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Major Development On North Korea In A Sign That The Summit With President Trump Appears To Be Back On Track; Rudy Giuliani Now Suggesting That The Investigation Is Illegitimate; Massive Storm Is Looing Off The Coast Of Florida This Memorial Day Weekend; President Trump Is Blaming Democrats For Separating Immigrant Children From Their Parents; Dire Warning For Many On Hawaii's Big Island, Get Out Now; Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 27, 2018 - 15:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democratic Party had lost one of its most important compelling voices and I think that resonated far beyond 1968.


[15:00:15] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: CNN takes a deeper dive into the year 1968 at the special two nights CNN Original Series event starts tonight 9:00 p.m. eastern only on CNN.

Hello again, everyone. Thank you for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with a major development on North Korea in a sign that the summit with President Trump appears to be back on track. A U.S. delegation has crossed the demilitarized zone into North Korea for preparatory talks. That's according to senior U.S. officials. This follows a surprise meeting between Kim Jong-un and the president of South Korea on Saturday. The summit was supposed to take place, June 12th in Singapore. But on Thursday, President Trump pulled out blaming it on threatening statements by North Korea.

CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott joins me now from Washington.

So Elise, what exactly do we know about this team that has now crossed over into North Korea?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the team is led by Song-Kim, current ambassador -- U.S. ambassador to the Philippines who also under the Bush administration or earlier Obama administration served as the U.S. envoy to six party talks. So he is certainly no stranger to negotiating with the North Koreans and is leading the delegation along with Allison Hooker, the Korea specialist at the National Security Council and Randy Schrieber who is the top East Asia official at the Pentagon.

And so, these officials are quite separate than the delegation that went to Singapore this weekend to meet with North Koreans on kind of logistics for the summit, an ad advanced team, if you will. This delegation, that crosses into the north side of the DMZ is there to talk about the substance, to get more clarity about what the North Koreans are willing to put on the table at these discussions, which is really why President Trump was forced to cancel the summit in the first place, because the administration didn't have real clarity about whether the North Koreans were serious what the U.S. wants to talk about which is North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons, Fed.

WHITFIELD: And Elise, have a listen to what the President's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said earlier about the summit and the issue of denuclearization.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: Something I think will happen now and on our terms. I can't believe that Kim Jong-un is talking about denuclearization. The guy has made a remarkable turnaround. He not only wants to meet, he tells President Moon that he is considering denuclearization of the entire peninsula. Wow. I mean, that's Nobel Prize stuff.


WHITFIELD: So Elise, what's, you know, the logic behind why Giuliani would be talking about this, North Korea?

LABOTT: Sorry, Fred. I don't know. I mean, I don't know why anybody wants to know what Rudy Giuliani, the President's attorney, and is not a nuclear negotiator or has really any foreign policy, is talking about North Korea. Certainly, he wants to give the President credit for this turnaround.

But you have heard other kind of, you know, officials, government officials, whether it's Senator Rubio, Jeff Flake this morning on the Sunday shows giving the President credit for, you know, bringing Kim Jong-un back to, you know, seriously considering the summit and that, you know, just playing games.

But I think you need to listen to people that have a more clear eyed view of foreign policy, of what sensitive diplomatic negotiations are involved in. You remember, Rudy Giuliani also kind of let the cat out of the bag when secretary Pompeo was going to take those Americans out of North Korea. I think maybe Rudy Giuliani should leave the foreign policy to the foreign policy experts.

WHITFIELD: Right. All right, Elise Labott. Thank you so much.

Of Course, he obviously believes it is his purview because like you said he did kind of start the conversation --

LABOTT: He's the President's personal attorney.

WHITFIELD: Right. About the Americans who are going to be leaving North Korea. And so how prophetic he was. Right.

All right, thanks so much Elise.

All right. I want to talk about this with David Rohde now. So he is a CNN global affairs analyst and online news director of the "New Yorker." Good to hear you.

So we heard from Rudy Giuliani talking denuclearization. We haven't heard in details from the President. But now hearing that there is an envoy, there are officials that are in North Korea, what does this tell you about the phase of this potential, you know, summit to be?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: So it's a good sign I think this delegation is entering North Korea. But these preliminary talks are critical and what sort of derailed the meeting, you know, that thing that apparently blowing up this week was that there were supposed to be talks like this between U.S. and North Korean officials in Singapore, you know, last week. And the North Koreans didn't show up.

So I think the critical thing isn't what, you know, anyone is saying, and you know, stating whether they are a supporter of the president or are part of the President, are these talks the next few days involving this American delegation actually seriously engaging on what the negotiations will be about, the parameters of the talks, you know, and that is the critical thing, because there has been a lot of signaling, a lot of, you know, statements by the President, statements by Kim Jong-un, but no one has really got into the details of these talks yet.

[15:05:35] WHITFIELD: So one of the issues that seems to be in place whether North Korea will come out looking strong enough on the issue of denuclearization. Listen to what Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Jeff Flake had to say today.


SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I think we have to live with that. I think the North Koreans realized that total denuclearization on their part is not in their national interests. That's how they see it.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Ultimately, I remain convinced that he does not want to denuclearize. In fact, he will not denuclearize. But he wants to give out this perception that he is an open leader. That he is peaceful. That he is reasonable.


WHITFIELD: What are your thoughts on that?

ROHDE: I agree. You know, there have been past North Korean governments that said they support the same language the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But what that means is unclear. That doesn't mean as far as we have seen so far and the many, many rounds of negotiation that have gone for decades, we have not seen a willingness to unilaterally have North Korea give up their nuclear weapons. Remember, what derailed the summit and what created all this tension

was a statement by John Bolton, President Trump's new national security advisor that North Korea should follow the Libya model. I'm sorry -- and vice President Pence as well.

WHITFIELD: And vice President.

ROHDE: And that involved Libya unilaterally giving up its nuclear weapons. Several years later Moammar Gadhafi was, you know, toppled in a uprising at the U.S. backed and killed. And that is, you know, there was (INAUDIBLE) or the security guarantees. There is deep fear on the North Korean side that, you know, if they did give up their strongest card, their nuclear weapons, the whole regime could be toppled. So it is back to the details of these talks. Again, it's very easy to announce the summit. It's very hard to have the summit that comes out with a concrete agreement that really hold those signs coupled for what happens in the long term.

WHITFIELD: And this scheduled summit would be just, you know, two weeks away. This is the President on timing and he said this just yesterday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, it would be a great thing for North Korea, it would be a great thing for South Korea, it would be great for Japan and great for the world, great for the United States, great for China. A lot of people are working on it. It's moving along very nicely. So we are looking at June 12th in Singapore. That hasn't changed.


WHITFIELD: So he sounds pretty definitive on that. But then, what does North Korea feel like it has to get in order for this to be worth their while.

ROHDE: I think a very large amount on economic aide. The biggest pressure on Kim Jong-un. He is, you know, very weak on economy. There has been starvation in North Korea. But the bar for President Trump is exhausted access to all of North Korea's nuclear sites, more access than existed in the Iran deal American's unfettered, you know, ability to enter these areas and inspect all of North Korea's nuclear facilities any time they want.

WHITFIELD: Is there any reason to believe that North Korea will do that, especially since the last earlier this week, you know, explosion or destruction of a site? You know, according to North Korea did not have any kind of oversee, no inspectors were there.

ROHDE: Yes. They just allowed journalists. And again, by pulling out of the nuclear deal, President Trump has set a bar. The North Korean nuclear deal, if there is one, must be better and stronger in terms of inspections in the Iran deal, you know. And look, I think it is good they are talking. I hope there is a deal. But I think it is going to be very challenging to produce something like this in just two weeks.

WHITFIELD: All right. David Rohde, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

And we are continuing to follow breaking news. Former President George H. W. Bush's health, his spokesman Jim McGrath confirms the former president is back in the hospital, saying President Bush was taken to southern Maine health care today after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue. He will likely remain there for few days for observation. The former president is awake and alert and not in any discomfort.

And of course, we will bring you more updates as we get them.

Coming up, the President's lawyer defends Trumps attacks against Robert Mueller. So will the commander-in-chief sit down with special counsel?

Plus, subtropical storm Alberto barrels towards the gulf coast, forcing places like Florida and Alabama to declare states of emergency. We will tell you where that storm is headed and what to expect.


[15:14:46] WHITFIELD: Spy gate, witch-hunt, no collusion, a week's worth of conspiracy theories at the White House culminating with this. The President lashing out on twitter this morning saying, why didn't the 13 angry Democrats investigate the campaign of crooked Hillary Clinton many crimes? Much collusion with Russia. Why didn't the FBI take the server from the DNC rigged investigation?

President Trump is pushing an unfounded claim that the FBI put spies into his campaign, an attempt some say to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani now suggesting that the investigation is illegitimate.


[15:15:26] GIULIANI: I'm not saying Mueller is illegitimate. I'm saying the basis upon which he was appointed is legitimate.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So you think the Mueller probe is legitimate?

GIULIANI: Not anymore. I don't. I did when I came in. But now I see Spygate. I see -- the judge.

BASH: But when you call spygate, you think happened before Robert Mueller was brought on to the team?

GIULIANI: But it has to inform the decision to appoint Mueller, either it's evidence or not. And if it's not, it goes along with what they found already, which is no collusion with the Russians. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And lawmakers said this week, no spies either.

CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is joining me right now.

So Boris, this Russia investigation is still top of mind for this President and his surrogates and the way of his personal attorney.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. The President expressing his frustrations about the Russia investigation over twitter yet again this weekend. He also sent out a separate tweet from the one you mentioned, that was sort curious. He talked about the young and beautiful lives that had been effectively ruined by the Russia investigation. There is the tweet right there.

I got a chance to ask some officials in the press shop exactly who the President was referring to, I have yet to get a response. It's possible he could be talking about Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, perhaps, all of whom who have pled guilty to serious crimes. The President calling eight witch hunt, despite more than 20 indictments, including about a dozen against Russians who are accused of meddling in the 2016 campaign.

Now this morning you have Rudy Giuliani on the "STATE OF THE UNION" staking to Dana Bash as you played that sound bite, referring to the investigation as illegitimate, saying that the basis of it was the firing of James Comey and in his words illegal leaking of classified memos.

Now Dana pressed the former mayor of New York City about whether the President would sit down one on one with Robert Mueller. It's something that has long been speculated. And we understand that the President's legal team and the special counsel are still sort of ironing out the details and the logistics for such an interview. Here was Giuliani's response, listen to this.


GIULIANI: Well, if he wasn't thinking about it and it wasn't an active possibility, we would be finishes with that by now and we moved on to getting the investigation over with another one. But he is adamant in wanting to do it. We are, the President, we are more convinced as we see it that this was a rigged investigation. Now we have this whole new Spygate thrown on top of a legitimate question.


SANCHEZ: And important to emphasize a point you made, Fred, neither the President, nor his legal team nor lawmakers on Capitol Hill have actually provided any evidence to support the claim that the deep state infiltrated the Trump campaign with the spy. Though, in that interview, Giuliani suggested that it was something that the President was putting out there in part to bolster his public penalties and to try to defend him against the possible impeachment, Fred. WHITFIELD: And then Boris, last weekend, we did get a tweet from the

press saying welcoming home, you know, Melania Trump. And I think there was at least one tweet from her this week. So how is she doing? The public hasn't seen her in a couple weeks now.

SANCHEZ: Frankly, we have not heard from the first lady or seen her, Fred. You did note she tweeted this week about Medal of Honor ceremony. I believe that was about four days ago. We have reached out to get an update on her health but have yet to hear back. So a lot of questions and how the first lady is doing right now.

WHITFIELD: Wishing her well, of course.

All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

All right. Joining me right now, CNN political commentators Dave Jacobson and John Thomas. Good to see you, gentlemen.

So John, back to, you know, the talk about conspiracy theories or the suggestion that the Mueller investigation is illegitimate from Rudy Giuliani? Do you agree with that strategy or tactic or even point of view?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think there is a larger frustration from the President, his attorneys and quite frankly his supporters that were more than a year into this and the original fundamental foundation looking for Russian collusion in the Trump campaign has not been found.

And I think it's frustrating. They want to wrap it up at this point. And as Giuliani said earlier on an interview on CNN. One of the two questions that Mueller wants to talk about, one related to obstruction. That's a very tricky thing for the President. But I also think it's a tricky thing for Mueller because he has to get into the President's intent when he fired James Comey. And I just don't think he has it.

[15:20:14] WHITFIELD: Well, the investigation is ongoing, Dave. I mean, if the investigation is ongoing, yes the subjects of the investigation can be frustrated and all of that. But does this kind of name calling and, you know, conspiracy, you know, theory throwing and all that, does that help matters for the President and everyone around him?

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think if I were a Republican, I would say, optically from a PR perspective, it is a good thing to muddy the waters, right? The continued onslaught of negative headlines surrounding the Russia probe is not something the President wants. And he is trying to defend himself in the PR battle. But that's a function of the public relations, not a legal question, right. I think overwhelmingly, the American people as we saw on CNN's poll just a couple of weeks ago, 70 percent of Americans want Donald Trump to testify before Bob Mueller. Of that 39 percent of Republicans want him to. So bottom line, he is going to have to answer to the American people and they want him to testify. WHITFIELD: So these attacks on the Mueller probe, you know, really,

are becoming a rather daily occurrence and former NSA director Michael Hayden gave his explanation for what he is seeing in all of this.


MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER NSA AND CIA DIRECTOR: I think he is simply trying to delegitimize the Mueller investigation, the FBI, the department of justice. And he is willing to throw almost anything against the wall. Mark of this part of the stream. Remember, wiretapping Trump tower, unmasking U.S. identities, FISA application that were abused. And now we have this -- by the way, all of those were wrong. All of those are incorrect. All of those are stunningly normal in the development of intelligence and law enforcement.

But you know what? I talked to a lot of people in the country. And for a lot of people in the country, one or another or many of those things have already stuck.


WHITFIELD: So John, whose credibility is being eroded here?

THOMAS: Well, I mean, and as it relates to this spy accusation, and we saw on "the View" what earlier this last week that James Clapper even said, he doesn't like the term spy. But he admitted that there was somebody plays in the -- somebody in the Trump campaign leaking information.

WHITFIELD: No, he didn't. That was clarified.

JACOBSON: No, he didn't.

THOMAS: He said he doesn't like the term spy. But it was for Trump's own good because they were looking for Russians and collusion and what not. But look, there is lots of smoke here. I think the President has been careful to say, if this is true, this is a massive problem. And I'm sure we will get to the bottom of it.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dave, whose credibility is eroding here, if anyone's?

JACOBSON: Well, I just don't think it's possible to erode the President's credibility any more than we already have. I mean, for "Washington Post" just weeks ago put out a scathing story saying that the President his cronies in the White House have lied over 3,000 times to the American people. That's ground breaking and unprecedented and dangerous to our society.

And so I think this is a President who continuously lied to the American people and we have the midterm elections coming up. And I think the American people are going to look at this election as if it's a referendum on Donald Trump and that's why Democrats increasingly are poised to take back the house?

WHITFIELD: All right. We will leave it there for now. Dave Jacobson and John Thomas, thanks to both you, gentlemen.

Appreciate it.

THOMAS: Thanks, Fred.

JACOBSON: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, nearly eight million people under a tropical storm warning as Alberto pushes towards the Florida coast. Plus, the federal government loses track of more than 1,000 immigrant children. But they say they are not legally responsible. So who is?


[15:28:23] WHITFIELD: All right. Hello again. And thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

A massive storm is looing off the coast of Florida this Memorial Day weekend. Right now, subtropical storm Alberto is barreling toward the gulf coast. It is strengthening and expected to slam into Florida as a tropical storm tomorrow.

Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, all declaring states of emergency. Nearly eight million people are under a tropical storm warning. And you can you see the winds picking up and the skies are getting a little bit darker in parts of Florida right now.

Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is live for us in Pensacola, Florida close to where the storm is expected to lands.

You got people back there. Are they getting into the water? Are they nervous? What are their thoughts and feelings?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, nobody is getting in the water here in Pensacola beach. It is the red flag day. The lifeguards have been going up and down the beach. If anyone is in the water, telling them to get out. We had surfers out this morning. You can see those folks are no longer there.

And we were talking to the general manager of the hotel where we are staying. And he said normally Memorial Day weekend, this beach would be packed solid. You can see, it's not crowded at all. And they have picked up all of the beach chairs and lounge chairs that would normally be out here provided by the hotel. All of those have been picked up.

And so, what you see out here is basically what people brought with them. They are planning on picking up furniture around the pool. Things like that. But the impact of the storm is going to be far reaching. In fact, much of the state already feeling the impact of Alberto anywhere from say the Florida Keys all the way up through places in Georgia, Alabama. It is a sloppy storm. It's not very well confined. And so, the rain stretches very, very far out. And so we have already seen flooding in some areas, especially in south Florida. An area that is already extremely saturated here along the panhandle. We are going to be worried about not only those recurrence, but the

beach erosions, the inland flooding, especially areas to the east of where the center is. That's where we have that push of water come in him. We think about two-to-four feet of a storm surge. And also the tornado threat is a huge concern. But Fred, the storm is expected to make landfall sometime tomorrow morning. It has sped up just a little bit. So we will be watching it closely and bring you the latest.

[15:30:36] WHITFIELD: All right. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much from Pensacola, Florida.

All right, before we go to break --


WHITFIELD: That is the sound of rolling thunder, bikers descending on the nation's capital to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. The group tries to raise awareness about service members missing in action and prisoners of war.

And not too far away, preparations are underway at Arlington National cemetery. Flowers and flags are being place on the graves ahead of Memorial Day tomorrow. This weekend we remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

And we will be right back.


[15:34:44] WHITFIELD: President Trump is blaming Democrats for separating immigrant children from their parents saying quote "put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children their parents once they crossed the border into the U.S."

But to be clear, the President is referring to his own administration's policy.

Steven Wagner, a top official with the department of health and human services disclosed the number to a senate subcommittee last month saying this, quoting now "between October and December 2017, Wagner told the subcommittee, the office of refugee resettlement reached out to 7,635 unaccompanied children to check on them. But the ORR was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 children." Wagner testifies that. An addition 28 had run away.

And now, the story is back in the headlines because of the administration support for policy [that could lead to separation.

I want to bring in Tal Kopan, CNN politics reporter.

So Tal, walk us though the numbers and why the story is getting traction now and why there seems to be, you know, some confusion even within the White House.

[15:36:00] TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Fred. So there are few things going on here. So first of all, you know, I think that probably some of our viewers are wondering is Health and Human Services involved in this.

What happened is when a child, an infant child comes to the border alone in some cases or with the parent that is separated from that parent or adult for a few reasons which we can get to in a minute, they are turned over to the custody to the HHS because there are some laws that some of the laws the administration in the past has railed against with perhaps maybe part of what Trump is trying to say in that tweet.

The law says you cannot essentially jail children in immigrant detention indefinitely. So they are turned over to the custody of HSS, which then tries to find placement for them. And what they revealed in this testimony last month and again this month is that when they did that, when they turned these young children over to someone else's custody, there are someone who had a familial connection or that HHS determined should be protecting them, they could not finds 20 percent of those children on follow up. And that could mean anything. That could mean they have moved into the shadows of the undocumented community in the U.S. That could mean they have ended up in the hands of traffickers.

HSS has no way to know it. And perhaps even more shocking for our viewers, that official, Steven Wagner also said and I believe we have this quote.

"I understand that it is not the -- it has been HSS' longstanding interpretation of the law that ORR is not legally responsible for the wellbeing of the unaccompanied immigrant children after they are released from ORR care."

Now, HSS said they are looking into that belief, but their position is once they turn them over to these sponsors, they are not responsible for what happens to them. Now, to get to why this is getting some renewed attention. In fact, again, speaking to the President's tweet the department of homeland security has now adopted a new policy that anyone who crosses the border illegally will be referred for prosecution. If those are family units, those parents will be separated for the children for that process. So now we may be putting more children into this system that has clearly some issues already.

WHITFIELD: All right. Tal Kopan, thank you so much for all the clarity.

All right, to discuss, I want to bring in Raul Reyes, an immigration analyst and CNN opinion writer.

Raul, you know, Wagner said Health and Human Services is not legally responsible for the children. But you heard, you know, Tal explanation there and a new change which then does point to some responsibility. Who do you believe is responsible for all of this?

RAUL REYES, CNN OPINION WRITER: This is a very easy call. Look, it is a guiding principle in immigration law that family unity should be maintained at all costs and the same thing goes for family law, where the best interest of the child is typically the guiding principle. Now in this instance where we are talking of the office of refugee

resettlement placing these kids with sponsors. The duty to care does not end there. The government duty of care continues at least until these children's immigration cases are resolved. Because remember, these are children whose parents are now going to be prosecuted. Maybe they will have sign-up cases pending. So they are still under the purview of the United States government.

And as confirmation of this, these children, for example, are not free to move about the country. They can't leave the country. They are still in the de-facto control of the government. And therefore, the government is responsible for their well-being.

WHITFIELD: U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions recently talked about the policy that separates children from parents at the border. Take a listen.


JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be celebrate separated from you as required by law.


WHITFIELD: Is that a deterrent?

REYES: No, no, unfortunately. I mean, this whole idea of a deterrent strategy as a way to stop people from Central America turning up on our southern border is a myth. And to be fair, this is a problem that was very vexing for Obama administration also.

When we talk about immigration, migration trends, we have to think of the push and pull factors. Typically, many undocumented workers from Mexico come here, for example to work. That's the full factor of the U.S. economy. What is happening here is the push factor from Central American countries, of people driven out of these countries because of gang violence. All sorts of horrific activity going on there and the central government is not being, you know, maintaining order.

So deterrent will not work. These people are fleeing for their life. And we see proof of that in the numbers from DHS. Last year, for fiscal year 2017, there were 303,000 apprehensions at our southern border. Out of all of those people who the government apprehended, there were only 46 suspected cases where people were found to be suspected of traveling with someone not their child, you know, fraudulently posing as a parent or a guardian of a child. And of those, we don't even know how many of those were actually convicted of that. So there is no deterrent. That is a myth being put out by this administration. And the result is just heartbreak and devastation for these children.

[15:41:13] WHITFIELD: And it is complicated and very sad.

REYES: Very sad.

WHITFIELD: WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Raul Reyes. Appreciate it.

REYES: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, explosions, ash and earthquakes, Kilauea continues to roar on the big Hawaii forcing more evacuation. Up next, a live look at the danger facing residents as lava continues to flow.


[15:46:18] WHITFIELD: A dire warning for many on Hawaii's big island, get out now. Fresh lava is taking over homes and streets, cutting of neighborhoods as officials issue their final evacuation order, families having to leave everything behind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This house, the house on that side over there also gone. This is insane.


WHITFIELD: And the area is so big, it can be seen from space.

Miguel Marquez joins us live now from Pahoa, Hawaii.

So we are in week four now, and it doesn't seem to be ending any time soon.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it looks like this is only really at the beginning of this. We are about 25 miles away from the summit of Kilauea. And this -- it is awe inspiring and terrifying at the same time. I want to show you kind of a sense -- in the sense of where we are.

Just in front of us, that is sort of the famous live picture that CNN is putting out. That is fissures 22. That has been broiling for much of the last week. It is -- you can't see it now because there is so much lava that has built around it, basically a cone. You can't see the lava actually in it.

The geothermal plants that they are concerned about is just over to my left about a half mile away. Lava is starting to encroach on to that. They think it is safe. But if it hits the wells in that geothermal plants, it will create a toxic gas that could be dangerous to human life. And just under a mile away from us are the two neighborhoods of Leilani Estates and from the gardens. There is about 2,000 families that live there. Some 82 homes have already been destroyed. And I can tell you, we saw video in the last 24 hours, those fissures are still very, very active, shooting lava up into the air as high as 100 feet in those areas. We believe that was fissure 21 that we were able to see yesterday.

I'm going to show what you is happening here just in front of us today. This is lava that's either flowing from fissure 22 or perhaps coming from a different fissure. But that light grey area. That is a lava pool that sometimes just becomes glowing red or sometimes it cools a little bit. And it looks like it is just solid lava. But I can tell you that is as close as we can get to this lava that is just flowing. And often the ocean there, you can see that there is lava flowing. And that is creating yet a whole other concern for officials here laze. That is the sulfuric acid and microscopic glass. Just unbelievable stuff.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Extraordinary and potentially very dangerous.

All right, Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.

Coming up, it was one of the most consequential years in U.S. history. A year rocked by political protests. Up next, we will talk to one of the organizers of the 1968 Colombia University student demonstration.


[15:54:00] WHITFIELD: 1968, a year marked by seismic shifts in American politics, social movements and conflicts abroad. Fifty years have passed since those tumultuous events changed America really forever.

And tonight CNN's new two-night original series event "1968" explores the icons and milestones of that very pivotal year. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On April 23rd, there was a rally called and all of these students showed up. And it turned out to be a huge crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It became kind of a spontaneous mob and we wound up occupying the main classroom building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At Colombia University, students barricade themselves into university buildings. Their leader is a 26-year-old ex-boy scout.

[15:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the politics of confrontation. The only way to keep going is to building the strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The task was to keep topping yourself. To keep taking more and more risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The students demands, no more secret military actions, no punishment for occupying the building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People slept in sleeping bags. They slept on the floor and we were constantly brought supplies and tossed them up through the windows. Within a couple of days we were occupying five buildings. Nobody could go to classes.


WHITFIELD: All right, joining us right now is Raymond Brown. He was a leader of the Student Afro American Society at Colombia University who helped organize those protests in 1968. And looking at those pictures, I mean, powerful, student-led protests.

What do you want people to know about that time, the power of the students and your movement that perhaps were under reported at the time.

RAYMOND BROWN, FORMER LEADER, STUDENT AFRO AMERICAN SOCIETY: Well, the biggest under reported part was the pivotal role the black students displayed. Black students were in Hamilton hall with was the main student building from the college, and at certain point, the black students who were pretty disciplined and knew this was a demonstration and not a revolution. Asked the white students to leave. Initiatives and controversial over the years.

But our role is pivotal. We were disciplined. We were prepared. And we had support from the community. The big thing that kept this demonstration going for more than a week was the fear that if a black student were harmed in any way, that you have another uprising from Harlem with just a month earlier had risen because of Dr. King's assassination. And in the context in which students have been in South Carolina state and there was a country that was broiling and a campus which was really heated about the university's taking of land that belonged to Harlem, and it's association with the war.

So there's a great fear. And the media, that CNN wasn't around at the time, but the "New York Times," for example, acted as though Mark Rudd, the gentleman who is a friend but who you saw in the earlier clip, was the only person there. Black students were hanging out with the L.A. flags. We were very discipline. And we were the key people, the leaders. That story has not been told until maybe the last couple of years.

WHITFIELD: And you explained, you know, so fluidly there that there was a lot at stake not to protest. But really there was a lot at stake for you, as African-American students at Colombia University, here at the pinnacle of higher education, and you had to think about your own personal demise and place because you are beacons of hope for so much being at Colombia University.

BROWN: We did a more sophisticated risk analysis than anybody else. When we first got on campus, remember, we were kids there because were brown which was a blow to white supremacy just struck in 1954. We come in in 1964. And we are the first black faces en masse on that campus, 20 of them. (INAUDIBLE).

James Bolden came to see us. Lots of people who said you have got to understand your importance in this movement if you continue to care about the community. So by the time this happened, you have students -- the phone was ringing off the hook. People saying, you are the first of our family to go to college. You can't kicked out of school. We have people like the (INAUDIBLE). First (INAUDIBLE), Carl Michael, we had (INAUDIBLE). All these people came through and they said the same thing. You understand there's high risk here. We will support you any way we can.

WHITFIELD: And why we are willing to move forward on that? BROWN: Well, I think there was a deep sense of commitment that we had

to the community. Most of us have been involved in organizing gifts. The university, which had great power, Colombia is an important institution in New York. There were members in the legislature. The "New York Times" board had many Colombia loans.

So Columbia was an important institution, it could just take land. And here you have Harlem with virtually no green space at all. The land has taken --.

WHITFIELD: So there was a conflict.

BROWN: More than that. There was going to be a little backdoor that the residents could use. But you know we thought of how that in terms of Jim Crow --.


BROWN: So that combines --.

WHITFIELD: -- not the right language.

BROWN: with the widespread perception that the war in Vietnam was racism. It is -- or genetic (ph). Use of black troops led to a strong feeling that we ought to be protesting.

WHITFIELD: Are you seeing parallels today? We are talking about race, we are talking about criminal justice, peace, war, all of that 50 years later.

BROWN: Those issues remain. And they will not go away. I mean, this republic, which is a remarkable idea, which is conceived in original sin about race. And these protests in part produced a reaction from Nixon administration, which admits later that the war on drugs is because of -- right, impeachment, and irresponsible administration. And it admits now that the war on drugs is about controlling political demonstrations. The issues remain the same.

WHITFIELD: Wow. We all be watching. It's powerful.

And thank you so much for sharing your personal story, Raymond Brown.

BROWN: Thank you very much.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.

Be sure to tune in CNN's two-night original series event, "1968" airs tonight and Monday 9:00 p.m. eastern.

All right. Hello again, everyone. And thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitefield.

We are following a major development on North Korea right now. A U.S. delegation has crossed the demilitarized zone from South Korea, into the north, and there in the country for talks ahead of that possible summit to between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. That's according to a senior or rather several senior U.S. officials.