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Trump To Revive Military Ban On Transgender People; Republican Lawmakers Rally Around Sessions; More Than 10,000 Tourists And Residents Forced To Evacuate On French Riviera; Opposition Starts Two-Day Strike Against Maduro. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 26, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Hala Gorani. You are watching CNN. Thanks for being with us.

We want to get straight to Washington where Donald Trump is expected to speak any time now at the White House. The president has a lot on his

plate today, though, he still seems preoccupied with the public shaming of his own attorney general.

Mr. Trump fired off new tweets today and he renewed his attack on Jeff Sessions. He is ignoring pushback on this from fellow Republicans who are

urging him to ease up on the public tweets against Sessions.

Mr. Trump needs their support, though, on a number of issues including healthcare reform. In fact, speaking of that, latest votes in Congress on

that are expected this hour.

Just minutes ago, a White House spokeswoman was asked about Mr. Trump's escalating attack on his attorney general. Here is what she said.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president has been very clear about where he is. He's obviously disappointed, but

also wants the attorney general to continue to focus on the things that the Attorney General does.

He wants him to leave the Department of Justice. He wants to do that strongly. He wants them to focus on things like immigration, leaks, and a

number of other issues and I think that is what his focus is at this point.


GORANI: Sarah Huckabee Sanders there. She is the new press secretary, of course, after Sean Spicer stepped down several days ago. Even with all of

this going on, Mr. Trump turned his attention to something entirely different today using Twitter once again to announce a big shift on who can

serve in the American military.

Let's talk about all of this now with CNN's Dan Merica, and Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. So,

Dan, I want to start with you. Is the president going to fire Jeff Sessions or is he trying to get him to step down, which is it?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Yes. It's a million-dollar question, really. This is a president who, despite for 14 seasons being most well-

known for the phrase you are fired actually does not like firing people.

He is somewhat conflict averse and when you talk to former employees of the Trump administration, they will say I have worked for Donald Trump for X

amount of years and I never saw him actually fire a person one-on-one.

I talked to Barbara Rest (ph), who is a former Trump employee, who is actually the manager of the Trump -- who build Trump Tower. She said she

worked for Trump for 18 years and he actually did not want an ever -- never fired somebody in person

And a couple times she fired somebody that person will go to talk to President Trump or then just the businessman from and that person will get

their job back. So, this is someone who does not want to fire someone and what you've seen is he is letting Jeff Sessions, his earliest supporter,

someone who gave up arguably the safest seat in the Senate.

He's let him hang out there and publicly shaming him in a way. It is almost like he is showing him the door without actually firing him.

And Larry Sabato, why is he doing this now? He's upset that Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation that happened in March.

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, that assumes there is a rational plan for all of this, Hala, and this is --

this is Donald Trump. Everything that happens it seems is unprecedented with this president.

Dan used the word shaming is absolutely correct. We have never had a case of this American history where a president instead of firing the cabinet

official will publicly shame him day after day after day.

I suppose giving him a hint that he wants him to resign, but Trump has also realized there is a big price to pay. The conservatives, the Republican

Party supports Jeff Sessions far more than they do Donald Trump.

GORANI: Yes. And also, we were hearing from top level Republicans, Dan America, Lindsey Graham among others saying, paraphrasing what he says,

that this shows weakness on the part of the president.

They are very unhappy and he needs congressional Republicans, the president of the United States, to get his legislative agenda through, isn't he?

MERICA: Yes. Put yourself in the position of someone like Lindsey Graham or Republican senator who wasn't (inaudible) a Trump supporter as Jeff

Sessions. Now Jeff Sessions was rewarded with the job of attorney general.

But the loyalty paid to him is no different than he has paid to other senators actually far worse. Jeff Sessions has given up so much to the

president and now he is being kind of hung out to dry in a way unlike these senators.

[15:05:12] So, these senators are being asked like take a vote for me. Do something for me and pass this healthcare legislation that may be difficult

politically in your state.

They are looking at all of this and seeing the way that he is treating Jeff Sessions, they have to be asking themselves, am I going to be loyal to this

president when he isn't being loyal to somebody who endorsed him far earlier than any other Republican senator?

GORANI: And Larry, and Dan, and to all of our viewers as well, this is what Lindsey Graham told our Manu Raju there earlier.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The weakness is that the president is trying to not use his power. He is trying to get Sessions to

quit and I hope Sessions does not quit. If the president wants to fire him, fire him.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Do you think the president is demonstrating weakness by hammering at Sessions?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. I think anybody who is strong would use the power they have and be competent in their decision.


GORANI: Larry, this brings up the next question and this is what I am hearing more and more were abroad and many of our CNN viewers

internationally are starting to ask that more and more often, will Republicans in Washington continue to support the president of the United


If he continues to do things like publicly shame the attorney general, (inaudible) the support of some of its Senate or his former Senate

colleagues. He was, of course, a senator before he became attorney general. Is the Republican Party support for Donald Trump, Larry, do you

believe beginning to crack?

SABATO: A little bit. You have to separate the support into two. The first is rhetorical support. They are now starting to criticize Trump a

bit more. Even some of the conservative members, but they are still giving him their votes.

When will they stop supporting him legislatively when the Republican base no longer supports him. When they do not have to fear a primary challenge

from some Trump-supported candidate.

GORANI: So when it starts potentially hurting them politically. Let's talk about the tweets yet another series of tweets from the president, Dan,

about transgender Americans serving in the military that he's consulted with top military brass and that they've essentially that it makes no

financial sense to accept or allow transgender Americans to serve in the military. Where is this coming from?

MERICA: Well, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked a series of questions about this just a few minutes ago at the White House press briefing. She

actually said that this is something he has discussed with his military leadership over the last few weeks.

And that when he decided yesterday to make this announcement or to do this, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was informed that this was something he

wanted to do. Now DoD officials that we talked to were somewhat caught flat-footed when he announced this on Twitter this morning.

And that is not the first time that has happened. President Trump has been considering this move, but I think you cannot divorce what he said on

Twitter about transgender Americans and the Jeff Sessions controversy. You cannot divorce them from each other.

As Larry noted, the right is already somewhat revolting and supporting Jeff Sessions over Donald Trump in this kerfuffle. Doing this with the military

and saying that they are no longer going to allow transgender servicemen and women to serve is something that plays as a bait, it's red meat to this


It's also important, noting, though, that Sarah Huckabee Sanders could not answer questions about what happens next to transgender servicemen and

women who are currently serving in the military.

Are they asked to leave? Are they fired? Are they given an honorable discharge? None of those questions were answered.

JONES: And there are a few thousand of them and lastly, Larry, there is the healthcare legislation as well. I mean, when you look at the

legislation that succeeded for Donald Trump.

We were talking about the Republican senators who have been critical of his public shaming of Jeff Session. Is he going to get anything through, you

know, in the next few weeks. Any kind of timeframe that could qualify as a victory on healthcare?

SABATO: Well, there is a slight chance that will happen, but even the Republican's leadership privately says that they can't find a healthcare

bill that has 50 votes support in the Senate and 51 with the vice president.

That will then pass the House. No one's come up with the answer. Yes, and they've been working on it for seven years.

GORANI: Larry Sabato, always a pleasure, at the University of Virginia joining us live. Dan Merica in our D.C. bureau, thanks as well.

Just a reminder for our viewers that we are expecting the U.S. president to deliver remarks at -- he was scheduled to deliver them at 3 p.m. Eastern,

which was about 10 minutes ago.

This is a live scene at the White House. This is a group of young high school aged boys and girls. It's called the American Legion Boys Nation

and the American Legion Girls Nation.

[15:10:13] It's a summer program for high school aged students to learn about politics in the United States. We'll see what Donald Trump has to

say. Will they likely Boy Scouts, for instance, hear about loyalty and draining the swamp? We'll bring those remarks you live when they happen.

I spoke with a Republican lawmaker who broke with his party over healthcare reform. Leonard Lance is a congressman from New Jersey. I asked him what

he made of the president's very public attacks on the attorney general, Jeff Sessions.


REPRESENTATIVE LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: I was the first Republican on the Capitol Hill to suggest that the attorney general should refused

himself in matters related to Russia and I think it was appropriate for the attorney general to do that and there are many of us on Capitol Hill who

believed that the attorney general should continue in office.

And I would hope that the president would sit down with the attorney general, but I think that the attorney general is moving forward with his

important responsibilities.

And if he were to leave office then, of course, the president would have to appoint a new attorney general and I would require the confirmation of our

United States Senate and I am not sure that would be easy to achieve.

GORANI: Well, what do you make of the attack so public and on Twitter day after day after day?

LANCE: I think that it would be preferable if the president were to sit down with the attorney general and I do think that the attorney general has

major responsibilities regarding various domestic issues as well certain foreign policy issues.

And I think that Attorney General Sessions is fulfilling his responsibilities and I hope that the president decides that he wishes to

retain the attorney general. He obviously does have the right to choose his own attorney general, but that is with the advice and consent of the

United States Senate.

GORANI: And he's not just attacking Jeff Sessions, he's attacking the acting FBI director, Andrew McCabe, and some had suggested perhaps this is

a way for the president to get at his real target which is Special Counsel Robert Mueller heading the investigation into possible collusion between

the Trump campaign and Russia. Do you believe that?

LANCE: I support Mr. Mueller. I think that he should continue his work and I did support the appointment of the special counsel when the acting

attorney general who is the deputy attorney general made that appointment and I think that there is a green in here on Capitol Hill that Mr. Mueller

should continue his work.

GORANI: But do you think the president is in fact targeting Robert Mueller that he would like to see him go and this is a way for him to do this by

targeting Jeff Sessions as well as the acting FBI director. Do you believe that?

LANCE: I think it would be very difficult to replace Mr. Mueller because that would require the involvement of the acting attorney general, Mr.

Rosenstein. He has already said that he supports Mr. Moeller whom he appointed and so I think that the investigation should continue.

I do not think necessarily that the president did anything wrong and I thought his son-in-law performed well before a committee of Congress

earlier this week and the matter will be investigated, but I am not suggesting necessarily that the president did anything wrong. But I do

think the Mueller investigation should continue.

GORANI: You know, a question I get a lot here were, of course, outside the United States but were seen by many Americans, and of course, many people

around the world very interested in what is going on in the city you are in right now, Washington.

They asked me about the Republican Party and they we have seen the president attack the press -- compared -- take aim publicly at his attorney

general, do things that no other president has ever done in the history of the United States before.

What is the Republican Party willing to accept? How far can the president go before support from your party for this president starts to crack?

LANCE: I think that we in the Republican Party support the president where we agree with him certainly on the fact that the healthcare law needs to be

reformed because the exchanges are not doing well in this country.

And also, we want to get to the business tax reform, and I think we support the president in his overarching goal of tax reform. But there are areas

where we disagree and each of us has a responsibility to indicate the position we hold.

For example, I didn't think that the first ban regarding those who come into this country was well written.

[15:15:04] I thought the second one was much better written and the House of Representatives earlier this week, virtually unanimously passed a strong

bill regarding sanctions against North Korea and against Iran and against Russia. And I would hope and expect that the president would sign that

bill into law.

GORANI: You are talking about the healthcare law. Obviously, we know that the debate -- the healthcare legislation has advanced in the Senate.

Thanks to the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President Mike Pence.

But again, the president here speaking of Republican senators -- two of whom decided to vote against the measure yesterday. Essentially calling

them out publicly. They simply want this bill to go through the committee process. Why is that a problem?

LANCE: I think it is important that we try to reform the healthcare law and what the Senate did earlier this week was merely to proceed to debate

the issue. It did not vote substantively in that vote that was cast -- the tie-breaking vote by the vice president.

And now the Senate later this week including at the moment is working on various aspects of that legislation. It's not clear to me whether any

particular part of it will achieve the majority necessary in the Senate.

That's something for the Senate to decide and then any action by the Senate would have to go to a conference committee with colleagues of mine in the

House to try to negotiate a bill that could then reach the floor of both houses.


GORANI: Congressman Leonard Lance, a Republican from New Jersey. We want to show you some live pictures from the White House now. President Donald

Trump delivering those remarks to young people from the American Legion. We were monitoring this event for you. We will come back to it if Mr.

Trump addresses any major news issues.

Still to come this evening, wildfires come dangerously close to the beaches of the French Riviera sending tourists and residents scrambling. We will

be live in part of France after the break.

Also, protesters are back on the streets in Venezuela and this man, President Maduro is still drawing their ire. We are live in Caracas in a

few minutes.


GORANI: Well, sun, sea, and plenty of pure sea air are all part of a typical vacation on the French Riviera. While this summer reality looks

more like this in some parts.

Wildfires have forced more than 10,000 tourists and residents to evacuate from France's Mediterranean coast, and they also bringing these fires in

Corsica, Portugal, Italy, Albania.

[15:20:01] The French Interior Ministry said more than 4,000 firefighters and troops are battling the blaze. Planes are also dropping water on the

fires from the air.

I'm joined now on the phone by a tourist who is witnessing all of this. David (inaudible) Ramatrel (ph), France. What was your experience? What

did you see over the last several days? The video, by the way, were seeing David was shot by you on your phone, I understand. Tell us what you saw.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I just heard someone screaming fire and I went out, took a bike and went up (inaudible) and I saw what you can see on the

video. I saw a giant black cloud and I saw lots of people trying to evacuate their home. All the sensors were (inaudible) and all people were

just going out of their lovely homes.

GORANI: You get very close it looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We have a home next to the fire and I just went there to see how close it was, to know if we have to evacuate or not and yes, I

went close to the fire because I was interested to see, yes.

GORANI: Yes. Well, I mean, did you have to evacuate your home?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Yes. No, no. Gladly we don't have to evacuate because the wind was fine for us. I think we have to thank the wind plus

the fire (inaudible) and especially the planes. There were so many planes doing their job, doing their rounds and I think thanks to them we don't

have to evacuate for now.

JONES: And I was just in that part of France, in fact, and some of the fires we were told by officials start simply because somebody throws a

cigarette butt on the ground from a moving car, something as simple as that. What are you hearing is the cause? Why are there so many fires?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Yes, it's hard to understand currently because -- yes, you feel like no one will do that anymore throwing a cigarette from a

car, but it looks like this still happen in 2017 and I heard that one of the fire was started from a woman, an old woman with (inaudible) in the

garden and it looks like it's very simple to do a disaster like that.

GORANI: And what's the situation now where you are, David?

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: We are chilling. It's pretty calm now. We don't see any clouds anymore. But this afternoon started again for hours. It is

hard to say we do not have such info. We have to go (inaudible) to find out --

GORANI: But you are not seeing a fire near you. You are not smelling the smoke anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: No, not anymore, absolutely.

GORANI: Good. Thank you very much, David (inaudible) France there and also highlighting the brave work of these firefighters. They are working

around the clock. Thousands of them trying to put these blazes out.

And as our eyewitness there mentioned, it is unbelievable that people still throw lit cigarette butts out of cars in parts of the country and parts of

the world, I should say, where it is obvious there is a fire risk, where it is very dry, hasn't rained in a while, do not do it, and this could be the


Thank you very much to our eyewitness, David. It is a picture that has been seen over and over again, thousands upon thousands of protesters

pouring into the streets of Venezuela railing against the rule of the president there, Nicholas Maduro.

Right now, the opposition is in the midst of a 48-hour national strike. It is the latest push by Mr. Maduro's critics ahead of Sunday's referendum on

whether to elect a new assembly.

And as Paula Newton explains in Caracas, the president has been using a wildly popular song to promote the crucial vote.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Venezuelan president, Nicholas Maduro, tried to use the most streams song of all time to entice

voters, he instead provoked more protests.

In an Instagram post, (inaudible) told the president to stop using his hit single, D'Esposito for what he called "manipulation and propaganda." But

the idea of doing battle over a pop-culture anthem seems absurd on an all- too real battle rages on the streets.

Protesters wait fierce street battles confronting the government over Sunday referendum, a vote that could see Maduro granted sweeping new


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to strike more fear into people so they can go ahead with their election. We are going to do everything we can to stop

that from happening. We are going to (inaudible) street. We are going to hold strikes for today. Next week we are going to take the capital. We

are not going to allow them to pass their election.

[15:25:02] NEWTON: Within hours of returning to Venezuela, we witnessed the intense confrontations now all the more violent, the opposition says it

is fighting for the last remnants of freedom here.

Protesters hold a vigil for the deaths of their own more than hundred killed already in just a few months of protest.

And Maria Cristina Rascos (ph) is getting ready for what is to come, a medical student, she and hundreds of volunteers like her craft ambulances,

first aid kits, and mobile field hospitals.


NEWTON (on camera): It's worse than it was before.

RASCOS: It's getting worse, but because there are a lot of gun shots not rubber.

NEWTON: You are seeing more live ammunitions.


NEWTON (voice-over): These improvised medical teams save lives as the political stalemate worsens.

RASCOS: This is the way I can help and this is the way I feel full. This is the way that fills my heart and this is the way I really, really can


NEWTON: This week, Venezuelans continue their ritual lining up for basic food they can afford with each branding of a number, more frustration.

(on camera): Now of course this is something that Venezuelans are quite used to, lining up for hours for very basic supplies, but this means things

are quite different. The opposition has called for that two-day strike and in the face of that many are stocking up as best they can for fear of the

violence that is to come.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's terrible. It is very hard. There are a lot of insecurity. It has been almost three weeks that we

barely leave the house. The only time we do is come shop or stay close to home.

NEWTON (voice-over): And for good reason, this week, more than any other in recent years, Venezuela seems on the brink of a defining political

confrontation. People here are bracing for the fall out.


GORANI: Well, CNN is live inside Venezuela. Paula Newton joins me now from Caracas. Today is the first day, Paula, of that 48-hour strike. What

are you able to see on the streets?

NEWTON: Well, from the streets and as you can see behind me, they remain quite calm, but there have been sporadic clashes and already some injuries.

But to remember this is a buildup, the opposition wanted people off the streets for two days, a two-day strike, they really wanted to try and

paralyze the city.

And in their words, take it back on Friday really try and get as many people as they could out on the street. The message here the opposition to

President Nicholas Maduro, we will paralyze this country and force you to cancel that vote on Sunday, which again, they say will take away any

democratic rights that they have -- Hala.

GORANI: And what's the expectation for this vote on Sunday?

NEWTON: You know, it is quite a battle. When we have gone around even some of the neighborhoods in terms of their preparations, you know, the

government-held areas have polling stations and the others do not.

It is unclear although President Maduro has said that he wants every government worker to go out and vote, and what does that mean, Hala, that's

intimidation. A lot of people say I'm going to go out and vote because if someone figures out that I did not, I could lose my job, jobs, any kind of

jobs and money are scarcity here in Venezuela.

And those are the kinds of tactics that the opposition is calling out about government and saying this referendum, this vote on the weekend is not

legitimate. It is just a new tactic to try and give new sweeping powers to the government of Nicholas Maduro.

GORANI: What's the wording of the referendum question?

NEWTON: Well, it is interesting and it's going to be in a few different parts and that again is a matter of contention, which is why the opposition

has boycotted it and they say that is absolutely far too confusing for anyone to understand exactly what's being handed over.

One clear word that Maduro has always used about this work is he says, look, come out and vote, this will give our country peace. He is saying

that this whole constituent assembly will be a collection of people who will have the country's best interest at heart.

The opposition is saying no way. You are trying to slam down the judiciary, our national assembly, which we already controlled that is the

opposition and this means you will have sweeping new powers.

Everything from who gets to vote, when they get to vote, where they get to vote and the language in that document is a contentious issue right now.

GORANI: All right, like so many other things in Venezuela. Thanks very much, Paula Newton live in Caracas.

Still to come, a robust defense of the American president.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a symmetrical loyalist for sure. If you take care of him, he is going to take care of you.


GORANI: We'll look at the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, and his style. Stay with us.

[15:32:17] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: White House P.R. looks and sounds different than it did six months, to say the least. Former Press Secretary

Sean Spicer went out the same day Anthony Scaramucci became communications director. The two men have distinct styles but one thing in common, and

that is serving a President who is struggling with Congress while publicly dressing down his own appointee.

Well, my colleague, Chris Cuomo, pressed Scaramucci on the way President Trump is criticizing his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: One of the things that I like about the President that some people in Washington perhaps

don't like about the President is the upfrontness.

If he is unhappy with my job and he tweets out about me that he is unhappy about my job and 113 million hear that, you know, I'm a pretty secure guy.

I'm OK with that. And then I would go and talk to him and say, OK, can I improve this? Can I make it better for you?

Now, I can make the best --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So you don't think that upfront is coming to Anthony and saying, Anthony, you're falling down on the job?

SCARAMUCCI: Chris, what he was --

CUOMO: You think tweeting about is upfront?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I think that's pretty upfront. He just happens to be sharing with 113 million people.

CUOMO: But he's not even talking to Jeff Sessions directly.


CUOMO: He goes to Twitter.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I actually think --

CUOMO: One of his earliest supporters.

SCARAMUCCI: I actually think Jeff Sessions is probably one of the 113 million people, but I get the point and I understand what you're saying.

But I'm also saying something, OK?

You remember Ed Koch. He was a friend and sometimes not so much of a friend of your dad's. Ed Koch had a great line. He says, hey, I'm not

getting the cancer. I'm giving you the cancer.

And the point is, is that the President is a very expressive guy, and he is going to let the society know and the people of the United States know how

he feels on a day-to-day basis. I'm telling my fellow teammates here in the West Wing and my fellow friends that are happen to be cabinet

secretaries that this is his style. This is his nature. You got to have a very tough skin to work for and deal with the President.

But if he respects your toughness and he respects your honesty and your loyalty, somebody said, as you guys were entering this eight-hour segment,

that the loyalty for the President is one-sided. That is absolutely nonsense, OK? He is a symmetrical loyalist for sure. If you take care of

him, he's going to take care of you.


GORANI: All right. A very difficult style, you saw it there. He is sleek. He uses very colorful imagery.

My next guest can discuss how Scaramucci is handling his new role and the changes we've seen in the White House communications department because

what happened in that briefing room, Jeff Mason, who is the White House correspondent for Reuters and a former president of the White House

Correspondents' Association, has been a story itself over the last several months.

What changes can we expect to see? Sean Spicer is gone, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is in, and Scaramucci is the director of communications. How will

that change things?

JEFF MASON, FORMER PRESIDENT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' ASSOCIATION: Well, it looks like it's changing in some ways already in so far as the

trend of the last few weeks where briefings were not being held on camera or not being televised. That's changed back to being televised, and that's

a good thing.

[15:35:06] That's something that we were pressing for when I was president of the Correspondents' Association and that journalists, generally, in the

room want. So hopefully, that's a positive change.

As far as the other things, it's -- we sort of have to be in a wait and see approach. Scaramucci has just really gotten started. Spicer, of course,

is leaving. And, you know, there could be a number of changes.

He did say last night at the reporters in Air Force One that he was thinking of restructuring the communications team. So what does that mean?

We'll see.

GORANI: Right. And -- but who makes the decision whether or not to televise the briefings? That wasn't entirely Sean Spicer's decision,


MASON: Well, it was the press office's decision, sure. I mean, I imagine that they have consulted with others about that, but it's --

GORANI: The President?

MASON: I think that -- pardon me?

GORANI: Does the President weigh in on things like this?

MASON: Well, I don't know. I don't know if the President weighs in on that. I think that one thing that the President did was watch them. And

so if he was unhappy with how the briefings were going and then wanted them to be off camera for that reason, that might -- that may have had an


But I think the fact that they have settled now on Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the new Press Secretary and that Scaramucci is in as the communications

director maybe will create some security and some -- at least temporarily for them to feel better about having those briefings back on camera. And

in any case --


MASON: -- we believe, regardless of their reasoning, that it's in the interest of transparency and the constitutionally protected rights of the

free press in the United States for those to be on.

GORANI: Right. And it was becoming the story, and it needed to stop being the story as well. By the way, Scaramucci also talked about his

relationship with the media, how he views the media, as well with Chris Cuomo. This is what he said.


SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President is committed to unifying and that was the focus of his inaugural address.

This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenging the bringing about our nation together is making it more difficult.

SCARAMUCCI: Look, so here's the one problem with the way our society is working right now. We are micromanaging the seconds of the news cycle.

I predicted the President will get a win in healthcare. That's my honest prediction just because I've seen him in operation over the last 20-plus

years. The President has really good karma, OK?


GORANI: All right. Apologies. This wasn't him speaking to Cuomo. This was him talking about how he views the press.

All right. So it's a very style, right?

MASON: It's certainly a different. And part of that clip that you just played was of Sean Spicer in the first day that he came out --


MASON: -- at the White House podium, and it was not a friendly debut with the -- with the -- what he said. And Scaramucci was much different when he

came out in front of the journalists in the pressroom last Friday.

Of course, the communications director job is not one of somebody who comes to briefs every day so that not necessarily be something we see repeated on

a frequent basis. But I think he did try on Friday to set a new tone, and we'll see if that's one that they stick with or not.

GORANI: And lastly, you've said that the White House Correspondents' Association, as its president, directly sometimes has -- you've been asked

to sort of criticize and single out colleagues by the White House.

I mean, this is a -- I'm getting -- what I'm getting to is this is a change in style but not necessarily in substance, that it could still continue to

be quite a tense relationship between the Trump White House and the press.

MASON: Well, it certainly could be. And I no longer speak for the Correspondents' Association, so I don't want to talk about their strategy

going forward. But I -- it's true that when I was the president, there was a time when I was asked to issue a statement about a colleague's story,

which would have essentially defended the White House and that I had to make clear that that's not the job of the association or mine, and I said


But as far as whether something, you know, a request like that continue, we'll see. I hope that they don't. I hope that this is a reset for the

relationship between the press and the White House because I think it's in everyone's interest for that to happen.

GORANI: Jeff Mason, thanks very much, the Reuters' correspondent -- Reuters' White House correspondent and former president of White House

Correspondents' Association. And good luck to your successor. Thanks for joining us.

Now, the first couple of France welcomed an unusual guest to the Elysee Palace today, Rihanna, the musician and singer. The education activist

founded a nonprofit supporting international scholarships -- there she is - - and she's been tweeting at world leaders for support.

She said the meeting with the Macrons went well and that the world should stay tuned for a big education announcement in September. There she is

with Brigitte Macron, the spouse of Emmanuel Macron.

[15:39:52] Don't forget, check out our Facebook page for more, We'll be right back.


GORANI: It's one of Asia's fastest economy and you can see that on the skyline of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. But while construction is

thriving, the brick kilns being used to feed the building boom are under scrutiny these days.

The Freedom Project went to Cambodia to explore allegations of what's called debt bondage. Take a look.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what progress looks like. Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies

in Asia. Construction is booming, making brick kilns one of the country's largest economic sectors.

It all starts here in the factories largely outside the capital, Phnom Penh, where life looks very different.

RI SAROATH, BRICK KILN WORKER (through translator): I hope that the brick kiln owner will close his kiln when they run out of the clay, so I can get

rid of the debt and stop working here.

FIELD (voice-over): Conditions are tough. Toilets are rare. So is running water. Entire families live right here at the factories. The work

is seasonal and some of the workers have to return most of the meager wages they earn.

FIELD (on camera): Every worker we talked to tells us that they owe the factory owner money, either a thousand dollars, sometimes even a few

thousand dollars. It's money that they borrowed to pay for medical expenses, for funerals, to support their children, or sometimes to pay up

higher interest loans. In order to pay down this debt, they come to work here in the brick kilns.

FIELD (voice-over): In a scathing report, a Cambodian NGO, LICADHO, said the widespread practice amounts to debt bondage, a form of modern-day

slavery, illegal under Cambodian law.

The Cambodian Labor Ministry disputes those findings. They say the kilns are closely inspected and that they haven't found any cases of debt


CHAN NARY, OWNER, BRAM KHNANG BRICK KILN (through translator): All of my workers owe me money, not some of them but all of them.

FIELD (voice-over): A factory owner we speak to on the outskirts of Phnom Penh says it's just an advance loan that's being worked off.

NARY (through translator): Their lives are good because the bills are put on me. When they give birth, we pay. When they get married, we also pay.

So their debts increase because they borrow our money.

FIELD (voice-over): She says she pays her workers three Cambodian riels per brick, a fraction of a fraction of a cent. At other kilns, laborers

say it's impossible to pay off what they owe with the wages they earn.

HOURN PONG, BRICK KILN WORKER (through translator): We have to work here for our whole lives because we borrowed money from the kiln owner and we

have nothing to reduce the debt.

FIELD (voice-over): A cycle they say they're trapped in where they have to borrow more just for basics. When the debt grows, some become desperate.

PONG (through translator): All my children started working since they were very small like this one. They all have to work. This little one helps to

carry the bricks.

[15:45:07] FIELD (voice-over): We meet whole families who say everyone must pitch in, adults who tell us they'll never pay off what they owe, they

fear they'll pass it on.

Alexandra Field, CNN, Phnom Penh.


GORANI: A lot more after a break on CNN. Stay with us.


GORANI: One of nature's most beautiful creatures is dwindling in number. You might not notice, but if you love butterflies, their numbers are way

down. And some of the rarer species are practically disappearing along with thousands of other pollinators, as they're called. But one city right

here in the U.K. is trying to change all of that. Take a look.


DR. DAN DANAHAR, COORDINATOR, BRIGHTON AND HOVE'S BIG NATURE: I'm Dan Danahar, and I'm an advocate of butterfly havens because I know that if we

get things right with the butterflies, we get things right for the rest of wildlife too.

I would say I fell in love with butterflies at the age of 13. And since then, it's been the love of my life.

Butterflies have a multitude of different roles. Some might just be pollinators as adults. Some might be food for various predators. List all

those roles altogether, they make these ecosystem services that you and I depend on.

In urban environment, we see a real drop in butterfly numbers. One of our fundamental problems is loss of habitat. We attempt to de-farm the

country. What we really need to do is put habitat back.

So for example, in front of my house, there is a lawn between my house and the road. We planted it out with wildflower plants, and that can make a

real difference.

But the butterfly haven created at Dorothy Stringer School was the first to be done in the city of Brighton and Hove.

If you see any bees or any butterflies, make a note.

We've been here earlier on the year and we looked at the bees and the butterflies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're also reporting this, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's this one here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's got to be Meadow Brown.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I'm still waiting to see it out.

DANAHAR: Using the tally system, we record data, we now environmental science for our Year Seven pupils, which allows kids to get out and they

record butterfly numbers, bee numbers. They look at plant identification.

Biodiversity is really at a bad time globally. We need to get a generation of individuals aware what's going on, so that when they get older, they

make a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then those a couple aways, what's that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they're not rare but they're beautiful, aren't they?



DANAHAR: Since 2007, we've seen 29 species of butterflies come here. That is a massive contribution for such a small site.

Well, guys, you've done brilliantly today. And do we love butterflies and bees?



There is tons and tons of room for wildlife in our urban environment. Throughout my life, I've walked around cities and looked in parks and seen

real opportunities for habitat restoration that isn't there at the moment.

[15:50:05] One of the best things that you can do if you're trying to create a habitat of butterflies is to use your local prominence plants,

things which will grow in the wild locally. So really, it's all about making their habitat so that we can get the animals back.


GORANI: The "Fast and the Furious" movies are one big tribute to fast cars.

Well, if you think that's a beautiful sound, the sound of engines revving, at least sports cars fans probably do, well, they could largely be

completely gone by 2040 in Britain.

The country is banning all new petrol and diesel cars starting in that year, or gas cars. All part of a hard driving push to clean up the

country's toxic air.

Mike Rutherford is the chief columnist for "Auto Express," the biggest weekly car magazine in the U.K., and he joins me via Skype from Kent.

So we're talking -- this is years and years away.

MIKE RUTHERFORD, CHIEF COLUMNIST, AUTO EXPRESS: We're talking 23 years away from now when most of our current politicians who are implementing

this new rule, this new law, will be either kicked out of office, well and truly retired, or even dead of old age. And they're leaving it to others

over the decades to come to sort out what their proposing today. I mean, I wouldn't bet money that this scheme will be introduced in 2040, actually.

And, of course, there are so many grey areas. I mean, if they're talking about banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars in 2040, does that include

secondhand cars?


RUTHERFORD: I think not. And so therefor, a lot of people might be stockpiling their petrol and diesel cars in the fun up to 2040, buying new

ones, buying secondhand ones, and then continuing to use them for many decades after 2040.

GORANI: But if it's public health emergency, why not do something sooner?

RUTHERFORD: Well, I -- we have to say it won't -- yes, does it really take 23 years to get something implemented? But if we're talking about public

health emergencies -- and let me tell you, as somebody who has been in Central London all day today doing various broadcast and (INAUDIBLE) in 20,

30 miles down the road where the area is still very breathable, let me assure you, if we're going to take -- if we're going to concentrate on the

causes of air pollution, why are we simply focusing on one form of the air pollution, being the private motor car?

Why aren't we looking at trucks and planes and buildings and, you know, factories and agriculture? And --

GORANI: Well, because you do what you can in the industries you can control quickly.


GORANI: I mean, with cars, it's easy to phase out gas and diesel engine cars and slowly, you know, introduce, little by little, electric cars.

RUTHERFORD: It's not -- well, the fact that they've given 23 time scale or deadline for it means that it's not easy, but there are other simpler

things. You can improve lighting systems so you get more efficient lighting. Almost overnight, you can improve, you know, heating systems for

domestic properties. And similarly with office blocks and factories, et cetera.

What I'm saying is let's not ignore the car, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that if we eliminate the petrol or the -- as you would say,

gasoline --


RUTHERFORD: -- or diesel motor car, we are going to be eliminating the problem of air pollution. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Anyone would know , anyone who've been to London, particularly their famous Oxford Street area, will know it's one of the filthiest, dirtiest, most

polluted streets in London. And guess what? It's an automobile-free zone. It's a car-free zone. It's only the buses and trucks and dirty tankers


GORANI: Right, yes. But, I mean, air pollution travels a few streets away. I mean, it's not because Oxford Street doesn't --


GORANI: I mean, what I'm saying is air pollution going from one street to the next, not because you've banned the private car from Oxford Street,

that there should be no car pollution there.


GORANI: But I guess my question is then, you're saying it's breathable. Yes, but there are thousands of deaths blamed on air pollution in Western

countries. So it is an emergency.

RUTHERFORD: Of course. And it's an -- I mean, you could even say it's emergency in America as well and other parts of the world. But, you know,

if you're tackling a problem, you don't tackle one element of the problem.


RUTHERFORD: I don't that car comes in the firing line every time. And if we're talking about the replacement for that car being the electric car --


RUTHERFORD: -- then we're powering that electric car from power stations running on who knows what? Coal fire power stations? Nuclear power

stations? Gas power stations?

So we're transferring, if you like, the pollution problem from the back of the car to the chimney of the --or the furnace of the power station that's

out of town. And you're right, we can't think about one street on its own.

[15:55:06] GORANI: Yes.

RUTHERFORD: So let's think about what it's going to do to those rural areas. And is the electricity industry capable of generating enough

electricity to power all those electric cars in the future? We certainly have lots of power outages in Britain already --

GORANI: Yes, it --

RUTHERFORD: -- or power surges. What will happen in the future when people would be demanding far, far more electricity?

GORANI: Certainly. You need to look at public transport. It is such a multilayered issue.

Thank you very much, Mike Rutherford, for joining us, a columnist for "Auto Express." We appreciate you on the program today.

We love our cute animals here on this program. Kindergartens are always cute. This might be the cutest one ever, though. Baby pandas are in their

element at a nursery in Wolong Nature Reserve in China.

The cubs climb trees, roll around, swing on tires. And when they're all worn out, a bamboo shoot to snack on. The cubs are raised to survive in

the wild, so staff dressed as giant pandas while interacting with the babies.

Back to our top story now, though, before we go to "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." It's been a week of major political headlines from the U.S. capital. It's

only Wednesday.

This hour, American senators are voting on a repeal-only health bill. Republicans have been struggling to advance their agenda to repeal

ObamaCare. And these are live images coming to us from the Senate floor in Washington, D.C.

All of this, of course, as President Trump seems focused on his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. He has been publicly shaming him on Twitter for

several days now.

My colleague, Richard Quest, takes over after a quick break. You'll have a live report from Washington as well as tech earnings.

This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you same time, same place tomorrow. Thanks for watching.


[15:59:54] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: Closing bell ringing on Wall Street. Dow Jones Industrials at a record. Nasdaq at a record. S&P 500 just about

at a record. We'll show you the numbers in a moment or two.