tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN May 26, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we wi hello, everyone, welcome back. president trump announcing an american prisoner, joshua holt, will return to washington from venezuela and be reunited with his family. for the past two years the former mormon missionary from utah has been jailed in venezuela, making pleas for the american government to save him.
he went to venezuela to marry his girlfriend and they planned think return to the united states with her two daughters and start a life together. days after their wedding the venezuelan police went door to door looking for them. the couple claims they were framed. the president tweeting, looking forward to seeing joshua holt, the great people of utah are celebrating. cnn's sarah west wowood has mor. >> reporter: that's right, fredericka. josh holt has been housed in a venezuelan prison awaiting trial. president trump said the utah native would be here at the white house tonight. holt's family said moments ago via their lawyer, we are
grateful for this joyful moment during this time of anguish. we ask we are allowed to meet with our son and his wife before interviews and statements. holt had expressed fears more his safety while imprisoned in venezuela. >> i wanted to ask and plead once again to my government, to my people, to my senators, and to everyone in the united states to please not leave me alone here, please come and save my wife, myself, and the people that need help here. >> reporter: now, holt's release comes in the backdrop of a tense relationship between the trump administration and the maduro regime, fred. >> sarah westwood, appreciate that. now to the diplomatic drama
playing out on the world stage, the highly anticipated sit-down between president trump and
north korean leader kim jong-un. president trump tweeted, quote, the failing "new york times" quotes a senior white house official who doesn't exist, as saying even if the meeting with reinstated, holding it on june 12 would be impossible. in the latest twist, the north and south korean leaders are holding a surprise second meeting today in hopes of saving that u.s. summit. cnn's matt rivers is live for us out of seoul now. so, matt, new overnight meeting, and those pictures showing a very chummy meeting between the south and north korean leaders. >> reporter: yeah, very chummy meeting, fred, and a very unexpected one. this news came as quite a shock to most people here in south
korea who had spent the last couple of days being extremely disappointed after what they viewed as a major setback with the united states canceling that planned summit between president trump and kim jong-un. but here's what we know happened. it was around 3:00 p.m. local seoul time, that would have been 2:00 a.m. eastern, that south korean president moon jae-in went to the demilitarized zone, crossed onto the north korean side and he met with kim jong-un for about two hours or so. the substantive details, we're not really sure what was discussed there. the south korean side just releasing a couple of details, saying they talked about implementing the details of the agreement, the joint agreement that both north and south korea signed the first time these two leaders met. that would be almost one month ago to the day, in fact now after midnight one month ago to the day. but the bigger point, frankly, fred, is that they talked in frank terms about this potential north korea/u.s. summit.
we're expecting to get more details around 9:00 p.m. tonight u.s. eastern time. south korean president moon jae-in is expected to brief reporters and give a little more detail about what was discussed. what this shows you, taken in totality, the united states, the south koreans, and the north koreans, despite the fact that the summit isn't scheduled back on yet, there is a lot going on behind the scenes and now in public trying to make that happen. >> matt rivers, thank you so much. i want to bring in now bill richardson, the former u.s. ambassador to the united nations, governor of new mexico, and he was a special envoy to north korea where he helped release americans there. ambassador, it's good to see you. i want to ask you first about the release of american prisoner josh holt in venezuela where you apparently had a pretty significant role in all of this. explain the circumstances and how you were able to help win
his release. >> well, i think main credit has to go to the trump administration, senator hatch, durbin, corker. they got the release. i met with the venezuelans several times, i met with josh's parents. the good news is he was arrested on very, very trumped-up charges, that he was a spy. we've had a terrible relationship with the venezuelan government. the good news is no american hostage should feel abandoned by their government. the good news is some of these hostages, three from north korea and now this one, very significant cases, they're home, josh holt is going to see his parents soon. it's a good ending. but, you know, this is what happens, fredericka, countries that are hostile to us seize americans and try to use them as bargaining chips. >> and so to north korea, in
