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Protesters Follows Pope Francis in Ireland; Change of Leadership in Australia; Hawaii Bracing for Category Three Storm; Another Friend Turned into Enemy of President Trump; Tabloid Boss Gets Immunity In Hush Money Probe; Secretary of State Heading To North Korea Amid Souring Relations; Trump On His Job Performance; Finding and Saving Real-Life Nemos. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 24, 2018 - 03:00   ET



GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: New leadership in Australia. Malcolm Turnbull is ousted as prime minister after a party vote.

Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention. Attention. This is an emergency management message. A hurricane is--


HOWELL: That's the sound of firefighters in Hawaii warning of hurricane Lane as its outer bands brings strong winds and strong waves to the island.

Pope Francis heads to Ireland this weekend where church sex abuse survivors are telling him to practice what he preaches.

We are live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to viewers all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Around the world good day to you.

In Australia, after major political upheaval the nation will have a new prime minister. It took less an hour for Australia's Liberal Party to sack its leader Malcolm Turnbull and to choose the man you see here.

Treasurer Scott Morrison to be the new prime minister of Australia. A short time ago Morrison spoke to the country about the future. Listen.


SCOTT MORRISON, NEWLY-ELECTED PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: There's been a lot of talk this week about whose side people are on in this building. And we're chosen here to tell you as the new generation of liberal leadership, we're on your side. That's what matters. We're on your side.

And we're on your side because we share beliefs and values in common as you go about everything you do each day, getting up in the morning, getting off to work, turning up on site. Getting the parent you're caring for up in the morning, (Inaudible) their mom, each and every day, getting the kids off to school, getting home at night.

Perhaps if you're lucky, be this time together, those happy moments, too often, too far between with the pressures that so many families face today.

The Liberal Party is on your side, the National Party is on your side.


HOWELL: Morrison was elected as the leader of the Liberal party by vote of 45 to 40 defeating the man you see here, the former home affairs minister, Peter Dutton. The chain of events was set in motion earlier in the week when Dutton launched a fail bid to unseat the prime minister. Turnbull characterized Dutton's actions as an insurgency. Listen here.


MALCOLM TURNBULL, OUTGOING PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Australians will be just dumbstruck and so appalled by the conduct of the last week. You know, to imagine that a government would be rocked by this sort of disloyalty and deliberate insurgency is the best way to describe it, deliberate destructive action, at a time when, you know, there were differences on policy, but frankly, all of them were sort of resolved, able to be resolved with a little bit of goodwill.


HOWELL: Let's go live to Canberra. Brett Mason is a reporter with SBS Australia and joins us now live. A pleasure to have you here on CNN. Brett, we just heard from the soon to be sworn in new prime minister of your nation, Scott Morrison. Tell us more about what he said to say in the aftermath of this leadership shift.

BRETT MASON, REPORTER, SBS AUSTRALIA: Well, really, this first speech from Scott Morrison was about assuring Australian voters that the government here in Australia is still functioning.

It's quite remarkable to say but this is Australia's fifth prime minister in five years and Scott Morrison is on track to be the third Liberal leader in three years. So, a great period of instability here in Canberra. And Scott Morrison really wants to reassure that the public here in Australia that it's business as usual.

Some extraordinary things in the last two days. The House of Representatives was shut down by the government after more than a dozen ministers resigned from the cabinet leaving Malcolm Turner's cabinet completely paralyzed and unable to in any way, function as a government. So Scott Morrison is really saying just there to the Australian people, don't panic, we have a government, we will soon have an executive. There's no reason to panic. He's also - let's be honest trying to avoid going to an election right now.

[03:04:50] There is an election due here in Australia, a general election by May next year, and the Liberal Party with its coalition partners the national party know that given this week of extraordinary in-fighting a federal election is going to be very difficult for them to fight, so they're trying to delay that as long as possible.

HOWELL: And we also heard before, hearing from Morrison, heard from the outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull talking about how he believed Australians would be as he put it 'dumbstruck' by this political shift by the nation's economy.

And also pointing out loyalty and disloyalty, and specifically calling out Peter Dutton at this populist whose appeal on issues like immigration could be similar to what we see here this populous messages from the U.S. president. What more did you take from Mr. Turnbull's speech?

MASON: A lot of similarities. In fact, Malcolm Turnbull even called out elements of the Australian media for their roles in essentially bringing down his prime ministership.

We've seen newspapers and radio stations here in Australia actively being used in the process of undermining Malcolm Turnbull's prime ministership and he really called that out today and he said this was a deliberate attempt by a small minority within the Liberal Party to drag it or attempt to drag it further to the right and around the defiant.

Malcolm Turnbull said that he was pleased that the insurgence were not rewarded in the ballot held today, effectively saying that he was pleased that Peter Dutton's disloyalty and disunity was not rewarded, that he was delivered the prime ministership.

But you're right there is a real ideological debate happening here in Australia within the Liberal Party how conservative does it need to be in order to be electable. Here in Australia it's a lot less partisan that it is.

For example, in the United States between the Democratic Party and the Republicans. There is a comfortable sense of between those two parties and on many issues, there is a bipartisan agreement and Malcolm Turnbull spoke about that goodwill being blown up not by the opposition party here in Australia but by within by members within the own the government.

And that that's really quite extraordinary. And Malcolm Turnbull says that, you know, he was democratically elected. And remarkable as it is, here in Australia there are people who have voted for a prime minister that has not served the full-time, they've never voted for a prime minister who has been able to serve a full-term way of saying such a revolving door of prime ministers here in Australia. Many people here are furious. There were people outside parliament

today who are absolutely dumbstruck, but yet again a Prime Minister has been dislodged from office, not by voters but by their own colleagues.

HOWELL: And now the question what this leadership under Morrison mean. We will of course learn those details in the days to come for sure.

Brett Mason, thank you so much for your time and reporting with SBS Australia. Thank you.

Earlier, I spoke about the significance of this dramatic change with history professor James Curran of the University of Sydney. Here's part of that conversation.


JAMES CURRAN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY: This really was mainly about the combination of personality and policy, I think, George. I mean, ever since Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister, conventional wisdom is that in order to become the leader of the Liberal Party he had to do a deal with the conservative wing.

Keeping in mind that Malcolm Turnbull is a progressive moderate once a small-will liberal, if you like.

Now, clearly there was a lot of controversy within the party over the vote on marriage equality, on the prime minister's approach to climate change, to energy policy.

So I think the conservative wing of the party who were very upset in last couple of weeks that Malcolm Turnbull was tying Australia's new energy policy to the Paris climate change reduction targets.

So, all of this is a great moment that they would bring him down. Again, Malcolm Turnbull lost the leadership of Liberal Party early on this question of climate change, so I think this is the moment to strike.

Despite the fact, George, that bit by bit the government was starting just the kind of stand a little bit more resolutely on its own two feet. It's polls were closing now to the Liberal party on a two-party basis, but the problem was that its primary vote had fallen candidate the conservative part of the party was abandoning the government.

And so this was the moment that Peter Dutton believes they could strike but has blown up in the insurgence face. And now the question, George, is whether or not Peter Dutton and indeed, Tony Abbott, the former prime minister who was also calling many of this left wingers to the populist wing.

[03:09:59] Whether or not now they will accept this new government, whether or not they will put aside their own ambitions and whether or not Scott Morrison can now, as I say, bring the conservative and moderate wings of the Liberal Party together. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: All right that's the situation in Australia.

And now to Washington. Another one-time ally of the U.S. president is now cooperating with prosecutors. That person, David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer with a reputation for varying negative stories about the future president.

Sources say that he provided investigators with details about the hush payments from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. You may remember Cohen secretly record himself and Mr. Trump talking about the payments in 2016.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I need company for the transfer of all that info regarding our friend David. He hopes that I can do that right away. I've actually come--



COHEN: I've also spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up.


HOWELL: Mr. Trump has changed his story on the payment several times and now he's trying to distance himself from Michael Cohen.


TRUMP: He's been a lawyer for me. He didn't do big deals, he's a small deals. Not somebody that was with me that much, you know, they make it sound like I didn't live with without him. I understood Michael Cohen very well.

He, well, it turned out he wasn't a very good lawyer, frankly, but he was somebody that was probably with me for about 10 years.

COHEN: I want to tell you about the real Donald Trump, the man who I have been fortunate enough to work for and to stand by shoulder to shoulder for a decade.


HOWELL: The president is directing his anger over the recent developments at a familiar target.

CNN's Laura Jarrett has this report.


TRUMP: Jeff Sessions recuse himself which he shouldn't have done, or he should have told me.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump taking aim at his own attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.


TRUMP: He took the job and then he said, I'm going to recuse myself. I said, what kind of a man is this?


JARRETT: Then taking it one step further.


TRUMP: I put an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions. Never took control of the Justice Department and it's sort of an incredible.


JARRETT: It's that specific line, sources say, that prompted a rare pushback from Jeff Sessions defending himself and the work of the Justice Department, saying, quote, "I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success and effectuating the president's agenda. While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."

A strong rebuke from the man President Trump has reduced and scared stiff and missing in action blaming him for Mueller's appointment and a failure to furthering investigate Democrats Trump says have committed wrongdoing.


JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: There's a lot of this coverage around the activities that the Department of Justice have liked.


JARRETT: Yet despite all of that, trump wouldn't say whether he plans to fire Sessions.


TRUMP: I will stay uninvolved and maybe that's the best thing to do.


JARRETT: If that changes and Sessions is replace before the November election the number two Republican in the Senate says. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I think it would be a mistake and I don't think it would be good for the country.


JARRETT: But after the election, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham suggest there could be a new attorney general.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think there will be a time sooner rather than later where it will be time to have a new face at the Department of Justice. Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn't have the confidence of the president.


JARRETT: For the president's bluster on Fox News when the president met with Sessions today at the White House he did not bring up the statement, neither did Sessions. And the attorney general is still on the job.

Laura Jarrett, CNN, Washington.

HOWELL: I spoke earlier with CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza and asked about the significance of Sessions defending himself. Listen.


RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a pretty important development today that Sessions stood up to the president. I mean, you know, to the extent that Trumpism is an ideology, there's probably no one that represents that ideology more in the Trump administration than Jeff Sessions, right?

What he's doing at the Justice Department is very much implementing the policies that Trump ran on where he's run afoul of Trump is of course on these investigations. Trump has decided -- Trump decided that the attorney general should be his personal lawyer rather than independent.

[03:14:53] And it's taken a while for Sessions to get to this place, but he put out a very important statement today, saying essentially, no. The Justice Department is independent. We don't do things based on politics.

And you know, that that's a really crucial moment. There just have not been many Republicans, many people who are in the president's party who have been willing to say, you know -- you know, for willing to stand up to the president when he's sort of broken norms and push the boundaries. And it's really important that the attorney general did that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Ryan Lizza speaking with me earlier. Now to the U.S. state of Hawaii where winds are picking up as that state gets ready for what could be its worst storm in decades.

That the sound of emergency sirens ringing out just hours ago, warning people to take shelter ahead of hurricane Lane that led to flooding and landslides on the Big Island.

And that is where CNN's Natasha Chen is and she file this report for us.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Despite the fact that this is been downgraded to a tropical storm for Hawaii Island, this is still a hurricane warning for the other islands across the state.

Now it's moving very slowly, about six miles per hour and that is why we're seeing a lot of rain hovering over Hawaii Island, especially on the east side where very heavy flooding and potential roadblocks to the landslide is a threat.

Now over here on the west side we're still seeing very dramatic wave crashing against the source. Businesses still deciding to say open however, with a lot of tourists frequenting the restaurant. Other businesses playing it more safely boarding up the windows here.

Now on other islands on Oahu, for example, in Honolulu, the officials sounded in a siren earlier this afternoon to alert people to take shelter tonight. And on Maui, the Air Force had a power outage issue. United Airlines has already canceled all flights in and out of Maui on Friday.

In Hawaii, Natasha Chen. Back to you.


HOWELL: Natasha, thank you. Our meteorologist Ivan Cabrera is here. And Ivan, so the warning downgraded for the Big Island, right? But--


IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. The problem is I think is going to be rain here. And so whether it's a hurricane or a tropical storm or even a strong hurricane it's going to be the rain that's going I think be the historic deal with the storm here.

Last strong storm of just a few years ago, in fact, that we talked about Iniki as well, that was back in the '92. This is going to be nowhere near that as far as its category, right. That was a cat four back in 1992. This is now cat three, or was a cat five and it will continue weakening as you can see it's kind of loss that what we call buzz saw.

Where is the eye there, kind of covered it with your cloud tops here. That's a good indication that its center, its core is beginning to weaken. But that doesn't matter because the rain is going to be incredible here.

And we're talking 300, 600 millimeters of additional rainfall. And notice here if it was just this compact blob would be fine. Below of it all the moisture that's been moving in, well out ahead of it here. And we're talking about enhanced rainfall because the winds are going out right over the mountains and that's squeezing additional moisture out of the atmosphere.

By the way, case in point here, as far as the winds 39 kilometer per hour winds, gusts 57. Sure as the storm gets closer its strongest winds will begin to impact the islands as well. So not minimizing the winds I just think that the biggest threat will continue to be the rain.

Look at how far this thing is, 375 kilometers from Honolulu and 300 kilometers from the Big Island and you saw up with Chen there and the video coming out of the region, torrential amounts of rain already overwhelming the rivers and streams and that will continue to be the case.

There's that easterly wind eventually going to the north. And so, all of the island chain here we're talking 300 to 600 millimeters. This is not going to be just for one or two islands because of the track.

It's kind of parallel all of the islands and it's going to continue moving rather slowly. This is the big deal here. North at 10 kilometers per hour eventually making that curve to the west, but there's islands to the north, and as you saw that moisture will continue streaming in that direction.

So, what are we talking about additional rainfall. Here it goes. And this is just in the next three days. We've already have the flooding rains, additional torrential downpours will continue across the entire island chain.

And this will be right through the day on Friday and into Saturday with flash flooding, landslides, damaging surf, and of course power outages are going to be a big issue as well.

But again, my main concern I think will be with that heavy rain. It has nowhere to go but down, once it hits the mountainside and tries to get out to the Pacific and it has to meander through valleys as it does that and potentially flooding as well.

So, and eye on that certainly throughout the next couple of days here.

HOWELL: All right. For sure we'll stay in touch with you hour by hour for sure of that big storm. Thank you.

Around the world, you're watching Newsroom.

[03:20:00] And the Pope will be traveling to Ireland. The question will he confront the sins of the church.


DARREN MCGAVIN, VICTIM: I'm 46 years of age. I've been medicated since I was 12. Twelve years of age. So, like when it's going to stop?


HOWELL: You just feel the pain of that man telling the story to our Phil Black. The scars that last a lifetime inflicted by predator priests.

And a British Iranian woman is reunited with her daughter after more than two years of prison in Iran. Why her hard-fought freedom may be very brief.


HOWELL: Welcome back. We're learning that a number of nuns have been arrested in Scotland. It's in connection with alleged abuse at an orphanage that closed back in 1981. Police say the nuns are among 12 people arrested, 11 of them women. They range in age from 62 years old to 85 years old.

The abuse happened some time ago. The exact timeframe was not made public. Police say four more arrests could be announced later on Friday.

Pope Francis is traveling to Ireland this weekend. He will attend the world meeting of families there and celebrate an open air mass on Sunday. But the cloud of the church sexual abuse and cover-ups will be there as well.

After damning grand jury report last week out of the United States and Ireland's own history of predator priests.

Our Phil Black is live in Dublin following the story.

Phil, Ireland again has a checkered past when it comes to the Catholic Church on this very subject. And under this cloud of the scandal from the United States surely the Pope will face additional pressure.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, George. The archbishop of Dublin recently said that the number of people who have been hurt by the church in this country is immense and the real number or the known number of victims is simply a small proportion of those who have suffered here.

The scale of sexual another abuse in this country is over, the sufferings is so great. This was always going to be a very difficult and important visit by the pope.

[03:25:01] And that recent report in Pennsylvania detailing widespread of persistent sexual abuse by priest there too has only fuel the expectation that the pope must now finally deal with this in a substantive way.

The victims of abuse here that we've been speaking to are of one voice and they say that contrite sorrowful words no matter how eloquent and heartfelt are simply not enough.


BLACK: There is no polite, easy way to explain what happened to Darren McGavin on the grounds of this church when he was a child.

MCGAVIN: He put me over the table, and he had the vestments, the ropes from the vestments, and he tied my hands to my legs over the table, and he began to rape me.

BLACK: From the age of seven, Darren was abused several times a week for more than four years by Tony Walsh, one of Ireland's most notorious pedophile priests.

MCGAVIN: On one occasion I was raped with a crucifix.

BLACK: Walsh destroyed McGavin's life. The years since have been consumed by trauma and mental illness.

How old are you now?

MCGAVIN: I'm 46 years of age and I've been medicated since I was 12. Twelve years of age. So like, when it's going to stop? Like, when is it going to stop? I don't know.

BLACK: This is just one is one victim's story in a country deeply wounded by the horrific legacy of priests abusing vast numbers of children and often getting away with it.

It will be the defining issue for Pope Francis when he visits once proudly Catholic Ireland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do this in memory of me.

BLACK: Where many churches are now largely empty, where the institution is struggling for purpose and credibility.

MARIE COLLINS, VICTIM AND ACTIVIST: I went to the hospital when I was 12, I just turned 13, and I was sexually assaulted by the Catholic chaplain.

BLACK: After decades of recovering, Marie Collins has become a powerful voice for reforming the Church's culture. Last year she walked away from a Vatican panel advising Pope Francis because nothing has changed, and she wasn't satisfied with his recent written apology.

COLLINS: We have the Pope the other day, a strong letter, a lot of it is good. But unfortunately he still says "we're working on finding a way to hold people accountable." But we're decades on. You can't still be working on it.

BLACK: Darren McGavin wanted to show us another painful location in Phoenix Park, where Pope Francis will say Mass, he takes us a dark gully.

MCGAVIN: And then he laid me down on the mattress. BLACK: Another place where he was raped by the priest he once


MCGAVIN: I didn't even get a sorry. He didn't even say sorry like--

BLACK: Darren and other victims say apologies are important. But from the pope they also want firm policies to ensure no one suffers like this again.


BLACK: George, the last time a pope visited here was 1979, before all of that abuse, the scale of it had been exposed publicly. It was a very different occasion.

Back then it was an unqualified celebration. Millions of people turned out to see Pope John Paul II. This time the expectation is hundreds of thousands of people will welcome Pope Francis but there will also be big protest against the pope and against the church.

Ireland is now a very different country and here that is significantly because the church has lost much of its moral authority. In Ireland there's now a strong belief the church and its culture of self- preservation must now finally change as well. George.

HOWELL: Phil Black, live in Dublin, Ireland. Phil, thank you for the reporting.

Still ahead, the U.S. secretary of state heading back to Pyongyang, North Korea. The question, can he clear the diplomatic obstacles on the road to denuclearization?

Plus, South Korea takes an American diplomat to task after President Trump tweeted about the country's land reform policy.

Stay with us.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You're watching CNN newsroom live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell. The headlines we are following for you. This hour, the Wall Street Journal reports the prosecutors of granted immunity to National Enquirer, publisher David Pecker in their investigation of Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen. Peckers says Mr. Trump knew about hush money payments to two women claimed they had affairs with the future president.

Hawaii is being hit hard with heavy rain from hurricane Lane. The storm could remain a threat for days. Authorities are urging people to take shelter. It has already triggered landslides there and forced road closures on the big Island.

Australia has chosen a new Prime Minister in a dramatic shakeup. Treasurer Scott Morrison was elected leader of the Liberal party at the Malcolm Turnbull was ousted by what he calls a quote, determined insurgency within his own party. Recently Turnbull said he would leave Parliament if he was removed from office.

Earlier CNN spoke with journalist Rachel Baxendale about how Australians feel about another upheaval in their national government.

RACHEL BAXENDALE, JOURNALIST: Well I think, Australians are extremely frustrated with where we had ended off. I think, even some liberals and quite a few (inaudible) have been, putting voice on that frustration in the way we had a number of them pay who broken out of the Parliament and on social media who said that they emphasize the Australian people who are pretty fed up with all of this. We had one backbench this morning who sent letter to his constituent describing what was happening in Cadbury, bloody awful.

I hate to use that word on television. And it really more than 10 years of having us that we haven't gone full term. I think, I said on yesterday (inaudible) compulsory in the earlier course and I am yet to vote for Prime Minister or get you up tune to the vote of Prime Minister who have run full-term. The situation we find out have been and that comes after a period of someone of my generations during my childhood comparative to the oldies, before that we have drawn (inaudible). But we had on both sides really labor (inaudible). Now we had Turnbull Morrison, so the chaos continues really.


HOWELL: All right. From Australia now to the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo was headed back to North Korea next week. It will be his fourth trip there and right now there are no plans for face-to- face meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong. This trip comes as the optimism around the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore has soured. Following the story, CNN's Will Ripley is live in Hong Kong this hour. Will, certainly this meeting with Mike Pompeo important for the meeting that should follow with South Korea.

WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right. Essentially if things go well next week between the United States North Korea secretaries Mike Pompeo in his new special representative are for North Korea, Stephen Vegan was disappointed if they can come away on with something substantial from the North Koreans in terms of if things go well next week between the United States and North Korea. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo in his new special representative are for North Korea Stephen vegan was disappointed if they can come away with something substantial from the North Koreans in terms of steps that might be taken a timeline, perhaps a list disclosing what North Korea has in terms of nuclear and missile assets.

[03:35:23] If Pompeo can come away with something that is going to set a positive tone for this inter-Korean summit set for some time in December. Likely mid-December in Pyongyang with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea's President, Moon Jae-in. However, things go horribly wrong that's going to put certainly the South Koreans in a bind, because they're trying to keep things going to trying to continue this improved tone. This improved relationship with their neighbors to the north at the same time their most important allies, the United States. And if the Trump administration at some point decides this diplomacy

thing is not going to work out. We had to go back to the approach of the sanctions, the maximum pressure resume for military drills which then North Korea if the military drills we are having in the South. What if they start launching missiles again? What if they start a nuclear test again? You can see how very quickly. This could go downhill and we can end up right back where we were met with many people felt was closer than we been, perhaps ever to you know, an actual conflict. The military conflict North Korea.

So there's a lot of aligned. This is probably the most important diplomatic trip of Secretary Pompeo's political and diplomatic career thus far and he needs to be able to show that the U.S. and North Korea can work together on this denuclearization process. Even though they are very far apart in terms of how long it should take what should happen and when, the U.S. wants to give up a lot of nukes right away.

North Koreans say that are not ready to give up their nukes until the end of the process or certainly until there is a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. Those are things that these two side are going to have to sort out. It didn't go well in early July. We'll see what happens this time, George.

HOWELL: All right, Will, at all of this happening as we are getting new evidence that North Korea has stopped dismantling its launch sites.

RIPLEY: That's right, so the intelligence analysis from 38 North, they're always taking a look at the latest satellite imagery, they had shown earlier, work that they thought might be dismantlement of the launch site. It was used to launch two satellites in orbit back in 2012 and then also recently in 2016. The satellites North Korea always claim were for scientific research, but the U.S. and much of the world felt that they were actually testing delivery systems for intercontinental ballistic missiles that could bring a warhead to the mainland United States.

Although North Korea senses develop mobile launching technologies allows them to launch those missiles from pretty much anywhere. We sort of makes the so hate launch station not as important as it used to be. But what 38 North has observed is that work at the site has pretty much stopped since the beginning of April. According to that satellite imagery, there are still personnel on site there, but they haven't taken anything else apart. So it does even raise questions, was that actually dismantlement, or was North Korea mastering other kind of work, upgrades, perhaps even at the site. Those are things that perhaps Secretary Pompeo will find out. Might be one of the questions he asked North Koreans when he goes in.

HOWELL: All right. These talks continue, Will Ripley live in Hong Kong. Will, thank you for your reporting as always.

The U.S. president has stirred up an angry reaction from South Africa with a controversial tweet that the African nation describes as quote hysterical. Mr. Trump said this quote, I have asked Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large-scale killing of farmers, South African government is now seizing land from white farmers and he tagged in that tweet Fox News. Our David McKenzie has this report on the reaction.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the South African government response was swift and direct. They hold the state department representative in for addressing (inaudible) and have this to say on Twitter. South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception, was only seeks to divide our nation and remind us of our colonial past. It is worth fact checking that Fox news segment, no farms are not be seized as they described and also farm murders are tragic. Particularly high levels, according to one group that tracks this things is actually at a 20 geo low. This issue has been peddle by white nationalist's conspiracy theorists over some time. But because President Trump, has said that the State Department should look into this has caused consternation. A spokesperson of the president here saying that hysterical comments like this are unfortunate.

The government is engage in a very sensitive debate here on the land issued. They are looking to amend the Constitution to make the distribution of land easier. Some 70 percent of private land here in South Africa is own by white South Africans. They say it is important to redress the racist policies of the past.

[03:40:00] David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


HOWELL: David McKenzie sorting all that out. Thank you, David.

The U.S. president is giving himself high marks for his first 18 months on the job. He scoff at any notion of being forced out of the White House and said that if he was impeach, the stock market would crash and everybody would be poor. And ask for its accomplishments, well, listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I give myself an A- plus. I am the only president has ever done what I've done in the short, we have been two years.


HOWELL: In the latest poll, 43 percent of respondents say they approve of Mr. Trump's performance, 50 percent say they disapprove. I spoke earlier with CNN presidential historian Timothy Naftali about those numbers and about the president's accomplishments.


TIMOTHY NAFTALI, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, CNN: He faces a real problem, because if you look George, at his approval rating, it's relatively flat. It hasn't changed much. It's between 40 and 42 percent, sometimes as low as 39, but basically, 40, 42 percent and that's it. This is one I think of the product of a decision that he made early on in his administration, and we saw that with his inaugural address, rather than broadening his appeal pulling in folks by leaving aside the rhetoric. Some of the divisive rhetoric of his campaign. He didn't do that. I mean, he had an opportunity. His infrastructure idea. What has bipartisan appeal, but you know he dropped that, instead, he's been using divisive rhetoric and he's been trying to appeal solely to one sector of the American population and as a result, his base loves him. In fact the intensity of support for him is very high among Republicans, but the number of Republicans is shrinking. So this is a president who seems to be a sectarian leader, not a national leader. The stock market, it's is a dangerous game for presidents to based their legacy on the stock market, because the stock market represents both the assumptions about asset values and optimism. So, I would say that the tax cuts certainly turbocharge the stock market, but we don't know if this is a sugar rush or not, or whether this in fact reflects an accurate appraisal of asset values.

With regard to Supreme Court justices, that is always the unknown variable for president. And no president can predict how many opportunities to fill slots in the Supreme Court they will have. That depends on the members of the Supreme Court themselves on fate. There is no question that President Trump has selected serious people for the court, but that I don't think is a sign of him being successful or not successful, vis-a-vis other presidents that is the sign that he is doing his job.


HOWELL: Now to Venezuela people there escaping the crumbling economy and political turmoil that continue to plague that nation. Inflation this year could actually hit 1 million percent. It has created a migrant crisis that spilling over in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. CNN's Patrick Oppmann, has this report for us.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Walking singing, carry on possession that have left to make the treacherous hike to the mountains with freezing temperatures. This groups of about 200 Venezuelans migrants across Ecuador illegally on a journey to a better life.

This desperate Venezuelans are fleeing economic incrementing prices in their homeland. Some Venezuelans loan things like their TV, motor bikes, and washing machines to gather enough money to make the trip. This year alone, more than 423,000 Venezuelans migrants are crossing the Colombia and then in Ecuador through the roomy Chaka Border. For many their final decision is Peru. Which is one of the fastest growing economy in the region. Through the (inaudible) refugee hosting country in Latin America, according to the U.N. It was about 127,000 applications since 2014.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): Well, the decision we made as a group and among all the people who are here is withdraw from here, from the border, risking ourselves and with the hand of God go to Peru and mass, all of us.

OPPMANN: But it is a race against time, they must get approve before Saturday. When new rules requiring to hold a valid passport kick in. Many had only identity cards to use for travel to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia under normal circumstances.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): Everything that can be done, if we have to do a large part of it on foot. We will do it. We can catch a bus in a certain area, we will. If we have to stand in line. We will do it to, but united, of course.

[03:45:00] OPPMANN: Venezuelan countries have been struggling to deal with a large influx of migrants in recent months. Ecuador government has provided free buses to the Peru and now stand in line for documentation allows them to work and have access to healthcare and education. Even though this migrants have to cross two other countries to get to Peru, they say going back to Venezuela is a death wish. Patrick Oppmann, CNN.



HOWELL: In Iran, it is all smiles were joyous mother daughter reunion. Take a here. This is Nazanin Zadhari -- spent the last 28 months in prison Iran. This because of spine charges. She's been released from prison, but just for three days her husband wants to be released for good. He spoke earlier to my colleague Hala Gorani, about his wife's situation, listen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. I am really in a great day. So, I haven't heard of what happen with lots of promises -- left promises recently and over the months before. But no, I was very surprise.

GORANI: You can't go to Iran?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't got to Iran. I got access for visa, but I am the one not coming.

GORANI: You spoke on the phone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, (inaudible) she called me from the president. I mean, it was the first time I have seen her in two years. And just sort of --

GORANI: First time you have seen your wife in two years?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see her face is all smile and happy and just out of prison, so it was just magical.

GORANI: So the first you heard of this release was when she called you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

GORANI: So, let me get this straight. You get a skype call, you are not expecting a skype call. You answer the Skype call you're your wife's face. And what was your reaction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) I was slightly confuse and you are trying to make and of course, you know, she could not believe and I could not believe it.

GORANI: So, and I want to get the rest of the story, but I mean, what are you hearing in terms of why you think Iranian had already decided to -- it is a three day released?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a three day released. And I think we got to look at this in a context of when it is. It is a time when government can be a little bit benevolent towards their detainees and show a positive sign towards them that there is so light may be at the end of the tunnel.

[03:50:05] So here is an opportunities without them getting criticized per se, this is something that would be traditional to do per se during the period to let somebody go home and spend some time with their family. So you can sort of do this politically maybe without getting too much backlash and criticism from the Iranian perspective.

GORANI: And Richard, talk to us a little bit about your daughter, I mean, how that reunion took place? It is like, this is the first time, how old is your daughter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is four now.

GORANI: She is four, so she reminds her presence and she was two. She is starting to understand what is going on around here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't ask questions, you know, why are you in prison, she is having visits? Why can't you visit us? So, she understands and does not understand. It was really important for today to make have a bunch of flowers. So she had seen that when other prisoners released -- she wants to have a bunch of flowers to give to her mommy. So, she went out in the garden this morning and cut the flowers and the bunch you see, that was her proudly hand them over. And then she wanted to show mommy her doll house. This is just to show how her world.

GORANI: That so moving. What state of mind is your wife and how hopeful is she?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has nothing to (inaudible). I think obviously she will get to Saturday night, that is going to be extended and she will be looking forward again. That is for sure. And it has been a long hard journey for all of us and with that comes with ups and downs and you know, the potential for panic and so on.

(END VIDEO) HOWELL: All right. The story ahead is about the humble clown fish

that needs help. Up next. Some schoolchildren are doing their best to save the species.


HOWELL: Finding Nemo is the name of a famous Disney movie about a beloved clown fish, but now the real life Nemo is in great danger from overfishing, and climate change, and there is a push to save it. Ivan Watsons explains.


IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: meet the humble clown fish. Small in size, it is one of the most instantly recognizable inhabitants of the world's coral reefs. A fish made famous by the 2003 animated film, Finding Nemo. The movie told the story of a father searching for his son Nemo after he's captured from the wild. But finding Nemo's barks of a success had some unintended consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the film Finding Nemo, there is drastic spike in number of fish of people wanted for their aquarium.

WATSON: Kern Burke De Silva (ph) is a marine biologist, and the co- founder of program called saving Nemo.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And places that they were getting those fish was actually was found alive and as the numbers kept coming out of the wild, they started very small in some places and in fact in certain areas became locally extinct.

WATSON: Student says Belgium (inaudible) -- Sydney Australia in the city of Townville, are trying to change that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Orange clownfish, it is really tiny. It is like a dork.

[03:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow, it is really small, yes.


WATSON: As part of this saving Nemo program, this children are helping breed baby clownfish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We breed them, so they can get fish that we breed to people who want clownfish, instead they don't have to take it out of the wild.

WATSON: The clownfish raise here are eventually traded away to pet shops in exchange for aquarium supplies. Where are the eggs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are like little bubbles.

WATSON: Unfortunately the clownfish is now facing an even bigger challenge, climate change. Rising temperatures around the world, are bleaching in other words killing off coral and sea anemone. A habitats clownfish call home. Marin biologist Jody Ramor (ph) says, it will take more drastic action to protect the clownfish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The way to protect them is a really, really big solution and it has to do with (inaudible) are reliant from fossil fuels directly when needed to the oceans and the emission in the atmosphere.

WATSON: Her new comer the story of a little star of Finding Nemo may have another surprising plot twist. All clownfish are born male. Some eventually transform and grow into figure female. Females are the largest, they are the fish in the anemone. Everybody wants to be the female.

WATSON: Which could make the next Finding Nemo sequel a very different movie. Ivan Watson, CNN, Australia.


HOWELL: Ivan, thank you and do join Ivan this weekend for a special report race to save the reef. It premieres Saturday at 8:30 in the evening in Hong Kong, 1:30 in the afternoon in London only here on CNN. And finally this hour, an unexpected guest check into a Colorado hotel and this is the lobby. Yes, that is a bear that you see wandering around, it was in no hurry wandering around a bit, check out the couch and took off wandering out the front door. The front desk supervisor who obviously doesn't scare very easily captured all of that on video. That would be kind of that guest. Thanks for being with us, I'm George Howell. The news continues with my colleague Max Forster live in London.