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Carrie Lam Kills Hong Kong Extradition Bill. US Women's Soccer TEam Takes World Cup. Aired 11p-12p ET
Aired July 8, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to your viewers joining from around the world, I'm Paula Newton with breaking news this hour. A major win for protesters in Hong Kong. The city's Chief Executive says, that controversial extradition bill is now dead.
Now, that comes following weeks of massive, often violent, demonstrations. The bill would have allowed suspects to be sent mainland China for trial. Carrie Lam says the government completely failed to amend the bill and that there are, at this moment, no plans to restart the process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECTUIVE: There are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the legislative council. So, I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: CNN's Anna Coren joins me now live from Hong Kong. And you've been following all these developments Anna. I mean, look, she was definitive. She said, the bill was dead and yet it has been withdrawn. What is the significance of her being so definitive and quite frankly showing a lot of contrition there and yet not withdrawing the bill?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this definitely a mea culpa from the Chief Executive Carrie Lam. This is what protesters have wanted her to say, the exact wording was withdraw. She has said the bill is dead.
But even though this is a victory, Paula, for the protesters, this is not going to meet their demands. They want her to step down. They want her to resign. They say she's lost credibility, she has lost the support of the Hong Kong people and that she can't keep on doing her job.
Now, Carrie Lam herself said, it's not that easy to step down as the city's Chief Executive, that she's going to stay on, but she's going to change her governing style. That she's going to be more open, more communicative with the protesters, with the students.
But Paula, we've heard these words before and this is one month on to the day when we first saw one million people take to the streets here in Hong Kong. So, the protesters are saying, this is too little too late. She should have done this from the get go, at the very beginning, not one month into it, after we've seen multiple marches of up to two million people. That's a quarter of the population of Hong Kong took to the streets to protest against the extradition bill.
We also saw those violent clashes with police, where they used rubber bullets and tear gas against the protesters. And then, first of July, just nine days ago, when the protesters, who were supposed to take part in another march, decided to storm Legco, they vandalized the building, they defaced public property.
And even though, Paula, at the time, there was concern that public support and good will would turn against them. That has not happened. The public understand the desperation of these protesters who are fighting for Hong Kong's freedom.
But as for Carrie Lam, is she on borrowed time? That is certainly has been speculated. She is just two years into a five year term. She's got another three to go. So, this is somebody who is trying to win back support.
As you say, Paula, she took responsibility. She said it was a complete failure of the government and its work on this extradition bill. She has asked that the student union holds discussions with her in an open public forum, something that she hasn't offered to date, she offered behind closed doors, so this is something new.
She also said that she was going to set up a police watch dog investigation into police actions and that those findings will be handed down in the next six months. She also interestingly said, Paula, that these protests, what we've witnessed over the past month and even the Umbrella Movement back in 2014, that this reflects a bigger problem in society and that we should find the root of these problems.
The problem, however Paula, is China is encroachment on Hong Kong and the freedoms on Hong Kong, which under the current administration, under the current way that Hong Kong is governed, isn't going to change any time soon.
So, from the protesters that we have spoken to over the last half an hour, they say that they are going to continue with their movement, that they feel emboldened. Certainly hearing Carrie Lam today just gives them more reason to keep on taking to the streets and demand that she step down.
Paula? NEWTON: Yes, Anna, and I want to ask you about that. I know you have close contacts with those who lead the protest movement, and each time it seems that their demands haven't so much as changed, but they really want to put to rest the idea that Hong Kong will in any way, shape or form be under the thumb of mainland China and the communist leadership.
You say it has emboldened the protesters. You know, from looking at this right now, does that mean that there's a chance that despite what Carrie Lam has said here, that in fact, this will just escalate?
COREN: It could very well do. Paula, what we have witnessed over the last month, I don't think anyone would have anticipated the people power that we have seen take to the streets. I mean, it has been quite extraordinary and then we saw that, that police brutality, we saw them firing rubber bullets and firing tear gas at the protesters and that is what sparked international attention and international condemnation. This was something that leaders at the G20 brought up with Chinese President Xi Jingping at the G20 in Japan.
China has maintained, this is an internal issue, this is a domestic issue. This is no one else's business and that the west should not interfere, should not mettle in Hong Kong's affairs.
But, as for the protesters, Paula, these are young people. These are young students, not just young students, but the majority of them are young students who don't have passports to the U.K., to Canada, to Australia, to the United States. They can't go anywhere else, their lives are here. They work here, their families are here. This is their future and that is what they are fundamentally fighting for, their future, the freedoms that they have enjoyed for the last 22 years.
So really, it started with the extradition bill, that extradition bill is now dead. These protesters, they want more, they want much more, and whether that is going to be achieved remains to be seen. But certainly, these protesters, Paula, they are not going to give up.
NEWTON: Yes, and you make such a good point, Anna, they are incredibly skeptical aren't they? I mean, it's incredible to think that some of the people you've spoken to were only 13 and 14, even when the Umbrella protests were going on, and as you say, they realize how much is on the line now for their future.
OK, Anna, I'll let you go back and talk to your contacts with the protest movement. We'll continue to follow their reaction in Hong Kong. That was our Anna Coren there for us. And now, of course, we want to turn to Matt Rivers in Beijing.
I mean, Matt, look, in the last few weeks it has been interesting to watch what some would call restraint from Beijing. But the other thing, as Anna mentioned there, Beijing is looking for a heck of a lot of restraint from other countries on this as well. They want everyone to butt out and let things unfold in Hong Kong as they will.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's no question about that. I mean, look no further than China's Administrative Foreign Affairs here, their recent comments about what we've heard out of the United Kingdom recently, from Jeremy Hunt, from Boris Johnson and others, criticizing what they would characterize as China walking back from some of the promises that were agreed to in terms of Democratic style freedoms remaining in Hong Kong when the U.K. handed the colony -- the then colony of Hong Kong back over to China in 1997 with that -- with that 50 year deal.
So yes, China certainly doesn't want anyone, as it would put it, interfering with it's own policies here, but you also bring up Beijing's relative restraint so far and I think that's a good way to put it, because Beijing -- you haven't seen -- you've seen Beijing support the extradition bill, you have seen them reiterate their support for the Carrie Lam Administration in Hong Kong.
But you haven't seen Beijing, as least so far, take any real concrete steps to curtail more freedoms, to say we're going to take a tangible step to limit this kind of protest, for example, they haven't tried to take away the ability of these protesters to protest, at least at this point.
And I think what that shows you, Paula, is Beijing not really wanting to wade into this all that much and get its hands dirty, as it were. I think if you believe what Beijing has said from the very beginning.
Which is that they did not request this extradition bill to be brought up and that they did not have a hand in trying to get it through the Hong Kong legislature, that it was really just the Lam administration wanting to do that.
Then it sort of makes sense that Beijing and its senior leadership doesn't want to interject itself into this debate that has gotten so messy over the past month. Yes you've heard from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office from the central government here in Beijing condemning the protestors, calling for support of the extradition bill and of the Lam administration.
But it hasn't gone higher than that to more senior levels of the government and I think that says a lot in terms of Beijing's current viewpoint on this situation.
NEWTON: Yes absolutely, and yet of course those protests on the street and the fact that there might even be more even though Carrie Lam, you know, again, has shown an incredible amount of contrition and said the bill is dead, it's got to be unnerving for Beijing to think they still may see thousands of people - hundreds of thousands of people in the streets and yet still no face that their pledge to maintain, you know, one country two systems will actually be maintained.
As Anna Coren said, they fear Beijing and Hong Kong.
RIVERS: Yes, I mean there's no question about that and I think that Beijing looks at these protests and certainly doesn't like what they're seeing, I mean when I was in Hong Kong during a series of protests, I was there just last week during that violence on July 1st, and what I was saying back then I think is still true right now is that when Beijing looks at all these protests, they don't look at the people who broke into the Legislative Council building I think with the same amount of trepidation as they do to the people who are out in the streets peacefully protesting.
I think that they can look at the people who broke into the Legislative Council building and spin that, use that as P.R. saying look, this is what happens, protests get out of control, these so- called democracy movements always end in violence.
They can I think try and use that to their advantage, whether that works or not is not up for me to say, but it's certainly something that Beijing could do. What can they really say about the peaceful protests that saw hundreds of thousands if not millions of people over the span of the last month were peacefully protesting, unified under a general message of we are skeptical, we are suspicious of mainland China, we do not want our democratic style freedoms taken away and we believe that Beijing has actively tried to do that over the last several years.
If you're the Beijing central government right now, you're looking at what's going on in Hong Kong with nervousness I think and a hope that it all just kind of dies down and goes away much like it did after the umbrella protests in 2014.
So your question to Anna earlier, does this escalate from here? Beijing certainly hopes it doesn't and that Carrie Lam's press conference today helps quell this movement that has really taken off over the last month.
NEWTON: Yes, she was incredibly definitive but it was not withdrawn, and we have to point out, Matt, right, that in mainland China they're not hearing about a heck of lot of this right now in terms of the information out of Hong Kong, would be mainly censored.
RIVERS: Yes, I mean it depends on what kind of news is coming out. You don't see a lot of coverage here about the protests itself. Beijing is definitely trying to kind of selectively allow certain information to permeate at state media platforms and Chinese - mainland Chinese social media platforms.
