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Hong Kong Chief Says Extradition Bill Is Dead; Pelosi Slams Trump's Citizenship Question; Trump Says He's Done with U.K. Ambassador; Elizabeth Warren Raises $19.1 Million in Second Quarter; Nuclear Inspectors Confirm Iran's Uranium Enrichment; Trump Retweets Fake Quote from Reagan. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 9, 2019 - 00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to everyone joining us all around the world, good to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

We begin with breaking news and what appears, to be a major win for protesters in Hong Kong. The chief executive in Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, says the controversial extradition bill is dead after weeks of massive, sometimes violent demonstrations.

The bill would have allowed suspects to be sent to Mainland China from Hong Kong to stand trial, the plan stops short of a formal withdrawal but says that the government has no plans to start the amendment process.


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: There are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity and 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.


VAUSE: Anna Coren is live in Hong Kong and Matt Rivers standing by in Beijing.

So, Anna, first to you.

Didn't Carrie Lam say the same thing last week to paraphrase it, she is now offering the same pig with lipstick and hoping no one notices?

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR: We heard from Joshua Wong, who was the face of the 2014 Umbrella movement here. He says that Carrie Lam is a habitual liar. He wants her to say withdrawn, the bill is dead not withdrawn. If the bill is dead, so why not use the terminology that the protesters have been demanding, withdraw the bill? He went on to say that until it is formally withdrawn and then it still exists and is part of the legislative program.

He also was very critical of her offer to set up a watchdog into police brutality, investigation by a watchdog. He says this is a government appointed watchdog, it is not the independent inquiry that protesters are demanding.

So here we are in the same position that we have been in for the past month, where the protesters feel that she still is not listening, no doubt this is a mea culpa from the city's chief executive. She said it's her fault that the people of Hong Kong feel the government has been ignoring them.

She says it is a complete failure of the government in not being able to effectively do the work on this bill, this very controversial bill. And she also said that stepping down is not a simple task.

What the protesters are demanding, for her to resign, she said it is not that simple, she needs to keep on working again, working with the young people to listen, to change her governing style.

But certainly from the protesters that we have spoken to, they are not interested in meeting publicly to have this open forum, which is what she is now offering. They are wanting so much more. They want her to resign and we did not hear that from the chief executive.

VAUSE: All these concessions and admissions of responsibility would have been great a month ago.

Matt, to you this non-announcement from the chief executive, so Carrie Lam cannot stop the protests and what is she to Beijing?

If she can't deliver the basics, how much longer will the Communist overlords be willing to have her back?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think they kind of only mildly had her back so far, I think what they see in Carrie Lam now is a convenient scapegoat. I think Beijing, if you believe what they have said from the beginning, that they did not ask for this extradition bill to be brought up. If this was not really a hard push from Beijing to get Carrie Lam to do this --


RIVERS: -- they did not interfere with her decision and did not tell her what to do in this process, then it kind of makes sense for Beijing to want to wash their hands of this issue, they don't want to wade into this issue that has been going on in Hong Kong for the better part of a month.

They know that they are widely seen as the evil overlords of Hong Kong by a lot of these protesters. And they don't want to do anything to further that image. So with Carrie Lam remaining in her role, she takes a lot of the blowback from these protesters, she takes a lot of their ire in terms of what they want from her specifically, takes the focus of the protesters off Beijing and focuses in on her administration.

In the meantime I think you will probably see continued support for the Lam administration if only because Beijing is backed into a corner. But notice how you have not seen high officials from the state council information office, for example, you have only seen support from foreign ministry spokespeople, from the mainland, Hong Kong affairs office.

These are relatively low-level bodies in terms of speaking out in favor of Carrie Lam, so as long as that continues, I think that Beijing sees a convenient scapegoat in the Lam administration as these protests will likely continue.

VAUSE: If you believe what Beijing is saying, come with a red flag. But it is a fair point you're making.

Carrie Lam talks for the need to address deep-seated fundamental problems, one of which could be how the chief executive and her administration failed to first recognize the anger felt by so many in Hong Kong and then failed to act in a timely and significant way.

COREN: Exactly. She could've done this a month ago when 1 million people took to the streets. And days later, we saw that police brutality when they fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters.

And that is what really sparked international attention. This is what splashed the story right across the globe. And then that weekend you saw 2 million people take to the streets. And it was on that weekend that we heard Carrie Lam say that she was going to suspend the bill.

She did that in a press release. She is tone-deaf when it comes to listening to these protesters and that is what they say. They believe that she has not been listening to them.

So on the first of July the anniversary of the handover, they chose to storm LegCo. That was a decision by a legalist movement because they felt that they were not being listened to and they needed to do something so drastic to get everyone's attention for the government to react.

And nine days later, that is what happened. Carrie Lam is caving in, you can say, to some of the protesters' demands but it is not enough and it is a month late.

And when she said let's address the fundamental problems, we should have done this five years ago after the Occupy movement, she said we should find the root of these problems. It reflects a bigger part of the problem in society.

That problem is the fact that Hong Kong is going to be handed over to China in 2047. Hong Kong will basically be another big Chinese city. Young people here, they don't want that. They only hold Hong Kong passports and can't go to Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom. They can't live somewhere else. Their lives and families are here and this is their future.

And they don't want it to be absorbed into China, this is why we are seeing these protesters take to the streets. Yes, it was about the extradition bill but it has become about so much more. These kids are fighting for the future of their city, they are fighting for their freedoms.

And it is quite alarming, what we have been seeing take place over the past month, the actions these protesters are taking, what they are willing to do, that is what is frightening, something that Carrie Lam didn't address today in the press conference, which is a massive oversight. The mental health of these protesters needs to be addressed because they think they need to take drastic actions to make the government listen.

VAUSE: Matt, it is unlikely that we will see the tanks and soldiers in the People's Liberation Army going down the road anytime soon.

But it is a fair assumption that at some point Beijing will act here and when they do it will be in the shadows and if they go that route, what are the options?

RIVERS: We are entering uncharted territory in how Beijing will deal with Hong Kong if these protests continue every single week, we are seeing --


RIVERS: -- hundreds of thousands of people come out, if there's more tear gas, there's more violence. How Beijing decides if and when to crack down on these protesters is really a fascinating subject that's open to a ton of debate.

On the one hand, you have people who have made pretty reasonable arguments that Beijing is going to say as restrained as possible, not get involved in all this and let it play out and hopefully die down on its own.

But if it doesn't, if you see another million-person march if, you see more tear gas, people trying to get into the legislative council building yet again, does Beijing step in and try and ban protests?

They could go that route. They would cause probably more harm than good in terms of fomenting more dissent. But Beijing could do that.

Does the People's Liberation Army get involved?

These seem like farfetched ideas that could be radical responses. But we are in uncharted territory.

How long does this momentum keep up?

How long do people keep taking to the streets? How long is Beijing willing to let the international community to continue to come out, support democracy protests, in a city that is sovereign Chinese territory?

That's how Beijing views it and they are very sensitive to the way the international community views what's going on in Hong Kong.

So the answer to your question, how they are going to respond, we don't really know, but we could see radical moves taken by Beijing eventually. It just depends on how long this goes on for and how big these protests remain.

VAUSE: I'll throw another scenario at you.

What if the demonstrations move on to Macao?

And then to Shenzhen?

And then to parts of the mainland?

That's when they will go nuts, I guess. We will see. Matt Rivers in Beijing, Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Thanks to both of you.

We will go to pro-democracy lawmaker Emily (LAUGHTER), live from Hong Kong.

Thank you for your time.


VAUSE: Is anyone buying Carrie Lam's reheated leftovers from last week?

How is this statement different from any real way about the bill effectively being suspended and not going anywhere?

LAU: I think it's very little and very late and I cannot understand why she just can't come out and say the bill was withdrawn. That's the demands of millions of people here, not just the young protesters.

Also we would like to see an independent inquiry set up, hopefully chaired by a respected judge to look into all the police violence, all the other things, the storming of LegCo.

These are very reasonable demands. I don't know why she can't come out and accede them. Also, of course, to go out and engage the university students, the politicians, the pro-democracy legislators have been asking to meet with her many times.

And she kept turning them down. So she has to take some action and also say the bill is withdrawn.

Can she not say that?

VAUSE: Technically though, is she not correct when she says the suspended bill is as good as dead because it will expire within a 12- month period if it's not introduced into the chamber?

So now what we have is essentially a question of trust.

Do you trust her government not to bring this back into play anytime soon before it expires?

LAU: I don't think too many people in Hong Kong trust her. So you are right, it is a question of trust. And it's also a question of some English words.

So is the word "withdrawn" so difficult to utter?

What's the matter with it?

We want her and her administration, with, of course, the approval of Beijing, to come out and respond to the very reasonable demand of the protesters and hopefully these weekly or daily protests, which have planned in the coming days and weeks and months, will not take place.

So she has to come out and engage society, show that she is reasonable, ready to listen and ready to accede to the demands.

VAUSE: But by putting herself as a staunch opponent towards the millions of people of on Hong Kong have been demanding and we've seen at, least 2 million people on the streets of Hong Kong, the place only has 8 million residents. By being the opponent of these people she is putting herself in the corner and now has nowhere else to go but resign.

LAU: Well, I mean if she resigns I, think many people will be happy. But her resignation is not a key demand of many of the protesters. So you can see that they are very pragmatic. They are just asking her to withdraw the bill and to set up an independent inquiry, do not call it a riot and so on.

So I just cannot understand why she can't do it. And, of course, she should also step out to engage --


LAU: -- society at large, the lawyers, academics, students, politicians and to show everybody with her action that she has really willing to listen.

VAUSE: Answer this question.

Why is it that this one extradition bill, which has outraged so many in Hong Kong, because Beijing has been slowly eating away at Hong Kong sovereignty for a prolonged period of time, why now they have said enough?

LAU: Well, I think many people are very afraid of Communist China. And this bill holds out the prospect that if you have committed some crime over there and, of course, many people travel to Mainland China; I can't, I'm banned from going to Mainland China. But many people do and if you have something there, you've done

something wrong, they are afraid that they could be extradited and they will not get a fair trial. They may not even be able to receive their families or see their lawyers. So they are very frightened of Communist China.

VAUSE: Justice in Mainland China is a very scary thing, if you can call it justice. Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

LAU: Thank you.

VAUSE: When we come back, cutting ties with the British ambassador in the aftermath of the leaked diplomatic cables.




VAUSE: Guess who is not coming to dinner?

The British ambassador in Washington was uninvited to a function of the Treasury Department after leaked diplomatic cables revealed his harsh assessment of the Trump administration.

Trump is now refusing to deal with Sir Kim Darroch and he's also refusing to give it on the census. He's also refusing to concede that conditions at border detention centers are beyond abhorrent as reported by a number of news outlets. CNN's Pamela Brown reports now on the refuser in chief.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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.

TRUMP: We're thinking about doing that. It's one of the ways. We have four or five ways we can do it.

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.

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have 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 will see what approach we're taking.

BROWN: Speaker Pelosi weighing in on Trump not backing down. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is about keeping -- you know, --


PELOSI: -- make America -- you know, his hat? Make America white again. They want to make sure that people, certain people, are counted.

BROWN: Also tonight, 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 just a short while ago, saying: "I do not know the ambassador, but he is not 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 him moving forward remains unclear.

TRUMP: The ambassador has not served the U.K. well. I can tell you that. We're not big fans of that man. And he has not served the U.K. well.

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 one hand calling the report phony, while also placing the blame once again on Democrats for the overcrowding.

Now he's claiming the media will be invited to see the facilities for themselves.

TRUMP: We're going to have some of the press go in and see it, because they're crowded. And we're the ones that were complaining about they're crowded.

BROWN: But Democrats claim the administration is hiding from the truth.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D-TX): 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 today went after Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying the U.S. is running concentration camps on the border.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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: With the fallout over the British ambassador's cables slamming President Trump continues with the ambassador now being disinvited from a dinner between President Trump and the emir of Qatar -- Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins us now.

So, first let's get to the census. Government lawyers have repeatedly insisted in court that they'll get those forms printed in time. And now we have an entire new legal team, they will take over. The previous guys were incompetent, liars who were making stuff up because that deadline they argued was hard and fast is ending but it seems like they are now in an impossible position.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I believe they argue that 10 times, 10 separate court filings they had to do this by July 1st.

That was the initial reaction after the decision, the 5-4 decision preventing them from adding the question. But it is fair to say that John Roberts, the chief justice, left in the opening to do exactly what they are doing. He ruled that they did not provide sufficient -- ruled that they did not provide sufficient justification for the question.

But he didn't rule that the question itself was inherently unacceptable and there are those that believe that he simply did not want to have two 5-4 party line rulings favoring the GOP on the same day. That was the same day that he wrote the decision allowing partisan gerrymandering to continue uninhibited.

I don't think this fight is over yet. I don't think we know what John Roberts is going to decide. It is possible they will allow them to answer the question and is possible that they may decide it will go too (INAUDIBLE). So we don't know.

VAUSE: Also left in a difficult position, it seems the U.K. ambassador in Washington, President Trump is refusing to deal with Kim Darroch. It seems like his assessment of the Trump administration as being inept, dysfunctional, unpredictable, it is highly out of step with other foreign governments and the intelligence community in the U.S., even with someone in the White House.

So where is the scandal?

BROWNSTEIN: You know it is funny you say that because I was thinking when I read this story, how many ambassadors were, their first reaction was, there but for the grace of God go I because I have to think there are a lot of ambassadors saying that analyses with these conclusions to their home governments.

And this whole controversy really crystallizes the difficult position that the governments all around the world are in. And I think this is a pretty broadly accepted sentiment, that this is a volatile, unpredictable administration that revolves around the whims of a single individual who demands to be flattered at all times. On the other hand, who is probably unpopular and who is in fact unpopular in almost every major ally of the United States, unpopular with the domestic audiences. So all of that is there.

On the other hand is --


BROWNSTEIN: -- the United States of America, it is very hard to conduct business around the world without doing business with them and I think all governments are struggling with these same contending forces that we see displayed so openly in the case of the U.K. now.

VAUSE: The U.K. ambassador in those cables said that this White House in his words "is unlikely to become substantially more normal," that was on display Monday with President Trump talking up his administration's environmental achievements.

Part of the good news, pulling out of the Paris climate accord, opening up public lands to hunting and just a completely bizarre list, how a strong economy helps the environment.


TRUMP: From day one my administration made it a top priority to ensure that America is among the very cleanest air and cleanest water in the planet. We want the cleanest air. We want crystal clean water and that's what we're doing and that's what we're working on so hard.


VAUSE: Well, we don't have it because it ranks about ninth in the world on water and eighth for air. But the Sierra Club, just one of many environmental groups ranking President Trump, saying it's the worst record on the environment and climate action of any U.S. president in history.

So since coming to office, the Trump administration, as the president mentioned, has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement -- which is a bad thing, not a good thing -- reportedly rolled back more than 80 environmental rules, wiped references to climate change from government websites, opened more federal land to drilling and mining, loosened regulations on toxic air pollution.

And that is just the tip of a quickly melting iceberg and as far as the leaked cables, they did not include the words "dangerously delusional."

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first of all, the reaction of Trump to the cables really underscores all the descriptions in the cables. It is one of those strange moments where he is fulminating against these reports and in the process validating the reports.

But the environment, they have turned over federal agencies to lobbyists; the environmental agencies secured lobbyists for coal. But the core of it really is the abandonment of any effort to deal

with climate change even as the evidence accumulates. For example, the torrential rains in Washington just today that are unlike anyone there has experienced for most of their lifetime, the potential costs of climate change to the country.

President Trump not only withdrew from the Paris climate accord, he abandoned President Obama's trying to pressure utilities to moving away from high carbon sources and as significant is involved in an extended effort to undo President Obama's regulations requiring improved fuel economy.

This, I think, of all the environmental rollbacks, I think history will be the harshest on the complete abandon of any effort to deal with climate change, even as the evidence of its cost to U.S., the wildfires in California for example, is growing.

Even in the ABC/"The Washington Post" poll, 29 percent approved of his handling of the climate issue. it is one of the things that is costing him support in suburban white collar communities.

VAUSE: A look at these numbers and from an ABC/"The Washington Post" poll, 29 percent approve and 62 percent disapprove. That 29 percent number is interesting because it would suggest that those within his support base, who believe anything and everything this president says they don't support him on this, which means that maybe the destruction of the planet is something which has pierced the Trump bizarro universe.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, the big question is -- and you can look at health care, by the way, they are going to be in court on Tuesday arguing for the complete rescission of the Affordable Care Act, the complaint overturning, including all the protections for people with pre- existing conditions.

And there is a portion of Trump's base that is heavily tilted toward older, blue-collar whites, who tend to be people with larger health needs, older and less (INAUDIBLE) health needs, who are very opposed to that.

The question is in this very tribal moment, where Trump identifies himself very clearly as the champion of older, white, evangelical, non-urban America, all the groups in society that are the least comfortable with the ways America is changing, is it possible for any of these individual issues to overcome that overwhelming cultural attachment that he establishes?

We saw a little of it in 2018 around health care with blue-collar voters, particularly women in the Rust Belt. But overall this cultural affinity is tending to overshadow any issue, whether climate change or health care.

VAUSE: Very quickly in the 2020 race, Congressman Eric Swalwell the first to drop out. That is not a problem for Elizabeth Warren. If you look at the campaign numbers for finance, raking in $19 million in the second quarter and that is third among Democrats. They seem even better when you consider that she has publicly declined support from the big donors. It's all coming from small individual donations.

[00:30:10] RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, the way you raise money for president is being transformative. The amount of money being raised online from small donors is remarkable and a reflection of the intensity of the desire among the Democratic base.

I think the top five candidates combined have about 100 million dollars, which is comparable to what President Trump collected.

Look, Elizabeth Warren is real, you know. And she is someone who has really, I think, moved -- elbowed past Bernie Sanders on that kind of left lane in the Democratic primary.

I think her challenge is, if you get into a one-on-one race between her and Joe Biden, that Biden could be competitive among whites because of his strength among moderates and probably dominate among African-Americans.

And conversely, if she gets into a one-on-one race with Kamala Harris, Kamala would be competitive among college-educated whites and, again, dominate among African-Americans.

Warren's best chance, like Sanders, is a three-way race that has a Biden, Harris and -- you know, and her. The problem is that we have not had a sustained three-way race in the history of the primary since 1984.

VAUSE: Well --

BROWNSTEIN: That was the last time that happened. And -- but again, she is real. She is -- she is emerging. She is growing in support. She ultimately will have to do better with African-American voters if she wants to be the nominee.

VAUSE: Ron, as always, we could talk forever but thank you. It's great. Appreciate it so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Ron Brownstein there.

A lot more news after a very short break. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.


VAUSE: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for saying with us. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Hong Kong's chief executive says a controversial extradition bill is dead, and there are no plans to bring it back. Carrie Lam stopped short of formally withdrawing the bill. That's something protestors have long been demanding. The bill would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China from Hong Kong to stand trial. It led to weeks of massive, sometimes violent protests across the city.

The U.S. president says the White House will no longer deal with the British ambassador in Washington. In a series of leaked diplomatic memos, Kim Darroch called the Trump administration clumsy, inept, and a whole lot of other stuff. Mr. Trump also took the opportunity to renew criticism of the outgoing prime minister, Theresa May, and her handling of Brexit.

An American multimillionaire with powerful political connections has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges. Prosecutors say Jeffrey Epstein had a vast trove of lewd photos of young-looking women and girls in his New York home. He avoided federal charges more than a decade ago after striking a plea deal in Florida.

The Iranians promised they'd do it, and the International Atomic Agency has confirmed they have. Enriched uranium to a level which breeches the 2015 nuclear agreement, which sets the limit at 3.67 percent, enough for peaceful purposes but little else.

Iran says it for 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, a big step towards reaching weapons-grade levels.

And while Iran insists a nuclear weapon is not the goal, the U.S. vice president had a blunt warning.


MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be clear. Iran should not confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve.


VAUSE: With more now from CNN's Fred Pleitgen on Iran's nuclear strategy and how the international community is responding.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN 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've reached a 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 said 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 they signed up 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 any more.

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 are 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 adviser.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


VAUSE: The U.K. is caught in its own standoff with Iran after British forces seized an Iranian oil tanker last Thursday. The ship was boarded by British Royal Marines off the coast of Gibraltar near Spain.

Iran's foreign minister calls it piracy. Another official has suggested that Iran should seize a British tanker in response. Gibraltar says the ship appears to be packed with crude oil. The U.K.

accuses it of heading for Syria, in violation of E.U. sanctions.

Iran denies that, says the U.K. was acting on behalf of the United States. Iranian state media reports the British ambassador has been meeting with Iran's foreign ministry for the first time to discuss the ship.

Hardly a headline this, but a new retweet by Donald Trump has the fact checkers working overtime. When we come back, the truth behind a quote attributed to former President Ronald Reagan. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [00:40:46] VAUSE: Did Ronald Reagan, the most revered, the most admired, the most beloved of all Republican presidents, actually predict the rise of the Donald to the highest office in the land? Donald Trump thinks so, and so he retweeted a quote attributed to the Gipper, but alas, fake news.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump retweeted it with a four-letter comment, "Cute!" But a better word would be "false"!

What the president linked to was a photo of President Reagan meeting Donald Trump back in 1987, with this prophetic Reagan quote superimposed, credited to Reagan: "For the life of me, and I'll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president."

Critics shook their heads. "For someone who is constantly shouting 'fake news'" --


MOOS: -- "you sure do like to retweet it."

PolitiFact gave it a "pants on fire," quoting the administrative head of the Reagan Foundation as saying, "He did not ever say that about Donald Trump."

(on camera): To mock the fake Reagan quote, critics on Twitter responded to President Trump with a real Reagan quote.


MOOS (voice-over): Reagan's quip to Carter during a debate.

Trump and Reagan did share the same slogan.

TRUMP: We are going to make --

-- America --

-- great again.

REAGAN: Make America great again.

MOOS: But "great" isn't what Reagan's daughter says her dad would think of the Trump presidency.

PATTI DAVIS, DAUGHTER OF RONALD REAGAN: I think he would be horrified.

MOOS: If Reagan didn't actually predict Trump's presidency, maybe George did. "'Donald J. Trump is going to be the best, most handsome president ever.' -- Georgia Washington, after liberating the airport at Fort McHenry."

That's a dig at President Trump's Fourth of July blooper, touting the Continental Army's success.

TRUMP: Our Army manned the air. It rammed the ramparts. It took over the airports.

MOOS: Airports in 1776? The president blamed a rain-soaked teleprompter.

TRUMP: Right in the middle of that sentence, it went out.

MOOS: Inspiring Sidney Blumenthal to compose "President Trump's Revolutionary War Quiz," with questions like "Did George Washington's shuttle airline go bankrupt before or after he captured LaGuardia?"


Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. WORLD SPORT is next. You're watching CNN.


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