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Donald Trump and the Mueller Report; The GCC Emergency Summit; Iran's War. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 31, 2019 - 00:00   ET


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JOHN VAUSE, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Donald Trump's two obsessions come together on the southern border. The U.S. president warning he'll slap tariffs on imports from Mexico if nothing is done to stem the flow of illegal immigration from Latin America.

Tragedy on the (0:00:53). Twenty-one people still missing, seven confirmed dead after two boats collide. And divers are set to resume their search.

Plus, the latest abortion -- the last abortion clinic in Missouri, we'll know in the next 24 hours if it will be allowed to continue operations or be shut down, a potential casualty in America's long- running battle over abortion.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us all around the world. I'm John Vause and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

President Trump has ramped up his efforts to stem the flow of illegal immigration and he's using tariffs. A short time ago, a few hours ago, he tweeted this. "On June 10, the United States will impose a five percent tariff on all goods coming into our country from Mexico. Until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico and into our country stop. The tariff will gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied. At which time, the tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow."

But it turns out, the president's own team is actually scrambling to nail down those details after Trump told reporters a very dramatic announcement was coming. Some of the White House though are concerned these new tariffs will face a host of legal challenges.

Joining us now from Los Angeles, Ron Brownstein, CNN's senior political analyst and also senior editor of "The Atlantic." Ron, this is incredible. I guess it was only a matter of time before -- to the president's key incentive like this. He's enacting protection's trade policies to try and to stem this illegal immigration policy.

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Right. It's not funny. It's kind of the --but it is kind of the Reese's Peanut Buttercup of the president -- of this presidency.

Look, this is a fascinating moment for Republicans particularly in Congress who have been so reluctant to stand up to the president on any front. They are now in a position where the idea of using tariffs that they have kind of bit their lip about on China and in other areas as a means of pursuing a non-economic end.

We'll see if ultimately he's able to hold Republicans in Congress for this idea or if it ever goes forward as a result.

VAUSE: I guess that's a question because, from a practical point of view, it's hard to see how the tariffs will actually work. Here's how the "Washington Post" is reporting that side of things.

"Mexico exported almost $350 billion in goods to the United States last year from vehicles, fruits. vegetables. Many manufactured goods cross the border several times as they are being assembled. U.S. companies will be required to pay the tariffs in the form of import penalties and they often pass those costs along the consumers."

So it seems incredibly complicated. And along with the tariffs that are already placed on Chinese imports which was the biggest tax increase that we've seen in decades, here comes another one.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. And there's been some excellent reporting about how the tariffs on China has already disrupted the supply chains that American companies have built to assemble these products which are now, in many events, products from cars to computers are sourced from all over the world.

And the thought that you would now be disrupting the supply chains in Mexico as well -- so far this year I believe Mexico is the largest single trading partner with the U.S. And I believe the second largest source of exports for U.S. companies as well as all that comes in through these global supply chains.

When the president talks about the trade deficit with Mexico, in fact, an awful lot of that are products that are -- that, you know, have a significant amount of content that is domestically based. I mean it's kind of a porous border in that way.

There's one other aspect of this, John, that's really interesting which is that we saw in 2018 that the southwest is becoming a new frontier in the battle between the parties. The Democrats got closer in the Texas Senate race than they have really in any statewide election there I believe since 2006.

They obviously won a Senate race in Arizona. They have a shot at another Senate seat in Arizona. They have a shot at the Senate seat in Colorado.

It's conceivable that after 2020 they will hold all eight [00:05:00] Senate seats in kind of the desert southwest of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada. And you've already seen, for example, the State Chamber of Commerce in Arizona come out against this notion today.

It will be fascinating to see what people like John Cornyn, the Republican senator from Texas, Martha McSally from Arizona, and Cory Gardner from Colorado have to say about this idea of trying to pressure the Mexican government through tariffs that could ultimately disrupt the operations of American companies.

VAUSE: And we have heard from the Mexican president who has written this letter to Donald Trump since he's announced today. He's essentially warning dialogue saying that's the only way these issues will be resolved. Using tariffs will not solve this problem.

It was a strongly worded letter but it was very polite and it was very conciliatory in some ways. But we're also seeing another big change to immigration being proposed by President Trump and that's to limit family reunification and place a greater emphasis on attracting skilled workers.

We had this reaction from the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Listen to this.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-NY), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When the president says merit, turn it upside down. That means Make America White Again.

I don't know if America counted for when his wife's family came into the country. I don't know. Maybe it did. God bless them if it did, but he calls that chain migration which he wants to get rid of.


VAUSE: I mean I'm wondering if that's sort of an appropriate response to this. Because a lot of countries, from Canada to Australia, they have an emphasis on skilled migration over family reunions and they're not considered racist.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it really shows how, you know, Trump's I think pretty unequivocal use of exploiting racial resentments through his presidency kind of affects these debates. In 2013, in the Senate -- the last time the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform on a bipartisan basis under President Obama, there was a shift in immigration toward greater reliance on "merit" as opposed to family reunion.

That was in the context of maintaining or even increasing the absolute level of legal immigration. What's interesting, of course, is that this proposal from the president now accepts the current level of legal immigration earlier.

And still to this day Tom Cotton and David Purdue, two Republican senators, are proposing to both shift toward legal immigration and significantly reduce -- shift toward merit immigration and significantly simultaneously reduce the level of legal immigration. I think the president would have had a much better chance of a hearing on this idea of shifting the balance if he had started from the position of maintaining the current levels of legal immigration which are ultimately required to maintain a workforce, a working-age population that can support our growing senior population in the coming decades, but he didn't.

He started from a very difficult place and I think that kind of explains why people are pretty skeptical along with many other things that he's done and said about his intentions in this shift from family toward "merit" or economic need.

VAUSE: And this was a big day for immigration and changes being put out by the administration. Yet another one, this coming from "Politico", Trump actually looking to change the asylum laws which would prohibit migrants from seeking asylum if they have resided in a country other than their own before coming to the U.S.

Listen to Vice President Mike Pence explaining what's driving numbers at the southern border. Here he is.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a crisis on our southern border. In the month of May, there were 118,000 people apprehended and the majority of people that are being stopped at our border.

For the first time ever are families, vulnerable families with children that are being enticed by human traffickers and drug cartels to take the long and dangerous journey north to our border. They're being told that there are loopholes in our law that will allow them once they come across the border, turn themselves in, claim asylum, to be able to disappear into the United States.


VAUSE: You take that for what it is, but this is yet another attempt to change this asylum law. There's every change which were announced and then rolled back or walked back or struck down by the courts.

Some experts have made the point that all of this uncertainty is at least partly responsible for the huge numbers of, you know, on the southern border. They want to get to the United States before these changes. If they do take -- if they actually manage to get through, take effect.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, there's no question that the undocumented challenge and problem on the southern border is different than it has been in the past. Historically when the numbers were very high, earlier periods in the early 2000s, point to the '90s, it was single men coming from Mexico to work.

It has been I think negative migration back to Mexico since 2007, 2008 ironically in part because of the economic gains from NAFTA that the president would threaten with these tariffs. But leave that aside, it has shifted now to families fleeing violence in Central America, traversing through Mexico, and ending up here.

And I don't think either party has come up with fully effective response to that. The Democrats [00:10:00] put a lot of emphasis on providing more economic and kind of foreign aid to those countries to change the conditions that are causing people to leave.

What Trump has done is cycle through a series of measures designed to make it so onerous to seek asylum, the most dramatic which, of course, was family separation that he thinks is going to discourage people from coming. But the vice president, you know, really exploded the myth of -- the value of that by acknowledging that all of that has not discouraged people from coming.

In fact, they are seeing very high levels of apprehensions with the difference being that these are people who want to be apprehended, who are turning themselves in to apply for asylum as opposed to the earlier generation when they were, in fact, trying to sneak across the border to settle into the U.S. for work.

VAUSE: Everyone, stick around because there's a little bit more to get to. We saw another tirade from the U.S. commander in chief on Thursday and as is often the case, this was filled with just some blatant lines. Kaitlan Collins reports.

KAITLAN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: One day after the special counsel refused to publicly exonerate him, President Trump went on the attack.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Mueller is a true never-Trumper.


COLLINS: But most of the claims he made in front of the cameras today didn't add up. The president falsely insisting Robert Mueller, a lifelong Republican had conflicts of interest.


TRUMP: As you know, he wanted to be the FBI director and I said no. As you know, I had a business dispute --


COLLINS: That claim stems from an old dispute over golf club fees and Mueller's interview to replace James Comey. But even the president's own aides have admitted they don't count as conflicts.

Steve Bannon told the special counsel's office Mueller didn't come in looking for the job and told Trump his golf club claim was ridiculous and petty. Today, Trump also claimed that Mueller cleared him.


TRUMP: So he said, "Essentially you're innocent." I'm innocent of all charges.


COLLINS: But Mueller didn't say that.


ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.


COLLINS: Trump said if there was evidence he broke the law, Mueller would have charged him.


TRUMP: There was no crime, there was no charge because he had no information.


COLLINS: But Mueller said he couldn't have charged Trump if he wanted to due to a Justice Department guideline prohibiting sitting presidents from being indicted.


MUELLER: Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.


COLLINS: And after retracting his statement that Russia helped him get elected --


TRUMP: No, Russia did not help me get elected.


COLLINS: -- Trump wrongly said Russia wanted Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.


TRUMP: I believe that Russia would rather have Hillary Clinton as president of the United States than Donald Trump.


COLLINS: Even though Vladimir Putin said publicly he wanted Trump to win.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA, (through translator): Yes, I did. Yes, I did because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.


COLLINS: And the president claimed today the attention has shifted away from Russian collusion.


TRUMP: If you look, this was all about Russia, Russia, Russia. They don't talk about Russia anymore because it turned out to be a hoax.

MUELLER: Russian interference --


COLLINS: But Mueller made clear interference is still a major concern.


MUELLER: Russian intelligence officers who are part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system.


COLLINS: Now, what you saw the president say today about the special counsel was a complete wavering from what we've seen him say before which was that he said that the special counsel acted honorably and that Robert Mueller's report was beautiful to today's attacks, many of which were false.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

VAUSE: So, Ron, just back to you. I guess the question is does the president knowingly lie or is it sort of like pathological liar who convinces himself that fiction is fact?

BROWNSTEIN: I can't answer that. I think he lies. I think he knows that the things he is saying is untrue. And, you know, it is part of a consistent strategy where any institution that he believes or individual that he believes can threaten him at any point, he tries to discredit. And that's what we saw again here today with the prospect -- the renewed prospect of public testimony from Mueller.

He is trying to say to his supporters and his base, to send talking points in effect to Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh that this guy cannot be trusted, that he is a never-Trumper which is kind of absurd on its face. I would just point out that this is not cost-free.

One of the most striking things about American politics in this sort of last two years is the gap between the share of Americans who say the economy is strong, something like 75 percent and the share of Americans who say they approve of the president's job performance which is like 42 percent or 43 percent.

There has never been a gap like that in American politics. We were raised on the James Carville aphorism. It's the economy stupid, it's the value stupid increasingly [00:15:00] in American politics. And when the president does things like he does today, yes, it sort of sounds a gong for his supporters in conservative media, it provides a kind of marching orders for Republicans in Congress and it rallies a certain amount of his base around him.

But it reinforces this kind of gap, this kind of values gap that is keeping his numbers so much lower than they should be, particularly among those white collar suburban voters who are doing the best of all in this economy.

VAUSE: You have an interesting column on that on It's no longer the economy stupid.


VAUSE: We did a segment on that angle of the election earlier this week. So we'll talk to you about that next week.


VAUSE: But in the meantime, thank you, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: All right. Thanks.

VAUSE: A major search operation in Hungary is about to resume, but hopes are fading that more survivors will be found. Teams are looking for 21 people missing after their small tour boat collided with a river crew ship.

At least seven South Korean tourists were killed. Hungarian police have detained the ship's captain as they investigate the cause of the accident. Water levels on the Danube had gone up a few meters in the past week because of the heavy rain.

And the stretch of Danube flowing through Budapest is at its highest levels this year with some very strong current. Atika Shubert now on this deadly collision.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was the moment the tour boat was rammed by a larger ship capsizing the small vessel and the 35 people aboard. According to Hungarian police, it sank within seven seconds.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we can see on the footage is that the small boat, the Mermaid, is sailing up north. Both boats are. The biggest ship, the Viking 2. When they reached the pillars of the Margaret Bridge, then the Mermaid boat turns in for the Viking for some reason.

The Viking touched the Mermaid, it got turned to the side. And within about seven seconds after, it sank. It is visible how it turned when it got under the pillar.


SHUBERT: Low visibility hampered rescue operations and heavy rain created a strong and dangerous current on the Danube. Some passengers were plucked miles downstream. None were wearing life jackets.

The vast majority onboard were South Korean tourists. There were nine families including a 6-year-old child prompting a swift response from the South Korean government.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Regarding the accident of the cruise ship carrying South Korean tourists, President Moon Jae-In immediately orders to put every possible means into the rescue operation in cooperation with the Hungarian government.


SHUBERT: By morning, rescue teams were still searching the waters. But investigators had found the wreckage of the ship and are now looking for clues to piece together what happened.

Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.

VAUSE: CNN's Paula Hancock joins us live from Seoul. So Paula, the situation as far as the South Koreans are concerned, seems they've gone to extraordinary lengths here to be involved in this rescue with really, what, 200 drivers and medical aides have been sent to Hungary.

They're constantly in coordination with the authorities to make sure they have everything they need for the search and rescue. It does seem to be out of the ordinary.

PAULA HANCOCK, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, John, certainly. I mean that there's a huge effort being made from this side, just the very fact that 33 of the 35 people onboard of that ship at the time of its sinking were South Koreans. And we know, as you say, seven have been rescued.

Of that number, we understand six South Koreans have already been released from the hospital. We did hear from President Moon spoke to the Hungarian prime minister and the Hungarian prime minister told him that he had 200 divers that were trying to work on this rescue operation.

So what is happening from the South Korea side at this point is there are a number of flights leaving Seoul to head to the area and more than 40 family members of those onboard that ship -- that boat will be heading to the area as well. There's a rapid response team which is on its way to Budapest that won't arrive until early evening because it is a 12, 13-hour flight with a stop.

So it's obviously not going to be an immediate response that the South Korean side can give but we're hearing from officials they're trying to give all the support they can, bearing in mind there will be a lot of family members that will be in that area and of course the survivors as well. John.

VAUSE: Paula, thank you. Paula Hancock is live for us in Seoul with the latest details. Appreciate it. Thank you.

We're taking a break here on CNN. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Back in a moment.


VAUSE: Arab leaders have been meeting in Saudi Arabia to turn up the heat on Iran. The Saudi king was blunt in his remarks coming around a threat to security and stability in the region.

CNN's Nic Robertson has the latest.

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: With the first of those summits getting underway around midnight, the GCC Emergency Summit, six nations, the leaders all around a small circular table. King Salman being very clear on what he believes that the threat in the region is Iran.

And he says it's a failure to take a firm position with Iran's sabotage in the region in the past that's led to this escalation today. These were his words. And he called on the international community now to shoulder its responsibility.


SALMAN OF SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): We call upon the international community to assume its responsibilities in the face of the threat posed by Iranian practices to international peace, security and international law and to use all means to stop the Iranian regime from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

Its sponsorship of terrorist activities in the region and the world and the session of this threat of freedom of navigation in the international straits.


ROBERTSON: Well, fast forward about an hour from that summit and King Salman hosting the Arab League Emergency Summit, 21 different nations gathered around a much larger forum in a much larger room.

He said, look, the first cause for the Arab nations here is always going to be the Palestinian cause and Palestinians need to have their own state. Its capital needs to be East Jerusalem. But he said the biggest threat we're under right now is from Iran.

And he said that the attacks on the ships off the coast of the Emirates and what he called the Iranian-backed militia attack on the Saudi East-West pipeline were an indication of the Iranian threat this time echoing what it said again at the GCC Summit. And the answer that came back from the secretary general of the Arab League was very clear, that these nations gathered here around the table support Saudi Arabia, that Saudi Arabia's defense is in their interest, that they support it.

The threat against Saudi Arabia is a threat to the region and a threat to the Arab nations. So the king putting out his message and getting the answer back that he wanted to hear.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

VAUSE: Well, now to Syria where government forces backed by Russia and Iran have launched an offensive on the last rebel-held stronghold in Idlib Province, an area under control of former Al Qaeda affiliate.

CNN has obtained some disturbing video from the region taken by a freelance cameraman, shows some of the war's youngest and most vulnerable victims. And a warning, the images you're about to see in this report by CNN's Ben Wedemen are graphic. Some will find the scenes very difficult to watch.

BEN WEDEMEN, CORRESPONDENT: Rescue workers pull a small boy, a 12- year-old from the ruins of his home struck by a Syrian Government Air Force bomb Monday morning in the northeast town. He's alive. Moments later out comes another boy, his 9-year-old brother, Zane. He isn't moving.

The workers rush the boys to a waiting ambulance. Struggling to resuscitate Zane. These boys perhaps too young to make sense of the war raging around them.

This is not a tale of factions and fighters. It's the simple story of innocence caught up and destroyed by forces far beyond their control or comprehension. His body is warm as they arrive at the hospital. "He's alive, he's alive", someone says. Medics try to coax signs of life out of Zane. He doesn't respond.

His twin 4-year-old sisters, Sham and Wassim, and his grandmother Samiha were also killed. The medics lower Zane into a black body bag. Four more statistics with names and a family, lives cut short adding to serious grim and growing toll, more than half a million dead in this madness.

In an adjacent room, Nor lies in shock. "Do you remember what happened?" he's asked. I thought I was dreaming, he whispers. It wasn't a dream, it's a nightmare.

Ben Wedemen, CNN, Beirut.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Thank you for staying with us, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause with an update on our top news stories this hour.

[00:30:40] President Trump threatening Mexico with tariffs unless it stops the flow of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. Trump says 5 percent tariffs would kick in by June 10 and will continue to rise until 25 percent tariffs go into effect by October.

Search and rescue operation about to resume in Budapest, with 21 people missing after a cruise ship collided with a sightseeing boat on the Danube River. At least 7 South Korean tourists were killed. Police have detained the cruise ship captain as they continue their investigations into the cause of the accident.

Over the past 60 years, more than 30 countries have made it easier for women to get an abortion. According to Amnesty International, they've done this by either removing legal restrictions or by providing easier access.

Just last month, South Korea's constitutional court gave Parliament until the end of next year to amend the country's anti-abortion laws. In a landmark decision seen as a big win for women's rights, the courts ruled that that law was unconstitutional.

A year ago Ireland voted overwhelmingly to repeal an almost total ban on abortion.

To be sure, the trend is not universal. This map, the countries which are colored a burnt orange, abortion is either highly restricted or banned outright. Forty percent of women of child-bearing age live in those countries.

The green represents no restrictions at all, while the places colored yellow, abortion is available but with some restrictions.

And on that map all of the United States, one big block of green, meaning abortion is still freely available. And as of right now, that is true. But it might not be for much longer.

In recent months, nine states, most of them Republican-controlled, have passed tough new laws which ban abortion once a heartbeat is detected. And of that nine, four states -- Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, and Louisiana -- make no exception in cases of incest or rape.

That did not go unnoticed by the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz," with this headline a few days ago: "Alabama, Iran or Saudi Arabia? We Checked Where Abortion Laws are Better for Women." And the answer is Saudi Arabia, where abortion is allowed in cases of incest or rape.

In the United States, the tough new restrictions are being challenged in court that, it seems, is the point, at least as far as the anti- abortion groups are concerned. Get the issue to a now majority conservative Supreme Court, overturn Roe v. Wade, and before you know it, it's 1973 all over again; and abortion is illegal.

But the state of Missouri could lose its last abortion provider long before any case reaches the Supreme Court. A state judge is expected to decide on Friday if Planned Parenthood will have its license as an abortion provider renewed. State officials say their clinic had violated a number of health regulations.

And joining us now is David Eisenberg, an ob-gyn working at that clinic in Missouri.

Thanks for staying with us for the big set-up, David. I appreciate your time tonight.


VAUSE: OK. So how do you think this will all play out? Do you have any indications on how the judge is expected to rule?

EISENBERG: You know, I don't. And it's really challenging. I spent the day talking to women who came for the state-mandated 72-hour minimum consent for their consultation for having an abortion next week.

You know,, the fact is that, in the state of Missouri, we've had these targeted regulations of abortion providers and these rules put in place for decades that have continually regulated abortion to the point that, while the law of the land, as you pointed out in your intro, shows that abortion is legal in the country, it is totally different from state to state and region to region.

And in the state of Missouri, abortion has been legal but not accessible to so many women. And that's true for too many parts of the United States.

And so we -- I spent the day talking to women about the things that they talked to me about when they seek an abortion. The things that I'm forced to talk with them about, because the state health department requires it, in addition to invasive pelvic exams that are not necessary and ultrasounds, and tell them, you know, "I'm sorry that you have to go through all these things, and in addition I'm sorry to say, but I don't know if we'll be able to take care of you next week. We're going to do everything we can to make it happen, but we don't know."

VAUSE: So Missouri isn't the only state -- you mentioned this -- with just one abortion provider.

EISENBERG: That's right.

VAUSE: The other ones are Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Dakota, and West Virginia. They just have one clinic performing abortions, as well. So is that specifically a result of these regulations, which specifically target abortion clinics, making life difficult?

[00:35:07] EISENBERG: Yes, so I started here in August in 2009. I moved to St. Louis. And I came here for the opportunity to be the medical director of our Planned Parenthood. And I knew what I was signing up for was not going to be an easy job.

But at the time, in 2009, there were five abortion clinics in the state, and we quickly went down to one in 2012. We were able to get one abortion center in Columbia, Missouri, where the University of Missouri campus is back up and running intermittently over the last seven years, but it, too, was victim to the overly burdensome regulatory environment. And, you know, in the state of Missouri, they basically regulated abortion down to one clinic, and potentially tomorrow night, they've regulated abortion out of existence, despite it being legal.

VAUSE: And assuming that the clinic is -- you know, is allowed to continue, let's make that assumption. You continue to be an abortion provider there. You could soon be working under these incredibly tough anti-abortion laws, which are so tough that, you know, they're even tougher than what you see in Saudi Arabia.

VAUSE: That's right. And I will say that the important thing for people to understand, both in the United States as well as around the world, is the legislative process is one that should be answerable to the people. And the legislative process in Missouri is one where the law that the governor signed a week ago tomorrow doesn't go into effect until the end of August. That's No. 1. So abortion care in Missouri is still available if we get our licenses.

But No. 2, the legislative process is answerable to the people through two mechanisms. No. 1 is legal challenges. And for too many years, I feel like we have relied on the court as our last refuge, based on the Supreme Court decision from 1973, and not done the proactive part of the legislative process and get laws passed that respect the rights and status of women in this country.

And so in Missouri, we're left with one other possibility beside legal challenges, what I call the people's veto, where we can actually get a ballot initiative to overturn that law.

VAUSE: Because on the other side of all of this, what has been notable about this push by many on the right, the conservatives, to outlaw abortions, how they've played this long game. You know, they've waited for this moment in time. You know, they've got this majority of conservatives on the Supreme Court. The fact is, the reality is, banning abortion doesn't stop abortion.

EISENBERG: That's right.

VAUSE: It just makes them a whole lot more dangerous.

EISENBERG: So I'm a public health expert, in addition to being a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist, and I've spent time all over the world -- in East Africa, in South America, in South Asia -- in the setting of women's health care.

And what I have seen in my own personal experience, and what epidemiologists and public health experts know to be true is, when abortion is illegal or banned, it doesn't change how many women obtain abortions. What it changes is the circumstances under which they get them, and the number of women who are killed or injured as a result of those unsafe abortions.

VAUSE: Yes. David, we're out of time, but we'll leave it there. And obviously, it's going to be a difficult day for many people tomorrow, just waiting for this decision on Friday to come down. So thank you for your input.

EISENBERG: I appreciate -- yes, I appreciate it. And it's been a difficult day, but we appreciate having the opportunity to tell our story in Missouri. And we hope we can push back and protect women.

VAUSE: Yes. Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see now. Thank you.

EISENBERG: Thank you.

VAUSE: And with that, we'll take a short break here on CNN. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. A lot more news after a very short break.


[00:41:35] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.

Hundreds of people right now are in temporary shelters in the U.S. state of Arkansas because of record high flooding.

Let's go to Derek Van Dam now in the CNN weather center with all the details on this. So Derek, we're in a situation where they're keeping a very close eye right now on the swollen Arkansas River. It's at its maximum peak. It's holding, but obviously, the concern is that it could, you know, burst the banks, and that means a whole lot of problems. Similar problems to what happened with the Mississippi River in Oklahoma, as well as Missouri. So this is an ongoing slow- motion disaster.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that is really the best way to describe it. Slow-motion disaster, you said it best.

It has been raining for several weeks, but a lot of times the rain doesn't occur, necessarily, where the flooding occurs, because the water is going to seek its own level. Eventually, it's going to move downstream and impact communities, town and cities that are further downstream from where the actual rain event took place.

For instance, here's St. Mary, Missouri, and you're looking at some completely inundated vehicles here. And this area wasn't exactly flooded a week ago, for instance, but it took several weeks of rainfall upstream to create the hazard -- hazardous conditions that they are experiencing at the moment.

This is the 30-day observed rainfall totals. And we go back to this graphic, because it just shows you the astounding amounts of precipitation that have occurred across the nation's midsection, basically from Kansas into Oklahoma, Missouri as well as Arkansas. Those rainfall totals where you see that shading of white, that is rain that has been accumulated over 20 inches in the past 30 days. So we're talking easily in excess of 500, 600 millimeters of rainfall just outside of Tulsa into Springfield.

And if you look at the watches and warnings from the National Weather Service regarding flood advisories and the ongoing warnings, you can almost trace the entire Mississippi River. There's the Arkansas River, all under flash-flood warnings as the water continues to crest as the water moves downstream and impacts, again, some of the communities and towns outside of the main cities that you see on the map there.

Now, right now, just to give you an example, this is the Arkansas River of Van Buren. The river gauge there, current level just over 40 feet. The flood stage is 22 feet.

So we're talking about an 18-foot difference. That's why the current flood stage is at major. And that's not the only part of the country that has the flood stage at major. In fact, 81 river gauges reporting the major flooding at the moment, over 100 reporting moderate flooding.

And wow, what a wild week and month it has been. It is not only the flooding that has been a concern. It's also been the tornado reports. We clocked one tornado which you'll see in just one second. That has put us to 400 tornados in the past 15 days. This is incredible, because we have seen record-setting stretches of severe weather across the central U.S. You can see them mapped out from the mid-Atlantic all the way through the planes. We have been continuously talking about this.

But there is some silver lining in this weather forecast, and I'll talk about that in just one second.

There was a tornado in Maryland. This is coming out of the Ellicott City region. There it is. And let me take you above to show you some of the aerial damage. I mean, this is incredible. You can see how destructive tornadoes can be, completely snapping power lines and trees.

The National Weather Service will go back, survey this damage. They'll be able to look how the trees were laid from -- on the ground from the wind; the destructive force into the buildings there; and they're able to determine the exact intensity of this tornado that moved through midday on Thursday.

[00:45:15] So one official tornado report, again, that was in Maryland. You saw it a moment ago. Compare that to 20, 30 even 50 tornados that were reported earlier in the weekend, last week, as well.

So things are starting to quiet down. I talked about the silver lining in this weather forecast. The weather pattern is changing dramatically across the central U.S., and that is good news, because, well, quite frankly, we need a break. Right?

So what can we expect going forward? Here's a look at the storm prediction center for the day today. It's Friday along the East Coast of the United States, and they're waking up to yet another severe weather threat.

But you can see it's not as widespread as what we've seen lately. So we're talking northern Wisconsin into Michigan, as well as Virginia and into North Carolina. Large hail, damaging winds. We can't rule out an isolated tornado, but chances are very slim. So things are looking better.

The temperature trend map, a bit of difficulties with our computers at the moment, but the good news here is with this change in the weather pattern, we're also going to cool our temperatures a bit, as well. So the oppressive heat that we've experienced lately across the Southeast, well, finally might be starting to come to an end. I mean, we're talking about 70s, and you convert that to Celsius, maybe upper teens, 20s, depending on where you're located across New England coastline. So that is looking much more attractive for people maybe traveling to New York City, for instance.

So all in all, John, things are looking a bit better across the U.S. in terms of severe weather threat, but the flooding still ongoing. It is a slow-motion disaster like you mentioned. And we'll continue to monitor the river gauges, and unfortunately, see some of those images like the one you see behind me right now.

VAUSE: Yes. Just quickly, Derek, because the area that we're looking at here, sort of the Mississippi Delta region, with the flooding, because the twisters, maybe the outlook a bit better. But this flooding is not going anywhere. And it's been in place, I think, since December, some areas that were initially hit by this rising water.

But the problem also seems to be this aging levy system, and that's facing some strains like it's never faced before. And I think there's a great deal of concern about how it's going to cope with these record-level floods.

VAN DAM: You know, I heard a sound bite from, I believe, one of the mayors of the towns that were impacted by the flooding. And they were discussing the levies and how they were built several generations ago, and they are still withstanding the flooding that is taking place.

Now, that's a testament to the construction that was in place several decades ago or even over 100 years ago in some instances and these levies are doing pretty good, quite frankly. I mean, they are spilling over the banks in some locations; but it is a complete failure of our levy systems in Arkansas, parts of the Mississippi River Delta, like you mentioned.

But of course, time will tell because with additional rainfall comes more potential of flooding and, of course, the downstream effects of some of those slow-moving thunderstorms that bring heavy rainfall into the region that could, of course, really test the levy systems that has been there for several, several decades.

VAUSE: Yes, because they've essentially been put in place, actually, to hold water back for a temporary period of time. Nothing like the stretch of time that we're looking at now, not for months and months and months at a time. So clearly, this is a stress test for the levy system that they've never seen before.


VAUSE: At parts it's holding; other parts, it's not. I guess at the end of the day, they'll find out how good or how not-so-good it was, Derek, but we appreciate you being with us. Appreciate the update there on that -- the weather, which has been awful across the central part of the United States.

With that we'll take a short break. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Back in a moment.


[00:50:11] VAUSE: Well, next week the U.S. president, Donald Trump, will get his official state visit to Britain. And while he will no doubt enjoy all the trappings that go with that, activists and protesters are promising maximum disruption. They say they want to make this trip as unpleasant as possible.

And as CNN's Nick Glass reports, one of the driving reasons for that is growing anxiety over climate change.



NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Youthful lungs giving it their all. A little harsh on the ear perhaps, but no escaping the message.

It was a sunny day off school to picnic and protest in central London, and everyone was enjoying it. But the unequivocal fact is our planet is warming up alarmingly; and London kids know it as well as anyone else.

(on camera): British environmentalists say they've never known this level of anxiety about the planet's future, especially among the young.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know now we need to change, and if we don't change it's going to ruin all the children's futures.

GLASS (voice-over): Donald Trump may not be aware of it, but climate change doesn't seem to be a matter of debate over here anymore.

This march of young activists was just one of many recent events. A galvanizing London visit in April by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl who inspired the climate change school strikes. Extinction Rebellion demonstrations in London the same month, ten days of them. And to top it all, a profoundly sobering BBC documentary, "Climate Change: The Facts," presented by David Attenborough.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, ACTOR: Right now, we are facing our greatest threat in thousands of years.

GLASS: Donald Trump made a fleeting appearance.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All of this with the global warming and -- a lot of it's a hoax. It's a hoax. I mean, it's a money-making industry, OK? GLASS: Out in the English countryside, environmentalists have been

personally encouraged climate breakdown, as they call it, has become an insistent headline, but the campaign to persuade governments and businesses to act now is all the more urgent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I lurch from hope to despair on a more or less hourly basis, I think.

GLASS: Amy Jane Beard (ph) is a nature writer from Yorkshire. She attended an Extinction Rebellion event in London along with her 8- year-old son. For her, climate change is a constant anxiety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't sleep well now. I used to. I used to sleep every night all the way through. But in the last few years, I don't. And one of the things I do worry about, you know, it is the big issues.

In the U.K., we have become one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. We have to cut this addiction that we have to fossil fuels. And we have to be wild. If you leave nature to her own devices, you know, she heals.

GLASS: In another English woods, another committed nature lover has responded to the moment in a rare and very distinctive way and illustrated by a profession Jo Brown has been documenting her local wildlife in South Devon. But this isn't work. This is simply a personal passion.

JO BROWN, NATURALIST: Black Oil Beetle, there's five species in the U.K. There used to be eight, but three of them are extinct now. And the numbers are drastically declining.

GLASS (on camera): Butterfly, by the look of it.

BROWN: Yes, yes, this is a Pearl Bordered Fritillary. And they're rare now. They're highly threatened. In 50 or so years they probably won't be here anymore.

GLASS (voice-over): Jo Brown's nature journal seems to have tapped into a growing nostalgia for the English countryside. A video of her journal has more than a million views online.

(on camera): If by chance, someone called Donald Trump was wondering through the woods and you had three minutes with him, what would you say?

BROWN: I'd walk away. I'd just -- I'd walk away. I don't think he'd be interested in anything I had to say. He'd probably want to turn it into a golf course.

GLASS (voice-over): Nick Glass, CNN, in English town and country, spiderlings and all.


VAUSE: And we're back right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[00:56:29] VAUSE: -- International. Up next here, we're going to Chris Cuomo and his "CUOMO PRIME." He has an exclusive interview with Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump advisor to the Trump -- to the Trump campaign. They're talking more about the Mexico tariffs, which Donald Trump has threatened to impose if Mexico does nothing about the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.

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