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Hong Kong Protests Extradition Bill; Reports: Kim Jong-un's Brother Was CIA Informant; Drug Use Sidetracks Race to 10 Downing Street; Trump Tariff Troubles. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 11, 2019 - 02:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It is a city on edge: Hong Kong is at calm as thousands wait for a new legislative session over a controversial extradition bill. And they also get ready to protest.

Plus new reporting indicates the brother of Kim Jong-un was working for the CIA right before he was murdered.

And beloved baseball star David Ortiz is back in Boston after he was attacked by a gunman in the Dominican Republic.

Live from CNN welcome to everyone is all around the world, I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


HOWELL: Around the world, good day to you.

Protest organizers and Hong Kong's largest labor unions are calling for more demonstrations Wednesday, this after the city's biggest protests in decades. Take a look at this, this time lapse video, that really tells the story there, doesn't it. So many people there.

And by some estimates more than 1 million people packed the streets on Sunday. They rallied against a hugely controversial extradition bill which would let suspects be sent to Mainland China. Critics worry that it is a power grab by Beijing.

And the Wednesday protests are timed to coincide with another meeting of the bill by the city's legislature. Despite the outcry, Hong Kong's chief executive has vowed to push ahead with the measure. She insists she's not being pressured by the mainland.

For more let's bring in Andrew Stevens, he is live in Hong Kong this hour.

And this is a promise, of course, of more protests on the way so opposition to this bill is not budging and neither is the chief executive.

So where do things go from here?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: It looks at this stage, George, that the next step is in the hands of the demonstrators and the protesters that we saw on the streets of Hong Kong Sunday.

As you just said, there have been calls for more demonstrations, which will kick off at 10:00 am at the legislative council building on Wednesday. Wednesday is critical because that is when the extradition bill will be read for a second time in the council, which is basically Hong Kong's parliament and there will be debate on that bill.

There will then be a third reading and after that third reading the bill will come into force, if it is approved by the parliament. At this stage it looks like the government has the numbers but we don't know when it will actually become law.

So the protesters organized on Sunday and said come out again on Wednesday. As you mentioned the confederation of Hong Kong trade unions -- this is a big umbrella organization with something like 200,000 members, also saying -- calling for a strike of their members on Wednesday in solidarity with the demonstrators, urging their members to take part in the demonstrations.

And there is also a demonstration planned for this evening, at least calls for a demonstration this evening. And we have just looked past this council building and there are barriers up there and the police are getting ready to deal with people coming in.

At this stage it looks like there could be a big turnout, perhaps not as many as Sunday but it is an indication that people of Hong Kong, even though they did protest in what looks like record numbers with a unity of purpose on Sunday, are not going to take the action by the Hong Kong government, as in we are not going to change our minds on what we're doing, we will not take the action lying down, they will continue to push for change.

HOWELL: Andrew, if you could talk to us about the bill itself, the chief executive saying there are protections included but critics say those protections are not enough.

STEVENS: It really is exposure to the Chinese judicial system because, if you think about it, countries all around the world have extradition treaties with each other. Hong Kong only has 20 . To put that in perspective, China has 40 agreements around the world for extradition

So Hong Kong there definitely is more extradition treaties to be involved with. But the issue is allowing China to become a signatory of that, opens up Hong Kong residents and in fact anyone visiting Hong Kong to China saying we want that person extradited because they have committed a crime against China, that the government says we will treat it all on a case by case basis and the crime would have to be serious enough to warrant at least seven --

[02:05:00] STEVENS: -- years in prison. So that is what the government is saying, we have the safeguards in place. They also have the other safeguard, any extradition order will have to be heard by a Hong Kong court. If the court rules in favor of an extradition, the person at the center then can appeal.

But it still does open the Hong Kong population to the possibility of being tried in China. As any number of critics of the Chinese judicial system will tell you, it is opaque, it is unfair, it is politicized. So they don't want to have anything to do with that. That bill -- that march called for -- people called for them to scrap the bill and Carrie Lam, the chief executive, is just not listening.

HOWELL: And just quickly to point this out, as we reported on this story, as we see hundreds and thousands of people show up on the streets, it's likely, isn't it, that the reporting is blacked out there in mainland China?

STEVENS: Yes, anything to do with Chinese pictures of the mass protest on Sunday and talking about this bill more than likely blacked out, on the Sunday that CNN broadcast and any other international broadcaster was blacked out.

HOWELL: Worth noting. Andrew Stevens live in Hong Kong, thank you for the report.

We are tracking new reports about the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half brother. This is according to a report in "The Wall Street Journal," Kim Jong-nam was an informant for the CIA when he was killed in a Malaysian airport back in 2017.

A soon to be published book titled, "The Great Successor" says Kim Jong-nam would usually meet his handlers in Singapore or Malaysia. He claims hotel security footage shows a meeting with the U.S. intelligence agent. CNN has not independently verified the reports.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about this now with Paul Carroll. Paul is senior adviser at N Square, which is an organization that promotes nuclear disarmament, live via Skype this hour from San Francisco.

It is good to have you with us. Thank you for your time.

PAUL CARROLL, N SQUARE: My pleasure, George. Thanks.

HOWELL: Given the reporting that we are hearing from The Wall Street Journal, what are your initial thoughts here?

CARROLL: Well, my lens on this is how it will implicate the U.S.- North Korean relationship. We have very important negotiations, the issue of the nuclear program in North Korea, not to mention human rights and their misbehavior on the international scene.

But my initial reaction is, let's wait and learn more about exactly what the nature of this relationship was and let's also not forget that the reason this seems sensational is the nature of the assassination, right? It was VX gas in a public airport.

It doesn't surprise me, frankly, that our intelligence apparatus would meet with Kim Jong-nam. He was on the outs with his family. He was living in exile. He was a rare commodity with potentially insider information about how the leadership in North Korea works. So I would be surprised if we didn't try to learn from him.

HOWELL: And, you know, I heard another person suggests that you can't really read too much into it, right?

There is a lot of gray here. So book says that there is this allegation that Kim Jong-nam allegedly was spotted in a hotel elevator by a security camera with a man who was reported to be a U.S. intelligence agent.

Again, the backpack, it says, contained $120,000 in cash which could have a payment for his activities.

But isn't it fair to say that the meeting itself -- there is still a lot of room to, you know, for interpretation as to what that meeting could have been about?

CARROLL: Well, absolutely. There are also reports that Kim Jong-nam met over the years with Chinese officials and intelligence agents. So again, learning how North Korea works is extremely hard. I had the sort of privilege of visiting North Korea twice on unofficial trips with interlocutors in their ministry of foreign affairs.

The so-called "track two" activities were really to build bridges, sort of probe for opportunities but, frankly, they are also one of the few windows we have on how North Korea works.

So when you have someone who is living outside the country and was part of the leadership family, I would think virtually every National Security apparatus would want to have some conversations with him and $120,000, that's pretty cheap if you're actually getting good information and good intelligence.

HOWELL: Keep in mind, CNN has not verified the -- independently verified the merits of this particular report.

But for the sake of speculation, let's say that Kim Jong-nam was an informant, what would you take from that?

CARROLL: I would say first of all that I would find it surprising if --


CARROLL: -- North Korea didn't know that this was happening and that if we didn't understand that they knew. In other words, we had a summit under President Trump in Singapore. We had another one more recently.

I am sure these things, if they weren't explicitly discussed, there were back channel conversations happening. I can imagine that Pyongyang is shocked to learn that the U.S. was meeting with Kim Jong- nam.

What is going to be more important is, tomorrow morning when the administration wakes up, whether it's the head of the CIA, whether it's the president himself, how do they respond to this?

Do they own it and say, you know, we talked with our North Korean counterparts about this or does it become something that is inflammatory?

My concern is what happens next.

How does this impact potentially the ongoing attempts to negotiate with the North about their nuclear program?

HOWELL: Paul Carroll, we appreciate your time today. Thank you.

CARROLL: My pleasure.


HOWELL: Now in the United Kingdom, there's a crowded field with candidates competing to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. They are promising that they are ready to take on that looming beast called Brexit.

The 10 contenders are vying to replace Theresa May. The former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, is considered the favorite and he keeping the option of a no-deal Brexit open.

When one front-runner admitted to cocaine use years ago, the race became sidetracked by a discussion of which candidates used illegal drugs and when. Our Nic Robertson has more on this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome Michael Gove.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): At the center of a leadership drug controversy, cabinet member Michael Gove came out, guns blazing, launching his bid to run the country.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Immediately running into reality of his admission this weekend he used cocaine 20 years ago.

GOVE: You thought it was OK in a London dinner party to break the law by snorting cocaine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Can the public really trust you when you privately take cocaine?

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He insisted he dealt with the issue over the weekend. GOVE: Yes, it was a crime, it was a mistake. I deeply regret it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Should you have gone to prison?

GOVE: I was fortunate in that I didn't. But I do think that it was a profound mistake. I've seen the damage that drugs do. I've seen it close up. I've also seen it in the work that I've done as a politician.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He has plummeted from going the distance to also-ran and is accused of hypocrisy: one rule for the elite, another for everyone else.

BARONESS WARSI, CO-CHAIRMAN, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I think that Michael Gove needs to now step down from the leadership. I think it is completely inappropriate for him to continue.

ROBERTSON: But Gove isn't alone. Of the 10 candidates vying to become prime minister, seven admit to taking illegal drugs, including the former foreign secretary and current favorite, Boris Johnson, raising questions about suitability and moral compass.

So far, Boris Johnson admits cannabis use, clouds the issue on cocaine. Front-runners Jeremy Hunt and Andrea Leadsom confessed to cannabis use, as do outsiders Dominic Raab and Esther McVey.

Overseas Development Secretary Rory Stewart says he tried opium at a wedding in Iran. Home Secretary Sajid Javid is one of only two candidates who say they've never touched drugs. He has a message for the others: drugs fuels crime.

SAJID JAVID, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: Anyone that takes class A drugs needs to think about the supply chain that comes from Colombia, let's say, to Chelsea and the number of lives that are destroyed along the way.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Boris Johnson is currently favored to win even after admitting illegal drug use. But Johnson may not be a shoo- in despite drug distraction. Campaign issues are breaking through; biggest of all, Brexit, with or without the deal. That is every bit as controversial as it was under outgoing PM Theresa May -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.



HOWELL: And to talk about it all, we have CNN European affairs commentator Dominic Thomas with us. Dominic is live in Los Angeles.

It is good to have you, Dominic.


HOWELL: So let's talk with Michael Gove. Given these new revelations, what do you think of his chances? THOMAS: Well, I think -- the fact is that this election, which is an internal election --


THOMAS: -- within the Conservative Party, it does not involve the British public except the Conservative Party members who will get to weigh in on the final two candidates.

This election is basically about Brexit. It is about the Conservative Party making a decision for the British people as to the whether the new Conservative Party leader and therefore the new prime minister will be one of the hard-core Brexiteers or whether there will be a more moderate pro-Brexit candidate that will resemble Theresa May.

This essentially is the single issue. And so what this leaves are these 10 candidates, this very unusual number of candidates, all MPs, of course, who are running for this, essentially attacking each other and trying to gain the upper ground around these kinds of issues.

So I think it points to the nature of the debate. But in terms of the general public, as far as they are concerned, there is tremendous hypocrisy here because this is a party that has criminalized drug use and of course it sets up for those privileged.

And let's not forget that seven out of these 10 candidates are Oxford graduates, very privileged individuals in society for whom drug use is recreational; whereas, for others, it has led to serious sentencing and has had gross impact on families and poor communities. So the hypocrisy is quite striking here.

HOWELL: And what does it say?

The fact that this is the big debate within the Conservative Party with regards to people who really feel that the party may be out of touch.

THOMAS: Yes. Well, look, George, this would be effectively the third Conservative prime minister just since 2016. David Cameron stepped down, Theresa May was appointed and now we are looking at a third leader.

In the meantime, the British public had been witnessing and following what has been going on in parliament. Three votes on the withdrawal bill, still no second referendum, still no people's vote and they are very much on the sidelines looking in as what is going in on the political system.

They had a chance to weigh in on the E.U. elections and send a divided message back, certainly a very strong message to the political establishment. They've had enough of what is going on.

And the thing about this particular situation is that no matter who is elected finally as the Conservative Party leader and who becomes prime minister, nothing will have changed in the Brexit debate and moderate candidate will have as much difficult as a hard-core Brexiteer trying to push this through and trying to deliver Brexit.

That unfortunately means as far as the British people are concerned that a general election is coming and that this internal election within the Conservative Party is simply delaying that broader reality which would give the British public an opportunity to finally weigh in on this political situation.

HOWELL: I would like to get your thoughts -- you pointed this out as well. The other candidates, many of them of course are taking shots at the front-runner, Boris Johnson. We've also seen the rebranding of Boris Johnson.

I remember our own Matthew Chance asked Boris Johnson, some consider you to be the U.K.'s Trump and Boris Johnson declined that suggestion. Boris Johnson really tries to redefine his image.

How does he take the incoming attacks here?

THOMAS: I think as far as Boris Johnson is concerned, he is an extraordinary divisive figure. This is an individual who led the campaign three years ago and who then effectively no longer pursue the race for leader of the Conservative Party and has been one of the major detractors in this entire process, disrupting on Theresa May's plans, voting against her.

At least now in this particular race, he seems committed to going the full length. What we have though with these 10 candidates is a new system put in place that is eventually going to result in two, as it did in the old system.

But I think that what we are seeing already is that the conservatives dividing into these two camps which in many way replicate the divides that existed there before both in Theresa May's cabinet and in the houses of parliament, that eventually I think that the hard-core Brexiteers will either go with Boris Johnson or with someone like Dominic Raab.

And on the other side of the spectrum, you will end up with Jeremy Hunt, a more moderate figure within the party. And at the end of it, it will be a battle between these two particular candidates.

Of course, the Conservative Party has to ask itself, on the one hand, do they deliver somebody who they believe is going to get Brexit through or do they look at a candidate that could potentially be a good candidate in a general election?

I am not sure that those two match up. And that is a big existential crossroads for the Conservative Party at this stage. No matter what happens out of this process, the party will no longer look the same.

HOWELL: And whoever takes the helm will have three months to figure it out. Dominic Thomas, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

THOMAS: Thanks, George.

(END VIDEOTAPE) [02:20:00]

HOWELL: The U.S. president says his tariff threat works and after claiming victory in his talks with Mexico, he has another country in his sights, China. The story next.




HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm George Howell.

Fresh off his victory lap over a dubious immigration deal with Mexico, the U.S. president is turning his tariffs threat back toward China. Trump says that he will impose new taxes on another $300 billion in Chinese goods if Chinese President Xi Jinping doesn't meet with him at the upcoming G20 summit.

CNN's Boris Sanchez has more now on the president's tariff tactics.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Donald Trump on Monday attempting a victory lap following his immigration deal with Mexico.

TRUMP: This is something the U.S. has been trying to get for over 20 years with Mexico. They have never been able to do it. As soon as I put tariffs on the table, it was done. It took two days.

SANCHEZ: But a former administration official tells CNN that major portions of the agreement are not new and were already settled months before President Trump threatened to slap tariffs on Mexican imports.

The source confirming reporting in "The New York Times" that Mexican officials had already agreed to mobilize Mexican national guard troops to their southern border, also previously agreeing to a program that would allow undocumented immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to remain in Mexico as their claims are processed.

In at least a dozen tweets, the president lashing out and defending the deal, at one point writing, quote, "Mexico is doing more for the USA on illegal immigration than the Democrats."

The president also promising an added agreement that he is yet to announce.

TRUMP: But we purposefully said we wouldn't mention it for a little while. It's going to be brought up, because it has to be brought by their legislative body.

SANCHEZ: Administration officials are backing the president, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan insisting the deal is new and that the threat of tariffs helped expedite and expand previous agreements. KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It is very different. The president put a charge in this whole dialogue with Mexico with the tariff threat, brought them to the table. The foreign minister from Mexico arrived within hours. He arrived the next day with real proposals on the table.

SANCHEZ: Some Democrats implying Trump is trying to save face and avoid imposing the tariffs that he promised.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): He's still saying that --


COONS: -- there are secret provisions to the deal that make it better, that make it more than Mexico had already agreed to months ago. Look, this is classic Trump, spinning up a conflict that fires up his base but that destabilizes one of our critical alliances.

SANCHEZ: Notably on Monday, Mexico's top diplomat said in a press conference in Mexico City that there is no secret portion of this agreement between the United States and Mexico, contradicting what we've heard from President Trump.

Despite that, the president had an event on the South Lawn on Monday afternoon and he said, quote, "I don't think they will be denying it for long. It's all done," President Trump suggesting that this is a very secret agreement that the Mexicans are not willing to admit at this point.

Unclear if this is representative of a deeper disagreement or perhaps just semantics -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.


HOWELL: Now for the context and perspective from Scott Lucas. Scott is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham and also the founder and editor of "EA WorldView."

Good to have you, Scott.


HOWELL: So Mr. Trump and tariffs, Trump tariffs, clearly he has a growing confidence about the use of tariffs as a tool, to either punish or motivate other countries to get what he wants.

What do you make of this latest threat toward China so that President Xi will meet with him?

LUCAS: Well, George, what I think we are seeing is the two themes that will be in the Trump reelection campaign all the way to 2020. Were going to see tariffs and anti-immigration, sometimes linked, as in the case of Mexico.

Now that is fine as long as it, quote, "fires up his base," as you noted but the real race is on between the reality, which is economic damage, and let's say, "The Wizard of Oz," in which Trump is saying, on the one hand, America is doing great from all of this and, as he said yesterday, the entire Chinese economy has been wiped out because it lost $15 trillion in GDP, which is not exactly true.

It is too late to tell.

Will voters buy what is in effect a largely campaign which can be called deception or at least mischief making?

Or will they feel the pain of the tariffs before November 2020?

HOWELL: That leads into the next question, the agreements that Trump has been working on. He and his team say that it is tariffs that really got him over the finish line.

But how much of it was a real motivator and how much do you see as political theater that caters to his base?

LUCAS: Well, you know, when we pulled the curtain back we saw what "The Wizard of Oz" really was and what has happened in the last few days since Friday's agreement between Mexico and the United States and Donald Trump claiming victory, is that Mexico and American officials, in December and again in March, had agreed on the provisions.

They had agreed that Mexico would deploy more forces and that there would be some migrants that would be held in Mexico as they awaited hearing asylum application results in the U.S.

Now Mexico may have accelerated some of the steps but there was no new element in the agreement. And I think in relation to the piece, one of your commentators said, yes, this is classic Trump, which is, look, I brought this art of the deal when in fact the deal was already struck.

Now what does he do next?

Does he turn back to the Chinese and proclaim some new breakthrough where one doesn't exist?

Or does he get mad at Beijing if he doesn't get any type of advance that he can spin for reelection?

HOWELL: The tariffs on Chinese imports cost American households more than $800 a year, despite the spin, the optics of tough talk that satisfy his base.

What do you think will be the impact among voters, as real people start to feel the real difference in their real wallets?

LUCAS: Well, George, one thing that we are finding in the era of 24/7 and social media and trying to handle the information is we don't know which way voters will decide in the end, because quite often voters are confused or uncertain about what is happening.

So let's get back to some brass tacks that voters will have to consider. If the tariffs with China continue through next year, $1.3 trillion

will be lost in American GDP, $1.3 trillion with a T, according to economists.

Farmers in some are areas of the country are also suffering more than 90 percent loss in their crops such as soybeans. And in the first quarter alone they lost $4 billion in revenue.

Now that type of economic hit is not sustainable for the American economy in the medium term.

But in the short term can Trump spin this and say your economy is still booming, it's still growing, despite the effects of what I'm doing. And that going to be a race against time all the way into next year.

HOWELL: Scott Lucas, we appreciate your time, thank you.

LUCAS: Thank you, George.

HOWELL: We will be right back after this.


[02:32:21] HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour. There are officially 10 contenders buying to replace Theresa May, first as the leader of the U.K.'s Conservative Party and then as Britain's Prime Minister.

It's a crowded field despite the enormous challenges dealing with Brexit and as an October 31st deadline looms large. The first in several rounds of voting starts Thursday. One of Hong Kong's biggest trade unions is urging strikes Wednesday. Joining calls for more protest. The city saw its biggest demonstration in years on Sunday against the bill that would allow suspects to be extended to mainland China.

Lawmakers are set to hold another reading of the bill on Wednesday. At least 95 people are dead. This is after an attack in the West African Nation of Mali. And officials say armed men set fire to a village and began shooting. The village belong to the Dogon ethnic group. The officials says the attackers were Fulani. Two groups have clashed before over access to land and water.

A top U.S. diplomat is heading to Sudan this week as the country's opposition says three of its members who were detained by security forces have been forcibly deported to South Sudan. Last week's military crackdown on prodemocracy demonstrators killed at least 118 people. The protestors aren't backing down though but as Ben Wedeman reports, they're facing ruthless opponents. We do warn you doing into this many of the images are graphic.


normally busy streets, deserted. Prodemocracy protesters have launched a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience. After a paramilitary rapid support forces led an attack on the long-running city outside defense headquarters. In the chaos that followed that killed more than 100 people according to the Central Committee Sudan Doctors in the bloodiest day yet since the Sudanese uprising began in December of last year.

The rapid support forces were previously known as the Janjaweed, irregulars used by the Sudanese regime to crush a rebellion in the western province of Darfur. The International Criminal Court and the U.S. government hold that the Janjaweed responsible for committing genocide in Darfur. They opposition led by the Sudanese Professionals Association is demanding the military hand power to civilians immediately and is calling for an independent investigation into last week's killings.

[02:35:08] Men in uniform however are shrugging off the demands, addressing his troops last year, Rapid Support Force Commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagal known simply as Hametti sent a stern warning to protestors.

We will not permit chaos he said. Code words in the air world for, no power to the people. Sarah Abdeljalil, based in the U.K., is a member of the Sudanese Professional Associations, she stresses the uprising has repercussions well beyond Sudan's borders.

SARA ABDELJALIL, SPOKESWOMAN, SUDANESE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: The Sudan revolution, the success of this revolution is a threat to a lot of regimes in the region, it is about justice, it's not just about the people of Sudan.

WEDEMAN: And in a region where autocrats hold sway this revolution matters, Ben Wedeman, CNN London.

HOWELL: Ben, thank you. A court in India has convicted six men in the kidnapping, the rape, and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl last year handing out life sentences for three of the men. The horrific, the high profile case, it sparked widespread protest across India. Prosecutors say the victim whose name is being kept private was abducted from a field near her home then locked in a temple where she was drugged, raped repeatedly for five days.

Police say her body was later found in a nearby forest after she had been strangled and beaten with a rock. Reports of sexual violence are on the rise in India as well as shocking cases of attacks on children. The government says 100 cases of sexual assault are reported to police every day. A new law was introduced last year that allows for the death penalty for those convicted of raping a child under the age of 12. But, some analysts say that will not solve the problem. Listen.


NIHA MASIH, INDIA CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: The problem is much more deeply increased, sexual violence has been on the rise. The number of rapes reported have increased by over 60 percent between 2012 to 2016 which is a very high figure. But we also have to remember that that figure has been rising not only because the rates have risen but also that the reporting of the rapes has just reach earlier or much, much underreported.

So just one law of several people last year were convicted under the same law. That has not changed or made a difference for the problem. And until other society there is -- there is a social change within this society. This problem is not going to go away by simply introducing the death penalty.


HOWELL: Authorities and -- say courts and police are backlogged with sexual assault cases and only a small amount of them have been resolved. In 2016, out of the 15000 cases pending in court, only 1300 were concluded. Now to an inflammatory set of remarks from the U.S. Ambassador to Israel who tells the New York Times that "Israel has the right to retain some but unlikely all of the West Bank." Our Oren Liebermann has reaction from the region.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has made his position clear when it comes to Israel. He is openly and unabashedly pro-Israel and he supports Jewish settlement in the West Bank. He even has a building in his name in Beit El, an isolated settlement in the West Bank. Still, the fact to this that Israel has a right to annexed parts of the West Bank is in and of itself somewhat stunning.

In an interview to the New York Times, he said under certain circumstances I think Israel has the right to obtain some but unlikely all of the West Bank. It boxed some 50 years of U.S. foreign policy and breaks with the international community and international law which holds the West Bank as a occupied territory and part of a future Palestinian state. It also may signal to Israel that the country has the support of Friedman and perhaps even the Trump administration if Israel moves to annex parts of the West Bank.

That was a promise Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made before the last elections. Palestinian leaders were outraged at the remarks, PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat said on Twitter of the Trump administration, their vision is about annexation of occupied territory. A war crime under international law. You also can't ignore the timing of the Friedman's comments. This is two weeks before the U.S. unveils some of the economic part of their peace plan and what they're calling a workshop in Bahrain.

The Palestinians have already refused to attend the conference and have flat out refused to consider any plan put in the table from the U.S. administration. Friedman's comments give them even more reason to be suspicious of the U.S. administration's intentions. Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM. Boston's baseball community rallies in support of their beloved all-star player.

[02:40:03] David Ortiz returning to the city to heal from a gunshot wound.


HOWELL: The injured Boston Red Sox all-star player David Ortiz has arrived in Boston for further treatment after suffering a gunshot wound. The Red Sox organization arranged to have Ortiz flown back to the United States and taken to hospital there in Boston. It happened one day after he was shot in his native Dominican Republic. Surveillance footage shows the gunman at the top of the screen there shooting Ortiz at pointblank range at a nightclub in the capital city of Santo Domingo.

He was rushed to the hospital for surgery and listed in stable condition. And Boston Red Sox fans and players, they all paused for a moment, a moment of silence before Monday's game in the show of love and support for the all-star that they call Big Papi.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As befits his outsized personality wishes for his speedy recover have poured in from all over baseball, from the world of sports and even from respected world leaders. He is loved throughout our nation and beyond yet to us, he is our own adopted son. Won't you please join us as we offer a moment of reflection, thought and prayer for a complete healing and a full recovery for our beloved Big Papi.


HOWELL: CNN Patrick Oppmann has more details on what happened and why Ortiz is so revered both on and off the the field.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This video purportedly showing the moment the former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz also known as Big Papi was shot at a club in Santo Domingo. Along with T.V. talk show hosts Jhoel Lopez. Just hours before Lopez posted this picture with Ortiz on Instagram saying, you know that we are from the streets with my David Ortiz. Authorities in the Dominican Republic say the shooter was on a motorcycle and ambushed Ortiz shooting him just once in the back. The 43-year-old was rushed to a local hospital where he underwent surgery.

[02:45:01] And doctors had to remove parts of his intestines, colon, and his gall bladder to stop internal bleeding according to Ortiz's assistant. Doctors at the hospital said they expected Ortiz to make a full recovery.

"When he opened his eyes, the first thing he asked for was to see his family." Gonzalez, said during a press conference Monday at the Clinica Abel, the hospital where Ortiz has been treated.

Leo Ortiz, David's father also spoke at the presser and thanked the medical team. "On behalf of the Ortiz family, David Ortiz's work team, I want to thank the press but especially this medical team." Ortiz's father says, he had no idea why someone would have shot his son. Right now, police say they have one person in custody for the shooting, who was captured and held down by a crowd of bystanders until police arrived.

The crowd can be heard repeatedly saying in Spanish. "The suspect needed to talk and fess up." Another suspect got away on foot.

The baseball legend's assistant telling CNN, it was not a robbery and that Ortiz does not know the suspect.

[02:46:10] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That goes, Big Papi.

OPPMANN: In 2004, Ortiz helped the Red Sox to their first World Series championship since 1918. Ending the so-called Curse of the Bambino. In 2013, Ortiz cemented his place and the hearts of Bostonians with this reaction in the wake of the Boston bombings.

DAVID ORTIZ, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DESIGNATED HITTER: This is our -- city, and nobody going to dictate our freedom.

OPPMANN: Ortiz is a near certainty to be a future Hall of Famer. But as the baseball community rallies around one of its brothers, the question remains, why Ortiz?


HOWELL: Patrick Oppmann, thank you.

The U.S. president and Democrat Joe Biden will be in Iowa in the coming hours. It is a state that's critical in the 2020 presidential election. And while the election is more than a year away, some voters there are already weighing in on their top picks. Our Randi Kaye has this.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How many of you -- just raised your hand are considering voting for Donald Trump. Four. And how many of you are considering voting for Joe Biden?

For these 10 voters in Des Moines, Iowa, campaign season is already in full swing. Republican Frank Moran voted for Trump in 2016 and plans to again.

FRANK MORAN, VOTED TRUMP IN 2016: The economy is booming where I just feel as though everything that I've been wanting to have done is being done.

KAYE: Heather, why do you like Donald Trump?

HEATHER HALTERMAN, MAY VOTE FOR TRUMP IN 2020: He's working on border control which I think is really important.

KAYE: This lifelong independent voter is also supporting Trump.

LARRY REINSCH, MAY VOTE FOR TRUMP IN 2020: I vote for somebody who's going to protect and defend the Constitution.

KAYE: And Cecil as an independent, you're not considering voting Republican at all?


KAYE: Of the Democrats and independents in this group, only one is already sold on Joe Biden. Despite his front runner status.

NOAH HAMOUD, MAY VOTE BIDEN IN 2020: He can do a good job of bringing the country together. If we can move past rhetoric, and we can bring someone who's more respected worldwide, I think we can have a better country from that.

TANNER HALLERAN, VOTER FROM IOWA: I am not as big a fan of Joe Biden. I would probably say I support Pete Buttigieg.

KATIE CARLSON, SUPPORTS PETE BUTTIGIEG: Something that has really bothered me about Joe Biden is the way that he has responded to the allegations by women.

KAYE: Some men in the group are turned off by the same issue.

WHITE: I didn't like his idea that OK -- it's OK to just go up to a woman and smell her hair and say -- I mean, who -- come on, who does that?

KAYE: Republican voter Haley Ledford will be voting in her first presidential election and plans to support Trump for now.

Would you ever consider not voting for Donald Trump given some of the things that he has said about women or his attitude towards women?

HALEY LEDFORD, REPUBLICAN VOTER, IOWA: If there was a Republican candidate who represented my personal morals and beliefs, yes, I would choose them over Donald Trump a very strong candidate.

REINSCH: Many people realized they hired a wealthy guy that's common to have a supermodel on his arm, that's his lifestyle. That's him -- that's actually irrelevant. It's about how they're going to defend our Constitution, defend our borders and our sovereignty. And tell us the truth even if it's rough, laced with cuss words, we don't want the political correct message, we want the truth, we don't need the smoke blowing up our skirt.

CARLSON: I don't know how you can possibly paint that broad of brush and just say not only a Republicans but just Americans are pleased with who we have. As a woman, it is frustrating, depressing, and frightening to hear people just brush aside the misogynistic things that Donald Trump has done.

KAYE: She likes Pete Buttigieg.

CARLSON: I think he's inspiring, he has a message that can restore the unity that we're looking for. I think as a veteran too, he would -- he would represent us well across the world. [02:50:08] KAYE: This Democratic voter likes Elizabeth Warren.

AUDREY MCCOMBS, SUPPORTS ELIZABETH WARREN: She's smart. She gets things done. I also like the fact that she's not a middle-aged white guy.

While many in this group have a long way to go in deciding, those supporting Trump are dug in.

Heather, does it bother you that the president lies?

HALTERMAN: I think a little. Yes, I mean, yes, it does.

KAYE: But that doesn't make you want to vote for him.

HALTERMAN: But, it doesn't. Or it doesn't change my vote for him.


HOWELL: Randi Kaye, there. That story still ahead on NEWSROOM. India is dealing with an extreme weather condition and the late monsoon season making the situation even worse. We'll have details ahead for you.

Also, they may seem pretty relaxed right now. But the -- but the defending U.S. world, World Cup champions, I should say. Sorry about that. Promised to be ready for their first match on Tuesday. We'll have the story. I'll clear my throat. We'll be right back after this.


HOWELL: Take a good look here at this complex weather situation that is coming together in India. Part of the problem is an excessive heat wave that's persisted now for more than two weeks.

Add to that the late onset of the annual monsoon season as well as a water crisis in some areas of that country. And on top of all of that, a tropical cyclone has developed in the Arabian Sea just west of the subcontinent. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is here to tell us all about that. Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: My goodness, George, you know, going from what has been a very quiet pattern when it comes to no moisture no rainfall, and certainly excessive heat for as you said, several weeks across this region, a lot of activity beginning to develop. The monsoonal moisture, the onset across the southern tier of the subcontinent.

The tropical cyclone as you mentioned sitting there just off the West Coast. And then, you go in towards the northern tier of the region here, 40 to nearly 50 degrees in these spots running about five degrees Celsius above average for this time of year, which is, by far, the hottest time of year, climatologically speaking.

But, the pattern here looks as such. We've had temps in the past 24 hours sitting just shy of 49 degrees across the Northern Tier. So, certainly has not seen the impact of the monsoonal moisture or the tropical cyclone just yet.

Look at Delhi, 15 consecutive days now running above 40 degrees. The average sits at 39 for this time of year and the seven-day forecast adds an additional seven days on top of those 50s. So, potentially more than 22 days of 40 plus degree heat.

But notice something here. Not only do we see a noticeable cooling trend by Monday and Tuesday of next week. Introduce some thunderstorms back into the forecast as well. So, all of this hinting at the monsoonal moisture which the official onset of it is June first across the state of Kerala.

Now, that is officially when you expect it to begin. This year, it began on Saturday, about a week late on June 8th. So, again, at least, we know the moisture onset is there in place.

In the immediate forecast, there is that tropical cyclone this is Vayu developing in the past 24 hours. The system there poised to strengthen the water temperatures a bath like 35 degrees across this region in parts of the area. But generally speaking closer to 30 degrees and you notice 152 potentially 160 kilometer per hour winds, which would put it at category to equivalent system here.

It will want a weekend, it will interact with land, but we know areas are on southern in that Pakistan. And also, western India here could see some immediate rainfall out of this. So, it is good news in that sense across that region, George.

[02:55:06] HOWELL: All right, Pedram. Thank you.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

HOWELL: And turning now to women's World Cup action in France, the United States is ready to start its bid for another World Cup title. CNN's Amanda Davies previews the U.S. Women's National Team ahead of their first game at the tournament on Tuesday.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: After four days of action here in France, already, as Alex Morgan put it, this is the defending champion's arriving fashionably late to the World Cup party.

They kick off their campaign here in Reims, the city where traditionally French kings were crowned. But it is not going to be easy for the USA to claim a record-extending fourth World Cup crown, particularly given what we saw from hosts France in their opening performance.

So, they're under no illusion of the importance of really laying down a marker on Tuesday night.

JILL ELLIS, HEAD COACH, UNITED STATES WOMEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: I definitely want to win the first game and get three points. You know, then it's the next, next part. Excitement, I think, would be the best word to describe. I think where I am personally and where our players are. I think it's -- you know, I think when the tournament kicks off and you watch the games, you know, the anticipation for your first match, it grows.

So, I think the players are, you know, ready excited, hungry, you know, I think we feel prepared.

DAVIES: So the team all looking pretty relaxed taking selfies, having a bit of a dance as they look around the 21,000 capacity stadium here in Reims. But over the next few weeks, the USA won't just be fighting on the pitch for their record-extending fourth World Cup. But off it, their battle for equal pay and equality goes on against their own governing body, the U.S. Soccer Federation.

ALEX MORGAN, FORWARD, UNITED STATES WOMEN'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM: Place we have additional things outside of -- outside of this team that people are going to try to distract us with or things before that, we have put on hold that we will continue to do so after the World Cup.

But for right now, this is our focus -- is our sole focus. And this team is united in a way that I've never seen it before and we are very excited to start the World Cup tomorrow, and feeling quite left out though we're the last day.

DAVIES: The USA's opponents are a team very much at the other ends of their footballing development. Before their 2015 World Cup debut, there were only around 1,000 women in Thailand even playing football. They've lost 11 of the last 12 matches. Quite a contrast to their opponents who've suffered just one defeat in their last 38. Amanda Davies, CNN, Reims, France.


HOWELL: Amanda, thank you. And thank you for being with us for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Let's do it again. Another hour after the break. Stay with us.