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Trump: McCain "No" On GOP Health Bill "Honestly Terrible"; Trump: "Rocket Man" Should Have Been Handled A Long Time Ago; North Korea Promises "Strongest Ever" Pacific H-Bomb Test; Trump: NFL Should Fire "Son Of A B" Anthem Protesters; Iran Test Fires New Missile Hours After Unveiling It; Mass Evacuations Begin After Puerto Rico Dam Fails; Severe Flooding, Damage In Parts Of Puerto Rico.90 Aired 6-7a ET

Aired September 23, 2017 - 06:00   ET




ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Republicans last ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare on the verge of collapse thanks to Senator John McCain.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's a little tougher, but we got some time. It's like a boxer, the great ones get up and they end up winning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this could probably mean the strongest ever hydrogen bomb test on or above the Pacific Ocean.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We can't have madmen out there shooting rockets all over the place. "Rocketman" should have been handled a long time ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hope has not run out, but survivors of Mexico's deadly earthquake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all happened so fast we didn't have time to get out. In 5 or 6 seconds the building collapsed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: St. Croix was one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Maria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just two days ago, this was paradise, but now everyone here is just trying to take stock of exactly what this new world means for their daily lives.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. There is a lot going on as you see this morning and all of those stories still developing in some degree. We are starting with President Trump slamming John McCain after the senator dealt his own party another setback on health care reform.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. The latest Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is now one no vote shy of failure after McCain gave it a thumb's down here. The president calling McCain's decision terrible. At a rally last night in Alabama is where he spoke about this.

BLACKWELL: He also insulted North Korea leader, Kim Jong-un, again calling him "Little Rocket Man" and saying he should have been handled a long time ago.

Meanwhile, the North Korean foreign minister may speak today that the United Nations just days after threatening to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

PAUL: And this morning, Iran test fires a new long range ballistic missile. This despite or maybe a defiance of President Trump's latest criticism of the Iran nuclear deal. First, President Trump did not hold back at last night rally.

Let's talk about everything he said. CNN White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins has more on the drama in Alabama.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: We saw the president actually take several swipes at Senator John McCain during that rally in Huntsville, Alabama. We were expecting that after McCain came out and announced that he would not support the Graham-Cassidy.

That one more effort by Republicans to appeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. John McCain has been hesitant about that all week saying that he wanted to go the regular order and not go through this rushed process.

But the president said that he was not expecting John McCain to be a "no" on this. He said he had a list of potential noes and John McCain was not on it. Listen to what he said.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: They gave me a list of ten people that were absolute noes. These are ten Republican senators. Now, John McCain's -- John McCain was not on the list so that was a totally unexpected thing, terrible, honestly terrible.

Repeal and replace because John McCain, if you look at his campaign, his last campaign, was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace. So, he decided to do something different and that's fine and I say we still have a chance -- we're going to do it eventually.


COLLINS: Despite John McCain saying he's a no on Graham-Cassidy, the president still sounded hopeful during that rally that they can get something done with health care. But as one administration official put it after John McCain came out as a no, this undeniably hurts their effort.

Now another target of the president's ire during this rally was North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un. They've been trading barbs all week starting with the president's combative speech at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday, but listen to what he had to say about him in Huntsville.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: We can't have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place and by the way, "Rocket Man" should have been handled a long time ago. He shouldn't be handled now, but I'm going to handle it because we have to handle it.


[06:05:09] COLLINS: Now those fiery comments come just shortly after the president authorized new economic sanctions on North Korea and after he spent a week at the United Nations rallying the international community to confront North Korea. Kaitlan Collins, CNN.

BLACKWELL: Kaitlan, thank you very much. Joining me now to talk about this, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis. Errol, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: I want to talk about the president's comments about Senator McCain's no on this health bill in just a moment but first, is this dead? Is Graham-Cassidy essentially done?

LOUIS: I would say so. Graham-Cassidy is certainly dead. The repeal and replace efforts are going to have to reemerge probably in some other form, but October 1st we're not going to see an end to Obamacare.

The Republicans never have the votes to do it and we've seen one more time the constellation of forces that have made it impossible just within their own conference to do what they say they want to do.

BLACKWELL: So, Errol, you say the Graham-Cassidy is certainly dead. We have two definite noes, which brings them 50 potential votes for it, but we know that Senator Collins of Maine is leaning no. Do you expect that after hearing from John McCain that she will be a definite no before it hits the floor next week?

LOUIS: Well, you know, here again, Victor, they never change the basic configuration of objections. You know, Susan Collins objected to dialing back the Medicaid expansion that's so important to people in her state.

Same for Lisa Murkowski, that's why they were both destined to be noes. Rand Paul has his own set of objections. He made those perfectly clear and was very vocal about them, and John McCain had a procedural question which in many ways is what this is all about.

Saying that he wants to know what the score is going to be. He wants to know who's going to be affected and what the impact is going to be. He also wanted to have dialog across the aisle.

So those have been fundamental to his politics for so, so long. It's impossible for me to believe that somebody handed a whip count to the president of the United States suggesting that John McCain was going to drop all of his objections that he's talked about countless times in the past.

BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about what the president said last night about Senator McCain's opposition to the bill. Do you feel that he pulled some punches? He said that McCain decided to do something different and that's just fine. The president was far more aggressive in Arizona after the senator gave that thumb's down.

LOUIS: Well, that's true, but again, talking about John McCain as if he had betrayed the president because he didn't do what somebody had projected he might do and put it on a list and handed it to the president is very much inside baseball.

And again, very surprising that anybody on the legislative staff at the White House thought they were going to bring him around or that somehow he was going to change his mind. Nothing has changed in the politics of John McCain or of Arizona or the United States Senate.

That would lead you to believe that all of a sudden he's going to drop all of his many often stated objections and simply go along and fly blind and vote for a bill without knowing what the impact would be on Arizona or anywhere else.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The process that John McCain had a problem with in that speech he gave back in July certainly had not changed for this bill. Errol Louis, thanks so much for being with us.

LOUIS: Thank you, Victor.

PAUL: Let's talk about North Korea. The foreign minister there may speak to the U.N. General Assembly later this morning. He'd be taking the podium as his country threatens to detonate a large hydrogen bomb in the Pacific and after President Trump has traded serious threats and insults with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says as even as diplomatic efforts are continuing all military options are indeed on the table. Now at his Alabama rally, the president did promise several times to handle the North Korean threat. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are dealing with somebody that we'll figure out. He may be smart. He may be strategic and he may be totally crazy, but you know what? No matter what he is, we're going to handle it, folks. Believe me.


PAUL: CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman joining us live from Tokyo. Ben, how are the president's words being received there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, here there's rising concern. It's simply the tone of the rhetoric, rather the insults going back and forth between the United States and North Korea.

The Japanese defense minister yesterday expressing concern that if anything is fired by the North Koreans it will as it has twice already in the last month fly over Japanese territory.

Particularly concerning to people here was the statement by (inaudible), the North Korean foreign minister who is attending the U.N. General Assembly where he threatened that the North Koreans would detonate a nuclear device over the Pacific.

[06:10:12] This is what he said.


RI YONG-HO, NORTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): I think this could probably mean the strongest ever hydrogen bomb test on or above the Pacific Ocean.


WEDEMAN: And of course, Japan has a very unhappy history with nuclear weapons in this sort of talk certainly disturbs them. I've just been surveying some of the stories coming out of the KCNA, that's the Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of North Korea.

And if you look at the kind of insults being thrown at President Trump, as you know I normally report from the Middle East. What we hear there is mild compared to what is on the official news agency.

One of the articles describing President Trump as a low IQ, money grubber, and that's just the insults I can repeat on CNN.

PAUL: Good point. Speaking of the Middle East, I want to take you there right now there, Ben, as we talk about Iran because they had test fired a ballistic missile that's capable of carrying multiple war heads.

This is according to state-run TV. This is something that could reach Saudi Arabia, possibly Israel. What incentive does North Korea have to dismantle nukes when it sees Iran doing the same thing at this point seemingly without consequence.

WEDEMAN: Well, it's important to keep in mind that this missile that's called the (inaudible) has a range of 1,250 miles. Iran's missile program is not covered by the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Counsel including United States plus Germany.

And in fact, after that agreement went into effect last year, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling on Iran to refrain from developing any weapons, any missiles that could carry nuclear warheads for the next eight years.

The Iranians argue that, of course, this is only for defensive purposes. But when it comes to -- there is a link between North Korea and Iran and that is North Korea sees that Iran has a nuclear deal with major world powers.

But still the United States under President Trump wants to dismantle that agreement so what is the incentive for North Korea if possibly they were to work out on agreement with the United States, with world powers on its nuclear program?

How do they know that the United States will actually stick to it? So, yes, it's all interconnected and all cause for concern.

PAUL: All right. Good point. Ben Wedeman, so good to get your insight. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, President Trump ripped NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. Watch a portion of his comments.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: Get that son of a (inaudible) off the field right now. Out.


BLACKWELL: And more to say in his attack on Colin Kaepernick and how former and current NFL players are reacting. You'll hear that next.

PAUL: Also thousands of people in Puerto Rico are under an emergency evacuation after a dam has failed. Take a look at the latest pictures. We have a live update from Puerto Rico for you.

BLACKWELL: And after being trapped for more than 17 hours, earthquake survivors pulled from that mess. CNN visits those victims as they recover to hear their stories.




PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a (inaudible) off the field right now, out, he's fired?


PAUL: The president calling on the NFL there to fire players who kneel during the national anthem.

BLACKWELL: You know, the president took time during a rally to endorse Alabama Senate candidate, Luke Strange, to go after players like Colin Kaepernick. He says they are disrespectful and told fans to leave the stadium when those players refuse to stand for the anthem.

Last year Kaepernick drew national attention for refusing to stand. He says the flag represents a country that oppresses people of color. PAUL: CNN's sports anchor, Coy Wire, is here with us. So, you have to wonder what the reaction is from the NFL.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And we'll get to that in a second because it was strong as you could imagine. But players like Colin Kaepernick and Super Bowl champion and pro-baller, Michael Bennett, who have kneeled for the anthem.

They said they are not protesting the anthem or our nation or our military. I've talked to Michael Bennett. His own father served in our military. They're using their stage and their platform to speak out against racial and social injustice in our country.

But still a lot of people feel that that is anti-American to kneel during the anthem and President Trump played to that narrative last night in Alabama. Let's get to some of those players reactions from around the league.

Viking's player, Bishop Sankey, he said, "Shaking my head all because Kaepernick is exercising his right as an American citizen to protest." Broncos Max Garcia, "What an emphatic response, where was this passion in response to Charlottesville?"

Eric Ebron, he said, "Does anyone tell Trump to stick to politics like they tell us to stick to sports? Shaking my head."

So, President Trump urging NFL to fire players who are using their platform to try to create positive change in their communities, many have asked should athletes stick to sports?

Should these players not use their voices to combat racial and social injustice. Should JJ Watt not take a stand and raise nearly $40 million for hurricane relief efforts. Should players not use their platform to help fight the fight against cancer?

We want to get you involve in the show. Let us know, tweet us @newday, @victorblackwell, @christi_paul, and let us know your thoughts and perhaps later in the show we can get your thoughts involved as well.

[06:20:06] BLACKWELL: Yes. Interesting. This was a rally to endorse a candidate. I wonder if the candidate himself endorses the president's comments because there was a lot that was off script last night.

WIRE: And the big football (inaudible), right?

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks.

PAUL: Thank you.

So, after Donald Trump criticizes the Iran nuclear deal at the U.N. earlier this week, Iran thumbs its nose at the president launching a brand new long-range missile.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, thousands of Americans in Puerto Rico are leaving those towns as the dam teeters on total collapse there. A live update from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.


PAUL: We are always glad to have your company. Welcome back. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Saturday morning to you.

[06:25:03] Iran has test fired a new ballistic missile just hours after showing it off in a military parade.

PAUL: A state-run media says the missile is capable of carrying multiple war heads. We are going to show you some video here of the test released by Iran here. They say it has a range of more than 1,200 miles.

That would make it capable of reaching Israel and Saudi Arabia. The test comes as President Donald Trump continues criticizing the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Now, President Hassan Rouhani says Iran plans to strengthen both its missile capabilities and military defenses.

BLACKWELL: Well, President Trump again going after North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un before a crowd in Alabama. That caps the week where the two leaders traded insults and threats day after day. Last night, President Trump promised to keep America safe but also expressed a lot of frustration. Watch.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: By the way, "Rocket Man" should have been handled a long time ago. He should have been handled a long time ago by Clinton. I won't mention the Republicans, by Obama. This is a different time.


BLACKWELL: Well, the North Korean foreign minister, there's a chance he'll speak this morning at the United Nations.

PAUL: Yes. That speech would come as the country threatens to detonate that mass of hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean and after President Trump has traded these threats and these insults that seemed to be on a whole new level with North Korea's Leader Kim Jong-un.

And this morning, as we shift gears here from that story, we need to talk about what's going on in Puerto Rico. There are people under emergency evacuations right now after officials warn of a, quote, "imminent dam threat."

BLACKWELL: According to the governor, there's a dam there located in the northwest part of the island. It suffered damage to its structural integrity in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Meanwhile, the island is still without electricity. Many parts still heavily flooded. Military officials don't know how long it will take for communications and power to be restored. PAUL: Joining us from Puerto Rico, CNN senior correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh. Nick, what are you seeing there right now? What is the state of this dam that they're so concerned about?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this stage some slight good news overnight for people in Puerto Rico and the flash flood warning for the whole island has been lifted, but it's still very much in place at 8,000 people near the Guajataca dam.

That's the one you were talking about. Obviously, when there are vast amounts of water like this flowing around that can put extra pressure on a structure like that. I think some of the pictures we've seen show water moving around and about last night.

I think the fear is that it might at some point experience a breach. We are not at that stage now, but the problem with evacuations like that is that it's incredibly hard to do in the best of times, but the worst of times is right now.

And that's their problem putting people on buses trying to get them out in the pitch darkness when roads are already blocked, flooded, et cetera, and there's no power. We are seeing a slight improvement here.

People intermittently getting cell phone service back and life crawling back to a slight semblance of normality. Each storm seems to get slightly better, but we ourselves went to one of the outlying islands around Puerto Rico, St. Croix, a U.S. territory as well.

I have to say a beautiful island paradise but savaged by Hurricane Maria. People there angry, many of them saying they felt that their governor had under represented how bad the problem was for them there. They were desperately in need of more help.

Interesting to see in 2017 in parts of the U.S., People driving around town simply trying to get hold of food because the supermarkets they've gone to were out and they were looking for FEMA to provide rations that appear to run out quite quickly.

The distribution center we went said they had about 500 or 600 people they couldn't look after. We saw a long queue from the skies in our helicopter, but really a tough time for people over there.

I'm sure more help is on the way. We saw huge cargo planes arriving, but you got to remember now this is a month-long issue ahead for Puerto Rico to pull itself back from the mess that Hurricane Maria created in a matter of hours.

PAUL: And Nick, help me out here. I heard that it could be some six months before some areas have power. Is that in Puerto Rico or was that on another island and how do you manage for that long without power?

WALSH: Yes, it's -- it's for Puerto Rico, that four to six months statement, so obviously in a situation like this, you know, the infrastructure here was not always state of art and wasn't always built to withstand incredibly strong winds.

Particularly on St. Croix, it was very weak in the first place so the power cables are torn clean down and a remote island like St. Croix, for example, it's going to take months to get replacement shift out.

The rebuilding, the time that takes, the kind of heavy equipment you need to put --


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: ...the power cables are torn clean down. And the remote island like St. Croix, for example, it's going to take months to get replacements shipped out, the rebuilding, the time that takes, the kind of heavy equipment you need to put the power back. Somewhat like Puerto Rico here may benefit potentially from the resources they already have on the island to get that rebuilding done. But we saw ourselves driving down one of the main highways, every single electricity pylon is down in a long row along the island and they're draping across the highway making it very hard to drive at times so people have to be careful when they're moving they're not still carrying some kind of current left and that makes it an incredibly difficult job. Yes, here in San Juan they may be able to get things off and moving a little bit faster than four to six months because of urban environments the job might not be quite so tortuous.

When you're trying to reestablish electricity and communications with some of the outlying towns around, that's a month's long task and it requires money and patience and some focus. And it think that's the fear many people have here. Particularly when you lead the kind of sport (inaudible) of when the storms are actually here. The concern will the money keep coming? Will the assistance continue to be here? How quickly can they get their lives back because no power means no schools, means no jobs, means no hospitals, it means a whole lot of other things including perhaps even less fresh water that is needed to pump around. It changes everything for people here and I think their fear moving forward is that they will simply find their daily lives have slipped back into a place they never thought imaginable.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Oh my goodness. Nick Payton Walsh, thank you so much for helping us understand what's happening there. Appreciate it. I want to talk about a story of survival here too in Mexico. Incredible pictures from survivors trapped inside a collapsed building. After 17 hours they rescued, Ed Lavandera is talking to them now. UNIDENTIFED MALE (TRANSLATING): Say I was talking to God and hoping that the rescuers would hear me.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Our breaking news just in to us, seismic activity has been detected in North Korea around the area of the country's nuclear site. The China's Earthquake Administration said it was a magnitude 3.4 earthquake and is a suspected explosion.

PAUL: That's what they're saying but we need to caution this because an official at South Korea's meteorological agency tells CNN that, "It was absolutely a natural earthquake, not a manmade one." The South Korean official went on to say, "We cannot rule out the possibility that the earthquake occurred as a result of the collapse of the nuclear test site." So it boils down to the fact that there has been some seismic activity there. The determination as to the source of that is still in question right now.

BLACKWELL: Yes, of course we'll wait for the USCS to weigh in on this as well. Let's bring in now Colonel Rick Francona who is joining us to discuss this. First what do you make of the disagreement between the authorities there in China, the authorities there in South Korea? Is this common this soon after an explosion not to know if it's manmade or if it's the result of some nuclear bomb testing or activity?

COLONEL RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well you know there's always confusion when you're dealing with North Korea because when you hear that there's been an earthquake your immediate assessment is always going to be, "Oh they've tested another nuclear weapon." So their erring on the side of caution by saying, "Well, it probably-it could have been an explosion, it could not have been an explosion. But that's not, I mean the real issue is that the North Koreans are going to continue to do this. We know what they want to do and they're going to continue to refine their technology. This was a pretty low-level blast compared to one we saw just a few weeks ago. This would be like hundreds of times less unless it was done on the surface. And if there was a surface test of a hydrogen bomb in North Korea, we certainly would know that right off. So I think this is just another step in North Korea's march toward acquiring a nuclear weapon that they can mount on an ICBM.

PAUL: So, they're threatening the strongest ever hydrogen bomb test above ground. That changes everything does it not Colonel Francona?

FRANCONA: That actually, it changes a lot. Because now we're getting to a whole different area of nuclear testing. This is what the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty did away with. You know when you had the Russians and the Americans to each testing their own weapons in the atmosphere. So there's not been any atmospheric tests for a long time. Even the North Koreans have tested all of their explosions underground. To say that they're going to test a nuclear weapon over the Pacific, means they're going to have to get it over the Pacific. That means putting it on a missile, that means flying it probably over Japan. That raises a whole other set of issues. But we haven't seen them actually mate a nuclear war head operationally to a missile so that would be yet another step in North Korea's development. And they intend to do this. So if we see that, it would not be surprising but it certainly would raise the stakes. And given the escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea, this cannot be helpful.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about those escalating tensions. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that aides to the President warned him not to go personal with Kim Jong Un before he gave that debut speech at the UNGA this week. How has that changes this equation, this relationship, this potential for negotiations with Kim and the United States?

FRANCONA: It moves it from a state to state from person to person and any time you personalize one of these confrontations then it's hard for the leaders to back down. At some point we're going to have to talk to the North Koreans and I think we've expressed as a country, a willingness to do that. Of course, in this case the North Koreans have said they don't want to talk to us unless certain conditions are met. But now you've got this personal animosity between Kim Jong and Donald Trump. That's going to be very hard to walk away from. It makes it harder to reach that solution that we need. They're going to have to be able to talk to each other.


BLACKWELL: All right. CNN Military Analyst Retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. Thanks so much for being with us. We'll continue this conversation throughout the morning.

PAUL: Thank you. Always appreciate your insight. And now listen to this. At an Alabama rally, President Trump promised several times to handle the North Korean threat. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're dealing with somebody that we'll figure out. He may be smart, he may be strategic and he may be totally crazy. But you know what, no matter what he is, we're going to handle it folks. Believe me.


PAUL: The CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is live from Tokyo right now. Before we get into what was said last night, Ben, what are you hearing there regarding the seismic activity being reported this hour?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're getting information from various sources and by and large this information is somewhat contradictory. The initial announcement came from the China Seismological Organization which said there was a 3.4 magnitude earthquake detected in North Korea and they said it could have been a possible explosion. However, the Korean meteorological agency is saying that they recorded a 3.0 magnitude earthquake and they believe it was not an explosion, rather, it was a natural earthquake.

So we're going to have to wait and see if any further information comes through. We've been monitoring of course the KCNA, The Korean Central News Agency, the official news agency of North Korea, and they as yet have made no mention of it. I-just to recall that it was on the 3rd of September that Korea did set off a hydrogen bomb which recorded a 6.3 magnitude earthquake and we've been, of course, hearing talk that for instance the North Korean Foreign Minister said North Korea would set off a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific. That clearly is not the case here, so we're just going to have to wait and see. But this news of some sort of earthquake in North Korea does not help the situation at all Christi.

PAUL: Very good point. Very good point. Ben Wedeman for us there, Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Let's also remember that the North Korean Foreign Minister Ri will be speaking likely later this morning. So let's put that into the context as well of potentially is happening in North Korea. All right a story of survival in Mexico with the incredible pictures form survivors trapped inside a collapsed building. After 17 hours they're rescued.




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And by the way folks just in case you're like curious, no Russia did not help me OK. Russia. I call it the Russian Hoax, one of the great hoaxes.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, ANCHOR: That's President again saying that -- or at least refusing to acknowledge that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

CHRISTI PAUL, ANCHOR: Yes, that was the president at a rally for a Alabama Senate Candidate last night where he dismissed the investigation you heard it as a hoax and an excuse for Hillary Clinton's lost, but one director of National Intelligence James Clapper says "the president is more concern about the publics perception of his presidency."


JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: "Our intelligent community assessment did I think serve to cast doubt on the legitimacy of his victory in the election, and I think that above all else is what concerned him, and I think that transcends unfortunately the real concern here was which is Russian interference in our political process which by the way is going to continue."


PAUL: The Kremlin by the all we have to say is denying any involvement in collusion. BLACKWELL: Right now rescues crews are digging through just piles of

cement, and steel, and glass looking for any survivors. Well, the death toll after this week's earthquake is now approaching 300 and that number is expected to rise because people are still unaccounted for and possibly trapped in what's left in these buildings that have collapsed.

PAUL: And I mean think about it for some of the families there, it's such a slow painful process. They have set up tents near the search site, but can you imagine just sitting there waiting and hoping to hear something about what somebody you love that you can not find right now.

BLACKWELL: It's day after day and those who have been rescued count themselves as very fortunate, including one group who was stuck with only enough room to just lie down while they waited for 17 hours to be saved. CNN's Ed Lavandera visited those survivors in the hospital.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes that's right, you have --

ED LAVANDERA, CNN REPORTER: At 1:14 Tuesday afternoon Martin Mendez, a lock smith was replacing broken locks in an accounting office on the fourth floor of this building at Alvaro Obregon 286 when the world started to rumble.

When the earthquake struck, what did you hear on the (inaudible) is that the (inaudible) to kill you?

MENDEZ: El edificio se movia hacia atres y adelante dos o tres veces?

TRANSLATOR: Said the building moved back and forth two or three times?

MENDEZ: Solo empezea saltar arriba y abajo como un caballo.

LAVANDERA: It just started jumping up and down like a horse. When the shaking stopped Martin found himself trapped with three women he'd never met before who worked in the office he was visiting.

TRANSLATOR: Podreas moverte? Could you move?

MENDEZ: Si, olo podea moverse como un gusano?


LAVANDERA: He said -- he said he could only move like a worm.

MENDEZ: Empezaron a ponerse nerviosos porque se estaban quedando sin aire, pense que iban a sufocar cate.

TRASNLATOR: He said they started getting very nervous because they were running out of air, he thought they were going to suffocate.

LAVANDERA: What came next would test everyone the shred of perseverance they could muster. Diana Pacheco said they had no time to react and could hear the floors above crashing down.

TRANSLATOR: What was it like when the when the earthquake struck Diana? "Como fue cuando el terremoto golpe a Diana?

PACHECO: Todo pase tan ropido --

LAVANDERA: It all happened so fast, she says, we didn't have time to get out. In five or six seconds the building collapsed. Diana says she reached for her phone and started sending these text messages to her husband, Love the roof has fallen, we're trapped. I love you, I love you so much.

We're on the fourth floor near the emergency exit. There are four of us and then you can see a series of phone calls that wouldn't connect. That was enough to alert rescue workers that there were indeed people still alive, but the rescuers couldn't hear them.

PACHECO: Los sonidos eran horribles.

LAVANDERA: Diana says the sounds were horrible. She recorded this incredible video of the space where she was trapped. Massive sheets of concert around them, they used cell phone lights to see the dust billowing around them.

There was no escape, no way out. Martin, and Diana, and the others talked to each other, soothing each other's fears waiting for rescue workers to reach them. Martin's leg was broken. He sat there in excruciating pain.

TRANSLATOR: What was going through your mind? "Que estaba pasando por tu mente?

MENDEZ: Estaba hablando con Dios y esperando que los rescatadores produjeran.

LAVANDERA: He said I was talking to God and hoping that the rescuers would produce. As we talked Martin opens his phone and shares with us a picture he took of himself while he was trapped. He hadn't seen it. The emotions overwhelm him.

TRANSLATOR: Imagine que creeas que no hay forma de salir. I imagined that you believed there's no way you were getting out.

MENDEZ: Si, siempre crea que iba a salir vivo, dice.

TRANSLAOR: No maya (ph).

LAVANDERA: Yes, I did I always believed I was going to get out alive he says. Finally after 17 hours rescue workers pulled all four of them out alive.

MENDEZ: Todos estos aranazos llegaron cuando lo sacaron.

TRANSLATOR: All these scratches came when he -- he was pulled out.

LAVANDERA: Diana Pacheco and Martin Mendez are now recovering in the same hospital, on the same floor, but haven't been able to see each other since they were rescued. They were bought together in an unexpected moment of horror and survived, and I teach him a phrase in English that he and his friends can share.

TRANSLATOR: We made it, we made it, and this is and unless this is we made it.

MENDEZ: We made it.


LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN Mexico City.

PAUL: Our thoughts and prayers going to all those people.

BLACKWELL: We'll be right back.


BLACKWELL: Franda Chance, Golden State Warriors say they have not decided whether they'll visit President Trump in the White House if they're invited.

PAUL: Yes if their super star Steph Curry has anything to say about is about it their not going to be going. Coy Wire is here with more in the blue show should --

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning happy Saturday. You know, the team has not sat down to discuss with coaches and players whether they will go if they're invited as you mentioned, but Steph Curry's a friend of President has been outspoken.

He's been outspoken about President Trump in the past, he says if he has his way, his team will not go.


CURRY: We don't stand for basically what our president has -- the things that he said and the things that he hasn't said in the right times that we won't stand for it, and by acting or -- and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when its comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what is -- what we turn a blind eye to.


WIRE: Now in addition to Steph Curry worries Head Coach Steve Kerr has said that President Trump quote "Couldn't be more ill suited to become a president because he's a blow hard." Given President Trumps profibity for not wanting to be shown up by anyone, we shouldn't be surprised if the team isn't invited in the end.

All right we got a quick update for you on the Yankee's player whose foul ball hit a toddler's face in the stands on Wednesday. She's -- he said that he has talked to the 2-year girl's father and even though she's still in the hospital her health is improving. Todd Frazier said the little girl's father told him quote "She's she's

doing good. He said the family is really happy that she's I.K. I think they are going to do a couple more tests over the next few days and hopefully she can get out of there."

Frazier did add that he's probably going to keep calling that father everyday just to see how that young girl is doing.

All right let's get reaction from the Yankees on the diamond playing the Blue Jays, and Aaron Judge, 6ft. 7, 25-year-old from California, let's start calling him the Big Redwood right because this guy hitting like those giant trees standing tall amongst men.

He hit his 46 homer of the season last night, the ridiculous 4 and 69 foot shot. He's only three away from tying the Mark McGwire's rookie record for home runs, but my favorite part of the game; look at this Toronto's Ryan Goins pretends to throw the ball to the pitcher.

Todd Frazier skips off the bag and bam, got him, he's out. Falling for that old trick that people have been doing since little leagues, I guess the moral of the story is there, always pay attention, guys. Blue jays end up winning that Game 8-1.

We back in the next hour for some more on President's Trumps comments about the NFL and it's players causing some stir this morning.

PAUL: What would be government to politics today?

WIRE: Yes.

PAUL: In a couple of different ways.

WIRE: Yes, yes here we go.

PAUL: We'll talk about it. Thank you so much Coy.

WIRE: All right, you're welcome.

PAUL: Thank you as always.