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Koreas Prepare for Next Summit; Pakistan Leaders to Meet with U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo; Tropical Storm Gordon Makes Landfall; Typhoon Jebi Batters Japan; 87 Elephants Killed for Ivory Near Botswana Sanctuary; Social Media Rips Nike over Kaepernick Ad Campaign. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 5, 2018 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Donald Trump doing damage control after an explosive new book portrays the White House as crazy town and says staffers called the President unhinged at an idiot. Growing fears of mass civilian casualty as Syria's last rebel stronghold comes under fire. Plus, praise for the U.S. President from his South Korean counterpart ahead of a major inter- Korean summit. We are live in Seoul.

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

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mathews says Donald Trump has the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. Other advisers worry the President is a danger to national security that is according to a new book from veteran journalist Bob Woodward. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly calls his boss an idiot and unhinged. Kelly is also quoted as saying it's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We're in crazy town. This is the worst job I've ever had.

The book describes the President seen as so dangerous by one senior staffer. He swiped a document off his desk in his words to protect the country. CNN's Jim Acosta has more.




JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Before the release of his new book on the Trump White House entitled Fear, legendary reporter Bob Woodward managed to finally get the President on the phone. Mr. Trump's assessment of the Woodward book not good.

TRUMP: It sounds like this is going to be a bad one.

ACOSTA: There are devastating episodes throughout the book. Woodward explains how the President's former lawyer John Dowd attempted to do a mock interview with Mr. Trump to demonstrate how he could purge her himself if he sits down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. According to Woodward, Dowd explains the stakes for the President in stark terms. Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit. Woodward says Dowd who would later resigned called Mr. Trump a liar.

The author also describes how former Economic Adviser Gary once removed a document from the President's desk to prevent Mr. Trump from exiting a trade agreement with South Korea. Cohn said, I stole it off his desk. I wouldn't let him see it. He's never going to see that document. I've got to protect the country. One of a number of actions Woodward describes as no less than administrative coup d'etat. Woodward says other top officials were equally harsh from Chief of Staff John Kelly who said he's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. Were in crazy town. This is the worst job I've ever had. The White House released a statement from Kelly saying he never called the President an idiot.

Then according to Woodward, there's Defense Secretary James Mattis who says the President has the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader. The former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus who said the Presidential bedroom was the devil's workshop. Woodward also offers nasty comments from the president who says previous is like a little rat, he just scurries around and refers to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as mentally retarded and a dumb southerner.

According to Woodward, the President once told Giuliani Rudy you're a baby. I've never seen a worst defense of me in my life. They took your diaper off right there. You're like a little baby that needed to be changed. When are you going to be a man? Woodward also revisits the President's handling of the deadly riots in Charlottesville saying, Mr. Trump regretted the speech he gave at the White House. That was when the president actually condemned the white supremacist in Charlottesville. But Mr. Trump said that speech was the biggest mistake I've made. The next day the President went back to blaming both sides for the violence.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Excuse me, (INAUDIBLE), and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.

ACOSTA: Woodward says the President complained that he wasn't asked for an interview but an audio released by The Washington Post, Woodward reminds the President he made multiple requests.

TRUMP: Nobody told me about it and I would have loved to have spoken to you.

WOODWARD: Senator Graham said he had talked to you about talking to me. Now, is that not true?

TRUMP: Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly on one meeting and you know, that's -- that is true.

ACOSTA: President Trump sat down with the conservative Daily Caller Web site to call the Woodward book a bad book and to accuse the author of having credibility problems. The President's former outside lawyer John Dowd pushed back on parts of the Woodward book saying "there was no so-called practice session of a mock interview at the special counsel's office." Adding, "he did not refer to the President as a liar and did not say that he would end up in an orange jumpsuit." Jim Acosta, CNN White House.


CHURCH: Not surprisingly President Trump is firing back on Twitter. He says the Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly. Their quotes were made of frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative. Notice timing. And White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says, this book is nothing more than fabricated stories many by former disgruntled employees told to make the president look back -- bad.

So joining me now former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and Hoover Institution Research Fellow Lanhee Chen. Good to have you both with us.



CHURCH: So President Trump calls Bob Woodward's book a con and a fraud. Sarah sander says these are former disgruntled employees. But we're talking about Defense Secretary Matters comparing the President with sixth-grader, Chief of Staff John Kelly calling the President an idiot and unhinge. Lonny Chen, Kelly and Mattis are not former disgruntled employees, they're in the current administration but they and others are now vehemently denying they said any of this. Do you believe their denials or the work of an award-winning investigative journalist who has reported for The Washington Post since 1971?

CHEN: Well, look I mean, Bob Woodward clearly is a -- is a very reputable journalist. He's somebody who's reported on not just this presidency by the way, he's written on a number of different presidencies and in fact quite critically of other presidents Democrats and Republicans. The issue is this is pretty classic in terms of how the president and how the White House have chosen to deal with these kinds of controversies whether it was the book by Michael Wolff fire in fury, the episode involving Omarosa, the former White House aide, or this book not to equate the three.

But the White House is essentially said look we're going to respond in exactly the same way which is we're not going to give an inch. We're going to say all of this is fake, all of it is made up, and we're going to leave it to the public to decide whether they believe us or them and that strategy so far for this president at least has worked with his base. We'll see if it works for others as well.

CHURCH: Yes, it has worked so far. Wendy Greuel, Bob Woodward says he stands by his book but he'll have to deal with an onslaught of accusations that it's a fraud in the wake of all these denials from Kelly, Mattis, Dowd, Cohn and others. Is it enough in this current anti-media climate to just say he stands by his work? Will people require more proof that all this was indeed said and that it happened? GREUEL: Well, as mentioned, he is a professional, he has a season of journalists. He knew these kinds of questions were going to come up. He's going to be prepared as the book is released to respond to all of those criticisms. But he had dozens of people who really confided in him, shared this information and I don't believe that he would have done that without having all of those checks and balances along the way and it's -- unfortunately many of the things that we've heard in here have been things that the president has demonstrated in the past. This is not a surprise to a lot of people.

What's scary about it and I think this is why the book is called Fear is it puts fear into all of us about some of the unhinged or behaviors that could really you know, for us being American people scared about what he might do as President of the United States.

CHURCH: Right. And let's just listen to a phone conversation between the President and Bob Woodward about why Mr. Trump wasn't interviewed for this book. Let's bring that up.


TRUMP: It's really too bad because nobody told me about it and I would have loved to have spoken to you. You know, I'm very open to you. I think you've always been fair. But we'll see what happens.

WOODWARD: Senator Graham said he has talked to you about talking to me. Now, is that not true?

TRUMP: Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly on one meeting and you know, that is true.


CHURCH: So Lanhee, we hear -- nobody who told me about this and then we hear yes, indeed that Senator Lindsey Graham did, in fact, tell him about this. So basically he is caught in a lie. He's not being honest here. And then at the same time he is saying that Bob Woodward has always been fair. So we understand from just listening to that conversation that the President knew about the book. He knew that Bob Woodward wanted to interview him. He didn't want to be interviewed. Why?

CHEN: Well probably because he figured if he was interviewed he might contradict himself or he might say something which was inconsistent with something he said in the past or perhaps something that actually happened or perhaps it would be inconsistent with the accounts given by those interviewed by Woodward for the book. So there's many number of different reasons why he may want to speak with Woodward but the reality is when he concedes that Woodward's been fair to him in the past, that creates a problem for the president here.

For him to just say look this is some left-wing hatchet job, very difficult to do when you've just conceded that Bob Woodward's been fair to you in the past.

CHURCH: Yes, very contradictory indeed. And Wendy, here's what the Republicans Susan Collins and Bob Corker had to say about Mr. Trump apparently calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions mentally retarded and a dumb southerner. Let's listen.


[01:10:15] SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I'm appalled by those comments. The President's continuing public humiliation of the Attorney General is deeply inappropriate.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: If he doesn't like his service, he can looking in the eye and terminate him. So you know, whining is pretty unbecoming of a 13-year-old but very unbecoming of a 71 or two year old president.


CHURCH: Now, Wendy, late Tuesday President Trump denied he made those comments about Sessions in Woodward's book saying he made this up to divide. So despite the denial, how will Mr. Trump's attack on the Attorney General likely played his base particularly his reference to Sessions being a dumb southerner? Will they believe it? Will they even care?

GREUEL: Well, I think anyone who has watched the President's tweets in the last several months about Jeff Sessions would not be surprised that he said this because he has been critical of him. He has used you know, words to describe him that diminish Sessions. And so I think that's what you're also hearing from the Republicans. They've heard it, they've had enough and said stop. Stop this behavior of where you are acting like a 13-year-old in going after Jeff Sessions and making some of these comments.

It's just -- it's just wrong, but as I said, you know, if he has a problem Sessions then he should let him go. But for many people, they're thinking wow even though we don't like Jeff Sessions we wanted to stay here. The fear factors, who could be next if it isn't Jeff Sessions?

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. And Lanhee, just to go back to you and just going back across all of the content of Bob Woodward's book because this will be a discussion on conversation probably for the next week and weeks ahead, and certainly going into the midterms, and I do want to just bring up an article. NBC's Chuck Todd has been talking about the fact that this is a new era. At this time for journalists but many, many years of course journalists, the media has come under attack and with we put up with it. We sit back and we think our work should stand alone. And this is Chuck Todd who's basically saying now we can't be so naive.

We have to accept that we have to start standing up and saying yes this is true. These are the facts. This is what this story is telling you because there are so many people in Middle America that will listen to Donald Trump and to all these others who have denied what they have apparently said and they will believe that because that's what they hear. They're not hearing from Bob Woodward and others. CHEN: Right. And this is the challenge we have in America now is

that we have a tremendously polarized political society and people who are disinclined to believe the media are going to continue to be disinclined and the President will stoke that resentment that fear even more. And on the other side people who would side with the media otherwise are just as likely to consume that information as they were before. So I think this polarization is something that we're seeing in spades and unfortunately here in the United States, it's made it much more difficult to find common ground and consensus.

CHURCH: And Wendy, to you on that very same point because the problem here is that people across America will keep hearing the denials. They'll keep hearing this same story over and over again from Donald Trump. They'll hear the denials from John Kelly, they'll hear it from James Mattis, they'll hear from others and they'll believe that because that's what they're hearing. They're not hearing and they're not reading the book. They're not necessarily going to take Bob Woodward's book and read this because it's not what they want to read about.

So in the end, is it time for journalists across America and perhaps globally now because this is a problem this chant about fake news is coming from all parts of the world, and people are not going to the right sources for their news and they're believing anything that's out there. Is it time for journalists to change the way they deal with these sorts of things?

GREUEL: Absolutely. I mean, I think the whole nature of journalism and facts is really been skewed and sometimes I feel like we're in a foreign country where there's a dictator who says don't believe anything that you are given, just listen to me. I'm the only person who tells the truth. That to me is frightening in this country. And I think journalists and others should stand up and say this is actually the truth and here are the facts. And I think his base may never change but I think we've seen when Cohen you know pleaded guilty, when Manafort was convicted. You're going to start to see in some of those areas where there's actual judicial you know, decision- making that there's going to start to be a little bit of a change. But it is going to take on all fronts saying that you know journalism and the journalists that are out there are telling the truth.

[01:15:02] CHURCH: Right. And while this is all playing out, the New York Times is reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will apparently accept written answers from Mr. Trump on Russia. But not on the question of obstruction.

So, will the president agree to a face-to-face interview on obstruction, Lanhee?

CHEN: Well, it's very difficult to tell. I mean, if you believe what you see in that Bob Woodward book, the president had a rough go of it when they did a mock in-person interview. And I think, if I were representing the president, I'd be very hesitant to put him for live questions in front of Robert Mueller.

The problem though is that the president has repeatedly said, he's willing to testify. And at some point, if he does not testify, it creates more of a credibility problem for him. So, they've really boxed themselves here into a very difficult corner.

We'll have to see where it goes, but it's pretty clear the president has some concerns about sitting for that live interview potentially having the opportunity to perjure himself before the special counsel.

CHURCH: And Wendy, a final word to you. Because in the end, if Mueller wants to, he could subpoena the president.

GREUEL: He could, and I think his lawyers are going to continue to push back and say that they're going to try to capture him in that in that event to actually go against what he may have said in the past.

So, I think they're going to at all cost try to stop him from having to be interviewed and he can blame his lawyers and say, "They told me I shouldn't do this, here is the reason why." So, if I was a betting -- a betting person, I'd say I don't see him testifying.

CHURCH: All right. Well, we'll watch and see. Wendy Greuel and Lanhee Chen, thanks to both of you for joining this political panel.

CHEN: Thank you.

CHURCH: All right. Well, partisan politics were on full display during the first day of confirmation hearings for President Trump's second Supreme Court nominee. Senate Democrats tried to delay the hearing saying they need more time to review Brett Kavanaugh's professional record.

In his opening statement, Kavanaugh insisted, he will be impartial. CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider has more.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Within seconds at the start of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, the discourse devolved into the sense.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS: We cannot possibly move forward Mr. Chairman, with this hearing. We have not been giving an opportunity to have a meaningful hearing.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), SENATE BUDGET COMMITTEE: I extend a very warm welcome to Judge Kavanaugh, to his wife.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We are rushing through this process in a way that is unnecessary.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats taking issue with a document dumped overnight of 42,000 pages from Kavanaugh's days in President George W. Bush's White House. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, saying his staff reviewed every page by late Monday night. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: My point is that no one could prepare and review 42,000 documents in one evening. We know that, no much -- no matter how much coffee you drink.

SCHNEIDER: Another 100,000 pages from the same time period have also been held back. The Trump administration says they are likely protected by constitutional privilege, Democrats though, say it's suspicious.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Judge Kavanaugh, America needs to see those documents.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: We have been denied real access to the documents we need to advise --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, regular order is called for.

BLUMENTHAL: which turns this hearing into a charade and a mockery of our norms.


BLUMENTHAL: And, Mr. Chairman, I, therefore, move to adjourn this hearing.

SCHNEIDER: CNN has learned the show of force was orchestrated during a weekend conference call led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Even though Democrats don't have the votes to block Kavanaugh's nomination alone.

Many of the obstructing Senators are possible presidential hopefuls for 2020. The deep partisan divisions though, extend beyond documents. Brett Kavanaugh's nomination and the conservative tilt he would likely bring to the Supreme Court has unleashed anger that spilled into the hearing room.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Mr. Chairman I think we ought to have this, this loud-mouth removed. I mean, we shouldn't have to put up with this kind of stuff.

SCHNEIDER: But Republicans rally behind Kavanaugh. Calling Democrats sore losers.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I believe this fight is nothing more and nothing less than an attempt by our democratic colleagues to relitigate the 2016 presidential election.

SCHNEIDER: In a play for bipartisanship, a former law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, spoke, endorsing Judge Kavanaugh in lamenting how political the judicial nomination process has become.

LISA BLATT, FORMER CLERK FOR JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBERG: Judge Kavanaugh is the best choice that liberals could reasonably hope for in these circumstances. I am sure that some members of the Senate knew that they would disagree with Justice Ginsburg's legal views when she was a nominee. But Justice Ginsburg was confirmed 96 to 3.

SCHNEIDER: Judge Kavanaugh attempted to bat down the claims of pure politics at play, saying he will adhere solely to the rule of law.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, NOMINEE FOR UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: I do not decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro- plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I'm not a pro-prosecution or pro- defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.

[01:20:04] SCHNEIDER: And Kavanaugh, said working with his fellow justices would be paramount.

KAVANAUGH: The Supreme Court must never, never be viewed as a partisan institution. The justices on the Supreme Court do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. They do not caucus in separate rooms. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, I would be part of a team of nine. Committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States.

SCHNEIDER: And Wednesday is when the real questioning begins. Judge Brett Kavanaugh will face an onslaught of questioning on his positions. Although really, he's already indicated how he'll answer when he said on Tuesday, a good judge must be a neutral arbiter who favors no person or policy but, of course, that's a position he'll still be pressed on by Democrats. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Syria's last rebel enclave comes under fire once again. Airstrikes have resumed in Idlib, and there are fears this is just a preview of a full-scale government offensive.

And laying the groundwork for peace and denuclearization. How the two Koreas are preparing for their leaders next summit.

An outrage as scores of elephants in Botswana are found slaughtered for their tusks. We'll back in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, it is seen as a final showdown in Syria's horrific seven-year Civil War. Activists say, Russian and Syrian planes hit Idlib province, Tuesday, ahead of a widely expected government offensive on the last major rebel stronghold.

And now, the White House is drawing the line saying, "If President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its allies will respond swiftly and appropriately."

Now, while the U.S. is threatening possible action in Syria, Israel says, it's been taking action for a while now. An IDF official tells CNN, Israel has struck Syria about 200 times over the past year and a half.

The main target has been Iran's elite Al-Quds Force and its infrastructure that includes the T-4 airbase, northeast of Damascus that Iran reportedly uses as a command center.

Iranian forces have been backing Syria's government, but Israel says there are red lines Iran should not cross. Well, for more on this, CNN military analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joins us now. Always good to see you, sir.


Now, the White House again, drawing a line in the sand. How likely is it that Syria's Bashar al-Assad would go ahead and use chemical weapons on his people again? Given how the U.S. has responded in the past.

FRANCONA: One would hope that he wouldn't. And Rosemary, there is no need for him to use chemical weapons. Militarily, it makes no sense. He knows it will draw a reaction from the United States and France, they've already said that.

If you look at the military situation on the ground with the Russian air support, with the Syrian Air Force, and virtually having Idlib surrounded, there's no need to use chemical weapons, they have the firepower to defeat everybody that's in -- all the fighters that are in that area.

So, I think he would be foolish to use it. But, in the past, that's not always been the deterrent. So, if he does use them, I think he can expect a reaction.

CHURCH: Why has he used them in the past, what was the point?

FRANCONA: Well, his military thinking is and that they've -- the Syrian military is written about this, they say -- what they use the chemical weapons, their theory is that it saps the resistance. It demoralizes a resistance and people tend to give up.

It also allows the killing of people that are hiding in basements, the gases are heavier than air. They get down into bunkers in basements. It is interesting that the United States and its allies draw a line in the sand when it comes to these chemical weapons. But the other weaponry used on people is just as horrifying. The outcome is just as terrifying and tragic.

So why, why is it that these chemical weapons draw the ire of the U.S. and its allies? And yet, what is happening in Idlib now goes, goes on and people there are not protected in any way.

FRANCONA: Exactly. You know this is a very good question. This is -- this is a question that everybody has been grappling with for years. Not just in this war, but in all wars. It's OK to kill people with dynamite and barrel bombs, and artillery, and rockets missiles.

But, you cross that line in to use chemical weapons although the effect is basically the same. Somehow, it's regarded as an inhumane weapon or a random weapon not controllable. So, there is this mystique of using chemical weapons that draws the -- it's abhorrent, and it draws the ire of the rest of the world. But the point is -- and you've made it quite well, what's the difference whether you use chemicals or high explosives? Dead is dead.

CHURCH: And so, basically, from a military point of view, what you're saying happening in Idlib now. Syria will move in, it's the last rebel stronghold there. Then what? What happens?

FRANCONA: Well, I don't think it's any question what's going to happen in Idlib. The government will reassert control over the area. They've got the firepower, they've got the support with the Russians, the Iranians. So, in time, they will control Idlib province.

Then, the question is what happens to Syria? Then, we get into the political realm. What do we do with the occupied area that where the Turks are up in the northwest? How do we address the Kurdish situation? The Kurds control almost the entire area on the north and the east of the Euphrates River -- a large swath of Northern Syria.

Or the Kurds going to be integrated somehow into the Syrian forces? Or is the Syrian government going to offer them some sort of autonomy? These are all questions that have to be worked out.

We know what the Syrians want. They want total control of everything. We know, the Kurds don't. And the Kurds have us supporting them. And then, enter the Turks, who have a different take on what should happen in Northern Syria. So, we're in for a long political battle after the fighting is done.

CHURCH: And before you go, I do want to get your reaction to Bob Woodward's book where President Trump apparently says this to defense secretary Mattis, "About Syria's President al-Assad, after he uses chemical weapons on his people, let's effing kill him, let's go in, let's kill the effing lot of them."

As a military man, hearing that from the President of the United States, what's your response?

FRANCONA: Well, I don't have any problem with, with targeting the leader of an enemy country. We're not technically at war with the Syrians. So, I think it would be very difficult legally for us to go and kill Bashar al-Assad. So, I don't -- I think he was probably in a fit of anger if he said it.

Now, if you look at what Secretary Mattis, says he disavows any of that. So, I really don't know what happened in the White House.

CHURCH: All right. Everyone is denying everything in Bob Woodward's book at this stage. Rick Francona, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

FRANCONA: Good to be with you, Rosemary.

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good to be with you -- Rosemary. CHURCH: All right. We'll take a very short break here.

But still to come -- as the Koreas prepare for their next summit, South Korea's leader is praising President Trump for progress in the North's efforts to denuclearize.

And U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way to Pakistan to meet with his new -- the new prime minister there. But the visit comes amid strained relations between both nations. We'll have the details and a live report.

Do stay with us.


CHURCH: A very warm welcome back. I'm Rosemary Church.

Want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.

Donald Trump is denying allegations in a new book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward. It describes a White House in disarray with top aides calling the President an idiot and a liar. Woodward writes that one aide stole papers from Mr. Trump's desk in an effort to protect national security.

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh promised during his first day of confirmation hearings to be neutral and impartial. Shouting protesters were removed from the room and Senate Democrats tried unsuccessfully to delay the hearing until the Trump administration releases more documents from when Kavanaugh worked for President George W. Bush.

Russian and Syrian jets pounded Syria's last major rebel stronghold on Tuesday. A human rights group says the planes bombarded the western edge of Idlib. The air strikes came hours after U.S. President Trump warned Syria not to recklessly attack the province.

A high-level South Korean delegation is in North Korea to discuss plans for their next summit. The two sides are expected to discuss a path toward peace and denuclearization. It comes as relations between the United States and North Korea continue to sour.

Our Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul in South Korea with more. So, Paula -- what all are you learning about this upcoming summit and how far might it go in denuclearizing North Korea?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary -- what we're seeing today is the national security adviser Chung Eui-yong, who is in Pyongyang. He's meeting with Ri Son-kwan (ph) who's effectively Kim Jong-un's point person when it comes to inter-Korean relations. And they're laying the groundwork for this summit.

We've heard from the national security adviser that there will be discussions about declaring the end of the Korean War. [01:34:57] This is something that the North Korean and the South Korean leaders committed to after their April summits in Panmunjom at the DMZ so clearly that's something that North Korea wants. It's something that South Korea -- that the President Moon Jae-in has agreed to.

We're also hearing, though, that this summit, which is expected to be at some point in mid-September, we don't have an exact date yet, is really increasing in its range at this point. It was going to be for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to meet for a third time with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

But now, of course, the relations between Washington and Pyongyang are souring after U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled his Secretary of State's visit to Pyongyang just a couple of weeks ago, saying not enough progress on denuclearization had been made.

And so we're hearing that the President Moon will really be stepping into this mediator position again. He will be having to try and bring the U.S. and North Korean positions closer together. So, really, the importance on this summit has increased since Washington cancelled that meeting -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: And, Paula, I just want to ask you. I mean from North Korea's point of view, how much of this is about squeezing the United States out of the picture? Looking to be very helpful and working with South Korea.

HANCOCKS: Well, what we had today was also a statement from the foreign ministry in North Korea. It was posted on their Web site in English and it is calling for the United States to agree to this declaration of the end of the Korean War.

This is a sticking point for North Korea. This is something that they want. There was only an armistice signed at the end of the Korean War back in 1953. North Korea would like a peace treaty, but of course, that's legally binding. It needs a two-third approval from the U.S. Congress. That is more complicated.

But the declaration of the end of the Korean War is what the North Korean regime is pushing for at this point. Of course Washington wants to see denuclearization first and then it will agree to lift sanctions, to peace treaties, to other things that North Korea is asking for.

So there's really a different -- a very strong difference in opinion as to which part should come first. Washington wants denuclearization. North Korea wants a declaration to the end of the war.

CHURCH: All right. Our Paula Hancocks reporting live from Seoul in South Korea where it is 2:37 in the afternoon. Many thanks, as always.

Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is en route to Pakistan for meetings with leaders of the newly-elected government in Islamabad. Now this will be the first high-level meeting between both countries since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office last month.

Relations between both sides have been pretty rocky and the latest blow may have come when the U.S. suspended $300 million in military aid to Pakistan for its perceived failure to crack down on Taliban militants.

CNN producer Sophia Saifi joins us now from Islamabad, Pakistan with more on this. Good to see you -- Sophia.

So what's expected to come out of this meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and, of course, the newly-elected Pakistan government?

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary -- like you said, the main issue that's facing this new government is the economic crisis that Pakistan is facing. So Pakistan's going to going -- it's planning to go to the International Monetary Fund to get another bailout. There has been reluctance from the United Nations in supporting Pakistan in this endeavor.

There have been some strong words exchanged even before Secretary of State Pompeo has landed in Pakistan due to a fallout between a readout of the conversation between Pompeo and Prime Minister Khan.

Now, with the economic crisis as being one of the topics, there is another situation which is something that the United States has consistently brought up with Pakistan even with the previous government. And that is Pakistan's involvement -- alleged involvement, according to the United States, in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a massive issue. The United States alleges that Pakistan is assisting the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban within Afghanistan. And it's called out Pakistan and the Pakistani military consistently for this assistance.

Now, it remains to be seen whether this is going to continue with the new government or not. The Secretary of State is not only meeting the newly elected government officials. He's also going to be meeting General Bajwa who has been the chief of army staff for quite some time now. And General Bajwa's doctrine as it's known here in Pakistan goes hand in hand with Pakistan's economy.

And that's something -- I mean, you know, Secretary of State Pompeo has met the General before. General Dunford who is going to be accompanying him has also met him before.

[01:39:55] So while we're expecting, you know, a newer kind of, you know, press statements coming out of the newer relationship and even the statements that have come out preceding Secretary of State Pompeo's arrival in Pakistan, there have been talks about a renewed relationship.

Prime Minister Khan made, you know, attempts to talk about renewing that relationship with the United States. There isn't much positive expectation of anything new coming out of these meetings -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: We know you'll keep a very close eye on this. Sophia Saifi joining us there, live from Islamabad in Pakistan. Many thanks.

Well, Tropical Storm Gordon makes landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast. We will have the latest on the dangerous and deadly storm. That's ahead.

And the Japanese mainland is battered by its strongest typhoon in 25 years -- the aftermath of typhoon Jebi just ahead.


CHURCH: Tropical storm Gordon has now made landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast west of the Alabama-Mississippi border. Residents in those states and Louisiana were cautioned about a wall of water that could inundate low-lying coastal areas.

One death is reported in Florida -- a tree fell on a mobile home killing a child. As rain and wind pushed ashore, boats in Biloxi and Gulf Port, Mississippi were ordered out of the water. Gordon is expected to lose steam as it moves inland but heavy rains remain a threat right now.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now from the International Weather Center with the very latest on this storm. Pedram -- how is it looking and how long before it dies down?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's going to happen very quickly. That's the good news here -- Rosemary. This was a storm we said if we wanted to see a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico, Gordon would be the one you'd want to see because it had very little as far as strengthening, at least time over open waters to strengthen. And once it made landfall as it did in the last couple of hours, you're going to begin to weaken rather rapidly.

But still hurricane watches in place across this region -- so certainly they're taking this very seriously across the area. A lot of people still being impacted by sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour, category 1 hurricane, by the way is 120 kilometers per hour. So, very negligible difference in the way that this would be categorized as a hurricane, so the impacts essentially remain identical to what would be a category 1 hurricane.

You notice winds still gusting across this region -- 30, 40, 50 kilometers per hour in some of the observation sites that we have but notice how quickly it moves out of here, literally by sunrise. We're seeing conditions across this region of the southern United States begin to improve.

[01:40:04] And even out there on the coastal communities there from areas around Mobile down towards Pensacola -- that's a tornado watch that's in place as oftentimes with tropical systems making landfall here, that friction of the system interacting with the land for the first time kind of spins up a few pockets of tornadoes. And that is why the tornado watch is in place across that region.

The bigger story with this system as it begins to rain itself out is rainfall and, of course, the flooding concern, but believe it or not, it is not just for the southern United States where it's making landfall.

In fact, it's what is left of the system and where it's headed across the Midwestern United States. It is really getting a lot of people concerned across that region and namely because it has rained a tremendous amount in the past week across the Midwestern United States, at least 100 to 150 millimeters.

And guess how much more this storm has here with this steering environment and such, kind of directs the system and what is left of it eventually directly towards that region of the Midwestern U.S.

So this is going to produce an additional 150 millimeters of rainfall here in the heart of the hurricane season -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Thank you so much, Pedram -- for keeping an eye on that. We'll check back in with you next hour.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, the cleanup is just beginning in Japan after an historic typhoon hit the mainland. Typhoon Jebi hammered the country Tuesday with drenching rain and ferocious winds that ripped the roofs off buildings and sent metal sheets flying. At least eight people have been killed, nearly 300 are injured.

CNN meteorologist Tom Sater has more now on the devastating storm.


TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST (voice over): A roof is ripped from a building in Japan, a turbulent calling card from then-typhoon Jebi -- the strongest storm to hit the mainland in 25 years.

Howling winds hailed its arrival which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. Before its landfall midday on Tuesday it had sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour. The powerful system overturned vehicles and left more than 1.5 million people without power.

The government issued evacuation advisories to more than a million people, many heeding the warnings and staying off the streets which were filled with pelting rain and flying debris.

The storm submerged Kansai International Airport, flooding runways and forcing hundreds of flights to be cancelled. Parking decks and other structures look like waterfalls because of the run-off waters. Nearby a 2,500-ton fuel tanker collided with a bridge after being swept up in the strong currents.

Jebi has dumped more than 50 centimeters of rain on parts of Japan with the capital Tokyo spared from the full force of the storm.

Tom Sater, CNN -- Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: A shocking find in Botswana -- the remains of 87 elephants killed and mutilated for their tusks. The tragedy has outraged people around the world including those whose life work is trying to ensure the creatures survive.

CNN's David McKenzie has more.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's a devastating blow for conservationists as elephants in Botswana face an imminent threat. And I must warn you, some of these images are disturbing.

(voice over): Shot by poachers, the tusks brutally hacked out for ivory -- it's an elephant slaughter on an epic scale. In an aerial survey scientists in northern Botswana counting 87 elephant carcasses so far. They're only halfway done. Four years ago, they counted less than ten.

Scientist Mike Chase calls the massacre shocking and unprecedented; Botswana -- long thought as a safe haven for the herds. In 2016, CNN reported on Chase's work leading the great elephant census, a continent-wide aerial count.

This study showed that in less than a decade elephants' numbers had plummeted by at least 30 percent across Africa mostly killed by poachers, driven by the insatiable demand for ivory in Asia.

MIKE CHASE, ELEPHANT ECOLOGIST: It's incredibly disheartening because I know that historically these ecosystems supported many thousands of elephants compared to the few hundreds or tens of elephants.

MCKENZIE: The global outcry over ivory helped to persuade China to ban all trade at the beginning of this year but it's not working.

Recently, CNN investigated the illegal trade in nearby Mozambique, finding poachers still active and syndicates operating unabated despite the ban.

We're looking for elephant number 30 -- I'm afraid she can't (INAUDIBLE) her last known track.

[01:49:57] MCKENZIE: Even with the help of GPS, we found just one herd in the expansive Mayasa (ph) Reserve that should hold tens of thousands.

CHASE: I got one. I got one.

MCKENZIE: The new killing fields in Botswana are even more disturbing as they are deep in conservation and popular tourist territory, usually a stronghold of the species.

(on camera): Earlier this year, the government of Botswana disarmed anti-poaching units in national parks. Scientists like Chase believe that could have opened the door for more poaching.

David Mckenzie, CNN -- Johannesburg.


CHURCH: Well, Botswana is calling the accusations of increased poaching unsubstantiated and sensational media reports. In a statement posted on Facebook the government of Botswana said that it wishes to inform members of the public and other key stakeholders that these statistics are false and misleading. At no point in the last months or recently were 87 or 90 elephants killed in one incident in any place in Botswana."

Now, the government suggests the number of elephants killed is actually in the 50s and it insists a majority of the animals were not poached but, rather, died from natural causes and retaliatory killings as a result of conflicts between humans and wildlife.

Time for a short break here.

When we come back, social media is on fire over Nike's new ads featuring Colin Kaepernick. What the NFL is now saying about the controversial quarterback.

And more than a decade after they were stolen, Dorothy's ruby red slippers from "The Wizard of Oz have been found. What a relief.

We're back with that in just a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, Amazon reached a milestone Tuesday, briefly becoming America's second trillion-dollar company. Apple was the first. At their peak Tuesday, Amazon shares traded just over $2,050 before dropping at the end of the session. The online retailed reached the trillion-dollar milestone after 21 years as a public company, while Apple took nearly 38 years to get there. Amazon's stock is up more than 74 percent this year to date.

The National Football League is standing up for Colin Kaepernick. It released a statement Tuesday saying the social justice issues Kaepernick and other athletes have raised deserve attention and action. Social media has not been as kind to the controversial quarterback since Nike announced he would be a part of its new ad campaign.

CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Nike shoes burning to cinders, Nike logos cut from clothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five pair of shoes and they're all going to let them burn.

FOREMAN: Nike trashed online and on TV.

KURT SCHLICHTER, TOWNHALL.COM: This is scummy. This is lousy. This is rotten. And I'm never buying another Nike product again. And I think millions of Americans are going to agree.

FOREMAN: The new campaign bears the tag line "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it." A salute to how former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick started NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest against what many call unfair, even brutal treatment of minorities by police.

COLIN KAEPERNICK, FORMER NFL PLAYER: There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust. People aren't being held accountable for. And that's something that needs to change.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I WATCHED Colin Kaepernick and I thought it was terrible.

[01:55:03] FOREMAN: But President Trump has repeatedly demanded stiff penalties for protesting players.

TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say, get that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the field right now? Out. He's fired. He's fired.

FOREMAN: And now other conservatives are piling on the Nike deal. "What Kaepernick represents is privilege combined with ingratitude."

"If Mr. Kaepernick wore socks mocking Muslims or gays would you hire him to endorse your products?" "Make sure you not only dump Nike's stock but any investment fund or mutual fund that holds Nike stock."

To be sure, Kaepernick has courted controversy, wearing a shirt featuring the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, sporting socks depicting police as pigs. No NFL team has hired him since shortly after he kicked off the protest in 2016 and he's suing the league alleging collusion against him.

But for all that, Nike, which supplies uniforms for the NFL, is not only pulling Kaepernick into their ads but also making a substantial donation to his "Know Your Rights" campaign. "We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward."

(on camera): If you're an idealist, you may think Nike is doing this because they support Kaepernick's cause. If you're a cynic, you may think Nike simply believes they have more customers on his side than opposed to him. Either way, this is a big risky play for one of the biggest sports brands on the planet.

Tom Foreman, CNN -- Washington.


CHURCH: There's no place like home for a pair of the most famous shoes in film. Dorothy's ruby red slippers worn by actress Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" have been recovered 13 years after they were stolen. They were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota when they were swiped in 2005. The FBI announced the find on Tuesday, saying the shoes were recovered in a sting operation, but the search continues to find whoever stole them.

And thank you so much for being with us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church.

I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. Don't go anywhere. You're watching CNN.


[02:00:06] Another explosive new book about the Trump White House. This time with on-the-record statements made to a legendary journalist.