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Trump Tweets that Sessions Should End Russia Probe; Violence Follows Zimbabwe Election; North Korea Returns Remains of Soldiers Killed in Korean War; Mexican Jet Crash; Yemeni War Destruction; CNN Exclusive: TSA Considering Eliminating Screening at Smaller Airports; Evidence Points To Large Body Of Liquid Water; Trump Claims You Need Picture I.D. To Buy Groceries. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 2, 2018 - 02:00   ET

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


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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president tweets that his attorney general should end the Russia investigation. The White House says is he just venting. Others warn is obstruction.

In Zimbabwe, officials are calling for restraint after election protests turn violent and deadly.

Plus a CNN exclusive: U.S. officials are considering eliminating passenger screenings at certain airports. We'll have the details.

Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

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HOLMES: Donald Trump could be one step closer to an interview with the Justice Department's special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation. Sources telling CNN Mueller has offered to reduce the number of questions related to obstruction of justice.

His team will ask the president but he wants those answers in person, not in writing. The president's lawyer says he's in the process of responding. But any cooperation on that front is in sharp contrast to Mr. Trump's Twitter feed. Jeff Zeleny reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. It's my great honor to be here today.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump dramatically escalating his attack on the Russia probe today explicitly calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut it down. After railing against Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigations for more than a year --

TRUMP: Total witch hunt. ZELENY: The president has taken an extraordinary step further by asking to end an inquiry that involves him. "This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this rig witch hunt right now before it continues to stain our country any further," the president saying on Twitter. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defending the president's statement saying he was offering his own view of the investigation.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: It's not an order, it's the president's opinion and it's ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that's gone on with the launching of the witch hunt.

ZELENY: But the president's call to end the investigation took his criticism to a new level. The special counsel is already looking into Trump's tweets as part of a potential obstruction of justice probe.

SANDERS: The president is not obstructing, he's fighting back. The president has stated his opinion.

ZELENY: Yet it's an open question where presidential opinion ends and a presidential directive begins.

When he tells you something as a member of his staff, how do you know if it's a directive from the president or if it's simply his opinion?

SANDERS: The president makes it pretty clear when I'm having those conversations with him.

ZELENY: The president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani echoed the defense.

RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: He's established a clear sort of practice now that he expresses his opinions on Twitter. He used the word should, he didn't use the word must and it was no presidential directive to follow.

ZELENY: The president has been furious at Sessions since the spring of 2017 when he recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: The Attorney General made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself.

ZELENY: Succession stepped aside, the Russia probe is overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He was not mentioned by the president today.

Does the president know that Jeff Sessions can't stop the investigation as he directed Rod Rosenstein too?

SANDERS: The president is very well aware of how the process works. Once again, he's stating his opinion.

ZELENY: Now, Sessions for his part had no comment on the president's latest tweet. He, of course, has become very practiced in insults from the White House here. One other matter, Rudy Giuliani saying it's time for Bob Mueller to

put up or shut up, important to note one of the delays in all of this President Trump has yet to decide if he will sit down for an interview with the special counsel. That is one of the factors that has drawn this out even longer -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: CNN global affairs analyst Max Boot joins me now.

Max, good to see you. Let's start with that tweet by the president to the attorney general, Jeff Sessions. The president thinks that he's just defending himself. Want to put up a tweet from Congressman Adam Schiff earlier.

He says, "The President of the United States just called on his attorney general to put an end to the investigation in which the president, his family and campaign may be implicated.

This is an attempt to obstruct justice, hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it."

So the question, what was your take?

When does a tweet like that become obstruction?

His supporters say just his opinion.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I'm certainly with Congressman Schiff. I do think that this is obstruction in plain sight.

[02:05:00]

BOOT: The defense from the Trump camp is -- really rests on the word "should" instead of "must."

So they're saying that because he said "he should," in the red witch hunt (ph) right now, instead of saying he must end it, he's just expressing an opinion.

But the guy who's saying that is not some blogger out there. He is the president of the United States. He is attorney general Jeff Sessions' boss and you know it's an opinion if your boss says to you, I don't like your shirt.

But if he then says to you, you should go home and change your shirt right now, is that just an opinion?

I would say it's a little bit more than that. In this case it's clearly an improper attempt by Donald Trump to impede the investigation into Donald Trump.

HOLMES: Some people are seeing a pattern of behavior and Robert Mueller is apparently looking into that as well. Reports that the president seems more and more worries, he seems angry especially, of course, of the trial of former campaign manager Paul Manafort has gotten underway.

Do you see that in him, that the pressure is starting to bite?

BOOT: Absolutely. The pressure has been there from day one. Remember, he wouldn't even have this independent, this special counsel investigation if he hadn't felt compelled to fire FBI director Comey, which he said he did to stop the investigation into quote-unquote "the Russia thing."

So from the beginning, he has been acting like somebody with an awful lot of things to hide and that impression has only grown, as we've learned more and more about his curious relationship with Russia, a lot which has been out there hiding in plain sight.

I mean, for example, the fact that, in the middle of the 2016 campaign, he said, Russia, if you're listening, ID like you to find these 30,000 emails from Hillary Clinton and we now know that very day the Russian military hackers who were attacking us went and tried to penetrate Hillary Clinton's server.

So I think there is good cause for Donald Trump to be very worried about what's going on and to try to obstruct this investigation because he is worried about where this will lead.

HOLMES: I want to ask you also about the Trump rally, where CNN's Jim Acosta was accosted by Trump supporters. Just listen to some of that so people can get a sense, if they haven't seen it already.

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HOLMES (voice-over): There was some fervor there.

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HOLMES: Now Sarah Sanders then, at the daily briefing, which isn't daily at all, it's nearly monthly, basically defended those screaming at reporters. She said it's not threatening, it's free speech.

But before I get your thoughts, I want to go back a couple months, when she was asked to leave a restaurant and that whole issue of civility came up. She said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Healthy debate on ideas and philosophy is important. But the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable.

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HOLMES: That was then, this is now.

What of the risks in what we saw happen to reporters at that rally?

BOOT: Well, I'm glad played that clip of Sarah Sanders, because you just nailed her hypocrisy right there. They think that any kind of protest directed at them is out of bounds; whereas they unleash these howling mobs on the press because the president himself calls the free media "the enemy of the American people."

This is unprecedented, Michael, this is deeply disturbing. This is not the kind of stuff that happens in America. Every president feels that he is getting unfair press coverage but no president has gone out and called the press "the enemy of the people," no president has tried it, when sight (ph) his supporters against the media in the way that Donald Trump has.

These are the tactics of an authoritarian. This is the kind of thing that you saw in fascist states in the past. You're now seeing it in America. This is deeply disturbing, deeply improper and this is part of Donald Trump's attempt to essentially remove any obstacles to his complete power.

That's why he's going after the Department of Justice, after Mueller, after the FBI, why he's trying to pack the courts and, of course, what he's trying to intimidate the media, because he doesn't want anybody to hold him to account.

HOLMES: And the thing that always strikes me, this is a country where a lot of people are armed and you just don't know who's listening and what their mindset is and their state of mind. You just don't know.

I also wanted to ask you, continues to be staggering, "The Washington Post" fact checkers. But they've been keeping a running count on how many Trump has said since being sworn in, which were either misleading or totally untrue.

And it's interesting, as of, I think it's day 558, he's made 4,229 Trumpian claims, false or misleading, an increase of 978 in just two months. That's extraordinary. That averages out at actually 7.6 claims a day.

Why does that not matter to his supporters?

You've got 39 percent of voters holding firm, saying he's doing well; 84 percent of Republicans. It was a --

[02:10:00]

HOLMES: -- CBS poll that said 91 percent of strong Trump supporters say they trust him more than their own family.

BOOT: That's because the Trump supporters are basically members of a cult. They are not members of a political party. And Donald Trump is like a godhead to them, not a normal politician.

This is -- this is all deeply disturbing and completely unprecedented in a democratic country like the United States. And there is a relationship, by the way, between the last two things that we discussed, the fact that Donald Trump lies as incessantly as he does, 7.6 lies a day, completely unprecedented, and the fact that he attacks the media as much as does because a lot of the reason why he hates the media is because the media calls him to account for his lies. The media checks his facts and shows that he is not telling the truth.

So he hates that so he lashes out at the media.

But again, this is all behavior that we've never seen from a Democratic politician in America before, certainly not from a president. I mean Trump is really imitating the tactics of these dictators that he seems to admire.

HOLMES: Why doesn't it stick, Max?

Why doesn't it stick?

Imagine President Obama was telling seven lies a day.

Why does it have no impact?

BOOT: That's a great question, Michael. I wish I knew why 90 percent of Republicans were determined to stick with Trump no matter what. I mean I guess you can argue it's because the economy is good, there are some other factors going on.

But also keep in mind that the number of Republicans is down to 26 percent of the population so this is not a huge number of people. It's really the hard-core true believers. And let's recall that even at the height of the Great Depression in 1932, Herbert Hoover still got 40 percent of the vote.

So there's always going to be a substantial minority of people who will stick by all whichever a person happens to be the leader of their party and for a lot of Republicans is just a tribal thing.

They've chosen their tribe and Trump is their chieftain.

HOLMES: Herbert Hoover, that's why you're a historian as well as CNN's global affairs analyst. Max, always a pleasure. Good to see you, Max Boot.

BOOT: Thanks, Michael.

HOLMES: Zimbabwe's president has called for calm after deadly protests broke out following Monday's election.

The protest erupting when it was announced the governing party won a two-thirds majority in parliament. Now that sparked accusations from the opposition that the election had been rigged.

The military moved in with tanks, tear gas and water cannon to break up the demonstrations. Police say at least three people were killed. A spokesman for the opposition says the use of deadly force against the protesters is inexcusable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We condemn in the strongest sense the action that was taken today. There is no justification whatsoever for the brutality we experienced today. (INAUDIBLE) peace in this country while respecting the rights of citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: The outcome of the presidential election is still not known. They've announced the parliamentary election results. But officials will make it public by Saturday. They have to. That's the deadline.

International observers though say the delay is undermining the credibility of the vote. More now from CNN's Farai Sevenzo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After Zimbabwe's peaceful vote on Monday, Zimbabweans woke up on Wednesday to unprecedented scenes of violence in their capital, Harare.

A few hundred protesters gathered outside Harbors (ph) House in Nelson Mandela Avenue opposite the party headquarters. That is the embassy alliance's party headquarters, to say that their votes had been stolen.

Bear in mind the full scale of the voting has not yet been announced.

But we know for certain that Mr. Mnangagwa, the incumbent president, has the majority of parliamentarians in the Zimbabwean parliament.

So as the protesters protested, they had to be restrained somehow. And what happened next was completely unexpected. It was not the police who went onto the streets to stop the protesters, it was soldiers in uniform, in camouflage.

We heard gunshots in the center of Harare and several people were beaten up and even those who were not protesters were assaulted by the soldiers. Human Rights Watch told CNN through their director, Dara Moswinga (ph), that they have seen scores of people with very, very serious injury like broken arms and suffering from gunshot wounds.

There reports of certain deaths that have happened this Wednesday afternoon. But this shows the entire Zimbabwean election before the full scale of the result has been announced into confusion.

And at the moment, Harare is in gridlock. People are searching the city to avoid the center of town. There are stones and broken windows everywhere and, of course, a great deal of trepidation over what the future will hold for this so-called new Zimbabwe -- Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Harare.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: A solemn ceremony in Hawaii marking the return of --

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HOLMES: -- what is believed to be the remains of service members killed in the Korean War. Pyongyang gave the U.S. 55 cases of remains last week in South Korea. In a tweet President Trump thanking North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un

for "keeping his word" on returning the remains, saying, quote, "I am not at all surprised you took this kind action," and adding that he looks forward to seeing Kim soon.

Our Elizabeth Landers now with more from Hawaii.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH LANDERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a homecoming more than 16 years in the making on Wednesday for Americans lost in the Korean War. V.P. Mike Pence greeted 55 cases of what are believed to be the remains of Americans last in that war.

President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un agreed to the repatriation of these remains during their summit in Singapore in June. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence called the gesture, quote, "tangible progress" in our efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Then said that President Trump was, quote, "grateful" that Kim followed through on a commitment but cautioned that this is just the beginning of bringing back thousands of Americans lost in the war in North Korea.

Identifying the remains will likely be difficult, say U.S. military officials. North Korea only one sent one dogtag among the 55 cases that returned on Wednesday here in Hawaii. Next, the cases will move to a highly specialized lab here on the military base, where scientists and historians will work using DNA and other scientific methods to identify those remains -- Elizabeth Landers, CNN, Honolulu, Hawaii.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: We can take a short break here. When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM rare drone footage able to show us the damage to Yemen's war- torn capital in what the U.N. calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Plus astonishing images from Mexico where that passenger captured these terrifying moments from Aeromexico's plane crash in Durango.

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HOLMES: It has been called a miracle. An Aeromexico jet crashing on takeoff and somehow all 103 people on board managed to escape with their lives before fire --

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HOLMES: -- swept through the plane, destroying it. CNN obtained cell phone video from one woman who recorded the moments just before and after the crash. Have a look.

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HOLMES: Incredible. Ashley Garcia captured those terrifying moments on her cell phone. She was one of at least 65 U.S. citizens on board that plane. CNN spoke with others who survived the crash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It was an impact, the first impact. And on the second impact, that was the strongest. That's when I jumped up and was all banged up.

And I had my seatbelt and everything secured. It was on the second impact that I saw the flames in the front cabin and said that's when the plane stopped. And in the back there was already a door open.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We were all scared, screaming. And suddenly the plane stopped and I saw that everyone was leaving from the back. And I followed.

I followed them. But since I brought my baby in my arms and my mother stayed a bit in front, I gave her to my older daughter and told her, go, go. And I went back for my mother. I got her and we all left together.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: From the crash, the cockpit voice and flight data recorders have been retrieved, an investigation underway.

Iran is gearing up for a massive military exercise in the Persian Gulf, according to U.S. officials, with Iranian forces potentially carrying out the drill in less than 48 hours. It might be designed to show Iran's ability to shut down what is a strategic passageway to Strait of Hormuz, linking the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea.

It is used by commercial ships from around the world. It is crucial to world trade. Tehran has been exchanging sharp words with the White House and both issuing threats to each other.

Now to Yemen, where striking new images from the capital show the catastrophic toll that the city has endured after a three-year bombing campaign led by a Saudi led coalition. The U.N. calls the war in Yemen the world's worst humanitarian crisis with more than 22 million people in need of aid.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, along with photojournalist Gabriel Chaim, giving us now a rare look at the devastation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Startlingly beautiful, but plagued by silence and suffering. This is a rare window onto the trauma of besieged Sanaa.

Cut off from the outside world increasingly, its story's untold. Playtime among the trash, homes stripped of their dignity and shelter. Life has persisted here up on the plateau of Yemen's capital, despite a stranglehold around it tightening.

Houthi rebels that overthrew the government here claimed it as their stronghold and together with the Saudi-led coalition besieging the city, a restricted media access to it.

With photojournalist, Gabriel Chaim was showing around its wreckage. Were Salim said the Saudi missile killed 13. 10 from his family three years ago.

"Uncle Hafella used to sit outside, but on that day, they went inside the house. We weren't sure whether he was inside once the missile hit. We had to wait an hour or two before we entered to get all their bodies outside.

I live meters away and if the missile hit my house, we would all be martyrs too." Human Rights Watch accused the Saudi-led campaign here of 85 instances of unlawful air strikes which the coalition deny. Here, a few months ago, airstrikes apparently hit a gas station part of a bid to starve the capital of fuel and everything else transport brings --

[02:25:00]

WALSH (voice-over): -- leading to protests outside the United Nations building here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the world to know what happened in Yemen and no -- any country, they didn't do anything for Yemen, they didn't do any helping. All have been in Yemen, they did -- at it is that no one care about us.

WALSH: Here, one of the more devastating air strikes in 2016, led to criticism over the U.S. assistance to the coalition. On the Grand Funeral Hall, where at least a 155 were killed as thousands gathered. (INAUDIBLE) al Hamadi barely survived.

"I still have difficulty hearing after the blast. There were bodies all over under this rubble. Some bodies were completely burned. The strike affected all of Yemen, it's printed in my memory, the scene."

Even Kawkaban, one of Yemen's architectural and historical jewels is not spared, named after two stars that gleam from inside its walls, the pair of palaces. There is little escape here and little desire within the outside world to do more than watch the brutality unfold -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Tommy Robinson of Britain is not a household name but that could soon be about to change. His year in prison has made him a poster boy for far right-wing nationalists in the U.K. CNN's Nina dos Santos with that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand proud. Look around you. Feel your strength.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): He was jailed for 13 months but now Tommy Robinson will walk free. The far right activist known for his anti-Muslim views had been sentenced after pleading guilty to contempt of court for filming the defendants in an ongoing rape case as they arrived in court.

He broadcast it live on Facebook, breaking the tight reporting restrictions that exist in the U.K.

Robinson's sentence has now been dismissed after judges here at the Royal Courts of Justice granted his appeal. The ruling criticized the speed at which his trial was taking place, highlighting procedural failures.

A rehearing has been ordered, allowing him to go free.

Outside, the reaction was mixed. A small group of about 2 dozen supporters cheered the decision, adapting England's World Cup soccer chant, "It's coming home," to Robinson, saying, "Tommy's coming home."

On the other hand, counter protesters showed their discontent.

Robinson was a fringe figure in British politics until recently. His name only coming to the spotlight when Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's former chief strategist, brought up his case in a radio interview, portraying his imprisonment as an attack on free speech.

STEVE BANNON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think Tommy's a bad guy. I think he is a solid guy and I think he's got a (INAUDIBLE). A lot of people would say that law is way too restrictive.

DOS SANTOS: Since then, Robinson has been picked up by other figures of the American alt-right movement. A State Department official also raised his case with Britain's ambassador to Washington and the U.S. congress man crossed the Atlantic to campaign for his freedom.

Although Robinson may soon be free, it's unlikely his ideological fight is over -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Still to come here on the program, a CNN exclusive, a possible plan to allow passengers to board commercial airplanes at some U.S. airports without being screened. We'll be right back.

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[02:31:10] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And now to a CNN exclusive, we have learned that the Trump administration is considering a major change to airport security possibly eliminating TSA screenings at dozens of small and medium-sized airports. It's raising a lot of questions of course about safety versus convenience. Our Rene Marsh reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: TSA is considering allowing thousands of passengers to board commercial airplanes across the United States without being screened. That's according to internal documents obtained by CNN. The documents from June and July outline an elimination of security screening at small and some medium- sized airports that operate commercial planes with 60 seats or fewer.

TSA's recent cost analysis estimates the move could save $115 million. That could be used to bolster security at large airports.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM ANALYST: I think it's stunning that this is even being seriously considered.

MARSH: The proposal does not list which airports could be impacted but says screening would be eliminated at more than 150. TSA currently screens passengers at 440 airports. According to the proposal, passengers and luggage arriving from these smaller airports would be screened when they arrived at major ones. Their operating theory is attacks with small aircraft would not be as attractive of payoff to terrorists because the potential for loss of life would be less than what terrorists could achieve with larger planes. National security experts disagree.

CRUICKSHANK: ISIS their messages attacking anyway you can big or small against anybody that you can -- that you can go after. And so the opportunity to go after a 50-person passenger jet or aircrafts is going to be very attractive to the group in terms of its messaging.

MARSH: In an e-mail to CNN, TSA said, "This is not a new issue. The regulations which established TSA does not require screening below a certain level. So every year is the year that TSA will reconsider screening." CNN asked TSA to point us to that regulation. The agency has not responded. Twenty TSA employees recently meet to evaluate the cost saving proposal that could mean less hassle for thousands of travelers. The group determined the plan could increase security vulnerabilities at airports. But overall, the risk is low.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH: But the question is, will the public accept this? Will Congress accept this? The group also determined that the policy change would affect about 10,000 passengers daily. TSA said this is something that is considered every year, but two senior TSA officials tell the level of activity around the proposal this year, the formation of a working group doing a risk assessment and cost analysis indicates this is more than an annual exercise. Rene Marsh, CNN Washington.

HOLMES: Well, the White House is refusing to condemn an ugly scene at a Donald Trump rally Tuesday night in Florida when a crowd of the president's supporters went after journalist sent to cover the event especially CNN's Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: And those shouts and insults were apparently OK with the President of the United States who retweeted his son Eric's praise of the incident. The White House had an opportunity to correct the record on Wednesday to denounce the harassment and offer its support to a free and independent press. Instead, it chose to double down on attacking the media.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We certainly support a free press. We certainly condemn violence against anybody but we also ask that people act responsibly and report accurately and fairly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one will be violent last night and you had people trying to yell over them preventing them from doing their jobs and yelling different network sucks on live TV -- support that or not?

SANDERS: Well, we certainly support freedom of the press, we also support freedom of speech and we think that those things go hand and hand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[02:35:26] HOLMES: There was another troubling sight of President Trump's rally in Florida, the letter Q. It stands for QAnon, a movement of people who believe in wild conspiracy theories and they have found a hero in Donald Trump. Our Tom Foreman with the details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Photos of missiles and mysterious strangers, rants about a shadow government, Freemasons, secret symbols, and predictions of a world about to change, all of these is part of a conspiracy stew cooked up by QAnon, an internet conspiracy persona. Some followers of whom showed up at the president's most recent rally and many of whom see him as a hero. Like them ready to embrace wild theories to claim secret plots against him and to attack anyone who says otherwise.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Fake news. Fake news. They are fake.

FOREMAN: Internet postings associated with the movement gained traction fast among followers like one that says the Parkland School shooting victims and witnesses were really actors. NBC News noted earlier this week a spate of YouTube videos falsely accusing top celebrities of pedophilia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The higher you go, the more -- the more sick it gets.

FOREMAN: The same time, the Q is attracting interest from others including Roseanne Barr and Curt Schilling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I've been ask --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe the Q? Do you know who the Q is?

FOREMAN: The Washington Post says Q is an anonymous user claiming to be a government agent with top security clearance waging war against the so-called deep state in service to the 45th president. But back on Earth, this is known. The promotion of conspiracy theories can have real consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Hoover Dam was evacuated.

FOREMAN: In June, police detained an armed man after he blocked Hoover Dam demanding the release of a government report apparently about Hillary Clinton's e-mail, although such a report was already out. In 2016, police say a man fired a rifle in a D.C. pizza place as he claimed he was investigating a widespread conspiracy theory about human trafficking. He was convicted and is now serving four years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not covering pizza get enough.

FOREMAN: An Alex Jones who pushed the Pizzagate conspiracy on his radio show is now in court over another made-up tale. Families of victims in the Sandy Hook School shooting say they have been hounded mercilessly since Jones claimed their stories were all part of a hoax to push for gun control. He is countersuing them for legal defense fees.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: And yet, for all of that, back in 2015, Candidate Donald Trump praised Alex Jones, so perhaps it's no surprise the QAnon crowd is now crowding around the president offering their support. Tom Foreman, CNN Washington.

HOLMES: And President Trump now threatening even harsher tariffs on billions in Chinese goods, but there was pushback from China as well as here in the U.S. We'll have that after the break. Also, this, Tesla sputters, the electric carmaker hit with a big second quarter loss. So why is Tesla's stock in high gear? We'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:41:20] HOLMES: Welcome back. The U.S. imposing sanctions on Turkish officials in a new effort to secure the release of an American pastor. Andrew Brunson was arrested and accused of backing a coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan two years ago. Now, he denies the charges. The U.S. is blocking the assets and properties of two top Turkish officials. Turkey calling the move hostile and says it will retaliate. Donald Trump meanwhile looking to ratchet up pressure on China in that ongoing trade dispute. He's now proposing 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. Cristina Alesci reports if the tariffs goes through U.S. consumers will pay the price. CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is classic

Trump. Analyst that I talked to today are reading this as Trump getting frustrated with the progress of negotiations with China, so he's ratcheting it up the threat in the hopes that China will come to the table. As a result, the administration is now footing this idea of 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products coming into the U.S. Now, these new tariffs haven't even taken effect but the 25 percent rate is certainly higher than the 10 percent proposed last month for this specific round of tariffs.

I should point out Trump's strategy of escalation it hasn't worked so far. The administration has yet to strike a deal with China. In fact, China retaliated on the first round of tariffs that was on $34 billion of imports from China. And in Europe when Trump tried the strategy, there was a pause on car tariffs but again no specific deal. The question is, where is the great deal for the benefit of the American worker? So far the U.S. only has another statement from China.

China is saying its position is firm and clear cut. It remains unchanged and that blackmailing and pressure will never work. In the meantime as China and the U.S. go at it, U.S. companies are continuing to report or warn about the negative impact of any trade dispute. For instance, Tyson, the meat and food giant lowered its profit forecast and General Motors has said that tariffs could force the company to cut jobs and raise the price of its cars.

And as for consumers here on the U.S., if the administration does follow through on that $200 billion threat, that will likely mean higher prices on everything from food and appliances to clothing and pet food.

HOLMES: Cristina Alesci reporting there. Now, the electric carmaker, Tesla, suffered its biggest loss seen in the second quarter. But investors didn't exactly pull the plug as the company's stock actually rose in afterhours trading. Tesla says it loss more than $770 million. But analysts thought the damage would be worse. Well, the hype over Tesla has been in overdrive for the better part of the past decade but the automaker could be facing some serious roadblocks ahead. CNN's Peter Valdes-Dapena reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tesla.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tesla.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tesla.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tesla.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tesla

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tesla.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tesla. PETER VALDES-DAPENA, CNNMONEY SENIOR AUTO REPORTER: The name alone

triggers devout worship among some and blind rage in others. Why? It's very likely you don't even own a Tesla. Electric vehicles make up around one percent of global car sale. Last year, Tesla sold 101,312 cars total. By comparison, Toyota sold almost that many Corollas every month. That's just one model.

[02:44:54] Auto shows, Tesla routinely skips them. Sleek commercials starring Madonna, Matthew McConaughey, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Oh wait, Tesla doesn't really do commercials. It claims not to even have an ad budget.

Yet somehow, Tesla is regularly placed in the top 10 automakers with the most social influence in the company of industry, titans and legendary supercars. How did Tesla generate this much hype with so few cars?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, so that's the master plan.

DAPENA: More important than what Tesla is, is what Tesla could be. It has positioned itself as the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The future of transport for me lies solely with electric.

DAPENA: And all other automakers as the past.

ANNOUNCER: Modern magic.

DAPENA: How did Tesla pull this off? For one thing, it changed the perception of electric vehicles from utilitarian, meant for the masses automobiles to something that could be smart, aspirational, even sexy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the base model, OK? This is the base model.

DAPENA: Now, here is where the tail wags the dog. Enough people bought into that hype that this little company in Silicon Valley suddenly had the largest automakers in the world publicly angling to beat Tesla.

Beat Tesla? We're talking about companies with the kind of market share that Tesla could only dream of. But the excitement and momentum Tesla has gathered have forced every other car maker in the world to get on board or be a stuffy, boring company of yesteryear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seems to have just everything you could ever ask for.

DAPENA: And that's been working until now. People are becoming increasingly suspicious of Tesla's ability to deliver this promise of the future. Competition has come swiftly and decisively.

And what's important, they are getting their cars to market. Tesla's delays on the Model 3 caused many canceled orders and increased frustrations. Semi-autonomous technology is rapidly becoming commonplace in the industry.

Musk's thin-skinned Twitter behavior also has not done the company any favors. Tesla has been valued about the same as G.M. and more than Ford for the last year. For the company that has yet to turn a profit, that's a lot of optimism.

Journalists and the public love a David and Goliath narrative. And frankly, we have seen a larger than life CEO take on behemoth competitors before and succeed. But the question remains, how long can Tesla ride the hype, and what's left when it goes away?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: We take a short break here on the program. When we comeback, a scientific breakthrough on the Red Planet. CNN talks with the scientists who say they have found evidence of liquid water on Mars.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: The planet Mars has long been regarded as dry and lifeless but no longer. Scientists in Italy recently found evidence of liquid water deep beneath the Martian surface. Opening up all kinds of possibilities. CNN's Delia Gallagher with that report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: The thrilling discovery of water on Mars was made by this radar, called MARSIS, which penetrated the dry surface of the Red Planet with its weight and sent back its findings to earth.

To this computer in the physics laboratory of Rome's Roma Tre University, where Professor Elena Pettinelli, and Sebastian Lauro, and their team of four scientists were waiting to analyze it. They were astonished to see this bright line.

[02:50:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This indicates the presence of the liquid water at the base of the ice layer.

GALLAGHER: The radar's wave signaled the presence of water. A potentially huge discovery the lab simulated the minus 10 to minus 30 degrees Celsius conditions on Mars in this cooler and used lava rocks from Sicily in Chile similar to the rocks on Mars to recreate conditions there.

ELENA PETTINELLI, SCIENTIST, ROMA TRE UNIVERSITY: We wanted to measure the electric property of the base, which is a physical measurement that tells you if the soil has water.

GALLAGHER: Their findings published together with researchers from other Italian institutions, and the journal science have made headlines around the world. Because where there is water, there could potentially be life.

PETTINELLI: And the fact that the liquid water is there, make a more and -- make easier to think about the possible (INAUDIBLE) biological night before the development of the maintenance of some life.

GALLAGHER: Scientists say, the water on Mars is salty, which is why it remains liquid rather than freezing at such cold temperatures. Bacteria or microbes feed off the salt, and could theoretically live on the Red Planet. Something researchers have already seen in Antarctica's Lakes.

The discovery of some form of biological life on Mars may not be so far off. A new European Rover scheduled for mission in 2020, will have a drill and may be able to provide some further data that the current radar cannot.

Water on Mars is important for another reason, it's a prerequisite for any eventual human missions to Mars.

PETTINELLI: The main problem is water, bringing water. So, if we can find some water there, that would be pretty good. So, if even if you extract water from ice.

GALLAGHER: Although Professor Pettinelli is doubtful that humans will be on Mars in the near future, she is confident that it will happen.

PETTINELLI: I think of sooner or later we will go there. I'm pretty sure about that.

GALLAGHER: Earth to Mars, scientists are getting there one step at a time. Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: We'll never know. Well, 2018 has been marked by extreme heat waves in parts of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, joins us now with a closer look at the area's being affected. I'm looking forward to this tell us about it.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Michael. It's really remarkable looking at the data, all the data is come in from the National Climatic Data Center, 28,000 record high temperatures have been set so far in 2018. We've talked about it over and over.

Again, of course, you may remember just a few weeks ago, we were talking about Japan, just north of Tokyo, hottest all-time temperature there across parts of town being set as high as 41 degrees. In South Korea, in Seoul, recently we had temps into the 40s, as well.

Pakistan, dozens of fatalities back in May with extreme heat that was in place in Europe, and Scandinavia. And points about three weeks ago, we had temperatures that were warmer north of the Arctic Circle had been down across places such as Portugal in Spain.

In the U.K., we've had the third longest heat wave on record and just continues remarkable heat across portions of Africa, hottest temp we'd ever seen, reliably recorded there came in at 51 degrees.

In Oman, just a few weeks ago, the hottest low temperature ever was said -- this is fascinating to me. The low temperature was about 42.6 degrees, a 108 degrees Fahrenheit that is into the overnight hours. That's the coolest they got in Oman, that's the warmest we've ever seen a temperature for a low temp come in.

And in Canada, we know dozens of records have been set 90 fatalities in the Quebec region in the last several weeks, as well. And in the U.S., Seattle, and Death Valley. Notably, of course, for Death Valley, hottest places on earth there. They recorded their hottest July on record as did Seattle, and all of this continuing and, of course, you see how things of that transpired.

We know 2017 was the hottest year on record that was a non-El Nino year. Look at the last 10 years for the last 10 hottest years on record. Nine of them have occurred since the year 2005, and it just continues, of course.

We know studies have come in, in the last few months saying, "The year 2100, parts of the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, at least, so the unfit for a human survival there because of the temps expected to be routinely into the 50s. And now, most recently in the past 24 so hours.

Getting data here that suggests that by the Year 2070, we could have temperatures in the northern plain region of China, home to 400 million people that includes areas around Beijing, that would be unfit for human survival expecting that to continue because of the incredible agricultural landscape across that region, the water, the irrigation that's being put into the soil.

And of course, it's very fertile landscape, all of that is evaporating but the temperatures that are on the rise and the evaporating of additional moisture that's being put into the soil there, Michael, the studies suggesting that this would make very dangerous for human survival.

Especially, when you consider how many farmers live and work in that environment.

HOLMES: Yes.

JAVAHERI: And within the next five to six decades, people's livelihoods would just be too dangerous to continue because of a hot humid some of these cities might be.

[02:55:07] HOLMES: It's a very worrying trend there, extraordinary. Thank you. Good to see you, my friend. Pedram Javaheri, there.

JAVAHERI: Thank you, Michael.

HOLMES: All right, well, the Internet ringing up Donald Trump for his faux power in Florida. It seems the president thinks you need a picture I.D. to buy groceries. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Just as reporters, we are asking, when was the last time President Trump went to a grocery store? This 2010 reality show clip surfaced.

Donald Trump, have you ever used a coupon in your life?

TRUMP: Well, I've never even gone to a really -- a foot market with my wife. So --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

MOOS: If you listen to the president, you think instead of just handing over coupons, you should be showing I.D.

TRUMP: You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card. You need I.D.

MOOS: Says who?

Do they ask for picture I.D. when you're paying for the groceries?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not, no way. Who said? This is America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never ever, ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

MOOS: When you go out and buy groceries, you need photo I.D.?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you don't. Where is this coming from?

MOOS: Donald Trump.

Twitter roll the ties, as well. "I've got to go grocery shopping today, and I hope they don't ask me for an I.D. before I buy Rice-A- Roni."

It's sort of like when Ellen asked another rich guy, Bill Gates to guess the price of Rice-A-Roni.

BILL GATES, FOUNDER, MICROSOFT CORPORATION: $5.

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW, NBC: Oh, it's a dollar. Look, what a bargain.

GATE: I'll take five.

DEGENERES: I know.

MOOS: President Trump's flub inspired a mock-up grocery shopping identification card. The late show Instagram new rules, "Sir, read the sign no license no cake mix.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a sandwich, a Coke, and a bagel with butter.

MOOS: And maybe they asked to see picture I.D.?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I think, if I want to get some chocolate, they might have said, hey buddy that's a little much, let's see some I.D. with that.

MOOS: At the White House they tried to clean up the president's spill.

SANDERS: If you go to a grocery store, and you buy beer and wine, you're certainly going to show your I.D.

MOOS: President Trump's faux pas reminded folks at the time, President George H.W. Bush seemed overly impressed with a grocery scanner.

GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This process is (INAUDIBLE).

MOOS: This woman recalled the only time she was ever carded for groceries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They asking for picture I.D. for when I was buying pork chops.

MOOS: Now, she has a bone to pick. Jeanne Moose, CNN,

Next thing you know, that I want your birth certificates to get eggs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, this is America.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: This is America. I'm Michael Holmes, thanks for watching the program everyone. I'll have another hour of news in just a moment, I'll see you around the corner.

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