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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  June 4, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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possibility of a constitutional crisis. does he t hbovechanging stories. the president lawyer's admits he dictated the statement about the trump power statement meeting with russians. can administration officials be believed? the president insists that robert mueller's investigation is, quote, totally unconstitutional. a claim at odds with the facts and the law. what might have triggered his new tweeting frenzy? meet and greet. we're learning more about the administration's diminishing expectations for the trump/kim s summit. will there be any substance behind the handshakes and smiles? welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news.
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>> breaking tonight, the white house is furiously dodging questions about whether president trump might actually consider pardoning himself after decl thae has the absolute right to do so. we're following a series of bombshells coming from the president, rudy giuliani and a newly revealed letter from the trump legal team to robert mueller. it's all adding to a very disturbi portrait of a president who appears to think he is above the law and an administration that can't be trusted to tell the american people the truth. i will get reaction from former homeland security secretary jeh johnson who works as a prosecutor under rudy giuliani. and from richard blumenthal. first, let's go to our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. a lot of critical questions for the white house. a lot of critical questions that certainly did not get answered. >> reporter: that's right. they have not gone away. the white house spent the day making questionable
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constitutional claims about the president's powers. he has the power to pardon himself. the appointment of the special counsel is unconstitutional. when asked why the white house press secretary gave false information to the public, incredibly, she referred those questions to the president's outside legal team even though it was her own bogus statements she was being asked about. it was a performance that was hard to pardon. at white house today, there were more talking points than actual answers. when asked about the president's tweets that he has the absolute right to pardon himself and that the appointment of the special counsel is totally unconstitutional, white house press secretary sarah sanders repeatedly turned to prepared responses. >> thankful the president hasn't done anything wrong and wouldn't have any need for a pardon. once again, the president hasn't done anything wrong and therefore wouldn't need one. >> reporter: it came in response to rudy giuliani, a former
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federal prosecutor, who made that claim over the weekend. >> do you believe the president has the power to pardon himself? >> heot bute probably does. he has no intention of pardoning himself. he probably does. >> reporter: not only do fellow republicans disagree -- >> if i were president the united states and i had a lawyer that told me i could pardon myself, i think i would hire a new lawyer. >> reporter: in the 1970s, the justice department wrote just before the resignation of richard nixon that a president cannot pardon himself, adding no one may be a skrjudge in his ow case. they sidestepped explanatio at the time, both the president's lawyer and sanders said mr. trump did not dictate a response to "the new york times" about the meeting. >> that was written by donald trump junior. i'm sure with consultation with his lawyer. >> he certainly didn't dictate. like i said, he weighed in. offered suggestion like any
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father would do. >> reporter:r. trump's lawyers say the opposite, telling the special counsel's office, the president dictated a short but accurate response to the "new york times" article. when asked to explain her own false statement, sanders dodged. >> this is from a letterm the outside counsel. i direct you to them. it's pertaining tie lett ining m the outside counsel. >> reporter: giuliani says it demonstrates why the president may not talk to the special counsel. >> this is the reason you don't let the president testify. our recollection keeps changing. >> reporter: white house didn't want to touch this outlandish comment from giulianio e huffington post claiming the president cannot be indicted while in office. i don't know how you can indict while he is in office, no matter what it is. if he shot james comey he would be impeached the next day. then you can do whatever you want to do to him. is that appropriate language coming from the president's outside lawyer to be talking about the president shooting jim
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comey in that fashion? >> you would have to ask rudy giuliani about his specific comments. thankfully, the president hasn't done anything wrong. we feel very comfortable. go ahead, josh. i'm going to keep going. not today, jim. >> reporter: we didn't get the follow-up question. one of the president's outside lawyers released a statement about the trump tower meeting saying, quote, the statement in the january letter to the special counsel's office reflects our understanding of the eve that occurred. even that statement does not explain the false statements initially given to the public about that trump tower meeting. it felt as if today watching this briefing unfold that they have been caught in a lie about the trump tower meeting and they just had no good answers to get out of it. >> jim, thank you. jim acosta at the white house. let's dig deeper. the president calls the mueller investigation unconstitutional. we are joined by shema procapez.
