Return to Transcripts main page


Iran To Increase Low-Grade Uranium Enrichment; U.S. Sending 1,000 Additional Troops To Middle East; Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Dies At 67 Netanyahu Unveils Plans for "Trump Heights" Settlement; Israeli Prime Minister Names Golan Heights Settlement After Trump. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 18, 2019 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everybody, thanks for joining us. I'm John Vause you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, the steady drumbeat to war. The U.S. deploys troops to the Mideast around once the confrontation is coming and says it will increase its stockpile of low-grade nuclear fuel moving one step closer to a nuclear weapon.

Plus, it has bright gold letters, synthetic grass located on land much of the world considers illegally occupied by Israel, the ultimate Trumpian honor of Israel's prime minister to the U.S. President. And later, droning on about drones. A rafter companies announce new trials for drone delivery. If this is the wave of the future, sure is a long time coming.

The chances over confrontation between the U.S. and Iran may have increased a notch with U.S. plans to send a thousand additional troops and military assets to the Middle East with one goal, keep Iran on line. The announcement comes as the Pentagon released new pictures which had claims proves Iran was behind last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Tehran denies the allegations and Iran's ambassador in London tells our Christiane Amanpour the endgame is clear.



HAMID BAEIDINEJAD, IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO UNITED KINGDOM: Unfortunately we are heading towards a confrontation which is very serious for everybody in the region.


VAUSE: Iran also has a message for the Trump administration, if you're after you clear deal, so are we. The government in Tehran says it will ignore the limits on stockpiled low-grade uranium as detailed in the 2015 nuclear agreement. Now our man in Tehran is Fred Pleitgen.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate, after the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Iran also announcing its scaling back its commitments under the nuclear agreement drastically accelerating production of low-grade enriched uranium.

BEHROUZ KAMALVANDI, SPOKESMAN, IRAN'S ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: I have said that we are counting down in ten days' time of overpass. Of course the limitation of keeping 300 kilograms of stockpiles (INAUDIBLE) this uranium inside the country and of course there would be other measures later on if the Europeans will not do their part.

PLEITGEN: Iran wants European countries to make good on their commitments under the deal to provide Iran with economic relief in the face of tough U.S. sanctions. Iran's oil exports have been all but cut off by the Trump administration's policy of maximum pressure and the U.S. reiterating its claims that Iran was behind the tanker attack last week near the Strait of Hormuz.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: It's unmistakable what happened here. These were attacks by the Islamic Republic of Iran on commercial shipping on the freedom of navigation with a clear intent to deny transit through the Straight.

PLEITGEN: Iran verbally firing back. A senior official now saying Teheran believes the U.S. may have committed the attacks. On the streets of Tehran, a mix of concern and defiance.

There is a fear among the people that there might be war this man says, but our people would like to have stability and peace.

America is nothing this woman says. Whenever we talk, they don't answer us properly. There's no point in talking to them.

Of course, there are some fears, this woman says. But we hope that the United States will moderate its hard line and I hope our government will be more flexible so they can come to terms with each other and achieve peace.

But so far neither side seems willing to back down. Both the U.S. and Iran saying they don't want war but demanding the other side make the first move towards de-escalation. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Tehran.


VAUSE: For more now, now we're joined by Trita Parsi, the Founder and former President of the National Iranian American Council. So, Trita, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: If the Iranian ambassador in London is right and it appears the U.S. and Iran are heading towards some kind of confrontation, how does this decision by Tehran to increase its low-grade nuclear stockpile do anything other than increase the likelihood of a confrontation?

PARSI: Well, the fact that they're now increasing it is actually very, very worrisome. This is a very, very bad development but it is not a surprising development. For more than a year now, the Trump administration has walked out of the deal, violated it, and perhaps most importantly punished countries for adhering to the deal while reimposing all sanctions on Iran.

So it was quite clear that at some point the Iranians would leave it as well because if they're not getting any of economic benefits that they were promised, they're likely going to walk out. But here's the small opportunity that exists here. The Iranians are essentially sending a signal to Europeans saying you are obligated to provide those economic benefits and continue to trade with Iran under this nuclear deal.

If you're not going to do it then Iran will walk out because it's getting nothing for this deal. If you have to restart your trade with Iran, then Iran will return back into the deal because the stockpile is very easily reversible. The question though is, are the Europeans willing to defy Trump's sanctions and restart their trade with Iran?

[01:05:30] VAUSE: So with that in mind, the U.S. state department is actually calling on Tehran to honor its commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal. The irony was not lost on many and that included Iran's ambassador to the U.K. Here he is.


BAEIDINEJAD: It is very funny that the United States and this administration, which has characterized the JCPOA as the worst agreement in the history, now they are expecting Iran will be fully committed with this agreement. If it's a funny agreement, if it's the worst deal ever made in the history, how can you expect Iran would be fully committed to this agreement?


VAUSE: You know, while the U.S. president may derive the deal, the U.K., France, China, Russia, and Germany, they're still committed. As you say, maybe they're not adhering to because of the secondary sanctions coming from the U.S. But is this an attempt essentially to widen the divisions between those other countries, you know, P5 and the United States, the divisions which to be fair were first created by Donald Trump?

PARSI: Actually, I don't think so because the risk here is that they actually may reduce those divisions. I think this is Iran saying, look, they've been inside of the deal for more than a year without getting any of the benefits. If the Europeans are so afraid of the United States and its punishments of the -- of the U.S. against the Europeans, then there's no reason for the Iranians to stay either.

So they're actually saying, if they're going to be in, others have to be in. Yes, the Europeans are still speaking very nice words about the deal but they are not adhering to its economic -- to the economic obligations that they have under this deal which is to make sure that this trade is actually functioning and it's going in both directions.

So no one has the expectation, frankly, that the Iranians will stay in this forever. They are just hoping that the Iranians would stay in the deal without any benefits for at least until Donald Trump leaves the White House. But it's unclear whether he will leave the White House next year or whether he will be there for another five or six years.

So this is a crisis that ultimately is coming around because Trump has pulled out of the deal and the Europeans have unfortunately they said great things and they have sent the right political signals but when push came to shove, they have all adhere to the blackmail that Trump administration has put on them by threatening to sanction them if they traded with Iran.

VAUSE: I want you to listen how the U.S. State Department described Tehran's announcement of this increase in this low great nuclear stockpiles. Here it is.


MORGAN ORTAGUS, SPOKESWOMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: And, so we you know, would say to the international community that we should not yield to nuclear extortion by the Iranian regime.



VAUSE: Here is Republican Senator Tom Cotton speaking over the weekend about the attacks on the two oil tankers which the U.S. blames Iran for.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): These unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant retaliatory military strike.


VAUSE: And now the Pentagon has released new images which it claims a proof that Iran was behind the attacks. We also have an announcement of 1,000 extra troops heading to the region, U.S. troops heading to the region. How is all of this being heard by the people of Iran? Because there's a steady drumbeat, building the case for confrontation or even for war is reminiscent of the days leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

PARSI: Absolutely. Back, then as well, everything was done that regardless of what Saddam Hussein did or not, the agenda for war would be going forward. And with people like Tom Cotton and others who have worked so hard to start a war with Iran for the last five or six years, this is a fantastic opportunity they have and they're doing everything they can without any evidence that the Iranians were behind it, trying to pin it on the Iranians in order to further the war agenda. I think people in Iran are really stalked. They don't like the current government. They have tremendous amount of problems with the current government, but at the same time, they are saying the U.S. administration that seems to be taking its cues from Saudi Arabia and Israel who also want the United States to go with Iran because they want the United States to restore a balance of power in the Middle East that is more reminiscent of what existed prior to 2003 when the United States invaded Iraq.

So they really stalk between an administration in the U.S. that wants war and the government in Iran that has been quite repressive of their civil rights.

VAUSE: There seems to be a feedback loop right now between the U.S. President and Fox News. At 11:49 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time, Trump tweeted Iran to defy stockpile limit. The exact same warning from a segment on Fox which had gone to just minutes earlier. And that segment dealt with the potential for a U.S. limited strike on Iran. You know, if it was just right, that Goldilocks zone, it would come at no cost because the Iranians would not respond in a significant way.

You have the hardliners now having the upper hand in Tehran. Are they likely to allow any U.S. strike regardless of how limited it may be to go unanswered?

[01:10:26] PARSI: On the contrary. This is actually a line that both the Saudis and the Israelis have been making to Washington for quite some time It's essentially saying that Iran is no different from Syria. You can strike it, they won't have the guts to respond.

We actually know that that's not true because just two weeks ago when there was a ratcheting it up of tensions, the U.S. intelligence itself picked out that as U.S. warships were heading towards the Middle East, the Iranians started to put some of their missiles on boats moving them around appearing as if they were either wanting to protect those missiles or preparing for counter strikes.

So the idea that this will just be a limited strike and the Iranians won't respond seems extremely unlikely. But this is how you sell a big war. You pretend that you're selling a small war because that's much more digestible, just something that Trump perhaps could agree to.

If you actually try to say look, let's have a big war, not only would the American public be strongly against it, I personally think that Donald Trump himself would not be in favor with it.

VAUSE: It's a good point to end on, Trita. And yes, if you want a big war, you're going to start with a small one I guess. Thanks being with us.

PARSI: Thank you so much for having me.

VAUSE: The first democratically elected president of Egypt Mohamed Morsi has died of a heart attack in court while on trial for espionage. After making a five-minute statement insisting he was the country's legitimate leader according to New York Times, the 67-year- old returned to the defendants cage, collapsed, and fell unconscious. He was dead on arrival at hospital.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh live now from Istanbul with details. So what more do we know about Morsi's death and what's behind these calls for an investigation? You know and will it be open and thorough investigation, I mean this is Egypt after all?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, that is the big question. That's why we're hearing for calls for an international investigation, John, because there's a lot of skepticism that Egypt will be able to carry out an impartial investigation into the death of the former President Mohammed Morsi.

Now here's what we know and this is coming from his lawyer. It is coming from the state prosecutor in a statement and also Egyptian state media, keeping in mind you know these trials are really closed to the media and much of the media in Egypt is controlled by the government.

Yesterday this was during his trial, one of his many trials that he has stood since his ouster in 2013. This is the so-called espionage trial. As the session was wrapping up, John, he asked the judge to speak. We understand he spoke for about five to seven minutes. And as he returned to the glass cage, that is where he collapsed and he was transported to hospital. And according to the state prosecutor, he was dead on arrival.

Egyptian state media is saying he died as a result of a heart attack. We're waiting to hear more information but of course, this has caused so much anger amongst his supporters in Egypt and beyond. Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned, outlawed in Egypt but they still released a statement describing this as an assassination by the government, calling this a murder, describing him as a martyr.

We've also heard from the Turkish president also with a close supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood calling the former president a martyr and also blaming his death on what he described as the tyrants. The reason for this John is that for years during his detention, there have been a lot of concerns that have been raised by human rights organizations, by critics of the Egyptian government's about the conditions in which Morsi was kept.

A lot of concern about his health, he was a diabetic, he had liver disease, there were you know, there was a panel that was commissioned by his family. This was made up of British lawmakers last year that released a report saying that his conditions were inhuman, that he was -- the way he was treated was cruel, that he wasn't receiving adequate medical care.

And this is something we have heard also from a Human Rights Watch. And they have raised concerns about this that that British parliamentarian panels saying that the conditions he was kept in, the way he was treated was going to lead to an early death.

And this is what they were really concerned about and this is what we saw happening. That is why Human Rights Watch calling this a predictable situation, his death yesterday. And again as you mentioned calls for an independent and impartial investigation and will led to the death of the former President.

[01:15:10] VAUSE: Jomana, thank you. We should also note that his election as president was seen as, sort of, a high point of the Arab Spring when hope was high, said there would be the end to, you know, autocratic leaders and dictators and corrupt government.

But it was an election which never delivered on that promise. Jomana Karadsheh, live, for us there with the latest on the death of Mohamed Morsi. Thank you.

Still to come, smoke and mirrors on the Golan Heights. How the ultimate honor for the U.S. President seems to be a lot less than it appears to be. We'll explain after the break. Also, the wave of the future is coming, it's just taking a really long time, with more companies testing drones to deliver stuff, we're just simply too lazy to get for ourselves. That's coming up on CNN NEWSROOM.


VAUSE: Before he was U.S. President, Donald Trump's name was his trade. He slapped on everything from steaks to vodka, to hotels and aftershave, now add an Israeli settlement to that list. Israel's prime minister unveiled Trump Heights over the weekend, a potential Jewish settlement in the Golan Heights, to be built on disputed land, according to most of the world, but not the U.S.

Donald Trump broke with years of U.S. foreign policy and recognized Israel's annexation of the Golan. More details now from CNN's Oren Liebermann.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: They called it a festive cabinet meeting, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was all smiles, as he stood in front of the newest settlement in the Golan, Trump Heights. Netanyahu promised he would name a town after President Donald Trump, after Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, breaking decades of U.S. foreign policy.

The recognition came two weeks before the last Israeli elections, in what was seen as a political gift to Netanyahu.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (through translator): We are making an important step towards the establishment of a settlement of (INAUDIBLE) Trump. It carries the name of a great friend of Israel. I'm also proud to say he is my great friend, as well, the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

LIEBERMANN: The Golan Heights were seized from Syria in the 1967, 6- day war. They are regarded as illegally occupied territory under international law, despite Israel annexing the territory in 1981. The U.S. is the only country to recognize the Golan as part of Israel. NETANYAHU: The Golan, I'll say it again, listen carefully, the Golan was and will be an integral part of our country and our state. The Golan is Israeli.

[01:20:11] LIEBERMANN: In May, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, brought Netanyahu a gift, a map of the Golan, signed by Trump. This time, it was Trump's proclamation, recognizing Israeli's sovereignty here that was on display during the ceremony.

VLADIMIR BELOZERKOVSKY, GOLAN HEIGHTS RESIDENT (through translator): I'm happy about it, of course, that a new community is formed here, named after Trump. It's OK. It doesn't bother me.

LIEBERMANN: Trump showed his gratitude on Twitter, saying thank you Mr. Prime Minister, a great honor. U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, sat next to Netanyahu in a cabinet meeting held at the proposed site of the new settlement.

DAVID FRIEDMAN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: I want to thank you for holding the cabinet meeting here, and for the extraordinary gesture that you and the state of Israel are making to the president of th United States. It's well-deserved, but it's much appreciated.

LIEBERMANN: Opposition lawmakers rip the ceremony as a public relation stunt meant to appease Trump. On Twitter, member, Zvi Hauser said, whoever reads the fine print in this historic decision understands that it's a phantom decision. There is no budget, there is no planning, there is no place and there is really no binding decision.

Even if all that was missing, there were still more than enough here for Benjamin Netanyahu to celebrate his friendship with Donald Trump. Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.


VAUSE: To Tel Aviv now, and Ronen Bergman, Staff Writer for the New York Times magazine and author of this good book right here, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations, available at all good bookstores. OK. There's the plug. Thanks for being with us, Ronen.

RONEN BERGMAN, STAFF WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE (via Skype): Thank you, John. Thank you for the invite.

VAUSE: You're welcome. We will get to Trump Heights in a moment. But I'd like to find out, what did you make, you know, of the optics, of the U.S. ambassador sitting next to the Israeli prime minister during a cabinet meeting? I can't recall anything like that happening before. And whether intended or not, the message is pretty clear.

BERGMAN: Just conveying the same message again and again and again, that the friendship between the current U.S. administration and the current Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu is, I would say, the unprecedented intimate relation ever created between (INAUDIBLE) between the two countries. The harmony, the coordination, the synchronization, the personal friendship, and the ability to exchange gifts and flattery of the highest kind between countries, is unprecedented. It never happened before. And I'm not sure that it ever happened before the -- between the United States and any other country.

VAUSE: Yes, I think that's pretty much on the money. You know, Trump Heights, seems to be this ultimate attempt in settlement. The Times of Israel reports the cabinet decision calls for an initiative to establish a new Golan Heights community, but does not actually declare the establishment of one.

The cabinet further instructed the Finance Ministry to make recommendations regarding the budget required for the establishment of a new community in the Golan. So far, not a shekel has been earmarked for the project.

Also, the chief international correspondent to Channel 13, Nadav Eyal, tweeted this, since this is an election period, the government cannot actually decide to establish the village or start building. So they put this nice plaque, and there's also some synthetic grass. Say what you will on Bibi -- he gets Trump.

In many ways, it seems to be the ultimate in fake news. So, who's Netanyahu trying to get one over? Is it the U.S. president or is it the Israeli voters?

BERGMAN: Both. I said not long ago, to friends in New York, that if there is anyone who can beat Netanyahu in the coming Israeli election, is President Donald Trump. And if you will have been running with Nikki Haley, he will be the one winning the Israeli elections.

I think that there is no more popular politician more than Netanyahu, even today, in Israel, is President Trump. And therefore, Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to do two things.

First, to reward President Trump for what he has done to him, when acknowledging the Golan Heights, when supporting him very, very publicly during the previous elections, and hopefully he will, I assume, do that again, hopefully, from the point of view of Benjamin Netanyahu, and also for Prime Minister Netanyahu -- sorry?

VAUSE: Yes, please go on. Sorry.

BERGMAN: Yes. And hopefully, Prime Minister Netanyahu -- he also understands his own constituency. And he understands that they see -- some of them see President Trump, maybe no far less than the Messiah himself --


BERGMAN: bringing (INAUDIBLE) benefits to -- from -- again, from their political point of view, bringing their voters -- bringing them so many gifts, something -- things that they have hoped for many years the U.S. would do, and didn't. [01:25:10] And so, he's doing this for both sides of the Atlantics, and Israeli bureaucracy is very, very complicated, it would take years to establish this community, but I'm not sure that it matters, you had the ceremony, you had the plaque, you had the U.S. ambassador over to your --

VAUSE: Exactly.

BERGMAN: -- you had President Trump --

VAUSE: You had all the trimmings. That's all that matters. Yes, just to your point, here is Netanyahu, you know, declaring Trump the greatest, the bestest, the most amazing friend Israel has ever had in the Oval Office. Listen to this.


NETANYAHU: Israel has never had a better friend than you. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history.


VAUSE: Yes, politically, Netanyahu's close friendship with Trump hasn't paid this, sort of, dividends he may have hoping for. And then, you know, there's also the question about, you know, Israel's long-term security. And, is this actually good, you know, the stance taken by the U.S.? Is this actually a good thing for Israel security, long-term?

BERGMAN: Well, I think it paid lots of dividends for Netanyahu during the last elections. One of the reasons that he won the elections was the way that he's proceed that many Israeli voters as the king of foreign relations, as one who forged this kind of alignment with the United States.

That there was nothing before that, and they were nothing -- and there would be nothing after Prime Minister Netanyahu walks away from the stage of history. But there are other things, of course.

There are other people, including myself, who believe that the United States, by recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel, by recognizing Jerusalem as part of Israel, removing the embassy from Tel Aviv, I believe, relocating into Jerusalem, made itself as no longer an honest broker in the eyes of the Palestinians.

And this makes the possible solution for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute much further away from them. The other thing is that once Prime Minister Netanyahu identifies himself so closely with President Trump, who is a polarizing factor, probably the most important polarizing factor, in the U.S. society that he has seen.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is part of this polarizing factor. And there are many other things that I think could be -- could come back to Israel, in the years after the Trump administration, and after Prime Minister Netanyahu leaves office and retaliate for this kind of very, very strong relations and alignment. In the meantime, Benjamin Netanyahu is looking only at the coming elections, and he is looking at harvesting the fruits of his alignment and winning, again, the elections, on the wings of this friendship.

VAUSE: Ronen, I'm sorry (INAUDIBLE) we are almost out of time. But just very quickly, you know, Trump Heights will all be a bit of a good belly laugh, you know, the big gold letters, the synthetic grass, nothing there but the Trump name, or smoke and mirrors.

But, you know, if Trump Heights is ever actually built, it will be located on disputed territory in defiance of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and this U.S. president wholeheartedly approves. And that, you know, is a bit of a buzz kill in many ways.

BERGMAN: At the end of the day, the Golan Heights is a territory that was conquered from Syria in 1967. At the end of the day, I believe that Syria would not sign a peace agreement with Israel, unless this area is evacuated.

And so, if Israel is looking for some sort of a permanent reconciliation, a permanent settlement with Syria, in time to come, when Syria is after the Civil War and et cetera, I think that there will be no other choice but to evacuate the Golan Heights, and to evacuate Trump Heights if these are ever erected.

VAUSE: Yes. Ronen, thank you so much. We appreciate you being with us. Again, the, book, Rise and Kill First, you know, book on Israeli secret assassinations, so thank you for being with us, Ronen, appreciate it. Cheers.

Still to come, numbers? They don't lie? Unless, of course, they are poll numbers that Donald Trump doesn't like, his message to supporters, as he prepares to officially launch his re-election campaign.


[01:31:56] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

The U.S. military has announced it will send a thousand additional troops to the Middle East. This follows Thursdays attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman which the U.S. blames on Iran. Iran denies this and accuses the U.S. of pushing a narrative that could lead to a confrontation.

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has died of a heart attack at age 67. Officials in Cairo say Morsi collapsed inside a court following a hearing in an espionage case. Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected leader before his ouster in 2013.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a new settlement called Trump Heights will be built in the Golan Heights. The U.S. President Donald Trump formally recognized the area as part of Israel back in March. The international community though considers the Golan occupied territory.

Well, ahead of its official campaign launch, President Trump has taken a unique approach to dealing with some very discouraging poll numbers. Just insist they're not real.

Trump campaign internal polling shows the President behind Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden in a number of key states. Sources say Mr. Trump has been furious and fired three pollsters over the leak of an opinion poll which he said did not exist.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't believe those polls. There's no way he beats me in Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But even your own polls show you behind right now, don't they?

TRUMP: No. Ny polls show that I'm winning everywhere.


VAUSE: Joining us now Daniel Dale, CNN reporter in Washington. Daniel -- welcome.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Thank you very much.

VAUSE: You know, back in December a newly-discovered (INAUDIBLE) life form -- a worm-like amphibian which lives almost entirely underground away from the real world, has very limited eyesight, was officially named demorphis donaldtrumpi. Back then it was because of the U.S. President's refusal to believe that climate change was real.

Possibly it seems demorphis donaldtrumpi may have a relative out there. And that is (INAUDIBLE) donaldtrumpi, or refusal to acknowledge bad news because it's not just internal polling bad news. It's bad polling news anywhere.

Here's Donald Trump on Fox last week.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Mr. President they say like Ronald Reagan at this point and like Bush 43 at this point -- you're trailing in a lot of battleground states as you gear up.

TRUMP: That's incorrect polling.


TRUMP: That's incorrect.


VAUSE: Yes, this says a lot about the Trump reelection campaign and how it will operate in the coming months. DALE: It does. You know, the campaign professionals are dealing with

what they call a principle that the candidate who doesn't want to hear anything that suggests that he is anything less than beloved. And that is a challenge for professionals who might may want to change the strategy or tactics in response to, for example, data that shows the President is now beloved.

And so it's a constant struggle for people working for Trump to try to balance the management of his ego with the communication of information they need to right the ship they are going to.

VAUSE: Were these numbers leaked just kind of a last ditch effort to get the President to pay attention to them?

[01:35:01] DALE: I don't know personally. They weren't leaked to me. I think that is possible. But I think there are a bunch of other possible motivations. I would not want to guess.

VAUSE: Ok. Now, with regards to the internal polls which show Donald Trump in big trouble in more than a dozen states. That happened over the weekend and he fired three pollsters for leaking the opinion poll data which he initially said did not exist in the first place.

And according to our reporting, privately a person familiar with the situation told CNN that the dismissals or firings were less to do with the quality of the pollsters work than about pacifying the President, you know, which may explain why the three people who were fired had nothing to do with the polling while the person who did that polling is actually still on the job. That means that clearly there's a disconnect here.

DALE: Right. Trump just does not want to be embarrassed. And we know that he has been on an internal, raving rampage about leakers for most of his tenure as president. And I think he sees leaks coming from his campaign as even more of a betrayal than leaks coming from his White House. He knows there are, you know, hundreds of people and the administration. He doesn't know where they could be coming from.

But when it's his small campaign team he takes that especially hard. And so I don't know if there is an edict to get rid of anyone involved or if people working under him simply thought that's what needed to be done but they did it.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, the former vice president Joe Biden, Democrat running for, you know, the Democrat nomination. He is looking at these polls and telling him a very difference story. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I plan on campaigning in the South. I plan -- and if I'm your nominee -- winning Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina believe it or not. And I believe we can win Texas and Florida if you look at the polling data now. It doesn't mean - it's a marathon. It's a long way off.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: I mean it's a big call by Biden and he is running on this, you know, electability first. And you know, policies seen to be distant second. Over the weekend, you know, there was a Fox News poll which shows he is not the only Democrat who can actually beat Trump.

You know, that is a good lead for Biden there but if you look at the numbers does it say there's a lot of electability to go round. How much harm does this poll and others like it -- because there had been similar polls as well, due to the Biden campaign and the fact that he says he's the one to beat Trump?

DALE: Well, I think as long as he has by far the biggest lead over Trump in these polls then he can safely make this electability argument. I think for a lot of Democratic voters people who voted in the Democratic primary, they are just not willing to take the chance that they're chosen candidate will lose to Trump. Above all they just want this president gone.

And so if we see consistently polls where there are several Democrats who are just slightly beating Trump but Biden way ahead of Trump, then I think for many voters it will be a compelling argument.

And he will say look, you know, you could take a risk with all these other people. Maybe they'll bet him but maybe they won't. Whereas, you choose me, you know I can win Texas. You know, I can maybe win South Carolina. And I'm going to carry Michigan Pennsylvania, Wisconsin -- all these states we really need to win. So I think for now at least he still has that argument on his side.

VAUSE: Interesting about that poll -- Mayor Pete Buttigieg he just made the cut. If he was to win the White House he would be the youngest president in U.S. history and the first who's openly gay. But he believes not the first gay president. Listen


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People will elect the person while will make the best president. And we have had excellence presidents who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal. I would imagine we've probably had excellent presidents who are gay we just didn't know which one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You believe we've had a gay commander-in-chief?

BUTTIGIEG: I mean, statistically it's almost certain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like in your reading of history like you believe you know who they were?

BUTTIGIEG: My gaydar doesn't even work that well in the present, let alone retroactively.


VAUSE: You know, Is this another example of how Buttigieg is almost always tone and pitch perfect answering questions which potentially could've been a problem.

DALE: Yes, I think so. I mean he is very smooth. He is fluent. He mixes seriousness and eloquence with humor very well. He sometimes seems smart and relatable at the same. I think the question for him is about electability and about experience.

You know he tries to say that his experiences, superior experience. You know, he's been in the Midwest. He's been in the military. He has run a small city. I think though for many voters running a small city in Indiana is still not sufficient qualification for be a President of the United States.

I think there are still some voters who worry about the electability prospects of even a very charming gay man. And so he has hurdles as well as talents.

VAUSE: Yes, it's not like he had his own reality TV show or anything.

Daniel -- good to see you. Thank you.

DALE: Thank you.

VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM -- Anderson Cooper's personal and heartfelt tribute to his mother -- fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt.


VAUSE: The world knew her as a fashion designer, an artist, a socialite. For 95 years Gloria Vanderbilt lived an extraordinary life. She was the poor little rich girl who proved money doesn't buy happiness and failure often comes before success.

CNN's Anderson Cooper called her "mom". Here's his loving and deeply heartfelt look back at her life.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360" (voice-over): Gloria Vanderbilt, my mom, lived her entire life in the public eye. Born in 1924, her father Reginald Vanderbilt, was heir to the Vanderbilt railroad fortune but gambled away most of his inheritance and died when my mom was just a baby.

Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, her mother, wasn't ready to be a mom or a widow.

My mom grew up in France, not knowing anything about the Vanderbilt family or the money that she would inherit when she turned 21. She had no idea the trouble that money would create.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here is the first movie of little Gloria herself. Frightened by the curious crowd, she flees into her aunt's car. Money isn't everything.

COOPER: When she was 10, her father's sister, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, sued to have my mom taken away from her own mother. It was a custody battle the likes of which the world had never seen. It was called the trial of the century, and it took place during the height of the Depression, making headlines every day for months.

The court awarded custody of my mom to her Aunt Gertrude, whom she barely knew. The judge also fired the one person my mom truly loved and needed, her nanny, whom she called Dodo.

GLORIA VANDERBILT, MOTHER OF ANDERSON COOPER: She was my mother, my father. She was everything. She was my lifeline. She was all I had.

COOPER: As a teenager, she tried to avoid the spotlight, but reporters and cameramen would follow her everywhere. She was determined to make something of her life, determined to make a name for herself, and find the love and family that she so desperately craved.

At 17, against her aunt's wishes, she got married. She knew it was a mistake from the get-go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wedding bells at Santa Barbara's ancient Spanish mission. He is Pasquale DiCicco, Hollywood actors' agent, and he's 32.

COOPER (on camera): He was described as a Hollywood agent. Was he an agent?

VANDERBILT: Well, maybe at one point he was. He had been married to Thelma Todd, who was quite a well-known actress, and she was -- died under mysterious circumstances. And there were sort of rumors around that maybe he had killed her, you know.

COOPER: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. So you got married to a guy who there were rumors that he had killed his former wife?


COOPER: Did that not seem to give you pause?

[01:44:59] VANDERBILT: Well, I thought all he needs is me, you know, to --

COOPER: Oh, God.

VANDERBILT: Sweetheart, I was only 17.

COOPER: OK. I know.

(voice-over): At 21, she married again and had two sons with the legendary conductor, Leopold Stokowski.

COOPER: This is what he looked like when you first met him?

VANDERBILT: Well, it's a terrible photograph of him, but he was 63 when I first met him and married him.

COOPER: And was this something like as soon as you saw him, you thought --


COOPER: Really?

VANDERBILT: I knew him for a week and married three weeks later.

COOPER: Really?


COOPER: I didn't know that.


COOPER: And he was 63?


COOPER: Wow. Did any of your friends think it was weird?

VANDERBILT: I don't know. I mean --

COOPER: They didn't say anything to you?

VANDERBILT: It didn't matter to me.

COOPER (voice-over): The marriage lasted more than a decade. Then she met and married director Sidney Lumet and then my father, writer Wyatt Cooper.

Over the course of her life, my mom was photographed by all the great photographers. She worked as a painter, a writer, an actress, and designer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gloria, you're terrific.

COOPER: If you were around in the early 1980s, it was pretty hard to miss the jeans she helped create. But that was the public face, the one she learned to hide behind as a child.

Her private self, her real self, that was more fascinating and more lovely than anything she showed the public.

I always thought of her as a visitor from another world, a traveler stranded here who'd come from a distant star that burned out long ago. I always felt it was my job to try to protect her.

She was the strongest person I've ever met, but she wasn't tough. She never developed a thick skin to protect herself from hurt. She wanted to feel it all. She wanted to feel life's pleasures; its pains as well.

She trusted too freely, too completely, and suffered tremendous losses. But she always pressed on, always worked hard, always believed the best was yet to come. COOPER (on camera): You think the next great love is right around the


VANDERBILT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

COOPER: Is there anyone I should know about right now?


COOPER: I think Ben Brantley said he's never met somebody over the age of 16 who loves being in love as much as you.

VANDERBILT: That's true. I think we should always be in love.

COOPER (voice-over): And she was always in love. In love with men, or with friends, or books and art. In love with her children and her grandchildren and then her great-grandchildren. Love is what she believed in more than anything.

Earlier this month, we had to take her to the hospital. And that's where she learned she had very advanced cancer in her stomach and that it had spread. When the doctor told her she had cancer, she was silent for a while. And then she said, well, it's like that old song, show me the way to get out of this world because that's where everything is.

Later, she made a joke and we started giggling. I never knew that we had the exact same giggle. I recorded it and it makes me giggle every time I watch it.

COOPER: Gloria Vanderbilt died as she lived, on her own terms.

I know she hoped for a little more time, a few days or weeks at least. There were paintings she wanted to make, more books she wanted to read, more dreams to dream. But she was ready. She was ready to go.

VANDERBILT: Once upon a time --

COOPER: She spent time a lot of time alone in her head during her life. But when the end came, she was not alone. She was surrounded by beauty and by family and by friends.

The last few weeks, every time I kissed her goodbye, I'd say, "I love you, mom". She would look at me and say, "I love you, too. You know that."

And she was right. I did know that. I knew it from the moment I was born, and I'll know it for the rest of my life. And in the end, what greater gift can a mother give to her son?

Gloria Vanderbilt was 95 years old when she died. What an extraordinary life. What an extraordinary mom and what an incredible woman.



VAUSE: A list of big name-high tech companies has announced trials with drones and other autonomous technologies in the past week or so. All this could make life easier, might improve service, and it will most likely eliminate jobs.

Uber, for example, plans to offer fast food drone delivery in San Diego area this summer designating certain spots as landing zones. Amazon says it's long promised drone deliveries begin it the next few months. Which cities though remains a mystery. Dominoes will partner for Neuro Robotics for autonomous pizza delivery using an unmanned vehicle known as the R2. It will serve select online customers in Houston.

Josh Constine, editor at large of TechCrunch joins us via Skype from San Francisco. Josh -- good to see you again.


VAUSE: Ok here's the problem I have with all these stories about drones set to do amazing things. All the announcements are packed full of words like "could" or "should", "might", "potentially".

Here's a story from 2016. Dominoes delivers world's first ever pizza by drone. It happened in New Zealand and yes the pizza was delivered to a couple of customers. And what do you know two years later drone promised not yet delivering.

So beyond that one delivery fiasco (ph) nothing, nada. You know, it was all closed down. There were no trials. Nothing happened in New Zealand.

So are these new announcements -- are they significantly different in substance or any other way that makes you think that this time it's going to be different or is it just more of the same PR, you know, BS that we've seen?

CONSTINE: I think those announcements we saw a few years ago those were truly vapor (INAUDIBLE). These were announcements of things the company was not even close to having built yet.

Now we have them actually starting to do real trials with real hardware, not just a complete one (AUDIO GAP). But that doesn't mean we are going to see these vehicles flying over our heads with food anytime soon because there's plenty of regulatory hurdles and reliability issues.

It's one thing to deliver a pizza once but 10,000 times a day without dropping one on somebody's head is a totally different story.

VAUSE: Yes. And here's how Uber Eats says its new drone flying delivery system will work. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is the first test with our partners who are putting these pieces together. What we did is we actually demonstrated how we can start with an order, originating through the Uber Eats app. Accept the order, load of food into a specially designed packaging.

That packaging is attached to the drone. The drone then flies a simulated delivery mission. And it drops off the package at the location and then the package is delivered by the courier to the final destination.


VAUSE: Great we don't have to walk to McDonald's anymore. We can get even fatter.

You know, the problems -- you touched on this -- all these companies ultimately is the problem the drone industry is facing as a whole. And it's the regulations on a local and a state level which are inconsistent and at times confusing. But then on top of that there is the challenge of integrating drones into the existing air traffic as well. And that seems to be possibly the most challenging of all.

CONSTINE: Exactly. We saw London Heathrow Airport being shut down by a single errant drone. And to think that we're going to suddenly have all these companies flying them about willy-nilly, without either coming to serious intersection with these existing flight paths or at least what the government fears about the potential for public harm I think that is a little bit short sighted.

And you know, a lot of these tech companies what they're trying to do right now is hire great talent. And they're trying to get them excited with these very future-looking announcements.

VAUSE: You know -- and to be fair, drones are in use right now. And it seems mostly for delivering, you know, stuff to isolated communities in places like Canada and in China.

[01:55:01] But anything on a much wider scale, that I think, you know, I guess from my point of view, that just seems to be pie in the sky. It's something which almost things like it won't happen because of the regulatory problems and because the skies are already so crowded.

CONSTINE: Exactly. I think we should stop looking to the skies and look down to the roads around us because that is where you're really going to see automated delivery happening much sooner.

And there is a lot of benefits to this beyond what you would expect where you don't have to pay for these expensive drivers. The biggest thing is that pizza locations, pizza restaurants they have to have expensive super valuable real estate right in the center of a town or city to be an efficient delivery hub.

But if you are able to make the vans or these cars cook the pizza a little bit on their way you can suddenly put that hub or that pizza restaurant outside of the city, sell that really expensive real estate for huge profit and still get the pizza to people on time. And that's what I think locations like Dominos are really excited about. VAUSE: It sounds so disgusting.

Amazon outlining their plans for drone deliveries. Listen to this.


JEFF WILKE, CEO, AMAZON WORLDWIDE CONSUMER: We are building fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in under 30 minutes. And while five pounds may not sound like a lot it represents between 75 percent and 90 percent of the packages that Amazon delivers to its customers today.


VAUSE: Ok so the last answer you mentioned getting rid of all the drivers who are, you know, bringing the pizza or the stuff to people. Now we've got, you know, these drones which will deliver up to 90 percent of deliveries.

What will all of this do ultimately for the workforce? How many jobs are we talking about here that drones could ultimately take and an automated vehicles should all of this ever actually happen?

CONSTINE: We are taking about tens of millions of jobs. You often hear this argument that this is the same as the industrial revolution all over again. That didn't lead them to (INAUDIBLE) unemployment. But that is massively misunderestimating (ph) estimating how these technologies work.

When you are talking about scalable artificial intelligence do you think about robots that drive themselves you don't need those same human operators. It is not like we are just going to transfer jobs from delivery people and to suddenly all those delivery people being technicians, these are maintenance people that is not what they are trained for. And the fact is that we are having a lot of trouble just training people to be better at jobs that robots can do today, let alone what robots can do tomorrow.

So this is something that our politicians need to get serious about and start thinking about retraining programs and universal basic income and new ways to look at capitalism that won't leave millions of people stranded without food on the table.

VAUSE: And then, of course, SkyNet will become sentient and destroy us all. We'll all die. Oh, that was "Terminator".

Josh -- good to see you. Thank you.

Cheers mate.

We're out of time. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vuase. A lot more news after a very short break.