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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  May 16, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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accurate. that is the latest and we'll continue following this hearing this morning. thanks for being with us. a lot of breaking news. i'm poppy harlow. >> and much more coming up at this hour with kate bolduan. see you after the break. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. we begin this hour with breaking news. nearly 2,000 pages and that's what the senate judiciary committee just released offering the most comprehensive view yet ahead of the infamous trump tower meeting with the campaign. the senate now publishing the transcripts from the closed door interviews a interviews from statements from the trump tower meeting including the president's son, don junior promising dirt on hillary clinton coming from the russian government. the meeting has been a key focus as you well know of the special counsel's investigation into the
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campaign and the russian government. >> manu raju is on capitol hill. it has been a lot of pages to comb through, and what are we learning about specifically mostly from don junior, and the leadup to this meeting. >> well, was there a lot of discussions between him and rob goldstone who is the music promoter who essentially arranged this meeting. donald trump jr. had already released his e-mail exchange wes rob goldstone in which he was promised dirt on the clinton campaign. goldstone said it was part of the official russian government and president trump's candidacy. donald trump jr. said i love it. he wanted to get information about hillary clinton that could be damaging to her campaign and we now know that rob goldstone testified that he believed this could be, quote, bombshell revelation to donald trump jr. and others in this meeting. so there were a number of discussions that donald trump jr. had with goldstone and with
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russian pop star amin agalarov, and when asked about this coming from russian sources, donald trump junior said this, i'll read you from the transcript. he said i was interested in listening to information, the question, information on hillary clinton? yes. it came potentially from the russian government? again, i have no way of assessing where it came from, but i was willing to listen. what trump junior testified is that the dirt did not ultimately materialize and he did not inform his father about this meeting, but we are also learning that there were phone calls in the run-up to the meeting including one of a blocked phone number and when asked who that phone call was with, he said he didn't remember and it was potentially with his father and he said he did not know and we do know from separate testimony that his father did have a blocked number in one of his residences and that was one question that the
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democrats have going forward, kate? >> and the big focus, manu, has been the evolving statements after the fact when this meeting came to light. what did don junior say about the president's involvement in crafting the misleading statement. >> there were clear concerns about the story when it came out in july 2017 first reported by the new york times and there were those misleading statements that came out about exactly the nature of this meeting. donald trump jr. says he did not speak to his father directly about this, but that it appears to be indirect discussions to hope hicks, the then white house communications director. in one exchange with the senate judiciary committee staff, donald trump jr. was asked to the best of your knowledge did the president provide edits to the statement or other input. donald trump jr. responded he may have communicated or commented through hope hicks and the follow-up question, do you know if his comments provided through hope hicks were
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incorporated into the final statement? he said i believe some may have been, but this was an effort through lots of people, mostly counsel, and kate, we also learned that donald trump jr. did not provide this committee with documents about those july 2017 interactions because donald trump jr.'s attorney said those are protected by attorney/client privilege and we'll see if there was ever an effort to subpoena or get those efforts and maybe mueller's team has a sense if whether donald trump senior, the president, had a more significant role in these conversations and all of this, kate, providing more details into the narrative that we already knew about this meeting and the offer of dirt that donald trump jr. and others did state did not materialize in this. >> appreciate it. we'll talk to manu in a bit. john turner, former communications director for u.s. national intelligence. jackie kucinich, washington
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bureau chief for "the daily beast" and seth waxman, former federal prosecutor. sean, first to you, what manu was getting to, don junior saying he was interested in getting information on hillary clinton. i was willing to listen according to the transcript. that's beyond the i would love it that we heard so much and analyzed so much from the initial e-mail. is that collusion? >> well, even if it is, kate, what we learned over time is that collusion is not necessarily a crime in this context, but i think that there is a bigger issue here. you know, there's the issue of inconsistencies and statements that don junior may have made and others may have made in both the ridden and oral testimony and that's something that the mueller team will look at closely, but there's also the issue of the purpose and intent that the russians had in going into this meeting. we know that natalya veselnitskaya was someone that was not a lawyer with dirt on
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hillary clinton. she went into this meeting as an informant for the kremlin. >> which she recently admitted that she was an informant for the government. >> absolutely. that's out there. she was there to collect information and was there to set the conditions for a follow-on meeting and what i'm interested in is whether or not she was able to accomplish any of that. >> what happened after this? that's the key question. so to continue on the vein of the russia investigation is centered on is the russian collusion, seth. donald trump jr. was interested in getting dirt, but they didn't have anything to offer. that's what came out from this transcripts in many different places. is that collusion still? if he wanted it, they didn't have it to offer, do you see collusion? >> his self-serving statements that they didn't have it to offer, mueller's investigation will prove if that is true, but the fundamentals of a criminal case are being laid here. what we have is a quid pro quo. the offer of dirt on hillary
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clinton in exchange for the reduction of sanctions on russia, and that was by all accounts now what the purpose of that meeting was. there may have been people more interested in it or upset that things weren't going the right way, but at its bare minimum that's what this was about, and as we may know under a federal bribery charge, if you offer anything of value to a public official and that public official offers or promises official acts in the future, that is the fundamentals of a bribery charge, and so i think that this testimony as a whole can be taken as setting the base fundamentals of a federal charge. >> seth, when it came to the magnitsky act they basically said, at least what you see in the transcripts, we don't see anything like this. go talk to president obama because my father is still a private citizen at this point. regardless, jackie, this is all coming out the day before an anniversary. the anniversary being that robert mueller was appointed to
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be special counsel. >> this coming out the day before that because we heard from mayor giuliani that their tactic is they're going to make a big deal about the flexibility coming up tomorrow and they'll say it is time for this to ratchet down. it's been a year and the anniversary has come up and it's time to wrap it up and this coming out the day before does what? >> i think -- it does, right? they're going to point at this and they're going to say look at all of the contact that trump officials and his son had with the russians. it's right there in black and white and both sides are saying that it happened. republicans will say yeah, but there's no collusion. look at this. the one thing, and one of the many things that isn't ferrying out, there's one person in jail and a whole lot of people indicted that point to the absolute opposite of that. he has been finding things. we don't know what else he has. so the idea that it's time to wrap up now is far-fetched,
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frankly. >> who can speak to that with authority when robert mueller's team is the only one that hasn't been leaking. >> let's talk about the statement, the drafting of the statement. don junior saying he never talked to his dad about drafting the july statement and trump may have commented on it through hope hicks and that's what came up in the transcripts. can you remind us what you think the president's role in drafting the statement is so important? >> because it kind of speaks to how involved the president was in the direct interactions with the russians. look, what i think what don junior was doing, is he was trying very hard to walk a fine line. he wanted to make absolutely sure that he did not lie in his testimony and he wanted to make sure that he maintained plausible deniablity for the president. in doing that, what we see now is he's shifting responsibility and saying maybe it's possible through hope hicks, but it does come down from the national security perspective and it
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comes down to whether or not the president was directly involved in the conduct of this meeting or in how the narrative around this meeting was shaped after the fact. >> and seth, play this out for me because one of the things that sean is getting to a little bit and one of the things you see in don junior's testimony is i don't recall and i don't know, on the question that did your father tell you he saw e-mails about the meeting? i don't recall. did anyone else pass along information about the meeting? i don't know. was your father involved in drafting the initial statement about the meeting? i don't know. i never spoke to my father about it. when someone testifies i don't recall and i don't know so much does it lead you somewhere? does it tell you something? >> well, sure. it starts to fail the smell test. when someone says i recall things that happened in the trump tower meeting and it didn't involve x, y and z and during that same timeframe or even a year later i can't remember these other things
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starts to wear on the credibility and don junior is flip-flopping statements. let's all remember in july '17 when the statement came out he claimed it was all about abortion meeting a year earlier. we now know that's entirely false. did the president play a role in that statement or not is yet to be determined, but it's clear now that donald trump jr. when that statement was issued was perpetrating a falsehood and why lie about the meeting a year earlier if that year earlier meeting was not nefarious and nothing wrongful about it, why do you have to lie about it? >> jackie, getting to the adoption issue. rob goldstone, he's the guy if you follow the tangled web, he's connected. >> the promoter guy. >> he testified before the committee that jared kushner in the meeting appeared frustrated and that at one point he says infuriated that the russian lawyer veselnitskaya wouldn't get to the point saying i don't
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know what you're talking about and she eventually got to the point that she was there to talk about the magnitsky act and the russian sanctions to get adoptions. what's this whole thing about adoption even though there was not full disclosure when it came to that first statement, but what's this whole thing about adoption? >> it's the smoking gun and he started going through the convoluted story about donors and russia and the dnc and the way i read it that's when jared kushner was, like, what are you talking about and then the russian lawyer started talking about adoption and no one wanted to hear it which is when you had don junior say listen, my father is a private citizen and you should talk to the obama administration about this. that said, they didn't stop there. they kept trying to approach the trump campaign about this issue and push this. so the fact that they used something to get in the door, that's what's frustrating kushner. no, yes, at the end of the day it was about adoption on.
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>> but then why the smoke and mirrors and -- >> to get in the door and the cover up. i'm saying on the -- on the back side of it, why this whole mumbled mess of a statement putting out and the crafting and the re-crafting and the releasing of the e-mails. again, it just doesn't look right. it just doesn't look right and this is offering more context about it all. sean, jackie, seth, thank you so much. continuing to pore through thousands of documents. coming up, the president's big sum wit north korea, now a big question mark after the north warns it could all be over. how real is this threat? how is president trump now going to respond? plus, the president has pledged to bring back jobs in china and help the company that intel leaders say is a national security risk to the united states. the president's defense and what senate republicans are saying about it now. as a face to be reckoned with. only botox® cosmetic is fda approved to temporarily make moderate to severe frown lines,
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north korea to call off next month's summit with president trump. in a statement through state-run media north korean dictator kim jong-un said that a spokesman for kim jong-un put this out saying this, if the u.s. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandon am, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot, but reconsider our proceeding to the dprk-u.s. summit and that announcement came after north korea abruptly called off high-level talks with south korea over military drills under way with the united states. here is the state department's reaction as this was all playing out yesterday. >> we have not heard anything from that government or the government of south korea to indicate that we would not continue conducting these exercises or that we would not continue planning for our meeting between president trump and kim jong-un next month. >> white house correspondent
quote
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kaitlan collins and barbara starr are covering the big developments. kaitlan, we heard from the state department, and you heard from heather yesterday, what is the white house saying today, though? >> their stories seems to have changed slightly because last night as we reported white house aides were caught off guard in this announcement and president trump was on his way to visit melania trump, the first lady who was in the hospital outside of washington and recovering from a kidney illness when reports from north korea first broke and he wasn't fully briefed on what transpired until he got back from the white house over an hour later, but this morning we caught up with the press secretary sarah sanders on the driveway in front of the white house and she said they were fully expecting something like this from an unpredictable regime from north korea. >> look, this is something that we fully expected. the president is very used to and ready for tough negotiations and if they want to meet you'll
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be ready and if they don't, that's okay too. if they want to meet the president we'll certainly be ready and we will be prepared, but if not, that's okay. >> so stating their case that the president is prepared to walk away from a meeting like this, but they are still planning on this summit actually happening. we spoke with some white house officials this morning and they've been in contact with the national security adviser john bolton and mike pompeo on this and they tell me that trump is all over this today, kate. >> all right. he could be speaking to cameras later this hour, and let's see exactly what the president does. the statement from the north koreans says a lot. it was a lengthy statement, and they also seemed to particularly be upset over the national security adviser john bolton pointing to the libya model as a model for their talks now. it's important for people to understand exactly what that means. can you lay it out for us? >> well, kate, you'll remember back around 2003-2004 the u.s.
