tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC April 28, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
tonight on "all in" -- >> there was no collusion with russia. >> as the president spins -- >> she probably can't believe it. who can. >> an nbc news exclusive. new reporting that the russian lawyer from the trump tower meeting had much deeper kremlin ties than we ever knew. plus, what paul manafort's big loss in court today means for the mueller probe and why the sudden pause in the stormy daniels suit. then the growing fire storm over paul ryan's decision to fire the house chaplain.
>> may their efforts these days guarantee that there are in the winners and losers under new tax laws. >> and as the president celebrates -- >> i get a big, big kick out of that. >> what to make of the historic peace talks between north and south korea. "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. on the very same day the president took a victory lap over a republican report clearing him of any wrongdoing in the 2016 election, nbc news revealed that that lawyer who met with the president's son during the campaign has much closer ties to the russian government than previously known. today republicans on the house intelligence committee released their final heavily redacted report on russian interference in the election, which you'll be shocked to hear, the president hailed as total vindication. >> yeah, we were honored. it was a great report. no collusion, which i knew anyway. no coordination.
no nothing. the report was very powerful, very strong. there was no collusion between want trump campaign and the russian people. i was very honored by the report. it was totally conclusive, strong, powerful. many things said that nobody knew about and said in a very strong way. >> democrats on the house intelligence committee, as you might imagine, strongly dispute the majority's findings. i'm going to talk to one of them coming up in a second. just as the president is declaring basically case closed, we're learning explosive new information about that russian lawyer who met with his son and senior campaign officials in june 2016. we knew she had ties of some kind to the russian prosecutor general, who is more or less the kremlin's jeff sessions. but now that same lawyer, natalia veselnitskaya, is admitting those ties go far deeper than any of us knew. she sat down for an exclusive interview with nbc's richard engel. >> the only reason i'm asking these questions is because of
the contact you had with the most senior people who are now in our government. >> you said your relationship with the prosecutor general is what? >> she's an informant. an informant to the prosecutor general. think about that. this person who met during the campaign with the president's campaign chairman, his son, and son-in-law, now a senior white house adviser, met, promising dirt on his opponent, where they were expecting to get that dirt on hillary clinton. this person is an informant to a top kremlin official. the house intelligence committee has concluded its investigation. special counsel robert mueller has not. we know for a fact he is interested in the trump tower meeting because just this week in a court filing on that manafort case, mueller's prosecutors revealed a warrant they obtained last summer
specifically authorized them to seek, quote, communications, records, documents, and other files involving any of the attendees of the june 9th, 2016 meeting from manafort's home. one of the people who accompanied veselnitskaya to the meeting had already testified before mueller's grand jury last summer. as of last weekend, according to the associated press, veselnitskaya herself says she had not been contacted by the special counsel. i'm joined now fromme estonia b richard engel, whose full interview with natalia veselnitskaya airs right after us tonight at 9:00. richard, great to have you. what did you learn from this interview? >> reporter: well, we learned more about who she is, her background, and her version of the story and about her connections to the russian state. we spent quite a bit of time with her. we interviewed her twice in two different cities.
