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Iran's Flag Now Hoisted on Seized U.K. Tanker; Trump Steps in on Sweden's Investigation of ASAP Rocky; Johnson Favored to Win Conservative Leadership Contest; Next Prime Minister Faces October 31 Brexit Deadline; India To Launch Second Lunar Mission Monday After Delay; Public Uprising Against Governor Ricardo Rossello; Another Power Outage as a Dangerous Heat Wave Grips New York; Hong Kong Protesters Attacked by Mob; Trump Attacks the Four Congresswomen Again on Twitter; Highly Anticipated Robert Mueller's Testimony in Congress; Voloadymyr Zelensky Leading in Ukraine Elections. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 22, 2019 - 02:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Outrage that isn't simmering down. Protesters say they will stay in the streets of Puerto Rico until the governor finally agrees to step down.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: Plus Capitol Hill gets ready to hear from Robert Mueller, the former special counsel on the Russia investigation testifying before Congress this week.

CHURCH: And the American rapper arrested in Sweden may be getting some help from the White House. But the Swedish prime minister warns that Asap Rocky isn't going to get any special treatment.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and from all around the world. I'm rosemary church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. You're watching "CNN newsroom" live.

CHURCH: Well, protesters in Puerto Rico are planning a massive demonstration in the coming hours. They say they won't quit until Governor Ricardo Rossello resigns.

HOWELL: That's right. In a response to Rossello's message Sunday, he addressed the growing public anger against him. In it he says that he won't run for re-election next year, but that he has no plans to step down before his term is done.

CHURCH: Well, that's not enough for the hundreds of thousands of protesters who say they've lost all faith in him. The protest began after a leak of hundreds of pages of profanity-laced messages between Rossello and his aides.

They call his administration corrupt as Puerto Rico suffers high poverty rates, crushing debt and an incomplete recovery from Hurricane Maria. HOWELL: Our Nick Paton Walsh is in San Juan and describes the mood on

the streets and what protesters are planning to do next.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An extraordinary move by Governor Ricardo Rossello, really the day before he expected to face million-strong maybe protests on Monday in the streets across San Juan. He went on Facebook at 5:45 and said he wasn't going anywhere.

One, he would leave next year. He would not contest re-election, but frankly, he was bound to lose that quite (inaudible) given public opinion behind me here. So many angered in the crowd, they want his immediate resignation. They clearly not going to get that tonight, it seems, judging by his defiant statement.

So, all eyes are really on Monday's protest. What does that mean? They're going to block the main expressway into San Juan, Las Americas. Malls around that are being closed. Federal offices are being closed. The Justice Department said its employees are still coming to work but there is a growing feeling I think that perhaps Governor Rossello might be out of touch with the Democratic candidates who say he should resign.

Even from the signal from his press secretary who stood down awhile back, saying that she could no longer handle being associated (inaudible) with the corrupt allegations against him. There is a growing chorus not just behind me for him to leave. He's not doing that.

And there are concerns about where that could lead and the mass protests on Monday, given we saw violence in the streets on Wednesday night. Many concerns high here and how frankly, does this end? Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


HOWELL: Nick Paton Walsh for us. You see the crowds there in Puerto Rico. They are not standing down on this. The mayor of San Juan was siding with those protesters. She says her city is ready for the expected million-strong protest Monday and warns that police, she says, are making the crisis worse. Listen.


CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR, SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO: We have seen videos of police shooting people with rubber -- rubber guns on the back, following them sort of as if they were just aiming and shooting at the people. What the governor has done today is he has added fuel to a fire.

He's incited people. There are a lot of people that have never been to a protest before so they don't really know what to look for in terms of difficult circumstances and thousands have protested calmly, but, you know, there is always a few that take things overboard. So, we are prepared here at city hall with a makeshift emergency unit

with medics and doctors and nurses to take in anybody that receives tear gas or has a cut in their body or potentially being shot.


CHURCH: And the mayor adds the people are using their voices, the "ultimate weapon".

HOWELL: All right. Here in the United States, severe heat has left more than 300,000 people without power in the state of Michigan. And late Sunday, tens of thousands of customers in Brooklyn, New York were without electricity, likely due to overheated equipment there.

[02:05:01] CHURCH: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed this second power outage in a week on twitter saying this. "We've been through this situation with ConEd time and again and they should have been better prepared, period." Our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, joins us with more. This is a real problem.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEROLOGIST: It is. You know, the heat we're experiencing in some areas we have not seen the warmth stay in place even through the overnight hours in recorded history. So, really unprecedented setup when it comes to the overnight temperatures in some of these observations.

And of course, climatologically, latter portions of July into early August, each and every single year should be no surprise. This is when you expect the hottest of the hot temperatures to take place across much of not only the United States, but even across portions of Western Europe as well.

But notice this, LaGuardia on Sunday climbed up to 100 degrees. That ties a record standing for the date since 1991. Atlantic City, Kennedy also and Bridgeport, Connecticut, all of these temperatures climbing just right around 100 degrees and either tying or breaking records, but this sort of a setup, especially in an urban environment really is the concerning perspective.

Because of course when you have buildings, when you have glass, and when you have asphalt, cement, all of these really do a great job of trapping heat and of course make cities and more populated regions that much more unbearable. And then you factor in the humidity in some of these areas.

Of course in the shade, that observation of New York came in at 100 degrees. But in the afternoon, factor in the humidity, it feels like 110 across those areas. And that is why there is really such a demand not only on the infrastructure across this region but also on the people.

But notice this, a record low temperature on Saturday and Sunday morning there, 80 degrees and then 83 for a low temperature in Boston on Sunday morning. First time in recorded history we've had two times in one year of having lows fail to fall below 80 degrees. Really speaks for the significance of this warmth. And, of course, Saturday we set a record in New York City as well,

that breaking a record standing since 2013. And then the perspective there of that coming in at degrees celsius, 37 degrees out of New York, but high pressure sits in place here with high pressure in place, of course, we know it acts essentially as a lid.

So, as air tries to rise and cool, that lid caps the heat wave there. And of course, the air wants to sink back down and heat by compression. So we do have heat advisories in place there across portions of the northeast all the way down towards areas of the mid- Atlantic.

But we do expect much, much cooler weather in store by this afternoon and getting cooler still going in towards the latter portion of the week. In fact, some observations coming in at New York City's Central Park sitting at 95. That was yesterday -- 81 is what we expect today. Boston's upper 90s gives way to the lower 80s today. At least relief quickly on the way by this afternoon, guys.

CHURCH: I want to see that relief coming quicker, right. Thanks so much Pedram.

HOWELL: (Inaudible) Pedram. That would be great. Thank you so much. On to Hong Kong now where the protests are still going strong, 45 people were hospitalized after a mob attacked commuters at a suburban train station. Take a look at what's happening right there. Men dressed in white t-shirts, they violently beat those wearing black protest shirts with poles and (inaudible) in some cases there.

The attack left one man in critical condition, five women in serious condition. This happened after protesters flooded the city streets, thousands of people on those streets for the seventh straight weekend to demand change. Let's go live to Hong Kong. Our Anna Coren is following the story.

And Anna, you've seen so many people on the streets. The protests certainly continue but now this video of people being beaten by men with sticks. It is disturbing to say the least. What more can you tell us about it?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is extremely disturbing, George. That video that we just saw of those mobs of men dressed in those white t-shirts attacking protesters who were returning home from the days demonstration.

It's being reported in local media that those men are from triads, criminal organizations, criminal gangs here in Hong Kong, who were paid to attack the protesters. They were armed with iron rods, with wooden sticks, with batons, striking protesters.

There were local journalists amongst them who were livestreaming the attack and you can hear the screams. You can hear people calling out for help. Now, people on the scene say they called police. It took police more than 40 minutes to respond. So, serious questions are being asked of police today as to why it took them so long to respond. And we heard from the assistant district commander out at Yuen Long,

which is very close to the Chinese border here in Hong Kong who said "I didn't see anyone holding weapons." Well, if you look at the social media, the video, you can very clearly see these mobs of men wearing -- carrying these weapons.

[02:09:54] Now, what erupted here in Yuen Long was preceded by protests in central Hong Kong between protesters who are part of the pro-democracy movement here and police. They had taken part in a very peaceful march in which organizers say some 430,000 people had participated in.

But then they continued, defying police orders, they made their way up to the Beijing liaison office. And after it turned dark, they graffitied that office and defaced parts of the building on the outside and that's when we saw those clashes between police and protesters.

Protesters hurling bricks and bottles at police. Police firing back with tear gas and rubber bullets. So more violence on the streets of Hong Kong. Beijing obviously condemning the violence between protesters and police. No mention, however, of what happened in Yuen Long.

And I should also mention there was an arrest over the weekend of three men involved in the largest seizure of explosives here in Hong Kong. No links as to whether there was a direct link between the protests and these explosives, but obviously police are continuing to look into that. George?

HOWELL: All right, Anna Coren, thank you for the explanation of what happened there. We'll stay in touch with you.

CHURCH: And we'll take a very short break here. Still to come, President Trump renews his attacks on four U.S. congresswomen. Why he wants them to apologize. That's next on "CNN Newsroom."


HOWELL: The U.S. president seemed to be up early on Sunday and took to twitter.

CHURCH: Yes, he again attacked the minority congresswomen he told to go back to the countries from which they came in a racist tweet. Sarah Westwood has more.


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump is doubling down on his attacks on those House Democratic freshmen known as "the squad." Over the weekend here in New Jersey, the president taking to twitter to say he doesn't believe the four congresswomen are capable of loving our country and calling on them to apologize for things he claims they've said about America and about Israel.

The president continues to distort some of the things that members of the squad have said in the past to make his argument without evidence that these women are anti-American.

But the president had some backup today from two top administration officials, Stephen Miller, a top adviser and Vice President Mike Pence, who hit the airwaves in defense of the president's attacks, arguing that the president wasn't being racist when he told them to go back to where they came from.

And also pointing out the fact that Trump has tried to distance himself from the racist chant of "send her back" that broke out last week at the president's campaign rally in North Carolina. Take a listen.


MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You have a chance to say right now. Don't do it again. Is that your message?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Major, the president was very clear.

GARRETT: Was he?

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

STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: All the people in that audience and millions of patriotic Americans across this country are tired of being beat up, condescended to, looked down upon, talked down to by members of Congress on the left.


WESTWOOD: Now, the president has sent mixed messages when it comes to this chant. He has on the one hand on Thursday said that he was unhappy with the words expressed by his supporters at that rally on Wednesday, but then by Friday and into the weekend, he was defending that crowd, calling the people who expressed that sentiment loudly on Wednesday incredible patriots.

Sources tell CNN, though, that President Trump has faced pressure from aides and allies to disavow that chant after many Republicans were finding it difficult to defend and after a major backlash among Democrats. But President Trump is not giving up his attacks on "the squad."

Sources say that he views that as a successful political strategy to try to elevate those four congresswomen, make them the face of the Democratic Party, and try to project their far-left ideas and some of their more controversial statements on to the party at large. So that is something we could see more as the president ramps up his re- election efforts. SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.


CHURCH: Well, some of the most highly anticipated public testimony of Mr. Trump's presidency comes Wednesday when former Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears before two congressional committees.

HOWELL: Some Democrats believe it may be the push they need to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. Our Manu Raju has a preview for you.


MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lawmakers are intensely preparing for the most anticipated hearing in decades, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies about the findings of his two-year investigation. Democrats and Republicans both are sharpening their questions and their strategy as they hold mock hearings with top aides sitting in as Mueller.

CNN has learned that Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will focus on five areas of potential obstruction of justice laid out in the Mueller report. Including Trump's order to then White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. His efforts to have McGahn deny that the president had ordered him to have the special counsel removed.

Also, Trump's order to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to tell the then attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to limit the investigation to exclude the president, and later threatening to fire Sessions if he did not meet with Lewandowski.

There are also episodes in the Mueller report of alleged witness tampering, including Trump encouraging former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen not to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Just if he says what was in the report and says it to the American people so they hear it, that would be very, very important.

RAJU (voice-over): Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee plan to press Mueller about the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign.

And will ask Mueller about his finding that Trump publicly expressed skepticism that Russia was responsible for the hacks at the same time that he and other campaign officials privately sought information about any further planned WikiLeaks releases of Clinton campaign e- mails.