However you didn't see Carrie Lam's press conference this morning broadcast live on certain Chinese state media social media accounts. So it's not like they're not covering this in its totality, but they are certainly not talking about the hundreds of thousands of people that peacefully protested, they are focusing on the illegal activities as they would put it of the protestors who broke into the main legislative chamber inside the Legislative Council building.
They're using - they're selectively choosing information that they believe will not foment dissent here on the mainland. And to that end, you know, anecdotally over the last couple of weeks, you know, we've heard from many Chinese people here who have said what's going on in Hong Kong? What are the latest? We didn't see anything about the protests? Can you tell us what's happening?
So you're right that certain information is being censored and that is because just like with everything else Beijing censors, they are worried about what that could do here in the mainland in terms of fomenting dissent amongst the mainland population.
NEWTON: Yes absolutely and why you saw those protestors really targeting mainland Chinese there on the streets of Kowloon a few days ago. Matt Rivers, who you will continue to follow any reaction that we do end up getting from Beijing, appreciate it.
We want to bring you now pro-democracy lawmaker James To, he is joining us from Hong Kong. And as I was saying, Carrie Lam was incredibly definitive, in your opinion did she go far enough?
JAMES TO, PRO-DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKER: Well there's no substantial reply except proclaiming the bill that which people already believe that is the case. There is no reshuffle of the cabinet, there's no shouldering of the political responsibility.
And there is no pardon - no pardoning or giving immunity to those youngsters and people who have - who have committed a relatively minor crime. There is a mass arrests still going on, I think that it's difficult to feel her genuine credibility, not feeling the sincerity of her.
So a bit difficult to reconcile.
NEWTON: Interesting that you say that, and what do you think will happen? Do you believe that the protest movement will continue to gather in the streets of Hong Kong in the coming days, perhaps even hours?
TO: Well certainly, I believe people will have still peaceful march until the government give a substantial reply. There is no independent inquiry to the alleged police brutality and abuse of power in the last few weeks.
There's totally un-proportional (ph) response to peaceful protests.
NEWTON: In terms of the miscalculation by Carrie Lam in terms of bringing this bill forward at all, do you think there is any recognition there? I mean she was saying today again not just saying the bill was dead, she said she realized that there is deep seeded change that was needed in Hong Kong's society.
Do you feel that she is up to that task, that she will at least try and do that, has she engaged with people to say look, we will continue to look into this and I mean it, we will move forward differently in terms of how we govern Hong Kong in the future?
TO: Well first of course it is a little bit better that she agreed to have an open dialogue with this student and youngsters. But it seems that she still refuse to meet us, the pan-democrats, which leaves representative 55 percent of the popular vote in the last general election.
I think it's a bit difficult to see her genuine act until we seen the actual open dialogue.
NEWTON: I mean we were just speaking to Matt Rivers about the reaction from Beijing, what do you think the reaction from Beijing will be going forward in terms of them continuing to show as I had explained, restraint?
TO: Well I believe that Beijing will always say they will support the legitimate rule of the Hong Kong government, including Carrie Lam. But I will believe that Beijing is also thinking about whether Carrie Lam - the continuation of her three years will cause even more trouble or instability to Hong Kong and to the country as a whole.
NEWTON: In terms of the demands from protestors themselves, I do find it interesting you spoke about immunity, and I know even from the protests from five years ago, there was a lot of controversy about the kind of punishment that was doled out to some of those protestors. Do you think in terms of her offering a gesture in that way that that would be helpful?
TO: Oh it certainly will - it's much helpful if she can offer a pardon an immunity through the peaceful - overall peaceful protest who may - a small group of people may have committed a relatively minor crime.
She has to show the political responsibility, and if she genuinely said she made a serious misjudgment on the introduction of the bill, then the whole fiasco is caused by her and she should at least give pardon and immunity to the peaceful protestor.
NEWTON: In terms of your movement in going forward, I mean do you feel that, you know, your contingent in terms of governing, your pro- democracy contingent, you feel emboldened by this, the fact that she has climbed down and says the bill is dead?
TO: Well people is very clear in their mind in asking universal suffrage, because we don't have universal suffrage, even the next C.E. chosen by only 1,000 people in Hong Kong will not listen to the view of the public and may commit a serious wrong again.
NEWTON: And it's important that you - that you explain that again to viewers, the fact that it isn't universal suffrage, and it is something that parties like yours have wanted for a while.
But I ask you again, does that mean you are going to push for more and more and more now that Carrie Lam says that she, in her estimation, is open to change, if she understands that there are deep seeded grievances within Hong Kong's society?
TO: Well she at least have to (ph) give some gesture so that she can reconcile with the public. There will - in other places in the world, if such fears could happen, how can there be no reshuffle of the cabinet, no political appointee be stepping down, that is absolutely a still bent (ph) movement.
NEWTOWN: What will you push for now, James, in terms of going forward - go ahead.
TO: Yes, first independent inquiry on the handling of the whole incident, including the possible police abuse of power and universal promise of a -- a pushing of the universal suffrage in the future.
NEWTON: OK, James, we'll leave it there for now. I thank you for being with us as we continue to digest the news there from Hong Kong. Carrie Lam saying that, in fact, that extradition bill is dead, falling short of actually withdrawing it.
We continue now here at CNN with more news. Iran has already breached the 2015 Nuclear Deal and says it may keep going. How Europe's tackling a nuclear standoff between Tehran and Washington, that's coming up.
NEWTON: Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill that spurred weeks of protest is dead. Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the announcement just a short time ago, but she did stop short of a formal withdrawal.
Now the bill would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial, and despite protesters calling for Lam's resignation, she says she will not be stepping down.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has now confirmed what Iran had promised. The country has enriched uranium to a level banded by the International Nuclear Deal. Now the deal sets the limit at 3.67 percent, enough for peaceful purposes, but little else.
Iran says it surpassed 4.5 percent enrichment, high enough to fuel a nuclear power reactor. Now, the country is threatening to go to 20 percent or higher, which would be a big step towards reaching weapons grade levels. And while Iran insists a nuclear weapon is not its goal, the U.S. Vice President issued a blunt warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well let me clear, Iran should not confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: More now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen on Iran's nuclear strategy and how the international community is responding.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a fairly significant step by the Iranians. They're not just producing more low enriched uranium; they're also producing higher grade low enriched uranium.
Now, to put that into perspective, the Iranians have now said that they breached the limit, which was 3.67 percent, and are now producing uranium at an enrichment grade of about 4.5 percent.
Now in order to build a nuclear weapon they would need an enrichment grade of about 90 percent, so they're still pretty far away from achieving that and they have also that they don't actually want to build a nuclear weapon in the first place.
Now the reason why they're doing this, the Iranians are being pretty open about, they say they want to put pressure, especially on the European signatories of the Nuclear Agreement, to finally give them some economic relief.
The Iranians are saying that they signed to the Nuclear Agreement, they negotiated the Nuclear Agreement, they put severe restrictions on their nuclear program and they're not only not getting the benefits of those restrictions, but they're even getting additional sanctions from the United States and the Iranians are saying, if that is going to be the case in the future, then they're just not going to have those restrictions on their nuclear program anymore.
Now the Iranians have said that they're giving the Europeans another 60 days and after those 60 days they could take the next step and they say that could mean enriching uranium up to 20 percent and that certainly would be a big step forward, something that would be very concerning for the international community.
The Europeans are saying that they're working on a mechanism to try and give Iran some economic relief. So far that mechanism seems to be in the early stages of functioning, but the Iranians are saying, for them, so far that's not enough.
And if the Iranians were concerned about the U.S. warning about its upgraded enrichment levels, they certainly aren't showing it. In fact, the Foreign Minister of the country, Javad Zarif tweeted at Donald Trump and saying that the only way out of this impasse between the U.S. and Iran would be for President Trump to stop listening to what they call the B-team, which is those who are close to President Trump including, of course, John Bolton, the National Security Advisor.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
NEWTON: Now Iran is also engaged in a verbal battle with Britain over the seizure of this oil tanker off the coast of Gilbraltar. Iran says the tanker is loaded with its oil. It is calling the seizure, in fact, piracy and it's now vowing retaliation.
CNN's Nic Roberson is off the coast of Gilbraltar with the tanker in his sight. NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well this is the
vessel, the great one that the Iranians demanding that the British and Gilbraltar authorities release immediately. They say it was detained as an act of piracy.
A former member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard calls (ph) threaten that a British vessel in the Straits of Hormuz should be captured, if you will, to sort of hold while the British and Gilbraltar authorities keep the grace (ph) one here.
But at contention here, Iran says they don't believe the Gilbraltar authorities and Gilbraltar authorities say they had reason to believe that this vessel was headed to a Syrian oil refinery, breaching E.U. sanctions and that's why they detained it.
Now, the Iranians are saying that they think that Britain was requested by the United States to stop this vessel because they say its got their oil on board and that it wasn't ever going to the refinery. So this, currently, is a big diplomatic standoff. The threat that this must be released or a British vessel will be taken captive is essentially what the Iranians are saying.
