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North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Over Japan; Japan And U.S. Call For U.N. Security Council Meeting; South Korea Responded With Its Own Missile Launch; Desperate Pleas For Help Across The Caribbean; Nursing Home Under Investigation After Deaths; Trump Signs Resolution Condemning White Supremacy; Trump Repeats Both Sides Rhetoric On Charlottesville; Trump Talks Immigration With Top Democrats; Trump Vows Wall Will Happen Amid Dreamer Talks; Mnuchin Requested Government's Jet For Honeymoon; Irma Responsible for at Least 10 Deaths in Cuba; Political Satire in the Age of Trump. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 15, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Our breaking news, North Korea has test fired a ballistic missile just days after the U.N. Security Council proposed tough new economic sanctions. By our count, this is number 22 this year, and for the second time in less than a month, it flew or Japan.

SESAY: Well, Pyongyang's ballistic missile program has been in high gear since mid-February, a total of 22 missiles have been fired. On July fourth, North Korea test fired its first ever Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. And now, North Korea sent a second missile streaking over Japan.

VAUSE: Well, those missile launch comes just 12 days after Pyongyang carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

SESAY: Well, let's bring in our correspondents across the region: Phil Black in Tokyo, Paula Hancock in Seoul, and Matt Rivers in Beijing. Phil, to start with you. As we just said, this is the second time that -- in recent weeks, the missile has streaked across Japan. The Japanese prime minister has been speaking out. How will the Japanese government respond to what they're calling a provocation?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isha, the initial response from authorities here was to determine that the missile was not a threat to Japanese territory. So, they've said they decided not to try to shoot it down. And then, as you have touched on, there were those alert systems, the sirens, the text messages, the vast number of people in Japan's north, startling them in the early hours of this morning for a few moments, telling them to seek shelter and to look o for falling debris, until they were given the all-clear.

Since then, what we've heard from the Japanese government has been, I guess, the standard sort of response that you'd expect. The stern statements, denouncing this, demanding that North Korea stop these tests; demanding unity from the international community and promising to make this outrage known at the United Nations Security Council. The reality is beyond those usual pattern responses for Japan, it really doesn't have too many more options than that at this stage, Isha.

SESAY: And just to be clear, Japan is looking to the international community and the U.N. Security Council to press North Korea. I mean, when it comes to Japan, you mentioned the limited options. I mean, what options do they have in terms of unilateral response.

BLACK: Unilateral response, they don't have any in any sense. They are very much lockstep with their allies -- the United States and South Korea. They believe very much in applying maximum pressure. That's what they want to see from the international community. That's what they were pushing for with the last sanctions package that was authorized. Now the one that was finally authorized by the Security Council was weaker than the one that Japan and the U.S., and so forth had been advancing. From it, it was stripped out of things like a total, ban on oil exports to North Korea, stripped out of it was the right for U.N. member states to search by force -- North Korean vessel at sea, for prohibited goods.

These sorts of really strong measures. That's what Japan and its allies, like the United States, really want to see. But of course, as we've been talking about a lot recently: that wasn't possible because Russia and China simply didn't want to put that sort of pressure on the North Korean regime and risk-destabilizing it. Now, the question for Japan is whether or not this latest missile test will in some way persuade China, notably, Russia as well. These veto-carrying members of the Security Council. Some other action should be taken because that's what Japan really wants to see. When North Korea conducted an action like this, it believes the international community needs to respond with still greater pressure. Isha.

SESAY: Phil Black joining us from Tokyo, thank you.

VAUSE: We going to head now to Seoul, our Paula Hancocks is standing by live. So, Paula, I guess, we now know what Kim Jong-un thinks about an $8 million humanitarian aid package which was under consideration by the South Korean government.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. This is an aid package that they're going to discuss next week -- the South Koreans. But the fact is this aid package does not go to Kim Jong-un, it is not able to be used for his nuclear and missile program. It will go for humanitarian needs. It will go to help children, to help pregnant women. It would be the likes of UNICEF and World Food Program who would distribute this aid. And I think we've seen time and time again that the North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un, is far more concerned with nuclear missile program than he is trying to feed his own people.

[01:05:23] The vast majority of the resources that North Korea have been siphoned off to go towards this program. This is part of the Constitution, it's part of state ideology, and it is what North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un is putting most of its efforts and his spare cash into. Now, we did see a live fire drill from South Korea in response to this launch this morning, just six minutes after the missile was launched from the north. The south launched two of its own -- one of them failed and fell into the sea fairly quickly. But they did -- there were pains to say that this missile was able to reach Sunan Air Base in Pyongyang, where the North Korean missile was launched from. So, basically telling North Korea: if you do that, and since it's heading towards our direction, then we can fire it down if need be.

Now, I did speak to the President Moon Jae-in yesterday. He had been talking about this provocations from North Korea. He certainly didn't expect that he would see the end of these provocations. Let's listen to a little bit of what he was saying about pressures he's under to bring nuclear weapons into South Korea as well.


MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): We need to develop our military capabilities in the face of North Korea's nuclear advancement. I do not agree that South Korea needs to develop our own nuclear weapons or relocate tactical nuclear weapons in the face of nuclear North Korea's nuclear threat. To respond to North Korea by having our own nuclear weapons will not maintain peace in the Korean Peninsula, and could lead to a nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia.


HANCOCKS: So, Mr. Moon, highlighting that it is the military capability in South Korea that need to be worked on, not the nuclear capability. Although, he also didn't rule out the possibility of talks, but said, certainly, North Korea has to make the right conditions for talks. And that's not what they're doing this morning, John.

VAUSE: OK, Paula. Thank you, Paula Hancocks, for us in Seoul.

SESAY: All right. Turning now to Matt Rivers in Beijing. So, Matt, another North Korean missile launch. And once again, everyone turns to China with the expectation they will do more to rein in Pyongyang. We heard the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, talking about China using their supply of oil to North Korea as leverage. Is it realistic to expect a more forceful Chinese response to this missile test?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Given recent history, probably not. I mean, what you have seen from the Chinese is a willingness to sign onto an increasingly tough round of sanctions after certain provocations from the North Koreans. They have signed on, no sanctions getting passed through the Security Council without China's approval, given their veto power. But what we have seen, at the same time, is China's unwillingness to cross a certain line. So, Phil mentioned it right off the top here. In the original draft resolution that was circulated at the U.N. Security Council after North Korea's latest nuclear test, the U.S. wanted a complete embargo on all oil exports to North Korea. That was something that China, basically, said was a non-starter.

And what you saw from the United States was the willingness to negotiate down in order to get any sanctions passed at all. That was after a nuclear test, Isha, which you can easily argue as a more provocative action than the missile test that we saw this morning. Yes, this missile flew over Japan but, frankly, we saw that earlier this month. This isn't the first time the North Koreans have done that. And so, you could say that North Korea -- the nuclear test was more provocative. And even then, the Chinese weren't willing to sign onto sanctions that were significantly stronger. So, would they be willing to do so after yet another missile test? Most experts will say, probably not.

SESAY: Well, most experts are also saying, Matt, that, you know, it's really doubtful that North Korea can actually be reined in at this stage. That, you know, they're going for broke, and it's a zero-sum game as far as they're concerned. Have we been able to deduce what Beijing's position is on that front? Do they believe there's any value to any of these sanctions that they will be effective?

RIVERS: Here in the Beijing bureau. We were talking about this the other day. What is China's red line in all of this? Is there something that North Korea could do that China would say, OK, fine, that's it, we're signing on with the United States, Japan, and South Korea. We're going to do whatever they want. We don't know where that red line is. North Korea continues these provocative actions, and yet at this stage, the Chinese government continues to make the strategic calculation that, yes, North Korea is making significant progress in its nuclear program. But the alternative, watching the Kim Jong-un regime fail as a result of significant Chinese economic leverage is not something that Beijing is willing to stomach.

They are concerned about a unified Korean Peninsula that is friendly to the west, that could happen in their view of the Kim Jong-un regime were to fail. And so, they're kind of looking at both options here, and saying least at this point they're making the calculation that an unstable, volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula with the Kim Jong-un regime in place is better than any possible alternative. When they choose to change that calculation, does North Korea ever cross that red line to really force the Chinese to change what they've been doing? The answer is, we just don't know.

[01:10:37] SESAY: Yes, that's the point. Every, every capital in the region is making that calculation; they're running their own sums to figure out what they should do next. Matt Rivers joining us there in Beijing. We appreciate it. Paula Hancocks in Seoul and our Phil Black in Tokyo, our thanks to all of you. And this weekend, Will Ripley, takes us inside North Korea for an exclusive look at the country as you've never seen it before. Watch "Secret State," Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in London, 9:00 p.m. in Seoul only on CNN.

VAUSE: Hurricane Irma rigged through the Caribbean last week. It left behind a level of devastation never seen before. And now, residents have been left struggling for basic supplies.

SESAY: Well, our CNN teams have been across the Caribbean, covering the storm's shocking aftermath. Earlier, our Sara Sidner spoke to residents on St. John Island. Here's her report.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is or was a famous historic lookout point. It's the Chateau Bordeaux restaurant where tourists and residents alike spent time, taking a look at the beautiful views here in St. John. Well, those views are gone.

LEAH RANDALL, RESIDENT OF ST. JOHN: We're supposed to be America's paradise, and look what it looks like.

SINDER: Lea Randal rode out the Hurricane Irma in a hurricane bunker with her fiance. When she emerged from safety, she was awestruck at the view of their beloved island of St. John.

RANDALL: I don't think that people really understand the level of devastation that we have here. We feel like we were living in a war zone, and a nuclear bomb went off.

SIDNER: Now, the shock of it all is subsiding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry about --


SIDNER: The tears are beginning to flow as neighbor greets neighbor to commiserate. For Leah and her fiance, the storm snatched away their charter business and their dream home, a wooden boat named Buxom II.

RANDALL: We're looking pictures of Buxom. It's just -- it's. Anyway, sorry. I mean, it's, they're all the stuff we had and they're gone. We only have, like, three suitcases.

SIDNER: From the ground, it's clear things are bad here. But once you get higher on the island, a true scope of the devastation comes into focus. There is damage just about everywhere. And it's not just homes that are damaged, but take a look at the infrastructure. Nearly, every light pole is pushed over in some way, not a single one standing up straight. Kind residents offer to drive us from Coral Bay to Cruise Bay on the other side of the island. For a time, the scene just kept getting worse and worse at every turn. Johnny B. has lived on St. John for 20 years. Life, he says, was easy here and laid back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got to make a choice, you know. I mean, this is a hard -- it's going to be a hard way of life compared to what it was for 20 years.

SIDNER: Then, the storm hit. The next day, chaos ensued. What happened in the first day or days after the storm that surprised you or disturbed you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looting. A lot of people, I didn't expect to do it, were doing it. And it wasn't time for desperation yet. It was the day after. You know, there's no reason for it. I think it was grossly over -- it was just gross. SIDNER: Police have now moved in to quell the security issue. But

the most needed supplies are still just trickling in a week after Hurricane Irma. In Coral Bay, most of the supplies are shipped in by private individuals from St. Croix, just about everyone needs something here, including the famous wild donkeys of St. John, they too are survivors of the storm -- left to forage for what little vegetation is left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just disbelief, you know. It's hard to believe. We all lost something in the storm, you know? A lot of people lost everything.

SIDNER: Life used to be easy on this island, very laid back. And now, people realize just how hard their lives have gotten. And people who are asking, what is it that we can do to help St. John and some of these other islands dealing with the devastation. Well, they need things like generators, because power is completely gone here; it's dark. They also need a communication tower. So, they can actually try and get supplies in and out and things they need. Those things are hard to come by on this little tiny island.


[01:15:00] SESAY: Our thanks to Sarah Sidner there. It really is awful when you see.

VAUSE: It's like -- it's like an earthquake meets a hurricane. It's like, I think, one of the officials in the Caribbean described it as a nuclear hurricane.


VAUSE: Which is a reality.

SESAY: It really is. Well, days after the storm, Florida authorities are investigating how eight people died at a nursing home for the elderly after Hurricane Irma took out the facility's air conditioning system. The question now is what did they do to keep those residents cool?

VAUSE: Well, an investigation is under way. Officials want to know if the deaths were heat related. And if enough was done to prevent the tragedy in the first place. Family members, though, are just outraged.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We throw our elderly away. They're a cash crop. This is not necessary. That's my mother, some body's mother, somebody's sister, somebody's father. They're not dollar signs.


VAUSE: In a statement, the nursing home expressed deepest sympathies. Florida's governor has ordered an emergency suspension which prevents the center from taking new admissions. SESAY: Very, very sad. Next, on NEWSROOM L.A. the U.S. president

said he's willing to make a deal to protect young undocumented immigrants. But that's not going over so well with his base.

VAUSE: And the president's newest comments on the Charlottesville violence: not so new, and that's the problem


SESAY: Hello, everyone. The White House says President Trump has signed a resolution condemning White Supremacy after last month's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

VAUSE: In a statement, Mr. Trump said he opposed hatred and bigotry in all forms. But just hours earlier, the president repeated his controversial comments that cast blames on both sides for the violence; he referenced Antifa, anti-fascist protesters.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think, especially in light of the advent of Antifa. If you look at what's going on there. You know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that's what I said. Now, because of what's happened since then, with Antifa, you look at, really what's happened, since Charlottesville. A lot of people were saying, in fact, a lot of people have actually written, gee, Trump might have a point. I said you got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.


SESAY: In other words, Trump was right.

VAUSE: According to Trump.

SESAY: According to Trump. Earlier on Thursday, Mr. Trump visited Florida to tour Irma's devastation and meet storm victims.

VAUSE: Back in Washington, however, his talks with Top Democrats about partaking young, undocumented immigrants is sparking anger, also some confusion even on members of his own party, and his own. Jim Acosta has the details.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As he was trying to ease the worries of storm victims in Florida, still recovering after Hurricane Irma.

TRUMP: We are there for you, 100 percent.

ACOSTA: President Trump was creating some category five confusion over the young undocumented immigrants known as the dreamers, after dining last night with Democratic Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in search of a deal to save the dreamer program known as DACA, the president insisted Top Congressional Republicans were on the same page.

[01:20:08] TRUMP: Mitch is on board. Paul Ryan is on board. We all feel -- look, 92 percent of the people agree on DACA. But what we want is we want very, very powerful border security.

ACOSTA: The president, also signaled he would his delay demand for a wall on the Mexican border.

TRUMP: The wall will come later. We are right now renovating large sections of wall, massive sections, making it brand new.

TRUMP: Immediately, there were cracks in the president's conservative base. Breitbart, dubbed the president "amnesty don," while Far-right Commentator, Ann Coulter, tweeted: "At this point, who doesn't want Trump impeached?" As the White House tried to contain the fallout, a spokesman said the president would consider citizenship for the dreamers -- outraging immigration hard-liners.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump administration will not be discussing amnesty. What the Trump administration will discuss is a responsible path forward in immigration reform. That could include legal citizenship over a period of time.

ACOSTA: On the ground in Florida, the president contradicted that.

TRUMP: We're looking at citizenship. We're not looking at amnesty. We're looking at allowing people to stay here.

ACOSTA: Then insisted the wall is coming.

TRUMP: The wall, to me, is vital. If I don't get the wall, then, we will become --

ACOSTA: After being left out of the discussion between the president and Democratic leaders, House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted there was no deal.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: It was a discussion, not an agreement or negotiation.

ACOSTA: But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said her party is eyeing a path to citizenship for the dreamers.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: That's in the Dream Act. It's a long path. I mean, it's like a 15-year path, and this is an earned path

ACOSTA: That would be a huge reversal for the president, who said during the campaign that the dreamers, along with the rest of the undocumented, would have to leave the country.

TRUMP: They have to go. But they have to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what if they have no place to go?

TRUMP: We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, either they have a country or we don't have a country.


VAUSE: Well, joining us now: Democratic Strategist, Caroline Heldman; and Republican Digital Strategist, Austin James. Good to see you both. Caroline, in case, say, there's a deal, there's no deal, maybe there's a deal. We are building a wall, maybe we're not building the wall, like everybody in the wall. You know, this is chaos and uncertainty, which, you know, Donald Trump brings to the oval office. I know he was disruptor but this is a disruptor on steroid, it seems.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think he, probably, did make a deal and then the Republicans responded in the way that he did. And he looked at the headlines, and then, they didn't fit his image of what he wanted that particular day.

VAUSE: What mood didn't play out, it's the way I thought it was.

HELDMAN: Exactly. And I do think that he is motivated to work with Democrats because he likes the headlines, he likes the unity, right? The message of unity. And he likes the fact that he can kind of stick it to Republicans who didn't repeal Obamacare, who are not passing legislation magically or instantly. I mean, this is a man who didn't quite know how the process works. Nancy Pelosi notes that he is now kind of figuring out how the process works. But he's doing it wrong. He needs to be talking to his own party. They're in control. He really needs to be working with them and not going across the island disaffecting his loyalist

VAUSE: He is not a Republican president, that the problem.

SESAY: Austin, to that point, the president, another deal in the office with Democrats. Republicans, much gnashing and waning of teeth on Capitol Hill. Are they right to be uneasy about this alliance?

AUSTIN JAMES, REPUBLICAN DIGITAL STRATEGIST: Well, I don't get to say this very often, but I agree somewhat with Caroline. Listen, I think this is a process. He's still is trying to figure out. He likes to make people happy, we know that. So, he probably alluded to agreeing to some things. Democrats ran with it, because they wanted the sound bites because they're in disarray. As soon as that happened, the media got away from him. I think he went, probably, counter. Listen, the fact of the matter is if he wants job growth to continue, he wants the economy to continue, he wants to talk about jobs, he's going to need tax reform. And if needs tax reform, he's going to have to work with the majority party. So, ultimately, he needs Republicans and he needs them happy, that's what it boils down to. The Democrats don't have a leg to stand on, unfortunately.

VAUSE: You has been also being really happy. Up until this point, it was Donald Trump because he did the deal with the Democrats on the debt ceiling and the hurricane relief package for the victims of Harvey and Irma. Here's part of the report quoting Chuck Schumer about the debt ceiling, Harvey deal. It comes from the New York Times and it was a phone call from the president. "I got a call early this morning," Schumer told the New York Times. "He said, 'this was so great.' Here's what he said, 'Do you watch Fox News?' I said, 'No, not really.' 'They're praising you,'" he means Chuck Schumer. "But he said, 'And your stations,' -- I guess meaning MSNBC and CNN -- 'are praising me, this is great!'" So, Caroline, is this the strategy now for Democrats moving forward? Is that if you want to get your agenda through, get, you know, pundits on MSNBC and CNN, and say great things about the president.

HELDMAN: Well, it's really clear that he is listening to them, right? It's really clear that he cares about what they think. So, he will actually give us whiplash.

VAUSE: All he cares is that people saying nice things about him.

HELDMAN: Exactly. He wants approval, right? And so, Chuck Schumer --

JAMES: The meeting. I don't think any of us that are listening. I mean, to be fair.

HELDMAN: Well, I think he's definitely looking at headlines, right? And it probably means he's looking at polls. So, the fact that he's reaching across the aisle just so he can get some positive press coverage. I don't -- he is defying partisan politics, which is really what this country operates on. I mean, it would be great if we didn't live in a country run bipartisan politics. That would be an ideal that -- he's gaming the system. He's actually just not playing it the way that he should be playing it.

[01:25:24] SESAY: And how is it all of that, Caroline? Are there risks here for Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi here? I mean, you've got Chuck Schumer being heard on an open mic, saying he likes us, well, he likes me anyway -- that's what he said. Are there risks, are there political risks here for Democrats going down the road?

HELDMAN: I don't think there are any risks for Democrats, because --

SESAY: Austin, chuckles there.

HELDMAN: What's going to happen to them?

JAMES: Because they have to say that.

HELDMAN: But they're not in power. No, I'm looking at it strategically. They're not in power, so what is the down side for Democrats to be working with Donald Trump in order to get him to agree to what they want? What's the downside?

JAMES: Listen, because they have no party platform. Listen, I think Hillary's coming in with a hammer. I mean, she's making things worse. There's a lot of infighting.

VAUSE: How are you going to deal with Trump? That's the question.

JAMES: That's what everybody would think. So, there will be no deal with Trump. I mean, we just discussed why Republicans are the ones that he has to keep happy. And they're not happy. You know, previously, on the earlier segment, we talked about how the conservative base is unhappy. That's what's going to matter to him, especially going into --

JAMES: So, you don't think DACA is going anywhere? You don't think there's goal to be a deal, is what you're saying?

JAMES: Listen, at this stage, it's in anyone's guess.

HELDMAN: But two-thirds of Americans want --

VAUSE: It's not exactly how it did not intend -- 90 percent of Americans like it, 10 percent, you know, don't. It's not exactly a brave decision to keep it in place, is it?

JAMES: Well, I mean, right. Listen, look, again, like I said, I think it's in anyone's guess at this point. If we talk about pulling it.


VAUSE: OK. You mentioned last hour about this Congressional resolution, condemning violence in Charlottesville, which the president signed.


VAUSE: Great. Then, came a White House statement on behalf of the president it read: "As Americans, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville to oppose hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms. No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we also salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same all mighty God." Also, you know what that statement does not mention? It does not mention Nazis and it does not mention White Supremacist.

JAMES: But there's a lot of good in there. And I appreciate you, appreciate you -- I mean, I like --

VAUSE: Nazis and White Supremacists.

JAMES: I would like to think that you read that because I brought it up, but you probably had that planned. No, I mean -- no, no. Listen, I think doing so would detract from what he was trying to say. I think that's the appropriate response, and I think that --


HELDMAN: The appropriate response is to say White Supremacy is wrong, not to say it's wrong, oh, well, both sides are wrong.

JAMES: No, no, no. OK. First of all, what he said originally was, he was condemning violence, OK, first of all. And it's so --

HELDMAN: No, he was equating neo-Nazi violence to Antifa violence.

JAMES: No. I think you're making the argument. That wasn't the argument.

HELDMAN: He said, both sides. He said there are good people on both sides. He is equating those in size.

JAMES: Back to the quote. Back to the quote, though, that quote is meant to stand right for all time. That's something that you're supposed to be able to reference years from now. They're making that about Charlottesville, specifically, would be --

SESAY: No, no. But the fact is, isn't a condemnation of White Supremacy something that stands for all time?

JAMES: That's exactly what the resolution is.

VAUSE: But it doesn't mention White Supremacist or Nazis. OK. OK. Let's move on. Because --

JAMES: I get the road you are trying to go down.

HELDMAN: But what he says matters as much as he doesn't say.

VAUSE: OK. Good point. Let's to the Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin. He has clarified why he requested a private government plane for his honeymoon. Secretary Mnuchin, ladies, and gentlemen.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, SECRETARY OF UNITED STATES TREASURY: My staff wanted to make sure that I was constantly had access to secure communication and secure information. This was one of the things we explored. So, they put in a request to consider the use of an aircraft, not so much just for flying but effectively it was a portable office so that I could be available.


VAUSE: Secretary Mnuchin went on to explain had nothing to do with convenience. It was all about national security. He needed to be in touch with his work. Caroline, have to feel bad now because this man was putting his honeymoon, you know, jeopardy. He wanted to in constant communication -- all that time, it's all about keeping you and me and everybody safe.

HELDMAN: Well, it doesn't make sense in two ways. I think, first, because --


JAMES: I'm shocked. I'm shocked.

HELDMAN: He's not on the list of folks who typically have a plane for security purposes. But beyond that, what was he hanging out at the airport? In a hot plane? I mean, we've all been on planes, they heat up if they're not air conditioned. Was it sitting on the tarmac -- that's his moving office? It doesn't make sense.

VAUSE: Doing laps around --

SESAY: Austin?

JAMES: I think this is a nonstory. I mean, this is -- I'm putting this --


SESAY: Yes. And you have to put it in context of his wife's little --

VAUSE: A little trip to Fort Knox.

SESAY: Texting or Instagramming episode.

JAMES: Mnuchin, I apologize, the wife is a whole another story. You know, if you look at anything prior to, kind of, some of the recent stories. I mean, she loves lavish things. But I will say, though, this is --

HELDMAN: At tax payer's expense.

JAMES: Listen, this is the same type of getting your story that goes in the same compartment as the first lady wearing heels to get on the plane.

[01:30:07] HELDMAN: No it is not.


HELDMAN: That was Texas. This is about tax payer money.

JAMES: You're trying -- you're trying to make it about some


[01:30:00] CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: At taxpayer expense.

AUSTIN JAMES, REPUBLIAN DIGITAL STRATEGIST: But this is the same type of gotcha story that goes in the same compartment as the first lady wearing heels to get on a plane --


HELDMAN: No, it is not.


JAMES: You're trying to make it --


JAMES: -- make it about some -- (CROSSTALK)

SESAY: The president -- they'll say the thing about being elites.


JAMES: I will give $100 to the first person who can find someone in Arkansas that cares about the story.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're on. I'll find somebody.

JAMES: Thanks, guys.

SESAY: Thanks, guys.

And you are going to be buying drinks.

VAUSE: Absolutely. Right now.

SESAY: OK. Quick break. Donald Trump vowed fire and fury if North Korea keeps provoking the U.S. But North Korea just launched a second missile over Japan, so what are President Trump's options now?


VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour --


VAUSE: Back to our top story, a defiant North Korea firing a ballistic missile over northern Japan for the second time in less than a month.

SESAY: The United Nations Security Council will meet in the coming hours to discuss how to respond to Pyongyang's latest provocation.

Just hours before the launch, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was working with China to rein in North Korea.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are working on different things. I can't tell you obviously what I'm working on. But believe me, the people of this country will be very, very safe.


VAUSE: Paul Carroll is with us now from San Francisco. He's a senior adviser with N Square, which works on nuclear security and reducing risks from nuclear weapons. Paul, it seems pretty obvious that North Korea's missile program is

moving on its own timetable. Kim Jong-Un is unfazed by anything the U.N. Security Council can do as far as sanctions are concerned.

[01:34:52] PAUL CARROLL, SENIOR ADVISOR, N SQUARE: That's exactly right. We have only been playing one card over and over again and that is the sanctions card. And when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You're not going to get very far. It's -- it's important to remember that, over the past couple of decades, there have been, albeit, short windows, there have been windows of time when North Korea has restrained both its nuclear testing and missile testing. And those times were marked by something very important, other things on offer from the international community, whether it was fuel oil or rolling back existing sanctions. We have to work on the other side of the coin. That is what it is the North Koreans would respond to in a positive way.

VAUSE: Because this is something I don't understand. People says, oh, diplomacy doesn't work. Maybe it didn't work the way you wanted it to work. But it did kind of work, the talks with Kim Jong-Un's father at the time. He did put the nuclear program on hold. There was no further development, you know, on the nuclear side of things. So that may not have been exactly what you were hoping for but it did have an effect, and a positive one. Why can't that be instituted again?

CARROLL: I think the word diplomacy gets short shrift. Diplomacy can mean aggressive or assertive actions, like sanctions, like tightening the noose, so to speak. The sanctions passed in the wake of the nuclear tests were among the strongest we have seen, roll backs of fuel oil to North Korea. Diplomacy doesn't have to be just negotiations or just giveaways or enticements. But it does have to be part of the package. So you can have two side of the same coin. You can have carrots and sticks. What has been absent since 2009, since the six-party process ended abruptly, is the carrots. They're just not available or they're not being discussed. They need to be.

VAUSE: Both flights of the missiles over Japan, they've been closer to the operation angle, a much lower arc. Specifically, what are they looking at here as far as this that goes?

CARROLL: Well, earlier this year, we saw a number of missile tests this year as your reports indicated.


CARROLL: The North Koreans understand sort of how irritating, how provocative they need to or want to be at any given time. Some of the tests earlier this year were in what is called a high-loft trajectory. They went way up and they came almost straight down. They avoided airspace of Japan and of South Korea. So on the one hand, they were demonstrating they're getting better. On the other hand, they weren't so brazen that they went over other nations territories. The last two tests we have seen, are more pointed. They are demonstrating that they have more confidence and capability. They have gone directly over Japan at a range that shows that they could hit bases in guam, U.S. bases in Guam. So that does, you know, get our attention.

VAUSE: And also, the missile launch site itself, just outside the capital, near the airport, that seems to indicate a pretty high degree of confidence that the missile will do what the missile is meant to do. That's it's not going to fail and spiral out of control at Pyongyang.

CARROLL: That's true. It also indicates that they can be versatile and flexible in choosing a point of launch. One of the earlier tests this year, I believe the one I May, they literally did it from a riverbed, from a mobile launcher. Recent tests were larger missile. Liquid fueled. We had indication, up to 24 hours ahead of time, that they were preparing for the launch. One of the tests earlier this year was much more stealthy, much more nimble, and literally, in a gravel riverbed. And so, the North Koreans have quite a -- quite a tool kit of missiles to work with.

VAUSE: Very quickly, we're almost out of time, but U.S. officials knew the launch was coming. "The New York Times" says that Vice President Mike Pence was shown images of the missile in the final preparations. Was there an option here for the U.S. to actually take out this missile, before it launched, maybe even shoot it down in flight? South Koreans, they launched, live fire exercises, showing their capability to Pyongyang's launch site? Is that an option at this point?

CARROLL: I would say it's an option. Certainly, taking out a missile on launch pad is an option. You can do that with an air craft or a remote missile. Shooting it down once it is launched, I think there is far too much confidence, too much talk that, oh, why don't we shoot it down. It is not an easy thing to do. And the, the types of anti- missile systems we have in the region aren't really capable of doing so, quite frankly. They haven't been tested in a way that demonstrates any real-world capability. Not to mention, that would be a direct act of war. And then you would be in the situation you are trying to avoid anyway.

VAUSE: No good options, again.

Paul, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CARROLL: Thank you, John.

[01:39:51] SESAY: Well, CNN's Will Ripley has often been the only Western correspondent inside North Korea. And in a new CNN documentary airing this weekend, you get to hear a lot more of his reporting and from North Koreans themselves. This clip gives us insight into what it is like inside the hermit kingdom and how at least one woman views the United States.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This handful of farmers seems to be putting on a demonstration for our benefit. After they finish, I try to ask them questions. Most of the group is camera shy. BYUNG YONG-GOON (ph), NORTH KOREAN RESIDENT: (SPEAKING FOREIGN


RIPLEY: But Byung Yong-goon (ph) has plenty to say.

YONG-GOON (ph) (through translation): Good thing I am fond of this. For us, farmers, it is land. Just taking care of the land.

RIPLEY (on camera): How long have you been doing this?

YONG-GOON (ph) (through translation): It has been 10 years since I came here.

RIPLEY: What's the farthest that you have ever traveled from home?


YONG-GOON (ph) (through translation): Not that far.

RIPLEY: If I could go, if you could leave, North Korea, and go to any other place in the world, where would you look to visit?

YONG-GOON (ph) (through translation): I want to visit the U.S.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Her answer surprises me. No North Korean has ever told me they wanted to visit the United States.

YONG-GOON (ph): I want to see what on earth the U.S. looks look to be harassing Korean people so much. We're so hard pressed right now because of it. I would really curse the Americans. I want to destroy their land.

RIPLEY: Now, I understand her answer.

(voice-over): Very nice to meet you. I wish you the best.


SESAY: And tune in this weekend for an exclusive look inside, North Korea's secretive borders with CNN's Will Ripley. Watch "Secret State" Saturday, 1:00 p.m. in London, 9:00 p.m. in Seoul, only on CNN.

VAUSE: Next here on NEWSROOM, L.A., after the storm, Cuba slowly recovers. Many on the Communist island still living in fear.


SESAY: In the Virgin Islands, survivors of Hurricane Irma say they feel their suffering has been forgotten by the U.S. government.

VAUSE: The damage is so extensive, there's little hope of basic power returning and even repairing the infrastructure anytime soon. Rescuers are still trying to find people who may be stuck in the debris of what is left of their homes.

SESAY: Our CNN teams have been across the Caribbean covering the storm's shocking aftermath.

Our Isa Soares is taking a look at the wreckage in St. John.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once a lush island covered in rolling green hills and pristine beaches, now, a battered wasteland, whipped by the ferocious power of Irma. On the ground, trees have been shaken naked. Power lines have been toppled. And homes are left teetering on the edge of this land, now stripped bare.

Steve Smith was one of the lucky ones.

[01:45:06] STEVE SMITH, ST. JOHNS ISLAND RESIDENT: Made it past.

SOARES: His home hardly escaped.

SMITH: This is it, yes. We've been in and out of here.

SOARES: The next-door neighbor's house, a reminder of what could have been.

(on camera): Completely destroyed.

SMITH: Completely destroyed. That's kind of the way the one above us is, also. You can see the refrigerator is in the living room. The slider glass doors in the kitchen.

SOARES (voice-over): Despite the changing scenery and destruction in every corner, Steve Smith isn't budging. This its perseverance

SMITH: It used to be a little bit better. Just less greenery.

SOARES (on camera): Are you, are you -

SMITH: The destruction I am seeing is, is, horrible.

But, yes, I am not leaving.

SOARES (voice-over): The reality may not sustain this optimism. Here, there's no water, power, and cellar service. The only signal, this building on the entire island.

By the dock, volunteers delivering supplies are the only connection to outside world. They were also their first helping hand, arriving on shore days after Hurricane Irma hit, with water, perishable goods and food.


SOARES: Megan, a resident of St. John, is staying put for now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard. A lot of families have been here for generations. This is their world. If you leave, the question is, where do you go, and not knowing what you are going to come back to is a big concern.

SOARES: A catch 22 only further exacerbated by looting and lawlessness, which, according to locals, has eased somewhat since the Navy and the Coast Guard have been patrolling these streets, a much- needed presence for an island that has always feared being forgotten.

Isa Soares, CNN, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


SESAY: Well, Cuba is one of the many island nations recovering from Hurricane Irma. The monster storm is responsible for at least 10 deaths there.

VAUSE: Five people died in the capital, Havana, far from where Irma made landfall.

Patrick Oppmann has more from Havana.

And a warning, his report contains some graphic images.



PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is just one glimpse of the living hell that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Cuba. Two women lie dead on a street in Havana after the storm knocked loose a slab of concrete four stories up causing it to crash down on the bus they were riding in directly below. A man tried to take one of the women's pulse. She is already dead a bystander tells him.

Days later, rubble still lines the street. And no one here will talk to us on camera, not wishing to be seen as criticizing the Cuban government's response to the storm.

Ten people here died after the category five monster barreled into Cuba, the island's government says.

While the eye of the storm hit far from Havana, the strong winds and flooding further weakened the city's already failing infrastructure.


This woman shows me where two of her neighbors died in the downtrodden area of Havana after their ceiling collapsed on top of them.

"What you see up there, that fell from the other building," she says, "is what struck the man who was upstairs. And then he and all of the pieces, fell done here, killing both of them."

The men were brothers, according to a statement issued by the Cuban government.

What was their home is now rubble. A pair of jeans, a half-buried flip-flop is all that's left of the lives here. Cuban rescue workers removed the bodies, but the other residents are still living in the ruins.

(on camera): Walking down the hallway of their building, there's water leaking in from the roof. The floor here is completely buckled. It moves when you walk like you are on a ship. This building could go at any minute. And there are countless others just like it all over Havana.

(voice-over): After Irma struck, Cuba's president, Raul Castro, said no Cuban would be abandoned.

This woman shows me letters, going back 10 years, asking the government for new housing for her family. She says she supports the government and that her father fought in the revolution. But since the storm, she says, local officials have only brought some food, but no answers about where people here will now live.

"I don't want my family or anyone else to die. While they live and sleep fine in their houses," she says of local officials, "we don't sleep because we are afraid we won't wake up."

Irma is long gone, but the wounds she left behind may never heal.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


[01:49:56] SESAY: So much heartbreak. Patrick Oppmann there.

To find out how you can help the victims of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, go to We have a list of vetted charities that could really do with your donations.

VAUSE: With that, we'll take a short break. Up ahead, keeping up with the ever-changing Donald Trump. The challenge and the never- ending comedy for political satirists, with us after the break.


VAUSE: The age of Trump has done two things, which we never really expected.

SESAY: Such as?

VAUSE: Huge ratings for news channels. Numbers are up. Thanks very much, President Trump.

Something else up in ratings, comedy channels. Anyone that does any kind of political satire on the president, boom times. Really, really booming.

SESAY: It's a good day.

VAUSE: But it's challenging as well.

Political satirist, Will Durst, joins us from San Francisco.

Will, thank you for being with us.

SESAY: Hi, Will.

VAUSE: Good to speak with you.



VAUSE: Morning.

DURST: Morning, evening, good afternoon.

VAUSE: In the current news cycle, we have a deal on the Dreamers on immigration, but then went to both sides blamed for the violence in Charlottesville. Is it possible that Donald Trump has an identical twin, physically identical, but different in every other way possible?



DURST: No, it's all him. The man will say whatever comes to his -- he has no filter. Which is great, for me. It is great and awful at the same time. Because, in terms of material, I mean, he is so fertile. He has done for political comedy what legalized marijuana did for Cheeto's.


But sometimes you feel kind of complicit, or conflicted.


DURST: like a jackal feeding on the carcass of democracy.


VAUSE: I just need a shower.


SESAY: So, Will, former White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, has broken free and seems to be enjoying the new-found freedom and was on the late show with Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday. Listen to what he had to say. He may be free but he's backing his old boss.




KIMMEL: And you are charged with the job of going in front of the press and saying the inauguration crowd was the biggest crowd, I think ever, biggest audience --


SPICER: Yes, I am aware.


I thought I was going in on a saturday morning to set my office up, get my computer, make sure the e-mails went out. And --

KIMMEL: Somebody told you, you need to go out there and say this.

SPICER: The president wanted to make sure the record got set straight.

KIMMEL: Why is he so concerned with size? Have you ever seen the president naked?

SPICER: I have not. I have not.

KIMMEL: You have not, OK.



SESAY: Will, do you have your thoughts on why the president is so concerned about crowd size and otherwise?

DURST: Well, I am just glad to hear that he hasn't seen the president naked.


I got a -- you feel bad for Sean Spicer. I mean, Michael Flynn resigned because he lied about Russia. Sean Spicer resigned because he couldn't lie anymore.


He was so wound up near the end there, I expected him to show up like Martin Sheen in "Apocalypse Now" and a press briefing. Yes.

VAUSE: We also have got Chuck and Nancy to the picture now. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leaders in the House. On the Senate floor, we had a hot-mic moment with Chuck, who has this new friendship going on, a sort of bromance with Donald Trump. This is what Senator Schumer was caught saying.


[01:55:13] SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: He likes us. He likes me anyway.



VAUSE: And that kind of sounded a lot like this.


UNIDENNTIFIED ACTRESS: And tonight, the fact that you like me, right now.


You like me!



VAUSE: OK. Where is this relationship between Schumer and Trump going?

DURST: She never really lived that one down either.

VAUSE: No, she never did.

DURST: I'm not sure Schumer can either. The Chuck and Nancy show is much more exciting than the Mitch and Paul Ryan show. Paul Ryan looks, I mean, he is so stiff. And Mitch McConnell looks like a reanimated Halloween pumpkin, you know.


Nothing moves on his face, except his lower jaw when he talks. I think Chuck and Nancy is much more telegenic.

SESAY: Will, as you talk moving facial parts, let's talk Hillary Clinton.

VAUSE: This is weird.

SESAY: Yes. She was speaking to Anderson Cooper.

VAUSE: That is not weird.

SESAY: She w giving insight into how she --


VAUSE: Can we just roll the video. Just to see if he knows what it is

SESAY: Let's roll the video.

VAUSE: This what she did. We don't want to play the audio. Just want to show what is, what its Secretary Clinton.


VAUSE: You saw that.

What is she doing here?

DURST: I saw that. A yoga exercise. Apparently, she writes about it in the book. And Anderson Cooper asked about it. And it's -- it is alternative breathing, which she demonstrated, on national TV. Quit, effectively. I think.

SESAY: She said that -- she said it was a means to getting over the grief of losing the election.

VAUSE: It looks like she is doing something else.



VAUSE: -- to get over the grief.

DURST: John, John, that was the '80s. That was, everybody doing it.

VAUSE: Good times.


SESAY: It really is the gift that keeps on giving. I mean, this will be added to her political legacy, I guess.

VAUSE: Just finally, Will, which Trump do you think we will be seeing in the coming week, nice Teleprompter Trump or, you know, unscripted, unplugged Donald Trump?

DURST: He just makes it up as he goes along. He's all about propulsion, to get past -- and he throws bright shiny objects out when he can. We are complicit, we have attention span of high-speed lint.


It's the most important juncture in American -- hey, look, a squirrel.

VAUSE: A jackal, what was it, feasting on the carcass of democracy.

DURST: Yes, like being a corporate lawyer, you know?

VAUSE: Going to steal that line. Thank you.

SESAY: Will, a pleasure. Thank you so much.

DURST: Thank you, guys.

VAUSE: Cheers.

SESAY: Take care.

All right. You have been watching CNN NEWSROOM, love from L.A. I'm Isha Sesay. VAUSE: I'm John Vause. We will be feeding on the carcass of democracy. And we'll be back.

SESAY: I'm not doing that.

VAUSE: More news just ahead.


[02:00:03] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SESAY: We'd like to welcome our viewers from all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. That's for joining us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM --