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Trump Not Limiting Probe of Kavanaugh; Indonesia Quake Tsunami; Donald Trump: Kim Jong-un and I Fell in Love; Senators Collins and Murkowski Could Decide Vote; Danish Container Ship Completes Northern Sea Route; ""SNL"'s" Take on Kavanaugh. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired September 30, 2018 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president says the FBI has free rein to investigate his Supreme Court nominee and, no, the president says, he does not need a backup plan for Brett Kavanaugh.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Indonesian authorities are working to reach cut-off areas. The death toll continues to climb in the devastating tsunami that hit that area.

ALLEN (voice-over): Also this hour, trade routes may be opening in a formerly ice-bound sea. What that tells us about Earth's rising temperatures.

HOWELL (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


HOWELL: 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast, we start with the U.S. president's pick for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Mr. Trump pushing back against reports that he's trying to limit the FBI probe to keep agents from talking to certain people.

ALLEN: The president tweeted late Saturday that the FBI may talk to whomever they deem appropriate. The investigation is looking into allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault against Kavanaugh, which he denies.

It is supposed to wrap up no later than next Friday. Sources tell CNN these three senators, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, set the terms of the FBI investigation. They could also be key, these three, in deciding whether Kavanaugh makes it to the Supreme Court.

The investigation comes, of course, after Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday that Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her down on a bed after locking a bedroom door and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were both teenagers.

HOWELL: Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, has said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were both in college.

At a rally in West Virginia on Saturday, Mr. Trump on stage accused Democrats of railroading Kavanaugh and he mocked the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, ridiculing her for saying that she did not leak a letter from Christine Ford. Let's listen.


TRUMP: Remember Dianne Feinstein, did you leak -- remember her answer.

Did you leak the document?


No, no, I didn't -- well, wait one minute. Did we -- oh, oh. No, we didn't leak.


HOWELL: Let's chase that with the facts. We understand Dianne Feinstein's office indicated and she herself indicated she did not leak that confidential tip. And we understand from the reporter from the intercept that the tip did not come from Feinstein's office.

ALLEN: Of course it is not about the leak. It is about getting to the truth, of course. At a rally Saturday, President Trump also tied Kavanaugh's nomination to a battle against the Democratic Party itself. For more about that, here is CNN's Boris Sanchez in West Virginia.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, President Trump calling his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court a brilliant man with incredible character, saying that judge Brett Kavanaugh suffered tremendously at the hands of Democrats who were seeking to obstruct and destroy for the sake of power. The president nom mentioning, though, Christine Blasey Ford or any of her accusations about judge Kavanaugh. President walking a fine line defending his nominee but also suggesting that his accusations are politically motivated. Listen to this.


TRUMP: The entire nation has witnessed the shameless conduct of the Democrat Party. They are willing to throw away every standard of decency, justice, fairness and due process to get their way. They don't care how they get it. You see it happening before your eyes. I think it's actually an incredible thing that's happening. And I just hope you don't sit home, because bad things will happen if you sit home. This week, America also saw something else. On Thursday, the American people saw the brilliant and really incredible character, quality and courage of our nominee for the United States Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.


TRUMP: A vote to confirm judge Kavanaugh is a vote to confirm one of the most accomplished legal minds of our time, a jurist with a sterling record of public service.


Another name the president did not mention here in West Virginia, Arizona senator Jeff Flake, who sources inside the White House tell CNN that the president blames for the delay in confirming Judge Kavanaugh.

The president did tout his endorsement of Republican Patrick Morrissey, who is running in West Virginia for the Senate against Democrat Joe Manchin. The president touting successes he's made in the economy, the unemployment rate, et cetera, asking supporters here to go out and defend his agenda in November.

He put it bluntly at the start of his rally, saying that though he is not running in November, really he is -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, traveling with the president in Wheeling, West Virginia.


HOWELL: Let's put it into focus with Inderjeet Parmar, a professor of international politics at City University of London, joining us this hour from our London bureau.

Inderjeet, a pleasure to have you on the show.


HOWELL: Clearly Democrats are pushing against Brett Kavanaugh to keep him off the Supreme Court. But at his rally in West Virginia, Mr. Trump had this description of his Democratic counterparts. Let's listen.


TRUMP: They were all saying, he should be on the United States Supreme Court. That's why I put him up. And I will tell you, I will tell you, I will tell you, he has suffered, the meanness, the anger. The vote for Judge Kavanaugh is as a vote to reject the ruthless and outrageous tactics of the Democrat party, mean obstructionists, mean resistance.


HOWELL: OK. So let's look at these categorizations. So Kavanaugh, the victim, and Democrats, mean and angry. During the hearing, many will remember Republicans voiced their anger that they were even there to have that meeting.

Your thoughts on this?

PARMAR: Well, clearly at one level Kavanaugh came over and projected himself as a victim of a kind of political witch hunt or something. But it is a sort of poetic justice for him as well because you will recall, back when Bill Clinton was president and the Monica Lewinsky investigations were going on, the younger Kavanaugh was involved in the writing of the reports on that.

This is clearly a party political question timed in a way to try to have an impact on the midterm election, so in a way, this mudslinging is partisan and it does speak to a broader problem with party politics, a lot of people in America see it.

HOWELL: That is important to point out. Many who support the Supreme Court nominee may see him as a victim; many, of course, who heard Christine Blasey Ford's testimony, will see her as a survivor of this incident.

So of course, as you point out, very political through the lenses there. We know the FBI investigation is well underway. Agents have already reached out to Deborah Ramirez, following up on her claim.

A third woman, Julie Swetnick has not yet been contacted, according to her attorney. President Trump has said, though, this could be a blessing in disguise, this whole process of investigation.

So could it, in fact, work toward his favor?

Or is it just political spin from him?

PARMAR: Well, I think they would have liked to have a very clean process of Kavanaugh going through. But on the other hand, I think, to some extent, he's right because one of the key things about midterm elections is that voters for the president or the government, the main party, which is in power, tend not to turn out in midterm elections.

This has galvanized a lot of people on both sides. So it seems to be that this is going to be what probably President Trump wanted in first place, a referendum on himself two years after his election. And I think in that regard, there is going to be -- it is going to be very difficult to see how this plays out.

But I think he has riled up those supporters by saying that the Democrats are playing party politics with this. And I think he's hoping that there will be a bigger turnout right across.

But on the other hand, if you look at some of the Democrats in red states, in GOP dominated states, they seem to be a little bit emboldened because I think they see that probably the -- their voters will turn out in large numbers and women who voted for the Democrat for the GOP in November 2016 have been slowly hemorrhaging away from that party.

And I think the Kavanaugh nomination, which was never very popular, has seemed to sort of strengthen that particular tendency.

HOWELL: Inderjeet Parmar, live for us in London, thank you for your time.

PARMAR: Thank you.

ALLEN: We turn now to --


ALLEN: -- Indonesia, the death toll has doubled following a major earthquake and tsunami. Officials now saying at least 832 people were killed in the disaster, hundreds more are seriously injured or missing. Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo, is now in the hard-hit city of Palu, surveying the damage.

HOWELL: The country's disaster management agency says that at least 50 people are trapped under the rubble of this eight-story hotel in Palu city. Rescue workers there struggling to reach people in remote areas that have been cut off.

This was the scene on the ground after the tsunami hit this area in Palu city, Indonesia. Massive set of debris, so much debris, goes on for many miles, wiped out many buildings, as far as the eye can see.

ALLEN: Thousands of homes, yes, were destroyed, entire buildings buried under mud and debris. A 10-story hotel collapsed. A mosque collapsed. That's just a couple of examples; 17,000 people are now homeless.

HOWELL: Let's bring in Yenni Suryani in Jakarta. She is the country's manager for Catholic Relief Services in Indonesia.

Thank you for your time. I know you're monitoring this from Jakarta.

What can you tell us about the extent of the damage at this point and the need of people there?

YENNI SURYANI, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: Hello, George. Thank you for having me here.

The extent of the damage is reported to be quite significant, quite massive in both Palu city and Donggala. The government is currently prioritizing the search and rescue mission to clear up the rubble ut most importantly to find more victims in the debris of the collapsed buildings.

Also, the government agency has start shipping relief aid to the area from other cities, including from Jakarta. People are in need of -- I'm sure people are in need of shelter, as you said; you know, more than 17,000 people are displaced now.

They need shelter, they need food and also they need other basic necessities to maintain their existence there.

HOWELL: Help us understand, as well, the difficulty that -- the sheer difficulty of getting into the region.

SURYANI: The challenge is that because the airport in Palu has been damaged and now in repair only for humanitarian relief materials and basic needs and also military and police personnel who went there for search and rescue missions.

So no commercial flight arrived there at the moment. So that's -- that will be really a challenge for us, humanitarian workers to reach the area because we have to fly to other cities and reach Palu by land from other cities in south and central Sulawesi.

HOWELL: The death toll continues to rise as we understand. And many, many people trapped under rubble, many people still missing. Talk to us about efforts, you know, on that front, to continue searching for people who may be trapped.

SURYANI: Yes. Government is doing that with help from the military personnel who came with all the troops and personnel from other cities in Indonesia as well. And this will be the priority for the government right now before the first aid or material can reach the area.

HOWELL: Yenni, I want to pause for a moment here. I want to show our viewers the moment that was caught on video, the moment that this tsunami swept in. Let's look at this, just for a moment, we'll talk about it here on the other side. Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).


HOWELL: There it is, you know. People who were there, people who were on the ground, they had very little time, Yenni. They had very little time to escape.

Given what we have seen, this massive wave coming in, the great extent of damage that has been left over, what are your feelings, just your overall feelings about how long it will take to help people in Palu and throughout the region to recover, given what happened here?

SURYANI: I'm afraid that, from our experience in previous tsunami, this will take a long time for people to recover and reconstruct the area because of the damage but also because, you know, there is relief, it is very hard to reach the area.

So there will be some delay in providing support and the communities at this point. So yes, I think the reconstruction --


SURYANI: -- will take a long time and we need support and help from all people and stakeholders in Indonesia as well as the community itself to help them cope with the situation before the actual relief and reconstruction and recovery materialize in the next few months. HOWELL: Yenni Suryani is monitoring the situation in Palu city from Jakarta. Thank you for your time and we'll keep in touch with you.

SURYANI: Thank you, George.

ALLEN: At the top of this hour, we heard from President Trump, maligning Democrats after the hearing this past week. Well, the president had nice things to say at that rally about Russian president Vladimir Putin. But he may have been saving his most passionate praise for Kim Jong-un. His latest compliment coming up here.

HOWELL: Plus, a typhoon is plowing across southern Japan, hitting parts of the country already recovering from previous typhoon flooding and damage. We'll have the latest as NEWSROOM continues.




ALLEN: North Korea says there is still mistrust with the United States. Its foreign minister told the U.N. Saturday his country wants to get rid of nuclear weapons. But he also said pessimistic views in U.S. politics are hurting progress.

HOWELL: For his part, the U.S. president doesn't sound pessimistic. Here's what he said on Saturday about the North Korean leader.


TRUMP: You know, the interesting, what I did is -- and I was really being tough and so was he. And we go back and forth and then we fell in love. OK? No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they're great letters.

We fell in love.


ALLEN: Let's go to CNN's Will Ripley, joining us from Hong Kong, he's been in North Korea many times.

That has to be one of the most bizarre things I've ever heard a U.S. president say, they fell in love.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They haven't even had a second date yet. Things move a little slower in North Korea, they're a little more conservative about these things.

ALLEN: Oh, my goodness. You've got to wonder, after we heard there from the foreign secretary of the U.N., what North Korea's response will be to the president saying that.

RIPLEY: I would imagine privately, Natalie, at Kim Jong-un's palace somewhere in North Korea, there was a clinking of soju and a congratulations to the leader because things are going according to plan. The North Koreans studied President Trump long before Kim Jong- un ever sat down with him. And the whole strategy was --


RIPLEY: -- to try to figure out a way, after all of the fire and fury threats and the real danger of escalating to a military conflict, how could the North Koreans turn the situation around?

So they stopped launching missiles, they don't parade the missiles. They're still developing them, they still possess them, haven't given any of them up yet. But because the optics have changed, combined with all these letters and messages, praising President Trump, it has completely -- the whole dynamic has changed.

Now President Trump saying he's in love with Kim Jong-un, he has a good, warm relationship with him, he's open to a second summit, which is expected to happen later this year. Even though North Korea hasn't actually given up any nuclear weapons yet, they have, you know, essentially done what we would be considered confidence building measures, getting rid of their nuclear test site, starting the dismantlement of some of their testing facility while holding on to the key assets, the missiles and the warheads and saying they're not going to give those up until sanctions are lifted and until there is a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War.

So the U.S. and North Korea are still really far apart on the key issues. But if President Trump's love for Kim Jong-un can help him, you know, help the North Koreans convince him to change the U.S. position, then North Korea might get exactly what they want at the end of this.

And, you know, perhaps the U.S. gets what it wants eventually, which is a North Korea free of nuclear weapons. But that's probably a long time coming and some very tough negotiations certainly lie ahead.

ALLEN: Well, like or love or whatever, yes, a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, that's what we're looking for. Will Ripley, thanks so much.

HOWELL: From love affairs to weather, Typhoon Trami headed toward Japan's main island. It's already hit southern Ryukyu island with hurricane force winds and rain.

ALLEN: If it makes landfall on Japan's big island, it would be the fifth typhoon to hit the nation since July.


HOWELL: President Trump says he is not limiting the scope of the FBI's background check into his Supreme Court pick. And while he's slamming Democrats for, as he puts it, trying to keep Judge Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court, he's saying something entirely different about the FBI. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: There's never been anybody that has been looked at like Judge Kavanaugh. I think it is going to work out very well. But the FBI, I believe, is doing a really great job. They have been all over it.





HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers around the world and here in the United States. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories.



ALLEN: The FBI background investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against President Trump's nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, for the Supreme Court is now in its second full day.

HOWELL: And the U.S. president took to Twitter late Saturday to blast reports that he's trying to limit the scope of the probe. Sources tell CNN three key senators set the terms of the investigation and a Republican aide says the FBI's findings are expected to be private and available to senators.

ALLEN: Then, senators will move forward toward a yes or no vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. For more about it, here is CNN's Kara Scannell.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An FBI investigation against allegations of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh is underway. A lawyer for one of the women who has accused Kavanaugh tells CNN he has been contacted by the FBI and his client, Deborah Ramirez, will cooperate with the investigation.

Ramirez alleges kava exposed himself during a party while they were classmates at Yale. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

The White House has ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental background investigation of Kavanaugh that is limited in time and scope. The heart of the matter are the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. She alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her during a house party while in high school.

How this works if the FBI will fan out agents around the country to conduct interviews with any potential witnesses. Three people of the people Blasey Ford said were in the House at the time of the alleged assault have said through their attorneys that they will cooperate with the investigation.

None of them remembered the assault and Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations. This is not a criminal investigation. So the FBI cannot compel anyone to talk to them and they will not reach any conclusions about the allegations of the assault.

But the FBI will submit 302s. Those are the forms that agents fill out summarizing their interviews, impressions and observations from when they talked to these potential witnesses.

Those documents will go to the White House and ultimately to the senators as they make their decisions later this week whether to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court -- Kara Scannell, CNN, Washington.


ALLEN: Let's get perspective now from CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. James is also a retired FBI supervisory special agent.

We appreciate your time, James. Thanks for coming on.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Natalie, thank you for having me.

ALLEN: So let's talk about this investigation.

What can the FBI do in this limited time in their investigation into allegations against the Supreme Court nominee?

GAGLIANO: Sure. I don't think the time is going to be an issue. I think the FBI has been preparing for this, if not for at least the last couple of days, the last couple of weeks or so.

This is something that they're very good at. It is obviously not a criminal investigation. It is what we would call a background investigation. These are common; we do them for candidates or applicants who become FBI agents. We do them for federal employees that work for FBI every five years to make sure they can maintain their top secret security clearance.

And obviously in this instance, we do them for confirming justices. Now this is going to be a special inquiry because it is the level of a Supreme Court justice, not just a circuit court judge, not just a federal judge, this is the highest one that we can do.

So it will be -- it will be overseen out of headquarters. But then each of the individual offices where interviews need to be conducted will probably, in all likelihood, handle the individual interviews.

Now you say, well, in what case?

Well, let's say the allegation that Dr. Ford has leveled against Judge Kavanaugh took place in Montgomery County, Maryland. So the Baltimore FBI field division would handle the interviews, probably off an applicant squad or a background check squad there. That's probably how that is going to happen.

ALLEN: Yes, and can people who have been identified be forced to cooperate at this point?

We have Mark Judge, whom Professor Ford said was in the room with Mr. Kavanaugh, when she alleges she was accosted by Mr. Kavanaugh.

And we have two other women who have come forward alleging incidents against Mr. Kavanaugh.

Can they be forced to cooperate, must they?

GAGLIANO: So I'm not a fence sitter if you've every heard me on CNN. I normally take a position and go. On this one, it's going to be a little more nuanced, my answer.

If Dr. Ford or any of these, you know, victims, people bringing these allegations, is willing to fire a -- file a police complaint, in that instance, folks could be compelled to a grand jury subpoena. But there hasn't been one filed yet.

So as in the instance of Dr. Ford, she would have to file that with the Montgomery County Police Department. The D.A.'s office there could then get grand jury subpoenas to compel people to testify.

Absent that, FBI will go knock on doors, ask questions of the people, some of them that you referenced, some that are going to come out of other interviews and from the testimony of Judge Kavanaugh and --


GAGLIANO: -- Dr. Ford. And then they're going to ask people questions.

Can people slam the door and say, I'm not interested?

Absolutely. So there is no mechanism that is going to compel people to cooperate or to provide information.

The only way around this would be if Congress, which has subpoena power, would execute the issuance of subpoenas, compelling those folks to come testify in front of Congress.

If they elected not to do that, then you could be held in contempt of Congress. But long answer to your short question, no, the FBI, in this instance, they can only call balls and strikes. They can only interview people that agree to be interviewed on a background or reinvestigation.

So they're kind of limited in what they can do. They're going to go back and ask questions of a crime that is alleged to have taken place 36 years ago.

Now I'm old enough to recall 1991, my first years as an FBI agent when Anita Hill and Judge Clarence Thomas had that big showdown during the Senate confirmation hearings at that point and time. Now look, they were going back and the FBI was investigating

something, an allegation -- an alleged complaint about Justice Thomas' behavior that was only eight or nine years old. It went back to 1982 or 1983.

We're now going back 36 years. And, Natalie, if you said to me, today, James, if a crime occurred 36 years from now, could the FBI come back and relatively easily conduct an investigation of it?

I would say, yes, because technology is the way that it is, police sciences have matured and evolved. We all leave a digital footprint, which you and I are doing now, since I'm on Skype. There are lots of ways we can track things, social media platforms, license plate scanners, E-ZPass trackers.

But 36 years ago we didn't have those. And because there are some holes, there are some gaps and vagaries in the victim's recollection of these events, it is literally going to be like looking for a needle a haystack.

ALLEN: We'll wait and see what the outcome of the investigation is. As you know, James, so many people were riveted with the testimony, furious with the outcome. And now waiting to see what this investigation brings. Thank you for your insights. Really appreciate it. James Gagliano, retired FBI supervisory special agent, thank you.


HOWELL: Back in their home states, U.S. senators are facing protests over their upcoming Brett Kavanaugh vote. Why the decision could come down to just two Republican women.





HOWELL: Recapping our top story, a renewed FBI investigation is under way into allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. The future of his U.S. Supreme Court nomination may hinge on two women, both Republicans.

ALLEN: Yes, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- talk about two states far from each other -- are under intense pressure from their voters back home. Crowds have gathered outside both of the senators' offices. CNN's Kaylee Hartung reports from Portland, Maine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are several in the hallways. If some wouldn't mind trading places, that would be great.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tensions so high in Senator Susan Collins' Portland office today, cops were called to keep the peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's quite full at the moment.

HARTUNG: In Maine and Alaska, home of Senator Lisa Murkowski, tears and bull horns, part of the public campaign to convince the two undecided Republican senators to oppose Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

HILLARY SHONDA, MAINE RESIDENT: It's huge in some ways, because it all comes down to the Senators from Maine and Alaska. Yet, on the other hand, he just needs to do the right thing. Like, this shouldn't be a discussion. It shouldn't even be -- shouldn't even be a difficult decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a Democrat and I voted for her. I was one of the people who signed in her name when she said she was going to stand up for women. I would never vote for her again.

HARTUNG: The effort to persuade Collins and Murkowski also playing out on television in their home states.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Susan Collins, it's your party that's mistaken.


HARTUNG: In Portland, April Humphrey organized a sit-in she hoped would draw 15 to 20 people.

Instead, hundreds showed up.

APRIL HUMPHREY, SIT-IN ORGANIZER: To have so many come out on such short notice, it just was organic. This was not some sort of concerted effort to mobilize people and get people out. People want to come out and they want their voices to be heard. And they feel like their voices aren't being heard.

HARTUNG: Protesters gathered in the plaza outside the office and soon packed inside the Senator's office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, hold on. Sarah, I'm right here. I'm right here. It's OK.

HARTUNG: One staffer inundated, patiently taking notes and trying to keep order.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happy to, again, pass on comments to Senator Collins.

KRISTEN SMITH, MAINE RESIDENT: I have called her office 17 times a day. I was traveling overseas and even tried to call through my Skype account and her voice mailboxes have been full but I wanted my face to be seen and my voice to be heard.

HARTUNG (voice-over): Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Portland, Maine. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: So many people, so passionate about this one Supreme Court nomination. Actress and activist America Ferrera is a survivor of sexual assault and a leading voice in the #MeToo movement. She spoke with our Van Jones about the Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford hearing.

HOWELL: That's right. Ferrera says she watched the male Republican senators come together and show solidarity. That is something that women are finally starting to do.


AMERICA FERRERA, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: I'll tell you something, those men in that hearing, they gain power from each other. They knew, I'll go in this and lie through my teeth because all of my colleagues are going to sit here and do it with me. And so they know a thing or two about showing up for each other, right.

And that is to me what is really fueling this #MeToo movement, is women coming into spaces with one another in new ways, being with each other in different ways and saying, never mind to all of these divisions and lines that we've abided by.

And not just within the entertainment industry, but across industries.


HOWELL: Ferrera says she is grateful for women like Ford who are coming out and sharing --


HOWELL: -- their stories.

ALLEN: Coming up here, we turn to the environment, new Arctic trade routes are opening up, they might be good for shipping companies but maybe not such a good sign for the environment. We'll talk about that ahead here.





ALLEN: Until just a few years ago, the idea of trade routes across the frozen Arctic Ocean seemed impossible. But with increased ice melting at the top of the world, that is no longer the case. A Danish container ship has just completed a trial passage of what is being called the Northern Sea route.

HOWELL: The Maersk just started its journey in Vladivostok, Russia. It stopped in South Korea and Germany and ended its voyage in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.

These new Arctic routes can significantly reduce travel time but Maersk says this was a one-time trial run to gain operational experience and test vessel systems. The different part -- the right --


ALLEN: Let's bring in Andrew Revkin. He's a strategic adviser for environmental and science journalism at National Geographic Society.

Andrew, thank you so much for talking with us.


ALLEN: We have clear --


ALLEN: -- evidence that the Earth's climate is getting warmer. But that is also opening up new trade routes in the north.

Is this a good thing -- obviously, probably for commerce -- but is it a good thing in the bigger picture?

How do you characterize it?

REVKIN: It is complicated, like so many aspects of climate change. This is my 30th year writing about it, mostly at "The New York Times" and a couple of books. The issue with the -- the reality, going through the northern passages, this one over Russia, is you cut off thousands of miles of sea miles.

So the good news there is not only convenience and efficiency for shipping but a lot less fuel is used. So you can say if you can get ships reliably over the top of the world instead of going around the fat part, that would be much fewer emissions.

There are issues with local impacts of shipping. As the Arctic Ocean opens for the summer season, the soot, the diesel fuel used by ships is notoriously among the more polluting kinds of fuels that we burn all around the world. So there is soot that can land on ice and make it melt quicker.

But overall, it is inevitable. It is, like, humans, we're opportunists as well as being kind of a powerhouse on the planet now. So even as there are growing impacts from climate change, there are opportunities and they will be exploited. There are complexities for shipping, too, as well.

ALLEN: Talk about the complexities.

REVKIN: Well, the Arctic isn't like -- it is not like setting a thermostat, where everything immediately goes to some normal temperature. Sea ice -- I got to camp on the sea ice at the North Pole in 2003 for "The New York Times" and the ice is moving several miles a day.

So the camp we were at was not at the North Pole. And ice there is very unpredictable. These passages along the coastlines can be clear one month and blocked the next. The Russians are still using icebreakers, nuclear powered icebreakers to have to accompany much of the shipping there, even as sort of an insurance measure.

And containerized shipping, the new thing was it is a container ship. There's lots of traffic through the Arctic already of ships that are not in a hurry.

ALLEN: So I want to ask you, what is causing the new Northern Sea route?

What is causing it?

REVKIN: It is all about efficiency.

Oh, you mean the actual passages?

ALLEN: Yes, the climate.

REVKIN: Warmer -- warming climate, ocean currents particularly as the ocean warms. And you have more open water, it becomes self-sustaining because sunlight that would hit the bright surface of sea ice and reflect back into space is now hitting the ocean and heating it up more.

And so you have a longer open season. It kind of sustains itself. And that obviously leads to more opportunities for ships.

ALLEN: So what is wrong with this picture?

What is good for Arctic shipping is bad, bigger picture, for what?

Because of the reasons behind this.

REVKIN: It is going to remain unpredictable. Even the article in "The Guardian" indicated, Maersk, that owns this ship, says this was really experimental. They're not going to immediately ship all their containerized products from Asia to Europe that way.

It is the unpredictability that really matters more than anything. The Arctic is not predictable. Even in the long run, we're heading toward an Arctic with much more open water in summers routinely by mid- or late century.

But the pathway there, scientists have told me for a decade, that computer models and other observations of Arctic variability show you that it is not a smooth curve and there will be seasons when it will be unpredictable. The last thing you want, if you're a shipper, is unpredictability.

ALLEN: We appreciate you coming on and helping us understand it. Andrew Revkin with the National Geographic Society, thank you.

REVKIN: You're welcome. Great.

HOWELL: And now to a different part of the ocean, the right whale population. It is in decline. Normally 450 North Atlantic right whales are left on the planet. And the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the species could die out in just a few decades.

ALLEN: The reasons: the population decline is caused by both climate change and fishing policy or a lack thereof. Earlier, I spoke about this with Charles Greene, the director of the Ocean Resources and Ecosystems program at Cornell University.


CHARLES GREENE, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: There are natural changes in climate that lead to good decades for right whales and bad decades for right whales. But we're now seeing the impacts of climate change itself.

And so the warming conditions are making prey less available to them in the Gulf of Maine and they're looking for better foraging grounds. That's where they found themselves in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without any of the protections in place.


ALLEN: Well, with the right whales moving north into --


ALLEN: -- Canadian waters, the government has added those protections to try to save them. But it is not looking good.

"Saturday Night Live" premiered its 44th season just a few hours ago with a biting satire of the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in Washington.

HOWELL: There was even a surprise guest appearance by actor Matt Damon as the controversial Supreme Court pick. Take a look.


LESLIE JONES, ACTOR, "HARRIS FAULKNER": Let's go live to the Senate hearing room, where two of the oldest white people I've ever seen are about to run a circus.

MATT DAMON, ACTOR, "BRETT KAVANAUGH": Dr. Ford has no evidence, none! Meanwhile, I've got these.

KATE MCKINNON, ACTOR, "LINDSEY GRAHAM": Because this is a bunch of C- R-A-P, crap.

"KAVANAUGH": Look, I like beer. OK? I like beer. Boys like beer, girls like beer. I like beer. I like beer.


ALLEN: Just a little snippet from "SNL." You can see more on the Internet. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell. For our viewers in the United States, new day is next. For viewers around the world, African voices is ahead. Thank you for being with us. CNN, the world's news leader.

ALLEN: See you next time.