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More Than 5000 Presumed Dead, 10000 Missing; North Korea Leader In Russia To Meet With Putin; State Media: Kim Jong-Un Arrives At Vostochny Cosmodrome; South Korea: North Korea Fires Two Ballistic Missiles; Russian Backed Officials Accuse Ukraine Of Attacking Crimea; 13 Children Returned From Russian-Held Territory; Death Toll Climbs Past 2900, More Than 5500 Injured; U.S. Antitrust Case Against Google Opens; Ex-Spanish Football Chief Summoned To Testify On Friday; El Chapo's Wife Set To Be Released From Federal Prison; U.S. Antitrust Case Against Google Opens; North Korean Leader Meets with Russian President in Russia; McCarthy Orders Impeachment Inquiry into President Biden. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired September 13, 2023 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Coming up on CNN, the presumed death toll from floods in Libya has more than doubled in 24 hours. Bodies now left on sidewalks, morgues in one city reportedly filled to capacity.

Sales pitch, North Korea fires off ballistic missiles with leader Kim Jong-Un somewhere in Russia to strike an arms deal with Vladimir Putin. And in search of high crimes and misdemeanors, the Republican house speaker opens an impeachment investigation into U.S. President Joe Biden.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: Thanks for joining us here for CNN NEWSROOM. And we begin in eastern Libya, where it's just gone six am and Derna is now breaking over a disaster zone, with a death toll from catastrophic flooding which has more than doubled in 24 hours.

Authorities now say more than five thousand people are presumed dead. Another ten thousand remain unaccounted for according to the Red Crescent. The coastal city of Derna appears to be hardest hit. Many buildings have just collapsed. One government official says a quarter of the city has disappeared. Some of the images from this disaster are graphic.

The only hospital in Derna is no longer taking patients, while bodies are lined up on the sidewalk, others have been swept out to sea. Mass burials are now underway in some parts. Volunteers searching for survivors and caring for the wounded say there are just not enough people to help so many in so much need.


MOHAMMED QAMATY, VOLUNTEER (through translator): These are the victims, may God protect us all. We are still looking for victims. We call on all young Libyans, anyone with a degree or any medical affiliation to please come and please help us. We have a shortage of nurses and we need help.

We hope God will bless their souls and ascend them to the heavens, and I pray that families are reunited. God bless those in Tripoli and Misrata, Libya is all one country.


VAUSE: Getting help to those who need it most is made even more complicated by Libya's rival governments. One in the east. One in the west. CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has our report.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A wall of water rushes toward the eastern Libyan city of Derna. Upstream, two dams have burst, tens of thousands of people now in mortal danger after a freak storm dumped eight months of rain in a single day.

An army spokesman said entire neighborhoods in Derna were washed out to sea. Officials fear as many people may have been killed by the floods in eastern Libya, with many more unaccounted for.

TAMER RAMADAN, HEAD OF IFRC DELEGATION, LIBYA: We confirm from our independent sources of information, that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 persons.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Dozens of bodies covered with blankets are strewn about outside Derna's morgue, now full to capacity. Communications with the city are spotty. Storm Daniel knocked out many of the cell phone towers and rendered many roads impassable.

Libya was convulsed by the 2011 uprising against the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, and ripped apart by civil war. After years of human folly, preparing for nature's wrath may not have been anyone's top priority. Turkey has dispatch search and rescue teams and emergency supplies. Italy is also sending in teams to assess the damage.

But the level of death and destruction may be more than Libya can handle. Tuesday afternoon, a simple message appeared on the facebook page of the Derna municipality, the situation in the city is out of control, it said, international intervention is needed. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


VAUSE: The U.S. embassy in Tripoli is working to authorize funding to support relief efforts in Libya. Turkish aircrafts have already arrived as part of a plan to send 168 search and rescue teams. Egypt, Italy, Malta, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries are

also sending help. The UN is mobilizing emergency teams and the International Rescue Committee is working with other aid organizations to try and distribute supplies.


CNN spoke earlier with Tamer Ramadan, head of the Libyan delegation of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.


RAMADAN: The needs assessed right now are medical equipment and medical supplies, of course, because the main hospital in Derna is now out of service. So, there is no access to basic services for the affected people. Dead body management is another priority for our teams on the ground, because as you saw from the photos, there are a lot of dead bodies on the street and they cannot be left like that.

Thousands of families have lost their shelters and they need shelter and food and nonfood items as well to accommodate them until they can find a replacement for their houses or they can reconstruct their destructed houses. Communication is a big challenge.

Access to the affected areas is another big challenge because the roads are destroyed and the access, or reaching the affected area is not that easy for our teams on the ground right now. The Libyan Red Crescent is using some schools to be temporary shelters for them. However, of course, the numbers are huge and we are trying to deploy shelter and tents to accommodate these people in a more humane and dignified manner.


VAUSE: Stay with CNN NEWSROOM, Tamer Ramadan will join us live next hour from Cairo for an update on this disaster in Libya. Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un could be meeting in eastern Russia right now, or the North Korean leader could still be somewhere on his mystery train tour. According to a host on Russian state television, the two leaders were set to talk on Wednesday morning local time.

It's now early afternoon there. So CNN cannot confirm the timing of the report. And there's no official word on when this meeting will happen. According to state media, the Russian president has arrived in Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia's spaceport. Some speculation that's where he could be meeting with Kim Jong-Un. Earlier, the North Korean leader arrived in the border town of Kazan.

He stepped off his private armored train, the one with the lobster and the champagne. According to North Korean state media, he spoke with Russian officials who President Putin had, quote, "Personally sent to meet him and offer the sincerest hospitality."

North Korea and Russia have kept most details about the summit shrouded in secrecy. When and where the meeting happens is unknown, but according to U.S. intelligence, what will be discussed is a weapons deal. CNN's Matthew Chance has this report now from St. Petersburg.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the moment a normally reclusive Kim Jong-Un stepped off his heavily armed train into Russia's far east. The North Korean leader is internationally isolated, but now seems poised to become a key arms supplier to Moscow, a sign of how desperate for allies the Kremlin has become.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A visit at this level is a good message of broadening ties, a local Russian governor says in an understatement of how significant this trip may be.

CHANCE (voice-over): Back in Pyongyang at least, they looked euphoric ahead of Kim's first trip abroad in four years. But even behind the forced grins, North Korea's strongman must be genuinely smiling at what Moscow could offer in exchange for the ammunition it now so badly needs.

Russia's brutal conflict in Ukraine has become a grinding war of attrition, which may well be decided by which side can sustain almost constant pounding on the front lines. A big North Korean arms deal would bolster Moscow and strike a blow to Ukraine and its allies.

North Korea, of course, has its own terrifying military ambitions, with Russia, it seems, increasingly at its side. President Putin hasn't ruled out a planned face to face meeting with Kim Jong-Un at a strategic Russian launch site, the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): When I get there, you'll know, he said.

CHANCE (voice-over): It's all fueling suspicions that Russian technical know-how, which could advance North Korea's own missile program, is on the table. It would be a worrying shift from the last time Kim visited his Russian neighbor, a trip I covered in 2019 when access here, in hindsight, was freer.

CHANCE (in 2019): Well, this is a rare glimpse of the reclusive North Korean leader. We simply don't see him very often in public. But here he is, dressed in his Trilby hat and his long coat, about to lay a wreath at this Russian war memorial.

CHANCE (voice-over): But back then, curbing North Korea's nuclear ambitions was high on the Kremlin's agenda.


Now, it's winning the war in Ukraine at all costs. Matthew Chance, CNN, St. Petersburg.


VAUSE: Just moments ago, state media in Russia reported the North Korean leader has arrived in Vostochny Cosmodrome, that spaceport where Vladimir Putin is set to be right now. The indications are this meeting should be actually happening soon, relatively soon.

Meantime, the South Korean military says North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles while Kim Jong-Un is in Russia. Live now to Hong Kong. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is standing by for us. Okay, so we believe that Kim and Putin are now in the same city. Looks like this meeting is about to go ahead but in the meantime, what do we know about the missiles which have been flying ahead of this meeting?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, a lot to cover this morning. I mean, North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula. This is what we learned earlier today from South Korea's joint chiefs of staff. And analysts point out that this is the first time we have seen a launch with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un out of the country.

This is very significant. Now Kim is indeed in Russia ahead of this expected meeting with Vladimir Putin, that is going to take place very soon. We have learned that, earlier, we heard Japan's Kyodo News Agency reporting that they are to meet today, this afternoon, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia.

And according to Russian state media, they have confirmed that both Kim and Putin have arrived at the space center. In fact, their photographs have been released showing the North Korean flag and the Russian flag flying above the space center. This comes after the U.S. said that the two are actively advancing their talks over another potential arms deal.

I want to show you this video of Kim's arrival in Russia earlier in Hassan, that's the main rail gateway to Russia's far east. He arrived in Hassan very early on Tuesday, six am local time, you can see him there. He's dressed in a suit, he's smiling as he steps off his train onto the red carpet, welcomed by the Russian delegation there.

And he left earlier in Pyongyang on Sunday to go to Russia by his private train, that famous green slow chugging heavily armored coach. And also on board with him, some of North Korea's leading officials, including top military leaders and its chief diplomat. Now this is Kim's first overseas trip since 2019.

That's when he traveled to Vladivostok by train for his first summit with Putin. The U.S. remains very concerned that North Korea will provide arms to Russia, and that they'll be discussing that moments ahead. Now, last week, U.S. officials, they said that Kim and Putin are expected to discuss a potential arms deal so Russia can get more North Korean weapons to use in its war against Ukraine.

In exchange for weapons, North Korea reportedly is seeking advanced technology for satellites and for nuclear powered submarines, as well as food aid. Now the Russia-North Korea relationship is deepening, joint military exercises are being discussed, both of these leaders have exchanged warm letters to each other pledging to boost their alliance.

Last year, the U.S. said North Korea delivered rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner forces, which North Korea denies. And the U.S. is urging North Korea to not give arms to Russia, but North Korea is showing off its armory with these missile tests this morning and with both leaders, according to Russian state media, prepared to meet very soon at this space center in eastern Russia. Back to you.

VAUSE: So, Kristie, normally Beijing would take a fairly dim view of these, sort of, missile tests carried out by Pyongyang. But how does this all play into this, sort of, new dynamic here with Pyongyang moving much closer to Moscow, and, in a sense, moving away from Beijing?

STOUT: You know, John, it's very interesting because you know that Beijing is watching these events very, very closely. But officially, Beijing is playing it cool. In fact, the question was raised to the ministry of foreign affairs' spokesperson on Tuesday, Mao Ning, who said this in response to a suspected Kim- Putin meeting.

I believe we have the quote available for you. Mao Ning saying, quote, "The DPRK leader's visit to Russia is an arrangement between the two countries." That's it. Now, look, China has a friendly relationship with North Korea. China, along with Russia, has shielded North Korea at the United Nations.

China has blamed the United States and its allies for stoking tensions on the Korean peninsula. And remember back in July, when that Russian delegation led by the Russian defense minister visited North Korea, a Chinese delegation was there as well, led by a very powerful official, a Politburo member, Li Hongzhong. But analysts do point out that in this, you can call it, triangular relationship. You have Russia, you have North Korea, you have China.


China is the greatest power, and China, economically, has the most to lose. So China is watching these events very, very closely, monitoring to make sure that its interests won't be harmed. Back to you, John.

VAUSE: The happiest man in that three, it seems to be Kim Jong-Un right now. Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout for us. As always, we appreciate you being there in Hong Kong live for us as always.

STOUT: Alright, thank you.

VAUSE: Well, Russia says Kyiv launched a missile assault on Sevastopol, the largest city in occupied Crimea. The Kremlin-backed governor says air defenses were, quote, "At work" to repel the attack. Fire, though, did break out at a shipyard that builds and repairs ships in the Russian black sea fleet.

Local officials say 24 people were hurt. Ukrainian officials say at least 20,000 children have been forcibly removed from their homes and brought to Russia or Russian occupied territory. On Tuesday, an NGO group says it brought 13 of them home. This was Save Ukraine's 11th rescue mission. So far they've returned 176 Ukrainian children, or reunited them, rather, with their families. Moscow has denied it's done anything illegal, calling it evacuating

children to safety. But in March, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin over an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children, as well as a woman who's in charge of that scheme. Still to come here on CNN, Morocco continues to grapple with the mounting death toll from last week's earthquake. We have the very latest from Morocco after the break.


VAUSE: In Morocco, as hopes fade of finding more survivors, the official death toll for Friday's earthquake is now pushing three thousand. State media says the number of people hurt has passed 5500. In his first public appearance since the quake, Morocco's king visited a hospital in Marrakech on Tuesday, meeting with injured survivors and also donating blood.

Meantime, dozens of residents among a hard-hit rural town just received long-awaited aid. Help has been slowly trickling into those remote villages where roads leading up to the mountainous regions have been damaged or destroyed or blocked by debris. CNN's Nada Bashir visited one such remote village completely devastated by the quake.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): High in the Atlas Mountains, the solitary village of Dinisct, seemingly abandoned and almost entirely flattened. It is hard to imagine how anyone could have survived the destruction here.

But amid the rubble, signs of life. At the gates of what once was their home, Fatimah and her 11 year old daughter Zinah tell me they can only thank God that their family was uninjured in the quake. But ongoing aftershocks mean there is little peace for those who survived.


BASHIR: Zinah says that a lot of her friends died in this earthquake. She can still see her school, it's up at the top of the mountains. But she is still afraid of the potential aftershocks that could happen. Of course, the memories of her friends who have passed away is something that she thinks about constantly.

BASHIR (voice-over): Above the crumbling remnants of this now destroyed village, more than 40 victims lie buried. Each grave left unmarked. The smell of death is still heavy in the air. The overwhelming loss of life in this village, too much for anyone to bear.

Zinah tells me her best friend is buried here too, but she doesn't know which grave is her's. Getting aid to this village has taken days, and supplies are minimal. There are, of course, no homes to return to here. Instead, families take shelter amid the sprawling olive groves.

BASHIR: There aren't enough tents for all of the families impacted, so they're not able to have their own tents. There are about three to four families now sharing a single tent. And as you can see, they're still trying to build new ones to deal with the sheer need here in the village.

BASHIR (voice-over): It's too early to tell what's next for these families. It could take years for their homes to be rebuilt, if at all. And there are so many more villages just like this one, devastated and cut off with little hope in sight. Nada Bashir, CNN, in Dinisct, Morocco.


VAUSE: Well, in a moment, the -- when we come back, we'll take a look at the Google case with the Department of Justice in the United States taking the search engine giant to court over a monopoly which the prosecutors say has been in place for more than a decade. Google's response to that, in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back everybody, I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. The future of the internet is on trial in a Washington courtroom. At least that's how prosecutors described their Antitrust case against Google and its search engines during opening statements on Tuesday. Many say this is the most significant Antitrust case against a U.S. tech company since the government sued Microsoft back in the 1990s.


We have more now from CNN's Anna Stewart, explaining what's really at stake here.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, Tuesday was day one of a multi-week trial. And it kicked off with explosive opening remarks from U.S. prosecutors, who say this case is about the future of the internet. They accuse Google of operating an illegal monopoly to promote their own search engine, stifling competition and thereby harming every computer and mobile device user in the United States.

The Department of Justice's lawyer says Google pays more than $10 billion a year to Apple and other companies to ensure that Google is the default or only search engine on browsers and devices. And with more users comes more user data, which, the DOJ argues, then feeds back into Google's dominance in other areas, like online advertising.

Google maintains their business practices are lawful and argued that their search engine is the preferred option for many. The company's president of global affairs said people don't use Google because they have to, they use it because they want to. It's easy to switch your default search engine, we're long past the era of dial up internet and CD-ROMs.

This is one of the biggest Antitrust trials since the DOJ successfully sued Microsoft in the late 90s. The trial is expected to feature witness testimony from Google's CEO, as well as other senior executives and former employees from Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung.

If Google loses, possible ramifications could include a break up of the business or a significant change in Google's business practices relating to their search engine. And, given it accounted for more than half of Alphabet's revenue last year, that could have a significant impact. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Well, the former head of Spain's football federation is being summoned to testify before the Spanish National Court on Friday. That's after prosecutors submitted a complete against Luis Rubiales for the alleged crimes of sexual assault and coercion. This is part of the investigation into the unwanted kiss he gave player Jennifer Hermoso at the Women's World Cup final.

Rubiales resigned from his position over the weekend, following weeks of criticism. Well, in the coming hours, the wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman is expected to be released from prison. Emma Coronel Aispuro had pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges connected to her husband's narcotic empire in 2021 after her arrest earlier that year.

Her husband was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for the charges connected to his time leading the Sinaloa Cartel. Well, when we come back, what's behind the house speaker's decision to open an impeachment inquiry into the U.S. president. Because so far, there's no evidence of an impeachable crime. And Apple unveiling its newest device. We'll take a look at the major iPhone updates that are being rolled out.



VAUSE: Rebecca Allensworth is a professor of antitrust law at Vanderbilt Law School, and she is with us this hour from Nashville, Tennessee.


Professor Allensworth, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: So in previous antitrust or anti-monopoly trials, the company being sued would often try and argue it's not really a monopoly, consumers have alternatives, its market share isn't as big as it might seem.

Google is kind of taking the opposite approach here, admitting to being, you know, pretty close to being a monopoly, but saying that's because they're the best, and forcing consumers to use an inferior search engine isn't what this law is intended to do.

So what's your opinion of that as a legal strategy, and where does that leave, you know, the government's case here? How does the prosecution respond to that?

ALLENSWORTH: Well, they must not have been happy to have to concede the -- not that they've completely conceded it, but they're deemphasizing the idea that they have competitors and they're not a monopolist. They couldn't have been happy about that.

Most monopolization cases are won on market definition, and -- or won or lost on whether or not you're seen as a big fish in a big pond, or a big fish in a small pond.

So, as far as the strategy goes, I think they were kind of stuck with it, because there really isn't a good alternative to search. You know, they've tried to argue that somehow searching for a product on Amazon is a substitute for searching Google. But it's -- it's really not.

So yes, they're -- they're forced to make this argument about how they're the best, they won the competition. That's what antitrust is for.

And that's a good argument, except then you have to ask, well, why was it therefore so necessary for you to block other channels of distribution for your competitors?

And that's essentially what the governs cases going to be about. If you are so good, then you shouldn't be afraid of a little competition from other search engines on devices.

VAUSE: So is that getting to this ten billion dollar deal that Google has with Apple and similar deals with other providers, that you know, essentially made Google search engine pre-loaded on Safari and iPhones and iPads and MacBooks?

And the government went on to allege in one instance, "in response to amendments proposed by Apple, Google told the company it could not pursue changes and threatened to scrap the deal's ad revenue share provision."

Government prosecutors put that forward as monopolist flexing. And they also say Google had similar deals with other device makers, as well as wireless carriers.

So are those deals illegal in and of themselves, or is how they're used and how their leveraged by Google more the issue here?

ALLENSWORTH: It's how are they're being used and how they're being leveraged. These agreements are only going to be seen as unlawful in this particular context.

You know, Google's going to tell the story of these being revenue sharing. They make a lot of revenue on their advertisements, obviously. And so, they are going to explain that the payments to Apple are a way of sharing that revenue with other actors in the line of distribution.

And then, of course, the government's going to paint this as a different kind of act. They're going to say that they're basically buying monopoly power; they're buying market share. And I think the case will come down to who tells the better story.

But to be sure, there's nothing, per se, illegal about exclusive deals. And there's nothing, per se, illegal about sharing revenue in this way. But it comes down to what was it really for? What was the motivation behind it? Was it market share, or was it sharing the revenue to build a better -- better product?

VAUSE: And very quickly, "Forbes" reports the consequences for consumers in all this is that "Google's dominance has allowed it to ignore privacy criticism, become sluggish when it comes to innovation, including in the development of A.I. products."

So this essentially is the material harm part of the prosecution case, right?

ALLENSWORTH: That's right. And that's not an element of -- of antitrust law. They don't have to show, you know, and these are the concrete ways that -- that consumers suffered.

What they do have to show is that Google is a monopolist. And it stayed that way, or it became that way, or really, in this case, it's about staying that way, through unlawful acts that excluded other competitors.

But the whole reason why we have those rules, the reason why the law is designed that way is because we want companies to feel competitive pressure. And we believe when companies feel competitive pressure, they will respond to what consumers want, like better privacy, like more innovation, like more A.I.

And so, it's only natural that a case would bring those arguments to the fore, even if it's really supposed to be more the effect of healthy competition than a question of was the competition healthy.

VAUSE: Professor Allensworth, thanks so much for being with us. Thanks for walking us through the legalities here. It's a complex case. You made it sound simple. Thank you.


VAUSE: And with that, we'll take a short break. We'll be back in a moment. You're watching CNN.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

VAUSE: Hello, everyone. I'd like to welcome our viewers in the United States who are joining us for this breaking news. I'm John Vause. It is 37 minutes past the hour. I'm at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

We have breaking news from Eastern Russia. The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, are now meeting face-to-face for the first time in four years.

These images are from state media in Russia. They show the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, shaking hands with Kim Jong-un, who crossed into Russia earlier on Tuesday. There had been some mystery as to his whereabouts. There was a lot of mystery as to where this meeting might, in fact, take place. Initial thoughts were it would be in Vladivostok on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

But it is now in the space port city of Vostochny Cosmodrome. That is where the Russians launch their missiles and satellites. And as you can see, this meeting is now taking place, Kim looking very sharp there in his suit. The two men seeming to be very happy.

The Russian president said to Kim Jong-un, Hi, glad to see you. How is your trip?

The response from the Kim Jong -- from Kim Jong-li [SIC] -- un, rather, was to thank him for the invitation to Russia.

Of course, a lot of speculation about what this meeting will be about. According to U.S. intelligence and other Western officials, it's all about weapons. It's all about selling the Russians artillery shells and anti-tank missiles from the North Koreans.

And so more on this, let's go now to CNN's Kristie Lu Stout, joining us live from Hong Kong.

So it's finally happened. We now know where Kim Jong-un actually is. There was some mystery about all of that. This meeting is about to take place. So what are we expecting in the coming hours?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this expected meeting is apparently happening. The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, are at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, the space center in Eastern Russia. They have shaken hands.

We've been monitoring video released by the Kremlin, showing the two leaders side by side greeting each other, with Vladimir Putin telling Kim glad to see you, how was your trip? And Kim Jong-un responded, "Thank you for inviting us and welcoming us while your work is busy," unquote.

Now, this comes, of course, after North Korea earlier today fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the waters off the East coast of the Korean Peninsula. We learned this from South Korea's joint chiefs of staff.

Analysts point out that this is the first time we have seen a missile launch without North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the country. In fact, this is the first time it's happened with him out of the country. This meeting between Putin and Kim, it also comes after the United

States says that the two are, quote, "actively advancing" their talks over yet another arms deal.

And I want to show you video of Kim's arrival in Khasan, in Russia. This is the main rail gateway to Russia's far East.

He arrived in Khasan 6 a.m. on Tuesday, and he was greeted with the red-carpet welcome. He was dressed in a suit, stepped off the train, welcomed by the Russian delegation. He left Pyongyang earlier on Sunday to go to Russia by that famous private train, as you see there on your screen, that famous green armored coach.

And also on board and with Kim Jong-un in Vostochny, in Russia, to meet with Putin are some of North Korea's top officials, including its leading military officials, as well as the chief diplomat of the DPRK.

Now, this is Kim Jong-un's first overseas trip since 2019, before the pandemic. And that trip, that was when he traveled to Vladivostok for his first ever summit with Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. says it remains concerned that what's going to happen here with this encounter between these two leaders is that North Korea will provide more arms to Russia.

Last week, we heard from U.S. officials. They said that Kim and Putin are expected to discuss potential arms deals for Russia, to get even more North Korean weapons to use in its war against Ukraine.

And in exchange for the weapons, North Korea's reportedly looking for advanced technology. It wants satellites. It wants nuclear-powered submarines, as well as desperately-needed food aid for this isolated country.

Now, the North Korea-Russian relationship was already close. And it is deepening here. It has taken a significant step forward, with this meeting now apparently underway after that handshake greeting and welcome in Vostochny.

Back to you, John.

VAUSE: Kristie, I guess, you know, a couple of things about this missile launch with Kim Jong-un out of the country. It is significant. But we also have to say that, you know, Kim Jong-un rarely actually leaves the country. So for a missile launch to take place while he's out of the country, you know, that in itself is -- is interesting.

But he's only made nine trips in, what, you know, 12 years. So, you know, I'd say take that for what it's worth.

But clearly, happening before the summit. That does have some meaning to it.

But what is interesting here is that Kim Jong-un is in a very different position right now to what North Korea is used to. Normally, they are reliant -- the North Koreans have been reliant on China, reliant on China for economic assistance, reliant on China for oil, reliant on China for any kind of military aid or diplomatic cover at the United Nations.

Now he has two superpowers who need, say, or more regional powers with Russia. Russia can supply oil. Russia can supply, you know, the military assistance that the North Koreans need.

So where does this now leave Beijing in this equation? Because, you know, North Korea has been seen as so much of a client state of China for so long. That whole dynamic seems to be in flux right now.

STOUT: Yes, this is a very -- very interesting point, like, how is Beijing watching this? Because you know Beijing is watching this meeting and what's happening right now at the Vostochny at the space center very closely.

But officially, you know, what we've heard from Beijing is a very cool message. We heard from the ministry of foreign affairs spokeswoman, Mao Ning, when she was posed a question Tuesday afternoon how does Beijing regard this, at the time, expected meeting between Putin and Kim? Her response was "The DPRK leader's visit to Russia is an arrangement between the two countries," unquote.

But look, China has very a friendly relationship with North Korea. You know, China, along with Russia, has shielded North Korea at the United Nations. China has blamed the U.S. and its allies in the region for stoking tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

And China was also part of that delegation that visited North Korea when it showed off its armory, it shows off its wares in July. As you recall, the Russian defense minister, Mr. Shoigu, was there with a Russian delegation. A very powerful official on the Chinese side, Liu Quozhong (ph) of the politburo, he was in the Chinese delegation to see what weapons that North Korea had on offer.

And analysts do point out that this is a triangular relationship. You've got Russia, you have North Korea, you have China. China is the most powerful of the three. China has the most to lose economically. China is watching these events taking place in Vostochny with great interest, great caution, as it looks out for its own interests, John.

VAUSE: And while, officially, we do not know what these two leaders will be talking about, it has been widely reported, and we have been quoting Western officials and Western intelligence, and particularly U.S. intelligence, that the main topic of discussion between these two leaders will be North Korea supplying the Russians with some much- needed ammunition for their war in Ukraine.

Both sides, the Ukrainians and Russians, have been burning through stockpiles of artillery shells and other munitions at an incredible rate.


So the question here, though, while North Korea is a country which is on a 24-hour, you know, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year war footing, do they have the capacity to ramp up production to make these artillery shells, you know, to satisfy or come close to satisfying, you know, Russia's needs in that respect? Will it make any kind of difference to the war in Ukraine?

And I guess logistically, how can they get, you know, this ammunition, this huge stockpile of ammunition which the Russians need, to -- you know, to Russia?

STOUT: That's a good question, John. You know, in practical terms, at the end of the day, what can North Korea offer the Russians?

Russia is seeking more artillery, more weapons to use in its war against Ukraine. But it's the symbolic value here that, no doubt, Kim Jong-un is really valuing and craving.

The Russia-North Korea relationship is deep, and it's deepening. You know, we know that joint military exercises are being discussed. This is what we heard announced by the Russian defense minister last week.

We know that, between these two leaders leading up to this moment, they had exchanges, extremely warm letters to each other, pledging to build the alliance, pledging to increase cooperation.

And last year, the U.S. said that North Korea was able to deliver rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner forces, which is something that North Korea denies.

And this is why the U.S. has been warning of this active -- this advancement in talks of another round of arms talks between these two leaders. They warned that this meeting was going to place, which as we see from this footage, that Putin and Kim are in Vostochny. They've shaken hands, greeted each other. A meeting is underway.

And the U.S., meanwhile, is urging North Korea, do not give arms to Russia.

Back to you, John.

VAUSE: Thanks, Kristie. And just a final point here. What is truly interesting here is that these are live images of these two leaders, you know, at this one point, at the same time on essentially a dog and pony show or tour of these facilities.

It is incredible to think that these pictures are coming out live. Normally in the past, any information about Kim Jong-un's whereabouts has been released once he's been and gone. Often, the same is true with Vladimir Putin. But it's 7:46 a.m. there, and these are the images which we're now seeing, live images, we believe, of these two leaders, who are out and about, shaking hands and on a tour.

A meeting which we will be closely watching, to see what comes out of it. If we find out any more -- any more developments, any more details as this goes on, we'll bring them to you.

In the meantime, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, thank you so much for being with you -- with us, rather, I should say. STOUT: Thank you.

VAUSE: We will take a short break here on CNN. When we come back, what's behind the House speaker's decision to open an impeachment inquiry into the U.S. president? Because so far, there's little evidence, or no evidence, of an impeachable crime.



VAUSE: Fifty-one minutes past the hour. An update now on our breaking news.

Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin are meeting in Eastern Russia. Both leaders arrived moments ago at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia's space port. They shook hands. They greeted each other quite warmly. According to Russian state media, they've been touring the facility. We've seen these images live.

Kim Jong-un has been asking detailed questions about how the Cosmodrome works. This is where Russia launches many satellites into space. It's an alternative to Kazakhstan.

It's believed the two leaders will discuss a possible weapons deal, artillery shells and other ammunitions coming from North Korea to the Russians.

We'll have a live report on this at the top of the hour. Stay with us.

In the meantime, the U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has ordered a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. This despite any direct evidence that links Biden to corruption or illegal acts, or any evidence to prove allegations that Biden profited from his son's business dealings.

The White House responded with a social media post, saying McCarthy, quote, "vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment. Now he flip-flopped, because he doesn't have support." Also calling the move "extreme politics at its worst."

We have more now from CNN's Melanie Zanona in Washington.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kevin McCarthy facing threats to his speakership, giving the greenlight to an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Today, I'm directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

ZANONA (voice-over): A dramatic escalation of the House GOP's investigations into the president.

MCCARTHY: House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden's conduct. Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption.

ZANONA (voice-over): McCarthy today repeated several allegations made by some of his GOP colleagues, including that as vice president, Biden joint meetings with Hunter Biden's business partners, that the Treasury Department has flagged suspicious financial activity by the Biden family, and that the president has lied about his knowledge of his family's business deals.

But House Republicans have so far not provided evidence that Biden directly profited off his son's business deals or made any decisions as vice president because of them.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): There is zero evidence of any malfeasance on the part of President Joe Biden.

ZANONA (voice-over): The effort has faced resistance from some in the GOP over the lack of evidence.

REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): What I wanted to do is look at the evidence, and I said, I'll go where the evidence takes me. I'm reluctant to agree with Speaker McCarthy.

ZANONA (voice-over): McCarthy has been facing pressure from the right and former President Donald Trump to move ahead.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Moments ago, Speaker McCarthy endorsed an impeachment inquiry. This is a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more. We must move faster.

ZANONA (voice-over): A trio of House committees leading the way. The speaker has not put a timeline on the process, though McCarthy ally Marjorie Taylor Greene said there's no rush.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I'm interested in going as long as it takes.

ZANONA (voice-over): But marking a McCarthy reversal, no formal vote on the launch, aimed at protecting his most vulnerable members.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That puts a lot of seats up at risk, particularly for Republicans who won Biden districts.


ZANONA (voice-over): House Republicans believe the public is on their side. According to a CNN poll, 61 percent of Americans believe Biden was involved in his son's business deals as vice president, while 42 percent think he acted illegally.

But some GOP senators are uncertain about McCarthy's approach.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The way to make an inquiry legitimate is to have a vote as to whether or not he should have won at all, rather than just the leadership deciding.

ZANONA (voice-over): And Democrats? Not sweating the threat of impeachment.

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (R-PA): It's devastating. Ooh, don't do it, please don't do it.

ZANONA: And House Republicans have already taken their first official step in this impeachment inquiry. On Tuesday afternoon, a trio of House committees sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting all information and all documents about whether Hunter Biden's attorneys encouraged IRS whistleblowers to be retaliated against by the Department of Justice.

These IRS whistleblowers have claimed that the DOJ mishandled and politicized the political probe into Hunter Biden. But the DOJ has denied all wrongdoing.

Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. Please stay with us. I'm John Vause. I will be back after a very short break at the top of the hour with more news, especially on our breaking news coverage of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un meeting in Russia.