PATHETIC! CNN Gloats about Hanoi Summit Ending Early, Suggests Cohen Hearing Played a Role

Early Thursday morning in the United States, CNN gloated about the abrupt end of the Hanoi, Vietnam summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un with a potpourri of liberal bloviating. Such hot takes ranged from taunting Trump as a failure on North Korea, not understanding that the presidency isn’t like The Apprentice, suggested the Michael Cohen hearing hurt talks, and wondered how much longer Trump will be in office.

Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta led the way, telling co-hosts Christiane Amanpour and former Obama official Jim Sciutto that the Trump missed with “strike one in Singapore, he didn’t get a deal from Kim Jong-un” and “[n]ow, it’s strike two in Hanoi.”

 

 

Like a pitcher going into a wind-up, Acosta then unloaded another long-winded, gloat-filled diatribe against the President (click “expand”):

Once again, no deal to denuclearize North Korea, something that he has staked a lot of his legacy, a lot of his presidency on and, Jim and Christiane, in the backdrop of all of this is what happened back in Washington up on Capitol Hill at the House Oversight Committee when the President's former fixer really just blasted away at his former boss, accusing him of being a liar and a cheat a criminal, basically and so on in what was a bombshell hearing up on Capitol Hill. The president presumably will be asked about that as well. He's been steering clear of that conversation here in Hanoi. He has not tweeted about it in the aftermath of Michael Cohen's testimony and so this will be the first comments coming from the President about all of this. I find that just to be kind of remarkable, that the President was able to hold his Twitter to a bare minimum here in Hanoi. That is something we don't see very often from the President, but he kept his powder dry, presumably we’re going to hear the President weigh in on all of that as well, So, it all up, Jim and Christiane, a very rough and rocky 24 hours for the President. Humbled in Washington, humbled here in Hanoi, heading back to Washington empty-handed.

Acosta commented moments later on what both sides were seeking from the other coming into the summit and how all faced pitfalls. 

But like his first set of comments, Acosta couldn’t help but make a juvenile slap toward the President by asserting that he “staked a lot of his presidency on something that is just much more difficult than reality TV” and how “[t]his is not something that can be wrapped up in a season of The Apprentice and the President made some very strong statements about his affection for this North Korean dictator earlier on in this summit.”

Asia-based correspondent Will Ripley joined the conversation a few minutes later and argued that “the optics have been in Kim Jong-un’s favor ever since he arrived” because the President was “jet-lagged after a long flight on Air Force One” while Kim had “a relaxing train journey for a couple of days, in luxury, heavily-armed train.”

From there, Amanpour, Ripley, Sciutto, and former State Department official Joseph Yun then went further by ruling that the Michael Cohen testimony plus the chances Trump won’t be President much longer successfully sunk the Trump administration’s attempt for reaching a peace deal (click “expand”):

SCIUTTO: And President Trump, of course, carrying the burden of the Cohen testimony back home — 

RIPLEY: Exactly.

SCIUTTO: — with the enormous political challenges at home. 

RIPLEY: So, there have been a lot of speculation that he would be eager for a large headline to distract from all of the chaos in Washington and this might be President Trump saying: “At the end of the day, I’m the President of the United States. You are still the leader of North Korea and I'm in control of this situation.” Maybe he felt like he had to take it back. 

YUN: I — you know, I have to think, the drama in Washington played a big role. I mean, for, I mean, if you are Kim Jong-un, you're watching this, you know? And you are saying: “Is this what he's telling me?” You know? That we have a great future? Great relations? Is this kabuki, or what, you know? So, you have to think he is also thinking about stepping back a little bit. 

AMANPOUR: You told me a very interesting story, when you were still a negotiator, Steve Biegun is now the person you used to be in regard to this portfolio that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wanted a meeting with the North Koreans, but —

YUN: But they came back the next day, and said: “You know, we think Rex is going to get fired. We don't want to see him, you know?” And they added, by the way, you too, Yun. So — that was quite gratuitous.

AMANPOUR: And then you left.

YUN: Yeah, but I left.

RIPLEY: Without a doubt, they were watching very closely, and Kim Jong-un was getting updates about Michael Cohen. So, they’re also wondering, who’s going to be the President two years from now?

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s coverage on February 28 about the end of the Hanoi Summit, click “expand.”

CNN Special
February 28, 2019
2:02 a.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: I mean, this thing fell apart very quickly over the course of the afternoon here in Hanoi. We just got a statement from Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, in the last several minutes and it basically sums it up in a couple of short sentences. Actually, just one sentence is: “No agreement was reached at this time, but the respective teams look forward to meeting in the future.” That's the statement coming from Sarah Sanders as to how these talks broke down between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. As you were mentioning just a few moments ago, Christiane, there were — there were some promising moments leading up to what happened this afternoon. The President was making some comments that, I guess, were designed at wooing the North Korean dictator, having some kind of agreement at the conclusion of this summit, but as you said, they — they broke off the talks earlier this afternoon, decided not to have a signing statement, decided not to have a bilateral lunch and so, the president moved up his press conference by two hours. And then I saw administration officials as we entered this room, scrambling to hang up the signs in this room just to get this room ready for the President to walk out and talk to reporters. 

And so presumably, he'll lay out exactly what went wrong behind the scenes. He was starting to tee this up, as you mentioned, earlier on in these talks when he was telling reporters, well, I’m not interested in achieving something quickly. I want to have the right deal at the right time. And it appears that's the best the President could hope for at this point, so it's strike one in Singapore, he didn’t get a deal from Kim Jong-un. Now, it’s strike two in Hanoi. Once again, no deal to denuclearize North Korea, something that he has staked a lot of his legacy, a lot of his presidency on and, Jim and Christiane, in the backdrop of all of this is what happened back in Washington up on Capitol Hill at the House Oversight Committee when the President's former fixer really just blasted away at his former boss, accusing him of being a liar and a cheat a criminal, basically and so on in what was a bombshell hearing up on Capitol Hill. The president presumably will be asked about that as well. He's been steering clear of that conversation here in Hanoi. He has not tweeted about it in the aftermath of Michael Cohen's testimony and so this will be the first comments coming from the President about all of this. I find that just to be kind of remarkable, that the President was able to hold his Twitter to a bare minimum here in Hanoi. That is something we don't see very often from the President, but he kept his powder dry, presumably we’re going to hear the President weigh in on all of that as well, So, it all up, Jim and Christiane, a very rough and rocky 24 hours for the President. Humbled in Washington, humbled here in Hanoi, heading back to Washington empty-handed.

(....)

2:05 a.m. Eastern

ACOSTA: I think it really boils down to Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons program. They've been very resistant, as you know, Christiane, on the North Korean end to offer a full accounting of their weapons program. If that is the case, they are certainly very resistant to denuclearizing altogether, the North Koreans would obviously like to see the U.S. pull its troops out of the Korean peninsula. That’s not about to happen. And there was talk heading into this summit that they were hoping to sign some sort of agreement to end the Korean war, we’re not even seeing that and, honestly, that would have been a difficult thing to sell to the public and leaders around the world as well. Quite honestly, you can’t really declare an end to the Korean War if Kim Jong-un is not going to fully denuclearize, and if the U.S. is not going to pull all of its troops or a majority of its troops out of the Korean Peninsula.

And so, I think that when we assess all of this in the hours and days and weeks ahead, I think what’s going to become clear, Jim and Christiane, is that the president staked a lot of his presidency on something that is just much more difficult than reality TV. This is not something that can be wrapped up in a season of The Apprentice and the President made some very strong statements about his affection for this North Korean dictator earlier on in this summit. He talked about having a very special relationship with North Korea and Kim Jong-un showing off the economic boom that has taken place in Vietnam, as perhaps a road map for the North Koreans economically if they were to come back into the community of nations. But at the end of the day, that — that it doesn't seem to be enough for Kim Jong-un to put, really, his entire regime on the line, to take that kind of gamble with the President. It seems, at this point, he is just not ready to do that. 

(....)

2:09 a.m. Eastern

WILL RIPLEY: Based on what we know about north Koreans and their negotiating style, sticking to the script, the talking points, it's very unlikely that they would have been the ones to cut this off abruptly, to cancel lunch. Perhaps this is President Trump trying to reassert power because the optics have been in Kim Jong-un’s favor ever since he arrived. President Trump, jet-lagged after a long flight on Air Force One. Kim Jong-un, a relaxing train journey for a couple of days, in luxury, heavily-armed train. 

JIM SCIUTTO: And President Trump, of course, carrying the burden of the Cohen testimony back home — 

RIPLEY: Exactly.

SCIUTTO: — with the enormous political challenges at home. 

RIPLEY: So, there have been a lot of speculation that he would be eager for a large headline to distract from all of the chaos in Washington and this might be President Trump saying: “At the end of the day, I’m the President of the United States. You are still the leader of North Korea and I'm in control of this situation.” Maybe he felt like he had to take it back. 

JOSEPH YUN: I — you know, I have to think, the drama in Washington played a big role. I mean, for, I mean, if you are Kim Jong-un, you're watching this, you know? And you are saying: “Is this what he's telling me?” You know? That we have a great future? Great relations? Is this kabuki, or what, you know? So, you have to think he is also thinking about stepping back a little bit. 

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You told me a very interesting story, when you were still a negotiator, Steve Biegun is now the person you used to be in regard to this portfolio that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wanted a meeting with the North Koreans, but —

YUN: But they came back the next day, and said: “You know, we think Rex is going to get fired. We don't want to see him, you know?” And they added, by the way, you too, Yun. So — that was quite gratuitous.

AMANPOUR: And then you left.

YUN: Yeah, but I left.

RIPLEY: Without a doubt, they were watching very closely, and Kim Jong-un was getting updates about Michael Cohen. So, they’re also wondering, who’s going to be the President two years from now?

NB Daily Asia North Korea Vietnam CNN Other CNN Video Jim Acosta Christiane Amanpour Jim Sciutto Donald Trump Kim Jong Un
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