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Satellite Images Reveal Activity at North Korean Rocket Facility; R. Kelly Indicted on 10 Counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse; Empire Actor Jussie Smollett Indicted on 16 Felony Counts of Disorderly Conduct. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 9, 2019 - 08:00   ET


Riley Morrison: And I'm really happy he wrote back.


COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Young Riley, thank you for being courageous, being a leader. We here at New Day salute you. Awesome stuff.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST, CNN NEW DAY: And like I said in three months, they went from no shoe to 200 feet.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST, CNN NEW DAY: And she's on -sits on the sidelines. All right, Coy Wire, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our relationship with North Korea, I think it's a very good. I would be surprised in a negative way if we did anything that was not as per our understanding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Satellite imagery suggested North Korea is preparing a new launch of some type.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What comes next was the Hanoi's summit, end of chapter 14 or was it the end of the policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news in the Jussie Smollett case. The 'Empire' star faces 16 felony counts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening here is frankly, a media gang bang of this guy of unprecedented proportions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said it was a very dark place and that unspeakable sexual acts took place there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not a controlling person. It's just that I am in control. My house - I've considered myself the king of the castle and you're the queen of castle.


ANNOUNCER: This is a New Day Weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. We picked up like well Christy Paul.

BLACKWELL: Happy new day to you. New satellite images show vehicles moving and trains ready to be loaded at a North Korean facility.

Now analysts say it could be a sign a missile or satellite launch is imminent or a ploy to get attention.

PAUL: Look, either way it could be a damaging blow to U.S. - North Korean relations, a little more than a week after the Hanoi summit ended without a deal of course. Now this launch itself could happen at a site that's been partly dismantled already while talks were under way.

Now apparently it has been fully rebuilt. Here's CNN correspondent Will Ripley in Beijing with the latest.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Christi, what we're seeing right now inside North Korea based on analysis of satellite images is a potentially troubling shift back to the more militaristic posture that North Korea took before this diplomatic detente with Kim Jong-un and President Trump, a detente that is now in danger of really fully breaking apart after President Trump walked out of summit talks in Hanoi, which was described as really a humiliating blow that left Kim Jong-un bewildered according to sources that I've spoken with.

So now we're seeing it images from a missile and rocket factory outside of Pyongyang Sanum-dong where analysts say, it appears that North Korea has put together something. Hard to tell if it's a missile or rocket, that they've assembled something, put it on a rail car and that real car may now be headed to a North Korean launch site.

Now we know that the Sohae Satellite launch facility in recent days has seen a flurry of reconstruction work. It was a facility that Kim Jong-un promised to shut down. They started to take it apart. Now analysts say it has been fully put back together and could be ready for a launch, really at any moment.

So if you see either this missile or rocket roll up to Sohae and sitting on a launch pad which that has not been seen yet but if that happens, that will be very clear evidence that North Korea is preparing to launch something, rocket or missile into space, into orbit.

Now regardless of which it is, it would be highly provocative. North Korea has long said their satellite launches are for their space force, they are for research purposes, not any sort of military threat but the U.S. sees it much differently because you know space rocket use the same kind of intercontinental ballistic missile technology that's banned by the U.N. Security Council.

So any kind of launch would be considered highly provocative and could really threaten to escalate tensions in this part of the world. Meanwhile here in China we're getting word that Chinese President Xi Jinping is reconsidering traveling to Mar-a-Lago at the end of this month because he's worried that President Trump may walk out on him if they don't reach a deal much like he did on Kim Jong-un.

So really President Trump's diplomatic credibility being undermined as a result of what happened in Hanoi with tensions threatening to rise in this region as well, Victor, Christy.

PAUL: All right, thank you so much, Will. Now if North Korea is making these moves to get the White House's attention as some analysts believe, the question is has it worked? CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood with us now.

Are you hearing any reaction to this from the White House yet this morning, Sarah?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Christi, the White House is so far staying silent on this reported activity in North Korea. But President Trump told reporters yesterday that he would be very disappointed to see North Korea resume its provocative behavior, its missile launches, its nuclear testing and U.S. officials have not yet characterized these observe movements in North Korea so we don't have a good read on what the U.S. government believes is going on.

But President Trump has continued to tout his good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un which he said remains good even after he walked out on denuclearization talks in Vietnam, earlier this month. Take a listen to what the President said yesterday.


TRUMP: I have a feeling that our relationship with North Korea, Kim Jong-un and myself, Chairman Kim, I think it's a very good one. I think it remains good. I would be surprised in a negative way if he did anything that was not per our understanding but we'll see what happens.


WESTWOOD: Now, the President's national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that the President is open to the prospect of more talks with North Korea but if the North Koreans were to resume the kind of aggressive behavior that started the U.S. on the road to negotiations, last year.

That could really undermine the President's North Korea strategy because so far it has been based around this idea that it's working in part because North Korea has stopped launching missiles, has stopped developing nuclear weapons at least according to the administration's line.

So it's unclear Victor and Christy, just how strongly the White House will respond if it does turn out that North Korea is preparing to launch a missile, given that they are still interested in further denuclearization talk.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, appreciate the update, thank you. BLACKWELL: And let's talk about that specific response now. With us we

have CNN Military Analyst, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling and Frank Arm, senior North Korea expert for the United States Institute of Peace.

Gentlemen, welcome to New Day and Frank, let me start with you. Are there any indicators that to you that the tip scales one way or the other, that North Korea is trying to get attention with these moves or that they are really preparing to launch either a missile or a satellite rocket.