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CNN NEWSROOM

Canines on Scene of Mexico Earthquake & Hurricane-Damaged Puerto Rico; Trump Makes Iran Nuclear Deal Decision Iran Warns Against Scrapping Deal; Melania Trump Speaks at U.N. Luncheon. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 20, 2017 - 14:30   ET

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


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[14:34:11] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We are still following this breaking news out of Mexico, this frantic search for survivors under way now in the country's capital, Mexico City. We were showing you earlier after this massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit, brought down dozens and dozens of buildings, crushing people inside, including this elementary school. So we have been watching so carefully and closely this rescue operation still under way at this elementary school. They have been hearing this one little girl, her voice, trying to communicate with her. In these moments where rescuers are raising their fists, that means silence as they're trying to communicate. The family is on the scene, so we're all hoping that they are able to pull her out alive.

Let me bring in Sonja Heritage, who has helped train the canine disaster teams, on the way to help in Mexico City, as one of the teams is currently staged in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria.

Sonja, you are the expert here. Let's talk about this little girl who they're all listening for. This is an elementary school, she's teeny tiny so I imagine she's in this teeny tiny space. How effective is thermal images versus maybe bringing in dogs to find her?

[14:35:22] SONJA HERITAGE, SEARCH AND RESCUE EXPERT & CANINE RESCUE TEAM TRAINER: Well, I mean most effective search tool that we have is the dogs. A well-trained dog team can make a big area small and tell you where to put the cameras and listening devices and the rescue effort. Otherwise, you know, where do you -- where do you start with the imaging cameras when you're looking at a huge building. So that's what makes these dogs so special. But I mean I'm with you all and the rest of the nation hoping this little girl comes out and she's ok and hoping that they have a whole lot more they find.

BALDWIN: You've been on scenes like these. What are they saying to her? What are they listening for? And especially now that the family, according to our reporters around the area, are saying they're there.

HERITAGE: Right. Well, I mean they're trying to calm her down. They're trying to find out if she has any injuries and if there's anything -- there may be -- they may be able to get her to a place that they can get a doctor or first responder with medical training down into her, but it just depends how complex it is and how much time it will take to actually breach through whatever debris is between them and her. So they're also going to ask her if she hears anybody else with her or if anybody was with her. You know, so that they can get an idea of how many other victims there may be in that area.

BALDWIN: So last question, let's just be optimistic. They find her, they locate her. With all of this rubble, which could move at any moment, how do they safely extract her?

HERITAGE: Well, it's a process. You really do need a skilled team to do that. Lake County is on its way down there and they are extremely well trained for just this type of debris, reinforce concrete structures that have collapsed. It can be very technical. You know, you don't want to breach through and use equipment that's going to cause a secondary collapse, so there has to be some shoring and moving very carefully to make sure that you can get her out safe and sound. It's quite a process.

BALDWIN: I'll take your word for it. We may ask you to keep close to your skype because this could happen on our watch. Let's all hope, fingers crossed, they're able to pull her out. And maybe you can talk us through exactly what they're doing as your dogs as we pointed out are en route.

Sonja Heritage, thank you so much.

HERITAGE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Right now, we've got our eye on Mexico.

The other breaking news here, the president of Iran, speaking now on U.S. soil, says President Trump owes him an apology. What he's threatening to do if President Trump pulls out of the Iran nuclear deal. That's next.

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[14:42:22] BALDWIN: Iran's leader is now counterpunching against President Trump and his comments to the United Nations General Assembly. President Hasan Rouhani said that the United States would destroy its own standing if it walks away from the Iran nuclear deal. You remember President Trump referring to it as, quote, "the worst and most one-sided transaction the U.S. has ever done." The deal aims to reduce Iran's nuclear arms.

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HASAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics. By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it. We are unmoved by threats and intimidation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: So now, just moments ago, President Rouhani made news talking about now wanting an apology from President Trump. Here he was.

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ROUHANI (through translation): Yesterday, Mr. Trump was extremely offensive to the people of Iran. And before anything, we are waiting for Mr. Trump to issue an apology to the people of Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Jim Sciutto was just part of that news conference. We'll get him mic'ed up and talk to him about what that means and what President Trump has said about the U.S. stance on the Iran deal when we come back.

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[14:48:16] BALDWIN: You know it is U.N. G.A. week here in New York. We just heard sound from the president of Iran, Hasan Rouhani, speaking at the news conference, saying that what President Trump said yesterday in front of the U.N. G.A. was outrageous and that President Trump should apologize.

In the room when these comments were made was our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, who is with me now.

Jim Sciutto, also to clarify, and we all heard President Trump's speech yesterday, and he now today has said he has made a decision on whether or not he wants to keep the U.S. in the Iran deal but won't say yet. Stay tuned for that, I suppose. What exactly did President Rouhani say?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a fairly blunt rejoinder to Mr. Trump. He called President Trump's comments at the U.N. G.A. yesterday, "hateful, absurd and ignorant", those comments, and demanded an apology. Then he went on to take aim at President Trump for threatening to leave the nuclear agreement, known as the JCPOA, saying that, on the part of the president, but also the country, that this would represent in his words a broken promise. He went even further, said a lack of character there. Now, you've heard some talk here, you've heard some discussions from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about -- as well as some European diplomats about the possibility of renegotiating the Iran agreement. But on that issue the Iranian president said it's just a nonstarter. He said that there will, in his words, "be no renegotiation, no renegotiation, no return and no changes to that deal."

And then, Brooke, I can tell you he went on because, we asked him what would he do if the U.S. were to withdraw from the agreement, if President Trump were to declare that Iran was not following the terms of the deal. He said that an option would be to restart uranium enrichment. Of course, that's the thing that got this whole negotiation started was concerns in the international community that Iran was enriching uranium with the possibility of building a nuclear bomb.

So quite a stern response from the Iranian president to those very stern words we heard from the American president just yesterday.

[14:50:32] BALDWIN: We will stay tuned to see what the U.S. stance is on whether or not they pull out or don't certify on this Iran deal and see if President Trump has any response on Twitter for President Rouhani.

For now, Jim Sciutto, thank you very much.

Also at the United Nations today, the first lady stepping into the spotlight with a rare public speech and an urgent message for the world. Melania Trump says our children are always watching and are always listening to us. The first lady focusing on issues facing children worldwide at her remarks today at the U.N. luncheon.

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MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Together, we must acknowledge that, all too often, is the weakest most innocent and vulnerable among us, our children, who ultimately suffer the most from the challenges that plague our society. Whether it is drug addiction, bullying, poverty, disease, trafficking, illiteracy or hunger, the children get hit first and hardest in any country. We must teach each child the values of empathy and communication. The core of the kindness, mindfulness, integrity and leadership, which can only be taught by example. We must remember that they are watching and listening, so we must never miss an opportunity to teach many ethical lessons along the way. As adults, we are not merely responsible --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Kate Bennett is here, our CNN White House reporter.

So many people thought, do you know who your husband is? Her other thought is maybe this is her way of communicating with her husband, with their son.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It could be either. The message was important.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BENNETT: The mindfulness, kindness, do unto others.

BALDWIN: Integrity.

BENNET: Integrity. They're watching us, we have to lead by example. So, yes, of course, she's going to maybe find a hurdle in that she's picked something to talk about today in what could be maybe her platform and people will push back and say, well, look at your husband.

But from what I hear, she doesn't really care what other people think. She has her own agenda, her own focus. Her office operates completely separately from the West Wing. She has her own social media. She has her own Twitter. She's been out there on social media. So I'm not sure she'll care all that much.

I think, today, we did watch someone who's not quite comfortable yet with public speaking. She's got to have a little more practice in that arena, but it was a big day today.

BALDWIN: Especially if English isn't your first language and you're standing in front of that crowd. She was in a beautiful color pink, but.

BENNETT: It was an interesting selection today. I think the designer she chose is a Spanish designer. It was a little more avant-garde, a little too much fabric perhaps. But she did match the floral arrangements at the luncheon, which were a vibrant pink, and the table cloths had big pink flowers on them, too.

BALDWIN: Did she do that on purpose?

BENNETT: I think maybe the first lady is a thoughtful woman.

BALDWIN: They knew what color the flowers were?

(LAUGHTER)

Kate, nice to see you.

BENNETT: Good to see you.

[14:54:57] BALDWIN: Thank you for all things Melania Trump.

Let's get back to our breaking news. We've been watching dramatic pictures out of Mexico, these rescue efforts under way at this elementary school after this powerful 7.1 magnitude quake. Trying to find this girl, bring her out alive. We're going to take you back to the scene in just a moment.

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ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Let's get you back to the breaking news, this frantic search under way for survivors from the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Mexico. These are pictures here of all these rescuers. These rescues have been under way at this crumbling elementary school, trying to find children who have been missing ever since the quake hit. They have been working off of this handwritten list of names. Down on their hands and knees, using their fingers and hands as shovels, anything they can, because this waiting is simply not an option. Rescuers say they can hear the sound of a little girl crying out and so they have been using a thermal scanner to try to find her. Already 21 children, who began their day with books in hand, have been pulled from their classrooms, lifeless bodies. They died inside the school because of the quake. The video we're about to show you, it's pretty tough to watch but it

shows search crews pulling out a small trapped child. You can just hear these crews screaming out to children who have been screaming out for help.

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BALDWIN: More than 220 deaths have been confirmed so far as rescue crews frantically comb through the rubble of dozens of collapsed buildings.