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North Korea Has Fired Some Kind Of Projectile; Day Two of U.S. President Trump's Ambitious Foreign Trip to; Key Differences Between Obama and Trump Administration on Iran; Iraqi Forces Closer to Fully Retaking Western Mosul; Health Care in Venezuela; Final Ascent to the World's Highest Peak. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired May 21, 2017 - 05:00   ET



[05:00:22] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: 5:00 a.m. on the U.S. East coast. Welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. We're following breaking news this hour.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, as George is saying, out of the North Korean peninsula, North Korea has fired some kind of projectile. That's according to South Korean officials.

Now, it's unclear what type of projectile Pyongyang has launched and this comes about a week after North Korea successfully launched a missile that landed in the ocean. Our Alexandra Field is on the phone with us now live from Seoul. Could you please update us, what is the latest because we're understanding that this news, of course, comes from the government of South Korea.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It comes from the Joint Chief here in South Korea and we're now learning that South Korean officials will convene a meeting of the National Security Council. That will happen shortly. Officials will be trying to analyze exactly what kind of projectile was launched in what appears to be the latest, new on the string of provocations from Pyongyang.

All we know at this point from South Korean officials though is that it was some type of projectile. They have not confirmed what kind of course this projectile may have taken. But to put this into context, we do know that Pyongyang has fired off nearly a dozen ballistic missiles since just the start of the year, just the start of the Trump administration.

If this was in fact a ballistic missile that they attempted to launch again today, officials will be trying to determine how successful the launch was and what exactly they put up there. Again, this would come just one week after a very successful launch from North Korea.

It was just last Sunday that we saw them launch a missile that actually went closer to Russia than to Japan and, at the time, analysts weighed in and said that this was a projectile that appeared to have thrown at a higher altitude and traveled farther than other recent tests.

That one actually led analysts conclude that North Korea had taken a significant step forward in terms of developing intercontinental ballistic missile. That is of course to (INAUDIBLE) North Korea, to develop a missile that could carry a nuclear-tip warhead all the way to continental U.S.

The success of that test just a week ago, of course, prompted swift reaction from countries around the world. The U.N. Security Council convened a meeting and aftermath of that launch, saying that they would weigh possibility of even stricter sanctions on North Korea.

There is also a firm statement from the White House just a week ago, again, calling on all countries to strictly enforce existing sanctions against North Korea. That would be (INAUDIBLE) of the Trump administration and just trying to figure out a way to force that kind of cooperation from the Kim Jong-un regime in North Korea.

This latest launch of this unidentified projectile at this point, of course, also comes at a another (INAUDIBLE) sensitive time right as U.S. President Trump takes off for his first international trip, George.

NEWTON: Yes. Absolutely, Alexandra, and you can bet that we are going to get reaction from the Trump administration as they're on the ground there in Saudi Arabia.

I wanted to ask you though -- this is, of course, quite a moment, quite a test for a very new government in South Korea. That government saying that what they had hoped was to have some kind of negotiation even with North Korea. Their tact on all of this has been different. Has their tact changed, certainly, given the fact that they've been tested already?

FIELD: They were tested very quickly. You're right to point that out. Just within the first week of President Moon Jae-in's presidency, you have one ballistic missile launch, that was one that happened last Sunday and now, it appears, you know, another projectile is being launched today.

So, how will this government respond? You know, President Moon has campaigned on his platform of more engagement with North Korea and that is the position that the government has been publicly taking. What they had promised to voters, it is a corner stone of the democratic platforms here in South Korea and, of course, marks the turning point from the previous conservative party world in South Korea which took a harder line toward North Korea.

So, there was certainly hope among voters here. You might see a tone shift when it comes to policy towards North Korea but there aren't a lot of options at this point. You -- all President Moon Jae-in (INAUDIBLE) after that first ballistic missile launch just days into his presidency, with no choice but to very quickly and strongly condemn the actions that have been taken from North Korea.

He also went on to say those that this is a time when South Korea would have to show the North that talks would only be possible if North Korea changed its attitude and that provocation would be met with response.

So, now we have to look ahead to imagine what we could hear on officials again convened in their second Security Council meeting in just a week out in order to respond to these amounting provocations. Back to you.

NEWTON: All right. Alexandra Field, we'll continue to follow those developments from Seoul. We will bring you the latest breaking news, again, North Korea firing some type of a projectile, two in about one week

HOWELL: And it's still unclear the course that that projectile took. We'll continue to bring you details as we get more.

