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THE SITUATION ROOM

New Threats & Warnings Over North Korean Nuclear Blast; U.S. Ambassador to U.N.: Kim Jong-un 'Begging for War'; Reports: Trump to End Program Protecting Young Undocumented Immigrants; Florida State of Emergency as Major Hurricane Approaches; Some in Japan Preps for North Korean Nuclear Attack. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 4, 2017 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Happening now, nuclear reaction. North Korea responds to President's Trump threats of fire and fury by detonating one of the most powerful nuclear bomb it's ever tested. Does the White House need a new plan for dealing with North Korea?

[17:00:18] "Begging for war." South Korea conducts live fire exercises in response to North Korea's latest nuclear test. The United States urges the United Nations to increase pressure on Kim Jong-un, accusing him of begging for war.

Immigration fight. President Trump is expected to announce the end of President Obama's program, protecting undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Some top Republicans oppose that move. What kind of fight will that play out in Congress?

And Irma's impact. A deadly and dangerous hurricane could make landfall along the U.S. East Coast. Irma is a Category 4 hurricane now. What parts of the U.S. could be in the storm's path?

Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Jim Acosta. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight we're following worldwide anger, threats and frustration over North Korea's latest nuclear weapons test. Scientists say the weekend's blast is the most powerful nuclear explosion North Korea ever achieved. And there are new warnings that Kim Jong-un's nuclear bombs now fit on top of his intercontinental ballistic missile.

South Korea staged its own show of force today, conducting live-fire military drills and ordering the deployment of more U.S.-supplied anti-missile launchers. President Trump and South Korea's president got on the phone today to discuss other options for dealing with the North Korean threat.

At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley accused Kim Jong-un of begging for war. President Trump is raising eyebrows and questions by threatening to stop U.S. trade with countries helping North Korea. His threat could include China. The big question tonight: Can the president say or do anything that will make a difference?

We're also watching a major hurricane gaining strength in the Atlantic. Hurricane Irma has just become a Category 4 storm. There's an increasing chance Florida, the peninsula and the Keys could feel at least some impact from the storm.

Democratic Senator Ed Markey, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is standing by for our questions. Our correspondents, analysts and specialists also have coverage of the day's top stories.

Let's begin with CNN's Sara Murray at the White House. Sara, what more is President Trump doing about North Korea at this hour?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the president has spoken with a number of world leaders today, including the South Korea president, and on that call, the two world leaders agreed that South Korea could possess more forceful weaponry.

Now, this comes at a time when the White House is making clear all options are still on the table when it comes to North Korea. And President Trump is still pointing his finger at other countries, saying they need to do more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY (voice-over): President Trump's bombastic threats...

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

MURRAY: -- appear to be ringing hollow with Pyongyang as North Korea tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb over the weekend. While Trump recently complimented North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for his restraint...

TRUMP: Kim Jong-un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us. I respect that fact very much.

MURRAY: -- now the administration is making clear its patience is running thin as this dangerous foreign policy crisis escalates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, will you attack North Korea?

TRUMP: We'll see.

MURRAY: On Sunday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters military options were actively under consideration.

JAMES MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response.

MURRAY: As Trump ramped up threats of economic pressure, tweeting, "The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea."

And at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council today, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley fired off this warning.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now. But our country's patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory.

MURRAY: This weekend Trump acknowledged North Korea's latest move was a major nuclear test. And then promptly lashed out at other nations for failing to do more to curb the rogue regime's aggression. The president calling North Korea "a great threat, an embarrassment to China."

But on the heels of a nuclear test that shook the ground in South Korea, Trump saved his sharpest ire for a key U.S. ally in this predicament, tweeting, "South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work. They only understand one thing."

[17:05:04] As tensions rise with North Korea, Trump is preparing to make a controversial move on U.S. soil. Sources tell CNN he's expected to announce Tuesday that he will end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the program that allows young, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to avoid deportation. Trump plans to delay the decision for six months to give Congress time to come up with a fix, a move welcomes by some Republicans but panned by Democrats and the head of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who pointed to Trump's repeated vows to protect the so-called DREAMers.

TRUMP: We love the DREAMers. We love everybody.

JAVIER PALOMAREZ, MEMBER, TRUMP DIVERSITY COUNCIL: If he gets rid of DACA, he's showing that he is a liar.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now, former President Obama has been relatively quiet post- presidency, but this decision could be something that causes him to speak out. He said in his final press conference as president that any decision to end DACA would merit some sort of response -- Jim.

ACOSTA: A ton of controversy sounds like it's coming. Sara Murray, thank you.

Also causing alarm tonight, the increasing speed of North Korea's nuclear and missile break-through. Brian Todd is looking into the reasons for the rapid advance.

Brian, what are you finding?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf -- excuse me, Jim. The big reason that the North Koreans have advanced so quickly is because they test so often, and every time they test, even if it fails, they learn something. A short time ago, U.S. intelligence officials told us they're highly confident this was a test of an advanced nuclear device, and what they've seen so far is not inconsistent with North Korea's claims of having tested a hydrogen bomb.

Tonight, experts say Kim Jong-un's weapons program has made strides over the past year that we really haven't seen before.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): Tonight new warnings of a young dictator's nuclear and missile program that caught the world off-guard.

JOHN PARK, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL'S KOREA WORKING GROUP: These are startling developments in a short period of time that we're measuring in terms of weeks rather than in terms of a year time span.

TODD: North Korea has increased the strength of its nuclear bomb blast over the last decade from about a thousand tons of TNT to 10,000 tons last year at this time, to Sunday's test, estimated at 50 to 120,000 tons of TNT. That means it could be three to eight times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Over the past year, experts say, Kim Jong-un has accelerated his most lethal capabilities at a breathtaking pace.

JOSEPH CRINCIONE, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: North Korea has made a quantum leap in both nuclear weapons and in missiles. Sorry. North Korea has made a quantum leap in both nuclear weapons and in missiles. They've gone from a regional nuclear threat with short- and medium-range missiles to a global nuclear threat with proven intermediate-range missiles, now intercontinental ballistic missiles.

TODD: Those two ICBM tests in July, experts say, catapulted North Korea's ability to hit the U.S. with a nuclear-tipped missile. Some analysts say the speed of the missile program caught U.S. intelligence off-guard.

ADAM MOUNT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: The range of the missile tests are far beyond what U.S. intelligence and open-source analysts expected.

TODD: In a recent interview with CBS, CIA Director Mark Pompeo denied that, saying they've been tracking the North Koreans' missile program all along.

MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: The intelligence community has actually had a pretty good picture. Can we predict days or weeks? No, certainly not. But we have certainly had a pretty good handle on the work that's been done to develop these system of systems.

TODD: But North Korea has also ramped up research and testing for mobile missile launchers, advanced engines and fuels, high-tech materials, miniaturized warheads, reentry shields and submarine- launched missiles. Kim's regime now claims it has a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit on a missile. Experts aren't sure, but some say tonight, the North Korean nuclear and missile threat is greater than it's ever been.

CRINCIONE: By the end of the first Trump administration, North Korea will have the ability to hit almost any city in the United States with a thermonuclear bomb.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: What the North Koreans have not perfected as of tonight, the reentry and targeting capability of those missiles. They have not proven that their missiles can go up into space carrying a nuclear warhead and reenter the atmosphere without breaking up and accurately hit their targets. But they are working furiously toward that -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Brian Todd, thank you.

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Ed Markey. He's on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He's just back from a visit to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

Senator, thanks for joining us this evening.

ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you.

ACOSTA: This latest nuclear test we're told is ten times larger than the previous test last September. How dangerous is this situation right now?

MARKEY: Well, obviously, this is moving much more rapidly than the expert community had been warning us about. Time is now of the essence. If they can actually put a hydrogen bomb on top of an ICBM and reach an American city, that would be something that would be very threatening to our country, and it may be the point of no return for the Kim regime. They may just stop all negotiations at that point.

[17:10:12] And so this is our last clear chance to find a way of having crippling economic sanctions be imposed upon the North Korean government so we can go to the table, freeze their program, and simultaneously assure them that we do not have an intention to overturn their regime.

ACOSTA: And how close would you say is North Korea to putting a nuclear warhead in an ICBM? You believe that it is close. Are they there yet, do we think?

MARKEY: I don't know that anyone can say with any sense of complete accuracy, but I do know that they're moving at a very rapid pace. They're reaching a point where it's much more powerful that is no longer Hiroshima-level atomic bomb, but now hydrogen bomb, thermonuclear weapon capacity.

And so the whole agenda now has to be telescoped in time frame so that we go to the negotiating table, that we get the Chinese, the Russians and others to impose the crippling sanctions, and then we try to negotiate quickly. Because otherwise, Kim will get that capacity, and I think at that point, it will be much more difficult for him to give up that capacity.

ACOSTA: And Senator, what was your reaction when you heard about this test over the weekend? Did it catch you by surprise. as it caught so many other people by surprise?

MARKEY: It did not catch me by surprise. It is very clear that they have developed a very much more sophisticated way of deploying ICBMs. Last year, they were having failure after failure after failure. This year we're seeing success after success after success. It's clear that they are funneling massive amounts of their own domestic capital into this program, and each success is bringing them ever closer to the fruition of this very dangerous program being in the hands of the Kim regime.

ACOSTA: And President Trump, Senator, says that North Korea only understands one thing, hinting at military force. But the North Koreans don't seem to be getting that message. If that's the only thing they understand, and the threat has certainly been out there for the last several weeks, why aren't they getting the message?

MARKEY: Well, there is no military solution to this problem. If we initiated a first strike against the North Korean government, it would very likely result in a retaliation against South Korea. And there are 30 million South Koreans living within a 30-mile radius of the demilitarized zone. So that would be the most catastrophic event on this planet since World War II. And so military really is not an option. We have to find a way of using crushing economic sanctions and diplomacy to solve this problem.

ACOSTA: And does the Trump administration, do you believe, have a coherent strategy for dealing with this? What did you make of this talk of going after the Chinese and the South Koreans when it comes to trade as a form of leverage? What did you make of that? Was that -- was that an effective course of action, do you think?

MARKEY: I think that it's clear that there has been a 22 percent increase in trade between China and North Korea from last July to this July. That's a big problem.

We have to insist that the Chinese cut off their oil, begin to dramatically ratchet down the oil they send in to fuel the North Korean economy. We have to cut off the slave labor revenues that flow back into North Korea, cut off their export of textiles, shut down the business relationships which North Korea has with partnerships around the world.

And to ultimately cut off the luxury goods that flow into North Korea for the Kim regime, the elite at the top of their -- at the top of their pyramid, a very narrow elite at the top of their country.

We can do this. We just need the Chinese to understand that this is the last clear chance, and we're going to need diplomacy. We're going to need the United States to talk to China and Russia and other countries, but we're also going to need the United States to agree that we will talk to the North Koreans. Because it's that one-on-one negotiation which the North Koreans want, and they want us to assure them that we do not want to topple their regime. Otherwise, their only protection, from their perspective, is going to be to develop an ICBM with a hydrogen bomb.

ACOSTA: And Senator, what about this criticism from the White House aimed at South Korea? Does that make sense to you? You recently returned from a trip to the DMZ. What are the repercussions of President Trump criticizing South Korea around this nuclear test?

[17:15:07] MARKEY: The one goal that the North Koreans have is to sever the relationships that the United States have with the South Koreans, with the Japanese and with others.

So we play into Kim's hand when we begin to criticize our partners in South Korea. The South Koreans have actually suffered a $10 billion trade loss in tourism with the Chinese since the United States pressured the South Koreans to deploy the THAAD ballistic missile system. Their economy is already paying a price for cooperation with this U.S. strategy. They are our partners. They do not want a second Korean War. They want tougher sanctions imposed economically in order to bring Kim to the table.

We should be listening to them and trying to construct a strategy that solemnly deals with this entire situation short of a military first strike by the United States.

ACOSTA: OK, Senator, stand by. We're going to take a quick break. Obviously, we have other big news to talk about, including -- including the president's threat. We believe it's a threat at this point that he is going to end that program, that DACA program, for the so-called DREAMers that are expected to be announced tomorrow. Senator, we'll talk about that on the other side of this break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:21:05] ACOSTA: And we're back with Democratic Senator Ed Markey, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, want to turn to DACA now. Several of your Republican colleagues say they want President Trump to give Congress the opportunity to address DACA. As we know, he's expected to terminate that program tomorrow, perhaps with a six-month delay for people who were in that program.

Do you trust that the Senate can come to an agreement on a legislative solution? Is there a possibility that nearly 800,000 DREAMers may be left in dire straits if the Senate can't pass this, or if it can't get out of the House, for that matter?

MARKEY: Well, I can't speak to the House of Representatives, and historically, they've been adamantly opposed to a comprehensive immigration reform bill passing. The Freedom Caucus there has just absolutely opposed it, although it's good to hear Speaker Ryan now talk about this issue in a way that might lead towards a solution.

My hope is that, on this issue ,that President Trump is a uniter and not a divider, and he's going to unite Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate...

ACOSTA: Yes.

MARKEY: -- so that we can pass legislation to predict [SIC] -- protect these DREAMers, but there is no guarantee, ultimately, that an obstinate group of Republican members might still not find ways of putting obstacles in the way to passage of that legislation. ACOSTA: And so there is a chance this may not get out of the Senate.

I mean, just looking at your landscape, your side of things.

MARKEY: Well, I'm hopeful in the Senate, very hopeful in the Senate. But I can't speak to the House of Representatives. I can't speak to this Hastert rule that says that you have to find a majority of the majority to pass any legislation over there. That would mean that a majority of Republicans have to support it. I think that that is still yet to be determined.

But hopefully, we will be able to put something together, and ultimately, maybe it will be the basis for us to be able to pass a comprehensive immigration bill so that all 11 million of these immigrants have a pathway to citizenship in our country. That has been very elusive of with the Republican Congress, going back a decade.

ACOSTA: OK. All right, Senator Markey. We appreciate your time. Thank you very much. We'll have to wait and see how this plays out tomorrow. Obviously, a big test not just for the White House but also members of Congress, as well. Senator Markey, thank you.

MARKEY: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, the latest update on a dangerous storm. Irma is now a Category 4 hurricane. You may not have been focusing on this over the weekend. It's now Category 4. Will it hit the U.S.?

Also ahead, more on the politics behind President Trump's decision that will affect 800,000 young immigrants. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:28:12] ACOSTA: President Trump has been on the phone with world leaders today, including Germany's Angela Merkel and South Korea's president. They're discussing the global threat posed by North Korea's explosion of what Kim Jong-un's regime says was a hydrogen bomb. At the United Nations today, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told diplomats it seems like Kim Jong-un is, quote, "begging for war."

Let's get our specialists in here to get some insights. David Sanger, let me go to you first. Let me just ask you about what happened over the weekend. Those tests seemed to catch -- it was one of those that caught us all by surprise, but it didn't surprise us all that much. But how dangerous, how big a test was this, do you think?

DAVID SANGER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, it was a lot bigger than anything they had tested before. This was their sixth nuclear test, Jim, in 11 years.

All the previous ones had been of either fizzles or roughly the size of what the United States dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. This was at least six times bigger than that.

What does that mean? Do they have a hydrogen bomb yet? We don't know. There are many stages to a hydrogen bomb, and they're probably somewhere along the road. But politically, I'm not sure it makes any difference. Because what it indicates is they've joined the big leagues of the nuclear club, and they can now pull off nuclear explosions of the size that India and Pakistan, Israel have been able to -- weapons they've been able to -- to develop. Other non-members of the nuclear proliferation treaty.

ACOSTA: And John Kirby, Senator Markey just said a few moments ago we can't say with any certainty whether or not North Korea can put a nuclear bomb into an ICBM. But what do we know? Are they -- how close are they?

JOHN KIRBY, CNN DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY ANALYST: Well, intelligence estimates, and David knows this, they're sort of a little bit all over the place.

That said, they have been advancing this program much faster than intelligence assessments had them doing, even as little as a year ago. So they're moving faster. They're certainly moving with more capability. And this ICBM capability they have is very worrisome.

[17:30:19] Now, we -- the jury is out about whether they can miniaturize, and quite frankly, there's no indication, we have no evidence that concludes that, even if they could miniaturize and put it on a missile, that it could survive reentry, and it could actually be an effective weapon. But that -- they are moving forward.

And as Admiral Harris out of PaCom says, every time they try, even if it doesn't succeed, they learn, they improve, and we've seen the benefits that they've accrued now from these tests.

ACOSTA: And Kaitlan, one of the things that we've noticed over the last 24 hours, 48 hours, the president responding to all of this by tweeting that South Korean appeasement won't work, because North Korea only understands one thing, presumably force. But we should point out that Steve Bannon has even said there's no military solution to all of this. So how much of this talk of fire and fury is bluster and bluffing?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that's likely one of the reasons Steve Bannon doesn't work in the White House. But we are seeing some mixed messages here. As you know, when President Trump was asked yesterday if he would order an attack on North Korea, he responded with "We'll see." And then, as we saw, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the president had all options at his disposal, all of these assets.

But I think what we should be looking at is what Nikki Haley and treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin are saying. Nikki Haley at that emergency meeting today said that we should exhaust all of our diplomatic means possible.

And Steve Mnuchin, we know, announced yesterday that he's drafting this new sanctions package to give to the president that would put more economic pressure on North Korea. So I think that's the route they're taking, but we definitely are seeing mixed messages from the White House on this. ACOSTA: And Adrian, how about that, because the president did tweet

about this earlier today, about going after this trade issue as some sort of leverage. We've heard this many times before. It is one of the president's cards. He thinks he can threaten China with all of this.

But he says, once again, "The U.S. is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade doing business with North Korea," which obviously means China. But we've heard this threat before. How much of this can the Chinese actually believe?

ADRIAN CARRASQUILLO, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BUZZFEED: I think what we've seen before with Trump is that when he tweets out some of these options that people don't think are actually going to happen, you saw on Twitter the response was, "We'll hear all the countries that do have trade, you know."

And so the problem, I think, is that he throws out these tweets, but then you see the people on the defense and the rest just say that it's not going to work; it's not an option.

ACOSTA: And David, I want to play for you the sound that I guess all of us remember from the president's speech in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, that fire and brimstone speech that he delivered down there. Listen to what the president said about North Korea and Kim Jong-un. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Kim Jong-un, I respect the fact that I believe he is starting to respect us. I respect that fact very much. And maybe -- probably not -- but maybe something positive can come about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: That was almost two weeks ago. Does Kim Jong-un respect us more now?

SANGER: Well, certainly, the evidence is pretty slim. The president said this, because there had been about a two-week-long hiatus in testing and other provocative actions. I've been covering North Korea for 30 years now, and there have been times they have gone four months, six months, eight months without a major test. The fact...

ACOSTA: Why do you think it's one after another now during the Trump administration?

SANGER: Well, that -- so what's happening -- I think it has more to do with -- very good question. It has more to do with Kim Jong-un, I think, than it does with President Trump.

He is on a drive to make sure that, if there's ever a diplomatic freeze on his nuclear and missile programs, that he's freezing them after he's got the whole program together.

So he is just on an incredible pace of the kind that John was referring to. And because of that, I was sort of wondering at the moment I heard those words come out of the president's mouth. I was thinking two weeks is not very long in the history of this kind of thing. He could come to regret this.

And interestingly, the same day, Secretary of State Tillerson made a very similar comment about how there was now maybe an opening. And I just think it was a lack of experience in watching the North Koreans and how they act. The way that Kim Jong-un came back was pretty predictable and predicted.

ACOSTA: Right. And all this talk, obviously, can paint yourself into a corner. This administration is now seeing that to some extent with North Korea.

We want to take a quick break, and we want to talk about DACA and this big decision that we expect to come down tomorrow. That's going to be in just a few moments when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:39:16] ACOSTA: OK. We're back with our political and national security specialists. Adrian Carrasquillo, I want to go to you next. Let's play some sound of President Trump talking about immigration back in 2011 and undocumented immigrants and deportations and people who have been in this country for a long period of time. He talks about this in this clip that our Andrew Kaczynski uncovered earlier this afternoon. Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP (via phone): This is a matter of -- this isn't conservative. I'm the world's most conservative person. This isn't conservative; this is compassion.

STEVE DOOCY, CO-HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL'S "FOX & FRIENDS": Is it amnesty?

TRUMP: I guess to a certain extent, for a very limited number of people, it would be considered amnesty. But how do you tell a family that's been here for 25 years to get out?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: There you have the president six years ago. "How do you tell a family that's been here for 25 years to get out?" And here we are less than 24 hours, presumably, before the president pulls back on DACA.

How -- this is a big story, potentially, for this White House. I mean, maybe the kind of magnitude that they haven't quite understood at this point. There are going to be protests out there tomorrow. You have all these DREAMers that have been in this country for years and years. They'll obviously be out in front of the cameras, very worried about their future.

CARRASQUILLO: Yes. And the problem is Trump has talked about this for a long time, that he has heart on this issue, that he loves DREAMers. And so people within the administration say that that is true, that it is a consideration that he has.

But ultimately, you know, I just wrote a piece calling DACA a political orphan, because ultimately, the people that have opposed DACA within the administration -- Steven Miller, Jeff Sessions, who does not want to defend it in court -- they've defended it for -- they've been opposed to DACA for years. And so the people who are kind of pro-DACA in the administration are kind of lukewarm and kind of late to the issue. They tried, you know, in the last minutes here to try to get DACA to save -- Trump to save the program, and that looks like it's not going to happen tomorrow.

ACOSTA: And as much as people would have appreciated the compassion, if he had shown this in this case, Kaitlan, he was out there on the campaign trail time and again, hammering on this issue. So to show any leniency, I would think, at this point would really repel that base, the Breitbarts, the Bannons of the world. What is your sense of that inside that part of Trump's Republican party? Are they going to be happy with this? Is this going to go far enough?

COLLIN: Well, I think the base is going to be happy with it, but he can't win, really, either way. Because on the campaign trail he repeatedly said it was illegal, constitutional, and that he would terminate it immediately.

But as soon as he won the presidency, in an interview that December, he said he was going to work something out for the DREAMers. Like Adrian said, he was going to have heart for them, that they could rest easy.

But we're really seeing, now he's been backed into a corner with the letter from these state attorneys general, and he doesn't -- they're forcing his hand on it. He has to make a decision, and if he decides to go with it, then he's completely backtracking on a campaign promise that he's made. So he really has no option here.

But this certainly isn't something the White House wants to deal with right now, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, when they've got that on their plate. But they do not have an option except to meet the September 5 deadline.

ACOSTA: And Adrian, earlier today, the president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Javier Palomarez, he told us that he may quit the president's Diversity Council if he terminates DACA, which I suppose is going to happen, and he'll leave that -- that Diversity Council.

CARRASQUILLO: Yes.

ACOSTA: Do we perhaps see a situation developing where we have another council going by the wayside? We saw the Manufacturing Council for the president go by the wayside after Charlottesville. It's sort of the unintended consequences of what is about to unfold tomorrow.

CARRASQUILLO: This is a reminder that DREAMers have always been the sympathetic group of undocumented immigrants, where the conventional wisdom is that undocumented immigrants are in the shadows, and maybe some of their parents, or maybe they don't speak English. DREAMers have no problem going in front of a TV camera -- They will tomorrow. They will on Wednesday -- and telling their story and saying, "I should be allowed to stay here. I'm an American in everything except having the piece of paper that says that I am officially."

And so I think that's going to be a problem, and like you're talking about business leaders, some Republican donors. I talked to Mike Fernandez, who's a billionaire in Miami, who says that he was allowed to come here from Cuba, and he was -- he made 100,000 jobs in Miami, because he was allowed to come here.

ACOSTA: Do you think the Senate will -- do you think the Senate will fix this? Do you think Congress can fix this?

CARRASQUILLO: I think that's the big problem. The idea of a negotiations sounds good when Republican leaders are coming out and saying that they -- they support DREAMers and they want to do something for them. At the end, the negotiation is much more difficult behind the scenes when you're talking about the Cotton- Purdue Bill. They want to curb legal immigration, and they want to build a wall, and they want to institute an e-verify program. Those details make it much more difficult to actually come to a compromise on this.

ACOSTA: OK, thank you very much. We'll see what happens tomorrow. There's a lot of talk about playing to the base and whatnot, but there's also this conversation about what kind of message this sends to immigrants all over this country.

Thanks to all of you. We appreciate it.

Coming, we have the update forecast for Hurricane Irma. It's gaining strength and could pose a threat to Florida. That's right. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

1745

[17:48:56] ACOSTA: Breaking news. Florida's Governor just declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties in the state because of Hurricane Irma. The storm has just been upgraded to -- listen to this -- a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mile-an-hour sustained winds.

CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater has the newly updated forecast. This caught a lot of us by surprise over the afternoon. It's now up to a Category 4.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes.

ACOSTA: Where is this heading, and is there any chance that it may spare the Florida coast at this point? SATER: You know, there is a window of possibility that maybe the

system could skirt away from the U.S. coastline, but that window, Jim, is shutting rapidly.

This system, Irma, is just as strong now as Harvey was when it made landfall in Rockport, and we know now it devastated them. And it's moving over the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles over such islands such as Barbuda and Saint Kitts, Nevis, Antigua.

And Anguilla may have a direct hit. Think about what it did, of course, in Rockport. And they just don't have the infrastructure or building materials on that island to sustain this.

What's next is British Columbia -- or the, excuse me, British Virgin Islands and then Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands, they'll most likely have a warning soon, 69-foot storm surge, 10 inches of rain.

[17:50:06] Most of the rain, I think, may stay over water which would be great, but it's what happens after that. If you take a look at the time line, it breaks it down. Wednesday, into Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, toward Haiti, Turks Caicos, and then toward Cuba.

Friday is going to be interesting. This is the national hurricane track. Now, if you look at this, you think, well, why wouldn't it just continue its forward momentum and get in the Gulf of Mexico? We can't rule that out yet, but we think we're going to see the system get pulled northward.

High pressure is keeping it on the southern track. But by the time it approaches the southeast U.S. coastline, we've got a little trough here and that should lift it northward. So we do have a window, if it possibly could lift off and slide off to the East Coast. But that window, as I'm mentioning, is really starting to shut.

Let me give you another idea and show you the computer models. You want to see agreement. It's a tight cluster. It gives you confidence in this system moving through.

By Friday sometime, we should start to see it turn to the right. Sooner, the better. However, this is what we're looking at. Until, Jim, we see that turn to the right, we cannot give anybody a time or a place for landfall.

So this is critical. It is possible if it turns to the right later, it will slide up more in toward coastal areas of maybe the panhandle of Florida. But again, we're hoping for this outcome but, again, that window is shutting. So it looks like a Major Category 3, possibly 4 or 5, as we get into late Sunday and, of course, Monday which is September 11th -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And folks in Florida have to keep an eye on this, but also the gulf coast, which has already taken a big punch.

SATER: Yes.

ACOSTA: OK. Tom Sater, thank you very much. Hurricanes are a threat across much of the globe including in Japan,

but these days, a growing number of Japanese are making preparations for something even more destructive. North Korean missiles and a nuclear attack. Here's CNN's Senior Correspondent Kyung Lah.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Down this skyline staircase, through an air-locked steel door, Seiichiro Nishimoto welcomes us into his insurance against Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

LAH (on camera): Tell me what we're sitting in.

SEIICHIRO NISHIMOTO, CEO, ORIBE SEIKI SEISAKUSHO (through translator): A shelter against nuclear fallout. Fifty-five years ago, when I started selling shelters in Japan, people thought I was crazy.

LAH (voice-over): Who is crazy now, he asks, as North Korea edges closer to a long-range missile capable of hitting the U.S., America's new president waging in a war of words with Kim Jong-un.

TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

LAH (voice-over): Japan, caught in the cross hairs of any conflict. In Trump's first six months as president, Nishimoto has sold more than a dozen of his tropical themed concrete fortified shelters. While that's not a lot, that's more than he sold in 55 years. Housing developer Kazumi Yoshiyama (ph) wants in.

LAH (on camera): Are customers asking for this?

KAZUMI YOSHIYAMA (PH), HOUSING DEVELOPER: Yes.

LAH (on camera): How many of these are you thinking of building?

YOSHIYAMA (PH): Yes, maybe a hundred home a year, I think.

LAH (voice-over): It may not seem as ridiculous as it sounds. In a suburban neighborhood in Wakayama, Japan, nestled behind this traditional Japanese home --

LAH (on camera): What is this made out of?

YOSHIHIKO (PH) KUROTORI, WAKAYAMA, JAPAN RESIDENT: Concrete.

LAH (on camera): Concrete. So three layers of reinforced concrete right here?

LAH (voice-over): Yoshihiko (ph) Kurotori bought this small shelter fearing earthquake, tsunami, and the neighbor to his north.

KUROTORI: I always worry about the nuclear by North Korea.

LAH (on camera): Having this shelter, does it give you peace of mind?

KUROTORI: That's right. I feel very peaceful in my mind.

LAH (voice-over): Selling that personal piece in these shelters that range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. But you won't hear Nishimoto celebrate the windfall.

NISHIMOTO (through translator): Trump's extreme rhetoric has heightened tensions with North Korea. You don't know what he's going to do next. It's good if it goes well. But if it doesn't, it could lead to a national disaster.

LAH (voice-over): Go ahead and say they're prepping for the impossible. But for a region watching two unpredictable leaders, they call it just being realistic.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Osaka, japan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:59:33] ACOSTA: Coming up, the U.S. again warns North Korea all options are on the table when it comes to stopping its nuclear weapons threat, but is Kim Jong-un actually afraid of President Trump?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ACOSTA: Happening now. We'll see. After North Korea's most powerful nuclear test ever, President Trump says, "we'll see," when asked if he's planning a military strike against Kim Jong-un's regime. How will he deal with the growing nuclear threat?

Military response. Defense Secretary Mattis warns North Korea that any threat to the United States and its allies will be met with a massive military response. But he also says, we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country. So what military options are still on the table?