Return to Transcripts main page
Hurricane Irma Now A Category Five Storm; White House Issues Emergency Declaration For Irma; Irma One Of The Strongest Storms Ever In The Atlantic; North Korea Maybe Preparing Another Missile Launch; Pyongyang Threatens To Blow Up U.S. Mainland; North Korea Says Tests Were Gift Packages For U.S.; President Ends Program For Young Immigrants; Trump Will Revisit Program If Congress Doesn't Legalize It; Sessions Call The Program Executive Amnesty; Thousands Protest Against End Of Immigration Program; Syrian Forces Breach 3-Year ISIS Siege on Deir El-Zour; Rohingya Huddle On Bangladesh Border; Attorney General In Blue States Sue Trump Over DACA; Ravaged By Harvey, Houston Dreamers Fear Deportation. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 6, 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] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, another dangerous storm taking aim at the Caribbean and the U.S. Forecast has warned Hurricane Irma is even powerful than Harvey.
SESAY: Plus, North Korea promises more gift for the United States with new evidence that the regime could be preparing for another missile launch.
VAUSE: And Donald Trump says, he loved the dreamers but he ended the program protecting them from deportation anyway, and hundreds of thousands of young immigrants now facing an uncertain future.
SESAY: Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: Great to have you with us for another hour. This is NEWSROOM L.A. The Northeastern Caribbean is bracing for one of the strongest Atlantic storms on record with winds of almost 300 kilometers per hour. Hurricane Irma is being called, potentially catastrophic.
SESAY: Take a look at the category five storm from the International Space Station showing just how massive it is. The White House has issued an emergency declaration for Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
VAUSE: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is tracking Hurricane Irma, and joins us now with more on this. So, what are we looking at the speed that Irma is moving out right now?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's cruising along around 25 to 30 kilometers per hour, John. It's that wind speed at the -- rear of the eye wall which stretches about 42 kilometers, believe it or not. So, we're talking about an area that has among the highest wind ever observed on Earth right now, sitting at 295 kilometers per hour here. And of course, this is storm has gone approaching quickly across portions of the Leeward Islands. So, a hurricane warning is issued widespread from the Virgin Islands towards Puerto Rico, of course, Anguilla, working its way towards St. Kitts and Nevis.
This area in particular, in the direct path of the storm within the next few hours, and we know storm surge significance will be on the order of several stories highs as it approaches the Turks and Caicos. So, when you're talking about some coastal communities that have very little elevation change, that would be catastrophic moving forward for them. But again, as symmetrical, as organized, as defiant as any storm you'll see; textbook, by every definition of it. And again, you imagine that being 42 kilometers wide, an area that is home to 342- kilometer prior wind. It's essentially like a wall of a, say, EF-3 tornado coming towards you.
And these areas, of course, very little to be done now with direct impact. In that particular region, we're talking about 1.5 million people. You can include about an additional four million people out of Puerto Rico in the part of this storm as well. And we know, statistically speaking when it comes to storm fatalities, about half of them are related to the storm surge. And a storm of this magnitude would have among the deadliest storm surges as well. So, it's really important to note any sort of coastal impact here. It's best as you can do to get away from the coastal areas, is really the best bet for survival.
As we know, structural damage is almost inevitable. Roofs, of course, can be peeled off, but some of the buildings would literally be torn down to their foundation because of the sustained winds of the storm system. So, to track again takes it well to the west. We think impact around, potentially, Cuba, sometime early Saturday, and then beyond that is really where significant variations begin coming into play. So, again, very good agreement on where it's initially headed -- we think towards Cuba, the population here about 11 million; very densely populated, mountains rising about a mile high. So, if you put all this together, we're going to have tremendous rainfall or landslide threat is going to be extreme across that region as well.
And then, beyond this, we'll see how the storm interacts with Cuba because the models want to save the steering environment changes dramatically. The storm, then, turns right. Notice about half of the models take it towards Western Florida, another half want to take it in towards Eastern Florida. Population on that eastern coast, into the millions; on the western coast, into the tens of thousands. So, a significant difference could occur here as far as how this storm arrives at across a point here. But because of how large this storm is, regardless of whether it impacts Florida, we believe hurricane force winds could be felt on both coasts.
So, again, that is something worth noting across this region with the storm system I'm moving assure in. One thing here to note that is considerably different than what we had with Harvey a few days was, Harvey had very little to no steering environments to work with. So, the storm system just meanders over this same general area. With Irma, we're talking about a storm that's cruising along at a very good clip it is going to continue to do so. And we have a couple trough coming into the Eastern United States.
And essentially, there was all these saving grace here to change any sort of impact towards the Eastern United States coastline. And we think that secondary trough that digs in, will do a fairly good job here almost guaranteeing that this storm system will want to stay into the eastern side of the Gulf of Mexico, and would really limit the possibility of impacting folks across Texas or Louisiana that really don't want to see anything like this come into their path. But at this point, we know the most populated zones that are going to be impacted would be Cuba and also the state of Florida. John, Isha.
VAUSE: Bad, terrible, or catastrophic, I guess, are your choices right now. Pedram, thank you.
[01:05:04] SESAY: Not good at all. CNN's Leyla Santiago is in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where residents are getting ready for this monster storm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Puerto Rico prepares for this category five Hurricane Irma, the governor is calling it what could be catastrophic, and saying it is of a magnitude never experienced here in Puerto Rico in its recorded history. The National Guard has been activated. It is working in the last few hours to try to get people out of flood prone areas. They have evacuated a good chunk of the eastern part of the island. 460 shelters have been established, some of them already open, others preparing for what could come next.
And you know, if go out onto the streets, go to the stores, you'll notice that people are preparing. Water is hard to find on the shelves. It's hard to find generators or batteries. But perhaps, one of the conversations that really set the tone for me as I talked to people, I talked to one clerk at a store. And when I asked about products that were being bought for the hurricane she quickly, very quickly corrected me and said this is not a hurricane, this is a beast. And so, Puerto Rico is preparing for a so-called "beast" as some consider, not knowing what could be ahead with this category five hurricane. Leyla Santiago, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
SESAY: Very frightening.
VAUSE: OK. We will continue to keep a very close eye on Irma. In the meantime, North Koreans celebrate Foundation Day this Saturday, and if history is any guide, it could be a day for a headline-making display of their advancing military and nuclear technology. Spy satellite show Pyongyang is moving a lot of its missile to the coast ahead of a possible launch this weekend.
SESAY: Meanwhile, more bluster from North Korean state media which claimed Sunday's nuclear test reflects the country's will to blow up the U.S. mainland and annihilate Americans. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is following developments from Seoul, South Korea, and joins us now. Kristie.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isha, North Korea's U.N. ambassador calls the nuclear tests and recent missile launches: gift packages for the U.S., and promises more are on the way. Meanwhile, we are closely monitoring a regional economic summit in Vladivostok, the host, Vladimir Putin. Also, a number of key stake holders involved in the first free nuclear send off there, including the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Now, joining me here in Seoul is CNN's Ian Lee, and standing by in Tokyo is Alexandra Field. Let's bring up Ian Lee first. And Ian, first, I wanted to ask you about how receptive Moon Jae-in would be to Putin's message. Because we know where Putin stands on how to deal with North Korea. He thinks sanctions are useless; he thinks dialogue is the way forward. Is Moon receptive to that message?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Moon will be receptive to that message, Kristie because he has advocated dialogue before and diplomacy with North Korea, initially, believing that was the best move forward. Now, we've seen him shift a bit to a more harder stance because of the North Korean nuclear test. We have ongoing naval drills right now that have over ten ships as well as F-15s and submarines that are testing a new frigate. But they do -- Moon does want to have this dialogue with North Korea.
Now, yes, you're right, President Putin has said that sanctions really won't do anything. And Moon has advocated along with the United States for a tougher stance to isolate North Korea both diplomatically and economically, which would include sanctions. But with their meeting right now beforehand, they exchanged pleasantries talking about how they do want to work together, and they both want to achieve the goal of denuclearized Korean Peninsula -- that is one important thing.
Also, this morning, there was a video conference call between the United States, Korea, and Japan, where the United States reaffirmed its commitment to protect Japan and South Korea. Also saying that both countries are under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, which is an important show of support. Especially, after this weekend where we had some tweets from President Trump that called into question how close that alliance was, and how close the United States was with South Korea. But now, the United States, leaving no doubt that the country is here, and it will support them.
STOUT: You know, it's very interesting to learn that video conference between the United States, Japan, and South Korea. The U.S., clearly, trying to reassure its East Asian allies during this very sensitive time. From Ian in Seoul, let's bring in Alexandra Field who joins us live in Tokyo. And Alex, we know that Prime Minister Abe has a very close personal relationship with Donald Trump, who wants to exert maximum pressure on North Korea. So, what will be Abe's message to Putin and to President Moon in Vladivostok? [01:10:18] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, on
his way to Vladivostok, already, we have heard from him, Kristie, and he's said there will be no great future for North Korea if it continues on this path. Certainly, that echoes the kind of language that has heard from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before, and it's less fiery version, certainly, than what you've heard from President Trump. But there has been this continuous show of solidarity between the Japan and the U.S. as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe goes to Russia, though, to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We know that the crisis with North Korea will be a top item on the agenda.
We're told that they're going to be having very frank and candid conversation about what happens next. These two leaders did actually have a phone call in the aftermath of that sixth nuclear test. And we're told that they agreed about the seriousness of the threat coming from North Korea. But Kristie, we do note that they have a different approach on how to move forward now, how to handle this threat? It is Prime Minister Abe's goal to mobilize support from President Putin for further sanctions against North Korea. That's the kind of diplomatic resolution that Japan is looking for.
The Russian president, as we know, has said that further sanctions would be ineffective. Russia and China have also joined together repeatedly to call for a freeze for freeze, that's the solution they're pushing, whereby the U.S. And South Korea suspends their annual military exercise, which inflamed tensions with North Korea. In exchange, China and Russia would like to see North Korea, then, suspend its missile and nuclear program. Japan has weighed in on that, saying that a non-starter for them. They said that you can't equate these things and that these exercises remain an essential nuclear deterrence. Kristie.
STOUT: All right. Alexandra Field with the view from Tokyo. Ian Lee, standing by in Seoul. We thank you to you both. I'll be back with more on the story from Seoul later this hour, but let's take it back to Isha and John in Los Angeles. Back to you.
SESAY: Thank you.
VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. We will take a short break. When we come back, President Trump, with the fate of 800,000 undocumented immigrants, known as dreamers, in the fate of the hands of Congress only to temper that move just a few hours later. We will explain, next.
SESAY: Plus, dreamers in Texas left with little after Hurricane Harvey, now wondering if their days in the U.S. are numbered.
SESAY: U.S. President Donald Trump has made his decision to end the dreamer's program officially.
VAUSE: Leaving hundreds of thousands of undocumented young immigrants now facing an uncertain future. Jim Acosta has details.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children known as the dreamers, it could be a nightmare. The Trump administration is terminating the Obama-era policy that shielded the dreamers from being deported. The White House and Attorney General Jeff Session are fierce immigration hardliner in the Senate to make an announcement that sounded tailor-made for the president's political base.
[01:15:07] JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It's just that simple. That would be an open borders policy, and the American people have rightly rejected that.
ACOSTA: Instead, the same president who claimed he loved the dreamers --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We love the dreamers. We love everybody. We're going to deal with DACA at heart.
ACOSTA: -- released a statement: "My highest duty is to defend the American people and the Constitution of the United States of America. At the same time, I do not favor punishing children -- most of whom are now adults -- for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are a nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws."
ACOSTA: Why did the president not come out and make this announcement himself today? Why did he leave it to his attorney general? It's his decision. These kids and their lives are on the line because of what he's doing --
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's in large part, a big part of the legal process. This was deemed illegal by, I think, just about every legal expert that you can find in the country.
ACOSTA: Late in the day, the president finally weighed in.
TRUMP: Well, I have a great heart for the folks we're talking about, a great love for them. And people think in terms of children, but they're really young adults. I have a love for these people, and hopefully, now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly. And I can tell you in speaking to members of Congress, they want to be able to do something and do it right. And really, we have no choice. We have to be able to do something, and I think it's going to work out very well. And in the long-term, it's going to be the right solution.
ACOSTA: The White House is stressing, Congress still has six months to pass a fix protect the nearly 800,000 dreamers, and that no immigrant of the program will be impacted before March. But for the president to sign a dreamer fix, he wants something in return, such as the wall.
You're saying that if we're going to allow the dreamers to stay in this country, we want a wall? Is that accurate?
SANDERS: I don't think that the president has been shy about the fact that he wants a wall. And certainly, it's something he feels as an important part of a responsible immigration reform package.
ACOSTA: Democrats are already balking at that, questioning the president's motives, noting he pardoned Arizona Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who is convicted in Federal Court for defying a judge's order to stop profiling Latinos, not to mention Mr. Trump's past statements about Mexican immigrants.
TRUMP: They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
ACOSTA: Fierce opposition to the president's plan is coming in from all sides, from a member of the president's own diversity council.
JAVIER PALOMAREZ, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO, U.S. HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: I am resigning right now from that council. I don't see the point in continuing to try to work with people that clearly don't see this issue the way I do.
ACOSTA: To former President Obama, who said in a statement to target these young people as wrong because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating because they want to start new businesses, staff, labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we loved, and it is cruel. Now that it's in the hands of Congress, the question is: do they have time to fix this?
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: They say it would be up to six months. The calculation of six months is to March 5th. So, we have plenty of time, right? Not by Senate standards, we don't.
ACOSTA: The trump administration is not offering much comfort to dreamers who handed over their personal contact information to the Department of Homeland Security when they received protection from deportation. The administration officials say that information could be used by immigration authorities if and when they start carrying out this policy. Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
VAUSE: Joining us now: Political Analyst Michael Genovese; and also, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, Ali Noorani; and Lawyer, Bryan Claypool. Thank you, all, for being with us. Ali, first of to you. How much faith do you have in Congress to fix this?
ALI NOORANI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM: I think Congress has got a very, very full schedule this fall. They have a very big task that the president has now given them. But if there's ever a moment where Democrats and Republicans can work together, it is now. I think if the president gets behind the Dream Act if Republicans and Democrats can find a solution and it compromises and makes sense for both parties, this could be a moment --
VAUSE: A lot of this. NOORANI: They're in a lot of this. But I think the American public
is waiting for a solution, I think, we could be coming up in a moment.
SESAY: Bryan, to you. Ali expressing some cautious optimism there, but in the event of Congress failing and DACA ending, how much faith do you put in the attorney general of several states challenging this in court?
BRYAN CLAYPOOL, LAWYER: Well, Isha, first of all, I don't have any faith in Congress enacting any immigration legislation that's going to allow these dreamers to stay in the United States. I believe that the sole reason why President Trump repealed DACA was for two reasons. One, it was to dismantle President Obama and his legacy. And number two, it was to appease his supporters. And if we're going to be using young adults and children who did nothing wrong, who established lives in this country -- and I've represented some of these kids in DACA.
If we're going to use them as pawns in a political game, then I'm embarrassed to be a United States citizen. This is nothing more than President Trump trying to make a score on his little scorecard to come back at people to say, hey, I couldn't get a wall but here I'm going to get rid of 800,000 innocent people. It's conscionable, heartless, and abominable.
[01:20:40] VAUSE: There is just something, Bryan, because, you know, the last few days there have these reports that the president was going through all of this sort of emotional anguish to get to this decision. Here's part of the reporting from the New York Times: "For months, an anxious and uncertain President Trump was caught between opposing camps in the West Wing, prodding him to either scrap or salvage an Obama-era program allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the country as minors to remain in the United States." So, Michael, if Donald Trump was so conflicted if he found this so difficult to make this decision, why not just leave it in place and let Congress work it out?
MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this was a choice. He didn't have to do this. It wasn't necessary. He decided he wanted to do this.
VAUSE: This was an imposed deadline.
GENOVESE: But the deadline, I think, is a false deadline. There are some lawsuits coming up, but he didn't have to react to right away. He could postpone. He can do a lot of delaying. But he wanted to do this because, at first, I think he needs to decide this by a base that was getting a little angry. All he has left is his base. And so, he's trying to feed the base. But what it also does is it opens up a door in Congress. There are a number of Republicans who want to pass the Dream Act and a lot of Democrats too. So, by pushing this off to Congress, he may get what he wants but not what he really wants. He may get the Dream Act into law, and then his base will turn on him.
SESAY: Ali, Michael talking about the falsehoods, the deadlines, the necessity of all of this. Attorney General Sessions talking about the lack of constitutionality about all of this. It's interesting that the Justice Department didn't put out any memos to explain their decisions.
NOORANI: Right. And you know, memos that were put out by the Department of Homeland Security laid out, you know, quite a few details. But I mean, in Attorney General Sessions' remarks today, you know, he wove in a lot of falsehoods, and frankly some, you know, really unfortunate stereotypes of the American community.
VAUSE: Sorry. I just want to stop you there because we actually had that sound from Jeff Session because we want to hear one of those statements which contained quite a few incorrect facts. So, this is the attorney general laying out the reasons why it was necessary to repeal DACA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty among other things contributed to a surge of minors at the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Let's go through this bit by bit because on that first point, a peer review study found: "The claim that DACA is responsible for the increase in the flow of unaccompanied alien children is not supported by the data, and there's also no evidence that DACA has denied Americans any jobs." Sessions ignored what the economic cost could be.
The conservative think tank, the Cato Institute found, the official cost of immediately deporting the approximately 750,000 people, currently in the DACA program, would be over $60 billion to the Federal Government along with a $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade. And Ali, back to you. You know, Sessions clearly chose to make those statements, why?
NOORANI: But what's happening, what has happened over the last five days has actually been quite remarkable. You had over 500 CEOs, big companies or small companies all putting their voice out there in support of DACA and the Dream Act. Today, you had the general counsel for Microsoft, saying if DACA is repealed, if one of our workers who are DACA recipient is put into the deportation proceedings, we will represent them.
Over the weekend, we saw over a thousand conservative evangelical pastors at the local level and the national level, saying we want to see this program protected and the Dream Act passed. These are remarkable moments in American society when you see a really ground soil conservative support. That's why I think there's a moment here, we've got a lot of work to do, it's going to take a lot of leadership. But I've worked on this issue for a long time, and I've never seen something like this.
SESAY: Brian, to you. You know, there is all this concern that, obviously, the young people who applied to DACA gave their personal information over to the Department of Homeland Department Security to secure DACA status, if you will, and that information could now be used against them by ICE, Immigration, and Custom Enforcement officials. Should they be worried about that?
CLAYPOOL: Absolutely, Isha. Isn't this heartbreaking? Let's go back to that clip you just played. Remember President Trump has coined the sprays over the last six, eight months? Remember he said fake news? He's used that as a defense so many times, Isha. Well, guess what, what Jeff Sessions has just propagated and you just play that on that clip is fake news. Let me give you a couple of reasons why Sessions said that President Trump should repeal DACA. He said it would save lives. There's absolutely no evidence of any member or person protected by DACA of having harmed anybody or killed anybody. He said it protects the communities. Again, no transparency.
[01:25:30] We don't have any records at all, any criminal records of these DACA faults or any records of them being educated, paying taxes. Another reason he gave: protects taxpayers. Actually, a lot of these people that are protected by DACA, Isha, they pay their taxes. They're hardworking. They're productive citizens in our country, not citizens but productive human beings. And the last reason he gave: prevents human suffering. Wow! Are you serious, President Trump? In fact, it's the opposite. What repealing DACA does is promote human suffering. What a tragedy!
VAUSE: Michael, I want to just ask you this, we saw Jeff Sessions was pretty much the public face of this decision. The White House says that was appropriate because it's a legal matter. Are you buying that?
GENOVESE: Well, it's appropriate because Jeff Session is a true believer. Donald Trump is conflicted. Many Republicans are conflicted. It's a tough issue for a lot of them. But Sessions is a true believer. He's been consuming at the kool-aid, and he doesn't let evidence interfere with his beliefs. And that's why going out there and saying the things he said as ridiculous and as absurd as they were, he probably believes them.
SESAY: Ali, the end of DACA, potentially, the Muslim travel ban, the transgender ban -- transgenders serving in the military, I'm going to ask you as you put all of this together in totality, the impact on the fabric of this country, your thoughts.
NOORANI: That's a great question. And when you just look at the immigration pieces of DACA program, the travel ban, while DACA has been really important for almost 800,000 young people in America, I would argue it's actually been important for millions and millions of Americans who've come to realize their child's best friend is undocumented. The family one or few in the church is undocumented. The family down the street whose house they love and they go for a barbecue, they're undocumented. Regardless of what happens to DACA and regardless of what happens in congress, those millions of Americans, they will never unremember that. So, in this crisis, there is an opportunity.
VAUSE: And Michael, almost out of time, but this decision in and of itself in a vacuum, I guess, would be difficult for many people by itself. When you put it in the context of the travel ban, which was an executive order and a whole bunch of executive orders, you know, the administration is saying we're worried about executive overreach but in the context of all the other executive actions this administration has taken.
GENOVESE: Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives in the modern era have extended executive unilateral authority. So, it depends on who's House is being gorged. When Obama did it, he went too far. And I agree, he did go too far. But now that Trump is doing it, especially on the travel ban, which does have some legislative backing but doesn't allow him to get at it free card. Now, they're going to say in a week from now, oh, this is fun, this is good, this is all legal. You can't have it both ways.
VAUSE: OK. George W. Bush was the first to increase the (INAUDIBLE), and now it's in the hands of Donald Trump. Michael, Ali, and also Bryan, thank you so much for being with us this hour.
SESAY: Thank you, gentlemen, thank you. Very much appreciate it.
NOORANI: Thank you.
[01:28:31] SESAY: Quick break here. Some of the best intelligence on North Korea's leader doesn't come from a spy but from this unpredictable former NBA star. Next, why it is so difficult to spy on Pyongyang?
VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
SESAY: And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says preparations should be rushed to completion ahead of Hurricane Irma. The monster category 5 storm has maximum sustained winds of almost 300 kilometers per hour. It is already rather going through Barbuda and Antigua with rain and strong winds, and it's expected to hit Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump says he will revisit a controversial immigration program if Congress doesn't fix it within six months. The administration's announcement on ending the program struck a much harder changes (ph) to hours earlier calling DACA, which protects 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, unconstitutional.
SESAY: Well, a North Korean state media say, Sunday's nuclear test proves the country will blow up the U.S. mainland and annihilate Americans. Via satellite appear to show Pyongyang moving a large ballistic missile into position along the coast. Analysts say another test launch could come at any time.
Let's get back to CNN's Kristie Lu Stout who is live in Seoul, South Korea with more. Kristie?
STOUT: Isha, thank you.
We are closely watching that regional economic summit underway in Vladivostok where key players involved in the North Korean standoff are meeting. We're also closely watching North Korea to see if it will, as the South Koreans have assessed, go ahead and launch another ICBM.
For more on the story, John Delury joins me now. He's Associate Professor at Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Studies. Thank you so much for joining us here.
Let's just talk about why is North Korea doing this. We're anticipating this possible next ICBM launch of North Korea. They just tested its most powerful nuclear device yet. What does Kim Jong-un wants?
JOHN DELURY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, YONSEI UNIVERSITY: That's a hundred thousand dollar question. And I think the first part of the answer is we got to talk to him to figure that out. You know, that's the thing that no one is doing. We're all sitting here guessing and we have different ideas.
In my view, if we look at the bigger pattern on North Korean behavior, he is still trying to defend his country. And it looks incredibly aggressive, but for 70 years, that's what the North Koreans have done. I mean, they are the masters of threatening you and provoking you, but in the end, they are defending themselves.
STOUT: So it's about regime survival.
DELURY: It is about regime survival. This is an ambitious guy. He is young. He's probably the youngest head of state. I think one thing I worry about right now is he's probably riding high.
I mean, if you look at what he's got going on, he's got allies bickering amongst themselves.
DELURY: He's having technical success proving these capabilities. He is a household name globally, you know.
DELURY: So this is -- this is not a good thing for all of us because this is kind of feeding into this sort of behavior.
STOUT: Yes. And he is also (INAUDIBLE) on personal political survival. What about blackmailing? You keep hearing that they're doing this for blackmail to gain international prestige and respect, want to be recognized with nuclear talent. Is that looking it right?
DELURY: Well, I think blackmail is the wrong concept, you know, because we only lock ourselves into, we can't talk to them. It's a hostage situation, you can't negotiate with terrorists, you know.
The bottom line is we've never gotten along with this country.
DELURY: They have a reason to be afraid of us. They could be the next Iraq. They could be the next Syria, you know. They know they're on that list.
DELURY: And they are taking all these actions to make sure that it doesn't happen to them, you know.
DELURY: And if we want to get them off that trajectory, then yes, we're going to have to talk and probably give them stuff, and do stuff we don't want to do.
STOUT: Does Kim Jong-un also want to drive a wedge in between U.S. and its key staging allies, South Korea and Japan, and is that already happening?
DELURY: I mean, it is standard North Korean operating procedure that you want to drive a wedge, in particular I would say, between South Korea and the United States. And we're seeing that everyday in the newspaper -- I mean -- or in Twitter.
DELURY: When you have the president of the United States venting against the president of South Korea literally within hours of a North Korean nuclear test, that's like, you know, we're riding it for them. That could not be better from the North Korean perspective.
[01:35:10] STOUT: And now, there's talk here inside [ph] South Korean and also in Japan, of these nations pursuing their own independent nuclear deterrent. I mean what does that mean? Is that going to introduce a new arms race in the region?
DELURY: It is. I mean, and not just an arms race but you're talking about nuclear non-proliferation starting to fall apart, you know. And again, we have a president who said, at least on the campaign trail, it's inevitable.
DELURY: You know, Japan, South Korean, these countries are going to go nuclear. But it's not inevitable and we need diplomacy to stop it, you know. But right now, we're kind of skidding in that direction.
STOUT: What's the solution then? What's the best way forward to deter North Korea?
DELURY: Talks, there has to be dialog, it's not rewarding their behavior. It's true it's not the solution, but you don't even know what the problem is if you're not talking. And one thing I think we know is we don't have a good read on Kim Jong Un, the Chinese don't know Kim Jong Un.
DELURY: We need to start talking to figure out where is the offering, so that's number two. First, dialog. Number two is an offering to lower risk, to deescalate, what are we going to do, what are they going to do. And then the third part is a settlement. You know, we have to think about changing the basic political relationship between North Korea and the United States and South Korea. And that's a long- term process but that's the only way that you change the underlying dynamics here.
STOUT: All right, John Delury of Yonsei University, thank you so much and just stick around because we're going to be talking again in the next hour about China (INAUDIBLE) is whether or not China is going to sign on to that fuel embargo that the United States is demanding.
The South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, is in Vladivostok, Russia right now. So, North Korea is very high on the agenda for talks with Vladimir Putin.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now on the line from Vladivostok. And Fred, I understand that these two leaders have already spoken. What happened?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they absolutely have already spoken. (INAUDIBLE) still waiting, Kristie, for a statement abided to that they were going to give afterwards.
There wasn't going to be, they said, a press conference but simply a statement. But obviously, both of them said that North Korea was going to be very high on the agenda. And President Moon, when he came here, he said that he feared at this point in time with the escalating situation that the situation could become as he called it, uncontrollable. And that's interesting because that's also exactly what Vladimir Putin had said over the past couple of days as well.
But it certainly feeds, with two countries who see each other in this time is still very important, if they don't necessarily see eye to eye as to how to move forward in this crisis. Both have said they're very important for one another. But what President Moon said, South Korea, so that he feels that pressure needs to be ramped up, obviously, a lot of that coming through the US possible additional weapon to South Korea. But the Russians were saying that there need to be more talk. The Russians were saying there need to be more diplomacy. The Russians also very much criticizing the United States for its very strong stand against North Korea. Vladimir Putin, just yesterday in China, made a blistering statement where he said, look, the North Koreans would rather eat grass than change their policy. So certainly, it's going to be interesting to see how these two are going to find common ground, while both of them do agree that this crisis is very much moving forward just towards possibly be going out of control. It doesn't appear they both have the same approach as to how they feel this should be ended.
STOUT: That's right. How are they going to find common ground when Putin had said, clearly, he believes sanctions are useless, dialog is the way forward.
What about that joint Russian-Chinese proposal for a freeze for freeze? We know that the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, she rules that in her address at that emergency session a couple of days ago. But in the eyes of the Russians, is that proposal still on the table?
PLEITGEN: Certainly, it's very much on the table. You're absolutely right, Nikki Haley, there say, she even found that proposal insulting as she put it. But the Russian then came forward just a few minutes later actually and said, look, it's all well and good for Nikki Haley to say sitting in the United States. But when you have a border with North Korea, certainly the situation seems to be a lot more pressing.
Now, what the Russians and the Chinese are essentially calling for is they're saying the US should stop military exercises with South Korea, possibly with Japan as well, and scale down some of its military presence in the pacific. While at the same time, the North Korean should stop their missile and nuclear programs or at least freeze those programs.
Now, of course, there is a lot of self interest especially on the part of the Russian, they obviously would like to see a lot of American military asset disappear from this region, especially those ballistic missile interceptor systems, the THAAD system.
There is some self interest, but at the same time, and it certainly seems as though the Russians are speaking very closely with the Chinese and they do see that there's a possible way forward of to trying to at least deescalate this crisis or at least get some sort of talks going.
STOUT: Fred Pleitgen joining us live on the line from Vladivostok. Thank you so much. We'll talk again soon.
So Isha and John, it seems that there are a lot of options being discussed, economic sanctions, military pressure, dialog, not a lot of agreement among all the parties involved though. Back to you guys in Los Angeles.
[01:40:09] SESAY: Yes.
VAUSE: OK. Kristie, thank you.
SESAY: Thank you, Kristie. Still a long way away from some kind of agreement, a diplomatic agreement.
VAUSE: It's better than any kind of military events at this point.
SESAY: It is, it is.
Quick break here, tens of thousands of desperate Rohingya Muslims are crossing the border into Bangladesh as the crisis in Myanmar escalates, harrowing stories of survival next on Newsroom LA.
SESAY: Well, government forces have broken a three-year siege by ISIS, and their last major position in Syria, the city of Deir el- Zour. Syria's official news agency said the army carried out airstrikes to buff the blockade. Deir el-Zour has been vital to the militants who are under pressure in the self-declared caliphate of Raqqa.
VAUSE: An unknown of number of ISIS fighters were killed and at least 10 vehicles in an ISIS convoy destroyed. Russian cruise missiles were fired from its Black Sea fleet to support the Syrian army.
SESAY: Well, Myanmar and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, are facing growing pressure for failing to stop deadly violence against Rohingya Muslims.
VAUSE: During the call with Turkey's President, Ms. Suu Kyi said her government is working to protect the rights of the Rohingya.
More now from CNN's Nick Paton Walsch.
NICK PATON WALSCH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Desperate last stash to sanctuary, with our families leaving torched homes, desk behind. The Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar are stateless ethnic minority, often called the most persecuted people on earth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): They are beating us, shooting at us, and hacking our people to death. Many women were raped and killed.
BOSCH: Four hundred people have been killed since state media and the UN has declared nearly 125,000 Rohingya fled across this border into neighboring Bangladesh in just 10 days. After Myanmar soldiers and Rohingya militants escalated was fast (ph) for coming north.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): We were tortured by the military and their accomplices. We had to flee to save our lives. Last Friday, the military killed five people in our area, one of them was my son. They were tortured to death, our houses were set on fire, we lost everything there.
BOSCH (voice-over): We can't verify the stories ourselves, and we awfully served Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi didn't reply to request for comment.
It's a journey only slide to less powerless than the hell they leave behind. Many in Myanmar simply don't want them there, so their homes were burned, fleeing gunfire for their lives and families on their backs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): We had to walk a long way. We had to cross hills, marshes and paddy fields to make the journey to the Bangladesh border.
BOSCH (voice-over): But sometimes, it's a crossing that kills them, 12 children and 8 women drowning when their boat was capsized. But even then, they don't find solace.
[01:45:00] Bangladesh has forced a thousand to go back to Myanmar in just the last week, and a staggering 20, 000 (INAUDIBLE) and a no man's land in the border without food or water.
Myanmar, has the years, been unfriendly to the Rohingya, but the explosion of violence comes from Myanmar soldiers doing what they say a clearance operations against "extremeness terrorists", who they blamed attacking other ethnicities.
In turn, the Rohingya have admitted using their militants to attack, at least killing 12 a week ago, but in the defense of Rohingya rights. Mothers forced to flee, but also to leave their sons behind to fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): I sent my son to fight and leaving him at the end of the Almighty Allah. We are ready to face any situation.
WALSH (voice-over): An unwelcoming void ahead of them, ashes and agony behind. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN.
VAUSE: We're going to a break. When we come back, the dreams are over, undocumented young immigrant trying to stay in the U.S. despite the Trump administration ending a program which would take them from deportation.
SESAY: Protesters were out in force here in L.A. following President Trump's decision to end the policy or protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation. There was widespread condemnation of the move from Democrats, business leaders and so-called Dreamers themselves.
VAUSE: President Trump had tweeted, he will revisit the policy if Congress fails to act on a replacement in the next six months. The tweet came out when U.S. attorney general announced the decision to rescind the program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Then we are people of compassion and we are people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws. Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering.
Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence, and terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Joining us now from Seattle, Washington is the state's Attorney General, Bob Ferguson. Thank you so much for joining us.
BOB FERGUSON, ATTORNEY GENERAL, WASHINGTON: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
SESAY: So, Attorney General Ferguson, Jeff Sessions in his public justification for this administrations move to end DACA framed the decision as part of the broader imperative to uphold immigration law, because otherwise as he puts it, individuals and communities will be at risk. Is there any truth to that argument as it relates to the Dreamers?
FERGUSON: Yes, it's hard to know where to start with Attorney General Sessions' statement. But from my perspective, and obviously many others, we have 300,000 Dreamers in this country, 17,000 in my state alone. In my view, the decision by the Trump administration is cruel.
Equally important to me as a lawyer and as an attorney general, is it is my view that the decision is unlawful. And that's going to all be focused on is working with my Democratic AG colleagues around the country. You can expect to see a lawsuit from us soon. The challenges, the president's action and this will ultimately decided in a court of law and we can be of good arguments there.
SESAY: OK. You challenge the decision on the basis of the legality of a -- which, as you know, is the bed rock of the argument made by the Trump administration.
[01:50:00] I mean, it is essentially being the case that they say DACA is an example of executive overreach and that the Justice Department would have ultimately failed to defend the program in court. Do you buy that?
FERGUSON: I mean, it's ironic coming from this administration to talk about executive overreach because there was executive overreach, which is why President Trump lost when I filed a lawsuit challenging his first Muslim travel ban. He don't have the authority to do that and the courts agree with us and he had to rescind that initial travel ban.
So again, it will be focused on the legal aspect. I have deep great concerns from a policy standpoint and a moral stand point of what the president is doing. But that's for Congress to work on the policy side. What I'll be focused on is the legal side with my democratic AG colleagues around the country to focus on that. And what we see as something that the president is doing that he is not legally entitled to do.
SESAY: OK. So how -- let me read a little bit of your statement because you put one out earlier on. So, you have mentioned some of the points so let me just pull it all together.
You say in part, we've been working closely with legal teams around the country and we expect to be joined by other states in this action. As attorney general, I will use all the legal tools at my disposal to defend the thousands of Dreamers in Washington State.
And Attorney General Ferguson, can you explain to us how you plan to argue this case and how confident? You sound confident, but I mean, talk to me about the confidence of your legal footing here.
FERGUSON: Well, first, let me say that I have filed 14 lawsuits against the Trump administration. So far, four courts have weighed in on those and we're four no. We haven't lost once. Not one federal judge has actually ruled against us so far in all the legal challenges we brought against this administration. So, we try to be very thoughtful about the cases that we bring.
It does not mean that we'll win every single lawsuit in which we challenge this administration. But I think our record speaks for itself, we're four no. So, we do think we have good legal arguments. Speaking very broadly, I don't want to get too specific until we file our complaint.
I think you'll see complaint, that you'll see part of our legal challenge will involve constitutional arguments, that the president is violating equal protection, due process rights given to folks in our country.
Also, you'll see a group of challenges around alleged violation of statutes. You can get a little bit of scare for a layperson who might be watching, but we have something called the Administrative Procedure Act, the APA. You've got to follow certain procedures when you make a decision like this. We'll be arguing that the president did not follow those procedures, and therefore, could not take the action that he did.
So, long story short, I think you'll see a number of claims from a number of different democratic AGs challenging this administration on their really cruel decision today.
SESAY: You plan to stand up for the Dreamers. You stood up against the travel ban. As you say, you filed a number of complaints against this administration.
I just want to get your sense, you know, as an attorney general, as an American. How would you describe this moment that this country finds itself in when you're fighting these kinds of cases, over travel ban and young people being sent back potentially? FERGUSON: Well, I mean it's hard to put into words. But in my view, it's a dark time for my country. And my view is everybody has a role to play. And as attorney general, I feel fortunate every day that I can use the power of the law to make sure that this administration plays by the rules and follows the law.
But it is worth pointing out that the Trump administration has undefeated time. And again, in the courts, not every issue is high profile as a Muslim ban, but in all sorts of issues, we have been prevailing. And that gives me some confidence in our system, in our system of government, in our institutions, in the judiciary and the rule of law.
So probably it is a dark time for our country, I believe. I do feel confident that our institutions will ultimately prevail.
SESAY: Attorney General Ferguson, thank you so much for joining us. We very much appreciate it.
FERGUSON: Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.
VAUSE: Well, two of the biggest stories in the U.S. right now playing out in Texas with the Dreamers who are about to lose their legal protection from deportation also recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.
SESAY: Our Ed Lavandera talked to some of them to see how they're feeling and what they plan to do.
DIANA PLATAS, DREAMER: When I saw the water lined on our wall, I -- it brought tears to my eyes.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For days, Diana Platas and her family have stacked most of their belongings in a pile of trash. Nearly, five feet of flood waters destroyed their Houston home.
PLATAS: When we opened the cabinets, they were full of water.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Then, she says, a second tragedy struck, when the Trump administration announced it would start ending the DACA program. Platas, a 19-year-old Dreamer couldn't believe it.
PLATAS: DACA is one of my only salvations at this -- in this moment because my parents are going to need my support. They're going to need my help in times like this. And losing it is going to be very devastating. It's going to be another -- another emotional wreck for us.
[01:55:02] LAVANDERA (voice-over): Platas is the daughter of undocumented immigrants from Mexico brought to the U.S. at age two. She's a college junior studying political science in hopes of becoming a lawyer. But as she cleans up, the idea of being deported now haunts her. PLATAS: This is my home. This is all I know. I don't know anything else.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): There are tens of thousands of Dreamers in the Houston area making their mark in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Some, saving lives, like Jesus Contreras, a paramedic who works six days straight rescuing flood victims.
Alonso Guillen, a Dreamer volunteer, drowned trying to rescue others after the storm. And groups of dreamers like Scarleth Velasquez, who came from Honduras at age five, have spent days cleaning their neighbor's flooded homes and starting to rebuild.
(on camera): White House officials say, President Trump, who promised to treat Dreamers with compassion, wrestled with the decision. But Velasquez doesn't see the compassion when the fear of deportation to a country she scarcely remembers looms over her.
SCARLETH VELASQUEZ, DREAMER: I'm really grateful for just everyone that has been supportive and has just been, you know, has -- I guess, they have our back. So it's -- at the end of the day, it's OK. My only thing is that it's not over yet. He might have end the DACA but we're still not going to stop fighting for it.
ARTEMIO MUNIZ, TEXAS FEDERATION OF HISPANIC REPUBLICANS: It's more than a punch in the gut.
LAVANDERA (voice-camera): Artemio Muniz, with the Texas Federation of Hispanic Repubicans says, the actions of Dreamers across Houston should motivate lawmakers to protect these young immigrants.
MUNIZ: These guys are working. They're contributing. They're not committing crimes. And, what else do you want in an American?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's so cute.
PLATAS: (INAUDIBLE) a hand.
LAVANDERA: In her flooded out home, Diana Platas did salvage a piece of cherished artwork that now carries even greater significance.
PLATAS: It's a little (INAUDIBLE) thing, like you know, when they are going to grow up and we're not going to be there anymore. But these are my hands and I'm going to leave my fingerprint everywhere in this town, so.
LAVANDERA: That's even more point, you know.
PLATAS: Yeah, it is.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Ed Lavandera, CNN Houston.
SESAY: A lot of people from all --
SESAY: -- this life span with the Dreamers.
VAUSE: Lose your home in a flood plus you lose the country you grew up in at the same time, pulling away.
SESAY: You are watching CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. I am Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us, a lot more news after a very short break.
VAUSE: This is CNN Newsroom live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour.
SESAY: A monster storm is lining up to strike more than a dozen Caribbean islands before heading towards the U.S. mainland.