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Election Results in Eight States Underway; John Bolton Will be Left During U.S.-North Korea Summit; NFL Issue Back Again; Saudi Arabia Soon to Let Women to Drive; Volcanic Flow From Guatemala's Fuego Hinders Rescues; Designer Kate Spade Dead In Apparent Suicide; Putin Belittles U.S. Russia Investigation; Miss America Pageant Gets An Overhaul. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 6, 2018 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: The polls have closed and the votes are being counted as Democrats look to California and several other states to try to win back some power in Washington.

Plus, entire families buried under ash. Rescue teams search for survivors after the devastating volcano eruption in Guatemala.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water keeps coming up like, it's worse every year.

It wipes out a lot of the marsh, you know, it just eats away it, like a bad cavity.


CHURCH: Coastal Louisiana is disappearing, a special CNN report on why those marshes will never be the same.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

The ballots are being counted in eight U.S. states right now as the 2018 midterm election season is moving into high gear. The primary contest could have big implications for Democrats. They hope to regain control of the House of Representatives and throw up some major roadblocks for President Trump.

California is the biggest prize but that state's unique primary system could hurt Democrats' chances. Democrats and Republicans compete on the same ballot and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election in November.

Now if the Democrats are to flip the House in the November midterms, it all begins in California. CNN's John King explains why.

JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The big primary in California out here in the west coast critical to perhaps the biggest fight in the 2018 midterm to which party will control the House of Representatives.

This is the national map now, Republicans with the advantage, the Democrats trailing. But Democrats are in play to take back the House this year. Here's how we look it right now.

Most of these districts across the country are locked in because of the way they're drawn. The Democrats are likely to win the ones you see in blue, Republicans likely to keep the ones in red.

Democrats have a slight advantage when we assign the races where we're fairly certain of what will happen in November. Then you get to the more competitive races. And you watch this play out across the country which bring it down in here.

You see a lot of them are Republican, right? Yo have Democrats, 15 races they're trying to protect. But look at the Republican number, 81. So advantage for the Democrats, more Republican seats are in play. One of the reason that matters and why California looms so large then is Democrats need 23 seats to take back the House of Representatives.

There are 10 competitive races out here in California, and only one of them, only one of them is a Democratic district. You see the blue there. Ten in play, nine of them are Republican. That helps the Democratic chances.

So let's take a closer look at California. Again, this is the entire state. Let's break it down a little bit for you. These are those 10 districts, only one of them, a Democratic seat, viewed as in jeopardy. So Democrats are thinking if we can pick up some of this red, look at them all we start to build toward that 24, 23 seats.

So, of these 10 races, one likely Democrat, two lean Democrat, two toss-up, even right there, it's a blue year a Democratic year two, four they hold that. They pick up these two lean Republicans, that's six. Six of the 23 they would need. That's why the candidates the Democrats pick tonight are so important, and that's why California poses a problem.

Because we take a closer look now, just at the seven districts. These were coming into the year, the big Democratic targets, why? Seven Republican-held seats, all won by Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. So you know there are Democratic voters here.

Democrats think these are their best targets in California. Here's the problem. California rules, the top two finishers in the primary going on to November. In some of these districts, especially these three Democrats are now worried because so many Democrats ran, they will split the vote and the top two finishers could be Republicans.

So in three districts the Democrats thought they should had a good chance to win, there's a possibility, as we count the votes, and this will take a couple of days into Wednesday, Thursday and beyond, they might not even have a candidate on the ballot, so they could lose three seats just tonight as the count goes out in California.

It doesn't mean they can't take back the House but it does mean the hill is steeper, the math gets tougher.

CHURCH: John King, keeping an eye on that.

Another big story we're watching very closely as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares for his summit next week with North Korea's Kim Jong-un one of the president's top advisers is apparently being left out of the mix.

Sources tell CNN, U.S. State Department officials believe national security adviser John Bolton deliberately made inflammatory comments during a televised interview in April to torpedo the summit.

[03:05:03] He apparently is concerned the talks won't go in the right direction for the U.S.

So let's bring in CNN's Nic Robertson in Seoul, South Korea, he joins us now live. So Nic, you and I talked about the sidelining of John Bolton this time yesterday, in fact. But now we are learning a little more about why he was pushed aside, including how worried Bolton is that these talks might go in the wrong direction. What more have you learned about this?

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Well, it really does sort of speak to apparent divisions within the administration. All those people that we hear raising concerns that President Trump is coming for what he now describes as a getting to know you summit, rather than one where Kim Jong-un was actually coming with firm commitments towards denuclearization, complete, verifiable, irreversible, all those caveats on it, it seems to be the opposite.

And Bolton seems to be in the camp that would rather not put the president in this position. Bolton is a known hawk. Pompeo is understood to be similarly strong on these types of issues.

But it is Pompeo that has a relationship with North Koreans, it is that that President Trump is relying on at the moment, and perhaps, you know, sidelining Bolton right saves him from what we've seen happen to other administration officials who crossed the president and who upset him saves him from getting fired because Bolton is also a really strong hawk on Iran and the president as well is hawkish on Iran.

So perhaps he may be sort of keeping him -- keeping him out of the mix now, so he doesn't enflame the situation so he doesn't have to take action against it. But the reality is, it was Bolton's comments about a Libya like solution for North Korea handing over the weapons, and that didn't work out so well for Moammar Gaddafi in Libya.

That really upset Kim Jong-un and then put the talks into jeopardy. President Trump got it back on track. But again, you come back to the divisions within the administration. But as we continue to hear is already one voice that carries through in all of this, it's President Trump's and that does deliver us to this situation where it does seem to be just a meeting of getting to know you, and perhaps not a whole lot more substance.

CHURCH: Yes. And Nic, I wanted to ask you that. Because what exactly is achieved by getting President Trump and Kim Jong-un together in this face-to-face talks, especially in light of the fact that the U.S. abandoned the Iran nuclear deal? Surely that would mean expectations should be much higher not lower as we're seeing now.

ROBERTSON: Yes, that would be the expectation. You know, it brings into focus the belief that President Trump has that if he can get in a room face-to-face with Kim Jong-un, then he can make a difference, that he can convince him through whatever means he has.

You know, he really sort of reflects on his art of the deal book, and that is to go into negotiations and be incredibly tough. Is that what he's going to do in that closed-door meeting? It's not clear.

So, you know, President Trump seems to think that just getting into the meeting is important enough for him, and it certainly does play to his, what he's told his base that he will tackle the problem of Kim Jong-un and the North Korean nukes, so you know, it plays for -- plays to his base.

But for the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, it's brought him into the international fold. he's had meetings with Xi Jinping in China, with President Moon from South Korea, with Sergey Lavrov from Russia. It puts him a position where he gets a lot. He gets that respect back home that he needs from his face-to-face meeting (TECHNICAL PROBLEM)



JEFF FLAKE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: -- pushing every edge to see where members of Congress will go, if they'll support him in this or not. I think is important that we stand up and say their limits.


JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was again pressed on her false statement to reporters last year, that the president did not dictate a memo to the New York Times explaining why his son met with a Russian attorney for dirt on Hillary Clinton at Trump tower during the campaign.


SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to get into a back and forth with you on that. I'd refer to you the outside counsel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it accurate or not?


SANDERS: Again, I work day in, day out, and I believe frankly with the majority of you here in the room, I think you all know I'm an honest person who works extremely hard to provide you with accurate information at all times.

I'm going to continue to do that, but I'm not going to engage on matters that deal with the outside counsel. And frankly, I think my credibility is probably higher than the media's.


ACOSTA: But the White House press secretary never answer that question, and as for the president's claim that it's patriotic event today was bigger than anticipated, we should note many of the people in attendance were administration officials.

The president by the way, we're told, wants to make the NFL and patriotism an issue straight through the midterm elections.

CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about this is CNN legal analyst and attorney Michael Zeldin. Always great to have you on the show.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Thank you for having me.

CHURCH: So, President Trump trying to make the NFL and patriotism an issue in midterm elections and using the Philadelphia Eagles to do that. The problem is, of course they never ever took the knee when the anthem played. So what's going on here? Is this an effort to distract from the Russia probe and to appeal to the base? And if so, will the voters buy it?

ZELDIN: Well, it's complicated, as they say. The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl and typically the Super Bowl-winning team gets invited to the White House for a photo opportunity. That was all scheduled for today. When out of the blue, if you will, the Philadelphia Eagles said, we don't really want to come.

Only 11 of the 81 players decided that they wanted to come, so the president canceled it. And he said what he has been saying since Colin Kaepernick, the one football player who started this by taking a knee over the issue of police said, a-ha, this is about disrespect of the military, this is about disrespect of the flag.

These guys are still up to no good, and you, my base, should, you know, rally around me and you know, protest these ingrates who are disrespecting America. That's how it boils out politically. It is a bit of a distraction from Russia. Although he tweets about Russia every day, so we're reminded of it because of him.

But this is about ginning up his base, I think, as we roll into November 2018, when there will be these pivotal midterm elections.

CHURCH: I guess we'll see if this is an issue that people want to vote on. Let's get back to your wheelhouse, of course, the law and turn to the issues surrounding Paul Manafort who is of course in trouble now for witness tampering and may very well end up behind bars. What's behind all this and how pressure might this put on Manafort himself? And ultimately, the president if he flips?

[03:15:00] ZELDIN: Right. So Paul Manafort was indicted, among other things for failing to register as a foreign agent. So if you are acting on behalf of a foreign government, you have to register in the United States so that people know that that's what you are.

He was accused in this indictment of not doing that. Now there's a group that he put together who was lobbying on behalf of the Ukraine, in the United States, and in Europe.

What it appears to be the allegation of Mueller at the moment, the special prosecutor, is that Manafort was trying to send messages to the European members of this lobbying group to not agree that this took place in America, which is untrue.

Because if it didn't take place in America, if there was no lobbying here in the United States, then he had no duty to register. So it seems, according to the prosecutor, that he's trying to intervene with these witnesses to say, please don't say America. Just say it was Europe.

They believe that's witness tampering. They filed a motion with the court to say he is witness tampering, and he should, therefore be released from his home detention and sent to jail, where he doesn't have the opportunity to communicate with witnesses in an effort to suborn perjury or you know, tamper with their prospective testimony.

CHURCH: We'll see what impact that does have then ultimately on him and the president. Of course, Mr. Trump can't seem to let go of the fact that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.

Given Sessions was legally obliged to recuse himself, why is Mr. Trump unable to move forward on this? And is there a strategy behind this?

ZELDIN: It's a very good question whether a strategy lies behind this. That the issue, of course, is that, because Jeff Sessions was involved in the Trump campaign, when the Trump campaign was put under investigation by regulation, Sessions had to recuse himself.

At the time of his appointment and confirmation hearings, the fact that the Trump organization was going to be put under investigation was unknown. So Sessions could not have recused himself at that point, because he didn't know that there was going to be an investigation in the future.

So this is a bit made up by the president that Sessions should have told him that he was going to recuse himself because to do that, Sessions would have had to predict the future.

So what's at play here, I think what is at play is, he'd like Sessions to quit so that he can appoint a new person to oversee this investigation who he hopes will limit the role of the special prosecutor because he believes that Sessions in a recused state, and Rosenstein, who has taken over for Sessions is giving the special prosecutor too much room to maneuver.

So I think that's what's at play here, trying to get somebody who's an ally of his, in the attorney general position in an order an effort to capitates the Mueller investigation.

CHURCH: Yes. We'll see what happens with that strategy. And of course, it was revealed over the weekend that President Trump was the one who dictated that statement, relating to the infamous 2016 Trump tower meeting with the Russians and not his son, Trump Junior.

What are they revealing, what are they revealing with this now, given all of the previous denials from the White House? Why say this now? Why tell the world now that the president dictated this note? What point is this viewed as obstruction of justice?

ZELDIN: So, both good questions. But we have to understand one thing, which is that which revealed the fact that the president dictated this memo notwithstanding the denials by his lawyers and at podium speaker for the White House, is that this was presented to the special prosecutor in a private memo dated back January 29th.

