tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 14, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
sides for the violence surrounding a white supremacist rant. new details of a very heated exchange between president trump and jeff sessions, an encounter that reportedly left the attorney general of the united states shaken. did the president humiliate sessions and demand his resignation? done deal? is president trump being bipartisan or an opportunist? and ash and darkness. north korea vows retaliation for new sanctions threatening to strike the u.s. with apocalyptic force and to sink japanese islands with a nuclear bomb. will the kim jong-un regime back up its talk with another nuclear test or missile launch? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer.
you're in "the situation room." breaking news tonight, president trump is repeating remarks that drew sharp bipartisan rebuke and sent the white house into crisis mode. on the flight home, president trump spoke to reporters and was asked about his meeting with the lone african-american republican senator and repeated that white supremacist and the people protesting them were responsible for the deadly violence that erupted in charlottesville last month. also breaking, new details of a very contentious meeting between the president and attorney general jeff sessions after robert mueller was appointed special counsel. "the new york times" is reporting that mr. trump humiliated sessions and called him an idiot and disloyal for recusing himself from the russia probe. the report says the president
told sessions he should step down but later rejected his resignation. some conservatives, meanwhile, are upset tonight over the president's overture to democratic leaders seeking a deal on daca. the program that protects hundreds of thousands of child immigrants from deportation. mr. trump says he's not worried about the republican reaction and says many in the gop actually like the idea. congressional republican leaders say there's no agreement yet, only a discussion. and tonight, cnn has learned that the kremlin's propaganda machine may still be up and running on facebook, spreading the same kind of false stories it used to meddle in the u.s. election. we're covering all of that and much more at this hour with our guests, including congressman mike wigley of illinois and congressman ted yoho of florida,
a member of the foreign affairs committee. our correspondent and specialists are also standing by. let's begin with the president's controversial new remarks about the violence in charlottesville. our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny is joining us. jeff, the president is back to comparing the neo-nazis and white supremacists. >> reporter: we thought we moved beyond the controversial comments in charlottesville that drew a wide rebuke from business leaders and the military and the president's own inner circle. as the president flew back here to washington from a visit in florida, he reopened those comments by again saying both sides were to blame for the deadly attack. president trump is reviving one of his most controversial moments tonight, repeating his claim that both sides are to blame for the deadly attack last month in charlottesville. flying back to washington from florida, the president speaking to reporters aboard air force
one about his meeting on wednesday with south carolina senator tim scott. the only black republican in the senate. >> we had a great talk yesterday. i think especially in light of the advent of antifa, i think you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side, also, and essentially that's what i said. >> reporter: and then the president doubled down on a remark that was widely rebuked last month. >> and now because of what has happened since then with anti-fa, you look a the what has happened since charlottesville and a lot of people are saying -- in fact, a lot of people have written, gee, trump might have a point. i said, you've got some very bad people on the other side, also, which is true. >> reporter: this brought to mind this comment from trump tower when he was sharply criticized by business leaders, business executives and members of his own white house team. >> i think there's blame on both sides. you had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also
very violent. >> reporter: on capitol hill, senator scott responded, that's who he is. it's who he has been. and i didn't go in there to change who he was. i wanted to inform and educate a different perspective. i think we accomplished that and to assume that immediately there after he's going to have an epiphany is just unrealistic. all of this as the president sparked new outrage from conservatives after eyeing a deal with democrats to allow dreamers to stay in the u.s. the president defended the move earlier today in florida while inspecting hurricane irma's devastation. >> we're not looking at citizenship. we're not looking at amnesty. we're looking at allowing people to stay here. we're working with everybody, republican, we're working with democrat. i just spoke with paul ryan. he's on board. everybody's on board. >> reporter: not everybody. back at the capitol, this is how speaker ryan described it. >> first off, there is no
agreement. the president and chief of staff called me from air force one today to discuss what was discussed and it was a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation. you cannot fix daca without fixing the route cause of our problem. >> reporter: for the second time in a week, the president reaching out to democrats leaving republicans trying to catch up. the president hosted a dinner for chuck schumer and nancy pelosi last night. >> we're working on a plan for daca. people want to see that happen. you have 800,000 young people brought here, no fault of their own. so we're working ohhenn a plan we'll see how it works out but we're going to get massive border security as part of that. >> reporter: and there was concern among conservatives. >> we have to have the wall. if we don't have the wall, we're doing nothing. >> reporter: this placed him at odds with attorney general jeff sessions who suggested it's a form of amnesty. it's the latest rift with
sessions who "the new york times" was bluntly accused by trump of being disloyal after recusing himself from the russia investigation. sessions described as being dressed down in office in the most humiliating experience in public life. that story went on to describe the president saying that his decision to appoint jeff sessions attorney general was one of the worst decisions he made and called him an idiot as other people were in the room. this rift has healed over the last month or so but it's been reopened once again over this dreamer situation. it was only two weeks ago that jeff sessions stood up and represented the view of the government here saying that the dreamers had to go. now the president, of course, close to reaching a deal with democrats, saying he believes they take priority over his other immigration promises. wolf, just one more example of a very busy day here at the white house. the president doing at least five separate appearances and answering questions above on all
topics trying to flood the zone and take away the attraction from conservatives who are furious about his decision to reach an agreement with the democrats. >> jeff zeleny at the white house, thank you. the president reig noitnite charlottesville controversy on his way home from florida after seeing the destruction for the first time firsthand. the president stepped on what the white house had hoped would be today's headline. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. with the president's comments on charlottesville and daca, it's hard to remember that the president was supposed to really focus his day on easing the concerning of storm victims here in florida after hurricane irma. he tried to do that earlier today during a 30-minute visit to this community in naples, florida. these are some of the homes that were ripped apart in this
community down here. the president was handing out food and pledging to the residents that he's not going to forget them in the months ahead. here's what he said. >> we love the people of florida and they went through something that i guess the likes of nobody has ever seen before. it came in really at a 5. all you have to do is look at what happened in the keys. but we love these people and we're going to be back and we're going to help and the job that everybody has done in terms of first responders and everybody has been incredible. >> reporter: and despite seeing that devastation firsthand down here in florida, the president told reporters on air force one in that news-filled gaggle earlier today that he's not changed his view on climate change and the connection to stronger, more powerful storms. here's what he had to say about that. >> well, we've had bigger storms than this. if you go back into the 1930s and 1940s and you take a look, we've had storms over the years that have been bigger than this. if you go back into the teens,
you'll see storms that were as big or bigger. so we did have two horrific storms, epic storms. but if you go back into the '30s and '40 and into the teens, you'll see storms that were very similar and even bigger. >> and so you heard the president ee kwif voe indicating on climate change and heard earlier today when he was talking to the residents here, that they've never seen a storm the likes of which irma brought to the shores of florida earlier this week and then later in the day, wolf, telling reporters on air force one that there were bigger, more powerful storms back in the '30s and '40s and the teens as you heard him say that there. scientists have established that not only is climate change happening but they are very concerned that climate change is fueling more powerful hurricanes like the ones we saw from harvey and irma and that governments around the world have to do something about it. of course, we know the president
was advised by his own family, his daughter ivanka, not to get out of the paris climate agreement earlier this year. he did that. the president re-empathizing he's not changed his view on climate change. he remains skeptic on climate change. >> jim acosta, thank you. republican congressman ted yoho, thank you for joining us. let me get right to your district in northern florida around jacksonville. how is your district recovering? >> we've toured the district all day today. it's recovering. there's a stellar effort by everybody on the ground and i'm happy to report that all six of the counties in north-central florida got individual assistance where people can qualify for $33,000 of assistance, public assistance and hazard assistance. in gainesville, my hometown was
out of fuel. 13% of the gas stations had fuel. the others didn't. our team went to work, worked with fema and the government and they got these tankers in yesterday. so the fuel shortage has been alleviated. we have 21,000 mres coming in later on today and 10,000 gallons of water. power is being put up. the fema money is here to pick up trash and debris. we're happy with the progression and i think the greatest thing i saw, wolf, was people coming together as americans, as we always do in tough times like this to make a tough situation better. >> it's an awful situation. do you worry that nursing homes in your district might be vulnerable to the horrific situation we saw unfold in hollywood, florida, yesterday, eight people dying after their air conditioning units went out.
others are in critical condition. about 150 elderly had to be evacuated. could that happen elsewhere in jacksonville, in your district, for example? >> i don't represent jacksonville but i'm right there at the southern border of that. that can happen anywhere and that's the thing that we all have to work to prevent and by bringing everybody together, everybody on the same page, we can prevent that. what happened in hollywood was a very tragic situation and we hope that's not repeated and our hearts and prayers go out to those people and those families. a very tragic thing. and, you know, let's not repeat that. >> let's learn the lessons for that and make sure it doesn't happen again. >> sure. >> let me quickly turn, congressman, to some other news. the president, as you know, dined last night with democratic leaders at the white house and they may have come up with a legislative deal on immigration that would allow the 800,000 or so dreamers in the united states to stay while adding money for
tougher border enforcement without money for a new wall along the border with mexico. were you surprised to see those reports today? >> well, i heard it as a report but i don't think any deal's been cut. i think there was talks. you can't fix a problem if we don't talk about it but i can tell you one thing, border security has to happen. enforcement of laws has to happen before you'll see this go anywhere. but to talk about it and bring it out on the table is a winner for all of america. it's how we put the pieces together to make sure this happens. you know, face it, we've had a broken immigration as you and i have talked about in the past. a broken immigration system for over 35 years that has led us here. there's not going to be a quick fix. not everybody is going to be happy but we have to do some things that are necessary. border security, enforcement of the laws, the illegal daca program with the past
administration needs to go away and then let's deal with the situation here. there's been good legislation proposed for a great guest worker program and other things on the table. we're introducing things to help work through this and i truly believe we can get this done. >> do you agree with the president what he tweeted this morning, does anybody want to throw out good, educated, accomplished people who have jobs, some serving in the military. really? he's strongly defending allowing keeping the 800,000 dreamers to stay in the united states. are you with the president on that? >> well, again, i mean, this is a symptom of a failed system. we've got to be able to work through this. how we do that is the things that will be at the negotiating table. we have some proposals on that. the important thing is we don't want to add to this. that's why the daca program goes away and the border security and enforcement of the laws and i'm sure we can come to terms on this but blanket amnesty as we did or president reagan did in
1986 with approximately 4 million people, they failed to follow through with the enforcement of the border and -- >> congressman, he then tweeted, they, referring to these 800,000 dreamers, they've been in our country for many years through no fault of their own, brought in by parents at young age, plus, big border security. so he wants border security but also clearly wants these 800,000 young adults now to stay in the united states. are you with the president on this? >> well, it depends on what tweet you look at. the later tweet said no amnesty and permanent residency. i think his message on wanting to fix the situation, i'm happy to engage in that and i look forward to bringing that to a solution so when we leave this congress we can say we finally fixed immigration for america. >> one quick question before i let you go. would you kick out these 800,000? >> you know, that's a tough --
no. i don't want to kick anybody out. i want everybody to have the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy in this country every day but we can't reward people that have broken the law and i know these young people came over. i have sat with them in my office and i have seen them. they've been valedictorians in their schools. they are in a tough situation. our goal is to find a way that is suitable, that we can keep the people that we can here and i'm willing to be open to find a solution to this but there's some caveats that we have that must be agreed to and you'll hear about those in the future. >> congressman ted yoho of florida, thanks very much to all of the folks in florida. i know you're trying your best to help them recover from irma. thanks so much. >> have a great day. much more on the breaking news coming in. new information, very disturbing information coming in right now from the korean peninsula. details in just a moment. if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,... ...isn't it time to let the real you shine through?
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we're following major breaking news right now. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. a new missile launch by north korea. let's quickly go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr who is working this story for us. barbara, what are you learning? >> wolf, the south korean military announced a short time ago that north korea fired a projectile east out of north korea. the early indications are that
this eastward trajectory may have taken this projectile over japan. that would be a serious provocation by the north koreans, not the first time they have done that to overfly japan. that is going to be very concerning in the region. one piece of news, if it did in fact go east, as the south koreans say, at least it didn't go south over guam. that would have been a direct provocation to the united states, something president trump said he would respond to if the north koreans were to threaten guam. so it looks at this point like this missile, this projectile, went east over japan. we are waiting for word on how long this flight of this projectile lasted and that will help everyone understand what it might have been and, in fact, if it was an intermediate range
ballistic missile. japan, the sea out there, would be within range of an intermediate missile. i have to tell you that over the past 12 hours, the pentagon, the u.s. intelligence committee, has been looking very closely, minute by minute, at the signals coming out of north korea. they were beginning to get indications earlier today that north korea was moving missiles, moving launchers and preparing for some kind of test. they were beginning to get those key electronic signals that they can pick up that would be i am ne nent. not a big surprise here. it was something over the past several hours. now we will see what the response is from japan, from south korea and, of course, from the trump administration. >> no let-up from the north koreans. barbara, stand by. i want to bring in brian todd and jim sciutto.
not a surprise but, once again, the north korean regime of kim jong-un poking their fingers in japan's eyes, u.s. eyes and others. >> we're in the midst of continued escalation of the north korean crisis. you've had 22 missile launches this year alone, the pace much greater than kim jong-un's predecessors, his father and grandfather. you have rhetoric coming from the u.s. about the possibility of a military reaction. in the past 24 hours, you had reports coming out of south korea acknowledging the formation of a decapitation unit to go after north korea. that was followed with south korea saying they'd never have nuclear weapons on the peninsula. regardless, though, you have north korea increasing the frequency of its missile tests, showing the world that it is advancing in technology, both in terms of missile technology and only a couple weeks ago they had their sixth nuclear test
underground by far, perhaps by a factor of six, their larger nuclear test so far. each time, a greater demonstration of their advancement. also, as you say, wolf, poking their finger in the eye of the west. it's a threat of what they could do and you have the u.s., south korea, its partners not reacting militarily but certainly in their public comments, the president's public comments, japanese, south korean leaders showing their strength, in effect, what the cost would be of a military confrontation. we're in the midst of an escalation here and the danger of an escalation is very, very serious. >> comes on the heels a resolution imposing more sanctions. clearly it's not having a major impact on the north korean regime. >> the bottom line is, sanctions don't have an impact on him and the pace in which he advances his missile program. you look at the advancement and the pace of the advancement, that's the astounding thing. 22 missile launches this year. they did two long-range icbm
launches just in july. they are perfecting their missile engines. they've tested those constantly. they've worked on heat shields, mobile launch capability with the solid fuel systems and they are really advancing at a pace that we really haven't seen even for them in recent years and that's the frightening thing. the icbms, he's probably got one that could hit the united states. the only thing that they have not quite perfected yet, according to every expert that you talk to, is the re-entry capability. can it withstand the heat of re-entry. the pace at which they are testing means even if they are failing at it right now, they are going to get better and learn from these mistakes. >> each of these capabilities is aimed directly at the u.s. mainland. that's what an icbm is about and these missiles directed at u.s. allies, treaty allies. >> we're getting new reporting. i want to go live to seoul, south korea.
ivan watson is getting more information from south korean authorities. what are they saying, ivan? >> reporter: well, the national security council will be meeting trying to make sense of this latest potential move by the north koreans. this suspected missile launch coming just essentially hours after the south korean president moon jae-in says that south korea does not plan, in response to the provocations and the recent missile launches, it does not plan to seek the deployment of nuclear weapons here in south korea. mo the south korean president moon jae-in says there's no need for that. he was elected in the last year and promised to try to reach out diplomatically to north korea and in an interview with cnn, he
la la meanted and said that he was very saddened by this aggressive approach that the north koreans have taken. essentially, the south koreans are struck wringing their hands. >> i want to go to our senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny. what's the reaction, if any, coming in from white house officials? >> reporter: the white house is monitoring this and getting developments. they are referring questions at this point to the pentagon. they said they will have the first official statement. wolf, this comes as the biggest foreign policy challenge on the president's desk. make no mistake about it, the rising nuclear threat is something that occupies a considerable amount of the president's time. it was only a month ago when he was spending his vacation in new jersey in august saying that
north korea would hendure firin fury like they've never seen before. he's since then dialed that back. he was asked about north korea as he flew back to the white house late this afternoon from his trip to florida. this is what he said. "we have very good relationships there in the region. i obviously can't tell you what we're working on" but said "the people of this country will be safe." but wolf, despite all of these missile tests, as barbara and others have reported, the administration still does not have a good singular strategy of what to do. military options are still not viewed as favorable ones because the death and destruction that that would have caused. the president has been all over the map in terms of diplomacy here. but look for a reaction later tonight potentially from this president and the united nations general assembly next week in new york city, this will be first and foremost on the agenda
there, especially his meeting with shinzo abe. >> he will address the general assembly tuesday morning in new york. i want to bring in cnn's will ripley, just back from his 15th trip to north korea. he's joining us on the phone from tokyo right now. will, certainly you were waiting for this kind of a missile test to unfold? >> reporter: we were, wolf. and we just flew out yesterday morning from the pyongyang airport which is believed to be the launch site yet again for the missile that flew over japan. remember, north korea launches their missile that flew over hokkaido also from the airport area. this is where all of the commercial flights come in to north korea but we also saw that it was for military purposes, which is they are launching from their capital shows that they
can launch missiles with the mobi mobile missile launchers from anywhere, even high-populated areas. it's almost like de ja vu. people were waking up with j-alerts as a warning that the missile had passed and the missile likely passed over hurrica hokkaido and you have people here in japan frightened once again possibly with messages on their phone that a north korean missile is flying overhead. this is the first time since world war ii that japanese children are living with the reality of potentially having bombs fall on them. in fact, there have been missile drills happening here in japan. i mean, this is a really frightening situation for people in this country and having just left north korea, this is not a
surprise at all. we knew this launch was coming. we were there a week ago on a morning that indications were that they were going to launch a missile. i can tell you in pyongyang, the fog was so thick, wolf, you couldn't see anything but we've had crystal clear mornings in the last few days and they need clear weather for the 12 to 15 cameras there to get a perfect shot. i'm sure we'll see the release of the footage on north korean tv in the past few hours. >> i'm sure we will. stand by. barbara starr is at the pentagon. what are you hearing about kim jong-un's motivation in launching these kinds of missiles? >> well, wolf, this is the absolute key question for the u.s. intelligence community. so u.s. military commanders can make their recommendations to the president. what is kim really up to? as will was just pointing out, even if he is not attempting to
attack the u.s. or an ally and just conduct a test, it's so dangerous because it flies over japan and puts people there at risk. i can tell you, the current assessment is that he's not yet really looking to start war. he's not looking for conflict. what kim is about, intelligence analysts on a very senior level will tell you, is his own self-preservation. preservation of himself and keep himself and his family in power in north korea and he feels that having nuclear weapons is his absolute best bet of doing that, that he can hold the rest of the world, especially the united states, at bay. that he will have to be treated with respect, that he believes he will have to have a seat at the international table, that he can engage in negotiations with the west and continue to play that nuclear card that he has.
