Return to Transcripts main page


Israel Strikes Iran; North Korean Detainees Freed; Storms in the Forecast; Trump Welcomes Home Detainees; House DACA Vote; Interview With Rep. Carlos Curbelo. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 10, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:10] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news right now.

Israeli defense forces striking Iranian targets in Syria after a rocket attack launched from Syria targeted the Golan Heights.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live from the Golan Heights.

What's happening there?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, a deceptively quiet afternoon here behind me. A far cry from what we saw overnight. And we were here basically until sunrise. We saw Syrian or rather anti- aircraft fire and rockets from Syrian territory, as well as Israeli surface-to-surface missiles, and a number of air strikes carried out from here according to the Israelis.

So this all started just after midnight local time when Israel says Iranian forces behind me in Syria fired off some 20 rockets towards Israeli positions here in the occupied Golan Heights. Israel responded carrying out a series of air strikes against dozens of targets that they say were against Iranian targets. That including intelligence compounds, command and control headquarters, as well as rocket launchers.

Since then, and we heard this all night, there have been drones flying overhead, as well as streams of anti-aircraft fire here behind us. Into this morning, though, we have seen what appears to be at least a momentary lull, a de-escalation here. But as Israel and Iran have drawn closer to each other, have drawn closer to confrontation, this perhaps the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran. Though it is worth pointing out that Iranian leaders have not commented on this at this point.

It is Russia that has stepped in here. Russia has said that it was some 28 Israeli fighter jets that fired 60 rockets, as well as surface-to-surface missiles at Iranian positions in Syria. Russia now in touch with Israel and Iran, urging all sides to deescalate.

Chris, there is no doubt that we are closer to a war between Israel and Iran than we have ever been, but it is Russia that has the relations and the influence with both the Israelis and Iranians to make sure this doesn't escalate at this point. CUOMO: Well, Russia obviously can be involved, but the question is,

why did those rockets fall in the Golan Heights? I mean, for Israel, Iran represents an existential threat.

Oren, thank you very much for the reporting. Be safe.

John McCain calling on fellow senators to reject the nomination of Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director. He cites her refusal to call torture immoral at Wednesday's confirmation hearing, saying that should disqualify her. Haspel did tell lawmakers she would not allow any activity at the CIA that she considers immoral, even if it is legal, and will not let the CIA resume torture tactics in interrogations. That, of course, may put her at odds with her new boss.

CAMEROTA: And in Senator John McCain's upcoming memoir, "The Restless Wave," he explains why he gave that controversial dossier about President Trump to former FBI Director James Comey. In one excerpt obtained by "The Daily Beast," McCain writes, quote, I reviewed its contents. The allegations were disturbing. But I had no idea if any were true. I could not independently verify any of it. So I did what any American who cares about our nation's security should have done, I did what duty demanded I do.

McCain is currently home in Arizona battling brain cancer.

CUOMO: Now that they've been released by North Korea, what challenges will these three former American prisoners face? We already told you, it's over for us. We've seen the moment that we're all waiting for. But for these men, the journey goes on. Kenneth Bae, remember him? He knows better than most. He spent two years almost in a North Korean labor camp until his release in 2014. Ken Bae is there on your screen and he joins us live, next.


[06:37:36] CUOMO: Three Americans held captive in North Korea are back in the United States, greeted by President Trump and the first lady overnight. The president thanking the North Korean dictator for releasing them ahead of his planned summit.

Joining us now is Kenneth Bae. I first spoke with Ken after he was released from North Korea in 2014 after nearly two years in a labor camp. His family, his sister, fought so hard for so long to get attention to his plight. He is the longest held American detainee there since the Korean War, and author of the book "Not Forgotten.: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea."

Kenneth Bae, how you doing?


CUOMO: So how is life for you today?

BAE: Yes, now I'm living in Seoul, Korea. I'm -- now I'm working with North Korean refugees. So I've been very busy nowadays. Seeing all this thing being developed right now.

CUOMO: So we see the men come home. And for us it's over. This is what we wanted to see. The good news. The whole situation is over. But for them, when does it end?

BAE: Now I see them coming home -- came home and this is a good day for everybody. And the families, I'm sure they're being delighted. But recovery will take some time. I do believe that now is a time for them to be with the family, be just united and just spend time with the family for the next few months just to go through this ordeal. Not only they suffer, but family suffered as well. I do believe that they will need to heal together trying to recover and move on from there.

CUOMO: Now you talk about it in the book, but what should people know about what it takes to heal? What will these men have to deal with even though they're now home?

BAE: Yes, these three men are not just another people, but they are missionaries. And they've been walking with faith. I do believe that faith alone will help them to get through this ordeal. But now their home and safe. They're finally free. So I do believe that freedom itself and just spending time and then realizing that they are finally out of the risk and now they're able to enjoy their freedom. So I do believe that combination of the faith and the fact that they have freedom with the family and this will help them get through. And also for me the food that I enjoy to eat. Now I get to eat the food I want. I think this is another combination that really got me to go through the restoration process when I -- after I came home.

