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White House No Apologizing About An Aide's Comment Against Senator John McCain; North Korea Is Planning Technical Measures To Dismantle Its Nuclear Testing Site; President Trump Making Big And Bold Foreign Policy Moves This Week; New Fissure Forming In The Lower East Rift Zone In Hawaii Rocky Mountains; Attacker With A Knife In Paris Has Killed One Person And Injured At Least Four More. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired May 12, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:53] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us this weekend.
Today, fresh evidence of a White House at odds with itself. Sources tell CNN that press secretary Sarah Sanders went off at her staff Friday, admonishing them for a leak. That leak concerned a private Thursday meeting and a discussions of Senator John McCain's opposition to the President's pick to run the CIA. It was in that meeting where White House aide Kelly Sadler said of McCain's opposition to the President's CIA pick, it doesn't matter. He is dying anyway.
Well, during the dressing down, sources say Sanders did describe Sadler's comment as inappropriate, but they also say the press secretary focus remained on the leak and the resulting damage. Her private fury at her own staff clashes with the White House's public shrug about the episode. McCain's gotten no apology from the White House and Sanders made clear yesterday he shouldn't expect one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meghan McCain, his daughter, wondered aloud today why Kelly Sadler still has a job here at the White House. Does she still have a job?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to comment on an internal staff meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the White House think you don't need to condemn these remarks or comments --?
SANDERS: Again, I'm not going to validate a leak one way or another out of an internal staff meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- apologize to Senator McCain --?
SANDERS: Again, I'm not going to get into a back and forth because, you know, people want to create issues of leaked staff meetings. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Boris Sanchez is live at the White House for us.
Boris, what more can you tell us about what went on behind closed doors?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana. Yes, one source that was a part of the meeting indicates that Sanders took exception to the idea that someone leaked this information about Sadler's comments to target her, to try to hurt her reputation publicly. We are noticing that Sanders obviously has said less in public than she has in private about these statements from Sadler. Notably, no apology for John McCain. And further, her saying she wouldn't even validate this leak and address these comments further than she did from the podium.
Other White House officials are defending Sadler, notably, Mick Mulvaney, the budget director, was on one of the early morning talk shows today, essentially saying that Sadler has the right to be candid when she's in private, even if the joke was inappropriate, and that she should keep her job. That echoes what we are hearing from sources who indicate Sadler will stay on in her current role -- Ana.
CABRERA: Boris, Rudy Giuliani making headlines again today trying to get on the same page with Rudy Giuliani. Once again, he is backtracking. He said something pertaining to what the President did or didn't do. Fill us in.
SANCHEZ: Yes, it seems like it's another unforced error from Rudy Giuliani. He was speaking to the "Huffington Post" yesterday and he was weighing in on the payments to Michael Cohen by AT&T to help sort of grease the wheels in their attempted merger with Time Warner. Giuliani was essentially saying that there is no way that that sort of corporate money would influence the White House, saying that the President put his finger on the scale and intervened to try to keep that merger from happening.
Now, that contradicts everything that we have heard previously from the White House, which have maintained that President Trump has not weighed in on that decision by the department of justice to open litigation to try to prevent that merger from taking place. Sarah Sanders put out a statement this morning saying that the President has nothing to do with that decision by the department of justice. It was solely at their discretion, Rudy Giuliani shortly after put out his own statement to our colleague, Dana Bash, saying that the President made clear to him that he did not intervene in that process. Though the President has publicly many times voiced his opposition to such a deal, Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House for us, thank you.
Let's get straight to our panel. With us, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson and White House reporter for Bloomberg news, Toluse Olorunnipa. So Toluse, the White House not apologizing for the aide's comment
about McCain. In fact, Sarah Sanders appearing to be more upset about the leak than the comment itself. What do you make of that?
[16:05:09] TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Yes. This is par for the course for this White House. They don't apologize. They see that as a sign of weakness and they complain about leaks rather than the actual substance of what has caused so much controversy. We did not hear Sarah Sanders even acknowledge that this actually happened. And she seemed to in this internal meeting she had afterward with other White House staff, seemed to focus on the fact that the White House is a leaky place, where people go out of internal meetings and quickly get on the phone with reporters and tell what happened behind closed doors. And that is something that's frustrating at this White House more so than the fact that an aide to the President made fun of a senator when a war hero who is battling brain cancer right now.
So it does seem like the focus of this White House is on trying to plug all of these leaks, but the fact that the issue of the meeting actually leaked is a sign that they're not doing a very good job of making sure that the leaks are being controlled.
CABRERA: Why do you think this sort of thing is leaking out, though?
OLORUNNIPA: Well, there are some people within the White House who are not comfortable with this type of talk. The idea of making fun of senator McCain, who is not a Democrat. He's a Republican. He is somebody who normally this White House would be aligned with on a number of different policy issues. So there are people within the White House who are not happy with the idea that he is being taunted in this way and this sort of very dark and gloomy way. And it seems like that's something that they wanted to make sure that that got On the Record, that there was some consequence.
And you can't discount the fact that there is a lot of back biting with in this White House and there could be people who just have knives out for Kelly Sadler, found this opportunity and said this is one way to embarrass her. And there's a lot of that that happened in the White House. People leaking things to damage other people who should be on the same team, but we found that does really work out.
CABRERA: Controversy and chaos seems to be somewhat the norm in this White House.
Joey Jackson, we have Rudy Giuliani here again, contradicting what the White House message is regarding the AT&T/Time Warner merger. Is Giuliani helping his client, the President?
JOY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Ana, he is devastating him. You know, just quickly on the leak issue, it would seem to me if your house was in order, you wouldn't mind if it was leaking, right, because your message would be consistent. People would be saying things that, you know, are good for the country. And so, who cares who talks to who? We know what we are doing here. That's not the case. So that's problematic. As to Giuliani, and I have to tell you that this, I just can't make
sense of it. As a person who admires effective lawyering, who tries to do effective lawyering from time to time myself, it's just hard to stomach and here's why.
I really thought that the acquisition of Giuliani was a very good thing. He is a guy who certainly knows the process, being a former U.S. attorney. Mayor of New York City. He knows the players involved. Brings credibility to the process. He is a good strategist. And I thought, he would really be able to get a grapple hold to the President who is a loose cannon and quite frankly very undisciplined.
CABRERA: And remember, Giuliani is representing the President in the Russia probe.
JACKSON: Exactly, right.
CABRERA: So he is a little off track here.
JACKSON: It's turned out to be everything but what I thought it would be. You interview your client. Certainly when you go out there, you are on message with what your defense is. He has two roles in my view. One is as certainly a public relations piece, right, because you are going to take the message to the American people. And you have a role certainly as a lawyer to make sure that there's nothing that was untoward, inappropriate, and certainly illegal by your client.
We saw him go out there, Ana, on the Stormy Daniels issue, contradict the President, contradict Michael Cohen, establish a connection between the campaign and the payment. We see him now talking about the AT&T, you know, acquisition or merger and saying the President denied it. Oh, I didn't mean he denied it, the President wasn't involved in it.
I mean, this is -- I just do not understand from an effective lawyering position or an effective public relations advocate how could this be helping? If we think the President and his favorite words being, you are fired, I mean, I know they go way back, but I just can't see him sustaining this for much longer.
CABRERA: I'm wondering what your take is, Toluse, covering this White House. We know how much the President values loyalty. Giuliani has been somebody who is extremely loyal to this President, as a friend and as an adviser and now as his lawyer. Do you think this President will allow Giuliani to keep making misstatements, if that's what they are?
