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Hurricane Maria Battering the Caribbean; World Awaits for President Trump's Message to the UNGA; More Rohingya Muslims Fleeing for Their Life. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired September 19, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds look a tornado outside, and it feels like an earthquake inside.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: The tiny island of Dominica hit with a full force of a category 5 hurricane. We will hear from the prime minister.

Plus, the U.S. president prepares for his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly. And in her much anticipated address Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi makes some puzzling statements about the violent crisis in her country.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Hurricane Maria is pounding the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica less than two weeks after Irma devastated much of that same region. Maria made landfall as a category 5 storm, the strongest ever recorded on Dominica. There are already reports of significant damage to buildings.

Now the government in Guadeloupe is warning people to stay indoors as Maria moves toward the island with extremely violent winds. Earlier I spoke to the prime minister of Dominica. Shortly after the storm hit he posted on Facebook that his roof was gone and he was at the mercy of the hurricane. He later posted an update, saying he had been rescued.


ROOSEVELT SKERRIT, PRIME MINISTER OF DOMINICA: We are just waiting for daybreak to venture out to do an assessment of the damage. Our first order of business will be search and rescue to ensure that we can account for every single citizen and resident who is in island during this really devastating hurricane.

CHURCH: And are receiving any reports at this time of the extent of damage done and, of course, any possible casualties? SKERRIT: Well, we haven't gotten any word yet on casualties because

no one really can go out at this time. But I'm getting reports of lots of damage to building private dwellings and also business places.

So, as I said, once we can venture out, we will do a complete assessment and our business is to look out for the welfare of the citizens and see if we can account for everybody.

CHURCH: And of course. And you mention the rescue and recovery efforts. When would you expect to be able to venture out and to get those efforts under way?

SKERRIT: I think in the next few hours. The next few hours if I can reach (Inaudible) in the morning (Inaudible) so in the next few hours we will I'm sure we will be able to venture out and start a search and rescue mission.


CHURCH: And I also spoke to the prime minister's spokesman as the hurricane hit Dominica Monday evening. He described an absolutely terrifying situation. Take a listen.


CHARLES JONG, SPOKESMAN FOR PRIME MINISTER SKERRIT: The noise outside is unbelievable. We live in primarily concrete structures, complete concrete roof, floor, walls, everything concrete. And these structures are shaking. There is no way to describe the feeling. It sounds like a tornado; it feels like an earthquake inside since about for the last two hours and a half.

CHURCH: It just...


JONG: I am standing in my apartment in probably an inch to two inches of water.

CHURCH: So what are you planning to do at this time?

JONG: Well, at the moment -- I mean the authorities advised to stay indoors and not to venture outside, so I'm trying my best to comply. I do not think it would be wise to venture outside because of the sounds. You are hearing trees cracking. You are hearing the sounds of something banging on my wall outside on my door. One of my doors sounds as though it's going to break off.

Numerous instances where the wind came through very heavily, and I heard cracks. I don't know what was going on outside, it sounds as if the rain is beating directly onto the windows like sideways. That's what it sounds like.

CHURCH: So do you feel that you're still going through the worst of this, that it hasn't -- the worst part has not passed?

JONG: Right now, the gusts are radical and only you hear are like water beads hitting the glass. That's what you hear.

[03:04:59] I'm seeing traces of dirt on my floor. I live on the top floor of an apartment building, but somehow there's dirt coming inside under the door. I have towels under my doors but there's water coming through, and there's dirt coming through. So I cannot imagine what outside must look like right now.


CHURCH: Charles Jong talking to me a little earlier. Let's turn now to our meteorologist Pedram Javaherl who joins us with the latest on Maria's track. And Pedram, you heard those terrifying moments. Really the worst of it perhaps.

Let's talk about the situation there in Dominica and of course those concrete structures that we heard about from Charles. I mean, the roofs have been torn off from those structures. Talk to us about that, and also, of course, the path of Maria.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: Yes. It's a furious storm. You know, when it comes as a category 5 first time in recorded history with 150 years of data for this particular island, you know it's a serious situation. The island is home to some 74,000 people, so you think about that and you think about Irma going over Barbuda, home to about 2,000 people.

So, the population density here far greater and of course a very mountainous island. But the storm system so furious here that it goes over these mountains and it drops just five miles per in intensity. So essentially just a bump in the road for what is this a menacing storm pushing across the eastern Caribbean at this hour.

But you take a look at this. This storm intensified going in from 8 p.m. on Sunday at 80 miles per hour, doubling essentially its wind speeds within a 24 hour period to 160 miles per hour.

And we think now that it's weakened slightly, re-intensification possible again as it pushes in towards the eastern Caribbean. And we think landfall Wednesday morning, early morning hours on Wednesday on the U.S. Virgin Islands. And then by Wednesday afternoon could be the first category 5 to make landfall across Puerto Rico in some eight decades across that region.

So, again, this storm has a long way to go before we see any sort of significant weakening. Even could be a major hurricane land falling in the Turks and Caicos after of course Irma made a category 5 landfall across that region about a week ago.

But anytime you talk about category four or category five we're talking about the catastrophic damage in place. You often have power outage lasting for weeks or possibly months and most of the area becomes uninhabitable as we've seen in places such as Barbuda and Antigua in recent days.

But here with the guidance on this. And we know the population in Puerto Rico has increased dramatically since the last time a storm of this magnitude impacted this region 80 years ago, so again, that population has increase some threefold, up to four and a half million people on this island.

San Juan could be in the crosshairs of this on Wednesday afternoon as a category four over this island. So, one of the bigger stories here is going to be that and of course there a lot of rainfall, a lot of storm surge threat to go with this as well, Rosemary, where the coastal communities could see as much as two to three meters or up to 11 feet of water above normally dry ground.

So this is going to be a very big story where for some people, this will be much bigger than Irma was across this region as well. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. That is a frightening amount of water. Pedram, thank you so much for keepings us up to date on what the situation is there. I appreciate it.


CHURCH: Well, in just a few hours, U.S. President Donald Trump will deliver his first address at the U.N. General Assembly. The international community is watching very closely to see how Mr. Trump outlines his foreign policy. he is expected to issue harsh warnings to North Korea and Iran.

President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on the sidelines of the meeting Monday. Both men strongly oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. At the assembly five years ago, Mr. Netanyahu used a drawing of a bomb to represent Tehran's advancement in nuclear weapons.

French President Emmanuel Macron also makes his assembly debut Tuesday. President Trump is at odd with Mr. Macron on the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.

Well, we've got full coverage from Ian Lee in Seoul, South Korea, Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, and Melissa Bell in Paris. Good to see you all. Ian, let's start with you. President Trump is expected to go after North Korea and Iran in his first address to the U.N. General Assembly in just a matter of hours from now.

What's South Korea hoping he will say in this address and how concerned is the leadership there about the unpredictability of Mr. Trump, and what he might say about Kim Jong-un and his country that might inflame the situation?

IAN LEE, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, to put simply, Rosemary, the South Koreans are hoping that he sticks to the script, things they've talked about previously. And that includes the implementation and the strong enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, which were just passed by the U.N. Security Council.

[03:10:04] Also talk about the need for close military cooperation within the region among allies, as well as further pressure to put on North Korea since that latest missile test. The one thing that South Koreans don't want is something that takes

them by surprise. President Trump going off script, saying something that the South Koreans aren't prepared for. When Preside Trump did arrived at the U.N. when reporters asked what he's going to talk about, he said, "we'll see."

And that's something that the South Koreans don't want. Nothing that is unpredictable. They want to know what is going to happen, you know, the North Koreans are going to be watching this very closely as well, and especially the part about Iran. Because United States along with other members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany came up with an agreement with Iran for their nuclear deal.

Well, if the United States were to unilaterally back out of that deal, then it doesn't show a strong credibility for the United State especially when there's talks of trying to get a similar nuclear deal or nuclear deal and through negotiations with North Korea to have them give up their missile and nuclear programs.

So they'll be watching what he says about Iran very closely. You know, the other thing they're going to be watching for is what President Trump tweets as well. We know that he can fire off a tweet that sets the conversation in a completely different direction.

They're hoping that this passes, that everything at he says, that they've previously discussed, and there aren't any wild cards because at the end of the day when we spoke to Korean officials, they say the last thing they want is another war on the Peninsula.

CHURCH: South Korea on the edge there, waiting to hear from Mr. Trump. Our Ian Lee joining us from Seoul. Many thanks to you. Let's go to Oren Liebermann now in Jerusalem. And Oren, the issue of Iran will also get some attention at the UNGA, and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is expected to go after the Iran nuclear deal. He has before. How far will he likely go do you think, and what appetite will there be at the U.N. General Assembly for any changes to that long negotiated deal?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, exactly as you said. The Iran nuclear deal will get some attention, but just the fact that you went to Ian Lee first there about North Korea gives you an idea of what the primary topic is on the United Nations agenda. It's North Korea. It's not Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear what he wants to see happen. He wants to see the deal either cancelled or changed in some way, but there isn't a high expectation here in Israel or in the U.S. that that's actually going to happen despite all the rhetoric against the deal.

In addition, Trump has a few weeks to decide what he actually wants to do when he has to make the announcement on whether Iran is in compliance with the deal next month mid-October. What else will Netanyahu talk about? Well, there's no doubt that it will be largely Iran but also Iran's influence in the region in Syria and in Lebanon. And that perhaps is where the international community could weigh in as opposed to trying to change the nuclear deal in some way.

But you got a sense of the difference between Trump and Netanyahu at their bilateral meeting yesterday in terms of what they were talking abt. Trump spoke first and immediately came out and talked about the peace process, said Israelis and Palestinians are willing to engage. Netanyahu came out and immediately talked about Iran.

It's just a sense that the priorities are different here. Netanyahu wants to focus on Iran as he's done the last few years. Trump perhaps, perhaps not may bring up the peace process when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly. U.S presidents generally have whether they have made it a big topic or a small topic, the Palestinians will speak one day later, they speak tomorrow and will talk largely about the peace process, waiting for some concrete steps.

But, Rosemary, it has to be said, we're not expecting any of those concrete steps on the peace process coming out of this in much the same way we're not expecting concrete steps on the Iran deal.

CHURCH: All right. Oren Liebermann, many thanks to you for that live report from Jerusalem. And Melissa Bell, let's go to you now in Paris where the people of France will be watching very closely for their President, Emmanuel Macron, to address the U.N. General Assembly in just a few hours from now. What's he expected to say, and will he reference his meeting Monday with President Trump and their areas of disagreement?

MELISSA BELL, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: A number of areas of disagreement of course that were raised yesterday at that bilateral meeting. The two men were all smiles really crying on with the warmth that we'd seen develop here, genuine warmth once sense back in July when Donald Trump visited Paris.

But once they found themselves behind closed doors and this is what a number of sources have been telling both the French press and the American, the two major disagreements were Iran and climate change. Now, on Iran, Emmanuel Macron was meeting with Hassan Rouhani even as Donald Trump was having that meeting you were talking about with Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to toe a tough line with Hassan Rouhani and looking beyond 2025, and the expiration of this particular Iran deal, something that Iran has considered a red line until now.

[03:15:04] So Emmanuel Macron has pursued the French strategy of being quite hard line with Iran. And indeed France was the most skeptical of those taking part in the deal, in the negotiations that lead to the Iran deal. Emmanuel Macron then went on to try and persuade Donald Trump of the necessity of this deal, however foolish it is and however important it is to continue bringing pressure to bear on the Iranian regime.

The other point of discord of course is the Paris climate deal. Now Emmanuel Macron's strategy is that through that dialogue, through that warmth that was created here in July, he can perhaps help to shift the American position. And there's been some hint, Rosemary, that that was softening. The idea that Donald Trump, over the course of their conversation

talked about the importance of American interests, but that perhaps maybe if American interests -- and those are both economic and environmental could be protected and there might be some room for negotiation on the Paris deal.

Now, that is considered by the French a serious step forward. So we're likely to hear from Emmanuel Macron today almost the opposite of what we'll hear from Donald Trump. The importance of multilateralism, the importance of super national organizations like the United Nations and the European Union and one area that's very close to his heart, and that is the help that he wants to give African countries in taking on Islamist extremism.

So those are some of the key points. But you're going to have a man positioning himself really as a sort of anti-Donald Trump and his approach to international relations. So it should make for a very interesting speech, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Very interesting, indeed. It's going to be a big day at the U.N. General Assembly. Melissa Bell joining us with that live report from Paris, just after 9.15 in the morning. Many thanks.

Well, CNN has exclusive new details on the probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. Federal investigators wiretapped Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, before and after the 2016 vote. It's not clear if Mr. Trump himself was picked up in that surveillance.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports prosecutors have told Paul Manafort they plan to indict him.

CNN's justice correspondent Evan Perez has more now on the wiretapping.

EVAN PEREZ, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This is an extraordinary step for the FBI to do surveillance on a high-ranking campaign official and of course, Manafort is now at the center of the Russia meddling investigation.

We're told that there are intercepted communications that raise concerns about whether Manafort was encouraging the Russians to help with the campaign. Now, other sources told us that this intelligence was not conclusive enough. And by the way, this is beyond just wiretaps. It's also surveillance of all kinds including searches that the FBI is authorized to do.

But we're told the FBI has communications between suspected Russian operatives relaying what they claimed were discussions with Manafort, as well as communications involving Manafort. None of this has amounted to what people consider a smoking gun in this investigation. There's still a more work being done to determine whether there's a criminal violation here.

We didn't get a comment from Paul Manafort's spokesman, but Manafort has previously denied that he ever knowingly communicated with Russian intelligence operatives during the election. He's also denied helping Russia undermine the U.S. interests.

CHURCH: Well, Rohingya Muslims say they are facing rape, torture, and murder in Myanmar, but de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she doesn't know why almost half a million of them have fled. But many of the Rohingya refugees are speaking out to CNN, about why they fled for their lives. We would take you to one of the biggest refugee camps in Bangladesh where thousands are trying to survive in miserable conditions.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Myanmar's de facto leader has broken her silence on the abuses of the Rohingya Muslims. The U.N. suspects a violent military crackdown on the Rohingya is ethnic cleansing.

But Aung San Suu Kyi says she doesn't know why almost half a million of them are fleeing to Bangladesh. Many activists and refugees tell CNN entire villages have been destroyed. The Rohingya themselves claim they are the victims of rape, murder, and torture. More than 1,000 have been killed in less than a month.

CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us now from the capital of Myanmar. Ivan, given the results of the Amnesty International Report on the abuse of Rohingya people, and of course the witness reports from many who have fled Myanmar, how would it be possible that Aung San Suu Kyi wouldn't know why nearly half a million Rohingya people are fleeing for their lives?

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Perhaps she's working with a different set of facts or getting different types of reports. I really -- I really don't know the answer to that question. What we saw was a speech that was intended -- it was billed as a speech for national reconciliation, but it was conducted entirely in English.

So clearly directed for an international audience, the likes of which, have made an icon out of Aung San Suu Kyi as a pro-democracy dissident who stood up to decades of military rule. In this case she came out, and she made the case that her government has only been in power for 18 months that there are vast problems that in this period of transition to democracy that her government needs to deal with, not just the crisis involving the Rohingya.

But notably, she did not even mention the word Rohingya because the Myanmar government does not recognize the Rohingya as one of more than 130 officially recognized ethnic groups in this country.

She acknowledged that there may be human rights violations taking place, but then she added these points. Take a listen to an excerpt from her speech.


AUNG SAN SUU KYI, STATE COUNSELLOR OF MYANMAR: The government is working to restore the situation to normalcy. Since the 5th of September, there has been no armed clashes and there have been no clearance operations. Nevertheless, we are concerned to hear that numbers of Muslims are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh. We want to find out why.


WATSON: So, Rosemary, the United Nations calls this a textbook case of ethnic cleansing. The Myanmar government says that people here are victims of terrorism by Rohingya militants and that they're justified to respond.

And in fact, the defense minister, who was attending this speech, he was asked is there ethnic cleansing. His response, quote, "there was no ethnic cleansing. The Myanmar media is not as strong as the Muslim media," and he argued that journalists from the Muslim world have created this entire story and the world has had sympathy for the Rohingya.

So you have a real competition, a conflict of narratives here where the government is working with a completely different set of facts and definitions and nouns from much of the international community. And the fact of the matter is the Rohingya, Rosemary, are the world's largest stateless community.

Ten percent of the world's stateless people are here in Myanmar, and they are the Rohingya who are denied citizenship and equal access to health care, education, and freedom of travel compared to the rest of the people in this country. And that's at the crux of this conflict and this unfolding humanitarian catastrophe. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. Exactly right. Our Ivan Watson with that live report, joining us from Myanmar, where it is nearly 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Many thanks to you.

[03:25:00] And of course, thousands of Muslim Rohingya are right now trying to survive in miserable conditions in makeshift refugee camps in Bangladesh. Some say they saw their villages burned and their children slaughtered before they fled across Myanmar's border to Bangladesh. Now many are crammed into Cox's Bazar, the longest unbroken stretch of beach in the world, and now one of the biggest refugee camps in Bangladesh.

CNN's Alexandra Field is there, and she joins us now. So, Alexandra, Aung San Suu Kyi says she needs evidence to prove allegations of abuses against the fleeing Rohingya people. You visited the camps., what evidence have you seen, and what have people told you?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, we have visited the camps, we visited the hospitals. We've walked and driven along the roadsides where some 410,000 refugees are living in Bangladesh. They didn't just decide to move here. They were fleeing under threat for their lives, they say, directly from the military.

They have the wounds, they say that prove it. They have the war stories. Look, Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina traveled here to see the suffering not too long ago. You've got a military here that's trying to expand the area of land where these hundreds of thousands of refugees are living because they don't see an end in sight to this influx of people.

If Aung San Suu Kyi has not seen the evidence of these crimes, well, the people here, the Rohingya here say that their stories are simply not being heard. They have not stopped coming across the border. Why is that? Well, we traveled along the border just yesterday, we could still see the smoke coming from the other side.


FIELD: Between two countries, Bangladesh and Myanmar, a no man's land. It's a temporary safe haven for some 7,000 of the Rohingya Muslims escaping a brutal military campaign in Myanmar. But in no man's land, taking a step too far in the wrong direction can be deadly.

"Just right now, they shot my 15-year-old boy," Alnnisa says. "We just went out for the toilet, but unfortunately, we went inside of Myanmar's border. They were beating me this morning. I was screaming to get help. They killed my boy."

Myanmar's military says it's rooting out terrorists after Rohingya militants staged a deadly attack on border guards late in August. Hosneara (Ph) had five children. "They killed three of my children," she says. They threw my youngest boy on the fire and while I was screaming and crying after seeing this, three of the military raped me."

The refugees pushed to pass barbed wire fences to make it to safety here.

We aren't out here for long when we start seeing Myanmar's military moving. You can see them just to pass this settlement. They take up position on their side of the border. At first, when that happens, the border guards on this side start to blow their whistles. They just alert people and that first they actually even push people back a little bit of a distance.

Under international law, Myanmar's military can't cross into no man's land. The violence the Rohingya left behind still feels menacingly close.

MONZURUL HASSAN KHAN, COMMANDING OFFICER, BORDER GUARDS BANGLADESH: There are people fighting at their back. We hear gunshots. We hear explosion, we see fire, and we see smoke.

FIELD: We travel south to join the border guard on patrol. It quickly becomes clear this is what the Rohingya are running from.

While we're out here on the water, we can see the smoke on the other side in Myanmar. It's coming from Maungdaw, one of the areas that's seen the most violence. Bangladesh's Border Guard has 12 boats out around the clock patrolling on a 50-kilometer stretch of the Naf River. Countless thousands have cross into Bangladesh here.

RAFIQUL ISLAM, COMMANDER, BORDER GUARDS BANGLADESH: All day we have found bodies, more than hundred. And all the many of these cases are due to capsizing of the boats because the boats that they normally use, they use more than the capacity, and the dead bodies are found all along the shore.

FIELD: Where the guards see fire, they know more Rohingya will soon try to run. They also know they won't all make it.


FIELD: In her speech for the world, Aung San Suu Kyi said her government has never been soft on human rights. That fall short for what the Rohingya wanted to hear. They wanted to hear a defense of their rights as humans and a promise to give them more rights in a country they have called home for generations. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Alexandra Field, the details just horrifying and shocking. Joining us there live from Bangladesh. Many thanks to you.

Well, hurricane Maria is taking aim at Caribbean islands already battered by Irma. Still to come, a live report from an island in the path of the storm.

[03:29:57] Plus, world leaders are waiting to see how Donald Trump's nationalist campaign rhetoric will square with his first address to the U.N. General Assembly. A preview still to come.


CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

U.S. President Donald Trump will make his first address to the U.N. General Assembly in just a few hours from now. He's expected to issue harsh warnings to North Korea and Iran and urge other nations to take responsibility for their own security.

Federal investigators wiretapped Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, before and after the 2016 presidential election. It's not clear if Mr. Trump was picked up in the surveillance.

Sources tell CNN Manafort may have encouraged Russia to help with the campaign.

First it was Irma. Now it's Maria. The second category five hurricane to batter the Caribbean this month. Maria is the strongest storm to ever hit the island of Dominica, and Puerto Rico is expecting a direct hit on Wednesday. Maria would be the most powerful storm to make landfall there in 85 years.

Puerto Rico took in many hurricane Irma evacuees from other islands. Now they may have to ride out what the governor is calling a catastrophic event.

CNN's Nick Valencia joins me now from San Juan in Puerto Rico. So, Nick, how ready are the people of Puerto Rico for this powerful hurricane after missing the worst of hurricane Irma?

NICK VALENCIA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Governor Garcia here in the island of Puerto Rico says they're as ready as they're going to be. We've been covering storms, Rosemary, for the last month here as these hurricanes have just continued to batter the eastern United States, and these island territories.

And I think this is the first time that I've heard officials here sound so scared. Yesterday at a press conference the governor says we can't hope for a miracle that things will change here. And I think as this storm intensifies, so does the anxiety among residents.

People here are very nervous. In our conversations with locals, they say they're just getting over Irma and the island didn't take a direct hit from Irma, but it was still very much affected. There are still people without power here, still debris in the roads. And the fact that such little time has elapse between hurricane Irma and now hurricane Maria has people here very, very nervous. Rosemary?

CHURCH: So, Nick, what had authorities been telling people to do to prepare for hurricane Maria and just how sturdy are the homes, and of course the infrastructure there?

[03:34:59] VALENCIA: Well, they've been encouraging people to find safe spaces. In fact, we ourselves at this hotel where we're at were given a note to make our own preparations to evacuate the hotel in case it came to that point.

As far as on the official level, the governors and other city officials, county officials, they're preparing shelters, as many as 500 shelters throughout the island. They're bringing in generators, we understand, but the problem is there's very long lines at some of these grocery stores to buy those basic goods.

We were here last night, and just the CVS around the corner was boarding up and it was packed with people. The Walgreens across the street was much the same. So a lot of people here are trying to find those basic goods and generators in case they lose power and to be prepared and stockpile those basic goods in the event that they lose power and aren't able to get food or water. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Certainly a very worrying situation. Nick Valencia, joining us there from San Juan in Puerto Rico. Do take care of yourself and your crew.

Well, Pyongyang's nuclear program looms large over this week's U.N. General Assembly while Washington is expected to push for more diplomatic pressure.

Jim Sciutto reports military options are being discussed.

JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, CNN: For world leaders convening at the U.N. General Assembly this week, the most pressing threat is a nuclear North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: The U.N. Security Council Resolutions really speak for themselves.


SCIUTTO: After a unanimous Security Council vote to tighten economic sanctions on the North, Trump administration officials say their patience for diplomacy is running short.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We wanted to be responsible and go through all diplomatic means to get their attention first, if that doesn't work General Mattis will take care of it.


SCIUTTO: Those military options range from limited strikes on North Korean launch sites to more comprehensive decapitation strikes, intended to knock out North Korea's leaders.


TILLERSON: If our diplomatic efforts fail, though, our military option will be the one left. We've said from the beginning we don't have a lot of time left.


SCIUTTO: Any military strike however, involves enormous potential human cost, including devastating threats to civilians and U.S. service member in the South Korean capital, Seoul, a fact that the U.S. army chief of staff made clear today with allies.


MARK MILLEY, CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATES ARMY: And it's absolutely critical that we all, every one of our countries, does everything humanly possible in the months ahead to avert an armed conflict and convince North Korea that their path of seeking nuclear weapons is the wrong path.


SCIUTTO: U.S. and South Korean forces are ramping up preparations. The U.S., South Korea, and Japan conducted a show of force with bombers and fighter jets over the Korean Peninsula and continuing drills with ground forces. China and Russia beginning naval drills as well.

CHURCH: CNN's Jim Sciutto reporting there. As diplomats debate what to do about North Korea, there's also much speculation about Mr. Trump's position on Iran's nuclear program. He's contemplating scrapping a hard-fought deal that was negotiated by his predecessor. It was one of the issues that came up with the Israeli prime minister on Monday.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I look forward to discussing with you how we can address together what you likely call is the terrible nuclear deal with Iran and how to roll back Iran's growing aggression in the region especially in Syria.


CHURCH: Well, both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump addressed the General Assembly later today.

Let's bring in CNN's global affairs analyst, Aaron David Miller. Always great to have you on the show, thanks for being with us.


CHURCH: Well, a nuclear North Korea is certainly the biggest threat confronting the U.N. General Assembly, but Iran's nuclear program as we heard is also likely to get a mention in President Trump's address. What's he likely to say about this two pressing issues, and what tone do you expect him to set?

MILLER: I suspect you can hear some very tough rhetoric on both. I suspect there will be a fair amount of threatening language on North Korea. And I suspect a sort of willful determination on the part of Mr. Trump to keep people guessing to some degree what he's going to do, by what he's compelled to do by October 15th, that is to say to certify or not to certify the agreement.

I think the choices here for him are pretty stark. You've got most of his advisers, MM&T, Mattis, McMaster, and Tillerson, and perhaps General Kelly arguing I suspect, or maintaining the deal, but toughening the American response to Iran in the region, in Yemen and the Gulf, for example, laying on additional sanctions.

[03:39:59] Mr. Trump, though, seems to be determined to some degree change the perspective and the prisms through which the United States has formulated this agreement.

I'd put my money right now on neither canceling the deal, as Mr. Netanyahu wants him to do, or trying to somehow fix it. I'm betting he's going to continue to keep the deal, make an enormous amount of noise, toughen up American policy in response to Iranian efforts to expand their influence in Yemen and in the Gulf, and then perhaps work with the Europeans to see if he can't find a way outside of the current agreement to push the Iranians to extend it, particularly the constraints on Iran's nuclear activities.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, you know, the two big issues, Iran and North Korea, the Trump administration hasn't been shy about putting the military option on the table when it comes to North Korea but there doesn't appear to be much support for such action, does there, given the potential for loss of life on a massive scale, particularly in Seoul. So, what's the best outcome that Mr. Trump could hope for when it

comes to North Korea, specifically?

MILLER: Well, most of the military posturing -- and I would agree with you, it seems to me only in response to North Korean signaled to launch or to launch missiles against Guam, Japan, South Korea, or the United States would this administration or any of its predecessors consider a unilateral or preemptive strike.

Given the vulnerability of American forces the vulnerability of Japan, the vulnerability of Seoul, it would be catastrophic. And to risk that strikes me as a bridge too far for an administration that fashions itself to be a tough, muscular power.

CHURCH: Just returning to Iran again, President Trump as we've been discussing considering eliminating the Iran nuclear deal. You don't think that will be the outcome. But this is what President Hassan Rouhani said about that. Let's just listen.


HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Such an agreement would have would carry a high cost for the United States of America and I do not believe that Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost, of course something that will be useless for them.

It will yield no results for the United States, but at the same time, it will generally decrease and cut away and chip away at international trust placed in the United States of America.


CHURCH: Given the amount of negotiation that was involved in the Iran nuclear deal and the outcome so far, what would be the overall reaction at the U.N. to Mr. Trump making any effort to do away with that deal?

MILLER: Unless you can get the Europeans and the Russians and the Chinese I think are beyond the pale on this. They're not going to join us in being in this agreement. Unless you get the Europeans to basically, you know, wall off the prospect doing business with the Iranians if we decide to bolt the agreement and to press them to enlist them in additional sanctions, which I think is unlikely, particularly if we unilaterally withdraw.

Look, we're going to end up isolating ourselves, not Iran. This is highly flawed agreement. It's an arms control agreement. It's a transactional accord. It was never meant to transform the relationship and it's highly imperfect.

But clearly, I just don't see what the plan b is. And frankly, at a time when the North Korean file is fully open, why would the United States want to open up another nuclear file. No matter how imperfect the agreement is, it has constrained the Iranians and restrained them with respect to buying time and keeping them away from producing enough material to make a nuclear weapon. I'm not sure why we would want to open that. And one other additional

point. If in fact we walk from the agreement, Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang will be reading this as confirmation of the fact that no matter what he does, the prospects of any sort of negotiation, any sort of an agreement with the United States is simply a thought experiment, which leads almost no alternative and the default position, Rosemary, which is North Koreans will continue to test both nuclear devices and ballistic missile technology until they perfect a weapon.

So I do not see the logic or the rationale no matter how imperfect the deal is of walking away from it.

CHURCH: Aaron David Miller, thank you so much for talking with us. Always great to get your analysis. I appreciate it.

MILLER: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And CNN will have special coverage of the UNGA all week on Tuesday, look out for Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with French President Emmanuel Macron.

[03:45:06] Well, coming up, the latest in the investigation into Friday's terror attack on a London subway. What officials are now saying about the background of the two suspects. That's coming up next.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. We are learning new details about the suspects in Friday's terror attack on a London subway. Officials tell CNN that the two men arrested over the weekend are from Iraq and Syria.

This new video was obtained by CNN affiliate ITV and appears to show one of the suspects on the morning of the attack. The bag he's carrying seems to be the same type used in the attack.

Nina Dos Santos joins me now from London with more. So, Nina, what more are we learning about this investigation beyond the fact that the two men remain in custody for questioning.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPPONDENT, CNN: Well, it seems though for the moment, Rosemary, authorities have managed to gain a bit more time to question these individuals. Remember that they were arrested under section 41 of the Terrorism Act and that means that police do have more opportunity to ask for up to two weeks to question them before they actually have to press charges.

When if comes to the 18-year-old who as you pointed out is believed to have been from Iraq, the first individual who was arrested in the port of Dover earlier on Saturday throughout the weekend, they have until the 23rd of September to question him.

And then when it comes to the second individual, also apprehended on Saturday, this time on Saturday evening outside a chicken shop where apparently he worked in Hounslow, a borough to the west of London, they have until the 21st of September to quiz him as well.

What authorities will be asking is how these two individuals are connected. We know that they're connected through the foster home in Sunbury-on-Thames that has been one of the focal points of the investigation. That property has been raided and searched extensively by police officers as has another property in Stanwell, also in Surrey, and that chicken shop I mentioned in Hounslow where Yayo Farooq (Ph) was arrested as well.

But the big question people will have here is did these two individuals make some kind of connection at this foster home that cause them to develop a relationship that caused them to become radicalized afterwards? Did one of them come to the United Kingdom as a refugee radicalized already?

These are the kinds of questions that authorities will be having for those individuals and also they'll probably be looking at their digital fingerprints through the world of social media and also other internet searches that they may well have made through laptop computers that may have been seized through some of these raids.

This is part for the course and rather standard procedure in these kind of investigations these days as well.

The other thing that we haven't yet heard more about although you have seen some CCTV images of the 18-year-old believed to be carrying that legal bag with the bomb in the bucket, what we haven't yet heard of is where these explosives will have been made and also stored.

[03:50:04] That is something that we don't yet know, and obviously it will be presenting a security concern for the local community in some of these areas, suburbs of London as I was saying, the village of Stanwell in Surrey, and also Sunbury-on-Thames where that foster couple were called home and where they had actually harbored these two individuals.

It was believed, Rosemary, that this 18-year-old was still living with the foster couple at the time of the Parsons Green bomb attack. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All very worrying details there. Nina Dos Santos joining us from London where it is 8.50 in the morning. Many thanks to you.

Robert de Niro is using his star power to help the devastated island of Barbuda. His plan and appeal. That's coming up next.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Hillary Clinton has been in the headlines a lot lately as she promotes her new book about the 2016 election. Listen to the bombshell she dropped on NPR Monday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learned that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to rule it out?

CLINTON: No, I wouldn't rule it out.


CHURCH: The democratic candidate went on to say she doesn't know if there's any legal, constitutional way to contest the election. Analysts are split over whether the court could order a revote. Despite the Russian interference, there's no proof any votes were changed.

OK. We do want to get another update now on hurricane Maria. And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is back with us, tracking the storm. So where is it off to next, and what sort of damage is it likely to do to Puerto Rico.

JAVAHERI: Yes, you know, it doesn't look good at all for Puerto Rico, for the Virgin Islands. And I want to show you where it is right now because it is just west around Dominica where it made landfall. And you notice some of the outer bands of the storm and the top right here, that's around places such as Barbuda, Antigua, that is where we're seeing some of the gusty winds, some of the heavy rainfall.

But the center of the storm moving well to the south of that region. But you take a look at the perspective. All models indicate the storm system looks to strengthen potentially right back up to a category five, push right through the Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, in particular on Wednesday morning before an afternoon landfall on Wednesday into eastern Puerto Rico.

And then beyond that could be a category four into the Turks and Caicos before weakening to a category three. But when you think about the risk of damage with hurricanes, it is an exponential increase in damage when it goes from one intensity level to another.

In fact, from a category three to a category four it's not just one level threshold more damage. It is in fact five times more destruction expected from that and 250 times more destruction than you would get from a category one1. When you go from a four to a five as we expect, it is twice as strong and 500 times more damage than a category one at a category five level, which is again what we're looking at for places such as the U.S. Virgin Islands there into the morning hours of Wednesday and then the afternoon towards places such as eastern Puerto Rico.

San Juan could be in the crosshairs of this as a category four system before it moves away from this region out towards the Turks and Caicos. So here's what we have. The yellow line indicating the Irma track. You

notice with Maria we start a little farther south. It does at one point does cross right where Irma cross. That would be just north of Puerto Rico.

[03:55:03] Of course, Irma skirted Puerto Rico this would be a direct impact before moving its way across the Turks and Caicos. And as far as the forecast guidance going into early this weekend, at this point confidence is very high for landfalls both in Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos.

Notice the European models indicated in blue begin shifting to the right. The American model in the last couple of hours wants to start moving in that direction. Both are good times at least for the mainland U.S. here, but of course, we know millions still in the path of the storm system as a category four, and we think eventually a category five again, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Thanks so much for tracking that. Pedram Javaheri, always appreciate it.

We'll take a very short here. Robert de Niro wants to help rebuild the island of Barbuda. Hurricane Irma damaged 95 percent of its buildings when it hit the country just about two weeks ago. The actor has plans to develop a $200 million resort to draw tourists to the island and create jobs.

There is some opposition to his plan, but De Niro says he's committed to getting the country up and running. On Monday he asked for help at a high-level meeting on Irma at the United Nations.


ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: We have a humanitarian crisis. An entire island destroyed. We must act together to help the most vulnerable, the ones affected by disasters and vulnerable to the effects of climate change. We must stand for the Barbudans. Barbuda hand the Barbudans.

The recovery process will be a long hard road. Barbudans must be hard of it, their homes repaired stronger, rebuild stronger. The new homes stronger, the immediate needs, power, water, food, medical care, animal shelter must be met.

The kids need to go to school. There must be a hospital, an airport, a seaport, roads, fire services, and communications, every need you can think of must be restored to Barbuda. Working together with all of you, Barbuda can rise to stronger and be more resilient. I implore all countries and agencies to give and ensure for Barbudans home and paradise is not lost.


CHURCH: Robert de Niro there. And for information about how to help those affected by all these storms you can check out And thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember

to connect with me anytime on Twitter. The news continues next with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. And you're watching CNN, the world's news leader.