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President Trump Lays Out His Plan for Afghanistan; Barcelona Attacker Now Shot and Killed by Police; Secretary Mattis Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to its Allies; Search Ongoing For 10 Missing U.S. Sailors; North Korea Warns Of "Merciless Strike"; Trump Travels Straining Secret Service Budget; Chinese Authorities Issue Warning About Heavy Rain; Eclipse Of The Century; London's Big Ben Falls Silent. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired August 22, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators, and that's right, losers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump is vowing to destroy the Taliban. He lays out his strategy for Afghanistan. We'll look at what's new and what's not.
Plus, the man behind the Barcelona terror attack is shot dead. And what we know about his plot to kill and those now in custody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God. You can look at the corona. The corona is crazy. I never thought I'd see something like this. I'm 56 years old. This is unbelievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: A total solar eclipse witnessed in the United States. See all the hype including one woman who named her baby after it.
Hello and welcome to our viewers around the world. I'm Lynda Kinkade, and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
U.S. President Donald Trump is outlining his plan for Afghanistan, the longest running war in U.S. history.
In a televised address on Monday night the president says he knows Americans are wary of the war and that he was initially tempted to follow his instincts and pull troops out. But he says that would create a vacuum for terrorists. The president says U.S. forces will fight to win to obliterate ISIS
and prevent a Taliban take over. And he caution that revealing troop numbers and the timing of the military operation plays into the enemy's hands.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities. Conditions on the ground not arbitrary time tables will guide our strategy from now on. America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.
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KINKADE: Well, U.S. and coalition troops have been in Afghanistan for almost 16 years since 2001, following the September '11 attack. More than 3500 U.S. and coalition troops have died. And more than 60,000 Afghan forces and civilians have also been killed. One estimate put the financial cost of the war at $841 billion.
Well, we have coverage on this from all angles. CNN military analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton is in Washington, Larry Sabato is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He'll explain the political ramifications.
Let's start with CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson live in London. Nic, as I mention, this is already America's longest running war. And while the president says that the days of providing a blank check are over, he hasn't given a time line and no specifics in this announcement. So is this a new strategy or much of the same?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: A lot of it sound very similar in broad prospects because it is broad prospects, he doesn't get into detail about what the additional troops will be doing, he doesn't get into detail about how he expects a strategy to evolve over the coming hours.
And he explains why he doesn't want -- he doesn't want to give the game away of what he's doing. But that doesn't provide us with very much insight. I think where he is being or sounding different to what we've heard before, he called out Pakistan. We've heard Pakistan called out before as harboring terrorists by troops on the ground, by you know, past presidents of the United States, they've said that.
What can he do? What is President Trump's approach to Pakistan going to be that's different to the other past U.S. presidents during the 16-year war? That may be somewhere where he can differentiate himself.
But again, Pakistan has leverage over U.S. forces. It pretty much control the routes in and out to resupply with the U.S. forces inside Afghanistan, the road resupply routes.
When Pakistan closed those routes down before, the United States had to resort to a friendly relationship with Russia to allow trains to resupply across Russia. Those are the transport, you know, line, if you will, is about a month long across Russia. And the relationship with Russia is not good at the moment.
So how is that going to improve, that's not clear. What he has done is said that he's going to give more power less to the military in Afghanistan, less meddling from Washington. And if we compare that to the strategy in Iraq, in the war in Iraq where the State Department were shut out.
[03:04:59] Colin Powell is pretty much shut out from having his plan represented and executed on the ground in Iraq during that invasion. You know, with all due respect to the military that didn't work out in Iraq.
Now what President Trump wants to do is expedite the attack on insurgents on terrorists, on terrorists inside Afghanistan.
However, having a military led without a strong diplomatic line as well, which he talks about the Taliban possibly being able to sort of be brought into society in Afghanistan without that strong diplomatic approach a military alone, the track record again is not a huge success for a positive outcome at the end.
KINKADE: And of course, one of the other interesting things just to note aside really, where there were a couple of mistakes in his speech. You would have thought that this would have been a speech that would have been checked and double checked.
But he did say that -- he mentioned the prime minister of Afghanistan, even though there isn't a prime minister. How is that going to go down?
ROBERTSON: You'll -- Afghanistan absolutely needs the United States support. President Ghani and he is a president not a prime minister, is grateful for the help that he needs. He doesn't want to be left alone. He knows that he needs the United States support in the country, that Afghanistan needs the backing that his government, the government of Afghanistan needs the support of a strong ally because the Taliban is getting stronger, is taking more grounds, is making more inroads into taking power away from the central government.
So I don't think he's particularly in a position to, you know, put his hand up and complain about it. But it is, look, I mean, when you have a president who just isn't clued in on that amount of detail and that's a significant amount of detail, of course it's going to cause concern.
And of course inside Afghanistan that's not going to resonate very well, but they've had 16 years of war, 16 years of the United States and NATO allies all trying to help the country. So I think that's something that's going to get moved on over pretty quickly, that language error.
KINKADE: All right. Nic Robertson, our international diplomatic editor, good to get your analysis. Thank you.
Joining me now from Washington is CNN military analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel, good to have you with us. President Trump tonight said he would give commanders real-time authority. What sort of difference could that make in Afghanistan?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, in theory, Lynda, what that would mean is they would have the authority to execute direct attacks against the enemy. They wouldn't have to get permission from higher headquarters. They wouldn't have to go in and ask for specific weapons allotments. They would already have those available to them.
But the fact of the matter is, that a lot of that is already happening in theater, so the actual change on the ground might not be as dramatic as what we think actually would be the case after the president's remarks in this speech that he made.
KINKADE: And these remarks that he made, a quite the opposite of what we heard from President Trump when he was both a citizen and a candidate. He was against any involvement in Afghanistan. Let's just take a listen to what he had to say.
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TRUMP: We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. It's a mess. It's a mess.
It's a total and complete disaster and I'd like to see money spent on this country.
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KINKADE: He said he'd like to see money spent on this country. Instead he's going to spend more money in Afghanistan although he didn't give any time frame to end that war, nor did he commit to any specific numbers for troops. Does that open ended announcement mean that this war could drag on even further?
LEIGHTON: The short answer, Lynda, is yes, it could. And one of the things that I think President Trump is noticing is that he is changing his position base on where he's sitting now. He sees different things, he's been told different things and that makes him change the rhetoric that he enunciated when he was a candidate and before he was a candidate for president.
KINKADE: And of course he was critical tonight of the previous administration, of course, blaming them on the rise of ISIS for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
He also said in this instance that he wants to record (Ph) India and Pakistan. Has that been tried before? And could that make a difference?
LEIGHTON: In theory it could. But it's never been very successful because as you well know the Indians and Pakistanis have been at each other's throats for a very long time. They fought several wars. They don't see eye-to-eye on Afghanistan. And every time there's an rapprochement between India and Pakistan for
a normal issues between those two countries, the inspector of Afghanistan comes up and both countries want to have influence. They want to exercise influence over Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan.
[03:10:02] So the likelihood of that working is very, very small.
KINKADE: And colonel, President Trump also said that we are not a nation building -- we're not a nation building again, we are killing terrorists. He also said the clear mission is to defeat the enemy. Was that not clear before?
LEIGHTON: I think for military people the mission was absolutely always to defeat the enemy and to eliminate them from the battlefield. I think what you're seeing here, is an attempt through rhetoric, perhaps galvanize not only the troops but the American people for further sacrifices.
And of course, he also wants to galvanize allies and have them help not only with troops but also with funds to provide for a further effort against ISIS, the Haqqani network and other networks in Afghanistan.
KINKADE: And just finally, the president said we already seen dramatic results to defeat ISIS. He said since he came into office we have seen record-breaking defeats. Can you fact check that for that? Has it been record breaking when you look at the history of Americans at war?
LEIGHTON: Well, not record breaking for sure. Because when you look at the history of Americans at war, there have been some pretty significant efforts that Americans have made throughout the country's history that have in some pretty spectacular victories.
But in just recent memory you can go to the actual initial onslaught in Afghanistan in 2001 that from a purely technical military standpoint was a very rapid success and deposed the Taliban. You look at Iraq and the fact that things were handled in a -- you know, at least at the very beginning in a very more than blitzkrieg-like fashion, but of course got mired in several other issues.
But in terms of the kinds of things that American forces have done, they've been very successful of record breaking, that's something that I would say for World War II or other huge conflicts. This is a major conflict but it is not a conflict of that proportion.
KINKADE: Colonel Cedric Leighton, always great to have your perspective. Thanks for joining us.
LEIGHTON: You bet, Lynda, any time.
KINKADE: Let's turn now to Larry Sabato to understand how this affects President Trump politically. He is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
Larry, on the campaign trail, President Trump fundamentally opposed international conflicts. Let's just remind our viewers about what he had to say.
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TRUMP: We're on track now to spend, listen to this, $6 trillion, 6 trillion. It could have rebuilt our country twice, altogether on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East.
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KINKADE: Larry, he's basically saying those wars are a waste of money, they could have been spent better in America. It was a platform that got him elected. How will this new strategy this back flip play with his base?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR POLITICS: Well, it is definitely a big flip flop. He said that and much more even before he was a candidate, years before he was a candidate. So, he pretty consistently opposed the spending of what he said was trillions. But now that he's in office he sees it differently.
It's all right. Presidents do that from time to time in the national interest. But I would have expected a little bit more of an explanation of why he did flip flop. Now, as far as his base is concerned, I suspect they'll continue to back him on this, even though they also tended to oppose America' foreign involvements.
KINKADE: What about the wider republican foreign policy circles? Many were critical of President Trump's foreign policy during the campaign. Is this something that the establishment republicans can rally around?
SABATO: Some of them can rally around it. But what's really interesting here is that Trump is in an unusual place. He's actually in the middle of the road, at least in terms of his party. His base has been opposed to foreign involvements. But much of the republican establishment, including, I think most of the incumbent U.S. senators and representatives, actually favor a greater increase in troops strength by the United States in Afghanistan.
So, he's going to have to placate both sides. I suspect he's going to get criticism from both sides.
KINKADE: Let's move on to another big story. There a new poll out by the Washington Post and ABC News which shows a majority of people disapprove about how President Trump responded to the violent protests we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia last week. It shows that 56 percent disapprove, 28 percent approve and 16 have no opinion.
[03:14:59] This, as the nation is still seeing protests and controversy over the Confederate monument. He spoke about that tonight at the start of the speech without naming Charlottesville. What did you make of that? And is it enough?
SABATO: It had zero impact. As you know, he didn't even mention Charlottesville. It is much, much, much too late to be addressing that. And it's far too late to correct the comments that he made last week. They've really stuck with people. What's remarkable is that only 56 percent take opposition to what he
said. And maybe part of that is that people don't follow the news as closely as people who are in the news too.
But still, I think that polls has warnings for him and yet, once again, when you break down the vote or break down the results and you look at who voted for him, overwhelmingly they're still backing him. They're supported what he did or didn't do last week.
KINKADE: And looking ahead to later Tuesday, President Trump heads to Arizona for a campaign-style rally. And there is a speculation that Trump could pardon the controversial sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who was convicted after he refuse to stop detaining people nearly in the suspicion of being undocumented immigrants.
Arpaio was a big supporter of President Trump. Do you think he'll do that?
SABATO: I think he's very sorely tempted. He wants to, both because Arpaio was a strong supporter of his and is a hero to the anti- immigration activists who are big part of the Trump base. But also because he wants to stick it to the establishment and to the reporters and everybody who opposes Arpaio's pardoning or thinks it is unwise.
So it would be very much like him to do it. If he doesn't, it's going to be because his staff convinces him not to repeat last week. He gave a great answer on Monday to Charlottesville in his prepared teleprompter speech and then he took it back and dug himself a deep hole on Tuesday.
He gave an establishment speech on Afghanistan this week on Monday, will he do the same thing, essentially ruin whatever good he's accumulated on Tuesday.
KINKADE: Larry Sabato, good to have you with much. Thank you very much.
SABATO: Thank you.
KINKADE: Well, the political fallout from the president's response to Charlottesville is not easing with time. In unusually dark terms, the U.S. house speaker weighed in on it at CNN's town hall. Take a listen.
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REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So I do believe that he messed up in his commends on Tuesday when it sounded like a moral equivocation, or at the very least moral ambiguity when we need extreme moral clarity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Anger erupted at first Charlottesville city council meeting since the white supremacist rallies. The council eventually voted to drape the Confederate statues in black to mourn the lives lost during the protest and to move towards removing the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
Well, the suspected driver of the van used in last week's terror attack in Barcelona has been shot dead by police bringing an end to a five-day manhunt.
Our Melissa Bell has the details. And we need to let you know her report contains some graphic images.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The last hideout of 22-year-old Younes Abouyaquod, a rural hillside about an hour from Barcelona. A villager have called Monday afternoon after spotting someone is suspicious. Abouyaquod was shot dead wearing an explosives belt that turned out to be fake.
It was the end of an intense manhunt.
CARLES PUIGDEMONT, PRESIDENT, GENERALITAT OF CATALONIA: I'm sure that the world is more safe today after the death of Younes Abouyaquod than before.
BELL: Five days ago, Abouyaquod drove a van into crowds on Barcelona's most popular street, Las Ramblas. He escaped on foot through a market then hijacked the car stabbing to death its owner. As he went on the run, five other members of the cell group preparing to launch an attack in the town of Cambrils, about 100 miles down the coast. All five were shot dead by police. They too were wearing fake suicide belts.
Most of the cell were young men of Moroccan origin in their 20's and most came from the quite town of Ripoll in the foothills of the Pyrenees. They use to meet at this apartment, according to police for these young men were spending a lot of time a long way from home in a house in a town of Alcanar that was destroyed by a massive explosion last week.
