Return to Transcripts main page


Russia and U.S. Disagree Over Trump-Putin Meddling Talk; Protesters Gather Outside G-20 Summit for Demonstrations; On the Front Lines of the Battle for Raqqa; Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 8, 2017 - 08:00   ET




KARENA WU, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, ACTIVECARE PHYSICAL THERAPY: Once you get used to it, it's more about making the conscious effort to say let me sit upright with good posture because I know my health will be letter in the long run.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Vice President Mike Pence left his mark on the NASA facility and the internet notices. He put a hand on part of the Orion spacecraft right under the sign. It reads critical space flight hardware, do not touch.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: He did apologize and jokingly blamed it all on Florida Senator Marco Rubio saying, "Sorry, NASA, Marco Rubio dared me to do it." Rubio played along. He tweeted, "In fairness, I warned, you break it, you own it." NASA says no harm was done. They were going to clean it anyway they say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president confronted Vladimir Putin on U.S. concerns that Russia meddled in last year's election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin denied such involvement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Not a single fact has been presented.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think it's going very well. Look forward to a lot of very positive things happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He used the language that this concerns the American people. He never said as far as we know that this concerns him. What's troublesome is that it does not appear that it is his concern.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This continued well into the night on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Melania Trump was on lockdown as protests raged outside her hotel. By dinner time the Trumps emerged. The first lady's companion was none other than Vladimir Putin.


PAUL: So grateful to have you with us here on a Saturday. It is a critical moment for President Trump on the world stage this morning. In just a few hours, he's going to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping hoping to use the company's leverage to stop North Korea's ballistic missile program. This meeting comes as tensions are rising over U.S. military action near China.

BLACKWELL: Now this comes as President Trump announcing plans for a new trade deal with the U.K. Very, very quickly he says. But as the president tries to talk trade, he cannot escape the questions about Russia's interference in the 2016 elections. Watch this moment.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: I'd like to thank Prime Minister May for being with us. We've had tremendous talks. There's no country that could possibly be closer than our countries. And I just want to say thank you very much.

We are working on a trade deal which is a very, very big deal, great for both countries and I think we'll have that done very, very quickly. We have all of our trade people.

We have all of the trade people, Rex and I had a tremendous meeting yesterday with President Putin and we've had really great meetings with a lot of people.

We're having a lot today, but Prime Minister May and I have developed a very special relationship and I think trade will be a very big factor between our two countries so I want to thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did the Russians lie about your meeting yesterday?


PRESIDENT TRUMP: I will be going to London, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will you be going, sir?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We'll work that out.


BLACKWELL: You hear the president answer the question about going to the U.K. but ignoring the question about his meeting with Putin. It comes as there's another "he said-he said" for President Trump.

Russian's foreign minister tells journalists that President Trump accepted President Putin's word that the kremlin was not involved in the 2016 election. But a senior Trump administration official immediately denied that claim.

PAUL: In the meantime, police are gearing up for what could be a third day of violent protests. These are live pictures right now. Demonstrate demonstrates gathered peacefully. We are told it's a festive mood at the moment.

Last night, though, a very different picture. There were people in the streets setting fires, throwing bottles, looting businesses, and more than 200 police officers have been injured thus far.

We are going to chat more about that, but first let's talk about what happened this morning with Ivanka Trump. She briefly took a role on a critical role we should say at the G20 Summit. She sat in for her father, President Trump, of course, at a G20 leaders working session this morning.

CNN senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, live for us at the summit in Hamburg, Germany. So talk to me about what this role is that she took and how effective was she? How much influence, Jim, do you get a sense that she has there on the global stage?

[08:05:05]JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, I think that first of all we should point out senior administration officials are downplaying that this was any sort of big deal. They essentially are saying the president had to step out for a quick meeting.

And so his seat was empty at this table, at this World Bank meeting that was going on here at the G20 Summit and that she sat there temporarily while they were talking about some World Bank efforts in Africa.

And that was essentially it. Of course, it's a reminder when President Trump is abroad or dealing with policies on the domestic front, it is a family business at times and Ivanka Trump is an assistant to the president. She's one of his top advisers.

And so this is the deal when you're talking about the Trump White House. She does have a role in this administration obviously. The question is, and this goes back and forth, as to how influential that role is.

You'll remember during the Paris climate talks, the talks heading into the president's decision as to whether to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, an agreement he's pulling out of, she was advocating for more of those voices to come in and talk to her father saying yes, we should stay in the Paris climate agreement.

At the end of the day that view did not win the argument. The president decided to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. We should point out as the president is wrapping up this G20 summit, you mentioned he's going to be meeting with Chinese President Xi later on today, there is a lot of conversation going on about the president pulling out of the Paris climate agreement.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor said it's going to be very interesting to see what the communique, and that's the technical term, the diplomatic jargon for essentially a joint statement that comes out of this G20 Summit at the conclusion of these events here.

And that communique she said is going to essentially say, you know what, the United States is not on board with this. So it is one of those situations where perhaps had Ivanka Trump won that argument inside the administration, the United States would be more arm in arm with these other leaders at this G20 Summit.

As you've noticed throughout the day and you just played that clip a few moments ago, there are other pressing matters for this president and that is this question that won't go away about the Russia investigation.

The president was asked did Vladimir Putin lie to you during or -- are the Russians lying about this meeting that you had with Vladimir Putin because Sergey Lavrov came out of that meeting and said that the president had accepted Vladimir Putin's denial that there was any Russian interference in the last election.

A senior administration official told us that no, the president did not accept Vladimir Putin's view on this. So if the president is in a position where he's going to be asked questions later on today before the conclusion of these events here, I suspect, Christi and Victor, that he is going to be asked that question again.

We'll have to wait and see as to what he says, because as you were playing at the top of this news cast, one of the very big questions here is why did he raise this issue with Vladimir Putin?

Is it because it's his concern or is it because he's talking about these frustrations, these political frustrations that he has back in Washington? We'll have to wait and see how the day plays out here at the G20. But a very interesting sequence of events before the president leaves town to head back to Washington -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: No doubt. Jim Acosta, thank you so much for the update. We appreciate it.

ACOSTA: All right. You bet.

PAUL: Absolutely. I want to show you some live pictures. Take a look at the massive crowds that are on the streets there in Hamburg. You hear the cheering. Let's listen here for a second.

OK. You can see how massive those crowds are, how expansive they are taking up the entire street. But it's been described almost as a festive atmosphere not any violence that we've seen this morning, which is much different than yesterday. But with crowds that size, you know security is on alert and we'll be following this throughout the morning.

BLACKWELL: This is the final day of the G20 Summit. President Trump has been meeting with several world leaders. The headliner for today is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. And it comes after a series of military actions by the United States in response to North Korea. Two U.S. bombers flew along the Korean Peninsula overnight as part of the 10-hour military drill with South Korean and Japanese air forces.

The commanding general says, yes, this was a warning to Kim Jong-un that the U.S. and its allies are ready to unleash, this is a quote, "ready to unleash the full lethal capability of their air forces."

The U.S. also plans to test its missile defense system. This is the THAAD system potentially in the next few days. A defense official says that this is not a direct response to the North Korea's latest test of that intercontinental ballistic missile although the system is designed to defend against those types of threats.

[08:10:03]So let's talk about the way forward on North Korea and the upcoming meeting between President Trump and President Xi with Gordon Chang. He's the author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On The World," and also a columnist for the "Daily Beast." Good morning to you, Gordon.


BLACKWELL: So is there evidence from your perspective that China is committed to applying the necessary pressure to deter North Korea's nuclear ambitions?

CHANG: Well, I actually don't think so. You know, we've got to remember that the missile that the North Korean's launched on July fourth, an intercontinental ballistic one, you know, it's carried on a Chinese transporter erector launcher.

There's also evidence suggesting, not conclusive, but evidence suggesting that North Korea's most advanced missiles are actually variance of Chinese ones. We've got to ask President Xi Jinping some very pointed questions about how come North Korea has Chinese looking missiles in its inventory.

BLACKWELL: Do you expect that they are helping?

CHANG: They are definitely helping. You know, we have so much evidence over the course of decades. It's not just the ballistic missile program. It's the nuclear weapons program.

Recently China has been supplying North Korea with semi-processed missile material and equipment for its nuke program. This is assistance across the board. Indeed, you know, we have to question whether China is weaponizing North Korea to harm the United States and its allies in the region.

BLACKWELL: So the president has suggested several times that the effort to get China to apply the pressure necessary has been exhausted saying, we had to go with China and see with if it worked, at least we tried. Do you see that there is any diplomatic option here without China, can the U.S. as the president suggested go on its own? CHANG: Well, there are things we certainly can do without China, but eventually you do need China to rein in North Korea. But the way to rein in China is not to try to be cooperative and be friendly, and give concessions. We've tried that since the beginning of the century and it's continually failed.

The one thing we can do which is what President Trump did last week is to impose cost on China were clearly dangerous and unacceptable behavior. We saw with that severing of a small fry Chinese bank from the global financial system.

We also saw other things that outraged the Chinese as they said. Those were minor things, though, and I think President Trump in this meeting with Xi Jinping is going to say that he can amp up the pressure if the Chinese don't come to the table.

BLACKWELL: So speaking of coming to the table, we know that a few years ago at the six party talks broke down, between North Korea, South Korea, U.S., Russia, Japan and China. They weren't very fruitful as evidenced by where we are today. How close do you think the parties are to getting back to the table now that there is this new South Korean president who wants to sit down and engage Pyongyang?

CHANG: Yes. Moon Jae-in certainly wants to talk to the North Koreans. He's made that very clear. It's not exactly clear, though, whether the North Koreans want to talk to him because Pyongyang's traditional position, which they have expressed recently is that this is a matter with the United States.

And that's, by the way, is also China's position. That this is a China/North Korea issue. Now I don't think that it is. Other parties have equities in this, especially Beijing.

But nonetheless, you know, there will be pressure for talks. But it's very difficult to get them restarted again because of what's occurred since the breakdown of the six party talks, you know, a half decade ago.

BLACKWELL: All right. Gordon Chang, so good to have you this morning.

CHANG: Thank you so much, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Well, President Trump and President Putin finally face to face discussing the 2016 election for the first time. There is a serious discrepancy here, though, in the account of that meeting that's amounting to another he said/he said for the president. How the Trump administration is responding now.

BLACKWELL: Plus a CNN exclusive, a team is getting the first look inside behind those walls of the self-declared ISIS capital. We're on the front lines as U.S. backed forces fight to regain the city.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The progress here marking potentially the last time that ISIS can say they hold a city in Syria.




PAUL: It's 18 minutes past the hour. He said/he said brewing between the kremlin and the Trump administration in their very first face-to- face meeting since President Trump took office. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Trump pressed President Vladimir Putin over the kremlin's role in meddling in the 2016 election.

BLACKWELL: But Moscow has a very different interpretation. They say that the president did accept what he said. Let's go now to CNN senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson live in Moscow. Give us more of what we are hearing from Russia about these two accounts.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The moment the long meeting ended, you had Rex Tillerson come out and the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and they gave readouts separately about the meeting.

And on this very controversial issue, the allegations of Russian meddling, Sergey Lavrov said that President Trump basically that he said, quote, "He mentioned that certain groups in the U.S., even though they can't prove it, are still trying to fan the topic of Russian interference in the U.S. elections and he went on to say that President Trump accepted Putin's denial of having meddled in the U.S. election. Take a listen.


SERGERY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): President Trump said that he heard firm assertions from President Trump it is not true and Russian authorities have not meddled in these elections and that he said he accepts these assertions. That's it.


WATSON: Soon after that a senior White House official, who did not want to be named, said that, quote, "President Trump did not accept President Putin's claim of noninterference in the elections."

[08:20:14]We already have some contradiction in the first hours after the meeting took place. The question about what Russia did in 2016 in November, that is still very, very much up in the air it seems.

BLACKWELL: So now what is the reaction from Moscow?

WATSON: Well, they seem to be -- Russian officials seem to be pretty delighted about the meeting. You got a senior lawmaker here calling it a breakthrough, a broadcaster here saying that the bilateral meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin eclipsed and overshadowed the entire G20 Summit.

I've got an issue of a tabloid here in Moscow that does kind of a breakdown, photo by photo, of when the cameras were allowed in that room with a psychologist kind of analyzing the body language.

And suggesting that the fact that President Trump extended his hand like this shows that he's a supplicant reaching out to Putin for approval and that Putin literally had the upper hand.

I think some other people may question that, but there's no question that this was for many Russians, they think this is a big step forward. One newspaper pointed out hey, Vladimir Putin did not walk away with an agreement from President Trump to hand back two Russian diplomatic compounds that were seized by the out coming Obama administration amid the meddling allegations and controversy. That is a wrong according to Russian views that still must be righted -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, Ivan Watson for us there in Moscow. Thank you.

PAUL: All right, Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic" with us now as well as Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief with the "Chicago Sun-Times." Thank you both for being with us. We appreciate it.

So Ron, I wanted to ask you at a time when this administration is asking voters here in the U.S. to hand over some pretty personal information, under the purpose they say of solidifying elections and the validity of elections and that kind of thing.

CNN, however, has some reporting that Russia is indeed -- that Russian spies are ramping up their efforts here inside the borders of the U.S. With that said, we have a president who says look, you hit me, I'm going to hit back hard. Did he hit back hard enough with Putin based on what we know of the meeting?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think -- I think the reaction is very -- whoever's account you accept, the reaction from the president is ambiguous and ambivalent at best.

I mean, I think there is less to the difference in the accounts than meets the eye or maybe meets the ear. If you take Rex Tillerson at his word, our own secretary of state's version of events, the president in effect is saying there was -- OK, there's a difference between us, between Russia and the U.S. on whether this happens.

That means essentially we are equating the unanimous verdict of our intelligence community that Russia did meddle in the election with the word of an autocrat who lies about killing his political opponents that he didn't.

And then even if you say we are going to look forward, which is what the secretary of state said, I think most people would agree that the best way to prevent Russia from doing this again in the future is to ensure that are consequences for having done it in the past. It does not appear that there were any consequences. I mean, the idea we're kind of going to move on beyond this is a way in effect of shelving it and agreeing to disagree in effect even about whether it happened.

PAUL: What about the issue of Syria, Lynn? I mean, we have the fact that this ceasefire is happening, but I mean, it still doesn't clarify what the U.S. end game position is when it comes to Syria. What does this ceasefire that they agreed to really mean?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Well, it's supposed to take effect on Sunday and it's for a small slice of Syria. It doesn't, as you point out, Christi, it doesn't address the profound difference that the two nations have and that is that Russia backs Leader Assad and the U.S. has backed the forces trying to oust him.

That's the very basic crux of the civil war that is happening in Syria and I would look at this agreement more as a place that the two leaders, Putin and Trump carved out where they could maybe work together. Even if they have different interests on how they want to resolve on the going situation in Syria.

PAUL: All right. Ron, real quickly, I want to get to China as well because we know that the president is meeting with President Xi. This is coming on the heels of -- forget even North Korea. We know that's going to be part of the conversation.

[08:25:05]But we've got this $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan that China is not happy about. We have got the U.S. Navy Destroyer that sailed within 12 miles of the disputed island last Sunday.

And then this Thursday the two U.S. B-1 bombers that flew over disputed waters. What does the president say to President Xi to try to find some commonality here?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I think -- actually the troubles with China are a reminder of the limits of the ability of any president to change the trajectory of relations between, you know, major nations just on a personal relationship with the leader.

The president came out of the meeting with Xi Jinping earlier this year in Mar-a-Lago feeling they had forged a bond and therefore China was willing to be tougher on North Korea than they had in the past.

Then guess what, there are underlying interests that restrained China's willingness to do what we want them to do on North Korea. They don't want it to be unified on the peninsula.

And so the kind of the enduring interests overrode whatever personal chemistry there is, and I think that is a lesson as well for what in store with Russia. Whatever the relationship with Vladimir Putin that the president is able to forge, there are underlying conflicts.

What they are attempting to achieve in the world particularly weakening the Western alliance and what we want. It's kind of essential always to keep those lights, to steer by those lights as well as whatever you hope you can forge personally with the leader of another country.

PAUL: Lynn, really quickly, as we look forward to this meeting this morning with President Xi, what about trade? That's going to have to be talked about.

SWEET: It is. It's an agenda item on there. One thing to look at is whether or not the Trump administration goes ahead with its enforcement of its steel dumping moves whatever it does. That's something that could have a ripple effect for other nations, including Germany and Canada who are our biggest steel producers.

PAUL: All right, Ron Brownstein, Lynn Sweet, it's always good to have your voice in the conversations here. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right, coming up, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson taking center stage on several foreign policy fronts at the G20.

PAUL: Also protesters angry over the GOP health care bill are dragged away by police. Look at these pictures we are getting in. Is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ready to work with Democrats now.


[08:31:34] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-one minutes past the hour. Hope Saturday morning's been good to you so far. Thanks for being here. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

President Trump sits down with several more world leaders in Hamburg before heading back to Washington.

PAUL: Another high stakes meeting is looming here this morning. In a little more than an hour President Trump is sitting down with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He started his day with British prime minister, though, Theresa May. The president also talked about the bond between those two countries.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've had really great meetings with a lot of people. We're having a lot today. But Prime Minister May and I have developed a very special relationship and I think trade will be a very big factor between our two countries.


PAUL: And take a look at some of the live pictures we're getting right now out of Hamburg as protests continue. They are seemingly organized. They are quite massive. Earlier demonstrations turned violent. More than 200 officers were injured, but thus far this morning everything is peaceful. And you can hear some of the cheers there. So far so good.

One meeting two hours long with two versions of what was said. Before President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, there was speculation about whether President Trump would press Putin on the topic of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Here's what happened from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.


REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The president opened the meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement as I think he has in the past.


PAUL: Now Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had another version of events. He said, quote, "President Trump said he's heard Putin's very clear statement that this is not true and that the Russian government did not interfere in the elections and that he accepts these statements. That's all."

Well, a senior administration official says President Trump did not accept Putin's denial.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us now to talk more about that, Ambassador Nicolas Burns, former U.S. undersecretary for political affairs. Also a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and Greece.

Good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So let's first start here with the discrepancy over the discussion of Russian meddling. You earlier said it's a dereliction of duty the President Trump's treatment of this meddling. After the description we've learned from Secretary Tillerson, what's your assessment?

BURNS: Well, I think it's positive that President Trump raised the issue. He had to do that to defend the United States and the American people. If President Putin is now denying that rush engaged in a cyber attack in our elections, President Trump should not accept that denial because our intelligence communities are 100 percent united. They say that the Russians did intervene in our election, interfere in our election, in a very comprehensive way.

And I think that the best thing that President Trump could do now would be to support the Republicans and Democrats in the Senate who vote d 97-2 two weeks ago to sanction Russia over this behavior because this can't be a slap on the wrist. There's nothing more important to the United States than the sanctity of our elections.

[08:35:02] And therefore, Putin should feel the pain and should pay a price for what he did. That's the best way to prevent him from intervening in the 2018 and 2020 elections here in the United States.

BLACKWELL: What's your degree of confidence that the sanctions that are already levied on Russia will stay? Because we remember back to January when the president was asked in an interview with "The Wall Street Journal," he said, why would we sanction a country that's helping us? In the context of this new bilateral working group, this new ceasefire between Russia, the U.S. and Jordan. What's your degree of confidence that the sanctions that are already in place will stay in place?

BURNS: Well, they should stay in place because the vast majority of members of Congress wanted to. President Trump appears to think that he can do business with President Putin, but President Putin has shown by interfering in our elections, by his actions in Ukraine, he annexed Crimea and by his actions in Syria that he really can't be trusted.

And so we can't be naive about the Russians and one of the issues here is whether or not the United States should allow Russians re-entry into their diplomatic compounds in Long Island and also in the eastern shore of Maryland.

There's no reason for us to do that. We should keep him out of those compounds. We should have new sanctions. That's the only language that an autocratic leader like Vladimir Putin understands.

So I think what you're seeing now, there's going to be a big debate. This Senate bill is now in the House.


BURNS: The Trump administration obviously wants to block the bill and it's important that members of Congress and both parties go forward. I think Congress needs to assert itself now if the president is unwilling to stand up for the U.S.

BLACKWELL: All right. One thing I want to talk about that apparently was not discussed in this meeting yesterday, the chemical attack in Syria earlier this year. In April the White House accused Russia of covering it up. Secretary Tillerson said Russia's failure was responsible for the attack. And U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said this.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: When this information came out, they were so quick to defend. They didn't look shocked. They didn't look surprised. They were so quick to defend. And then the evidence comes out and we see exactly what it is. And we know exactly what the environment was. Then you realize.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They knew what was going on.

HALEY: I think that they knew, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: She says Russia knew. What do you make of that, that being one of the tenfold issues of this meeting between Trump and Putin?

BURNS: Well, I think it should have been. They obviously had a big discussion on Syria. And there may be ways that we can work with the Russians on Syria, although we don't want to support Russia's alignment with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria.

I think Ambassador Haley was right when she said that the Russians obviously know what the Syrians have been up to. They've now used chemical weapons several times during this war. The Syrian civil war. We are a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention so I actually supported President Trump's airstrikes on that Syrian air base in response to the use of chemical weapons as something we've got to keep an eye on.

And the bigger issue here is that U.S. military forces and Russian military forces are both operating in Syria. We are conducting strikes against the Islamic State. The Russians are bombing mainly civilian targets tragically. We've got to keep our troops, our Air Forces away from each other and de-conflict that there's no accident.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ambassador Nicholas Burns, good to have you this morning.

BURNS: Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: All right. This is the final day of the G-20. And protests already under way. We're live at Hamburg with the latest on so many arrests, many injuries, the police officers as well as world leaders wrap up these meetings.


[08:42:56] BLACKWELL: Well, so far no violence at the anti G-20 protest march. But on this, the last day of the summit, Hamburg authorities are preparing in case things take a turn for the worse.

PAUL: These are pictures that are coming to us in just moments ago. German officials saying more than 200 police officers have been injured over the three days of protests that we've been watching. More than 100 people have been arrested.

CNN senior international correspondent Atika Shubert on the scene there in Hamburg.

And, Atika, I understand -- did I hear right that you spotted New York City mayor in the crowd there?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Mayor de Blasio is up on stage actually. I have my camera turned around so you can see what's happening. Basically a stage performance. He was wearing a knitted South African flag here. The dancers are wearing all the different flags of the world. And he's participating in this rally today and will be speaking. He was invited by the mayor of Hamburg and there's a number of people

speaking here today. As you can see, it is a much friendlier rally than the other protests we've seen in the last few days. And Mayor de Blasio is expected to be the key note speaker today.

PAUL: All right. Atika Shubert, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Back here at home we are approaching what will be a big week for the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Senator Mitch McConnell's suggestion to hold bipartisan talks on a new health care bill. It's really sending a shock to the White House. Officials tell CNN that some were caught off guard by his comments early this week. Right now lawmakers are on recess but we know that some of them are facing their constituents back at home.

Let's stay in Kentucky. The majority leader there telling his constituents that if Republicans cannot do it on their own, some kind of action has to happen.

PAUL: In the meantime, let's go to Ohio together here. Several demonstrators, some of them disability activists, were arrested at Republican Senator Rob Portman's office. They've been protesting against the GOP health care bill since Thursday now. Officers had to drag away people who blocked the building's doors.

And House Speaker Paul Ryan was back in his home state telling residents he expects senators to resume working on passing a new health care bill ASAP.


[08:45:09] REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Let's have a system that stabilizes the health care marketplace. Let people buy what they want to buy, give people an advance refundable tax care credit to go buy health insurance.


PAUL: And remember again, lawmakers do return to Capitol Hill next week.

BLACKWELL: This is a major milestone in the fight against ISIS in Syria. CNN goes inside the ISIS capital where U.S. backed forces are working to drive out the last extremists in the city. Our exclusive report is next.


BLACKWELL: Well, now for a CNN exclusive on the front lines of the war against ISIS. Our teams were the first journalists inside Raqqa, Syria. This is an area that U.S. backed forces took back from ISIS control just days ago.

PAUL: And this marks a major milestone in the ongoing battle to drive ISIS militants out of their self-declared capital. [08:50:04] Here's CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton

Walsh's exclusive report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are now inside the old city walls of Raqqa, the capital of ISIS' self-declared caliphate and the territory in which they will make their final stand in Syria and really the Middle East.

That wall a key milestone for coalition forces and the Syrian Kurds and Arabs who now control fully about 200 or 300 meters inside of the old city here. Down that way, 200 meters, are ISIS' positions. The forces here don't move around much in the daylight because of the risk of ISIS snipers, less so in these streets. But it's at night where the majority of the movement forward is, in fact, made.

We have seen U.S. forces here, not far from these positions, anxious not to be filmed or even noticed, frankly, but we understand it's them calling in the airstrikes and often the artillery that's allowing these forces to move forward, frankly, so quickly.

I have been surprised how little of the city ISIS apparently are in right now, an area possibly 1.5 to three miles in terms of size, so, increasingly small in the terrain that they hold, but as we saw in Mosul in Iraq, civilians apparently held in their midst unable to flee because of the ISIS snipers, a real impediment for these Syrian, Kurdish and Arab fighters, but still the progress here marking potentially the last time that ISIS can say they hold a city in Syria.


PAUL: My goodness. Nick, thank you so much.

Meanwhile, there is a sweltering heat wave bearing down on southern California today. And you know what, it's not just California. We'll talk about it.

BLACKWELL: And tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, the new CNN series, "THE NINETIES" will explore the decade that brought us Nirvana, Seinfeld, the Clintons, and dial-up modems. Remember those? Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of my favorite shows of all time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't talk about the '90s. We have so many monumental bands. Nirvana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gave the record industry the wakeup call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pressure was building up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gangster rap really starts to take hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a hip-hop tsunami.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the '90s represented so much growth, so much progress, we still had so much to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rodney King in 1992 exposed some of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J. was the guy who felt like he was above race.

DAN RATHER, JOURNALIST: Columbine bombing in Oklahoma City, the Davidian compound in Waco. It's exciting.

BERNARD SHAW, FORMER CNN REPORTER: Something is happening outside. The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The promise of a new world order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush took the loss to Bill Clinton very hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill Clinton was the president who was turning the corner to a different time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was scandal, scandal, scandal, scandal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Clinton is christened the comeback kid because he was resilient.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Gates' game plan was world domination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could see the start of this new online culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a (INAUDIBLE). Just so profound.



[08:57:16] PAUL: All right. Well, there is a stifling heat wave out west. Parts of southern California seeing triple digits today. Palm Springs already is seeing temperatures over 120 degrees.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile the heat could exacerbate wildfires already burning in the west. Crews have embattled blazes across four states.

Let's go now to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. I mean, this is not good news.


PAUL: Yes, I lived in Phoenix for five years and I loved Phoenix, but not in July.

BLACKWELL: I visited for five days in August once. There was --


BLACKWELL: I can't compare to her five years.

PAUL: And that's all he could take.

BLACKWELL: But five days was rough.

PAUL: Allison, thank you. We're pulling for you right out in Phoenix.

BLACKWELL: That's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for an hour of NEWSROOM.

PAUL: Yes. Don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" is with you right now.