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Supreme Court Lets President Trump Proceed with Border Wall but Legal Fight Continues; U.S. Signs Asylum Agreement with Guatemala; Dems Taking Big Step toward Possible Impeachment by Suing for Secret Grand Jury Info from Mueller Report; Hong Kong Sees Eighth Consecutive Week of Protests; Boris Johnson and Donald Trump Talk Trade Deal; Search for Murder Suspects Focuses on Remote Canadian Area; North Korea Boasts of Missile Firings as Trump Downplays Threat; Mother Nature Has Final Say in Stage 19 of the Tour de France; Fortnite Esports Video Game Holds World Cup. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired July 27, 2019 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A win for President Trump. The U.S. Supreme Court rules in his favor about spending military funds on the border wall.

Democrats make a huge move, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee takes a step toward an impeachment investigation.

Also ahead this hour, defying the police: hundreds of protesters defy police orders and demonstrate in Hong Kong.

We're live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta and we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


HOWELL: 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast and we start with immigration and the U.S. president, two big wins on that front for him.

On Friday building his wall and slowing the flow of migrants to the north. First at the Supreme Court.

The court approving $2.5 billion of the Pentagon's money to build the border wall and Trump said Mexico would pay for. It allows the money to be spent while the courts battle it out in lower courts.

President Trump claimed victory, he said this in a tweet, "Wow, big victory on the wall. United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction allowing southern border wall to proceed. Big win for border security and the rule of law."

On the campaign trail, immigration has long been the controversial rallying cry of Donald Trump's campaign and his time at the White House. Earlier CNN political commentator Scott Jennings explained why this is such a big win and the timing is prime for the U.S. president on this issue.


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Number one, it's a political victory when the president came under some attack for not building the wall so he'll be able to check the box.

Number two, it comes at a time when the most recent Gallup poll shows immigration has gone back to the top of the list of the issues that the American people care about the most. So, this is kind of riding the wave of public opinion right now showing the president being responsive to that.

Number three, I think it validates the president's position. He said the border issues are a crisis and national emergency all along. Since he declared national emergency and everybody howled about it, what has happened?

Thousands of more people have come. We all seen it's an actual emergency. So he's validated on that.

And one final political win here -- I think the Supreme Court decision based on my Twitter feed is going to bait the Democrats into saying some pretty dumb stuff at this week's CNN debate. They have become extremists on immigration and I think it's going to get worse on your debate stages this week


HOWELL: Nearly 20 U.S. states along with rights and environmental groups and border communities are backing lawsuits that claim President Trump's emergency declaration violates the Constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Union slammed the court's decision, saying this, "This is not over. We will be asking the federal appeals court to expedite the ongoing appeals process proceeding to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump's border wall."

And lest we forget, using billions of dollars of taxpayer money is not exactly what Mr. Trump has pitched to his supporters in the past.


TRUMP: Mexico is going to pay for the wall.

Mexico will pay for the wall.

And Mexico is going to pay for the wall.

And who is going to pay for the wall?


HOWELL: The other big win for Mr. Trump on immigration, a deal struck with Guatemala. With the threat of tariffs now off the table, Guatemala agrees to a deal with the U.S. Asylum seekers traveling through Guatemala will have to apply for

asylum there. If they decide to claim asylum at the U.S. border, they will be returned to Guatemala. Mr. Trump called the deal a win for both countries. Listen.


TRUMP: We've been dealing for many years, I would say, with Guatemala and with other countries and we are now at a point where we are -- we just get along and they're doing what we've asked them to do and I think it's going to be a great thing for Guatemala. They don't want these problems, either.

So we're able to get it done fairly quickly.


TRUMP: This after many years. Mexico also is working along with us very nicely. I mean tremendously, actually. You will see a chart where the numbers are really through the floor, I should say, because they are going down.


HOWELL: The deal will likely be challenged in court with critics saying Guatemala is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, not a safe place for asylum seekers.

