Return to Transcripts main page
North and South Koreans Leaders Hold Surprise Meeting; Trump Announces Release of American Prisoner in Venezuela; Trump Praises Teach Who Stopped School Shooting; Weinstein Charged with Rape, Other Sex Crimes; Volcanic Explosions Producing Ash Cloud in Hawaii; Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Alberto. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 26, 2018 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRSEPONDENT: And Darryl Clinton (ph) has had at least three surgeries already. Right now he is in Honolulu for yet another one. He has a long road ahead of him. He is expected to fully recover -- Fredericka?
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Wow. That's an unbelievably close call. And an unbelievable friend, too.
Scott McLean, thank you so much. We, of course, wish him the fullest, best recovery.
We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. And it all starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thanks for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.
We start with this breaking news and the whirlwind back and forth of a highly anticipated historic sit-down between President Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. The president now hinting that the summit is possibly back on after calling it off just days ago. Trump tweeted moments ago, "The failing "New York Times" quotes a senior White House official who doesn't exist as saying, even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12th would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning need. Wrong again. Use real people, not phony sources."
According to CNN reporting, this official said this in a background briefing on Thursday.
Now to the latest twist, North and South Korean leaders holding a surprise second meeting in hopes of saving that U.S. summit. Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-in sharing a warm welcome at the DMZ overnight.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is live at the White House with more.
Boris, things are changing moment to moment. Give us the latest.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. A rapidly changing and developing story, similar to what you would expect from the season finale of a reality TV show. Look, even days before President Trump sent out this letter pulling the United States out of a summit with North Korea, there were some skeptics within the administration that this meeting may not be successful but doubting the meeting would take place. You had the North Koreans calling the vice president, Mike Pence, a "political dummy" after he likened the fate of Kim Jong-Un to that of Moammar Gadhafi if the North Koreans didn't comply with American's demands. Beyond that, you had the North Koreans essentially standing up U.S. Officials that were set for a meeting to discuss logistics with them about this potential summit in Singapore on June 12th.
The president himself fueled some of that skepticism, his comments back and forth all week, not really determined to make this meeting happen. Let's listen to some of what the president has said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're moving along. And we'll see what happens. There are certain conditions that we want. And I think we'll get those conditions. And if we don't, we don't have the meeting.
Could very well happen. But whatever it is, we will know next week about Singapore. And if we go, I think it will be a great thing for North Korea.
I've decided to terminate the planned summit in Singapore on June 12th.
If and when Kim Jong-Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting.
We're talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out. We'll see what happens.
They very much want to do it. We would like to do it. We're going to see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Noncommittal to say the least, Fred. And it really shouldn't be a surprise, considering we've seen President Trump go from calling Kim Jong-Un "Little Rocketman" to more recently saying he is a smart and gracious, honorable leader.
As a sign of hope, we did hear from White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, this morning who told us that this week the White House advance team would still be traveling to Singapore to survey potential sites for this summit, and to see if this ultimately develops in a fruitful direction and it does, indeed, happen.
One final note on the president's thinking, yesterday, in part of that quote he gave reporters, he was asked if he believed the North Koreans where playing games with him. His response, Fred, "Everybody plays games."
WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez, at the White House, thank you so much.
Let's talk further on this with my panel, Tim Naftali, CNN presidential historian and history professor at New York University, Michael Shear is a CNN political analyst and White House correspondent, presently at the "New York Times", and Joseph Yun, is a CNN global affairs analyst and a former U.S. special representative for North Korea politics.
Good to see you all.
So, Joseph, is that what this is all about, everyone plays games, and behind the scenes, there's still the -- I guess the wheels are in motion to make sure this happens?
JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIR ANALYST: Well, I think you've seen that there's a certain amount of games. But this has been, as you said, dizzying, back and forth. I don't know whether I can keep up with it. But still, I think where we are is preparations are taking place. You've heard that the team is going to Singapore. That will mostly be a logistics team, team going out to look at the hotel, meeting sites, who comes, when they come, those things. But behind the scenes, you have to believe there are also substantive meetings going on, led by Secretary Pompeo. And it's those meetings, those encounters which will determine, as the president said, are there enough content, is there a victory, is there a win for us. So, that we will know very soon. We've seen the futility of predicting. So I won't predict. But I think we're getting there.
[13:05:31] WHITFIELD: So, Tim, is it your view that everyone sees a potential win in this, if there's a meeting, and, you know, when you see the picture of the North Korean and South Korean leaders from their overnight meeting, looking very optimistic, I mean, they're hugging, they're shaking hands, I mean, does this signal that everyone sees that everyone could be a winner if this happens?
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, world historical change and achieving peace in the Korean peninsula would be world historical change, those happen slowly. What's really very encouraging is the two Koreas, despite the rhetoric from Washington, actually want to stabilize the peninsula. And they're the ones who are rescuing this summit. The United States negotiators have made a terrific error by repeating the Libyan example. The Koreans, the North Koreans in 2011, made clear they felt Moammar Gadhafi was wrong for giving up his nukes because he ended up being overthrown. For the North Korea elite, Libya is what they don't want to be. It was a huge mistake for vice president Pence and national security adviser Bolton. The key here, though, is that the United States should not draw a line right now and say, we won't meet unless you promise to denuclearize completely, because North Korea is afraid of the United States. The North Korean elite does not want to be overthrown. The United States cannot make that the red line if it wants a successful summit.
WHITFIELD: Michael, making reference to Libya at least twice from the NSA and from the vice president, the White House isn't saying anything was wrong with that. If anything, in that it spells out that it was North Korea that started off on the wrong foot. Then what's been reported is that the USA was upset it was stood up a couple of times, and North Korea didn't seem like it was going to be compliant. Does it matter at this juncture what went wrong to lead to this impasse or does it only matter that potentially this meeting could be back on?
MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think what the White House -- the current stance at the White House is the latter, they want there to be a sense of optimism that something is still possible. They've sort of flipped from the grim rhetoric of a couple of nights ago. But remember how this thing started. This didn't start as the result of a deliberative process like it would normally have happened where you have a whole set of discussions ahead of time and ultimately a summit is decided upon. This happened when the president of the United States sort of abruptly said, sure, we'll meet. And so it should come as no surprise that the deliberative nature, you know -- that this isn't a deliberative process by which he pulled out and now maybe is going to go back in again. I think that's the thing that we're all trained in looking at history, those kinds of processes don't apply to this president. He just doesn't operate that way.
WHITFIELD: And, Joseph, you said it, it's dizzying just trying to keep up with all of it. When you think about the whole sequence, yes, there was criticism at the very beginning, why would you agree to a meeting without some sort of concession, something concrete. But then I guess the White House is saying we are in the driver's seat, we've got this letter that says it's off, and now potentially it's back on. So does the White House feel like it is recovering, or at least sending the appearances that, yes, it's in the driver's seat, it's making the demands, and until that, the meeting wouldn't happen?
YUN: Yes, I think the White House certainly feels it is in the driver's seat. Now, remember, I think what Michael said is really on the mark, which is that it's been something of a backward process, with summit agreeing before any other work is done. So the work that has been done is to catch up. And that catch-up work is having real problems because Pyongyang and Washington are poles apart. Right now, Washington is insisting immediate, oh, I think we backtracked a little bit, quick denuclearization. Pyongyang is saying, well, hold on a minute, we want to go back for action for action, phased denuclearization. This is what diplomacy is about, narrowing the gap. That work is being done. The challenge is can it be done quickly or can it be done enough. Maybe good enough is enough at this stage. I mean, we certainly don't want to go back to where we were in November and December last year, talking about military options, bloody nose. So right now, good enough may be, have a meeting, have good declaration, and then start a process.
[13:10:56] WHITFIELD: Except that letter still made reference to "ours is bigger than yours" type of thing.
So, Tim, is this, what we are to understand about this White House foreign policy, speak now, figure it out later?
NAFTALI: Well, here's the problem. Yes, this is the way Donald Trump operates. But this is not necessarily the way the world operates. Just because Donald Trump can go ahead and not do his homework and pretend he can bully countries into making changes that are fundamental to their national security, doesn't mean the countries will operate that way. So we have to go back to the actual basis of this really important movement on the peninsula. The two Koreas, for whatever reason, have decided to work together so that there isn't the return to crisis that there was a month ago or two months ago. That's what we want to build upon. The most important thing is that our country not mess it up, that our pretty, because he wants some kind of cheap political win, pushes the two sides too far, too fast.
WHITFIELD: Michael, are other nations looking at Donald Trump, or at least this White House, as the deal breaker and not necessarily a deal maker?
SHEAR: I think they're hoping he won't be a deal breaker although they've seen in other aspects of his foreign policy that he has seemed to be more adept at pulling out of things than at creating new deals. I also think that part of the problem here is that the rest of the world looks at the United States government as a whole to speak in one voice. And there are clearly, despite the president's protestations to the contrary in his tweets this morning, there are clearly divisions within his administration. There are people like National Security Adviser Bolton who are more skeptical of this whole process, and maybe don't want it to go forward as much as, for example, Secretary Pompeo does. The problem is normally a United States foreign policy kind of has all of those disagreements, hashes them out ahead of time, and speaks with one voice, usually through the president or secretary of state, and that's not happening here. You're getting a lot of mixed messages and that's making the world nervous.
WHITFIELD: Michael Shear, Tim Naftali, Joseph Yun, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much, gentlemen.
More breaking news, President Trump announcing that an American prisoner, Joshua Holt, will return to Washington tonight from Venezuela and be reunited with his family. For the past two years the former Mormon missionary from Utah has been imprisoned in Venezuela, making pleas to the American government to come save him. Holt traveled to Venezuela to marry his then-girlfriend, Tamara, they planned to return to the U.S. with her two daughters and start a new life together. But days after their wedding, the Venezuelan police started conducting door-to-door searches and claim to have found a weapon in their house. The couple claims they were framed.
The president tweeting, "Looking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House. The great people of Utah are celebrating."
Journalist Jorge Luis Perez Valery is joining us live from Caracas. He has been following this story.
What can you tell us about how this happened and how this release came about?
JORGE LUIS PEREZ VALERY, VENEZUALAN JOURNALIST: Fred, this has been a big week for the relationship between the United States and the Venezuelan government. Just a couple of days ago, the Venezuelan government decided to expel two senior diplomats from the U.S. embassy accusing them of conspiracy. Yesterday, President Nicolas Maduro, who was just elected a couple of days ago in a controversial election that the U.S. is not recognizing, met with Senator Bob Corker. And after this reunion that happened yesterday, today, we're waking up with the news that Joshua Holt, a 26-year-old man, U.S. citizen, was finally released after two years in prison here in Venezuela. Basically, high-ranking officials are accusing Joshua Holt, or were accusing Joshua Holt, during his detention, of stockpiling heavy weapons and planning a terrorist conspiracy against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
[13:15:11] WHITFIELD: So along with this release, was there any kind of admission from the government that those allegations were trumped up, that it's not true, or any kind of explanation with his release?
VALERY: There's still no explanation of what happened on the Venezuelan side. We're still waiting for reaction from the Venezuelan government. In this case, Fredericka, it was sort of a dark box, in which there was no official information but why this U.S. citizen was detained two years ago. His trial didn't even gotten started. There were many accusations of stockpiling weapons, of terrorism. But he was never tried or sentenced. And now he was just released. And he should be on his way to the United States. That's the information we received.
Jorge Luis Perez Valery, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
VALERY: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, an amazing story of heroism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: And everybody started screaming, and freaking out, and Mr. Seaman ran up and tackled him and secured him.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: And then he started screaming to call 911 and get out. And he got him to the ground and got the gun was out of his hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: You'll hear what happened next after that teacher took down a gunman at an Indiana middle school, when we come right back.
[13:20:39] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. This Saturday, President Trump praising an Indiana teacher for stopping a school shooting. Trump tweeting this morning: "Thanks to a very brave teacher and hero, Jason Seaman, of Noblesville, Indiana, for his heroic act in saving so many precious young lives. His quick and automatic action is being talked about all over the world." Jason Seaman was wounded as he tackled the young shooter at
Noblesville West Middle School.
Students are understandably shaken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: It's pretty scary. I've done a lot of thinking. I'm still trying to really understand what happened. I'm still trying to process it.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: He's a hero. If he didn't do anything, he probably would have continued shooting and a lot more of us would have injured and possibly killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Wow. Today, Jason Seaman is listed in good condition. The other victim, 13-year-old Ella Whistler, is in critical but stable condition according to her family.
CNN correspondent, Dianne Gallagher, is following the story.
Dianne, such a brave act by this teacher. What more do we know?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know he acted quickly, more than anything, in this situation. He's a 29-year-old father of two currently recovering in the hospital. According to his mother's Facebook posts that she put online, he was shot three times while trying to stop that shooter in his classroom, in the abdomen, in the hip, and in the forearm.
This happened as he was giving a science test to a seventh great science class. According to the students, the shooter asked to be excused during the test. When he came back in, he had two guns in his hand.
Now, classmates say that Mr. Seaman reacted, he threw a basketball at the shooter to try to get the gun away from him and tried to tackle him as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: He walked in with the gun in his hand and started waving it around. He took about four, five, maybe six shots.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: He started shooting at Mr. Seaman. And everybody started screaming and freaking out. Mr. Seaman ran up and tackled him and secured him.
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: Then he started screaming to call 911 and get out. Then we realized he had go to the ground and the gun was out of his hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GALLAGHER: Jason Seaman had been a defensive lineman at Southern Illinois University for four years. Fred, pretty much everyone that we spoke to said they weren't surprised by this at all, this was just his character, this is the kind of person that he is.
He did issue a statement from the hospital thanking first responders, letting everyone know he was injured but OK. Then he said to all the students, "You are all wonderful and I thank you for your support, you are the reason I teach."
His brother is a teacher also in Arizona. His brother said, obviously, they're shaken up, but he knew his brother had the character to do something like this.
WHITFIELD: Wow. His instincts were incredible.
Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much.
Still ahead, a remarkable fall from grace. Harvey Weinstein, the once incredibly powerful movie producer, now paraded out of a courthouse in handcuffs. What kind of defense might we see from Weinstein? And could the amount of time that has passed impact this case?
[13:28:27] WHITFIELD: It is a moment dozens of women had been fighting for, and that so many of them thought would never come. Film mogul, Harvey Weinstein, in handcuffs. After a seven-month investigation, Weinstein turned himself in on charges that he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another.
CNN's Brynn Gingras has more.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood mega producer, Harvey Weinstein, in handcuffs, walking into court, facing rape charges, stemming from the accounts of two women, including an aspiring actress who first spoke out in a 2017 "New Yorker" article, alleging Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his office in 2004.
Tonight, Weinstein is out of jail after posting a $1 million cash bail but not before surrendering his passport, being forced to wear a monitoring device 24/7, and traveling only between New York and Connecticut.
The criminal charges are the first to be filed against Weinstein after dozens of women, including several "A"-list actresses, made various allegations against the media mogul last year, among them Gwyneth Paltrow.
GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: We had one instance in a hotel room where he tried to -- where he made a pass at me. And then I really kind of stood up to him.
GINGRAS: Angelina Jolie, Selma Hayek, Ashley Judd.
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: I fought with this volley of noes, which he ignored.
GINGRAS: And actress, Rose McGowan, one of the first to accuse Weinstein publicly of rape.
ROSE MCGOWAN, ACTRESS: We got you, yes.
MCGOWAN: To see him in cuffs on the way out, whether he smiled or not, that's a very good feeling.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Weinstein denies having nonconsensual sex with any of his accusers. And his attorney insisted today his client is innocent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN: My job is not to defend behavior. My job is to defend something that is criminal behavior, bad behavior. Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood. And to the extent there's bad behavior in that industry, that is not what this is about.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: It's stunning fall for the man behind several major movies like "Silver Linings Playbook," "The King's Speech" --
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: My heart belongs to you, but I will marry Wessex a week from Saturday.
GINGRAS: --and "Shakespeare in Love," just to name a few, some of which earned Weinstein dozens of awards for his work behind the camera.
GINGRAS: But now he's the focus of investigations for alleged sex crimes not just in New York but also in Los Angeles and London.
Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Here to weigh in on the criminal charges against Harvey Weinstein, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor , and criminal defense attorney, Richard Herman.
Good to see you both, gentlemen.
AVERT FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hi, Fredricka.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Nice to see you, Fredericka.
WHITFIELD: Thank you.
So Weinstein's attorney says his client is innocent.
Richard, will this be a difficult case for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt?
HERMAN: Fred, I think it really is.
HERMAN: And listeners have to understand the difference between a civil action for bad behavior or an environment in a workplace where they condone someone acting like this and abusing his power, and a criminal trial where, on the rape charges, he's facing five to 25 years, and on committing the physical act, five to 25 years. Very, very serious, Fred. You have to prove that Harvey Weinstein physically attacked these women. And on cross-examination -- and Ben Brafman is a very skilled defense attorney, he's been one of the best for decades in New York City -- he's going to attack that. He's going to say on cross these women knew his propensity to want to have sex with people, that they voluntarily went to his office or his hotel room or his house, and that they had a choice, they had a choice. They could have walked out, and nothing would have happened. But they stayed. They stayed for a quid pro quo. They stayed to get a benefit to enhance their careers and that's why they met with him and that's why they had sex. That's his defense, Fred. Consent is a complete defense. That will be the defense.
WHITFIELD: So, Avery, let's look at these charges specifically against Weinstein. Rape in the first and third degree, sexual abuse and misconduct and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree. We've learned the criminal sex act charge stems from an alleged assault on aspiring actress, Lucia Evans, in 2004. Will the passage of time, 14 years, now in any way aid Weinstein's defense?
FRIEDMAN: Well, the more time that passes, Fredericka, obviously, the more difficult it is. It turns on the credibility of the witnesses. Lucia has been completely consistent in this. Cyrus Vance Jr, the prosecutor, had been thinking about it, but it's bolstered primarily because of Ronan Farrow, in that amazing article, where the convergence of quality Pulitzer-level journalism merges with the criminal justice system. He identified the other women and what they did. The other witness, Amber Gutierrez (ph), actually, when Harvey Weinstein called Gutierrez (ph) back, she was in the police department with the sex crimes unite. She was wired by the police, went back and asked Weinstein, well, you groped me before, are you going to do it again, and he said, look, I'm really sorry about that, we do that all the time, but it won't happen again, essentially an admission. So I think at this point, Fredericka, not only do we have those three women, I think you're going to have a lot more witnesses. Believe it, not, that perp walk is going to impact other victims to come forward before that grand jury. And when Harvey Weinstein returns back in court on July 30th, there may be additional charges. I think that's likely.
WHITFIELD: And, Richard, the alleged victim in that 2013 rape case has not been publicly identified. Weinstein's attorney says all charges against his client, he says, are constitutionally flawed. What does he mean by that? What about this would be constitutionally flawed?
HERMAN: Fred, this arrest was based on a criminal complaint, not a grand jury indictment.
HERMAN: And the sufficiency of the complaint is what Ben Brafman is going to attack right now. I don't know why they rushed it and did it like this. They still have a sitting grand jury.
Avery is right, there will be more charges brought. This grand jury will indict more charges against Harvey Weinstein. There's a federal grand jury, there's an investigation in the U.K. against him, there's a California criminal investigation against him.
[13:35:14] FRIEDMAN: That's right.
HERMAN: This could be the tip of the iceberg. But the biggest issue here, one of the biggest issues for the defense, Fred, is will they be able to get an impartial jury in this "Me Too" environment. This is --
WHITFIELD: And Ben Brafman made reference to that, Ben Brafman did, about the movement. It will be difficult to seat a jury that wasn't influenced by this movement, is how he put it.
HERMAN: This is the creator of the movement, Harvey Weinstein.
FRIEDMAN: That's right. That's exactly right.
HERMAN: So if the jury can sift and decipher the facts and apply the law as instructed, I think the defense has a real shot here on the issue of consent. If they come in, preconceived, "Me Too," these guys are animals, he will get convicted. Like Bill Cosby did, he will be convicted in that same environment, Fred. So it's going to be interesting. But I do think more charges are coming against Mr. Weinstein.
WHITFIELD: Avery, last word?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, bottom line, we'll see more. I think a quality lawyer can get the right kind of jury, at least from a prosecutorial perspective, I think they're getting convictions early on. We'll see more indictments coming.
WHITFIELD: All right, Richard, Avery, thanks so much, always good to see you.
HERMAN: Have a good weekend.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, new explosions on Hawaii's big island today.
Oh, Richard, I should have asked you about this, Hawaii, your second home.
Producing ash clouds up to 11,000 feet, as new lava flows and forces more residents to evacuate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the spring of '86, you've got the most violent period of the entire war.
UNIDENTIFIED U.S. SOLDIER: Awful sick of it. I'll be so glad to go home.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR, PASTOR & ACTIVIST: I have seen the promised land. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.
UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For my parents' generation, king was the dream. And then he's gone.
ROBERT KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am announcing today my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: Oh, my god. Senator Kennedy has been shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was really the death of hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wallace knew how to get a crowd energized.
GEORGE WALLACE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A know a lot of words you don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: Police and demonstrators tussling over this to the intersection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Graduate" is probably the most important movie of the '60s.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope to restore respect to the presidency.
DAN RATHER, FORMER NEWS ANCHOR: One of the most dramatic and consequential years in history.
ANNOUCER: "1968," a four-part, two-night CNN original series event, starting tomorrow at 9:00.
[13:42:17] WHITFIELD: New explosions from the Kilauea Volcano are producing a fresh ash cloud, up to 11,000 feet. Here is a live look right now at the lava, which is covering just over three-square miles of the big island. The earthquakes are ramping up as well. Yesterday alone, there were 90 of them in just six hours.
Thanks to NASA, we're also getting a glimpse of what this looks like from space. NASA has been helping Hawaii officials track fissures and the movement of the lava.
And unfortunately, that lava path leads right towards homes in the Leilani Estates committee.
CNN's Stephanie Elam was there when the lava fountains began shooting hundreds of feet into the air.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thick waves of fresh lava blaze a path down a mount of volcanic rock. This didn't exist just a few days ago.
STEVE GEBBI (ph), HAWAII RESIDENT: We gambled and maybe -- maybe didn't win.
ELAM: Every day, Steve Gebbi (ph) heads into Leilani Estates to check on the House he built by hand. Only one way to his place remains. But this road is now scarred with jagged cracks, a byproduct of Kilauea's eruption. Steve says some folks in the neighborhood patched the road enough to make it passable, at least for now.
When we first met Steve three weeks ago, it was just days after the eruption began. Back then, he thought his home would be gone I go now.
GEBBI (ph): There's three fissures next to my house. I'm thinking they'll grab ahold of each other.
ELAM: Steve's fear turned to fact. The fissures have banded together into a massive volcanic complex.
Kilauea's eruption is callous in its haphazardness, leaving residents who hadn't lost their homes with a thick vein of hope each day.
(on camera): How do you feel?
GEBBI (ph): I don't know. At this point we're numb. It's been three weeks. The heart breaks slowly.
ELAM (voice-over): Just a few hundred feet away from his driveway, the lava oozes closer. It's already taken out some homes here, swallowed by the unforgiving molten rock. Tin roofs at rest in a sea of black.
GEBBI (ph): It looks like it will fill in the space. Then when that happens, is when all hell is going to break loose at the top.
ELAM (on camera): We were just standing down here five minutes ago and there was no lava fountain to be seen. Take a look at this now. It's like it came out of nowhere. You can hear it. The ash is blowing around. We were told by residents that as early as this morning, this looked deep, deep red.
(voice-over): As the winds pick up, the heat of the lava field scorches paths.
GEBBI (ph): It's just a matter of time. I don't know what's going to be left of Leilani. I think it might be wiped out.
[13:45:07] ELAM: A seemingly endless supply of lava, fueling Steve's nightmare that his house will be lost to Kilauea.
Stephanie Elam, CNN, Leilani Estates, Hawaii.
WHITFIELD: A powerful view there.
Still ahead, what may soon be Tropical Storm Alberto, barreling down the gulf coast. High winds, torrential rain expected in some areas. We'll break down the track of that storm and where it's likely to make landfall this Memorial Day weekend.
[13:50:09] WHITFIELD: Florida Governor Rick Scott is declaring a state of emergency ahead of what's soon expected to be Tropical Storm Alberto. Alberto is moving into the Gulf of Mexico today and is predicted to dump as much as 10 inches of rain in some areas of the gulf coast. Landfall is expected Monday between New Orleans and Destin, Florida.
CNN Meteorologist Gene Norman is in the CNN Weather Center with more details on this.
GENE NORMAN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Fred, I want to break down the track a little bit more. You just showed it and I want to show it again because I want to emphasize that as it moves off the western tip of Cuba where it is now and heads towards the Gulf of Mexico, it will likely strengthen, and it will likely make some kind of a landfall somewhere on the Florida panhandle, perhaps over by Mobile, Alabama. One of the reasons why we anticipate it will strengthen is because of where it's moving. It's moving in the Gulf of Mexico. Obviously, the temperatures there anywhere from the mid-80s to the upper 80s. The closer you get to the coast, well, that's where the strengthening will occur. How much strengthening will occur? We're not 100 percent sure yet, we have to keep tracking this storm. It is moving to that warmer water and the winds aloft are favorable to help it continue to intensify.
Again, here's where it is right now. Max winds of 40 miles an hour just off the western tip of Cuba.
But we're also anticipating new information about it. Why? Because the hurricane hunter plane has just flown into the area detecting a maximum wind speed right now 47 miles an hour. So we could get an update in just a little bit here, and especially at 5:00 when we get a new track on the position of the storm.
But it is spreading a lot of rain, a lot of misery for folks in south Florida today. You see all the rain here from Miami over to Key West, Ft. Myers, and now moving into the Tampa area. This is light to moderate rain. The problem is it's really not going to let up very much over the next couple of days. The target area that we have to watch is late into Sunday night into Monday when it could make that landfall somewhere here Mobile, maybe over by Panama City. But the big concern now is all the heavy rain, upwards of perhaps a half a foot of rain could fall from Mobile back over sections of Florida and other parts of the southeast as well.
A tropical storm watch is in effect from southern Louisiana all the way back into portions of the Florida panhandle as well as the peninsula over by Tampa. And then tropical storm warnings are in effect for sections of western Cuba and parts of Key West.
It's a mess because of all the rain and it could get worse, Fred. Something we'll continue to track. And we'll keep updating you both here during the shows as well as on CNN.com.
WHITFIELDR: All right, keep us posted.
Gene, thanks so much.
Still so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
But first this weekend's "FIT NATION" takes us to what many consider the toughest race in the world.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Every year in the backwoods of Tennessee, there's a race so tough, only 15 people have ever finished it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a bit of a problem. I really don't know
where I'm supposed to be going next.
GUPTA: Welcome to the Barclay Marathons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest challenges in sports really are pressure and uncertainty. The Barclay weekend is filled with pressure and uncertainty.
GUPTA: Just 40 select athletes are chosen to try to complete five 20- mile loops of steep, unmarked terrain using nothing but a map and a compass.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A race where you're just kind of running around in the forest not knowing if you're on the right trail or not. It adds a whole other mental element.
GUPTA: Runners have 12 hours to complete each loop and find 13 hidden books along the way to prove they stayed on course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kind of incredible physical beating that these people take and go out there 12, 14, 16 hours. You're wet, you're cold, you're hungry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is fogged in and freezing up here.
GUPTA: Even for the most accomplished ultra-runners, the course can seem impossible, leaving just one option.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have made the decision to self-extract. I've got to get myself out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be great if everyone could get that prize, but the nature of the prize is that you can't. I'm glad that you can't. Another time, you get to make a new mistake.
GUPTA: This year, Mother Nature rained down on the course, creating havoc for runners. Many missed the time cutoff, earning them the Barclays signature send-off.
GUPTA: This year's best runner finished only three loops. Once again, the Barclay won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will come back alive, maybe hurt in their soul, but physically with things that they'll recover from.
[13:54:54] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was just glorious suffering.
[13:59:38] WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thank you for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We start with breaking news. An American prisoner just freed from Venezuela is now on a plane home to the United States to be reunited with his family. We're just learning that President Trump wants to make a live statement tonight on Joshua Holt's return.
The former Mormon missionary from Utah traveled two years ago to Venezuela to marry his then-girlfriend, Tamara. They planned to return to the United States with her two daughters and start a life together. Days after their wedding, the Venezuelan police started conducting door-to-door searches and claim to have found --