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North Korea: Fire and Fury; North Korea Threatens Guam; Korea Tension Unsettles Global Markets; Car Rams Soldiers in Paris; Remembering Glen Campbell. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 9, 2017 - 04:30   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A stunning public threat to an American adversary. What is President Trump's next move after North Korea defied him with another threat to the U.S.?

We have full coverage this morning from Washington, Guam, and Seoul.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Miguel Marquez. I'm for Dave Briggs this week. It is 28 minutes past the hour.

This morning, high stakes saber-rattling as North Korean threatens an attack on a U.S. territory and President Trump warning of fire and fury. Pyongyang with a major escalation warning of a preemptive retaliatory operation of justice.

ROMANS: In a statement, the North Korean military threatens to strike the U.S. island of Guam and it specifically mentions Anderson Air Force Base on Guam. That's home to two American bombers that flew over the Korean peninsula this week, prompting, those flyovers, prompting the latest North Korean rhetoric.

MARQUEZ: Now, the North Korean threats came hours after we also learned U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded Pyongyang has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead. One official notes the nuclear warhead capability is not, not the consensus of the entire U.S. intelligence community. "The Washington Post," which first published details, says the Defense Intelligence Agency reached this conclusion.

ROMANS: President Trump responding to these reports with very sharp rhetoric, intensifying concerns about what happens next.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more from the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Miguel, with a threat of North Korea's nuclear program looming even larger at the White House, President Trump on that working vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey, making the toughest language yet toward the North Korean regime.

[04:30:08] On Tuesday, during another briefing on the opioid crisis here in America, he was asked about North Korea. His language was not something we've not heard from an American president.

TRUMP: North Korea best not make anymore threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

ZELENY: Now, fire and fury certainly not the words of diplomacy. President Trump essentially drawing his own red line toward North Korea.

The president's words seemingly off the cuff coming in response to a question certainly would seem to escalate this more than deescalate it.

Christine and Miguel, it certainly heightens what is the biggest crisis facing now this administration.


MARQUEZ: Thanks to our Jeff Zeleny there.

This is hardly the first time North Korea has made harsh threats against the U.S. Some of them sounding just as deadly and dangerous. But why this one being taken more seriously?

We want to go to CNN's Alexandra Field. She's in Seoul, South Korea, this morning.

Alex, certainly, the South Koreans are used to it. They have heard it for years out of the North. How are they reacting this time?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, threats from North Korea don't always raise alarm as bellicose as they may be and often times they are largely or wholly ignored even really in South Korea. There is a different kind of response that's been percolating not just in response to these threats but also in recent days. Just today, you did hear President Moon Jae-in here in South Korea talk about the need to overhaul and step up South Korean defenses. That certainly speaks to the gravity of the security situation right here on the peninsula, and those threats from North Korea in the midst of it.

We're talking about many threats now and specific threats like using long or medium-range missiles to launching military attack on the territory of Guam, where there are thousands of U.S. servicemen and women. Why Guam? Because that's also the point of departure for those B1 bombers that were used in training exercises by the U.S. military flying over the Korean peninsula as recently as Monday.

North Korea, while it is making threats per usual as you can ask anyone, also has some reason to be taken more seriously by. The world at large and that's because recently they have proven they have expanded their capacity, that they have rapidly developed their missile and nuclear program. Last month test-launching two ICBMs, and now, this latest piece of intelligence seeming to suggest that they could have miniaturized a warhead that could be mounted to an ICBM.

That's not the total equation, of course. They would still have to get the re-entry part right, and nobody speculating that they nailed that part of it. But certainly, it does raise the security concerns.

Officials in the region are reacting, but they are focusing on Pyongyang. They are condemning Pyongyang for issuing these threats, for raising the tension level. Interestingly, Miguel, we have not heard officials in the region comment on those fiery remarks from President Trump, really rare words to hear from a U.S. commander-in- chief talking about fire and fury.

Why aren't officials here commenting on that? Well, all we can do is point out the fact that there's a very close relationship between South Korea and the U.S., also between Japan and the U.S. There is a defense alliance that is decades old, and right now more than ever, Japan and South Korea are counting on the cooperation of the U.S. for the defense and security that they feel that they really need -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Very interesting, 20 million South Koreans in Seoul, 30,000 American troops right nearby as well. All of this happening against a very disturbing background.

Alexandra Field for us in Seoul, thank you.

ROMANS: And Democrats and Republicans are slamming President Trump for escalating the crisis with North Korea. Many lawmakers raising some concerns about the president drawing a line in the sand and not being able to back it up.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I take exception to the president's comments because you got to be sure that you can do what you say you're going to do. And I think that the rotund ruler in Pyongyang is not crazy, but he certainly is ready to go to the brink. The great leaders that I have seen, they don't threaten unless they are ready to act. And I'm not sure that President Trump is ready to act.

SEN. AL FRANKLIN (D), MINNESOTA: This is so irresponsibly. I can't -- I can't even believe that he did this. And I don't know -- I would call on the new chief of staff, who I think is aware of the consequences of -- the potential consequences of something like this. I would call on him to tell the president not to do that kind of thing again.


[04:35:03] ROMANS: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calls the president Trump's comments reckless, Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Now, we want to bring in CNN military analyst and retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. He is coming to us via Skype in a very early San Antonio, Texas.

ROMANS: Good morning.

MARQUEZ: Thank you for being with us this morning.

Just to give us a sense of the president's remarks. You saw his remarks sitting at the table, sort of arms crossed, speaking very forcefully. As a military man, what did you draw from the way he spoke to the North Koreans and addressed this?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, this, Miguel, would be something that I would expect a commander-in-chief to say if there had been an actual incident or if there had been an actual situation where the North Koreans had actually done something, where they had attacked a city or done something like this or had threatened to do that.

What we're reacting to here is an intelligence report or the report of an intelligence report that talks about a North Korean capability. And that very fact makes these remarks, the timing of these remarks, to be a bit off from what it would normally be.

So, from a military perspective, you look at this as the kind of remarks that would get the forces ready, that would get the forces ready to engage a foreign adversary and in this case, this foreign adversary, of course, is one that wants to not only tangle with the U.S. or at least says it wants to tangle with the U.S., but it also is an adversary that is exceedingly dangerous.

ROMANS: It says it wants to tangle with the U.S., says it wants a preemptive retaliatory operation of justice. That's sort of bellicose language that the North Koreans use.

But, you know, the language on the U.S. side matters, too. Presidential language matters. Fire and fury is what this president said.

Is there a risk here that the United States is not able or doesn't want to back up that kind of language? I mean, you have Rex Tillerson, secretary of state, he's in the region right now, he is really pursuing what has been called peaceful pressure, a very different kind of strategy than what we heard from the president yesterday.

LEIGHTON: That's absolutely right, Christine. The strategy that Secretary of State Tillerson seems to be pursuing at this juncture is one of which we have a way in which to get the North Koreans to the table. He's looking at various means to get a country that has been very reluctant to negotiate, and when they do negotiate, of course, there are a lot of problems with those negotiations. But at the very least, what the secretary of state is doing is in

concert with previous U.S. efforts in the region. The kind of rhetoric that you heard yesterday from the president is one that upends that kind of effort by the secretary of state and makes it very difficult from that perspective to actually change course and to do things that would ratchet up the kind of rhetoric if there were a provocation from the North. And without that direct provocation, it becomes very difficult to go even further in rhetoric or in action.

MARQUEZ: Probably makes it harder on our allies in the area to do anything as well.

"The Washington Post" editorial regarding his fire and fury comments is pretty tough, saying that it President Trump's unsettling threat Tuesday aimed at North Korea was reckless and unnecessary and it's bombast. It resembled nothing as Kim Jong-un's regular denunciations of the United States, frantic and hyperbolic. Why would the president of the world's most powerful nation want to descend to that level?

I take it in the bizarre logic of nuclear weapons, the only thing the president's words do is ensure that North Korea will accelerate its nuclear weapons program.

LEIGHTON: It is certainly a big risk, Miguel. And if the North Koreans take these words to heart, which has been pointed out by Alexandra Field and others, this is something that is very similar to North Korean rhetoric you hear from on their television and from their leaders.

If they take these words to heart, it will probably result in an acceleration of an already accelerated program. And the assessments that we see right now from the intelligence community are ones that really indicate that the North Koreans have moved very quickly to establish a military capability that is a game-changing military capability.

So, it's definitely right to be concerned and definitely right to be on guard. The problem that you have is you have to pick your moments when you do this. And I think the right moment was one that was not picked in this instance.

ROMANS: Well, you did not see careful diplomacy there. Is that what you're saying?

LEIGHTON: That's right. This was something there was one aspect that was handled on the diplomatic side with Secretary Tillerson, one that promised perhaps some way of getting out of this current situation or at least a way of containing the North Korean effort.

[04:40:10] This other effort where this rhetoric from the president in essence takes that off its tracks and creates a problem from a policy- making standpoint and also it increases the risk of miscalculation on both sides.

ROMANS: And there's no room for error on this. There's a maddeningly short list of options for North Korea and all of them are bad essentially.

MARQUEZ: And this is --

LEIGHTON: That's right.

ROMANS: Go ahead.

LEIGHTON: Miguel and Christine, it's a very difficult target set from just a technical military perspective and it is one in which the way in which you go about finding targets and making sure you can go after targets requires a great deal of rigorous thought and that becomes something that this administration has to work on, quite frankly, in order to achieve desired foreign policy goals.

And to this, of course, as President Obama told President Trump, the most difficult area of all to deal with.

MARQUEZ: This is one of 16 intelligence agencies who has come to this conclusion that they developed this miniaturized nuclear weapon. Is that actionable, that information alone from the DIA?

LEIGHTON: Not normally. So, the way it generally works, Miguel, is when an intelligence agency makes an assessment, they then farm that out to the other agencies to hopefully achieve a consensus view of the particular issue that they are discussing. The fact that this is the DIA document usually indicates that several intelligence agencies already had a hand in making that assessment. But it is not the type of formal assessment that you need now from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees all of those 16 intelligence agencies.

So, that assessment from the ODNI was lacking in the document that came out via "The Washington Post" and CNN reports.

ROMANS: As you know, we began the week with a real win for the administration on those sanctions, 15 --

MARQUEZ: Fifteen to zero, unheard of.

ROMANS: Unheard of, the sanctions against North Korea, and then the story has just sort of really swelled from there.

Thank you so much, Colonel. We'll talk to you again. We really appreciate you getting up so early for us this morning to walk us through these risks. Thank you.

MARQUEZ: Thank you.

Forty-two minutes past the hour.

President Trump has made his disdain for anonymous sources clear. So, why did he retweet an article based on anonymous sources, which contained classified information?


[04:46:58] ROMANS: Welcome back.

The Trump administration plans to slap duties on aluminum foil. The Commerce Department announcing it found that Chinese foil is subsidized by the government so will place taxes up to 81 percent on all imports.

The Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says this move will stop, quote, harmful trade practices from foreign nations, taking advantage of U.S. industries.

Chinese foil imports were worth $389 million last year. Now, this action isn't part of a larger upcoming investigation into unfair Chinese trade practices. Senior officials say that could come any day now.

But many think Washington is delaying a more aggressive move against China for now. Why? Two words: North Korea.

While candidate Trump repeatedly slammed Beijing on trade, President Trump has taken a more cautious approach. After meeting with the Chinese president in April, Trump said he would go easier on China on trade in return for help pressuring North Korea on its nuclear program.

MARQUEZ: Now, we want to get back to the North Korean situation.

Residents of a tiny Pacific island of territory of Guam now caught in the middle of this. What's the feeling there on the ground?

We want to go live to Guam, where it is approaching 7:00 p.m. and bring in journalist Robert Santos.

Robert, thank you for being with us.

Guam has heard these sort of threats from North Korea before. The U.S. military has a political issue there. How is this it being read there on the island?

ROBERT SANTOS, JOURNALIST: Well, it just depends on who you speak to. You know, when you talk to people about, are they afraid?

The people I have spoken to say no. We are under U.S. We've got two military bases here.

The bombers that were heading to the Korean peninsula came from here. We've got the missile defense system. We've got the U.S.'s commitment that we are going to be safe. So, that side believes that we are safe.

Then there's the other said that really says, do we really know that for sure, you know? Many people say, look back to World War II, for instance, when the U.S. right before the bombing of Pearl Harbor committed to Guam that Guam would be safe. Well, many believe that that time after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that the U.S. was interested in just protecting its military assets here, but not necessarily the people. So, for 32 months, the people of Guam endured the atrocities of the Japanese at that time.

So when you're talking to historians and people who are Chamorro, which are the people of Guam, Chamorro rights activists, they would say, no, we cannot trust that we are going to be safe.

MARQUEZ: But do they see this as in line with previous threats that North Korea has made toward Guam?

SANTOS: Yes, it was about -- I think it was about four years ago when there was another threat that came about. You know, for the most part, the majority of people believe this is just a threat.

[04:50:01] It's just like when you talk to some people in South Korea. They believe this is just North Korea's threat. Kim Jong-un just recklessly speaking.

And so, there are people in Guam who believe that, you know, yes, it's concerning that this is a direct threat that Guam was named specifically and in light of what's going on around the world, they are concerned. But at the same time, you know, they are trying to be cautious about all this. And we are being assured by local leaders there's no particular threat and the threat level has not changed.

MARQUEZ: Interesting. And clearly also aimed at the political issue of Anderson Air Force Base. U.S. wants to increase the size of that base. Guam has been -- it's been controversial in Guam, that Air Force base, and many would like to see it go.

Robert Santos for us in Guam this morning -- thank you very much.

Still no explanation from the White House after President Trump retweeted a FOX News story citing anonymous sources, claiming the U.S. had detected North Korea moving anti-ship cruise missiles to a patrol boat. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley indicating the information in the report was classified and leaked.

ROMANS: She described such leaks as incredibly dangerous. But that didn't stop the president from retweeting it just a few hours earlier. A defense official familiar with the latest intelligence did later corroborate that report confirming to CNN the North Koreans have loaded two anti-ship cruise missile canisters on to a guided missile patrol craft.

MARQUEZ: So, will the U.S. -- will Jeff Sessions now investigate --

ROMANS: Investigate that leak.

MARQUEZ: -- that leak and possibly the president?

ROMANS: All right. Fifty-one minutes past the hour. The highest number of job openings on record. So, where are the wage hikes to match? That's on CNN Money Stream, next.


[04:56:14] ROMANS: All right. Breaking news out of Paris this morning, where officials say a car rammed a group of soldiers deployed on anti-terror mission supporting police. Two soldiers have injuries police say are serious, but not life-threatening. Four others were lightly injured. Officials say this is the sixth attack on French military or police so far this year.

MARQUEZ: Now, legendary singer/songwriter Glen Campbell has died after a brave and public battle with Alzheimer's disease.


MARQUEZ: That voice, "Gentle on my Mind", one of those string of hits Glen Campbell had in the 1960s and '70s, including "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights", "Wichita Lineman", among many others. After his Alzheimer's diagnosis in 2011, Campbell played a two-year farewell tour which was chronicled in the 2014 documentary "I'll Be Me." Among those paying tribute, country legend Dolly Parton who says Campbell had one of the greatest voices ever. Glen Campbell was 81.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning. President Trump's fiery warning to North Korea is unsettling global markets. Global stocks and U.S. futures dropping overnight as tensions rise between the U.S. and North Korea. While investors flee to safe havens like gold and bonds, President Trump's promise of, quote, fire and fury to North Korea also triggered a sell off on Wall Street, snapping the Dow's winning streak after nine straight days of records. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 also closing lower.

The American economy boasting the highest number of job openings on record, up 8 percent in June, 6.2 million open jobs today at this moment. That's according to a Labor Department report. This high number illustrates bot the strength and the weakness of the current jobs market. It shows that employers have plenty of jobs, but businesses claim they struggle to find qualified workers to fill them.

However, some economists question the so-called skills gap, encouraging employers to higher offer wages to attract talent. That's econ 101, right? If you can't find the workers, raise the wages and they will come.

Overall wage growth has been flat the past few years. It's the missing part of the job recovery.

Disney is pulling its content from Netflix to launch its own streaming service. Disney's cable networks make up the majority of the revenue, but those channels have taken a hit in recent years as more viewers cut the cord.

So, Disney plans to start its own online streaming services. One ESPN branded channel for sports content next year, and another in 2019 for all other Disney movies and programs.

In preparation, Disney will pull all of its movies from Netflix. However, the Marvel TV series which Disney owns will continue to live on Netflix, for now. Both stocks moving on that yesterday.

MARQUEZ: An interesting mix in the digital age. ROMANS: How we watch TV.

MARQUEZ: EARLY START continues right now.



TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.


ROMANS: A stunning public threat to an American adversary. What is President Trump's next move after North Korea defied him with another threat to the U.S.

We have full coverage this morning from Washington and from Seoul.

Good evening, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

MARQUEZ: I'm Miguel Marquez, in for Dave Briggs this week. It is Wednesday, the 9th, 5:00 a.m. here on the East Coast.

This morning, high stakes, a game in North Korea is threatening an attack on the U.S. territory and President Trump warning of fire and fury. Pyongyang with a major escalation warning of what it calls a preemptive retaliatory operation of justice.

ROMANS: In a statement, the North Korean military threatens to strike the U.S. island of Guam and it specifically mentions Anderson Air Force Base on Guam.