Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

President Trump Calls A.G. Sessions to End Russia Investigation; Protests in Zimbabwe Took Three Lives; Long Way to go For Californians to Recover from Fires; Miracle in the Air Saves All Passengers; Attorney General Should End Russia Probe; Yemen Rare Footage Captures Life Amid The Rubble; White House Calls Detention Unfair And Unjust; Thieves Stole Royal Jewels Dating Back To 11th Century. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 2, 2018 - 03:00   ET

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


[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: Donald Trump lashing again over what he calls a rigged witch hunt. He says his top law enforcement official should end the Russia investigation. And the president's tweet being met with much criticism.

Plus, protests turned deadly in Zimbabwe after police fire at crowds rallying against what they call a rigged election.

And we a take a rare look inside Yemen and see the years of fighting have ravaged that country.

Welcome everyone to our viewers all around the world. Thanks for your company. I'm Michael Holmes, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Well, his critics say Donald Trump is now openly obstructing the Russia investigation by calling for an end to the rigged witch hunt as he calls it. But White House says he's just fighting back, expressing his opinion, not giving an order.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, all, very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Refusing to answer from reporters, the president is letting one of his most alarming tweet yet stand on its own. With former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on trial over his business dealings, the president took aim at the Russia investigation, tweeting, This is a terrible situation. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this rigged with hunt right now before it continues to stain our country any further."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is not obstructing. He is fighting back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Still, incredibly, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted the president wasn't giving a direct order to Sessions. He's already recused himself in the Russia case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: It's not an order. It's the president's opinion and it's ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that gone on with the launching of the witch hunt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump's legal team immediately put out statement defending the president's tweet. Outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani later told reporters Mr. Trump is just standing up for himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: He's a person with a First Amendment right to defend himself, First Amendment right to express his opinion. And as a president it's even more important he express his opinion because these kinds of allegations can do damage to the country not just to the particular president. And if he voice his innocence, and he is innocent, he should speak out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: On the Manafort case the president's drew a strange comparison with a famous Chicago gangster, tweeting "Looking back on history who was treated worse, Alphonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and public enemy number one, or Paul Manafort?"

Mr. Trump also appears to be looking for sympathy for himself, tweeting, "Why didn't the government tell me he was under investigation? His old charges have nothing to do with collusion."

But the White House wouldn't say whether the president believes Manafort is guilty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: I don't believe that that's the president's role to play. He believes he is being treated unfairly. Beyond that I can't say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The White House was crystal clear on one issue whether it's acceptable for the president's supporters to verbally abuse reporters at his rally at last night's campaign event in Tampa. Sanders gave the green light.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- support that or not?

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The president used his rally to attack the media accusing news outlets of using fake polls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If the fake news did a poll they're called suppression polls. You know, polls are fake just like everything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Like an almost the same breath, Mr. Trump cited polls to tout his jobs performance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They just came out with a poll, did you hear, the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party is Trump. Can you believe this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: The president is sending a strong signal he'll be hammering the issue of immigration right up until the midterm elections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: As he told Rush Limbaugh he's willing to shut down the government to get what he wants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Another shutdown can also takes place after the election. I happen to think it's a great political thing because people want border security.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: As for the relationship between the White House the press, press secretary Sarah Sanders relied on a bogus report to try to blame the press revealing classified information before 9/11. But Sarah Sanders does not have her facts straight. That false was debunked years ago.

Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

HOLMES: And 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. But I want to put up a tweet from Congressman Adam Schiff earlier and talk about that.

[03:04:57] He says this, quote, "The president of the United States just called on his attorney general to put an end the investigation in which the -- and president and 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 is 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. I mean, the defense from the Trump camp is really rests on the words should instead of must, right. So they're saying that because he said he should in the rigged witch hunt right now instead of saying he must end it than he's just expressing an opinion.

But you know, the guy who is 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 saying a pattern of behavior and Robert Mueller is apparently looking into that as well. Reports that the president seems more and more worried. He seems angry, especially of course as 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. I mean, the pressure is been there from day one. I mean, remember, he wouldn't even have this independent the special counsel investigation. If he hadn't felt compelled to fire FBI director Comey in 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 learn more and more about his curious relationship with Russia. A lot of 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, you know, Russia, if you're listening, I'd like you to find these 30,000 e-mails from Hillary Clinton. And we now know that very day the Russian military hackers were attacking us and tried to penetrate Hillary Clinton's servers.

So I think there's 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 wanted to ask you also about the Trump rally where with CNN's Jim Acosta was let's say, accosted by Trump supporters. Just listen to some of that for people to get a sense if they haven't seen it already.

There were the -- there were some fervor there. Now of course Sarah Sanders then after daily briefing, which isn't daily at all, it's doing monthly, basically defended those screening supporters. She said it's not threatening, it's free space.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Healthy debate on ideas and political philosophy is important, but the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: That was then, this is now. What are the risks in what we saw happen to reporters at that rally?

BOOT: Well, I'm glad you played that clip of Sarah Huckabee Sanders because you just nailed their 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 of the president himself calls the free media, the enemy of the American people.

I mean, this is unprecedented, Michael. This is deeply disturbing. This is not the kind of stuff that happens in America.

I mean, 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 to incite his supporters against the media in the way that Donald Trump has.

I mean, 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, deeply disturbing, deeply improper. And this is part of Donald Trump's attempt to essentially remove any obstacles. There is complete power.

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

HOLMES: And of course the thing that would strikes me, I mean, this is a country where a lot of people around then you just don't know who is listening and what their mindset is and their state of mind. You just don't know.

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

[03:09:56] And it's interesting. We'll show people, as of, I think it's day 558, he's made 4,229 Trumpian claims also 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 got 39 percent of voters holding firm saying he is doing well. Eighty four percent of Republicans. It was a CBS poll that said 91 percent of strong Trump supporters say they trust him more than their own family.

BOOT: Well, that's because the Trump supporters are basically members of a cult, they're not members of a political party and Donald Trump is like a god head to them not a normal politician.

I mean, this is -- this is all deeply disturbing and completely unprecedented in the 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 he 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, you know, 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: Buy why doesn't it stick, Max? Why doesn't it stick? I mean, imagine President Obama was telling seven lies a day, I mean, why doesn't have to (Inaudible) with that?

BOOT: I mean, 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 a hard-core true believers. And let's recall that, you know, 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 whichever person happens to be the leader of their party. And for a lot of Republicans this is just a tribal thing, they've chosen their tribe and Trump is their chief then.

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

BOOT: Thanks, Michael.

HOLMES: Zimbabwe's president has called for calm after deadly protests broke out following Monday's election. The protest erupted when it was announced the governing party had won a two thirds majority in parliament.

Now that had spark accusations from the opposition that the election had been rigged. A military then moving in with tanks, tear gas, and water canon to break out the demonstrations. Police say at least three people were killed.

CNN's David McKenzie is in the Zimbabwe capital. Good to see you, David. A new day is on the way, what's the latest on the violence and any explanation for why there was a need for such strong reaction deadly force by the authorities.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yesterday, Michael, there was this ominous warning from a senior government official saying that the protest are testing their resolve and they think they are making a big mistake. Certainly there are military and police on the streets here.

I'm outside the election results center where all eyes would be on whether and in the Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwean Electoral Commission will come up with that presidential vote count, that official count. Now for days now the opposition has said they have won the vote. They have accused the government of rigging of fraud.

And this has set up this deadly series of clashes yesterday in Harare where the police seem to be overwhelmed or at least unwilling to target the protesters as well. No such compunction from the military. They came into a spot quite close to where I'm standing right now with live rounds and heavy -- heaviest caliber automatic rifles, beating protesters on the streets.

There has been ground criticism from government quarters of the opposition for setting up this deadly standoff but they say they just don't want to repeat past Zimbabwean elections, which had been accused of great deal of fraud.

So we are now in this waiting holding pattern as it was a very tense time here in Zimbabwe. The streets are calm. As I said there are police and military on the streets. And the question will be will the opposition rally its supporters again today, and if so, what will the results be. Michael?

HOLMES: Yes. Now the winner, of course, as they said we got the parliamentary vote. But why have the results of the presidential election not been declared?

[03:15:00] I mean, they're not due for a couple of days but what's the level of concern is that raising?

MACKENZIE: Well, according to the law there they have several days to get these results out, but even the E.U. observers have questioned why they're not coming out. Given the fact that they've already release much of the parliamentary official results. And Zanu-PF, the ruling party has resounded won parliament.

So why then is this delay on the presidential vote. And again, given the history of Zimbabwe, the question is why is that delay and lots have raise questions both among observers and the opposition. About the deadly clashes really raise the stakes on the situation the first vote since the ouster of Robert Mugabe.

It's hugely significant for this country. And on the streets the supporters of the opposition and others were simply passionate about the situation that is unfolding in Zimbabwe. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to protect our vote here. We are years protecting our votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are sick and tired of the situation in Zimbabwe. What do we want is just this bench. There's no man in bench but you'll find out you will see men on the streets. What's going on?

These people they're old enough why they can't just swallow pride and give to Chamisa, a young man play fair.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he won the elections but they are busy. These people using everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCKENZIE: Well, just near where I'm standing there's a big billboard for Emmerson Manangagwa, the president in election billboard. That's partially ripped down. It reminds me of when that same billboard had an image of Robert Mugabe which was totally ripped down in November.

Emmerson Manangagwa, the president of the country has called for calm, he place blame squarely on the opposition for this violence and death that people are asking the question well, why did the military go out at all and why did it appear them that they were using live rounds against protesters.

At least three dead, so it's a very worrying developments in the country at a very crucial time. Michael? HOLMES: Yes. A lot at stake. David, good to see you. David McKenzie there in Harare.

We'll take a short break on the program. There is no let up in the wildfire fight in California. When we come back, we'll have the latest on those efforts and the dire warning from the state governor.

Also, a stunning images from Mexico, where a passenger captured these terrifying moments of that plane crash in Durango. We'll be right back.

[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: So these images here. Strong winds and high heat blow humidity all forecast for the rest of the week in California and that is hampering efforts to bring these massive wildfires under control.

Sixteen of the largest files have now burned an area larger than the entire city of Los Angeles. Nick Watt for the update.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The fire still burning 115,000 acres and counting, and local people now counting the cost. Tens of thousands were evacuated from their homes. Some now allowed back but others from the worst neighborhoods not yet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what condition your house was in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is nothing left. It looks more like a bomb hit it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: Preedha Reddy (Ph) and her husband snapped this picture as fire approached.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: So you think it will help to actually get back and see it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. If they don't let us in and you know, I haven't think it.

WATT: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just hard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: And the official word these wildfires will only get worse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERRY BROWN, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: We are in unchartered territory. We haven't had this kind of heat condition. And as it continue getting worse, we have to apply all our creativity to make the best on what is going to be an increasingly bad situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: More than 90 fires burning right now across the west, putting a strain on manpower.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MOHLER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CAL FIRE: The term we hear it's new normal. It's not new anymore. This is the normal and it's not a season it's year around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Here at the Carr Fire two firefighters have lost their lives. Others lost their homes but never stopped working.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't feel that I did anything special. It's just once I saw my house gone it was -- there's going to be plenty of time to go back through the remains and see what we can salvage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Many firefighters are working 24 hour shifts. Rick Johnson just left off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK JOHNSON, FIREFIGHTER, CAL FIRE: The temperatures I've been dealing with 100 plus degrees, and with single digit temperature are relatively humidifies, so, yes, it's been hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Right now 16 wildfires burning across California, 13,000 firefighters on the lines.

The Carr Fire here now guessing towards under control, still a long ways to go, but there are 15 other fires burning across California, 13,000 firefighters on the lines fighting those blazes.

Nick Watt, CNN, Redding, California.

HOLMES: And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more on the fire conditions. What are you seeing, friend?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you are seeing a gradual shift towards cooler weather in the next couple of days, first time we've seen that in quite some time, about a month honestly.

And you take a look the fire conditions the large active fire, one fire across the northern portion of the state of Minnesota, one across central areas of the state of Texas, and then 91 of them blocking back toward the western U.S. And of course, the latest numbers now coming in with additional fires

coming in to Northern California, 20 large active fires. And noticed how widespread it is from Southern California all the way into northern California. No area is really left alone when it comes to being impacted by this.

And that pattern of the high-pressure that have been in place deflecting any sort of storm that is beginning to break down, it will continue to do so from Saturday into Sunday with cooler temperatures. As a result, increased humidity, and the marine influence as well. So, all of this going to be beneficial.

How about we go below average for the first time in about a month across this region. So certainly, some better news. As far as we get out of mother nature over this region.

And we know, California Governor Jerry Brown really said that this is becoming the new norm, it's going to get worse, and of course the numbers really back it up. We've share with you what we've seen as far as the number of large fires across the United States in the 1980s, 140 per year. It became to 160 and eventually at 250 in the past decade or so across the United States.

And then you look at the 10 hottest years on record. Notice nine of them happening since the year 2005, only 1998 coming in as the outlier. But really you see the last couple of years well ahead of what were the previous seven hottest years.

So really kind of puts it in perspective of the severity and the significance in the coverage area of all of this. Worldwide heat range. The United States coming in and North America coming in at the warmest. So, South America second warmest. You see they live how it is broken down in 2017 as far as records for their continent respective continent across this region.

[03:24:55] And of course, the pattern with study after study coming in. This particular one from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, finding revealing that by 2017 -- 2070 portions of the northern plain regions of China home to 400 million people to be unfit for human survival because of the extreme humidity and extreme heat.

Again, within five or so decades, Michael, which is really incredible to think how quickly this could happen.

HOLMES: Absolutely a blink of the eye really in the big picture. Thank you so much, Pedram. I appreciate it.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

HOLMES: We call it a miracle. An Aeromexico jet crashing on takeoff somehow all 103 people on board managed to escape with their lives before fire swept through the flame.

CNN's Leyla Santiago spoke to several passengers about their terrifying experience and obtain cell phone video from one woman who recorded the moments just before the crash.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seconds after takeoff. Impact. Screams. Panic as passengers shifted into survival more to escape the flames and the smoke of the fallen plane in Durango, Mexico. All 103 people aboard Aeromexico flight 2431, survived.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEY GARCIA, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: I've always been the type person that say never took your life for granted, life goes by too fast. But I've never -- I've never had a reason to say it until now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO: Ashley Garcia was the one that captured it all on her cell phone. She was one of at least 65 U.S. citizens on board. Garcia lives in Chicago and decided to get a video of the plane taking after noting the rain and the clouds coming her way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARCIA: We were not even in the air for like, five seconds when the wind just pushed us right back down and we kind of we're just bouncing and hitting each other. And then as the plane -- that one of the wings hit those ground that's when it caught on fire.

AL HERRERA, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR: It was basically just mud dash for the (Inaudible) as people were trying to escape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO: Al Herrera, a passenger who also lives in Chicago, immediately turn to those who needed help getting out including the elderly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERRERA: My injuries were very, very small compared to others with broken hands, broken noses, there was a lot of blood everywhere. So I'm very fortunate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO: Once off the plane he said he joined the priest who was on board in prayer. CNN talk to Father Esequiel Sanchez, director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Chicago. Just hours before surgery for his injured arms he was still counting blessing and giving thanks. The idea that nobody died, he says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ESEQUIEL SANCHEZ, DIRECTOR, OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE, CHICAGO: I would consider that a miracle.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANTIAGO: State officials have pointed that bad weather as a possible factor, strong wind gust knocked the plane down. Images of the accident show the plane remained mostly intact. Investigators have recovered black boxes, recorders critical to understanding exactly what happened.

Mexico's government established a commission to investigate, but they've already acknowledged that it could take months before questions are answered.

In the meantime, it is the voices of the survivors who were giving a better understanding. Ashley who was there to celebrate a wedding, out to celebrate a baptism.

Father Sanchez, his birthday. Now they all celebrate what they call a miracle.

Leyla Santiago, CNN, Mexico City.

HOLMES: The U.S. stepping up the pressure on Turkey. Ahead, the latest effort to get an American pastor released.

Also, a rare drone footage showing us the damage of the Yemen's war- torn capital. What the U.N. calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Those stories and more after the break.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back everyone to CNN Newsroom. I'm Michael Holmes. Let us update you now on the top stories this hour. The White House defending President Trump after he tweeted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should end the Russian investigation. Press secretary, Sarah Sanders, says, it's just his opinion, not an order. Critics, however call it another example of the president obstructing justice in the probe sending a message.

And President Trump now proposing a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. That's up from the 10 percent that he suggested last month. China calls the threat blackmail and vows to retaliate. Trump has said tariffs are unnecessary, because of China's unfair trade practices.

California's governor says, wildfires and the extreme heat feeling are the new normal, and will be that way for many years to come. 16 of the biggest fires burning right now had scorch scenario larger than Los Angeles. Firefighters making some gains but hot, dry, windy conditions are forecast through the end of this week.

A solemn ceremony in Hawaii marking the return of what's believed to be the remains of Americans service members killed in the Korean War. The 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 quote, keeping your word on returning the remains, saying I am not at all surprised you took this kind action. Our Paula Hancocks joins us now from Seoul. A curious tweet and sort of saying of see you soon.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. Of course that is going to raise questions at the end they are saying thank you for your nice letter. I hope to see you soon. And of course the question is, has there been another letter from the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the U.S. president Donald Trump. Now, certainly possible and it is also something that the U.S. president likes to do is, is to keep everybody guessing, stay tune to see what exactly is going to happen next.

So, we don't know whether this is a new letter, there was letter after that Singapore Summit in June from the North Korean leader thanking the U.S. president for the summit, calling it strong will, since the effort is a unique approach of both of the leaders. We do know that the U.S. president invited the North Korean leader to enter the U.S. after that Summit when asked by reporters. Would you invite Kim Jong- un into the White House? He said absolutely and said that could be something he's potentially talking about now. There has been speculation as to when or if the two leaders would meet again.

We are hearing though that the last time that the U.S. and North Korea had public face-to-face talks was beginning of last month and that's when the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo went to Pyongyang and he didn't actually get to meet Kim Jong-un, which was considered to be potentially rebuffed at that point, but the fact remains that this was a gesture of goodwill. The fact that these 55 caskets are now in Hawaii. The remains will hopefully over the months and years be identified and it was something that the vice president was very positive about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENTIAL-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that President Trump is grateful to Chairman Kim. He has kept his word. And we see today as tangible progress in our efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula. But today is just the beginning. Our work will not be complete until all our fallen heroes are accounted for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:35:03] HANCOCKS: And that is the hope from officials we spoke to as well, yesterday as the ceremony was taking place in the Air base in South Korea, saying that they hope this is just the beginning that there will be more remains that will be handed back to the United Nations command, Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Paula Hancocks, thanks for there in Seoul. Well, striking new images from Yemen's capital, showing the catastrophic toll the city has injured after a three-year bombing campaign by the 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 Nick Paton Walsh, along with partner journalist Gabriel Hayyem (ph) are able give us a rare look at the devastation.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Startlingly beautiful birth plagued by silence and suffering. This is a rare window onto the trauma of besieged Sanaa. Cut off from the outside world increasingly, stories untold. Playtime among the trash, homes stripped of their dignity and shelter. Life has persisted here of the (inaudible) of Yemen's capital, despite the strangle hole around it, tightening. Houthi rebels that overthrew the government here, claim it is the stronghold and together with the Saudi led coalition besieging the city, a restricted media access to it.

With Photo journalist Gabriel Hayyem, was shown around this wreckage were Selim the Saudi missile killed 13, 10 from his family three years ago.

Uncle Helbollah, he used to sit outside, but on that day they went inside the house, they weren't sure whether he was inside. Once the missile hit, he has way an hour before we entered to get all the bodies outside, hundred meters away and if the missile hit my house would be all mosses to.

Human rights watch accused the Saudi led campaign here, of 85 instances of unlawful airstrikes in which the coalition deny. Here, a few months ago airstrikes apparently hit a gas station. Parts of the bit, just starve the capital of fuel and everything else transport brings, leading to protests outside the United Nations building here.

Here is one of the most devastating airstrikes in 2016 led to criticism over the U.S. assistance of the coalition. On the grand funeral were at least 155 were killed, thousands gathered. (Inaudible) barely survive.

I still have difficulty hearing after the blast. He will thought this all over under the struggle. Some bodies were completely burned. The strike effected all of Yemen, it is printed in my memory this scene. Even Kal Kaban, one of Yemen's architectural and historical jewels is not spared. The two stars that gleam from inside its walls. The power of palaces, there is little escape here and little desire within the outside world to do more and watch the brutality unfold. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEO)

[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: The U.S. is imposing sanctions on Turkish officials in a new effort to secure the release of American pastor, Andrew Brunson's name. He was arrested and accused of backing a coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan two years ago. He denies those charges. The U.S. blocking now the assets and properties of two top Turkish officials, Turkey calls the move hostile and says it will retaliate. Jomanah Karadsheh is tracking developments, joins us now with the latest from Istanbul. So, how is Turkey responding to the pressure of the sanctions?

JOMANAH KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lies, as you would expect, Michael. Defiance and angry response from Turkey. We have one of the two minister who was sanctioned by the United States, pretty much immediately responding over twitter yesterday downplaying the impact at the tension saying he doesn't own any outside Turkey. We also heard from the Foreign Ministry is strongly worded statement where they basically described it as an aggressive attitude by the United States that serves no purpose in saying that there will be a reciprocal response too. Also the Foreign Minister of Turkey tweeting his response and I quote, "The effort by the United States to imposed sanctions in our two ministers will not go unanswered. We cannot solve our problems until the U.S. administration understand that they cannot get it unlawful demand with this method." Now the Foreign Minister is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in Singapore on Friday and we expect this to be the main topic of discussion and if you look at Michael now, you got Turkey really backed into a corner by the United States hard to see how there will be anything, but escalation going forward. But maybe there might be some room for the de-escalation as we haven't heard yet from President Erdogan or President Trump at this point, Michael.

HOLMES: What exactly the allegation against this pastor, do they stand up to scrutiny and why now with the U.S. ramping this up.

KARADSHEH: Well Michael. He was detained Andrew Brunson living in Turkey for more than 20 years he was detained following the failed coup attempt. He was accused of spying and having links to the Kurdish militant group, the PKK and to the Gulan movement that is the group that the Turkish government was behind. That failed coup, Brunson denied this charges and say that he is being persecuted because of his faith.

You have one U.S. lawmaker who attended one of his trial session, describing it as a collection of nonsensical conspiracy theory that we've heard from the White House, U.S. officials saying that there is no real credible evidence against Brunson and they have accused Turkey of using him as a political hostage to try and get individual Turkey one extradited from the United. And you know, tied between those two NATO allies have really been strained over the past few years, but you know, in recent weeks, it did seem like they were reaching agreement on some of the issues and there was some speculation that might include the release of Andrew Brunson when his trial resumed on July 18, Michael. But that did not happened and he was move into house arrest and some seem to have trigger this angry response from the United States.

Why did this happening now? One of the reason is because his case has been under focus, he is part of these ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and the Turkish government?

[03:45:07] But some in Turkey, some in the United States are critical of the Trump administration for really focusing on this one individual when you have other dual citizen who were detain in Turkey, when there are state department employees who were also detained and were detained following that failed coup attempt and some in the U.S. feel that this perhaps for her to focus on this one case, because he is an Evangelical Christian and that is an important part of President Trump and Vice President Pence support base, Michael. HOLMES: Yes, interesting thoughts. Jomanah, good to see you.

Jomanah Karadsheh there in Istanbul. Iran 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. Our model will be designed to show Iran's ability to shut down the strategic passageway which links the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea. It is used by commercial ships from around the world and Tehran is has been exchanging, of course some sharp words with the White House and the threats have been issued, sometimes on twitter.

(Inaudible), joins us now from Teheran. He reports for the Los Angeles Times. Good to see you, so. OK. This exercises, is it about exercise or is it about sending a message?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sending a message, if there is. Actually no state run or indie or radio channels or even other officials or semi official's news viral in Iran covers that. No news about the naval maneuver of IRUC. So, on the news aside we can say there is nothing and if there is maneuver in two days from now. It means that is the first time that IRUC (inaudible) regard to catch American forces by surprise and to show it tease, because actually it's natural that after the exchange of the verbal war with two sides with America and Iran. It is predictable that in first step, after that we can come to the maneuver and that forbids after maneuver we may have military confrontations.

But so far, it is a message of flexing muscles so that we are serious in defending our naval forces in the Persian Gulf and sending our national interest in the (inaudible) the oil, and also threatening the we can, yes, we can (inaudible) or most strength, but so far as the rising that news liars are very silent about it, as it's the first time that I tried to catch American by surprise and is also my message.

HOLMES: Once again, thank you so much appreciated. Good to have you there in Tehran. We will take a short break, when we come back, a scientific breakthrough on the red planet. CNN, talks to the scientist who say they have found evidence of liquid water on Mars. Also we will take a stroll through the clouds. Two giant hands holding one of Vietnam's newest and most popular tourist attraction.

[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Police in Sweden searching for some rather daring jewels and the priceless artifacts that they stole. Two crowns of the golden orbs snatched from the Cathedral on Tuesday. The crooks fleeing the scene on the speed boat dock at the nearby lake. The jewels had been buried with Swedish royalty in the 17th century before being put on display. Ana Stewart report on what some are calling the Swedish job.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

ANNA STEWART, CNN PRODUCER: It was a daring daytime heist that could had been written by Hollywood. Priceless Royal jewel stolen from the Cathedral in regional Sweden to seem making their getaway on a speed boat. Well, police have launch a massive manhunt for those responsible, so far they have no success. Authorities are appealing for public help and have released this photo of the 17th century jewels which originally belong to former Swedish Monex, Car 9th and Christina.

Police say the thieves smash the security display case and made off with the two crowns and one of the orbs. No one was hurt. The cathedral had been open to the public from 10:00 in the morning. The robbery happened just before lunch. According local press reports, one witness saw people running away from the cathedral towards a waiting boat. The police search both on land and sea to find the perpetrators. The parish says while the jewels are valuable, it is the cultural significance to Sweden's history, which is more important.

The highest record of a daring robbery in Venice, early this year when thieves mingled with visitors to an exhibition before brazing and making off with gems, the Qatari world collection. In that case the jewels where never recovered. Ana Stewart, CNN, London.

(END VIDEO)

HOLMES: How much time do you spend on Facebook and Instagram, well get ready to find out the social media platforms are rolling out new features on their mobile apps? The track your daily and weekly usage. Users can also temporarily mute pushed notifications and you can decide when it's time to cut yourself off with a reminder that alert you when you hit your time limit. They are watching you.

Israelis top supermarkets, plans to give out free plastic bags to shoppers again. Cold, says it is dropping plans to charge for reusable plastic bags. The grocery train phase out single-use plastic bags last month after the bags were banned in most states and territories of Australia and initially the chain plan to only provide its new reusable bags, free of charge, temporarily while customers adjusted to the change. But the thicker reusable bags will remain complementary. After shoppers complained about having to pay, $.15 for each bag. Environmental groups are outraged going Cold's reversal, a betrayal.

The planet Mars has long been regarded as dry and lifeless, but no longer, scientist in Italy recently finding evidence of liquid water deep beneath the Martian surface. CNN's Delia Gallagher with our report.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: The thrilling discovery of water on Mars was made by this radar called Marsons which penetrated the dry surface of the red planet with its waves and send back its findings to earth. To this computer in the physics laboratory of Rome's (inaudible) University. Professor (inaudible) and Sebastian louder and their team of four scientists were waiting to analyze it. They were astonished to see this bright line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This indicate the presence of liquid water at the base of the ice layer. GALLAGHER: the radar's wave signal the presence of water, a

potentially huge discovery. The lapse simulated the -10 to -30 degrees Celsius conditions on Mars in this cooler and used lava rocks from Sicily and Chile similar to the rocks on Mars to re-create conditions there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are going to make sure there the delicate property at the base, which is a physical measure that has you if the soil has water.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the fact that the liquid water is there make it more and make it easier to think about the possible (inaudible) biological for the development of the maintenance of some - some life.

[03:55:00] GALLAGHER: Scientist say the water on Mars is salty, which is why we need liquid rather than freezing as 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, the 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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The main problem is so water, bringing water so if you can find someone water that would be pretty good. So even if expect water from ice. Although Professor Antonelli (ph) is doubtful that humans will be on Mars in the near future. She is confident that it will happen.

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

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

(END VIDEO)

HOLMES: And finally with the help of some innovative engineering tourist can take a walk in the clouds through the mountains of central Vietnam. The sky high bridge has attracted hordes of visitors out the pictures were posted online. Have a look at it. Set on more than 1400 meters above sea level. The Golden walkway sits on that. A colossal pair of hands, one of the designer says it is main to revoke giant hands of a god pulling a strip of gold out of the earth, and looks like that. Since it open in June, the golden bridge had been one of Vietnam's most popular tourist attractions among the millions who visit the country each year.

Thanks for being with us. I'm Michael Holmes, remember to connect with me anytime on Instagram and twitter at home CNN. The news continues now with the remarkable Max Foster in London. You are very lucky.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)