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the president calling the appointment of a special counsel unconstitutional. >> it's a new line of attack. this coming in a tweet today. certainly in this 20- letter that was published by "the new york times" over the weekend, illustrated some of the argument. the letter -- the lawyers calling the president a chief law enforcement officer. talking about pardons. today, the president again doubling down saying that he can pardon himself if he wanted to. certainly, this is what we're starting to see. this is sort of some of the behavior that we expected from the president since new lawyers came on board. there's a lot of behind the scenes activity that is ongoing. these attacks, these lines of sort of calling the investigation uncotutional,
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othe lines of attack towards the special counsel, all has been expected from the president. really, this is more becoming a political fight. a public fight by the president here against the special counsel, because they seem to think it's working. we don't know exactly what the special counsel is thinking. they're not responding to anything. in fact, what we have been told is that even this 20-page letter that was written back in january, the special counsel never responded to. certainly, this does tell us that this is not going to stop in any way. the president is going to keep attacking the special counsel. their work continues. for all we know, they're doing their job and bringing people into the grand jury, still interviewing potential witnesses. >> the president said the appointment of the special counsel is totally constitutional. thanks for that. joining us now, senator rich
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blumenthal. thanks for coming in. you tweeted this this morning on the possibility of the president pardoning himself. why do you believe the president is asserting his absolute right to pardon himself? >> i take it that the president feels that he may be in need of a pardon, that he likely has done something wrong. all of these statements are typical of somebody who has something to hide or has done something wrong. legally, there's absolutely no question, wolf, that the president of the united states cannot pardon himself. there was a reference earlier to the department of justice opinion, which says, and i have it with me, that the question should be answered in the negative. the question being, can the
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president pardon himself. it is actually filled with legal reasoning. unlike the presidt's memo, which is really a nakedly blatantly politicploy, a legal document. >> the special counsel's investigation, special counsel robert mueller, he was appointed on may 17, 2017 by rod rosenstein. the president has had more than a year to cooperate with mueller's investigation. he now says it's totally unconstitutional. all of a sudden. why do you think he is making this argument all of a sudden now? >> i am the last person to try to read donald trump's mind. i think this attack, part of a continuing pattern on the special counsel, is an effort to discredit the investigation before it concludes its report, to demean the special counsel in the eyes of the public. we're not dealing with a legal argument. the constitutionality of a
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special counsel has been upheld by the united states supreme court when there was actually a statute that was even broader than the regulation that has given rise to this special counsel. i think it is part of a pattern of trying to attack the investigation because it's the president who is under investigation. >> it was upheld by a federal judge in the paul manafort case as well. rudy giuliani going one step further, the president's personal lawyer, saying the president can't be indicted while he is still in office. quote -- this is what he told huffington post. if he shot james comey he would be impeached. then you could do whatever you want to do to him. what do you make of that reasoning? >> first of all, i am dismayed by the reference to shooting anyone, especially days after the parkland high school graduation. last thing in the world weht to be talking about is that kind of gun violence. take the statement itself that
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the president is above the law, only in two-bit tin-horn dictatorships do people talk about the monarch or the reverend leader being above the law. the president is not above the law. i really hope -- here is my main point today, wolf. my republican colleagues will agree with senator grass lgrasst lawyer wlozs who give that advice will be fired. nothing less than the rule of law is at stake in thisdebate, in this week and months ahead. clearly, the president is seeking the last resort and last refuge of someone who believes possibly in his own guilt, namely attack the investigators, attack law enforcement, attack the special counsel. >> we know the special counsel is closely looking at the statement, released by the white
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house after"the new york times" reported on that. themethat they put out, his lawyer, the white house press secretary, they were wrong, from the president's lawyer to mueller. the president dictated that statement. why do you think they were trying to mislead? if the president actually wrote that statement, dictated that statement, why would they suggest something else? >> the president dictated that statement in order to mislead the american public but also the investigator investigators. the statement was about the trump tower with meeting russian agents, that was attended by his son, his campaign manager and his son-in-law, when they were promised dirt on hillary inton. the president concocted this statement to mislead and deceive. that indicates a state of mind
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that could be and probably is evidence of obstruction of justice. i think that memo is a grave disservice to the president. it's a stunning admission. but also the memo miscites statutes. 1505 instead of 1522 of the united states code. in addition, it engages in this kind of magical legal thinking. i think it will be cited as probably amongst lawyering the president of the united states has been provided. >> that statement the president dictated, he said the meeting was not a campaign issue. we know the meeting was the result of a promise from the russians to provide dirt on hillary clinton to the trump campaign. i'm sure mueller is looking into that as well. senator, thanks for coming on. >> thank you. just ahead, more reaction to the shocking possibility raised by the president that he might try to pardon himself. rudy giuliani is going to new
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lengths in his defense of the president, suggesting he couldn't be prosecuted for an outright murder. i will get reaction from someone who works with giuliani when he was a u.s. attorney, the former homeland security secretary, jeh johnson. he will join me live. >> vo: these neighbors are starting right.
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a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for yfree publisher kit today! news on the white house attempt to tap dance around two claims by president trump he has the power to pardon himself and the appointment of the special counsel robert mueller is totally unconstitutional.
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joining us now, the former ho homeland security second, jeh johnson. he is a former trial lawyer and prosecutor. he served as an assistant district attorney in the southern district of new york under rudy giuliani. thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks for having me. >> you have a lot of legal experience. i want to pick your brain. when the president argues he has an absolute right to pardon himself and that the special counsel's apoipointment was totally unconstitutional, what do you think? >> i think it's posturing in an effort to get to a place acceptable to trump's lawyers where he can do an interview. the special counsel has the trump card, if you will, of a subpoena. mr. trump's lawyers want to stake out equally aggressive ground by staking out the most aggressive imaginable presidential power so that they create for themselves the maximum negotiating space on the contours of an interview of some
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sort. i tend to belie that president trump wants to be interviewed by the special counsel. but his lawyers appropriately wanted to have safeguards, time limits, almost limits on subjec matter. they staked out this view of presidential power, as aggressive if not more than what nixon said to david frost. >> if it's posturing, doesn't that send a horrible message to the american public? >> my read of this is that they are negotiating. i think even the president's lawyers recognize that he cannot and should not ever be in a position to pardon himself. >> you once worked as an s
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assistant u.s. district attorney in the southern district in new york. what do you make of his reasoning that the president can't be indiected for anything. >> lawyers do this. lawyers do this in an effort to get to what they believe is an appropriate compromise. they stake out the most aggressive position initially. then they work toward the middle. that's what's going on right now. rudy obviously a position that for mr. trump's lawyers is the most addreggressive positio imaginable. >> people who once worked with rudy giuliani, back in the late '80s, they say this is a different rudy giuliani that they knew them. do you agree? >> i will say this. september 11th, 2001, i was immeei immensely proud of all new yorkers. i'm a new yorker. i was proud of him as a mayor. i set a terrific example as a leader during that crisis. one that i tried to emulate when i was secretary of homeland security. i don't mind saying that rudy and i have remained friends ever since. >> you are notgiuliani
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that we are seeing on television today that you saw after 9/11 or that you saw when he was the u.s. attorney? >> yes. it is. >> let's talk about what -- a pretty outrageous statement he told the huffington post. if the president shot jaumes comey, he couldn't be indicted until he was impeached and out of office. that reference to shooting james comey, what do you make of that. >> horrible hypothetical to make a point. i will say this. i tell young lawyers, bad facts make bad law. if there's legal uncertainty that exists, bad facts will mean that the law will come out against you. if you have bad facts to carry a case, the law likely is going to work against you. i don't think it's in the president's best interest to stake out hypotheticals like that. the lawyers in their letter staked out this extreme legal position, which i don't think will come to pass. >> that's not just the
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hypothetical. that's rudy giuliani saying that if the president shot james comey. i mean, that's not the -- you say this is a different rudy giuliani. can you imagine him saying something like that when you worked with him? >> no, frankly. it's a terrible hypothetical given the current context. pick another one. try another one. that is truly hypothetical involving people we don't know and recogniz >> you don't want to make -- hypotheticals involving shooting the former fbi director. you don't want to raise that possibility. you worked in the southern district of new york, not just with rudy giuliani but you worked with james comey. you worked with patrick fitzgerald. do you think the president is sending a message in the most recent pardons that involved cases that they were involved in? >> yes, i do. i think that the cases in which as granted a pardon or is supposedly considering a pardon
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send some kind of message to jim comey, to otherye that have been involved in these cases. it's probably the president in a way acting out, because he has almost unfettered authority in this area. it's a way for him to flex his muscles. >> let's turn to the issue of immigration. you were the setting of homeland security. now we're seeing the attorney general and other administration officials say, as a deterrent, if you try to cross into the united states and you are a mother with a child or children, we are going to take your children away, put them someplace else and you will be detained someplace else. what was the policy when you were secretary of homeland security? >> when i was secretary for three years, we probably deported, returned, repatriated about 1 million people. it's not a happy job but it's our obligation. to this day, when i give a
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graduation speech, there are still students who will stand up and turn their back on me because i had theibility to enrce our immigration laws. one thing i would not do and could not do is separate a child from his or her mother and father. i couldn't do that. there are ways in which we can secure our border without having to resort to something like that, which is so extreme and in my view deeply inappropriate. i just could not do that. >> we did see pictures of children in these cages that were taken during the obama administration. >> yes. many, many families have crossed our border. illegal migration is a fraction of what it used to be. 18 years ago, 1.6 million people were apprehended. today and in the last several year, it's a fraction of that. last year was about 315, 320,000. my second year in office, it was 330,000. it's a fraction of what it used
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to be. the demographic has changed. it's no longer the single adult from mexico. it's now women and children, families coming from guatemala, honduras and el salvador. unless we address the underlying conditions in those countryies which cause these women and children to flee, we will bang our head against the wall trying to secure our border. >> it's heart did tbreaking to of the mothers separated from their children as they come into the united states. >> i visited south texas ten to 12 times. i spent hours with these kids asking them why they came here. to understand what motivated them to leave. those of us here in washington have an obligation to enforce the law. but i think we need to tand the consequences of our actions on a very personal level. i know from my own personal experience, i could not separate a child from its mother or father. i couldn't do that to secure our border. >> while i have you, quick
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reaction. ben rhodes, who was president obama's deputy national security adviser, has a new book that came out. there was an excerpt in the "new york times." the reaction from president obama to donald trump's winning the election. this is from the book. i don't know, he, the president told aids. maybe this is what people want. i have the economy set up well for him. no facts. no consequences. they can just have a cartoon. he then added, we're about to find out how resilient our institutions are at home and around the world. he even suggested maybe he was 10 or 20 years ahead of his time. >> i will give you a piece of history. benjamin haze, president of my alma mater delivered the eulogy for martin luther king. he said, people said martin luther king was ahead of his time. he said, no man is ahead of his time. every man lives within his own
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time and has an impact on it. i believe that was true of barack obama as well. on his election, our country made major steps forward toward our country, its systems of government are stronger than any one man, any one president. >> mr. secretary, as usual, thanks for coming in. hope you will come back soon. jeh johnson, the former secretary of homeland security. president trump calls the mueller investigation totally unsku unconstituti unconstitutional. why is he cooperating with a probe he believes is illegal? bill clinton's controversial new remarks about monica lewinsky. >> you didn't apologize to her. >> i have not talked to her. >> do you feel -- >> i have never talked to her. but i did say publically on more than one occasion that i was sorry. that's very different. the apology was public.
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we now know that she -- what she said was flat out false. let's bring in our team of experts to assess. gloria, let me play the various president's lawyer, sarah sanders on that statement that was released to "the new york times" following the disclosure of that trump tower meeting. >> that was written by donald trump junior and i'm sure with consultation with his lawyer. that wasn't written by the president. the president didn't sign off on anything. he was coming back from the g20. the statement that was released saturday was released by donald trump junior. i'm sure in consultation with his lawyers. the president wasn't involved in that. th president was not iolved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. it came from donald trump junior. >> he didn't dictate. like i said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do. >> what's the impact of the president's lawyer making those statements and now in this 20-page letter from the president's former lawyer in january to the -- to robert
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mueller, the special counsel, saying the president actually dictated that statement? >> somebody is lying. what we don't know was jay lying or was somebody lying to jay. he is an attorney. you presume he was asking what occurred before he went out on television shows. he wasn't born yesterday. the question is, did something like to him or did he do this on his own? i think that when you look at that 20-page document, it's very clear that what's in that document was something the lawyers among themselves discussed, perhaps with their client, and with others who had clearly testified before mueller. so, you know, i think we need to get to the bottom of this. i presume that mueller is. >> mueller is clearly looking at it. does it raise new questions though, sabrina, about the
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president because he heard what jay said, he heard what sarah said, he knew the truth, according to his lawyers he dictated that letter. she should he come forward and acknowledge, i dictated the letter, those statements were wrong? >> it's been clear from the outset that neither the white house nor the president were north coming in revealing the true nature of that meeting. the question, of course, is why. if there was nothing nefarious about this meeting at trump tower, then certainly they wouldn't have to hide that there was more than just adoptions discussed. there was conversation between donald trump junior and the rushes in terush and the russians. the president, of course, his team said he did not know about this in real time. who put the idea in his head that this meeting was, in fact, about adoption? is that something he did learn shortly after the meeting? he would be implicated in something he said his team said
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he had no knowledge of. there's nothing innocuous about discussing adoption policy. that's related to u.s. sanctions on russia. that looks like potentially evidence o quid pro quo. >> when the president dictated that statement, t statement said that that meeting was not a campaign issue at the time. even though the meeting was set up as an opportunity for the russians to hand over, quote, dirt on hillary clinton. >> our reporting shows that there was another version of this statement that had been written by attorneys which was apparently more truthful. then donald trump got on the airplane and it was thrown away. another statement was written, which is the one that was completely misleading and false. >> jeffrey toobin, you are our legal analyst. the president asserting he has the right to pardon himself. his lawyers arguing the sitting president can't be inindicted. are those real possibilities that they are preparing for? >> i think it is an uncertain
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legal question about whether a president can pardon himself. that has never been resolved. you have to ask yourself, why he is raising this subject. is there a guilty conscience at work? this is a bizarre subject for him to start tweeting about. at the same time, the issue of whether a sitting president can be indicted is a live legal controver controversy. the policy is that the president cannot be indicted. kenneth star when he was the independent counsel, he had a legal analysis that reached a different conclusion. that said a president could be indicted. it's never been resolved. the fact that the president is obsessing about these issues, can he pardon himself, can he be indicted, i mean, what's going on? it's just weird. >> look at this. the president's language about this mueller probe. he says there are 13 very angry and conflicted democrats and
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others doing the investigating. so bad for our country. very expensive witch hunt hoax. le departnt of justice never endingitch hunt. totally unconstitutional. what's the impact of those kinds of statements on the american public when they hear the president of the united states smearing this investigation the way he does? >> i don't think the understand how profound this is. among all the reprehensible things i have seen t president do, undercutting the faith in american government is simple. i spent most of my time traveling around in the third world. e of the first things people will say to you in environments that are not democratic is that politicians aren't fair. they put their fingers on the scales of justice. what the president is telling us is, you can't trust the scales of justice. just like you can't trust them in the third world. i'm the only arbitor of truth.
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if you said the president would be charged with obstruction of justice, they would have said unbelievable. if it happens, i can decide to pardon myself. we have changed in three years, two years. >> it's an important point. gloria, different subject. former president bill clinton was on tv earlier today speaking about the me too movement. let me play a clip. >> it's way overdue. i think that it doesn't mean i agree with everything. i have some questions about some of the decisions which have been paid. >> looking back on what happened, through the lens of me too now, do you think differently or feel more responsibility? >> no. i felt terrible then. and i came to grips with it. >> did you ever apologize to her? >> yes. nobody believes that i got out of that for free.
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>> do you feel like you owe her an apology? >> i do not --i have never talked to her. i did say publically on more than one occasion that i was sorry. that'sdifferent. the apology was public. >> what strikes you about those comments? >> i just think he is completely out of touch. he is unable to apologize to her personally. we gather that he is going to address this again soon, wolf, tonight. i will be interested to hear what he says. he still is sort of -- he is unable to come to terms with it. she has. she's been -- she's been -- monica lewinsky has been out there talking about how she was treated. i think, you know, this gives you a clue as to why democrats are worried about putting bill clinton out on the campaign trail quite honestly, because he can't address this.
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he still cannot address this. maybe tonight he will revise and extend his remarks. i would hope so. >> just that the president was very defensive because he said that he worked to elevate women and pro-women policies. does not absolve someone from addressing their own mistreatment of women. he is giving this interview at a time when there's this watershed moment. pointing the finger at others to try to minimize your own behavior, that's not acceptable. >> portraying himself as a victim somehow in this because it cost him $16 million. i'm sorry, he is not the victim. >> see what he says later tonight. the trump administration's limited expectations for the president's summit with kim jong-un. we will tell you what we are learning. tries to get in my way? watch me. ( ♪ ) mike: i've tried lots of things for my joint pain. now? watch me.
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tonight, the white house says the president is getting daily briings on north korea as he gets ready for his big summit with kim jong-un in singapore next week. as the preparations intensify, the expectations for the summit have diminished considerably. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. hopes for a major breakthrough are slip agway. >> reporter: often, you have a managing of expectations. this has been a massive downgrading of expectations.
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no longer expectations pusfor a. now described by the president as largely a meet and greet summit. from the moment the president first suggested a summit with the north korean leader, his goal had been ambitious and clear. >> if the meeting, when i'm there is not fruitful, i will respectfully leave the meeting. >> reporter: last week, as he met in new york with his north korean counterpart, secretary of state mike pompeo reiterated the president's intentions. >> the complete, verifiable and rsibledenuclearization of the korean peninsula. >> reporter: no longer. now the goal of the june 12th meeting in singapore, just a meet and greet between president trump and north korean leader kim jong-un. this according to a source familiar with the discussions. president trump said the same publically on friday. >> it's really a get to know you kind of a situation. >> reporter: the plan, a source
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tells cnn, is to come to a broad agreement on north korea dismantling is nuts nuclear wea program. then negotiations would be handed over to secretary pompeo for discussions that could take years. this even as the u.s. sti has reived no assurances that north korea will give up its nuclear weapons. >> i believe they are contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one their country has not been prepared to make before. this will obviously be their decision. >> reporter: with a downgraded agenda, there's concern growing in congress that this summit is just for show. >> we're not going to extract concessions by made for tv diplomacy, by the photo op that kim wants and i think that trump wants as well. >> reporter: >> there are other interested players in the talks, even though they won't be present. china and south korea as well.
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and they have different definitions of success for the negotiations as they go forward. >> and all of a sudden, kim jong-un is out there on the world stag >> and thiss the thing we have to remember, that's a win for him. he, his father his grandfather before him, they sought international recognition by face-to-face meetings with world leaders. they're getting it now with the u.s. president. they'll get it with the russian president. they had it with the chinese president. getting that prestige before giving anything u >> and they're inviting bashar al assad of syria to visit as well. just ahead, chris cuomo has a brand-new program and a big interview with rudy giuliani coming up. look at that smile from chris cuomo. we'll talk to him when we come back. once there was an organism so small
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no one thought much of it at all. people said it just made a mess until exxonmobil scientists put it to the test. they thought someday it could become fuel and power our cars wouldn't that be cool? and that's why exxonmobil scientists think it's not small at all. energy lives here.
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♪ south l.a. is very medically underserved. when the old hospital closed people in the community lived with untreated health problems for years. so, with the county's help we built a new hospital from the ground up and having citi as an early investor worked as a signal to others to invest. with citi's help we built a wonderful maternity ward and we were able to purchase an mri machine. we've made it possible for the people who live here to lead healthier lives and that's invaluable.
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♪ just when you thought you heard everything from rudy giuliani, the president's lawyer is claiming that mr. trump couldn't be prosecuted even if he shot james comey. who better to press that on his over-the-top defense of the president than cnn's own chris cuomo. his new program debuts tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern and giuliani is one of his high profile guests. congratulations on the new show. we've heard a lot of new arguments from trump, from giuliani over the past few days.
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and giuliani advancing those arguments, or is he doubling down? >> well, captain, thank you for the opportunity. always good to be on your show. i think that what we will see tonight with rudy giuliani is that he owns the president's point of view, even when that comes as a significant cost to legal reasoning. that's theind for rudy giuliani. so tonight he has to answer for that james comey line. he could have made that hypothetical any way he wanted to, a thousand different ways to arrive at the same point, which is the nature of process with the president is different than it is for blitzer or cuomo. you would impeach him first before there would be any prosecution, no matter what the criminal action was. but he could have made that hypothetical lots of different ways, he chose to do it in a hyperaggressive way. why? we talked to him about that, the idea of self-pardoning, the pardons that have happened, the legal basis for the idea that the president is beyond reproach
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when it comes to obstruction of justice. >> what do you think the president is now saying that the appointment of the special counsel and the president's words that he tweeted this morning, was totally unconstitutional. that appointment was made more than a year ago. why now? >> because it's convenient. ien m i mean the problem with the hot talk the president puts out most often on twitter is that it's more feeling than fact. okay? just think about it, wolf. if the president truly believed that this was unconstitutional, wouldn't he be violating the oath that he took to uphold the constitution by allowing it to continue within his own department of justice? wouldn't he have to immediately stop it? why hasn't he done that? and if it is unconstitutional, why did he call for the same thing on hillary clinton? it's convenient thinking. it's political talk. it's building a narrative that he's being done wrong, so no matter what mueller comes up with, he has cover with his
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base. but there are costs to this narrative. >> after almost a year of denying that president trump had any role in drafting that statement about that controversial trump tower meeting in 2016, we now know the president actually dictated the public statement himself. but the white house wouldn't set the record straight today in the press briefing. what message do you believe that sends? >> well, i think the message is pretty clear, wolf. i'm sure most people do. it's the oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. rudy giuliani is in jerusalem for this interview, and he actually swore to god on this issue, in the holy land, that this wasn't about deception, they're just mistakes. and i told him, wolf, be careful swearing to god about something like this, when you're in the holy land. and he looked up and he said, yeah, i think i may have heard just a crack of thunder. he's making a joke, but it's not funny. because it goes to the basis was
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credibility of this team. how did jay sekulow not know? how did sarah sanders not know? how did sekulow arrive at the conclusion that it was dictated when he started out having nothing to do with it? body's not telling the f it doesn't create legal exposure, it creates a responsibility to the american people. the whole dialogue is about why the president should have limited exposure to these proceedings. i think the opposite argument is more compelling, that he legally and from a responsibility standpoint as president of the united states has more of a responsibility to be transparent, to not need to be subpoenaed, to not plead the fifth, to sit and do the interview. i think there's as much responsibility there. rudy giuliani fights that notion strenuously tonight. >> in a sentence, because we don't have any time, what's the mission for cuomo primetime? >> test power, hold it to account, force lawmakers to lay out their arguments, seek common
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ground, and do something about it. get lawmakers to do their jobs, hold power to account, when there's breaking news around the world, run out there with wolf blitzer. >> we're looking forward to the show tonight. looking forward to it every night. cuomo primetime, 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. congratulations, chris, on a very, very exciting news for all of our viewers. that's it for me. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, sarah sanders appears to be caught in a lie on the trump tower russia meeting. and this one's on tape. how can americans believe what this white house says? plus, trump doing a victory lap, claiming he's accomplished more than any president. what does that mean when our closest allies say they've been alienated? and bill clinton addressing its tone-deaf comments about the monica lewinsky affair. he's now saying more tonight. let's go

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