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Trump Slams His Attorney General; Dozens Convicted Of Human Trafficking In Thailand; Senate To Vote On Obamacare Repeal Next Week; Sen. McCain Has Brain Cancer. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired July 20, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, he was one of Donald Trump's earliest supporters but that's not stopping the U.S. President from slamming the Attorney General in a new interview.
Plus dozens of people, including police officers, politicians, and a general are convicted of human trafficking in Thailand.
And O.J. Simpson, a football star turned murder suspect, is just hours away from learning whether he will be set free from prison. Hello and a very warm welcome, I'm Isa Soares. You are watching NEWSROOM L.A.
Good evening to you, U.S. President Donald Trump is lashing out at the country's top law enforcement officer in a new interview with The New York Times. Mr. Trump says, he would not have picked Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
Now, it's not the first-time the President has been critical of Sessions. But it's especially surprising since the former Senator was one of the first to support Mr. Trump's presidential bid. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job; recuses himself. I, then, have -- which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the President. How do you take a job, and then recuse yourself? If he would've recused himself before the job, I would've said thanks, but you know I'm not going the take you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Let's get more on this. Joining me here in Los Angeles: Michael Genovese is the President on the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Michael, what do you make of those comments?
MICHAEL GENOVESE, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, the terrible truth is that for any administration, everyone else is disposable but the President. The odd thing is this is old news. This happened weeks ago. Why does the President keep bringing it up? SOARES: Keep hopping back to things?
GENOVESE: He's a collector of grudges. And in that sense, he's a bit like Richard Nixon, that any sleight, he collects, and he remembers. This is old news, it shouldn't have been brought up, and it distracted attention away from what really was a very good meeting with Senators earlier in the day.
SOARES: On health care, and he has a merit made in America week, which is what everyone expected him to be talking about; not about bringing the whole conversation back to Russia. But what is he trying to insinuate here? I mean, is Jeff Sessions' job now, in position, in jeopardy?
GENOVESE: You would think so because he seems to have lost the trust of the President. And when you criticize an Attorney General or any member of your top administration in a way that the President did today, the people around you are going to keep wondering when is the other shoe going to drop? When are you going to be gone? And so, the President has undermined his Attorney General.
SOARES: It makes his job untenable, you think?
GENOVESE: Well, his authority is withered away. He does not have the kind of clout since he doesn't have the President's ear and trust that he had a couple of months ago.
SOARES: Do you think he said this in order to force his hand, do you think? Or do you think he just said it as an off-the-cuff comment?
GENOVESE: No, I think the President just is kind of stream of consciousness about these kinds of things. And he, an injustice that passed into the head; he has to go and attack it. He lacks the kind of discipline that you should have. You know every President is driven by an ego. Wall flowers don't get to the White House, but good Presidents are in command of their ego. With President Trump, I think, the ego is in command of him.
SOARES: But then, you know, there's ego and there's just anger at pretty much many people around him; it was Sessions, it was Comey, a warning to Mueller. What did you think about what he said to Comey?
GENOVESE: Again, old news. Why do you keep bringing it up? The odd thing about the Comey -- and I think this is new to the story -- is that the President suggested that Comey was holding the Russian dossier which had some very ugly things in it that may or may not be true.
SOARES: This is what he said. So, in the interview, Mr. Trump said, he believed "Mr. Comey told him about the dossier to implicitly make clear he had something to hold over the President," The New York Times article. And it goes on, "In my opinion, he shared it so that I would think he had it out there," Mr. Trump said. "As leverage?" They asked. "Yes, I think so," Mr. Trump said, in retrospect. I mean, what is your take? GENOVESE: It's only leverage is if what's in the dossier is true.
And the President denied that it was true. But if it was not true, why does the President think this is leverage? Why does the President think that there's something in there? And so, it could very well be that the President has admitted more than he wants to, and has revealed more than he intended to.
[01:05:03] SOARES: And there was also pressure, or anger, or strong words directed at Mueller, really, isn't it? Because he basically said -- basically, told him to not to look into family finances. And to me, you know, when you get told not to do that, straight away, people look into that. So, what was your interpretation of what he said?
GENOVESE: Yes, once you lure people into a forbidden fruit, people are going to grab at it. And I think what that does; it highlights the sensitivity of that to President Trump. The Trump family business is what people have alleged has strong ties to the Russian oligarchy and to Russian banks. And so, while it's not necessarily about Trump in office, it's about Trump incorporated, and there could be bad press out of it. He could be embarrassed.
GENOVESE: And his constant repetition of we have no connection to Russia would be blown out of the water if there's something there. So, he wants Mueller to get away from that, to not look at that just to narrow down the scope of his investigation.
