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Hong Kong Protesters March over Extradition Bill; Rescued Tanker Crew Arrives in Dubai; "The New York Times": U.S. Ramping Up Cyber Attacks on Russia; Trump Takes Aim at Biden. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired June 16, 2019 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Mass protests again in Hong Kong against an extradition bill. Thousands tell Hong Kong's chief executive to kill the bill.
And President Trump accusing "The New York Times" of a virtual act of treason for reporting on cyber intrusion on Russia's power grid.
Also stark words by the Saudi crown prince after the tanker attacks, warning his country will not hesitate to deal with any threats.
Welcome to our viewers. We're live from Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.
ALLEN: Our top story. We're following the protests underway right now in Hong Kong. We have live video for you. Huge crowds of people are now marching to Hong Kong central government offices. They are demanding the city chief executive step down, after she suspended but did not withdraw a controversial extradition bill.
They say civil rights are in jeopardy if the bill isn't killed outright. Let's go to Anna Coren.
Tell us about the crowds you've been seeing, Anna.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are here in Hong Kong's legislative council. And that's where the sea of humanity, all dressed in black, this is where they are heading.
They started some three kilometers away at Victoria Park, almost an hour and a half ago. It's taken a while to get the procession going. And by all reports, there's still people getting off of the trains, trying to get to take part in the mass protests.
Behind me, there are just lines of people heading there. On the other side, it is a mass rally that is taking place. Over the next hour, we are expecting tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, to pack this park.
So far, Natalie, from all reports, this has been a peaceful protest. They are calling for the complete withdrawal of that very controversial bill. We heard from Carrie Lam yesterday. And she said she would suspend the bill that would allow the extradition from protesters.
That wasn't good enough. Hence you see the numbers taking to the streets calling for the withdrawal of this bill and for the resignation of Carrie Lam.
There's so much more at stake than just an extradition bill. These people are fighting for the freedoms that Hong Kong has the enjoyed for the last 22 years since the British handover. They are fighting for Hong Kong's future. Let's go to Matt Rivers, who is with the protesters.
Matt, describe the scene for us.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's stunning. That's the only way I can really describe it. I'm on the phone and we don't have a lot of signal because we're using cell phone signals. There's too many people where we are to do a live shot.
And that just gives you some idea of the incredible crowds we're seeing here. I'm in a part of the city called Causeway Bay. And I'm on a roadway that's usually jam-packed with cars. Instead, it's packed with people.
We're not moving at all. People -- there's no march happening at the moment because people can't move forward. It's just too crowded. There's a ton of people here, where people are standing shoulder-to- shoulder, from one side of the street to the other.
That's the scene replicated, as far as I can see. I managed to climb on top of a railing to see above the crowd. As far as I can see, going back towards Victoria Park and going toward the legislative council building, where you are, I don't see where it ends.
There's a ton of people here. As you mentioned, they are all wearing black and here with a purpose. That is, this particular protest, is centering on --
RIVERS: -- that extradition bill that you mentioned. There's a litany of other things that Hong Kongers would say bring them out to the streets now. But it's the extradition bill they want completely repealed. They're calling it temporary. They want to see it repealed. In their mind, the chief executive can bring up if bill again and pass it down the road.
That's why protests like the one that is happen right now in staggering numbers.
COREN: Staggering numbers, indeed. Last Sunday, we saw over 1 million people. Protest organizers hoping for a similar number. It's hard to gauge it at this stage. But some six lanes of highway have been dedicated to these protests. And they are completely full, making their way to us here at the legislative council. Matt Rivers, many thanks for your reporting.
Joining me now is Minnie Li, one of the protesters who took part in a hunger strike, after the violent clashes with police on Wednesday.
You were hospitalized. You collapsed. Tell us what happened.
MINNIE LI, PROTESTER: Because I had low blood sugar level and also I had a heat stroke after 90 hours, yes, hunger strike.
COREN: Why the hunger strike?
LI: After over 1 million people going out to the street to protest again this bill and they continue to ignore our voice, what else can we do?
It's the only thing that I can imagine I can do. I'm not that strong, that I can go to the front, to fight against the police. I can't do that. But I can sit there and use my life to protest, yes.
COREN: That's amazing. We've seen so much courage from Hong Kongers over this past week. Obviously, this last Sunday, the extraordinary display, 1 million people turning out; on Wednesday, tens of thousands of people.
And then, the violent, ugly clashes with police.
What is at stake for you and for your future?
LI: Because I was born in China. So I have known too well about how the legal system is in China. It's not transparent. It's not just. I don't want the rule of law in Hong Kong to be broken by this bill. And that's like open a hold on this rule of law system and they can take anyone out of that hold. That's not good.
COREN: They talk about a firewall between Hong Kong and Mainland China, how that would be eroded. Carrie Lam was determined to push it through quickly. But it was the violent clashes and the international condemnation that forced her to suspend it.
That's not good enough for you?
LI: No. I don't think so. We asked for withdrawal. Not suspending it. It's not only about whether we should withdraw it or not. The government has beaten our children, beaten our students, thrown them into jail. That's not what we want to see.
The Hong Kong today is not what we know before. So now we need to defend Hong Kong. We need Carrie Lam to promise that she will withdraw this bill, not just suspend. We don't want it to be suspended. We don't want another Umbrella Movement, Occupy Admiralty and being beaten and being shot by tear gas.
COREN: Minnie Li, as you say, you will continue to fight for Hong Kong with your life. Many thinks for joining us here.
LI: Thank you. COREN: Now joining us from the Hong Kong bureau is Michael Tien. He is a pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker.
Michael, you've seen the pictures and the scenes of the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not more, that have taken to the streets, again this Sunday, to protest against that extradition bill. Carrie Lam announcing she will suspend it. The people want it withdrawn.
Will it be withdrawn?
MICHAEL TIEN, HONG KONG LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: I think I'm in a position to give everybody who is watching this a complete perspective of what this issue is all about. In the last 20 years --
TIEN: -- the chief executive's previous three predecessors have avoided the issue of plugging the loophole of criminals of many countries in the world committing offenses and coming to Hong Kong and remain untouched.
We signed a long-term extradition bill, where 20 countries -- there's like 100 more -- including China and Taiwan. So she wanted to take on this impossible challenge. And she made the strategic mistake, by tying this with a murder case and then trying to rush it through on the basis of the Taiwan murder case, needs to be dealt with urgently. So what really happened was --
COREN: Yes, I understand, the suspect could be related.
TIEN: OK, the lady you interview, said they worry about the deterioration of the rule of law. That's not going to happen. Because whatever you do in Hong Kong will not --
COREN: Michael, I'm going to challenge you here, Michael, because, during the handover back in 1997, the British government deliberately did not include an extradition law to Mainland China because they did not trust that China had an independent judiciary. You know they don't have an independent judiciary. They answer to the party.
So what makes you think that the one country, two systems, how that is slowly eroding and by 2047, Hong Kong would be able to maintain an independent judiciary?
What makes you think that will stay in place?
TIEN: First of all, a lot of the progress have been made in China. But you're right. There's still a big gap between Hong Kong and China. So I'm actually not supporting this bill. I have been proposing, as a pro-Beijing lawmaker, I think I may be the only one, that's proposing a specific detail in the bill where the Hong Kong court try the criminals locally in Hong Kong. Give us extraterritorial jurisdiction.
This is one thing the government has turned down. My proposal has 60 percent support from the people. OK. The toll on the government bill is almost 50 percent object, 27 percent support.
My proposal is exactly reversed. So that's a perfect chance to plug the loophole, which she can do but then somehow she passed this up. And that resulted in this.
COREN: Obviously Beijing has supported Carrie Lam, they came out yesterday, after she made that announcement that she was suspending the bill. They said we support her decision.
But do you think that her time is running out, that she has lost the credibility and lost the faith of the people?
TIEN: She has been a very loyal and responsible chief executive. She works hard. However, I think she made a very serious mistake this time, in terms of the judgment and the strategy of taking this challenge up.
So what happened was that she started this whole thing, Beijing supported her. And now, this thing becomes untenable. And Beijing has to support her so-called backing off. And I think there's serious consequences.
COREN: OK. Michael Tien, we have to leave it there. Michael Tien, Hong Kong lawmaker, part of the pro-Beijing bloc.
So Natalie, obviously, a lot of passion. Some are saying they're willing to put their life on the line for the future of their country. There's this bloc in Hong Kong that is very much in line with Beijing. But there's serious concerns about what that would mean for the future of Hong Kong.
People feel that Hong Kong's freedoms are being eroded. By the time that 2047 comes along, that Hong Kong will and truly be another large Chinese city. So these protesters in these mass demonstrations, they are fighting for Hong Kong's freedoms and also fighting for their future.
ALLEN: It is a tremendous story. We'll continue to follow it, of course, in the next few hours as this march. Or as Matt Rivers puts it, it is not a march because they are so crowded they cannot move. Anna Coren, thank you. We'll see you again.
We move on to other news next. Much has been made of Russia attacking U.S. computer systems. But now, there are reports the U.S. is doing the same. We'll look at what the U.S. may be targeting inside Russia.
ALLEN: Also, the crew rescued from their burning ship in the Gulf of Oman is out of Iran and in United Arab Emirates. We'll have a live report from Dubai.
ALLEN: We continue to bring you the updates on the breaking news out of Hong Kong. A mass protest underway now against the controversial extradition bill. Huge crowds are marching through the city, demanding Hong Kong's chief executive fully withdraw the bill and to resign.
She suspended the bill and defended it, saying it has merit and the government is open to revising it. Activists fear the bill could give China too much control over Hong Kong and chip away at the city's basic freedoms. We'll continue to follow it for you the next couple hours and beyond.
Other news we're following, "The New York Times" reports the United States is stepping up its cyber attacks on Russia. According to the paper, the U.S. is targeting the Russian power grid and has placed potentially crippling malware inside --
ALLEN: -- the Russian system. The report adds that U.S. president Donald Trump has not been briefed in detail because of concerns he may shut it down or share the information with Russia or other foreign officials, something he has done before.
Mr. Trump fired back on Twitter, calling the article false and an act of treason and attacking the news media, as he is oft to do, saying he will do -- or the media will do or say whatever it takes with not even slightest thought of consequence.
CNN's Ana Cabrera spoke with CNN military analyst Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling and chief national security correspondent for CNN Jim Sciutto. Jim just wrote a book on Russia and cyber attacks called, "The Shadow War." Here's their conversation.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It shows you that there's a level of conflicts that are under way in cyberspace and on a number of other fronts, between the U.S. and Russia, that the American public isn't aware of.
We've known for years that Russia has attempted to, with some success and China, too, I should note, to penetrate critical infrastructure here in the U.S., our grid of water treatment plants and, of course, the election in 2016 and other elections.
So this shows the U.S. responding, not necessarily turning those weapons on but planting weapons, malware, within the Russian power grid, that, in the event of a conflict, one or two, just to kind of send a message, a warning with Russia, to say, hey, you mess with us, we're going to mess back with you.
And that shows where we are and how serious this conflict is but also how quickly it could escalate. Now not only could they turn the lights off in New York but we could turn the lights off in Moscow.
But you mentioned, the other element of this is how this fits into the president's approach to Russia because it sounds like the Defense Department didn't believe that the president would go along with this. And as you know and in his many public comments, he has refused to call Russia a threat. He has often sided with Putin against his own intelligence agencies. That's the really interesting dynamic of this.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: General, is it unusual for the president not to be looped in on something like this?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It depends, Ana. And Jim has it exactly right. His book is very good on this. These kinds of what are called limited stealth operations in the cyber world have been going on for over a decade.
It gained a lot of strength in Europe, truthfully, after the hacking into the Estonia elections and some of the effects on some of their infrastructure, beyond the election capability.
So NATO has developed some plans, some contingencies to conduct operations. The United States has many, many plans, which the president probably doesn't know the excruciating detail of in terms of contingencies.
So, yes, we have been doing these kinds of stealth operations because you not only have to defend against any kind of cyber attack, there has to be the potential to conduct counteroffensive when those attacks occur.
I think that's what "The Times" article describes. I draw a little bit of angst when "The Times" used the word that we are conducting "attacks." We are not. We're preparing for potential attacks. But in order to do that, you have to get inside the system. And both governments know that each other are trying to do exactly that.
CABRERA: And we know the president is supposed to meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit at the end of the month.
Is it dangerous for Trump to go into that meeting unaware of such a major operation?
Could it come up during that meeting potentially?
HERTLING: It might. And I think that, as Jim just said, that's the more interesting part of this "New York Times" article, that there were some in the Defense Department or in Cyber Command, who were concerned about giving explicit details to the president, for fear that he might give the secrets away in terms of what we're doing.
Because he has been known to do that in the past, with the Russian foreign minister and the Israeli prime minister and others. It's never a good sign when you can't really trust some of the other people within your organization, within the administration, to keep secrets that are critically important.
The president tends to speak more and listen less. And that's not a good thing to have when you're talking about understanding the vulnerabilities of other nations, your own vulnerabilities and the capability to conduct operations.
ALLEN: In our next hour, we look at whether this aggressive strategy by the United States is overdue. I'll speak with a former member of the U.S. National Security Council under President Obama.
Saudi Arabia --
ALLEN: -- is now blaming Iran for Thursday's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. In a published interview, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said Tehran was responsible for attacking the two tankers and the international community should take a firm stand against Iran.
The crew of the Norwegian oil tanker has arrived in the United Arab Emirates. Our Sam Kiley is in Dubai with more on these latest developments.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, as you say, the crew is now -- all of the crew from the tanker that remains in the Gulf of Oman, are under tow with rescue vessels. But the crew have been flown from Iran to Dubai.
They were rescued initially by another ship and taken into the care of the Iranian authorities. They are reported, through their company, to have said, they're extremely well-treated. They're going into 24 hours, at least, of debriefings with country officials and diplomats from their home countries and with Emirati officials.
The Emiratis are out of step somewhat with the Saudis, their very close ally. Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, the effective executive power in the land in Saudi Arabia, now alongside the United Kingdom and the United States, pointing the finger of blame directly at Iran for these alleged limpet mine attacks on two ships in the Gulf this Thursday.
Now the Saudis have made this point before. They also blamed Iran for the attacks on four ships in May, which were attacked with bombs or some kind of limpet mine device in May in Emirate waters. Two of those ships were Saudis. Back then, alongside the British, they said the Iranians did it.
But the Emiratis are keeping well away from apportioning blame, simply saying they believe a state actor did it. And at the same time, the Japanese, of course, who own that vessel, with the crew that has just arrived here, also avoiding pointing the finger of blame.
ALLEN: Sam Kiley with the latest. We'll continue to follow it. Thank you.
Thousands of people are pouring into Hong Kong city streets, even though the proposed bill they're angry about has been suspended, they say it still threatens their civil rights. More about it coming next.
Also, President Trump is taking aim at former Vice President Joe Biden. We explain why that might not be a good political strategy.
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen with our top stories.
ALLEN: Mass protests are under way in Hong Kong. Even though the city's chief executive Carrie Lam has suspended the controversial bill they are protesting. Opposition activists say they will not stop protesting until the bill is eliminating completely. They also want Lam to step down.
Let's go back to Anna Coren.
The video we were just seeing there, the aerial shot of the crowds, it's just shoulder-to-shoulder people. It's unbelievable.
COREN: Yes. It is extraordinary. It seems that people have listened to the protest organizers and turned out in their hundreds of thousands. We're yet to get a proper number on how many people have turned out.
They're arriving here now; front of the march, is starting to arrive here at the legislative council, the building behind me. That's where Carrie Lam the city's chief executive made the announcement yesterday, saying she would suspend the controversial extradition bill, which would allow for the extradition of criminal suspects to Mainland China.
These protesters are not satisfied at all with her announcement. They want a complete withdrawal of the bill. And they want her to step down.
Beijing has said that it's standing by her, that it understands her decision. They don't want to see a repeat of the violence that we saw during the week on Wednesday, those ugly clashes with police. But certainly here, Natalie, it is extremely peaceful. I would assume
over the coming hours, there will be many more thousands of people filling up the park. We understand the front of the legislative council at the entrance, there's an extreme police presence.
To put this all into context, I now want to welcome Frank Ching. He is a Chinese political commentator and has been following the story closely.
Frank, what do you make of today's protests and the protests over the past week?
FRANK CHING, CHINESE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think these protests are going to have any effect. They will have no impact on Carrie Lam and her administration.
We saw a week ago, a million people protesting. The government, an hour later, said we'll proceed with the bill. It took bloodshed. It took violence in the streets for the government to rethink its position.
So it seems to me like a million people peacefully marching has no impact on this government at all. It seems like they're acting like they only respond to violence.
CHING: I think this is a terrible message to be sending to the people of Hong Kong.
COREN: As you say, they seem to be responding to the violence. And they were violent, ugly clashes that were beamed across the world. There was a great deal of international attention and a great deal of international condemnation.
Why has Carrie Lam and Beijing, for that matter, responded to the violence?
CHING: I think that Beijing does not want to see itself in this position. I mean, Hong Kong is part of China. The world's attention is focused on Hong Kong over the last few months. And everyone is saying China is behind it. It makes China responsible for the violence and everything that stems from this extradition bill. So I think China wanted to call a halt to this.
COREN: Frank, does the violence also -- sorry to interrupt.
But does the violence also pose a threat to China?
They don't want social unrest. If they get a whiff of that on the mainland, they are concerned that a revolution could take place. And that could certainly uproot the Communist Party.
CHING: They are certainly concerned about the dissatisfaction of Hong Kong spreading into the mainland. And this is the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising. And they don't want to see a repeat of that.
Now I think that Carrie Lam has said this was her decision. This was not an order from Beijing. But clearly Beijing wants the unrest brought to a halt. And I think Beijing may have put some pressure on her to end this impasse that is going on.
And I think it's going to make things very difficult for Carrie Lam in her remaining three years. I don't see how she can govern Hong Kong.
COREN: Yes. There's a great deal of speculation as to whether she will last out her tenure.
Frank, let me ask you this, is this history repeating itself?
In 2003, we saw mass demonstrations in Hong Kong, of people protesting against that national security bill, that bill that would crack down on treason, on sedition. The Hong Kong government, they backtracked. They did what Carrie Lam did yesterday. They shelved it.
That was 2003. It's now 2019.
Could we see a similar thing happen with this extradition bill?
CHING: There's similarities and also there's differences. In 2003, the then chief executive could not proceed because he did not have the support in the legislature. The liberal party withdrew its support. That counted for eight seats in the legislature.
Without their support, Hong Kong could not pass this bill. This time, it's different. Carrie Lam had the support of the pro-Beijing legislators. Now after the march ended last Sunday, she announced for it to go ahead. They were going to go ahead.
All of the pro-establishment legislators were going to continue to support her. So the question of being able to pass it did not arise. Then it was a question of violence developing and maybe spreading into the legislature itself. So I think that that's the difference --
COREN: I can just ask you very, very quickly, if I can ask you very quickly, is this Xi Jinping backing down?
CHING: No. I would say it's maybe China persuading Carrie Lam that she should not continue this any further. She may have come to the same conclusion herself. I can't tell.
COREN: Yes. Frank Ching, political commentator here in Hong Kong, we certainly appreciate your insight and your analysis, many thanks.
Natalie, as I mentioned before, there's throngs of protesters arriving here, dressed in black. Many of them carrying white flowers in honor of that protester that died yesterday. He fell off of a building while hanging a banner, saying no extradition to China. So this protest, at this stage, remaining very peaceful. That's the
hope of organizers, that it remains a peaceful one.
ALLEN: We certainly hope so because they are letting their voices be heard. Thank you so much, Anna Coren, for your reporting and giving us the analysis. Thank you, Anna.
Next here, the Democratic nomination for president --
ALLEN: -- is more than a year away. But that did not stop President Trump from badmouthing the current front-runner, it is Biden versus Trump. We'll get into it next.
ALLEN: We turn now to the next U.S. presidential election; 23 Democrats hope to take on President Trump in 2020. But he seems fixated on one. And advisers warn that could actually help his opponent. Here's what Trump told ABC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He wanted to be the tough guy. He's not a tough guy, he's a weak guy. But he wanted to be the tough guy. He's recalibrated on everything. Everything he says he's taking back two weeks later because he's getting slammed by the Left. And he's stuck with this stuff. I mean, he's really stuck with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Let's go to Scott Lucas, joining us from England. He teaches international politics at the University of Birmingham and he's the founder and editor of "EA WorldView."
Hi, Scott. Thanks for being with us.
SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Good morning, Natalie.
ALLEN: Let's talk about that. What's this, one adviser warns that President Trump, being fixated on Biden could actually help Biden?
How do you see it?
LUCAS: Well, that's the gamble that Trump has already taken from 2016, when he talked about Little Marco Rubio or Lyin' Ted Cruz, Crazy Bernie Sanders and of course various names for Hillary Clinton. He's going to use the same strategy this time, whether or not an adviser thinks it will work.
I think the question is, is he too focused on Biden? I think Trump has probably done this because Biden enters the Democratic race with the most name recognition as the former vice president. It's the one that Trump thinks he has a handle on.
LUCAS: He thinks he understands Biden, even if that's not true. But I think the interesting point is, let's see if we can have a surge from another Democratic candidate. There's certainly a lot of possibilities out there.
Does Trump then shift his attacks?
What does he do then?
So I think there's a comfort zone for Trump which if he keeps it as Trump versus Biden until next year and the media plays along, he thinks he can handle that. But if Joe Biden isn't necessarily the front-runner and we have an open Democratic race, Donald Trump could be unsettled and a lot of folks may have to think about what happens on Twitter and beyond.
ALLEN: If they go toe-to-toe, how do you think will Biden play this?
Biden hasn't shielded from his personal attacks against Trump.
LUCAS: I don't want to haul y'all up but I do think that's the wrong question. I think that Joe Biden, in a sense, started off with this idea, I will focus on Donald Trump. I'm the guy that can take Donald Trump down. But I think that may be a miscalculation, in that since Biden entered the race this spring, we have seen others gain on him in the polls.
We've seen Biden slip to 24 percent. I don't think Joe Biden is the anointee to take the nomination. And Biden, perhaps as early as the debates in 10 days, is going to have to think about an Elizabeth Warren or a Pete Buttigieg or a Kamala Harris or a Bernie Sanders or a Beto O'Rourke.
In other words, anything could happen at these debates. And if Biden keeps thinking it's Donald Trump, it might be a miscalculation.
ALLEN: Right, yes. There are many people in this race that could start to pull away from Joe Biden. We have seen, even though Biden is the front-runner, it seems his support is a little bit cool. In other words, people aren't just absolutely stuck on Biden.
Perhaps Biden is the one they believe can beat Trump.
And you think part of Trump's attacks on Biden, also, maybe, in small part, because he came from the Obama administration?
LUCAS: Oh, that's not a small part. That's a big part.
(LAUGHTER) LUCAS: I mean, Donald Trump is someone who probably doesn't know a lot about many of the candidates in the Democratic race. But he will know that Biden is someone who for years he has bashed.
So as I say again, he is in that comfort zone. I think the question is, though, to get it beyond the horse race, look, this should be a campaign about issues.
And when are we going to get to the point when we're talking about climate change, when we're talking about health care, when we're talking about education?
Donald Trump's game is not to talk about it issues and to keep it on personalities.
How do the Democrats respond to that?
Do they get away from a mano a mano contest and say, let's test Trump on the issues, rather than on an insult and a nickname for each of us.
ALLEN: Buttigieg pledged that's how he would run his campaign. But we'll wait and see. It is amazing that the first debate is just 10 days away. It will be interesting to watch and then see the president's response to it. Scott Lucas, always appreciate your time. Thank you, Scott.
LUCAS: Thank you, Natalie.
ALLEN: We turn to the weather, next, because extreme weather has struck again in the American Midwest. This time, it's tornadoes touching down in Indiana. Derek Van Dam will have the latest for us.
ALLEN: We continue to bring you updated breaking news on the protesters in Hong Kong. Thousands of protesters dressed in black are marching toward the city's main government buildings. They are furious over a proposed extradition bill that was suspended but not canceled.
On Saturday, Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, said the bill had merit though she expressed regrets about the way it was handled. She said there's no timetable for the bill to be reintroduced. Her words were not enough, as you see right here, to appease protesters.
They say, as long as the bill exists in any form, it poses a danger to their civil rights. We'll continue to follow developments. We'll have another live report at the top of the hour. Right now, we want to focus on severe storms, racing across the central U.S., spawning tornadoes and triggering destructive winds and hail.
ALLEN: Here's one for you, attention Target shoppers, everything is back to normal after a widespread systems outage took cash registers offline for two hours Saturday. The problem left customers across the country waiting in long lines to check out.
Many took to social media to express their frustrations and post video and pictures. What the company described as an internal technology issue affected stores in huge population centers. Target has 1,800 stores in the U.S.
Just a few minutes away, another hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. Please stay with us.