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Russia Investigation; Tariff Trouble; U.S.-North Korea Summit; Political Shakeup in Italy; France's Terror List Fails to Stop Attacks; El Salvador's Controversial Gang Crackdown; More Evacuations as Wildfires Spread in Western U.S. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired June 3, 2018 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Ahead this hour: lawyers for the U.S. president say he cannot be forced to testify in the Russia investigation.
Plus a clear message from G7 finance ministers at their meeting in Canada, pushing back against U.S. tariffs.
And a CNN exclusive. We take you inside an elite squad battling the MS-13 gang in El Salvador.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We are coming to you live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: We begin with the Russia investigation. President Trump's lawyers are argues that it is impossible for a U.S. president to obstruct justice. "The New York Times" obtained a confidential letter written by Mr. Trump's lawyers and sent to special counsel Robert Mueller's office.
It shows the lengths the Trump team is willing to go to keep the president from having to testify. The fact that the document was published sent Mr. Trump on a Twitter tirade. He again said there was no collusion with Russia and asked whether the Justice Department leaked the letter to the media.
There's much to unpack in the letter. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz digs in for us.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: The 20-page letter argues why the president doesn't have to be in interviewed by the special counsel. The president's legal team in their letter was also responding to some of the questions that the special counsel, the FBI and Mueller and his team is seeking to ask Trump. In the letter they say because Trump is the chief law enforcement
officer, that, quote, "that the president's actions could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself and that he could, if he wished, he could terminate the inquiry or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired."
And then some of the other issues that the special counsel has been looking at is Michael Flynn and whether or not the president tried to interfere in that investigation when he fired the former FBI director, James Comey.
And here in an interesting argument from the president's lawyers, they claim that the FBI never told the White House that Flynn was under investigation and, therefore, how could Trump obstruct justice when he didn't know that Flynn was officially under investigation?
They also said the White House had every impression based on what Flynn told them, that he was going to be cleared after the FBI interviewed him.
And they write this in the letter, "There could not possibly have been intent to obstruct an investigation that had been neither confirmed nor denied to White House counsel and that they had every reason, based on General Flynn's statement and his continued security clearance, to assume that that investigation was not ongoing," they say.
Now the letter addresses some important aspects of the special counsel investigation and that has to do with the crafting of a statement by the president regarding the Donald Trump Jr. meeting at Trump Tower.
You'll remember that was with a Russian lawyer. And for the first time, really, the lawyers here, the president's lawyers here write in this letter, basically admitting an admission from those lawyers that he, the president, helped craft a statement.
And the response here from the lawyers to the special counsel, who's looking into that meeting and also the crafting of these statements when it was revealed that this meeting took place, they say essentially that this is private matter.
And the letter goes onto say that the special counsel has received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the president dictated a short but accurate response to "The New York Times" article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump Jr.
Now the significance of this meeting, as you'll recall, was that Don Jr. thought he was meeting with someone who was going to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton. But it really turned out to be that it was a Russian lawyer who wanted to talk about adoptions.
And finally what's really important here is that, since at least January, the president's lawyers have been making these arguments to the special counsel and now some of them publicly why the president should not be subjected to an interview. And it seems at least, as far as everything we know, that that's not
working because basically we are now in June and there's still this ongoing battle with the special counsel about the interview -- Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: This is the first time the president's attorneys have acknowledged that Trump dictated the statement about Don Jr.'s meeting at Trump Tower. In fact, they, along with press secretary Sarah Sanders, have previously denied the president played --
ALLEN: -- any part. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP ATTORNEY: That was written by Donald Trump Jr. And I'm sure with in consultation with his lawyer. So that wasn't written by the president.
The president didn't sign off on anything. The president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He certainly didn't dictate. But you know, like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestions, like any father would do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Finally, the letter claims Trump was taken out of context when he gave an interview and explained his decision to fire James Comey. Here's what the president actually said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: How sound are the legal arguments in this letter?
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has a strong opinion. She is a Democrat and a member of the House Judiciary Committee. She spoke with CNN's Ana Cabrera on Saturday about whether the president's lawyers have a legal leg to stand on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: I don't agree with it and I think it has a legal argument that can be rebutted, because first of all, yes, the president has constitutional powers. He has constitutional powers to pardon, constitutional powers that involve the executive privilege.
But he's not above the rule of law. What the president has consistently done is raise questions about his willingness to adhere to the law. He has probably documented instances of obstructing justice.
And the question has to be, really, possibly, a congressional question is whether the president has abused power. Remember, President Nixon took to firing any number of his cabinet officers. That could be considered obstruction of justice.
Ultimately, it was decided upon by the United States Congress as it relates to an abuse of power. So, they're creating a narrative to avoid or to say to the Mueller investigation that he is immune from prosecution.
I'm going to allow the Mueller investigation to continue and give us their interpretation and their results, but this is what lawyers do. They set a narrative.
I don't agree with their interpretation, because I don't agree that every manner of action by a president of the United States is protected by executive privilege and as well, that a president cannot be questioned about the obstruction of justice.
What will settle this is if the president subjects himself to the interview, which they are both rejecting that and also want the American people to believe that any president, all presidents are above the rule of law and are in totality immune from prosecution.
But I think that there is a posture for presidents in the three branches of government, equal as they are, to certainly not be in the position of abusing power. That is not the kind of leadership the American people deserve.
And the questions about his abuse of power should be raised by members of the United States Congress as the Mueller investigation continues and provides the Congress with a report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: We turn now to another major developing story, the meeting of G7 finance ministers in Canada ended on Saturday in a way rarely seen before, six of them ganging up on the U.S. for sticking key allies with punishing new tariffs on steel and aluminum. This kind of friction is very unusual among friendly nations.
Senior official from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K. all gave U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin an earful behind closed doors. Their frustration with Washington was palpable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're trying to communicate that is the six countries, not including the United States, are expressing our concern over the tariffs that the United States has put forward.
And that concern was communicated. And obviously Secretary Mnuchin talked about the administration's point of view. And we are hoping that, with that approach, that we will have clearly communicated our views to the U.S. administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The U.S. Treasury Secretary downplayed the dispute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: I don't think in any way the U.S. is abandoning its leadership in the global economy; quite the contrary. What the group was very focused on was obviously the steel and aluminum tariffs, which, again, we're doing to protect in particular our steel and aluminum industries.
So this is -- there was general concern that this could be create and become larger trade issues. We're in conversations with the E.U. about trade issues. And I think, as you know, on China, we've been very focused --
MNUCHIN: -- on the trade relationships with China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: President Trump was defiant as usual. He tweeted, "When you're almost $800 billion a year down in trade, you can't lose a trade war."
But members of his own party are not in agreement. Republican senator Bob Corker tweeted on Saturday he and other Republicans would push back against the tariffs, calling them "a misuse of the president's authority."
All of this while U.S. trade negotiators are in Beijing for crucial trade talks. Chinese state media says both sides are making progress but it also carried an ominous warning from the Chinese government.
It said, "Any agreement reached in the bilateral talks will be voided if Washington imposes tariffs on Chinese imports."
Much to talk about, our friends are not happy with us right now.
We'll talk about it with Steven Erlanger, chief diplomatic correspondent for "The New York Times."
Hi, there, Steven. Thanks for being with us.
STEVEN ERLANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Hello, Natalie. ALLEN: First of all, U.S. allies are clearly fuming over the president's tariffs.
Just how unprecedented is it to see what's now become the G6+1?
ERLANGER: It's very uncomfortable. Part of the problem is to try to justify this tariff, which Mnuchin said quite explicitly was designed to protect through protectionism our steel and aluminum industries, which are not huge, by the way, in America.
The American government has cited national security grounds that these restrictions are so important that they involve national security. And we are hitting people that, in the NATO alliance, were committed to collective defense.
We're hitting the people we have great intelligence cooperation with. These are not our enemies. These are our allies. So there is a lot of anger and annoyance that -- to basically defend the campaign promise to steel workers.
Mr. Trump is not only prepared to let prices of aluminum and steel rise considerably in America, which will hit anyone who uses aluminum or steel, whether they drink out of a can or drive a car, but to hit allies, who actually have the same problem with China and overproduction of steel as the United States does.
So the United States is isolated. Now it is true. It is not the hugest amount of money though Mr. Trump does, as often he does, exaggerate the size of the trade deficit. It's more like $568 rather than $800, if you include services.
But he still has this notion that somehow trade is a zero-sum game. And that's really not the way the rest of the world sees it.
ALLEN: So, yes, he has rattled our friends around the world with this.
The question is, can he rattle the economy here at home?
It is excellent. The jobs report was stunning. Unemployment is so low.
Now with this move, could it backfire and hurt the economy or hurt jobs if there were indeed a trade war?
ERLANGER: Well, at the moment, it won't do much damage to the economy, to be honest. It will help presumably the American steel and aluminum industry while hurting other people. But it does raise prices to domestic consumers, not in a huge way that would undermine Trump politically.
But if it turns into a serious trade war, which it could, it is damaging to everyone. It is not like one side wins and one side loses. The only way someone loses or wins is if the other side agrees to reduce its tariffs, not to raise them and retaliate.
So the European Union and Canada, especially, which is particularly angry, by the way.
I mean, why get into a fight with Canada?
They are particularly angry. They are going to aim at American products that are particularly produced in areas that supported Donald Trump politically, because they are targeted.
So the hope is, you know, one can go to the World Trade Organization to adjudicate all of this and this chest-thumping period will not last forever. But this is a situation where the rest of the world is not going to back down. It's not like the Iran deal. It's not like climate change.
I mean, this deeply effects everyone's economy. And it is a matter -- if it's a matter of national security of the United States, it's a matter of national security to Canada, to the European Union and let's say honestly to China also. So it is a dangerous game. We are not very deep into it.
ERLANGER: Maybe it won't get as bad as everyone is pushing. But it has the potential for that. Yes, it does.
ALLEN: All right, we appreciate it. We'll talk with you again about it. Steven Erlanger, thanks so much, Steven.
ERLANGER: Thanks, Natalie.
ALLEN: We turn to North Korea next.
What happens when you have five-star taste and a two-star budget?
If you're North Korea, you apparently demand someone else pick up the hotel bill for the upcoming North Korean summit. We'll go live to South Korea to discuss that.
Plus France has witnessed attacks by 31 terrorists since 2012. The government had identified most of them as potential threats.
So why weren't they stopped?
CNN investigates. That's coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM.
There are just nine days to go until the historic summit between U.S. president Trump and the North Korean leader in Singapore. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis warns it will be a bumpy road to the negotiations. He's talking tough, especially when it comes to sanctions, saying that simply having a summit on the books is --
ALLEN: -- not enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Especially now we must remain vigilant. And we will continue to implement all U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea. North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: That question of denuclearization is one of the policy and logistical details still to be worked out. "The Washington Post" reports North Korea wants someone else to pay its hotel bill. That's a new one here to work out.
According to the paper, Kim would like to stay at the posh Fullerton Hotel. The presidential suite there costs a steep $6,000 a night.
Let's bring in our Alexandra Field in Seoul.
Of all the issues to deal with, who knew that Mr. Kim's accommodations would be something else on the table, Alex?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just one of many issues, Natalie, and not a lot of time to work it out. But, yes, "The Washington Post" citing two sources who were familiar with the conversations saying that North Korea is making this demand.
But a spokesperson for the State Department did respond to "The Washington Post," saying that the United States doesn't plan to pay the hotel bill and they won't be asking another country to pick up the tab, either.
"The Post" does report that it is likely the U.S. would request a waiver of sanctions from the United Nations for costs associated with the North Korean delegation's travel.
Outside of the hotel bill there's also still the outstanding question of how Kim Jong-un gets to the summit. We know that North Korea has an aging fleet of Soviet-era aircraft. There are questions about whether he'll be able to fly directly to Singapore on one of his own planes or whether he'd need to perhaps borrow a plane from another country, something that could be embarrassing from the optics perspective and, Natalie, don't forget we haven't heard where exactly this big meeting will be held.
We know it's in Singapore. No specific location laid out at this point. So, yes, a lot of questions to answer in the next nine days.
ALLEN: This is certainly that is being slowly pulled together. At least it's on.
Here is another issue that has popped up, new word that even Syrian President Assad may meet with North Korea.
What are you hearing about that?
FIELD: We have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity in the last few weeks and months. The U.S. has been talking frequently with its strongest allies in the region, South Korea and Japan, about how it proceeds.
North Korea is making some of the same moves on its end. You'll remember it was this past winter that the U.N. released a reporting saying there was evidence of chemical weapons cooperation and ballistic missile cooperation between North Korea and Syria.
But the relationship between these two countries stretches back decades. They have had strong ties since the '60s. Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president's father met with the North Korean father.
And now Kim Jong-un it seems will meet with Bashar al-Assad. We don't have a date for when the meeting will happen. But state news in North Korea says it is going to happen. The invitation has been issued and accepted.
They said that Bashar al-Assad said this about the meeting, that, quote, "he would welcome the remarkable events in the Korean Peninsula brought about by the outstanding political caliber and wise leadership of Kim Jong-un."
No date set for this meeting. But it comes on the heels of announcements of other meetings. We know that Kim Jong-un also is planning a summit with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. That is on the heels of two recent meetings with the Chinese president.
Certainly shoring up his strongest relationships before he sits down with President Trump.
ALLEN: Interesting developments there. Alexandra Field, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
Let's talk more about it with Malcolm Chalmers. He's deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute, focusing on defense and security policy, joining me from England.
Thanks for talking with us, sir.
MALCOLM CHALMERS, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: My pleasure.
ALLEN: I want to begin with what we just heard from the U.S. Defense Secretary, saying it will be a bumpy road to the negotiations. He said that simply having a summit on the books is not enough.
That is kind of the issue where we are right now.
What is brought to the table and what is broken down so that this isn't just a meeting where we get to know one another?
Or is that important as well?
CHALMERS: I think it is important as well. But this is likely to be only the beginning of a process, not the end. I think President Trump and his latest remarks was dampening expectations of a deal being made at the summit, beginning to set the framework for a deal.
And of course there are those who are concerned that this is a slippery slope toward the sort of unsatisfactory deal that previous presidents had, in which North Korea provided some concessions in terms of the pace of its nuclear development but didn't give up its program --
CHALMERS: -- and in return, it got significant relief from pressure from sanctions. I think right now that feels like the most likely direction. Once the United States and North Korea get involved in that sort of process, China's willingness to enforce sanctions I think will decline and the prospect for military action against North Korea, which was very high on the agenda only a few weeks ago, will recede further.
ALLEN: You mentioned past meetings with North Korea. This U.S. president has gotten further than other U.S. presidents.
The concern is, what kind of pressure will he put on Kim Jong-un?
Does perhaps Kim Jong-un have possibly more to gain from this initial meeting?
Or will the U.S.?
CHALMERS: I think previous presidents, from President Clinton onward, were not prepared to have a summit meeting of this sort until you were much further along in the process, by contrast that President Trump is having a meeting when nothing is agreed as a way of jumpstarting the process.
Time will tell whether his approach is a better one. It is in some ways quite similar to the approach which President Obama had in his early years, when he put a lot of emphasis actually meeting with leader of states.
We'll see how it works. I think that the positive aspect is there now clearly a lot of preparatory work led by Secretary Pompeo. He's had multiple meetings. He's been to Pyongyang. We have now had the meeting at the White House by the number two in North Korea.
So all of that is positive. It suggests to me that they are beginning to get into the details. But North Korea is not going -- I am absolutely sure that North Korea is not going to turn up at the summit and give up its whole nuclear arsenal straightaway.
It is going to be a staged process at best. Actually, the report you gave just now about North Korea difficulty in paying hotel bills, the state of it's aircraft, all that is an indication of how weak North Korea is in many respects and how reluctant they will be to give up their biggest part in the car (ph) without giving something very concrete in return.
ALLEN: It will be extremely interesting to watch and learn what comes out of it. We'll speak with you again. Malcolm Chalmers, thank you for your time.
CHALMERS: My pleasure.
ALLEN: In other news now, most of the terrorists who attacked France since 2012 were on a terror watch list.
So why weren't they stopped?
We'll have a report from Paris coming up next about that.
Plus American taxpayers are helping to fund anti-gang unit police units in El Salvador. But critics say some of those officers have sometimes acted as death squads. CNN's has exclusive access and that's coming up as well. Please stay with us.
ALLEN: The streets of Rome are decorated in red, white and green this weekend, celebrating Italian patriotism. Saturday marked the anniversary of the founding of the country's republic as well as the installation of the new populist government, ending months of political turmoil.
Italy has not had a government since elections in March. This one is a coalition of the country's anti-establishment Five-Star Movement and far right League Party.
Leading Italy's new government is Giuseppe Conte, a little known law professor who has never held political office before. CNN's Delia Gallagher has more on the country's new prime minister.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Italy is celebrating. The national holiday of the founding of their republic, a day of unity. And victory for the new populist government of the Five-Star Movement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Italian).
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Saviano Posadincini (ph) from Umbria works in finance and says the movement has been an antidote for people's anger against the establishment, which he says has oppressed them.
"From Italy, the message will go out, definitely to Europe and also to the rest of the world," he says.
Five-Star supporters like Emma, a 21-year-old university student, have hope.
EMMA, UNIVERSITY STUDENT: We do think that things are going to change. It will take time. It's not like we say in Italia, Rome was not built in a day.
GALLAGHER: The Five-Star Movement was founded only 10 years ago but they received only 32 percent of the vote. It was not to govern with a majority so they made an alliance with the anti-immigrant right-wing League party.
They have different histories and different agendas but the two will have to stay together in order to govern.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): The new government promises to deport illegal immigrants, raise the minimum wage and guarantee a basic income, programs that will cost money for a country that can't afford it.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): There are challenges ahead for this new government and Italy. But now is their moment to see how long they can make the party last -- Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.
ALLEN: Many terrorists who unleashed their barbarism in France in the past six years have some things in common.
ALLEN: Not only did they have an abhorrent disregard for human life or a perverted view of religion, politics or social issues, they were also on France's terror watch list.
So why couldn't they be stopped?
Our Melissa Bell reports from Paris.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): France's last terror attack involved a French citizen born in Chechnya, wielding a knife in central Paris. Before that, a Franco Moroccan man armed with a gun killed four people in the south of the country. And the list goes on.
Since 2012, 31 terrorists have committed attacks in France, 20 of those have been on the so-called Fiche S watch list according to the French senator who led the parliamentary inquiry into terrorism in France.
So what exactly is the Fiche S watch list?
JEAN-CHARLES BRISARD, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR THE ANALYSIS OF TERRORISM: It is essentially a way to track down people when they're trouble, but it's not really a watch list designed to follow people.
The intelligence services have been able to identify them and also we should not forget that many plots are foiled.
BELL: Of course not all. In all, 26,000 people are on the Fiche S list because they've come across the intelligence services radar as presenting a threat. Of those, 10,500 are believed to be radicalized according to the interior ministry.
BRISARD: We cannot do more at the national level. We've exhausted our resources. We cannot put everyone under surveillance. So it's impossible to follow them.
BELL: Some politicians have suggested putting all of those on the list behind bars, to which France's interior minister has replied this. "Incarcerating 26,000 Fiche S, when being on the list is no proof of guilt."
Authorities say the point of the list is simply to keep track of the foreign movement and the rest of those people who have not yet acted.
On its web site, the French interior ministry explain that someone on the list cannot be arrested just for being on the list, that their movements can be tracked, but they cannot be watched all the time.
And crucially, the information can't be shared amongst services, which is why the government wants to change it.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): The system is not functioning in a satisfactory way. I therefore ask that we examine concrete ways and means to change it.
BELL: Any changes cannot come soon enough for so many.
BRISARD: We're in a threat which is massive. And this is something really new. In the past, in the '80s, '90s, terrorists were looking at iconic symbols of France. Now they're targeting almost everywhere and very suddenly. There's no logic in their action.
BELL: These are the pictures of a country grieving its dead that have become all too familiar. And with them, so often, that question of what more might have been done to prevent the latest atrocity -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
ALLEN: Doing battle with one of the most ruthless gangs in Central America. Coming up, CNN takes you inside the elite police squad, whose mission is to track down the members of the brutal MS-13.
ALLEN: We turn now to the fight against gangs in El Salvador, particularly against MS-13, which has been called the most dangerous gang in the world. In a CNN exclusive, Nick Paton Walsh gained access to an elite police squad. But is it a law enforcement unit with a dark history. Here is Nick's report.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an undeclared war here in El Salvador, elite police against MS- 13, a gang menace that beheads, rapes and terrorizes.
It's America's war too, because President Trump has declared MS-13 animals that must be eliminated and these men are fighting with U.S. money and help.
A lot of this equipment, American government supplied, part of an effort to try and tackle gang violence back in El Salvador. These men, the jaguar unit said their targets are gang leaders to cripple the gang hierarchy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The U.S. participate in training and was providing equipment. The only thing that the U.S. does not supply is lethal equipment, the weapons and the ammunition. But it does supply us with protective equipment, helmets, bullet proof vests and knee pads.
WALSH: Well, there's something that U.S. taxpayers should know about how America is fighting these proxy war. This unit has a dark history. Many once in an elite unit called the special reaction forces. The FES or FES, it was disbanded after troubling allegations. FES had a very lethal track record on the street. Killing a staggering 43 people they say were gang members in just six months last year.
Some and it's repeatedly been alleged illegal executions. That is a problem for the U.S., who are not supposed to fund units guilty of human rights abuses. Critics say, some FES police evaded this dark past by being folded in to the jaguar unit, so the U.S. had no issues funding them.
In fact the number of gang members killed each year by police have risen five times in two years. A higher body count that has say polls made people feel safer. It's a culture of impunity expose in WhatsApp's messages CNN obtained when the first police discuss executions and ask informants help identifying gang members.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Can you send us a picture of his shadow?
The message says, we are going now, we had located him, sending to right now, we are going to crush that (INAUDIBLE). A local police officer rails at the sloppy cleanup of an execution of a gang member by fellow police nearby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There's witnesses who saw they were beating that son of (INAUDIBLE) before killing him. But our comrades portrayed it as a shootout. Here, you have bad procedures and practice, if you are going to do (INAUDIBLE) like that, you better be sure there are no witnesses.
Brutal tactics can drive people away from the police towards gangs like MS-13 into those world here, we get rare permission to enter. We are headed now to one of the scene of the more prominent killings here in deep inside gang territory carried out by what locals say was effectively a police death squad.
Nobody disputes (INAUDIBLE) as he was known was a local gang figure, but they dispute for --
WALSH (voice-over): -- the clips was armed when police shot him dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Neighbors say, that it was simply an execution. They came inside in a little time passed they were screaming hand in your weapons and they replied, there they are, they are surrendering and all of the sudden, we heard the first shot and after came the first, there was some silence. And after, another four shots were fire.
WALSH: It's a distort mother shows us the scene in his bedroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Here he was lying down. He's hands are like this, as if he was sleeping. They killed my son.
WALSH: She claims they shot him in the back. They say, the police never come around here now.
This case was investigated, but charges were not filed and police rarely if ever prosecute their own, in fact, one of the officers accused in the shooting are likely now serves in the new jaguar unit. Using his photograph, a facial recognition expert who used to work for British police identified him in our footage of a new Jaguar unit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These images are very, very clear, very good images. I'm felt concern at least that this is one and the same person that I'm looking at.
WALSH: An officer accused of killing an old unit, but first is likely in the new one. The jaguars. The forth coming U.N. report will declare a pattern of behavior by security personnel amounting to extrajudicial executions.
El Salvador police reply they are fighting quote terrorist and often arrest them without the use of arms while keeping human rights paramount. More than 200 officer's place to court for improper arm and aggression last year by set.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is a general belief about this unit having a dream like to kill this gang members, but that is a lie. It does not happen here, not in any other country. We stick to the legal norms of your country. We can only respond against aggression and uses the force level that applies to our police core. And as a last resort, we fire our weapons.
WALSH: In a statement, the U.S. embassy said that the U.S. Government takes allegations of extra judicial killings extremely seriously and it consistently express concerns regarding allegations of security force abuses. It provides assistance to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate all types of violent crimes, including those involving suspected human rights violations. They added, the U.S. recently provide a 500 body cams and tracks alleged abuses so no corrupt officer get their help.
The U.S. has tried brute force here and elsewhere before. But failed or gotten caught in a longer conflict as the threat of MS-13 rises and they will have to hope the gangs crumble rather than escalate the fight -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, San Salvador.
ALLEN: When President Trump ended protection for immigrants from 10 countries, nearly 200,000 Salvadorans were at risk of being deported. In his next exclusive report, Nick Paton Walsh speaks with those who actually lived in the U.S. for more than a decade.
Now they face gang violence, homelessness and the challenge of making a living in El Salvador's capital. Join us next hour for that part of the story.
Multiple fires erupt in the western United States. We'll let you know how weather conditions are affecting the fight to knock it down.
ALLEN: More people are being forced to leave their homes as massive wildfires spread across parts of the Western U.S. In New Mexico, the Ute Park Fire has grown to 121 square kilometers or some 46 square miles.
Hundreds of firefighters are trying to knock this one down but it is still uncontained. In California, firefighters are making progress, fighting a brush fire that has already scorched 100 hectares, that's about 250 acres.
ALLEN: All right. We'll turn back to Hawaii now. The story just keeps on keeping on. In Hawaii, some residents near the erupting Kilauea volcano --
ALLEN: -- have only two options left: evacuate or get arrested. Seven people have been cited for loitering in a disaster zone. Officials worry people who stay could get trapped by the lava.
Can you imagine?
Kilauea's first eruption rocked Hawaii's big island four weeks ago and molten rock has spewed from volcano fissures ever since. Our Scott McLean is there.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After an entire month, Kilauea continues to erupt, cutting off roads and destroying well over 80 homes so far. Most of the lava flows are being fed by one single fissure, which, at times, has shot some 200 feet into the air.
In fact, you can see the smoke from that fissure in the background several miles away. Now new video shows that that fissure is not sending lava as high anymore. Still, the massive amount that it is producing continues to cause problems.
This afternoon, a lava flow some 300 yards wide cut off a main highway near the coast, the last remaining escape route for some communities.
Meanwhile at the Kilauea summit, things have been unusually quiet in recent days. Brand-new drone footage shows that the main crater of the volcano has been blocked by boulders and debris.
Geologists say that the lack of activity could mean one of two things: either this cycle of explosions and eruptions is coming to an end or there could be pressure building under the surface, which could lead to a much larger explosion down the road. Experts aren't sure outcome which is more likely.
And so the national park that houses that crater will remain closed indefinitely -- Scott McLean, CNN, Pahoa, Hawaii.
ALLEN: The day's top stories are just ahead. Thanks for watching this hour. We have another hour ahead. I'll be right back in a moment.