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U.S. Orders All Non-Emergency Staff to Leave Iraq, Insists Iran Presents "Imminent Threat"; Trump Order Bars Huawei Sales in U.S.; Iowa Family Struggles to Keep Farming; Furor over Alabama Bill to Ban Most Abortions; U.S. Aviation Acting Chief Grilled on Capitol Hill. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 16, 2019 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

U.S. lawmakers and allies urge caution as tensions with Iran soar and skeptics and questions about the intelligence and the motivation behind Washington's recent actions.

Taking aim at a major Chinese tech company, Donald Trump effectively bars American companies from Huawei products.

Plus the governor of Alabama signs the most restrictive abortion bill in America, setting the stage for a potential showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court.


CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

U.S. president Donald Trump may be turning to Switzerland as a back channel negotiator to ease growing tensions with Iran. Mr. Trump will release in the coming days with the Swiss president, one source saying he is intent on speaking with the Iranians.

The U.S. State Department is citing an imminent threat from Iran and its proxies. It's ordering all non-emergency workers to leave Iraq although most U.S. personnel are expected to stay both at the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Irbil.

Iran's president is warning his nation to stand strong amid what he calls U.S. psychological pressure. Iran's foreign minister had this to say from Tokyo.


MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We believe that escalation of tension in the region is not in the interest of anybody but Iran. We will not be the party beginning escalation but we will certainly defend ourselves in response to any threat against our national security.


CHURCH: Well, many in Congress are demanding answers about the threats from Iran and the U.S. military buildup in the region. The Trump administration is scheduled to brief top lawmakers in the day ahead. More now on the Pentagon's planning from CNN's Barbara Starr.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Updated military options for a possible war against Iran include detailed destruction of the regime's massive vigilant inventory and air defenses before moving to attack nuclear sites.

It would take months of buildup and more than 100,000 U.S. troops fighting from the air, land and sea, according to U.S. officials. That option has been briefed to senior officials, including John Bolton, the national security adviser, a longtime Iran hawk.

But would President Trump, ho wants to reduce overseas troop levels, take the U.S. to war against Iran?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have not planned for that. Hopefully, we are not going to have to plan for that.

STARR (voice-over): The immediate focus: get Iran to back off from what the Pentagon believes is a plan to possibly attack U.S. forces in the region. But so far the U.S. offering little to no public evidence.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What makes me skeptical is the fact that a lot of the intelligence that has been revealed so far seems to be very normal. The red line would have to be either an actual attack or, no kidding, actual information that they are about to commit an attack.

STARR (voice-over): All this as top British general, the deputy commander in Iraq, publicly expresses skepticism.

MAJ. GEN. CHRISTOPHER GHIKA, BRITISH ARMY: I'm not concerned about the danger. No, not really.

STARR (voice-over): In an extraordinary statement, the U.S. pushback saying the general's views run counter to the identified credible threats. Iran's supreme leader insists his country does not want war.

ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER (through translator): There won't be any war, with the help of God. We don't seek a war.

STARR: U.S. officials are adamant that the threat is very real. Some U.S. diplomats have now been ordered out of Iraq but still no word on what might have caused damage; 5-10 foot holes in the hulls of four tankers in the Gulf -- Barbara Starr, CNN the Pentagon.


CHURCH: Let's talk more about all of this with Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, he is a CNN military analyst and joins us now. Thank you so much for being with us.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's an honor, Rosemary, thanks for having me.

CHURCH: So the United States says Iran poses an unspecified threat. U.S. lawmakers and allies are skeptical and Iran says it does not want war with the United States.

So what's going on here and how concerned should we all be?

HERTLING: Well, there was certainly a lot of bluster surrounding this situation. It appears that there is some intelligence that has caused this kind of alarm to go up within the U.S. systems.

My question, is where did it come from?

What does it consists of and who is it being shared with?


HERTLING: Because, certainly there is a lot of action taking place within the U.S. military and the U.S. State Department but many of our allies haven't seen at the same way.

It just poses the question, what is really going on, on top of the deployment of forces like the Patriot missile systems, the readjustment and realignment of carrier strike groups and the rumors of war plan reviews which is in and of itself, are not necessarily uncommon.

But when it's publicized the way it was, it certainly is tempting to send alarms to some people.

CHURCH: Yes, and this is the situation we are learning about, updated military options for a possible war against Iran, whether there is any justification for that we will know in the future.

But what would be the ramifications of a war between the United States and Iran, even a number of allies have said, they want nothing to do with this?

And they will suggest that the U.S. has credibility issues when it comes to talking up a war with Iran, what do you think they mean by that?

HERTLING: Whenever you attempt to go into a conflict or go into a military action it's because diplomacy hasn't worked.

When you jump immediately to the military approach, that tells you something is amiss and especially after so many engagement with so many of our partners, not only in Europe but also in the Middle East, where there seems to be a divisiveness instead of an attempt to build stronger alliances.

It's going to be problematic in just these kinds of situations if there is a requirement to take military action because other folks aren't going to join.

And we have seen robust by many of the governments in Europe, we've seen divisions within many of the governments within the Middle East. And even our allies in the past had gone with us for military actions, seemed to not have the same intelligence information that we have, because they aren't taking some of the same actions like closing embassies or moving soldiers to the region.

CHURCH: We already know that national security adviser John Bolton supports regime change in Iran. He has said it in the past, he hasn't kept it a secret, it's out there.

But would President Trump want that as well, given he has always said that he would rather reduce overseas troop levels?

HERTLING: Yes, well, we have certainly seen some disastrous effects of our government attempting regime change within the last couple of decades.

And, unfortunately, I have been involved and seen that mission passed from the political leaders to the military and that is a very tough mission to accomplish, just the overarching theme of regime change.

There's a lot of politicians who see -- and civilian masters who see regime change as the elimination of the leader of a sovereign government, whether that leader is good or bad. But when you start applying military activity to try and do that, it becomes a whole lot tougher than just announcing that you want it to occur.

CHURCH: Just finally, given all this tension and incredible concern, why is U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo, waiting until next week to provide a briefing on all of this?

HERTLING: Yes, that's a very good question. Again, if they do have some hard intelligence and because some of the announcement in the past that has causes people to not believe what is going on, you would think that they would readily be involving members of Congress and even making announcements to the American people.

I understand that they don't want to signal what they might do, what the administration is considering doing.

But at the same time they have to build consensus not only with the government, with the Congress of the United States but they also the support -- have to get the support of the people.

This is not -- war is never a unilateral action. You have to have the population behind any kind of action, when military forces used because the population is sending their sons and daughters to fight these wars, so you should get support and then you have to have, by our Constitution, the approval of the Congress. So going along with just simply the administration, the president, Secretary of Defense, his national security adviser, the secretary of state is never a good way to begin these kinds of operations.

CHURCH: It is a real worry and thank you, sir, for providing your military expertise on this subject, we appreciate it.

HERTLING: Yes, thanks for asking me.


CHURCH: And we have much more on the growing tensions between the United States and Iran still ahead this hour, including a look at national security adviser John Bolton and his hawkish history on Iran.

With the U.S.-China trade war escalating, President Trump is moving towards banning China's --


CHURCH: -- Huawei from U.S. telecoms networks. He signed an executive order that prevents U.S. companies from using equipment from foreign firms that pose a national security risk.

The order doesn't name Huawei specifically. But a short time later, the Commerce Department added Huawei to a list of companies Washington considers to be undermining U.S. interests.

Sherisse Pham joins us now from Hong Kong with more on this.

Good to see you, Sherisse. President Trump's order effectively bars Huawei sales in the U.S.

So how is China likely to respond and what is Huawei saying about this?

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we had a little bit of a hint about how China is likely to respond. We will be looking for comments from the regular ministry of foreign affairs press briefing. But they were asked about this yesterday because there were hints that the executive order was coming down on Wednesday.

A government official said then that the U.S. is abusing its national power to oppress specific Chinese companies, calling those actions disgraceful and unjust.

Now Huawei has also come out today, responding to this executive order, saying, look, this development, this decision only harms U.S. consumers and U.S. businesses and it will effectively delay the deployment of 5G.

That is interesting because all of this is happening against the broader backdrop of the U.S.-China trade war, a trade war that has its roots in technology. The Trump administration does not want China leaning on the technologies of the future and 5G is one of those technologies that Trump himself has identified. So, of course, the fear in Washington is that Beijing could compel

Huawei to use its equipment to spy on other nations, an allegation that Huawei has repeatedly denied that it would ever complied with.

But our own CNN's Matt Rivers asked the Huawei founder about this very question in an interview a couple of months ago. Have a listen to what he had to say.


REN ZHENGFEI, FOUNDER, HUAWEI (through translator): I would rather shut down the company. In our 30-year history, we have never received such requests. If there are future requests, I'm making it clear today, I will firmly reject them.


PHAM: He said he would firmly reject any request from Beijing to use Huawei equipment to spy on other nations. And it's very important to know that the U.S. has never provided evidence that Huawei has done this.

But, of course, those fears that this could happen, they have not been displaced and Washington said if Beijing asked Huawei to do this, Huawei couldn't really say no -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, all part of the trade war, the tit-for-tat tariffs that we have all been witnessing. We will see what the next step is. Sherisse Pham, thanks for bringing us up to the very latest with that.

This latest round of tariffs has deepened the uncertainty in America's farm community. Farmers helped elect Donald Trump but they have been bearing the brunt of the trade war's impact and they are frustrated. Martin Savidge has one family's story.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the middle of an Iowa cornfield, Amy Nelson is in the middle of solving a problem.

AMY NELSON, IOWA FARMER: I would say we are probably about two weeks behind.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): She has to get a $250,000 tractor with a $125,000 planter moving again or her corn crop is in trouble.

NELSON: We are going to fill our planter with corn seed.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Amy is a farmer. She prefers a different title.

NELSON: I'm the primary farmer or farm her --

SAVIDGE: I like that.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's not just her gender that makes her stand out, it's also her youth. Up until seven years ago, she was the finance director of a national organization in a big city. Then, her dad said he needed help.

LARRY ENGLER, IOWA FARMER: I couldn't handle it anymore. So around about 9 o'clock; she was having her -- out on her back deck.

And I said, do you ever think about coming back home to Iowa and helping out?

The next night she said they were coming.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): She quit corporate life and entered, well, I guess you could say a much different field. Now father and daughter work together, managing 1,100 acres of corn and soybeans during one of farming's worst downturns in almost 40 years.

Larry says President Trump's trade war with China will cost them $150,000 this year alone and vows never to vote for Trump again.

Trump's economics also put pressure on Amy to get things right.

NELSON: I need to be very cautious of every penny I put in the ground or put into equipment.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Her days start at 5:00 am.

SAVIDGE: How late will you go?

NELSON: As long as we need.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): When not growing crops, she's also raising two children and married to a non-farming husband.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): This may not seem to be the best time to take over the family business in a male-dominated industry in the middle of a crisis. But Amy says it's the perfect time for a woman to step in.

NELSON: I think being outside of farming has made me able to bring some other resources to the table.

SAVIDGE: And a different mindset.

NELSON: Exactly.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): She believes she is right where she belongs and Dad agrees.

ENGLER: Once she came back she just, she just dove into it and never looked back.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Amy will be the fifth generation of her family to farm this land. She doesn't miss the corporate world one bit.

NELSON: I like my view from my office right now. It's a beautiful view.


CHURCH: She's a great daughter, that's for sure.

And that was Martin Savidge reporting from Iowa.

Congressional Democrats are fuming over White House refusals to turn over requested documents. The House Judiciary Committee following up on the Mueller report is investigating possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by the administration.

A couple of weeks, ago the president said this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far.


CHURCH: On Wednesday, a White House attorney formally rejected the committee's requests for documents from dozens of individuals; in a rejection letter, claiming Congress doesn't have the authority to launch such a probe, which provoked this reaction from the committee chairman.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): This is the White House claiming that the president is a king. This is the White House saying that the Justice Department says they can't hold the president accountable because you can't indict a president and now they're saying neither can Congress. So the president is totally unaccountable and above the law.


CHURCH: And still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, a new abortion battle. Alabama's governor just signed the country's toughest abortion measure into law and many people are outraged while others are celebrating.

Plus, not just another day at the office for this window washing crew. We will explain what happened high above the streets of Oklahoma City, back in a moment.




(MUSIC PLAYING) CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Alabama governor Kay Ivey has signed into law a bill that bans abortions in almost all cases in her state, even for victims of rape and incest. It's a move critics call an appalling attack on women's rights. And abortion rights advocates promise to challenge it in court. CNN's Dianne Gallagher has more reaction from both sides of this controversial issue.


LINDA COLEMAN-MADISON (D), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: You don't control this. You don't own this.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic lawmakers outraged.

VIVIAN DAVIS FIGURES (D), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: You know there is no law in this country on the books that says what a man can or cannot do with his body.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): And abortion rights advocates calling for a nationwide response today. The nation's most restrictive abortion law. All those in favor, Republican men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life is precious. Life is a gift of our creator.

COLEMAN-MADISON: Now you are in my womb. I want you out.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The law effectively bans abortion by making it a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for performing the procedure. The law does include very limited exceptions, such as serious health risk to the mother.

Democrats attempted to add an amendment to exempt victims of rape and incest but that failed.

BOBBY SINGLETON (D), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: If you get raped, you have to have that child, based on an Alabama law, just because we want to legislate morality.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): This fight now potentially setting up a Supreme Court showdown. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood have already said they plan to challenge this in court, which supporters of the law admit is kind of the point.

TERRI COLLINS (R), ALABAMA STATE SENATE: We'll never get a heartbeat bill to be constitutional until Roe versus Wade is decided and reversed. And so I think everybody understood that.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Alabama is one of 16 states to introduce or pass restrictive abortion legislation, sometimes called heartbeat bills, this year. According to the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

For Republicans, those numbers are flipped, with 59 percent saying abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a plan by the Republican Party, make no mistake, to overturn Roe v. Wade.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): 2020 Democratic candidates quick to condemn the Alabama law on Twitter and the campaign trail, calling it dangerous and unconstitutional.

GALLAGHER: Now Alabama governor Kay Ivey released a statement when she announced that she had signed this into the law and in it she acknowledges that there is already a law very similar to this on the books in Alabama and that it is unenforceable because of Roe v. Wade.

She says that we have to respect the authority of the Supreme Court but she says that -- this is the key line here -- that the sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.

Again, Planned Parenthood and ACLU have already said they plan to challenge this in court, even though she signed it into law today. This can now take effect until six months from this moment and it will likely be in court long before that day -- Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Montgomery, Alabama.


CHURCH: We've been hearing from many people on both sides of the abortion issue. Now here is a point of view from a doctor who performs abortions in Alabama.


DR. YASHICA ROBINSON, ALABAMA WOMEN'S CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE ALTERNATIVES: There's no other area of medicine that doctors are restricted in this way or criminalized in this way. It is not right to penalize physicians for performing a service that certain individuals find morally objectionable to them.

We do know, like we said, we want lawmakers to not insert themselves into our personal lives. Women and physicians can make the decisions for themselves. We already know that abortion care is very safe and this just shouldn't happen.

So in the instance where, now, as a physician, I have to contemplate whether someone is going to go back and scrutinize care that I rendered to my patients and whether they're going to agree or disagree and whether their opinion could cost me my freedom, it puts me in a difficult position.

It also puts me in a position where, as a physician, I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

You know, on one hand, I could end up serving jail time. But on the other hand, if I don't do what's best for my patient and my patient is harmed, then I have to worry about potential litigation from the patient or her family. That should never happen.


CHURCH: Alabama now has the most restrictive abortion measures in the United States.


CHURCH: Other states have passed restrictions outlawing abortion after a doctor can detect an embryonic heartbeat. And in Missouri, similar legislation is moving through the state house right now.

Well, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is under scrutiny after two fatal plane crashes. At a hearing on Wednesday, the agency's acting chief, Daniel Elwell, faced intense questioning about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX jet as lawmakers pressed him about the automated systems implicated in the crashes.


PETER DEFAZIO, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE: It wasn't even in the manual that this automated system existed.

It wasn't in the manual?

Now, that is odd, because the pilots were the redundancy.

How the hell are you the redundancy if you don't know something?

DANIEL ELWELL, U.S. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION ACTING CHIEF: The 737 MAX will return to service only when the FAA's analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it's safe to do so.


CHURCH: The entire Boeing 737 MAX fleet was grounded after 346 people died in two crashes just four months apart. Investigators believe an issue with the anti-stall software cost the disasters. Boeing is working on a software fix.

A terrifying ordeal Wednesday for window washers on the outside of a high-rise building in Oklahoma. Take a look at this.

The frightening scene, a metal work platform with two people swinging and twisting wildly at the end of a crane. They were hundreds of feet off the ground and it took about 45 minutes for firefighters to finally get the basket stabilized and rescue both workers.

Neither needed medical attention but several windows were broken in the incident, sending shattered glass to the street below. Incredible outcome there.

Time for a short break. When we come back, a closer look at U.S. national security adviser John Bolton. Why some say he is calling the shots in the growing conflict with Iran. Plus the brash Brexiteer Nigel Farage is back. Why he has founded a

new political party in the United Kingdom. We will have that in just a moment.




CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone, I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories have been following this hour.



Donald Trump is looking to Switzerland to help ease tensions with Iran. Mr. Trump will meet with the Swiss president in the coming day, a possible back channel negotiator. The U.S. has announced a military buildup in the Middle East to counter what it calls imminent threats from Iran. Well, U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers about those threats from Iran and President Trump's strategy for dealing with the situation. Administration officials are expected to brief Congressional leaders in the coming day about the U.S. military buildup in the Middle East.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I had no idea what the threat stream is beyond what I read in the paper.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): The Trump administration has not provided any information to this committee on the intelligence behind their decisions, on what they plan to do in Iraq or Iran.


CHURCH: Now, a number of U.S. allies are skeptical about Washington's claims of those Iranian threats and some are questioning the role of National Security Adviser John Bolton who has a long history of hostility towards Tehran. CNN's Peter Bergen reports.


PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: There are hawks and then there is John Bolton. It almost seems as that the U.S. National Security Adviser has never met a war he didn't love. Bolton was a prominent proponent for the Iraq war and stands by that decision.

JOHN BOLTON, UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I think the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, that military action was a resounding success.

BERGEN: By contrast, U.S. President Donald Trump last year called the Iraq war the single worst decision ever made. But Trump has publicly backed Bolton.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has strong views on things, but that's OK. I actually temper John which is pretty amazing, isn't it? Nobody thought that was - I'm the I'm the one that tempers him, but that's OK. I have different sides.

I mean, I have John Bolton and I have other people that are a little more dovish than him. And ultimately I make the decision.

BERGEN: Bolton has expressed similarly muscular views on Venezuela.

BOLTON: I think Maduro is now surrounded by scorpions in a bottle and it's only a matter of time.

BERGEN: And before his appointment as national security adviser, he advocated a preemptive strike against North Korea to eliminate its nuclear threat.

BOLTON: I think the only diplomatic option left is to end the regime in North Korea by effectively having the South --

BERGEN: But he has been most consistent and vocal in his decade's long antagonism towards Iran's Islamic republic.

BOLTON: The longer we wait to confront the threat Iran poses, the harder and more intractable it will become to solve.

BERGEN: That's from 2006 when Bolton served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, but it's a stance that has lasted. In 2015, Bolton rode a New York Times op-head headline to stop Iran's bomb, bomb Iran. And two years ago he said this to a conference of Iraqi dissidents.

BOLTON: The Ayatollah Khomeini's 1979 revolution will not last until its 40th birthday. The behavior in the objectives of the regime, are not going to change and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself.

BERGEN: Last, week Iran responded to the new U.S. sanctions by saying he would no longer adhere to parts of the agreement. Around the same time, U.S. officials briefed reporters about intelligence suggesting that Iran or its proxies were planning to attack American forces in Iraq and Syria. That intelligence has since been contradicted by a British general in the region.

CHRISTOPHER GHIKA, DEPUTY COMMANDER, OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE: There are a range of threats to American and Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, we monitor them all. Iranian-backed forces, is clearly one of them and we don't see any increased threat from many of them at this stage.

BERGEN: However, U.S. Central Command which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East pushback on Ghika's comments, again reiterating that U.S. intelligence identified credible threats. As a result of the increased tensions, Bolton has announced plans to send a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East. Peter Bergen, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: One of Britain's most colorful and controversial figures is back in the game. Three years ago, Nigel Farage helped convince voters to leave the European Union. Now he is leading a new party dedicated to making sure Britain follows through. CNN's Nina dos Santos has our report.


[02:35:02] NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Back on the road and riding high in the polls, Nigel Farage is returning to the campaign trail. With a more middle of the road movement. Hoping to sway Labor and Conservative voters who feel betrayed over Brexit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I voted to leave. We are supposed to have a Democracy in this country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you are right?


DOS SANTOS: The Brexit party may only be a month old, but it's central promised to respect the result of the referendum is one that loyal followers, at the expense of Britain's two main parties.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I voted to get out anyway, and it just happened, it's just -- it just becoming complete shambles.

DOS SANTOS: And, if predictions become reality, Farage wants to have a say.

NIGEL FARAGE, LEADER, BREXIT PARTY: We demand a space on the negotiating table. If people vote for this, they deserve to have their voice heard.

DOS SANTOS: Ahead of the vote, the Brexit parties touring the U.K. whether it's the working man's club and photo front or the conference halls of Peterborough --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome to the stage, Nigel Farage!

DOS SANTOS: The mix of personality and populism is popular. Even if the Brexit parties only policy thus far appears to be Brexit, itself. Will you be voting for the Brexit party?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) No question about it.

DOS SANTOS: Kind of what makes the Brexit Party such a force to be reckon with, it's the ability to deliver its message straight to the people. And rallies like these taking place up and down the country. It's all part of a strategy designed to get those who feel betrayed over the promise of Brexit mobilized all the way to the ballot box. And let's face it. Few U.K. politicians could draw a crowd like this on a Tuesday evening after work. This is political star power, coupled with words of warning for


FARAGE: Because I thought we lived in a democratic country! I've learned that we don't live with the Democratic country and I made a promise that if I had to return to the frontline of this, then next time I said it would be no more mister nice guy and I meant it!

DOS SANTOS: That frontline is shifted. The Brexit Party next stopped maybe Brussels, but it's unlikely to be the last. Nina dos Santos, CNN, Peterborough.


CHURCH: And we'll take a short break. Here still to come, reports suggest the Trump brand is losing it and it could be from controversies around its namesake.


MARC FISHER, SENIOR EDITOR, WASHINGTON POST: Whether it's his golf courses, his resorts were, his showcase building in New York's Fifth Avenue, in each case we see that there has been an impact where people do not want to do business in a place with that carries the name of someone who they vehemently disagree with.


CHURCH: And we'll have details on the key Trump properties taking a financial hit. Back in just a moment.


[02:40:35] CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well the art world is celebrating to record sales at auction. Jeff Koons whimsical stainless steel culture rabbit sold at Christies in New York for $91 million. That is a record for a living artist. The buyer, art dealer Robert Mnuchin is the father of the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. And a painting from French master Claude Monet's Haystacks series has commanded the highest price ever for an impressionist artwork.

The 19th century farm scene fetched $110 million at Sotheby's in New York. The winning bidder was not named. Beautiful.

Well, Donald Trump has used his name to create a valuable brand, but now it might be hurting the Trump organization's bottom line. New reports show key Trump properties have taken a hit since Mr. Trump was elected president. Brian Todd has our report.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's one of Donald trump's favorite brands --

TRUMP: This is now the hottest resort of its kind anywhere in the United States.

TODD: An example, he says, of his might as touch.

TRUMP: We've had tremendous success. The bookings are through the roof.

TODD: But now it appears profits at the story Doral golf course in Florida may have fallen through the floor. Financial records obtained by the Washington Post show operating income at the Trump national Doral resort which Trump bought and restored in 2012, fell by 69 percent from 2015 to 2017 when Trump became president. And there's reportedly been financial trouble at another property that's also been the President's pride and joy.

TRUMP: It's great to be in Trump Tower.

TODD: A new report by Bloomberg says Trump tower, his crown jewel, now ranks as one of the least is desirable luxury properties in Manhattan. Bloomberg says the occupancy rate at the tower has plummeted in the last seven years, from 99 percent down to 83 percent, twice the average vacancy rate for Manhattan.

Bloomberg also says it used public information to calculate that eight of nine condos sold since Trump became president sold for a loss. Although sources close to the Trump organization, dispute that math. Trump watchers say it's all evidence that the White House maybe taking the shine off Trump's gold covered portfolio.

FISHER: Whether it's his golf courses, his resort were, his showcase building on New York's Fifth Avenue, in each case we see that there's been an impact where people do not want to do business in a place that carries the name of someone who they vehemently disagree with.

TODD: The lobby of Trump tower has been the backdrop for some of Trump's most controversial political statements, on the violence in Charlottesville connected to a white nationalists protest. I

TRUMP: I think there's blame on both sides.

TODD: Or a remark targeting undocumented immigrants from Latin America when he launched his 2016 campaign.

TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They are rapists.

TODD: A comment which the post report implies may well have led wealthy clients from Latin America to steer away from the Doral resort in Miami. At Trump tower, the problems could also stem from the realities of being the President's New York home base, security fortifications, gawking crowds and protests can make it a tougher place to live and work, according to the former T rump organization executive, who headed up its construction in 1983.

BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE: You've got a secret service and cops all over the place. Hard to get to the building to, begin with. TODD: One marketing expert says the President's brand has been hurt

because sometimes it simply couldn't be distinguished from politics.

RICHARD LEVICK, FOUNDER & CEO, LEVICK: The President has decided not to separate himself from his brand, although he no longer runs the day to day activities, it's very hard to distinguish the two, both from the President's point of view, from the Democratic point of view, and from the general public.

TODD: Trump's supporters dispute those concerns. They say the President political success has boosted the visibility of the Trump brand even more than his brash marketing and his T.V. show ever did. They say conservative political events and foreign dignitaries flocking to the Trump international hotel in Washington and to Mar-a- Lago have boosted profits at those properties. Doral, for instance, is still making money.

And Trump himself says he is not worried if his business empire pays a price for his presidency.

TRUMP: I will tell you, as most of you know, being president has cost me a fortune and that's OK with me.

TODD: But his biographer say, in reality, declining revenue at Trump tower in Doral have to be eating away at Donald Trump.

[02:45:05] FISHER: Deep down, he is someone who reacts very poorly to a downturn. Someone who doesn't like to be told but he's not a winner in every turn.

TODD: Responding to CNN's request for comment, a representative of the Trump organization called the article on the Doral resort, "Absolute garbage," saying 2018 was one of the best years in the history of that property. Trump's son, Eric Trump, told the Washington Post, "Our iconic properties are the best in the world and our portfolio isn't rivals by anyone." Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: And we could be on the verge of a tantalizing look at Donald Trump's fortune with the expected release of his latest financial disclosure forms in the coming day. The documents will offer a glimpse of the President's income last year. In 2017, he reported a $450 million hall. The forms were also laid out the President liabilities and his income from properties, retirement accounts, book royalties, and investments.

The President has resisted all attempts to release his tax returns despite his promised to do so, and a subpoena from Congress.

Well, all this week CNN has been bringing you stories of people striving to make the world a better place. In this installment of "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE", a young man who once tried to take his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He was lucky and got a second chance.

Our Sanjay Gupta explains how that suicide attempt became a powerful catalyst to help others.


KEVIN HINES, SUICIDE SURVIVOR: Oh, my brother. This is amazing.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That thing that you have been fighting for nearly 20 years, there it is. I know -- I know this is emotional, but this is -- this is large part because of you, man.

I think we tend to be very reductionist when we -- when we cover stories, it's very binary, here's what happened, here is the outcome. I think what Kevin Hines and the story did for me was make me realize that the shades of gray in between stories aren't things that you can just dismiss.

No detail is too small, especially with a story like the one I'm about to tell you. On September 25th, 2000, 19-year-old Kevin Hines walked to the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped.

HINES: So, you know, I'm falling headfirst and I immediately recognize if I hit head first I will die. I hit the water and the impact reverberated to my legs and it shattered my T12, L1 and L2. When you hit from that high at that speed, it's like hitting a solid brick wall.

GUPTA: And what did you -- what did you -- what's going through your mind?

HINES: The very millisecond might hands left the rail and my legs cleared it, instant regret. Instantaneous regret. I wish I could go back in time.

GUPTA: Kevin and I first met back in 2003, his was one of the first stories I've reported at CNN.

Why did you come here? Why the Golden Gate Bridge?

HINES: I was under the impression that it was the easiest way to die.

GUPTA: Over the last two decades, the suicide rate in the United States has gone up 33 percent. That makes it the number two cause of death in this country for people aged 10 to 34. And over that same time period, 537 people have died after jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Kevin Hines has spent the last 16 years trying to change those tragic numbers. His singular goal, to get a net placed on this beautiful bridge. A barrier to stop someone from dying. Someone like him.

HINES: What are the aesthetics of a bridge compared to one human life? What if that was your mom or your dad?

GUPTA: This is the place where you've jumped.

HINES: Yes. This is the place where I lived. GUPTA: I love that. What surprised me then, still surprises me now

is the story that Kevin tells about the day that he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. He made this pact with himself, which was that if anybody, basically, is kind to me if anybody looks at me and says what's wrong, can I help you? Wants to be compassionate in some way. If anybody had done that for him, he wouldn't have jumped.

That stuck with me, and I think in some ways it has influenced and directed a lot of the other stories that I do.

It's never about a single individual, it's always about the circle of individuals, the ecosystem of our society as a whole.

In some ways, you look like a totally different person.

[02:50:16] HINES: Yes.

GUPTA: I mean, first of all, just physically, I mean, both of us in some ways, I think, look better now, you know.

I think Kevin first got me thinking about this idea that if someone drops all of a sudden in front of you from a cardiac arrest, most people would have some idea of what to do. Call 911, start pushing on the chest. But if someone is clearly in trouble, from mental illness, somebody who may be clearly suicidal, not only do we often not know what to do, we often turn the other way.

HINES: Today is our gift.

GUPTA: Kevin Hines won't admit this, but he has probably saved many, many lives. People who thought nobody cared, and then Kevin Hines shows up and says, I love you, I care about you, I understand the pain that you're feeling in their something we can do about it.

Let's go check this out together.

HINES: Let's do it.

GUPTA: And today, I get to show him that his story, his fight has meant something. That net is finally going up.

HINES: That's the net. That's it. It's going up on the Golden Gate, as of 2021. Not one more death by someone's hands off the Golden Gate Bridge. This is one of the most special days of my life.


CHURCH: A powerful second chance there. And Dr. Gupta's report is part of our "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE" series. We will keep your sharing these inspiring stories all this week. And tune in this Saturday for an hour-long report starting at 8:00 in the evening, Eastern Time. That's 8:00 Sunday morning in Hong Kong. Only here on CNN.

We'll take a short break. It's only been a few weeks since his heart surgery but Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger is back in action and we will show you his latest dance moves after this break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Well, for Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, time really is on his side.

CHURCH: The 75-year-old singer posted this video of himself dancing in the studio just a few weeks after surgery to replace a heart valve. The clip sent fans into a frenzy on social media. The Stones had to postpone their North American tour last month, and in case you are wondering, the song he's dancing to is not one of his own. It's The Wombats' Techno Fan.

CHURCH: Looking pretty good for 75. Well, another pair of 70 some things are squaring off in the U.S. political arena. Former Vice President Joe Biden is the early frontrunner to take on Donald Trump in 2020. And that has some asking the question, how old is too old? Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The last time Donald Trump looked in the mirror and saw a truly younger man was when Jimmy Fallon played his mirror image. But when a 72-year-old president was asked how old is too old to be president?

[02:49:59] TRUMP: I just feel like a young man. I'm so young. I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe, I don't know about him, I don't know.

MOOS: Those comments left 76-year-old Joe Biden momentarily speechless when he was asked about them on "The View".

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If he looks young and vibrant compared to me, I should probably go home.

MOOS: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most vibrant, 70 something candidate of them all? The battle of the elders spilled onto Twitter in a form of side by side comparisons and challenges. Show me, Trump, doing this, I'll wait. The President's description of himself as a young, vibrant man inspired blowback, a vibrant imagination and so young practically infantile. I'm the youngest person in the history of people.

As for President Trump's nickname for Biden.

TRUMP: So I sort of referred him as Sleepy Joe.

BIDEN: Joe said that's the opposite of what he usually hears.

BIDEN: On the other hand, Hyper Joe.

MOOS: These two are hyperactive, even before Biden officially announced.

BIDEN: No, I wish during high school I could take him behind the gym.

TRUMP: And he said, I'd like to take him behind the gym, oh, I dream of that.

MOOS: Fighting like two grumpy old men. Maybe these two should take a page from Ronald Reagan vowing not to make age an issue.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not going to exploit for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.

MOOS: Even young Mondale cracked up. The issue of age never gets old.

TRUMP: I'm a young, vibrant man.

MOOS: A young, vibrant ham. There. Someone fixed it. Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: You need tremendous stamina.

MOOS: New York.


CHURCH: The old couple, perhaps. We'll see what happened. Well, concerns over vanity don't seem to trouble a younger candidate like the 46-year-old Democrat Beto O'Rourke. He live streamed his haircut on Wednesday.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, everybody, we're at Chema's in El Paso and getting a haircut after being on the road for almost two weeks.


CHURCH: Well, the former congressman answered questions about his campaign from viewers during that 17-minute haircut. He's evolved a habit of live streaming, first across country car trip with another congressman back in 2017, and a visit to the dentist in January. We'll see if that works for him, right?

And thank you so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Don't go anywhere.