Return to Transcripts main page

HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Trump's Attorney, Giuliani, Says Truth Is Not Truth; Trump Erupts Over McGahn's Meeting with Mueller; Syrian Parents Mourn Children After Airstrikes; Pope Francis Breaks Silence on Latest Sex Abuse Scandal; U.S. Supplied Bomb That Killed 40 Children In Yemen; Iranian FM: U.S. Has "Addiction To Sanctions;" Neighbors Tighten Borders Amid Mass Exodus; NYT: Asia Argento Paid Settlement To Her Own Accuser; Tourist Survives 10 Hours At Sea After Falling From Ship. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired August 20, 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] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone, live from CNN London, I am Hala Gorani. Tonight, Donald Trump intensified his attacks

against Special Counsel Robert Mueller claiming the man leading the Russia investigation is disgraced and discredited.

Also, ahead CNN takes you inside Syria's last rebel stronghold as millions of residents prepare for what could be the war's final showdown. And a

prominent early leader in the #metoo movement has allegedly paid off someone who accused her of sexual assault. The full story is coming up.

A month's long battle has turned into an all-out war. Donald trumps latest tweets are taking his fight to a whole new level. He is calling Robert

Mueller disgraced and discredited and the investigators in charge, thugs. Flat out accusing them of trying to sway the November elections.

This renewed outburst comes after we learned that White House Counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with Robert Mueller's team. Mr. Trump's

personal attorney Rudy Giuliani tried to explain why the president himself has not sat down with Mueller yet. You have to hear this for yourself to

believe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. When you tell me

he should testify because he's going to tell the truth, that he shouldn't worry. That's so silly. It's somebody's version of the truth, not the

truth. He didn't have a --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Truth is truth.

GIULIANI: No. Truth isn't truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, just the latest Orwellian statement from a member of the Trump team. Truth is not truth is quite a remarkable statement. Though

perhaps not altogether surprising given that a top Trump aide first introduced us to the idea of alternative facts. Let's bring in White House

reporter, Jeremy Diamond, he is in Washington.

Jeremy, let's talk first about the White House Counsel Don McGahn interviewed by the Mueller team. What do we know?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. We have a remarkable revelation this weekend that the White House counsel. Don

McGahn, not only sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel's team, but that he and his lawyer never fully briefed the

president's personal legal team or White House's special council on the matter.

A source familiar is insisting to CNN that McGahn provided no incriminating information about the president to the special counsel's team. It is

important to note that Don McGahn has been present for so many of the key moments at the center of Mueller's obstruction of justice investigation as

it pertains to the president. He was involved in the discussions about the firing of James Comey. He was directed at one point by the president to

fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and has been involved in all of these discussions about the president's frustration with Deputy Attorney General

in charge of the investigation, Rod Rosenstein.

So even if this source believes that McGahn provided no incriminating information, even Don McGahn can't know for sure what all of the other

pieces to the puzzle are that Robert Mueller already has access to. And how McGahn's testimony fits into all of that.

GORANI: What does it tell us about how close we are to an end this whole process, this Mueller investigation?

DIAMOND: You know, we have very little indication as far as how long Mueller is going to take to finish up his investigation. It is clear he

wants to still interview the president for this. We know the president's legal team has repeatedly rebuffed the special counsel's request for an

interview with the president trying to limit the scope of potential questions. The president's legal team despite kind of drawing this out by

refusing to give up the president for an interview is still insisting that Mueller wrap up his investigation by the beginning of next month.

They want to avoid any indication that this could influence the 2018 election. It appears that Robert Mueller's team doesn't want to impact the

election. So, the question is will he wrap it up before the end of next month or will he put it on hold during the midterm elections as far as any

public actions are concerned and pursue it further after the November midterm elections?

GORANI: Thanks very much. There is an event at the White House scheduled for this hour. The president, Donald Trump will be honoring immigration

and border law enforcement officials in the East room at the White House.

[15:05:00] This of course after that controversial detention and separation of families at the border that took place over the last several weeks.

Many families which have not been reunited yet, the president very much putting at the forefront there of the agenda or trying to at least the big

issue of immigration that plays so well with his base.

Let's bring in a CNN legal analyst now to help us break it all down. We are joined by former U.S. Federal Prosecutor, Renato Mariotti. Thanks for

joining us.

Let's talk a little bit about the significance of the White House Counsel, McGahn, speaking for so many hours, about 30 hours, to the Robert Mueller

team. What do you make of it?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER U.S. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it's very important because Don McGahn was one of the few people in the room when Donald from

was making decisions for example, regarding the firing of James Comey. He actually reviewed a letter or memo that was written by Stephen Miller at

the direction of the president.

Supposedly or reportedly he provided comments, and feed back and edits to that memo. Very important testimony there. Also, he was there when the

president reportedly erupted at the attorney general and was angry at him for recusing himself. Other potential episodes that could be used in an

obstruction inquiry by Robert Mueller. We hear press reports on CNN or in print about these incidents but Robert Mueller can't use that information.

He needs eyewitnesses.

McGahn is an important eyewitness. It looks like the White House was caught a little flat-footed by this to suggest that Trump's legal team was

not as prepared for this and on top of this as they should have been.

GORANI: And for all of our views who don't follow the incremental developments surrounding this Russia investigation, once this report is

finished what then happens? Is it handed to Congress? Then what action can be taken if Robert Mueller alleges wrongdoing and in it?

MARIOTTI: In the United States, the Justice Department has determined that a sitting president cannot be indicted while in office. So, Mueller would

present that report to Congress. Congress would make that decision whether to impeach, in fact, if the House of Representatives, which is one branch

of United States Congress, that would make that decision.

The midterm elections will be crucial in terms of which party is in control of the House of Representatives. Then the Senate would be determining

whether or not to convict the president. That would require a two-thirds vote, 67 out of 100 senators. You'll recall in the case of Bill Clinton

for example there was an impeachment. There was an impeachment but not a conviction. At the same time there could be indictments issued as to other

individuals, let's say Roger Stone or others. And that would proceed along a parallel track.

GORANI: You have probably heard what Rudy Giuliani on the Sunday television show, the truth is not the truth. I want to remind our viewers

how often we have heard from members of the Trump team this notion, this concept that facts, that reality is not always as it seems. In might not

even be something that we should rely on. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: You're saying it's a falsehood and they are giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a situation like this you have over time facts develop.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If fact counting is anything we have never had anyone with the level of mendacity that he has. I am not even close. But we will

leave it there.

GIULIANI: It is in the eye of the beholder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Facts are not in the eye of the beholder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: What impact could all of the statements have in legal proceedings. If any?

MARIOTTI: They won't have an impact directly in a legal proceeding. A lot of juries would laugh at some of the suggestions that the truth is relative

and so on.

It does have an impact in terms of first of all the jury pool. But also, it has an impact in terms of how senators for example who are going to be

the jurors, if there's an obstruction case will view this. What the president is trying to do here, what Trump is trying to do is convince a

portion of the United States population that they cannot trust what they read, what they see, but they hear.

And they can only trust what he tells them. And so, he is trying to inoculate himself from any news, from any further developments, so that he

has a firewall of 34 senators who will vote not to convict no matter what he does.

GORANI: A quick one on the matter for trial. Now the jury is not sequestered, they went home for the weekend. They have been told to ignore

media coverage. That's virtually impossible. Why do you think the decision was made not to sequester this jury?

[15:10:00] MARIOTTI: It's not an easy thing to do. There are some people who try to ignore what's going on. It is hard in this sort of age. I will

say as a federal prosecutor, I tried many white-collar trials, and I was present during other types of high-profile trials. I don't remember a lot

of cases having sequestered juries. It was an uncommon thing in the federal system. It is disfavored for a number of reasons. It's very

inconvenient to the jury.

It's very cumbersome and expensive. So typically, it doesn't happen in the federal system. I think in this case given what has happened, we saw

obviously the president made comments. Manafort's attorney improperly made comments. It was warranted but I don't fault the judge and the parties for

not pushing for that earlier, without the benefit of hindsight what would have happened.

GORANI: All right. Although we could have predicted a few tweets, thanks very much for joining us. I really appreciate it. By the way, the

president went on a tweet storm over the weekends, even by the standards of Donald Trump. There was a lot on Twitter for all of us to read. One thing

comes up over and over again and that's the president difficulty with the word "counsel." He spells it a few times correctly and another time as you

see here in this particular tweet, the White House "councel."

This attracted the attention of the Merriam-Webster dictionary people who trolled the president with this helpful tweet, "counsel, a lawyer appointed

to advise and represent in legal matters. Council, an assembly or meeting for consultation or discussion."

In Syria now, devastation. A father pulls his own children's clothes from rubble. Four of them are now dead killed in air strikes a few short days

ago. Idlib province is the last rebel held enclave in the country. A government offensive to retake it seems imminent. CNN's Arwa Damon went in

spoke to some of the people who already lost everything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There used to be an ice cream shop on the corner. Kids playing in the street. A son said the violence would not

strike here at least not like this.

It is five days after multiple air strikes hit this once quiet neighborhood in Idlib Province killing dozens of people shattering whatever illusion f

safety that may have existed. For seven years now, Syria's unraveling has been documented.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your point in all of your filming? There is no humanity in this?

DAMON: In the world's muted response to Syria's heartless destruction.

Only one of Ibrahim's five children survived. It's just memories now. The family next door displaced from elsewhere were all killed, seven of them.

Also, killed was a media activist, Ahmed. Ahmed was just 20 years old. A nurse and first responder by training.

A role he played in his native Aleppo before the family was displaced as the regime took over.

When he saw the responders weren't there he threw his cameras aside and went to save a little girl. Another strike came in killing them both. His

parents seem stoic together, proud but in pain. As she shows us his clothes she breaks down.

In the room next door, he shows us photos, tears he can't cry in front of his wife. They did everything together. A father/son team documenting

their nation's pain now directly a part of it.

[15:15:00] The sluggish summer pace of life as we drive through Idlib Province seems to belie the looming violence. It's the last remaining main

rebel stronghold.

Turkey, Russia and Iran have been negotiating to ostensibly come to some sort of agreement to prevent a total massacre here by the Syrian regime and

its Russian backers. Turkey has military observation posts in the province and has called an assault on Idlib a red line. Its border has been closed

and senior Turkish official says his government is pouring millions of dollars into swelling refugee camps.

He remembers when there were just a few tents here and the rest of it was just the olive groves. Now you take a look and it has such aura of

permanence to it all.

The rolling stones have been transformed into a sea of homes of lost souls the population has doubled in recent years as more Syrians arrived. It is

also where other parts of the country fell back into government control they relocated residents and rebel fighters. For those here normal and

home have been irreversibly redefined.

We can't go back ever he says. He doesn't trust the regime. With nowhere left to go many feel they are waiting for their death sentence to be

carried out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Arwa joins me now from Istanbul. Obviously, this is the last major rebel held area. So, any expectation if the regime is going to move

in on these people? What happens? Some have been displaced from other parts of the country?

DAMON: Yes. Some of them have actually been displaced multiple times. That really is the looming question on everyone's mind. It is as if there

is an overwhelming pressure on this entire population both physically speaking as the air strikes feel closer. They don't feel as if they have

any options at this stage. Everyone is hoping there will be some sort of a negotiation. It is very difficult to see how that can take place. As

complicated as Syria is it is going to be the most complicated of all given the patchwork on the ground there. The multitude of regional and

international players.

GORANI: So right now, what is the situation? This is still a rebel held enclave. What is the regime likely to do and when?

DAMON: You know, that's very difficult to determine. We have heard various different statements about time frames with a Russian general

eluding to the fact that it will be happening eminently. Whether this is to try to put some sort of pressure on the groups to give up without that

much of a fight or whether it actually is going to be happening soon are rather than later remains to be seen. Turkey has been trying to put a lot

of pressure on the Russians but they don't really have a lot of weight to throw behind that kind of a request. The cards at this stage are in the

Russian and Syrian government's hands. Again, you a population that doesn't know where to go or how to keep themselves safe. They are getting

increasingly crushed in this space.

GORANI: Thanks very much. Years of watching the disaster in Syria unfold sometimes you forget the magnitude of the human tragedy. It is good to be

reminded of it. Thanks very much.

Pope Francis finally responded to the horrific church abuse allegations issuing an open letter. Hear what he had to say and we hear from a

Democratic congressman after CNN learns that the bomb used in the attack in Yemen that killed school kids on a bus was supplied by the United States.

We'll be right back.

[15:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Blunt words from Pope Francis after a detail of a litany of horrific sexual abuse in Pennsylvania over decades. The Pontiff says the

church is working on a zero-tolerance policy on abuse and coverups. The Pope and the Catholic Church have been under severe pressure to address

this. And a growing number of other abuse scandals across the globe. Why now and what will this admission achieve?

Barbie Nadeau is in Rome and Polo Sandoval joins me from Pittsburgh. Barbie, I know you spoke with the Vatican just in the last few hours about

why they issued this statement and why now. What did they say?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think they felt it was really important to view this ahead of this important for of the Pope is taking to

Ireland next week and they want to keep this issue separate from that issue. The Monday morning letter was quite a surprise had strong words.

It didn't lay out a definite plan for how this zero-tolerance policy is going to work. Let me read you just a little bit of this letter. Because

it is quite interesting as the Vatican posted.

"Looking back to the past no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future no effort

must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening but also to prevent the possibility of they being covered up and

perpetuated. The pain of victims and their families is also our pain."

The point about preventing future cover-ups is what the victims want to hear. They want to know that those bishops and cardinals complicit in the

cover-up and the moving around of those predator priests will be held accountable.

GORANI: And Polo, you're in Pennsylvania. What is the reaction there where this grand jury report said all of this took place over the decades?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First, I should explain why we are in Pittsburgh. When you look through the pages of that very disturbing

report. It turns out about a third of those clergy members that are named in that document were from this diocese. We have been spending time

literally in church speaking to parishioners.

I have to tell you what we have seen there common among most of them is that their faces almost twofold. They have their faith in the gospel that

remains relatively intact for the average churchgoer, but they also have their faith in the institution of the church, something we have all seen in

the documents and through the church's own admission it's still with plenty of flaws.

That is what many of these churchgoers tell me, they are losing some of their faith there. They want some of that trust restored. You hear from

the actual victims those that consider themselves survivors. Many of them are not accepting Pope Francis's statement earlier this morning.

[15:25:00] What they want is more. They want a full admission that there was according to them decades of covering up these kinds of actions by

members of the church. It gives you a taste of what some people here in the state of Pennsylvania have been saying, whether you're a member of the

clergy or congregation. This report is still part of the conversation, almost a week after it was released.

GORANI: Thanks very much. The Pope's next big challenge, a long-awaited trip to Ireland that Barbie was alluding to. Later this week a country

that suffered from his own church sex abuse scandals. So, will the Pope address this controversy there?

Let's go live to Dublin and speak to John Allen, CNN senior Vatican analyst and editor of "Crux."

So, John, first of all, so some survivors of sexual abuse are saying it doesn't go far enough because there is no specific action plan. John, can

you hear me?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Yes.

GORANI: So, survivors of sex abuse are saying it doesn't go far enough. But there's no specific action plan to address it. Will the Vatican be

pressured into coming up with something, you know, something that people will understand, a system, a method to prevent this type of abuse in the

future?

ALLEN: Yes. I think so. There's a ticking clock here. I am in Dublin, Ireland where he will arrive on Saturday. There has already been

widespread dissatisfaction. It is for the accountability not for the crime but the cover-up. We recently saw a member had to leave the college in

disgrace for precisely that reason. What we don't have are similarly strong measures for bishops and others who cover it up. And the fact that

the pope used the word cover-up in this letter twice but didn't provide any kind of tale as to what it would look like is very frustrate here. I think

he will face enormous pressure to fill that hole.

GORANI: I guess the wider question is can the church self-police on this.

ALLEN: Well, look, we are talking -- part of the accountability for bishops means if a bishop is guilty of failure to report they report him

the same way he would report a priest that was charged with abuse. No one is talking about doing it around cooperation with police and the courts.

What we are talking about is the church imposing its own making it clearer that turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children is not acceptable.

GORANI: Some say that the pope is talking a lot about what happened in the past and not acknowledging that it could still be happening today. That's

criticism leveled at Pope Francis as well.

ALLEN: Yes. That's right. Of course, you need look no further than many of the cases that suggest if you take the Pennsylvania grand jury it is

true that most of the crimes themselves are in the past but the cover-up continues to the present day. That's the sort of silence that the grand

jury was attempting to puncture. To suggest it does not continue to be a problem for the Catholic Church would be disingenuous. He did say it must

be done and I am confident it will be done. That's an acknowledgment there is unfinished business. The difficulty he didn't explain how fixing that

would be accomplished.

GORANI: Thanks so much.

Still to come, tonight a horrific attack that left 40 children dead in Yemen. Now we know where the bomb that killed them came from. Exclusive

CNN reporting next.

Thousands of Venezuelans flee their country. Now south American neighbors are tightening their borders. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:30:57] GORANI: Well, it was the attack that reopened the world's eyes to the heart that is Yemen. Forty children on a school trip killed when

their bus was directly hit by a missile. Now, we're hearing that the bomb used in that Saudi-led coalition attack was in fact supplied by the United

States.

Let's get more from Nima Elbagir. She's with me here in the studio.

So tell us more about where -- in the reporting that you've done, where this bomb came from exactly.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, because we had been on the story right from the beginning, the contacts that we've made on

the ground immediately contacted us in the aftermath, which are the hours when people are looking for the shrapnel and they were able to send this

piece to us. Take a look at this, Hala.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELBAGIR (voice-over): This video of shrapnel was found in the aftermath of the attack and sent to CNN by contact in Saada. A cameraman working for

CNN subsequently filmed these images for us.

Munitions experts tell CNN this was a U.S. made Mark MK82 bomb, weighing in at half a ton. The first five digits there are the cage number. The

commercial and government entity number. This number here denotes Lockheed Martin, one of the top U.S. defense contractors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are at the forefront of the science that makes them real.

ELBAGIR: This particular MK82 is a Paveway. A laser-guided precision bomb. It's targeting accuracy a particular point of pride for Lockheed

Martin.

Parts of an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, sanctioned and contracted out by the U.S. government.

So, why does this matter? Because the devastation inflicted by the MK82 is all too familiar in Yemen. In March 2016, a strike on a market using the

similarly laser-guided 2,000-pound MK84 killed 97 people.

In October 2016, another strike on a funeral hall killed 155 people and wounded hundreds more. Then, the bus attack on August 9th, where they're

still counting the dead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ELBAGIR: The crux of this issue if that under President Obama, that kind of laser-guided technology was backed in the last few months of his tenure.

GORANI: Right, but not for the several first years though of this term.

ELBAGIR: No. Not in the several first years. In fact, that particular bomb, that was part of a deal that was state sanctioned by President Obama.

But he bound it when he felt that the targeting wasn't specific enough.

As soon as Donald Trump came into office, the former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, overturned the ban, and this is now -- this is the heart of

the matter. What is the complicity when you know that you have concerns that the weaponry that you're selling on is not being used effectively?

GORANI: The manufacturers are saying this is precision-guided. Clearly, it's either not precision-guided or those who were dropping the bombs, you

know, aren't taking care to avoid civilian casualties so much.

ELBAGIR: It is targeting, that's the issue. The technology works. It's the targeting and the use of it. And the coalition have admitted that they

were wrong in those previous civilian casualty incidents. We're awaiting to hear what the investigation will find.

But we also have to remind our viewers that this is not an external independent investigation. This is an internal mechanism of the coalition.

GORANI: And regarding the arms now, this is just one component of what the U.S. and Britain, other Western countries sell to Saudi Arabia. We're

talking here about all manners of equipment and training and maintenance.

ELBAGIR: Absolutely, and the logistical support, the midair fueling. The U.S. says it doesn't help with targeting but it helps with assistance and

targeting procedure.

I mean that is, you know, swings and roundabouts within those two phrases. What they're saying is we don't say that's the -- that's the target, hit

it, but they help them narrow the targeting field. They help them understand to have a better target. So essentially they are a partner in

this. And this has been going on three years and it's very difficult to leverage an end of this war if your customer is on one end of it.

[15:35:04] GORANI: Nima, thanks very much and reporting that really made a big impact over the weekend.

ELBAGIR: Thank you.

GORANI: Thanks for joining us.

That attack and what we've learned since has lead members of Congress in the United States to call out their country's role on Yemen. I spoke to

one of them, Ted Lieu, and asked him for his reaction to CNN's reporting.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Let me first say, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I don't have any objection to U.S. helping

allies including Saudi Arabia. But I do have an objection when the Saudi- led coalition is dropping bombs on children, women, other civilians, and in this case there's a bomb that the U.S. made and it was dropped on a school

bus that killed well over 40 children and that is completely unacceptable.

GORANI: So, what do you think should happen? Do you believe the U.S. should stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia? Certain kinds of arms?

LIEU: Absolutely. And this is not a partisan issue. During the last term when I was in Congress, I asked the Obama administration to stop assisting

Saudi Arabia as well. And in fact, the Obama administration did stop a shipment of precision-guided munition to Saudi Arabia.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration reversed, but I think we should go back to that and stop assisting the Saudi-led coalition until they can

demonstrate that they're not going to strike children, women, and civilians and what looked like multiple war crimes.

GORANI: And you mentioned President Obama and some Trump critics have said that he's reversed that ban on a certain type of precision-guided weaponry.

But under President Obama, this has been going on for years, right? The biggest arms deal -- arms deal in history over eight years were signed

under the Obama administration.

Is it time for a wider rethink do you believe?

LIEU: I think we need a wider rethink as to whether we're selling munitions to countries that may use and to commit what look like war

crimes. I previously served and act of duty in the United States Air Force. I taught the law of war as one of my duties and you just cannot

strike all these civilians.

Many of them nowhere near military targets. And many of these are with bombs that were manufactured in the United States and at some point, it

makes us, the United States, complicit in what looked like war crimes.

GORANI: So we are seeing obviously all over the world and we are watched a lot in the Middle East. Is it your belief that what Saudi Arabia is doing

could amount to war crimes in Yemen?

LIEU: Absolutely. If you look at the law of war, one of its principle is its proportionality. So if Saudi Arabia said that they intentionally

struck that school bus because they believe there are two Houthi leaders on board, even if that's the case, that's an illegitimate strike if they knew

there were over 40 kids as well. You just can't do that kind of airstrike.

I addition, this is not the first time that a lot of children and women have died. There have been multiple airstrikes over the last three years,

on weddings, funerals, schools, hospitals. And at some point, you can't say it's just another mistake. It's either reckless or intentional

targeting of civilians and that would be a war crime.

GORANI: The question is, what impact do you think this has on America's standing, the United States standing in a part of the world like the Middle

East right now?

LIEU: That's a great question. I have been trying to get the United States to curb Saudi Arabia coalition's behavior in terms of the airstrikes

that hit civilians. Not just because it's the morally right thing to do, but also because whenever you strike a lot of civilians, you end up giving

terrorists a very good recruiting tool. It also damages the reputation of both Saudi Arabia and the United States around the world.

This is simply an action in terms of supporting Saudi Arabia coalition has gone on for far too long without enough oversight. We need to stop

assistance until the coalition can demonstrate they're not going to keep on hitting civilians.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: And that was Ted Lieu, a U.S. congressman from California.

U.S. officials have reportedly rejected an offer from Turkey to release a jailed American pastor. Turkey had proposed setting Andrew Brunson free if

the U.S. would agree to forgive billions in fines on a Turkish bank. The Wall Street Journal says the U.S. will not agree to any conditions for

Brunson's release. The U.S. has threatened economic sanctions on Turkey over the matter.

Brunson has been held by Turkey since 2016 on charges he was hoping to plant a coup.

The Iranian diplomat who sat down with the U.S. another powers and negotiated that nuclear deal in 2015 now says Washington is addicted to

sanctions.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, expressed dismay that the U.S. has not learned sanctions will never change

Iran, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER OF IRAN: I believe there is a disease in the United States and that is the addiction to sanctions.

[15:40:03] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you felt the U.S. was addicted to sanctions though, why did you go ahead

with the deal?

ZARIF: That may have been one of the mistakes. But the problem was that we felt that the United States had learned that at least as far as Iran is

concerned, sanctions do produce economic hardship but do not produce the political outcomes that they intend to them to produce. And I thought that

the Americans had learned that lesson. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

WALSH: So here we go in the opposite direction. You talk about trying to revisit that nuclear deal but it is quite clear that Donald Trump has no

interest.

ZARIF: We do not want to revisit that nuclear deal. We want the United States to implement that nuclear deal. Today, the closest U.S. allies are

resisting those sanctions.

The U.S. basically arm twisting its attempt to put pressure. I don't want to use the term bullying.

WALSH: don't want to use the term bullying but that's --

ZARIF: But that's what it demands to.

WALSH: Right. Are they succumbing to it, you think? The European allies, are they --

ZARIF: I think everybody looks at it that way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Iranian foreign minister there saying sanctions will not change Iran.

The humanitarian crisis on one side and on the other increasing hostility. Venezuelans who have been fleeing their homes are being met by stricter

rules and eve violence from their South American neighbors. Lynda Kinkade has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Thousands of deaths for Venezuelans fleeing the economic and humanitarian crisis in their homeland,

but their journey to a better life has been met with growing hostility from their South American neighbors.

The mass exodus is increasing tensions in countries like Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia.

On Saturday, angry residents of a Brazilian border town attacked a group of Venezuelan migrants setting fire to their camps, according to state media.

It comes after local business owner was allegedly robbed by Venezuelans. The demonstrations forced more than a thousand migrant to flee back across

the border to Venezuela on foot.

The Brazilian government says it's committed to helping Venezuelans and says it would try to spread migrants throughout the various states. It also

announced the deployment of 120 personnel from the country's national force to the border to help quail the violence.

Meanwhile in Ecuador, a new rule requires Venezuelan citizens to enter the country with a valid passport. Then some started their journey before the

rule went into effect, they're stuck in limbo at the border. Many only have identity cards used for travel to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia

under normal circumstances.

Some migrants have expressed frustration and desperation as they try to enter Ecuador.

GABRIEL MALAVOLTA, VENEZUELAN MIGRANT (through translator): I am here with my wife, hoping for some kind of humanitarian measure from the Ecuadorian

government that allows us to enter with our I.D. and card so we can continue our journey to Peru.

KINKADE: Other migrants are taking their chances crossing the border on foot after being turned away at the border by not having a passport.

AYLIN AGUILAR, VENEZUELAN MIGRANT (through translator): We opted to come on foot because the immigration officials are not going to give us an

answer. They're not going to stamp any documents. We have come illegally. We're practically illegal without papers, without documents, nothing.

KINKADE: Many of the migrants are headed to Peru which has one of the fastest growing economies in the region. The United Nations high

commission of the refugees says that more than half a million Venezuelans have crossed into Ecuador through Colombia since the beginning of the year.

They estimate that the number is growing with some 30,000 injuring in the first week of August alone.

Lynda Kinkade, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Still to come tonight, a prominent Me Too figure under scrutiny herself. The New York Times is reporting that an actress paid hush money

because of accusations against her. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:45:17] GORANI: Now to a twist in the Me Too movement. "The New York Times" is reporting that one of Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein's most

prominent accusers, in fact, paid off an accuser of her own. The reports says that actress Asia Argento, arranged payments hundreds of thousands of

dollars to a man who accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was 17 years old, under the age of consent, and she was 37.

"The Times" says it received the information in an encrypted e-mail from an unidentified party.

Now, we want to know, CNN has tried to reach all parties, and the Times has been trying to get a response from Argento since Thursday and has not

received one.

Let's go to New York. Jean Casarez is following the story.

According to "The New York Times" reporting, Jean, Argento's team arranged to pay $380,000 to a young actor in exchange for what exactly?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, "The Times" article doesn't actually state that, according to the documentation. The money was given

to healthy accuser. But he alleged that he was sexually assaulted and sexually battered by her and there was an intentional affliction of

emotional distress.

His attorney said that when it came out last fall, and she was front and center with the Me Too movement saying that Harvey Weinstein had raped her,

that it was just too much to bear for him that he had to process it and it all became so real. He was 17. As you said, he was under the age of

consenting, he was a minor. He's now only 22, so it's not that long ago. It's 2013.

But we have just gotten a response from the alleged victim's attorney. And the alleged victim is Jimmy Bennett, who says he was sexually battered back

in 2013 by Argento and his attorney says that this is just overwhelming for this young man because it has just hit the media and he needs 24 hours to

really process this and figure out what his statement would be. So at this point, there is no statement.

But just as you're saying, "The New York Times" got an e-mail with documentation. It was encrypted. It was from an anonymous source. So

they went to three sources that have knowledge of this case and they said it was authentic. And so that's why they went with it.

And the facts are, according to "The Times" that back in 2013 that Asia Argento sexually battered this young 17-year-old in a hotel room in

California.

He was playing her son in a movie. So they did know each other. The years went on. Nothing was done and then on October when all of this came to

light with Harvey Weinstein, she of course, alleging that he raped her. Weinstein defiantly saying he did not. That that's when his attorney sent

the letter. The ball started rolling and it was in April that the final deal was struck with a payment schedule even for the 380,000. That's where

we are at this point.

And as you said, Argento did not respond to "The Times" since Thursday. "The New York Times" reached out to her. They didn't run with the story

until yesterday because they were waiting to have a response from her.

CNN also has reached out. No response at this point. But we will see what she has to say. There are always two sides to every story. We have not

heard her side, except for the fact that "The Times" stands by its reporting that $380,000 was paid to this young man.

GORANI: So if indeed it is confirmed and Asia Argento acknowledge the payment, what does that mean in terms of her position? Does that mean that

she's acknowledging some form of a relationship with a young man or not? Do we know what that means, that payment?

[15:50:04] CASAREZ: Good question. You'd have to really go to the finite language of the documentation of this settlement, you could say, and that

may be confidential. We don't know. Because it can be that some takes no responsibility at all, denies in every form in fact that any sexual assault

occurred, but they are making this payment to help the accuser as the documentation the Times got, that sort of a key right there, right?

Helping the accuser that does not show any type of responsibility for any allege sexual assault.

Jean Casarez, thanks very much, live in New York. We appreciate it. And many women who support the Me Too movement are saying, don't let this

distract us from a cause that is worthy this twist in that story.

More to come including a remarkable survival story. How yoga may have saved a woman floating in the sea for 10 hours. Stay with us. We'll be

right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Now to an amazing story of survival. A British tourist named Kay Longstaff fell off a Norwegian cruise line ship in the Adriatic Sea Sunday

morning. Ten hours later, she was clocked from the water by the Croatian coast guard. How did she make it so long at sea without even a life vest?

Well, she credits yoga for helping her to remain calm and stay afloat.

Bianca Nobilo has been following the story and has more details.

So this is going to keep on some people who take up yoga, I guess. But come on, 10 hours. A lot of people die, I mean, just hypothermia, other

issues. Was she in the water the whole time?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She floated for a lot of it. And I think it is a very good advertisement for yoga. She credits yoga and also

the fact that she sang throughout which -- and it kept her in a positive mindset but also she said kept her body temperature up. And also you

mentioned hypothermia which is of course a huge risk if you go overboard.

But the weather was in her favor so the sea was really warm, it was a balmy evening on the Adriatic. Somewhere between 28 and 29 degrees centigrade.

And also, there was very little movement in the sea. It was calm. So she wasn't buffeted by the waves so she managed to conserve a lot of her

energy.

GORANI: Well, finally, the Croatian coast guard founder not far, in fact, from where she'd fallen overboard.

NOBILO: No. And a lot of that has also have to do with the fact that there weren't many currents. It was about 60 miles from the coast of

Croatia. And then when she was found, they assessed quite quickly that she was in fairly good condition given 10 hours at sea being stranded there.

And then they took her to a hospital in Pula, the seafront town in Croatia.

They still haven't determined the exact circumstances and what caused her to fall overboard in the first place. They know that it was about 11:45

p.m. local time. They know that from the CCTV. But then the captain of the cruise ship that she was on -- it's really big cruise ship. It has

about capacity of 2,300 people. He was only alerted that one of his passengers had fallen overboard two and a half hours after she did fall.

GORANI: That's strange. Why didn't they -- because then -- although a big ship like that, you can't turn it around quickly enough even if you'd been

alerted right away. What if they have CCTV footage? Doesn't that tell you exactly what happened? I mean, maybe she was -- you don't fall over

easily. This is a huge boat here.

NOBILO: We haven't seen the CCTV yet. When we do, obviously, we'll answer a ton of questions. But the circumstances are strange. Obviously, a ship

that big you'd expect the deck to be populated. We know that she fell off the back of the deck. That much we do know.

[15:55:12] GORANI: OK. Bianca Nobilo, thanks very much.

And let's end this show on -- no. Before we do that, Twitter. Twitter. We're going to end the show on a fluffy note and Twitter is not so fluffy.

Because as a problem with toxic content, as you all know, that's according to the company Jack Dorsey and all of us who use it.

He says the social media company is trying to tackle harassment and hate speech on the platform, but he is admitting it's a long-term effort.

Dorsey gave an interview to our Brian Stelter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK DORSEY, CEO, TWITTER: There's a lot of emphasis today on politics Twitter. And politics Twitter tends to be pretty divisive and it tends to

be pretty contentious. And you see a lot of outrage and you see a lot of - - a lot of unhealthy debate that you probably want to walk away from.

We do have a lot of focus right now on some of the negative things given the current environment. And I believe it's important to see those and I

believe that's important to see the dark areas of society so that we can acknowledge and we can address them. And I think the only way to address

them is through a conversation.

But it is hard especially when it feels toxic and that you want to walk away from it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, it just really feels like Jack Dorsey -- like perhaps potentially all of us on social media, still trying to figure it out.

Dorsey says he's also rethinking how follower accounts and likes on posts are displayed because the race to gain followers and likes may encourage

outrageous behavior and sometimes very hurtful behavior.

Now, I promise the fluffy story and ending the show on a fluffier note. It's been a summer of weird weather. But this is something else in the

Netherlands on Sunday, it rained down cuddly toys. This is just lovely. It is lovely. It happened at a football game where two Dutch teams put

their rivalries aside to create one moment of magic for a group of sick kids.

Away fans tossed down teddy bears to the stands below where children from the Erasmus Sophia Hospital sat watching the game. A heartwarming actions

mirrored. A similar gesture at the same venue two years ago.

So lovely. Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you same time, same place tomorrow. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is

up next.

(CLOSING BELL RINGING)

END