[03:19:56] Found in the wreckage, the remains of a preacher. Forty- two-year-old Abdelbaki Es Satty, a man who appears to have influenced many of the attackers.
Spanish police discovered more than 100 gas canisters in the wreckage, as well as components for the powerful explosive, TATP. There was so much dangerous material in the house that police have to carry out several controlled explosions. They believe the group were preparing dozens of bombs for one or more major attacks in Barcelona, but the bomb maker appears to have made a fatal mistake.
Up and down Las Ramblas candles glow at night in tribute to the people of seven nationalities who lost their lives here and in hope for the recovery of the dozens still in the hospital.
But as details emerge about the scale of this the closeness size of this group, there's a frightening realization that the carnage could have been so much worse. And there are alarming questions too about how this conspiracy and the bomb packed through the heart of it went undiscovered.
Melissa Bell, CNN, Barcelona.
KINKADE: Well, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins us now from Barcelona with the latest. And Salma, eight suspected terrorists are dead, four in custody. Where does the investigation go from here?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN FIELD PRODUCER: Well, Lynda, we're getting new information those -- this hour those four that are in custody that you just mentioned. We understand they will be showing up in a court in Madrid very shortly.
Remember, this is a federal investigation, that means it has to be held in a court in Madrid, of course this will not be open to the media because this is a terror investigation. But it does mean that we're going to begin to find out more about who these men are and what their motives are.
Now remember, this is a cell of 12 people. The interior minister has said it's completely dismantled, but let's go through who those 12 are just so that we could remember.
Four are in custody as we said in Madrid, five killed when police shot them down in Cambrils the night of Thursday after they carried out their own vehicular terror attack.
And then of course, we have Abouyaquob who was shot dead yesterday by police and then two people who were found dead in the home in Alcanar, that's a suspected bomb making factor.
Now even though they said it's dismantled that does not mean the work is over for authorities. Let's go back to that house in Alcanar where TATP was found. This is a highly unstable substance. One that's become the bomb making material of choice for terrorist because it's difficult to detect but it's also very difficult to work with.
That means they could have potentially received training. Remember, this TATP was used in Paris, in Brussels, in Manchester and others. And the question is now were they trained? Who trained them? What links do they have, Lynda?
KINKADE: Salma Abdelaziz, still many questions there. Good to have you with us. Thank you.
Well, still to come, U.S. defense secretary arrived in Baghdad on his Middle East tour. Details on his upcoming meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, next.
[03:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: Well, breaking news into CNN. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has just arrived in Baghdad, Iraq. It's part of his Middle East and European tour to reaffirm U.S. commitments to strategic allies. Now Mattis is scheduled to meet with the Iraqi prime minister in the coming hours.
Jomana Karadsheh joins me now from Amman, Jordan. She has been following his trip. And Jomana, this has come not long after the liberation of Mosul where ISIS originally declared its caliphate. What is Mattis expected to talk about when he speaks about the progress there?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lynda, prior to his travel to Baghdad the secretary who is also traveling along his side is the U.S. Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition Against ISIS is Brett McGurk.
The two senior officials held a round table meeting with the reporters who are traveling with them. They did that in Amman before traveling onto Baghdad. And they talked about the progress that is being made in the fight against ISIS whether it's in Syria, where McGurk mentioned that more than half of the city of Raqqa, for example, has been recaptured from ISIS.
They're talking about progress that has been made really fast progress as he has described it in the last six to seven months. And their visit to Iraq comes at a time where over the weekend the Iraqis have launched a new offensive to recapture what is ISIS' last major urban stronghold in northern Iraq, the city of Tal Afar and that is expected to be a very tough fight.
So you've the Iraqis mainly who are on the frontlines when it comes to the fight against ISIS. But probably Iraqi leaders as they have mentioned in the past, they will continue to ask for more support from the United States, from the international community in the fight against ISIS.
And as we heard from these two senior officials, Secretary Mattis and Brett McGurk saying that the United States will continue to support Iraq. Their main focus right now is that fight against ISIS. And Brett McGurk saying that the United States is committed to Iraq's long-term stability, Lynda.
KINKADE: And Jomana, the Kurdistan referendum is expected to happen next month, in about four weeks from now, was that discussed at the round table, what was said?
KARADSHEH: That was one of the issues that came up during this round table. As you mentioned, that referedunm is scheduled to take place, the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. They've scheduled a referendum on independence to take place on the 25th of September.
A lot of concern from U.S. officials, the United States and other countries are pushing the Kurds to postpone this, saying that this is not the time, and reporters ask Secretary Mattis if he believe that he will be able to convince Kurdish leaders to postpone this referendum.
He said that's not something he can answer right now, he's going to have to hold this meeting with Iraqi and Kurdish leaders. But we heard from Brett McGurk saying it is not only the United States that is a concern about this, that it's not only the United States that saying it should be postponed and that this is not the time to be doing this.
Because the main concern of course is that this would distract away from the fight against ISIS, that this could spark some other conflict whether in Iraq or with regional countries. So they are pushing the government in Baghdad, the government in Irbil to meet.
There has been high level delegations who have arrived in Baghdad to try and work out some sort of a resolution. But the Kurds so far, Lynda, are adamant that this will go ahead that it will take place on September 25th.
Brett McGurk warning, saying that if does go ahead is going to be potentially catastrophic to the fight against ISIS.
KINKADE: A dire warning there. Jomana Karadsheh, good to have you with us across this trip. Thank you very much.
Well, coming up, the U.S. navy is investigating a collision at sea after another mishap with one of its warships in the Pacific. We'll have the latest from Singapore, next.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Let's update you on the top story this hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: It is televised primetime space to the American public, U.S. president Donald Trump laid out his strategy for Afghanistan, saying the U.S. is not nation building, it's killing terrorists.
The strategy will be based on conditions on the ground, not time table. He's not disclosing troop on boots or when operations will happen because he says that will play into terrorist plan. Afghanistan's president says he welcomes Mister Trump decision showing an enduring to youth country.
The man accused of driving a van into crowd in Barcelona last week is dead. They shot and killed him on Monday in a rural area just west of the city. He's been on the run ever since Thursday's terror attack on a popular tourist street. Over an eight dozen people were killed, over 100 wounded.
An incredible rescue after an earthquake in Italy, this baby boy was born live from the rubble in island near Naples. The footage was released by the fire and rescue service. At least one person was killed in the quake and authorities say other half a dozen other people remain trapped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: The U.S. Navy is ordering a top to bottom review of this operations after a fourth (Inaudible) involving an American warship in the Pacific this year. The USS John McCain, a guided missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker east in Singapore early Monday. U.S. Navy and Marine divers have join the search for the 10 U.S. sailor still missing. Military experts say the Navy's training is now being called into question and the shakeup in leadership maybe next.
Well Manisha Tank joins us live from Singapore. Manisha, another wake, another collision, hard to believe, this is the fourth this year. How could this happen?
MANISHA TANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Lynda, it seems quite remarkable, doesn't it? And you think of the U.S. Navy and you think of strength, and you think of robustness, you're starting to either think of that ships would be going off course and this has been the latest news now on this particular collision.
But Navy official confirming to CNN that this particular vessel, USS -- the USS John S. McCain did have a steering issue, earlier we thought that they corrected it, but apparently before the collision, there was a steering issue.
And so, as these investigations go and the U.S. Navy has said that there will be an investigation into the sense of it but also a broader investigation into to general operations across the fleet.
As it goes on, we will get more details on that. These are very busy shipping channel. You can see behind me, so many ships that are stuck up right on the coastline of Singapore. But where the USS John S. McCain docked right now is to my right.
A bit further down the coastline, along side the USS America, many questions are being asked about these particular vessels which a really very important line of defense in what is a very contentious area of the world, the semi geopolitical tension around North Korea for example.
So very important that this should be got right and even if this is a busy area, still, how could it be? The good question that ships will be going off course like this.
KINKADE: An of course many should be at the rescue -- the search and rescue continues, 10 sailors missing. What are you learning?
[03:35:00] TANK: Yes, well, of course time is really ticking on that. This is day two now at the search and rescue. There have been assets deployed by the Singaporeans, the Malaysians, even Indonesians here in this part of the world.
But of course, the U.S. itself -- the USS America which is an amphibious assault vessel has very experienced divers on board. It's now confirmed they have sent divers down and we can't rule out the possibility that there may have been sailors trapped in the hall of the John S. -- the John S. McCain.
This is a reality that we can't ignore. So divers have gone down. They will be looking at possible damage to the ship. Damage that -- mechanical damage that would have been sustained in the collision. But there are apparently down this some sealed compartments and it's
very important that they get divers down there quickly to asses what may have gone on.
The search and rescue also continues and about 100 square nautical miles out to sea in the area behind me between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca to the east of Singapore and again, there are many assets being pulled in as that effort goes on.
KINKADE: All right, Manisha Tank for us in Singapore, thank you very much. Well the USS John S. McCain is significant not just to the defense of the U.S. but also of its ally South Korea, and the incident comes as those two countries continued joint military drills despite rise in tensions in the area.