[06:40:32] CUOMO: And you're not just talking about taste or appetite, you're talking about nutrition. How hard was life for you in North Korea? What did they make you do? What were the conditions?

BAE: Well, I have to work from 8:00 in the morning from 6:00 in the evening, six days a week, outside doing the farming work, carrying rocks, digging the ground and the many type of hard labor. So it was extremely difficult conditions (ph). Not only so the nutrition that I'm -- that I was eating was not enough. Sometimes it's just a bowl of rice and a little bit of soup and a couple of vegetable. So amount that I take in it was not enough for me to go on every day. So within three months, I lost more than 40 pounds. And then I was malnutrition -- I guess I was -- I was sent to the hospital for malnutrition. Therefore I do believe that the conditions they were facing in North Korea was probably extremely difficult for them.

Now that it is over, maybe -- I'm sure they're be in -- recovering the last few days at the location that North Korean government probably wanted to make sure that they go home in a little bit of better health than before.


BAE: So now you see them healthy because I think this is what North Koreans government wanted to see -- us to see.

CUOMO: Sometimes they can hide how bad the situation was by giving the prisoners a little bit of relief near the end. It didn't work with Otto Warmbier. He was in such extreme medical peril that he came home looking like he was in the despair that he obviously was and wound up losing his life.

What do you make of the president of the United States going to meet with Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump's -- President Trump's optimism that Kenneth Bae is -- that Kim Jong-un and the regime are doing the right thing, that they want to make good progress? Do you have optimism for this? Do you think it's the right move?

BAE: Well, I do believe that releasing the three prisoners was a good thing. And it was a very -- we have hope for optimism. But yet we need to see how the summit will take place. How Kim Jong-un's, you know, promises that Kim Jong-un will make will be delivered. So I do have a mixed feeling at this point. But I do see that better hope for the best than not able to move forward from here. So I do believe that by engaging in with the dialogue with the North Korean government is a good thing. But we'll have to see how the outcome will take place in the -- after the summit. So we'll have to see with optimism, yet we still need to concern that North Korea will really going to deliver what they promised they would deliver.

CUOMO: Kenneth Bae, it is always great to see you. It's great to see that you put out a book. People should read it. Thank God you're doing what matters to you in your heart. It puts you back in Korea, of course, South Korea, but I know you're living your passion. I know your family's very proud of you and happy for you. And it's always good to speak to you, especially living your dream the way you are right now.

Thanks for joining us.

BAE: Well, thank you so much.

CUOMO: All right, Kenneth Bae.


CAMEROTA: OK, now to sports.

Some of Boston's best players may be on the sidelines. But that is not stopping the Celtics' run in the playoffs. The latest comeback that has them getting ready for the series with LeBron James, whoever that is. That's next.


[06:48:08] CAMEROTA: All right, it looks like spring is finally here to stay in the Northeast, but storms could be in store for millions of people this weekend.

So CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast.

Where are those storms, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, right now almost Pittsburgh, Buffalo, all the way down into West Virginia. And they're moving toward the Northeast.

This weather is brought to you by Jared, the galleria of jewelry. Do not forget, Sunday is Mother's Day.

Here comes the weather. By 5:00 we're going to have storms in New York. By 4:00 we're going to have storms in D.C. So watch out if you're flying today, there will be some delays across the Northeast.

Other than that, we have a pretty good day across most of the country. Temperatures are going to be in the 50s and 60s. Now, north of the front, New York, you're about 20 degrees cooler than D.C. and that front stays in the same place all week long.


CUOMO: I like it. Thank you, Chad Myers.

MYERS: Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.

All right, the Celtics finished off the process, knocking out the 76ers to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for a second straight year.

Lindsay Czarniak has more in the "Bleacher Report."

You didn't like the reaction to the weather report.

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm just trying to get over the weather. No, how can you like that? The weather --

CUOMO: I like it.

CZARNIAK: All right. All right. Whatever.

The Celtics --

CUOMO: It's much better than what we had.

CZARNIAK: The difference maker last night, Jayson Tatum talked postgame about how nobody expected his team to pull this off. It took Boston just five days to end this series.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.

And one of the biggest strengths the Celtics had, their head coach, Brad Stevens, who many thought should have been coach of the year. He has a brilliant coaching mind but also has this team believing. The 6ers did keep it close. The Boston combination of Al Horford and that rookie, Jayson Tatum, it was too much. Tatum led his team with 25 points. He had the go ahead basket with just over 22 seconds left. Boston now gets to host LeBron and the Cavaliers in game one Sunday, which won't be great weather.

CAMEROTA: OK. Well, I like it.

CZARNIAK: Yes, you like that. Exactly.

[06:50:00] CUOMO: It's better than what it was.

CAMEROTA: I love that.


CUOMO: You have heat coming across the country. We've been freezing and rained out for so long. You've got to take the good where you see it.

CZARNIAK: I can just say, I am so confused. All right.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

CZARNIAK: You're welcome, guys.

CAMEROTA: I like her -- I like her spontaneity about the weather reaction.

All right, meanwhile, listen to this. There's a group of moderate Republicans who are trying to circumvent House Speaker Paul Ryan to force a vote to protect the nation's dreamers. So one of the lawmakers behind that effort, why do they feel this is necessary? That's next.


CAMEROTA: President Trump welcoming home three Americans freed by North Korea. This, of course, an historic moment in the president's diplomacy with the reclusive regime.

Let's talk about this and more with Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida.

[06:55:02] Good morning, congressman.

REP. CARLOS CURBELO (R), FLORIDA: Alisyn, good morning from the Capitol. It's good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: Good to have you.

So tell us what you thought when you watched our -- these three American detainees back on U.S. soil and what you think this means for the future of U.S./North Korean relations.

CURBELO: Alisyn, obviously this is something for everyone in our country to celebrate. Any time Americans are detained under these conditions by a rogue regime and then released, it's a good day for our country.

Now, we have to put this in the context of the broader North Korea issue, the negotiations that are ongoing. There's a lot of hope for those negotiations. But some of us are also a little skeptical because we know the nature of Kim Jong-un's regime. And we really want to see concrete changes. Priority number one must be immediately and verifiable denuclearization. If that happens, then we can really say that this administration has changed the world. But for today we can certainly celebrate that these three Americans have come home.

CAMEROTA: So as the tension between the U.S. and North Korea appears to be melting somewhat. There's another hot spot where it appears to be heating up. And there are actually missiles flying and there's more tension now between Israel and Iran.

You tweeted this. I urge the president and his administration to reaffirm America's unwavering commitment to our greatest ally in the region, Israel, and explore every avenue to hold the Iranian regime accountable for this aggression.

What does that mean, explore every avenue?

CURBELO: Well, it means that we have to be willing to take military action if it gets to that point.

And, Alisyn, this is a reminder that our presence in Syria is important. And I know the administration in the past and the president has out loud contemplated the idea of withdrawing from Syria. And I think this makes it very clear that we need to have a presence there. That our men and women are doing very important work there. And that if we leave and create a vacuum again, as we did some years ago under the previous administration, that we're really risking a more dangerous situation in the Middle East.

Also, Israel's our greatest ally and the only democracy in the region. So it's important that we are there to support Israel and, yes, that, if necessary, we're willing to take action against Iran and Syria.

CAMEROTA: And just what does that look like? What does military action against Iran look like?

CURBELO: Well, that's not for me to decide. That would be for generals and ultimately the president to decide. But, without question, Iranian presence in Syria is disconcerting, it's unacceptable. And when they are firing missiles at our allies, it becomes an issue that has to be dealt with very seriously.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about what's going on with any sort of protection or even policy or plan for the dreamers, OK? There are I think at least four immigration bills that have been sitting around gathering dust. What is the problem? I know you're leading the charge. What does -- what's the holdup for bringing this to a vote in the House?

CURBELO: Well, Alisyn, last fall the president called on Congress to do a few things, one of which is to find a permanent solution for dreamers. For young immigrants brought to our country as children who grew up here, who went to school here, who are today working here and contributing to our country. He obviously also asked for action on border security. Since then, the White House put out a compromised proposal. The Senate did have a debate and considered four bills on the floor. Regrettably, none of them reached the 60-vote threshold. But the House has failed to act. So we're in the midst --

CAMEROTA: Why? Why has the -- just stop there. Why has the House done nothing?

CURBELO: Well, because our leadership, regrettably, has spent a long time trying to win the votes within the House Republican conference for legislation that never had the chance to achieve the 218 votes that are necessary here in the House. So that's why yesterday we kicked off an historic process in the House here, a discharge petition, which is a fairly aggressive legislative maneuver, to try to force a vote, not just on the legislation that I like and that I would like to see, but on other bills as well that --

CAMEROTA: To go around Speaker Paul Ryan?

CURBELO: Well, in a way it does, but in another way it actually empowers Speaker Ryan because one of the slots that we have reserved in this process we've outlined is for the speaker himself to draft a bill. He can do it in conjunction with the White House and try to win the votes of a majority of members of the House. So the speaker is actually empowered by this process, but certainly the message from the 17 House Republicans that so far have signed the discharge petition is that we want action, that the president was right to call on Congress to act and that we find it unacceptable that many months later the House has done absolutely nothing.

So our patience has run out. We know there are a lot of young people who are living in fear in this country. We know there are a lot of Americans who want to see progress on border security, on stronger immigration laws. All of those issues should be debated on the floor of the U.S. House.

[07:00:08] CAMEROTA: Please keep us posted as to what happens with your effort.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo, thank you for being on NEW DAY.

CURBELO: Thank you, Alisyn. Thank you.