It is just being released now by way of a leak. We don't know by whom. Everyone assumes it was somebody connected with the Trump side because Mueller has not been leaking. So it's not like anyone has purposefully put this out there, you know, in an effort to help the president.

It has been revealed that back in January, they admitted to the special counsel that he did, in fact, dictate this in, you know, contrary to what he has said publicly.

So now people are beginning to say, were these purposeful lies in July and August by his special counsel Jay Sekulow and by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokesperson, an effort to obstruct the investigation?

[03:19:59] That has to be evaluated by Mueller, and we'll see how that plays out. But it's a big mess because the president and his surrogates have said categorically that they had nothing to do with this, and now all of a sudden we realized that back in January, they admitted to Mueller that, in fact, the president didn't, -- did dictate this verbatim this memorandum to the press. He dictated it, not Don Junior.

CHURCH: Michael Zeldin, always a lot to cover. Thanks you so much for joining us and giving us your legal analysis.

ZELDIN: My pleasure. Any time.

CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here, but still to come, a volcano in Guatemala is not giving rescuers a break. There was a new eruption as almost 200 villagers remain missing. Relatives now pray simply for a chance to identify their loved ones.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't buy it to live here. I bought it to die

here. Because this is my territory.


CHURCH: Paradise lost. We will see how climate changes impacting the U.S. Gulf Coast.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

A crucial moment for gender equality in Saudi Arabia is being overshadowed by the recent arrest of activists who have campaigned for women's right to drive.

In less than three weeks, Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on female drivers. Ten women, who had driving licenses from other countries were allowed to trade them for Saudi ones. And the Saudi government release this video featuring them.


CHURCH: But human rights groups are condemning Saudi Arabia for detaining at least 11 women's rights activists, including the women you see here. Some of them are still behind bars accused of undermining the kingdom's security.

Well, Qatar says it's doing fine despite a boycott by several Arab nations that began 12 months ago. It was a momentous move that pitted key U.S. partners against each other.

[03:25:02] Our Becky Anderson takes a look at the decision and what's happened in the year since.

BECKY ANDERSON, HOST, CNN: One year ago, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt broke off diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, over what they said was Doha's support for terrorism, allegations that Qatar denies.

A list of demands, including shutting down one of the most widely watched TV networks in the Arab world, Al Jazeera, received short rifts in Doha. So 12 months on, it's still a stubborn stalemate with nobody ready to back down.

Well, the back story here is a complicated one. And depending on which side you are on this stew of regional rivalries, of sectarian tensions, of economic opportunism, take on a different flavor. At the time, the quartet said they simply ran out of patience with Doha after years of tension.


ANWAR GARGASH, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER, UAE: We had an agreement in 2014, on paper signed by the emir of Qatar, pledging that he will abide by various grievances that we have put in the agreement. And they have not held to that agreement.


ANDERSON: CNN exclusively obtained documents revealing for the first time the details of a series of those agreements in which Qatar and its gulf neighbors committed to not interfere in each other's politics and barred support for certain groups.

Qatar, for its part, characterized the quartet's move last year as an attack on its sovereignty. And as an attempt to force its change its policies on some regional hot-button issues, including its relationship with Iran, and its approach towards the religious and political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which all four quartet states consider a terrorist group.


MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL-THANI, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTER: We have stated for many times, for a hundred times that we have no ties with Muslim Brotherhood. Are we going to list them as a terrorist organization? We didn't have any proof that Muslim Brotherhood has groups which committed an act of terror. And if we have this group, then they will be listed based on the act they have done.


ANDERSON: The United States has direct interest on both sides. Now, despite the U.S. maintaining a huge military base in Qatar with thousands of personnel, President Donald Trump initially seemed to welcome the quartet move, which happened just after his trip to Riyadh.

His White House has also closely aligned with Saudi Arabia to contain Iran. Not to mention the billions of dollars in arms sales to Gulf States. But now, Qatar has weathered the storm and insists that it's on track to host a successful World Cup in just over four years' time.

But there's no denying the immensely wealthy Petron gas state is a little less wealthy now. Burning through almost $39 billion for its vast reserves in the first three months of the crisis alone.

The IMF, though, has just said that Qatar's growth remains resilient and that the impact of the crisis is, quote, "manageable." What all concerned will be wondering is for just how long.

Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

CHURCH: Amnesty International says U.S.-led coalition air strikes in Raqqa, Syria, probably violated international law and could even amount to more crimes.

In a new report, the human rights group claim coalition forces killed hundreds of civilians in the battle to remove ISIS from their self- declared capital. A spokesman for the coalition slammed the report, saying Amnesty never approached the Pentagon about its findings.

Wednesday marks one year since the offensive began.

When a volcano erupted in Guatemala families did not have time to escape.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My mother's house was buried with my entire family inside, my three sons, two daughters, and my grandson.


CHURCH: And now, new threats from the Fuego volcano, when we come back.


CHURCH: And a very warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we are following this hour.

Primary ballots are being counted in eight U.S. states, including the key battleground of California as Democrats begin the long road of trying to retake the House of Representatives in November's midterm elections. They are looking to flip a number of seats in Republican- held districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Sources tell CNN U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton, referenced the Libya model in a televised interview to try to torpedo President Trump's upcoming summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. The remarks has furiated Pyongyang. Bolton is apparently concern the talks won't go in the right direction for the U.S.

The White House went ahead with avenge that was originally planned to honor the Philadelphia Eagles for winning the super bowl. President Trump, disinvited the players when it appeared only a few would attend. He included them in his criticism of players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial bias, but the Eagles did not actually do that.

Guatemala's Fuego Volcano is not taking a break after burying entire villages with burning ash, toxic gas and smoldering rock are released from the volcano on Tuesday. Rescuers had to retreat and there were new evacuations. The ground is saturated with layers of ash and debris and heavy rain could cause dangerous mudslides. The death toll of 75 is expected to rise. As almost 200 people remain missing. Relatives hope to at least identify their love ones. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is near the volcano.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the fire volcano exploded on Sunday, people had almost no time to escape. Residents describe a wall of fire lava, rock, and that came hurling down the mountain and wiped out the whole communities. A desperate search for survivors is now under way in Guatemala. Those

who escaped still reeling after the Fuego volcano's sudden eruption Sunday afternoon. The pyroclastic cloud of ash, rock and volcanic gases torn through villages at more than a hundred miles an hour, destroying everything in its wake. Mandatory evacuation orders came only hours after the mountain roared to life. Leaving little time to flee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): My mother's house was buried with my entire family inside. My three sons, two daughters, and my grandson. My mother, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, I went to a bridge nearby to get help. They said the lava was coming back and they didn't listen to me.

OPPMANN: The entire communities once nestled in the foot hills of the mountain are now buried beneath debris. Cars had been pushed in pile from the force of the volcanic flow. This vacation resort, once pristine, now unrecognizable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been very hard to see kids, families, whole families, knowing that they're buried under the ashes and knowing that they're there in we cannot do -- we cannot work fast in order to get them out.

[03:35:08] OPPMANN: Consuelo Hernandez was the first responders, she believes she is the only one of her family that made it out in time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): No, not everyone escaped. I think they were buried.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did you get out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATOR): Because we saw the lava was pouring through the corn fields and we ran towards a hill.

OPPMANN: This afternoon, teams of rescuers are hoping to pull more, like this infant, alive from their homes. Any and all survivors are being carried out with care. But this deadly eruption has left an apocalyptic scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically there's no homes left and to my assumption, I don' think there's nobody left there with life.

OPPMANN: Guatemala is observing three days of mourning as funerals begin for the few victims that had been identified. White paper signs tape to their coffins, list of name of parents, friends, and children.

All this as officials warn the Fuego volcano remains active and dangerous for days to come. And the danger is not over yet. It has been raining heavily here, which complicates search and rescue efforts. It means there could be mudslides or avalanches and as well as rain interacts with some of that volcanic ash, it can lead to acid rain. There is some good news though. There are three burn victims that have been transported to the United States. So help at long last is coming to the people of Guatemala. Patrick Oppmann near the volcano of fire in Guatemala. (END VIDEO)

CHURCH: But more volcanic eruptions and bad weather could put more areas at risk. Our meteorologist, Karen Maginnis joins us now with more on this. And Karen, it's almost impossible to fathom the extent of this tragedy and it's just not over yet.

KAREN MAGINNIS, WEATHER CENTER, CNN: It isn't. And there was little if any warning that this was going to happen, this massive explosion of pyroclastic debris out of this volcano. I focus on that, because there are several different types of debris that comes out of volcanoes. One is more effusive, meaning it's more like lava. And rarely is lava is something you can't outrun, but these pyroclastic flows, they are so destructive, they are so fast. They move at hundreds of kilometers per hour. And now we have the rainy season. So the pyroclastic flow and then you've got the wet weather, and together that presents such a debris flow down that volcanic area, the strata volcano and this is going to be very problematic for people who are trapped in their homes that are trying to get away from this debris.

It moves so quickly, and it has become so volatile. This is where that debris flow is located. You can pan and see in this image. But these debris flows are so destructive, they have cut off villages. They already have claimed nearly 80 lives. Hundreds are still missing, and thousands of people are reported in evacuation centers, they really need a lot of help. And that's also wiped out some of the infrastructure across this region. Many people are still missing and cannot be accounted for, because of this.

All right, the next several days, we do have this rainy season. In addition to this, there's lots of tropical moisture in the atmosphere. So over the next several days, we've got between about a 100 percent and sometimes about 90 percent chance of some showers and some thunderstorms. So people who have been left homeless from this are really seeing quite a bit of aggravation over the next several days. Temperatures only going to be in the mid 20's for the most part, but the rainfall, in addition to this debris is going to be especially catastrophic for these folks. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Just horrendous and so heartbreaking to see some of those images and what people are looking forward to it at this point. It's not looking good at all. Karen, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Well, the Kilauea volcano is on a powerful new path of destruction. Hundreds of homes were destroyed in rural communities on the big island of Hawaii overnight Monday and early Tuesday. More than a hundred other houses have already been wiped out in the weeks since the volcano began its rampage. Officials say Kilauea has enter entered a new and more volatile period. But so far scientist have not been able to predict with certainty what will it do next.

Losing Louisiana, the southern U.S. state is shrinking as landmass disappears with an alarming rate putting people, homes and a long held lifestyle of risk. CNN's Jennifer Gray reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cajun culture is something that you do with your heart. You're born with it.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Phil and Don Richard are doing their part through music to help the Cajun culture coast of Louisiana thrive. A culture that's under massive threat due to rapid land loss.

[03:40:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you lose the marsh, you lose it from the inside out.

GRAY: More than a football field size of land disappears here every 100 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water keeps coming up worst every year. For the marsh, you know just eats away it, it is like a bad cavity.

GRAY: More than 10,000 miles of canals have been dredged to Louisiana bayou to support the oil and gas, industry barges and pipelines, bringing millions of jobs to the area. But not without a price.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a whole lot of oil and gas infrastructure in this area. And especially in this area here is right where the most accelerated coastal land loss on earth is happening.

GRAY: Biology professor Gary Lafleur says as more natural barriers disappear, salt water from the gulf floods then eroding the terrain and changing the nature of this fresh marshland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the evidence that there used to be enough fresh water here, all the oak trees were alive.

GRAY: Once the lash barrier islands and marshes are gone, biologist Ron said, the region has little defense against increasingly powerful gulf storms, caused by rising sea levels and climate change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without these marshes, we would just get wiped out here in the coastal Louisiana.

GRAY: And without the marshes, the Cajun life along the bayou vanishes along with the coastline. The loss of industry is something that Dean Blanchard knows well. At the height of his career, Blanchard says he was pulling in between 80 to 100 full shrimp boats a day. Now he is lucky if he gets four.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably had more (inaudible) than the last 15 years than what we had seen in the first 50 years while I was alive. There was nothing but land and trees when you looked back there. Now all you see is water. Let it all go. Makes you want to cry, really.

GRAY: It also has been threatening entire communities who call the bayou home. One of those communities is the (inaudible), an area once the size of Manhattan, now one-third the size of central park and shrinking fast. The federal government has stepped in and is spending almost $50 million to relocate residents to higher ground as early as next year. But some residents say they aren't leaving their homes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did buy it to live here, I bought it to die

here. Because this is my paradise.

GRAY: A paradise likely to be lost to the sea in his lifetime. He says there's plenty of blame to go around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest factor that brought on what's happening here is green. The core of engineers, the oil company, it is also the people. They don't want to claim responsibility for what they did. It's killing Southeast Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This rock bank is an effort to just re-establish the banks of the bayou.

GRAY: Louisiana and his team are doing what they can to rebuild the marsh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will lie the pipe and it will pump the mud from the bottom of the lake into here, and literally create overnight instant marsh.

GRAY: A project like this costs tens of millions of dollars and restores between 300 to 600 acres, but a lot more has to be done to save the land and culture destroyed unabated, for decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We invited industry because we needed industry. But we've probably did not care as much as we should have about our homeland. There's something that we have to pay back from the past, and there's something that we have to do to make sure it gets better in the future.

GRAY: Jennifer Gray, CNN.


CHURCH: And at least six Louisiana (inaudible) are now suing energy companies that have operated along the coast. CNN asked multiple representatives from the energy industry to be part of this story and received no response. In a recent op-ed, the outgoing President of Louisiana's oil and gas association said this. These oil and gas producers who have lawfully fulfilled their state issued permits are now being sued for as far as 80 years prior. This are not welcoming arms to business and industry or any of any sort, adding that the litigation is turning job creators away from the area.

Well, grief and shock in the fashion world. American designer, Kate Spade, was found dead at her New York home in an apparent suicide. She blazed a trail for women designers when she founded what would become a multibillion dollar clothing and accessories brand. More now from CNN's Alex Marquardt.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The 55 year- old sudden death Tuesday came as a shock to countless fans around the world. Kate Spade's body was found Tuesday morning by her housekeeper in her apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

[03:45:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a suicide note left at the scene I'm not going to get into the contents of that note.

MARQUARDT: Spade had used a scarf to hang herself. Sources telling CNN that in her note Spade addressed her 13-year-old daughter.

JOE ZOE, FASHION STYLIST: We lost an incredible vision. We lost an incredible human being. We lost an incredible woman who really paved the way for all of these other designers to be able to do what they do.

MARQUARDT: Spade was born Kathryn Brosnahan in Kansas City Missouri the fifth of six children.

KATE SPADE, FASHION DESIGNER: I didn't grow up thinking, I'm going to be a designer

MARQUARDT: She met future husband and business partner Andy Spade, the brother of comedian David Spade at Arizona State University where she major in journalism. She moved to New York and went to work for a Mademoiselle magazine.

SPADE: I really did liked fashion and I really thought I was very innovative. My mother was actually very good at encouraging me. However I want --

MARQUARDT: She rose up to become senior fashion editor, but in 1992, Spade quit to launch her own handbag line.

SPADE: Andy and I were out at a Mexican restaurant and he just said, what about hand bags? And I said, honey, you just don't start a handbag company. And he said, why not? How hard it could be?

MARQUARDT: At first, they sold just six styles of bags, soon expanding to include jewelry, shoes, and clothes for women who could often feel excluded by high end fashion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Kate did with her collection was so unfounded back then. She created this idea of needing an it bag, but at an accessible price point.

MARQUARDT: In 2006, Kate and Andy Spade sold the last of their shares in the company which was eventually resold last year for $2.4 billion.

We're learning more about that suicide note, in addition to addressing her daughter, Kate Spade also references her husband that is according to NYPD source to CNN. The Kate Spade company tweeted out their condolences today saying, our thoughts are with her family in this incredibly heartbreaking time. We honor all the beauty she brought into this world. Tributes has also been pouring in from fans and celebrities alike, many of them posting about the very first Kate Spade bags that they got. Alex Marquardt, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And we will be back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the Russian President says he speaks regularly with his U.S. counterpart and he explains why he hasn't had a one-on-one summit with Donald Trump yet.

[03:50:04] As Brian Todd reports, it's one of several topics Vladimir Putin covered in a new interview on European television.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a new interview Russian President Vladimir Putin is suggesting he is tighter with Donald Trump than many realize.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (TRANSLATOR): We regularly talk over the phone. Our foreign affairs department and special services are working fairly well together.

TODD: White House officials say there have been eight phone calls between Putin and Trump in the year and a half since Trump took office, all of them reported publicly. About the same as President Obama had with Putin in his final two years in office.

Putin's new comments about Trump came during a wide ranging sit down with Australian TV in which he blamed the ongoing Mueller investigation as the reason why he and the president have not had a one-on-one summit, saying Trump is coming under attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is deeply ironic that President Putin, who oversaw and who likely commanded an operation that was design to support our Democratic institutions would complain that somehow the United States is not willing to talk to Russia.

TODD: Putin appeared to make light of the investigation, criticizing the indictment of the Yevgenly Prigozhin, a Russian restauranteur known as Putin's chef. Special Counsel, Robert Mueller said Prigozhin was secretly running a troll factory for Putin, spreading false information on social media during the election, but Putin called the charge ridiculous. Saying quote, do you really think a person who is in the restaurant business could sway elections in the United States? The Russian President who has been criticized at home and abroad for running sham elections, also responded harshly when asked if he is a czar.

PUTIN (TRANSLATOR): No, it is not true. It is false and completely detach, from reality, because Russia is a democracy, and we all live under the constitution.

MATTHEW ROJANSKY, KENNAN INSTITUTE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: It's a little bit like asking a quack doctor, are you a quack doctor, right. You know, he is a czar, yes, but he is also a democratically elected President. So, both things are true, it just depends on what you mean by a Democratic election. TODD: As for Putin's pension for showing off, the 65 year-old seemed

amused when asked why he takes so many pictures where he is quote half naked.

PUTIN (TRANSLATOR): You said half naked, not naked, thank god. When I'm on vacation, I see no need to hide behind the bushes and there's nothing wrong with that.

TODD: Why is it so important for him to project those images?

ROJANSKY: Well, you know, number one, he is demonstrating that he is strong and he is in control, both to a domestic audience and to international audience. But also in American politics, we'd say one of his key demographics is middle-aged Russian women who vote in large numbers and this is very attracted to them. This is a guy who is in some senses as the dream husband, he is a good earner, he is got power, he's responsible, he doesn't drink, and he looks great.

TODD: Putin was also asked if he plans to remain in power after his current term expires in six years. He said he'll abide for Russia's constitution which doesn't allow him to remain in power beyond that time. But most analysts believe that Vladimir Putin, will either find a way to change Russia's constitution or find another way to somehow stay in power. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Well, Vladimir Putin may keep taking his shirt on, but Miss America contestants won't be stripping down anymore. The pageant says bye-bye to the swimsuit competition. We are back in a moment for that.


[03:55:00] CHURCH: Well, the Miss America pageant has said bye-bye to the bikini. The swimsuit competition is out, and reactions range from relief to bitter disappointment. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miss America will still be there, but this won't. Say so long to the swimsuit competition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will no longer Judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That is huge.

MOOS: Actually, the swimsuits themselves were pretty huge back in 1921 when Miss America started. Gradually they became more form- fitting. The demure two-piece evolved into the bikini.

Contestant won't need butt glue anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is great, they are stepping in the right direction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to miss it. That is disappointing. Well, what's left? The essay?

MOOS: The emphasis will be on talent and brains, a mid-old standby.


MOOS: Like tears of joy, tangle up sashes and falling-off crowns. The evening gown competition will be revamped to allow contestants to wear what they want, but it's bye-bye bikinis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, the last time I was this naked in public, I was coming out of a uterus, OK?

MOOS: Some men on Twitter were bitter, removing the swimsuit competition from the Miss America pageant is like removing fighting from hockey, it will fail. No more scantily-clad women, sounds like great radio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is the only reason why I watch it. Me and my mom sit there and like, look, she had a nice (BEEP).

MOOS: Other women took a (inaudible) the pageant. It's a dinosaur, move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm as gay as pink paint, so I don't give a damn.

MOOS: Contestants will have a lot less skin in the game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It tucks the suit from riding up.


MOOS: Off into the sunset. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Few unhappy people there, others elated. And thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. The news continues now with Max Foster in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.