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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  June 12, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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everything we can to block it. to block. if people don't like it, they can vote up or down. people can vote up or down. but no, the united states senate right now on june 12th is becoming a body where, well, we'll do what we can do, but my upset with us, then we might not be in the majority so let's don't do anything that might upset the president. >> "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. working to denucleararize north korea, president trump said kim jong-un is a funny guy who likes his people. and t and the history and hype and what did the u.s. get from an unbelievable summit with kim jong-un and can anythingim says be trusted? president trump today taking some heat for making concessions to a killer after virtually
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flipping off canada and other democratic allies. just how upside down is the world right now? plus conflict of interest. how did ivanka president trump made $82 million last year while she's simultaneously a white house adviser. good afternoon and welcome to the lead. i'm jake tapper. we begin with the world lead and the stunning headlines americans woke up to today, president trump and north korean dictator kim jong-un shaking hands, sitting down and signing on to a joint agreement to work toward complete deduktization of the peninsula and it is history but it is unclear what this means for the future. critics say that president trump gave away a key concession. stopping joint military exercises with south korea in exchange for only a vague promise from kim jong-un that the rogue regime has broken many times before. including at least four nuclear agreements dating back to 1985.
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president trump expressed his desire to remove all u.s. troops from the peninsula though it is not part of any agreement, yet. while president trump has without question elevated the brutal dictator with north korean flags standing on the same level as old glory and the president expecting he trusts kim jong-un, praising him as, s a country that brutalizes m, and starves his et cete-- his o, quote, loves his people. >> he's smart. he loves his people. he loves his country. he wants a lot of good things and that is why he's doing it -- >> but he's starved them and been brutal to them. he still loves his people? >> he's doing what he's seeing done if you look at it. i have to go by today and by yesterday and by a couple of weeks ago. because that is when this whole thing started. >> a stunning set of comments by the president of the united states. the leader of the free world
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testifying that kim jong-un loves the people that he imprisons and brutallio presses and seemingly justifying that treatment as what kim has seen done before by his father and grandfather. kaitlin colins is live in singapore. before the summit pompeo said the goal was complete and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, was that goal met? if not, is there a path to it? >> reporter: well, jake, that language wasn't included in that agreement that president trump signed his name to alongside kim jong-un but neither was a lot else that we haven't seen from former presidents during past agreements with the north koreans. now to be clear, this summit was flashy. had a lot of pageantry and fanfare but now this agreement is going to come down to the substance and it is going to face the first test as mike pompeo is getting on the road and going to have to sell this idea to key u.s. allies explaining how what happened
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here in singapore is now u.s. policy. president trump headed back to washington tonight. followed by questions about whether he gave up more than he got in return for a historic summit in singapore. trump sending his top diplomat secretary of statee pompeo to iron out the details of his agreement with jong-un with key u.s. allies. >> thank you very much. it is fantastic. >> reporr: both leaders pledging to pursue denuclearization signing a pact short on details, with no timetable and no means for verification and no language about icbm's, leaving the success of the summit hanging in the balance. >> i'm here one day and we're together for many hours intensively, but the process is now going to take place and i would be surprised, mike, if they haven't even started already. they have stard, they blew up
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their sites. >> reporter: president trump saying he agreed with kim jong-un, putting an end to the military exercises between united states and south korea and a long-standing north korea demand. >> we will stop the war games which will save us money. >> criticizing the lawful excises tas conducted for decades. >> we' be saving a tremendous amount of money and still i think it is very provocative. >> reporter: the announcemen catching south korea and military officialsy surp trump even floating the idea of withdrawing u.s. troops from the korean peninsula. the president taughting the summit as a diplomatic success. but on pain. >> kim making nomises abandon his nuclear arsenal any time soon. right now president trump taking his word for >> i do. i think he wants to get it done. i feel that very strongly. >> reporter: the mood in singapore was down right chummy, including joint appearances and and shakes and pats on the back
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leaving the brutal dictator with lots to brag about. trump showering kim with praise -- >> he is very talented. anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run will be inviting kim to the white house. >> and asking what happens if he is wrong about kim, trump telling reporters. >> i may stand before you in six months and sa hey, i was wrong. i don't know that i'll every admit that. but i'll find some kind of an excuse. >> reporter: now the president is convinced his personality and deal-making skills have convinced the rogue regime to give up the nuclear arsenal but the president is going back to a washington that is deeply skeptical that he just flew half way aaround the world and bet the farm on an unpredictable dictator. >> and joining me from capitol
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hill is senator bob menenz. and thank you for joining us. he said president trump achieved very little and said the summit was a lot of sizzle but not a lot of steak. but what would you have liked to see come out of this summit given this is just first step in a process? >> well, look, jake, this is the most anemic communique that has come out of a u.s.-north korea engagement. very little substance on anything. but at least if there had been a definition of what denuclearization means, even if it was still to be worked out as to how it would be achieved, that would have been something successful because for us denuclearization is far kim jong-un. it means the s for irreversible verifiable dismantlement of north korea nuclear weapons and infrastructure and the
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intercontinental development system and at a minimum and not kplunicay and we are talking about the same thing and the only thing we got is a proims for more promises and we've been down that road before. >> and to play devil's advocate, we've had several decades of presidents tto achieve denuclearization in north korea and several decades of failure. now president trump is forced to deal with this. is it not worth a hail mary pass? is it not worth a gamble given the fact that now we're talk abo -- we're talking about a end game and north korea with a nuclear icbm which is some of previous presidents -- all of whom failed on this agenda by the way, is now what is being discussed. >> well, you know, most hail mary passes don't work out. and so what we needed and what we still need is say methodical strategic plan as to how we get north korea to give up its nucl.
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and that strategy and that methodical approach is what i had hoped the administration would have evolved in -- before it created such a high profile summit. look, at the end of the day, kim jong-un had a good summit. he went from internet pariah, isolated in the world, to ultimately somebody who is now taking selfies and being talked about as if he was a statesman. he went from someone who imprisons thousands of people in his country, systematically uses torture, has thousands of others hungry in his country and to being -- to being lauded by the president as someone who really loves his people. and being -- and it being an honor to meet him. these are big strategic gives, including the announcement that we will no longer have defensive military exercises without telling -- i think the secretary
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of the defense, without telling south korea or without telling japan. that is huge. >> well mattis said he had been briefed andas not surprised and secretary of defense -- but obviously others were not completely in the loop. but when you talk about this, senator mike rounds, he has said that it is not a concern. it does not -- it does not affect the ability of the u.s. to respond quickly. is it really that big of a concession, to hold off on what >> first of all, he adopted the language of the north that it is provocative and war games. it is not war games. war games feeds into what kim jong-un said to the world, this is an attempt to prepare for war against north korea. this is a defensive posture and if you have troops in the korean peninsula who never train with their counterparts, the south korean army, how are you ever prepared for any defensive measures that you might have to invoke. and what does it say to our allies in the region like japan who have to wonder whether their
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interest as a long-standing ally who stood up to north korea, particularly in sanctions and in other ways, is going to be preserved. >> victory cha, the former national security council for asia wrote in "the new york s," despite the mr. wartds in president trump's unconventional toward north korea, we have to give him credit. five months ago i thought we wea devastating war. mr. trump's concessions will raise eyebrows but despite the many flaws the singapore summit represents the start of a diplomatic process that takes us away from the brink of war. does president trump deserve any credit at all here, sir. >> well to the extent that these two individuals who were threatening each other with nuclear annation via twitter are now exchanging compliments in a dialogue, that is obviously better. but a dialogue that doesn't have
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any substance to it, that doesn't even create the foundation for how you move forward is a challenge. and you see one of the elements of ourbility to get north rea to change course, it is the maximum pressure campaign.rt on in the summit, china is calling for loosening if not eliminating the u.n. sanctions on north korea. that is a dangerous proposition. so i appreciate that the very heated rhetoric that the president himself created where we were concerned about where he was headed is now diminished but at the end of the day, the only way we really take care of this threat is by north korea dismantling the nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles that is irreversible and when that is the pathway and north korea agrees that is what they are going to do afigure --
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and figure out how. then we'll be on our way. >> and thanks so much for your time. good to see you. how far we've come from fire and fury but are the words kim jong-un even more dangerous. stay with us. ♪ ♪ ♪ no matter when you retire, your income doesn't have to. see how lincoln can help ensure you still have income every month of your retirement, guaranteed, at lincolnfinancial.com.
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dream more, dream faster, and above all... now, i'll dream gig. now more businessemore places, can afford to dream gig. comcast, building america's largest gig-speed network. we had a great conversation and a very heart-felt conversation. >> he's got a great personality. he's a funny guy. he's a very smart guy. he's a great negotiator. >> we learned about each other and our countries. >> what did you learn about him. >> learned he's a very talented man. i learned that he loves his country very much. >> he loves his people and his country. he wants a lot of good things and that is why he's doing this. >> president trump speaking glowingly about the brutal north korean dictator kim jong-un. my panel is here to discuss this historic u.s. summit with north
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korea. scott jennings, let me start with you. obviously president trump is trying to convince kim jong-un to denuclearize and for that reason he's flattering him a lot. did you find it excessive at all? way donald trump does thi business. he flatters people that he's trying to get people to see things his way and he see him do it in washington and before he entered politics and trying to apply the same kind of diplomacy. it makes me uncomfortable. the north koreans are liars and murder people in ways with flame throwers andl what they do to people, including americans. but at the end of the day, the president's number one job is to protect the american people, especially from nuclear war. that is what he's trying to do here so i'm willing to give the president a little bit of rope if this is what it takes to get a deal done on a problem that has vexed several administrations. >> bobby, what do you think? >> american presidents have shaken hands with brutal murderous dictators before.
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nixon shook mal saddan's hands and nixon didn't feel it necessary to pat him on the back and say he's a terrific guy and very talented. of thatxtraneous stuff seems egregious and unnecessary. you want flattery. the president of the united states to shake your hand and put your flag next to the stars andstripes, that is plenty flattery. anything more than that is completely unnecessary. >> does it do anythin negative to do that? just to play devil's advocate, he wants a peace deal. it would be better not the world is kim jong-un didn't have nukes. >> devil's advocate. >> what is the big deal if he said a few night things. >> it was like watching the episode of the bachelor. he walksway with the rose. i don't know what we'll walk away with. i have to say i root for the president and this process to work. but i don't think we saw anything to give us evidence that it will work. we've g nothing so far. the president is literally speaking the language of -- he's talented and he's handsome
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and -- >> people love him. >> his people love him and they have -- he said his people have a fervor for him. does fervor involve terror. i don't know how he used the word "fervor" so we are praising him whene's done nothing by saying we're not goingo play war games any more. as you said, using his formulation. >> it matters because it sends a message to everybody else, the world is watching. not just kim jong-un. what you say to kim jong-un in private is one thing. if you step away from that and announce to the cameras around the world, it is telling every dictator around the world that you have a chance of that. it is telling our -- >> just get nukes. >> and all you have to do is get nukes and the president of the united states will shake your hand and say wonderful things about you. >> and scott, when we cover the president, we like to play the game, there is a tweet for it, now the president is adhering to the framework and talk about last october.
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the president and the administrations have been talking to north korea for 25 years, agreements made in massive amounts of money paid hasn't worked and agreements violated before the ink was dry making fools of u.s. negotiators, sorry, but only one thing will work. now we don't know what the one thing was. when i read the tweet at the time i thought it was -- maybe he was talking about military force. maybe in reto spect he meant -- retrospect he meant the genius of himself and the ability to negotiate a deal but it seems he would be skeptical of this deal if he were not the one making it. >> i think at the time the president was leaving open the possibility of a military option. i also think he was telling the north koreans we're going to ratchet up the sanctions until you come to the table which clearly worked. and we were in that period of time when he sent that tweet, jake, where he was trying to show them, i'veot greater resolve than you face from previous administrations. i think the president's resolve on sanctions and -- just the concept that he might be willing
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to launch military and brought kim to the table. i remember last summer everybody was upset with the president about his harsh rhetoric toward north korea and now everybody is upset about his dovish flattering rhetoric and there are some people in the country that can't take yes for an answer. we've been banging our head against the wall for 50 years on this problem and give the president a chance to give the world something better which is a denuclearization for north korea. >> and we don't have a yes yet. >> it is a start of a process and hopefully ends with a yes. i want to play the video that the president and the white house played for kim jong-un at the start of the singapore summit. it was portrayed like a movie t's roll some of that tape. >> leaders, one destiny. a story about a special moment in time. when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated. what will he choose? to show vision and leadership?
