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CNN International: Kim Kong-un and Vladimir Putin Wrap Up Talks in Russia; McCarthy Orders Impeachment Inquiry into Biden; Pennsylvania Manhunt Intensifies; More than 5,000 Presumed Dead, 10,000 Missing in Libya Flooding; Hard-Hit Villages Grappling with Aftermath of Quake in Morocco. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired September 13, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Max Foster joining you live from London. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an indication of the strategic importance of this new deepening military partnership between Russia and North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kevin McCarthy giving the green light to an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante, now armed with a 22-caliber rifle and shots have been fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's killed two people previously. I would suspect that he's desperate enough to use that weapon.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

FOSTER: It's Wednesday, September the 13th, 9:00 a.m. in London. That's 5:00 p.m. in eastern Russia, where after days of speculation and mystery and secrecy, Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have finally met in person for the first time since 2019.

NOBILO: The Russian President signaled a willingness to assist North Korea with its space and satellite program in defiance of international sanctions. And the two leaders toward Russia's vast Vostochny Space Center and launch sites before their sit-down talks that lasted more than an hour. This highly choreographed visit, carefully broadcast by the Kremlin friendly media, has been full of interesting details.

FOSTER: Like Kim Jong-un signing a guest book with his powerful sister looking over his shoulder there. Also for the first time, North Korea fired off two missiles whilst their leader was outside the country, but there's no word whether they discussed weapons and the possible transfer of technology, as had been expected.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following all of this life from Hong Kong. It's interesting to see how the Russians handled this. Really does feel as though it's a full diplomatic event with the red carpet rolled out.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Red carpet treatment, cameras rolling throughout, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the Russian President Vladimir Putin have met at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a spaceport in the eastern part of Russia. The talks ended after more than an hour -- that according to Russian state media. And you know, ahead of the meeting, Putin said that Kim showed immense interest in space and rocket engineering at this summit. Kim Jong-un pledged support for the Russian President and want you to take a listen to what he said.


KIM JONG-UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): There are many issues that our two countries need to cooperate and for us to receive help on in our war of independence as the people of our countries anticipate. In this situation, I believe this moment will serve to raise our bilateral relation to the next step to a new height.


STOUT: Now the summit took place just hours after North Korea fired two short range ballistic missiles into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. Analysts point out that this is the first time that we've seen a launch with the North Korean leader Kim Jong- un, out of the country, but we got to keep in mind this is a leader who very rarely travels overseas.

Now this meeting it also comes after the United States and officials there warned that the two are actively advancing their talks over another potential arms deal. Now Kim in Russia is joined by some of North Korea's leading officials. Joining him, his top military leaders, as well as his chief diplomat. And the United States has said it remains concerned that North Korea will provide arms to Russia.

And what does North Korea want in exchange? Well, reportedly, it is seeking advanced technology for satellites, for nuclear powered submarines. It's also seeking desperately needed food aid. Now the relationship between Russia and North Korea has been deepening for months already, but it has taken a significant step with this summit at this Russian spaceport. Back to you.

FOSTER: OK, Kristie in Hong Kong. Thank you.

NOBILO: Fyodor Tertitskiy, a senior research fellow at Kookmin University in South Korea, and he's with us now from Seoul. Wonderful to have you on the program. Thanks so much for joining us.



NOBILO: So Putin's rise to power did initially herald warmer ties, again with North Korea, but between then and now, Russia has condemned North Korea. They have sanctioned North Korea. Do you think without Russia's invasion of Ukraine that this renewed deepening of ties wouldn't be happening?

TERTITSKIY: Yes, I wholly agree. Because like if there would be some major deal signed today, it would be a departure from the entire Russian policy, which did not start even under Putin. It started in the very late Soviet era, under Russia from 1990, the policy which implied that there is only a tiny, minuscule amount of trade done in North Korea, no major deals whatsoever. The trade balance for 2022 between the two countries is zero by South Korean estimates. So if something happens, it would be a really, really major development.

FOSTER: What does this -- you know, we're looking at these pictures. They're quite extraordinary, aren't they? Do they do you think it speaks to the West as much as it does to these two countries?

TERTITSKIY: Definitely major purposes of this meeting is a issue diplomat issue of like the shone type of that, despite both Putin and Kim Jong-un being quite isolated by international -- by the international community. They still have each other and both like Russia and North Korea, still remain relatively important in terms of warfare, like the Korean People's Army, is one of the largest armies in the world, even bigger than the Russian one. So yes, it's a bit of a show of force, I think of diplomatic force.

NOBILO: Necessity is bringing these two leaders together on both sides, but what do we know of the personal relationship between the two men?

TERTITSKIY: So, like I've heard from some (INAUDIBLE) --

NOBILO: Oh I think -- that's such a shame. Because I was really interested in knowing the answer to the question.

FOSTER: He'd heard something from someone. We can't find out what it is.

NOBILO: Yes, we will try and update you if we can. That was Fyodor Tertitskiy in Seoul for us.

FOSTER: Let's turn to U.S. politics now. Despite having no direct evidence of wrongdoing, U.S. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has ordered a formal impeachment probe into President Joe Biden over allegations that he profited from his son's business deals.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption. And they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives. That's why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. I do not make this decision lightly. And regardless of your party or who you voted for. These facts should concern all Americans.


NOBILO: The move comes amid increasing pressure from far-right Republicans in the House, who've threatened to remove McCarthy from his leadership role and McCarthys need to secure votes to avert a looming government shutdown. More now from CNN's Manu Raju in Washington.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, in a reversal, Speaker Kevin McCarthy indicating he would move forward with an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden without a formal vote in the United States House. Now just 11 days ago, McCarthy said there would be a vote in the House. He said that not one person can simply declare an impeachment inquiry would take place and indicated that was his plan.

But he ran into a problem. He lacked the votes to open up an inquiry. In fact, the number of Republicans that I've spoken with are skeptical of supporting an impeachment inquiry. So McCarthy took matters in his own hands, directing his key committees to continue to investigate allegations that Joe Biden, as Vice President, acted inappropriately, perhaps acted officially to help his son, Hunter's business dealings, overseas business dealings.

But they don't have the proof yet to make that central allegation that's been part of their investigations that have been ongoing for much of this year. But they are still not proven a direct link between Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. And now proven whether Joe Biden actually financially benefited from Hunter Biden's dealings.

Now this call comes as Kevin McCarthy is facing growing pressure from his hard right, including on the issue of funding the federal government. That is his immediate problem in the weeks ahead. A number of them said they are not satisfied with an impeachment inquiry being launched and said that perhaps they could try to push to oust McCarthy from the speakership if he does not agree to their demands to cut spending ahead of this critical deadline of September 30th to keep the government open.

REP. DAN BISHOP (R-NC): The speaker has violated agreements that were made in January repeatedly. Now I'm prepared to support a change in leadership through the mechanism of the motion to vacate the chair if necessary.

REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): I think Speaker McCarthy has a path to choose.


Does he pass Republican legislation that advances our policies and cuts spending with the Republican majority, Republican votes, or does he pass legislation with Democrat votes that allows -- that lets down the American people.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): We blew the hell out of that on Memorial Day weekend with that ridiculous deal. We've been very clear about that since Memorial Day. So now the job is to get it done here in September. That's the deal. Get it done or we'll see what happens.

RAJU: Now this all comes as he is facing the threats from Congressman Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican, who said that he would actually call for a vote seeking McCarthy's ouster because of Gaetz's accusation McCarthy backed away from the deal that they cut back in January in order for McCarthy to become Speaker.

Among his concerns, spending for the federal government. Gaetz says that if McCarthy puts a short-term spending bill on the floor to keep the government open past September 30th, that would be enough to call for a vote seeking McCarthy's ouster. And it would require all Democrats to push McCarthy out and five Republicans. At the moment, Gaetz says if he doesn't have the votes initially, he will keep trying to force the vote over and over again until McCarthy is out of office.

Manu Raju of CNN, Capitol Hill.


NOBILO: More reaction now on the impeachment inquiry from both sides of the political aisle.


ASA HUTCHINSON, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I support him as Speaker. I want him to navigate through this and I know he's trying to do his best there. And there has to be an investigation. Whenever you have the questions about the President's own financing and whether he had any benefit from his son's dealings, that's a legitimate question and purpose of inquiry. But let's premature to put the label impeachment on it.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): It's ridiculous, of course. I mean, you've got people who voted not to impeach Donald Trump for inciting a violent insurrection against the union, either because they don't think that's a crime or because they don't think the evidence was there, even though the evidence was overwhelming. We did have 10 Republicans who joined us in the House and seven Republicans who voted to convict in the Senate.

But in any event, you've got all these Republicans who could not bring themselves to vote to impeach Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow a presidential election and attacked our constitutional order, now moving to impeach Joe Biden for reasons unstated.


FOSTER: Pennsylvania State Police have set up a new perimeter in their search for an escaped murderer, and now on the run for the past two weeks.

NOBILO: This story just keeps getting more and more dramatic. They now believe that he's armed with a rifle and are urging residents to secure their homes and vehicles. CNN's Brian Todd has the latest on the manhunt.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): New urgency in the Pennsylvania manhunt. Convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante, now armed with a 0.22-caliber rifle and shots, have been fired.

LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: He's killed two people previously. I would suspect that he's desperate enough to use that weapon.

TODD (voice-over): The escaped convict entered a garage on Monday night and grabbed the rifle from a corner of it. The homeowner was there at the time and shot at the intruder several times with a handgun, but he escaped.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: With this weapon, that is going to increase the risk of carjacking.

TODD (voice-over): The rifle he took also had a scope and a flashlight attached.

DANIEL BRUNNER, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: What is most concerning is, with the rifle and the scope, that he could set up an ambush or if he sees the officers coming through the woods, he's able to preposition and get ready.

TODD (voice-over): There is no evidence the fugitive was injured by the shots fired at him.

MILLER: What the state police has put out to the search team is, if you encounter him and he does anything other than surrender peacefully, you have a green light to use deadly force.

TODD (voice-over): He stole the gun just a few hours after yet another reported roadside sighting. Police responded within minutes but found only matching footprints in the mud and discarded prison shoes. A pair of boots were stolen from a porch. Locals say many residents know how to use firearms against a trespasser.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God help him if he tries to, you know, anything like that.

TODD (voice-over): Upwards of 500 officers are now involved in the search, working shifts as long as 20 hours. The search area now eight to ten square miles, 20 miles north of the prison he escaped from. Over the weekend, he managed to steal a van from a dairy farm and ring the doorbells of at least two former work associates.

BIVENS: He has spent time in that area in the past. So, he is familiar with it.

TODD (voice-over): Residents in the search area receiving this warning by phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock all external doors and windows, secure vehicles and remain indoors.

TODD (voice-over): One nearby school district closing on Tuesday, three others keeping kids inside.

JOSH SHAPIRO, (D) PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: We do not have evidence at this time that there is assistance being rendered to this individual. In fact, quite the contrary. We've had wonderful cooperation from the public. If you do anything, anything to try and assist this individual, we will hold you accountable.

TODD (voice-over): Cavalcante was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his former girlfriend in 2021.


He is also wanted in his native Brazil in a 2017 homicide case.

BIVENS: It's a possibility that he'll attack the police to try and get away. It's a possibility he would attack a civilian. It's a possibility it would be a suicide by cop.

TODD: One of the possible advantages that Danelo Cavalcante has, police say he has been in this area before and he's familiar with at least some of it. One of his possible disadvantages, he could be moving around shirtless. Police say he ditched a green hoodie and a white T-shirt at the foot of the driveway of the home where he was fired upon by that homeowner. And at last word, they had no reason to believe that he had other clothing on.

Brian Todd, CNN South Coventry Township, Pennsylvania.


NOBILO: The death toll from the catastrophic flooding in eastern Libya has soared to more than 5,000, with another 10,000 people missing. That is according to the Red Crescent. One official in the city of Derna says entire residential buildings have been swept away, and about a quarter of the town has just disappeared.

People are searching for their loved ones, but cell phone towers have been knocked down, making communication nearly impossible. Some of the images from the disaster zone are graphic.

FOSTER: Yes, too graphic to show really. Hospitals in Derna are no longer functioning. The morgues are full. The video shows dead bodies lined up on the sidewalks outside. Some neighborhoods have now resorted to mass burials.

NOBILO: Let's go live now to CNN's Eleni Giokos, who is following these developments for us out of Dubai. Eleni, it's absolutely horrifying. The more news we get in from Libya and what's going on there. What is the latest that you've learned? And also how far our efforts for rescue and relief being complicated by the divisions within the government?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's harrowing to see some of these images and to hear the stories from people on the ground and some of the people that have survived. There are so many people that we've spoken to that have family members in Derna and they cannot get hold of them. Communications are down, as you say, internet lines are down. With rescue efforts currently underway.

And we saw on the Derna Facebook page saying, the situation is out of control, calling for more international assistance. The Libyan National Army, which is in control of the eastern part of Libya and says they just weren't prepared for this type of catastrophe. And as you say, entire parts of Derna, which has been the hardest hit, just basically swept away into the sea. You had those two dams that burst as well. And that's partly because it wasn't able to handle that amount of water. But also because it was lack of maintenance. Because of the political situation playing out in Libya.

Now, you had the rival government in the west announcing intervention. They will be sending aircraft and aid as well from Tripoli. A lot of the international aid is actually arriving in Tripoli, but it's very difficult to access the eastern part of the country for people to fly in a lot closer. You know that they've been issues in terms of getting visas and getting access to the eastern part of the country.

What's tragic here is that you got political situation that is hampering a lot of the aid that should be going in very fast. You've got Turkey assisting the UAE, Algeria as well, Tunis, Malta, the list is growing. The question is, can they coordinate to try and help the people that are still stuck in isolated areas? Time of course is running out. You are seeing dead bodies still lying around. The morgues are full to capacity. In terms of the hospitals not operational right now and just difficult to access. You've got three bridges that collapsed as well, Bianca.

Look, the general commentary, I think from the international bodies as well, saying this is an absolutely sad situation and disastrous catastrophe. Now the question becomes, is how did they miss these weather conditions? How did they not know that this was going to be this serious? This Daniel Storm that was moving from Greece into Libya. And huge questions will now start coming through as we start to see these rescue efforts gaining momentum.

NOBILO: Eleni Giokos for us in Dubai. Thank you so much for your reporting.

FOSTER: In the U.S., more rain is in store for parts of the Northeast, putting more than 40 million people under flood watches, according to the National Weather Service. States like Rhode Island are already inundated by floodwaters, with cars almost totally submerged in some places. Rescuers have helped dozens of people trapped in vehicles and in buildings as well.

NOBILO: Flooding in Massachusetts has caused sinkholes to open up beneath roads, and even a railway. CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers has the latest forecast.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it was the mountain of rain that fell. But it was also how quickly it fell in some spots. 2.77 inches of rain fell in just one hour. That should happen only one time in 200 years and some spots here now approaching 10 inches of rainfall.

Not only there, not only up here to the north, up near Lowell, but also down here in Rhode Island and also southern parts of Massachusetts, saw very heavy rainfall and flash flooding. More flash flood watches.


Watches all across the board here are in effect now because more rainfall is coming. More heavy rainfall that could train again. We hope that this rainfall moves very quickly. That's what the storm this weekend didn't do. It just sat there. But now as this storm moves on, notice how far it goes offshore, that is some of the good news. There are some yellow spots in here though, that indicate 2 to 3 inches of rainfall could still fall.

One more thing on the horizon. I know it's still 5 days away, really before it would rain from this, but there's so much potential rainfall from Hurricane Lee moving to the north along here and even up maybe eastern Rhode Island, eastern parts of Massachusetts could pick up big waves and significant rainfall from this. Even if the wind is way out here, the wind field and the rain field will be way back, even into the U.S. and of course, for Nova Scotia. We're watching for a significant flash flooding possibility there.

Some of the spots up there in Maine picking up at least the forecast radar now talking about 6 inches of rainfall. And I think that could be on the low side if this thing just doesn't move right on rather quickly. So we'll keep watching it.

NOBILO: Still ahead, don't call it booster, apparently. An updated COVID vaccine is coming soon, and we'll tell you who should get it and when it will become available.

FOSTER: And why it's not a booster?

Plus, Morocco continues to grapple with the mounting death toll from last week's powerful earthquake, the latest on the disaster just ahead.

NOBILO: And later, several police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, are now facing federal charges over the beating death of Tyre Nichols.



NOBILO: It's almost time for Americans to roll up their sleeves again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending everyone six months and older get an update COVID-19 vaccine.

FOSTER: The latest Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be available this week. They've been updated to fend off the currently circulating viruses that cause COVID. The CDC endorsement means the vaccines will be covered by public and private insurance plans.

NOBILO: In Morocco, the death toll from Friday's powerful earthquake has now climbed past 2,900 as hopes of finding more survivors fade. State media says the number of people injured is now more than 5,500.

FOSTER: This first public appearance since the quake hit, Morocco's king visited a hospital in Marrakech on Tuesday. He met with injured survivors and also donated blood himself. Meanwhile, dozens of residents in one hard hit rural town have just received long-awaited aid.

NOBILO: Help has been slowly trickling to remote villages, where roads leading up to them have been damaged or destroyed. 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 Tinzert, 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 hers.

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 Tinzert, Morocco.


FOSTER: Unbelievable scenes.

We are watching events in Eastern Russia. President Vladimir Putin wrapping up meeting in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Stay with CNN NEWSROOM for the latest on that.

NOBILO: Plus, a potential strike by U.S. auto workers is getting closer. A look at the key sticking points, still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.