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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  June 11, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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in nicolle wallace leading the way. follow us on facebook. andreamitchellreports and chris jansing is next. >> what an extraordinary hour you had, andrea. thank you, i am chris at msnbc headquarters in new york. countdown to history. in a matter of hours president trump will meet face-to-face with kim jong-un, arguably the most high-stakes meeting nos of just his presidency but any presidency in modern history, and he walks into it short on international ally whose will have his back and a lot of the unexpected happening, ebb clinc the late arrival of kim jong-un buddy dennis rodman. and diving into the president's strategies at the g7 and the position it leaves every day working americans in. as he lobs attacks at our nation's closest partners. also, the 2020 whisperer. the behind-the-scenes meetings president obama is holding with
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democrats hoping to score the nomination to run for the white house in 2020. let's start with hours before one of the most hi highstakes diplomatic meetings ever. expected to be a long void in the late hours of singapore, was filled not by the president of the united states but back-to-back both kim jong-un and now believe it or not former nba player and reality tv star dennis rodman. monday night singapore time was supposed to be quiet as president trump adjusted to the time zone, advisers prep, but enter dennis rodman, implying he is in some way connected to these historic talks. >> people best not expect so much in the first tile. the door's open, like i said. >> exciting dennis rodman will be there. >> it's a sign to be a part of it. decided to be a part of it. >> excited to be a part of it.
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kim jong-un surprised reporter it's today, too, leaving his hotel room hours ago in an unanouns tour of the island. fa pausing for a selfie with the prim of apore. president trump,s crossed at the g7 summit, angry tweets to follow. alienating his closest allies. that's the leadup to the tremendously high-stakes summit at 9:00 eastern tonight. just trump alone with kim, safe with translaters. right to singapore and nbc white house correspondent kelly o'donnell. kelly, i don't even know where to again. was there any warning that kim would be taking a tour, any warning dennis rodman would show up? a busy couple of hours there. >> reporter: chris, you set it up beautifully. we thought we had the creeky middle of the night shift even though it's nighttime hours in the united states, most things are turned down for the night in
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singore and surprise, surprise, kim jong-un, a man about town in singapore seeing the sights. taking selfies. drawing a lot of attention, and until now, the only person who knew both kim jong-un and donald trump, dennis rodman had been a bit off the screen. here now, as you pointed out, and it's unclear what role he will play. he's been unique among americans, developed a curious friendship with kim jong-un over the years and has been able to have some kind of dialogue with him making a number of visits to north korea and if people don't recall, he was also won of the players on "celebrity apprentice" came to know the president and his life in that world. a strange intersection of modern politics, diplomacy and pop culture all coming together here in singapore. now, the other meaner knows both kim jong-un and donald trump is mike pompeo, secretary of state. he briefed reporters here about
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what is expected. we'll get to that in a moment, but let's be in a rodman state of mind here and be reminded of what president trump himself just said recently when the prospects of his old friend coming to singapore and somehow being involved in all of this came up. the president kept a bit of distance. here's donald trump on dennis rodman. >> dennis rodman is traveling to north korea? >> no, he wasn't, but i like dennis. a great rebounder. when you think, dennis was great rebounder and wasn't relatively speaking that tall. that tells you. you know, there's a rebounding, there's a genius for that. dennis rodman was a great rebounder. >> reporter: so if height is part of the equation here, president trump will have an advantage over kim jong-un in his meetings but it is maybe not so much an advantage when it comes to secretary pompeo, who's a formidable person in his
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physical size. what he had to say when he was talking with reporters about what the expectations should be here for what is the most watched meeting that is yet to happen here in the world. >> president trump is going to this meeting with confidence. a positive attitude, and gerness for real progress. >> the president is fully prepared for the meeting tomorrow. i personally had the opportunity to make sure he's had a chance to hear lots of different voices all of the attendant opportunities and risks we have have pull these two leaders in the right place. >> reporter: and secretary pompeo has gone to pains to say in his prior role as cia director one of the most pree frequent toings presented to the president in a daily brief of intelligence was about north korea. an also daily conversation about the nuclear threats from north korea, the state of play with north korea and that that is part of the preparation rolling into this first big meeting.
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in addition that, the working group from the u.s. has been at the table with negotiating counterparts for north korea going over a lot of the specifics, but as is probably a surprise to no one, some of these stagecraft of this meeting is certainly getting attention and in these evening h in singapore, both kimg-un who is, of course, a controversial figure, treated like a celebrity on the streets and then sports celebrity dennis rodman also made his entrance. trying to process it all here, chris. it is serious stuff, but on the edges, there is some shiny objects to be sure. chris? >> nbc's kelly o'donnell, again, after what has been an extraordinary evening in singapore. thank you. my panel today is nbc news korean affair analysts victor cha, and on the white house security council. a senior research scholar at yale law school studying u.s./chine in relations and msnbc political analyst rick stengelormerly undersecretary of state for public diplomacy
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and you don't know where to start. this is serious business as kelly o'donnell points out. dennis rodman showing up after a stroll by kim jong-un taking selfies, it feels a little like a reality tv show. >> that is the point. right? chris, i've been a diplomat. i know what summits are all about. the way to think about this is as a television spectacular. the way president trump thinks about it. what will the ratings be? the chemistry between the stars? is there a spin-off? this is the way he thinks. he's low ared the bar so much for the success of it. it's already a success with kim jong-un. he spent decades trying to get the recognition of the u.s. president, a dictator of a failed state and tree e treated spectacular celebrity. a big victory for him already. >> and you pointed out, victor when we saw this surprising appearance by kim jong-un, out of the country, what, four times? just strolling along into some have well-known, i guess,
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tourist spots in singapore. you called it his coming out party. >> yeah. it's his coming out party. an all-expense paid trip to singapore for a leader who really doesn't get out very much. the thing we have to remember is that he does all of these things and it looks like a big success for him. it all makes sense if you assume that she going to walk in to a meeting and say i want peace with the united states, but thank you, i'm going to keep my nuclear weapons. then all of this talk about coming out, reform, everything else, makes sense. on the other hand, if this is really questionable, whether he'll give up his weapons or not, then you have to have a tremendous leap of faith to say he's ready to reform. right? ready to change the way he's doing things after the country devoted the majority of its natural resources for the past 50 years to building this nuclear weapons program. finished it in december. then he's going to walk in tomorrow and say, here. it's all on the table. you can have it all. very difficult to imagine. >> and this is president trump who believes that the chaos he left behind at the g7, we'll
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talk more about that, is a show of strength. right? when you heard from the folks on the white house about what was behind all this, pulling out of the agreement, they said going to show kim jong-un essentially that he means business, and it was pointed out on an earlier program as he's strolling, kim jong-un is just blocks from a restaurant where the half brother that he supposedly killed used to go regularly to eat. what do you make of what we've seen over the last 24 and 48 hours or so? >> there is no question that this is all highly theatricing but important to keep in mind just two weeks ago seemed the summit would be called off. ask ourselves, what's happened in the interim? ostensibly the u.s. government position remains that north korea must give up its nuclear weapons completely, but what president trump has actually done in the last two week as define downwards his expect aces what will come out of this summit. he basically set it up to su
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succeed if he can establish a personal relationship with kim jong-un. we're seeing watering down of the substance, a process never particularly serious or substantive to begin with and preparations for what is very likely to be an empty fairey flimsy joint statement and set of 230e9 photo ops. >> look at it from a serious context and set aside what the president himself said, rick, in a minute i'll size him up and then we heard from mike pompeo who september repeating this morning how many ph.d. they had working on this, quantity, i guess, mattering in this situation. what do you have to look at if you're going to take a deal seriously? what has to be there? >> well, they've been unable thus far to define what denuclearization means. the north koreans mean one thing about it. and the americans mean another. >> but if you live to mike pompeo, his suggestion, we don't want to negotiate in public.
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behind the scenes they're, would go on this. >> iran talks -- by the way, if they achieve anything likehe iran talks it would be a victory. the intalks took seven years, one of the strictest inspection regimens as possible. whatn't even agree on is what denuclearization means. you have nuclear scientists saying it will take five to seven to ten years to eastern show any results of denuclearization. so they can come out, as you said. if they can have a kind of a happy kum ba yah agreement, we're all for peace. going to start this process, that's absolutely fine, and would be -- could declare victory and go home. >> go inside the meeting. one side, victor cha, a world leader gotten out of the iran deal, the climate change deal. turned its back in the last 48 hours on longtime allies. trashed the g7, trashed nato. bargaining with the guy with the worst human rights record on the planet. reneged deals of both president
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clinton and president obama and not only poisoned his half brother and his uncle is dead. why should one side even trust the other? >> i don't think there will be any trust in this meeting. >> what will be in that meeting? what it will look like and sound like? >> when president trump says we'll know in a minute. he means he'll walk into this meeting and put everything on the table. like, everything security assurance, economic assistance, sanctions. >> take it or leave it. >> and say, give up your weapons or not? based on that, going to make a determination, preparation or no preparation, that this guy's either ready tore deal or not going to deal. the danger, of course, this is what happens when you have a summit without much preparation. what follow as summit is a cliff. we could end up in a very bas situation with a failed summit nap would take us back to 2017 when there was talk about military action. i don't think anybody wants to go there. >> there is reporting on in terms of the president's preparation, axion reports he's
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shown particular interest in kim's personality and psychological profile. assumes this will be kind of a duel of personalities, the president himself says again, you know, he -- likes to size up the situation immediately. in the room with kim. take a listen to this, because it's interesting. >> how long will it take to figure out whether or not 're i said, maybe in the first minute. i think that very quickly i'll know whether or not something good is going to happen. >> is there a situation you see coming out of this? that two very unconventional people, two people who have very different approaches to at least preparation. we know that essentially kim jong-un was born to do this. to find himself onstage. something his father and grandfather could not do as an equal of the president as leader of the free world, the president of united states. can anything good come out of
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this in a minute? >> there's no question the president defined success largely in terms of ability to establish a personal relationship, and get some chemistry going between trump and kim, brought in is a very different thing than saying north korea is going to give up its nuclear weapons. >> and didn't we think he had chemistry by the way with macron? holding hands, patting each other's back. >> but the emphasis on chemistry is playing into trump's depiction of the talks. countries have interests. the heads of those countries represent those interests. this does really matter what their personal rapport is if kim jong-un is willing to make a deal and trump obviously is desperate to make a deal. he wants it too much. >> put differently, no way that personal chemistry alone gets north korea to make concessions. that it would otherwise not want to make at the negotiating table. >> is it worth even bringing up, victor, that the president of the united states turned 72 this je we think kim jong-un is 34.
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something trained, come through a die nas tick situation. does give him advantage here? >> probably not. given that the meanmeeting is tg place in the morning. experiencing jet lag. make i to 2:00 in the afternoon, but earlier point was absolutely certain. for the north koreans their universe is south korea and the united states. so they have been preparing for this meeting for a very long time. they have the same people who are negotiating back when we did these negotiations ten years ago, the same people. they know all the tricks, all the traps. my concern is the president will walk in, north korean say something that sounds good. all right. that's it and walk out and not realizing -- >> pressure to come away with something here since the g7 went so badly? >> because the g7 went so badly and walked out of the iran deal. walking out of the iran deal automatically raised expectations of what was to happen at north korea, because the iran deal wasn't good enough. right? remember the iran deal was 150
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pages, several hundred pages of annexes. they're not going to get something out of this in singapore especially when they don't have a nuclear export in the delegation. may have been lots of talks before, but no nuclear expert in the delegation. >> and whether or not you like the iran deal or not it was a deal the president at the time had read extremely thoroughly, was well versed on. thanks to all of you.much appre while the president's overseas, a new report takes us inside the white house which the chief of staff says reportedly is a miserable place to work. that and the reported staff exodus that could be coming this year. plus, this picture posted, yes, by angela merkel's office getting a lot of attention hours from the summit. how the g7 set things up, or didn't, for president trump. and just moments ago a former senate intelligence committee staffer walked out of the fbi field office in washington. that's james wolfe. accused of lying to fbi agents
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a miserable place to work. how chief of staff john kelly reportedly described the white house last week. the "new york times" reporting aides are burnt out and eyeing exits.describing the mood this . one of numbness and resignation that the president is growing
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more em bonded to act on instinct alone. susan del percio, republican strategy and msnbc political analyst joins me mow. look, working in the white house isgrueling. exhaustion is constant. you've seen it. i've seen it. but is this burnout because of constantly moving goal posts for at least if you're exhausting and you say i'm doing this because, we see a goal and we see a way to get there. now you don't even know what that is? >> working on a policy, or imementation of legislation or something like that. that burnout is what you pride yourself on, if you're working in thehite house. this burnout is for lack of direction, for not knowing how to make the boss happy. for constantly coming under a barrage of attacks from a lot of other people saying what are you doing in that white house? what are you trying to accomplish? this is not going to be good for your career after. but mostly for the lack of guidance. no one knows what they're supposed to really be doing
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which is -- >> y could argue peter navarro figured it out the way he talked about the president over the weekend? >> he knows how to beit child. what he was looking for. the purpose of his discussion, because he said things like, anyone -- a special place in hell for leaders who go against, or act in bad faith against donald j. trump. not the president of the united states, but appealing specifically to the president and just trying to get the good child on the sunday shows. >> well known. the president likes a certain amount of chaos. believed it works in new york real estate. doing it now. steve bannon described this is how he won the presidency, how he governs. this is his super power. drama, action, emotional power. are you surprised, though, it's wore down even john kelly apparently? this is a guy who's a commander, was a commander in the military. >> right. and who spent decades of service to country.
