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Thai Military Deciding How to Get Boys Out of Cave; Trump Demands NATO Allies Spend More in Defense; Battle Over Affirmative Action as Justice Kennedy Retires. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 4, 2018 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[00:00:10]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour, getting in, that was easy. Getting out, well, so far that has confounded more than 1,000 rescuers who still can't agree on the best way to save 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

Plus, the allies push back. Some NATO members standing up to the U.S. president and his demand for greater defense spending ahead of next week's summit.

And an end to the shoot-out curse as England advances to the World Cup quarterfinals.

Hello, everybody. Great to have you with you. I'm John Vause and this is NEWSROOM L.A.

We begin with new images from Thailand of the young members of a football team and their coach trapped in a flooded cave. The boys, aged from 11 to 16, have blankets, food, and fresh water.

Navy divers including a doctor and a nurse are staying underground with the boys while officials work on the best way to get them out. In the new video, each boy says his name, and he's in good health. One boy thanks everyone for their support.

Anna Coren joins me now from Northern Thailand with the very latest. Anna, rescuers either have all the time in the world, there's no need to rush this, or heavy rainfall in the next few days could mean disaster and the boys have to be evacuated in the coming hours or days. Is there a simple answer here?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A simple answer. Wouldn't we all like one of those? John, I think it is fair to say there is definitely a sense of urgency about this operation. And in the last few minutes, an evacuation drill has just begun.

That is why there are all these soldiers that are linking arms behind us. We are going to be penned in when they finally evacuate these boys. So, the media is here. There's hundreds of us, and they have done this evacuation drill to show what is going to be happening.

So, we won't have access to the boys. They'll be brought out of the cave, which is in that direction 100 meters away. They'll be brought down into ambulances and driven away. Now we heard from the governor a short time ago, and he said that it would be very difficult to get the boys out today.

They are still working on trying to improve their strength. I mean, you can see from the videos, even though these boys are smiling and interacting with the Navy SEAL doctor, you can see that they are gaunt. Their skin is pale. They have lost so much weight.

So, they are trying to feed them. They're trying to nourish them. Also, today they're going to have them try on the full-face oxygen masks. They are throwing everything at this strategy now. So, they want these boys to practice having these full-face oxygen masks because that is how they're going to get out of the cave -- John.

VAUSE: What else do we know about their medical condition now that they've been checked out by the doctor? And I guess, you know, what does that mean for better or worse for the options here for a rescue?

COREN: Well, there's some footage we saw this morning that was released by the Navy, which showed the doctor treating wounds. Now, these apparently are only scratches, scratches that they endured while they've been inside this cave, which mind you is now day 11.

So, he was treating them with Betadyne. Other than being quite run down and obviously exhausted, these boys are remarkably fit. You know, of course, they're soccer players. We know that, but they are in good spirits.

So, the governor also said a short time ago, John, that they will be bringing the boys out at different times depending on their condition. So, some are obviously stronger than others. Some are far more robust.

It is going to be an arduous journey. There is no doubt about it, but we are expecting these boys to have these oxygen masks. They need to be comfortable wearing them, breathing through them, as they are taken through the labyrinth of this cave.

And, you know, battling the weather as well. It is sunshine here today, John, but we know within the next couple of days, we're expecting heavy rain.

VAUSE: I was just thinking about the concept of being down stuck in that cave and having to be left behind as you watch your friends leave one by one. That just seems like such an awful prospect after everything they've been through. But I guess that's what is ahead of them if that option plays out. Anna, thank you. We'll check in with you in the coming hours. We appreciate it.

[00:05:03] Well, the two British divers who found the boys had to swim, climb, and scramble through treacherous underground terrains to try and reach them. But surprisingly, neither one is a professional diver. Both are volunteers. CNN's Phil Plack reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After nine days underground, this is the first voice they heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many of you?

BLACK: And it was distinctly British.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirteen? Brilliant.

BLACK: The two divers who swam and crawled for 90 minutes to find this group huddling in the dark deep underground are not professional rescuers. John Valentin is an internet engineer from the English city of Bristol, and Richard Stanton works as a firefighter in Coventry. Both are members of the British Cave Rescue Council. They're volunteers with highly specialized skillsets and decades of experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Divers in general are interested in exploring previously unknown caves. So, their expertise that is developed in that exploration can be brought to bear on a rescue scenario such as this one.

BLACK: Thai authorities asked this British group to fly in and help the search, and their expertise in navigating the flooded network of tunnels and chambers proved crucial in locating the boys. But after the joy of finding them, Valentin and Stanton also had to deliver a difficult truth. They would not be getting out quickly or easily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not today. You have to dive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're coming. It's OK. Many people are coming.

CHRIS JINVEL, BRITISH CAVE RESCUE COUNCIL: I think it's important that we're not out of the woods yet. This is really only the beginning of the actual rescue phase itself. It's extremely challenging to extract the boys.

BLACK: Put simply, there are no good options. Tunneling deep underground into their small chamber is not easy or safe. Diving them out will become more challenging as the monsoon season continues. Water will rise. Visibility will get worse. Currents will get stronger. Even for experienced divers, these are terrifying and dangerous conditions.

JINVEL: Actually, extracting them underwater through this cave will not be undertaken lightly, and is an extremely hazardous extraction scenario.

BLACK: The British divers are staying on as consultants. The rescue effort is now a military operation. Thai authorities say they will not rush and will only try to get them out when they're sure it's safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are very strong.

BLACK: Whatever they do, the world is now watching and hoping. Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Cade Courtley, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and author of the "SEAL Survival Guide," and he joins us now from (inaudible) in Colorado. Cade, thanks for being with us. Clearly the weather here, how bad and how long, gets a say in what happens next. If it's really bad, potentially flooding that air pocket where the kids are, it doesn't leave a lot of options.

CADE COURTLEY, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: It does, but it doesn't. I mean, we have gone from a life-threatening we don't know where these people are situation to they're getting food, water, clean air, medical attention.

And so, with that, we've gone from a ticking clock to now we have the luxury of time. And in a situation like that, it is a true luxury. We have the ability to slow down and make the best decision given the options we have.

Now, on the previous piece, they just talked about spending over 90 minutes with expertise, climbing up, climbing through, going around, zero visibility, until they finally got to the team.

And now you're going to ask 11 to 15-year-olds, some of whom cannot swim, to make that same journey for the first time, breathing air underwater. I think that is a terrible mistake given some of the other options we have, and I'm happy to explain some of those I think would be the best ones.

VAUSE: I want to get to those in a moment. The emphasis here is this is a worst-case scenario if the weather turns bad, if it looks like the air pocket will be flooded and they have to get the kids out.

But what we're looking at, young boys, as young as 11. They can't swim. They're weakened. They've been malnourished. They've never used diving gear before, navigating narrow passageways, sometimes in zero visibility, swimming against a current to try and get out.

That's what they're looking at should everything go bad with the weather, right, with this scuba option?

COURTLEY: OK. I'm sitting in Colorado right now, so I'm not on the ground in Thailand. But I do not see why we cannot shore up or create a dam at the entrance of this cave and bring in pumps that have the capability of extracting up to a thousand gallons of water a minute.

[00:10:13] We could empty that tunnel in less than a day, and this group could walk out the same way they walked in without introducing all of the hazards of trying to bring them out in zero visibility water on dive gear for the first time in their lives.

I was a Navy SEAL. I was part of a very special dive unit, and this would be a challenging dive for me and my team.

VAUSE: I guess the problem they have now, though, is this variable with the weather. They just don't know how much rain will fall in the next couple of days. I guess the question is, is the equipment on- site, or could it be there, you know, within a 24-hour period to start, you know, this massive pumping of water? And can it work fast enough -- can it get the water out fast enough before it actually floods back in?

COURTLEY: Absolutely.

VAUSE: It's like a great big sponge.

COURTLEY: They should have been creating a sandbag wall three days ago to be honest with you, to shore up this entrance and we have U.S. Navy ships that have this equipment onboard. They could helicopter- drop that in there within an hour and start removing the water from the tunnel immediately.

I just -- it just -- like I said, it removes so many of the hazardous variables that are in the remove-with-dive option. So, I don't understand why they are not trying to remove the water.

Look, I said earlier on an interview, we built the hoover dam. I think we can build and shore up a section that would keep water from entering a cave entrance.

VAUSE: OK. So, out of all the options which have been floated which I've heard, there's teach the boys how to swim and use scuba gear, drill down from the outside into the cave, pump the water out, and/or build a dam at the cave's entrance. So, you think that it's that last option, pump the water out, build the dam, which is the best out of --

COURTLEY: It could be done within a day given the equipment.

VAUSE: Why not drill down from the outside?

COURTLEY: Yes, I mean just -- we could drop these pumps there via helicopter within a couple of hours from the ships that are on station, and we could remove the water within a day. The idea of drilling in also makes me very nervous.

OK. This is very soft and saturated, moist, muddy terrain. And if the area that they're in that's been keeping them alive should collapse on them, that would be a tragedy.

VAUSE: So, out of all the options that they're looking at, what it appears is, at least what we're hearing is a real possibility of getting these kids into some kind of diving gear and getting them out that way, that is possibly the worse way or most dangerous option that they're looking at?

COURTLEY: Hands down. Without a doubt. I've got thousands of hours of diving experience in zero-visibility, surging water that's not much bigger than my body, and that is a challenging dive for me and my team. And to ask exhausted 11 to 15-year-olds, some of whom can't swim, so for the first time, put this mask on, breathe underwater, and follow me for the next 90 to 120 minutes through spaces that are barely big enough for a human body, there are way too many dangerous variables there. And you do not have a Plan B if equipment goes bad and you're in a tunnel filled with water.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, I guess there's so many variables, and there's so many unknowns at this point. But if the weather does turn bad, then obviously the clock starts ticking in a major way. Cade, thank you so much. We appreciate you being with us, appreciate your expertise as well. Thank you.

COURTLEY: Absolutely. My pleasure.

VAUSE: Taking a short break, when we come back, letter of demand, President Trump writes angry letters to NATO allies warning of consequences if they don't step up.

Plus, thousands take to the streets in Poland protesting the government's Supreme Court purge.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:17:15]

VAUSE: The former Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, who has now been charged with corruption, accused of embezzling millions of dollars from a state investment fund which he created. Investigators allege some of the money was spent on expensive jewelry for his wife.

Najib pleaded not guilty to the charges. The allegations against him apparently played a major role when he was voted out of office in May after leaving Malaysia for nearly a decade.

Thousands have taken to the streets of Warsaw and other Polish cities on Tuesday shouting shame and free court. They're protesting government changes that will remake the judiciary. One of the most controversial will force a third of Supreme Court judges to retire unless they're granted an extension.

The E.U. strongly opposes the overhaul which has been imposed by Poland's ruling party. More protests are expected on Wednesday. The former president says he will take part.

British police are investigating what they call a major incident involving a couple who may have been exposed to an unknown substance. We're just learning that it happened Saturday in the English town of Amesbury, not from Salisbury.

That's where Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with a suspected nerve agent back in March. The couple in this incident are in critical condition.

Just days before he heads to a NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump is pushing NATO allies to meet their defense spending promises. He sent very critical and harsh letters to Germany, Canada, Norway, as well as other NATO members laying out his demands. And he is warning if they don't, the U.S. may shift its military presence in Europe.

More now from CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump sending scathing letters to America's closest allies, demanding they increase military spending to at least 2 percent of their economy, the NATO standard. Trump has been relentless that U.S. allies are not pulling their weight at NATO.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If all NATO members had spent just 2 percent of their GDP on defense last year, we would have had another $119 billion.

STARR: Mr. Trump's letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel had an especially frosty warning. It will, however, become increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries do not share NATO's collective security burden while American soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives overseas or come home gravely wounded.

A senior German official points out that in Afghanistan, Germany is the second largest contributor of foreign troops. To Norway, a not so subtle reminder of Norway's risk since it remains the only NATO ally sharing a border with Russia that doesn't have a plan to meet the NATO spending target.

[00:20:08] NATO spending may be one area where there is agreement with former President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Everybody's got to step up and everybody's got to do better.

STARR: NATO's spending estimate shows the U.S. is well above the 2 percent spending standard at more than 3.5 percent of the U.S. economy going to defense. The U.K. is just over 2 percent while Norway, Canada, and Germany are all under. But Trump could go too far in criticizing NATO at the upcoming summit just before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

COLONEL CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: If he wants to scuttle the western alliance, there's a supposition that he does want to do that, then of course that could very well play into the hands of the Russians.

STARR: The president also making additional national security claims, tweeting, "just out that the Obama administration granted citizenship during the terrible Iran deal negotiation to 2,500 Iranians, including to government officials."

It's a claim by an Iranian cleric that a former Obama national security official is pushing back on, saying the allegation is false and based on a Fox News report. Mr. Trump also tweeting on what he sees as success with North Korea, "If not for me, we would now be at war with North Korea."

Even though the Pentagon says there is no evidence Kim Jong-un is giving up his weapons.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: President Trump, of course, expected in Brussels next week at the heads of state summit of NATO, where relations with the allies and Vladimir Putin are expected to be front and center. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

VAUSE: For more on this, political analyst and president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, Michael Genovese, joins us now. Michael, thanks for coming in

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.

VAUSE: OK. So, ahead of this NATO summit, the U.S. allies is still pushing in their own -- "Bloomberg" is reporting the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, told reporters in Rome that his country is contributing, but the forms of contribution aren't measured just in economic terms.

Italy's home to U.S. naval, Air Force, and intelligence bases, and the country is involved in military missions in Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Kosovo, Somalia, and the Baltic states. There are ways to measure the value of NATO way beyond this sort of agreed to but not sort of compulsory 2 percent of GDP on defense spending figure, right?

GENOVESE: There are. That's why the crisis of NATO and of our alliance is basically caused by the U.S. I will say that the president has aired a beef that's legitimate. Europe does underspend. There's no question about that.

It would be great to have them spend more. We should pressure them to do more. But having said that, how do you do that? Do you do that by sending nasty letters? Do you do that by publicly berating your friends and allies while you're praising your enemies? I think the president has it, as they say, bass ack wards.

VAUSE: You know, Greece is one of the countries that meets the 2 percent, but only because its GDP has collapsed over the last 10 year, and the amount it's spending on its military has fallen dramatically. But because of this economic turmoil, it's met the threshold. So that's one area where this just seems to be kind of a bizarre, arbitrary number that doesn't actually hold much water.

GENOVESE: You can find your markers, and sometimes your conclusion precedes finding the markers. Here's what I want to find and that's what we look for and I think that's President Trump. Why he is so critical of the alliance which has been so valuable to the United States.

So important in protecting our interests, not just our homeland interests, but our interests around the world. So, I think he's choosing to find things to criticize our friends and allies for while finding excuses for Russia.

JONES: You know, in that Bloomberg article, an anonymous source is quoted as saying the president remains committed to the alliance. Putting to one side just the sheer bizarreness of actually having an anonymous source quote something like that, which, you know, in the previous administrations would just be something presidents say regardless, is it possible President Trump could actually pull the U.S. out of NATO? Could he make good on those threats?

GENOVESE: Well, you know, a comment announcing that we support NATO is like announcing that you support Christmas.

VAUSE: You know, motherhood or ice cream.

GENOVESE: It's easy to say that. I would have said a year ago, the answer would be no to your question. Today, it looks like an open question. There is ample reason to be suspicious that the Trump/America first approach is America alone and that somehow picking fights with our friends helps us in the long run.

I don't see how that's true. I don't see how that's possible. In effect, what I think he's doing is undermining our security by taking the great strength that we have, strength in numbers, strength in unity, and collapsing that. And who wants that more than anyone else? Vladimir Putin.

[00:25:08] VAUSE: With that in mind, is there anything else left on Putin's honey-do list for Donald Trump if you look at what's been happening over the last year and a half, this tension with NATO and possibly breaking up the alliance kind of the latest things?

GENOVESE: He wants a free hand in messing with elections not just in the United States but in the west. He wants to have a free hand in expanding his territorial --

VAUSE: And Trump's given it a pass on the election meddling.

GENOVESE: Right. There are two people I think left in the United States, who believe that the Russians didn't meddle. They're Nunes and Trump.

VAUSE: Right. So, I don't think Nunes believes it.

GENOVESE: Well, I don't know. I'm not going to give him that much credit to be honest with you. But that's kind of delusional. The question is, you know, how connected to reality are they about Russia and about NATO? It's quite alarming. Our allies are alarmed. I know when I speak to European leaders, I always say, be patient. He'll be there for just a few years. This is not who we are.

VAUSE: Yes. The big question comes if he gets a second term, what does that say about the United States? President Trump is speaking in West Virginia a few hours ago. To your point, he touched on the U.S. increased spending on defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRESIDENT TRUMP: A record $700 billion for our military, and next year, $716 billion, most amount ever. We're rebuilding our military and when have we needed it more outside of wars themselves? When? Think about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK, so the question, what does he mean by think about, what do you make of that? It's a little cryptic to me.

GENOVESE: It was kind of a throwaway line he often uses like we have to do it. We have no choice. It's one of the lines he ends a thought with because the thought itself seems a bit vacuous. We spent that money because we want to. We choose to.

It's in our interest to do. So, it's not someone is holding a gun to our head and saying you have to pay this. We do that because we think it protects our interests. So, we have a self-interest in doing that, and a very important one and a good one.

I think it's justified. But the point is picking fights is why you need more and more troops because you might have those fights break out into open conflicts.

VAUSE: What if one of the NATO allies turns to Donald Trump and says, no, we're not increasing our budgets?

GENOVESE: It would be difficult to do that because we are so linked. While you have the big power flicking everyone in the head, those people who are at the receiving end of Donald Trump's diatribes, they need to be mature.

They need to be responsible, and they need to say, look, in the long- term interests, we're going to have to put up with this guy who's doing these things that are against the interests of the west. But we have to be the ones who take some --

VAUSE: The grown-ups in the room. On another note, the U.S. will be celebrating the July 4th independence holiday in the coming hours on Wednesday, and the president had a message for his supporters in West Virginia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let us pledge to expand the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and justice to all of our citizens, and let us always remember that we are one people and one nation saluting one great American flag.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: But he also compared securing the border being like a war. He also -- he talked falsely about towns being liberated from the control of these foreign gangs. With that in mind, another Republican group is paying to have a message broadcast on the Fox News Channel, the conservative Fox News Channel, on July 4th. This is it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Through this golden door has come millions of men and women. These families came here to work. Others came to America, in often harrowing conditions. They didn't ask what this country could do for them, but what they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history. They brought with them courage and the values of family, work, and freedom. Let us pledge to each other that we can make America great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Is that Ronald Reagan Republican Party gone forever?

GENOVESE: Well, the party of Lincoln is gone. The party of Reagan is gone. This is clearly the party of Trump. And while there was a lot of resistance at first, I think a lot of Republicans have now said and a big part of that is the courts, that he's our guy. He's going to get our agenda passed.

And the words that you had him reflected, really a wonderful sentiment. But he chooses not to be president of one nation, not to be president of a United States. He plays to his base, and he condemns his political opponents and adversaries. So, he is much more divisive than I think any president in modern times.

VAUSE: It was another time with Presidents Reagan and Bush and Clinton, Obama, Bush W. Michael, good to see you. Next hour, we will talk about the Supreme Court and what that means to the Republican Party. So, come back. Thank you.

And we'll take a short break. When we come back on NEWSROOM L.A., a new legal battle over affirmative action and university admissions. The Obama administration drawing back policies that tries to make colleges more diverse.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: You're watching CNN Newsroom, live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour (INAUDIBLE) in Thailand are trying to figure out how to get the youth football team and their coach out of a flooded cave. A video that shows the boys with blankets, he's saying their name and want to thank the people for all their support. Navy seals are staying with the kids and train them how to use diving equipment. The U.S. President is demanding NATO allies boost defense spending.

He sends (INAUDIBLE) letters to the leaders of a number of countries, including Norway, Canada and Germany. Donald Trump warns U.S. may ship its military presence in Europe if they do not comply. And the Trump administration is taking a major step against affirmative action. And we now encourage schools and universities, not to consider race when deciding which students should be admitted.

On Tuesday, the administration reversed Obama era policies which outlined high schools could legally consider, race, as a factor to diversify their student body. Two years ago, the swing vote of the Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Kennedy, reaffirms that school can constitutionally consider race as one of many factors during the admission's process. But now, Justice Kennedy is retiring and there is a lot up in the air. CNN Legal Analyst and Civil Rights Attorney, Areva Martin, joins me now.

OK, this is a busy day over at the Department of Justice, rolling back a whole lot of Obama era guidelines, but this is the big one. This is all that schools that actually wanted to use race as a positive factor to diversify their student population.

The Department of Justice issued a statement about this saying it's all just a review of guidance, documents that go beyond or inconsistent with the constitution and federal law. The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing the law and protecting all Americans from all forms of illegal race-based discrimination, nothing to worry about.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, that's not really a establishing statement, particularly given the Fisher, the University of Texas case, where the Supreme Court affirmed that schools, universities, could use race as a factor, not the sole factor, but as one factor in making admissions decisions. And it wasn't just the Fisher case. There was also a 2003 case where the Supreme Court, again, stated that race could be a factor in college admissions.

[00:35:01] And when you think about core values of this country, diversity inclusions, those things used to mean something. And, you know, that's what America stands for. But, when you look at what Trump has done to so many of the -- you know, core values and how he addresses them. This isn't really shocking or surprising and let's not forget this is an Obama --

VAUSE: Right.

MARTIN: era guidelines.

VAUSE: Which is like holy water to a vampire, really, yes, OK, look, you know, there is a perception out there that have (INAUDIBLE) action and diversity, you know, it disadvantages white kids and disadvantages all those other kids. But, you know, a few years ago, there's a study by a non-profit group, Century Foundation (INAUDIBLE) students are better off in racial diverse schools. This is all students.

MARTIN: Yes.

VAUSE: On average, students in socioeconomically and racially diverse schools regardless of a student's own economic status have stronger academic outcomes than students in schools with concentrated poverty. The research where it had a whole list of benefits, I'm not going to list them all but here are the highlights; our students have higher average test scores, they're more likely to enrol in college.

Diverse schools help reduce racial bias in counter stereotypes. You know, this is one for the Republicans. They produce a higher return on investment. This policy is encouraging diversity. It's good to everybody.

MARTIN: And there's so much data to support it. So even if you don't, you know, believe that it's good for the country, if you just look at all of the studies, all of the research that has been done. And even when the Fisher cases being decided, you have major universities throughout the country weighing in and support of the court, deciding that universities could use race as a factor. You had fortune 500 companies.

You have, you know, a huge swap of the country saying that these policies are good, not just for minorities, but as you just articulated, good for all students, and when you think back about the history of, you know, race relations. When you think about racial, you know, segregation in public schools and how far we've come in this country, looking back toward the Brown, you know, Brown, the board of Education, and the progress that has been made.

And what's this, kind of -- you know, rejection of that guidance by Obama does for the progress that we've made. That's what's so alarming about what Sessions and the Department of Justice did.

VAUSE: The only diversity case, I think, Sessions is taking on has been, you know, essentially involving a white kid who was denied entry to a university this way.

MARTIN: And they're supporting the lost investment file by Asian kids who were suing Harvard, saying that Harvard is setting limits on the number of Asian students. So, they've taken positions contrary to using race as a really valid consideration for admissions.

VAUSE: Almost out of time. Here's (INAUDIBLE) CNN reporting all over this, while the decision does not change current U.S. law on affirmative action, it provides a strong illustration of the administration's position on an issue that could take on renewed attention with the department of Justice, Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court. And that is why so many people are worried that days of affirmative action are coming to an end.

MARTIN: Well, John, you know, we've been focused so much on Roe v. Wade and what the new court with this 5th justice will look like, this conservative justice from.

VAUSE: It's not just about abortion.

MARTIN: It's not just about abortion, it's about affirmative action, it's about presidential power, it's about so many other, you know, core values from this country and that's why this name that's going to be released on Monday and this whole fight over what our Supreme Court will look like, the ultimate court, the ultimate arbiter of laws in this country. It's such an important decision.

VAUSE: We're going to wrap this up. But we should say that where the U.S. goes, so many other countries follow to in laws and culture and everything else.

MARTIN: Yes, this is a big one. We should watch. VAUSE: Yes, Areva Martin.

MARTIN: And hopefully questions from the Senate when they are, you know, confirming this justice. Hope we will get as many questions on affirmative actions as we will get on abortion.

VAUSE: We'll see, you know, we'll see. Areva, thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Next up on Newsroom L.A., the U.S. is about to celebrate Independence Day, while some Americans feeling a loss of pride.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:41:09] VAUSE: Well, on Wednesday, the United States of America will celebrate its Independence Day, but a new poll suggests that some Americans just, well, are not really in the mood to party. Jeanne Moos, explains.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is once exploding American patriotism starting to fizzle? Would you call yourself extremely proud to be an American?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at the moment, sorry.

MOOS: Only 47 percent of Americans say they're extremely proud to be an American, that's the lowest level since Gallop first asked the question, 72 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little, very proud.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I could be prouder to be an American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred percent, patriotic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say I'm embarrassed to be an American right now.

MOOS: And you're a proud citizen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Super proud.

MOOS: Immigrants gave us especially hard-felt answers, for instance, this naturalized citizen from India.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to be very proud and I would say I'm just moderately proud now. It's been heartbroken and hopeful that I shall be extremely proud again.

MOOS: Those who admit to a slide in their pride, tend to blame a President who has wrapped himself in a flag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd be extremely, if Trump wasn't President.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a shame, it's disgusting.

MOOS: I'm going to put you in the not-at-all-proud-to-be-an-American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at all. If I had an opportunity, I would get the hell out of this country, excuse my French.

MOOS: Thirty-two percent of Democrats told Gallop they were extremely proud compared to 74 percent of Republicans. The President's patriotism never flags.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So many stars. If she wasn't my flag, I'd be dating her.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN Newsroom, live from Los Angeles, I'm John Vause. Stay with us. World Sport with Patrick Snell, starts after the break.

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[00:44:52] (WORLD SPORT)