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American Prisoner Released from Venezuela; North and South Korean Leaders Meet in Effort to Save Summit between U.S. and North Korea; North Korea Destroy Nuclear Test Site; Teacher Subdues School Shooter in Indiana; J.J. Watt Discusses Charity Work; Volcanic Lava Flows Continue in Parts of Hawaii. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 26, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:12] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It is Saturday, May 26th, I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Breaking news right now. President Trump is hailing the release of an American prisoner after a two-year fight to bring him home.
PAUL: Also ahead, handshakes and hugs, the leaders of North and South Korea have a surprise summit to get talks with President Trump back on track.
BLACKWELL: Students call their teacher a hero for stopping a school shooter by hitting him with a basketball and then wrestling him to the ground.
PAUL: And families in Hawaii, look at this. All they can do is stand there and watch as lava creeps up to their home. We'll have more of this incredible video to show you and let you know about some updates that are happening in that state this morning.
BLACKWELL: The breaking news, just moments ago President Trump said an American hostage, his word, in Venezuela has been free. He tweeted, "Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House with his family at about 7:00 p.m. The great people of Utah will be very happy."
PAUL: We're talking about Joshua Holt. He has been held in a Venezuelan jail since 2016. CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood at the White House with more details. Sarah, what have you heard about this?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, President Trump now, Christi, celebrating the release of an American, Joshua Holt, like you mentioned, who's been held in a Venezuelan prison since June, 2016. The 26-year-old native of Utah receiving support from President Trump in a tweet, also receiving support from Republican Senator Orrin Hatch who said in a statement, "I'm pleased to announce that after two years of hard work, we've secured the release of Josh and Tammy Holt who are now on their way home to the United States from Venezuela." President Trump announcing that Josh and Tammy Holt will be at the White House here later tonight. We've reached out to the White House for a little bit more on what that will entail and we haven't heard back yet.
We should mention that the release of the Holts comes just a few weeks after the Trump administration did a victory lap about the release of three America detainees from North Korea, Christi.
BLACKWELL: So let me ask you here, Sarah, was there any evidence that the long effort to secure their release was reaching success here? In other words, did we know that this was going to happen or at least it was close?
WESTWOOD: There had started to be suggestions, Victor, last night that this was on the way. U.S. officials wouldn't confirm the news, but we should note that the efforts to security the Holts' release, like Senator Orrin Hatch mentioned in his statement, began during the Obama administration when the arrests took place. This has been a long process, more than two years now -- rather, almost two years now that lawmakers have been working to secure the release of the Holts.
PAUL: We had read that he's a Mormon missionary from Utah, as you said jailed in 2016. And he had traveled to Venezuela to marry a woman he met online. Is that the woman, do we know, do we have clarification, is that the woman that's coming home with him?
WESTWOOD: That appears to be Tammy Holt, yes, a Venezuelan woman that he met online. Reports say he met her while trying to find someone on the Internet who could help him practice Spanish. She is from Venezuela, but according to the statements from lawmakers, it appears like she may be returning to the United States. Obviously we're working to get some clarity on that from the White House and we will bring that to you when we have it.
BLACKWELL: You may not know this, we're not hearing from the White House yet, but is there any causal relationship between Maduro's recent reelection in Venezuela and securing the release of this American prisoner and his wife now coming with him back to the U.S.?
WESTWOOD: This is certainly all happening against the backdrop of turmoil in Venezuela. Obviously the administration has taken a tougher line on the Maduro regime in Venezuela, so these things are certainly happening at the same time. Certainly those are the kind of questions the White House should be answering right now. Announcing this over Twitter, though, is very characteristic of President Trump.
BLACKWELL: Yes, indeed it is. Sarah Westwood for us there at the White House. We'll try to get more.
WESTWOOD: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, Sarah, we appreciate it.
We do have --
BLACKWELL: Jorge Luis Perez Valery there with us.
PAUL: Thank you. He is coming to us live from Caracas. Jorge, help walk us through exactly who Josh Holt is for people who may not know and why this is significant.
JORGE LUIS PEREZ VALERY, JOURNALIST: Joshua Holt became the most serious U.S. citizen detained in Venezuela in 2016 when he was arrested in the outside city of Caracas, the capital city of the country.
[10:05:05] And he was accused by the Venezuelan government of planning terrorist attacks in the country, stockpiling weapons. Since then he has become in the struggle in the relationship between the Venezuelan government and U.S. government because basically Caracas, what it's saying is that this guy was trying to make a plot against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
BLACKWELL: We don't want to assume anything. I just want to get some clarity maybe if you know, it also mentiones Tammy Holt. We know that he went there to marry a woman he met online. Is Tammy that woman, and at any time was she imprisoned?
VALERY: She was imprisoned as well with him. The thing is that this case has become like a dark box because there's no official information on what the situation is. The government of Venezuela is just accusing him of planning a plot in this country but there hasn't been like an official statement, an official process with clear information about why is really this guy detained in the country. Now he was released according to the government of the United States.
He also became notorious in recent days when there was a print riot in this prison where he was detained. And the U.S. government and the U.S. embassy here in Caracas was expressing concern about his safety, not only about him but other U.S. citizens. But of course he became the most notorious one because he has been repeatedly accused by high- ranking Venezuelan officials of conspiracy, of terrorism in this country.
PAUL: Jorge Luis Perez Valery, we appreciate the input. Thank you so much.
VALERY: Thank you.
PAUL: Other breaking news we have to let you know about today, this out of the Korean peninsula and another sign that the summit between the U.S. and North Korea may actually happen.
BLACKWELL: So the leaders of South and North Korea met just hours ago at the DMZ. And the main focus here, how to get the meeting between the U.S. and North Korea back on track. CNN's Matt Rivers is in Seoul, South Korea. Matt, what are you learning more about this meeting?
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know that these two leaders met. It was extremely unexpected. It came as a huge surprise to those of us on the Korean peninsula after what has been a rollercoaster of a 36 hours since this summit between North Korea and the United States was canceled. We know that this is the second time the leader of South Korea has met with Kim Jong-un. They met for about two hours this afternoon at the DMZ. They met on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone, that's the zone that separates North and South Korea. They met for about two hours, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
And in terms of what they talked about, not a lot of information being released at this point. We know two things really. One, they talked about the joint declaration both sides signed onto the first time they met back in late April. But frankly the more important point here is we know they had a frank discussion, as we're told, about the potential for the North Korea and United States, a summit between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump.
And that is hugely impactful given that just 36 hours ago there was deep disappointment here in South Korea over the fact that the summit was canceled. The South Korean president Moon Jae-in has been a huge proponent of that summit, been pushing it harder than just about anybody. And yet since then there's clearly been a lot of active diplomacy going on behind the scenes. And the fact that the North Korean leader was willing to travel South from Pyongyang, meet his counterpart from South Korea at the DMZ, talk about this summit, as you guys said right off the top there, it is another indication that while the summit officially still remains canceled, there is clearly hope that it might be rescheduled if not on June 12th, then on some other date.
PAUL: Matt Rivers, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
CNN contributor and Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio is with us now. He is the author of "The Truth about Trump." We appreciate you being here so much. Thank you.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
PAUL: Good morning you to. So earlier this week, in fact I think it was just yesterday, President Trump was asked do you think North Korea is playing games with you with all this back and forth and ping- ponging as to whether the meeting was going to happen or whether it was not. His response is everybody plays games. Do you see what has happened, the president pulling back and saying -- in canceling the meeting as a negotiating tactic from the president?
D'ANTONIO: It absolutely is. And when he said that everybody plays games, he was being quite honest and speaking from his lifelong experience. This is a person who has approached everything in life as a game from his real estate development career to his marriages to politics. And I had to note during the previous report how the South Koreans are now experiencing Donald Trump as we have experienced him for the last two years whipsawing people back and forth as he pursues this game.
[10:10:10] PAUL: So Michael, how do you foresee, based on what you know of President Trump, how do you foresee him playing the game if he has this face-to-face sit-down with Kim Jong-un?
D'ANTONIO: I suspect that in the last couple of weeks he realized that he wasn't prepared for the meeting and that perhaps Kim had outplayed him in the last month. His diplomatic efforts had been quite successful. And in many ways, he's very Trumpy in how he's willing to go to the extreme and do the unexpected thing. I think the president very much wants to achieve something. He could establish another date, perhaps in August or September, when he'd be more comfortable sitting down to talk and when normal diplomacy might pave the way for something productive. But like you, I can't actually predict what this fellow's going to do.
PAUL: Let me ask you this -- how plausible is it, do you think, that the unpredictability of President Trump that he plays so well, that perhaps on some level it unnerved Kim Jong-un?
D'ANTONIO: I think these men are rattling each other on almost a daily basis now. I think Mr. Kim probably is concerned that he continued to get the rewards that he has received so far. You have to remember that he's now regarded as a serious player on the global stage, far less of a pariah than he was six months ago. So he wants more of those rewards. And his outreach meeting with President Moon, I think, is evidence of that.
PAUL: Michael D'Antonio, thank you so much for taking time for us today.
D'ANTONIO: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, sir.
BLACKWELL: North Korea, as you probably saw some of the video, blew up its nuclear test site and also invited international journalists there to watch. CNN's Will Ripley was there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Arriving at Punggye-ri was surreal. The explosions were huge, earthshaking. They sent rocks and debris flying. We found some of it scattered later hundreds of feet away. I can only imagine what it felt like during those nuclear tests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Will's story of the journey to get to that site is just as fascinating as the story and the pictures you're seeing there of the explosions themselves. You're going to hear the rest of his firsthand account later this hour.
PAUL: Up next, we're going to tell you about a teacher in Indiana. They're calling him a hero because he stopped a school shooter. Students who were in that room explain how that terrifying scene unfolded and how their teacher took that shooter down.
BLACKWELL: Plus, firefighters are going door to door telling people in a section of Hawaii to get out now. But some are staying behind and watching this, the lava inching closer and closer and eventually overtaking their homes.
[10:17:26] BLACKWELL: Two people are recovering from gunshot wounds in Indiana after deputies say a middle school student stood up during a science test, asked to be excused, and then came back with two handguns and started shooting.
PAUL: Listen to what students who were in the room say happened next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER SUTHERLAND: And everybody started screaming and freaking out, and Mr. Seaman ran up and tackled him and secured him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then he started screaming to call 911 and get out. And we realized he had got him to the ground, the gun was out of his hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN correspondent Dianne Gallagher with us now. How is the teacher and other victim doing?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi, so two people were shot at this middle school, Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana. The 13-year-old girl who was shot, she was shot first before the teacher could get to that student according to the kids who were in the classroom. She remains in the children's hospital. Her family actually released a statement to us early this morning. They said in part that her status is critical, yet we are pleased to report she is stable. We'd like to thank everyone across the country who prayed for our family today. We felt those prayers and we appreciate each of them. That is 13-year-old Ella Whistler's family.
You have to remember, again, these are seventh grade students who were in the middle, as those kids said of taking a science test when one of their classmates came in with those two guns and started shooting. Some of the students say that their teacher, 29-year-old Jason Seaman, picked up a basketball actually to start with and threw it at the head of the student who had the guns trying to get him to drop them, maybe throw him off balance. When that didn't work, they say, again, Mr. Seaman, who is a former college football player, ran at the shooter with his arms out, pushed the gun away, tackled that student, something that almost reminded me of about a month ago in Tennessee, the Waffle House shooting. This is an unarmed individual who just runs at someone who has a weapon to protect others and themselves, to get that weapon away from them.
Jason Seaman is still in the hospital. According to a Facebook post from his mother, he was shot in the abdomen, the hip, and the forearm. But he is well enough to have issued a statement from him. It said last night he issued this to us. "First of all, I want to thank the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. I want to let everyone know that I was injured, but I'm doing great. To all of the students, you are all wonderful, and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach."
Having that in there of course at the end, it really does tug at your heart. Here's this teacher who risked his life trying to save his students and then made sure they knew they were loved by him. Nobody seemed surprised by his actions.
[10:20:11] The student was arrested there on the campus. All we know at this point, a seventh grade boy.
PAUL: All right, Dianne, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Thanks so much.
North Korea claims it destroyed its nuclear test site tunnels there. CNN's Will Ripley was there when they blew it up. He'll join us live next with details.
PAUL: Also, a man gets hit with a lava bomb trying to protect his home. He spoke to our own Scott McLean. We have that coming up as well. Stay close.
PAUL: We know a healthy diet is good for our bodies, but nutritionist Lisa Drayer reports some foods can actually give us a mental edge.
LISA DRAYER, CNN HEALTH CONTRIBUTOR: Thinking about what's going on your plate now could help your thinking down the road. Some studies suggest strawberries and blueberries can help delay memory decline and improve brain function, particularly for older adults. Another study found women who ate more leafy greens and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower did better on memory tests.
Fatty fish is high in DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid that long term is linked to improved memory, better learning ability, and slower cognitive decline. And the caffeine in coffee and tea can help form new memories and may reduce declining brain performance.
And get this -- eggs are rich in an important nutrient called choline. One study found people who consumed high amounts of choline had healthier MRI scans of their brains. If you don't eat eggs, peanuts are also a good source.
[10:26:21] PAUL: It's 26 minutes past the hour. So glad to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. President Trump is optimistic, but still no decision yet on whether he plans to keep his date with Kim Jong-un on June 12th.
PAUL: This morning, however, North Korean and South Korean leaders held what was to us a surprise meeting, what was to the world a surprise meeting. CNN's Will Ripley just back from North Korea after watching what they claimed was their nuclear site being destroyed. He's been to North Korea 18 times thus far. So Will, talk us through the significance of this meeting this morning.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it's incredibly significant. It shows that the leaders of North and South Korea are determined to try to make things work, to try to move forward a positive dialogue with the United States. President Moon Jae-in of South Korea has been intermediary the whole time, ever since reviving talks earlier this year using the Olympics as a springboard for diplomacy. And he has kept the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un engaged. And importantly, he has also kept President Trump engaged as well, giving him a lot of credit for creating the conditions to bring about this renewed dialogue.
But there was a real roadblock in the last few days. The North Koreans were coming out with bombastic statements, blasting Vice President Pence for remarks that he made comparing North Korea to Libya, a country that gave up its nuclear weapons only to have its dictatorship overthrown by U.S.-backed rebels several years later. That infuriated the North Koreans, they insulted the vice president, called him a political dummy. President Trump unilaterally canceled the summit, news that we got on the train ride back from North Korea's apparent destruction of their nuclear test site. That just sent shockwaves through the North Koreans who were on the train with us. We broke the news to them.
But then the next morning, a conciliatory statement from Pyongyang praising President Trump, calling him brave for showing willingness to sit down and talk face to face with Kim Jong-un. And now this surprise summit. We don't know how long it was in the works, but the fact that the South Korean president crossed the military demarcation line, walked into North Korean territory, sat down face to face to meet with the North Korean leader, and the number-one agendas item was making sure that this U.S. summit does happen, it shows that on the Korean peninsula they're very serious about making things work with the United States and moving towards diplomacy as opposed to moving toward military escalation.
And I want to tell you, too --
PAUL: Go ahead. I was going -- I know what you're going to do, and that's where I wanted to lead you. I didn't know if you were going to go to it. But you saw this facility where there are these tunnels at the nuclear facility that were supposedly blown up. Based on where you were, we're seeing the video and it looks like the sides of the mountains are being blown up. Any way to verify exactly what happened there?
RIPLEY: There isn't a way to really verify it because all we could do is observe. We don't know how deep into the tunnels those explosions went. The North Koreans said that they were being transparent but there were no nuclear weapons experts with us to actually authenticate if what we were seeing was truly the irreversible destruction of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. But I have to tell you, the entire trip from start to finish, surreal.
RIPLEY: From the moment I landed in Wonsan, I knew this story was unlike any other. Eighteen trips to North Korea, and this country still keeps me guessing. For more than 24 hours, we didn't even know if our trip to the Punggye-ri nuclear site would happen. The rhetoric with the U.S. was really heating up. Only when we boarded the bus did we know it was a go. We rode for more than 12 hours on a North Korean luxury train. It was surreal. A 10-course banquet with all the blinds closed and strict orders not to film outside.
[10:30:03] We also couldn't film on the drive to the nuclear site. Arriving at Punggye-ri was surreal. The buildings were log cabins, almost like a summer camp. It was definitely not what I expected. We had to carry our gear and hike for what felt like ages up steep ravines to get to observation posts built specifically for us. We visited tunnel after tunnel, the same tunnels North Korea has used to conduct six nuclear tests since 2006, all of them full of explosives, football-sized bags strung with wires.
We even had lunch provided by the North Koreans -- ham and cumber sandwiches -- surrounded by buildings that would be blown up just hours later.
The explosions were huge, earthshaking. They sent rocks and debris flying. We found some of it scattered later hundreds of feet away. I can only imagine what it felt like during those nuclear tests.
It was totally impossible to verify if what we were seeing, if all those dramatic explosions actually made the nuclear site unusable as the North Koreans claimed. For the nuclear officials onsite, there was almost a sense of sadness, watching more than a decade of hard work go up in smoke.
RIPLEY: And those same officials were, frankly, shocked when the summit was canceled because the big reason for destroying Punggye-ri was to give a good faith sign to the United States that North Korea was serious about denuclearization. Now, however, when I left the country, Christi and Victor, there was a sense of cautious optimism that these discussions and this summit, which has the potential for historic change but also the potential for things to go horribly wrong. But nonetheless, they believe that things will move forward.
BLACKWELL: All right, Will Ripley for us this morning. Will, thank you very much.
And another sign of optimism, this just in from the White House. I'm going to read directly here a statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to a pool of reporters there. She said, "The White House pre- advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place." So another sign that the White House is still optimistic that this could happen. They're continuing with preparations for this June 12th summit, although no guarantee, no confirmation yet that the talks are back on.
PAUL: Yes. Despite that, our partisan panel has an awful lot to say about all of this news happening today with North Korea. We're back on the other side of the break with them.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:37:17] PAUL: Breaking news this hour. President Trump about an hour ago tweeted that Josh Holt, a prisoner, 26 years old, in a Venezuela prison, will be coming home. He's a Mormon missionary from Utah. He's been jailed since 2016 after he traveled to Venezuela to marry a woman that he met online. Police had alleged that he was stockpiling weapons and grenades in public housing. So he's been held for two years.
The president saying good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House with his family at about 7:00 p.m. The great people of Utah will be very happy.
Here's the thing -- Josh Holt's family has now released a statement saying, our son and his wife have been freed today. We are grateful for the joint efforts made during this time of anguish that we have lived. We ask that we be allowed to reunite with our son and his wife prior to any interviews and statements. We're grateful to everyone for their efforts in this miracle. We should point out that Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah also instrumental, really instrumental actually, at the forefront of bringing this man home.
BLACKWELL: Let's get you more now on our other big breaking news story of the morning, this is out of North Korea. The summit between the U.S. and North Korea may actually happen. Joining me now to discuss are Brian Robinson and Tharon Johnson, Brian a Republican strategist who worked for the governor of Georgia Nathan Deal, he worked during the campaign, if I got that right this time. And you were ahead of Obama 2012 here in the south, in Georgia.
Let's focus on the meeting that happened that people did not expect, and potentially the talks being back on. The president said yesterday in response to a question yesterday everybody plays games. Did the cancelation play work for the president?
THARON JOHNSON, FORMER SOUTH REGIONAL DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012: We don't know. Donald Trump is taking credit for the new summit, so to speak, but he also admitted that this is something that he's sort of playing a game with. I think at a time when you really are fighting towards true diplomacy, you've got to have honest brokers on all sides. And so I just really hope that this president, who we know has a history of playing games and lying at certain points, is not playing with this sort of summit that needs to happen.
I as an American feel really good that North Korea and South Korea was able to come together to have the summit. And I really hope that the summit happens. But we must continue to be an honest broker and we've got to make sure that we're not trying to just get so much that we actually blow the whole deal up. So I'm optimistic, but again, it's Donald Trump, you never know what is going to happen with that guy.
BLACKWELL: It looks genius, to be genius, if it works, right? But the surprise acceptance of the meeting, the fumbling over the Libya model, there's a chance that this is not genius, it's just the North Koreans need it this badly. [10:40:00] BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The North Koreans
do need it badly. The cost of fuel there has doubled. Their exports have been cut by 90 percent. They're really hurting. The squeeze is on. And that's because Donald Trump led at the United Nations, he's led with the global economy, to shut off their economy, and it's working. They are desperate.
The last three administrations have begged the North Koreans for these meetings and have been plagued by them. Donald Trump is winning. The North Koreans are coming to him saying, if we meet, can you give us this relief on this sanction, can you give us this relief on this trade embargo? And Donald Trump is saying no.
BLACKWELL: OK --
ROBINSON: That's why they didn't go to Singapore, because Donald Trump is standing up to them for the first time.
BLACKWELL: OK, but they still may go to Singapore. This meeting could happen actually on the 12th. But let me ask you about the expectations that are being set. I want to read for you just a couple of things that President Moon when he was in the Oval Office this week said that Donald Trump will secure -- an end to the Korean civil war, normalizing relations between the North and South Korea, denuclearizing the North, bringing peace to the peninsula. This is one meeting between these two men. Are they doing anything to set expectations low, because there's a good chance a lot of this will not happen on the 12th if the meeting happens?
ROBINSON: The only way that Donald Trump is going to go forward with this is if the North Koreans vow on the front end that they will totally denuclearize.
BLACKWELL: What's the definition of that, because there is no single definition of denuclearization that I've heard that both parties agree to.
ROBINSON: I think we can agree that the North Koreans' definition is somewhat different than Donald Trump's. And I think that's why see this tap dance going on, coming to agreement on what that means. But for Donald Trump, it means you will meet with me or meet with U.S. seventh fleet. Those are your options, North Korea.
BLACKWELL: We've got to get to the fundamental question here. To assume that Kim will walk into that room and walk out giving up his nuclear weapons is to accept that it is credible to think that he and his father invested so many resources for so long to develop this nuclear program with the primary goal of preserving their regime now to just walk in and give it away.
JOHNSON: Victor, you're exactly right. He is a hostile dictator. He is a person that over time through all these administrations has shown that he is not willing to negotiate, that he's not really willing to play ball with Americans. So to create this sort of illusion that everything is going to be handled at this one summit, that we really don't know if it's on or if it's not on, it's just not going to happen.
I've got to give President Trump a little bit of credit for actually beginning the talks. But he's got to see this through. And I think that at a time where you see that North Korea and South Korea coming together, but we've got to figure out as Americans and the America government, what are we prepared to say in this meeting, because if this meeting goes bad and President Trump goes in and plays games with these two countries, then that's going to be bad for America. So I'm very cautiously optimistic about it, but I think we've got to have a clear definition of what is success out of this summit, if it happens.
BLACKWELL: You think the U.S. and the world are in a better position with North Korea now than they were at any point during the Obama administration?
JOHNSON: No, I disagree with that, because I think that President Obama, listen, he wants diplomacy, he wanted diplomacy. But he was not going to do it in the vein of trying to compromise our American principles. And so just because you're talking and just because you're trying to plan a summit does not mean that this is a done deal. So I think we've got to see this through.
BLACKWELL: Does the meeting happen on the 12th?
JOHNSON: I think a meeting happens on the 12th, but I'm not sure if it will happen with everyone, all the parties involved.
BLACKWELL: What do you think, meeting happens on the 12th?
ROBINSON: As President Trump said, we'll see.
ROBINSON: But I do think that it's going to depend on North Koreans coming to the table. In the past, Americans have given them things before meetings. Then the Kim family didn't follow up on their pledges. That's happened over and over and over again. And they didn't take the Obama administration seriously, and not just slamming Obama, I don't think they took any previous American administration seriously.
They're scared of Donald Trump. He is winning this game. They know that he will take action if they don't come to the table. And because he has led on those sanctions, he is squeezing the Kims and he is squeezing the military elite around him who have gotten used to a certain level of luxury that wasn't theirs 10 years ago.
BLACKWELL: Are you confident that China is, for lack of a better term, playing fair here with the U.S. in their conversations with Kim? Because after that meeting with Kim, he became far bolder than he was prior to that. That's when we started to see the statements criticizing the national security adviser, criticizing the vice president.
JOHNSON: We just don't know with Kim. I disagree with Brian a little bit that they weren't scared of the Obama administration. Any time that you're dealing with sort of the power that the U.S. possesses in negotiating, you've got to take that seriously.
[10:45:00] But I just think that Kim has a history of being his way or the highway and just being this dictator. And so I think we've got to be very careful with giving Trump too much credit on this. And I think China, listen, there's times where China is an honest broker and an honest partner with us, and sometimes they're not. And so at the end of the day I think we've got to be honest brokers in this deal and make sure that we're all working towards a long-term solution for diplomacy, not just a short-term political win.
BLACKWELL: Tharon Johnson, Brian Robinson, thank you both.
ROBINSON: Thank you.
PAUL: We have some new information we want to update for you on prisoner Josh Holt who has been held in Caracas in a prison for the last two years. President Trump just now tweeting, "Looking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House. The great people of Utah are celebrating." He most likely, we assume, will be there. Also getting a report that he and his wife are now at the U.S. embassy in Caracas. They were freed overnight, and he and his wife are scheduled to leave to go to the airport in Caracas around noon this time, as well, same local time there.
And there hasn't been any official confirmation or comment from the Maduro government. But again, President Trump saying that he will welcome Josh Holt and his wife who have been held in Venezuela for the last two years to the White House later tonight along with his family.
BLACKWELL: J.J. Watt is making a name for himself off the field, helping people when they need him most. Next, his latest effort to help people in his home state there in Texas. This week is -- he's this week's Difference Maker.
[10:52:00] PAUL: All righty, so let's talk about the NFL. The defensive powerhouse known as J.J. Watt, probably doesn't need an introduction at the end of the day. The Houston Texans star one of the biggest names in sports but also making a name for himself when it comes to his generosity and his work off the field.
BLACKWELL: Vince Cellini is here for this week's Difference Makers. Vince?
VINCE CELLINI, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Guys, he is a man of action, no question about that. And we want to remind you this Difference Maker is brought to you by Ford, going further so you can.
After hurricane Harvey devastated areas around Houston and the rest of the gulf coast last August, J.J. Watt sprung into action, raising more than $37 million for flood victims. In February, J.J. was awarded the 2017 Walter Payton NFL man of the year award, giving to honor the charity events of NFL players. And this week, Watt offered to pay for the funerals of the 10 people who were killed in a shooting at Santa Fe high school. Coy Wire sat down with Watt to find out what makes him a difference maker.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: J.J., you do a lot for the community, you give back. Why is that so important to you?
J.J. WATT, NFL PLAYER: I think that early in my career especially early in college, I realized how fortunate I was. Growing up you live in a bubble, you don't really know what the rest of the world is like, especially if you live in a small town. So once I got to college and I started going out and visiting schools and things, I realized how lucky I really was and how that there are people out there who didn't have it as good as I had it. So I wanted to make sure that I used my platform to do what I could to help others.
WIRE: You've had an incredible journey. If you went back to high school, saw young J.J., a bit advice, what would you tell him?
WATT: I would say don't worry about what anybody who tells you you can't do it. Don't worry about anybody who tells you it's not cool to work hard and to do things the right way. And I would probably tell them don't forget to have a little fun along the way. That's probably the biggest thing I'd tell him is just make sure you take a look around and enjoy it all because it's a very, very special ride.
CELLINI: A true hero, J.J. Watt. A career overachiever. He knows how to work, he knows how to motivate, and clearly he has done both of those things. Let's go back to you.
BLACKWELL: Vince Cellini, thanks so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Vince.
So I want to show you some video here. And just put yourself in the shoes of this family. All they can do is stand and watch all of this lava inch closer to their homes. We're going to show you more and let you know what happened. Stay close.
[10:59:01] PAUL: Can you imagine being this family, sitting on this -- looks like their porch, part of their property. This is in Hawaii. And all they can do is stand and watch as this lava inches closer and closer to their home. They did remain calm the whole time, believe it or not. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is insane. This lava is advancing about, I don't know, three feet per minute, two feet per minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: Lava from the Kilauea volcano is covering just three square miles of the Big Island, and earthquakes are ramping up, as well. Yesterday alone there were 90 quakes in six hours. Thanks to NASA, look at this, we're getting a look at the -- from the International Space Station of what all of this looks like. Nasa has been helping Hawaiian officials track new fissures, and it helps them understand why the lava is headed.
And Starbucks is getting ready to begin training its employees on issues concerning racial bias. This is after one employee called police because two black men were waiting for a business associate without buying anything.