u.s. commanders believe that really you have to assume at this point he does have an icbm, he's got a nuclear warhead capability, whether it all works perfectly or not is not really any longer the question. it's the question of his capability and what he can threaten. and right now he is a threat because he has all of this capability and he is determined to keep himself in power. he knows -- u.s. commanders have looked at this very carefully. he knows that the u.s. is not likely to launch an attack against north korea because they have those thousands of artillery tubes right on the dmz, tens and thousands of people in south korea would be killed, a war would have casualties like the world has not seen since world war ii. u.s. commanders very much are trying to make sure that it doesn't get to that point. so the question is, what do you
do in what kind of deterrent would convince kim to back off and right now that deterrence does not seem to be there. kim is betting the u.s. won't attack and the u.s. knows he's going to do everything he can to stay in power. wolf? >> indeed. very important. barbara starr, stand by. jim sciutto, you're doing more reporting? >> i was briefed on north korean policy last week and speaking about deterrence, he raised the question, really, can north korea be deterred? and to raise that -- it's an alarming thing to say because u.s. defense of its allies and of itself is based on deterrence, an overwhelming response. but there is genuine worry in the trump white house, not only to draw north korea back from a nuclear weapon but what works to ensure security? and that stuck in my mind. can they truly be deterred? i had a conversation just
yesterday or the day before with former director of national intelligence james clapper on this as well. when you look at it from north korea's perspective, there's always this debate, is kim jong-un crazy? he said his policy is very rational from kim's point of view. from his view, north korea is surrounded. they have a very armed south korea to the south with u.s. troops there, the u.s. with overwhelming military power and from their perspective, this is the only thing ensuring their survival. that's their point of view and that's why you have a point of view that the only thing you can do is talk to them. now, trouble is this. donald trump, the administration final themselves in the same quandary that bush and obama before them found, which is you try economic pressure, push china to push them, you know, all of these things have been getting raised and yet north korea keeps up the same thing. can you change north korea's fundamental calculus that their only means of survival is
nuclear weapons? it doesn't appear that it can. >> everybody stand by. i want to get more on the breaking news. a congressman is joining me, a member of the house teintelligee committee. congressman, this comes days after the north korean tested their largest nuclear bomb yet. how concerning is it that -- how concerned are you about this weapons program, this progress that they're making? >> it's extraordinary alarming. it was mentioned that this is the administration's number one international issue. that's absolutely the case. it's a calculus that's going to take a lot of work and effort on our behalf to try to resolve. there's no other foreign policy issue that is nearly this concerning. >> i want you to listen to the president. this is president trump
answering questions speaking about the north korean threat today. >> we have a very good relationship with china and with the president of china. we are working on different things. i can't tell you obviously what i'm working on but believe me, the people of this country will be very, very safe. i think that a lot of effort is being put into this. we're looking at what is going on. i mean, as we speak, we're literally looking at it right now and you will be seeing what we'll be doing. >> what's your reaction to the president's strategy right now, as you understand it? >> if he's talking about china, it has to be reminding china that they don't want us to further enhance the theater missile defense system and china doesn't want an enhanced 1naval presence by the u.s. and the region. they are going to have to be more dram mat tech and the
economic pressures, including the energy sector involving north korea. and if the president is talking about this, he might want to include russia's involvement because even if -- and as china ticks down its economic involvement, russia picked up its trade activity. so this has to be a universal effort. everyone must be on board. >> the president -- vice president-elect tweeted this. "north korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the united states. it won't happen." has north korea already developed, congressman, a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the united states? >> you know, i think what you're seeing is an increased improvement in their system and
it's exhilarating at a growing rate so they're getting better at this faster. so whether or not anyone -- any expert believes that they've solved all of their problems with icbms, it really doesn't matter at this point. we have to assume that they do. if they don't have it right now, it will happen shortly. and besides the efforts that we're already doing towards diplomatic solutions towards this, the local theater defense system and our defense systems involving icbms have to be dramatically improved. >> do you believe they should shoot down these intercontinental ballistic missiles that the north koreans are launching right now? >> well, it really depends on some of the capabilities and the work that we have with our allies and i'm not exactly sure we know exactly when they're going to take off. we need the ability to shoot
them down at a moment's notice. it's yet to be determined if all of our allies have that capability. >> the missile was launched and went over japan causing a lot of fear in japan as we just heard. if the north koreans were to launch a missile and aim it towards guam, the u.s. territory of guam, 162,000 u.s. citizens live there, how should the u.s. respond to that? >> that would be obviously kim deciding that he was taking us on. at this point in time, as was suggested, he's thumbing his nose at the world. this is a whole another thing. if he's pointing a weapon that may or may not be able to hit guam. at that point in time, the only thing we can do right now is to try to shoot that down. as we discussed before, the military options are a whole other level. these are the discussions that the white house is having, that we're having and the white house
and the senate and the efforts have to continue. >> do you believe there really is a military option, congressman? you know how many thousands of artillery pieces, conventional weapons, a million troops north of the demilitarized zone and only 25 miles from seoul where there are 25 million people and 28,000 u.s. troops along the dmz as well. you know what the north koreans would do if there was a pre-empted military strike. would that be worth it? is there a realistic military option? >> i haven't heard of one that doesn't involve catastrophic losses among u.s. citizens. our troops that are there and obviously the citizens of all those countries nearby that are allies, i don't see one that doesn't have that kind of devastation, which is why obviously we lead and even the president has ratcheted down
some of his statements to talk more about enhanced diplomacy, working with china and, again, it's going to have to be with russia as well, south korea and japan. so there is no good solution right now other than to amp up the diplomatic efforts to enhance our local missile defense system and long-range system, missile defense system and get ready for the worst, if that's the case. >> congressman, thanks for joining us. we're continuing to follow the breaking news. and brian todd, you've done a lot of reporting on this. the north korean tests, these missile tests, they seem to be increasingly more accurate. >> they are more accurate, wolf. they've made mistakes. they've made a lot of mistakes in these things. some of them have fallen into the sea but the last few have been pretty successful, especially the icbm launches on july 4th and 28th. very alarming because that's what catapulted them into this
status of having probably a missile that could hit the united states. we talked about the -- the congressman talked about the idea of shooting these missiles down. i think a lot of military officials would tell you that's a dicey proposition. u.s. defense systems are not that great. they work well half of the time. if you shoot down the missiles that north korea test fires, there could be a miscalculation, a mistake, a misfire and then this whole thing escalates again and we're in trouble. >> we keep hearing all options are on the table including the military option. is there really a military option, a pre-emptive strike to try to destroy the nuclear capabilities of north korea which wouldn't result in hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people getting killed in south korea? >> well, we know there are military options. that's something that the president and administration officials repeat constantly and in public ee the same was true
with previous administrations. the trouble is the cost. are you willing to bear those potential costs and we know the president has been briefed on those and those are a risk in numbers that we just don't talk about anymore in terms of conflict today. tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands dead in seoul, south korea among the americans, whether there are ex patriots living there because you have troops close to the border and these are convention n conventional weapons. the warning time on a north korean rocket strike on seoul, south korea, would be 45 seconds. there is no reaction time. can a president decide that the risk from north korea is so great that those costs are worthwhile? possibly yes. president trump is being faced with the same difficult, grave decision that his predecessors were who decided that the military option, in effect,
was -- >> i've been told that the president has been briefed not only on the millions of south koreans within 20, 30 miles of the dmz and the military personnel but another 200,000 u.s. citizens living in and around seoul right now. >> and then it escalates further. 45 seconds to hit seoul. we've calculated that missiles can take 15 to 20 minutes to hit hawaii. if it escalates from there and fire against hawaii, look at what you're talking about. it's beyond frightening. >> we're also told that they may have 30 or 40 or 60 nuclear bombs already and that they have the capability of militarizing those nuclear bombs to put them on intercontinental ballistic
missiles. >> you had mike pompeo say that north korea is a black box to penetrate intelligence. they make estimates in terms of numbers and capability. so they do believe they can mill tarrize. they can mill tarrize the device and reliably put it on a missile and go up into space and come down again which is what is required for a intercontinental ballistic missile, they haven't shown that in tests but even going back months, the position was we have to assume that they have an untested capability which means you have to plan for that possibility. >> barbara starr is getting more information at the pentagon. what are you learning? >> practical details emerging about what has happened here. the japanese broadcaster nhk reported a short time ago that the japanese government is
saying that the missile launch by north korea landed off japan's northern island of hokkaido, the island that the previous north korean missile flew over and that is what has happened again for a second time because the japanese press going on to report that it landed off highway kid doe in the pacific ocean. this could be our first indicator that this is an intermediate range ballistic missile potentially. this will be something that they have to analyze. the distance from north korea to the pacific ocean off japan would indicate an intermediate range missile but the north koreans in their intercontinental ballistic missile launches have done something very unusual. they have fired them very high, out of the atmosphere, brought them back down and had them land in japan which is not
intercontinental. it's a technical point but it's going to be perhaps one of the most crucial points as they analyze what has happened here, whether it's an intermediate range or, in fact, a third test of an intercontinental ballistic missile range, which could eventually strike the united states. it will give us an indication of just how far kim is willing to go in his test program and just how far he is willing to poke at donald trump. >> everybody, stand by. we've got a lot more on the breaking news. north korea apparently has launched yet another missile. this one flying over japan. we have more information coming in. we'll resume our coverage right after this. ♪
[ bloop ] huh? hey? i paused it. bam, family time. so how is everyone? find your awesome with xfinity xfi and change the way you wifi. north korea has launched yet another ballistic missile that flew over japan and toward the northern pacific ocean. i want to go to jeff zeleny. i know they are watching this closely over there and i anticipate we'll be hearing from the president at some point, right? >> reporter: the president has an event coming up in a couple of moments so reporters are going to try and ask him about this. so we'll see if he responds to this. this is something that is occupying the significant share
of his time in terms of foreign policy challenges. it's important to note at this point that all of these discussions are being led by his chief of staff, retired general john kelly. and deciding all of these options here, people inside the white house believe they have a military option but would not like to use that military option. the president, as you know, is speaking at the u.n. next week. this will certainly be front and center in his speech, his first speech to the general assembly on tuesday. >> tuesday morning. we'll have live coverage of that. i want to bring in our cnn contributor. you've studied this region. this new launch is going to put a lot more pressure on both china and russia? >> yes. typically after these launches, the president tweets about china and talks about extra pressure that china should be putting on north korea. russia should be facing more
pressure as well not as tough as russia had wanted or against russia and came out the victor and russia employs more north korean workers and russia is also considered to be the source in the advancement of technology. all of a sudden, we're seeing more and more advancement as far as these nuclear weapons or missiles are concerned and even the hydrogen potential tests that we saw a couple of weeks ago. so much more pressure on russian president vladimir putin who claims that he wants to be a power broker in this region as well. he and china together proposed an option that north korea would free the nuclear program in exchange for u.s. troops leaving the region. also, vladimir putin of course launched his war games in belarus. this is not the attention he wanted to be focused away now
from north korea launching over japan. keep your eyes on shinzo abe. for japan, he's a hawkish leader. this is the second launch over the country that we've seen in the past few weeks as the south korean president said just today he does not want to see a nuclear south korea but we may be in a situation where there is no talk of a particular arm's race in the region because of this. >> most analysts in the intelligence committee think that kim jong-un is acting from his perspective rationally. >> that's right. he wants to be seen as an equal partner with the united states. this is a guy who has never met with the foreign leader face-to-face and has never traveled outside of his country as a leader and has got these nuclear weapons, the highest profile he's ever met with, dennis rodham. tomorrow night, cnn's will ripley takes us on an exclusive
journey inside north korea with unprecedented access to sites never before seen by american eyes. "secret state inside north korea" airs tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. on cnn. that's it for me. thanks for watching. our coverage continues with erin burnett "outfront." breaking news, north korea firing a ballistic missile. japan telling its citizens to shelter in place. president trump bragging about his comments about charlottesville blaming both sides. and jeff sessions, "the new york times" reports sessions called called it the most humiliating experience in his entire life. let's go "outfront." good evening, "outfront" tonight, breaking news, a nationwide alert warning citizens to shelter in place. the latest provocation