Trump ready for NKorea summit but 'prepared to walk away'

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," June 7, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The summit is all ready to go, subject always to change. You never know in this world.

I think I very well prepared. I don't like I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done. This will be at a minimum, we'll start with perhaps a good relationship, and that's something that's very important toward the ultimate making of the deal.

SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO: The complete verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is the only outcome that we will find acceptable. And North Korea has confirmed to us its willingness to denuclearize.


SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS: So pretty much everyone agrees that's not going to happen on June 12th. Let's bring our panel: Steve Hayes, editor in chief for The Weekly Standard; David Catanese, senior politics writer for U.S. News and World Report, and Matt Schlapp, contributor with The Hill. Gentlemen, welcome to all of you.

Steve, I'll start with you. The president's statement, I don't think I have to prepare very much, people are jumping on that. But he's always talked about the relational aspect of the negotiations. He's not traditional about the way he's handled this but it seems like he's move the ball further than just about any other U.S. president.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It depends on how you look at it. The Bush administration went out of its way not to have not have face-to-face bilateral meetings with North Korea. And the time that it did, Christopher Hill who was the envoy did it without telling Condoleezza Rice at first because it was thought to be such a concession to the North Koreans. So he has given a lot because he's having the meetings.

And I think the kinds of comments the president is making have not been helpful. He deserves credit for changing the failed policy of the previous three administrations, no doubt about it. Different conversation. We are not outsourcing to China. That's helpful. The things he's saying now, that he doesn't need to prepare, the North Korea is committed to denuclearization, that this has been an open and honorable process, those things I think are not helpful. We should be clear with the North Koreans that they will denuclearize, we will verify it, it will be irreversible, and that's it. They have an opportunity to do this. This is their only opportunity to do it or we're walking away and they're in trouble.

BREAM: David, that's what he continued to say today. I will walk out at any point when I don't think we're actually going to get to that goal.

DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Look at far we've come. Last year he was calling him little rocket man and threatening their annihilation, and then today he said yes, we'll have him over to the White House and have a powwow. So look, a week could go by. He could have this summit and he can decide he's never going to deal with him again frankly.

I think the one interesting aspect that I'm focused on more is that we are not hearing as much about what North Korea gets out of this. What do they want out of it? And I think that is going to be a standard by which to measure this. We know what we want -- denuclearization. Pompeo said it today very clearly. What do they want? Are they just using Trump as a prop to stand next to? And how do we know what they want coming out of the meeting?

BREAM: The president talked about the economic benefit that he's hoping to get them all situated with, with China, with South Korea, with others he says has stepped up, but it sounds like, Matt, that's the part of the equation that they want and that they desperately need.

MATT SCHLAPP, THE HILL: What President Trump deserves a lot of credit for this ultimate pressure campaign. The idea that China believed that the president of the United States was serious.

The second issue is that by a lot a people's accounts, the Kims are out of money, or they are running out of money. They are in a different situation than they were in before. They actually need to have this go better because they have to have the spigot for the resources from China and other places get turned on again. So I'm very hopeful. I actually am very hopeful that the president will walk away if it's a bad deal.

He doesn't have to do this immediately. If they need America's help and they need America to take the pressure off China, then he's got to get to a deal. And they've got to get to a deal. I'm happy we have a president who likes this kind of process. I think it actually plays to his strength. I'm not that worried that he will walk away from a bad deal. If he walks away from Singapore, the negotiations, I'm going to be good with it because I know we're going to go to step two.

BREAM: OK, let's see what the folks out there across America think. We have brand new FOX News polling. And there is one question, President Trump and Kim Jong-un meeting, who would get the better deal? Forty percent say Donald Trump, 30 percent say Kim Jong-un, 17 percent say neither or the same, 12 percent unsure. So Steve, at least the folks who answered this poll, the biggest number of them, the plurality of them think that if these two do sit down and go head and head, they have more confidence in our president.

HAYES: I hope they are right. The Kims have won with three previous American presidents I would say, and every time we have sat down with them, they have been broke. They've been on the verge of going broke. And one of the things that's given them lifelines again and again and again is U.S. concessions, preemptive U.S. concessions. We have offered them time and again for promises of denuclearization. They haven't denuclearized obviously or we wouldn't be having these conversations.

I don't think China has been necessarily a good partner in this. I think China has been an uneven partner. They have put pressure on. At times it's been helpful. They have also restarted flights or announced that they're going to restart flights between Beijing and Pyongyang. We also have the Syrian question which I think is a pretty significant question. North Korean state TV announces that Bashar al-Assad, the history of proliferation between North Korea and Syria, wants a meeting and will potentially be getting a meeting with Kim Jong-un. That is an obvious provocative step here. If North Korea were truly committed to bettering relations with the United States and the civilized world, they wouldn't be doing things like that less than two weeks before this meeting.

BREAM: You're itching, Matt.

SCHLAPP: Yes, I'm just going to say, the people I talked to, I dial back into my former Bush administration colleagues from the NSC and other places, and they do believe they are in a financial situation like they've never been in before and the situation with China is different. And I think the dynamics, Trump deserves some of that credit for the change in the dynamics, but he also gets some of the benefit from the fact that the dynamics are different than they've ever been before. So I think this is a unique moment in history.

CATANESE: It's hard to believe denuclearization is what they are going to agree to. I think the comments from the president --

SCHLAPP: Then they're not getting a deal.

CATANESE: But how do we know? And are there steps in place? He is saying I don't need to prepare. It's all attitude. You've got to lay out, what are the deliverables out of this meeting that you are going to get from him, not just their word, but are you going to be able to go around their country, find where their nuclear weapons are? Are you come to an agreement on monitors? Is he just going to trust that Kim Jong-un's word, and then what happens after that?

BREAM: I can't imagine they get to that level of detail in this first meeting, so maybe it is about the relational aspect of trying to get to those.

SCHLAPP: Just quickly remember what John Bolton did at the State Department. He did arms control. And I am so appreciative that he is there. I guarantee that he's going to be in the president's ear every single moment and is making sure we can do exactly what you described.

HAYES: But it's important, just on the preparation question, it's important for a world leader, particularly the leader of the world's superpower, to go into a meeting knowing the history of these negotiations, knowing the history of the relationship so that when he hears something that's been said time and again, he's not hearing it for the first time and it's not tempted to believe something that has been the basis of lies for three decades. That's a concern.

BREAM: Does it reassure you or worry you that Ambassador Bolton is part of the team, prepping him and getting them ready?

HAYES: I have said here before, I will say again I am happy that John Bolton is on one side of Donald Trump. I'm happy that Mike Pompeo is on the other side of Donald Trump.

BREAM: And the president tweeting today up a storm today, as he often does. "Isn't it ironic? Getting ready to go to the G-7 in Canada to fight for our country on trade. We have the worst trade deals ever made. Then off to Singapore to meet with North Korea and the nuclear problem. But back home we still have the 13 Angry Democrats pushing the witch hunt!" I think he's going to have to trademark that. There are capital A and capital D on "Angry Democrats." We are going to talk about that angle after this.

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