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Iran Is Throwing a Tantrum but Wants a Deal; Newspaper Editorials Champion A Free Press; Mother & Son Together Again After 81 Days; Palestinian Post Arrives Years After Israel Blocked It. Aired 2- 3a ET
Aired August 16, 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): In Italy, officials and residents are demanding answers.
How and why did a bridge in Genoa collapse and who is to blame?
The U.S. president strikes back at a vocal critic, stripping a former CIA director of his security clearance and others are put on notice.
Plus the deafening silence from the Vatican after the latest claims of sexual abuse cover-ups by Catholic leaders. We will hear from an abuse victim.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
CHURCH: Italy has declared a one-year state of emergency for Genoa following the deadly bridge collapse. Crews are still scouring the rubble but hopes of finding more survivors are fading. At least 39 people are dead, including three children.
It's not yet clear how a large section of the Morandi Bridge collapsed. But the government says the company in charge of maintaining it will have its permit revoked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will obviously let the authority responsible for the criminal investigation carry out their duties but we cannot wait for the time it will take for criminal justice to be done.
We have the obligation to ensure all citizens can travel safely. So we will, on our behalf, revoke the license granted to Autostrade, as there is no doubt that by having granting the license to Autostrade, Autostrade had the duty and obligation to provide maintenance to this motorway in order to ensure that all users can travel in full safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But Autostrade says it met its obligations and nothing indicated the bridge was dangerous. Our Ian Lee is near the site of that bridge collapse in Genoa and joins us now live.
So Ian, we will, of course, get to that maintenance company in just a moment.
But what is the latest information you have on the search for survivors and on the investigation that is trying to figure out how this happened?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, let me just show you and the viewers at home what rescue workers are working on right now. I'll step aside here.
You can see this section of road here in the middle. This is where rescue workers are at right now. They're trying to cut these pieces of asphalt and concrete. It's been very difficult, they say, to get these pieces removed.
And later they say they hope to bring in the dogs. There is a lot of hope that they will be able to find people alive. But that hope does fade every hour.
LEE (voice-over): Fifty years ago, the Morandi Bridge was celebrated as revolutionary, state-of-the-art, meant to solve Italy's traffic problems. Now a mangled mess, this bridge will be remembered for one of the deadliest accidents in the country's modern history.
Rescuers still scour the carnage for survivors. Hope fades by the hour. Davida Capello (ph), a firefighter and former soccer player, is a survivor. He was on the road when it disappeared.
DAVIDA CAPELLO, BRIDGE COLLAPSE SURVIVOR (through translator): I found myself going down in my car. I thought that it would be the end, that I was going to die. Then my car stopped. The car hit concrete and it got stuck.
I touched myself to see whether I was still in one piece as it was a massive shock. I then called the firemen straightaway and they were the ones who helped me first. Then I managed to get out of my car. I was helped out of my car by the rescue teams.
LEE: Davida's car is still in that mound of twisted steel and concrete. Alongside the wreckage is the neighborhood of San Pederina (ph). We spoke with a family who lives literally underneath that bridge in the shadow of danger.
LEE (voice-over): They are part of hundreds of residents evacuated to a nearby shelter. They are relieved but angry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): For years and years, we spoke of our disappointment about the bridge and the structure. As time went by, chunks of the bridge fell down. It was a tragedy we anticipated.
LEE (voice-over): Genoa's mayor confirmed to CNN the bridge needed repairs and said the national government had contracted out the work to Autostrade del Italia, a privately owned company. They say maintenance work was underway. But it's too late. The tragedy
LEE: -- residents predicted happened for the whole world to see.
CHURCH: And Ian, as we mentioned, the company that maintained the bridge insisted there were no signs the bridge was dangerous. But that's clearly not the case, is it, as those witnesses have said to you and a whole lot of other people have said, this has been a bad history for this bridge.
LEE: That's right and this isn't just recent, Rosemary. This history goes back at least three decades. That's how long residents have said they've been complaining about this bridge, chunks falling off it. And that's about 150 meter fall. So you imagine a chunk falling off it, that's dangerous in itself.
So residents were very concerned out the safety of this bridge. They have their families there. So they've been complaining to local authorities.
Now Autostrade said, yes, they were doing maintenance work on the bridge at the time of the collapse but the residents would describe this as Band-aid work, not really going after the structural integrity of the bridge.
