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South Korean Navy Stages New Live-Fire Drills; U.S. Agrees To Stronger Missiles For South Korea; U.S. Urges Strongest Possible Sanctions On North Korea; China And Russia Want End To U.S. South Korea Drills; Experts Decry Trump's Threat To Stop Trade With China; Trump Expected To End DACA With Delay; Congress To Get Six Months To Revise DACA; DACA Covers 800,000 Undocumented Immigrants; Cat-4 Hurricane Irma Heads Towards U.S.; Worry Over Toxic Water in Texas Following Harvey; Pyongyang Goes from Regional Problem to Global Threat; Hiroshima's Message to Trump on North Korea; Prince William & Kate Expecting Baby. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 5, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. We're now into the second hour of NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isha Sesay. It has just turned 10:00 Monday night on the West Coast. Thank you for joining us.
VAUSE: The U.S. and South Korea are turning up the military pressure on North Korea after its latest nuclear test. Seoul is conducting more live-fire drills designed to prove it has the capability of wiping out Kim Jong-un's regime.
SESAY: The U.S. and South Korean Presidents spoke by phone Monday agreeing to lift restrictions on just how powerful Seoul's ballistic missile could be. Plus, South Korea's Defense Minister says, he will review plan for U.S. tactical nukes on the peninsula. Well, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is live in Seoul for us, where is following the story in all its details. Kristie.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isha, thank you. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote next week on this latest proposal for maximum sanctions against North Korea after its latest nuclear test. The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, delivered that scathing rebuke of Pyongyang's action saying that the current U.S. strategy is not working. Here's more from Richard Roth.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The rhetoric flowed, aimed at Pyongyang from the United Security Council table. Everyone condemned the North Korea nuclear test, but, once again, divisions on how exactly to put more pressure. Behavior by North Korea has not changed no matter how many sanctions are imposed by the Security Council. U.S. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said enough is enough and that more was needed to tell North Korea to stop its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. She was highly frustrated and used stark diplomatic language.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATION: Nuclear powers understand their responsibilities. Kim Jong-un shows no such understanding. His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war. War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now. But our country's patience is not unlimited.
ROTH: Haley said, North Korea was slapping the international community in the face by its actions. China and Russia also condemned the test. However, they believe a freeze-by-freeze proposal has a chance whereby the U.S. and South Korea stop its military exercises while North Korea freezes its expansion of its nuclear program. Haley called that an insult. China thinks, there's something to it.
LIU JIEYI, CHINA'S REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS: This joint initiative by China and Russia is practical and feasible, aimed at addressing the most urgent of security concerns at the parties concerned easing the tension as on as possible, preventing the escalation of the situation around after another round, achieving through dialogue the denuclearization of the peninsula, and maintaining the peace and stability of the peninsula and the region.
ROTH: The Russian ambassador told reporters sanctions are not the best way to proceed. No way to bring Pyongyang to any negotiating table. However, the British ambassador said eight rounds of sanctions are working and producing pressure on North Korea. U.S. Ambassador Haley said she wants a vote on a new sanctions resolution next Monday. Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.
STOUT: Now, CNN has reporters covering this story around the world. Ian Lee joins me in Seoul; we also have Alexandra Field standing by live for us in Tokyo. Let's go to Ian Lee first. And Ian, we know that the U.S. and South Korea, the leaders have spoken recently, on Monday on the phone. They discussed plans to lift the restrictions on the strength of South Korea's ballistic missiles. I want to ask you, what is the appetite here in South Korea to arm up, given the threat posed by North Korea?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I put that question to people here on the street, Kristie, asking them about what they believe that South Korea, the United States should be doing in response to this nuclear test. Now, they are all in favor of these exercises. They say it shows a strong presence, a strong show of force to the North Koreans. And today they had another live fire exercise, this time taking place in the waters off the East Coast by the South Korean Navy. We've seen exercises now by the Air Force and Navy and the Army.
You know, the one thing, though, people were divided and this is a question that is being posed right now is: should South Korea have nuclear -- American nuclear weapons brought to their territory? The Defense Ministry has said that they're willing to consider that option. Now, the President has said that they're still committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but people on the street here were split about 50/50. Some saying that it's a strong deterrent to North Korea, others saying that it's just going to escalate the situation.