OLORUNNIPA: The President was pretty clear when he first talked about the first misstep that Giuliani made. He said that he hasn't had his facts right yet. That he needs to take some time to get the facts in order. It doesn't appear that things have gotten better with time. And it does appear that the President has been a little bit frustrated by the fact that Giuliani is taking up all this air time and not in a positive way. But there is the loyalty factor, where the President seems to be
talking to Giuliani and not talking to his own staff, and that's part of the reason the White House staff has been in the dark about some of these pronouncements that Giuliani is making on TV and in interviews with reporters.
But I do think at some point, the President may get a little concerned by the fact that Giuliani is not staying on message. He is causing more legal problems for the President than he is solving.
CABRERA: And he is causing more bad headlines for the President rather than positive ones.
Joey, real quick, before I let you go, I want to switch gears because there is new reporting from the "Wall Street Journal" as we are learning more and more about business connections with Michael Cohen, the President's one-time personal lawyer and so-called fixer, that Ford motor company apparently has been asked by special counsel Robert Mueller to turn over some documents pertaining to discussions they may have had with Cohen. Cohen reaching out to ford motor company to ask if they want his consulting, and apparently, they rejected it. But I'm kind of wondering how is that connected to the Russia probe?
[16:10:36] JACKSON: What's the connection? Look, you know, ultimately, if people or corporations were talking to Cohen in terms of buying access, which happens customarily in Washington, nothing illegal about that. There may be some ethical concerns, you know, not rising to any substantial level, but people pay for access all the time.
You have a new President who is taking over. No one knew that he would win. You certainly want to curry favor by someone as close to him as Cohen. But remember that there's an investigation in the southern district of Cohen concerning his financial transactions and his financial dealings, bank fraud, potential tax fraud, Stormy Daniels issues and other issues.
And I think they are being thorough, that is Mueller, trying to get all the information they potentially can, and seeing what he is doing and who he is doing it for. And if he is doing it legally, properly, and responsibly. So we haven't heard the end of it.
CABRERA: Of course, we haven't. What we are learning is there's so much more to the story, as some of the details trickle out. Because apparently, this document exchange Mueller asked for was month ago and we are just finding out about it now.
Gentlemen, good to have you both. Toluse and Joey Jackson, thanks.
Still ahead, big foreign policy moves by the Trump administration this week means the U.S. military is ever on alert. Up next, CNN takes you deep inside a hidden nuclear command center 2,000 feet below the Rocky Mountains.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:16:32] CABRERA: A startling announcement just in from North Korea ahead of next month's historic talks between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. The North says it is planning technical measures to dismantle its nuclear testing site, according to state run media today. It says the dismantling will include collapsing tunnels, blocking entries and removing observation and research facilities. North Korean media also says foreign journalists will be allowed to see the dismantling when it takes place later this month.
While tensions between the U.S. and North Korea appear to be calming, the U.S. military is not letting down its guard. CNN receives unique access to a facility that monitors incoming threats to North America, including Kim Jong-un's missiles.
Our Scott McLean reports -- Scott.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, for the first time in a long time, there are encouraging signs coming from North Korea. But the political optics here mean very little for the people at NORAD, who are tracking the North Korean nuclear threat. In fact, they are just as leery of North Korea now as they were a year ago.
Their work is done out of two command centers here in Colorado Springs. And one is buried under that mountain.
MCLEAN (voice-over): This is America's first line of defense from an incoming nuclear missile. Deep inside Cheyenne Mountain south of Denver, this sprawling underground bunker is the home of NORAD, the North American aerospace defense command. The U.S. Canadian partnership formed to defend against long-range soviet bombers during the cold war. Today, it warns of incoming threats from the sky, 24 hours a day. Including a North Korean missile. Something that seemed like a real possibility just months ago.
KIM JONG-UN, KOREAN LEADER (through translator): they must never forget that the nuclear button is placed on my desk at all times. They must realize that this is not a threat but a reality.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
MCLEAN: Since then, tensions with North Korea have cooled down. Kim Jong-un's missile tests have stopped, and threats of fire and fury have been replaced with handshakes and talks of optimism ahead of a Trump/Kim meeting next month.
But here inside the NORAD command center, you would never know it.
COL. TRAVIS MOREHEN, DIRECTOR, NORAD-USNORTHCOM COMMAND CENTER: We have a job to do that's measured in minutes and seconds. And for us to try and account for that, the political rhetoric, it doesn't fit in. We are worried about pieces of metal flying through space, coming to North America.
MCLEAN: CNN was granted rare access to this complex buried under 2400 feet of solid granite at the end of a nearly mile-long tunnel. It's designed to survive a nuclear blast and maintain communications even after being hit. It's secured by a 23 ton blast doors, five underground lakes store water and fuel, and its 15 buildings sit on more than 1500 giant springs let the building sway up to a foot without being damage in an earthquake or missile strike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We like to say it's the most secure facility in the world.
MCLEAN: Colonel Travis Morehen, a Canadian, has been at the helm of the command center standing watch during five North Korea missile tests. Despite North Korea's talk of denuclearization, he says NORAD still gets intelligence on Kim Jong-un's nuclear program three or four times a day.
What should we read into that?
[16:20:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You shouldn't read anything into that. It's just that that's the scan of the intelligence community looking at North Korea. We have been watching the same as we were previously, the same as we watch any nation that poses a threat to the United States and Canada.
MCLEAN: The persistent focus on North Korea comes despite President Trump's announcement that the U.S. is pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal. Iran's President has yet to commit to staying in it. Meaning the world could soon have another aspiring nuclear power. Or even two more if Saudi Arabia makes good on its pledge to follow suit if Iran restarts its nuclear program.
If there is a deal to actually denuclearize the Korean peninsula, is your work done here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No, it's not. We need to be able to respond to any threat from any nation, in my opinion, here, our work will never be done.
MCLEAN: And NORAD is marking its 60th anniversary this weekend. It's the only binational command of its kind in the world. But it is not the only tenant inside Cheyenne Mountain. There are actually some 15 U.S. government agencies who work out of the mountain, though the officials who took us in wouldn't say which ones -- Ana.
CABRERA: Scott McLain, thank you.
Here in the NEWSROOM, President Trump making some bold moves on foreign policy, troubling some diplomats, but how is it playing with the people who voted for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you vote for Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you feeling?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great, finally got somebody with some balls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We will take you to a county where Trump won big to see if voters there would elect him again, next in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:26:23] CABRERA: We have breaking news right now in Paris overseas. We are learning a man attacked a group of people with a knife, at least one person is dead. Eight others are injured according to our affiliate there, BFMTV. We are learning from the France interior ministry that the attacker has been neutralized but we are working right now to gather more details. We will bring new information as we get it. Again, this happening in Paris near the Paris opera house. A knife attack, at least one person is reported dead.
President Trump making big and bold foreign policy moves this week that could have both major political and global impact. The administration negotiating the release of three American detainees in North Korea. And announcing that the historic summit between the President and Kim Jong-un will take place exactly a month from today in Singapore.
On Iran, the President fulfilling a campaign promise to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, sending shockwaves through allies around the world. And to top it all off, just two days from now, on Monday, the U.S. will open an embassy in Jerusalem.
So how do people who voted for Trump feel about these big moves? Would they vote for him next time around?
CNN's Martin Savidge went to Pennsylvania to find out.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armstrong, Pennsylvania, an hour drive north east of Pittsburg along the banks of the Allegheny River. Here, the hills are green and the politics red.
TRUMP: My fellow Americans --
SAVIDGE: President Trump's tough talking foreign policy may trouble some diplomats, but not his base. Did you vote for Trump?
RON FARSTER, TRUMP VOTER: Yes, I did.
SAVIDGE: How are you feeling?
FARSTER: Great. Great. Finally got somebody with some balls.
SAVIDGE: Emmett Benjamin whose gas station on Pennsylvania's route 66, talking to trucker Ron Farster, who believes for too long, enemies, even allies, have taken America for granted.
FARSTER: We have always been too easy and gave them what they wanted.
SAVIDGE: It's shaping up to be quite a week in Trump's world, withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran, welcoming home three Americans detained by North Korea, and then announcing the time and place of a historic summit with North Korea's leader. And Monday, going forward with his controversial move to the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Dan Wagner loves all of it. Retired from the air force, he said as far as President's go, Trump has become his new foreign policy favorite.
DAN WAGNER, TRUMP VOTER: Reagan used to be because what's he did, he told Gorbachev tear down this wall. Trump is more, you down, I'm going to smack you. That's what the world needs.
SAVIDGE: Trump got 74 percent of the vote in Armstrong County, and voters we talked to said when it comes to America's international dealings, forget diplomacy, it's all about respect.
Brian Klingensmith says the U.S. has been too soft for too long and he is not bothered one bit America is out of the Iran nuclear deal.
BRIAN KLINGENSMITH, TRUMP VOTER: There were some bad deals made. And you know, you can't trust all these regimes that are out there. And you know, I think he's doing what he thinks is right.
SAVIDGE: That is not what most Americans believe. According to a recent CNN poll, 63 percent of those asked said the United States should not give up on the Iran nuclear deal.
Calvin Lane voted for Trump, and now regrets it. Worrying that Trump has become too unpredictable. So you voted for the man, but you're thinking now maybe you shouldn't have?
CALVIN LANE, TRUMP VOTER: Yes, that's what I'm thinking. A little too reckless to be in charge of everything.
SAVIDGE: Dawn Piper has no regrets. She likes what Trump's doing. At a restaurant in (INAUDIBLE), she tells me unpredictability can be a positive since it keeps opponents guessing.
[16:30:03] DAWN PIPER, TRUMP VOTER: And I think that it is a good thing to not know, you know, because sometimes the best defense is not knowing what the offense is.
SAVIDGE: Back at the gas station, I ask co-owner Chris Tolliver if he ever worries Trump's words could go too far and maybe lead to war.
CHRIS TOLLIVER, TRUMP VOTER: That does worry me a little bit. The war part of it, because he does come across a little harsh sometimes. But like I said, he says what everyone else was probably thinking, you know.
SAVIDGE: The reason Trump voters don't have a problem with how Trump sees the world is because many of them see it the very same way.
At the end of these interviews, I always ask one last question, which is would they vote for President Trump again. And lately, I have been noticing a trend. The answer is still yes, but some do qualify it by saying it might depend on who's running against him.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Pennsylvania.
CABRERA: Joining us to discuss the President's consequential week in foreign policy, CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot and David Rohde, and Emory University professor Mark Bauerlein.
So Max, I know you have been very critical of this administration's foreign policy. How would you rate this big week?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, there's no question that President Trump is being very bold on a number of fronts. Now, whether that's going to pay off or not I think remains to be seen. I think he's making a mistake by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, absent evidence of Iranian cheating. And he is also setting himself I think a very high bar for success in negotiations with North Korea because he is saying that the Iranian nuclear accord isn't adequate, even though the Iranians gave up 95 percent of their fissile material and accepted pretty intrusive inspection requirements. So now he has got to go beyond that with North Korea.
So we will see if he achieves that or not. I mean, we will know soon enough whether he deserves the Nobel peace prize his supporters are already nominating him for.
CABRERA: Mark, you wrote an op-ed for CNN.com essentially saying President Trump had a great week. Explain why you see it that way from what he did regarding foreign policy.
MARK BAUERLEIN, PROFESSOR, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Well, I come at it from the perspective of a lot of the Trump supporters. The people you profiled a few minutes ago. And you can see that Trump answers too many of their frustrations that they felt, probably for two decades now running through both Democrat and Republican administrations. And they see forcefulness. They see action taking place. I think they understand the risks pretty well. But they also have reached a point where they largely are becoming hardened to informed opinion that runs against President Trump, either coming from experts or in the field or coming from the media.
