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Reports: Kim Jong-nam was CIA Informant; Race to 10 Downing Street; The Trump Presidency; Tariff Troubles; At Least 95 People are Dead After an Attack in the West African Nation of Mali; Race to 10 Downing Street; Hong Kong Protest On Extradition Law; U.S. Submits Formal Assange Extradition Request; Wounded Red Sox All-Star David Ortiz Arrives In Boston; Unrest In Sudan, Opposition Says Three Members Forcibly Deported; National Rifle Association Payments Under Scrutiny; New York Times Will End Its Editorial Cartoons; U.S. Embassies Show Pride Despite Flag Ban; RIP Friendship Tree. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 11, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Shocking new allegations about the brother of North Korea's Kim Jong-un as new reporting indicates he was working for the CIA right before he was murdered.
Plus, the nominations are all in. The top 10 conservative candidates have officially kicked off their campaign to become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Also ahead this hour, the demonstrations are taking over a city. Organizers calling for more protests as legislators get ready to debate the controversial extradition bill.
We are live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, and want to welcome our viewers all around the world. I'm George Howell. The "CNN Newsroom" starts now.
We are following new reports about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother and his possible activities in the hours before he was murdered. According to the Wall Street Journal's reports, Kim Jong-nam was an informant for the CIA when he was killed at a Malaysian airport in 2017.
The soon to be published book titled "The Great Successor," says Kim Jong-nam would usually meet his contacts in Singapore or Malaysia and it claims hotel security footage shows a meeting with a U.S. Intelligence agent. We want to note that CNN has not independently verified the reports.
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, SENIOR ADVISER, 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 misbehaviour 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 grey 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 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" (ph) activities were really to build bridges, sort of probe (ph) 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 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. [03:05:01] 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: It's the ultimate question. Who will be there at number 10? Well, 10 candidates are running to become the next leader of Britain's Conservative Party. All of the contenders face the enormous challenge of getting a Brexit deal approved by October 31st.
The former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, is considered a favorite to replace Theresa May, keeping in mind the option of a no-deal Brexit, seems to be widely on the table of these candidates.
When another front-runner admitted to cocaine use years ago, the race become sidetracked over which candidates used illegal drugs and when. Our Nic Robertson has 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 gun blazing, launching his bid to run the country.
MICHAEL GOVE, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: I am now ready to unite, ready to deliver, ready to lead.
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 run 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. Oversees 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 Columbia, let's say to Chelsea, and the number of lives that are destroyed along the way.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Boris Johnson is currently 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 P.M. 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.
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Hi, George.
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 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.
[03:10:00] 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 peoples' 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.
HOWELL: U.S. President Donald Trump says that he wants to meet with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 summit.
[03:14:58] We will talk about what he is threatening to do if he does not get his way. Plus, this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The success of this revolution is a threat to a lot of regimes in the region. It is about justice. It is not just about the people of Sudan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Standing up to a violent military crackdown. We will have the very latest on Sudan's political crisis and why the military rulers may be refusing to back down. Stay with us.
HOWELL: The United States Justice Department made what appears to be a big concession, agreeing to a request from Congress for key evidence in the Mueller investigation related to possible obstruction of justice by the U.S. President Donald Trump. And on Monday, the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee heard testimony from one witness who knows all about a president committing obstruction of justice. Our Pamela Brown has this.
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The last time I appeared before your committee was July 11, 1974.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, former White House counsel to President Nixon testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, saying Trump's former White House counsel, Don McGahn, should testify too.
DEAN: Mr. McGahn represents not Donald Trump, but the office of the president. His client is the office of the president, and I think he owes that office his testimony before this committee.
BROWN (voice-over): John Dean, a CNN contributor, whose testimony in the Watergate investigation helped topple Richard Nixon's presidency, telling Congress there are many similarities between Trump and Nixon.
DEAN: I would say the trump administration is in fast competition with what happened to the Nixon administration.
BROWN (voice-over): Ranking member, Republican Doug Collins, calling today's hearing a "mock impeachment inquiry."
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): I don't appreciate the fact that here we are again with priorities in this committee turned upside down.
BROWN (voice-over): But as the drumbeat among Democrats for an impeachment inquiry intensifies, Dean's testimony is driving the ire of the president himself.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John has been a loser for a long time. We know that. I think he was disbarred, and he went to prison. Other than that, he is doing a great job.
BROWN (voice-over): Trump also on the defensive over his tariff drive with Mexico, which critics have called a manufactured crisis of his own making.
TRUMP (voice-over): If we didn't have tariffs, we wouldn't have made a deal with Mexico.
[03:20:01] We got everything we wanted and we're going to be a great partner to Mexico now, because now they respect us.
BROWN (voice-over): And while Trump claimed that a fully signed and documented agreement will be revealed, Mexico's foreign minister contradicted Trump, saying no secret immigration deal existed between his country and the U.S., and President Trump administration pushing back on The New York Times reporting that parts of the deal were hashed out months ago.
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I've seen some reporting that says that these countless hours were nothing, that they amounted to a waste of time. I can tell you that the team here at the State Department believes full-throatedly that this is an important set of agreements, important set of understandings, one that we'll continue to work on, because in the end we'll be measured by the outcomes that we deliver.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, the president also turning up the heat on China trade talks, saying more tariffs will be imposed if the Chinese president does not meet with him at the G20 summit later this month.
TRUMP (voice-over): I think he will go and I have a great relationship with him. He's actually an incredible guy. He's a great man. He's very strong and very smart, but he is for China and I'm for United States.
BROWN (voice-over): Trump also railed against the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, saying they are undermining his negotiations with China.
TRUMP (voice-over): We have people on the Fed that really weren't -- you know, they're not my people. But they certainly didn't listen to me because they made a big mistake. They raised interest rates far too fast. Don't forget the head of the Fed in China is President Xi. He is the president of China. He also is the head of the Fed. He can do whatever he wants.
BROWN (voice-over): Pamela Brown, CNN, The White House.
HOWELL: And now for the context and perspective from Scott Lucas. Scott is a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham. He is also the founder and editor of EA WorldView, live via Skype from Birmingham, England. It is good to have you, Scott.
SCOTT LUCAS, INTERNATIONAL POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Good morning, George.
HOWELL: So, let's start with Mr. Trump and tariffs, Trump tariffs. Clearly, President Trump 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 towards China so that President Xi will meet with him?
LUCAS: Well, George, what I think we are seeing is the two themes that are going to be in the Trump reelection campaign all the way to 2020. We are going to see tariffs and anti-immigration, sometimes linked into the case of Mexico.
Now, that is fine as long as it "fires up his base" as you have noted. But the real race is on between let's say the reality, which is economic damage. And let's say the Wizard of Oz, in which Trump is saying, for example, on one hand that America is doing great from all of this. And as he said yesterday, that the entire Chinese economy has been wiped out because it lost $15 trillion in GDP, which is not exactly true.
It is too early to tell. Will voters buy what in effect is largely a campaign which could be called deception or will they feel the pain of the tariffs before November 2020?
HOWELL: That kind of leads to the next question, the agreements that Mr. Trump has been working on. He and his team say that it was tariffs that really got him over the finish line, but how much of it was real, a real motivator, and how much do you see as political theater that caters to his base?
LUCAS: Well, you know, when we pull the curtain back, we saw what the Wizard of Oz really was, and what is happening in the last few days since Friday's agreement between Mexico and United States and Donald Trump proclaiming victory, is that Mexico and American officials in December and then again in March, had agreed on the provisions.
They agreed that Mexico would deploy more forces. They agreed that there would be some migrants that would be held in Mexico as they awaited hearing asylum application results in the United States. Mexico may have accelerated some of these stuffs, but there was no new element in the agreement.
And I think related to the piece, one of your commentators said yes, this is classic Trump, which is, 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 proclaims some breakthrough when one doesn't exist or does he get mad at Beijing if he doesn't get any type of advance that he can spend for reelection?
HOWELL: The tariffs on Chinese imports cause American households more than $800 a year despite the spin, the optics of tough talk that satisfies the president's base. What do you think will be the impact among voters as real people start to feel the real difference in their wallets?
LUCAS: Well, George, one thing that we are finding in the era of 24/7 and social media and just trying to handle the information is we don't 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 (INAUDIBLE) that voters will have to consider.
[03:25:01] 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 areas of the country are already 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 (ph) term. But in the short term, can Trump spin this and say, your economy is still booming, it is still growing, despite the effects of what I am doing. And that's really going to be race (ph) against time all the way into next year.
HOWELL: Scott Lucas, we appreciate your time. Thank you.
LUCAS: Thank you, George.
HOWELL: Also in the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson is viewed as the front-runner in the race to lead Britain's Conservative Party. Still ahead, we will show you how the hard-line Brexiteer is taking his campaign now to the streets.
Plus, protestors in Hong Kong staged the city's biggest demonstration in many years. And now, they want to do it again. We will have a live report from Hong Kong as "CNN Newsroom" live pushes ahead.
HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. You are watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell with the headlines we are following for you this hour.
U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening new tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods. This if President Xi Jinping doesn't meet with him at the upcoming GH20 summit. Mr. Trump is also pushing back on reports that key provisions of his immigration deal with Mexico were actually agreed to months ago.
At least 95 people are dead after an attack in the West African nation of Mali. An official says armed men set fire to a village and started shooting. That village belonged to the Dogon ethnic group. The official says the attackers were Fulani. The two groups have fought before over access to land and water.
In the United Kingdom, it is a crowded field of contenders all competing to replace Theresa May as the leader of Britain's Conservative Party and also as prime minister. The 10 candidates face enormous challenges of dealing with Brexit, of course, as the October 31st deadline looms large. The first of several rounds of voting starts on Thursday.
Britain's former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, is considered to be a favorite of the pack.
[03:29:56] The Brexit hard-liner is viewed as both a risk and the candidate who can save the faltering Conservative Party. Like any politician though, he does have baggage. Our Matthew Chance has this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, good morning. Hello.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Check out the new improved Boris Johnson. His leadership campaign team is key for us to see.
He slimmed down and got the hair under control and he is on the streets discussing important issues like Brexit with ordinary Brits.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: If I get in we'll come out deal or no deal on October the 31st?
CHANCE: Trying to look as Prime Ministerial in other words as he can.
JOHNSON: Too many people feel left behind. That they are not able to take part fully in the opportunities and success of our country.
CHANCE: It is a conscious break from the bungling Boris persona, he seems to have carefully cultivated over his political career, yes, this was him hanging haplessly from a zip wire when he was London mayor planning around for the public below.
And you could forget this bruising encounter with a 10 year old Japanese schoolboy when Boris decided to show off his rugby skills. Litany of diplomatic (inaudible) has led to inevitable comparisons.
You have been described as Britain's Trump, with better hair. What do you think of that comparison?
JOHNSON: Look I think when I was foreign secretary of the U.K. I had good relationships with the White House, I met the president a few times, I am very pleased to meet him as any foreign secretary would be.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I know Boris. I like him, I have liked him for a long time, he's -- I think he could do a very good job.
CHANCE: But the British Conservative Party is unlikely to take the U.S. Presidents view into account, for them a hardline Brexiteer Boris who campaigned strongly for Britain to leave the European Union is seen as a risk, making him Prime Minister raises the chances of a no deal Brexit and that could disrupt the economy and alienated voters.
Are you confident that we will definitely -- Britain will definitely be leaving the European Union, even without a deal?
CHANCE: That would be catastrophic for this country?
JOHNSON: No. I did particularly want that as the starting point.
CHANCE: Bets his Brexit stance also makes Boris such a potential savior, voters are abandoning Britain's ruling party in droves, and Boris may prove the one genuinely charismatic and popular figure, who can save them. Matthew Chance, CNN, London.
HOWELL: Matthew, thank you. Both protest organizers and one of Hong Kong's biggest trade unions are calling for more demonstrations and strikes on Wednesday, this after the city's biggest protests in decades, take a look at the time lapse video here. It really shows how many people showed up on the streets, by estimates more than a 1 million people packed the streets on Sunday, all rallying 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. The Wednesday protest are time to coincide with another reading of the bill by the cities legislature. Despite the outcry though, Hong Kong's chief executive is promising to push ahead with the bill, she insist that she is not being pressured by Beijing.
Let's bring in our Andrew Stevens on this. Andrew, live in Hong Kong and Andrew, there is of course, the promise of more protest, the opposition is not budging and neither is a chief executive, where do things go from here?
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sounds like a standoff at the moment doesn't it George, but the next step is clearly with those who wish to continue to protest against this extradition bill and that is going to kick off. We understand at 10 p.m. this evening, there has been a call to protestors to assemble outside the legislative council this is in Hong Kong's parliament where tomorrow, excuse me, on Wednesday, the bill will be debated.
But the big protest is expected to happen on Wednesday, as you say the Hong Kong confederation of trade unions has called on its members to go on strike, we are talking about nearly 200,000 people here, there are student unions who said they will be going on strikes, there are teachers who said will be going on strike. A hundred businesses have signed up to petition to go on strike. So it does seem to be gaining momentum, the number of people who are planning to turn up and remember, this is just three days after we saw what could be a record number of Hong Kong is taking to the streets protest against this extradition bill.
[03:35:08] Nearly a million people actually it will be over a million people, that is according to organizers of that Sunday march. So there is still plenty of determination here in Hong Kong and as you stand here, we watch the numbers of people and unions of the catholic church is weighing in, asking that the government to reconsider what they are doing, to give it more time to talk about this bill without doing anything to hasty. So there is, as I say, a momentum building, George.
HOWELL: Tell us more about the bill itself, the chief executive saying that there are protections included, but critics say those protections are not enough.
STEVENS: Yes, in a nutshell. Hong Kong has very few extradition treaties with other countries, only 20, so it is not unexpected that Hong Kong wants to increase the numbers of countries it has extradition treaties with. The problem is this bill includes mainland China and Hong Kong is do not trust the mainland Chinese legal system. It is not seen as fair in partial in anyway here, there is a lot of coercion, if you had read reports human right watch talks about the entire Chinese judicial system as not being anywhere near where it should to be to offer fair and impartial justice.
So Hong Kong's fear is if there is a strategic -- excuse me -- if there is an extradition order that people who have offended Beijing in some way could be then targeted for extradition by the Chinese. Hong Kong's government in counter by saying, we had put in safeguards, it will be treated on case by case basis.
The Hong Kong courts themselves will decide whether there is enough evidence to actually extradite someone across the border. So there are the safeguards which the Hong Kong government says is enough to guarantee that only people who have committed serious crimes, by that, I mean crimes which are punishable by at least seven years in prison will be extradited, but that is absolutely not easing anyone's fears in Hong Kong, George, hence we are seeing this continued buildup of anger and of more protests.
HOWELL: And you know, we are looking at these images right now, police clashing with some protestors, is that a big concern Andres, as the call is out for more protests to continue.
STEVENS: It is a concern, George, the million person march on Sunday was peaceful and the Hong Kong government (inaudible), the Chief Executive said so. It was a -- generally a very, very peaceful determined march for Hong Kong to express their right to protest against this bill, what happened later in the evening towards midnight was that there were scaffold involving police and protestors using barricades against the police, a handful of police, but endured 19 protesters were arrested. The police side I found box (inaudible), they found drugs, they found various implements which could have been used against the police in the cleanup that followed that protest.
So there is a concern that particularly tonight if there is a big crowd and there is a pushback from the police, something could get -- could become violent again, but it does not seem to be stopping Hong Kong from doing what they want to do and at this stage certainly you talk to people in the street around here, nobody is interested in carrying out violent attacks. The police say, that if may had been certain elements within the community who have done it, but certainly the general population wants to see more peaceful and big protests.
HOWELL: Andrew Stevens, live for us in Hong Kong, Andrew thank you.
The United States has submitted its formal request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom. Assange you will remember was arrested in April, this after refusing to leave the Ecuador's embassy in London when he had safe shelter for almost seven years, he was initially charged with conspiring with former U.S. Army Intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning to leak classified U.S. government documents, but last month prosecutors added 17 new count saying that he violated the espionage act for obtaining and publishing secret Pentagon documents. The WikiLeaks founder has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Retired Red Sox all star player David Ortiz has arrived in Boston, the city where his legendary reputation was made to receive urgent treatment just 24 hours after being shot in the back in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz was shot point blank range, damaging some of his internal organs, but his condition was stabilized during the emergency surgery that took place there. The Red Sox arranged Ortiz's flight back to the United States on board a medical plane. In Boston fans paused for a moment of silence before Monday's game, a show of love and support for the man they call Big Papi.
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[03:40:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is loved throughout our nation and beyond, yet to us, he is our own adopted son. Will you please join us as we offer a moment of reflection, thought, and prayer for a complete healing and full recovery for our beloved Big Papi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: In the meantime police in the Dominican Republic have detained one suspect who was attacked by bystanders after the shooting happened. They are looking for a second person who escaped the scene.
A top U.S. Diplomat is headed to Sudan this week as that countries opposition says, three of its members who are detained by security forces, they had been -- forcibly deported to South Sudan. Last week's military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators killed at least 118 people, the protestors aren't backing down though, but as our Ben Wedeman reports, they are facing ruthless opponents and we warn you going into this story, many of the images you will see are graphic.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Shop shuttered normally busy streets deserted, pro-democracy protestors have launched a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience. After the paramilitary rapid support forces led an attack on the long running city outside defense headquarters. In the chaos that followed, they killed more than 100 people according to the Central Committee of 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 the 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. The opposition led by the Sudanese professional associations is demanding the military hand power to civilians immediately and is calling for an independent investigation into last week's killings.
Men in uniform however are shrugging off the demands, addressing his troops last week, rapids support for his commander, Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, known simply as Hemedti, sent a stern warning to protestors. We will not permit chaos he said, code words in the area for no power to the people. Sarah Abdeljalil based in the U.K. is a member of the Sudanese Professional Association, she stresses the uprising has repercussions well beyond Sudan's borders.
SARAH ABDELJALIL, MEMBER OF THE SUDANESE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION: The success of this revolution it is a threat to a lot of regimes in the region, it is about justice, it is not just about the people of Sudan.
WEDEMAN: In a region where autocrats hold sway, this revolution matters. Ben Wedeman, CNN, London.
HOWELL: Next on Newsroom, it was a terrifying scenario that brought back terrible memories in Manhattan, as word that a helicopter crashed into a New York skyscraper, details on a deadly accident still ahead for you.
Plus the national Rifle Association under scrutiny for lavish spending and reportedly making big payments to board members who are not supposed to be paid.
[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOWELL: Welcome back, it was a terrifying and dangerous scene high above New York City, take a look a helicopter crash landed on the roof of a building killing one person believed to be the pilot. New York's mayor says there was no indication the crash was an act of terror. Our Miguel Marquez has this.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One person is dead after a helicopter crash on the roof of a building in Manhattan sparking fire and panic as people try to escape from their offices.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a moment where we all cannot come and get out of the building immediately, because we're all just backlog in there.
MARQUEZ: The victim is a pilot and believed to be the only person on board.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Battalion nine to Manhattan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Battalion nine?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have what appears to be a helicopter that crashed into the roof, the helicopter is on fire, crews are getting access now, we are getting lines in place. Search is underway.
MARQUEZ: In a tweet the New York City fire department saying the fire spark by the crash had been put out, but fuel was still leaking from the wreckage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the explosion, when they came on and smoke are coming out and then we (inaudible) piece in front of my vehicle.
MARQUEZ: Still unclear if the pilot intentionally crash landed on the 51 story building, perhaps an effort to save lives.
REP. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: Preliminary information is that there was a helicopter that made a forced landing emergency or landed on the roof of the building for one reason or another. People who were in the building said they felt the building shake.
MARQUEZ: Morgan Aeris, who worked on the 14th floor of the building says it took his entire office by surprise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were all on our chairs and we felt a little bit of a tremor like, and that's like, that's something that is unusual, that does not normally happen and in five minutes later they said, OK, it is time to evacuate.
MARQUEZ: About 100 fire and EMS units responded to the scene.
BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I want to say the most important thing first, there is no indication at this time that was an act of terror.
MARQUEZ: Now as we wait to learn more about the pilot's identity, the NTSB will be leading an investigation to determine the probable cause of the crash.
CUOMO: If you are a New Yorker you have a love on the PTSD, right from 9/11 and I remember that morning all too well. So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think, my mind goes where every New Yorkers mine goes.
MARQUEZ: So to have an idea of what the conditions are like in Manhattan? They had been like this for much of the day, this is the sort of whether that this helicopter is flying in so it is unclear why this helicopter was in the place it was, that is all part of what officials are trying to determine, I just spoke to people in the building, one person on the 29th floor said that they were towed away in their deaths for about 10 minutes before being evacuated and when they got into that stairwell, there was a lot of confusion. There were very, very full, there was also smoke in the stairwell and they were not sure if they were going down into the fire and question whether they should go back up, but eventually everybody got out OK, and now just the investigation. Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.
HOWELL: New questions about lavish spending and potential conflicts of interest at the National Rifle Association. The Washington Post reports that the NRA has been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to board members who are supposed to be unpaid and who have oversights over the gun rights group's finances. Our Tome Foreman has this.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Three million dollars to a firearms company executive, 400,000 to a former pro football player, 255,000 to a former police officer and 50,000 to a rock star.
[03:50:06] In all, the Washington Post cites 18 members of the National Rifle Association Board getting paid for a variety of goods and services by the NRA, illegal, no, but for a powerful tax exempt organization such matters can draw scrutiny from the internal revenue service. George Donnini is an attorney focus on corporate law.
GEORGE DONNINI, PARTNER, BUTZEL LONLAW FIRM: They calls into question at least potentially people acting in their own self-interest versus the interest of the organization to which they owe a fiduciary duty.
FOREMAN: Tax law says, the 501 C-3 organization such as the NRA is prohibited from allowing its income or assets to benefit insiders, typically board members, officers, directors and important employees. The NRA says that the Post has presented a distorted view and in the close knit community of gun right supporters and the NRA, connections between employees or board members and strategic partners are not unusual, but other allegations are also rocking the gun rights group.
OLIVER NORTH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF NRA: I was feel at home in an NRA annual meeting, surrounded by law-abiding citizens of this great republic.
FOREMAN: NRA president Oliver North was pushed out when he went to war with longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre, who has been accused of lavish spending on clothes, foreign travel and approving exorbitant legal fees.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION'S: Well, I will tell you, the only reason I can keep up this fight is because of you.
FOREMAN: LaPierre pointed the finger at North, accusing him of cashing in on an NRA deal with an advertising company, everyone is denying everything, but amid this the New York Attorney General has launched a probe, congressional investigators are looking at alleged contact between NRA officials and some people caught up in the Russian investigation and even President Trump who loves the NRA.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are great American patriots.
FOREMAN: Has tweeted stop the internal fighting and get back to greatness. Tome Foreman, CNN, Washington.
HOWELL: The New York Times has decided to eliminate editorial cartoons from its international edition. This move comes after a major backlash over a controversial drawing that published in April, to what some called an anti-Semitic depiction of the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The cartoon which we are choosing not to broadcast spark widespread condemnation. The Times apologize for publishing it and denounce the series of actions to ensure that it never happens again. Including disciplinary steps against the editor who pick the cartoon. The Times also says it had been considering removing the cartoons section from the international section well before this incident occurred.
Still ahead here, they used to be best of friends but now the French American friendship, well, it has got a bit complicated and it's showing on the White House lawn.
HOWELL: Around the world some U.S. embassies are showing their support for pride month despite being denied permission from the Trump administration to fly the rainbow flag from their flagpoles. The U.S. embassy in Seoul draped a huge flag over the front of the building showing its solitary with the LGBTQ community. In New Delhi the embassy illuminated its facade in pride colors choosing to feature a brilliant light display over a flag.
[03:55:08] The U.S. embassy in Santiago, Chile also lit up like a rainbow and you see here this image there and the U.K. embassy in the U.S. unabashedly showed off its pride highlighting that its government has no such restrictions by showing this special version of the British flag.
Finally it is hard not to see this as a metaphor, the tree meant to symbolize the bond between the United States and France apparently died. Our Jeanne Moos gets to the root of the problem.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's easy to get sappy over a saplings, remember President Trump and Macron shoveling dirt as they symbolically planted an oak tree from France on the White House lawn, symbolizing these ties that binds us, well brace yourselves, the friendship tree is dead according to French media. It was planted for the photo op, then disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may notice something missing, gone.
MOOS: Just a yellow spot left on the lawn as the tree went into agricultural quarantine. Rest in peace sweet saplings, you did not even make out of quarantine, died before you're tender routes could even be replanted.
European oak tree dies after 14 months in U.S. detention camp, Red one tweet. Dozens of others repeated the same thing, everything Trump touches dies. This is called a metaphor, a metaphor for the one's blooming bromance between the two presidents.
TRUMP: I like him a lot.
MOOS: When they stared into each other's eyes and whispered, they held hands on the White House portico, Trump groomed Macron.
TRUMP: We have to make him perfect.
MOOS: The Daily Show gave it the French cinematic treatment, but by autumn the bromance was describe as broken, on the rocks over issues like the Iran deal, climate change, the European Union, the end of illusion was how one French paper put it. Though the illusion was still on display at the D-Day celebration. Hands on shoulders, a hug, even a hand on the chest, someone joked about the tree planting the news soprano season is the best. As if they were mobsters moving a body, now the tree is a corpse. Remember that old verse, poems are made by fools like me, but only Trump, Macron and Charlie Brown can kill a tree.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have killed it.
MOOS: Jeanne Moss, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything I touched gets ruined.
MOOS: New York.
HOWELL: Thanks for being with us for Newsroom, I'm George Howell, the news continues here on CNN, right after the break.