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or not. >> bobby, are the north koreans naive ethat might work. i realize they live in a secluded kind of environment. but -- >> listen, in a normal ent, if this meet handgun come and the video had come after a long period of negotiation discussions, i would assume that the cia had done some real intensive psych analysis of the president -- of the chairman of north korea and had decided this is exactly the kind of thing that might appeal to his vanity. given how soon we've put all of these things together, i'm skeptical that that is the case. i'm really very skeptical. >> what did you think when you sawt >> was that dennis rodman? >> i think it is michael jordan. there is a sly stallone cameo. >> i missed that. i thought it was bizarre and shallow and bizarre. and we've seen worse things. >> scott, one of your fellow
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conservatives eric ericson tweeted if obama had done what trump just did, republicans would be demanding his impeachment. is that unfair? >> well, i think the difference is obama was never prepared to go all the way on sanctions or go all the way on the military option. that is the core difference here. is that trump was willing to do more than previous administrations to punish these north koreans into being better actors on the world stage. so that is -- he's welcome to his opinion. i just happen to think it is the president's resolve and the deepness of the sanctions that no one else was willing to do that really got us to where we are. regarding that movie trailer, i think there is more conversations behind the scenes for a longer period of time. and i think it is possible the president and kim may have spoken before and i think it is highly likely they know that kind of thing would flatter him. and we elected a salesman as a president of the united states and he's putting a sales pitch on these people that could you be more like the rest of us,
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have peace and prosperity and wealth and the world will be a better place, that is what he is selling and we hope they're buying it. >> everyone stick around. we have more to talk about. they have north korea massive a them all of the time so why didn't south korea get the memo about president trump ending the so-called war games. stay with us. saved us almost $800 when we switched our auto and home insurance. liberty did what? yeah, they saved us a ton, which gave us a little wiggle room in our budget. i wish our insurance did that. then we could get a real babysitter instead of your brother. hey, welcome back. this guy, right? (laughs) yes. ellen. that's my robe. you could save $782 when liberty stands with you. liberty mutual insurance.
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sticking with the world trump pressing pause on the military drills it seems like a concession by critics, drills called provotive. >> and i did say and i think it
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is very provocative.have to telt is a very provocative situation. when i see that and you have a country right next door -- >> the so-called war games as president trump called them has been a sore point for north korea which pointed to war games as a reason to build the nuclear arsenal. we have correspondents around the worldoverin the reaction to trump's announcement today. let's start with barbara starr at the pentagon who filed this report. >> reporter: kim jong-un has always wanted two things from the pentagon. no more u.s. war games with south korea, and removal of the 28,000 u.s. troops on the peninsula. kim might be getting one of this wishes. >> we will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money. >> reporter: and president trump's signaling even more for kim could be on e table against the advice of many in the national security community.
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>> i want to get our sorld -- get our soldiers out and bring them back home. >> reporter: the president trump taking words out of the north korean playbook calling his own exercises with with north korea provocative. >> i will stop that. >> these are major military concessions even before kim takes any verified steps to end this nuclear program. >> i think the president is trying to butter the guy up to make it easier to get a deal with him. >> reporter: but there are security risks. >> the whole defense of south korea is based upon our ability and -- and the south and north koreans' knowledge of our ability to flow forces to the peninsula quickly for the defense of south korea. that is why we do the exercises. >> reporter: the president even critical of spending money on air force bombers flying in from guam on training runs. the pentagon will now review all air, naval and land exercises to
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see what exactly will be canceled. a u.s. defense official said the military also wants to know from the white house whether there are any conditions that north korea would need to meet first. the next exercise already scheduled for august. but the sean government, a close ally of the pentagon wa statement saying -- at this moment we need to find out president trump's accurate meaning and intention and the pentagon said james mattis was consulted and not surprised by the statement on ending exercises. nobody is saying if he supported the decision before it was announced. so how confusing is this at the end of the day. senator cory gardner republican of colorado said vice president pence told members on capitol hill that some training will continue. the vice president's spokesperson said no it won't. we'll have to see. jake. >> barbara starr at the
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pentagon. president trump's military move will directly impact one of the strongest u.s. allies in the region. south korea, a country with the most at stake here with 25 million people within range of north korean basic artillery, forget the nukes. south korea responded to the announcement they needed to figure out what president trump meant by ending what he called war games. let's bri editor n robertson in seoul. was the south korea and the government blindsided by this? >> certainly seems to be so at the moment, jake. that statement that you just mentioned came from the defense ministry and it came within a couple of hours of president trump making that announcement during the press conference. what we've heard from prime minister moon and his foreign minister office here, presidentmopresident moon talking to president trump as he was heading back to the united states on air force one an the conversation and the read out we've been given, they both
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complimented each other and president moon said this is a good foundation of the summit so far. but at the end of the statement it said that president m it is important that the united states and south korea coopete s a new relationship with north korea and that is precisely the same language we heard the south korean foreign minister using about his phone conversation with mike pompeo. >> and kninic, these drills are part of the south korea and u.s. alliance and how could ending them impact the relationship? >> yeah, ready to fight tonight. that is the position of south korea and u.s. forces here. th the reason that they have these big military training exercises so they know how to fight together and they know how to be prepared for any threat that could come at a moment's notice from north korea. what we're hearinge and
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speaking earlier with a senior national security adviser to president moon who has been involved in many conversations between the south koreans and north korea in the past, he said, look, it is not up to the president of the united states to unilaterally go ahead and suspend the military cooperation. this is a joint agreement and it will take both sides to do that. so i think his sense was that president moon will push back against that as they try to get more information about the intent but this is not a done deal at the moment. >> nic robertson in seoul, south korea. a white house adviser saying story after insulting one of the u.s. closest allies but we know how apologies go over with president trump. stick around for that story. (indistinguishable muttering)
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a lot of them would vote for it if it came to vote. but no, no, no, wee might poke the bear. is the language i've been hearing in the hallway. we might poke the bear. the president might get up set with us as united states senators if we vote on the corker amendment. so we're going to do everything we can to block it. >> that is republican senator bob corker of tennessee. the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee accusing his party of being afraid of president trump and blocking his proposal that would take back some control when it comes to trump's ability -- the president's ability to impose tariffs which corker thinks are not helpful to the economy. and i'm back with the panel. bobby, let me start with you. corker wants congress to have more power to check the president's ability to imtoz the tariffs and he's not even going to get a vote on it.
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you heard him talk about how republicans fear of poking the bear, is he wrong or right? >> it seems self evident that he's right. the republicans seem afraid even to whisper a negative word anywhere in the vicinity of this president. and in the process, they seem willing to go against that core belief, the things that have sustained this party for decades. and that is astonishing. not just to americans and republicans and in this country but the message it sends to the rest of the world, that this is an imperial president and his own party doesn't dare question him. american system of checks and balances is something that -- that we have boasted about for decades, quite rightly and has been looked at from a distance by people who don't have those checks and balances in their own countries with great envy. now they are seeing that system collapse in front of their very eyes and they are turning around and thinking, well the american system is not that much better than ours. >> scott jennings, let me ask you, corker said in his speech
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on the senate floor he would guess a 95% of the senate republicans would agree with the substance of his amendment to try to stop the tariffs imposed on canada and others. do you think that is right? do you think there is that much support for the principle of free trade? >> i think the politics of this are very murky signed of the republican party right now. ite that more senators than not would vote for it but i think inside of the party at large, the president is remaking this issue in his own image and his image of trade is we're being cheated and we have to do something about it. and so it is one thing to have corker's view and another thing to have to be responsive to the republicans and the constituents back home and some of the senators are still trying to sort it out. the reality is if corker and flake and some of the guys upset with trump really wanted to shut down the united states senate, they would. they would have already done it. and done it last summer and done it today. but they are not doing that.