Putting immigration aside now, there is still the threat of impeachment hanging over the White House. The House Judiciary Committee has filed a suit to get secret grand jury information from the Russia investigation. The reason, they say they need it to decide whether to impeach President Trump. Sunlen Serfaty has this report.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are going farther than ever, admitting the investigation they are already conducting into President Trump could lead to recommending articles of impeachment against him, without the full House ever formally voting for an inquiry.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're saying no difference -- you're saying there's no difference between what you're doing now and an impeachment inquiry, correct?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: In a sense. We are going to see what remedies we could recommend, including the possibility of articles of impeachment.

SERFATY: The committee filing a lawsuit in federal court to get the underlying grand jury material from former special counsel Robert Mueller's report, arguing, quote, "The committee is conducting an investigation whose purposes include determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment." Committee chairman Jerry Nadler now openly threatening impeachment proceedings.

NADLER: The House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article 1 powers, including a constitutional duty power of the utmost gravity, recommendation of articles of impeachment.

SERFATY: While also readying a second court case to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with his subpoena.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): This court filing is the first time that you're seeing us telegraph to the court that one of the remedies we have is impeachment.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I would say we are in an impeachment investigation.

SERFATY: This comes as 100 Democrats support opening up an impeachment inquiry and as some are growing impatient with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's strategy, worried the window for starting impeachment proceedings may be closing.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: No, I'm not trying to run out the clock. Let's get sophisticated about this, OK? We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed, not one day sooner.

SERFATY: But pressure is growing behind closed doors from top deputies, like Chairman Nadler, who has pleaded with Pelosi privately to allow him to lean into impeachment.

NADLER: We may decide to recommend articles of impeachment at some point. We may not. That remains to be seen. And there's no point speculating on whether the speaker or anybody else will agree with our decision at that point.

SERFATY: Meantime, Pelosi today also trying to minimize another party rift.

PELOSI: I don't think there ever was any hatchet.

SERFATY: Meeting one-on-one with progressive freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the first time in months.

PELOSI: I have always felt -- again, it's like you're in a family. In a family, you have your differences, but you're still a family.

SERFATY: After the two have been openly feuding in public.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Looking forward to us continuing our work. As always, I think the speaker respects the fact that we're coming together as a party.

SERFATY: And amid this debate over impeachment, the House is heading into a six-week-long recess, where members will be hearing directly from their constituents back home. This could be a real key moment for the Democrats and could go a long way and help reshape or shape the narrative around impeachment for when they return back here in Washington in September -- Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Capitol Hill.


HOWELL: Let's put it all into focus with James Boys, professor of international political studies at Richmond University, joining us from London.

Good to have you with us.


HOWELL: So it is being called an impeachment investigation rather than an impeachment inquiry. So whether that is a matter of nuance or splitting hairs, the bottom line is there is an effort to get secret information from the Mueller report to help Democrats decide whether to impeach.

So why the ambiguity?

Why haven't they just said it is happening?

BOYS: Well, it is quite remarkable, isn't it. You do have clearly a great rift within the Democratic Party between the leadership in the form of Nancy Pelosi and several of her individuals who should be her key lieutenants, Jerry Nadler, for example.

The extent of that rift I think is a cause for great celebration in the White House. If you had a more united Democratic Party, who could frankly line up all their ducks effectively and get this sorted out, I think the White House would be in more trouble.

The hearing with Robert Mueller this week, of course, was being --


BOYS: -- touted as being a turning point, it had been delayed to allow the Democratic members of Congress to get their game faces on effectively and make sure that the hearing was going to be quite devastating.

And I think most people would agree that actually that hearing was more disappointing quite frankly to those seeking to impeach President Trump. And as a result what we are now seeing is Chairman Nadler realizing that clearly that that star witness will not suffice, they will have to go after the raw material that he based his report upon.

So this is definitely going to be an interesting dilemma for the courts to decide whether to unseal this documentation.

HOWELL: Not all Democrats clearly want to impeach. Many fear that it could energize the president's base, others are worried that it could force Democratic candidates running for president to talk impeachment rather than talk about tabletop issues that will be so important come the 2020 election.

Do you see this as a losing hand for Democrats or could it be a win, could it help them?

BOYS: Well, that is the $6 million question at the moment and it certainly is one which is splitting the Democratic Party. Clearly Nancy Pelosi has her issues with regard to this, believing that Democrats win when they talk about the table top issues, issues to do with the economy, et cetera.

