Return to Transcripts main page
U.S. President Resumes Attacks on News Media; Trump and Putin to Meet at G20 Summit; Diplomatic Rift Unites Qatar's People; Fierce Fighting Rages in Mosul as ISIS Nears Defeat; Venezuelans Cross the Border for Basic Supplies; Honoring the Sacrifice of 19 Hero Firefighters; Roman Ruins Found Frozen in Time. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired July 2, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[05:00:49] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. President continues his Twitter tirade against the media. Critics on both sides of the aisle say it's distracting from his own agenda. We'll have a closer look.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: A harrowing report from our Nick Paton Walsh on the final push against ISIS in Western Mosul, we'll have that. Plus this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Streets empty, and each human they meet is either desperate to escape or the enemy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Now that story coming up here, at the final push to get ISIS out of the city of Mosul in Iraq.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. We are live in Atlanta at 5:01 a.m. Eastern Time. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell from CNN World headquarters. NEWSROOM starts right now.
ALLEN: President Trump is away from the White House this holiday weekend spending time at his resort in New Jersey, but he did return to Washington briefly, Saturday night, for an event at the Kennedy Center.
HOWELL: This event there at the Kennedy Center, it is to celebrate freedom, the Celebrate Freedom Concert. It is designed to honor U.S. veterans. The President, though, used the occasion to attack one of his favorite targets, the news media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fake media is trying to silence us, but we will not let them because the people know the truth.
TRUMP: The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I'm President and they're not.
TRUMP: The dishonest media will never keep us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of our great American people. Will never happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Mr. Trump also pushed back against critics who want him to lay off Twitter. Well, those critics include members of the Republican Party.
He said -- my use of social media is not presidential, it is modern- day presidential. Make America great again!
Here's more now from CNN's Ryan Nobles at the White House.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The President of the United States started his holiday weekend early Saturday by tweeting about Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
Continuing his feud with the MSNBC hosts, Trump tweeting, quote, crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low-rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad!
It wasn't the only thing the President tweeted about. He also went on a Twitter rampage accusing the media of trying to get in the way of his social media usage, suggesting that his Twitter feed is among the reasons that he is currently the President of the United States.
But there are many Republicans in Congress that are concerned about the President's use of Twitter and that it's getting in the way of his agenda, including some important things happening this week, like his trip to Europe for the G20 Summit and the debate over health care.
Still, his aides say the President is diligently working on health care. He is expected to make calls to lawmakers over the July 4th recess with the hope of coming to an agreement to repeal and replace ObamaCare when they return on July 10th.
Ryan Nobles, CNN, at the White House.
ALLEN: Let's talk more about it with Steven Erlanger. He's the London bureau chief for "The New York Times."
Steven, thank you for joining us. Let's look at that new tweet from President Trump, again, where he says his tweeting is modern-day presidential, that he's rewriting the rules and that he won in part due to social media. Well, is that kind of true? STEVEN ERLANGER, LONDON BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it is
true. There's no question he used social media in a very clever way. He used it, you know, the way the first politicians used the radio, to appeal over the heads of experts and journalists right to his base. And that's what he cares about.
[05:04:58] I mean, he lives on partisanship, and he excites his base this way. They like his tweets. The Republican leadership might not and the news media might not, though it gives us all something to talk about. But I think, for him, it's a very important part of his notion of politics, and it is very modern.
ALLEN: Yes. He is defending his freedom of speech, I guess, as we, the media, whom he calls fake, continue to express freedom of speech with our work. True there, too, I guess.
But when it comes to legislation and needing to get into the weeds of what he really needs to accomplish as President, a tweet doesn't lend itself to that. Some, of course, pithy tweets can help half, but not sure what he's going for. Are his tweets an impediment to important communication he needs to have to get his projects pushed through?
ERLANGER: I'm not sure because, you know, one of the reasons that he still has big influence with his own party is they're afraid of him. I mean, they believe that he has appealed to voters who will punish them if they push against the White House, if they push against Trump.
So you see this issue on the health bill, which is really quite controversial. But you also see it with this discomfort people have about the Russian investigation and rumors and hints that come out of the White House that, you know, Trump's going to fire Robert Mueller and then people pulled him back from that.
There's just this sense that he is using this -- I mean we are props in his play, right?
ERLANGER: CNN is, "The New York Times" is. And by telling -- by pushing this notion that we're all fake news, he is trying to undermine us when we produce real news, particularly real news that might damage him and his program. But there's no question there's a battle.
I mean, we can't be in a fight with the President of the United States. That's ridiculous. I mean, we're just trying to cover him. And sometimes, I think, we actually add to his intent by spending so much time concentrating on his little squabbles, which seem, to me, quite cynical, actually.
ALLEN: OK. Yes, good point. Let's talk about what he's got on his plate. Later today, he's talking with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, trying to explore things regarding North Korea. And he also has to somehow finesse the arm sale that the U.S. just maid to Taiwan. Can you talk more about how important this conversation might be? ERLANGER: Well, it is very important. I mean, there's no question
Mr. Trump handed it, talked about putting 35 percent tax on China tariffs and that China was a currency manipulator. And as a negotiator, he tries to put people on the defensive.
And then, Xi Jinping was his best friend in Mar-a-Lago. And now he says he's disappointed with what the Chinese have been able to do with North Korea.
But the fact of the matter is, the relationship with China is crucial. It's crucial for the United States. It's crucial for the security of East Asia. Our allies in East Asia are really very, very nervous, and so are the people in South Korea. It's a bit like Russia.
I mean, Mr. Trump is trying to, if you like, reset relations with two major powers. The Chinese, really, are much more important. And also Russia. And I think for the G20, which is coming up next week in Hamburg, it will be Trump's first real sit-down with Vladimir Putin. And it will be an important moment for Xi Jinping and Mr. Trump also.
And there are other countries in the world, including the European Union, who are very anxious about what Mr. Trump will do and say in both of those relationships because his relationship, the United States' relationship, with Russia and China matters terribly for the rest of the world, especially the Europeans.
ALLEN: Yes, we need to focus back on the important stories here, I guess, if you call that, than the tweet world, but thank you. Steven Erlanger for us there from London from "The New York Times." Appreciate it.
ERLANGER: Thank you.
HOWELL: Natalie, you touched on this in your interview, but this is possibly one of the most anticipated meetings coming up in the G20 Summit, President Trump planning to sit down with the leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
ALLEN: Yes. For years, Mr. Trump has delivered conflicting messages about just how well he knows Mr. Putin. We get more on that from CNN's Victor Blackwell.
TRUMP: I never met Putin. I don't know who Putin is. He said --
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a claim President Donald Trump made many times during the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm asking you --
TRUMP: I never met Putin. I don't think I've ever met him. I never met him. I don't think I've ever met him.
[05:10:00] GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You would know it if you did, wouldn't you? TRUMP: I think so.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): The White House says next week's G20 Summit in Germany will offer the first opportunity for President Trump to meet Russian President, Vladimir Putin, face-to-face. However, all the denials contradict what candidate Trump said in an October 2015 radio interview.
MICHAEL SAVAGE, AMERICAN RADIO HOST: Have you met Vladimir Putin?
SAVAGE: You have?
TRUMP: One time, yes, a long time ago.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Mr. Trump did not say during that interview when or under what circumstances the two men met. And days before their meeting in Hamburg, there are several unsettled opposing claims about their history.
The White House says Trump and Putin have spoken by phone at least three times since the 2016 election. But on conversations before the election, more contradictions. In July 2016, candidate Trump said this.
TRUMP: I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him, other than he will respect me.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Well, that contradicts what he said two years earlier.
TRUMP: I was in Moscow recently and I spoke indirectly and directly with President Trump, who could not have been nicer.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): During the campaign, candidate Trump denied any relationship with Putin.
TRUMP: I have no relationship with him, other than he called me a genius.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): But when asked about their relationship during a 2013 MSNBC interview, another contradiction.
THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, a conversational relationship or anything, that you feel you have sway or influence over his government?
TRUMP: I do have a relationship.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): The G20 Summit begins on Friday.
ALLEN: Well, the Russian --
HOWELL: Victor Blackwell --
ALLEN: I'm sorry.
HOWELL: Yes, Victor Blackwell, thank you.
ALLEN: The Russian President is urging the Emir of Qatar and the King of Bahrain to resolve the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighbors. Qatar faces a Monday deadline to comply with 13 demands from several Gulf Arab States.
