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New U.N. Sanctions Target North Korea's Major Revenue Streams; U.S. Prepared for Military Option Against North Korea; Kislyak Denies Speaking with Flynn About U.S. Sanctions; Stephen Miller May Be Considered For Communications Director; New Assembly Dismisses Venezuela's Attorney General; Iran's Hassan Rouhani Begins New Term and Slams the U.S.; Nearly a Million South Sudanese Flee to Uganda; Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired August 6, 2017 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:08] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Just ahead here we're in the Philippines were ministers from Asian nations and other world powers are reacting to the sanctions slapped on North Korea by the U.N.

White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller is being considered for new role after his memorable appearance earlier this week at the press room podium.

And Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt last solo race doesn't end like he wanted.

It's all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for joining us. We're live in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. And we begin right now.

The U.S. is trying to increase pressure on North Korea's nuclear program, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed tough new sanctions, which include a ban on several major exports. That could cut North Korea's annual export revenue by a third.

Earlier CNN asked the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. if preempted military action is also on the table.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We're prepared to do whatever it takes to defend ourselves and to defend our allies. And the ball is in North Korea's court. They now have to decide where they want to go from here. We hope that they will go the route of peace and security. We hope that they will go the route of focusing on human rights and feeding their people.

We hope that they'll go the route of stopping modern slavery that they do in terms of sending laborers overseas and then taking the money from that situation. But again, all this now is in North Korea's court and we'll see how they respond.


ALLEN: The U.S. president tweeted, "The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact."

CNN senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth has more from New York.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: The full U.N. Security Council was able to agree on new sanctions aimed at Pyongyang for its recent two ICBM missile tests. The sanctions are aimed at the export economy of North Korea where it needs to earn hard currency. The resolutions shuts down $1 billion in exports, including sending of coal, lead, iron ore and seafood.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley says it's a step up but that much more needs to be done diplomatically and in Pyongyang.


HALEY: The North Korean threat has not left us. It is rapidly growing more dangerous. We've seen two ICBMs fired in just the last month. Further action is required.

The United States is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies. Our annual joint military exercises, for instance, are transparent and defense oriented. They have been carried out regularly and openly for nearly 40 years.


ROTH: The Chinese ambassador did condemn North Korea's missile launches but also had critical words for the U.S. and South Korea and antimissile deployment.


LIU JIEYI, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator) The deployment of the THAAD system will not bring a solution to the issue of the DPRK's nuclear testing and missile launching. What it will do is to seriously undermine the strategic balance of the region and as such is detrimental to the strategic security interests of regional countries including China.

China strongly urges each party concerned to halt the process of this deployment and to dismantle relevant equipment.


ROTH: The resolution also bans the hiring of North Korean foreign workers and also adds more travel and asset ban freezes. However, this resolution is likely not to stop North Korea from testing its missile arsenal.

Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: Well, the U.S. is warning North Korea a military option could still be available if Pyongyang does not stop its nuclear provocations. In a new interview with MSNBC network, the U.S. National Security adviser was if the U.S. is preparing for a preemptive strike.


GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right, a war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon? And the president has been very clear about it. His decision is not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.

Look at the nature of that regime if they have nuclear weapons going to threat the United States. It's intolerable from the president's perspective. So, of course, we have to provide all options to do that and that includes a military option.


ALLEN: Earlier I asked our military analyst retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona about the possible implications of U.S. military actions against North Korea.


[03:05:01] LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: That's hard to believe that starting a war, a regional war or a war on the Korean Peninsula is a better option than to having a nuclear exchange with the United States. I mean, it's almost -- it's terrifying and it's almost hard to comprehend, but that may where we're headed.

Are we willing to fight a war in Korea rather than fight a war -- an intercontinental war? Because if the North Koreans are in position to launch an ICBM at the United States it's going to invite of course retaliation and it will be the destruction of North Korea, but that's just doesn't stop there. Because it draws in all these other countries. So you know everybody hopes that we can get -- hold this back from the brink because that's where we're headed.


ALLEN: North Korea is also on the agenda in the Philippines this weekend. Diplomats from Asian nations and other world powers, including the U.S., are in Manila for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is there. He met earlier with his South Korean counterpart. Both reportedly said they approved of the new sanctions against Pyongyang.

The ongoing federal investigation into Russian election meddling is digging deeper into the Trump White House, especially the activities of former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and his relationship with the Turkish government. According to the "New York Times" Special Counsel Robert Mueller is

seeking specific White House records related to Flynn. Of particular interest whether Flynn receives secret payments from the Turkish government while he was working on the Trump campaign.

Flynn, as you recall, lost his job as National Security adviser over his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. That diplomats, Sergey Kislyak, has since returned to Russia and is now speaking out about his conversations with Flynn. He insists those talks did not address U.S. sanctions.

CNN's Matthew Chance has the latest. He's in Moscow.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- released the first comments from Sergey Kislyak since he returned to Moscow from Washington last month. Appearing on state-controlled television, he denied having any secret conversations with Trump administration officials about sanctions saying that he's been instructed not to discuss the issue.

He was also questioned about his conversations with Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security adviser, who resigned after admitting giving incomplete information about his phone calls with the ambassador. Here's what Sergey Kislyak said they discussed.


SERGEY KISLYAK, FORMER RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. (through translator): There are a few topics that are important to U.S.-Russia cooperation. First of all it's terrorism. This was one of the topics we discussed. This conversation was proper, calm and absolutely transparent. There were no secrets, at least on our side.


CHANCE: Well, Ambassador Kislyak, now back in Moscow after nearly 10 years as ambassador to Washington, remains a key figure in the investigations into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

As well as the calls with Flynn, Kislyak also makes wise with Jeff Sessions during the presidential campaign, a fact the U.S. attorney general failed to disclose controversially at his confirmation hearing. And late last year, Kislyak also held a private meeting with Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law. That meeting included the head of a sanctioned Russian state bank. Kushner has said the meeting was about improving relations.

Kislyak however is ruling out any idea of giving evidence the Congress about his contacts with the Trump administration. "I will only testify," he told state media, "to the Russian parliament."

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


ALLEN: And as the Mueller investigation progresses in Washington along with parallel investigations on Capitol Hill, the president is far from Washington. He is spending the next couple of weeks at his golf resort in New Jersey. The president took to Twitter Saturday to dispel the notion that he was simply relaxing and golfing, tweeting, "This is not a vacation. Meetings and calls."

Well, one of the more memorable moments from the Trump White House last week, senior policy advisor Stephen Miller holding a news briefing on proposed changes to U.S. immigration policy. The exchanges were often combative such as this back-and-forth with "New York Times" reporter Glenn Thrush.


STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think it's very clear, Glenn, that --


MILLER: If I can just answer -- if I can answer your question. Glenn. Glenn. Glenn. This is a reality that's happening in our country. Maybe it's time we had compassion, Glenn. Look at -- I just told you. First of all if you look at these -- if you look at the premise, Glenn --


ALLEN: In a sense, Miller's performance was a job interview.

CNN's Brian Stelter explains it could lead to Miller getting an important new role in the Trump White House.


[03:10:04] BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. Yes. Potentially more changes to come at the White House in the communications operation which has struggled to have a coherent plan for how to craft the president's message and get it out to the wider world.

You'll recall just a couple of weeks ago Sean Spicer resigned, then Anthony Scaramucci took over as communications director, only lasted 10 days. So now that communications director job is vacant and the president has a number of options about how or whether to fill it.

Chief of Staff John Kelly may have his own names, but the name that was reported on Saturday is Stephen Miller, currently a senior policy adviser to the president. Miller was just an obscure aide on Capitol Hill a few years ago, but his star has risen in recent years, partly thanks to his association with Jeff Sessions and now with President Trump.

Miller is a hardliner on immigration, very supportive of the president's view, and that was on wide display the other day at the White House press briefing when Miller sparred with CNN's Jim Acosta and other journalists.

According to Axios, Miller was cheered inside the West Wing after that performance. Apparently President Trump and others really appreciated how combative he was with journalists.

Now Miller is being talked about as a possible contender for communications director or some other comms role inside the White House, but he's not the only name that's come up. New Chief of Staff John Kelly has reportedly been interested in bringing over his Homeland Security spokesman for the job of communications director. So it's very much unclear what the president will decide to do, but for now the job is vacant which leads to another fork-in-the-road moment for this White House.

What kind of communication strategy Trump and his aides want to pursue? If Miller ends up bringing -- coming in I think it would indicate we're going to see more of those back-and-forth between Trump aides and journalists. The kind of hostile tone that has defined the first 200 days of the Trump administration.

Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: Still trying to figure it out there at the White House, the president again is on vacation, a working vacation, he says.

Well, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been released now from jail. He was taken by police earlier this week for allegedly violating the terms of this house arrest. That comes as another critic of President Nicholas Maduro has been fired.

Our Leyla Santiago has that from Caracas.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chaos, aggression as the National Guard blocked Luisa Ortega Diaz from entering the attorney general's office, the now ex-attorney general rushed off just hours before this.

A unanimous vote on day one of President Maduro's controversial new assembly stripped Ortega Diaz of her position. Once an ally of the president, she's now a defiant opponent. She says she wants liberty and human rights restored. The government says legal action against her awaits.

She was quickly replaced with Tarek William Saab, a Marudo loyalist who drew tears after being sworn into office.

(On camera): The government calls this a victory. All day long they have stood outside the attorney general's office on guard. They say it's about justice, but the opposition calls it intimidation and vows to continue the fight.

(Voice-over): A fight that has played out on the streets of Caracas for months, a fight that could take the country in a new direction with a new assembly now in power.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Caracas.


ALLEN: As South Sudan's four-year civil war rages on, thousands are fleeing to neighboring Uganda. Coming up here, refugees tell stories on what's happening in their country.

Plus, police say a British model was kidnapped in Milan and put into a travel bag. What the suspects allegedly planned to do with this 20- year-old woman. We'll tell you and it's terrifying.

That's coming up.


[03:16:25] ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.

In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani was sworn in for a second term Saturday and he did not waste any time addressing new U.S. sanctions and the Iran nuclear deal.

Our Nick Paton Walsh has more from Tehran.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Despite Washington's desire to isolate Iran, today's inauguration very much aware of them showing they have the support of dozens in their minds of other nations. The audience seeing Hassan Rouhani take the stage and become the 12th president of Iran including North Korea, Zimbabwe, but also to the EU and France, other European powers there as well.

And the message he delivered was quite blunt in the face of Donald Trump's clear skepticism of the Iran nuclear deal that his predecessor Barack Obama signed. Hassan Rouhani had simply to say that the actions of the U.S. regarding the implementation of the deal showed that the U.S. can't be trust.

And a clear dig at the new occupant at the White House, Donald Trump, he says, "We do not wish to engage with those who are newcomers to the political arena, but wish to tell the veteran politicians and diplomats that they can maintain and continue working in the framework of the joint plan."

Clearly a snub there to Donald Trump, who he wants to pain as a neophyte on the political stage, diplomatically that despite his skepticism of the deal there are others who wish it to continue. Remember the U.S. is not the only signatory. There are European powers, too.

But (INAUDIBLE) of whom, Federica Mogherini in the crowd, too, issued a statement as she was in Tehran today saying that the EU had unwavering support for that particular bill. So despite the U.S.'s desire to impose new unrelated sanctions to that nuclear agreement on Tehran because of their activity in ballistic missile testing and the U.S. says in the support of terrorism and other issues that upset the U.S. political worldview.

There are those certainly in the audience there who wish this nuclear deal continue. President Rouhani, too, also sitting in the audience in front of him, the deputy prime minister of Russia, Dmitryi Rogozin, and he and Iranian defense minister were clear early on in the day that there are a number of agreements in terms of defense and technical cooperation between Moscow and Tehran.

Both countries are sidelined by the sanctions put through U.S. Congress in the past few days and signed by Donald Trump but also potentially trying to find partnership here despite that bid of isolation from the U.S. from the U.S.

Iran trying to show a sense of solidarity with other international partners here as well, but also too seeing coming to Paris to gain for a second term Hassan Rouhani comparatively moderate and trying to paint Iran far from isolated on the world stage.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Tehran, Iran.


ALLEN: South Sudan's four-year civil war has forced nearly 1 million people to flee. Each day thousands of refugees cross into neighboring Uganda. They arrived to makeshift housing and they share their traumatic stories.

John Ray of CNN affiliate ITV has that for us.


JOHN RAY, REPORTER, ITV NEWS: A young girl cries for the mother she's lost along the road and clings to her brother, not much older, for protection while watched by the militia accused of appalling crimes, another family threads wearily across the border. Ahead the uncertainty of exile, behind them the horror of war. Safe now but the fear still lingers.

Emmanuel's manuals escape was a journey through hell.

EMMANUEL AMULE, REFUGEE: First I get skeletons, skulls, bones, and bad things that are smelling rotten flesh.

[03:20:03] RAY: And you can smell the death?

AMULE: Yes. We can smell.

RAY: In the back of lorry, we find an entire village on the move, dazed after days on the road. Close to a million have made the same journey to be met by chaos.

Uganda is overwhelmed. Aid agencies struggle to cope.

Joyce has no shelter for her baby but at least here she says there is no murder. Her own husband one of countless killings.

JOYCE SADIA, REFUGEE: They take my husband five meters away from the road. They slaughter him in front of me.

RAY: They shoot him?

SADIA: Slaughter with a knife.

RAY: They cut his throat?

SADIA: Yes. They say let me see the example. If I want to do it, take me and they lie me near my husband.

RAY: Less than a year ago, this border land was wild countryside. Now for mile after mile all you can see are the tented towns of refugees. They're fleeing a war that has set tribe against tribe, fueling such enmity that even in the camps the rival ethnic groups have to live apart.

Among the survivors of a failing state, the youngest suffer the most.

In South Sudan's long civil war, there are no winners, only losers. And none has lost more than that nation's children. Most arrive here without a mother or a father. Many are entirely alone, and all are scarred by what they have witnessed.

GRACE, REFUGEE: They just slapped me because it was a big man.

RAY: Grace is 16, her childhood sacrificed along the road.

GRACE: They turned on us. They started raping me. After that we shouted for help. There is no one that come help us.

RAY: Just before the rape her mother had been taken, and their older brother shot dead. She was defenseless. Now she's pregnant with her attacker's baby.

GRACE: If it was a boy, it will be my brother. If it is a lady, that will be my sister.

RAY: But of all the basics of life these South Sudanese lack hope is in shortest of viable.

John Ray, News at 10, Uganda.


ALLEN: Authorities say a homemade explosive device apparently caused the blast at a mosque in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It happened around the time of morning prayers of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, Saturday. No one was hurt. The FBI is trying to determine of course who set off the explosive and why. The community, though, was rallying around the members of the mosque. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations is offering a $10,000 reward for information. Italian police say a British model was kidnapped in Italy and was

going to be auctioned on the dark Web, sold. Police arrested this man, a 30-year-old Polish national, after he took the woman to the British consulate in Milan. Authorities say the 20-year-old woman was kidnapped when she went to a photo shoot last month and was stuffed in a travel bag, and was handcuffed to a wooden chest in a bedroom in this house here for a week.

Police say the suspect told the model's agent he was working for the Black Death Group, that's an illegal trafficking organization that operates on a dark Web. Authorities are searching for at least one more person in connection with the case. She is safe but no doubt traumatized.

Typhoon Noru was blasting Japan and a blistering heat wave grips much of Europe.

Karen Maginnis joins us now with both of these stories -- Karen.


[03:26:48] ALLEN: Karen, thank you.

A stunning upset for the world's fastest man. American Justin Gatlin beat Jamaica's Usain Bolt in the 100 meters at the World Track and Field championship Saturday. In London Gatlin finished a 9.92 seconds. Fellow American Christian Coleman was second. Bolt, the world record holder, took third.

After the race he said it's time to hang up his running shoes while his opponent expressed just how much the Olympic legend has meant for his career.


USAIN BOLT, TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE: I keep telling myself I need to get that start and I knew I had to get it to get into the race or I'll be in trouble. And what happened, I think I might have panicked. I wouldn't say I did but it didn't work out that well. You know what I mean? My body is telling me it's time. You know what I mean, my legs are hurting now, it's the first time I've ever done running and my legs are hurting, so it's time to go.

JUSTIN GATLIN, TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE: I was a little crazy and jumping in the stands and everything like that, but it was still a moment of respect to him because what he meant to me and what he's meant to my career and the first thing I did was I paid homage to him, I got down on one knee and I -- you know, I respected him.


ALLEN: Bolt is retiring after one final race, a relay, next weekend.

That is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. I'll be right back, though, with our top stories. Thanks for watching.