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that's the thing. donald trump comes from a different perspective. he looked at politicians and people he bought off. he said so. gave to democrats. gave to republicans. he didn't value what they did once they got to washington. how can you feel respect for yourself whee president of the united states doesn't show respect for the white house? what are you there working for? that's the big disconnect from democrat and republican administrations in the past to today. there's no sense of duty to country. >> one of the stunning things in the "new york times" report, they say staff ton joeurn over,. we've seen with other departments, not everybody sgets gets replaced. already a lean operation. you have someone basically governing not by democracy but by his own gut indecision does it matter? >> it does because there are hundreds of positions that actually need to be confirmed by the senate that haven't even --
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names have not even been put forward. government is not operating. we don't seeecretary positions athhs, for example, health and human services, or other places being filled because the nominations aren't going through. if you don't know someone will be there, for example, scott pruitt, a lot of inconsistencies at the epa. he may not be there in six months given his scandal. who's going to apply for the job or necessarily know they'll have one if it's a different secretary in six months? >> you also have to wonder, for example, for somebody at the epa. if that's their area of expertise, does it hurt themve bein association to have that position? >> that's a question. i should mention pruitt indicated there was a form of a deep state at the epa. just a couple of weeks ago. probably not the best example, but we didn't know who was going to fill veteran affairs until recently. there's a lot of other positions that if there is high turnover, government won't be working on
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its base level, because we saw the most career employees leave, federal employees, after president obama. >> so the positions lower down that actually help people are not being filled. >> susan del percio, thank you. always good having you here. some of the most dramatic moments of the g7 summit came after it ended. president ump on the plane out of canada. talking to the author of a new piece in the "daily beast." trump on full display at the g7, about the wedge the president drove into our relationship with the oldest aal lie allies, and frankly, almost no one is surprised.
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and we're back with a tale of two trumps. >> and at the g7, which used to be the g8, they threw russia out. they should let russia come back in. >> i think the relationship we have right now with north korea is as good as it's been in a long time. >> appreciate allowing him to go. >> kim jong-un who has been very open and very straightforward so far -- >> president putin and i have been discussing various things,
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and i think it's gone very well. >> so there's that president trump. here'sing praise on two of our biggest adversaries, russia, north korea, and then there's this donald trump.canadian prim justin trudeau. the president also went after germany and nato by name after leaving the g7 after backing out of a joint agreement. this morning in singapore secretary of state mike pompeo, however, tried to minimize the growing rift between the president and some of our closest allies. >> there are always irritants in relationships. i'm very confident the relationships between our countries, the united states and those g7 countries will continue to be a move forward on a strong basis. >> joining me from paris, msnbc contributor and daily beast world news editor chris dickie writing all about this "the madness of king trump" on full display at the g7.
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and steve clemons. good to have you both here, an extraordinary day by any measure. start with a quote on your piece, chris. you write, it's as if seven people went to a club to play poker and one of them, the richest, threw the deck in the air and announced they would play 52 pickup instead. give me your take on what you saw in canada. >> well i think that's very much what happened. he actually went there, i think, intending to disrupt the summit. i think he doesn't feel comfortable in that group. it's not a club that shares his values or whose values he shares. so the first thing he did was, that sort of shouted statement about why russia should be let back in to the g7. why should russia be let back in to the g7? there's no reason. they should never have been in, in the first place. it doesn't have an economy
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anything like as big as the g7 economies and brought in because suppedly after the soviet union fell it was gng to share western values. well, putin invaded crimea, and start add war in ukraine, and trampled all or the values to g7, what it's supposed to be about. i think trump knows that, instinctively knows that, but basically just a club he doesn't fit in and he'll try to figure a way, call it the club of the willing, to get together with people he thinks he can relate to, who are, you know, stronger people than weak trudeau or a sullen merkel or his good friend, i guess, emmanuel macron. >> yeah. let me back up a little bit, because this is what prime minister trudeau said that apparently set off the president, and then the response from team trump. >> i have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but
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it is something that we absolutely will do, because canadians, we're polite, reasonable but also will not be pushed around. >> really kind of stabbed us in the back. he really actually you know what? he did a great disservice to the whole g7. >> a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with president donald j. trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door. >> steve clemons, have you ever heard anything like that? >> i'm reminded that canada was the first nation to suggest that article 5 be invoked after the 9/11 attacks on thenite states, and this is the payback they're getting from the current white house. it's remarkable. >> every works together to make sure the rest are secure. >> atweeted the other day. a lot of things can snap back. tariffs can snap back. trust doesn't snap back. once you fundamentally damage
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trust as i think we are doing today in realtime between the united states and our closest allies that trust will not be there in real form for a long time, and regardless what mike pompeo says. a lot of people i know who socialize, have known donald trump, looks at this like a real estate deal. insult, you can -- end of the day everybody settles on the right price for something they're happy. 2345 that's not the way global affairs and foreign affairs works. >> heard he didn't really want to go. arrives late to the summit, right? misses the first meeting with french president macron, we saw all the -- when macron was here how they were back slapping, hand-holding, and brushing often. >> yeah. >> he got a late start saturday at the gender equality breakfast. he backs out offen agreement, insults our allies. >> this is all the soft and fuzzy stuff donald trump hates. enviroentalists. you know, climate change. you know, folks that want to do good in the world. this is uninteresting to donald trump.
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what's interesting is, him feeling that he alone through force of will and posture is bringing one of the worst thugs in the world, kim jong-un, and north korea to heal, and he himself is doing it. that's where he wants to be. i shared a little while ago. i said, wow, give donald trump the benefit of doubt. say he gets a win in north korea. i don't think he will. say he does. leave's rest of the global architecture in tatters should that count? in donald trump's mind it does. we should all be worried there are real costs now and i think chris dickie's piece was to the point. some people think there is a madness, but we're dealing with the madness either of genius or of incredible calamity. >> you have a picture that may define, chris, what the summit was. it comes from angela merkel's office. she's kind of leaning forward and he's got his arms crossed and -- you can just see by the look, for example, on abe's face
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what's going on here. this is -- a man who looks like he is isolated from the rest of american allies. what are you hearing over there? what are the real world consequences of this, chris? >> i think the real world consequences will be in the short term people will be looking for other ways to deal with all kinds of global issues. the economy, the threats of terrorism. unrest in various parts of the world. but it isn't clear they can really do that without american leadership. so you know, there's a lot of brave talk here about moving on without america, but that isn't really going to happen, and that's the reality that everybody at that summit understood. it's that you can actually hate donald trump, but you're going to have to find a way to live with him for at least the next couple of years, and some people, like boris johnson, the foreign secretary of great britain, even talk admiringly about trump and how he's crazy,
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but maybe it all works. you know, if he does get something out of the in korea, he's going to be even more insufferable than he was before, and there's really no adults left to rein him in. >> christopher dickie, quite a note to leave us on. steve clemons, thanks to you as well. so when president trump and kim jong-un meet face-to-face in a matter of hours one huge issue won't be discussed. north korea's long history of human rights abuses. why the trump administration took this issue off the table. plus an exclusive interview with kim jong-un's former teacher who tells nbc she was never even sure how old the dictator actually was. >> his age was alwaysalities bit part of the discussion, because it was not really sure if maybe he's at one, two, three years older. i tend to play the tough guy. but i wasn't tough enough to quit on my own.
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because now's the perfect time to learn more. go long. ♪ ♪ i love you baby applebee's 2 for $20, now with steak. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. the historic summit coming up starting at 9:00 p.m. eastern time has elevated north korea's leader to a status that alluded his father and grandfather. coming face-to-face with the leader of the free world. singapore marks the fourth time kim jong-un has been out of the country, as far as we know. what shaped him into the dictator we know today. nbc's keir simmons sat down with his former teacher. fascinating. so much about north korea and about kim jong-un has remained
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unknown. what did you learn? >> right. yeah, my friend. you know, there's so much focus on what's going on in president trump's mind, but, of course, 50% of this is what's happening in kim jong-un's mind and it is illusive. this former teacher from our reporting we are pretty confident had kim jong-un for a year as a student, talks about a young man. you've seen pictures of kim jong-un surrounded by bodyguards today. well, back then he would walk to school without bodyguards. he was really into basketball. he would listen to music on an mp3 player. and this, i think, is important. even then, though, they were not completely sure about aspects of his identity. >> the name was un park. un park and we called him un and he started school here in the
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seventh class. he was about 14 years old. but his age was always a little bit part of a discussion because it was not really sure if maybe he's one, two, three years older. >> reporter: you were not even certain how old he was? >> not exactly, yes. >> reporter: was there anything unusual? did he have security? >> no, no. i never saw a bodyguard or something like this. he came to school by foot. really, he was a boy a teenager from next door. never saw something special. recognized something special. >> reporter: he would walk to school every day? >> yep. yeah. he didn't come by rocker something like this. no. like any other. >> and he talks about kim jong-un then being a bit of a joker. liking a joke, and suggests that president trump should look for the real person, but behind the image, but here's the trouble with that.
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if you just think about what he describes in that student, even then as we think of a 14-year-old, he was pretending to be someone different. he was having to you know have a kind of false identity, and this is a man that president trump needs to now try and as the honesty of. he is somebody who even since his teenage years has been deeply political. has had to be. and has also, we think, later after those school years, had quite a training from his father, who, of course, was the leader of north korea before him. >> keir simmons, fascinating stuff. thank you so much. hours before the president comes face-to-face with kim jong-un we now know from the white house that the conversation will not include north korea's brutal practices and glaring human rights violation. worth noting. the trump administration's own state department says, human rights abuses by dprk regime remain among the worst in the world including extra traditional killings forced labor, torture, prolonged
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arbitrary detention, rape, forced abortions, sexual violence. about is joins me has been with more. ken, start with the obvious question -- why would the administration decide to keep this out of the conversation? >> chris, i say first, if there's nothing that would prevent frutrump from free lanc, we wouldn't rule it out. they're not making this a part of negotiations. in fairness, in keeping with decades of u.s. practices and policies where the nuclear threat from north korea to the united states is prioritized over its awful human rights. that's only gotten moi acute with the notion north korea is perfecting an icbm that could potentially issue a weapon to the united states. only natural value its on security first and foremost but shouldn't lose sight of the fact this regime is more brutal than
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any other in the world. more than china, burma or other oppressive countries. >> they sent a letter to kim jong-un demanding his regime, a laundry list, act u.n. human rights recommendations, everything up to and including brutalization. they talked in a speech to south korea's national assembly last september. take a listen. do we have that? >> an estimated 100,000 north koreans suffer in gulags, toiling in forced labor and enduring torture, starvation, pe and murder on a constant basis. >> and that address is still posted. go to, is there as part of the america first
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agenda. could trump, for example, seem some human rights concessions after some sort of deal is consummated if indeed they come to some sort of deal? >> that is certainly the hope, chris. in fact, a few months after that speech donald trump hosted some north korean defectors in the oval office who said they were overjoyed when they heard him say those words to the north korean parliament. activists are very concerned by trump's rhetoric in recent weeks about kim. essentially suggesting that all he has to do, give up his nuclear weapons to preserve the security of his regime and get sanctions lifted and they worry these strong words on human rights by donald trump was a tactic to get kim to the table. it remains to be seen what trump does going forward on this issue. >> ken delanian, thank for that. a fascinating new report on secret meetings between former president obama and democrats who seek to be president in 2020. we'll take you inside those talks with the reporter who got the scoop. ms by an insurance coy
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former president obama may be largely out of sight, but he is certainly not out of mind. at least for democrats eyeing 2020. politico reports he's already met secretly with at least nine presidential hopefuls. can his counsel guide them to a
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white house win? chief washington correspondent from politico is here with his inside school, along with zerlina maxwell, an msnbc political analyst. >> edward, this was so fascinating. bernie sanders. elizabeth warr. joe biden. noting, quote, all the meetings were arranged quietly without even some close advisors to the people involved being told of the conversations, in part, because of how much obama brift bristles at his private meetings becoming public knowledge. but your sources got you inside those meetings. is there some kind of common thread about what went on behind closed doors? >> the common thread is that he does not see himself as the guy to come up with the plan for the democrats party but he does see himself as someone very interested in making sure democrats have a future, in making sure that they focus on the right kinds of things. he's telling them, don't think about the tweets or whatever
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flares up in the moment. think long-term, a very obama way of approaching this. but also look at economic issues and look at what's really going to hit people in their cores. he is of course a guy who managed to win two presidential elections. he has some thoughts on that and will ge some basic campaign advice not like where to open your office in des moines, but what to think about if you're thinking about a campaign and how to make sure the party is coming at this in a way that brings it together. >> so let me go through a couple of these aet like just a sentence or two on what you know about what happened. i want to start with what you learned about elizabeth warren. the first was in the spring of 2017 after warren said she was troubled by the $400,000 obama was getting to speak at a wall street investment firm. obama responded by inviting her in. they heard each other out. then they had a second meeting. what happens? >> well, the second meeting was just recently. this spring. so it was one last spring and one this pastwarm meeting from
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start to finish. it wasn't because warren said something that caused some frustration but they talked about a number of things. they talked about the man running the consumer financial protection bureau, now the democratic nominee running for governor in ohio. they talked about trump. they reminisced about their times together, started to think about what the party is looking like going forward. >> joe biden, somebody he still talks to on the phone. a close friend. is there any inkling he was encouraging to joe biden? >> he has generally taken the approach, both when biden was looking at the 2016 race and in this race of letting bid come to his own decision and being there as a friend to counsel him but not as a cheerleader and not as -- at least directly a detractor of the idea that biden should run. >> he is not going to just jump in, say, okay, this is my man, this is my woman, whoever it might be. if you read ben rhodes' book,
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he's a little concerned. he's very thohtful about what happened to hillary clinton. so what do you see as his role in all this? >> i think that he has an important role. he can raise a lot of money. he can campaign for democrats. but in this particular moment he with talk about his experience. he did win two elections in recent memory. >> but he didn't run against a donald trump. >> certainly not. but he can impart some wisdom. he mostly stayed out of it in 2016. he was the sitting present. >> he was also at a lot of rallies for hillary clinton. i went to them. he brought out thousands of people. >> he stayed mostly out of the primary, didn't endorse until it was finally decided. in his new role i think he can impart a lot of wisdom and on-the-ground know-how. there are going to be a lot of democrats running so it wouldn't be right for obama to pick his favorite so early on. i th it is iortant for all of the democrats that want to get in to the white house and will run against donald trump in 2020 to get up on the stage, to debate each other, debate issues, talk about health care
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and the economy. then whoever rises to the top will be the nominee in 2020. >> the counter to that, edward, is this -- that all these candidates, they're going to beat each other up, they're going to smepend a lot of money. they're going to leave the democratic candate, who it is, weakened against donald trump. any indication that the president -- former president is thinking about that? >> the democratic party has no appetinppetite for the kind of situation that happened in 2016 with the new york coordination of hillary clinton when obama himself was quietly putting his thumb on the scale for her. it does not seem like that will happen in 2020 except obama has his personal ties both to joe biden and to former massachusetts governor dufl pva patrick. >> fantastic article. zerlina maxwell, always good to see you. we'll be right back.
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that's going to do it for this hour of msnbc live. i'm chris jansing. katy tur picks up our coverage. >> what a day! >> cannot make it up. >> if you did, people would laugh at you. it's 2:00 p.m. here in the east and 2:00 a.m. in singapore where in just seven hours president trump will confront what barack obama told him would be the most urgen problem he would face as leader of the free world. trump's high-stakes sums with kim jong-un is scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m.


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