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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Russian and American Warships Narrowly Avoid Collision in Pacific; Saudi Arabian Boy Facing Execution for Crime Committed as Minor; Theresa May Steps Down Today as Leader of the Conservative Party. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 7, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:20] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, close call. Russia and the U.S. blame each other as their warships almost collide in the Pacific. Also this hour, arrested at 13, a
teenager thought to be Saudi Arabia's youngest political prisoner is facing the death penalty. That CNN exclusive, ahead. And CNN heads to the far
reaches of the Arctic with scientists on the front lines, investigating climate change.
We begin with a high-stakes blame game and warnings about a catastrophic event that could have happened. The United States and Russia are accusing
each other of dangerous maneuvers after a near-collision at sea.
Look at just how close these U.S. and Russian warships came to ramming straight into each other in the Pacific. The video, obtained by CNN, was
filmed from the American vessel's perspective. The U.S. says it will lodge a formal protest while a senior Russian lawmaker says the incident pushes
tensions between the countries to a razor's edge.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen is following developments from St. Petersburg tonight. We're also joined by CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd in
Washington. She served on former U.S. President Barack Obama's National Security Council.
So let's talk, Sam, about what the U.S. is saying happened. The U.S. is saying this was unsafe and unprofessional conduct on the part of the
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's exactly right, Hala. The U.S. administration is saying that this ship violated the
international maritime laws that govern how maritime vessels are supposed to engage with each other while at sea.
The issue that I think about, Hala, as a former security professional, is what are we actually going to do about it. The Pentagon has said that
they're launching something called a demarche with the Russian military. But demarches are just words. They are not going to stop this kind of
And we expect the blame game to continue. Russia will say that the United States provoked this. We will point to the actual video footage, showing
the Russian vessel heading towards a U.S. ship. But this is part of a really worrisome pattern of escalation by Russia, whether it be in the air,
at sea today or, as we know, in cyberspace where Russia's currently attacking us.
GORANI: And, Fred, a very different version of events from Russia. Tell us more about their reaction.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hala. You're absolutely right. The Russians certainly putting out their own
version of the event.
It was actually quite interesting to see because the Russians came out with their first statement very early in the morning today, I would say about
three or four hours before the U.S. side did. The Russians, essentially saying that they believe that it was the U.S. ship that changed course --
they say it was quite suddenly -- and that the U.S. ship changing course forced the Russian ship to make what they call an emergency maneuver.
Now, they, for their part, are also calling all of this unsafe. And they say that they have also launched -- that they lodged a complaint not with
the fleet that this was part of, but directly with the American ship itself.
But I think one of the things that Sam was saying is absolutely correct. Of course there has been an increasing amount of close calls and incidents
between the U.S. and Russia that have been taking place over the past couple of years, but really concentrated over the past couple of months.
Just last week, when you had the interception of an American intelligence plane -- spy plane -- over the Mediterranean sea by two Russian Air Force
planes with the U.S., again, saying there that that was unsafe as well.
So we do see that there does seem to be a growing amount of these incidents taking place.
Now, whether or not the situation really is, as that Russian lawmaker said, "on the razor's edge," is unclear.
PLEITGEN: By and large, both sides, at least from what we're hearing, are saying that, for instance over Syria, where you do have Russian and
American planes in close proximity all the time -- or very frequently at least -- that there, the deconfliction at least seems to be more
professional in some of the incidents that we've been hearing about over the past couple months -- Hala.
GORANI: And, Sam, tell us about the bigger picture here. Because the Russians clearly are attempting to assert themselves militarily, whether
it's within the context of foreign conflict in Syria. But also trying to rival U.S. naval supremacy here, right? They're trying to become a bigger
and more potent force. And in the Pacific, tell us why that's significant.
VINOGRAD: Certainly. And as you mentioned, Hala, Russia is trying to modernize its military, and modernize its military against us. But what we
also see is Russia and China working more closely together.
We cannot discount the fact that this incident happened in waters in the Pacific, which is well outside of Russia's traditional sphere of influence.
This wasn't in the Bosporus. This wasn't in the Black Sea. This was in waters that were closer to China at a time when President Xi Jinping of
China just met with Vladimir Putin. This is an escalation based upon where this happened geographically.
[14:05:12] And as you mentioned, Russia is engaged in a military modernization. And Vladimir Putin often, when he wants to cater to a
domestic audience, flexes his military --
VINOGRAD: -- might. This is a domestic message as well as an external one. And the question for me is, is this a sign that Russia and China are
working more closely together from a military perspective, to push back on us? Even though they're strange bedfellows, is this a sign of more to come
between those two powers?
GORANI: And, Fred, Sam is saying this is a domestic message. How is it being read in Russia where you are?
PLEITGEN: Well, I think from the Russian perspective, they're obviously continuing to say that they believe it was the U.S. that spun (ph) this in
the first place. But I think that Sam is absolutely correct to say that it is quite significant that all this is taking place as Xi Jinping is of
course here in Russia, and is at the St. Petersburg Forum, which is very much Vladimir Putin's most important economic event of the year.
And really, in the past couple of days, that these two men have been together. In Moscow, first of all, on Wednesday. And then for the past
two days, here. They have, time and again, said that they want to cooperate more closely in the economic sphere. But have also said that,
quite frankly, they are very good friends and trust each other.
So it is no secret, as Sam said, that of course Russia and China have been working very, very closely together, and increasingly closely together
politically and militarily as well. There were big drills in the eastern part of Russia just last year, where Chinese troops took part --
PLEITGEN: -- with a very large contingent there as well. So we can see that cooperation, certainly one that is expanding as, of course, you have
Russia feeling heat economically from the U.S. with all those sanctions --
PLEITGEN: -- now you have the Chinese feeling that heat with the trade war as well. That's certainly something that is molding these two countries
even closer together, with those two presidents of these two countries already having very, very tight, very good relations -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Sam Vinograd, thanks so much as always.
Fred Pleitgen in St. Petersburg.
It's a scene that is familiar to so many of us: a group of boys playing on their bikes in the center. You can see Murtaja Qureiris. He was just 10
years old when this video that you see behind me was shot, eight years ago.
Fast-forward to today. He is now 18, and he is facing execution. Why? It seems unfathomable. But it's in part because of that very scene, riding
his bike. In a CNN exclusive, Salma Abdelaziz has Murtaja's story.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL FIELD PRODUCER (voice-over): It looks harmless, children gathering for a group bike ride. But these are actually
the moments before an antigovernment protest in Saudi Arabia, where it's illegal to protest the government.
This boy in the middle, Murtaja Qureiris, he was later arrested. He was only 13. He spent four long years imprisoned without charge. When the
authorities finally did charge the teenager, he was accused of being a member of a terrorist organization. Today, Qureiris is 18. He's still in
jail, and now faces the death penalty.
Qureiris is from a Shia family. That's his dad, just behind him. A family that has a history of demonstrating against what they say is unfair
treatment of Shia by the government. In fact, Qureiris' brother was killed by Saudi forces in a rally. Part of Qureiris' charges include attending
his brother's funeral because the government says it turned into a march against the royal family. Qureiris was just 11 at the time.
The Shia minority, which resides largely in the east of the country, have felt marginalized by their Sunni rulers for a long time. Protests aren't
new. Neither are arrests. But as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman rose to power, the government crackdown on Shias intensified.
In April 2019, Saudi Arabia announced it had executed 37 people, one of the largest mass executions in the kingdom's history. The majority were Shia,
and three were killed for protest-related crimes they'd committed as minors, according to rights group Reprieve.
Qureiris was 13 when he was arrested. The prosecutor in Qureiris' case is not only calling for the death penalty, but for his body to be crucified or
As far as the kingdom is concerned, this is state security. Saudi Arabia has often labeled protestors as terrorists, and often described protests as
violent. Saudi activists maintain the funeral-turned-rally where Qureiris was arrested was peaceful.
[14:10:04] We are not able to contact Qureiris directly. It's illegal for Saudi citizens to speak to foreign journalists. And the details of this
case are not yet public. We asked for comment from the Saudi authorities, but have not received a response.
So where does Murtaja stand now? Some of the charges against him were for crimes allegedly committed when he was just 10 years old. Some rely on
confessions with only a thumbprint for confirmation. Today, Murtaja awaits a ruling. Will he be spared the death sentence? Salma Abdelaziz, CNN,
GORANI: Let's get more on this story and the bigger picture when it comes to Saudi Arabia, and specifically its relationship with the United States.
Robert Jordan is a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. And he joins me now, live from our Dallas Bureau.
First, your reaction to this CNN exclusive reporting on this boy. He's now 18, apparently about to be put to death for "crimes," in quotation marks,
committed when he was just a child.
ROBERT JORDAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA: Well, I'd like to say that this is shocking and something that we would not have expected.
But I think we are so used to this kind of pattern of behavior now that we're no longer as shocked as we used to be. But it is still a ridiculous
exercise of brutality, of thuggishness, of state authoritarianism. Here's a 10-year-old kid riding his bike. And somehow this is a capital offense?
I think it's important for us to remember that the Saudis passed a new law a few years ago, which they call their counter-terrorism law. But they
basically use it as a facade to stifle any kind of dissent. So any kind of criticism of the royal family, the government is considered to be a
violation of this act, which carries with it the death penalty.
GORANI: And there's also this perception that they're targeting the Shia minority in the eastern part --
GORANI: -- of the country, where some of these protests took place.
But then, of course, that begs the question. Why would the United States continue to sell arms and equipment to Saudi Arabia in the face of such
obvious alleged human rights abuses?
And on Capitol Hill, there's been a real bipartisan effort to try to get the president to suspend -- or to try to get the administration to suspend
-- these arms sales. And the president has overruled them.
GORANI: So why do you think the Trump administration is doing that?
JORDAN: Well, I think the Trump administration, to the extent it has any Middle East policy, is focused on Iran as some kind of existential threat
to Israel. And incidentally, to the Saudi and Emirati Gulf monarchies.
And so they are tying their fate, in a way, to these monarchies and Israel, and taking every step they can to show that they are going to defend
against an external threat, namely Iran. That's what flanges all of this together, I think.
GORANI: But -- so you agree it's then not about human rights? Because if it were, then Saudi Arabia wouldn't be --
GORANI: -- treated differently than Iran.
JORDAN: There is a complete lack of concern about human rights as far as we have seen from the public statements and actions of this administration.
JORDAN: Many of my conversations with the Saudis on human rights were private, and I respect that. Sometimes you can accomplish something more
in private. But the vast scale of this country's actions over the last 2.5 years, shows us that I think we've got to step up. We've got to be more
public about it. And our Congress is trying to do the right thing and they're getting no cooperation.
GORANI: But -- so -- because of course, arms sales to Saudi Arabia are not a novelty. They're not a Trump administration -- anything new under the
Trump administration. We know Barack Obama -- I was looking at the figures -- his administration, $115 billion U.S. is arms sales. And that was --
part of that was after the Yemen bombing started.
You worked under the Bush administration as well, arms sales --
GORANI: -- were in the billions as well. So this is not -- this is not new. Are you saying that what we're seeing now from Saudi Arabia somehow
compares less favorably to the period when you were ambassador?
JORDAN: Yes I am. I think we're seeing at least a more visible evidence of their brutality, of their complete rogue behavior on the world scene.
Some of this may be that the behavior is now more public than it used to be, through social media and other means of investigation.
But even during my time as ambassador, we certainly would have horrendous stories of torture, of people in prison. Our human rights advocates would
visit frequently and I would get in their face privately about it as well. But I think we've reached a new low here, in their behavior. And it
appears to be enabled by this administration.
[14:15:05] GORANI: But do you think that the U.S. has leverage? Because oftentimes, you'll hear people say, "Well, what can we do? If don't sell
them the arms --
GORANI: -- they'll buy them from China."
GORANI: And then others will say, "No, because they're already equipped with U.S. arms, the U.S. actually has a lot of leverage because they can
withhold equipment and maintenance parts and the rest of it," so that in fact the U.S. is not using the leverage that it has.
JORDAN: We do have leverage, and I think it's exactly what you have just said. We have control over the spare parts, repairs, maintenance and
training. And all of this can be suspended. It doesn't mean it has to be suspended forever.
But a message, a clear message needs to be sent that they're going to pay a price for this behavior. You have to inflict some pain on them when this
occurs. And it doesn't mean that it's minor (ph) or that we have to completely abrogate the alliance. But what it does mean is, we have to
stand up for some American values and international standards of behavior.
GORANI: Right. There was a CNN report out -- I'm not sure you saw it -- that the U.S. government has intelligence now, that Saudi Arabia's actually
increasing its ballistic missile program with help from China. So this would seem to go against --
GORANI: -- what the U.S. wants to see with Iran or in the region at all. And also, would be forming an alliance with China, which the U.S. can't
possibly be happy about.
So, I mean, it -- what -- do you think this particular development could have an impact on how politicians in Washington see this whole thing?
JORDAN: Well, I think it goes to whether we can trust the Saudis. Let's bear in mind that we had a similar episode in the mid-1980s, when Congress
refused to sanction the sale of ballistic missiles to the Saudis and the Chinese provided CSS-2 missiles at that time. We were, of course, very
upset about it at the time, but we got over it. We may well get over this as well.
One thing I think the Saudis do remember is that if they incur an existential threat from Iran or anyone else, the only country in the world
that can come to their rescue is the United States. And that's not going to change --
JORDAN: -- with one or two transactions with China.
GORANI: And lastly, there was a -- within the emergency declaration that was initiated by President Trump, there is a clause that allows the Saudis
to use American components with the help of an American company to build bombs inside of Saudi Arabia.
This seems like --
GORANI: -- not only not the suspension of arms in the way Congress wants, but going one step further and allowing the construction of these bomb
components inside the country. What's your reaction to that?
JORDAN: Well, that company is Raytheon. And I have done a lot of business with Raytheon and I've had great respect for them over the years. But I
think it's a huge mistake to be enabling, in effect proliferating, this kind of activity within Saudi Arabia.
Right now, the Saudis do not have the labor force, the human capital, the technology to build anything close to a bomb internally. But with
Raytheon's help --
JORDAN: -- and other companies' help, they may well achieve that capacity. And then we have lost our entire leverage over the munitions part of our
JORDAN: -- with them.
GORANI: Well, thanks so much, Robert Jordan.
JORDAN: Thank you.
GORANI: Coming to us from Dallas, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Really appreciate your time this evening.
JORDAN: Thank you --
GORANI: And still to come tonight, heading out the door of Downing Street. Theresa May has resigned as leader of the Conservative Party. We'll take a
look at what happens next, though she's not quite out the door yet. But anyway, it'll be in a few weeks.
And scientists are searching for clues under the Arctic ice to understand the impact of climate change. Some stunning pictures from the top of the
world, coming up a little later.
[14:20:54] GORANI: It lasted 1,059 days. It was often tumultuous. And now, the British prime minister, Theresa May, has officially stepped down,
not as prime minister yet but as Conservative Party leader. That happened within the last few hours. And this is paving the way for a contest for a
new British prime minister.
Mrs. May will stay on in that role until a successor is chosen. Her time in charge has been a rollercoaster with the chaos surrounding Brexit
looming large at all times. Bianca Nobilo has more.
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold, with enormous and
enduring gratitude, to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.
I've tried everything I possibly can to find a way through.
The matter of great personal regret.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which one of you (INAUDIBLE)?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Theresa May has reached the end of her three-year leadership of the Conservative Party. This is the
letter which confirms it, delivered to the 1922 Committee of Conservative M.P.s, the death knell of her doomed premiership. She remains prime
minister in office but not in power, until the leadership contest to find her successor is over.
For many, it's a tenure tarnished by failure, Brexit undelivered. It began on a sunny summer's day, when the goal to overcome the challenge of the
referendum result still seemed achievable.
MAY: Brexit means Brexit.
I'm very clear, Brexit does mean Brexit.
And we're going to make a success of it.
NOBILO (voice-over): But in truth, any prime minister was destined to struggle to unite the country and Parliament.
A lonely prime minister, hand-in-hand with an isolationist president, did not reassure Brits about breaking away from Europe.
Her international dance for diplomacy did nothing to turn what now appeared to be a tide of declining support at home.
MAY: Strong and stable --
Strong and stable --
Strong and stable leadership.
NOBILO (voice-over): Some slogans and defining choices have come to haunt her. The first, triggering Article 50 in March 2017.
MAY: We need a general election and --
NOBILO (voice-over): The second, calling an early general election. The prime minister, perhaps not wrong to crave a stronger mandate --
MAY: Nothing has changed.
NOBILO (voice-over): -- but a poor campaign had the opposite effect and led to her losing a majority. From then on, she was walking a political
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deal or no deal, Mrs. Foster?
NOBILO (voice-over): May battled to salvage command of the country, but her deal could never gain sufficient support.
MAY: As a result, we will now not leave on time with a deal on the 29th of March.
NOBILO: Now, the next leader will face the unenviable task of solving Brexit. And each contender has a different approach. But they'll face the
same problems, the same parliamentary arithmetic, the same opposition in the House of Commons to no deal, and no clear majority for any deal. As
well as the E.U.'s continued unwillingness to renegotiate.
MAY: I'm a woman of my word.
NOBILO (voice-over): The Conservatives have set out the timetable and rules for the race to replace Theresa May. The starting pistol has been
fired. The campaign to become Britain's next prime minister begins in earnest.
GORANI: Bianca Nobilo joins me now.
It begins in earnest --
NOBILO: It does.
GORANI: -- but it really has been going on for several months now, yes?
NOBILO: Unofficially, without question. And she does resign officially today. She steps down as leader of the Conservative Party. But she
remains in post until her successor has been decided by the membership, once it's whittled down to two.
GORANI: And that is when?
NOBILO: So we're expecting that at the end of July.
GORANI: OK. So until then, she's prime minister but very much a lame duck prime minister.
Let's talk about the frontrunners. We've discussed Boris Johnson. Let's start with him. He's still the clear frontrunner.
NOBILO: He is the clear frontrunner. Although I'd caution that in these leadership contests, the frontrunner rarely wins. So that's why he's been
trying to keep his profile fairly low by his own standards over the last couple of weeks. In fact, even announcing that he was standing officially
the day that Trump arrived in London --
[14:25:12] NOBILO: -- to kind of make that a bit more muted. But today, he had some good news as he was let off this misconduct in public office
accusation, which was leveled against him around that claim of the U.K. forking over 350 million pounds to Brussels.
GORANI: Yes. That he'd lied about that figure.
Jeremy Hunt, I mean, he's the foreign secretary. For people who follow the news closely, they'll know who it is. Otherwise, he's not a household name
outside the U.K.
NOBILO: He's not a household name, but he has had quite a long stint in cabinet now. He was the secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sports.
And the health secretary. Didn't have a popular or particularly successful stint in either.
He's sometimes referred to inside Parliament as a born-against Brexiteer. So he was a Remainer, now he's a Brexiteer. Had strong words about the
E.U., likening it to the Soviet Union. I'm sure you probably remember that.
NOBILO: Trump has also mentioned him, unsolicited, a couple of times, which was interesting --
GORANI: Well, he's had him kind of in his orbit for three --
GORANI: -- days, so.
NOBILO: In his immediate vicinity. So that probably helps.
GORANI: And -- although Michael Gove, who's one of the -- you know, in the top three or four, Donald Trump said, "I don't know Michael Gove," even
though Michael Gove interviewed him in 2017. So, I mean --
GORANI: -- but we -- he can't remember every single person he meets.
TEXT: Who Will Replace May? Boris Johnson, former foreign secretary; Jeremy Hunt, foreign secretary; Michael Gove, environment secretary;
Dominic Raab, former Brexit secretary; Sajid Javid, home secretary; Mark Harper, former chief whip in House of Commons; Matt Hancock, health and
social care secretary; Esther McVey, former work and pensions secretary; Rory Stewart, international development secretary; Andrea Leadsom, former
House of Commons leader; Sam Gyimah, former universities minister
GORANI: And here, by the way, is the full spread of those hoping. Who could be the dark horse here? Who could be the kind of -- the candidate
that doesn't look like they might be doing too well now, but they have some sort of hidden advantage?
NOBILO: Well, I'd also say two things. Candidates could still declare. And some of them might be forced to drop out. Because if they can't get
eight members of Parliament to back them, then they're immediately eliminated from the next stage in the race.
Sajid Javid was the frontrunner quite some time ago. He seems to have slipped in terms of his popularity, to replace Theresa May. Matt Hancock
is another one, very associated with David Cameron's style of conservatism. Esther McVey's unlikely because she takes a very strong stance on Brexit,
but perhaps too strong to be able to get the party behind her.
That's where Michael Gove is really trying to push himself as this unity candidate, somebody who can say that he would be willing to do no deal,
"But I am trying everything I can to avoid it."
GORANI: Jeremy Hunt said it was political suicide to choose no deal. Now he's saying it's better than delaying Brexit.
GORANI: By the way, Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party head who's returned from (ph) politics to save Brexit, hand-delivered a letter to Theresa May.
NOBILO: He did. So this happened. So the day that Theresa May resigns, precipitating her removal from office, her exiting Downing Street, who has
a publicity stunt walking into Downing Street --
NOBILO: -- but Nigel Farage, the head of the Brexit Party. This comes after the Brexit Party had a very strong showing in the Peterborough
byelection. They didn't win. Labour held it. This was a big deal in the British media --
NOBILO: -- over the last couple of weeks. But they only lost by 683 votes. The party's only been around since late January. He was there to
deliver this letter --
NOBILO: -- asking to be involved in the negotiations.
GORANI: We'll see if -- I was going to say, Peterborough, I found interesting. They voted 61 percent to leave.
GORANI: If the Brexit Party can't win in a place that voted 61 percent to leave, I'm not sure where they can win.
NOBILO: It would have given them a very good chance, absolutely. But something interesting, even though Nigel Farage is asking the government to
be involved in the Brexit negotiations, arguing that they have a strong mandate to be involved. Somebody close to Farage who I spoke to earlier
today said that "Nigel says there are two rules in politics. One, never trust the Tories. Two, never forget Rule One."
NOBILO: So I don't know how he envisages that professionally --
GORANI: I thought rule two would be (ph) "Never trust the Tories." All right. Thanks very much, Bianca, for that. We'll keep our eye on that
race as well. It'll be interesting.
Now, in London -- and this has made the social media rounds because of how shocking the images are -- police say four men aged 15 to 18 were arrested
in connection with a homophobic attack.
We're going to show you an image here, and some may find it graphic. One of the two women, beaten and robbed on a bus, posted this photo on Facebook
of herself and her girlfriend. There you have it. Obviously, bloodied.
She said at least four men harassed and made lude comments after they saw the two kissing. They said, "We want you to kiss for us." And that when
they refused, they were attacked. Police say the women were attacked and punched several times before the men ran off. The phone and bag were
Police say both women were treated at a hospital for facial injuries. And London's mayor is calling the incident "disgusting and misogynistic."
Still to come tonight, will he or won't he. U.S. President Trump is up against a deadline to impose his tariff threat on Mexico. But it remains
to be seen if an agreement can be reached in time.
[14:29:42] Plus, the U.S. pulls the plug on a cruise ship -- on cruise ship travel to Cuba. And local businesses see a big opportunity sail away.
We'll be right back.
[14:30:11] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: -- from Mexico is in Washington with a goal of stopping the tariffs threatened by the U.S.
President Donald Trump. They're trying to meet his immigration demands before the measures take effect. But will it be enough? And also what are
those demands exactly?
President Trump just tweeted, there's a, quote, "good chance" that they will reach a deal. If they don't, he promises tariffs on all Mexican goods
starting Monday, even those it appears produced by American companies destined to American consumers.
Paula Newton joins me now from Mexico City. So, are there hopeful signs today that all this can be avoided?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here's the thing, Hala, there are hopeful signs negotiations are going well and largely because
Mexico has capitulated. They had said that, look, we're going to send 6,000 National Guard troops to harden that southern border. And the key
thing, what they're discussing right now, Hala, is the issue of asylum seekers and if they will try to claim asylum first in Mexico. Those are
legal issues that involve not just Mexico, but also the U.S. government and how they can change those laws.
To, in the end, they are asking, Hala, to discourage in the first place people from Central America for making their way through Mexico. Having
said all of this, the issue on the table right now are still tough. The president remains on Air Force One, making his way back from Europe.
Everyone close to those advisors at the White House were saying, look, he's going to have to look at this. His tweet is a good indication that he
likes what he sees so far.
And more than that, Hala, it is an indication that the president that weaponizing his own economic policy does seem to have some benefits.
The Mexican government here understanding that they have no choice that while they might be able to handle five percent on Monday, and even that's
questionable, that having those tariffs increase, you know, every month by five percent up to 25 percent, but more than that, the uncertainty
investors would face with Mexico, the government just couldn't afford that.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Paula Newton in Mexico.
Richard Quest joins me now from New York with more. And I'm seeing that stocks are up today. Is it related to this, the idea that there's some --
there's a light a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to this dispute?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: No, I don't think so. I think the reason stocks are up today is because there was a middling to poor number
on job creation in the United States. That has solidified the view that the next move by the U.S. Federal Reserve on interest rates will be
downward, certainly nobody's talking about raising or hardening rates.
If anything, you're talking perhaps of two cuts this year, maybe one or two next year. It's a perversion of the markets that's bad news on jobs is
good news for the markets because they think rates are falling.
As for these tariffs, most in the market think that they will happen on Monday.
GORANI: They think they will happen. Because I thought we were getting some positive signals there from both sides that they were on track to
[14:35:06] QUEST: Hala, a tweet from the president saying there's a good chance can be reversed by tweet from the president saying not looking
likely, saying I'm not bluffing. The market has come to -- it bounces. There's no question that there is a kneejerk reaction which is quickly
reversed. We saw that yesterday in the market. But they are pricing in or at least believing there will be a five percent. If only because there's
GORANI: What I don't understand is, why would the U.S. do this if it's not Negotiation Theater? Why do this when it hurts U.S. consumers
significantly in some sectors?
QUEST: The president doesn't believe it does hurt U.S. consumers. He has bene grudgingly conceded perhaps it might, but he's pointed out there's
opportunity for companies to move into the U.S., to move elsewhere.
He does not -- the president does not relate the extra costs paid by importers has been related to the ultimate cost of the consumer. He just
simply thinks it's paid by the other side.
Now, Hala, on this issue, though, he also --
GORANI: Richard, are you saying that the president still doesn't understand that a tariff is a tax?
QUEST: Oh, yes. That's what I'm saying, absolutely. Absolutely. There is none of it is.
GORANI: After all this time of using tariffs as his main weapon in trade negotiations?
QUEST: No, but that's why he's --
GORANI: He still doesn't get that U.S. companies pay them?
QUEST: That -- he doesn't -- if he does understand that they pay them, he thinks it -- he said last week, Hala, it's negligible, it's not relevant,
it's not important in that sense. He has found a new industrial weapon that frankly has not been used since the 1920s in anything like the size
and scale. It's the nuclear weapon of industrial policy which is tariffs.
He has found it. He likes it. He's determined to use it where he believes it gives him leverage. Listen to what he said yesterday in Europe. He
said, we have the biggest market, we have the place where people want to play. We have the goods and we have where people want to do business. He
is weaponizing trade and he believes it works. And so far, it has.
GORANI: All right. Well, are there other markets though, certainly, for people to turn to if they don't feel welcome in the United States and the
jobs numbers were quite disappointing? What happened?
QUEST: The slowdown, Hala. I mean, you can put it on the Chinese as well. And, you know, the Chinese tariffs, but there is a slowdown, a sizable slow
down and that is now taking its effect.
Also, the U.S. is still at full employment and job growth may be waning, but it's not going into reverse. I think as one person, one expert put it,
it's a warning sign. It's a yellow, it's not a red on the traffic lights. It's a warning sign. What was perhaps also disturbing is previous months
were revised downwards.
I think that you're looking at a very fragile situation and to mix my metaphors, the president and the administration is happy to pour gasoline
on smoldering embers.
GORANI: All right. Richard, we'll see you at the top of the hour on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." Thanks.
Well, Mexico is not the only neighbor taking economic fire from President Trump. This week, he slapped new travel restrictions on Cuba. The move
put the island off limits to U.S. cruise ships, a big moneymaker for local entrepreneurs.
And as Patrick Oppmann reports, Cuban businesses are already feeling it.
PATRICK OPPMANN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An American cruise ship in Havana. IN all likelihood, it's a sight that won't be seen
again for some time to come. As of Thursday, U.S. cruise ships are banned from visiting Cuba under new U.S. sanctions against the communist-run
U.S. cruise lines had been operating in Cuba for the last three years after the U.S. and Cuban governments restored ties severed during the Cold War.
Then the Trump administration gave the U.S. cruise lines one day to get out of Cuba impacting nearly 800,000 reservations according to the Cruise Lines
The administration also ended people to people travel, the most common way for Americans to legally visit the island. The passengers on the last
cruise ship took a last look around.
JOHN, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: I'm glad I decided to come. I had a feeling that something was going to change. So I'm glad I came. It's going to be
real bad for the people here in Cuba who depend on our tourist dollars.
OPPMANN: People like the 18 employees of Jama, that's Cuban slang for food. It's just a short walk from the cruise ship terminal and was one of
a long line of restaurants and apartment rentals that Cubans opened during the tourism boom that came after the opening with the U.S.
[14:40:03] Owner and chef, Carlos Alonso Acosta, fell in love with Korean food on a visit to the U.S. and decided to open his own Asian-theme
restaurant in old Havana. "Business is already suffering," he says.
"There's been a change in American tourists to Cuba," he says. "The streets used to be full of people, tourists, learning about the historic
part of town. Now you don't see that. Restaurants were full, lots of tourists, now that's not the case."
The Trump administration says the sanctions, in part, are meant to force Cuba to abandon its socialist ally, Venezuela, which the U.S. calls a
dictatorship guilty of massive human rights violations.
OPPMANN (on-camera): The Cuban government says it doesn't provide any military aid to Venezuela, but it does send thousands of Cuban doctors in
exchange for badly needed Venezuelan oil.
Despite the impact that the sanctions are already having here, Cuba says the U.S. arm twisting won't work and the, quote, "Betrayal is not an
OPPMANN (voice-over): Americans will be impacted too as the new sanctions, once again, will make it more difficult, if not impossible, to visit their
neighbor some 90 miles to the south.
JACOB, CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: I'm really sad that other Americans can't come and experience, you know, all the incredible -- the culture and the
music and the cars. It makes me sad because it's a beautiful place.
OPPMANN: A beautiful place and people now once again just out of reach.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
GORANI: In Libya, raging battles between a warlord and government-backed soldiers have left hundreds dead and nearly 100,000 displaced just in the
CNN's Ben Wedeman has our report with exclusive frontline footage from freelance cameraman, Gabriel Chaim.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The battle rages on the outskirts of Tripoli, the Libyan capital.
Since early April, fighters loyal to the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord have struggled to stop the advanced of war lord, Khalifa Haftar, so-
called Libyan National Army which now phenomenally controls most of the country and almost all its oil.
It's a conflict with sound in fury of plenty. Captured in footage provided to CNN by freelance cameraman Gabriel Chaim. As factions fight it out,
civilians are, as usual, caught in the middle.
Nasir Wahid (ph) is one of the last civilians left in his neighborhood of Yarmouk, south of Tripoli.
"We were afraid, of course," he says. "But what choice do we have? He says he's happy just to live one day to the next.
His son Markusm (ph) should be in third grade, but all of his friends have fled. And schools had been closed for weeks. Children's toys still
cluttered a house only used by gunman.
The jubilation of which Libyan's greeted the fall of Muammar al-Gaddafi regime made years ago. Now seem a distant memory. The country is hopelessly
divided, with France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, backing Haftar's Benghazi based group. And the U.S. now leaning in
his direction as well.
While officially the U.N. recognizes the Tripoli-base government which is backed by Italy. The most recent outbreak of violence has left more than
600 dead and nearly 100,000 displaced.
"The future," says this young fighter "is miserable." "Since we were young, there has only been war."
U.N.-led attempts to restore calm are in tatters. Misery does indeed appear to be Libya's future.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.
GORANI: Still to come tonight from above and below the Arctic ice. Scientists search for clues on why it's disappearing, why this region is
ground zero for climate change. We'll be right back.
[14:45:48] GORANI: Well, the arctic is home to majestic creatures like polar bears and beluga shales, and tiny mysterious ones like algae and
plankton. They all depend on sea ice, and so do we, humans.
But it is disappearing at an alarming rate. Arwa Damon joined a team of scientists collecting data from some of the world's most remote places.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's spring in the arctic, nature is waking up as the sea ice melt, warmed by 24
hours of sunlight. This year saw a record loss of sea ice in April across the Arctic, and this is where that ice comes to die. But the story of ice
loss is more than just warming air.
TILL WAGNER, POLAR PHYSICIST, UNC WILMINGTON: I would lean towards trying to keep going a little further in.
MATTIAS CAPE, BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHER, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: OK.
DAMON: We're in the Fram Strait, far north in the Arctic Circle.
CAPE: So we're choosing this area, because this is an area where we have this warm water meeting the ice edge.
DAMON: Biological oceanographer, Mattias Cape, is one of a small group of scientists headed by polar physicist, Till Wagner. The warm water they're
talking about is the fast-moving Gulf Stream, originating in the Gulf of Mexico.
WAGNER: It's actually this warm water is at the surface as it comes up and then it drops under the ice as it goes into the Arctic Ocean. And that
layer that's under the ice, that has been coming up closer to the surface and melting the ice from underneath.
DAMON: We know the oceans are taking the brunt of global warming we have caused. But the team wants to understand how the way the ice and water are
interacting affects our changing world.
WAGNER: What we're trying to do is find ice that's representative of the area.
DAMON: And ice that doesn't risk breaking apart under our feet. With a polar bear guard on watch, the team works on the ice flows day after day.
DAMON (on camera): There are so many challenges when it comes to really understanding our planet's changing climate. It's a bit like trying to put
together a puzzle whose pieces are constantly changing. Changing faster than the science and the studies can keep up with.
DAMON (voice-over): The team drove through the ice to measure thickness.
WAGNER: So we're starting to get a fairly good idea and it has definitely thinned in this -- in this area, as well. It's basically thinned
DAMON: Extracting ice cores that hold frozen clues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow, look at this. Beautiful. We've got about a meter of ice core right here. And inside this piece of ice, actually, is a
little microscopic forest.
DAMON: Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise is converted into a floating lab.
CAPE: All right. I can grab the first one.
DAMON: Melted ice-core samples come to life under the microscope. A kaleidoscope of algae and phytoplankton.
CAPE: So these sea-ice algae and phytoplankton, in general, are tremendously important for carbon drawdown. These -- they photosynthesize,
takes in carbon dioxide.
[14:50:10] DAMON: Phytoplankton don't just store carbon dioxide, they jumpstart the cycle of life. Feeding on the phytoplankton under the ice
are zoo plankton which, in turn, feed small fish, feeding the bigger fish all the way up the food chain, including us.
WAGNER: Ooh, exciting, yes. Yes, there's a lot there, and this is very different than what we've seen so far, actually, in terms of just the
diversity of things that are in there.
DAMON: Initial data from hundreds of samples confirmed the team's expectations. Plankton, that critical source of ocean food, concentrates
where the freshly-melted ice is.
WAGNER: This is crazy. How strong. This is 14 milligrams per liter. Really strong bloom.
CAPE: Yes. Located right at the ice edge. I mean, we did have sea ice around at that station, right?
This is like the hot devil water that sits at the bottom. It's just waiting to come up.
DAMON: Increasing ice melt is wearing down the cycle of life here and undermining nature's carbon storage system. And that's bad news for all of
DAMON (on camera): These waters in this region is among the most productive when it comes to the building blocks of ocean life.
WAGNER: There it is
DAMON: There it is. Polar bear tracks.
DAMON (voice-over): Increased melting of glacial and land ice from above and from below have recently led to doubling previous projections of sea
level rise, to two meters around the world by the end of the century. That, coupled with the loss of sea ice, is not only going to deprive us of
magical moments like this. Beluga whales which rely on the food under the ice to survive.
It will also deprive us of the riches the ocean now holds, riches we all depend on.
Arwa Damon, CNN, the Arctic.
GORANI: More to come, including ready for kickoff. We'll have the latest from Paris, the city is gearing up for the Women's World Cup. And it
starts in a few minutes. We'll be right back.
GORANI: In the next couple of minutes, the women's football World Cup will be kicking off. It's happening in France where some of the biggest
stadiums in the country have already sold out. It appears there's more interest, more enthusiasm for this Women's World Cup. Amanda Davies is in
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hala, we're getting ever closer to kickoff. But what's been talked about as the biggest and best
Women's World Cup ever. There's a record number of T.V. rights deals that are being done. They're talking about T.V. audiences of over a billion
over the next couple of weeks.
But it's fair to say after this point in the center of Paris, enthusiasm, color has been fairly lacking. But here we are outside the Parc des
Princes just a few minutes now until kickoff, and the atmosphere is definitely building.
Expectation high as the host France looks to kick off their campaign against South Korea. And I'm pleased to say I'm joined by a few French
fans. Great to see you. How excited are you about France? How confident?
[14:55:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excited at the moment because it was so long, long time before the World Cup begins. So now, that day is over. We
are so excited on seeing all these people, many crowd in the stand so it would be great for all of the competition. We have many, many stadium with
full of many people who will enter in the women football for the first time for the football --
DAVIES: So that was -- that was what I was going to ask you. Are you normally a fan of men's football? Are you a fan of women's football? Are
you just a fan of football?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fan of football, but we are fan Olympically on there. We come from Reliance (ph). So we follow Olympically there on there all
over France and Europe. And now French team because we have our many players coming from Reliance and we obviously -- players from Paris. It's
French, it's our country. So we love follow them all over -- all over the competition to encourage them. So it will be great.
DAVIES: It's fair to say people are getting excited ahead of the big kickoff. What do you think the score is going to be? How confident that
France will win today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope they will win. But I never get a -- or I never give a result before the match. Never. But I hope they will win. They
need to win to be considered for the competition. So I hope it will be a win tonight.
DAVIES: And, Dave (ph), thank you very much. Enjoy it. We know that always with these tournaments, if the host -- if the host do well, it helps
the mood. The party already started, Hala.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Amanda. And I hope you keep your voice there because it's loud and, obviously, you have to speak with a loud
voice in order to be heard. So good luck with that.
In a moment, it will be "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" and they'll be talking about one of the stories we covered as well which is this U.S.-Mexico trade war
or threats coming from the Trump administration directed at Mexico that if they don't do more to curb immigration, they will start by imposing five
percent tariffs on goods coming into the U.S. from Mexico.
Also, Richard will be speaking about jobless numbers, 75,000 added last period which is lower than expected, but stocks are doing well because that
means potentially that the fed won't raise rates anytime soon.
I'm going to leave you in the capable hands of Richard Quest. If it's your weekend, have a great one. I'll see you next time.