Return to Transcripts main page


The House Condemns Trump's Racist Language; Ursula von der Leyen Elected E.U. Commission President; Pyongyang Hints It May Resume Nuclear Tests. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 17, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everybody! Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead this hour, not a racist bone in his body claims the U.S. President and almost every Republican Congressman agrees opposing a Democrat resolution condemning Donald Trump's recent tweets as racist.

The compromise candidate is confirmed as the next leader of the E.U. and while Ursula von der Leyen shattered a glass ceiling, it's the backroom deal that got her the top job which has sparked outrage and opposition.

And later, 50 years after NASA put a man on the moon, the U.S. President wants an American astronaut and the stars and stripes on Mars.

After a contentious debate, the U.S. lower House condemned President Donald Trump and his racist tweets which targeted four lawmakers, all Democrats, all women of color. The vote went mostly along party lines. At one point, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was prevented from speaking out to violating rules of decorum when she called the President's language racist.


REP. NANCY PELOSI: Every single member of this institution Democratic and Republican to join us in condemning the president's racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. I urge --

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): The gentleman from Georgia.

PELOSI: -- a unanimous vote and --

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Thank you. I was just going to --


VAUSE: Michael Genovese is the President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. He joins us this hour from Los Angeles. Michael, quite a day.

MICHAEL GENOVESE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Quite a day indeed. And fault lines were drawn. The original sin of the United States are racism and slavery. We still haven't solved them. We still haven't settled that dispute. We still haven't healed those wounds. And you can see them coming back today in manifest form.

The President of the United States, it's unquestionably venomous racism and he tried to not walk away from those little comments. He walked towards them. He marched forward, defended his comments, doubled down, and the Republican Party was put in a terrible position.

If you go along with your president, you either accept or you embrace racism. If you go against him you run a political risk. And yet the answer I think is what will you tell your children that you defended racism or you stood up against racism.

VAUSE: And it's been more than 100 years since Congress has taken this type of measure against the sitting president. At the end of the day, like everything else, it came down to a vote which follow on party lines. Here's Trump's Housing Secretary Ben Carson during a cabinet meeting justifying his support for Donald Trump.


BEN CARSON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, UNITED STATES: Would you rather have a non-politician whose speeches unfiltered, who gets a lot of stuff done or somebody with a silver tone who gets nothing done? But as I told you before, I think God is using him.


VAUSE: So the President is doing God's work. Four Republicans did vote with Democrats so too the now Independent and former Republican Justin Amash. But it does beg the question, what does this president have to do before he is held accountable by members of his own party?

GENOVESE: Well, the members of his party -- his party ring in a difficult position because politically he so controls a segment of that party that they're scared to death that they will either be primary doubt or that the support will be withdrawn in the election and the Democrat will win.

But the president's comments were odious and you know, for decades white nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan have been trying to spread their venomous hatred. They found a champion in the President and that Republicans have not stood up to him is a cheapening of the soul of the party.

They've sold their soul for four pennies for the 30 pieces of silver. And I think what's happened is the Republican Party is putting themselves in a position where they have no out on this. They either join the president or they're on the outs. And so he has put his fellow Republicans in a terrible spot.

VAUSE: And he's celebrating. He tweeted a short time ago. It's so great to see how unified the Republican Party was on today's vote concerning statements I made about four Democratic Congresswoman, 187 to four. He went on at the end, wow, he said.

So does it come a point where a price is paid by the GOP, maybe not you know in the next couple years but you know, but beyond 2020 when Republican Party lawmakers and this absolute loyalty to this president and everything that he has done and everything that he stands for will cost them? And what will that cost be?

GENOVESE: Well, with gerrymandering, there are so many safe seats that a number of Republicans know that they can say anything and support the president who does anything and they'll still be electorally viable and OK. But that's not the point.

The point is can you have a party post Trump that goes through this and comes out the other end as the party of racism, the party of bigotry, the party of hatred, the party that turns its back on many Americans and turns its back on the moral and ethical values that we're trying to live up to.

If there is a distinction, it's a partisan distinction of tribalism and that tribalism can be toxic. And this is a case when sometimes you just have to break out of that toxic mix and you have to say to yourself it's not worth it for me to go down that road. I have to have and maintain some integrity, my party has to maintain some integrity. We have to get beyond Trump. We have to move away from Trump.

[01:05:39] VAUSE: Well, earlier in the day, the president was defending his initial comments. He tweeted out this. Those tweets were not racist. I don't have a racist bone in my body. Get a list of the horrible things they have said. This refers to the four Democrat lawmakers, the four women.

The tweet goes on to say Omar is polling at eight percent, Cortez at 21 percent, Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party. See you in 2020. Is it possible that all of this controversy, the hateful language, the national rift which has been exposed and deepened is for nothing more than it give Trump an edge in 2022 to you know, by motivating his base?

GENOVESE: Well, it's clear that there's kind of a 3H club style of campaigning in 2020 for Trump. The three Hs are hope, the economy is going well, I can -- I can make a good case for that. The second H is here. I'm the incumbent, I'm here, and I've got certain tools that I can use. And the third is hate. His base response to hatred.

His base response -- and the president's strategy is I can win with 40 some-odd percent because what I'll do is I'll make sure every one of those in my base gets out to vote and I'll try to attack my opponent. Look at the strategy. They're racist. They're the communists. They're the Socialists. They're -- they hate America.

As long as he can he can tear down and he tears down very well, he cannot build up. And so his strategy has to be to tear down the Democrats on this issue and to build up his base by saying we're OK, they're the ones were out to get us.

VAUSE: And the message from the President to these four Congresswomen -- in fact to everyone it seems, it's pretty simple it's like that old bumper sticker you see you know, usually on a Buick somewhere or a Cadillac. USA, love it or leave it. Let's listen to the president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it is terrible when people speak so badly about our country, when people speak so horribly.


VAUSE: But here's the problem. Who decides? Who gets the call on what is horrible and bad and who gets to decide what is fair and reasonable criticism? Like this next soundbite, tell me which is it? Is this fair and reasonable criticism or is this horrible? Listen to this.


TRUMP: The United States has become the laughingstock in a whipping cup post for the rest of the world.

The you know, the country is doing horribly to put it mildly.

We don't win anymore. We don't win with our military. We don't win with health care. We don't win with anything.


VAUSE: You know, if this is horrible criticism that that gentleman just made, the gentleman called Donald Trump, is there an argument here that perhaps he should get back to where his grandfather came from, back to Germany, he doesn't love it here?

GENOVESE: There isn't -- there is not an argument for that. That would be playing Donald Trump's game and we should not sink into that gutter. It's tempting. It's hard not to be snarky when he is so snarky. But you'd made the comment about the whole -- the love it or leave it. That came from the 1960s.

And in the 1960s, I'm old enough to have been part of the anti-war movement and we had a chant, the whole world is watching. The whole world is watching. We wanted to focus attention on the war in Vietnam and say judge us by this, by our opposition to that war, by the values that we're trying to bring to America.

The same thing is happening today. The whole world is watching. They're seeing of an America that is led by an out-and-out racist. There's no defense. There's no claim that he's not. He's gone beyond that. He keeps doubling down on this.

The question is and 2020 maybe the time we decide who are we? Who are we as the country who are we as a people? Is the original sin of America going to stay with us or are we going to work to overcome that?

VAUSE: And just -- here is an example of the dark road this administration is heading down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which country was he referring?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is that relevant?

CONWAY: No, no, because I'm asking a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My own ethnicity is not relevant to the question I'm asking.

CONWAY: No, it is. You were asking about he said originally, he's originally from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am asking you --

CONWAY: And you know everything is said since and to have a full conversation --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are you saying that the president was telling that the ousting of --

CONWAY: The President has already commented on that.


VAUSE: You know, Senior of White House Advisor to the President Kellyanne Conway try to minimize the impact of what she'd done. She said, I meant no disrespect in the tweet, but the exchange between Conway and the reporter, she laid bare precisely the thinking and the feelings of many within the administration.

[01:10:04] GENOVESE: Donald Trump is toxic. He spreads a disease. You see it with the people around him. You see it now with the Republican Party caving in on this issue that is indefensible. Will it infect the nation? That's the question. 2020 may decide that. I think we need to stand up and say that we're not that country. We're not the country that hates people because of their color, because of where they came from, because of the God to whom they pray.

This is a defining moment for America. We always like to say that this is the most important election in American history, rarely it is. This one may be in the top though because this will be about the definition of who we are and where we're going.

VAUSE: Yes. And it's an interesting strategy the president is using in the lead-up to 2020. I guess it worked four years ago or 2016 I should say, and we'll see if it works again. Michael, as always, thank you so much for being with us. GENOVESE: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: The margin was whisper-thin, nine votes, but enough for Ursula von der Leyen to be confirmed as the next President of the European Commission effectively the EU's most senior leadership position.

And Germany's former defense minister, mother of seven is now the first woman to lead the European Union. But it seems many outraged by the backroom deal which handed her the top job. More details now from CNN's Erin McLaughlin.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She was the dark horse candidate. The name few saw coming. The European council's choice for the EU's top job forced upon a fractured European Parliament which had put forward a list of preferred nominees but no one could command a majority. And so unexpectedly, Ursula von der Leyen's name was put forward. Her overarching message, the need for unity.

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: If we are to go down the European path, we must first rediscover our unity. If we are united on the inside, nobody will divide us from the outside.

MCLAUGHLIN: Von der Leyen was perhaps not the obvious choice to be the first female to lead the E.U. She just resigned as Germany's defense minister, a position widely regarded as the poisoned chalice of German politics.

The mother of seven, a doctor, educated at the London School of Economics. She was fond of singing. Her childhood nickname, the little rose. She entered local politics in 2001 positioning herself to the left of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

But her candidacy for the Commission presidency was supported by Europe's hard-right yet another potential stumbling block to securing a majority within the pro-EU parliament. But little by little, Von der Leyen won over skeptical MEPs. The promises to help strengthen its hand in deciding her successor in five years' time and a commitment to new and ambitious green targets.

She didn't please everyone. Some refused to support her on principle outraged by backroom deals that led to her candidacy.

VON DER LEYEN: Are you going to be like previous Commission's, the lapdog of those Member States or are you going to be the pit bull that I would like you to be. That's what I need to hear.

MCLAUGHLIN: In the end, she crossed the line by only nine votes. And that's a very slim majority, uncomfortably close in the words of one diplomat making it that much more difficult for the Commission to push through its legislation. Von der Leyen's priority now, getting the support of more pro-EU MEPs. Erin McLaughlin CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: So what lies ahead now for this compromised candidate who secured confirmation with a whisper-thin majority to lead a fractured E.U. where political parties and their supporters seem more determined than ever not to compromise on their core beliefs and demands.

Jacob Kirkegaard is a Senior Fellow with the Peterson Institute for Economics. He's with us now from Washington. Jacob, thanks for coming in.


VAUSE: OK, so Von der Leyen, she was confirmed with this nine vote majority. Most Euroskeptic parties, they voted against her so did many with the center-left and as well as the Greens. They saw her as the sort of end result of an old-school deal between France and Germany. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You come here and you stand before us and you don't have legitimacy which electoral process to participate in. The agreement in Brussels is not Democratic it was a backroom deal.


VAUSE: There is the sort of the sample of the feeling out there. So how does she actually lead? How does she get anything through the E.U. parliament? Does she have to essentially build a majority blocking support every time there's a vote?

KIRKEGAARD: Yes. Basically, look, she runs de facto a minority government now. She is the nominal head of the European People's Party politically at least in Brussels, but she needs a new majority every time. So how does she do it?

Well, first of all, she keeps her own group, the EPP, the center-left -- sorry center-right conservative group under control, and then she has to make a lot of concessions to the other groups, the Liberals, the Socialists, the Greens. So she has a lot of work ahead of her. But you know I quite frankly don't think she's a particularly compromise candidate. This was a secret ballot. Now she's in.

And you know, she doesn't owe anybody a big political debt or anything like that that voted for her, but she needs to win their votes every time she wants legislation passed in the future. And that's her real task.

[01:15:24] VAUSE: And that -- and that sounds like possibly the worst job in the world. And you can add that she has challenges ahead, it has to deal with the United States and the trade war with the U.S. She has to deal with Russia and China. There's you know, issues like Brexit which should have to come up. And you know, and she doesn't seem to have you know, any kind of base of support. So how will you know, countries like the United States with Donald

Trump, with Vladimir Putin from Russia or China, will they see her as a tenuous or a weak leader?

KIRKEGAARD: No, I don't think so. And I mean, I think we should also recognize that she may -- you know, the fact that this vote was very close in the European Parliament doesn't really mean that much in my opinion because all that matters was that she got 50 percent plus one vote. She got 51 percent.

But there was a lot of MEP s that wanted to let off some steam. They wanted to vote against her for whatever reason and they were able to do that. She's still in. Europe avoided a constitutional crisis. And we should still remember that she was nominated unanimously by the 28 member states.

So among the leaders of them, she actually enjoys quite extensive support. So no, I do not believe that she would be viewed as a weakling. She comes from Europe's biggest member. She's a leading member of Germany's ruling party, has a long experience as a minister in Angela Merkel's government. So I don't believe for a second that she's a pushover, not at all.

VAUSE: Well, on Brexit, Von der Leyen said she was willing to delay the October 31 deadline. She wants the E.U. to recover neutral by 2050. She's in favor of gender equality. And for the leader of the Brexit party, Nigel Farage, all that was so utterly outrageous. His head exploded. Listen to this.


NIGEL FARAGE, MEMBER, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: What you've seen from Ursula Von der Leyen today is an attempt for the European Union to take control of every single aspect of our lives. She wants to build a centralized, undemocratic, updated form of communism that will render nation-state parliaments where the state controls everything, where nation-state parliaments -- where nation-state parliaments will cease to have any relevance at all.

I have to say from our perspective, in some ways, I'm really rather pleased because you've just made Brexit a lot more popular in the United Kingdom. Thank God we're leaving.


VAUSE: At this point, the E.U. must be saying the same thing about Britain and Farage, thank God they're leaving, but what he was saying there was absolutely baseless.

KIRKEGAARD: I mean, you know, Nigel Farage is a political entrepreneur. What he says in Parliament is predominantly for YouTube feeds on far-right Web sites and other ways where he sustains himself by you know, making money that way. This is how he runs his personal party, the Brexit Party.

So actually what he says is just to create headlines, outrage. It has no content and frankly, nobody in Europe pays any attention to it. What people in Europe care about in Brexit is of course what people like Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are saying regarding Brexit.

And you know, if you look at the pound, the value of the pound today, you will see that a lot of people are worried about what coming out of London on the issue of Brexit, but Nigel Farage is irrelevant.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, if nothing else, Ursula von der Leyen, she has a unique background. Here's how the New York Times described her. She's a Gynecologist with seven children who knows just about everything about fighter jets. She says grace before dinner, believes in gay adoptions, she loves the United States and dreams of the United States of Europe someday.

And when it comes to deeper integration within the E.U., she's a lot closer to the French president Emmanuel Macron who's been pushing for these closer ties as opposed to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who should have been reluctant to head down that road.

So will we see a significant shift you know, in how the E.U. is moving forward on integration? Does she had that sort of mandate if you like?

KIRKEGAARD: Well, there's no doubt that she is in many ways, Emmanuel Macron's pick. I think it was brilliant politics of Macron to propose a German candidate from Angela Merkel's party that quite frankly Angela Merkel for obvious reasons couldn't really refuse once her preferred candidates were voted down.

And I think there is a real chance that Ursula von der Leyen can bring the center-right conservative movement in the European Parliament as well as in Germany more towards the French position on fiscal integration, broader political integration in Europe as she certainly in that regard I believe the preferred candidate for Emmanuel Macron and many others who wants to see and wants to push Germany to go further.

So in that sense, in their -- in their eyes, they're kind of hoping that Nixon will go to China if you can use that expression with her as the head of the Commission.

[01:20:32] VAUSE: So this is the E.U. sort of the people in favor of the European project strikes back if you like.


VAUSE: OK. Jacob, thank you. Good to see you.

KIRKEGAARD: My pleasure.

VAUSE: Well, Pyongyang has warned nuclear and missile tests may soon restart after breaking details on why Kim Jong-un is saber-rattling now just weeks after a surprise meeting with Donald Trump on the Demilitarized Zone. Also ahead, U.S. lawmakers grilling big tech over everything from search engine results to cryptocurrencies, to excessive market share. Details from three contentious hearings on Capitol Hill later this hour.


VAUSE: Just weeks ago, the U.S. President crossed the DMZ and met with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Donald Trump said they'd agreed to resume talks and keep working towards denuclearization. The meeting he said was a great honor. But from a great on event what could be a great smackdown now.

The North Koreans are warning nuclear and missile test could soon restart. CNN's Brian Todd explains why.



TRUMP: Stepping across that line was a great honor.

TODD: -- may have been for not. Just two weeks after their historic meeting at the DMZ and President Trump's short stroll into North Korea, North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un appears to be threatening to start testing his nuclear weapons again.

In a new statement, Kim's foreign ministry calls the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises planned for next month a breach of the main spirit of what President Trump and Kim agreed to in Singapore and says we are gradually losing our justifications to follow through on the commitments we made with the U.S.

MICHAEL GREEN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Kim Jong-un has been friendly and smile with Donald Trump, but what we're seeing with these statements is a more normal North Korea negotiating technique which is to point a gun at the other guy's head and say do what we want or we will you know, launch missiles, test nuclear weapons. So it's all about leverage.

TODD: President Trump seemed unfazed about the new threat.

TRUMP: The relationship is very good. I think we've made tremendous progress on North Korea. And again, time is not of the essence but I think good things will ultimately happen.

[01:25:08] TODD: Kim's regime apparently doesn't see it that way calling those U.S.-South Korean military drills "a rehearsal of war aimed at militarily occupying our republic by surprise attack." It's not the first time Kim's regime has objected to the joint military exercises. But why does the regime always frame them as practice for an invasion?

GREEN: One reason is they're paranoid. I mean, the entire North Korean regime is built on paranoia. The other reason is they want to try to use that as leverage to get the U.S. to weaken its readiness, to weaken its alliances.

TODD: Despite the pageantry and promise at the Singapore summit last year when Kim made his initial vague promise to get rid of his nuclear weapons, despite the dramatic images that the DMZ and words of friendship, by CNN's count, North Korea has made no fewer than 12 direct or implied threats since Singapore to pull out or walk back from the diplomatic process even as Kim appears to maintain his personal connection to Trump.

DEAN CHENG, RESEARCH FELLOW FOR ASIAN STUDIES, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I think the spin that is occurring from Pyongyang is any concessions that do occur are because of their threats. Second of all, there does seem to be this belief on the part of Kim Jong-un, that he and Trump may actually have some kind of relationship.

TODD: Still, analyst say while North Korea may not be planning to get rid of its nuclear program anytime soon, the idea it could restart testing soon may be less of a solid promise and more of an empty threat.

GREEN: I think they probably won't do it. China would come down on them very, very hard. For now, they're getting a bit of a pass from the Chinese because they're engaged in a dialog.

TODD: While President Trump shows patients towards North Korea, his aides are sending a tougher signal to Pyongyang. A senior administration official tells CNN, those U.S. sanctions are going to stay in place until Kim Jong-un fulfills his commitment to completely denuclearize.

That official also telling CNN those joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises are not about to be canceled, saying there purely defensive in nature. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: New development now about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Ecuador's former president Rafael Correa says his government knew what Assange was doing all from his small room in Ecuador's embassy in London. Assange took refuge there nearly seven years -- for nearly seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations which he denies.


RAFAEL CORREA, FORMER PRESIDENT, ECUADOR: I'm not accepting all the soap opera that they have made up that he asked for a high-speed internet and we gave it to him. That is nonsense. What we did notice is that WikiLeaks was interfering in the U.S. election, and that's why we suspended the internet.


VAUSE: Correa's comments come a day after a CNN exclusive report, which shows surveillance records detailing how Assange transformed the Ecuadorian embassy into a command center. According to the report, Assange orchestrated a series of damaging disclosures that rocked the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. Next up on CNN NEWSROOM. A tense hearing between Facebook and

lawmakers and the company's plan to launch a cryptocurrency and that's not the only tech giant facing scrutiny in Capitol Hill.


[01:30:47] VAUSE: Welcome back everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

The U.S. House has condemned Donald Trump tweets for telling four minority lawmakers to go back to where they came from. Republicans though defended the President insisting he is not a racist. After a heated debate, the House approved the resolution mostly along party lines.

The European Commission is set to get its first female president. Ursula Von Der Leyen replaces Jean-Claude Juncker November 1st to be in charge of economic and climate policies for half a billion people. She tells parliament she'll work for a united and strong Europe.

Donald Trump insists there is progress being made with North Korea despite a new warning from Pyongyang that nuclear and missile tests may soon resume. The North is angry over plans for the U.S. and South Korea restart joint military exercises. Still Donald Trump is praising the two sides of very good communications.

Rough day on Capitol Hill for tech giants as U.S. lawmakers consider steps to limit their growing influence and market power. Executives from Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook were in the hot seat as they were grilled by lawmakers during three contentious hearings.

Karin Caifa has details.


KARIN CAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Executives from the biggest names in tech and e-commerce grilled on Capitol Hill as lawmakers questioned their growing power and influence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook has two competing missions, make the world more open and connected, and make a lot of money. It is Facebook attempts to serve both these missions they wreak havoc on the rest of us.

CAIFA: In focus at one hearing Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency, Libra. The company promising to do their homework.

DAVID MARCUS, LIBRA CO-CREATER, FACEBOOK: And let me be clear and unambiguous, Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulators' concerns and received appropriate approvals.

CAIFA: But after Facebook's past privacy missteps some senators skeptical of the endeavor. SENATOR MARTHA MCSALLY (R-AZ): It's one after another after another after another. So, I don't trust you guys.

CAIFA: And despite establishing Libra as a separate entity, there were questions about whether information about transactions could be shared with Facebook and monetized. I

MARCUS: I can't think of any reason right now for us to do this.

CAIFA: At another hearing, the major questions surrounded anti-trust issues whether Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple are allowing consumers enough options or stifling the competition.

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): The Internet has become increasingly concentrated, less open and grown (ph) hostile to innovation or entrepreneurship.

CAIFA: The topic of big tech has become an issue in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race. Some, like Elizabeth Warren calling for break ups. Others calling for more regulations to rein them.

In Washington -- I'm Karin Caifa.


VAUSE: Scott Perry is the president and founder of Sperry Media, a marketing and consulting company. And he is with us this hour from Los Angeles. Scott -- thanks for coming in.


VAUSE: You know, it seemed that for the most part these hearings came down to pretty much the same thing regardless of the tech company, regardless of the hearings. Lawmakers are essentially saying hey, you've got a lot of control over a lot of stuff and we don't trust you.

Again here's Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown at one of the hearings which focused on Facebook. Here he is.


SENATOR SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Facebook is dangerous. Now Facebook might not intend to be dangerous but surely they don't respect the power of the technologies. They're playing like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches. Facebook has burned down the house over and over and called every arson a learning experience.


VAUSE: It was a good soundbite. It was catchy but what seemed to be also here common to all of this which was not said in the most part which is we as in Congress have no clue what to do about it. PERRY: Well, you know, at least they air their concerns and the

committee, the Banking Committee has a really firm grasp on how cryptocurrencies work. I was really impressed with the depth that they went to and regulation, how laws are handled. How passwords are handled. Inter-operability between other wallets allowing third parties to build upon the platform. How that information is shared. And plus how it plugs into larger things like anti-money laundering issues.

So I give Congress massive kudos of this whole thing and hopefully striking a little fear on Facebook to really think about how their past activities are bringing in in this distrust for this new endeavor.

[01:35:03] VAUSE: Yes. Ok. So, you know, to be fair the Libra thing was sort of their forte, everything else seemed to be a bit sort of muddying the waters a little bit. You know, they did not know whether -- what the regulation should be. Whether, you know, they should break it up. Different senators have different opinions of what they should do.

But the day began with the President you know, tweeting about Google in terms of treason. This is what he said. "Billionaire tech investor" -- and we should note him as a Trump supporter -- "Peter Thiel believes Google should be investigated for treason. He accuses Google of working with the Chinese government. A great and brilliant guy, he knows the subject better than anyone."

You know, Trump then goes on to say that "The Trump administration will look into this" -- yada, yada, yada.

But the reality is a lot of American companies are based in China and they do work with the government in Beijing. It is not an easy relationship, but what has Google done that stands out here compared to what other U.S. companies have done?

PERRY: You know, I really don't know but you have to consider the source from where all that came from. You're talking about Peter Thiel. I mean this guy has a vested interest in Google's downfall because it does have a competing product in the form of Palantir who provides big data to governments.

So of course, he is going a stoke the fires and go hey man, check out what is going on over Google because he wants more contracts.

But yes, if there is fire there, if there's a smoke there then check into it. You know, what has Google done with China? And is it any worse than what anybody else has done in the form of like any foreign industry?

You know, I mean does Peter Thiel have a short position on Google. Is he really trying to stoke the fire so Palantir gets more government contracts? This is something I want to know.

But yes, everybody got grilled today for whatever their strengths are which also pose a big threat to the future of our economies, you know, whether it is Amazon being too big and being too big and taking too much data from their own -- their own retail partners.

You know, I mean Google -- Amazon has half of the market for e- commerce, only 4 percent of overall commerce. You know, what is Google doing with all the data they collect? What's Facebook doing with all the data they collect? And you know, what is Apple going to do with the data that they're holding on to or refusing to give to local and federal government agencies in the name of privacy?

VAUSE: This also seemed to be a (INAUDIBLE) for Republicans who are getting out their grievances about this conservative conspiracy theory that Facebook and others like Twitter actually -- and Google as well -- actually sort of censoring conservative viewpoints and that was raised by the Republican Senator John Kennedy.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Isn't it true, and I really want your opinion, that Facebook has chosen to advance a set of values in which truthful reporting has been displaced by flagrant displays of (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

MARCUS: I don't know how to answer that question -- sorry about that.



VAUSE: I don't know how answer that either but, you know, much of the motivation for these hearings especially when it comes to Facebook, is this belief among conservatives that Facebook and Google, they're out to get them.

PERRY: They are all echo chambers. I mean what you see on Facebook and Google is based on what you already consume. So they're going to like bring you more of what you see already. So yes, there are theories that like they do -- you know, they may be dampening access information for things that might not so left, but is there a way to prove that? I don't know.

How do you look under the hood? I really don't know. But I will give John Kennedy kudos for calling BS on this stuff because in there, there is a kernel of truth about well, like all right, you know, can we really trust these guys to deliver, you know, what we expect to be the news?

VAUSE: Yes. Well, you know, they continually say that they are not a news organization. They continue to sort of walk away from any responsibility when it comes to journalism yet they are one of the biggest distributors of news stories on the planet. You know, (INAUDIBLE) taking no responsibility I guess.

Scott -- good to see you. Thank you.

PERRY: Always, man. Thanks a lot -- John.

VAUSE: Cheers. The largest ever modern-day slavery prosecution in Britain. Hundreds of immigrants set free after a human trafficking network is taken down. You'll meet the man who risked his life to make it happen.


VAUSE: Well, there are disturbing details about the death of an American scientist in Greece. Police say a man on Crete has confessed to killing Suzanne Eaton, a highly respected scientist who attending a conference at the time.

Police say she was run down by a car driven by her confessed killer who put her in the trunk and took her to a World War II bunker. That's where, still alive, she was raped and then eventually died. The suspect's cell phone place him near the crime scene and the tire tracks matched his vehicle.

Rifles, bayonets, and air-to-air missiles -- these are just a few of the military weapons the Italian police seized along with a collection of Nazi paraphernalia from three men.

Barbie Nadeau reports now from Rome.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Italian investigators looking into potential terrorism charges for those Italians fighting alongside pro Russian fighters in the Ukraine found an incredible weapons stash on Monday night inside the house of a former parliamentary candidate for the far right Forza Nuova Party here in Italy.

Among the weapons they found was a French made air-to-air missile that had been owned by the Qatari military at one time. They also found 800 weapons. They found 300 parts of guns including sights and silencers. And they found 200 weapons among this stash.

They also found Neo-Nazi paraphernalia that included signs with Adolf Hitler's name on it, swastika signs and a number of other destroyed pieces of evidence that tie these Neo-Nazi groups to potentially the pro Russian fighters in the Ukraine.

Now the investigation is looking into whether there's a larger network and what was going to happen with these weapons. Whether they are going to be sold or the black market or whether they could have potentially been used right here in Europe.

This is Barbie Latza Nadeau for CNN -- Rome.


VAUSE: Britain's largest modern day slavery network has been taken down. Eight gang members made millions by trafficking hundreds of victims from Poland. They put them to work in England, taking all the money they earned.

CNN's Phil Black spent some time with one of the men who brought the gang to Justice.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Peter's retro flat cap isn't a fashion choice. It's protection, a partial disguise. we can't show his face or mention his full name.

There are people who want to hurt you?


BLACK: Peter's job is freeing slaves.

PETER: I have been involved in 286 rescues.

BLACK: That has made enemies and inspired threats.

PETER: They want me to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

BLACK: Peter is giving us a tour of Birmingham's dark underbelly, in the U.K.'s second largest city, on regular looking roads inside ordinary looking houses. He helps uncover appalling hidden crimes, building trust with victims, moving them to safety. His stories are about real people -- enslaved, exploited, controlled with unimaginable violence.

PETER: A young female, was tied up because she refused to do what the traffickers asked her to do, which is being involved in prostitution. She was tied up with a barbed wire, and some parts of her body have been put on fire.

[01:45:07] BLACK: But one case stands out for its extraordinary scale.

This is where some of those people were rescued?

PETER: Yes, the first victims.

BLACK: The first people Peter ever rescued eventually led police to break up the U.K.'s biggest known modern slavery operation.

These gang members all came from Poland and so did their victims. They targeted people with few options and convince them to travel to the U.K. for a better life.

But this was the reality when they arrived -- filthy, slum-like conditions, threats, violence, forced labor for almost no pay.

The victims were put to work for unsuspecting businesses while the gang collected wages through bank accounts they control. Police believe they made millions of pounds. Gang members brazenly and foolishly flouted their wealth, one bought a Bentley.

Peter and his colleagues at the antislavery charity Hope for Justice worked the case from their secret operations room. Together, they and the police identified 92 victims. But the gang is suspected of trafficking hundreds more.

PETER: I'm afraid that still, so many people believe that slavery was ended 250 years ago and doesn't exist anymore.

BLACK: Peter takes us to a center that helps hundreds of homeless people in Birmingham every day. He says this is where many former slaves end up after their captors can no longer make money from them. This center has identified 45 slavery victims in the last year alone.

So this recent prosecution, this gang, it's not a one-off?

PETER: No. There are more gangs who are still operating. We won the battle, but the war is not over yet.

BLACK: British authorities believe slavery is a booming trade across the country, likely involving tens of thousands of victims. Peter says he'll continue working, defying threats, helping to free scared, vulnerable people one at a time.

PETER: Victims --

BLACK: Phil Black, CNN -- Birmingham, England.


VAUSE: Next up on CNN NEWSROOM. 50 years ago, the world watched and waited as the crew of Apollo 11 began a historic world-changing mission -- a look back at one of the greatest moments in the history of mankind.


VAUSE: Around this time 50 years ago Apollo 11 was just over 75,000 nautical miles from earth. On board: Commander Neil Armstrong, lunar module pilot, Edwin Buzz Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins were all asleep.

According to the Web site which has recreated this historic space ride in incredible detail using audio from mission control, at this point in the journey, the command and lunar modules were still docked traveling at 6,500 feet per second around Mach 5.8. In six and a half hours the crew would wait for Day Two. And about 23 minutes from now Mission Control would issue a status report.

Through the magic of television, here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Apollo control, 16 hours and 38 minutes around the lapsed time. Apollo 11 presently being tracked by the (INAUDIBLE) Australia tracking station. Geographically the spacecraft is practically directly over or out from the Philippine Islands.


[01:50:04] VAUSE: This Apollo mission captured the world's imagination in so many ways and never let go.

And while the past three U.S. presidents -- Trump, Obama, and Bush -- have all proposed human spaceflight missions like traveling back to the moon or more ambitiously to Mars all have floundered (ph).

In many ways the huge success of NASA's Apollo mission might just be the reason why there has been little to show in the past 50 years.

Joining us now from Detroit is a real life rocket scientist Anita Sengupta, an aerospace engineer to be fair. She spent a lot of time working with NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. So Anita -- thank you for coming on with us. We appreciate your time.


VAUSE: Ok. So July this year, July 4th to be precise, the U.S. President, like presidents before him, put down this marker on where he wants the U.S. space program to be heading.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to be back on the moon very soon and someday soon we will plant the American flag on Mars. It's is happening. It's happening.


VAUSE: And so it's happening he says. But, you know, is it really happening? And when I say happening, you know, when we talk about Mars specifically, like JFK declared, you know, that there will be a man on the moon. The U.S. will put a man on the moon and bring him home by the end of the decade.

That part was happening, you know. So NASA's budget go from $500 million a year in 1960 to $5 billion a year just five years later. That is happening.

SENGUPTA: It is happening. And it is happening in a slight different way than it happened in the 1960s. The space program now is definitely a combination of efforts from the private sector in the United States as well as a tremendous amount of work that's going on at NASA and in space agencies around the world.

So in that sense, the journey is expected. It's happening in (INAUDIBLE).

VAUSE: And you know, to be fair, there has already been -- NASA has been to Mars. They just haven't put a human being on Mars yet, right?

SENGUPTA: That is correct. Yes. So I work specifically on the Curiosity Rover missions. So robotics based exploration actually paves the way from a technology perspectives for future humans.

VAUSE: So it just does not seem to capture the, you know, the imagination obviously the same as putting, you know, Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon. SENGUPTA: You do have to take certain steps in order to make sure

that you have those technology are safe before you send people there. But of course, being able to see yourself and see through the eyes of an astronaut is obviously the Holy Grail.

VAUSE: And one of the big differences between, you know, 2019 and 1960 or 1969, you know, we may have the technology now but there just isn't the same motivation, there is no space race with a rival power. No fear that it could mean losing a Cold War.

SENGUPTA: It is different but I think what we do see with the advent of new technologies and the advent of the private sector is that there is new reasons to go to space. So that's a new business case, whether that's from a tourism perspective, from money perspective or from a telecommunications perspective. There's a different reason to go to the space now.

VAUSE: One thing we've seen is a lot of more realistic as opposed to Mars is a return to the moon. The mission is called Artemis. Michael Collins, one of the three astronauts from Apollo 11 was asked about that on Monday. He was at the Kennedy Space Center to mark this 50th anniversary. This is what he said.


MICHAEL COLLINS, APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT: Well I love the word "Artemis", the twin of Apollo. I think that's a wonderful name. And more important than the name it is a wonderful concept. But I don't want to go back to the moon, I want to go direct to Mars.


VAUSE: U.S. President Donald Trump seems to agree with Collins. Last month he tweeted for all the money we are spending manage should not be talking about going to the moon. We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on a much bigger things we are doing including Mars of which the Moon is part -- Defense and Science" on and on it went.

Is a return to the moon an important step to going to Mars? You know, what are the chances NASA, you know, will maybe get to the moon and the whole Mars projects actually stalled because of lack of funding or political support?

SENGUPTA: I would say that the most difficult constraint from an engineering perspective right now is funding -- to be able to support multiple missions. So being (ph) there we could do both that I think would be the ultimate scenario but I personally would probably prefer that we go to Mars.

VAUSE: So why is the move -- coming up as a step to go to Mars? It just seems -- you know, it's being sold as oh you can go to Mars and then on to the moon, but like President says and Collins said, we've already been there.

SENGUPTA: There's two different elements to it. One is the development of technology to land people on the surface and have them survive in the surface. It's a very different environment if you go to the moon from a radiation perspective and (INAUDIBLE) environment expected when you compare it to Mars.

The other element of course, is being able to have people surviving in space for long periods of time in a partial gravity environment. So you get a lot of information from going to the moon first. But from a technology perspective, the technologies to land on Mars are quite different.

VAUSE: And the difference too, you know, a trip to the moon is what -- a couple of days? A trip to Mars is six months and that is a whole different kettle of fish, right.

SENGUPTA: Exactly. So I think it's a lot more challenging from that human longevity perspective. So that is why you do benefit from going to the moon first from that perspective.

VAUSE: You mentioned about the involvement of private industry in the space program in the United States. And NASA has always worked very closely with private industry but even more so now.

[01:55:02] There was a recent report which found the total value of U.S. public funding, you see by entrepreneurial space companies from 2000 to 2018 was just over $7 billion dollars across 67 companies.

Because there hasn't been any sort of singular event like the moon landings 50 years and there is this perception that the space program may be -- you know, it' has floundered and has not had big splashing moments like, you know, man walking on the moon. Is that money well spent? You know, what has been the benefit to the public -- all that you know, billions of dollars which went to private industry?

SENGUPTA: So -- I mean the space program actually had so much impact on our society from a telecommunication perspective and mobile communications, from the Internet. But our economy has grown by orders of magnitude because of what the space program has provided us over the course of the past several decades.

So I think people somewhat take that for granted now. In terms of the investment that we see in the private sector one of the largest cost elements to going anywhere in space is the cost of launch vehicles. If we can drive the cost per pound or per kilograms to orbit to GPO 2 (ph) or lower value, it actually facilitates more exploration in space.

So if we can get that cost down or utilize in the private sector and their cost efficiencies that benefits all future space exploration -- human or robotic.

VAUSE: And that is where SpaceX comes in with its huge groups of rockets that can be reused which is an innovation which we didn't see coming from NASA.

SENGUPTA: So we have had launch vehicles for many, many decades. Our launch vehicles have always been developed in concert with industries but this is a different model in the sense that the funding for the launch vehicle development came exclusively from the private sector. That is where I think you see the difference here.



VAUSE: Yes. It doesn't seem as exciting as Apollo 11 but, you know, we are moving on I guess. That's the main thing.

Anita -- thank you. Good to see you.

SENGUPTA: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

VAUSE: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause.

Stay with us. A lot more news here on CNN after a very short break


[01:59:58] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U.S. lawmakers condemn Donald Trump's racist remarks but only few Republicans break ranks to vote with the Democrats. And the President is not backing down.