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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Alex Acosta Resigns as Labor Secretary; First S-400 Delivery Arrived in Turkey Today; Mike Pence to Visit Detention Centers Today; Interview with Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), Discussing Iran Provocations to U.S. and Britain; U.K.-Iran Tensions Escalate Amid Naval Dispute; R. Kelly Indicted On New Federal Sex Crime Charges; Experimental Drugs Offer New Hope To Ebola Victims; The Challenges Of Reporting In The Ear Of Trump; Chernobyl To Become Official Tourist Attraction. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 12, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:21] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, happy Friday. I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, Alex Acosta is out. Donald Trump announces his U.S. labor secretary has quit amid outrage surrounding Acosta's part in the Epstein
plea deal all those years ago.
This as Vice President Pence will arrive at a Texas border town this hour. He'll be visiting a migrant detention facility with a delegation. What are
they doing there? We're live from the border.
And the U.K. sends another warship to the gulf while Iran revvs up its rhetoric. The latest on that.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he's very sad to see him go. And says as far as he's concerned, there's no need at all for his labor secretary to
resign. But that's exactly what Alex Acosta did today over a sex offender scandal that's been in the headlines all week.
Acosta negotiated a plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein years ago in Florida, allowing him to evade federal prosecution on sex crime allegations so he
would serve 13 months in jail, only on a lesser state charge instead. Also not informing the victims of the deal.
Acosta said it's not fair that the Epstein case is taking attention away from the Trump administration's accomplishments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- happy with and then 12 years later, they're not happy with it --
ALEX ACOSTA, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: -- morning, I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside. You know, cabinet positions are
temporary trusts. It would be selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that's 12 years old rather than about the
amazing economy we have right now.
And so I submitted my resignation to the president, effective seven days from today, effective one week from today, earlier this morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Mr. Trump said he hates to see how the Epstein scandal has hurt Acosta, but he never mentioned the ones really hurt by the whole sordid
affair: of course, Epstein's young victims.
Let's bring in CNN white house reporter Stephen Collinson.
Did he jump or was he pushed?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It looks like he jumped but there's very good reason to think that sooner or later, he would have been
pushed. President Trump has a habit of not really backing under fire cabinet secretaries very much and for very long.
So I think the writing was on the wall for a long time for Secretary Acosta. He had a press conference this week, which was supposed to end
this controversy. And it failed to do that.
The fact is that every time there was going to be a revelation in the Epstein case -- and it looks like it's going to go on for many, many months
-- the question of why this plea deal was agreed 12 years ago by Secretary Acosta when he was a U.S. attorney in Miami, was going to come up. That
reflects badly on the fact that President Trump picked him to be his labor secretary in the first place. And that really, I believe, is the reason
why he's now gone.
GORANI: The president was also asked -- speaking of Epstein -- about his relationship with Epstein. There are pictures of the two of them together,
we know Epstein visited Mar-a-Lago, the president's private club in Palm Beach. This is what he said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein. And you watched people yesterday, saying that I threw him out of the club, I didn't want anything
to do with him. That was many, many years ago. It shows you one thing, that I have good taste.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So he's distancing himself as much as he can from Epstein, Stephen.
COLLINSON: That's right. And there of course have been stories over the last few weeks about the extent of the president's relationship with
Jeffrey Epstein. And not just the president. Many powerful politicians and business figures, including former President Bill Clinton, who once
traveled on Jeffrey Epstein's jet, have also been caught up in it.
We're getting a picture of this man who had a web of political and powerful connections. This is going to be something that's going to haunt the
president. And I think one reason, as I said, why he got rid of Secretary Acosta was because it's taking one strand of that away.
But there are going to be revelations in this case. We're going to find more and more about what Mr. Epstein was doing over the last 20 years or
so, the famous people he was hanging around with. And I don't think we can be sure that there is not something more that will come about his
relationship with the president and other powerful people.
That was the reason why the president was so adamant this morning, pointing out that he threw him out of his Mar-a-Lago club. And he's trying to get
that on the record and up-front.
GORANI: Is that fact-checked, that he threw him out? I mean, is that confirmed?
COLLINSON: As far as we know, the president is not the only person that has said this. Another club member has given testimony to this. I think
we still do not know a lot of the details.
[14:05:07] And of course, the way that the president has behaved in office -- frequently, multiple times a day, shading (ph) the truth and indeed
telling lies -- I think all of his statements need to be fact-checked and don't get the benefit of the doubt. So I think we're going to see more
information about that coming out in the next days.
GORANI: Robert Mueller of course, who led the Russia probe, is due to testify in a long-anticipated appearance on July the 17th. There are
reports, though, that this could be delayed by one week. What are you hearing and why would that be the case?
COLLINSON: There has been a lot of dissatisfaction among Democratic members about these two hearings. They're supposed to take place next
Wednesday. But they haven't had time to prepare, that there is not going to be enough time for questions.
I think it looks quite likely that this could be delayed a week so that the Democratic chairmen can get these questions sorted out. I think there is a
big question, now looming, about whether this hearing that is perhaps the last chance for Democrats to use the Russia scandal to really damage
President Trump, is going to deliver for them politically.
One thing to think about is if this hearing takes place in two weeks rather than next week, it will be the last week that members of Congress are in
town before the summer recess. They'll all go away for August.
Any momentum that people in the Democratic Party who want to see President Trump impeached can get out of this hearing, will necessarily dissipate
over the summer and its impact will be a lot less than a lot of Democrats actually had hoped, I think.
GORANI: All right. Stephen Collinson. We'll see if that happens as planned on the 17th of July.
From a political shakeup in Washington to military tensions growing between Britain and Iran this time. The U.K. is sending a message to Tehran in the
form of another warship, the HMS Duncan. It is headed to the Persian Gulf. It would be the second one there to protect these oil tankers.
But Iran has a message of its own over the seizure of one of its tankers off Gibraltar. Tehran wants the ship back right away. Otherwise, it says,
Britain will be playing a dangerous game with no end in sight. In the midst of all of that, the U.K. has raised the security level for its ships
passing through the gulf to "critical."
Let's get to our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson.
So a second warship. What do you -- what should we make of that?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The MOD says we should make the following, that this is a switch for the current vessel, the (ph)
GORANI: So they won't have two at the same time? Ah.
ROBERTSON: Let's just pause on that.
ROBERTSON: So you're sending in -- they're sending in the HMS Duncan, which is a destroyer. And it's going to replace the HMS Montrose, that's a
frigate. So it's a bigger ship replacing a smaller ship.
ROBERTSON: That's -- they say that this was scheduled. But I guess what we'll all be looking for is, is a scheduled changeover, how long is the
handover, how long do you have both those large intimidating and war- capable vessels.
So you asked the right question.
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, is saying we're not looking for a conflict. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY HUNT, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: None of us are looking for a conflict. And we all have a responsibility to protect shipping. So this
is a time for cool heads. I'm being briefed on an hourly basis, as to what is going on. And we want to do everything we can to make sure that we
don't have an unintended escalation, which could be very dangerous for the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: Danger's been the word that everyone's using. He says, "Let's not have a dangerous escalation." The Iranians are saying that Britain is
heading into a dangerous game that has no end.
And we heard President Trump today, saying that Iran is walking on very dangerous ground and they should listen carefully. He said, "Iran, if
you're listening, then be careful."
So, you know, I think what we've heard from the foreign secretary there is -- is an edge on diplomacy. Is -- and this, I think is the context of why
the MOD said that these two vessels are just changing over.
And because nobody wants to overdramatize, the threat level's gone up. The tension rises. Everyone's concerned. You know, ships will have to take
greater security precautions, will have to perhaps change their routes at the moment. The prime minister's office has the MODs talking with the
United States as well about increasing security in the Gulf.
GORANI: This Gibraltar -- this tanker off Gibraltar, the Iranian tanker, the Iranians are saying, "We need that back right away." But they're not
likely to get it back right away.
ROBERTSON: Not only are they not likely to get it back, but we have more details coming from the authorities in Gibraltar today. Last night, of
course, they announced that they were going to arrest the captain and the first officer for breaking E.U. sanctions.
What they said today -- and they clarified details -- the ship was carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil, of light -- light crude oil -- and they stick
by what they say, that this was breaking sanctions on the way to Syria.
[14:10:06] But interesting that they also added another line that says, "This has everything to do with where the vessel was going, and nothing to
do with where it came from."
ROBERTSON: Which means "Iran, back off. Because this is a different issue. You're not getting it back."
GORANI: But Iran didn't say where it was going.
ROBERTSON: Iran said that the assessment of where the Gibraltan authorities said it was going, which was the Baniyas oil refinery. At
least they said -- the Gibraltans said -- they had reason to believe that.
The Iranians are saying, "Oh, this supertanker is too big to get into that refinery. Or it's too big to go to port there." But then others are
saying, "Look, the Iranians were going to do ship-to-ship transfers in the Mediterranean."
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Nic Robertson.
While tensions build in the gulf, Turkey has made a move that has really angered some of its NATO allies. And, in fact, could put it at risk of
fresh American sanctions. Earlier today, Turkey received a shipment of a key missile defense system.
Here's what America doesn't like about that. It's a key Russian defense missile system. A Russian plane landed in the Turkish capital. It was
carrying the first batch of the S-400 missile system. Washington has warned NATO allies not to buy, quote, "weapons from our adversaries." In
this case, Turkey went ahead and did it.
Jomana Karadsheh is live for us in Istanbul.
So why is Turkey buying this particular weaponry from Russia, Jomana?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Hala, you talk to Turkish officials, they say that they've tried to go to the U.S., they've
tried to buy the U.S. missile defense system, the Patriot. But over the past few years, negotiations to try and acquire that have fallen through
for various reasons.
And right now, this is basically what they say made them turn to Russia and get the S-400 missile defense system from the Russians.
And as you mentioned, today, we saw the delivery of the first batch of the parts of the S-400. According to the Ministry of Defense here, they're
saying that three Russian cargo planes landed in Turkey, delivering that first batch, and they're expecting more deliveries in the coming days and
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Russian military cargo jets touched down in the Turkish capital Friday to deliver the first batch of the Russian-made S-400
missile defense system. And with it, a major blow to Turkey's already shaky relationship with its NATO ally, America.
There was nothing secret about the S-400 arrival. Live pictures were broadcast on Turkish media as the Defense Ministry flaunted its new
acquisition. For months, the U.S. has been pressuring Ankara to cancel its agreement with Russia.
U.S. officials say it's a serious security issue for them. With Turkey a member of the F-35 fighter jet program, they're concerned that Russia could
use the S-400 to gather data on the stealth fighter jet. Not only is Turkey still awaiting the delivery of about a hundred F-35s, it also
manufactures about 900 parts of the jet.
KARADSHEH: But the threat of expulsion from the F-35 program and severe consequences including economic sanctions that will hurt this country's
fragile economy, did not deter Turkey. Officials say that this is about sovereignty. This is about Turkey's right to defend itself.
Officials have also blamed the U.S. for hampering Turkey's efforts to purchase the American Patriot missile defense system. But mixed messages
from the United States may have also emboldened the Turkish president.
TRUMP: He wanted to buy the Patriot missile. President Obama's group said no. He kept wanting to buy it, they kept saying no, no, no. Couldn't buy
it. Now, he needed it for defense, he needed it. So he then went to Russia, so it's a mess. It's a mess. And honestly, it's not really
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The two allies have been on a collision course for years, with a long list of disagreements including the U.S.' backing of
Syrian Kurdish forces, considered terrorists by Ankara. But with the delivery of a weapons system manufactured by America's adversary, comes a
new and true test of Turkish-American relations.
KARADSHEH: And, Hala, all eyes are on Washington right now. Everyone is waiting to see what the United States is going to do. We understand that
the acting secretary of defense is going to be speaking with his Turkish counterpart at some point this afternoon.
But I can tell you, it seems that senior officials here are not really concerned about the threat of sanctions, especially after President Trump's
meeting with President Erdogan at the G20.
[14:15:00] Turkish officials have said that the messages they're getting behind closed doors from the United States are very different to what we're
GORANI: All right. Jomana Karadsheh, live in Istanbul, thanks very much.
The U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, is on his way to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. He is set to inspect what many have described as terrible
conditions, especially for children, in those immigrant detention facilities.
Pence is traveling to McAllen, Texas with a congressional delegation. You'll remember, a Democratic delegation visited some of these border
facility -- border facilities a few weeks ago. Next hour, he's scheduled to visit a holding facility in another part.
That's just one of two major immigration issues dominating U.S. politics. In less than two days, federal agents in nine cities will begin mass
arrests and deportations of about 2,000 immigrants. The first round of raids will focus on those who already have court orders to leave the United
States. Some big-city mayors, though, say they've been left in the dark about what to expect.
Ed Lavandera joins me now from El Paso, Texas with more.
What is this -- what is Pence and this delegation, what are they -- what is the goal of these visits today, Ed?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Trump administration is really trying to get on the offensive of trying to show that it is trying to make
these detention centers and these processing centers as humane as possible. There's been a great deal of criticism over the last few weeks, here in the
United States, over the conditions and how these migrants, especially migrant families and children, are being processed and held while they're
in custody of U.S. immigration officials.
So that is one of the things that they have been trying to do this week, to try to explain and try to push the idea that these conditions are better
than what many people are saying or many critics are saying. And that they are working hard to process these people as humanely as possible.
GORANI: All right. And we'll see what -- I understand he's touched down, by the way. I'm being told by my producer.
The U.S. president, Donald Trump, was asked about these mass raids that are due to start on Sunday. This is what he said, Ed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's not something I like doing. But people have come into our country illegally. We're focused on criminals. We're focused on -- if you
look at MS-13. But when people come into our country, we take those people out and we take them out very legally. They all have papers and it's a
TRUMP: And I have an obligation to do it. They came in illegally, they go out legally. What the Democrats should be doing now, is they should be
changing the loopholes. They should be changing asylum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So, Ed, the president is making this a political issue. But what will be the real-life impact of these raids on undocumented people in some
big U.S. cities?
LAVANDERA: Well, what really stands out, Hala, from what you played there -- and the president does this often where he invokes MS-13. This is one
of those Central American criminal gangs that has caused a lot of problems in many parts of the country.
But there is no indication that we know of, as of now, that the people who are being targeted in this -- in this more upcoming raid, have connections
to MS-13. We've been told by immigration officials here in the U.S. that this is targeting some 2,000 families, migrant families that have recently
As you said, they have court-ordered deportations. They had gone through the immigration process and a judge ruled that they were -- they were
eligible to be deported.
I can tell you from reporting extensively for years on immigration issues down here, migrant families isn't necessarily where you're more likely to
find MS-13 gang members. These are usually single males that are involved in this kind of activity, and that's not the kind of immigration pattern
we're seeing here on the southern border right now.
But this is sending shock waves of anxiety and fear throughout immigrant communities across the country because not only is it targeting
undocumented immigrants, but many families are worried about what's described as collateral people being picked up.
That -- for example, many undocumented immigrants live in homes where there are U.S. citizens or other undocumented immigrants who aren't scheduled to
be deported. So all of those people could be picked up as well, and that's why there's so much anxiety.
GORANI: And potentially family separations as well, if you have U.S.-born children and undocumented parents.
And speaking of undocumented people in the United States, you have a CNN special that will air this weekend on CNN International, called, "THE
HIDDEN WORKFORCE: UNDOCUMENTED IN AMERICA." Tell us about it.
LAVANDERA: Well, we wanted to kind of take a deeper look and a more poignant look at the issue of undocumented workers here in the United
States. And try to get beyond what has really become toxic political debate here in the United States.
And really kind of take people in -- I think will be in an enlightening way -- and show people just how embedded undocumented people have become in the
fabric of American society, where they are thriving in the places you would least expect to see them.
And just how dependent the U.S. economy is on these workers who have not only just spent weeks, months here, but in many cases, have spent decades
here in the United States.
And it's such a complicated issue, immigration, that it really gets boiled down in some nasty political rhetoric here in the United States. And it's
really an issue that deserves much more than that, and that's what we're hoping to do with this hour.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): You dreamed as a child of living in Iowa?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted those clean streets, friendly people, green grass everywhere. I mean, and when I came here, I said, "This is where I'm
staying. This is what I've always wanted."
LAVANDERA: As being the only citizen in your family, you've seen your family basically slowly disappear from Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
LAVANDERA: What's that been like?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sad. My stepdad and my younger brother, they both got deported. The hardest one, I think, was when my mom got detained. And
then on my birthday, she sent me a birthday card. And, yes. I guess I've never talked about that.
LAVANDERA: Hard to talk about? Why is that so hard?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your parents aren't around. Her and my stepdad were both detained. And, like, on Mother's Day, she wasn't there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Ed, we'll be watching. It'll air this weekend, and again online. Thanks very much. Ed Lavandera in El Paso, Texas.
Still to come tonight, bracing for impact. A potentially deadly storm barrels towards the U.S. Gulf Coast and the city of New Orleans is right in
GORANI: In the United States, there's an extreme weather threat closing in. Tropical Storm Barry has now gained strength. It's expected to slam
the Louisiana coast as a hurricane early Saturday. The U.S. National Weather Service says the situation is life-threatening for people who are
As officials warn of potentially deadly flooding, which is another one of the potential side effects of this terrible storm because it's slow-moving,
President Trump has declared a state of emergency.
Ryan Young is on the ground near New Orleans as the storm nears.
So we're expecting landfall tomorrow, right? And what is the strength of the hurricane expected to be, Ryan?
[14:25:04] RYAN YOUNG, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the conversation that everyone's sort of having in this city. There are some
people who still believe this may fall apart and just be a tropical storm. There are some people who are predicting this could be up to a category
two. So it just depends on how the storm sort of makes its way this direction. Because obviously, it's been dealing with some high-pressure
winds that have kind of slowed it down.
But I want to show you something though. Because this is the mighty Mississippi right here. And across the way, you can see the beautiful city
of New Orleans. But one of the reasons why they're really concerned about this storm, which is moving so slowly, is the fact that they believe maybe
for 48 hours, there will be a sustained amount of rain with maybe 10 to 15 inches of water.
Well, the Mississippi right here, which they've been dealing with all year so far, is already 10 feet above normal. So if you add in that extra rain,
what they're concerned about, especially when you think about a low-lying area like this one, is whether or not the pumps could move the water out
Just on Wednesday, they had a torrential downpour and there were several cars that ended up getting trapped in this area because of that torrential
downpour. We see businesses throughout the French Quarter, which of course is across the way over there, who already have their sand bags sort of
And there are big conferences that come to this city. At the airport today, there are lines that are sort of wrapped around the building now.
Police officers are working 12-hour shifts. And once again, they've made sure the pumps in this city are working. There's 118 of them, hoping to
push the water out if it should come.
You look right now, there is no rain. We've had several drizzles, but nothing really significant. The other part is, police officers are working
12-hour shifts and the mayor has been telling people, "Look, don't wait until the last minute to try to evacuate." In the city of New Orleans,
though, just telling people to shelter in place.
So everyone's sort of holding their breath to a certain part of their bodies (ph), to make sure sure whether or not they will have to see what
happens in terms of tomorrow, when the rain hits.
I can tell you, we've talked to residents who don't believe this is going to be a big one. And that's what officials are concerned about because
people are like, some of them are like, "Oh, this is not going to be a big hurricane." And that's what they don't want, people to become complacent,
as you could understand.
GORANI: Right, sure. And also because one of the bigger issues, as I understand it, is that flooding could really be a problem. I mean, will
the levees hold, what kind of damage will that cause, and can people be rescued if a lot of them are stuck in their homes when there's just -- when
the water levels rise. That has to be one of the biggest concerns at this stage.
YOUNG: I mean, absolutely. And one of the things that we talked about here is especially when you look at the water level here, normally, the
water's out past that tree that's over there. So you could understand, with the water already high here, you don't have to add that much for there
to be a situation.
And like I said, it was one storm on Wednesday that lasted a few hours that really made it difficult for people to get around. They believe, though,
they've got enough time built in here, where they're going to get the warnings out to residents.
But we went to the Lower Ninth Ward today, where, obviously, it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. We talked to people in that section of town. They
said they're not going anywhere. The believe the wall will hold. They believe the levee system will work.
We did see city officials closing bridges to certain low-lying areas because they know that people who are onlookers want to come to areas like
this one to look at the water, to see where the rise is. In fact, there's a man that we talked to who lives two blocks over. One of the things he
did was, he marked a spot out here. And he says he believed the water that where we're standing has already gone up five inches in the last 24 hours.
So there are lot of people here --
GORANI: OK (ph), yes (ph).
YOUNG: -- who think (ph) they're meteorologists on their own. So you could understand why some folks just are not going to go anywhere.
GORANI: Well, and also they -- this is not their first rodeo in New Orleans. So maybe they feel like they're a little more used to it --
GORANI: -- than the rest of us. Thanks very much, Ryan Young.
Still to come tonight, we hear from a U.S. lawmaker who's calling on President Trump to consult with Congress before making any military
decisions about Iran. We head to Washington, next.
[14:29:00] And later, disturbing new charges against singer R. Kelly. Two new indictments were unsealed in federal court today. We'll have the
details, coming up.
[14:35:33] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Let's return now to the rising tensions between Britain and Iran. And for that matter between the
U.S. and Iran.
Now, when it comes to Britain, it is sending another warship to the gulf after the U.K. government said Iranian boats tried to impede a British oil
tanker their earlier this week. This all follows weeks of rising rhetoric and provocations between Washington and Teheran.
Let's bring in Ami Bera, U.S. democratic Congressman and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he joins me now live from Washington.
Thanks for being with us.
So we're seeing, obviously, all over the world here on CNN International. What do you think the U.S. message to Iran should be at this stage?
REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): Look, I think the message that we want to send from Congress is, let's ratchet down the rhetoric, let's sit down, let's talk
about this. Nobody wants another conflict in the Middle East. Both sides are taking provocative actions here. What the Iranians did with the
British tanker isn't helpful. Let's sit down and let's talk about this. We can resolve this.
GORANI: Right. But the Iranians are saying, you know, we're not going to talk to you. Essentially, the U.S. walked away from this nuclear deal,
were unable to do business, even with Europeans who want to honor it. This is the United States bullying us. What do you say then to Iran to convince
it to sit down for talks? Because the U.S. president seems to say he's opened to that idea.
BERA: Yes. So you have the president of the United States who says he's open to talks. This is the -- I was in Europe last week. And this is
where our E.U. counterparts, or German counterparts, or Russian counterparts, really can take the lead and step up, and say look, we want
to preserve this deal, we want to move forward. I don't know if President Trump re-enters the Iran nuclear deal.
But for a lot of us, once we are in it, we thought we ought to just enforce that deal.
GORANI: But Congressman, Europe is doing that. I mean, they're meeting with the Iranian foreign ministers, they're trying to give it some sort of
economic, you know, lifeline here. But because of the U.S. and threatening sanctions on any companies, whether the European or American doing business
with Iran, they're having a really hard time of it. How do you fix that?
BERA: Look, they are and we know the sanctions are having a biding effect in Iran. So if the Iranians are willing to come to the table, you know
what? Maybe the United States is willing to lift some of these secondary sanctions.
We already know that China is going around the secondary sanctions and continue to import oil. We've heard that President Trump may give China
some relief here. Well, if he's willing to do that, he may be willing to engage in other negotiations.
GORANI: Let me ask you about the House voting to prevent the U.S. president from launching a war against Iran without House approval? Is
that a concern of yours that the U.S. president could just sort of launch a military offensive on Iran without getting the consent of Congress?
BERA: Just a couple hours ago, we went ahead and passed that bill, now the Senate's got to take it up. But I think in a bipartisan way, Democrats and
Republicans do have some concern that the president may try to use authorizations to take us to war. We don't think the president has that
authorizations, only Congress has that authorization.
GORANI: Let me just pivot quickly, because this is making news internationally. And you were in Europe, so you must know this. But these
raids that are being planned and the conditions of the detention facilities on the border, migrants trying to claim asylum and crossover have made big
news internationally, because people have been pretty alarmed by the conditions that have been described.
[14:35:07] Now, the U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, is currently on the ground in Texas, he's going to be visiting these facilities. What do you
think the administration should be doing at this stage with regards to these facilities?
BERA: I hope Vice President Pence, if he does visit the facilities, sees the horrific conditions. And as values as Americans, these are human
beings, mothers, daughters, fathers, children. We need to treat them in a humane compassionate way.
And then, you know, just having wholesale ICE raids over the weekend sends shivers throughout the entire community. I don't believe that is who we
are as the United States. Yes, I'm a son of immigrants. Yes, they did come legally. But these are folks that are seeking that American dream.
It's not the message that we want to send to the world. So, yes, we have to have the rule of law. We can't accept everyone, but let's understand
that these are human beings.
GORANI: These raids, I mean, we're talking here about some mass, mass arrests in big American cities. What are your thoughts about just of the
way this is being handled?
BERA: Well, I think this falls hand in hand with the president, and he likes that the affix -- he likes that pomp that's out there. And in this
particular scenario, he could handle this in a quieter way if these are criminals.
But by announcing it, by doing in such a public way, again, it sends the wrong message to the community.
GORANI: Congressman Ami Bera, thanks you very much for joining us to talk Iran and also these upcoming raids, as well, which many people around the
world are talking about. Thanks for joining us. Really appreciate your time today.
BERA: Hala, than you for having me on.
GORANI: Thank you.
Brazil's president is considering appointing one of his five sons to be the country's next ambassador to the United States. Eduardo Bolsonaro is
currently a congressman in Brazil. But he's father, Jair Bolsonaro says he could be perfect for the job. Brazil has been without an ambassador in
Washington since April.
The elder Bolsonaro has said he wants to swap out at least dozen ambassadors in key countries to revamp Brazil's image abroad and he
believes his own son would be the right man for the job.
You might be surprised to hear that a majority of U.S. veterans believe the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting. That's according to
new polling by the Pew Research Center. The survey found that 64 percent of veterans don't think the Iraq invasion was worth it, considering the
costs versus the benefits to the U.S.
And the general public seems to agree, 62 percent, overall, of Americans say the same thing. When it comes to Afghanistan, 58 percent of veterans
doubt the value of the war there, 59 percent of the general public say that that war was not worth fighting.
GORANI: For the third time this year, music star R. Kelly is in legal trouble over alleged sex crimes with underage girls. Prosecutors unsealed
two new indictments against the R and B singer Friday in two different states.
Kelly is facing more than a dozen federal charges including making and sharing child pornography, kidnapping, and trafficking underage girls for
prostitution. The indictment say the crimes go back decades. Kelly is being held in Chicago.
Brynn Gingras joins me now from New York where prosecutors brought some of the charges.
How is this different from the previous cases against R. Kelly?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala. I mean, this is a big difference. Right up until now R. Kelly has faced state charges and until
last night when federal authorities arrested him while he was walking his dog. These federal charges now handed down.
Again, two different jurisdictions. We have the case here in New York and we have the case in Illinois. Eighteen federal charges in total. Let me
quickly walk you through each one. In New York, it's five separate charges, including racketeering and the main act, which is essentially
The prosecutors here in New York alleged essentially that R. Kelly had an entire enterprise, a corporation of people, including managers, bodyguards,
personal assistants, who would help him recruit victims, women who are really girls, underage, when they went to concerts and several different
states and different countries. And basically, he would get the phone numbers of these girls and he would sexually abuse them.
I want to give you just a few more details because this indictment is just so shocking. What we've somewhat heard through that documentary "Surviving
R. Kelly," but in the court documents it says that he -- these girls weren't allowed to leave rooms without R. Kelly's permission. They were
only instructed to only wear baggy clothing. They couldn't look any other men. They had to keep their head down, they were to call R. Kelly "daddy."
I mean, just a horrible, horrible allegations in that indictment.
Then we go to indictment that was unsealed in Illinois, that has 13 federal charges, and essentially, child pornography charges and obstruction of
justice charges. And those really deal with in crux those videos that we have heard about R. Kelly making those ex tapes with girls who were
[14:40:12] And they essentially say that even with some of those videos leaked, R. Kelly and two other former employees who are also named at this
indictment and are also charged, would do whatever they could to cover up the crimes whether it means to paying off victims, paying off their
families, giving them cars, using tactics such as blackmail and physical abuse.
So just incredible accusations that we, again, have heard before, but it's on a different level now because it's federal cases in two different
R. Kelly, as you've said, he is behind bars right now in Illinois. He has an extradition hearing coming up. It's possible he will be brought to New
York to face those charges first, but it's unclear. But right now, he's behind bars, and I think a lot of people are happy about that.
GORANI: Brynn Gingras, thanks very much.
Moving now to Africa, and new hope for the victims of an ongoing Ebola outbreak. It is the second worst outbreak ever seen. It's covered more
than 1,600 people so far. Hasn't made the news as much for some reason. There was a lot more going on. Because the first time around thousands
died, and really, it was a just kind of worldwide panic, but this time it's just been a quieter story, but still very deadly.
As Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports, the U.S. is testing new experimental drugs that could give victims a fighting chance take a look.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's another step forward in the battle to contain the deadly Ebola virus in the
Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This one happening at the Atlanta- based Center for Disease Control and Prevention where two experimental treatments were tested in a lab for the first time.
Dr. Lauren McMullan was the lead on the study.
LAURA MCMULLAN, CDC MICROBIOLOGIST: So we use that sequence information of the current Ebola virus strain and we were able to reconstruct the virus in
the lab. We were able to use that virus strain to test these investigational therapeutic and diagnostic tests. Make sure that they are
going to be accurate and sensitive against the current (INAUDIBLE) strain.
GUPTA: The treatments involved Remdesivir and ZMapp were used against the Makona strain of Ebola that killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa
between 2014 and 2016.
In the eastern DRC, the Ituri strain is dominant and has killed more than 1,600 people, according to the World Health Organization. Remdesivir and
ZMapp, the treatments used to fight Makona strain have been offered on a voluntary clinical trial basis in the DRC and findings from of the CDC
study, show that they are effective in laboratory tests.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our rule was to test the effectiveness of these drugs in the laboratory.
MCMULLAN: We still need to have continued research to ensure that we can give the best possible drugs to an Ebola patient. So we want to encourage
the continued development of these, as well as the additional development of diagnostic tests that can be used in the field.
GUPTA: While the CDC findings are for promise for the DRC, there are other factors complicating the efforts to contain the deadly virus. The outbreak
is in the middle of a war zone. Treatment and prevention are hampered by attacks on health workers. Factional and ethnic fighting also prevent
health workers from reaching thousands of people who may be exposed to the virus.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.
GORANI: All right. Still to come tonight. Remember this moment? CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, refusing to back down when
questioning the U.S. president on his rhetoric over immigration. We speak to Jim about his new book of "The Enemy of the People." We'll be right
[14:45:00] GORANI: Well, a vibrant free press is critical to democracy, the ability, the duty of journalists to hold those in power accountable, to
the people they serve and that's all over the world.
But as we've seen over and over again, U.S. President Donald Trump has a highly contentious relationship with the media, blasting stories he doesn't
like as fake news and also blasting reporters he doesn't like as the enemy of the people.
Our own chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, has had some high- profiled clashes with the leader of the free world. Remember this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, if I may ask you another question --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's enough, that's enough, that's enough, that's enough.
ACOSTA: Pardon me, ma'am, I'm -- Mr. President --
TRUMP: That's enough. Peter, let's go.
ACOSTA: -- if I may ask on the Russia investigation, are you concerned that you may --
TRUMP: I'm not concerned of anything with the Russian investigation because it's a hoax. That's enough. Put down the mic.
ACOSTA: Mr. President, are you worried about indictments coming down in this investigation?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, Jim Acosta has taken one of Trump's favorite phrases and used for his own book, about what he calls the dangerous time to tell the
truth in America, "The Enemy of the People" is out on store shelves. It's available in the U.K. and it is already in New York Times bestseller, and
Jim joins us now live from Washington.
It's available in the U.K. Other European countries or Middle Eastern countries, what's the plan for the book there?
ACOSTA: Yes, Hala, it's going to be for sale in Italy, France, Spain, across Latin America, Brazil. It's making the rounds, so I'm very happy
GORANI: So let me ask you, when you wrote this book, what did you learn about this White House? Because you obviously -- you interviewed people
like Kellyanne Conway on the record and others. What did you learn about how this White House handles and deals with the press that you didn't know
when you were just reporting on the administration?
ACOSTA: It's a great question. I learned a couple of things. And one is -- and this came from my interview with Kellyanne Conway. She sat down
with me for about an hour. Is that there are officials inside this administration who deeply disagree with some of the president's policy
Kellyanne Conway as a catholic, she did not agree with the family separations that were taking place down the border with Mexico. I was
surprised that she said that on the record. We hear so often from administration officials on background and without attribution and that
sort of thing. She said that on the record.
But the other thing I would point out, Hala, is just talking to a variety of sources inside the administration, people who have left, people who are
still on board, is now deeply exhausted some of these officials are.
I sat down with the senior White House official one afternoon, just outside the White House at a local eating establishment. We'll put it that way.
And he sat down and a seat across to me and said, "The president is insane." And I said, "What are you talking about?" I talked to this
person later on and said, "What are you talking about?" And he said, "This president just does not understand the confines of the constitution that
are placed on the president and it does frustrate people inside this administration at times."
GORANI: -- with reporters will be forever changed because of this. Because you've probably heard the 31, 32-minute impromptu news conference
the president gave today on a host - on a host of issues. And he called the New York Times the enemy of the people. And we barely bet an island.
I mean, it's just become so commonplace for him to use that very inflammatory description, that now it just seems like no one really -- I
mean, we care, but it's not causing outrage anymore.
ACOSTA: That's right, Hala. I think it's gotten to a point where it doesn't register a blip on the radar screen. And some of this has been
sanitized, and normalized, and accepted as the new normal here in Washington and around the world.
Let me take you back to the campaign during the 2016 campaign. I talked about this in the book. He referred to the press as the disgusting news
media, the dishonest news media and so on. He rolled that act into the oval office, called us fake news and the enemy of the people.
[14:50:05] But I'll tell you something, Hala, there was one press conference in February 2017, I write about in the book where the president
called me very fake news. And then after the press conference was over, Hope Hicks calls me and says, "Jim, I just want you to know that the
president thought you were very professional today." Hope Hicks, one of his top advisors at the time.
And she said, "The president says, Jim gets it." And I thought, my goodness, this is just an act. The problem, Hala, is that the act has
gotten out of his control and it's escalated in ways where now some of his own supporters, not all of them, but some of his supporters lash out to
those in ways that makes us feel threatened and it happens all time, not just to me but to my colleagues in the press all across Washington.
GORANI: I was going to ask you that. Do you feel unsafe?
ACOSTA: Well, I think we have a problem, Hala, where we need bodyguards to go to Trump rallies. Towards the end of the midterm elections cycle, I had
four different bodyguards coming with me to some of these Trump midterm rallies. That's just completely out of the norm in the United States as
you know. We shouldn't need bodyguards to go cover political rallies. But the reason why that happen is because the person who is caught sending a
pipe bomb to CNN and various democratic officials across the country had been targeting me on his Twitter account, sending death threats, saying
you're the enemy of America, you're next.
And when we found out about this, we had to ratchet security. It's not only the case for me, but for other networks, other news organizations, and
it's primarily because of the rhetoric that is used by the president, and we can stick our heads in the sand, and say, golly, you know, maybe this is
just an act and it'll be over within a couple of years.
We just can't -- I think put all of our stock in that. I think there is a real concern out there, and I have a real concern that journalists in this
country is going to be hurt or killed, and at that point, I think the United States of America has crossed a threshold. We join the list of
countries around the world where the press isn't safe.
GORANI: Yes. And, by the way, the term fake news is being used by dictators now around the world, autocrats, strong men as well, when they
describe reporters just trying to do their jobs.
I saw an interview you gave the BBC about your book. And they gave you a bit of a hard time. They essentially said, look, you're basically taking
Trump's bait here. He wants to kind of provoke you, you're playing into the game as well. How do you respond to that?
ACOSTA: Well, what I -- what I would like to say is that I think, perhaps, they fell for the Trump trap. The president wants to play divided and
conquer. He wants to play divide and conquer when it comes to various segments of the American people.
He also wants to play divide and conquer with the press. He wants us yelling at one another and second guessing each other and writing bad
things about each other in the newspaper and so on. That works to his advantage.
And so I don't mind answering those questions. It's fine. But my goodness, I think we've reached the point in this country, Hala, where we
have to raise questions as to what the president is saying almost every minute of every day. He's uttered some 10,000 false or misleading
statements since coming into office, according to the Washington Post, and that has made us fact checkers in real time.
And when that microphone became an issue at that press conference last year, it happened after I was trying to fact-check the president in real
time, something he doesn't like. And so, yes, people can say, well, you're going over board or you're taking things too far. But if you go back and
look at the transcript, he was interrupting me and I was trying to get my question across. And so sometimes, yes, we're on our own toughest critics.
But that's what makes us, I think, a very important facet of American life.
And really around the world, Hala, is that we're accountable to the people. We hold ourselves accountable. And I think that makes our business a
GORANI: Jim Acosta, thanks very much. "The Enemy of the People" is out in the U.K. and soon in other parts of Europe. Thanks very much for joining
ACOSTA: Thank you.
GORANI: And we'll be right back. Stay with us.
[14:55:39] GORANI: Some news just in from here in London. Roger Federer has done it again. He's reached his 12th Wimbledon final. He beat Rafael
Nadal in four sets. He'll now play Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final. Federer has already won Wimbledon, checks notes, eight times.
Chernobyl, the side of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986, which caused the deaths of thousands of people.
Well, it's getting a strange new life. Cyril Vanier explains how.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ground is contaminated.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST (voice-over): The site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster has already become a tourist attraction.
Now, Ukraine's president is giving the visitors an official thumbs-up. Volodymyr Zelensky is hoping to shift the focus from what some have labeled
dark tourism, and emphasize instead the sights environmental regeneration.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): You know, we must give this territory of Ukraine a new life. We have to turn our
problem into our advantage. Chernobyl is a unique place on the planet where nature revives after a global man-made disaster.
VANIER: Foreign diplomats were invited to the nuclear site this week to watch as the president inspected the new confinement shelter surrounding
what remains of Chernobyl's fourth reactor. It was largely destroyed in the 1986 explosion.
For more than two decades, Ukrainian authorities maintained an exclusion zone around the reactor before finally allowing tourism in 2011. Now, the
president says he wants to crack down on corrupt employees and show visitors the flora and fauna at the Chernobyl site.
ZELENSKY: We have to show this place to the world, to scientists, ecologists, historians, and tourists. Unfortunately, until now, the
exclusion zone is also a symbol of corruption in Ukraine. We will stop the bribes that security officials collect from tourists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm pleased to report that situation in Chernobyl is stable. In terms of radiation, I'm told it's the equivalent of a chest x-
VANIER: In reality, the recent HBO series about the disaster is likely to boost visitor numbers more than any presidential initiative. But Zelensky
is keen to give the region a more mainstream tourist appeal.
Cyril Vanier, Atlanta.
GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani. If it's your weekend, have a great one. "QUEST MEANS WEEKEND" is next.