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CNN NEWSROOM

NFL, Athletes Blast Trump for Anthem Protest Comments; 70K Flee Imminent Dam Break in Puerto Rico; Quake Survivors in Mexico Recount Hours Trapped in Rubble; Van Jones Slams Trump's Trashing of NFL Players; Tough Talk, Show of Force Standoff Between U.S. and North Korea; How the DEA Caught a Heroin Godfather. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 23, 2017 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:53] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. So great to have you here. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And tonight, the NFL is bracing for possible protests at its games tomorrow after President Trump called out players who kneeled during the national anthem. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired. He's fired!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The reaction to that comment have been pouring in in all day.

From Buffalo Bill's star, LeSean McCoy: it's really sad, man. Our President is an expletive.

From Max Garcia of the Broncos: what an emphatic response. Where was this passion in response to Charlottesville?

And from the NFL commissioner himself, Roger Goodell: divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.

Now, just a short time ago, Goodell's statement prompted a direct response from the President on Twitter.

Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement, he writes, trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country. Tell them to stand.

The President also tweeting, if a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our great American flag or country and should stand for the national anthem. If not, you're fired. Find something else to do.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein. CNN political commentator and host of BET News, Marc Lamont Hill. And former Georgia congressman and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign, Jack Kingston, is back with us.

Congressman, with everything the President has going on, I want to draw your attention to a tweet President Trump, then citizen Trump, sent back in 2013 about President Obama.

Quote, President should not be telling the Washington Redskins to change their name. Our country has far bigger problems. Focus on them, not nonsense.

Shouldn't he be taking his own advice?

JACK KINGSTON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER FOR THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Ana, I think that's a fair criticism. But I think, at the same hand, knowing the President as I do, that he can fire on all kinds of different cylinders, and he can talk about big issues and small issues.

And I would say this is not a small issue to the average American, particularly the ones who are paying big money to go see a game -- and a game where elite athletes are paid to kick, pass, and punt -- and instead, they get their political views.

And most of the people who are NFL fans don't want to hear their political views. They just want to see a good game.

CABRERA: Marc, to Jack's point, I have people tweeting at me @Ana Cabrera, if you want to weigh in, and I'm reading this during the breaks. And here's one somebody writes I want to ask you.

Of course, they can protest. They should not go to work and go protest instead. What if a T.V. anchor wants to protest on the air?

Is that a fair point?

DR. MARC LAMONT HILL, BET NEWS HOST: No, it's not a fair point. If a T.V. anchor were asked to pledge allegiance every day, then a T.V. anchor would have the right to say, hey, I don't want to do that.

Jack -- the problem with Jack's argument is that he presumes that politics only starts at the protest. It's a political statement to pledge allegiance to the flag. It's a political statement to stand for the singing of the national anthem.

The fact is Colin Kaepernick and me and many other people simply have different politics. It's not neutral to pledge allegiance or sing the national anthem. It's an affirmation of the American empire. And he is saying, I don't want to do that under the current conditions.

So you can't say that the people who stand are right and the people who don't stand are wrong. It's free speech.

KINGSTON: Well, yes, but here --

CABRERA: Go ahead.

KINGSTON: Here is the fact, is the demographic is against it. The people who struggled to get that $50 together to go to the game, they'll never make $14 million a year.

That's what Colin Kaepernick was making when he was protesting.

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: You know --

KINGSTON: Making that kind of money and yet the country isn't good enough for him to stand for the pledge of allegiance. That is offensive to the demographic of the NFL.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Ana --

[20:05:07] KINGSTON: And that's why you games like the 49ers, Rams opening game when half the seats were empty. Maybe there's a lesson there for the NFL that they, as a business --

BROWNSTEIN: Ana --

KINGSTON: -- should pay attention to.

HILL: But you can also --

BROWNSTEIN: Ana --

CABRERA: Go ahead, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: Ana, can I jump in?

CABRERA: Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: I mean, saying this is about the national anthem is like saying Charlottesville was fundamentally about a statue of Robert E. Lee. It's simply the venue in which the underlying issue is being fought out.

And from the point of view of the President and the kind of language he has used literally from the first day when he came down the escalator in Trump Tower and talked about Mexicans who are rapists and criminals, it is not a coincidence that he is attacking a series of prominent African-American athletes.

I mean, this is a continuation of what we saw with David Duke, what we saw with Charlottesville, what we see in his comments about Black Lives Matter. He has appealed, from the beginning, to the elements of White America that are most uneasy about racial and demographic change.

KINGSTON: That is ridiculous. Ron --

BROWNSTEIN: And this is -- hold on, Jack, let me finish. Let me finish. KINGSTON: You know a lot better than that.

BROWNSTEIN: Let me finish. The fact is the President has drawn --

KINGSTON: But you're better than that. That's ridiculous.

CABRERA: Jack, let him finish.

BROWNSTEIN: Jack --

KINGSTON: Oh, my God. You're in the right.

BROWNSTEIN: Jack, let me finish. From the beginning, the President has drawn his most support from the voters who are most uneasy about those changes.

And he, I think, is creating -- he is putting the Republican Party in a moment of significant choice because they're -- you know, I think he sees these fights as benefiting him, as encouraging, in effect, more White voters to see themselves as part of an aggrieved group and aggrieved shrinking majority that he is standing up for.

But the fact is that the country is inexorably diversifying. And the millennial generation, which is the most diverse generation --

KINGSTON: Ron, I --

BROWNSTEIN: -- in the American history is becoming the largest generation of the electorate in 2018. The generation behind them is even more diverse --

KINGSTON: Ron --

BROWNSTEIN: -- and Republicans have to consider the implications of his stamp on the party for what their long-term competitors will be over the next decade and beyond.

CABRERA: Jack, go ahead.

KINGSTON: Ron, so when he takes on Hollywood, which is predominantly White, both in management and in act, and when he takes on Hollywood, is he a racist? How does that fit in your goal that -- see, Ron, this is what the problem is from my standpoint.

It's that those who do not like Trump want to paint the rest of us as simply bigots, racists --

BROWNSTEIN: No.

KINGSTON: -- and all kinds of bad names. That's just not true. There is a cultural --

BROWNSTEIN: Sure.

KINGSTON: -- war going on here, and it is a fact that people who are making a tremendous amount of money feel like they have a different standard than the rest of us.

The Emmys last week were probably the best recruitment party for the Republicans that we've ever had. I mean, the Emmys were just ridiculous.

Having rich people who live in walled houses, by the way, those who are against -- those who are open borders yet every single one of them has a wall around his or her house or palace -- I don't want to call it a house. It's a mansion.

And then they lecture middle class America on how we should behave. That's what this is about, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, but --

KINGSTON: It's a culture war.

CABRERA: Go ahead, Marc.

KINGSTON: If you're into that race, you're missing it.

BROWNSTEIN: If you look --

HILL: OK. This is a --

BROWNSTEIN: Go ahead, Marc.

HILL: Look, this is a phenomenally bizarre argument. I mean, the first thing is you keep mentioning how much money people make. The amount of money you make doesn't determine whether or not you could exercise a particular political view.

By that logic, Donald Trump has infinitely more money than Colin Kaepernick so he should be the last person tweeting about Colin Kaepernick's political vision.

But the truth is Colin Kaepernick's position is even more principled because he's not the primary person getting shot by police. He's not the primary person being followed in the store. He has access and privilege. And despite that, he is risking the most for people who don't have those things.

NBA -- I mean, to me, NFL owners own teams. They don't own players. And just because you pay someone a lot of money doesn't mean that they don't have a right to exercise their free speech.

And you say -- finally, you say that this -- that the average --

KINGSTON: Oh, yet --

HILL: You say -- hold on, just one more thing. You say that these fans --

KINGSTON: Hey, Marc --

HILL: You say that these fans don't want to hear Colin Kaepernick's perspectives. There are many fans who agree with Colin Kaepernick. There are many veterans who agree with Colin Kaepernick.

And did you consider that maybe half the stands were empty for the 49ers game because Colin Kaepernick, who's actually a quality quarterback, wasn't there? You're assuming it's for the opposite reason. There's no reason to say.

KINGSTON: I -- you know, Marc, I have it clear --

CABRERA: Hold on, guys. I want to play what LeBron James --

KINGSTON: -- the other case is not --

CABRERA: -- is saying --

KINGSTON: -- yes. Yes.

CABRERA: -- in reaction to the President's comments and then we'll talk on the backside.

KINGSTON: Right. Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, SMALL FORWARD, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: You look at him kind of asking, you know, the NFL owners to get rid of players off the field because they're, you know, exercising their rights, and that's not right.

And then, you know, when I wake up, I see that, you know, a colleague of mine has been uninvited of something that he said he didn't even want to go to in the first place, you know, to the White House, you know, that's just something I can't stand for, man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So just to catch everybody up there, there at the end, LeBron was referencing Trump lashing out at Steph Curry of the Warriors after he had said he didn't want to go to the White House.

But bottom line here, Jack, who is --

KINGSTON: Yes.

CABRERA: -- the President appealing to by taking on these wildly popular sports figures?

[20:10:03] KINGSTON: I think what the President is saying is we've got a great country, and isn't it a shame that the people who are really enjoying the best fruits and benefits of it don't want to stand for the national anthem, which means a heck of a lot to the people out there and the fans.

You know, I had the honor of representing five military installations (ph) and what --

CABRERA: But why aren't they -- why don't they want to stand for the national anthem, is the question. And a lot of people are saying that is the point, and the President is going after that.

KINGSTON: Look --

CABRERA: I mean, Colin Kaepernick came out and said the reason he wasn't standing really had nothing to do directly, he said, with President Trump. I mean, let me just read you what he said at the time when he decided to make that statement.

He said this -- he said: I'm not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.

BROWNSTEIN: Ana, can I jump in?

KINGSTON: I think that he has the right to do that, but people have the right to quit going to the NFL. And that's what we're seeing in terms of the people who are -- NFL viewership has dropped. Part of it is this.

BROWNSTEIN: Ana --

KINGSTON: A Rasmussen poll shows that 32 percent of the NFL fans said this is a factor of them turning away from it. They also have competition from college games. People are tired of paying big money to see NFL players and support the lifestyles. And they are --

CABRERA: I'm glad you bring up money.

KINGSTON: -- tired of the head injury (ph) --

BROWNSTEIN: Ana --

KINGSTON: So those are --

CABRERA: I'm glad you bring up money, Jack, because a number of NFL owners have given large sums of money to President Trump, to his inaugural committee.

HILL: True.

CABRERA: You see the names all listed here. Is there a risk, Ron, for President Trump to alienate these wealthy and very influential people?

BROWNSTEIN: No, I don't think that's the risk. I think the risk is alienating a broader part of the country.

Look, this, as I said -- and you can get wrapped around the axle looking at this solely on the context of the NFL or the NBA any more than you could looking at Charlottesville as statues.

This is an inherently fraught moment in the history of the country. We're all living through a profound demographic transformation.

A majority of our public school students are kids of color. A majority of our under 10 population are kids of color. A majority of the under 18 population, by the end of this decade, are going to be kids of color.

There aren't -- you know, and not everybody is entirely comfortable with that level of change in the country. And it's a moment when you need leadership that is about reminding us of what we have in common. And instead, I think the President has seen it in his interest, literally from day one, to jump up and down on those fault lines.

And I think, you know, when you look at the CNN poll out last week, 60 percent of Americans said they disapprove of the way he's handling race relations.

He may view -- I think he clearly does view -- these kind of fights as benefiting him because they allow him to kind of posture in a culture war that, you know, Jack Kingston is talking about.

But the fact is that the country needs a very different style of leadership to work through a transition because these are the future workers, the future taxpayers, the future voters. The kids today are, you know, kind of tomorrow's economy.

And instead, we are really seeing a President who feels it's in his interest to, in effect, mobilize kind of older, White, non-urban America against this kind of emerging America. And that doesn't serve anybody.

CABRERA: Marc, on the issue of NBA --

KINGSTON: Ron, I just -- I have to say --

CABRERA: Hey, hold on, Jack, just a sec. Let --

KINGSTON: -- I don't think that that's true at all.

CABRERA: I want to get Marc back in here. On the issue of the NBA champion, Steph Curry, and that whole situation, I want to play what Curry said that apparently set off Trump. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN CURRY, POINT GUARD, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: We don't stand for basically what our President has, the things that he said and the things that he hasn't said in the right time. That we won't stand for it.

And by acting or -- and not going, hopefully, that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what is -- what we turn a blind eye to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: And then President Trump tweeted this: going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn.

Just within the last 10 minutes or so, we got a statement now from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. And let me read that to you. It says: I was in favor of the team visiting the White House and

thought it was a rare opportunity for these players to share their views directly with the President. I am disappointed that that will not happen. More importantly, I am proud of our players for taking an active role in their communities and continuing to speak out on critically important issues.

Marc, is the President missing an opportunity here?

HILL: The President misses many opportunities. You know, the two points that I would make.

One, salute to the NBA players, not just for -- not just to Golden State Warriors for resisting the lure of the White House, but for all of the other NBA players, from LeBron James to Chris Paul to Kobe Bryant, who stood up in support and solidarity in way that I would love to see NFL players do.

Tomorrow, I hope every NFL player takes a knee in protest, not just to Donald Trump but the broader problem that we're wrestling with, which is much bigger than Donald Trump.

But the bigger -- the second piece here is that Donald Trump resents President Obama. He resents Steph Curry. He resents Colin Kaepernick.

[20:14:56] White supremacy resents free Black bodies, free Black people. And the fact that they can't control these people, what they say, what they do, what they believe, whether or not they kneel, whether or not they stand, it eats him alive. It's something that he can't control, and it's something that he resents.

KINGSTON: And now --

HILL: And that's why the --

KINGSTON: So, Marc, you're saying that the President is a White supremacist. Is that what you just said?

You just said the President is a White supremacist. Did I hear you right?

HILL: I just --

KINGSTON: Because you said White supremacists get to talk --

HILL: I --

KINGSTON: Did you --

HILL: Let me --

KINGSTON: Yes. Are you saying the President's a White supremacist?

HILL: I'm not sure if you think you're cornering me or something. Let me be very clear on national television. Donald J. -- KINGSTON: I'm just asking you, is that not what you said.

HILL: Yes, yes.

CABRERA: Let him answer your question, Jack.

KINGSTON: Is he a White supremacist or not?

HILL: I just think -- I think you have the impression you're somehow trying to --

KINGSTON: I just want to know, what did you say?

HILL: Well, if you stop talking, you'll hear me. What I'm saying very clearly, unequivocally, unapologetically on national television is that Donald J. Trump is a White supremacist.

He supports White supremacy. He has White supremacy --

KINGSTON: OK. Well, then, that's all I needed to know because I know that the current thing --

HILL: It's not a secret.

KINGSTON: -- on the left is to label the President as a White supremacist. And it's just so absurd.

HILL: Well, let me --

KINGSTON: I mean, really, you know, he doesn't take these fights based on skin color. He is picking it based on a belief that standing up for your country is a patriotic thing to do.

And I'm going to agree with you that the players have the right not to, but I also think you'll agree with me that the fans have the right to not go to these games because they don't want politics mixed in with their entertainment.

HILL: OK. I have to say --

KINGSTON: Are many of the fans don't --

HILL: OK. So --

KINGSTON: Some dig. I mean, there's no question.

HILL: OK. Every -- every single time at -- you're at NFL halftime and we have soldiers and we salute soldiers in wars of aggression, every single time we sing the national anthem, every single time we engage in militaristic talk during a football game, we are engaging in politics.

Colin Kaepernick didn't introduce politics into the NFL. That is absurd.

It's also a strawman to keep talking about whether or not fans come or go because the debate isn't about whether the fans come and go. It's whether is engaged in actions which are improper.

And he didn't just criticize --

KINGSTON: The NFL is a business, Marc.

HILL: He didn't just criticize --

BROWNSTEIN: Ana --

HILL: He didn't just criticize Colin Kaepernick. He silenced --

KINGSTON: And that's why they're losing millions of dollars.

CABRERA: Marc, let me ask you this.

HILL: He talks --

CABRERA: Marc, let me ask you this because you just called the President a White supremacist right here on our air.

HILL: Yes.

CABRERA: And that's also divisive language, is it not?

HILL: No, being White supremacist is divisive. Somehow we've entered this moment where calling racist racist is seen as the more egregious act than being racist itself.

Donald Trump said that Judge Curiel was -- could not be impartial because he was Mexican. Speaking to the very nature of reason. He has rejected Muslims and some Asians and Arabs into the country purely on the basis of skin color.

He is trying to build a wall that separates Mexicans from Americans. And --

KINGSTON: Marc -- OK. Marc --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. One more, one more. One more. And in his --

KINGSTON: I want to make one point.

HILL: Excuse me. He has been sued -- Donald Trump has been sued for not renting to Black people.

BROWNSTEIN: Look, Ana --

HILL: On what planet is this not racist?

KINGSTON: Marc --

HILL: On what planet is this not a White supremacist? And he supports White supremacists -- KINGSTON: Let me say something about --

CABRERA: Hold on, Jack. Let him finish and then you can answer.

KINGSTON: OK.

HILL: One last point. And let's just see when we talk about language. Colin Kaepernick and these football players who are protesting, they're -- are called SOB's, sons of bitches. Whereas he called -- he referred to the people in Charlottesville as very fine people. There is a racialized distinction being made here.

Donald Trump -- yes, I'm not afraid to say Donald Trump is racist. I'm not afraid to --

KINGSTON: OK. OK. Marc --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Do your thing. Go ahead.

KINGSTON: Well, I -- you know, Marc, let me say this. I want to get back to the California Golden State Warriors not going to the White House.

I had an opportunity to fly with President Obama down in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia. Many of my Republican base voters said, don't do that because it shows that you're endorsing his politics.

And I said, no, he's the President of the United States. And on Air Force I, if he gives me a chance, I'm going to be able to talk to him about jobs in our area, the expansion of the Savannah Port, and things that are of good -- good for the country.

And that's what I think does need to happen. When these sports teams get an invitation like that, I think it would be good for them to say, you know, Mr. President, instead of just the picture --

BROWNSTEIN: Ana --

KINGSTON: -- and the cameo appearance, we'd really like to have a real meeting and talk to you about some of these issues. And I think by not going, they're missing an opportunity that could be beneficial to everybody.

HILL: Let me ask you a question --

BROWNSTEIN: Ana --

CABRERA: And you both agree on that, guys, and we got to leave it there. I'm out of time. I got the wrap, sorry.

Ron Brownstein, Jack Kingston, Marc Lamont Hill, this conversation is not going away. We will have you all back. I really appreciate it. Thank you. [20:19:20] Coming up, authorities say a breach is imminent. Puerto

Rico facing a new emergency as residents below this dam are told they got to get out of there. We will take you there live to Puerto Rico when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: I want to take you to Puerto Rico now as we continue to follow the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and the danger is not over for those folks.

People living near the Guajataca River are fleeing an imminent dam break. The dam and the river are located in the northwest portion of the U.S. territory.

We know flooding is still widespread all over the island. And as residents try to pick up the pieces from the storm, the death toll is rising with at least 10 people now reported killed because of the storm.

And we've learned 4,000 U.S. reservists are headed there to help with relief efforts. CNN's Nick Valencia is joining us live from San Juan with the latest.

And, Nick, tell us more about the response by the U.S. government trying to get people there help.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the local officials there by the Guajataca Dam are trying to evacuate people by bus. About 70,000 people between two townships are in the pathway of life threatening floods. It seems that the people of Puerto Rico cannot escape the dangers.

And just as you begin to think that the recovery and the relief is starting, it was just seconds ago that we saw lightning in the distance, Ana. Friday morning, there was heavy pouring rain, not helping any of the conditions of those flooded out passageways, those roads that lead out.

It is still a difficult situation, a very complicated one. It was earlier that we were at one of the shelters, and we saw with our own eyes just how sad it was. It's a sight that I'll never forget as a journalist, looking over about 600 beds, nearly all of them filled.

[20:25:04] There was an 8-year-old little girl that was going through a pile of donations, and she was trying to just find a toy. You know, I'm sure all these people here that have been refugees and evacuated from this storm are having difficult time connecting, and not least this 8-year-old little girl who I saw.

And she walked away without something to find. As many donations are pouring in, you know, she couldn't find what she was looking for.

People here, they're still without power, Ana. Here we are about a week later, and they're going to have to wait for months and months and months. I spoke earlier to the mayor of San Juan who said that she's trying to

set the tone and the expectation for her residents here that they're going to be without modern life, without electricity, for up to six months. And there's really no changing that.

Yes, they're trying to bring in generators. Yes, they're trying to bring out central areas of communication in these municipalities. They're trying to give out phones to these mayors.

About 200 phones are being passed out across the island to try to get communication going. But the efforts by people in the mainland to try to get in touch with loved ones here is just very difficult -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you so much for that report, again, from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

And coming up, as rescuers in Mexico continue to dig through the rubble and search for survivors, we'll hear a story of survival with pictures taken inside a collapsed building. Their harrowing tale, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:47] CABRERA: We are following more breaking news, southern Mexico getting yet another jolt. Tonight, just in the last few minutes, a 4.5 quake hitting a little more than an hour ago or so. It comes after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit this morning.

Both of today's tremors centered in Oaxaca State. That's about 275 miles southeast of Mexico City. And that place has been between that 7.1 magnitude that struck on Tuesday and then the 8.1 magnitude quake that struck September 8th that was off the southern Pacific coast.

Now, as Mexico's death toll reached 305 today, those who have been rescued count themselves among the lucky. That includes one group that got stuck with only enough room to lay down, and they waited 17 hours to be saved.

CNN's Ed Lavandera went to see those survivors and hear their stories at a hospital. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At 1:14, Tuesday afternoon, Martin Mendez, a locksmith, was replacing broken locks in an accounting office on the fourth floor of this building at Alvaro Obregon 286 when the world around him started to rumble.

When the earthquake struck, what did you hear?

MARTIN MENDEZ, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR (through translator): The building moved back and forth two or three times. Then it started jumping up and down like a horse.

LAVANDERA: When the shaking stopped, Martin found himself trapped with three women he'd never met before who worked in the office he was visiting.

Could you move?

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

LAVANDERA: He said he could only move like a worm. He said they started getting very nervous because they were running out of air. He thought they were going to suffocate.

What came next would test every shred of perseverance they could muster.

Diana Pacheco says they had no time to react and could hear the floors above crashing down.

What was it like when the earthquake struck?

DIANA PACHECO, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR (through translator): It all happened so fast, we didn't have time to get out. In five or six seconds, the building collapsed.

LAVANDERA: Diana says she reached for her phone and started sending these text messages to her husband.

Love, the roof has fallen. We're trapped. I love you. I love you so much. We're on the fourth floor near the emergency exit. There are four of us.

And then you can see a series of phone calls that wouldn't connect.

That was enough to alert rescue workers that there were indeed people still alive inside this building, but the rescuers couldn't hear them.

Diana says the sounds were horrible. She recorded this incredible video of the space where she was trapped. Massive sheets of concrete around them, they used cell phone lights to see the dust billowing around them. There was no escape, no way out.

Martin and Diana and the two others talked to each other, soothing each other's fears, waiting for rescue workers to reach them. Martin's leg was broken. He sat there in excruciating pain.

What was going through your mind?

MENDEZ (through translator): I was talking to God and hoping that the rescuers would hear us.

LAVANDERA: As we talked, Martin opens his phone and shares with us a picture he took of himself while he was trapped. He hadn't seen it. The emotions overwhelm him.

I imagine that you believed there's no way you were getting out alive?

MENDEZ (through translator): Yes, I did. I always believed I was going to get out alive.

LAVANDERA: Finally, after 17 hours, rescue workers pulled all four of them out alive.

All these scratches came when he was pulled out.

Diana Pacheco and Martin Mendez are now recovering in the same hospital on the same floor but haven't been able to see each other since they were rescued. They were brought together in an unexpected moment of horror and survived.

And I teach him a phrase in English that he and his friends can share.

[20:35:03] We made it. We made it. In English, we say, we made it.

MENDEZ: We made it.

LAVANDERA: We made it.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: What a story. Ed Lavandera, thank you for that. To help those affected by the Mexico earthquake, just log on to CNN.com/impact.

Coming up, President Trump is picking a fight with several top athletes in this country, drawing criticism from the likes of LeBron James and others.

CNN's Van Jones explains why he thinks the President's approach is especially tone deaf, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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CABRERA: Reaction is pouring in on President Trump's attacks on professional athletes who kneeled during the national anthem or refused to visit the White House.

The President's full throttle fury took the sports world by surprise. After all, the President had a busy week with that last minute Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare, the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

[20:40:03] Well, earlier, I spoke with CNN Political Commentator Van Jones, a former Obama adviser, for his take on the President's remarks.

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VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We're still in the aftermath of these devastating storms when a president should be pulling the country together, and we could be on the eve of war with North Korea when the president should be pulling the country together.

And instead, he's going for cheap applause lines at campaign-style rallies that strike a really tough nerve, I think, for African- Americans. I think, if you're not from the United States, you might say, what the heck is this all about?

Owners in these big leagues sports are overwhelmingly White men. The players are overwhelmingly young and African-American. And so idea the idea that he is going to come into this conflict side with the owners and basically tell the owners to go and discipline all these Black guys, it lands very, very poorly.

Big picture, you do have three very important values at war here. You have the value of free speech, which is important. You have the value of respecting the flag in America, which is important. And you have the value of the civil rights of African-Americans who feel that the police have been less than respectful of the humanity of African- Americans all too often.

And so you have -- it's a very complex situation. You need nuance. And instead, you get a bulldozer response from the President of the United States. One-sided, tone deaf. And instead of pulling the country together in the aftermath of tragedy and possibly on the eve of war, we're fighting over the weekend.

CABRERA: Van, do you think the President is using sports as a proxy for this racial divide in our country?

JONES: You know, there's a long history of that. You know, back when Johnson was the first Black heavyweight champion, if you knock out a White guy, there would be riots in the country.

There's this whole kind of substitution effect with sports and politics. It goes back to the Greeks. And so I do think that when he leans in to sports, he is in that tradition of kind of using this as a way to talk about some other issues.

As somebody who is raising young boys, having a Steph Curry out there gives them somebody to look up to. His work ethic is unbelievable. Of course, you know, LeBron James has an incredible success story as well.

These are people who we should be lifting up and celebrating and giving them high fives and pointing them out for the positives. And instead, we're in some crazy food fight about whether somebody's going to come to my, you know, birthday party or not.

This is silly. It's beneath the President. And it doesn't make any sense.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Now, as the President wages war on the NFL and NBA, North Korea says a strike on the United States is inevitable as U.S. bombers fly off the North Korean coast today.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Much more straight ahead.

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[20:47:23] CABRERA: The standoff between the U.S. and North Korea seems to grow more dangerous by the day, and not just in words. The Pentagon just sent bombers and fighter jets farther north of the DMZ than any American warplane has been this century.

And mysterious seismic activity today near North Korea's nuclear testing site. Now, analysts say it may just be aftershocks from a nuclear test earlier this month.

Meanwhile, at the U.N. today, North Korea's top diplomat fired new insults at President Trump. CNN's Paula Hancocks has the very latest from Seoul.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, it was a dramatic speech from the North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, saying that, straightaway, he had to respond to what the U.S. President Donald Trump had said on Thursday in his address to the General Assembly.

He said that they were violent words. He said that Mr. Trump had tainted the sacred chamber. And then he went on to attack the U.S. President as well.

Ri Yong-ho is saying that he was mentally deranged, saying that Mr. Trump is actually on a suicide mission, and that his words on Tuesday meant that he had made an irreversible mistake. That it made it all the more inevitable that, in his words, North Korean missiles could visit the U.S. mainland.

Now, one interesting thing he did say, along by -- along with saying that, obviously, the reason that North Korea needs this nuclear program is because of a U.S. hostile policy. That, we've heard before. But Ri Yong-ho said was that it was important that they had a balance of power with the United States.

He said it didn't make a difference to anybody whether or not North Korea was recognized as a nuclear state. This is something experts had thought North Korea wanted, but he said the important thing was the balance of power with the United States.

Meanwhile, there was a show of force by the U.S. Air Force earlier on Saturday. The Pentagon is saying that U.S. B-1B bombers flew in international air space off the east coast of North Korea.

They say that this was the farthest north that any U.S. fighter or bomber has flown north of the DMZ in the 21st century. We're being told this was a direct response to the nuclear test number six and also to recent missile launches.

Now, we also know there was seismic activity in North Korea a little earlier. There was concern it was another nuclear test. We're hearing from Korean and other officials that it was a natural earthquake, possibly two natural earthquakes.

But what we're also hearing is that it could have been due to geological stress, which basically means that that number six, that earth -- that nuclear test that North Korea carried out on September 3rd could have had an impact. And this seismic activity that we saw today could be a direct result from that nuclear test, Ana.

[20:50:06] CABRERA: All right. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you.

It is a big day for the first lady today. Melania Trump is on her first solo trip abroad as first lady. She is in Canada for the Invictus Games, which is a Paralympic-style sporting event for wounded service members, and it's put on by Britain's Prince Harry.

Now, the first lady met the prince earlier. The two shook their hands. They spoke briefly in front of the cameras. And we understand she met one-on-one with some of the athletes competing in the Invictus Games.

The first lady is also expected to meet with Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

Coming up ahead of tonight's new episode of "DECLASSIFIED." We're going to talk to one of the men responsible for the capture of one of the world's most notorious narco terrorist. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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[20:55:05] CABRERA: Imagine if you were given the mission to capture the most prolific drug dealer in the entire world. In tonight's brand new episode of "DECLASSIFIED," we look at the untold story of how the DEA brought down a so-called heroin godfather with ties to the Taliban. Here's a preview.

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KEITH WEIS, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION: This is an area with a tradition of growing a lot of poppy. There's mountainous clandestine labs there, so a lot of heroin is produced in these areas.

There's definitely a handful of large players, but Haji Bagcho would be one of the largest heroin dealers in Afghanistan.

JEFFREY HIGGINS, SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION: Our sources were telling us that he was dealing in opium and heroin back into the early 1990s.

WEIS: Haji Bagcho's organization is extensive.

HIGGINS: He had hundreds of people working for him.

WEIS: He had individuals that were growing poppy, converting it into the opium. There were laboratories where it was processed by chemists. He had individuals that were in charge of transporting product out to various countries. He was a criminal mastermind.

HIGGINS: He had offices in Pakistan. He had offices in Afghanistan. And he had distribution networks in 22 countries around the world. PHILLIP KEARNEY, SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT, DRUG ENFORCEMENT

ADMINISTRATION: It became clear that Haji Bagcho was kind of the godfather. He was really the man in the shadows that was in charge. The other people that were more well known, they kind of worked for him.

HIGGINS: The money that he was making, the profits, were going into houses. They were going into vehicles. A significant portion of it was going to support terrorism. It was going to the Haqqani network. It was going to the Pakistan Taliban and to the Afghan Taliban.

There's untold numbers of people who died because of that heroin. And the money that was being generated from those heroin sales was going to people that want to destroy the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Joining me now is a member of the DEA team that hunted down the world's biggest heroin trafficker, former Supervisory Agent, Special Agent Jeffrey Higgins.

Jeffrey, thank you for coming on. Give us a sense of what it took to capture this man by, who all accounts, was a criminal mastermind.

HIGGINS: Well, he was the most prolific heroin trafficker and, overall, a drug dealer in the world. He was responsible for 19.7 percent of the world's heroin, and he made at least a minimum of $261 million in a 12-month period, from 2006 into 2007.

And the kind of money that Haji Bagcho made, when it went overseas -- like, we know that 10 to 12 percent of the heroin in the United States comes from Afghanistan, and the difference in pricing between Afghanistan and the United States is incredible.

You can buy a kilo of heroin in Afghanistan for $2,100, and it goes for close to $70,000 in the United States. So the money in this country was in the hundreds of millions of dollars as well.

So you're talking about someone who had incredible influence with politicians, with the police, with the military, and also with all the business and people he had to deal with in Afghanistan. So he -- the people in eastern Afghanistan were terrified of him.

CABRERA: Wow, that's unbelievable. I know the DEA suspected Haji Bagcho of paying the Taliban to protect his opium labs. How much money does the Taliban actually get from drug trafficking, and how exactly are those funds utilized?

HIGGINS: Well, the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime estimated in their 2017 World Drug Report that the Taliban had upwards of $400 million in funding, and as much as half of that came from drug sales.

So you have opiate sales, meaning opium that comes from the poppy plants in Afghanistan. Morphine and heroin is being sold there. And it's also the highest concentration of terror groups in the world. When President Trump made his speech a couple of weeks ago, outlining

his new Afghan policy, he talked about this concentration. You know, you have al-Qaeda and ISIS and the Haqqani network, and the Pakistan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban and several other groups who are at work there.

And they're working in an area that has two-thirds of the world's cultivatable land under poppy production. So it's really the breadbasket of the world for drug production, and it's also where some of the worst terror groups in the world are located.

So it makes sense that you have this symbiotic relationship between drug traffickers and between the terrorists who are there. It's really their number one source of income.

CABRERA: Well, fascinating. Jeffrey Higgins, thank you so much for shedding some light for us. We look forward to seeing the episode tonight.

It's "DECLASSIFIED." It airs right here on CNN, coming up next, so don't go away.

That's going to do it for us here on CNN. A busy night, lots of news going on. We'll be back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

I'm grateful for your company tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera. And one more programming note, be sure to watch us Monday for a CNN town hall event.

Democratic senators, Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, are going to debate Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, on healthcare and the new Graham-Cassidy bill. That's this Monday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

[21:00:00] Have a great night.

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