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South Korea: North Korea May Be Moving Intercontinental Missile; South Korea Conducts Second Day of Military Exercises; U.S. Says North Korea is 'Begging for War'; Trump Expected to End Program Protecting "DREAMers". Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired September 5, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, September 5, 6 a.m. here in New York.
[05:59:02] Chris is off today. John Berman joins me. We have a big show.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We sure do. Right. Thanks, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right. We have breaking news. North Korea may be moving an intercontinental ballistic missile in preparation for another launch. This according to a South Korean lawmaker briefed by their intelligence service.
A new warning from North Korea. State media there says they're threatening to blow up the U.S. mainland and, quote, "annihilate Americans."
President Trump and South Korea's president speaking for the first time since North Korea's nuclear test over the weekend. But White House sources say relations remain strained.
BERMAN: Meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning that the military escalation could cause a global catastrophe, and he calls new sanctions on North Korea useless.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley insists that Kim Jong-un is begging for war. All this as the Trump administration is set to announce the end of protections for DREAMers, and Congress returns to a long to-do list and very tight deadlines.
We have it all covered for you with the global resources of CNN. We want to begin with Will Ripley, live in Tokyo.
Will, you just completed your 14th trip to North Korea. And over the last few hours, there have been a flurry of developments.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of fast-moving developments here, and things are not at the moment headed in the right direction, John. You have these reports from South Korea that they are observing significant activity on the north side, possibly rolling an ICBM toward the North Korean coast. Now, this is a launch site that could send a missile on a trajectory
over Japan, where I am, or it could send a missile south. And remember, Kim Jong-un has threatened to launch missiles using the Pacific as its new target, specifically perhaps the U.S. territory of Guam.
North Korea has laid out a detailed threat to bring missile very close to that key U.S. territory. They haven't done so yet, but they also haven't ruled out that possibility.
Meanwhile, these new remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin significant, because later this week, in fact tomorrow, he is set to host an economic forum in Vladivostok, Russia. North Korea will be there, South Korea, Japan. Noticeably absent, China and the U.S.
This is setting the stage, essentially, for Putin to play the role of peacemaker, and he's saying everything that the North Koreans want to hear, that the situation is headed towards a global catastrophe where there could be a number of victims, and that sanctions are useless. So we'll have to watch very closely the developments in Russia and the developments in North Korea.
I want to read you also a statement from North Korean state media just out within the last couple of hours or so. It says, quote, "The great success of the hydrogen bomb test, which stunned the world, reflects the faith and will of the DPRK army and people to blow up the U.S. mainland and annihilate the wolfish U.S. imperialists running amuck to cut off the lifeline of the DPRK."
I know that sounds very frightening for a lot of people in the United States, but we need to keep this in context, Alisyn. This is the kind of threat that North Korea has made repeatedly for many years, although never before have we seen a nuclear-armed North Korea this capable as they are right now.
CAMEROTA: Right, that is a troubling combination. Will, thank you very much for the context. We'll check back with you momentarily.
South Korea conducting a second day of live fire drills at sea, vowing to, quote, "destroy and bury the North" if provoked. But there are growing concerns that President Trump and South Korea's president are not on the same page.
CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul with the latest. What do we know, Paula?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, this live fire drill, as you say, second in two days, just as visual as the first one, making sure that they can send a very strong message and a very visual message to North Korea.
Now this one had 2,500-ton frigate guided missile boats and also patrol boats. It was rather large. It was -- was being shown many photos of what happened. We expect footage at some point, as well, because South Korea wants Pyongyang to be able to see what they're doing. They're saying, as you said in the intro there, "Wherever it is, on or under water, if North Korea provokes, we will immediately destroy them and bury them at sea."
Now that kind of phrase is the sort of phrase that North Korea could be proud of, but it's coming from South Korea now. We're seeing a much stronger language coming from the South Koreans. The live fire drill on Monday, they said, was aimed at destroying the enemy's leadership.
Now, we know, also, that Donald Trump, the U.S. president, has now spoken to the South Korean president. For many here, it took far too long for the phone call to come, but they did both agree to strengthen joint military capabilities.
