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Trump Terminates U.S.-North Korea Summit; Kim Jong-un Express Willingness to Renege with U.S.; Harvey Weinstein's Happy Days is Over. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 25, 2018 - 03:00   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN: Still willing to meet. North Korea not giving up on hopes of talks with the United States after the U.S. president cancels the Singapore summit.

Charged with rape. Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein expected to turn himself in to police in a matter of hours.

And hunt for suspects. Canadian police looking for these men after an explosion at an Indian restaurant.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers around the world. I'm George Howell. The CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Around the world, good day to you. The highly anticipated peace summit between the U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea is off. But North Korea says it is still willing to meet with the United States at any time to work out their differences.

Pyongyang says its goal is peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

President Trump canceled the meeting on Thursday. He cited the tremendous anger and open hostility coming from the North, but he too left the possibility open for a summit sometime in the future. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Based on the recent statement of North Korea, I have decided to terminate the planned summit in Singapore on June 12th. I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world.


HOWELL: U.S. allies, especially South Korea were caught off guard by this cancellation. In Seoul, the government held an emergency meeting to discuss next steps.

Now, just before Mr. Trump's announcement, North Korea appeared to destroy tunnels and observation buildings at its nuclear test site. And in fact our own Will Ripley was there and he broke the news to the North Koreans of President Trump's announcement. Will describes now the long ride that he took and that awkward moment.

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We were on the way back from the nuclear test site at Pyunggye-ri here at Wonsan when the news broke overnight that President Trump has canceled the upcoming summit in Singapore.


RIPLEY: It was incredibly awkward and uncomfortable to be on the train with North Koreans after just witnessing the destruction of their nuclear test site at Pyunggye-ri, something that they hoped would lead to substantial progress in relations between the U.S. and North Korea. And instead, the situation went down here.

I'm here at North Korea's nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, a place that foreign journalists have never been allowed before. And we're here, the North Korean government says, to witness the destruction of this site. They say it will never be able to be used again.

With each powerful explosion, the earth shakes. We travel around 15 hours to get here, first by bus through the coastal city of Wonsan.

Compartment seven here we are. Then some 12 hours by train.

This is one of those moments where you blink and realize I'm having dinner on a train going through North Korea.

A luxury ride by North Korean standards. They just came through and they close all the blinds and told us that for the entire train ride, we can't film anything out the windows.

We pull into Pyunggye-ri station then begin the nearly two-hour drive to the test site. Once again, no filming along the way. We pass through a number of what look like small farming villages. There was no sign of life. Completely empty except for the handful of soldiers at the guard post along the way.

We get a briefing from the deputy director of North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Institute, he won't tell us his name. Then we're allowed to inspect the tunnels. North Korea says they could have easily conducted more nuclear tests here, they say two tunnels have never been used.

So they say by rigging it with explosives and blowing it up that's a meaningful step towards denuclearization. No nuclear weapons experts in our small group. Only journalists.

The North Korean say that the ecosystem hasn't been damaged by all of these nuclear test for more than a decade. They say no radiation has seeped out. Journalist aren't allowed to carry radiation detectors ourselves. They were taken away at the airport so we have to take their word for it.

[03:04:54] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The dismantling of the nuclear test grounds conducted with higher level of transparency, as clearly attested once again is the proactive peace loving efforts of the government of the DPRK. RIPLEY: You really do get the sense that you're witnessing history which is why we're documenting every single building on this site because by the end of the day, it will all be gone.

We hike to an observation post built just for us and watch Punggye-ri go up in smoke.


RIPLEY: The official statement from North Korea's ministry of foreign affairs indicates that Pyongyang is still interested in a dialogue with Washington. They say they are ready to talk with President Trump at any time.

They say dialogue between the two countries is crucial to improve the situation on the peninsula, and they say that the nuclear test site destruction was, in their words, a meaningful transparent step towards denuclearization, a sign of goodwill ahead of any potential talks with the United States.

Will Ripley, CNN, Wonsan, North Korea.

HOWELL: Will Ripley, thanks for the report. And CNN has the latest live from the region. Our Paula Hancocks following the story in Seoul, South Korea, Alexandra Field live in Hong Kong this hour.

Paula, first to you. North Korea saying they are still willing to meet with the United States at any time, anyway. South Korea taken by surprise by all of this. Tell us about the reaction from both sides how they responded.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, George, from the North Korean side, as you said, they've said that they are willing to sit down with the United States. They've said that President Trump's statement saying he's canceling this summit is not in keeping with what the world wants, with the wishes of people who want peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Also saying that this unilateral cancellation of the summit also raises the question to North Korea as to whether or not they have chosen the right path in this diplomatic sense.

So certainly, it's a measure in a cool-headed response from North Korea, specifically from the vice minister of the foreign ministry as well, Kim Kye-gwan, which shows that it is very high up member of the regime. So it's a message that should be taken seriously.

Now, from the South Korean point of view, they've been completely blindsided by this. They didn't have a heads-up from the Trump administration that this was going to happen. They had a national Security Council meeting in the middle of the night to try and figure out what was going on.

In fact, Mr. Trump had only just come back from Washington, D.C. from meeting the U.S. president. So the fact that there was no prior warning to this move by the U.S. the president has certainly had South Korean officials reeling. George?

HOWELL: Paula, you did get exclusive access to the drills that only seem to anger North Korea. Tell us more about what you saw.

HANCOCKS: Yes, this was the Max Thunder air force drill between the U.S. and South Korea, George, and it is particularly significant this year because it really signified, a turning point for the North Koreans in this recent diplomatic outpouring from them.


HANCOCKS: Loading missiles to an F-16 fighter jet, ready for a mission against an imaginary threat, an imaginary enemy. This is Max Thunder, an annual joint air force drill between the U.S. and South Korea. The same military drills that North Korea slammed 10 days ago as the turning point in warming relations with the South and the U.S.

CNN was able to film the exercise exclusively, which had been embargoed until the drill ended Friday.

DAVID SHOEMAKER, COMMANDER, 8TH FIGHTER WING: While the situation in the background has changed over the years as we've flown Max Thunder. The exercise itself is still there for the same reason, and that is what tactical level and operability learning to fight together as an alliance.

HANCOCKS: Pyongyang cancel high level talks with South Korea because of this drill, calling it, quote, "an intentional military provocation." The first of many recent bumps in the road to an historic summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders that U.S. President Donald Trump has just canceled.

But the mood is still far less tense that this time last year. The situation on the Korean peninsula right now really could not be more different to how it was last year when this Max Thunder drills were last held.

But for those involve in these military exercises, the pilots, the U.S. Air Force, they say that the politics is irrelevant. The most important thing despite that is to make sure that they are trained and ready for anything.

Pyongyang's anger at these drills took Seoul and Washington by surprise. A South Korean delegation who met with Kim Jong-un said that Kim said he understood why joint drills had to take place.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in Washington this week he believe the relations would be back on track once Max Thunder was over according to aides. But a lot has changed since then. It's unclear if this drill was really the reason Pyongyang cooled its enthusiasm for talks with Mr. Trump or a convenient excuse.

[03:09:58] But what is clear is that these types of drills infuriate Pyongyang, year-in, year-out.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HANCOCKS: Now, we did hear from senior administration officials in the United States that part of the reason why this summit has been canceled is because there was supposedly a meeting between the U.S. and North Korean delegation in Singapore last week. The Americans turned up, but the North Koreans didn't.

And we're hearing from a senior official that they were unable to contact North Korea since that point. So clearly the officials pointing out that it is, as far as they're concerned, an issue with the North Korean side, which is why they felt compelled to cancel this summit. George?

HOWELL: Paula Hancocks with reporting from Seoul, South Korea. Thank you for the reporting. Let's cross over now to Alexandra Field live in Hong Kong. Alexandra, certainly questions about what this means for China. You know, the role that that nation might play moving forward given the United States canceling this summit in Singapore.

But what about throughout the region? Japan, for instance. Another key U.S. ally that was taken by surprise by all of this.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Look, there's been a strong sense of support for the idea of this summit, for the idea that dialogue could help to pave a new way forward in a region that has felt the tension that's been generated by North Korea over the last few years.

Certainly that strong sense of skepticism is held in Japan, particularly. They take a hard line toward North Korea. Of course their national security interests have been threatened by those repeated missile tests as we were seeing just about a year ago.

So just minutes ago we heard from the Japanese prime minister he was saying that he supports President Trump's judgment that he supports President Trump's decision that he hopes to speak further to the president within the coming days.

At the same time, officials in Japan tend to say that they want to have talks just for the sake of talks. They want to have meaningful dialogue on meaningful issues, and that would include any potential summit as well.

Here's how the chief cabinet secretary in Japan put it this morning.


YOSHIHIDE SUGA, CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OF JAPAN (through translator): The summit was not just about the two leaders holding a meeting but about content, about nuclear missiles and the abductees. We have been saying that it was important that this meeting create the opportunity for progress in these issues.


FIELD: As for china, Chinese officials had within the last couple of days again publicly offered their support for the summit, they continued to say that they want there to be dialogue between the United States and North Korea. But there's been no official comment publicly made since the news broke that President Trump has canceled this summit.

Certainly it appeared that Beijing had been sidelined in the organization of this summit. It was mostly directed by South Korean efforts, of course with the U.S. and North Korea then signing on and agreeing to do this sit-down.

But it does seem that if there is a summit in the future, Beijing will have some kind of voice in it, and that's certainly demonstrated, George, by the fact that they have worked with the last few months to strengthen their ties to North Korea.

There have been two meetings between the Chinese president and the North Korean leader. And very interestingly, of course, George, we know that President Trump said that after that second meeting between those two leaders he seemed to think that North Korea's tone had then started to change.

And we know that when President Trump went ahead and canceled this meeting, he cited what he said was the hostile rhetoric that had been coming recently from North Korea. George?

HOWELL: And the question of China's influence of whether it is in play, somehow in this. Alexandra Field, thank you for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you.

With us now is Christopher Hill, the former U.S. ambassador to South Korea. He was also the lead negotiator in talks on North Korea between 2005 and 2009. Joining from Denver, Colorado with us. Thank you so much for your time today.

Let's start by getting your assessment. What do you think of the president's move here to cancel this summit?

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA: Well, I think both sides were getting very nervous about the summit. Clearly the North Koreans thought they could go to it, maybe get some sanctions relief much but not give up much.

In the meantime, President Trump thought they'd give up everything, essentially denuclearize on the spot, and not do -- and the U.S. wouldn't have to do anything until the process was all over. So clearly something had begun.

The North Koreans made some comments to the press, one of which was pretty clear saying, why would they think we'll give up our nuclear programs for a little economic assistance? And then it was pretty obvious they were not prepared to go forward.

And meanwhile, I'm not sure the Trump administration handled it all that well. They had John Bolton speaking in kind of wild terms about the so-called Libya model, and then they had the vice president following up on that on the Libyan model, which in Pence's version of it left President Gaddafi dead in the streets. So I'm not really sure that there was really much to go with. So I think it was decided not to go through with it.

[03:14:55] HOWELL: Ambassador Hill, it's interesting because at the time this decision was made our Will Ripley was in North Korea. He in fact broke that story passing along to North Korean officials who presumably passed it on to Kim Jong-un.

But during that time journalists saw tunnels blown out things of that nature, explosions. What did make of that imagery that we saw? Did you believe it?

HILL: Well, I think the North Koreans have wanted to close down Punggye-ri. Punggye-ri has been used for six nuclear tests culminating in a hydrogen bomb test. I don't think they could have use it again without risking leaks into the atmosphere.

So I think they make virtue of necessity and shut it down inviting people to witness it. So I think it was all part of trying to create a more positive attitude as we went to the summit and I think it also included the release of those three Korean-Americans.

HOWELL: But I guess the question I'm asking you as we see these images, do you believe that's what was actually happening? Were those the actual facilities were a sort of a decoy to, in your mind, just give the image that something was happening?

HILL: Well, I think they have to shut down Punggye-ri. Whether they needed to blow it up in the way they did, I'm not so sure. It's after all, a series of tunnels. But I think they had to give it up, and I think they just decided to claim it as part of denuclearization.

You know, some people have compared to the decision to blow up the cooling tower of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. I was in on that one and that was very different. The idea of blowing up the cooling tower in fact the same reactor, was to buy time so that it would take the North Koreans a while to put it back together.

I think in the case of Punggye-ri it was more theater than that.

HOWELL: OK. North Korea still wants the talks to move forward, still willing to meet with the United States anytime, anyway. What did you make of that nation's statement in response which does come across as very measured in comparison to usual North Korean rhetoric?

HILL: I think part of what the North Koreans have been doing in 2018 is try to appear to be a more adult country that many people give them credit for, and an adult country that therefore can be trusted with nuclear weapons.

So I think that's their approach. To be sure, they still go off on these rants, and they're not opposed to that. I think it was quite out of line for deputy foreign minister to attack the U.S. vice president. So they still do those sorts of things.

But I think as a general line, they're trying to show that they can, you know, manage things as a, you know, fully blown member of the international community. HOWELL: The South Korean president was taken by surprise by this move

of President Trump's after President Moon himself had been in Washington to speak with President Trump assure the meeting would take place. What impact does that have on the U.S.-South Korean alliance, and does this open the door in any way to China playing a bigger part here?

HILL: I think the South Koreans were clearly concerned. It was their show. They were the ones pushing the Americans toward this. But the end of the day, it was an American decision to go and to have our president go meet with Kim Jong-un.

So I don't -- I'm not going to, you know, blame things that have gone wrong on the South Korean president. I mean, they may have been more optimistic than they should have been whatever but it was clearly a decision by the Trump administration.

But as for being surprised when they saw this, you know, the Trump administration is really going to have to go back to some diplomacy 101 and understand that you call your allies even if it's in the middle of the night. You call your allies and them what you're going to do. You don't want to take people by surprise.

And I think they're going to do a lot better on their diplomatic trade craft than they've done through this two-month interval.

HOWELL: Ambassador Christopher Hill, thank you so much for your time today from Denver, Colorado.

HILL: Thank you.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, Ireland is holding a monumental referendum on whether to repeal its abortion laws. It is an issue deeply dividing that nation. A live report from Dublin where the polls are open later this hour.

Plus, once he called the shots in Hollywood. Now he is out of power facing potentially felony charges. The latest on Harvey Weinstein's fall from grace and Me Too rising.


HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

Police in Ontario, Canada say they are searching for two men after a bombing that targeted an Indian restaurant in suburban Toronto. The blast wounded 15 people, three of them critically. The victims were rushed to area hospitals at the trauma center.

Police released a photo showing the hooded attackers as they entered that restaurant. They fled the scene right afterwards. You see them there. Police are asking for the public's help to identify them.

In a matter of hours, the disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself into police in New York. According to a source familiar with the investigation, Weinstein will face charges of rape and other sex crimes. His attorney declined to comment that Weinstein has denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Regardless, a flood of accusations against him last year sparked the Me Too movement. Women around the world came forward with accounts of being sexually harassed by men in power.

There's no doubt a major development. Let's break it down now with CNN legal analyst Areva Martin. Areva, thank you so much for being with us via Skype.

Look, important to point out Weinstein through his attorneys has always insisted he never had nonconsensual sex with anyone. But this is the first criminal case against him since dozens of women have accused him of an extensive history of sexual misconduct.

AREVA MARTIN, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Yes, George, as you said this is huge news. This comes on the heels of eight months after the first allegations against Harvey Weinstein broke and dozens, as you said, of women came forward to tell their stories.

Not clear what was going to happen with respect to some of those stories. Some of them were decades' old but we saw with respect to the Bill Cosby case, so the extent allegations of sexual assault or may and they fall within an applicable statute of limitations for crimes we see prosecutors willing to investigate and file charges.

And that's exactly what the New York district attorney's office apparently has been or is doing with respect to Harvey Weinstein.

HOWELL: I want to get into some of those technical details about this case. Let's talk more about the statute of limitations on rape charges in New York. How does that play into this case because it was eliminated in 2006 but not for cases prior to 2001?

MARTIN: And it's not clear who the victim is. The New York district attorney has not revealed the name of the individual that has come forward to allege that Harvey Weinstein raped her so we don't know all the details with respect to when the alleged rape occurred, but apparently it is within the statute of limitations for the state of New York or otherwise we wouldn't see that district attorney or District Attorney's Office moving forward with charges.

[03:25:00] So, what's being reported is that there are actually two cases one involving rape, again, the victim whose identity has not been identified, and a second charge involving a sexual assault case stemming from a young woman who says that she was forced to perform oral sex on Harvey Weinstein in a hotel room.

Both of these very serious allegations, very serious charges and if convicted after a trial, so when he gets that far he could be facing decades of jail time.

HOWELL: And if we could just see that image of all the people who have made allegations, the many women who made allegations against Harvey Weinstein so far keeping in mind, Areva, there are also other investigations in play in the U.S. state of California, also in the United Kingdom. Could there be more to come, is this just the beginning?

MARTIN: Absolutely, George, you pointed out correctly. There are criminal investigations happening in Los Angeles, California, and in London. And I should mention also the federal prosecutors, federal prosecutors in New York have also opened up a case against or open up an investigation, I should say, against Harvey Weinstein.

So it's not clear at all that the New York State charges are all that he may face but he could very well be facing criminal prosecutions in other states involving other victims.

HOWELL: Areva Martin, we appreciate your time and perspectives today, thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks, George.

HOWELL: And now the legendary actor Morgan Freeman, a CNN investigation has uncovered a pattern of alleged inappropriate behavior by him both onset and at his production company Revelations Entertainment.

Eight women tell CNN they were victims of what some called harassment, others called inappropriate behavior.

Freeman has issued a statement saying this, quote, "Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy." It goes on to say, "I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected. That was never my intent."

Still ahead here on Newsroom. Why the collapse of the U.S.-North Korea summit did not surprise everyone especially those familiar with President Trump's book "The Art of the Deal."

Also ahead, volcano of destruction. Rivers of red hot lava surging from fissures around Hawaii's erupting volcano, putting lives and property at risk. We have an extraordinary new image show you several. Stay with us.


[03:30:00] HOWELL: Live around the world this hour you are watching CNN Newsroom. It's a pleasure to have you with us. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following this hour.

North Korea says it is still willing to meet with the United States even after the U.S. President called off his summit with Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang says it is keeping an open mind. President Trump canceled the meeting citing tremendous anger and open hostility from the North.

Libyan media reports at least seven people had been killed, 20 wounded at a car bombing in Benghazi. Security officials are blaming a terrorist sleeper cell or the blast near a clothing market. No one has claimed responsibility. Police in Ontario, Canada, say they are searching for the two men you

see here, the bombed an Indian restaurant in suburban Toronto. Apparently used an improvised explosive device, a device wounding 15 people, three of them critically. Police are asking for the public's help to identify the suspects that you saw.

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to cancel his summit with the North Korean leader may have taken many people by surprise, but not those who follow Mr. Trump's career throughout his time. In fact some say it is a classic move straight out of the book "the art of the deal." CNN's Brain Todd has our report.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody should be anxious, we have to get it right.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump walks away from what could have been the deal of a life time. A letter to his Excellency, Kim Jong-un, terminating their planned summit, citing Kim's, quote, open hostility in a recent North Korean statement. A letter from Trump touting America' nuclear might, a letter that analyst say is extraordinary for personal nature.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is unusual that the president would use threats of nuclear weapons. Any communications with a foreign counterpart. It is unusual that the president would use, I and you and such personalization.

TODD: But according to his biographers, not unusual for Donald Trump. They say the build up to a summit, the teams and then the walk back is classic Trump, attacks that he used to build his real estate empire.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The President's art of the strategy has always been to ask for the world and intend to settle for half of it and also be able to stake any position out in a course of negotiations. So the notion of walking away is something that he has always advocated. He is said that, you should never enter a negotiation wanting something too much.

TODD: For decades, Donald Trump has sold himself to potential business associates and then to voters on his ability to strike deals with difficult partners like Kim Jong-un.

TRUMP: With deals, that is what I do is deals. I make good deals. You know, it's a talent. It is a talent, you can't be a politician.

TODD: Now in his letter to Kim, Trump says he's pulling out, because of the quote, anger and open hostility in North Korea most recent statement, where they called Vice President Pence a political dummy. Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio isn't buying that explanation.

D'ANTONIO: This after all, it's a situation where Trump himself has been insulted many times and he is traded barbs back. What we're really seeing here is the President seizing an opportunity to get out of a situation which I think he felt was not going his way. TODD: Another classic Trump move in deal breaking are taunt. Trump

tell Kim quote, "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to god they will never have to be use.

D'ANTONIO: The taunting in the President's letter is one of those mine is bigger than yours moments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: how do you think Kim Jong-un would react?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it raises the likelihood that Kim Jong-un will react by resilient the verbal taunts that were so evident last fall. And to upon where things go from there, there is a higher risk that we could see a return of testing, either missile testing or perhaps nuclear testing.

TODD: President Trump and senior administration officials now say the door is not closed to the idea of a summit at a later date. Korea analyst say for Kim Jong-un that is going to mean swallowing his ego, which may not be likely any time soon. Can Trump swallow his ego to do it? Trump biographer, Mike D'Antonio says it is possible if it means Trump will get what he wants, the world's approval and possibly a Nobel peace prize. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot, Max is also a senior fellow at the council on foreign relations. Max, a pleasure to have you here on the show with us this hour. This move by President Trump in response to a statement from North Korea that essentially threaten nuclear war, but still leaving the door open to resume talks. We knew from the start the least talks they seemed tricky from the beginning. Do you see this as potentially -- a part of the president's negotiating strategy?

[03:05:01] MAX BOOT, COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS: Could be. I mean he is very unpredictable and he never closes the door to anything. So, who knows what's going to happen, we'll have to see, as he himself likes to say all the time. I mean I will say that I think that up until now, the handling as the North Korea talks has been a fiasco. I mean if Trumps going to write another book, it's going to be "the art of the debacle, because, he rushed into this summit in earl March without having done any kind of preparation, kind of spur on the moment against the advice of any expert he could possibly talk to and then he raise expectation to the ceiling. A month ago, he was actually suggesting that Kim Jong-un had already agreed to denuclearization.

And in the last couple of weeks, it's become obvious that is not the case at all. I mean, North Koreans spent billions of dollars and decades developing nuclear weapons and now they are just going to hand them over to President Trump on a silver platter without getting some pretty substantial concessions in return. You know, then they started amping (ph) up their bellicose rhetoric. And you just saw that things were spinning out of control over the last couple weeks. And you know, I think Trump did the right thing in pulling the plug, but he should had never put himself and United States in the situation in the first place.

HOWELL: The President, he has said all along, he said talks would be good, but essentially also saying, we'll see as you pointed out. Seeing ahead his bet on whether this would take place at all. The reaction among lawmakers to this cancellation, it has been mixed. Let us listen.


SEN CORY GARDNER, (R) COLORADO: I think Kim Jong-un has made a serious mistake in deciding to make it impossible for this summit to occur. I think President Trump was right in walking away from a summit. Clearly it was not going to be about denuclearization.

CHRIS COONS, DEMOCRAT FROM DELAWARE: This was a striking development for President Trump given the breakdown recently in tone between the two of them, I am not that surprised. But it concerns me in terms of what's the administration's strategy next.

RAND PAUL, REPRESENTATIVE KENTUCKY: I'm still hopeful that at some point in time the summit I think this is the problem sort of sometimes with bombastic rhetoric on both sides -- the rhetoric back down and try to have norm diplomatic language between the countries we might have a better chance of having a summit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President's free to speak his mind and call what he wants. I think we all understand what Kim Jong-un is. And when he is part of the president negotiating staff. He is a dictator. He is a murderer.


HOWELL: A mixed bag of voices among lawmakers, mixed reaction. What impact do you believe this cancellation might have on the president her in the state among supporters and opponents alike, who at the very least seem united about their curiosity, about where this could go?

BOOT: Well, it has been amusing to me to see Trump supporters who only a few weeks ago were already nominating him for a Nobel peace prize and saying that, you know, the fact that Kim Jong-un was only to meet with him as a sign of President Trump's genius, have now turn around in our equally praising him for his genius in pulling out of this treaty. So whatever he does is genius with them.

I think, look, I think Trump is in some real problem domestically. I mean, he is the most scandal-mired President we've seen since Richard Nixon. Every single day he seems to bring some new embarrassing revelation and he has not got a kind of popularity you might expect out of the fact that the economy is going pretty well.

So, I think his hope was that a big foreign policy success like joining with North Korea would revive his reputation, would send his poll numbers soaring, and would, you know, increase Republican prospects ahead of a midterm election. Now, it's possible that will happen. I mean maybe they'll pull a rabbit out of the hat and wind up, you know, having the summit three weeks before the election or something like that. But based on the current trajectory, you would have to say, there is not going to be any kind of bounce out of this nonexistent summit. So, I don't think it is necessary going to hurt him much, but it certainly not going to help him. And I think the White House really wants some help.

HOWELL: Max, interesting you've mentioned the Nobel Prize. There were also those combative coins or pull up some video to show our viewers. You see Kim Jong-un on one side. You see President Donald Trump on the other. Look, was there the impression that the president was taking a victory lap before anything was ever accomplish?

BOOT: Of course. I mean, this is, that coin is Trump's mission accomplish moment. It is a kind of a monument to Hebrews, it is not the only one and I mean, really if you go back and look at the president's tweets over the last month or so, he was already talking about how, you know, open and honorable Kim Jong-un was and what a great deal they were going to do and how wonderful it was going to be for peace and how denuclearization was going to be wonderful the world. I mean, sort of assuming that this summit was going to be a huge success when anybody who knows about anything about North Korea could have told them. It's a very dicey proposition.

[03:40:05] HOWELL: You know the question, Ubers is that what we are looking at here or there is still hope that this could come together. One could say, maybe it is a flip of a coin. We will see. Max Boot, thank you so much for your time.

BOOT: Thank you very much.

HOWELL: In Washington, two classified meeting were held Thursday to discuss one subject -- a confidential intelligence source in the Russia investigation. Justice Department officials met with top lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and there was an unexpected turn. White House attorney, Emmet Flood, was there for the start of the briefings. Our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, has the latest for you.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: For days President Trump has been trying to make the case that could had been the biggest political scandal in history in 2016, because what he said is there may have been a spy that was place in his campaign by the FBI, providing secret intelligence to his opponents, including then President Obama. Now after days of negotiations, the Justice Department, national security officials and others agreed to brief members of Congress in both parties about exactly what happen in 2016 in a classified setting.

Now, they emerged -- the lawmakers did as suggesting that perhaps the president's claims are just unsubstantiated and that there is no evidence to support what the president is saying. At least that is what Democrats are saying, including Congressman Adam Schiff.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D), CALIFORNIA: Nothing we heard today has change our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency place a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols.

RAJU: Republicans had merge tonight same briefing saying virtually nothing, not saying whether or not there's anything to back up the president's claims. And the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell said, there was nothing particularly surprising what he heard in that briefing which he state for about an hour. But was surprising to members of both parties was the president's attorney who is dealing with the Russian investigation in the White House Emmet Flood attended the beginning of both the briefing that happen on Capitol Hill and earlier in the day in the Justice Department.

Earlier in the week, White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, said that there would be no White House official there, but not only was Flood there also the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly. Now the White House later said, that they were just there at the beginning to make some opening remarks and said the president suggest supportive transparency, support in protecting human sources, but lawmakers said it was it was absolutely inappropriate to have the president's attorney, especially involving with the Russia investigation, in a briefing for lawmakers about the Russia investigation, wondering whether he is trying to get information that could help the President's case against Robert Mueller, the special counsel. Now Republican had said very little about this and little about the briefing itself. So the ultimate question whether or not there was information that satisfies the Republican concerns or they will continue to push the matter further. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


HOWELL: Manu Raju, thanks for the reporting. Following events in Ireland where a monumental vote is underway right now and whether to repeal that nation's abortion law. Our Atika Shubert is live from Dublin, near the polling station there. Atika tell us more about what you are seeing at the polls.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the polls had been open now for about an hour and half, they'll remain open for another 13 hours or so, until about 10:00 p.m. And there is about 3 million registered voters in Ireland who could come out today. And we've been to a few polling station like this one and we had seen a steady string of people coming in to cast their ballots.

Now there are some reporting restrictions in place were I can't really get too much into the debate around the vote, but I can tell you a bit more about what voters are facing inside the polling station. And it really comes down to a yes or no question. Do voters want to replace an amendment in the constitution, specifically the eight amendment which recognize the right to life of the unborn child as equal to that of the mother?

Now, that law has effectively banned abortion in Ireland. If voters choose No, then that means the constitution remains the same. The status quo continues if they choose yes, however, then that means the eighth amendment will be repealed and replaced with a provision that the government may put in a new law that regulates the termination of pregnancy. Now, to be clear, if voters choose yes, it does not mean that abortion

automatically becomes legal in Ireland. It does, however, clear the way for the government to propose legislation, to submit a bill. It would still need to be debated and voted on in parliament. And as you can imagine, this is a very emotional and deeply personal issue for many voters for months now. There has been campaigning across the country from by voting yes, and the no side. So many people here waiting to cast their ballots today.

[03:45:09] HOWELL: And where this goes, of course, we'll stay with you. Atika Shubert live for us in Dublin. Thank you for the reporting.

Some incredible images to show you from Hawaii, as an eruption of ash from the Kilauea volcano reaches new heights. The latest on this explosive threat, still ahead.


HOWELL: An eruption at Hawaii's Kilauea volcano sent a plume of ash 3,000 meters into the sky on Thursday night. Take a look now on this live images of what is happening in Hawaii. The civil defense agency has told residents there to stay indoors with windows closed. The lava continues to flow into the Pacific. Three pads have been advancing right towards the ocean. Now there are two, but the situation is still dangerous with toxic fumes pouring out of this fissures. Our meteorologist, Derek Van Dam has been following this. And Derek, again, when you see these images, you really get a sense of the power and intensity that the earth has behind it.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and it's incredible to see those images of the lava just really making a spectacular video live as it happens. Now this are the two active points of that lava actually reaching the ocean. That is a satellite image from the USGS. The other hazards you were talking about is this laze which a basically kind of a chemical reaction to the lava reaching the ocean waters. We get this hydrochloric acid gas mixing with steam, sending tiny volcanic glass particles into the sky can be dangerous if it is inhale in fact it can be lethal as well.

And to add insult to injury we have also seen blue methane flames near some of the active fissures that had become more visible within the past 24, 48 hours. And basically what's happening is that vegetation is getting covered by the hot lava that has move into the region and what that does is that it releases methane, and the cracks in the ground actually had that methane seep into it, eventually being ignited by the hot lava and causing that blue flame and giving that kind of atrial mystical look to the ground there in and around the active fissure.

[03:50:00] It is unbelievable. So that just shows you the constant dangers that surrounds this particular eruption, but I want to make it clear that everyone watching. Don't cancel your plans to Hawaii just yet, because you know only about five percent of the archipelago is been impacted by the Kilauea eruption and quite a difference between Hawaii, (inaudible) being so far away from where the actual volcano is located. George, back to you.

HOWELL: Derek van Dam, thank you. We will of course keep in touch with as the lava continues to flow.

We want to update you now on the story of a teenager in Sudan facing a death sentence for killing a here rapist husband. Noura Hussein's appeal has now been accepted for review, it contains gruesome and heartbreaking details of her ordeal. Our Nima Elbagir is covering the story in the Sudanese capital has this report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If there was no case we are now learning new this surreal details in the case of a teenager convicted with murdering her husband. A husband who she says allow his relatives to pin her down before he rape her. The medical examiner who is allowed to look over Noura ask to her arrest says that he found deep indentations of bite marks to her shoulders he also found the hands had been slashed, now this match to Noura's description of grappling with the knife with her husband.

The crime scene investigators also say that the violence of what took place between Noura and her husband ultimately broke the bed. Noura's lawyers have now put all of that testimony into the appeal which will now go in front of Sudan appeal court. The judges accepted the submission and between the (inaudible) look into it before moving it on to Sudan's High Court for ratification.

There has been so much international outcry and pressure in this case, pressure that so far has translated into Sudan's state security forces interrogating and harassing those involved with Noura's case. Going so far as to detain and raid the offices of the lawyer first task with leading Noura's defense.

But for now, activist involve with Noura's case hope that this pressure will result in something positive, that will result in Noura walking free. Nima Elbagir, CNN, Sudan.


HOWELL: Up next, two refugees almost died trying to make it to Canada. We have an update on their incredible story.


HOWELL: Toronto Canada is opening 800 emergency beds for refugee claimants, thousands of migrants have been crossing the border from United States since 2017 looking. They are looking for a Haven as the Trump administration cracks down on illegal migration. The U.S. is also hold temporary protection status from groups such as Haitians and Nigerians eating the influx of Canada.

Two refugees who made it to Canada have new lives, their harrowing journey through dinner winter weather almost killed them. Austin Grabish, has an update to a story that we brought you last year. Here is his report. (BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you excited today?


AUSTIN GRABISH, REPORTER, CBC: Saito Mohammed has waited over a year to finally be able to do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Position your thumb to open it a bit more to wider to get a grip on the cuff -- can fix that.

[03:55:00] GRABISH: These prosthetic hands are gift of independence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be praying for you and hope our prayers (inaudible) so, this is like an exciting moment for us.

GRABISH: Mohammed and Rasik Isah lost all of their fingers to frostbite in the dead of winter in 2016, after they got lost walking into Canada from the United States in a bid to get asylum.

He got his new hands last week and Mohammed tried this on for the first time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are already a natural.

GRABISH: In a moment that brought tears to (inaudible) eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now for him to pick up at point. OK. Pick up that small screwdriver. That is right. OK, am I really seeing this? Is it true that now he can do that?

GARGASH: She and other members of Winnipeg's community had been b Mohammed side ever since some of the simplest things in life became the hardest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even today when I was coming out to take a bath. So like, they will showdown and I don't know how to take it, you know, but when I did this, I used my feet and put it together and pick it up.

GRABISH: But now Mohammed can pick up a coin, scissors, carry a bag, or even open a cover.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where we do the manufacturing.

GARGASH: The prosthetic hands were made right here in Winnipeg at Anderson orthopedic. It came at a steep cost about $10,000 a hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can never replace what he's lost unfortunately, but the city it does give them some quality-of-life back which is exciting to see them do so well.

GRABISH: Both wanted to thank (inaudible) health which paid the bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is the day I when we go anything and say wow, the dream come true.

GARGASH: And both say they have big plans for their new hands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me to get a job, because we have been looking for a job and we are, you know, we are doing nothing.


HOWELL: A very best of luck to them. That was from CBC's Austin Grabish with that report. And we thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. The news continues, my colleague Hannah Vaughan Jones, standing by live in London. You are watching CNN the world's news.