what way if any will you be involved in assisting in these u.s./north korean talks, given your success rate of helping to win the release of americans who have been held in north korea? do you see yourself in any way being instrumental in helping to, whether it be salvage or secure this upcoming or the planned meeting or summit? >> well, no. no. i'm not part of the negotiating team. secretary pompeo has reached out to me, i've given me advice. i think what needs to happen with this news, fredericka, one, the americans' negotiating team, we're speaking with too many voices. we have to let secretary pompeo, who has met with kim jong-un twice, lead the negotiations. there are some people in the
white house who i think don't want these negotiations to succeed as much as the state department and diplomats want it. secondly, i think we have to find a way to notify our allies. here we have the south korean president bailing us out again. the japanese didn't know, the south koreans didn't know about the cancellation. i'm okay with there's a postponement on this summit. but i hope it takes place. >> so you say, you know, the south koreans bailing us on on this, when you look at the pictures we're about to show again of the south korean and north korean leader meeting, the handshake, even kind of a bear hug there, what does that tell you about the influence now of south korea in helping to salvage or make happen any kind of planned summit with the u.s.? >> well, south korea has the most at stake. they have 25 million people in seoul vulnerable to a north korean artillery, missile, or
nuclear attack. this president of south korea has banked his political legacy on this summit happening and an ea easing of tensions, so that's good. even though we didn't notify him about the cancellation of the summit, he got back to south korea and read the announcement, so did the japanese, without notification. the president has a unique negotiating style, but to undermine your friends and allies and not tell them what's going on, that's not good. in zigzag foreign policy that we have, you know, this is the president's style, but i'm not sure it is serving our interests right now. >> ever the consummate diplomat, we're hearing from you and your word choice, but when you say this white house is speaking with too many voices, is the difference here that we're just seeing all of this played out loud, and typically this is how diplomacy happens, something may be on or off again, but the
difference here is that it is playing out on a public stage, but that this sequence of events is rather typical? >> no, it's not typical. diplomacy is carried out largely in secret. it's done discreetly. the north koreans, the south koreans, they're very formal. when things go public this, that's not good. i'm also saying the north koreans overplayed their hand, they insulted the vice president, they made some very harsh statements. that's the way they negotiate, that's the way they are. they don't think like we do. that's unfortunate. but you combine that with a president who is very impulsive, who shoots very much from the hip, and you get these situations. the president and his team deserve credit for having this summit, trying to get it reconstituted. we'll see what happens. for the good of the world, national security, u.s.
interests, this summit should happen. but if it's postponed two weeks, three weeks, that's okay, maybe we can get our act together. >> and then earlier this week, that apparent destruction, these tunnels at the nuclear research facility there in north korea, a, do you believe that those were the real deal, were they research facilities, were these kind of dummy facilities, was it a real, you know, destruction given that there were no inspectors there? how much of what the world saw do you believe? >> well, i think it was a gesture by the north koreans. they always slip some facilities underground, they don't tell you. you've got to watch them. you have to have inspections. journalists aside, they were initially going to invite nuclear experts, but they didn't. this was done as a positive gesture. they also released three americans. they also said we can have our military exercises with south
korea, the united states. so, you know, think kim jong-un, except for those statements they made about the vice president, they're trying to salvage the summit too. both leaders need this summit. the international community needs this summit. the korean peninsula. so hopefully it will work out. but doing this publicly, zigzag, roller coaster diplomacy, i'm not an advocate of that. but if it works and there is a summit and good results, we're going to be okay. >> all right, ambassador bill richardson, always a pleasure, thank you so much. >> thank you. up next, he's the hero. an indiana teacher runs toward danger when shots ring out at a middle school. we'll tell you what he did and why his students credit him for saving their lives. simple goodnessul is ahhhmazing! meaty morsels. a tender texture. with real meat and a blend of peas and carrots i can see. a totally new kind of awesome going on here! (avo) new beneful simple goodness. tender, meaty morsels with real ingredients you can see.
