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Trump Gives Barr Extraordinary Powers; Trump Visits Japan; U.S. to Send Additional 1,500 Troops to Middle East; Search for a New British Prime Minister; "Traffic Jam" Blamed for Deaths on Mt. Everest; Hundreds Celebrate Beloved Mailman's Retirement. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 25, 2019 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Just moments ago the U.S. president landed in Japan, set to meet with the nation's prime minister and new emperor. CNN has a live report ahead for you.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Also this hour, the race to replace Theresa May.

Could the new British prime minister be a man compared to President Trump?

HOWELL (voice-over): Also ahead this hour, a human traffic jam on Mt. Everest creating deadly conditions there for climbers.

ALLEN (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, we're coming to you live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell. NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: 4:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast and 5:00 pm in Tokyo, where Air Force One has just touched down. Beginning a four-day state visit for U.S. president Donald Trump.

The trip offers a brief respite, as you can imagine, from Mr. Trump's deepening political problems back home, including growing calls for his impeachment.

HOWELL: And just hours ago, a federal judge put the brakes on President Trump's plan to use Pentagon funds to build sections of a southern border wall in Mexico. The judge granted the preliminary injunction on the grounds the president was attempting to bypass Congress.

ALLEN: There is a political firestorm over the president granting extraordinary powers to his attorney general to declassify sensitive U.S. intelligence about the Russia investigation. For more about it, here is CNN's Pamela Brown.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Facing mounting pressure after a week of multiple court losses and a public brawl with Nancy Pelosi, President Trump tonight unloading before his long flight to Japan.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I declassified everything, everything they want. You will learn a lot. I hope it's going to be nice, but perhaps it won't be.

BROWN: Trump defending his decision to give Attorney General Bill Barr sweeping new access to top government secrets, ordering U.S. intelligence agencies to assist Barr as he investigates the investigators who launched the Russia probe.

TRUMP: They will be able to see how this hoax, how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started. It was a -- an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States.

BROWN: Democrats quick to pounce. House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff saying the move allows Barr to weaponize and politicize the nation's intelligence and law enforcement entities.

This extraordinary move comes as Trump shifts again on whether special counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and after saying it was up to his attorney general to decide.

TRUMP: They want to do a redo, like even the fact that they're asking Bob Mueller to come and testify. He just gave them a 434-page report which says no collusion, which leads to absolutely no obstruction. He just gave that report.

Why does he have to testify?

It's ridiculous.

BROWN: The president's frustration building as his feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes a personal turn.

TRUMP: I have been watching her. And I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She's lost it.

BROWN: In the latest attack, Trump tweeted a heavily edited video of Pelosi supposedly slurring her words and made the baseless claim Pelosi has lost it.

TRUMP: Look, you think Nancy is the same as she was? She's not.

BROWN: The hostility boiling over publicly in the last 24 hours. The president, though, says Pelosi drew first blood.

TRUMP: Did you hear what she said about me long before I went after her? Did you hear? She made horrible statements. She knows they're not true. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: Again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.

BROWN: As the president heads to Japan for the Memorial Day weekend, he announced the Pentagon will deploy an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East in response to a growing threat from Iran, a big step for a president who campaigned on pulling troops out of foreign entanglements.

TRUMP: We want to have protection. The Middle East, we're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective and some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we will see how and we will see what happens.

BROWN: President Trump will be the first foreign leader to meet the newly crowned emperor here in Japan. After that, he is expected to have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Abe, where the two are expected to --


BROWN: -- discuss pressing issues for both sides, which include trade as well as defense.

But a senior administration official tried to temper expectations for this trip, saying it is really more about ceremony than substance -- Pamela Brown, CNN, Tokyo.


HOWELL: And now our Ivan Watson live in Tokyo for us.

The president just arrived moments ago. The trip said to be more about ceremony than substance.

How important would you say this is for Japan?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the U.S. is Japan's most important ally. And that is certainly on the security front. This country hosts close to 50,000 U.S. troops.

And though a senior administration official has said that this would be focusing on ceremony, the security questions, which largely circle around North Korea and its potential threat to Japan with its nuclear weapons and missile launches, most recently short range missile launches that took place earlier this month, those are a primary concern for Japan and the U.S.

And they were addressed by the national security adviser to the U.S. president, John Bolton, who has been on the ground here in Tokyo in advance of his boss and spoke with journalists, put out a tweet of a roundtable with journalists.

And he went quite a few steps further than what President Trump had said in the wake of North Korea's short range missile launches earlier this month, agreeing with Japan's earlier assessment that the short range missile launches were in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

President Trump did not go so far in his initial assessment in the aftermath of those missile launches. But Bolton went on to say that he supported the Japanese prime minister's initiative to try to set up a face-to-face meeting with the North Korean leader, a meeting that could be conducted, according to the Japanese prime minister, without pre-conditions.

So criticizing North Korea on the one hand but also keeping the door open to some kind of negotiations and face-to-face diplomacy.

As for the president, well, we have heard there might be some kind of substantive announcements but there will also be a lot of ceremony here and the latest chapter in the bromance between the Japanese prime minister and the U.S. president.


WATSON (voice-over): On the first lady's birthday last month, the U.S. president welcomed Shinzo Abe (sic) to celebrate at the White House.

TRUMP: Mr. Prime Minister, you're my friend.

WATSON (voice-over): Before they departed for dinner and cake, Japan's prime minister invites Trump to Tokyo to be honored as the first official guest to meet a newly crowned emperor.

TRUMP: And I said, gee, I don't know if I can make it. Let me ask you a question.

How big is that event compared to the Super Bowl for the Japanese?

And the prime minister said, it's about 100 times bigger. I said, I'll be there if that's the case, I'll be there.

WATSON (voice-over): Making good on his promise this weekend, Trump's arrival launches a four-day visit to Japan, an honored meeting with the imperial couple, it is just one of several events in that carefully tailored schedule.

It appears to follow a tradition of what's been called Abe's charm offensive, as U.S. policy in Asia grows more problematic.

On his first full day in Japan, the two leaders plan to play a round of golf, now known as a cornerstone of their diplomacy, Abe once even giving Trump custom gold-plated golf clubs.

After the green, Trump heads to a sumo wrestling match, where he will have a chance to present a Trump cup to the winner. It's to be followed by a dinner where the meat will be prepared just the way the president likes, probably well done, maybe even with a side of ketchup. On his previous trip Trump enjoyed a similarly familiar fare when he

and Abe sat down to eat an American style hamburger. The VIP treatment has led to speculation of a calculated effort to court Trump's favor as deeper policy issues loom.

TRUMP: Japan sends us millions and millions of cars and we tax them virtually not at all.

WATSON (voice-over): After threats of damaging auto tariffs, Abe and Trump are in the midst of bilateral trade negotiations, as one of Japan's largest export markets, the U.S.' partner, Japan, cannot afford to lose as its economy slows.

But Japan may find leverage after a dramatic failure of U.S. trade talks with China this month. On matters of security, North Korea's resumption of missile testing has rattled many --


WATSON (voice-over): -- in nearby Japan, who rely on defensive support from their U.S. ally.

Trump's inability to strike a deal with Kim Jong-un during his last meeting and stalled talks with South Korea have in some ways left Japan in the crosshairs. Although officials have said this weekend's trip is largely ceremonial, matters of trade and national security could penetrate warm welcomes as Japan's relationship with the U.S. becomes ever more relevant.


HOWELL: And a live image there right now in Tokyo, you see Air Force One, Donald Trump has arrived there in advance of the meetings that he will have with the Japanese prime minister.

Let's bring in our Ivan Watson again, live there in Tokyo following the president's trip.

And, Ivan, again, you touched on the issue of national security. But trade is also a major issue to be discussed.

WATSON: That's right. I mean, the Trump administration had made it clear that it wanted a bilateral trade negotiation agreement drawn up between the two countries in advance of this trip. We have not been given an indication whether or not that will, in fact, take place.

Japan's position, as of a year ago, was it wanted the U.S. to join into this multilateral, at the time called TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the Obama administration had helped negotiate -- one of the first moves that President Trump made when he came into office was to pull out of that, which was somewhat of an embarrassment and policy setback for the Japanese prime minister.

There have been tensions in the trade agreement. There were threats coming from the Trump administration to slap tariffs on automobile exports from Japan to the U.S.; that has been postponed for the time being.

And certainly a big part of the Japanese prime minister's calculus is to try to ensure that President Trump doesn't try to restrict any further Japanese trade.

The American president has made clear he doesn't like the trade surplus that Japan enjoys with the U.S. One of the things that the Trump administration would like to see would be for Japan's markets to open up to U.S. agriculture, that is even more important now that there is a raging trade war between the U.S. and China, which had been such an important market for so many U.S. agricultural products.

So perhaps if they can find some way for U.S. soybeans and pork, for example, to come to Japanese markets, that could be seen as a win for the U.S. president.

HOWELL: Ivan Watson, live for us in Tokyo. Ivan, stand by again as we are looking at live images of the U.S. president at Air Force One there, Air Force One arrived.

Natalie, what would you say, maybe 14 minutes ago?

ALLEN: Just recently, yes.

HOWELL: And now on the ground. We're awaiting President Trump to walk down the stairs.

ALLEN: And the first lady will be with him of course.

HOWELL: Absolutely.

ALLEN: And so Ivan is giving us the rundown on this trip. Yes, we've been saying a little more ceremony than substance. But, one, the president very enthusiastic about, being the first to meet the new emperor and to be treated to all kinds of Japanese culture.

WATSON: It is going to be quite a show that the Japanese are putting on for the American president. Very important, he will be the first foreign leader to meet with the newly crowned emperor Naruhito and the empress. There will be a welcoming ceremony and also an imperial banquet, where Trump and the first lady will be the guests of honor there.

It couldn't be more Japanese than the plan for him to attend the championships of sumo wrestling here in Tokyo on Sunday, where he will sit ringside and hand this Trump cup to the champions there.

One of the things that I learned while visiting the stadium today is that sometimes the rowdy Japanese fans, when there is an upset in the sumo ring, they throw the cushions around the stadium, which might be a concern for Secret Service, for the U.S. president's safety.

He will also be dining with the Japanese prime minister and his wife in Roppongi, that's the most famous nightlife district here in Tokyo. The U.S. president is famous for kind of not being very adventurous as far -- [04:15:00]

WATSON: -- as his culinary palate goes. So we don't know how deep into sushi, perhaps, the menu will go.

They will be playing golf as well, which isn't the first time they have done this. I believe this will be the fifth time that the two leaders will meet on the golf course.

HOWELL: Ivan Watson, stand by for us. If we could take in full these images of Air Force One. Let's reset for our viewers in the United States and around the world, Air Force One has touched down in Tokyo, this in advance of the U.S. president's visit to meet with the newly crowned emperor of Japan, also to meet with the prime minister of Japan for the next several days.

And we have a list of the many people that Donald Trump will meet with. He will, of course, meet with the minister of foreign affairs, will meet with the U.S. ambassador to Japan, will meet many other people during his time there.

ALLEN: And they will be greeting them as he comes down the stairs. These are the dignitaries that will be there to greet the president and the first lady.

And I want to ask you, Ivan, we know about the closeness of Shinzo Abe (sic) and President Trump.

What about the Japanese people?

They very much liked President Obama.

What kind of reception do you think that he will get from them?

WATSON: Well, polls show that President Obama was far more popular among Japanese society than President Trump.

That said, we are not anticipating any major protests during this four-day visit from the U.S. president, the likes of which you could expect, when he would go to London, for example, and see a satirical balloon flying over the British capital.

The Japanese don't seem to view President Trump -- he is not as much of a polarizing figure in Japanese society as he is perhaps in Europe.

Part of his itinerary here will include visiting the U.S. naval base here. And that is also important during a Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. to visit U.S. service men and women and recall that, yes, the two leaders, Shinzo Abe (sic) and Trump, have had many, many face-to-face encounters, more than 40 conversations since President Trump took office, according to the Japanese government.

But also they are close military allies and there are close to 50,000 U.S. troops stationed here in Japan. So that will also be an important part of Trump's itinerary in addition to the sumo wrestling, golf and the imperial banquet. ALLEN: And we want to also bring in with us our guest, Gina Reinhardt, she is in Essex, England, to talk to us about the president's trip. She is a senior lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of Essex.

And Gina, you are here right in the nick of time, right when we're waiting for the president and first lady to step off that plane. The U.S. is Japan's closest and most important ally. And Mr. Trump just touching down, about to step out.

But we are hearing this trip is more about ceremony than substance. But there are some important issues to discuss.

What will those be, in your opinion?

GINA REINHARDT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Well, trade and security are probably the top two issues that will be discussed. And as Ivan Watson pointed out already, there are not many allies looking favorably upon the U.S. right now in the region.

And with the trade wars with China escalating, Japan is in a really good position to be the sort of savior for Donald Trump and to be the good news that he would like to tell the country about, back in America.

There is also the issue of security which, since World War II, Japan has only maintained a military force for defense purposes. But Abe has mentioned that he wouldn't mind changing that.


HOWELL: And, Gina, pardon us for interrupting you but I want to point out for our viewers, we're seeing the president of the United States along with first lady Melania Trump now exiting Air Force One, about to touch ground there in Tokyo, Japan, walking down the stairs.

ALLEN: And again, they will be greeted by many dignitaries; the minister of foreign affairs and his wife are greeting the president. The United States ambassador to Japan, William Hagerty, and Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, the commander of the United States forces in Japan as well.


HOWELL: The president on this trip, certainly the issues of trade, trade will be front and center. Also the issues of national security, the alliance between the United States and Japan, with the threat of North Korea, other threats.

Let's bring in Gina Reinhardt, Gina is again with us to give us perspective on what is happening.

And we're seeing Japan roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump. Ivan Watson pointed out there will be golf, sumo wrestling, this, as Natalie pointed out, will be more about ceremony than substance. But here is the question. How important is this for Japan?

Because we've seen other nations, we've seen France roll out the red carpet for the U.S. president. And relations deteriorated to some degree.

So does Japan run the same risk of France in courting this U.S. president?

REINHARDT: I don't think Japan -- I don't think this Japan runs the same risk. And I think that is because Abe is much closer to Donald Trump in terms of some of the things that he would like to accomplish. I think that he is pretty shrewd and he realizes that Japan could be a real saving grace for Donald Trump right now, based on the trade and security issues that are going on in the region.

And South Korea, North Korea and China are all a little bit at odds with Donald Trump in different ways about security and trade. And this is a chance for Japan to step back into the position that it enjoyed in the '90s and in the '80s as a really strong and the strongest partner of the U.S. in the region.

And it has been -- Japanese leadership has been concerned that they are stepping down a little bit and playing second fiddle to China. So this is a chance for them to come back and it is very important for them to get this right.

ALLEN: And you mentioned security as well. Certainly at the top of that list would be North Korea.

Where would Japan like the United States to be as far as in its dealings with North Korea?

Of course the president has tried and so far failed to make any headway with Kim Jong-un.

REINHARDT: Right. So Japan wants the president of the United States to stay really strong and I think probably a little more hawkish than South Korea might feel. The interesting thing is that, as I was saying earlier, Japan has, since the Second World War, only maintained a military force for defense purposes.

But Abe has mentioned that he would like to change that or he would consider changing that. And that is a stance that I think Donald Trump would be very much in agreement with. So there is a chance that we could see that Japan would actually take a more proactive military stance in the region. And I believe Trump would support that.

HOWELL: Gina Reinhardt, we appreciate you taking time to give us perspective.

Again, U.S. president Donald Trump in Tokyo, Japan, for the four days to meet with dignitaries there, the prime minister and emperor.

Also our Ivan Watson, thank you as well. ALLEN: As the president enjoys the treatment that he is receiving in Japan, we'll look ahead next to his issues at home. He has made yet another move that is not likely to sit well with Congress.

HOWELL: Find out why he is bypassing Capitol Hill to sell arms to allies in the Middle East.






HOWELL: The United States is deploying more military muscle to the Middle East.

ALLEN: President Trump is sending 1,500 additional troops to the region; he says the action is meant to deter Iranian threats.

HOWELL: Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif called it, quote, "a threat to global peace and stability." Barbara Starr has details now on this from the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Trump administration made the expected announcement. It's sending about 1,500 troops to the Middle East to help provide deterrence and force protection for the United States against what it says is still a significant Iranian threat.

There will be fighter jets now sent, additional Patriot missiles and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, all aimed at keeping an eye on Iran and being able to push back if they were to launch an attack.

Right now the U.S. is watching very carefully. They say that the Iranian aggression really has not turned around. They see chatter, if you will, conversations that are being monitored between Iranian officials still calling for the possibility of planning attacks against American forces in the region.

That is what made the acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, go to the president, go to the White House, brief him on all this and get his thumbs up for this deployment.

He didn't have to approve it per se but they wanted to make sure the president knew exactly how the Pentagon views the situation with Iran. And the door is not shut if the threat continues. There could be additional deployments to the region -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: The U.S. president has declared an emergency to speed up a series of controversial arms sales.

ALLEN: The customers are Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo says the move bypasses Congress because the threat from Iran is immediate.

HOWELL: However, prominent Democrats say that is just an excuse because Congress wouldn't approve the sales. They are worth more than $8 billion.

ALLEN: Searching for a new leader. Theresa May resigns as British prime minister and a few candidates already have --


ALLEN (voice-over): -- tossed their names in to replace her. We'll go live to London for more about it coming up here.




ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.


HOWELL: Another political fight is unfolding in the U.K. as Conservatives search for a new prime minister. Almost three years into her tenure, Theresa May resigned, unable to deliver on Brexit.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will shortly leave the job that it has --


MAY: -- been the honor of my life to hold -- the second female prime minister but certainly not the last. I do so with no ill will but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.


ALLEN: An emotional farewell there from Ms. May, who will step down as leader of the Conservative Party in two weeks but will remain as prime minister until a replacement is elected. The party hopes to chose one by the end of July.

HOWELL: Quentin Peel is an associate fellow at Chatham House and a commentator for the "Financial Times," and is joining us from London.

Good to have you with us.


HOWELL: I'd like to first get your thoughts on this prime minister, handed the helm from her predecessor, who opened this door to Brexit. He left it to her to resolve. She was unable to do so and has now resigned.

Will history be kind or critical to Theresa May?

PEEL: I fear that it will be critical. She had a horrible job to do, an incredibly complicated exercise to try to get Britain out of the European Union. But having said that, the way that she went about it was really condemned to failure from the word go.

She took a very hard line and she tried to do it just with the votes of her own totally divided party. And it was just never going to work.

HOWELL: Let's talk for a moment about the leadership contest, one tabloid saying, "Hi, BoJo," the former home secretary, Boris Johnson, always seen as one to take that role.

How likely do you see the odds of him being the next prime minister and what are other names pushing for that role?

PEEL: Well, Boris Johnson is undoubtedly the favorite. He is the bookies' favorite and he is the favorite with the grassroots members of the Conservative Party because they think that he is the man who could still, against all the odds, win them the next general election.

He is a popular figure. He is also a very divisive figure. You either love him or you hate him. And so the party is very split and we have an incredibly crowded field of other candidates. And they are going to split the vote every which way.

We've got Jeremy Hunt, who is the current foreign secretary. We've got Rory Stewart, who is the current development secretary, who has already said, I won't work for Boris Johnson if he insists we could leave the European Union without any deal at all.

And we've got the leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom. We've got probably as many as 10 or 12 candidates who are going to come into the race in the next few days.

HOWELL: And with May out and a new leader to emerge from the Conservative Party, what does it mean for the Brexit process and the real threat of crashing out of the E.U. without a deal?

PEEL: Well, in the first place, I fear that it means not a great deal; that is to say they face exactly -- whether the new party leader, new prime minister, whoever it is, faces exactly the same arithmetic in the British Parliament as Theresa May did. That is to say Parliament is deadlocked on how to agree on any deal.

So the great battle may be between those who say, well, to hell with it all; we'll leave without a deal, which is what Boris Johnson has just said.

All those who say, no, this is insane, that would be very damaging for the British economy, it would be damaging for the future of the United Kingdom in the world and, particularly, in relations with the European Union. So anything but no deal. Then I think he will be the first dividing line.

But at the end of the day, you have an extraordinary situation where a party with not many more than 100,000 members is actually going to decide on a new prime minister without any general election or anything else. Not only that, it is a party where most of its members are old, white men like me.

HOWELL: And at the same time, so while the U.K. can swap out leaders, as you point out, can't swap out this deal. The E.U. has made it clear this is the deal and they will not renegotiate. So that point has been made abundantly clear.

If not this deal, the question here, does this reopen the door to possible reconsideration for Brexit?

PEEL: Well, there is one thing about this deal which has restricted, if you like, the room for maneuver. And that is to say right from the start, Theresa May --


PEEL: -- laid down red lines. She said we have to leave the single market because we reject having freedom of movement of European citizens in and out of the country. And we're not going to obey the jurisdiction, that come under the European court of justice.

Right from the start that meant that it was very limited what arrangement they could come to.

Could a new British prime minister go back and say, OK, no red lines, let's throw things in the air?

The problem with that is the red lines are the red lines of the hardline Brexiteers in the Conservative Party. And whoever is elected I think as leader will probably have to be pretty hardline.

So they are in a rock and a hard place. The European Union says if you set those red lines, we can't do a different deal. And the future prime minister says I can't change because the hardliners are now running my party.

HOWELL: Between a rock and a rock?

Quentin Peel, we appreciate your time. We'll see where the Brexit ball bounces next. Thank you.

PEEL: Thank you.

ALLEN: Authorities in France have launched a terror investigation after a suspicious explosion wounded at least 13, including an 8-year- old child. It happened Friday in a crowded shopping district in the city of Lyon.

Police are searching for who is behind it. They tweeted this photo of the man they say was responsible for the attack but they are investigating if others were involved as well.

HOWELL: Investigators say the explosion may have been caused by a parcel bomb packed with nails. They say the blast was weak and didn't damage much property.

Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, the dangers at the top of the world. With so many people trying to conquer the world's highest peak, some are not coming home.

ALLEN: Plus parts of the U.S. still assessing the damage after weeks of destructive and deadly storms. We'll show you more of it.





ALLEN: An incredible survival story from the Hawaiian island of Maui. A woman who had been missing in the wilderness for more than two weeks has been found alive and fairly well.

HOWELL: Yoga instructor Amanda Eller was spotted Friday by a helicopter rescue team. Here she is minutes after she was found. She got lost while hiking and was slightly injured. She was discovered in a deep ravine between two waterfalls. Her loved ones, who say they never gave up hope, are overjoyed at her rescue.

ALLEN: Understandable. That is not the way to do Maui.


So a state of emergency we wanted to tell you about. This was declared for all of Oklahoma, that is 77 counties.

ALLEN: Authorities still assessing the widespread damage from the latest round of storms that ravaged the city of Tulsa and surrounding areas. Destructive weather has plagued the state for weeks.

Tornadoes, high winds and flooding forced more than 1,000 residents to evacuate. There were eight storm-related deaths in the region this past week. A 4-year old who was swept away by floodwaters is still missing. HOWELL: The ferocious deadly weather swept through the midwestern states. We are talking about a multiday event.


ALLEN: Far, far from a heat wave, we have this story to tell you about. People train for years to reach the top of Mr. Everest, to feel the rush of standing on the roof of the world. But the path to the summit, of course, is deadly and treacherous.

HOWELL: And at least six people are dead or presumed dead so far this season. And some of the fatalities are being blamed on a human traffic jam. Alexandra Field explains.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For Donald Cash, it was the final frontier, the summit of Mt. Everest, the crowning achievement for the 55-year old from Utah, who had met his lifelong goal: reaching the top of the highest mountain on every continent.

But his few minutes on top of the world's highest mountain would a few of his last. His expedition group says Cash died of high altitude sickness.

SKYLER PEARSON, DONALD CASH'S FRIEND: He fell on the way down just below the summit and then they carried him down and helped him down a little ways and then he took his last breaths.

FIELD (voice-over): On the same day during her descent, Anjali Kulkarni took her final breaths. She had trained to summit Everest for six years. She had trekked for 25 years and she was an avid marathoner. Kulkarni's son tells CNN she collapsed and died while caught in a human traffic jam coming down the mountain.

A picture taken on the day of the Cash and Kulkarni's deaths, May 22nd --


FIELD (voice-over): -- shows a long line of trekkers along the ridge of Everest's summit in an area known as the death zone. It has raised concerns about the possible dangers of congestion on Everest among mountaineers.

KENTON COOL, VETERAN CLIMBER: And I think you would have to be foolish to say that that queue in or that waiting at such high altitude isn't having some impact on the numbers of deaths that we've seen this year.

FIELD (voice-over): Nepal's tourism board says more than 200 mountaineers ascended Everest on May 22nd after a bad patch of weather cleared, giving climbers a key opening to reach for a dream.

But the tourism board says claims that congestion contributed to deaths are baseless. With this year's climate season nearing a close, at least six people are presumed dead after trying to scale Everest from the Nepal side. There were five deaths on the mountain last year, six deaths the year before that and one before that.

The site of Cash's final climb will likely be his final resting place. It's where bodies of most who die trying to scale Everest remain. Climbers who continue to inspire others to dare to try to reach that height.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he did make it. He actually summitted.

FIELD (voice-over): Alexandra Field, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: What a shame, they worked so hard, a life long dream.

A mail carrier gets quite the retirement party. Well-wishers on his route now making his travel dreams come true. They just didn't want to see their mail man leave. It is quite a sweet story. We'll have that for you next.





HOWELL: Floyd Martin has been delivering mail for nearly 35 years in Marietta, Georgia, not far from here in Atlanta. So when he retired this week, the community wanted to send him off in style. Neighbors say that he always has a smile, that he gives kids in the neighborhood lollipops and that he has treats for the neighborhood pets.

ALLEN: His fans include 3-year-old May Bollington. She even dressed up as Floyd on Career Day. Then there's 87-year-old Dorene Hemp. Her memory is failing and her vision has weakened but she always remembers Floyd.

HOWELL: So when his shift ended, more than 300 people came together to send Mr. Floyd, as they call him, into retirement with a block party. Let's listen.


FLOYD MARTIN, RETIRING MAIL CARRIER: What the world needs more of now is love and caring and compassion and taking care of one another. You know, I don't know where we'd all sleep, but you guys have shown it and I thank you.


ALLEN: Well, said, Mr. Floyd.

Neighbors started a GoFundMe page to send him on his dream vacation to Hawaii. The $5,000 goal was surpassed several times over. So it looks like Floyd is headed to the islands.

Great story.

HOWELL: Good thing to see.

ALLEN: Today's top stories are coming up and we want to let you know that we expect the first official event for President Trump, who just landed in Tokyo, at the top of this hour. He will be speaking to a group of Japanese business leaders at the U.S. ambassador's residence. And when he steps in to that room, we'll bring it to you live. We'll be right back. CNN NEWSROOM is continuing.