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U.S. to Mark 100th Anniversary of Entering WWI; Russia Investigation; Kushner under Fire for Yet Another Russia Meeting; British Government to Publish "Great Repeal Bill". Aired 12-1a ET
Aired July 13, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:59:51] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour --
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Paralyzed by chaos at home, Donald Trump now on his way to Paris.
VAUSE: But questions over Trump's campaign ties to Russia will follow him overseas. The President is scheduled to hold a joint media conference with France's Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.
SIDNER: Also, fading (ph) coral -- the race against time to save our oceans on a day when a massive iceberg breaks away from Antarctica.
VAUSE: Hello everybody -- great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.
SIDNER: And I'm Sara Sidner.
NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in Paris just a few hours from now but he left behind a shell-shocked White House which one Republican insider now describes as paralyzed.
VAUSE: While the President celebrates the French national holiday of Bastille Day as a guest of President Emmanuel Macron the White House staff is dealing with the fall out from his oldest son's admission that he met with a Russian lawyer back in June last year looking to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
SIDNER: Senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann is live for us in Paris with more on this story -- Jim.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning -- Sara.
Yes, in terms of grand and grander, in terms of pomp and circumstance, it doesn't get much better than Bastille Day in Paris. There are very few democratic countries in fact that actually stage a huge military parade like the French do every year on Bastille. And Donald Trump maybe seeking a little respite from those charges swirling (ph) around in Washington; he'll be here in the reflected glory of France's new President Emmanuel Macron who has invited the President in a very grandiose way.
We've been getting a little foretaste of what the parade's like all this week as we do every year as the military does have to perform rehearsals on the Champs Elysee behind me. And here's what it's been like during those rehearsals, just to give you a taste.
BITTERMANN: Before dawn, nearly every day this week, members of the French military and security forces were practicing their moves. Everything has to be perfect for the annual show of French grandeur along the Champs Elysee marking French Independence Day.
And joining them this year are nearly 200 American soldiers, sailors and airmen who will be marking something else, the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I.
For the service men and women, much different in age from those who arrived here a century ago, the idea of being among the first Americans to lead the Bastille Day Parade commemorating the historical events and at the same time, marching before the Presidents of both the United States and France is well --
STAFF SGT. DAVID GARNER, U.S. MARINE: Pretty awesome.
GARNER: It's a great privilege to be able to come here and celebrate this.
AIRMAN 1ST CLASS SAVANNAH WATERS, U.S. AIR FORCE: It makes me feel a little bit nervous, obviously but it's an opportunity that not many people like me get.
BITTERMANN: But few feel that sense of distinction more than the commander of the Paris detachment, Major Jared Nichols. He not only serves with the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division, the first unit ordered to France in 1917 but his great grandfather was among the first troops to come here to fight alongside the French.
MAJ. JARED NICHOLS, 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION, U.S. ARMY: This is absolutely an amazing opportunity for the U.S. military and the United States representatives here in France on this holiday. It's a significant event for the nation of France.
BITTERMANN: The first American soldiers arrived here a hundred years ago. Of course, it was not just for ceremony. After a march on the Champs Elysee to show to the French that they've arrived, they went off immediately to the battlefront.
Eventually nearly five million U.S. service men were involved in turning the tide of battle in that war, more than 100,000 died in the battlefields or elsewhere, more than 200,000 were injured. Many, like Major Nichols' grandfather from the effects of poison gas.
But the war left scars of a different sort.
NICHOLS: A lot of what the current issues that Europe deals with and the world deals with stand directly back to the Great War. So, I think there's a lot of reflection and a lot of trying to gain understanding of about what occurred a hundred years ago and how it still affects us today.
BITTERMANN: And with the summit between French and American Presidents a part of Bastille Day this year, it's clear that one of those things that still affects us today is the sense of transatlantic cooperation with roots that go back not just a century but to the founding of the American republic.
BITTERMANN: And Sara there won't be just ground troops here as well, the Thunderbirds Air Force team is going to be flying overhead in the aerial display that begins this big parade which will take place tomorrow morning. Trump, of course, on the reviewing stand with French President Emmanuel Macron -- Sara.
[00:05:00] SIDNER: You know, members of the Armed Forces there, the U.S. Armed Forces talking about reflection and understanding and I'm sure those are two words that could be used between these two leaders because earlier this year, you are well aware that President Trump openly criticized France making remarks about terrorist attacks in Paris and seemingly trying to blame lax border security at the time that was President Hollande. And he was very upset with those remarks because they were made publicly.
Does President Macron see Donald Trump as antagonistic toward France and Europe as a whole?
BITTERMANN: Well, I think those comments were broadly -- widely regarded as basically uninformed. The fact is that the French know very well what their situation is. They've been working hard to, you know, in terms of terrorism. And they've been working hard to correct it.
And they kind of look at the United States and see gun crimes in the United States and they say look, there's far more people that die of gun crimes in the United States than died in terrorism in France.
Yes, I think they took as a kind of an insult. And there were other things too. And I think they gave as good as they got because Macron, you'll recall coined the phrase "make the planet great again", taking off from Donald Trump's campaign slogan.
And as well, he did, in a very pointed response to the withdrawal of the U.S. from COP21. He did an appeal in English to American researchers basically telling them to come to France because that's where (inaudible) is back on that -- Sara.
SIDNER: And out of, you know, curiosity how will Donald Trump be received by Macron and others in the French leadership after some of those comments? And also, you know, sort of other that handshake that the entire world saw where Macron really held on tight, noticeably for quite some time.
BITTERMANN: Well, in fact the Elysee Palace has been putting out the word that Macron wants to extend a hand this time around to make Donald Trump feel like he's not isolated on the world stage. It actually started during the G-20 summit when there were a lot of stories written about the United States and Trump in particular being isolated. And so, Macron believes that rather than close out and keep standing apart from the United States it's better to extend a hand according to his advisers in the Elysee Palace.
So that's what you're going to see here. It's going to be 24 hours full of ceremony and pomp and circumstance, a dinner at the Eiffel Tower this evening for the Presidents and their first ladies. And then of course, the big military parade tomorrow.
It will be certainly a break from the kind of things you've been hearing in Washington and there will be a two-hour bilateral meeting this afternoon but the substance of that is really the achievements of that will be a bit unclear, I think, in terms of whether anything can get done in those two hours' time -- Sara.
SIDNER: Right. Our Jim Bittermann, live there with a great story and great insights into the political situation there in France.
VAUSE: Maybe the U.S. President will be happier in Paris because sources say Donald Trump is frustrated and furious after the latest revelations in the Russian collusion scandal.
SIDNER: Mr. Trump tells Reuters, he doesn't fault his son for meeting with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin and he only found out about that meeting during last year's campaign a few days ago, he says.
VAUSE: Well, attention is now turning to the President's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner who also attended that meeting. Kushner failed to declare his contact with the Russian lawyer on his security clearance application. He also failed to mention meeting he had with the Russian ambassador and a Russian banker -- all the contacts he's had with Russia.
SIDNER: Critics are asking if Jared Kushner has amnesia or if he has something to hide. Our CNN's Randi Kaye reports the story out.
RANDI KAYE, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: His name is in the e-mail chain -- Jared Kushner. The e-mail forward June 8, 2016 just after 12:00 noon from his brother-in-law Donald Trump, Jr. to Kushner and Paul Manafort, then head of the Trump campaign. Now senior White House adviser, Kushner was being invited to meet with a Russian attorney.
It had been promised she would deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton. The lawyer told NBC she remembered Kushner.
NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, RUSSIAN LAWYER (through translator): I could recognize the young gentleman who was only present in the meeting the first seven to ten minutes. And then he stood up and left the room. It was Mr. Jared Kushner and he never came back, by the way.
KAYE: And there you have it. The Russian lawyer herself placing Kushner, the so-called secretary of everything, in yet another meeting with a Russian that was initially left off the forms he filled out to gain White House secretary clearance.
[00:10:00] Had all those meetings simply slipped his mind? Let's review.
There was the meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak at Trump Tower during the transition. That's when Kushner allegedly tried to set up some sort of back channel communication to the Kremlin. The White House declined to comment.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don't like it. I just don't.
KAYE: Also the meeting with Russian banker Sergei Gorkov, who not only has ties to Vladimir Putin, but runs a bank that's been under U.S. sanctions for the last three years. The optics are troubling.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: My dashboard warning light was clearly on and I think that was the case which all of us in the intelligence community.
KAYE: And now this latest meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, also initially omitted on his application for security clearance, has some wondering how many other meetings Kushner might not have disclosed. And his security clearance should be revoked.
The application form Jared Kushner filled out for White House security clearance is known as the SF86 Form. And you might say Kushner's is a work in progress.
The first time Kushner filled it out he left the section for foreign contact blank. The next day he amended that to say he had multiple contacts and would be disclosing them. The same form was modified a third time in recent weeks to include the meeting with Donald, Jr. and the Russian lawyer, a source told CNN.
In a statement over the weekend, Kushner's attorney explained that his SF 86 clearance form was quote, "prematurely submitted", referring to his original form months ago. And reiterated that her client is eager to cooperate and share what he knows with Congress.
While that sounds good, keep in mind that Kushner's application for security clearance is submitted under penalty of perjury. That's because unlike his brother-in-law Donald, Jr. who is not a government employee, Jared Kushner is and was required by law to disclose his meetings with foreign governments.
Randi Kaye, CNN -- New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)
VAUSE: Joining us now from Seattle, Washington CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin and here in Los Angeles political analyst Mike Genovese. Good to have you both with us.
Michael Zeldin -- I'd like to start with you. There seems to be, you know, a fairly common acceptance out there that Jared Kushner is facing some kind of legal peril here right now. Is that your opinion? How serious is all of this?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's not my opinion yet. The centerpiece (ph) accurately describes the situation but in order to commit the crime of lying on the SF-86, that lie has to be knowing and intentional. It can't be by inadvertence or mistake.
And one would have to really look carefully at those forms to say did Jared Kushner make a knowing and intentional misstatement or was he just sloppy and did he, as his lawyer said, submit the form prematurely. So that's still a very fact-specific event.
If you take a worst-case scenario which is that he did it knowingly and intentionally then it is a felony and it carries a five-year period of imprisonment and it's a pretty straightforward prosecution.
SIDNER: Michael Genovese, beyond the legal troubles, because that is one facet of this -- there is the political fall out. The Democrats, of course, are raging. They just -- they've had it.
Some Republicans like John McCain have come out and been very, very, very concerned. Every time it's more concerned. Every time something new comes out.
But as a whole the Republicans mattering greatly in all this, are we seeing them respond as a whole, as a group to what has transpired in the last couple of days.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you have to remember just six or seven months ago, the Republicans are celebrating. They control the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, most state legislatures, most governorships. They thought that everything -- all the fruit in the basket was theirs.
And now they feel threatened. They feel defensive. And they feel a little bit betrayed. Some Republicans are fearing the worst. I think that's premature.
But even if the worst happens and there is a collapse of the Trump White House, just remember back in 1964 when Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide, everyone thought the Democrats will be in control for a generation.
GENOVESE: Four years later the Republicans won the White House.
In '72 McGovern lost in a landslide. Oh it's going to be in Republican control for a generation and four years later the Democrats were in the White House.
And so there are no final acts in American politics. And so while the Republicans should rightly be concerned because their political futures are also on the line --
SIDNER: 2018 is coming up fast.
GENOVESE: 2018 is around the corner. I think still and I think Michael Zeldin was appropriately cautioning us to be cautious at this point.
VAUSE: You know, the big question when it comes to Kushner, one of the big questions -- there's a lot of big questions when it comes to Kushner. Did he tell his father-in-law about meeting with the Russian lawyer? The President says he only heard about it in the last couple days.
[00:15:01] Mike Allen from Axios notes this. "No one has spent more time with Trump throughout the past year and has seen or knows more."
So Michael Zeldin to you -- once again we're in a situation where the White House is asking for the benefit of the doubt. Does there come a point where that's a pretty steep hill to climb?
ZELDIN: Well, in a sense yes, because the White House and particularly the President has made a lot of tweets that just flat out aren't correct. The Comey better be worried that there isn't a taping system. That Obama wiretapped him.
These are false statements. And so when the President says lots of false things and then he says well, you should believe me now. You've got this sort of Chicken Little or house on fire and the Fox is guarding it. It's not really going to help the President if he gets into a credibility contest.
And further, the timeline here is just not, you know, sort of a friend to the President because the e-mail chain that you described in the centerpiece (ph) of June 3rd, the contact; June 7, the reply; June 8, the meeting; then the separate release of the WikiLeaks in July, the President saying to beware that something is coming forward with respect to Clinton and her e-mails.
All of that implies knowledge on his part. And so I think he has a hard road here having damaged his own credibility and this timeline being too coincidental to be believed.
SIDNER: Can I follow up with you Michael, just to ask you if you think that the special prosecutor at this point has enough to say this is looking like a crime was committed at this point for anyone that is under investigation at this point noting that this is still an investigation and it's certainly by no means closed. ZELDIN: I think it's premature for Bob Mueller to have reached that sort of conclusion. Remember he's only up and running over the last two months, more or less. He's just put together his staff. He's just getting information sent over to him. They just got offices quite recently.
So I don't think he's yet at a point where he can make a conclusion. What he'll do coming forward once he's, you know, up and running is he'll probably start interviewing witnesses. Then maybe he'll convene a grand jury which is the manner in which information is received in preparation for the possibility of indicting somebody for a crime.
So I think we're a ways away from that. But surely the wheels are in motion to determine whether or not a crime has been committed.
VAUSE: Kushner is expected to cooperate with the ongoing investigations with the Intelligence Committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are now new questions about the data operation that Kushner ran for the campaign and whether or not there was collaboration with Russian-backed hackers.
The Democrats want answers to that. This is Democrat Adam Schiff from the House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I can't go into what evidence the committee has seen. But I can tell you that we are going to be interviewing witnesses and are meeting with people to explore these very allegations to make sure that we get to the bottom of whether there was any form of coordination in that social media campaign that was coming out of Moscow.
We need to determine whether this was one of the Russian modalities; that is, did they have a targeted operation such that it would be impossible to have that level of sophistication without getting some help from the campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And Michael Genovese to you. I mean this is, you know, (inaudible) about the meeting, questions about the meeting, questions about collusion, questions about meeting foreign nationals. You know, there is drip, drip, drip that keeps coming and a lot of it just seems to center now on Jared Kushner.
GENOVESE: Well, he's very, very close to the President and it seems that almost everything goes through him. And the question is, was he naive, inexperienced? Maybe a little bit of both.
But I think more than that both President Trump and Jared Kushner seem to think that you can run the White House like you ran a family business. And you know, back in New York maybe you have a problem, you get it fixed.
SIDNER: Right. GENOVESE: Here in Washington, D.C. and nationally it doesn't work that way. There are people who have vested interests in strong independent institutional relationships that he can't control, that he can't simply threaten or tweet his way out of it.
And so the process and I think Michael Zeldin described the process very well, it's a process. It's going to take time, step by step. There's no need to rush to a conclusion because we don't really have the full story yet.
VAUSE: Very quickly to Michael Zeldin -- what's the legal implication to him, you know, if there is a crime that, you know, the House Intelligence Committee is looking at when it comes to data operations including with the Russians. Is there, you know, crime here which may have been breached.
[00:20:02] ZELDIN: Well, collusion, which is the word that they use in this paper all the time, is not really a crime. Excuse me. What it is -- what is the crime is a conspiracy to commit any illegal act.
The illegal act here is yet to be fully fleshed out. It could be to interfere with an election. There are a lot of Federal Election Commission laws that govern the way elections have to be run and it could be that you have a conspiracy to violate one of those election laws.
But again, this is still too early to know the answer to that. But that's I think where they would start the investigation.
SIDNER: Michael Genovese -- collusion not a crime but politically -- it's not a good word.
GENOVESE: Well, collusion is a tough one but I think it's going to be perjury that's going to be the key. People are going to be testifying under oath and that's when -- you can tell when a President's in trouble when the number of people who hire criminal attorneys in the White House exceeds double figures.
GENOVESE: And we're there right now. And so what you're going to see, like Watergate, is people hire a criminal attorney, the attorney represents them not the President.
And they're going to try to make the best deal for their client. And so they're going to suggest perhaps that you turn over some information, maybe the head of the President's part of that.
And so that's where I think the illegal issue is become well-framed and that's when the President really starts to be on very thin ice.
VAUSE: That's when it's every man for themselves, essentially.
VAUSE: Ok. To the two Michaels -- Michael Genovese and -- very quickly Michael Zeldin -- you want to weigh in.
ZELDIN: I was going to say the one wild care in this and Professor Genovese is exactly right. But the one wild card in this is General Flynn and what does he have to say? What is his story?