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had promised libya it would ease up on economic sanctions in return for the libyans, moammar gadhafi, giving up his weapons of mass destruction. that was the model. gadhafi gives up his weapons of mass destruction and several years later u.s.-backed rebels in libya overthrew the government and he was killed. that's the model that kim jong-un is looking at, that gadhafi was killed essentially in return for some vulnerability to his regime and that's what kim does not want. i think every u.s. intelligence official will tell you that kim's major priority is survival of himself, his family and his regime in north korea and he is reacting very badly, but not unexpectedly to any notion that the libya model could put him at risk. he is not going to go for that, kate. >> let's see what happens in the next moments, really.
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>> great to see you, barbara. thank you so much. >> joining me to discuss further, purdue sits on the senate arms services committee. good morning, kate. >> what's your reaction for the new threat now from north korea? >> i was just in south korea a few weeks ago and in china talking to senior leadership in china as well as south korea. look, we never thought that this negotiation with korea would be linear. you have to have ups and downs and kim jong-un is posturing and this is another indication that we need to continue steadfastly for the goals here. three weeks ago we were talking about a nuclear holocaust potential and we're talking about the reunification of north korea and a peace treaty and the total denuclearization and it's interesting to note that in his xhe experience, they are solidly behind the total denuclearization of north korea. >> do you think -- you think
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that in the statement they were soft on denuclearization because they said the unilateral abandonment of nauk luclear wea is off the table and i can tell you from the conversations that we had directly and the conversations i've had with pompeo that this is what's on the table. now, look, there will be posturing about our exercises and so forth, and nobody thought this would be linear, but look, this is a process of re-engaging with that part of the world and i'm very encouraged that the president is still willing to have the conversation and i don't see anything in this release that tells us that we can't move forward with these negotiations. >> do you think he was a mistake for john bolton to say libya was the model that they would be following? >> well, look, i'm not in negotiations. libya, right now we're offering this guy, kim jong-un an opportunity to rejoin the community of nations and that means opening up. i was just over there and i can tell you we meet with defectors coming out of north korea and
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sanctions are working and people are desperate. the this guy if he upons survival needs to talk to the united states and the international community about denuclearization and opening up his economy to the rest of the world. >> john bolton was the one who offered it up and that was the model that they're going to base it on? do you think it was a mistake? >> denuclearization for opening up because what didn't happen in libya is that gadhafi didn't improve in human rights and so forth and that was all we had over there and we had an opportunity in north korea and the president has said that we want to open up the economy and we can help them dramatically. south korea is talking about it and now japan is talking about that. >> now it's gone from the president deserves the nobel peace prize now as we heard from republicans to the question of are they going to be calling the whole thing off. if the summit doesn't happen is that a failure on donald trump's part? >> look, this is a rogue regime. they're in cooperation with syria and chemical weapons.
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we know that they've been parteri partnering with iran on all sort of international law and this is the situation right now where we need to move forward with the negotiations in the manner that we have right now. the talk about the peace prize and all of that, that's in the media. president trump just wants results -- >> president trump is talking about it, too, though, senator. he said he deserves the nobel peace prize. >> we'll see how that works out. right now we just want an arrangement with north korea to denuclearize and that's the biggest objective we have going. >> senator, chuck grassley released 2,000 pages of transcript into the investigation of the trump tower meeting with the lawyers promising dirt on hillary clinton. you say it's time for bob mueller to wrap up this investigation. are you glad that grassley put this out? >> of course, the american want the truth. i haven't seen all of those
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pages yet, but i can tell you this, after a fuel year of investigation there is no evidence of collusion with this president with russia regarding our election. it's time to get that out there. i've said before, this thing could be spiralling out of control and here's an example of how it could. senator, who -- the american people -- let me finish, the american people deserves the truth and this president wants them to have it. we've had a year of investigating this. when does it end? >> who is the authority about when it's time for mueller to wrap up or not because if you look at next week as an example, the public learned last week about michael cohen pitching himself and one with links to a russian oligarch. bob mueller knew about that six months ago and who is to say what bob mueller knows? >> the information was starting to determine whether there was a collusion between this president and the collusion. now we've spun off in all of
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these tangential investigations and that's fine if he wants to create a new investigation and come to congress and we may be willing to do that, but right now the american people deserve to get this president's potential collusion with russia. >> let me ask you one thing that you've been pushing for quite a lot is for mitch mcconnell to cancel the august recess coming up to get the budget done ahead of the september deadline and move ahead on the judicial nominees before the senate. you want to get some things done. i get that. i think the american people would appreciate that. manu raju is also reporting that there's also political benefits to this. you can keep democrats in washington and off the campaign trail ahead of the midterm. is that part of your calculation, senator? >> if anybody knows me, that's not my calculation and i'm outside of that process and here's what's at play. this is the first time, kate, in 230 years that the minority party has not waved the rule that requires a 30-hour debate
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for nominations. we have 284 nominees in the backlog waiting for their hearing. one ambassador nominee has been in the line for over a year. this is the first time in u.s. history that's happened and the problem is right now it stops the senate up and what we're trying to do right now is fund the government. the last time congress funded a government and this is the democratic republican rule, kate, this was 2006. >> nobody has a good track record. this is only four times in 44 years has this congress funded a government on time by the end of the fiscal year. so this is about political obstructionism more than anything else. if we can get the nominees out of the way and no reason we can't. these are not controversial nominees and once we get them to the floor, but we get those out of the way then we can deal with the appropriation bills out of the floor and what the president has said and others and if we don't get them done by others, stay in here and get it done to make sure we get the government
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funded before september 30th. >> if there's one thing that we all know about the senator and nothing like a deadline to get the wheels in motion, to get something done, but let's see, senator. great to see you. thanks for coming in. >> thanks, kate. >> coming up for us, the transcripts are out is explaining why. people inside the trump tower meeting during the elections from russians and more reaction from capitol hill next. captivating exteriors dynamic lighting elevated comfort powerfully efficient and one more thing the world comes with it ♪you can go your own way... the 2019 jeep cherokee
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about what has been released. >> reporter: as you can expect on capitol hill you are hearing a partisan divide about what this actually means, this essentially shows what they've been saying that there was no evidence of collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. democrats saying there were significant contradictions, misstatements and the investigation that the transcripts ultimately revealed. heading into a meeting early this morning with chuck grassley whose committee conducted these interviews with these participants with donald trump jr. made the case that this gives the public a sense of exactly what happened. >> the public's business ought to be public. what we've done so far in a lot of cases has been posed and the public has a right to know and the public can go through these 2,000 pages and make up their own mind and draw their own conclusions. they don't have to have it deciphered by members of
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congress. >> reporter: democrats are saying that the transcripts revealed that there was an effort by the trump campaign to get this incriminating information knowing it was coming from the russian government and then when they were caught they issued a misleading statement to conceal the true intent of that meeting and they say this requires further investigation and dianne feinstein released a statement saying that june 9, 2016, meeting is one piece of a much larger puzzle and confirms that the trump campaign was willing to accept russia's assistance. there are more questions than answers given the lack of cooperation by many of the individuals involved and kate, it's important to note that five of the eight participants were interviewed by this committee and the people not interview side jared kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law and the charges from the special counsel's investigation. >> great to see you, manu. thanks again. >> coming up for us, we will hear from president trump since
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north korea threatened to walk away from the united states. what will the president say about this abrupt change in course in town from the north? we'll be right back. your company is constantly evolving. and the decisions you make have far reaching implications. the right relationship with a corporate bank who understands your industry and your world can help you make well informed choices and stay ahead of opportunities. pnc brings you the resources of one of the nation's largest banks, and a local approach with a focus on customized insights. so you and your company are ready for today. i had a very minor fender bender tonight! in an unreasonably narrow fast food drive thru lane.
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remember his threat to abandon nafta? >> nafta has been a disaster. we are renegotiating nafta, and if we don't make a deal i'll terminate nafta. >> and then there was a threat to leave nato. >> they haven't been paying. i said you have to pay. you have to pay. you have to pay, and now they've taken in because -- i guess, i applied if you don't pay we're out of there, right? >> and of course, was there the threat and the followthrough to pull out of the iran deal. >> if that deal doesn't conform to what it's supposed to conform to there's going to be big, big problems for them, that i can tell you. you're going to see that. >> and even when it comes to the very issue at hand, north korea, the president has made clear he is at least saying he's sticking to his playbook.
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>> if i think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go. if the meeting, when i'm there, is not fruitful, i will respectfully leave the meeting. so, is kim jong-un outtrumping trump right now? joining me to discuss the senior adviser for the council of foreign relations and kelly rasmun who served on the national security council under president bush. the big issue that north korea has at least according to its statement is john bolton's statement that they're going to be following the libya model. why do they have such a problem with this? >> not hard to see why. look what happened to moammar gadhafi and he gave up his weapons of mass destruction and lo and behold a few years later he was overthrown and killed and
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the last thing any dictator would want to do and throwing out the libya model which john bolton was deliberately trying to sabotage the negotiates because we knows what the libya model means and north korea said we're not going to go the way of saddam hussein and moammar gadhafi and so when the national security adviser who just a few months ago was talking about how he wants to wage a preventative war against north korea when he says we insist that you go and do exactly what libya did, that's not a message that's designed to reach an agreement and it's designed to provoke this kind of reaction, i think. >> what's your take, kelly? from what north korea is saying right now, is this a negotiating tactic ahead of the meeting? if it's not, then what is it? >> the north koreans are probing on two fronts and first on denuclearization. they're probing on whether the president has basically overruled some of his adviser's positions and that's one piece they're doing and by canceling
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the south korea-north korea military talks he's trying to test the strength of the alliance and whether the south koreans will then come to the united states and talk to president trump about the exercises. this is very classic north korean strategy and this is not surprising. these traditions are very long held and the statement made that very clear. >> max, the u.s. has said that there aren't going to be any, listen, payoffs ahead of getting to the table, from where we are right now in this chess match already is that what's going on have to happen to get there? >> clearly, north korea will not give up its entire nuclear arsenal in return for nothing. that's not going to work that way. i would imagine it would insist on major concessions including the removal of u.s. forces from south korea, we will have to wait and see and as you were highlighting with your comment, trump's negotiating style is rhetoric and has gotten away from the facts on the ground. he was talking as if north korea
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had denuclearized. whoa! you have to be less eager to reach an agreement and north korea can sense that desperation on trump's part and he's rattling his cage to see how desperate he's going to be on this agreement. >> here's one line from the north korean statement. if the u.s. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment we will no longer be interested in such a dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the dprk-u.s. summit. am i missing something here? >> there is a huge disconnect on the issue of denuclearization and that's what the issue is about. this is north korea laying out its position. john bolton went on sunday talk shows and laid out the u.s. position. this is the start of the negotiation and this will play out and we'll see what president trump does. >> we all will have to wait and see on that moment and we might
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hear from him this hour. we heard from john bolton off the top with what he said. what do you think this means for john bolton? the statement for the north koreans, and they focus donald trump. >> think the north koreans paid pretty close attention to u.s. politics and i think they're trying to drive a wedge between president trump and his national security adviser because they know that bolton -- >> it would be good for them to get them out because bolton will be far more skeptical on any agreement and it's hard to imagine what north korea could do to convince john bolton -- he would never believe they're doing it and it seems to me what they're basically doing is signalling to president trump hey, if you want your nobel peace prize, you have to shove them both to the side and don't listen to the hard liners, go with me and that seems to be how they're trying to manipulate u.s. politics. >> there you go. >> nobel peace prize, your choice.
