying to the President, don't give up on the arms control side, the nuclear negotiations. That's the substance of the relationship. That's what affects American security, Japan, South Korea. Don't let them off the hook.

NOBLES: Right.

RICHARDSON: And my worry is that the President, with his troubles with Mueller and the shutdown and the wall, that he's going to make concessions on his own in the room, one-on-one, that he shouldn't.



[19:05:04] NOBLES: All right. Joining me now to talk about this, "Washington Post" columnist and CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin; former Obama Homeland Security official and CNN security analyst, Juliette Kayyem, who has kindly decided to join us instead of watching the Oscars.

Juliette, I appreciate that. And "Washington Post" White House reporter Toluse --



NOBLES: -- Olorunnipa.

So, Juliette, I'm going to start with you so that we can get your take on this. I mean, what message does this send to North Korea when the President and the Secretary of State appear to be offering different views on a pretty critical aspect of all of this denuclearization? KAYYEM: Well, I mean, it's -- look, an enemy loves an opening, and

this is what the difference between Pompeo and Trump clearly showed the North Koreans. They only care about Trump. Pompeo, like almost every other cabinet secretary, will get undermined by Trump, will be ignored by Trump, will be Twittered at by Trump.

And so for Donald Trump going into this -- remember, this is the second meeting. I mean, this is what's so incredible, is that getting a deal is more important to Donald Trump than getting a good deal -- I mean, the name of his book is "The Art of the Deal," not "The Art of a Good Deal" or, you know, "And a Successful Deal" -- and that's all he wants.

So I -- this opening is -- you couldn't have planned it better for the North Koreans at this stage.

NOBLES: So, Toluse, let's go to you now. Last year, the President tweeted that North Korea no longer posed a nuclear threat. How do you think that's going to play into this week's summit?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think you're going to probably see the President likely take similar steps like he did last year to declare victory even before we see the North Koreans take any steps to denuclearize.

I think it's likely that the President is looking for a way to declare that he has done what no other president in the past has done, that he's been able to victoriously denuclearize North Korea or at least eliminate the threat from North Korea, even though we all know that North Korea continues to pose a threat.

They have not allowed inspectors to go in and see what kind of nuclear weapons they have. They have not taken any significant steps to get rid of those weapons. But the President is -- likes to think of himself as a master brander and a master marketer.

And he's going to market whatever comes out of this meeting as a great victory, a victory for the American people, something that would allow the American people to sleep more safely at night, even though his intelligence officials are saying the opposite and saying that the North Koreans are not likely to give up their weapons at all.

NOBLES: Yes. And so, Josh, you recently wrote about this topic. I want to read a portion of an op-ed that you recently penned.

You said, when the Trump team began its North Korean diplomacy, it assured the American public it would not repeat past mistakes. Yet a familiar pattern is repeating itself. The United States is getting roped into an unending, unclear process of gradual arms control negotiations with Pyongyang that only has a slim chance of persuading Kim to give up all his nukes which was supposed to be the plan.

You know, this is the second meeting now between these two leaders. We didn't get too much clarity out of the first meeting. Do you think that we'll get more clarity out of this particular summit? JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: No. I mean, I think what

we've seen over the course of the last two years is a steady moving of the goalposts by the Trump administration.

At first, they said we're going to get fully verified, final denuclearization within a year. Then they said, oh, well, it'll be probably at the end of Trump's first term. Now, they're talking about a decades-long denuclearization process, what some people in the Pentagon calling a definite denuclearization process. In other words, the process just goes on forever, OK?

And what that, in effect, means is that we are de facto accepting North Korea as a nuclear weapons state for the long-term. And you'd never hear the administration say that.

But if you listen very closely to what Secretary Pompeo told CNN's Jake Tapper just this morning, he didn't talk about final, fully verified denuclearization. He talked about a significant reduction in the threat in exchange for sanctions relief. Well, that's different, isn't it? Isn't that different from what we -- what we've heard all this time?

And, of course, you know, there's an argument to be made that, OK, well, this is the best we can do. This is better than war, et cetera. And they're free to make that argument. It's not the argument they're making, so there is a gap between the rhetorical policy and functional policy.

But, overall, what we have to understand here is there is a gap between President Trump's goals and the goals of the rest of the U.S. government. President Trump likes the process. It's good for him.


ROGIN: It's a good political story, OK? He has a political interest in keeping this going as long as possible. Yes, he wants another meeting and then another meeting and then another meeting after that.

NOBLES: Right.

ROGIN: Whereas, the people who care about U.S. national security know that time is on the North Koreans' side. And the more we release sanctions, the more we give them concessions, the less likely we are to keep America safe.

NOBLES: Juliette, is the President making a mistake here by setting his goals so high? I mean, if he had mapped out a strategy like Josh just talked about where there are ongoing negotiations, a process to denuclearize down the road, wouldn't that also be a victory?

[19:10:01] And couldn't he argue that that is making the region more peaceful? Why does he go to these extremes when he doesn't necessarily need to?

KAYYEM: I think -- I don't know if it was that he wasn't briefed. If he just wants to say that he got a deal and then just assume no one is paying attention, that the North Koreans did not follow along or if, to be honest, if he just -- if the substantive contours of what the deal is matter less to him than the showmanship of having the coins and the meeting and everything else. Which I think is probably true.

But let's go back, you know, before all of this started. North Korea was a pariah state, right? It was isolated. That was the status quo. Was that better or worse than we are right now? Who knows?

But the idea that we were at the brink of war and Donald Trump brought us back is absolutely ridiculous. It was Donald Trump who had that war talk, says I'm going to denuclearize them, says that a deal is done, and we are still at that status quo. We are -- we've not moved for two years, so the rhetoric and the reality just don't match.

ROGIN: You know, Ryan, if you look at that tweet, it's sort of the proud ignorance. Oh, don't tell me how you failed in the past. Well, you know, another way to look at that would be, like, oh, why don't you ask the people who failed in the past what happened so maybe we don't do that again?

KAYYEM: Right.

NOBLES: Right.

ROGIN: But, no, President Trump's totally uninterested in the history. That's why I think if you don't learn history, you're doomed to repeat it.

NOBLES: Yes. He's not only not interested in history, he's not interested in what his current advisers are telling him about this current situation. So the -- the current affairs.

ROGIN: He could go wrong (ph).

NOBLES: Yes, exactly. All right. So, Toluse, let's change gears because, as if the situation in Vietnam weren't a big enough story, we also have Michael Cohen set to testify in front of the House this week. Listen to how House Intel Chair Adam Schiff characterized his upcoming testimony. Take a listen.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Michael Cohen is going to appear before your committee behind closed doors on Thursday. What do you hope to learn from him that you don't already know?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: Well, a great deal, starting with why the false statements before our committee when he first appeared. Did they go beyond what he told us about Moscow Trump Tower into other areas as well? Who would have been aware of the false testimony that he was giving?

What other light can he shed now that he is cooperating on issues of obstruction of justice or collusion? What more can he tell us about the Trump Tower New York meeting or any other issues relevant to our investigation? We think he has a lot to offer.


NOBLES: And that's -- a lot of it going to be brought out into the light of day. Toluse, how concerned should the President be about Michael Cohen's testimony?

OLORUNNIPA: Well, this is a president who cares a lot about his public image and cares a lot about showing that he's winning.

Now, he has someone who was very close to him for several years, who knows a lot about where the bodies are buried around Trump Tower, who is involved in criminal activity by his own admission. Not only on paying off women who said they slept with the President, but also with talking about, you know, lies to the FBI when it comes to Trump Tower and Russia and Moscow.

The President has a lot to be concerned about because Michael Cohen knows sort of how to play this up for the cameras and make sure that people are paying attention to what he's said. He's worked with reporters in the past, sometimes not all that effectively, but knows what people are looking for.

They're looking for the salacious details about the President that would only come from somebody who has been on his -- in his inner circle for several years and who was a part of criminal activity by his own admission. And he has already implicated the President in some of that criminal activity. And he's likely to bring that out to the public.

So the President is going to be over in Vietnam, trying to strike a deal, but I'm sure he's going to be paying attention to what Michael Cohen is saying and the American public. And whether or not one weighs more heavily in the minds of the American public over the other will be very, very closely watched by the White House this week.

NOBLES: Right. And then, of course, we have the Mueller report still hanging in the air.


NOBLES: It probably will not come out this week, maybe the week after. But we're not exactly sure just how much of it will be made public. And, Josh, Adam Schiff weighed in on what his party is prepared to do, if that does not happen. Take a listen.


SCHIFF: Well, we will, obviously, subpoena the report. We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress. We will take it to court, if necessary. And in the end, I think the Department understands they're going to have to make this public. I think Barr will ultimately understand that as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NOBLES: So, Josh, explain how this fight's going to play out if the

Democrats do actually subpoena the full report. Will that mean that everyone is going to get to be able to read it?

ROGIN: Well, I think what's interesting is that you see people on both sides, in the Trump camp and the anti-Trump camp, calling for this report to be put out in full. Because this is really the only way the American people are going to have any confidence that we've really gotten to the bottom of the Russian attack on our democracy and whether or not any Trump campaign officials were involved in it.

So, you know, I think what the -- what's happening now is people are trying to show William Barr that it's actually in his best interest to put this out. I mean, lots of it is going to leak. It's going to be messy. It's not going to reflect well on him. It's going to be a headache for him. That's what Adam Schiff is saying.

NOBLES: Right.

[19:15:06] ROGIN: He can avoid that headache by just giving us the whole thing right now. And that's what I'm for, that's what Adam Schiff is for, that's what President Trump should be for if, you know -- if he believes his own profession of innocence.


ROGIN: And if not, yes, it's going to be a grueling months-long battle to find out what Mueller actually did find out. And, again, I think, you know, it's in the interest of democracy, transparency, and moving on from this event --

NOBLES: Right.

ROGIN: -- for people to have that information sooner rather than later.

NOBLES: I think you're right. It could be a lot more about front-end pressure than necessarily the pressure that can be put on after the fact.

ROGIN: Sure.

NOBLES: So, Juliette, out of all these scenarios out there regarding how the Mueller investigation comes to an end, which to you seems plausible? And is there a scenario where, maybe, it never comes to an end?

KAYYEM: Well, it won't come to an end with the Mueller report. I think everyone has to get out of their head, like, this is a final document. This is the mandate of Mueller in his investigation about the influence of the Russians with the Trump campaign.

Meanwhile, back on -- you know, in the courtrooms, there are multiple cases that will go on through the Trump first administration. If there is a second, through those. There are the New York cases that are unrelated or only tangentially related to the Russia stuff that will be ongoing and will implicate Trump and his family well beyond this presidency. So they've got sort of vulnerabilities on that.

NOBLES: Right.

KAYYEM: The way I think about the Mueller report and have always sort of, you know, pushed out against this idea of a smoking gun, the smoking guns are the indictments. I mean, that's plenty for me. I've seen enough smoking guns at this stage.

It's to really think about Mueller's report as being about the connective tissue, about creating a narrative of everything that we've seen publicly so far. He hasn't hid that. We know what's out there. To give a story about whether the President colluded or is sufficiently compromised by the Russians that the political apparatus, the House and the Senate, ought to do something about.

It is a political document. The legal stuff is going to go -- is going to be -- you know, there is no smoking gun. It is already there. We've seen that all.

NOBLES: Yes. All right, terrific conversation, guys. Thank you, Josh Rogin, Juliette Kayyem, Toluse Olorunnipa. We appreciate it. Go enjoy the Oscars now.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

NOBLES: But we're on until 9:00 p.m., just so you know.


NOBLES: So we're still going to be here, all right?


NOBLES: Thank you, guys, for being on. We appreciate it.

The Secretary of State says that Nicolas Maduro's days are numbered in Venezuela after days of deadly violence and a humanitarian crisis. This as Vice President Pence heads to the region. What will the United States do next? We are live in Venezuela's capital when we come back.


[19:21:48] NOBLES: Now, to the worsening humanitarian situation in and around Venezuela. Trucks carrying food and medicine into the country were stopped this weekend, some of them set on fire. And reports say at least five people died in clashes with Venezuelan troops.

President Nicolas Maduro is facing a growing opposition movement, and he sees outside efforts to help his people as a plot to boot him from power. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicts that Maduro's time is running out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POMPEO: America's policy has been very clear. We have supported the

Venezuelan people. We will continue to do that. There'll be a meeting with the Lima Group on Monday where further action will be contemplated.

There's more sanctions to be had. There's more humanitarian assistance, I think, that we can provide. I think we'll find other ways to make sure that food gets to the people who need it.

TAPPER: But it seems as though Maduro's not going anywhere near this plan, that he's holding on to power.


TAPPER: And the military seems to be staying with him, at least the military leaders.

POMPEO: It always seems that way until the day it doesn't. I remember when I was a young soldier patrolling the then-East German border. No one predicted on that day in 1989 that that wall would come crumbling down.

Predictions are difficult. Picking exact days are difficult. I am confident that the Venezuelan people will ensure that Maduro's days are numbered.


NOBLES: CNN's Isa Soares is in Caracas, which is the Venezuelan capital.

Isa, we just heard the Secretary of State there, Mike Pompeo, mention that meeting in Bogota tomorrow where, he says, action will be, quote, contemplated. We know that Vice President Mike Pence will be there. Is this just a monitoring trip for Pence, or do we know if they'll have an action plan?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Juan Guaido, the leader of opposition and the man that President Trump says is the only legitimate president of Venezuela, I think he'll be wanting some concrete steps.

In fact, in the less than 24 hours ago or so, he actually said, Ryan, that he was calling on the international community to actually consider all options. This, coming from Juan Guaido.

And we know from U.S. administration officials that Mike Pence, the Vice President, he'll be coming tomorrow. He'll be, first, meeting with the President of Colombia, Ivan Duque. He will then be having a face-to-face meeting, the first time he's had a face-to-face meeting, with Juan Guaido.

And then he's expected to offer to voice resolute support for Juan Guaido, as well as saying they -- the United States is not undeterred. It's going to continue pushing for that international humanitarian aid to make its way to Venezuela, despite the fact that we saw those heavy clashes over the weekend. More than 285 people injured, five people dead.

On the question of action, though, Ryan, he did say that he's going to offer -- he's going to put -- outline some concrete steps and clear action, although he did not elaborate what those may be.

Are we talking of sanctions? Remember, already, the United States has put sanctions on several individuals surrounding Nicolas Maduro. As well on PdVSA, the oil company, the cash cow, really behind Nicolas Maduro, as well. So it will be interesting to see whether the United States has another lever, economic lever, that they can actually put forward in terms of trying to asphyxiate Maduro's regime.

[19:25:03] On the question, though, Ryan, of really trying to create some sort of dialogue with Maduro, according to a U.S. administration official, that is completely out of the question. The time for dialogue is over.

In fact, the only time -- the only thing the United States wants to know at this stage with Nicolas Maduro is the timing, as well as the nature, of his departure -- Ryan.

NOBLES: Isa Soares, live in Venezuela, its capital. Isa, thank you so much for that report.

New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft facing charges of soliciting prostitution. What happens next in his case? What legal consequences could he be facing? We'll talk about it all, live, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:30:04] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: Virginia's embattled lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax compared his experience facing two sexual assault allegations to those of lynching victims. Fairfax astonishingly defended himself today during a surprising speech on the state's Senate floor. Take a listen.


LT. GOV. JUSTIN FAIRFAX (D), VIRGINIA: If we go backwards and rush to judgment and allow for political lynchings without any due process, any facts, any evidence being heard, then I think we do a disservice to this very body in which we all serve. And I want to stand in this moment, in the truth. Not only which has tested my constitution personally, but is testing the constitution of the commonwealth of Virginia and of the United States of America.


NOBLES: Now, one woman says that Fairfax raped her in 2007 when they both attended Duke University. A second woman says that Fairfax assaulted her during the 2204 Democratic national convention in Boston. Fairfax denies both claims. Friday, House Republicans announced plans to hold a public hearing where Fairfax and the woman could publicly testify. Last hour, I spoke with the former President of the NAACP, a long-time

Virginian, Cornell Brooks. I asked how he felt about Fairfax using the term "lynching" to defend himself against these accusations.


CORNELL BROOKS, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: I think it's just important us to appreciate the history here. So where they were at least 4,000 people lynched in America between the end of reconstruction in 1950, at least 100 or so in the state of Virginia. To create an analogy or make the analogy with lynching is a very serious thing.

And so I want to note a couple things that are very different. The two people who are accusing him of a crime are not two white men in hoods, but rather two African-American women, point one. Point two, lynching was, in fact, an extra judicial -- lynchings were extra judicial murders. That is vigilante injustice. These women are not seeking to have him at the end of a rope, but rather in front of a committee, or in front of some kind of investigatory body. And so the analogy with lynching is inaccurate and inappropriate.


NOBLES: That was former civil rights attorney, former NAACP President Cornell Brooks, who talked with me a short time ago.

Elsewhere today, New England Patriots' owner, Robert Kraft, could be charged as early as tomorrow in connection with a sex trafficking sting in South Florida. Police say the billionaire was soliciting sex at a $79 an hour day spa. Kraft is one of more than 100 suspects whose name has been released by police.

Joining me now his defense attorney Mark O'Mara.

And Mark, Kraft has denied the allegations through a spokesperson. If true, it's certainly publicly embarrassing. Probably a severe penalty from the National Football League is in his future.


NOBLES: But what sort of legal jeopardy might he be looking at?

O'MARA: Truly, not very much, to be honest with you. The way our statutory scheme is set up, the first time you do this, it is a second degree misdemeanor. What that means is that you can go to jail for 60 days. But that's normally not on the table. You can get a $500 fine. So he is not looking at very much.

The second time you do it, and, again, he's being charged with two separate counts, so technically you could argue the second count, is a first degree misdemeanor where you can go to jail for up to a year.

But realistically, what's going to happen to Kraft and most of the other Johns who were brought up in this sort of sweep is that they are going to get either a probation offer or more appropriately, they are going to get a pretrial diversion offer, meaning they will do some community service, pay a fine, and promise never to do it again. He is going to have a lot more to do in the court of public opinion, in a case like this, than criminal or court.

NOBLES: So there has been some accusations of human trafficking as part of this day spa. Because he was a patron and not the person running this day spa, those potential charges would not necessarily extend to him. Is that what you are saying?

O'MARA: That's correct. You know, we have to understand that 15 years ago, they used to blame the women, the prostitutes. And those are the ones who are arrested. Those are the ones brought to court. In the past ten years ago so, we have realized this is more than anything else. This is human trafficking. Those women were imprisoned, they were kept in rooms, six, eight, ten to a room. They weren't allowed out. They truly were imprisoned and forced to create or do these sex acts.

But the Johns, the people who utilized them, unless there was some connection, no. The people who are going to face the human trafficking and the RICO racketeering influence corrupt organization charges are the people who brought those women over, imprisoned them and then utilized them for this type of sex trade.

NOBLES: So now, Mr. Kraft has vehemently denied these accusations against him. He said it's definitely not him. That he is not guilty of anything. But they are saying that there is video evidence of it.

I mean, how does he avoid the fact that there is a video that shows him there and in this day spa? And also is there a good chance that perhaps he just attempts to cop a plea here and get out from underneath this, as opposed to going through a lengthy trial?

[19:35:27] O'MARA: Yes. He is not going to go to trial. It is absurd to go to trial on a case like this.

No, I will grant you, if there wasn't a video, if it was a he said/she said type of thing, great. And I'm always the one who says, look, this is day one of a process that may last a couple months. We owe it to the constitution and to somebody accused to wait until we have all of the questions answered.

But I have handled literally hundreds of these, and if they have a videotape, which means it was a sting set up by cops, if the video shows him in a sex act with somebody and there is any suggestion of an exchange of money, and they can find that from the cash register or the credit card or whatever it is, then it's absurd to maintain anything other than tail between your legs, work it out, apologize, and then move on to a reputation rehabilitation than to try and fight something like this in court. It would be absurd. It would cost him a lot more to his reputation to try and fight something like this in an open court.

NOBLES: All right. Mark O'Mara, joining us from Florida, where he knows a lot about the law down there.

Mark, thank you so much for being here. We appreciate it.

O'MARA: Sure, Ryan.

NOBLES: As President Trump is just days away from a second face-to- face meeting with Kim Jong-un, how can he convince the North Korean leader to give up his nuclear weapons? We'll talk about it with our national security analyst, just ahead, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:40:50] NOBLES: Days ahead of the second summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un, secretary of state Mike Pompeo says the country still poses a nuclear threat. This, of course, contradicts what President Trump has said.

So there appears to be some daylight between their two perspectives, or is there some daylight between their two perspectives going into this big meeting?

Let's tackle that in your weekend Presidential brief, highlighting some of the most pressing national security information that the President will need to know when he wakes up tomorrow.

What a good week for the -- for the presidential weekly briefing, given so much that is happening.

So Sam, Sam Vinograd, actually introduced you. CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd.

Now, you have helped President Obama prepped for perhaps a couple of high levels almost like this. With the meeting just around the corner, what should we make about what the secretary of state said this morning about denuclearization?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it really puts the writing on the wall for this second summit. When I helped prep President Obama, one of the first things that we did was agree on a baseline assessment on what a foreign adversary was thinking, their intentions and what they were going to do.

This daylight between secretary of state Pompeo and President Trump really begs the question of who is prepping President Trump for this second summit with Kim Jong-un. In the past, we know that he has relied on the cattery (ph) of foreign leaders for intelligence, Vladimir Putin and President Erdogan and others. And if he is doing that going into this summit, they are probably feeding him disingenuous assessments of what North Korea is up to, because they have ulterior motives. If he's listening to our intelligence community, they are telling him that North Korea is not going to denuclearize.

And to be very wary of peer pressure from his favorite friends, like President Putin, President Xi Jinping and even President Moon of South Korea, because they like this status quo, Ryan. The more that we are talking, the less likely it is, from their perspective, at least, that we are going to do something more aggressive, like launch a military strike.

NOBLES: Right. So what kind of things should President Trump be reviewing before he heads into this meeting?

VINOGRAD: Well, typically, after agreeing upon a baseline assessment, which it doesn't look like is driving this strategy going into Hanoi, the national security team would take a step back and say what do we want to achieve from the second summit? And from there, and only from there, look at what options we are willing to put on the table to negotiate with.

We used to want denuclearization. It's unclear whether that is still possible or it is still something we are after. But even if we are just after a nuclear freeze at this point, we have to insist on letting nuclear inspectors in so that Kim doesn't keep making more nukes just as quickly as he is making more friends.

This status quo that we are in right now, Ryan, is actually a concession. We have conceded that Kim Jong-un can keep proliferating weapons, and we are seemingly OK with it. If we really push for him to let inspectors in, we are saying that he has to please his program which is really key to the U.S. national security interest.

NOBLES: So that's not the only national security issue that this White house is dealing. Obviously, the situation in Venezuela continues to seem to get worse.

This morning, the secretary of state said that President Nicolas Maduro, he called him a sick tyrant from blocking humanitarian aid from entering his country. The vice president is in Colombia right now. He is scheduled to meet with the opposition leader, the self- proclaimed Venezuelan president. President Trump describing him as such Juan Guaido tomorrow before giving a speech to a group there.

I mean, what can we expect at least from the U.S. response to all of this going forward?

VINOGRAD: Well, I just have to point out, what a desperate double standard, right. Secretary of state Pompeo calling Nicolas Maduro a sick tighter tyrant, yet President Trump and secretary of state Pompeo have words of praise for Kim Jong-un who also starves his own people and engages in elicit activity.

What we saw this weekend was U.S. government assistance really trying to serve a dual purpose. Ameliorate the suffering in Venezuelan people and precipitate some kind of change and thinking on behalf of the security forces that are remaining loyal to Maduro.

Net-net mixed results. We had several people die, which is horrific. The assistance, that which made it over the border, did not really get distributed. And there weren't enough defections that Maduro felt like now it is time for him to leave power.

That begs the question what's next. Secretary of state Pompeo has more sanctions on the table. I really struggle to see where there are more financial pressure points and I have worked on sanctions. We have already sanctioned oil. We sanctioned senior officials.

The remaining factor here is whether we can negotiate with Maduro's patrons, Russia and China in this case, to try to get him out of power in a safe way and to pave the way for democratic elections.

[19:45:19] NOBLES: All right. Sam, we are now informed, heading into the week. Appreciate you being here. Thanks.

Today, the Pope calls catholic clergy who sexually abuse children quote "the tools of Satan." But his critics say his stern message at a historic Vatican meeting gave no specifics on how to actually fight the problem.

We will have details on that ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:50:03] NOBLES: On this final day of an historic Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse, Pope Francis called priests and others Catholics who abuse children quote "tools of Satan."

But the Pope offered no concrete steps to address the church's massive and morally damming abuse crisis.

CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher reports from Rome.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN REPORTER (voice-over): It was Pope Francis' moment, a chance to finally prove that the Catholic Church could deal effectively with the sex abuse crisis.

POPE FRANCIS, CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADER (through translator): No abuse should ever be covered.

GALLAGHER: The Pope himself said he wanted a meeting that produce concrete measure which for victims means zero tolerance for abusers and bishops accused of cover-up being held accountable.

PETER SAUNDERS, CLERGY ABUSE SURVIVOR: The Pope could write that kind of law saying if you are convicted of raping and abusing a child, you are never going to be a priest again. End of story. You are strip of your priesthood. He could do that and email that to all the bishop this is afternoon.

GALLAGHER: While those concrete steps didn't materialize, many of the conference's participants spoke openly.

Sister Veronica from Nigeria, sitting right next to Francis, courageously called out the pope on his own refusal to believe abused survivors in Chile.

SISTER OPENIBO VERONICA, NIGERIA: I admire you, Pope Francis for taking time (INAUDIBLE) to decide and be humble enough to change your mind, to apologize and take action. GALLAGHER: And the German cardinal revealed what so many have long

suspected, that records containing evidence of abuse have been destroyed.

CARDINAL REINHARD MARX, GERMANY: Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed are not even grated (ph).

GALLAGHER: Germany is not an isolated case, he said.

The Vatican's top officials claim they are on the side of survivors.

BISHOP CHARLES SCICLUNA, MALTA: The expectations of victims are should be also our expectations and they are.

GALLAGHER: The say several Vatican documents on the topic are coming in the next few months.

Still on the topic of sex abuse, for survivors and for the Vatican, the end of the road is not yet in sight.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


NOBLES: Delia, thank you.

And this programing note, follow the Bush family's rise to power in a CNN original series "the Bush years." It premiers next Sunday night March 3rd at 9:00 eastern only here on CNN.


[19:56:42] NOBLES: As the race for the 2020 White House heats up, President Trump has been using a new word to bash Democrats. And you can expect to hear it more in the months ahead.

CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon takes a look at that word in tonight's reality check - John.


So we have all heard a lot of talk about socialism lately.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country.


AVLON: And earlier this week, Bernie Sanders, an actual Democratic socialist officially in the Presidential race. But team Trump sees the sector of socialism has a lifeline ahead of the 2020 elections. And FOX News has been dutifully beating the drum, mentioning some variations of socialism, more than 700 times in the past five months. That draws the more than 200 times the White House council and

economic advisors sided socialism in a recent report or the 92 times President Trump has said the "s" word in public statements.

All which might cause you to ask, what exactly is socialism? Well, here is a dictionary definition.

Quote "any various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods." Got it?

Well, that serious staff with a not so great track record. After all, during the 20th century when socialism was in fashion across much of the world, most of the countries that practice it were economically stagnant or much worse. But in the 20 years after the end of the cold war, the world poverty rate was cut in half.

Now on the flip side, Venezuela's socialist state managed to almost double the poverty rate in less than five years. But socialism's history is easy to overlook in a generation born after the fall of the Berlin Wall. More likely to remember the great recession and growing income equality.

But you can't have the 400 richest Americans controlling as much wealth as the bottom 150 million, without courting a backlash. So many Democrats are proposing major tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. And some of their policies like free college tuition are broadly popular. They may be big-time budget busting but it's not socialism.

And socialism has never been that popular in the USA. During its heyday more than a century ago, the most successful presidential candidate on the socialist party ticket, Eugene Debs, never got more than six percent of the vote.

While younger voters show well in this to consider socialism over capitalism in recent polls, they may be influence by a lack of living memory about just how bad it was behind the iron curtain.

As well as decades of conservative crying about socialism. Bill Clinton, for example, called business centrist, but he was attacked for being a socialist for just raising the top tax rate. Key portions of President Obama's health care plan like the individual mandate and exchanges were originally proposed by a conservative think tank. Nonetheless it was called the socialist government takeover of health care. It is a tax worth based in fact but they stuck. In 2010, a poll found that 55 percent of likely voters thought President Obama was a socialist.

Former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich titled one of his books "Stopping Obama's secular socialist machine" and who can forget the tea party cries too keep your government hands off my Medicare?

Look. Logic left the station a long time ago in this debates. But it's worth remembering that Medicare and Social Security were criticized to socialist when they were first proposed. They have been basically backed by Republican presidents ever since.

Strengthening the social safety net is not socialism.