NEWTON: Now, it's day two, as we were saying, of U.S. President Trump's ambitious foreign trip to the Middle East and Europe, the first of his presidency. He's still in Saudi Arabia at a gathering of Arab and Muslim leaders in Riyadh. He's already met personally with leaders from countries like Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt.

HOWELL: Later the president is set to have one of the key moments of this visit. That's when he'll give a speech on combating radical extremism. Also, interesting, given the president's heavy use of Twitter, he'll take part in a Twitter forum with Saudi youth.

NEWTON: Our White House reporter Jeremy Diamond is in Riyadh covering the U.S. president's trip and I'm going to get to that twitter forum in a second but right now, all people are watching what he's going to be saying in a speech.

You know, the pictures of him at this extraordinary Muslim, Islamic Arab summit, it is more than 40 nations, the United States invited to this summit. What does the Trump administration hope to gain from this kind of -- really, it's unprecedented, this kind of outreach that we have seen to the Muslim world?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, you know, a lot of these images are really part of this potential Muslim reset that we're going to see from the president in his speech later today. You know, he's been meeting with many of the region's top leaders but what comes with that is also the fact that a lot of these leaders are, of course, autocratic leaders.

We're here in Saudi Arabia which is a monarchy and we saw the president meet today with several leaders of other similarly autocratic countries like Bahrain and we also saw the president, once again, having an interaction with Egyptian President el-Sisi which was a little bit reminiscent of a Buddy comedy routine rather than a meeting between two key foreign -- two key world leaders. Listen in to this clip we have.


ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT: The president (INAUDIBLE) express our appreciation and respect. Let me say that you have a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.



DIAMOND: And these are the kinds of interactions that we've seen between the president and a lot these leaders. You know, the Saudi monarchy -- the Saudi royal family has been greeting the president with open arms here in Saudi Arabia and, again, this is one of the things that the president has to contend with as he looks to reset relations with the Muslim world is that he's going to be addressing the leaders of 15 Muslim countries in his speech later today.

But, of course, you know, who he is not addressing, at least in the room, but is addressing more broadly through television is the billions of Muslims who live in a lot of these countries.

You know, there's a big contrast here between the president's speech here today and the speech that we saw president Obama give his first major speech abroad which was at Cairo University where he addressed young people to talk about relations with the Muslim world.

So, even though he is embracing a lot of these leaders, he also has to look at the fact that he is also trying to reach out to a lot of the people in these countries who live, sometimes, through protests and uprisings against many of these regimes that we are seeing greeting the president with open arms here in Saudi Arabia.

NEWTON: Yes. And, the Trump administration's really unapologetic saying human rights will not be brought up. They're saying they won't lecture to other countries about the behavior. We've got to get back to that Twitter forum. I mean, in terms of that kind of outreach, what are they expecting? Are they expecting it to be spontaneous like the video we just saw?

DIAMOND: Well, this is one of the forums where he will get to address young people directly. We don't know very much about what the president is going to say but we do expect him to deliver some prepared remarks, particularly, on the ways in which young people in the Middle East can use social media to counter violent extremist ideology.

That is something that we have not really heard the president speak of so far and, of course, given his use -- his prominent use of Twitter and other social media platforms, I think, a lot of people will be tuning in to listen to what the president has to offer.

NEWTON: Yes. He might remind them that they're not to use social media to criticize their government in most cases as well. We will see, this is going to be a bit awkward likely but we'll wait to find out.

Jeremy Diamond there.

DIAMOND: A lot to juggle -- a lot to juggle on this trip.

NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely, you'll be watching it all there in Riyadh. Appreciate it.

HOWELL: The new question now is will the president's trip abroad, will that be enough to end the fire storm that is mushrooming in Washington that started where the president fired FBI Director James Comey.

NEWTON: Yes, the latest news on that front, the Russia foreign minister -- and this is key, he denies "The New York Times" report that Mr. Trump talked about Comey when the president met with Sergey Lavrov at the White House.

Lavrov said Comey's name just never came up during that meeting but according to "The Times," the president is quoted as telling Lavrov, "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."

HOWELL: Leslie Vinjamuri joins us now from London with perspective on President Trump's overseas trip and the controversies that are plaguing him from Washington. Leslie is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of London, a pleasure to have you with us this hour, Leslie.

So, one of the various controversies in Washington and, if we still have that full screen, I want to bring it back up this quote, again, from the president basically referring to his FBI director as a nut job. Again, "I just fired the head of the FBI, he was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off." Leslie, here's the thing, the president of the United States allegedly bragging to Russian leaders about firing his American FBI director. How significant is that?

LESLIE VINJAMURI, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, if it's documented and confirmed, that -- it certainly is another chink in the armor and it suggests that their -- that his motivation for firing Comey had much more to do with his concern over the investigations and the fact that, remember, Comey had really begun to invest more, that that investigation was really moving forward and I think he had a sense of that.

He also had a sense because we've heard over the past few days from Ben Wittes that (INAUDIBLE) institution that Comey simply was not becoming part of his team. That he didn't have the loyalty that Trump really wanted but there's another take on that too which, of course, is that President Trump is in the Oval Office, he's meeting with the Russians and he wants to demonstrate to them that he isn't constrained by domestic politics. That's another reading worth taking into account.

Nonetheless, these investigations are going to move forward. Mueller's been appointed as independent counsel. So there's a lot -- this is not going to away. The foreign trip, of course, is -- if it goes well, if it continues to go well, it is a feather in the cap of the president. He can deflect some of the domestic pressure on the Russia investigations but it won't go away and when he returns, of course, this is going to be very much there. Remember, that we're still going to wait and see who that new FBI

director will be. That will matter quite a lot. There is a concern, I think, now, that the senate intelligence investigations and house investigations might take a step back because they see now that Mueller has been appointed and will be moving forward but, of course, Comey has agreed to testify after the Memorial Day holiday.

So, there's that but this foreign trip is significant because, remember, he's announced an arms deal. He's also announced many deals amongst corporates, so, he can -- he could say to the American people that he's creating jobs and he's fulfilling one of his campaign promises by signing the deals that he's been negotiating in Saudi.

So, there's a lot going on this week but, of course, the speech today will be very significant and will be watched to see whether or not he returns to that language of radical Islamic terrorism.

HOWELL: That will be the big question. Will that be in his speech, again, looking at these images of President Trump, again, in Saudi Arabia as we speak, again, this is him meeting with many leaders in the Muslim Arab world tape turn from earlier today.

Leslie, the question here is, look, there's no telling what Monday will bring with regards to the various investigations that are underway but the president looking to turn a page here with this international trip. As you point out, the president's saying that, you know, he signed an arms deal.

That will be jobs, jobs, jobs for Americans as he pointed out and also looking to set the reset button with the Muslim Arab world, when you consider what the president had to say a year ago, not even a year ago, on the campaign trail, comments and statements about Islam that many consider to be insulting.

So, the question here is, is this international trip, this meeting with Arab leaders, is this working to turn the page so far?

VINJAMURI: Well, it's too soon to tell. I mean, getting the speech today really will be very significant in terms of the tone that it sets. It risks, if it goes poorly, creating a backlash effect amongst the broader public in the region. If he's seen to be targeting Islam too broadly as opposed to really focusing on uniting the people in the region against radicalization and terrorism.

The speech has been written by Steve Miller, apparently, who, of course, was the author of the first travel ban, the so-called Muslim ban. Now, Saudi was not on that list but, of course, that particular ban did not go well across either the United States or the region that he's currently in at the popular level.

So there is a risk in terms of the content of the speech. We'll have to see whether he sticks to the script. So I think it's a little bit too soon to tell. Certainly, the last 24 hours were -- went well from the point of view of the public reaction.

But there's a broader concern too now. He's returning to America's traditional partners, but the context of this trip, of course, is the background is Iran. He spoke out against Iran, and Iran's human rights. There's no conversation and human rights are off the table in terms of Saudi.

But there is a concern of what this particular trip will do with respect to the Iran deal, whether it will put more pressure on that deal which, right now, has still got the backing of the current administration as seems to be successful, is critical to transforming the geopolitics of the Middle East.

So there are a lot of issues on the table, but I think the speech today, in terms of how this trip goes will be probably one of the most significant parts of the entire trip.

HOWELL: Leslie Vinjamuri from London, thank you for the perspective.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on "CNN NEWSROOM," we will be live in Iran, in Tehran where President Hassan Rouhani has been decisively re- elected. We look at what to expect from his second term.


HOWELL: Welcome back to "CNN NEWSROOM." We're following the story in Iran, which is beginning four more years under the leadership of President Hassan Rouhani. He was re-elected this weekend after a decisive victory over the hardline rival, Ebrahim Rahisi.

NEWTON: Yes. Some thought it would be close. It wasn't close at all. This, as Tehran closely watches Donald Trump's visit in the Middle East. U.S. President is not visiting Iran, but his secretary of state has outlined Washington hopes for Mr. Rouhani's second term.


REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: What we hope, what I would hope is that Rouhani now has a new term, and that he use that term to begin a process of dismantling Iran's network of terrorism, dismantling its financing of the terrorist network, dismantling the manning and the logistics, and everything that they provide to these destabilizing forces that exist in this region. That's what we hope he does.


HOWELL: Let's get more now from Iran. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in the capital of that nation, Tehran, and joins us by phone, I believe. Fred, good to have you with us this hour.

So let's talk about the differences of these two administrations. The Obama administration shows more engagement with Iran, to the ire Saudi Arabia. And now, we're seeing the U.S. President in Saudi Arabia, reaffirming that relationship. So the question here, explain the differences of these administrations. FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's a major difference. I mean, when the Obama administration, George, was still in office, there were actually fairly cordial relations -- especially between the foreign secretary. You had Secretary of State, John Kerry, on the one hand. And then the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, who, of course, was hiding figures, at getting the nuclear agreement passed, the one between Iran and other world powers, including, of course, the United States.

That really formed a basis of what many thought would be better relations between the United States and Iran. That's not something that's fully happened, especially with the Iranian hardliners here. At times, doing things that really made it difficult for these two nations to sort of get closer to one another, ballistic missile tests being one of them.

And that's actually something that Hassan Rouhani, in his election campaign, also outlined (INAUDIBLE) and I think that many here in Iran are quite surprised at the top line that the Trump administration is taking, especially (INAUDIBLE) was another Iranian ballistic missile test and the Trump administration immediately flattened sanctions on the Iranian.

That was certainly something here, who thought that there would be a pragmatic relationship between the Trump administration and Tehran, but realized that most probably, the Trump administration is going to compete fairly hardline. And I think that's something that they are now also witnessing by the fact that the first foreign visit that the president is conducting is to Saudi Arabia, which of course, is Iran's main adversary here at (INAUDIBLE)

HOWELL: Fred Pleitgen on the phone with us. Fred, we're going to breakaway here. We're having some technical issues with your audio. But again, thank you for the reporting.

Again, Saudi -- Iran re-electing its President Hassan Rouhani, and the question is, how will that re-election, that decision by Iran, how will that play out geopolitically with the President of the United States? Now in Saudi Arabia, reaffirming that relationship. That is yet to tell.

NEWTON: We have some breaking news now for you on the story we've been following here all morning, which is the fact that North Korea has fired a ballistic missile, we are told. It went 500 kilometers or 300 miles, and that is according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Now, it went off around 4:00 a.m., so about an hour and 20 minutes ago. The South Korean military saying that, "Our military is closely monitoring North Korea and is maintaining readiness posture."

What they -- if it was 500 kilometers, as they're saying, or 300 miles, that is not the distance that it would have gone on May 14th. That one went much further, and actually showed much more progress in that missile program. In fact, that was alarming to analysts who said that might prove that North Korea is either there already or very close to being able to have a nuclear tipped missile, something that they have been trying to do for several years now.

We will continue to watch the story for you, but again, South Korea confirming that this was a ballistic missile that was fired.

HOWELL: And of course, we'll continue to monitor for reaction throughout the region and around the world. We know that, you know, the last time, there was reaction from Russia, from China, from the United States. This news coming into us just a short time ago, but again, North Korea firing this projectile. We'll bring you updates as we learn more.

NEWTON: Yes. I'm sure we'll get some reaction from Saudi Arabia soon.

Now, Iraqi forces say they are getting closer to fully retaking Western Mosul from ISIS control.

HOWELL: In the meantime though, thousands of civilians are risking their lives, fleeing the fighting and their escape is dangerous and it's traumatizing. Our Senior International Correspondent, Ben Wedeman, brings us this story from Western Mosul.



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurry, don't stop, the soldier shouts. But not everyone can hurry. They fled their homes in West Mosul 17th of July neighborhood. Traumatized by weeks of bombardment, they reached Iraqi lines under fire. It's hot, they're hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. This 80-year- old woman, barely able to comprehend her surroundings.





WEDEMAN (voice-over): Abu Akmed (ph) fled with his family of 15. They've been surviving for weeks on a thin gruel of flour and water.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): His wife, suffering from diabetes, can go no further. Much of Western Mosul is a city in shambles, a perilous, barren moonscape of rubble and dust.

WEDEMAN: That car bomb over there went off about a half hour ago. The Iraqi army has dropped leaflets over Western Mosul, warning residents that any moving vehicle in the battle zone will be considered a potential car bomb and will be hit.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Soldiers from the army's 16th Division prepare to move forward. Taking prisoners is not part of their mission. God willing, we'll capture them alive, Major Salah (ph) tells me, and then execute them in front of the civilians.

These two ISIS snipers, killed just hours before, never raised a white flag. For Brigadier General Abdul (INAUDIBLE) of the elite counterterrorism forces, this is a struggle to the death. Now they have no other option than to fight, he tells me. Either that or surrender, but they've chosen to fight.

The few areas still in ISIS hands are under constant, intense bombardment. But in there, still cower hundreds of thousands of desperate residents.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): As the civilians flee, ISIS retreats because those innocent, helpless people are their only protection, says Captain (INAUDIBLE) safe ground is still far, far away. Ben Wedeman, CNN Mosul.


HOWELL: Children, the elderly, so many people, the faces of the many civilians caught in the middle of this crisis.

NEWTON: Yes. And unfortunately, we have seen those images now out of Mosul for months.

HOWELL: Yes. Still ahead here in newsroom, President Trump in Saudi Arabia. Presently, his next top, Israel. He could face key diplomatic challenges there.

NEWTON: Yes, and we'll tell you why. That's ahead. We'll have details next.


[05:30:12] HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching "CNN NEWSROOM". It's good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.

NEWTON: And I'm Paula Newton. A fast moving morning. The headlines this hour.

North Korea has fired another ballistic missile. South Korean officials say it flew about 500 kilometers or some 300 miles. Now, that's a shorter distance than North Korea's last missile test. That one was launched about a week ago and was, according to North Korea, considered a success.

HOWELL: A story we continue to follow also, the U.S. President, Donald Trump, he has a packed schedule presently in Saudi Arabia. He's at a gathering of Muslim and Arab leaders in Riyadh, after meeting personally with several of them. In the coming hour, the President is set to give an important speech about fighting radicalism.

NEWTON: Leaders of Russia and Syria are congratulating Iran's president on his re-election. Hassan Rouhani says he will remain loyal to his country and its people during his second term. He was a driving force in Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. and other partners.

HOWELL: All right. If you're just joining us this day here in the U.S. or around the world, this breaking news we're following on the Korean peninsula, South Korean officials say that North Korea has fired some type of ballistic missile. Our Alexandra Field is on the phone with us live with us in Seoul, South Korea, following all the details.

Alexandra, we understand now that the White House is aware of what happened. What more can you tell us?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESOPNDENT: What we know is that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un is proving that it is absolutely tireless in its ability and its desire to test these ballistic missiles.

The latest launch, a ballistic missile that traveled several hundred miles, according to defense officials, report landing in the water east of the Korean Peninsula. The White House is saying that this missile has a shorter range than the three missiles that were previously tested, but they say that this test -- this system was tested back in February. This is raising alarm in the region as the missile test (INAUDIBLE).

We know Japan and South Korea have both convened meetings for their National Security Council. You can expect that you will hear swift condemnation of the latest provocation in the aftermath of those meetings.

But George, this is certainly something that has become routine in this part of the world. It has been just one week since Pyongyang conducted its last missile launch. That launch was regarded as its most successful launch, touted that way not only inside North Korea, but also by analysts as far as the U.S.

And this is the last projectile that was launched a week ago, hit a higher altitude and traveled farther than previous tests, and they thought was a significant step forward in the country's goal of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that would be capable of delivering a nuclear (INAUDIBLE) warhead to the U.S.

Again, White House officials are saying that they are aware of the latest launch that happened this afternoon in North Korea, and again, they are saying this missile been -- has a shorter range than the previous missile tested.

But, this is a flagrant violation of (INAUDIBLE) you are going to hear that repeated by countries like South Korea, like Japan, like the U.S. It's only been a week, George, since the U.S. called on all countries to fully implement sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the last launch.

And just this last week, you had the U.N. Security Council also meeting, again, reaffirming the commitment to enforcing those sanctions against North Korea and threatening the possibility of even stronger sanctions. The regime in North Korea clearly showing that they are not being cowed by those threats. George Howell.

HOWELL: Alexandra, as you point out, we are expecting, for sure, to hear from the, you know, various powers around the world and within that region, their reaction to what happened here.

But let's talk about the reaction that we can expect from South Korea, because certainly, that nation now has a new president in Moon Jae-in. Moon Jae-in, again, wanting to have -- you know, reestablish communication, more engagement with North Korea. That was a shift from previous administrations there.

So, given that fact, and given that we continue to see North Korea test South Korea with these missile launches, what has been the reaction, so far, the mood in South Korea and what could be expected now with this?

FIELD: Well look, engagement is the buzz word and it's the promise of the party that's iin power. That's the topic of the discussion between the South Korean envoy and President Trump, which took place in Washington this week, how to engage North Korea.

What you heard (INAUDIBLE) say is that engagement could be possible, it could be the goal in order of a means of achieving denuclearization or talks about denuclearization. But you have also heard officials in South Korea and the U.S. repeat that that kind of engagement can only happen if conditions are right. And actually, that's exactly the language that was used recently by top North Korean diplomat and said the door should be open to talk if conditions were right.

So, when you have this barrage of provocations, these constant -- and we can really say at this point -- constant missile tests, you do have countries like South Korea which (INAUDIBLE) they have to kick them out immediately and condemn these kinds of provocations.

Just last week, President Moon Jae-in, after the first ballistic missile launch of his tenure in office, that South Korea must respond to Pyongyang in the state of these provocations. But they have continued to say that they hope for the possibility of engagement.

But George, Paula, it all raises the question, you know, what could be achieved through engagement? These are countries that have been at a standstill over how to proceed, how to move forward. Kim Jong-un's regime has been clear that it is not willing to abandon its weapons program. The U.S. and South Korea has made it clear that their only goal here is total denuclearization of the peninsula.

HOWELL: Alexander Field on the phone with us from Seoul, South Korea, giving us the reporting again about what happened in North Korea, the firing of the latest projectile, this missile. We'll stay in touch with you, Alexandra, as you learn more and share it with our viewers.

NEWTON: Now, U.S. President Donald Trump's next stop after Saudi Arabia, where he is right now, is Israel. Of course, a key American ally. HOWELL: Mr. Trump is pushing for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians and his visit comes at a delicate time for relations between the U.S. and Israel. Just last week, sources told CNN Israel was the source of some of the classified intelligence that President Trump reportedly shared with two top level Russian officials.

NEWTON: Another key issue, Mr. Trump promised, as a presidential candidate, to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Oren Libermann joins us now from Jerusalem. Oren, I mean, we just highlighted two reasons why, going into this trip, it really could end quite badly. Although, at this point, the administration is keeping expectations low.

In terms of what Donald Trump aligned through the campaign in his first few weeks in office, what are they expecting to get done on the ground when he arrives in Israel?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, to a great extent, this trip is about the optics of the trip, especially from the perspective of the U.S. and Israel. It's important that these two leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump, be seen to be off to a stronger start, especially after the end of the President Obama and Netanyahu relationship. Strained relations at best, especially towards the end as they deteriorated.

So for both of these leaders, it's important to start working together, start on a clean slate, especially after their meeting in Washington a couple months ago. And that will be the focus here, essentially make the right statements, shake the right hands, and be seen in the right locations. One of those, Trump visiting the old City of Jerusalem in the Western Wall here behind me. That will be a strong pro-Israel, pro-Netanyahu statement.

Both of these leaders essentially sending statements towards each other about working together. For Netanyahu, it was at the weekly cabinet meeting this morning, where he says Israel is ready to host President Donald Trump. And for Trump, it was an interview in the "Conservative Daily," he said (INAUDIBLE) newspaper, where he said he has a great love for Israel, and looks forward to working with Netanyahu.

So it seems as if the issues you mentioned, yes, absolutely, they're out there and they're very easy and very sensitive in terms of how easy it is to set them off and to create a problem here. But both leaders trying to avoid the issue, seeing if they can leave those in Washington so that here, it can be all about getting along together.

You can whip all those sensitivities around everything that comes with meetings in Jerusalem. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes. And interestingly, this President has staked the claim and saying already that he will try, and is probably the only person now who can bring peace to the Middle East. Oren Liebermann, we'll be watching that trip closely in the next few hours. Appreciate it. HOWELL: All right. Again, there are many controversies back here in the United States that continue to cast a shadow on the president abroad. The fired FBI Chief, James Comey, he is expected to testify publicly in the coming weeks before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.

Given the apparently strained relations between Comey and President Trump, his testimony could rock the White House. Now, Comey's father is speaking out after Mr. Trump reportedly called his son a, quote, "nut job." The elder Comey tells CNN in a phone interview, he believes that his son was dismissed because the President was, quote, "Scared to death of him."

J. Brien Comey said his son, quote, "Didn't give Trump 100 percent loyalty and he demands that of people that work for him. He said he would give 100 percent honesty, but not loyalty." End quote. He also added his son was fired, quote, "Because Jim tells the truth while Trump runs around lying most of the day."

Still ahead here on "CNN NEWSROOM," hospitals that once had every cutting edge treatment and now running out of supplies.

NEWTON: The political turmoil rips Venezuela, there just isn't enough medicine. Our CNN team goes undercover, up next.


NEWTON: Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Venezuela again this weekend to protest the government. Now, they're calling for President Nicolas Maduro to resign, some labeling him a dictator. The country's attorney general says 47 people have died since the protests started and almost 1,000 others have been injured.

HOWELL: Just look at these images from the streets of Caracas, Venezuela. Many Venezuelans blame Maduro for crippling inflation, for food and water shortages, and for a crumbling economy. Saturday was the 50th day of anti-government rallies there. The Venezuelan government is cracking down and intimidating journalists, even as CNN's sister network. CNN en Espanol, is taken off the hour.

NEWTON: Now, our Nick Paton Walsh went into the country undercover to file this report about the health problems many Venezuelans are now facing. A warning, this story contains very graphic video. Here's Nick's report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pain is never worse than when it's needless. Danielle is 14, and elsewhere would probably have kept her leg. But in Venezuela, vital medicine for chemotherapy is short, and so were the odds the bone tumor in her leg wouldn't spread.

Just a little cold water, the doctor says. Careful, she cries. It was removed yesterday, but, as often happens with amputations, strangely, she can still feel it. It feels strange, she says, because I feel a leg that isn't there. It's gone.

WALSH: Does it make you feel angry as a doctor? A procedure like this is necessary when you could prevent it if you had the right medicine?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: yes. It is very sad for us.

WALSH (voice-over): This is a society crumbling from inside, where a government who tried to control everything, from wages to health care, to food prices now seems to control nothing.

Where the body of a murder victim lies in the streets of Valencia, now a common curiosity rather than a scandal. Doctors sneak us into a public hospital to show why diseases that this once oil-rich nation thought were vanquished decades ago are coming back. Wounded protesters making do with water bottles to drain gunfire wounds.

The medicines were brought by family members, he says. In fact, they also brought the water to bathe me. Everything. The doctors who once enjoyed modern, sanitary conditions are now themselves at risk of infection, they say. And patients die from waiting.

When there was (INAUDIBLE) last week in Valencia, the doctor says, 11 dead arrived here. The wounded arrived at about 9:00 and they can't get medicine. They will be treated for some 12 hours later. People die from gunshot wounds because we can't treat them.

Patients wait for hours for the universal free health care, the socialist government once promised, yet now, its mismanagement means it cannot pay for. Instead, they seek to conceal the embarrassment, even barring the health minister after charred mortality and malaria figures. So now, there is silence, rather than an end to the suffering.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN Valencia.


NEWTON: Now, Venezuela's government has repeatedly said its problems have been exaggerated by hostile foreign media. Some officials blame the drop in oil prices and the actions of businessmen who favor the opposition.

Now, I have to tell you George, I was in that same hospital about a year ago as well. The situations have been that dire from what CNN has witnessed on the ground for more than a year. I'm not sure how much more people can take there. And especially, George, I have to tell you. So depressing. When you see people carrying their children, as we did, into the hospital and there not being medicine or painkillers.

HOWELL: It's heart-breaking.

NEWTON: Yes. And it continues to go on and on and on. We will be right back with more here at "CNN NEWSROOM."


PATRICK SNELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN World Sport headlines.

It's proved an emotional weekend for the Borussia Dortmund's Spanish defender, Marc Bartra. The 26-year-old has made his return to action after injuries that need surgery following that bomb attack on the Dortmund team bus last month.

On Saturday, Dortumnd had to beat their (INAUDIBLE) clinch third place on the (INAUDIBLE) spot and they did it. Eventually, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a brace, Dortmund win it four-three. A valuable three points.

23-year-old Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem shocking the world when he defeated king of play, Rafael Nadal, on Friday. Next up though, the formidable challenge at the Italian Open, and the world number two, Novak Djokovic, Thiem was swept aside in ruthless fashion by (INAUDIBLE) who had to play twice, in fact, in one day to put his place in Sunday's final in the Eternal City.

Fatigue? Not a bit of it. Djokovic wins this one easily, dropping just one game in the process. He'll next face the young German player, the 20-year old Alex Zverev in the finals.

Finally, want to bring you a standout moment from the U.S. Major League Soccer scene and the goal that will live long in the memory of Bradley Wright Phillips. This one, brilliant strike from the former Manchester City, for the overhead kick, the New York Red Bulls against Toronto, his 74th league goal for the club. The game ended one apiece.

That's a look at your world sport headlines, I'm Patrick Snell.

NEWTON: Updating our breaking news this hour. North Korea has fired another ballistic missile. Japan says the missile seems to have fallen into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, but not within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

South Korean officials say it flew about 500 kilometers or some 300 miles. It's significant because that's a shorter distance than North Korea's last missile test. That one was launched about a week ago and was considered a success. We'll have much more on this breaking story at the top of the hour.

HOWELL: All right, this story is about two climbers heading to the top of Mt. Everest to do something not many others have done. Yes, to take a breath of fresh mountain air and give fans an inside look at their quest, via Snapchat.

NEWTON: CNN's Robyn Curnow catches up with the pair as they prepare to make their final ascent to the world's highest peak.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the summit it right there. A little home. A sea of clouds.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Mt. Everest, unfiltered. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty wicked view.

CURNOW (voice-over): It's also the final push for Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards, part of team Eddie Bauer, as they get ready to conquer the world's tallest mountain, chronicling every step on social media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe getting the Snap on. What?

CURNOW (voice-over): The climbers are bringing their tens of thousands of followers along vicariously for the high-altitude adventure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we are, North Pole, 23,000 feet a little less than three hours. We're definitely getting faster.

CURNOW (voice-over): Both have reached the top before, but this is the second time the pair are attempting it together, and without using supplemental oxygen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First taste of Everest. The Everest.

CURNOW (voice-over): Last year, Richards made it, but hypothermia forced Ballinger to stop just short of the summit. Now, they're back for redemption.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am feeling fantastic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everest just keeps putting perfect day after perfect day on the north side.

CURNOW (voice-over): The two returned to Everest about out a month ago to acclimate, gradually working their way higher and higher up the north side of the mountain.

CORY RICHARDS: Where we at, A.B.?

ADRIAN BALLINGER: Eight thousand meters.

RICHRADS: Oh, yes.

BALLINGER: The mountain is 9,000 meters high. We went all the way to 8,000 meters during acclimatization. That's higher than all but 14 mountains on the planet, so we essentially climbed a really tall mountain three days ago.

CURNOW (voice-over): Now, they've come back down to 15,000 feet to rest and recover before making their final push.

BALLINGER: No wind and no snow last night. I'm looking pretty magical.

CURNOW (voice-over): In the coming days, they'll be watching the weather and waiting for their window of opportunity.

BALLINGER: And it's just a few days each spring when this low enough winds on the summit of Mt. Everest to actually be able to stand on top and not get blown off.

RICHARDS: Especially without oxygen.

BALLINGER: Especially without oxygen.

CURNOW (voice-over): Sometime around May 27th, the pair plan to post a Snap from the summit.

RICHARDS: High five each other and Snap. And --

BALLINGER: And run back down.

RICHARDS: Run downhill as fast as we can.

CURNOW (voice-over): Last year, Cory Richards' camera battery went flat just as he made it to the summit. This time, he's bringing extra batteries. Both climbers say they're more than ready.

RICHARDS: This doesn't feel rushed this year. It feels right. It feels good. It feels like we've both done everything that we can at this point to prepare and get ready. And now, all that's left is to go out and give it hell and hope for the best.

CURNOW (voice-over): Fewer than 200 climbers have made it to the top of Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. Ballinger and Richards hope to soon join that rarified air. Robyn Curnow, CNN.


HOWELL: All right, and we leave you this hour with swords, drums and dancing for the U.S. President in Saudi Arabia. Take a look.

NEWTON: There's the U.S. President there, doing his thing with the traditional Saudi dance.

HOWELL: Mr. Trump isn't the first U.S. leader to start dancing. Here's the former U.S. President Barack Obama in Nairobi, Kenya. This is 2015.

NEWTON: Before him, former president, George W. Bush started dancing during an event at the White House. Wow, he's really getting into it. Then took to playing the bongo drum.

HOWELL: All right. We're dancing right out of this hour. I'm George howell.

NEWTON: And I'm Paula Newton. "NEW DAY" is up next.