she told us that her purpose was to shed light. this is her official story. on what she believes is a grand conspiracy being perpetrated against the united states of america, and she believes that sanctions on russia are based on lies and false reporting, and she says she was simply there in trump tower to shed light on this matter to the officials who are prominent americans, meaning those people at the trump tower meeting. but she did say also that as part of her own investigations, she had come across damaging information about hillary clinton, some of her donors that she wanted to share. then we also came across some of this e-mail correspondence that you've been talking about that shows she has links to, or certainly connections to, an influence over the russian prosecutor general's office. >> tell me about her
relationship to yuri chika. he's mentioned in the e-mail approach to don junior. i forget the term that's used. it's the crown prosecutor, i think, which is the british term. >> reporter: crown prosecutor. >> that's right. he's the one sort of driving this. so what is her relationship to that man? >> reporter: so just to set up a little bit about what you're saying, this meeting didn't just happen overnight. there were calls back and forth and e-mails back and forth trying to establish who was going to come, what kind of meeting they should have, and there was this key figure, rob goldstone, who was communicating with a family of russian oligarchs. in this communication, rob goldstone says that the crown prosecutor's office apparently has -- or the crown prosecutor has apparently this information, damaging, incriminating hillary
clinton and is willing to share. then he describes there will be a meeting set up with a russian government lawyer. there is no crown prosecutor in russia. so it is widely presumed to mean the prosecutor general, who would effectively be the crown prosecutor if there was a crown prosecutor. the meeting takes place. that government lawyer is natalia veselnitskaya. she says -- or initially said she is not a government lawyer, only that she's just a regular lawyer who wanted to talk about sanctions and wanted to bring this information to light about hillary clinton. >> there's also e-mails that you got, if i'm not mistaken, from an oligarch who fell out of favor, was prosecuted by vladimir putin. what do those e-mails show? >> reporter: so on one track, you have this relationship where she called herself an informant
for the prosecutor general's office. you have that e-mail where rob goldstone says we're going to set up this meeting with this government lawyer who's got dirt on hillary clinton. that's one track, which she makes a statement herself, which you just played, describing her role. the other track are these e-mails, these leaked e-mails that we received from this former russian oligarch. he was once the richest man in russia. then he fell out of favor with vladimir putin, escaped the country, left the country, and is now living abroad. he says he obtained these e-mails through an anonymous source, and these e-mails appear to show a back and forth exchange in which veselnitskaya is offering comments, editing, and in some cases appears to be dictating sections of an official russian government response to a request for information from the u.s. justice department. so the fact that she would be
able to do that, according to these e-mails, suggests that she's not just some private lawyer, a concerned citizen who happened to be meeting in trump tower. it would suggest that she says she's an informant, but these e-mails suggest she has the ability to work on the same document and exchange paragraphs and in some cases dictate the language of an official government response to a u.s. justice department request for information. >> richard engel, i am going to be watching this in 51 minutes. it's great to have you with us. i can't wait. >> reporter: thank you. >> all right. you can watch richard's full interview with natalia veselnitskaya in a special edition of "on assignment" with richard engel tonight at 9:00 on msnbc. the president is touting the report released today by the republican house intelligence committee. democrats say the report does not present a full
threads don junior testified he did not know who that number's one, but corey lewandowski said that donald trump's residence that is a blocked phone line. the day after those phone calls, candidate trump made a big announcement. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week, and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it
very informative and very, very interesting. >> congressman eric swalwell. let's talk about this first. there are calls between don junior. there's a call in between. was the committee able to determine anything about that call or whether don junior talked to his father? >> good evening, chris. no, the republicans who held the subpoena power were completely unwilling to subpoena donald trump jr.'s phone provider, who would have been able to tell us who that blocked number belonged to. we have a lot of circumstantial evidence that suggests that we would want to know whether or not candidate trump knew about the meeting. he was in the building. he was just one floor above where the meeting took place. he was very close to with the family who asked to set up the meeting. the fact he wouldn't have been a part of it or had any idea does not make much sense. he was exchanging gifts at the time with the family, who were sending him a birthday painting
just a couple days after. then of course there's the timing of what he was telling the world would be coming. then of course just a couple days later after the months, julian assange tells the world there's hacked materials that will soon be released. we could have found out this information. i don't think the republicans wanted to know the answer. >> i just want to make sure i'm tracking this. it seems important, and it seems important in sort of fairness to the president here to make sure we know what's going on. don junior talks, there's a call with a blocked number. what you're telling me is that the committee had the power to subpoena the phone records to just figure out what that phone call was and show it wasn't, say, to his father, and they refused to do that. >> they absolutely refused to do that. we asked donald trump jr. to provide those records to us or to ask himself who the blocked number was. he refused to provide that as well. there are a number of ways we could have done that. just remember that in the e-mail thread on june 6th, donald trump
jr. is talking to rob goldstone, who says let me connect you in a few minutes, 20 minutes, actually. so the timing matches up. and donald trump jr. told us in our interview that he believed the call was. it's a mystery as to who was called in between. it would make sense if it was donald trump sr. considering everything else going on. >> am i crazy to think if it wasn't donald trump sr. they would have been eager to provide that information to you? >> it would seem they'd be very, very eager to rule donald trump jr. o sr. out. every time we got close, and there were so many other circumstances like this, the republicans were unwilling to take that next step where we could use our committee's subpoena power to get bank records, phone records, travel logs. the same thing with michael cohen. he adamantly denied he was in prague. we just asked, give us one railroad to show that you were somewhere else when you were in italy or over in london, which we know you were in those places
in the summer and fall of 2016. the republicans refused to subpoena that. and he refused to turn over any records. >> i want to be clear about this again. this big question was michael cohen in prague. you said, hey, just show us some stuff so that we could rule it out and ask the republicans to say, hey, let's subpoena some records so we can rule it out, so we can match your alibi. and they declined. >> that's absolutely right. >> all right. there's a new piece of information in this report about the nra. i haven't known what to make of this story. it's a really interesting one. it skittered around the edges of this story about whether someone connected to the kremlin was sort of using the nra as a back channel. i'm going to read a portion from the report and ask for you to exkplae explain it. there's a reference to an e-mail. goes on to says russia planned to use the nra's annual convention to make first contact with the trump campaign and putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with mr. trump.
we know don junior did meet a russian politician at the convention. what should we make of this? >> the subject line of that e-mail, which was not in the report, was kremlin back channel. we saw that type of subject line or approach -- >> wait, what was the subject line? >> kremlin back channel. we saw that so many times through other witnesses who were also approached. so you had different people making approaches to trump campaign members or family members where that subject line or the essence of that message was being conveyed. >> sorry. i just want to make sure. who received the e-mail with the subject line kremlin back channel and who did it come from? >> so rick deerborn is who received the e-mail, and it came from paul ericsson. >> did jeff sessions ever get wind of this e-mail? >> so rick deerborn had been the
chief of staff to jeff sessions. he was questioned. chris, i'm limited in what i can talk about as far as witness testimony because the transcripts were not released. i have to stick within the parameters of what's in the report. you know, donald trump jr. and donald trump, his father, did go to the nra convention where two russians also attended in kentucky in may 2016. >> all right. congressman, thanks for laying that out for us. >> my pleasure. still ahead, a major legal setback for trump's former campaign manager. the new gaping hole in paul manafort's defense strategy and what it means for his upcoming criminal trials, next. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. everything. and that 2% cash back adds up
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24-page rules that a civil case is not the appropriate vehicle for taking issue with what a prosecutor has done in the past or where he might be headed in the future. manafort, a man who is wearing an ankle bracelet on each leg, will have to face a bevy of existing charges in his first of two public trials beginning in july, unless he flips. to help figure out what this means, i'm joined by a former u.s. attorney joyce vance, harry lipman, and former federal prosecutor. joyce, let me start with you. the judge's ruling today, what's your takeaway from that? >> it's the correct ruling. in a criminal case, there are a variety of mechanisms for a defendant to judge the validity of the lawsuit. he can file a motion to dismiss. he can challenge jurisdiction. what manafort did was to go outside the confines of the criminal case and to file a separate civil lawsuit. he tried to challenge mueller's
legitimacy, really, as a special counsel in that lawsuit. the judge properly dismissed that. >> right now it seems like the path is cleared for trial sometime in the fall. what would that trial look like? >> well, it would be a lengthy trial. there would be many, many witnesses, a lot of documents and records. there are many charges against manafort, complex charges like money laundering, for example, charges relating to his disclosures of various bank records. you would literally have witnesses coming in from various, you know, entities, talking about how their records are kept, talking about where he kept his bank accounts. you'd have his associates talking about how he ran his operation. his lobbying efforts, for example, and what he was doing there. it would be a pretty lengthy trial that would focus on some
arcane financial transactions. >> there's also some developments happening in the michael cohen seize wure that happened in the southern district of new york. his lawyers and the president's lawyers teamed up to say that the government shouldn't be able to review the files and sort out the privilege from the nonprivileged. today a federal judge appointed what's called a special master to review material seized from michael cohen. what does that mean? >> it means it's an officer of the court, so somebody who works neither for trump, cohen, nor for the government, who will be communicating with the parties to review the documents in the first instance and try to call out which are privileged, which seem to have -- which we're told by the united states are fairly few. they expect that cohen really
wasn't so much a lawyer as a kind of businessman, fix-it guy. if they're right, there won't be that many dock yunuments that t special master will identify. but the special master will have the first crack at it and will report to the court. >> and joyce, it seems like the president agreed. yesterday on "fox & friends" he said there's not that much there because he's barely represented him as a lawyer. >> that's exactly what he said. it's really interesting, chris, because originally there was some equivocation. was cohen acting as a lawyer? was it just a business deal? but the president put that to rest, saying that on this one small piece, at least on this stormy daniels mess, the president said that cohen was acting as his lawyer. that opens a whole host of questions because we know that $130,000 payment was made very close in time to the election. it was probably made to influence the election.
so there will be an inquiry possibly in the southern district of new york into whether that payment violated campaign finance law either as an illegal contribution or because it was an unreported payment. a lot more shoes to drop on this one. >> and then meanwhile, michael cohen, who's got a whole bunch of different legal issues he's got to deal with, he's got the civil suit from michael avenatti, who's representing stormy daniels. today he got what appears to be a win. the court finds there's a large potential factual overlap between the civil and criminal proceedings that would heavily implicate mr. cohen's fifth amendment rights, grants a 90-day stay, basically a pause. what's that mean? >> when somebody has a criminal investigation and a civil lawsuit about the same matter going on at the same time, judges try to weigh the prejudice against, in this case, michael cohen with the prejudice to stormy daniels. michael cohen has a
constitutional right to take the fifth. he ordinarily would be doing that in the criminal investigation. but in the civil lawsuit, in the suit by stormy daniels, if he took the fifth, that could be used against him. the jury or the judge could assume that the answers to his questions would have hurt him. so going forward with the stormy daniels lawsuit would have put him in a pickle. that's why the judge weighed that versus the harm to stormy daniels, which frankly she's telling her story on tv and her lawyer is all the time. so there was not much of a harm on her end of the equation. >> michael avenatti, the lawyer, is quite a character. his twitter feed i recommend you. harry, it seems to me that one of the subtexts of the judicial rulings in the civil case against michael cohen is this dude's going to get indicted. that's very much between the lines, my sense, from reading what the judge in that civil suit is saying. >> that's not the subtext.
that's the text. i think an indictment is coming. something that's really telling about both opinions, as joyce says, the berman opinion was very straightforward. this was the right call also in the cohen case. you had both of these judges extremely comprehensive and thorough. there's real consciousness on the part of both these judges that what could otherwise look like pretty pedestrian matters are in fact really freighted with history almost but certainly consequence because of the trump overlay. >> did it read the same to you, joyce? >> it did. i think harry's analysis is exactly right. neither one of these rulings was a surprise. they were both pretty
straightforward matters of law, but the judges do understand that these lawsuits are going to shape the course of history in a significant way. they were very careful, and it's important to know judge berman was very clear that although she was ruling in the civil case, that the civil case wasn't the correct vehicle for this decision to be made. she wasn't in any way intimating what her ruling would be in the criminal motions challenging mueller's ability to indict manafort. that's still to come. >> you know, in both of these rulings, and all the stuff i've been parsing, you can see the shadow of the shoes yet to drop, sort of cast over the entire proceedings. it's really, really ominous in the language. thanks for making time. >> thank you, chris. paul ryan makes history firing the chaplain of the house. the outrage bipartisan reaction to that, next.
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democrats and republicans in the house are outraged after paul ryan's unexplain the dismissal of the chaplain of the house. 148 members today sent a letter requesting information about the forced resignation of reverend patrick j. conroy, the first ousting of a house chaplain in congressional history. ryan's office won't say why he was effectively fired. the chaplain pointed to a prayer he gave on the house floor during a debate over the gop tax cuts. >> as legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the
opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success while others continue to struggle. may their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws but benefits balanced and shared by all americans. >> conroy told "the new york times" that after that prayer, a paul ryan staffer said we are upset with this prayer, you are getting too political, and ryan himself then told him, padre, you just got to i stay ostay ou politics. charlie, you're already shaking your head. why? >> i just don't think there's anything more paul ryan can screw up in this job. firing the chaplain. this is unprecedented to me. i go back, by the way, in the event of episodes like this, i go to wwjd. what would jimmy do?
mr. mattis didn't even want congressional chaplains. i'm starting to think he had a pretty good idea. >> there is a question about what exactly is a congressional chaplain for. let me give the devil's advocate argument here. you know, it should be a nonpartisan position. that does seem like a pretty clear kind of needling. and if you think that the house chaplain is using his position to kind of subtly orate against your legislative priorities, i can understand being angered by that. >> are you asking me this question? >> yes. >> i think it's the silliest thing i've ever heard. the guy is a priest. he's there to pray. he's drawing his prayer as near as i can tell strictly from the gospels. there's an old saying among we former altar boys. if a sermon makes you uncomfortable, figure out why it makes you uncomfortable, don't blame the person delivering the sermon. >> tlshere's been a lot of
bipartisan angst over this. here's what peter king had to say, republican from new york, on the chaplain. take a listen. >> i see no evidence why he should be removed, and it's such an unprecedented action. to me, it would only be taken if there were very, very serious issues. the speaker said it was just because certain people felt he was not come plying with their requests or not giving good counseling. i never heard that from anyone. anyone i know who deals with him has the highest regard. >> a few things. one, aren't we exhausted? >> i was like, there's so much going on. but now i just want to know. >> we know this entire administration just lies, so we're not going to get that. >> this is the house. this is a different place. this is paul ryan's domain. >> and these are the same who have been cosigning trump's agenda. as someone who has attended catholic institutions and jesuit institutions, someone who's a
faculty member at a jesuit institution, we know the jesuits are the social justice wing of the catholic church. the republicans, when they were trying to sell us this tax bill, said this was something that would help all americans. so now his sermon, which i would say mimics some of what the republicans were trying to sell to the american people, you're now saying is too political. >> i want to be clear. i want to read the ryan office statement. i want to give them their due. the speaker made the decision he believes to be in the best interest of the house and remains grateful for father conroy's many years of service. that's on the record. officials in that office will say this had nothing to do with the prayer, this is all getting blown out of proportion. >> but then we also have to look at sort of the republicans following up saying, well, you know, maybe we need to find someone who is a religious person but has a wife, which is very interesting. so that means you'll not be looking at women for the most part. it will be a heteronormative
male. someone who has kids, who understands the job. ands, w and also, why do we just have a christian chaplain? i've been a part of many universities where they'll have a buddhist chaplain, a catholic chaplain, a christian, a muslim. sometimes they'll have up to 12 to 20 chaplains. >> they have a chaplain's office in a university. it's nice. >> what's really frustrating is paul ryan can never get his lies straight, but when you sold that tax bill to the american public or sort of pitched it, before they voted, it was ostensibly to make everything equitable for all americans. no winners and no losers. especially the downtrodden. so that's essentially what the chaplain was saying, and now it's too political. >> if it's true -- there is something revealing if it's true, in fact, that what the father says, which is that they came to him after that prayer, you mentioned the comments of representative mark walker. he is helping lead the search for the next chaplain. he's the co-chair of the prayer
caucus. charlie, i would like you to respond to what he says he's looking for in his next chaplain. take a listen. he says, i'll read it, i'm looking for somebody who has a little age, that has adult children that, kind of can connect with the bulk of the body here, republicans and democrats, who are going through back home the wife, the family. >> well, first of all that, leaves jesus out, just to name one. but this sounds like the republicans want to have a primary for the next chaplain. it really does. that sounds like something -- the next chaplain is a good family man, and here he is playing with his grandchildren and standing in front of the flag at the little league game. i'm telling you, i'm starting to get more -- i'm starting to move more and more towards james madison's position. no chaplains at all. when you pray, please close the windows and doors and go in your
office. >> i think they're mimicking also what we've seen from this administration. when we look at all the various nominees, the vast majority are heterosexual white men. >> which we should be clear, as far as i know, the case with the fired chaplain. >> yes. that's true. he's setting it up so he's not even opening a window to possible diversity. i do think that it's moving obviously in a protestant direction, not a catholic direction. i think if we knew the reason why the chaplain was dismissed beyond, you know, some members of the body felt uncomfortable, well, which ones? i thought this was a democracy. are there certain complaints? is there somebothing we should know? should there be a committee looking into these uncomfortable situations members supposedly had? >> insufficient pastoral care apparently. thank you, both, for being with me. still ahead, the impact of this president on the history being made right now in the korean peninsula.
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thing one tonight, president trump's phone-in interview on "fox & friends" is still creating a buzz. last night i was on "late night" with seth meyers talk about the sheer bizarreness of it. >> when you're on the phone with the president of the united states, you press him. you keep him there, keep him there. it's like a scene in a movie where you trace the phone call. they treated him like he was a crazy caller on their call-in show and they had to get him
off. bit end of it it's like, well, you're probably busy. he's like, no, i'm good. i got all day really. >> while they were having a hard time wrapping the president of the united states, their body language was a sight to behold. >> you can see on their faces they're slightly horrified. steve doocy does a patented grimace grin where he like slaps his knee. >> doocy really is a pro at the hand to knee motion. after kellyanne conway's big announcement this morning, steve doocy better get ready for more grimace grins. that's thing two in 60 seconds. [ buttons clicking ] [ camera shutter clicks ] so, now that you have a house, you can use homequote explorer. quiet. i'm blasting my quads. janice, look. i'm in a meeting. -janice, look. -[ chuckles ] -look, look. -i'm looking. it's easy. you just answer some simple questions online, and you get coverage options to choose from. you're ruining my workout.
