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President Trump in Japan; Missing Yoga Instructor Found Alive; Rising Waters Sweep Away 4-Year-Old Boy; Border Wall Battle; Trump Sending 1,500 Troops to Middle East to Deter Iran; Facebook Removed 2.2 Billion Phony Accounts in Three Months. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 25, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:22] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Martin Savidge, in for Fredricka Whitfield.

We're going to begin this hour with President Trump landing in Japan where, for what it's worth, an earthquake shook parts of the region shortly before he got there. The President leaving multiple controversies in his wake. He'll partake in a mostly ceremonial visit complete with golf and sumo wrestling.

On the policy front however looms some deepening trade riffs with China, as well as growing concerns with saber-rattling with North Korea and Iran. Trump meeting with business leaders as soon as he landed, wasting no time complaining about the U.S. Federal Reserve saying it's preventing economic growth.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last year for the first time in a decade, the United States was ranked the most competitive economy anywhere in the world. During that year our economy grew at 3 percent and if the Fed didn't raise interest rates frankly, it would have been much higher than 3 percent.

And the stock market as high as it's been would have been at least, I think, probably anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 points higher.

But they wanted to raise interest rates. He'll explain that to me.


SAVIDGE: CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is in Tokyo. And Kaitlan -- the President obviously setting the tone by talking trade and the Fed right out of the gate.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And that's something that's kind of been in the background of this entire visit -- Martin, even though it's focusing so much on ceremony. You saw the President at that dinner, needling the Prime Minister over trade the minute he got on the ground here in Tokyo. And that's really what's going to be in the background of this entire trip. Yes, there's going to be this big friendship between President Trump and Prime Minister Abe on display. They're going to go golfing. Go to a sumo wrestling match. And of course, have dinner with the newly crowned emperor.

But in the background are these very real and very substantive issues, including trade which you saw the President saying that he believes Japan has this edge against the United States here. And that is something that he wants to change even though we're not expecting some kind of breakthrough to be made during this trip over trade.

But it's a very real fear for the Prime Minister Abe because he doesn't want the President to impose these tariffs on autos and auto parts because that could potentially be devastating for the Japanese economy.

So he's trying to keep that issue at bay here but then of course North Korea is a significant one as well because they started firing those short-term missiles recently. And even though President Trump down played them, essentially saying that they couldn't reach the United States, that's still a very real concern for Japan who is much closer to North Korea than the United States is.

So keep it in mind as you're seeing all of this the pomp and circumstance over the next few days with President Trump, these are issues that are very much in the background looming here. And Abe essentially wants to send a message to the President while he's here reminding him who his closest friend in Asia truly is.

SAVIDGE: And speaking of this friendship, the one between the Japanese Prime Minister and Trump, this goes back a long way. And they do appear to be very close. Do you think it's going to be even more evident and on display during this trip?

COLLINS: Well, I think Abe knows how to please President Trump. And that's not something a lot of other world leaders have had success with since President Trump took office. But Abe noticed it right off the bat. That's why he came to Trump Tower shortly after the President won the election and later had to apologize to President Obama because he broke a little bit of protocol by going to visit him so soon without talking about that to the White House first.

So you have seen him try to play his cards right with President Trump, someone who's a very neutral (ph) leader and he wants to make sure he keeps the President in his good graces because he has seen what's happened with China, with North Korea if that becomes a tension in the relationship.

SAVIDGE: I'm sure he's learned from that.

Kaitlan Collins -- thank you very much from Tokyo.

With me now is Susan Glasser, she's a staff writer with the "New Yorker" and CNN global affairs analyst. And thank you very much for being with us. Good to see you this morning.


SAVIDGE: So we've got these deepening tensions with Iran, anxiety over trade. How important is this trip, really, for the President ?

GLASSER: Well, look, on one level, it's optional. In fact he's going to be back in Japan in just a short amount of time for an upcoming economic summit meeting that arguably is a more significant part of the job. But the Japanese, as you've pointed out, have done a masterful job, really, a masterful job of playing to President Trump's level of flattery, his love of aggrandizement.

So he was told this was a once in a hundred years type of event. He was told he's the only guest of honor at the new ceremony to crown the new emperor. He's going to be the first foreign leader of the crowned emperor.

[11:05:05] So this absolutely played directly to Trump's sweet spot of the kind of occasion he wants to come to. And I'm reminded of how President Emanuel Macron of France did the same thing, in a way, right. Got the President to come over for the French celebration of Bastille Day -- the beautiful, wonderful parade that left he President so inspired he wanted to have the same kind of military parade here in the United States. I feel that the Japanese are sort of one upping the French here with

this invitation.

SAVIDGE: And the flattery, of course, you know, it does go a long way with the President. But yet the President is also there to address, you know, the trade imbalance. And that has Japan particularly worried, especially because, you know, the automobiles, even though it makes a lot of those automobiles here.

So, you know, where do you see this going?

GLASSER: Well, I think you're right to point out that there are, beneath the public veneer of flattery, there is a lot of very substantive concerns for Japan, more than many U.S. allies, in fact.

Trump's policies have put Japan right in the middle of some very awkward situations, both on the economic and the security side. And so it's an alliance, but it's a very vulnerable one. And so one question is does a public love affair of the sort that President Trump seems to like to have, does that trump national interest.

And right now the Japanese are worried that in a way their prime minister's courting of the President has not produced material gains. President Trump is extremely unpopular in Japan, not as much as in some European countries but very unpopular there. Concerns among the left wing in Japan, President Trump and his relationship with Abe is such that Asahi Shimbun has been calling him the poochi of the President which is I guess is the word for puppy dog.

And so there is a question about whether this courting of the President had actually produced any material payoff so far for the Japanese. SAVIDGE: Well, and that's because, you know, last year it seemed like

Abe was sort of the odd man out, especially as the summit with North Korea's leader, two of them now, were taking center stage and highlighting what appeared to be a close relationship, building relationship there.

And then you've got the close relationship with China's Xi Jinping. So I'm wondering is Abe trying to just make sure, hey, don't forget about us, don't forget about me.

COLLINS: Absolutely. That's part of it. And so on the security side, talk about North Korea, the potential reunification of the Koreas, which is something that both the South right now -- the relationship with the South Koreans and the Japanese is not in a good state at all. Those are the other major U.S. allies in the region.

President Trump as you know privately has consistently talked about, is there a possibility to remove troops from the region. He's not interested in long-term military presence there. In part he saw his diplomacy with Kim Jong-un as a possible way of over the long term removing those U.S. troops. That's something Japan would be very concerned about.

On the trade side, as you know, negotiations are continuing with the Chinese and while in recent weeks it's appeared much less clear cut that there would be a deal imminently. If there were to be a breakthrough with the Chinese that could potentially have negative consequences for Japan.

And on tariffs, as you know, those are President Trump's favored means of economic pressure. President Trump is still tariff man. And he's just agreed to put off the prospect of auto tariffs which would really hurt Japanese and European allies. But he hasn't agreed to forego those entirely. He has just set essentially a new six-month clock on that.

SAVIDGE: Right. Well, there is a lot of substance going on around the fringes of what is otherwise a ceremonial visit.

Susan Glasser -- nice to talk with you. Thank you.

GLASSER: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, a miracle in Maui, a hiker missing for two weeks found safe and alive. Her survival story next.

Plus, severe rain and flooding in the Midwest sweeps a four-year-old boy playing in a creek away. The desperate search coming up.


SAVIDGE: Lost in paradise, and then found. It's an incredible story of survival. A yoga instructor who vanished in Hawaii more than two weeks ago has been found alive.

Take a look at this video as 35-year-old Amanda Eller was air-lifted out of the Maui forest reserve. News of the hiker's dramatic rescue shared overnight on "Find Amanda" Facebook page.

CNN spoke with the lead rescuer this morning.


JAVIER CANTELLOPS (ph), LEAD RESCUER OF AMANDA ELLER: Flying up this gulf (ph), flying up this ravine, and as we're looking down -- man, we're passing waterfalls and going up and the river continues. And we're passing a waterfall and the river continues up. We're all looking around.

At the same time we all look to our the right. It was like a movie, man -- like a double take. We all look to our right and I said oh, look at that hiker. What -- and out of the wood work, you see Amanda Eller, man, my friend.


SAVIDGE: Wow, Maui or not, two weeks surviving out there without anything is not easy, Jessica.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, it's not. And this is just an incredible story -- Martin. Her family and friends are calling it an absolute miracle. They said they held out hope for the entire time that she was gone that they would find her alive. And today they are celebrating.


DEAN: Missing more than two weeks, Amanda Eller is found alive in Maui, Hawaii. Her rescue was announced on this post on a Facebook page set up by family and friends. "Urgent update: Amanda has been found. She got lost and was stuck and slightly injured in the forest -- way, way out. Somewhere way far above Twin Falls between two water falls down a deep ravine in a creek bed."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can cry now. It's awesome, man. That's like the best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did pretty well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a good Memorial Day now.

DEAN: A photo on the page showed Eller just before the air evacuation surrounded by members of a search team. She appeared to be only slightly injured. And this picture of the ravine where she was apparently found.

AMANDA ELLER, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: I was crying with tears of joy.

DEAN: Her mother, Julia Eller, told CNN affiliate KHON, Amanda used water sources and ate the berries she found -- strawberries, guava and other items to sustain her.

JULIA ELLER, AMANDA ELLER'S MOTHER: I never gave up hope for a minute. And even though at times, you know, I would have moments of despair, I stayed strong for her because I knew that we would find her if we just stayed with the program, stayed persistent.

[11:14:56] DEAN: Authorities said Eller, a 35-year-old yoga instructor disappeared after going on a hike May 8th. Her car was found with her cell phone inside at a forest reserve parking lot. A last image of her was captured on surveillance video buying a Mother's Day gift the day before she was reported missing.

A $50,000 reward was being offered for information regarding her disappearance and possible abduction. But now, there's an ending that some are calling miraculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable. If you believe in prayer, folks, thank your Lord because this is an answer.


DEAN: And it's not often we get to see that happy ending so it's wonderful to be able to deliver that ending to you. We're told that Amanda did spend the night in the hospital. She's being treated for those injuries.

But Martin -- from what we can tell and what her friends can tell, those injuries are treatable. And it is really incredible that after all of that time, they were able to find her and get her to a hospital. She was able to kind of use the skills that she had to take care of herself.

SAVIDGE: Well, that's the interesting thing here. She did have a unique set of skills, a yoga instructor. I wondered, you know, mindset plays into a great deal of how you survive.

DEAN: That's absolutely true.

SAVIDGE: It's not just the physical attributes. And, you know, she would have had the presence of mind and the will, of course, to carry on.

DEAN: That's it. That's exactly right, and that will carry you very far. And her mother also saying that she knew physical therapy of sorts, again probably from that yoga instruction where she was able to kind of at least nurse her body in ways she could without any medicine or anything like that.

But truly a miraculous story. I'm interested to hear from her.

SAVIDGE: Yes, great story. Jessica dean, thank you very much for bringing it to us.

DEAN: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Well, a parent's nightmare, a four-year-old boy swept away as flood waters rise from the severe storms that have been hitting the Midwest. We'll give you an update on the search effort to find him.

[11:16:50] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAVIDGE: Rescuers are racing to find a missing four-year=old boy in Indiana after flood waters swept him away on Thursday. Authorities say Owen Jones was playing with all their friends at the creek when fast-moving currents swept him downstream. Recent rains have made the current too strong to send in divers. Rescuers are now using boats with sonar and drones instead.

Authorities say that two people have died in Oklahoma after severe storms this week. And there doesn't appear to be any relief in sight with more bad weather expected this weekend with more than 40 million people under severe weather threat. And that threat extends all the way from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes.

CNN national correspondent Omar Jimenez is in Tulsa tracking the latest.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All Kent Bruce could do was stare, knee deep in water, his home flooded.

KENT BRUCE, RESIDENT: I knew it was here, so I'm just speechless right now.

JIMENEZ: It's a familiar feeling for all too many across the Plains and Midwest -- many places still recovering on the tail end of what's been a week that's brought deadly tornadoes, heavy rain and life saving water rescues.

LT. COL. ADAM WEECE, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: It's important for us to maintain these series of dams because the water continues to flow in.

JIMENEZ: Lieutenant Colonel Adam Weece is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And over the course of days, they have slowly had to increase the amount of water they release from the Tulsa area Keystone Dam to near historic levels just to keep up with the high water.

WEECE: Keystone Dam which has been the focus point for us has a release rate of approximately 250,000 cubic feet per second. If you do the math, that equates to approximately a thousand school buses per second going through the dam.

JIMENEZ: Across the Tulsa area, more than a thousand residents have been impacted by flooding so far.

KAREN KEITH, TULSA COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Please, please pay attention because the weather can be fickle as can the river. And obviously we're watching the levees very closely.

JIMENEZ: It's advice that applies across the state. The governor declaring a state of emergency for all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

Just north of Oklahoma City, these homes are barely hanging on after flooding eroded the ground beneath them. And in Tulsa, this river side neighborhood is now very much part of the river. ANA HALL, TULSA RESIDENT: I walk to the end of the street, and

everything is underwater and I couldn't -- I wasn't going to go wading through because I didn't know what I might step on.

JIMENEZ: The risks are still very real.

WEECE: Even though the rain has stopped here, water that is falling north of us is going upstream, it's continuing to gather and continuing to funnel towards the areas here.

JIMENEZ: Which means more people could be affected and more homes like Bruce's.

Where do you go from here?

BRUCE: Probably to higher ground.


JIMENEZ: Now, the reality for people here in Tulsa is this is what they are seeing this Memorial Day weekend. You can't even tell the difference between the Arkansas River and where the dry land is supposed to be.

Just two days ago, our crew actually drove through this exact same spot no problems and with a whole lot less water. Moving forward even though, we are expecting to see a lot of sun in the area over the course of the day, as you heard the Army Corps of Engineers explain just a few moments ago, there are a lot of rivers and tributaries that feed into this area. They are only going to fuel this flooding at least for the next few days -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: It can be so deceptive to see the sun. Omar Jimenez, thank you so much.

Still ahead, President Trump's campaign promise -- remember this one -- to drain the swamp. Well it's getting a bit murky. He's reportedly pushing for the company of a rich Republican donor to get a contract to build the border wall. Is that really the best deal?


SAVIDGE: President Trump is hitting another roadblock for his long- promised border wall. Now a federal judge has blocked Trump from tapping into Defense Department funds to build parts of the wall. The judge said he needs to hold off on moving forward with specific projects in Texas and Arizona saying Trump could not disburse the funds without congressional approval. This decision comes just three months after the President declared a national emergency to divert billions to build the wall.

We're also learning that President Trump is aggressively pushing for a North Dakota based construction company to build that wall, according to new reporting by the "Washington Post", the company is Fisher Industries who's top executive happens to be a GOP donor.

Alex Marquardt explains.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was inside the Oval Office in a meeting on Thursday that the President stated his demands. He didn't like the design of the wall's gates, the "Washington Post" reported. They should be manually operated French doors instead. And the President repeatedly urged, according to "The Post that a specific company be given contracts by the Pentagon and Army Corps of Engineers that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

TOMMY FISHER, PRESIDENT, FISHER INDUSTRIES: I don't think anyone can build it in the quality that we can build and the time that we can build it in.

MARQUARDT: That company, Fisher Industries, is run by Tommy Fisher a Republican donor who has appeared on Fox News.

FISHER: We're here to do exactly what we came to, deliver border security for every single American, and we can prove it works.

MARQUARDT: The President may have noticed, talking about Fisher on his favorite network, seemingly attracted to the company by their assurances of being cheaper and faster.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I don't know if you heard about this contractor that said he can build the whole wall for a lot cheaper than anybody else and get it done by 2020. Were you aware of that?

TRUMP: Yes, I am. We're dealing with them, actually, Fisher, comes from North Dakota, recommended strongly by a great new senator, as you know, Kevin Cramer.

MARQUARDT: North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer took Fisher to this year's State of the Union. Fisher and his wife had donated more than $10,000 to Cramer's senate campaign.

[11:30:03] In an interview with "The Post", Cramer says that Trump always brings them up, noting that he's talked to the President twice about Fisher including yesterday.

The Army Corps of Engineers has passed over Fisher's bid for one part of the wall because it didn't meet the operational requirements, an army official told "The Post" but they are still in the mix for other parts of the $5 billion in contracts for the wall.

To make their case, this week, Fisher said he's using private donations to build a small section of the wall in New Mexico to show off supposedly superior construction techniques.

FISHER: We'll prove it in a half mile stretch where they said it couldn't be built.

MARQUARDT: the President getting involved in who gets what government contracts, of course, yet again flies in the face of the President's campaign promise that he would drain the swamp. The White House is justifying this by saying it's all about speed and cost, telling the "Washington Post" that the President is one of the country's most successful builders and knows better than anyone how to negotiate the best deals. He wants to make sure we get the job done under budget and ahead of schedule.

Alex Marquardt, CNN -- Washington.


SAVIDGE: All right. With me now to discuss this all: White House correspondent for the "New York Times" Michael Shear and assistant editor for the "Washington Post" David Swerdlick. Good to see you.



SAVIDGE: All right.

So let's start with this effort to block funds, without this ruling, construction could have apparently started today I believe on these projects. So I guess I wonder Michael, how big of a setback for the President is this?

SHEAR: Well, it's a temporary setback in the sense that there's a lot more legal wrangling ahead, and the President no doubt will instruct his attorneys to appeal this judge's ruling as far as they can take it.

But look, it hits at one of the core ideas that this president has had since before he became president. The wall was sort of the animating feature of his presidential campaign. And he's actually been obsessed with the wall privately and publicly since he became president.

People that we've talked to say that he talks all the time about what it's going to look like, what it's going to be made of. And as that report that you just played suggested, he's, you know, in a lot of ways, inappropriately involved in the details of who's going to build it and where it's going to go.


SAVIDGE: And David, as has just been at play (ph), we know how significant this issue has been for the President and up until now it's the Democrats that have been the ones trying to thwart it. Now it appears the court.

So I'm wondering how much trouble and is it possible the President won't be able to deliver on this, and does that really matter to his constituents?

SWERDLICK: Yes. So Martin -- I think a couple of things, just to kind of piggy back on what Michael was saying there a moment ago. This promise to build a wall and at one point have Mexico pay for it was so central to President Trump's appeal to his voter base that I think the President is keenly aware that as he goes into another presidential cycle, people will be looking to him and saying, look, this was something that appealed to a lot of his voters and you sort of got nowhere with it.

But in terms of this federal court in California ruling that he can't do it, the court properly noted that number one, the power of the purse belongs to Congress, and Congress has not allocated funds for this wall. And I think implied in that argument from the court is that this isn't even a situation where Congress failed to take it up and now the President is taking action. Congress specifically declined to fund the wall and the President, though, has tried to sort of take away some of their power by funding it from other parts of the budget that Congress funded for other purposes -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: And Michael, this whole issue at least when it came to security on the southern border spilled into the disaster bill which many people thought was going to pass. It didn't. It was held up as a result of, I believe, one Republican vote in the House.

He objected primarily to the fast track that this bill was taking, citing in part that there was a lack of funding for, I don't think it was just so much the wall. I think it was what he describes as the emergency situation at the border.

And there is something to that because we know that the border patrol and CPD is suffering, trying to handle especially the families and the children that have been coming across the border illegally. And without money, how are they able to do that? So is it possible that maybe this should have been part of that disaster bill?

SHEAR: Yes, you know, this is one of those unfortunate things where the politics have been sort of poisoned over the last two and a half years partly because of the President's rhetoric, the Democrats are very suspicious when the President comes forward and says we want billions of dollars for border security. They're very suspicious that what he really wants to spend it on is not the humanitarian crisis which is going on.

[11:34:58] There is a need for humanitarian needs, health care beds for families and children that are coming over. But the Democrats are suspicious that what the President and his administration and Steven Miller who is the architect of the President's immigration agenda want to do is to take that money and put it for more ICE enforcement, immigration enforcement, more hard core treatment of immigrants and deportations that the Democrats not only have long been opposed to but that the President's harsh rhetoric has made it even harder for them to reach any kind of legislative compromise/

And so in an environment where, you know, everything that's happened over the last couple of years has happened, it makes it that much tougher for the two parties to get together on what would seem like a pretty reasonable response to a humanitarian crisis.

SAVIDGE: It does, especially when you have children dying in the custody of U.S. forces -- law enforcement. I want to move on to what we saw in Alex Marquardt's piece there about how a Republican donor appears to be front and center when it comes to building this wall if it gets to that point there.

And I'm wondering, David, you know, how bad does this really look for a president who seemed to be so much against the quote-unquote "swamp"?

SWERDLICK: So, I think it looks bad but it's all relative, right. There are so many questions on so many fronts, whether it's what was going on at the EPA a few months back, whether it's the Trump hotel, whether it's, you know, investigations into the President's finances, whether it's, you know, how far back the President has moved away from the running of the Trump organization that, you know, in a normal administration, this would be seen as probably a pretty significant, you know, allegation of corruption or at least a hint that the President was not dealing squarely with his governmental responsibilities but because so many things are going on so many fronts, it's just another sort of drop in the bucket.

The President said the other day, Martin, that he was running the most transparent administration maybe in history. Well, it's not particularly transparent if you're not running a sort of neutral arms length competitive bidding process for a wall which, as we were just saying a moment ago, maybe you don't even have congressional authority to build out

But then to also, the indication that a contractor might be getting favorable treatment because they also have a relationship with a senator from the President's own party, and the President as Alex played in that piece has even made public comments about that. The President likes his reputation as a builder but this is not that kind of a situation. This isn't a hotel in Vegas.

SAVIDGE: No. And it looks like you're going against what you said you were running for. David Swerdlick and Michael Shear -- thanks , thank both for joining me this morning.

SWERDLICK: Thank you.

SHEAR: Sure. Thanks.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead the President pledges at least 1,500 troops to U.S. Allies in the Middle East. What is the strategy?


SAVIDGE: President Trump is approving the sale of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. To push through the $8.1 billion sale, the President declared an emergency to bypass Congress. We've seen this before.

A U.S. official tells CNN that many of the troops will be engineers to support patriot missile batteries and reconnaissance aircraft. The sale comes on the same day he approved sending 1,500 troops to the Middle East to deal with what the White House calls this rising threat from Iran against troops in the region.

So here to talk about the sale and the troops is General Mark Hertling. He is a former U.S. Army commander general. Thanks you very much for being with us, General.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good to be with you -- Martin. Thanks.

SAVIDGE: So let's start with this arms sale. I do find this really troubling because sales like this usually go through a great deal of scrutiny, not just by Congress but as I understand it by the military as well to make sure the right weapons get into the right hands. I mean it isn't just as simple as buy the stuff and send it over.

HERTLING: No, it's certainly. Foreign military sales -- FMS is something that both the State Department and the military commands are involved with. And they basically measure the capabilities and the requirements of the country that we're selling these weapons to.

Certainly we wouldn't sell weapons to countries that are using them illegally or against the law of land warfare. We tend to give these foreign military sales to countries which are our allies and partners that contribute to the kinds of values that we like to see around the world as we conduct theater security operations with other countries.

But in this case, the President using the arms control export act or the Arms Export Control Act, excuse me, to call an emergency to give these weapons, some of which are not even available to Saudi Arabia in their prosecution of a campaign against Iran and Yemen is troubling and it needs, in my view, it needs congressional oversight, and some additional emphasis by both the military and the Congress.

SAVIDGE: Well, a U.S. official tells CNN that the arms packages for the UAE and Saudi Arabia includes surveillance aircraft and maintenance training programs, also advanced weapons guidance systems and javelin missiles. So I'm wondering, does that give you a kind of profile here? Do you get some indication of where they're going to be used or how?

HERTLING: Yes. Certainly, again, it's going to be used in Saudi's campaign against Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels. The majority of these -- the program thought, the dollars are going to go toward precision guided missiles, replacing the ones that Saudi Arabia has used in this campaign.

Some of those have been troubling. There seems to be indicators that in many cases, they're used in violation of international law.

[11:44:56[ And that's why it requires Congress to provide oversight and to not use the sale of this kind of equipment to a country under an emergency provision which isn't an emergency. That's what's troubling about this.

SAVIDGE: And you see this as weaponry that could be used in the fight against the Houthis in Yemen as opposed to perhaps being in the region, ready to be deployed in case of any kind of any kind of military strikes with Iran.

HERTLING: No this is -- the weapons are being sold to Saudi Arabia, that's the FMS, the foreign military sales package. It's not like we're building up equipment for a potential use by U.S. forces or allied forces in the region. This is going directly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their government and their military.

SAVIDGE: Ok. And the 1,500 -- the troops that are being sent and dispatched there, doesn't it seem like an overwhelmingly high number? Again, the makeup of the force and how they might be used would suggest a mission or a role, right?

HERTLING: Yes. This was a request by General McKenzie, the new Central Command commander, a Marine four star general for additional forces for force protection. Of the 1,500 that were requested, Martin, as we break it down, and the Pentagon held a briefing yesterday, that was truthfully a little bit confusing because the majority of those 1,500 troops that are going to be there are a 600- person Patriot missile battalion, not battery but battalion that is already in theater that is being extended.

So what you're talking about, once you subtract that 600 plus person battalion, you only really have about 900 people that are going over there, probably UAV pilots, intelligence officials, supply and support. But this is a force protection package, and as you said, it's very small.

SAVIDGE: Ok. General Hertling -- thanks very much for keeping it in perspective for us. Good to see you.

HERTLING: Thank you, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead Facebook removes more than 2 billion phony accounts in three months. Why the company says it's seeing an increase in hate online. We'll talk about that next.

But first, the comedy special that's bigger than both sides, "Colin Quinn, Red State, Blue State", premiers Memorial Day at nine on CNN. Let's have a preview.


COLIN QUINN, COMEDIAN: John Adams said the two party system is the greatest political evil under our constitution. George Washington cautioned in his farewell address against excessive political party spirits, and geographical distinction, wise words. They tell us what to do about it? They did not. They just said it, and they died. Now, they left us to figure it out. Real geniuses.

America, two parties still all these years later, two parties. There's 350 million people, and there's two parties. There's 15 genders. And there's two parties. There's four bathrooms and there's two parties.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAVIDGE: Be sure to watch the "CNN ORIGINAL SERIES" special presentation "Red State Blue State, it premiers Memorial Day, 9:00 p.m. Eastern of course here on CNN.


SAVIDGE: It is not just fake news, Facebook is also fighting against a growing number of fake accounts according to a brand new report released this week Facebook removed 2.2 billion phony accounts earlier this year. Those fake accounts almost equal the amount of real users on the site.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is with me now and Donie -- It's good to see you. Does this really change then the valuation of the company in any way? That's a huge number of accounts.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, We haven't seen these numbers and these account deletions really change what the company is valued at. In fact, some might say it's good that Facebook is removing all these fake accounts because then at least advertisers know or will have better faith in the platform to say our ads are being seen by real people.

But ultimately Wall Street and the valuation of Facebook and all these Silicon Valley companies are based on how many users are using their platform every month.

So it would be interesting. Facebook says it's gotten much better at detecting these fake accounts over the years. When Facebook went public a few years ago and boasted of having, you know, so many users it would have been interesting to know how many of those users many have been fake. That's something we're likely never to know.

SAVIDGE: Ok. Something that crossed my mind. The company is cutting these fake accounts but it's getting a lot of criticism for not dropping the fake Nancy Pelosi video. And that does seem to be kind of a contrast here. You get rid of the accounts but you keep the fake stuff up. Why would they do that? What's their defense?

O'SULLIVAN: Look, I think Facebook has been under total scrutiny since 2016, since the Presidential election. All the disinformation we learned about -- much of it coming from Russia. I think they're really sort of making up these rules as they go along.

Yes, they are fighting fake accounts, but when it comes to an actual fake video as you mentioned which Facebook's own fact checkers have determined to be false, the video still is up there and it's been viewed by millions of people.

So I think the company has really sort of matured over the past few years in how it's trying to deal with this problem but clearly quite a long way to go yet.

SAVIDGE: Yes. It seems like a no-brainer on that one. Either take it down or force those who post to prominently display this is not a real video. The company also saw a jump in violent and graphic content in the

first part of 2019. So what are they saying about that?

O'SULLIVAN: Facebook is sort giving itself a pat on the back in saying that you know, we've caught 98 percent or 99 percent of graphic and violent content before even anybody reported it to the platform.

Obviously one major, massive exception was the live stream of the Christchurch massacre that the platform failed to catch until they were told about it by New Zealand police. So these numbers do look promising but then when you dig into the details there are some concerns there.

SAVIDGE: All right. Donie O'Sullian, thanks very much for talking all things Facebook with us this morning. Good to see you.

We'll be right back.


SAVIDGE: In this week's "REDEMPTION PROJECT" CNN's Van Jones travels to Wisconsin to meet with the mother whose son was killed in a tragic car accident. Now she meets his killer. Here's a preview.


VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Sometimes we talk about this as an accident. When you think about it, do you think about it as an accident, what happened to your son?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't think it's an accident.

The offender was traveling down the road, hit Nathan from behind. Nathan was thrown off the lawnmower and landed on the pavement.

The offender was high on heroin, and when I read who the offender was I remembered him as a student in one of the classrooms that I worked in.

JONES: You recognize that name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I recognized the name, and I closed my eyes and see a face. I could tell you where he last sat in that room. I had a yearbook from 1994, and I showed my husband and I said that's him. That's who hit our son.


SAVIDGE: Catch an all-new episode of the "REDEMPTION PROJECT WITH VAN JONES" tomorrow night. That will be at 9:00 right here on CNN.

And we have much more just ahead in the newsroom and it all starts right now.

Hello. Thanks for joining me. I'm Martin Savidge, in for Fredricka Whitfield . And we're going to begin this hour with President Trump landing in Japan where an earthquake shook parts of --