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Trump Diplomacy On The Global Stage; Trump: Japan Should Buy More Missiles; Kremlin-Connected Lawyer Tells Bloomberg Trump Jr. Hinted At Review Of Sanctions; Texas Town Mourns Victims Of Church Massacre. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired November 6, 2017 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:30:23] JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: Welcome back. A familiar refrain from the president today within earshot of North Korea.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The era of strategic patience is over. Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong. But look what's happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we are right now.
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KING: A big question on the president Asia trip is whether he will offer just tough talk like that or roll out new policy ideas. One proposal is to announce that North Korea will be put back on a State Department's list of nations that sponsor terrorism. We could get an answer tomorrow when the president will be in South Korea and not far from the DMZ.
In Tokyo, his talks with the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe included suggestions that Japan beef up its missile defenses.
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TRUMP: He will shoot them out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of additional military equipment from the United States. He will easily shoot them out of the sky.
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KING: The era of strategic patience is over. That's a line first coined by the secretary of state and repeated by the vice president who is in Asia not that long ago. So the president trying to stick to a script from the administration there, but that's a challenge to North Korea by encouraging Japan to beef up the more muscular or military perspective.
I didn't hear anything from the president. Did I miss it? It sounds more open minded or optimistic about the diplomatic option here.
MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG POLITICS: Well, if he does a declaration, I mean, that is a diplomatic. Something that, you know, Obama or Bush might do in that -- President Trump might say it's very weak, all right.
So, but there are really limited number of options other than what we now know is the option that they have began the game out. But nobody think is a great idea which is actually putting something on the ground. So, we'll know a little bit more about this I think when the president is in China and they're actually talking whether in a private or in a public setting about whether China is willing to do anything more or whether China feels that it is now exhausted what its willing to do.
But this is tremendously frustrating for President Trump and sort of the most recent assessment from the U.S. government on what's possible short of actually a ground commitment. It's pretty --
KING: You mentioned China. He gets to China. He gets to Tokyo, goes within Seoul but then goes to China. Minister President Xi will be -- a huge consequence here if there's anything to move, if there's anything to move.
And the president has said, hey, I remember I promised to be tough on trade with China. But I'm going to set that aside. Because he does think China is helping, but to your point is there indication on this trip the president will hear the China is willing to do more? There's always a line for China.
OLIVIER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: -- actually there. Also watch the last stop on the trip in Manila, the meeting of Southeast Asian nations. Because some of them have been -- (INAUDIBLE) case of them are being harbors for North Korean money. So let's watch that really carefully.
To your earlier point, no, the president is not offering any carrots. He's only offering sticks. The carrots are little complicated, things like saying we promise not to try a regime change. We might consider withdrawing entirely or lowering the number of trips we have in South Korea.
Maybe we can finally do a peace treaty official ending the Korean War which is still technically ongoing. You don't hear that very much from him, you do hear it from other diplomats.
The promise that (INAUDIBLE) win a little too far for like Secretary of State Tillerson, the president raps their knuckles and says direct talks are a waste of time. Well, for a while there are times were happening. They were happening in secret. Having be at the U.N., but they were happening. So I haven't heard any carrots from this president.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: And it's also interesting even those some of -- have been sticks. He didn't -- his rhetoric so far has not been as incendiary as it has been. Calling him, "little rocket man," saying we're going to blow up his nation, "fire and fury" like the world has never seen before. So there has been a little bit of dialing back from the president. The question is can he stick to the script? As so many questions of this presidency have been particularly in such a sensitive region, the sensitive time, but, you know, you've seen out of couple times make some awkward comments so far on this trip. Such as suggesting that Japanese automakers make cars in the U.S. which is of course they already do.
And there were also some questionable remarks that he made next to Shinzo Abe earlier today when even suggesting that talking about the U.S. economy being the best and well, Japan, you're economy could be pretty good too. I don't think Abe thought that was as funny as the president.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I just going to add to that. I believe last time he was making extended foreign trip though he mostly stay off Twitter, at least for the major type of tweets, right? It stayed pretty formal. So if we see the same sort of discipline this time, then his comments will be limited -- that the non-scripted comments will be limited to like the things he said to Abe.
[12:35:07] But the question also is if it's -- end being a calm, we can have tour of the continent that he come back and start firing off about things that change the investment he left. Because not just say -- it's not a vacuum, it's not a file load off calendar that nothing --
KING: And the big focus on North Korea, I think, that some focus would be on the changes in the Chinese leadership which give Xi even more power.
KING: He wants to be used and equal to the United State. We'll see how the president handles that one. Where there's another big issue is trade. That Donald Trump takes credit for this, President Trump, I was dying at the end of the Obama administration, TPP, he was not going to get back through the United States Senate but Donald Trump did pulled the final plug on it.
Listen to him talking about trade in Asia here saying my way is better.
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TRUMP: We will have more trade than anybody ever thought of under TPP, that I can tell you. TPP was not the right idea. Probably some of you in this room disagree, but ultimately I'll be proven to be right. We will have much bigger trade with the way we're doing it right now. It will be much less complex situation.
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KING: That is his view. Country to country, one on one trade deals. But on this first trip to Asia where he is going to allies like Japan and like South Korea, there is zero expectation they will deliver on any of that yet, correct?
RAJU: Yes. And also that's a very tense topic. I mean, falling out of the TPP, this is something -- overall and he supported with lot of his participants in the countries that he's going to. And the concern also is that this could give China more power in the region. So that's a question --
KING: He always casts TPP as a benefit to China. TPP was design to reign in China or at least to have a united front against China.
I want to end with on these international trips, the president first trip to Asia. We also learn new things. Sometimes we see here -- listen to the president here talking about during the presidential transition, he was the president-elect. Prime Minister Abe wanted to come and start the friendship early then the president says, oops, I'm not supposed to do that.
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TRUMP: So my relationship with Shinzo got off to a quite a rocky start, but I didn't know you were supposed to not see world leaders until after you were in office which was January 20th. So you were just not supposed to because it was considered bad form. It was not a nice thing to do.
So it's November and he said to me congratulations on your victory. It was a great victory. I would like to see you. I would like to see you as soon as possible. And I said any time you want. Just come on in. Don't worry about it. But I was referring to after January 20th.
The press is going crazy because the prime minister of Japan is coming to see me. I think it's absolutely fine. But I didn't really mean now, I meant sometime in February, March, or April. They're going crazy. They are saying you cannot see him. It's so inappropriate.
And I said what do I do? And they said let's call. So I called him and he was not there. He was on the airplane flying to New York. And I said, you know what, there is no way he is going to land and I'm not seeing him. So I saw him and it worked out just fine. Do you agree with that?
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KING: Prime Minister Abe certainly thinks so. This is a friendly relationship, and again, very different reception especially early in Asia that we see when the president travels to Europe. I just always like behind the curtain moments, though, I think that's interesting. This president is not often to say, oh, I didn't really know I wasn't supposed to do that.
TALEV: -- oh, was I not supposed to do that? If I'd known I wasn't -- all I can hear the minute he started talking was every other country with the same thought process that might apply to.
KNOX: Can we just roll it back. The Abe visit wasn't the controversial thing he did between being elected and being sworn in. That would be the call with leader of Taiwan.
KNOX: Which lend some (INAUDIBLE) to that. But I was going to separate -- being separate from the mainland China.
KNOX: And then -- right, and they went, well, they went to this dance where they're like, oops, no actually it was genius diplomacy. No, oops, it was genius diplomacy.
I mean, I remember something -- Obama State Department raising their eyebrows. But it wasn't kind of an outcry. Taiwan, -- that was a completely different situation.
KING: Well, it will go back to being oops if they needed to be down the line. We'll do aggressive (ph). Sit tight up next, that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, remember? Back in focus today as the Russian lawyer inside the room gives her account of what went on.
[12:44:04] KING: Welcome back. This morning, two indicted former Trump campaign officials were back in court. As another development emerged that may soon grab Special Counsel Robert Mueller's attention.
The Kremlin-connected lawyer who went to Trump Tower back in June 2016 is now talking, sharing details about what she says happened in her meet meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.
Bloomberg sat down for two and a half hours with Natalia Veselnitskaya in Moscow. You'll remember Trump Jr. thought Veselnitskaya would share what was advertised to him as Clinton dirt. We now know, at least from her perspective what that information was. The lawyer said she told Trump Jr. Democratic donors had made U.S. taxes and then brought money illegally into the country.
Trump Jr. according to her offered what sounds like a classic quid pro quo. Veselnitskaya says the younger Trump wanted written evidence that that illegal money made its way into the capers of the Clinton campaign. And Trump offered to revisit sanctions Russia had long wanted to scrap.
"Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think about what to do about it." Trump Jr. said she recalls.
[12:45:08] Now Veselnitskaya told Bloomberg, she's ready to share that account with the special counsel if he asks.
He said that he will, given the attention on that issue.
This is remarkable, your news organization sat down with her for two and a half hours. I want to just say Bloomberg's reporting is great. You want to do the interview, you know, consider the source. Everybody here has their interests at stake. She has known to be connected to the Kremlin. One of the big allegations against the Kremlin is doing things like this on purpose, to disrupt the U.S. political system.
But, I assume if you are the special Counsel, you've already gotten documents from Jared Kushner about this. You're investigating senior White House aides about this. You want to interview Hope Hicks, the President's Communications Director who was part of an Air Force One damage control meeting about this. What should Donald Trump Jr. say about it? It's a big deal.
TALEV: It certainly is. And two and a half hours is a very long time to sit down with anybody. You can get the story in just two minutes and get on with things. So her willingness to sit down, her interest in sitting down for that period of time, we all thought -- have to look at what does she want from the special counsel in exchange for coming in if she were asked to come in. That's also incredibly important.
And if someone who at one point the Trump campaign or (INAUDIBLE) of it saw as an ally or potential ally, potential partner, have the tables turned. So this is certainly interesting. It could end up being really important as well.
RAJU: It's remarkable that, you know, this meeting which, you know, Trump Jr. has downplayed as nothing significant and this was -- you know, 20 minutes, walk in, Jared Kushner claimed that he got a phone call, told his assistant to call him so he could leave the meeting early. This meeting we learned about, you know, earlier this summer. There are still new revelations that continue to come out about this meeting.
It is a very significant meeting for investigators not just Robert Muller but on Capitol Hill as well where they are trying to interview everybody who was in that room and Don Jr. himself. It really just shows that this still remains a key question, have major questions unanswered about what exactly Donald Trump Jr. actually said.
We know what he said publicly that there was nothing there. But what do other people remember from that and what is Don Jr. going to say when he does -- probably eventually talked about Mueller as well?
DEMIRJIAN: If her account is correct, it also shows this, I mean, like you said, the quid pro quo. That they are willing to offer something and something very significant, I mean, like they're talking about a major bedrock principle of now not only our human rights sanctions policy against Russia but globally because they extended on that in 2016 with the Global Magnitsky Act.
Yes, Russians want to roll all about that. It is tied to various sorts of Russian schemes that have to do with everything from, you know, directing rights violations to money and where it goes and it comes back to Putin. So, the idea that maybe the Trump organization is willing to horse trade on that is that self significant even if turns out that they can't connect without fully --
KING: Right, and this -- DEMIRJIAN: -- to them.
KING: And just more details on this meeting. Remember when George Papadopoulos says I wanted to meet with the Russians and I was going to suggest the meeting with Putin, Trump says gives to nobody who doesn't matter. Carter Page meets with the Russians on a trip after denying he met with Russians on the trip, the Trump campaign, people on the president, say he's a nobody. Donald trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner are not nobody.
Now, maybe nothing came about this, maybe nobody in those meetings from the U.S. side did anything wrong. But it's fascinating over the weekend, listen to America's top spy, former top spy General Michael Hayden ran the CIA (INAUDIBLE). Listen to him here describe how even if nothing comes of this from the criminal investigation in his view, Russia already won.
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MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: We teach our case officers a step by step process to recruit someone. Spot, assess, develop, recruit. And now we've got two instances, one with Papadopoulos, the other one during the summer of Trump Tower where it appears as if agents of the Russian services already got through steps one and two. They were spotting and assessing. Keep people in the Trump campaign. That should make every American nervous.
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KING: The point General Hayden is trying to make is that, A, Russia already won, B, that you have to be incredibly naive to even take those meetings. Number, two and he thinks it's a very fair avenue to explore.
KNOX: Yes, and just wait -- we're going to see how the U.S. government responding ahead of 2018 and ahead of 2020. What we're discovering now about their use of social media and about some of these relationships between the Russian officials and people in the Trump orbit at least.
I think -- your really point -- I think the White House is about -- a one news cycle away from declaring that all these folks were nearly volunteers. That they've been pushing them off into this other orbit and saying they don't matter. The documentation that Bob Mueller is digging into might --
KING: Right. Everything we've seen so far, and again, Papadopoulos plea, he says he's just a little tiny piece of the puzzle of the documentation. We'll see what it goes for. Everybody sit tight.
Coming up next, the Texas town banding together after losing so many friends and loved ones in the nation's latest mass shooting.
[12:54:12] KING: We have yet to see the faces and names of the 26 people who were shot and killed during their church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas yesterday, except the one person, the pastor's 14-year old daughter Annabelle Pomeroy. Her parents were traveling when it happens. And her mother says one thing that gives her some comfort is that Belle, as she's called, died surrounded by the church family she loved so deeply.
We also know eight of those killed from the same family. Several who died were children including an 18-month old baby. All day long those are the connections to this tragedy have been telling us their stories of grief, hope, and faith that they'll get through this.
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GLORIA RODRIGUEZ XIMENEZ, KNEW CHURCH SHOOTING VICTIMS: There's no words to describe what everybody is going through. Who would have ever thought that's the safest place to be and look what happened.
SHERIFF JOE TACKITT JR., WILSON COUNTY, TEXAS: The man went through there or the creature, whatever you want to call him, went through there firing with, you know, an assault rifle and took no mercy on anyone there. Why do you have to deal with a situation like this? We don't know.
[12:55:23] KATHLEEN CUMOW, CHURCH SHOOTING WITNESS: I will never forget those shots. That noise. This is two and three generations of two or three families are not with us anymore.
PASTOR MIKE CLEMENTS, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF FLORESVILLE, TEXAS: These people, many of these people have lost loved ones. But one thing they have not lost is their faith. Our job is to respond to hate with love and forgiveness.
JOHNNIE LANGENDORFF, CHASED SHOOTING SUSPECT: I hope that everyone affected is able to rest a little better knowing that this guy will never breathe again.
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KING: Well, we'll continue to learn and tell you the stories of those lost. Wolf Blitzer picks up coverage of that horrible massacre in Texas right after a quick break.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer. It's 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.