cycling is my passion. you're ruini♪g my workout. hey grandpa. hey, kid. really good to see you. you too. you tell grandma you were going fishing again? maybe. (vo) the best things in life keep going. that's why i got a subaru, too. love is out there. find it in a subaru crosstrek. so today, presidential counselor kellyanne conway gave a big thumbs up to president trump's performance on "fox & friends." >> the president was able to cover so much ground with you yesterday and appreciated the platform because it connects him with the american people. not just on fox news, but that was the buzz around the globe yesterday in large part.
everybody had to replay your clips. >> yep, the president's phoner certainly was the buzz, though the buzz it generated was not entirely positive. but never fear, the president plans to check in with those "fox & friends" hosts, according to conway, again and again. >> the president has said that he would like to perhaps come once a month and as news breaks. >> come to -- wait, come to "fox & friends" once a month? >> yes. >> all right. >> wow. >> he said he would like to meet with you on pretty much a monthly basis. >> the most powerful tv show in the world. we'll have to wait until the next edition to see if the president really does have a million things to do. >> there is no collusion with me and russia. and everyone knows it. >> we could talk to you all day, but it looks like you have a million things to do. i hope you can join us again. hold on dad... liberty did what? yeah, liberty mutual 24-hour roadside assistance helped him to fix his flat
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for the second day in a row, thousands of teachers and their supporters in both arizona and colorado walked out and converged on stated capitols. just hours ago, the governor of arizona tweeted, it's official, we have a deal. here's the thing. the main plank of that, which is a promise to raise teacher salaries 20% by 2020, had already been on the table. teacher demands also included raising education funding in total to 2008 levels, and the teachers union tweeted moments ago, the governor says he has a budget deal with the legislature, but we have been down this road before. he makes promises he can't keep.
we just can't trust him. and then colorado today, again for the second day, educators engage in a similar walkout. they're asking for more money for schools. they also want the state to freeze the corporate tax breaks that it has passed until funding is restored. colorado and arizona are the fourth and fifth states to rise up in a teachers protest movement red for ed that's currently sweeping the nation. you'll remember west virginia teachers walked out last month. then educators in oklahoma and kentucky. the demands across all states have been remarkably similar, higher pay but higher spending on kids' education. >> this is not what i expected my legislators, and i helped to elect these legislators, this is not what i expected them to do when we voted to fund education. so that classrooms don't have computers and they don't have basic science textbooks. what the heck is this about? having a science textbook is not a partisan issue.
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for the first time ever the leader of north korea stepped into south korea. just over 24 hours ago kim jong-un met his south korean counterpart moon jae-in in the demilitarized zone between those two countries. the two then sat down to talk, planted a tree together, and agreed to work toward peace on the peninsula. it is frankly amazing that this summit happened at all and not just because of the history between the two koreas but also because of the bellicose rhetoric around north korea coming out of the white house for months. remember fire and fury? that rhetoric has tempered recently, in no small part thanks to the deft hand of president moon, who has been cajoling and flattering president trump all year. >> i think president moon of south korea was very generous in saying that we helped make the olympics a great success because of the fact that as you know there was a tremendous animosity, there was a tremendous problem going on and all of a sudden people started buying tickets because whole different feeling when north said we'd love to go to the olympics.
>> to help figure out what this means for north and south korea and what president trump's role might be in any possible peace process, i'm joined by nbc news korean affairs analyst victor cha. he's a senior adviser and korea chair at the center for strategic and international studies. and tim shorrock, a writer for "the nation" raised in japan and korea and has been writing about korean politics for several decades. victor, let me start with you. the question, why did yesterday happen? >> well, i think it happened for a variety of reasons, chris. one is that the trump administration has had a sanctions campaign along with ten u.n. security council resolutions on north korea that's been pinching the economy. i think your point earlier about trump and fire and fury and threats of war also compelled both the north and the south to think about trying to find a diplomatic solution. and i think kim jong-un also felt like it was a good time for him to pause in terms of his testing. testing of nuclear weapons, testing of ballistic missiles. he's already stated he's completed his program and is
ready now for dialogue. so i think for a combination of all those reasons, that's why the north was interested in dialogue. and in south korea president moon has been waiting for this moment when the north would open the door so he could then engage with them. >> tim, what's your read on it? >> well, i agree with victor. i think that the impetus for this came from president moon, though. i was in korea a year ago when he was running for president, and i saw him at several campaign rallies in the city of gwangju in the southwest. and he held up a picture of himself with his predecessors who had the engagement policy called the sunshine policy, kim dae-jung and nom jae woo. he spoke about the need to end the crisis between the u.s. and north korea. and that was the gamble he took, and i think he's won his gamble. and i think he played an incredible role in getting -- getting these parties together and actually getting the summit with president trump together. he spoke last year about the need not to have a war, the u.s.
should not launch an aggressive unilateral strike on north korea, and he really moved to encourage diplomacy. and when kim jong-un finally answered him in january of this year and said he was willing to talk, he immediately responded and we saw what happened in the olympics. so i give an enormous amount of credit to president moon and the movement, the political movement in south korea that backed him for his run for president. >> victor, what do you read as what the u.s. does next now? >> well, i think this summit has really set up this u.s./north korea summit. the two leaders of north and south korea have pledged themselves to peace, to a peace treaty, but all of that is not really going to be realistically possible unless there is denuclearization. and while there were some statements about denuclearization at the summit between the two korean leaders, there still are lots of questions about whether the
north korean leader is really ready to give up their weapons. so this summit has had the effect of even increasing even further the expectations that are put on donald trump to see if he can convince the north korean leader to give up his weapons. that's the next step in all this. and the united states is going to have to work hard prior to that meeting to try to prenegotiate the terms of some sort of nuclear deal because right now it doesn't really appear evident based on what we've seen from the inter-korean meeting that just concluded yesterday. >> tim, am i wrong that to victor's point it seems like here's where you start to get some daylight between the u.s. position and moon's position. which is, the u.s. seems intent on denuclearization as a sort of threshold issue and then any kind of staged, managed process of normalization afterwards. i'm not clear that's where president moon is, right? >> well, i think president moon wants denuclearization just as much as president trump does, but i think he sees it as more part of the stage process. and i think the really critical issue also, not only what will
north korea do or what will north korea agree to, but will the united states end its decades of hostility toward north korea? the north koreans constantly say they want the u.s. to end its hostile policy toward them, and that's when they will negotiate. i think the u.s. has to really take that seriously and move forward and take steps to convince north korea that it is not interested in regime change, that it is not interested in attacking north korea, and really does support a peace process. and the other thing i would say is this agreement, which the panmunjom statement which came out in korea is really important, and i would encourage your viewers to read what the two koreas agreed to because they decided -- they state very clearly they want to determine the destiny of the korean nation on their own accord. this means they want to do it without pressure from other countries, without involvement from other countries. and i think that's really
critical. so there is some difference. i think there may be some difference. >> victor, it seems to me also that -- i guess i feel like maybe the cat's out of the bag on the nuclear issue. is it crazy to think they're not going to give up the nuclear weapons that they've completed the testing they need to do and essentially the window's closed on that? >> well, i think that's certainly the north korean preferred strategy. i mean, i think they would prefer not to give up all of their weapons, to be able to keep some, to negotiate down some of their capabilities but in return get normalization, a peace treaty, and recognition as a nuclear weapons state. i think they want to have their cake and eat it too. for 25 years the u.s. and the position of all the other powers has been if you want those things, peace treaty, normalization, you have to give up the weapons. and the north koreans thus far have talked about denuclearization of the korean peninsula, which is a nice
phrase and it sounds good but it's a step much shorter than what they agreed to in 2005 and in 1992, which were much more definitive expressions of an intent to denuclearize. >> although they've got -- they're further along. so their bargaining position has changed. victor cha and tim shorrock, that was a great conversation. i really appreciate it. >> that does it for "all in." you can catch us every weeknight on msnbc. i'm david gura at msnbc world head kwaquarter and watch two events unfold 550 miles apart, and it is fair to say they are worlds apart. in washington township, michigan, president trump is about to take the stage in a carefully orchestrated rebuke th that is taking place in washington, d.c., and that is of course, the white house correspondents dinner which the president is skipping for this second year in a row. the president instead of attending what his campaign is calling in fund-raising material, a rally with quote fellow deplorables, an alternative to the fake news crowd. no surprise from a president who has rarely missed an opportunity to bash the press.