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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
W.H.: All Options On The Table After North Korea Says It Tested Its Most Powerful Nuke Yet; Haley: North Korea Leader "Begging For War"; Trump Not Ruling Out Retaliatory Attack On North Korea; Trump Publicly Criticizes Key Ally Amid N. Korea Threats; CNN: Trump Expected To "Dreamer" Program With Delay. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 4, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: "OutFront" next, the world on edge. North Korea defiant in the face of threat from President Trump saying they tested a hydrogen bomb. What will stop them?
Plus, President Trump expected to end an immigration policy that protects so-called Dreamers. Is this what Trump meant when he said he'd show heart?
And we have breaking news, Hurricane Irma, now a Category 4 that's heading to the U.S. coast. Let's go "OutFront."
Good evening, everyone. Welcome to a special edition of "OutFront." I'm Kate Baldwin in for Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight, begging for war. North Korea setting off what could be the gravest threat to the planet in decades, world leaders sounding off about what some are calling reckless actions of the North Koreans' claims they conducted a successful underground hydrogen bomb test, its biggest nuclear test yet.
And tonight, Kim Jong-un remains defiant. North Korea may be getting ready to test another ballistic missile just in the next few days, that's according to South Korea. The response from the United States tonight, enough is enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: His abusive use of missiles and as nuclear threat show that he is begging for war. We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley there. She says stronger sanctions are needed. However, President Trump says tonight all options are on the table and wouldn't rule out a military attack yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, will you attack North Korea?
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We'll see. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: "We'll see." Defense Secretary James Mattis, he spelled it out in more detail with this warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So where does this stand tonight? Is North Korea really begging for war? CNN's Will Ripley is in Japan. He just returned from North Korea, his 14th trip there. So, Will, does the administration's tough talk scare North Korea, from your experience, or embolden them?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I would say it's the second, Kate. They are emboldened, and, in fact, motivated to work even harder to develop their weapons program as quickly as possible. That was the message reiterated to me repeatedly by North Korean officials last week.
And if you look at their actions, they really are trying to send a message to the United States and its allies. They launched an intermediate range missile over Japan's northern island. Then they put out an editorial saying that the U.S. needs to rethink its policy of refusing to acknowledge North Korea as a nuclear power.
Then over the weekend, those images of Kim Jong-un standing in front of a miniaturized nuclear war ahead, a hydrogen bomb that they say they can put in an ICBM, a few hours later they test said hydrogen bomb. The biggest underground nuclear test North Korea has ever conducted. The biggest underground nuclear test ever registered by the seismologists who detect this kind of activity.
And now indications according to South Korean lawmakers that North Korea is preparing to launch yet another ballistic missile. It could be from a submarine. It could be another mid-range missile. Or it could be the most provocative, intercontinental ballistic missile and it could happen in a matter of days. North Korea has a big national holiday coming up on Saturday.
So, Kate, they are not afraid. They are absolutely emboldened and this messaging from Ambassador Nikki Haley at the U.N. is not going to change the North Korean calculus that these weapons remain their best and only leverage with the international community that they believe will someday give them respect, a seat at the table, perhaps normalized relations or better economic activity.
It seems counterintuitive, but North Korea thinks that these weapons are all they have when they're up against an adversary like the U.S. that is much more powerful, much more wealthy, much more influential, but for the time being, continuing to try to pressure the country through other means to get rid of their weapons and I don't think they'll back down.
BOLDUAN: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) right now, seems to be getting worse rather than better for all sides. Great to see you, Will. Thank you.
So Michelle Kosinski is "OutFront" now at the State Department for this side, an important side of this very important story.
Michelle, in the midst of all of this, President Trump has been talking to allies, leaders of South Korea, Japan, Germany. The State Department spokesperson today said the preferred approach for North Korea is still diplomacy, but still no word directly from the Secretary of State since this test. What do you hearing tonight?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. When look at those, we heard plenty from the President in tweets, from the Secretary of Defense, today from the U.S.'s Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. But the one voice we have not heard even to just lend his thoughts on this is the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
And today, the State Department did put one some lines thing that he did participate remotely in President's national security meeting, yesterday he did have a call with South Korea, but there was no additional detail on that.
[19:05:07] And then remember about a week ago when North Korea launched that missile that flew over Japan, it wasn't until a day later that we heard from the State Department. It was a readout of phone calls. One of which he'd already heard about from South Korea a day prior. The Russians also had said that they had a call with Tillerson, but we had no detail from the State Department.
So, this is what we see at times even when something very significant happens. The State Department will sometimes just refer back to whatever statement the White House has already put out. For whatever reason, Secretary of State Tillerson not feeling it necessary to lend his voice on this, at least not yet, Kate.
BOLDUAN: The voice -- the one voice that is speaking, though, loudly and clearly via Twitter, at least, is the President of the United States. That's one that I guess everyone needs to listen to at this moment. Michelle, thank you so much. Great to see you.
"OutFront" with me now, Gordon Chang, author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World." Ambassador James Woolsey is here, who served as CIA Director under President Bill Clinton and also served as a Senior Adviser to the Trump campaign. And also with us, retired Major General James "Spider" Marks. Gentlemen, thank you so much for coming in. I really appreciate it.
Many things are turning. It looks like things just keep getting worse rather than better as we were discussing. Gordon, Nikki Haley, when she said today that North Korea is begging for war, are they?
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": No. You know, like every aggressor, they don't want to fight. They want their victims to submit meekly and that's the way Kim Jong-un is. What I'm concerned about, though, is that Kim Jong-un starts a chain of events that leads to war.
So, for instance, when he's confident in his arsenal, he could use it to blackmail the United States, to break our mutual defense treaty with South Korea, get our 28,500 troops off the peninsula and then go for what is the core goal of the Kim regime, which is to take over South Korea. There's so much room for miscalculation there, and that's when the risk of war becomes unacceptably high.
BOLDUAN: Well -- and General, the Defense Secretary said just yesterday that any threat would be met with a massive military response, but it is also often said that there's no good military option. But has it now come to a point that it is clear that the nonmilitary options have failed?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: No. I think there are still remains options, diplomatic, economic options that need to be undertaken and that's what the discussion is all about. The fact that there are lousy military options because Seoul would be punished, it would be catastrophic, doesn't mean that the military would not be used. But let me be clear, my understanding of this is that clearly the United States would not be provocative. They would not take the initial step.
Kim would have to launch something, be provocative against the United States and its territories for the United States to respond. And as Secretary Mattis indicated, it would not be a pinprick type of an attack. It would be very punishing. It would, you know, ultimately end with the Kim regime being ousted. His elites would feel threatened, but that doesn't mean that the United States is covetous of the North Korean territory.
I think the one Korean policy is off the table. Denuclearization of the peninsula is off the table. Kim has a nuke power. We need to acknowledge that, so we've got to work desperately, very strongly, but confidently, diplomatically, and economically.
BOLDUAN: Words and actions are -- I mean, they're everything here, but words when you're talking about a nuclear threat, they seem to matter, Ambassador. And the word that we've heard from the President on this, at least in part, are on Twitter, really, is we're hearing a lot of the response and he wrote this in part.
He wrote, "South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing." It appears he's directing his anger, his frustration, at an ally. Does it help?
AMBASSADOR JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR UNDER PRES. BILL CLINTON: In part, appeasement is a tough word, because it did not work well for chamberlain and the British --
BOLDUAN: To say the least.
WOOLSEY: -- 3940 (ph) to put it mildly. I think that the real problem here is that the North Koreans have an ace in the hole. We know that they can detonate a nuclear weapon in a satellite. It's not hard to do. A small one is fine. That produces a lot of electromagnetic pulses down into the area underneath where the satellite being it was. That, in turn, can destroy a large area's electronics and its electrical grid system. And it doesn't --
BOLDUAN: You don't hear that from the administration, though. Do you hear -- do you know that they're concerned about this?
WOOLSEY: I know that -- Bill Graham is the chairman of the Electromagnetic Pulse Commission in which I'm an adviser to. And Bill has heard that there was a statement made by a senior Obama administration official during the Obama administration to a senior military officer that it was just our policy not to get into this electromagnetic pulse stuff at all.
[19:10:07] Not wanting to look as if something was being left undone. And I think that the two senior officials in the Defense Department, who are in the policy office and have responsibility in this area, are both holdovers from the Obama administrations.
BOLDUAN: So, General Spider, on this, what do you make of it? That sounds terrifying in what the Ambassador is laying out.
