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EARLY START

North Korea Says Next Target Is Guam; More Rain And Flooding As Harvey Returns; Trump Visits Texas; U.S. Conducts Missile Defense Test. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired August 30, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:30:00] PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Rene.

Well, it was a condemning statement from the United Nations, as it was for many of the regions -- many areas in the region on Tuesday. They said that they were outrageous actions that North Korea carried out with that missile launch which flew over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

But, North Korea is completely unfazed by this condemnation. We've seen time and time again Kim Jong Un does not care about words, as did his father, as did his grandfather. International condemnation meaning very little to them.

We heard from North Korea through state run media, saying that this is really the first step in a military operation in the Pacific. Saying that this missile launch over Japan was effectively a prelude to operations on Guam. We've really heard them step up this rhetoric against the U.S. territory of Guam in recent weeks which provoked that strong reaction from President Trump.

They have done that in the past, as well. Over many years they've been threatening Guam. But really, they've realized that they are onto something which will provoke the United States, and we can expect to hear them mention Guam a lot more in the future.

Now, the leaders of Japan -- in fact, Korea also -- spoke on the phone and they condemned what they saw as a very -- a very unfortunate missile test -- Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN ANCHOR: Paula Hancocks live from Seoul, South Korea. Thank you so much.

EARLY START continues right now.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Gulf is taking another hit from Harvey. A new update from the National Hurricane Center shows Harvey making landfall right now. How much longer before Harvey gets out of the Gulf?

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

MARSH: And, I'm Rene Marsh. It's 31 minutes past the hour. We welcome all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. Well, Harvey has now made landfall once again just west of Cameron,

Louisiana after already bringing death and destruction to southeast Texas. More bands of rain coming in now and to add to the already record-breaking totals.

The highest rainfall total from Harvey so far, almost 52 inches in Cedar Bayou, southwest of Houston. That's already a record in the continental U.S. for any tropical system. BRIGGS: This morning, there are now 11 confirmed deaths from Harvey including a Houston police officer, 60-year-old Sergeant Steve Perez. He drowned trying to get to work during the flood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ART ACEVEDO, CHIEF, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: We couldn't find him and once our dive team got there it was too treacherous to go under and look for him. As much as we wanted to recover him last night we could not put more officers at risk. We knew in our hearts it was going to be a recovery mission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Now, Reuters reports a death toll of 17, including a family of six. Four kids and their great grandparents believed to be washed away in a van in the flooding.

MARSH: Northwest of Houston, officials say water keeps on rising in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, even as it flows over the dam spillways. Thousands of homes in the area now have between three and five feet of floodwater in them. Water is not expected to stop flowing from the Addicks dam until mid-September.

BRIGGS: Right now, Houston under curfew until 5:00 a.m. Central Time -- that's 6:00 Eastern. Part of an effort to stem looting of businesses and homes. The Harris County D.A. says 14 people have been arrested for looting in the past 48 hours. It says anyone caught looting in the disaster area faces extra punishment.

MARSH: Countless others still awaiting rescue. Officials say at least 9,000 to 10,000 people have been rescued in the Houston area alone between police, fire, and the Coast Guard.

That includes this rescue of a mother and her baby. You are looking at those images. Of course, all of that is on the top of the huge number of private rescues we've been reporting on.

BRIGGS: Boy, how about that video --

MARSH: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- Rene?

Those working to save life and limb need to rest and to recharge. Here, exhausted Texas National Guard troops sacked out on brand new mattresses in a Sleep Store showroom between rescues.

That was in Richmond, Texas, which is where we find CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Good morning to you, Derek.

We understand Harvey has made landfall again, but let's start with those reservoirs and the tenuous position they are in. Good morning.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Rene.

There was a much-needed glimmer of hope in Houston late last night. The clouds parted, the rain ended, and the sun came out for a brief period of time.

But let me reiterate, this is not the end to the threat across Houston. Just because the rain is over doesn't mean the flooding stops.

We are at the Brazos River in Richmond, just west of Houston, and this river behind me has risen 40 feet since Saturday morning with about five feet to go, eclipsing previous records of 53 feet of a crest to up 57 feet -- what they're expecting with this river.

[05:35:18] Unprecedented amounts of rainfall, 15 trillion tons, have been produced with this particular storm as it makes its second landfall in the United States. That is enough to raise the entire Great Lakes -- all five lakes -- by one foot. Unbelievable amounts.

Now, it's impacting so many communities -- a very tight community around here, as well -- and it just seems as if the extent of everyone being impacted by this is just felt by either a friend, a family member.

