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Isa Soares Tonight
North Korea Returns U.S. Soldier Travis King To U.S. Custody; At Least 100 Die In Iraqi Wedding Fire; A Potential U.S. Government Shutdown Now Four Days Away; Britain Approves Huge Oil And Gas Field In North Sea; U.S. Government Could Shut Down In Fewer Than Four Days; Trump's Attorney Responds To NY Judge's Ruling; Black Sea Commander Was Part Of Tuesday Meeting; Return Of U.S. Astronaut After Record Year. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired September 27, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, U.S. soldier Travis King is back in
American custody after crossing over into North Korea in July. We'll have all the details on his expulsion. Then, celebration turned nightmare. Iraq
in mourning as more than 100 died during a devastating fire at a wedding ceremony.
Plus, a potential U.S. government shutdown now less than four days away. We will explore why there's such a deadlock. But first this evening, North
Korea has now returned U.S. Army Private Travis King to American custody. A U.S. official says he's expected to arrive in San Antonio, Texas, as soon
as Thursday morning.
North Korean state media reported earlier that the country had decided to expel him. A rare move considering Pyongyang's relationship of course, with
Washington. Hours ago, the Pentagon thanked Sweden and China for playing a role here. But the circumstances around this whole story have been -- well,
let's just say, somewhat bizarre.
In July, King appeared to make a dash for the North Korean border during a civilian tour of the Demilitarized Zone. He had been released from a
detention facility in South Korea about a week before that. Here's what the U.S. State Department's spokesperson said just in the last hour. Have a
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW MILLER, SPOKESPERSON, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: I would not want to speculate on any motivations on the North Korean side. And I don't know
that I would take from this and herald some breakthrough in diplomatic relations. Obviously, we're pleased to have secured his return.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, our Paula Hancocks has the very latest from South Korea.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After 10 weeks in North Korean custody, Travis King is back in U.S. hands. His
mother thanks the U.S. military for a job well done. U.S. officials speak of intense diplomacy with multiple countries, but no concessions made to
A transfer to China with the help of Sweden, the protecting power for the U.S. and Pyongyang, the U.S. and North Korea have no diplomatic ties. North
Korea said earlier Wednesday, they would expel him, adding King had confessed to illegally intruding into the country due to quote, "in-human
maltreatment and racial discrimination in the United States Army."
Pyongyang works through state media, King has not been heard from or seen since mid July. Photographed here on a civilian tour of the joint security
area in the DMZ just before he ran across the military demarcation line into North Korea. U.S. officials say he tried to access the main building
which was locked, ran around the back and was bundled into a van by North Korean guards.
There's a fairly safe assumption he would have been extensively questioned by North Korean officials.
MALCOLM DAVID, SENIOR ANALYST, DEFENSE STRATEGY & CAPABILITY: He was a fairly low-ranking of a soldier. He wasn't an officer, he didn't really
have access to any classified information. So there's not much he could have told them.
HANCOCKS: King faced disciplinary action for assault in South Korea, spending around 50 days in a facility, he was supposed to be deported back
to the U.S., but instead of boarding a flight, he headed to the DMZ.
(on camera): U.S. officials say the focus now is on King's health and reuniting him with his family, and that any administrative actions could be
considered later. They say that he is in good health and in good spirits, and has made it quite clear that he is very happy to be on his way home.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
SOARES: Well, our Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon with the very latest. And Oren, we've heard from the State Department's spokesperson in what? In
the last hour or so. What more did Matthew Miller add to -- of course, we've got still so many questions. What are you learning?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things the administration has said is that there were no concessions made to North
Korea, which in and of itself is quite interesting.
SOARES: Yes --
LIEBERMANN: The U.S. had expected to some extent that North Korea would try to use Private Travis King for propaganda reasons or parade him out on
North Korean state media. Instead, that didn't really happen, and it took them quite a while to acknowledge that they even had King in custody.
And then, just earlier today, the statement that he had been expelled and that an investigation into King had been completed, and yet, no indication
of what that investigation found or what it was all about to begin with. So, a story that started in bizarre fashion, that is to say, King supposed
to be expelled from the country, and suddenly instead of leaving, winds up in North Korea, sort of continues in this almost bizarre way.
We learned just a short time ago that in terms of getting out of North Korea, a Swedish convoy brought him to the friendship bridge in the North
Korean-Chinese border, he then crossed the bridge and was met on the Chinese side of the bridge by the U.S. Defense attache to China. And at
that point, he was in U.S. military custody.
He was brought to a nearby major airport, then flown to Osan Airbase in South Korea. He is expected to take off if he hasn't done so already and
head to San Antonio later today, this Brooke Army Medical Center, and it's worth noting that that's where Trevor Reed and Brittney Griner were bought
-- were brought when they were released from Russia.
That's a standard sort of processing, an evaluation location and hospital. After post-isolation, post-detainment to make sure that everything is going
to be all right. From what we know so far -- and I'll read a statement here from National Security adviser Jake Sullivan. This is in large part with
the Swedes and interestingly with the Chinese. Here is that statement.
"U.S. officials have secured the return of Private Travis King from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. We appreciate the dedication of the
inter-agency team that has worked tirelessly out of concern for Private King's well-being. In addition, we thank the government of Sweden for its
diplomatic role, serving as the protecting power for the U.S. in the DPRK, and the government of the People's Republic of China for its assistance in
facilitating the transit of Private King."
Now, we heard -- we did hear from King's mother, Miss Claudine Gates, and she says she was grateful for the effort that brought him home. And then
she said she won't be conducting any interviews, that statement coming through the family's spokesperson at this point. So, Isa --
SOARES: Yes --
LIEBERMANN: Now, we're waiting for King to arrive back in the United States and begin that medical evaluation and begin being home.
SOARES: Yes, indeed, for the family, a huge relief to have him home. Oren, appreciate it, thank you very much. We have a lot more to discuss, you
heard there, Oren saying, you know, some started in a very bizarre way, this story. John Park is the director of the Korea Project at the Harvard
Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Dr. Park, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. We are starting, I think now, as you just heard there from our Oren Liebermann to
get a better sense, a fuller picture of what has happened of this intense diplomacy as U.S. is calling it, were between the U.S., Sweden and China.
What do you make of the fact that they've all been working together of these latest developments?
JOHN PARK, DIRECTOR, KOREA PROJECT AT THE HARVARD BELFER CENTER: Yes, Isa, I think it's pretty clear there's an alignment here. This is a rare
instance where the size of relief in Washington and Pyongyang are going to be in unison. If you look at the clean resolution of how things ended here
in a very quick period of time, I think you saw an alignment of those kind of goals, and you saw all the pieces coming together.
It's extraordinary effort of the government of Sweden as we heard from Oren, and also, basically, the view that in terms of this current type of
situation, there is a priority in North Korea to make sure that this issue was resolved quickly.
SOARES: Why would you say there's a priority now for North Korea that this is resolved quickly? Because what? Two weeks ago, we saw Kim Jong-un beside
President Putin. Talk to the timing here.
PARK: The timing is essential, it really is about the context of careful choreography from North Korea at the highest levels. EC came here, reaching
out to Putin in a way that is critical to his regime. And so, with that, it's important to control the messaging. And one way to do that is to make
sure that there are no other, you know, overlap in terms of any type of communication and other issues that get in the way.
The second thing to keep in mind is, if you look at the circumstances in which it happened, you know, once the North Koreans did their investigation
and went on, it was pretty clear in terms of what happened with Private King and the incident that happened along the border there. And so, with
that, the resolution, it looked fairly straightforward from that particular angle here.
And going forward, we're going to see much more in terms of this larger communicating coming out of North Korea. Now, with this issue resolved, I
think that pace is going to increase significantly.
SOARES: Yes, and I just want to bring up the statement, part of the statement that we have of course, from the U.S., because China
interestingly did not play any sort of mediating role here, at least, from what we know. But they were -- the U.S. was uncharacteristically warm with
I mean, what do you make -- they say, "we appreciate the dedication of the inter-agency team, has worked tirelessly" -- went on to say, in addition,
we thank the government of Sweden for its diplomatic role, protecting -- as a protecting power for United States and the DPRK, and the government of
the People's Republic of China for its assistance in facilitating the transit of Private King.
It's not the sort of language that we're used to hearing between the U.S., talking about China. What do you make of that?
PARK: I think the broader context of U.S.-China there has been an effort to try to find some kind of common ground. Some area where they can discuss
things. It's not to the extent of full cooperation.
SOARES: Yes --
PARK: But this is a rare instance where you see this clear alignment, and both sides used it to a full extent.
And so the expressions of gratitude and appreciation, the effort to kind of build more in terms of areas of where these two countries work together, it
can resolve all difficult issues. This is also in terms of the broader context. If you look at the way that the Chinese interacted in terms of
facilitating a lot of these things, the cooperation that the United States has received from Sweden as well as China, this is a rare instance of
solving a very difficult complex problem. And hopefully, there's more momentum to build on this and other areas as well.
SOARES: Very briefly, Dr. Park, are you surprised that this happened? That he was -- you know, he was released so quickly?
PARK: I do think from the early media interviews that I gave in July, the current situation where if you think of again about the context at that
SOARES: Yes --
PARK: You saw the preparations for the docking of the nuclear-powered nuclear armed U.S. submarine in Busan in South Korea. So, the deterrent
signaling at the highest levels, the strategic discussions, the different aspects of movements and statements carefully choreographed on the U.S.-
South Korean alliance side and North Korea, that was the context in which this episode --
SOARES: Yes --
PARK: Happened with Private King. And so, the resolution of this, it looked like this was something that all the sides wanted to get to the clear
resolution as quickly as possible.
SOARES: Yes, it's very different from what we've seen over the years when they're held for longer periods, and uses bargaining chips as propaganda.
Very good news indeed for Private King and for his family. Thank you very much, Dr. Park, John Park, really appreciate you taking the time to speak
to us. Thank you, sir.
PARK: Thank you.
SOARES: Well, joy became horror on Tuesday for wedding goers in northern Iraq. More than 100 people are dead after a fire at a wedding hall in
Nineveh Province. A relative says the bride and groom are alive, and authorities have announced arrests. They say those found negligent will be
responsible. Now, that's little solace really for this largely Christian community.
They've suffered through years of war, ISIS and now this. And instead of a honeymoon today, funerals have begun. Our Salma Abdelaziz has the story.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): A celebration-turned nightmare at an event hall in northern Iraq. More than a thousand people were
gathered here to attend the wedding of a young couple. Social media video shows the moment the ceiling apparently caught fire. The sparklers setting
the decor ablaze. This eyewitness described how the horror unfolded.
"During the slow dance, one of the fireworks hit the roof and it caught fire all at once." He says, "it spread everywhere because it was made of
panels, vinyl, fabric, everything was burning and it started falling on people's heads, no one could get out."
Highly flammable and illegal building materials made the venue a tinderbox, according to Iraq civil defense. Ecobond(ph) panels which violate the
country's civil code set the flames, and within minutes, portions of the building collapsed, living families trapped in the inferno, official said.
Burns and asphyxiation led to the deaths and injuries of dozens according to Iraq's health ministry.
The full extent of the tragedy made clear as daylight broke while rescue workers sifted through charred concrete and twisted rebar. And loved ones
discovered the fate of their relatives. "These are my mom's, my mom's!" This man screams. "My mom's clothes", as he holds up all that remains of
his mother. Her dress.
This is already one of the most devastated areas in hard-hit Iraq, Qaraqosh, which are predominately Christian town was captured by ISS in
2014. And nearly all of its 60,000 residents forced to flee the terror group's wrath. Liberated more than two years later by U.S.-backed forces,
life was slowly coming back. A visit from Pope Francis in 2021 marked the persecuted communities brave return.
The day after what should have been a celebration of joy, mass funerals and mass mourning at this Christian cemetery. With survivors left asking how so
much avoidable death was allowed to happen and if corruption may be to blame.
SOARES: My heart aches for all those families. Our Salma Abdelaziz joins me now with the latest. And Salma, let me just pick up really where you ended
your piece, that alleged question of corruption. Families clearly will be looking for accountability. Do they believe -- do Iraqis believe that an
investigation can bring that?
ABDELAZIZ: I mean, there's a serious question over that. Iraq has long feast issues of corruption as you know in recent years. There have been
similar fires that have occurred. So far, officials are trying to show that level of accountability that the community is expecting.
Several people have been arrested, including those who ran the wedding hall venue, potentially, more could be arrested, an investigation has been
launched. The government has promised to look into what happened. But the larger question here is what about the other buildings in Qaraqosh?
SOARES: Yes --
ABDELAZIZ: The context is important, because this is the wedding hall venue, this is an event venue that was built after ISIS was expelled. So
post 2016, actually drove through those areas at the time, it was completely decimated. You can expect that many of the buildings in that
area are brand-new. What were they built with? Were rules followed? Are there other places in Qaraqosh that are unsafe?
SOARES: These are the questions that many Iraqis will be asking today as they see -- about these buildings here, and whether they are safe. Salma
Abdelaziz, really appreciate it, thank you very much. We return to a story that we've been following here throughout several weeks now. Nearly half of
the population of Nagorno-Karabakh have now fled the region, according to an Armenian official.
That's more than 50,000 people, about a third of them are children. Most are arriving in Armenia. They began fleeing this beauty territory last
week, if you remember, after Azerbaijan launched a lightning offensive. Earlier, a former government minister was arrested by Azerbaijani
authorities as he tried to cross the border. This image shared by Azerbaijan's border services believed to show him being held by guards.
Our Scott McLean is keeping an eye on this. And I know you've been speaking to Armenia's -- speaking to people trying to get out. And we saw the
images, Scott, huge lines of people trying to get out of Karabakh. But there are people, I'm sure, that would want to stay. What are they -- what
are they telling you?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't seem like there are very many of those people. Obviously, it's very difficult to know what's happening
inside of the territory itself, but anecdotally, many of the people coming out, say, look, I don't know anyone who is staying behind. And it's
difficult to think of, you know, a similar instance in recent history where you have this many people trying to get out of a small piece of territory
in such a short period of time.
Fifty three thousand, almost half of the territory. And they're packed into these cars as well. You know, on average, five people per car, some more,
some less. And we're talking about journeys of 24-30 hrs. One third of the people coming out are children as well. And also, it's important to keep in
mind that these people are leaving with the knowledge that they very likely, will never go back to their homes that they have lived in for
And so, that tells you everything you need to know about their thinking. They would rather leave those homes and live under Azerbaijani rule --
SOARES: And talk to that thinking, just explain what they've been telling you. It's the fear, right? It's the fear of what might happen? What has
been happening in terms of the corridor being closed, but also what might happen, a repeat of history.
MCLEAN: Yes, and look, there are fears from the international community as well. You have the U.S., the EU, Germany, among others, calling for
international observers to get into --
SOARES: Yes --
MCLEAN: This area, to make sure that people are treated fairly. The Azerbaijani president has said, look, minorities are going to be treated
fairly, the U.S. State Department says that the president has promised that international observers will be let in. But they haven't been yet the only
people getting into that area right now or Red Cross aid workers --
SOARES: Yes --
MCLEAN: And so, again, as I said, it's difficult to know precisely how people are being treated, especially those who have taken up arms against
the Azerbaijani forces.
SOARES: The little imagery that we showed there, the image that we showed of that Armenian being arrested, who exactly is he? What do we know about
MCLEAN: Yes, so, his name is Ruben --
SOARES: State minister, right?
MCLEAN: Vardanyan, he is the former state minister, which essentially, the prime minister of this disputed territory, Nagorno-Karabakh. And we now
know his arrest has been confirmed by Azerbaijani border officials, by his wife as well. He is a businessman, obviously former politician as well up
until December, interestingly enough, he held Russian citizenship.
He renounced it, and he is particularly disliked as well it seems by the Azerbaijani officials because you had talks held earlier this year, U.S.
media, the talks and the Azerbaijani delegation would only agree to meet, to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh situation if he was not included in the
list of delegates. And so, there's obviously some bad blood there.
But there's still a lot of questions about what precisely is the reason behind his arrest because at least, officially so far from what we know,
the only thing he's accused of is entering Azerbaijan illegally.
SOARES: I'm just going to tell you very quickly what we have been hearing from our guests on the show. Armenian guests have been saying, where is the
West? Where -- why are they not listening? Why are they not helping? And this is a question that we get repeated when I say, what do you want to see
help people on the ground. And we're not getting that. The words are coming out, but talk to the diplomacy very briefly, if you can at all.
MCLEAN: It seems like the West would like to very much avoid any kind of a full-scale --
SOARES: Yes --
MCLEAN: War in that area. It's also interesting because Armenia has for a long time sort of been a close ally of Russia in recent years, that has
sort of aligned itself more with the West. Russia was their security guarantor on the ground. Then, you know, you have Armenians saying, look,
when the lightning offensive came, the peacekeepers weren't there holding them off. They were --
SOARES: Yes --
MCLEAN: Performing humanitarian duties, but they weren't -- 2,000 peacekeepers weren't going to do much against a -- you know, a much larger
Azerbaijani force coming in. And so, it seems like Russia is sort of content to throw up its hands and say, well --
SOARES: Yes --
MCLEAN: This is what you get. And obviously, the West is not so keen on, you know, making this into something even bigger.
SOARES: And it does seem that the military exercises, the trainings that we've seen between Armenia and the U.S., aid, Armenian aid going to
Ukraine, it seems that seems to have rattled Russia. Scott, I know you'll stay across it. Thank you very much --
MCLEAN: You bet --
SOARES: And still to come tonight, the U.K. moves forward with plans to its largest untapped oil field, but environmental groups warning it could spell
disaster for the climate. And then later, the pressure is on U.S. lawmaker Kevin McCarthy. Will he be able to get the votes and avoid a looming
government shutdown? That story just ahead.
SOARES: Well, just moments ago, new developments in a story we have been following for you. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has apologized
after his parliamentary speaker who has since resigned, praised the Ukrainian veteran who once fought in a Nazi military unit. Have a listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER, CANADA: In a few moments, I'll address the house in front of all Canadians, in front of Jewish people here and around
the world and Ukrainians, to offer parliament's unreserved apologies for what happened on Friday. The speaker was solely responsible for the
invitation and recognition of this man, and has wholly accepted that responsibility and stepped down.
This was a mistake that has deeply embarrassed parliament and Canada. All of us who were in this house on Friday, regret deeply, having stood and
clapped, even though we did so unaware of the context.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau there. The British government's climate credentials are under intense scrutiny once again.
They've just green-lit the development of a massive oil and gas field in the North Sea. Rosebank could produce 500 million barrels of oil in its
lifetime. Environmental groups are calling the decision a disaster for the planet, and they're pushing back on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's claim that
the oil field will bring greater energy security and lower costs.
Anna Stewart is here with me in London, CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir joins me now from New York. Anna, let me start with you, of
course, this comes from the decision that we heard from last week, Prime Minister Sunak's decision to roll back some of those green credentials that
-- some of those climate pledges. Just put out there, first, what Sunak's case is on business. Why is this important for business?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: The argument is this is good for the U.K.'s energy security. This is good for people's bills. This is particularly good
in line to the invasion of Ukraine which pushed up energy bills. The argument is, this will deliver 8 billion pounds of direct investment,
that's nearly $10 billion, and it could create 1,600 jobs at the height of it all.
SOARES: So energy security and job security is what --
STEWART: That is the government's argument. Critics say this oil will be or it'll certainly sold on world markets at world market prices, that it won't
do anything to reduce people's bills. And all this is doing is really destroying the U.K.'s climate policy.
SOARES: So be refined aboard and then sold abroad basically is what they're saying --
STEWART: It will likely have to be exported --
SOARES: Yes --
STEWART: And even if the U.K. wants, it'd be imported because much of the refining and processing capacity isn't in the U.K.
SOARES: Bill, just explain to our international audience just, you know, the concept of extracting oil and gas, and what that does to the
environment. The drilling into the seabed.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's the drilling that has the immediate impact on that ecosystem, but writ large, this is a
violation of what the International --
SOARES: Yes --
WEIR: Energy agency reported a couple of years ago, that to meet 1.5, to keep humanity within a safe temperature zone and not risk these tipping
points like methane bombs in the Arctic or ice shelf collapse in the Antarctic, is there can be no new oil and gas --
SOARES: Yes --
WEIR: Drilling at all! No new development, period. What is already on the books of the big oil producers would overshoot humanity. So, in addition to
not developing, not -- you know, starting this project in the North Sea, it would have to shut down and strand assets that they already know about. So,
that's how far we are from the economics of a petrol economy that we all live in. And what the science is saying about how we're really dancing with
SOARES: Yes, and the IAEA, I think you were talking about this, you were reporting on this yesterday, Anna, that fossil fuels will peak by 2050,
which begs the question, why now? I mean, politics at play here clearly.
STEWART: The message from the IAEA yesterday, in yesterday's report was they need to see a reduction of 25 percent in terms of fossil fuel demand
around the world by 2030. By the end of this decade, they need an 80 percent reduction by 2050. This is not the time as far as IAEA is
concerned, as bill said, to be creating new oil and gas fields that's plenty of oil and gas in the world. And this needs to be more investment in
SOARES: So talk to then the politics of this. I mean, who is he trying to please or appeal to?
STEWART: So, we should note that this isn't a surprise. Rushi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the U.K. said a while ago now that they wanted to max out
the oil and gas reserves in Scotland. This is looking to voters, this is politicizing --
SOARES: Yes --
STEWART: This subject. I mean, you have to remember that there will be likely an election in the U.K. this year or next year, and right now, the
biggest issue in the U.K. is the cost-of-living crisis. People are paying huge amounts, particularly on their energy bills as a result of the
invasion of Ukraine. That is a very real issue here. The question is, will this investment change that?
SOARES: Yes, and that -- I mean, I don't buy it. I think it's politically very risky, it makes no -- I think in fact, I think politically, they may
actually lose some of the voters from the right side who have those green pledges. But also, Bill, this is question of, you know, the U-turn we've
seen from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on, you know, the green credentials in the last week.
I mean, the cost, the cost of it. If you spend money on the green energy long-term, it's much better than actually, you know, spending very little
money on this project and in 2050, actually you're going to need as much.
WEIR: That doesn't -- not to mention the cost of doing nothing.
WEIR: When the storms get bigger and the droughts get longer and adaptation gets more costlier, absolutely! I mean, we're living through one of the
most incredible energy revolutions in the history of humanity. Right now --
SOARES: Yes --
WEIR: You know, two years ago, one in every 25 cars was electric, now it's one in every five. The acceleration of solar energy is unlike anything
we've seen in human history right now, but it's not replacing oil and gas. Until a Norwegian or a Gulf state or a big oil company in the United States
like Exxon calls a press conference to announce we are walking away from this oil field, then the trend is just going to continue. The status quo is
going to continue and the climate will just get warmer.
SOARES: Yes and we're seeing similar language in France, Germany. It points to the politics of it all. But I just don't know whether voters will want
And the cost of living is important. But on the question of a gas boiler, people are not worried about how much they'll pay for it in 12 years. They
worry how to get through this month. Some people prefer to focus on the green conversations rather than about how much the boiler will cost in 12
STEWART: In terms of the politics though, the opposition party, the Labour Party, who oppose all of this, they have said if there were an election,
they wouldn't reverse the deal.
SOARES: Even they are saying they wouldn't reverse it. OK. Very interesting indeed. Anna, Bill, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Extreme heat is scorching large parts of South America. In Brazil you'd be hard pressed to find a spot on this beach. This is Rio de Janeiro.
Temperatures in parts of the country topping 40 degrees in recent days. Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina also experiencing record
The mercilessly hot weather, the result of a heat dome, a ridge of high pressure building and dropping hot air. El Nino and climate change also
making the start to spring even hotter. Discussion that Bill and I have had many times.
Still to come tonight, a potential government shutdown in the United States could be just days away. We will look at key issues facing top lawmakers.
Plus, New York City mayor Eric Adams sounding the alarm about the migrant crisis that's hit U.S. and his city. More next.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
A potential U.S. government shutdown is now less than four days away. The House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the House will consider temporary funding
a bill. The vote could happen later today, even though there may not be enough support to pass it.
On our new CNN Max show, "STATE OF THE RACE WITH KASIE HUNT" earlier today, Senator Joe Manchin spoke about the potential shutdown and his advice to
McCarthy. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Don't be held hostage. It is not a place you want to be and it will happen time and time again. Unless you break from that
and let them know you'll basically lead the House, you have a majority of Republicans which are going to need Democrats to help run the operation.
And I think they are willing to step to the plate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Are willing to step to the plate. Despite the uncertainty, McCarthy says the Republican-controlled House will consider what's known as a continuing
resolution. He dismissed the idea of a bipartisan Senate version getting passed.
"QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" host joins me now.
Richard, we been here so many times before. They are cutting very close to the deadline.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: We've had full scale shutdown.
SOARES: Are we looking the same thing here?
QUEST: Our difference here is that the man who needs to get it through -- never mind the Senate bipartisan; there you have Schumer and Mitchell, two
old dogs, who know how to sort of play in the fields.
But here, you have Kevin McCarthy, the House Speaker, who has got a rump of Republican recalcitrants. And they don't care if the House burns down. And
that is the danger here. They gave him one pass the last time.
Will they do it again?
Will they agree to pass a continuing resolution?
We don't know. We just don't know.
But it is --
SOARES: -- jobs at risk here potentially, too, right?
QUEST: And it's no way to run a railroad. And that's the big problem here. The big problem is, economically, it will be damaging; not tremendous but
it will be damaging. Essentially, anybody who works for the federal government, including those who are essentials, will not get paid.
What happens is, afterwards, they back pay everybody. But there's no guarantee --
SOARES: How long could that last?
QUEST: Oh, weeks, months.
SOARES: But it's also payments to Ukraine.
It has a knock-on effect doesn't it?
QUEST: Correct. The government stops paying its bills.
SOARES: So how do they get off this political quagmire?
QUEST: The worst thing, I think, is that it speaks to the dysfunction of the current U.S. political system, that you do have this group -- this is
very different to the Newt Gingriches of the 1990s.
Here's a group of people that don't care. The 20 or so Republicans on the far right that would rather see collapse than compromise. And this speaks
to a greater dysfunction in the United States. And that's really what's extremely worrying at the moment.
SOARES: And economically though, Richard, are you worried?
How worried are you?
What have you been saying?
QUEST: Oh, we are going to come --
QUEST: -- absolutely.
Would I be surprised if it happened?
Not in the slightest. We are going to go right to the very edge before McCarthy finds out if his own people will pass it through.
Or does he do the true Faustian thing, he goes with the Democrats?
He has to get help from his opposition. If that happens, then McCarthy's own critics will boot him out. He is damned if he does and damned if he
doesn't. It's no way to run a railroad.
SOARES: Richard, thank you very much.
Richard will be back with us in about 20 minutes.
Now former U.S. president Donald Trump has more legal troubles in a new ruling in New York state. A judge says Donald Trump and his adult sons are
liable for fraud and they bear responsibility for inflating the value of his assets for years.
As a result, the judge canceled the Trump Organization's business certificates, allowing to operate and that could potentially end Trump's
control over some of his key New York properties like Trump Tower. His attorney said the family would appeal and called the ruling, quote, "a
miscarriage of justice."
SOARES: Seven top Republicans will be in California soon for the second presidential debate. Donald Trump plans to skip the debate again. He
already has a commanding lead in virtually every poll we've shown you.
He has chosen to speak to autoworkers in Michigan. That means the pressure is on for the candidates you see right here, full criminal indictments and
a host of other issues haven't shaken the resolve of most Trump supporters. His rivals need a major breakthrough tonight to prove they can be more than
just a runner up.
Of course, we will bring you that right here on CNN.
This time yesterday if you remember, we took you live to the Guatemala Mexican border, where thousands of migrants are marching the treacherous
road to the United States.
After reaching states like Texas, many are being bused up to New York City, putting a strain as you can imagine on local resources. In fact, the mayor,
Eric Adams, says the migrant crisis could, quote, "destroy his words New York."
The desperation some of the families are facing shows they made the dangerous trip to find a better life. Shimon Prokupecz reports from inside
DR. TED LONG, SRVP, NYC HEALTH + HOSPITALS: We're going to offer you food and water right away. A hot meal can go a long way.
Dr. Ted Long from New York City's Health + Hospitals is proud of the operation the city's established here.
LONG: Everything we've developed in New York City's to meet the needs that were not met for people coming to us from Texas so far. So here, whether
it's screening for disease, pregnant women getting prenatal care or screening for the very important mental health conditions you might have
We do it all here because it's not done before here.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): It really catches your eye to see so many kids running through the halls of the Roosevelt Hotel, almost like a playground,
so many kids. The city says 20,000 migrant children have come through New York so far.
PROKUPECZ: Why did you come to America?
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Lady Caza (ph) is 23 years old and escaping violence in Ecuador. She says she came here for her daughter, Maia, who was
born with a physical disability.
PROKUPECZ: How are you feeling?
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): She says she's happy that she's here now and she's scared to go back to Ecuador.
"I'm afraid that my daughter will die there if she can't get medical attention. I need a place to stay. I think they're going to help me."
LADY CAZA (PH), NEW YORK MIGRANT: I'm sorry. Yes, it's OK.
PROKUPECZ: Good luck, OK?
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): It's good news for Lady and Maia. They're being moved out of the intake center to a shelter. As this group leaves, another
is already shuffling in behind them; 116,000 have come to New York City since the spring of 2022, city officials say.
And it's a reminder that the flow of migrants doesn't stop.
FABIEN LEVY, NYC DEPUTY MAYOR FOR COMMUNICATIONS: The burden on New York City is too much, quite honestly. We are past our breaking point.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Among those just arriving, Luis Flores. We met him outside. And his wife, Irmalinda Morales. They now have seats inside.
"It's a dream come true," he says.
PROKUPECZ: Took him 2.5 months to come to this country through the border.
PROKUPECZ: And he's hoping to give his family a better life. They've been sitting here now here for several days, waiting for the next steps and the
And this is your wife, yes?
PROKUPECZ: Years you've been married.
How are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Spanish).
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Irmalinda tells us it was their dream to come to the United States and she doesn't want to lose her husband now that they've
finally made it. As we leave, Luis speaks directly into our camera.
"I just want to work," he says. "These are the hands of a worker."
SOARES: How awful.
The Kremlin provides another video of the Black Sea fleet commander. The latest on the efforts to prove his survival after an Ukrainian airstrike.
SOARES: Russia is going to extreme lengths to prove its Black Sea fleet commander was not killed in a Ukrainian strike last week. The Kremlin has
provided at least three videos that allegedly show Viktor Sokolov as you can see there live.
The latest one has been talking about his survival. Ukraine claimed on Monday he was killed in a strike. It then clarified that it could not
confirm or deny the assassination. Joining us from Eastern Ukraine, CNN's Fred Pleitgen with the very latest.
It is important to note here and to mention we have no way to verify the authenticity of these videos.
But does Ukraine believe Russia claims, that he is still alive?
What are the Ukrainians telling you?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ukrainians so far as new video is concerned they haven't said much but where they stand
right now, they say after they initially claimed that they killed the admiral that night into this past Friday, that they are now reevaluating
Originally said that 34 senior officers were killed in the strike, including top commander of the Black Sea fleet, Viktor Sokolov. Now they
say they are still reevaluating the claims, seeing if it's really true for them. Obviously, difficult to verify that as well.
But the Russians are putting out the third video that doesn't completely dispel the rumors of the evidence that he might've been killed but
certainly, strongly indicates he may very well be alive.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Nearly a week after Ukraine claimed to have killed the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet with a cruise missile attack, now
another sign he may very well be alive after all.
Russian military TV showing Admiral Viktor Sokolov handing out medals to a Navy soccer team although CNN is unable to verify when it was filmed. The
award ceremony had to be postponed for known reasons, a reporter asked him to comment.
"No, it is postponed just because we were busy and had to push it back a few days," he answered. As to reassure local residents after the missile
strike, the admiral in denial.
"Nothing happened," he says, "life goes on." A new clip comes just one day after the Russians released a video apparently, showing him attending a top
level videoconference call with the Russian defense minister, seemingly propped up by a pillow.
Russia still irate about the strike on the HQ. A foreign ministry spokeswoman claiming, without evidence, Western involvement in the attack.
"There is not the slightest doubt the attack was preplanned using Western intelligence assets, NATO satellite equipment, reconnaissance aircraft and
was carried out at the instigation and in close coordination with the American and British intelligence services," she said.
Both the U.S. and the U.K. maintain their militaries are in no way involved in the war in Ukraine.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Meanwhile, some residents in occupied Crimea are questioning how committed Russia is to their safety after this video
emerged, purporting to show mostly women and children prevented from entering a bomb shelter during an air raid alert a few days ago.
"Why did you kick us out?" a woman asks.
"I've been told the shelter is for employees only," the guard answers.
All kids, all people kicked out into the streets, she says. Moscow trying to portray strength in the aftermath of the Black Sea fleet HQ attack.
Defense minister Sergei Shoigu filmed visiting a missile factory that is allegedly increasing its output.
But even videos released by the Russian military itself, like this paratrooper unit, shows Moscow forces struggling to hold the line against
the Ukrainian army on the battlefield as Kyiv says its forces are the ones that have the momentum.
PLEITGEN: The last video that we just saw there, the Russian forces trying to fight back the advancing Ukrainians, it's from the southern front line,
which is of course, the main place where the Ukrainians trying to make the push to beat the Russians back and essentially, make it all the way to the
That really does mesh also with a lot of what we been hearing from the Ukrainians as well. The Russians, we can see them on the defensive.
Ukrainians for their part are also saying that in that specific sector they been able to advance.
It's very tough going for them, the defenses the Russians have built are very strong but Ukrainians say in that sector there, they do have momentum
going for them.
SOARES: As you're talking we are looking at the map. We've also seen a push in the east. Eastern Ukraine in the last few weeks, we've seen a push. And
gains made in Bakhmut.
How are developments on that side, on the eastern front?
How much of a push are they making in that counteroffensive?
PLEITGEN: I would say the morale in the part of the returning troops in the Eastern Ukraine is also very high, especially if you look at the area
around Bakhmut. The Ukrainians feel right now the momentum is on their side. They have the initiative, they are making certain pushes and also are
winning back territory.
I think it's something very important for them. Of course, Bakhmut was one of those places that was very hard fought, the battles very hard-fought and
the Ukrainians lost some territory as well. They now seem to believe they can win a lot of the territory back.
But here also, they're going tough yet the Ukrainians seem to be in very good spirits.
SOARES: Fred Pleitgen in Eastern Ukraine, thank you so much.
We will be back after the short break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touchdown confirmed at 6:17 am Central time. Rubio's record ride comes to an end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And what a ride it was, the first American astronaut to spend over a year in space is finally back home on Earth. Frank Rubio landed in
Pakistan with his two Russian crewmates earlier today. He was only supposed to be on the International Space Station for six months.
But his trip back was derailed by a coolant leak, put him on track to make NASA history beyond getting to hug his wife and his kids, critically that's
the most important.
The NASA astronaut says he's most looking forward to, quote, "enjoying the trees and the silence."
Probably having some pizza, beer and a burger.
Thank you very much for you company. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.