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Two Dead, 29 Injured After EF-3 Tornado Rips Through Oklahoma; Election Results Come in as Europe's Future Hang in the Balance; El Chapo's Lawyers Says Client Needs Fresh Air and Natural Sunlight; Make Demands Trump Meets Japan's New Emperor at Welcome Ceremony. Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired May 26, 2019 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: True legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor and his generous spirit.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. So glad to have you with us this evening.

First it was golf. Then cheeseburgers and steak and a marquee sumo match. But tonight it's the main event in Japan's charm offensive on President Trump. The honor of being the first foreign leader to meet Japan's new emperor. In just moments, we will see President Trump arrive at the Imperial Palace as his pageant-filled trip to the country continues. And we will bring that to you live just as soon as it happens.

But first we are getting some incredible new pictures, a look at the destruction left behind in Oklahoma after a tornado tore through the city of El Reno killing two people and injuring more than two dozen others. Officials say the twister crossed an interstate, struck a motel and then ripped through a mobile home park flipping and leveling homes there.

Oklahoma is among the states that have seen a massive outbreak of more than 230 tornadoes in just the last 10 days.

I want to bring in CNN's Ivan Cabrera in the CNN Weather Center.

And Ivan, is there any relief in sight for this region?

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: There is not, Ana Cabrera, I'm sorry to say, and in fact we are now on day 11, right. We've been keeping track of that number you mentioned. We just had to update it because we had tornadoes on the ground. So I'll quickly go through this context. But we got to get to the live weather. 241 tornadoes in the last 11 days. There's been a tornado on the ground in the last 11 days across somewhere in the U.S. from New Mexico all the way to Pennsylvania.

This was, of course, the El Reno, Oklahoma, tornado. The National Weather Service crews have been out there. And yes, because of the damage that they saw they have been able to tell us that the kinds of winds that did that damage that you're seeing there, 140 to 145. That's an EF-3 out of 5 tornado. It was on the ground for over two miles and it was 75 yards wide. So this thing was quite destructive. It gets stronger than that. But as you can see from some of the damage to some homes there, just complete devastation.

Now this is where we are now. We still have tornado watches. They have been expanded now. So we essentially have six states that are under a tornado watch. They are book-ended by severe thunderstorm watches. And I'm going to zoom in and go local for you here for a second because this is something I haven't quite seen in some time here. We now have a tornado watch for Denver. That means conditions are favorable for tornadoes. They are actually occurring to the east of Denver.

We have had reports at Denver International of baseball-sized hail coming down. And you see the white there, it is snowing just a few miles to the west. Obviously, elevation there, but quite dynamic situation across the western U.S. right now and that's what's fueling these thunderstorms. And these tornadoes as they continue.

Another watch. This also pretty dramatic stuff as it includes parts of eastern New Mexico into Las Vegas. That's not Nevada, by the way, and then it continues down to the north and east. So a good 800 miles of tornado watches. And then I want to fly you all the way into the East Coast because I think this will be developing into the evening. Severe thunderstorm watch likely to be extended to include Washington, D.C. and Baltimore heading into tonight.

That means damaging wind potential, in excess of 60 miles an hour, frequent lightning and large hail. I don't think we're going to get baseball-sized hail across the mid-Atlantic but certainly that is likely to continue across the west. And how I started this is basically by telling you that this is not going to improve because the storm is just going to continue to push to the north and east. The threat will do so well.

And take a look at this. Memorial Day, a level 2 out of 5 for the plains and the Midwest and then even worse heading into Tuesday as folks head back to work. An enhanced level risk for tornadoes as well on Tuesday. So this continues, day 14 by then.

CABRERA: Wow. We know you'll continue to keep us updated.

Ivan Cabrera, thank you very much.

We have breaking news right now overseas. The people of the European Union changing the landscape of 28 countries this weekend and choosing who will represent them in the European parliament. People in all of those countries cast votes over four days, and now the massive democratic operation is over. The polls are closed.

CNN International's Hala Gorani is in Brussels right now.

Hala, what are the early results showing us?

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's one of the largest democratic exercises in the world. 751 seats behind me in the parliament in Brussels here. The big headlines are that the nationalist, populist anti-E.U., the far right parties did pretty well. In France, for instance, the party of Marine Le Pen actually beat, according to projections, the party of the French President Emmanuel Macron.

In Italy, the deputy prime minister who is very much anti-immigrant, Euro skeptic, Matteo Salvini, scored, according to projections 29 percent.

[20:05:06] We're also seeing in other countries anti-E.U., Euro skeptic, anti-immigrant parties doing well. But let's put it all in context because in terms of numbers of seats, some of them didn't do better than they did five years ago the last time there was a European election.

The other big headline is that these typically fringe parties like the Green, the environmentalists, scored very, very well. That is because there's more awareness of climate change and the need to do something about the environment and also they're firmly pro-E.U. So they did very well.

I'd say the one big takeaway, and this is something familiar to American viewers, the establishment parties. They were pummeled in some cases. The alliance here is Brussels lost its majority. They're going to have to do a lot of convincing because voters across the countries, across the 28 countries of this European Union are sending a clear message. They did so in European elections, they did so in the U.S. election in 2016.

They are tired with -- of the establishment and they want things to change. They're going to have to take that message on board here in Europe, in Brussels, in Strasbourg and everywhere where decisions are made and try to make some changes so that they can rebuild trust with the voters -- Ana.

CABRERA: Hala, British voters didn't even expect to be part of this election. The original Brexit plan had the U.K. out of the European Union at the end of March. All that has changed, including the British leadership. How much did Brexit chaos loom over the vote for British voters?

GORANI: Well, a lot because Nigel Farage, and many people are familiar with him because he's one of those household names. He's anti-E.U. campaigners who in 2016 was the one who was one of the big figure heads of the campaign and the Brexit referendum. He formed a new party called the Brexit Party just a few weeks ago. And, in fact, it is probably going to be the party, according to projections, that will score the highest.

However, as I said in the beginning there when I joined you, Ana, again we have to put this in context. The establishment parties, the center left and the center right did poorly. But Farage will only get about 24 seats. That's what he got five years ago. Again, it's those fringe, marginal parties, those that perhaps that did a better job campaigning, of connecting with voters that did well this election. Not sure that these anti-establishment nationalist parties will have

gained enough seats to disrupt business here in the building behind me. But certainly, their scores, though, not as good as the maximum expectation and projection, are still very good.

Back to you.

CABRERA: All right, Hala Gorani, thank you.

New tonight, Senator Amy Klobuchar revealing for the first time what she heard the late Senator John McCain say during President Trump's inauguration. She calls it a warning. Watch this.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The path that we are on did not just start today. It didn't just start with the 2020 debate. No, no. The arc that we are on, this arc of justice started that day after that dark inauguration. The day when I sat on that stage between Bernie and John McCain, and John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation. He understood it. He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.


CABRERA: Klobuchar's revelation came after Trump ruffled feathers to say the least, even Republican feathers with a tweet, praising Kim Jong-un and slamming former vice president Joe Biden whose name he initially misspelled.

The president writes, "North Korea fired off some small weapons which disturbed some of my people and others but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me. And also smiled when he called swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual and worse. Perhaps that's sending me a signal."

The president was swiftly criticized. An aide for Joe Biden telling CNN, "I would say the tweet speaks for itself, but it's so unhinged and erratic that I'm not sure anyone could even say that with a straight face. The spelling error wasn't the main problem with the first one."

Coming up, notorious drug lord El Chapo makes an unusual request from prison. Why authorities fear it's just another ploy to escape.

And a holiday trip to the beach ends in tragedy after a shark goes on the attack off the coast of Hawaii.


[20:13:15] CABRERA: Lawyers for the convicted drug lord known as El Chapo say their client isn't getting enough sunlight or fresh air or time outside. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is sitting in a prison cell in Manhattan right now -- excuse me. Found guilty this year of leading one of the biggest and most violent drug cartels in the world. And as CNN's Polo Sandoval reports, authorities fear this latest request is really just a ploy to escape.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Federal prosecutors argue the latest prison plea from Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman could be his latest plot to escape. This month his defense team wrote to a federal judge claiming the convicted drug lord has been denied access to fresh air and natural light for the last 2 1/2 years. The court previously ordered Guzman remain in solitary confinement. Defense attorneys asked a judge to allow Chapo out of his 10 by 8-foot windowless cell two hours a week for outdoor exercise.

It's a request prosecutors want denied for several reasons. The only outdoor recreation area at the New York City facility holding Guzman is a rooftop with a wire mesh. Prosecutors argue the crafty cartel kingpin could potentially communicate with individuals in nearby buildings. Then there's a threat of a Hollywood-like airlift to freedom.

It almost happened in 1981 at the same facility. According to court documents. An inmate's cohorts hijacked a sightseeing helicopter then flew it over the rooftop to help him escape. That plan was foiled, but prosecutors wouldn't put it past a man who has managed to slip out of two Mexican prisons. That's including a sophisticated tunnel that was used in this last escape in 2015. As the feds write, "An escape via rooftop would be elementary by comparison."

[20:15:01] In their letter, Chapo's defense team also complains the former head of the Sinaloa Cartel can't sleep through the prison noise and is forced to stuff his ears with toilet paper. In addition to the outdoor time, they want earplugs, too.


CABRERA: Polo Sandoval is here with us now.

So what are some of the other requests Guzman's lawyers are making here?

SANDOVAL: So you have two -- those two hours a week of outdoor rec. Those ear plugs that apparently the attorneys would also like. But also they would like Chapo to have access to the general population commissary. Then they also want him to be able to at least purchase six bottles of water a week. They say he's simply not getting enough water. So some interesting requests that are coming here from his attorneys.

They've now until the end of this week to respond to the government's argument that this is simply not going to work. That they will not trust Guzman because, remember, actions certainly speaking louder than words here, Ana, and this is an individual who has proven on at least two occasions during his detention in Mexico that he does have the ability to escape a prison cell. So we're going to have to see what happens after this week. And finally we should mention the U.S. attorney's office for the

Eastern District of New York, also the Bureau of Prisons, they declined to comment when CNN reached out to them regarding some of these claims made by Chapo's defense.

CABRERA: An interesting development, no doubt. And yes, this man has a history.

Polo Sandoval, thank you for that report.


CABRERA: Coming up, the president and the emperor. In just moments now, President Trump meets royalty during a pomp-filled state visit to Japan.


[20:20:14] CABRERA: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has offered President Trump a full array of favorites during his state visit. And we have live pictures from Tokyo where there will be a welcome ceremony with Japan's brand-new emperor and is seen as a distinct honor that the president is the first foreign leader to meet the new emperor who just ascended the throne May 1st.

And CNN's Pamela Brown is there for this ceremony that is very much a formal, formal event. More formal than anything else the president and first lady have experienced on this trip so far.

Pamela, we know that President Trump had some trouble with royal protocol when he met with Queen Elizabeth last summer. He walked in front of her, which is just not done. What are the finer points of etiquette for this event and what should people be watching for?

PAMELA BROWN, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, Ana, a U.S. official told me that President Trump has been briefed several times leading up to this trip on meeting the emperor, being briefed on how significant that is, and historic, meeting this newly crowned emperor, and the protocol surrounding it. Of course, they want to make sure that President Trump avoids the faux pas committed by President Obama, as you may recall, when some critics said he bowed too low when President Obama came here to Japan and met the emperor then.

Now we should note that President Trump is not a stranger to this because he did meet with the emperor's father when he was the emperor. He abdicated the throne the first time in two centuries that has happened. And so now we have Emperor Naruhito who is there at the Imperial Palace. He will be greeting President Trump who is en route right now for this welcome ceremony.

There were already dignitaries there. Prime Minister Abe is there with his wife, including Japanese dignitaries. Also there are U.S. officials there, including John Bolton, the National Security adviser, Mick Mulvaney, the president's chief of staff, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. This is an historic moment. It is a very big deal. This family, the

emperor and his wife, they have -- this family has been reigning over Japan for a century. Now while they don't have the political authority, they are viewed and seen as symbols of the people here in Japan. So President Trump will be the first foreign leader to meet the emperor.

Now experts say, analysts say, that whoever the U.S. president was would be the first to meet the emperor. But, of course, Prime Minister Abe has made a point to emphasize to President Trump what a high honor this is to be meeting the emperor here today.

CABRERA: And we're looking at live pictures right now of some of, you know, what's happening right before this ceremony. It looks to be a procession of some sort, Pam. What do you know about what's happening there now?

BROWN: That's right. So this is a welcome ceremony. There is a red carpet rolled out. We know that there are some schoolchildren there. There are embassy personnel there as well. And so, really, this is just full of pageantry, pomp and circumstance, this high honor for the president to be meeting with the Emperor Naruhito. And so President Trump appears to be arriving soon we see there. And Prime Minister Abe is already there on site at the Imperial Palace. So we're really seeing it unfold right now, this historic moment of the newly crowned emperor and his wife, Empress Masako, meeting with the United States president, President Trump, here shortly.

CABRERA: OK, Pam, stand by.

I want to bring in David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst, adviser of course to four past presidents, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.

You obviously have so much perspective here for us to offer. Talk to me, David, about the significance of this moment. We know it's a huge honor, we're told, that any foreign leader would have an opportunity, especially to be the first to meet the new emperor.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is an honor. It's an honor for President Trump and it's an honor for the United States. And I think making this the first visitor to this new emperor, be the president of the United States I think is enormously flattering. And it will play to -- it will deepen the relationship that Trump has with it.

I must tell you in terms of protocol, Ana, I once was with President Reagan when we -- he went to see the emperor and the members of the staff came in and were able to present and bow as well. The trick and the protocol is when you bow, you have to keep looking at the emperor. Don't bow too low. And then you have to back out of the room continuing to look at the emperor and not run into a wall because you can't see where you're going.


GERGEN: And if you look around, that's against protocol. So you have to gently guide yourself back to a safe place.

[20:25:03] And I can tell you, that can be very tricky. Some of our guys were wandering way off. And there was enough humor to it as well.

CABRERA: Well, yes, I can only imagine as you're trying to back away, don't want to turn your back and not knowing what you're backing into.


CABRERA: That sounds like it could be very tricky.

GERGEN: Right.

CABRERA: Do you have a sense of what's going on here right now, David? I don't know if you have a monitor but we're watching the president greet a number of people who appear to be part of, you know, the Japanese contingent. Would these be aides to the emperor or to the prime minister? Do you have a sense?

GERGEN: Yes, I don't have an absolute sense. I can tell you that it's usually a mixture. And, you know, there was a time when that palace and the yard around it and the grounds, it's right in the middle of Tokyo. The value, the commercial value of that property was judged to be greater than the commercial value of the entire state of California. That was about 20 years ago. Then they had this massive economic set of problems over the years. And it's come way down. And the emperor is not as sort of -- as lofty a perch as he once was.

But still, the Japanese people revere him. And I think it's one signal of how importantly President Trump takes this is that, you know, he doesn't like to travel very much, as much travel --

CABRERA: And David, let me -- let interrupt you for just a moment because we're watching this moment play out.

GERGEN: Yes, sure.

CABRERA: And I'm being told by our producers that the man that the president was just talking to was, in fact, the emperor.


CABRERA: And we're seeing the president shake hands. And it's interesting to note that it has seemed maybe less formal than I initially anticipated where it seemed like they were just sort of chitchatting, hanging out.


CABRERA: And now you see the president kind of walking through, shaking hands.

GERGEN: That's very different.

CABRERA: We understand, the empress, the woman standing next to Melania there. It seems very cordial.

GERGEN: Yes, that's very different. Usually it's quite formal. It's a good sign it's warmed up in this way. It's sort of more natural with our current culture.

CABRERA: I'm just pausing for a moment to see again what happens next. We weren't given a lot of guidance as to what we could expect for this welcoming ceremony.

I want to bring in Scott Jennings who is here with us as well, Dave. And please continue with this conversation.


CABRERA: Obviously, Japan has just rolled out the red carpet for President Trump as he's been there.

Scott, what do you think the president should accomplish during this visit?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he's obviously having a good time and he values our relationship with Japan tremendously. I think he's sending a message to China, frankly, that we have other allies in the region. And Japan is our biggest ally there as the president pursues his tough on trade negotiations with China. He wants to show the world that there is an Asian country that we're very, very close with. I think that's an important signal to send.

This wasn't really a trip I think designed to roll out any policy or any announcements between the two countries. But really more to continue to foster an already good relationship and I think send a signal to the rest of the world about the strength of this bond that these two countries have. So it's quite a thing to see the president and the emperor and all those dignitaries there.

I think it should make Americans and Japanese feel good to see these two countries so closely aligned with each other.

CABRERA: And we see, it looks like, the president is being told where to walk as they head down the red carpet. Next to the emperor with the empress behind.

Let's listen in for just a moment.

[20:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


ANA CABRERA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And as we continue to monitor these live images, I want to bring back CNN White House Correspondent, Pamela Brown. And Pamela, we just saw such amazing pageantry on display there, and what appeared to be a very cordial greeting between the President and this new Emperor of Japan. I understand they have translators, but they're not using them? PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's absolutely right. If you notice, the translators were to the side, and President Trump and Emperor Naruhito were walking together, talking. That is because the Emperor, he has a degree from Oxford.

He does speak English, as does his wife, Empress Masako. In fact, she went to Harvard. She spent her teenage years in Massachusetts. And so, that is why they're not utilizing the translators.

And so, we just saw this pageantry play out. Of course, this is a president who prizes pageantry and pomp and circumstance. We saw him walk down the red carpet there, review the military. Really, he was put up on a pedestal. It made him look as though he was -- has this commanding president -- presence, rather.

And what was interesting to note, Ana, is that the Emperor appeared to be on the side. And that could be because, as the monarch, he does not have control over the military here, in Japan. His role is more of a symbolic role, a symbolic reflection of the people. He doesn't have political authority.

And so, perhaps, he didn't want to send the wrong message by walking with President Trump, so he stood to the side during that ceremony. And then President Trump and the Emperor, as we saw there, rejoined and resumed the discussion.

Again, this is the first time that President Trump is meeting the newly crowned emperor. He was crowned May 1st. And it is a high honor because he's the first foreign leader to meet the emperor here in Japan, Ana.

CABRERA: Pamela, what happens next? I understand they're supposed to go inside the Imperial Palace?

[20:40:01] BROWN: That's right. So, basically, it's considered a state call. They're going to go inside the Imperial Palace, so the pomp and pageantry will carry on from here. Clearly, a lot of planning and thought has gone into this as the Japanese welcomes President Trump because, of course, it is a very important alliance between U.S. and Japan.

And so they want to make sure that they roll out the red carpet in more ways than one for President Trump. So, discussions will continue between the President and the Emperor. And it's interesting to note because we were all, sort of, looking at how is the President going to greet the emperor given the strict protocol, and he shook his hand. It did seem, sort of, more casual than you might expect.

But, this is something that President Trump did before when he met the Emperor's father, shook his hand, nodded. I didn't see a nod this time around. He did not bow to the Emperor. As you recall, President Obama was criticized for bowing too low to the Emperor, this Emperor's father, when he visited Japan.

And so, President Trump has been briefed on exactly how to greet him, what the protocol is, surrounding it. Of course, all of this is steeped in tradition, rich tradition, rich history, and so we're going to see this play out.

And then after this ceremony, Ana, President Trump will be meeting with Prime Minister Abe. They'll be having bilateral talks. And then we expect a press conference. But it won't be over after that. Tonight will be the state banquet with the Emperor. So, the President still has a very busy day ahead of him here, in Japan, Ana.

CABRERA: Right, just 9:41 in the morning on Monday, there, in Tokyo. This is the 126th Emperor of Japan, the President participating in this grand welcome ceremony. David Gergen is still with us. This is the President on the world stage, David, your reaction?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO NIXON, FORD, REAGAN & CLINTON: Well, I think that, two things; one, Scott Jennings was right. The President is sending a message to China that the United States has many friends in the region. And that's why he also sent a note very quickly to Modi, in India, after the election results there, with Modi getting a big re-election boost.

Because that is, you know, when you think of China, China does not have many friends in the region. The United States is much, much more powerful because it has a set of alliances. But it is -- it is interesting that President Trump is building the pacific alliances while letting those with Europe, you know, deteriorate a great deal.

I think the other thing, Ana, is the President was and his team were very carefully thinking about this as showing him back in the States, on television, being extremely presidential in contrast to what we've seen over his daily activities. He didn't help himself by sending out these early tweets.

You know, he's obviously got differences with Abe that he's going to have to discuss on both North Korea and Iran. Abe is much, much harder lined against North Korea than Trump is on with regard to Iran. President Trump is much harder lined. And Abe is going to Tehran to service, in June, to try to become a mediator between the United States and Iran.

So, they'll have a lot to talk about substantively, along with trade. But I can tell you the pictures that we just saw, the team, the campaign team, headquarters Trump, would love those pictures. And I think we'll probably see them again in the next few months.

CABRERA: I mean, Scott, nothing makes the President look more like a world leader like these types of ceremonies, right? Does he undermine his own ambitions by tweeting while on a trip like this, about everything from Jessie Smollett to Joe Biden's I.Q.?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I don't think so because we've come to expect, you know, tweets at all hours of the day and from all locations from this president. And I think we're, sort of, in an era now, Ana, where, you know, whether the President is at the White House or whether he's overseas, a tweet rockets around the world in the same amount of time.

So, I don't really think that undermines his trip. What's most important to him and what, I think, David Gergen is exactly right, what the Trump people want to see back here in the United States, is Donald Trump looking like the president, like you would expect him to look, like you want him to be treated on the world stage.

Frankly, today's ceremony reminds me a little bit of when Donald Trump went to Mexico during the presidential campaign. I don't know if you remember this, guys, but back during the campaign, you know, he made a foreign visit down to Mexico.

He did a big press conference. And I thought that day was kind of an important moment because it showed people that Donald Trump had the capacity to stand on a world stage. I thought that advanced his cause for president then.

This kind of ceremony being shown live on television in the United States, a lot of folks are going to look at this and say, looks like Donald Trump is holding his own and it looks like Donald Trump is respected on the world stage.

I even noticed one of the Japanese folks that was gathered there, had on a "Make America Great Again" hat as they were cheering for him as he was walking around. So, as David said, I think team Trump's going to love the pomp and circumstance and all the pictures we're getting right now.

[20:45:05] CABRERA: And we're replaying some video, right now, from just moments ago. We lost the live images. I want to bring in Van Jones who's also with me here, in New York. You worked in a White House as well, Van. Your reaction to what we just witnessed?

VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Yes. It's a tale of two Trumps. You know, it's a little bit discordant, I mean, on the one hand, you have teleprompter Trump, you know, when he's scripted, when it's staged. Look, he looks the part. I mean, it was weird to kind of get used to the idea of Donald Trump looking like the President of the United States. He knows how to pull that off.

But he's right alongside Twitter Trump and tantrum Trump and, you know, it's just so discordant. And, you know, part of the things is that, yes, maybe this leader is showing some respect, but the one with the nuclear weapons aimed at us, is not showing respect in North Korea.

And so, this is the kind of thing, I think, that's just hard for people. I think, in some ways, it winds up -- he winds up cancelling out the good. He does it all the time with the tantrums. This would be a -- this would be a great day. You've got a three-day weekend.

Probably maybe not a lot of people watching T.V., but the people who are watching television and following the news, could've been focused on this wonderful, powerful alliance that we have. And it came out of the ashes of war.

It came out of, you know, a sneak attack against us, and a nuclear attack against them, and here we are, you know, two generations later, two strong allies. But it always gets undermined. It always gets overshadowed by the tantrums and the tweets.

CABRERA: One, because he's talking about so many different things on Twitter. And, you know, some of the comments that he's made, as well, since he's been there on trade and other issues. But it's hard to really focus on what the sole goal was, here on this trip. Pam, why did Trump go on this trip? What was the main goal?

BROWN: So, for a couple of reasons, Prime Minister Abe emphasized to President Trump on numerous occasions just what an honor it would be for him to be the first foreign leader to meet with the Emperor. But beyond that, President Trump knows that this elevates him on the world stage.

As we just saw the ceremony play out, where he was walking along the red carpet and reviewing the military, it certainly elevates him. And so, I think David Gergen said, this is something that the campaign probably likes. It makes him look like he is the commander-in-chief. He is strong. And he is above all the politics back in Washington.

And so, certainly, I do think that this is part of why the President made this long trek. Remember, he'll be back in Japan next month. And this is a president who does not like to travel. But I think that the President and his team made the calculation that it is an honor.

This is something that Abe really wanted the President to do. Abe told him, if you're going to pick a trip to Japan, this is more important than the G20 next month. But at the same time, what we just saw play out is exactly what the president and his team wanted.

You have to think that the President was delighting in all of this attention of him being on the world stage, showing others, including China, that he has other friends in this region here. And that they are really treating him with the utmost respect.

CABRERA: OK, Pam Brown, everybody, stand by. Thank you for your analysis. I want to take a quick break. Our live coverage continues right after this.



CABRERA: At a time when understanding and compassion seem to be in short supply, Van Jones brings us "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT." He's bringing together victims and their offenders to talk openly, to heal, to possibly forgive. This week, Van takes us to Wisconsin where a mother wants to meet the driver high on heroin who killed her son. That driver was someone the mother knew when he was just a boy.


THOMAS JOHNSTON, HEROIN ADDICT: When I was 23, I started using heroin. Then four years, it was a gradual increase. It would go from using once daily to using a couple times daily. And then the amount just kept getting bigger. I just felt like I couldn't stop, and then there was the overdose. My heart rate was -- it was one beat per minute. They shot me up three times with Narcan to get me back. I think I was, like, I want to say 24, 25 maybe, so that was my first O.D.

JONES: You know, I had a friend who died using Fentanyl, which is like an opioid, and, I mean, just wrecked our whole world, you know. It just got me interested in this whole opioid epidemic. Why has this taken on so much momentum?

JOHNSTON: The drug is like, you ever see Spider-Man 3, when he puts on the venom suit and he's trying to get it off but he can't get it off, that's pretty much what it does to you. It will grab ahold of you and it won't let go.


CABRERA: Back with us now, the host of "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT," Van Jones. Whoa. That is heavy stuff, Van. You were speaking to a man who ultimately killed another person, Nathan. Nathan's death really shook this entire community. We didn't get to hear much of Nathan's story. Tell us a little about him.

JONES: You will in a few minutes.

CABRERA: Yes, in just a few minutes, literally. Give us a little taste, though, about Nathan's story and the past connection between Nathan and this man and his mother.

JONES: It's a very small town. And it turns out that the mother actually taught that young man when he was in elementary school, and later on, the guy became a heroin addict, and a fatal car accident, wound up taking her son's life, sounds heavy, sounds dark. Reality is, it's a cathartic show.

This show is kind of a heartbreak to hope show. You got to start off with the bad news, but then, you know, the show is really about healing. I think we need a lot of healing. We need a lot of listening. We need a lot of compassion.

And, you know, we fight and argue so much about political stuff, sometimes very abstract, this show is a little bit of medicine because it's -- you know, it should be almost impossible for people to talk to each other across these lines that the we show on the show, and yet, somehow, people find a way.

And it's not -- it's not always warm and fuzzy feel-good ending. It's certainly not a license for people to do bad stuff. Everybody on these shows is being held accountable by our criminal justice system, but there's also the need for healing beyond the verdict, and this show focuses on the need for healing beyond the verdict.

[20:55:10] It is never been shown on television before, 99 percent positive on Twitter. I've never seen anything like it. There's something that, I think, people are finding in this show that's healing.

CABRERA: And this story, Nathan's mother, what is she hoping to get out of this meeting with Thomas?

JONES: You know, it's very interesting because every parent who's, you know, in the series, wants something different. I think she actually knows that because it was a vehicular manslaughter case, this guy is going to be coming back to her community at some point, and she wants to make sure that he understands what he did and also he's going to come back better and not bitter.

And this particular show is particularly powerful. If you haven't seen the series before, this is a great one to watch because there's a lot of twists and turns, lots of surprises, and --

CABRERA: And it's coming up in a just couple of minutes. So, Van, let me stop you, because I don't want to --

JONES: Exactly.

CABRERA: I don't want to step on your show.

JONES: Exactly, Ana.

CABRERA: Good to have you. Thank you, as always, for sharing with us. "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT" with Van Jones airs next, right here, on CNN. And that does it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thank you for being here. Have a good night.