The other side of that from other Democrats is that there is a constitutional responsibility to move ahead with this. Clearly I think Speaker Pelosi is of the opinion that quite frankly right now the math on Capitol Hill do not support a successful impeachment.

But of course, going back to some 20 years to when Bill Clinton was impeached, it could be the same thing then. The House did impeach Bill Clinton but there was no chance effectively of him being removed from office even though they controlled the Senate They were never going to get enough never going to get enough Democrats to move away from supporting Bill Clinton.

So should you move forward when you know that there is a certain outcome. Even against Richard Nixon, it was the only last minute when the smoking gun tape emerged that sufficient numbers of Republicans on Capitol Hill deserted Richard Nixon, that he chose to resign.

So impeachment is far more about politics than it is about law. And, of course, impeachment is only the beginning of a process, simply impeaching a president not guarantee his removal.

HOWELL: Many Democrats say rather focus on impeachment, focus on the election, that is the place to beat the president.

Let's pivot for a moment to talk about the president's big wins on immigration in Guatemala for sure but also at the Supreme Court, the court giving his administration the nod to use funds from the defense defendant by overturning a lower court ruling.

How does that play for President Trump as he moves on to the campaign trail and shares that with his base?

BOYS: Well, no doubt about it, Donald Trump has been very successful in presenting all decisions as overriding successes for him and his administration. On the one hand, we can rightly say as you are reporting that he has got the successful positive ruling from the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, as you are also reporting, very clearly he has always said that the Mexicans will pay for this; very clearly, that is not going to be the case. I doubt that he would make any reference to the second element and will be focusing on the first aspect of that.

Remember, of course, that this is not a simple Left-Right issue. The Democratic Party in the past have long been supporters of having border security, almost half of the border is already secured by some degree of a fence or a wall.

And it will be interesting to see just how much of this funds go into extending those existing borders or how much it is going to be replacing existing territorial borders which are in place and perhaps need fixing.

Donald Trump has gone done to the border in the past and stood in front of new sections of the wall which have in the past just been replacing other elements of a fence which, for example, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton put in place. So to the extent to which this new funding generates new border will be of great significance.

HOWELL: James Boys from London, thank you.

You don't want to miss the CNN Democratic presidential debates next Tuesday and Wednesday night. Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper moderate. July 30th and 31th beginning at 8:00 pm on the U.S. East Coast, only here on CNN.

Now to Hong Kong where thousands are --


HOWELL: -- protesting in the streets this hour, they are coming together in a small town on the border with Mainland China, making their voices heard. You see this live image right now, 4:14 pm there in Hong Kong.

People on the streets, they are protesting after they were attacked by mobs wearing white shirts, wielding iron bars and bamboo sticks. At least 45 people were hurt and about a dozen people were arrested. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is with the protesters and joins us live.

And what do you see there, what is happening behind you?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, George. I'm in the far north of Hong Kong and in the last hour we have seen a significant increase in the number of protesters who are here. And this is an unlawful protest.

Take a look at the number of people here, all of them risking arrest as they come out in force. The police denied permission for the protest to take place, saying that they would not be able to control the scene. And they are out here because of the events that took place last weekend, the brutal scenes of chaos, the mobs of men wearing white T-shirts and wielding sticks and brutally beating passersby, journalists and protesters; 45 people were hospitalized, five in serious condition, one critically injured.

A couple of days ago Hong Kong police announced 12 were arrested in connection to those attacks. Nine are believed to have background with the Triads, organized criminal groups here in Hong Kong.

But the protesters are not only angry about the Triad involvement but also what they perceive as a delayed police response. The police seem to be reluctant to get involved and arrest people on the scene. Earlier this week we heard from the police commissioner who defended

the police action as well as condemning violence. He said the police were not able to get deployed right away because they were concentrated on (INAUDIBLE).

But you can tell that the protesters are not buying it. And earlier today I spoke with some protesters why they gathered here, risked arrest to take part in this assembly. This is what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't trust Hong Kong policy anymore. Now that they are cooperate against us to the -- for the protests here and they hit us without any reason.

STOUT: What would satisfy you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if they're going to respond or I don't think they're going to answer anything. But we wanted them to hear our voice and hear what we want and let them know that we are -- we're not just going to suppress ourselves and just be silent. This is not the way. This is not Hong Kong.


STOUT: There are people of all ages here participating in this unlawful assembly but there are quite a number of young people. Earlier today I also spoke to a group of masked middle school boys, boys who are 14, 15, 16 years old. I asked them about why they were taking part in this protest.

And they said that it was because they were against what the police did last weekend, because we also want freedom and also asked for universal suffrage.

George, scenes that the protests today has very much changed from the beginning of this big, long, hot summer of protests here in Hong Kong starting with a single issue of the extradition bill and turned into a challenge of the political institutions of Hong Kong and people really questioning the Hong Kong police force as well. Back to you.

HOWELL: Kristie Lu Stout live for us. We'll stay in touch with you.

Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, two close allies look ahead at a post-Brexit relationship, the U.S. president and the new British prime minister talk of trade in their first phone call. The latest from London ahead for you.

Plus Canadian police go door-to-door in a rugged and remote community searching for two murder suspects on the run. We'll have the latest on that manhunt.





HOWELL: Welcome back.

The new prime minister of the United Kingdom spoke with the U.S. president by phone on Friday. The two discussed working out a free trade deal after Britain leaves the European Union for Brexit.

President Trump has long been an outspoken fan of Boris Johnson but this is believed to be their first time to speak since Mr. Johnson moved in to 10 Downing Street.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is following the story.

Salma, what more can you tell us about the conversation between these two?

They know each other and seem to be aligned on many issues.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, George, after that phone call, President Trump did tell reporters that they were speaking about a very substantial trade agreement. He went on to say that trade between the countries could increase by three, four, even five times. Unclear where he got those numbers.

And he went on to say that the trade between the U.K. and U.S. had been impeded by the E.U. So this is very good, of course, for prime minister Johnson, who wants to kind of turn away from Europe and toward other countries, toward the U.S. for the future of the U.K.

But here is the catch. Boris Johnson and the U.K. cannot negotiate any trade agreements until they actually leave the E.U. So we have the deadline of October 31st. That is his first challenge, his first hurdle. And there is a lot at stake here. Very limited options. He has said that he will try to renegotiate with Brussels but E.U. officials have already said that they will not renegotiate what they've set up with the withdrawal agreement and the backstop that they have worked on for three years now with Prime Minister May's administration.

He's offered to crash out on October 31st, a no-deal Brexit, but Parliament looks ready to block that possibility. So if no deal, no renegotiations, then his only option is a general election. So yes, Boris Johnson will make a lot of this relationship from across the pond. He will try to tout that but that won't --


ABDELAZIZ: -- save him from the crisis at home.

HOWELL: You speak about the U.K. not being able to negotiate until it is out of the E.U. The E.U. certainly has certain standards on agriculture and food and many different things and the U.K. presently is in line with these standards.

But again the prime minister, as you point out, pointing to a bright spot post-Brexit -- something going on back there?

ABDELAZIZ: We're hearing -- sorry, not sure what is going on.

HOWELL: Yes, we'll get back to you. Thank you again. Hoping everything will be just fine, with that sound going off in the background.

Police in Canada are expanding their search on the hunt for two murder suspects in a small rural community. They are knocking on every door in the central province of Manitoba. That is where the suspects were last seen. Meredith Wood has more on the manhunt and how it is affecting the town.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people just don't feel safe leaving their house.

DENNIS CHAMPAGNE, GILLAM RESIDENT: We're all a little bit freaked out, you know.

MEREDITH WOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A tight knit community where people leave their doors unlocked, now on edge, the possible presence of two suspected killers on the run has rocked the normally sleepy town of Gillam, Canada.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only difference I think is that people are locking their doors at night and during the day.


CHAMPAGNE: Well, we're all a little bit jittery. Like I have grandkids in town and stuff like that, you know what I mean?

I don't sleep at night.


WOOD (voice-over): The last known sightings of Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky in the area has caused a swarm or authorities from all across Canada to take over the town. As the hunt for the two teen murder suspects intensifies.

CPL. JULIE COURCHAINE, RCMP: Investigators will conduct day-to-day canvases.

WOOD (voice-over): Authorities are vowing to leave no stone unturned, searching trains and braving brutal, tough terrain.

COURCHAINE: Investigators are also exploring the possibility that the suspects may have inadvertently received assistance in leaving the area. WOOD (voice-over): Police want anyone who may have accidentally helped the teens to come forward, warning that the pair are considered armed and dangerous and may have changed their appearances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, want them got caught and taken care of.

WOOD (voice-over): I'm Meredith Wood reporting.


HOWELL: Protesters are marching in Hong Kong for the eighth straight week. This time, again they are standing up against violent armed mobs that attacked them last week. Still ahead, a look at how criminal gangs are connected.

Plus the U.S. president dismisses the latest missile test by North Korea, saying Pyongyang wasn't threatening the United States.





HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you.


HOWELL: Some of those men who carried out the attacks on the Hong Kong protesters last week are suspected of having links to organized crime groups known as Triads. Our Anna Coren explains exactly who they are and what they want.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cool, calm and well dressed as they control Hong Kong vice with ultimate discretion. These are the mafia-like Triads, in movies like "Infernal Affairs," the Cantonese blockbuster that inspired Leonardo DiCaprio's 2006 film, "The Departed."

Hong Kong Triads are known for being impossible to recognize on the streets, almost always operating in their own criminal underworld -- until now.

CALVIN SO, RESTAURANT WORKER (through translator): I explained that I just got off work, I'm still wearing my work shoes, I'm not your target. Then I asked them not to beat me. But they didn't listen.

COREN (voice-over): Calvin So is a restaurant worker, who says he doesn't take part in political protests. But the scars on his back tell of the savage beating he took as the pole-wielding men targeted a train station last weekend.

He was one of 45 people hospitalized as pro-democracy activists and passersby were caught up in the violence. Hong Kong police have arrested 11 men and linked some to Triad gangs.

LO T WING, CITY UNIVERSITY, HONG KONG: (INAUDIBLE) for money. So wherever the money will go and whoever pay them, they take the job.

COREN (voice-over): In Hong Kong's New Territories, home to rural and working class communities on the fringe of the city, experts say Triad crime is made possible through links with local government.

WING: Hong Kong cannot get rid of the Triad.

COREN (voice-over): The violence last weekend stoked rumors that pro- Beijing officials may be using their connections with Triads to intimidate demonstrators.

EDDIE CHU, HONG KONG LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: I think it is (INAUDIBLE) that tactic deployed by the central government, the Beijing government, to strengthen Hong Kong people.

COREN (voice-over): But that's hard to prove. Hong Kong's police and government have denied any collusion with criminals. What is more likely, according to a CNN source with direct knowledge of how Triad operate, is that so many in the New Territories support the status quo and hired low-level thugs to scare protesters away from the business interests.

But that is all cold comfort to protest organizer and lawmaker Eddie Chu.

CHU: There are more personal threat to me, against me --


CHU: -- that if I do not stop provoking citizens to take to the streets, then I will be murdered.

COREN (voice-over): This ,week China's military said that, if asked by Hong Kong, it could deploy troops to the streets. Chu says that Chinese soldiers are not as frightening as Triads.

CHU: The theory is deployed on the streets, then we could go back home and still be safe. But if Beijing and Hong Kong government allow thug rules in Hong Kong to replace the position of police, then we cannot have our normal life be back.

COREN (voice-over): As the city of 7 million braces for even more protests, many are just wanting their normal lives back -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


HOWELL: In South Korea, two people were killed when the upper floor of a night club collapsed. Yonhap news agency reports it happened in the southwestern city of Gwangju. Rescue officials say 17 were injured, including foreign athletes participating in the World Aquatics Championship. People were reportedly dancing when the roof came down and that many people were pinned under the trouble.

In the Philippines, at least eight people were killed when twin earthquakes struck several hours ago. The U.S. Geological Survey saying a 5.9 magnitude tremor and an aftershock rocked a northern province. Some buildings were reduced to rubble in the popular tourist region. In one area, residents were forced into the streets after a church was damaged.

Iran has released some of the crew members aboard the Panamanian flagged oil tanker it seized earlier this month. It also granted consular access to crew members of a separate British flagged vessel that was seized last week. Our Matthew Chance has more on these developments plus reports that Iran has test-fired a ballistic missile.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Firstly, there has been no confirmation from Iran that any weapons test has taken place. But an unnamed U.S. official has told CNN that a midrange ballistic missile was fired by Iran from a base in the south of the country.

The official said it landed 1,000 kilometers, that is 600 miles, to the north in an area near the Iranian capital. At no point, was shipping or any U.S. base under threat. Under the terms of its international commitments, the Iranian missile tests are not banned.

But the country's growing missile program is one of the reasons that the United States pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal last year. Washington wants to see curbs on Iranian missile developments.

U.S. intelligence officials say the latest test-fire was part of Iran's efforts to improve the range and accuracy of those missiles. On the issue of possible negotiations, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo has suggested that he would be willing to travel to Iran if necessary, telling Bloomberg Television he welcomed the opportunity to speak directly with the Iranian people.

Iran and the U.S. have both indicated a willingness in principle to negotiate but there are few signs at this stage of that happening soon. There have been some developments with the British flagged tanker seized in the Strait of Hormuz last week that's still being held by Iranian authorities.

But consular access has finally been granted to the crew members. The Iranian ambassador in London has confirmed that 18 of the crew, who are Indian, have been visited, describing their condition as "very calm with no sense of panic." Indian officials say the crew are safe and doing fine -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Abu Dhabi.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: President Trump says he is not overly concerned by North Korea's recent tests of two short-range missiles. That is despite the fact that Pyongyang explicitly said that the tests were intended as a solemn warning to South Korea. Here is what the U.S. president had to say about it on Friday.


TRUMP: They're short-range missiles and my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim. And we'll see what happens but they are short- range missiles and many people have those missiles. H he didn't say a warning to the United States, I can tell you that. He didn't send a warning to the United States. I can tell you that. But they have their disputes, the two of them have their disputes. They have had them for a long time. But they are short range missiles and very standard missiles.


HOWELL: The timing of the missile tests is significant because the United States and South Korea will soon hold joint military exercises. Pyongyang views those exercises as rehearsals for an invasion of North Korea.

The question, would you take advice from someone who does not drink wine?

Why the U.S. president says French wine is not as good as American wine. We'll have that story for you.

Plus you can now call the Tour de France the Detour de France after a freak storm --


HOWELL: -- shuts down the course.




HOWELL: U.S. president Donald Trump is proposing a tariff that many wine drinkers may find very hard to swallow. He suggested putting a tariff on French wines in retaliation for France's new 3 percent tax to be imposed on earnings in France of the U.S. tech companies.


TRUMP: France put on a tax on our companies. You know that. And wrong, wrong thing do. They should not have done it. So I may do that. I've always liked American wines better than French wines. Even though I don't drink wine. I just like the way they look. OK?

But the American wines are great. American wines are great. And they didn't do the right thing when they started taxing our companies.


HOWELL: He says that he likes the way they look. Mr. Trump adds that tariffs may be put in place before the upcoming G7 meeting, which will be held in France.

Freak weather in the Alps threw the Tour de France bike race into chaos on Friday. Besides hail and ice coming down, the storm triggered a mudslide across the tour's path. So the race was halted about 18 miles, 25 kilometers, from Friday's finish line. Officials are modifying the course for Saturday. CNN's Don Riddell has more.


DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Tour de France this year has been unpredictable and exhilarating and we always knew that Friday's Alpine stage would be exciting.

But few could have predicted the drama that unfolded on the mountainside. And it likely means that the French hopes of celebrating a homegrown winner for the first time since 1985 have been dashed.


RIDDELL: The Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe began the day wearing the leader's yellow jersey but he fell behind during the stage. His plan though was to try to win it back on the descent but he never got the chance. Horrendous weather rendered parts of the course around Val d'Isere impassable as hailstorms covered the road in ice.

Snowplows were immediately dispatched to try to clear the way. But it was in vain. And not only that, we also had the extraordinary sight of rocks and mud slipping down the mountain and completely blocking the road as well.

And you can see from the panic among those who witnessed it, that this was serious. The world's best cyclists were hurtling down the mountains towards them just a couple minutes away.

Event organizers really didn't have long to think about it, they had to stop the race but it was chaotic. The general director Christian Prudhomme was left to reason with furious cyclists who didn't yet understand the magnitude of the dangers ahead. With the stage abandoned, the decision was taken to credit the riders for the work they already put in, meaning the Colombian rider Egan Bernal now has the yellow jersey.

And look at that. He was totally overcome with emotion.


EGAN BERNAL, TOUR DE FRANCE LEADER (through translator): The truth is, I can't describe what I'm feeling right now. There is a lot of emotion. And I can't stop myself crying. I'm so happy. Tomorrow is a very important day. And I hope to be able to defend the yellow jersey all the way to Paris.


RIDDELL: There are now just two stages remaining but only one more in which to race. It is tradition at the Tour de France that they don't compete on the way into Paris on Sunday. With a 48-second deficit, Alaphilippe seemed to accept that his dreams of winning are over.

They certainly are for another French rider, Thibaut Pinot, who pulled out with a thigh injury in tears. The Tour de France is a grueling test of endurance. He'd been in the saddle for almost three weeks and roughly 2,000 miles; the finish line was nearly in sight. He was devastated to leave the race like that.

It really was a miserable day for France but the drama could hardly have been more compelling -- back to you.


HOWELL: Don Riddell, thank you. The weather just really shocking in that situation and extreme heat across Europe, record-shattering temperatures and now the heat shifts north.



HOWELL: Thousands of people tried out but only a handful made it. We're talking about the Fortnite World Cup. A look at what is at stake in this weekend's tournament of the wildly popular video game.





HOWELL: Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, home to the U.S. Open and the largest tennis stadium in the world. But this weekend, it will be filled with fans of a different kind, Fortnite, the wildly popular video game. And just like tennis, the winner will take home millions of dollars. Tony Aiello has this story.


TONY AIELLO, CBS2 (voice-over): it is the world's hottest online video game with more than 250 million registered players. Fortnite is an absolute sensation.

RIVER HANDEY, FORTNITE PLAYER: It's always changing. It's always new, it's fresh, every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a competitive game. AIELLO (voice-over): The game is so big it now has its own World Cup. This weekend, thousands will pile into Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens, to watch the competition in person while millions of others will stream the action online. This 14-year old came all the way --


AIELLO (voice-over): -- from Norway to compete.

ENDRETTA BYRE, FORTNITE PLAYER: I was just hooked instantly. I was a great game fan.

AIELLO (voice-over): Forty million players took a shot at competing in the cup. Only 100 made it, including 15-year-old Griffin Spikoski of Smithtown, Long Island. His dad says his son is so famous in the gaming world he has to homeschool him.

CHRIS SPIKOSKI, GRIFFIN'S FATHER: Half the school was running around yelling his name out. It was a big distraction.

AIELLO (voice-over): Griffin made $300,000 in 18 months playing Fortnite.

GRIFFIN: We have his retirement fund set up for him already, so he's in a good place.

AIELLO (voice-over): If he wins the duo competition, he and partner, Cody Conrod, will split $3 million. And since Cody qualified for more spots, he still wins big, even if he comes in last.

CODY CONROD, FORTNITE PLAYER: I qualified five times, so that's a guaranteed $120,000 that I'm going to be making.

AIELLO (voice-over): Cody's dad says playing video games at this level is just like a professional sport.

SCOTT CONROD, CODY'S DAD: Relax, don't get psyched out.

AIELLO (voice-over): And he supports his son's decision to spend long hours online, honing his skills.

S. CONROD: It takes a really special parent to really figure this out. But I know where he is all the time. He's in his room.

AIELLO (voice-over): And now in Queens, at the World Cup with a Fortnite fortune at stake.


HOWELL: Well, he has a point. He's in his room. So I suppose that is a good thing. That was Tony Aiello reporting for us.

Now to Las Vegas, where it looks like a plague of locusts has taken over the city. Look at that. But insect experts say nothing to worry about there, these are harmless desert grasshoppers on their annual migration to the north. In this case, there are just more of them than usual because of the higher than normal rainfall.

That is this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. The news continues after the break. Stay with us.