We know that (inaudible) will be asked (inaudible)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, we're going to ask him questions beyond the report and we're going to expect him to answer it.

[02:20:00] RAJU (voice-over): With the stakes enormous, Democrats say they are preparing carefully, re-reading the entire 448-page report.

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): This is not going to be a whole bunch of members freelancing, this will be organized. RAJU (voice-over): Republicans, meanwhile, plan to press the Special

Counsel about whether his team was biased as well as anti-Trump texts sent by FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I knew we got a lot of questions about how Robert Mueller's team was assembled.

RAJU (voice-over): And they plan to raise questions about why the investigation started in the first place.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): That's the basic questions of understanding a conclusion, you got to understand where it started.

RAJU (voice-over): But Mueller has already indicated he won't go beyond the four corners of his report.

ANREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FBI: Director Mueller will be impeccable prepared. He's not a verbose and dramatic witness, but he knows his stuff.

RAJU (on camera): Now, some Democrats have tried to actually lower expectations ahead of Wednesday's hearing. Jim Himes for one told me don't expect much news out of the hearing. Others believe it could reshape the impeachment debate going forward. Now, Nancy Pelosi behind closed doors said something different.

She has said, approach this calmly, I'm told. She told that to her Democratic colleagues. Approach this seriously. Don't raise expectations. Don't lower expectations. But ultimately the question could be whether or not Pelosi shifts off of her opposition to moving forward with an impeachment inquiry. At the moment, expectations are she will not move off that opposition.


CHURCH: Well, joining me to talk more about the hearings is Scott Lucas. He is professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham and founder and editor of EA WorldView. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So when Robert Mueller testifies Wednesday, he is not expected to go beyond the findings of his report, so the questioning style of both Republicans and Democrats will be critical within a very strict time restraint. Given most Americans have never read the Mueller report, will it be enough for Democrats to simply get sound bites of Mueller repeating his findings out loud to be replayed on news outlets over and over?

LUCAS: That's their strategy. I mean, this is almost like a T.V. version of the document. And remember what the document says, it says that on numerous occasions there is evidence that Donald Trump obstructed or attempted to obstruct justice. Democrats will try to get that line out from Robert Mueller himself. The report says that there are numerous contacts between Donald Trump's staff and Russian officials. They will hope that Mueller will again echo what that says.

And they will hope that Mueller will say that the only reason why charges were not filed against Donald Trump was because the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel said you cannot indict a sitting president. So in other words, there is evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors as they put it. The Republican strategy --

CHURCH: Well, OK, let's just separate that because on the other side of this, of course, Republicans want to ask Mueller why the investigation was started in the first place. And they also want to push him on perceived bias. How far might they get with that line of questioning do you think?

LUCAS: Well, we'll see. You just summarized the tactics, which is the Republicans don't want to talk about the evidence in the report. They don't want to talk about the legal interpretation of the evidence. They are going to as we say in U.K. play the man and not the ball.

They're going to attack Mueller's team. They're going to try to say that this entire investigation was undermined from the start, in other words to try to provide confusion rather than clarity with the Democrats doing exactly the opposite.

CHURCH: Right. And then of course, both Republicans and Democrats preparing very carefully, they want very different results, of course, from Mueller's testimony, as you've pointed out. But he will be very well-prepared himself and will know exactly what he plans to say or not say. So, what all can we expect to come out of this testimony in the end?

LUCAS: Well, he said, of course in his only public statement, he would stay within the four corners of the report if he ever did testify, but it's going to be very important to hear how he responds to the questions from both sides about the report. One, when the Republicans try to undermine his team, how strongly does Mueller defend them?

In other words, does he push aside the Republicans' diversion? And two, how much does he reiterate and how fervently does he reiterate that fact that there is this evidence of Trump's obstruction of justice and of the contacts, which were not a criminal conspiracy, where which some could see as collusion.

CHURCH: And can you expect or would you expect this testimony to have any impact on future impeachment proceedings?

LUCAS: I don't think we go down the road of impeachment proceedings unless the White House continues to try to obstruct significant hearings in Congress. I don't think they're going to do that or unless there is another breakthrough in one of the many other cases against Donald Trump.

[02:25:02] I think the Republicans, in fact, are going to try to play out the clock until we get into election season.

CHURCH: Scott Lucas, always a pleasure to have you on the program. Many thanks.

LUCAS: Thank you, Rosemary.

HOWELL: Dramatic audio reveals tense moments before a British-flagged oil tanker was seized by Iran. You'll hear part of that exchange and how the United Kingdom plans to respond ahead for you.

CHURCH: Plus, the U.S. president is trying to free an American rapper from a Swedish jail, Asap, coming up, or with that look at why it's not going to be easy.


HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Atlanta. I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. Want to check the headlines for you this hour.

Puerto Rico's governor addressed the public outrage against him Sunday. Ricardo Rossello says he won't run for re-election next year, but he will complete his term. However, protesters want him out now because of rampant corruption and offensive online chats between him and his aides.

HOWELL: It's happened again. The power went out in New York. See, look at that. That happened on Sunday, this time in Brooklyn for more than 30,000 customers. New York City is in the grip of a dangerous heat wave. It is believed that equipment may have overheated to cause that power outage.

CHURCH: Sunday's snap vote in Ukraine looks to be a big win for President Volodymyr Zelensky. Exit poll shows his party with more than 40 percent of the vote. That gives it a commanding lead over the pro Russian opposition platform.


CHURCH: Official results are expected next month.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: U.K.'s escalating crisis with Iran, the government's Emergency Response Committee is meeting soon to discuss it. The British flag tanker that Tehran seized on Friday, it is in the Strait of Hormuz, now docked at the Iranian port, and it is flying an Iranian flag as well. Britain has already warned of a robust response if Iran continues to hold that ship.

CHURCH: And CNN's Matthew Chance has more on the escalating tensions between the two countries.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the moment Iran seized a British oil tanker, one of the world's most important shipping lanes, pushing tensions in the Persian Gulf to dangerous new heights.

Iranian state media broadcast these dramatic images of what seems to have been a carefully planned military operation. Fast naval patrol boats surrounding the British flagged, Stena Impero, before it's boarded by masked troops from a helicopter, hovering above its deck. Iran says the tanker violated navigation rules.

JEREMY HUNT, FOREIGN SECRETARY, UNITED KINGDOM: Stena Impero was seized in Omani waters in clear contravention of international law. It was then forced to sail into Iran. This is totally and utterly unacceptable.

IRANIAN NAVY: If you obey, you will be safe.

CHANCE: And now, audio recordings of radio transmissions have emerged, of the Iranian revolutionary guards, ordering the British tanker to change course.

IRANIAN NAVY: If you obey, you will be safe. Alter your course to three, six, zero degrees immediately, over.

CHANCE: The British warship too far away to intervene, advises the tanker not to comply, then addresses the Iranian navy directly.

BRITISH NAVY: You must not impair, impede, obstruct or hamper the passage of the M.V. Stena Impero. Please confirm you are not intending to violate international law by unlawfully attempting to board the MV Stena.

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

CHANCE: But there were British suspicions, the real reason was this, a tanker, carrying Iranian oil seized by British forces off the coast of Gibraltar, earlier this month. Officials say they suspected it was heading to Syria in violation of E.U. sanctions. For weeks, a furious Iran has vowed a response. Now, Islamic Republic seemed to have retaliated. Matthew Chance, CNN, on the Gulf of Oman.


HOWELL: Matthew, thank you. The U.S. president is trying to get an American rapper, ASAP Rocky, out of the Swedish jail.

CHURCH: However, Sweden's prime minister told Mr. Trump, the Swedish court system is completely independent and won't be swayed by outside pressure. Melissa Bell explains what the U.S. president is up against.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Free ASAP Rocky, ASAP, the sign just outside the Stockholm remand prison, the only indication of the controversy over the American rapper, currently being held inside. On Friday, the American president weighed in. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I personally don't know ASAP Rocky, but I can tell you that he has tremendous support from the African-American community.

BELL: ASAP's more than 10 million followers haven't heard from the man himself, in nearly three weeks, ever since he was jailed in Sweden on suspicion of assault, in connection with a brawl on June 30th.

These are the images posted by TMZ that appeared to show ASAP Rocky caught up in a street fight, other videos posted by the rapper on his Instagram, paint a different picture, one, of harassment.

ASAP ROCKY, RAPPER: Look, just for the cameras, we don't want no problems with these boys. They keep following us.

BELL: Both sides are now being investigated, although the Swedish man allegedly involved, remains free, since the judiciary does not consider him a flight risk. ASAP Rocky, on the other hand, learned on Friday, that he would remain in custody whilst the prosecutor continues to investigate, claiming that he does present a flight risk.

Afterwards, the rapper's lawyer told journalists that the prosecutor's decision was unfair, but expected, and that his client is innocent, adding that he believed he was assaulted and acted in self-defense. ASAP Rocky's lawyer and his media representatives have not responded to CNN for comment.

On Saturday, the American president tweeted that he had been in touch with the Swedish prime minister saying that ASAP was not a flight risk and offering to personally vouch for his bail, but that is not how things work in Sweden.

DENNIS MARTINSSON, SENIOR LAW LECTURER, STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY: If you know the Swedish legal system, you know that there's no bail system. But then he also said something like the Swedish prime minister would get involved in the case.

[02:35:10] Actually, the Swedish constitution forbids any minister, even the prime minister, to get involved or any state anything about an individual case.

BELL: Indeed, the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that he neither could nor would try to inference the judicial process. Celebrities have also weighed in, Justin Bieber thanking Donald Trump for helping his friend, but asking whether he could also let the kids out of cages, referencing the migrant crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, also tweeted that Donald Trump needs to understand that Sweden has an independent judiciary, with any political meddling, distinctly off limits. That independent judiciary gives the prosecutor until Thursday to rule whether ASAP Rocky and two members of his entourage, should be charged, released or held here, a little longer.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: A man once said the odds of Boris Johnson being U.K.'s prime minister were about as good as finding Elvis on Mars. That man was Boris Johnson, the latest on the race to replace Theresa May, still ahead.


CHURCH: The U.K.'s next prime minister may already be chosen, but will have to wait until Tuesday to find out, that's when the Conservative Party is set to announce its next leader.

HOWELL: M.P. Boris Johnson is heavily favored against the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, but he faces sharp criticism from top members of his own party, the finance minister and justice secretary, they even said they will resign if Johnson becomes prime minister. Nick Glass has a look at the controversial figure poised to lead the U.K.


[02:40:00] NICK GLASS, CNN ARTS REPORTER: Just Boris, unmistakably Boris, the great blond ambition himself, rocking along and disheveled as ever. Boris Johnson, the most charismatic, shambolic, polarizing, and recognizable British politician of his time, now it seems unstoppably destined to be prime minister. Around the country --



GLASS: -- it's been pretty much the same campaign speech for some weeks now.

JOHNSON: We can get Brexit done and we can win.

There is only one way to get this country off the hamster wheel of doom, and that is to get Brexit done by October the 31st.

You know what we need to do? We need to get Brexit done. And we need to come out of the European Union by October -- by October the 31st.

GLASS: Photo opportunities aside, can Boris do it? Well, no one really knows. So far, both Europe and the British Parliament have been intransigent. In Brussels, Johnson seems to be regarded as a political lightweight, and by some, even appears to be despised.

The campaign has been carefully managed to stop Boris Johnson to reveal himself up, not always successfully.

ANDREW NEIL, PRESENTER, BBC: How would you handle paragraph 5C?

JOHNSON: I would -- I would confide entirely in paragraph 5B, because that is --

NEIL: How would you get round what's in 5C?

JOHNSON: I would confide entirely in paragraph 5B which is --

NEIL: Do you know what's in 5C?

JOHNSON: -- enough for our purposes. No.

GLASS: Paragraph 5C features in the so-called gap international trade agreement. Some commentators think that Boris Johnson should know precisely what it is, as it evidently undermines his planned strategy in the event of no deal.

Parts of the print media have already crowned Boris Johnson, in the Times Cartoon, his Churchillian, his rival, Jeremy Hunt, reduced to a victory cigar to be smoked at leisure. It's a relatively small electorate to win over, just a paid up membership of the Conservative Party, 160,000 of them.

Why bet Boris?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why bet Boris? Because I think we need to do something radical now, and I think Boris is the man to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has natural leadership ability. I think he is positive, it's a positive vote. I don't want more of this managerial compromise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a breath of fresh air and I find him really, really entertaining.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What quality do you most admire in your opponent as a future prime minister?

JOHNSON: I work very well with Jeremy over many years. I think, I --

GLASS: Do think the future is clear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, I still can't see how we're going to get, where we're going to get to in 31st of October.

GLASS: What's been evident from the campaign is that Boris Johnson is banking on a close relationship with Donald Trump, highly reluctant to criticize the president during the furore over Kim Derrick, the former British ambassador in Washington.

JOHNSON: I had a very good relationship with the White House and I'm very proud of what I was able to build up during my time as foreign secretary.

GLASS: The Guardian cartoonist depicts a sunburnt Boris Johnson, basking on an inflatable, in a murky pool, in the toilet lid head of Donald Trump.

The Spectator magazine has the two men with interlacing ties, a love knot in prospect. Boris Johnson is clearly a man in a hurry. He will have a little more than 100 days until the end of October to show his medal and perhaps the most challenging political crisis in Britain's post war history. Nick Glass, CNN, with Boris Johnson on the campaign trail.


HOWELL: Nick Glass there with the reporting. And now, let's put it into focus with John Rentoul. John is the chief political commentator for the Independent, joining this hour via Skype from London, good to have you with us.


HOWELL: So, we have seen a lot of Jeremy Hunt in the news as the nation's foreign secretary, of course, managing the impasse with Iran over the seized tanker, but all indications are that his rival for prime minister, Boris Johnson, will win this contest --

RENTOUL: Sorry, I just lost the sound.

HOWELL: OK. You know what? We may have to reconnect with you if you are unable to hear me. Are you still there? Can you hear me OK?

RENTOUL: Yes. Now, I can hear you now. Sorry.

HOWELL: The fun of Skype. We'll bring you back in. Can you hear me now?

RENTOUL: I can, I can.

HOWELL: All right. Let's refrain the question or put it to you again, so bottom line, all indications are that Boris Johnson will assume the role as prime minister. The question here --


HOWELL: -- what makes him different than any other candidate? Because, look, it took three years, right, to try to get Brexit done. Theresa May was --


HOWELL: -- unable to do it, Boris Johnson steps in, how can he make that happen in three months?

[02:45:05] RENTOUL: Well, I don't -- I don't know that he can. But, what's different about him is that he is prepared to tell party members -- to tell the party members what they want to hear, which is that we will definitely leave the European Union by the end of October.

Now, that's not a promise that I think he can guarantee to deliver because if he can't get a deal, and if he can't get a deal through the House of Commons, the House Commons will also stop him leaving.

Without a deal, and that will leave him in exactly the same position that Theresa May was in, in March and he will have to ask for an extension. HOWELL: With Philip Hammond telling the BBC, he intends to resign as Chancellor if Johnson becomes prime minister, also the finance minister promising to do the same. How does that affect Johnson or Hunt in this contest?

RENTOUL: Well, well, it means that there are -- there's a large group of conservative M.P.s many of them, currently ministers who will actually leave the government when Boris Johnson comes in, who are resolutely opposed to leaving the E.U. without a deal. And they will do everything they can to stop it.

Now, when I say everything they can, that includes bringing down a Johnson government. Because you got to remember that when Boris Johnson comes into number 10, he will only have a majority of four seats in the -- in the House of Commons. And that's with a minor party, the DUP supporting him.

So, that just means two conservative M.P.s go over to the other side and he doesn't have a majority at all, and he could be brought down. And I think that's the ultimate sanction that these people have against him that will prevent us leaving without a deal at the end of October.

Look, the former prime minister's Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, both have reportedly expressed their concerns about a no-deal Brexit that it could be catastrophic, that it could put the nation's economy on a cliff.

The question here, does Boris Johnson really have a chance of convincing them to reconsider, to convince the E.U. to reconsider and reopen negotiations?

RENTOUL: I don't think he -- I don't think he can because the E.U. side in the negotiations, knows perfectly well what situation in Parliament is. They know that Parliament is resolutely opposed to leaving without a deal.

And therefore, Boris Johnson has doesn't have very much leverage. Only he has is force of personality, and as your report so to correctly pointed out, actually, he's not -- he's not well-liked in European capitals.

I don't think that they will give him anything that they would need to give Theresa May. It -- and it's -- and it's not really a question about just giving him something. Because the sticking point is the -- is the Irish border that -- and both sides agree that it has to be kept off.

And therefore, the same deal that Theresa May had is going to be on offer to Boris Johnson. Now, if he can get that through parliament, then, he's a -- he's a clever a man that I know.

HOWELL: All right. So many factors here. We've talked about Boris Johnson, it seems that he is most likely to be the new prime minister. We've talked about the E.U. They are set, this is the deal, this is the only deal. RENTOUL: Yes.

HOWELL: What hope is there for those who are hoping to still remain in the E.U., given these set of circumstances that seem certain?

RENTOUL: Well that -- I mean, the most of the remainers are very gloomy about the prospect. But I don't think they should be. Because I think it's going to be very difficult for Boris Johnson to get us out of the European Union.

I think, at the end of October, he's going to face a situation where he's going to have to ask for more time and he was -- he'll have to say to people, "I've been blocked by Parliament, I'm going to have an -- have a general election, and I'm going to ask the people for a mandate for Brexit. For my Brexit which will be a deal or no-deal Brexit." And he'll go to the country and ask -- and have a general election.

HOWELL: John Rentoul, we appreciate your time today. Thank you.

RENTOUL: My pleasure.

CHURCH: And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still, to come, its take two for India's mission to land a rover on the moon. We bring you the latest from New Delhi in the hours ahead of takeoff. We're back in just a moment.


[02:53:20] CHURCH: In the coming hours, India is set to attempt the launch of its second lunar mission after the first one was cooled off an hour before lift-off due to a technical snag.

HOWELL: The India research -- Space Research Organization, I should say, the country's answer to NASA. It says the launch will take place in the coming hours. And if successful, India will become the fourth country in the world to make a soft landing on the moon's surface.

CNN's Nikhil Kumar has details.


NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: This rocket could propel India into one of the world's most exclusive clubs. Only three countries, the U.S. the former Soviet Union, and China have managed to land a spacecraft on the moon.

And now India is hoping to do just that with this probe. Called the Chandrayaan-2 is due to land on the lunar surface in September. This mission sets the stage for something much bigger. Putting Indian astronauts into space by 2022.

It'll be a huge boost for India's space program, and it's a goal shared by both India's scientists and by its leaders here in the capital New Delhi. For India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it's about projecting national power. "We will send a manned mission into space and we will do it with our own astronauts."

India has already made a mark on the final frontier. In 2017, it launched more than 100 satellites in one mission. And in 2014, it made global headlines by sending a satellite into orbit around Mars. All for just $74 million. Staggeringly cheap for a space mission.

But questions remain about India's ambitions. Analysts say, there's a huge gulf between the country's goals and what it can realistically achieve at least for now.

[02:55:09] RAJESWARI PILLAI RAJAGOPALAN, HEAD OF THE NUCLEAR AND SPACE POLICY INITIATIVE, OBSERVER RESEARCH FOUNDATION: One clear indicator to see whether these are feasible and how quickly these are feasible is the budget allocation.

And if when you look at the budget allocation for space in the last few years, they have been talked about increase in the space budget but there has been a very, very marginal increase. It's going to be a while before we see these things materializing.

KUMAR: Setting big goals does however send the signal that India has arrived.

RAJAGOPALAN: Some of these things are merely to show that we have ambitions, we are going to be a big player. We are a big power, we do have ambition.

KUMAR: And that's what it comes down to. 50 years on from the Apollo 11 moon landings, India wants the world to know that it's making its own giant leaps.


KUMAR: Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.


HOWELL: Britain's Prince George turns six years old on Monday. And to mark the occasion, Kensington Palace has released three new photos of him taken by his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge.

CHURCH: The Prince is third in line to the throne behind his father and grandfather, and that is likely a long way off. He will be in year two of school in September.

Some very cute photos that --

HOWELL: Absolutely, yes, happy little guy.

Thanks for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. We'll be back with another hour of news next. Do stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)