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Officials Say Mosul Liberated from ISIS; Donald Trump, Jr's Meeting with Russian Lawyer Raising Eyebrows; Trump Seeks to Build Cybersecurity Unit with Russia; Some GOP Senators Skeptical About Passing Health Care Bill; Another Inferno in London; Refugees in Limbo in Tokyo. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 10, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump, Jr., and a Russian lawyer, a meeting that's raising a lot of eyebrows. Why Trump says it is insignificant.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: In Mosul, a victory. Officials say that city has been liberated from ISIS after three years under the militant's reign.

ALLEN: Plus, part of London's famed Camden Market go up in flames.

HOWELL: Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Thank you again for joining us. We begin with breaking news. "The New York Times" reporting that the President's son, Donald Trump, Jr., met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. "The Times" says the meeting took place on June 9 of last year that was two weeks after Donald Trump pledged the Republican Presidential nomination.

This is the first public indication that at least some in the Trump campaign were willing to accept Russian help.

HOWELL: Donald Trump, Jr., has provided CNN with the following statement. Quote, "I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told he might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting.

I ask Jared and Paul to attend but told them nothing of the substance we had the meeting in June of 2016. After pleasantries were exchange the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton.

Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.

She then change subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mention the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were protect for the meeting. I interrupted and advise her that my father was not an elected official but rather a private citizen and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office.

The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events." End quote from Donald Trump, Jr.

ALLEN: And a member of President Trump's outside legal team tells CNN the president was not aware of this meeting and did not attend it. The New York Times report hashed on the spotlight on the Russian lawyer who reportedly met with Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort.

HOWELL: Right. She said the paper that nothing about the U.S. presidential campaign was discussed in that meeting. We get more now from CNN's Elise Labott.


ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya formed a group who was purporting to seek the removal of an adoption ban on Russian children to the U.S. that was put in place years ago as retaliation for an American law passed in 2012.

Now that law known as the Magnitsky Act which imposed sanctions over senior Russian officials thought to have violated human rights, and Ms. Veselnitskaya has also sought the repeal of that legislation. And that is what she wanted to talk about.

Now, Trump, Jr. Said he quickly ended the meeting at that point, saying that the issue would be better addressed if his father won the election. But Trump, Jr. never reported the meeting. But it does seem to be an early indication that Russians were seeking out members of the Trump campaign.

Now we haven't been able to reach Ms. Veselnitskaya but she did tell the New York Times that she was not asking on behalf of the Russian government, she says she never discussed the matters with any government representative, but again, she is known as someone who had worked to try and repeal this U.S. legislation, damaging to Russian officials.

And this could be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation is looking into contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, and allegations of collusion, which President Trump has denied.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: Elise Labott there with details. And as Elise mentioned, special counsel Robert Mueller and Congressional committees are looking into whether the Trump campaign had contacts with Russia.

[03:05:03] ALLEN: CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Michael Zelder talked with CNN about the latest revelations.


MICHAEL ZELDER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is possibly a piece of a puzzle that's now been put together, which is information seized illegally from the DNC, a cutout -- to see whether this is a cutout on behalf of the government of the Soviet Union of Russian or not. It seems most likely that it was.

And then you have Kushner, who is at the meeting at the behest of Trump, Jr. She is data analytics guy for the campaign and the next thing we know, there's the WikiLeaks leak. And those things to me just are not easily understood as coincidences. And so I think that's something that Mueller will look at carefully.

In legal terms, when you have a circumstantial case, which is what this is, where people are going to say different things and you have to evaluate the credibility of witnesses to make determinations as to who is being truthful and who's not, these evolving stories, this drip, drip, drip of the truth just doesn't seem to be in any way helpful to their legal position, which will be down the line evaluated by Mueller.


HOWELL: All of this comes on the heels of that face-to-face meeting between the U.S. President, Donald Trump and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. And during the conversation, Mr. Trump brought up Russia's meddling in the election and here's how he explains it in a tweet.

Quote, "I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion." He says. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said definitely Sunday that Donald Trump does believe that Russia hacked the election.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does not accept Putin's denial, he believes the Russians meddled?

REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He's answered this question many times. He said they probably meddled in the election, they did meddled in the election. The one thing he also says, which drives the media crazy but it's an absolute fact, is that others have, as well. And that's true.

China has, North Korea has, and they have consistently over many, many years. So yes, he believes that Russia probably committed all of these acts that we've been told of, but he also believes that other countries also participate in this activity.


HOWELL: It did take days to get that final answer from these U.S. officials. But some Republicans don't necessarily buy it. Here's how one top Senator explained the situation.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: But when it comes to Russia, he's got a blind spot. And to forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyber-attacks is to empower Putin. That's exactly what he's doing.


ALLEN: Well. Mr. Trump also tweeted about his meeting with Putin. "We renegotiated a cease-fire," he wrote, "in parts of Syria, which will save lives. Now it's time to move forward and working constructively with Russia!" exclamation mark.

"Putin and I discussed forming an impenetrable cyber security unit so that the election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded."

Other lawmakers were just bewildered by the idea that the President wants to work with Russia on forming a cyber-security unit that would guard against election hacking.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I am sure that Vladamir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort, since he's doing the hacking. I mean, it's...

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: We might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow. I don't think that's an answer at all.


ALLEN: Well, the U.S. president himself is now backing away from that idea now. Just a short while ago, he tweeted, "The fact that President Putin and I discussed a cyber-security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't. But a cease-fire can and did."

HOWELL: All right. Let's get some perspective on all of this. CNN's Matthew Chance is live in the Russian capital this hour with us. Matthew, good to have you. So, what more can you tell us about the reaction in Russia to this latest reporting from the New York Times reporting Donald Trump, Jr.?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, so far there's been no reaction to that. But I can tell you when there is reaction to it. We're expecting a call with the Kremlin, which is held daily with reporters in Russia. We're going put these issues to him, as well as other journalists in the capital. I expect their reaction will be the same as it's been when they've

been asked about the allegations of collusion and interference in the U.S. election in the past, which is to categorically deny it. I mean, look, we have reached out to the lawyer involved. We've been in contact with her. But she's refused to give us a statement so far. But we're hoping that will change across the course to have day.

And so we'll have a bit more clarity. But in terms of what reaction has been generally in the media amongst lawmakers here perhaps, I mean, this story hasn't filtered through to them yet. We expect it will pick up traction over the course of the day.

[03:10:06] HOWELL: So we also reported the fact that Russia and the United States, due to these presidents, proposed the idea of working together on a cyber-security unit to focus on guarding against cyber threats, like meddling in elections of other countries.

But now the U.S. president walking that back a bit on his latest tweet. Any reaction to that there? Because this was a major gain there for these presidents from the G20.

CHANCE: Right. I mean, look, this was a very successful, from both the presidents' point of view, and certainly from the Russian point of view, it was a very successful first face-to-face meeting. Expectations on the Russian side were really low because of the state of U.S./Russia relations.

They were saying, the state media here, we should conduit often for the views of the Kremlin. They were saying, look, if we even get a chance to plan a second meeting with President Trump, that will be regarded by the Kremlin as a success.

In the event of course it was much more than that. They addressed some of the core issues at the heart of the very difficult U.S.-Russian relationship. And one of them was cyber security.

You're right, President Trump said that they discussed forming this group, this unit to -- what's it, an impenetrable cyber security unit so that election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded and safe. He went on, you're right, then say, look, just because we discussed it doesn't mean it's going to happen. In fact, it can't. And so he kind of back track that significantly.

From the Russian point of view, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister said look, it's important that the United States and Russia talk together, coordinate the issues of hacking in all its forms, of counterterrorism, and of other important issues like that, like organized crime. So the Russians are keen for working groups with the United States.

They came to emphasize areas of cooperation to perhaps distract from the areas where they're in conflict.

HOWELL: CNN senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow. Thank you for the report. ALLEN: Let's talk more about what the president is saying on Russia.

Scott Lucas joins me now live via Skype. He's a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham in England and founder and editor of E.A. World Views.

Scott, thanks for being with us. You know, I know you were seeing those tweets and we were reading those tweets from President Trump about his meetings with Russia. Now he's having to walk back that cyber security plan. It still just seems he is just wanting to cheer on Russia in some sense.

SCOTT LUCAS, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM SHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL: Let's cut to the chase with two points and two questions. Point one, Donald Trump was ready to ally with the leader of a country, Russia, who ordered, reportedly, wide scale interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Two, Donald Trump was ready to make that alliance while at the same time denouncing U.S. intelligence agencies, saying that they were unreliable, saying that there is no firm evidence. And he said no firm evidence, of Russian interference in that election.

Now the questions -- one, does Donald Trump really consider Vladimir Putin to be more reliable than U.S. agencies? Or in some way, does Trump fear that either he or one of his associates has been compromised by the Russians?

And two, what damage does this do to U.S. foreign policy to alliances that have been forged for more than 70 years with other countries and to the image of America in the eyes of the world?

ALLEN: Right. Because we know that during the summit, the United States was kind of sidelined. Europe doesn't see the United States as a solid ally that it has before. And it seemed like all of the attention was on the Putin-Trump meeting. But at the same time, President Trump's protectionism for the United States put him in a very different place at this summit.

LUCAS: I think that's a great point. I mean, for many people over the weekend, the Trump Putin meeting dominated the headlines, but in some ways it sucked the oxygen out of the really big developments. And that is the other 19 leaders, let's call them G19.

They were discussing climate change, there were migration and refugees, they were responding to crises, such as the Islamic state or such as North Korea. But Trump in a sense was sidelined on all of those issues because of his attention of Putin and because of these declarations that the United States would pursue protectionist trade policies, and that the priority would be Russia, say over, for example, NATO or for example, a coordinated approach to migration. The immigration question.

[03:15:00] And these millions of refugees that countries are confronting. So there's a very vivid shot where Donald Trump is sitting at a table, alone, no one around him, and all the other heeders are discussing what is going on. I think that's pretty representative.

ALLEN: Yes. And discussing trade and such. You kind of wonder if it's going to come back to hurt the United States, this wish that he wants to make America great, but kind of being sidelined of some of the important issues. Then what countries do you see kind of moving in from that void? I guess China would be one.

LUCAS: Well, I think China always is trying to maneuver its diplomatic relationships, has done for decades. And this just gives another opportunity. I'm particularly interested, for example, in what European leaders do. Now they don't think that they could just set the U.S. aside. The country is too important despite Donald Trump.

But at the same time I think Angela Merkel in Germany, I think Emmanuel Macron in France, I think you're looking at the fact that Europe can no longer just simply wait on Washington. They have to take the lead on climate change. They've got to take the lead on security questions. They've got to take the lead on trade.

I also think you look to other countries. You look at countries in Latin America. Say Brazil for example, closer to the U.S. and Mexico. I think you also look, for example, say a South Africa or a major country like Indonesia. All of those countries are reassessing what they're doing. Because the notion of a U.S. led world, which we have had since 1945 that is crumbling. I think is now something of the past.

ALLEN: Scott Lucas, thank you for joining us.

LUCAS: Thank you.

HOWELL: Iraq is declaring that the key city of Mosul has been liberated from ISIS. This after three years of reign under the militants there. Next, the challenges that lie ahead to prevent future conflict.

ALLEN: And a raging fire at iconic market in central London just weeks after the deadly Grenfell fire. Ahead, we'll tell you what we know about what happened.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Weather watch time. I'm meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

A look at these severe storms around the Midwestern United States. Certainly you could see some slight impacts out of places like Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago with these storms. Down across the southern U.S., scattered storms across this region have really been persistent.

In fact, when you look at the forecast for the month of July, expecting wet weather and above average rainfall and that's precisely how it's playing out so far in the first week of the month. Again, some of those strong storms could eventually push in towards portions of the northeast.

Accumulations of rainfall in the couple of days, heaviest right along that region across the Great Lakes. Here's your Monday forecast, looking at temperatures to be in the upper 20s out of Winnipeg. Chicago, 29, Denver one of the warm spot there at 36 degrees. Same score out of Dallas.

The trend remains hot for the northeastern U.S. through much of the week. Down towards the Caribbean, though, watching some thunderstorms all through across parts of say, Havana. About 32 degrees in the forecast there. Guatemala City looking at 26 and take you down towards the Western United States there where of course the extreme heat has been the big story around this region.

[03:20:02] Also drought in place with a fire concern that is elevated across a lot of these areas. Look at these temperatures, you want to play the slot machine in Las Vegas. If it wasn't for Monday, 42 would be your number there, 42 across the board out of Phoenix. High temperatures and in places like Los Angeles, starting off to a toasty, cools off into the upper 20s.

If you have any weather photos, share them hash tag CNN weather.


HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

Iraq is declaring the key city of Mosul has been liberated from ISIS. This after three years under the brutal reign of those militants. Soldiers and civilians you see here celebrating on the streets.

ALLEN: And they deserve to celebrate. They lost so many men in this fight, but the fighting has continued in small parts of western Mosul. The Iraqi prime minister said the military will soon get rid of those pockets of ISIS resistance, and now of course the daunty task of how do you rebuild all of that right there?

Our Jomana Karadsheh is working the story for us and she is live for us in Amman, Jordan. Hello to you, Jomana. And yes, the question is, where do they begin? I guess they've been thinking how will we do this once ISIS is out, to bring Mosul back together.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is one would hope, but it's unclear really if there is a proper post battle plan. You know, this victory is quite significant for Iraq right now, and you're seeing people celebrating this. There's no doubt that this is a major blow to ISIS.

But as you mentioned, the tough task is still ahead. They need to make sure that they are able to stabilize and secure Mosul, as well as other parts of the country that have been recaptured from ISIS. They need to rebuild those areas that have been devastated, those predominantly Sunni areas that have seen some of the worst fighting over the past year or so.

They need to rebuild those areas, so people, the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced from their homes have something to go back to, to try and rebuild their shattered lives. Now perhaps the most daunting of all of the tasks ahead for the Iraqi

government, and especially for the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, is to try and rebuild trust between the different components of Iraq's community, to make sure that the Sunni population feels that things have changed, that this is a new Iraq, that their grievances will be addressed.

To try and bridge that sectarian divide. You know, those same factors that led to the rise and the emergence of ISIS when it exploited those divisions in Iraq, that needs to be addressed. It is very critical for Iraq to start working on a real and true national reconciliation program that has not happened in Iraq since 2003.

So yes, we are seeing, Natalie, the end of ISIS in Mosul. But that most definitely does not mean the end of ISIS in Iraq.

ALLEN: Let's talk about that. Where are these other pockets and how significant are they?

KARADSHEH: Well, if you look at northern Iraq, there's still some towns, cities that are under the control of ISIS. Of course, Mosul was the most significant in recapturing. This is of course a major victory for them, because it is Iraq's second largest city. But you still got cities like Hawijah, you got Tal Afar places close to the Syrian border.

But also in the western Anbar province there, ISIS still controls some territory. And we've seen them in that part of the country launching quite frequently significant attacks targeting the Iraqi security forces in that part of the country. Perhaps an indication of the capabilities they still possess, the ability to carry out these sorts of attacks.

And this is something that is raising concern among so many Iraqis. That while ISIS is losing ground, it is losing territory, that now it might be reverting back to its roots as an insurgent group that will continue to carry out attacks.

And something that is still so fresh in the minds of the Iraqi especially in cities like the capital Baghdad that has seen some of the most devastating terrorist attacks over the past few years. And that will remain a concern for so many people as ISIS is pushed out of more and more territory in Iraq, Natalie.

ALLEN: Well, hopefully the Mosul deal will have them somewhat demoralized. Hopefully. Jomana Karadsheh for us, thank you so much.

[03:25:01] HOWELL: All right. Another overnight fire to tell you about in London. It had firefighters battling massive flames at Camden Market. This is their second massive fires in recent weeks.

ALLEN: And this of course comes weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire killed at least 80 people.

CNN's Phil Black explains this isn't the first major fire at this iconic market. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authority said the emergency calls started coming in around midnight local time. And there were lots of them because the fire was so visible across a wide area. Images and videos posted to social media give a sense of just how dramatic it looked on the night time London skyline.

There authorities responded with some force were around 75 firefighters, 10 fire engines, they battled the fire for about three hours before declaring that it was out and then working through the morning to ensure there were no issues with any of the smoldering ruins, ensuring there was no risk the fire can take hold once again.

Crucially, there were no reported injuries as a result of this fire. Camden Market is, without doubt, one of London's best known market areas. So very busy during the day, but at that time of the night, there would have been few people around.

The human cost here will be in the businesses and livelihoods that are affected as a result of the damage that has been caused. There was another large fire, bigger than this, in this same area back in 2008. It took many months for the businesses in this area to recover from the fire on that occasion. The authorities here say it's too early to know precisely what the cause of this fire was.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


HOWELL: And the good news, no one injured. But again, this big overnight fire.

Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, it was one of the U.S. president's most prominent campaign promises, to repeal and replace Obamacare. But John McCain says the Republican health care bill probably won't make it. We'll explain why.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, days of marching and protests, it was a rally against Turkey's president. Just ahead, what President Erdogan was doing during the demonstration.

HOWELL: And a look at the men and women who put this broadcast on the air for our viewers here in the United States and around the world this hour. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

With the headlines we're following for you this hour, in Iraq, officials declaring Mosul has been liberated from ISIS after three years under the militant's rule. The extremist group still holds other territory in that nation. Now the task begins of rebuilding. Activists say reconciling ethnic and social division is key.

ALLEN: A cease-fire in southwestern Syria brokered by the U.S., Russia, and Jordan appears to be holding after going into effect Sunday. So far, there been no reports of any serious violations. The U.S. and Russia say they will ensure all groups are complying with the agreement, but have not said how they will monitor it.

HOWELL: Nomination of Venezuela supporters of the opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez held a celebration rally Sunday in Caracas just one day after he was released from prison. He's now under house arrest. Sunday's rally also marked 100 days of protests against the President there, Nicolas Maduro.

ALLEN: Breaking news. Our top story. the New York Times reporting Donald Trump, Jr., the son of the U.S. President, met with the Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. The Times says President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort were also at the meeting.

HOWELL: Now this meeting reportedly took place on June 9th of last year, two weeks after Donald Trump pledged the Republican presidential nomination. In a statement to CNN, Donald Trump, Jr. Says he was asked by an acquaintance to have a meeting with an individual who might have information helpful to the campaign.

He said the statements by the woman at the meeting were quote, "vague, ambiguous, and made no sense."

ALLEN: The New York Times reports that merging that President Donald Trump is facing fallout over his meeting with the Russian president at the G20 summit.

HOWELL: Our senior political analyst David Gergen spoke with CNN's Ana Cabrera about all of this.


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we know the legal significance of this, and that's what investigations are all about. We'll have to wait and see. But this does have political significance.

First of all, it's one more example of the double talk that has come ut of the Trump team, that continues to plague them and the presidency, because they don't -- they don't play straight with the facts.

I mean, just yesterday, Donald Trump, Jr. put out a statement that basically said I met with this person because we wanted -- it was a meeting about adoption of Russian children. It said nothing about Hillary Clinton.

And today they're forced to come clean with a different statement. But you know, why didn't they tell us the truth to start with? It happens again and again. The President coming out of his G20 meeting in Europe, you know, at first it looked like he had a successful meeting with Putin. But now it's enveloped in controversy, because we're not getting a straight story about what was really said in there and what the president believes.

So I think -- and I think that just fuels the political suspicion that is looming the Trump team again and again. And beyond that, I want to make the point, this is extremely abnormal for a campaign to have as many contacts with any foreign nation, but especially with the Russians.

This doesn't -- this is not the way campaigns work. They're basically internal affairs. And if somebody comes in and tells your campaign manager, hey, we got a Russian who may have some hot stuff on Hillary, you're damn careful before you sit down with that person, because you don't know what you're getting yourself into.

And normally, you would have some lower level person to do it to start with to figure out and not bring in the top guns of the campaign.


HOWELL: All right. David Gergen there. So another issue that has nothing to do with Russia, that's on the president's plate, one of his signature campaign promises, repeal and replace Obamacare that's now on the line.

ALLEN: Even members of his own party do not sound too optimistic. Senator John McCain says the Republican Senate health care bill is likely dead.

Our Tom Foreman breaks down what's next.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Congressional Republicans have been waiting for years for their opportunity to overturn Obamacare. And now with it sitting right in front of them, they just can't figure out how to get it done.

[03:34:59] From the Republican controlled Senate, a stunning change of direction. Majority leader Mitch McConnell saying he will work with Democrats to prop up Obamacare, if his own party can't pass an alternative plan.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Premiums are going up, co-payments are going up, deductibles are going up. So we have to solve the current crisis, and I think repealing and then delaying the replacement doesn't work.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, I am calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.


FOREMAN: CNN has learned the White House was caught off guard by McConnell's comments coming less than a week after the President's own surprise move, when he tweeted, "If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date."

But that has gained no traction, even as the Republican bill has continued spinning its wheels. Some Senators in their home districts for the July Fourth recess, face tough questions from constituents.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I am still a no, unless the bill is dramatically changed.

FOREMAN: So bipartisan support, limited as it may be, is swirling around McConnell's idea.

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Senator McConnell is correct in that we need to make sure that the individual market is a stronger market than it is today.

I believe what Mitch McConnell says is the right path to take.

FOREMAN: Even amid furious pushback from conservative quarters. Heritage action for America saying such a deal with Democrats would be catastrophic for the Republican Party. And on it goes, with various Republicans offering their own solutions about how to end the impasse, unite the party and somehow turn the turmoil into triumph.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think we have to get the job done, but we got to do it right.


CRUZ: That results matter. It's not just passing a bill who is titled as Obamacare repeal. We actually got to do something that fixes the problem.

FOREMAN: Watching the Republicans twist themselves into knots trying to deal with the health care reform riddle was a wonderful holiday recess for Congressional Democrats. Only it was less like Independence Day and more like Christmas in July.


HOWELL: Tom Foreman there with the reporting.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey marked the end of the 25-day protest march with a rally against the president of that nation, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They walked 250 miles or some 400 kilometers, over three and a half weeks.

ALLEN: They're walking and they're protesting Mr. Erdogan's crackdown after the failed military coup last year. The president was meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as this massive demonstration took place.

HOWELL: Before he headed to Turkey, Rex Tillerson was in Kiev, Ukraine, he met there with President Petro Poroshenko, the president of that nation to reaffirm Washington's commitment to a sovereign Ukraine.

ALLEN: Tillerson urged Russia to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, promising the U.S. will not lift sanctions against Moscow until it returns control of Crimea to Kiev.


REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: It is necessary for Russia to take the first step to deescalate the situation in the east part of Ukraine, and particularly by respecting the cease-fire by pulling back the heavy weapons and allowing the OSC observers to carry out their responsibilities.


HOWELL: U.S. Secretary of State there, Rex Tillerson.

Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, extreme weather conditions. We have the very latest from the heat and fires that are plaguing the U.S. State of California.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, for 20 years, J.K. Rowling has been bringing magic to children everywhere, and she sat down exclusively with our Christiane Amanpour to discuss how she's helping kids now.


HOWELL: The story we're following in the U.S. State of Ohio. One woman is dead after a shooting at a gender reveal party. Police say that eight people, including young children, suffered has non-life threatening injuries.

ALLEN: They were all at home near Cincinnati to learn the gender of a pregnant woman expect a child when this fun party that everyone is doing now. When all of a sudden the suspects came in. They ran away after few minutes of gun fire.

Police aren't saying who they fatally shot. We don't know if it's the pregnant woman and they say there's still much they don't know at this point about what caused it.


MARK DENNEY, CHIEF OF POLICE, COLERAIN TOWNSHIP: I would like nothing more in my position to be able to stand up here and the tell the community they have absolutely nothing to worry about, but I'm not going to provide statements or information that's false just to make people feel better. We don't know who the suspects are or why they did this.


HOWELL: It's obviously a story, a very important story we'll continue to follow and update you on. In Canada, some 10,000 residents of British Columbia have been forced

to evacuate because of wildfires. Officials say 224 active fires are burning across the province. It's been under an active state of emergency now since Friday.

The U.S. State of California also seeing a growing number of those wildfires. The whitier fire has burned more than 3100 hectares, that more than 7600 acres in Santa Barbara County. At least 2,000 people there have been evacuated.

ALLEN: And we've got more, an even bigger fire, the Alamo fire has destroyed 10,000 hectares or 25,000 acres. That fire is only 10 percent contained. California's governor has declared a state of emergency in the northern part of the state, because of the wall fire. It started Friday and leaped to more than half of its presence size by Sunday morning. Four thousand people have been forced from their homes, and dogs, as well.

JAVAHERI: We're in the thick of it, guys.

ALLEN: Yes, we are.


HOWELL: We definitely are.

ALLEN: You know, all that rain, all the flooding California got from the Sierra Nevada snow.

JAVAHERI: Yes. Absolutely.

ALLEN: That was yesterday.

HOWELL: We are now.

JAVAHERI: It seems like. We have very quickly changed for the worse. This is the fire weather season. When you look at what's happening outside of California, in some spots after seeing rain every other day, in both January and February, they've not seen rain now for two months in parts of California. So you can imagine they just shut off.

So here's what it looks like as far as the hot, dry perspective across much of the western United States. In fact, the gusty winds they don't help. When you want rainfall, you can't just have a little. At least half an inch is necessary to stop the spread of wildfires, at least the rule of thumb we use here.

You look up to two inches is what you typically need to be able to extinguish the flames, so that's not in the forecast. It is the monsoon season across parts of the southwestern United States. But tell that to this weather map condition here with 50 large active wildfires across the western half of the United States, all of them confined west of say, Montana down towards Wyoming and the State of Colorado, as well.

But I think Natalie would enjoy this, she's a fan of climate science. And you take a look at this, the perspective of the large wildfires in the 1980s compared to the 19990's, the average number of wildfires per year.

[03:45:00] And then you work in the 200, about 2012 the latest numbers we have shown you the spike there in how many wildfires we typically see that are considered large the United States.

And here we go. Scattered thunderstorms, dry thunderstorms, unfortunately the elevated risk across much of this region in place. We know that 90 percent of wildfires are human induced. Only 10 percent are due to lightning strikes. That 10 percent accounts for about 6,000 wildfires.

Incredibly, though, just that 10 percent alone, the lightning strikes by themselves, in fact, consume about nine times the amount of land when they're ignited by lightning versus when they're ignited by humans. The uncontrolled nature or the erratic nature of lightning strikes of course really makes it difficult to be able to contain, and we have gusty winds oftentimes associated with them.

And there are thunderstorms at this hour, south of Flagstaff, Arizona, approaching the Phoenix metro area, which by the way has not rained for over two months across Phoenix and joins a slew of other cities across this region, Fresno, Tucson, Cedar City, going on 50 to 60 days since the last seen rainfall.

And as I said at the beginning of weather segment, some of these areas had seen some decent rainfall in the beginning of the year and it just shut off as we approached the dry season. So the dry season really means the dry season even in a wet year.

HOWELL: Yes. All right. Pedram, thank you.

JAVAHERI: Thanks for having me, guys.

ALLEN: Thank you.

Well, children have been under the spell of J.K. Rowling Harry Potter for 28 years, and she is using her success to really help kids in another way.

HOWELL: That's right. Rowling says shining spotlight on child institutionalization through her charity Lumos. She sat down with CNN's Christiane Amanpour for this exclusive interview.


J.K. ROWLING, CREATOR OF HARRY POTTER: Our ambition is to end child institutionalization by 2050. That's the ambition.


ROWLING: All over the world, global.

AMANPOUR: How many kids are we talking about? ROWLING: We estimate there are eight million children in institutions

worldwide. But that might be a low guess. And we know around a million children disappear in Europe every year.

AMANPOUR: Why Lumos?

ROWLING: Well, it's a spell in Harry Potter. It's a light giving spell so the metaphor is glaring over this.

AMANPOUR: Harry Potter is a...


ROWLING: Harry Potter.

AMANPOUR: So it's kind of obvious that you're doing this, is it.

ROWLING: It wasn't obvious to me at the time. But to be very candid, I think my worst fear, my personal worst peer is powerlessness and small spaces. And I think just the idea that these children were being kept penned like this was horrific to me.

But then so although I didn't think that's like Harry being discovered I suppose why did I put Harry in the cupboard? Because this is my fear of being trapped and being powerless. Just powerless to get out of that space.


ALLEN: You can hear more from J.K. Rowling with Christiane's exclusive interview on Monday. For our international viewers that's 7:00 p.m. in London. For everyone else, head to later today.

HOWELL: Japan pours billions of dollars into refugee programs, even so, the country refuses to give asylum to most who apply for it. We talk to a group of Kurds living in limbo near Tokyo. Stay with us.



ALLEN: Some refugees fleeing the violence and instability in the Middle East have gone to Japan. The country rejects though almost every single asylum seeker.

HOWELL: CNN's Will Ripley met with Kurds living in limbo near Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A rare taste of Kurdish hospitality in Japan. This family of refugees welcomes us into their home. Their home, at least for now.

About 2,000 ethnic Kurds live in Japan. Most seeking refuge from sectarian violence. This family fled the Turkish-Syrian border more than a decade ago. They've learned Japanese, local customs and live quietly in a small Kurdish enclave north of Tokyo.

But they don't have a permanent home. Japan can deport them at any time, because of a strict policy that only gives refugee status to a select few, and leaves everyone else in limbo.

Misutgo (Ph) has been living temporarily in Japan for 11 years. He reapplies at the immigration bureau every two months. When he tried to reapply in December, something he's done more than 60 times, immigration workers told him he was being deported. His request for refugee status finally denied.

Locked in detention for five months, he became seriously ill. Officers took him to the hospital, in shackles.

It sounds to me like you're describing a prison. Did you feel like you were in prison? Yes, it is, he says. I was living faithfully, honestly, following Japanese laws. I believe I'd be accepted but I ended up being detained.

Gul (Ph) is appealing his deportation order. He says even this life is better than what he would face back home.

Japan's justice ministry says nearly 11,000 people applied for asylum last year, a record. The immigration bureau accepted just 28 refugees.

The government tells CNN people abuse the system that many seeking refugee status are actually economic migrants, and that Japan, the world's third largest economy, already donates billions of dollars to refugee programs.

But this homogenous insular society is fiercely reluctant to take in migrants. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan needs to focus on restarting its economy before considering changes to its refugee policy.

RIPLEY: Is Japan's immigration system designed to grind people down to make them want to leave?

"From my 35 years of experience in immigration, I would say Japan wants to send them back," says Hidenori Sakanaka.

[03:54:59] RIPLEY: The former head of Tokyo's Immigration bureau is trying to change the system. "The time has come for us to accept more immigrants," he says. Not one Turkish Kurd has ever been granted refugee status in Japan.

Instead, they get temporary permits renewed every few months. Many cannot work legally, don't qualify for health care, and can't even leave their city without permission.

What is it like to live without residency here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This means you are officially not exist in here.

RIPLEY: You just don't exist?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that is the main problem.

RIPLEY: A constant state of uncertainty, even for students like 19- year-old Ramazan Durzon (Ph). His parents brought him here as a child. "I dream about having a future in Japan," he says, "but if I'm deported, everything I learned and everything I built here will disappear." In Japan, he and other refugees find safe harbor but no home. Their lives their futures in limbo.

Will Ripley, CNN, Kawaguchi, Japan.


ALLEN: And that is CNN NEWSROOM. Early Start is next for viewers here in the United States. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. For other viewers around the world, our colleague Max Foster will join you live in London. This is CNN, the world's news leader.