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Governor Ricardo Rossello to Step Down in a Few Days' Time; Prime Minister Boris Johnson Cleans the House; Democrats not Satisfied with Mueller's Testimony; Rapper Rocks in Jail; Europe Experienced Record-Setting Heat Wave; North Korea Back to Testing Missiles; Winning Post, An Elegant Life. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired July 25, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The governor of Puerto Rico caves into the demands of protestors. Ricardo Rossello says he will step down, but not right away.
Britain's new prime minister takes the reins at 10 Downing Street. Boris Johnson. He is wasting no time calling from his cabinet anyone who didn't back him.
Plus, former special counsel Robert Mueller's highly anticipated testimony. Instead of a Hollywood blockbuster, lawmakers got a lackluster performance.
Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Will Ripley, and this is CNN Newsroom.
We begin this hour in Puerto Rico where the embattled Governor Ricardo Rossello has announced that he will resign effective a week from Friday. Protestors they have been out, they have been demanding he leave office for weeks, filling the streets, marching, demonstrating and objecting to those leaked homophobic and profanity-laced chat messages between Rossello and his closest aides.
But it went much deeper than that. They were also angry about what they called long-standing government corruption.
As CNN's Rafael Romo reports from San Juan.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An explosion of joy, singing, shouting and dancing here on the streets of old San Juan after these people learned that Governor Ricardo Rossello announced that he was going to resign effective August 2nd at five in the afternoon.
It is the announcement that these people had been waiting for, for the last 12 days, every single day they have been protesting and demanding his resignation and the reality is that Governor Rossello did not really have too many options. He was facing what would have been a very embarrassing impeachment process that would've started Thursday, and also, he has lost many of the members of his cabinet. This week he have lost three already and also the support of very
important donors in his party, so when the news was heard here on the streets, people were elated and it was a very difficult situation for the island, because let's remember that it is the very first time in the history of Puerto Rico that a governor resigns since the late 1940s, when people were able for the first time to elect their own governors.
Now, the Secretary of Justice Wanda Vazquez is going to be sworn in after Governor Ricardo Rossello makes his resignation effective on August 2nd. It is going to be a very difficult task for her, because she has to rebuild the government and also, let's remember that Puerto Rico will have to hold elections in 2020.
But again, people here in old San Juan are incredibly happy that this has happened.
Rafael Romo, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
RIPLEY: Just incredible to see all those people behind Rafael. And we have one of them on the line who was out celebrating and out protesting on the line. Desiree Morales who has been calling for Rossello's resignation. And she joins me now on the line from San Juan. So, tell me what is going through your mind this evening.
DESIREE MORALES, PROTESTER, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Well, first of, all I'm very overwhelmed with happiness, optimism, I enjoy. This is, I believe, the first step for what we are fighting for, what I have seen this week and the past week has been truly overwhelming.
I'm only 22 years old, I'm going through this crisis and seeing so many people take the streets, united to take one step towards their goal that is to take out every corrupt person in the government, and to take the fiscal control board out. It's very, very important for me, I'm very hopeful due to these past couple of days, it's very overwhelming.
RIPLEY: Do you think this will be and often people will go home? But you mentioned rooting out all government corruption. Will the protests continue?
MORALES: Well, I believe we will continue. There is a call for national pride tomorrow and people today on the streets were screaming, this does not end here.
[03:05:02] We are going out tomorrow morning to demand the resignation of the justice secretary, and also to fight against the fiscal control board and against corruption in the island because Ricardo Rossello is just -- he's like the tip of the iceberg in our system.
He is a part, he is a reflection of colonialism on the island, so I believe people are going to go out in the streets. This does not end here. No one, no one ever has seen something like this here in Puerto Rico.
This was, I believed, bigger than Vieques, the Vieques protests. So, I think we will continue this movement and we will find ways to develop our government in a more equitable way, so those that suffered from the consequences, from the corruption and poor governance and austerity will live a better life and a we will leave better country for them.
RIPLEY: Desiree Morales, one of the protestors celebrating but vowing that the fight will go on. We appreciate you joining us on the line from San Juan. Thank you.
Boris Johnson is beginning his first full day as Britain's new prime minister. It became official on Wednesday when the queen asked him to form a government and he wasted no time cleaning house, sacking most of Theresa May's cabinet and replacing them with Brexit loyalists.
The big challenge he faces, though, is delivering Brexit in 99 days, by the end of October -- Halloween, as a matter of fact. The new prime minister is brimming with confidence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have every confidence that in 99 days' time, we will have cracked it. But you know what? We are not going to wait 99 days, because the British people have had enough of waiting. The time has come to act, to take decisions, to give a strong leadership and to change this country for the better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: CNN's Nina dos Santos joins me now live from number 10 Downing Street. Nina, the speeches have certainly been entertaining as have the headlines this morning. The Times are calling this, you know, the most brutal cabinet purge, cabinet carnage, the afternoon of cabinet carnage in the most brutal cabinet purge in modern political history."
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
RIPLEY: I mean, 18 cabinet members sacked within hours. What's next?
DOS SANTOS: Well, that's more than half of the old cabinet that Theresa May had. Basically, anybody who voted for remain, anybody who wasn't a fan of Boris Johnson, anybody who didn't espouse his view of a harder Brexit is out, especially if they are a senior minister.
And later on today, we are going to hear about the junior ministers as well, so it may be that the balance of power here will shift even further towards the right of the conservative party, and towards the harder side of the Brexit debate.
As you alluded to their, Will, what we saw as Boris Johnson walking through number 10 Downing Street yesterday and then delivering a speech saying, this is the moment do or die, come what may, the buck stops with me, I'm planning on taking the U.K. out of the E.U., come what may, by that next deadline, which, as you said, isn't about 99 days from now. And so immediately on the cards today, he is going to be assembling
his newly formed cabinet, that cabinet is stuffed with those hard Brexit beats, the big three positions that have been given to people who backed him in the vote leave campaign and other crucial positions as well.
And then in a few hours' time, we are going to see where the parliament buys any of this. Remember, by firing so many senior government ministers, he has made a lot of enemies who've been relegated to the backbenches, some of them are willing to sacrifice the conservative party's holdover power to prevent a no deal including the former occupant of number 11 Downing Street, Philip Hammond who will be leading the charge agitating against Boris Johnson when Boris Johnson addressed the House of Commons later on today.
It is likely he may get a rough ride. We'll also get a little bit more insight into his thinking about how he thinks he can push through a no deal through parliament with its current makeup. Will.
RIPLEY: Nina, Boris Johnson once famously said, "My chances of being P.M. were about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars or my being reincarnated as an olive."
All right, so what are his chances, Nina, of delivering Brexit by October 31st?
DOS SANTOS: Well, Boris Johnson said a lot of things that he has rolled back on over the years, seemingly in jest but now the real question is, he is going to be held to his promises.
He really has no excuse here because, as I said before, he stuffed his cabinet full of people who actually promise Brexit to the people two years ago in the 2016 referendum on E.U. membership and now their task will be to deliver it.
[03:10:02] Since there aren't that many remainers who are in the big jobs in the cabinet, there is nobody to blame if by October 31st the U.K. still remains inside the E.U.
One issue he will have, though, is trying to find the money to make up the difference, because remember that the E.U. is the U.K.'s biggest trading partner and also the U.K. is on the hook for a very substantial bill that runs into the billions of dollars as part of its severance packages, divorce settlement, if you like.
All of these things are going to come up for negotiation over the next few months. And one thing that you have heard time and time again over the last 24 hours of this a really turbulent reshuffle, Will, is that, essentially what we now have inside number 19 Downing Street is a bunch of free marketers.
And if the economy starts to shrink, it's going to be a very different rhetoric to the one that they are used to touting from the backbenchers if they have to try and stimulate the economies for this reason that the outgoing chancellor said, be careful and spent wisely because you are in for some rough times. Will? RIPLEY: And the economic forecast of a no deal Brexit is dire, to say
the least. Nina dos Santos, live in London, thank you.
Robert Mueller's testimony was arguably the most anticipated on Capitol Hill in years. It was built by many as must-see TV. Many who were expecting Mueller to finally bring the Russia investigation to life, but in the end the hearing was more like a stale rerun.
A cliff notes version of that 400-plus page report. No bombshells, no smoking gun. For seven hours, the former special counsel answered questions from two congressional committees about Russian interference in U.S. elections and the role that President Trump may or may not have played three years ago, but the big headlines we already knew.
Russia meddled in the 2016 election and continues to interfere. Mueller says Donald Trump's conduct was problematic. He was not fully cooperative, but the report neither exonerated him nor concluded that he committed a crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): So, the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct?
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, RUSSIA PROBE: That is correct.
NADLER: And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): And when Donald Trump called your investigation a witch hunt that was also false, was it not?
MUELLER: I like to think so, yes.
SCHIFF: Well, your investigation is not a witch hunt, does --
MUELLER: It is not a witch hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: When the president said the Russian interference was a hoax. That was false, wasn't it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: So, what hearings were President Trump watching? Because despite all that he said it was a very good day for him and Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The
performance was obviously not very good. He had a lot of problems, but what he showed more than anything else is that his whole thing has been three years of embarrassment and waste of time for our country.
And you know what? The Democrats thought they could win an election like this. I think they hurt themselves very badly for 2020.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: On Wednesday evening, House Democrats did meet behind closed doors with some pressing their leadership to move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry.
Coming up, un-American rapper, ASAP Rocky, being held in a Swedish jail. He will be prosecuted on an alleged assault and we will have the details.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
RIPLEY: We are following breaking news out of Sweden. An American rapper being held in jail has just been charged in connection with assault.
Moments ago, the prosecutor announced that accusations have been laid out against ASAP Rocky and two of his associates. They are accused of throwing a man across a street in Stockholm last month.
This case has garnered an extraordinary amount of attention from all over the world, thanks in large part to the U.S. President Donald Trump.
As CNN's Melissa Bell has been reporting for us from Stockholm over the past few days and she joins me now live.
So, Melissa, at least President Trump is distracted by the Mueller testimony so he is not tweeting about ASAP Rocky, at least not right now.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not for the time being, but we are about to see some reaction, not least from all those very many followers that he has. He has now, Will, for more than three weeks being kept in this remand jail while the investigation was going on into -- and this has been crucial to the prosecutor's investigation -- that video that was captured by so many of the bystanders who were present on the 30th of June when that brawl took place.
Just to remind our viewers, Will, it involved, allegedly, ASAP Rocky and his entourage on one side and a Swedish man on the other. Now, the Swedish man on the other side was also investigated but he had been allowed to remain free, because he had not been deemed by the Swedish judiciary to be a flight risk.
Now, that Swedish man had that investigation into him discontinued earlier this week, so the focus was really on ASAP Rocky, the two members of his entourage who are currently being held here. We've just heard that they are to be charged with assault, that means that they will now face a trial. At the end of that trial, they could potentially be facing up to two years in jail, Will.
RIPLEY: What are people there, Melissa, saying about this case? Are they surprise it is being so much attention?
BELL: I don't think they are surprises getting so much attention, but there has been a very clear divide between people in Sweden who understand how the Swedish system works, that, is if someone is considered a flight risk, they are kept in remand jail while the investigation goes on.
That is simply how the Swedish law works. Also, impossible for any politician even to express an opinion on a case which is what the Swedish prime minister despite that phone call with Donald Trump has insisted on doing not expressing himself directly at all.
In fact, we've only heard from Swedish, the Swedish government through the person or the spokesman of the prime minister who again repeated that it was an independent judiciary into which no politician could seek to interfere.
And then you have on the other side, people who, perhaps from the United States, many of ASAP Rocky's fans, and not least Donald Trump himself insisted that what was unfair because they understand the system that works would fail, is that someone should be kept in jail for that long without any charges being brought.
I think what you've seen is that a disconnect between the understanding of the systems. Of course, now the charges have been brought in a sense, it's much clearer he will face a trial to find out exactly whether the prosecutor is right.
And what the prosecutor said this morning is that at the end of that investigation, he has become convinced that ASAP Rocky and his entourage were guilty of a crime. That now goes to court. We'll find out no doubt in the next couple of weeks whether or not ASAP Rocky is going to jail.
RIPLEY: And of course, his lawyer has repeatedly insisted that he was just defending himself, so we will see how the trial unfolds. Melissa Bell, thanks for reporting for us there in Stockholm. We appreciate it.
North Korea is stirring up the pot yet again. South Korea's military says its neighbor to the North launch a new type of short-range missile early Thursday. And South Korea considers that test a threat, a threat that undermines efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Seoul says the missiles were fired into the sea from the North Korea's east coast, the city of Wonsan. Actually, a resort town that they have also used for weapons testing in the past.
These are the first test launches since President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month at the demilitarized zone when he made history, stepping into North Korea territory briefly.
They also come just days after North Korea released these photos of their leader Kim Jong-un inspecting what appeared to be a submarine, another attempt to perhaps signal Pyongyang's growing military capabilities.
CNN's Steven Jiang joins me now live from Beijing. Steven, this also the first weapons test since Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pyongyang. Is there any response yet from the Chinese government?
[03:20:03] STEVEN JIANG, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Will, I think we are probably going to hear something very soon from the foreign ministry's daily press briefing which is going on right now as we speak.
But they are probably going to say something they have always said in this kind of situation, which is urging calm and restraint and calling on all sides not to make any unilateral or provocative moves that would be detriment to the ease of tensions on the peninsula or the presumption of nuclear talks.
But it's interesting to note, as you say, this is happening at a time when bilateral relations between Pyongyang and Beijing are fast warming up. You mention that state visit President Xi Jinping paid to North Korea last month.
You were covering that event here and probably remember all the pomp and ceremony Mr. Xi got in Pyongyang, but also more importantly is the message from both leaders, President Xi and the Chairman Kim, that is these two longtime communist allies are trying to really not only cement their historic relationship but also to open a new chapter.
We are already seeing some indication of that, for example, trade between the two countries has rebounded in the first half of this year.
The Chinese commerce ministry just yesterday on Wednesday said that trade was actually up almost 15 percent in the first half of this year, so it is unlikely, I think it seems unlikely at this point, these latest launches would derail this trajectory. Both countries have put their country's leadership on, at least for now. Will?
RIPLEY: So, this is the kind of launch that much like the United States would not irritate China like an intercontinental ballistic missile or a nuclear test, essentially.
JIANG: That's right. And also, you know, we have seen this before, because remember, just about two months ago in May, the North Koreans launch two short-range missiles, so this is a very similar move by Pyongyang.
Now back then, when they launched missiles in May, that was the first time they did so since 2017. And as you remember the North Koreans really have been voicing their frustration with both Washington and Seoul in recent weeks, including, for example, warning the U.S. and South Korea not to go ahead with the planned military drill next month, calling these drills a rehearsal for war, and saying that if they were to go ahead, North Korea may rethink the decision to pause nuclear long-range missile tests.
And of course, as you mentioned, that picture, North Korean news agencies showed their leader is inspecting what appears to be a submarine, that is a very strong message into the world about the country's military capabilities.
So, I think because of the summit between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump in the DMZ last month, and they were -- they agreed to resuming these working level talks, and we have not seen that. I think this is probably one of the ways the North Koreans are showing their frustration and if that's the case, we are probably not seen the end of it just yet, Will.
RIPLEY: Yes, a plea to resumed diplomacy as opposed to a provocation, as some analysts have said. Steven Jiang, live in Beijing, thank you.
As temperatures rise, more records fall. The U.K. is expected to swelter like never before. We are live in London as a Europe sweats through its second major heat wave in just weeks.
RIPLEY: A vicious heat wave is baking Europe for a second time this summer with scorching temperatures expected to touch new highs on Thursday. Records have already tumbled in Germany, Belgium and France.
And in the coming hours, a record set in Paris in 1947 could also be toppled. The French capital is under a weather alert right now until this heat wave lets up, and Britain it is about to roast, roast, roasts like never before.
[03:25:00] CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins me now live from London, hopefully staying somewhat cool out there in this heat. Salma, if those 10 days of climate change protest this spring did not send a message, this heat wave sure does.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's absolutely right, Will. Now, as I will tell you it's difficult to link any single event to climate change, but what we do know is that global warming makes these types of extreme weather events like heat waves more likely.
So, while we are talking about this today as an extreme weather event, in the future this could be the new normal and that is the concern.
Take for example, Germany, what you just mentioned broke a record yesterday. Meteorologists are saying yesterday's record could be broken today. That's how frequently these events are happening, and this is the second heat wave this summer, June also set records across the continent.
Let's take a minute to talk about what is happening here in the U.K. Temperatures could potentially reach as high as 39 degrees Celsius. That would set records here. The public is being told to stay cool, to drink water, to even avoid going to work here in London so they won't get on that cramped tube, on those cramped buses avoid going to work if you can, but experts say this is not enough. We need to name these heat waves like we do with hurricanes so that
the public knows the dangers. Last year, there were hundreds of access deaths due to the heat waves and there is more health concerns this year, so for right now, everyone is being told to just stay cool, Will.
RIPLEY: Salma Abdelaziz, you stay cool yourself. Thanks for that live report from London. And we have more extreme weather to tell you about here. Torrential rain triggering floods and mudslides in Southwest China. Take a look.
Wow, this is dramatic video from Yunnan province showing the danger that was unleashed by the storms. Houses and roads were damaged, but amazingly there were no reports of anybody hurt. The roads were blocked for a time and the cleanup is underway at this hour.
So, a French inventor who has already wowed the crowds in Paris on Bastille Day with his jet powered hover board, well now, he is aiming much higher. Franky Zapata, remember him? He attempted to fly his board across the English Channel? If Thursday's effort succeeds, if he can do this, he'll smash his own record for the longest flyboard air flight. It looks dangerous, but good for him, wow.
Thanks for joining us. I'm Will Ripley. Winning Post is up next here on CNN. But first, I'll be back with a check of your headlines.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Will Ripley and this is CNN News Now. Celebrations in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as Governor Ricardo Rossello announced that he will step down a week from Friday after days of increasingly large protests against his administration. He has been embroiled in a scandal over those messages that he and his inner circle exchange that included homophobic and sexist language.
Democrats hoping for a bombshell or at least a peek at the inner workings of Robert Mueller's Russian investigation they were surely disappointed. They got neither on Wednesday as the former special counsel spent seven hours before Congress basically just rehashing the takeaways from his for 448 page report. Despite Donald Trump's insistence, Mueller against that his report does not exonerate the president, nor does it conclude that he committed a crime.
Boris Johnson is starting his first full day as Britain's new Prime Minister. On Wednesday, he replaced much of Theresa May's cabinet with Brexit loyalists. They called it the cabinet carnage. All the people got socked in just a few hours. The Brexit deadline looms, less than 100 days away.
An American rapper being held in a Swedish jail has just been charged with assault. The prosecutor announced a short time ago the accusations had been laid against A$AP Rocky and two of his associates. They allegedly assaulted a man in Stockholm last month, but the rappers lawyer insists he was just defending himself. That is your CNN News Now. Winning Post is next. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winning post, an elegant life. In association
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This month's Winning Post, an elegant life celebrates the Jewel in the crown at the sport of kings, Royal Ascot, unraveling it regal history in the grounds of Windsor Great Park, exploring the luxury surroundings of neighboring landmark and hotel Clifton house, dining in style with Michelin Star Chef Raymond Blanc at the race course's panoramic restaurant, and swapping style stories with stars of what is not only the highlight of the racing calendar, but also the British summer social season.
Few sporting venues can claim to match the rich heritage and history of Blanc (inaudible) Ascot race course. For five days in June, it becomes a hotbed of fashion, finery and flare with hundreds of thousands of the best dressed race goers turning out from meeting that has overtime established itself as a national institution. It provides the ultimate stage for the greatest race horses, but it is perhaps best defined by its royal title and patronage that result in the tracks legal foundations lay down more than three centuries ago.
Just 12 kilometers north of Ascot is the Great Park that surrounds Windsor Castle. Home to 39 monarchs since the late 1000 and to this day the weekend resident of Queen Elizabeth II, but more personally it is where back in 1711, Queen Anne, fame for her passion for horses came up with the concept that would move the future of racing across the globe.
The story goes that she was out riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle when she came across area of open heat, that in her words she describes as the ideal place to see horses galloping at full stretch. Just a year later the first races were held at Ascot and I'm sure not even Anne, herself could know that that throwaway comment would herald the start of what is now one of the greatest race meetings in the world.
Along with my trusty Steve (inaudible), retracing her royal steps on the tree-line grand avenue which was aptly given the name Queen Anne's ride during the 19th century, and the vast expanse of lush green turf does indeed make for ideal packing ground. Stretching nearly 5 kilometers, it takes a sweeping views of Windsor Castle below running southwest all the way up to Ascot heat. It is also home to the only statue depicting the current queen on horseback, created to commemorate her golden jubilee, but as expert mix smith explains, like the royal meeting itself it is a nod to the monarchies ongoing devotion to horses and in particular racing.
[03:35:08] NICK SMITH, DIRECTOR OF COMUNICATION, ASCOT RACECOURSE: How do you do?
The whole of the race course is a dedication to monarchy and pageantry and the history of the site. If it wasn't for Queen Anne, we would not have the passion of various monarchs who has been in Ascot over the years, commenting on our current Queen.
In her younger, days when she was riding, she used to ride horses on the morning of race days down the straight mile and as a racecourse owner, she has been tremendously successful. You know, she is not quite won the derby, but she won all the other four classics and of course I think probably at the top of her list of achievements will be her win in the gold cup in 2013.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what she bring to the five days?
SMITH: Well, she is the five days. I mean, the queen is intrinsically linked with Ascot. She has not missed a day of the royal meeting during her reign, even to such an extent that when the state opening of parliament in an election year interfered with Royal Ascot, if that is the right word, the queen came by car late, later was able to the royal procession, but still very much attended the race meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For many race goes the queen's arrival is the highlight. It being a rare thing to be able to boast of sharing the day out it with a sovereign and her family.
Royal procession is generally iconic. You are ambition that image of the queen and her family arriving from Windsor Castle every day, we certainly get runners from overseas on the basis of being part of something, bigger part of the big piece of history, and that has really helped.
SMITH: The royal procession is genuine and iconic, in fact vision that image of the queen and her family arriving from Windsor Castle every day. We certainly get runners from overseas on the basis of being part of something bigger, some part big piece of history and that's really help from recent years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Royal party might be able to call Windsor castle and its grounds home during Ascot week, but it is where I'm heading now that many of her fellow race goers visiting from further field stay. In the only marginally less lavish quarters of neighboring landmark and now five star hotel, Clifton house.
Built by the second duke of Buckingham as a gift to his mistress, the hotel being so close to the racecourse means that it is ideal for those guest looking for high end accommodation with hospitality that rivals even what is on offer at Royal Ascot. Unlike the race meeting, the house is steeped in history, boasting a story 350 years rich in power, politics and parties.
I am following a long line of famous names from across the threshold, many of the guests, (inaudible), and his wife Nancy, the last two have lived here and renowned for their Ascot gatherings, but particularly during the summer social seasons. And the house remains relatively unchanged (inaudible) in 1942.
You can imagine the parties here doing Royal Ascot week when Walter Faster owns the house.
OONAGH KENNEDY, NATIONAL TRUST CURATOR: In the visitor books, there are pages, sometimes two or three pages of the big parties which were held here during Royal Ascot. So, you have the cavern dishes, the (inaudible), their members of their own family, Waldorf Sister, Pauline Spender Clay came here, so there are great luminary names who stayed here during those weeks, and the parties were large.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clifton is wonderfully located for British summer social occasions like Royal Ascot.
KENNEDY: I think you could probably take that back to the duke of Buckingham who built a house on this site precisely because of that location to London, but in particular that close proximity to Windsor. I mean, it was said even the 18th century that you could take lunch in London, but the Clifton for evening dinner.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many of the Ascot family soirees boasted unapologetic debauchery. Scandal was never far away and it was now Clifton's spur, patrons can summon themselves besides what is known as the pool that brought down a government.
Clifton made headlines in 1961, the then conservative Secretary of State (inaudible), was at a summer party here by this pool. He met Christine Killa (ph) who was the young mistress of a suspected Russian spy. (Inaudible), and Killa went out to have an illicit affair, which inevitably ended with his resignation and caused long term damage to the reputation of British politics.
Socializing aside, the discerning racing fans and residents during Ascot will be impressed by this original paintings depicting by account of (inaudible), enjoying his passion for thoroughbreds. He was in fact refuted as one of the great breeders of the 20th century. His Clifton (inaudible), enjoying success in many of the classics and it is not just these painting that nods his love of horses.
Under what is perhaps one of the most impressive features of the house, the clock tower, and the original stables? These were the family's horses and carriages are all being stored and they now form a restaurant as part of the hotel.
[03:40:05] And once inside, you can clearly see the individual's tools with lots of the original details like these tiring's. And have a look at those table legs. And if any doubt remains as to whether the house lives up to the regal heights of its nearby famous race meeting, and how about this?
The estate is built on a cliff, with hence the name Clifton, and was perched very high above the River Thames, which you can just make out over there with these flower gardens and woodlands which extend to almost 150 hectares, there is a real palatial feel about the place.
So much, so the guests may encounter a modern day royal or two, notably Meghan Markle who in 2018, stayed at the house on the eve of her wedding to Prince Harry. Clifton house is certainly the place to stay if a luxury lifestyles is what you're after, and the five star treatment will continue after the break. I will join Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc and his panoramic restaurant at Royal Ascot on day one of the famous meeting.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the month of June, the eyes of the
equestrian world are on Berkshire County, host of one of the world's most elegant and glamorous horse racing events, and it is an early start this morning for the also courage company and its CEO Tom Farmer, ensuring his horses are in peak condition for the first day of Royal Ascot.
It is always a busy week for him and his team, being, as he describes, it a special time that requires special transport. And while still British weather might be doing its best to dampen the spirits today, he is making sure I arrive at the track in style and that means making my way through the countryside in a traditional carriage pulled by what are known as fine boned whites, immaculately turned out sporting and matching Prince of Wales plumed.
In just a few hours' time, the royal procession and the queen's arrival by horse drawn carriage will herald the official start of this year's meeting. Thousands of fans will line the track to see her arrived, and I can't help feel just slightly real myself right now. Stepping out for my majestic ride and entering the grounds, although it is just 10:30 in the, morning I'm greeted by thousands of people already adorning the four courts in anticipation of a day filled with high fashion, gourmet food and of course, world-class racing action.
But with rain clouds overhead still threatening like many of my fellow race goers I'm seeking refuge in the grandstands, which after its multimillion dollar redevelopment in 2006, others not just seating for 30,000 people during racing, but some of the world's finest wining and dining experiences. Particularly on the sixth floor were Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc, resides over the panoramic restaurant.
[03:45:00] The stunning views of the track are matched only by the five star treatment give often by Raymond himself, who is now in his six year of residency at Royal Ascot.
What was it about this great British institution that made want to be part of this?
RAYMOND BLANC, CHEF PANORAMIC RESTAURANT: Royal Ascot is the world we know and is probably world best horse racing, perhaps the pageantry that the British know how to chisel, how to shape, how to create, it's wondrous. It is beautiful girl who is beautiful heart and it is joyful, it is elegant. It is fun. It is celebratory. We have good, we have good wines, you have fantastic racing, and hopefully you must have a good day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Raymond, guests come into your restaurant. What can they expect?
BLANC: Really special food. All the food is a special. It is organic, we have a beautiful salmon with pickle and vegetables, with loads of caviar on the top of the tartare of salmon and tuna. Here you have, this today for -- I get very emotional when I see a desert, not for me, but for the guests, the female guests, who will look at that place and she may have a tear in her eye, because I cooked for her and that is a very feminine plate, with a beautiful frosted moods with a flower. It is beautiful and I love my food and to give it to my guest is the first day, so it is going to be a feast. We are joyful and of course you have the queen coming today. It's gonna be very special.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this is a real celebration of all things British. You are of course a French chef, so how do you put your stamp on the food and the cuisine that you are serving?
BLANC: My mom taught me, we shall always not and she always cook with seasonal produce, it makes sense because seasonal is close to home, or seasonal food that comes from Berkshire, from Buckingham shire, Oxford shire, very, very close. And I love it.
Remember, I had been 46 years in this country. I came -- I was invited to the royal enclosure, OK, long ago, three years after I came to Britain. So there is a little bit of British in me. I am really in love with the wonderful rituals of Great Britain, and what I will bring in my food is definitely all of the British produce, OK, which will be singing in your plate no less.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While savoring this gourmet delights and fine champagne, Raymond's diners thoughts inevitably turn to the impending action on the track and the panoramic balcony overlooking the course, the place to see the meetings opening race, traditionally the queen and stakes, a nod to the race courses founder and her inadvertent grand gift to horse racing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The queen and in the center. He has just won the queen and (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, the world class racing complete, a gastronomic experience here at the panoramic restaurant. And this is just day one, a taste of what you can expect from a Royal Ascot and after the break, there will be tails of top hats and trends when we talk fashion on Gold Cup Day.
[03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The British summer season reaches its peak on the Thursday of Royal Ascot which boast a garden party atmosphere to rival even those hosted by the queen herself at Buckingham Palace. More than 65,000 are in attendance today, enjoying lunch on the lawn with pins by the pitcher and glamour in abundance. The style stakes had been raised for what is unofficially known as Ladies Day. It is all about standing up from the crowd. It means bolder colors, bigger hats with the fashionistas out in force.
And with that in mind, my outfit has been specially picked out for me, with both my dress and headpiece by renowned British designers, for what is a quintessentially British day that never fails to make fashion headlines. I think it is just that one time when it does not matter, whoever you are, you can come to Royal Ascot and embrace your inner kind of fashion designer, or stylist, or makeup guru and really pull out all the stops because there are dressed codes in place, but ultimately it is about individual styles. It is a big deal and it is a huge platform for the millionaires as well. What I think about Royal Ascot, there is an awful lot of elegant style and dress that you perhaps could not really wear anywhere else other than here. Would you say that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I would, and I think it is also about sticking the three colors maximum. That is usually my take with clients. It does not have to be matchy-matchy, but three is the magic number.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what about the gentlemen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is all types, it is really the cut of the suit, the color of the tie, possibly a bit of fun in the socks, but ultimately I think these guys all look so smart with the top hat. Many have opted for the traditional black silk approached, but we have seen the, gray the kind of older style gray with black silk ribbon and I don't, know there is something, depending on what age or how many times you have been to Ascot, it is approaching the top hat in a myriad of ways.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One person who has been setting the trends for the last 64 years is the Queen. With even the bookies offering predictions on the color of her hot, and as she heads up, today's royal procession, thousands of well-wishers gather for a glimpse of today's choice that of gun metal gray.
She will see of the day from the comfort of the royal box, and those splashing out on a bit of race day luxury can see life through the monarch side in one of the 225 private boxes that adorn the upper levels of the grandstand, where I am now catching up with Olympic cycling champion turned jockey, Victoria Pendleton.
Are you here, is it primarily for the horse racing or do you enjoy a bit of people watching and all the fashion?
VICTORIA PENDLETON, JOCKEY: It's always about the racing, I love to go and see the most (inaudible), and make my choices there, and I think it is always nice to go and stand on the railing and feel the power of the horses thundering past, because for me that was my first impression of racing was when you could almost, the sensation of the speed, at the behooves across the turf, in something very kind of oh, it kind a gets you deep in your heart. You can feel the vibration. There's something primal about it. Something quite beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But dressing up for the races. Is that something you also enjoy?
PENDLETON: I thoroughly enjoyed dressing up for the races. I think in this day and age we don't necessarily dress up that much. We don't go to the effort of putting an outfit together unless it is a family occasionally wedding or Christening or something like that. So I think it's quite fun to sort of get yourself into a very formal, very smart and well dressed for an event.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you obviously have your finger on the buzzer when it comes to fashion and black and white.
PENDLETON: What a (inaudible) polka dot day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It certainly is. You are looking great.
Time now to put fashion aside with the days feature race about to get underway. Considered by many to also be the highlight event of the whole meeting, an international lineup featuring 11 of the world's greatest thoroughbreds will fight it out for the Gold Cup which is presented by the Queen herself.
And there is one pairing that everyone has got their eyes on that, Frankie (inaudible), and Stradivarius, they are the bookies favorite to make it back-to-back victories for British champion trainer John Galveston, and what is the meeting of this race?.
[03:55:16] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To make their way up the home straight, they all jump away and in the early strides, it's almost a flag of honor and Stradivarius pretty well to the fall, (inaudible), Stradivarius goes into the inside, but Frankie Dettori, now Stradivarius pitch both strides, Stradivarius goes to the front, in the Gold Cup, in second place, (inaudible), Stradivarius finally has his place in history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The wind meant two consecutive gold cups for a Stradivarius, but for Frankie Dettori, a remarkable (inaudible) since lunchtime, leaving the tracks it absolutely no doubt who this year's ladies day belong to. Only narrowly missing out on the fifth race, his daily tally equal the record set by the great Lester Picket back in 1965.
What kind of emotions were you feeling after winning that Gold Cup in back-to-back years?
FRANKIE DETTORI, GOLD CUP WINNING JOCKEY: A lot of pressure, you know, I won the first three races, today and I was, thinking oh god, I hope I have not used up all my luck. You know, I'm having the people's pressure, you know, I do it, but I feel that the people really want this horse to win, and the cheer I got from these 60,000 people, it was amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where does riding four winners at Royal Ascot rank in terms of your career?
DETTORI: Well, up there with one of my best days. I won seven back in the days in Royal Ascot, (inaudible), gold cup there and I mean, what can you say? Something you dream of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well the race goers are celebrating Frankie's fabulous Gold Cup glory and this is the traditional way to end your Royal Ascot day, with a sing song around the band stand. For me, though, I will turn things over to South Korea.