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Kim Meets Trump, Predicts World Will See Major Change; Trump Heads Home after Trading 'War Games' for Kim Vow on Nukes; Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 12, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, trust but not verified. President Trump heads home from his summit with Kim Jong-un saying he trusts the North Korean dictator. But why is he relying on Kim's vague promise to denuclearize when North Korea has repeatedly broken its promises?
[17:00:21] "Very provocative." The president shocked South Korea by announcing a halt to U.S. military exercises that the U.S. has conducted with Seoul for decades. Did the commander in chief undercut a key U.S. ally and America's security by stopping what he calls "very provocative war games"?
Motivated by fear. Despite Kim Jong-un's atrocities, President Trump says his country loves him. The president may be impressed by North Koreans' display of enthusiasm, but human rights experts say those crowds know the alternatives are prison camps and execution squads.
And merger approved. A federal judge rules in favor of the landmark merger between AT&T and Time Warner, CNN's corporate parent. The government sought to block the move. How will it respond?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: President Trump is heading home from his historic meeting with North Korean's Kim Jong-un. But while he's being applauded for that big first step, there are serious questions about just what he's returning with.
The president repeatedly praised a brutal dictator and stunned South Korea by giving up joint military exercises in exchange for a vague promise from Kim to denuclearize. There is skepticism on both sides of the aisle tonight about the path forward.
I'll speak with Senator Ben Cardin of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And our correspondents and specialists, they are standing by with full coverage.
First, let's go straight to our senior White House correspondent, Pamela Brown. Pamela, as the president heads home from Singapore, what happens next? PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf,
President Trump is sending out his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to meet with key U.S. allies to iron out details and to continue negotiations on the heels of the summit. And the signed pact that was short on details with no timetable and really no verification of denuclearization raising the question of whether the president gave away more than he gained.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chairman Kim and I just signed a joint statement in which he reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight President Trump displaying confidence after his historic meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, the first between a leader of the United States and North Korea.
TRUMP: Doing great. A really fantastic meeting. A lot of progress. Really very positive. I think better than anybody could have expected. Top of the line.
BROWN: The pair acting like new best friends, repeatedly shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries.
TRUMP: Really, he's got a great personality. He's a, you know, a funny guy. He's a very smart guy. He's a great negotiator. He loves his people. Not that I'm surprised by that.
BROWN: The president praising a dictator responsible for killing his own uncle and half-brother; imprisoning thousands of his own people for dissent, along with detaining American citizens. And he's also responsible for the detention and death of American college student Otto Warmbier.
TRUMP: I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain. I told this to his parents. Special young man, and I have to say special parents. Special people. Otto did not die in vain. He had a lot to do with us being here today.
BROWN: At one point Trump even complimenting the brutal way Kim has run North Korea since taking power.
TRUMP: He is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough.
BROWN: Trump declaring the talks a success, announcing that Kim agreed to begin dismantling his nuclear program in short order.
TRUMP: I gave up nothing. I'm here.
BROWN: But the U.S. did agree to stop running joint military readiness drills with the South Koreans, something the North has long wanted. Trump called them war games and provocative.
TRUMP: I'm doing something that I've wanted to do from the beginning. We stop playing those war games that cost us a fortune.
BROWN: As those exercises come to a halt, the U.S. will have to trust that the North Koreans are actually committed to denuclearization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you trust Kim?
TRUMP: I do. I think he wants to get it done.
BROWN: Trump saying he does trust Kim.
TRUMP: I believe that he wants to get it done.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: You trust him?
TRUMP: I do trust him, yes. I think he trusts me, and I trust him.
BROWN: And the president acknowledging that, while past deals with the regime have failed, this time is different.
TRUMP: This isn't the past. This isn't another administration that never got it started and, therefore, never got it done. This is a much different time. And this is a much different president, in all fairness. This is very important to me.
[17:05:13] BROWN: And waving off concerns that he is favoring America's enemies over allies following discord at the G-7 this week. However, he did call out Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for criticizing U.S. tariffs. Calling him, quote, "obnoxious."
TRUMP: I actually like Justin. You know, I think he's good. I like him. But he shouldn't have done that. That was a mistake. That's going to cost him a lot of money.
BROWN: So with this concession of ending the joint exercises on the Korean Peninsula, the president did stop short of saying that he would withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea. And we'll have to see, Wolf. Only time will tell whether President Trump will be able to avoid repeating history with a rogue regime that is known to cheat the system -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Pamela, thank you. Pamela Brown at the White House.
CNN's Will Ripley has made 18 trips to North Korea, gaining extraordinary access to Kim Jong-un's regime. He's joining us now live from Singapore.
Will, Kim Jong-un returns with a big boast in his prestige, fulsome praise from the president of the United States, and a halt to U.S.- South Korean military exercises. Is he the winner?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of people would argue that, Wolf, especially considering the fact that, essentially, the maximum pressure campaign has now reached its peak. We know that China and Russia are already looking at the loosening of sanctions on North Korea. Malaysia is now looking to restore formal diplomatic ties.
So even if the United States doesn't offer the immediate sanctions relief, Kim Jong-un could already see some financial benefit. Not to mention the fact this deal doesn't have specifics about denuclearization in terms of a time line, verification, those key points that had been so important to the United States, but are not included in this current deal.
And yet he goes back, like you mentioned, with the prestige, with the images that we expect to be released in the North Korean state media, standing side by side with the U.S. president, the North Korean flag flying right alongside the American flag, the two countries being presented as equals, which certainly elevates Kim Jong-un domestically and internationally -- Wolf.
BLITZER: How is the North Korean media, the state-run media there, Will, covering all of this?
RIPLEY: So I'm waiting to see the copy of this morning's "Rodong Sinmun," which is the leading state-run newspaper in North Korea. There was no mention on any of the television bullets yesterday about the summit itself. You'll remember, the newspaper did show Kim Jong- un taking that sightseeing tour here in Singapore. The Marina Bay Sands, a bridge, other sights around the city. Kind of taking a look at how a country with an authoritarian government like his was able to grow its economy, which is something that Kim Jong-un wants to do.
But talking about the summit is much more complex and sensitive in North Korean state media, Wolf, because they are pledging to eventually denuclearize and the North Koreans have been told for decades that building a nuclear force gives their country power against the United States. So the messaging is going to be very careful here.
How do you portray the North Korean supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, standing side by side with President Trump, someone that they've called a senile old dotard, North Koreans have said that they hate with all of their venom in their heart? And then to turn around and he and Kim Jong-un are standing together. Are they going to show pictures of them smiling? Are they going to show pictures of them patting each other on the back? I'm sure that those are all tough questions the North Korean propaganda officials have been deliberating, and we'll see what they decide to present to those 25 million people who don't have access to any other information.
BLITZER: What kind of impression, Will, has Kim Jong-un made on the world stage?
RIPLEY: Well, you look at public opinion polls in South Korea that have skyrocketed after seeing Kim Jong-un, you know, presenting himself as a statesman. Joking and smiling and shaking hands and really doing everything that he needs to do with other world leaders and in front of the cameras, looking calm, looking relaxed. A totally different image from the one that he had for much of his time previous to a few months ago. Six years in power considered a recluse, considered a brutal dictator, called all of these things. They called it the hermit kingdom. Now, you know, from hermit to statesman.
But obviously, you talk to people who are concerned about human rights, about what it's like to live inside that country. If you don't follow the rules of that society to the tee, the No. 1 rule being loyalty to Kim Jong-un, and they will say there is a different side of Kim Jong-un than the smiling statesman that we saw here in Singapore.
BLITZER: Will Ripley reporting for us from Singapore. Thank you very much.
Joining us now, Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. He's a key member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So Senator, what's your big- picture analysis of this agreement signed by the president of the United States and the leader of North Korea
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, Wolf, first, it's good to be with you. And we want to see diplomacy succeed. That's the only safe way to deal with the nuclear problems on the Korean peninsula.
[17:10:09] The president's communique from Singapore is very short on details. The United States did make two major concessions. We gave Kim Jong-un an international platform with the president of the United States, and we gave up the exercises with our allies in the region.
And now it looks like also, that some of the other countries are going to ease their sanctions against North Korea, and yet nothing specific was gained from the point of view of specific steps taken by North Korea to give us, first, the inventory of their complete nuclear program, including their missile program, the inspectors coming in and verifying where they are today, and a plan to dismantle.
So there's still a long way to go. I think we'll be judged by whether he can get to the next step and see action by North Korea. Recognize that the government before has made commitments and not lived up to those commitments.
BLITZER: If the North Koreans, Senator, don't take steps toward denuclearizing, couldn't the president, along with the South Korean allies, quickly resume those military exercises, literally at any moment?
CARDIN: Well, certainly, we can resume the military exercises. That can be done. The challenge that we've heard now that China may be easing it's economic relations with North Korea. Countries think that, since Kim Jong-un met with the president of the United States, it's OK to do business with North Korea.
We would hope that the sanctions would remain very, very much in place until we see concrete action. So far North Korea hasn't done one earthly thing to dismantle their programs. We need to have in place a plan that will permanently end their nuclear program and inspections, so we know that if they try to start a nuclear program, we'll have time to react. We also need to deal with the non-nuclear issues, such as their human
rights violations if we're going to have a normal relationship with North Korea.
BLITZER: As you know, the president is facing some criticism for not forcefully enough pushing Kim Jong-un on these human rights issues. But the president says the immediate focus was on the nuclear issue, preventing a nuclear war that could kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. Was that the right call?
CARDIN: Well, Wolf, we'll wait to see whether he can achieve that objective. But it's clear when you start saying these nice things about Kim Jong-un, President Trump saying that those matters -- when you're dealing with a despot, a person who's killed his own people, let's recognize that this person is brutal to his own people, and that needs to be part of the conversation. We can enter an agreement on the nuclear issues, but we also have to be mindful that's not the end of what we need to see changes in North Korea.
BLITZER: The president, as you know, Senator, he's been -- he had been reluctant to keep up the sanctions pressure on North Korea during the run-up to yesterday's summit to move up the sanctions, intensify those sanctions. But now that the meeting is over, do you think it's time for Congress to push for more sanctions?
CARDIN: Well, Congress has already done that. We passed, in a very bipartisan vote, stronger sanctions against North Korea. So the president has all the tools he needs to ratchet up the sanctions, if he wants to do that.
The challenge will be to get our international partners to go along with this. We've already heard that there's been some suggestions by Russia and China that the United Nations should ease up some of its sanctions. I would hope that there would be no concessions given until there's concrete steps taken by North Korea.
We know the president has already done certain things. Let's see whether that works and gets North Korea to act. Or was it just talk on North Korea and they don't intend to give up their nuclear weapons? We've got to test that. We've got to find out whether they're really sincere in moving forward. Their past track record doesn't give you a lot of confidence.
BLITZER: They did release three American detainees, and since last November, they've suspended their nuclear testing, their ballistic missile testing. Those were seen as steps in the right direction, right?
CARDIN: Oh, absolutely. And the fact that we're -- we're talking, the fact that we're using diplomacy. That's a very positive step. We want to see diplomacy succeed. But diplomacy won't succeed if Kim Jong-un thinks he can keep his nuclear weapons and get all the concessions going his way. You've got to negotiate a tough arrangement, and at the end of the day, you have to recognize who you're dealing with. BLITZER: Senator Lindsey Graham says he wants Congress to vote on a
new authorization bill for the use of military force, in case diplomatic efforts with North Korea fail. Is that the right move?
CARDIN: I want to see diplomacy succeed, and I think the way that diplomacy succeeds, let's test this right now. Let's see whether we can get a full listing of their full nuclear programs, the venue, inspectors in. That's what we need to see. Let's concentrate on the aftermath of the summit, and let's try to get action by North Korea so that we can pursue diplomacy. Thanks for joining us.
[17:15:12] BLITZER: Senator Ben Cardin, thanks so much for joining us.
CARDIN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Still ahead, as the president heads home from the Singapore summit, he's touting it as a big success. But did he give away too much on his first encounter with Kim Jong-un?
Also coming up, this hour's breaking news. A judge here in Washington rules in favor of the AT&T-Time Warner merger.
BLITZER: The breaking news: within the past hour a federal judge here in Washington ruled in favor of AT&T's merger with Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.
The Justice Department had tried to block the $85 billion deal. After a six-week trial, the judge decided the merger can move forward.
[17:20:10] Our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider, she was in the courtroom when the decision was read. She's joining us live.
So Jessica, walk us through this ruling.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it was quite striking, in fact. Judge Richard Leon sat on his -- in his courtroom bench and read for 30 minutes from his 200-page opinion. Basically, in sum and substance, striking down the government's argument point by point by point, saying that the government failed to prove that this acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T would substantially lessen competition. This judge saying that this merger should go through.