Meanwhile, British and Gilbraltar authorities saying that they continue to investigate this vessel where it was going and what it was doing. And it seems as if it's going to be here for quite some time more, a big international diplomatic standoff.
Nic Robertson, CNN, off the coast of Gilbraltar.
NEWTON: OK, much more on our breaking news ahead, Hong Kong's Chief Executive killing a controversial extradition bill, but will be enough to appease the throngs of protesters we've seen now for weeks. We are live in Hong Kong for reaction, after this.
NEWTON: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world, I'm Paula Newton. Back to our breaking news story. Hong Kong's chief executive says the city's controversial extradition bill is dead.
But Carrie Lam stopped short of formally withdrawing it, and that is significant. The bill spurred weeks of massive sometimes violent protests, but it feared it would be used to target dissidence and sent them to mainland China for trial.
Now Lam says the government completely failed to amend the bill, and says she understands the frustrations from protestors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAM: I fully understand that the responses of the government may not have fully met the wishes of the people, especially the protestors who have gone on the streets several times to express their views.
I just want to reiterate that this is not - this is nothing to do with my own pride or arrogance, this is the government's full deliberations of the various concerns and factors and comes to the conclusion that the responses were practical measures for us to move ahead.
So my sincere plea is please give us an opportunity, the time, the room for us to take Hong Kong out of the current impasse and try to improve the current situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Extraordinary amount of contrition there as they say from Carrie Lam and CNN's Anna Coren joins me from Hong Kong, Matt Rivers live in Beijing. Anna first to you. Do you get the sense at all that this will in any shape or form quell the demands of protestors or do you believe this will in fact make them feel stronger as if now they can even push for more?
COREN: Paula, I think these protestors are feeling emboldened, and by hearing Carrie Lam say that the bill is dead, she hasn't used the protestors' terminology which is withdrawn, she says it is dead.
That is - that is a victory, it's not everything that they want, they want her to withdraw the bill, they want her to step down. That is a key demand. Now we heard from Carrie Lam herself as she delivered that press conference before the media here at her offices.
She said that it was her fault that the people of Hong Kong didn't trust the government, and yet she didn't step down, she didn't hand in her resignation, she said stepping down is simply not that easy. It's not a simple task, which I'm sure it isn't.
But that is something the protestors have demanded from the get-go when those protests began a month ago. They say she has lost credibility, she has lost the support of the people and she has admitted herself that she is to blame. This is a mea culpa from Carrie Lam, it is a mea culpa one month late.
And that is the feeling of these protestors. Obviously Carrie Lam, she wants to have a better relationship with these young protestors, she wants to have open dialogue, she has offered to hold talks with them in a public forum. She was only offering before hand to do that behind closed doors.
So by offering a public forum, that is - that is giving in to one of their demands. She has called for an investigation into the police's action using a police watchdog, the result of that investigation needs to be handed down in the next six months.
And she also said that she needs to change her governing style, that she needs to be more open with the people. You were talking about a 62 year old bureaucrat mother of two who hasn't had a particularly good relationship with the young people of Hong Kong.
[23:35:00] And that has been apparent in the last month, whether she can mend bridges, whether she can try and heal that rift remains to be seen. We're obviously going to be hearing from those protest organizers, those student groups in the coming hours.
But from the civil human rights front, I spoke to Bonnie Long a short time ago and she said that this does not satisfy their demands whatsoever. They are going to keep protesting Paula, they are going to keep taking to the streets, because at the end of the day this is so much more than just the extradition bill.
This is about fighting for Hong Kong's freedom, enjoying the freedoms that they have enjoyed for the last 22 years and trying to put a stop to China's encroachment of Hong Kong, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, I know, you get the sense from what you're saying that for protestors, this is more of an existential crisis for what their future will look like, and that's the reason that her saying the bill is dead is just not enough.
I mean Matt, you've got Beijing, the communist government looking through all this right now. I mean Carrie Lam is said to be, you know, pro-Beijing. And yet I have to say if you're Beijing looking at this right now you're thinking she did not handle this very well, and her first mistake was to miscalculate the fact that there would be this kind of protest to the extradition bill.
And now as Anna says, the protesters now want to go even further.
RIVERS: Yes I mean I think the Beijing government would join with most of the rest of us who have been watching this situation and pretty clearly can come to the conclusion that the government of Hong Kong under the leadership of Carrie Lam has made one blunder, one misstep after another since really this extradition bill became fully aware of in the public eye in Hong Kong, Beijing would just be like the rest of us I think.
But it obviously, you know, has a lot more at stake than let's say you or I, Paula. Beijing is watching what's happening in Hong Kong extremely closely and the question is well what happens now?
Clearly what Beijing wants to happen is for this morning's press conference with Carrie Lam where she said the bill is dead, Beijing wants that to mean that all of this is going to die down in Hong Kong, much like you saw in 2014 after the so-called umbrella protests, the pro-democracy protests, after they ended in 2014 things really calmed down in Hong Kong.
You really didn't see or hear much from the pro-democracy movement for years after that, and that's exactly the way Beijing wants it. At the same time, you didn't hear much from the pro-democracy movement, you saw Beijing take pretty concrete steps to curtail certain kinds of Democratic style freedoms.
They went after political speech, they went after certain activists, you know, they went after, you know, voting rights activism. I mean they did a number of things that now protestors during these most recent protests are pointing to and saying look, Beijing continues its encroachment.
The question is is this going to tamp down dome of these protests? Is this going to be enough to get several hundred thousand people off the streets? Yes there will of course still be protests, but how many people will show up? Will it be the kind of cross section of society that we've seen over the last month in Hong Kong where you've seen people who are pro business who wouldn't normally align with young liberal students joining in the same marches.
I mean you've seen, you know, old people and young people kind of joining together in these marches in the way that you hadn't seen before really in Hong Kong, at least for a very long time.
And that is concerning to Beijing. Beijing of course is nervous about these pro-democracy movements, so they want to see those numbers of protestors dwindle dramatically and whether that will happen remains to be seen.
But I can guarantee you I think that Beijing is certainly not happy with the Lam administration performance, even if they are publicly supporting her relatively mildly.
NEWTON: Yes, and given what you say, right, there's no guarantee as Ann was saying that these protests will stop at all. Ann, I have to ask you, we're talking to James To earlier who's a pro-democracy legislator there in Hong Kong, and he again brought up that very crucial issue to many Hong Kong residents, the fact that there isn't universal suffrage.
From you speaking to protestors, do you get that sense that yes, OK, we've put the extradition bill to bed maybe, hopefully, but Carrie Lam is still in place and guess what? We're now going to push for that universal suffrage that we want, which we hope will guarantee Hong Kong's free and independent future.
COREN: Yes look, that is a whole different ball game, but without doubt, they are going push for it. They are feeling emboldened, they have momentum, extradition bill has been dealt with. Although Paula I should just say we have only just heard from Joshua Wong, our producer, just got in touch with him and he said that Carrie Lam is lying.
That she needs to formally withdraw the extradition bill, that it's still part of the legislative program, that she can say it's dead, but it is still there. So they want her to formally withdraw it.
[23:40:00] They say that she is a habitual liar and Joshua Wong goes on to say that the watchdog -- the police watchdog investigation that she has set up, that that is not independent, it is a government appointed committee that will investigate police brutality. So, they are certainly not happy with that. They want something that is absolutely independent to investigate, the rubber bullets, the use of tear gas on the protesters on the 12th of July. So really, Paula, for the protesters, this is not going to satisfy them one bit. Carry Lam, obviously reaching out in that press conference, unfortunately though it is -- it's a month late.
She could have addressed these people when one million took to the streets on the ninth of June. That was one month ago to the day. She could have addressed them, she didn't, she ignored them.
And instead, we saw the police violence and those violent clashes on three days later between protesters and police. And then the Sunday we saw two million take to the streets, that's a quarter of the population of Hong Kong marching through the heart of this city. It was absolutely extraordinary. It was only then that we heard from Carrie Lam.
Obviously the first of July when the students stormed Legco, they said they did that because the government wasn't responding, they weren't listening to the people's demands.
They said, they didn't want to do this, that they're not vandals, but they felt they -- that this was their last resort. That they were completely desperate and this was the only way they were going to get the government's attention. And perhaps it is.
And unfortunately it's only now that Carrie Lam is addressing the public and saying that it is her fault, that she should have handled this better, that she should have handled the extradition bill much better. That the reason that the people have lost faith in the Hong Kong government is because of her, but she's not stepping down.
So, where we go from here, Paula, remains to be seen, but we know from the protesters and from the organizations that help mobilize these protests, that they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
NEWTON: Yes, it -- this is not going to change, this isn't over yet folks and that's what the protesters are trying to say to us. Thanks for bringing us that reaction from Joshua Wong, who's been a pivotal player in all of this, even going back to the protest from five years ago.
Matt, what's interesting here as well, is the way Beijing has reacted to other people talking about what's going on in Hong Kong. President Trump said he would bring it up with Xi Jingping at that meeting, the G20. Did he? Didn't he?
Nancy Pelosi, certainly here in the United Stated, encouraged him to and yet the "Financial Times" is also saying, reporting, that, in fact, the U.S. Counsel, the outgoing U.S. Counsel was told, do not speak forcefully in favor of Hong Kong prodemocracy movements. What do you think that tells us about that read line that Beijing has about other people interfering in what's going on in Hong Kong right now?
RIVERS: Yes, it's interesting Paula, because I think when people talk about Hong Kong and when the international community talks about Hong Kong, they often see Hong Kong as this separate entity. It's a place where you can go and you can live there as a foreigner
without feeling the long arm of Beijing the way you would here in the mainland or in Shanghai, for example. There is free press, there is protest, there is free media, they have certain Democratic freedoms that I think really set Hong Kong apart.
But China, it a part of China, just like Macau is a part of China, just like Beijing views Taiwan as a part of China. This is China talking about its sovereign territory and China, historically, has always been incredibly sensitive, even more so over the last five years or so, thanks to this nationalist push led by President Xi Jingping, of any sort of outside interference.
One of China's main tenants in it's foreign policy is basically, we won't tell you how to run your country, you don't tell us how to run our country. And so, when you hear governments like in the U.K., like the U.S., like Nancy Pelosi, like Jeremy Hunt in England, you -- saying that China needs to respect these movements, they need to respect the prodemocracy protesters.
Beijing always bristles at those kinds of statements, and so it's not a surprise then that when you hear criticism of the mainland response, what they've been doing in China or in Hong Kong rather, Beijing is going to take offense to that every single time. It's not different than when you hear the United States talk about Taiwan, this is a red line issue for Beijing and they are very consistent in that position.
NEWTON: Yes, and given, as both of you have indicated, that these protests are likely not going to change. Whatever Carrie Lam has done in the last few hours will not change the protesters demands. We can expect Beijing to be watching very closely in the days and weeks ahead. Anna Coren in Hong Kong, Matt Rivers in Beijing, thank you to you both. As we continue to cover this breaking new story.
OK, up next here, a wealthy financier linked to the rich and powerful, faces accusations of sex crimes. Coming up, why this isn't the first time he's been in this situation.
And, the fight is not over yet, the latest on President Trump's push for a controversial census question.
NEWTON: Welcome back. We are updating our breaking news this hour. Hong Kong's Chie3333f Executive says a controversial bill is now dead and there are no plans to restart the process to bring it back.
Now Carrie Lam stopped short of formally withdrawing the bill, which protesters are still demanding. Now, she called the governments to amend the bill, this is her words, "A complete failure," but says she will not be stepping down as Hong Kong's leader.
Now the bill, which would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trail, led to weeks of massive, sometimes violent protests. Now a wealthy, politically, well-connected alleged child predator
could see a day of reckoning. Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday after federal prosecutors in New York revealed incredibly disturbing details of how the multi-millionaire allegedly operated a sex trafficking ring and sexually abused dozens of underage girls.
Now, these accusations have swirled around Epstein for years. Epstein evaded similar charges back in 2008 by securing a secret deal with federal prosecutors, led by, then, U.S. Attorney, now U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.
Now the "Miami Herald" last year detailed how Acosta gave Epstein what they called the deal of a lifetime. Listen to this, allowing the man connected to both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton to avoid spending the rest of his life in jail.
Prosecutors say Epstein hasn't changed his ways. They argue he is not reformed, chastened or repentant. He is a continuing danger to the community.
CNN's Brynn Gingras reports how Epstein is now facing the very justice that he has eluded for decades.
BRYNNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Multi-millionaire financier, Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender in court for the first time this afternoon, wearing a navy prison jumpsuit and pleading not guilty to two sex trafficking charges.
NEWTON: Jeffrey Epstein.
GINGRAS: The U.S. Attorney in New York saying, from 2002 to 2005 Epstein ran a sex trafficking enterprise, luring dozens of girls, some as young as 14 to his New York City and Palm Beach, Florida homes. He would pay them hundreds of dollars to give him massages and then the physical contact would escalate into sex acts according to the 14 page indictment.
Epstein would allegedly pay even more money for the girls to recruit other possible victims.
BERMAN: This allowed Epstein to create an ever-expanding web of new victims. As alleged, Epstein was well aware that many of his victims were minors.
GINGRAS: Authorities also say that FBI agents found pictures of young looking girls in Epstein's Manhattan mansion, using the worth of that home and Epstein's overall wealth as an argument to keep him behind bars.
BERMAN: When you have two planes and you live much of the year abroad, we think that's a very real risk.
GINGRAS: The 66-year-old made his money on Wall Street. For decades Epstein handled investments for former high-profile clients like Leslie Wexner, who owns Victoria Secret.
His rolodex of friends also includes Britian's Prince Andrew, former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump, who in 2002 told "New York Magazine" this about Epstein, "I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side." And that's not Epstein's only connection with the current White House.
Epstein evaded federal sex charges more than a decade ago, similar to the ones he faces now. The U.S. Attorney in Florida back then was Alexander Acosta, Trump's current Labor Secretary.
Acosta cut Epstein a plea deal on lesser state charges, which sent him to prison for only a little more than a year and he registered as a sex offender.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really don't know too much about it. I know he's done a great job as Labor Secretary and that seems like a long time ago. But, I know he's been a fantastic Labor Secretary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: Epstein's lawyers calling the new charges a, quote, "do over" of the Florida investigation, which is now being looked into by the Justice Department. Berman said the agreement made in Florida has no bearing on the new charges.
BERMAN: That a33greement only binds, by its terms, only binds the southern district of Florida, the southern district of New York, is not bound by that agreement and is not a signatory to that agreement.
GINGRAS: And when U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman talked about this case, he mentioned the victims. He says they deserve their day in court. Well, the U.S. Attorney's Office is also reporting that just within the last 36 hours they've received more reports about potential victims and calls from attorneys on this case alone.
In New York, I'm Brynn Gingras, CNN.
NEWTON: President Trump is looking for ways around a Supreme Court ruling blocking a controversial question on the 2020 Census. It's a fight that appeared settled last week, until the president tweeted, he wasn't giving up.
Pamela Brown has our report.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sources tell CNN the Administration is scrambling to figure out if they can use a presidential memorandum or an executive order to add the controversial citizenship question to the census, options that were put on the table only in recent days after the president said he wanted to fight the issue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're thinking about doing that, it's one of the ways. We have four or five ways we can do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: This, as the Justice Department replaces the legal team overseeing the Census case. A Justice official says the Administration didn't want the same lawyers who made one argument to the court on the census contradict themselves with a new argument. And sources say the White House did not intervene on the matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP333)
WILLIAM BARR, U.S ATTORNEY GENERAL: And I've been in constant discussions with the president ever since the Supreme Court decision came down and I think over the next day or two you'll see what approach we're taking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Speaker Pelosi weighing in on Trump not backing down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: This is about keeping -- you know, make America -- you know his hat? Make America white again. They want to make sure that people -- certain people are counted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Also, British officials doing damage control and reaching out to U.S. counterparts after it was revealed the U.K. Ambassador sent cables back to London describing Trump as inept, insecure and incompetent.
Trump fired back with a tweet saying, I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not well liked or well thought of within the U.S. And he now says he will no longer deal with the Ambassador. What will happen to a moving forward remains unclear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Ambassador has not served the U.K. well, I can tell you that. We're not -- we're not big fans of that man and he has not served the U.K. well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: President Trump also directing his ire at "The New York Times," after it reported on squalid conditions at a Texas border facility. Trump on hand calling the report phony, while also placing the blame, once again, on Democrats for the overcrowding. And now he's claiming the media will be invited to see the facilities for themselves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we're going to have some of the press go in because they're crowded and we're the ones that were complaining about their crowding.
BROWN: But Democrats claim the administration is hiding from the truth.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), T.X.: It is now because of the massive embarrassment, because of the outright declaration of incompetence by the Department of Homeland Security's own inspector general, we now have an official cover up by the Department of Homeland Security.
BROWN: Vice President Pence says he will visit a detention facility later this week and bring bipartisan members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Pence went after Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying the U.S. is running concentration camps on the border.
PENCE: To compare the humane work of the dedicated men and women of Customs and Border Protection with the horrors of the Holocaust is an outrage.
BROWN: Well the fallout over the British ambassador's cable slamming President Trump continues with the ambassador now being disinvited from a dinner between President Trump, the emir of Qatar.
Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: OK, coming up the women's World Cup champions return to home soil and what a welcome it was. We'll have that for you when we come back.
OK the women's World Cup champions returned home to yes, you guessed it, a hero's welcome in the United States. Fans greeted team USA as they showed off their trophy and posed for oh all those selfies Monday.
This is their second straight World Cup title and record fourth overall. The champs will be celebrated in yes, that ticker tape parade in New York City on Wednesday. And the fourth round at Wimbledon was not kind to U.S. tennis sensation Coco Gauff who finally met her match.
The 15 year old from Florida was bounced from the tournament in straight sets by vertan Simona Halep, Wimbledon was Gauff's grand slam main draw singles debut and believe me, she did not disappoint. I watched this match. It was amazing to watch her, the world took note of her success
including former First Lady Michelle Obama who tweeted about the teen's achievement, and we know she will be achieving much more.
You are watching "CNN Newsroom". I'm Paula Newton, John Vauss takes over for me right here at the desk. He'll have more on our breaking news from Hong Kong.