[01:05:25] You know the one thing, though, Kristie, that everyone was united on when I asked them about who do they believe they can trust? Who do they believe has the right ideas going forward? Of course, no one here trusts Kim Jong-un. They believe that he is being provocative and unstable. But they don't believe that President Trump is reliable either, they have their faith in President Moon Jae-in, and they believe that he has the right path for resolving this conflict.
A lot of them would like to see more dialogue. But right now, what we're seeing from the South Koreans, along with Americans, is more close cooperation with the military. Of course, they're going to try through the U.N. Security Council to rally the international community to further isolate North Korea both diplomatically and economically. But one lady told me when I asked her, I said how close do you think we are to a war. And she said, you know, over the decades, you know, ever since that cease-fire between the two countries, she says right now she feels that the country is about as close as it could be to the war in the past decade. So, quite a very -- for a lot of Koreans here, a very tense time, Kristie.
STOUT: Yes, absolutely. Very telling and something I've heard as well. Tensions are indeed that high. Now, from Ian, let's go to Alexandra Field standing by in Tokyo. And Alex, as U.S.-South Korean military pressure, I guess, North Korea increases, Japan is putting the focus, still, on diplomacy. Tell us more about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's next move.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the coming day he will be meeting with the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, and also with Russian President Vladimir Putin. These were previously scheduled meetings but they come, certainly, at an opportune time. The Japanese position here is that diplomacy is needed to solve and resolve this crisis. And you have the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe already in close contact with President Putin. He's one of two leaders that Prime Minister Abe spoke to almost immediately in the aftermath of that sixth nuclear test.
In a readout of that call, we were told that the two had agreed on the seriousness of the threat that was being posed by North Korea. But also, that Prime Minister Abe was really leaning on President Putin and counting on President Putin to bring Russia's support for greater sanctions against North Korea, and that will be the focus for President Moon in the coming days. You heard the message from the Japanese Ambassador to the U.N. about why Japan feels that further sanctions are necessary. So, Prime Minister Abe will be working to call on all international partners here, not just to pass another round of sanctions but to fully enforce the sanctions that are in place.
It is Japan's position that it is essential to cut off that hard currency moving into North Korea, fueling and funding the rapid development of this elicit program that has really rocked and rattled the region. Kristie, we're talking about not just that six nuclear tests, but this unprecedented number of ballistic missile launches which continue to threaten Japan by splashing down in the waters off of Japan. So, certainly, this is a major security concern for people here in Japan, and that is why the prime minister in the coming days will be working again to see firmer sanction in place against are North Korea. Kristie?
STOUT: All right. Alexandra Field reporting live for us in Tokyo, Ian Lee in Seoul, a big thank you to you both. Now, Daniel Pinkston joins us now, he is a Professor of International Relations at Troy University, he is also the author of the book -- it's called "The North Korean Ballistic Missile Program." Daniel, thank you for joining us here on the program. I know that you were also tuning in closely to that speech. A scathing rebuke delivered at the U.N. by Nikki Haley where she criticized North Korea's program and said that North Korea is begging for war, and then pivoted and made the focus on diplomacy. What did you make of that address?
DANIEL PINKSTON, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AT TROY UNIVERSITY: Right. I woke up to that headline this morning. And that word begging for war -- I was kind of puzzled by that. And the only way I can make sense of it after thinking about it for several hours, that it must be pandering to a domestic audience. Because in terms of international relations, international affairs, and international security, I don't see how it serves any purpose. And in some ways, it seems to infantilize or suggest that the North Korean leadership has no agency.
Kim Jong-un doesn't have to beg for war. He doesn't have to beg someone to give him a war. He's the Chairman of the Korean Workers Party. He's the Chairman of the Executive Policy Bureau. He is the Supreme Commander of the Korean people's army. If he wants to have a war, he doesn't have to beg anyone, he can sign the order today. So, I don't see what that's supposed to mean. Someone should have -- you have to ask her what that means.
STOUT: Do you think the U.S. is underestimating Kim Jong-un?
[01:10:11] PINKSTON: Well, I think in the past, many people have underestimated their technical abilities. So, we've been watching over the past 2-1/2 decades or so, this progress to acquire these nuclear weapons -- now a hydrogen bomb and the delivery systems. So, they've made much faster progress than many people had expected. So, in fact, many people had underestimated them.
STOUT: Also, in that address by Nikki Haley at that emergency session of the U.N. Security Council, she ruled out the double freeze option, which was the diplomatic option that was being, really, promoted by Russia and China. You tell us, you know, what is the double freeze, and do you think it was a good move to rule it out?
PINKSTON: Well, I don't think it's an equitable exchange or deal or bargain. So, on the one hand, it's asking North Korea to freeze or do what it's already supposed to do under the international law and become in alliance with U.N. Security Council Resolutions. In terms of exercises, all military is trained and do exercises. In fact, the military that is here, that is trained for this recent exercise, UFG, they're here for one year. And when exercise is held next year, they will be gone, so there will be new people coming in here to do the exercise. And in fact, if the military does not train and they're not prepared, then, in fact, South Korea will be more vulnerable, they'll be weak, and they'll be more susceptible to North Korea exploiting that power asymmetry. So, in fact, I think that helps stabilize the situation.
STOUT: Got it. Ruling out, that's a good call. But in the eyes of Chinese -- in Chinese government officials, they're not happy with it. They're also not happy that tweet by Donald Trump saying that he will cut off trade with any nations or consider to cut off trade with any nations that continue to do business with North Korea, an indirect threat to China. But China is needed to be on board for any new punishing sanctions to be placed on North Korea, will China be on board?
PINKSTON: Well, China will calibrate the sanctions. They will punish North Korea when they are dissatisfied with North Korean behavior. But I do not believe China will take any steps or measures that will destabilize North Korea. They will not enforce an economic embargo, which essentially is an act of war. Now, back to that double freeze thing, I want to add one more thing to that.
STOUT: OK. Sure.
PINKSTON: If the Chinese and the Russians say it's such a good idea, why don't we just flip the sides? How about the PLA and KPA cancels their exercises in exchange for the Republic of Korea and the United States, not doing any -- freezing any nuclear tests or missile tests.
STOUT: There are a number of unexplored options out there. We'll talk again in the next hour. Daniel Pinkston, thank you so much. Take care. We'll talk to you soon. Let's get back now to my colleagues in Los Angeles. John and Isha, back to you.
VAUSE: OK. Kristie, thank you so much for that.
SESAY: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, we'll take a short break. When we come back, U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to stop trade with any country doing business with North Korea. Many experts say that's next to impossible to enforce and potentially catastrophic.
SESAY: Plus, President Trump is expected to announce he's ending an Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, but it will not end immediately. Details, next.
[01:17:06] SESAY: Hello, everyone. Experts say U.S. President Donald Trump is making an empty threat when it comes to North Korea's latest nuclear test. The President said on Twitter he's considering "stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea. Well, that would include cutting trade with China -- which is Pyongyang's main ally and could spark a global economic meltdown.
VAUSE: Meantime, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. urged the strongest action possible from Security Council sanctions. This could be the last attempt to resolve this crisis through diplomacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats 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)
VAUSE: Joining us now: our CNN Political Commentators, Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson, and Republican Consultant John Thomas. Good to see you both. John, is the President now sort of facing the consequences of his own words? Even before he was inaugurated, he was tweeting this: "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen." It's about to happen. Since then, we've heard about fire and fury, locked and loaded. It sounds like he's, you know, drawn a bunch of red lines, and Kim Jong-un has called his bluff pretty much on every one of them.
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You're right except for, what was it, Guam was on the target list, and now Guam isn't on the --
VAUSE: That was made by someone in the strategic command. It was a, you know, it's a clever threat by Kim Jong-un. Then, they fired the missile over Japan.
THOMAS: Right. But -- I mean, and certainly, the U.S. is back into a corner. Although, we can pull out some clever tweets that the President probably shouldn't have made. This really is the -- it's been happening for years. In fact, it was Barack Obama that could have nipped this in the bud and didn't. Trump has dealt with really no good options.
VAUSE: How could Obama solve this?
THOMAS: He could have gone in and taken military actions, gone with more sanctions, actually drawn like real red lines and not allowed Kim Jong-un to cross it.
VAUSE: Because Obama faced the same military options that Trump has right now.
THOMAS: Yes. The difference is they didn't have a hydrogen bomb when Obama --
VAUSE: But they had 3,000 or 10,000, you know, rockets pointed at Seoul.
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There's no good option. But I think what this really underscores is the fact that like Donald Trump's Twitter account is a double-edged sword, right? It's great for him because he can cut through media coverage to get a message out to his supporters on the one hand -- at least that's the argument he's making. But on the other hand, the flip side, right? Like he's put his foot in his mouth.
The reality is this a guy who said fire and fury two weeks ago, then he went and have that Arizona rally where he said, well, I think Kim Jong-un is going to respect us or is starting to respect us, or at least he believes that. And then, of course, we have this massive test this weekend. So, you know, he keeps shooting himself in the foot.
SESAY: And I want to pick up on that point of the President's words and the consequences because the President has taken one line here, and members of his cabinet have taken a different one, a different tone. There's been this sense of mixed messaging and some have asked whether that has emboldened Kim Jong-un. John?
[01:20:04] THOMAS: I don't know. I mean, the cabinet members are always more subdued than the President in the rhetoric. But, actually, I think that the President's strong language is going to be a balloon for him in this negotiation process -- if there's anything left to negotiate. Because North Korea might think that Donald Trump is just crazy enough to pull the trigger and do a preemptive strike on him, versus Barack Obama, I don't think anybody would have thought that Obama would have taken a preemptive strike on North Korea. So, the bluster, although it may be, might actually help at the end of the day.
JACOBSON: I think the issue, though, like moving forward is like, ultimately whatever Donald Trump does whether it's a diplomatic solution or he goes to war, he's going to need the funding from Congress -- they control the purse strings. And you've got Republican leaders like Bob Corker, who recently said, you know, Donald Trump lacks the stability and the competence, and the real sort of understanding or the character of the country. That's going to pose a big challenge for the White House when they ask Congress either way for a diplomatic solution, and obviously funding the war.
THOMAS: I think they'll get the money if it's talking about taking out North Korea and save the U.S. I think they'll get the funds.
VAUSE: The President has also had some strong words for the South Korea, an ally of 67 years. So, you know, amid this crisis the President has threatened to cancel a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, he's called the South -- basically called out the South Koreans for, you know, appeasement, in his words. The South Korean President fired back with this statement: "We can never tolerate another catastrophic war on this land. We will not give up our goal of working together with allies to seek a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." And Dave, you know, given what it will mean, South Koreans were killed during the Korean War. It would seem that President Moon, at least, gets a vote in what happens, next in this crisis?
JACOBSON: Sure, absolutely. I mean, look, Donald Trump has this unique juxtaposition where he's got his economic agenda which is just a scorched earth, you know, do away and disseminate any of the tear- apart in these trade agreements that we've got with our allies like Mexico or Korea. And then, at the same time, simultaneously, you've got the national security concerns, and it poses a real dilemma for the White House in moving forward with their agenda. The question is: what's going to happen with that trade agreement? We haven't heard anything from the White House. It's been dead silent on that.
SESAY: John, stand by for us because, of course, it's not just North Korea that's on the President's docket, it's also the issue of DACA. On Tuesday, President Trump is expected to announce that he is going to end the program -- that's the Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants right here in the U.S. from deportation. I want you to take a listen to what Mr. Trump said about DACA during the Presidential campaign, and then contrast that with his comments from just a few days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties. We're always talking about dreamers for other people. I want the children that are growing up in the United States to be dreamers also. They're not dreaming right now. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me, I will tell you. To me, it's one of the most difficult subjects I have. It's a very, very tough subject. We're going to deal with DACA with heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should dreamers be worried?
TRUMP: We love the dreamers. We love everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, joining us to talk more about this: Immigration Attorney Nelson Castillo. Nelson, good to have you with us once again. Listen, the bedrock of the President and his supporter's argument for scrapping DACA has long been that this is an example of executive overreach on the part of President Obama, and the whole thing is unconstitutional. Let's just clear that out once and for all, what are the facts here?
NELSON CASTILLO, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Well, the fact is that this is an executive action that resident Obama put into effect, and it can be undone by the following President. President Trump has been clear that that is exactly what he's going to do, what he' hoping. And I hope so, too, is that Congress is going to finally act and enact comprehensive immigration reform that would include protections for individuals who came here at such a young age.
SESAY: All right. We'll get to the issue of Congress in a second. I want to ask about -- if this is indeed the way it plays out that the President makes the announcement Tuesday, says it will end within -- after six months giving Congress a chance to act, what happens in those six months? Where does that leave those young people who's to two-year visa, because that's what the dreamers get? What happens if their visa expires during that time or to those who have applications already in the system?
CASTILLO: There's a lot at stake, not only for the individuals who currently have DACA but their employers, their families. A lot of individuals are going to be affected. My hope is that the President will not, tomorrow, say the program is ending immediately. That there's going to be a transition period. Six months, hopefully, it's more because employers are going to need the workforce to replace if indeed these individuals can no longer continue to work for them.
They cannot -- in a moment's notice, be deported from this country unless, of course, they've committed some act that makes them immediately deported. So, the notion these individuals are going to go away from this country immediately is not going to happen. They might have other benefits coming to them: family, work, and some humanitarian benefits. And every individual who's currently in DACA should be going to an immigration attorney to determine what are the rights and responsibilities should this program end tomorrow.
[01:25:18] SESAY: And Nelson, you know that you know, we're hours away from the announcement and there will be a lot of people within the Latino community who will be terrified, really, of not knowing what comes next. I mean, the concern is also heightened by the fact they gave their personal details, right, their addresses and personal information are in the system to have applied for DACA. This is a very scary time for people.
CASTILLO: Definitely. And I would be scared myself if tomorrow I wake up and I no longer have the ability to be here lawfully in the country. What's going to happen to me, as I return to the unlawful status that I had before unless I could find another avenue, legal avenue to stay in the country. I might be required to leave this country unless I have some recourse either in the immigration course or in another avenue for me to be able to stay. So, counseling for all these individual is crucial at this particular moment, and they must seek counsel as soon as possible. But tomorrow, it's a crucial day for a lot of people.
SESAY: Yes. Nelson Castillo joining us there with the legal perspective on all of this. We appreciate it, thank you.
CASTILLO: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, back now with our Political Commentators Dave and John. OK. The talking point for those who support this decision to end DACA, it's all about the Constitution, it's all about rule of law, you know, that is an open legal question right now. Here is Donald Trump's former Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think first and foremost, you know, if the President does rescind this it's because it's been unconstitutional -- we know that for sure. And it's the President's prerogative to inject in this. But here's my concern: all of a sudden, we're hearing from leaders in Congress, who are saying, oh, Mr. President, give us the opportunity to act. They've had years to act. This is what Congress always does. When a crisis comes before them that they have punted down the road for five years now, they decide that they're not going to like what the President is going to do, which is to fulfill his campaign promises, so they're asking for more time. We have no more time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: John, he's right by the fact that Congress has punted all this time and time again. But I don't think he's right about the fact we have no more time. The President could give six months, 12 months, he could just give them as much time as they need.
THOMAS: Because seven months ago, his base was -- Trump's base was expecting him to repeal DACA. So, I think Lewandowski is right in the sense the base that put Trump in on because he ran on immigration. I mean, that was one of his major platforms. There's no more time. He can't kick this down the road anymore. He has to deal with it.
SESAY: Dave, what is the President's calculation here, is it that punted to Congress, they fail, therefore they carry the can or they get it -- they pass something that allows these 800,000 young people to stay, but he doesn't get the scorn from his base? I mean, what's the calculation?
JACOBSON: I think the initial move was to throw a red meat at the base, right? The 34 percent, according to Gallup that are still supporting him. But at the end of the day, it was to kick the can down the road and not be ultimately be responsible for it. I think the challenge for the President, though, is when you're hovering around a sagging 34 percent approval rating, you ought to be really thinking about how can I appeal to a broader slice of the people across this country. And according to NBC, which put out a poll last week, 64 percent of Americans support keeping DACA in place. That would've been the play. If you want to broaden your support base, do something like that.
THOMAS: That may be true but it's scheme of priorities. 70 percent of Americans think putting American workers first is a more priority, and repealing DACA allows those 20 and 30-something-year-old DACA illegal aliens to now go to 20 or something-year-old American citizens.
JACOBSON: Well, the problem is like the President comes off as somewhat who, yes, delivered on a campaign promise but ultimately this amounts to, like, cruel and unusual punishment to, like, innocent children who came here when they were 5 or 6-years-old through no fault of their own.
THOMAS: Just because, you know, Bernie Madoff's kids don't get to keep the mansion. Their father made an illegal move, and they don't get to keep the spoils of his illegal moves.
JACOBSON: Well, the other question: if you're going to make an economic argument about jobs and why are like the big heavy weights like Facebook and Google, coming out supporting --
THOMAS: Because they're all liberals.
THOMAS: And they like cheap labor.
VAUSE: Bernie Madoff's kids in jail with him. I mean --
VAUSE: Thank you both.
SESAY: Thank you. Quick break here. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., just recovery ramps up after Harvey, another dangerous storm is setting its sights on the U.S. The latest on the path of Hurricane Irma, coming up.
[01:29:37] VAUSE: Also ahead, we go inside a toxic waste site in Texas (INAUDIBLE) by Harvey, leading to fears of dangerous contamination in the floodwaters.
[01:33:11] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Vause. We are live in Los Angeles. It is 10:33 here on the west coast.
More than a week after Harvey made landfall, recovery efforts are slowly moving forward. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will fast-track up to $20,000 for anyone with flood insurance.
SESAY: Meanwhile, there are concerns that hazardous materials, including waste, pesticides and solvents, have been spread in water as well as material from toxic waste sites that were flood damaged. The Environmental Protection Agency says the total impact of flooding on those sites is unknown. Workers have been unable to access them so far.
And the mayor of Houston, the hardest hit of the cities says most of his city is operational that is more than 95 percent draw dry. He says most businesses are expected to reopen tuesday.
VAUSE: But another dangerous storm is now barreling towards the U.S. Hurricane Irma is a category 4 storm with wind speeds of 250 kilometers per hour. That's more than 130 miles.
SESAY: Both Florida and Puerto Rico have declared states of emergency. Landfall is expected in the Caribbean by Wednesday.
Let's get the very latest on Irma's path. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with that.
Pedram, it is remarkable how quickly Irma intensified.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Recall this was the same case out of Harvey as well. We saw this go from a tropical storm in Harvey's case to a category 4 before landfall.
I want to show you what is going on here. Of course, we have the tropical threat in place with the tropical storm warnings and hurricane warnings really stretching out of areas around St. Kitts, Nevis and working towards the British Virgin Islands, eventually towards Puerto Rico. The storm surge, the most life-threatening aspect of the storm, bearing down on these islands. Certainly, the emergency evacuation, if any is to be made across this region, would have to be done in the coming few hours.
This storm system as menacing as it gets. Every quadrant of this storm system, very organized and symmetrical. We're watching what could be a category 4, could potentially get to a category 5 inside the next few days. Model consistency on where they think this storm is going to be headed. And beyond, say, Friday to saturday, almost every single one of the molds wants to turn to it the right based on the steering environment in the atmosphere. That will take it towards southern Florida sometime this weekend. The day by day breakdown into Puerto Rico by Wednesday, the Turks and Caicos by Thursday, the Bahamas and Cuba by Friday. And as you approach saturday, that would approach into parts of Florida. And when you look at the sea surface temperatures, we know upstairs in the upper environment, very much going to be conducive for a strengthening, if not just keeping this category at 4 strength. The water temperatures approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit in this region over the next couple of days. The only saving grace we have is a trough that digs into the southern United States this weekend. If that actually pushes far enough to the south early enough in time by Friday, we could see the storm maybe begin a shift to the right. But at this point, the window is really beginning to narrow. So that is something we're following.
And of course, we know it's the peak of hurricane season. There goes Irma. Look at this. This would-be Jose, beginning to form back behind it. So a busy, busy time of year ahead of us here -- Guys?
[01:36:18] VAUSE: They're just lining up.
SESAY: They really. My goodness.
VAUSE: Pedram, thank you.
SESAY: Thank you, Pedram.
VAUSE: Well, a big concern right now in Texas, what exactly is in the floodwaters.
SESAY: That's the question. More than a dozen Houston area toxic- waste sites were actually damaged by the storm, raising fears that hazardous materials could now be contaminating all that water.
CNN's Martin Savidge has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN 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 entrants to wear protective gear. And more than a dozen super fund sites were either threatened by floodwaters or went completely under.
EPA officials have seen the sites from the air but this is the first time investigators have made it to them on the ground eight days after they flooded. And we were invited along.
UNIDENTIFIED SITE MANAGER: We'll 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 a 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 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.
SAVIDEGE (on camera): These are the containers they're worried about. Even though there is water all around them, they essentially say that 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 that 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 river bank would suggest water didn't just inundate this site, it went roaring over it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The onshore flow concern we've had is 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 official says, despite being battered and flooded, there is no indication any toxin or pollutants leaked from the site.
(on camera): So to the flood victims, the people of Houston in this area, at least as far as they're concerned of pollution, what would you say? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As it relates to this site, specifically, then
this site is secure.
SAVIDGE: What about the other superfund sites?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, as it relates to the superfund sites that we've discussed, the 33 sites in the state of Texas, we're confident that those sites are secure.
SAVIDGE: Full transparency, there was not enough time, nor were there the conditions to try to talk to get a second opinion, say, from environmentalists. But everyone agrees that perhaps the greatest pollution didn't come from superfund sites, but from what you would say is everyday life. More than a million automobiles are thought to have gone under the water. There are gasoline station, stores and businesses with their chemicals, and homes with their cleaning supplies and paint. All of that went into Houston's floodwaters.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Pasadena, Texas.
[01:39:57] SESAY: You have to stay out of the water if you can.
VAUSE: Oh, yes.
SESAY: To find out what you can do to help, log on to our impact your world website. It's CNN.com/impact. There, you'll find links to vetted charities working to help those affected by the storm. It's all there for you at CNN.com/impact.
VAUSE: And this will go on for quite a while.
Next here on NEWSROOM L.A., as Donald Trump talks "fire and fury" and "locked and loaded," survivors from Hiroshima have a message for the U.S. president.
SESAY: Hello, everyone. Over the past year, North Korea's made rapid advances in nuclear and missile technology that we haven't seen before.
VAUSE: Brian Todd reports on how Pyongyang went from regional problem to global threat.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New warnings of a young dictator's nuclear and missile program that caught the world off guard.
JOHN PARK, DIRECTOR, KOREA WORKING GROUP, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: These are startling developments in a short period of time that we're measuring in terms of weeks rather than in terms of a year time span. TODD: North Korea has increased the strength of its nuclear bomb
blast over the last decade, from about a thousand tons of TNT to 10,000 tons last year at this time, to Sunday's test, estimated at 50,000 to 120,000 tons of TNT. That means it could be three to eight times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Over the past year, expert says Kim Jong-Un has accelerated his most lethal capabilities at a breathtaking pace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea has made a quantum leap in both nuclear missiles and in weapons. They have gone from a regional nuclear threat with short and medium-range missiles to a global nuclear threat with proven intermediate-range missiles, now into intercontinental ballistic missiles.
TODD: Those two ICBM tests in July, expert says, catapulted North Korea's ability to hit the U.S. Some say the speed of the missile program caught U.S. Intelligence off guard.
ADAM MOUNT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: The range and the sophistication of the missile tests are far beyond what U.S. intelligence and open source analysts expected.
TODD: In a recent interview with CBS, CIA Director Mike Pompeo denied that, saying they had been tracking the North Korean's missile program all along.
[01:45:08] MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: The intelligence community has had a pretty good picture. Can we predict days or weeks? No, certainly not. But we have certainly had a pretty good hand on the work that has been done to develop the system of systems.
TODD: But North Korea has also ramped up research and testing for mobile missile launchers, advanced engines and fuels, high-tech material, miniaturized warheads, reentry shields, and submarine- launched missiles. Kim's regime now claims it has a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit on a missile.
Experts aren't sure, but some say the North Korean nuclear missile threat is greater than it's ever been.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By tend of the first Trump administration, North Korea will have the ability to hit almost any city in the United States with a thermonuclear bomb.
TODD (on camera): What the North Koreans haven't perfect, at the moment, the reentry and targeting capability of the long-range missiles. They haven't proven that their missiles can go up into space carrying a nuclear warhead and reenter the atmosphere without breaking up and accurately hit their targets. But they're working furiously toward that.
Brian Todd, CNN, washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Well, the fiery rhetoric between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un is more than words for survivors of Hiroshima's nuclear bomb.
SESAY: History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. And those survivors have a message for the U.S. president.
Here is CNN's Kyung Lah.
FUMIKO KATA, HIOSHIMA NUCLEAR BOMB SURVIVOR: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A childhood horror that never fades. At 87, Fumiko Kata 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."
Kata 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, Kata was the only survivor on August 6th, 1945.
Japan remained at war with the allies, ignoring final demands to surrender.
LAH: "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."
LAH: 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 TRUMAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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:
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
LAH: "Arrogance," says Kata, 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 this like it's some kind of a joke," says Shozo Kalamoto. "Trump and Kim Jong-Un," he says, "it makes me angry. They don't understand."
Kalamoto, who was just 11 years old when the bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his parents and three siblings, his entire family.
Today, this elderly man 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.
[01:49:35] VAUSE: We're going to take a short break right now. We'll have more news right after this.
VAUSE: L.A.'s chief says now the threat from the La Tuna Blaze has passed but is warning it could easily rekindle the wildfires which burned close to 2000 hectares over the weekend.
SESAY: A scary picture. All mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been lifted and the blaze is 30 percent contained.
VAUSE: Another loyal bundle of joy is on the way. Kensington Palace announced Monday that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child.
SESAY: Say it like you mean it.
VAUSE: I am.
SESAY: Our Max Foster has more on the announcement and the royal family's reaction.
VAUSE: They're cute.
SESAY: They are cute.
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: The duchess was due at an engagement first thing on Thursday morning, and when rumors started swirling she wasn't going to turn up, we were told there would be an announcement coming out from Kensington Palace. And we got the announcement she is due with baby number three. She's not yet 12 weeks pregnant, but the couple says they wanted to bring the announcement forward. She's suffering from acute morning sickens. She's not going to be able to do engagements while that's the case. So they wanted to explain why she wasn't out there in the public view. So they brought the announcement ahead. We're expecting a baby in the spring. Baby number three for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The family we're told are delighted. And this is how Prince Harry responded when he did make one of his engagements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How are you feeling about the news of being an uncle again?
PRINCE HARRY: Fantastic. Great. Very, very happy for them.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And how is your sister-in-law doing?
PRINCE HARRY: I haven't seen her for a while, but I think she's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Prince Harry soon to become sixth in line to the throne. He's currently number five, but when this baby is born, he'll be knocked down in the pecking order. He didn't seem to be too worried about that though.
People now, their thoughts with the Duchess of Cambridge. She's recuperating at Kensington Palace. And we're told as soon as she does feel better, she'll be back out doing engagements again.
[01:55:20] VAUSE: I am praying it's a quick and painless pregnancy. I got stuck doing it and that went on forever.
VAUSE: Yes. Just never ended.
SESAY: Charlotte. Baby Charlotte, she's a gorgeous girl.
VAUSE: Well, getting ready for baby watch.
In the meantime, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
VAUSE: And I'm Isha Sesay.
Be sure to join us on Twitter, @cnnnewsroomla, for highlights and clips from our shows.
We'll be back --
VAUSE: Find out when the baby is born. More baby news.
SESAY: More baby news, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
SESAY: Hello. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. It's 11:00 here on the west coast of the U.S., 2:30 in the afternoon in Pyongyang. This is NEWSROOM L.A.
SESAY: North Korea's latest nuclear test is drawing condemnation from all around the world and displays of military might from South Korea.
[02:00:04] VAUSE: At the United Nations, the U.S. ambassador has accused Kim Jong-Un of "begging for war." Nikki Haley also said the U.N. strategy is not working. She now wants the strongest sanctions possible on Pyongyang.