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U.S. Team Meets With North Koreans Ahead Of Historic Meeting; Bipartisan Lawmakers: No Proof Of Trump Campaign Spy; Giuliani: Not Comfortable With Mueller Q's On Obstruction; Sessions To Illegal Migrants: Kids May Be Separated From You; WAPO: RFK'S Son Doesn't Think Sirhan Sirha Killed His Father; Subtropical Storm Alberto Barrels Towards Gulf Coast; Tennessee Race May Be Toughest In The World; WWII Hero Gets Final Wish. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 27, 2018 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: ... for any advantage, maybe even studying the President's choice of fuel.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Big Macs are great, the Quarter Pounder with cheese.

TAPPER: As Kim Jong-un prepares to sit down at the negotiating table, he also might want to practice his golf swing in case talks move to the links.

TRUMP: Even as we played golf all we did was talk about different things.

TAPPER: Most importantly, of course, studying up on the President's one time hit show The Apprentice, all 14 seasons.

TRUMP: The Apprentice was such as tremendous success. You're fired.

TAPPER: One test both leaders have already passed, they know how to put on a show.

TRUMP: I do get good ratings, you know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Pretty stuff. Hey, thank you so much for joining me this Sunday, I'm Fredericka Whitfield, the next hour of the Newsroom starts right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: And you are live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ryan Nobles in New York City filling in tonight for Ana Cabrera. And we are starting with breaking news on CNN. An advanced team of an American officials and diplomats have now arrived in North Korea.

They are doing advance work ahead of what might be a history making moment, a face-to-face between the President of the United States and the leader of North Korea.

A thing might be of course because just a couple of days ago in writing, President Trump pulled the plug on that meeting, but just a few minutes ago this tweet from the President, our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the summit between Kim Jong-un and myself.

I truly believe North Korea has brilliant and -- has brilliant potential, and will be a great economic, and financial national one day. Kim Jong-un agrees with me on this, it will happen.

The date decided upon, June 12, the place, Singapore, the chances of it happening? Well, that's still very much up in the air. With me now, our Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott, she is in Washington, and in Seoul South Korea, CNN's Paula Hancocks.

Paula, who's in North Korea -- who's in North Korea, where are -- who is in North Korea right now is what I'm trying to ask you here. Where are they, and what are they doing?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, as we have heard from the U.S. President that this delegation is in North Korea. We do not know who they are meeting with. But what we do know they are trying to do is to try and set up this summit.

They're going to be talking about the substance of the talks, of course there are other teams dealing with the logistics, but a team in North Korea is to try and set up exactly what the agenda could be for this summit.

Of course, we have had our clearest indication yet that this summit is going to go ahead. But we don't know for sure. And of course, with this kind of summit, you usually have an awful lot of preparation, months in advance.

You have advanced teams that are actually planning out what they will be talking about most of the time, and you also have the communique or something else that is actually set out on the piece of paper and ready for a press statement.

That is not the case on this occasion. We do understand from many sides that the leaders themselves will be hammering out quite a few of the details. But certainly what we are hearing from the South Korean side, as well, is that we have an indication of what Kim Jong-un wants from this summit.

We have that surprise meeting between the North and South Korean leaders on Saturday, and according to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Kim Jong-un is wanting guarantees for his regime. Mr. Moon said that he can give him this guaranteed through the U.S. President, but it's far better for him to sit down next to Donald Trump face-to- face so he can tell him.

And we have heard from the U.S. President before that he guarantees Kim's safety, saying he'll be happy, he'll be safety, his country will be rich. We have had push back though from the North Korean once again on Sunday saying that they don't want economic aid from the United States, or at least they don't like the suggestion from the United States that in return for that denuclearization, they will be financially helped. Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Elise, over to you now. I mean, the best way to describe the Singapore summit is on again, off again. I mean, how are Washington officials explaining the President's cancellation, and then his language afterwards? Is this the President trying to cut a deal? Is this diplomacy Trump style?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I think a little bit, Ryan. One of the reasons that President Trump cancelled the summit, you know, he blamed it on some of the rhetoric coming out of North Korea, about Vice President Pence and such.

But it was really that the North Koreans were not being up front about discussing some of the substance that this delegation is going to discuss today.

You have Sung Kim leading the delegation, he's the current U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, who was also a former U.S. negotiator with North Korea, very familiar with the North Koreans, you also have top officials from the National Security Council and the Defense Department. This is the kind of engagement that has been lacking since the announcement of the summit.

[17:05:02] And you know, as the summit was approaching, the U.S. side felt that they were -- that the North Koreans were becoming more and more distant, not willing to discuss the kind of specifics that would tell them that this would be a successful summit.

So the fact that Sung Kim and his delegation is in North Korea talking to them about these specifics, I think they'll get more clarity now on whether the -- you know, some of the things that the North Koreans -- they want the North Koreans to do.

Particularly, this denuclearization is really going to be on the table, and I would expect that this is going to be a real roller coaster over the next week or so as we learn more about whether the North Koreans are really coming to the table in serious way.

NOBLES: Well, all right. Elise Labott in Washington, and Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea, as we track whether or not this summit is on or off again, thank you.

Meanwhile, also happening this Memorial Day weekend, the President tweeting that we need to remember the lives lost to the Russia probe. He writes, quote, who's going to give back the young, and beautiful lives, and others, that have been devastated, and destroyed by the phony Russia collusion witch hunt?

They journeyed down to Washington, D.C. with stars with their eyes and wanting to help our nation, they went back home in tatters. This comes as Mr. Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, admit right here on CNN that the legal team strategy is to undermine the Special Counsel. Listen to what he said specifically about the President's latest unproven claims that a spy was placed in his campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPODENT: This is an intentional strategy to undermine the investigation, knowing that they, the investigators, the Special Counsel, it's their policy not to talk. But you are very free to and are very aggressive about doing so.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: Well, I mean, they are giving us the material. I couldn't do it if I didn't have the material. They are giving us the material to do it. Of course, we have to do it in defending the President.

We are defending -- to a large extent, remember, Dana, we are defending here -- it is for public opinion, because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeach, not impeach. Members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents. So, our jury is the American -- as it should be -- is the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: All right. I want to get straight now to CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez. He is live at the White House. And, Boris, how big of a role do these spy claims appear to have in this strategy to undermine the Special Counsel investigation?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, lately it has played a huge part in this strategy to undermine this Special Counsel for a long time now. The President has described the Russia investigation as a witch hunt, as a hoax, et cetera, et cetera.

Just a short while ago, he tweeted that it was a so-called investigation. Keep in mind, this is not so much a legal strategy, but more so a political strategy from the President and his attorney.

That would be determined in the court of public opinion, as you just heard Rudy Giuliani say a big part of the thinking behind the propagating of these dubious claims about a spy in the Trump campaign, planted there by the deep state is in part, to help the President stave off the threat of impeachment.

Giuliani was asked by Dana Bash this morning on State of the Union if he believed that the Russia investigation was legitimate or not. Here is his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: I just want to separate -- so you think that the Mueller probe is legitimate?

GIULIANI: I -- not anymore. I don't. I did when I came in. But now I see -- I see spygate. I see the judge...

BASH: But -- but what you call spygate, you admit...

GIULIANI: ... Judge Ellis, and Manafort saying...

BASH: ... happened before Robert Mueller was -- was brought on to the scene.

GIULIANI: But it has to -- but it has to inform the decision to appoint Mueller. Either it is evidence or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Now, on the topic of this conspiracy theory, Ryan, as you know this week, a number of lawmakers were briefed by intelligence officials, and they were able to see some of the evidence about that FBI informant. Many of them have not really come out in support of the President's claim that there was a spy, including a number of Republicans. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Were you surprised with what you learned?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Nothing particularly surprising.

SEN. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: There is no evidence to support that spy theory.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: As far as what I have seen to date, it appears that there was an investigation not of the campaign, but of certain individuals who have a history that we should be suspicious of, that predate the presidential campaign of 2015 and 2016.

HUGH HEWITT, MSNBC HOST: The question is, should the President use the term spygate?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know. Probably not, but I don't know. I didn't go to the meeting. I don't think -- I don't think he is a spy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Oh, one final note. Ryan, Dana also asked the former Mayor of New York City if the President would sit down with that one-on-one interview with Robert Mueller that we've longed been speculating about, Giuliani said that the President wants to. He even went as far as to say that the Russia investigation would be over.

[17:10:02] And the President just decided not to do it. Ryan.

NOBLES: Right. Continuing to tease a possible interview between the President and Robert Mueller. Boris Sanchez live at the White House, thank you, sir. Our next guess knows Special Counsel Robert Mueller very well, CNN Legal Analyst Michael Zeldin is a former federal prosecutor who worked closely with Mueller at the Justice Department.

Michael, I first want to talk to you about that first sound bite that we heard from Rudy Giuliani, and I'm just going to read back to you what he said.

He said, quote, eventually the decision here will be impeach or not impeach. That sounds a lot more like this legal team is preparing for a political battle, not a legal battle. Is that how you see it?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's very hard to understand what Giuliani is saying there. In some sense, he's presupposing a report by Mueller that would warrant a decision about whether it is an impeachable offense or not.

I don't know. If I'm the president, I would like my lawyer saying that I expect there will be a referral to impeach me, and then the American people have to make that decision. I don't believe that that's what is in his best interest legally.

But that said, it may well be that they think that that's where this will head because there's no crime that will be provable in a court of law, but like Ken Starr, they will make a referral, and that will have to be fought out in the political arena. It's hard to know.

NOBLES: Interesting. Yes. I want to play another sound bite from the former Mayor of New York, this one about the stipulations that he want surrounding a sit down with Robert Mueller. You heard Boris talk about that. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: If everything could be worked out, then they would probably limit it to collusion and obstruction. The collusion part, we're pretty comfortable with because there has been none. The obstruction part I'm not as comfortable. I'm not. The President's fine with it. He's innocent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Is it normal to walk into a conversation with a prosecutor, and have a long list of stipulations before an interview takes place? I mean what do you make of this?

ZELDIN: Well, in this matter where the President is the one who's going to be interviewed, I think it is appropriate for his lawyers to say, give us the terms under which we will consent to an interview, if that's what we're talking about.

That's exactly what Bill Clinton did. They agreed to have an interview in the map room for, I think, four to six hours with his attorney present, and the testimony being piped over to the Grand Jury.

So that's -- that's well enough. But what's surprising to me again about Giuliani is that he said the President wants to do this interview, and I don't know if that's actually been determined by the real lawyers who are representing him.

And then second, he said the topics are obstruction and collusion, well that's the entire investigation. So he's just essentially said, the President wants to sit down, and be interviewed about the full gamut of issues that were laid out by Mueller in those 49 questions.

That's all collusion, that's all obstruction, but he seem to have negotiated nothing away, and here's Rudy Giuliani praising himself for having negotiated this.

NOBLES: Now Giuliani also said the reason he's not comfortable with questions on obstruction is because it's, quote, a matter of interpretation. Is that an accurate statement?

ZELDIN: Well, yes in the sense that all decisions by prosecutors are matters of interpretation. You hear the expression, prosecutorial discretion.

That is the judgment by a prosecutor as to whether this conduct that's under inquiry rises to the level of an indictable offense. So, everything whether it's collusion or obstruction of justice, you know, coordination, conspiracy, those are all judgments by prosecutors based on the evidence before him.

So he's saying something which is obvious to all prosecutors. And yes, the prosecutors will make a judgment, and then the defendant, if it turns out to be a defendant, will have to defend themselves.

NOBLES: All right. Michael Zeldin, thank you for you perspective. We appreciate you being on.

ZELDIN: My pleasure.

NOBLES: Coming up, the federal government says it has lost track of more than 1,000 immigrant children who were split from their families by authorities. They say they aren't responsible. So, who is? And millions of people along the gulf coast are under a tropical storm warning this Memorial Day weekend. We'll have the latest forecast ahead.

[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: It is a shocking admission from the U.S. government, and a staggering number of children's lives are at stake. Top officials at the Department of Health and Human Services now say they have no idea where nearly 1,500 children are.

Children who were without their parents, and in government custody, after coming into the U.S. alone or being separated from an adult or family member they were with. These were then sent to homes of people willing to sponsor them.

In follow-up check, most of the kids were accounted for, but some had run away. Hundreds of others, nobody knows. President Trump is blaming Democrats, saying in the tweet, quote, put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from their parents once they cross the border into the United States, catch and release, lottery and chain must also go with it, and we will continue building the wall.

Democrats are protecting MS-13 thugs. That's the end of that tweet. The Trump administration makes no apology from taking children away from their parents. In fact, it uses it as a warning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you as required by law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Let's talk about this now, I want to bring in CNN's Tal Kopan, she is closely following this issues, also Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of Homeland Security.

[17:20:00] Tal, let me start with you, because you have been very closely following this story. I mean, these numbers of missing kids. This is just staggering, 1,500. That's just in the last part of 2017.

I mean, what is the explanation by the federal government? Are these kids -- did they just move addresses, are there people who aren't reporting them? What are the speculations as to where they may be?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Ryan, on that being staggering. And this was roughly 20 percent of the children that they were following up on in those last three months of 2017. And the truth is, we don't know what happened to these children. It's very reasonable that some of them may have chosen to go into the shadows, and live, you know, in the U.S. undocumented, that's certainly a possibility.

It's also just as much a possibility that some of these children may have ended up with human traffickers, or individual who intend to do them harm. And that is exactly the problem with this.

That the current position of Health and Human Services, which is the agency that takes custody of these children once the Department of Homeland Security apprehends them, and turns them over. It is their position that once they place a child with a sponsor, they're not legally responsible for that child any longer.

Now in the same testimony that they revealed the statistic, they said they are reconsidering that position, and looking into it further, but until we hear further, that remains their decision on what happens to these kids once they're given to a sponsor in the U.S.

NOBLES: Incredible. Well, Juliette, settle this appearing double message coming from the current administration. Jeff Sessions warning undocumented migrants that their kids will be separated from them, essentially using that as a deterrent, he says, according to the law. But then President Trump in a tweet calls that law horrible. How can they have it both ways?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, first of all let's just be clear here, Sessions is not telling the truth. The law actually does not require separation, the law actually tends to favor. It's on the policy that has family unification for hundreds of reasons, including just the sheer cruelty of separating mothers in particular with their children.

So the law doesn't require it, the law allows it in certain circumstances, and Sessions, and Trump, and the administration, including Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen have decided to interpret that as in must.

So all of this is on them, and they are trying to sort of weasel out of it. The second issue is, there's no proof that in the past or even today that the threat of separating mothers from their children actually serves as a deterrent to migration, migration is very, very complicated.

People come to this country for lots of reasons, including seeking asylum, which they're lawfully allowed to do. And so the numbers are actually against what Sessions said. The numbers are actually up of the number of people who were trying to cross the border.

And so it did not serve as deterring, and it's cruel. I mean, just to be clear here. I mean, so nothing behind law or policy is requiring it, and it is just not what the United States should be doing, and it's just not necessary.

NOBLES: Tal, I want to get back to this point that you made about the fact that the government says that they're not responsible essentially for these children that have been placed with sponsors. I mean, doesn't that mean that likely these numbers of missing kids have the potential to grow unless they change the policy quickly?

KOPAN: Yes. I mean, Ryan, to your point, and to Juliette's point, you know, the U.S. has now adopted a policy of this 100 percent referral for prosecution, meaning anyone who crosses the border illegally doesn't first go into the immigration court system as has traditionally been done in the past, especially with family units.

They will first go to the criminal system even if they are making an asylum claim, that is why there's going to be potentially an increase in separations of children from their parents because once they go into the criminal system, the children do not follow them to, you know, U.S. criminal jails, and so they have to be placed elsewhere.

So now, you have both HHS trying to figure out what they are going to do about the fact that -- and let's keep in mind, this is only a sample of three months, so we have no idea how many children this has happened to.

They are potentially going to be feeding much more children into this system before they have figured out how they're going to resolve this issue. And you know, it doesn't matter where you stand on this issue.

You can be concerned about, you know, these children going into trafficking, you could be concerned about this being, you know, a contributor to the undocumented immigrant population in this country, wherever you stand on the issue. It is a dramatically, problematic thing to potentially be feeding more children.

NOBLES: Yes. Obviously, a lot of strong opinions about the immigration issue. There is certainly a human aspect of this think of idea of children being separated from their parents, and then being lost in the system.

That has someone that has -- something that has to tug on everyone's heart strings. All right, Tal Kopan and Juliette Kayyem, thank you for join us today.

Coming up, 50 years after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated after a campaign rally, one of his sons says the man sitting in jail for the crime didn't do it.

[17:25:00] His reason, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: Happening now, President George H.W. Bush is back in the hospital due to low blood pressure and fatigue. A spokesman said the 93-year-old is awake, and alert, and not any discomfort at a hospital in Maine.

The 41st president is expected to remain under a doctor's care for a few days for observation. The President was admitted to the hospital last month for a blood infection the day after the funeral of his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush.

[17:30:05] But since his release on May 4th, he's kept a pretty active schedule as a sign that Mr. Bush is in good spirits, his chief of staff sent an e-mail to friends and family that said quote, I guess he partied too hard with the American legion yesterday. Darn it. We will bring you more information as soon as we learn them.

The assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy shocked the world. Now 50 years, Bobby's death -- after Bobby's death, his son is casting doubt on the investigation.

Robert Kennedy Jr. now believes that the man convicted of the crime, Sirhan Sirhan, did not act alone. The Washington Post reports that Kennedy met with Sirhan, and now believes a second gunman may be to blame. CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras is following the latest. So, Brynn, what led RKF Jr. to this conclusion? This is a fascinating story.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he's been investigating apparently on his own for many years. He's wanted answers himself, and then he actually went and visited Sirhan Sirhan, so that's what's coming out this weekend.

So really it sounds like one of RFK's 11 children seems to be buying into all of these conspiracy theories that have been out there for years about how his father died. Now, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., he met with Sirhan Sirhan just before Christmas last year.

That's according to a Washington Post article which came out over this weekend. It was a decision that the 64-year-old said he made after years of researching his father's assassination in 1968. Now Kennedy doesn't get into the details of that conversation. But the Post says it lasted for about three hours their conversation, and Kennedy walks away again believing a conspiracy theory that there's been out there again for decades that a second gunman must have been present when those fatal shots were fired in the kitchen of Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel.

This news of Kennedy's quest for answers and his meeting with Sirhan Sirhan comes just over a week before the 50th anniversary of that fateful day -- that day, June 5th, 1968. It was in the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated two months prior.

And 42-year-old Bobby Kennedy had just launched his presidential bid. Upon leaving a rally with campaign supports, you know the history, Kennedy was shot moments later four times, and he died a day later. Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian immigrant had a gun in his hand, and he told law enforcement officials years later that he blacked out. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIRHAN SIRHAN, CONVICTED OF KILLING BOBBY KENNEDY: Obviously I was there, but I don't remember the exact moment. I don't remember pulling my gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRAS: The way we get these conspiracy theories. Well, forensic says there was maybe a second gunman because the fatal shot to Kennedy came from behind and Sirhan was in front of him.

So here's what Kennedy told the Post about that meeting with his father's convicted killer who's now currently serving a life sentence, quote, I was disturbed that the wrong person might have been convicted of killing my father. My father was the chief law enforcement in this country.

I think it have been -- he would have been disturbed -- it would have disturbed him rather if somebody was put in jail for a crime they didn't commit.

And this is really a sentiment that RFK Jr. echoed in his 2016 book, where he mentions his father's good friend Paul Schrade who was also shot that day, that he too believed that there was another gunman. So now a new theory, but certainly interesting that (Inaudible).

NOBLES: Especially coming from his own son, obviously why it's getting so much attention. Brynn, thank you for that report.

GINGRAS: All right.

NOBLES: Appreciate it. And CNN takes a deeper look into the events of 1968 tonight, here's a preview of tonight's premier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the spring of '68, you get the most violent period of the entire world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will be so glad to go home.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., AMERICAN MINISTER: I've seen the Promised Land. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martin Luther King was shot, and was killed tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For my parent's generation, King was the dream, and then he's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm announcing today my candidacy for the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God, Senator Kennedy has been shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was really the death of hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wallace knew how to get a crowd energized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know of a lot of words that you don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police and demonstrators hustling over this busy intersection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Graduate is probably the most important movie of the '60s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope to restore respect to the presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the most dramatic inconsequential years in history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 1968, a four-part two night CNN original series event starting Sunday at 9:00.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: And coming up, subtropical storm Alberto is barreling towards the gulf coast forcing states of emergency in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. We'll tell you where it is headed, and what to expect. That's a live picture from Pensacola. We'll take a look when we come back. Stay here.

[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: Apparently Alberto didn't get the memo, hurricane season doesn't officially begin until Friday, June 1. But the subtropical storm is giving people along the gulf coast a preview of this season this Memorial Day weekend.

They're filling sandbags in Sarasota, Florida, in anticipation of Alberto's landfall which could happen some time early tomorrow. Governor Rick Scott has issued a state of emergency in all 67 Florida counties, portions of Mississippi, and Alabama are also under an emergency declaration.

[17:40:05] Meteorologist Tom Sater and Jennifer Gray joining me now. Jennifer, let's begin with you. You're on the beach there in Pensacola, Florida. And it sounds like Memorial Day beachgoers are going to have to keep their eye on the sky for sure. What's it like there now?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: They will indeed. And you know, this is normally a jam packed weekend for beachgoers, Memorial Day weekend, but the beach it pretty much deserted.

We have a couple of groups of families on the beach, but normally it would be packed solid, so very different scenario this weekend. A lot of people decided to either change their plans, or just to stay home.

Some of the hotels we talked to say they're running about 60 percent to 70 percent capacity, so separately taking a hit as far as the economy goes here at Pensacola Beach all along the panhandle. So they are getting ready.

People have been -- they know this storm is coming, conditions will look very different this time tomorrow morning. I would say, the 5:00, 6:00 hour tomorrow morning, and then by tomorrow evening, hopefully this storm will be moving on out. It has been changing -- the forecast has been changing quite a bit over the last few hours. Of course, Tom's going to tell you more about that.

But as far as conditions here, the winds have picked up a little bit. But the impacts have been far reaching. You know, Florida's been getting a lot of rainfall from this storm. The Pensacola and the western portion of the panhandle, we're sort of the last ones to get it, so the rain hasn't began here yet, it will be here shortly, Ryan.

NOBLES: All right, Jennifer, thank you. I see some pretty big waves there behind you. Now, let's go to CNN's Weather Center, and Meteorologist Tom Sater. Tom, give us the forecast. How bad is Alberto going to get for the folks along the gulf coast?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Ryan, I think one reason we have the emergency declarations in place is that this is the first storm of the year. We have been shell shocked of course after last season.

Alberto is not a Harvey, it's not an Irma, it's not a Maria, but it is a tropical storm when you have a holiday weekend. Now, the latest from the National Hurricane Center, we've got dry air that is really trying to infiltrate this system, so in a way that's going to try to break this system down, and keep it from strengthening.

So, this is not going to be a hurricane, but it does come with some threats. Right now, we've got an increase in flood watches for about 26 million Americans, and it now lifts up into areas of the Carolinas.

Florida has seen a share of rain this May. In fact in several areas, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, you're looking at the top 10 wettest Mays on record. For the last three weeks, the entire peninsula of Florida, and the southeast region has been inundated with storm after storm. So the ground is saturated. But at least if we get some dry air in

the system, it will break down. Now there has been a change not so much in the track, pretty much between Panama City and Pensacola, takes place now, instead of tomorrow morning landfall, maybe closer to 1:00 or 2:00 p.m.

But really the threat is one, if you just stay out of the water, you're going to be fine, the reap currents as Jennifer was talking about, but really it's the amount of rain that could give us some flash flooding, so I don't think this is going to be a big, big wind maker at all.

We've got more problems in the suburbs of Baltimore. We have had this thunderstorm activity for the last several weeks as mentioned from the mid-Atlantic southward, but now the radar has been showing one storm after another, just to the west of Baltimore at Ellicott City. There are numerous rescues that have been taking place. We do have some video that we have just pulled in.

And it shows what I believe is much like what happened two years ago, July of 2016, massive flooding occurred in the same situation, there were two fatalities, automobile after automobile were kind of taken down the roadway.

Now, those that live there, and I know the region well, will tell you one of its just maybe poor drainage infrastructure, the other is topography, Ryan. So this area has already picked up four to six inches isolated spots, even more than that.

So we have got more of a problem right now in the Baltimore suburbs than we do in Florida, but all eyes on Alberto, hopefully staying just at tropical storm status, if it reaches that of course in the hours ahead.

NOBLES: Those pictures from Ellicott City are unbelievable.

SATER: Yes.

NOBLES: Tom Sater, thank you for that. Meteorologist Jennifer Gray, in Pensacola, stay safe. Thank you both for that report. Coming up, a dying World War II veteran's dying wish to meet someone who fought on the same battle field as him, and share memories about their experience. And in this weekend's Fit Nation we head to the backwoods of Tennessee where people compete, and what many consider to be the toughest race in the world. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Every year in the backwoods of Tennessee, there's a race so tough, only 15 people have ever finished it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a bit of a problem. I really don't know where I'm supposed to be going next.

GUPTA: Welcome to the Barclay Marathons. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The greatest challenges in sports really are

pressure and uncertainty. The Barclay weekend is filled with pressure and uncertainty.

GUPTA: Just 40 select athletes are chosen to try to complete five 20- mile loops of steep, unmarked terrain using nothing, but a map, and a compass.

[17:45:06] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A race where you're just kind of running around in the forest not knowing if you're on the right trail or not. It adds a whole other mental element.

GUPTA: Runners have 12 hours to complete each loop, and find 13 hidden books along the way to prove they stayed on course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The kind of incredible physical beating that these people take, and go out there 12, 14, 16 hours. You're wet, you're cold, you're hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is fogged in, and freezing up here.

GUPTA: Even for the most accomplished ultra-runners, the course can seem impossible, leaving just one option.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have made the decision to self-extract. I've got to get myself out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be great if everyone could get that prize, but the nature of the prize is that you can't. I'm glad that you can't. Another time, you get to make a new mistake.

(LAUGHTER)

GUPTA: This year, Mother Nature rained down on the course, creating havoc for runners. Many missed the time cutoff, earning them the Barclays signature send-off. This year's best runner finished only three loops. Once again, the Barclay won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will come back alive, maybe hurt in their soul, but physically with things that they'll recover from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was just glorious suffering.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBLES: Danica Patrick's racing career ended with a bang today, but unfortunately, it wasn't the good kind. The celebrated female racecar driver got off to a good start in the 100-second Indianapolis 500 today. But she lost control of her car coming out of a turn, and slam into the wall, ending her race early.

Patrick was running in 16th place before crashing. Thankfully, she was cleared and released from the race without any major injuries. Danica announced her retirement from racing back in November.

She's raced in the Indy 500 eight times. Her best result was a third place finish back in 2009. That was the best finish ever by a female driver.

And this Memorial Day weekend, we have a story of the bonds of war, a story 75 years in the making. A World War II veteran's dying wish to meet a brother in arms. CNN's Gary Tuchman was there as two complete strangers bound by a battle became friends.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A World War II Marine veteran, shot three times, and bayoneted in the battle of Guadalcanal, a Purple Heart recipient. This is Sergeant Bill Hession today. How old are you?

SERGEANT BILL HESSION, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: Ninety-six.

TUCHMAN: Ninety-six. And when do you turn 97? When's your birthday?

HESSION: May 7th.

TUCHMAN: That is coming up.

HESSION: Yes.

TUCHMAN: Sadly, the Sergeant Hession's health is failing, and he's now receiving hospice care, and it turns out that long-ago battle on the Solomon Islands has flooded Sergeant Hession's memory as of late.

So much so his hospice care givers decided to do something about it. Do your thing, Twitter, a hospice facility in New York is seeking someone willing and able to visit with a veteran agent age of 96 who was in the battle of Guadalcanal, the patient is fixated on talking to someone who had the specific shared experience. And Twitter did its thing.

We found Harold Berg in Peoria, Illinois, also a we found a former World War II Marine sergeant, also the recipient of a Purple Heart, and also at the battle of the Guadalcanal.

Without hesitation, Harold Berg and a family friend hopped a plane to New York City, and headed to the Rockland County, New York home Bill Hession shares with his daughter, and her family, to fulfill this last wish.

TUCHMAN: Harold Berg, this is Bill Hessian, you are both Marines, both at Guadalcanal, both American heroes.

HAROLD BERG, WORLD WAR II, MARINE SERGEANT: By golly, a leatherneck. Imagine that. You were on -- what outfit were you in.

HESSION: A company. Combat engineers.

BERG: Yes. Combat engineers. By golly, I'll tell you, you and I are just about the same age.

HESSION: I'm 96.

BERG: You're 96? I'm 92. I still chase girls. I lie, too.

TUCHMAN: With family and friends gathered around them the men shared stories of their time during the war, and spoke of their physical, and emotional wounds that remain all of these decades later.

BERG: Well, boy you're lucky to be here.

HESSION: Yes. You are right. Yes, it went down through me, and then it went -- I don't know why I had a hole in by back like this.

BERG: Well life has been pretty good for you and I.

HESSION: Yes. Right now, it ain't so good.

BERG: Yes, but, look at it, we had a lot of good days go by.

HESSION: Oh, yes. Yes.

BERG: I lost my wife two years ago. We were married 71 years.

HESSION: Oh.

TUCHMAN: Sergeant Hession is also a widower. He was married for 55 years.

BERG: What they got you doing now?

HESSION: I'm living here with my daughter.

[17:55:00] BERG: You mow the grass? Do you mow the grass?

HESSION: I can't even do that.

BERG: That's what they got me doing now, mowing the grass. There I am right there.

TUCHMAN: It took more than 75 years after these men shared a battlefield at Guadalcanal, but Bill Hession and Harold Berg are now friends.

BERG: This is a coin I had for -- the United States Marines. That is where you and I got our education.

TUCHMAN: But when they said goodbye, they knew they would likely not see each other again.

BERG: Good to see you a fellow Marine. I tell you, I enjoyed it. Look right at -- look in the camera.

TUCHMAN: A last wish fulfilled. Gary Tuchman, CNN, New City, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: Gentlemen, thank you for your service. Coming up, the President's lawyer tells CNN the basis for the Russia investigation is, quote, illegitimate, and explains the legal team's strategy to undermine the Special Counsel. You'll hear what he said, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)