HOWELL: Here's the deal though. It's unlike that deadline will be met. Qatar's Foreign Minister says the demands were not meant to be accepted. And he adds, larger nations should not bully smaller ones.
ALLEN: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE have all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. The country denies that.
HOWELL: Let's go live to Qatar right now. Jomana Karadsheh, following the story in Doha.
Good to have you with us. So when it comes to the mood there in Doha and throughout Qatar, it seems that Qataris are taking a very resilient position despite this pressure.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They really are. And, you know, George, it's one day before that deadline runs out. And as you mentioned, it really is looking unlikely that Qatar is going to agree or comply with this list of sweeping demands.
And it's not just something that we're hearing from government officials like the Foreign Minister. You're also hearing this on the ground from ordinary people. There really is this mood of defiance and patriotism in Doha.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Four years ago, Dana Al Fardan ended her singing career to focus on composing music. But as her country of Qatar is facing an unprecedented crisis, it's time to act, she says.
DANA AL FARDAN, COMPOSER: All of a sudden, there is this embargo and we were blockaded. I wanted to get this message of love and unity and togetherness out, and I wanted to share this to showcase the strength and our unwavering loyalty for a reason.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Along with some of Qatar's most known musical talents and a volunteer expatriate choir, they recorded the song, "One Nation."
AL FARDAN: Our home is being attacked and we've got to stand up for ourselves. We've got to stand up for it. We've got to take ownership of our messaging. We've got to take ownership of our narrative. We've got to get this out there.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Qataris, like their government, feel the demands by the Saudi-led alliance, they say, aim to strip it of its sovereignty.
On the streets of Doha, it feels like national day with what seem to be spontaneous shows of support for the country's leadership. The latest, this wall with the Emir's now iconic image, where people leave messages of support and patriotism.
Ten-year-old Haya (ph), perhaps too young to understand the politics behind this, says she's here to express her love for the Emir and is proud of her country.
MAYA AL-KUWANI, QATARI CITIZEN: Under this crisis and this blockade, it's brought us together. And to see people do this by -- from the grassroots, from bottom up, because it's not forced by the government. So it's -- I don't know, it's heartwarming to be here, too, with everyone.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): We're told the poster was put up by a Qatari businessman.
SHEIKH TURKI BIN FAISAL AL THANI, QATARI BUSINESSMAN: During the crisis, our government, they've done -- I think they've done very well in handling the situation and providing a normal life -- a continued normal life for people, for maintaining the standard of living in the country.
[05:14:59] So this is just a way for the people and for us to show our support to our government and to our leadership, who have really made us proud of them at this time of crisis.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): This sense of national pride is a sure sign that Qatar will not be backing down anytime soon.
KARADSHEH: But it's not just this mood of nationalism. There is also a certain level of anxiety and uncertainty. No one really knows what happens next.
HOWELL: Well, Jomana, that is the question. There is definitely a timeline on this, and Qatar was given 10 days to comply. So unclear what happens next. But, you know, there are certainly consequences there, yes?
KARADSHEH: A lot of questions. I don't think that's the major question. No one really knows what happens next.
It does seem that, when you look at it, both sides are really digging in. You know, you have the Qataris saying that they will not agree to demands that infringe on their sovereignty. And then you have the other side, we've heard from Saudi Arabia, their Foreign Minister, saying these demands are not negotiable.
When these demands were presented, they said that they're only valid for 10 days. It really is unclear what comes next. There's been a lot of speculation whether there's going to be any sort of escalation or sanctions that could follow. And we've heard from the Qatari Foreign Minister yesterday saying that
they believe they have a lot of international support, and they are ready for whatever the consequences are going to be. One thing is for certain, George, this region, the Gulf Cooperation Council, will definitely not be the same again after this crisis.
HOWELL: I believe it was described before as a parting of ways, so obviously, we'll see how this all plays out moving forward.
Jomana Karadsheh, live for us in Doha this hour. Thank you for your reporting.
ALLEN: The defeat of ISIS in Mosul looks imminent. Coming up here, we have exclusive footage of the fighting that shows you what the Iraqi army is up against as they try to push ISIS out.
