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North Korea Threatens to Launch Four Missiles Near Guam. Aired 8-8:30p ET

Aired August 9, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:10] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

On a day the Trump administration spent trying to get its message straight on nuclear North Korea, we learned that the president's threat to North Korea of fire and fury and power, the likes of which this world has never seen before, those lines were delivered off the cuff.

And now, there's a new response from Pyongyang, a threatening statement from the commander of Kim Jong-un's strategic forces speaking to President Trump. He said, quote: Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him.

He went on to outline of coming military action, including a plan to be ready just days from now, he says, for targeting Guam with enveloping missile fire to land a number of miles short of the island.

Now, whether you call it an especially aggressive test or a shot across the bow, it is at a very least new and specific threat a day after the president warned that the next threat would be answered with death, fire and fury.

Our Barbara Starr begins our coverage tonight from the Pentagon.

So, Barbara, the statement from North Korea also seemed to basically just mock the president.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It really did, Anderson. You know, it only took a few hours for the North Koreans to respond. But they were very flowery, shall we say, in their language.

Let me just read one part of it to everyone. The North Korean statement saying: The U.S. president at the golf links again let out a load of nonsense about fire and fury, failing to grasp the ongoing grave situation.

So, you know, we now have the North Koreans and Donald Trump exchanging insults, as perhaps only they can, Anderson.

COOPER: The Secretary of Defense James Mattis, I mean, he issued a pretty stern warning to North Korea today.

STARR: Very serious minded in comparison to what we saw from others. The secretary of defense, let me read some of what he said, very, very stern, saying, and I quote: The DPRK, North Korea, should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people. The DPRK regime's actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours, and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.

Perhaps look at that very last word, conflict it initiates, the secretary making very clear he's not going to -- the U.S. is not going to tolerate North Korea launching an attack.

COOPER: But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today seemed to be trying to dial down the temperature in the wake of the president's comments yesterday.

STARR: Right. You know, a bit of -- everyone is wondering, is this the good cop/bad cop routine? Have a listen for a minute to what the secretary of state had to say.


REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the president, what the president was doing was sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language. I think the president just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S., you know, has the unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies, and I think it was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part.


STARR: So, the secretary of state, very calming voice there, the secretary of defense warning about the prospect of war. Good cop, bad cop? The State Department today insisted everyone is on the same page, that Mr. Tillerson is expressing the diplomatic portfolio, if you will. And the Secretary of Defense James Mattis, looking at the military situation -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Barbara, thanks.

As if to erase any doubts of the fire and fury remarks did in fact refer a nuclear war, the president began the day by tweeting about the American nuclear stockpile, saying the nuclear arsenal is, quote, far stronger and more powerful than ever before. And in keeping with his track record, what he said turns out that it isn't quite true.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now with the tweets, the facts and all the past -- the rest of the statement.

So, Jeff, let's talk about this latest threat from North Korea. Do we expect a response from the White House or the president tonight with this newest threat?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, so far, the White House has given no indication that they plan to respond to this tonight. The president has not, as well. This is something that some advisers to the president and to this

White House are hoping that he passes on this opportunity to one way to cool down this escalating back and forth series of exchanges here is for the president to not respond. So, we do not know if he will, but we are told there is anything -- immediate plan, but, of course, watch your social media feed, because that is one place he could respond here.

But, Anderson, the language was directed specifically, seemed to me, to get under the president's skin. We'll see if it does that or not. But they did not respond yesterday, the White House did not, to the Guam threat. So, we do not expect anything imminently tonight, Anderson.

COOPER: What more do we know about the statement that the president made yesterday?

ZELENY: Well, Anderson, so interesting, because the president was speaking off the cuff.

[20:05:03] He was improvising. I was told by three White House officials today, initially they wouldn't say. But, finally, as the day wore along, they did say that he was speaking extemporaneously. He was simply answering a question that was asked of him at Bedminster yesterday.

But it also -- the White House was, you know, working very hard to explain that look, no one inside his inner circle, his new chief of staff, John Kelly, was surprised by this. They say his military advisers weren't surprised by this, because he has used similar language in private. But, of course, saying it in public is so much different.

So, it's always hard to know, Anderson, if the White House is coming up with the strategy to fall in line after the president says something. You know, they've often said that he's simply improvising, or if this was indeed the plan all along.

But he is surrounded in Bedminster by his national security officials and the vice president is traveling to Bedminster tomorrow. At least he's scheduled to, as well. But, Anderson, no question. This is the biggest foreign policy challenge that's now sitting on the president's desk. We'll see what he does with it.

COOPER: Yes. Jeff, thanks very much.

That's the state of play as North Korea tonight crosses, rhetorically at least, the red line that the president drew, again, off the cuff just a bit more than 24 hours ago.

Joining us is former Defense Secretary William Cohen. He served during the Clinton administration, currently CEO of Cohen Group, a global consulting firm that represents defense contractors and others.

Secretary Cohen, first of all, your reaction to this response now from North Korea tonight, specifically referencing the president's comments yesterday, spelling out a possible strike directed near Guam.

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, I think it's an example of ad-lib at your peril. That when you improvise without really vetting this through your national security team and have an interagency process so everyone knows exactly what will be said, then you run the risk, as we saw yesterday, that the president made a statement indicating that a mere threat would be met with a very overwhelming, and the implication was nuclear response.

That Secretary Tillerson had to tamp down. And he came out with the right statement, saying, step back, let's ease off a minute and we're not in any peril at the moment. So, let's see if diplomacy can work.

Now, Secretary Mattis made a statement today which I think was the correct one. It should have been made by President Trump and that is to say you are playing with fire, that you're really escalating the danger in the Korean peninsula area, in the entire region. And that if you do take any action opposed to the threat, if you take any action, it will be met with a response that will probably end your regime.

Now, I have made statements of that same effect. And that is our policy. But I think when you start issuing statements that if you even threaten us, we're going to destroy you, then I think you've got a problem in terms of what the reaction is going to be. I think the North Koreans have taken it as a bluff and now, you have them escalating the rhetoric.

And now, we have a situation where we've got, you know, two schoolyard bullies, as such, kind of saying I've got a bigger gun than you've got. Or my gun is worse than your gun or more nuclear than what you have. So, I think this is something that has to be calmed down. Rex Tillerson, Secretary Tillerson has done the right thing. I think we have to go from here and then really put the pressure on the North Koreans by doing what needs to be done, and that's squeezing them economically far more than we've ever done before.

President Trump deserves credit for getting this resolution through the Security Council last week. But don't undercut it with improvisations and off the cuff statements which are only going to undercut it.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, because, you know, this president seems obsessed with the idea that people are laughing at him or people are laughing at us the U.S. It's something he's talked about as president a number of times. It's a phrase he used repeatedly when he was a civilian and tweeting. When you were secretary of defense -- and now, it seems like North Koreans, in fact, are kind of mocking in this statement, perhaps intentionally.

When you were secretary of defense under President Clinton, I mean, did he speak about big picture strategy and language and situations like this before actually speaking publicly?

COHEN: We always were very careful in what we said. Any time you're dealing at this level with a country like North Korea or any country, you need to be very precise and very concise, and to the point. And not leave too much ambiguity.

Now, Dr. Kissinger has been an adviser from time to time to President Trump. And Henry Kissinger wrote in his White House years, he said, a bluff taken seriously can be helpful. But a serious threat that's taken as a bluff can be catastrophic. That's similar language used by Dean Acheson years before.

And so, what we have now is, something has been taken as a bluff, when it may be serious. So, we now have to walk it back and say, if you take action, which threatens us or our allies, then you will have a response which will be quite devastating to your regime. And we start moving from the region of saying, oh, we're not trying to have a regime change. We will start moving in that direction, saying, we tried to work with you.

[20:10:01] It's untenable. Therefore, we're going to look at regime change at some point region of saying o we're not trying to have a regime change. We will start removing -- we tried to work with you. It's untenable. Therefore, we're going to look at regime change at some point in time in the not-too-distant future if you continue along this way.

COOPER: You talked about squeezing North Korea. I know earlier today, you used the term squeezing like a python. Can you explain exactly what you mean by that? I mean, are you talking about passage of the sanctions that were passed, as you pointed out, unanimously, on the Security Council on Saturday? How do you mean by squeeze?

COHEN: Well, what I mean is we've been imposing sanctions on an incremental basis, a little at a time. Those sanctions have been evaded or eroded. We know that here's a black market and a gray market. We know there are Chinese firms dealing with the North Koreans and the Russians.

