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Aired June 19, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The confusing mixed messages from the Trump administration on Iran. War is coming but maybe it's not, all options on the table, well, maybe not at all. And amid all of this confusion, the Acting Secretary of Defense forced out of the Pentagon.

Show me the money. Facebook prepares to enter the world of cryptocurrencies. But if they can't be trusted with your personal data, can they be trusted with your money. Plus, it's official. Donald Trump launches his bid for a second term, a new campaign, same old grievances.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our radical Democratic opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy our country as we know it.


VAUSE: Hello! Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

After a day of upheaval at the very senior levels of the Pentagon, there is growing confusion over precisely what is U.S. policy when it comes to Iran. The Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrew his nomination for the position on Tuesday after revelations of past domestic abuse.

He's the second cabinet secretary to leave abruptly in the past six months. Shanahan stepped in after James Mattis quit in protest over the President's policy on Syria. A day earlier, Shanahan had authorized the deployment of 1,000 more troops to the Middle East raising concerns of a potential military clash with Tehran.

The White House is increasing pressure on Tehran which it says is behind a number of recent attacks on oil tankers. But on Tuesday, the U.S. president described the recent attacks as very minor contradicting his senior security officials. In an interview with Time, Donald Trump said he's willing to go to war

if Iran develops nuclear weapons. Meantime, Iran's president has said publicly he doesn't want war but military leaders in Tehran say they're ready to respond to any U.S. aggression. Our man and Tehran is Fred Pleitgen.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's been some mixed reactions coming from the Iranians to that announcement by the Defense Department and by the Trump administration that they're going to send additional troops to the Middle East to counter what they say are Iranian threats.

Now, the Iranians, of course, view all of that as an offensive deployment by the United States that could be a threat to themselves. And so they're having some pretty strong statements coming from Iranian generals. First and foremost actually the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, he came out in a speech on Tuesday and claimed that Iran had now developed ballistic missiles that could possibly hit American aircraft carriers.

Now he says that the Iranians had been testing this and in tests had been able to hit a platform that was about two-thirds the size of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. All this of course coming as tension has been heating up between the U.S. and Iran in the Persian Gulf area specifically after that incident involving those two tankers.

Another Iranian general also saying that the Iranians very closely monitoring what the U.S. is doing in the Persian Gulf area. He says that if the Americans make any sort of moves, the Iranians will deliver what he calls a crushing blow. And interestingly also saying that that blow would be delivered in the very wide area.

And that's taken to mean that the Iranians would not only use their regular Armed Forces but possibly also proxy militias that they control and that are loyal to them in the entire greater Middle Eastern area.

There have been however some more moderate responses as well. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, he came out earlier on Tuesday and he says that Iran does not want any confrontation or any war with another country. He said that Iranian should be patient because the Iranian government as he said is dealing with what he calls people who have very little experience in Washington D.C. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Tehran.


VAUSE: CNN Intelligence and Security Analyst and former CIA Operative Bob Baer is with us now from Telluride in Colorado. Bob, it's been a while. Good to see you.


VAUSE: The U.S. Secretary of State, he confirmed on Tuesday that there have been these private communications between Tehran and Washington, essentially they're sending messages to each other. Here's Pompeo. This is what he said.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: President Trump had sent President Abe to take a message of his to the leadership in Iran. You have to remember, these are messages for the leadership. I think the Iranian people are being woefully missserved by that leadership. But yes we're engaged in -- we have been engaged in many messages. Even this moment right here, communicating to Iran that we are there to deter aggression. President Trump does not want war and we will continue to communicate that message while doing the things that are necessary to protect American interests in the region.


[01:05:06 VAUSE: The Washington Post though is reporting that Pompeo has privately delivered warnings intended for Iranian leaders that any attack by Tehran or its proxies resulting in the death of even one American service member will generate a military counter-attack. So you know, we're hearing the president doesn't want war but the trigger for conflict is incredibly low.

And then pick up the this week's Time Magazine when asked Monday whether he was considering military action against Iran, the President told Time, I wouldn't say that. I can't say that at all. You know, if a threat is to be effective it needs to be consistent, credible, and detailed. You know, three basic elements none of which seem to be within the reach of this administration.

BAER: What -- John -- I mean, you're right. The messages are mixed. I mean -- but I think the extraordinary thing is we sent the Japanese Prime Minister to Tehran and sort of the same day they hit a Japanese tanker. That was the return message. The Iranians know exactly what they're doing. There they're essentially telling us we are in charge of security in the Gulf. We control 20 percent of the world's oil consumption which passes through Hormuz and there's not much you can do about it.

And so this message from Pompeo saying you know, our red line is if you kill an American soldier and then we'll come after you, but you know for me, for the Iranians, it's like alright, we keep on blowing up tankers, keep on hitting pipelines from Yemen and the rest of it. You know, the president understandably doesn't want to go to war with Iran because we don't have the army to do it. But all these messages in between and imposing sanctions you know, it seems like the Iranians are leading the dance here.

VAUSE: That's interesting because the attacks on the oil tankers, the two recent ones, the other similar attacks in May, they sort of start around the same time that Ali Fadavi, a Navy admiral with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, he was reported deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard. Here he's talking back in 2014 about the basis of Iran's naval strategy. Here's what he said when it comes to the Persian Gulf. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALI FADAVI, NAVY COMMANDER, IRGC (through translator): The American presence in the Persian Gulf means a lack of security. It is important for the world to understand this. This must be understood by Europe, by East Asia, Japan, and Korea, as well as China in India, the new economic powers and energy consumers. We are the ones who guarantee security in the Persian Gulf.


VAUSE: That was a strategy then, that was a message then, that is a message in the strategy now if nothing else. You know, they are remarkably consistent.


BAER: It is remarkable. I mean, they've stated what they're going to do. Fadavi is -- you know, they had his troops, the IRGC in the Gulf for a long time. They know what to do with American carriers, swarm them. The fact that they can pick out tankers like the Japanese one and disable it you know, this would be one serious war if you went to war with Iran.

And you know, everybody in this administration with any sense is advising the President not to do it. But the problem is he pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with no real plan and he thought he was just going to bluff the Iranians. And I can tell you one thing about the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, you don't Bluff them. You better have the forces you know, to control the battlefield or don't take them on.

VAUSE: You know, last week Pompeo went to Congress and deliver the presentation arguing that this administration could use the same authorization of force the Bush White House used in the fight against al Qaeda after 9/11. According to Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, this is what she said. He did not say I want to go to Iran and I'm going to use 2001. He referenced a relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda. To me once he opened that door, he asked for an answer.

You know, using the 9/11 authorization of military force for any action against Iran, it had to be very thin legalised given Iran and al-Qaeda you know, have actually been at odds.

BAER: Well, exactly. It's a violation of the War Powers Act which is up to Congress you know. And going into war with Iran, my reading of the law is illegal. He couldn't do it. You know, going after al- Qaeda in Somalia or wherever they are is one thing. It's a dispersed force. But this is a country of 72 million people, and it would -- essentially going to war with Iran would be a regional war at the very least or worse.

VAUSE: We also have the Acting Defense Secretary who you know, withdrew his nomination for the post permanently after the revelations of past domestic abuse. So amid all of this sort of new turmoil, we had the hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton who's filling the void reportedly controlling the flow of information to the president. There's also Pompeo who believes and says whatever he thinks the

president wants him to believe or say. You know, it does seem to be a shortage of the best people to advise the president.

[01:10:13] BAER: Well, there is a shortage and there's this delusion in the administration that you just have to threaten the Iranians or a little bit of force and the whole regime will fall but the intelligence doesn't support that and I just you know, this regime may not be popular completely but it's not a regime that's going to fall. There's no evidence of it. None.

I mean all the demonstrations of the past led to nothing and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps controls the country. It's you know, more than Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran in a way. And it's -- they're very radical, very violent, and they control that country 100 percent. And I don't see that regime falling short of all and all you know, out war.

VAUSE: Yes. We're out of time, Bob. But it does -- you know, the similarities between you know, the build-up to Iraq striking but this would not be an Iraqi invasion. As you say, it would be a much tougher fight. Good to see you, Bob. Thank you.

BAER: Thank you.

VAUSE: From the first day of his first term, he's been running for a second term. But on Tuesday night, Donald Trump made it official at a rally in Florida with the launch of his re-election campaign. It was just like the old days, lock her up, build the wall, all the classics. And his latest hits as well like it's a witch hunt. And this night would not be complete without Democrats want to destroy America.


TRUMP: Our radical Democratic opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable, it's not going to happen.


VAUSE: Michael Genovese is the President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. He's with us this hour from Los Angeles. Welcome, Michael. How are you? Good to see you.


VAUSE: You know, when Trump launched his 2016 campaign, he descended the golden elevator at the Trump Tower, he took to the stage and he went after Mexicans and other minorities. This time there was still the sort of the dark menacing undertones but it seems it's the Democrats who are in the crosshairs you know, with the over attacks -- over-the-top attacks rather, you know, the ones we just heard, and then others which we're not so subtle like this one.


TRUMP: It's a movement made up of hard-working patriots who love their country, love their flag, love their children, and who believe that a nation must care for its own citizens first.


VAUSE: You know, what the implication is that if you don't support Donald Trump, you're not a hard-working patriot, you don't love the country, you don't love the flag, especially don't love your kids. You know, this is just the start. There's more than 500 days until election.

GENOVESE: And this was Trump masterfully controlling his audience and we have to give him credit. He has a bond with his base that is astonishing. You know, we used to joke about his statement well, I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and wouldn't lose support. I don't think that's a joke. I think these were people who are blindly loyal to this man.

They connect to him. He connects to them. He speaks for them, for their resentments, their prejudices. He hates the people they hate. I mean, if you saw the speech, they were still attacking Hillary Clinton as if Clinton was running against Trump right now. They were shouting lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.

But it was Trump at his best and he revealed exactly what he's going to do from this point until the day of the election and that is he knows right now that he cannot add to his numbers. He's stuck and he's been stuck on the same number for two and a half years. So he can't add to his numbers so he can tear down someone else's numbers.

And so I think what you saw tonight was a shot across the bow to the Democrats saying, whoever you put up I'm going to attack viciously, I'm going to go after the jugular, I'm going to tear them down, and that's my strategy. My -- all my people will show up and I'll get many of yours not to.

VAUSE: A replay in many ways of 2016. Because -- and there wasn't a lot new from the president in the last couple of hours. You know, the mix of the greatest hits, there's his long list of grievances, and there's also this standard attack on the Russian investigation as well as Special Counsel Robert Mueller.


TRUMP: For the last two and a half years, we have been under siege, and with the Mueller report we won. And now they want a do-over. They want a do-over. Let's do it again. It didn't work out too well, let's do it again. They want to do over. No president should ever have to go through this again. It is so bad for our great country. Our hopes.


[01:15:00] VAUSE: You know, normally you'd say, you know, you'd argue that a first term president who ran as a grievance candidate could not run as a grievance candidate for re-election, but Trump is going to square that circle.

GENOVESE: And I think he has the energy to do it, I think he has the base to do it. These are people who still are complaining about Hillary Clinton, people still complaining about the immigrants who are taking their jobs even though unemployment is tremendously low.

And so, you basically, say, you create an enemy, you unify yourself saying we're under attack, we're under assault, we have to pull together against them, them being the Democrats, immigrants, Hillary, whomever. It's a strategy that's very effective, especially if the Democrats can't unify. And obviously, now they have 20 (INAUDIBLE) candidates, everybody in the pool primary.

If the Democrats aren't united going into this election, Donald Trump is going to go through the back door, again.

TRUMP: He did talk about his record, you know, his achievements so far, you know, he has some devious claims (INAUDIBLE) often, you know, are from Donald Trump, albeit he talked about conservative --pointing conservative judges especially to the Supreme Court, also about, you know, the company which is doing well. Here he is.


TRUMP: Our economy is the envy of the world, perhaps, the greatest economy we've had in the history of our country. As long as you keep this team in place, we have a tremendous way to go. Our future has never ever looked brighter or sharper.


VAUSE: OK. You know, this usually exaggeration, but you know, history is very clear here, an incumbent president with a good economy is almost certain to be re-elected, but, and it comes with a very big but, look at the latest polling just from Florida, which is, you know, a crucial state, Trump won in 2016, he held his rally there a couple of hours ago.

But he would lose to six Democrat candidates according to Quinnipiac. The frontrunner, Joe Biden, has a huge nine-point lead. And polling is reflective, it's all predictive, especially this far out from Election Day. But much of the polling we've seen, so far, is showing a trend, which is not favorable to Trump, and that's the stuff that's important, right?

GENOVESE: Well, you know, in normal times, Donald Trump would be worried. These aren't normal times. This isn't a normal election. What I think these polls suggest is that Donald Trump has reason to worry, to be concerned, but again, it was so far out and, you know, it's going to be different when it's one on one , when Donald Trump is against person x.

I think those numbers that you saw (INAUDIBLE) suggested that the Democrats have a very good shot, are determinative. And what you'll see is that those numbers are going to get very close come election time. And so, this will be another, I'm guessing, very close election, I think that's -- it looks to be in the cards. And I also think that it could go either way.

The Democrats, to win, have to be together and they have to get out in massive numbers. If they sit it out as many did in 2016, it can go right back to Trump.

VAUSE: Yes, Michael, were out of time, but you know, we should also note here that, you know, this was the official, you know, launch of the re-election campaign, but Trump didn't stop campaigning for this. You know, he started the moment he got into office for the first term.

They filed the papers on inauguration day. So, he's been campaigning, you know, since he got into office. And he's been running the White House like a (INAUDIBLE) campaign as well, Michael, good to see you. Thank you.

GENOVESE: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: And then, there were five. After a second vote for the leader of Britain's Conservative Party, Boris Johnson keeps his frontrunner status, goes through another round of voting, so too does Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid.

For more now on the race to become Britain's next prime minister, here's CNN's Erin McLaughlin.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brexit is arguably the most pressing political crisis this country has seen in decades, and yet, after Tuesday night's debate, which was an hour-long, less than half of which was devoted to the topic.

There was little to no clarity from these candidates, in terms of a way forward. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary at the frontrunner in this race was repeatedly pressed as to whether he would guarantee that the United Kingdom, if he should become prime minister, would leave the E.U. on October 31st. He offered no such a guarantee. Take a listen to what he had to say.

EMILY MAITLIS, PRESENTER, BBC TWO: Can you just give me that guarantee?

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE, UNITED KINGDOM: I share -- I share Michael's. I share Michael's.

MAITLIS: October the 31st. Can you give me that guarantee?

JOHNSON: I will let -- Michael was guaranteeing to get out by the end of December. I think that October the 31st is eminently feasible.

MAITLIS: No, that's not a guarantee. Is that your date?

JOHNSON: And let me just -- let me just say -- let me just say, if we -- if we know -- say that we have a deadline that is not a deadline, and we allow October the 31st to come and go as March came and went and April came and went, I think the public will look upon us with increasing mystification.

MCLAUGHLIN: Prior to the debate, there was another round of voting with Boris Johnson garnering the most votes, with a 126 votes, up 12 from the previous round, maintaining that solidly, Rory Stewart, though, the international development secretary, seen as the anti- Boris candidate, gaining the most votes, up 18 from last round to a total of 37, so still solidly trailing Boris Johnson.

[01:20:22] Now, the thinking is that the MPs will coalesce around two candidates by the end of the week, and then from there, the vote goes out to the wider Tory party. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


VAUSE: It's hard to believe that there could be anything suspicious over a designation with no history or links in any way to football or soccer, where it's so hot, the games will be moved from July to December. But somehow, there have been allegations and questions over how the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar.

Well, investors in France detained former UEFA president, Michel Platini, over that decision. He has since been released without charge. Platini was once a major figure in world football, serving as head of European Football's (INAUDIBLE) but he was swept out of the sport in 2015 of accusations of corruption, which rocked FIFA.

Still to come, relentless bombings of ravaged Syria as civilians struggle to find safety and shelter, a rare look inside the embattled (INAUDIBLE) where fighting is, once again, surging. Also, migrant families at the mercy of politicians and policy makers are still heading north towards the U.S. despite threats of detention and deportation.


VAUSE: In Syria, there's been a surge in bloodshed as the last of the fighting there, escalates. The U.N. says civilians are caught in the crossfire in Idlib, as they search for safety, where there just isn't any.


MARK LOWCOCK, RELIEF CHIEF, UNITED NATIONS: Over the last six weeks, the conduct of hostilities has resulted in more than 230 civilian deaths, including 69 women and 81 children, hundreds more have been injured.

Since 1st of May, an estimated 330,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, moving northward towards the border with Turkey, has almost doubled, Mr. President, the number of newly displaced people, since my last briefing to you.

We've had reports this morning of another 19 people killed yesterday, by airstrikes and artillery shelling. And this past weekend, civilians were killed by mortar and rocket attacks in the Al-Wadehy area, to the south of Aleppo city. In short, we are facing a humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes. There's no denying the facts.


[01:25:06] VAUSE: A rare look now inside the battleground in Idlib. The video was provided by nongovernment organizations operating in the region, like the white helmets, who pull survivors from the wreckage, after attacks. A warning now, some viewers will find this report by CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, disturbing.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This war has gone on so long, it's almost forgotten, but the rescues here of distant building across the olive groves in Idlib, are daily. And the rubble is still fresh (INAUDIBLE) come, come, they're saying. All the rescuers can do in the anonymous rubble and clouds, is follow the screams.

Save me, a little girl screams. Latex gloves removing rubble carefully in case it hides her wounds. But rescue here, after yards of blockade and bombardment, spells a barren ambiance, and the ride to an exhausted targeted hospital.

Territory changes hands around here as regularly, as seize fires are mulled between the Russians and the regime, and the mix of Jihadists and rebels they're trying to oust, but still, this is too often the skyline. The U.N. has demanded it stop. But not even with the night is there a respite.

Parents, leaving so fast now, they don't even have time to bury their children. A second miracle came earlier this weekend. Look here, here, please sir, the boy screams, his hands too small to move the rubble. For God's sake, help him, he cries. The body is motionless, but extraordinarily, is alive.

That is the exception that proves the rule of extinction here. Nearly 100 children have died since the bombing escalated with spring. And even in the barrage, it is stalemate, meaning more rubble and tiny bodies will follow. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


VAUSE: The conflict in Syria has displaced nearly 900,000 people last year alone. According to the U.N. global trends report, worldwide, there was a record high of more than 70.8 million people forcibly displaced, mostly driven by persecution, conflict, or violence.

Five countries account for two-thirds of all those forced from their homes, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia, this year, the U.N. (INAUDIBLE) increase in refugees from Syria and Venezuela. Still to come, former President Trump's loyal supporters, they're campaigning, just cannot start soon enough and we will hear from members of Donald Trump's most loyal base of all, in Florida. Also ahead, Hong Kong's top leader, under pressure and offers an apology for all the chaos created by that controversial bill, but is it enough to bring the protests to an end, details in a moment.


[01:31:02] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. I'm John Vause with an update on our top news this hour.

U.S. President Donald Trump is conflicting (ph) his senior officials and downplaying the tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. He says the attacks which his administration blames on Iran were very minor. Just days ago Americas most senior diplomat says the U.S. was considering military options against Tehran.

Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been released police without charge. He was questioned as part of a corruption investigation into how Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Platini is finishing up a four-year-old ban from the sport after FIFA's 2015 corruption scandal.

Former London mayor Boris Johnson is the frontrunner -- still the frontrunner in the race for the Tory Party leadership. He won 40 percent of the vote by conservative MPs on Tuesday. The field will be narrowed down to two final candidates and then conservative party members, the rank and file, will choose the winner and the next prime minister of Britain.

President Trump's threat to roundup and deport undocumented immigrants comes as Mexico deploys thousands of troops to its southern border.

But as CNN's Michael Holmes reports the increase in troop numbers is not enough to stop those who are desperate to reach the U.S.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Mexican troops control the border with Guatemala to intercept migrants as Donald Trump promises mass deportation from the U.S. And yet here in the town of Tapachula, the human faces behind the politics. Entire family sleeping on the street and at the mercy of bureaucracy and politicians.

(on camera): You've been here on the street for a week?


HOLMES: And when is your appointment to get your papers?

BINEDA: My appointment is on July 15th.

HOLMES: So, you have a month. Are you going to be on the street?

BINEDA: I'm going to be on the street, because, yes, I have no choice, I got no money to pay a room.

HOLMES (on camera): Elmer Bineda (ph) says, he lived, worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for four years before being deported back to Honduras, but gang extortion and violence in his homeland sees him and his wife and daughter making the trek north again.

BINEDA: You know that people threaten you, I'm going to kill you if you don't do that. So, why? I'd rather be living on the street over here, sleeping on the street and to change my situation, my life, you know.

HOLMES: The migrants we meet here want the world to know they are not numbers. That they have names and lives that are being turned upside down, that they did not want to leave their homes -- it was that or risk death.

JUSTINA ISABEL GONZALEZ TREJO, HONDURAN MIGRANT (through translator): I feel bad. I feel shattered to know how our country is Honduras. I never thought that my country would ever be this way. I cry because of the situation that we are living here.

HOLMES: We meet three generations of the Gonzales Trejo family from Honduras. The youngest just five months old -- all sleeping on the streets in the heat and the afternoon downpours for nearly a week. Their next immigration appointment a month away.

GONZALEZ-TREJO (through translator): If we can go to the United States that would be good, but I don't know if they will give us the visa to continue or not.

HOLMES: Juana Isabel's husband was murdered by the gangs when their son-in-law refused to pay those same gangs, they fired shots into the bus he drove for a living.

"We left our country not because we wanted to," he says, "but because the situation is critical. Extortion, gangs, any moment there is death, so we fled."

And this was the final straw, a note on the family's front door saying, "leave within 24 hours or you all die". And so here they are on a sidewalk in a Mexican town not knowing where they'll end up, but knowing they can't go back.

GONZALEZ-TREJO (through translator): I want help for my family. I don't want to be abandoned.

HOLMES: Michael Holmes CNN -- Tapachula, Mexico.


[01:34:58] VAUSE: Lawmakers in Hong Kong are meeting for the first time since mass protests sparked by an extradition bill which critics say was a thinly-disguised power grab by Beijing. The outrage brought a record number of demonstrators on to the streets and brought the city to a standstill. On Wednesday chief executive Carrie Lam apologized and suspended the controversial bill.

CNN's Andrew Stevens live this hour from Hong Kong.

And Andrew Carrie Lam may have apologized, put this bill on hold, but it seems protests they see blood in the water her. They want a lot more than that from the chief executive.

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They do -- John. They want the chief executive to stand down. They want this bill not to shelf (ph) but completely scrapped. They want the protestors who have been arrested as part of that crackdown by police last Wednesday when they cleared out the legislative council -- they want those protestors to be released. And they want police to be charged with crimes of violence against those protestors.

So there is a lot of demands but there does seem to be some sort of fragmentation going on at the moment. As you say lawmakers are debating -- they're debating the police action today. This is the legislative council, the Hong Kong parliament just behind me. That's where the action is today.

And there have been calls within that legislative counsel meeting (ph) for Carrie Lam to step down, for her to withdraw the bill, kill the bill the claims had been inside. And now there is a debate on what exactly the police did. The excessive use of force that they used and it is being defended by the Secretary of Security inside that building.

There's also the possibility of a non-binding a vote of no confidence against Carrie Lam today. That won't mean that much. It will be symbolic, if anything. It's not binding an it's very unlikely to get through John -- Carrie Lam has the numbers.

So what's ahead? Well, students are now calling for the government -- asking for four demands which does not include the stepping down of Carrie Lam. And they say if those demand's aren't met by tomorrow they're going to come here on Friday, come back to the leg-co building to press their demands.

Meanwhile the main organizers of these massive protests we've seen in the past two consecutive Sunday are talking about another protest this Sunday, trying to get the masses out for a third week in a row. Nothing firm on that yet. They are discussed it, looking and seeing whether they're going to go forward with that -- John.

VAUSE: I guess the question here is, Andrew, how much patience will Beijing have? You know, how much leeway -- you know, the communist overlords are willing to give these protestors before they decide enough is enough? Because we've sort of seen that play out before.

STEVENS: Yes, the timing couldn't be worse in many ways for Beijing because they have the trade war with Donald Trump to deal with. And they also the slowing economy. And the last thing they need is this sort of distraction on the streets of what is ostensibly (ph) part of China now even though it's semi-autonomous. Seeing two million people coming out direct saying in a nutshell that

they don't trust China's legal system. They don't trust Beijing. So far Beijing has been accommodating. They have supported Carrie Lam. Carrie Lam insists that she was the architect of this bill. She was not being leant (ph) on by Beijing. Beijing has come in a few weeks after the bill was first announced to say they do support it.

And they have now supported the fact that it has been shelved. They've supported Carrie Lam and they continue to support Carrie Lam and what she is doing.

Now whether these protests continue, obviously will have a bearing on what Beijing does next. Again they don't want to see these sort of images, particularly violent images, being broadcast across the world of Hong Kong protestors being swept out by police.

And that is actually the reason why Carrie Lam eventually shelved that bill. Not so much the people protest but the violence clearing out of the Legislative Council Building. So if we see a vision like that again it's very difficult to say what happens next.

The Hong Kong government is hoping this is now going to die down because they have conceded A, being shelved and B, Carrie Lam apology. Whether the people of Hong Kong are happy with that we will see over the next week.

Beijing does not want to see as the architect of a brutal crackdown in Hong Kong as he meets Donald Trump at the G-20 in Japan in week's time or so to talk about the trade war -- John.

VAUSE: Yes. Although, you know, Donald Trump probably doesn't think he would express the same outrage that past U.S. presidents may have expressed should that ever get to the case but yes, it's not a good look for Beijing, as you say.

Thank you -- Andrew. Andrew Stevens live there outside the legislature there in Hong Kong.

Well, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she's doing ok after a troubling incident in berlin. She began to shake uncontrollably while standing next to Ukraine's president as the band played both countries' national anthems. It was a hot day in the German capital about 30 degrees Celsius. Mrs. Merkel later said she was dehydrated and just needed a little water.

Coming up -- Facebook gets into the cryptocurrency game at a pivotal moment in the company's history. The future of money next on CNN NEWSROOM.

Also ahead the battle of the aerospace giants at the Paris air show -- why Boeing has been cleared to take off.


VAUSE: The Trump campaign filed the paper work for reelection on the day of his inauguration but the reelection campaign officially started Tuesday night in Florida, a crucial swing state in 2020.

As Ed Lavandera reports Trump's loyal supporters, his base are eager, ready, chomping at the bit to campaign for his reelection almost as eager as the President himself.


MELODY VINCENT, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Honk that horn. Donald Trump.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The 2020 presidential election is about a year and a half away and Melody Vincent is celebrating President Trump's recent birthday leading cheers on a street corner. It's never too early to fire up the base.

VINCENT: I am a Trumper. Trump HAS come in and stepped up when he didn't have to, for free, and saved our country.

LAVANDERA: Vincent was one of several dozen Trump supporters who turned out to generate a happy hour honking frenzy in this intersection of the Villages enclave north of Orlando. It's a good place to take the temperature of the Trump faithful who often sound just like the President's Twitter feed.

VINCENT: Look at what he's done for the economy in the last two and a half years. He has done more than any president in my lifetime.

LAVANDERA: The Villages is a sprawling retirement community where more than 115,000 retirees now live. And Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than two to one. It's often called the Disney World for adults where the hot wheels of choice are golf carts.

And evenings end with concerts on the square. Mike Peacock runs a golf cart rental business. He says he sees his neighbors talking Trump every night and says support for the President is stronger than ever. They love what most of the President's detractors despise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like him because he sarcastic and I'm the same way.

LAVANDERA: The devotion to President Trump is so intense here that a recent meeting of the Village Republicans started out with a prayer asking God to quote, "deliver President Trump from the evil that is bent on destroying him".

Do you worry that President Trump's divisiveness, his lies are going to hurt him in the long run?

PETER ARDITO, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I don't think so because you can't -- you have to tell me what he's lied about first of all. I don't think he's lied about anything. And as far as --

[01:45:02] LAVANDERA: You don't think he's lied about anything?


LAVANDERA: Democrats organized this protest rally just a few blocks away from where President Trump is hosting his reelection campaign kickoff. Wes Hodge is the chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party in Orlando. He says Trump's divisiveness is waking up a new wave of voters.

WES HODGE, ORANGE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I think there's more excitement on our side because people now understand that every single vote is going to matter and that we -- you know, some people are like no, he can't win 2016. And now that we've seen what has happened people are energized like never before.

LAVANDERA: A new Quinnipiac University poll does show early signs of potential trouble for Trump in Florida. In the poll the President is trailing Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in this crucial battleground state while three other Democratic hopefuls are running neck and neck.


LAVANDERA: Maria Revelles moved to Orlando from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. She dismisses the intensity of support from Trump's base and argues Florida is shifting away from the President.

REVELLES: It's not acceptable what is going on under Trump administration especially for minorities, for Puerto Ricans and that's what we are here today.


VAUSE: Our thanks to Ed Lavandera reporting there from Orlando in Florida.

History was made again on Tuesday at the Women's World Cup in France. Brazil's Martha became the all-time soccer -- all-time scorer in World Cup history both in the men's and women's tournaments. Her 17th goal came during a penalty shootout against Italy helping Brazil secure a win and a ticket to the World Cup Knockout stage.

Facebook is launching a new cryptocurrency in what it's hoping is a financial game changer. The Libra was officially unveiled on Tuesday, an attempt to bring digital currencies into the mainstream.

And as CNN's Clare Sebastian reports, the new venture comes at a critical moment for the social network.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Libra is being called a simple global currency but it's actually pretty complex. This is how it's going to work. To access it you need software. And this is what Facebook's version of that looks like. It's called Calibra. And when it launches next year it will integrate Facebook messenger and WhatsApp so in theory, you can send money just like you would send an emoji. So that's what users are going to see and here's what's going on behind the scenes.

Essentially Libra is a cryptocurrency a digital coin that exists on a block chain but it's different from the other cryptocurrencies we know like bitcoin. And here is why. It's reserved backed so it's backed by real world assets. Every Libra corner will be matched by these real-life assets.

Or is it going to be a basket of bank deposits and or is it little corner will be matched by reward assets bank deposits and short term government securities probably U.S. Treasuries. Now that is designed to make it stable.

Low volatility assets. It's essentially what's been called a stable coin and that is also different from bitcoin what we've see in the wild swings in the price ever since that currency started. Now it's also designed to be low cost more feet for cross border transfers.

Facebook says it will use the interest from the reserve of those assets to keep fess low for users of Libra.

Now it's also supposed to be fast. We know that the system when it comes to bitcoin became increasingly clunky because it was overloaded. This will hand over This is some when it comes to bitcoin become increasingly clunky because it was overloaded. This will handle basically it says over his foot times This will handle 1000 transactions per second at launch.

Now the big concern with all of this is how much power is Facebook going to have? It's already under scrutiny for its influence over society and it handling of customer data.

Now, when it comes to the currency Libra Facebook says it has no more power than any of the other 27 partners. Companies like Vodaphone, like Visa Lyft eBay, all of those companies have an dual vote. Facebook only controls the subsidiary Calibra and when it comes to data they say that the user data from Facebook will be kept separate from the financial data from Calibra.

Now of course, there is hope for that to succeed when it launches next year, building trust in the system will be crucial. Clare Sebastian, CNN New York.


VAUSE: Josh Constine is editor at large of TechCrunch. He joins us from now from San Francisco. Twice in two days -- good to see you.

JOSH CONSTINE, TECHCRUNCH: Thank you for having me again.

Let's start with the nuts and bolts. Facebook is using block chain technology. So in the spirit of high tech for dummies explain what that is and why are they going that route.

CONSTINE: So block chain is a cryptographic database. I'm going to dumb it down again. It's basically a public online ledger. So it's a list of transactions that have happened and with the block chain's technology, when somebody submits a transaction like I want to pay you $1 libra. That transaction is submitted to a bunch of different actors who verify that that transaction is real. And if they all come to consensus and say yes we all think that transaction is rea.. It is real and it gets published to that block chain which is permanent and can't be reversed.

And that way you can keep track of who has paid who and who should have how much money.

[01:50:04] VAUSE: Ok. So this cryptocurrency that Facebook is talking about it will launch, it will backed by its own reserve fund which I guess puts it more in line with traditional currencies as opposed to the likes of bitcoin.

But here's a headline from Bloomberg on Tuesday. "Facebook wants its cryptocurrency to one day rival the greenback. Instead of "in God we Trust", you know, what trust no one.

Facebook, you know, they can say whatever they want, their hopes and dreams but, you know, China and the European Union have been unable to upend the dominance of the U.S. dollar. It seems a bit of a stretch for Facebook.

CONSTINE: Yes. And that's a pretty hyperbolic headline. What Facebook is really trying to do is disrupt PayPal and bitcoin by combining the best elements of both of them. It wants to make it super easy to pay with cryptocurrency online and the benefit there is that it costs essentially nothing to transfer funds from one account to another on a block chain.

So that means Facebook can eliminate that 4 percent transaction fee that always gets tacked on to your credit card charges and that could help it to accelerate commerce online get more small businesses taking online payments and thereby and getting more of those businesses to buy Facebook ads. And that's how it's secretly going to make money off of this project.

VAUSE: It just seems, you know, this is -- the cryptocurrency is what, you know, the Winklevoss twins got into -- the original people at the beginning of the founding of Facebook. It just seems like an odd choice here by Zuckerberg.

CONSTINE: Well, when you think about these giant technology companies, you know, Facebook is already dominated the advertising business. And you have companies like Apple and Google dominating App downloads but in order to keep on showing growth to Wall Street they have to move into ever more lucrative businesses. And fewer are as lucrative as financial services. You move a lot of money around, still have money to send us falling off the trunk and into your bank accounts.

VAUSE: Yes. That's great.

Ok. Facebook is not exactly big on transparency and trust. I would not trust them with my record of Google searches let alone with my money. And you know this whole issue of trust is causing concern. (CROSSTALKING)

VAUSE: Well, I supposed there are a lot of concern though around the world when it comes to, you know, the libra. And, you know, Facebook have a (INAUDIBLE), if you like.

The chair of the U.S. House financial services committee Maxine Watters issued a statement on Tuesday. Part of it read, "Given the company's troubled past. I'm requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing an crypto currency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action.

I was going to wait until congress understands how all of this works that nothing is ever going to happen. But is it possible for governments around the world to impose some kind of regulation on Facebook? Can they, you know, have oversight and control Facebook is doing or are they basically and authority to themselves?

CONSTINE: So certain governments around the world will certainly try to control cryptocurrency and many already are. And Facebook has said that it's not going to operate its own cryptocurrency wallet Calibra in those countries whether that's China or Iran and certainly country's like India are moving to ban crypto currencies so won't work there either.

So certainly Facebook could come under more regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. but it would be a far cry for them to go and ban van Facebook's ability to use cryptocurrency without doing that everyone else and Facebook for its the benefit has linked up with these 27 other big companies like Master Card, PayPal, Uber, eBay. So Uber eBay so they are jointly ruling and governing this cryptocurrency.

But that's basically a ploy to say we did not create this we are not running this so you should not be worried about the anti trust implications of us creating this cryptocurrency. But it is still really Facebook's even if it only get one vote in the council that determined what happened to the currency.

VAUSE: They certainly in the driving seat in this. Everyone else is going along for the ride to some extent. Josh -- good to see you Thank you very much.

CONSTINE: My pleasure.

VAUSE: Every wonder what Donald Trump likes to read? Some critics say he actually doesn't read a lot. We'll have more on that in a moment


VAUSE: Well, the U.S. president notorious for not reading a lot of books but it seems he likes to recommend books. Jeanne Moos reporters now on Donald Trump's tweeting habits.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At 448 pages, the Mueller report isn't exactly a beach read. Doth President Trump protests too much saying he read it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you read the report?

TRUMP: Yes I did. And you should read it too. You should read it too.

MOOS: From the limo to the Oval. The President insisted --

TRUMP: Just read it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me pleased, because I haven't read it.

MOOS: Seems like the president is always in a crossfire over is literary habits. This 1987 clip has resurfaced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are your favorite authors?

TRUMP: Well, I have a number favorite authors. I think Tom Wolff is excellent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you read "Vanity of the Bonfires"?

TRUMP: I did not.

CHURCH: The "Bonfire of the Vanities" ended up burning Trump when he contradicted himself seconds later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the best book you've read beside Art of the Deal?"

TRUMP: I really like Tom Wolff last book.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Bonfire of the Vanities?

TRUMP: Yes. The man has done a very, very good job and I really can't hear with this earphone by the way.

MOOS: It reminded me of Sarah Palin, read One tweet, when she was asked what newspaper she reads.


MOOS: As for the best of all books, according to Trump.

TRUMP: And nobody loves the bible more than I do.

Nothing beats the bible not even "The Art of the Deal", not even close.

MOOS: Just don't ask for details.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering what one or two or your most favorite bible verses are.

TRUMP: I wouldn't want to get into it because to me that's very personal.

MOOS: President Trump may not read books, but he definitely recommends them. When Judge Pirro published "Liars, Leakers and Liberals", Trump tweeted, go get it. He called Rush Limbaugh book a must read. At least you must. When it comes to the top pick of the Trump book club.

TRUMP: The bible.

MOOS: The good book gets a thumbs up, he can't put it down. Not the bible, the thumb.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Rosemary Church is up after the break.

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