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North Korea Preparing for Another Missile Launch; South Korea Simulates Attack on North Korean Nuclear Site; U.S. Warns North Korea of 'Massive Military Response'; Trump Expected to End Program Protecting 'DREAMers'. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired September 4, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: He joins us live from Tokyo with the latest. Good morning, Will.
[07:00:07] WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dave. When we were in Pyongyang last week, government officials expressed their fury with the United States. And we saw that anger translated into action over the weekend, with North Korea's most powerful nuclear test today, creating a magnitude 6.3 earthquake.
And now there are indications that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, may be upping the ante yet again. South Korea reporting that they have intelligence that there is continuous activity inside North Korea. They're seeing this on spy satellites, that the country could be preparing to launch yet another ballistic missile. And they think it could be a new kind of submarine-launched ballistic missile, an intermediate-range ballistic missile like the one they launched over Japan last week, or an intercontinental ballistic missile like the kind they launched twice in July.
And South Korea also believes that the north may be following through on a promise it made last week to fire these missiles into the Pacific Ocean as their target. Remember, North Korea was saying, through their state media, that this missile launch over Japan last week was a prelude for future military options aimed at containing Guam and promising that they would fire more missiles towards the Pacific.
The question, though: where exactly would those missiles go, and how would the United States be forced to react?
But clearly, if this intelligence proves to be true, North Korea not backing down. And they do have a major holiday coming up on Saturday, their country's Foundation Day. Last year on Foundation Day, they conducted a nuclear test. This year, they've already done the nuclear test. Will they launch yet another missile, trying to defiantly send a message to President Trump and the United States -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Will, thank you very much for all of that reporting.
South Korea responding to North Korea's threat by simulating an attack on the North's main nuclear test site. CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul with that part of the story and all the breaking details -- Paula. PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, this was a live fire drill that we saw on Monday morning. It involved fighter jets from South Korea. It involved surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. It was visual, and it was intended to be visual, because it was meant to send a message to North Korea.
Now, we heard from the defense ministry that this drill, which was firing at simulated targets off the east coast of Korea, was showing a willingness that they could attack if needed and also that they could destroy the enemy's leadership.
It's something we've heard from South Korea before, but it is certainly putting Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, on notice that they can fight back if necessary. So once again, a live fire drill in response to something that North Korea has done.
Now, there is also some political turmoil here in South Korea. There are concerns about that tweet from the U.S. president, Donald Trump, when he spoke about the appeasement of South Korea when it came to North Korea. It's a very loaded word, and there are concerns as to what that means for the relationship between the U.S. and South Korea.
Also, many people I spoke to on the streets of Seoul were a little put out that Donald Trump has spoken twice to the Japanese leader, but in the last couple of days not once to the South Korea president. And certainly not once since that nuclear test happened -- Dave.
BRIGGS: Paula Hancocks live for us in Seoul, thanks so much.
President Trump and his national security team closely watching this situation. Defense Secretary James Mattis delivering a stern warning to North Korea from the White House.
CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon with the latest.
Good morning to you, Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.
Of course, the question now is what will the Trump administration do, if anything, in response to all this? There are reports that South Koreans want an aircraft carrier or bomber aircraft sent. No word from the Pentagon yet about whether any of that will happen.
President Trump again tweeting, looking to trade as one -- what he sees as one of his levers, potentially, to pressure the Chinese. The president tweeting, and I quote, "The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea." That, of course, would also have a trade impact on the United States.
As you said, Defense Secretary James Mattis speaking about all of this with some very tough words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES MATTIS, U.S. 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.
We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But as I said, we have many options to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: "Options to do so." The U.S. making the point it's not out for regime change in North Korea. It is trying to get Kim Jong-un to change his ways, something he's not likely to do, and making it very clear, if he attacks, if he threatens, the U.S. will answer that -- Dave, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Barbara. Thank you very much.
Let's bring back our panel. We have Will Ripley. Also joining us to talk about the options are Gordon Chang. He's the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World." He's also a columnist for "The Daily Beast." And CNN national security analyst Shawn Turner. He's the former director of communications for U.S. national intelligence. Great to have all of you here.
[07:05:14] Gordon, let's talk about real-world options this morning. You saw the president's tweet where he said the U.S. is willing to cut off real trade with any country that does business with North Korea, meaning "Listen up, China."
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN": Yes.
CAMEROTA: And is that -- is that where we are? Is that the right way to go, in your mind? Is that the real-world option here?
CHANG: That is the real-world option. And after that -- this was not just some isolated Donald Trump tweet. Secretary Mnuchin, treasury secretary, said that he was going to actually put together a sanctions package, which would accomplish the same thing.
This changes everyone's calculus. You know, we always say, "Oh, the North Koreans will never give up their nukes. The Chinese will never pressure the North Koreans." And that's true, unless the United States puts pressure on both of these countries and makes their incentives very different.
An embargo, of course, is going to affect China, especially in the run-up to the 19th Communist Party Congress; starts October 18. Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, is vulnerable up until that time. If he consolidates power, as everyone expects, afterwards going forward, he's going to be much more difficult to deal with. So Trump has a closing window of opportunity to actually affect Chinese decisions.
CAMEROTA: Shawn, whether it's strategic patience of the prior administration, the fire and fury of Donald Trump. You're the former director of communication. Does communication matter? Will anything stop North Korea from further developing their nuclear resources? SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think
communication absolutely does matter. I mean, what -- what we saw with what -- Steve Bannon saying that there were no military option and then with the tough talk of the president, what that -- what that tells is clearly there are times when the president and his senior advisory team are not on the same page. But the communication does matter.
And one of the things the president has actually done quite well is he's shown us that he knows how to talk tough. And I don't say that as an insult, because I don't think it's necessarily a negative thing. But -- but talking tough is not necessarily leadership.
So what the president needs to do in his leadership right now is he needs to make sure that he projects a steady hand and he projects strong leadership to our partners and allies. And I think that in this instance, this is an opportunity for the president to show that, when faced with an international crisis like this, that he can communicate in a way that accurately reflects the strength and the willingness of the United States to lead the rest of the world.
CAMEROTA: Will, a lot has happened since the president made his famous fire and fury comment. Let's just recap that and play it, and then we'll get to you. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. So, Will, that was August 9. That got a lot of attention, obviously, hearing the president of the United States use language like that. But it does seem that the North Koreans are capable of always matching any sort of forceful language and even going way over the top, as we've seen, since then. Even just this past week, they've done those things. Your thoughts?
RIPLEY: And we thought that things were quieting down. Remember, it took a while for North Korea to respond. There were several weeks of quiet, where there was a little rhetoric coming out of North Korea.
But remember, it was almost two weeks ago that President Trump said at a campaign rally that he thinks North Korea is beginning to respect the United States and that something positive is going to happen.
But when I landed in Pyongyang at the beginning of last week, actually last weekend, officials told me that was absolutely not the case. They said they were furious, the tensions were the highest that they'd seen in years, and to be prepared for some serious response from North Korea.
And then, of course, we saw them launch three short-range missiles that weekend, or attempt to launch some short-range missiles. Then during the week, they launched an intermediate-range missile over Hokkaido in Japan. There were air-raid sirens going off. People getting warnings on their phones, telling them to take cover.
Then they conducted their sixth nuclear test on Sunday, the strongest nuclear test ever. Now reports that they're going to launch more missiles toward the Pacific, something that they have already said they're going to do, saying that they're -- that launch over Japan was a prelude to military options aimed at containing Guam.
So North Korea clearly is not backing down here. They told me they're not afraid of President Trump. They're not afraid of ongoing joint military exercises with South Korea. In fact, they say those activities only make them want to accelerate their weapons of mass destruction program.
And they say they're not afraid of economic sanctions, because they point out, North Korea has survived a famine back in the late 1990s where hundreds of thousands of people died. People thought the regime was going to collapse at that time, and it didn't. And North Korea is more self-sufficient today than it was back then.
BRIGGS: Yes. Hellbent on nuclear weapons, regardless of economic isolation.
Gordon, let's dig back to yesterday, though, and what started all this and this sixth nuclear test. Someone said it's seven times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. What do we know?
[07:10:00] CHANG: Well, we know that it's just yesterday. I mean, there's going to be weeks of people going over data.
So for instance, we have the sniffer planes going through the air, trying to pick up radiation. In the -- North Korea's first steps, starting in 2006, we were smelling all sorts of stuff that had been released into the atmosphere.
The most recent tests, though, the North Koreans have buried this stuff so far down. They've sealed their tunnels so well that we have not picked up smells in the atmosphere. And this indicates that we're learning less and less about what the North Koreans are doing.
But you know, in a couple weeks or so, we will figure out the yield on this thing. But it's going to take us a little time.
CAMEROTA: So Shawn, I mean, what is the next step here for the U.S.? Is it -- we just had General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, as you know, on, saying that it is up to the Chinese now to -- he suggests the U.S. and North Korea have direct -- have talks, and the Chinese can sort of facilitate that. What do you think the next move is?
TURNER: Well, I think the first step is, you know, we've got this meeting today at the U.N. And that meeting has to be all about identifying additional leverages of pressure for North Korea.
You know, we saw the sanctions last month. And those sanctions appear to have not been extremely effective. And I think we'll see additional sanctions.
But sanctions are only as good as -- as their ability to be implemented and the willingness of countries to abide by those sanctions. So I do think that, to General Hayden's point, at this point we need to look both at kind of the multilateral measures that we can put in place, but we also have to look directly at China. You know, China is North Korea's largest -- you know, the largest trade partner. And we've got to look at oil imports. We've got to look at the banking industry. We've got to look at every leverage or pressure short of the military option to make sure that we can contain North Korea's progress with regard to nuclear weapons.
CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you all very much. Great to have all of your expertise here.
BRIGGS: All right. Now to our other other top stories. Sources tell CNN that President Trump is expected to end the program protecting young undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers, from being deported. Many Republican lawmakers are urging the president not to do this.
CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with the details.
Good morning, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave.
That announcement is expected tomorrow, ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in this way, with a six-month pause, would fulfill one of the president's key campaign promises while also putting the onus on congressional Republicans and the speaker of the House to reinstate it.
The speaker has said the president should not get rid of it in the first place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should the DREAMers be worried?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We love the DREAMers. We love everybody.
JOHNS (voice-over): Sources tell CNN that President Trump is expected to end an Obama-era program that protects young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, from being deported. The issue: one of the president's core campaign promises.
TRUMP: I want the children that are growing up in the United States to be dreamers also. They're not dreaming right now.
JOHNS: President Trump's plan would affect some 800,000 so-called DREAMers studying and working in the U.S. Two sources with knowledge of Trump's thinking tell CNN that the president is planning to delay his action for six months, giving Congress time to come up with a legislative replacement to DACA. But a growing number of Republicans are speaking out against the move. REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: These kids don't know
any other home. I think there's a humane way to fix this. I think President Trump agrees with fixing this. And it's got to be up to the legislature.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: There are 800,000 DACA kids, kids who were brought across the border. The median age, I think, is 6 years old for those 800,000 when they came across the border. They should not be punished for the sins of their parents.
JOHNS: Senator Bernie Sanders says ending the program "would be one of the ugliest and cruelest decisions ever made," while Republican Congressman Steve King praised it as a chance to restore rule of law.
TRUMP: We're going to deal with DACA at heart. I have to deal with a lot of politicians, don't forget. And I have to convince them that what I'm saying is -- is right. The DACA situation is a very, very -- it's a very difficult thing for me, because you know, I love these kids.
JOHNS: Before leaving the White House, Mr. Trump's predecessor vowed not to remain silent if he went after DREAMers.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and, for all practical purposes, are American kids, and send them someplace else when they love this country...
JOHNS: Getting a decision on DACA has been made more urgent by a threat from ten state attorneys general to go to court if the president doesn't do something by tomorrow. There is nothing on the president's public schedule, at least so far, today -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Joe, thank you very much for that update.
[07:15:06] So there's this growing to-do list, right, when Congress comes...
BRIGGS: It's a little bigger than ours.
CAMEROTA: It's a little bit bigger. They have Harvey relief, the debt ceiling, tax reform and North Korea. So what comes first? Two lawmakers here next.
[07:19:17] CAMEROTA: South Korea says they are seeing signs that North Korea is preparing to launch yet another ballistic missile this week. This comes after their sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
Joining us now to discuss this and more is Republican Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas. Congressman, thanks so much for being here.
REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: Good morning, Alisyn. CAMEROTA: What do you want to see the U.S. do about North Korea?
SESSIONS: Well, the U.S. needs to take strong action. I have listened to the words this morning of advice from professionals who offer us the advice of stopping Chinese goods coming into the United States. I think we're going to have to play, not only hardball, but we're going to have to let the Chinese know we're serious about this effort, and they're going to have to do something.
Military options, while they might be full for us, should be the last resort, but we must not allow the North Koreans to move further.
I have taken the oath of office to defend and protect this country. The president did also. I know that President Trump takes it seriously. We must do something now and take action. Lots of things are on the table, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Are you worried about, if there's some sort -- if the U.S. launches some sort of trade embargo with China, about the repercussions it will have on the U.S. economy?
SESSIONS: Sure I am. But which one is greater to do: some opportunity to send a strong signal to the Chinese that we intend to move them further into the international community to protect peace and economic opportunity? Or to simply rain down missiles upon North Korea? I think I'll take the first one first one first.
CAMEROTA: When President Trump said two weeks ago, "I think that North Korea is finally starting to respect us." Let me just play a portion of this for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Kim Jong-un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us. I respect that fact very much. And maybe -- probably not -- but maybe something positive can come about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Congressman, I mean, does it feel to you like Kim Jong-un is starting to respect the U.S.?
SESSIONS: What it sounds like to me is that the president attempted to offer what I would say is an olive leaf to back away for a minute, to allow the North Koreans and the Chinese to think this through.
When you are pushed to the brink of protecting your country, there must be no limit to what you'll do. Protecting America, American interests is -- the president, President Trump must do everything he can. And one should be first and one should be last. And what is first is economic sanctions after you've already tried to use common sense.
I support President Trump and his ability to use all the things that are on the table. And if those economic sanctions fail, we must not let North Korea fire
off missiles at will. And that should not happen. And I would say to the president, Mr. President, you have my full support and I think the full support of members of the party after you have exhausted other opportunities.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the other big news this morning, and that is the fate of these 800,000 so-called DREAMers, the young people who were brought here to this country through no choice of their own. What do you think should happen to these young people?
SESSIONS: Well, first of all, let me say this. Congress should have some time ago taken up what I consider to be incremental steps to where we can deal with our own economic problems.
You see, we left $2 billion in the field, agriculturally, this last summer, this summer that we're ending right now. We need agricultural workers.
In Dallas, Texas, we have jobs that are begging for people who will actually work in the trades industry. In the northeast, we heard testimony from Richard Neil about thousands and thousands of jobs that are going without being filled.
SESSIONS: People cannot pass drug tests. People do not want to do hard work. We actually need, for the sake of America, to deal with this.
SESSIONS: We have an available workforce that is there. We need to work on a guest worker plan...
SESSIONS: ... which would solve many of these ills that we have and the problems of the direction we're going.
SESSIONS: My party, the Republican Party, needs to step up on this issue.
CAMEROTA: But Congressman, what does that have to do, with all respect, with the 800,000 DREAMers? I mean, these are kids who are working. These are kids who are in school. These are kids who, for all intents and purposes, America is their home. Some of them obviously brought here as infants. So what do you want to see happen to these young people?
SESSIONS: Well, today, today they're having trouble of even finding work and moving forward in the workplace. A guest worker bill would acknowledge that they are here. And while it's not the whole loaf, it is more than half a loaf. To move them directly into our workplace, to move them directly into a
status where they have an opportunity to make wages, pay taxes and to have a legal status as a guest worker, I think that's the minimum that we should do -- and should do -- that gives opportunity for people who today are without any opportunity. That's what I -- where I believe we should start.
Do we have the votes for that? Yes, I think we did it creatively and smart, we would even have the votes for that. And we must move forward. We've got to work with the White House. But our party and members of the House are prepared, I think, and ready for this.
CAMEROTA: OK. We'll see if that's right, since you all are getting back at it this week.
[07:25:06] Let's talk about your home state and Harvey having hit Texas so hard.
CAMEROTA: Are you comfortable with the Harvey relief being tied to the debt ceiling argument?
SESSIONS: No. First of all, let me say this: I think they're separate items. I think the debt limit is going to have to pass. The sequencing might be something that would be important here.
But the opportunity for us to fund the government at a time when there's so much going on, it would really -- we just need to untie those and make them separate, just like I'm wanting us to have a clean bill when we do handle the effort to fund Harvey. That should be clean. We should not put in years of appropriations marks to be in there. We need to do our work. I think they should be separated. I'm supporting not only my members that are asking for that, but I'm trying to do the right thing, and I hope that is where we end up. And I think we will this week.
CAMEROTA: OK, we'll be watching. Congressman Pete Sessions, thanks so much for taking time to be on NEW DAY.
SESSION: You bet.
BRIGGS: All right, Alisyn.
So what do Democrats think President Trump should do about the escalating tensions with North Korea and the DREAMer situation? We'll ask a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, next.