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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Trump-Backed Candidate Clings to Small Lead in Ohio; Republicans Look to Tough Battles in November; Firefighters in California Battles 17 Major Blazes; Australia Faces Worst Drought in Decades; Trump Administration Hits Russian with Sanctions Over Poisoning; Saudi Foreign Minister Says Canada Is to Blame for Current Row over Women's Rights; Trump Sends Counteroffer to Mueller on Interview; Boris Johnson under Fire over Burqa Comments; Vaccinations Against Ebola Virus Now Underway In Congo; Twitter Says It Won't Cave Into Pressure To Ban InfoWars; Countries Look at Ways to Track and Destroy Drones. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired August 8, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] CLARISSA WARD, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN. I'm Clarissa Ward in for Hala Gorani. Donald Trump claimed
victory in a race too close to call. Why a race in Ohio is so closely scrutinized. Also, ahead, a spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada grows
worse, we'll look at why the kingdom's crown prince is taking such an aggressive stance.
And Twitter becomes lone holdout among tech companies saying it won't ban a far-right conspiracy theorist from its platform.
We begin with a small election that could signal big headaches to come for the party of Donald Trump, votes are still being counted in Ohio, where
Troy Balderson who was backed by President Trump holds a very slim lead in Tuesday's congressional race. He's struggling even though the district has
been solidly Republican for decades.
Mr. Trump, nonetheless, took a victory lap tweeting a short time ago, that people, quote: "Certainly seem to like the job I'm doing." He predicts a
giant red wave as Republicans look to November's midterm elections only hope to hang onto their majority in the House. Seeing how tough this is
for Balderson to try to eke out a win in what is traditionally a Republican district, what does this tell us going into those midterm elections,
Stephen Collinson joins me now from Washington.
Stephen, it's still close to even call yet, but what do you think this tells us?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Whatever the end result of this is kind of irrelevant, what it shows is the trends we have been seeing
throughout the year that are very troubling for Republicans are even more severe as we get closer to the midterm election, this is a district that
Trump won by 11 points in 2016, as you said, it's been a Republican seat for 35 years. The fact that it's within 1 percent, basically a 10 percent
swing against the President's party in just 16 months or so, or 18 months, and that's very bad news for Republicans.
What we're seeing is that Republican turnout, the Trump voters are down a little bit, you could put that down to being an election in the middle of
August, but Democrats who are much more enthusiastic to vote than they were in 2016, so that's a very troubling pattern for Republicans as they head
toward the midterm elections in November. If what happened in this single district in Ohio is repeated across the battlefield especially in the race
for the House of Representatives.
WARD: But there are those who will say there is no second prize here, at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that the Republicans win.
Whether they win by 1/2 percent or two percent is by the by.
COLLINSON: Yes, that's true, you could argue that the Democrats although they have been surfing discontent among their voters with the Trump
presidency haven't made many inroads in a lot of these special elections we have been seeing. But if you look at the map, there are 70 seats that are
more promising for Democrats in Republican territory than the one that was up in Ohio last night. So that's showed you the magnitude, the size of the
political battlefield if you like. Democrats only need to shift 23 seats in the House of Representatives to get back control of the chamber, and
there are 70 seats that are more promising for them than the one where the election was held this week.
So, you can see that although they haven't won, there's good reason to believe the trendlines are very positive for the Democrats. The
Republicans put a lot of money and effort into trying to save this seat because they knew that if they lost it, it would spell panic among their
party, it could depress the amount of money the Republican donors were prepared to give the party, they can't spend that kind of money in all 70
It's just impossible. A lot of the worries that Republicans had about these midterm elections, which generally go against presidents in their
first term, look like they're being validated. That doesn't mean that it's going to happen everywhere. As we saw in 2016 2016, predictions can go
awry. But right now, the environment looks positive for Democrats.
WARD: All right, Stephen Collinson. Thank you. So, is this a day for Republican soul-searching? I want to bring in now Larry Sabato, who is the
director of the Center for politics at the University of Virginia.
[15:05:00] And he's joining us via Skype from Charlottesville. You heard the President in that tweet, saying that this is a huge victory. What do
you think his close advisors are saying privately though? Are Republicans popping the champagne or are they starting to perspire?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: They may be popping the champagne, but it couldn't have anything to do with the
Ohio 12 race, this was a near disaster for the Republicans. If they had lost the seat, there would have been panic throughout Republican ranks.
So, they avoided that. But the truth is, this district has been held by Republicans for 35 years, it went for Donald Trump by 11 points in 2016, it
went for Mitt Romney four years earlier by 10 points, it is a solidly Republican district, and at best, the Republicans have won it by 1 percent.
If there's a 10 percent swing across the country, the Democrat will certainly pick up the House Of Representatives.
WARD: What does this say about the Trump effect, because of course Trump did endorse Troy Balderson, he went to a rally in Ohio, how you going to
see all the Republican candidates wanting to distance themselves from the president potentially on the heels of this?
SABATO: The Republicans and very Republican red districts or red states will still be inviting the President in. Because if he carried the
district or state by a wide margin he can still be helpful. But if it's at all competitive, if it has a lot of suburbs in the district or state, I
don't think the President's going to be appearing unless he forces the issue and he appears anyway.
You've got to remember, Donald Trump is taking credit for this, he takes credit for everything, he would take credit for the sun rising if he could
get away with it. The reality is that the Republican probably edged ahead, once we get the final votes, probably carried this district, not because of
Donald Trump, but because of the Republican Governor John Kasich who's more moderate, who was able to win for the Republicans some of the suburban
votes that Donald Trump has turned off.
WARD: The other thing that struck me looking at these results, while CNN hasn't called the race yet, I mean so close, such a divided country, it's
incredible in this age of polarizing politics that Americans still do appear to be down the middle, just divided.
SABATO: Clarissa, it's actually getting worse, if you can believe that, as time has gone on in the Trump administration, we have had a growing gulf
between the parties on virtually everything. It's hard to find anything that Democrats and Republicans agree on. And that's because Trump by his
very nature is divisive and he governs divisively. So, his theory all along is if he can keep his base activated, he got 46 percent of the vote.
If he can keep them happy and they show up in great numbers, then Republicans can still win. Here's the problem for him, though, the longer
he governs, the more we're seeing as we did last night in 20 contests all across the country in key primaries, the Democratic turnout is soaring, far
beyond the Republican turnout. So, his divisive governing philosophy, has had the effect of pumping up Democrats far more than Republicans.
WARD: And the President also in his tweet, he said he has a tendency to turn things on their heads so to speak, but he said, we have been very
successful in the house elections, eight out of the nine house seats have gone to Republicans. Then he goes on to lambaste fake news. What do you
make of that?
SABATO: You have to look at where the seats were located. The special elections that have come up have been overwhelmingly in Republican
territory, usually deep in the red Republican territory. So, you don't look at the winners of those seats, you look at the margins. Are the
Republicans winning by more in the Trump era or are they losing votes and having close elections when they should be winning in a landslide. There's
a lot of cases that it's the latter.
WARD: Do you think the Republican party is indeed in trouble?
[15:10:00] SABATO: No single district or election is a good barometer, a total barometer of what's going to happen three months from now. But
Clarissa, you have to put all the pieces together. Not just the primaries last night, but the primaries that have been held in the last six months.
Not every race has gone in the Democratic Party's direction. But far more has gone in their column that has gone in the Republican column. And that
includes dozens of state legislative special elections.
WARD: All right, Larry Sabato, thank you, as always for breaking it down for us.
And there is something else to watch and those November races 182 women will be running for Congress and a record 11 women are running for
governor. That's the most female candidates ever.
Now in California, unbelievable new images are giving a glimpse of the mammoth task
firefighters are facing right now. You're looking at something so remarkable, there isn't even a word for it in the dictionary yet. People
are calling it a "firenado" shorthand for what is literally a tornado of flames swirling through the air. 17 fires are burning across California,
including this one in Orange County, which is home to places like Disneyland and Laguna Beach. Another of the fires, the Mendocino complex
has now torching an area bigger than LA. Dan Simon is on the ground in Lakeport, California with a very latest.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Clarissa, the good news is that this fire has slowed down significantly, but the numbers are still staggering,
more than 1,100 square kilometers have been charred. And you can see what it looks like behind me, this charred land skyscape there, the fire came up
this hill, perhaps in the distance, you can see some vineyards that's what California is of course famous for, and you see this small case in the fire
came up this hill and it torched this house behind me.
This is one of about 115 or so homes that have been destroyed and what the experts tell you to do when you live in an area that's vulnerable to
wildfires, is to clear away all the brush and create a defensible space, and that's exactly what this homeowner did, did exactly what you should do
but the flames still got to it. In their words the fire had its own agenda. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: I can't imagine what it like to go through this, what's the hardest thing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to go home. Yesterday when I arrived, the stucco was still standing up. And it was really hard to tell where the
staircase and where everything was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: There's so many people in the state of California who are grappling with similar issues, you do have 17 major wildfires that are burning,
13,000 firefighters on the line, some of whom are here all the way from Australia and New Zealand.
