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Trumps on the Defensive as Approval Ratings Hit New Low; Iran Charges an American for Espionage; Wives and Mothers of ISIS Fighters Speak Out; Brexit Talks Kicks In; A Rare Appearance; Simpsons Awaits Parole; No Gay Accepted. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired July 17, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. president starts out this week on the defensive. His approval ratings hit a new low.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The mothers, wives, and girlfriends of ISIS fighters: were they willing supporters of terrorism or innocent victims drawn in by false promises? A report out of Syria ahead also.
HOWELL: Brexit negotiations they are set to resume in a few hours as the clock ticks now on the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.
CHURCH: It's all coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM.
Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and of course all around the world. From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Rosemary Church.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. NEWSROOM starts right now.
Where you're joining around the world, good day to you. This week march six months that the U.S. President Donald Trump has been in office.
CHURCH: But the allegations of Russian meddling in last years' election continue to overshadow his administration. In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll a majority of Americans say they believe Russia tried to influence the race. The president's popularity has also plummeted in that poll. He has the worst approval rating of any U.S. president in about 70 years.
Just three months ago, 42 percent of Americans approved of the job President Trump is doing. That's not humbled to 36 percent and his disapproval rating has risen to 58 percent.
HOWELL: The president went to Twitter to defend himself saying that the numbers are not that bad and criticizing the past polling he also defended his son's meeting during the campaign with the Russian lawyer.
The president tweeted that Hillary Clinton can illegally get debate questions and delete 33,000 e-mails, but his son is being, quote, "scorn by," as he calls it in this tweet, the fake news media. The president's attorney said Sunday that there was nothing illegal about Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer and he suggested the Secret Service vetted it. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: Everybody that's looking backwards and say would have, should have, could have, and Donald Trump, Jr. said he would done some things differently. But to go back a year later and say this is what should have happen when the meeting itself it was 20 minutes and a series of meetings that took place for days and days and months.
I think -- I don't think that's fair to Donald Trump, Jr., to Jared Kushner or to Manafort for that matter because no one was in a situation of that kind of campaigning in a middle of a presidential election.
There's a lot of meetings and a lot of discussions about opposition research coming all sides, republican, democratic, and independent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that no law was broken, but do you accept what we heard from the president's pick to run the FBI that what should have happen there if, you know, a situation where you have representatives of a foreign government offering assistance to an election that what should have happened is that the FBI should have been notified.
SEKULOW: Well, I wonder why the Secret Service that this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allow this people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point. That raises a question with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The Secret Service however tell CNN the agency would not have screened the people at that meeting because it was not protecting Mr. Trump's son at that time.
HOWELL: The question was, was that just enough to redirect. Let's talk about that with Kate Andrews, a U.S. political columnist for City AM, joining us now live in our London bureau. It's always good to have you here on the show.
Let's talk about that Secret Service push back against the president's attorney telling CNN that they were not protecting Mr. Trump's son at the time so there would not have been any screening the people at that meeting.
The question here, is this just another example of the administration trying to find loopholes, trying to muddy the issue or redirect?
KATE ANDREWS, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, CITY AM: Yes, Jay Sekulow has met some pushback from the Secret Service itself, quite rightly noting that Donald Trump, Jr. would not have been a protectee at the time that he had this meeting. So, big pushback there. You know, is this attempt to muddy the water to try to, you know, pull blind the really eyes of the American people. I'm not so sure.
This is an administration that's been characterized as just not fully knowing what's he's doing a lot of the time. We saw that throughout the election campaign. We certainly seen that since Donald Trump has been in office. He really is not upgrading the way that anyone you have been in politics for any period of time normally would.
And so, part -- this is no excuse per se but part of me wonders if a lot of what's going on here the issues with Donald Trump's attorney going on to the media and asking his claims is just that they're not politically savvy when it comes to dealing with these kinds of issues.
[03:04:58] HOWELL: Along with the new questions that have come to light due to the e-mails from Donald Trump, Jr. the questions about collusions, the questions about the credibility of this administration they're growing louder and louder by the day.
Listen here to two voices on the U.S. Senate intelligence committee. We can talk about this on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: The question that we had among others is, was the campaign doing privately what the president was urging publicly. And here you have here now evidence in black and white that yes, the campaign was encouraging the Russians to give them dirt.
And the fact that this was done through intermediary is just how the Russians operate. This is about as clear evidence you could find of intent by the campaign to collude with the Russians to get a useful information from the Russians.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: It seems to be a convenient pattern where all of the senior officials of the Trump campaign, forget about their meetings with Russians, don't put it on their forms until evidence comes out and then they have to amend.
It's a little bit unbelievable that neither the son or the son-in-law ever shared that information with their dad, the candidate. I'm not sure why we take anybody in this senior level of the Trump administration at their word. That's why it's so important that we got to get chance to question these individuals and try to actually nail down the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Katie, it's not question about credibility here.
HOWELL: Officials with the Trump administration say hey, there's nothing to it, there's nothing here to see. All the white their actions telling a different story. They're lawyering up.
ANDREWS: Yes. I think Senator Mark Warner hits the nail on the head there that this is an issue of credibility and trust. It's hard to believe that this meeting was not discussed with the president of the United States. Whether or not there is actual criminal activity here is we just don't know yet, we're at the beginning of that story not at the end.
It maybe the fact that there was some levels of collusion but it's not going to be taken to court because it's not criminal.
But the bigger point here is trust and credibility with the American people. Donald Trump has sat for months now that he has not spoken to the Russians under any circumstances. It turns out that wasn't true.
And you know, I think it's deeply frustrating that this was the same campaign that in my opinion quite rightly was attacking Hillary Clinton for her private e-mail server flagging up with some issues with the democrats, especially around their own primary campaign about, you know, the game not being played quite fairly. I think that was legitimate criticism.
But for that same campaign and now that president to come out and act as if he is the target of some terrible investigation. No, these are legitimate questions to be asking. If Donald Trump said there was no collusion whatsoever, now we have evidence of his son and his special advisors meeting with the Russians. That has to be a question we can ask fairly and freely without any kind of repercussions.
HOWELL: These investigations they're focused on getting new information from the Trump administration and the previous Trump campaign. Journalists, you know, we are focused on facts and pointing out contradictions that we find.
But let's talk about Trump supporters. Many of them focused on feelings. Many of them saying look, let's give the president a chance. However, take a look at this recent poll of the president's approval rating. It was 42 percent now down to 36 percent. His disapproval rating now up to 58 percent. Here's the question, is all of this starting to affect his base, his loyalists?
ANDREWS: I think it is starting to. But I think the biggest problem that Donald Trump has at the moment is that, it doesn't look like he is doing anything productive within the White House. It doesn't look like he's working with Congress very well to get his agenda through.
We still haven't seen the basis of that tax reform. You know, attempts to repeal Obamacare have been difficult for the president and I think somewhat publicly humiliating. And I think that's true for the Republican Party in general.
The Republican Party had eight years to get their act together, to find some kind of solution to Obamacare. And they just seem to have thrown those opportunities out the window so far. So I think his biggest problem is that he hasn't been addressing the needs of his base and all the promises that he made it to them.
And then of course on top of that, you know, when he is not getting tax reform through but it's just the subject of this Russian investigations and that's what's in the media all day long, it's not very surprising that people are just getting frustrated and disappointed.
You know, Donald Trump, whether we like it or not, regardless how you voted whether elected to lead the country, that's his job. Job is not to tweets and it was frustrating that he is now caught up in all of these allegations and scandals. Maybe a little more truth telling towards the beginning. Could have avoided a lot of this and he could actually be moving forward with his promises.
HOWELL: But again we continue to see the drip, drip, drip of this present controversy. Thank you so much for being with us today. We appreciate your insight.
ANDREWS: Thank you.
CHURCH: And with the Russia controversy hanging over Washington, it's also a critical wake for the future of a new healthcare bill in the United States. The revised republican plan is running into a series of unexpected delays.
Republican leader Mitch McConnell has pushed back a vote on the bill scheduled for this week so that Senator John McCain can recover from surgery for a blood clot.
[03:10:07] The delay will also give McConnell extra time to find the needed votes to pass the plan.
HOWELL: CNN has also learned the Congressional Budget Office will not release a much-anticipated score on the bill on Monday. It's now unclear when the CBO score will be released.
CHURCH: An American student could spend the next 10 years in an Iranian prison. He was found guilty of spying. But U.S. officials accuse Tehran of making up charges just to detain Americans.
HOWELL: That's right. This all comes before a crucial decision on Iran from the Trump administration.
We get more now from CNN's Elise Labott.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Iran has convicted an American graduate student on espionage charges and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. A spokesman for Iran's judiciary said he was arrested and put on trial for, quote, "gathering information."
Now Princeton University confirms that man is Xiyue Wang, an American -- Chinese-American in the university's department of history. He is a fourth year doctoral candidate studying Eurasian history and he was arrested in Iran last summer doing scholarly research in connection with his Ph.D. dissertation.
Now the details of the charges and his trial have not been disclosed. Of course this is very common in Iran where foreign nationals are arrested. They often undergo closed-door trials and are convicted with long prison sentences without due process.
Now news of the arrest comes as President Trump is expected to recertify that Iran is complying with guidelines set by that nuclear deal reached two years ago with President Obama. A deal President Trump on the campaign once promise to tear up.
Now the Trump administration last certified Iran was living up to its commitment under the agreement in April. At the time the president said Iran was quote, "not living up to the spirit of the agreement." An official said the president is taking his cues from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who argued that while the deals is imperfect, staying in the deal is the best way to verify Iranian compliance and Iran's nuclear activity.
Now Iran they continue to get sanctions released spelled out in the deal but the deal is under review by a process led by the National Security Council and the State Department. That review should be complete by the end of the summer.
Officials said the administration appears to be moving towards the policy of staying in the deal but strengthening implementation and monitoring Iran's nuclear activities while cracking down on Iran's other activity in the region such as its support for terrorism, its interference in Yemen and elsewhere and its human rights violations.
Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.
HOWELL: Elise, thanks for the report. Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, a rarely seen side of ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Videos go mothers, some who married into ISIS who knew what it was about but still came. Now jailed in a refugee camp stuck in limbo as ISIS collapses, trying to go home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh telling us a story of women who actually married the terrorists ahead.
CHURCH: Plus, Brexit talks resume in a few hours. What both sides are expecting to accomplish.
HOWELL: Plus, CNN follows the Duchess of Cornwall on a busy day of public engagements. But it's not all work and no play. See Camilla hit the dance floor as well.
Live around the world this hour, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Iraq has claimed victory in Mosul. But the war against ISIS it rages on in Raqqa, Syria. Now it's rare to hear from ISIS fighters themselves. It's even more rare to hear from the women who join them in the terror groups self-proclaimed capital.
Now our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh brings us their stories.
CHURCH: Yes. The women in his report have been rounded up as ISIS sympathizers but haven't been charged with anything in what essentially a lawless area. They've been jailed and segregates at refugee camp and now wait for officials to decide their fate.
WALSH: Don't kid yourself. They saw the videos. Girls, mothers, some who married into ISIS who knew what they were about. But still came. Now, jailed in refugee camp, stuck in limbo as ISIS collapses, trying to go home, they want your pity and that you believe them when they say it was all, all of it, a huge mistake.
They use women for sex?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It is very disgusting.
WALSH: Three Indonesian sisters say they paid thousands of dollars to get here. Lured by the false promise of free healthcare and schools but ended up living off of selling their jewelry and paying thousands to get smuggled out. It just wasn't as pure a caliphate as they had expected.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say they want to beside they wanted they want to jihad for the sake of Allah, but they seen what they want is only is about sex. It's disgusting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard that if a daughter gets a thousand dollars.
WALSH: Single women arrivals like them are kept in a commune while they look for husbands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The manner of the woman inside the dorm is very different. It's very far from Islam. Harsh men are gossiping. Shout each other. Back biting, and fighting between the women. And I was very surprised when I see that.
WALSH: Zaida (Ph) explains the dorm is a bit like Tinder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When the woman arrives in this dormitory she makes this sort of C.V. Puts down her age, her name, how her personality is like and what she looks for in a man. And men also post their C.V.'s
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, it's dating. So you meet you talk for 15, 20 minutes. And then if they yes or no, if they both agree then they get married. It's very quick.
[03:19:56] WALSH: She said she came for charity work but her husband was killed the second time they tried to flee. She's ask a pool (Ph) by the Paris terror attacks as she was by the coalition falling of Raqqa just wants to go back to France.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I love life. I love to work. I love my jeans. I love my make-up. I love my parents. The only thing thing I want is to go back. I'm not far from the beach. I used to go to the beach every weekend in a bikini.
WALSH: In a bikini?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, in a bikini.
WALSH: May (Ph) is a Syrian English teacher who is first husband was killed by a sniper in Homs and she said she was traveling to Turkey when she was relayed in Raqqa where she met and married a Moroccan beloved (Ph).
Were you looking for a man when you went to Raqqa?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
WALSH: So how you found one just like you move in to a husband, my God who is this guy next door?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think God sent him to me.
WALSH: She says ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani new beloved and allowed him not to fight. He is now in jail. She is disapproving of less pure love stories.
Did you hear other stories women who came looking for husband?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They look to European men that they are here and in ISIS they are strong man, you know, with guns and they can protect them. It's an idea that's just like movies. Many of them very shocked. Because when they got married from the man, you know, three, four days, one month and they divorce.
I know a woman was married six times and after three days she goes to court and ask the judge to divorce her from him. And when the judge ask her why you want divorce, and they say she prevent him from making any, you know, sexual, you know.
WALSH: I see.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she say, I can't accept him. All the time thinking of my dying husband. And the judge ask her, so why married from him if you don't want him? And he would say I will send you to prison. Because you -- and she was crying, no, no, last time, I promise.
WALSH: Her husband was once arrested for smoking by the religious police and because they won't talk to women she had to literally enter a man's world to get him out of jail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know what? It was like a crazy idea. I just put my husband coat, his shoes and you know, I covered my eyes. Put on the black glasses and put I lend a gown from my neighbor, I take it from him and I take my boy and let's go to police barn.
WALSH: You mean your man voice now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course.
WALSH: That's how men sound? These stories decide their fate here whether they stay in limbo or go home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they don't believe me. Eyes speaks a language more than mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't you see that there is truth in my eyes?
WALSH: Yes. Your husband, what if you never see him again?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want someone to kill me. Because I can't kill myself. It is suicide and I can't commit suicide. Just kill me.
WALSH: Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Ain Issa, northern Syria.
CHURCH: And for more on ISIS and the battle for Raqqa, we are joined by Fawaz Gerges. He is the author of "ISIS: A History," and the chair of contemporary Middle East studies at the London School of Economics. Thank you so much for joining us.
So before we get to the big picture on all of this, what will likely happen to these women? The wives and mothers of ISIS that we just saw there in Nick Paton Walsh's story?
FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: It's really a tragedy, Rosemary. After the 30 or 40,000 fighters, full fighters, we estimate that 10 percent were women. Either girls or women. Somewhere lure by a utopia, the utopia of the caliphate, a sense of adventure. Others wanted to be part of this particular, I mean, khalifa universe. Others wanted a husband.
The reality is now you have thousands of young women with children. Not to mention we talk about the 3, or 4,000 Yadizi women who are basically enslaved by ISIS. When and if ISIS is defeated in Iraq and Syria, you're going to see a great humanitarian tragedy.
In particular, the wives of ISIS fighters and their children in Iraq now, some of the communities and some of the liberated areas are forcing the wives and the children of ISIS fighters out of the areas they're living in because there is a great deal of resentment.
So it's a horrible, horrible tragedy for these wives and the children. Some of whom went into universe. They have no idea about the barbarity and the extremism of this particular universe.
[03:24:58] CHURCH: yes. So many levels of tragedy in the story. So, Fawaz, after a lengthy battle in Mosul, Iraq has finally declared victory over ISIS in that city. But does this mark the end of ISIS or the beginning of a new type of war with the militants while fighting rages on in Raqqa, Syria?
GERGES: I don't think there is an end game, Rosemary, for ISIS yet. Even in Mosul, the fighting in Mosul is not over yet. Even though most of the city has been liberated. In fact, there is fighting as we talk, now you and I. And there are women in ISIS, women fighters basically who are carrying out suicide bombings in the heart of the old city.
Raqqa, almost 20 percent of Raqqa has been liberated by the Syrian democratic forces, the coalition that the U.S. as put together in the city. It's the smaller city then Mosul, it's a city of about 300,000 people but I think is going to take a month to basically force ISIS out of Raqqa.
You have about 4,000 ISIS fighters in Raqqa. The cost to the civilian population in Raqqa is staggering in terms of civilian death. U.N. investigate -- investigators say that hundreds of civilians have been killed as a result of U.S. bombings, not to mention 160,000 civilians have been forced to leave Raqqa as a result of the bombings. It is a very, very complex and long fight and the fight against ISIS is still going to take at least a year in both Syria and Iraq.
CHURCH: And I did want to talk to you about that. Because I want you to describe to us very quickly, if you would, the form ISIS now takes and what will it mean for the world in terms of the threat of Jihadism from these militants as ISIS is diminished on the battlefield.
GERGES: Even though we might witness the end of the territorial of physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria in the next six or seven months. ISIS is a terrorist organization will be with us for many years to come. It has already mutated into an insurgency.
In fact, ISIS leaders have been preparing the rank and file of ISIS that the next phase will be insurgency. Small attacks in Iraq and Syria, Yemen, Egypt and other places. Not to mention suicide bombings in some west countries.
So even though ISIS, the khalifa itself, might be dismantled in the next six or seven months, ISIS as a terrorist organization is going to be with us for a long time, sadly. And in fact, what I fear the most is that some ISIS fighters have basically melted into the civilian populations in the Iraq and Syria.
You might see insurgent attacks in Mosul for many months to come unless the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition really start and begin the process of social and political reconstruction co-opting the population in Mosul and Raqqa, and other places which as you know, is a very difficult and complex, basically challenge.
CHURCH: Yes. A very grim vision of the future there. Fawaz Gerges, thank you so much for your perspective and analysis. We appreciate it. HOWELL: Still ahead, the Duchess of Cornwall is often seen but seldom
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAMILLA, DUCHESS OF CORNWALL: I think we can talk it was a taboo subject and I think we can talk about it now. I can talk about it and finally bang the drum a bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: In a CNN exclusive, Camilla tells us how she is helping victims of domestic violence. Stay with us.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[03:30:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: A warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and of course, all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.
GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN: I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows the U.S. President, Donald Trump's approval rating has fallen to just 36 percent. That's the lowest six-month rating for any U.S. president in 70 years. But Trump tweeted that the numbers aren't that bad but also questions the reliability. Important note there he didn't offer any evidence.
CHURCH: South Korea's new government is making over tours to North Korea, its proposed talks aimed at ending hostile acts and wants them to be held on the north side of the demilitarized zone. The South Korean Red Cross say it also wants to hold talks to discuss cross- border family reunions.
HOWELL: In the nation of Venezuela about seven million people have voted to reject the President Nicolas Maduro's to rewrite the Constitution. Opposition leaders held a symbolic and an unofficial referendum Sunday. The president says that vote is meaningless.
CHURCH: Round two of Brexit negotiations is set to start in just a few hours in Brussels, Belgium. One of the priorities is what will happen to the rights of E.U. citizen living in the U.K. and British citizens living in E.U. member nations?
HOWELL: Big questions there. Negotiators will also discuss the British financial obligations to the union.
Our Nina dos Santos is following the story live in our London bureau this hour. Nina, good to have you with us. So, overall, how are these negotiations going?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPPONDENT, CNN: Good morning to you, George. Well, this is only the second round in a monthly process that's going to be taking place until 2019 when these two countries or regions. If you count the fact that the E.U. is a region in the U.K. is just one of its member starts, George, they will essentially if they can't come to a deal by 2019 the U.K. could be unceremonial kicked out of the block.
And that could the fate of about three million plus E.U. citizens who called the U.K. their home and more than one million U.K. citizens who that live across the channel of the European continent their fate could be in limbo.
Now as I was saying this is the second round of a very early process. David Davis, the U.K. Secretary of State for Exiting the E.U. who is in charge of the U.K. side of these negotiations made it clear that it's time to get down to business speaking just moments ago. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DAVIS, U.K. SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXITING THE E.U.: We made good start last month. But as we just said one now getting into the substance of the matter. And as you've heard, it's four categories really are the issue of citizens' rights, the issue of finance, the issue of separation issues, and of course separately Northern Island.
For us it's incredibly important we now make good progress. The negotiations of this and identify the difference so that we can deal with them and identify similarities so we can reinforce them. And now it's time to get down to work and make this a successful negotiation. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[03:35:01] DOS SANTOS: Well, today David Davis has said for this second round of monthly talks he is likely to trying to focus on the issue of the fate of those three million plus E.U. citizens who called to be hugely to the U.K. domestic economy.
Already Theresa May, George, has sent the E.U. an olive branch on this issue, she suggested about a month or so ago that citizens of E.U. countries who have called the U.K. their home for five years when 2019 rolls around in Brexit have should, in theory eventually happened will they would have guaranteed rights.
But again, they is going to be a really thorny issue that they'll continue to wrangle over, over the last couple of years. Because remember, as I was saying before this there was fate of 1.2 million British who call the E.U. their home.
Now the E.U. is probably also taking a look what David Davis is saying with a little bit of consternation here saying perhaps they also the U.K is avoiding thornier issues like the broader substance of the freedom of movement of people, goods and services with access to the single market as well as many other issues not to mention a divorce bill from the E.U. that could run into a $100 billion dollars. George?
HOWELL: A lot of questions here. Nina dos Santos, thank you.
CHURCH: Monday is a special day for the British royal family. Prince Charles' wife Camilla is celebrating her 70th birthday.
HOWELL: This portrait of the royal couple was released in honor of the happy occasion. Camilla's voice is rarely heard on camera but in this CNN exclusive, the duchess spoke with our Max Foster during a busy day of public engagements.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you do, you're doing back step and you step forward with your left foot, leaders.
MAX FOSTER, HOST, CNN: A few dancing tips for the guests at a tea party in Bristol. In aid of those who support the elderly. Then a special guests arrives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you're going to this around to home of the people from (Inaudible).
FOSTER: The Duchess would have been retired herself if she didn't have a job for life.
It's important for members of the royal family like the duchess to be meeting the public to be relevant to their lives. But also to be seen to be relevant to their lives which is why we the media are here.
Camilla is the friendliest member of the royal family if you speak to the members of the press pack that follow her. You've never seen her take this far though. She's hit the dance floor with one of the photographers, Arthur Edwards of The Sun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so delighted to meet her. And I thought what a gentle and delightful woman she is, actually.
CAMILLE, DUCHESS OF CORNWALL: Thank you very much for you, too. And thank you very much to my dance partners. And I danced well, I wasn't expecting it. I would have put on my dancing shoes had I known.
FOSTER: Then we're off to a very different engagement. They had no idea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have no idea.
FOSTER: A shelter for victims of domestic violence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just so much in years now since my two sons was taken by their father with a fire barricaded them in. All I can do is hold them as they die and it's every parent's worst nightmare not to be there when they need you the most.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2002, he attacked me with a blow torch. Three-day torture of knives and broken glass.
CAMILLA: We need more refugees rather than less. It's not going to go away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liz is one of our directors. FOSTER: The shelter is run by a charity and funds are low. The duchess speaks to staff to find out how they're coping. I managed to grab a word with her as she made her way around.
You heard some incredibly powerful stories today. What are you able to bring to these sorts of conversations?
CAMILLA: Well, I'm not sure what I'm able to bring. It's what all these very brave ladies tell me. Seeing is believing. Hearing is believing. I think like many other people in this country, I didn't know much about domestic abuse. I knew nothing at all. I read a bit about it.
And I think that I went to visit another charity who saves lives where again I sat around and listen to some very brave ladies tell their stories. I think everybody there was moved to tears and I thought as I came out I thought you know, just wish there was something I could do to help.
FOSTER: You were able to coordinate groups bring publicity?
CAMILLA: Well, that's what I tried to do is to bring everybody together. To coordinate them, to get them talking so they come up with the ideas. I think we can talk it was a taboo subject and I think we can talk about it now. If I can talk about it and bang the drum a bit, so can a lot of other people.
[03:39:59] So that's what I'm trying to do to help. But again, seeing some wonderful people to do the hard and my goodness me, I do it rather more. They are the most incredible lot of ladies. You help the ladies who are talking to me and telling their stories, well, you have to be very brave to stand up and tell, you know, talk about all these terrible things that happen to you. By the way, I can only hope that someday we can make it better.
FOSTER: Thank you for speaking to me.
CAMILLA: OK. Bye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
FOSTER: This, we think, is the longest she's ever spoken on camera. It's an issue she cares deeply about.
We've been allowed into the convoy and we're heading to the Duchess' third engagement in a matter of hours.
CAMILLA: Hello. You're enjoying your day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not so.
FOSTER: She is visiting a row of independent shops. A bite of chocolate. Perhaps not that easy to enjoy in front of a bank of cameras. And a brush with the public. The visit was unannounced for security reasons. And came as quite a surprise. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the faces of these ladies, she's coming and
she was in like the charity shop. I was like, wow, she is amazing. She's one-of-a-kind. She's really, really good.
FOSTER: There's no doubt the British public is warmed to Camilla in the 12 years she's been married to Prince Charles. Each engagement bringing her a little closer to the public and connecting her with them. This day's not done just yet though. She is off to London for another engagement.
FOSTER: Max Foster, CNN, Bristol, England.
HOWELL: Very insightful though to hear such an extended interview.
CHURCH: Yes. Interesting at this time, too.
HOWELL: Now from royalty to time lords. The next Dr. Who is a woman.
CHURCH: Actress Jody Whitaker is making history by becoming the first female to take on the role of the time traveling Dr. Who in the hit British TV series. The BBC made the highly anticipated announcement following the Wimbledon men's tennis finals Sunday. A lot of criticism from some people but and a lot of support as well.
HOWELL: Still ahead here, O.J. Simpson has a crucial date with a parole board this week. We will look for factors that could lead to his release from prison.
CHURCH: Plus, as claims of a brutal crackdown grow, the leader of the Chechen republic denies gay men even live inside the country. We will ask the human rights activist about the situation. That's next.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom.
The leader of Chechnya is denying all reports of a violent crackdown against gay men. Activist say authorities have arrested and tortured hundreds of gay men, some of them even killed. And now Ramzan Kadyrov says in an HBO interview that gay men do not exist in the Chechen republic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But do you not get concerned when you read these accounts of young men who say they've been tortured for days and delivered to their families in sacks? Does it concern you as a matter of law and order in the republic when you hear these stories?
(FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: World leaders try to put pressure on the Russian President Vladimir Putin. In May the French president joined the German chancellor in urging Mr. Putin to protect the rights of LGBT community in Chechnya.
CHURCH: And we want to get more on this with Russian human rights activist Tanya Lokshina. She is the head of human rights watch in Moscow, thank you so much for joining us. So as we just heard, Chechnya's leader denies reports of any violent crackdown on gay men. He even go so far as to suggest that gay men don't even exist in Chechnya. What is your response to that?
TANYA LOKSHINA, HEAD OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH IN MOSCOW: Well, I'm not surprised because he has been saying that from day one, as soon as allegations of the vicious anti-gay purge in Chechnya and publicized in early April high level Chechen officials including Mr. Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya republic personally started saying, well, it's not happening.
These are lies aimed of discrediting us, aimed at discrediting the people of Chechnya and most importantly no gay man even exist in Chechnya.
So, Mr. Kadyrov here when talking to HBO says nothing new. It is very disturbing on the other hand and frankly, under the circumstances there is nothing more incriminating than saying gay men do not exist because...
CHURCH: How many gay -- how many gay men would you estimate have been arrested in Chechnya and how many do you think have been killed?
LOKSHINA: We carried out even research on the issue and about six weeks ago, we published a major report documenting the purge. According to our information, dozens and dozens of gay men, or rather people presumed to be gay, that rounded up. I'm not saying arrested because there is not official arrest, it's rather they were being rounded up by law enforcement and security officials or preaching under Mr. Kadyrov's control and they were dragged off to unofficial detention centers, secret prisons of sorts, and there they were tortured.
When torturing them, their captors asked them about other prison of the gay people. So that's how the numbers increased. As far as being more than 100 persons were dragged off and tortured that way, we also received reports about at least three people dying, either in honorary killings by their relatives and here I have to emphasize that among other things Chechen officials also made loss of inflammatory statements about the need to cleanse family honor. And a few of them apparently have not been able to leave through torture.
CHURCH: All right. We will have to leave it there. I'm sorry. Tanya Lokshina, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. HOWELL: Still ahead here on Newsroom, O.J. Simpson is up for parole
after serving nine years in prison. Why the former football star has a good clans chance of getting his freedom.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: The former football star O.J. Simpson will go before a parole board in the U.S. this week. He serve nine years in prison for trying to steal pieces of sports memorabilia at gunpoint in 2007.
CHURCH: Now if paroled he could be released as early as October.
Paul Vercammen has more on how Simpson could get his freedom.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: A factor in O.J. Simpson's favor, the Nevada parole board leans heavily on what are called risk assessment guidelines to make a decision on letting prisoners go. The lower the score, the better the chances for a parole. Because of Simpson's age, now 70, because he has stayed out of trouble according to prison officials and records, the former football star is expected to score a mere two or three out of at least 12 points.
Another huge for Simpson the victim of the armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room will testify for Simpson. Memorabilia dealer Bruce Fromong repeatedly told me he will travel to the Lovelock prison so can see Simpson face-to-face and then tell the parole board he thinks the former football star did too much time for the crime.
[03:54:56] And worth reminding the 1994 slayings of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman will not be consideredby the commissioners. Simpson was acquitted of those murders.
At the parole hearing a family friend says Simpson's daughter, Arnelle, will likely testify for her father. And then the drama will ramp up when Simpson himself tries to convince the parole board that he deserves freedom.
In a past hearing Simpson described himself as a model inmate who has been a prison diplomat of sorts. The commissioners who are watching ask questions via conference from Carson City and come up with a decision that day. If Simpson is denied parole, the commission would see a rehearing date typically from one to three years out.
If Simpson is freed, he would get out of prison until early October. Where would he go? Well, his friend Tom Scotto says that the West Coast of Florida a likely destination. That's where Simpson's adult children live.
HOWELL: Paul Vercammen, thank you.
Hollywood is mourning the loss of legend Martin Landau. He passed away Saturday afternoon in a hospital in Los Angeles. Landau was known for playing the master of disguise role in hand in the 1960's TV show "Mission Impossible."
CHURCH: He has later he won an Academy Award for his role in Tim Burton's Ed Wood playing Bela Lugosi. Still active after a career of more than 60 years. Landau's publicist says he was not sparing of his talent even in his private life. Landau is survived by his former wife and two daughters. He had just celebrated his 89th birthday.
HOWELL: That's wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Early Start is next for our viewers here in the United States. And for everyone else Max Foster has more from CNN Newsroom in London. Have yourselves a great day.
HOWELL: Have a good day.
[04:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)