And I also have personal experience. I got a phone call from my cousin today who had just moved into the Buffalo Bayou region just outside western Houston.

And they were actually taken into a mandatory evacuation to move away from their houses. Water was rapidly rising towards their homestead.

Now, their family made it to safe, dry ground but the husband of my cousin decided that his time would be best used to go and volunteer to help save and rescue others who were in need or stranded as the waters rose across this region.

You see, the Buffalo Bayou is in between the Baker (sic) and Addicks reservoirs -- the Barker and Addicks reservoirs. These are the two reservoirs that are meant to prevent the most catastrophic flooding across downtown Houston. It's just that they have been tested to the extremes with this amount of rainfall.

Again, 15 trillion tons, one trillion ton within Harris County, specifically. They are spilling over their banks and houses there within those two reservoirs have had floodwaters reaching three to five feet up at their doorstep.

Unbelievable scenes here and you can imagine, Dave and Rene, that the search and rescue efforts are extremely exhausted right now.

MARSH: Yes. BRIGGS: They are, indeed, and all eyes on those two reservoirs.

Derek Van Dam live for us in Richmond, Texas. Thank you.

As Harvey makes landfall again, it's said to pick up some speed and move out of the area a bit faster.

Let's bring in meteorologist Karen Maginnis live this morning in the CNN Weather Center. Karen, where has it made landfall? How much rain is expected today?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, a lot on our plate still because Harvey has not given up yet.

We have seen just pummeling rainfall between Beaumont and Port Arthur. They are saying that there are high-water rescues taking place there, with Beaumont-Port Arthur receiving 26 inches on Tuesday alone, in 24 hours. That far exceeds their record from 1945.

So the cluster of activity still remains right around that Beaumont- Port Arthur area.

It did make a second landfall just to the west of Cameron, Louisiana. There is expected storm surge of between two and four feet.

A lot of people wondering what's happening with New Orleans. New Orleans, just garden variety showers, maybe some thunderstorms -- the typical round. Some of them could be brief, but heavy.

But it does look like Harvey is going to transition more towards the north and eventually, towards the northeast. But right now, heavy clusters of storms right around Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, and Lake Charles.

We're seeing some wind gusts around 40 miles an hour. Right now, Harvey is supporting winds of 45 miles an hour, so we'll keep you updated. Back to you guys.

BRIGGS: Thank you very much. We appreciate the forecast.

MARSH: And with Houston's police and fire departments, as well as the Coast Guard, all overwhelmed, everyday people are doing their part to help rescue efforts.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Houston with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rene, Dave, I'm standing right on Interstate 10 in Houston. This is the Greens Bayou neighborhood and it's closed. This is that main thoroughfare that goes all the way from California to Florida.

And what happened, and we've seen this time and time again, is this Texas armada -- this makeshift band of do-gooders decided to get together because they heard there might be people trapped off in the distance, perhaps off in that motel or maybe in some apartments nearby, so they launched themselves into a wheel over here.

You can see that there's some other boats and some other people who are gathering. This gentleman is taking off in the distance and you can tell that right in front of us someone unhitched their boat, what they've done over and over again to the tune of thousands of rescues.

There just aren't enough government vehicles -- enough vehicles by police and the National Guard -- and so these selfless citizens jump out here and see if they can pull off rescues.

And they've done it successfully. We've seen it. We've seen them go door-to-door by boat and find people who have been stranded and pull them out.

[05:40:00] And this is just another flash point as this Hurricane Harvey continues to menace the people of Houston. Back to you now, Dave and Rene.

BRIGGS: Just hard to believe that is an interstate.

MARSH: Yes, and usually the Feds say we'll handle this but they've actually encouraging things like that.

BRIGGS: Indeed. All right, thanks to Paul.

President Trump surveys the damage from Harvey for himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to get you back and operating immediately. It happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Kind and supportive words, but did the president show empathy for the victims? We'll discuss next on EARLY START.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This was of epic proportion. Nobody's ever seen anything like this.

Governor, again, thank you very much and we won't say congratulations. We don't want to do that. We don't want to congratulate.

[05:45:00] GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: That's right.

TRUMP: We'll congratulate each other when it's all finished.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: President Trump alongside Texas Governor Greg Abbott there.

The president suggested during a visit to Texas that recovery from Harvey will take as long as five to 10 years.

In Austin and Corpus Christi, Texas, he voiced confidence that Congress will find the money to help rebuild. He met with officials but did not make prominent mention of the victims.

Joining us now, CNN political analyst Josh Rogin, columnist for the "Washington Post." It's good to see you, Josh.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Good morning.

BRIGGS: All right. The president, he's not like any president we've seen or heard before. That much we all know.

Some of the things caught people off guard. Here's an example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. What a crowd, what a turnout.

I will tell you this is historic. It's epic, what happened. But you know what, it happened in Texas and Texas can handle anything.

Thank you all, folks. Thank you.

We have had a tremendous group of folks. Our acting director, Elaine, thank you very much for the job you have done.

And a man who's really become very famous on television the last couple of days, Mr. Long. We appreciate it very much. You have been just outstanding.

And I can tell you that my folks are just telling me how great the -- your representatives have been in working together. It's a real team and we want to do it better than ever before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Josh, someone who's been very supportive, generally speaking, of this president, Ari Fleischer, former press secretary, said he thought empathy was missing from the president's message yesterday in Texas.

Do you, and is it fair to judge him on that or should we simply judge him by the federal response to Hurricane, now-Tropical Storm Harvey?

ROGIN: Yes, I think it's fair to judge him on that but not solely on that, you know. You were talking about this in the last hour.

This is not a president who's known for striking the right tone for expressing empathy in these types of situations. It's not who he is, it's not who he's ever been, and it's not who his supporters voted him into office to be.

That being said, talking about crowd size is and talking about the relative fame of the FEMA administrator does strike the wrong tone and it does rub a lot of people around Washington the wrong way. For the people affected by the storm it's less of an issue because what they care about is getting the response that they need, and that's not just in the short-term but in the long-term.

So it's fair to criticize the president about sort of his missed -- misfire there yesterday, but he has a chance to fix it. He'll be back in the region, perhaps this weekend.

He can talk about the victims more. He can talk about the relief organizations more. He could, perhaps, call on Americans to donate to those relief organizations.

I think there's a realization in the White House that that shift needs to happen.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROGIN: We saw Sarah Huckabee Sanders talk to -- speak to that -- so I think they realize that they didn't strike the right note here and hopefully, they'll fix it soon.

MARSH: Right.

BRIGGS: Perhaps he could donate the proceeds to those hats that are sold for 40 bucks on his Website to the victims of the tropical storm.

MARSH: So now, I want to switch to North Korea because that's the other disaster on the president's hands.

BRIGGS: Yes.

MARSH: And, North Korea, they continue to defy this president.

I guess the question is what is the move going forward? He says all options are on the table but, truly, what are the options at this point?

ROGIN: Yes, the president has a list of very bad options.

The worst option in that list is a preemptive or preventive strike on North Korea that will result in a regional war that would cause millions of deaths. That's the one we have to avoid at all costs.

The other option is to sit down with the North Koreans, and I think that's eventually where we're headed.

And what all the players -- Japan, South Korea, and China, Russia and the United States are looking at are what are terms under which that can happen. It, clearly, cannot happen while North Korea is firing missiles over Japan. So, first of all, we have to figure out a way to make them stop.

That includes a piece of the puzzle that Beijing is responsible for, so what's going on inside the administration now is a big think about whether or not to increase the pressure on Beijing. Until we do that or unless we do that, there's very little chance North Korea is going to stop doing what it's doing and then the tensions are only going to rise and get much worse.

BRIGGS: Yes. It was interesting to hear James Clapper, former DNI, tell Chris Cillizza that essentially, Steve Bannon was right. You have echoed those same sentiments. There really is no good military option.

Really quickly -- the president, today, heads off to Missouri to try and start the push on tax reform. Is it too soon?

ROGIN: The timing is odd. We understand why he has to do this. Congress is coming back to town next week and there has to be a push for tax reform soon if it's going to get done this year.

But it does seem to be a distraction from what's really on the minds of most Americans, namely Hurricane Harvey. Not only that, it's not clear from the White House exactly how they plan to get this done.

So, the president is going to lay out some broad details about tax reform. He doesn't have a clear legislative strategy. It doesn't look like it's going to be well-received in a Congress that has been warring with the president -- not just Democrats, but also Republicans.

[05:50:10] So he kind of has no choice. He's got to put something out there about how he plans to get this done. But when he does that it's going to be met with some pretty swift opposition and that's going to go be the beginning of a very difficult and long climb.

BRIGGS: Yes. Reports are that they will not issue details of their own plan. They will let the House take the lead on that.

Josh Rogin from the "Washington Post," thank you, sir.

ROGIN: That didn't work out so well for health care.

BRIGGS: No, it did not. Surprising to see him make that same technique -- take that same approach.

Josh, thanks.

BRIGGS: All right. Donations coming in quickly to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. J.J. Watt's crowdfunding campaign now topping the $5 million mark.

MARSH: Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" -- Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, J.J. Watt originally wanted to help raise just $200,000, but his plea for help has been heard around the country. His Houston flood relief fund through YouCaring has now topped $5 million and Watt says the new goal is $6 million.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J.J. WATT, DEFENSIVE END, HOUSTON TEXANS: And I had no clue how big this thing can get and how much money we can raise.

But I can promise I'm going to do every single thing that I can to make sure that this money goes directly back to the people and that we help rebuild Houston and we help rebuild the areas around it, and that we make sure that these people get back on their feet. That's our city, that's our community, and I just want to make sure that we get everybody back on their feet.

So, as much money as we can possibly raise, I can't say thank you enough. Five dollars, five hundred dollars, five cents, whatever you can donate. However we can spread the word through caring.com/jjwatt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Now, Watt and the Texans will be on the field for their final preseason game tomorrow night. The game was moved from Houston to Arlington. Every ticket to the game $25, with all proceeds going to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Now the Astros, meanwhile, moving their series with the Rangers this week to Tampa. Houston fans coming to the game with signs showing their support for their city.

All tickets, concessions, and parking revenues from the series are going to the relief effort. The Astros would lose this game 12 to 2.

And guys, I want to send props out to Houston Rockets owner Les Alexander. He has upped his donation to Harvey relief efforts from $4 million to $10 million.

BRIGGS: I know that makes a former Houston Rockets ball boy very proud this morning. Great to see what the Rocket and the sports --

MARSH: Yes.

BRIGGS: -- world is doing.

Thank you so much, Andy Scholes.

MARSH: Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

MARSH: Thanks, Andy.

And, North Korea's latest missile launch could spell more sanctions, but what industries are left to target? "CNN Money Stream" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:56:40] MARSH: An ultimatum from the U.N. Security Council. Member nations say they are furious over North Korea's latest missile launch, condemning it as outrageous.

And in a clear sign of how seriously the U.S. takes this threat, the U.S. conducted a missile defense test early this morning, successfully intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii.

We have CNN's Will Ripley live for us on the phone from Pyongyang, the only Western journalist in North Korea.

Will, tell us what is the update at this point now? Do the people in North Korea know what happened?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hi, Rene. They do know what happened.

I've just returned from the Central Train Station in Pyongyang where on a giant screen the five o'clock news bulletin came on and that famous North Korean news anchor Ri Chun-Hee announced that their country successfully launched a Hwasong 12 intermediate-range missile and flew it over Japan.

The news received cheers from the crowd. I estimate it's a couple of hundred people probably watching, including young women who were part of a future soldiers' group.

I asked one of them if she thought that her future might be harder because her country is doing things like this, and the answer she gave me is that North Korea won't have any problems as long as they have their supreme leader Kim Jong Un which, of course, is the response you would expect in an authoritarian country where political dissent is not tolerated.

Everyone in the crowd that we talked to said the same thing.

Keep in mind they didn't know about the launch for more than 24 hours because the country waited to make an official announcement. And in North Korea, with no access to the Internet or outside media, all they know is what their government tells them -- Rene.

MARSH: Right. And, Will, I mean, you know, we've heard what the president says. We now know what they did as far as launching it over Japan.

What's your take on the fact that they didn't go near Guam this time? What should we read from that?

RIPLEY: Well, there was a news bulletin put out by North Korean state media this morning saying that this launch was simply a prelude to future military action aimed at containing Guam. And they also promised more missile launches targeting the Pacific in the future.

So, North Korea would say that this was a test run, not necessarily them backing down as the Japanese foreign minister implied. Obviously, by flying the missile over Japan they avoided a highly- provocative act.

But if they follow through on their promise to launch more missiles and they do so in a southerly direction, that could really escalate the situation even further than it already is.

MARSH: Will Ripley, great reporting. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rene Marsh.

BRIGGS: Great insight from him.

MARSH: Yes.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs.

"NEW DAY" starts right now. Alisyn Camerota in Houston, Chris Cuomo holding down the fort here in New York.

We'll see you tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, August 30th. It's 5:00 a.m. here in Houston where I am.

Tropical Storm Harvey making landfall again, this time in Louisiana where it is hammering the area with heavy rain.

Here in Houston where I'm standing, after five straight days of rain, I am happy to report this morning that conditions do seem to be improving. The streets that we drove in to get to Houston, they were wet but they were not flooded.

Now, the situation here in the convention center, though, is pretty dire.