We know that we're going to see further naval drills at the end of the week, potentially one between the U.S. and South Korea involving submarines, but we haven't seen the show of force yet which the South Koreans would like to see -- Dave.
BERMAN: All right, Paula. I'll take it. John Berman here.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says enough is enough, telling the United Nations Security Council that Kim Jong-un is begging for war. What can the international community do to stop Pyongyang's nuclear threat?
Let's go to the Pentagon. CNN's Barbara Starr is there. Barbara, what is the view from there?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. They are watching all the messages very carefully on all fronts. The U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, making the case at the United Nations, the time has come to press for all diplomatic options, all sanctions, but then she went on to sound a very ominous warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: President Trump publicly staying quiet but making calls to other leaders around the world, speaking to the German leader, Angela Merkel, again saying that all options are on the table according to the White House.
Now, the president's day ahead, he may have the North Korean situation come up time and again. He will meet with his national security advisers. He will have a daily intelligence briefing later in the day, and economic meeting, but so far, what we are all watching for is to see if the U.S. puts more assets, more troops, aircraft, ships in the region. So far, no announcements from the Pentagon on that -- John, Alisyn.
[06:05:18] CAMEROTA: OK, Robert. Barbara, thank you very much for the update from there.
Let's bring back Will Ripley. We also want to bring in CNN military analyst retired Major General James "Spider" Marks and Robin Wright, fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Great to have all of you.
Spider, you're a military strategist and analyst. Is there any military option for the U.S. here?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, there are plenty military options. I mean, the use of force always remains vibrant. The coalition on the peninsula is ready. The multilayered air defense capabilities we have, both in the region and internationally, to protect the homeland exists. We've tested it. It works.
Is it perfect 24/7? We hope so, but I mean the tests demonstrate that it's extremely capable, so the military option always exists, but because the potential outcome is so catastrophic, look, Seoul would be punished. We would certainly see the devastation of a lot of the infrastructure in the South, and the regime up North, were we to go to war, let's -- let's be very clear. The regime in the North would cease to exist.
The challenge with all of that is that China would be engaged militarily, and we've been on this path before. From '50 to '53, we saw what happened. The North Koreans invaded in June of 1950. The United States reclaimed the south peninsula, the southern part of the peninsula. But then we chose to go north of the 38th Parallel. We saw what happened when that happened. The Chinese got involved, and it was a stalemate. And it was horrible. We know what can occur on the peninsula.
BERMAN: So Robin, you've watched this region for a long, long time. The United States has said it doesn't want North Korea to have a nuclear weapon. They do. They have one. They've tested them now several times. They keep getting more powerful. So what's the goal here? What does the U.S. now want out of this?
ROBIN WRIGHT, FELLOW, U.S. INSTITUTE OF PEACE: I think that's one of the big questions. It's clear that the Trump administration doesn't want North Korea to go any further, doesn't want to have the capability of deploying a nuclear weapon, have the warhead on top of a missile that it can target the United States.
The question, though, beyond that is, what is our goal? Is it to undermine and eventually remove the regime in Pyongyang? Is it to decapitate North Koreans? Is it to try to see that the merger of the Korean Peninsula? The Trump administration has not articulated for any of us what its long-term goal is. It's clear that the North Koreans are not going to give up their nuclear program.
The best we can hope for is a freeze, and that will involve a lot of diplomacy, but to get there, you have to sit down with each other, and there's no indication yet that Washington or Pyongyang are willing to do that with an agenda that is at all realistic. Diplomatic sanctions can do so much, but the ones that are the most
punitive may actually unnerve the North Koreans to the point that they accelerate their program even further or they move further in their testing. So this is -- you know, the options are clear in terms of what diplomatic or military, but what we don't know as well is what the ultimate goal is for the United States.
CAMEROTA: So Will, I mean look, for decades, obviously, the U.S. and South Korea have been very close allies. How has it deteriorated? How has this relationship deteriorated seemingly, you know, in just the past kind of weeks to this point?
RIPLEY: Two words, Donald Trump. He has changed the game in this region and really, according to many people that I'm speaking with on the ground here, has left a real leadership vacuum that Russia and Vladimir Putin, by the way, is more than happy to fill.
This is the story we need to watch over the next couple of days this economic forum in Vladivostok. Vladimir Putin will be there. There's a North Korean delegation. South Korean President Moon Jae-in is there, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. China is absent, Xi Jinping working towards his party congress. And of course, the United States also not present at this.
And what Putin is doing by putting out these statements today, talking about an impending global catastrophe, comparing the situation in Iraq today. I'm sorry, comparing the situation in North Korea today with Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, saying that the North Koreans need to remember what happened to Hussein. This is an argument I've heard in North Korea before, as well.
Putin is saying all the things that North Korea wants to hear. And so, as wild as it may sound, he may be trying to step into a role of peacemaker here to try to negotiate some sort of a deal or at least talk to the North Koreans and serve as an intermediary here, because the fact is, even though North Korea has a very important economic relationship with China, their most important economic relationship. They don't like each other.
[06:10:04] Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un have never ever spoken. There has been a letter passed. Once -- it's a very tense relationship, and China is certainly not happy right now about the sixth nuclear test and impending possible ICBM launch, given that they have their major party congress, where Xi is trying to consolidate his power in just a matter of weeks. So perhaps Putin will be the one to try to strike a deal to fill that vacuum left by the Trump administration.
BERMAN: You know, General, if one of the goals of North Korea has been to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its allies in the region, is this proof that it's working? I mean, some of the biggest pressure the White House has put on than anyone on the world has been on South Korea after North Korea's nuclear test.
MARKS: Well, look, we've been down this path before. If you go back to 2000, when the South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung, tried to achieve a level of appeasement and a reunification through diplomatic efforts. He went to Pyongyang and won the Nobel Peace Prize, spent billions of dollars and it went nowhere. So you understand that there's some legitimate skepticism in terms of where we think an agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang would go.
What's different, obviously, fast forward 17-plus years, you now have a North Korea that is acknowledged as a nuclear power, has an ICBM capability, certainly can threaten internationally. So there's great reason to understand why there's got to be some discussion between Washington and Seoul that this path is not acceptable.
CAMEROTA: So Robin, that brings us to the U.N. and the emergency Security Council meeting yesterday. You know, Spider just laid out for us how unpalatable any military option would be. So diplomacy has to step up, but it's hard to know what path that's going to take, what happened with the U.N., and what do we think the next steps are.
WRIGHT: Well, I suspect we'll see the introduction of resolutions that impose greater economic sanctions. I'm not sure that's going to have much effect.
The question here in terms of diplomacy is how the international community comes together, and unfortunately, Donald Trump has alienated the Chinese. He's insulted Xi Jinping, the leader of the most powerful nation on the earth, and treated him in many ways like he treats his own staff. He has a very tense relationship with Angela Merkel, who is today the leader of not just the European community but, in many ways, the face of western democracies.
He has a trade dispute he wants to pick with the South Koreans. This is not a moment that is conducive to the kind of collegial collaboration. They all face the stark reality of North Korea's program, and maybe they can come together.
But fundamentally, the Chinese and the Americans see very differently in terms what have they want for the Korean Peninsula. The -- Beijing and Pyongyang may not get along very well, but the fact is they don't -- China does not want to see the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, doesn't want to see the west, the Korean Peninsula on its borders become an ally of the west. North Korea is a buffer zone for them.
So see how this diplomacy comes together in the current atmospherics is very hard. There is some interim steps, but it's going to take a bigger spirit and much greater unity for the world to have a successful round of negotiations that lead to a freeze of this program. It's clear we're not going to be able to roll it back, but we might be able to freeze it, but we're going to have to move fast.
CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much for all of the expertise.
Meanwhile, another big story that we're talking about today. President Trump is expected to end the protections for DREAMers, the protection from being deported, and that's expected to happen this morning. So the president is punting the issue to Congress. Could this political hot potato cause another major rift between Republicans? We discuss all the implications there, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[06:17:33] CAMEROTA: In just a matter of hours, the Trump administration is expected to announce that it will end the program protecting DREAMers. Those are the young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents, and it protects them currently from being deported, but that could change. The president is punting the fate of these hundreds of thousands of DREAMers to Congress.
CNN's Joe Johns is live at the White House with more. What are we expecting, Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, what to do about DACA is a question the president has struggled with over weeks and months. And today does appear to be decision day, with the attorney general set to make the announcement at a briefing here in Washington later this morning.
But a sense of drama continues to hang over this, because sources have told CNN even this late in the process, the president could still change his mind.
JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump taking to Twitter Monday night touting a big week ahead, a gross understatement considering the wide range of issues on the president's plate, starting with today's announcement on the fate of so-called DREAMers. The president is expected to end the Obama-era program created through executive order, protecting some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from being deported.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: DREAMers here to stay! DREAMers here to stay!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: DREAMers here to stay! DREAMers here to stay!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: DREAMers here to stay! DREAMers here to stay!
JOHNS: This possibility already drawing backlash from both sides of the aisle.
REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: What I hope the president says tomorrow is that he supports the policy of the DACA program, and wants Congress to pass it into law.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: To end the DACA program is one of the most cruel and ugly decisions ever made in the modern history of this country by a president.
JOHNS: But the president promised during the campaign that he would end protections for DREAMers. Attorneys general from ten states threatened to sue if Trump does not announce repeal of the policy by today. Sources tell CNN the president will punt the fate of DREAMers to Congress, delaying the enforcement for six months, so that lawmakers can pass legislation to address the status of those affected. REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: There's a lot of Republican
support for a program like this. I'm not as pessimistic as some people. I think we can actually get this done in the next six months.
JOHNS: The "New York Times" is reporting that President Trump has asked aides for a way out, comparing Trump's approach on DREAMers to President Obama's first promise as president to close Guantanamo Bay, which he was not able to accomplish.
Congress returns today to a daunting to do-do list with a limited time frame to get anything done. The most challenging tasks include passing a spending bill with or without money for a border wall, Republicans looking for a complete overhaul of the tax code, the first in three decades, emergency funding for victims of Hurricane Harvey. A bill to raise the debt ceiling is expected and possibly another try at repealing Obamacare.
JOHNS: Adding to the pressure, only a dozen days left this month for Congress to finish the legislative business in order to get a spending bill passed to keep the government open and operating. This afternoon, we do expect to see the president meeting with key members of Congress and his administration to talk about taxes -- John, Alisyn.
JOHNS: Joe Johns at the White House, thank you. We want to bring in CNN political analyst John Avlon, Abby Phillip and David Drucker.
You know, John, we don't know for sure what the president's going to do, announce, what the administration will announce today. But let's assume it is this six-month plan, where he says he will end DACA, you know, protection for DREAMers six months from now and wants Congress to pass something.
How he frames this is crucial. If this is framed today that the administration wants these 800,000 people to stay here legally and wants to get something done, thinks they should be here, that's one thing. If Jeff Sessions goes out today and says they're illegal, they shouldn't be here, we're going to get rid of them, that's something else.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, first of all, he's punting twice, first to Jeff Sessions for the announcement and second to Congress for how to get something done. Jeff Sessions historically is not the guy who's going to say, "We love the DREAMers. We want them to stay." That hasn't been his position. His policy aide, Steven Miller, is one of the hawks inside the White House, now serving President Obama.
But you're right, because if he's saying, look, we want Congress to deal with this, because the fundamental problem, we believe, is that President Obama used an executive order, and it should have been done legislatively. That's saying there's going to be a receptive, even if it's by force, reaction to it on Capitol Hill. You just heard it in that package, Republicans saying they want a way out of this. But it does set the deadline, and DREAMers have been -- there's been
doubled by the president. And now the government has got the DREAMers' information, and that sets up a terrible collision in six months' time.
CAMEROTA: So Abby, I mean, John called it double talk by the president. He has been all over the map in terms of how he feels about these DREAMers and what he thinks their fate should be. So let's just remind people of the different things that he's said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (via phone): As an example, you have people in this country for 20 years. They've done a great job. They've done wonderfully. They've gone to school. They've gotten good marks. They're productive. Now we're supposed to send them out in the country? I don't believe in that, Michelle, and you understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK. That was actually 2012. That was before Donald Trump was a politician. So that might be the truest -- the truest indication of how he feels, because once he started running for president, he said some different things. Here is this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties in which he defied federal law and the Constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.
When somebody's terrific, we want them back here.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Should they have to leave, too?
TRUMP: They have to be legally -- look, it sounds cold, and it sounds hard. We have a country. Our country is going to hell. We have to have a system where people are legally in our country.
We're going to deal with DACA with 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. And I appreciate your understanding on that.
But the DACA situation is a very, very -- it's a very difficult thing for me, because I love these kids. I love kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Abby, safe to say he's conflicted?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, I think he is genuinely conflicted, but you know, as those clips really illustrate, the strategy of making DACA a scapegoat in the election was just that. It was an actual strategy. It was not by chance. It was not because he didn't understand the program.
But that being said, the reality of governing is much harder, and I think Republicans recognize that getting rid of this program is not actually going to be popular.
You know, what I'm looking for in the next, today really and the next couple of days in terms of clarity from this administration, is what happens to DACA recipients in that interim. Even if there is a six- month deadline, you have to decide what to do with these folks now.
Are they allowed to renew their status? Are they going to be allowed to keep their jobs? We're talking about, you know, nearly a million people who are -- who have work permits who are employed, most of them, and who need some kind of certainty about what's going to happen in their lives.
So -- so yes, the president is uncertain, but he had an opportunity. I mean, he's the commander in chief. He can decide how he wants this to go. And you know, it's very clear that this is an attempt for him to kind of push this off to someone else, to Congress, to Jeff Sessions, as John said, so that he doesn't have to make the really hard decision.
[06:25:00] What exactly they end up doing to kind of square that circle today is going to be really important, because I think for all of these people, there's still a huge lack of certainty in the next six months, even if there is a delay in ending the program.
BERMAN: Eight hundred thousand people, at least, do not know where they will be in six months plus one day. You know, they are being held hostage to an extent by Congress. Their future depends on Congress getting something done. And David Drucker, if Congress has a track record on getting something done, I haven't seen it.
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's not that great these days. Look, clearly there's a human element here, and we shouldn't minimize it. But there's a political element that will help determine whether or not the DACA kids and the DACA who are now DACA adults will be dealt with in a fashion that they would prefer that would probably be best for the country, and it all gets back to how Republicans are going to resolve, this time around, their inner conflict on immigration issues.
They have at war with each other, split for the past decade, and with President Obama in office, rightly or wrongly, politically it was very difficult for them to do anything on immigration, as we saw with the DREAMer legislation that was pushed by very top Republicans.
So this is very interesting, because if President Trump, the biggest immigration hawk in town theoretically, if he says that we're canceling DACA because of the constitutional questions and rule of law issues that I campaigned on. But I'm not going to enforce it for six months to give Congress a chance to do something, what he's saying theoretically, aside from all of his rhetoric and everything, is that he would sign DREAMer legislation. And that becomes interesting because if President Trump, not President
Obama, if President Trump is willing to sign this, does it make it easier for Republicans in Congress to take this tough vote? And does it make it easier for them to work with Democrats over the objections of Republicans who are not going to support this to get a bill to his desk. That is why this is a really unique, interesting situation, even though I don't expect the president to go out of his way to push for this.
CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead, John, last word.
AVLON: Look, just the prospect of Trump pulling a Nixon in China on immigration with comprehensive reform and DACA is fascinating. But that's also sort of the triumph of hope over experience here. The Republicans are deadlocked. This is a deep civil war. The thing is, people's lives, as Abby said, almost 1 million folks' lives in the balance; and it could set up a terrible conflict from a civil liberty standpoint.
DRUCKER: We have just one bill, it may be possible.
AVLON: Must be a pony in here somewhere.
PHILLIP: We should also keep in mind Democrats here are going to play a huge role. If they're willing to accept something short of citizenship for these kids, that will be really important. I mean, you can get -- you can get a lot of Republicans on board with -- with a legal status, green cards, maybe something short of citizenship, not exactly what all Democrats want. But that could be the key here to getting something done for these DREAMers.
BERMAN: It all has to happen in the next six months. Good luck with that. John Avlon, Abby Phillip, David Drucker, great to have you with us.
A state of emergency declared in Florida as powerful Hurricane Irma takes aim at the state. When will it hit? Who is in harm's way? New developments in this storm. Stay with us.