MARKS: Yes. Ambassador Woolsey is absolutely spot-on. What we saw with the ICBM tests, let's put on the table that there might have been some debate about the capabilities of the two ICBM tests that have taken place. But it doesn't really matter, as the ambassador indicated, if you can put a miniaturized nuke on top of one of those and it launched to altitude and it was in space and it was generally over the southern part of the peninsula, that part of East Asia.
You would have a devastating type of a result in Tokyo, in Seoul, the rest of the peninsula. A number -- there would be fallout obviously in North Korea, which fallout in terms of electronic blackout that would occur. That's not significant -- as significant a problem in the north because of their rather immature infrastructure right now, but that's a legitimate concern.
So if you're going to debate whether there was an ICBM test that would really work, let's go down the path that Ambassador Woolsey just talked about and that is equally troublesome.
BOLDUAN: Gordon, another element, a huge element of all this, and the response, is China. I mean, another statement coming from President Trump. He tweeted out that the United States is considering in addition to other options stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea. That's clearly directed at China. Who else would it be really directed at?
China is also a major, not only the trading partner with North Korea, it's a major trading partner, of course, of the United States. Can and would the United States, do you see that as policy, break off trade with China?
CHANG: We're not going to go to zero from $650 million a year. But what could happen, though, is, for instance, that Chinese banks that have been money laundering for the North Koreans such as Bank of China, which was named in a 2016 U.N. report, the administration could declare it a primary money laundering concern and, therefore, just sort of sever it from all its dollar accounts which would essentially be a death sentence. That could very well occur. And, of course, enterprises that have been selling nuclear weapons materials to the North Koreans, those probably will not be permitted to trade with the U.S.
You know, we saw Secretary Mnuchin yesterday say that he's going to put together a sanctions package to sort of give effect to President Trump's tweet. And also this morning, we had Ambassador Haley mention before the Security Council that this is something that is on the U.S. agenda so they're hardening that into policy. And by the way, just a few hours ago, the North Koreans did make a reference to an electromagnetic pulse attack. So this is something they are actually thinking about.
WOOLSEY: It was (ph) in this morning's "New York Times."
BOLDUAN: Ambassador, you've got Kim Jong-un saying that they're preparing right -- basically you got South Korea saying that Kim Jong- un is preparing for another missile launch maybe later this week. You got President Trump firing off on Twitter and throwing out these threats, some of them many folks think are empty threats, especially when you're talking about China. How great is the chance, the risk, the threat, for a miscalculation on either side right now?
WOOLSEY: I'm afraid it's rather substantial. This is the most worrisome international situation I can remember during the -- from the cold war years on.
BOLDUAN: To say the least, you've seen a lot.
WOOLSEY: Yes. I've seen quite a few years of this going back to the early '60s. And I think that we got to be really careful here and make sure that if a decision is made to use force, especially, or do anything very definitive, that it's made with the President in consultation with the National Security Council staff and members sitting around talking about options, looking at this, looking at that.
We don't need an impetuous tweet that says, "OK, here's what we're going do." We need care and precision and time and what we did not have, by the way, during the Tonkin Gulf Resolution that took us into the Vietnam War in '62, they -- there was a mistake on the second supposed launch against our destroyers that didn't occur.
BOLDUAN: So, unfortunately --
WOOLSEY: And then we went to war and I was at -- for six months, I was the head of the essentially anti-war movement. It failed. A lot of us were very fed up with the Johnson administration and the way it was handling things in the '60s.
BOLDUAN: So to say the least on this one, we all have to wait and see from North Korea -- from what's going to come from North Korea and what may be on Twitter, maybe elsewhere, what we hear from President Trump on this one as well.
[19:15:13] Ambassador, great to see you. Gordon, always great to see you. General, thank you so much.
MARKS: Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: "OutFront" next, are there any good options for the U.S. when it comes to North Korea? We're going to ask the member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on that one. Adam Kinzinger is my guest.
Plus, anxious Dreamers wondering what will happen to them as President Trump is hours away for making a major decision on immigration policy. Will the President send them packing?
And we are following breaking news. Hurricane Irma intensifying right now into a Category 4 storm as it barrels west. Florida already bracing for impact.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back. You're watching a special edition of "OutFront." Tonight, South Korea is asking the U.S. to deploy its strongest military assets. According to South Korea's chief security adviser, the move is aimed as a muscle flex of the military's ability to neutralize North Korea's nuclear facility and missiles after the rogue nation claims it conducted a sixth nuclear test. It's biggest so far.
"Outfront" tonight, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He's a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, it's great to have you on. Thanks so much.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINIOS, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: You bet, thanks, thanks.
BOLDUAN: So the President was asked if he was planning to attack North Korea. Here is what he said. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, will you attack North Korea?
TRUMP: We'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:20:07] BOLDUAN: "We'll see," is what he offered up. Congressman, do you think the President should attack?
KINZINGER: No. We're not there yet. I think the military option has to remain on the table. This is what a lot of people when you see him talking about what's going on don't fully, I think, grasp, which is the way to have an effective diplomatic what's called IOP, instrument of power. You have to back it up with a military instrument of power.
If nobody believes that we have a military option or that we'd be willing to use it, there's zero motivation to China to change its behavior, and there's zero motivation to North Korea to denuclearize whatsoever. So I think there has to be a military option on the table. There is one, albeit messy and it's not something we want to go to. But I think that is the next to worst-case scenario.
The worst-case scenario, it's kind of where we are right now, which is North Korea has shown potentially -- has the ability to miniaturize a nuclear payload, it's tested an "H" bomb and now they're talking about potentially shooting an ICBM towards Guam.
Just like with Russia, the United States, we have very good transparency with our nuclear weapons. In fact a few weeks ago, Russian assets flew over the United States voluntarily to see what our stuff looks like. If we saw a missile launch from Russia and we didn't get an answer on the red phone, the assumption is that point that it's a nuclear attack. This is a dangerous position we're in right now.
BOLDUAN: Well, you have said in the past, I've seen that you said the threat of North Korea is very real but the hysteria is entirely unnecessary. Does the nuclear test this weekend change that? Do you still think the hysteria is real?
KINZINGER: I think it changes a little bit. They're farther advanced than we've thought at basically every step here. But the other thing -- when I talk about hysteria, it's not hysteria -- it's not concern over what's going on. We should be concerned.
The hysteria is for an example, I was talking to a couple, this is probably a week or two ago, that canceled their vacation to Hawaii because they were worried about the nuclear threat from North Korea. That's hysteria, when you're thinking in essence, irrationally, about the concern. So it's too Americans to say whether it's terrorism, whether it's North Korea.
Look, you live in the best, most powerful, greatest country in the world. Go about your life, but pay attention to what's going on because this is very real and very serious.
BOLDUAN: Does the President need to ask Congress, come to Congress first for permission before taking any military action against North Korea?
KINZINGER: No. I don't think he needs to. I think if he came to Congress and we were able to pass an authorization to be use of military force, that would be very beneficial. It would send a strong message that America is united behind it. It doesn't mean he has to use it, but I think that's part of that military instrument of power to back the diplomacy.
But under the War Powers Act, he actually has 60 days if he feels there's a threat to the United States or our allies to act then inform Congress like he did in Syria. And then if there was a broader, you know, war that lasted way beyond that, of course, Congress would need to step in.
BOLDUAN: So, Congress is headed back to work. You're all getting back to work tomorrow. The President is also planning a big announcement tomorrow on so-called Dreamers. The latest word is that he's going to end the Obama-era program which, of course, protects young people who are brought to the United States illegally as children. But with a six-month delay to allow Congress time to act, do you have any confidence that Congress will?
KINZINGER: You know I do. I'm not as pessimistic as a lot of people I've heard talk about it. Let me just say this, I wish he wouldn't end it. I voted to support DACA. I think people that are brought here as children and know no other country should actually be given an opportunity to be here legally.
But that said, there's a lot of Republican support for a program like this. I assume there's a lot of Democratic support for it. I'm not as pessimistic as some people. I think we can actually get this done in the next six months and it depends what tone the President takes.
If he says, "I'm ending this because I believe it was an illegal executive order and Congress needs to handle this through the law," then I think we can get it done. If he says, you know, "It's a terrible program, it needs to go away," it will be more difficult in our party, I think, to get the votes but there's plenty of us that would vote to support something like this.
BOLDUAN: Do you think he is punting or shirking responsibility?
KINZINGER: Do I think who's shirking?
BOLDUAN: The President with this decision if this is what he announces tomorrow?
KINZINGER: Not necessarily. I think -- look, I think his position, he obviously is very strong on immigration enforcement, immigration control, which I am, too. I believe we need border security. But I think it depends on what he says tomorrow. I'm looking forward to his statement where if says like, "Hey, look, I want Congress to act on this." I just think the executive order is the wrong way to do it, that's one thing.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, always great to have you on. Thanks so much.
KINZINGER: Any time.
BOLDUAN: "OutFront" next, people who grew up in this country, the so- called Dreamers, they're going to learn their fate in a matter of hours. Will President Trump force them to leave?
And, a new threat is looming after, after, just after hurricane Harvey. Did the flooding spread super toxic waste across Houston?
[19:28:20] BOLDUAN: Welcome back to a special edition of "OutFront." Tonight, all indications are that President Trump is hours away from an extremely controversial decision about the so-called Dreamers. CNN reporting tonight that President plans to terminate the program that protects young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
But with a six-month window for some sort of congressional fix, the whole issue of what should happen to Dreamers is something President Trump seems to have been a bit all over the map on from the campaign trail, to today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When somebody's terrific, we want them back here.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Should they have to leave, too?
TRUMP: But they have to be legally -- it sounds cold and it sounds hard. We have a country. Our country's going to hell. We have to have a system where people are legally in our country.
You have some absolutely incredible kids. I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way. It's a very, very tough subject. We're going to deal with DACA with heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Athena Jones is "OutFront" now at the White House. So, Athena, what is the latest that you're hearing tonight about the President's plan?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, you had it exactly right. Right now, the plan is to end the program, but with a six-month delay to allow Congress to come together on a fix that would protect these young people that, of course, is something that's not completely guaranteed. But it's important to remember this is President Trump we're talking about. He has a tendency to change his mind. So nothing is truly final until it's been announced.
And speaking of changing his mind, as you mentioned, President Trump has been on both sides of this issue. At one point, promising to end this program, which benefits about 800,000 young people brought into this country illegally by their parents as children, and at other point he called Dreamers incredible kids as we just heard and saying that he would deal with the Dreamers with great heart.
[19:30:06] Well, critics say ending this program doesn't show great heart. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said that the move aimed at pleasing the president's bases is, quote, a cruel act of political cowardice. And Javier Palomarez, who is the president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is threatening to quit the president's Diversity Council if he goes ahead with this move.
It's important to note as I said, that this is not final until it's been announced. But what's important here, Kate, is one of the reasons the president is acting now. And that is that ten state attorneys general set a September 5th deadline, that's tomorrow, for the White House to announce a winding down of this program or face a court challenge.
There was an interesting development over the weekend. Tennessee backed off the threat. The state attorney general citing the human element to this issue and calling on Congress to act. But this is very controversial and so, a lot of people are going to be watching very, very closely to see what the president ultimately does -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Controversial and hugely emotionally charged.
Athena, thank you so much.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, and Ben Ferguson, the host of "The Ben Ferguson Show."
Great to see both of you.
So, Ben, Athena laid out what Democrats, kind of encapsulating what Democrats are saying there, that this move is cruel. But even some Republicans have been speaking out saying that this is not the right move. They don't want to see the president go this way. Are they right?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think they're wrong. I think Congress has to actually do their job and actually have some clarity on this, instead of kicking this problem down the road. Republicans and Democrats, alike, have been incredibly irresponsible in Congress to not actually pass a law that stops people having to live with this uncertainty in their lives.
Democrats are to blame as much as Republicans are, specifically in Congress. They could have done something on this long term, but instead they passed it for "x" number of years, which doesn't do good to these young people because it's a countdown clock to uncertainty. It's unfair to them.
And I think what you're seeing the president doing here, he's saying to Congress, do your job, you need to have a real reform on this and people that are enrolled in DACA and have come forward and they started at a young age in this country, came here, with no -- they're not -- it wasn't their decision, it was their parents' decision. We need to give them clarity. Six months is enough time for Congress to do this and Congress needs to actually do what their job is, pass real legislation, and not have this cloud hanging over or a countdown watch hanging over these DACA individuals for even longer than they already have.
BOLDUAN: So, Maria, is Ben right? Look, Congress doesn't really often do anything unless it's under a deadline. Is that what, he's helping them out?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he is right that we've needed a legislative solution for a very long time, but let's remember what happened in 2012 and then in 2013. In 20 -- I'm sorry, in 2010. In 2010, there was a bill in Congress, the DREAM Act, that was essentially passed by majority Democratic support with very few Republican support and there was a filibuster by the Republican-led Senate that then killed it.
In 2013, there was a bill on John Boehner's desk that could have given us comprehensive immigration reform, which is the ultimate solution here to fix both the DREAMers and the rest of the issues that we face from an immigration standpoint. John Boehner refused to bring it to the floor because he refused to pass a bill that would have passed with majority Democrat support and, perhaps, maybe 50 percent to 20 percent support from sensible Republicans who understand this is not just the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, but it's the smart thing to do long-term politically for their party.
This is where they are right now. I do think it is up to Congress now, if the president comes out and makes this heartless decision, which I do think will be heartless if he does, and if he puts it on Congress' table. If they come back with a solution and a bill, will he sign it? Or will he continue to kowtow to the most anti-immigrant supporters that he's been doing thus far?
BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Ben.
FERGUSON: Kate, it's not heartless, it's not heartless to ask Congress to do their job. It's heartless for Congress to not give clarity to DREAMers who have been waiting.
And let's also be clear, Democrats were in charge of the House, the Senate and the White House, almost had a supermajority. If you're going to rip on John Boehner and others, you got to at least be intellectually honest enough to rip on the Democratic leadership, when Nancy Pelosi had the votes that you're claiming she had in the House, the Senate and the president to sign it, and Democrats chose not to have a tough vote to protect themselves.
So I go back to the point, I'll criticize Democrats and Republicans.
FERGUSON: It is true. They were in charge of the House, Senate and the White House, and they purposely chose to punt on immigration issues including DACA. That's a fact.
BOLDUAN: Here's problem --
BOLDUAN: Maria, just to Ben's point, that with the six-month delay --
BOLDUAN: -- is that showing -- do you see compassion in that?
BOLDUAN: I mean, he has the power to just say it's over, I don't like it, we're done.
FERGUSON: It would be uncompassionate to end tomorrow. He's saying do your job, Congress.
CARDONA: But if there was real compassion, what he would do is say, Congress, do your job as soon as you pass something and put it on my desk, I will sign it, and then DACA will essentially be irrelevant. Why not do that?
FERGUSON: That's what he's saying with six months to pass --
CARDONA: No, he's not, he's ending it with a six-month delay, Ben.
FERGUSON: No, he's saying Congress, do your job because I'm not going have a --
CARDONA: Why do you want to instill fear in 800,000 immigrants, many of whom are --
FERGUSON: The fear's already there, Maria.
CARDONA: Many of whom served our military and bled and died for us and this is a president --
BOLDUAN: I know viewers can't, because I can't hear both of you at the same time.
Let me just ask this, if six months expires and Congress doesn't act --
BOLDUAN: -- Ben, is the president really capable of washing his hands of responsibility here? You're saying you think it would be mean if the president just ended it tomorrow and didn't have any -- didn't tell Congress to do its job.
FERGUSON: Yes. You got to --
BOLDUAN: Is the president really blameless here if six months from now nothing is --
FERGUSON: You got to -- here's the thing, you've got to end the charades of this insanity of putting a stopwatch among young people's heads and saying, OK, we're going to extend you and the fact that you can get a job or go to school for another couple of years, but then it may end again then you may be in the same situation. That is not fair to those people. Congress' job is to pass laws. The president's job is to sign those
laws or veto them. There's been no indication from this president that --
CARDONA: I agree with that.
FERGUSON: -- he's not going to be compassionate or somehow veto.
CARDONA: Well, there's a lot of indication of that.
FERGUSON: You got six months to get your act together because I'm not going to keep this insanity going. Do your job, get the legislation passed, and let's give some clarity to these young people that were brought here by their parents against their will or without their knowledge, they were too young to understand what was going on. Let's be compassionate. I'm in favor, by the way, of giving them a pathway.
CARDONA: That's great, Ben. So, here's a critical question for you. So, are you saying that if tomorrow, Congress, let's say they pass the bill in the Senate, they pass the bill in the House and they put a bill on the president's desk on Thursday, that gives a pathway to citizenship to these 800,000 or 1.5 million, actually, is how many DREAMers there are in the country, will he sign it, will he sign it? Or will he kowtow to his anti-immigrant --
FERGUSON: Again, listen to what the president said about these DREAMers and about those in the DACA program. He has said we need to have compassion. There's a lot of Republicans that say the same thing.
CARDONA: I agree. So will he sign it?
FERGUSON: You know this. You know this. Congress -- this is what I think Congress should do. They should have a very simple bill, a very simple vote on this, and make it very clear without putting in all the other crap that Congress loves to put in bills to screw things up or to make it where it doesn't actually get to the president.
And the president said, you've got six months to do it, do your job in the next six months and I think that's the right play for the president. It shows compassion to these individuals.
FERGUSON: And it doesn't keep them wondering what's going to happen in their future.
CARDONA: Will he sign it? BOLDUAN: I'm only laughing because here's one thing that I know with
almost certainty is that nothing simple passes Congress these days. No matter how simple the bill is --
FERGUSON: Yes, they're terrible at their job.
FERGUSON: They're terrible at their job.
CARDONA: In fact, I love everything that Ben is saying. I hope that he is as optimistic this week.
CARDONA: And hopefully, we can get this done.
BOLDUAN: First things first. The president's words tomorrow, I say it all the time, taken literally and take him seriously including on this issue tomorrow. Let us see.
Great to see both of you.
CARDONA: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, Hurricane Irma churning west, gaining strength and heading toward the United States. We're tracking its path as Florida declares a state of emergency tonight.
And what it's like to live through an atomic bomb attack. Hiroshima survivors on the harrowing day that changed them forever and their fears of another nuclear catastrophe.
[19:43:03] BOLDUAN: Welcome back. You're watching a special edition of OUTFRONT.
We are following breaking news. Hurricane Irma is now a category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. Florida Governor Rick Scott is already declaring a state of emergency tonight for his state, and airlines are starting to cancel flights.
Tom Sater is tracking this from the CNN Weather Center.
So, Tom, what does the latest track show?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Kate, they're in pretty good agreement, that's what you want to see from your computer models that they have a handle on the environment. Unfortunately, it puts a major hurricane impacting the U.S. next weekend.
Now, right now, we're looking at a storm that's just as strong as Harvey was when it made landfall in Rockport, Texas, and we know how it devastated them. Suffering there, suffering in the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles, that's in -- Anguilla is going to take a direct hit. They're going to lose power, communications, six to nine-foot storm surge. Next will be the British Virgin Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands. Already, Puerto Rico is under a state of emergency.
Conditions are going to start to deteriorate tomorrow afternoon. But the way this is moving, and we're going to take a look at the track, the time period, as it slides through the Caribbean, sometime Friday afternoon, I expect it to be in the northern coast of Cuba. That's critical because we expect the system to move to the right, a turn to the north. So, until that turn occurs, we're not going to be able to say exactly who's going to have landfall, and at what time.
Now, by looking at this forward momentum, you would think it could get in the Gulf of Mexico. Not ruling that out yet. But the steering currents keep it to the south. We are hopeful, Kate, that we get this little trough that will pull this system up. There is a small window that in it gets pulled to the north, it could skirt the coast and stay away, but that window is shutting rapidly.
So, again, the computer models place it near Cuba then watch on Friday, it turns to the north. So, again, anything in between the Carolinas and possibly over to the panhandle of Florida is susceptible come Saturday, Sunday, but maybe a landfall, unfortunately, on September 11th. We'll have to watch it for several days.
BOLDUAN: Hopefully, we're not talking about here we go again very soon.
[19:45:01] Thanks, Tom. I appreciate it.
BOLDUAN: Now to Texas, where one big concern amid the massive recovery effort is what exactly is in the floodwaters? We know several Houston area superfund sites were flooded, raising fears that toxins from the sites could be contaminating the water.
Our Martin Savidge went out with the EPA to find out.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Houston is America's petrochemical headquarters. Harvey left a number of chemical plants around the city flooded and damaged.
The city is also home to some of America's most polluted and toxic waste dumps called superfund sites, overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Areas so problematic, signs warn entrance to wear protective gear. And more than a dozen superfund sites here were either threatened by floodwaters or went completely under.
EPA officials have seen the sight sites from the air but the first time investigators have made to them on the ground, eight days after Houston flooded and we've been invited along. BRENDA BASILE, SITE MANAGER: We will be walking down to this end of
the site. Stay on the concrete. Stay out of the water.
SAVIDGE: The first stop is a 17-acre site, once notorious polluter whose owner we're told by the EPA is still on the run from law enforcement. EPA officials say most of the pollutants were removed from the site in 2010 and what remains was secured as Harvey closed in.
SAM COLEMAN, REGIONAL EPA ADMINISTER: This particular case, the goal would be to make sure that these covers that you see on the tankage were in place and that we knew that the site was basically secure.
SAVIDGE (on camera): These are the containers they're worried about. Even though there's water all around them, they essentially say this site didn't flood. The inspectors here are looking just to make sure that everything is still sealed.
(voice-over): We found nearby structures filled several feet deep with rainwater. EPA officials say this was the soonest the ground crews could access the site due to the danger of flooded roads, downed power lines and debris, even though in a number of nearby neighborhoods, residents have been cleaning up for days.
The next site is called the Highland Acid Pits, once a dumping ground for sulfuric acid and other spoils from the oil industry.
(on camera): That's the San Ysidro River, and all the evidence on the riverbank would suggest water didn't just inundate this site, it won't roaring over it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only concern we've had was that the wells are still stable and they could be used for future monitoring.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The final site the EPA takes us to is the San Jacinto River waste pit located right beside the very busy I-10. And again, EPA officials say despite being battered and flooded, there's no indication any toxin or pollutants leaked from the site.
(on camera): So, the flood victims, people of Houston, this area, at least to their concerns of pollution, what would you say?
COLEMAN: As it relates to this site, specifically, then this site is secure.
SAVIDGE: What about the other superfund sites?
COLEMAN: Well, as it relates to the superfund sites that we've discussed, the 33 sites in the state of Texas, we're confident those sites are secure.
SAVIDGE: Full transparency, Kate, we should point out we didn't have time and conditions didn't allow us to get a second opinion, say, from environmental groups who might think differently about containment here. Also, too, everyone agrees greatest pollution may not be from superfund sites but everyday life. The river inundated about 1 million automobiles, gasoline stations, businesses and stores with their chemicals and homes with their cleaning supplies and their paint. It all went into Houston's water -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Martin. Thanks so much. An important perspective.
OUTFRONT next, as President Trump confronts North Korea, Hiroshima survivors recount the moment day became night, August 6th, 1945, and why they're worried now another such tragedy could be coming.
[19:52:32] BOLDUAN: Tonight, as President Trump confronts North Korea's nuclear threat, survivors of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 -- they have a message for him.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A childhood horror that never fades. At 87, Fumiko Kato still feels the moment her city of Hiroshima became the world's first victim of an atomic bomb.
We were all blown to the corner of the room, she says, bodies on top of each other like a mountain. I was at the bottom.
Kato was in a building less than a mile away from where the bomb fell. A concrete wall shielded her from the initial blast.
Of the girls pictured here, Kato was the only survivor on August 6th, 1945.
Japan remained at war with the Allies, ignoring final demands to surrender.
The atomic bomb dropped in the morning, she explains, but suddenly, it became night from the mushroom cloud.
People outside, their bodies burned, their skin hanging down, and peeling, walking like they don't know where to go.
I witnessed the terror of a nuclear weapon.
In the war of words from North Korea to America's president, she hears the echo of history. In 1945, President Truman issuing a warning to Japan.
HARRY S. TRUMAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.
LAH: And now, President Trump to North Korea. TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never
LAH: Arrogance, says Kato, who has not just seen but lived it. I don't know why President Trump doesn't think of a peaceful solution. They don't understand the terribleness, cruelness of nuclear weapons. Trump needs to educate himself.
More than 260,000 people would die in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from the nuclear bombs and their fallout.
They're treating it like it's some kind of a joke, says Shozo Kawamoto.
[19:55:04] Trump and Kim Jong-un, he said, it makes me angry. They don't understand.
Kawamoto just 11 years old when the bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his parents and three siblings, his entire family. Today, this elderly spreads peace the only way he knows how.
To President Trump and Kim Jong-un, he says, your overconfidence is scary and ignorant.
(on camera): These survivors are living witness to history. They are in their 80s and 90s. Their numbers are dwindling, and disappearing with them the understanding into this horror of war.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Hiroshima, Japan.
BOLDUAN: Kyung, thanks so much.
OUTFRONT next, all eyes are on a defiant North Korea right now. One U.S. top official saying the rogue nation is begging for war. How will the U.S. responds?
John Berman is next.