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Death Toll And Desperation Grow After Quake And Tsunami; Air Traffic Controller Being Hailed As Hero; White House Denies Report On Trump Family Fortune; Kavanaugh Letter: "We're Loud Obnoxious Drunks"; Source: Trump Enlisted Son Eric To Help Get Restraining Order Against Stormy Daniels. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired October 3, 2018 - 01:00 ET
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[01:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Struggling to survive. After the tsunami, thousands of people in Indonesia are scrambling to get food, clean water, and fuel. We are live in the hard-hit city of Palu. President Trump not Judge Kavanaugh's accuser at a campaign rally as another item from the past comes back to haunt his Supreme Court pick. Theresa May faces her critics and her cost as she gets set for an all-important Brexit speech in the coming hours.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
Indonesia's president is getting a first-hand look at the devastation from Friday's earthquake and tsunami. Just a short time ago he was at the site of an eight-story hotel that collapsed with dozens of people still inside. Search and rescue teams have been digging through the rubble trying to find anyone trapped and still alive. The disaster killed more than 1,200 people injured, hundreds -- and there has been frustration over the pace of aid getting to that region. Ares Van Dien (ph) joins us now on the phone from Palu. She is a Media Relations Officer for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Thank you so much for being with us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
CHURCH: Now, the biggest complaint we are hearing from survivors right now is that they are not getting water, food, and medicine. What is your organization doing to try to make this happen and what did the Indonesian President say about all of this when he visited the disaster zone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what we are doing right now is we're just distributing water in three places Palu, (INAUDIBLE) and Donggala. Obviously, it's very important for people to get clean water and besides that our teams are busy with search and rescue as well. And we have some medical -- basic medical care over here in all three areas I already mentioned.
CHURCH: So just going back to what the Indonesian president said, are you aware whether he addressed this problem of distribution of some of this food and water. That seems to be the big sticking point here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm not aware of the politics in here.
We're just trying to help our people. But from our experience, it's difficult to reach certain areas and that's why it's difficult to get aid in certain places. The roads are blocked. There's rubble everywhere. Right now I'm sitting in (INAUDIBLE) where total village disappeared. I spoke (AUDIO GAP), who lost his house. It's just underneath the ground right now. It's gone but you can't get through with a car or with a truck so it's difficult for everyone who is affected.
CHURCH: So you would say getting all of this food, and water, and medicine, to those people most in need. That would be your biggest challenge at this point. What are some of the other problems that you're confronting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, of course, there's a lack of everything, a lack of fuel for example. This morning (INAUDIBLE) Indonesian Red Cross were pushing water truck to get it -- to get it to the fuel station. So we're doing our best to bring all aids where it's needed. And yes, search and rescue is still a big thing yesterday. PMI 14 bodies in (INAUDIBLE) that village on the border of (INAUDIBLE) city. And also that village disappeared because of the tsunami, totally covered in mud and it seems like around 500 people who used to live there. So today our team is still there trying to find people who survived or actually more people did not make it so that we can evacuate them to the nearest hospital.
CHURCH: All right, (INAUDIBLE) thank you so much joining us there and all the best as you and your organization try to help all of these people in the disaster zone. Many thanks. Well, CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from Hong Kong with more on the situation in Indonesia. So Alex, the Indonesia's government struggling distribute water, food, medicine, and fuel to those most in need in the disaster zone. Why are they unable to stage an effective disaster response and what did the president of Indonesia say when he visited the disaster zone?
[01:05:31] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there was certainly an initial perhaps understanding of the fact that the logistics here were incredibly complicated, that these twin disasters had brought nearly unimaginative devastation, really flattening the communities that they touch. But we're five days on now from this earthquake and the tsunami and the desperation mounts because people really need critical life-saving supplies, food, medicine, water, and fuel.
We have been hearing from government officials that in the last couple of days they have been able to move the supplies to the area. They've been flying in military aircraft. You know, initially, the closest airport was shut down because of damage but they have been able to fly in military aircraft. Now, they have been able to deploy ships from the state-owned shipping company and also from Indonesia's Navy and they have said that these supplies are arriving.
We know that there are also fuel trucks full of oil sent with police guards into the affected areas. But this question has remained then, why are people still struggling to get their hands on any of these materials, not something that officials really have yet to answer. We have seen the images. We know that what is on the ground is difficult to navigate with broken roads, downed bridges, mudslides, landslides in the area, flooded neighborhoods, there's no doubt that it is difficult but five days on there are a lot of questions that have been raised about why these supplies aren't being distributed more effectively.
That's something that the president is going to have to answer to. That's something that emergency management officials are going to have to answer to. They've been keeping their focus though on trying to move these supplies. This is the second visit from the president, Rosemary. We are waiting to hear what his remarks have been as he toured the devastation. It was just a couple of days ago that he outlined his priorities. He said those priorities included primarily the search for survivors, then the clearance of debris, improvement to transportation, and also a focus on sanitation. So we should be hearing how he thinks officials are doing in their response over the last couple of days.
CHURCH: Yes, I understand. I'm just being told that we should get a transcript of what he has said very soon. Of course, we will share that with our viewers. So of course, as they try to deal with this distribution problem, at the same time the search and rescue continues five days on. There still hope that maybe someone can be found under all the rubble there. What is the latest information you're getting on that search and rescue effort?
FIELD: Right. It's hard to know when you give up hope and certainly there are plenty of people there who will hold on to it and we understand that the search and rescue effort is still going forward full steam. And that's because, Rosemary, they've had so much difficulty in simply getting to some of the affected areas. So this is a process that has to continue day by day as rescue crews get farther, advanced farther, and that's probably why we've seen the death toll increasing from day to day in numbers by the hundreds.
We should certainly expect the death toll continue to rise. We have seen these mass burials that have been taking place all week. Rescue workers will continue to do their work. We understand that more heavy equipment has been brought into the area that should help with some of the digging through the debris and through the rubble. You can see what a Herculean task it is that these pictures show that so many communities have just been absolutely flattened. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes, the images are just horrifying. Alexandra Field bringing us the very latest on the situation in Indonesia from her vantage point there in Hong Kong. Many thanks. Well, just seconds meant the difference between life or death when the earthquake and tsunami struck. But in the midst of the devastation, stories of true heroism have emerged. Here's CNN's Linda Kinkade.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The sign of hope amid the destruction and staggering death toll in Indonesia. A man is pulled from the debris of a building in color still alive after being buried in the rubble since Friday's earthquake and tsunami. It's a struggle to survive repeated thousands of times as desperation sinks in for the people living in tents and on the streets as they search for clean water and food.
Plenty of people push and scuffle for the handout of supplies. Getting a chicken from a police truck could determine if a family eats that day or not. Lines of containers snake around gas stations where people hope to siphon the last drops of petrol left in the city. Even in the dismal conditions stories are emerging of humanity at its best. 21-year-old air traffic controller Antonius Gunawan Agung is being called a hero after he guided planes to safety during a disaster until it was too late to save himself.
[01:10:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He stay in his positions until the very last of my departure and until the tower was shaking very bad. Once he make sure that the aircraft departed safely, then he jumped from the tower. I called him my guardian angels.
KINKADE: In yet another example of the resilience of the survivors, a grandmother holds a newborn baby born after the earthquake, a new life to cradle in the wake of so much tragedy. Lynda Kinkade, CNN.
CHURCH: Incredible stories there. And if you would like to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, just go to cnn.com/impact and there you will find links to organizations working to bring relief to the survivors there.
Well, an exhaustive new report calls into question Donald Trump's fortune, how he got his money and why investigators are taking a closer look. Plus, new concerns about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's high school and college drinking and a shift in strategy for President Trump. We'll take a look when we come back.
CHURCH: U.S. President Donald Trump likes to brag about being a self- made multi-billionaire but a months-long analysis by his hometown newspaper is calling all of that into question and it's also raising serious questions about whether he broke the law. CNN's Kara Scannell reports.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A blockbuster investigation. The New York Times reporting that Donald Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s including instances of outright fraud. The Times investigation would give thousands of confidential financial records, tax returns, interviews of people close to Donald Trump's father. Their investigation found that Trump received over $400 million from his father through tax dodges casting doubt on Trump's longtime claims that he's a self-made billionaire.
The Times reported that much of the money came through tax dodges where Trump and his siblings helped their parents set up sham corporations to disguise millions of dollars in gifts. Trump also helped his father take improper tax deductions and help formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars. All that went to reduce tax -- Trump's tax when the properties were transferred to him and its siblings. The Times review found that in total Trump's parents transferred over $1 billion to their children which could have produced a taxable of $550 million. But instead, the Trump's paid a total of only $52 million in taxes.
The Time, said it found a pattern of Trump's dependence on his father wealth that started when Trump was young. Trump was earning $200,000 a year when he was 3. And but the time he was 8 years old, he was already a millionaire.
His father continued to backstop his son when Trump's ventures into the casino business in Atlantic City, ran into financial trouble. The Times challenged from its mythology that he received only a $1 million loan from his father, one he had to repay with interest.
Well, The Times reporting shows, in fact, Trump received $60 million in loans from his father, about $140 million in today's dollars. Much of that was never repaid.
Now, Trump's attorney Charles Hardner has said that "New York Times allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false and highly defamatory. There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which The Times bases its allegations are extremely inaccurate."
He goes on to, say that "President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters. The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves. And therefore, relied entirely upon licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law. Kara Scannell, CNN, Washington.
[01:16:31] CHURCH: Well, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, blasted the New York Times report, saying this. "Fred Trump has been gone for nearly 20 years and it's sad to witness this misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times. Many decades ago, the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions."
Now, the New York Times has published a 1983 letter from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in which he describes himself and his friends as loud obnoxious drunks. It comes amid questions concerning Kavanaugh's honesty about his drinking and behavior when he was in high school and college. But President Trump is not backing down. CNN's Jeff Zeleny, reports.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: At a campaign rally in Mississippi, President Trump continues to offer his support for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He said he does believe that he will be confirmed and he said he should be confirmed.
But then, the president went on to do something he has not done during this entire more than two-week process, the back and forth going on into the judge's background. He went on to mock Christine Blasey Ford, the California -- a professor, and her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
To a crowd of campaign supporters of loyal Trump supporters in Mississippi Tuesday night, the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had one beer. Well, do you think it was? Nope! It was one beer. Oh, good. How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was that? I don't know. I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: That comment as you could hear was met with laughter and applause from supporters. Then, the president went on to do something else. To talk about sons and fathers who said he believes are also being misaccused in this MeToo movement. He directly addressed mothers and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Think of your son, think of your husband. Think I've had many false accusations. I've had it all that I've had so many. And when I say it didn't happen, nobody believes me. But it's me, it's my job description. This Trump's OK. You can say whatever you want. They can say whatever they want about me, its fine.
Because we have the worst libel laws anywhere in the world. They can say anything they want and we can't sue them because if you're famous, you can't sue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: Now, not mention it all throughout the course of more than an hour-long campaign rally was any talk about women involved in the MeToo movement. No talk at all about women who have made accusations.
Now, there was certainly a lot of applause in this arena. But I did see several women as well who were not applauding during that moment. Now, we do know the president is doing everything he can to get Judge Kavanaugh confirmed. It also seems like his patience is wearing out.
But it was the very first time we have heard him mock Christine Blasey Ford. Of course, this is all still under way. The FBI investigation may be coming to a head on Wednesday. The Senate still may vote this week.
But it certainly was one more sign, the president weighing in on this in a moment of mocking that we've not seen before. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Southaven, Mississippi.
CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about all of this is CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein. He's also a senior editor at The Atlantic. Great to have you with us.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here.
CHURCH: Well, a lot to cover, of course. So, let's -- (CROSSTALK)
BROWNSTEIN: It's Tuesday.
CHURCH: There's more than usual. So, we do want to start with what The New York Times refers to as dubious tax schemes that Donald Trump apparently used in the 1990s to grow the fortune his parents gave him. Essentially, tax evasion schemes that the New York Times calls outright fraud. What might be the consequences of this tax analysis?
[01:20:18] BROWNSTEIN: Well, first, this is remarkable reporting. It is an incredible level of detail compiled by journalists who don't have subpoena power. And it is something that the New York State authorities have already indicated that they will be following up on.
Look, this -- what they documented was a multi-year, multi-prong effort. Successful effort to evade federal taxes, particularly the estate taxes that would flow from the transfer of the father's wealth to the children. And they showed systemic attempts to lower the value of properties. Perhaps, fraudulently, create sham companies to drive down assets and take all of these steps to radically reduce their tax burden.
Now, you know, on the one hand, I think that most people have turned away from Donald Trump because they view him as personally vile or unfit. We're probably at the peak of that.
So, it may not be that there are many more voters who will reject him because of this -- than have already rejected him because of other personal issues surrounding him.
But I do think that in an election season, where Democrats are arguing very -- with a good deal of success at the Republican tax bill is unfairly tilted toward the wealthy and will ultimately threaten programs on which the middle class depend, particularly, Social Security and Medicare.
I mean, this is a powerful talking point that Donald Trump is basically rewarding people who have approached the tax system the way that he did.
CHURCH: Yes, be interesting to see those people who pay every single tax dollar they owe to the government, how they feel about.
CHURCH: This you know that in November, won't we? So, let's turn now to Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the contradictions that we are starting to see emerge in regard to his drinking defense. We're now learning about a letter reportedly written by Kavanaugh in 1983 when he described himself and his buddies as "loud obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us," his words.
And now, we don't know if this was perhaps a joke. But it comes in the midst of former classmates coming forward, saying Kavanaugh is not being honest about the extent of his drinking. BROWNSTEIN: Yes.
CHURCH: And some insists he was lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee. How damning is all this put together? Because, of course, in isolation, maybe it's not so bad. But altogether, how damning is this for Kavanaugh? And how might Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins be responding to all of this?
BROWNSTEIN: And that -- you know, the answer of the first question is really the answer of the second questions. Because they are the ones -- those three Republican Senators are the ones who hold the nomination in his hand.
I think it's pretty clear in their hands. It is pretty clear at this point that his answers about the extent to which he -- you know was drinking both in high school and college were misleading at best, and outright false at worst as some of his classmates have argued.
And what makes this I think it kind of the two wires crossing is what makes this so potentially powerful is that -- you know, there are a variety of other areas where many Democrats and outside observers believe he has been misleading in his testimony. Particularly, on various aspects of his work in the -- in the Bush White House.
Including I think direct -- he's been caught in a direct contradiction on something quite serious about whether he had access to e-mails that were stolen from judiciary committee members when he was in Democrats, when he was a member of the Bush White House.
So, I think this does raise serious questions about his credibility, but they will only matter if in fact, those three Republican Senators are willing -- you know, will come to the conclusion that it's too much for him to carry on to the Supreme Court.
CHURCH: Now, on Tuesday, President Trump responded to the pressure that Kavanaugh is currently under by attacking his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, for not knowing all the details about when she was sexually assaulted, which is the case for most women who have been sexually assaulted. They don't remember all of the details.
Now, then, he added that boys and men are the real victims in this current MeToo climate and that Kavanaugh's life is now shattered as a result of it. How is that likely to play it be received by female voters?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look this is -- this is a really important moment. First of all, the biggest single threat to Republicans in the midterm election is the sharp turn away from the president and the GOP among college-educated white women.
Professional white women who look and sound and have experience as an awful lot like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who has three degrees and was talking very comfortably in medical jargon. It is not true that there is a -- it was a uniform response to Trump or Kavanaugh among women. Among blue-collar white women, the Trump is much more popular. And in polling just out yesterday, a majority of non-college white women said they believe Kavanaugh and he should be confirmed. But on the other side of the ledger, among those white collar white women, Democrats are poised to have their best showing in a midterm election possibly ever.
The best they've ever polled among them is 52 percent. They are polling at above 60 percent now. Routinely, in surveys measuring of support for November. And in that poll yesterday, roughly 60 percent of them said they believe forward, and believe that Kavanaugh should not be confirmed.
So for the president to come out and mock this woman at a moment when the backlash, the recoil from him among suburban professional white women is the single biggest threat to the Republican majority in the House, in these white-collar suburban districts, in every major -- around every major city in the country. It is just -- you know an extraordinary moment of putting out a fire with gasoline.
[01:25:35] CHURCH: You're right. And Ron, just finally --
BROWNSTEIN: I have to saying those.
CHURCH: Just finally, CNN is reporting that Donald Trump tried to get his son Eric to help him with hush money payments to Stormy Daniels along with his former lawyer Michael Cohen. Which means, of course, Mr. Trump apparently knew about these payments to keep Stormy Daniels quiet. What do you make of all of that?
BROWNSTEIN: Leaving aside the family dynamics of enlisting your son and to help pay off your mistress. And the issue of your alleged mistress, and the issue of his continued involvement in the Trump Organization which was something, of course, which was supposed to be in the past.
Look, I mean, this is just another area. We have over 60 percent of Americans consistently saying in polls that the -- they do not believe the president's honest or trustworthy.
Now, I said to you before, the fact that his approval rating is around 40 percent, while unemployment is around four percent, our two numbers that should not be able to be contained in the same sentence. There's no president in American history, I think, for President having such equivocal approval ratings when the economy is this strong. And the reason that he is below where he should be are precisely these kinds of doubts about him personally.
Some people say -- you know, he's kind of scathing above all of this. It is simply not true. He should be 15, 18 points higher I think in approval than where he is. And the only reason he isn't is because many of the people who are doing best, this kind of comes back to where we were before.
And these white collar suburbs who are doing the best in this economy, nonetheless, are making a judgment about his values, priorities, temperament, that is causing more of them than usual to vote Democratic in the midterm, and that's the biggest threat to Republicans of five weeks from tonight.
CHURCH: Ron Brownstein, always good to have your perspective and analysis. Thank you so much.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, federal authorities are investigating letters sent to President Trump and the Pentagon suspected of containing the deadly poison ricin. The Secret Service says the letter addressed to Mr. Trump never entered the White House.
Two envelopes sent to the Pentagon were addressed to U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Navy Admiral John Richardson. Investigators say they can't confirm the substance is ricin until they do more tests.
Well, British Prime Minister Theresa May is taking a big political gamble. She is not backing down from her Brexit plan as a popular but divisive ghost from the past tries to haunt her.
And on her first major solo trip as U.S. first lady. Melania Trump heads to Africa, where continent her husband has belittled in the past. We're back with all of that in just a moment.
[01:30:37] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone.
I'm Rosemary Church. Want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.
Indonesia's president is getting a first-hand look at the devastation from Friday's earthquake and tsunami. He was the site of an eight- story hotel that collapsed with dozens of people inside. His visit comes as frustration grows over the pace of aid.
More than 1,200 people died in the disaster and hundreds are injured. The toll is expected to rise as more bodies are recovered.
The White House is blasting a "New York Times" report on how Donald Trump made his fortune. The paper's investigation shows Mr. Trump inherited today's equivalent of more than $400 million from his father, much of it from schemes to help his parents evade paying taxes.
"The Times" has also published a 1983 letter from Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh in which he describes himself and his friends as loud, obnoxious drunks. It comes amid growing concerns over how honest Kavanaugh has been about his drinking while in high school and college.
Well, in just a few hours, British Prime Minister Theresa May will again defend her Brexit plan as she fights for her political survival. She's expected to tell her party's conference that Britain's future is full of promise.
This photos show her preparing for her closing speech. Brexit negotiations have reached what she has recently called an impasse.
But Mrs. May is standing by her proposal to keep some close economic ties with the European Union. That plan is facing attacks from all sides including by a popular political figure who is hard to ignore.
Our Bianca Nobilo has more.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On the eve of Prime Minister May's keynote address here at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, her colleague and rival Boris Johnson has told the ruling Conservative Party to abandon the government's Brexit plan.
In a much anticipated speech, Boris said Britons still have the opportunity to get Brexit right and it could be a win-win on both sides of the channel. He condemned the Chequers proposal as a cheat and encouraged grassroots supporters to ditch it.
BORIS JOHNSON, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Do not believe them, finally, when they say there is no other plan and no alternative. It's not my plan, it's not the (INAUDIBLE) plan or the EOG (ph) plan. All these models are excellent although they are substantially the same. Supercalif (ph) deal, pre free trade deal plus a deep and special partnership with our friends and partners in the E.U.
They're all derived from the Prime Minister's own vision at Lancaster House.
And now therefore is the time truly to take back control and follow that vision, make the elegant, dignified and grateful exit the country voted for. This is the moment to do that. And there's time. This is the moment to chop Chequers.
NOBILO: He cautioned if we bottle Brexit now the people of this country will find it hard to forgive. The controversial former foreign secretary is the highest profile politician to openly attack the Prime Minister's plan as negotiations approach the critical October deadline.
And though the speech was popular in the hall and certainly won't dispel speculation about Boris' leadership ambitions it is very unlikely that rank and file Tory MPs who he'll have to win over will have been swung by this.
Bianca Nobilo, CNN -- Birmingham.
CHURCH: CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas joins us now from Los Angeles to help us navigate the politics of Brexit. Dominic -- welcome.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Thank you.
CHURCH: Now, as we await Prime Minister Theresa May's keynote speech, the pressure mounts. She needs to perform better than last year. She lost her voice, struggled against a backdrop of signs falling all around her. How is she likely to go this time, defending her Brexit plan up against her rival Boris Johnson who boldly rejects it?
THOMAS: Right. Well, it's absolutely remarkable, Rosemary, that here we are one year later, Brexit is still the number one agenda item at the Conservative Party Conference and Boris Johnson is still the number one sideshow taking place here.
[01:35:08] And we're talking yet again about whether or not she will survive and be the prime minister, you know, exiting this particular conference.
We spent a year talking about soft Brexit, hard Brexit, even blind Brexit, no deals, the Chequers plan. And at the end of the day no one really knows what -- which plan is the one that's the most likely to be used or not. Ultimately when we get down to it, it has to do with different visions of Brexit, of course, but the degree of alignment and obligations as we move forward.
One interesting thing today which was I think an indication as to where Theresa May's speech is going to go is this extensive this focus on the question of immigration and, of course, this kind of frontal attack on the European Union by saying that the under the aegis of new plan she's elaborating people who come from mainland Europe will be treated in the same way as any other potential migrant coming into the United Kingdom.
So she's trying to appeal to the far right branch of her party while also letting the Europeans knows that as the negotiations come up she's going to be tough around this particular and very divisive question.
CHURCH: All right. So you said no one knows which plan is likely to be supported by the Conservative Party. Will the strategy of May or of Johnson prevail though? There must be a sense of where people are going within the party, who they're preferring at this point, and which strategy they feel will work for the country?
THOMAS: But I think the question of the internal family dynamics. The parties -- the dynamics of the Conservative Party and how those then could potentially appeal to a broader electorate. So you have Boris Johnson constantly challenging the Prime Minister but as we know when David Cameron stepped away from the position after having been challenged throughout the whole Brexit campaign by Boris Johnson, Boris Johnson was the last person who wanted that particular position.
Ultimately where Theresa May finds herself is needing to negotiate a deal with the European Union that will satisfy, of course, the European Union, the vote in parliament, and the far right branch of her political party that Boris Johnson is really the figurehead of and who is advocating from an unambiguous complete withdrawal from the European Union and the capacity to be able to strike free trade deals. This is complicated for Theresa May because she has to think about the
question of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That, of course, is an independent country and a member of the European Union. And to decide how she's going to position herself from that question because the only reason she's still in power is because of the 10 votes from the DUF, the Northern Ireland party that is supporting her majority in parliament, who absolutely do not want to see a hard border with the Republic of Ireland or to see any kind of deal that would treat them differently to Scotland, Wales and England.
So she's stuck between at least three rocks here as she tries to move forward.
CHURCH: Yes. She does appear to be hanging by her fingernails, doesn't she? Theresa May has been fighting for her political survival for some time now. And Boris Johnson has made it very clear he wants to replace her. Can she survive all this?
THOMAS: Well, it's not so much surviving and whether he's the one that wants to replace her. I think really the position here is it has to do around the question of what kind of Brexit deal will come about. And in many ways too, the Conservative Party is benefiting from the fact that the opposition, in other words the Labour Party is itself equally divided on these particular questions on what could see is the clock simply running out and we end up with some kind of deal that doesn't make it through parliament and end up with some kind of pressure on Theresa May to call a general election.
That's kicking things down the road even a little further. But I do think that this question of immigration, the way in which Theresa May tried to appeal to that far right part of the Conservative Party today by also providing oxygen to some of the most disturbing aspects of the Brexit debate which has to do with control and selecting immigration, and making immigration a problem, and rekindling that rather than thinking about the asset that it could be or has been to the United Kingdom and creating these hierarchies between essentially desirable workers and undesirable workers.
That's a deliberate attempt to appeal to a particular branch of the party. But that also means therefore taking a particular distance from the European Union that is going to need comfort zone whether it comes to the mobility of workers if it's going to strike any kind of deal that is potentially going to open up the European markets to the U.K. without them having to strike an independent trade deal which might be a very difficult negotiation down the road.
CHURCH: Dominic Thomas -- we'll be watching very closely to see how her speech goes and to see how this all is resolved.
[01:40:05] Many thanks to you for joining us and for your analysis. Appreciate it.
THOMAS: Thank you -- Rosemary.
And now we turn to Africa where U.S. First Lady Melania Trump is expanding her presence on the world stage. She will visit four countries this week traveling without her husband. And that might be a good thing considering some of the things President Trump has said about African countries in the past.
CNN's Kate Bennett reports.
KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Melania Trump today touching down in Africa, visiting Ghana to kick off her first major solo international trip as First Lady, greeted at the airport by dignitaries and children.
The First Lady's initial step as part of this goodwill tour to Africa where she will head from Ghana to Malawi, Kenya and finally Egypt -- it's a continent that her husband, President Donald Trump has had a somewhat contentious relationship with after reports that he referred to some nations there as s-hole countries earlier this year.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed.
BENNETT: Additionally the President's administration has made deep budget cuts in funding for assistance programs such as USAID which the First Lady has partnered with on this Africa trip.
That agency continues to spend billions of dollars helping Africans with medical needs, disease prevention and educational programs
Mrs. Trump's own initiatives often strike a stark contrast from those of her husband including her stance on preventing cyber bullying, even as the President continues his own social media habits.
And it's expected that Mrs. Trump will visit an animal conservation program at some point during the Africa trip. She would notably be doing so at odds with her stepsons who advocate and hunt big game. In March of this year Trump's administration loosened rules for trophy hunting allowing it on a case by case basis.
But earlier today the President for one didn't seem to mind his wife's policy positions saying he was happy to see footage of her on television.
TRUMP: Well, Melania is in Africa. I just saw on television her walking out of the plane. It was beautiful and saying hello to the kids. She's really doing a great job as first lady.
BENNETT: As for the First Lady, she spent the morning at a local hospital where Trump, who is trying to promote her "Be Best" initiative of helping children on the global stage watched as a baby was being weighed and then got hands-on picking up a six-month old for a little face time.
Her trip goals include helping smooth the relationship between America and Africa, a continent she has never before visited. MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Each of us hails from a country with its own unique challenges. But I know in my heart we are united by our commitment to raising the next generation to be happy, healthy and morally responsible adults.
BENNETT: Kate Bennett, CNN -- Ghana.
CHURCH: There's a new and disturbing assessment of how North Korea's Kim Jong-un is moving ahead with his nuclear weapons program. We'll have the details for you with a live report next.
[01:43:24] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading back to Pyongyang later this week in an effort to organize a second summit between U.S. President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un. This trip comes just as South Korea's unification minister says the North have as many as 60 nuclear weapons.
Our Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As President Trump is dispatching his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang to meet with his former arch enemy Kim Jong-un, there's a new and sobering assessment of how Kim is moving ahead with his nuclear weapons program, mostly in secret.
South Korea's unification minister says South Korea's intelligence community estimates North Korea may have as few as 20 or as many as 60 nuclear warheads. It's a jarring figure that U.S. intelligence officials declined to confirm or discuss with CNN but that former weapons inspectors say rings true.
(on camera): What is your own estimate based on the plants you think they have?
DAVID ALBRIGHT, FORMER U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: You know, our conservative estimate based on if they may or may not have a second enrichment plant in addition to Yongbyon is they have -- North Korea has about 15 to 35 nuclear weapons.
TODD (voice over): But former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright, whose firm tracks North Korea's nuclear program says, if as he suspects, the North Koreans are operating a top secret uranium enrichment plant called Kang Song just southwest west of Pyongyang --
ALBRIGHT: Our estimate goes to about 25 to 45.
TODD: Kim's regime has never acknowledged that secret plant at Kang Song and hasn't recently allowed inspectors into the country despite all the diplomatic niceties with President Trump.
Is Kim secretly racing ahead with building his nuclear arsenal while shaking the hands of the President and his Secretary of State.
ALBRIGHT: There's no evidence that he's racing ahead. I would argue based on what we see that it's the same level of operation that it's been for the last couple of years. But North Korea has not been forthright about what its nuclear capabilities are.
TODD: Albright says at this pace, even while he talks with Trump Kim can still produce about three to five nuclear bombs a year in secret.
TRUMP: And then we fell in love, ok.
TODD: As Trump continues to praise North Korea's brutal dictator, veteran diplomats are now poring over a new statement from Kim Jong- un's news outlet. The statement addresses Kim' longstanding demand that the U.S. declare a formal end to the Korean War. America has resisted that because it would likely mean a withdrawal of the 28,500 U.S. troops from South Korea.
Kim's regime now says quote, "If the U.S. doesn't want the end of war the DPRK will also not particularly hope for it." Analysts do not believe Kim's regime is actually dropping that demand for a formal end to the war.
DEAN CHENG, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I think what this is signaling is that North Korea is not so desperate for an American acquiescence to an end of war declarations that it will put its nuclear weapons on the table first.
What they seem to be saying instead is if you're not prepared to concede on this point, we're certainly not going to concede on being a nuclear weapons state.
TODD (on camera): Analysts say if the U.S. ever did agree to an end of war declaration and the pull back or withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea, that America would first insist on the North Koreans pulling back many of their troops, missiles and artillery pieces from that border region. Something that Kim Jong-un would at the very least be reluctant to do.
Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.
CHURCH: And our Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul in South Korea with more on all of this. Good to see you -- Paula.
So what is expected to come out of this visit to North Korea by U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo particularly with this new information regarding the number of nuclear weapons Pyongyang may have?
[01:49:57] PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary -- it is not clear at this point whether or not the unification minister meant to give that clarification to parliament, quoting obviously the intelligence agencies in South Korea. But that as many as 60 nuclear weapons figure is certainly one that appears to be new from the South Korean official.
What we are expecting in Pyongyang and what we've heard from the State Department in the U.S. is that on Sunday the U.S. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo will meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It's his fourth visit to North Korea.
He hasn't always met with the North Korean leader during every single one of those visits but one of the main things they are expected to talk about is trying to lay the groundwork for this next summit between the U.S. President and Kim Jong-un.
Now Donald Trump has been very clear that he's keen for this to happen. He has said he would like it to happen fairly soon. So it is an expectation that the groundwork for that will be discussed. So on top of that you can imagine they will be talking about these corresponding measures that North Korea wants to see from the United States before they will consider shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear facility.
That's the sort of step that the U.S. wants to see -- Yongbyon being shut down. But it is conditional. So we would imagine that they will be talking about these conditions as well -- Rosemary.
CHURCH: Right. And Paula -- are you learning any more about where and when this next meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un will take place and any other details?
HANCOCKS: Well, the U.S. President has said that he would like it fairly soon. We know from one U.S. official telling CNN that Mr. Trump has said he would like it to be in the United States. But they don't know at this point whether that's going to be possible for Kim Jong-un, whether he would be willing to go to the U.S., whether it's Washington or New York.
According to this U.S. official at one point they were even toying with the idea of Mar-a-Lago in Florida, Trump's property there. So it's really unclear at this point. We're in that terrain once again, Rosemary, where we're speculating on the date and the location of this summit. And certainly the fact that all three leaders including the South Korean president want this to happen suggests that it would happen.
But that aside, we're also seeing here on the Korean Peninsula that they have been starting to dismantle land mines this week so certainly even if the U.S.-North Korea relationship is not improving as quickly, certainly the inter-Korean relationship is strong.
CHURCH: Right. Ok. Paula Hancocks joining us live from Seoul in South Korea, nearly 3:00 in the afternoon. Many thanks.
One of China's most famous actresses, who hasn't been seen publicly since June, is now facing massive fines for tax evasion. State media reported Fan Bingbing has been ordered to pay nearly $130 million for lying about how much money she made from some of her films. Fan posted an apology on social media saying this. "As a public figure I should have abided by laws and regulations and been a role model in the industry and society. Fan says she completely accepts the decision by tax authorities and plans to repay what she owes.
Well, it used to be known as a home for drugs and drunkenness. But a once infamous party town in Southeast Asia is attempting to clean up its image. We'll have that for you when we come back.
[01:55:02] CHURCH: Well, certain reputations can be hard to shed but now a once infamous party town in Laos is trying to rebrand itself around its natural beauty.
Amara Walker brings us the latest in our "Destination: Laos" sponsored series.
AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A backdrop of limestone carts (ph), shrouded in myth and damp with rain. Cutting through the countryside of Laos, the Nam Song River winds its way through the small town of Vang Vieng, one of Southeast Asia's most picturesque destinations for the adventurer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People love to swim and for sure, atmosphere is nice in Vang Vieng.
Most of the time people first time around -- wow, it's mountain. Wow, it's real. In a city like for example (INAUDIBLE) building, building, commercial building, any hotel and that kind of thing. But Vang Vieng, oh, small town.
WALKER: It wasn't always this way. Vang Vieng was once known for its party scene on the backpacker's circuit. But now the city wants to attract a different kind of visitor by focusing on adventure tourism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vang Vieng, you need some adrenaline but you have to come to Vang Vieng. (INAUDIBLE), hiking, rock climbing, tubing, kayaking.
WALKER: (INAUDIBLE) better known as To works with Green Discovery, an eco adventure company in Laos started in 2000.
Despite the rain these kayakers are gearing up for a late morning paddle. With views of the surrounding mountainscape it's one of the most popular activities here. To says that after Green Discovery brought kayaking to Vang Vieng almost 20 years ago, more than a dozen others have set up shop.
It is all part of a story of reinvention in the serene part of Laos as Vang Vieng beckons to those seeking the thrill of adventure or the tranquility of a float down the river.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: And you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.
I'll be back with more of CNN NEWSROOM after this short break. You're watching CNN.
[01:57:42] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)