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Trump To Congresswomen Go Back To Home Countries; Immigration Official: We're Executing Judges Orders; Iranian P.M.: Trump Administration Is Isolated Globally; Djokovic Beats Federer in Thrilling Final; England Defeats New Zealand in Nail-Biting Match; China Posts Slow Quarter GDP Growth Rate; Indonesia and Islamic Extremism; Interview with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia; Birthright versus J Street Israel Trips; Rare Look at Work on Fire- Ravaged Notre Dame. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 15, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The U.S. President fires off racist tweets aimed at four minority Congresswomen telling them to leave the U.S. and go back to where they came from.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: They came from the United States though. The Iranian President says he's ready to talk to the U.S. if sanctions are lifted as European nations warned a nuclear deal is on the brink of collapse.

VANIER: And a big sports day. Novak Djokovic claims his fifth Wimbledon title and England scores its first ever Cricket World Cup win. Thank you so much for joining us. We are alive from the CNN Center here in Atlanta, I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now. Our top story here, U.S. President Donald Trump taking aim at for minority Congresswomen with racist language. This on the same day his administration says it has begun raids targeting thousands of undocumented immigrants.

The President attacked the congresswoman in a series of tweets writing, "So interesting to see progressive Democratic Congresswomen who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe." He added that they should leave to go back to where they came from.

VANIER: Three of the four women he targeted were actually born in the U.S. and the fourth Ilhan Omar came to the States as a child and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Mr. President, the country I come from and the country we all swear to is the United States. But given how you've destroyed our border with inhumane camps all at a benefit to you and the Corps who profit off them, you are absolutely right about the corruption laid at your feet."

ALLEN: That from AOC and this from Ilhan Omar. She tweeted, you are stoking white nationalism because you're angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda. She quotes Robert F. Kennedy saying, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.

VANIER: Let's talk about all of this with Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. Larry, is there any other way to describe these tweets other than racist?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Not in my mind. And I think that's been the consensus except of course with the true believers, the Trump true believers. But how can you interpret it any other way? And he knows exactly what he's doing.

You know, people say well, he doesn't really believe that. I don't care whether he believes it or not, he said it and he's President of the United States now and it's racist. It's aimed at for women of color. The implication being that they weren't even American citizens. And in fact, three of them were born in America and the fourth became an American citizen which she was quite young. So it's outrageous and Cyril, he knows it works that's why he does it.

VANIER: Yes. You point out three of the four women that this was more than likely aimed at were born in the U.S. it could be more American based on where they were born. I mean Alexandria Ocacio- Cortes born in the Bronx, Ms. Pressley born in Cincinnati, Ms. Tlaib born in Detroit. You can't be more American than that.

SABATO: That's absolutely true. But you see, it makes no difference to Trump and I hate to say this but it's worked with his followers at least if Twitter is any indication. They don't care where they were born. They agree with the sentiment. And the sentiment clearly is designed to energize them early on just as he's energized them since day one for the election in 2020.

VANIER: I want to read to you part of Charles M. Blow's column in The New York Times following these tweets. And he says the central framing of this kind of thinking is that this is a white country founded and built by white men and destined to be maintained as a white country.

He goes on. For anyone to be accepted as truly American, they must assimilate and acquiesce to that narrative. You agree with that?

SABATO: I do and again, I would just suggest that the polls all the way along including the most recent ones released in the last couple of days show that it's working for Trump. Just as in 2016, he won again has large majorities among whites and particularly among white men, but also white women but white men a much larger league. It works. That's why he does it.

VANIER: So this is -- so this is where we are now, Larry. I remember very well in the first year of his presidency, and there were several instances and several things that were either said or tweeted or done by the president that caused everybody including ourselves to ask whether it was racist and whether the president was racist. And I remember the day you and I spoke after he characterized, he used

derogatory terms that I'm not going to repeat to characterize African countries. And I asked you, Larry, is the president racist? I remember your words. You said to me, I used to think he was racially insensitive but now I think the president is racist. That was a year ago, and here we are again today.

SABATO: Yes, I agree with myself, Cyril. I think I was right before and I'm right now and you're right now and no one can really interpret this any differently. Even if you add the political dimension to it, it still amounts to the same thing. It's encouraging racism and it's revealing something about himself that I think we've always suspected even during the campaign.

But as numb as we are to all this it is so manifestly obvious that I don't know how anyone can deny it.

VANIER: I want to run through some of the reactions, pull up some tweets. Let's start with Nancy Pelosi, but we have others. The House Speaker had this to say or write. She says, when RealDonaldTrump tells four American congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to make America great again has always been about making America white again.

So she's making the same point that Charles Blow was making. Then we have Joaquin Castro. He kept it short. He kept it simple. He said they're Americans, you're a bigot. All right, let's keep them coming.

We have congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. She's one of the people who was targeted. She says this, bold letters. "This is what racism looks like. We are what democracy looks like and we're not going anywhere."

We have one more this one from Congresswoman Bass of California. "Racist tweets -- racists tweet racist things. What we should be focused on right now though especially today is that racists also create and enforce racist policies. They're trying to deport people across Los Angeles as I type this. Stay focused. Know your rights."

Do you think this has any -- the timing if this has anything to do perhaps with the raids that were going on today or this is just you know the news just prompted the president to tweet this.

SABATO: I think it's a combination. Look, he does this every week. It's not like he leaves the immigration issue alone or doesn't connect it to broader views of race that he and his followers have. So this is just of a piece. And as I say, we've all become numb to it which is really dangerous.

No one should ever be numb to this. But we've been at it now for years. He does the same thing over and over and he believes it works and it has to this point.

VANIER: All right, Larry Sabato, I'm pretty sure we'll be talking about this again down the road. Thank you so much, Larry.

SABATO: Thank you, Cyril.

ALLEN: So now we have more on this rage that the Trump administration says are targeting undocumented immigrants across the country. Immigration officials say they're going after about 2,000 immigrants ordered by the courts to be removed from the country in nearly one dozen major U.S. cities.

VANIER: So far CNN hasn't been able to confirm any arrests. The New York Times reports that plans for the raids had to change. Instead of one large simultaneous sweep, they're doing smaller raids over the course of a week since news reports tipped off immigrant communities about what to expect.

ALLEN: Well, regardless of the timing, one immigration official says the U.S. gave these targeted immigrants a chance earlier this year to turn themselves in but they didn't. Here he is.


MATT ALBENCE, ACTING DIRECTOR, ICE: I will say that I think using the term raid does everybody a disservice. We are doing targeted enforcement actions against specific individuals who have had their day in immigration court and have been ordered removed by an immigration judge. We are merely executing those lawfully issued judge's orders.

We went above and beyond in this circumstance and gave these individuals back in February an opportunity to turn themselves in to arrange for an orderly process to be removed from the country. At this point, we have no choice but to go out and execute those lawfully issued removal orders from an immigration judge.


VANIER: Well, Atlanta was one of the cities where those raids were scheduled to take place. So CNN spoke with Atlanta's Democratic mayor. She strongly disagrees with the Trump administration's actions.


KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: This notion that these raids will somehow assist us is absolutely not true. We've not asked for the assistance of the federal government. The President has not spoken with me as a mayor nor anyone affiliated with the city to see if this will assist us with any crime issues that we are having. And it is creating chaos and anxiety.

ALLEN: CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Queens, New York with reaction to the raids. He spoke with a local politician there who says many of her constituents are frightened by the Trump administration's actions.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, pro-migrant groups across the country in full force educating migrants about their rights and here in Queens, New York is certainly no exception. We're the most culturally diverse places on the planet. Over the weekend we saw a large movement by these groups including small march to basically educate some of these migrants about their constitutional rights whether or not they have legal status to be in the country.

We did hear from both local and state officials including local Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz who represents this region who says that not only is this one of most culturally diverse places on the planet, but a large portion of the population here blacks legal status so she's essentially speaking for some of these communities here in Queens. Take a listen.


CATALINA CRUZ, ASSEMBLYWOMAN, NEW YORK 39TH DISTRICT: I got to tell you, I've been in this country for 26 years. I spent 13 as an undocumented immigrants and I can tell you that the fear that we're fearing -- that we're feeling now is heightened. It's heightened by the fact that we have a president whose emboldened the hatred.

I've gotten death threats. I've gotten calls to my office telling me to go back to my country. That has never happened before. We have a president that some buildings kind of behavior and people are scared. And we're here to tell them don't be because we're going to fight for you.


SANDOVAL: And finally Assemblywoman Cruz say that there is this prevailing fear across the country. Many members of the undocumented community afraid to go out particularly with this looming threat that they've seen. It's a threat that is much more significant under this administration versus previous ones.

Cruz says that she expects these calls into some of these legal assistance centers to continue well into the week. Reporting in Queens, New York, Polo Sandoval, back to you now.

VANIER: Iran's Foreign Minister says the United States is at risk of becoming a global pariah if they keep making decisions that benefit only themselves. Javad Zarif spoke to reporters on Sunday.


JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER, IRAN: The Trump Administration is isolated in the global community. We've seen that in the meetings of the Security Council, in the meetings of -- including in the meeting of the board of governors of the IAEA. All of them were called by the United States, all of them ended up condemning the policies unilateral policies of the United States.

So it is time for the United States to begin to return to the international consensus that we can only reach our goals through your multilateralism.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ALLEN: The Foreign Minister is now in New York for a U.N. meeting this week after having his visa personally approved by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This all comes as tensions between the two countries are getting worse. All those Zarif's visit could open the door for possible sideline talks.

VANIER: Earlier Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani says he's willing to hold talks with the U.S. but on one big condition.


HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): We are always ready for negotiations. At this very -- at this very hour, at this moment, we are ready for talks provided that you stop your act of aggression, stop your sanctions, and return to the negotiation table, and return to logic.


VANIER: So Mr. Rouhani says that because the Trump administration abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal last year, Iran is not in violation of it even though they are enriching more uranium at the moment. France, Germany, and the U.K. are warning that the deal is at risk of total collapse. They're urging the U.S. and Iran to come back to the negotiating table as soon as possible.

ALLEN: Coming next here, a big, a mega big sports weekend in London. At one event, a player wins his fifth title, at another a team celebrates its first. We'll be right back.


VANIER: Tennis star Novak Djokovic has added another Grand Slam title to his already impressive resume.

ALLEN: It took just about five hours for him to do that. The world number one earned his fifth Wimbledon trophy after outlasting Roger Federer in a thrilling match. He pulled off the win by saving two match points in the fifth set tiebreaker.

VANIER: So, Djokovic now has 16 major titles and that puts him in just four away from tying Federer's record on the men's side. Djokovic told CNN, yes, we spoke to him, he told CNN this championships is one of his favorites.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Novak, congratulations, was this the biggest win of your career, where does it rank in everything you have achieved?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, FIVE-TIME WIMBLEDON CHAMPION: Probably top two, physically most demanding match against Nadal in finals Australia 2012, and this was mentally most demanding because of the circumstances and Roger across the net was playing well, serving well, I had just difficult time to really serve and use match points up and serving.

And, you know, in those moments, you try to -- try to stay -- try to stay there, try to stay present and find that strength and self- belief, and in the end, managed to pull it out. And I am very, very happy and proud of the achievement today.

MACFARLANE: And exhausted?

DJOKOVIC: And exhausted as well, of course, thank you.


ALLEN: CNN sports analyst and USA Today columnist, Christine Brennan joins us now to talk about this epic win, Christine, hello to you.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Natalie, great to be with you.

ALLEN: Yes, same here, good to see you. We need a new word to describe this epic match, maybe a new word for gruelling, and a new word for stamina, longest men's final in the tournament's history at 4 hours, 57 minutes. The fifth set a long lasting two hours, two minutes, how will history recall this one?

BRENNAN: I think the word is exhilarating, Natalie.


BRENNAN: It is epic, absolutely. It is one for the history books. If you were watching it, if you were lucky enough to be there, my goodness, you'll be able to tell your grandchildren, great grandchildren. If you were even watching it, you may well talk about this.

Because not only was the tennis, sublime, it was just terrific, the back and forth, the tiebreakers, the history, the first time-ever of this said tiebreaker because it started this year at Wimbledon, but also the two men involved, two of the greatest of all time.

Roger Federer, potentially the greatest ever, I've covered him over in his career. I remember when he started. Here he is, almost 38 years old, and still on the top of his game. Plus, one of the great class acts in sports and even in our culture, as a role model, as a good person, as a classy -- first class guy all the way.

And Djokovic, who's never been as beloved as Federer, and yet, my goodness, he's won four of the last five Grand Slam men's championships.

So, on a roll the likes of which he's never quite been on, he's 32 years old, he's not a kid either. And because we know them so well, I think it makes it all the more fascinating that these two men, who've been around for quite some time, had one of these matches for the ages.

ALLEN: Absolutely, and Djokovic prevailed, of course, his fifth straight win over beloved champion and crowd favorite, Roger Federer. [01:20:01] Interesting after this five-hour match, Djokovic called it the most mentally, not physically, demanding match of his career.

BRENNAN: Yes. Well, because it's Federer -- as he said, it's because it's against Federer, and Federer is just -- it's a chess match out there. It can sound like a cliche, but it's their thinking their way through every point, every shot, Natalie, every shot there is, maybe three or four shots ahead in terms of where they want to put the ball, how they want to play each other.

The respect between these two men is extraordinary, as athletes, as competitors. And I think the key thing coming into this, as we look back now, is that while Federer probably had the better match. Federer played better overall. Djokovic played the best, when it mattered the most.

And there may well be no player in history who has been better at pressure moments, at pressure points in tennis than Djokovic, and he won all three of those tiebreakers, three sets of the five, went to tiebreakers, each one of those, won by Djokovic, including, by the way, he fought off two match points --

ALLEN: Right.

BRENNAN: -- in the fifth set, earlier, Roger Federer, on his serve, two match points to win this.


BRENNAN: And could he do it? I think that shows the mental toughness of Novak Djokovic.

ALLEN: Right. That was, probably certainly a turning point. And you mentioned it, the score of the fifth set, 13-12, it all ended in a tie breaker. What do you think about the new tiebreaker rule that puts -- stops these matches that go on forever?

BRENNAN: They might still be playing today, right now, this evening, early morning in England, they might still be playing. I'm being a little facetious, Natalie, but at some point, you have to decide it. And I know, in soccer, we've just been talking about the women's World Cup, penalty kicks can decide it sometimes, and people don't like that.

But you have to have a finish, you have to have a conclusion, and to me, this seems like the logical way to do it. Some of those matches that went on forever in Wimbledon, you just said enough is enough. And also, I think you have to respect today's fan and today's spectator, and the time constraints that people have.

And so, tennis was being smart, Wimbledon was being smart by instituting it, we saw it here. and I think it was a fair result. I do think that.

ALLEN: And, you know, side note, five hours is a long time to go without a bathroom break for anyone watching. Well, you know, you talk about the class of these two players and Federer, always a gracious player.

In his post-match speech, he talked about being 37, he's almost 38, and said he hoped he inspire others to keep pushing and not let age be a factor. And when Djokovic, who's 32, then spoke, he said, well, you just inspired me.

Well, you know, Serena got to the finals at age 37, other than Coco at 15, this tournament showcased older players. What does that represent?

BRENNAN: Well, it represents staying power, the ability, obviously, to stay fit.

What we are seeing in all sports, but especially in sports, individual sports, where it's just being the one athlete who can basically set their own fortunes male or female, to what their career would be, is the advancements in nutrition, the advancements in training, and being able to bounce back quickly from injury or just from a very, very difficult competitive day.

And so, the advancements here are extraordinary, we are at the best moment in our history, in terms of athletes having the knowledge, Natalie, to be able to get themselves ready quicker and, of course, we are hoping that's all without performance enhancing drugs because, of course, we have seen how they can help as well, and also, the scourge of those drugs.

But we're not talking about that here, because there are no allegations of any of that. We are talking about honest, clean, good work and very smart athletes, employing the best people in the world to keep them fit, to keep them in good shape and eating healthy, so that they can do this with their bodies.

And, of course, the great thing for fans, is it entertains us, and we are lucky to have their presence for another year, and another year after that, where in the past, these athletes would've probably long since retired.

ALLEN: Right. Someone said 40 is the new 30 for tennis, we'll see. Up next, U.S. Open. We'll be talking with you again, Christine Brennan, always a pleasure. Thank you.

BRENNAN: Natalie, thank you very much.

VANIER: Another major sporting event also held in London, the Cricket World Cup Final.

ALLEN: London's ground zero, isn't it? England defeated New Zealand in the match to win its first-ever championship, as CNN's Alex Thomas reports, it was a nail-biting final that made history.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: We have witnessed history here in an absorbing and nail-biting final, the saw crickets' first super over in a Cricket World Cup Final, the sport's equivalent of football's penalty shootout; it would've delighted World Cup organizers.

[01:25:04] England's jubilant after their first-ever Cricket World Cup triumph, but you have to feel sorry for New Zealand who couldn't be separated after both teams had their 50 overs, and even after each team had had its super over of 6 balls each.

In the end, England winning because they had scored more boundaries over the course of the match, what a contrast, but what an incredible history-making finale to this tournament that started back at the end of May.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outstanding, unbelievable, unbelievable afternoon. Amazing, amazing cricket, it couldn't have been more tensed, almost (INAUDIBLE) so it's really brilliant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Level of emotions has never been much more like a rollercoaster in all my life. We've gone from being nervous to winning the toss (INAUDIBLE) so, to thinking is there enough runs, probably not, thinking yes, good enough runs, and it wasn't enough.

Literally, we're one run short of winning the World Cup for the first time. So, great game, fair play to the English, they put up a good fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was amazing and I think England really deserved to win.

THOMAS: Ben Stokes was the player of the match, for his 84 not out that dragged England back into contention when the match seemed to be slipping out of their grasp, and he was also involved in a bizarre incident that arguably decided this game in England's favor, once the super overs were out of the way, and that was during the actual 50 overs.

He dived to avoid being run out, and the throw in from the outfield, collided (INAUDIBLE) when England scored six, from that particular ball, and ultimately, immense they were victorious, Alex Thomas, at Lord's Cricket Ground, for CNN.


VANIER: Still to come, troubling signs for China's economy as its trade war with the U.S. appears to be taking its toll. We'll have a live report on that when we come back.


[01:30:24] CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM here in Atlanta. I'm Cyril Vanier.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN HOST: I'm Natalie Allen here are our top stories.

VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump slammed for racist tweets aimed at that progressive Democratic congresswomen. He wrote that they should, quote, "Go back to the crime-infested places from which they came." He's believed to be referring to a group of first term congresswomen -- all of them women of color.

ALLEN: Tennis star Novak Djokovic has earned his fifth Wimbledon title beating Roger Federer in a thrilling final. It was close. The world number one saved (ph) two match points in the fifth set tie breaker to get the win.

VANIER: Meanwhile at the Cricket World Cup England defeated New Zealand to capture its first ever championship.

ALLEN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is ready to talk if the U.S. drops sanctions and returns to the negotiating table. In a televised speech Mr. Rouhani insisted Iran did not violate the 2015 nuclear deal because the U.S. abandoned it first. He also says Iran will not bow to U.S. acts of aggression.

VANIER: China's economy has posted its slowest quarterly growth in at least 27 years. The country's statistics bureau says GDP growth slowed to 6.2 percent in the second quarter, that is slightly down from the first quarter of this year.

ALLEN: For more on what this means let's bring in CNN Sherisse Pham. Hello to you -- Sherisse. No doubt signs of a deepening trade war with the U.S.

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: You're absolutely right -- Natalie. The U.S.-China trade war is having a huge impact on China's economy, but I will say that this was a number that was expected back in March. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned that growth could slow down to between 6 percent and 6.5 percent. So today's big number of 6.2 percent, that is is within range.

And that's probably also why we are seeing investors kind of take today's data in stride. Let's pull up a live view of the markets there. We can see here in Hong Kong that the market is trading mostly flat, up about a 10th of a percent. And Shanghai composite up there almost four-tenths of a percent. So really this was a number that had been expected.

And China, let's not forget, it's a planned economy so Beijing has already unleashed a number of stimulus measures to sort of juice the economy. That includes hundreds of billions of dollars of tax cuts to businesses just this year. As well as increasing infrastructure spending and a little bit of loosening of monetary policy.

But absolutely the trade war having a huge impact here. And if trade talks stall there are a couple more tools in Beijing's tool belt that they could tap into to juice the economy and that includes loosening up some of the requirements for banks to make it easier to lend to businesses so that could help a little bit more with investment and domestic spending, but analysts say, if there is no resolution in the future that we will not see the bottom of China's economy just yet.

ALLEN: You know, and I'd ask you, too, the growth rate reported by the government is falling only slightly, despite the fear of possible trade wars really slowing China's economy. Is there talk the government is overstating the growth rate?

PHAM: It's a good question -- Natalie. That is something that has been a concern in the past that China has sort of inflated numbers to paint a rosier picture than usual. That's not what analysts are saying now.

China seems to be on the level here, really trying to forecast what the growth numbers will be. And again they gave themselves a really big target range in March when Li Keqiang said we are going to come in at between 6 percent and 6.5 percent. If it falls below 6 percent, that's when analysts say alarm bells should be ringing.

ALLEN: All right. We appreciate it. Sherisse Pham for us from Hong Kong. Thanks so much.

VANIER: Back here in the U.S. now Barry has been downgraded to a tropical depression but not before leaving tens of thousands of people without power in Louisiana.

ALLEN: The storm is pushing slowly to the north after dumping heavy rain along the U.S. Gulf Coast and though the storm has weakened, forecasters warn it's slow pace could threaten millions with dangerous flooding.

VANIER: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us with the latest on this. Pedram -- what are you looking at?


You know, anytime we look at tropical systems, it's all about the slow motion disaster that comes with the rain fall. And this particular one really a unique setup because the sources in itself it's the southern portions of the state of Arkansas at this hour and the convection or the thunderstorm activity is far east and south away from center as you would expect for the tropical system.

[01:35:02] So certainly not an organized feature but regardless a lot of rain has come down and a lot more rainfall expected to fall inside the next couple of days. And notice several hundred millimeters offshore in this area indicated in the white -- that's top of the charts rainfall but that has been all just offshore.

So we're seeing about 200 to 300 millimeters on the immediate coast and the concern, of course, is this rainfall will continue on top of already saturated soil and also on top of an area that has seen the water levels across the rivers here at tremendous values inside the last couple of months.

So I'll show you this here -- as we go over the next few days expect additional thunderstorms. In fact, the National Weather Service has issued an 11 million -- excuse me -- flood watch and flood warnings for an area home to some 11 million people and the flood warnings extend farther toward the south where it is a little more densely populated.

But the area indicated in brown and orange, that is where all the moisture is and notice as we go in from Tuesday into Wednesday and eventually late week the system skirts off towards the east. The rainfall quickly tapers off.

So the story then becomes the water on the ground and of course the water that's coming down upstream across the Mississippi Valley, Mississippi River Valley -- all of that will eventually want to work its way downstream and exit into the Gulf of Mexico.

So the areas of concern remain towards this region and as we see heavier rainfall work its way to the north, we'll watch all of that water make its way further down straight towards this upcoming week.

So this potentially could be a story that will continue for the folks here for another several weeks -- guys.

ALLEN: Several weeks. All right. Pedram -- thanks.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

ALLEN: Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country and it is waging a fight against Islamic extremism. Coming up here, our in- depth interview with the country's president on how he plans to combat this growing threat.

VANIER: Plus why a rite of passage for many American Jews has become a source of controversy. Stay with us.


ALLEN: Welcome back.

Indonesia's recently reelected president, Joko Widodo is laying out his plans for the future but he's facing criticism for the contentious election period and for his choice of political allies this time around.

VANIER: Some are afraid that his news vice has goals that could imperil the future of the world's most populous Muslim country.

Anna Coren spoke to President Widodo exclusively. She joins us from Jakarta.

Anna -- we're really looking forward to seeing the interview. Tells us shy you wanted a sit down with the president and what you wanted to ask him.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Cyril -- this was his first international TV interview since being reelected back in April. We obviously wanted to discuss his ambitious plans for his second and final term in office, obviously covering the economy, the reforms that he wants and needs to bring about.

But we also spoke about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in his country. You will remember those violent and deadly crashes that erupted after the election results here on the streets of Jakarta. [01:40:03] Many of those protestors were hard-liners, Islamic fundamentalists, who oppose Jokowi as he is affectionately known here in Indonesia. The Indonesian president -- they opposed Jokowi's moderate take on Islam. But this is a moderate Muslim nation.

It's a country of 260 million people 88 percent of the population is Muslim and it celebrates its tolerance. That is what he is known to the world body. But we have certainly seen the rise in Islamic fundamentalism over the years. And there have been critics who believe that Jokowi has aligned himself with hard-liners over the past few years to ensure his reelection.

Take a listen.


COREN: Some commentators believe that you have been compromises. To stay in power they say that you cozied-up to the Islamic hard-liners, and to the military generals. Is this the reality of doing business in Indonesia?

JOKO WIDODO, PRESIDENT OF INDONESIA (through translator:; No, not at all, we would like to work with all elements of society. e would like to work with everyone to develop this country. but not with those who want to ruin this country in terms of its ideology and developing our economy. there is no compromise for me.

COREN: You chose Ma'ruf Amin, a Muslim cleric to be your running mate. This is a man who believes in Sharia, Islamic law; that homosexuality should be criminalized.

You're a leader who stands for tolerance, for moderate Islam. Considering you come from such, you know, different viewpoints, how can you work together?

WIDODO: Ma'Ruf Amin is a moderate Muslim because he is from Nahdlatul Ulama (ph). It's a moderate Islamic organization, the biggest one in Indonesia. I have no doubt about that. I have a strong faith in that.

COREN: So do you think he has changed his views overtime?

WIDODO: No, no. He has been a moderate Muslim for some time and he is not going to change his position.

COREN: I guess the concern from some of your moderate supporters is that you now owe you're vice president and that he will somehow influence your decisions. What would you say to those people?

WIDODO: I still believe I'm not going to change, I will not change from what I believe.

COREN: The election was extremely divisive. Your opponent Prabowo Suianto, a former military general, the courted the religious right. He also refused to accept the results and what ensued were violence and deadly clashes on the streets. How do you begin to heal that deep rift in society?

WIDODO: I think the campaign period was too long, eight months that is very long and tiring. And during that period there were hoaxes, fake news and it influence the mind of the people.

So after the election following the decision of the constitutional court we now have to restore the situation and work together to build this country.


COREN: Well that was President Joko Widodo discussing the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. He doesn't see it as a threat here in Indonesia. He believes those hard-liners only make up some 4 percent of the population.

But they certainly caused havoc during the election. On social media he was accused of being not Islamic enough during the election campaign so much as being a quasi-Christian (ph).

These were those reports of fake news that the President was alluding to. But Cyril -- I can tell you that we went to a mosque with the President for Friday prayers last week and he was warmly embraced. He is loved by his supporters, by the people because he is considered a man of the people.

This is a president who hasn't come from the elite, the military, of politics or religious, this is a man who has come from the slums to be the president of Indonesia -- Cyril.

VANIER: Anna Coren -- congratulations on securing the exclusive interview. It's really interesting to hear Mr. Widodo's answers especially as regards the dynamic between him and his vice president. Anna Coren -- thank you.

ALLEN: Over the past two decades a non-profit group called Birthright has sponsored free trips to Israel for young Jewish people living across around the world. The trip has become a rite of passage for many American Jews.

[01:44:56] VANIER: But they've also been criticized for only showing one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ignoring the occupation. As a result there is now another group called J Street offering an alternative experience.

Our Oren Liebermann reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is one of our street bomb shelters.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The visit to a bomb shelter on the Gaza borders gives these young American Jews a sense of what it's like living under the threat of rocket and mortar fire.

But what makes this trip different is the other stops. The 30 college students on this first of its kind tour visited East Jerusalem in the West Bank, learning about Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

This trip is an alternative to the traditional one Birthright Israel offers. The non profit sends young Jews to Israel for free to build a connection through their heritage and to the Holy Land.

What is your take on seeing the other side?

JOE PERLEV, TOUR GUIDE: UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first take I would say is my major take which is that I am pro Israeli, pro Palestinian, pro peace. And I say that over time because one can't be just pro Israeli.

You know, the struggle here with the Palestinian people, the struggle which in order to be resolved demands people sitting down, negotiating, deliberating and discussing. That is what it's all about.

LIEBERMANN: Over the past two decades Birthright has brought more than 700,000 young Jews to Israel from all over the world. The trips have been criticized for only showing one side of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and ignoring the occupation.

In a statement to CNN Birthright said, "We believe in the power and importance of experiencing Israel firsthand and understand there are many organizations that provide the opportunity to connect the Jewish diaspora to Israel.

For those young Jewish men and women who want to focus most of their attention on the conflict, there are trips which may be well-suited to their interests either after or in lieu of a Birthright Israel trip.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a real opportunity for us to listen and learn and to take a stand.

LIEBERMANN: Last summer some walked off their Birthright trips demanding to hear from Palestinians and to learn about the occupation in protests organized by progressive American Jewish groups if not now .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys come as close, everybody come close to me.

LIEBERMANN: J Street, another progressive organization based in the U.S. has organized an alternative trip that shows two sides of one conflict.

ZACHARY SPITZ, STUDENT BOARD MEMBER J STREET: I think building a connection to Israel is important. It should be something that the Jewish community in America does. But I think, you know, as it works right now it's a shallow connection. It's a connection based on treating Israel like a Jewish Disneyland.

LIEBERMANN: On J Street's 10-day trips, students were encouraged to ask difficult questions about Israel, challenging what they're told and what they know. CHANNAH POWELL, J STREET PARTICIPATN: Their education around Israel

that has been provided by Birthright in our (INAUDIBLE) and our communities have felt somewhat dishonest or one-sided for our whole lives and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to get to be on the ground and talk to people and hear their stories that are not just conservative Zionist narratives.

LIEBERMANN: Channah Powell came on a pro Israel tour before she started college. At the time she was determined to move to Israel and join the army. But as she learned about the region and the conflict her views on Israel and the conflict have become more complex.

Instead of fighting in the army now she says she wants to fight for human rights especially the Palestinians and that she says has struck (ph) her Jewish faith.

POWELL: I feel like this trip has been all about being Jewish in so many ways. The people on this trip on just like have been asking so many intellectual questions and we're constantly talking and thinking together. And like to me that is like what is essential to Judaism.

LIEBERMANN: This short trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories is so far a proof of concept based on the idea that a more about an in-depth journey through the land for young American Jews can build an even stronger connection.

Oren Liebermann, CNN -- on the Gaza border.


ALLEN: Coming up here, work is moving ahead on restoring Notre Dame after the devastating fire three months ago. We will have an update on the progress for you.


VANIER: France aims to restore Notre Dame to its former glory three months after a fire ravaged parts of the famed cathedral.

CNN is getting a rare look at what has been accomplished since then.

ALLEN: Sounds like quite the undertaking. Our Jim Bittermann tells us if reconstruction is possible within five years as many hope.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tourists still make their way to Notre Dame and Paris but these days their holiday snapshots might look like they visited a construction site. Whether from an overabundance of caution or because those overseeing Notre Dame's rise from the ashes have never dealt with anything quite like this before, the worksite is a high security zone.

Few are let in. And given the high concentration of lead from the melted roof all are required to wear special protective jumpsuits. On the roof, a gaping hole where the fire burned most fiercely three months ago.

The lead and other debris still litter the parts of the vaulted ceiling which did not give way leading to worries the extra weight could still bring down parts of the building.

For the moment, the chief architect is concerned about shoring up the flying buttresses which support the walls and vaulted ceilings. Huge precisely engineered wooden braces have been put in place but needs the ancient stonework to prevent it from shifting. No one is talking about rebuilding just yet.

In fact it the restoration of Notre Dame has not yet started. It could be another nine months or more before that gets under way, right now, the chief architect says the building is in such fragile condition it could still possibly collapse. And so work proceeds very slowly. Debris still remains in this central nave area of the Cathedral.

The engineer on site says "Studies need to be made when the walls of Notre Dame are thoroughly dried out to determine how much weight they can bear. Still he believes President Macron's 2024 deadline for rebuilding Notre Dame is possible.

JEAN-MICHEL BUILMENT, PROJECT ENGINEER: I think by mobilizing everybody and BY really committing large teams and major companies it is doable. It is absolutely doable but we must not waste time.

[08:55:02] BITTERMANN: Meanwhile the treasures of Notre Dame like the religious relics which were rescued during and after the fireworks see are safely stored away, many at the Louvre Museum. The stained glass windows are gone, taken away for cleaning and protection".

The cultural ministry's conservator on the project says the Cathedral's paintings survived surprisingly well.

MARIE HELENE DIDIER, COMMANDER, FRENCH MINISTER OF CULTURE (through translator): What reassured us when we made a through inspection we saw the masterpiece's were all tact.

we were delighted especially compared to with the state of the building.

BITTERMANN: So given the state of the building, Notre Damn's rescue is cautious is slow. The cultural conservator says it's like working on a archeological day.

Indeed -- every thing -- burnt timber are scorched down. Everything brought out of the cathedral. It's marked with a grid number to indicate where it was found.

Even the conservators aren't sure where it will all end up. But religious, cultural and historical point out view.

They are part of a monumental project unlike any of this (INAUDIBLE).

Jim Bittermann -- CNN, Paris. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: And that does it for us this hour. Thank you so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. More news next with Paula Newton and George Howell. See you later.