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U.S. Blames Iran for Tanker Attack; Mosque Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty; The Trump White House; Julian Assange Extradition Hearing Friday. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired June 14, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: Two tankers attack in the Gulf of Oman and the U.S. says they have pictures to prove that Iran is at fault.
The man accused of opening fire inside of two New Zealand mosques pleads not guilty.
And Kawhi Leonard brings Canada its first ever NBA championship leading the Toronto Raptors past defending champions, the Golden State Warriors.
Thank you for joining us. We are live from the CNN Center. I'm Cyril Vanier. It is great to have you with us.
So the Trump administration is flatly accusing Iran of attacking two tanker ships. It happened in broad daylight as the ships sailed through the Gulf of Oman. It's the second time in a month that commercial vessels have been targeted in a strategic order way.
The U.S. Central Command released footage that it says shows an Iranian naval vessel removing an unexploded mine from one of the ships just hours after the initial attack. That tanker belongs to Japan. The incident came as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 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. Defence officials believed that Iran was recovering evidence of its alleged involvement in the attack.
But Iran's foreign minister suggests it is being set up, 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.
All right, for the latest in what we know, here is CNN's Barbara Starr at the U.S. Defense Department.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Two commercial tankers in flames. Their crews forced to abandon ship after being hit in busy waterways of the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz. The secretary of state is pointing directly at Iran.
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation.
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 concern.
STARR: At 6:12 and 7:00 a.m. local time, the U.S. Navy picked up two early distress calls and immediately sent a nearby destroyer, USS Bainbridge, to the scene. It took on 21 merchant mariners from one stricken ship.
The crew from the second damaged tanker, picked up by a commercial ship, and then transferred to Iran, where they remain. Additional U.S. Navy ships are on the way to conduct security patrols and in the busy shipping lanes.
Iran's motivation, the U.S. believes Tehran is responding to pressure from oil sanctions.
RAY MABUS, FORMER SECRETARY OF U.S. NAVY: It at least appears to me that it is trying to send a message, that if you apply maximum pressure in the words of the Trump administration to Iran that they are going to strike back in some way.
STARR: U.S. sailors reported seeing an unexploded mine on the side of one of the tankers. The same type of mine suspected of being used in the May attack on four oil tankers anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
But this time, an attack in those shipping lanes, both hit at or below the water line in close proximity to the engine room while the vessels were underway. The attacks came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was wrapping up a visit to Iran, looking for ways to defuse tensions.
Iran is admitting nothing. In fact, the foreign minister tweeting that the attacks were suspicious.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
VANIER: Gul, as we pointed out earlier, the U.S. has released a video that it says is proof of Iranian involvement. Walk us through that alleged piece of evidence.
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL PRODUCER: Sure. If we look at that video, what you can see is a large shipping vessel and a smaller boat. In the video, you see the smaller boat approaching the hull of one of the ships that was attacked. You see the small boat right up next to it.
And some people, the people who are on the smaller boat, can be seen in that video removing something from the hull of one of the ships that was attacked. Now, the video was released by the United States.
[02:05:00] And what they are saying is that in fact, that small boat you see that video actually belongs to the Iranians. And that object that we see them pulling off of the hull is in fact an unexploded mine. Now, we don't know for sure that that's the case.
In fact, just about an hour ago, one of the operators of these vessels that was attacked came out and said that they don't believe that this was a mine, that the attack on their ship could not have been a mine and they are basing this on the testimony that they have from one of the crew members who said in particular about the second explosion that they saw a flying shell.
And yesterday, again, we had heard reports that the crew members did see something flying and they believe that it was some sort of shell that hit their boat not one, but twice.
So, this idea around -- the narrative around this video of it possibly being the Iranians removing evidence to cover their tracks, that they carried out this attack using mines is in dispute right now between the U.S. and the operator of one of the ships saying, but they don't believe that they were attacked by a mine.
And all of this is very significant because this video could have been and could still be damning evidence showing Iranian involvement in the incident that occurred.
VANIER: It's the second series of attacks against tankers in about a month and it's the second time that the finger is pointed at Iran. What more can you tell us about their reaction?
TUYSUZ: Well, they have come out and first condemned what happened. But they are also being very vocal about saying that they didn't do this. They're actually saying that the narrative that the U.S. has been creating is actually sabotage diplomacy. They are saying that the Americans are actually warmongering against them and really saying that it wasn't them.
Of course, we don't know who it was at this point, but they are being very, very vocal and saying that it wasn't them and saying that this is an effort by the U.S. to ratchet up tensions against Iran. At the same time, you do have a history with the Iranians. They used this very strategic bit of waters right off the coast here of the UAE, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, they have a history of using this as a lever to push the global market.
So it is not something that they haven't done before, ratcheting up tensions in these waters. But at this point, they are saying that it's not them. They say, "We weren't involved." But of course, the U.S. has a very different narrative. And at this point, it is still unclear what happened to these two ships. They were definitely attacked. This wasn't just an accident. But what happened? Who did it? Who gains to benefit from these attacks?
VANIER: Gul Tuysuz is reporting live from Abu Dhabi, asking all the important questions. Let's see if we get some of those answers or some insights from our next guest coming to us from Los Angeles, retired U.S. Army Major General Mark MacCarley.
General, when you look at the crime scene, so to speak, you know, the tankers attacked in the open seas, the video that the U.S. has released, Iran's past behavior also harassing ships in the Strait of Hormuz, you look at all of that, what do you think?
MARK MACCARLEY, RETIRED U.S. ARMY MAJOR GENERAL: Well, I start out by saying the downside of being retired as a major general is that you don't really have access to all that intelligence data which is available to Secretary Pompeo and those who have already made discussion points about what took place.
But that said, to get directly to your question, you look at this using two factors of analysis. The first is who had the means to conduct these attacks within that area? And the second is who had the motive? So the easy question some sense is means. We got three or four countries in that particular area.
You got the UAE, the Emirates, you have Saudi Arabia, you got Kuwait, and you have Iran. Each of which have sophisticated military capabilities. They can deliver such things as those mines that were described by your previous guest and correspondent. They have the ability to use unmanned or manned many subs to come forward on the surface or go beneath the oil tankers and place these mines in strategic locations.
[02:09:51] But the analysis when you start moving into motivation is significantly different, because if you look at the first three countries that I mentioned, there is no significant -- assuming that these countries act in some sort of rational basis -- there is no reason for these countries to execute such activity.
But there is with Iran. Once again, echoing what has been said previously, there is a strategic advantage to Iran, whether part of Iran in terms of revolutionary guard where one part of Iran moves forward and executes this act, while the other part, the diplomatic part, is continuously denying.
But Iran is in a very perilous position. The sanctions are taking effect. They are sanctions that could be called draconian. And for Iran, there is really no downside to moving forward with these deliberate -- sort of demonstration strikes. What I mean by that, neither these ships nor the first four back a month ago were scuttled, meaning they were sunk. They have significant damage --
VANIER: So --
MACCARLEY: -- and they were hit in the Hormuz. That is a statement. And that's a statement that is intended to balance the diplomatic power play between the United States and Iran.
VANIER: Look, that statement was heard by markets around the world because the price of crude oil went up after this happened. This is not just any waterway. This is strategic, about 50 million barrels of oil are shipped through this waterway every day. How much leverage does this give the countries that can carry out attacks in this particular part of the world?
MACCARLEY: I think it gives -- I think the question itself provides the answer. It is huge --
MACCARLEY: -- because as demonstrated 30 years ago during the tanker wars between Iraq and Iran, those straits, the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf was in peril, Ultimately the United States had to step in and provide coverage and protection for Kuwaiti ships and foreign national ships going in and out of the Persian Gulf because the world market was severely influenced.
And when you say that you got over 55 percent, for instance, Japanese oil that flows through the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz and about 40 percent for the rest of the world, anything that touches upon that particular area is going to have huge economic reverberations.
And that is why it gives a huge amount of power and leverage to Iran. It's interesting play, if you want to use that type of term, on the part of the Iranians to begin to up that power equation between Iran and the United States.
VANIER: Major General Mark MacCarley, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
It's time for another high-profile departure from the White House. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is leaving at the end of the month. What's next for President Trump staunchest defender?
Plus, the man accused of opening fire on two mosques in New Zealand is facing 92 charges and he pleads not guilty to all of them. We will have the latest report.
[02:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
VANIER: The man accused of shooting worshippers at two New Zealand mosques in March has pleaded not guilty. Twenty-eight-year-old Brenton Tarrant faces 92 charges, including 51 counts of murder. Journalist Donna-Marie Lever has the latest from the courthouse in Christchurch, New Zealand.
DONNA-MARIE LEVER, JOURNALIST: Security was tight here at a justice precinct in Christchurch as Brenton Tarrant was once again pushed before the court. News media, journalists, even members of the public including Muslim community had to be bag-searched and were body- screened as they entered the courthouse today. All this despite the fact Tarrant didn't actually appear in person, but rather by a video linked from the country's maximum security prison in Oakland. Through his lawyer today, Tarrant pleaded not guilty to 51 charges of murder, the 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act, a law that has never before been used in this country.
As those not guilty pleas were read out by his lawyer, Tarrant could be seen silent but smiling on a big screen beamed throughout the courtroom. The judge is also commenting on some mental health report that was ordered, saying that there was no reason why Tarrant (INAUDIBLE) to those pleas and that he was mentally fit to stand trial. A trial date has been set for the 4th of May 2020, and it is a trial that could last several weeks.
VANIER: Donna-Marie Lever reporting there. One of Donald Trump's most loyal defenders is stepping down. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders will leave her post to the White House at the end of this month. Her tenure has been marked by a combatted tone with the press.
One example of this dysfunctional relationship, she hasn't given the media a formal briefing in more than three months. President Trump praised Sanders at the White House Thursday, calling her a warrior.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She has done an incredible job. We've been through a lot together. She's tough but she's good. You know, you also have tough and bad, right? She's tough and she's good. She's great. She comes from a great state, Arkansas. That was a state I won by a lot, so I like it.
TRUMP: We love Arkansas. She is going to be going back to Arkansas with her great family. Her husband is a fantastic guy and her family. I don't know Phil and folks, if we can get her to run for the governor of Arkansas, I think she will do very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VARNIER: Meanwhile, President Trump is defending his stunning statement that he would accept foreign help in the 2020 campaign without necessarily telling the FBI. More on that from CNN's Abby Phillip.
TRUMP: It's not an interference to have information. I think I'd take it.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump's unprecedented declaration that he would accept dirt from a foreign government about a political opponent coming under fire from all sides today.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The president gave us once again evidence that he does not know right from wrong.
PHILLIP: Trump defending himself on Twitter, comparing foreign interference to his conversations with world leaders like the queen of England and the president of France. But Democratic lawmakers see it differently.
PELOSI: It's against the law. It's so against any sense of decency.
PHILLIP: Even some Republicans who are no normally hesitant to rebuke the president are speaking out.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): My reaction is he should reach out to the FBI.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): The appropriate action to take is to call the FBI.
PHILLIP: Privately, the president's allies cringed in response to Trump's comments. One senior Republican source telling CNN that "If a president took information from a foreign government, that would be impeachable."
But not every Republican lawmaker was willing to say the president was wrong. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy appeared focused on helping Trump shift the blame to Democrats.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I watched in the last campaign, the Democrat presidential campaign spent $6 million to a foreign entity to travel the world to try to find something. When they could not find it, they made false accusations.
PHILLIP: And Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the president's closest allies, was also sharply critical of Trump's answer.
[02:20:01] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): That's not the right answer. The right answer is no.
PHILLIP: But later, Graham issued a statement accusing Democrats of accepting foreign help in 2016. The top Republican in the Senate, Majorit Leader Mitch McConnell, sticking to silence, ignoring questions as he headed to the Senate floor. And some Republicans are saying this is Trump being Trump.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): This is the president. He doesn't operate the way anyone else does, and his idiosyncrasies have served him pretty well, I think, in the past.
PHILLIP: And on Capitol Hill this afternoon, Democrats in the Senate sought unanimous consent for a bill that would require that campaigns go to the FBI if a foreign government offered them help during campaign. But as expected, that bill failed when Republicans objected.
Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)
VARNIER: Natasha Lindstaedt is a professor of government at University of Essex in England. Natasha, I want to talk about Sarah Sanders. She has been one of the most recognizable faces of this administration. And yet, does it change anything that she is leaving? I mean, she had already stopped giving daily press briefings.
NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: I don't know if it does change anything, and that's a good question. The fact that she had stopped doing daily press briefings for over three months as had been reported, and what happened instead is she was doing more interviews with Fox News and some other media outlets.
And Trump was directly talking to reporters more and more. And she even said well, I wasn't elected president, that's the way it should be, and that clearly is what the president wants. He wants to have direct contact with people. He wants to cut out the middleman. And so if anyone even does replace her, I don't know if it's going to change the way they want to run the government.
They don't seem to want to have these daily press briefings, which has been a hallmark of U.S. democracy. They want to get rid of that. That of course means that there is less transparency. They want to instead have Trump directly speak to the media.
VANIER: Right. I think he wants to be the one. You say they, I think it is really he who has imposed this. It's the fact that Trump is his own messenger. To your point, they might not need her. If they had done away with daily press briefings, if the president is mostly only going to speak to Fox News and then send out his thoughts via tweet, it is true that he doesn't need a press secretary in that respect.
LINDSTAEDT: That's what he thinks. He doesn't think he needs anyone to be doing these briefings although he did really appreciate her and she was incredibly loyal and willing to say anything to prove her loyalty to the president. It has been noted that she has lied numerous times.
But to get back to the issue of having these press briefings, I mean, these are really important for democracy. Of course, it is all about transparency and about talking with the media. It's also important for the organization and administration.
Briefings serve as a way -- sort of like an organized mechanism for the administration so that everybody else can understand how to carry out the president's priorities. They can't do that without these briefings. That also illustrates that this organization -- administration, I should say, is completely disorganized.
It really kind of -- seems to be running in a very ad hoc manner about whatever his whims are. And so this really suits him anyway, not really about into some of the mechanics of running the government and really prefers to have this direct contact with the media, which he is going to be able to do. VANIER: Look, none of his previous press secretaries had been successful in that role. Arguably, she has been the most successful. I mean, if you think of Sean Spicer and his early demise, if you think of Anthony Scaramucci and his 10-day tenure. It's only because she lasted longer than the others. She was the most successful press secretary in the Trump administration.
LINDSTAEDT: She was the most successful just due to her longevity. She was very resilient and able to really say what he wanted to be said. I thought it was -- I guess you can call it impressive or not impressive, but scary. The ease with which she is able to lie on behalf of the president and saying things like, you know, the president has created more jobs for African-Americans than Obama. That is not true.
She is saying with a straight face that the president has never promoted or encouraged violence. No, that's not true, because he had told supporters at a rally, when someone had been ejected, I like to punch him in the face. She smeared women who have accused the president of sexual harassment.
And of course the most notable lie happened with the recent Mueller investigation. She claimed that countless individuals in the FBI were happy that Trump fired Comey. It turned out that was completely false. She said to reporters, oh, well, that was a slip of the tongue.
VANIER: And then she lied about the lie because her lie was enshrined and documented in the Mueller report. She had admitted, because she would face jail time, she had admitted that she lied about it.
[02:25:02] And then when she was asked about it in a setting where she no longer was legally liable, she lied about that.
LINDSTAEDT: Exactly. Again, it illustrates why she has been able to be in this role for so long. She is able to lie with just great ease with a straight face. She doesn't really waver much. She has been, from Trump's perspective, an excellent surrogate for him, particularly on these different Fox News interviews that she tends to do and with other outlets as well. She just had this talent for being able to lie with a straight face without really being bothered by it very much.
VANIER: She seems to be leaving the administration on good terms with the president. He sees her running for governor in Arkansas.
LINDSTAEDT Right. I don't think that's what she's going to do. I don't think that's what she's interested in. She said she wants to spend more time with her family. She said how much she liked the job.
But there was another former press secretary that said the hardest part of your day is doing those press briefings. And instead, he commented on the fact that she seemed to be really enjoying all the travel and doing whatever she felt like doing when she was traveling.
She may want to spend more time with her family. My prediction is she will probably be working for Fox News within the next year or so.
VANIER: All right. Natasha Lindstaedt. She wouldn't be the first if she did that. She wouldn't be the first to go from the White House to Fox News, and certainly wouldn't be the first to go from Fox News to White House. That street goes both ways. Natasha Lindstaedt, thank you so much for joining us today.
LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.
VANIER: Mexico is working to secure its southern border with Guatemala. How will they be able to stop the thousands of migrants who are desperate to reach Mexico and ultimately the U.S.? We will go to Mexico's southern border to find out.
Plus, the Toronto Raptors made history, not just in basketball but also to sports in Canada. More on the national frenzy when we come back.
VANIER: Welcome back. I'm Cyril Vanier. Let's look at our biggest stories 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 Trump administration says it believes Iran was responsible, something which Iran denies.
The suspect in the New Zealand mosque attacks has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Brenton Tarrant is accused of shooting worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15th. He is facing 51 murder charges, 14 attempted murder charges, and one charge under the Terrorism Suppression Act.
In the coming hours, a London court will hear the U.S. extradition request for Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder is in a U.K. prison but faces espionage charges in the U.S.
[02:30:00] Assange was arrested in April after living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years.
On Friday, Mexico's president will announce his plan to control migration from Central America to the United States. 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 across the border before the crackdown begins. Michael Holmes is there.
HOLMES: I'm standing here on the Mexican-Guatemalan border. I'm in Mexico. Behind me over there, you see Guatemala. And if you see 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, this boat -- these pontoons have been going back and forth for.
For $1.20, you can jump on one and come over. It's that easy. Walk up in the 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're 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 which Guatemala, there's forest, there is rivers like this.
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're going to put a national guard in and try to use a national guard. The national guard was never designed for this kind of thing.
You're going to see police, you're 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.
VANIER: Now speaking of immigration policies, Italy's far-right deputy prime minister will discussing that topic and others with the U.S. Vice President on Monday. Matteo Salvini, Mike Pence, both conservative, both with a hard line stance on immigration. It might be a match made in ideological heaven. Christiane Amanpour sat down Mr. Salvini
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You're on your way to the United States, you're a big fan of President Trump, and in fact, your own 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, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY (through translator): First of all, of the documents that I've been dealing with the Ministry of the Interior still 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's something that you're very keen on and you talk about at large and it's the basis of the lead, 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're following closely both approach against illegal immigration. As far as the U.S. and Mexico are concerned but also the 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 -- these are data from 2019. We've managed to keep track of our border, something the previous government were not able to do.
VANIER: Now prodemocracy 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. Protest on Wednesday turned violent with at least 81 people injured. Five people are still in the hospital. Freelance journalist Steve Chao joins me live from Hong Kong. Steve?
STEVE CHAO, FREELANCE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Cyril, the rights group behind the organizing these demonstrations are set to meet with police in the next few hours. It's during this meeting that we'll find out whether authorities will allow demonstrators to take to the streets. Again, meanwhile, there remains a heavy police presence in and around the government buildings here in Hong Kong. Over the last several days, there have been a lot of protests and I've managed to disperse much of them.
[02:35:06] There are a spattering of people still around -- of resistance if you will. Over here, a number of people are holding a hunger strike and other areas are small minor peaceful confrontations with police. Organizers say that these little small gatherings are really to calm before the storm. Over the weekend, more people here in Hong Kong have time off from work and as then that they're expected to come back on mass again to demonstrate against this controversial bill.
Over the last week, we've seen according to organizers more than a million people to turn out the opposition to this extradition bill. Many people feeling that if this bill is passed not only will China's criminals if you will, suspected criminals be extradited to the mainland in China. But also those that are voicing dissent against Beijing. Those are the vocal against the policies of the government.
And that's something that Hong Kong people here generally according to these organizers do not want. Now, police have been accused of carrying out or using heavy handed tactics against the demonstrators. According to the police chief here, he's dismissed these claims saying that his officers acted simply and defensive themselves and exercised a huge deal of restraint. We know that police on Wednesday for example used rubber bullets, they used pepper spray and fired 150 canisters of tear gas at protesters.
There is video out there as well showing police beating some protestors. This is proof according to those like the law association here of police, heavy-handed tactics to disperse the crowds. However, the question now is, what's going to happen this coming weekend? Are we going to see a bigger demonstration if the government appears and it is appearing to do so which is not to back down from its policies and its determination to go through with this bill.
VANIER: Well, Steve, I was going to ask you, how are things looking on the government side. Are there any indications that states the government will back down on trying to push through this bill? CHAO: Well, one of the big things that these demonstrations are
massive. Even on Hong Kong terms, a city is used to demonstrating if organizers and correct, then more than a million people turned out last Sunday. That would have been the biggest demonstration the city has since Britain handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997. So t a certain degree there is an expectation that the government here has to listen to the people.
There is more than a million, that would be one in seven people in Hong Kong turning out to protest. However, it really lies with the Chief Executive Carrie Lam to ultimately stay what the plans are for the government. She's come out on Monday to say despite the vocal protests, she still believes the majority do want this bill and that it is good for Hong Kong to have this bill and she is not moving.
What we saw five years ago against another policy was a huge turnout in the occupier Umbrella Movement that saw clashes on going for two months. Many people wonder if that is what we're about to see in the coming weeks and months here.
VANIER: All right, Steve. Thank you for your reporting. Steve Chao from Hong Kong there. And that controversial bill would allow some fugitives to be extradited from Hong Kong to China and other places as Steve was explaining. Opponents say that the move effectively allows China to go around protection offered under Hong Kong's laws. CNN's Hala Gorani reports the issue is part of debating dating back decades
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The roots of this crisis stretch right back to when Hong Kong was a colony under British rule for more 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 GOVERNOR, HONG KONG: As British administrators 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 beginning 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 protestors. 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 clampdown on dissent like they'd seen in Mainland China.
The bill was soon shelled, but the growing anger over Hong Kong's eroding democracy did not go away.
[02:40:01] 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 the heavy hand, I spoke with one of the protesters at the time. You have concerns for safety for instance?
EDWARD TSOI, PROTESTER: Not only concerned, we are terrified, we are Hong Kong people, we just -- nobody stayed in our office. Right now we have tens of thousands of people sitting in the street demonstrating. We prepared for the next round of teargas or even a rubber bullet.
GORANI: In the end, demonstrations fizzled with no concessions from the government. But protestors promised that they would be back. 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.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
VANIER: At least one person was killed in a wild landslide in Eastern China that buried a road and swept away cars. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us from the International Weather Center. Derik, you've been tracking this?
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Yes. Cyril, not only do we have of the details, we have the moment it took place on video. This is the CCTV footage and you could see just how terrifying these few moments were for this community in Southeast China. Look at this landslide, sweep down the hill, cover the road and take these cars, sweep them utter shut. At least 20 of the 30 meters to are right.
And literally, transform the landscape here within a matter of seconds. You can see just why landslides and mudslides are so dangerous. So, what causes landslide? What causes a mudslide? Well let's talk about that because of course you've had incessant rainfall within Southeast China. Thanks to the plum rains and as an annual rainfall even that takes place. The rainfall soaks into the soil, eventually the slope can't hold the weight of that saturated soil and eventually the mountain slide -- the mountain slide fails and we get the rocks, the debris.
The entire tree boulders sent down all that once and sometimes that could actually come down the mountainside at a good 50 kilometers an hour. Here is the damage that was caused by this particular slide and mudslide, you can see the excavation that has -- had to ensue because of the damage that was caused. And you can also see some of the rescue operations taking place there, trying to look for perhaps any individuals buried underneath that mud and rock and debris.
Here's the plum rains that we have talked about, the stationary frontal boundary that sets up this time of year across the southeastern portions of China. Fortunately has moved on at least temporarily, now we start to see the heaviest of rainfall shift a little further to the north and east. So, listen up. If you're in mainland Japan watching this weather broadcast because you've got a wet weekend ahead of you, we all know that this is a mountainous part of the world.
So rainfall totals an excess of 100 millimeters starting to cumulate through the course of the weekend, means, the potential for landslides and mudslides exists across this area. You can see the rainfall into Tokyo for Saturday. Quite a difference in our temperatures too as we round off the weekend and we start to dry things out as well. But how about that video, Cyril, terrifying moments for those residents to say the least.
VANIER: Yes. I haven't seen the pictures, I knew they were impressive but I hadn't seen them. They truly are scary. Derek Van dam joining us on the Weather Center. Thank you.
VAN DAM: All right.
VANIER: The Toronto Raptors make basketball history defeating the Golden State Warriors on Thursday and makes them the first Canadian team to win the NBA championship. There goes that man. Kawhi Leonard. Fans across Canada are going wild. Including in one town closely linked it turns out to the history of basketball. As CNN'S Paula Newton explains.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What a night from Coast to Coast to Coast in Canada. This Raptors team became a Canadian team and just for a little while, basketball was the crowning glory for this country and not hockey. The enthusiasm was felt 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.
Earlier I had a chance to talk to the town's mayor. Take a listen.
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CHRISTA LOWRY, MAYOR OF ALMONTE: This could not have been more of an exciting end of the game. Absolutely epic. I mean, this is history right now, we're 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.
[02:45:06] LOWRY: I don't think that four hours matters at all. I think we're going to be cheering like this from coast to coast.
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NEWTON: You know, as Christa said, this has meant a lot to this small town and so many cities and towns across Canada. Really, the entire country coming together in something that they never had before. That NBA crown, and doing it in six games, it's a little a while, basketball.
Plus, why that's a little bit superior to hockey? With this something to be said in this country. Paula Newton, CNN, Almonte, Ontario. VANIER: Our Paula, meeting and greeting the Raptors fans there.
More charges are announced in the shooting of David Ortiz. Shedding even more light on an increasingly complicated case. We'll have details from the Dominican Republic.
Plus, a murder trial caused the sensation a decade ago. Now, Amanda Knox has returned to Italy to call out the media for the way it treated her many years ago.
VANIER: New developments now in the shooting of former baseball star, David Ortiz. Authorities in the Dominican Republic have charged nine suspects of being accomplices to attempted murder for their alleged role in the shooting.
The 10 suspect, meanwhile, remains at large. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more 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 but were in contact with the rest of his 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, more of these 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 question still remains why one of the Dominican Republic's most beloved sports stars was targeted in a hit on his life. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Santo Domingo.
[02:50:25] VANIER: And we're also tracking the latest in a major case involving Brazilian football superstar Neymar. He testified to police in Sao Paulo on Thursday about a rape accusation against him. The Paris Saint-Germain player pled to deny violently assaulting a model at a hotel room in the French capital last month and called the incident a trap.
American actor Cuba Gooding Jr. is denying that he was involved in an alleged groping incident. The Oscar winner pleaded not guilty to forcible touching and sex abuse when he appeared at a New York Court on Thursday. He is accused of groping a 29-year-old woman at a Manhattan bar over the weekend. His lawyer says the actor did not act inappropriately. A judge has set the next court date for June 26th. American Amanda Knox has arrived back in Italy for the first time since she was freed from prison and cleared in a notorious murder case. She hopes her presence at a three-day conference on criminal justice will show the world that she is not a sex-crazed femme fatale as she was often depicted during her trial. CNN's Melissa Bell has this report.
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MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Amanda Knox returned this morning to Italy having vowed in the past never to return to a country in which she'd spent four years in jail for her part in the murder of Meredith Kercher back in 2007. She has, of course, since been acquitted, reconvicted in absentia because she was back in Seattle. And finally, exonerated as well as her boyfriend of the time, Raffaele Sollecito, back in 2015.
But it isn't just the kind of media circus that she dealt with for so many years that Amanda Knox walks back into. And you could see that clearly this morning at Milan Airport. She seemed almost physically too shy, away from the cameras. It is also a case that remains largely -- open largely unanswered so many areas of doubt remain.
One man, Rudy Guede, is serving 16 years in jail for his part in the murder of Meredith Kercher. But in his verdict, it was clearly stated that he had not acted alone, who, then, was there that night, who was also responsible for the death of Meredith Kercher? These are questions that remain unanswered.
Hence, the response of the lawyer of the family of Meredith Kercher to the news that Amanda Knox was returning to Italy, he called it once unacceptable and uncalled. For these are wounds that remain open, many questions that remain unanswered, but it is that media spotlight that Amanda Knox is going to be trying to use this time to make her case about how unfair that media spotlight can be. Melissa Bell, CNN, Medina.
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VANIER: A viral videos can sometimes lead to life-changing opportunities. How images of a young boy in Peru inspired an international response? Stay with us.
[02:54:51] VANIER: American superstar Taylor Swift has just surprised her fans with the release of a new song and the announcement of a new album. Her latest single, You Need to Calm Down, takes aim at opponents of the LGBT rights movement. It was released just a few hours ago right in the middle of Pride Month.
The song will be on her new album, Lover, which she's describing as very romantic. It is set for release on August 23rd, and it will be Swift's first full album since Reputation in 2017.
Now, in Peru, a video of a boy studying under a streetlamp has gone viral. Inspiring an outpouring of generosity from a local mayor and a businessman in Bahrain. Here's Robyn Curnow.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR CORRESPONDENT: It all started with this image. An 11-year-old boy doing his homework under the faint light of a street lamp in a Peruvian town.
MAYOR CESAR ARTURO FERNANDEZ BAZAN, MOCHE, PERU (through translator): We saw Victor studying under a street lamp and it caught our attention. Within an hour, we were at his home fixing the problems.
CURNOW: The Mayor's Office stepped in, installing a power box in the (INAUDIBLE) family's home so Victor could study at home. Even giving his sister a job so the family could pay their electricity bill.
The mayor's office also posted the story on their Facebook page, and Victor's plight soon went viral. He received the scholarship, free books, and school supplies, then the boy decided to lobby for his school. He wrote a letter to Peru's president, telling about his fears that an earthquake could cause the school to collapse.
Then Victor recorded a video about his school and it was posted on Instagram. And that's when he got another lucky break from a wealthy businessman in Bahrain.
YAQOOB MUBARAK, WEALTHY BUSINESSMAN IN BAHRAIN (through translator): I want to improve the state of the primary and secondary school. I want them to have independent installations, and equip the computer lab with the latest technology. I want that room to be named after Victor.
CURNOW: Moved by Victor's story, Yaqoob Mubarak traveled all the way to Peru to donate money to the child's school. The mayor's office says Mubarak also pledged to build a two-story home for the Martin family and give them $2,000 for food and expenses.
Yaqoob also helped two other sick kids with their medical needs and told CNN that he has plans for a church and other projects in the region.
It's an incredible example of kindness and generosity, all sparked by an image of a boy studying under a streetlamp. Robyn Curnow, CNN, Atlanta.
VANIER: Thank you so much for joining us this hour. I'm Cyril Vanier. I will be back in just a few minutes with another hour of news. Stay with us.