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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Charges Brought in Crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17; United Nations Jamal Khashoggi Report Finds Saudis May Be Responsible; Interview with Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group; Four Candidates Remain In Conservative Leadership Race; Trump Officially Launches Campaign For Second Term; .Iran Denies Any Involvement In Tanker Attacks; Alaska Teen Allegedly Kills Best Friend In $9M Scheme. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 19, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:30] ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: A very good evening to you, coming live from CNN London. I'm Isa Soares, sitting in
for Hala Gorani. It's 7:00 p.m. in London. And tonight, a former FSB colonel is one of three Russians and a Ukrainian to be charged with
shooting down Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.
Plus an independent report into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi reveals his gruesome death and finds credible evidence Saudi Arabia's crown prince is
responsible for the murder.
Also, Rory Stewart is knocked out of the race to become the next British prime minister. Four are left. Boris Johnson is way ahead.
But first, five years and the new damning report for justice for the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 seems as elusive as ever. A team
of international investigators has announced it will bring murder charges against four people who they blame for the plane being shot down in the sky
back in 2014.
But the accused men are Russian and Ukrainian and both of those countries refuse to extradite their citizens. Now, a trial is planned for next March
in the Netherlands. But it is doubtful any of these suspects will actually show up.
We are covering this from all angles that you'd expect CNN would. With me here in London is Nick Paton Walsh who reported from the crash site five
years ago. And joining us from Kiev, Ukraine is Matthew Chance.
Matthew, I want to start with you, if I may. These four individuals didn't press the button to the missile launch, but were behind the events that led
to the deaths of 298 people. Investigators, however, say -- and I'm quoting here -- "There is evidence showing that Russia provided the missile
launcher." I mean, this is pretty damning. What has been the reaction from the Kremlin?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is damning. But of course, it's something that has been long-suspected. In
fact, long-known, you might say, really, for the past several years since the details of this investigation came out.
The Russians have been categorical, as usual, in their denial of this. They've called these latest announcements "threadbare." They've criticized
the joint international team of investigators for trying to make Russia look bad. Essentially, that was the essence of the most recent foreign
ministry statement, reacting to these latest -- these latest indictments.
And basically, they said that the joint -- that the international prosecutors have, you know, purposely ignored the evidence that Russia has
prevented, that they say contradicts these claims that it was a Russian Buk missile, a surface-to-air missile, that shot down that Malaysian Airline
The Russians have been, you know, changing their story, really, for the best part of the past five years. First of all, they're trying to say that
this was an air-to-air missile fired by a Ukrainian fighter jet that brought down the aircraft. They've since acknowledged that it was indeed a
Buk missile, but their latest iteration of their claim is that this is a missile that was -- that was owned and used by the Ukrainian military.
And they categorically denied, again, any idea, any suggestion or indeed, this firm accusation that it was the Russian military that was involved in
this and it was the Russian military that supplied this Buk missile that brought down MH17 -- Isa.
SOARES: Matthew, you stay with us. I want to bring in Nick.
Nick, as we were saying to our viewers, you've covered this story right from the get-go for us. When you look at this report, any surprises?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's quite detailed. I mean, they name the four individuals --
PATON WALSH: -- but essentially they're talking about a chain of command between the Kremlin and the missile actually getting into the country.
SOARES: Is that clear?
PATON WALSH: This report -- well, in their eyes, it is. And the Dutch have been incredibly forensic and meticulous, frankly, in how they piece
together the wreckage of the aircraft, showed how it had to have been hit by various different types of shrapnel.
Let's go through, actually, what's in today's press conference. Four individuals charged with murder. Igor Girkin, he's the separatist leader,
the head of their military operations there. He's one of them. He's a Russian, in Russia, still, now.
Sergei Dubinsky, who was head of the separatists' kind of intelligence, if you like, he's accused of still, really, being a Russian military
intelligence officer. Also, Oleg Pulatov, he's also considered to be an intelligence agent as well. And then we have an Ukrainian individual,
Leonid Kharchenko, who is still thought to be in separatist territory in eastern Ukraine.
So the problem, really, being these men are accused of allowing that missile to have come from Russian Federation territory into separatist
territory inside of Ukraine. They're clear that they don't want to go into the details -- Dutch police and prosecutors -- of exactly how they know
these men are responsible. That has to happen in court in March.
[14:05:07] The question, of course, is will those men appear there. Well, almost certainly not. The Ukrainian prosecutors say they will try and
arrest Mr. Kharchenko, who is currently in separatist territory. But as we know, Russia does not extradite its own citizens. It's against the Russian
constitution. So a trial in absentia is most likely.
The key thing, though, in this as we learn more and more about the phone intercepts and the kind of granular detail about how they got to this
conclusion, one of the things that the joint investigation team played was a wiretap between a key Kremlin aide and a key separatist, discussing the
need for help. And another conversation, too, in which they talked about the need for better anti-aircraft weapons.
It's reasonably damning in terms of showing exactly how the separatists were so desperate for (INAUDIBLE) technology then, and then suddenly this
really rather dangerous anti-aircraft missile turns up and they weren't expecting that kind of hardware to be there, and it's quite clearly part of
the Russian military's arsenal.
SOARES: And, Matthew, this announcement, of course, putting the Netherlands and the international community in, really, confrontation with
Moscow, kind of more confrontation, if you will -- what can we expect? Is Moscow at all rattled by this at this stage?
CHANCE: Well, they've (ph) been under sanctions, the Russians have, for several years because of this issue from the European Union and others.
They've been sanctioned for the role they've played in the downing of MH17.
The fact that they categorically, again, denied any involvement with it, you know, isn't a sign that they're even acknowledging their role in this.
And so, you know, those sanctions are likely to stay.
And you add it to the other sanctions, which Russia was being (INAUDIBLE), sort of malign activity for which Russia has been sanctioned -- the
annexation of Crimea, the backing of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the novichok poisoning inside Britain.
I mean, it sort of mounts up and sort of amounts to this sort of catalog of malign activity, which the Russians are showing absolutely no sign, at this
stage, of changing, and certainly not apologizing for.
SOARES: And, Nick, I was hearing from a father, one of the victims on that airplane, who said blaming Theresa May, blaming world leaders for not being
tough enough on Russia, on the Kremlin and on Moscow.
PATON WALSH: Well, they didn't (ph) mount (ph) further sanctions after this. It's difficult to know, given the sort of frozen nature of the
PATON WALSH: -- separatist conflict at the moment, quite what exacerbated (ph) activity Russia would do in order to have further sanctions against
it. The British were pretty tough after the Skripal poisoning as well.
But you have to bear in mind, this is a judicial proceeding at the moment. They're going very carefully through criminal charges against these four
individuals. They say they're still investigating. They're appealing for witnesses. They're offering witness protection and they still haven't
named the people they believe actually fired the missile and pressed the button.
So there's still more to go here. And in order not to prejudice that too much, I think there's probably some degree for the foot to be off the
political gas, so to speak --
PATON WALSH: -- just to allow the wheels of justice to perhaps get into motion, if that ever actually occurs and isn't just a trial in absentia.
SOARES: Let me ask you just briefly. The four individuals that you mentioned, were they former back then or only now?
PATON WALSH: Former Russian active duty --
SOARES: Former Russian active (ph) as being (ph) intelligence and security --
PATON WALSH: So Igor -- it's hard to -- you know, former FSB Colonel Igor Girkin, he was the main military leader. It was believed that Dubinsky
probably was still Russian intelligence --
PATON WALSH: -- as was Pulatov as well. So no -- and the links between the separatist movements at that time and the Russian regular military were
hazy. I mean, a lot of the time, Russian (INAUDIBLE) and others did the actual fighting. And a lot of the actual activity was done by people who
were purposely put there by Russian intelligence, namely the GRU, much of the time.
So they'd deliberately kept that kind of relationship quite gray and fuzzy, but it was certainly there.
SOARES: Nick Paton Walsh, thanks very much.
And Matthew Chance in Ukraine, Kiev, thank you, Matthew. Good to see you.
Now, to the first independent report on a murder that really shocked as well as horrified the world. The U.N. human rights investigators say Saudi
Arabia was behind the, quote, "deliberate, premeditated execution of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi." The report urges sanctions against Saudi
crown prince Mohammad bin Salman until and unless he can prove he wasn't involved.
So many gruesome as well as chilling details are revealed, including Khashoggi's executioners referring to him as, quote, "a sacrificial lamb"
before he even entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.
Now, the investigator who wrote the report spoke to CNN. Take a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AGNES CALLAMARD, U.N. EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS INVESTIGATOR: What those seven, 10 minutes highlight are, first, the increasing fear experienced by
Mr. Khashoggi from the moment he enters and starts realizing that something very bad is going to happen, to the end. So the fear is something that
stays with me.
Second is the fact that there is no attempt on the part of the individuals in the room to either resuscitate him or to do anything that will be --
that could demonstrate that his killing was accidental.
[14:10:10] As you know, the authorities -- the Saudis' authorities have said, no, they didn't intend. It was an accident. There is nothing in the
recording that indicates an accident. If there was an accident, an accidental killing, you would expect people to -- you know, to say, "My
gosh, something is happening. What do we do," try to resuscitate him, try to do this, try to do that. There is nothing of that nature.
So what the recording indicates is rather, something fairly planned, not (INAUDIBLE) but something that goes and probably it was planned and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: The investigator, there, behind that report. Let's break down the report with our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson.
Nic, you've been on this story right from the beginning for us. And so you know this better than anyone here. But let's talk about, first, the report
that we heard from Agnes there. In your opinion, do you think it answers the question as to who called for the killing, who was behind it, who
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think it lays it out in a systematic fashion. There are details that she has in the report,
such a conversations before Jamal Khashoggi got into the building, conversations that were had after he had gone there four days earlier to
get this piece of paper that he was required for his divorce proceedings.
So she has laid out the degree of premeditation, she has laid out the clear steps that the Saudis are taking in terms of their trail (ph). She's
uncovered details there that we weren't aware of, the names of the people who are actually being tried and some of the people facing the death
So as she's -- she has given a very, very strong first step and a clearer, a much clearer view of what happened than we previously had.
SOARES: Now, the Saudis -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- the Saudis have said that it was an accident. But what we heard today from Agnes really
punches a hole through the whole report, for what we heard from them.
Now, this is what -- let me give you (ph) what (ph) it -- on the question of premeditation, execution. this is what we'd heard from the report.
"Joints will be separated. It is not a problem. the body is heavy... If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished."
TEXT: "Joints will be separated. It is not a problem. the body is heavy... If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be
finished." Dr. Salah Mohammed Tubaigy, Recorded in Saudi Consulate, Istanbul
SOARES: This does show that it was premeditated -- we're seeing that on the screen there -- doesn't it, in that regard?
ROBERTSON: That conversation you've just said there, happened about 10 minutes, less than 10 minutes before --
SOARES: Before he entered?
ROBERTSON: -- Jamal Khashoggi entered the building. So it was absolutely clear it was on their minds. And the report also goes on to say that, no,
that conversation was between the head of the group and the doctor who -- Tubaigy, who's become known as Dr. Bonesaw because he was the forensic
surgeon who was believed to be responsible for cutting up the body.
He is facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia. So is the leader of that unit. These are details that have come out of that report that we didn't
know. But the fact that they had that conversation minutes before Jamal Khashoggi walked into the building, very clearly shows that this plan was
And she talks (ph), no effort to resuscitate him. So the story that they've -- that these people have told back to their leadership in Saudi
Arabia clearly doesn't hold water and doesn't line up with the narrative that Saudi officials gave in the early days.
SOARES: Has Saudi said anything today, Saudi officials, have they commented on this, in this report?
ROBERTSON: The minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, has tweeted about this. And he's tweeted very clearly, firing back. I mean,
Saudi is hunkering down as if to sort of throw a shield over itself, that this is merely rainwater that will ripple off.
He has said, number one, that the investigator, the special rapporteur, lacks credibility. They -- that the special rapporteur is trying to
interfere in the justice system in Saudi Arabia, to take the trial out of the country because she has called for a suspension of the trial --
ROBERTSON: -- that's under way in the country. That she is undermining the credibility of the leadership in the country in this report.
So the Saudis are pushing back very hard. But this has been their narrative sine they sort of got their story together, if you will, towards
the end of October last year.
SOARES: She also -- I heard her interview today on CNN -- she also calls for targeting sanctions, which is something that's in the report. So far,
Germany is the only Western country government to suspend future arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Do you think -- is there an appetite, Nic, for any other sort of retaliation for sanctions against Saudi Arabia from the likes of the United
States, where we know where they've stood all along with this?
ROBERTSON: There was always a hope from Turkey, who was sort of -- the cold (ph) face of this, it happened on their territory. They've been doing
a lot of the heavy digging, if you will, on the investigation. To no effect because they can't get the information from the Saudis, particularly
where is the body, which is a key question, again, that's raised in this report.
[14:15:00] They had looked to the United States to get support from the United States, from President Trump. That didn't come. It doesn't look
like it's forthcoming right now. President Trump's made up his mind, he wants to have a -- you know, he wants to have whatever sort of relationship
the United States needs to have with Saudi Arabia.
But this is an important, a very important and substantial first step into opening the door and, as she says, the necessity of having, you know,
universal jurisdiction, that this is something that can be judged by the international community, can have an investigation and can try to reach its
own conclusions on this.
So she's opening the door here. So this report will no doubt go on the shelf with many other reports, as they do in the United Nations and other
places. But there's a possibility here that politicians in the future, another U.S. president in a year and a half --
ROBERTSON: -- might pull it off the shelf and say, "OK, Saudi Arabia. X, Y and Z has happened or hasn't happened since then. Let's move ahead --
ROBERTSON: -- "let's use this leverage that's talked about here."
SOARES: And so far, really, many governments in fact, right around Europe (ph) in particular, have been very silent about this report today. Nic
Robertson, thank you very much.
So as we laid out for you, two very big stories we're covering today, both with potentially huge geopolitical consequences. Meanwhile, tensions
remain between the U.S. as well as Iran, as the U.S. alleges that Iran was behind last week's attack on a pair of tankers.
How should the global community deal with all these issues? For that, Ian Bremmer, founder and president of the Eurasia Group, a very well-known face
on CNN, joins me now from New York.
Ian, very good -- very good afternoon to you. Let me ask you this. Let's begin with Khashoggi, as I'm sure you heard Nic Robertson there. His
premeditated execution, per this U.N. report.
Reading the U.N.'s report, there is a real sense of frustration that nothing has been done. The CIA says it was ordered by the crown prince,
but President Trump says that the crown prince has nothing to do with it. Why has the U.S. -- just lay it out for our audience -- why has the U.S.
and others been so reticent in criticizing or punishing Saudi Arabia?
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, EURASIA GROUP: Cash and geopolitical influence. I mean, you just asked Nic Robertson about the Germans. The
Germans did, of course, cut off arms sales to the Saudis, but that's because the Germans sell almost no arms to the Saudis.
The French, of course, very different reaction because there's actually real money involved. The Americans, there's even more money involved, the
Saudis buy more arms from the U.S. than any other buying from the U.S.
So, I mean, you know, you add to that the fact that this is coming into a news cycle where we're overwhelmingly talk about the United States versus
Iran, and tankers being hit, of course, the Iranians, the mortal enemy of Saudi Arabia.
And the reality is that this story, as important as it is for those of us that talk about freedom of speech and rule of law, this report's going
absolutely nowhere and will have zero impact on either the relationship between U.S. and Saudi Arabia, or the Europeans.
Just the French foreign minister just announced in the last few days, they're preparing for a trip for him to go to Saudi Arabia. They wanted to
wait for some time for the Khashoggi, you know, sort of the heat to come -- to go out of that issue. He's going to make that trip in the fall. So, I
mean, truly, I think that this is going to have virtually zero impact on the kingdom.
SOARES: This is not going anywhere, you said, because you believe that money talks louder than -- than anything else at this point.
BREMMER: Certainly, if you put it in the context of over a million Uighurs that are being rounded up and placed in detention camps inside China, and
the reaction of the international community has been business as usual, with the single country that's writing the most important checks for
infrastructure around the world.
I mean, you know, the death of Khashoggi, a single journalist that was living in the U.S. but a Saudi citizen, I mean, in the context of a million
Uighurs, it's hard to get too worked up over Jamal Khashoggi. I grant you that Saudi Arabia has nowhere near the international influence of the
Chinese, but we're not talking about Burkina Faso either.
So, I mean, at the end of the day -- especially with the Americans paying less attention to human rights these days, being less willing to put its
finger on the scale in terms of not tolerating this sort of behavior -- the Americans have always been at least somewhat hypocritical on these issue.
But much more willing to play realpolitik and really be indifferent to the way that domestic human rights are playing out.
It's just hard to see something like the Khashoggi report -- which does not have the force of law, it is not officially even the voice of the United
Nations, it is an important independent report that's been made -- it's just not going anywhere.
SOARES: And critically, too, you know, the United States, we know President Trump has shied away, really, from taking any sort of hard line
against bin Salman. Clearly -- I don't know if I'm right on this -- he wants support from Riyadh when it comes to pressuring Iran.
[14:20:09] BREMMER: He has that support. He also wants support in terms of the Saudis producing more to keep energy prices comparatively low. When
you have threats around the Strait of Hormuz, that's been reasonably effective.
Let's keep in mind that the best relations that Donald Trump has with any foreign leaders in the world: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and
Israel. His first trip as American president, outside of the U.S., wasn't to Canada. Was to the kingdom and to Israel. That says, really, all you
need to know here.
SOARES: So, Ian, in that case, do you -- I don't know if you heard what Nic Robertson was saying, that he believes that perhaps this investigation
is going to be shelved somewhere and a future president may use it in a way that we may get some sort of results with Saudi Arabia in the future. Do
you believe that's going to be shelved, put to one side?
BREMMER: I'm not really -- I mean, again, as I said, the Europeans are already quite eager to normalize their relations with the Saudis. You
know, I think that this is a country that -- the reality is, they still have an enormous amount of energy wealth.
I mean, even right in the teeth of the reporting on the Khashoggi murder, you had this future initiative, the big Davos in the Desert, as they called
it, that the Saudis organized --
BREMMER: -- and it's true that, you know, the CEOs didn't show up, but they all sent their number twos. It was still business as usual. Those
deals are still getting done.
With a country with deep pockets like this and with a global geopolitical order that's increasingly fragmented without any clear leader, you're going
to see much more of this, not much less.
SOARES: Ian, let's move to MH17. We've heard, right at the top of the show, four suspects facing murder charges. The likelihood is, they won't
face trial, and possibly get away with murder. What's your take on what you heard today and what we heard today?
BREMMER: Well, this does -- this, of course, investigation by the Dutch does have force of law and there are indictments being passed down. But
the fact is that you have three Russians in Russian territory. They will not be extradited, so they're certainly not going to face Ukrainian
justice. And you have another which is Ukrainian, but is living in a separatist territory, not going to be handed over by the little green men,
as they call them, who actually are running that territory nominally right now.
Now, there's no question that the Europeans and the Americans, in the weeks after MH17 was downed, the Russians did face serious sanctions from all of
those countries. But those sanctions have not been added to over the course of the last couple years, on the back of that investigation. Nor
did the Russians in any way cooperate with those investigations as --
SOARES: Very true.
BREMMER: -- a result of those economic punitive measures.
Having said that, the U.S.-Russia relationship today, no matter what President Trump says, is actually in very bad shape. That's true with
sanctions, it's true with U.S. policies towards Ukraine, towards Poland, towards Venezuela, towards Iran. The Russians are deeply unhappy about
that. So it's very different from Saudi Arabia in that regard, where these two countries are working quite closely.
The United States and the Russians, there's really very little love lost between these countries right now, and I do think that the Russians are
going to be playing a lot of defense. This doesn't help them.
SOARES: Ian Bremmer, always great to your insight. Thanks so much. Good to see you.
BREMMER: My pleasure. Sure.
SOARES: Still to come tonight, we'll have more on the situation between the United States and Iran, including images of one of the oil tankers
damaged in the attack in the Gulf of Oman last week, as the U.S. Navy lets CNN see it firsthand.
Plus the U.S. Federal Reserve reveals its plans for interest rates and the chairman will actually speak soon. Will the decision leave President Trump
smiling or frowning? We have a live report from New York just ahead.
[14:26:07] SOARES: Now, it appears lower U.S. interest rates may be on the way. The U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decision is in. And while
rates are staying put for now, the Central Bank has just signaled it could cut rates possibly as soon as next month.
Earlier this month, Chairman Jerome Powell promised the Fed would take appropriate action to keep the economy growing. He's going to hold a news
conference in the next few minutes. Of course, he's sure to be closely watched by U.S. President Donald Trump, who's been sharply critical of
Powell. As you can see, we're keeping an eye of when that press conference does start. We also heard yesterday, president refused to allow replacing
Powell as Fed chair.
We're keeping an eye on the stocks as well. And the Dow seems to be pretty flat, the last time I checked. I want to bring in CNN business
correspondent Clare Sebastian from New York.
So, Claire, no movement as of now. But only one voting member objected to the decision to leave interest rates unchanged. So it's coming soonish.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It certainly seems that way. So there are a number of changes in the statement this time compared to
last time. I will say, though, on that dissent, that's the first time any Fed board member has descended since Jerome Powell took office. So you get
a sense of how much is changing here.
But on the language, that is what Wall Street was really watching in the statement. The key thing that they've taken out is the word "patience."
Since the beginning of the year -- since the Fed has been on hold with interest rates, the statements have said the committee is willing to be
patient as it determines what future adjustments might be needed.
That is gone from the statement. And instead, we have the fact that uncertainties about the outlook have increased. They say in light of these
uncertainties, they will closely monitor the implications and they will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.
That is critical because that is pretty much exactly what Jerome Powell said in a speech at the beginning of June, which is what got the markets
very excited, that he was finally willing to consider a rate cut. He has pretty much mirrored that in the statement today.
And so, very much looking ahead, we do see rate cuts on the cards. In terms of the dot plot, which is where the Fed board members project their
rates into the future, eight of them now say that they want the rate to stay the same throughout this year. Seven want two cuts, one wants one
cut. So pretty much an even split there, Isa.
SOARES: I almost forgot how much you love that dot plot, Clare. But we're just showing viewers the Dow Jones. It's pretty flat, but I know when the
decision was announced, stocks did move slightly. They seem to be pleased with what they're hearing from the Fed. Will President Trump, though,
Clare? Because I know Powell has been under intense pressure from the president, has he not?
SEBASTIAN: He has indeed, Isa. And in fact, even as the market expectations have been rising, of an interest rate cut, even as it seemed
like the president might be getting closer to getting what he wants, the pressure from his (ph) part (ph) has only ramped up. It was only yesterday
that he, as you said, refused to rule out a report that he had considered demoting Powell, even though it's by no means clear that he's legally able
to do that.
And there's a couple of issues here. One is that, you know, a number of people that I've spoken to have said that this actually could weaken the
Fed's credibility. Stanley Fischer, the former vice chair of the Fed, said yesterday in Europe that he believes that while, yes, this could boost
unemployment, it could come at the cost of the Fed's credibility. So that is a really serious issue.
And that further complicates what the Fed does, going forward. They have to deal with mixed signals in the economy, they have to deal with an
unpredictable trade war, which could change between now and the next meeting, and they also have to deal with balancing whether or not what they
do appears to look like they're bowing to political pressure --
SEBASTIAN: -- so extremely delicate.
SOARES: Clare Sebastian, there for us in New York. Thanks very much.
And I'm sure Clare will have much more on the Fed decision and what Chairman Powell has to say on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." That's in roughly
less than 30 minutes or so from now.
Still to come tonight, Britain is one step closer to finding out who will run the country. Another M.P. has been eliminated from the race to succeed
Theresa May. We'll have all the details next with our Erin McLaughlin.
[14:25:51] And then she knew Donald Trump almost better than anybody. She even ironed his trousers. But Hope Hicks isn't telling congressional
investigators a word about her time in the White House. We'll tell you why, just ahead. Do stay right here. You're watching HALA GORANI TONIGHT.
SOARES: And then there were four. We are one step closer to working out who will be the next British prime minister. It was like a reality T.V.
show. And it won't be the surging candidate, Rory Stewart. He got the fewest votes in a poll by Conservative Party MPs.
Well, not surprisingly Boris Johnson topped the poll again with Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, second and third respectively.
Let's get more on this. Erin McLaughlin is here. It did slightly feel a bit like you were watching a celebrity show, isn't it? In terms of votes.
Let's talk first about Rory Stewart. Everyone was very excited in British press about --
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The media was very excited about Rory, yes.
SOARES: -- about Rory, because he was an underdog, he was so new to surging people.
MCLAUGHLIN: In surging candidate, anti-Boris. He was the only candidate that was for Theresa May's deal.
SOARES: The only one. So he's out.
MCLAUGHLIN: The only one who wanted no-deal off the table. The way he went out though was interesting. Because he went from 37 votes that he
garnered in yesterday's vote. He dropped 10 to 27. So how do you drop votes? I think that raised a lot of eyebrows there among Tory Party
members as to how 10 MPs decided they were no longer for Rory Stewart, what sort of tactical voting was taking place.
Because remember, this is all sort of done. This isn't a transparent process, this is done in a backroom, horse-trading, tactical voting,
strategy. And some perhaps within the Tory Party began to see to him as being too disruptive and too divisive, and so we see him actually losing.
SOARES: So on your screen now with the four ones outstanding since the Tory Leadership, and Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, and Michael Gove, as you can see
the numbers on the screen. For the first two -- the last two days actually, they've been quite tight, isn't it?
So the question now becomes, which of those two, if we assume that Boris Johnson is going to continue going the way he is with a significant lead,
Erin, which of those two has the best chance to go head to head with Boris?
MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly. By the end of this week, there will be two candidates in the running, that's when everything goes to postal vote,
everything goes out to 160,000 Tory Party members. Only two candidates will be named at that point. It seems like Boris Johnson is a shoe in for
that and then who comes in second?
Essentially, there's names currently in the running. You got Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid. They're all saying remarkably similar
Soares: That was going to be my question, because you said that Rory was the only one that had Theresa May's plan. What is Boris Johnson saying?
Is he saying anything different from the others to actually suggest that why he's actually in the lead?
[14:35:03] MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they all vehemently just like Theresa May's deal. They all want no-deal to be still in play. So they're all saying
remarkably similar things with Boris Johnson. You have him sort of taking the more hard Brexit view. I would say. Jeremy Hunt, perhaps, a softer
view when it comes to Brexit and Michal Gove as well. So there is some differentiation. But to be clear, there is no clarity, in terms of how any
of these candidates are actually going to accomplish Brexit without triggering a general election or that dreaded catastrophic no-deal
scenario. So --
SOARES: They're all saying they want to re-negotiate. But none of them, and correct me if I'm wrong, because you've bene listening to this way more
detailed than I have. None of them have actually said how exactly they're going to do that.
MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly. I mean, the plans are not clear at all. I can tell you in my conversation with diplomats and the officials in Brussels,
they're also scratching their heads, they're anticipating, frankly, Boris Johnson to be the victor by the end of the summer, and they're --
SOARES: How do they feel about that?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they want to see how he approaches the situation. I was speaking to one diplomat who told me that he wants to see how Boris
Johnson, if he comes in with this hard line view that it's his way or no way in terms of re-negotiating the backstop or if he's actually going to
listen to what E.U. officials and E.U. diplomats have to say and take that into account in his approach when he tries to open up that renegotiations
SOARES: Erin McLaughlin, thank you very much.
Now, U.S. president, Donald Trump, is launching his reelection bid by going back to his messaging from the past. 2020 will look a lot like 2016 if his
Florida rally, you heard here in yesterday on CNN is any indicator. Huge crowd, cheered and chanted in Orlando last evening as he officially kicked
off his campaign.
Mr. Trump ticked off his accomplishments as president, you can imagine, and unveiled a new slogan, "Keep America Great." He then went to rehash some
familiar grievances. He attacked the media, mocked Democrats, also on voters and targeted Hillary Clinton. Here's is a quick example, if you
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No collusion, no obstruction. Many times I said we would drain the swamp. We are building
the wall. Our radical democratic opponents are driven by hated, prejudice and rage. We'll tell Sleepy Joe that we have found the magic wand. He's a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, President Trump's 76-minute rally -- 76 I should say, featured more than 15 false claims according to a CNN and analysis.
Let's bring in White House reporter, Stephen Collinson. And, Stephen, let's start with those 15 false claims. Because that's really important
for our audience to just really fact-check the president.
Let's start with the Mueller investigation. I want to play something out. I want you to tell me whether there's any truth to it. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We did in the middle of the great and illegal witch-hunt things that nobody have been able to accomplished, not even close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Any truth to that, Stephen?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: No, the Mueller probe wasn't illegal. It was perfectly legal. It was brought into being by the Justice
Department. And you could argue, I think, that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, bent over backwards to be fair to the president in his report,
notwithstanding the fact he presented a catalogue of behavior that looks very much like at least obstruction of justice on the part of the
And he unveiled a lot of shady contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians, which if they don't reach the level of illegality, they certainly
reach the level of impropriety.
SOARES: OK. On China -- on China tariffs, in particular, this is what the president had to say, Stephen. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have never taken in 10 cents from China. We would lose $500 billion a year with China. We rebuilt China. They've done a great job,
but they took us for suckers and that includes Obama and Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: What did you make of that? That took us for suckers as well as the tariffs?
COLLINSON: Well, the president claimed that Americans are not paying for the tariffs, but China is paying, is not true. Clearly, tariffs eventually
become attacks on the consumer. The cost of importing things from China is eventually passed on by companies that import them to the people who buy
I think where the president is correct is that there is a growing groundswell of opinion in the United States that the whole strategy, over
decades, of bringing China into the WTO and trying to invest in China and trying to marshal the peaceful rise of China has backfired for the United
States. Many jobs have gone from U.S. industrial heartlands where Trump is very popular to China.
[14:40:24] So I don't think he's wrong in that, and it was a very powerful driver of his election campaign in 2016, and it's very important issue in
the democratic primary, then it's also going on right now.
SOARES: OK. So partly right because he wants, of course, a level playing field. OK. So half-right on that.
On the question of the environment though, Stephen, this is what the president said last night. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are creating a future of American energy independence and yet, our air and water are the cleanest they've ever been by far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Are they the cleanest by far, Stephen?
COLLINSON: No. Well, the Trump administration is rolling back regulations on coal plants, for example, power stations that were brought in during the
Obama administration and an attempt to not just cut carbon emissions but stop, you know, the emission of other obnoxious fumes into the air. So
that's not true on the face of it.
And, of course, the real question here is not whether the air and water is cleaner, it's what the United States is doing to combat the growing global
climate crisis. And, of course, the president pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Deal and is against any efforts to combat climate change that
would, you know, hurt the U.S. economy. So he's deliberately not even answering the question that everybody is asking on this issue.
SOARES: I'm not sure whether his space would care about fact-checking or not.
But let me ask you this. Listening to the president yesterday, Stephen, it did sound very familiar. In fact, you could just close your eyes, and it
would have been 2016. What was your take on what you heard?
COLLINSON: Well, and I think you make a good point there about the fact that Trump's base doesn't care about fact-checking. If you were to bring
all of those issues to someone in the crowd last night, which you were writing, it was very reminiscent of 2016, it would be beside the point.
Because these people are making an emotional connection with Donald Trump.
He's giving them an alternative political reality which they can buy into which makes them feel good, which indulges their prejudices and that is the
reason why he was so successful in 2016. And I think the message we should take from yesterday's rally is that Donald Trump thinks it works. He
thinks he won reelection simply because of those tactics and he believes notwithstanding the fact when he has narrow path to the White House that he
can use exactly the same tactics, demonize the democratic nominee, whoever that ends up being, and get back to the White House just as he did in 2016.
SOARES: We heard the president, Stephen, talk about re-touting his achievements, saying he's going to drain the swamp. How successful has he
been you think?
COLLINSON: Well, he hasn't drain the swamp. If you look at the long list of scandals that have hounded, for example, all of his cabinet appointees
that no one could, in their right mind, argued that Donald Trump has drain the swamp has drain corruption from Washington. He's, in fact, brought
more of it to Washington.
But that construct allows him again to stand as the scourge of the elites, the anti-establishment candidate, the outsider, to tell his supporters
that, you know, unlike most politicians who come to Washington, he didn't go native. He's still the person they voted for in 2016, and he'll still
be that person in 2020.
So again, details and facts are not what his supporters are looking for. They're looking for this feeling and this connection, and that is exactly
what he gave them last night.
SOARES: He's definitely tapping into something, isn't he?
Stephen Collinson there for us. Thanks very much, Stephen, good to see you.
COLLINSON: Good to see you.
SOARES: Now, Democrats on Capitol Hill are running into a roadblock as they question a former close advisor to U.S. president, Donald Trump. Hope
Hicks is testifying before a House Committee today, but she won't speak about her time in the White House, but she served as communications
Mr. Trump's isn't claiming executive privilege to keep her quite. Instead, his lawyer issues simply immune from this kind of grilling. That's not
going on very well as you can imagine with the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Well, there is no such thing as absolute immunity that prevents someone from answering questions about any subject
related to their work in an administration. This doesn't exist.
This is an ongoing effort by the president of the United States to obstruct justice, to prevent Congress finding the facts and behaving as if he's
above the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: We should have the public transfer from that in the next 24 to 48 hours. Of course, we'll bring it to you when we do have it here on CNN.
[14:45:06] And still to come tonight, desperate times as well as desperate measures. Migrant families tell CNN the choice to leave their homes is
really a matter of life or death. We'll take you to Mexico southern border with Guatemala when we return.
Also ahead, the U.S. Navy has taken CNN's Sam Kiley to view the damaging cud. But one of the oil tankers attacking in the gulf of Oman last week,
and U.S. says it has more evidence Iran was behind the attack. We'll bring you the latest, next.
SOARES: Now, police in the United Kingdom have arrested a man in suspicion of man slaughter, the death of footballer, Emiliano Sala. The Argentinian
footballer was traveling to Cardiff when the plane he was in crashed into the English Channel. The pilot also died in the crash.
Switching gears now to tensions between U.S. and Iran. The U.S. continues to present what it says is more evidence that Iran was behind last week's
attack on a pair of tankers.
We want to show you these pictures. Take a look at this. The U.S. Navy took CNN's Sam Kiley out into the Gulf of Oman earlier, to see one of those
damaged tankers firsthand. You can see it there. Tehran denies having any involvement.
Well, back -- Sam is back now from that tour and joins us now live from UAE.
Sam, we're looking at these images, give us more detail of what you saw, what you found.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you take the image of the hole in the haul, it's got a meter above the water line. It's
about a meter and a half high and just over a meter wide. It punched according to the EOD expert, the bomb disposal experts in the U.S. navy
through the outer haul and the inner haul penetrating with shrapnel into an area for storing diesel, for the ship's engines. But experts that we've
spoken to said it did not appear to have been set to sink the ship.
They also said that there was a second limpet mine that U.S. helicopter filmed allegedly being removed from the side of the haul. But in that
removal process, a magnet was left behind and combining the magnet with some fragments from the destroyed -- from the limpet mine that did go off,
they were able to claim that they are pretty sure that this was an Iranian manufactured rather than improvised. A manufactured Iranian limpet mine,
and they showed us a picture of that too.
Now, that reinforces the case made by the British and the Americans notably and repeatedly by Mike Pompeo that he believes the Iranians were behind
these mine attacks on the Kokuka Courageous, which is the one that we visited. And also the Front Altair, a Norwegian owned ship.
[14:50:03] And indeed Both Britain and Americans are saying the Iranians behind some explosive attacks on four ships more just off the coast here in
the Emirates. But the Iranians are flatly denying this, denying it at every level.
Today they denied that they had removed the limpet mine saying that during the rescue of sailors, all kinds of things happen and they were rescuing or
transporting some of the crew from one of those stricken ship. Indeed it was the Kokuka, away denied flatly that they had removed the mine.
But this is all happening at a time, Isa, when there's also a bomb attacks going on or at least rocket attacks from mysterious groups sporadically
across the Middle East, not hitting but quite often very close to American targets, Isa.
SOARES: Let me ask you about this. Because what we saw today with a rocket attack hitting, and correct me if I'm wrong, Sam, U.S. oil
installation or oil installations in Basrah (ph) in Iraq. Do we have any media claim of responsibility in that?
KILEY: No. What indeed happened, it was a bit of confused reporting earlier on. We understand that what happened was that a rocket hit a
building, it was occupied by a number of international and local oil companies, among them was ExxonMobil, the U.S. oil giant and that they have
begun evacuating some of their international staff.
The whole point about these rocket attacks, so far, have been -- and there was one recently in Mosul, in Northern Iraqi city that landed close to, but
not dangerously so to an American installation. There have been couple close to American targets in Baghdad over previous weeks.
The implication, as far as the United States is concerned, and Mike Pompeo has referred to a number of those attacks as being essentially pressure
points, militia proxies, if you like, under the tutelage of the Iranians, sending out signals continuing to maintain this level of threat.
Again, the Iranians have flatly denied it and there have not been any claims of responsibility. But today, the Iraqis said that they would crack
down on whoever is firing these missiles with an iron fist.
There are a lot of Iranian backed Shia militia, particularly in Iraq, but also a very large numbers in Syria. So there is a vulnerability there for
SOARES: Sam Kiley there for us from UAE. Thanks very much, Sam.
Now, we're getting a rather bleak picture about the number of refugees and displace people on this planet. The United Nations says the global migrant
crisis is at an all-time high, more than 70 million people having forced to flee their homes by persecution, conflict, or in fact, violence.
That's about 108 people on earth. The report says Syria's war is still a major driver. While the crisis in Venezuela threatens, of course, another
acceleration in refugee rates, more than three million, if you remember, have fled Venezuela.
More to come tonight, including an alleged off of $9 million results in an Alaskan teen's murder, now have found despite him to put the suspected
killers behind bars. We'll bring you that story after a very short break. Do stay right here on CNN.
SOARES: Now, to an alleged $9 million internet scheme with horrible consequence s. 19-year-old, Cynthia Hoffman, was shot once in the head and
thrown in a river. One of the six people arrested for her murder was her best friend.
[14:55:05] Authorities said the suspect had been catfished lured by someone who was pretending to be someone else.
Dan Simon has more now on this very disturbing story.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isa, we have seen these catfish schemes play out time and time again. The deception, the manipulation can be very real.
In this particular case, it took a deadly turn involving an Alaskan teenager.
SIMON: This young woman is at the center of a disturbing catfish scheme, induced online prosecutor say to murder her supposed best friend.
DENALI BREHMER, CHARGED WITH MURDER: I know what I did was wrong. And I know I could have probably done something different.
SIMON: Eighteen-year-old Denali Brehmer's arraignment at an Alaska courtroom turned into something of a confession.
Authorities say it all began after Brehmer struck an online relationship with someone she thought was a wealthy man named Tyler from Kansas, who
prosecutors say offered Brehmer at least $9 million to rape and murder someone in Alaska and to have photos and videos of the murder sent to him.
What Brehmer didn't know is that Tyler was a fraud, a catfisher. His real identity, police say, 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller from Indiana. The
victim of this twisted scheme? Cynthia Hoffman. The 19-year-old was bound with duct tape, then shot and killed.
TIM HOFFMAN, FATHER: All that I know is my daughter didn't deserve all this. She should have had the friends that she wanted.
SIMON: Hoffman's father says she had a learning disability that could have made her vulnerable.
According to court documents, the killing was carried out by Brehmer and four of her friends, including two juveniles. All, including Schilmiller,
have been charged with first-degree murder. It's unclear if he has an attorney.
On June Second, under the guise of going on a hike, Hoffman was taken to the bank of an Alaskan river. She was shot one time in the back of the
head, her body then thrown into the river.
HOFFMAN: I have one thing in my mind right now, and that's to send all six of them to hell. And I ain't going to rest until it's done. And then
after it's all done, I'll show my emotions.
SIMON: And court documents say that Schilmiller, the alleged master mind of all this, directed Brehmer in Alaska, to sexually assault some young
girls, one of whom was eight or nine years old. I can tell you that investigators say they uncovered video evidence of these crimes.
Right now, Schilmiller is in Indiana that will soon be extradited to Alaska. Isa?
SOARES: Dan Simon, thank you very much.
And that does it for us for tonight. Thank you very much for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," is up next. They'll have more on the breaking news
with more E.U. in the last 45 minutes or so. Fed really keeping interest rates on hold, but signaling the possibly rates are to come.
Do stay right here with CNN. Thanks for watching.