I think Trump has set up a kind of situation here whereby when you criticize him, many of his supporters feel you're criticizing us too. And that is because so much of the criticism of President Trump does get to be personal and vindictive, and antagonistic. There's many intelligent criticism out there of the Trump administration, but too much of it, I think, is surrounded by that (INAUDIBLE) kind.
CABRERA: David, as critical as people have been over his pull out from the Iran nuclear deal, maybe how he has approached North Korea more broadly, this is what he said he was going to do when you see him pulling out of the Iran deal. This is what the voters elected.
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, he is keeping his promises. The danger is that he is letting his domestic political calculation, you know, drive his international calculation.
But I think we need to see what happens here. I sort of agree with Max. He set up a very clear parallel. The Iran deal, not good enough. I'm pulling out of it. He's going to produce something better with North Korea.
If Kim Jong-un won't agree to more restrictive inspections, I mean, the key here is will North Korea allow Americans inside North Korea permanently or regularly to look all over their military bases? That what the President says he is going to get. What happens then? What if there isn't a deal? So I think, you know, we should give Trump credit, but we have to see if he can actually produce something better. If he fails, is he just sort of throwing out one deal because it was Obama's deal, and he is unable to actually deliver on the promise of something better?
CABRERA: Mark, when it comes to that point, when you talk about the politics of this. The President has talked up his victory, even, before it has happened. I mean, he is already talking about Nobel peace prize, he is making a big deal about it, he is taking credit for getting to this point. If it doesn't end up being the kind of deal that he is setting it up to be, are his voters going to care?
BAUERLEIN: He operates on the old power of positive thinking. If you think it forward, then maybe that will help make it happen.
I do think that a lot of the voters do have much of a wait and see attitude on this and that many of them, if they saw a democratic rival come forward who did speak to some of the feelings of dispossession and contempt that they feel out of Washington, D.C., I think that person could very easily pull, like the man talking at the gas station that you profiled, could pull him over to the other side. I don't think this is a party commitment on this level.
[16:35:32] CABRERA: One of the big headlines about the foreign policy moves this week, max, was the risk of U.S. isolation. Let's listen to former President George W. Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very important for our fellow citizens to remember these words from Winston Churchill. America is indispensable for the world. And the dangers of isolation loom. The price of greatness is responsibilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: So Max, for decades, the U.S. has sort of been in lock step with our allies in making some of these major foreign policy maneuverings. And yet what has happened in the past hasn't necessarily ended with the result everybody was hoping for, which would be the denuclearization of North Korea or Iran, for example. So is it a bad thing to try going about it a different way?
BOOT: Well, it's not bad to, if you have a different vision. My question is whether President Trump actually has an idea of how to achieve his objectives or whether he is simply kind of lashing out at what he sees as President Obama's legacy. I certainly don't see much of a plan b in the case of Iran. But how do you impose sanctions on Iran when Iran has been complying with the accord and all of our partners think it's a mistake to pull out. So how does he convince them to impose harsh sanctions?
In the case of North Korea, he's taking a high-staked gamble. We will see. As we have been saying whether it pays off. I mean, so far, I would say that President Trump has been much better at tearing up accords. He has gotten out of the transpacific partnership. He has got out of the Paris climate accord. He has gone out of the Iran nuclear deal. He has been much better at tearing up accords than he is in negotiating new ones. He claims to be the world's greatest deal maker. But we will see. But he is setting himself a very hard task because right now, he is negotiating simultaneously with Iran, with North Korea, with China. That's a lot for any one White House to handle, especially a White House as disorganized as this one.
CABRERA: David, I owe you another question. I got to get to this breaking news.
Gentlemen, thank you all for being with us and for the thoughtful discussion.
Again, back to this breaking news out of Paris right now. French media reporting two people are dead following a stabbing attack in Paris. That number now climbing.
CNN international correspondent Jim Bittermann is joining us from Paris on the phone now.
Jim, what can you tell us?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): Well, I think according to the police, anyway, that number is descending, Ana. Frankly, the police are announcing that one person has been killed, another two people that are severely injured, and two other people have been slightly injured in a knife attack in Paris around 10:00 local time this evening.
The perpetrator was killed by police in a matter of minutes, apparently, after this attack. We are still trying to figure out what the details are on this and why the attack took place. The interior minister has been on twitter and basically saying saluting the coolness of the reaction of the police, but also saying that thoughts are with the victims. So one person dead, two people severely injured, and two people slightly injured in this knife attack that took place this evening.
CABRERA: So just to clarify with you, Jim, one person who is a victim was killed, and you also mentioned the suspect is dead, too, correct?
BITTERMANN: That is correct.
CABRERA: OK. And where exactly did this happen, and do we know what led up to it? How it unfolded?
BITTERMANN: No, we know none of the details at all. It happened near the Paris opera, if you know Paris, but not in front of the opera or close to it, but it is in the second around this hall which is where the Paris opera is. So it is in that neighborhood, but not right at the opera.
CABRERA: OK, Jim Bittermann, we know you are working to gather more information for us.
I want to bring in Josh Campbell, one of our national security analysts who is joining us now, former Intel, FBI.
Josh, very little information is known right now. As Jim pointed out, it's unclear exactly how this unfolded, but we do know five people were attacked. At least one person is dead. Two more are gravely injured, according to the French police. What's your assessment, just with the little information we have currently?
[16:40:05] JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (on the phone): Well, it looks like fast action by law enforcement there. Within minutes, it appears the subject was neutralized and taken down.
If you look at these types of situations where you have highly populated areas, those are obviously prime targets for someone looking to inflict damage and cause a large loss of life. But police also have learned around the world that, you know, you need to beef up security at these locations.
So what it tells me is seeing that this person was taken down so quickly, he was probably in a location where you had officers there readily available. Also, it is interesting to look at the kind of weapon that he used, and let's talk for a second about knives.
So obviously, when compared to firearms, you have less likelihood of a mass casualty type of situation, but obviously, there's still very deadly and very dangerous. If you look at, you know, specifics of knives, obviously, they are easier to obtain than firearms. They are easier to conceal.
And one thing that is also interesting is that there's a longer reaction time when it comes to responding to the employment or deployment of a knife versus a firearm. Obviously, with a gun, you hear a gunshot. Law enforcement officers can go toward the sound. Oftentimes with a knife, you know, you have the sounds of victims obviously panicking, but it takes a little bit longer to determine what exactly is going on. Obviously, now, with the suspect neutralized, the next phase will be to determine the motive. That investigation is now doubt taking place as we speak.
CABRERA: The weapon stood out to me, too, Josh, because we recall the President just recently making a comment about the problem that Europe has with violent attacks involving knives. What more can you tell us about the use of knives more, I guess, I don't know if it's more frequently, but it just stands out more in a situation like this.
CAMPBELL: Well, first of all, there's the aspect as far as getting access to a weapon. Obviously, with the knife, they are easier to obtain than say a firearm, which obviously takes some type of, you know, minimal expertise to be able to use and use with great accuracy, but also from a law enforcement standpoint, from the FBI, if you look at the psychology of those who use these types of weapons, they are a lot different than using a firearm. If you think about it, to go up to someone and to stab them or to cut them, that requires a certain escalated level of depravity than someone who would stand from afar and use a firearm.
So there's so much we don't know about this individual that's going to be part of that investigation to determine what was the motive? Is this someone who, you know, maybe had a mental issue or was there ideology here? It's too soon for us to tell, but obviously, that's going to determine the course of law enforcement, where they take the next step in the investigation depending on the portrait of the person.
CABRERA: Again, very little information at this point. No motive known, no mention of terrorism at this point by law enforcement there, which is important to note. Of course, the investigation is really just beginning. Again, the attacker in this case, we are told, is dead. And there are a number of people who are severely injured and one victim who has succumbed to his injuries or her injuries.
We will continue to follow this story. We are going to take a quick break and be right back with more information straight ahead.
[16:46:30] CABRERA: Continuing to follow the breaking news out of France, out of Paris right now. One person has been killed. Two others gravely injured in a stabbing attack near the Paris opera house. The French interior ministry says the attacker has been neutralized. Our understanding is the attacker that means is also dead.
These are some pictures from the area right now. We have very little information but we can tell you authorities there do not have a motive at this time. And the situation we are told is under control. We are continuing to try to gather more information. Again, this happening outside the iconic Paris opera house.
A quick break in a moment. And when we come back, the dire warnings after volcano eruptions in Hawaii. Scientists warning of new eruptions that could send boulders the size of refrigerators flying through the air. Details on that still ahead in the NEWSROOM.
[16:52:02] CABRERA: President Trump has approved a disaster declaration for Hawaii, freeing up federal emergency funds for areas hit by the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the past couple weeks. And now, scientists monitoring the volcano have a new ominous warning. After a week of spewing destructive lava, officials now warn of a possible major eruption. One that could send boulders the size of refrigerators flying through the air along with toxic ash and gases.
CNN meteorologist Gene Norman is joining us now.
So Gene, we are getting some reports of a new fissure forming in the lower east rift zone. Is this more evidence of a possible major eruption and what are the signs exactly that have scientists issuing this new warning?
GENE NORMAN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right, Ana. That and other signs like having a lot of earthquakes and the fact that the lava inside the crater has dropped significantly.
Let's break it all down, first talk about the earthquakes. Here is the crater. And you can see these dots represent the earthquakes that we have been detected by the USGS in the last week, in the last day, even in the last hour. And we have had a magnitude three been detected nearly (INAUDIBLE) states.
Now remember, when the first 6.9 eruption occurred, that allowed the lava to flow underground to the eastern rift zone and start popping up in dramatic pictures of the fissures. And now as you mentioned, a 16th just being reported.
Now, the other problem, of course, is once that happened, all that lava flowing out, the level inside the crater began to drop. This is what it looked like before all the eruptions occurred. This is what it looks like since then. So why is that a problem? Having less lava in that crater?
Let me explain by going to the floor to our 3D graphics. As we open up this volcano, you can see the lava inside. As we take a look at what's been going on with the drop of that level of lava, all of the debris at the top has fallen into it.
Now, of course, the lava is interacting with the ground water, because remember, this is a volcano on an island. So think of it, Ana, the way you would put a pot on a stove. Eventually, when you heat the water up, guess what, it's going to blow the top off, and that's what we are going to see. We are going to see debris anywhere from the size of a basketball to a golf cart or larger get tossed. And we are coming up on the 94th anniversary of the last big eruption like this, back in May 18, 1924. Boulders the size of buses were tossed a half mile from the volcano.
CABRERA: Wow. So interesting. Thank you, Gene Norman, for that administration. We are following a breaking story out of Paris where an attacker with
a knife has killed one person and injured at least four more. These are live pictures right now. We are working to get more details on this attack that happened near the iconic Paris opera house, we understand. Soon as we have more developments, we'll bring them to you live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:59:46] CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being here.
We have breaking news out of Paris where an attacker went on a stabbing spree, killing at least one person and injuring four. Two of them seriously. It happened near the city's iconic opera house. Now, if you are familiar with Paris, this is in the city's second (INAUDIBLE), short walk from the Louvre museum. Police say the attacker is also dead.
CNN international correspondent Jim Bittermann is joining is now over the phone.
Jim, what have you learned?