WARD: Thank you, Dan. Well believe it or not the firenado effect we show you a few moments ago has also been seen thousands of miles away from
California. These are pictures from Derbyshire here in England. An industrial fire was responsible for this staggering sight, luckily no one
was hurt. Scientists say fire tornadoes happen when cool air combines with hot air above to create a swirling effect.
And from fires to, quote, the land of drought and flooding rain. If you think those are the words of headline writers trying to grab attention,
think again. It's actually how Australia's prime minister is trying to convey how brutally the weather is affecting his country. The entire state
of New South Wales is now in drought after one of the driest winters on record, just take a look at these incredible pictures, they were filmed
back in May and show hundreds of thirsty cows swarming around a water truck. Kristie Lu Stout
has more on what Australia is dealing with.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's been barely any rain in this part of the eastern Australia for months. A drought has scorched large
areas of land, crippling farmers and leaving their animals with little to eat. The entire state of New South Wales has been affected.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALCOLM TURNBULL, Prime Minister of Australia: This is the worst drought in New South Wales since the 1965 drought, not many of us remember that
very well, most Australians weren't born.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: For the farmers, the situation is bleak, their crops are failing, there are water shortages and with no grass for the animals to
eat, they must spend thousands of dollars to feed them as best they can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:15:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I been here all my life and it's the worst I've ever seen in 58 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: These pictures show of cattle at one family farm. Some of the animals still found alive here are too weak to eat. As the drought
continues farmers are increasingly dependent on government assistance. This week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a new aid package of
nearly 200 million Australian dollars in addition to separate state relief measures. The assistance includes money for mental health services a
necessary step for many farmers struggling to deal with the strain on their livelihoods.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I find drought a little bit like cancer, it eats away at you, it just gets dryer and dryer, and it gets more severe and more
severe with more impact on your life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LU STOUT: With no sign of this dry spell ending help for these farming communities can't come soon enough. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN Hong Kong.
WARD: Now to some breaking news, the U.S. State Department has just announced new sanctions against Russia in response to the poisoning of
former spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter. A blazer cramming for the Novichok attack in England calling it an attempted assassination. These
sanctions are due to take effect in a couple of weeks. Elise Labott joins us now from Washington. Elise, what are we learning about these sanctions?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Clarissa, this is one of the first times, this is the first time actually that the U.S. has officially
determined that Russia was responsible for that April attack on the Sergey Skripal and his daughter. You remember at the time, the U.S. had
sanctioned about eight companies including a U.S. weapons company and people in Putin's inner circle. But this is the first time that the U.S.
is saying that it has determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Welfare Elimination Act of 1991, that the government of the
Russian federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law. So, they're not saying what those penalties will be,
but certainly a violation of that very important of violation of chemical and biological weapons is going to incur more sanctions against Russia in a
very tense time in Russian relations.
WARD: The timing of it is very interesting, because as you said the U.S. did expel I believe it was 60 diplomats at the time of the Novichok
poisoning and President Trump made a point of that during his press conference in the UK with Prime Minister Theresa May. Do we have any sense
of why now, why these sanctions? Is it because there is new intelligence on the use of Novichok? Is it because of political expedience potentially?
Do we have any insight into that?
LABOTT: Generally, these things are not done for political expedience and sometimes the timing is very coincidental. And you think it's an issue of
timing or usually it's just an issue that the evidence finally reaches, in a legal determination sometimes takes a few months to figure out the source
of a biological or chemical weapons. The U.S. believed that the Russians were responsible for this, but to investigate that violation. It could
have happened on the day of President Trump's press conference. But it happened obviously months after and certainly more determinations and more
sanctions will follow from that. And it could be that the timing continues to be, you know, very coincidental. It's usually about how long the
criteria takes to meet.
WARDS: And you were saying we don't know yet exactly what the sanctions or what form the sanctions will take. What have we seen previously when it
comes to U.S. sanctions against Russia, what have been some of the previous targets?
LABOTT: It really depends on what the violation is, when it came to Ukraine, it was people close to the violations of Ukrainian citizens, the
use of weapons against separatists, by separatists against the Ukrainians. There was talk about sectorial sanctions. They never really quite went
[15:20:00] A lot of this was about oligarchs and members of Putin's inner circle of people tied very closely to the Kremlin. I suspect this will be
more about targeting weapons companies that are tied to the connection of the Skripal poisoning.
WARD: And all of that coming at a very awkward time as President Trump has been trying to actively improve the relationship with Russia, Elise Labott,
thank you so much for that breaking news. We will be keeping a close eye on it throughout the hour.
Still to come tonight, they are two countries thousands of miles apart. What has caused a huge diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Canada?
We'll have that next.
WARD: We're turning now to our breaking news as the Trump administration announces new sanctions against Russia. Let's go right to motion cow where
we're joined by our senior international correspondent, Frederick Plietgen. Any reaction from the Russians so far? I know it's late.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's late and it's only been a couple of minutes ago that we have learned that these
sanctions have been announced and will go into effect fairly soon, we haven't had any reactions from the Russians yet. But what we're do is
reaching out to all of our sources here in Moscow, to see if we're able to get some sort of reaction, but you can expect that the Russians are going
to be pretty angry about all this. In the past few months, we have seen what the Russians were thinking, what they see as positive signals. Not
necessarily from the United States as a whole but certainly from the Trump administration. We have had Senator Rand Paul here, who talked very much
about dialogue and who wanted somewhat of a detente between Russia and the United States. Who also said he delivered a letter from President Trump to
the Russians asking for cooperation in many fields.
So certainly, this could have come as a blow to the Russians. One of the things we have
been saying over the past one and 1/2 years, since Trump has been in office, we have seen the Russians very angry at the U.S., at many of the
U.S.' institutions, like Congress and the House of Representatives and the Senate for slapping the Russians continuously with sanctions. Also of
course the State Department as well.
But trying to sort of keep President Trump out of that criticism and what we're seeing today, might further fuel that once again. Because of course
it was the State Department, of course it was Mike Pompeo who signed all of this. We have to wait and see what the reactions are going to be. I'm
sure that the Russians are certainly going to fire back at the United States, but possibly leave President Trump out of that criticism, Clarissa.
[14:25:00] WARD: I wonder as well, Fred, beyond the usual round of sternly worded statements, is there any possibility or any president of some kind
of retaliation from the Russians?
PLEITGEN: I mean certainly, look, if we look at the past and we have seen times that the U.S. has expelled diplomats, the Russians have done the same
thing, the Russians have done what they have said for a long time, tit for tat for any sanctions. What sort of muscle do the Russians have in this
sort of a case. We know that the Russians are militarily, very much a big power, probably a superpower, but economically, they really don't have the
muscle to retaliate. They also don't have the international allies to retaliate against the United States. But we do expect there will be some
sort of retaliation and that will be announced very, very soon, Clarissa.
WARD: Well, it started with a tweet, but it has blown up into a full-on diplomatic crisis, Canada and Saudi Arabia are at logger heads over
Ottawa's criticism of human rights in the kingdom. It has led to a raft of retaliatory measures from Saudi Arabia in the past few days. Earlier the
Saudi foreign minister said Canada made a mistake and has to fix it. Lynda Kinkade takes us through how the dispute escalated.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: it all started with this tweet, "Canada is concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women's rights
activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights
The Saudi government fired back on Twitter, and said the Canadian position is a grave and unacceptable violation of the kingdom's laws and procedures
in addition to violate the kingdom's judiciary and a breach of the principle of sovereignty.
Then the Saudi's followed up by deploying an array of retaliatory measures against Canada. First, they ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the
kingdom and recalled the Saudi envoy to Ottawa. The Saudi's put a freeze on all new bilateral trade and investment with Canada although the two
countries are not top trading partners. The trade totaled about $3 billion last year according to the Canada government.
Saudi Arabia's state airline suspended all flights to and from Toronto. The Saudis also canceled the scholarships of thousands of Saudi students
and ordered them to go leave Canada. A Saudi education official told state run media the students will be placed in programs in other countries.
Saudi Arabia also announced that it's working to transfer its citizens who are in Canada for medical treatment to other countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADEL BIN AHMED AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER, (through translator): Regarding mediation, there's no need for it. Canada committed a grave
mistake toward Saudi Arabia and it needs to fix that mistake. And Canada knows exactly what it needs to do in this regard.
KINKADE: Canada stands by in its original statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Let me be very clear with everyone here and with the Canadians who may be watching and listening.
Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world and women's rights are human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: The kingdom has threatened to take further action against Canada for interfering in its affairs. Some other Middle Eastern governments have
released statements in support of the Saudi king.
WARD: So, what is behind all of this. Let's bring in John Defterios with more. John, help us understand this, because it seems like the Saudis are
taking a very stringent position here. Is this overkill?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: I was using the analogy to try to put this in context. This is like taking a diplomatic club and
pounding Canada with wave after wave of measures. I think if you take a step back it's Saudi Arabia with a new Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman,
trying to flex his muscle saying we're not only an oil power but a diplomatic power and a military power.
He's trying to restore that under his father, King Salman, the two more radical measures today. One, Saudi citizens in Canada getting health care
treatment are going to be moved to other countries, imagine to the United States. But the second measure reported but hard to confirm, is that the
banks working on behalf of Saudi Arabia were told any Canadian assets that you're holding on our behalf, we want you to sell even if it is at a loss.
[14:30:00] So let's put it into context, six measures from the expelling of the ambassador all the way to canceling flights and moving students out of
Canada. Which is pretty severe and it puts additional pressure, I was thinking about this Justin Trudeau as prime minister right now, he just
finished a spat with Donald Trump and the sanctions. But there is a link here, Donald Trump and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia are very close.
They put a huge military order last year and it brought them even closer together. Having said that and you heard the Foreign Minister, Chrystia
Freeland, not backing down, he was in Quebec, he was asked about it, and he said, we'll always stand up for human rights. Take a listen to what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: Canadians have always expected our government to speak strongly, firmly and clearly and politely about the
needs to respect human rights at home and around the world. We will continue to do this. We will continue to stand up for Canadian values and
indeed for universal values and human rights at any occasion, that's something that Canadians expect and something I will always do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Pretty clear message. The foreign minister was suggesting in that report that Canadians know what they need to do. They were looking
for a full-fledged apology. They didn't get it tonight.
WARD: They certainly didn't. I guess my question is does this backfire against Saudi Arabia? They have said they want to encourage development
and even tourism in the future. How does that help them in that regard?
DEFTERIOS: You are hundred percent right. Because they have this vision 2030 that Mohammad Bin Salman launched two and a half years ago. He's
taken such tough action, and he arrested and shook down for billions of dollars, more than 300 Saudi billionaires basically under the guise of
corruption. It was accepted in their society, but it sent a very strong signal.
Tough line on Yemen, tough line against Qatar and the embargo. It led both of those initiatives and it's taken a very hard line against Iran. Some
would say this would scare off foreign direct investment. But as we've talked about here, four of its allies in the region, completely backed
Saudi Arabia today saying we don't want international interference, particularly western interference and our affairs, even Russia weighed in
But I'd go back to my original comment on your first question there. I think because of the backend of Donald Trump, the security backend, the
hardline against Iran. This crown prince feels like he can take measures far and wide, including the neighbor of the United States to the north.
WARD: Feeling emboldened. John Defterios, thank you so much.
Well, still to come tonight, will he or won't he? Donald Trump's legal team makes a new counteroffer to special counsel Robert Mueller's request
for an interview in the Russia investigations.
WARD: After months of back and forth negotiations, Donald Trump's legal team has sent a new counteroffer to special counsel, Robert Mueller over a
possible interview in the Russia investigation.
The U.S. president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, won't give details but calls it a good faith attempt to reach an agreement. He says team Trump
wants the issue resolved by September 1st, to avoid running into the November elections.
Mueller wants to question Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice and collusion with Russia, but the president's legal team has tried again
and again to narrow the scope.
Well, let's get more now from CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She is in New Jersey where the president is on vacation.
Kaitlan, what do we know? What are we learning?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know, Clarissa, that they have responded to that latest request and proposal from the special
counsel's team. Now, that proposal from the special counsel Robert Mueller that he sent to them last week or so said that they wanted to -- they would
agree to limit the number of questions about obstruction of justice, but making clear he still wanted to ask President Trump those questions in
That is something the president's legal team has objected to all along, saying instead they're finding -- he wants to ask questions about
collusion. But they want to limit the number of questions and the content of those questions to be about events that happened before Donald Trump
So it doesn't appear that we are any closer to them reaching an agreement here after eight months of the back and forth between the special counsel's
team and the president's team.
[15:35:08] Now today, the president's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, and Jay Sekulow did an interview together, both discussing that they are still
advising the president against sitting down for an interview like this.
But here's what they had to say about the president's mindset in all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: Ultimately, this is the president's decision. But we're hopeful that he will take the advice
of his lawyers as this process continues to mature.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: Absolutely. It's his decision, both as an individual and as the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So the president is at odds with his own legal team. He has been for some time yell over whether or not, they are going to sit down for an
interview. But the president himself believes that if he gets in front of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, that he can convince him of his
His legal team does not feel the same way. Instead they - to our concern, that the special counsel's team is trying to put him into a perjury trap, a
term that they've used for months now.
But, Clarissa, what this all boils down to is if the president's legal team declines the special counsel's request to have an interview with the
president, erases the question of if the special counsel will then in turn issue a subpoena to the president which would make President Trump only the
second president to ever be subpoenaed while in office.
WARD: OK. Kaitlan Collins, thank you.
Boris Johnson may not be Britain's foreign secretary anymore, but that hasn't stopped him from grabbing the headlines. This time, it's over a
newspaper article, he wrote about Denmark's burqa ban. He said that the country was wrong to impose the ban, but he also went on to compare women
who choose to wear the conservative Islamic dress to letter boxes and bank robbers and that led to an outcry that went right to the top.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think Boris Johnson used language in describing people's appearance has obviously caused offense. It was the
wrong language to use. He should not have used it. On the key issue, about women's ability to wear the burqa if they choose to do so, that
should be a matter for a woman to choose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Well, let's get more on this now. Bianca Nobilo is here with me in the studio. I mean this has really turned into quite the brouhaha, but I
guess the question is, is it really about the burqa or is this about conservative politicians vying among each other?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think they're inseparable in this instance and almost anything that hits the headlines having to do with the
government is almost always about conservative politicians vying against each other.
This is particularly interesting because Boris Johnson, as one of the pre- eminent Brexiteers who was formally in the government, now just about been in, so that's freed him up to be able to make statements like this as well.
He's appealing to his audience. This was a considered piece. This wasn't enough a cough remark. It was published in the Telegraph on Sunday. So he
decided to do that. And he knows who he's appealing to and he's appealing to Brexiteers, because roughly in the U.K., the burqa ban is a very
But it's generally split 50/50. And most of the people that support a burqa ban, obviously not what Boris was arguing for but people who disagree
with, people wearing them in public tend to support leave and it tend to be on the right of the political spectrum.
So Boris understands that as a Brexiteer, he's appealing to those people by making these kinds of remarks and that just shows us how splintered the
conservative party is and how splintered the country is at large.
WARD: I mean, it's funny because he's trying to appeal to them, but then ultimately, he says I don't actually support a ban. So the division,
perhaps, within the party doesn't seem to be as great as maybe he's playing it up to be.
But my questions becomes, is he considering making a play for the leadership?
NOBILO: You can never rule it out with Boris and I think anyone that knows him would tell you that. Something that was quite revealing was when he
gave his resignation speech, and historically within the conservative party, those have been moments where politicians have tried to take down
the prime minister that quite often inflammatory.
His was measured. It was considered. It was a real departure from his usual theatrical style. And that to me meant said that he was trying to
make a play to be considered in a more statesmanly serious fashion, which is exactly what he need to do if he wants to be a leader. Because he's
already got grassroots appeal for the conservative party. He's topping all of the polls at the moment for the favorite to lead the party, including
the prime minister in these polls. He's coming at the top.
So what he needs to prove is that he can be taken seriously on the world stage and he didn't do a great job of that as foreign secretary. Things
like this seem very ill-considered decisions to make, bearing that in mind.
But I think on the whole, he's appealing to those he knows what support him, the Brexiteers. And this is part of a wider strategy to convey and
telegraph that he has the leadership qualities necessary to be prime minister. But, of course, he's not making any leadership as of now, but he
wouldn't be. This is not the time to do it.
[15:40:11] WARD: Right. Well, we will be watching closely. Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much for joining us.
Vaccinations are now underway against the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organization says it expects around 40
house workers will receive vaccinations today. Doctors say this latest outbreak of Ebola is the most complicated to surface yet. At least 36
people have died so far. In North Kivu Province. CNN's Nima Elbagir has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was supposed to have been a lesson the world had already learned.
PETER SALAMA, EMERGENCY RESPONSE CHIEF, WHO: We expect, however, that the overall case count will rise in coming days to weeks.
ELBAGIR: An epidemic that had already been taint.
SALAMA: This strain of Ebola carries with it the highest case fatality rate.
ELBAGIR: IN 2015, in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which killed over 11,000 people. Scientists said they had successfully
tested an Ebola vaccine which can confer up to a year of immunity and the world breathed a sigh of relief.
But this May, just over four years after the start of the West African democratic outbreak and the Democratic Republic of Congo is in the throes
of an Ebola crisis. The United Nations' World Health Organization which is attempting to lead a global response says this outbreak is more complicated
than any before that has come before it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: WHO said the new cluster of cases is occurring in an environment which is very different from previous locations as an active
conflict zone. And added that the major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population.
ELBAGIR: As the death toll climbs, people in the outbreak zones are grappling both with the loss of loved ones and this new reality that is
unfolding. The disease is spread through contact with any contaminated body fluids and even children are having to learn that a single touch can
ELBAGIR: At a time when the craving for the comfort of contact with those you love is needed more than ever.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
WARD: Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian president has been diagnose with breast cancer. The news was announced on the Syrian presidency's
social media which said she is currently receiving treatment for a malignant breast tumor which was discovered early. The post showed the
first lady sitting next to her husband.
And a landmark vote is looming today in Argentina. The senate will vote on a hugely a controversial to legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of
pregnancy. Currently, abortion is only legal in Argentina, only in cases, of rape or if the mother's health is at risk. This is a highly emotional
issue in this mostly catholic country, the birth place of Pope Francis. It has drawn big crowds from both sides to the streets.
And still to come tonight, YouTube, Facebook, and Apple did it, but Twitter says it will not remove content from a notorious far-right conspiracy
theorist. We'll see why it's bucking the trend, ahead.
[15:45:39] WARD: Twitter is defending its decision not to remove a far- right conspiracy theorist from its platform. CEO, Jack Dorsey took to, what else? Twitter to explain. He says Alex Jones and his InfoWars
weren't suspended for a simple reason, because Jones hasn't violated Twitter's rules.
YouTube, Facebook, and Apple, started removing content from Jones and InfoWars this week. Jones is notorious for spreading false information and
conspiracy theories on a number of issues from school shootings to the September 11th attacks.
But is that protected free speech or harmful propaganda that should be shut down? Well, let's ask Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor at New York University
and an opinion columnist here at CNN.
What do you make of Twitter's decision? Do you think they're in the right or in the wrong on this one?
RUTH BEN-GHIAT, CNN OPINION COLUMNIST: It's fair for Twitter to say that they're not in the business of separating truth from falsity, that that's
the job of journalists. The problem is that assumes we're working in a neutral political environment and instead journalists are the subject of
attacks from not only Jones and other extremists but from the president of the United States himself.
So in that sense, Twitter is being very unhelpful in terms of creating an environment where facts are supported and alternate realities and hate
speech are not.
WARD: But is free speech not protected?
BEN-GHIAT: Well, the whole issue of banning Alex Jones from certain platforms created a very healthy discussion around all of these things.
And it's not just conservatives who are worried about the ban, it's also liberals and guardians of the First Amendment who say this sets a dangerous
precedent, right? If Jones is banned, who could be next?
They also point out that what we consider unacceptable changes in history. The problem is that lies and fabrications of reality are always that, they
don't change. And hate speech, where you're targeting certain individuals also never changes. The targets of the hate change over the centuries.
But the mechanisms of propaganda don't.
And we give an example of the difference. If I say that Muslims are and I can insert a derogatory term, I wouldn't share it, but other people would
say, OK. She has the right to say such things.
Another thing entirely is when President Trump said that Muslims were celebrating in New Jersey after 9/11, that is a fabrication of reality
which is designed to arouse people emotionally and make Muslims the subject of hatred, so that's a good example of the difference which I think is
getting lost in Twitter's stand.
WARD: I mean, there will be some people though who will say, is this the best way to effectively deal with someone like Alex Jones. And the reason
-- you look at Donald Trump, Jr. today. He took to Twitter. He made the slippery slope argument, if we can get up the tweet. He said, how long
before big tech and their Democrat friends move to sensor and purge Breitbart News, Daily Caller and other conservative voices from their
platforms? Does this not feed into their narrative in a sense?
BEN-GHIAT: It does. And indeed, there's been a ridiculous campaign. And in the U.K., you have people like Nigel Farage who does the same thing.
But in the States, we have, Dinesh D'Souza and the entire right and the Trumps, who claimed that liberals and leftist and are actually Nazis.
And D'Souza even produced a book called "The Big Lie" that distorts my historical work on Italian fascism to claim that Nazism and fascism were
left-wing movement and it's the left that bears the responsivity for the repression of rights.
And of course this is done so that the right can have clean hands to commit the same kind of crimes today. So, we have to keep that kind of
manipulation in mind.
And the problem goes way beyond Alex Jones because President Trump is a one-man falsehood factory and we've never had such a situation in our
history of such a consistent person who traffics in falsehood. He's up to over 4,000, according to the checkers at the Washington Post and the
[15:50:13] And this also has great, you know, repercussions for how citizens are being informed. He has managed to set up a kind of propaganda
factory that authoritarians of the past would be very proud of in conjunction with Fox News.
So, I applaud that the discussions that are coming around the Jones case and we need to really think carefully, tech companies, journalists and
individuals like myself about what steps to take next.
WARD: Well, I mean the question becomes, though, what are other ways to deal with this? I mean, you talk about the lies, and we've heard in the
case of Alex Joes that some of the parents of the children who were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre are taking a libel suit against them. Is that
potentially a more effective or more appropriate way of dealing with someone like Alex Jones than censorship?
BEN-GHIAT: I think that the legal approach is very effective. There have been a number of legal advocacy groups such as protect democracy that have
or will be filing complaints and briefs against misinformation. If we think of the stakes involved, for example the hiding concealment of
information about climate change and that began right after the inauguration with the certain web pages disappeared from the White House
I think that legal challenges are very effective. The problem is that they're slow and they happen behind the scenes. And in the meantime, we
are subject to a barrage of falsehoods and it's working indeed, it's working to criminalize the press and it's working to shift people's notion
A new poll came out today or yesterday, said 43 percent of Republicans would support shutting down news outlets that engage in, quote, bad
behavior and I don't think they're meaning Fox.
WARD: All right. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, we have to leave it there, but thank you so much for your analysis.
BEN-GHIAT: Thank you.
WARD: More to come later, including, remember those drones that scare crowds in Venezuela over the weekend? Well, with fears growing that drones
can be used as weapons, we'll look at how they can be tracked and brought down, coming up.
WARD: When a series of drones exploded in Venezuela over the weekend, some people accused President Nicolas Maduro of staging the attack. But on
Tuesday, Mr. Maduro went on national TV with audio recordings and a video that he says proves it really was an attempt to kill him. He accused
several opposition leaders and also pointed fingers at Columbia's president.
Whether it was staged or real, the incident in Venezuela highlights the potential of drones to be used for devious purposes. CNN's Samuel Burke
looks at how governments are trying to counter that threat.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chinese drones started DJI whose devices were used in Saturday's apparent
attack, according to Venezuela's interior minister, has a drone management system that's already selling to airports, nuclear plants and security
agencies around the globe.
Aeroscope monitors and identifies the company's drones which make up more than 70 percent of all drones on the market. The system listens for drones
talking to their controller.
[15:55:11] BRENDAN SCHULMAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF POLICY AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, DJI: The Aeroscope system is used to remotely identify where drones are
flying and uses the radio signal that already exists in our drones to communicate what drone is flying, where it is, where it's going and most
importantly, where the pilot is located so the authorities can find the pilot and go ask them questions about why they're flying. And if necessary
take other actions.
BURKE: The system can tell authorities the serial number of the drone and the point from which it took off. The biggest hurdle now is the lack of
government rules and norms around these drone monitoring systems.
SCHULMAN: Well, right now, we're waiting for the FAA to create a mandate for remote identification, which would require all drones to broadcast
these kinds of remote identification signals which would allow people on the ground to know where the drones are flying and to take actions that
might be necessary.
BURKE: While DJI systems give officials details about a drone's movement, from there, authorities have to decide what measures to take to bring the
drone down, like using a jammer to cut the radio link between an operator and the drone. Though this can stifle mobile communications in the
Authorities have also looked into shooting down drones. Though experts say this poses a risk to spectators as well as nearby structures.
In Dubai, they send a small plane known as the drone hunter to chase down the devices. Dutch police even tried training eagles to grab the drones
out of the skies, but it proved too expensive and more complicated than they expected.
Well, there's disagreement about the best system to bring down a drone. Experts do agree on one thing, the incident in Venezuela shows the threat
presented by drones is far from theoretical. It's already here and now.
Samuel Burke, CNN, London.
WARD: Finally, this one goes out to all the cat lovers. We hope you're enjoying one of the most important days on the calendar. It's
International Cat Day. And to mark that, we offer you these glorious image of an orange cat. A crucial part of our next story.
This year, cat lovers have mused on everything from how to tell if your cat loves you to the equally vital, can cats eat cheese? The answer, don't
But one question stood out as a little more unusual. An increasingly desperate mom, her words, not mine, wanting to borrow an orange cat. It
could have seemed sinister, until you read she wanted it for a lasagna dinner with her Garfield loving children age 2 and 4. Lasagna, as everyone
knows is the meal of choice for Garfield, the big cat whose big appetite made him a big star.
We don't know if the family found their guest of honor, so instead, let's leave you with these pictures of Garfield doing the so-called lasagna dance
from one of his movies.
Well, that's it for us tonight. Thank you so much for watching. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.
(CLOSING BELL RINGING)
[16:00:57] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Welcome. Well, that sound marks the end of yet another trading session on the Wall Street. Let's
take a look and see how the Dow is doing right now. But pretty much flat. We've been around this territory all day. We are down 48 points or so.