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White House Not Commenting on Mueller Indictment; Spain Begins to Impose Direct Rule on Catalonia; The American Opioid Crisis; Contaminated Water a Danger for Puerto Ricans; Kenya Election; Mother Faces Prison for Sending Money to Radicalized Son; North Korea Tensions; The JFK Files; The Insect Apocalypse. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired October 29, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): No tweets, no statements, the White House stays silent about the first charges forthcoming in the Russia probe but the administration still had plenty to talk about.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Catalonia's ousted president calls for a peaceful opposition as Madrid takes direct control of the region. We're live in Barcelona with the very latest for you.
HOWELL (voice-over): In France, as officials try to understand how young people are becoming radicalized, what happens to the parents that they leave behind. The story of one woman's grief and the son she lost to terror and the price she may yet pay for.
ALLEN (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL (voice-over): I'm George Howell. 5:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
ALLEN: We begin in Washington where the waiting game is on. As reported first here on CNN, the first charges filed in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation were approved Friday, we don't know who and we don't know the precise charges but arrests are expected as early as Monday.
HOWELL: One Republican congressman says it is important not to lose sight of the big picture here. That is the Russia meddling case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LEE ZELDIN (R): There has been a lot of developments over the course of the last couple of weeks, some of which might favor one side of the aisle versus the other side. I think that it is important for all of us to be approaching this entire issue, not as one side or the other side but as Americans.
I'm someone who believes that the Russians did meddle in our elections in 2016. And that is, you know, part of this issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Again in the meantime, the White House has not commented on the indictments but has repeatedly called the investigation a witch hunt. The president's team is, though, speaking out against a familiar target, Hillary Clinton. Boris Sanchez reports.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House is not commenting on the latest news coming from Robert Mueller's probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
However, they are focusing a lot of their energy on a former political opponent of the president's, Hillary Clinton. Look at the tweets September sent out by Sarah Sanders on Saturday.
She writes, quote, "Clinton spokesman just said he's damn glad Clinton campaign colluded with Russia to spread disinformation about the president and influence election."
She goes on, "The evidence Clinton campaign, DNC and Russia colluded to influence the election is indisputable."
That "damn glad" reference in quotations, speaking about Brian Fallon, who said that he was happy that the Clinton campaign solicited the opposition research provided by Fusion GPS during the campaign; however, to call it collusion definitely goes a step further.
Beyond that, earlier this week, House Republicans announced they were launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia.
The president has alleged that the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, got bribes from Russians in exchange for a favorable uranium deal.
And beyond that, CNN has learned that the White House has pressed staffers to work with the Department of Justice to lift a gag order on a former FBI informant, that has information on that sale in order for him to testify during the course of the investigation.
Beyond all of that, the president is also pushing the State Department to release e-mails that it still has pertaining to Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state.
So while the White House, you would imagine, would be on the defensive, as news that charges stemming from Robert Mueller's investigation are imminent, they're very much on the offensive on an opponent of the president that he defeated about 12 months ago -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.
HOWELL: Boris Sanchez, stringing it all together and there is a lot to string together. Let's talk about it now with Ellis Henican, Ellis, the columnist behind "Trump's America" in "Metro Papers," live for us in London this hour.
Good to have you with us. Let's talk about the optics of the day, the President of the United States out golfing, the White House offering no comment to the reporting that charges are forthcoming and today not a single tweet on the president, who seems to take pleasure in chiming in on a whim.
What do you take of the noticeable silence on this issue?
ELLIS HENICAN, METRO PAPERS: I think notable is a good word; an eerie silence I would call it. I think the recognition is finally settling in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that this stuff could be pretty dangerous. I think, George, that explains the strategy --
HENICAN: -- we have seen over the past few days, as Boris was saying, it is something like keep your eye off the ball. Watch all this other stuff but please don't pay attention to Bob Mueller, his investigation.
HOWELL: Well, let's talk about what they are talking about, Ellis. They're talking about several things; the White House shifting the focus to the president's former rival for that office, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump even accusing Clinton of colluding with Russia.
So this shift in focus, does that seem more than just coincidence in light of the indictments?
HENICAN: It is designed to distract us, isn't it?
Listen, clearly there is a huge story that we stand right on the precipice of, the very first indictments in this investigation, serious investigation, into whether an enemy of ours tried to steal our election.
Whatever Hillary Clinton might have done or someone somehow connected to her, it is hard to imagine that it rises to the level of the real investigation here. So it is designed to distract you.
HOWELL: So at this point, we don't know the nature of these charges, we don't know who is charged. We do know that indictments are forthcoming.
Here's the question, though, if it turns out to be more tangential, such as money laundering, is that a political win for the president's case that there is no collusion?
That's what he claims
HENICAN: Here's the thing to remember. I know we're all very impatient but this is five months into a complex investigation. My God, it takes the FBI and federal prosecutors two, three years to do a narcotics investigation in The Bronx. This is not slow. So we really are at the very, very earliest stages
of this. And, you're right, it quite likely is something that is kind of on the periphery. That's the way the things unfold. You start in the outer circles and you move inexorably inward. That's just the process here.
HOWELL: We don't know who, again, could be charged in this case. But, Ellis, the question here, we know several names that have been out there, people who are certainly under scrutiny of this investigation.
So is this the sort of situation, where you will see people on the lower end of the spectrum, who, you know, are caught in the net and asked to, you know, bring the light to people who are higher up?
HENICAN: Let the flipping begin, right?
That would certainly be a common practice in these kinds of investigations. You want to start with the people on the outside, who can tell you about those above them.
Again, this really is in the speculation territory. Let's see who it is. Let's see what it is they know. Let's see how close they are to the president. The one thing we do know for certain is this thing is not close to over. So whatever happens this week, recognize that that's still an early round.
HOWELL: Ellis Henican, you know, a lot happening but here is the thing, we do understand that indictments are forthcoming, an indictment or indictments. So we'll have to see what happens this week. Ellis Henican, thank you for helping us to get some understanding on it all.
HENICAN: Good to see you.
HOWELL: Moving on to Spain, both the government and Catalan leaders calling for calm at a time when tensions are very high in that country. In a few hours' time, a pro-unity demonstration is set to happen in Barcelona, this as Spain's central government says that Catalonia's bid for independence, well, that's over.
ALLEN: Yes, Madrid has imposed direct rule on the region and dismantled its parliament after they voted overwhelmingly for independence on Friday. Spain's deputy prime minister is now in charge.
But dismissed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is urging Catalans to use democratic opposition to advance their calls, with new elections called for December. CNN's Erin McLaughlin joins us live from Barcelona.
Erin, how do they advance their cause with Madrid coming down so hard?
And what power does the president of Catalonia have anymore?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those are all key questions, really. We're going to be looking at tomorrow in terms of whether or not the now dismissed president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, actually shows up for work, if he shows up at the central government offices here in Barcelona and what happens if he does, how will Madrid respond to that.
We'll be looking at that tomorrow. In terms of today, the focus really being on this pro-unity rally; we understand demonstrators have just begun to arrive for this rally. We're looking at a couple of things in terms of this demonstration, seen as a key litmus test.
We'll be looking at how many people show up to demonstrate, demonstration officially expected to begin in about an hour's time. Catalonia is deeply divided on the subject of independence.
MCLAUGHLIN: It is worth noting that the lawmakers who passed this legislation calling for independence really only represent around 48 percent of the total electorate. So there are plenty of people here in Catalonia, who are not happy with the way things have unfolded, who are not happy with the Catalan government.
We'll be looking to see how many of those people actually turn out in Barcelona today to protest the Catalan president and this declaration of independence. We're also going to be looking at how the local police, known as the Mossos, respond.
The police force of some 17,000 police officers across Catalonia, they're also seen to be deeply divided on the subject of independence. We have obtained some internal letters that went out to police officers yesterday, calling on them to remain objective, to respect Catalan institutions, this as the interior minister for Spain sacked the head of the Mossos, Joseph Luis Trapero (ph). He's also being investigated for sedition, his passport confiscated.
So we'll see how the police respond and the numbers that turn out for that demonstration today -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Right, Erin, we should point out, though, even though some people are for unity, others for independence, these people on the streets, this has been a very, very peaceful movement, has it not?
MCLAUGHLIN: It has. We have seen, over the past weeks, a large number turnout for demonstrations, hundreds of thousands of people, some of the demonstrations for independence, some of the demonstrations against independence.
But for the most part, they have been peaceful. The violence that we saw on October 1st, the October 1st referendum, that was at the hands of the Spanish national police that came in and tried to enforce court orders declaring that referendum illegal.
So it will be interesting to see, again, that's why we're really focusing on the Mossos and how they respond because, if they do not follow orders, if they do not follow what Madrid says, then the national police, there is a possibility, would have to move in and establish law and order.
So we're just going to have to see how things play out and that's why this demonstration now unfolding, people are starting to arrive and it is expected to kick off in an hour's time. It's a really critical litmus test in all of this.
ALLEN: Certainly is and you'll be covering it for us, Erin McLaughlin, thank you.
HOWELL: The U.S. president says that a border wall could help stop the opioid crisis in the United States. Next, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta goes to the Mexican border to see just how effective a wall could be.
ALLEN: Also, the crisis in Puerto Rico continues. Now there's a potentially fatal threat lurking in the water after so many people look for ways to survive after Hurricane Maria.
ALLEN: The opioid epidemic in the U.S. is described as the worst drug crisis the country has ever seen, overdoses killing 100 people each day. The problem is so bad, the president called a public health emergency this week.
HOWELL: Experts say it is a positive start long overdue. It is not as helpful as declaring a national emergency, that would make new funding available. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examines whether a border wall could help stop this crisis.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What is the first thing that sort of flags this?
SCOTT BROWN, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS: Sometimes it's the driver's behavior. They're unnaturally nervous for crossing the border. Sometimes it's the car that hasn't crossed the border a lot or sometimes the car has crossed the border, you know, too often.
GUPTA (voice-over): What you're witnessing here are efforts in stopping drugs from coming through the U.S.-Mexican border?
BROWN: Now with almost every car crossing is crossing for a legitimate reason. It's a very small percentage that comes in carrying contraband but I think when the inspectors pick up on something their success rate is pretty high. When you saw the dog sit down at the back of the car that's how that dog alerts.
GUPTA: The special agent in charge Scott Brown oversees the Tucson field office for Homeland Security investigations and drugs are a big part of what he does.
(On camera): This is how it happens. I mean, what we're witnessing here is --
BROWN: Is what happens every day along the southwest border of the U.S. and, you know, the officers at the ports of entry are phenomenal, they're fantastic in identifying fresh tool marks that shouldn't be there. So a screw that's been recently turned, that there wouldn't be a reason for it to be turned. They can pick up on that. I mean, they are experts on what they do.
GUPTA: Was it human art and intelligence together?
BROWN: Yes. Absolutely.
GUPTA (voice-over): What they find? About 24 kilos of hard drugs. Minutes later, field testing reveals cocaine. (On camera): This is a win today.
BROWN: This is definitely a win.
GUPTA (voice-over): In the midst of the country's opioid epidemic, President Trump has made building up the wall a cornerstone of his agenda.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The wall is going to get built. Just in case anybody has any question, the wall is going to get built and the wall is going to stop drugs.
GUPTA: But I wanted to learn just how effective the wall would be at accomplishing that.
(On camera): This literally is a physical wall between two countries that we're looking at here.
BROWN: The vast amount of hard narcotics don't come through in places like this. The vast amount of hard narcotics come through at the ports of entry where we just were.
GUPTA (voice-over): And besides meth, cocaine, heroin or marijuana, it's fentanyl which is 50 times stronger than heroin, it's the biggest challenge nowadays. The most recent numbers for the Centers for Disease Control found that overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl rose over 72 percent in just a year.
(On camera): In the past cartels might try and smuggle 100 kilograms of drugs across the border. It wasn't easy to do. They were likely to get caught. But here's part of the problem. Nowadays, they can smuggle across something that looks like this.
This is just a one kilogram bag of flour but if this were street fentanyl it would cost about $8,000 to make, could be turned into a million pills and then sold for $20 million to $30 million on the black market. All of that from a small container that looks like this. BROWN: The vast majority of fentanyl is produced in China. It comes into the U.S. two ways. You know, it comes into Mexico where it's easy to pressed into pill form or combined with heroin. The other way it comes in is American consumers buying it direct oftentimes from vendors out of China.
GUPTA: So then it gets mailed in?
BROWN: U.S. mail, which is the most common, a very small quantity of fentanyl. It's very hard to detect in the masses of letters that come into the U.S. every day.
GUPTA: How effective is a wall at preventing drugs from getting into the United States?
BROWN: In terms of hard narcotics, no, I don't know that we will get immediately safer over hard narcotics. As of right now the vast majority of hard narcotics come in through the ports of entry in deep concealment or come in through, you know, the mail or express consignments.
GUPTA: It is worth pointing out again that that bag of flour, that one kilogram, two-pound bag of flour here, which I'm holding, if that represented $8,000 worth of raw ingredients for fentanyl, that can be turned into a million pills, sold for 20 to 30 --
GUPTA: -- bucks on the street per pill. That's $8,000 into $30 million.
You can see the economic incentives here, you can see why people will continue to try and try and try over again to get this stuff into the United States. And keep in mind, the fentanyl we're talking about here is not like anything I saw in medical school; it is 100 times more powerful than morphine, which is why it is so particularly dangerous -- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.
HOWELL: Switching now to weather, people in the northeastern part of the United States may have a reason to reflect on Hurricane Sandy from this year, five years ago.
ALLEN: They have got some more winds coming their way, nothing like Sandy. But still they got a little bit -- something to remind them.
HOWELL: Puerto Rico dealing with the aftermath of that big storm, millions of people still struggling to get back to normal life after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. At least 51 people have died because of that storm and its aftermath.
ALLEN: In the meantime, the U.S. territory still in a state of crisis. Power is down for 70 percent of the island. Only 41 percent of cell towers are back up and running and 20 percent of Puerto Ricans still don't have access to clean water. Hundreds of thousands of those who can't access clean water have been turning to contaminated sources.
HOWELL: And some have died as a result of that, in what officials are treating as a health emergency. CNN's Martin Savidge picks up this report.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jorge Antonio Sanyet struggles to understand how his father died two weeks after the hurricane, describing the symptoms that came on so suddenly.
JORGE ANTONIO SANYET, PUERTO RICO RESIDENT: Nausea --
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Nausea, stomach pains, headaches and diarrhea. The doctor diagnosed the flu and sent the man --
SAVIDGE: -- home where he only got worse.
SAVIDGE: So the family brought him to this regional hospital where unfortunately he died. And it was only then they learned what had made him so sick. Leptospirosis.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): I asked Jorge if he knew about it.
"No, I have never heard of it before," he tells me.
The source is bacteria and animal urine, making its way into rivers and lakes especially after flooding. Hurricane Maria triggered massive flooding while knocking out fresh water to many on the island. In desperation, Puerto Ricans have been turning to potentially contaminated rivers and waterways to wash, even to drink.
The Cruz family still has no water at their Canovanas home, so every other week they've been coming to the river. They do laundry and the children play.
I asked Jose if he had any fear about the water for his family. His answer was simple.
SAVIDGE: But in the town of Juncos, Maria Flores is worried. It's why every day she, along with her daughter and grandchildren, come to town and filled plastic jugs at the community well.
"We're in desperate need of it," she says. "I live on the second floor and I carry the containers with water every day. It is exhausting."
As the number of confirmed and suspected cases of Leptospirosis have grown, the government is trying to keep public fear in check, describing the situation as neither an epidemic nor a confirmed outbreak. But they are treating it as a health emergency.
Puerto Ricans have endured a long list of sufferings in the aftermath of Maria.
Now comes another potentially fatal threat lurking in the very water some of them relying on just to survive -- Martin Savidge, CNN.
ALLEN: Ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, she sent money to her son, an ISIS member, and now she's paying a stiff price for it. We'll have that story.
HOWELL: Plus the United States has a new submarine, described as one of the world's most technologically advanced. Next, how it could be used against North Korea. CNN NEWSROOM, live from Atlanta, Georgia, this hour, simulcast this hour on CNN U.S. here in the states and CNN International worldwide. Stay with us.
HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the headlines this hour.
HOWELL: Moving on now to Kenya, opposition leader Raila Odinga says low voter turnout in Thursday's presidential election is a vote of no confidence. The official voter turnout is still unclear with the numbers in dispute by the major parties. Odinga had called on Kenyans to boycott the vote, saying the election process didn't guarantee a fair outcome.
ALLEN: Adding to the confusion, several precincts were not able to vote on Election Day with polling stations remaining closed. Thursday's vote was the second time in three months that Kenya held a presidential election. Incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta won the first vote but results were overturned because of irregularities.
HOWELL: Now to Cuba and these acoustic attacks on diplomats at the U.S. embassy there. The United States wanted to keep the names of those affected private. But in a TV program Thursday night, Cuba named nine of them, which it identified as diplomats.
It also denied targeting the Americans and said no evidence exists that proves anything actually happened. In September, the U.S. State Department ordered all nonessential personnel and diplomat families to leave Cuba.
ALLEN: We want to look at an issue now facing parents, whose sons or daughters join ISIS. First, they lose their children to a terror group. And then they're forced to turn from them when their children reach out for help.
HOWELL: CNN's Melissa Bell sits down with a French mother, whose son died while fighting for the terror group in Syria. And she was sentenced to prison because she sent money to help her son.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A few photographs are all that Nathalie Haddadi has left.
NATHALIE HADDADI, MOTHER OF ISIS JIHADIST: (Speaking French).
Nathalie Haddadi would never have believed that her son, Belabbas, whose innocent face stares back from the photos, would decide that his destiny was jihad. The first signs came after a trip to see his father in Algeria, then, with money sent to him by his mother, Nathalie, a holiday he claimed to be on in Malaysia.
A few months later, he called from the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS.
HADDADI: (Speaking French).
BELL (voice-over): Several weeks later, another phone call came, the one that every mother dreads.
HADDADI: (Speaking French).
BELL (voice-over): What followed for Nathalie was not a period of quiet mourning but a trial. In September, she was sentenced to two years in jail for having sent her son money while he was in Malaysia.
Nathalie says her son was the victim of brainwashing and that she is now the victim of a witch hunt by a state that is powerless to pursue the jihadists themselves.
In all, French authorities believe there are around 500 French citizens currently in ISIS territory, who are either jihadists or the children of jihadists, men, women and children whose numbers have fallen as they have fallen victim to the war but whose families are now facing prosecution in cases like Nathalie's.
Among those still in ISIS territory, Sylvie's daughter and three small grandchildren. She says her family has been abandoned by French authorities; help lines provided by the government have proven useless and no one seems prepared to help, she says. CNN reached out to the France's interior ministry but got no response.
SYLVIE, MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER: "I have more fear than hope but I try to keep faith nonetheless. Not helping them is sentencing them to death without a trial. It is true. And, yes, I'd give money, I'd give my life, yes, of course. It is the same for every mother.
"When we mothers think about it, we get panic attacks. So we push those thoughts away because it is unbearable. It is just unbearable."
BELL (voice-over): Back in Strasburg, Nathalie is waiting for the result of her appeal, alone. Her only support the informal networks that have been created with other mothers of jihadists. They are united, she says, in their grief and in their understanding of the strongest of bonds.
HADDADI: (Speaking French).
BELL (voice-over): -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
ALLEN: The U.S. Defense chief is warning, the nuclear threat from North Korea is getting worse. During a visit to South Korea, James Mattis said it is now more urgent to cooperate closely with Seoul, South Korea.
Mattis is also threatening Pyongyang with "a massive military response" -- those are his words -- if the regime attacks the U.S. or uses nuclear weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors in the world, through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs. It engages in outlaw behavior, threatening behavior, condemned by unanimous U.N. Security Council resolutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: A show of force this weekend by the United States. A B-2 stealth bomber flying on a long-range mission from Whitman Air Force Base in Missouri to an undisclosed location in the operating area of the U.S. Pacific Command.
The Defense Department says the missions demonstrate its commitment to U.S. allies.
ALLEN: The U.S. has a powerful new submarine, described as one of most advanced in the world.
HOWELL: Our Brian Todd explains how it could be used against underwater threats, including those from North Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May God bless her and all that sail in her.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A 360-foot-long 8,000-ton underwater menace that could face off with Kim Jong-un. Behind all that scaffolding, America's newest fast attack submarine, the USS South Dakota. It's a Virginia class sub like this and it will be ready to enter the fleet by late next year with stealth capability.
CAPT. JERRY HENDRIX (RET.), FORMER NAVY SUBAMARINE HUNTER: It's one of newest and quietest ships that we have in the world today with regard to submarines.
TODD: If it deploys in the Pacific, analysts say, the South Dakota will likely at some point sail near the Korean peninsula to counter an ambitious submarine program being developed by Kim Jong-un.
LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER (RET.), FORMER U.S. MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVE: The North Koreans have been trying to develop their own submarine capability, everything from sub-surface warfare to ballistic missile launchers. They tested it all. They're eventually going to get to the point where they can potentially launch intercontinental or some level of ballistic missile from a submarine that could be nuclear tipped.
TODD: Kim has already test-launched missiles from a submarine.
Recent satellite imagery from the monitoring service 38 North shows a North Korean ballistic missile sub undergoing what could be some important upgrades. CNN has learned the South Dakota, like others in the Virginia class, will be able to launch Tomahawk missiles, gather intelligence and even --
TODD (voice-over): -- Navy SEALs.
SHAFFER: They could be deployed in a situation where we don't trust the other capabilities of intelligence gathering. We want to verify that or if we want to verify the North Koreans are telling us something, we want to necessarily have someone who could put eyes on the ground, eyes on target to verify that. Clearly, it's a highly dangerous mission.
TODD: In what would be a Cold War style cat and mouse game with North Korean submarines, experts say, the stealth capability of subs like the South Dakota could make the difference between life and death.
HENDRIX: Even the humans that live on board them are trained to be quiet, so that they put the least amount of noise into the water. We often joke, you know, with regard to these electric boats, when people ask us, well, how loud are they and we always ask, well, how loud is your flashlight?
TODD: U.S. officials and outside experts say it is not just the North Korean submarine threat that the U.S. has to counter, they say China and Russia are rapidly improving the technology and the lethality of their submarine fleets and they're getting more and more aggressive in the Pacific region -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
HOWELL: Brian, thank you.
Still ahead, some of the twists, turns and surprises; we found many things in the JFK files. Stay with us.
ALLEN: President Trump is again pledging to release all the secret documents concerning the JFK assassination. On Saturday afternoon Mr. Trump repeated a tweet from Friday, saying all files would be released except for the names and addresses of anyone still living.
HOWELL: Later on Saturday, he tweeted the JFK files are released long ahead of schedule. But at last check --
HOWELL: -- no new files have been made public. We have had our teams looking through the documents to see what new has been discovered. These documents that have been released. Randi Kaye has details on some of what we found.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just weeks before assassinating President John F. Kennedy, newly released JFK files reveal not only did Lee Harvey Oswald travel to Mexico City, but Oswald spoke with a KGB officer there at the Russian embassy who worked for a department responsible for sabotage and assassination.
Adding to the intrigue, a CIA memo detailing an intercepted phone call from Oswald to the embassy. Oswald in broken Russian asked if there was, quote, "anything new concerning the telegram to Washington."
The new documents also reveal the president's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the FBI had been warned about a new book alleging Robert Kennedy's affair with actress Marilyn Monroe.
An 11-page document addressed to then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover reveals how the book claimed the younger Kennedy had an affair with Monroe and had her killed when she threatened to expose that affair.
The allegation was deemed false with a memo noting that Robert Kennedy was in San Francisco with his wife at the time of the Monroe's death. And it turns out even before Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby, there was a warning his life was in jeopardy.
A memo from then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover reveals that the day after JFK was killed, the FBI got a call from a man talking in a calm voice and saying he was a member of a committee organized to kill Oswald.
Hoover says the FBI shared that information with the Dallas police chief. Hoover said back in 1963 that he was assured adequate protection would be given. However, this was not done. Oswald was shot dead while being escorted out of the basement of the Dallas police department.
And what about those rumored plots to kill Fidel Castro, who at the time was the leader of Cuba? The new JFK files contain a 1975 document detailing how then attorney general Robert Kennedy told the FBI that he learned the CIA had hired someone to approach the mob about killing Castro. Another plot to kill Castro detailed the documents would have involved the CIA's use of an American lawyer sent to negotiate with Castro for the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. The plan was for the lawyer to give Castro, who liked to skin dive, a dive suit contaminated with a disabling fungus and tuberculosis in the breathing apparatus. The American lawyer didn't go through with it.
In another surprising twist, the documents show that the FBI had once suspected Kennedy's vice president, Lyndon Johnson, may have been a member of the KKK.
An internal FBI memo from 1964 shows an informant said the KKK had, quote, "documented proof" that Johnson had been a member of the Klan early in his political career. Fascinating perhaps, but no proof was ever provided -- Randi Kaye, CNN New York.
ALLEN: Interesting insights into those files.
HOWELL: Yes, for sure.
ALLEN: Coming up, the insect apocalypse: why a thinning bug population is keeping scientists up at night.
HOWELL: Mexico's Day of the Dead is not until Wednesday but the celebration started on Saturday. Thousands of people came together in the streets of Mexico City for a very special parade there.
ALLEN: This year, rescuers from Mexico's recent earthquake were honored. The Day of the Dead goes back hundreds of years but this is Mexico City's first parade celebrating it. And organizers say, get this, they got the idea from a scene in the last James Bond movie.
HOWELL: Did not know that. Wow.
ALLEN: All right. We often think of them as just pests and swat them and stomp on them. But it seems like we really need our insects.
HOWELL: Like why are they in the house?
ALLEN: They're an important part of our ecosystem.
HOWELL: So in some parts of the world, though, they're vanishing. And people don't know exact reasons for that. A group of scientists looking for the answer, here is CNN's Atika Shubert with more on that story.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It doesn't look like much, a lone tent, fluttering near a copse of trees but this is a crucial part of a 25-year effort to track creatures that make up two-thirds of animal life on Earth: insects.
They are vanishing by the millions. Over the last three decades, the number of insects has dropped by more than 75 percent in nature reserves in Germany.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know it is happening. But the magnitude is much stronger than we realized in the past.
SHUBERT (voice-over): The Krefeld Entomological Society is at least a century old. They compile and sort every wasp, fly, bee and countless flying others that get caught in its nets, providing priceless raw data for ecologists.
They weigh the biomass, all the insects collected in a week, from 42 nets stationed across Germany.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the old have let (ph).
SHUBERT (voice-over): Dr. Zorb (ph) shows us the large vat of insects collected in a summer week 20 years ago compared to the thin sample collected today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get the main problem with the extinction of species in certain places.
SHUBERT (voice-over): Scientists say butterflies and bees have declined in Western Europe and North America.
So why are insects vanishing? The study says more research is needed to pinpoint the exact cause but it is probably not climate change. Rising temperatures should create a thriving environment --
SHUBERT (voice-over): -- for insects but numbers are still plummeting. The answer may be closer to home.
SHUBERT: Now these nets are stationed inside nature reserves, what is supposed to be a protected environment. But take a look at this. The nature reserve is often bordering right up against agricultural land. And that means insects are flying from protected areas into hostile environments.
SHUBERT (voice-over): Insecticides used in farms have already been detected, absorbed inside the trees of nature reserves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is increasing evidence that these local situations do affect the insects, not because it is lethal but because it really disrupts the life cycle.
SHUBERT (voice-over): Vanishing insects have already had a debilitating impact on birds; it is only a matter of time before it affects people.
Here's de Kroon (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Insects are very important. I think everybody realizes that. They're very important as food sources, for example, for birds but also for mammals and bats. They're very important as pollinators for all our crops.
There is substantial loss in crop yield and profit if these wild pollinators are vanishing. So that really is affecting us ourselves.
SHUBERT (voice-over): Now the team is racing to find the exact reason behind the vanishing of insects and the hope of stopping it before it is too late -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Germany.
HOWELL: Definitely something to consider.
ALLEN: Thanks for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: I'm George Howell. For the viewers in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. For viewers around the world, Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT" is ahead. Thank you for watching CNN, the world's news leader.