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Judge Temporarily Blocks Release of 3D Gun Blueprints; Slow Progress against California Wildfires; Three Babies Abandoned across Berlin in Recent Years; Poll: Trump Approval Rating Dips To 38 Percent; Facebook Takes Down Suspected Russia-Linked Pages; Trade War Could Hurt Tech Companies & Consumers; U.S. May Expand Anti-China Tariffs. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired August 1, 2018 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead to sell the first big legal test for Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation. The trial is former Chairman of the Trump campaign now underway and the outcome could be either prison or pardon for Paul Manafort. Plus, fool me once shame on you but fool me twice? Thousands of Americans may have been suckered again by Russian hackers planting fake stories on social media to influence the outcome of Congressional Elections later this year. And a judge blocks a how-to guide of making a gun at home with a 3d printer. How the Trump Administration cleared the way for unchecked, untraceable, undetectable firearms. Hello and thanks for joining us everybody, I'm John Vause and you're watching NEWSROOM L.A.
Prosecutors have painted a picture of the former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort living an extravagant lifestyle, willing to lie and dodge taxes to keep it. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on designer clothes and custom-made suits, $15,000 on an ostrich jacket, seven homes, and more than 30 bank accounts. That was just the opening day of his trial in Alexandria, Virginia. CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, prosecutors are off to a fiery start in their case against Paul Manafort calling him a shrewd liar who orchestrated a global scheme to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars. Lawyers for the special counsel told the jury Manafort earned millions in secret income from the "cash spigot" that came from working for the "golden goose in Ukraine former pro-Putin President Viktor Yanukovych." But Manafort's lawyers pushed back blaming it on the Russian oligarchs who Manafort worked for saying they required him to pay through secret bank accounts. As the defense team entered the courthouse earlier in the day they remained resolute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm feeling good.
SCHNEIDER: Good. Any chance he may decide to flip and cooperate? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No chance.
SCHNEIDER: Paul Manafort faced the six men and six women jury who will decide whether he could spend the rest of his life in prison. The President's former Campaign Chairman appeared come wearing a dark suit as lawyers made their opening statements and the prosecution called its first witness. Paul Manafort was the first indictment secured by the special counsel's team last October. His former co- defendant and deputy Rick Gates has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating. And in a bold move, Manafort's team told the jury his defense will revolve around discrediting Gates who is expected to be called as one of the government's 35 witnesses.
Defense Attorney Thomas Zehnle claimed it was Gates who stole money and lied and embezzled millions for Manafort. Zehnle said it was Gates who "had his hand in the cookie jar." This trial is a key test for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Judge T.S. Ellis has banned any mention of President Trump, Russia, or collusion from the courtroom but the case still looms over the White House since the charges against Manafort stem from the special counsel's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The White House now trying to downplay the trial and Manafort's role on the Trump campaign even though Manafort was the campaign chairman for three months.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: This trial obviously centers on matters that have nothing to do with the campaign. I think that even Mr. Manafort as I read it had requested that there be no mention of his brief tenure at the Trump campaign several years ago. This has nothing to do with collusion, Russia, nothing to do with the Trump campaign.
SCHNEIDER: Manafort's Virginia case centers around his past lobbying work for the pro-Putin Ukrainian government for which prosecutors say he received $16 million. The Government alleges Manafort hid millions and failed to pay taxes while still spending the money on real estate and luxury purchases including homes in Manhattan, Virginia, and the Hamptons, expensive suits, and baseball tickets. And prosecutors will present hundreds of e-mails, photos, and financial records to prove it. In opening statements, the Government even promised evidence of a $15,000 made from an ostrich. Prosecutors say Manafort also lied to banks about his income to secure more than $20 million in loans. The President has repeatedly tried to downplay Manafort's ties to the campaign even though he proved a key player as president Trump seized the nomination.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign but I feel so -- I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago. You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time. He worked for many other Republicans, George. You were telling me what, 49 days or something, a very short period of time.
SCHNEIDER: This trial expected to last three weeks and it isn't the only trial that Paul Manafort faces. He's charged with seven counts in federal court in Washington D.C. That trial is set to start in September. And until then it looks like Manafort will remain behind bars. That's because the D.C. appeals court just projected his request to overturn the lower court's decision that sent him to jail for alleged witness tampering until his trial. Jessica Schneider, CNN Washington.
[01:05:26] VAUSE: Joining me here in Los Angeles Ron Brownstein, CNN Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor for The Atlantic. Hey Ron, it's good to have you back. It's a trial it seems -- you know, it's the two things going on here. It has nothing and everything at the same time to do with Russia collusion and election interference. Even the prosecutors have agreed there'll be no mention of Russia and collusion that is hanging over this trial like a looming dark cloud.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: With Manafort's background, you know, that many people have thought that if there are questions of collusion, ultimately he would be in the middle of them. And yet as you say, this is a case about behavior that occurred before the campaign. I think that whatever else happens in this trial, whether they mentioned the words collusion or Russia or not, there -- I think there's a little bit of shock and awe for the Trump defense team and the White House and that it is going to give us a sense of the forensic accounting capacity of the of the Mueller investigatory team. I mean, even as what they let out today, they have the capacity to untangle a lot of complex intricate -- interconnected financial transactions and there are many people believe that one strain or one strain of a line of the inquiry for the Mueller investigation are the tangled potential Trump financial connections including potentially some to Russia.
VAUSE: So they went back and Manafort previously was paid millions of dollars sources pro-Putin parties in Ukraine. He went on business deals with you Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. He was in contact with Russians known to U.S. intelligence during the campaign. Given everything that we know now that doesn't look too good not just for Manafort but for the President as well.
BROWNSTEIN: Right, I mean, look, there's -- as we says we're just saying, I mean, there's a lot he can possibly tell. But so far there's no indication that he will. You made the point in the last hour that not only he be worried about Trump, he may be worried about people who paid him -- the people who paid him. And so he may have incentives not to tell his stories. But the -- where he is now in terms of his calculation, they look very different when he gets through this trial.
VAUSE: It's three weeks long so by the end of three weeks.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, and were potentially facing a very long time in jail. As I recall in Watergate, it was only after Judge Sirica sentenced the Watergate conspirators that they -- that they began to crack.
VAUSE: OK. So you can do a deal at any point I guess to flip. Ron, here's some reporting though from CNN's Dana Bash. President Trump is telling aides that he wants to considerably step up the number of rallies he is doing. His team is looking at ways to do just that. He is annoyed as always at the Mueller probe and concerned that it is fueling ways for his opponents to chip away at his legitimacy as President. The President is concerned about the outcome of the midterms. He is nervous that Democrats are going to take the House and that he will lose the ability to get his agenda through. Those could appear at the poll last week which indicate the President at least is losing some support especially after that summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Overall 38 percent approve of his job, down five points. Among Republicans support remains high 82 percent, Democrat seven percent, I wonder who they are. This is just such an incredible catch.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, this is fascinating because you know, normally if you had a president who was somewhere around 40 percent in approval, the party would want him to receive, to kind of step back because when the president's approval rating has been under 50 percent in midterm election, his party has suffered significant losses but what the comments from the President that Dana is reporting there, I think are consistent with what -- with what we are seeing. There is a strategy on the part of the White House. It is a somewhat counterintuitive strategy but it is a strategy. And they believe that the way to avoid the usual midterm losses is to turn -- is to mobilize their base deplorable plus as Bannon called it in something today by pursuing polarizing issues and also by precipitating a series of endless series of kind of cultural fights on Twitter and elsewhere.
The risk they are taking -- and there are places where that may be valuable with Republicans who are endangered in districts that were strongly Trump or the Democrats who are trying to hold in some of those red state Senate seats that strongly voted for Trump. The problem is that in the House, the places that will tip the balance, that are the epicenter of the struggle for control of the House are placed is by and large where more people disapprove than approve of President Trump. They tilt not entirely but they tilt toward white- collar suburbs where he conspicuously underperforms a typical Republican. And what he is doing is polarizing the electorate in a way that makes life harder not easier for those remaining Republicans trying to cling to seats in the blue metros around the country many of which voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
VAUSE: Because -- as well as states that where Trump is playing our biggest Florida, he'd been campaigning for one of the candidates there. He was in Florida a few hours ago. He wrote on his greatest hits both real and imagined and then he also went on to boast about his trade policies. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[01:10:15] TRUMP: In the past, politicians ran for office pledging to crack down on unfair trade. They never did anything about it. Only to get elected and they just didn't do anything. The United States was allowed to truly get ripped off but we're not going to let that happen. I'm not like other politicians. You've seen what happens, I've kept my promises. (END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And part of that idea, the trade policy is tariffs which he slept on goods from China. CNN is reporting the Trump Administration plans to raise pending tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent from ten percent. All this idea, this trade war, this protectionism, it's raising the anger of the Koch Brothers, the industrialists conservatives, they had this sort of -- they talked with Trump. They're all into their corners that it'll be nice that is now over. The Koch Brothers actually out there criticizing Donald Trump. He is not taking that lightly. He said this in a tweet, "the globalist Koch Brothers have become total joke in real Republican circles against strong borders and powerful trade. I never sought their support because I don't need their money or bad ideas. They love my tax and regulation cuts, judicial picks, and workers, and on and on."
BROWNSTEIN: That actually, you know, that's a very revealing tweet because basically the trade the Trump has offered to the existing Republican Party is look, because of my appeal, because of this ethnic -- ethno nationalist argument, the kind of defensive nationalism that I put forward, I am able to win the White House and thus achieve the unified control of government that is getting you your tax cuts, your regulatory cut, your judges court, and therefore, therefore you kind of bite your lip, shut up and take what I am giving you on immigration and trade and trashing of NATO and threatening alliances all of which strain the Republican you know, traditional Republicans thing. That -- he's making explicit there but in many ways has been implicit.
And it is strike of all the things that Donald Trump has done, separating children from their parents of the boarders, the comments about Charlottesville, the press conference with Putin, the strained relations with so many allies, nothing has caused more tension in the Republican coalition than his position country. Nothing is called more overt resistance and it is -- it's fascinating because what we're just talking about the real risk that Republicans face in white-collar suburbs where you have well-educated, predominantly white voters who are pulling back from the Republican Party because their views about Trump partly on policy, but largely on personality. Rural America is their absolute firewall in November and that -- and many of the farm groups are among those the most exercised about what he's doing on trade.
VAUSE: Yes, they're being incredibly worried about tariffs and the impact it's going to have. But is it wise to take on the Koch Brothers? These are billionaire guys and they like to spend money. I mean, can't even a war with the K0ch Brothers?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, will they go to war? I mean, that -- all --
VAUSE: Only because he's out that it's building today.
BROWNSTEIN: All of these Republican interests have basically so far more than not gone along with this basic deal. They may grumble about Trump's behavior, they may view his racial provocation is too close as a flame, too hot for them to stand near. They may grumble about what he's doing on immigration and trade but in essence, they are saying we are -- we are still going to support a Republican control of Congress, a Republican Congress that is enabling rather than constraining you because we want the other side of it.
What is the breaking point? The breaking point likely would be significant losses, particularly in these white-collar suburbs in the 2018 election. But even that, you know, this thing is shambling along and holding together you have kind of white collar Republicans who are uneasy about the cultural side, you have blue-collar Republicans who may view the economic agenda is overly plutocratic. But both sides need to be getting enough to hold together. The price though is this intense mobilization of the other side. All the Americans are kind of horrified by both ends of that and his action.
VAUSE: And of course, all the ongoing damage which is saying to this country --
BROWNSTEIN: Well, that is --
VAUSE: Will have -- will suffer from -- for years to come. Ron, we didn't get up to the fact that Trump is taking credit for department stores saying Merry Christmas once more. That was at the rally, interesting given that --
BROWNSTEIN: Christmas in July, they had -- the Phillies game the other day. I don't know why he took credit for that.
VAUSE: I'm sure he did. Ron, thank you. Well just months before Americans vote in Congressional Elections Facebook has uncovered what is believed to be a new coordinated effort to spread disinformation. The social media giant has shut down dozens of fake accounts and pages which may have ties to Russian trolls. Details now from CNN's Drew Griffin.
[01:14:50] DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Facebook calls it in authentic behavior and though Facebook can't be sure, it sure looks like Russia again. 32 pages with names including Black Elevation, Resistors, as Aztlan Warriors being followed by 290,000 accounts. The fake accounts also setting up and promoting real events and protests aimed at further polarizing U.S. political discourse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody in.
CROWD: Everybody in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody out.
AMERICAN CROWD: No, we're not.
GRIFFIN: Many of the events did occur, including this one last year in New York City attended by actual Americans who likely had no idea that the Resisters' Facebook page was probably run by Russians.
Another event by the same group was supposed to take place in a couple of weeks. Resistors set up a counter-protest against white supremacists at the White House, August 10. Five other real groups signed on to participate.
As Facebook was announcing its crackdown on these potential Russian sites, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security was at a Cybersecurity Conference saying there's no doubt, Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Everyone and everything is now a target.
GRIFFIN: And Russian actors may be added again. Comparing the upcoming midterm elections to a looming storm.
NIELSEN: Today, I believe the next major attack is more likely to reach us online than on an airplane. We are in a crisis mode. A Cat 5 hurricane has been forecast, and now we must prepare.
GRIFFIN: Facebook says, these current pages all shut down. Have the hallmarks of the activities the Russians did around the presidential election. Though there are some differences this time the pages didn't lead back to Russian I.P. addresses, and they used third-party services to buy ads to boost their posts and encourage people to follow the pages.
As part of its new transparency policy, not only is Facebook announcing this publicly that it's shut down these 32 suspected Russian sites. It is going to contact all 290 thousand accounts that were in contact with these sites to let them know these were obviously fake Facebook accounts. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.
VAUSE: Joining me now, from Tucson, Arizona, CNN national security analyst and retired CIA chief of Russia operations, Steve Hall. Thanks for being with us, Steve.
I guess, if nothing else, I guess the Russians should get credit for the sheer audacity and persistence despite all the outrage and the world's attention. They just keep on doing what they've been doing. I guess what, because there's no incentive to stop.
STEVEN HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST (via skype): Well, it works very well for them, the last time, John. And in addition to -- you know, audacity and just -- you know, trying to get it again, they've obviously learned a bit, as well or decided to employ a bit more tradecraft than they did last time.
Making it harder to trace back to the IP addresses, those technical addresses that they use or they can be used to find out where they're coming from. Using what we've referred to as cutouts third parties to actually -- you know, purchase internet connections for them, trying to cover their tracks a little bit better this time.
But yes, being as it worked so well at last time, I think they'll probably go for it again in the midterm elections here in the United States.
VAUSE: Yes, there was some pretty basic stuff in those tweaks they've made like paying for everything not in rubles, but in U.S. and Canadian dollars that seems like a no-brainer. We should say the Russians have me directly linked to these what 30-32 pages which were pulled.
But language patterns indicate non-English speakers, the tactics, the contents, all similar to Russian troll farm which operated what between 2014 and 2017. So, if it looks like an axillary brown bear, growls like an axillary brown bear, bites like one, then, chances are comrade, it's a bear, right?
HALL: Yes, and again you have to ask -- you know, who would have the most interest in doing this or might -- there might be someone off, so, you know, sort of copycats that you sometimes get in other types of criminal activity.
But yes, this is -- this is clearly the Russian government doing what it -- what it does best. And to be clear, you know, this is not a Vladimir Putin, of course, who's the intellectual author of these things. He's not a Republican and he is not a Democrat, and he's clearly anti-American.
So, you know, this is it's not surprising to see that you -- that the -- that the attacks are really across the political spectrum. The goal here is anti-American. The goal is not anti any particular candidate or any particular race.
It's to try to create discord and confusion and create some sort of moral equivalency between -- you know, the way Vladimir Putin runs his country and the way the United States and other Western countries are run in a democratic fashion.
VAUSE: And one of the details here is that these guys read about 150 ads, and the price tag on that was $11,000. Attacking democracy seems pretty cheap these days.
HALL: Oh, yeah, that's chump change. And the resources that the Russians will throw at this is truly amazing. Yes, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we've been able to see from Facebook. There is other social media platforms and there's other ways to go about this. It's not just through social media.
You know, you've got cases like the Maria Butina case, where you've got -- you know, somebody else in the Russian government attacking the right-hand side of the American political spectrum.
You're going to have other -- you're going to have other types of information and the persuasion propaganda operations that are going to be undertaken.
Those things can cost a little bit more money, but it doesn't matter to Vladimir Putin. He's got -- you know, he's got a unity of government. He can do whatever he wants, and he has the resources to do it. [01:20:21] VAUSE: Yes, this is pretty much to do over, as we said, of how they worked in 2016. And that kind of reminds me that old -- you know, saying from President George W. Bush. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's an old saying in Tennessee. I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee that says, "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me, you can't get fooled again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes, after everything that has been written, said, tweeted, posted, and talked about, there are still some Americans out there who are ready to fall for the same scam. Sure.
HALL: Yes, this is -- you know, it -- this is really -- for me, extremely frustrating thing. And it -- and it's not so much -- I'm not frustrated so much with -- you know, my fellow Americans or really anybody in Western country.
The problem is, is that Putin and his intelligence services have become expert in a very, very unique skill set, and that is taking advantage of open societies. Which is extremely ironic because, of course, they don't live in an open society themselves.
But, you know in a society that so many people are on social media, so many people -- you know, have relatively short attention spans these days, myself included. You know, scanning your Twitter feed, you just don't have that much time to focus.
And Putin knows how to leverage all of these things, hit the hot topic, the hot-button topics. Hit them quickly, not a lot of detail, confuse people.
This is something that's very, very easy to do in open democracies where we put a great deal of value on free speech and the ability to communicate, basically, however, we want. The Russians know how to use that, and they're going to do it again.
VAUSE: We're out of time. But also, it begs the questions, if this is what Facebook has found, can you imagine what they've missed? Steve, good to speak with you. Thank you.
HALL: Oh, yes, my pleasure.
VAUSE: Cheers. Well, still to come on NEWSROOM L.A., a terrifying plane crash in Mexico. But reports say, everyone on board survived.
Also, the trade war between the U.S. and China, and the impact on those who have a thing for expensive tech gadgets.
[01:25:03] VAUSE: That overpriced iPhone X seems to be paying off for Apple. The thousand-dollar phone boosted revenue, 17 percent to more than $53 billion which helped this third-quarter profit of much better than expected $11.5 billion up 42 percent.
Apple sold 41 million iPhone X, the same number as a year ago. And with that Apple stock soared in after-hours trade, pushing the company's valuation closer to that magic trillion dollar mark that no publicly traded company has ever reached before.
But Apple, other big tech companies, and consumers could soon be feeling the pain of the trade war between the U.S. and China. Here's Samuel Burke.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's trade war is barreling toward Silicon Valley.
TRUMP: We are demanding fair and reciprocal trade.
BURKE: The latest round of proposed tariffs targets the Chinese hardware fuelling the tech sector. Things like semiconductors, and electronic circuits.
JOSH KALLMER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY COUNCIL: There are certain kinds of machines that you and I never come into contact with, but that underpin a lot of the high-tech products that people buy.
BURKE: They are the key components that make smart devices, household appliances, and home security systems hum.
Everyday items like the iPad could be hit. The tablet has a chip from Intel which could be a target. East Hooters have taken off this year. Now, they face a 25 percent tariff. Even your favorite Netflix series could be in the firing line.
The streaming company's videos are played from the Amazon Cloud server, and that equipment comes from China.
Missing from the list, the Apple iPhone. CEO Tim Cook told CNN in June, he thought the device was safe.
TIM COOK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, APPLE: I don't think that iPhone will get a tariff on it, is my belief. Based on what I've been told and what I've see, I just don't see that.
BURKE: Now, the president says, he's ready to tax almost all Chinese imports which would include the iPhone.
TRUMP: They went after our companies, and they stole our intellectual property.
BURKE: The administration says, the tariffs are meant to pressure China to fall in line. But experts say Olevia and the iPhone would be counterproductive. Even though the device is assembled in China, it's designed and manufactured in the U.S. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 90 percent of that tariff, falls on value created by Americans. It is -- there is no other way to say it than to say that literally, the United States is taxing itself.
BURKE: And Apple may have the most to lose if China retaliates with tariffs of its own. 21 percent of the company sales are in China, leaving a clear target on America's most valuable company. Samuel Burke, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Well, just hours before Americans would be able to make do-it- yourself guns at home. A federal judge has issued a temporary stop on releasing the blueprints for 3D plastic firearms, but the legal battle continues to try and find a permanent solution.
[01:30:30] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
Forty-nine people are in hospital after an Aeromexico flight crashed shortly after take off from Durango, Mexico. The pilot and one passenger are in critical condition. The plane was scheduled to fly to Mexico City with 101 people on board. Hail and heavy rain were reported in the area but it's known if the bad weather contributed to the crash.
Prosecutors are laying out their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. They say he avoided paying taxes on millions earned through his lobbying work in the Ukraine. The defense, though, is pointing the finger at Manafort's deputy Rick Gates who's actually working with prosecutors.
Facebook has shut down dozens of pages and accounts which could be linked to Russia and may have lured hundreds of thousands of followers. The social media giant says it identified a new and coordinated effort to interfere in U.S. politics and mislead American voters ahead of November's congressional elections.
The United States has a love affair with firearms like no other country on earth. Exact numbers are hard to pin down but two years ago a report in the "Washington Post" calculated there are more guns in the U.S. than people -- 357 million firearms for a population of 317 million in 2016. That's just an estimate and it does not include firearms brought into the country illegally.
But it might just help explain why more than 30,000 people die each year in the United States because of guns. And focusing just on firearm homicides, the nonpartisan group (INAUDIBLE) put the number each year in the U.S. at more than 8,500.
The combined populations of Canada, France, Spain, Germany, the U.K., Australia and Norway, is roughly the same as the United States. Their combined number of firearm homicides, 516. And into that volatile mix, the Americans were just hours away from being able to make do it yourself guns in the privacy and convenience of their own homes -- unregistered, untraceable, uncheckable and possibly undetectable guns. All they needed was a 3D printer and the gun's technical designs.
But late Tuesday a federal judge issued a temporary nationwide injunction stopping a group known as Defense Distributed from making the blueprint for 3D plastic guns available online.
Attorneys general in eight states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit because last month the Trump administration walked away from a five-year legal battle and reached a settlement with the Texas-based Defense Distributed deal which would have allowed the group to start releasing the blueprint on the web Wednesday.
Bob Ferguson is the attorney general for Washington State and the lead attorney in that multistate lawsuit. He is with us now from Seattle. Mr. Ferguson -- congratulations on the injunction.
It means it's now illegal to post blueprints for guns online, at least for now. What is the legal battle which you still have in front of you?
BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: You bet. Thanks so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.
And yes, it's a significant victory. What lies ahead is additional hearings before this judge. So while we received and were granted a restraining order, the judge still has to make ultimate decisions about the case.
In other words, this is in place for a relatively short period of time until the judge can issue a more final decision. That said, in order to get a restraining order in our courts, a judge has to conclude that we are likely to prevail on the merits of the case once he or she gets there.
So to get the restraining order is obviously a very strong indication that the judge thinks our case is especially strong.
VAUSE: Ok. Before the ruling though, Defense Distributed had already posted a number of gun designs on the web. Listen to Cody Wilson -- he's a self-described crypto-anarchist behind the group. Here he is talking to CNN's Lori Segall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CODY WILSON, DEFENSE DISTRIBUTED: Like I told you, I already uploaded the plans. I mean, you know, the ship has sailed. It's public domain information now. It's irrevocable. No one can take it back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ok. The download has apparently been disabled for now. But how much harm do you think has been caused by the blueprints which were posted before the injunction was in place? Well undoubtedly there has been harm which makes the Trump administration's decision to allow this to happen truly so shocking.
They were winning this case in Texas that you referred to before they caved for reasons that are unknown to everybody and allowed this to happen. I might add, the State Department has filed declaration after declaration in that case in Texas talking about the harm to public safety, the harm potentially for terrorism if entities like this are allowed to publish this information.
They retreated from that position for no apparent reason. So yes, there is some harm with folks being allowed to download that, but obviously if this information was to remain out there for additional days, weeks, months, years the harm would be even greater by exponential levels.
[01:35:09] So we're very grateful that the federal judge here in Seattle granted our request for a restraining order to have those taken down now.
VAUSE: With that I mind, the U.S. President tweeted on Tuesday, "I'm looking into 3D plastic guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to the NRA -- doesn't seem to make much sense."
Shouldn't Donald Trump be talking to officials within his own administration given they're the ones who essentially allowed this to happen?
FERGUSON: Look, there is a reason why I've not lost a case yet against the Trump administration. I filed 32 of them. The reason is because the left hand never seems to know what the right hand is doing. They're sloppy as hell in how they execute their policies. And this case is a really good example.
Literally while the President is putting out that tweet that you just mentioned, his lawyers are in court today in Seattle arguing a different position altogether. It doesn't make any sense. And what's especially troubling with that is the issue and what's at stake is so great -- that public safety.
These ghost guns that are, as you mentioned earlier, untraceable. Metal detectors cannot trace them. They can be brought on to airplanes, into courthouses, those who have been convicted of domestic abuse or not eligible to have guns can now download them in the safety of their home and the privacy of their home -- truly terrifying. And that's why the President needs to communicate directly to his attorneys to stand down in this litigation.
VAUSE: As for the NRA, here's part of what their spokesperson said in a video which was posted on Twitter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA LOESCH, SPOKESPERSON, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Those guns -- yes, that hot term -- are not the kind that Peter Venkman carried. I'm actually talking about what Democrats call quote-unquote, "ghost guns" and the rest of us simply call freedom and innovation, 3D printed guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I mean really -- freedom and innovation?
FERGUSON: Look, I don't know where to start. Look, I support the Second Amendment. I support the right to bear arms. I also support common sense gun laws.
This is at a whole another level. I just think that the vast majority of Americans do not think criminals should be able to access guns; domestic abusers who do not have the right to bear arms, should be able to download these in the safety of their home; and terrorists should not be able to get those and evade metal detectors.
I mean this is just basic common sense and yet this administration caved on this issue for no reason in a case they were winning. I am thankful though that we are still a nation of laws. As attorney general I can hold the President accountable to the rule of law. I'm accountable to the rule of law, the people in my country are accountable to the rule of law and so is the President. Now it's demonstrated yet again today in a courthouse here in Seattle.
VAUSE: Finally, I just want to finish with Cody Wilson again. He's with Defense Distributed. He argued that this is all about free speech. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORI SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you worried that the implications of democratizing this type of information would lead to similar types of deaths.
WILSON: I guess the question then is like connected to the word you used, democracy. Is democracy dangerous or not? Right. Can the people be trusted or not?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: How do you respond to that?
FERGUSON: Well, it's hard to respond to an anarchist, right? Self- acknowledged anarchist. But what I would say is that this issue of the First Amendment -- he tried that argument in federal court in Texas and lost at the trial court level, and lost at the court of Appeals level and the Supreme Court chose not to take the case.
So I do not think that that argument is going to be persuasive in my case here in the western district of Washington. I'm confident we'll prevail as we have in every case that's had a decision -- the 32 cases I've brought against this Trump administration, so far.
VAUSE: Thirty-two and counting, I guess. Mr. Ferguson --
FERGUSON: That's correct.
VAUSE: -- thank you so much.
FERGUSON: Thank you.
VAUSE: Coming up here, no help from the weather for firefighters in California as they battle some of the most devastating wildfires the state has ever seen.
[01:38:42] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: Firefighters in California are making slow progress controlling more than a dozen wildfires but extreme heat and strong winds are not helping and a cool down is probably days away.
We have more than from CNN Nick Watts.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This apocalyptic blaze is eating through thousands of acres of forest, so large it's visible from space. The flames have destroyed more than 800 homes and counting.
The statistics are stunning but the personal stories, they're the hardest.
(on camera): You could see the flames in your rearview mirror as you're driving away?
STACEY KELLY, RESIDENT: Yes. That was the terrifying part. It was like a wall of fire. It was like a train, it had a noise. It was awful. I thought I was on a sci-fi movie.
WATT: Driving away from a home you may never see again.
KELLY: And that's what happened. Lots and lots and lots of memories, yes -- they're gone. I mean everything's gone.
WATT: What did you manage to save?
KELLY: I have two Rubbermaid tubs that I threw some stuff in. Some scrubs for work.
WATT (voice over): A nurse -- she's back at work already.
KELLY: I actually felt better yesterday than I had in a long time because I was at work and I felt like I had a purpose.
WATT (on camera): Right.
(voice over): This was her home before the fire.
(on camera): And this is all that's left of Stacey Kelly's house -- rubble and a few charred trees. In fact her entire little cul-de-sac -- six houses, all completely destroyed.
But then if you look just across the street, the random nature of wildfires -- another house still standing.
KELLY: I just feel empty. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't think I'll rebuild that house. I don't think so.
(voice over): The fires swept through the west side of Redding, population more than 90,000 and through rural communities to the north and west.
JANET LANDLES, RESIDENT: I'm a country girl. I grew up in the woods. My dad's a logger.
WATT: Like many who attended a town hall meeting here in Redding, Janet Landles' (ph) from French Gulch, population 492 -- lost everything.
LANDLES: It's when you hit -- your head hits the pillow and you remember your home. And you remember -- my great grandmother's rocking chair, and the things your children made you. You know, when you were a little --
WATT: The town hall was largely residents thanking first responders for saving lives but so many worldly possessions lost to the flames.
LANDLES: My husband's dead and all of this artwork is gone. And you know, you just remember all of the stuff you -- I don't that care that George Foreman melted. I don't care that I need a new refrigerator. But I do care about my great grandmother's thimble, you know? Those are the things that I care about.
WATT (on camera): Right now there are 17,000 homes under threat of flames across California; more than a dozen wildfires burning right now in this state.
And here's a sobering statistic. Of the ten biggest wildfires in California history, four of them took place within the last year.
Nick Watt, CNN -- Redding, California.
VAUSE: And with that let's check in with meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with more on this. Ok. So the weather is not great. We're looking at a cool down in what -- how many days?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think in about four or so days. So we still have about three days left of big time heat -- John, but improving conditions finally, of course, after about a month of extreme heat.
The month of August here in the next couple of hours across the state of California and once it gets there we'll begin to see the transition hopefully as we go in towards this weekend. [01:44:56] But the hot, dry conditions -- that's unfortunately still
going to be in the forecast. The firefighters have been able to make up slight ground here as far as improving the coverage of areas as far as how much land has been able to be contained.
But we know at one point in the last couple of days, this fire -- the Carr Fire, that is, was consuming some 11 hectares of land per minute. That's equivalent to a football field being consumed every three seconds. So it really talks about the ferocity of this particular fire, how quickly it was destroying land and of course, consuming one home after another.
And incredibly if you look at this, and the number has actually in the last 24 hours increased as far as the active large fires in the western United States, up from 90 to almost 100 now. And the conditions still right for the development of wildfires but we know the next few days again, going to see some conditions begin to improve.
The temperatures, notice this -- as uniform as it gets, all of it staying a couple of degrees above average, all of it with a zero percent chance of rainfall. That's what you don't want to see.
But what really is very hopeful here is as you look at the long-range models, the heat that's been leading to historic temperatures in the month of July, that will begin to break down at least noticeably on Saturday and Sunday and then significantly come Monday and Tuesday.
Even a slight chance -- I'm certainly not really counting on any rainfall but a slight chance of few showers possible. But Monday and Tuesday, John -- temperatures could be below average in an area that has been at record values. So, better news in store there.
VAUSE: Ok. Pedram -- we appreciate that. Thank you.
On the outskirts of Berlin, in over two years three baby girls have been found abandoned, all of the same mother who could have safely left the girls no questions asked at what's known as a baby hatch. This time she didn't and now police fear baby number four could be on its way.
CNN's Atika Shubert reports.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Inside this box -- a small mattress, a flannel blanket and a slip of paper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And inside there is a letter from the mother.
SHUBERT: It reads, "We know that living your child with us is not easy for you. We want to assure you we will take loving care of your baby." Dr. Gerhard Mann (ph) is the pastor at (INAUDIBLE) hospital. He tells us some baby hatches have not been used for years, of course. But every child that is put in this baby hatch is a saved life. Here, a mother with an unwanted pregnancy can anonymously deposit a newborn baby in a baby hatch.
(on camera): Now there are dozens of baby hatches in Germany and also many hospitals like this one where a mother can deliver a baby anonymously. But police in Berlin are asking why neither possibility was used in the case of three abandoned babies all from the same mother.
(voice over): The first baby was left here at the bus stop just outside a hospital. The next summer, another child abandoned just a few minutes' drive away. And last year, the third baby was left outside a front door in this neighborhood. The children were taken into foster care.
This year, police appeal to the public for information, fearing another child could be on the way. They distributed these, photos of the baby clothes that were worn on the day they were abandoned, but no answers yet.
"We can only hope that any fourth child will be taken care of," this officer says, "left in a baby hatch or a hospital so that the child can helped as quickly as possible."
At (INAUDIBLE) hospital, Dr. Mann tells us that the baby hatch hasn't been used for at least two years but he hopes the mother will know it is here for her to use.
"She wanted for her babies to live," he says. "She wants them to be found quickly and for that reason no one should hate her."
A waiting box, a missing mother and a mystery still unsolved.
Atika Shubert, CNN -- Berlin.
VAUSE: Television's Alan Alda has told the world he's been living with Parkinson's for years. Coming up, his diagnosis, advice for others with the disease, and also the latest research and treatment.
[01:49:04] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VAUSE: Well, Neil Diamond surprised firefighters in Colorado performing one of his all-time classics, "Sweet Caroline". He lives in the area where fire has burned over 48 square kilometers. The music legend recently retired from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
And on Tuesday, actor Alan Alda revealed he's been living with Parkinson's for more than three years. The 82-year-old went public because he noticed his hand was twitching and he worried that a sad, or depressing, gloomy story was only a matter of time and he says that's not what he wanted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN ALDA, ACTOR: To be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you, it hasn't happened to you. You still have things you can do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
ALDA: I'm taking boxing lessons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three days a week, I read.
ALDA: Three times a week. I do singles tennis a couple of times a week. I march to Sousa music because marching to march music is good for Parkinson's.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, joining us now with more on what we know about Parkinson's is Dr. Michele Tagliati -- you're going to say that for me one more time. He's the director of the Movement Disorders Program at the Department of Neurology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
Sorry -- one more time. Michele --
DR. MICHELE TAGLIATI, DIRECTOR, MOVEMENT DISORDERS PROGRAM-CEDARS SINAI MEDICAL CENTER: Michele Tagliati.
VAUSE: Tagliati. I knew I was going to get that wrong. So I apologize.
Ok. Alan Alda, he talks a lot about staying active during that interview on CBS. On Twitter he had this advice. "I decided to let people know I have Parkinson's to encourage others to take action. I was diagnosed three and a half years ago but my life is full. I act, I could talk, send in my podcast which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving."
The recent research would suggest that's actually pretty good advice, right?
TAGLIATI: Absolutely. That is a fantastic announcement that Alan Alda made for all patients with Parkinson's disease, a celebrity that comes out swinging with this positive, you know, message which is actually true. This is why we tell our patients when they come to the clinic.
VAUSE: Because by staying active, you actually delay the onset of the worst symptoms, right?
TAGLIATI: Correct. Exercise is the only remedy that we know as of today that can slow down the progression of the disease. VAUSE: Alda said he actually had no symptoms when he went in to be tested but he did have an episode of acting out a dream, which is why it was actually concerning in the first place.
This is what he said on CBS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALDA: I asked for a scan because I thought I might have it. I read an article by Jane Brody in "The New York Times" that indicated that if you have -- if you act out your dreams -- there's a good chance you might -- that might be a very early symptom that -- where nothing else shows.
And by acting out your dreams, I mean I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them. But what I was really doing is throwing a pillow at my wife.
I didn't have any symptoms. The doctor said, why do you want a scan? You don't have any symptoms. And I said I want to know if there is anything I can do, I want to do it before things start to show up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Explain the link here. How is someone acting out their dream linked as being a symptom of possibly having Parkinson's?
TAGLIATI: So that's correct. And we are starting to recognize that there are certain symptoms like acting out dreams or losing your sense of smell, sometimes constipation that can anticipate, that can precurse (ph) the typical symptoms of Parkinson's disease -- the shaking, the stiffness.
And the reason is that we're starting to recognize that this disease seems to progress through the brain and if part of the brain where the dreams are sort of controlled and formed is very close to the part of the brain that controls the movements. And so there is sort of a step before is where the dreams start to become unusual.
VAUSE: Wow. It's fascinating how all of this is interconnected and how it all works together.
Right now there's no cure for Parkinson's but you know, there has been some progress and research. We have this clinical trial under way in Japan at Kyoto University.
[01:55:01] Essentially, I may have this -- tell me if I've got this right -- they plan on injecting stem cells into the brain to increase dopamine levels because dopamine is a neurotransmitter. A lack of dopamine can impact motor skills, can cause all the shaking -- that kind of stuff.
You've looked at that research and what it was doing -- what is your opinion? How promising is that or not?
TAGLIATI: So I mean -- I'm a researcher so every research is promising and stem cells, of course, evoke a lot of hope, you know, in many people. The stem cells promise to sort of regenerate these dying parts of the brain.
And so we look at that research with a lot of respect. We tend to use stem cells to study the disease. You can reproduce personalized parts of the brain and really study subject by subject, you know.
Alan Alda said that today -- everyone has a different, slightly different type of Parkinson's disease. So it becomes essential to be able to study your Parkinson's disease, his Parkinson's disease, here Parkinson's disease. And stem cells can do that.
VAUSE: You know, what's interesting though, we hear a lot about Parkinson's when there is a celebrity, when there's Alan Alda --
VAUSE: -- when there's Neil Diamond, when there's Michael J. Fox. It seems the disease, though, is lot more common than many people might realize. What is that -- 10 million people around world?
One study expects the number of sufferers in the U.S. to double, what, by 2030 -- to well over a million people. That has a lot of consequences obviously for the health care system but also what's driving those numbers? What's driving this increase?
TAGLIATI: In one word -- aging.
TAGLIATI: The population is aging. We are eating better, we are exercising. We are arriving as a population at older and older ages in reasonable good shape. And that brings with them the risk of developing Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease. So it's -- as far as we understand, this is purely a consequence of the general aging of the population.
VAUSE: Very quickly, we have 30 seconds left --
VAUSE: -- for anyone who wants to know the best sort of lifestyle, the best thing they can do -- is there anything you can do to try and help avoid this disease later in life?
TAGLIATI: Well, that's only exercising; obesity seems to be associated. We are finding some parallel between diabetes and Parkinson's disease. So eat well, sleep well and exercise.
VAUSE: It's the old advice. The old advice is a good advice.
Dr. Michele Tagliati --
VAUSE: -- thank you so much. TAGLIATI: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
VAUSE: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
The news continues next with the thunder from Down Under, the wonder from the West Perth's favorite son Michael Holmes, right after the break.
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