HOWELL: Plus, an exclusive interview with a former extremist in the Philippines. What he says about his old group now fighting for ISIS. Stay with us.
HOWELL: The battle for Mosul. ISIS is on the brink of defeat in that city in Iraq, but fierce fighting continues.
ALLEN: Now, photographer Gabriel Chaim has been on the ground there capturing harrowing video of the battle. Our Nick Paton Walsh has some of that for you.
[05:20:02] We want to warn you, you're going to see some disturbing video, and it shows you just how close and dangerous this last fight is.
PATON WALSH (voice-over): From here to the river is all ISIS has left of Mosul. And this is the story of how it fell on the streets around the mosque they once held sacred but then destroyed.
Brazilian photographer Gabriel Chaim is on foot with Iraqi Special Forces. Every footfall could hit a booby trap. An eerie silence, holes in just about everything, endless soot.
Streets empty. And each human they meet is either desperate to escape or the enemy.
In the alleyways, two men approach them. One is carrying a bomb. They rush in to help their wounded.
The second man carrying a much larger device. Gabriel struggles to breath. The dust also means they can't see if there are any other bombers or where their three dead and dozen wounded colleagues lay.
The advance continues up to and around the mosque. As civilians, human shields for weeks, stoop under the gunfire or are even oblivious to it. Some never leave the underground. Loud, constant blasts in the darkness.
Unable to walk, the first man feigns ignorance but soon admits ISIS were on the roof and have mined the entire street. The interrogator later tells his team the man is, himself, ISIS.
For the past week, the desperate rush to life had continued. The U.N. estimated 150,000 people were trapped here. But in the end, nobody had any idea. Or how many lay left behind them in the rubble.
"Water, water. I'm dying," she screams, her lips white. In crippling heat and panic, pray you never thirst like this. Or what it is like to carry your family out, lifeless on a cart. This is his mother.
"For God's sake, help me carry him," he cries. They try, running to the closest point in the narrow street a vehicle can reach. "Stop the blood loss," they plead. It's unclear if the boy survived.
Even when this trap of dust is cleared of ISIS, the killing in Iraq's fractured society won't stop. And her private hell of memories won't suddenly be washed away.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Mosul.
HOWELL: Nick, thank you.
ALLEN: No, they won't.
ALLEN: My goodness. Well, in a CNN exclusive coming up Monday, we will look at this war in Syria. We will take you to the Netherlands where our Atika Shubert speaks with a Syrian mother who received desperate messages from her daughter who is trapped in Raqqa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm exhausted, Mom. I can't bear this life anymore. My son is sick, and there's no medicine or clean water or anything for my child. It was really hard to find some milk yesterday.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've never seen your grandson before?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No, I haven't seen him. My dear, I wake up in sadness. I go to bed in sadness. I don't know any other emotion than sadness. Every day, I live in fear of tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: You'll hear more of those desperate messages, and you'll hear the response of hope from her mother. That story, only on Monday, only here on CNN.
ALLEN: We might cling to that word, hope.
ALLEN: After all of that.
ALLEN: Well, the defeat in Mosul appears imminent for ISIS but ISIS is expanding beyond the Middle East. It has brought groups like Abu Sayyaf under its black banner, now waging in the Philippines.
HOWELL: Our Ivan Watson recently spoke to a former Abu Sayyaf member. In a CNN exclusive, he detailed that group's bloody history.
TEXT: Inside the mind of a Former Extremist.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What was the attraction in those days to join an armed militant group?
[05:25:00] ABU JIHAD, FORMER MEMBER OF EXTREMIST GROUP: To us, it was a noble obligation to take part in jihad.
TEXT: "Abu Jihad" is from the Philippines Island of Basilan.
For more than a decade, he was a member of Abu Sayyaf, the Philippines' most notorious extremist group.
WATSON: What was the justification at that time for killing people?
JIHAD: At first, we thought that the organization is for religious purpose. It is for the propagation of the Islamic teachings. It is to establish the sharia. We never thought that the group would resort to kidnappings, bombings, and many other atrocities.
TEXT: Over the past quarter century, Abu Sayyaf kidnapped scores of people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- had $15 million in ransom for the release of 20 of 21 hostages kidnapped 4-1/2 months ago.
TEXT: The militants ransomed and released some victims. Some were beheaded.
JIHAD: Especially during the start of the group, the foreign connection, foreign support is very important.
TEXT: Abu Sayyaf allied itself with the al Qaeda in the 1990s.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Among those sent to train Abu Sayyaf, al Qaeda member and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
WATSON: What kind of things did these men teach you? JIHAD: They provided us with their experience in Afghanistan, how to
conduct ambush, and what are the things needed during warfare.
TEXT: Extremists have long taken advantage of Southeast Asia's porous maritime borders.
WATSON: Did you use the islands and boats to smuggle people and money and weapons?
JIHAD: Yes. It was very easy for us. By using the fastest speedboats that they have, they can easily transport firearms and money very easily.
WATSON: How much money would be on a boat?
TEXT: At least 14 different insurgent groups have joined ISIS in the Philippines.
JIHAD: This has never happened before, that militant groups in the Philippines have come together.
TEXT: Abu Jihad was arrested and jailed in 2002. He has since renounced violence.
WATSON: Do you feel any guilt about your time with the militant group?
JIHAD: Yes. Yes. I resented having joined this kind of organization, having known people who brought these destructions.
ALLEN: From Ivan Watson there in the Philippines.
Well, in the middle of a devastated economy, many Venezuelans are heading across the border to try and find food. We'll take you along on what they're having to do, coming up next here.
HOWELL: Plus, as President Trump makes more controversial comments about a woman, we'll take a look at how his wife and daughter are reacting.
ALLEN: And later this hour, amazingly well preserved ruins discovered while digging for a new subway line underneath Rome.
[05:31:25] HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. It's good to have you with us. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. The headline this hour, the U.S. holiday weekend is not keeping President Donald Trump from not wishing news media a Happy Fourth, hardly. This is his latest tweet -- the fake and fraudulent news media is
working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media, but, remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches, and social media. I had to beat fake news and did. We will continue to win.
HOWELL: The former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been released from prison. The 71-year-old had his sentence cut by a third last week. Reduced sentences are common practice in Israel for prisoners who have not committed violent crimes. Mr. Olmert was serving a 27-month sentence for corruption.
ALLEN: The rift between Qatar and several Gulf Arab States could deepen. Qatar's Foreign Minister says a list of 13 demands from its neighbors was intended to be rejected. He's urging dialogues as Monday's deadline approaches.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE have all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of, among other things, supporting terrorism. And Qatar denies that.
HOWELL: In the capital of Syria, a suicide car bomber managed to escape authorities who were chasing him. Syrian state T.V. say that he blew himself up at the Al-Tahrir Square in Central Damascus, killing and wounding several people there. Authorities also chased two other suicide car bombers. They intercepted them and destroyed the bombs at an entrance to the city.
We are learning more, learning now that four more people had been killed in Venezuela as outrage grows against that government. It's been almost three months now since demonstrations demanding that the President Nicolas Maduro step down. The rally is now becoming dangerous. The death toll now stands at 86 people.
ALLEN: That is as the country continues to face a devastating economic crisis. People are standing in lines for hours as grocery stores run out of food and water. Medicine grows scarce.
The latest protest involved Attorney General Luisa Ortega, a well- known critic of President Maduro. She's been banned from leaving the country, and her assets have been frozen. So many Venezuelans are turning to their neighbor, Colombia, to get their basic needs.
HOWELL: That's right. CNN's Leyla Santiago has this report from the border.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very busy and quite festive scene here in Cucuta, Colombia where busloads of people come to the border of Colombia and Venezuela to buy very basic goods. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans cross the border into this town to find the basic goods that they cannot find in their home country.
And inside the stores here in Colombia, Venezuelans know that they can count on this. They can count on store shelves to be filled with the basics pasta -- rice, cooking oil, diapers, things that they cannot find in their home country of Venezuela right now.
Leyla Santiago, CNN, Cucuta, Columbia.
ALLEN: President Trump, again, commenting about a female cable news anchor. Those comments bringing up his long history of sexist remarks.
HOWELL: And that puts the spotlight on all of the women in his own life. Our Jason Carroll takes look at how some of those women are reacting during this latest controversy.
[05:34:58] JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: While the administration looks toward trying to turn the page on the debate over the President and his comments about women, three women close to the President have stood by him. The first lady, Senior White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway, and his daughter Ivanka.
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties. They should be the norm.
CARROLL: Ivanka Trump, perhaps the most vocal member of the administration promoting and empowering women, noticeably silent on her father's latest tweet about MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, a tweet lawmakers on both sides of the aisle viewed as sexist.
This silence from a woman whose Twitter bio reads, in part, wife, mother, sister, daughter, entrepreneur, and advocate for the education and empowerment of women and girls.
Ivanka Trump, in the past, has stridently defended her father's treatment of women. This past April, Trump was met with boos when she explained her reasoning to a women's panel in Berlin.
TRUMP: He's been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive in the new reality of --
MIRIAM MECKEL, EDITOR IN CHIEF, WIRTSCHAFTSWOCHE: You hear the reaction from the audience, so I need to address one more point. Some attitudes towards women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave one questioning whether he's such an empowerer for women. What's your comment on that?
TRUMP: I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women.
CARROLL: White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway, on the other hand, publicly defended the President's latest tweets. KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And large
parts of the media anyway are covering personal insults about the President, this invective, and really denying America's women their rightful knowledge on what he is doing for them on --
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Well, the President actually hasn't come out with his national point plan --
CONWAY: -- you would not be talking about infrastructure.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- but that's beside the point right now. Let me --
CONWAY: You would not be talking jobs. You keep interrupting me, George, and fairly to the American people, particularly women who tune in to these shows to get information about what's going on for them.
CARROLL: And then there is the first lady, who through a spokeswoman, defended her husband, "As the first lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder."
That reaction surprised her critics, who expected a different response from someone who has made cyber bullying a signature priority and one who says she calls out the President for tweeting.
LESLEY STAHL, CBS NEWS HOST: If he does something that you think crossed the line, will you tell him?
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I tell him all the time.
STAHL: All the time?
M. TRUMP: All the time.
STAHL: And does he listen? Does he --
M. TRUMP: I think he hears me, but he will do what he wants to do on the end.
CARROLL: For Ivanka Trump, her silence comes after her own observation about the, quote, viciousness in politics.
TRUMP: It is hard and there is a level of viciousness that I was not expecting. I was not expecting the intensity of this experience.
CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, above and beyond the call of duty.
ALLEN: CNN remembers the hotshots, those fire fighters who lost their lives four years ago in one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history.
[05:41:51] ALLEN: Wildfires fueled by gusty winds and high temperatures sweeping through a number of States right now.
HOWELL: There is one fire in particular that is a haunting reminder of the 19 firefighters who fought another blaze and lost their lives four years ago in one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history in that same area, in Arizona.
CNN's Martin Savidge has more now on the men who went above and beyond the call of duty to protect their city.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the last images of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, preparing to fight the fire that will kill them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Granite Mountain Hotshots. We are in front of the flaming front.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A wind shift later sends flames racing toward the team trapping them in boxed canyon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our escape route has been cut off.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): All 19 men died. In the aftermath, friends, family, and officials work to preserve the now hallowed ground and the memories of those lost.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had to get it right. You have to get it right.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The result is a memorial like no other that will test your heart as well as break it.
DEBORAH PFINGSTON, MOTHER OF ANDREW ASHCRAFT: This is a good example of the whole way.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A rugged seven-mile trail, climbing more than 1,000 feet up the side of the mountain.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Is it hard to come here?
PFINGSTON: Yes and no. No, because I know Andrew is on heaven.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Twenty-nine-year-old Andrew Ashcraft was one of the hotshots killed. His mom remembers him returning from other fires covered in soot, a smile on his face, smelling of smoke as he hugged her.
PFINGSTON: After we lost him, there were times I would say to my husband, can you just put a fire in the fireplace? I just need to smell Andrew for a minute. SAVIDGE (voice-over): On the trail, there are carefully placed
plaques every 600 feet.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Which means, every so often, you meet a new member of the crew. This is Andrew, Deborah's son.
The last part of the trail is the hardest of all. A 600-foot descent following the same path that the Granite Mountain Crew did that day. It's tough physically, but it's very tough emotionally because you end up here -- the place where the men made their last stand.
Iron cross was marking where each firefighter was found, tightly clustered. The men were as close to each other in death as they were in life. Among them, Karen and Jim Norris' 28-year-old son.
KAREN NORRIS, MOTHER OF SCOTT NORRIS: Scott was fun loving and adventurous. And he really enjoyed making people laugh. This is a very emotional and very sacred place to me.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's sacred to another family as well. Firefighters can often be found here, like this Montana Crew hiking up during our interview.
PFINGSTON: I've got to hug you. A mom's got to hug, OK?
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Four years after the deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots, their memorial is a trail for remembering and a path toward healing.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Yarnell, Arizona.
HOWELL: Martin, thank you.
ALLEN: I don't think any of us will ever forget that story and their valor.
ALLEN: And now again, yet again, a lot of firefighters out across the Western U.S., Derek, doing the same thing.
[05:44:58] DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes, a lot of volunteers out there battling fires across 12 states as we speak. There are 34 active large wildfires right now, and they continue to burn over the Western U.S.
Over 249,000 acres burn from these active, uncontained blazes that continue to impact many of the states over the Western U.S. and even into Alaska, as well. We're not actually showing that on our map here, but it is an active season to say least. I'm going to try and put it into perspective.
What we've done is we've totaled up the amount of acreage and the total number of fires that have burnt since the beginning of the year to date, or at least to June 30th. And you can see, when we compare it to the 10-year average, we are significantly higher in terms of the amount of acreage that has burnt so far. There's year to date, over 2.7 million acres have burned from this active wildfires.
The interesting thing to note, though, is compared to the 10-year average, we actually have less wildfires that have taken place this year so far. But goodness, we still have a high fire threat especially across Northern Arizona where we have critical fire danger through the afternoon today.
We have an elevated risk across the four corners and then to eastern sections of Nevada. We have scattered dry thunderstorms that are in the forecast across parts of Utah and to Colorado, as well as Idaho.
And those spark thunders -- or those spark wildfires very easily because, a lot of times, these thunderstorms form lighting. And the rain actually evaporates before it reaches the floor or the surface of the earth, and its unable to put out any blaze or ember that it starts or ignites.
Now, here's a look at our severe weather chances today. As we head into the long holiday weekend, people are traveling. You want to, of course, keep an eye to the sky.
We have slight risks of severe weather today across. About 20 million people impacted by this from Chicago to Tulsa, Dodge City, North Atlanta, into Rapid City. Large hale and damaging winds.
Then we head into the day on Monday. We have an enhanced risk across the plains. And as we look into Independence Day, the 4th of July, many people are wondering, well, will I be able to see fireworks in a dry city or will it be raining?
Well, the answer is, it looks we have scattered showers and thunderstorms across the nation's mid-section, perhaps into the south eastern Atlantic coastline, but the rest of the U.S. should stay dry, including New York City.
But speaking of New York, we have to talk about what happened in Upstate New York just within the past 24 hours. Significant rainfall totals for this area led to some significant flooding across downtown Utica.
These are some of the images that were from the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services. We've got some video footage to show you as well because about four feet of water inundated the downtown parts of this location, and it made it almost impossible for people to drive.
Look at the flooded roads there. And some of the vehicles getting stuck in that water as well. Not good to try and traverse over flooded roadways, regardless of what we're seeing there on T.V.
But, yes, scary moments for residents there. Fortunately, the waters have receded and they're starting to dry out.
HOWELL: All right.
ALLEN: All right. Thank you.
HOWELL: Derek, thank you.
VAN DAM: Thanks.
ALLEN: When you dig underneath Rome, you never know what you're going to find.
HOWELL: Well, this discovery is sort of mini Pompeii during the excavation of Rome's newest subway line dating back 18 centuries.
[05:50:40] PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. I'm Patrick Snell with your "CNN WORLD SPORT" headlines starting in New Zealand where rugby's world champions have suffered that rarest of things, defeat in their own backyard on Saturday. The British and Irish Lions recording a historic victory against the All Blacks in Wellington to level this best of three series.
Now, we're all set for what should be one pulsating decider. Next Saturday in Auckland, after Sonny Bill Williams became the first All Black since 1967 to be sent off in a test match. Drives from the Lions' Haskell (ph) and Conor Murray, as well, setting up a famous win field with the late penalty from Owen Farrell. The Lions won a thriller, 24 points to 21.
Barcelona superstar footballer Lionel Messi now a married man after tying the knot on Friday night in his hometown Rosario in his native Argentina. It was sealed with a kiss too on the red carpet. Messi marrying childhood sweetheart, Antonella Roccuzzo, in a glitzy star- studded event in a luxury hotel complex with about 260 guests, including many of Messi's teammates, past and present.
And huge disappointment for the cyclist Alejandro Valverde on the first day of the Tour de France. The Spaniard out of this year's race after crashing into a barrier and breaking a kneecap.
What a moment, though, for Geraint Thomas, who now becomes the first Welsh competitor to win a stage on the tour, getting his hands on the coveted yellow jersey.
That's a look at what you'll see next in "WORLD SPORT" headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.
HOWELL: Welcome back. New questions are being raised about the Aztec Empire after a tower of human skulls was discovered in Mexico. Archaeologists found more than 650 skulls belonging to women and children, kicked in line nearly, at one of the main temples in the former Aztec capital, now present day Mexico City. ALLEN: My goodness. The tower is believed to be a part of a massive
array of skulls from ritualistic human sacrifices mentioned in the writings of Spanish conquistadors.
HOWELL: Just look at that. Wow!
ALLEN: Not happy times.
HOWELL: I don't think, yes.
ALLEN: While building Rome's third metro line, archaeologists found not something like that but a third century house destroyed by fire but very well preserved.
HOWELL: Here's the thing. It was complete with central heating systems, with beams, and even the bones of a dog.
CNN's Ben Wedeman takes a step back in time for this report.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Scratch the surface in Rome and you find history. It's an archaeologist's paradise, but for officials overseeing the long-delayed construction of the city's newest subway line, Line C or Linea C, Rome's embarrassment of ancient riches is a curse that keeps on giving.
While digging a shaft for the subway's tunnel near the Colosseum late last year, workers uncovered what appeared to be the charred remains of a luxurious home, complete with central heating, dating back 1,800 years.
It's an extra ordinary situation, Rome's Archaeological Superintendent Francesco Prospetti tells me.
FRANCESCO PROSPETTI, ARCHEOLOGICAL SUPERINTENDENT (through translator): Collapsed, the ceiling sealed everything inside. It was carbonized without being burned. It's unique in Rome.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The ceiling's wooden beams, which would have decayed to dust, have been preserved. There are no human remains, but archaeologists did find the bones of a dog who wouldn't or couldn't flee the flames.
This poor dog was already in the room during the fire, says Archaeologist Simone Moretta.
SIMONE MORETTA, ARCHEOLOGIST (through translator): We found ashes under its paws. Probably part of the burning ceiling fell on it and there it was stuck and died.
WEDEMAN: Construction on Linea C didn't begin until 2007. And since then, work has been delayed by one archaeological discovery after another.
This is the challenge of trying to make life modern in an ancient city like Rome. No matter where you dig, you're almost certain to find something.
[05:55:05] Rome wasn't built in a day and its newest subway line won't be completed in a decade, maybe not even two. The future will have to wait as the past is uncovered.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.
HOWELL: Ben, thank you. New story just in the NEWSROOM. A U.S. Navy destroyer has sailed within 12 nautical miles or roughly 22 kilometers of a disputed island in the South China Sea.
ALLEN: A U.S. military official tells CNN that the Navy conducted a freedom of navigation operation exercise around Triton Island. That's part of Paracel Islands, an archipelago claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
China has taken issue in the past with vessels coming close to what it claims as its territory. Twelve nautical miles is a generally defined international territorial coastal limit. We might want to remind our viewers that President Trump is having a call with the head of China later on this day.
HOWELL: We end the show this hour with Canada marking a major milestone on Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: Hello everyone!
TRUDEAU: Happy Canada Day!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau excited there, celebrating that nation's 150th anniversary. Stars like U2's Bono and The Edge we're also there on hand for Ottawa's festivities.
ALLEN: So was Prince Charles. He was awarded the Order of Canada, and that is a top civilian honor. The country's head of state, Queen Elizabeth, celebrated Canada Day on Instagram because she's that cool.
HOWELL: She is.
ALLEN: And notice the maple leaf brooch she's wearing. How perfect. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues here on CNN.