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U.S. Reimposes Sanctions on Iran; Trump Tower Meeting; Maduro Skips Rally; Indonesia Earthquake. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired August 7, 2018 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Significant U.S. sanctions against Iran are now back in effect, the result of president Donald Trump backing out of the Iran nuclear deal. Hear how Iran's president is responding.
Plus, the desperate search for survivors. Nearly 100 people are confirmed dead in the devastating earthquake in Indonesia and many more are feared buried under the rubble.
And later, an unusual admission. The U.S.-led coalition in Syria now saying dozens of innocent civilians were killed in airstrikes during the fight against ISIS.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: At this hour, the first round of punishing U.S. sanctions against Iran are back in effect and Iran's president warns that America will regret the move. After months of calling it the worst deal ever, U.S. president Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May.
His decision puts Washington at odds with the U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China. Hassan Rouhani said Tehran will negotiate with the U.S. only after Washington proves its trustworthiness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): If someone is willing to use a knife against an opponent, stabs that opponent while simultaneously saying that we wish to establish a dialogue and converse with one another, the first requirement is for them to extract the knife from the body of that opponent before establishing dialogue.
So I think the aim here is to sow doubt within the mind of the Iranian nation as well as use that to their advantage somehow in the upcoming midterm congressional elections. It's a psychological warfare against the people of Iran. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The sanctions cover the purchase of U.S. dollars and trade in gold metals and automobiles. In November, more damaging sanctions against oil exports go into effect. Joining us now from Tehran is "The New York Times" correspondent Thomas Erdbrink.
Good to have you with us.
The big question is what impact will these sanctions likely have on Iran's economy?
THOMAS ERDBRINK, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, the Iranian economy has already been reeling from the news that the sanctions are coming. The Iranian currency lost over 80 percent in value over the past 12 months.
It's had to do, of course, also with mismanagement by local officials of the economy but, of course, also with the impeding sanctions that were announced from May onwards by President Trump.
Now the Iranian government has tried to shield itself by hoarding dollars, if you will, by trying to restrict the trade in foreign currency in order to have a buffer for these hard days to come.
And yesterday, when President Rouhani had this interview on state television that you just quoted from, he assured the Iranians in his own way that there would be no problems, that the country had enough foreign currency and that the economy would continue to move forward as it had.
Well, that wasn't well received by all viewers. Some people said he painted a rosy picture of the future. And people are generally worried, of course, over the impact of these new sanctions. They are worried that the real, the national currency, will devalue even further.
CHURCH: So how likely is it that these restored sanctions will force Iran back to the negotiating table, which is, of course, what they're designed to do?
ERDBRINK: Well, the last run of sanctions, which was sort of similar, actually made -- helped to bring Iran to the negotiating table. At this point, President Rouhani and the other Iranian leaders try to tell to their -- to their fellow Iranians that they can withstand these sanctions for a longer time.
President Rouhani said last night that Russia and China will be able to help out, that they will buy oil as they've done before. And, of course, President Rouhani highlighted the fact that, during the last sanction period, the whole world was against Iran, now America's going at it alone.
Rouhani highlighted that Europe can play a role in helping out Iran to battle these sanctions. But, of course, President Rouhani's --
ERDBRINK: -- also had to deal with protests in the last days, in the last months. We have seen sporadic protests in the last week. We have seen a range of protests, back-to-back protests in several Iranian cities.
Now these protests haven't always been that big in numbers, especially if you compare them to other protests going on in the world. But they're definitely a threat to the calmness that President Rouhani's trying to portray. And he addressed these protests, also, last night by saying that he is hearing the people's demands and trying to help them out.
CHURCH: Thomas Erdbrink, joining us live from Tehran. Many thanks to you.
So let's get more on this with Geneive Abdo, she is a resident scholar with The Arabia Foundation and author of the book, "Mecca and Main Street."
Great to have you with us.
GENIEVE ABDO, THE ARABIA FOUNDATION: Thank you.
CHURCH: President Trump said he was open to talks with Iran's leadership. Tehran rejected his offer initially but now Iran's president says he will talk to Mr. Trump right now.
What changed his mind, the pressure of restored sanctions or something else?
ABDO: Well, if you look at his speech closely, which he gave several hours ago today, he didn't necessarily say he would talk to the U.S. He said that, I think, as he put it, once the knife is removed, I will speak to the U.S.; the knife, meaning the sanctions.
So he's not, I think, based on what he said today, he is not willing to talk under the current conditions. He wants the sanctions, first, to be lifted.
CHURCH: Yes, and, of course, we know that the United States won't do that. President Rouhani said Iran has always welcomed dialogue and negotiations.
Is that the case?
ABDO: Well, they've welcomed dialogue and negotiations somewhat on their terms and the -- from the view of the Trump administration, which is, at the time that the nuclear agreement, which is the focus of this whole conversation, at the time that it was negotiated and then signed in 2015, there was somewhat of a different kind of debate in Washington than exists today.
At the time, the Obama administration believed that by negotiating with Iran, this would make Iran more compliant on other issues, not just their nuclear program, the other issues being their militarization in the Arab world. So their military activity in Iraq and Syria, in Lebanon, through Hezbollah and then, of course, in Yemen.
But since that time, what we have seen, actually, is an increase in military activity, an tremendous increase in spending on Iran's proxies. So what the Obama administration had hoped would happen, which is that Iran would put -- would curtail its nuclear programs and then the United States would then be able to negotiate on other issues, really hasn't happened.
So that's why there is this very fierce effort by the Trump administration to hold Iran accountable on its military activity in the Middle East. And this is really what's driving the withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, because, from the Trump administration's perspective, they don't really see any progress.
CHURCH: Right. And President Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, is calling Iran's response here propaganda.
Is that what it is?
ABDO: I think so, frankly. I actually was a correspondent for "The Guardian" in Iran for a number of years, so I know the country well. And I think that they do play with words. And so we're seeing a lot of rhetoric on both sides.
I don't know -- you could ask the question of the Trump administration.
Were they really sincere about their invitation to talk to the Iranians?
We don't know. But I do think that today's speech by President Rouhani and many statements that have been made by Revolutionary Guard commanders, by the supreme leader himself, since May 12th, when President Trump withdrew from the Iran agreement, the nuclear agreement, have not been all that truthful.
CHURCH: Yes, and, on that point, President Rouhani, he emphasized the fact that Mr. Trump has backed out of previous dialogue with Tehran and has withdrawn from international agreements.
Is that the U.S. president's Achilles heel?
ABDO: Well, you know, I have to say that it doesn't lend much credibility to the U.S. government. The U.S. government signed a nuclear agreement with E.U. member states, with Iran, that they then later --
ABDO: -- reneged upon. So from his -- that -- on that very point, yes, you could say -- make a very legitimate argument that the United States has not kept its promise.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, there has been no evidence so far to date from the Atomic Energy Agency, for example, from the U.N., that Iran violated the agreement.
So if you look at it strictly in those terms, Iranians -- the Iranian government has a point. But if you look at it in the broader context of what was negotiated and the details of the agreement, I think that's where we get into much more sophisticated arguments and questions about why this deal was even signed to begin with.
CHURCH: Right. Geneive Abdo, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your analysis with us. We appreciate it.
ABDO: Thank you, Rosemary. Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, the prosecution's star witness will return to the stand in the coming hours in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Rick Gates was once Manafort's top deputy. Now he's cooperating with the government in exchange for his own guilty plea. CNN's Jim Sciutto has the details.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It was a remarkable scene inside that Virginia courthouse as Rick Gates, the former deputy to Paul Manafort, sitting just 10 feet away from Manafort at the defendant's table, as Gates recounted a series of crimes, alleged crimes, that he says he performed at the direction of Manafort, including setting up 15 foreign bank accounts that they did not report to U.S. tax authorities, filing false tax returns.
He also revealed that he stole money from Manafort, hundreds of thousands of dollars, by filing false expense claims. Prosecutors revealing that and other new crimes that were not contained in his original plea agreement. There is more to come on Tuesday. Gates will return to the stand -- Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Donald Trump's advisers want him to stop tweeting about his son's 2016 meeting with Russians in an effort to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. A source tells CNN the tweets only give oxygen to the story and could give special counsel Robert Mueller even more damaging evidence in his Russia investigation. CNN's Jim Acosta reports.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Keeping out of the public eye while on vacation in New Jersey, President Trump still managed to ignite a firestorm, where else but on his smartphone, tweeting about that now infamous Trump Tower meeting with the Russians in 2016, that he's worried about his son Donald Trump Jr. being in legal jeopardy over the matter.
The president tweeted over the weekend: "This was a meeting to get information an opponent. Totally legal and done all the time in politics and it went nowhere. I did not know about it."
The president's legal team is trying to clean up the mess, privately urging Mr. Trump to stop tweeting and clarifying that the special counsel's office is fully aware of the meeting's purpose.
JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think it's very important to point out that, in a situation like this, you have -- over time, facts develop. That's what investigations do.
ACOSTA: The problem for the president, Trump Jr. initially released a misleading statement to "The New York Times" about the meeting, which was also attended by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Trump Jr.'s statement said: "We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children." No mention that it was about getting Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: You're sending your son, a family member, to talk with a foreign government that is an active enemy or potential adversary at least of this country to talk about information that you could use against your opponent? The optics of that are absolutely terrifying and very disturbing.
ACOSTA: The president has previously acknowledged the true purpose of the meeting days after that initial misleading statement was issued by his son.
DONALD TRUMP SR., PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It is called opposition research or even research into your opponent.
ACOSTA: Even as the White House was offering conflicting explanations, insisting it was about Russian adoptions.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for a discussion about adoption and the Magnitsky Act.
ACOSTA: The president's team also misled the public about whether Mr. Trump was involved in drafting that statement to "The New York Times" for his son.
SEKULOW: I do want to be clear, the president was not involved in drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He certainly didn't dictate, but, like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion, like any father would do.
ACOSTA: Now Mr. Trump's team concedes he dictated that statement.
SEKULOW: I had bad information at that time. I made a mistake in my statement. I talked about that before. That happens when you have cases like this.
ACOSTA: A key question that remains, whether the president knew about the meeting's true purpose ahead of time. Trump Jr. insisted his father -- [02:15:00]
ACOSTA: -- didn't know about the meeting.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Did you tell your father anything about that?
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: No. It was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell.
ACOSTA: Despite all of those changing stories, the president's top advisers still defend his characterization that the Russia investigation is a hoax.
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The issue for the president I think is the political argument made by his opponents that somehow he conspired with the Russians and they helped him defeat Hillary Clinton. That's what he thinks is the hoax. That's what I understand it to be.
CHURCH: Joining me now is CNN political analyst, Julian Zelizer. He's also a historian and professor at Princeton University.
Thanks so much for being with us.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: Let's start with that Sunday tweet from the U.S. president where he admits the now infamous June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower was about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.
He said this, specifically, "This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics and it went nowhere. I did not know about it."
So Julian, Mr. Trump's advisers and lawyers want him to stop tweeting about it.
Why do you think he admitted this?
And what impact would an admission on this scale likely have on his presidency?
ZELIZER: Well, the admission jeopardizes his son, even though initially he said he wanted to protect his son. And at the same time, his talking about it brought the story right back front and center and brought back the fact that, since this story was originally reported, many, many months ago, his story keeps shifting over and over again.
And so his credibility is nil.
And I think right now people are wondering once again why did he have that meeting and what were the intentions? CHURCH: Indeed. And, of course, we know Robert Mueller's team has been negotiating with Mr. Trump's legal team about an interview with the president. And now we hear from his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that they will respond in the coming days.
How dangerous is it for the president to agree to an interview, either in writing or in person?
And does that Sunday tweet pretty much highlight the dangers ahead?
ZELIZER: Yes, I think his counsel are naturally worried about him speaking to Mueller, given that Mueller is very good at this and will be very contained, where Trump says many things, contradictory things, and things that aren't true. And that could put him in danger.
But in some ways, the tweet might explain why the lawyers are open to it. Maybe right now, they want a more controlled situation, because his own advisers really have absolutely no control of what he says on a daily basis.
CHURCH: Yes, of course. And, of course, I want to turn to the Manafort trial. Rick Gates testifying against Paul Manafort, both worked on the Trump campaign, of course.
What impact would you expect all of that to have on the Trump presidency going forward?
ZELIZER: Very big. I think this story, even though it seems separate, is actually integral. Paul Manafort was the head of Donald Trump's campaign before he was president, at a critical moment in the summer of 2016.
And if this trial unfolds and Rick Gates' testimony is privileged over Paul Manafort's defense, here we have a top-ranking official who was acting in illegal ways and highly corrupt. And this will open the door to more inquiry about what he was doing and what his actions have to do with all this Russian interference that very summer.
CHURCH: And, Julian, of course, when you look at all of the troubles facing President Trump, if it were any other president in the past, we would all be saying, my goodness, this man is not going to survive.
But Mr. Trump is a different type of president, isn't he?
He's -- he seems able to move forward, despite all of the chaos that surrounds him and all of these problems that he has to cope with. And each time he seems to come out looking pretty clean.
ZELIZER: I think that's true. I think there's so much chaos, at some level, people are numb to any particular story and that actually benefits him. But more importantly, he still can count on solid Republican support and that's the underlying story.
More than him or more than some kind of magic skill he has politically, he has a GOP on Capitol Hill that, so far, other than occasionally reprimanding him, has done absolutely nothing to endanger his presidency. And if he can count on that, he feels pretty safe.
CHURCH: Julian Zelizer, always a pleasure to have you on our show. Thank you so much.
Let's take a short break here. Still to come --
CHURCH: -- Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was a no-show at what was supposed to be his first public appearance since an alleged assassination attempt.
And stunned survivors are coming back to see what's left of their homes after a massive earthquake destroys entire villages in Indonesia. We'll have the details for you on the other side of the break.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
After surviving an alleged assassination attempt, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro skipped a rally of his supporters in Caracas on Monday. It's unclear why he didn't show up for what was supposed to be his first public appearance since last Saturday's alleged drone attack.
But a couple hours ago, Mr. Maduro posted this video on Twitter, claiming he has enough proof to link the outgoing Colombian government for the attack. President Juan Manuel Santos has denied any involvement. More details now from Stefano Pozzebon in Caracas.
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: There are still many questions unanswered in relation with that alleged assassination attempt against the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro.
On Monday morning, the attorney general of Venezuela informed the press that they have arrested every material authorize he called of this international terrorist group and even the person who manufactured the explosive device that were used in that incident on Saturday morning.
But still, the questions about how could it be possible to fly a drone at such a close tight military event, who held the license and who were the people behind this, after the Maduro government blamed its Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, to be the mastermind of this attack.
Meanwhile, the situation, the economic situation here in Caracas is still very, very serious and goes from bad to worse. People here in Venezuela queue every day for food, water, public transportation (INAUDIBLE) and they're not really paying too much of attention out of these allegations of a supposed attempt to assassinate the president because they are too busy to try to get to the end of the day or trying to get to the end of the month.
The economic situation in Caracas remains very, very serious and this is the thing that is very much at the forefront of every Venezuelans right now. For CNN, Stefano Pozzebon, Caracas.
CHURCH: In Central Indonesia, rescue teams are searching for survivors of Sunday's devastating earthquake as efforts to evacuate thousands of tourists continue. Falling buildings killed most of the 98 people who died in that quake.
Some 20,000 people now have no homes to return to, just piles of debris. With water and power still out in stricken areas, many are sleeping outside, fearing more aftershocks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We might be still in trauma after three to six months. I don't think it will be easy to return to a normal life. We need to do it slowly because the trauma was extraordinarily bad. We dare not to sleep indoors. What is our plan for the future?
We don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN Indonesia correspondent Yudi Yudawan joins us now from Northern Lombok in Indonesia.
Yudi, describe to us the situation there on the ground and how people are coping with the constant threat now of aftershocks.
YUDI YUDAWAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary, until now, a moment before I am doing this live report, we still can feel a tremor still continuing, shaking and struck to the north, Lombok starting from the last Sunday afternoon.
And behind me, this is hundreds of victims being treated and they're scared like this (ph) because the local hospital, the North Lombok local hospitals, is not -- cannot be -- provide the treatment and the building is quite dangerous to being collapse because of the earthquake continuing tremor still happening until this time.
So for those people living under the tent or those people being -- replacing from their roots, from their home, they're still living in the temporary tent. And after they feel the tremor like we feel last night, all people just running away and then trying to find the place, the safety one, (INAUDIBLE) in front of me, there's a tainjun field (ph) the one and only field really safety to make them feeling secure after the tremor happened. Many times until now from the rescue and department team in Indonesia
told us 100 tremors still happen until the moment before I'm doing this live report.
CHURCH: Yes, that is a constant worry for people now. Yudi Yudawan, thank you so much for that report from the island of Lombok. Appreciate it.
Well, a fire season of unprecedented proportions. California is now dealing with the largest fire in the state's history and the weather may not give firefighters a break.
And the U.S.-led military coalition makes a U-turn on the Raqqa offensive in a new report. Why Amnesty International says its findings are just the tip of the iceberg. We'll explain when we come back.
[02:30:23] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church. Time to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. A number of U.S. sanctions against Iran went back into effect just a short time ago. They are the result of President Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The sanctions cover the purchase of U.S. dollars and trade in metals and automobiles.
More damaging sanctions on Iran's oil exports are set to take effect in November. A miraculous rescue in earthquake-ravaged Central Indonesia two days after a powerful earthquake hit the region. Rescue workers have pulled a woman alive from the debris of a collapsed store. She has been taken to a hospital near Lombok. Sunday's quake killed at least 98 people, injured hundreds, and destroyed thousands of homes. Canada's criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record and the treatment of women is threatening relations between the two countries.
Riyadh has ordered the Canadian Ambassador to leave the country and it's vowing to relocate thousands of Saudi students on scholarships in Canada. Well, now to a stunning admission from the U.S.-led military coalition that fought in Syria. A little less than two months after slamming a report from Amnesty International, the coalition now admits airstrikes killed 77 people in Raqqa, Syria last year. The offensive to drive ISIS from their self-proclaimed capital began over a year ago.
Amnesty says airstrikes like this one killed and injured thousands and probably breached international humanitarian law. The rights group also blames the coalition's repeated use of explosives for leveling the City of Raqqa. The coalition says it investigated and released its own report saying, in part, the investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
In a statement, Amnesty International said this admission was just the tip of the iceberg and their research indicates a much higher death toll. Well, Donatella Rivera joins me now from London. She is the Senior Crisis Advisor for Amnesty International. Good to have you with us.
DONATELLA RIVERA, SENIOR CRISIS ADVISER, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Good morning.
CHURCH: So how likely is it that the U.S.-led coalition would have admitted inadvertently killing dozens of civilians in its Raqqa offensive if Amnesty International had not pursued its own investigation and do describe to us the evidence that your research uncovered?
RIVERA: I spent two weeks in Raqqa with a colleague interviewing survivors and witnesses and carrying out site visits, looking at the specific locations that had been bombed by the coalition looking for remnants of munitions, and any other pertinent information. It is possible to do that kind of work. We at Amnesty International did it on the ground in Raqqa and so should the coalition. However, until today, the coalition has not done any field investigation on the grounds in Raqqa.
It has not interviewed survivors and witnesses. And it is fair to say that had Amnesty International not carried out this investigation, the coalition would not have had admitted to this particular civilian casualties, these 77 civilians killed and many more injured. Now, this is really only the tip of the iceberg. Up to then, the coalition had only admitted to 23 civilian casualties. We know from everybody we've spoken to on the ground in Raqqa that hundreds and hundreds of civilians were killed in coalition bombardments.
It is imperative that the coalition should do the right thing which has not been done until now, and carry out a proper investigation so that the survivors and the victims' families can get justice and reparation. The coalition will always admit to having been responsible for bombardments when organizations like Amnesty International put in the time and resources to do the investigation, but we cannot do the coalition's job.
[02:35:08] We've been able to investigate a very, very small number of civilian casualties. There are many hundreds more, and ultimately, it is the job of the coalition to do those investigations, to do them properly, and to come clean on how many civilians their bombardments have killed.
CHURCH: Right. And just finally, what then if they go ahead and do these investigations because they claim they've done their own investigation? But what are you hoping to come out of this because what are you hoping that the victims' families may receive as a result of this and of course this admission?
RIVERA: Well, first of all, just to set the record straight, the coalition has promised to do field site investigations in Raqqa and to interview witnesses and survivors and by its own admission, it has not done so until today. So that must start without delay. And secondly, the victims, those who have been maimed for life, injured, those who have lost their loved ones, they deserve justice and reparations, so this is what the coalition must do, proper investigation and then compensation and reparation to the victims' families and to the survivors.
CHURCH: All right. Donatella Rivera from Amnesty International, thank you so much for joining us.
RIVERA: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, the cabinet in Bangladesh is sending a new road safety law to parliament for approval. Tens of thousands of protesters have been demanding changes to transport laws after two students were killed by a speeding bus last week. The new law would include five years in prison for reckless driving and would impose the death penalty for anyone who deliberately causes a deadly traffic accident. A prominent human rights activist was arrested amid those protests.
He claims there are larger factors at play than just road safety and that the media are being stifled, and we will talk more about that next hour with our guest from the committee to protect journalists. California is now facing the largest wildfire ever record in the state's history. The fire has burned more than 115,000 hectares in an area larger than New York City. The fire is 30 percent contained and has destroyed more than 11,000 structures.
These 16 large wildfires now ravaging California have become so intense. The U.S. military is now stepping in to help. (INAUDIBLE) Pedram Javaheri joins us now with more. So Pedram, do tell us about the historic nature of these fires in California.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's remarkable and what's most remarkable, Rosemary, welcome back. It's really how quickly this has all occurred over the last several weeks going in from more of the Carr fire. That was the most impressive at one point in time and still an impressive fire in and of itself. But you take a look, the Mendocino Complex fire now becoming the largest fire in California State history and what I want to point out with this is look at the top ten most destructive fires in state history as far as large -- as far as size and how large they are concerned.
You see July 2018. You see December 2017. This is all dating back to over 100 years of data, and eight of the top ten occurring since the year 2003, and that is one element to share with you. And another element is, of course, the 10 hottest years around the world. Look at the correlation here, eight again of the top ten hottest years occurring since 2005. Another incredible perspective. Then you look at the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere at 410 parts per million units of measure here.
That's the highest ever observed over the past 800,000 years and you look at this and you say, Pedram, how do we know exactly what was going on 800,000 years ago? But very reliable method to find this out is actually taking ice core samples out of the Arctic and in the Antarctic, and there are air bubbles trapped inside this ice core samples, and you can actually go down quite a ways and bring these large samples out and inside these air bubbles once you dry them out and measure them.
You can get a good reliable estimation of the parts per million and that's precisely what has been happening here is everything corresponding with what has occurred across portions of California, Rosy.
CHURCH: Yes. Thanks for that. And, Pedram, also across the Pacific, Japan has been experiencing extreme weather. What are you learning about the storm that's headed toward Tokyo?
JAVAHERI: Yes, absolutely. You know, so we have been very busy of course across portions of Japan. You take a look, the tropical development in place from all the way down towards the south and depression across portions of east of (INAUDIBLE) the Shanshan is the next system, and this is a typhoon parked just off the coast of Tokyo as you said, Rosy. At this point, not very impressive on satellite imagery, only equivalent to a category one system. But again, look what it has in store and look where it's headed directly towards Tokyo (INAUDIBLE) Tokyo point -- it's way just to the east of (INAUDIBLE) but we know what's happened here in recent months.
[02:40:14] We've had tremendous heat. We've had tremendous rainfall and if anything comes from this system is going to be the tremendous rainfall just north of Tokyo there, so certainly the flooding concern remains pretty high across this region. One piece of good news is notice the temps cool off because of all the wet weather and that's not the only system. Remember, we talked about the three systems. Well, storm number two to the south. Guess where that's headed?
Right there towards Southern Japan, Rosy, out towards Hiroshima. So this is a pattern here that certainly has been an incredible one for our friends across Japan that have dealt with so much weather and once again a couple of tropical systems to look at the next few days.
CHURCH: Totally, a lot to cover there. Pedram, thanks so much. We'll talk again next hour. Appreciate it.
CHURCH: And still to come, some dating apps are being banned for U.S. troops deployed overseas. Hear why the Pentagon claims apps like Tinder pose a security risk. Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, did you speak about election interference as well? Did that come up?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: A U.S. Senator's surprising and confusing response. Plus, reaction from Moscow just ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. For some big changes are coming for U.S. troops deployed around the world. iPhones, Fitbits, and dating apps like Tinder are being banned by the Pentagon because they risk revealing the user's location. This all started in January when a fitness tracking app revealed the locations of U.S. troops around the world essentially mapping U.S. bases by showing exercise patterns. The ban applies to smartphones, fitness trackers, and dating apps.
The devices themselves are not necessarily banned, but the geolocation feature must be turned off. The Pentagon says the punishment for violating the rule is up to the commanders. In a statement, the Pentagon says and I'm quoting here, "It goes back to making sure we're not giving the enemy an unfair advantage." Well, Senator Rand Paul says it's not the issues that have Washington and Moscow at odds. It's the fact that they're not talking about the issues.
Paul is in Russia right now meeting with government leaders, and he's invited Russian lawmakers to visit Washington. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports.
[02:45:03] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in Moscow, for talks with top Russian lawmakers and other government officials. Now, he calls this engagement says that he wants to restart a dialogue between Russia and the United States.
Of course, that relationship has been a lot of turmoil since the election of President Trump, and the allegations of Russian meddling in that election.
Now, Senator Rand Paul, we asked him about whether or not he'd raised the issue of election meddling with the Russian officials that he was meeting with. He sort of dodged the question, here's what he had to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, did you speak about election interference, as well? Did that come up?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: We had general discussions about a lot of issues. And basically, we've decided that right now what we're trying to do is have dialogue. And I don't think we solve issues other than seeing our biggest issue right now is no dialogue. It isn't the, the issues at hand, the issues that we can't even have a discussion of issues because we have no dialogue.
So, we're not going to get into any of the differences other than we're trying to agree to have dialogue.
PLEITGEN: For his part, Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, would chair the meeting on the Russian side, said that first of all, Russia denies being behind any sort of election meddling in the 2016 election. And also said that Russia would not meddle in the election in 2018, as well.
Of course, those midterms that are coming up very soon. The Russians are also quite happy about the fact that Rand Paul is here. Even though they do say they don't expect any sort of improvement in the relations between the U.S. and Russia any time soon.
However, one of the things that Rand Paul did do is he invited Russian lawmakers to come to Washington for talks there. Later, he also said this is according to the RIA Novosti news agency that there was a hysteria in America about sanctions. And that in many ways, President Trump's hands were ties in trying to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
CHURCH: Now, one of the issues complicating U.S.-Russian relations is the string of mysterious deaths of journalists and opposition leaders around the world. The latest incident comes from the Central African Republic. CNN's Brian Todd has the details. BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Disturbing questions about the murders
of three Russian journalists, Alexander Rustow (INAUDIBLE), Kirill Radchenko and Orkhan Djemal were in the war-torn Central African Republic when their vehicle was ambushed.
CNN has learned, the three men were investigating the activities of a shadowy Russian private military firm called, Wagner.
SARAH MENDELSON, FORMER AMBASSADOR, UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL: The Kremlin doesn't seem to want any information about Wagner down, right? They don't want any information about what Wagner has done in Eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin doesn't want any discussion of the casualties in Syria.
TODD: Earlier this year, dozens of Russian contractors working for Wagner were killed in U.S. airstrikes in Syria, when Syrian rebels they were helping assaulted an oil facility held by U.S. backed rebels.
Vladimir Putin's government has never acknowledged that Wagner paramilitaries were in Syria and isn't admitting their presence in the Central African Republic. The Kremlin saying only that Russian military and civilian "instructors" are there to train that country's military.
The head of Wagner has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for helping pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. He is closely tied to an oligarch named Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has strong connections with Putin. Prigozhin was indicted this year by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, for funding a group accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
RUSLAN LEVIEV, CONFLICT INTELLIGENCE TEAM (through translator): The group of companies controlled by Prigozhin, includes many well known to U.S. structures. One of the most famous projects is the troll factory that specialized in propaganda and informational war.
TODD: Prigozhin has denied any links to the Wagner paramilitaries. And Putin has always denied targeting journalists. But this isn't the first time a Russian journalist investigating Wagner has died under mysterious circumstances.
Maxim Borodin who had broken a story about Wagner's activities in Syria was killed when he reportedly fell from his fifth-floor apartment in April. At the time, Russian official said they didn't suspect foul play.
Now, human rights observers caution the Central African Republic has been wracked with so much chaos and violence that it's possible the three Russian journalists were targeted more randomly.
MENDELSON: It's a dangerous place to be, and it could have been set up as a robbery, it could have been a robbery that went bad, and they were killed.
TODD: The Kremlin is implying strongly that it had nothing to do with the deaths of those three journalists. The Russian Foreign Ministry saying that the Russian embassy in the Central African Republic didn't even know the journalists were in the country.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, says the journalists ignored warnings about venturing out of zones controlled by local law enforcement. The Foreign Ministry says it is working with local law enforcement officials to investigate the murders. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
[02:49:52] CHURCH: The culinary world has lost one of its top chefs. Joel Robuchon, who seemed to collect Michelin stars for his restaurants around the world, died Monday morning in Geneva. He was suffering from cancer.
Diners in cities such as Hong Kong, Las Vegas, and Paris say they will remember him for one of his signature dishes, mashed potatoes. And they are glad to have experienced the wonderful dishes he created.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Well, I was very sad. Like many people I think, it's really a shame. He left us, but he'll be leaving us with a beautiful legacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He was a great chef. He represented French cuisine and gastronomy, and more widely French heritage. So it's a great loss, but there will be many to follow in his footsteps, I'm sure. And a new generation will take over in the kitchen.
CHURCH: Not only generous with a plate of food, Robuchon was also generous with his expertise. Mentoring celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Eric Ripert. Robuchon was 73 years old.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O'DONNELL, ACTRESS, COMEDIAN: The more people that show up here eventually, will take over all of D.C. and they'll have no choice but to resign. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Actress Rosie O'Donnell, there, a foe of Donald Trump long before he was elected president. She joined the anti-Trump protests outside the White House, Monday, along with a group of Broadway actors.
Rosie O'Donnell's message to those gathered was get out and vote in the November midterm election. And she talked more about the push with CNN's Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: I think that on Election Day, we're going to show up in a huge way, in a way that we haven't ever seen before in the United States. And people have just really had enough. They've had enough of a president who separates families and puts babies in cages.
You know all of the catchphrases, every day he does something worse than the day before. And he tops it, and tops it, and tops it. I believe that Trump is loathed in America. That people are embarrassed and ashamed of who he is. And that come to Election Day, we're going to stand up at the polls and let him know.
And unless he goes in and has the Russians kind of fix it like he did last time in 2016, you know, we're going to see him gone and that's what I'm waiting and hoping for. And hoping that people across the country are inspired to use their own voice in whatever way to get people to know that this country is worth fighting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And you may recall Rosie's long-time feud with Mr. Trump, during which the two exchanged insults and called each other names.
Well, that's not to Mr. Trump's only Hollywood critic. Last month someone took a pickaxe to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We've just learned the man accused of destroying the star, Austin Clay is out of jail on bail.
In fact, he spoke Monday, at the West Hollywood City Council Meeting. City leaders there voted unanimously to urge the removal of the star altogether.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUSTIN CLAY, ACCUSED TRUMP STAR VANDAL: Hello, my name is Austin Michael Clay, and you may know me as the man who actually destroyed Donald Trump's star. So, it's certain that other people will vandalize the star. I think that violence will continue around the star. And I think that's one of the reasons why it's so important to get it removed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: With pointing out, the vote is not binding. Since the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is in charge of the Walk of Fame which is designated a California historic landmark.
We are learning, President Donald Trump has another T.V. bingeing habit. And Axios report says Mr. Trump watches replays of his debate and rally performances. Taking pleasure in reviewing what he thinks are his best moments. Here is our Jeanne Moos.
[02:55:07] JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You know who loves watching Trump rallies? Trump. The president is often portrayed as the type who likes looking at himself on mirrors.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's going to be you.
MOOS: And now Axios is reporting he enjoys replaying his rallies on the T.V. in a dining room next to the Oval Office. Imagine reliving all that fist pumping, finger pointing, and waving. Give yourself a hand for how you tossed out protesters.
TRUMP: Goodbye darling.
MOOS: Got out the vote.
TRUMP: Get your asses out tomorrow and vote.
MOOS: And confused your critics with puzzling sound bites.
TRUMP: You see what they do? Bing, bing right, you see what they are doing?
MOOS: The White House wouldn't comment. But Axios reports, "When watching replays, Trump will interject commentary, reveling in his most controversial lines, 'Wait for it. See what I did there?' And he'll say." Whether it be using insulting nicknames.
MOOS: Or imitating himself if he acted more like other presidents.
TRUMP: I'm very presidential.
MOOS: There are parts the president might prefer to a fast-forward through. Like the other day when he said --
TRUMP: Flamingo dancers from Argentina. On the Tallahassee trail.
MOOS: Well, actually it's the Appalachian Trail, and they're called Flamenco dancers. Someone tweeted, President Trump this is a flamingo dancer. Axios reports that in the early days of the administration, President Trump loved re-watching his debates with Hillary. This was one of his favorite exchanges.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.
TRUMP: Because you'd be in jail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary Clinton.
MOOS: But replays don't always age well. These days that in jail stuff is hitting closer to home. Jeanne Moos, CNN.
TRUMP: Because you'd be in jail.
MOOS: New York.
CHURCH: Thanks for your company this hour, I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter, love to hear from you. And I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN.