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U.S. Navy Seal Acquitted Of Murdering ISIS Fighter; Agent Speaks About Facebook Group, Center Conditions; El Salvador President Takes Blame For Migrants' Deaths; Team USA Advance to Final with Win Over England; At Least 32 Dead in Record Rain in Mumbai. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 3, 2019 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Navy SEAL found not guilty of premeditated murder, not guilty of war crimes after the death of a teenage ISIS detainee. The case made even more controversial with the U.S. President at one point considering a pardon.

A ticking time bomb, the warning from a Border Patrol agent but the growing crisis within U.S. detention centers as new images show how many -- how many detained migrants are living in deplorable conditions.

Also, pop star and all-around nice guy Andy Grammer will be here with a similar message from his latest song Don't Give Up. Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause, this is another hour of CNN NEWSROOM.

We'll begin with the verdict in the closely watched trial of a U.S. Navy SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq. On Tuesday a Military Jury in California found Eddie Gallagher not guilty in the murder of a wounded ISIS fighter.

Other SEALs accuse Gallagher of stabbing the young captive back in 2017 and said Gallagher also randomly shot at civilians. But he was convicted on just one charge posing for a photo with a human casualty. Gallagher had backing from Fox News personalities as well as the U.S. President who reportedly considered a pardon at one point. CNN's Nick Watt has more now on the case from San Diego.


NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL: It looks like Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will be at home a free man for the 4th of July. He had been facing life behind bars. Had he been convicted of premeditated murder, remember, he was charged with stabbing to death an ISIS detainee in Iraq back in 2017 and of posing with the courts.

He was also charged with firing into crowds of civilians using a sniper rifle to shoot an old man, a civilian, and a young girl, and also charged with pressuring his fellow SEALs not to turn him in and then retaliate against those who did. Not guilty on six of those charges. The only charge he was found guilty on was posing with that photo.

And the defense had never really argued against that. The photo existed everyone had seen it. There was no real point in arguing against that. But that photograph was really the prosecution's key piece of evidence. That and the text messages that Eddie Gallagher sent along with that photo saying got this one with my hunting knife, got this one, got my knife skills on.

But there was no forensic evidence, in this case, none what so ever. It was really about Navy SEALs taking the stand and giving testimony. Some of them saying Eddie Gallagher did this. We saw him stab an ISIS fighter and others saying he never did. He didn't do it at all. And in the end, the jury decided that Eddie Gallagher was not guilty.

So he is a free man. The sentencing still going on. That will continue later this morning but the maximum he can be charged -- he can be sentenced with for posing in that photo is four months and he's already served around nine months behind bars during pre-trial confinement.


VAUSE: Anita Gorecki-Robbins, a former Federal Prosecutor and former Army Defense Counsel. She's with us this hour from Washington. Anita, it would seem the government case fell apart big time when their star witness took to the stand and confessed under oath to the murder Gallagher was on trial for.

ANITA GORECKI-ROBBINS, FORMER ARMY DEFENSE COUNSEL: Yes, it was very dramatic. It is literally something that you would normally see in a movie or an episode of Law and Order. So it must have been having been a formal federal prosecutor and a defense counsel literally a jaw-dropping heart-stopping moment for them.

VAUSE: Very difficult to recover you know, from that moment, and this seems to me like an incredible bungle by the prosecutors is Corey Scott. He's the witness, he's also a sealed medic. He'd been you know, interviewed multiple times and he told investigators and prosecutors that the ISIS teenage fighter had died from asphyxiation.

Every time he was asked he said that was the cause of death. But not once was there a follow-up question how did he stop breathing. He wasn't even asked that under direct examination in court.

GORECKI-ROBBINS: Correct. And so in light of that, I think it really put the panel or what's called in civilian terms like the jury in a real bind at that point. I mean, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. And without that it's hard to figure out how they would have come up with any other verdict but this.

VAUSE: And this guy had an immunity deal. He you know, he really confessed to it. He's still going to go to jail for it.

GORECKI-ROBBINS: Right. So there's been some rumbling about maybe prosecuting him but honestly, the trial counsel, the government prosecutors, in this case, have literally egg on their face. VAUSE: And but -- you get that immunity deal. You think it's a

fairly high bar. They you know, would have you know, crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's.

GORECKI-ROBBINS: Right. So normally there's a lot of conferences and talks between defense counsel, right. They have to give a proffer. Like here's what my client will do for you in exchange. It's a bargain for exchange. I want immunity. Here's the information I have.

So it's a very interesting. I would love to hear from his attorney. It's like what did they know, what were they holding back, was this something that was thought through ahead of time? Was this like an elaborate chess match or what exactly happened in these negotiations that the government felt you know, comfortable enough to give him this immunity deal or did something maybe slim shady actually happened? But we may never know the answer to that.

[01:05:34] VAUSE: Here's Gallagher's defense team after the verdict came in not guilty on all accounts except one. That one count was essentially Gallagher you know, having his photo taken next to the dead body of the ISIS fighter. Here they are.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tears of joy --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emotion, freedom, absolute euphoria --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And proud of the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes. Yes, he's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a sentencing to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a sentencing to do but the maximum sentence on what they're about to sentence him on is much less than the time that they already had him in so he is going home.


VAUSE: So Gallagher walks, but is this one guilty verdict, is that serious enough to see him discharged from the Navy?

GORECKI-ROBBINS: No. And the way it's written it's a charge -- in the military, they can make up a charge. Literally, they can see something that you've done and say you know what, that looks conduct unbecoming or it's a conduct discrediting. And so they can make up a charge. It's what they've done in this case. It's called a novel charge and they're allowed to do so.

And if it's written the way I believe it is, he may not get what we call a punitive discharge so a lot of civil instinct of it like a bad conduct charge or dishonorable discharge. He will just walk out of there. Now, the question is, after that, do the prosecutors want to figure out a way where they can administratively push them out of the Navy.

And in my personal opinion, I just don't think they're going to have the stomach for it. And he has 19 years and. So in order to try to even news the method to push out and deny him V.A. benefits, they will have to run all the way to the Secretary of the Navy and again, I just don't think they're going to.

VAUSE: Yes, given you know, the fact that you know, the U.S. President has weighed in on this on Gallagher's time essentially, that seemed unlikely. You know, for the most part though, people in Afghanistan or Iraq or whatever the U.S. military is based in on those countries, you know, they'll not pick up the finer details of what this case was you know -- they essentially fumble by prosecutors.

They would just see that a U.S. serviceman accused of war crimes was allowed to go free. What does that do to the image and the reputation of the U.S. military and would it have been better for this case not to have been brought to trial?

GORECKI-ROBBINS: Well, that's several good questions. I would say first you have this case. Remember, you also have one that's happening in Virginia where the two Navy SEALs are accused of killing the Army Special Forces soldier. And so these are all Navy SEALs, I think first and foremost, the Navy SEALs have to kind of take a look at themselves.

Even though he gets to go home, the panel has made their decision, they listen to all the evidence. But from a P.R. standpoint, I think the Navy SEALs have the greater problem because it just makes it look the polite way to say it in television, there's a lot of tomfoolery going on.

So I think the Navy SEALs have to be a little bit more introspective about what they're doing. And I agree it does have ramifications and a lot of people aren't going to look at the finer points. They're going to see regardless. You have somebody who is taking photos, a lot of them were, right?

There was a lot of immunity deals put forth because it wasn't just Chief Gallagher. There was a lot of then acting this way. So it is a P.R. problem and I think the Navy needs to look into it.

VAUSE: Let's hear from Gallagher's wife Andrea. She also spoke out after the verdict came in. And you know, obviously, there is relief but also seems there's some anger with her as well. Listen to this.


ANDREA GALLAGHER, WIFE OF EDDIE GALLAGHER: I was feeling like they're finally vindicated after being terrorized by the government that my husband fought for two decades on the war on terror. He's fought every major enemy of the United States. He is a righteous and noble individual.

I think this whole thing is disgusting. And I want responsibility to be claimed by Naval special warfare.


VAUSE: OK, so what are the Gallagher's options now in terms of maybe compensation or some kind of restitution?

GORECKI-ROBBINS: Well, let me first say, I think there was enough. I don't think it's terrorism or the government was terrorizing them. I think there was enough in part because of what chief Gallagher said himself, the photos, the comments. I mean, all of that laid the groundwork for the government to have the good basis for them to come forward. Never mind his fellow SEAL team members you know, who had some concerns.

So let's just start there. I don't agree with -- I understand as a spouse she's angry and she's --

VAUSE: Sure.

GORECKI-ROBBINS: But the government had every right to go forward with this case and you never know how close it came to maybe going the other direction. As far as suing. I used to hear this a lot from my own clients sometimes.

I mean, they would have to literally sue the Department of Defense, sue the Navy. There is a lot of them with immunity clauses built-in and there's a lot -- even whether it's civilian, federal, or military prosecutorial discretion goes a long way. And so I don't think they would be successful.

[01:10:17] VAUSE: Yes. It was interesting some of the evidence put forward, no forensic evidence, but there -- there were those text messages where he said I got them with knife.


VAUSE: So there was a lot of stuff there and there was a basis for a case I guess, as you point out Anita.


VAUSE: Thank you so much. Good to see you.


VAUSE: The U.S. government watchdog is issuing another urgent warning about overcrowding at border detention centers. The Inspector General's report found migrants are being held for weeks instead of days. Families are sleeping on mats because there are no coach or beds, are also been kept in standing-room-only cells. One Border Patrol manager called the situation a ticking time bomb.

Meantime, a new CNN poll shows nearly three-quarters of Americans believe yes, there really is a crisis at the border but they disagree along party lines on why. 63 percent of Republicans believe the number of migrants trying to cross the border is the reason for the crisis while 54 percent of Democrats believe the treatment of migrants is, in fact, the crisis.

The Inspector General's report comes after the discovery of a secret Facebook group with current and former Border Patrol agents are accused for making racist and sexist jokes about migrants and the lawmakers touring the facilities. In this exclusive report CNN's Nick Valencia spoke with one agent who's had enough.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're taking a big risk by doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's what America needs to know. They need to know the truth.

VALENCIA: A Border Patrol agent who's had enough. In a CNN exclusive interview, the veteran agent who agreed to go on camera only if their identity was concealed expressed discussed at a closed Facebook group reportedly comprised of thousands of current and former agents.

ProPublica, the first to exposed the group I'm 1015 where members shared lewd and sexist content about Latina members of Congress including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes. The agent telling CNN being derogatory is part of the Border Patrol culture, even hearing a supervisor joke about dead migrants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was making fun of them.

VALENCIA: Saying what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That what difference does it make. There just some low life. He made a comment also regarding running over illegals. And I'm like, you cannot run over people.

VALENCIA: In describing the conditions inside the El Paso detention facilities, the agent compared them to a zoo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The holding facility, the cells they are what I will say filthy. We have our maintenance and cleaning crew that cleaned the general area by the hallways but I have never seen them cleaning counters or cleaning toilets in the cells or cleaning sinks in the cell. Sometimes to go in a cell and there's trash everywhere.

VALENCIA: There are those in leadership of Customs and Border Protection.


VALENCIA: They say that migrants are getting basic human rights. What do you say to leaders who are aying migrants are getting basic human rights? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was basic human rights toilet paper, water from the sink, wearing the same clothing for days? I remember when we were used to be at processing center, we used to have -- especially on winter, we used to have these blankets. On ten different aliens, we use the same blanket. We recycle them. You know, we'll put them in a -- in a bag they weren't get washed.

VALENCIA: I feel like you know, multiple times during an interview, you know, you've sort of stared off in the distance and you've thought about some things that you've seen. I mean, it seems as though there are things that you might take home with you.


VALENCIA: Like what?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the kids?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they're just one hope. They want to believe in something. They want a future.

VALENCIA: Do you support President Trump's immigration policies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is our Commanding in Chief. I know this is unethical, illegal, or immoral. Well, so do he.

VALENCIA: The question is at what cost. Nick Valencia, CNN El Paso, Texas.


VAUSE: Mexico returned 69 migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to their home countries on Tuesday, all part of a temporary program by the National Migration Institute of Mexico. The U.S. President threatened Mexico with tariffs if the flow of migrants into the United States was not slowed.

El Salvador's president is also promising to try and deal with this crisis but not because of American threats but rather a homegrown tragedy. Our Amara Walker has details.


[01:15:00] AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In office, just over a month, El Salvador's President, Nayib Bukele, is trying something new to address the plight of migrants leaving his country. He is taking responsibility.

NAYIB BUKELE, PRESIDENT OF EL SALVADOR: They fled El Salvador. They fled our country. It is -- it is our fault. We haven't been able to provide anything not a decent job, not a decent school.

WALKER: It's a rare admission among Central American leaders, whose citizens leave by the thousands to make the perilous journey to the United States, a dangerous gamble for a chance of a better life that often ends with detention or death. This photo of a father and his daughter from El Salvador, lying face down in the Rio Grande River, once again, highlights the desperation of those forced to leave home.

BUKELE: People don't flee their homes because they want to, people flee their homes because they feel they have to. Why? Because they didn't have a job, because they are being threatened by gangs, because they didn't have basic things like water, education, health.

WALKER: The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol say the number of families from El Salvador apprehended at the border, has nearly tripled since last year. Bukele hopes to stem that flow by pledging to make El Salvador, safer, a tough challenge for the 37-year-old president whose country has tens of thousands of gang members and one of the highest murder rates in the world.

The United States recently cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to El Salvador, along with Guatemala and Honduras over the migrant crisis. Bukele says he wants to improve relations with the U.S. and warns people not to make the journey to America where they will not be welcomed.

BUKELE: Here in El Salvador, you have to cross three frontiers, rivers, et cetera, just to get into a country that will not treat you well. If you don't have papers, you will be called an illegal.

WALKER: With so little time on the job, only time will tell whether El Salvador's new president can make good on his promises and make his country a place where families like those who have already lost their lives, aren't afraid anymore. Amara Walker, CNN.


VAUSE: A change of pace now, and team USA, through to the final at the Women's World Cup after a close win over England. CNN's Amanda Davies has highlights.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: This was a night when the best team won, a game of high stakes, high intensity, and high passions came down to two pivotal VAR moments, the first, the tightest of tight offside calls which ruled out what would have been England's equalizer, the second, a much deliberated penalty which England's captain, Steph Houghton failed to step up and convert.

But even without those, you always have the feeling that England's Lionesses were the hunted, not the hunter, not for nothing at the USA, the best team in the world. They were quicker, more incisive, more ruthless, and they were without their joint top scorer in the tournament, Megan Rapinoe. She'd been ruled out through injury, but it just didn't matter.

Up stepped Christen Press, who scored within 10 minutes, so too Alex Morgan and Crystal Dunn and Rose Lavelle, and Alyssa Naeher, the list goes on. The USA scored depth, composure and fitness ultimately shone through. It was though a match that did exactly what a World Cup semi-final should do. It provided a real spectacle, a rollercoaster of emotions.

But for England, it's one that once again, ends in disappointment, for the third time, in three major tournaments, with a semi-final defeat. For the USA, the ride continues. They are now just one game away from that record-extending fourth crown and you would be a brave individual to bet against it, Amanda Davies, CNN, Lyon, France.


VAUSE: Coming up, here, at first, they didn't arrive, but now, monsoon rains have left dozens dead and the commercial center of India crippled. Also, in Alaska, record-high temperatures bringing warnings it's time to adapt to a warming climate.



VAUSE: The commercial center of India has been crippled by record rainfall. Local reports say at least 30 people have died in and around Mumbai, many residents have been forced to evacuate. Here's CNN Meteorologist Tom Sater.


TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Nearly three days of heavy rain have left much of India's financial capital, Mumbai, underwater. The city is virtually paralyzed. Government offices and schools were closed on Tuesday. Roads and railway tracks are buried underwater, disrupting traffic and leaving those who dare to venture out in the midst of a monsoon downpour, struggling to get around the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is water everywhere. This train, right here, and the next platform, they're not allowing that to leave either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Commuting is a big problem, how does a common man go to work or reach home? They have to get in knee-deep and sometimes, waist-deep water.

SATER: This is Mumbai's heaviest rainfall in 14 years. The city recorded 375 millimeters of rain in just 24 hours ending on Tuesday.

Here in the slum community, built on a hill in the western suburb of the city, the walls of a dam came crashing down, killing about two dozen people and injuring several others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the nearby drainage canal overflowed, the pressure from the water led to the collapse of the wall.

SATER: It was a similar occurrence in the nearby city of Pune. Late Tuesday, rescue teams continue to search for survivors here, digging through mud, to see if there were any signs of life buried underneath. The monsoon season has been slowing in India this year, about two weeks behind schedule in some areas.

Here, in Mumbai, and surrounding towns, forecasters say more rain is expected but nothing as heavy as what has fallen here since Sunday. Tom Sater, CNN.


VAUSE: Northern China, bracing for up to a week of sweltering heat. Meteorologists warn that somber days are likely (INAUDIBLE) health as well as water supplies and electricity. Spokesman for the International Climate Center says global warming is responsible for the soaring temperatures.

And a heat wave in Alaska is setting new record temperatures, almost daily, Anchorage recorded a record-high Tuesday, of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, about 24 degrees Celsius. The old record of 75 was set back in 1974. The heat is making wildfires worse over the weekend. The first-ever dense smoke advisory was issued for Anchorage.

Joining us now from Fairbanks is Rick Thoman, a climatologist with the University of Alaska, Rick, thank you for being with us.

RICK THOMAN, CLIMATOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA: Thanks for having me, John, great to be here.

VAUSE: OK. Well, it's hot, right now, in Alaska. It was hot last month, the hottest June on record for Anchorage, then it came after a very hot May, which (INAUDIBLE) very hot April, a really, really, really hot March, you kind of get the idea. Is there any doubt that all of this is the result of climate change?

THOMAN: Well, certainly, here in Alaska, we're at the forefront of a changing environment for the United States, being United States only Arctic nation, things are changing rapidly. We're seeing all across the state both measured temperatures, extreme precipitation changes in the sea ice, ocean temperatures, are really very dramatic changes and are impacting Alaskans every day.

[01:25:17] VAUSE: And you're seeing -- part of the changes you're seeing, what, ice melts and glaciers, melt, before your eyes?

THOMAN: The changes have just been remarkable and it's very obvious. You don't need any special equipment to see the dramatic loss of glaciers, of the sea ice melting out as much as two months earlier in some communities.

VAUSE: And Alaska is not only hot, but it's burning as well, you know, wildfires, you know, they're not uncommon, but how much worse are these fires because of the, you know, the months and months of above average temperatures?

THOMAN: Well, certainly, the wildfire season this year, is gotten a boost with, as you mentioned, the extremely warm spring, so we had very early snow melt across the wildfire-prone regions of the state, so that's allowed the ground fuels to dry out much more. And then we had a couple of weeks of frequent lightning followed by hot dry weather, that's the perfect recipe for wildfires in Alaska.

VAUSE: You know, this week, it's record temperatures, in Alaska, last week, it was a heat wave across Europe. CNN is reporting that worldwide, last month, was the hottest June ever recorded that's what satellite data taken by the E.U. Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The European average temperature for June was more than two degrees Celsius above normal. The global average temperature was about 0.1 degree Celsius warmer than the previous June record back in 2016.

How do you get this message out that the old days of, you know, relatively predictable weather are over, that this, sort of, new systems are taking place, and we really don't know what to expect. How do you explain that, you know, to communities and advise them of what they should be doing right now?

THOMAN: Well, I think, one, it's important to get the word out of how things have changed, you know, older people in the communities that have that memory, know that. But I think the other important thing here in Alaska, is to recognize that where we're at now, that's not the new normal. This is just where we are at.

Things continue to change very rapidly and we have to work to live in a world that we find ourselves in. We just can't -- we just can't pretend that things aren't changing. We have to adapt to where we're at and where we're going.

VAUSE: Yes. It's not a new normal. It's just the beginning of what we can't really know what's going to come. Rick, good to see you, thank you so much.

THOMAN: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Last week, after a segment on the heat wave across Europe, which included a question about the role conservative media have played in mudding the waters when it comes to the science of climate change, talk radio's Rush Limbaugh took (INAUDIBLE) with a question, and responded with this, CNN International blames me for the end of the world due to climate change, The Rush Limbaugh Show.

No, we didn't. It was a legitimate question and his claim that man cannot control the U.S. temperature is nonsensical. Here's part of Mr. Limbaugh's argument.

TEXT: I mean, if we wanted it to actually be 75 degrees, could we do it? No. We would have to go someplace where it is 75 degrees. But we could not lower the temperature. We can't lower the humidity. We can't lower the heat index. We can't change a thing about it, other than adapt to it, and we do that by inventing air-conditioning and fans, and refrigeration for ice cubes and so forth.

But according to the group, World Weather Attribution, a similar heat wave across Europe, a century ago, would've been four degrees Celsius cooler if not for the impact of man-made climate change. So yes, we can actually change the temperature, just not in an instant, but over a period of time. If only we have to flick a switch, then, our problems would be solved, only we can't, but that all means believing in science, believing in facts, and believing in reality.

Well, we all know that Donald Trump loves a big military parade, and so it shall be, this July 4th, Independence Day, but some in the U.S. capital are saying tanks, but no tanks. Also, singer Andy Grammer is using his voice to send a message of hope, with his latest single, helping people make it through some really difficult times.


[01:31:53] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for staying with us.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

A military jury has found a U.S. Navy Seal not guilty in the murder of a captive ISIS fighter. Eddie Gallagher was cleared of several other charges on Tuesday but he was found guilty of posing for a photograph of a human casualty. The jury is set to deliberate a sentence on that charge in the coming hours.

U.S. government investigators say they found extreme overcrowding at border detention facilities including migrants in standing room only cells and children being held far longer than the 72 hours allowed. Th report also found a lack of hot meals and inadequate access to showers.

The U.S. women's soccer team celebrating another trip to the World Cup Finals, beating England 2-1 in a thriller on Tuesday. Christen Press and Alex Morgan scored for the defending champs and they will meet the winner of Sweden versus the Netherlands come Sunday.

Just over two in five Americans believe Donald Trump is doing a good job as president. A new CNN poll shows his approval rating holding steady at 43 percent, 52 percent disapprove. His approval rating has inched higher since January when it was 37 percent.

When you compare Donald Trump to previous presidents at this point during their time in office, he's still close to the bottom. Just above Jimmy Carter, back in 1979.

The President's slow numbers are not hurting his reelection fund- raising. His campaign and the Republican National Committee say they've raised a combined $105 million dollars, second quarter of the year.

The tanks are rolling into Washington just as Donald Trump prepares to have a military themed 4th of July celebration. Just a couple of tanks to be sure but the show of military might drew is drawing a lot of criticism from some as an attempt to politicize the country's armed forces.

CNN's Barbara Starr reports now from the Pentagon.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to have a great 4th of July in Washington, D.C. It will be like no other --

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump claims the military is thrilled to be at his self proclaimed salute to America.

There's no way to know if that is really true. The military is required to do what the commander in chief says as long as the order is legal.

President Trump has wanted to show off the U.S. military in a large scale public event since seeing the 2017 Bastille Day Parade in Paris. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Thursday's event and rejected claims it's too political.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELLOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Did you know the Fourth of July is a celebration of this country's independence? Are you aware of that? I'm not going to allow you to politicize it.

STARR: But is this event sending the right message?

DAVID LAPAN,VIP OF COMMUNICATIONS, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER: I think that our military might, our prowess is renowned throughout the world. So I don't think that some flyovers and a few static displays of tanks are going to demonstrate that to the world or to the American people.

[01:34:48] STARR: General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior military leaders are now expected to attend. 900 troops from the Washington D.C. National Guard are being activated for security duties -- that's triple the number routinely deployed for the holiday.

TRUMP: We're going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world, and other planes too. And we're going to have some tanks stationed outside.

STARR: Two M1 tanks and two armored vehicles have been brought to Washington. But each tank weighs 60 tons. It's not clear if they can be parked near the 97-year-old Lincoln Memorial without damaging the area.

There will be a flyover of the F-22 and the F-35, the Air Force's latest fighter jets. Also the plane used as Air Force One and even the new Marine One presidential helicopter.

The cost for all of this? Nobody knows.

The Republican national committee is distributing served tickets for VIPs, friends, and family, and members of the military.

LAPAN: July 4th as a holiday to celebrate our independence as a country, our freedoms as a country. We have done for decades and decades without it being directly tied to the military.

STARR: If President Trump gears into partisan political remarks on July 4th, expect those senior military officials to stay quiet and not react. They want to make very sure they are not part of the partisan political debate.

Barbara Starr, CNN -- the Pentagon.


VAUSE: Still to come, the woman who escaped ISIS in Iraq only to become victims of modern day slavery. CNN's Freedom Project sheds light on Baghdad's brutal human trafficking network. That's next.


VAUSE: Iraq's Yazidi minority was viciously targeted by ISIS in the terror group's search (ph) for power across parts of the country back in 2014. Many of the men were killed. The women were captured, raped and forced to become sex slaves.

While ISIS no longer holds any territory in Iraq and Syria, some Yazidis, they remain, they remain enslaved and they're not alone as Baghdad is now a hub for human trafficking.

Arwa Damon has more now as part of CNN's Freedom Project.


[01:39:58] ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nadia's (ph) sentences reverberate with trauma. She survived the ISIS onslaught in Sinjar, was spared the fate of her fellow Yazidi sex slaves only to find herself trapped in a similar nightmare.

She says she came to Baghdad with a man she trusted who told her he knew a parliamentarian who could help her family apply for asylum in the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He greeted me. I said "uncle". They looked at each other and smiled. He said, "You are mine now".

DAMON: For months she says she was imprisoned in a room. Every night she says they would give her an injection. Every morning she would wake up naked, surrounded by empty alcohol bottles and in pain, the pain of multiple men raping her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I lost my life. I was destroyed. For three months they tortured me. Everyday a shot. By the end I wanted the shot. The days, they wouldn't give me the shot. I wanted to tear my flesh out.

DAMON: Once she was beaten so badly, her captors brought another woman to take care of her, another one of their victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would smoke and laugh and say you will be like me, you will stay with them. I looked at her. She lifted her shirt, her stomach was scarred. She said, "I had two little children". She said "They took them and sold them". And they took organs from her body. DAMON: A loosely organized sordid (ph) trade is thriving in Iraq whose tentacles even reach into the Iraqi government. Its targets rebels' desperate populations displaced by ISIS and the fighting that ensued. It's the lives of vibrant (INAUDIBLE) in the Iraqi capital. Those we spoke to unaware of the scale of the crisis where stigma and fear of retribution silences the majority of the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The little breath I have left in me, it's to send a message to those like me to be a voice for them.

DAMON: Dr. Ali Akram al-Bayati part of the government's own Human Trafficking Commission says they can't do much other than speak to the media.

DR. ALI AKRAM AL-BAYATI, IRAQI HUMAN TRAFFICKING COMMISSION: I If you are talking about human trafficking, of course, when you investigate you'll see some of the officials involved on that.

DAMON: To name them would be pointless. They are two powerful, he says. Those that could hold them accountable like his own commission, too weak.

And then there are the constant threats. Imana Silawi (ph) is the head of one of the few NGO's trying to help human trafficking victims.

The location of your NGO is a secret. And there are still so much fear around everything. Why?

She says it's because of the death threats from Mafias (ph) and militias.

(INAUDIBLE) voice shakes. Her slender body trembles under the black fabric she's wearing to conceal her identity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this what humans are. Merchandise that gets sold in the market?

DAMON: Ahlam (ph) was easy prey for traffickers trolling Baghdad streets. Scared, overwhelmed in such a big crowded city, the likes of which she had never seen in her home province. She hailed a cab but had no idea where to go. She poured her story out to the driver, telling him how she ran away from home, than her older brother was as ISIS Emir who beat and locked are up. And threatened to kill her after she spoke out.

The taxi driver offered to help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said I will take you to my relative. Maybe she can find work for you.

DAMON: Didn't you suspect anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I was in the streets with nowhere to go. He came like a savior.

DAMON: He took her to a woman's house he promised she would be safe. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She sold me to someone else who works in

prostitution in a known area of Baghdad. I cried over my fate. She would bring men into the house. She forced me to have sex with them.

DAMON: With little support and no justice, she is left only with her pain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is my future. I can't get married. I can't have a family. Who would want to be with someone line me?

DAMON: Arwa Damon, CNN -- Baghdad.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break.

A change of pace when we come back. Songwriter Andy Grammer wrote a hopeful song for a movie about two sick teenagers. Now his hit single "Don't Give Up on Me" is helping families dealing with cystic fibrosis and anyone facing hard times.



VAUSE: Singer/songwriter Andy Grammer there with "Don't Give Up on Me". His latest release is a lot more than a number one hit. Its honest, simple lyrics building to a stirring (ph) crescendo, it's the kind of song that can bring either a flood of tears or feelings of hope and probably both.

"Don't Give Up on Me" was written for the movie "Five Feet Apart", a teen romance (INAUDIBLE) released earlier this year about two teenagers suffering from cystic fibrosis, a disease which rarely gets a spotlight in pop culture.

In order to prevent cross infections, CF patients must remain at least six feet away from one another.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're beautiful, brave, I wish I could touch you


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see it all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You catch this infection and you can kiss your lungs goodbye.


VAUSE: And it's that rule which separates the movies two lead characters until they decided to reclaim at least part of their lives back from the disease. And they breach the medical guidelines by just one foot. And so we have the name of the movie "Five Feet Apart". And now we have Andy Grammer joining us from Los Angeles for more on this. How many times did you cry watching that movie?

ANDY GRAMMER, SINGER/SONGWRITER: It's a brutal moving, man. It will get you. If you go see it, it was directed by one of my good friends, so I watched the screeners, then went to the premier, and then because a lot of the proceeds of my song which was associated with the movie, we donated the proceeds to Claire's Place foundation, which is a foundation that helps patients with cystic fibrosis.

So they had their own events. I've seen this movie many times, I've cried many, many times at this movie. It's fantastic. Everyone should go out and cry to it.

VAUSE: Thank you for being with us. It has been a while since we've had you in. So thank you for joining us here.

And you know, it is tear jerker, and, you know, the movie and your song really complement each other. It's just kind of a hopeful message. Don't give up on yourself, and life is meant to be live to, make the most of it every day.

GRAMMER: Yes, yes, yes. It's been an amazing reaction to it from movie and then also outside of the movie which is this song has taken a life of its own, and there's like all these videos of cancer patients leaving, leaving their treatments singing "I'm not giving up".

There's like videos of kids singing it like full classrooms of children singing the song, which makes it hit home a little bit more. I just, in general, love when music can push you a little further, like everybody has so much to give.

And if this song does its job, it's supposed to just be like, keep pushing, you can do it.


VAUSE: And the inspiration -- you touched on this. A young woman called Claire Wineland who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Claire passed away last September. She was 21 years old, she lived an incredible life.

And you know, we should note that actually said, you know, part of the proceeding from "Don't Give Up" are heading to Claire's Place. This is the foundation named in her honor, which helps families affected by CF.

[01:49:59] But beyond that, you know, I read it online and saw a lot of YouTube clips of people that used the songs put their own personal photos, their own personal story to your music. Or there are stories in the newspaper about people, you know, who come to the end of their lives and deal with some terrible medical condition but they found comfort and listening to your music.

You know, for any artist, that feeling, knowing that your song is making such a direct difference in a person's life must be the ultimate sort of feeling of satisfaction, or of gratitude, of accomplishment.

GRAMMER: It's amazing, it's truly unbelievable to be a part of a song like this. And yes, you know, I've had songs that have given me comfort when I really needed it, and that was one of my goals when writing this.

There's a place when things are all going so hard that you can always go to which is like no matter what I'm still going to fight to the end. And to see so many people relating to it and using the song to pull up that emotion themselves, is the best. It's the dream. I'm so lucky and blessed to be a part of this one.

VAUSE: Let's stick with the feel good stuff here, ok, because you don't get that all that often. "Don't Give Up On Me" -- you performed this with the kids from New York's Public School 22 to, a group of fourth and fifth graders from Staten Island. Here's a clip.



VAUSE: There were a couple of tears right there at the end?

GRAMMER: Yes. That's a fourth take because I don't know how good they were going to be, and to hear elementary school kids singing "Don't Give Up On Me", it caught me off guard. That was the fourth take, the first three times, I'm trying, I'm just crying the whole time, like a joke. It was so sweet, gosh they are incredible.

VAUSE: You know, mostly from families that are economically challenged, but they put together this incredible choir.

GRAMMER: it's unbelievable, the harmonies were amazing, and there was so much sincere emotion, it caught me off guard. And I think it caught a lot of us off-guard. It was really good.

VAUSE: It's amazing what the song is doing. You know, the last time though we spoke, it was about another song, "Fresh Eyes" had just come out. Here's a reminder.


VAUSE: It started OUT as a love long that you wrote for your wife and then you started to use it to highlight homelessness in Los Angeles. Here's our conversation back then.

Listen to this.


GRAMMER: I know this video is not going to make a huge dent in homelessness, but I mean we are raising money, if you watch the end of the video, where it goes to the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles which is doing incredible stuff. But what I want to do more than anything which is raise some compassion. If someone saw this video and then they go back to their day and they passed someone who's homeless and take an extra look and maybe say, hi, and maybe give them something or just start up a public conversation with them and be able to break through this film that our society has of who those people are, then it will be successful.


VAUSE: You know sadly the latest numbers though from Los Angeles showed that the homeless population has gone up about 12 percent over the last year, more than 58,000 people living on the streets in L.A. county -- it's the largest unsheltered population in the United States.

No one is expecting you to solve homelessness. This is a huge problem which only really governments can fix. But how do you explain the disconnect between homeless people and the rest of us?

GRAMMER: I think it's one of those things that it's far too easy to disassociate from, and I might have been someone who did that as well. It's just that I spent four years of my early career street performing, and you know, someone that was next to me suffering from homelessness wasn't some person that was like off in the periphery. They were (INAUDIBLE) and they were like someone I would talk to. And we would like hang out.

That helped, you know, personally helped me see it a lot closer and just care way more about it. And yes, the numbers have gone up, and I think, you know, going back to "Don't Give Up On Me", that is no reason, even though it seems like an insurmountable task, there is still something that we can all do, even if it's just being aware of it, getting involved in the community, and, you know, the guy that I made this song in Justin Baldoni's movie, right "Five Feet Apart".

[01:54:54] He started something called the Skid Row Carnival which, once a year, gives so much money, funds, different things to the homeless population down in skid row, and it's amazing to be a part of. And the more that you are around people that are being of service and taking action, the less hopeless you feel about it.

VAUSE: You know, that's a great point. You've been doing a lot of things since we last spoke and I want to finish up with your podcast, because you have some very big names sharing some of their stories and their beliefs.

And there's this one question which you repeatedly asked which, you know, what do you think happens? Where do you think we go after we die?

GRAMMER: I love this question.

VAUSE: So I will put this to you, what happens after we die?

GRAMMER: First of all, I love this question because it, I think it 0 plays a big deal in how do you live now. Depending on what you think happens when we pass away. I was though, I'm a Baha'i. I was raised in the -- a member of the Baha'i faith.

And I was taught that it's much like the womb so you're like in the womb and you're growing and then, and then you come out and to this new place.

And you're going in the womb and you don't even know why you're growing arms and legs but you need them once you get here. And I think that we are here to grow spiritually and then whatever the next place is, I think it's pretty incredible.

I love this question because there's no perfect right answer, and anyone that answers it -- it gets really, really interesting. So if you think -- if the answer is like no, like that dead, done, full black. That's amazing an d fascinating.

And if you think like I think that you go somewhere super fast maybe, it's a great, great question to get people our of their comfort zones. I think we're a little too tight lipped right now about some of the biggest questions about being alive.

So that's what my podcast -- the good part podcast it brings people on and we air it out for like an hour on what their take is on what is it their virtual experience. What do you think happens when we die? What is the best and worst thing about money.

These big, big question that I think people are just a little bit afraid to talk about right now. I'm not --


VAUSE: There's so much happening right now. It is so difficult to digest and to keep track of everything. Thee always doesn't seem to any time this time for those big issues.

But you know, I've been wondering where the good guys are, you are one of them, I'm glad that you share your story with us. Andy -- good to see you.

GRAMMER: Thank you for having me, man. What a great time. I appreciate it.

VAUSE: Pleasure.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us, Rosemary Church is up after a short break.

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