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Trump Almost Sent Tweet That North Korea Would Have Seen As Warning Of Attack; The Red Sea's Resilient Coral Reefs; Centrist Coalitions In Dead Heat As For -Right Surges; Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma To Step Down. Aired 2-3a

Aired September 10, 2018 - 02:00   ET


[02:00:12] ROSEMARY CHURCH, NEWSROOM ANCHOR, CNN: Three hurricanes are brewing in the Atlantic ocean and Florence, the strongest at the moment by far is barreling straight towards the eastern U.S. coast. Plus, Les Moonves is out as the head of CBS after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment or assault. And top White House officials are slamming the now infamous anonymous op-ed as the Vice President offers to take a lie detector test over it.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in United States and of course, all around the world. I am Rosemary Church and this is CNN Newsroom. A dangerous hurricane is on a collision course with the south eastern U.S. Right now, Hurricane Florence is just days away from making landfall. On its current path, it's headed for North and South Carolina, and could hit as soon as Thursday.

Florence is gaining speed and strength over the Atlantic and it could become a brutal category four storm. So to keep an eye on all of this, we turn to our Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. And Pedram, the critical thing is who is going to be affected here and when, of course very unpredictable in a lot of instances.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: It is. Especially this many days out, four days out before landfall, but you know, with the models had been an incredible agreement here the last several hours at least, and where we think the storm could potentially end up. And as you mentioned, the Carolinas become the target. But notice 30 percent chance across the western Caribbean for a tropical system has formed 40 percent chance north of Florence.

And then beyond Florence, we have Isaac and also Helene fitting there back near just off the coast of Africa. So certainly an active pattern shaping up here on the 10th of September today being the historically speaking the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. So certainly, it is all coming in alignment here.

But category one, 90 miles per hour winds, we believe this system has everything it takes to go under rapid intensification. In fact, water temperatures in this region between 27 to 30 degrees Celsius, and as warm as 31 in some areas, which is roughly 86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. So very warm waters and in fact, even warming, notice the contours right there.

That's the area right there as we have go over warm waters. So certainly, it can intensify just before landfall. But we think category four possible there come sometimes Thursday afternoon. And any sort of system that would want to push this away from the United States, unfortunately, doesn't look to come together as high pressure parts off the northeast and could essentially guide this and give it very little room to escape out of its (Inaudible), which would be right around portions of a southern North Carolina.

And look at the agreement on the models here going into Thursday and potentially Friday with just about every single model pushing into southern reaches of North Carolina, potentially portions of northern South Carolina. And again, coming ashore as a category four would be the first time a storm greater than a category three has impacted the Carolinas since Hugo back in 89.

So certainly a long time since a system of this magnitude made landfall. And, Rosemary, notice what's concerning here. We have 8 p.m. guidance here for Thursday at 140 miles per hour, and then 8 p.m. on Friday, 65 miles per hour. That is about 24 hours near land after it makes landfall. That is a major, major concern with the system, where we think the high pressure that essentially guides it into the Carolinas stalls, causes the system to stall, and causes the terrain over this region potentially is much as 10, 15, or 20 inches in a few isolated spots.

And this would be life threatening flash flooding with the system that would be very slow to move after it makes on landfall on Thursday, Rosemary. So we're going to follow this.

CHURCH: Yeah. I appreciate that. Pedram, we'll check back in with you in the not too far distance from now. Thank you so much.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, people along the U.S. east coast are already preparing for Florence, stocking up on food, water, generators, and batteries. And South Carolina, the city of Charleston is reportedly offering free sandbags to residents. And three governors have declared states of emergency ahead of the storm, more now from CNN's Kaylee Hartung.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: (Inaudible) in Carolina beach can best be described as cautious optimism, people still hopeful that so many days away from landfall, the storm could take a turn and spare them here. We saw plenty of folks enjoying the beach and the great weather on Sunday. The folks saying they didn't come out to the beach before preparing. You see store shelves emptying water, bread, milk, batteries, the storm essentials.

One long-time resident of this area telling me he wakes up every day prepared for a storm because that's the risk that you run when you live in this part of the country. While the store shelves are emptying, you're not seeing anybody going so far as boarding up their windows. Yet, people are waiting for a little more information before they go to those lengths. [02:05:08] HARTUNG: In the case of North Carolina that, South

Carolina, and Virginia, though, getting a little bit farther ahead in their preparations, declaring states of emergency. Again, that's part of the preparation, making those declarations allows those states to organize their resources and allocate them to get ahead of this storm.


CHURCH: Another big story we're watching very closely. Anger is growing in Russia over plans to reform the pension system. Protests broke out across the country on Sunday. Demonstrators are furious about a proposed hike in the retirement age. A monitoring group says police cracked down, detaining more than 800 people. And these images appear to show a child and a pensioner being grabbed by police.

So CNN Contributor, Jill Dougherty, joins us now from Seattle, Washington. She's our former Moscow Bureau Chief. Good to see you, Jill. So President Putin is used to being adored by the Russian people. But even his supporters are angry with him over this pension issue. How bad could this get for him, do you think?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, (Inaudible) it is -- I think concerning for the Kremlin because you have now -- you pointed out, young people, old people, of course, and people who are caught in the middle who thought that they were going to be able to retire with some type of pension, and now might have to put it off. You have men going from 60 to 65 retirement age, and for women, it was going, it was going to go from 55 to 63, and then President Putin intervened, and it is going to be 60.

But I think it is significant, Rosemary, that he did publicly come out and try to soften it. Because after all, you know, this is something where he had to show that he's on the side of the average people, and especially women. And he did. That shows the concern. You know I don't think, though, that the Kremlin should be surprised. They obviously weren't. They knew this was coming.

There have been protests right from the beginning when they began this process of reform. Now reform is what they call it. Others, obviously the Kremlin groups (Inaudible) -- economic necessity for the country. And you cannot such low retirement rates or ages, but the people say this is my life. Now, you know, I am ready to retire and I can't.

And I think it is a personal thing that they feel that the government does have money. I think the image among many Russians is that Russia is not a poor country, but they wonder why this has to happen. So there's the combination of two conflicting feelings, pride of Russia, and anger that this is happening.

CHURCH: Yeah. And Jill, life expectancy is a big issue here, isn't it? So how likely is it, do you think, that President Putin will make another adjustment to the pension age toward appease his critics or will he perhaps dig his heels in?

DOUGHERTY: You know at this point, I think it's the latter. Because if you look at some of the video, pictures of those demonstrations, and how, you know, police really did crackdown. They're very serious about containing any type of protests. I think also they -- you know, they feel that they have to go through with in. One interesting point about all of this is that these demonstrations happened on Election Day.

It was the mayor of Moscow who did well and did well in being reelected, and throughout the country there were regional and, you know, local elections and how the party that -- basically the Kremlin for the united Russia does will be another indication. So (Inaudible) look at those pictures, obviously, people on the street, but there are (Inaudible) look at those -- and (Inaudible) how serious is it for the party (Inaudible).

CHURCH: Right. Jill Dougherty, we appreciate your analysis, coming to us live there from Seattle, Washington. Well, North Korea has a new message for a new era with less emphasis on its nuclear status and more on future prosperity. The North celebrated its 70th Anniversary with a massive military parade Sunday. Noticeably absent, though, long-range missiles in a nod to the ongoing nuclear talks with the United States.

The message was received. The U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted thank you to Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong. There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other, much better than before I took office. Our Will Ripley has that report.


[02:10:09] WILL RIPLEY, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The stands of Pyongyang's Mayday Stadium transformed. Tens of thousands of North Koreans like human pixels flipping colorful cards, revealing the new agenda of their supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un. This super-sized socialist propaganda blitz does more than dazzle. It reveals the new message North Korea wants to send to the world. The last time they did these five years ago, the focus was nuclear power.

Now, it's economic power and diplomacy with a history-making nod to South Korean President Moon Jae-In due to visit Pyongyang for a summit with Kim Jong-Un next week. They call these the (Inaudible) games. This is actually my first time seeing it in person, and I have never seen anything like it. It's mind blowing. Sort of like the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. They even have a huge torch, but it is all about North Korean history and their economy.

