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Coronavirus Pandemic; Trump To Temporarily Halt Immigration To United States; President Trump Under Fire For Handling Of Crisis; Benjamin Netanyahu And Benny Gantz Agree To Coalition Government In Israel; United States Monitoring Intel That North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Is In Grave Danger After Surgery; Historic Plunge For U.S. Crude; U.S. Crude Plummets To Negative Pricing For First Time; Supply Glut, Storage Limit Push Oil To Negative Territory; Kim Jong-un Absent from the Public's View; Georgia Rush to Re-open Economy; Georgia's Decision is Out of Kilter; President Trump Temporarily Ban Immigration. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 21, 2020 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We have more people moving around, we're probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up. But we are a lot better prepared for that now than we were over a month ago.

MAYOR VAN JOHNSON, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: I am beyond disturbed, in my mind this is reckless, it's premature, it is dangerous.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA): As a parent, I am concerned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: A grand reopening, and a grand closing, as America wrestles with how and when to get businesses going again.

Donald Trump tweets about a stunning new plan to suspend immigration.

Plus, serious questions surrounding the health pf North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Our correspondent has been to the country more than a dozen times. His analysis ahead.

Good to have you with us.

Well, governors across the United States look to get their states reopened, President Trump is shutting down the country to those from outside. Late Monday he tweeted that he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration to protect Americans from the coronavirus.

The number of COVID deaths in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past week to more than 42, 000. The nation's top infectious disease expert says reopening too soon without widespread testing would be a mistake.

New polls show the American public agrees. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows 58 percent are worried restrictions will be lifted too quickly and lives will be lost. A Pew Research Center poll puts that number at 66 percent.

Well, Georgia is the first state to announce a major easing of closures. Gyms bowling alleys, body art studios, hair and nail salons can all reopen on Friday. Restaurants and theaters will be back in business within a week.

The president's own guidelines call for 2twostraight weeks of decline in cases before the first steps toward reopening, but that's not the case in Georgia. And you can see the numbers continue to climb. Atlanta's mayor disagrees with easing restrictions and she says she was not consulted by the governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOTTOMS: As a parent, I am concerned, because what I know is that when I look at the data that we received from our public health department each day our numbers are going up. We get a count at noon and we get one at 7 p.m.

When I look at the 24-hour period for the 7 p.m. count we got today our death rate is up by almost 14 percent, our positives up almost 7 percent and we are not testing asymptomatic and people with mild symptoms. And so, it concerns me. I have a great working relationship with our governor but I did not speak with him before he made this announcement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well a source close to the White House task force warns the coronavirus death toll could pass the most recent modeling estimates of 60,000 if states move too quickly. We get more now from CNN's Nick Watt.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Reopening this Friday in Georgia, gyms, bowling alleys, barbershops and some other businesses that can't do works from home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEMP: This measure will apply statewide and will be the operational standard in all jurisdictions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Monday, restaurants will also reopen. Kemp says all businesses that are reopening must screen employees for illness and practice social distancing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEMP: By taking this measured action, we will get Georgians back to work safely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: South Carolina expected to open stores and beaches Tuesday with were open all weekend. In Jacksonville, Florida with social distancing rules flagrantly flouted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DONNA SHALALA (D-FL): I think that decision was reckless. It shows you how undisciplined the leadership of this country has been because we do not have a consistent message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:04:58]

WATT: And there are still hotspots. Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia. One more pork plant just closed indefinitely in Minnesota after an outbreak, nearly 10 percent of U.S. pork production is now shut down.

And cases continue cropping up at nursing homes. The CDC now mandating that residents and their families are informed about outbreaks, along with the CDC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEEMA VERMA, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: And we are also paying for labs to go out to nursing homes to collect samples.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Meanwhile, our leaders struggle to balance the pain of the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had the sense that I was drowning at a certain point. I wasn't able to even stand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: With the pain of the shutdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You don't need protests to convince anybody in this country that we have to get back to work and we have to get the economy going and we have to get out of our homes. Nobody. The question is going to become, how, when, how fast?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: One influential model suggests just these four states can safely open first on May 4th. Still, two weeks from today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALI MOKDAD, HEALTH METRICS SCIENCES PROFESSOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: What we are reporting is a level that a state can comfortably move to a containment stage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: That level is one new case per day per one million people. So, for example, New York State would need fewer than 20 cases per day. Right now, they are still seeing more than 5,000. All large events in the city, concerts, parades, were just canceled through June. The governor now wants a bump in pay for essential workers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: When you are home with your doors locked dealing with cabin fever, they were out there dealing with the coronavirus. I would say, hazard pay, give them a 50 percent bonus, and I would do that now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Apparently, one new case per million per day, the state will have the capacity to care for that patient and also trace and test their contacts. Bottom line?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically, is not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Wherever and whenever we re-open, we will see a rise in cases in those places. Now, the governor of Georgia can see that. He knows that cases will go up but he says that they have the capacity and he is confident that they will stay on top of it.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

CHURCH: Well, the United States is monitoring intelligence out of North Korea. We are hearing leader Kim Jong-un is in grave danger after a surgery, that is according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge. Now these are the last images of Kim to air on state media 10 days ago.

Kim missed the celebration of his grandfather's birthday last week, which is the hermit kingdom's most important holiday.

Chief U.S. security correspondent Jim Sciutto says his absence was definitely noticed. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Five days ago, Kim was noticeably absent from a ceremony marking and honoring his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, this is the kind of public ceremony like the one you are seeing here on the screen that Kim Jong- un traditionally takes part in.

He was absent from that ceremony five days ago. It was four days before when he was last seen in public at a politburo meeting. So, during those intervening days there were questions why is he absent, and it's more recently that the U.S. has been monitoring intelligence that he had a surgery.

That the aftermath of that surgery, there were complications and his health is now in grave danger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: And our Wil Ripley has been on assignment in North Korea almost 20 times. He joins us now live from Tokyo. Good to see you, Will. So, there is a lot of conflicting information out there on this, what are you hearing about Kim Jong-un's health?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When I asked a couple of high-profile well- connected sources about Jim Sciutto's reporting, they were shocked, they were startled, and they hadn't heard anything about it.

Now that doesn't mean that what the United States is hearing is not accurate, because we know that North Korea is so intensely secretive about any and everything involving their supreme leader Kim Jong-un. His health condition is a national secret. Something they would carefully guard, just like his movements around the country.

I have been in a number of situations where it is not announced until minutes before that Kim Jong-un is going to be in the area. I remember being at a hotel and his Secret Service came and had everybody close the curtains on the windows and they surrounded the place, so he's playing the land nearby. And he can do a field inspection.

I've been in other places where his Secret Service shows up, and they're standing around the building and everybody thinks he's going to be there they wait for hours and he doesn't show.

[03:09:55]

So, such a small group of people in North Korea actually have firsthand knowledge about Kim Jong-un's movements, let alone his health condition. It is unsurprising that there are going to be conflicting stories going around right now about what's really happening.

CHURCH: Understood. And Will, you have been covering North Korea for many years, how would the people of that country deal with the loss of Kim Jong-un if he's as gravely ill as this intelligence suggests? RIPLEY: It would be an absolutely devastating blow for many people in

North Korea. And I know when people see propaganda videos, of people jumping up and down and tear -- tearfully, you know, hugging their leader, people think it's all staged, I don't believe that it is. And I've seen the reactions that people have when they see him.

Imagine if you grow up, and you have only one source of information, which is your state media, no access to the internet, or any real view of the outside world, and the person who you see on TV every single day is your leader, and he is built up night after night on the news as this demigod. Somebody who you can solve any problem, somebody who is taking care of the country, somebody who is working overtime for the country, and then this person suddenly dies.

We saw a huge outpouring of grief back in 2011 when Kim Jong-il died, people collapsed to the ground in tears. And these were not, you know, actors on stage. These are genuine reactions because these are people who are conditioned their entire lives to believe that this person is essentially the brain of their country. And if you cut off the brain, you don't have a country.

That's how the North Koreans view their leader. That's how they're told to view their leader. And so, obviously, that just goes to show why they would be so protective of any information about his health, and if and when there were an announcement, it would create shockwaves inside the country that would -- that would go on for quite some time to come.

And a lot of confusion and fear about what is going to happen, who is going to take over. Because as of now, there is nobody in the spotlight who is really a clear successor. His sister Kim Yo-jong has been by his side a lot recently. There may be other family members behind the scenes that we don't know about, but it would be a severe shock, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Indeed. A lot of questions being asked here. We'll continue to follow the story. Many thanks to our Will Ripley for bringing us up to date on what's been going on. I appreciate it.

Well, next, a closer look at the states moving to reopen for business despite the warnings and data from health officials and the White House's own guidelines.

Plus, a new government with a familiar face. Israel's political crisis winds down as the prime minister buys more time in power, teaming up with his election rival. We'll have the details for you on the other side of the break. Stay with us.

[03:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEMP: Now I will say that, you know, when we have more people moving around, we're probably going to see our cases continue to go up, but we're a lot better prepared for that now than we were over a month ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp is moving to reopen the state even though it hasn't met the White House's suggestive criteria for when it's safe to do so.

The governors of South Carolina and Tennessee are also moving towards reopening businesses in their states. Kemp's decision defies the warnings of many public health officials and took several many mayors in the state by surprise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: I am beyond disturbed, in my mind this is reckless, it's premature, it's dangerous, it's not based in any type of science or any best practices. Our reality here is you know the numbers are still going up. We still have not done expanded testing, and we do not have the 14-day decline.

So, this just, it blows our minds that here in Georgia that we would have these types of rules on being lifted at a time when people are still suffering.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Federal guidelines which are not mandatory call for states to see a sustained decrease in cases, before easing restrictions.

CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with Anderson Cooper about where Georgia's cases stand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The numbers are still going up. You know, you're supposed to have a 14-day downward trajectory in terms of cases, a 14-day downward trajectory in terms of symptoms. People are reporting symptoms. But you look at the graphic and then you look at the numbers, and the numbers are still going up, you know. They bounce around a bit. But there's clearly not been a 14- day downward trajectory.

So, it doesn't meet the basic guidelines. I also think that, you know, it's just one of the things, Anderson, so what -- so people are should they be worried when they go out? I mean, are they going to go to a place where you obviously can't physically distance like a nail salon or a hair salon or a massage parlor.

Have those places had they had their ventilation checked? Because that's been a real concern. That was part of the guidelines for places of business to have that checked. Have they gone through deep cleaning? Has the person that you're about to not physically distance yourself from been tested? I mean, how is this going to work?

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Joining me now is Gary McLean, he is a professor of molecular immunology at London Metropolitan University. Good to have you with us.

GARY MCLEAN, MOLECULAR IMMUNOLOGY PROFESSOR, LONDON METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY: Yes. Good morning. Thank you

CHURCH: So, as we just heard the governor of Georgia surprised everyone Monday, announcing he will open up hair and nail salons, barber shops, massage and tattoo parlors, and gyms on Friday. All very close proximity businesses. Then restaurants and movie theaters Monday.

As a molecular immunologist, what is your reaction to this move when data clearly shows that infections in the state of Georgia are still going up, not plateauing, and certainly not going down.

MCLEAN: Yes, it's a bit surprising, it seems very, very early to open such businesses when the number of cases is still increasing. The people, the population are not immune.

[03:19:55]

These don't appear to be really essential businesses, I would classify a tattoo parlor, a massage parlor as being something essential, opening a movie theater at this point, gathering lots of people together, potentially transmitting the virus between one another when case levels are still very high, not creasing decreasing, no evidence of it going away just yet, it's rather soon, and very alarming to be honest.

CHURCH: And other countries with far fewer deaths and infections, are either extending their lockdowns or slowly opening up small businesses and small shops. Why do you think there is such a rush to open up the United States when it has the highest number of infections and the highest death toll in the whole world? But at the same time, has insufficient testing for COVID-19 and very little contact tracing.

MCLEAN: Yes, this is obviously a problem on many levels, I think. The United States has the advantage where it is a little bit behind of what's going on in Europe, and what we're seeing in Europe the countries are still remain in lockdown or some of counties very, very slowly easing restrictions.

In the United States it seems to be a lot more difficult because a lot of these decisions are made at state level by the governor, there's a large coordinated response between all of the states together.

So if one state that feels as though it might have things under control, it might have the testing levels there, fewer cases than say, for example, New York State, they may decide to change the rules and open up much earlier which is, it's a very fine balance, I think.

On one hand, you've got to think about the hit to the economy, which is going to be majors. The United States is the biggest economy in the world, richest country in the world, the longer the lockdowns go on for the more ever hit that it will take.

But it's the balance between the health of the people as well. And we need to make sure that the health of the population is the number one priority, I think. And then removing the lockdown too soon is not the way to do that.

CHURCH: Yes. And I do want to just listen for a moment to what the president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry had to say about the disconnect we're seeing between what he heard President Trump say about testing capability in the United States and then the reality on the ground. Let's just bring that sound up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARMEN WILEY, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR CLINICAL CHEMISTRY: We're experiencing a shortage of collections supplies, the supplies to transport the samples to the laboratory, and then once we get into the laboratory we require reagents or you can maybe think of them as ingredients to perform the testing and then report the results to the doctors.

We feel there is a disconnect between the theoretical capacity and what we are actually able to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Gary McLean, why were the U.S. president keep telling the public there is sufficient COVID-19 testing when clearly, there isn't. Scientists, doctors, hospitals, governors, all tell us they are struggling with this.

MCLEAN: Yes. These are very complex tests to do, and obviously the report you just had said the examples need to be gathered in one location, they need to be transported to a central laboratory then the laboratory needs to perform with the right reagents.

And at each level it seems that there are problems with distribution or there is a lack of re-agents at certain stages. The United States has done approximately four million tests, which seems like a very, very large number but it's just 1 percent of the total population.

And I think if you are going to look at a population level, we need to have much greater coverage of the number of people tested, particularly if you are relieving lockdowns. And the only way forward to know whether people have been infected or not is to have an antibody test. And we know that those aren't even ready yet.

The PCR tests to detect the amount of virus that is present are just simply isn't being done enough. But I think the authorities there are trying to allay the fear that might be in people and saying, yes, we do have the capacity to run these tests, but in reality, it's probably not that simple.

CHURCH: Yes. The governors, the medical professionals keep screaming they need help, and no one is listening apparently. Gary McLean, many thanks to you for joining us. We appreciate it. MCLEAN: Your welcome. Thank you.

CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. Still to come, with his back to the wall on the pandemic and his eye on the election, Donald Trump plays the immigration card. A closer look when we come back.

And a deep dive for U.S. oil prices, the ongoing toll of the collapse in demand.

[03:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: From the administration, which first brought us the Muslim travel ban, and more recently restrictions on visitors from China, Europe, Canada, and Mexico, now comes the ultimate play by Donald Trump. A total ban on all immigration to the United States.

CNN's John Harwood reports from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump took a surprising late-night step in his attempt to get on top of the coronavirus crisis announcing via Twitter that he was temporarily suspending all immigration into the United States.

The White House did not provide supplemental information explaining the justification for the move or how would be implemented. Many immigration-related activities have already been put on hold by the coronavirus crisis. The president did not announce a ban on travel into the United States, only immigration itself.

[03:30:00]

Now this comes in a time when the president is facing intense criticism over his response to coronavirus. In polls, the American public says that the president is too late in addressing the issue, governors are complaining his not providing them enough health with testing which is needed to reopen the economy. Now this is not a new theme for the president. He is of course talked about restricting immigration as part of his national make America great agenda since the 2016 campaign. He's tried to reduce legal immigration levels throughout his presidency.