So at the end of that, in fact, the judge not only went that far, to say the merger did not violate anti-trust, but he also warned the government, he said to the government, "Think twice here before trying to get a stay of my order and also think twice about moving forward with any appeals." Because the judge said he did not want believe that any appeal in this case would succeed. In fact, the judge saying here that it would be manifestly unjust for the government to ask him to put his ruling on hold. And he also said that he hopes that the government has the wisdom and the courage not to seek a stay in this case. But of course, immediately following this ruling and this opinion, the
Department of Justice coming out with their own statement, the anti- trust chief sort of firing back here, saying that they will closely review the statement -- I'm sorry, the decision. They also said that they are disappointed, and they said that they would carefully consider next steps. So not indicating one way or the other whether or not they may appeal this.
Of course, AT&T is saying that they applaud this categorical rejection of the government's case by the judge in this case, and they say that they plan to move forward with this $85 billion deal. They said that they plan to close this merger by June 20.
Of course, all this time the clock has been ticking. There is a June 21 merger deadline at which -- at which point either of these companies could walk away from this deal. That is why that decision came down today from Judge Leon. We will see, Wolf, what the government does here in what has been a point by point by point takedown of their entire case -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jessica Schneider, thank you very much. Good reporting.
Let's bring in Brian Stelter. He's our senior media correspondent. And CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey, you were also in the courtroom during that half-hour presentation. I take it it was pretty dramatic. What's your major takeaway?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, it was really an extraordinary scene. District court opinions usually are just handed out. There's no, you know, such ceremony.
Here the judge locked the courtroom, said no one could leave until he was finished talking. He knew that this information had the power to move markets, so he did it after the stock market had closed. And he wanted everybody to get the news at the same time.
The real issue was what does this mean for consumers? That was what this was really a fight about. The Justice Department said if AT&T is allowed to buy Time Warner, our parent company, it will be higher costs for consumers. That Time Warner and AT&T will jack up the price of HBO to other cable companies, to Comcast and whatnot, and consumers will be hurt.
The judge said that -- there was no evidence to support that. In fact, the lawyers for Time Warner said -- and for AT&T said, "No, we're doing this because we want more competition. Because we recognize that it's not just Comcast that cable networks are competing against. It's now Facebook. It's now Amazon. It's now Google. That the marketplace is a lot bigger."
And basically, the judge sided with the idea that, in the current free-for-all with all the different entities competing with each other, this merger allowed both AT&T and Time Warner to give more choice to consumers and, ultimately, lead to lower prices, not higher prices. BLITZER: What would it mean, Brian, if the government decides to go
ahead and appeal this decision?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, that could cause more months of legal drama. But AT&T and Time Warner still plan to come together. They are saying this time next week, the deal will take effect. That means CNN, this channel, and other Time Warner- owned channels will be owned by AT&T within the coming week. Then there will be town halls and announcements and things like that to bring the companies together.
You know, if there's an appeals process and eventually the government comes out ahead, it's kind of hard to unscramble the eggs, but that's essentially what would happen. It would be an attempt to bring the companies back apart.
But I think what is clear today is AT&T is moving forward with the belief this is a clear win in court. And I'm told that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who was watching this from the headquarters in Dallas, you know, this is a crowning achievement for him. He's been trying to get this done for almost two years, because he believes AT&T needs to compete with Facebook, with Netflix, with Google, you know, as Jeffrey was just saying.
[17:25:05] I also think this announcement by the judge lends more credence to the suspicion that somehow, some way President Trump had something to do with the DOJ's action here. You know, this was a strange move by the DOJ to try to block this media merger. It was a surprise at the time. There was suspicion and theory that somehow Trump -- Trump's disdain for CNN was a factor. As Jeffery well knows, this was -- there was not proof of this, but it was a widely-held suspicion, and it was a cloud over the entire case. Even though it didn't come up in court, it was talked about everywhere else.
So now you have a neutral party here, a judge saying there was no reason for the DOJ to -- to essentially, to bring this -- bring this case. It just brings me to back around to that idea that maybe Trump somehow had something to do with this.
TOOBIN: Wolf, can I just jump in on one thing? The real -- there's one issue left in this case, and that's whether there will be a stay of this ruling.
The district court judge, Judge Leon said, "I'm not issuing a stay, because this deal essentially blows up on June 21. If there's a stay, it kills the deal."
So what the Justice Department has to decide is will they go to the appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and ask those judges to impose a stay? If there is no stay, this deal is going to close next week. But the only outstanding issue now is whether the Department of Justice seeks and obtains a stay. Otherwise this merger is going to happen.
BLITZER: Brian, what does this mean for the larger media landscape? STELTER: Well, this is one of the biggest media and telecom deals of
all time; and it means there will be other deals, other consolidation moves as a domino effect, as a ripple effect.
The first will be Comcast. Comcast, which of course owns NBC and is a big cable provider. It would like to make a bid for Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century FOX assets. Right now, Disney is trying to buy those FOX assets. The FOX movie studio and things like that.
So within a matter of days Comcast will likely go ahead, now that it's looked to this judge's ruling and believes it has firm ground. It will go ahead and try to bid for the FOX assets. And we're going to probably see other consolidation, as well, not just in media but in other industries. And that's why this is one of the most important moments for American business in many years.
BLITZER: All right. Good point. Brian Stelter, Jeffrey Toobin, guys, thank you very much.
Coming up, President Trump heads home from his summit with Kim Jong- un, where he announced a halt to U.S. military exercises with South Korea. Did he give away too much?
BLITZER: This afternoon President Trump phoned Senate Republicans from Air Force One to brief them on a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. The two leaders signed a document committing themselves to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, leaving others to negotiate how North Korea will get rid of its nuclear weapons and missiles.
[17:32:32] Let's get some insight from our experts. And Samantha Vinograd, give me your analysis of the agreement. What did the United States gain and did the president give away, from your perspective, too much?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think it's unknowable right now what the United States will gain. But what we do know, Wolf, is that there were some clear winners here.
Russia and China won out after the summit, because the United States announced that we would be rolling back our military operations in the region. That's been a goal of Russia and China and that we would engage in the diplomatic process further. Again, something that Russia and China have advocated for.
At the same time, this agreement to me sent a seismically disruptive signal around the world to wannabe dictators and proliferators about how to get America's attention and concessions. Push the envelope right up to the brink of destruction, and all of a sudden, you find yourself at a summit taking selfies and getting concessions from the United States.
BLITZER: Phil Mudd, what's your analysis of this agreement?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I mean, what agreement, Wolf? They agreed to talk about talking. It's like me telling my mom back in grade school, "I'm going to do better next semester." By the way, that meant nothing.
That said, I think this is very significant for a couple of reasons. No. 1, look where we were six months ago. Yes or no, is there more, greater or lesser likelihood of an accidental confrontation between the United States and North Korea than there was six months ago? For that reason alone, I'd say it's worth a gamble, even though I'd give the prospects of success here less than 20 percent.
Second, the secretary of state is a serious guy in terms of detail in ways the president is not. The secretary of state is on a timeline. The language that nobody is paying attention to is the president saying this will happen very, very fast.
My recollection is Saddam Hussein, which happened very, very slow and eventually never. So we're on a time clock with a serious secretary of state, but if you look at what happened over the past couple of days, it's people talking about talking. I didn't see much happening, beyond taking down the temperature and committing to future conversations.
BLITZER: Gloria, the president seemed, at least in the immediate days up to the summit, lowering expectations. Now that you've seen the final deal, was it the right call?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, it was right call, but in the final deal and his press conferences, the president seemed to be raising expectations, once this vague deal was complete. I mean, he was talking about his special bond with Kim Jong-un. He talked about how they were sort of intent -- you know, that together they could make history.
[18:35:09] And I think what you saw coming out of this was a president trying to say, "This is great. This is amazing." But what you had, in fact, was something that was incomplete and unverifiable, and you had confusion.
You had confusion on Capitol Hill about what this really meant. You had confusion about whether we were, in fact, going to stop exercises or so-called war games. You know, you saw the vice president trying to talk to Senate Republicans and the Republicans leaving confused about what would actually occur.
So while the president may have tried to downplay it before, after the session was over, he was saying, "This is fabulous, and we're going to -- you know, we're going to do something great here," and everybody else was left scratching their heads about it.
BLITZER: Sabrina Siddiqui, what do you make of the optics of the summit? They spent five hours together, the president and the North Korean leader. And they seem to be -- at least from the outside, pretty friendly.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, "THE GUARDIAN": Well, there's certainly a great deal of camaraderie between the two leaders, but I think one of the prevailing concerns on the outset of these negotiations has been whether or not this will ultimately amount to an unprecedented photo- op.
But it is historic where a sitting U.S. president to meet face-to-face with the leader of North Korea. But it certainly is worth reinforcing that this is not the first administration to engage in negotiations and walk away with vague assurances of denuclearization.
So the question moving forward will be what will set this perspective deal apart from that of President Trump's predecessor. Most importantly, what does a verification process look like if North Korea is serious about dismantling and surrendering its nuclear weapons program, because without securing any tangible concessions, there is a real risk of this administration legitimizing one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.
BLITZER: Samantha, should the president have been more forceful on the issue of human rights? He says, look, priority No. 1 is avoiding a nuclear war.
VINOGRAD: The priority is avoiding a nuclear war. But face-to-face meetings are the ideal opportunity to raise contentious issues. I saw President Obama do this with President Putin on issues like Syria and Ukraine, with the president of China on issues like intellectual property theft. And if you don't raise it face-to-face, the chances of raising it down the road are lower.
And Wolf, I would bring everybody back to Secretary Mike Pompeo's speech on May 21 about the Iranian nuclear deal, where he said that the United States would advocate tirelessly -- tirelessly for the human rights of the Iranian people.
So the double standard here between the president's approach on North Korean human rights and Iranian human rights is glaring. We have to be consistent.
BLITZER: One thing was pretty dramatic, that video that the president showed of Kim Jong-un a four-minute video showing how great things could be in North Korea if in fact they worked out a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. I see you smiling already, Phil.
MUDD: Yes, look, I mean, I think we need to understand this clearly. Dictators want to stay in power. And there's two messages I think that video offers about power.
No. 1, let's be under no illusions here. If there ever is development in North Korea, Kim Jong-un's family is going to make a ton of money. The corruption is going to be incredible.
No. 2, if you are a dictator and you see what's happening in places like Egypt and Tunisia, maybe just for self-preservation, not because you're a nice guy and you say, "If I get a little development going, if I get a little more food in the mouths of my people and maybe the prospect that I could pass the dictatorship on in the next generation is higher." I didn't view that video as a sign that we think great democracy is
coming to North Korea. I saw it as a sign that maybe Kim Jong-un's family says, "I could make a ton of cash."
BLITZER: All right, guys. Stick around. There's more news we're following. We're also going to get the Pentagon's reaction to one of the biggest surprises of the summit. President Trump says he wants to end the regular military exercises with South Korea that have been going on for decades.
[17:43:50] BLITZER: One of the most important changes coming out of President Trump's summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un is the president's announcement that he intends to halt the regular U.S.- South Korean military exercises that have been going on for decades.
Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, the Pentagon already had been planning for the next set of war games, as the president calls them, in August. So what's the reaction where you are? Was this a surprise?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Pentagon said that Defense Secretary James Mattis was aware of the decision and was not surprised. Importantly, the Pentagon officially will not say whether he supported it in advance of it being announced.
That exercise in August -- we have to see right now, the Pentagon saying it's going to review all exercises and try to actually get more guidance from the White House on what they want canceled and what types of exercises might go forward.
Why is this so important? Well, the 28,000 U.S. troops already stationed on the Korean Peninsula. Plus, the troops that come in and out. They are all there to demonstrate a deterrence and to demonstrate that they can quickly flow into the region to be a defense for South Korea in any possible aggression and to be a forward- deployed presence of U.S. military forces.
Whether it is more expensive to keep them there or withdraw them, the president concerned about the expense, would be something that would remain to be seen. But right now, we've come out of this summit still with so many questions and this is one of the big ones. What exactly does President Trump want to have happen next -- Wolf?
BLITZER: I'm curious, Barbara. The President also said it's not in the agreement but Kim Jong-un agreed to destroy what was described as a missile engine-testing site. How big of a step is that?
STARR: Well, it depends on what missile-testing site it actually is. There is some commercial imagery on the Web showing, potentially, the North Koreans working at a missile test and site and dismantling some part of. But right now, the U.S. intelligence community will tell you, even as
they look at this imagery and, of course, those tunnels that were destroyed -- and we saw the big explosions at the entrances -- so far they seeing nothing that adds up to irreversible denuclearization.
That is what the U.S. wants North Korea to engage in, an action that cannot be reversed in the future. So far that has not happened, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thank you.
During their summit meeting, President Trump showed Kim Jong-un a video envisioning an open, prosperous North Korea filled with new factories and resorts. But is this the future Kim really wants?
Coming up, why loosening his grip on North Korea could be the end of the line for the Kim dynasty.
[17:51:08] BLITZER: During his meeting with President Trump, Kim Jong-un declared the United States and North Korea will be leaving the past behind, and the world will see a major change. But how much change is the North Korean dictator really willing to allow?
CNN's Brian Todd has been working his sources for us.
Brian, what are you hearing?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, when he was asked today whether meeting with Kim Jong-un would be a betrayal of the 125,000 plus people held in North Korean prison camps, President Trump said those people could end up being, quote, winners in the process.
But tonight, we're told it's unlikely that Kim is going to release any of those prisoners any time soon and unlikely that he'll let in the kind of western investment that the President has dangled as a reward for a nuclear deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new world can begin today.
TODD (voice-over): This slickly produced movie trailer, President Trump said, was designed to show Kim Jong-un what's possible for North Korea if Kim gets rid of all his nuclear weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will you choose, to show vision and leadership? Or not?
TODD (voice-over): The video, which Trump says he showed to Kim on an iPad, portrays a flood of western investment, new railroads, factories, resorts.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They have great beaches. You see that whenever they are exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I said, boy, look at that view. What -- wouldn't that make a great condo?
TODD (voice-over): Tonight, experts warn that while Kim would certainly want more cash coming into his country, the dictator knows if he really opens North Korea up to western investment, it could spell his doom.
MICHAEL GREEN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ASIA AND JAPAN CHAIR, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It's like opening the window of a submarine underwater to get more fresh air. The North Koreans know that that that is the beginning of their undoing.
TODD (voice-over): Letting western companies like McDonald's come in, analysts say, means letting more information into North Korea, something the paranoid regime doesn't want its hermetically sealed population to have.
Because it's so closed, most North Koreans believe what they're taught in school, that Kim is something akin to a living God. That their country is superior.
GREEN: When the information and the choices and the money flows into the pockets of North Koreans and they realize that they are living in a hellhole on Earth, not the paradise or the pure race they were told, it can -- it entropy, it's chaos.
TODD (voice-over): Which could lead to Kim's assassination and the destruction of his regime. That's a risk that President Trump could be downplaying or misunderstanding when talking about how North Koreans feel about their Supreme Leader.
TRUMP: His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.
TODD (voice-over): But that fervor is forced. Human rights monitors say the North Koreans voraciously clapping for Kim at rallies, crying with joy in his presence, know what happens if they don't.
GREG SCARLATOIU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA: If you don't clap or adore him, you're swiftly pulled out of the crowd and replaced with somebody else. And punished.
TODD (voice-over): But it's not just people pulled out of crowds. Kim deals with anyone who crosses him harshly.
SCARLATOIU: All prisoners in North Korea, but in particular political prisoners, are subjected to a relentless, vicious cycle of forced labor and induced malnutrition, public executions, secret executions, torture.
TODD (voice-over): Experts say that's what Kim uses to maintain control. And it's his desire to maintain that control that could ultimately scuttle any nuclear deal.
TODD: Now, most analysts do give President Trump credit for at least raising the issue of human rights with Kim Jong-un. They say if Kim does release just a few prisoners or let's just a little bit of western investment come into North Korea, it will still be a better situation than it was before.
But they say any western companies that do come into North Korea, like a McDonald's or a Starbucks here or there, are likely only going to be accessible to the North Korean elites who are close to Kim Jong-un. At least at the outset, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Thank you.
[17:54:56] Coming up, President Trump is now on his way home from his summit with Kim Jong-un, saying he trusts the North Korean dictator. But is Kim's vague promise to denuclearize enough to warrant calling off U.S. military drills with South Korea?
BLITZER: Happening now, hope but no decisions. President Trump touts his historic summit with Kim Jong-un as a success. But did the President give up more than he got in return?
Lavish praise. Mr. Trump heaps compliments on Kim, calling him very talented and saying he loves his people. Why is the President lauding a brutal dictator?
[17:59:57] Blocking Russian access. Special Counsel Robert Mueller asks a judge to lock down documents he had to give to a Russian company charged with election meddling. Could the information be used to sow more discord here in the United States?