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Mixed Messages from Trump Confuses Observers; Don McGahn to be Held in Contempt of Congress; New Party in U.K. Pushes for a new Brexit Referendum; Iran Claims To Increase Uranium Enrichment Capacity; White House Tells Former Counsel To Defy Subpoena; Formula One Champion Niki Lauda Dies At 70; Crisis in Yemen, Where Millions Face Famine; Yemen's Nationwide Addiction To Khat; A Pardon For War Crimes; High Tech Breakup; Automaker Cutting 10 Percent Of Salaried Staff Worldwide; Dire Warning About Violent Weather; Scaling The Heights In Eiffel Tower; Game of Thrones Series Ends. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 21, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Mixed messages and the standoff between Donald Trump and Tehran. One Iranian official calls the U.S. president crazy and his administration confused.
The former White House counsel refuses to talk to Democratic lawmakers investigating obstruction. We will look at the political and legal implications.
And later, food as a weapon of war. In Yemen, the world's worst humanitarian crisis aid is being kept from some of the people who need it the most.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.
Well, the U.S. president keep sending threats and mixed messages when it comes to Iran. Donald Trump has been on a Twitter tirade these past few days. He wrote this on Sunday. "If Iran wants to, fight that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again."
Well, Iran's foreign minister tweeted back, saying his country survived pass Congress he rode economic terrorism, and genocidal taunts. It won't end Iran. Hash tag never threaten an Iranian. And try respect, it works.
Mr. Trump had more to say on Twitter on Monday, denying the U.S. was trying to set up negotiations with Iran. Then he spoke to reporters on his way to a campaign rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, with Iran, we'll see what happens. But they've been very hostile, they've truly been the number one provocateur of terror in this country and then you know, representing their country, but certainly, our country has been very much involved because we are trying to help a lot of people out and I don't mind that at all.
We have no indication that anything has happened or will happen, but if it does it will be met, obviously, with great force. We'll have no choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, at least some in Iran are dismissing President Trump's war of words. Our Fred Pleitgen spoke to a top Iranian diplomat in this CNN exclusive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOSSEIN AMIRABDOLLAHIAN, SPECIAL AIDE TO THE PRESIDENT OF IRAN'S PARLIAMENT (through translator): Trump can discuss talking to Iran through a phone when he does not use the language of threat and force. We can talk about phoning us when he goes back to the nuclear agreement.
And he needs to ensure that neither nor the next president will reneged on the agreement. In his mind, Trump thinks he has a gun to Iran's head with sanctions, and he is trying to shut down our economy. This is all in his imagination. Now he wants us to call him? This is crazy president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: For more, CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Abu Dhabi. He joins us now. Good to see you, Nic. So, what impact do these mixed messages on threats coming from the United States have on the escalating tensions with Iran?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Sure. President Trump has gone on to say that he guesses Iran will call them when they are ready. Look, the way that President Trump's mixed messages are being received here.
We've sort of heard that Iran's view of it, and I think we also heard, you know, overnight that Iran is now going to quadruple its enrichment of low enriched uranium. It's allowed under the terms of the nuclear deal to do that up to a limit of 300 kilograms, they have a stockpile of 300 kilograms.
The Iranians are not saying that they are staying within the terms of the agreement. But this sort of statement seems to be, you know, aimed very clearly at President Trump that they are not happy with the sanctions that he has on them.
So, I think part of the Iranian response here is to derive on the one hand what President Trump is saying and challenge him on the other side.
The International Atomic Energy Agency that oversees Iran's compliance with this deal, the most recent statement it had in February this year said that Iran was well within its limit of stockpiled low enriched uranium, about 200 kilograms. So that's 100 kilograms less in that limit.
So, even if Iran does quadruple its production, perhaps isn't going to go over that limit just yet.
[03:04:54] So, but the language seems to be, you know, challenging to President Trump and I think the other way it's being interpreted by the region, in the region here by the United States allies can be explained perhaps by the former Secretary of Defense James Mattis who was speaking here at a forum that included the crown prince of the emirates here, it included the commander of the military forces here where he said it may seem to some people from the outside under the Trump administration the United States is coming apart at the seams. It's not. He said that's part of democracy.
Clearly, playing to concerns here that ally to the United States is perhaps a little bit unpredictable in this very tense and potentially escalatory situation with Iran at the moment.
Mattis went on to say that Russia and China are not your natural brothers here for the region to stay strong in the alliance with the United States.
So, I think that gives you an idea, you know, that senior officials, former officials in the United States who have a strong and historic relationship with allies in this region are trying to play down concerns that the Trump administration may be out of its depth or mishandling tensions here at the moment.
CHURCH: Right. And while this all plays out there are increased concerns that this tension could result in some form of miscalculation. We are reminded of the back and forth that went on between the United States and North Korea, of course, and that did end up in some couple of summits or an effort to move in that direction. Is there a strategy here that might be going there? What is going on?
ROBERTSON: I mean, maybe that is the Trump strategy. Look, he is all barking, in the end there is no bite. It's all a lot of shouting and then he gets the face time around the table. And you know, he can tell his supporters in the United States that he is doing a good job, he's keeping good on his promises.
But the reality here Iran is not predisposed to get into talks to President Trump because he doesn't know that the endgame of the United States is, he doesn't know if the administration is really speaking with one voice and has a coordinated on the situation.
Right now, it feels that there is some daylight between the United States and its regional allies, particularly about those concerns so U.S. is handling it. So, from Iran's perspective that can be exploited as well.
So, there are many, many reasons, not just that when you deal with Kim Jong-un in North Korea, this is one guy a dictator. In Iran it's not a yes. The ayatollah is in charge but there are various sort of political views within the country and within the leadership. So, they are not, you know, moderates would not want to reach out if
there are moderates because of the backlash from hard liners in the country in Iran.
So, this year, I think if President Trump thought that he could get that simple response from Iran, this is a much more complicated situation than any that he has tried to deal with like this so far.
CHURCH: All right. Nic Robertson, we thank you for your analysis, joining us live from Abu Dhabi.
Well, the U.S. Congress may finally get a glimpse of President Donald Trump's finances. This after a federal judge ordered the accounting firm Mazars to turn over Trump's financial records going back years.
In his ruling, the judge says the president is subject to the same legal scrutiny as anyone else. And Congress is within its rights to investigate the president. The decision may set a precedent for other judges, considering whether to release Mr. Trump's records. The president's attorneys are likely to appeal the decision, which he calls, crazy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This never happened to any other president. They're trying to get a redo, they trying to get what we used to call in school a do- over. And if you look, you know, we had no collusion, we had no obstruction, we had nothing.
The Democrats were very upset with the Mueller report, as perhaps they should be. But the country is very happy about it because there was never anything like that. And they're trying to get a redo or a do- over, and you can't do that.
As far as the financial are concerned we think it's the wrong, it's totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama appointed judge. He was a recent Obama appointed judge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, meantime, the chairman of the House judiciary committee promises Don McGahn will be held in contempt of Congress if he does not show up to Capitol Hill in just a few hours from now.
The White House says the former White House counsel has immunity from congressional testimony, and that's why he has been instructed to ignore the subpoena.
Jim Acosta has our report.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In a dramatic attempt to block Democrats from conducting their own Russia investigation the Trump administration is rejecting the House judiciary committee subpoena for the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday. [03:09:58] In a letter to the committee's chairman, Jerry Nadler, the
current White House counsel argues McGahn is immune from that subpoena. Adding, "In order to protect the prerogatives of the Office of the Presidency, the president has directed Mr. McGahn not to appear at the committee's scheduled hearing."
McGahn is already infuriated the president, declined to state probably that Mr. Trump did not commit obstruction of justice. he's also told federal investigators in the Russia probe that he refused to follow obstructions by Mr. Trump to get rid of special counsel Robert Mueller. It's a charge the president has denied. But hasn't gone as far to say McGahn committed perjury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Mr. President, is there are a situation that you could where Don McGahn is charged with perjury? You seem to be contradicting what he is saying --
TRUMP: Well, I don't want to talk about that now.
REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R-MI): And that is better for --
ACOSTA: The president has been busy beating back another member of his party Justin Amash, the first Republican congressman to accuse Mr. Trump of impeachable offenses who started this tweet storm over the weekend.
First tweeting "Mueller's report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment." Then, doubling down today. "They say obstruction of justice requires an underlying crime. In fact, obstruction of justice does not require the prosecution of an underlying crime."
The president fired back, tweeting that he was, quote, "never a fan of Justin Amash, a total lightweight. Justin is a loser, who sadly plays right into our opponent's hands." GOP leaders are backing Mr. Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): They've got to understand Justin Amash. He's been in Congress quite some time, I think he's only ever asked one question in all the committees that he's been in. He votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The tweets are -- I don't care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The president is also mad at Fox News for hosting a town hall with Democrat Pete Buttigieg. Tweeting, "Fox is moving more and more to the losing wrong side in d covering the Dems." Although the president appears to be more concerned with former Vice President Joe Biden who holds a commanding lead over the Democratic field.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Trump inherited an economy from Obama-Biden administration. That was given to him. Just like you inherited everything else in his life.
BIDEN: And just like -- just like everything else he has been given in his life; he is in the process of squandering that as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen says that the president's lawyers told him to lie to Congress about the Trump tower Moscow project. That information comes from newly released transcripts of a closed-door session earlier this year.
In it, Cohen told lawmakers Trump attorney Jay Sekulow told him to say discussions on the Moscow project ended in January 2016. The project reportedly went on longer than that, and well into Mr. Trump's presidential campaign.
Michael Cohen is now serving three years in jail for financial crimes and lying to Congress. Sekulow says Cohen is just trying to blame others for his bad decisions.
So, let's a take a closer look now at these allegations. And we are joined by CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, who is also the senior editor at The Atlantic. Good to have you with us.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening.
CHURCH: So, what do you make of these recently released transcripts that reveal President Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow, told Michael Cohen, apparently to lie to Congress about the Trump tower Moscow project?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, certainly, Michael Cohen has all sorts of credibility issues, but these kinds of revelations are exactly why so many Democrats in particular feel that, you know, the story is not over and that there are many aspects of it that need further investigation.
And it is that belief that is running up against this stonewall that the administration and figuratively the attorney general is directing against the ability of Congress to conduct oversight here.
And all of that is taking us into, what I think is accurately understood as a constitutional crisis that is going to involve lots of court decisions in the coming weeks.
CHURCH: Right. And also, a federal judge has ruled that an accounting firm must turn over President Trump's financial records. How significant is this, and just how big a blow is this to the president, who of course will appeal this?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, honestly, this is just the beginning up a long legal journey, it is just one of the subpoenas or requests for information like his taxes that are going to go into the courts.
But Rosemary, I did think this was significant decision because of its breadth.
I mean, the judge goes all the way back to James Buchanan in 1856 to make the argument that the courts traditionally have been very deferential towards Congress' authority to investigate the executive branch.
[03:15:01] And deferential towards Congress' own determinations about what it needs to undertake its legislative activities.
At one point he talks about, it is not in the tendency of the courts to second guess whether Congress is acting out of some political motive. I think he has laid -- this judge has laid down a marker. Obviously, he's not the last word on this.
Ultimately, it's likely that the Supreme Court will have to decide, but he has laid down a marker that I think other courts are going to have to reckon with.
CHURCH: Yes. Certainly, the president was not very happy at all, and of course, this ruling came just hours after the White House told former counsel Don McGahn not to testify before the House judicial committee, believing he has immunity, or that's what they say.
But the chairman says if he doesn't appear, McGahn will be held in contempt of Congress. Who is right here and how would you expect this all to play out?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, there are many -- there are many aspects of this. I mean, the first and perhaps the most important is that Don McGahn is a former White House employee, so while the president can assert that he does not want him to testify, my understanding is that he cannot prevent them him testifying.
We know that Don McGahn did testified to Robert Mueller's investigation. We also know that he rejected a request from the White House, you know, after the fact to declare that he did not believe the president committed obstruction of justice.
What we don't know is whether he feels an obligation to explain to the public exactly what happened in the events covered in the Mueller report, especially now that the president is denying there. And the added twist here is that his law firm is a major contractor for the Republican National Committee, a major provider of legal services.
And there have been reports that the president has mused about cutting them off in punishment for what Don McGahn has done. I mean, there are things in this presidency that are happening kind of in broad daylight that in the past if they were on earth, you know, behind the scenes would have been major scandals.
I think this is -- this certainly qualifies as that, is the administration using the threat of the Jones Day law firm's work for the Republican National Committee to discourage Don McGahn from testifying, and is Don McGahn going along with that?
CHURCH: So, you don't think McGahn has immunity here because he was -- he's now a former counsel at the White House?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, there are two separate questions. Whether the -- whether they can defend the idea of him not testifying in court, in other words, does he have immunity. Possibly. I don't think I can answer that. I don't think we can answer that.
I think courts are going to have to decide whether the president can claim immunity for his conversations with his former council, but a separate question is whether the president can prevent him from testifying if he wishes to.
And I think on, that ground the president is on much more tenuous footing. And again, the issue is where does Don McGahn feel his highest obligation. He said tonight, his lawyers said tonight in a letter that he would respect the president's wishes, but is that what he feels his highest obligation is to.
The president's wishes, or is it to the country and to explain not only what he told Robert Mueller, but now the discrepancies between his version of events and the president's version.
CHURCH: Well, sad news from the world of sports. His family says three times Formula One champion Niki Lauda has died. The Austrian born race car driver won two titles with Ferrari in the 1970s, and a third with McLaren in 1984.
Lauda had a near fatal crash in 1976 which left him badly burned. His career was depicted in the 2013 film "Rush." Off the track, Lauda started a successful charter airline, Lauda Air which eventually merged with Austrian Airlines.
He had been in declining health for months. Niki Lauda was 70 years old.
Well, they're not giving up the battle. Coming up, the new party campaigning to stop Brexit. And later this hour, we head to Yemen where the ongoing civil war has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. And more fears of famine.
We're back in just a moment.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Well, the results are in. Indonesia's Joko Widodo has been reelected president. The incumbent won 55.5 percent of the vote both according to the country's election commission. The votes will be finalized Wednesday. Nearly 193 million people were eligible to cast a ballot. The election
was billed as one of most complicated single day ballot ever undertaken. Mr. Widodo's hard line opponent who has not conceded says he will challenge the results.
Well, there's more political upheaval in Austria. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is calling for the country's far-right interior minister to be sacked which may cause others to step down in protest. He would be the second official to go after the vice chancellor resign Saturday.
Heinz-Christian Strache was caught in the apparent sting operation allegedly offering to fix state contracts for a woman posing as a Russian oligarch's nice. The whole mess has the chancellor calling for new elections in September.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN KURZ, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): It has become very clear that certain people are definitely not capable of governing. And statements have been made that I've at least shattered my ideas of how politics should be defined and understood.
So, I think the people of Austria understand that in such a situation, it is necessary to call for new elections and this decision was not made lightly. And it is not my wish that would be new elections but it was necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The battle over Britain's exit from the European Union is far from over. The new party called Change U.K. was formed just a few weeks ago. Some members of parliament left the two main parties to advocate for another Brexit referendum.
Nina dos Santos reports polls suggest they are facing an uphill battle.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPPONDENT: It's a lonely battle trying to stop Brexit especially if you're the newest name on the ballot sheet. Founded by rebel members of the Labour and conservative parties Change U.K. wants to keep things the same. At least as far as Britain's relationship with Europe is concerned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUKA UMUNNA, M.P. & SPOKESPERSON, CHANGE U.K.: On the remain side of the argument, people can criticize us but nobody could say that we don't have a clear position which is people's vote remain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: That may be music to the ears of the people in Brighton, one of the many pro-E.U. areas that change U.K.'s targeting up and down the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It kind of feels like as a remainer, you are not
represented by what should be the Labour Party at the Lib Dems are enough of political force to really speak up for you. So, it would be good if a party could speak up for the people because we're all 49 percent of the whole country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: But not all Europhiles think that voting Change U.K. will change much.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[03:24:55] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only way we have a chance to have a say and staying in E.U. is to go with a party that has the best chance of winning over the conservatives or even the Labour at this point. And it would be, I feel, just for this one-time Lib Dems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: The party is building 70 candidates from a call of 3,700 wo applied all here in London, which voted overwhelming to remain inside the E.U. Change U.K. may stand one of the better chances of getting some of the eight seats up for grabs.
Among the candidates, famous faces from TV who once called (Ph) politicians themselves for a living.
GAVIN ESLER, CANDIDATE FOR LONDON, CHANGE U.K.: People have voted about Brexit. And they've changed their minds and the opinion poll seem to show that.
DOS SANTOS: But your party is not doing great in the polls.
ESLER: I've been doing this for two weeks and two days. The party has been going I think for six weeks. We're not doing badly. We'll see. I think we'll get some seats. I hope we will, but the point is to get as bigger remain voice as possible.
DOS SANTOS: Like its main opponent, the Brexit party Change U.K. has plans to take its vision to the Westminster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ESLER: We want to end Brexit because it's such (Inaudible) to British politics and then we want to fix some of the reasons people voted for Brexit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: However, that's a message that might fall on deaf ears.
Nina Dos Santos, CNN, London.
CHURCH: And staying in the United Kingdom there has been another milkshake attack in England. This time the victim was Brexit party leader Nigel Farage who was campaigning a new council.
Milkshakes appeared to be the new weapon of choice as right-wing politicians stump the U.K. seats in the European parliament. The man arrested for the attacks says he was protesting what he calls Farage's racism. For the record, Farage ended up wearing a banana and salted caramel shake. Details --
All right. Time for a short break. But still to come, the U.S. Justice Department wants to reexamine the cases of former soldiers accused of war crimes. You will hear why some veterans call this a bad idea.
But first, a crisis that's become symbolic of wider issues in the Middle East. CNN is on the ground in Yemen to show you why millions of people are on the verge of starvation.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.
Iran says it has increased uranium enrichment capacity and notified the International Atomic Energy Agency. The news comes amid a Twitter war with U.S. President Donald Trump. He wrote Sunday, "If Iran wants to fight it will be the official end of the country."
Former White House counsel Don McGahn will not testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Tuesday. The Trump administration instructed him to refuse the House subpoena, saying McGahn has immunity. Committee Chair Jerry Nadler says McGahn faces serious consequences if he does not show up.
Three time Formula One racing champion Niki Lauda has died. Lauda had a near fatal crash in 1976 which left him badly burned. Off the track, he started a successful charter airline, Lauda Air which eventually merged with Austrian airlines. Niki Lauda was 70 years old.
Well, it has been called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The United Nations reports 10 million people in Yemen are just one step away from famine. And now in an exclusive report, CNN Sam Kiley and his team, who just travel through Yemen shows why millions of people are on the brink of starvation there. Sam, what all did you find as you journey through Yemen, and it's anyone heating the call for help?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, what we discovered is I'm afraid what we find in most of this civil war situations, which is a belligerents in this case the Houthi government of the north that controls about 70 percent of population is involved in what the United Nations is called the theft (ph) or diversion of food aid, mostly to fund their own or to use towards political ends, but also -- they are not the only ones I have to say doing this. Their enemies in the south has also been accused of doing it.
But the Houthis are very much tried to play themselves as the underdogs in all of this, but there's a lot of people suffering as a consequence of their policies as we discovered in this piece, Rosemary.
KILEY: This is warrior country. An ancient land that seems designed for conflict. And now Yemen is being torn apart again. The U.N. says it is one step away from famine because of war, but on a 4000 kilometer journey through the worsted areas, we found innocent people brought close to death by a rebel Houthi government that is manipulating aid while U.N. officials try to stop them. We found evidence of this throughout northern Yemen. First in Bani Qais, five hours drive from the capital.
How are you surviving for food? How do you get food?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My husband goes to work. He gets 500 or 1000 riyals and he buys food for us and goes home, but there is no money for clothes, diapers for the children, or medicine.
KILEY: And why do you think you are not getting aid here? Why are people not getting help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They don't reach us here, they used to give us grains and flour, but then they refused to give it to anyone. They don't give us anything.
KILEY: Already, dirt poor people here relied on U.N. handouts, but they stopped when the world food program discovered that supplies were going missing.
So in this village, there is malnutrition. And people are saying that they are not getting any aid. Why is that?
MOHAMED EL-SHERIF, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (through translator): They used to get pairs a bag of grains, oil, and other stuff, every month. This stopped two months ago. We don't know why. There are people higher up who know why.
KILEY: It is a problem that's been raised at the highest levels.
LISE GRANDE, U.N. RESIDENT COORDINATOR: We have certainly, in several situations, had to say to local authorities, you don't let us in there, we can't continue these programs. And that is why we have been forced into situations where we said, if you don't let us in, if you don't let us do our jobs properly, then we are not going to be able to continue.
KILEY: This is Aslam, the U.N. has been denying access to this area. And has stopped food distribution, because they cannot be monitored. It's only a few miles from the front line. 10,000 people have poured into camps like this in a few weeks. They are victims of a war being waged by a Saudi led coalition armed by the U.S. and others against the Iranian backed Houthi rebels.
MOUNIR IBRAHIM, ASLAM RESIDENT (through translator): What we have we scrounged from others? And when we get our rations from the World Food Program, I give back people what I owe, but we haven't had anything from the World Food Program for two months. We have nothing now.
KILEY: So again, vulnerable people are being denied aid by the U.N. because the Houthi government won't allow access and independent monitoring. Close to the refugee camps, this clinic struggles to cope. This boy has infected lungs.
[03:35:02] The doctors say, as a direct result of malnutrition. He is almost a year old, but he is the weight of a baby at three months. These are children are victims of a vicious circle. They are starving because of the siege of the port that supplies them and their rebel Houthi government's diversion of what little aid gets in. In the Yemen now, nearly everyone is short of food.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Malnutrition is not only a problem among those displaced and the host community. We have it to. Even us, the employees, our children back home are malnourished.
KILEY: The Houthi's are under siege. Their access to the outside world cut by coalition attacks on this, the main port of Hodeida. Since the Saudi led coalition imposed a blockade on this port, and attacked it from the air, it has done about $800 million worth of damage, it's halved the amount of food and other material coming into the port. And it has destroyed about 60 percent of its capacity.
The idea, of course, is to try to strangle the capacity of the Houthi regime to survive. The irony, of course, is from the Houthi perspective, a control over a limited amount of supply, particularly when it comes to food, means you have control over everything.
In the capital, Sanaa, the Houthi government denies this.
Essentially they're saying that you are very controlling, and that you are using this to win friends politically around the country. Using foreign aid to win friends. To win political influence.
HUSSEIN AL-EZZI, YEMENI DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): What you said can be described as inaccurate. Mistakes happen sometimes, but that does not mean, or doesn't represent, a policy on our side. We are happy with whatever aid reaches citizens. Because these citizens are our strength and support. They are our capital in this war.
KILEY: But here, aid officials insist that food has been weaponized. Without free food from the outside world, the Houthi government would struggle to survive. The U.N. plans to feed 12 million this year. Mostly in the Houthi areas. Are you not worried by being here you could be prolonging the war?
GRANDE: Certainly, humanitarians are not political. We are here to keep people alive. The responsibility for ending the conflict is in the hands of the people who are driving that conflict.
KILEY: Caught in the middle, women and children here struggle with hunger in a war where Yemen's powerful factions ignore the responsibility to their own people. And demand that foreigners supply the aid to support them.
KILEY: Now, Rosemary, since we first broke that report a few hours ago, the World Food Program has issued another warning to the Houthis complaining on Becky Anderson's Connect the World yesterday, David Beasley, the head of WFP saying that the organization was losing effectively perhaps about $15 million a year in stolen aid to the Houthi government, and is demanded that they allow better monitoring and more humanitarian access. So, clearly, this is a problem that runs pretty deep, and as I said, it doesn't just exist in the Houthi areas, there is also abusive of aid and indeed the leakage of weapons into the hands of terrorists in the government back areas too.
CHURCH: Sam Kiley, many thanks to you. A shocking story coming out of Yemen and we appreciate all the work you and your team put into that. Many thanks again. And tomorrow, we will hear about another crisis in Yemen. Sam Kiley reports on the addiction to the Khat plant. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: This is Sanaa's Khat market.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four thousand, 10,000, 15,000, 25,000.
KILEY: That is five dollars for the cheapest bag of Khat, you could feed a family for a whole day for the price of your cheapest Khat. Do you think that it makes sense for Yemen that has no food for everybody to be chewing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't make sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: That story tomorrow. We will take a short break here, still to come, President Donald Trump calls them heroes, but prosecutors call them criminals. The danger in the Trump administration getting involved with cases of possible war crimes. Back in just a moment.
[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, China's telecommunications giant Huawei is feeling more pressure from the trade war with United States. Google is restricting Huawei's access to its android system and apps. That follows last week's White House ordered banning U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei. The Commerce Department array to those restrictions somewhat on Monday, Sherisse Pham has more on the impact of Google's move.
SHERISSE PHAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Being cut off from Google's apps and services will hit Huawei hard. Huawei phones run on Google's androids system. They have access to popular services like Gmail, YouTube, and Google maps, but last, week Washington added Huawei to a list of companies that undermines U.S. national security in trust. That means U.S. companies can't sell products to Huawei, unless they get a license to do so.
Google does not have that license. A spokesperson saying today that they are complying with the order and reviewing the implications. Huawei says they are examining the implications from the U.S. actions for consumers and will provide security updates and after sales services to existing phones and tablets. What that means is current Huawei users will continue to have access to the Google ecosystem, but future Huawei phones won't.
Analysts say consumers in Europe or Southeast Asia are unlikely to buy Huawei smartphones if they can't access services like Google maps or Gmail. The company CEO, in a staff memo last week, told employees that business operations will not be greatly affected. And that Huawei will be on the right side of history. Huawei has been caught up in trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Adding Huawei to the trade blacklist has been seen as a way for Washington to force Beijing's hand.
The two sides are negotiating a deal to end the trade war that has seen billions of dollars of goods penalized by both sides. Beijing standing by its national champion. A government official today threatening possible retaliation for the U.S. ban on Huawei.
LU KANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (trough translator): In terms of what measures either Chinese companies or the Chinese government will take, please wait and see.
PHAM: In the meantime, Google has to comply with the Trump administration's order. For Huawei, it is more than just losing the android system or Gmail.
[03:45:00] A lot of third party apps, like Uber and Deliver Route rely on access to services like Google maps. Those apps may no longer be supported on Huawei devices. One analyst telling me, that without that access, the Huawei phone is a brick. And their smartphone business is dead in the water. Sherisse Pham, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHURCH: The New York Times is reporting that U.S. President Donald Trump might soon pardon several military veterans who are accused of actions overseas that might be war crimes. CNN's Barbara Starr reports some former military members are now warning the president to reconsider. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is considering pardoning military members accused of what may amount to war crimes. The Pentagon suddenly was asked to send case files to the Justice Department to pardon office for at least two service members accused of murder. Including navy seal Edward Gallagher and army major Matt Goldstein, several U.S. officials tells CNN. The New York Times was the first to report the possible pardons which some battlefield veteran say is a terrible idea.
WAITMAN BEORN, U.S. NAVY VETERAN: This is not even a tug of war, you know, judgment call kind of a situation, bullets are flying. These are premeditated cold blooded murders and it gives everyone a bad name, every veteran that served.
STARR: Gallagher, who is awaiting trial, is accused of stabbing and killing an unarmed detainee in Iraq and then posing for a photo holding the dead man's head. He is also accused of shooting a young girl and an unarmed older man and bragging in text messages about his activities.
Gallagher, who denies all charges was turned in by members of his own unit. Trump in March ordered Gallagher move to less restricted confinement. Now, he could be pardoned even before a potential conviction.
Goldstein's case is also being reviewed. He is facing a court martial for allegedly killing a suspected bomb maker in Afghanistan in 2010. In December, President Trump tweeted, he would get personally involved calling Goldstein a U.S. military hero. The Washington Post reported that that in a CIA job interview, Goldstein admitted to killing the release detainee. Believing he would conduct more attacks. His lawyer says it was unauthorized mission. His wife says he is being victimized.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many sinister actors at play.
STARR: If President Trump approves to pardon, they could come as soon as Memorial Day. The day set aside for honoring those who have died while serving in the armed forces.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON(RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: If troops that are on the front lines actually think that they will get a pardon for behaving badly and for violating the rules of are conflict for in essence committing war crimes. Then we really are opening up a real terrible potential here.
STARR: For now, the Defense Department is silent on all of this not commenting publicly. In fact an aide to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says, Shanahan for now has no plans to get involved in any of it. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
CHURCH: And CNN's military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling wrote a CNN.com opinion piece about the possible pardoning of accused war criminals. In it he writes this, if applied as reported, the pardons would damage the way the U.S. military is perceived by our allies and partners around the world. And give credence and reinforcement to our enemies. They would cause even more damage to civil military relations and now republic and send a very bad message to all those who served. General Hertling adds, it would set a dangerous precedent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It could cause an unbelievable blow back. I'm hearing from a lot of veterans, the majority of which they are saying -- are just appalled at this action, because you are talking about not only crimes, but violations of the law of land warfare. A disobedience of legal orders all of these folks somehow disobeyed orders on the battlefield.
There is a great deal of emphasis placed on professional and ethical standards before you go into combat. And all of that was primarily because as soon as you start losing control of individuals and indiscipline becomes rampant, you no longer have the military you just have a gang.
I think he is appealing to people who either played video games or think that they are heroes and soldiers. But true soldiers know from the first day of basic training that rules and regulations are extremely important for discipline within units and for establishing the bonds of trust that exist between soldiers. So, I don't think that he is playing this that the military, he is pointing at people who think they support the military with some of these crazy actions and that is the unfortunate part.
[03:50:04] Unfortunately, he has some numbers of the media that are on cable TV channels who are pushing him into these things and truthfully, I think you would see the vast majority of military members are adamantly opposed to this as you've seen some of the reaction on social media.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: General Hertling there. Well, U.S. automaker Ford said it's cutting 7,000 salary jobs worldwide. The move is part of a cost cutting efforts that the auto giant says will save about $600 million a year. Our Vanessa Yurkevich reports from Ford's headquarters in Michigan.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are learning the scope of these layoffs about 10 percent in cuts to their salary workforce that amounts to about 7,000 jobs. And by the end of this week, 900 people will be off the job, 500 in the U.S. alone. Now, these are going to be layoffs for white collared workers. These are people working in management positions not people making the actual cars. This was the concern after GM announced last year that they would be closing five of their factories in North America. And this comes during an uncertain time for U.S. auto manufacturers.
We know that consumer trends and behaviors are changing. More people are wanting to buy autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles and another point of uncertainty, this trade war with China. We know that these layoffs are not directly correlated with the tariffs on steel and aluminum, but the president of Ford said just last year that he is projecting that the impact of the tariffs on steel and aluminum could cost the company up to a billion dollars. Back to you.
CHURCH: Thanks so much for that. We'll take a short break here, still to come on CNN Newsroom, baseball sized hail. Millions in Texas and Oklahoma warned about violent and possibly life-threatening weather. We'll take a very closer look at that when we come back.
CHURCH: Well, the Eiffel Tower reopens Tuesday after an evacuation and shutdown. A man clung to the iconic landmarks for more than seven hours, Monday, before firefighters talked him down. He was taken into police custody. Tourists were frustrated when the tower had to be evacuated, and surrounding streets were locked down. There is no word on why the man try to scale the 324 meter tall tower.
Well, evacuations are being reported as parts of America's Midwest are getting hammered by severe weather. Tornadoes that swept through the region are giving way to a flash flood emergency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fourteen twisters were recorded Monday. The National Weather Service says at least two were large and extremely dangerous. More than four million people are still in harm's way from Texas to Missouri, as forecasters warned of more violent weather in the coming hours. So let's go to our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, is standing by in the World Weather Center with more. And Pedram, 14 twisters, that's extraordinary.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Similarly, Rosemary, the numbers have actually gradually increased just a little bit each and every single hour, we are seeing the numbers slightly higher even at this hour. But to mention that and also to mention something here important is that the storm systems really did live up to expectations, we expected a much broader scale system producing far greater number of tornadoes.
[03:55:07] In fact an unusual high risk was issued across this region of the U.S. which really only occurs once or twice every year, and if that hadn't happened in the U.S. for a couple of years and that signal to us the strong tornadoes is a possible, but also long track tornado in a significant outbreak are all possible.
So, the latest number takes it up to 19 tornadoes now, but again, not a large scale as an event that we expected to see across this regions. So certainly good news in that sense, but notice over 100 reports when it comes to wind and hail damage. As Rosemary mentioned, about baseball size in diameter, one report --just see a report of a grapefruit size diameter hailstones as well. And of course, you notice this, in a 24 hour period almost 20,000
lightning strikes across these regions of the United States. So, the storms have been active, there are still firing up into the early morning hours across this region and we expect the energy to want to shift a little further towards the east. This is for Tuesday's forecast.
And notice, the city of St. Louis and also the city of Little Rock in the area of concern. So some larger cities here going in for a Tuesday afternoon. But whether this materializes or not, or puts down a significant number of tornadoes and what we know will occur is the heavy rainfall that is forecast in this region and as much as another 150 to 250 millimeters on top of already flooded gauges here, going to lead to additional problems.
Now, once we get past that, notice this. Record heat built across the eastern portion of the U.S., Rosemary, and we are climbing up to the middle thirties across portions of the country which is about five to 10 degrees above average, and then you look offshore, our first system. This is Andrea, thus formed off in the Atlantic, doesn't look it will impact land, but kind of signals that summer is around the corner. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes. Which is a good thing, but I'm glad you're keeping an eye on all of that activity. Many thanks to you, Pedram. I appreciate it.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, Game of thrones rules in the ratings. The last episode of the HBO juggernaut is smashing records, it wield in 19.3 million viewers on Sunday, making it the most watch telecast ever on the cable network. While also setting a record from series and when you factor in delayed viewing, season eight, is averaging more than 44 million viewers per episode. How about that?
So, you have to wonder. How did this happen? Can you see it? A water bottle mistakenly left onset during one of the finale scenes, and we are pretty sure that they don't have plastic in (inaudible). This comes just two weeks, of course, after eagle eye viewers spotted a rouge take away coffee cup in an early episodes which was later edited out. Just in case you try to go back and find it.
Thanks for your company this hour, I'm Rosemary Church, remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. And the news continues with Max Foster in London. You are watching CNN. Have a great day.