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Unproductive Costly Meeting; Big Boss Versus Lawyer's Words; Trump-Kim Summit Ends With No Agreement; Lawmaker Brings Woman To Refute Trump Racism Claims; Cohen Says He Takes Responsibility For His Actions. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired February 28, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. And welcome to the program.
I'm Christiane Amanpour live here in Hanoi, Vietnam where President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have indeed wrapped up their second summit but without any agreement.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Jim Sciutto. Pleasure to be here with Christiane Amanpour.
Quite a morning or quite an afternoon of news. We're following reaction to the explosive testimony as well on Capitol Hill from President Trump's former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen, the cloud of that hanging over these negotiations here in Hanoi.
AMANPOUR: Now the historic summit, we keep calling them historic summits between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has ended and it did so fairly abruptly although the president didn't say that it was unpleasant and unfriendly walk out and they were quite friendly he said but there was just nothing to sign despite early indications that there might be.
And the two leaders didn't even meet for a scheduled working lunch. And we had seen the pictures of the table. It was set the menus that they were going to have this lunch. And then we would presumably maybe going to have some good news at the press conference, but, no.
SCIUTTO: That's right. And no commitment to a third summit the president said at the press conference.
AMANPOUR: Because probably the right thing right now.
SCIUTTO: Probably considering they didn't really make any discernible progress here.
SCIUTTO: Just a short time ago the president explaining as best he could what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On North Korea, we just left Chairman Kim with a really, I think a very productive time. We thought and I thought and Secretary Pompeo felt that it wasn't a good thing to be signing anything. I'm going to let Mike speak about it, but we literally just left. We spent pretty much all day with Kim Jong-on who is quite a guy and quite a character.
I think our relationship is very strong, but at this time we had some options and at this time we decided not to do any of the options and we'll see where that goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: The talks taking place here with the cloud hanging over the president at home and the U.S. Mr. Trump also took a swipe at that other big story that we've been following these last days. That is the critical testimony of his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen. Here was the president's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's very interesting because I tried to watch as much as I could. I wasn't able to watch too much because I've been a little bit busy. But I think having a fake hearing like that and having it in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing.
They could have made it two days later or next week and it would have been even better. They would have more time. But having it during this very important summit is sort of incredible and he lied a lot. But it was very interesting because he did lie about one thing. He said no collusion with the Russian hoax.
And I said I wonder why he didn't just lie about that too, like he did about everything else. I mean he lied about so many different things. I was actually impressed that he didn't say well, I think there was collusion for this reason or that. He didn't say that. He said no collusion. And I was a little impressed by that frankly, because he could have gone all out. He only went about 95 percent instead of a 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, quite a lot to unpack from that statement. First, the president saying that he regretted that Washington seem to have chosen this particular summit moment to hold that particular hearing and he seem to praise Michael Cohen for what he said not saying that there was any collusion.
So, let's ask Jim Acosta to unpick all that. Tell us what you read into what the president just said.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Christiane, I think we have to point out the obvious which is the president steered clear, largely during this news conference of the White House press corps and was instead selecting journalist at random from the other side of the room where there are foreign journalists seated.
He didn't even know who he was calling on. At times he was going on reporters from Russian state media, Chinese state media, Sean Hannity from Fox, and largely just avoiding taking questions from the White House press corps.
I think that was by design. That was because he didn't want to really answer the questions about Michael Cohen. One question out of this entire news conference about Michael Cohen was asked to the president. And as you heard there in that comment you just played a few moments ago, the president referring to the Michael Cohen testimony as a fake hearing.
[03:04:56] And the president was also cherry picking what he like from Michael Cohen's testimony, basically saying that he was lying all the way through his entire hearing. Except for the part where he said that the president, according to the president was not guilty of any kind of collusion with the Russians.
And so, it was a very, you know, sort of Trumpian response to all that. And I think when you talk about what happened with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the summit falling apart here in Hanoi, the president was a bit more candid about it.
He was saying that basically he wanted to walk away from the negotiating table that Kim Jong-un wanted basically all sanctions lifted in exchange for some drastic reductions to his nuclear program. And the president said he just wasn't willing to do that.
You know, one of the questions that I think could have been asked during this news conference and wasn't asked and I think it will be something that's ask going forward, is that the president now for the second time has surrendered some of the credibility of the United States, surrendered some of the credibility of the president of the -- the presidency of the United States in exchange for sitting down with a dictator who claims to be a very good person, and so on but walking away from these initiations really empty-handed.
And perhaps the most striking and bizarre moment of this news conference is when he gave Kim Jong-un really a pass on the death of the American Otto Warmbier. At one point saying that Kim Jong-un felt badly about the death of Otto Warmbier.
And so, he really seems to take the word of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un when it comes to just about any question, you know, that came up during this news conference, and I think that is perhaps part of the reason why he's willing to hold yet another summit with Kim Jong-un.
Although as you heard towards the end of this news conference, he said that may not happen for quite a while. It might be, you know, twice bitten one shy the next time around, Christiane and Jim.
He may not be willing to go down this road because he knows he is surrendering some of that stature to be standing on the same stage, sitting at the same table with a brutal dictator and really not showing much for it.
But in the end, you know, the president tried during this news conference to steer clear of this Michael Cohen questions. Those are all going to be waiting for him after his long trip back to Washington. Christiane and Jim.
SCIUTTO: No question, Jim. And that moment where the president referred to the death of Otto Warmbier, a young American sent home brain dead, on the brink of death and died on his way home. And the president is saying in so many words, he takes Kim's word over the word really of his own intelligence community.
And just to put a point on that, let's play the president's comments when asked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He felt badly about it. I just speak to him. He felt very badly. He knew the case very well but he knew it later. And you know, he got a lot of people, a big country, a lot of people. And in those prisons and those camps you have a lot of people and some really bad things happen to Otto, some really, really bad things.
And he tells me -- he tells me that he didn't know about it. And I will take him at his word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: It's reminiscent is it not of the Helsinki moment where the president took the word of Vladimir Putin denying interference in the election over the word of his own intelligence committee.
John Kirby, you both in the Pentagon and at the State Department have dealt with difficult issues like this when countries abroad have mistreated Americans. Tell me your reaction to that.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I was quite shocked by that. I mean, look, we're talking about a hereditary dynasty and as Will knows he's been there more than anybody else. Nothing much happens without Kim Jong-un's permission or at least his tacit understanding of what's going on.
So, I found that the quite shocking and disappointing. And I can't imagine what the Warmbier family must be thinking when they hear something like that.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong-un might not have known initially how Otto Warmbier was being treated, but he certainly knew about the deception that he was in a vegetative state and that information was hidden from the Swedish embassy, it was hidden from the United States up until the last hour when Ambassador Lufven went in and brought him home on a trip.
I was actually at the country at the same time and of course it was kept secret from us that this was all unfolding until Otto was out of North Korea. AMANPOUR: Can I ask you to go back and you've sort of, you know, build on this sort of style President Trump when he wants to get something done he's absolutely unwilling to criticize his interlocutor, whether it's on Otto Warmbier.
AMANPOUR: Whether it's on sanctions, whether it's on the walk out. He refused to say that it was an unfriendly walkout. This was a friendly walkout. I'm mindful of our relationship. We need to keep going.
We didn't talk about putting more sanctions on it and answered to a question about, you know, they wanted all the sanctions off, but did you even threaten to put more sanctions on unless they deliver. No, we didn't because there are already a lot of sanctions and the North Korean, great North Korean people need to live as well.
Just unpick the style of trying to get a nuclear deal done by continuing to stick close to the leader and not criticize him personally.
[03:10:00] KIRBY: Well, I think it's because he realizes again that nothing really happens in North Korea without Kim Jong-un and Kim Jong-un approval. I mean, we're not dealing with a democracy there.
So, you know, this is what you call personal summit versus a plenary or political summit, and I think he realizes that that's the fulcrum. And I frankly think that Kim Jong-un also looks at us in that way like Trump is a different kind of president and unless he deals directly with Trump nothing is going to happen.
Look, Steve Biegun was having trouble from we heard getting any traction at all going into this that the North Koreans just either wouldn't deal them or couldn't deal credibly with him because everything has to be solved at the leader level, but that's part of the problem here.
Personal summits are only going to get you so far, and so what I'm really going to be interested to see two things going forward. One, how does the North -- how do North Koreans react to this. We've seen Trump. Now we have to wait to see what comes out of the North Korean press agency.
And number two, what is the next step in terms of discussions between the two teams. Where, when, and at what level are they going to actually start to try to negotiate this way forward.
SCIUTTO: But tonight --
RIPLEY: When you hear someone who has absolute power in a country like North Korea focusing on Kim Jong-un is not an unwise strategy because everything in that country when you're there there's such heavy pressure to do whatever Kim Jong-un wants you to do. High-level officials are not even drinking alcohol right now while
he's out of the country because they said they shouldn't be celebrating until he comes back. They don't it's appropriate. I mean, that's like kids when their parents leave town, and that's the mindset inside North Korea.
AMANPOUR: We're drowning their sorrows.
SCIUTTO: It undermines the idea that Kim would not know about the situation with American held hostages in effect. But bigger picture the president talks about his different approach that past administrations didn't try this. I am sitting down across from Kim the way past administrations were not able to.
But at the end of the day is this not a continuation of a decades' long North Korean strategy of dragging it out.
SCIUTTO: You've been speaking to the American president face-to-face for months here. If the U.S. intelligence community's view that during that time period they've been making more missiles and manufacturing more fissile material --
SCIUTTO: -- that's a continuation of their brinkmanship. Is it not?
KIRKY: No, that's right.
SCIUTTO: What's the game?
KIRBY: Yes, practically I don't think in a real sense other than the freeze and testing were really all that different. They are still producing fissile material. They are still building weapons. They are still developing the technology to have an ICBM that can be an amount of a nuclear weapon. They don't have reentry all done but they're still working on that.
So, just because he's not testing doesn't mean that they're not trying. They're still trying to move this forward. This is -- this does show and I think Will said this in the last segment, the intractability of this problem, how complicated it is and how hard it's going to be to solve this.
Now Trump has tried something different in terms of the person or action and I think he should get some credit for that. Frankly, I think he should get some credit for being willing to walk away here.
But what really matters now is what happens next. And where are they willing to go and who and what level are they going to talk and what frequency.
AMANPOUR: So is this a situation now where and many people have said OK it was great that it is started, you know, top down but now it needs to be bottom up, so to speak. RIPLEY: Right.
AMANPOUR: The working groups need to really get down to see what's the art of the possible.
KIRBY: And that's the real trick, Christiane because it's about empowerment. Right? Our team will be empowered. They will have the imprimatur of Pompeo and Trump. You know, Biegun knows that he can speak for the United States government.
AMANPOUR: Biegun being a special negotiator.
RIPLEY: Yes. Sorry. Yes, sir.
KIRBY: But on the North Korean side it's not the same.
RIPLEY: Yes, it will not be authorized. It will not be authorized to make any big promise until it gets approved straight from the top and that's why the working levels talks essentially fell apart in July.
SCIUTTO: Big picture here. When the president is challenged on the definition of success here established by his administration complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization.
When the president is asked is that still the position of the United States, and his answer is, I don't want to go there. I don't want to put my -- I don't want to paint myself into that corner in terms of negotiations. And then says we want a lot to be given up. But doesn't specify we want the whole program given up.
Did the president just move the goal posts on these negotiations?
RIPLEY: Well, I think that's been Kim Jong-un's strategy here all along because the freezing missile and nuclear testing happened in November of 2017 before this time even began and certainly before President Trump was engaged. It was brought in it by Kim and President Moon Jae-in.
And so, I think that Kim's long-term strategy is that the world eventually gets comfortable with him and comfortable with the fact that he possesses a couple of dozen nuclear weapons and as long as he's not testing them well then maybe we can live that.
KIRBY: Look, and the clock is on his side, Jim. I mean, he knows that Trump is not popular. I'm sure he was aware of this Cohen testimony and where Trump's numbers are. And then in two years he might be sitting across the table from a very different president who will be far less accommodating.
So, the clock really is on Kim's side. And I just don't see him making any big moves here over the next couple of years to give up what he considers to be his leverage and his advantage.
AMANPOUR: So, we're going to dig down more in this as we continue. But we got to take a break. And let's not forget that actually there have been deals made with the North Koreans under the Clinton administration and under the George W. Bush administration. And it is possible, it is possible to do and we'll see how we get there.
[03:15:00] But just ahead, a stunning day it was on Capitol Hill. And when we come back after a break we are going to be talking about the Republican strategy for dealing with Michael Cohen's testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He lied a lot, but it was very interesting because he didn't lie about one thing. He said no collusion with the Russian hoax. And I said, I wonder why he didn't just lie about that too, like he did about everything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: With his former boss on the other side of the world, Michael Cohen, of course, is going to head into a third and final closed-door congressional hearing that is today, that after his testimony yesterday the president referring to there.
AMANPOUR: Of course, it did follow a day of stunning allegations on Capitol Hill. The U.S. president's former lawyer called Donald Trump a racist, he called him a conman and a cheat. And Cohen also said that Mr. Trump had directed him to pay hush money to two women.
He submitted a $14,000 checks signed by Mr. Trump as proof and here is what he said about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:19:56] MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: The president of the United States thus wrote a personal check for payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Let me just say that. So that was a $35,000 check.
SCIUTTO: Slightly larger. While Democrats tried to get any new information that they could, Republican lawmakers made their strategy clear very early in his hearing attack Cohen's credibility at every turn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO: How long did you work in the White House?
COHEN: I never worked in the White House.
JORDAN: That's the point, isn't it, Mr. Cohen?
COHEN: No, sir.
JORDAN: Yes, it is.
COHEN: No, it's not, sir.
JORDAN: You wanted to work in the White House.
COHEN: No, sir.
JORDAN: You didn't get brought to the dance.
REP. PAUL GOSAR, (R) ARIZONA: You're a pathological liar. You don't know truth from falsehood.
COHEN: Sir, I'm sorry. Are you referring --
GOSAR: No, this is my time. Hey, this is my time.
COHEN: Are you referring to me, sir, with a point of --
REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY, (D) MISSOURI: Did the president or his company ever inflate assets or revenues?
CLAY: And was that done with the president's knowledge or direction?
COHEN: Everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of Mr. Trump.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CALIFORNIA: How many times did Mr. Trump asked you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?
COHEN: Quite a few times.
SPEIER: Fifty times?
SPEIER: A hundred times?
SPEIER: Two hundred times?
SPEIER: Five hundred times?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now during his testimony Cohen also said that Donald Trump directs him to cover up the payment to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels who alleges that she and Mr. Trump had an affair back in 2006.
SCIUTTO: Cohen said that the president would call him to make sure that he continued to cover for him and that story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KATIE HILL, (D) CALIFORNIA: Did the president call you to coordinate on public messaging about the payments to Ms. Cliffords in or around February 2018?
HILL: What did the president ask or suggest that you say about the payments or reimbursements?
COHEN: He was not knowledgeable of these reimbursements. He wasn't knowledgeable of my actions.
HILL: He asked you to say that?
COHEN: Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you telling us, Mr. Cohen that the president directed transactions in conspiracy with Allen Weisselberg and his son Donald Trump, Jr. as part of a civil criminal or part of a criminal conspiracy of financial fraud. Is that your testimony today?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: It's quite an allegation. Trump's former fixer also told lawmakers that Mr. Trump knew that his longtime advisor Roger Stone reached out to WikiLeaks and that they were planning to release hacked e-mails from Hillary Clinton's stolen by Russia - we should note, that the president was aware in advance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: It was a short conversation and he said, Mr. Trump, I just want to let you know that I just got off the phone with Julian Assange and in a couple of days there's going to be a massive dump of e-mails that's going to severely hurt the Clinton campaign.
REP. PETER WELCH, (D) VERMONT: The reason I ask is because on July 22nd on the eve of the Democratic convention WikiLeaks published as you know, the 20,000 leaked internal DNC e-mails. Could your meeting with Mr. Trump have been before that date?
WELCH: So, Mr. Trump was aware of the upcoming dump before it actually happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: It was quite a moment in the hearings there because it gets to whether the Trump administration and Trump campaign, of course at that time was given full warning in effect by Russia to what it was going to release.
CNN's Michelle Kosinski has been traveling with the president. Michelle, you know, the president in his press conference a short time ago claimed that Michael Cohen exonerated him of collusion with Russia when in fact, Cohen said, one, the president had full knowledge of the release of the Hillary Clinton e-mails via WikiLeaks but also that he knew about that famous Trump tower in June 2016 when Russian offered dirt on Hillary Clinton, this at least according to Michael Cohen.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. I think obviously, the president, and he was restrained in his answers on this. As soon as we heard that inevitable question coming you kind of brace yourself and knew, you know, this could be the moment where he lets it all out, really, let loose all of those allegations that Cohen let fly yesterday which dominated the news cycle and continued too.
But he was so restrained. He simply said that Cohen was incorrect. He did call it a fake hearing, talked about Cohen lying. But then went right to what he sees as no collusion. So, the president wants to make this look as good as possible for him. He hit on his usual buzzwords hoax, witch hunt, you know, fake.
[03:25:00] But he wanted to say that, you know, Cohen basically agreed with him that there was no collusion. And Cohen himself was restrained on some of these points that he didn't go so far as to say that President Trump was doing any of the directing.
So, the devil is always in the details here. And that's some of what Congress people are going to want to know today. You know, the extent of what Trump knew, according to Michael Cohen. Knowing about something doesn't necessarily mean you know the full picture of it, it doesn't mean that you had a hand in it, it doesn't mean that you were directing it, and that could be the difference between what exactly President Trump is accused of doing in the end.
Of course, we're all going to wait and see what comes out of the Mueller investigation. But digging down is going to lend a lot of light on some of the broad strokes and certain of these incidents that Cohen painted. But, you know, you knew that the president was going to want to say there's nothing definitive in there that says that I, or possibly my entire campaign was actually colluding with the Russians.
Of course, you know, that definition can be blurry too depending on who is interpreting all of this. I think that President Trump's responses to this could have gone off the rails, as we've seen him do before as soon as the subject comes up, but something was keeping him extremely restrained. He kept it brief. Hit his points and moved on.
AMANPOUR: Michelle, you know, the president was unhappy that the Congress decided to schedule this hearing right in the middle of a very, very important national security summit. And you know, there is some merit to that complaint by the present.
I do remember of course that President Clinton was in the middle of being impeached when he was also taking action against the Iraqis back in the winter of 1998 and people were, you know, questioning the timing of all that.
Politically, do you think Congress will face any backlash just for that timing of holding this hearing, I mean, couldn't it have waited a couple of days?
KOSINSKI: You really can never especially now, you can never fully separate politics out of this. Of course, Democrats will get backlash for some of that but they will respond that this is a bigger issue domestically, than you know, many of them expected not much to come out of the summit in the first place.
It is unfortunate. But Democrats also face backlash for bringing this witness in particular, for making this a public spectacle and on and on. So, of course, this political back and forth are going to -- is going to continue.
But I think it's remarkable that when Republicans were fighting what was going on yesterday you didn't see a whole lot of defense of the president. It was almost like the best they could do was attack that witness' credibility and they were right to do so.
That witness does have a credibility issue but of course, so does the president of the United States.
SCIUTTO: Well, you can fairly say it's been a difficult 24 hours for this president. You have his longtime lawyer and fixer testifying on Capitol Hill to really a wave of lies and corruption. Whether you believe him or not, that was the focus. And here you had what can only be describe as a disappointing result to these negotiations the second summit with the North Korean leader.
We have a lot more to talk about.
SCIUTTO: And we're going to be right back after this break.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to our breaking news coverage of the just concluded with no results summit here in Hanoi between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Donald Trump's second summit with the North Korean leader ended with no formal agreement on anything to be frank, except to try to continue a process that has already been started by these two leaders.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Right, they did call the discussion constructive, but acknowledge them. Secretary Pompeo as well saying, they wanted North Korea to give more, to get further they didn't get there. Trump held this news conference just a short time ago. He says, he could have made a deal, he could have signed a deal with Kim Jong-un on the spot, but the North Korea was only willing to partially denuclearize and that was the key issue there, and at the same time they apparently wanted the full lifting of the sanctions in return for partial denuclearization.
AMANPOUR: Yes. That certainly what we are hearing from the U.S. side and we are also hearing some comments from South Korea, from China, all the interested parties. President said Kim Jong-un has promised and this is important not to resume missile test or nuclear tests, but it wanted as Jim said, all sanctions lifted. The president said sanctions lifted in their entirety and that was a step he wasn't ready to take it this time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will all the sanctions that are currently in existence remain, sir?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're in place. You know, I was watching, a lot of you folks over the weeks have said, oh, we've given up, we haven't given up anything. And frankly, I think we'll end up being very good friends with Chairman Kim and with North Korea and I think they have tremendous potential.
I've been telling everybody they have tremendous potential. Unbelievable potential, but we are going to see. But it was about sanctions. I mean, they wanted sanctions lifted, but they weren't willing to do an area that we wanted. They were willing to give us areas, but not the ones we wanted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Is really addressing President Trump constantly refers to the North Korean tremendous potential. And it is no secret that the delegation -- the U.S. delegation hoped that Vietnam, Hanoi in particular would be a bit of an example, a bit of a lure for Kim Jong- un. This is a communist country like years, but it has a thriving market economy, after its war with the United States ended.
So, let's bring in correspondents Will Ripley and Paula Hancock to dig down a little more on what just happened and what might be ahead. Paula, I just want to start with you, because of South Korea's stakes so much on all of this going well. And we've had a fairly open and honest two-liner from the South Koreans.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Yes, we had statement from the South Korean diplomat saying, the whole world was waiting for an agreement, so were we. Where is deflects as anybody else around the world in eight years. That's the most open statement I've ever heard from the South Korean government which just shows how much they had riding on this.
I mean, President Moon Jae-in states his credibility on this. He really put himself aren't they? He put up with being called a pleaser, by the U.S. president at one point. He was desperate to get the two sides talking. And don't forget, he is waiting for Kim Jong- un to come to Seoul. That was supposed to be the next step. They were waiting to see how well this went and they were hoping in the springtime, Kim Jong-un would come to Seoul.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was supposed to come to an end of last year. And that didn't happened, the thought was that this summit would pave the way and now you have to wonder if Kim Jong-un would consider traveling to Seoul, given what happened here in Hanoi.
[03:35:08] SCIUTTO: What was reminiscing isn't not -- of the prior summit, because the South Koreans then were surprised, it seems we are not given a heads-up by President Trump at the time that the president was going to stop joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises as he did, there was some surprise then.
And it struck me that the president there acknowledging that he still had to call the South Koreans to update them on the results of the talks. Would that be something of a surprise not to give them a call the moment you walk out in light of the closeness of the relationship?
AMANPOUR: It would be his first call on Air Force One, headed back.
SCIUTTO: Well, he did, he did, but he did had some time between the collapse of those talks and coming to give a long press conference.
HANCOCKS: I mean, you just assume such allies that would be a given. But, I mean, we've been hearing from South Korean officials that they were hoping for a call before he got on Air Force One. So, they, you know, they know the situation. But, I mean, Jim, you mentioned the military drills. That is really interesting, because when they asked whether or not these military drills are going to go ahead, they usually happen at the end of February. I understand preparations are ongoing at this moment. They haven't been told that they've been canceled. I mean, did the U.S. president cancel this massive spring drills? I mean, --
RIPLEY: He only said he wanted South Korea to reimburse him for them, because he just kept talking about how expensive, there are hundreds of millions of dollars to fly in bombers from Guam.
AMANPOUR: So now on the substance of where this leaves us in the ongoing process to denuclearize North Korea. There's two issues here. One that there was no agreement signed. Perhaps we overinflated and over expected as we can see President Trump with these live pictures, he is on the tarmac at the airport here in Hanoi, ready to board Air Force One and head back to Washington.
SCIUTTO: Leaving early, we should note, they were supposed to have a working lunch. They were supposed to have a signing ceremony. The press conference move up, none of that happen. He is on his way out early.
AMANPOUR: I'm always reluctant to sign the (inaudible) or talk about collapse or anything like that. It is a process, even the Chinese have said, this is a process, obviously South Koreans, pronounce themselves perplexed, but I guess, where does this go from here?
RIPLEY: When you have two leader of a country come all this way and you walk away with nothing. This is a process, but if this was not the process that anyone was expecting. Not the North Koreans, not the United States, not the South Koreans, not the Japanese, even the Chinese are saying they want to hear from the (inaudible) in United States on how to evaluate this.
This has caught everyone off-guard. And it was President Trump's negotiating style to say, this isn't the deal that is going to work on, I'm going to walk away. A lot of people thought he might act yes and to give some sort of a dangerous concessions in the view of military experts saying, OK, we can reduce or pull out U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula and make an end of war declaration which a lot of -- anybody who studies the situation would have said that is not a good idea at this stage. It is premature, eventually, yes, but not right now. And he didn't do that.
SCIUTTO: In the concern even inside his administration going in was that he would over concede rather than under concede.
SCIUTTO: And that, listen, credit where credit is due. The president didn't get what he wanted from the North Koreans and was willing to walk away which by the way is straight out of the art of the deal. He will say at times when you reach an impasse, sometimes you have to walk away.
AMANPOUR: And sometimes you do. If it is true that the North Koreans asked for the entirety of sanctions to be lifted that is beyond the pale. And it's strange, because, you know, we heard from experts in the past that what they were hoping for, this is what experts have been talking to the North Koreans tell us, not that they were looking for all of the sanctions to be lifted, but measure to measure. So, the U.S. would do something, they would do something. It's constant process.
So, that for me at the moment is quite confusing. I mean, did Kim Jong-un misread the entire situation and think that, you know, he could give a little here and a little there and stop his missile testing and his nuclear testing which anyway people believe he doesn't need it at the moment, because they have done enough testing to perfect.
SCIUTTO: It's a great point as you talk about what folks at home expects, right. There was expectations that Donald Trump would make progress here. He's returning with no progress. There was expectations in South Korea, Moon, with an enormous amount invested and granted North Korea is no democracy, but --
RIPLEY: Their state media was glowing about this.
SCIUTTO: Exactly. And he's stuck his neck out to some degree you can say here, advertising this summit as perhaps a great opportunity. Although I supposed there is also read that North Korea had stood up to the Americans.
RIPLEY: I suspect they'll spin it in a positive way. The North Koreans will spin this in a positive way.
HANCOCKS: And the fact that on state TV, as you mentioned, they were still talking about how well yesterday went as the meeting was wrapping up.
RIPLEY: They certainly won't criticize.
HANCOCKS: They didn't see this coming. As far as I'm concern that this is not the North Koreans who have done this, because they were still taunting what a wonderful success this was as the two leaders were walking away.
RIPLEY: And I would be very surprised if the North Koreans publicly criticized President Trump, even if he was the one who walked out. Because their strategy has been all along, praise him, criticize his opponents, but how do you square that if it was the president himself who made the call to get up from the table and walk out?
[03:40:06] SCIUTTO: Well, there's this spin and there's reality. There's going to be a lot of spin in the next 24 hours.
AMANPOUR: And Trump was very careful not to criticize Kim Jong-un.
SCIUTTO: He wants to keep the lines of communication open.
RIPLEY: He needs collaboration in society.
SCIUTTO: That is a better place to be than we were about a year ago when you had fire and fury and the size of nuclear buttons, et cetera. That is a better place to be, but certainly a long way to go. Stay with us. We have a lot more to discuss. We'll be back right after this break.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back. We're here in Hanoi covering the just concluded summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, but we're going back also to the other big story we're following. And that is Michael Cohen's bombshell testimony before Congress.
SCIUTTO: President Trump's former attorney, long-time fixer for more than a decade testified for roughly seven hours in public on Wednesday. And if you missed it, here are some of the key moments from his testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY: I am ashamed of my own failings and publicly accepted responsibility for them by pleading guilty in the Southern District of New York. I'm ashamed of my weakness and my misplaced loyalty and the things I did for Mr. Trump in an effort to protect and promote him. I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I'm ashamed, because I know what Mr. Trump is, he is a racist, he is a conman, and he is a cheat.
CONG. MARK MEADOWS, (R) NORTH CAROLINA: You made some very demeaning comments about the president that Miss Patton doesn't agree with. In fact, it has to do with your claim of racism, she said that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama that there is no way that she would work for an individual that was racist.
[03:45:09] How do you reconcile the two of those?
COHEN: As neither should I as a son of a holocaust survivor.
REP JIM JORDAN, BENGHAZI COMMITTEE MEMBER: If this statement back here doesn't say it all, Cohen's consciousness of wrongdoing is pleading his remorse as minimal, his instinct is to blame others -- to blame others' wrong. The only thing one moment that statement, he's remorse is not existent. You just debated a member of Congress saying I really didn't do anything wrong with the false bank thing that I'm guilty of going to prison for.
COHEN: Mr. Jim, that is not -- that's not what I said. And you know that that is not what I said. What I said, I pled guilty. And I take responsibility for my actions.
Shame on you Mr. Jordan.
That is not what I said --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman.
COHEN: That is not what I said. What I said is, I took responsibility and I take responsibility. What I was doing is explaining to the gentleman that his facts are inaccurate. I still -- I take responsibility for my mistakes, all right, I am remorseful. And I'll going to prison. I will be away from my wife and family for years. So before you turn around and you cast more dispersions, please understand. There are people watching you today that know me a whole lot better. I made mistakes. I own them and I didn't fight with the Southern District of New York. I didn't put the system through an entire scenario, but what I did do is I pled guilty and I am going to be again going to prison.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Stone a free agent reporting back to the president what he had done or was he an agent of the campaign acting on behalf of the president and with his apparent authority?
COHEN: No, he was a free agent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A free agent that was reporting back to the president about what he had done?
COHEN: Correct. He frequently reached out to Mr. Trump and Mr. Trump was very happy to take his calls. It was free service.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Roger Stone said he never spoke with Mr. Trump about WikiLeaks. How can we corroborate what you're saying?
COHEN: I don't know, but I suspect that the special counsel's office and other government agencies have the information that you're seeking.
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R), ARIZONA: So let's go back at this credibility. You want us to make sure that we think of you as a real philanthropic icon that you're about justice that you're the person that somebody would call at 3:00 in the morning. No, they wouldn't. Not at all. We saw Mr. Cohen dissect you right in front of this committee you conflicted your testimony, sir. You're a pathological liar. You don't know truth from falsehood.
COHEN: I'm sorry. Are you referring to me or the president?
GOSAR: Hey, this is my time.
COHEN: Are you referring to me, sir or the president?
GOSAR: Can I ask you a question?
GOSAR: I'll ask for an answer.
REP. KATIE HILL (D), CALIFORNIA: Did the president call while you are having a meeting the reporter?
HILL: Did the president call you to coordinate a public messaging about the payments to Ms. Clifford in or around February 2018?
HILL: What did the president ask or suggest that you say about the payments or reimbursements?
COHEN: He was not knowledgeable about these reimbursements and wasn't knowledgeable of my actions.
HILL: He ask you to say that.
COHEN: Yes, ma'am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: More from Michael Cohen's hearing and what he said about the U.S. President's business dealings in Russia.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
AMANPOUR: Really? Welcome back to the program from Hanoi. And in the last seconds Air Force One has departed Hanoi from the airport here not far from our location as the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un is over. And it happened earlier than expected and there was no agreement. It happened so quickly that the leaders didn't even meet for lunch as they had planned.
SCIUTTO: A change and disappointment, Mr. Trump said the talks reached an impasse, because Kim Jong-un wanted all U.S. sanctions lifted immediately, but was not willing to reciprocate to get rid of his nuclear weapons only to dismantle one nuclear facility. The U.S. president spoke about it at a news conference just afterward. His disappointment palpable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We just left Chairman Kim with really, I think a very productive time. We thought and I thought and Secretary Pompeo felt that it wasn't a good thing to be signing anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: This is you.
AMANPOUR: And now to the other big story that we're following. Donald Trump's dealings with Russia spark questions throughout his presidential campaign and he is denied any involvement.
SCIUTTO: But during Michael Cohen's explosive appearance before a congressional committee, this just yesterday, Mr. Trump's former lawyer and fixer for more than a decade said that his client repeatedly asked about the Moscow Tower Trump -- Trump Tower project well into his presidential campaign, in fact much longer than the president had acknowledged.
Cohen said that he lied to protect Mr. Trump's chances of winning the election. Let's go now to CNN's senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance. He is in Moscow. Matthew, as you know this Trump Tower project has been central to the discussions here. Particularly because it is now clear that those discussions continued well into the campaign, including up until and after the point the president was the Republican nominee for president.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right. Initially the Trump campaign had randomly said that the negotiations to try and build a Trump Tower skyscraper in the Russian capital ended in about January of 2016. We now know they went on to at least June, possibly beyond that as well.
What Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer for more than a decade said in his congressional testimony yesterday, is that not only did Donald Trump know of those ongoing negotiations during the presidential campaign, but he also directed them. It was in close personal contact with the negotiations as they proceeded while at the same time publicly stating that he had no business dealings in Russia.
[03:55:20] Why did he do that? Well, Michael Cohen said he did it, because he did not believe, first of all, he was going to win the presidential election. And secondly, because if that deal had gone through, Donald Trump stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars in that property deal.
So, it was sort of like, backing both horses, trying to carry on with this business negotiations while going through the motions of a presidential campaign as well. Not really believing it was going to -- was going to come to (inaudible).
Of course, the building never got built, Donald Trump, of course as we know, went on to become president. What the Kremlin says in response to this is that, look, you know, we were contacted of course about this Trump tower deal. We directed the Trump organization to the St. Petersburg economic forum, are we going to put them in touch with businessman involve in this. The Kremlin does says, it doesn't have anything to do with building projects, but we were never told at any point, the Kremlin says that Donald Trump was personally interested and personally involved in those negotiations. Jim?
SCIUTTO: Well, and this happening, you know, as you have -- President Trump's domestic challenges happening in the midst of these crucial international negotiations and clearly frustrating the president.
AMANPOUR: That is absolutely sure and he did talk about that. Interesting about Russia too. Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister was here in Hanoi just before this started and was sort of throwing a little bit about how the U.S. had asked Russia for their, you know, advice. So I don't know.
SCIUTTO: Any president thinks Russia and the press conference as well.
AMANPOUR: Yes. That is all that we have time for right now. Thanks for joining CNN's special coverage of the summit. The second one between the U.S. President and the North Korean leader. It has just concluded and CNN's breaking news will continue.
SCIUTTO: We'll have more news next on CNN's Early Start. Stay with us.