We haven't -- he's gone silent in the past week or two. And some say that's -- it portends cooperation. But that's something to keep an eye.
VAUSE: Yes. Ok. Thanks to you both for being with us. Thanks for the insight. We appreciate it.
And with that we'll take a short break.
When we come back -- Britain about to take another step closer towards Brexit while relations with Brussels continue to get worse. More on the great repeal bill in just a moment.
[00:17:13] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: The British government will publish the so-called Great Repeal Bill on Thursday. It will turn all existing E.U. laws into U.K. statutes so Britain's parliament can make the desired changes. Prime Minister Theresa May calls it an essential step in the Brexit process.
SIDNER: The talks between London and Brussels have been testy. One of the sticking points is how much Britain will have to pay the E.U. in the divorce bill.
On Tuesday, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson fired the first shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The sums that I have seen that they propose to demand from this country seem to me to be extortionate and I think that to go whistle is an entirely appropriate expression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[00:25:02] SIDNER: The E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was not amused.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL BARNIER, CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR, EUROPEAN UNION: I'm not doing any whistling just the clock ticking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It's estimated Britain will pay anywhere from $29 billion to $114 billion just to leave the E.U.
Dominic Thomas chairs the French Department at UCLA. He's actually in Paris for us. Hey, Dominic -- Good to see you. You know, like so many divorces, it always comes down to the money. So when it comes to who (inaudible) to whom, in this case does the E.U. have the upper hand in the negotiations?
DOMINIC THOMAS, FRENCH DEPARTMENT AT UCLA: Right. It complete has the upper hand in the negotiations. In fact Theresa May knew that these negotiations were going to be extraordinarily complicated which is why she hedged her sort of future and bet on having a snap election to try and extend her lead in the majority in the House of Commons so that the negotiating process would be a lot easier and she wouldn't have to then stand for election in 2020 having just completed the Brexit negotiations which at every turn of the process are proving to be extraordinarily complicated.
And we really her here embroiled in a whole new set of problems and concerns as they try to go forward with the Brexit process.
VAUSE: So with that in mind, what are the chances there will be some kind of Tory revolt in the British parliament later today and there will be a defeat for Prime Minister May and the Great Repeal Bill? Or could they just simply try and delay it?
THOMAS: Well, I mean at this particular stage, you know, essentially, you know, what's happening is this is really what's so extraordinary about the process is that so much of the Brexit campaign was premised on the point that Brussels was overwhelming the United Kingdom, you know -- its sovereignty, its laws and so on.
So for Theresa May it's producing here essentially a new draft of this great repeal, a bill that was initially announced after the Article 50 was triggered back in last March which will essentially repeal the European Community Act of 1972 that sort of brought the U.K. into the E.U. And now essentially are going to cut and paste all E.U. laws and regulations -- what's known as the European Union, the "Acte Communaute" on to British law so that they can subsequently then debate and amend these.
So this draft will be presented to the House of Commons. It will be debated. It will be voted on. And it will then have to go out to the House of Lords.
Now back to the question as to whether or not Theresa May can survive this whole process over the months to come, she's actually asked for there to be a delay in the discussions and the vote until the fall, until October at some point but it is quite clear that many members of the Conservative Party would like to have her removed from the leadership position.
The big question, of course, is who would replace her and could this be done without another snap election, the outcome of which would be even more unpredictable than the one that just went by.
VAUSE: You know, very quickly, you mentioned Article 50. There seems to be this growing talk in Britain about the prospect of actually staying in the E.U. Earlier this week the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she raised the idea on Twitter about revoking Article 50.
You know, the French president had said last month that there was always opening for Britain to stay. Germany said similar things. So while triggering Article 50 was totally up to Britain, revoking it though legally, it may not be the case, right.
THOMAS: Well, I mean this is now the process has started. And what's so extraordinary is that even though this was, you know, initiated by the Conservative Party, the level of resistance from the Labour Party and from the opposition has been, you know, really very slim.
It's essentially the idea that has been triggered, we're going to go along. There's so much at stake in different electoral constituencies over the future of the Brexit kind of deal.
But one has to ask the question as you just did is that as these authorities are increasingly embroiled in these complex negotiations, as progress seems so difficult to achieve, as one election after the other will be confronting these kinds of questions, one has to ask whether or not in the end all of this actually going to happen.
And that in fact, if it does, what form and shape it will actually take. The fact that Donald Trump is in Paris today, or arriving late today for the July 14 celebrations is so indicative of this. He was supposed to visit the United Kingdom and that visit was postponed.
THOMAS: I think as we saw the G-20 and the G-7, the questions for the future of the U.K. right now is up in the air.
VAUSE: Dominic -- good to see you. Thanks for being with us. Thanks for getting up early.
SIDNER: And just ahead, Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer is raising new questions about the Kremlin's hack on the 2016 election campaign.
CNN's Tom Foreman connects the dots for us just ahead.
[0:029:58] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[00:31:55] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Sara Sidner. The headlines for you at this hour. Donald Trump left an embattled White House on Wednesday to fly for Paris. The U.S. president will observe the national holiday of Bastille Day as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron. Friday's celebration will marked the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entering World War I.
VAUSE: The British government is said to publish its great repeal bill. It will transfer all EU laws to the U.K. for future revision by parliament if it eventually sees fit.
Prime Minister Theresa May calls it an essential step in what has been a contentious Brexit process.
SIDNER: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will head back to Doha a few hours to meet with the Qatari Emir. He is coming from Kuwait and before that Saudi Arabia where he met with foreign ministers from the Arab Gulf nations currently isolating Qatar.
The U.S. is hoping to broker a resolution to the so called boycott which has been in placed since early June.
VAUSE: Well, the Russian cloud of controversy hanging over the White House is causing some problems for Republicans in the U.S. Congress. They say that it is getting harder just to do their jobs. And the revelations that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer to try and get information on Hillary Clinton is not helping much.
SIDNER: And for many, the timeline of the event surrounding that meeting is raising a lot of new questions.
CNN's Tom Foreman has our story.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Late spring 2016, Hillary Clinton is on a roll. Polls have her far ahead of Donald Trump. A White House endorsement is just days away.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
FOREMAN: Then June 3rd, an intriguing email arrive for Donald Trump Jr. from a music promoter for a Russian azari pop star offering information that, "would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father," claiming to be part of a Russian government effort to help Trump win.
"I love it," the candidate's son responds.
June 7th, a meeting is set to discuss the matter with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Four hours later, a big announcement.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken with the Clintons. I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very important.
FOREMAN: Two days later, June 9th, at Trump Tower, Donald Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jarred Kushner and campaign official Paul Manafort have their meeting with Veselnitskaya for the promise on Clinton. But Donald Jr. now says it was a waste of time.
DONALD TRUMP JR. (R), SON OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I wanted to hear it out, but really it went nowhere, it was apparent that wasn't what the meeting was actually about.
FOREMAN: His father who was also at Trump Tower that afternoon needles Clinton with a tweet that same day. "Where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?"
June 15th, a cyber security firm announces a major hack of Democratic National Committee computers and blames the Russians.
[00:35:00] A week later, Trump finally rolls out that major speech he promises, once again talking about Clinton's emails but offering no new information.
TRUMP: Well, we may not know what's in those deleted emails. Our enemies probably know every single one of them.
FOREMAN: Mid-July, the Republican convention, Trump is now officially the nominee. His campaign chairman Paul Manafort dismissing all allegations of ties to Russia.
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: It's absurd. You know, there's no basis to it.
FOREMAN: July 22nd, WikiLeaks post nearly 20,000 email from Democratic committee computers. Some embarrassing and damaging to the party and its candidates. Yet on CNN's "State of the Union," Donald Jr. dismisses Democratic howls about Russian interference.
TRUMP, JR.: Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they'll say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie.
FOREMAN: And a few days later, Donald Trump says this.
TRUMP: Russia if you are listening, I hope you were able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.
FOREMAN (on-camera): Investigators have to look at all these points on the timeline and many more details, while the Trump team keeps saying it's all just a coincidence. And critics keep saying it looks like collusion.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
SIDNER: Just ahead, a Netflix documentary illustrates the devastating effects of climate change highlighting how the beauty in our ocean is disappearing at an alarming rate.
VAUSE: Also, a massive iceberg three times the size of greater London has broken off from Antarctica. How it happened and what it means to the planet. Just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people stare at things in space with wonder. Yet we have this almost alien world on our own planet just teeming with life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And so much of that is accessible. And as you saw in that clip, the colorful life under the water is truly mesmerizing but sadly it may not stay that way for much longer.
The new Netflix documentary "Chasing Coral" warns ocean ecosystems are under serious threat as rapid shifts cause by climate change are already underway.
Here with me now to discuss the consequences of dying reef is the director of that amazing documentary Jeff Orlowski.
Thank you so much for joining us, Jeff.
Let's first talk about why are coral reefs so important?
JEFF ORLOWSKI, DIRECTOR, CHASING CORAL: Coral reefs are they are the backbone for the ocean. About a quarter of all creatures that live in the ocean, it's been part of their life cycle on a coral reef and it really is this bed of biodiversity that is essential to the health of the entire ocean. And the health of the ocean is very much essential to humanity.
[00:40:00] SIDNER: Let's talk a little bit about what's happening. What does this documentary ultimately say about the oceans that we rely on for life itself, really?
ORLOWSKI: A couple decades ago, some scientist start to discover this phenomenon that you are seeing right now of corals that turn white. And it happens sporadically. It started to become more frequent in the 90s and in the 2000s.
And over the last couple of years, it has become a really major, major issue affecting coral reefs around the planet. As the temperature of the ocean has been rising slowly and steadily, that has cause these events called bleaching events.
And what happens here is if it's too hot, if the water temperature is too hot for too long, the corals effectively gets sick and they turn white.
And if it stays in those conditions for still longer period of time, they then will pretty much die and flat out die.
Over the last three years or so, our team has been documenting this around the planet and going to both beautiful and magical ecosystems and coral reefs. But then also seeing this phenomenon of bleaching happening far wider than certainly any of our team and the scientist that we've worked with, far greater effect that we had anticipated.
SIDNER: And that's killing all the biodiversity there, which is really troubling.
I want to talk to you a little bit about this unbelievable picture that we're all seeing now today.
A massive iceberg weighing more than 1 trillion tons has broken away from Antarctica, and you're seeing some of the pictures there. And you don't really get the scale but we are talking about 1 trillion tons of ice breaking away.
What does this say about what we're dealing with? I mean, is that clearly the negative effects of climate change?
ORLOWSKI: These stories are linked. Prior to "Chasing Coral," our teams have phone called "Chasing Ice" where we actually were documenting changes happening to Arctic landscapes and change happening to glaciers.
Now some people will argue that you can't say that anyone carving event or anyone iceberg is because of climate change. The analogy there is like a baseball player using steroids, you can't say that any single homerun might have been the cause of those steroids. But the trend that we're seeing, the overall shift is what's notable. And that's what we're seeing.
We're seeing amongst ice arctic landscapes all around the planet, we're seeing constant ice loss, but more significantly what we've been trying to document with the coral reefs is a very new phenomenon.
This does not fit any natural cycle. The only real time that we've seen bleaching events like this happen has been in sync El Nino's over the last couple decades.
And now we're entering into a new phase where the ocean is just so warm that we don't even need El Nino's for corals to bleach and to die.
SIDNER: There are still climate change deniers out there, but 99 percent of scientist will point to the numbers if they just look at the numbers. And the worldwide fund for nature says 58 percent of the world's coral reefs are potentially threatened by human activity.
It's really beautiful, your documentary. It really actually in the end leaves you feeling a bit depressed.
What are some things that people can do? Are there simple things that people can do to try and help? ORLOWSKI: To be quite honest, this is no longer a simple problem. This is a massive, massive problem that requires a huge shift in the way humans interact with the planet. We all need to be much more conscious in terms of how we each individually, what kind of carbon footprint we leave. But more importantly, it is a -- it's a systemic problem that we will have to figure how to shift.
That stat, that 58 percent stats sounds like a very strong underestimate from my perspective.
The science that we reveal in the film, we're on path to lose coral reef ecosystems in about 30 years. And that's just based on the continued rise in ocean temperature. And if we stay on the path that we are on right now, we cannot save coral reefs without human intervention at this point. We need active human intervention just to keep these ecosystems on the planet.
And this is a very, very critical issue. We're not talking about individual animals or species dying off. We're talking about the potential loss of an entire ecosystem.
SIDNER: All right. Thank you so much Jeff Orlowski, the director of quite an amazing documentary called "Chasing Coral." Definitely worth the watch. We appreciate your time.
ORLOWSKI: Thanks so much.
SIDNER: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Sara Sidner.
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