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North Korea-U.S. Tensions; Trump on Venezuela; Trump Feuding with Congress; Kenya Election; Usain Bolt to Run Final Race. Aired 2- 2:30a ET

Aired August 12, 2017 - 02:00   ET





DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if anything happens to Guam, there's going to be big, big trouble in North Korea.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Donald Trump warning Kim Jong-un once more Friday evening. But that's not all. President Trump also talked tough about the crisis in Venezuela, saying U.S. military intervention was not ruled out.

Hello, everyone, thank you for joining us. I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.


STOUT: Chinese president Xi Jinping urged restraint for North Korea in a phone call with U.S. president Donald Trump. Mr. Xi called for diplomacy to defuse the situation and avoiding words and actions that escalate tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The phone call with Mr. Xi follows a stern new warning from Mr. Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Those words were aimed squarely at North Korea's threat to fire missiles near the Pacific island of Guam, where the U.S. has a large military presence.

But Mr. Trump wouldn't say if the U.S. was prepared to go to war against Pyongyang.


TRUMP: We think that lots of good things could happen and we could also have a bad solution. But we think lots of good things can happen.

QUESTION: What would be a bad solution, sir?

TRUMP: I think you know the answer to that.

QUESTION: When you say bad solution, are you talking about war?

Is the U.S. going to go to war?

TRUMP: I think you know the answer to that.


STOUT: Mr. Trump also opened up another possible area of U.S. intervention when he took a jab at Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I'm not going to rule out a military option. We have many options for Venezuela. This is our neighbor.

This is, you know, we're all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they're dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.


STOUT: Let's get the latest now from CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is once again wrapping up his rhetoric on North Korea, talking to reporters at his country club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The president would not say whether the U.S. will go to war with North Korea, adding, quote, "hopefully it will all work out."

The president issued another warning to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, saying there will be a price to pay if the Communist country launches an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam.

Here's more of what he had to say.


QUESTION: Have you spoken to the governor of Guam and what did you tell him?

TRUMP: No, I have not, but I feel that they will be very safe. Believe me, they will be very safe. And if anything happens to Guam, there's going to be big, big trouble in North Korea.

QUESTION: Have you ordered any change in our military readiness?

TRUMP: I don't want to say.


ACOSTA (voice-over): The president also spoke by phone with China's president xi, a key partner in deescalating tensions with North Korea. And North Korea is not the only hot spot the president is keeping his eye on right now. He's also telling reporters he is not ruling out military action in Venezuela in response to the mounting crisis in that country -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


STOUT: President Trump's back-and-forth on North Korea has stoked tensions throughout Asia. The U.S. territory of Guam finds itself in the crosshairs of that threat and possible strike from Pyongyang.

And Japan could be implicated in a North Korean attack as well. With me now we have journalist Robert Santos in Guam as well as Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo.

And let's start with you, Kaori. Ahead that planned North Korean strike on Guam that would involve missiles flying over Japan, Japan is not taking any chances. Tell us what's happening today.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: That's right, Kristie. Throughout the night and throughout this morning, Japan has moved some of the most state-of-the-art missile interceptors that it has toward the central region, toward the Western end of Japan, areas like Hiroshima and the surrounding areas. The PAC-3 missiles, as they are known, these are land-to-air missile interceptors that were moved during the night to go into position to where North Korea has said the missiles would fly over should they strike near Guam.

I have to remind you that these PAC-3 missiles as they are known, are known as the last defense that Japan has. These are not the kinds of the missiles that shoot off for kilometers and kilometers. The range is quite short, between 10 and 20 kilometers.

So this is really the last resort. In advance of that Japan has been explained that it will use the destroyers, the Aegis-equipped destroyers. They're being deployed throughout the waters off the Korean Peninsula, off the coast of western coast of Japan to try to intercept and deter North Korea from acting on its pledge to shoot missiles toward the region in Guam.

So definitely a sense of heightened security here in Japan but generally, Kristie, on the streets here, a sense of resignation, too, that --


ENJOJI: -- they have been down this path before. They have seen Korean missiles fly over Japan mainland itself twice in the past over the last 10 years.

But a growing sense of urgency and a growing sense of unease as to what is going to happen next.

STOUT: Got it. From Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo.

Let's bring up Robert Santos, standing by in Guam.

And, Robert, President Trump has finally spoken to the governor of Guam on the phone. Tell us more about the president's message. ROBERT SANTOS, JOURNALIST: The president told Guam mayor Eddie Calvo that he is behind the people of Guam 1,000 percent. They spoke for about 3.5 minutes. The governor then posted that onto his Facebook page and it received hundreds of comments. I've looked through some of them.

I have to tell you, again, we're hearing different opinions; from one person stating that Guam is not a pawn to be used in war games, to another person, commenting to the governor that you're an impressive leader. Thank you for your support and faith in our president.

So right on the ground with locals, what I'm seeing is that they are out especially today, considering it's Saturday, enjoying a day at the beach where I am (INAUDIBLE) one day. I saw a Japanese a couple getting married. They were taking -- having a photo shoot there on the beach.

It's certainly a testament to the general feeling here on the island and that is people are going to continue living their lives; a certain resignation as well in faith (ph) but I do hear a bit of a different message here from some tomorrows (ph) as natives are called here.

Earlier, a group of chamorros (ph) called for the Free Association of Guam gathered here to demonstrate and share their opinions. The leader of the group told me that he is confident in America's ability to (INAUDIBLE) but they also wanted the world to know that they wouldn't be in the middle of this threat if it wasn't for U.S. President Trump's remarks that the island was under a different political status.

STOUT: Got it. Donald Trump telling the governor of Guam we are with you 1,000 percent. You'll be safe.

Let's go from Guam back to Tokyo. Kaori Enjoji is standing by from the Japanese capital.

Kaori, talking the press on Friday Donald Trump made mention of Japan and allies in the region and he said that they are pleased with the way his administration is handling the North Korean issue.

Is that right?

Is Tokyo pleased with Trump?

ENJOJI: Well, I think throughout the last several days in particular, when the verbal, the rhetoric between North Korea and the U.S. president has intensified, Japanese government officials have been very quiet. They've been tiptoeing around this issue.

Yes, granted it's kind of the summer holiday season. So things are starting to die down. But I think it also symbolizes the very difficult position that Japan is in.

On the one hand, constantly, it is barred from having its own military. That's why it's called the self-defense forces. So it really relies on the U.S. -Japan security alliance and that umbrella to defend its nation.

The one exception, of course, is if Japan itself feels that the nation is under threat, it is able to deploy the self-defense forces. And the defense minister said recently that a missile launched towards Guam that would be over Japan and threatening Japan would meet such a condition.

So I think they're very aware that there is the difficulty legally. But at the same time they want to provide -- to present a united front that it is very much in the interest of Japan and that the U.S.-Japan alliance is the bedrock of the security situation here in Japan.

Make no mistake. Shinzo Abe, the prime minister here, was one of the first foreign leaders to meet with Donald Trump, the U.S. president, since he was inaugurated.

So he has made it very clear that he stands side to side with Donald Trump and agrees wholeheartedly with the notion that all options are on the table.

STOUT: Kaori Enjoji, live for us from Tokyo; Robert Santos, live in Guam, a big thank you to you both.

Now top officials in Venezuela are blasting President Trump for saying that he won't rule out U.S. military intervention in their country. (INAUDIBLE) defense minister said it would be a crazy act and the president of Venezuela's constituent assembly called Mr. Trump's words cowardly, insolent and vile threats.

The White House says Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro asked to speak with Mr. Trump by phone on Friday and was told this, that the U.S. president will talk with him after democracy is restored in Venezuela.

Venezuelan government officials plan to meet Saturday to issue a formal response to President Trump.

And I spoke earlier with CNN's Rafael Romo about the situation.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: You can bet your bottom dollar that over the weekend, President Nicolas Maduro is going to say something.

Over the last few weeks he has been railing against President Trump for different things that his administration has said, including the fact that his government is not a legitimate government --


ROMO: -- and that there needs to be respect for democracy in Venezuela.

But so far we haven't heard anything from the regime yet.

STOUT: The situation in Venezuela, it was already in a very unstable situation before those comments by Mr. Trump.

After the election, after months of protests and food shortages, what is life like for the people of Venezuela today?

ROMO: Nothing has really changed with the exception of really taking away the last bastion of power that the opposition had. Remember the prior national assembly was under the control of the opposition in Venezuela. So that's over now.

And when it comes to the relationship between Venezuela and the United States, it's important to say that what the president said this Friday about leaving the military option open when it comes to Venezuela, this is very different from what the national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said earlier this month on a cable news network here in the United States, MSNBC.

He said -- let me read it to you, Kristie.

He said, "What's really required is for everyone to have one voice about the need to protect the rights and the safety of the Venezuelan people," meaning not the military option but trying to come up with a coalition of countries in the region that can tell Venezuela, this is the way it has to be.

So there's a bit of a difference regarding what the president said and what one of his cabinet members is saying -- Kristie.

STOUT: Again, it seems to be part of a greater trend of messages, some would say even conflicting messaging coming from the Trump administration.

And your thoughts on the political future of Venezuela?

I mean, despite all these protests against Nicolas Maduro, he's still in office. The opposition is under pressure.

What can Venezuela's opposition do now?

ROMO: Well, the most interesting thing that I have seen this week is the fact that a sector in the opposition has decided to participate in regional elections, not presidential, regional elections, where 23 governors will be elected. That's scheduled to happen in December.

And so though there is division within the opposition. Part of the opposition is willing to participate in the elections because they say it's better to do nothing at all.

But there's another sector in the opposition that says if we participate, we are legitimizing, we are validating the government of Nicolas Maduro, which, by the way, has been called a dictatorship not only in Venezuela but also by a bloc of 17 countries in Latin America, who, this week, issued a statement, a joint statement, in essence, saying that that they do not recognize the new constitutional assembly and that they're calling for respect for human rights in Venezuela.

So it's a very fluid situation, as you can imagine but it will be interesting to see what happens in those elections in December -- Kristie.

STOUT: Certainly. Rafael Romo reporting there, thank you so much.


STOUT: Joining me now is Larry Sabato. He's the director of the Center for Politics at University of Virginia. Thanks so much for joining us in the program.

North Korea, President Trump continues to just dial up the heat on North Korea, using this new rhetoric, locked and loaded.

Is this unscripted Trump or is this part of a greater plan?

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: It's unscripted and probably unwise but this is Donald Trump. Early on in his presidency we were inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was playing bad cop and his Secretary of Defense and secretary of state were playing good cops.

I really don't think that's it at all. I think it's just Donald Trump being Donald Trump.

STOUT: And is it Donald Trump being Donald Trump when it comes to Venezuela because he is weighed in on that crisis, saying, quote, we have many options for Venezuela and by the way, I am not going to rule out a military option.

What do you make of that as a response to the growing crisis there?

SABATO: It's not helpful and I've been monitoring social media and other avenues since then and it's pretty clear that some of his key advisors have no idea what he's talking about; to the best of their knowledge, there is no military option for the United States and Venezuela. That is the last thing most of his advisors want, a potential war for the United States in Venezuela.

STOUT: And then we had domestic issues happening in the American homefront, namely this spat between Donald Trump and GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell on Donald Trump slammed McConnell again over healthcare.

Let's listen to what the U.S. president said.


TRUMP: This is very important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, a number of Republican senators have rushed to the defense the Senate Majority McConnell the last day or so. What do you make of that and if you reach --


TRUMP: I don't make anything of that. We should have had health care approved. [02:15:00]

TRUMP: He should have known that he had a couple of votes that turned on him, and that should have been very easy to handle.

Whether it's through the fact that you take away a committee chairmanship or do whatever you have to do. But what happened in my opinion last week is unacceptable. People have been talking about repeal and replace for seven years.


STOUT: President Trump won't let this go.

What is going on here?

Trump is going after a major Republican leader. What is his political logic?

SABATO: It may be that he's trying to give his base someone to blame for the fail on health care. Republicans promised it for seven years and through four elections and didn't deliver. And he wants to make sure that his base, about 35 percent of the country, doesn't blame him. He's directing them to Mitch McConnell and to Congress.

That may be all well and good but this is horribly unwise, because Mitch McConnell is the person with whom he has to deal to get anything out of the Congress and McConnell only has 52 Republican senators out of 100 senators. He can only lose three senators at any given time and a Trump proposal will go down.

I think it's for McConnell a real reckoning. He had expected more gratitude for having given Trump his only real achievement so far, Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. That was all McConnell.

STOUT: So you're saying that Trump is doing this to shore up his base. But at the expense of his own party. Trump is not only prodding Mitch McConnell here. He's prodding the Senate and it's been reported at least 15 Republican senators are coming out with statements and tweets, supporting McConnell.

Ultimately Trump, can he afford to alienate key members of his party?

SABATO: No, but he doesn't think about tomorrow and next week and next month and next year. It's all about today and whatever emotions he's feeling at the moment. That may sound cruel or harsh but it is absolutely true and some of the people around him say the very same thing.

STOUT: Larry Sabato, we will leave it at that. Thank you.

SABATO: Thank you so much.

STOUT: Still to come, violence erupts in several Nairobi neighborhoods after officials announce that Uhuru Kenyatta is staying on as the president of Kenya. Stay with us. (MUSIC PLAYING)



STOUT: In Kenya, protests began shortly after election officials declared President Uhuru Kenyatta reelected. Demonstrators set fires and damaged property on Friday in some Nairobi neighborhoods. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga also rejects the final tally, claiming that the vote was hacked.

Mr. Kenyatta will now serve a second term. He is urging peace and called on Kenyans to put their differences aside.




KENYATTA: We are all citizens in one republic.


KENYATTA: As with any competition, there shall always be winners and there shall be losers but we all belong to one great nation called Kenya and I extend a hand of friendship, I extend a hand of cooperation, I extend a hand of partnership, knowing fully well that this country needs all of us pulling together in order for us to succeed.


STOUT: Farai Sevenzo joins us now from Nairobi with more on this story.

Farai, Kenyatta has been declared the winner. That's kicked off more protests. I understand it's just after 9:00 am in the morning there.

What's the scene right now?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, the scene is kind of returning to normal but, yes, you're right. As the results were announced right about 9:30 in the evening here in Nairobi time, people went out onto the streets in Mr. Odinga's stronghold. We're talking about Mathare. We're talking about Kisumu in the west. We're talking about the high-density, poor areas like Kibera and they were saying Uhuru must go.

But more importantly is the rejection of this announcement by the independent electoral and boundaries commission by the opposition. They were -- put some very strong words as they left the tallying center before the announcement was even made, calling it a charade, calling it a disaster and saying that the judgment is now in the court of public opinion out there. So at the moment, I supposed it's fair to tell you, Kristie, that

people are waiting to hear what Mr. Odinga will say to Mr. Kenyatta's extended hand of unifying the country after this bitterly fought election -- Kristie.

STOUT: We're waiting for what Mr. Odinga is going to say; Mr. Kenyatta has been urging peace.

Have you heard anything like that from Mr. Odinga?

Has he been calling for calm at all?

SEVENZO: Mr. Odinga has not spoken since he made those allegations about the hacking and it is in fact his leftenants have been the ones doing the most of the talking at the tallying center yesterday. But we are expecting them to say something today because the situation, while it's calm this Saturday morning and the drama of election is over in terms of the headlines and we have a winner.

But the feelings in his strongholds are still very, very high and the reports were getting last night means that something has to be said to his supporters and we expect them to do that. We will let you know, Kristie.

STOUT: So after this very contentious election, calm in Kenya for now. Farai Sevenzo reporting for us, live from Nairobi, thank you so much.

Coming up, the Lightning Bolt is bidding farewell. How Usain Bolt left his mark on the sports world. That story is next.




STOUT: Welcome back.

Parts of Asia are suffering from a heat wave.



STOUT: Now the fastest man in history is one championship away from retirement. Usain Bolt will run his last race representing Jamaica on Saturday in the 4x100 meter relay at the World Athletics Championships. The eight-time Olympic champion will be looking for a bit of revenge against American Justin Gatlin, who beat him in the 100-meter final last week. Now 30 years old, Bolt has certainly left his mark on the sport. He will be retiring as the world record holder in both the 100-meter and 200-meter races.

And that is our show. And please, you can join me on "NEWS STREAM" all next week, when I will be in Seoul, South Korea, for a look at how the region is coping with the growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Thank you for watching. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment.