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U.S.-North Korea June 12th Summit Maybe Postponed; Trump Insist Someone Spied Him During 2016 Presidential Campaign; Kilauea's Lava Flow Threaten Geothermal Plant; Reporters To See Dismantling Of North Korea Nuclear Site; Pompeo Confident Europeans Will Agree With U.S. On Iran; Iran Sanctions May Hit France Hard; Chinese Boy Survives Fall From 6th Floor Apartment; Pollution Turning India's Taj Mahal Yellow Green; Ghost Tweeting For Trump. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 23, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Donald Trump says his much anticipated meeting with Kim Jong-un may not happen in schedule, but if it happens, the U.S. president is guaranteeing something in return for the North Korean leader.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg apologizes to European lawmakers, but also managed to dodge many of their tough questions.
Plus, the volcanic eruptions in Hawaii are forcing evacuations and now a new danger as the lava flows toward a power plant.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.
After all the anticipation, the historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un may be delayed if it happens at all. the U.S. president says there is a very substantial chance the meeting might not take place in three weeks as planned.
But he's offering North Korea's leader something in return if the summit happens, and the North Koreans agree to a deal.
CNN's Paula Hancocks has more now from the White House.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: U.S. President Donald Trump has raised some doubts on when exactly this meeting between him and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place. It is slated for June 12th in Singapore.
But as he was meeting in the West Wing behind me with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in today, he said there is a substantial chance that it might not happen. Saying not that it's never going to happen, but June 12 might be too soon. That's three weeks away.
There was some concern that such an historic summit could be organized in such a short amount of time. So certainly that is the clearest indication we've had so far that it may not be on June 1th. Now certainly that is not what the South Korean president wanted to
hear as he was sitting next to him. Mr. Moon came here with a very definite message that he was certain that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wanted to meet and he was certain that they would be willing to talk about this denuclearization.
Now certainly some U.S. officials are concerned and they have been talking about this concern, that maybe Mr. Moon is overplaying the fact that Kim Jong-un is willing to denuclearize and certainly we've seen that over the last week or so from North Korean reports from KCNA, saying that if they are going to be pushed into a corner, if the U.S. is going to insist on this unilateral nuclear abandonment, then possibly they don't want to go to these talks at all.
So we're really seeing on both sides at the moment the North Koreans and the United States suggesting it may not happen. But an interesting thing we did hear from Mr. Trump as well at the same time as saying this may happen, also said that he would guarantee Kim's safety.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will guarantee his safety, yes. We will guarantee his safety, and we've talked about that from the beginning. He will be safe, he will be happy. His country will be rich. His country will be hard working and very prosperous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: And the U.S. president also said that he doesn't favor denuclearization in stages, he would like it to be all in one as he put it. Many analysts don't expect that to be a possibility with the North Korean leader. It's something he's simply not expected to agree to, but Mr. Trump saying that he's not going to rule out or exclude other options.
Now, we did hear from the national security advisor just yesterday from South Korea saying that he believed it was 99.9 percent certain that this summit would go ahead. We did hear something different from Mr. Trump in front of the cameras today, but then South Korean officials talking after the meeting about what Mr. Moon and Mr. Trump were talking about saying that they both were planning and pushing forward with this summit. Also saying that they do believe that it can be fruitful.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, at the White House.
CHURCH: And CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is following all of this from Seoul, South Korea. He joins me now live.
So, Ivan, after all the hype and high expectations, even a commemorative coin this summit may not happen next month. And now President Trump is promising to assure Kim Jong-un's safety if he does sit down for talks.
So, with a promise like that, does Mr. Trump run the risk of appearing a little too eager perhaps to make this happen, considering Kim's threat to abandon the summit, and what sort of precedent does that set?
IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, and that could be some of the origin of kind of the criticism and the challenges that North Korea has made within the last week with their own threats to maybe not attend the summit in Singapore scheduled for June 12th.
[03:04:58] The issue, of course, is that the Trump administration wants denuclearization, as it puts it, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. And the question is, is the North Korean regime really willing to give up its nuclear arsenal?
The South Korean government, President Moon Jae-in they've argued that they've been told yes, North Korea is willing to do this. Mike Pompeo, the new U.S. secretary of state has not met twice now face-to-face with Kim Jong-un and come back with these positive messages.
He was far more optimistic in his statements in Washington on Tuesday than President Trump about the possibility of this summit going forward. But again, one of the messengers here delivering these positive messages is President Moon of South Korea who, his message was, stay the course despite some of this criticism from the Pyongyang regime. Let's go forward with this.
But the South Korean government itself has been the target of criticism for days now coming from Pyongyang, and only at the very last minute did North Korea agree to allow South Korean journalists, eight of them, to attend this ceremony that it plans to hold for the dismantling of its main nuclear testing site.
And South Korea had to scramble to get its journalists on a government plane to North Korea to catch up with a delegation of more than a dozen international journalists who are already there, including a team from CNN.
You know, that's a sign of how tricky it is to deal with the North Korean regime, even about something as simple as inviting foreign journalists to attend a ceremony that it came up with in the first place and that it already issued the invitations to journalists from around the world to. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes, certainly seeing some mixed signals. Ivan Watson, joining us there live from Seoul in South Korea. Many thanks to you.
Well, just last week North Korea threatened to cancel the summit if the U.S. insisted on unilateral nuclear abandonment. Now it seems President Trump is suggesting that threat may have been the result of a meeting between Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China being discouraged Kim--
TRUMP: No, but I think that President Xi is a world-class poker player, and I probably may doing the same thing that he would do. But I will say this. There was a somewhat different attitude after that meeting and I'm a little surprised.
Now maybe nothing happened. I'm not blaming anybody, but I'm just saying maybe nothing happened, maybe it did. But there was a different attitude by the North Korean folks when -- after that meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, let's discuss this with our Matt Rivers. He joins us live from Beijing. Matt, how is China responding to this suggestion from President Trump that Xi Jinping may have influenced Kim Jong-un's threat to cancel the summit on June 12th and how would that even benefit China?
MATT RIVERS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, there is a regularly scheduled press conference going on right now actually not far from the bureau here at the ministry of foreign affairs. So presumably we'll get a response from China there.
But the response will likely be what we have heard before and that they are not really going to give an answer and they will likely say that they are actually very much in favor of this summit happening and that the only way to move forward with this crisis on the Korean peninsula would be through this kind of dialogue.
They have been a proponent of that summit, but you have had people suggest that China could be pushing North Korea. Now, I think it's a bit misplaced to say that China wants this summit to completely collapse because what happens in its place?
China does not want to see the situation deteriorate. They do not want to see military action on the Korean peninsula. But at the same time, China also wants to make sure that its own strategic interests are being represented, especially by the North Koreans, their traditional ally.
When this summit happens, China wants its own interests to be remembered at that table. And so what you've seen over the past several weeks and the last two months is two different visits, a series of high-level negotiate -- or high level delegations between North Korea and China.
You saw the two leaders meet two separate occasions. What exactly was said when those two leaders met? We don't know. But you can be sure that China's own interests of what Xi Jinping is pushing here to make sure that North Korea goes into that negotiating room with as much leverage as possible.
CHURCH: So, Matt, what impact could an accusation like this from Mr. Trump potentially have on the looming threat of a trade war between the U.S. and China? And is there a link perhaps between these two issues in any way?
[00:04:57] RIVERS: Well, there is certainly a link between these issues if you ask President Trump. I mean, over the last 18 months, the president has routinely linked issues of trade and national security in the first year of his administration, he regularly would say that he backed off or chose not to engage in very harsh trade tactics because he wanted China's help on the North Korea issue.
China for its part at least publicly has always tried to separate the two, saying that issues of national security should be dealt separately with issues of trade.
But the reality is that these things don't happen in a vacuum, and so you can imagine if there is bad blood between China and the United States on the issue of North Korea, it could very well bleed over into the trade negotiations.
How much, to what level, to what effect, what consequence would come from that, we're not exactly sure. But these things are not necessarily mutually exclusive and they certainly are not mutually exclusive in the mind of President Trump.
CHURCH: Indeed. All right, many thanks to our Matt Rivers joining us from Beijing where it is just after 3 in the afternoon.
And later this hour, we will hear from CNN's Will Ripley, one of the few journalists invited to North Korea to witness the dismantling of its main nuclear test site. See why the event is being met with curiosity and skepticism from around the world.
Well, meantime, President Trump is reiterating his allegation, the FBI may have spied on his presidential campaign for political purposes. As he sat next to South Korea's president Tuesday, Mr. Trump discussed it with reporters until this question about the deputy attorney general came up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have confidence in Rod Rosenstein?
TRUMP: What's your next question, please?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, I'm a reporter from--
TRUMP: Excuse me, I have the president of South Korea here. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TRUMP: He doesn't want to hear these questions, if you don't mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: President Trump's claims of campaign spying are raising concerns about the Justice Department's independence.
Laura Jarrett has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We've become --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA JARRETT, JUSTICE REPORTER, CNN: President Trump weighing in today on a controversy he helped start.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If they had spies in my campaign during my campaign for political purposes, that would be unprecedented in the history of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: A confidential intelligence source used by the FBI and CIA for years now in the middle of a political fire storm. The White House saying lawmakers will get the information they want after weeks of the Justice Department refusing to hand over details about the individual and pressure from House Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just not going to take this nonsense of every time we peel something back, every time we need information, we get ignored, we get stalled, we get stonewalled and then lo and behold, we're going to destroy the nation's ability to keep it secure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: While current and former officials say the source was not planted inside the Trump campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, CNN: They were not. They were spying on -- a term I don't particularly like, but on when the Russians were doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Reports about the source's discussions with former Trump campaign advisors had fueled accusations about a campaign mole, a motion adopted by the president who ordered the Justice Department over the weekend to launch an investigation into the FBI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Some man got paid based on what I read in the newspapers, and on what you reported, some person got paid a lot of money. That's not a normal situation the kind of money you're talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Yet even former Trump campaign advisors say their conversations with the individual were hardly cloak and dagger. Or otherwise, eventful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The meeting was very high-level. It was like two faculty members sitting down in a faculty lounge talking about research and there was no indication or no inclination that this was anything other than just wanting to offer up his help to the campaign if I needed it.
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: I never felt grim. If he's good at doing that, perhaps that's part of the game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: Top officials in the Trump administration had tried to protect the source's identity and records. Fearing his life could be placed at risk. But the White House brokered an agreement Monday for lawmakers to review the highly classified information they sought, only raising more questions than answers about precisely what lawmakers will now receive. And leaving Democrats worried, Trump has crossed a red line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I think little by little and sometimes not so little, we are seeing an erosion of the independence of the Justice Department that is gravely concerning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JARRETT: President Trump dodged the question when asked earlier today whether he still has confidence in the man overseeing the Russia investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
As for the highly classified briefing it is set to occur on Thursday but Rosenstein will not be in attendance.
Laura Jarrett, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: CNN legal analyst Page Pate joins me here in the studio to take a closer look at all of this. So, Page, let's start with this offer from President Trump's lawyers to special counsel Robert Mueller saying, we will present the president for an interview with you if you take the obstruction of justice questions off the table. Is that going to fly?
[03:15:06] PAGE PATE, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: I don't think so. I think Robert Mueller is primarily concerned at this point in the investigation with exactly those questions. Did the president obstruct justice when he fired James Comey, when he interfered with Attorney General Sessions.
I think Bob Mueller, someone in his office, wants to sit down with the president, look him in the face, look him in the eyes, and get him to answer those questions. Why did you do this? And was it motivated by an attempt to interfere with this investigation?
CHURCH: So, Mr. Trump's lawyers are saying these are our terms. Take them or leave them?
PATE: It sounds that way, but this could be a game of chicken, bluff, poker, whatever you want to call it where Trump's lawyers think they have enough of a legal argument to get the special counsel's office to play by their rules. You're going to -- we'll let you ask him some questions but they have to be our questions.
If the special counsel does not want to go along with that game plan, the only thing he can do at that point is subpoena the president to go in front of a grand jury. If the president decides to refuse, then there is the question of can a president be held in contempt by refusing to go to a grand jury. We have never had this situation in this country before.
CHURCH: But legally it is possible for him to avoid any interview with Robert Mueller, is it not?
PATE: He can refuse to go Mueller subpoenas him, then a court determines if the president has to follow the subpoena or be held in contempt. A court has never had to determine that question.
CHURCH: Right. OK. So, really we'll leave that one aside because we don't really know where that's going to go. But let's go back to the issue that came out at the weekend with Donald Trump basically tweeting out that he wants the investigators investigated.
PATE: Right, yes.
CHURCH: Where is that going?
PATE: Well, we know at this point the deputy attorney general has basically turned that over to the inspector general, the Department of Justice. And that's the appropriate thing to do. Let the inspector general determine if there was anything inappropriate about that investigation. If there was really a spy, so to speak, in the Trump campaign.
That kind of investigation is going to take awhile, several months, we'll eventually get a report from the inspector general but what I'm concerned about is the impression that this leaves with the American people.
Does the president have such little confidence in his own Department of Justice, his own FBI -- because these are all people that the president appointed. How does that affect regular Americans? How does that affect the Department of Justice, the lawyers, the agents, the FBI folks that go into courtrooms every day? It undercuts their credibility and I'm afraid that damage is going to be around even after Trump leaves office.
CHURCH: Right. And we heard from James Clapper, he was basically saying he doesn't like to use the term spy, but he was saying that informant was more than likely there to keep an eye on what the Russians were doing.
PATE: Exactly, exactly.
CHURCH: So, has anyone explained that to the president?
PATE: I don't know. But this president sees everything in terms of how does it affect me, and it's all about me, because in reality, if the FBI or the CIA is concerned about foreign involvement in a U.S. election, they're going to have people in the campaign talking to folks who are running the campaign because they want to see if the Russians are having any contacts with these individuals.
Thinking that if they did, they're protecting the campaign from possible illegal conduct, not trying to sidetrack the campaign or derail it or somehow affect it, but to protect it against a violation of U.S. law.
CHURCH: All right. And just very quickly, where is this all going?
PATE: Ultimately in court, right? Everything seems to end up in court at this point, I do think the president will agree to some sort of an interview with the special counsel because if he completely refuses I don't think Robert Mueller would force his hand and have this fight in the Supreme Court.
So I think ultimately we're going to have some sort of interview. And then ultimately Bob Mueller is going to give his report to the deputy attorney general. We don't know what he's found. We've heard reports in the media, Trump said he hasn't found anything.
We know he's brought indictments. At the end of the day I think we're going to learn a lot from that final report.
CHURCH: And of course, the incentive to do the interview is it could bring this to a close.
CHURCH: And they want to see that. They want to see an end to it.
PATE: Absolutely but I don't think it's going to close until the special counsel can ask those questions about obstruction.
CHURCH: Page Pate, always a pleasure to have you on.
PATE: Thank you.
CHURCH: Enjoy your analysis.
PATE: I appreciate it.
CHURCH: Thank you.
And we'll take a short break here. But still to come, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg gets an earful from angry European lawmakers. They get little more than yet another apology. We'll have the details next. Plus that volcano in Hawaii is still erupting and it's launching balls
of searing lava into the sky. They are called lava bombs and are threatening more homes. We'll explain when we come back.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in the coming hours. Mr. Macron wants to encourage the tech industry and start-ups. But European lawmakers still want answers from Zuckerberg, even after they grilled him. While the Facebook founder apologized again for data leaks, he was able to dodge many of their questions.
CNN Money Samuel Burke has more.
SAMUEL BURKE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: A major missed opportunity in the European parliament. The members had very poignant well thought out questions about fake news, about foreign interference, and Cambridge Analytica. And what was incredibly interesting was to see how the members here were really tag teaming with their U.S. counterparts.
They named senators and said they wanted to follow up with the questions that their U.S. counterparts had asked but Mark Zuckerberg was able to evade by saying, "I'll have my team follow up with you."
But in the end, it all seemed like a futile experiment because the format that was used here meant that all of the members would ask their questions first, in about an hour's time. And Mark Zuckerberg replied, "In one fell swoop, at the end." So there was no back and forth.
There was no real chance for a follow up, and by the end of his testimony, you could feel the tension over this format, really bubble over, as some of the members started to argue with president of the European Parliament about the lack of back and forth with Zuckerberg.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO OF FACEBOOK: I'll make sure that we follow up with each of you afterwards to make sure that your specific questions get addressed and we're going to have someone come to -- to do a -- a full hearing soon, to answer more of the technical questions as well. So thank you again for -- for inviting me and for -- for having me.
JAN PHILLPP ALBRECHT, POLITICIAN: Mr. Zuckerberg. I think there was one question raised by (inaudible) and that's linked to my question and that's the separation of different services. And I think it's a very important question in this round, the market power of Facebook and to question if you cross-use, for example, data between Facebook and WhatsApp. So it would be good if you say at least one word to that.
PHILIPPE LAMBERTS, POLITICIAN (voice): And did you (ph) -- would you allow users to escape targeted advertising? I mean, I asked you six yes and no questions. I have not a single answer. And of course, well, you asked for this format, well, for a reason.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. ZUCKERBERG: I'll make sure we follow up and get you answers to those.
BURKE: Now, Mark Zuckerberg didn't avoid all the tough topics. He did respond directly to questions about being a monopoly, possibly, about competition, but because he was doing this answer, really, as a monologue, it meant that he was able to recycle bullet points that we'd already heard from him about these topics, in other speeches, and in his opening remarks here, at a European Parliament. Samuel Burke, CNN, Brussels.
CURNOW: Well, Hawaii can't seem to catch to catch a break from Mother Nature. You're looking, now, at live pictures of the Kilauea volcano as it erupts. It has been sending searing (ph) lava into the sky. Earlier, a helicopter captured these images of the lava and flying pieces of molten rock over three different fissures. Now, that's on top of the toxic gas and airing (ph) plumes of ash that people, on part of the bigger island, have been dealing with for weeks now. Here's Stephanie Elam with more.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It remains a dynamic situation here, on the big island, as the people that live in this area are dealing with the Kilauea eruption. There has been another ash explosion, shooting up ash some 8,000 feet from the summit of Kilauea. That ash that goes up does have to come down and it can lead to respiratory problems and also, driving conditions can be difficult, when that ash comes back down to Earth.
However, luckily that was in the middle of the night. That's one concern. The other issue is some of these fissures that have opened up behind me that you see here, some of them that had been calm somewhat quieter have become reinvigorated and they're shooting forth lava that is snaking down towards the ocean.
Two of those streams have now crossed over the land of a geothermal plant. And officials say that they are keeping an eye on it, that they have manage to quench 10 of those wells down there to make sure that there is not any issue and that there is not any sort of steam explosion, but they continue to keep their eyes on it and they are asking people who are in the area south of the Puna district there to be prepared to evacuate with little to no notice if necessary.
Beyond that, those volcanic gases they've not stopped since this eruption began. They are still blowing. Today the trade winds blowing in the right direction, but still a lot of concern of people inside Leilani Estates are in there too long.
From what we understand, lava did flow into some areas, in new areas in the last 24 hours inside that subdivision. So, still, it's a lot going on here for the people who are living with these conditions and there is no end in sight.
Back to you.
CHURCH: Thanks for that. And coming up, a handful of journalists, including a CNN correspondent, could soon witness the demolition of Kim Jong-un' main nuclear test site. Join us as we travel to the event in North Korea.
Plus, the dilemma facing European companies as the U.S. pressures Iran with more sanctions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARDAVAN AMIR-ASLANI, LAWYER: They are confronted with the simple choice. Would they rather do business in the U.S., the U.S. economy being 50 times larger than the Iranian economy or go into Iran and face potential U.S. sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, this week North Korea is planning a big show for the world. A handful of journalists, including CNN's Will Ripley have been invited to witness the demolition of the country's main nuclear test site. Their journey will take them to an obscure corner of the country for the event which is being met with curiosity and skepticism from around the world. Will Ripley has reported extensively from inside North Korea and has more now on this trip.
WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We flew in here to Wonsan in North Korea's East Coast. And what we are expecting from here if this trip still goes through, because as of right now we don't have any information about when we're leaving and obviously the remarks from President Trump could potentially be a game changer from the North Korean perspective, because they say this nuclear site demolition is an act of good faith ahead of the summit in Singapore on June 12.
But if the trip does happen, we expect to take about an 11-hour train ride followed by another four hour plus drive through the mountains of North Korea, hat is an additional hour hike after that just to get to this site. Punggye-ri, is an extremely remote area in the mountains of North Korea. It makes sense, you wouldn't conduct nuclear tests near a populated area. It is quite a long journey just to get there. Once we get there, we don't know how much time we're going to be on the ground. Satellite images shown that there is an observation post being built for us.
We don't know how far away that is going to be from the possible implosion of these nuclear testing tunnels including the tunnel where North Korea conducted their 6th nuclear test last year that triggered a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, and then after that happens, after we see whatever it is we're going to see, perhaps the destruction of some buildings, the dismantlement of buildings, the removal of researchers and guards, North Korea says they're going to close off that area and shut it down and we'll take those pictures back with us here to show the experts, who are not on this trip and maybe they can try to analyze exactly what happened at Punggye-ri.
CHURCH: So, let's talk more about North Korea's promise to shut down its nuclear test site. David Schmerler joins us now for some perspective. He is a research associate of the James Martin Center for nonproliferation studies. Good to have you with us.
DAVID SCHMERLER, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, JAMES MARTIN CENTER: Thanks for having me on.
CHURCH: So, North Korea says it will destroy its nuclear test site, but given it's already achieved its nuclear weapons goals, how significant is this and what evidence might be destroyed in the process?
SCHMERLER: So, yes, you're right on your first point. They seem to be fairly content with the amount of technological developments they have been able to achieve with their last nuclear test and it is entirely possible that they don't need to do physical testing of the devices at the location anymore.
So, closing down the site, while it is ultimately a good thing because the actual nuclear tests are not a good thing, I guess, this is not necessarily something that is going to severely hamper their program or the further development of nuclear weapons systems. Now, when it comes to destroying evidence, it is interesting that they only invited foreign media, they didn't invite any experts to make this a more credible closure of the site, you would think they would invite someone from the CTCBO or I don't know, someone from the North, may be a friendly state to North Korea, but at the moment it seems like they have only invited media.
CHURCH: Right. Do you think the Trump administration is buying this theater surrounding the destruction of this particular test site, given North Korea's nuclear weapon program does go far beyond this one site, doesn't it?
SCHMERLER: Right. That is absolutely correct. There are many sites that were related to the program in its entirety. But as far as we now in the open source, this is the only place where they physically test nuclear weapons.
CHURCH: Right. I just want to make a point, back in 2008, North Korea did destroy a water cooling tower at a facility that extracted plutonium to build nuclear weapons. The destruction of that Yongbyon facility was supposed to end or at least mark the end of Pyongyang's nuclear program. But we later learned that North Korea had actually been secretly building a separate facility. What to say the same thing isn't happening this time around?
SCHMERLER: Well, ultimately there is nothing to guarantee this isn't happening again. I think one thing that you can take from the closing of the site would be that they're not going to continue to physically test nuclear weapons again. Those are two separate facilities. The nuclear weapons program is fairly vast and has multiple components to it with creating the nuclear material to enriching it, turning it into bomb grade material and testing the material at the site that the journalists are visiting in couple days from now. So, but ultimately, yes, closing the site down -- sorry, go ahead.
[03:35:00] CHURCH: Yes. Well, I wanted to just go to the point that President Trump did make with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday. And in rather lengthy presentation, the South Korean leader indicated the June 12th summit needed to go ahead. But Mr. Trump sounded more skeptical this time. Why did North Korea threaten its chances of meeting with Mr. Trump? And what's the end game for Kim Jong-un here?
SCHMERLER: I think that goes down to communication and what the North Koreans actually said they are willing to offer, and what the Americans were told and how that message was relayed up to President Trump. A lot of the talks recently have been that the North Koreans are going to denuclearize, which has a specific meaning.
Meanwhile, the President might be walking into this negotiation thinking that he is going to physically take over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and that will be the end of it. He did mention that, you know and there is a possibility that it could be extended over a period of time. I think he stressed a short period of time, but that seems to be unlikely.
CHURCH: We'll see what happens. Dave Schmerler, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
SCHMERLER: Thanks for having me on.
CHURCH: America's top diplomat is doubling down on Iran. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, says he is confident European nations will get on board with the U.S. and agree on a response to Iran's quote, threat to the world. And he is not backing away from his promise Monday that Iran will be crushed by sanctions and military pressure if it doesn't stop its support of terror groups or abandon its nuclear program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We would not tolerate another nation behaving with terrorist activity by putting proxy forces that threatened Americans and Iraq. Which is the list is long. We wouldn't tolerate that, right? If somebody else created an equivalent of Hezbollah, would we stood by? We would not, neither would the Europeans. Neither will the other Arab countries. Russia and China don't see that as a positive impact around the world either. So, I am confident that there is a set of overlapping values and interests here that will drive us to the same conclusion about the need to respond to the Islamic Republic Iran's threats to the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And the Trump administration says existing Iran contracts will be given a 90 or 180-day wind down period. But eventually many deals will likely be impacted. These include aviation deals worth tens of billions of dollars with manufacturers Boeing and Airbus. The Trump administration says both of those deals are now terminated. French energy company total struck a $2 billion deal to development natural gas fields in southern Iran. It's now indicating it may quit the project, if it can't get a waiver from U.S. sanctions. And car maker Peugeot, Citron and Renault also signed up to build hundreds of thousands of cars each year at Iranian manufacturing plants.
Well, France could suffer one of the biggest financial hits if European nations can't salvage the Iran nuclear deal after the U.S. pulled out and threaten more sanctions. More now from CNN's Jim Bittermann.
JIM BITTERMANN, SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT, CNN: French Normandy is famous for its dairy products. So, not surprising that a company that specializes in milk processing equipment Simon Feeres has been in business here for more than a century. What's more, the company exports machines like its high-tech butter makers to 50 countries around the world, including Iran. The renew of American sanctions means Simon Feerers will either have to drop contracts worth hundreds of thousands of euros or find a way around the economic blockade.
ANTOINE MASSON, COMMERCIAL EXPORT ENGINEER (TRANSLATOR): We are working today on projects that are planned for several years into the future. The idea that we could no longer work with Iran in a few months, well, it creates a very important level of uncertainty.
BITTERMANN: For the moment Masson is ignoring the Bella Coast talk in Washington and following the advice of his food processing association. About a quarter of its 240 members are doing business in Iran, and the Director is advising them to continue doing so while the French government and European Union find ways around the sanctions. So far, none have pulled out of their contracts.
But they could soon face a thorny problem. Finding banks willing to take the risk of financing Iranian projects. The U.S. has made it clear it will sanction any that do. Still, the French finance minister insist his country and others in the E.U. will find work arounds. A stronger role for European financial institutions, for example, and a plea to the U.S. for exemptions for some businesses.
BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER: So, we are asking to the administration to take some decisions to try to alleviate its difficulties and particular issue.
BITTERMANN: But several of the big French players like Airbus, Renault and Peugeot with contracts worth of billions of Euros in Iran, but billions more in the U.S. are more risk averse than smaller companies.
[03:40:10] Some have already announce that they are putting contracts and projects on hold rather than run the risk. A legal advisor to several major companies said that is more realistic than waiting around for the politicians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is going to be extremely difficult to recommend to French or European clients to continue doing their business in Iran. At the end of the day, they are confronted with the simple choice. Would they rather do business in the U.S., the U.S. economy being 50 times larger than Iran economy, or go into Iran and face potential U.S. sanctions.
BITTERMANN: The French energy giant Total has apparently already made its decision. It has put on hold a $2 billion project to develop an Iranian gas field. What's more, a Chinese energy company is rumored to be waiting in line to buy up Total's interest. So, while renewed sanctions against Iran, well, no doubt hurt the regime there, there are unintended consequence, including billions in losses for America's French and European allies. And the possibility of ever closer relations between Iran and China. Jim Bittermann, CNN.
CHURCH: A titan of American literature has died. Philip Roth passed away Tuesday night in a Manhattan hospital. His literary agent said the author suffered from heart disease. Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 Nobel American pastoral. He chronicled Jewish life in 20th century American society in much of his writing which spanned more than five decades. Philip Roth was 85.
Time for a quick break. When we come back, campaigning until the very end. We will take you to Ireland where pro and antiabortion activists are scrambling to get their message to voters ahead of Friday's referendum.
Plus, we will show you how that bed sheet and quick thinking bystanders saved the life of a little boy. We're back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Ireland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, and on Friday voters will decide if those laws should be repealed in a highly charged nationwide referendum. With polls tightening ahead of the vote.
[03:45:00] CNN's Atika Shubert spoke to voters on both sides of the debate.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Canvassing for a vote to repeal Ireland banned on abortion, but on this issue, voters in Ireland are deeply divided.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we get is, what I found any ways, you get to people and they've had an abortion, young women and certainly we can talk about it. We were almost hit by this guy who said you should be ashamed. You shouldn't be standing here.
On May 25th, voters here will choose whether or not to repeal a controversial constitutional amendment that makes it illegal for women to get an abortion in Ireland. In cities like Dublin, the yes vote to repeal the ban seems to resonate more specially with women hoping for change, like Lucy Watmough.
LUCY WATMOUGH, SUPPORTS REPEAL OF ABORTION BAN: When I had my abortion it wasn't spoken about. And I didn't -- I didn't know anyone else that had one and now so many people are speaking out, so many people are sounding off for this. It's such sea change.
SHUBERT: Her experiences as a teenager forced to leave the country to seek an abortion is why she wants to see change.
WATMOUGH: I felt like it was my fault and I felt like I must have done something wrong. I felt dirty, because I had to leave. But there was a brief moment leaving Ireland, looking out the window of Dublin, going, this is wrong.
SHUBERT: But the young female vote cannot be taken for granted. Some like Katie Ascough are determined to keep the abortion ban in place.
KATIE ASCOUGH, OPPOSES REPEAL OF ABORTION BAN: I completely agree that we need to support women better in this country, but I do not think the answer is to intentionally end lives in the process.
GUTIERREZ: In rural area, pro-life campaigners have balloon, pamphlet, and a plastic model fetus on display to convince voters to keep abortion illegal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the baby is viable, in other words, it will survive outside the womb, then both mother and baby are saved. Isn't that a wonderful piece of legislation? You would ask yourself, why would that have to be removed?
SHUBERT: Campaigners here are targeting more conservative voters, but also men who oppose abortion and they say are being overlooked in the national debate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously impact of the repeal on the man's rights? Now, we talk about the woman's right. We talk about female bodily integrity. We talk about female reproductive rights. There's no mention of the male reproductive rights.
SHUBERT: From City streets to country roads, it is a fierce fight to the ballot box. Polls have narrowed and many voters remain undecided. The one thing both sides can agree on is that no vote can be taken for granted. Atika Schubert, CNN, Dublin.
CHURCH: A little boy in China is lucky to be alive after falling from his family's 6th floor apartment. Surveillance footage shows rescuers helping to break his fall using bed sheets and kilts. Reports say the boy's right leg was fractured, but his injuries are not life- threatening. Apparently the accident happened after grandparent looked away to attend to another child inside the apartment.
One of the most famous buildings in the world India's Taj Mahal is facing a major threat. It is being destroyed by pollution. Years of smog, tourists and swarming insects are discoloring the building's once pristine white marble. Now some are calling on the Indian government to do more to preserve it. Robyn Curnow reports.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is being described as a tear drop suspended on the cheek of time. Built by 17th century emperor in memory of his beloved queen, a photograph of the Taj Mahal is becoming a vital stop on a trip to India. A time, air pollution, and all those footsteps have taken their toll. As the surrounding city of Agra continues to expand, the strain on its antiquated infrastructure, the pollution in its air, and the trash clogging local waterways gets worst every year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) Lord of concession going other site, that is why Taj is dying, And because Taj is dying, we are getting less day by day, so we are requesting to the government, other people that they should do something to protect the Taj.
CURNOW: And what heavily polluted water does exist serves as a breeding ground for mosquito type bugs which produces slime which is turn parts of the Taj Mahal once shiny white marble to huge of sickly yellow and green. Now faced with evidence of pollution damage on the surface stone and cracks in the marble patched with off-color cement, India's Supreme Court has intervened. The activists who took the case hopes the authorities will take the court's advice and call in international experts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is in India and we are proud of it. But it is necessity that if the Indian scientists and the (inaudible) they should able to contact foreign experts, to open conservationists and those who can come and they will be happy to help.
CURNOW: For now, of course, the tourists still come, some 8 million each year, each brick, each foot step is part of the problem. But potentially they could also fund this solution. There is certainly good will for any potential renovation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Taj Mahal is one of the biggest icons of India and I think the city would be better to be cleaner and for the government to do something about this, because it's a thing, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope they take care of it, yes. It's beautiful and it should be preserved.
CURNOW: For now what was built is an architectural symbol of enduring love, white and shining on a (inaudible), finds itself instead in danger of becoming a beacon for environmental pollution and love lost. Robyn Curnow, CNN, Atlanta.
CHURCH: It is the U.S. president preferred method of communication, but it turns out Donald Trump is not always writing all those tweets himself. We'll explain when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Remember the lawyer who went on a racist rant threatening to
call immigration, because some New York restaurant workers were speaking Spanish?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when you speak in English. They are undocumented. My next call is to ICE if you don't get them out of my country. (BEEP) come here and live off of my money, I pay for their welfare. I pay for the (inaudible) to be here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, that video went viral and New Yorkers responded.
A Mariachi band played outside the attorney's homes as part of a Latin Party and two New York lawmakers filed a formal complaint seeking to have his license suspended until he amends his actions. Well, now Aaron Schlossberg, who apparently as a history of public confrontations has apologized. He posted this. It says in part, to the people I insulted, I apologize. Seeing myself online, opened my eyes. The manner in which I express myself is unacceptable and it is not the person I am.
Now the apology is not going over so well on Twitter. Some are asking why it took him so long to say he was sorry. Other suggests his eviction from his law offices may have played a part.
Well, President Trump has said, he likes using Twitter, because it lets him speaks directly to the American public. Many of those tweets are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, but they may not all be his. Randi Kaye explains.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On March 21st, President Donald Trump tweeted, Special Counsel is told to find crimes. Whether crimes exist or not. Notice the spelling mistakes? Both counsel and weather are misspelled. One of many tweets from this President riddled with errors. But it might not be from the president at all. His staff is now in on the act, sending tweets under his name.
ANNIE LINSKEY, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, BOSTON GLOBE: The staff intends to use poor grammar and intent to just use, you know, sentence fragments and will capitalize random nouns it is sort of like Ben Franklin style of writing.
[03:55:04] KAYE: You heard that right. Annie Linskey, is chief national correspondent for the Boston Globe. She spoken with sources who tell her oftentimes it is White House staff tapping out the President's thoughts and the President himself is signing off on their mistakes. LINSKEY: The staff is just getting better at mimicking the style.
It's becoming a little bit less clear who is who. I was talking to one person. And he said you couldn't necessarily tell if a tweet was written by the President or by a staff member in his style.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
KAYE: If there is one giveaway, the tweet is actually from the President himself, it's spelling, or more specifically, misspelling. Like spelling his wife's name Melanie instead of Melania. Or the still mysterious covfefe. Those are apparently are all likely President Trump.
LINSKEY: The capitalization and the use of fragment and the really unusual punctuation where, you know, a clear question will end with a period or exclamation point instead of a question mark, you know, that is -- those are element of the staff will mimic. So, those are not clear tells that -- the spelling is the clearest tell.
KAYE: David Robinson is a data scientist and reporter with the Atlantic Magazine. He is developed a Twitter bot called Trump or not. That somehow estimates the likelihood of whether or not Trump wrote a tweet himself
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His languages much angrier, he is likely to use language like crazy, badly, loser, his crazy early morning tweetstorm -- anger tweets those shows the real signatures of being from Trump.
KAYE: This somewhat bland tweet from Trump's Twitter account congratulating his new CIA Director was found by the tweet bot to have just a 15 percent chance of being written by the President himself. But this tweet from last month using words like witch hunt and fake news along with two exclamation points has an 87 percent chance of having been written directly by the President. So next time you think Donald Trump is sitting in the Oval Office typing out a tweet to you, think again. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And I can guarantee I do write all my tweets. I invite you to connect with me any time at Rosemary CNN. The news continues now with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. You are watching CNN. Have are great day.