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President Donald Trump Launched Fresh Assault on Four Congresswomen; Robert Mueller's Highly Anticipated Testimony On Capitol Hill; British Flag Tanker Was Seized By Iranian Forces; 2020 Contender Senator Bernie Sanders Campaigning In Iowa; Miss Michigan Stripped Of Her Title After So-Called Insensitive And Racist Tweets Surface; Researchers Are Unearthing Thousands Of Bones In Two Vatican Crypts Hoping To Find Answers In The Search For A Teenager Missing For Over Three Decades. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 21, 2019 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:48] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN HOST: Hello, thanks for joining me. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield.

One week after President Trump launched a racist attack against four Democratic congresswomen of color that sparked racist chants at his own rallies, today he is launching a fresh assault, this time questioning their patriotism and distorting what the four lawmakers have said.

The President tweeting I don't believe the four congresswomen are capable of loving our country. They should apologize to America and Israel for the horrible, hateful things they have said. They are destroying the Democratic Party, but are weak and insecure people who can never destroy our great nation.

Today a top Democrat and civil rights icon accused the President of stoking racial fears and division, while many Republicans tried to move on from the controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I have never in my total of 37 years in public service ever heard a constituent say that they were scared of their leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scared of their leader? Scared of the president of the United States?

CUMMINGS: Of the president of the United States, that's exactly right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe President Trump is a racist?

CUMMINGS: I have been in office 37 years. Go ahead. What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe President Trump is a racist? CUMMINGS: I believe he is -- yes, no doubt about it.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (D), WISCONSIN: I would say in general the whole America love it or leave it is not a new sentiment. Back in the '60s that wasn't considered racist. I just find it very unfortunate that so many parts of our public debate right now get immediately stuck inside a racial framework, when what I would like to see is us moving toward that color blind society. I was hoping when president Obama was elected, it would go a long way toward healing the racial divide.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: Vice president Pence is also coming to President Trump's defense vowing that the President will not stay silent if another racist chant breaks out at one of his rallies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The President was very clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he?

PENCE: That he wasn't happy about it and that if it happened again, he -- he might -- he -- he'd make an effort to speak out about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will make an effort to speak out about it?

PENCE: That's what he's already said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: CNN White House reporter Sara Westwood is in New Jersey where the President is spending the weekend.

And Sarah, the White House sent out one of the president's most divisive advisers today to defend the President. Just what did Stephen Miller have to say?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Martin. A rare appearance from Stephen Miller on FOX News Sunday today. He's not an aide that's often seen in public settings, but he is very influential behind the scenes, a former aide to then senator Jeff Sessions. He has come a long way to really dabble in everything in the Trump White House, but specifically his portfolio has really grown to focus on immigration. And he has tried to push his nationalist agenda throughout the White House.

Today on FOX News Sunday, he argued that criticism of congresswomen of color, like the four that the President has gone after over the past week, shouldn't equate racism necessarily. That you can criticize these people without the attack being racially charged. That was Stephen Miller's argument on FOX News Sunday. He also argued that the word "racism" is thrown around far too often by Democrats. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Why shouldn't someone see all of that as racist?

STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR TRUMP ADVISOR: I think the term "racist," Chris, has become a label that is too often deployed by the left, Democrats in this country, simply to try to silence and punish and suppress people that they disagree with, speech that they don't want to hear. The reality is that this president has been a president for all Americans. All the people in that audience and millions of patriotic Americans all across this country are tired of being beat up, condescended to, looked down upon, talked down to by members of Congress on the left in Washington, D.C., and their allies in many corridors of the media.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, Miller also highlighted the president's disavowal of that racist "send her back" chant that broke out at his rally in North Carolina on Wednesday evening.

As we just heard, vice president Mike Pence also highlighted the fact that President Trump has tried to distance himself from that chant, although Trump has sent mixed messages, also say the crowd was incredible patriots, saying that chant came from patriotism from that crowd.

Now sources have told CNN that Trump views his attacks on those four congresswomen as successful. It's part of a strategy to elevate the most progressive members of the Democratic Party, Martin, and try to make them the face of Democrats heading into 2020.

[14:05:23] SAVIDGE: OK, Sarah Westwood, thanks very much for outlining it for us.

Joining us is Karoun Demirjian. She is congressional reporter for the "Washington Post" and John Bresnahan, he is capitol bureau chief for "Politico." Welcome to both of you.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here.

SAVIDGE: Karoun, let me start with you. I guess the President can't let it go. What do you make of how he is trying to change the narrative to turn this controversy from racism to patriotism?

DEMIRJIAN: Well, I think that's been the President's, you know, intention for a while. He say, go back to your country if you don't like the way I do things. And it doesn't help him to keep trying to say -- he can't say racism is OK. And he is not doing a very good job of convincing half of the population or more, because Republicans believe this too, that what he said was racist, so he is trying to pivot and say that was never my intention, you're misreading things into it that weren't there and we're just talking about being loyal to the country which I think these four congresswomen are not.

It's choosing to pivot and see what he said from a light that ignores much of the undercurrents of what he said in order to be able to spin this in a way that can be about him saying something that might seem presidential to his followers, when I think a lot of people not a part of his base are saying this is not up to the level of what should be coming out of the White House.

SAVIDGE: John, the President is claiming that he is attacking these congresswomen because of their views, not because they are all women of color. But if that's really the case, why isn't he attacking Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who have similar views and, of course, are running to take his job in 2020?

JOHN BRESNAHAN, CAPITOL BUREAU CHIEF, POLITICO: Yes. He has attacked Sanders and he has attacked Warren in the past. And of course his attack on senator Warren was the Pocahontas. He was questioning her claim of native American heritage. Again, a racial overtone there.

I mean I think what Trump is trying to do is his initial attack on these congresswomen was clearly racist. He said, you know, go back to your country, your country of origin. He's been -- he's vacillated between trying to dig out of it and trying to turn it into, you know, they are anti-Semites, that's why I attacked them, they're unpatriotic, you know. He is trying to find reasons to explain what is clearly just a racist tweet or series of tweets and statements.

And you know, the folks on the hill, Republicans on the hill are running away from this. They have trying to, you know, they turned it into now it's a patriotic issue or about anti-Semitism. But there's a double standard there. There's Republicans saying, you know, some of these democratic congresswomen have said, especially Ilhan Omar have said things that are anti-Semitic but what we say is not racist.

I mean, it's kind of a crazy debate. And actually the idea that they're going to be the face of the party is also not right. Whoever the democratic nominee will be the face of the party.

SAVIDGE: I want to play for you senator Cory Booker because he is also running for president. And today he accused the president of using race to divide in very strong terms. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Reality is this is a guy who is worse than a racist. He is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain. He is trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself. We have a demagogue fear- mongering person who is using race to divide. This is a referendum not on him. It is actually a referendum on the heart and soul of our country. Who are we going to be and who are we going to be to each other?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: So, Karoun, if the 2020 turns into a referendum on Trump and race instead of the economy, how does this controversy help hem get re-elected?

DEMIRJIAN: Well, he hopes that it plays to the feelings of many of the people in his base that feel like they are potentially worried about the fact the country is moving more towards becoming a majority minority country in many places, who are worried about feeling left out and the movement of various institutions and various economic trends are. And that plays to a largely white voter base that has supported him in his base.

And so if it's something that he is trying to project these sorts of messages through, using words that some people would say dog whistles, other people would say they're undertones of racial phrases, that it's a way of kind of, you know, speaking to people that might feel like they are -- that they miss a time in which white Americans had more control of what went on in the country, which is what we have been away from progressively over the last several decades.

To the extent that this is a long-term strategy for the GOP, it can't be. Because I think you have seen many other people in the Republican party say we need to really have a wider tent. We can't just keep getting a majority of the white voters and leaving the majority of the minority voters to the Democrats to win in large numbers.

And so if Trump thinks this is going to work as a strategy that plays well for the presidential election, fine. He may set the tone right now because he's the leader of the GOP. But I think there's the tension that John was talking about in the GOP is really real, because it's not where the rest of the party sits or views the electoral -- the electoral map and voters that they want to appeal to.

[14:10:37] SAVIDGE: Right. And long term it's a failing strategy.

John, what do you make of the White House sending out Stephen Miller to defend the President?

BRESNAHAN: It was very interesting. I have known Stephen for a long team from the hill. He is a very aggressive conservative. Has very strong views on immigration. That is something that he has spoken about passionately for years.

What I thought was interesting what he said, and I think you will hear this more and more is, and you heard this a little bit from senator Ron Johnson is that, you know, that the use of the term "racist" is -- that it's just thrown about too much. And I think you are going to hear this more and more in coming days and weeks. And that, you know, every time anybody who's in a minority sees anything that offends them, they claim racism.

This is what the White House is going to say. And that plays to some white Americans who think that, you know, that minorities hide behind the racial card, which is of course untrue, but they look at the Jussie Smollett incident and those kinds of incidents and say, look, everything can't be racist. The minorities scream racism whenever they can, which I think it's very interesting to see that line of attack. And, you know, then they use the anti-Semitism line and of course the patriotism line.

But it was interesting to see Miller out today. It was a good -- it's good to see that he's -- you know, he is the driving force behind them on immigration in the White House and to see him defending the President today was an interesting moment.

SAVIDGE: I agree.

Karoun Demirjian, John Bresnahan, good to talk to you both. Thank you.

BRESNAHAN: Thanks for having me.

DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, get set for Robert Mueller's highly anticipated testimony. That's going to be this week on Capitol Hill. Will he stick to the four corners of his report on Russian interference in the U.S. elections or not? We will discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:16:10] SAVIDGE: I don't know if you knew, this the Mueller report may be number one, it is actually number one on "The New York Times" best-seller list for paper back nonfiction. Many people may take the attitude why read the book when you can catch the movie, because that's what millions of Americans will be doing Wednesday. That's when former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies in back-to-back hearings on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. And the chairmen of both the judiciary and intelligence committees are hoping that Mueller himself will be able to make the case to the American people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: The report presents very substantial evidence that the President is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. And we have to present -- or let Mueller present those facts to the American people and then see where we go from there, because the administration must be held accountable. And no President can be above the law.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We want Bob Mueller to bring it to life, to talk about what's in that report. It's a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race welcoming help from a hostile foreign power. Not reporting it but eagerly embracing it, building it into their campaign strategy, lying about it to cover up, then obstructing an investigation into foreign interference, again to try to cover up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin is in New York. He is also Robert Mueller's special assistant at the department of justice and then former assistant Watergate prosecutor John Sale is in Miami. Thank you for joining me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Michael, you obviously know Mr. Mueller more than many of us do. And I'm wondering what `can we expect? It's fairly clear that the heads of those various congressional agencies are expecting that he is going to go farther than he has and yet he has shown a reticence he doesn't want to go beyond the report that he's already filed. What do you expect? You know the man.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think he is going to stay within the four corners of the report. What the Democrats can hope for is that he will tell it in a coherent narrative, from beginning to end, as if it were a story, much in the same way that Ken Starr did when he testified about the Whitewater/Lewinsky investigation. Ken Starr brought that story to life. Mueller has the capacity to do the same if he desires to, but it's not clear what his interests are.

SAVIDGE: And John, after your experience with Watergate, what are the key questions that you think Democrats should be asking?

JOHN SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Well, I think the Democrats are going to try and bring it to life. They will ask questions like, do you think it was left to the Congress to decide whether or not he obstructed justice? Do you in fact think the President did obstruct justice?

But in the lead-in, somebody said why read the book when you can watch the movie, the answer is because this is not theatrics, this is not a show. And I agree with Michael to some extent. I think he is going to stay totally within the four corners of the report. I think it would be inappropriate if he didn't. I think it's dangerous for a prosecutor to start talking about what their thoughts were, what they might have done, what they might not have done. If they do that, they have to talk about people who were not charged. That not only goes against department of justice policy, it goes against basic fairness because those people don't have an opportunity to defend themselves and defend their reputations.

SAVIDGE: But Michael, I mean the strategy here on the part of Democrats, at least, must be that they are trying to get Mueller to convince the American people that what the president did was obstruction of justice.

ZELDIN: Well, I don't know that they need him to convince the American people so much as to tell the American people what he wrote in his report, which is that he investigated ten instances which were obstructive behavior. Of those ten, six he found to be compelling and three he found to have substantial evidence of obstruction. So all Mueller needs to do from the Democrat standpoint is say in plain language what his report says in legalese and let the American people reach their own conclusions.

He doesn't have to, to John's point, he doesn't have to offer his opinion. He can just say we investigated the question of whether or not the president tried to obstruct our investigation when he ordered McGahn to fire me. Let me explain to you what evidence there is to support that notion. That's what Mueller needs to be able to do from a democrat standpoint.

[14:20:43] SAVIDGE: John, what do you think Republicans are going to counter with?

SALE: Well, the Republicans are going to want to show bias. They are going to want to say look at the emails or text messages between the two agents who he had working for him.

SAVIDGE: I think we had an interruption there, John. We lost you when he was trying to show bias.

SALE: Oh, then I think he's going to talk about the FISA warrant and the unverified dossier, the Republicans. And I think Bob Mueller will avoid of falling into a trap of assisting the Republicans or the Democrats because he is a prosecutor. You know, a prosecutor's report, as good as it is, is one-sided. And there are a number of things. For example, the alleged thoughts about firing bob Mueller. Well, in Watergate they weren't just talking about it, I was one of the people who were fired. So there is a difference and there are two sides to everything. The Mueller report is not like Moses coming down with two tablets, the two volumes. It's a prosecutor's report, which has never been tested by a judicatory body and in the report they reference that in a footnote. So it's one side. And I think he's just going to say the report speaks for itself.

SAVIDGE: Well, there's going to be a lot of people listening as he says that and we will wait and see.

Michael Zeldin, thank you for joining us. John Sale, you as well. Appreciate both of you.

SALE: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: And of course CNN is gong to have special coverage of Robert Mueller's testimony before congress. It starts Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

Meanwhile, still ahead, a dangerous heat wave is gripping much of the country from the great lakes to the east coast. The threat that has become deadly, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:26:14] SAVIDGE: For the fourth day in a row, millions are under the grip of an oppressive heat wave that's blanketing much of the country. More than 90 million people are under heat warnings that stretch from Oklahoma to Maine. And while a cold front has brought relief to the Midwest, cities like New York and Washington are facing heat indices as high as 110 today.

Meteorologist Gene Norman is tracking this for us in the weather center.

And gene, millions are probably hoping this is going to end soon, right?

GENE MARTIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. Martin, for a lot of people this will be the last day, but for those like those in the nation's capital, it's going to be at least Tuesday before we stop seeing temperatures like this.

This is a live look at the White House, 107 the heat index right now, a temperature of 98 degrees. It's that combination of the temperature and the humidity that really is becoming a big problem for a lot of folks, 105 New York, 99 Charleston, 97 St. Louis. These again are the feels-like numbers where that combination becomes very, very difficult.

Lots of people still under a heat warning or a heat advisory, primarily along the east coast. A couple of spots in the Midwest. Because of that cool front they're getting some relief.

JFK airport, they broke a record yesterday for the temperature of 99 degrees. Today the record is 99, they are going to get close to that. They're already at 95 so a few more degrees to go before they break that record.

But what about that relief? It's coming. Look at this pocket of cooler air and milder air that's going to make its way into the eastern half of the country by Monday and certainly by Tuesday. So like that old Wilson Phillips song, Martin, hold on for one more day in Boston and New York, because my Monday you are going to be in the 80s. D.C. gets into the 70s by the time we get into Tuesday.

So there is some relief coming, it's just a couple of days away. The oppressive temperatures have really been a problem for a lot of people. Most are trying to do the best they can to just stay indoors, crank that AC and stay out during the hottest part of the day, which is right now.

SAVIDGE: You know that song will be stuck in our head for the rest of the day.

NORMAN: One more day.

SAVIDGE: All the way back to 1990, I looked it up.

Gene, thanks very much.

And it is not just people who are, of course, trying to beat the heat. Zoos around the country are doing what they can to help animals get through the heat wave. We want to show you some photos and videos.

In St. Louis, three hippos were treated to a special summer treat, frozen watermelon.

In Toledo, a rhino stormed its way into a cooldown in a lazy river.

And in Cincinnati, elephants received a nice spray courtesy of the staff of the zoo there. Next, new audio of that dramatic confrontation moments before a

British flag tanker was seized by Iranian forces. What orders the ship's captain was being given before being captured and hauled into Iranian waters.

Plus CNN is marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. And on this day in 1969, the crew of the Apollo 11 space craft began its journey back to earth with moon rocks, data and equipment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:33:22] SAVIDGE: The operator of a British oil tanker seized by Iran says that they have made a formal request to visit the 23 detained crew members. There has been no official response from Iran on that request, but officials have said the crew is healthy and remains onboard.

Iran seized the ship last week in the critical shipping area in the strait of Hormuz. It was in apparent retaliation after Britain captured an Iranian tanker it accused of trying to smuggle oil to Syria.

Our Matthew Chance is in the United Arab Emirates near the strait of Hormuz.

And Matthew, we are getting this dramatic audio of what the communication was from the seized ship. But I'm wondering, what exactly are we learning?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well we're learning a little bit more at least. There's already been dramatic video of the Iranian operation to seize that British oil tanker. And as you say now there are these dramatic audio recordings sort of emerged.

Looking at them which you can hear, the Iranian Navy confront the British flagged oil tanker. You can also hear a British warship attempting to intervene and to warn the Iranian authorities about its obligations under international law. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you obey, you will be safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will reiterate that you are conduct as you are conducting transit passage in a recognized international strait, under international law, your passage must not be impaired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No challenge is intended. No challenge is intended. I want to inspect the ship for security reasons, over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:35:04] CHANCE: (INAUDIBLE) to inspect for security reasons, that's what the Iranian Navy said. But the suspicion amongst British officials and many others is that this is actually an act of retaliation following the capture or the seizure earlier this month by British forces of a vessel containing Iranian oil, which is believed to be in violation of EU sanctions by shipping that oil to Syria. So this is retribution on the part of the Iranians.

SAVIDGE: And so if that is the reasoning, what do they hope to get out of all this, you know? What is their goal?

CHANCE: Well, I mean I think what their goal is, is to secure the release of their property in the form of that Iranian oil, which has been seized by the British authorities off the coast of Gibraltar.

What they have got now is a very potent bargaining chip. They can essentially enter into negotiations and the British authorities, remember, say they want to end this through diplomacy, not through military means. But the Iranians can now enter into the negotiations with Britain. And regardless of the legitimacy of the capture or the seizure of this British tanker, they can essentially say, look, we will give you back your ship if you give us back our oil. And I think it might be as simple as that.

SAVIDGE: Matthew Chance, thank you very much for that reporting from the United Arab Emirates.

Still ahead, he would rather focus on policy, but senator Bernie Sanders is getting dogged by his own campaign staff over his $15 minimum wage proposal. Now his 2020 Democratic rivals are using that to attack him ahead of the CNN debates.

But first, we take you to this week's wander must, Breckenridge, Colorado.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA LOCOCO, BRECKENRIDGE SKI RESORT: The town of Breckenridge is established as one of the largest historic districts in Colorado. And we have a vibrant mountain community with a pretty laid-back vibe. Breckenridge is known for its award-winning arts and maker scene. The culinary experiences and more than 250 miles of interconnected trails for hiking and biking nearby. The peaks Breckenridge Ski resort serve as the backdrop. The gondola is transportation and great views of summer activities.

JOE BUTH, CRANIOLOGIE BRECKENRIDGE: The electric bikes offer a super unique way to explore Breckenridge and get off the beaten path of main street a little bit. There's a lot of hidden views up high here in the mountains. It's easier to get up there with an electric bike. People are always surprised by how much distance and height they can cover. Everybody who goes on an electric bike tour comes back with a smile.

CHEF MICHAEL HALPIN, HEARTSTONE RESTAURANT: Eating at the Heartstone is a you unique experience of the farm table cuisine. We are in a old Victorian house that's over 140 years old. Some of our favorite dishes are the (INAUDIBLE) and my favorite and it seems everybody else's favorite, the Colorado rack of lamb. Come to Breckenridge and enjoy our great hospitality. You are always welcome. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:42:12] SAVIDGE: Moments ago, 2020 contender senator Bernie Sanders wrapped up a busy weekend of campaigning at a rally in Iowa. But as the Vermont senator tries to focus on policies like Medicare for all, his competition is hitting him hard over complaints of how much he is paying his staffers despite a campaign push for a $15 minimum wage. This morning 2020 candidate, senator Cory Booker, told our Dana Bash that his campaign goes above and beyond that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOOKER: We have said in our campaign that we are not only going to pay our campaign staff that, but we are going to pay interns as well. So I'm very proud of the house we have. Not only do we pay our campaign staff wages that reflect what my values are, but we actually make sure that we have inclusive campaigns, diverse campaigns administrator.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So it's $15 an hour minimum?

BOOKER: It is $15 an hour or more than that, yes.

BASH: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: CNN correspondent Ryan Nobles is at that rally in Ft. Madison, Iowa.

And Ryan, any response from Sanders in Iowa this weekend from all of this?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not directly, Martin. In fact I asked senator Sanders about this specific issue yesterday and he just did not want to talk about this topic. He would much prefer to be focused on these big issues at the focus of his campaign, such as Medicare for all and expanding access to health care across the country and dealing with economic inequality.

But to your point this has become something that the other 2020 candidates are now starting to weigh in on. Vice president Biden yesterday informing us as to what he pays his staff. As you played there, senator Booker saying that he pays his staff $15 an hour.

Now, the Sanders campaign would point out that they too go above and beyond. That this is not a traditional campaign in terms of compensation. That their employees get full health benefits, 100 percent of their premiums paid for. They also get benefits like parental leave and gas cards. So they believe that the contract that they have negotiated with their union is a good one, but that doesn't mean there still aren't complications. And they are in the process of that negotiating process. The only time senator Sanders has directly responded to this was in an interview with the "Des Moines Register" where he said this is something that the union and his campaign are negotiating and he wished his staffers would not gone outside of that negotiating process to bring these concerns to the media. As a result though, Martin, this is something he'll have to deal with and until resolved will continue to be something that dugs him in his campaign.

SAVIDGE: Yes, it is a destruction at a critical time.

On Thursday we learned that Bernie Sanders will share the debate stage with progressive rival Elizabeth Warren. And some voters in Iowa appear to be wavering between the two of them. So what are they saying?

NOBLES: Yes, it's interesting, Martin. I spent a lot of the weekend trying to figure out exactly where Iowa voters stand as it relates to this upcoming debate. And what's interesting is that having Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the debate stage at the same time presents a bit of a quandary for the two of them because they both are trying to fill this progressive lane of politics. And they actually admire each other quite a bit and go to great pains not to knock the other one down.

In fact, I was there when a reporter asked senator Sanders about being on the stage with Elizabeth Warren. And he responded that we should expect intelligence, meaning that he also respects senator Warren.

But I did ask one voter in Iowa who caucused for Bernie Sanders four years ago about where he is thinking about this process and this is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[14:45:39] BEN MULLIN, IOWA DEMOCRAT SUPPORTED SANDERS IN 2016: You know, I'm leaning towards senator Sanders or maybe senators Harris or Warren but still keeping my options open.

NOBLES: Who did you like four years ago?

MULLIN: Bernie.

NOBLES: Why are you dithering then? Because you've got more options?

MULLIN: Yes, there are more options. There are some people that say we need a more fresh face in the Democratic field as far as that goes. But like I said, keeping the options open. I want to see how the rest of the debates play out and how Bernie performs compared to the rest of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Now what's interesting, Martin, there's certainly some conventional wisdom inside the beltway that it's an either/or choice for progressive voters when it comes to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

Bit when you talk to both campaigns, they don't view it as such. They view the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as a unit that's going to be involved in this primary process right up until the very end, whether it ends up with Bernie Sanders at the end of that process or Elizabeth Warren remains to be seen. But they don't see a whole lot of value in knocking the other one down to help themselves. They feel that those progressive issues are what's going to win this primary ultimately and that personal attacks will not get them anywhere.

SAVIDGE: We are going to find out if that holds up during the next debate.

Ryan Nobles, thanks very much.

And you don't want to miss two big nights of the Democratic presidential debates. They are live from Detroit on July 30th and 31st, only here on CNN.

Next, Miss Michigan stripped of her title after so-called insensitive and racist tweets surface. But she's not backing away from those statements. She's doubling down. What she is saying, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:45] SAVIDGE: Miss Michigan World America is now without a crown over racist tropes she tweeted over the last couple of years. Kathy Zhu tweeted the pageant stripped her of her title after comments about Muslim women and black-on-black violence from 2017 and 2018 resurfaced.

CNN's Natasha Chen is following this story for us.

And Natasha, she has since deleted those tweets but still stands by her statements. So what's she saying today?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, she appeared on a local FOX TV station in Detroit, Michigan, this morning to defend a couple of the tweets that are considered controversial. I want to read a couple of them here. There is one that she was tweeting in regard to an event at a Florida school where she attended at the time saying there is a try a hijab on booth at my college campus. So you are telling me that it's now a fashion accessory and not a religious thing or are you just trying to get women used to being oppressed under Islam?

Now, she has since transferred to the University of Michigan, but she told that panel on the local news station this morning that she was not expelled from that Florida school, that she since transferred to the University of Michigan after this incident, after this tweet.

Now, there's another tweet that she also defended this morning. It says did you know the majority of black deaths are caused by other blacks? Fix problems within your own community before blaming others.

That tweet has since been deleted. And she explained this morning that that was in response to someone else's tweet. She said that she was responding to someone talking about stop killing black people in reference to police shootings and black lives matter. What you are seeing right there is her post about why she feels she

was stripped of her crown. She tweeted a screen shot of an email telling her that her posts were racist and insensitive, offensive, and she feels that it's because of her conservative views.

Zhu has been very vocal about her support for President Trump. You see her wearing a make America great hat. This was a pageant within the Miss World Organization which President Trump has never been affiliated with. He was formerly an owner of the miss universe pageant, which is separate.

So, Martin, this contestant here, Miss Zhu, says that the Miss World Organization should have vetted her and her social media more carefully before she was crowned, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Has that organization responded in any way?

CHEN: Well, we have reached out to the state director as well as a couple of members of the national team of the Miss World Organization. We have also reached out to Miss Zhu herself and none of them have responded yet.

SAVIDGE: OK. Natasha Chen, thanks very much for following the story for us.

CHEN: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, a discovery three decades in the making. How bones unearthed at the Vatican could be connected to a teenager who went missing more than 30 years ago. That story is next.

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[14:57:37] SAVIDGE: Riot police and demonstrators in Hong Kong clashing for the seventh week in a row. Officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters after they refused to dispersed. Initially, the protest began as a peaceful march but later demonstrators formed a front line throwing bricks towards the police. The incident forced police to pull back as protesters chanted and continued marching towards them. The demonstrators are protesting an extradition bill along with a host of other democratic issues.

Researchers are unearthing thousands of bones in two Vatican crypts hoping to find answers in the search for a teenager missing for other three decades.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau has the story.

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BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The forensics teams ventured beneath the old floors of the Vatican's cemetery in search for new answers on Saturday. A new investigation for the search for a man, (INAUDIBLE) 15-year-old girl who mysteriously went missing 36 years ago led officials to two underground tombs where they unearthed hundreds of bones for examination.

The latest tombs are adjacent to two others that were searched last week. The tomb of the angel pointed to the tombs of two 19th century German princesses. But when the tombs were open, no traces of human remains could be found.

The reason explained by the Vatican is that the princesses' remains may have been transferred during the '60s and '70s. Orlandi's older brother Pietro who has been present through every step of the investigation said it is his duty to look for her. The children of a Vatican clerk, the two of them used to run in the gardens as though it was their playground. Nearby lies the cemetery that may hold the painful answers to his lifelong search.

Pietro told CNN to think if she was buried there all these years, just 200 meters from our house, it would be devastating. His sister's disappearance sparked conspiracy theories that included everything from Italian mobsters and international terrorists to the highest powers at the Vatican. No evidence has been found to support any of the rumors.

The Orlandi family has met with the last three Popes, but this investigation is the first time the Vatican has allowed such a search on their property. And the new cooperation from the Vatican has given the family faith that they are not alone in their search for answers. While the recently unearthed bones cannot be considered evidence just yet, further studies next week will help steer the direction for everyone involved in this puzzling mystery.

Barbie Nadeau --.

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