tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 6, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
the president offering documents showing his false 2017 testimony was edited allege lid dly by a attorney. ivanka's advantage. sources tell cnn the president personally granted a security clearance to his daughter and senior adviser, ignoring his top aides' concerns just as did he for her husband. tonight, the house oversight chairman wants details and is considering subpoenas. art of the deficit. the u.s. trade deficit balloons on mr. trump's watch, braini br records. have his america first palolici backfired? cnn learned the north koreans tried to salvage the summit as the president was about to leave vietnam. stand by for exclusive new details on what kim jong-un did and what went wrong. we want to welcome our viewers
in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news. the president's long time fixer and lawyer michael cohen wraps up his congressional testimony, promising he will continue to cooperate even as he prepares to go to prison in may. cohen facing the house intelligence committee for a second time and offering new evidence after publically accusing mr. trump of committing crimes. the panel's chairman called the hearings productive and said cohen answered every question. cnn has learned cohen gave the committee documents showing edits to his false 2017 congressional testimony about that trump tower moscow project. cohen told lawmakers last week that another attorney for the president made changes to the written statement. i will talk with congressman jim
himes. he has been questioning cohen together with his colleagues all day. our correspondents and analysts are standing by. first, let's go to our senior congressional correspondent manu raju. what are you learning about what cohen told the committee today? >> reporter: the gave the committee for first time documents showing edits made to his false testimony that he delivered to the same committee back in 2017 at that time. he downplayed the effort to pursue the trump tower moscow project. he also suggested that then candidate trump wasn't that involved in those discussions, discussions which he testified ended back in january of 2016. he later acknowledged lying to this committee saying that those discussions occurred until june of 2016 and then said publically that then candidate trump was heavily involved in all of those discussions. he also alleged publically that trump's attorneys as well as an
attorney for ivanka and jared were involved in the preparations and in the editing of that statement that was delivered to congress. for the first time, we are learning the house intelligence committee received documents showing edits that were made to that false statement back in 2017. the question is, what exactly were in those edits? we don't know that yet. after the testimony today, michael cohen emerged and said he is willing to cooperate even further with this committee. >> i believe they're happy that i have given them my assurance that any additional information that they need, i'm here to cooperate and will continue to cooperate. >> reporter: adam schiff, the house intelligence committee chairman, made it clear that after the second day of testimony before this very committee, he is satisfied with what cohen said. he acknowledged getting new documents. he suggested there could be more documents that cohen provides. >> he was fully cooperative with the committee. we had requested documents of
mr. cohen. he has provided additional documents to the committee. there may be additional documents that he still has to offer. his cooperation with our committee continues. i think the members found it enormously productive. >> reporter: schiff later called it important testimony as well. he would not disclose why he thinks it's important. he would not answer questions, including my own, about whether or not he has any concerns about the trump attorneys' role in editing the statements. whether he agrees with michael cone cohen's public testimony that they did change the statements, something they denied, saying they were not involved in editing the time line of that false statement that was initially provided to this committee. but it's bound to be a subject that that democratic-led committee plans to investigate going forward. >> what else are you learning, manu, about the questions cohen faced? >> reporter: one of the big areas that both the democrats and republicans were interested
in learning about were discussions about pardons that may have taken place after michael cohen's properties were raided by the fbi last year. you will recall at that time then cohen, the personal attorney of the president, was -- the president was concerned about what happened there. he had not flipped on cohen -- cohen had not flipped on the president yet. there was questions about whether or not trump's attorneys had conversations with cohen's attorneys about a pardon to potentially prevent him from going forward and cooperating with federal prosecutors. there had been reports suggestisuggest i suggesting cohen's attorneys discussed a pardon. republicans want to know if he perjured himself. we know there were a lot of questions about that. it's unclear exactly how he -- what he said in this classified testimony. that's been an area that members want to focus on. an area that potentially prosecutors want to focus on as
well. cohen, of course, acknowledged last week that the southern district of new york is looking into one conversation the president had with michael cohen after cohen's properties were raided. >> lots of investigations going on. manu raju reporting for us from capitol hill. thank you. let's talk more about the breaking news on michael cohen's testimony today. our crime and justice reporter shimon prokupecz is in the studio. there's a problem about his credibility, his honesty. >> it's a big problem for michael cohen. what we have seen is, he has receipts. what we have learned is that he keeps records. he has documents. that's what he is using now to corroborate some of the information that he is provided to the special counsel's office, which they have come out and said the mueller team, they have found him credible with respect to parts of their investigation that they needed him for.
he is appearing before members of congress. he is bringing documents. we know he is a record keeper. he has tapes. he has documents. we saw him wheeling stuff in today. we don't know everything yet. he is going to be able to probably corroborate everything he is telling them through documents. >> what kind of trouble could the president's lawyers be in if they helped michael cohen edit his statement which was false and they knew it was false? >> here is the thing. if they knew it was false and they were involved in this conspiracy, let's say, to commit perjury or obstruction, whatever, then they could face a lot of problems. we don't always know that the president necessarily even tells his lawyers the truth. his lawyer denied they had anything to do with altering the statement. he said that this testimony by michael cohen, that attorneys edited or changed his statements to congress to alter the duration of the trump moscow negotiations are false. his attorneys have come out and
said it's not true. certainly, we don't know what exactly the president has told the lawyers about this. it could be very well. we have heard people complain that the president lies to his own attorneys. it could be that kind of a situation here. we just don't know. his attorneys are denying that they had any role in altering any of the statements. >> two months from today, cohen begins a three-year prison sentence in upstate new york. we will watch what happens between now and then. shimon, thanks very much. shimon prokupecz reporting. security clearance granted to the president's daughter and son-in-law. the house oversight committee wants details on ivanka trump's security clearance following new reports on the president's role in granting her access to sensitive information. pamela brown is following the breaking story for us. pamela, first, the focus was originally on jared kushner, not
necessarily his wife. but now the focus is on ivanka trump as well. >> reporter: that's right. because of the new reporting from me and my colleague kaitlan collins. tonight, the white house is facing these renewed questions about its security clearance process and whether the president gave his family members working here at the white house special treatment after we learned he pressured officials to give his daughter ivanka as well as his son-in-law clearances against top white house officials' recommendations. >> a special person. she's worked so hard, as you all know. >> reporter: tonight, pressure mounting to explain its security clearance process. the house oversight committee chairman says he wants answers after sources tell cnn, president trump demanded his daughter and adviser ivanka be given a clearance despite objections of two top white house officials. >> we're
not going to comment on security clearances. that's the policy of the white house. that continues to be the policy of the white house. we're also not going to get into
comments and back and forth over things that are currently dealing with the oversight. >>
reporter: ivanka told abc several weeks ago, her father wasn't involved. >> there are a lot of people that question whether you were given special treatment by the president overriding over -- >> absolutely not. >> reporter: you c >> reporter: can you speak to that? >> there were leaks about there being issues. the president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance. >> reporter: sources tell cnn it's possible she didn't know. one person familiar with her process says, quote, she did not seek nor have outside counsel involved in her process as no issues were ever raised. c this cnn's reporting comes days after "the new york times" revealed the same thing happened with jared kushner. today, freshman democratic congresswoman taib announced she's launching impeachment
proceedings against trump. >> they continue to be a group that's totally taken by a small, radical, leftish fringe of their part. they are completely controlled by it. they know it's not enough to beat this president. they will look for other ways to do that. >> reporter: democrats may choose to focus on the president's economic record. after the merchandise trade deficit hit a record high of more than $890 billion. the worst in the history of the united states. both the trade and budget deficit increase surpassing president obama's record, which trump routinely bashed on the campaign trail. >> our trade deficit in goods with the world is now, think of it, $800 billion. trade deficit. can you imagine? this is the legacy of barack obama. this is the legacy of hillary clinton. >> reporter: in yet another economic blow, the gm assembly plant is closing in the key state of ohio, eliminating 1,700
positions by the end of this month. it's important to note, overall job growth is still in an upward trend. last year was the best for manufacturing jobs in decades. certainly, the gm plant closing is only adding salt to the wound of the trade deficit despite president trump's america first policies. >> pamela, thank you. pamela brown at the white house. now that the house intelligence committee wrapped up its hearing with michael cohen, let's bring in a top democrat on that panel. jim himes is joining us. thanks for joining us. >> good evening. >> michael cohen says he believes all the members of your committee were satisfied, very happy with his responses today. is that true? >> it is true. it was a pretty grueling day, day number two in front of this committee. it went on for a solid day. michael cohen has had some sort of shoulder surgery. so he was actually in a lot of pain as he did there.
he soldiers through specific questions, very different than the public oversight hearing which the american public got to see last week. of course, because it's behind closed doors without news cameras running as such, it was very factually driven. lots of information covered. as our chairman said, new information and new documents provided. >> the chairman said it was very productive.times. you agree? >> i agree. we were able to get into details and sadly, i'm going to respect the chairman's wish we not discuss, for a bunch of reasons, the substance of what was said. we may call follow-on witnesses as a result of what we learned today to come testify before the committee. therefore, it's important that we keep what happened in that room in that room. it was productive. we learned a lot. the transcript will be released and made public. all of these questions and some of the things that cnn is reporting will be known sometime in the not too distant future. >> when you say not too distance
future, what does that mean? >> i don't know exactly. we don't have to go through the process of declassification, because michael cohen was not privy to classified information. that's what is hanging up a lot of the transcripts that were done in the last congress' investigation. it will be a decision of the committee when to release them. when that decision is made, there should be no impediment to getting them out into the public. >> did you learn new information today? >> we did learn new information. that's why i'm confident in saying it was a productive day. i don't want to get into the specifics of what we learned. i can help you think this through. michael cohen obviously made public allegations about the process in which the statement for which he was held to account, that is to say the statement to the house intelligence committee about what exactly happened with respect to trump tower russia, of course, the special counsel used that to charge him with lying to congress, you can imagine two things. he might have -- i do say might have -- talked about some of the people that were involved in the
process of forming what was a very details document. it is also possible that some of the new material that he provided today might have pertained to that. why do i say that? because we either have the written material that will allow us to get to questions around that document or we can always summon people who might have been associated with the creation of that document to come testify before us. of course, watching what happened to michael cohen when he testified inaccurately, when he lied to this committee, those witnesses would presumably tell us the truth about what really happened on whatever issue it is we may seek to talk to them about. >> cohen also says your committee can follow up with him if you need any additional information. do you think that will be necessary? will you be doing that? >> you know, i hope not. it really was a grueling two days. not just for mr. cohen but obviously the staff of the committee put in a ton of work in order to make this as productive a day as it was. i hope it won't be necessary. you never know. mr. cohen has given us any
number of follow-up items on a bunch of topics. i do -- i hope he doesn't need to come back. he really was remarkably cooperative. i can't tell you how different his testimony was in tone and style this time around than when he came before us sort of in the service of donald trump when he was antagonistic. this time, the guy has -- you saw this in public. the i go hguy has a heck of a sf humor that showed. he feels like -- he seems like a man for whom a significant weight has been lifted, even though he is facing a pretty harsh term of incarceration coming up in the spring. >> in may he begins three years at a federal penitentiary. you said the cohen transcripted will address some of cnn's reporting. are you referring to our report that cohen handed over documents to try to prove his claim that the president's lawyers edited and reviewed his false testimony? >> yeah. i appreciate the question. i don't want to get into the
business of confirming stories. we were provided with substantial new information today. if you think about it, in and of itself that's interesting. previously, the committee had requested pretty much all of the documents related to most of the topics that we are interested in. today, we get a whole new set of documents. again, i don't want to get into the substance or issues covered by those documents. as you might imagine, those documents have other people's names on them, they have things at odds with what we heard the first time around. when we say it was productive, i think that's what it means, without getting into the specifics of what was set or done today. >> are these documents decisive? do you think you need more information from the white house or other witnesses? >> very rarely is a single document decisive. you wouldn't be making too big of a leap of faith to assume that if a document exists, it has been viewed or authored by or participated in by somebody
other than just michael cohen. part of where we need to go from here particularly -- i don't want to confirm anything. particularly if there are issues of interest for follow-up is we're going to need to talk to the people who might have seen those documents, might have been part of the documents. that's why i think we are characterizing today as a productive day. >> did the documents point to individuals who may have committed a crime? >> again, wolf, i don't mean to stonewall. you will appreciate that if we do want to call people to come and ask questions of them about documents or about any of mr. cohen's testimony, the investigation would be best served by not getting into the specifics of what mr. cohen said. let's just say this was productive. there are any number of follow-ups. i think when the transcript is released, it will be of interest. it will probably be regarded as controversial, as everything that michael cohen says is. we have some follow-up to do based on today's time with mr.
cohen. >> will felix sater be testifying before your committee in open session as the chairman announced last week? >> yeah. he is coming. i think the chairman made that announcement last week. he is coming. i'm not sure if a determination has been made about whether it will be open or closed. i think the intention was it would be open. i think obviously the chairman reserves the right to -- based on what we learn and what's happening to decide whether it will be open or closed. >> there's been speculation it might be delayed. have you heard that? >> i have not heard that. we have seen delays before. >> we have. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thanks. just ahead, we will dig deeper on michael cohen's latest round of testimony and what more he may have to offer. the former u.s. attorney, preet bharara, he is standing by live as we cover this breaking story. liberty mutual accident forgiveness
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we're back with breaking news. the house intelligence committee chairman says michael cohen's testimony today and the material s will allow the panel to advance its investigation substantially. we're joined by preet bharara. thanks for joining us. what are the potential legal ramifications for president trump if his lawyers edited or attempted to edit the false testimony that michael cohen gave to congress? >> as with a lot of things we talk about here and elsewhere, the devil is in the details. it depends what was said, what
was known. it depends what the president knew. if it's the case in the worst case scenario for the folks you mentioned that michael cohen prepared testimony that was accurate as to the time line for the moscow trump tower project and then handed it over to trump's lawyers and the trump lawyers' edits took something truthful and made it false and it happened at the direction of the president himself, then that's a very, very serious and terrible thing. it doesn't sound like from the reporting that that's what is going to be born out by the facts. it sounds like what probably happened is michael cohen submitted testimony that was knowingly false in some measure, because he was trying to tow the party line, that the talks were abbreviated and ended before the caucuses in 2016 with respect to the trump tower. there were tweaks made by the lawyers. until we know what tweaks were made and what knowledge, it's hard to say what the implications are. >> is it possible the lawyers didn't know the testimony that michael cohen had drafted was
false? >> that's certainly possible. we have seen in this scenario with the president and his lawyers and other people around the president and their lawyers that there seems to be some disconnect between what the truth is and what the lawyers have known. one of the lawyers that's being talked about in connection with your question here, the review of michael cohen's testimony is abby lowell. in a separate matter a few days ago looked like he was throwing his own client under the bus with respect to how the security clearance process worked. if this is a case where people don't tell their clients everything, which may give the lawyers some safety here. >> let me get your reaction to "the wall street journal" report that cohen's lawyer raised the idea of a pardon with the president's legal team. do you believe there was anything improper or potentially he will ly illegal by that? >> on this question also, it depends what happened, who knew
what, what the words were that was used. it's not clear what language was used. it's not the case according to the reporting that it was michael cohen's lawyer who raised it as an initial matter. that doesn't take it out of the realm of being something improper or unlawful. but the fact that this was something that was raised by cohen's lawyer minimizes a little bit. at this point, we don't know the language that was used. we don't know what the specificity of the language was. we don't know whether donald trump knew about it. we certainly know that nothing came of it. until you know those details who said what, why and when, and was it more than something nebulous, while people are feeling out what the possibility of a pardon was, i think it's hard to say. as with the other question, the worst case scenario would be for them, which seems unlikely and stupid, is if there was a conversation in which cohen and/or his representatives said to the president and/or his representatives that in exchange for a pardon, i will shut up or
he was asked, if we pardon you, will you shut up. i don't think the facts will bear that out. >> cnn has learned that president trump overruled his intelligence officials and a senior advisor to grand ivanka trump security clearance in addition to jared kushner. the white house refused to hand over any documents on the security clearance process to the house oversight committee amidst their demands for those documents. does the white house have standing to do this? >> i don't know if standing is the right word. they have some legal ground that they could argue. it's arguable. maybe there's executive privilege they will claim. the bottom line is, it appears to be this will be embarrassing to the white house. it's a serious matter. security clearances are done on a non-partisan basis. the fact they were treating security clearances in a casual way, give them to relatives,
take them away from, in the case of john brennan, somebody who is your adversary politically to punish that person. i think it's an important issue to look at. if they have to fight it in court, that's a good fight to have. >> i suspect there will be a huge legal battle over this. we have a lot to unpack. we have our panel standing by. our experts, they are getting ready to assess everything we learned. much more on the breaking news right after this.
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we're following breaking news. president trump's former fixer michael cohen wrapping up his second appearance before the house intelligence committee. adam schiff says cohen answered every question. schiff calls the testimony very productive. let's dig deeper. gloria borger, tell us more about what you are learning right now about cohen's false testimony to congress that got him into trouble, one of the reasons he is going to jail for three years, and the role the president's other lawyers had in all of this. >> we have sourcing that says that michael cohen wrote the testimony himself. it was edited by his lawyer. then it was circulated around to the other lawyers who were part of the joint defense agreement. as preet alluded to a moment ago, they made tweaks here and there. the important point that discussions about trump tower
moscow ended in january of 2018 remained in the testimony and our sourcing says the lawyers had no indication that any of the information in the testimony was inaccurate. now we know, of course, that michael cohen wrote this and did it because he thought it was what the president wanted him to do. >> to end the negotiations in january as opposed to july or august or november. because they continued for much of that year. >> these were lawyers making tweaks but not a big change like change the date of when the trump tower moscow ended. >> jeffrey toobin, what do you make of that? >> the facts as gloria describes them suggests the lawyers didn't do anything wrong. what matters is whether they authorized or put in false statements. as gloria describes it, she didn't. the real issue is, cohen's own
culpability, which he acknowledged, and the larger question of did the president himself have any involvement in putting out the false story that the negotiations ended sooner than they did? he certainly said that publically. but as we all know, it's not a crime to lie to the public or to the press. it doesn't sound like, as these facts are described, that there are any new legal implications to what went on. >> we know, jeffrey, that cohen knew it was false to say the negotiations for the trump tower in moscow ended in january of 2016. and he put it in there he says because the president wanted him to say that to congress. it wasn't changed when the other lawyers reviewed it. what if they also knew it was false? >> well, that is foepotentially problem. i'm not aware of any evidence that these lawyers knew that it was false. that's a very serious accusation
or possible accusation against lawyers. lawyers are for the most part deped dependent on their clients for facts. these lawyers would have no independent knowledge of what went on with trump tower moscow. they would have -- they would only know what they were told by their clients. it would be very difficult to get at that information because the attorney/client privilege. i don't know legally where this situation goes. i suspect probably nowhere. >> and i was told that the documentation showed that they had reviewed, showed that it ended in january of 2018. >> 2016. >> sorry. if michael cohen had been having extra conversations with the president of the united states, he could keep those conversations to himself and not tell attorneys. >> it's interesting, david, that congressman jim himes just told
me that what they heard behind closed doors today was very different than his public -- than michael conehen's public testimony. you hear what he said, what schiff said it was a productive meeting. >> congressman himes told you he learned something today. he didn't specify what he learned that was new. >> a lot. >> if you go by gloria has the latest reporting on this. go by some of the earlier reporting from "the new york times," cohen says he has e-mails and documents showing lawyers made changes to his testimony, if it's not substantive, then as you are saying and jeffrey is saying, it may not matter in the end. i think the key is, what is in those e-mails and what is in those documents that he apparently gave to congress? >> i will play a clip. this is how cohen, after the nine hours, whatever it was, characterized the session. listen to this. >> the hearings went very, very well. i believe that all of the members were satisfied with the
statements and the responses that i gave to them. i told them that any additional information that they would want, they should feel comfortable to reach out to my counsel and i would continue to cooperate to the fullest extent of my capabilities. >> this how the chairman adam schiff described the meeting. >> he answered every question that was put to him by members of both parties. he was fully cooperative with the committee. we had requested documents of mr. cohen. he has provided additional documents to the committee. there may be additional documents that he still has to offer. his cooperation with our committee continues. >> how concerned should the president be right now about what he has -- what cohen provided and the additional document s he may provide? >> the president should be concerned. what has become clear after cohen's testimony this week is just how central he was and the
nexus of the trump organization he has. there's a domino affect in terms of the investigations have progressed since cohen's testimony. i think we obviously -- as preet and gloria said there are questions to answer here. the way in which cohen moves the ball forward is that he is leaving this trail of bread crumbs to corroborate these pieces. jerry nadler, the chairman of the judiciary committee, issued a request for 81 different people involved in this investigation. if any of those people put forward documents that corroborate what cohen has been saying, again, this just continues to push the ball forward in a certain way. >> there's going to be more hearings coming up, supposedly felix sater, this russian american businessman as early as next week. >> felix sater was key to trump
tower moscow. he have the one standing to benefit financially. was sending e-mails to michael cohen about our friend putin and how great this is going to be for donald trump. why we need to get this deal done. he was the one who continued pushing the deal, even after that january. i think sater is kind of a key figure here that they are going to want to hear from. >> we will get more on this. let's take a quick break. we'll be right back. so... you're driven, and you have a ton of goals... but you're stuck in the vicious cycle of credit card payments. it's time to get a personal loan from sofi. borrow up to $100k to pay off your credit cards, and then pay us back with one monthly payment. and it's all with zero fees. get a personal loan, and pay no fees. ( ♪ )
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more breaking news. the house oversight committee seeking documents from the white house about ivanka trump's security clearance as well as documents pertaining to her husband jared kushner. so far, the white house is refusing the request. elijah cummings says there may be additional conversations before he decides to issue a subpoena. this is a big deal. the president legally can give top secret security clearance to anyone he wants. politically, it's very awkward. >> yeah. the president claims that -- if he makes this decision, it can happen. obviously, there are concerns. i just talked to chris murphy, who was very concerned that potentially granting jared a security clearance when career officials advised against it meant jared was potentially providing confidential,
classified information to people that shouldn't have this kind of information that could hold it against the trump administration when it comes to making important foreign policy decisions. >> what problems could have been holding up ivanka trump's security clearance? >> if jared was having problems, ivanka was part of the trump tower moscow proposal. that could potentially be part of it. maybe there was a sense she didn't deserve to have a top secret security clearance given her portfolio. we don't know exactly. our reporting hasn't shown exactly why they were holding it up. they obviously had their reasons. jared and ivanka were in the same pool, it seems to me. >> what do you think, jeffrey? is there work she's doing based on what we know publically that requires security clearances? >> she has taken overseas trips on behalf of the president. anything relating to foreign policy is usually classified. although, most of her work it
seems to me at least publically involves issues like family leave, that don't involve national security information. overseas trips, she had a meeting with angela merkel. she represented the government at an international conference early in the administration. there's a very good question about why nepotism should rule in making those decisions about whether she should have those responsibilities. but i can certainly see why once she has them she needed a security clearance. >> elijah cummings, he says he needs more conversations about subpoenas. the white house is refusing to provide the relevant documents. where is this heading? >> i think the committee eventually will get to the subpoena stage if they don't feel like they're getting the information they want from the white house. they probably also anticipate legal challenges along the lines of executive privilege, even though it's unclear, let's say, that memo written by john kelly
and don mcgahn would fall into that category. that's debatable. congressman cummings knows he can get there but maybe there's a way he can coax that information out one way or the other, including from some of the reporting before he actually forces the issue. >> it's interesting. amidst this, we got new numbers out today. i want your thoughts on the trade deficit this past year in goods. take a look. it's gone up to almost $900 billion. it increased dramatically, even though the president often repeated that that trade deficit was going down on his watch. it hasn't gone down. it's gone up pretty dramatically. >> . >> yeah, exactly what the president had promised. i think this is actually going to be something that will haunt him, potentially into 2020. i think a key -- you know, there is a poll that came out this week, the wall street journal nbc poll that showed that the
race is actually a lot tighter than i think either side, democrats or republicans realized, and what it's really going to be contingent on is how well the economy is doing next year. so if this continues, that does not bode well for his 2020 reelect. >> yeah, because -- >> can we just say that a big trade deficit is not necessarily a bad thing for the economy? i mean, donald trump has this fantasy that trade deficits are terrible things. but, in fact, you know, the fact that, you know, americans are prosperous enough to buy a lot of goods overseas doesn't mean that the economy is doing badly. and in many respects, it's a good thing. >> well, the president -- but the president as a candidate and since taking office, he's made this a huge issue that the u.s. was going to narrow. close down that trade deficit. yeah. >> but -- >> it's bad economics. >> our "washington post" colleague, david lynch, did a great story where he pointed out and talked to experts who simply said, look, it's the macro economic factors, strength of the dollar, et cetera.
the tariffs and trade deficit issue is not moving the needle, as jackie said. if we head into the 2020 cycle with a strong economy, that will affect the race one way, and if it starts to go down a little bit -- >> you have a strong economy, and a majority of the people in this country still think we're headed in the wrong direction. >> what is that about? >> they think that, and yet president trump's approval rating in politics is 43% today, essentially where he was on inauguration day. >> we'll see if he changes his tune about trade deficits. i suspect he won't. just ahead, a cnn exclusive. new information about the failed summit between president trump and kim jong un and how the north korean dictator tried to salvage it at the very last minute. did i have after business school? six? yeah...that interest rate was crazy. good thing i got a loan to pay them off faster. and right before i got engaged. but now that i'm debt-free, i can actually contribute to the wedding. and go on a honeymoon. you know... out of state.
cnn is learning exclusive new information tonight about the summit between president trump and the north korean dictator, kim jong-un, that collapsed last week in hanoi when president trump walked away. our chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto, is with us. our cnn national security reporter, carley atwood, as well. jim, what are you learning about the last-minute effort, the last-minute effort by the north koreans to try to save the summit? >> well, wolf, in a summit really of wild swings, this was something of a last-minute hail mary that the vice foreign minister of north korea, as president trump was leaving the hotel in hanoi where these talks were taking place, delivering a personal message from kim
jong-un himself, attempting to resurrect the talks to find agreement before the two leaders parted there empty-handed, specifically to resurrect this exchange of north korea dismantling the nuclear complex, a significant one, though not their only one, in return for partial sanctions relief. but in the view of the u.s., according to our reporting, it was not specific enough, particularly the definition of how much of this nuclear facility, what degree of sanctions relief. and so the president continued with what he now refers to as the walk. >> yeah, the walk away from that. they even cancelled that luncheon that had been set. you were there in hanoi, as well, kylie. there were signals going into the meeting that there wouldn't be a breakthrough. what are you learning? >> yeah, that's right, wolf. even before president trump sat down for those hour-long negotiations or for that dinner with kim jong-un on the night before, it was his negotiators and his chief diplomat secretary pompeo that were facing road blocks when they were trying to deal with these north koreans who are known to be fickle and
unpredictable. so secretary pompeo lands in hanoi. he's hoping that he can actually meet with his counterpart, kim yung chol, who he met with in the past. but the secretary actually waited for a few hours, hoping it would come to fruition. the meeting never happened. obviously, leaving a sour taste in the mouth of secretary pompeo on the eve of these negotiations. now, i want to point out that, you know, a source explained to me someone who knows these negotiations, knows the north koreans, what actually could have been accomplished between pompeo and kim yung chol before kim jong-un and trump were going to meet. not very much. of course, kim jong-un and president trump don't like to be upstaged by their underlings, but their working-level officials. but it was a very foreboding sign on the eve of the summit that ended up delivering no results, no deal on either end.
>> jim, what comes next in the nuclear talks between the u.s. and north korea? a lot of fear that kim jong-un may decide he needs to undertake some sort of provocative step now to underscore that. >> yeah, and listen, a sign that at least he's at least rattling the saber, these new satellite photos showing activity again and a ballistic missile testing site. the president, when confronted with his news today in the oval office, said that he was not happy. handing a message of his own back to kim. listen. >> i would be very disappointed in chairman kim, and i don't think i will be but we'll see what happens and it will get solved. no new kim-trump summit scheduled, wolf. >> because there is, kylie, some significant concern right now. he might do a test or something along those lines. >> of course. it's always possible. he has the capability to do so. >> ever yeah. and let's see if he does or he
doesn't. this is an important moment in u.s./north korea relations right now. guys, thanks very much for that. and to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. you can follow me on twitter and instagram at wolf blitzer. tweet the show at cnn sit room. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. breaking news, michael cohen on capitol hill with documents he says prove team trump's lawyers edited his testimony to congress. cohen says he has even more information to share. plus, promise broken. president trump promised to shrink the trade deficit. so why is it soaring? ten-year high. and alexandria ocasio-cortez aligning herself with nancy pelosi. how the freshman democrat is helping pelosi move the party. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin buffett. out front this evening, breaking news. michael cohen wrapping up his fourth and final hearing before congress. cohen today spending another eigh