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South Korean Delegations Meets with Kim Jong-un; West Virginia Teachers Strike for Eight Day After Impasse; Fate of Dreamers Uncertain as Deadline Passes; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 5, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] ANDREW STEVENS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And in fact the leader of the South Korean delegation, John, is a man known to be very close to the U.S. who will be going to Washington to report about this meeting. So obviously South Korea is very, very aware of upsetting the U.S. as it goes towards this sort of reconciliation move with North Korea.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Andrew Stevens, great to have you, live from Seoul, this morning.

Joining me now is CNN counter terror analyst Phil Mudd and CNN military and diplomatic analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Admiral, I want to start with you with these comments that the president made. I think we have them. He was at the Gridiron Dinner, you know, giving a speech. It was a comic speech but he really made some policy there when he was talking about denuclearization. He says, "A couple of days ago the North Koreans called and said we would like to talk, and I said so would we, but you have to denuke, you have to denuke, so let's see what happens."

First of all, it's news that the North Koreans called and said they wanted to hold a meeting and news that the White House responded. But most news is he's once again setting as a precondition to meeting denuclearization and it seemed that the administration had moved back from that.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes, look, I mean, as Andrew rightly reported, setting denuclearization as a precondition to talks is a nonstarter for Kim Jong-un. Not going to happen. There's no way he's going to come to the table with that as a promise.

Now that said, denuclearization is and should be as a matter of policy the end goal of what negotiations are. I think this meeting here in Pyongyang is important. I think it's noteworthy. And I think it's probably a sign that there are talks about talks going on. And that's where this is going to start. It's going to be very incremental, John. You're not going to get to denuclearization at the first or even maybe, you know, after the 10th or 12th meeting.

You're going to get -- you're going to have meetings about confidence building measures and that means, John, that we're going to have to be willing to compromise a little bit on our own. Maybe ratcheting down the exercises or maybe changing the posture on the peninsula. There's going to have to be some give and take to get to that endgame.

BERMAN: So, Phil, something else the president said over the weekend caught people's attention. The Chinese leader Xi Jinping has just basically removed any barriers or term limits. He can be president, leader of China for life, and the president was making a joke about that at a fundraiser in Florida. Let's listen to what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't forget China is great. And Xi is a great gentleman. He's now president for life.


TRUMP: President for life. No, he's great. Look, I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day.



BERMAN: All right. Some people looked at this, Phil, and said that President Trump wants to be president for life. I am willing to believe that was a joke, that he's not going to try to change the Constitution and make himself president for life. However, there is another aspect to this, which isn't a joke, which is that the Chinese could look at this and say, hey, you know what, Xi just made himself president for life and Donald Trump doesn't have a problem with that.

You spent your career in a lot of shady places around the world dealing with various strong men and different countries. You know, how do you think they will interpret what the president said right there, you know, acquiesce -- you know, consolidating power?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think if you look at what the Chinese are doing and look at the president's comments, the Chinese are going to look at this and say we're going to have an opportunity long term to win because American presidents can't compete with us in terms of setting up a multi-decade strategic plan to counter how China is moving into Latin America, they're moving into Africa, they're obviously extending their military power and building islands in the South China Sea.

So if you look at what the president is saying, I interpret his remarks as a joke as well, but if I were him, I don't want to be president for life as well. One, it's a great job, but second, more seriously, if some people talk about this as China century, how do you counter China when we have presidents change every four or eight years. I'm not arguing we should have presidents for life, but as a Chinese leader, I'd say the presidents change every four to eight years, and in China, where you can say we're going to be around for 10, 20, 30 years and implement the strategic plan where we supplant the United States in places like Europe, Asia, and Africa, John.

BERMAN: Phil Mudd shockingly coming out against presidential term limits right there. We'll have to talk about that at a future time. I want to get both your take very quickly if I can on -- it has to do

with Russian election meddling. Denis McDonough, who was the chief of staff during the Obama administration, he was on TV this weekend talking about what stuff Democrats have talked before, that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell stood in the way of full disclosure of what we knew to be the Russian effort back during the election. Listen to what he says.


DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF FOR PRES. OBAMA: The president asked that foreign leaders in a bipartisan meeting in the Oval Office to join him and asking the states to work with us on this question. It took over three weeks to get that statement worked out. It was dramatically watered down, you can ask Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Even the --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: And it was watered down on the insistence of Mitch McConnell?


[10:35:03] TODD: And nobody else?



BERMAN: So McConnell's people have put out a statement basically saying that McDonough called the letter a success later, and also bragged about the facts that Democrats were handling this in the right way.

Admiral, you were in the administration at that time. How do you see it?

KIRBY: Yes, I wasn't party to the discussions over that statement, and I think it's a fair thing to go back and do the forensics, John, about whether President Obama did enough. You have to remember he was in a difficult spot there, not wanting to put -- not wanting to be seen to put his thumb on the scales. But I also know Mr. McDonough very well. He's a straight shooter. And if that's his account of how it transpired, I have no reason to doubt that account at all.

The problem was that the entire issue of Russian interference in our election was politicized from the very beginning.

BERMAN: Right.

KIRBY: And there is no way I don't think that it was not going to be politicized. I think the claims by Mr. Trump that the Obama administration was actually trying to tip the scales in Hillary Clinton's favor just don't back that up to the facts.

BERMAN: No. The evidence isn't there.

Very quickly, Phil Mudd, but looking back, in hindsight, should the Obama administration have done more, just done it?

MUDD: I'm not sure they should. Let me give you one snapshot. Let's rewrite history and have the president of the United States, in this case President Obama, come out and say there is election meddling and it favors the candidate Trump. What do you think Trump would have said then? I think he would have said the president was acting completely inappropriately.

BERMAN: He was already saying the election was rigged even before that.

MUDD: Yes.

BERMAN: Admiral Kirby, Phil Mudd, thank you very much for being with us. Appreciate it.

Every public school in West Virginia closed again for the eighth straight school day. The teachers on strike, looking for a pay raise. What might get them back in the classroom if anything?


[10:40:47] BERMAN: New this morning, public schoolteachers in West Virginia on strike for an eighth straight day. This after state lawmakers were unable to come together in a deal over the weekend that would have given teacher a 5 percent pay raise.

Joining me now, Polo Sandoval live in Charleston, West Virginia.

Polo, what are you seeing there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Right off camera here, to show you with this massive crowd that has come together in Charleston, West Virginia. We've been on the ground now for over a week, certainly have seen an impressive turnout, but it does not compare to what we're seeing today. Large amount of state employees and of course teachers who have come here to Charleston to have their voices heard, including Amy Lopez who drove here five hours to be here.

Today an extremely important day with the committee taking up this issue of whether or not teachers could get a 5 percent or 4 percent. You will not leave here without a victory.

AMY LOPEZ, MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: I hope not. We need a victory in this. We deserve it. We need it. Not just for me, but for every teacher in the state of West Virginia and every state trooper in West Virginia and all public employees.

SANDOVAL: Amy, your message to parents. It has been eight days now without public school throughout the entire state, some perhaps getting a little frustrated. But you are feeling support? What is your message to them?

LOPEZ: That Mitch Carmichael is the big bad wolf in this story. Mitch Carmichael, the speaker of the Senate, he needs to, I mean, just suck it up. Give us the 5 percent. You know, it's what the governor and the union leaders agreed on. It's what should happen.

SANDOVAL: Amy Lopez, thank you for spending time with us and best of luck to you and your colleagues.

LOPEZ: Thank you. Thank you.

SANDOVAL: Again, John, that really -- it is a very complicated story here, but it all boils down at this point to this. You have the governor and also the House of Representatives here in the state who want to give these teachers a 5 percent raise. But you have the Senate, for the most part, that wants to give force to that committee. Now been formed to try to come up with the decision here and submit a report to the rest of the lawmakers, but here is the issue.

If there is at least one Republican on the committee that will not be swayed, then this has -- this legislation has a potential to die. And that is why it's so crucial for these teachers and other state employees to be here now, putting pressure on these lawmakers to try to get that 5 percent raise, that's a small battle. The larger war, though, is for better benefits for not just teachers, other state employees but also other folks that they work with -- John.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, eight days with no school for the kids of West Virginia.

Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.

This morning, immigration activists plan to march to Capitol Hill. They are marking what was the deadline set by the president for lawmakers to fix DACA. Congress did not meet that deadline. However, before that time, the courts had already stepped in.

CNN's Sara Sidner has the latest.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the faces of Dreamers. Amritpal is one of 2,550 DACA recipients born in India. Christine is one of 7,060 recipients born in South Korea. And Oscar is one of 544,150 recipients born in Mexico.

Monday was supposed to be doomsday for the program that allows them and nearly 700,000 others to be in the United States legally. President Trump set March 5th as the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

TRUMP: I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.

SIDNER: But they didn't.

(On camera): He says he has a heart, but then he ended the program. What does that tell you?

CHRISTINE, DACA RECIPIENT: He has a heart that beats, but that doesn't mean anything. Everyone's heart can beat, but can he relate to us?

AMRITPAL: It almost feels like -- like we're just a game. You know, like this is one big chess game for them.

SIDNER (voice over): And according to a lawsuit filed in New York against the Department of Homeland Security, the March 5th memo would have meant 1400 DACA recipients would lose their legal status every working day, but the Supreme Court stayed out of the dispute which allowed a federal court ruling that the memo cannot be enforced to stand while the case goes through the courts.

It means DACA recipients are left in limbo. Amritpal has been the family translator, a second mother to her sister and an income earner all while attending college and dealing with pain.

AMRITPAL: Like, people think just because we're here we have all these benefits and we're, you know, leeching off the government. But it's like, we don't have medical. Like, half of my mind is like worrying.

SIDNER: As a DACA recipient, she is not eligible for government medical insurance programs or federal financial aid for school.

[10:45:02] AMRITPAL: I'm emotional because some days it feels like our sacrifices aren't enough and our trauma isn't enough.

SIDNER: Oscar was his high school class president but then his father got deported. Since then he's had to work up to four jobs at a time to help his mother feed a family of six.

OSCAR, DACA RECIPIENT: I worked in the (INAUDIBLE), a taco stand. I worked in a food restaurant. Just about anything just to make sure my family has food on the table.

SIDNER: Now he manages work and college.

(On camera): When do you sleep?

OSCAR: Hardly ever.

SIDNER (voice over): Christine got into the college of her dreams. Her father tried to pay for it but that dream eventually died with no financial aid.

CHRISTINE: He wanted me to be there. And every time I see him write the amounts on the check, just seeing that just -- I just couldn't anymore.

SIDNER: At 25 she now works at the Korean Resource Center hoping to make a better life for other immigrants like her. She says politicians have failed them.

CHRISTINE: It's quite tiring, exhausting to know that people are playing with your life.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIDNER: And when we asked them which politicians had failed them, a couple of them said both Democrats and Republicans. They are frustrated, they have been brought into this country. And now they're just in limbo, they've been in limbo for many, many years now and they just want a fix.

And if you look at the polls, John, all of the polls show more than 80 percent of Americans also want a fix for these DACA recipients. But Congress has yet to act -- John.

BERMAN: A lot of people caught right in the middle.

Sara Sidner, thanks very much.

One of the more controversial wins at the Oscars, Kobe Bryant takes home a statue despite questions about his past. "Bleacher Report" is next.


[10:51:16] BERMAN: Frances McDormand earning the spotlight at the Oscars last night and honoring women while accepting her Best Actress award.


FRANCES MCDORMAND, BEST ACTRESS WINNER: I'm hyperventilating a little bit. If I fall over, pick me up because I've got some things to say. If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight, the actors, Meryl, if you do it, everybody else will. Come on. Look around, everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen. Because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.


BERMAN: It's the Me Too and the Time's Up movements were really center stage all night. Three of Harvey Weinstein's accusers, Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek, were presenters.

Diversity also a winner last night. Jordan Peele, creator and director of "Get Out," became the first African-American to win for Best Original Screenplay and Guillermo Del Toro won Best Director for "The Shape of Water." He is the third Mexican-born director to win that award in the last five years. "The Shape of Water" won four Oscars including Best Picture.

And Kobe Bryant won an Oscar as well. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. You know, and Kobe actually told reporters that winning the Oscar feels better than winning a championship. That's how much that award means to him.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150. And Kobe's animated short "Dear Basketball," the one he won for was based off the poem he wrote

in 2015 announcing his impending retirement from the NBA. And when accepting his Oscar, Kobe taking a shot at a FOX News host who said NBA players should just, quote, "shut up and dribble."


KOBE BRYANT, FORMER NBA PLAYER: As basketball players, we're really supposed to shut up and dribble, but I'm glad we do a little bit more than that. Thank you, Academy, for this amazing honor.


SCHOLES: Kobe's win was met with congratulations from many, but also a fair amount of criticism in the midst of the Me Too movement. Kobe was charged with sexual assault in 2003 before the case was ultimately dropped.

The first teams punching their tickets to the NCAA tournament over the weekend, the most exciting coming in the big south championship game. Carly Jones, the three at the buzzer to send Radford to the big dance for the first time since 2009. Lipscomb, Chicago, Loyola, Murray State and Michigan also punching their ticket to the big dance this weekend. Conference tournaments, they continue later on today.

Phil Mickelson turning back the clock to get his first tournament win since 2013 yesterday at the Mexico championship. But it wasn't easy. Justin Thomas, check him out here, holing out on 18 from 118 yards out for Eagle. He and Phil would go to a playoff with Phil eventually winning it. Now Phil played 101 tournaments since winning the 2013 British Open. This one extra special for him, his younger brother Tim was his caddie. And at 47 years old, Phil said afterwards this will not be his last win of his career.

All right. Finally, Shaquem Griffin putting on an absolute show at the Combine over the weekend. The linebacker out of central Florida running a blazing 4.38 in the 40 yard dash. Fastest time for a linebacker at the Combine since 2003. He also benched 225 pounds 20 times while wearing a prosthetic left arm. Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was just 4 years old due to a birth defect.

And John, I'll tell you what. Griffin just showing everyone that even if you have a disability, it won't stop you from achieving your dream. Just inspirational performance for him at the Combine.

BERMAN: That's amazing. Good for him. Excited to see what happens for that young man. And Phil Mickelson, I watched the end of that, he was classic Phil. He was hitting balls from everywhere, deep in the woods. It was bonkers.

SCHOLES: Ready for the Masters, right?

BERMAN: Absolutely. All right. Andy Scholes, thanks so much for being with us. I appreciate it.

[10:55:01] President Trump about to sit down with one of America's biggest allies, a leader who is facing an investigation of his own and we are told Jared Kushner will be part of this meeting, despite having his security clearance level reduced. Stay with us.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Brianna Keilar in for Kate Bolduan. Another day another case of policy whiplash at the Trump White House. Over the weekend, top administration officials doubled down on upcoming tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and warned that even America's closest allies won't be spared. But this morning the prospect of --