Today on CNN’s State of the Union, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, joined Dana Bash to discuss US negotiations with Cuba and additional sanctions on North Korea.
On establishing formal diplomatic relations with Cuba: "We already have an operating interests section, which the administration could easily convert to an embassy. An ambassador, I would think it would be very difficult to get an ambassador confirmed."
On the Obama Administration's 'secret diplomacy': "And this is a problem not only as it relates to Cuba, but Iran, this secret diplomacy in which witnesses come before the committee and you ask them questions about what's happening, whether it be about Iran or Cuba, and you don't get a straight answer. And now you find out that there was in one case a year-and-a-half, in another case over a year of engagement. That's going to be problematic for the administration as it appears before the committee again and again."
On North Korea's sponsorship of state terror: "I really do believe that we need to look at putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which would have far more pervasive consequences. You know, the one thing I disagree with - with the president on is when he characterized the action here against Sony by North Korea as an act of vandalism."
On the Obama Administration's deal with Cuba: "So we subverted, in my view, the standards that are important for us to uphold globally in a way that we could have - if you're going to make a deal with the regime, then get something for it. But at the end of the day, they got absolutely nothing for giving up everything that the Castro regime wants to see and has lobbied for."
In an interview scheduled to air on CNN's State of the Union, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spoke to Dana Bash about the North Korean hacking crisis, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the Republican playing field in 2016.
On North Korea's hacking: “You can't talk about North Korea without talking about China. You need to have a heart to heart with the Chinese. I can't imagine anything this massive happening in North Korea without China being involved...”
On closing Guantanamo Bay: “I don't think there's any appetite in Congress to close Guantanamo Bay. I think the American people want to keep it open. And after the rise of ISIS and ISIL throughout the Mideast, most people in the world are more worried about terrorists leaving Guantanamo Bay than they are of the prison being opened."
On reaching an Iranian nuclear deal: “The Sunni Arabs and the Israelis are of one accord. Both of them fear dramatically the effects of a bad deal. I would like to end the nuclear ambitions of the Iranians peacefully, but the deal needs to be looked at and approved by Congress. They have been trying to develop a nuclear weapon, not a peaceful nuclear power program. And of all of the things that could throw the world into more chaos than exists today, it would be a bad deal regarding the Iranian nuclear ambitions.”
Full transcript after the jump. FULL POST
CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with Suki Kim who explains how she got inside a North Korean school and the warped worldview of students there.
On North Koreans’ perception of the world: "They, first of all, didn't know anything about the rest of the world. If any of them did, they were fearful to admit that, because every conversation that we had, even at meals in the cafeteria, there was - somebody was reporting on it. They were all watching each other. And if they were curious, you know, there was a - little slips here and there where they would be curious about democracy, for example, how it functioned in the rest of the world. At the same time, some of the students really thought people spoke Korean in the rest of the world. So the utter, utter lack of information was astounding."
On North Korea's education system: "You take away any way of critical thinking, and you literally take away the tools where people can communicate with each other, then I think that you have a nation where they just basically have the most abusive nation in the world. There - these men just own their people. It's the most horrific place to me in the world
Full transcript after the jump. FULL POST
"Government minders pulled me aside – they were shaking – and said we needed to go right now back to Pyongyang. I was nervous – I didn't know what was happening," Ripley said.
We got in this van and drove to an area of the capital that we've never seen before off the regular route up to this nondescript building. And it was only when we were standing at the front door that they told us...we would be talking with the three Americans who were being held in North Korea."
Here's Ripley's report on his interviews with Kenneth Bae, Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller: http://cnn.it/1poUfVw