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president trump coming up for us, also today is talking about china. in a series of tweets he dismissed criticism that he was caving to china's demands for the telecommunications company zte and says that nothing has happened with zte yet. it hasn't happened so there's nothing to worry about. maggie lake is at the new york stock exchange with much more on all of this. maggie, how are the markets reacting to all of this back and forth and quite a bit of confusion with regard to china and trade? >> yeah, nothing to worry about. tell that to the market. there is a lot of confusion and concern, frankly, that exactly what the trade policy is coming from the trump administration, and it really falls into two camps. first, there are the industry groups, company executives and agriculture, and retail manufacturing who remain concerned about the threat of punitive tariffs. we're hearing from columnists and analysts that he can get concessions from the chinese and in order to do that he'll give
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away too much when it comes to technology and intellectual property and that's the back and forth from zte feeds into that worry and a lot of headline risk out there with trade and with the rising interest rates and that's weighing on stocks even though we had really good earnings coming through for macy's today. we had a list in the beginning and served a lot of crosscurrent xs we' s and we'll catch up with bob nardelli to talk about the trump administration's policy and coming up in the next hour at 12:45 on market now over on cnnmoney.com. >> great to see you, maggie. >> right now on capitol hill, scott pruit is facing ygrilling over spending. last time we checked there were 11 investigations by the inspector general of the epa. we will go live to capitol hill to hear the very latest.
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embattled epa chief scott pruitt is being grilled right now by senators about his spending at the department and the laundry list of ethics investigations he's been facing since taking office. for weeks, he's been at the center of a series of controversies, from his first class travel to his 24/7 security detail and a whole bunch of stuff in between. renee marsh is joining me right now. it feels like scott pruitt keeps getting called up to capitol hill to answer to more and more
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questions about how he's running the department. >> reporter: that's right. that hearing just wrapped up few minutes ago. keep in mind, this was a budget hearing for fiscal year 2019. but a large focus of this was on his ethics scandals, and i'll tell you, kate, it was quite something to watch. as pruitt gave his opening statement, protesters stood up behind him holding signs that said "fire him." senator patrick leahy slammed his security excuse, saying what a silly reason to fly first class. nobody even knows who you are. and there's more. there was a very stunning moment tis morning, despite 12 federal probes into pruitt's conduct that he essentially appeared defiant today, pointing out all the good regulatory work he's done and saying a lot of the scandals were unfounded and exaggerated. but here was another very
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stunning moment this morning at this hearing. take a listen. >> let's get the record straight. did your security detail use sirens while you were in the car for non-emergencies, yes or no? yes or no? >> let's do this. there are policies in place that governs the use of lights. those policies were followed to the best of my knowledge by each of the agents that serve me. >> here we go. there have been reports that you encouraged the use of lights and sirens on your motorcade, even though there wasn't an energy. is that true? >> i don't recall that happening. >> you went shopping -- >> there are policies that the agents follow, and to my knowledge, they followed it in all instances. >> and you personally requested that the sirens and the flashing lights occur, is that right? >> i think i just indicated that the agency followed those policies to the best of my knowledge. >> you personally requested that on a number of trips?
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>> no, i don't recall that. >> reporter: democrater senadem senator tom utall fact checked him, and an e-mail said he encourages the use of lights and sirens. so definitely contradicts what you just heard there. >> thanks so much. coming up, we'll hear from president trump for the first time since north korea threatened to walk away from the summit. what will president trump say about it?
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welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing another very busy news day with us. donald trump, jr.'s account of that infamous trump tower meeting is now public. yes, he wanted dirt on hillary clinton. no, he didn't tell his father, and maybe the president was involved in a damage control phone call from air force one. north korea shifts to defiance, canceling talks with south korea and warning it might back out of the planned trump-kim summit. and the embattled epa administrator on the hotseat on capitol hill.

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