The question is why would you do it now late at night over social media? I talked to Kori Schake who is the head of International Relations at the Conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington. She is a veteran of the George W. Bush administration. She said, it looks like a panic move. John Harwood, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Although that tweet came without warning, it seems the president was thinking about the election and ways to appeal to his base at Monday's coronavirus task force briefing. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Remember this, we're dealing in politics. We are dealing with a thing called November 3rd of this year. Do you know what November 3rd represents? Right? You know, better than anybody in the room. November 3rd of this year, it is called the presidential election. No matter what I do, no matter where we go, no matter how well we do, no matter what, if I came up with a tablet, you take it and these plague is gone. They'll say Trump did a terrible job. Terrible, terrible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Well, let's bring in Natasha Linstaedt in Colchester, England, she is a lecturer in international politics of the University of Essex. Good to have you with us.

NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX, ENGLAND: thanks for having me.

CHURCH: So, President Trump announcing he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to this country due to the pandemic, he says, but also to protect American jobs. We don't know if this is a total ban. Although that's how it sound. And we don't know how long temporary is. What's going on here? What is the significant of the timing that tweet coming out late at night? Is this simply a distraction?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, the timing is suspicious, because we have seen recently his ratings have been falling. I mean, he is essentially a wartime president who is unpopular. And he did get a little bit of a bump in his approval ratings. But now they are starting to go down. As the public is learning more and more about how slow he was to respond and as we see the U.S. cases spiraling out of control.

So, this is an effort to play to the base and as we know, immigration was a center piece of the 2016 campaign. And one thing that is incredibly popular to his base is when he makes these type of sweeping mandates or initiatives or statements that aren't properly legally vetted. That then block immigration. He's essentially trying to block all legal immigration. This is unprecedented.

We are not going to see any green cards as opposed. But he didn't get into to any of the details as to whether or not there would be exemptions. Of course, this is time when the U.S. needs immigrants more than ever, because we have a shortage of doctors and nurses. And we do know that one in four according to Reuters, one in four doctors were born in another country. They are immigrants. And 17 percent of medical workers are also immigrants. So, this, the timing actually couldn't be worse.

CHURCH: Yes, very interesting. Immigration works, he has seen that in the past, but meantime, President Trump keeps accusing the Democrats of being fixated on the November 3rd presidential election. But at the -- at every daily briefing we essentially get a political rally, don't we? Whether the president tells us there is sufficient covid-19 testing. But we learn from doctors, scientists, hospitals and the data that he's not telling us the truth. And now he's opening up the country while closing down immigration. What's the president's likely goal here do you think?

LINDSTAEDT: Well, again I just think he's just trying to play to the base. He is desperate. He is seeing that his approval ratings are falling and he knows one thing that is going to gain him a lot of popularly is to go after immigration. Of course, he's also being influenced by Stephen Miller at the same time. But he thinks if he limits immigration and that's going to send a message to his base and his supporters that not only am I preventing people who could have the disease, which is something that he has also talk about before that immigrants are bringing with them diseases.

But he's also saying I'm going to try to protect the American workers. Because we have millions of millions of people that are unemployed now. So, it's just a desperate grab to try to play it to the base. If you want to more cynical about it, we are seeing that there are autocrats around the world and populous authoritarians that are using the crisis to justify more extreme policies and more authoritarian policies.

[03:35:00]

CHURCH: Yes. It's interesting that he wouldn't try to broaden his appeal to try to increase his approval. But that's for another day. Natasha Linstaedt, thank you so much for chatting with us. I appreciate it.

LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.

CHURCH: Well, amid the coronavirus crisis a political crisis could be ending in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Bennie Gantz had agreed to form an emergency coalition government. This ends a year of gridlock and keeps Mr. Netanyahu a close ally of U.S. President Trump in office for another 18 months. Our CNN's Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem for us. He joins us now live. Good to see you Oren. So, what's the back story to this decision to form a coalition government in Israel?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORESPONDENT: Well, for more than a year and a quarter Israel has been in political turmoil or political deadlock. And it's essentially caused serious problems in the country both in terms of security, in terms of the economy and the coronavirus crisis has only exacerbated that. So, the two largest parties led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu oh Likud and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz of blue and white got together with major political costs for Gantz.

It fractured his own party, but he got one of his goals, which was a unity government, a national emergency government as they're calling in this time of coronavirus. It will last as you pointed out for three years, 18 months led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the following 18 months led by Benny Gantz, but does that mean that both of these are equal in terms of what they got in the coalition agreement, no absolutely not.

This is certainly a win for Netanyahu, Gantz meanwhile folded on many of his campaign promises, including his major one, saying, he would not serve under a Prime Minister who has been indicted. Of course Netanyahu had been indicted on charges of bribery and fraud and bridge of trust and his trial is set to start next month. Still, Gantz folded on that campaign promise and will now serve under Netanyahu as Defense Minister at the beginning here.

But he then also folded on the many of the smaller campaign promises, such as the nation's state law, the draft law annexation which could begin as early as July 4th of parts of the West Bank, yet the question of course now in terms of how will this be judged, will Gantz become Prime Minister in 18 months? That would be the accomplishment he has here that he has put an end date on Netanyahu. But that remains a big if, with many political analysts skeptical that Gantz will ever be Prime Minister. And if he is, he doesn't have a broad government, he essentially has Netanyahu's right-wing religious government, without any of his natural coalition partners.

Now, Rosemary, this isn't a done deal yet, and that's because this could still fall apart, and the country could still go to 4th elections, why because there are appeals against Netanyahu at the high court, saying someone who has been indicted cannot form a government. If the high court uphold that, that is if the high court doesn't allow Netanyahu to form a government, Israel is headed back to a 4th election.

CHURCH: Extraordinary, Oren Liebermann bringing us the very latest on that development from Jerusalem. Many thanks. And you're watching CNN Newsroom, we are following reports, the North Korean leader is in grave danger, after recent surgery, what we know about Kim Jong-un health that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:40:00]

CHURCH: Welcome back, we just want to recap the story that we're tracking on the North Korean peninsula, the U.S. is monitoring reports that North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un is in grave danger after surgery. That is according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge. Now this images shows Kim's last appearance in North Korean state media, on April 11th, since then a South Korean newspaper, Daily and Kay, reports that he allegedly received a cardiovascular procedure the very next day, because of excessive smoking, obesity and overworked.

Three days later on April 15th, he was absent for North Korea's most important holiday. The anniversary of the birth of the country's founder Kim's grandfather. Another U.S. official tells CNN concerns about the North Korean leader's health are credible, but the severity is hard to assess. Well, joining me now is Duyeon Kim, senior advisor with the international crisis group, thank you so much for being with us.

DUYEON KIM, ADJUNCT SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SOCIETY: Thank you for having me back, Rosemary.

CHURCH: So, South Korea and China insist Kim Jong-un is not ill, but we are hearing he could be in grave danger after undergoing some sort of surgery, what are you hearing about his health?

KIM: You know I'm hearing mixed views as well, but I think we need to be extremely careful, and cautious whenever we hear these rumors, and thinly sourced information about the health of any leader, we've been here many times before, and we've been wrong many times before, but at the same time I feel like we're going to be here, talk about the same conversation for many years to come, when it comes to Kim Jong-un's health. But you know, it is natural for folks like you and me in the world to ask questions, and to wonder why, and to focus on Kim Jong- un's health and even ask a question about what happens the day after.

CHURCH: Yes. Indeed, and I did want to point out that the South Korean government says, no unusual activity has been seen inside North Korea. So, there's nothing to raise any alarm bells, but how much pressure might Pyongyang be feeling right now, to prove that Kim is indeed healthy and well, with all of this discussion and all of these rumors perhaps.

[03:45:15]

KIM: You know they might actually just take it in stride, or they might jump on it and try to you know, show that he is healthy and well. That remains to be seen just like many things when it comes to North Korea, we will just have to find out when we find out. When there's official confirmation. But you know, the South Korean government is correct, when they say that there should be signs, or typically would be signs, unusual signs, things like the military, or the party being alerted to be on alert, in other such as external signals that would suggest that typically we would find out much later, but after the events.

CHURCH: Right and the other side of the coin if it does turn out that Kim is indeed gravely ill, what might be happening right now in terms of preparing for his successor. And what might this mean for North Korea's very delicate relationship with the United States.

KIM: Those are all great questions, and we really don't know just because we don't know if Kim Jong-un has already designated his heir or his successor. We also don't know if he even has a son. Naturally, a son would be the heir to the Kim bloodline. We also we don't know if he will leave any sort of so-called dying injunction of what the system should look like, who should take power.

And also, you know, but personally I would not entirely rule out his sister, as a plausible scenario, it would had been very unprecedented, and it's very rare for a woman to take the leadership, but she is technically legit, because she is part of the Kim family, the so- called Mt. (inaudible) bloodline. So, there's so many variables in this equation, but also you know, absent a plan b, ordered and designated by Kim himself, you know, if that is the situation, if there is a sudden death, with no plan be in place, then it becomes quite concerning to for the rest of the world, because it might spillover into misinformation in other countries, neighboring countries to react to soon.

We'll have to see if any type of crisis situation within North Korea can be contained on their own or we might see jockeying for power among the different (inaudible) within (inaudible). Maybe his sister might try to protect the regime. Maybe there will be military generals, or party officials who want to fight for power, maybe there will be China backed North Korean elites that will be pushing someone that they want to lead. Maybe they will bring back Kim Han-sol to become the next leader. So, a lot of unknowns, but in many, many variables, many circumstances will have to be in place for us to even make a credible prediction about what happens the day after.

CHURCH: Yes. We'll see how North Korea responds to all of this chatter, Duyeon Kim, thank you very much for joining us, we appreciate it.

KIM: Thank you.

CHURCH: While history making sell-off, in U.S. oil futures, the price of a barrel of U.S. crude, landed in negative territory, we will look at the impact on the markets, that's ahead.

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[03:50:00]

CHURCH: And unprecedented drop in the U.S. oil markets, sent stock sharply lower, the DOW closed down almost 2.5 percent, Monday after oil futures plunged into negative territory for the first time ever. Storage space is reaching its limits, and the supply glut push traders to essentially pay others to take oil off their hands.

Well, for more on this John Defterios joins us now live from Abu Dhabi. Always great to see you, John. So, what does it this collapse in the oil market reveal about how bad the situation is in the U.S. oil patch?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, it's only happening once in our lifetime, I'll tell you that, it's a flash crash that picked up velocity and became really a perfect storm linked back to the United States and the expiration of a contract for the U.S. benchmark WTI. We had that contract last night, Rosemary, go negative $37 and change.

In the morning trade here in Asia, we saw it go up a dollar. Now it's swinging back down about $4. That's expiring. So, let's look at what is projected for June. You can almost put it behind us now. We have WTI trading down slightly. The international benchmark with the spread of about $3 to $3.5. That is more normal. But this price range of $20 to $25 for both is a crisis. And it gets linked back to three key factors.

Number one, as you suggested here, there's a lack of storage particularly in Oklahoma. Which takes in the Texas crude oil that shell production. We have about three or four weeks before it fills up. We have no place to put it. That's why last night they were paying people to take oil off their hands. We know, demand is down by about a third because of half the world is in lock down. So, there's no commerce, so to speak.

And finally the U.S. dollar is rising against the petro states currency, Venezuela, Angola, and Brazil. So that adds a layer of pressure. And then we have to think about the political pressure on Donald Trump, about 10 million job linked to the oil based of the United States. And they need a breakeven price of about $35 a barrel, $20 just doesn't work. And hence this crash that we saw last night, as storage became very precious.

[03:55:22]

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our John Defterios. I appreciate that bringing us up to date on that situation. Thank you.

And thank you for joining us, I'm Rosemary Church, I will be back with another hour of news after this short break. Stay on CNN.

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