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Congresswomen Fire Back at Trump's Racist Remarks; U.S. Enacts New Rule to Drastically Limit Asylum Claims; South Asia's Monsoons Leave More than 100 Dead. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 16, 2019 - 02:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The targets of President Trump's latest tweet storm are firing back, four Democratic congresswoman tell the president, they will not stand for his racist comments.

Plus a CNN exclusive on how WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange turned one room in the Ecuadorian embassy in London into a command center for meddling in the U.S. election.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prime Day is now Amazon's biggest sales event of the year, bigger than Black Friday, but this year it is not just about the many items getting shipped out of centers like this.


NEWTON (voice-over): That's right, this year many Amazon workers are going on strike, right in the middle of the company's massive Prime Day event.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world, I'm Paula Newton and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


NEWTON: The U.S. House of Representatives has drawn up a resolution condemning Donald Trump's racist attacks against four Democratic congresswoman. The president's targets, all women of color, are fighting back, rejecting his suggestion that they hate America and should go back where they came from.

They say they disagree with the president's policies, especially the treatment of migrants coming to the U.S., and they are working to make the country a better place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): And so the first note that I want to tell children across this country is that, no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you. And it belongs to everyone. And today, that notion, that very notion was challenged. This weekend that very notion was challenged.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI), MAJORITY MEMBER, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM: As we all know, the recent tweets and words from the president are simply a continuation of his racist and xenophobic playbook.

We cannot allow these hateful actions by the president to distract us from the critical work to hold this administration accountable to the inhumane conditions at the border that is separating children from their loved ones and caging them up in illegal horrific conditions.

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): He is launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States of House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color. This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it's happening on national TV and now it's reached the White House garden.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA), MAJORITY MEMBER, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM: I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait. This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people.


NEWTON: Now President Trump was back on Twitter during the congresswoman's news conference, tweeting, "The Dems are trying to distance themselves from the four progressives but now they are forced to embrace them. That means they are endorsing socialism, hate of Israel and the USA. Not good for the Democrats."

CNN's Jim Acosta has more now, from the White House.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump is defending his racist attacks on Twitter, telling reporters he's not concerned that his tweets, aimed at four Democratic women of color in Congress, may appeal to white nationalists.

TRUMP: It doesn't concern me because many people agree with me and all I'm saying -- they want to leave, they can leave. Now it doesn't say leave forever. It says leave.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Referring to congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, the president tweeted that they can go back to where they came from.

But three of them were born in the U.S. The fourth, Omar, came here as a child and became a citizen. There were no apologies from Mr. Trump as he took his incendiary rhetoric one step further, telling the women they can leave the country.


TRUMP: If you hate our country, if you're not happy here, you can leave. And that is what I say all the time. That is what I said in a tweet, which I guess some people think is controversial.

A lot of people love it, by the way. A lot of people love it. But if you're not happy in the U.S., if you're complaining all the time, very simply, can you leave. You can leave right now. Come back if you want. Don't come back. It's OK, too. But if you're not happy, you can leave.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president also fired back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who tweeted that the slogan "make America great again" has always been about making America white again.

TRUMP: Well, that is just a very racist statement, somebody that would say that. So Speaker Pelosi said make America white again, let me tell you, that is a very racist -- that is a very racist statement. I'm surprised she would say that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But the president's race-baiting rhetoric has been a cornerstone of his rise in American politics, going back to his birther attacks on Barack Obama.

TRUMP: People are trying to figure out --


TRUMP: -- why isn't he giving his birth certificate. It's not a birth certificate.

ACOSTA (voice-over): That is racist: Obama was born in Hawaii.

Then there were his comments about immigrants crossing the Mexican border as he launched his campaign.

TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

ACOSTA (voice-over): That is racist, too. Then there was his equivocating over white nationalists and neo-Nazis spreading violence in Charlottesville.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest --

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. They didn't put themselves down as neo-Nazis. And you had some very bad people in that group but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Democrats say it is all part of a pattern.

JULIAN CASTRO (D-TX), FORMER HUD SECRETARY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody knows that the president acts like a white supremacist, he is a racist, he's made that clear on so many different occasions.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Top administration officials are hardly eager to answer for the president's racist tweets.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: What I already said is I think the president clarified his comment. I understand what the president's comment is. I'm not concerned by the president's comment and, again, that is the last comment I'm going to make on this issue.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Yet the president still has plenty of allies inside the GOP backing him up.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own country. They're anti-Semitic. They're anti-America.


ACOSTA: White House officials are more than willing to defend the president in private. A senior White House official recently told me the president was not a racist but when asked if that comment could be stated on the record, the official declined -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


NEWTON: Senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins me here, he's also senior editor at "The Atlantic."

Ron, gone are the days that we could expect any kind of contrition from the president or any kind of reflection but instead what we got today was really interesting in the sense that he said, you know what?

A lot of people agree with me. And I want to talk to you about that, because while I have heard a lot from people in terms of the president doesn't believe in diversity, the president is racist, the president is a bigot, at the end of the day, you tell me what you think.

Is this not a question of the fact that he is tapping into the voter base that thinks exactly as he does?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: He is tapping into a voter base that things exactly as he does. But he is uttering remarks that are racist and that are bigoted that probably haven't been uttered by a president since Andrew Johnson in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, by any national figure in America since George Wallace.

The challenge that he faces is the sentiment that he is expressing, are almost certainly not acceptable to a majority of Americans.


NEWTON: But let me stop you there, Ron, because it's a good idea to remind people about what happened in 2016 because we had lots of people write lots of inches of columns about the fact that Trump could never win with this, because he just wouldn't appeal to the independents. Guess what, the electoral college got him up there. And he won.


BROWNSTEIN: And that's his vision, this has never been a presidency about trying to court a majority of the American public. This has been about holding a passionate base that he thinks will allow him to squeeze out an electoral college victory without winning a majority of the popular vote.

He's the only president in the history to go this far in his presidency without getting majority support. This is another expression of that belief.

But it is an enormous gamble, because what it means is that he is consistently, through his presidency, not only through these comments but through his policy like border separation and the border wall and the census question on citizenship and the ICE raids that he touted, he is trying to draw the line in the electorate around a different access, an access of, are you comfortable with the demographic and social changes we are remaking in America in the 20th century or do you view those as a threat to you?

And in doing that, he is consciously putting the Republican Party in a position where it is treating growing constituencies, like young people, minorities, college educated white voters and people who live in big metro areas and are U.S., for constituencies that are shrinking. Older voters, blue collar voters, a non urban voters and trying to make up the difference by squeezing bigger margins out of shrinking groups.

That is the core bet of that of Trump's political calculation, it is the bet that the Republican parties accepting and no one is saying it can't work in 2020, I agree with you, he may be able to squeeze out another electoral college victory.

But it is really drawing to an inside straight as the country continues to diversify. Don't forget, every four years, the non college whites at the center of his electoral coalition shrink by --


BROWNSTEIN: -- 2 points of a share of the national electorate and minorities and college whites, who are the most resistant to those kind of talks in the presidency grow by 2 points. So the treadmill, the angle on the treadmill gets turned up a little higher in 2020, than 2016, can you make it work?

Sure. But the latest polling, he's trailing Joe Biden by 10 points at a time where unemployment is under 4 percent.

NEWTON: Yes that is incredible when you put it that way and yet listen, the results of 2016 were incredible in their own way, when you consider how far Hillary Clinton went in terms of winning the popular vote.

Let's talk about the reaction today, so we have the reaction within the Trump cabinet -- or I would say lack of reaction. I want you to listen to Marc Short, who's chief of staff for Mike Pence.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the president's tweets were racist?

MARC SHORT, PENCE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think that since returning to the White House, one of the greatest pleasures that I've had is joining the vice president on Independence Day when he's swearing 50 new naturalized citizens.

And I wish there had been more of you guys president for those ceremonies on the National Archives. He was drawing that day by cabinet member in this administration, who came to the United States as a young child, unable to speak English, learning English and became a naturalized citizen. She still serves in our cabinet, Elaine Chao.

I don't think the president intended to be racist, I think he's tried to point out the fact that since elected it's had to find anything Ilhan Omar said that actually supports the United States of America.


NEWTON: You're not going to get me started on this comment, I'm going to let you take it over. Because, my God, glaring there what a member of the inner circle there had to say about Trump's behavior.

BROWNSTEIN: Sure and, of course, today Trump's kind of escalated because he kind of married George Wallace with Joe McCarthy, essentially following Lindsey Graham this morning, who's said, these four Democrats are communists who are anti American and hate our own country.

Pretty nimble minuet for a president who was having a bromance with the leader of Russia and winking at his interference in American elections, to accuse someone who disagrees with him of being a communist.

Can you imagine, for listeners around the world, a CEO of any major company, in any country, telling a prominent internal critic of his policies that they should go back to their home country because they disagree with him?

How long could that CEO survive before a board of directors?

And yet we have Republicans kind of twisting themselves into pretzels, not all of them, a handful, a trickle have come out and said this is racist and xenophobic, to try to explain away.

And it just underscores the extent to which the GOP has already moved in a Trumpian direction. Only about 10 percent of the House Republicans represent districts where immigrants equal or exceed their share of the rest of the population. Less than 20 percent hold seats where minorities equal or exceed the share of the national population, there are only eight Republican senators out of the 40 from the 20 states that have the highest share of immigrants, in many ways the Republican Party is now barricaded off in the parts of America that are least touched by and most hostile to demographic change in general and immigration in particular.

And that is another reason why you are not hearing much. In many ways, most, many of the Republicans are appealing to the very same constituencies that Trump is hoping to mobilize with this rhetoric and the policies that we discussed.

NEWTON: And the fact is they do believe it is a winning strategy for 2020 and that is why we are going to hear so much more of, it Ron, thanks so much I really appreciated.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

NEWTON: Demonstrators across the U.S. are protesting Trump administration policies targeting undocumented immigrants.

In New York, dozens of pro immigrant rights activists were arrested for blocking traffic in Manhattan. And right here in Atlanta, more than 100 protesters gathered outside an Immigration Customs and Enforcement field office. Officials say they are going after about 2,000 migrants ordered by the courts to be removed from the United States.

Amid the outrage, Mr. Trump says the raids have already been in his words, very successful. But immigrants rights groups in the meantime say there have actually been few signs that they are even underway.

This comes as the Trump administration is enacting in new rule that will drastically limit Central American migrants from claiming asylum in the United States. The rule requires migrants who have lived in or travel through a third country on the way to the U.S., to first to seek asylum in that country.

You will remember this was also very controversial in Europe and that means that most migrants passing through Mexico will now be blocked. Nick Paton Walsh has more from Mexico City.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Trump administration has done all it can to make the journey practically of Central Americans --


WALSH: -- getting to the United States as difficult as possible. But this is a legal move to potentially make that journey entirely pointless.

What the Trump administration will do on Tuesday, is publish in the Federal Register a new rule that basically says, if you travel through a country to get to the U.S.-Mexico border, it is in that country that Central Americans should be requesting asylum.

It moves to invalidate them from getting requests for asylum in the United States. That will face obviously legal challenges, certainly, and it may get knocked down or it may certainly slow the passage of people trying to get into the U.S., because Mexico's foreign minister, a reaction, saying this will not affect Mexicans, that is entirely true.

And pledging, of course, to stand up for human rights of Mexicans, if some of them are caught in the ongoing ICE raids that happens across the United States now. But this particular legal challenge as one of the number of things that the Trump administration is trying to do to slow the passage of tens of thousands of Central Americans up through Mexico towards their border.

They did try to hatch an agreement with Guatemala to declare itself a third safe country, meaning that Central Americans passing through it would actually have to apply for asylum in Guatemala, entirely and, of course, they pressured the Mexican government to send troops, the National Guard down to the Mexico and Guatemalan border to slow the flood of people across that border as well.

But the particular legal challenge is stark, it's had human rights activists and advocates saying it will face legal challenges in the court so they've warned you are essentially pushing migrants, desperate many of them for a better life and to escape the perils of their home countries, to much more dangerous measures.

Do they potentially have to take to the seas to get around Mexico, in order to not have passed through another country and lose the U.S. asylum claim?

Lots of questions but increasing concerns, for the face of often whole families that are trying to take this particular journey and the Trump administration's clear march towards making that passage as impossible as they can -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Mexico City.


NEWTON: That safe country is already in place between Canada and the United States in the northern border, at least that is what U.S. officials have been pointing out.

Now to the Iranian nuclear agreement, it is now on shaky ground, with those who signed the deal besides the United States are still holding out. Iran wants Washington to return to the table but in an interview with the BBC, the country's foreign minister, Javad Zarif shut down the possibility of renegotiating that deal, listen.


JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We will not renegotiate. We will not renegotiate. You see, this was the subject of 12 years of negotiations, two years of which, intense negotiations, I spent days, months, negotiating this.

We spent a lot of time with the United States negotiating this deal. It is about give and take.


NEWTON: Iran announced earlier this month that it was increasing uranium enrichment beyond the levels agreed to in that 2015 nuclear deal.

Extreme weather taking its toll on parts of South Asia, millions hit by dangerous monsoon rains and unfortunately the deadly flooding that goes with, that plus,


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The exclusively obtained surveillance reports show that the WikiLeaks founder, who had been given asylum in 2012, wielded enormous power in the building, rivaling even the ambassadors.


NEWTON: Explosive details on what Julian Assange did with that power back in 2016.





NEWTON: More than 100 people have died and millions have been affected by torrential monsoon rains, which triggered floods and landslides across parts of South Asia. Residents of Nepal, Bangladesh and India are trying to cope with the situation.

As you can see they're, quite difficult, more rain is unfortunately expected in the next several days. Joining us now live from New Delhi, is CNN's Nikhil Kumar.

Unfortunately this is a very grim ritual during monsoon season, particularly, what is concerning people this time around?

NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Paula, you are absolutely right, we see this pretty much every year, that when the rains arrive, particularly in these parts of the country, they're very rural where the infrastructure isn't very strong. We often hear about such devastation, flash flooding, landslides and the deaths that follow.

And as you said the death toll over the last few days has been steadily rising, it is about 110, now officials expect that number to continue rising, they have set up relief camps and so on to move people away from the most vulnerable parts.

And this comes after, just weeks ago we were talking about extreme heat, officials were trying to deal with that swing. And the rains as you say, still have longer to play out but already they have caused immense devastation.


KUMAR (voice-over): First came the heat, killing more than 130 people across India. In Dhar (ph) state alone, more than 100 people died. The worst ever heat related death toll ever recorded.

On the other side of the country, Maharashtra state suffered its worst drought in decades. And then came the floods, just as devastating, as the climate swung like a destructive pendulum.

In the capital of Mumbai, it was hit by the heaviest rainfall in more than a decade, bringing the city to a standstill. Building walls collapsed, railway stations and highways were overrun with water.

And now, heavy downpours in Bihar and surrounding states as well as parts of neighboring Nepal and Bangladesh, have killed scores of people in recent days. Millions face devastation. Experts say the climate crisis makes such extreme swings in the weather more and more likely.

ARUNABHA GHOSH, CLIMATE EXPERT: Between the mid 1980s and the mid- 2010s, India was hit by about 300 extreme weather events. But most of those happened after 2005. So there is an increase in the intensity and the frequency of extreme weather events.

KUMAR (voice-over): Chennai, India's sixth largest city it has become a symbol of this problem. Unusually heavy rainfall in 2015 triggered widespread flooding. And this year, it has almost run out of water, following lower than usual rainfall. The city's infrastructure was simply not prepared to deal with the swings in the weather, which money warned is a nationwide problem.

GHOSH: The infrastructure's clearly not fit for purpose. So our infrastructure, whether it's in terms of storm water drains, flood defenses, protection of communities, especially the poorer communities, our transportation systems, these have to become far more resilient.

KUMAR (voice-over): Failing to do so doesn't just have an economic cost. This extreme weather places havoc with the country's infrastructure. It also puts millions more Indians in mortal danger.


KUMAR: So Paula, as you can see, even as we talk about the rising death toll in recent days and we keep tracking what happens, as the rain and the monsoon rain spread across this region, this is the largest story.

As we step back, the swing from the extreme heat to now, these floods. We spoke to an official yesterday in a state that has been badly, affected and that is what he was talking about. He was talking about --


KUMAR: -- the fact that just weeks ago, all these people, they were dealing with the heat wave, with the devastation that that has caused and now all of a sudden, they were having to shift gears to deal with this flooding, with the rains and moving people away from the vulnerable areas. And that is the larger picture here, the fallout from the climate

crisis and the swings in weather that this region has been seen for the last several years, the experts tell us we will continue to see for the foreseeable future.

NEWTON: Yes it must be incredibly stressful for those who are looking for some respite and it is not going to be on the horizon anytime soon. Nikhil, appreciate it, thank you so much.


NEWTON: Now the party is over, for now, at the Fresh Island Music Festival in Croatia, a massive fire broke out nearby, forcing everyone to evacuate, now large plumes of smoke that you can see there were just behind the main stage. Organizers say the concert is on hold and fans have been escorted to a nearby town for their own safety. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Stunning new details emerge from surveillance of Julian Assange, coming up, an exclusive on what the WikiLeaks founder did to influence the U.S. election in 2016 while he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.


[02:30:56] PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton with the headlines this hour. A group of Democratic Congresswomen are fighting back against two days of racist text by Donald Trump. The Progressive say they disagree with his policies and will continue to speak out against him. The President claims, they hate America, they should go back to where they came from, falsely implying they're not American citizens.

Trump administration has created a new rule to essentially bar most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. The rule requires migrants traveling to a third country like Mexico on their way to the United States to seek asylum there instead. Legal challenges to the rule are expected.

A new case of the Ebola virus has been found in the Congolese City of Goma. Now, it's a major transit hub home to more than a million people on the Rwandan border and now there's fear, of course, the virus could now spread into Rwanda which has so far been unaffected by the disease.

Britain's outgoing prime minister celebrating the newly crowned cricket World Cup champion. She could have used this good news. Theresa May who is a huge cricket fan welcome the English team to 10 Downing Street. Calling their win one of the great sporting spectaculars of our time.

Now, there is remarkable new evidence of how WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange worked behind the scenes to influence the 2016 U.S. election campaign in favor of Trump. Now, in the CNN exclusive, Alex Marquardt details the evidence found in scores of surveillance reports.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Ecuador's embassy in London turned into a command post for WikiLeaks. At its helm the Web site's founder, Julian Assange was living there in political asylum. In stunning new detail, hundreds of security reports, videos, and photos obtained exclusively by CNN and verified by an Ecuadorian intelligence official described how Assange released stolen Democratic e-mails directly from the embassy and who he met with.

World-class hackers and Russians tied to the Kremlin. The explosive material when lined up with the timeline in the Mueller report, paints a striking picture of how Assange orchestrated the game-changing document dumps from just a few rooms in the embassy. The exclusively obtained surveillance reports show that the WikiLeaks founder who had been given asylum in 2012 wielded enormous power in the building, rivaling even the ambassadors with whom he would regularly clash as these exclusive security photos show, he even got physical with the embassy guards.

The documents describe how Assange demanded and got high-speed internet, phones, even a special guest list that allowed certain visitors to not show identification or be searched. Even as it hosted him, Ecuador hired three different security companies to carry out surveillance of Assange including Spain-based U.C. Global which compiled the reports obtained by CNN. The never before seen cash of documents says Assange installed his own recording devices, and used sound machine so he couldn't be listened to. All of which may have played a role in his election interference.

Assange has denied working for the Kremlin or receiving the stolen e- mails from Russia, WikiLeaks did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is temperamentally unfit to hold in office.

MARQUARDT: It was June of 2016, Trump and Hillary Clinton were the de facto nominees, and it was looking like it was going to be a better election.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and even theft.

MARQUARDT: That month according to the Mueller report, WikiLeaks communicated secretly with unidentified online personas who turned out to be Russian hackers. Meanwhile, the number of visits paid to Assange at the embassy dramatically picked up. The reports exclusively obtained by CNN show one frequent visitor was this man, Andrew Muller-Maguhn, a hacker whom the special counsel wrote, may have assisted with the transfer of these stolen documents to WikiLeaks.

[02:35:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at the internet from a perspective of people in power --

MARQUARDT: Muller-Maguhn had appeared on Assange's short-lived show on R.T. The Russian T.V. network that gets it marching orders from the Kremlin. The security log shows that R.T.'s London Bureau Chief Nikolay Bogachihin also visited that month twice. And during one visit that lasted only five minutes, he gave Assange a USB drive. Bogachihin defended his visits to Assange telling CNN, R.T. has produced multiple programming featuring Mr. Assange, within that process, everything that is intrinsically involved in the production of content took place.

Muller-Maguhn declined to comment to CNN but told the Washington Post he never had the hack materials before they were released. But U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded R.T. actively collaborated with WikiLeaks playing a significant role in Russia's efforts to help Trump win which R.T. denies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Russian hackers have breached the computer network of the Democratic National Committee.

MARQUARDT: On June 14th, 2016, the Democratic National Committee announced it had been hacked and accused Russia of being responsible. Trump dismissed allegations of Russian involvement instead suggesting the DNC hacked itself, five days later, according to the exclusive documents, Assange got new equipment for data transmission. The embassy security attach even helped install it.

On July 6, WikiLeaks reached out to the Russian hackers who used the names Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. Those are covers, the Mueller report says, for Russian military intelligence. The Democratic National Convention is approaching, WikiLeaks warned the Russians and Clinton will solidify Bernie Sanders supporters behind her. Eight days later the group received encrypted files according to the Mueller report with the name big archive.

That same day Assange met again for more than four hours with Muller- Maguhn, one of at least a dozen times they met at the embassy before the election according to the security reports. On the day of the Republican National Convention kicks off, the security photos show a man in a mask and sunglasses arriving at the embassy. A guard left his post and collected a package. The documents suggest this was an arranged meeting.

It's unclear whether that was related to a message sent the same day, July 18th, when WikiLeaks told the Russian hackers according to the Mueller report, that they received the files, and would release them this week. Four days later, WikiLeaks released a trove of stolen files. And all hell breaks loose. More than 20,000 e-mails from the DNC, showing the preference of top officials for Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

When the Democratic convention opened, it was consumed by chaos. The DNC Chair had to step down and Trump pounced.

TRUMP: Russia if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.

MARQUARDT: As the election entered its final weeks, Russia, according to Mueller, wrote WikiLeaks offering more files. You won't be disappointed, the hackers wrote. After receiving several files from the Russian hackers in the immediate days prior, WikiLeaks started posting 50,000 e-mails stolen from Clinton's Campaign Chairman, John Podesta, revealing infighting and bickering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this was about transparency they should put them all out, so there dribbling them out.

MARQUARDT: Mueller's team suspects that transfer took place on September 19th, the same day Assange met again with hacker Muller- Maguhn, according to the security reports. In the last month before the election, WikiLeaks released batch after batch of Podesta's e- mails.

TRUMP: This just came out, WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.

MARQUARDT: Transcripts of Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street, staffers criticizing her terrible instincts.

TRUMP: WikiLeaks, this WikiLeaks is unbelievable.

MARQUARDT: The U.S. government decided to get involved. According to a U.S. official and documents obtained by CNN, warning Ecuador, stop Assange or there will be consequences. Just three weeks before the election, Ecuador cut Assange off. No more phones, internet or guests. Shortly after, the embassy relented on guest restrictions and at 1:00 a.m. on October 19th, the security materials obtained by CNN shows two WikiLeaks staffers showed up and took away about 100 hard drives.

Security guards wanted to examine the hard drives, but they couldn't. The WikiLeaks personnel were on that specialist of people not to be searched. One of the Ecuadorian ambassadors who worked at the embassy during Assange's stay told CNN he was never pressured by his government to give Assange special treatment.

[02:40:02] But this past April, Assange's world came crashing down. The asylum, his lifeblood, was taken away by Ecuador's new president, citing his participation in U.S. election meddling. British police carried him out of the embassy. And the U.S. Justice Department unsealed secret charges, but not for anything related to the election. Instead, it was for soliciting and publishing classified Pentagon materials in 2010.

Assange maintains his innocence. And right on cue, Russia came to Assange's defense. Top officials accusing the U.S. of violating his rights, saying the hand of democracy squeezes the throat of freedom.


MARQUARDT: Julian Assange is currently in a British prison awaiting his extradition hearing, that (INAUDIBLE) takes place next February in 2020, almost a year after he was arrested. The extradition process as expected to be long and complicated. And if U.S. prosecutors get their hands on him, there is a long list of charges, including 17 counts of violating the espionage act for obtaining and publishing those classified Pentagon documents. Meaning he would spend the rest of his life in prison. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.

NEWTON: And our thanks to Alex. There is a lot of detail in this report and so you can get more on that exclusive, more in-depth coverage on this, including a timeline and images from surveillance video at

Amazon workers are striking on one of the company's biggest sales days of the year, and the U.S. to Germany, a look at the Prime Day protests, that's next.


NEWTON: A pioneer in modern computing and the LGBT community is being honored in England. Alan Turing will be the face of Britain's new 50- pound note, there it is right there. Turing was the code breaker and visionary mathematician who cracked Germany's coated messages during World War II. He also played a pivotal role in developing computers. Now, he was also convicted under Victorian homophobic laws which eventually led him to commit suicide.

Now, the governor of the Bank of England called Turing a giant on his shoulders, so many now stand. The new notes will appear by the end of 2020.

[02:45:03] Amazon workers in the U.S. and Europe have decided to strike during the company's biggest sales event of the year. It's called Prime Day. Some of you might be familiar. They're demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

Amazon is firing back, saying it offers industry-leading pay and a safe workplace environment for its employees. Clare Sebastian has more.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When it came to marketing this year's Prime Day, Amazon did not shop around for the cheapest options.

TAYLOR SWIFT, AMERICAN SINGER, AND SONGWRITER: I want to say thank you so much to Amazon for having us all.

SEBASTIAN: Taylor Swift headlining the live-streamed Prime Day concert, celebrities like Will Smith and Mark Wahlberg appearing in ads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't need to go shopping anymore, you just go to Amazon Prime.

SEBASTIAN: Does the day work as an event?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, absolutely. That's why we keep growing it.

SEBASTIAN: Prime Day is now 5 years old and has grown to a full 48 hours. The deals are exclusive to Prime members of which they're already more than a 100 million across 18 countries.

SCOTT GALLOWAY, PROFESSOR OF MARKETING, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: More people are now in a monogamous relationship if you will, with Amazon, vis-a-vis Prime. Then voted in the 2016 election or (INAUDIBLE).

SEBASTIAN: Prime Day is now Amazon's biggest sales event of the year. Bigger than Black Friday, or sides on Monday. But this year, it's not just about the many, many items getting shipped out of senses like this. The company is facing backlash on a number of fronts. From its treatment of workers to concerns it's simply gotten too big.

Give me a sense about of how you view that the regulatory questions around the company at the moment.

CEM SIBAY, VICE PRESIDENT, AMAZON PRIME: I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it.

SEBASTIAN: One thing they are thinking about, this Prime Day brings the first-ever walkout at a U.S. fulfillment center. This group of workers in Minnesota which is protested in the past that employees are set unrealistic targets leading to stress and injury.

SIBAY: We have a lot of redundancy in place, for we have over 175 fulfillment centers globally, to make sure that Prime member's experiences are not disrupted during this event as well.

But we take, you know, concerns of our employees, obviously, very, very serious as well. But I'm really actually proud to have the working conditions (INAUDIBLE).

SEBASTIAN: So, why do these converse keep coming up?

SIBAY: Most of these are from the outside (INAUDIBLE). It's obviously very hot (INAUDIBLE) as well.

SEBASTIAN: And the backlash is also coming from the competition. Even as they launch their own sales to rival Prime Day. Target is advertising summer deal days, emphasizing no membership required. And eBay has gone a step further with a tongue-in-cheek ad featuring a teenager called --



SEBASTIAN: Even calling their event a crash sale promising extra deals if Amazon's web site crashes as happened in 2018.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To most, they have deals on a bunch of random stuff nobody really wants.

BRADFORD SHELLHAMMER, VICE PRESIDENT, BUYER ENGAGEMENT, EBAY: Unlike some of the competitors, this time of year, the sales and the deals that we are featuring are not products that are sitting on our warehouses that are collecting dust that we have to liquidate. SEBASTIAN: In an e-commerce market where one company controls almost half of all sales, Amazon's annual shopping festival has made it a pretty big target. Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: For more on this, we're joined by Pete Pachal. He's the editorial director at, which is a digital guide for consumers. You wouldn't think consumers would need more of a digital guide other than Amazon at this point. You know, you said it before just in terms of the dominance here. Is it the dominance alone that kind of engenders this kind of a backlash or something else?

PETE PACHAL, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, REVIEWS.COM: Yes, I think that's certainly a key part of it. I think Amazon is one of these things where it's not quite too big to bail but it's too big not to be a target certainly. You know, these -- all the scrutiny that's been under is partly symptomatic of what big tech is simply going through the last couple of years. And certainly, heated up ever since the Democratic primary started in earnest and there's been calls for free cups and increased regulation.

But Amazon's kind of a unique case in a lot of ways that the sheer sort of dominance of it and the scale of it is a bit scary. And also, consumers have a relationship with Amazon that's very personal. You know they, they buy things from the site whether it's a deal or not, it comes to their doorstep. You know it's kind of like Christmas. You know, you just get stuff all the time.

Well, it's an interesting point that a survey once found that Amazon as a brand is only trusted by Americans more -- it -- the only brand that's trusted more by Americans is the U.S. military. It shows sort of where people's heads are at around this company.

NEWTON: And yet trusted, and yet it's become as you said a target. Even right now, on Capitol Hill, there is large discussions about what to do about tech. And certainly, breaking it up and it is in there.

Do you think in the end that Amazon will look completely different, and let's say five to 10 years because of regulation?

[02:49:56] PACHAL: I think it's going to look different in five to 10 years, not necessarily because of regulation. I think the breakup calls -- while they're there, there are some merit there in terms of the monopolization of Amazon, Apple, Google, all these guys power, and Facebook is certainly are sort of monopolies in their own way.

There -- there's one card that the all these guys can play, and it's China, frankly. There's sort of this new tech cold war that has -- that has sort of emerged in the last several years where everyone, you know, as sort of a political fuel or a political defense for a lot of these tech companies they point to China.

So, yes, break up to Amazon. What happens to Alibaba, which accounts for 58 something percent of all e-commerce in China? And, you know, if they if Amazon -- you know, we break up Amazon, you leave it back to them. So, what rushes to fill it?

So, there's all this race to sort of beat China and the tech game, whether it's 5G, whether it's e-commerce, whether it's social media. Companies like Weibo and Tencent are huge over there.

You know the plug -- the card that tech companies plays -- you know, do you really want to leave in the vacuum here? Whether that's a valid argument or not, you know, certainly something to come fill the vacuum that isn't from China.

Maybe there's better ways to regulate. But I think that, that alone has enough of a scare factor into current today's political climate that I don't think they're going to be broken on.

NEWTON: And yet, it's interesting to see how it will evolve. I mean, we're all used to that term, Amazon, right? And in terms of it's been blamed for many things, it's principally, at first it was getting rid of the neighborhood, bookstore, it did -- those and. But so much more now.

You've pointed out, of course, they've now gone into web services. And whether that in future will involve a lot more drones or a lot more kind of intrusion into our privacy, I mean, do you think that's another reason why, you know, Amazon may look a lot different in a few years?

PACHAL: They will, but I think it's going to be begotten by their innovation. And yes, absolutely, the thing is they're talking about drones. Well, that's all regulated by the FAA. They're even talking about -- what Bezos is anyway talking about doing something with healthcare. You know, you can sort of ambition maybe sort of there's a healthcare system that's -- you know, Amazon Prime but with healthcare.

You know this is all speculative. But, you know, there he's definitely researching it. So, there you're into the FDA and any number of government agencies. So, I certainly believe Amazon in the coming years is going to be regulated more and more, so do by virtue of where they are interested in going.

The antitrust stuff, you know, I -- it's been ongoing, you know. Like their dominance, they're -- you know, their account for something like half of all e-commerce in the country. But I mean, there's no question I think that a lot of that is simply because it's a great product, it's a great experience, it's all the things I sort of mentioned at the beginning where, you know, you get this package and you have this relationship, and then, you have this trust, and then you put microphones and cameras in your house with the ecosystems and that's a seemingly a great experience.

There may be another shoe that drops with Amazon in the way it did with Facebook. And if that does happen in the next few years, the game could change radically for them.

NEWTON: Yes, and I'm sure the likes of Walmart that is trying to take people like Amazon on more head-on will also have something to say about all of this in the next few years. Pete, thanks so much. Really appreciated.

PACHAL: My pleasure, Paula, (INAUDIBLE).

NEWTON: OK, you don't want to miss the next story soaring above everyone's heads. Flying man is the envy of everyone who watched this year's Bastille Day parade. Have a look at there. Perhaps, grabbing the attention may have a seat in someone in that White House.


[02:55:15] NEWTON: OK, so the French now have something new for the U.S. President Donald Trump to envy. Yes, last year's Bastille Day parade, you may remember inspired this year's Fourth of July celebration in Washington D.C.

Jeanne Moos reports Sunday's fly board may top any military hardware.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, up in the sky, it's a bird.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the fly board guy who stole the show at the Bastille Day parade in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Faster than a speeding bullet.

MOOS: Actually the Flyboard Air's top speed is around 118 miles an hour. That's the inventor and entrepreneur, Franky Zapata operating the Flyboard.

FRANKY ZAPATA, INVENTOR, FLYBOARD AIR: We have one remote control.

MOOS: French President Emmanuel Macron watched approvingly, as fans compared it to everything from Marty McFly's Back to the Future hoverboard to that flying villain, the Green Goblin.


MOOS: But making the Green Goblin a reality is enough to make a certain someone green with envy. President Trump loves toys. At Monday's Made in America event, he boarded a boat and got behind the wheel of a THAAD missile defense vehicle.

Remember what happened last time he watched a French parade, he liked it so much. He said, "I'll have what they're having." And on the 4th of July, we had a bevy of fly byes. But now, the French have one- upped everyone. Maybe by next 4th of July, we'll see the commander- in-chief commanding his own Flyboard.

Franky Zapata's next stunt will be to fly across the English Channel since the turbine-powered engines allow for at least 10 minutes flying time. That will require mid-flight refueling. Flyboard development got a grant from the French military though some were skeptical of its usefulness and survivability. The parade featured everything from horses to robots, and even anti-drone guns, which could probably take the fly out of a fly board as well.

By the way, that rifle was reported to be unloaded or faked. And even the French haven't figured out how to kiss through a helmet. Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: It would be like a rocketship.

MOOS: New York.


NEWTON: All right. That story speaks for itself. Thanks for joining us. I'm Paula Newton, I will be right back with more news. You're watching CNN.