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Tornado Outbreak Wreaks Havoc Across Ohio; Destructive Tornadoes & Historic Floods Grip Central U.S.; Mt. Everest Death Toll Rises to 11 and Overcrowding; Hiker Rescued after 17 Days Lost in Hawaii Forest; Trump Addresses Troops in Japan and North Korea Firestorm; Biden Returns to Campaign Trail Today after 10 Days; Angela Merkel Warns of Dark Forces on the Rise in Europe. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 28, 2019 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next thing I know, the windows was breaking. I heard a lot of debris flying around. It was really terrible.

[05:57:59] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Two tornadoes ripping through Ohio overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All 77 counties in Oklahoma now under a state of emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing like when you can see that devastation in person. It's just unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has become a death race there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The two governments that run the mountain really aren't regulating the industry at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Nepalese government is saying that to say that this was because of a backlog is baseless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you run out of oxygen above 26,000 feet, there's a deadly consequence.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, May 28, 6 a.m. here in New York, and we do have breaking news.

A harrowing night in Ohio. Several tornadoes touched down in the Dayton area. It's still dark there. The sun is just rising. We're told there is significant damage. The city of Salina, Ohio, about 60 miles away, was also hit hard by a tornado overnight.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: There is extensive damage. Highways and roads are covered in debris, as you can see a little bit in these dark shots that we have on our screen right now.

Dozens of tornadoes have been reported across multiple states, from Colorado to Indiana, in just the past 24 hours. There is also historic flooding affecting Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Arkansas River is reaching record-breaking levels.

So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Ryan Young. He is live in hard-hit Salina, Ohio. What's the situation there, Ryan?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, we drove here all night to get here. We arrived in the last 20 minutes or so, and we've done an initial assessment.

This part of this neighborhood is just gone at this point. If you look behind me, you can see the damage.

Now, the reason why we're able to show you this is, I guess, emergency crews have already set up powerful lights to make sure that they can look through this area to make sure no one was hurt.

But as we walked this direction, what we noticed is it looks like the storm actually skipped a path through this area. And if you look, you can see how kind of there's some houses that have been hit, some houses that haven't been hit.

But just look at the extensive damage here. What we are told, seven people were injured in this storm, three serious. And firefighters right now are two blocks over from this location, looking at one particular home.

But you can see the severe power that this tornado basically carried through, because if you look in any direction around here, you can see just how the roofs are either blown off or, in fact, some parts of the roofs are impaled in other houses.

We also took some drone shots just the last five minutes or so to see what else was going on here. But as you come around the corner, you could see just the damage in terms of just people coming out, trying to look themselves, to see if their neighbors are OK.

All of this is going on right now in the last half hour or so, as people are starting to come out and assess the damage.

Guys, we're hoping that everyone in this neighborhood is fine. We're going to do some walking around ourselves to see what the experience was for them last night. But so far, again, seven people injured. We do have one street over that's blocked off with power lines down. We have no deaths so far.

So John, back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Ryan, thank you for racing there. We'll let you get out and do some reporting and check back in with you in a little bit.

This weather system is wreaking havoc across much of the country. Officials are saying some cities could see their worst flooding ever. Rivers in Oklahoma and Arkansas could rise to record highs today.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Tulsa with the very latest.

Ed, it just keeps getting worse there.


Well, last week's rainfall is taking a toll. Behind me is the Arkansas River. And as it makes its way south of the Keystone Dam here in the city of Tulsa, here floodwaters have continued to rise over the next few days, and it's expected to rise another foot or so over the next day.

However, there is more rain in the forecast later today and tomorrow, as well. That could complicate the situation here.

But right now, many neighborhoods already overtaken by floodwaters. We were in one neighborhood just west of Tulsa yesterday afternoon, where we spoke with residents who say dozens of homes had taken on anywhere between 2 to 6 feet of water, kind of depending on where the homes sit in these neighborhoods.

But this is a stressful situation that will only continue to be monitored here over the next couple of days. Not just here in Tulsa but also downstream, as the Arkansas River continues to make its way through eastern Oklahoma, into Fort Smith, Arkansas. And floodwaters there aren't expected to crest for another several days and still have about another 5 to 6 feet left to rise, according to the National Weather Service. So that could really create dangerous situations.

But here, for example, here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we're along River Front Road. Much of it is already closed down because of the concern of the floodwaters. And this river here already outside of its banks. So that is a situation they'll continue to monitor. As I mentioned, Alisyn, more rain expected over the next couple of days.

CAMEROTA: Oh, no. All right, Ed, please continue to monitor it and bring it to us throughout the rest of the program. Thank you very much.

So where is the greatest storm threat today? CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast.

What's happening today, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, CNN AMS METEOROLOGIST: Pretty much the same places that we had yesterday, maybe slightly to the east. Fifty-two tornadoes yesterday. They were rolling across Illinois, across Indiana, and then eventually into Ohio, where we see the strike last night.

Three hundred and twenty-nine tornadoes just in this severe weather outbreak alone over the past ten days or so.

A little bit farther to the east, across Keystone State, also back out to the west, again, Kansas City all the way down to Oklahoma City, another chance of severe weather with tornadoes today. This is what the radar should look like by 6 a.m. Big storms all the way across Pennsylvania. More storms back out to the west from Des Moines all the way down to Oklahoma. Many of these storms could put down 2 to 4 inches of rainfall in the plains, making that flooding where Eddie is even worse.

Guys, back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Chad. We'll watch that very closely. Thank you very much.

Breaking overnight, a stabbing spree in Japan, targeting mostly school children. At least two people are dead. One of them is a 12-year-old girl.

[06:05:09] Japan's prime minister offered his condolences, calling the attack heartbreaking. The attack took place near a park in Kawasaki, which is about 13 miles from Tokyo.

Early reports from the fire department said 16 elementary school students and three adults were injured. Victims were taken to four different hospitals. One hospital did confirm the girl's death and the death of a 39-year-old man.

CAMEROTA: Another American climber has died after summiting Mt. Everest. The death toll now rising to 11 people just this year. Experts are blaming inexperienced climbers and overcrowding for the escalating death toll on the world's highest peak.

CNN's Arwa Damon traveled to the base camp of Mt. Everest. She has just filed this report for us.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have just arrived to Everest base camp. And I have to say, even at this altitude, even without being anywhere near to the summit, you really feel the impact of the decreased oxygen levels.

The scenery here is absolutely spectacular. You really understand what the draw and appeal is.

If you look that way, that's the ice fall that is so famous. It's what the climbers first have to go through to get to Camp One. And then, of course, as they move on up through the different camps and the different stops, trying to reach what is the one main goal that unites everybody here.

Normally, this entire area at the peak of the season is covered in tents. What you have right now behind me is just a few tents that have been left. There are cleanup crews. There's still a handful of climbers that are down there, some of the last ones to come down from the summit on what has been an especially devastating hiking season for the summit of Everest because of the level of fatalities and because of the issues that arose from all of this backlog that took place. The photographs, the long lines of people waiting inside the death zone. Called that because the levels of oxygen there are so low.

Every breath you take in the death zone only gives you a third of the oxygen that you would get at sea level. So you have to be climbing with oxygen tanks. And so these long waiting hours may have contributed to the deaths that we did see, at least to most of them.

And a lot of these climbers aren't dying on the way up. You can make it to that goal. You can make it to the summit. It's when you come back down, that's when people's bodies tend to succumb to altitude sickness.

A lot of debate right now, as to whether or not Nepal needs to be doing more to regulate the number of permits, to regulate who goes up, what level of experience they have. There's been a lot of criticism about inexperienced climbers going up.

But there's also a burden of responsibility on the individual. Yes, this is such a challenge. It is such a goal that is really going to push you mentally and physically to the limit.

But all of the climbers we're talking to are saying, you really need to know how to listen to your body. Just being here right now, one really feels the effect of the lower levels of oxygen.

Arwa Damon, CNN, on the Nepalese side at Everest base camp.


BERMAN: And you can hear it in her voice, you know, and that's 17,000 feet, as you were telling me. Base camp is 17,000. The top of Everest is 29,000 feet. You can hear how hard it was for Arwa to speak.

CAMEROTA: First of all, it's remarkable that Arwa was able to get there so quickly.

BERMAN: It's Arwa.

CAMEROTA: It's Arwa, right. So that -- we just accept that. That is remarkable that she was able to bring it to us.

But the idea that she -- I mean, obviously, if you just go skiing in Colorado, you feel the effects. And then imagine that exponentially, what they're all dealing with. And it's horrible, what's happening there. Eleven people just this year. Another American in the past 24 hours. Something has to change.

BERMAN: Arwa, we're going to have Arwa live coming up in the next hour. We're going to have a hiker on the Tibetan side talk to us in a little bit about what he saw just days ago at the top of Everest. Because this is, as Alisyn was saying, a serious situation.

Also breaking overnight, the hiker rescued after 17 days missing in a forest in Maui made her first public appearance since the ordeal. Amanda Eller and her family thanked volunteers at a celebration in Hawaii. CNN's Paul Vercammen is covering all the developments for us. And this, Paul, is an amazing story.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is amazing. And good morning.

And what they tell me is the friends said that she arrived at this event. It was a lot of tears, and there were leis. And Amanda Eller was brought in in a wheelchair. She's still undergoing painful treatment for those injuries on her legs. And she surprised everyone when she decided to address her friends and her rescuers.


[06:10:05] AMANDA ELLER, HIKER: Sleepless nights, for sure, when she was missing. I was really, you know, having a hard time, thinking about, you know, how she was and what had happened. It was -- it was really challenging.

Seeing everybody pull together the way they did was astounding. And we really, you know, wanted to go above and beyond to thank everyone.


VERCAMMEN: And Amanda Eller said that she's just someone who didn't know anything, that she didn't have a compass, among other things, out in the wild.

But others would argue her survival skills, off the charts. Among other things, she survived on rainwater, river water. She also had eaten berries, and she basically went to the car where she ate some moths.

Well, she'll tell us more about her ordeal later on today. That's at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. She's going to speak at the hospital surrounded by her family.

Now back to you.

BERMAN: I guess the moths are protein. That's an amazing story, Paul. Thank you very much.

And coming up in our 8 a.m. hour, we're going to speak with one of the men who rescued Amanda Eller on how they found her and how she survived.

CAMEROTA: I just had a moment to speak to him. Wait until you hear this story. He is -- they haven't had much sleep. He is beyond jubilant. And he tells the story of the second that they were in the helicopter and saw her moving down there and what happened in the helicopter.

BERMAN: I can't wait. That sounds so exciting.

CAMEROTA: It is very exciting.

OK, up next, 2020 campaigning, of course, is in full swing. Joe Biden makes his return to the trail today. Where has he been? Will he respond to President Trump's attack? We discuss all of that next.


[06:16:22] BERMAN: Happening now, President Trump is on his way back to Washington. His state visit to Japan wrapped up with a Memorial Day speech to troops aboard the USS Wasp.

The president's trip was full of pomp, and circumstance, and controversy.

CNN's Boris Sanchez is live in Tokyo with more. And Boris, really shattering the norms of the traditional overseas trip for a U.S. president.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, John. A lot of pomp and circumstance, but not a whole lot of substance. No breakthrough on a trade deal between President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The president announcing that that could potentially come after elections are held here in Japan in July. And further, President Trump making news on North Korea, shining a light on disagreement -- on a disagreement between he and Prime Minister Abe, specifically when it comes to North Korean short-range ballistic missile tests.

The president saying that they don't really bother him. Well, they clearly make Shinzo Abe uneasy. The president was also asked what it would take for Kim Jong-un to break this so-called promise between the two men. He didn't really answer directly. Instead, he said this. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He knows that with nuclear, that's never going to happen. Only bad can happen. He understands that. He is a very smart man. He gets it well.

There have been no nuclear tests. There have been no ballistic missiles going out. There have been no long-range missiles going out. And I think that, someday, we'll have a deal. I'm not in a rush.


SANCHEZ: Trump also siding with Chairman Kim on a statement put out by North Korean officials last week, criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden, calling him a low-I.Q. individual. The president saying that he could see why Chairman Kim feels that way.

The president spent the day, as you said, speaking to several hundred members of the Navy's 7th Fleet, thanking them for their service, commemorating Memorial Day. He's now on the way back to Washington.

And we should point out, the president is returning to Japan in just a few weeks for the G-20 -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Boris, thank you very much for wrapping all of that up for us.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden returns to the campaign trail with his first event in ten days. Meanwhile, the rest of the crowded Democratic field spent the holiday weekend barnstorming the country.

CNN's Athena Jones joins us now with a wrap-up of all that.

Hi, Athena.


It was a busy holiday weekend for many of the 2020 Democrats who spent much of it crisscrossing the early state of Iowa and New Hampshire. But it was a quiet weekend. In fact, a quiet week or so for one of the contenders you mentioned, the front runner, Vice President Joe Biden, who we'll see back on the trail today in Texas.


JONES (voice-over): The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates barnstorming the country over the holiday weekend, as the Democratic front runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, makes his return to the campaign trail.

Senator Bernie Sanders holding multiple events in New Hampshire, campaigning with a notable change in strategy. Previously zipping through rope lines. Now, posing for photos and even fulfilling this unusual request.



SANDERS: Oh, goodness.

JONES: Sanders fired up after President Trump's comments about North Korea.

SANDERS: We don't need to be praising Kim Jong-un or other authoritarian leaders all over the world who Trump is making good friends with.

JONES: This setting off the 2020 hopefuls.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is just one more example of Donald Trump proving that he cares about Donald Trump. First, last, and in between.

JONES: Senator Cory Booker are calling for bipartisan strategy to handle North Korea.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To have a president that's not leading with a strategy or that is engaging in activities to undermine even his own generals, in terms of the larger urgencies of the moment, it's unfortunate.

JONES: Meantime, Mayor Pete Buttigieg defending Joe Biden after Trump slammed him on the world stage.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kim Jong-un is a murderous dictator. And Vice President Biden serves this country honorably.

JONES: Senator Amy Klobuchar playing defense after making these remarks about what Senator John McCain was doing during Trump's inauguration.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech, because he knew more than anyone else what we were facing as a nation. He understood it. He knew because he knew this man, more than any of us did.

JONES: McCain's daughter, Meghan, tweeting, "On behalf of the entire McCain family, please be respectful to all of us, and leave my father's legacy and memory out of presidential politics."

The Klobuchar campaign responding in a statement overnight, saying the senator respects the McCain family, adding, "While she was simply sharing a memory, she continues to believe that the best stories about Senator McCain are not about the views he had about President Trump. They're about McCain's own valor and heroism."


JONES: Now, today, we'll see 2020 hopefuls scattered across the country again. Senator Klobuchar will be in California. Bernie Sanders remains in New Hampshire. Kamala Harris will be in South Carolina, Cory Booker in Nevada. And Vice President Biden attends a town hall with teachers in Houston -- Alisyn, John.

BERMAN: All right, Athena. Used to be Labor Day was the kick-off of the campaign season. You get the feeling that this time, it's Memorial Day. Really get to kick into gear right now.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Thanks, Athena.

BERMAN: All right. Up next, a CNN exclusive. Christiane Amanpour just interviewed the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Her dire warnings about what's happening in Europe and, really, even in the United States. That's next.


[06:26:09] CAMEROTA: Now to a CNN exclusive. German Chancellor Angela Merkle sitting down with Christian Amanpour for her first ever in-depth interview with an American television network. Merkel is warning against dark forces on the rise in Europe.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Analysts and historians today describe you as the face of good Germans, good Germany.

And they also say, though, that under your nearly 15 years in power, in some cases, those dark, old demons have risen again. Nationalism, populism, anti-Semitism. I mean, very dark forces that we can see are winning in elections, to an extent.

They talk about your austerity programs. They talk about your compassion, courageous migration program, allowing a million or more people in.

What do you answer to the people who say that, you know, it was a great Germany under your chancellorship, but these dark demons have risen again?

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Germany can and will not uncouple itself from developments we see all over the world. We see this in Germany, as well.

But in Germany, obviously, they always have to be seen in a certain context, and the context of our past, which means we have to be that much more vigilant than others.

And I also say, yes, there is work to be done here. We have always had a certain number of anti-Semites amongst us. Unfortunately, there is, to this day, not a single synagogue, not a single day care center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children, that does not need to be guarded by German policemen.

Unfortunately, over the years, we have not been able to deal with this satisfactorily that we can do without this. But we have to face up, indeed, to the specters of the past. We have to tell our young people what history has brought over us and others, and these horrors.

Why we are offer democracy. Why we try to bring about solutions. Why we always have to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. Why we stand up against intolerance. Why we show no tolerance towards violations of human rights. Why Article 1 of our basic law, human dignity is inviolable, is so important. It has to be taught to every new generation.

And you're quite right, the task has become harder, but it needs to be done.


CAMEROTA: And Christiane Amanpour joins us now.

Christiane, so fascinating to hear from Chancellor Merkel, to talk about these dark demons. I -- I had no idea that, to this day, no synagogue in Germany can go unguarded. I mean, it was really interesting to hear her take on all that.

AMANPOUR: I have to say, I was shocked, too. I didn't realize that either.

But you know, she's talking about her own country. She's talking about Europe in general. And also, to an extent, about the United States. Look at the synagogue shootings there and look at the general sort of intolerance that is abroad, so to speak, within our democracy. So she was addressing all of that.

Obviously, I also asked her about the very long, deep, and massively important relationship of post-war Germany with the United States.

You know, she's coming to give the commencement address at Harvard in a couple of days' time. And she's going to be speaking to the students there about her own relationship and her rise to power and her personal story, but also about committing and staying committed to the mutual values and human rights and traditions that the post-World War order has had.

I asked her also about her, you know, pretty contentious relationship, at least it's perceived that way, with President Trump.


AMANPOUR: You've been a bit of a punching bag for President Trump. He said some quite strong things, including your relationship with Russia and all the rest of it.

I just wanted to show you this picture, because that went viral around the world. I wonder what you can tell me about your personal relationship and your political relationship. His own White House says he's only strong with the people he considers friends. Do you consider him a friend?

MERKEL (through translator): Yes.