And so, of course, we're giving this blame game with everyone trying to put the blame on the other. I did speak to the chief of police yesterday and he told me that, right now, they're trying to figure out what actually caused the bridge to collapse.
We still don't know the actual cause. That's being investigated. And then they say, once that's done, then they can start looking at who's at fault.
CHURCH: All right, Ian Lee, bringing us a live report there from Genoa, near that bridge collapse.
Many thanks to you.
It is an unprecedented move that President Trump calls a constitutional responsibility to protect the nation's classified information. Critics call it political payback and punishment for criticizing the president.
The White House announced on Wednesday that President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA director, John Brennan. He is a vocal critic of the current president, who joined the CIA in the early '80s. But the White House did not offer any evidence Brennan has misused his
clearance. Here's more now from Jeff Zeleny.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump taking the extraordinary step today of stripping the security clearance from one of his fiercest critics, former CIA director, John Brennan.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Mr. Brennan has recently leveraged his status as a former high ranking official with access to highly sensitive information to make a series of unfound and outrageous allegations, wild outbursts on the Internet and television about this administration.
ZELENY (voice-over): The president making good on a threat he first made last month in response to Brennan's blistering criticism and persistent questioning of the White House.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted the president was not trying to silence his detractors, saying the decision was to protect national security, not to settle political scores.
SANDERS: Mr. Brennan's lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary is wholly inconsistent with access to the nation's most closely held secrets and facilities, the very aim of our adversaries, which is to sow division and chaos.
ZELENY (voice-over): But Sanders could not answer why Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who has admitted lying to the FBI, still maintains his security clearance.
ZELENY: The former national security advisor admitted lying to the FBI.
Why is this only a list of Democrats (INAUDIBLE)?
And why should Americans have confidence that you are taking this seriously if there's not a single Republican on that list?
SANDERS: Again, certainly we would look at those if we deemed it necessary. And we'll keep you posted if that list gets updated.
ZELENY (voice-over): Brennan, who led the CIA under President Obama, has become a thorn in Trump's side, particularly by assailing his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders, who are going to appeal to his ego and to try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint.
ZELENY (voice-over): But the president only took action today on Brennan. But Sanders says he's reviewing a long list of other former national security officials, who share one thing in common: they've criticized the president.
SANDERS: James Clapper, James Comey, Michael Hayden, Sally Yates, Susan Rice, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Bruce Ohr. Security clearances for those who have them may be revoked and those who have already lost their security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated.
ZELENY: Now the White House insisted they were not trying to settle any political score but simply trying to protect national security. But one thing in common from that entire list of names: they've all questioned or criticized the president -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: And Brennan says Mr. Trump's decision was political and a chilling --
CHURCH: -- message to intelligence and national security professionals. And to him the message is clear.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BRENNAN: I do believe that Mr. Trump decided to take this action, as he's done with others, to try to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration. And revoking my security clearances is his way of trying to get back at me.
But I think I have tried to voice the concerns of millions of Americans about Mr. Trump's failures, in terms of fulfilling the responsibilities of that sacred and solemn office of the presidency. And this is not going to deter me at all. I'm going to continue to speak out.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd joins me now from New York. She's worked closely with John Brennan for four years.
Good to have you with us.
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.
CHURCH: So President Trump revokes former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says this is not about silencing the president's detractors.
But John Brennan says that's exactly what this is about.
What do you think is going on here?
And what's Mr. Trump's likely motivation?
VINOGRAD: Well, it's very obvious that President Trump is lashing out at people whose opinions he disagrees with. There are established processes and procedures for identifying in the first instance whether somebody needs clearance; second, whether they meet the requirements to hold that clearance over a period of time and, finally, if they've done anything at all to violate the terms of their clearance; like for example, opening themselves up to bribery or do something on behalf of a foreign government.
Typically that is a determination that the intelligence community makes. In this case, we know that the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, which holds Brennan's clearance, didn't see anything that he'd done wrong and also thought he had a need to have this clearance going forward.
So this was an arbitrary decision by the President of the United States, based on basically a TV review and a Twitter review of John Brennan's public comments.
CHURCH: Now President Trump is threatening to revoke the security clearance of a number of other critics, including former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and former FBI director, James Comey.
Should this be happening in a democracy?
Does it come close to abuse of presidential authority?
VINOGRAD: Well, it does. It's also deeply hypocritical when you look at the president's record on this. Factually speaking, the president and the U.S. State Department have defended the rights of their personnel to express their opinions freely, whether it be an ambassador to Germany, an ambassador to Israel or name your other official.
It's very clear that the president is just again going after people that he doesn't agree with or those that are involved -- or were involved, excuse me -- in the Russia investigation at some juncture.
His former national security advisor, Mike Flynn, chanted, "Lock her up," about Hillary Clinton when he had this security clearance. So there's not a one-size-fits-all approach here. The president is just zeroing in on the opinions that he doesn't agree with, which is not indicative of a democratic approach.
It's really indicative of an authoritarian approach to silence any criticism.
CHURCH: Revoking security clearance will not stop the likes of John Brennan or others speaking their mind on various political issues.
VINOGRAD: It won't. You don't need a security clearance to see what the president is doing in terms of his policy and in terms of his verbal approach to any number of issues in the United States and around the world. That's all open source information. There's no access required.
And John Brennan from what we know wasn't actually viewing classified information. When you have a clearance in the United States that doesn't mean you pick up the phone and say, hey, I want to see top secret information that you're looking at every day because I want to go on TV and talk about it.
You only get classified information when you have a need to know it. And John Brennan had that eligibility to review that information in case the U.S. government ever needed to call on him.
So the president put his own hurt feelings above the national security of the United States insofar John Brennan can no longer go in and give an opinion or share an analysis on counterterrorism or any of these really key issues.
CHURCH: Just very quickly, is this about presidential payback or is about political distraction, shifting the story from Omarosa to this and changing the news cycle?
VINOGRAD: The timing seems a little bit too coincidental. The statement was drafted on July 26th or so. We have this issue with a former White House staffer speaking her mind; unfortunately, after a very serious security violation. The timing seems very obvious to me.
But regardless whether this happened back in July or happened today, the damage to our intelligence community and the credibility of our government --
VINOGRAD: -- institutions and freedom of speech and First Amendment rights would have been done at any point that this happened.
CHURCH: Sam Vinograd, always great to get your analysis. Many thanks.
One additional note about the timing of Mr. Trump's announcement, the White House sent out a written version of the statement dated July 26th. Now that could suggest the decision was made three weeks ago. The White House blamed the discrepancy on a cut and paste error and later sent another version of the statement with no date.
A horrific scene in the capital of Afghanistan, a suicide bombing in Kabul Wednesday targeted a school. At least 48 people were killed; 67 others wounded and there are fears the death toll could rise. The bomber detonated explosives as young Shiite men and women were studying for their college entrance exams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The explosion was very dangerous and strong enough that the ceilings of the classroom fell down. We then found body parts of the students next to buildings 50 or 100 meters away from the explosion site.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So far there's no claim of responsibility and the Taliban deny involvement. This attack comes a day after at least 30 soldiers and police men were killed in the northern part of the country.
Want to turn now to London, where police have identified the terror suspect who drove a car into pedestrians before crashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. Our Erin McLaughlin reports.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're learning more about the suspect now in police custody, arrested on terrorism related offenses, according to British media reports.
Police have identified him as 29-year-old Saleh Qatar (ph), a British citizen originally from Sudan, now living in Birmingham, a one-time accounting student, now a terror suspect.
Members of the Sudanese community in Birmingham are speaking out, saying they are absolutely shocked at all of this. They believed he was a friendly guy. They thought he was coming to London to apply for a visa to go back to Sudan. Take a listen to what the community spokesperson had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a keen footballer, he plays regularly and he's someone who's quite active. He's not the kind of person, you know, the loner type person. And he wasn't known to be a fervent worshipper. And as far as we know, he never attended the mosque here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: So it's not exactly the description of a hardened terrorist. Motive in all of this remains a mystery. Authorities saying they suspect terror because of the seemingly deliberate manner in which that car was being driven, the fact that it was an iconic target as well as the weaponization of a vehicle.
All of that leading them to believe that terror is a possibility. But authorities say they don't know for sure and that's very much the heart of this ongoing investigation -- Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.
CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. But still to come, as the Catholic Church remains silent about predator priests, the victims are speaking out for the first time about their ordeal.
And later, Iran's sanctions hit hard at the car repair shop. We go live to Tehran to see how people are being affected by the U.S. government's new hardline approach. We're back in just a moment.
[02:20:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)
CHURCH: Well, the Vatican has nothing to say, at least publicly, about the shocking grand jury report detailing crimes of predator priests. The pressure is now on the pope to respond.
The report's accusations spanned seven decades. It accuses 301 Pennsylvania Catholic priests of sexually abusing more than a thousand children in six of the state's eight dioceses. And it says top church officials systematically covered it up.
The grand jury's words are damning.
It wrote this, "Priests were raping little boys and girls. And the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing, they hid it all."
And this isn't, of course, the first time such allegations have been made. Priests around the world have been accused in countries in Europe, South America and Australia. The scandal is truly global. CNN's Barbie Nadeau has more now from Rome.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Vatican has been characteristically quiet about the latest clerical abuse allegations in the United States. This time, those allegations come out of Pennsylvania, where a grand jury issued a stunning report, in which around 1,000 children were said to be abused by 300 priests over seven decades.
Those allegations were substantiated by emotional testimony and documents that show a clear cover-up and the moving around of predator priests through the various dioceses of Pennsylvania.
Here in Rome, the Vatican has chosen not to make an official comment. Instead, they point to a statement made by the United States' Conference of Catholic Bishops, that's the leading organization representing the hierarchy of the American church.
And in that statement, they express their sorrow for the sins and omissions and the pain to those victims. But they don't accept any culpability for crimes or misdemeanors as laid out by that Pennsylvania grand jury -- Barbie Nadeau, CNN, Rome.
CHURCH: I'm joined now by Shaun Dougherty, he's a survivor of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
Thank you so much for being with us.
SHAUN DOUGHERTY, CLERICAL SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR: Thank you.
CHURCH: How hard was it for you to tell your story? And how do you feel, now that this report is out, revealing the
horrifying stories of what these priests have done to so many children?
DOUGHERTY: It was difficult to tell my story but what was more difficult was to get people to listen to it and get them to understand this is a systemic problem for many of us and not just me.
And the feeling that I have today after yesterday's revealing report is really a release. You know, they called the report yesterday that they released the report. I am also released. I feel 50 pounds lighter today and completely at peace today.
CHURCH: And that is a very important part here of the process understandably. The Catholic Church, though has remained silent in the wake of this report's release, with no comment from the pope. And he certainly had an opportunity to do that.
What should he and the church be saying about this?
And what punishment should the guilty priests receive for committing such heinous crimes on these children?
DOUGHERTY: Well, they certainly shouldn't get away with it completely, which is what they're slotted to do currently. Without proper legislative changes to current Pennsylvania law, there really won't be much of a punishment. The church isn't --
DOUGHERTY: -- really forthwith (sic) in turning its dirty priests over, so it's up to the individual citizens of Pennsylvania to make sure that our legislators pass a current bill that's in the House being debated, that will extend the statutes of limitation indefinitely and give survivors like me, who timed out at the age of 15, the opportunity to have my day in court.
And without that, the church is going to do what they always do and that is carry on and get away with it.
CHURCH: And this is the problem with a statute of limitations, isn't it?
It protects those who perpetrate these crimes. It does not protect the victims.
How much support do you see this legislation getting in Pennsylvania?
By the citizens of Pennsylvania, it's overwhelming. By the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania, it's overwhelming. They've already passed this bill overwhelmingly in the House.
But the Republican-controlled Senate in Pennsylvania, which is a super majority and has always been easy to find an enabling here in Senate protem Senator Joe Scarnati, it's going to be a battle because they like to carry water for the church. And they're against this very common-sense legislation.
It's not that they -- they are willing to expose Pennsylvania's children to absolute monsters rather than risk losing their seat in the Senate.
CHURCH: And of course, it needs to be pointed out, this sexual abuse and breach of trust in the Catholic Church, it's not just a problem in Pennsylvania. It's bigger than that. It's global.
Why has the church covered up these atrocities?
And what needs to be done to stop more priests from committing these crimes on children?
Because, for all we know, this is ongoing.
DOUGHERTY: The first part as to why to cover it up, is it all routes down to money, you know?
If exposure to this -- it's going to cost them money. It's going to cost them parishioners, it's going to cost them reputation. If they don't have parishioners and the reputation is soiled and damaged, they're not going to have money, contributions to the church, which will not enable them to do anything the church does.
So they have a systemic problem throughout the Roman Catholic Church. But the Roman Catholic Church is huge. They are worldwide. And if you have a systemic problem worldwide that you have unilaterally chosen to cover up for decades, that is one serious wasps' nest waiting to just be broken open.
Shaun Dougherty, we thank you so very much for coming onto CNN and sharing your story with us. Your bravery is incredible in light of what has happened here. Thank you so much.
DOUGHERTY: Thank you. I greatly appreciate this opportunity.
CHURCH: When we come back, new U.S. sanctions hit drivers in Iran. People can't afford to fix their cars and families are suffering.
Plus the prosecution and the defense make their closing arguments in the trial of Paul Manafort. Soon his fate will be in the hands of the jury. We're back with that in just a moment.
[02:31:16] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we have been following this hour. Hopes of finding survivors from Tuesday's bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy are fading. At least 39 people are dead including three children. We are looking at live pictures here and the government says the company maintaining the bridge, Autostrade will have its permit revoked.
A company executive says the bridge was monitored constantly and nothing indicated it was dangerous. President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. The White House claims Brennan made a series of unfounded and outrageous allegations. Brennan calls it a political move and a chilling message to intelligence and national security professionals. Catholics in the U.S. are urging Pope Francis to respond to a damning new report of clergy sex abuse.
A Pennsylvania grand jury details more than 300 cases with more than 1,000 child victims over seven decades and bishops are accused of covering it all up. For now, the Vatican has remained silent. Well, Turkey's foreign minister says he wants to work things out with the United States. But he won't give in to threats. Meanwhile, the trade fight between the two is intensifying. The Turkish government doubled its retaliatory tariffs on American cars to 120 percent, 140 percent for alcohol, and 60 percent on tobacco.
It's all part of the ongoing political fight over an American pastor under house arrest in Turkey. The U.S. is demanding his release and last week President Trump punitive tariffs. Turkey says it's willing to talk under one condition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (via translator): Despite everything, we are ready to talk about everything as two equal partners to solve existing problems. I speak openly but on one condition, there will no threatening language, no dictating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The ongoing dispute with the United States helped accelerate Turkey's currency crisis. But Qatar has stepped in with a promise to invest $15 billion. And this just coming into us here at CNN. We are getting a report of yet another attack in the Afghan Capital of Kabul. The deputy spokesman for Afghanistan's Interior Ministry tell CNN that gunmen have attacked an area around a training center for the Afghan intelligence service. The attackers have entered a building in Kabul's police district five and are attempting to target the National Directorate of Security training facility.
We will of course keep an eye on this and bring you more details a as they come into us here at CNN. Well, U.S. sanctions are now in effect on Iran. The Trump administration says Iran's purchase of U.S. dollars is restricted. Trade in gold, metals, and automobile is restricted or prohibited as are transactions related to the Iranian rial. But the sanctions are having a real impact on ordinary Iranians. And our Nick Paton Walsh joins me now live from Tehran with more on this.
So Nick, let's talk about the impact these sanctions are having on ordinary people in Iran.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have to remember these have long been heralded as something that was going to hit the Iranian economy. So much of this damage has been foreseen. But we've seen remarkably a combination of things. On small things like the ability to get spare parts for foreign automobiles, that's been massively impeded causing a huge rise in the cost of those and some people being unable frankly just to get their cars back on the road.
[02:35:04] But simultaneously that sort of oncoming juggernaut of these renewed American sanctions has caused a slide in the local currency here and that's caused things like food prices to rise. These things for example heading a taxi driver who drives a foreign car hitting some families simultaneously. Here's what we saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Tehran stood proud for centuries but now life here changes by the week. Everyone loves a Toyota until it breaks down. Yet renewed American sanctions on cars and their parts kicking in a week ago being that few can afford repairs and spares are drying up, so they sit here for months. Three times as expensive? So this is just in the last few months this is now three times as expensive as it used to be. These would normally be full, owner (INAUDIBLE) says.
You'd never think that a sparkplug would become such valued currency. Donald Trump thinks that he is pushing the Iranian people to rise up against their government. Do you think that's likely to happen because of what's happening here? No, he says, because the hungrier the people get, the more they're going to hate him. If Trump acted properly people might even have liked him. Behind every car is a family and (INAUDIBLE) is at the heart of the matter.
He can't afford the parts to repair his taxi but that hasn't stopped the monthly repayments on it. And that lead to stock changes at home to (INAUDIBLE) family out of ten, seven and daughter, Asal, 13. As the local currency also plunges in value, their fancy refrigerator and their plush but tiny two-room apartment is suddenly emptier. The price of a an egg has doubled he says. Just like the price of fresh fruits and the vegetables. Milk is about 40 percent more expensive.
These are the middle class that Barack Obama wanted to win over by lifting sanctions under the nuclear deal. But onto whom Donald Trump wants to pile pressure hoping to force political change. Yet, instead its ardent English lessons that may go first and perhaps Asal's guitar tutor and then perhaps even the family home will go on the market. The U.S. says Iran's government not its people are the target, but it's far more personal and painful here.
WALSH: So the American Trump administration calculation is that the more you pile on the economic pressure on a family like that you can really get more potentially western looking than the people who want to learn English and want to play the acoustic guitar. But that increased pressure will cause them to turn on the comparatively moderate government here of Hassan Rouhani whose critics say haven't handled their economy well enough and we've haven't heard internal sides from officials here criticism of how their local currency has been allowed to slide and how, you know, things are tough on the streets frankly here. But also too, we hear from people that quite opposite view that in
fact as the economy here experiences problems and that the Americans turn on the sanctions screw in fact it becomes America that they instead blame. True to say that a lot of these sanctions are causing this damage of course in a panic around the local currency, the rial which has slid in value remarkably in about the last year, you know, you have to spend three times as many rials to buy a dollar as you did at this time last year.
So a real sense of palpable change economically here on it streets. And still we've yet to have the tougher sanctions against the oil industry and that accounts about a fifth of this country's GDP. That kicks in in early November. That's the midterms for Donald Trump. Perhaps another bid for him to see like a hardliner when it comes this part of foreign policy. But many are saying, frankly, has it been this well thought through? The Obama administrations as said in that report were focusing on the middle class.
The hope that if you make their life easier, you ease sanctions, you make them more economically prosperous that themselves were moderating the country will just open up a little bit. Instead, the hardline approach the Trump administration seems to be if you look in that report risk of alienating the very people who potentially America thought or perhaps the shining hope of Iran's future, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Nick Paton Walsh with that live report from Tehran. Many thanks to you. We'll take a short break. But when we come back jury deliberations begin soon in the trial of President Trump's former campaign manager. Attorneys for Paul Manafort sound confident he will be acquitted. Plus, there will be something very important in hundreds of U.S. newspapers on Thursday. A preview when we come back.
[02:42:17] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is about to enter its most critical phase. In the coming hours, the case will go to the jury and no one can be certain what they will decide. We get the latest now from CNN's Jessica Schneider.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Prosecutors made their final pitch to the jury focusing on two main themes. Paul Manafort is not above the law and he lied to the government, his book keepers, and the banks. Lead prosecutor Greg Andre told the jury, Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it and he lied to get more money when he didn't. This is a case about lies. Andre has reminded the jury about the more than $60 million Manafort made from his lobbying work in Ukraine that he allegedly hid in 31 foreign bank accounts.
Andre's briefly alluded to Manafort's extravagant purchases which the jury will get to see pictures of for the first time when they deliberate including that $15,000 ostrich coat and $10,000 karaoke machine. But pointed out we're not in the courtroom today because Mr. Manafort is wealthy. It's because Mr. Manafort filed false tax returns. It is not a crime in this country to be wealthy. Andre has laid out the evidence to the jury that he says proves Manafort directed all aspects of his financial scheme and knew he was breaking the law.
Andre is focused on the black and white proof rather than the two and a half day testimony of Rick Gates saying the star witness in this case is the documents. But the prosecution did mention Gates' name several times arguing that while he was involved in Manafort scheme, Gates' testimony backs up the testimony from Manafort's accountants and bookkeepers to see if it's consistent they urged. But the defense dug in on Gates making him a part of the focus of their closing for a case in which they presented no evidence and no witnesses including Manafort who opted not to testify.
The defense told the jury sitting here today, Mr. Manafort is innocent.
PAUL MANAFORT, AMERICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Today at around 7:30, Mr. Trump will be officially the nominee of it Republican Party, so we're excited about that.
SCHNEIDER: And telling jurors about Manafort's work on the Trump campaign as well as other campaigns noting how Manafort earned great respect for his work. The defense attorney also accused Robert Mueller of selectively picking Manafort's financial records in order to concoct an elaborate fraud scheme saying clearly their goal was to stack up the counts. And in the end urging jurors to hold the government to its burden of proving Manafort is guilty beyond the reasonable doubt.
Paul Manafort's defense attorney says that Paul Manafort is very happy with the way things went at closing arguments saying that he was pleased that his team got to make their case to the jury and stressed that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury will officially start deliberations at 9:30 in the morning on Thursday in this very high stake case. Jessica Schneider, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.
[02:45:14] CHURCH: Well, Americans across the country will witness an extraordinary thing on Thursday. Hundreds of U.S. newspapers, large and small, are publishing editorials that champion a free press. And denounce President Trump's unprecedented assault on the fourth estate.
Here's just one example from the Dallas Morning News. "In our modern era, no president has as publicly or fundamentally challenged the legitimacy of America's leading news organizations as the current occupant of the Oval Office.
The crucial difference is that rather than taking issue with one story or even a series of stories, the intention seems to be to undermine the credibility of the press as a whole with a large swath of the citizenry." Now, these newspapers, including some that endorse Mr. Trump are responding to the president's increasingly menacing tone. On more than one occasion, he has labeled the press, the enemy of the American people. Here are other things he said.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those people right up there with all the cameras, they are the worst. Those very dishonest people back there, absolute dishonest, absolute scum. We have a very crooked media. It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions.
It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. I've never seen more dishonest media. They're bad people, and I really think they don't like our country. The media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade.
They are the enemy of the people. I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And I -- some of them are such lying, disgusting people, it's true.
CHURCH: So, let's get more on this with CNN media reporter Hadas Gold, in Washington. Great to have you with us.
HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Great to be with you.
CHURCH: So, the Boston Globe is leading the charge with this coordinated campaign involving more than 300 newspapers across the country, publishing these editorials, Thursday. Pointing out the dangers of President Trump's attacks on the media. And essentially, saying we are not the enemy of the people. But how effective will this strategy likely be, do you think?
GOLD: Now, it should definitely be commended that these newspapers are doing this. Especially, that they're doing it each in their own voices. This is not some sort of stock editorial that all of them are running. Each newspaper is writing their own version of this editorial for their own communities.
But you do have to wonder what in effect a newspaper editorial will have on people's minds. Because keep in mind, for example, during the election, way more newspapers endorsed Hillary Clinton for president than they did Donald Trump, clearly, that didn't change the electorate.
However, I do think it's important to make sure people are aware of the dangers of this type of rhetoric of calling the media, the enemy of the American people. What's even more notable, I think, is that we act -- CNN actually talked to the publisher of one newspaper in Kansas that actually endorsed Donald Trump during the election.
And now, is running with their version of this editorial, as well. Because they said that they realize they are part of this community, and they also need to stand up and say that this type of rhetoric is dangerous for the media it's dangerous for the journalists that are doing their jobs and it's dangerous to our democracy.
CHURCH: And, of course, journalist's field is very deep. But how much concern is there across America about the president's anti-media rhetoric? Does anyone who's not a journalist even care anymore about those attacks and about getting to the truth of the matter.
GOLD: It's interesting because it's very much split it seems nowadays along party lines if you talk to Republicans versus Democrats, versus Independents. And there has been some recent polling actually that shows that unfortunately, Republicans are thinking more and more -- of some of the press as an enemy of the American people, as the president says.
It's really interesting to see how quickly the sort of divide has grown between depending on how you have your politics. But, I think that people at their core still really believe in a free press and a free media because as much as they might decry the fake news, they understand that what makes the country so great is that everybody can say their point of view, can write what they want, and that's what so important.
I think that what's frustrating for a lot of people is just the amount of news out there, and the amount of voices that are out there. And that it's hard to kind of tell what can be trusted, what can't be trusted? Because there are so many outlets and they can all look very legitimate.
And that is actually why I think that there needs to be if anything more news literacy in schools, and more reporters going on the ground and talking to people, and explaining how we do, what we do, and why we do what we just.
That they understand that we're not some sort of -- you know, cloud in the sky or some sort of T.V. network out of -- you know, these big urban centers that we are real people who are just trying to report the news and go after the truth. And I think that will have more effect than necessary editorials in a newspaper.
[02:50:11] CHURCH: Yes, it is. That's a very good point. And if nothing else, so we are saying another example of news media solidarity. And we have seen it in some of the White House press briefings. How important is that solidarity at a time when the country is led by a president who apparently feels threatened by the questions posed by these journalists?
GOLD: Exactly. And I think, especially this week, we saw it notably just the other day when a Fox News reporter deferred to an NBC reporter to let her finish her question.
We're seeing this more and more in the White House that in the press briefings, reporters from competing networks, from networks that are sort of seen on opposite ends of the political spectrum are saying, "You know what at our core, we're all journalists, and we just want to be able to ask our questions and get our answers. And so, I'm going to defer to you.
And it's really interesting to see this happen more and more and see how the White House response to that. Because, for example, after the White House denied CNN, one of our reporters from even entering an event, you saw the swelling of solidarity he got from all sort of -- all sorts of reporters, all sorts of publications announce and saying, "No, this is not OK. This is where we draw the line."
Because this country is about a free press and the First Amendment and that's not an OK thing to do from the White House, from the president to bar a reporter from attending an event. And I think that we will continue to see more and more of that solidarity if the White House continues these antics.
CHURCH: Hadas Gold, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
GOLD: Thank you.
CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. But coming up.
A mother reunites with her little boy, three months after the U.S. government wrenched them apart.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. A mother and child are back together after Donald Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy tore them apart three months ago. CNN's Sara Sidner reports their reunion was made possible by one of the president's political opponents.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, the day ended with tears of joy here in Guatemala City. But it started in court, the tears of sorrow that of a 9-year-old boy.
SIDNER: A mother and her son's first embrace after being separated for 81 days by U.S. immigration officials. 9-year-old, Anthony Ortiz's biggest concern when he sees his mom, wiping her tears away.
What did your son say to you and what did you say to him when you saw him after all of this trauma?
ELISA ORTIZ ENRIQUEZ, MOTHER, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: (through translator): I started crying for joy. But he kept telling me not to cry. "Mom don't cry." Because he doesn't like to see me cry.
SIDNER: They were separated by immigration officials in May when they crossed over the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Fleeing Guatemala, the family running straight into the realities of a new Trump administration policy to separate children from families as a deterrent to the undocumented.
Anthony was one of at least, 380 children, HHS said last week was still in U.S. custody with a parent who had been deported. The Ortiz's day did not begin with joy. It began with Anthony walking into immigration court, a hearing that ended in his tears.
A judge ordered he could go home but that could take up to 60 more days. But Anthony had something others in his predicament didn't. A private attorney, the same man who represents Porn Star Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY TO ORTIZ FAMILY: This is an absolute outrage. If the President and Mr. Miller, and the rest of his cronies truly want people that come here illegally returned to their country as quickly as possible, then why did the government attorney repeatedly upstairs refused to agree to what we asked for namely, to take this young boy home to his mother today?
[02:55:06] SIDNER: Avenatti had petitioned the court to allow him to take temporary custody of Anthony and take him home to his mother in Guatemala immediately. All at Avenatti's expense.
The government attorney refused Avenatti's request. But less than eight hours after that hearing, with cameras surrounding him, HHS officials handed Anthony over to Avenatti and his co-counsel Ricardo de Anda. With that, Ortiz was taking his first flight ever. A 3 1/2 hour flight from Houston to Guatemala.
All of this as Michael Avenatti has floated his interest in a potential 2020 presidential bid. Leading to critics wondering if this was his foray into one of the hottest political battles going.
What do you say to critics who say this is a publicity stunt? How do you respond to that?
AVENATTI: Well, first of all, I don't know any critic that saying that's a publicity stunt. This isn't a publicity stunt. I've been representing dozens of mothers and children for weeks now. Traveling around the country, doing good work, having kids reunited with their parents. I mean, my record speaks for itself.
SIDNER: The Ortiz family didn't care one way or the other. For them, this was a miraculous turn of events that left the family whole again.
ENRIQUEZ: Thanks to God, I have him here now, and thanks to Mr. Avenatti who has been so good to me since the beginning.
SIDNER: And Rosemary, Michael Avenatti says he's happy to help. And also again, bristles at the idea that he's just doing this for aggrandizement or publicity. He says, he hadn't even thought of potentially running for the presidency of the United States before taking these cases.
CHURCH: Sara Sidner, thanks so. Good to see you. Happy ending for a change. And there is snail mail then is this. Lettuce and packages, 10 tons of them have finally reached the West Bank. Israel have blocked the correspondence for up to eight years. But let the shipments go now as a confidence-building gesture. Palestinian officials say the mail which includes medication even a wheelchair may have been delayed for security or administrative reasons. But now, Palestinian clerks are working overtime to soar through that mail and say deliveries could take two more weeks.
Well, thanks so much for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. And I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN.