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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
U.S. Threatens E.U. With New Tariffs On $4B Of Goods; Whistleblower: Pompeo's Security "Running Errands"; Humanitarian Crisis In Syria's Last Rebel Territory; U.S. Embassy: Condition Of Paul Whelan Is Worsening; Man Falls From Plane, Lands In London Neighborhood. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 2, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:21] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, escalating the fight for Donald Trump's tax returns. Democrats sue to get their hands on the U.S. president's personal financial
Also tonight, one day after the streets of Hong Kong saw a violent protest, I speak to a protest organizer about what happens next.
And CNN goes back inside Syria, to see firsthand the massive humanitarian crisis unfolding there on our watch.
Requests, demands, even subpoenas couldn't force Donald Trump to turn over some of his most closely guarded secrets. So now, congressional Democrats
are going to court to try to get the U.S. president's tax returns.
A House panel has just filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service that accuses the Trump administration of,
quote, "an extraordinary attack on the oversight authority of Congress." Mr. Trump always said his finances were a red line that no one could cross,
so you can bet he's preparing for a bitter legal fight.
Let's bring in CNN's Sarah Westwood. She's live at the White House.
Any reaction to this legal action?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Hala, the White House is going to fight this lawsuit in court, as they fought several other ones
filed by other committees, seeking different aspects of the president's financial record.
And so far, some of those other committees have had some level of success in the courts, which have really recognized Congress' oversight
But here, the administration has been using this defense, by arguing that the House Ways and Means Committee, which is behind the lawsuit that you
mentioned, doesn't have a legitimate legislative purpose for seeking the president's tax returns. That's the administration's argument.
Now, the House Ways and Means Committee is arguing that they need to see the president's tax returns because they want to see how the presidential
audit program is being administered. Every president's taxes are audited, but President Trump has claimed for years that his taxes have been under
audit. In fact, that's the excuse that he cited during 2016 for not releasing his returns at the time.
So it remains to be seen, Hala, whether this latest lawsuit will be successful, but it's definitely ratcheting up the battle for the
president's tax returns.
GORANI: All right. Also making headlines are the president's plans for July 4th, the holiday in the United States, hoping for a big display of
military hardware, which would be rather unusual in the United States.
TEXT: Salute to America, Trump's 4th of July Event: M1 Abrams tanks; Bradley fighting vehicles; M88 recovery vehicle; B-2 stealth bomber; F-22
fighter jets; F-35 stealth jets; 'Air Force One' plane
GORANI: I mean, it's something we see in Europe -- France's Bastille Day parade, et cetera -- but the Salute to America event, talk to us about
that. Because even some people in the Pentagon are saying this is over the top.
WESTWOOD: That's right, Hala. And it's interesting you mention Bastille Day. This was the inspiration for the president commissioning an event of
this size. He visited France in 2017, witnessed the celebrations there that featured the French military, and he wanted to replicate that here in
the nation's capital.
Last year, even, he commissioned a Veterans Day parade that was ultimately scrapped because of the costs. But this July 4th event, here in the
nation's capital, is going to be bigger than July 4th celebrations that we've seen here in the past. It will feature military assets, flyovers
from the Navy, from the aircraft that is typically used as Air Force One, although it won't technically be called that because the president won't be
There will even be what the Pentagon has called a static display of some tanks and armored vehicles, static meaning they won't be moving, they won't
be paraded around because the roads and bridges here in the city might not be able to support their weight. The president has been touting on
Twitter, even as recently as this morning, this grand event that will showcase American military might -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much. Sarah Westwood.
Let's talk a little bit about the crisis at the border, and how it's become such a political issue. Conditions are so bad at U.S. migrant facilities,
one woman was allegedly told to drink water from a toilet. And that report came from a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border just yesterday. And the U.S.
Border Patrol Operations chief says it is not true.
However, legislators who were there, including one you might be familiar with -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- say it is what they have been told.
There have been protests today against these facilities. Here's what a border official told CNN about what's going on inside these detention
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT PEREZ, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: The entirety of the system well beyond CBP is absolutely oversaturated. And so
what's really the root cause, in my opinion -- again, after 26 years of doing this -- is an outdated legal framework that has now been exploited by
alien smuggling organizations and preyed on these incredibly vulnerable populations, and have literally saturated the entirety of the immigration
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:05:04] GORANI: All right. That is what officials at the border are saying, are -- those who are in charge, of the flow of migrants into the
country. But there are others, including those legislators -- and we'll talk about that in a minute -- who are saying that is not the case.
And also, consider this, literally adding insult to injury. A secret Facebook group where agents are trashing lawmakers and also mocking
migrants, and even those who did not make it and who lost their lives.
CNN's Nick Valencia has more.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under fire and under investigation, digging into what it calls
disturbing and completely inappropriate social media posts, allegedly written by current and former employees in a closed Facebook group.
ProPublica, first exposing I'm 10-15, the group reportedly named after a code for undocumented immigrants in custody. One post about the father and
daughter who drowned last week, crossing the Rio Grande.
According to the website, one member asked if the photo could have been faked because the bodies were so clean.
When questioned about the disturbing posts, President Trump said he did not see them.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Border Patrol, they're patriots. They're great people. They love our country. They know what's
VALENCIA (voice-over): CNN obtaining these screengrabs from the group, responding to a story about a pregnant teenager and baby held in CBP
custody for over a week. One commenter posting, "From the bottom of my heart, I don't give a (INAUDIBLE)."
According to ProPublica, members also shared lewd and sexist content about Latina congressmembers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
BRIAN HASTINGS, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, U.S. BORDER PATROL: These do not represent the thoughts of the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Each one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated.
VALENCIA (voice-over): All this comes as the New York congresswoman toured two West Texas detention facilities with other House Democrats, the
lawmakers leaving, outraged by the conditions.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What we saw today was unconscionable. No child should ever be separated from their parent.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): I am tired of the health and the safety, the humanity and the full freedoms of black and brown children being negotiated
and compromised and moderated.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro managed to capture some of what he saw, posting this video to
Twitter, showing women inside a cramped cell.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): When we went into the cell, it was clear that the water was not running. There was a toilet, but there was no running
water for people to drink. In fact, one of the women said that she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet.
VALENCIA (voice-over): CBP tells CNN the claim of people drinking from toilets is completely untrue.
VALENCIA: Chairman Joaquin Castro went on to call the conditions that migrants are currently being held in, dehumanizing. While another member
of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said that these are very dark days in America, adding that the migrants currently being held in U.S. custody are
being denied basic human rights.
GORANI: Nick Valencia, there, reporting from the border.
So we've seen some prominent Democrats stake out a stand on this issue. I want to bring in our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider in Washington.
So these legislators who went to these border facilities have a very different version of what's going on inside those buildings, than Border
Patrol officials who are saying it's not true that women are told to drink out of toilets and the rest of it.
Nanette Diaz, though, one congresswoman, said, "What we learned today is that there's still separation of family units, which is not supposed to be
happening." Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, saying, "The CBP couldn't control their own officers during our congressional tour."
TEXT: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: When you pair 9.500 current and former CBP officers are part of a violently racist and sexually violent secret
Facebook group; Corroborating accounts of abuse; CBP couldn't control their own officers for a congressional tour. What else do you call that but a
GORANI: Where do they take this now, this fight against these -- the detention of people in these facilities, Jessica?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, part of the problem here, Hala, is that the news media, members of the media like us,
aren't allowed to actually go into these facilities. So we're relying on the members of Congress, who went down to the border this week, they
visited these two facilities. And we see them lashing out about what they're calling "deplorable conditions" at these facilities for migrants.
You saw some of the video in the pictures there. But really, members of Congress, they're saying that they're seeing a dozen women, crowded
together in these small rooms. No running water. They're saying many of these migrants still haven't been allowed access to showers even though CBP
has denied that as well.
And then really, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she has been the most outspoken about all of this. She's accused the agents of
making those migrants drink water from the toilet.
So when you say, "Where does it go from here?" Well, it's really one word against another. These members of Congress are speaking out here. U.S.
Border Patrol, the chief has denied the accusation of having these migrants drink out of toilets.
But really, you know, Border Patrol, while they're denying the specific allegation, they have acknowledged that the conditions down there are
getting overrun and really out of control, with this record-breaking number of migrants crossing the border in recent months.
[14:10:01] You know, Congress, they've done something about it. They just passed a bill, $4.6 billion in border funding to assist with this crush of
migrants. But the question is, when will the dollars get there, how will they be effectively used.
And especially, now that it sounds like, really, members of Congress are up against these Border Patrol agents, who they say -- they claim while they
were at these facilities, that these agents were snapping photos of them, sort of --
SCHNEIDER: -- mocking them, making fun of them. It's really a bad situation all around, both on the policy round with sort of this infighting
between members of Congress and the agency here, but then of course, we can't forget the conditions that these migrants are facing. We saw a
glimpse of it.
I mean, Congressman Joaquin Castro, you saw that video and the picture that he posted to Twitter. He wasn't actually supposed to have a cell phone.
He was supposed to leave it outside.
GORANI: I was going to ask you that.
SCHNEIDER: Right. He's --
GORANI: He was supposed to. Because they were asked to leave their cell phones outside, so he clearly snuck that device in --
SCHNEIDER: Exactly --
GORANI: -- to snap those photos and shoot that video, yes.
SCHNEIDER: Right. And those members of Congress were really upset about it because they said while they were supposed to leave their cell phones
outside, not bring them into the facility, at the same time, they claim that border agents were inside, having their own cell phones. Snapping
selfies with the members of Congress in the background, sort of mocking them, they thought.
But, right, Congressman Castro, he snuck his in just so he could get that documentary proof. Because as I said at the beginning, Hala, they're not
allowing the news media in there. So we're hearing sort of these -- this drip of information from either lawyers for these migrants or these members
The thing is, we need more exposure here, to really find out what the truth is, to get these pictures out there so that maybe we could effectuate some
change here to fix some of these conditions that these members of Congress say are absolutely deplorable.
GORANI: Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.
Now, we have migrants, taxes and tanks. U.S. lawmakers have had a lot on their plates --
SCHNEIDER: Thanks, guys.
GORANI: -- ahead of the Independence Day holiday. For more on all this, I'm joined by our White House reporter Stephen Collinson, and CNN political
commentator David Swerdlick.
David, I want to start with you. First of all, that legal action that -- the lawsuit that the Democrats are filing to force the release of Donald
Trump's tax returns. Does it have a chance?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it has a chance. The problem is, how long will it take, Hala.
There is clear statutory authority for Congress, specifically for the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, a Democrat, or the
Republican chair of the Senate Finance Committee, to get the president -- any citizen's tax returns. There's no dispute about that. But -- except
coming from the administration, the White House and the Treasury Department.
So I think ultimately, if the courts proceed as you would expect them to, they will interpret this statute as saying, "Yes, absent a change in the
law, the Treasury Department with the IRS underneath it, has to turn over the president's tax returns." But this could drag out in the courts and I
think you see the administration, here, not wanting to give them up and so they're just playing for time.
GORANI: All right. There's a lot to talk about. I want to ask you, Stephen Collinson, about that military parade that the U.S. president would
like to organize on July 4th, similar to what you see in Paris or even, some say, in Moscow, with the big display of military hardware.
Kellyanne Conway was asked about this plan, the Salute to America. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Do you know, the 4th of July is a celebration of this country's independence? Are you aware of that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am.
CONWAY: You are? You know what happened in July 4th, 1776 --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm aware of what ---
CONWAY: -- OK. Because it doesn't sound like you're even talking about the patriotism that undergirds it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So, Stephen, it's again equating patriotism with a display of military prowess. It certainly was not like that when I was a kid,
celebrating July 4th in Washington.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. And July 4th has never really been a national military holiday in the United States. We
have Veterans Day and Memorial Day for that.
But I think that tape there was a classic example of how the Trump administration politicizes patriotism and everything else, the president
sort of muscling his way into the traditional July 4th fireworks spectacle on the mall in Washington.
And, of course, anybody that now criticizes this is going to be accused of not being patriotic, of being disrespectful for the military. When the
fact is that this parade and military flyover is basically apparently designed to service the president's vanity.
We've seen this again and again throughout his presidency, the ever-grander photo ops. The tendency to put himself at the middle of a big crowd. And
I think a lot of people believe that what the president is trying to do is to make political hay out of one of the few unifying moments in American
life that there still are.
[14:15:03] GORANI: Right. But --
COLLINSON: Politics has so infected everything in America. July 4th, it now appears, isn't even safe.
GORANI: It's become partisan. And the Republican National Committee is selling VIP tickets, or special tickets to people to take part or at least
be in the crowd there for this celebration.
I want to ask you, David Swerdlick, about these very striking poll numbers in the Democratic race. Because Joe Biden, still the frontrunner, has lost
a lot of ground to Kamala Harris, who had a very good debate performance. She's now polling at 17 percent. He's at 22 percent.
TEXT: Potential Democratic Voters' Top Choices for Nominee; Joe Biden, 22 percent; Kamala Harris, 17 percent; Elizabeth Warren, 15 percent; Bernie
Sanders, 14 percent
GORANI: Among black voters, Biden went from 49 percent support to 36. Kamala Harris from six percent -- I guess a few weeks ago, a lot of voters
didn't really -- couldn't place her. She's now at 24 percent. What do you make of all these numbers, David?
SWERDLICK: Well, first of all, I make it that even though the lead has narrowed, Vice President Biden still is in the lead. He had a terrible
debate performance last week. A lot of it had to do with that skirmish with Senator Harris, where she confronted him on his past positions on
busing, and he really was not effective in responding to her.
TEXT: Choice for Nominee, Black Potential Democratic Voters: Biden: June 28-30, 36 percent; April and May, 49 percent. Harris: June 28-30, 24
percent; April and May, six percent. Warren: June 28-30, 12 percent; April and May, nine percent. Sanders: June 28-30, nine percent; April and
May, 10 percent
SWERDLICK: That being said, because he still has that lead, because he still has a very robust fundraising operation, Hala, I do think that if he
gathers himself between now and the CNN debates, which are at the end of this month, then he can --
SWERDLICK: -- you know, right the ship in his campaign. But he allowed Senator Harris who was, as you say, someone who was not on a lot of
people's radar, to gain some ground on him because she had such a strong performance, acting like the prosecutor that she is and really making him
look a little bit shaky.
GORANI: Yes. Well, I think I guess, Stephen, as far as Democratic voters are concerned, they want to vote for their favorite candidate. But a lot
of them want to vote for the candidate they believe will beat Donald Trump. That could also be strategically how they're thinking about their vote.
Who do you think Democrats would favor to -- in a one-on-one against Trump in the national race?
COLLINSON: Well, right now, that number is overwhelmingly in favor of Joe Biden. Forty-three percent of voters in our poll decided that Biden was
still the candidate who was best placed to take on Donald Trump. Warren and Harris and Bernie Sanders were back about 30 points below that.
TEXT: Favorability, Potential Democratic Voters: Biden: Now, 72 percent, down five percent from May; Sanders: Now, 71 percent, down five percent
from May; Warren: Now, 67 percent, up four percent from May; Harris, Now, 62 percent, up 10 percent from May; Buttigieg, Now, 48 percent, up seven
percent from May
Now, the thing I think to watch in this race is if that number begins to change. We're already seeing a little bit of an erosion with the former
vice president in the African-American vote, as David said. If that number -- if Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren begins to be seen as more of a good
bet to take on the president, then Joe Biden is in trouble.
And I think that is one of the reasons why, as David said, this next debate in three weeks' time is absolutely crucial for Biden, to stem any
impression that what we saw as, you know, a very halting (ph) performance there on the debate stage with Kamala Harris, could be replicated in the
much bigger challenge of going up against Donald Trump in a presidential debate a few months before the November 2020 election.
So there are certainly warning signs for the former vice president, and that number about who is best to take on Trump, is the absolute key to this
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much to both of you. David Swerdlick and Stephen Collinson, always a pleasure.
Still to come tonight, after days of torturous negotiations, E.U. leaders have finally agreed on a replacement for Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude
Juncker. And a woman has been tapped for the top job for the first time. We'll be right back.
[14:20:47] GORANI: China is seizing on Monday's turbulent protests in Hong Kong to paint the pro-democracy movement as not legitimate, but in fact
full of radicals thumbing the rule of law. it's blasting the shift from peaceful marches to acts of vandalism. Matt Rivers has the latest on how
we got there and where the protests go next.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A night of chaos in Hong Kong, protestors storming the city's main government
building, the massive police response that followed with tear gas, violence. The day after, the damage remains and the reckoning begins.
Weeks of largely peaceful protests in Hong Kong garnered vast local and international support. Hundreds of thousands of people marching made for a
sympathetic cause, as they argued against a controversial extradition bill, police brutality, and a feeling that China is stripping Hong Kong of
Does the goodwill they garnered disappear amidst the shattered glass and the graffiti?
CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: What really saddens a lot of people and shocks a lot of people, is the extreme use of violence and vandalism by
protestors who stormed into the Legislative Council building over a period of time.
RIVERS (voice-over): That was Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a pre-dawn press conference, immediately trying to seize on the violence, painting
protestors as out-of-touch with what ordinary Hong Kongers want.
Her bosses, the central government in Beijing, pushed the exact same message in a clear effort to discredit the protest movement.
GENG SHUANG, SPOKESMAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): The violent attacks on the Legislative Council building and the intentional
damage to the council facilities in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, are serious illegal acts that trample on the rule of law and
endanger social order.
RIVERS (voice-over): There is now fear among pro-democracy supporters, that the Chinese government could use this violence to make life here less
CLAUDIA MO, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY LEGISLATOR: They could use this as claiming that Hong Kong's running out of control or their freedoms should
be taken away even more, and that sort of thing.
RIVERS (voice-over): The vast majority of people involved in Monday's protest did so peacefully. It was the third in a series of marches that
did result in the extradition bill being suspended.
But for those who chose violence, the justification was that marches have not achieved their ultimate goals. To name a few, the extradition bill
still hasn't been repealed. Some protestors remain in government custody, and Carrie Lam still has her job.
JOSHUA WONG, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: People might not agree on all the behaviors of activists with they stormed into the Legislative
Council. But they feel depressed and no hope, and they come, solve (ph) the problem inside (ph) the institution.
RIVERS (voice-over): And so, now, we turn to what happens next. Will more peaceful marches go on, fighting forward and winning change? Or has this
protest movement's hard-earned momentum been blunted by the sharp end of a battering ram, smashing into the seat of Hong Kong's government? Once the
clean-up ends, the wait for those answers begins. Matt Rivers, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: Bonnie Leung is one of the organizers of many of the peaceful mass demonstrations against the extradition bill. She joins me now from Hong
Bonnie, you told my producer, Hong Kong protestors feel that they had no choice but to escalate their actions. Were you referring to those who
broke into the Legislative Council building?
BONNIE LEUNG, ORGANIZER, ANTI-EXTRADITION BILL PROTEST MOVEMENT: Well, yes. What had happened yesterday, last night in Hong Kong, I wouldn't
recommend it. I wouldn't encourage young people to sacrifice like that, or to face legal consequences like that.
But we have to understand why they are so angry and why they are so despair and desperate about what's happening now in Hong Kong.
Because even --
LEUNG: -- two million people took to the streets, the Hong Kong government and Carrie Lam, our chief executive, decided to turn a deaf ear to all of
our demands. And instead of scrapping the extradition bill, they decided to scrap our demands.
[14:25:15] So it's totally understandable why these --
GORANI: Yes, but do you see how they played into -- Bonnie, did you -- do you see how these protestors played right into Beijing's hands?
Essentially Beijing can now run this video in a loop and say, "Look at your pro-democracy demonstrators. They're basically vandals."
LEUNG: Well, as I said, I wouldn't --
GORANI: That's a problem for you.
LEUNG: -- I wouldn't recommend it. But as I -- as we have checked in what happened in the last 24 hours, because it happened last night, Hong Kong
people are totally understanding, these young protestors, why they are so angry. And we understand why they did that.
And also, we have to understand, these young people, they love Hong Kong so much. And the quality that they showed last night, was that they would not
leave their fellow protestors behind. And they have great qualities.
And these are the young people that Hong Kong and even Beijing should treasure, and should listen to. And what's happened yesterday, was that
why they have to force to do that is because their voice wasn't heard in the Legislative Council. I believe that even --
GORANI: But what's the strategy next here, Bonnie? Because you must be looking to the future in trying -- because as you said, the law wasn't
scrapped. The chief executive is still in place. None of your demands have been met. And now on every television station in the world, we see
mass demonstrators spray-painting the parliament building. So what is your strategy, as one of the organizers, to try to get to your goals here?
LEUNG: Well, I totally agree. We have to transform these -- the power of the two million people and also the enthusiasm of the young protestors last
night, into something that the government and Beijing cannot ignore.
So I would highly recommend, even with the protestors last night, that we must transform. Next year and also later this year, there will be district
council election and Legislative Council election.
I strongly encourage all the people who have participated in this campaign, to consider joining this campaign and be politicians themselves, or be a
volunteer to those who would run for these elections. And turn ourselves from power of the streets into power in the institution, in the politics.
And also, I would like to urge the world that Hong Kong people are doing our best. We would really like the world, including individuals and world
leaders, businesses, et cetera --
GORANI: Yes. I think -- no, but I --
LEUNG: -- to help us, to speak for us.
GORANI: -- think you have the sympathy -- Bonnie, I think you have the sympathy of a lot of people around the world. I really think you do. Just
over the last several weeks, the sheer number of people out on the streets, the fear that Beijing will be, you know, sort of more and more creeping
into everyday life in Hong Kong and threatening your freedom.
I think, though, that those pictures in the parliament, you know, certainly didn't send out necessarily the right message. But the question is, the
next protest, when will it be? Have you already organized it? Have you already decided on a date?
LEUNG: We are having a lot of discussions with our stakeholders, like the pan-democratic legislators. No plans can be announced yet, but very soon.
GORANI: All right. But you're definitely -- you still have the enthusiasm, the people behind you and everybody's still ready to go out on
the streets of Hong Kong.
LEUNG: Yes, sure. We have to keep the momentum. And I urge the world to keep looking for us.
GORANI: All right. Bonnie Leung. Thanks so much for staying up very late to talk to us. Really appreciate it.
LEUNG: Thank you.
GORANI: Still to come tonight, people in Syria's Idlib Province are living in constant fear for their lives. The government is launching near-daily
attacks on Syria's last rebel stronghold, civilians once again paying the highest price.
[14:29:34] And after markets get a boost from a tariff truce between the U.S. and China, trade tensions escalate on another front. We'll be right
[14:30:06] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Women have been nominated to lead two top E.U. institutions for the first time. After three days of
negotiations, European Union leader, German defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, to replace Jean-Claude Juncker s head of the European Commission
as Christine Lagarde was chosen to head the European Central Bank. The European parliament now has to vote on the nominations.
Now, we do know one post that's been finalized, that the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, is replacing Donald Tusk as the Council
Mr. Tusk said he was happy with the choices.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TUSK, E.U. COUNCIL PRESIDENT: First and foremost, we have chosen two women and two men for the fall key positions. A perfect gender bias.
I'm really happy about it. After all, Europe is a woman. I think it was worth fighting for such an outcome.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Those leadership nominations bring closer to a day that got off to an awkward start. The parliament president had to rebuke the Brexit party,
the British Brexit party, for disrespectful behavior. Take a look at this particular moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Musicians are playing the anthem of Europe, based on Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," that's when all 29 members of the Brexit party turned their
backs, spurning their European colleagues.
The E.U. skeptics were not the only group with the bitter message. Some pro-E.U. lawmakers from Britain turned up wearing bright yellow t-shorts
that says "Stop Brexit" on the front. And on the back, a more colorful phrase that will let you read for yourself.
And as political reporter in this country commented, even my 10-year-old knows better than to act the way these politicians acted today. Certainly
quite a scene and not something I ever expected to see in the European Parliament, but there you have it. Some political theater for you on a
But wait, starting with optimism and the economy after a ceasefire was agreed between the U.S. and China over tariffs. What a difference a day
makes. The United States is now intensifying the trade fight with the European Union, threatening new tariffs with worth $4 billion, hitting
dozens of products from meat to whiskey.
Pau La Monica joins me now from New York. So what are stocks doing? Because investors, obviously, love it when there's a trade war truce.
What's happening on the stock market today?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Wall Street is, for the most part taking it in stride, Hala, we did have stocks open lower.
But now, they're about flat. You do have to keep in mind the 4th of July holiday is rapidly approaching, the market has only a half day of trading
tomorrow. That might be one of the reasons why investors are shrugging this off a little bit.
But make no mistake. It is a bit of a concern that the trade talk between the U.S. and the European union is getting wars at the time where there are
rising hopes that maybe the U.S. and China could come to a deal.
[14:35:07] And this is really all about Boeing and Airbus. That's the key thing here that need to be resolved at some point. The U.S. is not happy
with European Union helping out Airbus, giving them some subsidies. And the E.U. feels the same way about federal government here in the states.
And various states, also giving subsidies to Boeing. That's really what this is about. Forget about food and whiskey. It's about the two largest
airplane manufacturers in the world.
GORANI: Right. And Boeing is having major issues, obviously, with the 737 Max. Airbus, just by virtue of that is certainly in a more competitive
position going forward, one would assume.
LA MONICA: Yes, definitely, when you look how Airbus really stole the show at the recent big airline expo in Paris, winning a lot of new orders for
their planes. Boeing is struggling to gain come tractions there.
And also you look at the company like Delta, the big global airline, they reported results this morning, they were better than expected and that's
mainly because they're the only significant U.S. carrier that doesn't have 737 Max in its fleet. So that's another bad sign for Boeing that the
company that isn't using this particular plane is doing well, partly because they don't have those issues.
GORANI: So should we be worried about a real trade war between the E.U. and the U.S. or these are just empty threats?
LA MONICA: I wouldn't go so far to say that they are empty threats, but when you look at how the Trump administration has dealt with China, with
India, with Japan, and with the E.U. as well, everything is a negotiation and everything seems to have to get ugly before it gets better. I think
that's something that we can probably expect to make deep continue here with these trade spat between America and the European Union. It may
eventually be resolved in a favorable manner, but the process is going to be a lot uglier and more public than trade disputes of the past of it.
Paul La Monica, thanks very much.
LA MONICA: Thank you.
GORANI: A scandal is brewing inside the Trump administration. This one involves America's top diplomat, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
CNN's Michelle Kosinski has detail.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats are looking into whistleblower allegations that the State
Department's diplomatic security service is at times running errands for the secretary of state, in one instance picking up Chinese food for Mike
Pompeo when he was not in the car. According to congressional investigators.
The whistleblower said it led to complaints the security team was treated like "Uber eats with guns."
Another time, picking up the Pompeo dog from the groomer. The Secretary has discussed his fondness for the pets during congressional testimony.
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I have a soft spot for my golden retrievers.
KOSINSKI: And according to a document provided to the committee and shown to CNN, agents were told to pick up Pompeo's adult son at Washington's
Union Station. According to D.S. protocol, the secretary should be in the car during these kinds of trips. And D.S. should be doing them only if
there's some threat that would necessitate it.
The State Department did not deny that these trips took place but a D.S. special agent in charge insisted that, "At no point during my service did
he or any member of his family ask me or any member of my team to act in a way that would be inconsistent with our professional obligation to protect
It's not clear whether these alleged tasks were initiated by Pompeo himself or someone on his staff without his knowledge, but the whistleblower told
congressional investigators that there's a culture right now at D.S. to try to please Pompeo and not make him angry.
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: These are not the kinds of people that go around complaining. They do their jobs
and they do them proudly, and they do them quietly. And so that you have somebody who felt so strongly about this, that they decided to go to
Congress, I think that has to be taken seriously.
KOSINSKI: Congressional investigators are also seeking to understand why Pompeo's wife, Susan, has her own security detail. This is unusual
according to a former senior D.S. official, who said that if security was granted to his secretary spouse in the past, it was just for short periods
of time, and only after a threat assessment for that person was done within an intelligence division of Diplomatic Security.
The whistleblower told congressional investigators that multiple agents understood that the normal procedure was not followed. And that they were
warned not to use her call sign which is "Shocker" over the radios because they "know it's not kosher." Something a State Department spokesperson
calls absolutely and definitively not true. The spokesperson tells CNN only that an initial threat assessment was done for Susan Pompeo in July
A special agent in charge defended the assignment. "Today, the security threats against Secretary Pompeo and his family are unfortunately very
real. The Diplomatic Security Service is proud to protect the Pompeo family from those who had harmed the secretary of state and the United
Michelle Kosinski, CNN, New York.
[14:40:00] GORANI: State media in Syria have report that the military has launched a new wave of attacks in Idlib province. The army says it's
targeting terror groups.
This video posted on social media though reportedly shows the moment after a helicopter dropped barrel bombs on one town in the countryside, and those
on the ground are saying civilians are being targeted as well.
Many people have fled or have been sent to Idlib as Bashar al-Assad's regime took back territory elsewhere.
Our senior international correspondent Arwa Damon is once again in Idlib province. She reports many families are living in fear in Syria's last
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This Idlib Province is considered to be the last relatively safe area that people who want to flee
the regime and the Russian's bombardment can actually come to. Problem is for months, the newest arrivals have been living in conditions like this.
Barely able to string a couple of blankets around all of trees for shelter.
And that's because the main camps that exists here are completely sold. They've gone. They've asked for tents. They've been told that there are
none. And NGOs are estimating that one and three women here are either breast-feeding or are pregnant. This little baby was born a month before
her parents had to flee. Other mothers that we have been talking to say, they don't have diapers.
One woman we spoke to actually gave birth in her tent, underneath the olive trees. This is a population that is being squeezed. The bombing in the
southern part of the province is so intense. The fighter jets are almost constantly overhead. It's absolutely terrifying. Medical clinics are
being targeted and so more and more people are fleeing into an area where they're being squeezed up against the Turkish border.
And so many of those who we're talking to here are wondering how it is that eight year into this conflict, not only have world leaders failed to stop
the violence, they have even failed in providing them with the most basic of things.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Idlib Province, Syria.
GORANI: The U.S. embassy in Moscow says it's concerned about the health of Paul Whelan. He's the American who is arrested six months ago in Moscow
and accused of spying on Russia.
The embassy says Whelan's health is deteriorating and that he's been denied proper medical care.
CNN's Matthew Chance has our story from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For six months, Paul Whelan has languished behind these grim walls of the tough
Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. He faces the daunting prospect of 20 years more, if found guilty of the espionage charges that he denies.
For months, U.S. diplomats have been expressing concerns for the former U.S. Marine's welfare. Whelan himself spoke of alleged mistreatment in a
recent brief court appearance.
PAUL WHELAN, AMERICAN DETAINED IN RUSSIA: I've been threatened. My personal safety has been threatened. There are abuses and harassment that
I'm constantly subjected to. There is a case for isolation. I have not had a shower in two weeks. I can't use a barber. I have to cut my own
hair. I can't have medical treatment. I can't have dental treatment.
CHANCE: It was at this upscale hotel in central Moscow, where Whelan was detained last December by Russia's Federal Security Service, the old KGB.
Details remain murky, but his state-appointed Russian lawyer confirms Whelan was arrested shortly after accepting a flash drive containing
classified information, which could have been planted, he said, on purpose.
An acquaintance put that top-secret information into Whelan's trousers, his lawyer told reporters last month. He had known that person for 10 years,
the lawyer added, and regarded them as a friend. Indeed, it seems Whelan cultivated a range of social media friendships with Russians, including
former and active members of the Russian military, regularly posting photos and messages in Russian online.
His family says he was in Moscow to attend a wedding, to help show American guests around the city he knew so well. His friendships, his job in
corporate security, his multiple passports from Britain, Canada and Ireland as well as the U.S., seemed to have flagged Whelan for special attention.
He regards himself as a hostage.
WHELAN: I want to tell the world that I'm a -- you know, a victim of political kidnap and ransom. There's obviously no credibility to the
situation. This is retaliation for sanctions. There is absolutely no legitimacy.
CHANCE: It's been speculated, Maria Butina, a Russian gun rights activist imprisoned in the U.S. for acting as a foreign agent, could be swapped for
Whelan. Or Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer dubbed "The Merchant of Death," sentenced in the U.S. to 25 years behind bars.
[14:45:06] Earlier this week, the Russian foreign ministry raised yet another possibility, that this man, Konstantin Yaroshenko, convicted in a
drug-smuggling conspiracy in 2011, could also be returned in exchange for any American national held in Russia. This so-called small step, as the
Russians phrased it, could be Paul Whelan's best hope of getting home soon.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
GORANI: One more note on this story. Paul Whelan's brother spoke to CNN a short time ago. He said the family is frustrated that officials in the
Trump administration are now doing more to push for Paul's release. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID WHELAN, BROTHER OF PAUL WHELAN: We know that Paul's case has been escalating in the American government. My sister met with Ambassador John
Bolton, and so we know it had gotten to that level that they're aware of Paul's issue.
And so we're assuming that it's being spoken about at Secretary Pompeo's level. Perhaps at President Trump's level and do not have a public
statement of support that Paul is wrongly detained in Russia, is hard to -- is hard to bear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The brother of Paul Whelan there.
Still to come tonight. The stunning story of a stowaway hiding on a plane and his tragic death in London. Stay with us.
GORANI: Two Sri Lankan government officials have been arrested for failing to stop the Easter Sunday attacks. The country's former defense secretary
and his former police chief are now in custody in Sri Lanka. They had, apparently, received intelligence reports that a terrorist attack was being
planned but did not act on those warnings.
More than 250 people died in the church and hotel bombings. Sri Lanka's attorney general wants the men charged with crimes against humanity.
Imagine for a moment being outside in your own backyard when a body suddenly falls from the sky and almost hits you. Well, that happened in
London near Heathrow Airport on Sunday. As a stowaway aboard a Kenyan Airways plane fell out.
CNN's Nina dos Santos has the rest of the story.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was on this Tranquil Terrace streets in Southwest London on the flight path towards Heathrow
Airport that a body plummeted from the sky falling around about 2,500 feet into the backyard of this property. Just yards away where a resident was
Well, pictures of the scene show the depression on the ground that this impact had made. And residents say they are shocked that this could have
happened in this part of the capitol.
EMERIC MOLNAR, NEIGHBOR: Very unfortunate, it's quite frightening as well. Because my garden is a few doors down from there. So, yes, it was quite
frightening. As I was going back the bus, I saw hundreds of people coming. And it could have been a major tragedy if it had fallen on the crowds over
there. That's a tragedy, anyway.
[14:50:11] DOS SANTOS: Very little is known about this stowaway thus far. All that is know is that they are male. We don't know their identity,
their nationality, or indeed their age. The police have said that they will conduct a post-mortem examination.
But airline experts say that the conditions that they would have endured inside that landing compartment would have been treacherous for the eight
and a half hour journey from Nairobi to London.
ALASTAIR ROSENSCHEIN, AVIATION EXPERT: We're talking about extremely low temperatures and we're talking here around minus 60 degree Celsius. And
the other thing is the partial pressure of oxygen is so low that a stowaway will pass out at about 20,000 feet. And above 30,000 feet, they will
shortly expand dying, and then they freeze.
DOS SANTOS: This is not the first time that the bodies of stowaways have been discovered either in the back gardens or on rooves or buildings in the
South and Western suburbs of the capital falling from planes that have often taken off from African airports as they headed in towards London and
the landing gear was deployed.
In 2012, the body of a Mozambican man who stowed away on board a plane, which had settled from Angola was found. And in 2015, another stowaway was
discovered after having taken off from Johannesburg.
Well, this latest incident will be investigated. The Kenyan airports authority said in a statement that they have set a joint investigation team
to work with the U.K. authorities to determine who this individual was and how he managed to get onboard this plane.
Nina dos Santos, CNN, in Southwest London.
GORANI: Right. The death rate, apparently, is almost 100 percent when you try to hit your ride on a plan like this and clearly this is information
that's not making it to enough people and sadly it's ending in tragedy like this.
More to come including, they may have a special relationship, but there'll be no love lost when England takes on the United States in the women's
World Cup in eight minutes. We'll have more when we return as the tournament reaches fever pitch.
GORANI: Some people in South America have been looking up, setting up camp to get a good spot of a rare total solar eclipse that'll happen in the next
In some places, the sun will be completely blacked out in the middle of the day. Don't look straight at it though. Hope they have sunglasses. There
you have it. I'll watch it when I can watch it on tape.
It's the tournament that continues to smash viewing records around the globe, which is a good thing. If you think women in sports should be
getting more attention and more pay, by the way. Here in England, excitement is mounting with the women's World Cup semi-final just a few
But the English do have a big task ahead of them as they are taking on the defending champion and giants of the game and that is, of course, team USA.
The Americans are favorites to win the tournament. But, of course, anything can happen in football and in life.
[14:55:09] Our Amanda Davies is at the game and has been talking to fans.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Hala, the atmosphere is really building here. Fans from both sides, two of the best supported
teams here in France, flocking to the stadium behind us to what is no doubt the biggest game of this tournament so far.
Three times defending champions, the USA, up against the pretenders to the crown, England, a confident England, it has to be said. It was two all the
last time these two sides met. That was in March had an invitational tournament back in the United States. But the U.S. -- the England boss,
Phil Neville, said he doesn't feel that counts for too much heading into this one, a World Cup semifinals.
Let's have a chat with some of the fans who've made it here for the game. What's your name and where did you come from?
JOEY, FOOTBALL FAN: Joey from Seattle.
DAVIES: Have you been here for the rest of the tournament or is this your opening game?
JOEY: This is our first game here. Yes. We came to watch the USA women, so we're excited.
DAVIES: How confident are you though?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, very confident. Very confident. Absolutely. We wish we could stay for the finals, because they'll be there on Sunday, for
DAVIES: You say for sure but you're not going to be here for the finals, so you can't be that confident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can extend our tickets, right?
DAVIES: Who do you think is going to make the difference today? A lot of talks about Megan Rapinoe, lots of talk about, Alex Morgan on her birthday.
Is she going to step up for this one at the city, the place where she played so well, her domestic football? What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's do. She started out on fire and I think she's ready. We're in Lyon, it's her birthday. We're going to see
good stuff from her.
DAVIES: OK. What prediction? What do you think the score is going to be?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two-one, USA. No doubt.
DAVIES: How about you, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I go for Four-zero.
DAVIES: That's a big one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fourth of July is coming up soon. So, we win, right?
DAVIES: And you sir, do you give any England any hope?
JOEY: A little bit. I think they'll make it exciting. But three-two, how about that? That'll be a good score.
DAVIES: OK. Well, I think I might uphold the England corner.
Thanks very much indeed. Enjoy the game.
Hala, of course, this is the venue where Sunday's finals take place as well. Neither of these sides will want to go out so close to the big one,
the World Cup final. Back to you.
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Amanda.
I predict 3-0 USA. 3-0 USA. That's my prediction. We'll see tomorrow if I'm right. I'm basing it on nothing. I just think they're a really strong
team and we'll see if they pull it off.
So if team USA makes it to the final and wins the cup for the fourth time, that won't be the only record they're breaking, their partner Nike says
that the team's home jersey is a record breaking seller on their online retail site. It's now the number one soccer jersey they've ever sold. In
fact, beating the U.S. national men's team. It's great.
I'm Hala Gorani, I'll see you tomorrow.