the president breaks which he really shouldn't. top u.s. officials telling us they've not read the letter to kim jong-un yet, but they are aware generally of its contents. the personal. >> we'll see that meeting about to take place at the white house. thanks for joining us on "inside politics." wolf starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 12:00 noon in mexico city, 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 7:00 p.m. in berlin. wherever you're watching from around the world, thank you for joining us. if it wasn't clear before, one trump adviser who is preparing for a possible mueller indictment, it says the spree sends a message to a witness like him. president trump said samantha bee should be fired
after his comment about his daughter, but he has yet to say anything about roseanne barr. tho countri those countries clearly preparing to fight. >> kim yong chol will be handing a letter to the president from kim jong-un. you're looking at live pictures come in from the west wing of the white house. kim yong chol is the first one leaving his hotel early this morning. he's been meeting with mike pompeo. all of this comes just 11 days before an expected possible summit between the president of the u.s. and president of north
korea, kim jong-un. first of all, what do we know about the letter that is being delivered and what do you know about the planned summit. >> well, wolf, let me walk you tlul the mysterious. kim yong chol is expected to arrive at my, so we'll see if that will include john bolton, chief of staff, and they will head over to the oval office where kim yong chol will meet with president trump and then hand-deliver a letter from kim jong-un. that letter, obviously, is very critical right now. talking to sources this morning, wolf, they're still not entirely clear what's in that letter. they're familiar with the contents at this point, according to our sources, and they continue to give optimism
that there will be some kind. at this point, i think a lot of this is riding on exactly what is in that letter. and from what understanding from talking to various sources at this moment, but people familiar with the contents are saying that it expresses an interest from kim jong-un to go ahead and have this summit with president trump. but as you've been hearing for after tmd including the president and kim jong-un before they actually hammer out any kind of denuclearization agreement. it seems as though there are a couple things happening taeflt.
fmt fmt. it will be a hard agreement made by both countries at that summit to totally denuclearize north korea. it seems like what they're talking about at this point, wolf, is moving to talks that will potentially lead that direction. but these dramatic pictures about to unfold on the south lawn of the white house right now. that's what you're looking at. you're looking at the entrance to the white house from cameras positioned on the south lawn, and you can see a couple people starting to make their way outside. now, we expect kim yong chol who is lead negotiator for kim jong-un to meet with chief of staff security advise brer all these men head over to the oval office for the president and. we saw that arrival in the last
half hour or so. mike pompeo, secretary of state, and kim yong chol both met in new york yesterday. all the wheels appear to be in motion, continuing in motion, wolf, for this very dramatic, very historic encurre. when we're talking to officials over here, they're still treating this with an abundance of caution, as they probably should, that nothing is a done deal yet. but something points to all possibility that something unusual will happen, wolf. >> we're drawn to this picture on the south lawn entrance to the white house. we expect the north korean visitor, kim yong chol, entering that entrance as opposed to the west wing entrance, is that right? >> we are getting some guidance by the pool reporters. there are other folks in the pool, the white house pool
today. we're getting some guidance that they may actually walk down the kohl nad walkway. this is not a taxing. it may take a few minutes from the live shot that people are looking at right now, all the way over to. i don't believe they will go inside the building and then walk will make for a very interesting. at this level visit a u.s. administration since the clinton years when bill clinton tried to craft an agreement that would lead to some kind of lowering of
tensions with north korea at that time. obviously what president trump is aiming for at this point is a very big game and a very big historic deal, and that would be to denuclearize north korea. they are tamping down that exercise and will have a deal to do that on june 12 in singapore. it sounds like they're trying to get to the negotiating table, much like we saw during the cold war of the late 1980s. so you're seeing some vehicles arriving. now we have multiple cameras staged around the migwhite hous. as you know, this appears to be the motorcade for u.s. officials. that camera is positioned on
seven seventh. presumably they will make their way inside the south section of the white house, the southern section of the white house on to the south lawn. you'll see kim joyong chol come out and we'll see them unfold. >> carren dovirginian. >> this president has a flare for drama. just put the diplomacy aside for one second, this is something that he, you know, can and will
and is taking great pleasure in. north koreans coming to the white house to deliver a diplomatic letter. this can be done without cameras. this can be done without anybody knowing it. in order to have this kind of reception, in order to have this kind of live coverage, this has to be what occurred at the president of the united states. like you said, this is a big deal diplomatically for the north koreans to be invited onto the white house grounds for anything. even though in this particular case, it is about, they hope, this is a historic moment. >> it certainly is. 15 years that an official has
been admitted to the white house. we saw the chief of staff walk back out, walk back in. presumably he'll be there to receive the official. >> this is the highest up you can get. especially when you're talking about the country you're talking about making this diplomatic visit, you don't want to reward them quite that much that soon. the fact that john kelly will be there to greet them means they're taking it very seriously. clearly the white house knows this will come off inspect, but then depending on what little transpires them, they have to decide if it behooves them. >> this is what north korea wants. they want respect, they want to
be seen as a global power, and they're certainly. >> i think we should call this what it is. this is theater. there is no reason why the spy master needs to carry a letter from the white thourls. we don't if it's credible -- to the president from amt for things including his involvement in the wmv program is walking into the white house. so this is theatre for mefrlt. >> but if it does lead to a summit between the president of the united states and the leader of north korea, and that leads in turn over a period of time to a de-escalation of the military tensions on the korean peninsula, that would be excellent, right? >> certainly. we already have a
denuclearizati denuclearization. if this sets a tone for a further denuclearization, that's great. >> it looks like kim yong chol, the north korean official, who has been delegated. he spent a few hours yesterday meeting with mike pompeo who has, ims. we're just escorting areas of kim yong chol walking to the white house. this is an historic moment, indeed. approximately 18 years that a north korean official has been invited to the white house. >> this is theater, but this is also a very clear diplomatic move, to get them to come back to the table to start these real
negotiations. because there are definitely differences of opinion inside the white house, but the opinions that matter most, the president of the united states, wants this and wants this bad. so this is a diplomatic card you're playing, a diplomatic dance, and we may have more leverage with the north koreans if it happens. >> there are a lot of ifs, right? if you can get the north koreans to degroup and play ball, we're not talking about rolling out sanctions yet. but i don't think anybody is clear what the north koreans want, i'm not happy just about kwunt countries in the planet.
even if they don't persist, those are questions they can't answer. basically everyone is saying we're in a better position than we were, why not take that chance? the question is how many of those can you stack up and how many will you be required to stack up to actually get to the goal that we want which may not be the goal the north koreans want. >> the goal the president of the united states has set out is the denuclearization, and there we see them walking right near the rose garden, right outside the rose garden toward the oval office right now. kim yong chol, the north korean official, led by john kelly, the white house chief of staff. let's see if they go in. they're going to that side door over there, but then presumably they'll be walking over -- maybe they'll have a separate meeting first. eventually, the president of the united states, we're told, will have what officials say is a brief meeting. this is definitely a big deal. >> it is a big deal, and what i want to know is what progress is
being made in the dnc with the negotiators. ostensibly, this smeegt might ha have i'd like to know what this means for the u.s. side and for the north korean side. what we do know is there is still a lot of gaps behind what this definition is. this briefer meeting with preside president. it really empowers negotiators on both sides to take in the details. >> lisa labott is with us as well. you've been doing a lot of reporting on the stage that's been set here. once again, walking down the colonade, kim yong chol and john kelly. i'm sure they'll be going into the oval office to meet the
president. how significant were the meetings that mike pompeo, the secretary of state, had with kim yong chol in new york city ever the past few days. >> i think that meeting was very significant. it was about putting cards on the table. what does denuclearization mean to the u.s., what does it mean to north korea? you could see secretary pomp eo lay out progress. when he said there was progress, he did not say there was progress on narrowing the gaps. he kind of said everybody understood each other better. my understanding is when you mentioned what's going on in the dnc, they're drafting a communeque for this summit. it's going slow because it doesn't seem like they have that commitment from north korea that they need. this is a hard sell. you have the first step of that in new york.
kim yong chol rolling up in a cadillac, having steak for dinner, seeing the new york skyline. you hear mike pompeo about all the good things that could come from this economic investment. they're putting on the hard sell. for kim yong chol, he wants to deliver this letter and kind of size up president trump so he can report back. on the u.s. side, they want to put the hard sell to the north koreans that this is an opportunity that can't be missed. this is a deal he can't refuse. >> yeah, i was going to say they still haven't said 100% the meeting will take place on june 12 in singapore as earlier announced, but maybe we'll get word today following this meeting. >> we could. the one person that thinks the meeting going on on june 12, my understanding, is president trump. he's the only person that matters. but i do know that there are
other people in the administration, john bolton and others, that think groundwork needs to be done. to get to a place of this nature is very painstaking. this is done for weeks and months from the bottom up, then the leaders show up and shake hands and they sign on the dotted line. this is coming from the bottom down. any communeque is going to have to be very basic. you heard president trump say yesterday, maybe it's going to take two meetings, maybe it's going to take three meetings. you can see president trump and secretary pompeo walk back a little from that firm stance they laid out. >> we're showing the viewers that window. thael that's the window into the oval office where the president sits. that's a shot of the cameras in the rose garden. let's see if we see some movement, but go ahead. >> obviously we're watching that. but what elise just reported is so important, that what was -- the result of the meeting in new york with the secretary of state
and the north koreans was -- it sounds really basic to anybody who is looking at this. like, really, that's as far as they got just laying that has been a big part of the rub. what do the north korean. if they could have what they want, what would it be? even though they've been saying it's denuclearization of the northern peninsula, the fact that you're report fing for you sources that they got that far for laying the cards on the table, that is a big deal. we don't know what the cards are, but that is the way diplomacy has to work. >> kim yong chol is going to be face to face with the president. to an extent, that's an intelligence-gathering
community. we spent a lot of time saying we don't know if kim yong chol is serious. he's served with three north carolina leaders, meaning he's. this might be an opportunity for him as well, the size of donald trump, for him to go back and tell kim jong-un. >> they are also looking to see who kim jong-un is. his advisers know that, wolf. he's going to be so charming there and -- >> there is a reciprocity which is very significant. the north korean leader decided -- he received mike pompeo, who was then the cia director. the second time he received him as secretary of state. now the united states is recipro
indicating. that's part of the diplomatic process that has to happen at this point. we don't nel know if that is. everybody is taking a gamble each time they say or do anything. the north koreans are definitely doing their homework. based on their reporting, based on our reporting, they're not taking this very lightly. the republicans are being themselves as a general rule. every little piece of this, because it takes so much to get progress on any little shred of it matters for credibility, and credibility may actually be what counts at the end of the day. >> i was going to say that's an important point on the president. because i'm sure you are all hearing this as i am, that there is nobody who wants this more than the president, and that means that there is concern among his aides who understand the nuances that he's going to
be too quick to agree to -- not an actual agreement, but even this, even agree to the terms of the summit. especially when he's one on one and he is historically been known to tell people in the room what they want to hear. the stakes are pretty high for that kind of approach. >> north korean official is now in the white house meeting with white house officials, and we anticipate momentarily he'll also be meeting with the president of the united states. we're going to take a quick break. we're following all the breaking news right now. historic moments unfolding here in washington right here in the oval office at the white house. you're looking inside the window into the oval office. we'll be right back.
house. he's got a letter from kim jong-un, a letter from the north korean leader to president trump that he wants to hand-deliver. the president of the united states deciding to receive this north korean official. this is an historic moment that's unfolding. we anticipate perhaps we'll be hearing from the president of the united states following this meeting. we'll see what the president says, but things are moving quickly. samantha, as we watch this unfold, the north koreans have had an international diplomatic bonanza lately. the north korean leader who hadn't met with many over the past few years, all of a sudden he's met twice with the south korean president, met twice with the chinese president, yesterday met with sergei lavrov, the russian foreign minister setting the stage for a meeting with putin down the road, has met twice with pompeo, secretary of state, and now his nemesis is about to meet with the president of the united states to try to set the stage for a june 12 summit in singapore. >> exactly. we even had the prime minister
of japan saying he wants to meet with kim jong-un after the summit. all around, kim jong-un is in demand and this is what he's wanted for a long time. he's wanted to be on equal footing with other world leaders. the fact of the matter is he's not. he's had a multitude of other illegal programs in addition to nuclear weapons, like chemical weapons, biological weapons, he's a human rights abuser. a man probably walking into the oval office, not any other room in the white house where this meeting could have happened, has been sanctioned by the united states, he's been sanctioned by south korea, and he's guilty of a lot of bad things. >> but he has been given permission to not only come to the united states, elise, but also been given permission not to emerge outside that 25-mile radius of the united nations where north korea officials and others who are not received by the u.s., who don't have diplomatic relations with the u.s., they have to stay within a 25-mile radius of the u.n. has
now been waived. >> that's why it was in new york in the first place, he's not allowed to travel outside. mike pompeo went to him, but now president trump wants to welcome him to the oval office. they had to provide this waiver. but now kim jong-un, kim yong chol and the president are getting this leniency. you heard lavrov say any denuclearization of north korea has to happen in steps, action for action. the north koreans, we know they are masters of brinkmanship. they're playing in brilliantly. and they're playing president trump exactly the way he likes to be played. >> it's not just a matter of flattery, though, i think it's just a reminder seeing that various meeting that kim jong-un has had and all of his deputies as well of how many other pieces of this puzzle there actually are. we're putting a lot of focus on
this meeting. if you don't have china on board, if you don't have russia on board, if you don't have japan and korea backing up the united states in what it wants to do -- >> isn't that amazing, though -- sorry about that. isn't it amazing? this is the kim jong-un that everyone hoped in 2011 that they would get, this kind of reformer, modernizer that was going to bring north korea out of the cold. all of these years they've been kind of waiting for this statesman, that they're considering him right now. we just don't know if it's for real or if it's -- >> can we drill down on what you said, sam, because we're looking at this picture. there is a senior north korean diplomat inside, not just the white house, but the oval office. we're trying to see what's happening inside that window
because it is really mind-blowing. it really is. they could have met in the roosevelt room. they could have met in a number of other sort of, you know, ornate rooms, but this sends a very clear message that only one person wanted to send. and that is the president of the united states, the man who resides in that office, that he wants to make such an impression and wants to make such a statement that he invited this guy who has done some really bad stuff personally, never mind the regime that he wants. >> it's the nixon profile. he thinks he can do -- you work for president obama, president obama couldn't do it. bill clinton, he tried with madam albright. couldn't do it. he thinks this is a moment that he might be able to do what earlier presidents failed to do,
denuclearizing the northern peninsula. he is currently trying to achieve that particular moment. we have to take another quick break. we're watching history unfold at the white house. we'll be right back. need something printed? the business advisors at office depot can assist with exactly what your business needs to grow. get your coupon for 20% off services, technology and more at office depot and officedepot.com. technology and more i think, keep going, and make a difference. at some point, we are going to be able to beat als. because life is amazing. so i am hoping for a cure. i want this, to uh, to be a reality. um, yeah. man: one, two, here we go! ♪ i'm alive, i'm alive, i'm alive ♪
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we saw him arrive to the white house walking down the colonade room to the oval office. as soon as we see the statements, whether on tape or live, of course we'll have that for our viewers here in the united states and around the world. but there's other important news we're following in the meantime. the white house now pushing back against criticism over president trump's use of pardons. critics say he's trying to send a message to allies caught up in the russia probe, even trump ally roger stone tells the "washington post," and i'm quoting now, it has to be a signal to mike flynn and we indict people for crimes that don't pertain to russian collusion. special counsel has awesome powers, as you know, but the president has even more awesome powers. that from roger stone. let's bring back our panel. seth waxman is joining us right now. how widespread is this
presidential pardon capability? can he pardon anyone he wants with any reason or for no reason he wants, because someone suggested there are some restrictions. >> yeah, and i'm one of those people that believes there are restrictions. the constitution lays out the pardon power, and it is exclusive to the president. there is no other person in the world, or at least in the united states, that can issue a pardon, but it's not absolute. the constitution has plenty of provisions where there are restrictions. the freedom of speech for the american citizens. we all think that's an important power, but we all know we can't run into a crowded theater and yell "fire." so the notion that something is written in the constitution is sacrosanct, i just don't buy that. if president trump is using this investigation, it is to dangle a carrot to entice people to not cooperate with law enforcement is an obstruction of justice. >> you heard the criticism from
the president that he is trying to send a signal to people like paul manafort, his former campaign chairman who has been indicted, or mike flynn, his former national security adviser, who has already pled guilty to various charges, sending a signal that said, you know what? i might have your back. >> it bears context in this proceeding that a -- it usually is done sometime around christmastime but noticeably at the end of their term. that's how incredibly unusual this is. can you imagine if a democratic president did this? can you imagine if barack obama used his executive power so much and did this, or bill clinton? >> or a foreign leader. >> or a foreign leader. yes, exactly. it is incredibly transparent why he's doing it, and roger stone has probably never spoken truer
words than what he said to the "washington post" in saying that this is clearly a message to the people under investigation, don't rat me out because i got your back. >> the former attorney general eric holder who served under president obama, he said this about the whole pardon capability. listen. >> if you pardon somebody, well, that means that they are -- they don't have much to worry about with regard to whatever the pardon covers. but if bob mueller, for instance, wants to take a pardoned person, put that person before a grand jury, that person no longer has the ability to say, i'm going to invoke my fifth amendment right. that's been stripped away. you have a pardon. that person then becomes a perfect witness for the special counsel. >> seth, you're a former federal prosecutor. what do you think? >> that's true, they wouldn't have a fifth amendment right. you get into a weird scenario where that person who is pardoned is now brought before a grand jury and let's just is a
li -- say lies. that person is subject to perjury charges and you can kind of get in that circle. it's a slippery slope and the idea the president is using that power in this manner in my mind is an abusive power. >> everybody stick around. there is more unfolding at the white house right now. we're told a former spy chief is in the oval office delivering a letter to the president of the united states from north korean leader kim jong-un. plus a trade war begins and u.s. allies are blasting president trump over his new tariffs. what are they saying, how are they retaliating? we'll have that and much more. lots of news. we'll be right back. memorial . up to 40 percent off appliances. 52% off this kenmore refrigerator. 50 percent off kenmore elite laundry pairs. find your new appliance at the sears memorial day event.
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the president of the united states has been meeting with aide to leader kim jong-un. we're going to have extensive live coverage of this historic moment unfolding in washington. the first time in 18 years a north korean official has been allowed to come to washington, has been allowed to come to the white house and meet with the president of the united states. stand by for that. there is other news we're watching, important news involving international trade. unacceptable and unlawful u.s. allies blasting president trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum saying they threatened to spark a global trade war. listen. >> for 150 years, canada has been the united states' most steadfast ally. canadians have served alongside americans in two world wars and in korea. from the beaches of normandy to
the mountains of afghanistan, we have fought and died together. that canada could be considered a national security threat to the united states is inconceivable. >> strong words from the prime minister of canada. joining us now, cnn correspondent paula newton, cnn senior correspondent and john deleterious. the president is speaking about canada saying, canada has treated our
agricultural businesses and farms very poorly for a long period of time, highly restricted on trade. they must open up their markets and take down their trade barriers. they report a really high surplus on tried with us. do timber and lumber in u.s.? we heard the prime minister. he's clearly so disappointed, so upset at what the president has
announced. >> offended, even, and it's going to get as good as it gets. matching dollar for dollar, nearly $13 billion in tariffs, those begin on july 1st. not just on steel and aluminum but on products like dishwashers. they're trying to turn those american jobs in key states into the fall f. he's saying. the key thing is it will cost american consumers more going forward, and in terms of timing, wofrl, just a reminder next week, g-7 in quebec, canada hosting with four european partners hosting the president, all angry. >> the president wants to ban all german luxury imports into
the united states. how are politicians reacting to these latest developments? >> well, like canada, here in germany, many people find the tariffsincomprehensible, wolf, and calling it illegal. considering the billions of dollars germany has invested in the u.s. economy, consider germany exported thousands of cars last year to the u.s. that seems like a small figure considering all the germans buy many cars. germany is helping the u.s., not hurting it. >> and they're very disappointed in trump's approach but did not rush to judgment with tariffs
straight away, although those are clearly being threatened right now. . what's happening on that front? she took a measured approach and singled out the trump administration for a faulty premise and that is using national security for a reason for slapping on tariffs. they said they didn't like the approach of putting the gun to their head before getting to the negotiating table. if there's common ground, it's over china. they say china is responsible for the overglut right now. donald trump and his team are flatly against it. >> interesting. new u.s. tariffs clearly are threatening a trade war. mexico has been a frequent target of president trump. now niece tariffs on aluminum and steel could add new tension
between the neighboring countries. joining us now, mexico's ambassador to the united states, geronimo gutierrez. mexico has promised come pparat penalties. are other products being discussed as possible retaliation for what the president has now the ordered against mexico? >> the products are already part of that list, which should be published in mexico over the next few days and begin immediately after its published. what we intend to do with these measures that we have taken is two objectives. first, obviously we don't want to disrupt the supply chains any farther. and, second, we do want to send a signal that actions have consequences. >> how do these tariffs, directed by the united states,
impact the ongoing negotiations on nafta, the north american free trade agreement between the u.s., mexico and canada? >> well, it's certainly not helpful to the overall environment of the negotiation. it has been said we don't believe that using national security arguments apply in this case. mexico has been consistently and constructively engaging for the past year on nafta negotiations. and we just simply don't agree with the fact that this is a right policy. this will actually affect competitiveness in northern america. the steel industry is actually quite integrated in northern america and we don't see why this measures would make sense to mexico certainly, the u.s. or canada. >> mexico's currently the fifth largest auto parts producer worldwide, one of the largest suppliers to the u.s. market. how will these tariffs affect the ad outo industries in both
countries? >> as the auto industry has already expressed, it will simply raise cost. mexico and the u.s. trade a lot of products every year, wolf, but the future is not only about how much do we trade and invest with one another, which it's important, but it's about how do we produce together to complete globally? and this is why this type of measures in our view are just simply not a decision, not a step in the right decision. >> very quickly because we're out of time, ambassador, before i let you go, the president says mexico will pay for the border wall and eventually you'll be happy to pay for the border wall. your reaction? >> that has been very clearly stated by president pena, mexico will not pay under any circumstances for a wall. we're in favor of border security but we certainly differ on the ways to achieve that
objective. >> ambassador, thank you so much for joining us, the mexican ambassador to the united states. >> thank you very much, wolf. >> let me bring dana and the rest of the team back with a very impressive jobs numbers here in the united states. the unemployment level reaching a very low. take a look at this, 223,000 jobs created. 3.8%, the wage growth has gone up 2.7%. all very, very impressive. >> all incredibly impressive, which is why there are a lot of republicans in this town and around the country really worried that this potential trade war that the president is engaging in that you were just talking about with our correspondents around the world could take away from that. that really is the concern. talking to republican strategists, who are doing a lot of polling on a lot of important races that will come up in
november, they say people are feeling really good. there's usually nothing more important than that so-called right track, right track and the economy. but pocket books matter more than anything and that's why there's such a concern about this trade situation. >> the clinton administration, james carville, said "it's the economy, stupid." >> the president has put out a populous message that does not always work with the raw numbers. this is something that the push and pull that dana was describing is going to be felt by his own people, where they have bought into this populous message about trade but if it hits the industries and products that matter at home, it's going to cost joms. th -- jobs. that could be a point where it
breaks. north korea's top spy chief has been in the white house meeting with the president, delivering a message from kim jong un. we'll have the very latest when we come back. with less of the sugar you don't. i'll take that. [cheers] 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. new ensure max protein. in two great flavors. dinner date...meetingn. his parents dinner date. why did i want a crest 3d white smile? so i used crest. crest 3d white removes... ...95% of surface stains in just 3 days... ...for a whiter smile... that will win them over. crest. healthy, beautiful smiles for life.
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