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First Charges Filed in Mueller Investigation; Catalonia Government Dismissed after Declaring Independence; Niger Investigation; Kenya Election; North Korea Tensions; Addiction Takes Lives of Teen Neighbors on Same Day; U.S. Navy Rescues Women after Months at Sea. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired October 28, 2017 - 05:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We begin with the breaking news out of Washington, a major step forward in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 election.

Thank you for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm George Howell. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. 5:00 am on the East Coast.

First, this news reported first on this network. Sources telling CNN the first charges have been filed in the Robert Mueller probe.

ALLEN: At this point we don't know the precise nature of the charges nor who could be charged. Our Evan Perez has more for us.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: A federal grand jury in Washington approved the first charges in the investigation led by Robert Mueller. We're told by sources that the charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. And plans are being made for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday.

It's unclear what the charges are and, at this point, it's not clear whether those under indictment have even been notified. A spokesman for the special counsel's office declined to comment.

Mueller was appointed in May to lead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections and, under the regulations governing the special counsel investigations, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who has the oversight of the Russia investigation, would have been made aware of any charges before they were taken before the grand jury.

On Friday, top lawyers who are helping to lead the Mueller probe, including veteran prosecutor Andrew Weisman (ph), were seen entering the courtroom at the D.C. federal court, where the grand jury meets to hear testimony in the Russia investigation.

After more than a year of investigation first began by the FBI, this is a big moment all involved have been waiting for -- Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: For more on this I'm joined by Areva Martin, Areva is an attorney and a CNN legal analyst.

Thank you for joining us, Areva.


ALLEN: Here we go. First charges in the Mueller investigation. So it will be unsealed next week.

Does that necessarily mean someone will officially be charged?

MARTIN: From what we've been told, someone will be charged. We don't know if the special counsel has worked out some kind of arrangement with that person's counsel. Perhaps they have been notified and they're negotiating whether that person will turn themselves in on Monday or Tuesday.

It could be a raid; that happens possibly, where there is law enforcement that goes to this individual's home or individuals. We don't know if it's one or more people and there's some kind of arrest made.

But we're told that by Monday or Tuesday someone is likely to be in custody, someone will either come forward and turn themselves in or be arrested by law enforcement. At that point, we should know more about what the actual charges are that are contained in that indictment.

ALLEN: So many people have been investigated. This has been going on for months. We don't know if this particular indictment will, in fact, shed light, do we, on the Russian involvement in the election?

MARTIN: It's too early to tell. There's been lots of speculation who has been indicted and what the indictment is. Our best estimate is this is probably the low-hanging fruit. This indictment is coming pretty early on in the Mueller investigation.

It's not likely at this early stage that this is one of the indictments that's related to the complex relationship between Russia and the Trump administration. Speculation is that this may be a banking transaction or a failure to register as a foreign lobbyist, something easy to prove, something where the investigation doesn't have to be as expansive as the collusion allegations that we know that are out there, that are being investigated by the special counsel.

So not clear and also some speculation this may be someone that Mueller wants to use to flip, to put pressure on, to then give him someone higher up on the food chain.

ALLEN: That's something that's not unusual to happen, right?

MARTIN: Happens all the time in these kinds of investigations, particularly where there are numerous potential targets of an investigation, that they use an indictment against someone, let's call, at the bottom of the rung of the ladder and they use that indictment to pressure that person to come forward with information that helps them get to the person at the top.

In this case, at the top of this entire investigation is President Donald Trump.

ALLEN: I want to ask you, is there any credence given to a grand jury indictment?

Some say that a grand jury will indict anything.

Is that fair?

MARTIN: Yes, oftentimes, you know, the statement is made that you can get a ham sandwich or --


MARTIN: -- a sandwich indicted. Clearly the standard is not as rigorous as that of beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard which is required if a person is tried in a court of law.

But we know special counsel Mueller, his integrity, his experience -- I don't think an investigation that is as sensitive and as important as this is going to be presented to a grand jury unless there's substantial evidence to support the claims that are being presented.

So I don't think this is going to be something that was done without a lot of thought, without a lot of strategy. And unless this investigative team, this really experienced team of lawyers, believe that they can successfully, you know, find this person can be prosecuted and they can get a guilty verdict at a trial.

ALLEN: Last question, James Comey, the former FBI director, he came before cameras and held news conferences when he needed.

What about Robert Mueller?

How do you expect he'll handle this next week?

MARTIN: What we know about Robert Mueller is that he's the ultimate professional. He's not been grandstanding. He's not held any press conferences. He's been playing his cards pretty close to the vest. I think he'll continue to do so.

This is the beginning of this investigation. And this is the beginning of indictments. This is not the end. So I don't expect Mueller to do anything differently than what he has done to date, which is to continue to be extremely professional, to investigate this with the utmost integrity and to continue to move forward with the investigation.

And as I said, I think this is one or perhaps a couple of beginning indictments. And if the investigation is as broad as it appears to be, there may be more indictments coming as this investigation continues.

ALLEN: All right. Attorney and legal analyst, Areva Martin, thank you for your comments.

MARTIN: Thanks, Natalie.

ALLEN: President Trump has yet to comment on the Mueller investigation, the story we've been breaking but he's speaking out on other controversial issues.

HOWELL: That has his critics saying he's more interested in distraction than disclosure. Our Sara Murray has this report for us.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump weighing in an ongoing Justice Department investigation, the White House insists it's all a push for transparency but some are wondering, is this just an effort to take off the attention off of another Russia investigation?

President Trump weighing in on a Justice Department investigation.


MURRAY (voice-over): President Trump weighing in on a Justice Department investigation.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the uranium sale to Russia and the way it was done, so underhanded, with tremendous amount of money being passed, I actually think that's Watergate modern age.

MURRAY: And raising questions about his interventionist approach to judicial matters.

Sources tell CNN that Trump made it clear he wanted a gag order lifted so a key undercover informant in an FBI investigation could speak to Congress. The probe was looking into Russian efforts to gain influence in the uranium industry in the U.S. under the Obama administration.

Trump's allies are coming to his defense, insisting the president was well within his rights.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: It is not unusual for a president to weigh in. He believes, as many others do, frankly, that the FBI informant should be free to say what he knows. But this was made -- let me repeat. The Judiciary chairman in the United States Senate, Chuck Grassley, made this request to the Justice Department last week. MURRAY: Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the Justice Department last week, asking the agency to lift the nondisclosure agreement that was preventing the informant from speaking to Congress.

But Trump's comments on the uranium issue raise the question of whether he's truly for transparency or simply looking to draw attention away from other Russia-related matters, like investigations into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.

TRUMP: They made up the whole Russia hoax. Now it's turning out that the hoax has turned around and you look at what's happened with Russia and you look at the uranium deal and you look at the fake dossier, so that's all turned around.

MURRAY: Trump's remarks in spite of the fact that even his top national security officials agree Russia tried to interfere in the U.S. election.

Today, Trump once again denounced the Russia probes, tweeting: "It is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between Russia and Trump. Was collusion with H.C."

But there is no common consensus whether collusion occurred. Neither GOP-controlled congressional committees, nor the special counsel overseeing the Russia probe have reached a determination.

The uranium issue is merely the president's latest foray into judicial matters. He has called on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to crack down on leaks.

TRUMP: I want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies.


MURRAY: Now the most --


MURRAY: -- closely scrutinized incident of Trump wading into judicial matters was his decision to fire FBI director James Comey, something that was also well within his authority. But the president paid a steep political price. It was that move that led to the naming of a special counsel to head the Russia investigation -- Sara Murray, CNN, the White House.


ALLEN: CNN contributor Carl Bernstein said that President Trump is taking the wrong road when it comes to commenting on the Russian investigation. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we've seen all week, though, is, once again, the President of the United States, instead of encouraging this special counsel to get to the bottom of the Russia investigation and what happened and what Russia did and whether or not there were any members of his entourage, Trump's entourage, involved in encouraging the Russians to interfere, the President of the United States has sought to muddy the waters by once again making Hillary Clinton the issue instead of the conduct of the president himself and those around him.

It's very conspicuous. We have a long way to go. Let's sit back and see what develops.


HOWELL: A lot to talk about on this. Let's bring in Leslie Vinjamuri, Leslie is an associate professor of international relations at SOAS University of London, live in our London bureau this hour.

Leslie, a pleasure to have you here on the show.


HOWELL: We've seen the president and his staff refer to the Russia probe as costly, unnecessary, describing it as unfruitful. Over the week, the White House moved the goal post to his rival for the presidency. Let's listen.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Congress has spent a great deal of time on this, a better part of a year. All of your news organizations have actually spent probably a lot of money on this as well, which we would consider probably a pretty big waste.

I think that our position hasn't changed since day one and I think we're seeing now that if there was any collusion with Russia, it was between the DNC and the Clintons and certainly not our campaign.


HOWELL: Just a moment ago, we saw the president working to reframe this, saying it's all coming back on Clinton, the Democrats, the increased drumbeat on uranium one, on the dossier.

Given the fact we now know charges have been filed, does that move the goal post back to the central theme, questions about Russia and possible collusion?

VINJAMURI: It does. And I think, of course, this explains a lot of President Trump's efforts to divert, once again, the attention toward Hillary Clinton, calling on the State Department to release her emails, looking at the uranium question.

And the diversionary strategy, I don't think, plays to his advantage. What the president would be best placed to let the integrity of the investigations, go forward, to remain silent until he needs to speak about these, to wait and see what happens.

But one of the very interesting things here is that President Trump, as we know, is about to go on a very long, very important, very extended foreign trip to Asia. And if you remember back to his first foreign trip the investigations he did up, just as he was leaving, a lot happened while he was on the road.

It is very unsettling, I think, for the people of the United States to have a lot going on over the question of Russia, when the president is abroad and when the president is actively seeking to deflect and move the conversation away from the essential question about Russia's collusion, the Trump campaign's collusion but especially Russia's campaign to unsettle the U.S. elections.

HOWELL: Critics describe it as an attempt to muddy the water politically.

If that's happening, indeed, what action do you expect the president will take now that we know things are moving in this investigation?

VINJAMURI: Well, again, the president is in a funny position. He's trying to push very hard domestically on tax reform. He wants one legislative win before the end of the year and this is his best hope.

It's very complicated. But there's some momentum around it. He's about to get on an airplane and deal with the most important foreign policy crisis, which is North Korea. He's going to Japan to talk about North Korea, he's going all across Asia.

Of course, he's going to have, because of the gravity of this issue, because of the extent to which he takes it tremendously personally, he'll have this question of Russia.

And what happens on Monday if indeed somebody is charged, depending on who that is and how he interprets that, he's going to be very, very distracted by this issue when his mind should be on North Korea, on Asia and on his tax reform legislation.

HOWELL: Again, this news we're talking about, first reported on CNN, the fact we now know charges are forthcoming.

Important to point this out, too. We don't know the nature of these charges and we don't know who could be charged in this investigation. If this does come close to Trump --


HOWELL: -- world, do you expect the administration will be cooperative?

Or might we see what we've seen historically, a series of distractions?

VINJAMURI: Oh, I think, you know, what we've seen since yesterday, right, with the renewed calls for Hillary Clinton's emails to be released and the statements that have come out of the White House, inevitably, the tone that's been set, the pattern that's been set is that we'll see a lot of efforts to distract, to shift the conversation, to deflect and divert any focus on President Trump and those people who have worked with him.

But I suspect that, internally within the White House, there will be some effort to try and to collect and direct the focus. But I don't hold a great deal of hope for that happening. The one thing that changes the game, of course, is that the president will be in Asia.

HOWELL: Leslie Vinjamuri, certainly a friend of that show to help us get some context on all of this, we appreciate your time today. Thank you.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

ALLEN: More news from around the world coming up. A new day in Catalonia brings mounting uncertainty with many wondering how the region moves forward now that Spain has dissolved its government.




ALLEN: Welcome back. Spain's prosecutor general is preparing rebellion charges against the Catalan president and his government and many Catalans are waking up to an uncertain future. They partied hard on Friday, when the wealthy Spanish region declared independence.

HOWELL: However, the central government of Spain, in Madrid, has immediately imposed direct rule. They also dissolved Catalonia's parliament, fired its president and the regional police chief, who is being investigated for sedition. The central government also called for new elections, set for December. The nation's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, blames separatist leaders for the crisis.

ALLEN: CNN's Erin McLaughlin is following developments for us. She is live in Barcelona with the mood there as people realize what's happened and with the news and how it's playing out there -- Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's relatively quiet here in Barcelona outside of the central government headquarters, quiet at least when compared to the scenes of jubilation from last night. A couple of new developments to talk about this morning. Madrid --


MCLAUGHLIN: -- has announced that Mariano Rajoy will appoint Spain's deputy prime minister to oversee Catalonia during this period of emergency. Also announced by the interior ministry, they are effectively sacking the head of the local police here in Catalonia, Joseph Luis Trapero (ph).

He's already under investigation on allegations of sedition. As part of that investigation, too, the Catalan activists already in prison, this is relating to activities in the buildup to the October 1st referendum, which was deemed illegal.

So now he has been officially sacked by Madrid.

Joining me now to talk about what all of this means going forward is Michael Reid of "The Economist."

Michael, what do you make of Mariano Rajoy's latest emergency measures, the appointing of the deputy prime minister to oversee Catalonia, the calling of elections for December 21st?

MICHAEL REID, "THE ECONOMIST": Most of them are just what we expected. The aim of the government is to undertake a targeted and kind of surgical intervention here to start by dismissing the Catalan government and President Carles Puigdemont, about 150 people in all.

The Catalan ministers and their senior advisors intervening and the police as you mentioned, and they will go on, I think, to take control of finances and so on here.

Now the interesting thing was that he announced a snap election for December 21st, which is the day after Puigdemont -- the day that Puigdemont almost called a Catalan election for on Thursday and didn't.

So that I think is aimed at keeping the intervention as short as possible and keeping the independence forces off balance.

MCLAUGHLIN: There's not a lot of time until December 21st, especially when you consider the Catalan government, as far as they are concerned, they are forming an independent country at this point.

How do those two ideas reconcile?

REID: Well, I think they know deep down that they don't have the strength to form an independent country. And what they did yesterday was a gesture and it was a gesture partly directed at the world, partly directed at their own faithful, this very powerful, very well organized independence movement.

But by calling this election so swiftly, Mariano Rajoy has put them off balance. They now have to decide immediately about something else, do we take part in this election or not?

And the independence movement involves three different parties.

Will they stay together or not?

That's a whole different discussion for them than the one they're expecting to have. So I think they will continue to try to resist some of these measures.

MCLAUGHLIN: So, from your perspective, what is the next smart move for Carles Puigdemont?

REID: Well, I assume that they will try and organize passive resistance, civil disobedience, strikes and so on. But I think their margin for maneuver has been narrowed by the calling of this election.

Remember that, in all probability, the prosecutor general of Spain on Monday will file in court charges of rebellion against Carles Puigdemont and his team. And that, I think, will become for them the focus.

Critics would say there's always been a desire for martyrdom here and I think that if he's jailed, for example, I think that will become the focus and mobilization here.

MCLAUGHLIN: Still remains to be seen how the people of Catalonia will react to all this. Michael Reid, thank you so much.

Natalie and George, back to you.

ALLEN: All right. Fast-moving developments in this story. Thank you, Erin.

HOWELL: The U.S. state of Florida is dealing with the memory of Hurricane Irma and another tropical storm is about to have an impact there as well.



ALLEN: Coming up here ahead, of Donald Trump's visit to East Asia, North Koreans have a message for the U.S. president.

HOWELL: Plus a state of uncertainty in Kenya. The opposition calls Thursday's presidential election a sham and vows to press on with its resistance.

CNN NEWSROOM, live from Atlanta, Georgia, this hour, simulcast on CNN USA in the United States and CNN International worldwide this hour. Stay with us.




HOWELL: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. The headlines this hour.


HOWELL: We are learning much more now about the convoy of U.S. and Nigerien soldiers ambushed earlier this month when nine lives were lost. Sources tell CNN the U.S. team split up when they came under fire in an effort to counterattack.

ALLEN: But the two groups eventually lost communication. The patrol was described as outnumbered and outgunned by dozens of ISIS-linked fighters.

HOWELL: CNN correspondent David McKenzie, following the story in Niger this morning.

It's great to have you with us, David.

What more have you learned, the latest about this ambush?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, you can imagine this ambush with a superior force in terms of numbers that came across these U.S. Green Beret-led Special Forces and their Nigerien counterparts just a few hours from where I'm standing right now and U.S. officials described this desperate attempt to counter attack.

The group that was traveling, the U.S. group, split up from each other as several U.S. soldiers, according to Defense officials, getting out of their vehicles, attempting to outflank the ISIS-linked militants in this heavy firefight, they had just small arms and at least one machine gun while the ISIS-linked militants had a great deal of firepower, including mortars and RPGs.

So they were really, the odds were really stacked against them. We've heard from a Nigerien soldier, who was deployed to the scene after the ambush, how the American soldiers and Nigerien soldiers were back-to- back, trying to fight off until the end.

So those details coming out of this ambush. Still many questions, including why this lightly supported American team went to that danger zone on the border of Niger and Mali, when there have been many, many attacks in that region in the last year -- George.

HOWELL: Let's talk a bit more about that region, wide-open spaces, government not in all of those areas.

What more can you tell us about the different terror groups that are operating throughout?

MCKENZIE: Well, our viewers may not be as familiar of the situation here in West Africa as it is in the Middle East. But what you have here is a significantly different situation.

You have these small, relatively small terror groups linked to ISIS and Al Qaeda, loosely linked, it must be said. Two intelligence sources I spoke to in the region said this ambush was more likely a target of opportunity, that it wasn't necessarily a command and control situation, that they were hoping strategically to hit American forces but that they might have been in the area and then got that tipoff, according to our sources, possibly from local village, that the Americans were in the region.

So this is not a command-control Al Qaeda central-like operation. These small groups are often fighting national wars, national conflicts but also building up their capacity in this region that they could eventually threaten the United States -- George.

David McKenzie on this story, live for us at this hour. David, thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is speaking out on --


ALLEN: -- extremism and its spread across Africa. Nikki Haley is visiting three African countries in the wake of the deadly attack in Niger. She spoke with CNN about stopping threats before they start.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Yes, it's so important that everybody not just talk about the Middle East and how we have to be careful of the Middle East. You see the actions that the administration has taken in the Middle East is all because we want to deal with the situation there so we don't have to deal with it in the United States.

It is the same thing for Africa. We have to deal with the situation here on the ground so that we're not dealing with it in the United States. What you have to look at is these African countries and all countries, if they take care of their people, if they respect the voices of their people, then you get true democracy.

If they don't listen to the voices of their people, conflict will erupt, extremism will happen, and the United States will have to deal with it. This is all about making sure we don't get to that point.


HOWELL: Nikki Haley there, speaking in Kenya.

The highly contested presidential election is underway this hour in two constituencies. Earlier voting took place across the country on Thursday. The opposition considers the election a sham and many people boycotted the polls. In some places, deadly clashes between police and protesters took place.

ALLEN: The independent election commission says only a third of registered voters have cast a ballot so far. Kenya's opposition leader, Raila Odinga, thinks that number is even lower. He spoke exclusively with CNN a bit earlier.


RAILA ODINGA, KENYAN OPPOSITION LEADER: This is just a sham because it basically removed the lid off the can for what Mr. Kenyatta has been claiming, because hardly 5 percent of the people turned up to vote yesterday. They're now trying to doctor the figures through increases.

According to (INAUDIBLE), which were used to biometrically (ph) identify the voters, only 3.5 million people participated in the voting yesterday. That is just about 20 percent of the total regions of the voters. So that shows physically that the people don't have confidence. It is

a vote of no confidence.


HOWELL: Government officials, though, have a much different view from the opposition leader. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me make two quick points. One, that in repeat elections, the turnout is usually low. You've just seen that in Romania, 36 percent this year. You've seen that in Kosovo, 41 percent. You've seen it in the European parliament, 42 percent.

And those elections I've just referred to did not have violence and intimidation. They did not have a boycott and they did not have the type of capricious weather we witnessed in the last few days.

The president has a mandate. The supreme court, when it annulled the election said an election should be held within 60 days. Those elections have been held within those 60 days.

Now if you look at what the tallies at the moment are, the president has just above 7 million votes compared to the 8.2 million he got in the last election. So the numbers aren't too far from what he got the last time.

If you factor in the fact that the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, chose to stay out of these elections, I mean these are choices people have to make. He chose to stay out. Kenyans have voted. They have voted for the president.


ALLEN: It's not clear when final results will be tallied since authorities have indefinitely postponed voting in counties where opposition support remains high due to the risk of more violence.

Next week at this time, the U.S. president, Donald Trump will be on a trip including stops in Vietnam, Japan and China and will also include South Korea.

HOWELL: Ahead of the U.S. president's trip, the Defense Secretary, James Mattis, is already there. He went to the demilitarized zone on Friday and just wrapped up a series of meetings with South Korean officials. At a news conference, Mr. Mattis reiterated the United States' desire to stand side-by-side with South Korea and he had a very strong message for North Korea.


GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response, effective and overwhelming. Due to North Korea's aggressive and destabilizing actions, we have taken defensive steps as an alliance, steps such as deploying the highly effective THAAD anti-missile system to the ROK.


HOWELL: With nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula the highest they have been in decades, the North Korean leaders are certainly focused on this and many people in North Korea --


HOWELL: -- have a message for Mr. Trump ahead of his trip to the region.

ALLEN: CNN's Will Ripley is in North Korea's capital. Here's his report.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Asia prepares for President Trump's landmark visit, North Korea has been uncharacteristically quiet. No missile launches in a month and a half. No nuclear test, at least not yet; only North Korea's promise to send a clear message after Trump's menacing speech at the U.N. last month when he threatened to totally destroy North Korea.

At the time North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un vowed to tame the U.S. president with fire. (INAUDIBLE) is chief engineer of a baby food factory, trying to maintain production levels despite U.N. sanctions over North Korea's nuclear program. But he says the nukes are here to stay.

"President Trump knows nothing about the Korean nation," he says. "Now he is asking us to give up our nuclear weapons. Ask anyone on the street and they will say he is a lunatic."

His words echo North Korean propaganda. Anti-Trump posters are all over Pyongyang. U.S. and North Korean officials say diplomacy has broken down as the rhetoric has revved up. Pushing two nuclear powers further down a dangerous path. Both sides not ruling out talks altogether, but their positions couldn't be farther apart.

On a visit Friday to the demilitarized zone dividing north and South Korea, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said America's goal is not war.


RIPLEY: But for a nuclear free Korean peninsula. With Pyongyang closer than ever to achieving what it considers a nuclear balance of power with the U.S., giving up nukes is a nonstarter.

But, you know, there are a lot of people around the world who think that by accumulating nuclear weapons your country is putting itself at risk of total destruction.

PAK SON OK, PYONGYANG RESIDENT: (Speaking foreign language).

RIPLEY: "They have the wrong information," says Pak Son OK, "tell them to come to my country and see for themselves."

Do you have hope that someday your leader Kim Jong-Un could meet the U.S. president Donald Trump?

PAK SON OK: (Speaking foreign language).

RIPLEY: "No, not at all," she says, "that meeting cannot happen. It will not happen because our marshal promised to deal with that deranged lunatic with fire."

Ominous words slowly simmering ever since as Trump's visit to the region looms, many wonder if the situation is about to boil over -- Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.


HOWELL: Will, thank you.

Coming up, the White House is taking action on the opioid epidemic but, for some families, it might be too late.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I touched him and he was cold.

ALLEN (voice-over): We will talk with the parents of two teenagers, who died after a struggle with addiction.






HOWELL: Welcome back to the NEWSROOM. The U.S. president says this can be the generation to rid communities of drug addiction. Mr. Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday.

ALLEN: Nothing paints a picture of the scale of the epidemic like this next story. Two teenagers from the same neighborhood died from a toxic mix of drugs within an hour of each other.

CNN's Lynda Kinkade sits down with the parents, whose lives of course have been changed forever.


KATHI ABRAHAM, MOTHER OF JOE ABRAHAM: We wanted to have two children because we wanted them to have each other and now Matthew is an only child. Never be the person I was.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eighteen-year-old Dustin Manning and 19-year-old Joseph Abraham had so much potential.

L. MANNING: Those are his football trophies up there.


K. ABRAHAM: Joe was a very sensitive young man. He was funny. He had a big heart.

KINKADE: It was may 26, a Friday morning, paramedics were called to this house at 6:09 a.m., Dustin Manning was dead. Less than an hour later, half a mile that way, the same situation.

DAVE ABRAHAM, FATHER OF JOE ABRAHAM: Started yelling and yelling and yelling, Joe, Joe, wake up, man. Go up, man.

K. ABRAHAM: As I walked through that door, it was just almost surreal. He was on 911 on the phone call. I just came back and I said, we can't fix this.

G. MANNING: When I opened the door, he was crouched over on his bed. It looked like he was tying his shoes almost.

L. MANNING: I went over to him -- and I touched him and he was cold.

KINKADE: Dave and Kathi Abraham and Greg and Lisa Manning share the same thing, their families torn apart. Their sons teammates in little league, boast started dabbling in drugs in middle school. What drove him do you think to the drugs?

L. MANNING: He told us that the drug was what gave him the out. It made him not feel whatever the depression was making him feel.

D. ABRAHAM: Giving these opiates to kids getting wisdom teeth out and before they know that they are addicted.

KINKADE: Both sets of parents got their sons into treatment centers. The night before they died, Dustin was in a treatment meeting while Joe was at the friend's place.

So just to be clear, the boys weren't out together the night before but it appears that they may have bought these drugs by the same dealer?

D. ABRAHAM: Exactly.


KINKADE: so it looked like the same pill, essentially same wrapping.


KINKADE: Toxicology reports found both teens ingested a toxic mix of heroin and Fentanyl, which can be lethal in small doses. You know how much Fentanyl it took to kill him.

Just explain it for us. G. MANNING: Well, according to the coroners, the amount that was in his system was about three grains of salt.

KINKADE: That's it?

G. MANNING: The equivalent of that.


KINKADE: That's all it took?

G. MANNING: That is all it took for fentanyl to kill our son.

KINKADE: It happened pretty quickly.

G. MANNING: And it happened pretty quickly.

L. MANNING: In about 20 to 30 seconds after he sniffed it, he was gone.

K. ABRAHAM: This is happening to middle class America. I never thought I would never get to see him grow old. You know, it's just -- it's not the natural order of things and that's been a real hard pill to swallow.

They welcome President Trump's declaration of a public health emergency which will allow the federal government to waive some regulations, give states more flexibility in how they use federal funds.

I think it's a step, maybe a small step but a step in the right direction.

This is happening to middle class America teen our, this generation of children. I never thought I would ever get to see him grow old. It's not the natural order of things. And that's been a real hard pill to swallow.

KINKADE (voice-over): Lynda Kinkade, CNN, Atlanta.





HOWELL: A frightening ordeal at sea. Two women and their dogs are safe and sound now.

ALLEN: It took them months at sea to get rescued, though. They planned to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti but bad weather damaged their boat and it went awry from there. Zain Asher has their story and their rescue.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A U.S. Navy vessel is met with air kisses and wagging tails, a joyful greeting from two American women and their dogs after being stranded at sea for five months.

The U.S.S. Ashland found the women this week about 1,400 kilometers off the coast of Japan. It was an odyssey that began this spring, when they left Hawaii and planned to sail to Tahiti.

But the trip was anything but smooth sailing. Bad weather damaged the ship's engine, the rigging on their mast broke and they drifted well off course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We made some modifications in order to proceed but we could not go more than about 4-5 knots. So we had limited capability to maneuver.

ASHER (voice-over): With little power to navigate, the women sent distress calls every day but they were too far out for anyone to hear them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very depressing and it was very hopeless but it's the only thing you can do. So you do what you can with what you have. You have no other choice.

ASHER (voice-over): Luckily, what they did have was a well-stocked boat with a water purifier and a year's supply of rice, oatmeal and pasta. Still, the rescue couldn't have come sooner, as hopes were fading, along with the condition of their boat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We probably had less than 24 hours before our boat sank.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was incredibly emotional. And it was so satisfying to know the men and women that serve our country would come and assist us.


ALLEN: Yes, they did. What a happy ending because it could have been quite different. At one point, they were surrounded by tiger sharks.

HOWELL: Scary.

Thanks for being with us. The news continues after the break.