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Trade Issues Between the United States and China; Koreas Tensions; A Dangerous Precedent; Muslim Facing Atrocities From China's Crackdown; A Down Day on Wall Street; Fight Between the White House and House Democrats; Mike Pompeo Headed to Europe; Juan Guaido Versus Nicolas Maduro; GCC Condemning the Recent Attacks on Four Commercial Ships. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 13, 2019 - 02:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Bracing for backlash. China gets ready to strike back after the U.S. hikes tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are hard to come by in Venezuela. See how the economic crisis there is making it difficult to provide (Inaudible).

CHURCH: And shedding light on injustice. The Muslims that have faced atrocities in China's crackdown try to bring attention to their harsh treatments. Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I am George Howell from CNN world headquarters. Newsroom starts now. Tensions are high with no deal on trade between U.S. and China. China has yet to respond to the latest U.S. tariffs, and it is making the markets jittery.

CHURCH: Yeah. Asian markets opened down. You can see all the arrows in the red there, the Seoul kospi down .61 percent. And U.S. market futures suggest a down day on Wall Street, too again. Look at that. You can see the S&P 500 futures lost more than 1 percent. The Nasdaq futures down 1.25 percent, and the DOW losing over 1 percent there.

But President Donald Trump remains confident, tweeting the U.S. is right where we want to be with China. Mr. Trump claimed the U.S. would collect tens of billions of dollars from the tariffs. His top economic adviser admitted that is not the case.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: It's not China that pays tariffs. It's the American importers, the American companies that pay what in effect is a tax increase. And often times, passes it on to U.S. consumers.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Fair enough. In fact, both sides will pay. Both sides will pay in these things. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: All right. Let's go live now to Beijing. CNN's Steven Jiang is following the story. And Steven, of course, the big question at this point, everybody wants to know how will China retaliate? They haven't said so, but what are the options?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right, Rosemary. They have not offered any specifics on their promise of countermeasures against the U.S. They could obviously impose counter-tariffs on U.S. imports but not dollar for dollar because, remember, China imports a lot less from the U.S. than the other way around. So they're literally running out of American products to tax on.

But they can also cancel major purchases from the U.S., especially in terms of agricultural and energy products, which could hit hard on the political base of Mr. Trump in the U.S. The Chinese could also create non-tariff barriers for American companies, by for example, favoring non-U.S. entities when granting market access, or even launching unofficial retaliations by making American companies' lives very difficult, for example, delaying the issuance of licenses or customs clearance or even sending fire inspectors. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Well, if this is going on, where are the talks going? Because there have been, well, rumors possibly that President Trump and the Chinese president will get together and talk next month. But what's being said about that possibility and ongoing talks here? It's not over yet, is it?

JIANG: That's right. That was suggested by Larry Kudlow, the top economic adviser at the White House. But at this point, though, it's interesting to see that despite the latest escalation and potential vicious cycle in this trade war, they're still saying they are willing to keep talking. But about what, though? Because the two sides remain very far apart on a number of key issues and their position -- their positions actually have hardened.

So it's more of a political calculation by both leaders, probably. For Mr. Trump, he probably has figured it's more advantageous for him to be tough on China than signing any deal that can be described as weak by his opponents, especially as the U.S. is fast entering the campaign season for the 2020 election. And same thing could be said about President Xi Jinping here.

He's under domestic pressure to stand his ground against the U.S. So being tough on the Americans would benefit him politically as well. That's probably why we are seeing this more nationalistic coverage on this story by the state media. But at this point, though, even if they sit down at the G20 Summit next month, it's difficult to imagine what can be resolved or achieved in that meeting, Rosemary.

[02:05:03] CHURCH: Yeah. This is the problem. Of course, in the meantime, we wait to see what sort of retaliation comes from China, Steven Jiang bringing us the very latest there from Beijing, many thanks to you.

HOWELL: And in the meantime, both Republican and Democratic U.S. senators are expressing concern over this lingering battle. Listen.


MICHAEL BENNET, U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Putting tariffs on our allies, putting tariffs on even the Chinese that are actually taxes on American producers, American farmers, taxes on the American consumer, and taxes on the American worker, I think are completely the wrong way of doing this. I can assure you the Chinese have a longer attention span that Donald Trump has.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I think there are ways the Chinese market could open up and that would be good, but I still would advise the administration to get this done. Because the longer we're involved in a tariff battle or a trade war, the better chance there is that we could actually enter into a recession because of it.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president and this administration have failed to understand that we are stronger when we work with our allies on every issue, China included.


CHURCH: As of now, there is no sign of the White House giving an inch on tariffs. Our Tom Foreman looks at how that's likely to affect U.S. shoppers.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: American consumers could soon feel a greater impact if the tariffs expand to consumer products as threatened. China would be expected to pass on those expenses, jacking up prices on smartphones, computers, televisions, fitness trackers, and much more. The extra cost for the average American family of four is expected to be close to $800.

What could drive it? Three quarters of the toys bought in the U.S. are made in China, including these hugely popular dolls. Ninety three percent of Chinese-made footwear, including some shoes for Nike, could be hit. So could clothing, Bluetooth headsets, and even drones. Trump's tariffs on China last year steered away from consumer goods and focused on industrial items such as solar panels, steel, and aluminum. Those costs were passed on by American companies.

MARK ZANDI, MOODY'S ANALYTICS CHIEF ECONOMIST: American consumers are already paying. They just don't really know. It's kind of a stealth tax, but it's going to become a very obvious tax not too far from now if this continues.


HOWELL: The U.S. president faces yet another critical week in his presidency.

CHURCH: Yeah. Mr. Trump is not backing down in the face of subpoenas that may end up threatening his administration. CNN's Jeremy Diamond has a preview. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: The battle between the White House and congressional Democrats very much continuing this week. It's been several weeks since the president vowed to fight all subpoenas issued by House Democrats. And we've seen that strategy play out in the last several weeks. But on Tuesday, we're expecting a resolution on at least one of those subpoena requests.

That's because a federal judge is expected to rule on the subpoena from the House Oversight Committee demanding financial records from one of the president's former accounting firms. And then on Friday, that is when House Democrats have laid out a deadline for the Treasury Department and the IRS to respond to their subpoena on the president's tax returns. That's a demand that the administration has so far resisted.

The Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has categorically refused that request just last week. But the White House's position is remaining firm. They are insisting that they're not going to comply with several of these subpoena requests. The White House Deputy Press Secretary Steve Groves, he issued a statement on Sunday, saying there are rules and norms governing congressional oversight of the executive branch, and the Democrats simply refuse to abide by them.

This White House will not and cannot comply with unlawful demands made by increasingly unhinged and politically motivated Democrats. So the White House very much remaining firm in its position on that. But House Democrats, meanwhile, are grappling with how to get the White House to comply with the 20-plus investigations that so far we've seen simply stonewalling from this White House and from the president and his allies.

Some Democrats are also now calling this a Constitutional crisis because of that stonewalling from the White House. The president, though, very much pushing back on that, he said in a tweet the Democrats knew and pathetically untrue soundbite is that we are in a Constitutional crisis, the president very much rejecting that notion, Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


HOWELL: Jeremy, thank you. Let's talk more about this now with James Davis. James, the Director of the Institute for Political Science at the University of St. Gallen, also a professor for political science with the special focus on international politics, joining us this hour from Munich, good to have you.


HOWELL: So over the weekend, we saw the U.S. president set into a Twitter tirade, retweeting some 62 tweets on everything from the Mueller investigation, the subpoena of his son, Don Jr., China, the trade war, several other topics. So clearly, Mr. Trump had a lot on his mind as he heads into another week that the Democrats are calling a Constitutional crisis.

DAVIS: Yeah. I mean it seems clear, when the president is not on the golf course. He's fretting about what could come out of these various investigations, oversight hearings. And somebody's getting under his skin, that's for sure.

[02:10:10] HOWELL: So certainly, we're looking ahead to this week, the showdown between the White House and Congress, Mr. Trump promising to fight all the subpoenas that you mentioned by House Democrats. What are they expecting this week, especially when it comes to Tuesday? When -- as our reporter pointed out, a federal judge is set to rule on a subpoena demanding financial records from one of the president's former accounting firms.

DAVIS: Right. I think these are the interesting questions. How are the judges -- how is the judiciary going to rule on these various subpoenas? Because I think the administration is going to fight them tooth and nail. I think as long as the Congress can make clear that the justification for the subpoenas, the justification for their requests is legitimate oversight authority of the Congress, I think they should triumph in the courts.

If however, it appears that they're just abusing the power of the Congress to exercise oversight just to harass the president, well, then I think they're on thin ice. But I think they know that. And I think that as long as it's clear that there are a number of issues over which the Congress has a legitimate right to exercise its oversight authority, oversight authority that is given to the Congress by the Constitution.

The courts have always ruled in favor of the oversight provisions. And so I think the Congress will prevail.

HOWELL: Also, later in the week, on Friday, House Democrats have set a deadline for the Treasury Department and the IRS to respond to their subpoena on the president's tax returns. What do you expect to happen there, because so far we've only seen deadlock.

DAVIS: Right. I think, again, this is going to be a question of what are the justifications that the Congress is giving for demanding the president's tax returns. Obviously, if it appears that the Congress is just trying to harass the president, they're not going to get very far. But there are a number of issues over which Congress has a legitimate right to ask questions.

One can think about the emoluments clause, whether or not the president is benefitting from his office in a way that's contrary to what the Constitution calls for. There are a number of issues relating to the Mueller probe. There are a number of issues relating to the ongoing issues in the southern district of New York.

Lots of lots of issues over which the Congress has a legitimate right to exercise authority, and if it's able to make that case that this is, in fact, a legitimate cause, then I think they'll prevail. But I think this is going to be a long fight. It may, in fact, eventually end up at the Supreme Court. And then, of course, the question is to what extent are the justices on the Supreme Court in the pocket of the president.

Or in what respect are they going to actually interpret the Constitution in a fair and just way?

HOWELL: I'd like to get your thoughts also on Robert Mueller himself, the push to have him testify. Where do you see that going?

DAVIS: I think the Special Counsel's going to testify one way or the other. It's just a question of when. As long as he's a member of the executive branch under the employ of the Justice Department, they may be able to prohibit him from testifying. But to that point at which he's no longer a federal employee, and anyone has to ask how much longer will he be an employee of the federal government.

At that point, he's a private citizen. And I would imagine that he probably would be called before the committee.

HOWELL: James Davis, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you.

CHURCH: And we'll take a short break here. Still ahead, commercial ships in the Middle East have become targets, and it is sparking fears of even more tension in an already volatile area.

HOWELL: Plus, an eye-opening look at the harsh conditions in Venezuela. We'll discover the lengths some people are driven to just to survive. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the U.S. Secretary of State is cancelling a Monday trip to Moscow. He will instead meet with European officials in Brussels to discuss pressing matters, including a dispute with Iran. Before departing, Mike Pompeo reiterated that the U.S. does not want war with Iran.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We're not going to miscalculate. Our aim is not war. Our aim is a change in the behavior of the Iranian leadership. We hope the Iranian people will get what they finally want, what they so richly deserve. The forces that we're putting in place are forces we've had in the region before. You know we often have carriers in the Persian Gulf, but the president wanted to make sure that in the event that something took place we were prepared to respond to it in an appropriate way.

And as the Secretary of State, I wanted to make sure that we had all the political diplomatic tools in the right place, and we want to make sure that we can provide the president with an option set in the event that the Iranians make a bad decision.


HOWELL: His trip comes as four commercial vessels were targeted in the Middle East, off the coast of the nearby United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabian state media report that two Saudi oil tankers were attacked, causing significant damage, no one was hurt. CNN's Nic Robertson has more on this story from Abu Dhabi.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, what we've learned late Sunday from Emirati authorities is what they describe as a dangerous development for commercial vessels, they say, were targeted in their territorial waters off the port city of Fujairah. Now, that is an important oil facility in the Emirates, and it is right next to the straits of Hormuz.

And, of course, this comes at a time when the U.S. intelligence assessments have been that there is a growing Iranian threat to shipping in the region. The Pentagon had been concerned as of late last week, concerned that there was a threat to U.S. shipping, commercial and military in the region, and also the shipping of U.S. partners in the region.

[02:19:58] Now, what the Emirates are describing these attacks as sabotage operations, subversive operations. That's how they're describing it. And this came late Sunday evening in the Emirates, this information from the Emirati authorities. However, earlier in the day, pro-Iranian TV in the region and in Iran had been broadcasting a story, saying that seven oil tankers in this port city of Fujairah were on fire.

Now, when we contacted Emirati authorities earlier Sunday to ask about that, they said they had no information about it. For the Emiratis this is, in their words, a dangerous development, and coming at a time of heightened tensions in this region. The United States sending more of its naval forces and patriot missile batteries and B-52 bombers in the region as well, the tension growing.

And this incident, whatever it turns out to be, this incident does seem to be something that's going to add to those tensions. Nic Robertson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


CHURCH: The power struggle in Venezuela rolls on. At a rally in Caracas this weekend, National Assembly Leader, Juan Guaido, urged his supporters to maintain nationwide protests against President Nicolas Maduro.

HOWELL: In the meantime, three opposition politicians are now taking refuge in foreign embassies. And they and other lawmakers were stripped of their immunity.

CHURCH: And as the country's social and economic crisis deepens and hyperinflation makes life even more difficult, Venezuelans are learning they will have to resort to drastic measures to survive.

HOWELL: That's right. Our Rafael Romo witnessed the very harsh conditions in Caracas and filed this report. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This family is waiting by an open-air market. In just a few hours, the fruit that doesn't get sold will be disposed of, and that will become their only meal today. Things are very difficult, this woman says. We can't buy anything with the money we make. At a nearby park, (Inaudible) and her children waited all morning long until a Good Samaritan showed up. How long did you have to wait to get food?

Several hours, she says. This is 21st century Venezuela. There is an abundance of rhetoric and propaganda and a shortage of food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All social classes of Venezuela are struggling to get enough food. Everybody is trying to make ends meet and looking for alternatives to feed their families.

ROMO: A seasonal fruit has become the go-to food item to satisfy hunger. How affordable are mangos right now? They're very cheap, she says. It is mango season and prices are very low. There are so many families that depend on mangos that the tropical fruit is now known as the hunger suppresser. This market coordinator says some people have mangos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The purchasing power for the average Venezuelan has collapsed due to hyperinflation. These are cachapas, a national dish in Venezuela, kind of like a pancake made out of corn. Each one costs about $2. The problem is that most people here in Venezuela make an average of $5, which tells you a lot about how difficult it is for families to make ends meet.

Some people are so desperate that they're willing to put their health at risk, like these men looking for metal in a river that carries sewage. Socialists who have governed the country for two decades are calling on people to fight for what they call 21st century socialism. You need to produce something in your own home, this national leader says.

It's one way of defending the motherland. Back at the park, (Inaudible) keeps waiting for food. What happens during the rest of the week? How do you make ends meet? There's no easy answer. Her eyes are full of tears but her stomach remains empty. Elsewhere in the city, two men knock down mangos from a mango tree, while the hope of striking gold keep these others wading in sewage.

And at markets around Caracas, entire families keep on waiting for the garbage that will become their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rafael Romo, CNN, Caracas.


CHURCH: Just a horrible situation, isn't it, for the people day to day.

HOWELL: Terrible. CHURCH: We'll keep following this story. Let's take a short break

here. Still to come, China could retaliate against the latest U.S. tariffs in the coming hours. What the escalating trade war means for consumers.

[02:24:58] HOWELL: Plus, safe in Turkey, but fearing for loved ones in China. How Uyghur's are bringing attention to a religious crackdown, still ahead. Stay with us.


HOWELL: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN Newsroom. I am George Howell.

CHURCH: And I am Rosemary Church. Let's check the headlines for you this hour. The Gulf Cooperation Council has condemned the targeting of four commercial ships near the United Arab Emirates. The alleged sabotage incident happened off the port city of Fujairah. Two Saudi oil tankers were reportedly among them. The U.S. has warned that Iran could be targeting vessels in the area.

HOWELL: At least six people were attacked Sunday, this when gunmen attacked a Catholic church in central Burkina Faso. State media report a priest is among the dead there, and the church and other buildings were set on fire. The West African nation has seen a spike in extremist violence by militants linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS.

CHURCH: DOW futures suggest that Wall Street is headed for a down day over trade war uneasiness. Beijing is expected to retaliate against the latest hike in U.S. tariffs. But President Donald Trump says the U.S. is right where we want to be with China. So for more perspective on this, Simon Baptist joins us now from Singapore. He is the Chief Economist for the Economist Intelligence Unit, great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So let's start with the big question everyone's asking. How will China likely retaliate against this hike in U.S. tariffs?

[02:30:00] BAPTIST: We had a pretty good idea about how China is going to retaliate when these tariffs were first proposed last year, China did draw up a list of counter measures that they were suggesting. Though they're going to take so, I think the most likely outcome is that they will just implement those that already been done or eventually planned for.

And what is the sure ways that China is going to take steps to match what the U.S. is doing. I mean, unfortunately, for the world in both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump you have leaders who are very strong negotiators and they both have a big issue about keeping face and looking to won any negotiations. So, just politically, there's no way that China can sit back and allow these tariffs go up without reaction. CHURCH: Right, I mean, really all world leaders feel that way, they

would be pushing back. But President Trump keeps saying the U.S. is collecting tens of billions of dollars in tariffs from China, but it's actually the American consumer who's paying and will be paying for those increase tariffs. And even Mr. Trump top economic adviser Larry Kudlow admitted that very point on Sunday. Why is Kudlow breaking from what is bosses been saying on this and why now?

BAPTIST: The impact of tariffs is more complex than any side puts out in that characterization so. Part of the tariffs are paid for by U.S. consumers or U.S. sponsored by China's imports in the form of high prices but part of it is also paid by the Chinese producers who face higher costs in one of their main markets. And so, there's always a question did this product by products, depending on the market structure, how that tariff paying in split between the in users and then also the producers.

And there's also some people who benefit, which are mainly the producers from third countries, who now have the opportunity to sell into U.S. at a higher price because the tariffs were push the price levels in the U.S. up but, produces some countries apart China are not going to have to pay that tariff, but again the benefit of that, whatever amount of that tariff is pass through to me final prices.

So quite a complex situation and the way you see are very different lobbying stances by different sectors.

CHURCH: Right. And President Trump insists the U.S. is right where it wants to be with China. What do you think he means by that and could this strategy backfire on Mr. Trump? Once U.S. consumers do figure out that they are the ones paying for the majority of these increased tariffs?

BAPTIST: I think both the U.S. and China had made some tactical mistake through this process, and they both allowed it to escalate to a place where neither of them wanted it to get too. The U.S. economy is already suffering somewhat because of these tariffs. Now is a quite a strong economic situation apart from that in the U.S. at the moment, so that is kind of covering some of the negative impacts.

But certainly for example, agricultural industries, and also aerospace so far, have particularly been affected by this tariffs that are going on. So, I think we can expect to see some impact on U.S. prices but probably not enough to make a Fed say raise to turn around and start raising interest rates to trying and throw the inflation down.

CHURCH: Right, so where do you expect this trade war between China and the U.S. will go next? We've heard chatter about President Trump and the Chinese president getting together next month, how likely is that and what is their starting point, and where will they go with this and what about the ongoing talks? Have they stalled or do you think this as an off ramp here?

BAPTIST: I think we're going to be talking about this for a long, long time to come. I mean, I don't see any prospect in the next six months really or they a kind of a deal that we may think it's final, that is not going to continue to be renegotiated. I think we can expect to see trade tensions and in fact more importantly tension throughout the investments and technology to be a permanent feature of the U.S.-China relationship going forward.

And the trade issue is going to flare up down. In the moment we arise in the thick of the negotiations and so, in some ways I don't take anything that I decided is right now. Too seriously because everything at this stages is part of the negotiation tactic. You know, it may be -- may be a threat, may be a compromise all designed to try and coach the ultimate outcome into somewhere be more favorable to whatever party is doing a tricks at the time.

China is certainly seems to take a bit of a harsher stance or -- a more hardcore stance towards negotiations last week. The Trump Administration had a very strong reaction to that and we've had this period of escalation. I think, we may we'll see these tariffs in remains I think it's, is very possible, it's also visible about we could see some agreement that would take them back. But I don't think they'll go away.

So, even if we reach an agreement now I think we stay a 10 percent and certainly not back to the zero that we had in 2017.

[02:35:02] CHURCH: All right, we will watch to see what happens next to see how China responds, whether it retaliates and how. Simon Baptist, thank you so much for your analysis appreciate it.

BAPTIST: Thank you.

HOWELL: So, the tariffs impact on consumers, it's easy to spot at one New York business.

CHURCH: Yes, prices rose on for the first round of tariffs last year and Polo Sandoval reports another increase is on the horizon.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Step inside Ryan Zagata's New York City showroom, and you'll see the unintended consequences of a trade war.

RYAN ZAGATA, OWNER, THE BROOKLYN BICYCLE COMPANY: With this new tariff it's inevitable we're going to have to increase the price on this model.

SANDOVAL: Like many other America's small to medium-sized businesses the Brooklyn Bicycle Company is already dealing with the burden of increase Chinese import tariffs. These bikes are assembled in China using foreign made components to keep the cost down for the consumer. In September the Trump Administration's 10 percent tariff hike on nearly $200 billion in Chinese goods forced Zagata to raise some prices.

ZAGATA: This is by one of our most popular bicycles. It was a 449 bike last summer. It's now 499. SANDOVAL: Then on Friday, the White House announced that 10 percent

will increase to 25. A change that will result in yet another price hike on the show room floor.

ZAGATA: For every a $100 we spent on bicycles, $5.50 we pay in duties. Since September we can pay an extra $10, now we're at $15.50. If this -- with this additional tariffs, now it's another $15 dollars, we're talking $30.50 for every single bicycle we import at on $100, not for every bike. Every $100 we spent, $30.50. So on a $200 are cost the factory $200 at $61.00 that we're paying and duties to the government.

SANDOVAL: Zagata says, that means some of his customers will be paying more for the same bike.

ZAGATA: It's difficult for me I can't call my customer, and guess what. You're getting a better wheel set. You're get better grips and this luxurious leather saddle, that's not what you're getting. Effectively this money is going to the government.

SANDOVAL: It's been a rough ride for many businesses owners since President Trump wages this trade war with China. Zagata blames the uncertainty that comes with trade negotiations.

ZAGATA: It's not difficult for us as a business to decide what they did built financial model that we can punch in these variables regardless of what the scenario. And the model in fact that we will spit out, this is what you need to do. The challenge with the models now is we are missing one main variable, we don't know what the final duties going to be. With these trade talks still ongoing.

SANDOVAL: There's some optimism coming from the President tweet on Friday took to Twitter, saying, tariffs will make the country "much stronger, not weaker. Just sit back and watch". That may be hard to do for some U.S. Importers, with China now vowing to hit back after Friday's tariff hike.

ZAGATA: I think the tariffs are a great tool, and I applaud the Administration for what they are doing I just think like, six months, nine months and it's becoming really difficult and like come on already, with these negotiations like, let's move ahead. SANDOVAL: Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: The United States and China are also at odds about Beijing's suspected crackdown on religious minorities. China accused of detaining largely Muslim groups in camps including the Uyghurs.

CHURCH: Yes. Many in that ethnic group have fled to Turkey and they are trying to bring attention to the treatment of their loved ones. CNN'S Jomana Karadsheh has more now from Istanbul.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On this bitterly cold Istanbul morning, dozens of Muslim Uyghurs are undeterred by the near freezing temperatures and the rain. They're out on the street desperate for their voices to be heard and for the world to see the faces of loved ones who have disappeared without a trace. Some clearly too young to understand what this is all about and what the older generations have endured.

But they still join in the chants. They've all come together as more and more Uyghurs around the world are breaking their silence, hoping this will put pressure on China to reveal the fate of their disappeared fathers, mothers, some entire families. Everyone here with a story, too many for us to try and tell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't any contact with my family. I do not hear my mother's voice. And I didn't know if she's alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just we want is freedom and we want justice, so we want to know where our relatives is -- and what's -- what kind of life they are having now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the whole world is in deep sleep.

KARADSHEH: In this attempt to wake the world up, not everyone is taking to the streets. In her Istanbul apartment, Haji Ahmed tells us she is no longer afraid of retribution. She just wants her husband back. As she speaks, her 13-year-old daughter Nazira quietly cries. It's been three years since Nazira last saw her father.

Ahmed says, as China's crackdown on Uyghurs Muslims in Xinjiang Province intensified, life became unbearable, leaving her no choice but to flee with her two daughters in 2016.

[02:40:03] Their presence she says made things harder for her husband, Abdul Ghafoor Tarab who was banned from traveling.

They never left us alone. They were always policemen coming to our door because my daughter and I were covering our heads as Muslims. It became very hard for us to live there.

But family members of Uyghurs who leave the country are often detained or harassed by authorities, she says. To spare her husband that, they divorced on paper. The last time they spoke over video chat was in April 2017. Then, he vanished. Until this.

In January, they spotted him and what they say is a State Propaganda Video of one of the camps who according to a U.S. government reports, hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and possibly up to two million are believe to be held.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he was waiting and was looking so small and I'm not happy here.

KARADSHEH: How did you feel when he saw him in that video?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So sad and I'm happy too, because he is alive.

KARADSHEH: The Chinese government did not respond to CNN'S request for comment on tour-ups alleged detention. But China has repeatedly denied, it is imprisoning or re-educating Uyghurs in Xinjiang, instead, saying that it is undertaking voluntary vocational training as part of an anti-extremism program.

Uyghurs we spoke into here in Istanbul say that after years of the world ignoring their plight they feel that things are starting to change now with the crackdown getting more attention. But that's not enough, they say, they say that countries like the United States and Muslim majority countries like Turkey should do more. As the world stood by, so much was lost, they say. Now they are speaking up, not just for what was lost, but to try and save their future. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


HOWELL: The U.S. State of Georgia, Atlanta, sees a steady stream of money coming from movie industries, in fact, the Atlanta is known as the Hollywood of the south, but still ahead. How a controversial new law could change all of that.



[02:45:23] ALYSSA MILANO, AMERICAN ACTRESS: Our industry is taking a stand. Women are taking a stand, and we're saying, no more.


CHURCH: Actor, Alyssa Milano is calling on Georgia's booming movie industry to stop filming there. That is after the U.S. state signed one of the country's most restrictive anti-abortion measures into law.

HOWELL: A Hollywood boycott could send Georgia a multibillion-dollar message. Our Natasha Chen has this report.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Marvel movies, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, these were all shot in Georgia, the Hollywood of the south, with more than 90,000 employees in the state tied to its $9.5 billion a year business. But many A-list actors, writers, and producers are reeling from Georgia's heartbeat bill, signed last week, which outlaws abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That's around six weeks into a pregnancy before many women know they are pregnant.

Movie fans touring Atlanta's film locations heard about the boycott.

IRENE BERSON, TOURIST: I agree with them and I'm glad they're taking a stand about it. And hopefully, taking that stand will make a difference.

CHIQUI VILLANUEVA, TOURIST: Just do the job and that's it. And thus, just set aside the political side of it. KEVIN SAUNDERS, TOUR GUIDE AND ACTOR: All right, we're going to see a couple of places that we saw in the Hunger Game clips. Are you guys ready?

CHEN: Tour guide, Kevin Saunders is also an actor and moved to Georgia where he knew there would be more work.

SAUNDERS: The up and coming actors, the crews, and everybody that have built a foundation in places like this. We don't have the luxury of being able to say, OK, hey, let's just go to California.

CHEN: It's not easy for established Hollywood names to leave productions they have committed to. Alyssa Milano said through her publicist, she's contractually obligated to finish shooting a show in Georgia for the next month, but, quote, "Will do everything in my power to get as many productions as possible, including insatiable to move out of the state."

J. J. Abrams and Jordan Peele, also have a show to shoot in Georgia. They said they will donate 100 percent of our episodic fees for this season to two organizations leading the charge against this draconian law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all feeling it. If not financially at the moment, just the negativities to chatter.

CHEN: And if the issue is not resolved, local crews may see their home abandoned like in a Zombie Apocalypse. Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


CHURCH: And the American Civil Liberties Union says it will challenge Georgia's new law in court.

HOWELL: Countries around the world, including the United States celebrated Mother's Day on Sunday.

CHURCH: And in the U.S., women candidates for president are in a unique position making their roles as mothers, part of their message. CNN's Kyung Lah has our story.



KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the heart of West Virginia, Senator Elizabeth Warren joined by her son.

WARREN: By the way, it was the guy over in the blue shirt, that's my son, Alex.

LAH: Her experience as a mother part of her pitch to voters.

WARREN: Childcare never stopped being an issue. For me, like for so many working parents today, it was this weight I had to carry around every single day. And it never let up.

LAH: The motherhood identity, once viewed as an albatross in 2020 is getting a makeover, with a record number of women running for president.

Senator Kamala Harris, married to Doug Emhoff, father of two children from a previous marriage, Ella and Cole.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I, therefore, have two children that are Cole and Ella, who are here. And they named me their Momala and their mother.

And yes, and their mother, Kerstin is here who was a dear friend of mine. And we have a real modern family.

LAH: The portrait of a modern candidate. In a personal essay in honor of Mother's Day, Harris writes about the heartache of missing her stepdaughter's graduation for the 2017 James Comey testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

HARRIS: I am not perfect, our kids are not perfect, my husband is not perfect, and I don't think that the American people want perfect.

LAH: Senator Amy Klobuchar at a CNN Town Hall, explained how getting kicked out of the hospital 24 hours after giving birth to her daughter who was born with a condition that made her unable to swallow, made her fight back, and become a lawmaker.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That was when I got hooked on public service. Because I could see that you could make a difference.

LAH: To even joke about motherhood means backlash in 2020, that O'Rourke quipped about barely helping his wife for the kids, prompting this public apology.

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not only will I not say that again. But I'll be much more thoughtful going forward.

[02:50:04] AMY SANDERS O'ROURKE, WIFE OF BETO O'ROURKE: Really looking forward to getting a chance to say, hello.

LAH: Today, Amy O'Rourke is on the trail. She is doing the driving.


LAH: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand brings her children on the trail. Her mom status are credential as a candidate.

GILLIBRAND: I'm going to fight for people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own. And I'm going to fight for their families and their communities.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


HOWELL: The southern part of the United States is getting a bit of a break after storms and massive rainfall hit that region. Still ahead, we will see what's next in weather.


CHURCH: Heavy rain flooded streets and overflowed rivers in New Orleans on Sunday. Parts of the southeastern U.S. have been battered by storm systems over the weekend.

HOWELL: And a new storm could be threatening Southwest Texas on Monday. Let's get the very latest now with our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, in the international weather center, Pedram.

[02:54:50] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: There guys, you know, the persistence of these two weather elements, whether it be the flooding that we've seen for about two weeks straight across portions of the Midwest and southern states, as well or the severe weather which has been locked in around the state of Texas really incredible.

In fact, when you look at the severe weather count of how many storm reports we've had so far in the month of May, were exceeding now over a thousand in a two week period.

And, of course, it is severe weather season. As when you expect you see on a large number of storms. But, every single day, we've seen them kind of set up across this region of Texas, whether it be to the south, to the north, on into areas even neighboring into Oklahoma, and certainly going to be the pattern, at least, the next several weeks, before severe weather season gradually dies down.

But notice this, the rainfall amounts incredible. Two to four inches widespread across portions of the Gulf Coast State, if you're tuning across Austin Texas, into Jackson, Mississippi, the wettest first couple of weeks of the month of May in some 50-plus years in those cities respectively.

So, an incredible amount of rainfall certainly has been coming down in this region. The flood threat is certainly high as well. And, in fact, when you look at the area of concern, here is indicated in the orange on into yellow, that's where flooding is likely or occurring.

And you notice, quite a bit of them especially if you follow the Mississippi on into the Missouri. And you notice how many gauges are actually reporting flooding at this hour overs upwards of 300 gauges reporting flooding at this hour.

And the vast majority of them are on this area, at least, moderates to major flood stage. So, certainly, a large number to be had as well. And then notice satellite depiction from last June, notice the river across the Mississippi there to the north, and the shape and size of that. And notice how it looks like at this hour where we've seen much of that expand and take on damage some of the communities across these regions. So, the flooding concern going to be very high into the next couple of weeks, guys.

HOWELL: All right, Pedram, thank you. And thank you for being with us for this hour of NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. We'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment.