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Trump Defends Statement on Taking Foreign Help; Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Leaving This Month; Mexican President to Outline Border Steps Friday; Italian Deputy PM Salvini to Meet with U.S. Vice President; Protesters Vow to Keep Fighting Extradition Bill; Raptors Win First NBA Championship; Nine Suspects in David Ortiz Shooting; Redesigning Air Force One. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired June 14, 2019 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman and now U.S. officials say they have images proving Iran is to blame but the facts may not be so concrete. We'll get into at this hour.
Also, the man accused of opening fire at several mosques the New Zealand pleads not guilty to 51 murder charges. We'll take you live to Christchurch for reaction to that. And Oh Canada, for the first time in history, the country has an NBA title to hang in the rafters.
Imagine the celebration. Hello everyone, welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Our top story, the Trump administration flatly accusing Iran of attacking two tanker ships. It happened in broad daylight as the ships sailed through the Gulf of Oman. It is the second time in a month that commercial vessels have been targeted in the strategic waterway.
The U.S. Central Command released footage, this footage here that it says shows an Iranian naval vessel removing an unexploded mine from one of the ships hours after the initial attack. That tanker there belongs to Japan and the incident came as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a was meeting with Iranian leaders in Tehran.
The U.S. says these photos show what appears to be the unexploded device on the side of the Japanese ship. U.S. defense officials believe Iran was recovering evidence of its alleged involvement in the attack. But Iran's Foreign Minister suggests it is being set up.
This is what he tweeted, that the U.S. immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence only makes it abundantly clear that the B-team is moving to a plan B. Sabotage diplomacy including by Abe Shinzo and cover up its economic terrorism against Iran. For the latest on what we know, here's CNN's Alex Marquardt.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was early morning in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes when the blasts went off. Flames pouring out the side of one of the tankers. The United States quickly accusing Iran of the attacks.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.
MARQUARDT: The five blasts on the two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz hit around the waterline close to the engine rooms as they were under sail. So-called limpet mines attached to the hulls are suspected of causing the explosion after the responding crew on the USS Bainbridge according to U.S. military official saw an unexploded mine in the water.
JONATHAN COHEN, ACTING U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: It's unacceptable for any party to attack commercial shipping. And today's attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman raised very serious concerns.
MARQUARDT: The crews evacuated the ships. The Bainbridge rescued the 21 person crew on the Japanese owned Kokuka Courageous. One was injured. Thankfully no one was hurt on the other tanker, the Front Altair owned by a Norwegian company. That crew was picked up by another ship then transferred to Iran where they still are.
The attacks came as Japan's Prime Minister was meeting with Iran's supreme leader. Iran's Foreign Minister tweeting "suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fired back.
POMPEO: This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and it's surrogates against American and allied interests. And they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.
MARQUARDT: He offered no evidence but pointed to a long list of alleged attacks by Iran including those a month ago on four other tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and argued that it's Iran lashing out in response to the American maximum pressure campaign.
RAY MABUS, FORMER SECRETARY OF U.S. NAVY: It at least appears to me that it's trying to send a message that if you apply maximum pressure in the words of the Trump administration to Iran that they're going to -- they're going to strike back in some way.
MARQUARDT: U.S. officials tell CNN tonight they believe that the Iranian boat that was retrieving that unexploded mine was Iran trying to cover its tracks. More Iranian boats have entered the area. The U.S. is also sending warships of its own including a destroyer to join the USS Bainbridge. After speaking today, Pompeo went to the Pentagon to discuss the
situation of today's attacks and the Trump administration immediately blaming Iran only raising the possibility of some sort of dangerous escalation. Alex Marquardt, CNN Washington.
[01:05:25] ALLEN: Let's talk more about it with CNN's a. She joins us live from the capital of the United Arab Emirates. First, let's begin, Gul, with walking us through this new video released by the U.S. and why they believe it is significant.
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL PRODUCER: Natalie, if we look at that video. Let's just see what it shows us. You see a small boat approaching at whole level this one of these big vessels that was attacked in the Gulf of Oman. It approaches and some of the people on that smaller boat, you can see them in this video trying to pull something from the hull of the vessel that was attacked.
They seem to bring it on to the smaller boat and you can really see them trying to pull that object off of the hull of the attacked ship and they seem to put it on to their boat. Now, it's the United States that release this imagery and what they're saying is that small boat, in fact, belongs to the Iranians and that what they're removing from the hull is, in fact, an unexploded mine.
We don't know for sure if that is definitely the case, but if it is, this is damning video evidence of Iran's involvement in what happened. Not only does it -- could it be showing the fact that Iran was involved in the attack but that afterwards, they were trying to cover their tracks by removing this object that you've seen in the video.
So all around, what happened with these the attack on these two carriers in the Gulf of Oman is unclear still, but we're just starting to see the kinds of videos, imagery coming out and the narrative is starting to clarify around it.
But of course as all things in this region, this is something that we can't say with any level of certainty and the investigation will reveal more but the waters, of course, remain murky, Natalie.
ALLEN: Yes, absolutely, in more ways than one don't they, Gul, because this could be a dangerous escalation in an area that is already seen instability and now this. And add to it, the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz, very important to shipping internationally.
TUYSUZ: Absolutely, Natalie. The Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman is the waterway through which some third of the world's oil supply travels through. So safety, therefore, these commercial vessels that are carrying this precious cargo is paramount to the global economy.
Experts say that if there is uncertainty in these waters where this attack took -- where these attacks took place, we are talking about possibly cutting off the supply for the Western world of oil that comes from this region. And that would have huge repercussions.
That's for the economy and for the oil trade of course. But on the other hand, this is a very dangerous escalation as you said. We have seen the Saudi block and the Iranians facing off in proxy wars across the region in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq.
There hasn't been a direct confrontation yet. It has been playing out across the region through proxies. But it's events like this, like this incident that occurred recently as well as the one that happened that took place a month ago that continues to just ratchet up tensions in this very volatile region.
And that's what people are looking at with fear and saying could there be the risk of a direct confrontation in these very important waters here in this region. Natalie?
ALLEN: Right, this is a story that is developing. It's yet to be played out. Much more to learn. Gul Tuysuz for us in Abu Dhabi, thank you so much. David Rohde is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Executive Editor of The New Yorker Web site. He joins me now from New York.
David, good to have you. Thanks for being with us. First up --
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you.
ALLEN: Yes. The U.S. quick to point the finger now at Iran and said it has intelligence to prove it. And tonight, the U.S. has released video of what it claims is an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from the side of one of the tankers after the attacks. Iran vehemently denies it was responsible but does this video dispute that?
[01:10:05] ROHDE: I think it is pretty convincing evidence that Iran might have carried this out. These are -- these appear to be Iranian boats. This is a kind of tactic that Iran has used in the past so it's not definitive intelligence but it does appear that Iran was involved in this incident.
ALLEN: And so, if so, why? Does it make sense Iran would want to attack tankers in the Gulf of Oman?
ROHDE: Well, I think it's assigned to the Trump administration that they can push back on this American pressure, that the Trump administration you know, needs to potentially back off or negotiate with Iran, and that this could show that hardliners in Iran have grown an influence and they are able -- they have enough power to carry out this kind of incident.
This was -- is already driving up oil prices worldwide. They're up by three percent. And this waterway is a choke point. It's an opportunity for Iran to pressure sort of the entire world economy.
ALLEN: Well, if as you say these are hardliners taking advantage of a situation, where might this go as far as escalation? What's the danger? ROHDE: The danger is you know conflict in the Persian Gulf. That you have this one narrow passageway, we're roughly a third of all oil carried by sea passes through that one area. The American economy is less dependent on that oil, but China is enormously dependent, Europe is normally dependent.
So if you have images like the ones we're seeing now, it will drive up oil prices. If this continues, if this escalates, it could impact large parts of the world economy.
ALLEN: Right. An instability in the region for sure. What might the White House be able to do if it wants to defuse the tension with Iran?
ROHDE: So the interesting thing is that today Prime Minister Abe of Japan was in Tehran. It was his first visit since Iran took American hostages in 1979. And Prime Minister Abe was carrying a note from President Trump to Iran's supreme leader. There does seem to be a desire on President Trump's part to negotiate.
But again, Supreme Leader Khamenei, he rejected the note. He rejected any negotiations and he also denied that Iran had any role in these attacks. So there's a real tension inside the Trump administration. John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, the National Security Adviser and the Secretary of State want to confront Iran militarily, but President Trump does not.
He's made it very clear he doesn't want war. So this is a big moment for the Trump administration it's a test and how they respond in the next 48 hours will be crucial.
ALLEN: Absolutely. And Iran has said over and over, we don't want war. Do you believe that?
ROHDE: I don't think anyone wants war. I don't think it will be good for either side. But I think the economic pressures brought on Iran by the Trump administration sanctions you know, is causing them to push back and saying there's a price to this aggressive stance that the Trump administration has taken.
So it's -- again, this is a major test for the president. Does he escalate this? Does he you know, push back with tough talk? Does he deploy even more American forces in the region, or does he look for conciliation. Will he you know, step back? So it's a big -- I think it's a big test for President Trump.
ALLEN: David Rohde, we appreciate your insights. Thank you so much.
ROHDE: Thank you.
ALLEN: It has been more than three months since White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has briefed reporters. Now comes words she's leaving her post at the end of the month. President Trump announced the move Thursday. He is also doing damage control after claiming Wednesday he would welcome damaging information on a political rival from other countries.
For more on these developments, here's CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, President Trump is defending some of his most stunning comments yet.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not an interference to have information. I think I'd take it.
COLLINS: Now, comparing taking dirt from Russia to political diplomacy tweeting, "I made and talked to foreign governments every day. I just met with the Queen of England, the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We talked about everything. Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous."
Trump is facing blistering criticism after he dismissed the idea of alerting the FBI if a foreign government offered dirt on an opponent.
TRUMP: I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI.
COLLINS: He claimed it's common practice for members of Congress.
TRUMP: You go and talk honestly to congressmen, they all do it, they always have.
COLLINS: But lawmakers, some Republican are pushing back on his claim that it's routine.
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I ran for president twice, I ran for governor once, I ran for Senate twice, I've never had any attempt made by a foreign government to contact me or a member of my staff. And had that occurred, I would have contacted the FBI immediately.
[01:15:07] COLLINS: The President's allies are struggling to defend his remarks.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think it's a mistake. I think -- I think it's a mistake of law.
COLLINS: While others are trying to turn the tables on House Speaker Pelosi and Democrats.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Her own party is spending millions of dollars for a former, foreign intelligence officer that were now trying to interview, travel the world, trying to drum something up and when they could not find it, they made it up.
COLLINS: That research compiled by a former British spy, warned of possible Russian infiltration to meddle in the election through the Trump campaign, something the U.S. government was actively looking into. The dossier's claims did not all prove to be true.
Democrats say it's clear, Trump hasn't learned his lesson from 2016, and an investigation that has loomed over his presidency.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Everybody in the country should be totally appalled by what the President said last night.
COLLINS: But for now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding the line on impeachment.
PELOSI: What we want to do is have a methodical approach to the path that we are on.
COLLINS: And tonight, a government watchdog is recommending that the President fire Kellyanne Conway, after she repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from making political statements.
The office of the special counsel, which is unrelated to Robert Mueller, says Conway has repeatedly violated the law and her actions erode the principal foundation of our democratic system.
The White House is firing back, claiming the offices unprecedented actions are deeply flawed and violate her constitutional rights to free speech and due process.
And on top of all that news coming out the White House, the President also announced that the press secretary, Sarah Sanders, is going to be leaving her job at the end of the month. She's one of the longest- serving members of not only the administration, but also was there back during the President's campaign. But she said she'll be going back to Arkansas, her home state.
And the President said he hopes she runs for governor. Now, while that will seem like it's the President talking, we have been told by sources that that is actually a real consideration that Sarah Sanders has been floating in recent weeks. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Samantha Vinograd is a CNN National Security Analyst. She joins me now from Washington. Sam, good to see you, thanks for being with us.
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: My pleasure.
ALLEN: First up, the President has made questionable statements akin to this before, but where does this one rank?
VINOGRAD: This is beyond the realm of comprehension. What he said before was kind of putting his toe in the water. He explicitly called for foreign governments to attack our country. That's what foreign interference is. And trying to play this off as him just listening to foreign officials or maybe getting information from them, is really just a distraction technique.
The President of the United States told the entire world that he is open to serving as a conduit for foreign attacks on our democracy. He put up --
He has a for sale sign on his forehead. He's looking for proposals from foreign governments and very clearly signaling that every Democratic political candidate is really fair game when it comes to the 2020 campaign cycle, just as long as any foreign government is willing to help President Trump.
ALLEN: Right. He seems he's inviting foreign entities to be involved, in a sense, encouraging collusion, perhaps, where clearly he loathes from the Mueller investigation.
VINOGRAD: Well, I hate that word, personally, because it is so inaccurate from a criminal standpoint. But you raise a very good point and that the Mueller report did not clear members of the 2016 campaign when it came to potential conspiracy.
The Mueller report indicated that there was not enough evidence to obtain and sustain a conviction. That is very different than the exoneration that President Trump has used. And one of the issues in the Mueller report that cite about a special counsel is a lack of knowledge on behalf of various members of the Trump campaign.
Ignorance wasn't bliss in 2016, in my opinion, and now, in 2019, three years later, President Trump and members of his team know full well how Russia attacked our country, know full well how Russia stole information, attacked Hillary Clinton through cyber-attacks, launder that information through organizations and people that they viewed as tools.
President Trump's comments are really just setting himself up to be a tool for Russia and any other foreign government that wants to launder information.
ALLEN: And, of course, his comments provoked outrage from Democrats and this, from Nancy Pelosi, here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: Yesterday, the President gave us, once again, evidence that he does not know right from wrong. It's a very sad thing, a very sad thing that he just doesn't know right from wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:20:01] ALLEN: And that's from Nancy Pelosi and from other Democrats renewed calls for impeachment. Are his comments that serious?
VINOGRAD: Well, I actually would disagree with Nancy Pelosi on this. I think President Trump knows right from wrong. I just don't think he cares when he's doing something wrong just as long as it helps his political campaign.
And, you know, Republicans today were a disgrace. Republicans went before the American people and instead of condemning the President's dangerous comments, instead, really launched a dossier distraction.
They pointed to, really, an incomparable situation, the 2016 election cycle, to try to distract from the fact that the President of the United States is a direct threat to U.S. national security, and that really just signals around the world that we are so divided from a partisan standpoint.
That even existential risk to American national security are going to turn into a game of what about (INAUDIBLE) rather than coming together and saying, gosh, how do we control the worst impulses of this President?
ALLEN: Right. Because the Republicans continue to stand by him, it seems, no matter what. So, will this blow over, Sam, or will this blow up for this president?
VINOGRAD: Well, there's a blow up for you as national security. I am fairly confident that every foreign government around the world heard what the President said yesterday, and immediately started tasking their assets to figure out how to use the President as a tool, how to dig up information that he wants, launder it through him, potentially, to advance their own agenda.
So, it is a massive blow to the U.S. national security. I also think this won't blow over when it comes to the word of the FBI. The President didn't just under cut the FBI with these comments. He added to their workload because, again, he really exacerbated threats, counterintelligence threats to U.S. national security.
I don't think Democrats will let this blow over, just like Democrats have not let go of, really, unanswered questions with respect to President Trump, whether the 2016 election cycle, or even things that he's done while he's in the White House, like security clearance issues.
I believe that Republicans are already trying to make this blow over. We saw that happen as soon as today. So it really depends on which side of the aisle you sit.
ALLEN: Right. And he has tried to walk this back, and oftentimes when he makes what would be considered egregious statements, he walks it back, and then it goes away, or people make excuses for what this President says that is not presidential.
VINOGRAD: He walks it back-ish, I mean, he made statements in his press conference with the minister of Poland, the other day that were really incomprehensible. It appeared that he was trying to walk something back, but who can really tell?
So, rather than just saying, I misspoke, or very clearly stating, I will not accept information from foreign governments as part of that campaign because it's illegal. And more generally, it undermines our national security. He could say I have full faith in the FBI, I know they have a heavy workload right now with such a wide political field, but he hasn't said any of that.
And so, he could address this by being forward-looking, rather than even addressing what he said the other day. But there is really no time he has done that, except after the Helsinki summit, when there was such outrage over him saying that he believed Vladimir Putin, that he said that he misspoke, you know, shortly after making those comments.
ALLEN: Sam Vinograd, we appreciate your insights. We'll wait and see what happens with this one. Thank you.
VINOGRAD: Thank you.
ALLEN: The judge formally lays out the charges against the man accused of killing 51 people in the New Zealand mosque attacks, and they include an unprecedented charge. We'll have a live report from New Zealand coming next.
[01:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ALLEN: The man accused of shooting worshippers at two New Zealand mosques in March, has pleaded not guilty. 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant faces 92 charges, 51 of murder, 40 of attempted murder, and one chart under the Terrorism Suppression Act.
Let's talk about these developments with journalist Donna-Marie Lever, she joins us now, live, from Christchurch. And Donna-Marie, this must have been inexplicable emotional moment for these families. What was their reaction when they heard that the suspect was entering a plea of not guilty?
DONNA-MARIE LEVER, JOURNALIST: Initially, a hugely emotional day for members of the public who came along to witness this court proceeding today.
As you can imagine, more than 100 members of the community, many of them Muslims, many survivors, friends and family, packed into the courthouse just behind me here. So much so the court needed to provide an extra two rooms just so everyone could actually fit in and watch the proceedings unfold.
Those not guilty pleas entered on behalf of Tarrant, by his lawyer, Shane Tait, and as they were read out in court, we could see Tarrant on a large T.V. screen which was being beamed from Oakland's maximum security prison, where he is being held.
As that happened, he was silent, but he was smiling, and, of course, members of the public, in the gallery, were holding hands, say, were clutching each other, some were hugging, others, just absolutely infuriated, and the anger coming out as well.
It's still a very long time until this case will go to trial. A date has been set down for the 4th of May, 2020, next year, and, of course, a lot of these people are very anxious and emotional wait as that time comes along.
ALLEN: Absolutely. I mean, this is something that will be hanging over this country until this trial. And then you've got the trial after this long wait. I can't imagine how that will be for these families and the people of New Zealand that went through this, and how disturbing that the suspect was smiling during this court appearance. So, I want to ask you, Donna-Marie, about this fact that this is also the first-ever terrorism charge in the country. What's the impact of that?
LEVER: Look, this is unprecedented in New Zealand's law, the Terrorism Suppression Act of 2002 has been around for some 17 years, but, of course, it has never actually been used. A lot of consultation would have gone on behind closed doors for the crown to reach this decision. And, of course, there's still a long way to go.
The crown must now approve this charge during the trial and we won't find out about that, of course, until next year.
ALLEN: All right, we appreciate your reporting for us. Donna-Marie Lever, live from Christchurch. Thank you.
Mexico is working to secure its southern border with Guatemala, but how will they be able to stop the thousands of migrants desperate to reach Mexico, and ultimately, the U.S.? We'll have a report coming up here.
[01:29:51] Also pro-democracy activists planning another day of mass protests in Hong Kong. We continue to talk about what is behind their anger with the government, next here.
ALLEN: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
Let's update you on our top news this hour.
The U.S. military says video shows an Iranian vessel removing an unexploded mine from the side of a Japanese tanker. That ship was one of two attacked early Thursday in the Gulf of Oman. The administration says he believes Iran was responsible which Iran denied.
The suspect in the New Zealand mosque attack has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Brenton Tarrant is accused of shooting worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. He's facing 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murder charges, and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act.
He hasn't held a formal briefing in 94 days. And now press secretary Sarah Sanders is leaving the White House at the end of the month. The move has been expected for some time. President Trump announcing her departure praised Sanders as a warrior.
President Trump's unprecedented declaration that he would accept dirt from a foreign government about a political opponent is under fire. Sources say even Mr. Trump's allies have privately been critical of the President's remarks. It is a crime for a campaign to knowingly solicit or accept items of value from foreign nationalists.
We want to bring in Peter Mathews, a professor of political science at Cypress College, joining us this hour from Los Angeles and a frequent guest. Peter -- good to see you.
PETER MATHEWS, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE: Good to see you Natalie.
ALLEN: Well first, let's begin with your reaction to the President welcoming apparently foreign influence vis a vis information on presidential candidate and saying if he received it he would not go to the FBI.
MATHEWS: It's totally outrageous. First of all it's illegal. It also opens up to blackmail. And he could also be currying favor, obligatory favors with them if they do and (INAUDIBLE) with information that he calls opposition research.
It's totally ludicrous that he would equate that with a foreign country giving him help and I believe it's time to call him on this and -- remember the emoluments clause that founding fathers put in and said that no President or elected official could in fact receive any benefit or emolument from a foreign country because that means a foreign government can control the United States' foreign policy and domestic policy.
The founders are very adamant about that. And yet here is this President doing this -- flaunting that old principle. It's very, very disturbing.
[01:35:03] ALLEN: Well, Nancy Pelosi said the President doesn't know right from wrong when she was reacting to what he said. And Democrats are renewing efforts for impeachment over this.
The question is, how serious is this statement by the President? Or will this like other egregious statements we've heard from him caused -- that have caused outrage just blow over?
MATHEWS: It's very serious because it seems to confirm the assertions that he may have actually gone -- or his campaign could have colluded with a foreign country like Russia. He's saying it's not a problem if we did because I'll take intelligence. If they want to help me, I'll be happy to get elected with their help.
But the question what will he owe the other country once he's elected? It brings back the whole scenario and what Robert Mueller was investigating now and it's very, very serious.
ALLEN: Well, on another front, let's talk about the development with Sarah Sanders, the Trump spokeswoman who will be stepping down. She fiercely defended this president through thick and thin -- the thick which is what we've just been talking about right now. How did her support effect his presidency? And what might her legacy be after serving for this White House.
MATHEWS: Quite amazing. It's tough seeing both the birds of the same feather working together for all these years and finally she's stepping down. She's been advised to run for governor by the President, governor of Arkansas. Can you believe that. And she did lie outright. She said that that there were dozens or many, many FBI employees who were happy that President Trump fired James Comey, complete lie which she admitted to Robert Mueller later on.
It's probably a good thing she's gone but who will replace her? Someone like her once again? It's very concerning, especially when it comes to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. She blocked the press conference for 94 days. It's amazing.
ALLEN: Right. I want to talk about that. What about the role itself, as you said. Who will replace her, the White House communicator under this president?
She killed the White House briefing. It had been tradition for decades. And as you said, she had not held a briefing for 94 days. What does that indicate Peter, about transparency and openness of this White House moving forward?
MATHEWS: It gives the complete lie to transparency. There is no transparency here. You know, the press briefings at least are something close to what we have in Britain where they have the Prime Minister question time when the Prime Minister has to answer questions from parliament.
At least the Press Secretary is supposed to answer certain questions regarding the President's position as the closest thing to it and here she cuts it off for 94 days. There's no transparency whatsoever. It's very, very bad for democracy especially.
ALLEN: Right. Peter Mathews we really appreciate your insight. Thanks so much.
MATHEWS: You're welcome. Thank you.
ALLEN: On Friday, Mexico's president will announce his plan to control migration from Central America to the U.S. Mexico is struggling to close gaps in its southern border with Guatemala after the U.S. President threatened to impose tariffs if they didn't stop the flow of migrants. Now migrants are racing to cross before the crackdown begins.
Our Michael Holmes has our story.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: I'm standing here on the Mexican-Guatemalan border. I'm in Mexico, behind me over there you see Guatemala. And if you see these pontoons back there that gives you an idea of how difficult the task is going to be for Mexico to stop the flow of migrants from the so-called northern triangle -- Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador.
All day long these boats -- these pontoons have been going back and forth. For $1.20, you can jump on one and come over, it's that easy. Walk up into town and you're on your way. The Mexican government says it's going to outline details of its plan
to try to stop the flow of migrants heading to the U.S. border. They are going to do that on Friday and it's going to be interesting to see how they plan on doing it.
You're talking about a 540-mile stretch of border with Guatemala. There is forest. There is rivers like this one. There are mountains. How are they going to police that? What are they going to do?
There are 200,000 migrants in this state, Chiapas State alone and there are half a dozen states up and along this border. So you can see how difficult the task is going to be.
They say they are going to put some national guard in and try to use the national guard. The National Guard was never designed for this kind of thing. You are going to see police, you are going to see troops.
But how many people are they going to be able to get along here and stop this type of movement remains to be seen.
ALLEN: Well, speaking of immigration policies, Italy's far-right deputy prime minister will discuss that topic and others with the U.S. Vice President on Monday. As Matteo Salvini and Mike Pence are members of conservative parties to say the least it might be a match made in ideological heaven.
Christiane Amanpour sat down with Mr. Salvini to see what they'll will be talking about.
[01:39:59] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're on your way to the United States. You're a big fan of President Trump. And in fact your own slogan is Italy first. What do you hope to get from this visit? What are you going to discuss with the vice president and the Secretary of State?
MATTEO SALVINI, ITALIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Well, first of all, of the documents that I've been dealing at the ministry of the interior -- so fighting terrorism, fighting illegal migration, the political situation in Libya, in Iran, in Venezuela and any partnerships whether they are economic or not between Italy and the U.S.
AMANPOUR: So I want to focus a little bit on the immigration policy because that is something that you're very keen on and you talk about it a lot and it is the basis of the league, your party. You have once said, that you could fix and cure Italy with President Trump cure. What do you mean by that exactly?
SALVINI: Well, we are following closely both the approach against illegal migration as far as the U.S. and Mexico are concerned. But also the more domestic policies that the Trump administration is implementing.
In terms of migration, we've managed to reduce arrivals by 90 percent with half the casualties, with half the amount of migrants in Italy. And as a result, crimes have fallen by 10 percent -- these are data from 2019.
We've managed to keep track of our border and from the previous government was unable to do.
ALLEN: Pro democracy activists in Hong Kong are calling for another round of protests on Sunday against the controversial extradition bill. Demonstrators have been out in the streets for days even though, the government has closed its central offices for the rest of the week.
Protests on Wednesday turned violent with at least 81 people injured. Five people are still in the hospital.
The controversial bill would allow some fugitives to be extradited from Hong Kong to China and other places. Opponents say the move effectively allows China to go around protections offered under Hong Kong's laws.
CNN's Hala Gorani reports the issue is part of a debate dating back decades.
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The roots of this crisis stretch right back to when Hong Kong was a colony under British rule for more than 150 years. The brits only gave it back to China in 1997.
The terms of that deal, that Hong Kong should continue to enjoy autonomy from mainland China, a policy known as One Country, Two Systems.
CHRIS PATTEN, FORMER HONG KONG GOVERNOR: As British administration ends, we are, I believe, entitled to say, that our own nation's contribution here was to provide the scaffolding that enabled the people of Hong Kong to ascend. The beginnings of representative government and democratic accountability.
GORANI: With the words of outgoing governor Chris Patten there were high hopes for Hong Kong's democratic future. It started well with elections in 1998, the first multiparty vote in a territory administered by China.
But by 2003, the streets were filled with protesters, many dressed in black to mourn what they saw as the gradual loss of their fundamental rights.
They were angry over a proposed new national security bill they feared would lead to a clamp down on dissent like they've seen in Mainland China. The bill was soon shelved, but the growing anger over Hong Kong's eroding democracy did not go away.
Fast forward to 2014, the so-called Umbrella Movement, triggered by a new policy that meant every candidate for Hong Kong's leadership would have to be approved by a pro-Beijing committee.
Protests crippled downtown Hong Kong for months. As police responded with a heavy hand, I spoke with one of the protesters at the time.
Do you have concerns for your safety, for instance?
EDWARD TSOI, PROTESTOR: Not only concerned, we are terrified. We are Hong Kong people. We just normally sit in our office. Right now, we have tens of thousands of people sitting in a street, demonstrating. We're prepared for the next round of teargas or even rubber bullet.
GORANI: In the end, demonstrations fizzled with no concessions from the government. But protestors promised they would be back.
[01:44:45] In 2017, new Hong Kong chief executive, Carrie Lam, was sworn in by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Today, she is the face of the proposed new extradition law which many say is yet another encroachment on Hong Kong's autonomy from China sparking the latest wave of protests in a tiny territory not afraid to stand up to its powerful neighbor.
Hala Gorani, CNN -- London.
ALLEN: The suspects in the shooting of baseball star David Ortiz have appeared in court and now face charges. We'll have the latest in a report from the Dominican Republic of that case.
Also game six of the NBA finals is in the books. Did defending champs survive elimination or did the Toronto Raptors capture their first title? All about it next.
ALLEN: The Toronto Raptors have just made pro basketball history. They are the first Canadian team to ever win the National Basketball Association championship, defeating the Golden State Warriors 114 to 110 Thursday. Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points for Toronto and was named the finals MVP.
The Warriors meanwhile fell short of what is their third straight championship. They were playing without all-star Kevin Durant, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in the previous game. The Raptors' victory set off wild celebrations-- look at this -- across Canada, especially outside the team's arena in Toronto, an area nicknamed Jurassic Park, where thousands of fans watched Toronto's win on the big screen.
The victory also had a special meaning for one small Canadian town, which is closely linked to the history of basketball.
CNN's Paula Newton explains from Almonte, Canada.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a night from coast to coast to coast in Canada. This Raptors team became a Canadian team and for just a little basketball was the crowning glory for this country and not hockey.
The enthusiasm was so (INAUDIBLE) here in Almonte, Ontario. Why? The man who invented basketball -- yes -- in the United States was born right here in Almonte, just about an hour outside of Canada's capital Ottawa.
I had a chance to talk to the town's mayor. Take a listen.
CHRISTA LOWRY (D), MAYOR, ALMONTE: This could not have been more of an exciting end to the game. Absolutely epic. I mean this is history. Right now, we are watching history.
NEWTON: What do you think it means to a town like this? I mean it's a four hour drive to Toronto, but they really felt the spirit here.
[01:50:01] LOWRY: I don't think the four hours matters at all. I think we're going to be cheering like this from coast to coast.
NEWTON: And has Christa said this has meant a lot to this small town, in so many cities and towns across Canada. Really the entire country coming together in something that they never had before, that NBA crown, doing it --
For just a little while basketball -- kind of a little bit superior to hockey, which is something to be said in this country.
Paula Newton, CNN -- Almonte, Ontario.
ALLEN: We turn now to the latest on the shooting of former baseball star David Ortiz. Authorities in the Dominican Republic have charged nine suspects with being accomplices to a attempted murder. A tenth suspect, meantime, remains on the run.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more for us from Santo Domingo.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dominican police have now charged nine people in connection with the shooting of baseball legend David Ortiz with at least one key suspect still on the run. Of the nine people, two of them were already in prison on unrelated charges who were in contact with the rest of this group from prison to assist in what police call a coordinated hit on Big Papi -- as he is known here in the United States. It all began on Sunday when David Ortiz was out partying with friends
at a nightclub he was known to frequent. And a gunman walked up behind him, shot him in the back. The gunman was able to escape on foot, but his alleged getaway driver was captured and beaten up and turned over to police, who said he began to essentially tell them everything he knew about the plot. And from there they began to arrest more and more of the suspects.
Police are painting a picture of an increasingly complicated plot that was financed and directed. Still not sure though who gave the order to kill David Ortiz and why. David Ortiz is recovering in Boston, and his family have asked for privacy while the questions still remains. Why would Dominican Republic's most beloved sports stars was targeted in a hit on his life?
Patrick Oppmann, CNN -- Santo Domingo.
New developments in a major case involving a Brazilian football superstar. Neymar gave testimony to police at Sao Paulo Thursday about a rape accusation against him. The Paris ST. Germain player denies violently assaulting a model at a hotel room in the French capital last month, and called the incident a trap.
Well, if Donald Trump has his way, the official presidential plane will look a lot different in the coming years. But, will it have an escape pod?
Jeanne Moos asked the hard questions. That's ahead.
ALLEN: The U.S. President is showing his true colors with his planned redesign of Air Force One. And some say they're pretty familiar. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fasten your seatbelts --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Air Force One declaring emergency.
MOOS: -- A makeover emergency. Now the country is going to fight over what colors to paint Air Force One. ABC got a sneak peek.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's your new Air Force One. And I'm doing that for other presidents, not for me.
[01:54:59] MOOS: Two new planes won't be ready until 2024. President Trump says the color scheme is his own-- red, white and blue, patriotic design.
People started noticing that it looks familiar. Sort of like his own plane but inverted. Someone hopefully turned the Trump plane upside down to make the point. Others came up with their own designs. "I like it" tweeted someone
else. We are not a light blue country."
The current blue over robin's egg blue -- where'd that come from?
Here's a hint, "Do not touch Jackie Blue." It's said that Jackie Kennedy preferred blue working with one of the best known industrial designers of the time who said JFK called blue his favorite color. Since then, it's become an iconic backdrop.
What else will the revamped Air Force One feature?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Everyone wants to know, is there a pod or not?
TRUMP: A pod?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've seen the movie "Air Force One"?
STEPHANOPOULOS: There's a pod that flies out of the back?
MOOS: You know, when Harrison Ford playing the president is hustled into the pod as the plane comes under attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Air Force One emergency pod has been deployed.
TRUMP: There are a couple of secrets. I don't think we are supposed to be talking about.
MOOS: When they open the pod, Harrison Ford had stayed on the plane to fight the bad guys.
But the President's design may not pass with flying colors, not if congressional Democrats have their way. The House Arm Services Committee voted to limit changes to Air Force One without congressional approval, probably leaving President Trump fuming.
HARRISON FORD, CONTRIBUTOR: Get off my plane.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.
ALLEN: All right, American superstar Taylor Swift has just surprised her fans with the release of a new song and the announcement of a new album. The singer released the song "You Need to Calm Down" -- that's the name -- just a couple of hours ago it. It will be on her new album "Lover" set for release August 23rd. It will be Swift's first full album since "Reputation" in 2017. She's describing it as very romantic. "You Need to Calm Down".
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
That will do it for me on. I'm Natalie Allen. My friend Cyril Vanier will be up next.
Thanks for watching.
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