SOARES: And speaking of Russia, I mean in this article in The New York Times, he does talk about the meeting, his meeting at the G20 with President Putin. Initially, believing it was an hour. And now being told, it was brief. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Toward dessert, I went down just to say hello to Melania. And while I was there, I said hello to Putin; really pleasantries more than anything else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that a long conversation?
TRUMP: That was, you know, could be 15 minutes; just talked about things. We actually -- it was very interesting; we talked about adoption, Russian adoption. I always found that interesting, because he ended that years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, a couple of things that really struck me, Michael. One, he said, it was really just pleasantries. To me, pleasantries are, hi, how are you? How's the family? How are you doing? Do you enjoy being here? But the word that really stuck out was, they discussed adoption. I know the timing is critical because now we're learning it 15 minutes, having heard it was, you know, it was brief. But also, the pleasantries; it doesn't quite match, isn't it? GENOVESE: The President was flippant about it. And I'll tell you
that the people in the foreign policy team were not at all pleased with that. You don't want the President to go off on his own unprepared, unscripted, and meet one-on-one with just a Russian translator. And so, the President, trying to dismiss it's important is one thing. But the optic was there. All the other G20 leaders were there, and the story from Brimmer that you folks reported on earlier said that they were all concerned, they were all worried. What is going on here? Somehow, the President and Trump seemed to be -- President and Putin seemed to be inextricably drawn to one another. And I think that's reflected in this.
SOARES: Is it possible to have -- have there been instances where there have been meetings that there are no representatives from the government or no translators in place? Does that happen before?
GENOVESE: Well, the one thing you could go back to is Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev, but that was part of a bigger structured meeting. In the middle of the structured meeting, they went off and talked. So, that was the only time I can think of in modern times when a President has gone off on his own; kind of without adult supervision. And so, it's highly unusual.
SOARES: Now, this New York Times article, it raises eyebrows on so many levels and you and I have been discussing. But also, you know, the President says he doesn't want to talk about Russia. And on a day when a lot of the attention should have been on health care and his made in America week, and the fact that he's invited Senators over for lunch to talk about health care.
He gives an in-depth interview to The New York Times to what he describes, you know, failing -- what he called a failing New York Times. And he gives so much detail on this question of Russia, and the connections, and the people that we will be hearing from Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner, and all the others. Do you think this is a bad strategy from him?
GENOVESE: Well, he does it often. He steps on his own story. This started out as a very positive story for the President, meeting with the Senators, getting back to focus on repeal and replace after all the different confusing stories in the past about what they're going to do. But Trump can't help it; he has to be the center of attention. There's a story that was told of Teddy Roosevelt's daughter who said of her father. Poor dad has to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening. And that's kind of what Trump is: he has to be the attention magnet; it's all drama, all the time, all about him. And he can't resist. And instead of being disciplined, then say, OK, the big story is we're getting back on track with repeal and replace; it's a huge issue. Instead, he steps on his own story, and the headlines of the things we've been talking about, instead of the policy issues.
[01:10:13] SOARES: And distracts from what he -- I would assume, would want to be the attention, brings the attention -- that would be policy. And I wanted to return, you talked about repeal and replace because President Trump is really not giving up on repealing as well as replacing Obamacare. Our CNN's Ryan Nobles now reports.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, a dramatic reversal from President Trump on health care reform.
TRUMP: Inaction is not an option. And frankly, I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan unless we can give our people great health care because we're close.
NOBLES: The President pushing Republican Senators at the White House today to not give up on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
TRUMP: We're in this room today to deliver on our promise to the American people to repeal Obamacare, and to ensure that they have the health care that they need. We can repeal it, but the best is repeal and replace, and let's get going.
NOBLES: This, just one day after suggesting he was ready to let Obamacare collapse.
TRUMP: Let Obamacare fail. It'll be a lot easier. And I think we're probably in that position, where we'll let Obamacare fail.
NOBLES: And the day before that tweeting: "Republicans should just repeal failing Obamacare now, and work on a new health care plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!" Tonight, the President returning to his party's long-standing campaign pledge: to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
TRUMP: I intend to keep my promise, and I know you will too.
NOBLES: And in an awkward moment, the President calling out Nevada Senator, Dean Heller, by name. Heller is a key swing vote on health care, who recently became a target of a political action committee that supports the President.
TRUMP: This is the one we were worried about. You weren't there, but you're going to be. You're going to be.
TRUMP: Look, he wants to remain a Senator, doesn't he? OK.
NOBLES: The President's message was clear: there will be consequences for those who choose to block a bill from getting to the floor.
TRUMP: Any Senator, who votes against, starting a debate, is really telling America you're fine with Obamacare.
NOBLES: After the meeting, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, pledged to hold a vote to take up health care next week and expressed confidence he would have the votes.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We cannot keep the commitment we made to the American people to repeal and replace Obamacare unless we get on the bill. Next week, we'll be voting on the motion to proceed and I have every expectation that we'll be able to get on the bill.
NOBLES: And Republicans hope to carry the optimism from their lunch with President Trump into a late night meeting here on Capitol Hill; a meeting that featured both conservative and moderate members of their caucus. The goal to try and forge ahead with a plan that would both repeal and replace Obamacare, something that they would be able to vote on as soon as next week. Ryan Nobles, CNN, Capitol Hill.
SOARES: And Michael Genovese is back with us. And Michael, as we heard in that piece, you know, President Trump has really changed his tune dramatically when it comes to health care. And there are new figures to really bring to our viewers' attention from the CBO that really struck me, and this relates to just repealing.
It says that 32 million people would be uninsured by 2026. That is a huge number. And then, of course, the premium would jump significantly over the years; by 2026, will go up as much as 100 percent. Do you think this will, perhaps, help them come to the table? Be slightly more rational about the whole thing?
GENOVESE: Well, they've dismissed the CBO scores before, and they've done it again, and they will continue to do it when the numbers don't add to where they want them to be. It's easy to dismiss those numbers. But in general, the CBO is probably the most legitimate and most accurate of the predicting models. You know, I think that the CBO numbers are, in a way, irrelevant because the whole repeal/replace has taken on a life of its own, and it's gone through to so many mechanizations. You know, we've got whiplash from the zigzag. You know, yesterday was let it fail.
GENOVESE: A kind of irresponsibility then turns into today with, no, we're going to repeal and replace. I think the President just wants a victory. He wants something that he can point to us as a success. And I'm not sure that he cares that much about the content of the replacement. He just wants something that he can point to and say, we won.
SOARES: But doesn't the CBO -- don't the numbers we're looking at; I mean, 32 million people. Doesn't this make the case a strong case for really having a plan rather than just throwing in the towel?
GENOVESE: Oh, it ought to be a game changer, if you take those numbers at all seriously. The problem is that they're easy to dismiss because they can be labeled as partisan. But those numbers are overwhelming, and they're frightening, and you can imagine that this kind of horrific scene, that would create in the long run. And also, a lot of Trump's base would suffer from that. And that's why I think, you know, the numbers -- while Trump may not be paying attention to them, there are certain Senators in certain states, states with high opium abuse, state with high Medicare use that are going to start paying attention to the consequences of what they're really doing.
[01:15:25] SOARES: They really care that much? Are they following this? Because I was reading in fascinating article today and basically saying the majority of voters who backed him last year still back him by 50 to 46 percent. And it goes on to say Trump voters care more about a having a leader who understands them than about quick policy wins.
GENOVESE: And I think Trump's base is with him for now.
SOARES: Yes, but what point does it start? Do they start, you know, to dissipate?
GENOVESE: That's the key question. How much will they take before they say wait a minute, he's not delivering the things we expect him to deliver. He's only been in office six months and, yes we think because we sent so much time and attention on Donald Trump seems like he's been there years for years. He's only been six months, give it time and let's see what the policies play out. And then we'll see just how loyal the Trump base is, they may be very loyal, they may be with him until the end but 36 percent you can't govern with that.
SOARES: Absolutely, I mean what we seen in the first six months, we haven't seen much in terms of policy and we have seen huge clouds surrounding President Trump regarding Russia and not it seems according to the people for bring the People Cover, that's of what we seen in Washington is being felt, it seems being played out on People Magazine. Basically clearly his son Don junior basically saying he feels miserable and wants the four years to be over. Clearly it's been a very trying time, you know, but for the whole family and not, perhaps, what they had envisaged. But the fact that this is, you know, the Russia cloud continues to follow them. The fact that they've had to hire lawyers, it goes beyond the emotion of Washington, doesn't it?
GENOVESE: And you see the President who thinks that the National Enquirer is a news service. Communicating through People Magazine matters to him because his base reads People Magazine, to his base that is where the story is, that's they've don't read the New York Times, they read People, they read National Enquirer and so that taste beautifully into his base and the fact of the matter is, is you pointed out the family has hit some really heavy rocks in this trip. And you know, Donald junior saying I can't wait for the four years to be up, I think that's understandable they expected something different, they expected that the President would be it to be on top of things. Instead of being the hammer he's the nail, he's getting attacked doesn't like that and the family is not accustomed to it.
SOARES: Yes, you're basically saying it's about the optics more than the policy. Michael Genovese, thank you very much.
GENOVESE: Thank you.
SOARES: Now U.S. Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, tumor was discovered last week after procedure to remove a blood clot. The 80-year-old Senator is now reviewing his treatment options. Our Doctor Sanjay Gupta has this story.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator John McCain is recovering well after an operation last Friday to remove a malignant brain tumor known as Glioblastoma. With Senator McCain permission I spoke exclusively to two of his mayo clinic doctors about the detail of his care. McCain had come in for a scheduled annual physical early Friday morning with no complaints except intermittent double vision and fatigue which he attributed to an international travel schedule over the last several months. His doctors ordered a cat scan to check for anything from a possible blood collection to a stroke upon review of the scan, doctors called McCain who had left the hospital and asked him to immediately return for an MRI. The scans revealed a five centimeter blood clot above the Senators left eye which appeared to have been there up to a week.
The decision was made to perform an urgent operation; by 3:00 p.m. McCain was in the operating room undergoing a (INAUDIBLE) to remove a tumor. Doctors made an incision above his left eyebrow to gain access to his skull, where they bore a two centimeter hole to remove the clot and the tumor. A pathology report revealed a primary brain tumor known as Glioblastoma it's the most aggressive type of brain cancer, it is the same type of tumor that Beau Biden and Ted Kennedy had, with treatment which usually includes radiation and chemotherapy the median survival is 14 months but it can be five years or even longer. This is not Senator McCain's first health care in 2000 he was diagnosed with invasive malignant melanoma.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'm having a lot of exposure to the sun when I was very young and I have fair skin.
GUPTA: Doctors removed a dime size melanoma from McCain's left temple. That was the most serious of several other bouts with skin cancer, when McCain was campaigning for President in 2008 I had a chance to review all of his medical records. Details of his health since then have remained private until just now, his doctors at the Mayo Clinic who have been treating him for several years said it was McCain's gut instinct knowing that something just wasn't right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
[01:20:18] SOARES: Well since the news broke, support has been pouring in for Senator McCain, you can imagine the statement President Trump said the following, "Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy and their entire family, get well soon". And former President Barack Obama tweeted this, "John McCain is an American hero and one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against, give it hell, John". Obama was McCain opponent in the 2008 Presidential campaign and we to wish him all the very best.
You are watching NEWSROOM L.A. still to come, dozens of people are found guilty in Thailand's largest human trafficking trial. Plus, and some of the British royals spread the charm in Europe biggest economy both sides in the Brexit talks gear up to give a progress report in just a few hours. We'll have both of this stories for you just a very a short break.
SOARES: A court in Thailand has found 62 people guilty in the country's largest ever human trafficking trial. A high ranking military officer was among those convicted; more than a 100 people were accused in massive criminal ring the traffic for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now from Hong Kong with more, and Alex, this is of course the huge trial and important one, too. Talk to us a bit more about the reaction to the verdict.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the prosecutor came out and said that this should really send a very clear message about the seriousness with which Thailand is ready to treat trafficking. Human rights activists are also applauding the fact that so many were put on trial, that so many of those suspects were convicted of serious crimes here but they are calling it the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating or making justice for some of what they believe to have been thousands of Rohingya refugees who they say suffered abuses after three Myanmar an Secretarial Violence kicked up around 2012.
The investigation into this trafficking ring that led to the trial of a 100 suspects started back in 2015 when Thai authorities discovered a mass grave in the jungle along Thailand and Malaysia's boarder. They found more than two dozen bodies believe to be those of Rohingya refugees in that grave, they say it was located near a refugee prison camp where traffickers were holding refugees refusing to allow them to go and at the same time extorting their families back at home for money. Of the 100 people who we're put on trial, a lot of different kinds of people here we're told that they include civilians, local authorities' even high-ranking military officials. At the end, took the judge for 12 hours to read the verdicts for these 100 suspects, 62 of them convicted for crimes include trafficking, assault, homicide, the sentenced ranged from four years to 94 years in prison. There will be a chance of appeal for those who we're convicted, but again this is a trial that is being celebrated by human rights group who say that this could be the beginning of further prosecutions which they say are so badly needed in order to bring justice to this minority ethnic group that has for so long face oppression and abuses, Isa.
[01:25:45] SOARES: Yes, and Alex like you just pointed out, you know, this human trafficking ring was being operated by local administrative staff, civilians but also high-ranking military. So what has the Thai government had to say about this?
FIELD: There was a statement from the Prime Minister, he didn't talk much about the trial or the outcome of the trial but he did seemingly with regard to one high-ranking military officer say that the people of Thailand should understand and recognize that this trafficking ring involved all kinds of people and they should not look at this as something that all soldiers are involved with trying to make that distinction trying to protect the reputation of the military here. Certainly you do have authorities in Thailand and that prosecutor as I mentioned before trying to tout the fact that this does represent the Thai authorities are working very seriously to root out the problem of human trafficking but this is a dicey and a complicated situation and this was a trial that was not without difficulties.
You had hundreds of witnesses who were taking the stand during the course of this trial, many of them saying that they came under threat to their lives. They were under threat for speaking out against this trafficking ring, against the trafficking group. At one point Isa, you even had the lead investigator in this investigation leaving the country, going to Australia, where he is now seeking asylum. He says he was receiving threats to his life, Isa.
SOARES: Alexandra Field there for us in Hong Kong, thanks very much Alexandra. Next on NEWSROOM L.A. he's only been in office half a year but already Donald Trump is having a measurable impact on the world but not necessarily a positive one. We'll explain, next.
SOARES: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isa Soares.
[01:30:03] Let me bring you up to date with the headlines.
SOARES: The Trump administration reportedly will stop supporting moderate Syrian rebels who oppose the regime of Bashar al Assad. The Kremlin had been seeking the change since 2013 when the Obama administration undertook a covert CIA program to arm and train the rebels in a bid to topple Assad. According to published reports, U.S. President Donald Trump decided to end the secret program about a month ago prior to his first-ever meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Germany.
With us from Colorado, CNN intelligence and security analyst, Bob Baer, who is a former CIA operative.
Bob, thank you so much. It's great to get you on the show.
This program, I was looking into it, was created by former President Barack Obama to put pressure on President Assad to force him really to step aside. That, clearly, hasn't worked, Bob, and he's still in power and emboldened. So how do you interpret this move by President Trump? Is this a strategic mistake, do you think?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: It's a strategic mistake. I mean, that was a small card supporting the Syrian rebels but it was a card nonetheless. And it was a pressure point on Bashar al Assad and the Iranians who were playing a part there and the Russians. But what looks like to me is he gave this as a gift to Vladimir Putin, for no quid pro quo, and that's not the way diplomacy works. We should have used this. We should have demanded, for instance, safe zones, so the Sunnis would not be hit from the air either by the Russians or Syrian air force. This is just inexplicable why he would do this. SOARES: And you were talking there, Bob, about quid pro quo, but what
leverage does this leave the president when it comes in terms of bargaining chip when it comes to pressuring Moscow in negotiations in regards to Syria?
BAER: He's lost his pressure point, Isa. It's crazy, frankly. I've never seen anything like it.
I mean, let's face it. This program was not particularly successful. It was supposed to be a magnet for moderates and Democrats, and most of these people ended up with Islamic State. But it gave us a card in Syria, because Syria is -- you know, you look at the geography. It's crucial to the Levant, to Iraq and to Lebanon. And now, it's gone.
SOARES: And the timing, of course, we can't forget about the timing, because it's at a time where it's raising questions for the White House, of course, when it's fending off questions about undisclosed meeting with President Putin at the G-20. Bob, who wins out of this? President Trump or President Putin?
BAER: President Putin. I mean, Europeans have gone along with us in Syria and, all of a sudden, we throw up our hands and surrender and say, hey, we're going to give the country to Russia. It's crazy. So NATO, Britain, France, everybody else who has any stakes in Syria, are scratching their heads, saying what did Putin do to get this? And let's not forget the context is at this meeting in Hamburg, Trump let Putin go on the hacking. He still has not addressed the hacking. And rather than taking some sort of retaliation against Putin for the hacking, he gave him a gift. The optics of this couldn't be worse.
SOARES: And on the ground -- talking about the optics, but on the ground, the concern may be by cutting off one group of rebels, you run the risk of empowering more groups inside of Syria. How much of a concern is this, Bob?
BAER: I think now that the Syrian moderate rebels have been abandoned -- and they have been fighting and winning occasionally -- and the message to them is, well, the only people that are really going to fight and carry on the fight is the Islamic State or al Qaeda and that's where they're going to run to. This moderate option has been dropped.
[01:35:09] SOARES: And this may be pure speculation, me just pushing it slightly, but looking at this, Bob, do you worry this may have been something this administration gave away in return for agreeing to that limited and fragile cease-fire with President Putin in southern Syria?
BAER: Look, it's -- for Trump, he goes through the motions about dealing with the hacking and dropping T-LAN missiles on an air force that killed five people, all the planes were gone. And at the end of the day, it looks like Trump is ceding the Middle East to Putin for no particular reason. That's the way it looks to me.
SOARES: Bob Baer, always great to get your insight. Thanks very much, Bob. Good to see you.
BAER: Thank you.
SOARES: Thursday marks exactly six months since Donald Trump became the U.S. president. It's been a bumpy ride for the new commander-in- chief with very little to show by way of major accomplishments. He got Neil Gorsuch approved to the Supreme Court and got a partial travel ban enacted. But significant legislation has, so far, eluded him. And his promise to build a wall along the southern U.S. border has still not materialized.
Recent opinion polls show Mr. Trump has one of the lowest approval ratings of any president in recent history, as low as 36 percent.
And it's not just in the U.S. The Trump presidency is proving to be hugely unpopular around the world as our Nic Robertson found out.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Wherever President Trump goes, controversy seems to follow. These are some of the protesters at a recent world leaders' meeting in Hamburg. New research explains why.
(on camera): The headline in the Pew Center study is that around the world, and in Europe in particular, Trump's policies are unpopular.
(voice-over): In 35 of 37 countries surveyed, confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing is down. And that's dragging America's overseas image down, too.
Take Germany, host of the G-20 and the protests, confidence fell a massive 75 points compared to the final years of President Obama. Other shockers include South Korea, another ally, down 71 points. France, a close friend, down 70 points. Canada, a neighbor, down 61 points. And so the list goes on.
The only countries to buck the downward trend are Israel, up 7 points and Russia, a statistical outlier, up 42 points.
Issues of concern include a border wall with Mexico, withdrawing from international trade agreements, and the global climate agreement, as well as Trump's Muslim travel ban.
ROBERTSON: The majority of the 40,448 respondents saying that he is arrogant, intolerant, dangerous, with just over half saying he is a strong leader.
The White House has yet to respond.
(on camera): Despite Trump tanking in the global ratings, America's popularity as nation is buoyed by its culture, democracy and citizens. But in another blow to Trump, both the presidents of Russia and China were judged more likely to do the right thing on global affairs than him.
Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
SOARES: We'll stay in London. The Brexit talks in Brussels are all about money. The first round of negotiations wraps up later today ahead of a press conference. The big question is how much will the U.K. have to pay to exit the European Union.
CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports now from the Belgian capitol.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thursday marks the final day of this round of talks. The U.K.'s Brexit Secretary David Davis is expected to make his way back here to Brussels to meet with the E.U.'s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. U.N. officials telling me we're not expecting much in terms of agreements out of this round of talks. It's more meant to be a format for both sides to exchange views and figure out each other's positions. Topics including the financial settlement, the rights of the citizens, as well as other separation issues.
The financial settlement being seen as a potential sticking point, especially when you consider the rhetoric we were hearing in the build up to this round of the negotiating talks. Boris Johnson, the U.K. foreign secretary, in response to a question about the billions that the billions that the E.U. is reportedly asking for from these negotiations, he responded by saying that the E.U. could go whistle, something that really did not play well here in Brussels. E.U. officials see these as financial obligations, financial commitments that the U.K. has undertaken as a member of the E.U. Secretary Johnson's statement was softened by something we heard from a Brexit minister, submit to parliament a paper statement acknowledging that the U.K. is obliged to pay the E.U. during these Brexit talks.
So it will be very interesting to hear what both sides have to say on this topic at a press conference scheduled for later Thursday.
Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Brussels.
[01:40:47] SOARES: Britain's Prince William says that Germany and the U.K. will remain close even after Britain leaves the European Union. The duke and duchess of Cambridge are on what some are calling a charm offensive on the European continent amid the Brexit talks. On Wednesday, they celebrated the queen's birthday at a garden party in Berlin.
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PRINCE WILLIAM: This relationship between the United Kingdom and Germany really matters. It is a product of many years of working closely together. It will continue despite Britain's recent decision to leave the European Union. I'm confident we shall remain the firmest of friends. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: In a few hours, the duke and duchess will face off against each other in a rowing race in Heidelberg. I say the duchess will win that one.
Coming up next, he went from being a celebrity to a convicted felon. Now O.J. Simpson is hours away from learning if he'll bed allowed to leave prison early. We'll have that story for you next.
SOARES: We have an update on a story we brought you yesterday from Saudi Arabia. Saudi police freed the woman who wore a mini skirt in a viral video. Authorities detained the woman, who is a model, after the video showed wearing western attire while strolling through an historic Saudi Arabia camp. The kingdom has a very strict dress code for women and the case sparked a heated debate on social media. The police have not charged her or released her identity.
After almost a decade in prison, freedom for O.J. Simpson could be decided in a matter of hours. Simpson goes in front of a parole board on Thursday over his 2008 conviction for an armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room. Now the conviction came 13 years after his high- profile trial for murder in the deaths of his ex-wife and another man, a sensational crime that ended in acquittal. Simpson's last parole hearing was in 2013.
Simpson turned 70 years old this month. Even if he is granted parole, the earliest date he could be released would be October 1st.
For a look at how Simpson has fared in prison, here's Paul Vercammen.
[01:45:41] PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPODNENT (voice-over): Northern Nevada, Lovelock Medium Security Correctional Center, O.J. Simpson's home since late 2008 after his conviction for armed robbery and related charges in Las Vegas.
From behind these walls, a picture is emerging from insiders of Simpson playing fantasy football here, coaching softball, staying out of trouble. The prison reports no incidents involving Simpson.
BROOKE KEAST, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: He's not one that is in the limelight that we all know about that there's a lot of lawsuits or there's a lot of issues with. He's not in that list. We don't hear from him much.
VERCAMMEN: Two former Lovelock guards say Simpson has not been affected by racist gang battles that can infect other prisons.
JEFFREY FELIX, FORMER LOVELOCK PRISON GUARD & AUTHOR: Where blacks can't sit with Mexicans, Mexicans can't sit with whites. They can't intermingle with each other. By O.J. being at Lovelock, that took away all the politics. You just need to really keep an eye on him.
VERCAMMEN: Former Lovelock officer, Jeffrey Felix, wrote a short book about his relationship with Simpson, called "Guarding the Juice." Felix and other sources told CNN Simpson gets little perks.
FELIX: Usually, O.J. Simpson cuts in front of every line. Everybody understands that. It's just a way of life at Lovelock.
VERCAMMEN: Insiders say cutting included the food or chow line and O.J. gained a lot of weight. But Simpson's good friend, Tom Scotto, says Nevada's most-famous inmate went on a health kick and may have lost more than 50 pounds.
Prison officials said that Simpson bought a 13-inch TV like this one for his cell, which inmates are allowed to do. But the ex-football star never saw those two series that stirred up so much buzz, "The People Versus O.J. Simpson" and "O.J., Made in America."
KEAST: We don't want to bring attention to one inmate over another.
VERCAMMEN: Former guards say they call Simpson "Bottle Head" at Lovelock due to the size of his head. When Simpson advocates here to the parole board, they'll find out if they will call him a free man.
Paul Vercammen, CNN, Lovelock, Nevada.
SOARES: Joining us now to talk more about the Simpson case is entertainment journalist, Segun Oduolowu.
Segun, thank you very much for being with me to make sense of this.
SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURANLIST: It's a pleasure to be here.
SOARES: It's fascinating. I had someone on Twitter asking me, do the international viewers care about this? Are you still interested it in. It has been more than two decades since he was charged and acquitted and we are still fascinated by him.
ODUOLOWU: For sure.
SOARES: Why so much the public interest?
ODUOLOWU: We are talking about the godfather of reality tv and, hate him or love him, in 1994, that slow-speed Bronco chase through the streets of Los Angeles --
SOARES: We remember that.
ODUOLOWU: -- they cut live into an NBA championship game. And that was the first time that I can remember -- I was in high school at the time. I know millions of Americans watched in fascination. There was -- is there another person in the car? Is there a gun in the car? Is he going to kill himself? What's going on. And that fascination has continued with the trial. It was the trial of the century. Cameras into the court case. And we followed it. It was water cooler talk. It was what everyone was talking about. Every internet star, every Kardashian, every reality big brother, survivor, they owe tithe to O.J. Simpson because he -
SOARES: He was the birth reality TV.
ODUOLOWU: The birth of reality tv.
SOARES: And we were showing video of -- if we can play that again -- because he's got the museum, basically, that houses many of the items from the first trial, like the truck.
ODUOLOWU: Yes, the Bronco.
SOARES: The Bronco and the police -- it's fascinating. A museum has that. Why -- what is it about him, though, as a person, that -- I understand the reality TV aspect. But what is it about him that people still find so fascinating?
ODUOLOWU: Well, the way he has carried this entire ordeal. So he goes through the trial and it's the court of the century. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit. He has a dream team of lawyers. He gets off murder, a black man in America, double homicide, gets off. The judge is considered incompetent. The police are considered racist and planting evidence. All of these swirling things. And instead of fading to the distance, saying, hey, I beat a murder rap, he writes a book. And he does talk shows where he says, I didn't do it, but if I did, this is how I would have done it. He just won't go away. And now they catch him on tape in Las Vegas stealing memorabilia. He doesn't have a gun. His cohorts do. Everything around this man has become bigger and crazier. And people are still gobbling it up because it is fascinating.
[01:50:17] SOARES: It is fascinating. As we wait for word on the parole, there have been so many TV shows not just in the U.S. but right around the world following him. I know "The People Versus O.J.," the mini series --
ODUOLOWU: Won Emmys.
SOARES: -- did really well. And also "Made in America," if we can play that so people can see it.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? O.J. Simpson as civil rights victim? It was disgusting. It was appalling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: There is something there that really fascinates people. It's this idea, and I think you touched on it earlier, it's this idea that it's TV hero, you know, a national hero at one point. It touches on race, on class, on justice --
SOARES: -- these topics that we can all relate to.
ODUOLOWU: Yeah, it's that juicy trifecta is you have race in America, you have fame and then you have money. When you have all of that swirled into the judicial system where common day Americans probably could not afford the dream team of lawyers that he had. And yet, he could but he's a black guy in America where notoriously black men have be -- the book's been thrown at them, which to be perfectly honest in Las Vegas. The book was thrown at him. 9 to 33 years? We don't find it ironic that the judge handed out 33 years, similar to the $33 million that he owes in the wrongful death suit for a first-time offender. I can't believe I'm saying it, O.J. Simpson, first-time offender. But if you look at the court case, he claimed he did not know his compatriots had guns with them. He was trying to get his memorabilia back. He shouldn't have served the amount of time he was given if we're going to be really fair. It was a punitive and very pejorative sentence he was given. So this fascination with O.J., it's not going to go away. ESPN is covering this tomorrow, a sports station, a station dedicated to sports is going to cover the parole of O.J. Simpson.
SOARES: Quickly, in one word, will he be paroled?
SOARES: He will?
ODUOLOWU: Dollars to donuts, you will see him on the Kardashians.
SOARES: If he doesn't, you owe me dinner.
All right, thank you very much, Segun.
ODUOLOWU: Whenever you are ready.
SOARES: You are watching NEWSROOM L.A. Still to come, a mystery frozen in time until now. A stunning discovery is made high up in the Swiss Alps. We have that for you next.
SOARES: Is it a mystery that has consumed a family for 75 years. It at last has been solved. When a couple living in the Swiss Alps went to milk their cows one day, they vanished without a trace, leaving behind their children. Now nearly eight decades on, there has been a remarkable breakthrough.
Robyn Curnow reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORERPOSNDENT (voice-over): A cold case solved after 75 years. Authorities in Switzerland believe they've finally unraveled the mystery of a missing couple who disappeared in the Alps during World War II.
Earlier this week, a worker at a ski resort found these frozen bodies in a receding glacier. Police say it's likely the remains of Marcelin and Francine DuMoulin, who went missing from their farm in 1942. Family members say the couple left their nearby village on foot and never returned.
[01:55:17] MARGARET DUMOULIN, DAUGHTER OF MARCELIN & FRANCINE (through translation): The last time I saw my parents was on the morning of August 15, 1942 when they left home and told me to look after all my young brothers and sisters.
CURNOW: It's believed the couple may have fallen into a crevice. That was 75 years ago. Only two of the couple's seven children survive, two daughters who live in the shadow of the glaciers where the body members were found. DNA tests have now confirmed what family members say they already knew.
MARCELINLIUS DUMOULIN, DAUGHTER OF MARCELIN & FRANCINE (through translation): When the authorities told me she's wearing the clothes of this era and he is wearing some women's shoes, and I told them this is my mother.
CURNOW: The discovery ends decades of uncertainty for the family.
MARCELINLOUS DUMOULIN (through translation): This gives me a deep sense of calm.
MARGARET DUMOULIN (through translation): I really loved my parents and I was so lucky to have such great parents. And after that, nothing more. This is something I will never forget.
CURNOW: They now plan to give their parents a proper burial.
Robyn Curnow, CNN.
SOARES: What a story.
Now it is official, the song that you've been hearing everywhere is now the most streamed track in history.
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SOARES: It's my running track. The song also has a remix featuring Justin Bieber and more than 4.5 million global streams. Bieber has managed to topple himself. The previous song to hold the title was his single "Sorry" with almost 4.4 billion plays.
And that does it for us this hour. You have been watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isa Soares.
I'll be back with more news in just a few minutes. Don't go anywhere.
[02:00:05] SOARES: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour --