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Drop Investigations or No Deal Done; India Tallying Votes of 600 Million Voters; Election Protests in Indonesia Killed Six People; CBP Closed Down Migrant Center Due to Influenza Outbreak; At Least Six Dead In Post-Election Violence; Alarm Over Working Conditions For Minority Muslims In China; Missouri Capital Takes Direct Hit From Tornado; Second Judge Allows Access To Trump Bank Records; Botswana Lifts Ban On Elephant Hunting; Yemen's Massive Cholera Outbreak; Monks Resurrects Centuries-Old Beer. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 23, 2019 - 03:00   ET



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: It is the world's biggest exercise in democracy ever, with 900 million eligible voters, India is tallying up the ballots to see if Narendra Modi will maintain his hold on power.

After walking out on top Democratic leaders, President Trump says end the investigations or there will be no legislation. Could his latest move draw Democrats closer to impeachment?

Also, this hour, Botswana is home to nearly one third of Africa's elephant but now those animals have targets on them as the country lifts a ban on hunting. We will have a live report about what's going on there.

Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. And this is CNN Newsroom.

Hello to you. We begin in India. Early returns from that country's national elections show the party of prime minister Narendra Modi, the BJP, is in the lead. It is still too soon for final results and no parliamentary seats have been officially declared. An estimated 600 billion people cast ballots during the six-week election.

CNN's Sam Kiley is live at BJP headquarters where folks there should be feeling some relief that, at one point, Mr. Modi had a tight race, but it looks like he may just will prevail.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, Natalie. With, there are about 292 seats showing that it is likely that Mr. Modi and his party are going to win those seats. None of them have been declared yet formally, but even if he slipped back substantially, it looks likely that he is going to be well ahead of the 272 threshold that will give the BJP a majority in the Indian parliament.

Now, that represents a pretty devastating blow to the position Congress Party that for many decades was dominant through largely through the Gandhi dynasty. And now looking like it may win only about 50, 52 seats as the election results keep being published.

Now, none of those seats have been officially declared yet, but the computerized systems here does allow commentators like us to be able to extrapolate pretty accurately what is going on here.

Now, Mr. Modi is looking like he is going to win in the world's biggest experiment, if you like, electoral process ever win democracy. There is 600 million also voters turned out of a total potential roll of 900 million in a population of 1.3 billion.

This is a fast democracy to five weeks of polling to collect all the votes, and now the results are being collated and published electronically over the next few hours.

This also represents, Natalie, I think a change in the whole structure and approach in Indian politics where it's all about the personality of Mr. Modi, this election, swinging away from the rather British systems of parliamentary structures.

Much more towards a personalized presidential systems, if you like, with the incumbent prime minister calling himself the watchman, chowkidar, as they say, here in Hindi because he has been able to benefit frankly from a Pakistani inspired attack from the Indian perspective that killed 40 security forces in February in the northern Kashmir district. The contested area.

And counterattack deep inside India with airstrikes. That cemented him in the eyes of many Hindu analysts, at any rate, Natalie, as a man who is set to protect the nation.

And that's very much been his campaign pledge throughout this campaign. Looking away really from the economic promises that he made when his BJP won an overall majority back in 2014, Natalie.

ALLEN: We'll wait for the final report. Sam Kiley for us there, thank you.

Voting is underway in the European parliament elections, polls in the Netherlands and the U.K. are now open. Over the next four days, hundreds of millions of people within the 28-member union have the chance to cast ballots for a new parliament.

[03:05:00] CNN's Erin McLaughlin joins us now from Brussels. Hello, Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Natalie. Well, I'm limited in terms of what I'm able to say at this point due to election regulations that are now in place, given voting has begun here in the European Union.

What I can say is that today marks the beginning of a process that is the largest transnational Democratic exercise in the world. The second largest Democratic exercise.

Today, two E.U. countries going to the polls. The United Kingdom with 73 parliamentary seats up for grabs and the Netherlands, which has 26 parliamentary seats up for grabs. A total of 751 seats within the European parliament.

Lots of questions in terms of what might happen to the U.K. seats in the event of Brexit following these elections. I can tell you, that those 73 seats, some of them will be allocated to other member states.

For example, France and Spain would pick up an additional five seats. Ireland would pick up an additional two. In terms of when we expect the results, most of the member states will be going to the polls on Sunday, Sunday evening is when we expect the results from these elections and we can talk a bit more about that then. Natalie?

ALLEN: All right. Erin McLaughlin for us. Thank you. Erin.

Well, 40,000 riot police are on standby in the capital of Indonesia following deadly post-election unrest. At least six people were killed and hundreds injured when protestors faced off against security forces. More than 250 people were arrested during a night filled with tear gas and lots of fireworks.

The violence was triggered when election officials certified President Joko Widodo as the winner of last month's elections. Opposition leaders alleged the voting was rigged and say they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the results.

We have breaking news out of Missouri in the United States as the capital Jefferson City is taking a direct hit from a tornado a short time ago. So that was the middle of the night.

We're just getting early pictures of some of the damage. This was taken at an apartment complex. And of course, we expect to see more pictures and more damage when the sun comes up because this is a city of 43,000 people.

This business you see, here possibly a gas station, seems to have taken the brunt of the tornado. So far, at least seven storm related deaths have been confirmed across the region. The three most recent were from the storm that hit the small town of Golden City, Missouri. That was a few hours ago.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now from the International Weather Center. You have been warning and warning about this dangerous system and, yet again, unfortunately, sadly it delivered.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Unfortunately, it's in the overnight hours, Natalie. When you look at tornadoes, especially nocturnal tornadoes, they happen a nighttime and they are more twice as likely to be a fatal tornado.

And of course, you see images like this come through from a wedge tornado near Eugene, Missouri. Often, we talk about wedge tornadoes as we are talking about storms that generate tornadoes that are wider or as wide as they are tall.

And you see this perspective right here with a flash of lightning. You see a brief glimpse of this ominous perspective. Only 2 to 3 percent of over 60,000 tornadoes documented in our nation since 1960 have been a classified as a width of more than a half a mile in diameter.

So, you see a perspective like this you know the damage could be catastrophic, especially when it happens into the overnight hours. This is the last thing you want to see. And of course, as Natalie noted, we've talked about this for so many days now, in recent days.

You notice the number of tornadoes scattered about a very populated, concentrated region in recent days. In the past five days, go back since last Friday, 169 reports of tornadoes. That's highest tornado count in a two-week period we've had over two years. So, it's not your imaginations. We're seeing quite a bit of them in a very short time period.

Of course, it is peak season. This is what you expect to see. To see this in a matter of a couple days, and if you're curious, last May, for the entire month of May, which happens to be the busiest month, there was also 169 tornadoes for the entire month versus just the past five days matching that number.

Now here's what is going on. We got a ridge of high pressure parked in across portions of the southeast. What that's doing, is that really blocking or impeding the motion here with activity. We've got a strong, low level jet stream. We've got southerly flow, gulf moisture surging right in, so the same areas.

[03:09:56] We'll see thunderstorms blossom every single afternoon and evening. That's about a 1,200 kilometer stretch of land going in from Oklahoma City up towards the northern tier there of Michigan on the top of your screen that has seen a line of thunderstorms putting down about a 1,000 lightning strikes every single hour.

Tornado watches in place across these regions, between 5 and 6 a.m. Eastern Time is when they are going to be a lot to expire at this point. But that west tornado goes right over a city as you mentioned with a population of over 40,000 people. Of course, the capital city of Missouri.

A lot of tools here that can kind of show us the dynamics of the storm in such. And you kind of look at the vertical profile, the top of the thunderstorm as much as 40,000 feet high. We had estimates of debris being lofted more than 13,000 feet high into the atmosphere. So, a very dangerous situation there across the state of Missouri, Natalie.

ALLEN: Right. That graphic right there certainly telling. I want to ask you about the wider tornado, one would assume is more dangerous. Is it particularly?

JAVAHERI: The stats on that are limited. I was looking into that right before coming on the segment and about 70 percent of them are at least EF2 or EF3. They don't always go hand in hand with a more destructive or potentially stronger twister, but they are often of course wider, so the damage path is not just localized to one or two homes where you often see in videos, a couple homes get hit, a couple don't.

When their wide, just about everyone within in the neighborhood can be impacted. So that's why they are more dangerous.

ALLEN: All right. Jefferson City, 43,000 people and a tornado hits in the middle of the night. We'll be seeing the picture soon and getting more information. Pedram, thank you. We know you'd be on it.


ALLEN: Thanks.

And Missouri's governor tweeted this 'major tornado across the state tonight, including Jefferson City. We are doing OK, but praying for those that were caught in damage. Some are still trapped. Local emergency crews are on site and assisting."

So, we'll continue to monitor his tweets as well. Time for a short break here. When we come back, high drama at the White House. What's prompting President Trump to say he won't work with the Democrats.

And later this hour, why Botswana is lifting a ban on elephant hunting.


ALLEN: Welcome back. Donald Trump is refusing to work with Democrats in the U.S. Congress until they stop what he calls their phony investigations of him. The president temper was on full display after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused him of engaging in a cover-up.

Here is more from CNN's Abby Phillip at the White House.


[03:15:02] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I came here to do a meeting on infrastructure with Democrats, not really thinking they wanted to do infrastructure or anything else other than investigate.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump today laying a Rose Garden ambush for congressional Democrats blaming the breakdown infrastructure talks on this broadside from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi an hour earlier.


NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up. In a cover- up.


PHILLIP: Sources tell CNN Trump erupted over Pelosi's comments this morning. But kept the meeting on the schedule only to walk out after less than five minutes and without shaking a single hand.


TRUMP: And instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk into look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up. I don't to cover ups.


PHILLIP: Trump now issuing an ultimatum. End investigations, or no legislation will get done.


TRUMP: I told Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure. But you know what? You cannot do under these circumstances. So, get these phony investigations over with.


PHILLIP: Sources say Trump was prepared to go forward with discussions on infrastructure until Pelosi's comments this morning. But Democrats say trump carefully staged the walkout around this excuse for a clear reason.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: There were investigations going on three weeks ago, and we met and he still met with us. But now that he was forced to actually say how he'd pay for it, he had to run away. And he came up with this pre-planned excuse.


PHILLIP: For weeks, White House aides, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had downplayed the prospect of an infrastructure deal with Democrats.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think it's a better chance of getting USMCA pass than us ever getting an infrastructure deal passed.


PHILLIP: And the White House sent this letter to Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last night. Saying they wanted trade, not infrastructure to be their top priority.

White House aides denying the Rose Garden event was planned, and insisting they rush to put the event together this morning even printing the signs with the president's favorite talking points about the Mueller investigation.


TRUMP: It's a disgrace. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: The spectacle leaving Democrats in a state of shock.


SCHUMER: To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop.

PELOSI: It was very, very, very strange.


PHILLIP: Trump's anger building over what he called the I-word. Impeachment.


TRUMP: All of a sudden, I hear last night they are going to have a meeting right before this meeting to talk about the I word. The I word. Can you imagine?


PHILLIP: As Congress raises the pressure on Trump and his associates, issuing new subpoenas to one of Trump's longest serving aides, Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson, the chief of staff to former White House counsel Don McGahn. Her detailed notes playing a key role throughout Mueller's report.

Tonight, Pelosi is issuing a clear warning to Trump. That obstructing investigations could lead to impeachment.


PELOSI: This is what I think the president was so (Inaudible) this morning. Because the fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice. And he is engaged in a cover- up. And that could be an impeachable offense.


PHILLIP: And President Trump says he can't work with the Democrats until they stop investigating him. But there are a lot of agenda items coming up on the agenda that require President Trump to get Democratic votes, including the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and also a budget deadline that's looming this fall.

And the events in the Rose Garden certainly cast all on all those agenda items.

Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.

ALLEN: Scott Lucas is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham. I asked him earlier about the president's Rose Garden rant. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCOTT LUCAS, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Either he lost his temper and stormed out of a meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer or he had planned all along to set this up and put the line out to the media.

The bottom line is the same. And that is Trump is issuing a demand. I will do no government business, disaster relief, the budget, as well as infrastructure unless the hearing stop. Why is that? Because Trump and his inner circle are concerned not only about the hearings on Trump, Russia contacts and on Trump's possible obstruction of justice.

Trump is also very concerned about hearings into his tax and financial affairs and this is going to continue. I do not -- I think, in other, words the president is saying, unless you back off and let me off, scot-free we've gridlock in government.

[03:20:01] ALLEN: Right. I want to ask you this, though. The Mueller investigation ended. Mr. Trump often says Democrats are harassing him, at this point. That they're trying to undermine his presidency. Does he have a point at all?

LUCAS: Well, the Mueller report may have been submitted but the issues don't end. So, let's juxtaposed two things. On the one hand, the Mueller report found evidence of numerous contacts between Donald Trump's campaign and transition, Russian officials and intermediaries like WikiLeaks.

And, perhaps more importantly, the Mueller report found that in 8 of 10 cases there is evidence that Trump obstructed or attempted to obstruct justice. So, nothing ends with that.

And the reason why you have Democrats saying you have to have hearings is, we do not yet have closure on how far Russia went to interfere in the 2016 election, or if there was any rolled by Trump or attempt to cover it up. So, that's an open issue.

And the White House is trying to block that. Attorney General Barr trying to bury the report by misrepresenting it. Donald Trump and his inner circle filing subpoenas to prevent any witnesses or release of documents to House committees.

In other words, it's not that the Mueller report resolved everything, the issues were actually more important afterwards but the White House doesn't want to discuss that.

ALLEN: Right. Well, Nancy Pelosi made a brazen statement first thing about the president and accusing him of a cover-up. Why do you think she went that far?

LUCAS: Because that's what the White House and Trump's lawyers have been doing. They have been attempting or refusing to release the Mueller report unredacted to legislators. They have blocked people like the former White House counsel Don McGahn. Very important in the obstruction of justice cases from testifying. Others, like Hope Hicks, the White House communications director may

refuse to testify. But also, in the past 48 hours, the White House and Trump's lawyers have lost two important battles.

They tried to block a subpoena which asked for Trump's records of his loans from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. And they try to block any release of records from his accountants about his financial affairs over six years.

So, in other words, when Nancy Pelosi says there is a cover-up, even if you don't like the word because it resonates to Watergate, at the very least it refers to the fact that there was almost a total blackout or attempted blackout by Trump regarding his affairs that are of concern, I think, across a wide variety of issues.

ALLEN: Right. Well, Ms. Pelosi also met with Democrats that want to go the impeachment route. She has been wanting them to pull back, she wants the investigations, for the most part, played out through legal avenues through the courts. Why are Democrats divided on this, Scott?

LUCAS: Well, I think in one sense, Democrats are, if not divided, there is a difference of opinion on how far you go towards impeachment. But I do think as we go through the story, there is sort of an agreement which will begin to emerge.

And that is, if Trump in the White House, if Attorney General Barr and the Justice Department, if Steven Mnuchin and the treasury continue to refuse to provide any information, which congressional committees feel they are legally entitled to, then Democrats will possibly consider the start of impeachment hearings to say, look, at the very least, we want some type of cooperation in getting to what has happened.

And if the White House continues to do this, as Richard Nixon did in 1973, '74, I think you might have impeachment hearings. Not with a view that Trump will ever be convicted because of the Republican majority Senate, but to keep the issue alive and to say, it's important, you can't just sweep this away.

ALLEN: Right. Well, we know we got the sense this Wednesday that the president again is feeling the pressure. He wouldn't even say the word impeachment in the Rose Garden, he called it the I-word. One can understand.

But, Scott, we always appreciate your insights. We'll see you again some time. Thanks.

LUCAS: Thank you, Natalie. Take care.


ALLEN: A spike in the number of cases of flu at a U.S. migrant processing center is raising questions about the medical care migrants are receiving after more than 30 cases were discovered, the overcrowded center in McAllen, Texas closed temporarily.

For more about it, here's CNN's Maria Santana. MARIA SANTANA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Border patrol officials say that at

least 32 migrants have tested positive for influenza at one of the nation's largest migrant detention centers in McAllen, Texas prompting officials there to temporarily close the facility.

This move was ordered late Tuesday, a day after the death of Carlos Gregorio Hernandez, a 16-year-old Guatemala boy who was being held at the center and was diagnosed with the flu.

Now investigators are looking into whether Hernandez had been in contact with any of the migrants that now have the illness.

[03:25:00] Hernandez was detained for six days at the McAllen facility, twice as long as the law generally allows.

On Sunday, he told the staff there that he was not feeling well and was seen by a nurse. He was later transferred to a nearby border patrol station where he was found unresponsive the next day.

Now, at least six children are known to have died while in U.S. custody, including a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador who passed away last year but whose death had not been previously reported.

Of course, the death of these minors, along with this recent flu outbreak, have raised serious questions and concerns about the conditions and medical care offered at border patrol facilities as officials say that they are struggling to handle the record number of migrants that are arriving at the southern border.

Most of these migrants are families with small children. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of border crosser taken into U.S. custody topped 100,000 for the second consecutive month in April. And arrests have reached their highest level since 2007.

According to officials, many of the agencies processing centers are overwhelmed and overcrowded. One source with knowledge of the situation at the quarantined in McAllen facility told CNN that this center is equipped to take in 1,500 people, but currently has a population of 2,000.

Detainees diagnosed with the flu are being moved to nearby border patrol facilities to keep them isolated from other people.

Maria Santana, CNN, New York.

ALLEN: The U.S. government and human rights groups are all sounding the alarm about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang. China denies any wrongdoing. We'll have more on the story coming up here.


ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen.

Let's update you on our top news this hour.

Donald Trump says he will not work with Democrats and Congress until they end their investigations of him. The president cut short a White House meeting, angry over comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Wednesday that he was engaging in a, quote, "cover-up."

Early returns from India's national elections show the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the lead. It's still too soon for final results and no parliamentary seats have been officially declared. An estimated 600 million people cast ballots during the six-week election.

[03:30:01] A night of unrest in Jakarta, Indonesia left at least six people dead and hundreds hurt. Riot police faced off against protesters, angry that President Joko Widodo won re-election in the country's recent voting.


According to the U.S. State department, up to 2 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, (Inaudible) and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been held against their will in massive camps in China's western Xinjiang region. An unknown number are working what rights groups had described as force labor facilities. Beijing denies any allegations of torture or political indoctrination and says the camps are vocational training centers designed to fight terrorism. Our story comes from CNN's Ivan Watson.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is how the Chinese government wants the world to see its policy in the countries western Xinjiang region. Chinese state television showing members of the country's ethnic Uyghur's Muslim minority hard at work selling clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I know sewing skills. My mother and father are happy and I'm happy.

WATSON: But now a fresh news report alleges forced labor may be used in some Xinjiang factories, producing textiles that end up in western name brand clothes. Asked about this, China's foreign ministry did not address the accusations against the factories, saying instead, quote, the purpose of establishing vocational training centers in accordance with law in Xinjiang is to help those who have been eroded by religious extremism to get rid of the shackle of extremist thoughts.

But Beijing's explanation isn't satisfying a growing number of western clothing companies. Clothing giants, Esprit and Adidas told CNN this month, they have stop purchase of textiles from a Chinese company operating in Xinjiang. This, after a recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal suggested laborers may have little choice but to work in factories to avoid the threat of detention. The U.S. government and human rights groups all sounding the alarm about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang.

WILLIAM NEE, AMNESTYT INTERNATIONAL: But in terms of employment, we have also heard of people getting very low wages, working very long hours and that it is not their choice.

WATSON: The Wall Street Journal article highlights the Wafu fashion company's factory in Xinjiang, shown here in this state TV documentary. In a statement to CNN, Wafu fashions says it never uses coercive methods on employees, adding it protects employees' rights according to international standards.

However, the company's former web page shows photos of employees at this oath taking ceremony, where they swear their love for the ruling communist party and China and the company correct employees, quote, "confused ideas" about separatism and extremism. All of these western brands say they are now investigating their supply chains for possible human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The problem is figuring out what is actually going on Xinjiang is very difficult.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This police officer does not want us to film.

Police in plain clothes, security officers constantly harassed, followed and repeatedly blocked CNN's Matt Rivers on a recent reporting trip to Xinjiang.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you here? You come here. Why are you here?

RIVERS: We are here to film what we believe is a camp for Uyghurs.

WATSON: Chinese authorities blocking efforts by independent observers to learn more about the alleged mass detention of up to 2 million Muslims in Xinjiang. The scale of these alleged arbitrary detentions embarrassing western companies like Volkswagen, who CEO said in a recent BBC interview, he was proud of his investment in the region.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what you are referring to.

WATSON: You don't know about China's reeducation camps for millions of Uyghur people that it has referred to as reeducation camps as part of the counter terror camps in the west of this country. You do not know about that?


WATSON: If you have people at the top who are just burying their head in the sand, then that's going to send a bad signal.

In a statement to CNN, a Volkswagen spokesman acknowledge what he called the situation in Xinjiang. He also insisted the company respects human rights.

Chinese authorities offered tax breaks and other incentives to get outsiders to invest in Xinjiang.

Anyone doing business in this region now risks being associated with the alleged imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


ALLEN: We will go to breaking news we have been following and take you back to Jefferson City, Missouri and the American heartland where devastating tornadoes have touched down in the capital city. Some 43,000 people live in the city.

[03:35:07] We are going to talk now with Sandy Karsten, she is the Director of the State's Department of public safety and joins me now by phone. Sandy, we appreciate your time. We know you are busy. We have seen some pictures of the devastation and it looks, you know, a few buildings that we can see really got knocked down. I know it is early, but what are you hearing about the impact of this tornado?

SANDY KARSTEN, DIRECTOR OF THE STATE'S DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Well, the impact, we know, unfortunately it's going to be, you know, felt for many days, a lot of damage, but we also, our primary concern is the safety of our citizens and the safety of our neighbors. And right now they are still assessing and they are still trying to assist those that have reported being trapped in their homes, whether it is trapped by debris or trapped in accessibility to the outside.

So, we aren't certain right now on the extent of injuries, but the area hospitals have reported no increase in admissions or no increase of traffic in the emergency room. So, that is a plus. You know, we know that the systems has been across the state, started around 9:00 in the southwest part of Missouri. And a place called Carl junction. It was the first reported touchdown of a tornado. There were no injuries there, but there were some homes damaged and then Golden City, Missouri is where the three fatalities occurred. Unfortunately, and then there is one serious injury in that community as well.

And then Eldon, Missouri has sustained significant damage. We are still getting damage assessments and injury reports and from that area. And then, Jefferson City. But all across the state right now, we continue to see tornado warnings from the National Weather Service. It has just been a very active evening, active system that we have been monitoring since the early afternoon hours.

And couple that with a state that is already sustained major flooding in the northwest corner of the state that began in March and has continued with levee breaches and levee over tops and so, the forecast for the next two weeks is significant rainfall. And we know that we are going to be experiencing more flooding.

We are assisting local communities and sandbagging efforts with different resource requests to address their flooding issues. In Jefferson City in particular, there is a crest forecast for Friday in which there is mandatory evacuation in the north Jefferson City area that went into effect today. And so we are assisting our local partners to prepare for that flooding event.

ALLEN: It has been a devastating month has it not. Well, I guess the good news that you are telling us is no reports of people going to hospitals, but we know that it is the middle of the night, you have much work to do to figure out who might still be in need or trapped in their homes and the emergency crews are out on the streets. We appreciate you talking with us and we hope things turn out for the best there. Sandy Karsten. Thanks Sandy.

All right. We turn back to political news. U.S. House Democrats have won another victory in their battle to see Donald Trump's financial records. A federal judge in New York has ruled subpoenas of Deutsche Bank and Capital One can go forward. Democrats want the documents as part of their investigation into the president financial ties to foreign countries, including Russia. Wednesday's ruling is the second in three days, allowing subpoenas of Mr. Trump's financial records.

The state of New York is helping Democrats get their hands on Donald Trump's taxes. Lawmakers have approved two bills that would allow Congress access to the president state tax returns. The president and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, have repeatedly refused to turn over Mr. Trump's federal returns. We get more on this story from CNN's Sunlen Serfaty.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defiant on Capitol Hill today after refusing to comply with the congressional subpoena to release the president's tax returns.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: I have been adviced I'm not violating the law. I never would have done and anything that violated the law and quite the contrary. I have been advised that had I turned them over, I would be violating the law.

[03:40:02] SERFATY: But Mnuchin's defenses including arguing that Congress has no legislative purpose to receive the returns, completely undercut by a 10 page draft memo from the IRS, obtained by the Washington Post, saying that the president's tax returns must be turned over to Congress, unless the White House exerts the doctrine of executive privilege.

MNUCHIN: The first time I saw it was in the car right over here. It was not a final memo, but I do not know how it got to the Washington Post. It would have been more interesting if it had got to me or the commissioner to review.

SERFATY: Mnuchin under fire from the Democrats today, attempting to downplay the memo significance.

REP. JENNIFER WEXTON (D-VA): You are at least aware that the conclusion of that memo directly contradicts the conclusion that you are relying upon.

MNUCHIN: I actually don't believe that is the case.

SERFATY: And insisting he has had zero contact with anyone inside the White House on this matter.

MNUCHIN: I have had no conversations with the president or other people at the White House about the issue of delivering the president's tax returns.

SERFATY: All this sets up a lightly long court battle between the White House and House Democrats ahead.

REP. ALMA ADAMS (D-NC): Do you think the American people have a right to know what is in those tax returns?

MNUCHIN: No I do not. Presidents are not required to and the American public knew that he did not release them before they voted for him.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will absolutely give my returns.

SERFATY: That is not what Trump promised as a candidate.

Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


ALLEN: We got a story out of Botswana coming out. That South African nations says, people have been put at risk by a ban on hunting that includes elephants. Now it is reversing its decision to protect the animals. Allowing hunting yet again, a lot of live report. Also ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The systems overloaded. The clean water systems. These women have been telling me that they have been drinking from the river in the town. The same river that sewage flows into. That will guarantee a cholera epidemic.


ALLEN: Armed conflict in Yemen is spreading one of the worst purges in the world. CNN's exclusive report after a short break.


ALLEN: Aid workers in Yemen fear the country could be in for an enormous outbreak of cases of cholera. Armed conflict is making it much worse as infected people flee and spread the disease.

CNN's Sam Kiley travel to the cholera tents in remote towns where doctors face an uphill battle.


[03:45:10] SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Spring rains, something to celebrate in war torn Yemen, but this joyful abandon has a mortal risk, cholera. Aid agencies fear they're on the brink of an epidemic.

Hajjah is an ancient city many miles from Yemen's frontlines where Houthi rebels are battling a Saudi led coalition. Refugees fleeing war brought cholera with them. It's spreading, and fast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody. Everyone had -- the area, vomiting, nausea, everybody.

KILEY: Is it spreading?


KILEY: The numbers of new patients climb every day. A month ago, there were only 11 patience here. Sixty came in yesterday.

How old she?


KILEY: What's her name?


KILEY: When did you first see that she was getting sick?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Around four days ago. It started with diarrhea, then it got worse.

KILEY: One of the catastrophic side effects of this war has been is that people from outside the cities have been forced into beautiful, ancient towns like this, Hajjah, but as a consequence of that the systems are overloaded. The clean water systems. And these women have been telling me that they have been drinking from the river in the town. The same river that sewage flows into. That will guarantee a cholera epidemic.

A year ago, a million Yemenis were infected with cholera. Over 2,000 died. This, year the United Nations says that there have been 300,000 suspected cases. A quarter are kids under five. For now, the Yemenis are coping, but they don't have long.

LISE GRANDE, U.N. RESIDENT COORDINATOR: We are very worried that if we are not able to stop it now, we could see an uncontrolled epidemic spread like wildfire across this whole country. As we face this cholera outbreak right now, we do not have sufficient cholera kits in the country. We do not have sufficient IV fluids to address the crisis.

KILEY: So, Doctor, what's happening with this patient?

DR. ILHAM WASEL, HAJJAH CHOLERA EMERGENCY CENTER: We have low blood pressure, and we should use IV fluids and give him a breathing, we should control it.

KILEY: So, cholera kills very quickly, doesn't it?


KILEY: This cholera patients survived, but without outside help, many thousands of other lives are at risk. Sam Kiley, CNN, Hajjah, Yemen.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: I want to take you now to Southern Africa where Botswana's

lifted its ban on hunting, and that includes elephants. The hunting ban was imposed in 2014 in an attempt to deter poaching, but the government now says elephant raid crops, kill livestock and destroy water supplies, sometimes injuring people.

Our David Mackenzie is following the story from Johannesburg, and you have done many conservation stories in that part of Africa, David. So it's hard to make sense of a move in an era when we hear about the concern over mass animal extinction and the poaching. And Botswana is a popular tourist spot. People who want to see an experience animals. So talk more about why we are making this change.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, it's a very controversial and certainly a very emotional issue. But I want to just give you a sense of why they say they want to do this. Now, the Botswana government are saying they have an elephant problem, more than 100,000 elephants there. They say there is conflict between the people and elephants, because of people encroaching on wildlife areas and elephants moving into destroy crops.

This is not just a ban on hunting, it's also on elephants, but of all, big game. Again, very controversial. And many people around the world will be horrified to think that what has been a real sanctuary for elephants over the years, now they are saying they want to start hunting up again, which was banned in 2014.

Now, they say this is not to, of course, exploit elephants, but to use the money they get from hunting and those fees, like other Southern African countries, to then push back into conservation, but many conservationists are skeptical about this move and say that poaching could slip into when hunting has started again, but it looks like they're going to do it and you know, there will always certainly an outcry today from conservation quarters.

[03:50:16] ALLEN: Right, which we will be talking with them as this news spreads and settles in about this. Because there are so many groups just dedicated to elephants. As far as the recent they give, do we know if these are truly legitimate concerns?

MCKENZIE: Well, certainly, there is a school of thought amongst conservationists and wildlife management that hunting, if done in a way that is responsible, can get money back into the communities. Now, that is a totally separate discussion, of course, from an emotional or unethical one, many people feel that you should just never hunt animals like elephant which have a very sophisticated emotional intelligence, but it is the case in certain wildlife areas that are fence off (ph), a growing elephant population can have an impact on the ecology.

This is not a cut and dried discussion. And some conservationists say you need to take emotion out of it, but, you know, it's really hard to do that when you see the devastating impact that hunting would have on elephant families, in particular, elephant bulls and matriarchs of those families. Now, there's another discussion going on which is possibly even more

pressing, and that is the sale of ivory which the Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe are trying to, again, legalized. Now, just a few weeks ago you had the Botswana government with a conference there. They were, as you can see here, giving out elephant's stools.

So, taxidermy elephant feces to the leaders of regional countries as a gift to say, well, we want to allow the sale of ivory that has been stockpiled worth of force millions of dollars to plow that money back into the communities. This is even more controversial, because you have seen a severe uptick in poaching in Botswana, according to conservationists, in just recent months and they say, if you allow the sale of ivory, something heavily opposed by countries like Kenya and other east African nations, then you will just get poaching outright increasing when the numbers of elephant have just plummeted across the African continent. Natalie?

ALLEN: It seems like it has got to be another solution, doesn't it? And there are so many conservation groups that have worked so hard to stop the ivory trade. And now, this. As you say, a complicated issue, and we know, you will keep reporting on it. David McKenzie. Thank you, David.

Coming up here, an ancient tradition with a modern twist. A Belgian monastery back in the beer business.


ALLEN: Let's all raise a glass to Israeli researchers. They have managed to extract yeast from ancient jars and have produced beers similar to what pharaohs would've had six yeast's work collected from several archaeological sites. The beer offered for tastings Wednesday and it was brewed with yeast descended from a yeast that was about 3000 years old.


YITZCHAK PAZ, ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY: This is the first time when we actually used ancient materials to create ancient beer.

[03:55:05] It was good. Very good. Taste great. Well, I drink a lot of beer, so I can judge.


ALLEN: Well, in Belgium, some monks are brewing beer after a very long interruption. As Michael Holmes reports, they are combining ancient brewing traditions with a little mix of modern.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A brewing tradition dating back to the 13th century is about to be revived after a lapse of more than 200 years. The original brewery was ransacked when French troops stormed this Belgium Abbey in 1795. But now, the monks at Grimbergen are back in the beer business. KAREL STAUTEMAS, GRIMBERGEN ABBEY SUB-PRIOR: For us, it is important

to have a good look to heritage, to the traditions of the fathers for brewing beer, because it was always here brewing and religion life, it always comes together and we have now the opportunity -- also the support of Carlsberg, so that is a start of a dream to bring back the Grimbergen in a little parts here in the microbrewery.

HOLMES: The famous Danish brewer is partnering with the monks for what can drinkers expect from this holy brew.

MARC-ANTOINE SOCHON, HEAD BREWER, NEW GRIMBERGEN ABBEY BEER: We will keep our working in (inaudible), which is a yeast and we will also use some local ingredients. For example, we are growing stock brew hops in the garden of Abbey. So, we are thinking about limited batch.

HOLMES: Carlsberg will sell the new beer as a limited version of a commercial beer already marketed under the Abbey's name.

MARCELA LINKE, GLOBAL MARKETING MANAGER, GRIMBERGEN BEER: That has so much heritage and we want to continue building on this heritage. With the brewing expertise and for us, it is about selling it in as many countries as possible, so as many people can try it. But it will be a very small brewery, so 10,000 (inaudible) leaders out of 1.5 million. So, it is very unique, but we know we have the rest that is also fantastic.

HOLMES: The monks expect their first batch of (Inaudible) beyond the market under the Grimbergen label by 2020. Profits will be used to maintain the Abbey and support charitable causes. Michael Holmes, CNN, Atlanta.


ALLEN: And that will do it for me on CNN Newsroom. I'm Natalie Allen. Thanks for watching. The news continues with Max Foster in London.