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so i think we're hearing a lot of complaining and i understand he's on the way out of the door, but one senator could upend the thing. we've seen rand paul do it time and again. so if he's that mad, go for it. but i don't think he'll go all of the way. >> and turning back to the north korean deal and joan listen to some sound from president trump in which he seems to be suggesting that the harsher rhetoric we heard from him about kim jong-un last year was not how he really felt, but he felt like he needed to do it. let's take a listen. >> other admions, i don't want to get specific, but they had a policy of silence. if they said something very bad and threatening and horrible, just don't answer. that is not the answer. that's not what you have to do. so i think the rhetoric -- i hated to do it. sometimes i felt foolish doing it. but we had no choice. >> it is interesting, he seems to be saying he found -- >> he felt foolish.
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>> he felt foolish say things like i guess fire and fury was the most stark example and rocket man, my button is bigger than yours. but if the idea was he was saying that in order to get kim jong-un to the negotiating table, does he deserve any credit? >> i've already said, i'm willing to give him some credit, jake. but again, i'm not willing to suspend all of my faculties and consider this a done deal. and i'm also not willing to say that i have no -- no regrets about the fact that he used that kind of language to begin with. these are our choices of appeasement o calling someone rocket man and threatening fire and fury. those are the only choices available to the american president. i don't think so. >> senator bernie sanders tweeted today, quote, while very light on substance, trump and kim jong-un is a positive step in addressing the threat of nuclear weapons. mark warner tweeted diplomacy is the most viable option for pursuing the dismantlement of
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the north korea nuclear program. bobby, is this an area where the president could get democratic support and in bernie sanders' case independent support. >> if he could demonstrate he will make progress, then yes. ty will make more than the outline of the deal he's coming back with. if there is movement on the ground, that is more than just a photo on. if we start seeing the north koreans dismantle the nuclear weapons then he not only would -- he should get the support of all the same people around the planet. here is the thing. if you -- if we do ko go back for a moment to look at the last time there was -- there was a president reached across the big divide with reagan and gorbachov, we began to trust gorbachev when he started to give his own people a break and we need to see this man treat his own people better and that makes him trustworthy and not like running a gulag, we have
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possibility. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> a judge h just ruled on the at&t and time warner merger. we need to point out that cnn n justice correspondent jessica snyder live at the courthouse. jessica, what can you tell us? >> reporter: quite simply the judge in this case, the federal district court judge has essentially approved this mr between at&t and time warner. at&t acquisition of time warner. i just got out of the courtroom. judge richard leon for 30 minutes read his opinion and at the end of it, he said that basically the government's three theories of harm, all three theories, they -- they did not meet their burden of proof to show there would be a substantial lessening of kmet kp -- of competition if at&t acquired time warner. this is a six-week trial and the judge ruling today this merger can, in fact, go forward.
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and this is a complete and total win for at&t. and what could happen at this point forward is that the government -- after losing in this case -- they could ask for a stay of the opinion as they go and what is important about that is that could affectively render this deal dead. this deal would have to go through by june 21st. that is the merger dead line set by b at&t and time warner that -- at which point either party, either company could walk away. so at the end of the ruling here, after the judge said that the government has failed to prove that the judge should deny this merger, the judge went even further than that. and the judge said to the government, and very stern words, think before you go to the appeals process with this. think before you move for a stay here. he said that at&t had already suffered harm in this given that the government has been working
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to block this merger since the lawsuit in november and since the trial started in march. i just want to -- a bit of the language that the judge gave here, again it was quite stern . he said i hope the senior leadership of government will s get a stay and how manifestly unfair it would be when deciding whether to seek the stay and so the judge warning the government after the government has lost this case, which the government argued for six weeks here at this federal courthouse saying to them, think twice here before you move forward with any motion to stay whether you move forward with any plans to appeal. because again, jake, this merger deadline is just days away on june 21st. if the deal doesn't go forward by then, either party could walk away from this. so that is why the judge had to get this ruling out today, to allow that appeals time -- time for appeal. so again, jake, to reiterate, the judge here in this case has affectively approved this merger
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to go forward pending any appeal or motion to stay by the government, but again the judge warning the government, think twice before you do this because the judge said i don't think you have a great case on appeal. jake. >> jessica schneider at the courthouse. i want to bring in jeffrey toobin. jeffrey, on the face of it, it looks like a setback, if not a big defeat for the trump justice departme department, what is your take? >> i would say it is a setback and a big defeat for the trump justice department. this is a scathing and total rejection of the government's theohathis merger would violate anti-trust law. we have not yet had access to the full 70-page opinion of judge leon but he went through each of the government's theories of why this merger would lessen competition and be bad for consumers and in each case he rejected the
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government's -- contention this would be a bad merger and a usual part of his opinion was him saying to the government, look, don't even bother appealing bec if you appeal, if you get a stay, you will kill the deal evenf you lose -- the appeals court sides with at&t and time warner. that the procedural will take over for the substance. so he was saying, look, admit you lost, and let thi deal go forward. you can sue later, he said to the government, to break up the mpany, but don't try to stop this merger at this late date. that was a very unusual thing that the judge did and it is basically a sign of how much he rejected the trump justice department arguments on -- in this case. >> and jeffrey, let me ask you, president trump when he was just candidate trump during the 2016
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presidential campaign, he expressed opposition to this deal. now on its face his opposition, his political opposition seemed rooted in the fact that he does not like cnn and time warner is our parent company. justice dep arguing against this merger on anti-trust grounds, how much, if any of it, had to do with president trump's political argument and stated an imous toward cnn. >> you know, jake, that is in many respects the most interesting part of the case. and it never appeared in the courtroom. judge leon at the very beginning of the case said to both parties, i am not going to examine the political motivations of the justice department and i'm not going to let time warner look at whether there were communications between candidate trump,
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president trump and his justice department about this case. i am not going to allow that to be in the evidence presented at all. so that was not part of the case. the judge decided this case solely on the grounds of anti-trust law not on the motivation of the justice department. now in light of this extremely comprehensive rejection of the government's theory, certainly many people will ask, why did they bring this case at all. because of candidate trump's outspoken opposition to it, but in terms of the evidence inhe courtroom, donald trump, president trump statements about the merger never played a part. >> how fascinating. stay there. to bring in cnn senior media correspondent brian stelte and brian, what stands out to you about this decision by the judge. >> this is ruling heard throughout the business world. it is a shot that will cause a lot of other reactions. we'll see comcast in the coming
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days challenge disney for rupert murdock assets and we'll see it as a result because there was a holding pattern waiting for this ruling. there were many companiestching ing what th judge would do and now that we have the answer and the answer is so clear, this is not a ruling with a lot of conditions and as many expected and a lot of strings attached and it sounds like there are no strings attached so it is a giant thumbs up for the american business world and that is why beyond the media industry it is important for american business to give a thumbs up to go and pursue more of these deals. in terms of our channnd our parent company, w going to see at&t move quickly to try to close there deal now. it has been more than 18 months since the deal was struck and since this attempt to do the acquisition was announced and it is a long road and there is an opportunity and cost associated with this trial and with the long delay and so now at&t and
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unless -- there is a stay. unless there is an injunction and unless the government tries to get that, then we'll see the two companies come together next week. so just six days from now cnn will be owned by at&t. >> and back to jessica schneider live at the courthouse and you have atement from the lawyer from the justice department from the -- from the trump justice department about the case. what does he have to say? >> reporter: right, jake. a swift reaction from the department of justice. the assistant attorney general in charge of the anti-trust division was in the courtroom and he was in the courtroom throughout the six-week trial. justow issuing a statement here. i'll read it for you. he said we are dispinted with the court's decision today. we continue to believe that the pay tv market will be less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between at&t and time warner and closely review the court's opinion and consider next steps in light of our commitment to peor
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commitment -- our commitment to represent consumers. and he's not saying whether the government might seek a stay or with an appeal. that is something the judge warned sternly against. and it is interesting that the department of just -- of justice still holding to the argument cquisition and merger would be anti-competitive because the judge just spent 20 minutes in court knocking down each and every argument line by line and bit by bit. and the judge at one point in terms of one of the arguments put it this way, he said neither category of evidence was effective, it was speculative in nature and contradicted by the government's own evidence and the end the said this evidence had little to no value but in the statement from the department of justice, the deputy -- the anti-trust c se-- government's argument and whether they will take heed in the judge's warning not to move forward with any appeal.
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jake. >> let me bring back jeffrey toobin. and just to remind our viewers, cnn has a vested interest in this major case because time warner is our parent company. putting that aside for a second and putting aside whether or not this is the right decision by judge leon or not, is it consistent with the trump justice department and the attitude towards business? in other words, does trying to stop this merger make sense because of the other principals and ideals that the trump administration argues for either from the anti-trust division of the justice department or elsewhere? >> jake, that is an incredibly important question and that is why there has been so much suspicion about the motives behind the justice department decision to try to stop this merger. republicans in general,
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conservatives in general going back to the days of robert bork the great genius of conservative view of anti-trust law have taken a hands-off view toward mergers. they have had a laza fair approach. the government should stay out of the business of regulating and stopping mergers. what makes people -- what made people so suspicious of the government's motives in this case was that here you have a republican justice department trying to challenge a merger. even more unusual was the fact that with -- this is known as what is called a vertical merger, where at&t and time warner are not competitors. they are -- time warner is a suppliers and vertical mergers are almost never challenged by any justice department, democrat or republican. the horizontal mergers when competitors merge, that tends to
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be when the governmentets involved. so the fact that this was a republican administration challenging a vertical merger suggested perhaps that some other motives were in play other than simply a neutral application of anti-trust law. >> i want to bring in timothy wu. a professor at columbia law school. what is your take on the ruling? >> i haven't read it like everyone else. but my suspicion is that it may go so far now that the justice department will want to appeal this. a lot of people in anti-trust law have wanted to bring back scrutiny of vertical mergers and the idea that the government loses this totally seems strong. they did present a lot of evidence so i won't be surprised if justice does seek the appeal as -- even despite the district court judge telling them not to. >> and what would be the effect of that? would that have the effect of freezing the merger and ending the merger just -- the act of appealing? >> it depends on what the -- the
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appellate court does. they may not think it is enough of an emergency to stay the merger or they may stay the merger. even if with stayed it doesn't mean it has to be abandoned. but i think it is -- it is possible that because the government thinks these principles are important enough they want to appeal this. >> do you think that judge made the wrong decision today? >> i haven't read the decision and i didn't see as much of the evidence. it sounds like he's gone pretty far. it sounds like he's stuck to the 1980s more robert -- kind of bork line -- chicago line on anti-trust and we never do anything and i think the law has evolved and economic research has evolved so this decision may be vulnerable to appeal for those reasons. >> we only have about 30 seconds left but as quickly, and i recognize you could speak for six hours on it, why would such a merger be a badidea. >> it is just that the idea that vertical mergers cost consumers money. and also interfere with competition and this ruling -- again, i haven't read it. but it sound like the old 1980s reagan style and nothing
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vertical is ever suspect. this is a very big vertical merger and if he's gone too far the opinion may be susceptible to appeal. >> thank you for your time. that is it for "the lead." i turn you oif to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, trust but not verified. president trump heads home from the summit with kim jong-un saying he trusts the north korean dictator. but why is he relying on kim's vague promise to denuclearize when north korea has repeatedly broken its promises. very provocative. the president shocked south korea by announcing a halt to u.s. military exercises that the u.s. has conducted with seoul for decades. did the commander-in-chief under cut a key ally and america's security by stopping what he called very provocative war games. motivated by fear. despite kim jong-un's atrocities, president trump said his country loves him.