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New Fissures Open as Hawaii Braces for Explosive Volcanic Eruption; Israel Boosts Troops Ahead of U.S. Embassy Opening in Jerusalem; Trump Thanks Kim Jong-un for Promise to Dismantle Nuke Site; Controversial Pastor to Attend Jerusalem Embassy Opening; President Pledges to Help Chinese Phone Company After Ban; Royal Regiment Prepares for the Big Wedding; Moms of "SNL" Critique Show's Trump Jokes; New Fissures Open as Hawaii Braces for Explosive Eruption. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 13, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] ZAKARIA: -- 84 flights a day, carrying over four million passengers in total. Asia dominated LAG's rankings of the world's busiest international itineraries with eight of the 10 most frequent trips originating and arriving in Asian cities.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin with breaking news in Hawaii where at least three new cracks have opened on the big island in the past few hours. Listen.
Powerful sounds of the newest fissure suddenly opening. Hawaiian residents are being urged to prepare to evacuate as spewing lava sends fears of explosions from Kilauea. Eruptions could send projectiles of the size of refrigerators shooting out the crater with little to no warning. Ash could blow up to 20,000 feet into the air raining debris down as far as 12 miles away from the crater. Countless families have already evacuated the areas and thousands more are anxiously waiting on stand-by prepared to evacuate at any moment.
Joining us right now, Scott Wiggers in Leilani Estate where the first fissures opened days ago. He has not evacuated unlike many of his neighbors.
So, Scott, what is the status of where things stand now, where you are, your fear level, et cetera?
SCOTT WIGGERS, LEILANI ESTATE RESIDENT: My fear level is zero. I'm in the safest place inside Leilani Estate. What was cool this morning was when I went to walk my dogs out about 3:30 this morning, I saw the sky glowing red. And I thought, huh, that must be fissure number 16 or 17. Then when I got home, I started hearing explosions, and apparently that was the newest number 18 that opened up. So from my house, maybe three and a half, four miles from number 18, and it was the loudest-sounding fissure that I've heard in this whole event, yet the farthest away from my house. WHITFIELD: So the loudest you've ever heard, but at the same time you
just told me at the very beginning that your fear level is at zero.
WHITFIELD: What keeps you so calm and composed about this?
WIGGERS: All the action is heading away from me, east. All the wind direction is in my favor. And you mentioned that there are several homeowners that did not evacuate. We're all in the same area inside the subdivision. So all of us, our fear level is literally zero.
WHITFIELD: So have you experienced this type of activity from Kilauea before and that partly explains why you're so calm and relaxed about it?
WIGGERS: I have not experienced anything like this in my entire life. You know, it's just that, that's how confident I am at our safety. I mean, and it's important for everyone to understand that all of us residents that have not evacuated, we're ready to leave at any time. We have bags packed just in case so, you know, if something does change, we're out of here.
WHITFIELD: All right. So then explain to me how quickly you can mobilize while you have bags packed. Talk to me about how easy it is for you to get out of your community if the threat does -- you know, get closer to you, getting off the island. Describe that for me.
WIGGERS: The main road from my house is about 15 seconds away, so that's a non-issue. Getting to the Hilo Airport is a non-issue as well. So really, there's no issues. That's the way we look at it, anyway.
WHITFIELD: All right. Scott Wiggers, all the best to you. Thank you so much for your time and being so descriptive about your experience there on the big island with these fissures opening.
And Scott just described the closest fissure is something like four miles away, but he could hear that huge explosion. So with three new fissures opening in the past several hours, does this indicate a major eruption could be imminent?
Let's bring in meteorologist Tom Sater in the CNN Weather Center.
So, Tom, how disconcerting are these cracks?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Fredricka, they were expecting more fissures to break open and expecting more. It's just trying to release pressure, but the size of pressure it's releasing, of course, toxic, fumes, and the lava. But let's break this down for you because it is still a very active volcano, Kilauea, not only with of course the steam, but look at the tremor activity. This is around the crater, just in the last week. But 24, 25 miles away is that east rift.
Now the fissures have been really kind of in no organized pattern. They've been opening some to the southwest, some to the northeast. Yesterday too. Today the 18th, as mentioned, and it's more toward the northeast, so you've got these two areas of activity.
[14:05:11] The lava inside the crater is actually feeding the lava underground, so when the fissure is open, it's draining the crater of the lava. Why this is so important, and this is concerning, because the more lava that is released in these fissures means the lava lake is dropping. Now when you look at the fissures, and again there is no random concerning kind of methodology here, they're all over the place. But it's the northeast further away that seems to be showing the lava.
Now what you're looking at is the lava lake. This is inside the crater, this is April 23rd. And now watch it drop. May 5th. We're going to go to May 6th, it continues to drop inside the crater because it's coming out the fissures. The problem is this. Let's talk about it this way. When you talk about a meter, that's just over three feet. So down to 460 meters is the water table.
This lava has dropped over 350. When it releases the pressure, the boulder is kind of packed like a cannon inside this caldera, and then when it mixes with the water, that's when you can have a massive steam driven eruption like they had in 1924. But this is eight times. It was blown a mile, somewhere around 14 tons. That's like a semi tractor-trailer being blown a couple of miles.
WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness.
SATER: That's concerning.
WHITFIELD: Well, that's -- yes, at the very least, that's a fantastic description.
SATER: It doesn't mean it's going to happen, though.
SATER: Doesn't mean it's going to, but they're watching it.
WHITFIELD: That's the potential.
WHITFIELD: All right. Tom Sater, thank you so much.
So it has now been 10 days since the volcano first erupted in this manner, sending lava into several communities and a huge ash being seen in the sky. Now new concerns for residents who fear a much bigger explosion could be on the way just like Tom had described there.
CNN's Dianne Gallagher joining me right now with more on how residents on the big island are bracing and are on edge potentially, except for Scott Wiggers.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Believe it or not Scott was kind of symptomatic of a lot of people on the island. They've been dealing with stuff like this but not to this extent. And they feel perhaps it's not going to affect them. Authorities, however, though, would like them to maybe get over that sort of relaxed feeling and really take heed of these warnings because the key here is that it's unpredictable.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Exploding through the air. This weekend, three new vents spewing lava up to 100 feet into the air like a fountain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the first time in my life. Scared me to death.
GALLAGHER: The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says an explosive eruption at the Halema'uma'u crater is possible, one that could shoot rocks, and debris the size of refrigerators into the air in any direction with ash plumes over a 12-mile area. New evacuations ordered as an 18th fissure opened up Sunday morning with steam and lava spatter activity on the Kalapana site of Highway 132.
JOHN DAVIDSON, RESIDENT: The first thing that I noticed was I heard what sounded like a jet turbine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fissure 16.
GALLAGHER: The 16th and 17th fissures erupting Saturday, about a mile from the Puna Geothermal Venture.
DAVIDSON: I didn't want to be here in case 60,000 gallons of some unknown fracking type material decides to ignite and to go up.
GALLAGHER: John Davidson evacuated his home on Wednesday before planning to plea if he finished moving the flammable chemicals, but he retuned to check on his property when the new fissures started sizzling and spewing lava Saturday.
Now these fissures far from the series of eruption, as you can see from this helicopter footage, ripped through neighborhoods earlier this week, destroying nearly 30 homes, damaging almost 40 more, clouding the air with dangerous gasses and vog.
DAVIDSON: It's not like it's a hurricane where you think, OK, in three days, it will be here and go, or a forest fire. This is almost like a slow motion train wreck.
GALLAGHER: With more than 2,000 residents already under a mandatory evacuation order, authorities are warning others to prepare to get out now because they can't predict where, when, or how powerful Kilauea's next eruption will be.
GALLAGHER: And now people who live Puna, they're on the wind ward side of the island, they're worried about the air quality, something called vog.
Fred, they're having a hard time getting these masks. They're trying to make sure these respirators marks, they're running out of them, they're a line that stretched around stores when word comes in that a new shipment has arrived, and they just don't have enough.
Now, Fred, authorities have said that these masks are likely not going to protect you from the sulphur dioxide that's in the air. They're worried about those ash plumes, the falling of ash, if in fact that explosive eruption they say could happen occurs. Some authorities are afraid if they have these masks that it could create sort of a false sense of security, so people think they're OK. But again, they warned, this does not protect you from sulphur dioxide.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And Dianne, you have an interesting perspective about all this because you lived in Hawaii, on Oahu, a nearby island, so you can speak to kind of a relatively calm because people are living with volcanoes, volcanic activity all of the time.
[14:10:06] WHITFIELD: But this is different. This is a different kind of activity from Kilauea than what people are accustomed to.
GALLAGHER: In fact, I mean, Kilauea has been technically erupting for longer than I've been alive. But it hasn't been like this. People might remember back in 2014 there was some lava flow but it never quite made it on to the highway. There was fear then. It was several years before that and through time, but this is a bit extreme because of the differences in where these fissures are happening.
We haven't really seen it at least in recent memory in my lifetime of it breaking apart around there. And so what's frightening for a lot of the people now who live on this other side of the island over by these volcanoes is that this is just, again, unpredictable. They aren't sure. You heard them describing, even Scott.
GALLAGHER: The woman there who lived in this area in our story, they haven't heard it like this. We were just talking about listening to that lava. It sounds like ocean waves.
WHITFIELD: A frightening sound, too, though.
WHITFIELD: Unlike the beautiful ocean sound, but it does sound like that.
GALLAGHER: And it destroys again everything in its path. You can't stop it.
WHITFIELD: Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much. Keep us posted on this. All right. Coming up, a historic moment just hours away as the U.S.
prepares to open its embassy in Jerusalem. The ceremony is set to take place. All of this amid violent protest in Gaza. How the move could impact the prospect for peace in the region, next.
[14:15:37] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. President Donald Trump's recent moves on the global stage have triggered several major disruptions. Israel is now bracing for thousands more Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border ahead of the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem tomorrow. These pictures showing Israeli military destroying a Gaza tunnel with an airstrike overnight.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have arrived to be across Jerusalem, praising President Trump for moving the embassy there and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but the backdrop to this controversial decision has turned deadly. Palestinian protesters were seen carrying a body through the streets of Gaza yesterday. The man was shot and killed by Israeli troops on Friday.
And all of this comes after a barrage of rockets and missiles this week marking the most direct confrontation to date between Israel and Iran. This escalation believed to be a result of Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
CNN's Ian Lee is standing by live for us in Gaza where the Israeli military has just doubled its troops along the border, but I also want to first go to Elise Labott who is live four us in Jerusalem -- Elise.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, preparations being made for tomorrow's controversial opening of the U.S. embassy. The streets of Jerusalem have been blocked off around the embassy while flags are planted, both Israeli and American. You can see President Trump sign, "Make America Great Again, Make Israel Great Again." And so certainly a lot of attention being paid to this ceremony tomorrow.
In addition to Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will be leading the delegation. There will also be a very controversial prayer given by the Pastor Robert Jeffress, who is a pastor from Dallas. Very controversial remarks in the past against Muslims, against gays. He will be speaking, giving the prayer before the ceremony, and he says he will be talking about President Trump in terms of his support for Israel and the Israelites. That kind of why he's not Jewish, certainly that connection by evangelicals to Israel.
WHITFIELD: Elise, thank you so much.
So all of this happening as the volatile region is escalating closer to a boiling point. Now let's check in with Ian Lee live from Gaza.
So tell us what you're seeing there.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, we were out at one of these camps that are along the Gaza-Israel border. There's five of them. People have been gathering them there for these weekly protests. We were there. We met a group of people. They were chanting, they're preparing. One chant was "no, no Trump" and there's definitely a lot of anger about this embassy move by the United States but this is also about, when you talk to the Palestinians, they say returning to their land that was lost to Israel during the 1948 war.
And they say that their goal is to cross that fence that separates the two areas, the Gaza and Israel, and go into Israel. They've talked about how they have wire cutters and they're going to rush the fence, and the Israeli military is preparing for over 100,000 Palestinians to gather on the fence tomorrow.
You know, on the streets tonight, we've heard loud speakers calling for people to go out and protest. And at the same time, we've seen these leaflets here dropped in the air. These leaflets telling Palestinians not to be part of what they say is Hamas' terror operations along the border.
Now dozens of Palestinians have been killed in the past seven weeks of these protests, and tomorrow we're expecting it to be the biggest one to date. You know, we're hearing also from the Israeli military saying that their rules of engagement are first to warn Palestinians not to approach the fence, then to use non-lethal means. And if they get too close or damaged the security infrastructure, they say that they will use live ammunition. They say their worst case scenario, though, is for a large mass rush of that fence. The Palestinians getting through, going to Israeli towns.
[14:20:04] But also again, you know, when we go out there, we talk to people they say that they do want this to remain peaceful. They don't want to use violence. They say they just want to return to their lands. But as you can see, this is a recipe for a very -- another very deadly day along that border -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Ian Lee, thank you so much for that.
So after railing against Little Rocket Man, the Trump administration has dramatically changed its tune when it comes to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. And the strategy behind the shift leading up to the summit between the two leaders?
[14:25:07] WHITFIELD: All right. President Trump is entering his final four weeks of preparations for his historic sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The president keeping his rhetoric toned down and actually thanking Kim twice this week, first for being, quote, "excellent," to the three U.S. prisoners released from North Korea just four days ago, and then second in this weekend tweet, saying, "North Korea has announced that they will dismantle nuclear test site this month ahead of the big summit meeting on June 12. Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture."
Let's check in now with CNN's White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.
So smart, gracious. Usually not the kind of words that the president uses to describe Kim Jong-un, at least up until a month ago. So what can you tell us about this preparation overall for this June 12th meeting?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred, really a surprising shift in tone from President Trump. We went from Little Rocket Man and fire and fury to smart and gracious and sort of gratitude expressed by the president. He has spent much of the day at the golf course in Virginia that he owns, Trump National Golf Course there, and it was his National Security adviser John Bolton who sort of touted the president's intense preparations for this summit with Kim Jong-un coming up just about a month from now in Singapore, saying that the president has been intently speaking with advisers and even foreign leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping to become more familiar with Kim Jong-un.
Bolton sort of framed the historic scope and the importance of this coming summit by saying that no sitting American president has really tried to do anything like this before.
Here's more of what Bolton told Jake Tapper this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: His preparations have actually been extensive already. He's talking to a lot of different people, foreign leaders. He's had an extensive conversation with Xi Jinping of China earlier this week. He's consulting with all of his advisers. So I think his preparations are very intense. People have said, well, you can't prepare in such a short time for such a momentous meeting.
I had exactly the opposite reaction when I first heard about it. There is real utility in bringing these two leaders together, let them see each other and decide, in our case, whether we judge that Kim Jong-un has made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Yes. Bolton believes it should not take too much time for President Trump and the administration to find out if Kim Jong-un is serious about what he calls complete, total and verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. He expanded saying that these are ambitious goals, and he did note that there have been previous denuclearization agreements previously with North Korea that that regime has essentially voided.
We should also note, Fred, two quick things. Those American prisoners that were released from North Korea and arrived back in the United States, on Thursday were able to leave Walter Reed Medical Center today. They were reunited with their families.
And one final quick thing, Fred. Happy Mother's Day.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much. Boris Sanchez at the White House, appreciate it. All right. So busy weeks ahead for President Trump. Here to discuss
is CNN national security analyst Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, and CNN political analysts Amy Parnes and Nathan Gonzalez.
Good to see you all. All right. So today we saw two key players in the administration talk about objectives ahead of the summit with North Korea. Let's listen to National Security adviser John Bolton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: I think what the prospect for North Korea is to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world the way South Korea does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And then we've got Secretary of State Mike Pompeo describing what it was like to actually meet with Kim Jong-un.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: He is very knowledgeable in the sense that he knows the files. He's very capable of engaging in complex set of discussions. When I asked him a question about something that's a little off, he answers it. There is no cards. It is Chairman Kim, in this case, interacting with me directly, having a robust discussion about what the outlines of a successful negotiation between our two countries might ultimately be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Gayle, your take on all of this? Lots of compliments, lots of optimism. What a change.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Yes. I mean, it's a real change and we've gone from kind of rocket man to robust interlocutor. And I think it shows you that what the Trump foreign policy promised was unpredictability alongside predictability. Right? I mean, it was predictable that he said he was going to get out of the Iran deal, said he was going to move the embassy. But with North Korea, there was always this sense of what is going to come next.
And they said all along, look, we're willing to engage, we want to have this dialogue, and they thought they had the means to get there. And so this is a real high stakes diplomatic act we see now unfolding, and we don't know what comes next. But the truth is a lot of folks will say, what we do know is that what had been happening wasn't showing results, so let's see what comes next.
[14:30:04] WHITFIELD: And then ahead of that June 12th scheduled meeting, let's have a look at what Lindsey Graham had to say when talking about Congress' potential response if North Korea actually denuclearizes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you could really get North Korea to give up their nuclear program, then I think there'd be a lot of support in Congress to give North Korea a better life, provide aid, relieve sanctions with one condition -- that you give up your nuclear weapons program in a verifiable way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Amie, also a promise of congressional support to help this country, not necessarily, he says, to become a democracy, but so that people can have closer to normal lives there.
AMIE PARNES, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE HILL: Right, and that's a huge moment. But I do think that, as a lot of people want to see, including Republicans, is that they do want to see that North Korea is eradicating its nuclear weapons program.
And that's a big if. Like, if they can't do that, how do we know if they're doing that? And it's hard -- it's going to be hard to prove. So I think that the administration is going to have to show more than tell here, and so is North Korea, in order for congressional support to sort of come through here. And that is a big if.
WHITFIELD: OK. And so, Nathan, North Korea, Iran, Israel, I mean, this is an aggressive effort by the Trump administration to really kind of underscore, this is what their foreign policy looks like and this is what, potentially, foreign policy achievements look like. Are these likely to bring real achievements for this administration?
NATHAN GONZALES, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, INSIDE ELECTIONS: Well, we'll see what achievements that they actually bring.
I think, to the President's supporters, they're going to eat this up. They're going to love it, I mean, that he is just delivering on campaign promises and doing -- like, he's a straight shooter, and he's doing exactly what he said he was going to do.
I think that for Democrats, they're going to remain skeptical. I don't think even, you know, the most liberal and progressive Democrats are going to give the President credit for anything. I think they're going to say that anything that happens will probably be in spite of the President, not because of him.
But the question is, for those voters in the middle, as we head into the November midterm elections, to those voters, does it soften their maybe angst or dissatisfaction toward the President based on some foreign policy items that he's been able to deliver on?
Does that make them a little bit less likely to vote for Democrats to -- more Democrats to come to Washington and kind of be a check and balances to him during the first -- second part of his first term?
PARNES: Yes, I would have to agree with Nathan. I mean, the one thing here that I think is pretty clear is that a lot of people here like what they're seeing in terms of Trump in North Korea.
And this new CNN poll that came out kind of shows that. They show that they like that Trump is kind of dealing this way. They like that he is negotiating with North Korea.
And so I think this could play out pretty well for people who have been dissatisfied in a way with Trump's foreign policy. And there is a lot of that.
I mean, there has been a lot of consternation about the way he has handled certain things, including Iran, and it goes on and on and on, to the, you know, Paris Accord and all of that. So I think, you know, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
WHITFIELD: And then, Gayle, you've got a re-contract -- a picture is coming out of Israel. You've got, you know, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. You've got advisers Ivanka and Jared Kushner getting off the plane. And then you've got, you know, conflict taking place as well.
This move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, it is a controversial move. Does it help or hurt the peace process?
LEMMON: Well, it all depends on who you talk to, like everything with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
But I think what is fascinating is that, of course, you know, the Trump foreign policy folks will say, listen, this is what we said we were going to do. There had been waivers for years. We are going to do this.
And for the Palestinians, I think there's a large sense that, long ago, this peace process faced an enormous challenge. And I think the bigger question now is the regional one in terms of also Israel and Iran.
I was just in Syria and there was a lot of conversation about rising Iranian influence that is going on there, and will Israel's actions versus Syria make the region more stable or less stable? And I think all of these questions will be playing out.
WHITFIELD: And then, you know, you've got this pastor, Reverend Robert Jeffress, who, many say, is rather controversial, you know, giving a prayer at the opening tomorrow. He has called Islam a, quote, evil religion. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. ROBERT JEFFRESS, PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: It is an evil religion. It is an oppressive religion. It is a violent religion that has incited the attacks around the world and the attacks against our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Nathan, how do you see his role setting a tone for what's to take place tomorrow? [14:34:56] GONZALES: Yes. Well, I think this is kind of more of what
we've seen with the President.
Just when kind of the President, it looks like he may be able to get something done that could get either bipartisan support or that more than just Republicans can agree on, there is always this wild card. There is always this kind of other circus factor to things.
And you know, that just -- having someone like the Reverend involved, I think, just draws attention from the potentially -- you know, potentially historic moment that -- of what he's trying to do.
I think, overall, what's interesting is that, like I said, the President's supporters are going to love this. But when we get to the midterm elections, he's not on the ballot. And do those -- do the President's supporters turn out to vote when we're talking about Republican senators or Republican members of Congress who have no -- don't have the same direct connection to him?
WHITFIELD: So, Amie, how do you see this pastor involvement playing out?
PARNES: I would have to agree with Nathan. I mean, I think that it's going -- it's a dog whistle, I think, for Trump supporters who like to see this kind of thing. It's going to also cause a lot of consternation with Democrats. And, you know, they are going to have to voice their displeasure with this.
So, you know, it's going to kind of appeal to both sides or appeal or not appeal to both sides, and that's how it's going to play out. I don't see it, you know, doing anything different.
WHITFIELD: And, Gayle, last word?
LEMMON: Yes, I mean, it's clearly not helpful. But I think, all along, we've seen the domestic lens really take over the global politics and policy lens, right? And that, in many ways, is also true for Israel and for the Netanyahu government as it is for Trump because this really is a domestically aimed foreign policy move.
WHITFIELD: All right, Gayle, Amie, Nathan, thanks to all of you. I appreciate it.
GONZALES: Thank you.
LEMMON: Thanks, Fredricka.
PARNES: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, President Trump changing course after banning Americans businesses from working with a Chinese tech firm. The President now says he wants to help the company get back on its feet. So why the sudden reversal?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:41:30] WHITFIELD: All right. President Trump calling for the Commerce Department to help get a controversial Chinese phone maker back in business, tweeting today -- I'm quoting now -- President Xi of China and I are working together to give massive Chinese phone company ZTE a way to get back into business fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done.
Chinese tech company ZTE says its business was crippled after a U.S. ban against the company went into effect in April.
The U.S. Commerce Department blocked American firms from working with the company until 2025, saying it violated U.S. sanctions against North Korea and Iran and lied to U.S. officials.
CNN money and politics correspondent Christina Alesci joins us now with more on -- really, Christina, this is an about-face or at least a push for an about-face. Why?
CHRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: It seems like a major reversal. And based on the President's tweets, he seems to say that the U.S. punishment on China was simply too harsh. It caused too many job losses.
Now, just to take a step back, the administration was very harsh on this company in particular against a larger backdrop of just being tough on China.
Now, in 2017, as you referenced, the U.S. imposed a heavy fine on this company in violation of U.S. sanctions for selling to South -- sorry, North Korea and Iran. Then it went even further last month by saying that the company lied about punishing some of its employees, and it imposed further punishment.
Now, it was that punishment in terms of basically the U.S. banned its companies from selling very important parts and software to this company, ZTE, which is a large phone maker, to make its product.
And that essentially crippled major operations for the company, the company said. Last week, it had halted trading on the major exchange in Hong Kong.
So it seemed to have an impact and now we're at a point where the administration, as you noted, is making a big about-face. It is a big company, 75,000 employees in China. And it's not clear how many jobs were lost, but based on the President's tweet, it looked like a lot.
WHITFIELD: All right. Lawmaker Adam Schiff said this about all that. Oh, I'm sorry, I think we have a tweet.
ALESCI: So he --
WHITFIELD: Sorry about that.
ALESCI: Yes, he did have a tweet. He basically said that this isn't enough, that our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technologies and phones pose a major cybersecurity threat and that the President should care more about national security than Chinese jobs.
Now, Adam Schiff is pointing out another problem with ZTE, which is that the Congress has found -- actually several years ago, Congress had issued a report basically saying that ZTE's technology could be used to spy on U.S. citizens.
And he is pointing out the fact that, look, you want to be tough on China, you want to be tough on this company, follow through. That's essentially what his tweet says, and that's probably what we're going to be hearing more of from the administration's critics.
WHITFIELD: Wow, fascinating. All right, thank you so much, Christina Alesci. Appreciate that.
All right, the Queen officially gives her consent to Prince Harry's upcoming marriage to Meghan Markle. This as the country puts the final touches on what will be the wedding of the year, next.
[14:45:04] But first, here is a look at tonight's all-new "PARTS UNKNOWN."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: So here we are. Here we are, boys, at the asset of the universe -- rural, backwards ass country, middle of nowhere Newfoundland -- eating one of the finest meals available --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the North Atlantic.
BOURDAIN: -- in North America. Because let's face it, Newfoundland is --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Incredible.
BOURDAIN: Incredible. It's beautiful. It's filled with incredible ingredients. Hunting, fishing, inappropriate public displays of affection to seafood products.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a skank (ph) skill.
BOURDAIN: Something called screeching in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never got you to sign any waiver so try not to get any on your skin.
BOURDAIN: Which you'll have to tune in to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: We will be tuning in. Catch Anthony Bourdain's "PARTS UNKNOWN" tonight at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific, right here on CNN.
[14:50:54] WHITFIELD: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot less than a week from now, and Queen Elizabeth has formally given her consent.
In the U.K., the first six people in line to the throne must get the Queen's approval to tie the knot. Well, the Queen actually gave her consent for marriage back in March, but we're just now getting a look at the elaborate document.
After the ceremony on Saturday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan to leave Windsor Castle for a procession through town, and Max Foster joins the cavalry as they prepare for the big day.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Meghan Markle steps into St. George's Chapel, her arrival will be heralded by state trumpeters.
MATTHEW SCREEN, TRUMPET MAJOR, BAND OF THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY OF THE BRITISH ARMY: I don't think we'll be seen. I think you'll all be looking at the dress rather than us, but you'll definitely hear us, yes.
FOSTER (voice-over): Trumpet Major Matthew Screen sent recordings of several fanfares to the couple for them to select which one they wanted.
SCREEN: It's a very poignant moment, we felt, the moment of the wedding, and there is a lot of pressure involved.
FOSTER (voice-over): Given Prince Harry's military service, it's no surprise the Household Cavalry has been asked to play an important role on the day. Those who served alongside him in Afghanistan remember him fondly.
FRANKIE O'LEARY, LANCE CORPORAL OF HORSE, HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY OF THE BRITISH ARMY: The first level humorous. Bags of humor. Which he seems to pull out the bag even when the chips are down. People are hungry and fed up, don't want to go on, he can still pull out a laugh.
FOSTER (voice-over): Some of his former service personnel will ride alongside the royal carriage whilst others will line the steps of the chapel.
DANIEL SNOXELL, CORPORAL MAJOR, HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY OF THE BRITISH ARMY: It means everything to me and to my men. And I like to think it means a lot to him, knowing full well that the soldiers on parade have either served with him in operations abroad or have worked with him on training exercises.
FOSTER (voice-over): At the cavalry's barracks in central London, there is a buzz of excitement as uniforms are cleaned and mended, jackboots are polished, the armory is checked, and horses prepared to show.
It's a routine they're used to, but this time the audience is global. And when it comes to Prince Harry's fiancee, Meghan Markle, they're pretty excited about that, too. O'LEARY: A cracker, to be fair. A looker. Very cool. Got that
Yankee style, yes. We're happy for him.
FOSTER (voice-over): No doubt Prince Harry agrees.
Max Foster, CNN, London.
WHITFIELD: It will be a divine event, and our own Don Lemon and Alisyn Camerota will be there. Our live coverage, you can't miss that. That's next weekend. And we'll be right back.
[14:53:42] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: "Saturday Night Live" started its show with a special message from moms this Mother's Day weekend. It wasn't quite the usual political satire. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENAN THOMPSON, ACTOR: You like the show, right, Ma?
ELIZABETH ANN THOMPSON, MOTHER OF KENAN THOMPSON: I do. Except for all the political stuff. We get it!
THOMPSON: All right. Thank you very much.
COLIN JOST, ACTOR: This is my mom, Carrie. Mom, you like the politics on the show, right?
KERRY KELLY, MOTHER OF COLIN JOST: I think Alec Baldwin does a great Trump impression. But why does it have to be so mean? Who writes that stuff?
JOST: Yes, I don't know.
JOST: I guess it's mostly Michael Che.
LUKE NULL, ACTOR: This is my mom Cindy. Mom, I love you because you always give me the best advice.
CINDY NULL, MOTHER OF LUKE NULL: Thanks, Luke. Here's some more. Enough with the Trump jokes.
NULL: OK. Mom, I don't write those.
C. NULL: And why doesn't "SNL" ever talk about Crooked Hillary?
NULL: Mom, I'm so new here. Please do not do this to me. (LAUGHTER)
CHRIS REDD, ACTOR: Yes. Mom, also, I'm new and Black, so be cool.
MARGARET REDD, MOTHER OF CHRIS REDD: I don't understand why everyone focuses on Trump at all when you should be focused on Jesus.
REDD: Well, Jesus isn't president, Mom.
M. REDD: And that's the problem.
REDD: OK, come on, Mom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Mom's always wise and got to have a sense of humor, too.
All right. We've got so much more straight ahead on the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right now.
Hello again, everyone. Happy Mother's Day. Thank you so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right. We're following breaking news in Hawaii where at least three new cracks have opened on the big island in the past few hours. Listen to the power.
And that is the sound of the newest fissure suddenly opening. And it is several hundred yards long.
[14:59:56] Hawaiian residents are being urged to prepare to evacuate as spewing lava fuels fears of violent explosions from the Kilauea volcano.
Eruptions could send projectiles the size of refrigerators shooting out of the crater with little to no warning.