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whistler says she's in critical but stable condition. she was stop by a fellow student at noblesville west middle school. other students described the chaotic scene. >> we heard gunshots. he was in the room right next to us. and it sounded like the chairs were dropping. it was really scary. >> it's like one of those things. we don't really have time to think. it's either do it now or be killed. >> code red, code red, high, there's an intruder in the building, bomb threats. i ran and hid on the table as my fellow classmates did as well. >> a teacher is credited with saving many lives. police say jason seaman tackled the gunman but was wounded in the process. president trump tweeting a short time ago, thanks to very brave hero, jason seaman of noblesville, indiana, for his noble act. his quick and automatic action is being talked about all over the world. cnn correspondent dianne
gallagher is here with more on this. there was bravery on so many levels, these kids and this hero of a teacher. >> that's right, fred, 29-year-old jason seaman being heralded across the country as a hero for his actions. he's still in the hospital. according to a facebook post from his mother, he was shop the three times, in the abdomen, the hip, and forearm. but he is recovering. he released a statement thanking the first responders, thanking the people taking care of him, and telling the students, "you are wonderful, i thank you for your support, you are the reason i teach." fred, just looking at how young, the baby faces, this is a middle school. this happened in a seventh grade science class. the student, the shooter that police say came in, he had asked to be excused from a test in mr. seaman's class. when he came back, the students tell us that he was armed with two handguns and opened fire. now, according to those
students, mr. seaman grabbed a basketball and threw it at the student to disarm him, ran toward him and used his body to disarm the child. >> he walked in with the gun in his hand and started waving it around. he took four to five, maybe six shots. >> he started shooting at mr. seaman. and everybody started screaming and freaking out. and mr. seaman ran up and tackled him and secured him. >> then he started screaming to call 911 and get out. he had gotten him to the ground, the gun was out of his hands. >> you look at those faces, fred, again, how young they were, seventh graders. the person charged in the shooting also a seventh grader. not a lot of answers from police about the shooting, the motivatmotivate, or where the guns came from. >> thank you, dianne, appreciate
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alberto. meteorologist jean fgene norman us. >> fred, it's not good news for anybody trying to get to florida for holiday plans. we have subtropical storm alberto which formed yesterday. we have the latest information on where it's headed and the projected forecast still has maximum winds of 40 miles an hour. you see here off the western edge of cuba, there is now a tropical storm warning for the extreme western part of key west as well as tropical storm watches in effect for portions of florida, along the peninsula, just south of tampa, and along the panhandle. these are areas that could see the tropical storm conditions within the next 48 hours, the next couple of days. the forecast track, we get a new one every six hours, now shows the storm continuing to move into the central belt and target some part of the florida panhandle, perhaps near the mobile area, as we head into late monday.
the other key thing that the forecast consistently shows is that it will likely intensify. right now it's what we call a subtropical storm because it's kind of lopsided in the way it appears. but as it moves over warmer water, and that's going to happen as we get into sunday on into monday, it could strengthen. that's one of the reasons why, moving over warmer gulf water. you see temperatures here in the mid- to upper 80s and the wind aloft will help it to get a little bit more organized. right now it's being cut in half, so to speak, and all the heavy rain is off to the right. that continues to be a big concern. this will be a big rain maker for south florida, central florida, and even sections of southern alabama, southern georgia, and the southern panhandle could see five to seven inches of rain. so that's a flood concern. the other concern, as it gets closer to the coast it will bring water inland. we call that storm surge. the best way to think about storm surge, imagine you're sitting in the bathtub and sloshing the water toward the
edge. the harder you slosh, the more water is going to go over the edge. it all depends on how much water will pile up, how strong this storm gets. a 65-mile-an-hour storm could give a storm surge of two to four feet. and that will stretch all the way from eastern sections of louisiana back to just north of tampa. that's the storm surge we're talking about. so that's a concern. four feet of water, that's just about to my waist, i'm about 6 feet tall. fred, as you mentioned, as we head into the holiday weekend, and a week before hurricane season, still the month of may, nobody told alberto about the calendar. he decided to come early. >> right, this is bad timing. all right, very alarming nonetheless. thank you so much, gene norman, appreciate it. and with alberto ready to wreak havoc in the gulf coast, oil rigs in the area could should down. gas prices are already high this
time of year. what exactly is driving this spike? >> reporter: think about it, fred. there's about 36 million people according to aaa hitting the roads this afternoon. it's expected to be an expensive travel season. the price of fuel, $2.97 a gallon nationally, that's something people here in new jersey would only hope for. the gas $3.10 when i checked a little while ago. a couple of reasons, to answer the question of why these kinds of prices. one is the president reimposing sanctions on iran. that extra demand has led to the highest fuel prices we've seen in four years. what will that mean for the average consumer? consumer confidence could take a hit. many people, especially families living paycheck to paycheck, have relied heavily on those financial benefits that come with this trump tax plan. a little extra money in their pocket.
but now they may be asking themselves perhaps what good is that extra money if some of it is being left here at the pumps? you're looking at increased fuel prices that could amount to an additional tax for many of these people here. so this potentially could be a major pocketbook issue for many americans here, not only as they celebrate memorial day weekend, but leading into midterm elections later this month, what will that mean for republican lawmakers up for reelection, and of course long term for president trump, who if you look back through trump's tweeting history, back in 2012, when we also saw fairly high gas prices, he tweeted that gas prices were, quote, at crazy levels, and he called for the firing of then-president obama. this time we have not heard a whole lot from the commander in chief about these fuel prices except yesterday during his most recent comments, speaking positively about the economy. when you talk to people here, fred, mixed reactions. we heard from one woman who was driving from pennsylvania or
rather -- pennsylvania to connecticut, who says the prices are what they are. but an uber driver said, $3 gas, it's way too much, and he might even consider changing jobs. >> polo sandoval, thank you. coming up, with midterms just around the corner, tensions escalate inside the republican party. can the gop get on the same page before voters head to the ballot boxes?
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are you happy to be here? >> very much, i met the president yesterday. >> how was meeting the president? >> great. it's something that never happened to me in all my life. >> courage, bravery, valor. memorial day is a time to reflect on the men and women of the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending the country. this morning, the oldest pearl harbor veteran made his mark in washington, d.c. 106-year-old ray chavez paid tribute at the world war ii memorial and becoming the first veteran to ring the freedom bell to commemorate the 150th anniversary of memorial day. cnn's dianne gallagher spoke with chavez on how he hopes to share the veterans' stories with younger generations. >> 1941, a date which will live in infamy. >> reporter: a day that still plays out in if the mind of ray
chavez. >> every day. >> reporter: 76 years later. >> i saw all the ships on fire. and a terrible smokescreen all through the harbor and covering the ships. >> reporter: at 106 years old, chavez is they oldest surviving pearl harbor veteran. >> that's the way i am. i remember, and then i forget, and remember again. >> reporter: remembering, it's what brings chavez to washington, d.c. this weekend. although he did meet president donald trump at the white house. >> i looked forward to it because i didn't vote for him, and i enjoyed meeting him. he was pleasant enough to have me right next to him, when we
were seated. >> reporter: chavez traveled cross-country from san diego to d.c., stopping in kansas to refuel and meet fellow veterans, to attend the ceremony at arlington national cemetery. he says all the pomp and circumstance surrounding his visit doesn't take away his focus on those who made the ultimate sacrifice. >> national remembrance day. because it's very important that the younger generation know and learn about the beginning of the war. >> reporter: vice president mike pence spent time with the ju younger generation, who know the sacrifice of war all too well,
those who lost loved ones. many of them will spend the day here, in section 60 of arlington national cemetery, remembering their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. >> i would do it again if i was called to active duty. but chances are they won't. >> reporter: he hopes he can honor the memory of those he served with. >> i met some real fine young men. >> reporter: and the sacrifice of the men and women who came after as well. dianne gallagher, cnn, atlanta. >> dianne gallagher, thanks so much for bringing that to us. even the top brass from the pentagon is honoring chavez for his service. the deputy secretary of state patrick shanahan tweeting out, it was my honor and privilege to
meet him today. we want to thank mr. chavez for his service and all our veterans, including my dad and brother. coming up, a battle brewing between moderate and conservative republicans over immigration, just one of the many issues voters will weigh in on in the upcoming midterms. we'll talk about all of that, next. but first, when disaster strikes, top ten cnn hero stan hayes and his pit master buddies bring comfort in the form of barbecue to those in need. this week stan is honoring those who serve our country all year long. >> we're here with the gary sinise foundation at the invincible spirit festival. how are you guys doin'? do you want a pulled pork sandwich? we're cooking for 6,500 to 7,000 people. being here with people who
served our country is fantastic. for us, this is the biggest thank you we can give those men and women who have served. >> to find out more about what's happening with operation barbecue relief or nominate someone you think should be a cnn hero, go to cnnheroes.com right now. we'll be right back. thanks for the ride-along, captain! i've never been in one of these before, even though geico has been- ohhh. ooh ohh here we go, here we go. you got cut off there, what were you saying? oooo. oh no no. maybe that geico has been proudly serving the military for over 75 years? is that what you wanted to say? mhmmm. i have to say, you seemed a lot chattier on tv. geico. proudly serving the military for over 75 years. you ok back there, buddy? mitzi: psoriatic arthritis
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went up in flames, and rumors of a rebellion against house speaker paul ryan in his remaining time in office. and now questions about how gop leaders will mend deep divisions within their own party just month before the critical midterms. here with some insights, cnn political commentators tara sethmeyer and joining us on the phone, doug haigh. tara, sumrumors of a gop uprisi against speaker paul ryan. republicans are trying to downplay those rumors. >> this is reminiscent of what happened with speaker boehner a couple of years ago when certain factions of the republican party couldn't get along and it led to
boehner's demise. how long paul ryan stays is a different story. it's never a good luck when the speaker of the house and the majority leader have to fight off a discharge petition coming with their own members involved. we haven't seen this very often. they're very rarely successful. but this one, they only need about five more republicans in order to bring these immigration bills to the floor for a vote, bypassing the committee, because it's been held up for so long. you have a lot of members, particularly moderates, who are facing tough reelection. and the issue of immigration affects their districts. so either they've decided to not run for reelection anymore and retire, or they've decided for their political lives they'll have to do something. i think the american people are on the side of doing something finally about dreamers in this country. we've reached a point where it's becoming untenable not to do anything anymore. and republicans are looking at a way to try to do this in a
bipartisan fashion, not only because it's the right thing to do but for their political survival. >> doug, this is not good for paul ryan and certainly not good for the party either. >> sure. i would say first, for paul ryan, there's a political adage that -- and sports adage we use that's absolutely true here, which is that you can't beat somebody with no one. so all of the speculation about is paul ryan going to leave i think is meaningless. until kevin mccarthy or someone else has 280 votes to be speaker, paul ryan isn't resigning, paul ryan isn't going anywhere, and we could be having this conversation not just tomorrow but six months from now. republicans after the election will then have to figure out who the next speaker is. but paul ryan is not going anywhere in the short term. >> that's true. >> so tara, short term, as the party tries to build, leading to midterm election, is there any
consensus on what may be in their back pocket? >> on immigration or just in general? >> on any issue that might help move the needle or try to solidify their support leading into these elections. >> other than the economy and supporting tax cuts that have helped individuals and businesses, probably not. you know, midterm elections are always dicey. the party in power usually loses seats. how many is always the metric, we're not sure. but it's looking better for republicans now, the generic ballot, the congressional ballot has tightened. it could still go either way. but the issue of immigration has always been a divisive one. when i worked on capitol hill, back from 2006 to 2013, we saw these immigration fights often. 200 2007, again in 2013. it's difficult. i think you'll see, the issue
going on now specifically with immigration, what's made it so challenging is that whatever the house does, there's no consensus on what the senate will do. even if the house goes through all this, gets a discharge petition successfully and they have a bill that comes out, there are bipartisan bills that would give legal status to dreamers and pay for border security at the levels the president wants. represent will hurd, a republican from texas, and aguilar is a democrat from california, they have a good bill that will probably pass. but it would do i in tie in the. paul ryan's point is, is it worth going through all this and being fractured on this and not getting a piece of legislation that the president can sign anyway because it will die in the senate. >> doug, what can republicans run on? is tax reform enough? >> the feather in the cap is the
economy. as tara mentions, midterms don't go well for the president's party. the economy is still in a good place and the republicans can take credit for it. it will still be a negative election for republicans. the question is do they lose five seats in the house, do they lose 25 seats or more? when i was at the republican national committee in 2010, we ultimately not just took back the house but won 63 house seats. we were not talking about winning the house or taking back the house in may of 2010. we weren't even talking about it in june or july. it wasn't until after labor day. and if there is a wave, it's something that's going to break late. legislative, there's not much that's going to be register with voters. if the state of the economy is good, that is a cross current that is going to affect all
these targeted house races where we see at-risk members who have one thing to talk about, and that's the economy. >> all right. doug, tara, we'll leave it there. thank you so much. >> thank you. still ahead, more evacuations on the big island as lava from kilauea continues to flow, scorching anything and everything in its past. up next we'll take you there live. what's critical thinking like?
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island. you'll see shooting plumes of lava at any moment. a tide of molten rock destroying homes in its path as well. and the earthquakes are ramping up as well. yesterday alone there were 90 of them in six hours. i want to bring in scott mclean, scott, tell me what's happening behind you. >> reporter: hey, fredericka. despite what it may look like, there is actually fresh lava tearing through subdivisions today. people are pretty reluctant to stay behind. they're getting out, because of course it is almost impossible to protect your home from incoming lava. i say almost, because we met a man who did exactly that. but he nearly died doing it. >> it's a beautiful place, a place that feels very alive. >> reporter: it was two decades ago that steve hill found his slice of hawaiian paradise. and two weeks ago he came to grips with losing it. you left this place fully expecting you wouldn't come home to it? >> lost. lost.
>> reporter: hill and his wife packed up his furniture and left for the mainland. he even left a shot of gin on the deck for the hawaiian volcano goddess, assuming his home would be swallowed up. but his contractor and close friend darryl clinton had other ideas. >> you might want to step back on this one. >> reporter: just one week ago, cnn was with clinton while he was defending hill's home against flying chunks of lava. windows had already been destroyed. so had the water catchment tank. some lava bombs came crashing through the roof. armed with little more than a garden hose, clinton doused the flaming rocks before they to find the entire house. >> these ones catch the ceiling on fire. >> reporter: the 24/7 task was difficult and even more dangerous. after almost a week, hill told clinton to leave and let the houses burn.
>> you can't do this, this is unsafe, it's time to stop. valiant effort, i'm humbled by how hard you've tried. >> reporter: but clinton didn't leave until the next day. and it wasn't by choice. the line drive lava bomb broke his leg, severed an artery and nearly took his foot off. >> it threw me against the wall, the most extreme force i've felt in my life. >> reporter: the extreme heat burned up the deck, the wall, and almost an entire dining set. thanks to an a fast acting neighbor with a water jug, the house survived and so did darryl. >> blessed, with neighbors like that. >> reporter: hill returned to hawaii to find his home and friend who built them badly in need of repair. >> what darryl is done rebuilding himself, he'll rebuild the journeyman? >> he's a beautiful person. >> reporter: hill knows that saying "thank you" isn't saying nearly enough.
>> this place stands because darryl chose not to go home. it stands because he believed that he could save it. i mean, that's it. >> reporter: and darryl clinton has had at least three surgeries already. right now he is in honolulu for yet another one. he has a long run ahead of him. he is expected to fully recover, fredericka. >> wow, that's an unbelievably close call. and an unbelievable friend too. scott mclean, thank you so much. we of course wish him the fullest, best recovery. we have so much more straight ahead in the newsroom. and it all starts right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. hello again, everyone, thanks for being with me this saturday, i'm fredericka whitfie whitfield. the highly anticipated sit-down between president trump and north korean leader king jong uu un.