They say around 100,000 people are participating, mostly students. Earlier Sunday, a military parade through Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung Square. It featured thousands of goose-stepping soldiers. But unlike past parades, when the nuclear program was featured prominently, this time they didn't have a single intercontinental ballistic missile on display. Just because North Korea is not parading nuclear weapons, doesn't mean it's getting rid of them.

Denuclearization talks with the U.S. have hit an impasse. The main sticking point, North Korea wants a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, a war featured prominently in this parade, celebrating North Korea's 70th founding anniversary. Do you think that North Korea should give up nuclear weapons?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never ever. We built this powerful nation on the basis of our military strength. If we give up our nuclear weapons, we can't guarantee the existence of this nation.

RIPLEY: Pyongyang's display of military hardware comes just days after Kim reportedly sent a letter to Trump. Have your feelings about America and President Trump changed at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't worry much about President Trump or U.S. policy. We care about the policies of Marshal Kim Jong-Un with working to improve our economy.

RIPLEY: It shows that whether the focus is on the nuclear program or on the economy, there is still one thing that matters the most to the people in this country. And that is showing their admiration for their leader, Kim Jong-Un. This may be the new image of North Korea, but here, some things never change. Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang.


CHURCH: And CNN's Paula Hancocks is following the story from Seoul. She joins us now live. It's always good to see you, Paula. So of course, it is worth noting that you covered the 2013 mass games in North Korea. How different does it look five years later?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, it looks incredibly different. I mean the message couldn't be more different. Back in 2013, it was at a time when the anti-American rhetoric was extremely high. And also there was a lot of military and missile messages within the parade itself and within the mass games as well. So certainly, this really is very different. Although I should add, though, five years ago in the mass games was last held, that was for the 65th anniversary of victory day, which is what North Korea calls the end of the Korean War.

They tell their people that they won that Korean War against the Americans. Though what we're seeing here it is more about the economy. The anti-American message that was prevalent five years ago doesn't seem to be at this point. We're seeing this is not just a message for the international community, for the U.S., for South Korea, this is also a message for the North Korean people.

But the focus now will be more on the economy. And certainly, that's going to be a welcome message for them. One thing that really struck me was the fact that they played some of the footage from the meeting between Kim Jong-Un and President Moon Jae-In of South Korea back in April as they met at the DMZ. Now according to our team on the ground in Pyongyang, there was rousing applause from the North Koreans and the audience when that was played.

So just more than a week away from those two leaders meeting once again, that really has a very clear message we're hearing from the South Korean unification ministry that they were welcoming that message from the mass games, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So Paula, what does the absence of long-range missiles at this 70th anniversary celebration signal, do you think, and how might the people of North Korea adjust to this new focus on the economy?

HANCOCKS: Well, certainly this is what the North Korean leadership has been saying since the new years address in January, that there was going to be this focus on the outreach, the diplomacy, and also on the economy. In fact, a number of years ago, Kim Jong-Un said that he wanted to focus on the economy. He had this (Inaudible) policy, which was the dual track nuclear and economy.

[02:15:11] Now he has made it clear that he believes he has got to where he needs to be with the nuclear and missile program, whether or not that is the case is a matter of discussion. But the fact is he believes that he is at the point now where he can focus on the economy. And certainly, I think the people of North Korea, given the constraints that they lived through would certainly be hoping this is going to be the case.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Seoul in South Korea, where it is 3:15 in the afternoon. We'll take a short break here. But still to come, a U.S. media titan steps down amid new allegations of sexual misconduct. We'll have that story for you after the break. And Serena Williams' fans are applauding her grace under pressure after a chaotic U.S. Open title match and a stand against what she and others see as sexism. We're back in just a moment.


[02:19:59] CHURCH: The chief executive of U.S. multimedia giant CBS has resigned. Les Moonves is facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, which he denies. Our CNN's Brian Stelter reports, Moonves' departure is one of the most significant moments yet for the Me Too movement.


BRIAN STELTER, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Of all of the Me Too cases in the past year, there has not been one like this. Les Moonves is the first fortune 500 CEO to leave his post amid harassment allegations in this year of Me Too. It's a remarkable turn of events, given that six weeks ago, when the first harassment allegations against him came out, he vowed to fight on. Back then in late July, when (Inaudible) reporting came out, the CBS board basically stood by Moonves.

He wasn't suspended. He was not forced to step down. Instead, two law firms were hired to investigate the allegations. And all this was going on amid a corporate tug of war between Moonves and the controlling share holder of CBS Shari Redstone. So now fast forward six weeks, Farrow heard from more women, more accusers, who were concerned that CBS was not taking action, was not holding Moonves accountable.

Farrow published a new story on Sunday morning on the New Yorker website. Just within a few hours, Moonves was out. Now, the caveat here -- the complication is that the negotiations for him to leave were already underway at that point. But it seems clear that the new harassment allegations, which also included allegations of assault, which were even more disturbing that the first set of allegations, all of that a major factor in this Sunday night announcement.

Moonves is one of the most powerful men in TV, one of the highest big executives in the media business. So this is leaving a lot of aftershocks. There are going to be developments for days to come, including about how much Moonves is going to be paid on the way out the door. Normally, he would have been paid $100 million if he was just been forced out one day.

But because of these allegations against him, it is going to be a much more complicated and legal conversation. Now, Moonves has admitted to some mistakes in his past, but he denies ever abusing his power, and he denies what he calls the appalling accusations of assault, of forcible sex, that were detailed in the New Yorker story earlier on Sunday. All of this of course, is happening at a time of dramatic change in the broadcast business. And now CBS moves into a new era without Moonves in charge of the company. Much more to come on this, but it is a climatic moment in the Me Too movement. Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Serena Williams is fighting back against what she says is sexism and double standards in the tennis world. The U.S. Open Saturday fined the tennis star $17,000 dollars for 3 code violations. Williams sparred with the umpire during the contentious women's singles final on Saturday. During the match, the umpire issued warnings and docked points against Williams for receiving coaching, smashing her racquet, and calling him a thief.

Williams noted accurately men do and say far worse on the court without punishment. Fans say they're impressed by how -- by the way that Williams handled the situation. And that it was fueled by more than just sexism.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is so hard to stand there and speak your truth in a moment where you also have to show humility and class and grace, right? It is a challenge. And she walked that line perfectly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel what happened to her was sexist?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, absolutely. She's an athlete.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would venture to say that there is a racial divide that (Inaudible) shows itself. As corporate woman, I experience it the workplace. To me, Serena was just at work today.

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had an experience that happened, whether you're in the political space, whether you're in the entrepreneurial space, whether you're in the corporate space, it happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're proud of the way that Serena handled it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Incredibly. I learned a lesson today. I was not handling like that way in the stands.


CHURCH: Williams lost the U.S. Open title match to Japan's Naomi Osaka. For Osaka, the victory against her life long hero was bittersweet. But there's no such hang-up in Japan, where people are raving about their hometown hero. CNN's Coy Wire reports from Tokyo.


COY WIRE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: YEAH. A lot of the world is focused on the controversy surrounding Serena Williams' loss at the U.S. Open. But here in Japan, there is a lot of focus on the positive, the historic victory of Naomi Osaka. She's just 20 years old. She grew up in the U.S. But she was born here in Japan. She has dual citizenship. She is now the first Japanese player ever, man or woman to wind a grand slam.

That was big news here across the country. Listen to this. The match was on so early here that most of the newspapers have already gone to print, but one of the major news papers printed an extra edition so they could share the news with people in the street. There's a lot of excitement among the people here in Japan. Listen.

[02:25:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is cool that a Japanese player has done this. For sure, (Inaudible) I play tennis, and think she is an awesome player.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a remarkable feat that she could defeat Serena like that. I think she makes Japan and Hokkaido proud. She is the best.

WIRE: Someone in twitter calling the young Japanese tennis player Japan's new tennis hero. Even the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, weighed in, tweeting congratulations to Naomi Osaka for your victory in the U.S. Open, the first ever Japanese winner of a grand slam. Thank you for your energy and excitement during this difficult time for Japan.

Now this was some much needed uplifting news for a nation that's been reeling in the past week or so, a violent typhoon (Inaudible) causing destruction, and then a devastating earthquake in Hokkaido, where people are still missing. Dozens of deaths that Northern Ireland is (Inaudible) Naomi Osaka's mother was born. Her grandparents still live there. And her grandfather actually said that he hopes her victory will be encouragement for those whose lives were impacted.

Now, Osaka's success is earning her popularity and respect here in Japan. But so is her demeanor, respectful, kind, bubbly, humble. She loves Japanese manga and movies. She continues to study the language. She embraces her Japanese heritage, the culture, the people, and they are embracing her back. It was a powerful moment, Kristy, on the awards ceremony stage when Naomi said that it was always her dream to play Serena Williams in the U.S. Open finals.

She turned to her with tears in her eyes and bowed and said thank you. That was Japan. That was the respect and honor of Japanese people on full display on the world's sporting stage, more to come from this young female.


CHURCH: All right. Thanks for that. We'll take a short break here. Still to come, President Trump wants a name, the latest on the White House efforts to find out who wrote a blistering editorial about the administration. We're back in just a moment.


[02:30:35] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. This is CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main story we're following this hour. People along the U.S. East Coast are stocking up on emergency supplies ahead of Hurricane Florence. The storm is expected to grow to a powerful Category 4 before it makes landfall. If it stays on its current track, that would be Thursday or Friday.

More than 800 people were detained in Russian Sunday amidst nationwide protests against pension reform. That's according to a monitoring group. Images appear to show a child and a pensioner being grabbed by police. Many Russians even backers of President Vladimir Putin are upset about plans to raise the retirement age. A police shooting in the U.S. is renewing the conversation about the use of deadly force against African-Americans.

The police officer on the left has been arrested and charged in Dallas. She was off-duty when she allegedly shot and killed this man, Botham Jean, who was her neighbor. Authorities say the officer maintains she entered the victim's apartment in a mistaken belief it was her own and shot him because she thought he was an intruder. Well, the White House is still reeling from the anonymous op-ed that described an administration in chaos and a resistance to President Trump's actions.

Top officials have denied writing it and some are calling for the author's resignation and possible prosecution. Ryan Nobles reports on the hunt for who's responsible.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's been (INAUDIBLE) quiet weekend here at the White House. But there's no doubt that the president and his staff are so furiously trying to determine who is the author of this op-ed that was in the New York Times that claim that there was person working within the administration that was part of the resistance. The president himself has said to be obsessed with this search. And in addition to rooting out who exactly maybe behind the op-ed,

they're also working to destroy that person's credibility before their identity is ever even revealed. Both Vice President Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor going on the Sunday morning talk shows claiming that this person is essentially a traitor, someone that is working to destroy this administration from within. Kellyanne Conway taking even a step further suggesting that the media maybe partially to blame. Listen to what she told Jake Tapper.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: What does concerns me though, Jake, apart from everything the president and others have said is that for a media that is constantly talking about facts, accuracy, transparency, authority, the authoritativeness to this anonymous writer was imbued automatically because of the content. As long as the message is anti-Trump, it seems the messenger has credibility. That should concern everyone.

I'm with the vice president on this. He has said that the person should resign if it is the person truly is an appointee who has taken an oath to the constitution.


NOBLES: An d of course the big question going into this week is just what lengths will the White House go to attempt to try and figure out who this person is? The vice president suggesting over the weekend that perhaps this person is guilty of some sort of a crime, so does that mean that the Department of Justice get involved? The president has suggested that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should look into this. So far, the Department of Justice has said that it won't comment on this situation. Ryan Nobles, CNN at the White house.

CHURCH: And for more on this, let's go to Scott Lucas in England. He's a professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham. Always good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So this New York Times op-ed has thrown the White House into chaos as the president and his team desperately tried to hunt down the author. Let's just listen to how far might they be willing to go. Here's Vice President Mike Pence on Fox News.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should all top officials take a lie detector test and would you agree to take one?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would agree to take in a heartbeat and would submit to any review at the administration --

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The administration should do that?

PENCE: Well, look, that would be a decision for the president.


CHURCH: That would be a decision for the president according to Pence. Do you think he would go that far, the president? And if he does, what would that signal?

[02:35:00] LUCAS: Well, personally, I think we should just have a new series of The Apprentice where we could play all this out in front of Donald Trump and then he could wipe the finger and say, you're fired, Mr. Anonymous. Being serious about this, no. I mean what the administration is doing this weekend is trying to portray that this is just one bad apple who is too cowardly to reveal him or herself and that of course tries to push away two important points.

The first is that the reason why this senior administration official has not come forward as is made clear in the editorial is that he or she believes that if he leaves then there's no firewall against Donald Trump and his unpredictability. And secondly, probably more important like the writer says, it's not just me. There are dozens of us in multiple agencies who are working to contain this president possibly even block his policies because we believe in the policies the administration, but we don't think this man is capable of leading us.

CHURCH: And I mean that's the thing. It's not just one person. Here, it was clear from the op-ed, this is more than one. And this is what senior Trump aid Kellyanne Conway had to say about that op-ed.


CONWAY: What really was the motivation too? If the motivation is what they state it is in that ridiculous op-ed, they failed miserably. They missed the mark completely. I think that motivation was to so discord and create chaos, and I refuse to be a part of that.


CHURCH: Let's go to Lucas, what was the likely motivation behind the writing of this op-ed? Is Conway right about it being and able to create chaos or was this an effort on the part of the author to assure voters that there is a resistance inside the Trump administration trying to keep the president on track? And if that is the case, what purpose does it serve to reveal that to everyone?

LUCAS: Well, first of all, to the rich of Ms. Conway to try to attack this on the basis of an unnamed official who is telling falsehoods when her own commander-in-chief on the record has issued almost 5000 statements in 18 months that were quite dubious and it's quite often used anonymous sources to back up his own versions and putting that to the side. I think the writer again is appealing not to just the officials within the administration, look, we have to stand together.

But the appeal is to Republicans and especially Republicans on Capitol Hill in Congress and that is to say, look, we need you to step forward and to be alongside us in terms of a sensible foreign policy. For example, a sensible policy towards Russia, towards North Korea, towards our allies, and a sensible approach to economics, and to political language. In other words, the Republicans on Capitol Hill according to this writer have spent too long being co-dependent on Donald Trump.

So even before the elections, the call is, look, this isn't just a question about winning in November. This is a question of about Republican or conservative values, and whether they can survive this man. Rightly or wrongly, you may disagree with that message. But I do think that that is fairly straightforward political strategy and done very effectively through this base.

CHURCH: So who do you think wrote the op-ed? Some Trump supporters are even going as far as dropping little hints as to who they think wrote this? What's your sense?

LUCAS: If I knew that, Rosemary, I'd be writing a book and finding an agent right now. But my --


CHURCH: From reading it and from what you know about the major players here, what's your sense?

LUCAS: Yes. My best bet is, Rosemary, that given that this person has referred to a series of national security and foreign policy issues, for example, Donald Trump's affinity for Vladimir Putin for the concern especially about American relations with allies, this is a person within the U.S. national security establishment either inside or connected we'll say the State Department or National Security Council.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, the op-ed came a day after parts of Bob Woodward's book, Fear, were made public. This is what the author had to say on CBS Sunday morning. Let's just roll that.


BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: You look at the operation of this White House and you have to say, let's hope to God we don't have a crisis. People that work for him are worried that he will sign things or give orders that threaten the national security or the financial security of the country or the world.


CHURCH: Scott, how big a concern is that? And could enemies take advantage of the current chaos within the Trump administration?

LUCAS: First of all, it's a huge concern. There's a specific incident in the book which is that this president who now says Kim Jong-un is his best friend in North Korea only last year was prepared to tweet that all American should leave the Korean Peninsula which would have been a sable that war is on the way and the military had stop -- stepped in and prevent that from happening.

[02:40:05] He has been a president again who has been willing to trash NATO, who has been willing to threaten to withdraw from that organization, threaten to withdraw from the World Trade Organization. And he'll do it just in the space of 140 characters on Twitter. Of course others exploit that. The Russians have exploited that. The North Koreans have exploited that. The Chinese exploit it. The Saudis have exploited it. And how do you do that? You play the Donald Trump's ego.

You let him vent and anger his frustration and he gets the fake news media against crooked Hillary and then you say, we like you, Mr. President. And that plan large means that you can appeal to that sense of narcissism and get what you want whether you're Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, or say the Saudi monarchy.

CHURCH: Scott Lucas, thank you so much for your perspective and your analysis. We always appreciate it.

LUCAS: Thank you.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. But still to come, a coral reef that's defying the effects of climate change. We are diving under water to be answer to a remarkable story of survival. That is next. Back in a moment.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, rising ocean water temperatures are endangering coral reefs around the world. The Red Sea which contains the planet's northern most coral reef maybe the only exception. So how are they proving to be so resilient to the effects of climate change? CNN's Oren Liebermann dove underwater for some answers.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the shallow waters of the Red Sea, this coral reef defies expectations. Some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, coral reefs are in peril.

[02:44:51] AMATZIA GENIN, MARINE ECOLOGIST, INTERUNIVERSITY INSTITUTE: Reefs are deteriorating all over the world. They're going down in cover. They die. There is a catastrophe for coral reefs in the world. Everywhere, they bleach, except here.

LIEBERMANN: Bleaching leaves the reefs extremely vulnerable, overcome by water perhaps too warm for coral to survive. The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia seen here has experienced mass bleaching.

GENIN: The Gulf of Eilat and the Gulf of Aqaba has never been exposed to bleaching. There is no bleaching here, although the water is warming up.

LIEBERMANN: I had the privilege of diving along these corals to see a marine world thriving, it's Majesty on full display. Researchers say thousands of years ago, the ancestors of the corals growing here had to come through the southern Red Sea, where the waters are far warmer.

Through natural selection, the corals that survived the journey were accustomed to warm, salty, water. In the relatively cooler waters, the Gulf of Aqaba with corals blossom. The water here is heating up just like the rest of the world, a consequence of climate change. But it hasn't affected the corals, and researchers say it won't for another 100 years.

So you have here both the current condition of the Red Sea, and then, what it might look like in 10 years, 20 years, and beyond.

MAOZ FINE, RESEARCHER, INTERUNIVERSITY INSTITUTE: Exactly. So, this is what we are trying to understand. How the beautiful reefs that we see right now are likely to change if at all under future conditions in the Red Sea. And from worldwide reefs, we know that the situation right now is not that good.

However, in the Red Sea it's still looking pretty good for reefs of the -- of the area. This may very well be the last reef refuge in terms of the present conditions.

This Red Sea simulator tests different temperature and acidity levels in the water. The corals are brought to the tanks and placed under varying conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so, this is a many, many individual animals living together as one. So, each individual here on the screen is one animal, one mouth of the animal.

LIEBERMANN: Then, they're examined under a microscope to see how they react. The lessons help scientists and governments protect the reef that cannot defend itself. Development, pollution, and more monitored and controlled with the reef's survival in mind.

Hear in Eilat, we're standing within a few miles of four different countries. We're standing in Israel. That's Egypt behind me, Jordan in front of me. And you can see Saudi Arabia across the sea here.

But the reef doesn't recognize international borders. Its future, its survival, depends upon international cooperation to protect the corals.

Below sea level, politics rarely gets in the way of cooperation between neighboring countries. The reef may be growing, but it's still fragile. Part of a much larger ecosystem near the booming resort towns of the Gulf of Aqaba.

DROR ZUREL, RESEARCH COORDINATOR, ISRAELI MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: It's an ecosystem that grew as a reef next to a complete desert. Basically, there's not supposed to be artificial life, there's not supposed to be a lot of development. And we are allowing the development of Eilat, but it has to be very slow.

LIEBERMANN: Eilat's reef is only four kilometers long, a tiny fraction of the 2,000 kilometers of reef along the Red Sea. Perhaps, because it's so small, Israel treats it as a national treasure, one that's far too valuable to let go. Oren Liebermann, CNN, Eilat.


CHURCH: Incredible there. We're going to take a very short break, but we'll be back in just a moment.


[02:50:45] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, here for CNN "WEATHER WATCH". Watching what's happening across the eastern United States. Wet weather kind of starts the weekend, looks very likely to end the week, as well.

Across much of the eastern United States here as a frontal boundary locked in place, we'll bring in some showers across almost definitely populated corner of the U.S. So, if your flights do take you across say, New York.

And to Boston, there could see a few disruptions there as it relates to some gusty winds and storms slated into the afternoon hours. 20 degrees in New York City will go with wet weather. Montreal, a couple degrees cooler at 18. Chicago, finally beginning to feel maybe a hint of autumn come back. Maybe even come back to stay across some of these regions about 23 degrees there.

How about what's going on down towards the Western Caribbean? Not far from the Cayman Islands, 30 percent chance of formation. Pretty wet weather across this region but we expect the system to push off to the north and west. Eventually, end up in the Gulf of Mexico and if it does, it looks to be predominantly a rainmaker for northern areas of Mexico, and also Southern Texas.

But beyond that, pick your choice, we've got a trio of a Category 1 hurricane sitting out there from Florence to Isaac to Helene and a 40 percent chance of formation the most notable on at least at this hour has to be what is happening with Hurricane Florence because we expect rapid intensification and an environment that is very, very conducive for that to occur.

And unfortunately, a potential major hurricane landfall on the Eastern United States. So, we'll follow that. Also following Olivia as it approaches towards the Hawaiian Islands.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Sweden is one of Europe's most liberal countries. A welfare state with a welcoming policy for Refugees. But now, a far-right party with neo-Nazi roots has made major gains in Sweden's general election. The two main centrist coalitions are separated by less than half a percentage point. And the anti-migrant Sweden Democrats are hoping to play a decisive role in upcoming negotiations to former government. Our senior international correspondent Atika Shubert, reports now from Stockholm. ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the preliminary count is finally and we're at the watch party of the Social Democrats. This is the party that has dominated Swedish politics for decades. They managed to stay on top but still had the worst result they've had in nearly a century.

Here's how Prime Minister and party leader Stefan Lofven, explained it.


STEFAN LOFVEN, PRIME MINISTER OF SWEDEN (through translator): We wanted to see a better result. There's no doubt about that. But despite this, the voters have made the Social Democrats the biggest party.

SHUBERT: Now the insurgent far-right Party, the Sweden Democrats came in third. They weren't quite able to oust the center-right Moderates as the largest opposition party. But it is certainly enough as the Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson told supporters it is enough to drive their no more immigrant's agenda.

JIMMIE AKESSON, LEADER OF THE SWEDEN DEMOCRATS (through translator): We have nothing more to give but Sweden friends we are not satisfied. We are not satisfied. We see that we are these elections winner but now we enter a new mandate period. And now we are going to get influence over Swedish politics for real.

SHUBERT: Now, the Sweden Democrats campaigned hard on anti-immigrant issues. Rising crime rates in immigrant neighborhoods and an overburdened welfare system. That's how the Sweden Democrats painted it. That they weren't able to score a number of votes. However, the majority of voters still voted against Sweden Democrats, anti- immigration policy.

It did, however, polarize the country. Neither the left nor the right were able to form any sort of majority bloc in parliament and that leaves voters wondering where the country is headed to next. Atika Shubert, CNN, Stockholm.


[02:54:56] CHURCH: The co-founder and executive chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, is stepping down. The company says, Jack Ma will depart one year from now and be replaced by current CEO Daniel Zhang. Ma plans to stay on Alibaba's board of directors until its annual shareholders meeting in 2020.

Jack Ma is a true rags to riches story, born into a poor family. He grew Alibaba from a web page run out of his apartment to a $420 billion company. Ma, himself is worth about 40 billion. One of the richest men in China.

The Arizona Cardinals NFL team honored the late Senator John McCain, Sunday. The Arizona Senator's wife, Cindy, was made the honorary captain of the team for its game against the Washington Redskins. Mrs. McCain's duties included participating in the coin toss to start the game. Afterward, she tweeted her thanks to the team writing, "Support for our family has been overwhelming. We're going to keep fighting for the America, John believed in.

And thank you so much for joining us, I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Do stay with us.