Indeed Pyongyang says the exercises could threaten a quote, uncontrollable face of nuclear war. But despite such rhetoric, the U.S. Pacific military chief says diplomacy remains the priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADMIRAL HARRY HARRIS, 24TH COMMANDER, UNITED STATES PACIFIC COMMAND: We hope and work for a diplomatic solution to the challenge presented Kim Jong-un and a strong diplomatic effort backed by a strong military effort is the key because credible combat power should be a support of diplomacy and not the other way around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, Paula Hancocks has more for us now from Seoul. And Paula, North Korea has threatened merciless retaliation over the U.S.- South Korea drills, certainly some though words.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well that's right. This is the sort of rhetoric we do expect this time of the year from North Korea.
They are infuriated by these military drills. They called the U.S. warmongers, one of the recent articles just from today from KCNA, State-run media, are also saying that they would have a ruthless retaliation and punishment.
This is the sort of rhetoric we expect from North Korea when it comes to these military drills. But as you heard there from Admiral Harry Harris, they are necessary.
We also from the head of the U.S. forces in Korea General Vincent Brooks he said that once they feel there isn't a need for exercises, they won't to do anymore exercises but there certainly not at that point -- at this point.
The U.S. secretary of defense also say that North Korea knows these are defensive drills they been carrying on for decades with these defensive drills according to James Mattis and it's just public consumption that North Korea's carries out this rhetoric for. Lynda.
KINKADE: And speaking of rhetoric, we certainly heard some words in recent weeks between the U.S. president and the leader of North Korea, but it sounds like the top commander there in the region, the U.S. commander really wants diplomacy.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely. And we also had a U.S. congressional delegation here in Seoul just today, they spoke to reports little earlier on. They've met with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in with the foreign minister.
They've been to Tokyo. They're on their way to China and one of the senators, Senator Ed Markey was saying about the -- those comments from President Trump that the blaster is counterproductive saying that he hopes that President Trump will come to realize that he is the commander-in-chief.
And it's not helpful to be -- to be speaking like that but all of the delegation where Democrats and one Republican there as well was saying that they were only great on the fact that the military option is not an option when it comes to the Korean Peninsula.
Trying to put concerns from South Koreans hearing those -- those e strong words from President Trump but also saying that China needs to do more to try and put economic pressure on North Korea. So certainly we are seeing a lot of activity here at the moment.
The top U.S. ministry commanders in Seoul and also the political arena is being represented here as well. So certainly there seems to be a concerted effort on the behalf of the United States to try and lower the tensions here. Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes, a lot to say. Of course, Paula Hancocks for us in Seoul, thank you.
[03:40:00] Well the children of the last American soldier to defect to North Korea say their father is dead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: James Joseph Dresnok crossed into the country in 1962 saying he was fed up with his life in South Korea. Two of his sons who live in North Korea saying he died last year.
They spoke in a propaganda video that may have been under duress. They say the 74-year-old had a stroke after receiving medical attention for an undisclosed condition.
Well, still to come, the costs of the Trump family travel, why the secret is having a tough time capping with all these golf club visits and of his trip.
And millions watched the total solar eclipse in the U.S. but despite of the warnings, some people just didn't follow the rules.
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(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KINKADE: Welcome back. When it comes to travel, Donald Trump and his family is certainly wracking the miles in just his first year in office.
President Trump's on track to spend more on travel than Barack Obama's spent over his entire eight years and that putting a big strain on the secret service. Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The multiple weekend extrusions to Mar-a-Largo, the repeated visits to his golf club in New Jersey, round-the-clock security for first lady and their son inside from Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan until recently.
Now there's more scrutiny on the screen of those operations for the men and women who protect President Trump and his extended family.
CAROL LEONNIG, REPORTER, WASHINGTON post: They are now working overtime hours they are not getting paid for.
TODD: Secret Service Director Randolph Alles said about 1100 agency employees will work overtime hours this year that they won't get paid for without Congress stepping in.
Alles pointed out in a statement quote, this issue is not one that can be attributed to the current administration's protection requirements but rather has been an ongoing issue for nearly a decade. Still, observers say Alles has a problem internal at the Secret Service.
LEONNIG: He has a lot of angry frustrated agents who feel that they are giving more than they can -- than they should give by serving on these details.
TODD: And the Trump details are taxing the Secret Service in unique ways, unlike other presidents who made trips to Camp David were military security is already in place. President Trump's made frequent trips to his resorts.
Former Secret Service Agent Larry Johnson says that creates more security challenges and the longer hours for the agents.
LARRY JOHNSON, FORMER ANALYST, U.S. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: And you're going to have to name check, you're going to have to do extra security because of access to individuals that may either be residents in that location or members of the golf club et cetera.
The logistics of the Secret Service is quite amazing when you talk about moving vehicles, moving agents, moving assets like magnetometer.
[03:45:00] TODD: In Trump's large family, 18 members and all travel often and need protection wherever they go. USA Today reports Trump's son Eric took a business trip to Uruguay earlier this year which calls the Secret Service almost $100,000 just for hotel rooms.
LEONNIG: You may remember when the children -- three adult children all went skiing, it cost quite a pretty penny in ski lift fees just for the Secret Service Agents.
It cost thousands upon thousands of dollars in golf cart fees when the family is in Mar-a-Largo because the Secret Service Agents have to -- have golf carts to follow everybody around.
TODD: This is from the president who tweeted three years ago, quote, we pay for Obama's travels so he can fund raise millions of Democrats can run on lives then we pay for his golf.
The White House issued a statement saying the president is committed to ensuring the Secret Service has all the resources it needs.
Secret Service Director Alles promise to work with Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to make sure agents are paid their overtime.
Even if the budget and overtime issues are resolved this year, former Secret Service Agents and other observers worry about broader long- term issue, the challenges of keeping top agents in the agency.
Several of them have left in recent years and the challenges of recruiting top law enforcement agents to join the Secret Service. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
KINKADE: Well a tornado has struck a town in Northern China, ripping up roof tiles and smashing windows. Have a look at this vision.
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KINKADE: You see there are blowing away thousands gathering the debris. China says many reported that that tornado lasted about 10 minutes.
Authorities are now warning of possible new disasters, expecting more heavy rain in both the north and the south.
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KINKADE: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with the latest on the storm. Hey, Pedram.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, nice seeing you, Lynda. We follows a solar eclipse, it's rare but pleasant surprise having here at this hour.
Well, probably catch on what's here across portions of Asia because of severe weather concern certainly in place around the northeast but I want to show you something down across the south, see that little spin in the atmosphere, that is a tropical storm in the worst across that region.
And of course, not just confined toward Southern China, it's pretty upwards of 100 to about 150 millimeters of rain fall for our friends across parts of Luzon, so the area of interest are very high across this region.
And we go for a closer perspective because climatologically speaking, there are about five months in a year there where Hong Kong see tremendous rain falls, stretches from the month of May goes all the way into September, notice the month of August, there's only second to a month of June.
So we are among the wettest times of the year right now across parts of Southern China. Here go hot though, notice the area interest, get a little eyes warning, the winds right now sustained at 85 kilometers per hour, just as the 120, we're talking about a typhoon.
So again, it have everything it needs to organize here with the very much warm waters in favorable condition and you see what in its path Hong Kong potentially areas just to the south of that region as well on the models right now.
Do you want to take it very close to category one strength bring it in, I think somewhere just south of Hong Kong potentially near Macau beyond that, it goes well for the west into the mountains and falls apart.
But rainfall really the major concern with this and we've done a population calculator across this region. We're talking 66 million people in the path of the storm system once in a climate works its way inland.
And of course if you take a look a population for countries such as France, 55 million people to really put that in perspective of a large and densely populated region, this is going to bring tremendous rainfall to where it fits in wet season as, Lynda, just told you, they have seen a lot of rainfall and flooding concerns in recent days.
And anytime you hit them to the pinks, the purple, even some of the white indicated right there, that's a half a meter of rainfall which is essentially one month worth of rainfall in two days coming down across parts of Southern China.
And when you think about that, you know, a lot get excited about the (Inaudible), it's not a typhoon, it's not concerning, not so the case, when you look at what takes lives when it comes to tropical cyclones, really any given location but in the United States, there is data available for this.
And we see that about 80 plus percent of fatalities are related to the water element of it been whether the storm surge or the flooding concern associated with tropical disturbances. So you think about that the wind speed is really negligible compared to the water element and there's plenty of it to go around but storm, Lynda.
When you look at Hong Kong inside the next seven days, just about every single day has a chance for wet weather and thunderstorms, so definitely, the concerning time across this region as well. Lynda.
KINKADE: It certainly is. But the there is a pretty rare event that we get work together. Did you happen to catch the solar eclipse today?
JAVAHERI: You know, I have not slept since before the eclipse. So yes, I absolutely need the trip up into the mountains and saw it and then came back.
KINKADE: Excellent. I was counting on you what to get. What missing sleeps for? All right, thanks Pedram.
[03:50:00] KINKADE: Well, Pedram was one of the millions of people across continental U.S.A. who stopped to take in the total solar eclipse.
KINKADE: People in the part of totally saw it through filtered glasses when the moon blocked out the sun. These images show the moon shadow as the eclipse moves across the northern hemisphere. A lot (Inaudible) Carbondale, Illinois got to enjoy the longest duration of the total eclipse at two minutes and 43 seconds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was really cool. I mean like the whole sun was covered by the moon and then it went really dark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then uncovered, that was just really amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's absolutely incredible, very amazing. My husband and I stood and I wasn't sure about climbing, and it was definitely worth it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So better than you thought it would be?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Much better that I expected it to be.
KINKADE: Very cool. Well she's not the only one, millions of people over the moon when they saw the eclipse the sun. CNN's Jeanne Moos says some of the oddest moments including fainting goats and a wedding.
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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So many glasses, who cares? Everyone from Superman, to President Trump done them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is! It is incredibly dark. It's very eerie. It's a spooky, spooky experience. I may be speechless.
MOOS: I see a shadow covering the earth. It the blanket news coverage of the eclipse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Totality now arriving. So happy, I could cry. I'm a little breathless. That was our two minutes of ecstasy.
MOOS: Coverage range from a couple that found ecstasy getting married during the eclipse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two hearts arts aligned today.
MOOS: The Washington Post live streaming eclipse as effect on fainting goats, when they're scared, they sometimes do this. During the eclipse...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They almost just didn't move.
MOOS: Bonnie Tyler sang her single to song on an eclipsed cruise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you stare into a total eclipse of the heart without glasses?
BONNIE TYLER, SINGER, TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART: Look into my heart. I wear it on my sleep.
MOOS: People sure were scared into wearing those glasses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not supposed to stare right at the sun, unless you hate your eyes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's concentrated energy that cannot only burn your glasses, it can also burn your eyes.
MOOS: When it was over, the Guardian pranked readers with a how to tell if you damage eyes article that was intentionally blurry. Outside the path of totality was 71 percent eclipse in New York City was underwhelming.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think its cooler to watch the people who are watching it.
MOOS: Especially people odd boxes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still see it?
MOOS: No. Does it word better if it's organic?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it does.
MOOS: And there was the president's classes worked, that didn't stop him from glancing up without them, landing him on the cover of the New York Daily news.
This newborn was named the eclipse, others were dressed in eclipse outfits and NASA released a photo of the international space station silhouetted against the sun which was of course then Photoshop from Chris Christie to ET.
During the last solar eclipse over North America in 1979, a network anchor spoke of the next one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 38 years for now, may the shadow of the moon fall in the world at peace.
MOOS: There was no peace even from cars this time around.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you have a car alarm? Apparently the car is excited the eclipse as well.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
KINKADE: Well, still to come.
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KINKADE: That is a sound you won't be hearing in London for quite some time. Big Ben has been silence. That when we comeback.
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[03:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, for almost 150 years, the iconic sound of Big Ben has been ringing across London. At the Clock Tower needs fixing and on Monday, Big Ben fell silent. David McKenzie reports.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is perhaps London's most famous sight and sound. Every hour on the hour, the bombs of Big Ben drawing crowds keeping time of the London, the clock, a marble of 19th century engineering, the (Inaudible) bell chiming through war and peace, uninterrupted for 157 years.
Pelted now for major renovations to Elizabeth's Tower, the 118 decibel bong is too loud for the renovation team.
ADAM WATROBSKI, CONSTRUCTION ARCHITECT: Well this is the most extensive work that's ever been done. I mean the tower is pressure need to repair and doing nothing of course is not an option.
So based on that we put together this extensive package of works which really starts at the top and does all way down to the bottom.
MCKENZIE: Well, the bell will be mostly silent for at least four years and for some members of Parliament, that's a bit of clangor. And it's created a very British tiff.
STEPHEN POUND, BRITISH MEMBER, PARLIAMENT: What can be more symbolic than the sound of Big Ben, the sound of his glorious bells ringing out in the sort of TV across Westminster. So it's people feel that they want to cling on to something that was safe for it to understand and that if (Inaudible) from the very lips.
MCKENZIE: For some tourists here, it's all a bit emotional. PETER ELKS, TOURIST: Well, Big Ben is just what London is all about and when I was little, I use to watch the news and Nig Ben, he always to be 10:00 news, Big Ben used to strike and said it all.
All of the big occasions, you got Big Ben, so for the next four years, it's going to be -- it's going to be sad really not to hear it.
MCKENZIE: The hammer will still strike on the Remembrance Day and in the New Year's Eve and when it's all done the clock face is restored to the colorful Victorian Splenda, (Inaudible) once again, David McKenzie, CNN London.
KINKADE: I'm Lynda Kinkade, thanks for joining me. The news continues next with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London.