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Aired April 30, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:17] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Waiting for evidence, the U.S. reacts to Kim Jong-un's promise to shut down North Korea's nuclear testing facilities.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Stepping down, the U.K. home secretary resigns, apologizing for misleading parliament about the Windrush scandal.
CHURCH: A caravan of asylum seekers from Central America arrives at the U.S. border, but they're not being encouraged by the U.S. government.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all the world, I'm Rosemary Church.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell, from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. NEWSROOM starts.
Around the world, good day to you. We start with the possible breakthrough between the United States and North Korea. The Trump administration trying to figure out if North Korea is serious about peace and denuclearization. This, after reports the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un will shut down a nuclear test site next month. South Korea says he made the overture at a landmark Inter-Korean summit on Friday.
CHURCH: The U.S. now faces its own potential summit with North Korea. President Donald Trump signaled Saturday it could take place within four weeks. Top U.S. officials say they welcome offers by North Korea to scrap its nukes but warn this could just be a ploy by Pyongyang.
And for a look at how South Korea was responding to Mr. Kim's promises, CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul. Good to see you, Paula. So, images from this summit have rocked the world, it has to be said. But how big a deal is North Korea's promise to close its nuclear testing facilities given it has now achieved what it wanted with its nuclear program and has no further need for tests?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a good question, Rosemary. I mean, the fact is, North Korea had, a week ago, said that the testing was over, the nuclear missile testing was mission accomplished as far they were concerned. Not many experts believe they have completed their nuclear capability. But the fact that North Korea feels that it has, it's got to a certain point where it can now negotiate, is the part to focus on. So they will close then this Punggye-ri test site in May.
The crucial part of being told by many people I've spoken to today is how they will shut it down. They have said that they will invite experts and journalists to come and watch, to keep transparency. But there are certain ways of making sure that it can't quickly be reused once again, so it's what sort of experts will be invited to see exactly what's happening. But it is a timeline that we -- we're missing before. So we just took this from Blue House on Sunday. It was partly agreed at the summit meeting.
So, we also have a timeline of May 5th, we're being told, form the North Korean side to actually chance their clocks, their half an hour behind Seoul at the moment, they're going to unify time across the Peninsula. And we've heard today from the South Korean side that they're going to dismantle their propaganda broadcast speakers, which blast (ph) propaganda across the border into North Korea. They're going to dismantle those from tomorrow. So we're seeing these incremental steps that the South Korean is saying. So -- that it's showing that they are stopping the hostilities towards the North.
CHURCH: And Paula, U.S. President Trump says that this historic moment all happened because of him. Is that how South Korea sees it?
HANCOCKS: It's interesting because most South Koreans wonder why the only person who hasn't claimed credit is the one person who potentially should, and that's South Korean President Moon Jae-in. He has been happy to say it's Donald Trump that has put the hard work into this, that has made this possible. We heard it from the South Korean foreign minister as well, giving all credit to Mr. Trump.
But certainly, credit, we're being told, should go also to the South Korean president for creating this environment, the fact that this was even able to happen. He has been trying to make this happen since he came to power last May. He's been trying to bring the U.S. president along with him. And, Mr. Trump has been resisting, even calling him an apizza (ph) at one point. But now, we're at the point where we are expecting to see this summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un and many believes that Mr. Moon should get some of the credit. His approval ratings are very high in this country at the moment, around 70% showing that people approve of what he's doing.
[02:05:01] In fact, one other poll I wanted to mention from real meeting, which is very interesting. The question was, do you trust North Korea? And 64.7% say that they do trust North Korea of those polls since the summit. Before, it was 14%. So a massive jump in trust according to those polls. So it shows that President Moon Jae- in has taken a fed (ph) that it's a population along with him in this summit. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. And he talked even before he was voted in, he talked about reaching out to North Korea and he has done just that. Paula Hancocks joining us live from Seoul in South Korea, which is just after 3:00 in the afternoon. Many thanks to you.
HOWELL: And now let's put this into focus with Robert Kelly. Robert, a political science professor at Pusan National University, live from Busan, South Korea. Always a pleasure to have you, (INAUDIBLE) to talk about this.
Look, there is a great deal of optimism, surely, about North Korea's pledges. But there is also skepticism because as we heard from President Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, the U.S. has been here before. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The North Koreans have already agreed to this. They agreed to it in 1992 with South Korea and they've pledged similar things since then. Now, it's also the case that they've lied about it and broken their commitments, just one reason there's nobody in the Trump administration starry-eyed about what may happen here. But by demonstrating they've made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons, it would be possible to move quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Pointing out the North Koreans would probably say the same of the United States as far as commitments, but the question here, in your estimation, what makes this latest overtures different or is there value in the idea that past may serve as prologue here?
ROBERT KELLY, PROFESSOR, PUSAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Yes, I think maybe the big difference is the level of hype, to be honest, as adviser Bolton and many others have said. I think the punditry, broadly speaking, over the weekend was more or less accurate on this. You know, we have been here before, right? The North Koreans have said these kinds of things. I mean, some people have asked actually, his declaration on, you know, (INAUDIBLE) just like the one from 2007.
So, the real question then is, what comes next, right? Is there going to be a verification? Are we going to get inspectors in there (ph) as we can actually find out what they have and are they going to start cutting out missiles? Are they kind of give us an inventory stockpile, a stockpile of inventory, for example. You know, I mean, these kinds of questions, right? I mean, are we going to get some safety concerns taken care of, you know, there's a lot of fear (ph), for example, there might be a turnover (ph) (INAUDIBLE) at the test site that's going to be close down.
You know, all these questions just -- those are waiting. And I think sort of the disappointment is that, as we said, we've been here before. So it's a little disappointing that the South Koreans couldn't actually get the North Koreans to agree to something, a little bit better than what we got on Friday, which you've kind of seen before. We all kind of saw this coming, and still haven't gotten anything really formal. And that means with the Trump summit coming up into six weeks, there's an awful lot to do. HOWELL: There's talks, there's talk of transparency. But again, both
that making it very clear in his interview of the administration will be more focused on actions as opposed to words. North Korea, though, also responding in kind, they are wanting security assurances about U.S. nonaggression, the U.S. has agreed to do that before but such -- should such an olive branch, I should say, be offered again ahead of a possible meeting do you think?
KELLY: Yes, I mean, again, we've already said it in the past. I don't see any reason why we can't reiterate it unless the Trump administration is sort of set on conflict. And the only reason I mentioned that is because last year, it looks like that for a few months. But, a war would be a disaster and I think it's a good idea for the United States to put out there to see what the North Koreans will give us in response. And we should try to deal with them, right? I mean, the problem isn't -- again, the problem isn't sort of the rhetoric, the problem is the implementation that follows up, right? And particularly, (INAUDIBLE) going to get hairy is inspectors, right? And we're going to have to have sort of foreigners and preferably Americans or from countries -- people who come to United States for trust actually going into North Korea, and that means cameras and stuff like that, that's where in the past, the North Koreans really resisted.
And so until that comes out, it's still just a lot of happy (ph) atmospheric. I mean, it's good stuff, it's great the North Koreans are saying these things, they're going to stop testing, that's definitely an improvement. But, you know, but Trump administration in particularly, adviser Bolton particularly, I mean, they're very impatient for this. And they're well-known hoax on this. They're not going to wait. The North Koreans have got to give something to the Trump people soon.
HOWELL: We appreciate your time and perspective today. A lot of that will certainly be revealed in the coming weeks. We'll stay in touch with you.
KELLY: Thank you for having me.
CHURCH: British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce a new home secretary in the coming hours. Amber Rudd resigns Sunday saying she inadvertently misled a government committee when she said she wasn't aware of deportation targets for immigrants.
HOWELL: Her resignation is part of an ongoing controversy over the treatment of Caribbean migrants that the government invited into the country after World War II. Rudd has been one of the prime minister's closest allies. Her departure comes as May's government struggles with Brexit negotiations without a majority in parliament.
CHURCH: For more on this, Erin McLaughlin joins us now from London. So Erin, given Rudd has been such a firm supporter of Prime Minister May, what are the ramifications of her sudden departure and how might this impact Brexit negotiations?
[02:10:09] ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, I think that very much remains to be seen at this point. The implications for Theresa May, as you say, she was a staunch ally, she's also a very strong pro-remainder (ph) voice, actually went head to head with Boris Johnson during the Referendum Campaign advocating for the U.K to stay within the E.U. So, it is seen as a loss for Theresa May.
But, as you say, in that letter that she wrote to the prime minister over the weekend, she admits to "inadvertently" misleading when it comes to quota as it had been set by the home office relating to the deportation of illegal immigrants, despite mounting evidence over the weekend that suggested that Rudd not only knew about those targets, she actually helped set them not according to the opposition looking at a leak memo that was -- that her office was copied on referencing the targets. Also a letter from Rudd to the prime minister mentioning a target of 10% increase in deportations of illegal immigrants set for the next few years.
So, all of that adding pressure on the home secretary to resign which, of course, she did last night. I have a section of the letter here that she sent to the prime minister in which she mentions that memo specifically saying, "I have reviewed the advice I was given on this issue and become aware of information provided to my office which makes mention of targets. I should have been aware of this and I take full responsibility for the fact that I was not."
Now, that really marked the tipping point in all of this, but the fact of the matter is there had been pressure on Rudd for weeks regarding our handling of this so-called Windrush scandal. Windrush, as you say, is in reference to a whole generation of migrants who were invited, encouraged to come to the United Kingdom in the wake of World War II to help rebuild the country only to have been, in some cases, harassed by the home office decades later for paperwork proving their right to remain in the country.
One of those individuals, Barbara Isaacs, says she was rendered homeless after she lost her benefits -- after the home office asked her to prove of her right to remain in the U.K. Take a listen to Barbara's story.
BARBARA ISAACS, WINDRUSH MIGRANT: We're not wanted here. That's the way they make me feel. I'm not wanted, I'm not valued, I'm not nobody, I have no identity. As far as they're concerned, I'm an alien.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Barbara Isaacs says in 2008, her life forever changed. A mother of six struggling with mental health issues, and living on benefits, she applied to the British government to renew her welfare. Something she'd received for decades, only to suddenly be told there was no record she existed.
ISAACS: How can you throw away a whole generation of people that you invited to come here.
MCLAUGHLIN: Barbara's part of what's known as the Windrush generation, a wave of migrants from the Caribbean, encouraged to come rebuild the U.K after World War II. They were told they could stay for the rest of their lives. Many lived in the U.K without paperwork.
Decades later, the government would begin to demand documentation to prove their right to stay. Documentation many say they don't have.
To make matters worse, the British government acknowledges it destroyed thousands of landing cards. As a result, some were threatened with deportation and deprived of badly need benefits.
AMBER RUDD, U.K. HOME SECRETARY: I bitterly, deeply regret that I didn't see it as more than individual cases that had gone wrong that needed addressing. I didn't see it as a systemic issue until very recently.
MCLAUGHLIN: Barbara is one of the lucky ones. She kept her old passport which shows she arrived when she was six. Even so, she had to prove she had the right to remain in the United Kingdom.
ISAACS: They wanted 42 years' worth of information. They didn't even save their paperwork for 42 years.
MCLAUGHLIN: It took Isaacs three years to come up with the money and the paperwork necessary to apply. In the meantime, she says she lost all government support.
ISAACS: How can you have lived somewhere all of your life and 50 years later, you're sleeping on the streets, begging people for certain things?
MCLAUGHLIN: You're homeless.
ISAACS: Yes, totally. I was homeless, destitute, it's so degrading.
MCLAUGHLIN: Isaacs was granted residency in 2011, the same year she applied, something the home office points to in a statement responding to CNN's request for comment. Adding that it's looking into her case, "as a matter of urgency".
[02:15:11] Even though she once again receives government support, for Isaacs and so many others from the Windrush generation, the damage is deep and permanent.
ISAACS: I've cried me a river and I've almost drowned in it. A part of me has died, completely dead.
MCLAUGHLIN: Now, it's unclear how many people like Barbara are actually out there, but what is clear is any remaining questions about the Windrush scandal will fall to British Prime Minister Theresa May who, of course, was home secretary prior to amber Rudd.
CHURCH: Just shocking ramifications of that. Erin McLaughlin joining us there from London, 7:15 in the morning. Thank you so much.
HOWELL: Still ahead here on the broadcast, the top diplomat of the United States is in the Middle East this hour. We'll take a look at the message he's bringing the U.S. President Donald Trump.
CHIRCH: Plus, so close but still so firm, migrants trick (ph) across Mexico to take asylum in the U.S. But now they feel what could happen now to turning themselves into the U.S. authorities.
We'll back with that and more in just a moment.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORT ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN World Sport headline, starting up for the crucial game seven in the NBA with the league's most famous player, Lebron James and his team Cavaliers found themselves just one game away from elimination against the Indiana Pacers.
Well, come with the outcome as a man as they say, James netting 45 points, the 33-year-old three-time NBA champion has still never lost the first round Finals (ph) series in his career. A perfect 13, you know, and Cleveland topping Indiana 105 to 101 and the next phase (ph) with Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
And football Barcelona clinching at 25th Spanish La Liga crown in seven in the past 10 years after winning 4-2, and Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday, a hat trick from Lionel Messi did the trick, sealing with three points which means neither rival from Madrid Real (ph) or Atletico can catch the Catalan's. Messi now with 32 goals in La Liga this season.
And in tennis, Ralph Lauren (ph) launching an 11-career triumph for the Barcelona Open on Sunday, also extending a very impressive streak of 46 consecutive sets. One on the dirt, but 31-year old from Spain beating Greek young Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2, 6-1 for a 19-straight match with (INAUDIBLE), it's getting firmly, his favorite for an 11th cycle at the French Open, Roland Garros, the major tournament begins May 21st.
That is looking at CNN World Sport headlines, I'm Patrick Snell.
[02:20:11] CHURCH: Well, fix the Iran nuclear deal or we're out. That is the message U.S. President Donald Trump is sending to allies in the Middle East.
HOWELL: It's being delivered by the new U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who was on a trip throughout the region. He's now in Amman, Jordan meeting with King Abdullah and foreign minister there.
During a stop in Israel, Pompeo said the administration's problem with the Iran deal goes beyond just nuclear weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: President Trump has been pretty clear. This deal is very flawed. He's directed the administration, Trump fixed it. And if we can't fix it, he's going to withdraw from the deal.
As part of the president's comprehensive Iran strategy, we are also working to counter the broad set of non-nuclear treats trans-missile pg systems. His support for Hezbollah.
The importation (ph) of thousands of proxy fighters into Syria and its assistance to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. We look forward to working closely with strong allies, like Israel, in countering these treats. And rolling back to the full range of Iranian-Malayan influence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Live on the story this hour in Amman, Jordan, CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman. Ben, good to have you. The major theme we've heard from Pompeo throughout the region has been focused on one thing, countering Iranian influence. What more can you tell us about what he had to say?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly what we know is that in Saudi Arabia and in Israel, he's had a very receptive audience to this message.
Both Riyadh and Tel Aviv had been very opposed to the Iranian nuclear agreement since it was signed in 2015. But that concern is not shared everywhere. Here in Jordan where they have a weak economy, they have problematic neighbors. The Jordanians are not happy about the American decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. For the Jordanians, they have much more immediate concerns.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The roar of heavy machine gun fire, crack a little small arms. The boom of tanks, all fired not in anger, but in preparation for what might come.
This is eagle lion 2018, Jordanian-American war games in the desert.
(on camera) U.S. and Jordanian forces have been holding joint exercises like this for years. And during those years, the scenario was fairly generic, with the passage of time, however, the scenario they're working on seems to look ever more like Syria.
(voice-over) The troops are simulating an assault on an imaginary refugee camp that is fallen under the control of extremist.
LT. GEN. MICHAEL GARRETT, U.S. ARMY CENTRAL COMMAND: Syria is, you know, on their border and Syria and the refugees that are coming towards Jordan is a concern.
WEDEMAN: This actual refugee camp, Rukban, sits on the Syrian side of the border with Jordan. In recent years, ISIS's targeted Jordanian forces from Rukban, and officials here worry ISIS sells have multiplied there.
GEN. MOHAMMED AL-THALJ, DIRECTOR OF TRAINING JORDAN ARMY: We have in Jordan here, we have to be prepared for all scenarios actually, whether it's Rukban camp, whether it is another camp, whether it is a sudden, you know, influx of the Syrian, you know, refugees again from Ghouta or from Damascus or from any other part of Syria into Jordan.
WEDEMAN: More than a million Syrians have fled to Jordan in the past seven years, putting strains on an already weak economy. Yet another source of instability warns analyst Amer Alsabaileh.
AMER ALSABAILEH, ANALYST: I think Jordan might suffer from having bad economic conditions, which might turn to social process (ph) and that at this stage, there's a new strategy for terroristic group to seize any social process and trying to radicalize it.
WEDEMAN: And so, they're also practicing for unrest sparked by the hypothetically intensification of U.S. strikes on Syria. These aren't real protesters, by the way, but rather Jordanian military personnel drafted to play the part.
Complete with a simulated evacuation of U.S. embassy staff were then flown to ships at Red Sea. And no exercise with Syria in mind would be complete without a simulated chemical attack. Training also focuses on the possible use of biological and nuclear weapons.
[02:25:07] MAJOR GENERAL JON MOTT, U.S. ARMY CENTRAL COMMAND: Everything has to do with Syria and Iraq and the whole region, so it's the culmination of all of those things.
WEDEMAN: A culmination of an array of possibilities, none of them the last (ph) remote.
WEDEMAN: And speaking of Syria, we do have a report from the Syrian Arab news agency that at 10:30 local time last night, there were strikes on Syrian military basis in Aleppo and Hama. And it's not clear who did. But certainly it may have been one of the neighbors of Syria to the South.
HOWELL: Ben Wedeman, thank you so much. Of course, the story will continue to follow. Thanks for your reporting today.
CHURCH: Let's take a short break here. But still to come up, a month-long (INAUDIBLE) Mexico. The legal journey is just beginning for migrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border. This story is next.
HOWELL: Plus, a controversial performance of mysterious (ph) White House Correspondent's Dinner has someone, during at the comedian, went too far. We'll take a look as CNN NEWSROOM pushes on.
[02:30:14] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We are coast to coast across the United States. Good morning to you and to our viewers around the world this hour. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Rosemary Church. Good to have you with us. Let's take the headlines for you this hour. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. goal in North Korea in remains denuclearization. He spoke with ABC News on Sunday about his recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. His comments come ahead of a potential summit between President Trump and Mr. Kim. Pompeo says he believes there's a real opportunity this time with Pyongyang.
HOWELL: But now the U.S. Secretary of State is in Jordan for the talk with the country's foreign minister and King Abdullah. This marks Pompeo's first tour of the Middle East as Secretary of State. He's been talking with U.S. allies in the region about the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Syrian War and other key issues.
CHURCH: U.S. Defense officials say the United States and its coalition partners are not responsible for reported missile strikes in Syria. State media say military basis were Hama and the country side near Aleppo. The reports did not specify who may have launched the strikes and there's no confirmation of any damage or casualties.
HOWELL: At least 21 people had been killed and 27 others wounded in two blasts in an area of the Afghan capital where government buildings are located. Among those killed, chief photographer Shah Marai with Agence France-Presse. The news agency reports the second blast targeted the group of journalists who rushed to the scene of the first attack.
CHURCH: Afghan Police say the attacker was disguised as a cameraman. So far there are no claims of responsibility. Security officials have warned there could be more attacks as the country prepares for Parliamentary election in October. Just last week, dozens were killed at a voter registration center. We'll have more on this next hour.
HOWELL: And a story we've been following. Dozens of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Central America that are now seeking asylum at the U.S. border.
HOWELL: Migrants celebrated when they reach the border. They spent months trekking across Mexico but now their legal journey is just beginning.
CHURCH: Well, many are afraid of being deported if they're not granted asylum. Another (INAUDIBLE) being separated from their children. Some 50 migrants have been admitted into a processing center at a point of entry in San Diego. Dozens more are waiting outside until authorities consider their case. Our Leyla Santiago has more.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've seen many people with tears, many people saying we're excited to finally be here but we come here with excitement and a lot of anxiety. They are very anxious, very nervous especially the mothers and the grandmothers. Wondering what will happen when they cross this border. They -- it has been weeks and weeks of walking, of riding on a train. On a train in which I watched as a pregnant mother of two sat on top of scrap metal and trash for hours in the cold and through the night. They have slept in - on the floors of shelters to arrive at this very moment. Something that stuck with me, one woman who said I think a lot of people think we just woke up one day and said oh, I'm going to go to the U.S. but this has been a very, very tough, tough journey for them.
Many people, sniffling as well as coughing, many of them are sick because of the type of environment in which they have travelled through to come here, this woman obviously, you know, wheelchair, that quite frankly looks very sort of beat up. So I can only imagine what that wheelchair, the story that that wheelchair would tell. I want to sort of make sure you understand what's happening right now beyond the high emotion, the migrants that are very excited but also anxious. We are right now not far, within feet of the United States of America. So many of these migrants will tell you horrific stories of what they left behind in Central America. So what they see on that other side is hope and what they're hoping for is to seek asylum. This is the legal way to do it. U.S. Federal Law says, if you want to seek asylum, you go to a port of entry, that is what they're doing.
CHURCH: And for more on this and other U.S. political stories, I'm by James Davis. He is the dean at the University of St. Gallen School of Economics and Political Science in Munich. Thank you so much for being with us.
JAMES DAVIS, DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF ST. GALLEN SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE: Thank you, Rosemary.
[02:35:01] CHURCH: Now, as we just saw, migrants from Central America now at the U.S. border plan to seek asylum. But President Trump says he won't let them in. This is what he had to say about that matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our laws are so corrupt and so stupid. I call them the dumbest immigration laws anywhere on earth. If a person puts their foot over the line, we have to take them into our country. We have to register them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So James, these migrants at the U.S. border are following the legal path to seek asylum but Mr. Trump says no and calls U.S. laws corrupt and stupid. So what might this mean for these migrants and to immigrations laws in this country?
DAVIS: Right. Well, I mean, I think what Trump is doing is he's turning an issue of American and international law into an issue of American domestic politics. So American law is clear on this. International law is clear on this. If a person shows up in a border and ask for asylum, for political asylum, they're entitled to have their situation evaluated and if the criteria are met to be granted asylum. Trump has decided to turn an asylum issue into a regular issue of migration or illegal and that's really not what this is about. And so he's trying to I think mobilize his base, he's trying to provide some red meat to his -- to his followers. And again, turn this legal issue into a domestic political issue. And I think he's doing this with the purpose of trying to mobilize the Republican base in advance at the elections that are coming up this fall.
CHURCH: Yes. And speaking which, let's turn to Trump's approval rating. He tweeted this over the weekend, just got recent poll, much higher President O, being Obama, of course, at the same time. Well, much more has been accomplished. So is he right or is he wrong on approval rating for starters and on the accomplishments?
DAVIS: Right. Well, you know, the poll numbers have been a bit better for President Trump in the last couple of weeks. There is a gallop poll that for the first time in quite a long time showed him either, you know, at 50 percent approval rating or approaching that. But these are single data points. If you take a poll of polls, if you try to average him across all polls and each poll is a little bit different or maybe picking up different parts what the electorate is thinking. If you -- if you -- if you take a poll of polls roughly, he still polls roughly eight percentage points below where President Obama was at this time. So, I think his numbers, you know, are still stock somewhere in the high 30s or low 40s. Which does not or tend well of the Republicans in the -- in the upcoming midterm elections. Has he accomplished more? One could argue that he's accomplished a few things more than his predecessor did but let's face it, he's got control of both House of Congress and the presidency. The Republicans are in control across the board. And so they are able to pass legislation in a way that was very difficult for President Obama when we had mixed control of the government.
CHURCH: Right. And of course I can't let you go without getting your reaction to the White House Correspondent's dinner. Let's just listen to a part of what comedian Michelle Wolf said about White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE WOLF, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: I actually really like Sarah, I think she's very resourceful like she burn fats and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she is born with it, it's lies. It's probably lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And of course she says a whole lot more and many things Wolf crossed the line. President Trump wasn't there but this is what he tweeted about the event. The White House correspondent's dinner was failure last year but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it. The filthy comedian totally bombed, couldn't even deliver her lines much like Seth Meyers weak performance, put dinner to risk or stop over. And of course, James, this is how White House correspondents associated President Margaret Talev responded to the criticism. She said this, last night's program was meant to offer a unifying message about our
common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility. Great reporting and scholarship winners not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer's monologue was not in the spirit of that mission. So James, it has to be said though that some people did support Wolf. They said, she got it right and it was right for free speech and they, you know, so it's very much a divided approach here. But what was your reaction? Did Wolf go too far here do you think?
DAVIS: Well, I think Wolf's monologue was characteristic of times where in the -- in a period in which political discourse has become very charged, very heated.
[02:40:09] With the President as the head of the pack. I mean, the President says his lowered the level of political discourse to a standard which is new in my lifetime. And so, so I don't think it should surprise anybody. That said, I do think at the times, Michelle Wolf crossed the line. Hard-hitting politic satire is, I think perfectly legitimate. Personal attacks on the President's staff I think could be left aside. I have no problem attacking or making fun of the press secretary for her -- for her performance but her personal characteristics I think it does represent a new low. But hey, we're in a -- we're in a period of lows and so I'm not surprised.
CHURCH: Oh, we must certainly are. James Davis, thank you so much for your responses. I appreciate it.
DAVIS: Thanks, Rosemary.
HOWELL: Well, it seems the mystery over a missing tree at the White House has been solved when the French President Emmanuel Macron visited President Trump in Washington last week, they planted a young oak tree which came from the site of World War I battle in France. But soon after that tree disappeared.
CHURCH: And that's when the mystery ensued. But a French official now tells Reuters not to worry. The tree was simply quarantined to make sure no parasites would spread and the oak will return to the White House Gardens very soon. One of the best known television news anchors in the U.S. is fighting back against allegations that he sexually harassed a coworker.
HOWELL: Tom Brokaw is not mincing words about the woman who was making the accusations against him. CNN's Brian Stelter explains.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Tom Brokaw is angrily denying allegations of sexual harassment but it have been made by a former colleague of his at NBC news. These allegations date back to the early 1990 from a correspondent named Linda Vester. She says that Brokaw hit on her repeatedly, making unwanted sexual advances on at least two occasions. Groping her, trying to kiss her, et cetera. These allegations were made in interviews with The Washington Post and Variety Magazine. Vester is no longer in the T.V. business but she said she decided to speak out now because NBC has a systemic problem with sexual harassment that she says has not been fully addressed. The Matt Lauer firing in December is a part of the story because back then NBC said it would launch an internal investigation, a review into its culture but that review has not yet been shared publicly. And Vester seems concerned that NBC is not taking it seriously enough.
Now, Brokaw is angrily denying the claims. He's saying he is the real victim and calling Vester disgruntled. All of this came out in a remarkable open letter that he wrote. He says it was an unfinished rough draft but it was published on the web on Friday and here's a part of what it says. "I was ambushed and then perp-walked across the pages of the Washington Post and variety as a avatar of male misogyny taken to the guillotine and stripped of any honor and achievement I earned and more than a half century of journalism and citizenship." Brokaw saying he's angry and hurt by the allegations which he is completely denying. He is saying that Vester did not have a successful career, she was disgruntled, even though he helped get her a job at Fox News.
So, we've seen Brokaw receive support from more than a 100 current and former employees and NBC. Women who have come forward to attest to his character and integrity. But Vester also has her supporters. I spoke earlier today with Vester's lawyer who is continuing to monitor the situation. He would not comment when I asked if he's heard from other women who may also want to speak out against Brokaw. More than six months into the MeToo too movement, something that was sparked by the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the pages of the New York Times, we are continuing to see sexual harassment allegations against prominent men both in the media industry and beyond.
HOWELL: Brian Stelter on the story. Thanks. NBC news has not commented to CNN about the letter signed by more than 100 women supporting Tom Brokaw.
CHURCH: Well, once bitter rivals now Sprint and T-Mobile are poised to be one company.
HOWELL: The two U.S. mobile providers have agreed to merge in a $26 billion deal. U.S. regulators still have to approve the deal since it would the country with just three major carriers. That was a sticking point in their previous attempts to merge. If approved the new company would keep the T-Mobile name.
CHURCH: In their announcement, the CEOs of the two companies touted the jobs the merger will create and the innovation their combined resources will bring to market.
HOWELL: All right. Another big merger to tell you about. It was announced in the United Kingdom. Sainsbury is joining with Wal-Mart's Asda to create Britain's biggest supermarket group.
[02:44:57] CHURCH: The merger will give the group a combined market share of over 31 percent topping Tesco, it's reportedly worth over $13 billion. However, it's subject to approval by Britain's competition, Ricky, later.
Well, severe weather has left on mark across Europe, lately. But now, it may be the Central U.S's turn and Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has all the details on that. So, what's going on?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Here guys, you know, it doesn't the time of year, right? We go from March into April and eventually into May, the busiest time of year for severe weather. Looks like a pretty, serious set-up too when it comes to this storms. And we'll show you how quiet it's been so far in 2018.
So, now, the red bars here indicative of a number of tornadoes we've had in the U.S. in each of the last four months. Notice, just about every single month has been totally average. The average as coming in on the yellow bars, there with the exception of February, but we're running about 50 percent of normal.
And of course, as we transition again into the month of May, notice, that is peak season in the United States for severe weather, for large-scale tornadoes, for damaging storms. And the pattern just -- has not been conducive for such storms, which had too colder temperatures across really the Eastern half of U.S. The warmth that across, and the wet weather across the Southern Tier of the U.S. has really suppressed the activity and it has been far too. Dry across the Southwestern U.S. to release the port, the severe weather we need to see.
In fact, across the heart of Tornado Ally, parts of the Dakota down to Oklahoma, zero tornadoes to date. That is a record for the latest to have not a single tornado reported across parts of those states. But yet, here we go, as we transition from the last day of April, being Monday and to the first day of May, and to Tuesday there, the severe weather risk really begins to build initially for Monday.
We do have a risk, stretching from the Dakota, down towards across the Western Texas. Large-scale tornadoes certainly possible. Look at the prominent area concern with this is going to be damaging wins in hail.
Once you shift a little farther towards the east come Tuesday afternoon, we begin to see a better risk for severe weather across parts -- to say Lincoln and Nebraska, Kansas City there, could see some tornadoes, as well and some severe weather across that region. So, that's an area of interest we're watching, as well.
In fact, you take a look, across the Northeastern United States, to the white indication there initially on that radar loop, the imagery there, that's a snow chance in the forecast the next couple of days. But notice how quickly conditions shift here as we transition into big-time heat.
Temps across the Northeastern United States push up to almost 90 degrees over the next several days. New York City, from 54 Fahrenheit up to almost 90 degrees by Thursday. Even across the Midwestern U.S., where the severe weather risk will be in place, you notice big time warmth returns into the forecast. So, just like that, a lot of people who are waiting for spring-like temperatures may just transition right out of it was winter like just a few days ago, to what we feel very much summer like in a few spots and with severe weather as well.
CHURCH: I'm looking forward to the warmth but not the severe weather.
JAVAHERI: Absolutely, yes.
HOWELL: Pedram, thank you. CHURCH: Thank you so much.
HOWELL: Well, some historians believe history is cyclical, doomed to repeat itself and if you're in the United States, you might be forgiven for thinking that.
CHURCH: Yes, and that is because we have saying, we are thing a lot of procuring characters lately from the 80s. CNN's Polo Sandoval, explains.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was 1984 when America grew to love and laugh with Bill Cosby.
BILL COSBY, FORMER ACTOR, COMEDIAN, THE BILL COSBY SHOW: We're here to say goodbye to Mohammad Goldfish.
SANDOVAL: On the sitcom The Cosby Show, he brought a lovable father figure character to life becoming America's dad. It was a far cry from the man who made headlines decades later, this time as a convicted sex offender.
Cosby, one of several figures in events from the 80s making a reappearance in both cultural and political discourse. Before becoming president, Donald Trump was known as a real state giant. Riding a wave of success during the financial boom of the '80s.
TRUMP: Money is a scorecard as far as I'm concern.
SANDOVAL: Even Trump, may not have imagined where a future ride down that Trump Tower escalator will take him, the White House in 2017 and a diplomatic dance in 2018 that could soon end the Cold War era conflict between North and South Korea.
Then, there are the sights and sounds of 80s pop culture. Roldan is back on T.V., this time tackling political themes. On the runway, designers rolled out 80s inspired fashion lines at this year's New York fashion week. From the primary colored pallets to power shoulders, and banana clips.
ABBA, POP GROUP, SWEDISH: Mamma Mia , here I go again. My, my, how can I --
SANDOVAL: And here we go again with Abba. On Friday, the Swedish pop group announced they're getting the band back together to release two new songs. That will be the first since 1983.
ABBA: Take a chance -- take a chance on me --
SANDOVAL: (INAUDIBLE) to say if that chance will pay off in today's music market. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
HOWELL: Polo's report there from CNN perspective. I think listening to a lot more 80s music. Yes, good stuff.
CHURCH: Yes, there's a lot of 80s surround --
HOWELL: Still ahead, most parents would give anything to keep their children happy. So, why are some parents pay to have their babies cry? We'll explain as the news continues.
[02:52:27] JAVAHERI: Good Monday, I'm Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. You're watching a trend of some severe weather the next couple of days across the Central United States. Recordset across the State of Oklahoma with no tornadoes so far this season. But I think, the next several days, we're going to see some changes for the worst so far as they're beginning to prompt some active weather.
But how about the 20s in Chicago? 23 degrees there. Same score out of Atlanta, Dallas at 27. 23, a popular number because Denver warms up to such a rain as well over the next couple of days, and that's winter weather radar having some fun potentially for the last time or on the Northeastern United States.
Hitting some snow showers across the higher terrain beginning to push out, notice the cooler air. Good vibe, see you in October because we think a trend here for some big-time warmth possible, at least over the next week or so. Certainly, could see some cooling by the middle of May, but not necessarily for the Southern Tier of the U.S.
But, into the Western U.S., parts of British Columbia, as well. Generally, going to be another warming trend. The 20s come back. Put it on again, what a remarkable month of April they had as far as big- time warmth. Then, they're back out it again to start off the month of May.
How about Mexico City? Won't take some thunderstorms there. About 26, Belize City about 31. Some showers possible in Jamaica, Kingston, looking at around 30 degrees or so. And as you travel further towards La Paz, the season certainly beginning to shift, the cooler areas certainly being felt. 15 degrees across that region, then, will leave you further from the south.
HOWELL: A movie 10 years in the making advance clean out in droves sport. Marvel's Avengers Infinity Wars made an estimated $630 million around the world on its opening weekend.
CHURCH: Now, that crushes the previous record of $541 million held by The Fate of The Furious. It also edges out Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made $529 million during its debut weekend. Disney by the away, which owns Marvel Studios now hold nine of the 10 biggest movie openings in North American market history. That's a pretty impressive.
HOWELL: Wow, yes.
CHURCH: All right, with that, we close this hour, the story about crying baby.
HOWELL: Well, CNN's Anna Stewart, tells us about a centuries-old tradition in Japan that will supposedly bring good luck.
[02:55:07] ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: They're not lean, but these Sumo's definitely look like a mean fighting machine. Today, they're facing off with the baby. (INAUDIBLE). Every year, parents bring babies to Tokyo's ancient Sensoji Temple which hosts the Naki, or Crying Baby Sumo Festival. A centuries-old tradition, some believe it wards off demons, and many think it brings good luck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In Japan, we have a saying, a crying baby grows well. So, we make babies cry. The louder they cry, the better they grow!
STEWART: Each baby, enters the ring with a sumo, first to cry wins. For some, just entering the ring is enough to blubber. Others needs a little jostling or just being told to Naki, Japanese for cry. When all else fails, there's back up with terrifying masks. It's nerve- racking for the families, who paid $140 a baby to take part, and it doesn't always work. Some babies really will sleep through anything. Then, many return home victorious, though.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is such a good Japanese tradition. I'm so pleased I could take part.
STEWART: Time to get your tip.
You seem like a really nice guy, and then you're scarier too. Yes, that's pretty scary but you know what, I think, I don't take the mask to really get me. Despite the lesson, I can happily say I made no baby cry in filming of this story. Anna Stewart, CNN, Tokyo.
CHURCH: That are cute little baby. Well, today's top stories are just ahead.
HOWELL: The news continues after we reset. More news after the break.