And what I've said before is, we have allowed the North Koreans to have a gun and butter policy. They've been developing the guns or the missiles and others are providing them with the butter. And you need to take the butter away. You need to shut down their economic benefits so there's pain that is suffered. And with an indication it's going to get worse.

That coupled with more defense equipment that we need to have in South Korea. For example, President Moon of South Korea has put on hold the deployment of the THAAD missile, anti-missile system. He needs to accelerate that, put it on the ground now, no more hesitation.

I think we ought to put it in Japan as well. So, we have a beefed up capability, squeezing them economy, telling our friends who are doing business with North Korea, it's going to have an impact. We're not going to be quite as good to you in the future, because you're actually aiding an adversary, which may become an enemy.

COOPER: Yes. Secretary Cohen, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

Coming up next, our panel of national security and political experts weigh in.

Later, the Russia story and predawn raid on Paul Manafort's home, not his business, his home. That's serious stuff. Sources tell us it's rattling cages in the president's inner circle. Should they be considered? Should they be rattled, concerned? Jeff Toobin says yes. Details on that ahead.


[20:15:44] COOPER: The breaking news tonight: North Korea crossing the red line that President Trump seemed to draw just yesterday with these off-the-cuff remarks.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement, and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.


COOPER: Well, tonight, North Korea challenged that, only in words so far. The question is now, what's next?

Joining us is former senior White House national security official in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, Peter Feaver, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and former House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers.

Chairman Rogers, the president tweeted this morning, quote: My first order as president was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now stronger and more powerful than ever before. Hopefully, we'll never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we're not the most powerful nation in the world.

How accurate is it for him to suggest that the nuclear arsenal now is more powerful than it's ever been before because he ordered it six months ago?

MIKE ROGERS (R), FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, I think what he was trying to do is at least reiterate that America is a first rate nuclear power when it comes to nuclear weapons. But I can -- I would be a little cautious --

COOPER: But there hasn't been an actual change in our nuclear capabilities over the last six months.

ROGERS: We needed to modernize our nuclear capability for some time. So, the fact that the president is going down that road I think is very, very important for the nuclear arsenal of the United States. To say that it's more powerful is probably a bit of a stretch. So, my point on this, Anderson, and I just got back from South Korea,

talked to a lot of senior officials there, is that the president is probably not the best spokesman for that fiery rhetoric. If you want to deliver that message in a completely and coordinated effort, it's probably not the president that should deliver it. The president should deliver that I'm steely, I'm for our allies in South Korea, we won't tolerate any incurrences there or any attack on the United States or any of our allies in the region is probably a better message for the president.

One of the things that kept coming out of the meetings in South Korea were -- was that fact that they just need a little bit more charity and a little bit more certainty what U.S. policy is. This notion that the president is doing it either by tweet or by off the cuff remarks is a bit concerning I think to our South Korean allies and certainly our allies in the region.

COOPER: Yes. Peter, I mean, it doesn't seem to be of much concern to North Korea. It does seem to be of more concern, as the chairman just said, to our allies and maybe to American citizens.

PETER FEAVER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL DIRECTOR FOR DEFENSE POLICY & ARMS CONTROL: Yes, but let's be fair to the administration. President Trump didn't create this problem. In fact, Clinton's national security team when they were planning on taking office had predicted that North Korea would be their first crisis. This is a crisis that's been a long time coming.

And, secondly, it's fair to acknowledge that the team did develop a coherent, diplomatic strategy of maximum pressure on North Korea by trying to work with China to ratchet up China's pressure on North Korea. The problem is that the message of yesterday, which was off the cuff, was not coordinated and integrated into that larger strategy very well, and that's where I think the concern has arisen. But there is a larger strategy that they're following.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Gloria, to Peter's point, the comments yesterday by the president seemed very much at odds with the comments Rex Tillerson had made just days before, and even today comments he had made, and slightly different than comments in very crucial ways that Mattis made today.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. I think what you saw was Mattis and Tillerson kind of being the shovel brigade here and trying to clean up a bit of the mess that the president made with his rhetoric. And you saw -- you know, you saw Tillerson trying to tamp down everyone -- saying everyone ought to sleep well at night.

[20:20:06] And you saw Mattis. It was quite a muscular statement from Mattis about America's military power, but it didn't draw a red line or saying, if you threaten us again, watch out. It was kind of more generalized. So, there was clearly a recognition here that something had to be said after the president. If the president had not spoken, I don't think you would see those two statements from these two men today. COOPER: Doug, just in terms of history, what precedence of any do you

see with this? Because White House adviser Sebastian Gorka compared what's happening now to the Cuban missile crisis in an interview this morning.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it does ring your Cuban missile crisis bell. I mean, obviously, we are talking about potential nuclear weapons being used against Guam or Hawaii or the United States. It's frightening. It's -- John F. Kennedy's, the way he handled that crisis is instructive. There was an embargo. We did do back channel diplomacy with Robert Kennedy leading the charge, and we are able to defuse that crisis and actually become stronger than ever.

I would also remind viewers. I mean, in 1949, when the Soviet Union got the atomic bomb, we were startled. We didn't know how they did it. And then China got it, and Pakistan. We never like it when a country that's an adversary gets a nuclear capability, but alas it seems that North Korea has one.

And at all cost, we've got to make sure that we don't ratchet this thing up by reckless language or, you know, just being irresponsible and kind of back ourselves into a war we don't want. I think history will show with this, Anderson, is really serious when we start ordering evacuations of American civilians from Guam, from Japan, and from South Korea. Then you'll know this is starting to become a hot war.

COOPER: Let's take a break. When we come back, more with the panel.

President Trump's words to North Korea about power, the likes of which the world has never seen before. And if that phrase sounds familiar, it should. It turns out it's kind of stock phrase the president actually uses a lot. We'll show you just how common, ahead.


[20:25:34] COOPER: We now know President Trump's threat against the North Koreans that they would be met with fire and fury and, quote, power the like of which this world has never seen before, was improvised. But if we know anything about President Trump, he repeats phrases quite often, like believe me.

It turns out, this major threat indicating a new level of military response, the likes of which the world has never seen, that's actually a phrase the president also loves to say.


TRUMP: We're being very, very strong on our southern border. And I would say the likes of which this country certainly has never seen that kind of strength.

Grassroots movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

A historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

The movement, the likes of which actually the world has never seen before.

The movement like the world has never seen before.

Actually, a business enthusiasm is about as high as they've ever seen.

We're unleashing a new era of American prosperity, perhaps like we've never seen before.


COOPER: Perhaps we've also never seen before a president this fond of hyperbole.

But whether or not the president was speaking in metaphor or menace, his words do have power. It's now up to the dictator of North Korea to decide how to interpret them.

I want to bring back the panel.

Chairman Rogers, do you believe -- I mean, at this point, what is the best strategy for the U.S.? Because as you talked about in the last break, I mean, Rex Tillerson had made a statement days ago and another today which seemed to be trying to deescalate at least the rhetoric. Mattis talked about, you know, the military response if North Korea were to attack the U.S. or attack allies, which is the right tone?

ROGERS: Well, calibration matters. And I reject this notion that this was like the Cuban missile crisis. The vast majority of the communications happening in the Cuban missile crisis were below the radar, they were back channels, they were diplomatic channels. They were the strategic military moves that we knew that the Soviet Union at the time would recognize as serious efforts.

And so, a lot of that has been happening. That's correct. I think the professor talked about the fact that a lot of great things have been happening. That's true.

I think the Mattis Doctrine of making sure they understood we had the right military not only personnel but capability in the region to do bad things that oh, by the way, Kim Jong-un, if you try anything, your regime comes to an end. You're gone, right? That's the right message.

But that is a calibrated message delivered in a way that doesn't escalate. And it gives Kim Jong-un a way out.

What my concern is, the way that they're talking now, is that the president says this, and then his senior cabinet officials have to go off, including Tillerson flying to Guam and saying everybody calm down, there's nothing to see here. That's just not helpful.

And I'm not saying they haven't gotten it right, but you have to have a whole of effort calibrated message that you're going to send to Kim Jong-un. And I'll tell you, it's very, very sensitive. You have the South Koreans certainly on edge. You know, American forces are on edge. And they'll do what they're asked to do.

But having the president step out a little bit beyond that calibration, I just don't think is helpful. And the biggest concern I have -- again, I just got back from South Korea, is miscalculation, Anderson. That the North miscalculates what something either means or some action that is taken and it escalates into a full-blown shooting war. That's what we have to worry about.

We need to be tough. We need to be strong, but we need to be whole of government, unified, calibrated message so that we can extract this to the right outcome for the American people.

COOPER: Gloria, I mean, we heard from Senator McCain yesterday, hardly a dove on matters of national security.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: He was saying the president should be careful about what he says about North Korea. Does the president have support on Capitol Hill for this kind of a hard line if not a red line that he's now talked about?

BORGER: As you point out, I mean, McCain is a hawk, but he's not particularly supportive of this president on a number of issues. But, you know, he made the point that I'm sure lots of people are thinking, if they're not saying it now, because they're on recess happily, and they don't have to comment on it every minute.

But he said, you have to be sure you can do what you say you're going to do, walk softly, carry a big stick. I think he made it very clear that he thought the president got out ahead of himself and he said today, I think this is very, very, very -- three verys --, serious. And I think, you know, he was talking about Kim Jong-un, he said he's not crazy, but he is certainly ready to go to the brink. So, this is a very different kind of adversary they're facing here.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Peter, how much of the U.S. rhetoric right now and the U.S. policy is geared toward China and trying to get China to influence North Korea more?

PETER FEAVER, FORMER DIRECTOR, DEFENSE POLICY & ARMS CONTROL, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, I do think there's three possible rationales that might have been in the back of President Trump's mind. The first one is, we've tried 30 years of moderate rhetoric and it hasn't worked. Let's try something else.

Let's -- secondly, he might have been saying, let's give a little sauce for the goose. He's talking to North Korea the way they talk to us. But third, he may be doing a little bit of the old Nixon mad man theory where Kissinger would present the reasonable argument and warn the adversaries, I can't be sure what Nixon would do, you better make concessions. And that would be directed, I think, at China, which can do more to pressure North Korea and might do more if they are afraid that the alternative is war. COOPER: Doug, what do you make of that comparison to Nixon-Kissinger?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, you know, yes, but, you know, Nixon did go mad by '73 and '74. By the end of his administration, Kissinger would go in and hear Nixon say bomb people to the, you know, bejesus. And Kissinger would say yes, sir, walk out and just disregard Richard Nixon.

We may be having a case here where Mattis and Kelly are just sort of kind of not listening to Donald Trump. I mean, he's been deeply erratic this year that suddenly the public is going to have confidence that Donald Trump's actually very sly and is playing a mad man game seems to be being a reckless. The American public would be reckless about what's our national policy.

I think we've got to calm down. North Korea has been a problem for 70 years. They're always saying idiotic things. We just need to stay calm and try to work with China. All roads lead to Beijing.

COOPER: Thanks, everyone.

Coming up, a lot of people have been running what if scenarios when it comes to military action in North Korea. We'll get the real story from someone who knows wherever he speaks. General "Spider" Marks, who was a top American military intelligence officer in South Korea, joins us next.


[20:36:05] COOPER: The kind of rhetoric that's been flying around from both the North Korean regime and the president, it's hard not to imagine what if scenarios. We want to do that in a kind of responsible way, obviously. So we've brought in General James "Spider" Marks, who was a top American military intelligence official in South Korea.

General Marks, just for full, let's look at the map here because you're -- I mean the distances are so close.

MAJOR GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET), U.S. ARMY: They're really are. The capital of South Korea is Seoul. That distance is about 30 miles --

COOPER: From the border.

MARKS: From the DMZ, which is located here in red. And then the capital of North Korea is Pyongyang, obviously. A little more distance. All of this is very compact terrain and very mountainous.

COOPER: So, if there was, you know, God forbid, a conflict involving U.S., involving South Korea and North Korea, what would -- what are we looking at?

MARKS: Let me go to this map, if I can. First of all, again for orientation, Seoul and its proximity to the demilitarized zone is what we call this and then Pyongyang is up here. These two, by point of reference, is where the missile launches have been taking place and where the missile development and nuke development is taking place.

So, if we were going to have -- if the North Koreans were going to invade, there are two essential invasion corridors. One is from the town of Cason and it goes further south to the South Korean town of Pusan. And then the other one detour one corridor.

So these two corridors vector right into Seoul. But what you see today is a heck of a lot of urbanized glass buildings, residential parks, business, industrial parks that exist. So all these invasion corridors now are what we call urbanized, very compartmentalized terrain, not valleys.

Also, let me point this out. You can see the mountain ranges that exist up here in the north, from northwest to northeast like this. But what's important to point out, let me do this, on the north slope of these mountain ranges is where the artillery pieces are located in caves. So the worst thing that could happen is the zero warning scenario where these artillery pieces are brought out, then they start to launch into Seoul.

COOPER: And if you're -- I mean, launching, we were talking about conventional weapons.

MARKS: Weapons --

COOPER: Right.


COOPER: You're talking about how many missiles going towards Seoul, how many rockets and the effect and how quick? We're talking what, seconds?

MARKS: Seconds. This is -- flight time is probably 45 seconds to a minute.

COOPER: That's how long it would take a rocket going from here into Seoul?

MARKS: These are artillery pieces. Exactly correct. And rockets and missiles are kind of co-located with here as well. And the only thing we can do initially, there's going to be a blow in Seoul. It's going to be hit. There will be death, there will be some destruction that occurs. But our Air Force is so capable.

What will happen is our Air Force will make this kind of a motion to come down flight path to go after this because you can only -- after these artillery pieces, because you can only attack those from the north to the south.

COOPER: But a lot of these are in caves, you're saying?

MARKS: They're in caves, but they have to pull them out to fire them. When they start to fire them, they become very vulnerable.

COOPER: But just realistically, 45 seconds, you know, flight time from launch to hitting Seoul, Seoul is what 10 million people.


COOPER: And just in terms of industrialized cities, we're talking about skyscrapers full of glass.

MARKS: Yes, exactly. Let me go to the South Korea map. Absolutely correct. Again, the two invasion corridors are here into Seoul and here into Seoul. That is completely industrialized right now. What would happen is, what you see -- let me also indicate here, that total population is about 20 million people in this area from Camp Humphreys, which is a U.S. location, to town of Pyeongtaek and Seoul. That's incredibly urbanized.

The other thing to point out is that these locations are where all the logistics flows into country and casualties and personnel, civilian personnel, will be evacuated out.

COOPER: But -- so, just in terms of warning, if this is, again, no warning from the North Koreans and its launch, people have 45 seconds --

MARKS: Exactly.

COOPER: -- before rockets are --

MARKS: Exactly correct. Seoul is within that umbrella. The artillery range is about like that. Seoul is within the range of these artillery pieces that are up here in the north.

[20:40:04] COOPER: And U.S. personnel -- would U.S. personnel go into North Korea -- I mean -- I don't know if you could say that or -- I mean, actually, a better a question is, just in terms of casualties, you're going to have people trying to flee south?

MARKS: You're really are. In fact, let me do this. If I go back to this map, if what we just described occurred, those invasion corridors are both ways. And when you look at the mountains that exist up here in North Korea, all these mountains have a bunch of bridges across them that we can use to our advantage, the United States and South Korea can use for advantage, or the north would want to use in order to go this way in toward Seoul.

Well, these are invasion corridors that we would use as well. So we would have to protect those bridges if we thought we were going to use them, if we saw the North Koreans were coming, we would blow those bridges to slow them down and to try to canalize their movement and kind of get them bottled up.

So, again, so we could then get our Air Force capability that would then go after these very likely targets.

COOPER: I mean, given the, you know, deprivations we've seen and elsewhere in North Korea, how efficient is the military?

MARKS: Yes. The military has improved their capability over the years. There is a real quality to the quantity. This is over 1 million men military, inarguably one of the largest militaries in the world.

Again, this close to Seoul on a 24-hour readiness basis. But they are not highly trained. They are very structured, if you will, in terms of their command and control. So the ability of the South Korean and U.S. forces to go north, the outcome of that would be devastating to North Korea. That military would be crushed, that regime would be gone.

COOPER: And General Marks, I want to bring in Generals Mark Hertling, also Wesley Clark.

General Hertling, I mean, you've conducted ground exercises there. Can you just explain the difficulty of the terrain in this area in North Korea? What it looks like exactly? How tough it is to operate in?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Well, a couple of things, Anderson. First of all, what Spider was just talking about is a war plan with multiple contingencies that the U.S. military along the with the Republic of Korea practice every year.

When I was much younger as a colonel, a brigade commander, my brigade was the reinforcing brigade to the Second Infantry Division. So, our job was to come from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Pusan, that small city on the bottom of the South Korean maps, unload our tanks and Bradleys and travel up to the DMZ as Spider was just showing.

What I'll tell you in that is we were planning exercises where we were going up with all our logistics and our tanks and our artillery while the South Koreans were withdrawing. And medical evacuation was occurring. It was, you know, an exercise, but we practiced that.

Then, you know, the first time I went to Korea as a brigade commander, I was in a helicopter going from Pusan to Uijeongbu, which is near Seoul, and I just looked out at the terrain having spent most of my time in Europe and some time in the Middle East and I said my lord, how do we fight in this because of what Spider just described in terms of the spine backed mountains, the defiles, there's no open planes that you can roll tanks across or shoot artilleries.

When you shoot artillery, you have to, as Spider said, get on the backside of pieces of equipment. You don't know where the enemy is. The pilots that are trying to drop precision weapons are having challenges unlike in the desert environment. So this -- it was a tough fight in the '50s. It would be a tougher today because of the amount of the artillery and the systems that the North Koreans have.

COOPER: General Clark, I mean, the latest threat tonight from North Korea that they're, in their words, seriously examining a strike directed near Guam. If that were to happen, and that's a big if, what resources does the U.S. actually have in place there?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well, what we would have to do is we have to put in terminal defense resources. So we would be bringing up the standard missiles in on Navy ships would be the fastest thing to deploy and put a picket defense around Guam.

We could also try to deploy THAAD there. But there's not enough THAADs and the deployment is not -- it's not like a 24-hour process to send the THAAD in.

So can we do it? Yes. But the real issue is, if they were to do that, how would we know when the missiles launch that it's only going at Guam? How do we know it doesn't have a nuclear warhead on it? And why wouldn't we then, if that scenario escalates, why wouldn't we try to stop that missile before it gets launched?

And this is the really frightening scenario that we don't want to see unfold. We don't want to be in a position where we're waiting for the North Koreans to take the initiative to launch a nuclear missile. Because we don't know whether it's going to be one missile or three missiles and we don't know if they're really going to Guam until they're launched and we track the trajectory. And we don't know if it's got a nuclear warhead or not.

Why would we want to wait for that? This is what has to be conveyed to North Korea in a diplomatic measure.

[20:45:03] As some of the earlier speakers were saying on this program, you've got to talk person-to-person in a diplomatic way, not tweeting, not bellicose rhetoric to the public. And you've got to explain no further, you can't do this. You do this, all bets are off, and your country, your regime is totally exposed and at risk.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, General Clark, it's basically what Doug Brinkley was talking about before, which is sort of unintended consequences or just interpretations of actions the North, you know, the Koreans doing one thing, we interpret it one way, because we're not sure what their true intentions are and what their true capabilities are.

CLARK: Exactly. That's exactly right. That's why the rhetoric is so dangerous. Because when you start this ladder of escalation up and it's starts with the rhetoric and then the rhetoric leads to something more specific, which is the way the North Koreans responded to President Trump's generalized rhetoric, was something more specific. And, again, even more specific in the last few hours, then that changes the character of the discussion.

Now, it's no longer a generalized, bombastic threat. Now, it's very pointed and very specific and it demands counteraction. And that starts the action, reaction cycle. This is a very dangerous development.

COOPER: All right, General Clark, General Hertling, General Marks, thank you so much.

Coming up, FBI agents raid a home belong to the president's former campaign chairman. What they took from Paul Manafort's home? What it could mean for the Russian investigation. The impact all this is having on the Trump team, next.


[20:50:260] COOPER: Tonight, we're learning of a new development in the Russia investigation and FBI raid on a home belongs to the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. According to "Washington Post", it unfold on the early morning hours of July 26th, with agents, he's in financial and tax records among other documents.

The raid appears to be unusual since Manafort has repeatedly claimed he is cooperating. We're learning about this development at the same time, apparently as the Trump team, two sources telling CNN, the news took down by surprise this morning with a clear signal that the investigation is going forward, and not necessarily with a light touch. One source say it "Rattled a few cages of the inner circle."

Joining me, our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, formerly with the CIA and FBI.

Jeff, this news tonight, two sources telling Sarah Murray that news of the warrant took Trump's team by surprise and that, according to one source, it rattled a few cages in the inner circle. Should it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You bet it should. You know, I think, I am someone who generally tends to be cautious in saying developments day to day are a big deal. This is a big deal.

To get a warrant to search someone's home, you need to go to a magistrate and say we have probable cause to believe that there is evidence of a crime in that home. That's what the Mueller people did, that's what the magistrate judge agreed to, and that's what happened on July 26. This means that Mueller's team believes that crimes took place, they believe that evidence of it has not been produced, even though Manafort has said he's cooperating. This is a big shot across the bow, not just to Manafort, but everyone involved in this investigation.

COOPER: You know, Phil, I mean Manafort's spokesman put out a statement saying that he "Consistently cooperating with law enforcement." They wouldn't have done a raid like this if Manafort had, in fact, been consistently cooperating or at least that they believed he had been, right?

PHIL, MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: That's right. There's a couple of facts you have to be aware of here. One, picking up on what Jeff said. Somebody had to go to a judge. They're not just here on a fishing expedition telling the judge, hey, this guy was in the campaign, we ought to go look around this house. They've got to put something in front of the judge. We don't know what, Anderson, to make him say this intrusive move into somebody's house is appropriate.

The other thing you have to understand that I've seen mischaracterized in a press when people talk about possibly messaging from Director Mueller. I spent thousands of hours with that guy. He doesn't message and he doesn't signal. If he went to a judge and say, I want to search this house, this means he believes this is a critical part of the investigation and I think if I were Paul Manafort, I'd say that means I'm in trouble.

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, this probably a damn question, but why would somebody, after all this time he's being investigated, if they had done something wrong, keep documents lying around their house?

TOOBIN: Well, you would think they wouldn't. But -- I mean, here's where the presentation to the judge matters. A judge might well ask that same question, why am I going to give you a search warrant, if he's had the opportunity to get rid of it for all this time.

Mueller's people must have some evidence that says the evidence is still there. I mean, this is why this is so unusual. Because you have a situation where, you know, someone who says they're cooperating, who's a major public figure, who's under great scrutiny, apparently, at least according to Mueller, is still hiding important information and material from prosecutors, and they persuaded a judge to go inside his home.

Also, you know, it's worth pointing out that, you know, judges understand the difference between someone's home and somewhere else. They don't give search warrants to homes willy-nilly. You know, the idea that a home is someone's castle, judges believe that. So, the fact that they gave a search warrant, that some judge, we don't know who it was, gave the OK to search this house, really indicates that this affidavit which is under seal, we haven't seen it, that Mueller presented to the judge was a powerful document.

COOPER: Phil, would they have to specify exactly what they were looking for in order to get the search warrant? I mean could they say they were looking for on thing and then they come across something else? And also, can they take his computers or does that depend on what they've already agreed like in advance?

MUDD: Absolutely. If they find something of interest, they're going to take it. We keep talking about documents. If I were looking at this and looking at what the Mueller people might be looking for, I'm not thinking just documents, I'm thinking laptops and cellphones. Perhaps, they had an indication that he -- communications devices that they didn't have covered, that he never declared. Maybe he had e- mails addresses or phone numbers that were unknown today.

[20:55:00] And so, don't limit this to go in and looking at documents that it could have burned in the chimney about two weeks ago. Think about the digital trail he carries with him every day. I think that's substantial in this.

COOPER: Jeff, do you expect there to be more like this or is that just --

TOOBIN: I don't know. I was surprised to see this one, especially since Manafort's people said he was cooperating. It certainly shows that Mueller's team is not afraid to make a big statement, is not afraid to confront the people they are investigating. And if they did one, certainly, my expectation would be that they do more.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Phil Mudd, thanks. TOOBIN: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, a new response from North Korea to President Trump's threat of fire and fury like the world has never seen, a message containing a very specific threat to Guam. We'll get the latest from Washington. Also, a live update from Guam, ahead.


[21:00:09] COOPER: The breaking news this hour, a new and specific threat from North Korea a day after the president warned that any new threat would be met, in his words, by fire and fury.