Return to Transcripts main page

HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Republicans Preparing Strategy for Second 2020 Democratic Presidential Debates; Trump Nominates John Ratcliffe to Replace Top Intelligence Official; Three Killed and 11 Wounded at California Garlic Festival; Trump Uses "Infested" Rant To Attack Political Opponent; Britain "Turbo-Charging" Preparations For No-Deal Brexit; British Vogue Highlights Trail-Blazing Women; 16-Year-Old Wins $3 Million AS "Fortnite" Champion. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 29, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:20] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, happy Monday. I'm Hala Gorani.

Tonight, Donald Trump nominates a loyalist to be the National Intelligence chief, while doubling down on his latest racist tweet tirade.

Also, children who went to a food festival in California, murdered. What police have just told reporters about America's latest mass shooting.

Plus, teens from the U.S., accused of stabbing and Italian police officer 11 times. Hear their surprising defense.

We begin with a question. Is Donald Trump using Twitter to hijack the conversation once again? Because on a day where the U.S. president signed

legislation to extend health care benefits for 9/11 first responders, a day where there is outrage over him picking a partisan congressman for the

nation's top intelligence post, it seems most of the headlines are about Mr. Trump's continuing attacks on black members of Congress and a majority-

black city in the U.S.

Let's go right to the White House and CNN's Sarah Westwood.

The president, doubling down on those Baltimore tweets, describing the city as rodent-infested, where no human would want to live. What is he saying

today?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Hala. And he's showing no signs of letting up on those attacks today, continuing to go

after not just Congressman Cummings, who he dubbed "king (INAUDIBLE)," Senator Bernie Sanders, President Trump went after Sanders for some

comments that Sanders made four years ago, when Sanders was touring the city.

Bernie Sanders, who is also running for president right now, said, four years ago, he commented on the conditions in Baltimore, said it was like a

third-world country. But that was, of course, in a completely different context. There were no racially tinged language used in Sanders' comments.

And President Trump is also going after the Reverend Al Sharpton, who has also stuck up for Baltimore, claiming that Sharpton hates white people,

hates cops. No evidence for either of those claims, of course.

But President Trump is facing a major backlash from Democrats, all of the 2020 contenders, all the major ones, going after him for yet another

racially charged attack.

His feud with critics of color started earlier this month, of course, Hala, as you remember, with him going after the four Democratic House freshmen,

known as the Squad, continuing attacks along those lines despite the significant controversy that he's generated over the past few weeks.

GORANI: And you mentioned Reverend Al Sharpton. This was his response to what the president said about him today. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON, REVEREND: He attacks everybody. I know Donald Trump, he's not mature enough to take criticism. He can't help it. He's like a child.

Somebody says something, he reacts. He's thin-skinned and not really matured that well. But he has a particular venom for blacks and people of

color.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: I wonder, Sarah, any response from Republicans in Washington, congressional Republicans, others, to the president's tweets about

Baltimore specifically?

WESTWOOD: Hala, we're not seeing a lot of that. And part of that reason is because Congress is mostly adjourned for the August recess. The House

is out. The Senate, not even coming back into session until 3:00 p.m. this afternoon Eastern time.

But usually, when the president does something that Democrats find objectionable, that Republicans find defensible, we do see a lot of voices

coming out in support of the president. For instance, when he does something related to immigration that Republicans support, we've seen them

come out and support him on a number of other issues.

But here, we are not seeing a lot of Republican defense of the president. We also didn't see a lot when the president went after the so-called Squad,

and encouraged them to "go back to where they came from," not criticize the U.S.

So when the president does things that are difficult for Republicans to defend, we do typically see a lot of silence. That just gives you an

indication of just how controversial this latest tirade is, Hala, that we haven't seen Republicans come out in support of him.

GORANI: And one of the -- the -- of course with the upcoming debate, the debate that will air on CNN Tuesday and Wednesday, the two-part Democratic

debate, we understand President Trump's allies are preparing some sort of strategy. What is it?

WESTWOOD: That's right, Hala. This is a pretty extensive strategy being coordinated by the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign.

Keep in mind that even the best-laid plans of Trump's aides can be sort of scuttled just by a tweet from him, but they are planning on having

surrogates on the ground in Detroit.

[14:05:04] They're planning on focusing on what a lot of the Democratic candidates said in the last pair of debates in Miami. They've cut clips.

They are ready to go if any of those candidates indicates a shift to a left or a flip-flop in these next two CNN debates on Tuesday and Wednesday

evening. They are ready to highlight anything that they consider a shift.

President Trump, CNN has learned, is planning on tuning in to watch as well. He had speculated that perhaps he would live-tweet the last debates.

He wasn't really in a position to do that, he was at the G20 summit in Japan. This time, though, Hala, we could see him weigh in with more of his

thoughts in real time.

GORANI: All right. We'll see if any more -- tweets, I should say, not treats -- tweets will become a distraction in all of this. Sarah Westwood

at the White House, thanks very much.

Railing against an American city wasn't the only thing President Trump was up to this weekend. He also announced his choice to take over the key

cabinet post of National Intelligence director, America's chief spymaster tasked with helping keep the country safe.

Mr. Trump nominated one of his most loyal members of Congress to that post, a Texas congressman whose name you might not be familiar with. There is a

picture of him on the right-hand side of your screen. His name is John Ratcliffe.

You may now have known the name, but take a look at his questioning of Special Counsel Robert Mueller last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX): With respect to potential obstruction of justice, the special counsel made neither a prosecution decision or a

declination decision. You made no decision. You told us this morning and in your report, that you made no determination.

So respectfully, Director, you didn't follow the special counsel regulations. It clearly says, "Write a confidential report about decisions

reached." Nowhere in here does it say, "Write a report about decisions that weren't reached." You wrote 180 pages, 180 pages about decisions that

weren't reached.

I agree with the chairman this morning, when he said Donald Trump is not above the law. He's not. But he damn sure shouldn't be below the law,

which is where Volume 2 of this report puts him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, CNN has learned it was that performance that pushed the president to choose Ratcliffe to succeed retiring National Intelligence

Director Dan Coats. Let's get more on this. Juliette Kayyem is a CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary at the Department

of Homeland Security.

Remind our viewers, the director of National Intelligence is not a political appointment, right? There is meant to be political independence

with the administration in power.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN U.S. SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely. So the position was created in some of the sweeping reforms after 9/11. Those reforms

included the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

This created a sort of overarching -- it -- what you might call an intelligence themes (ph) apparatus. In other words, they would take all

the information coming from all of our different intelligence agencies -- D.C. -- CIA, Defense, others -- and to create, you know, sort of

priorities, focuses and -- for the agencies.

So it was never intended to be a political position. Although, like most cabinet secretaries, of course, the president gets to choose. So the long

line -- the five (ph) that have had the position before, were not people that you would have described as political, even though some were known

Democrats and some were known Republicans.

GORANI: Right. And of course, the experience level of John Ratcliffe versus someone like Dan Coats is startling.

TEXT: Rep. John Ratcliffe: Elected to Congress in 2014; Member of House Judiciary and Intelligence committees; Former U.S. attorney, Eastern

District of Texas

GORANI: He's a GOP congressman from Texas. But before that, he was eight years as a small-town mayor. If you compare him to Dan Coats, he does not

sound --

KAYYEM: Right.

GORANI: -- according to some, very qualified.

KAYYEM: No. He's not qualified. I won't even sort of, you know, try to mute that. This is a big job, dealing with the most sensitive information

the United States deals with: covert actions, surveillance and America's national interests.

There is -- you know, I don't know how to put it nicely. He is not qualified for this position. He has sat on the Intelligence Committee as

essentially a "Fox News" mouthpiece. We saw it in the clip there. He views intelligence through the lens of an election cycle, and that is --

that is, in fact, what makes him qualified for Trump and the White House.

GORANI: So the question is then, does this make the United States less safe?

KAYYEM: Yes. I mean, if you -- look, there's a lot of, you know, threats against the United States. So everything from North Korea, which, you

know, obviously the president has a view of what he wants out of North Korea, reality is otherwise. The same can be -- can be said about Saudi

Arabia.

But I think the reason why this is so distressing is, whatever you think of Coats, you know, in terms of how he did or pushback, he believed that

Russia was a threat in 2020. He did not believe all the conspiracy theories. Ratcliffe does not. And that is why Donald Trump wants him in.

[14:10:06] So in terms of our vulnerabilities as a democracy, you know, I essentially view the Ratcliffe nomination as a welcome mat to Russia, as

does -- I have to -- as probably does Trump. There's almost nothing that this -- that Ratcliffe has that would suggest to the Russians that they

should be worried that our intelligence apparatus is focused on them for the election.

So this is what the president wants. He continues to deny Russian aggression. He continues to, in some ways -- to quote Bob Mueller --

"welcome Russian interference" and I think Ratcliffe will have a welcome mat for them.

GORANI: What do -- and I know you're in touch with people in the intelligence community, still --

KAYYEM: Yes.

GORANI: -- actively working there. What do they say about these appointments? Whether it's the Justice Department with Barr, whether it's

Ratcliffe now as director of National Intelligence. The idea that the president of the United States is surrounding himself with loyalists, with

yes men, some critics have called them? What are they saying --

KAYYEM: Yes.

GORANI: -- about that, about how difficult that makes their job now?

KAYYEM: It makes it very difficult. I think, you know, I think we want to believe that the agencies just continue to do their work and they're just

trying to protect America. But it matters who's at the top. It matters for two reasons.

One is, what are they allowed to do. In other words, is Ratcliffe going to come in, if confirmed, and just close out the Russia interference? That's

going to have an impact.

The second is, their willingness to stick around. So what you're seeing at departments from the Department of Homeland Security to the CIA and to ODNI

is, people are essentially leaving. And when they leave, that means the people who remain are either, you know, ideologues, which isn't good, or

they're not as qualified.

And so, you know, you're seeing in these senior positions, you know, people who, you know, 10 years ago, would not have been that senior. You're just

seeing sort of a class of novices come to the top.

GORANI: And the same thing is happening at the State Department, according to many --

KAYYEM: Yes.

GORANI: -- who work there as well. Juliette Kayyem, thanks so much. Always a pleasure having you on the program.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

GORANI: We are learning more about the suspect and the victims from Sunday's mass shooting at that food festival in California.

Authorities say 19-year-old Santino William Legan opened fire with an assault-style weapon, a familiar story in the United States. He killed a

6-year-old boy. He also killed, we are learning today, a 13-year-old girl and a man in his 20s, before he was killed by police.

Legan's Instagram account makes disparaging remarks about mixed race people and white Silicon Valley workers, and references a white supremacist

document.

Authorities are now looking at whether the gunman acted alone. CNN's Sara Sidner has been following developments for us from Gilroy, California. And

we're hearing from the father of that 6-year-old boy, murdered by the gunman.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We've heard from the father and the grandmother, who talked about the devastation this has caused the family.

And not only was the 6-year-old killed, but his mother was shot as well, shot in the hand and in the stomach.

The father, finding out about his son's death within five minutes of the son passing away. Here's the father as he describes what this has been

like for the family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERTO ROMERO, FATHER OF KILLED SON: Couldn't believe it was happening. That, of course, she was saying he was alive (ph). Maybe I was dreaming.

They told me he was in critical condition, that they were working on him. And then five minutes later, they told me that he was dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: This is, of course, not the only family who lost a child on Sunday. Police told us that a 13-year-old girl was shot and killed. She

is among the three people killed, and a 20-year-old. Three people killed, three families devastated.

And that isn't counting those who were injured, 11 people injured. We know that at least seven of them are in one of the main hospitals near here, one

person in critical condition. Their ages, ranging from 12 to 69.

We also have new information that we've gotten from police about the suspect and the weapon he used, an AK-47-style assault rifle, a weapon of

war used on innocents, people just here to have a good time at this festival.

And by the way, this festival is one of the Bay Area favorites. It is a Northern California favorite. People come here to Gilroy to smell the

garlic, you can certainly smell it moving in. And these families just showed up here for sort of that last breath of summer before school starts

in the next couple of weeks, and then this tragedy happens.

GORANI: Unbelievable. And what about these -- on his Instagram account, this white supremacist document or writings that were found?

SIDNER: Yes. So we looked at his Instagram account before that was taken down. He does mention -- the suspect does mention the Gilroy Garlic

Festival.

[14:15:05] And then he also talks about a particular book that is extremely racist, extremely anti-Semitic, anti-Christian as well, as well as, you

know, anti-everything else but white. It is written by a white supremacist with extreme ideals. And he recommended that book to folks on his

Instagram account just a few hours before all of this happened, or a day before all of this happened. So it gives you some idea of his mentality.

And we know that the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is looking into whether or not he was a member of a group or any of these kinds of

groups. They are doing background research on him.

And there's also the talk of a potential second suspect. Not somebody who police have named as, for example, a second shooter. But someone who is a

potential suspect who may have been along with him, but they can't seem to get many details on that. And this, partly from some witnesses, I think,

who had mentioned that they thought they saw someone along with him. So that is another threat of the investigation that is still ongoing at this

point -- Hala.

GORANI: Sara Sidner, thanks very much, in Gilroy, California.

Still to come tonight, new accusations against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. China is speaking out, finally, and is issuing a stern warning

after a weekend of protests. We'll tell you about that.

Plus, a police officer is brutally murdered in Italy, allegedly by two American teens. What one of them told a judge about the killing. We'll be

right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: China has finally spoken out about those protests, those pro- democracy protests in Hong Kong. And they don't have kind words for the demonstrators. They are accusing them of committing evil and criminal acts

that have damaged the city.

The government's Hong Kong policy office is commenting for the first time since the protests began. CNN's Matt Rivers now has more on Beijing's

response.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after months of protests in Hong Kong, we are hearing from the Beijing department in charge of handling the

city for the government here.

Today, for the first time since protests began, officials with the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office addressed the media in public at a press

conference. This was the first time that's happened.

Now, it was a relatively short appearance by two spokespeople for the department, who each took their time in front of the mike to express their

support for the current government of Hong Kong, for the police and for the so-called one country, two systems principle that allowed Hong Kong to have

a high level of autonomy.

A spokesman, Yang Guang, said, quote, "Violent acts by some extremists" have, quote, "seriously damaged Hong Kong's prosperity and stability,

seriously challenged the rule of law and social order," and, quote, "seriously threatened the lives and property of the Hong Kong people."

He then praised what he calls the professionalism of Hong Kong police, and thanked them and their families for dealing with the, quote, "pressure"

caused by these protests.

[14:20:05] And he called for the protests to end, saying that he hoped people realize the business community was being hurt by what's happening,

and that protestors should get over their political problems and turn instead towards building up the economy and improving their livelihoods.

Given what we've seen lately in Hong Kong, though, those requests are likely to fall on deaf ears.

More protests are expected this weekend, with every possibility that they will again turn violent. The protestors, both those that engage in

violence and the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of others that have marched peacefully over the last two months, well, they've all made clear

that they do not trust the government of Hong Kong to protect their interests.

They say the chief executive, Carrie Lam, is a puppet of Beijing. And under her leadership, they say Beijing will continue to strip away at the

democratic-style freedoms that the city has enjoyed since being handed back to China from the British in 1997. Beijing, though, would of course deny

that and say all Hong Kong freedoms have been protected.

So if the protests continue, well, what happens next? It's unclear, though fears have surfaced that Beijing could consider deploying military troops

on city streets to quell violence. CNN asked that question at Monday's press conference here in Beijing. And a spokesperson said, quote, "I

believe there is clear stipulation in the basic law, so I will not say more on this."

Now, Hong Kong's basic law allows the government to request military assistance if they require it to maintain social order.

Now, there's no sign that the Hong Kong government will take that drastic step. But the fact that this is being openly discussed as a topic amongst

people in Hong Kong, shows you how serious events there have become. Matt Rivers, CNN, Beijing.

GORANI: Russia's most prominent opposition figure is placing the blame for his hospitalization squarely on Russian authorities. The official line is

that Alexei Navalny suffered an acute allergic reaction while in detention.

He is now suggesting that he actually may have been poisoned. He detailed his thoughts in a lengthy online post titled, "Do I think they could have

poisoned me?"

Moscow Bureau Chief, Nathan Hodge, joins me now.

What else did Navalny say about what he suspects might be a poisoning?

NATHAN HODGE, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Hala, it was a remarkable statement that he managed to post from -- he's back in a jail cell tonight,

after being hospitalized with this mysterious so-called allergic reaction.

And he said in the post that he had never had any history of allergies in the past. It was only when he woke up on Sunday morning, and a cell mate

looked at him with shock and saw how swollen his face and his eyelids where and said, "You need to get to a hospital."

So he recounts a number of instances when Russian authorities have been accused of being involved in poisonings, including, for instance, the

Novichok poisonings in Salisbury in the United Kingdom last year, and several other incidents.

And basically, all but accuses the Russian authorities of being behind this. And in this post, he has a very remarkable and very blunt appraisal,

which I'll read here, about what he thinks about Russian officialdom.

He says, "For now, I can say with confidence one thing: There are really some moronic and stupid dudes in power in Russia. It may seem you need to

look for a secret reasoning and some grain of rationality in their actions, but in reality they are just stupid, hateful and obsessed with money."

Now, Hala, this is really -- it's pretty strong words. And at this point, we really don't know what caused his -- this -- the reaction that he had.

He was observed today by a personal doctor who said that there was no toxicology report to go on -- Hala.

GORANI: So we don't know -- I mean, if he was observed by a doctor, how do we not know at this stage what caused this? Did he get any tests?

HODGE: Well, Hala, again, you know, there have been kind of conflicting reports. He was released back out of the hospital and into police custody,

basically. He was essentially given what seems to have been a kind of a clean bill of health.

The doctor, who described this in a post on Facebook, said that she had advised against, didn't think that he should be returned into police

custody, essentially to be sent back to the place where he may possibly have been poisoned.

And again, we haven't really had any kind of official response from this. Bu this all happened sort of last week. Navalny was detained in advance of

unsanctioned rally for free and fair elections --

GORANI: Yes.

HODGE: -- where over a thousand people were detained on Saturday. And certainly, they -- the Kremlin's remained quite silent on this matter --

Hala.

GORANI: Nathan Hodge, thanks very much.

Now to a police officer, stabbed to death in Italy, allegedly by two American teenagers. That officer was buried today in the same church where

he'd recently been married. This is a case that has shocked Italy, and it's taken all sorts of twists and turns as we hear from Isa Soares.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[14:25:10] ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This church in the small town of Somma Vesuviana, filled with tears and grief as mourners paid

tribute to Officer Mario Cerciello Rega, of the Carabinieri, Italy's police force. He was stabbed to death on Friday in Rome while trying to arrest

two American teenagers, allegedly after a botched drug deal.

Police murders are rare in Italy. And on the official website, Italy's Carabinieri told this tragedy by the numbers. Rega had just turned 35. He

had been married for 43 days. And he was stabbed 11 times, for 100 euros and a small quantity of drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He was a person (ph) always, always available. Everyone (ph) -- everyone in the neighborhood knew of

(ph) him. He would never tried to cut corners. He was very altruistic.

SOARES (voice-over): Prosecutors have identified the two suspects as 18- year-old Gabriel Christian Natale-Hjorth and 19-year-old Finnegan Lee Elder, both from San Francisco.

Court documents allege that both men admit to being involved in the scuffle, but have given conflicting accounts. Elder has allegedly admitted

to the killing. They were arrested at this hotel where they were staying.

The investigation has taken a turn as officials are also trying to determine why one of the suspects was blindfolded, and who leaked this

photo to the press.

The court-appointed lawyer for Elder refused to comment in detail about his client.

FRANCESCO CODINI, LAWYER FOR FINNEGAN ELDER (through translator): He exercised his right not to answer questions, obviously.

Upset, surely. But let me say that given the circumstances, it does not seem appropriate to continue with the interview. Because a policeman died.

And therefore, out of respect especially for his family, I would end the interview here.

SOARES (voice-over): Authorities say the tragedy started when the two Americans attempted to buy drugs. After realizing they had been duped and

sold crushed aspirin, the two looked for the dealer and allegedly stole his backpack, who then called police.

Rega, who had just returned to duty from his honeymoon, arrived with his partner. A scuffle ensued, and Rega was stabbed repeatedly. Authorities

also say he was stabbed with a seven-inch knife that Elder had brought from the United States.

Well, anger over the crime has turned to sorrow, striking a raw nerve for many. Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, honors Rega, remembering

him as a hero, a boy with all his life ahead. He says the two will face justice and if convicted, should get a life sentence.

Isa Soares, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: And we'll continue to follow that story.

Still to come, it wasn't a one-off or a two-off or even a 10-off. Donald Trump has a history of making racist remarks. We'll talk more about his

attacks on a prominent congressman and his home district, just ahead.

Also ahead, with the U.K. government ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, it's a case of who-blinks-first with the E.U. We'll bring you the

latest as Boris Johnson goes on a charm offensive in Scotland. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:30:45] GORANI: We want to return now to this Donald Trump's tweets that have touched the nerve across America and even around the world. The

president is escalating his attacks on Elijah Cummings, the head of a powerful House Committee, whose duties include oversight of the White

House.

Mr. Trump started, yet another firestorm when he called Cummings', predominantly black district of Baltimore, disgusting, and rat, and rodent-

infested and filthy, saying no human would want to live there. Many Americans were outraged but not surprised as Mr. Trump has used race to

attack political opponents for years, including being among the forefront of the brother movement that suggested Barack Obama was not really

American, because not born in America.

Perhaps, no one summed up the disgust over President Trump's recent remarks better than our own Victor Blackwell. It was a powerful moment on

television over the weekend that went viral.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Infested. That's usually reserved for references to rodents and insects. But we've seen the president invoke

infestation to criticize lawmakers before. You see a pattern here?

Just two weeks ago, President Trump attacked four minority congresswomen. Why don't they go back to the totally broken and crime-infested places from

which they came? Reminder, three of them were born here. All of them are American. Infested, he says.

A week before his inauguration, January 2017, Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible

shape and falling apart, not to mention crime-infested.

Donald Trump has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He's insulted thousands of people, many different types of people but when he tweets about

infestation, it's about black and brown people."

September 2014, at the height of an urgent health emergency, "Why are we sending thousands of ill-trained soldiers into Ebola-infested areas of

Africa? Bring the plague to the U.S.? Obama is so stupid."

Infested, he says.

"There's a revolution going on in California. So many sanctuary areas want out of this ridiculous, crime-infested and breeding concept."

Infested, he says.

The President says about Congressman Cummings' district that no human would want to live there. You know who did, Mr. President? I did, from the day

I was brought home from the hospital to the day I left for college, and a lot of people I care about still do.

There are challenges, no doubt. But people are proud of their community. I don't want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work

there. They care for their families there. They love their children, who pledge allegiance to the flag just like people who live in districts of

congressmen who support you, sir.

They are Americans, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, CNN Political Commentator, Bakari Sellers, says those words hit him like a ton of bricks. The former Democratic State Representative

from South Carolina is joining us now live from Detroit, where the democratic debates will take place Tuesday and Wednesday.

So talk to me first about your reaction to this Victor Blackwell moment on television that hit a nerve, not just in America, by the way, as we said,

but around the world. It was really -- it went viral globally, Bakari, what did you think of it?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it was a very personal statement. And what Victor was able to show, even keeping with all the

integrity and character of a great journalist, he was able to show how hurtful those words were.

I will say that the president of the United States is racist. And for many black and brown individuals in this country, living under his tenure as

president, has been difficult day by day. These words don't surprise us and no citizens of Baltimore -- they deserve better and they deserve better

leadership.

GORANI: And what about the Democrats? You support Kamala Harris in the race right now, I understand? What should their --

[14:35:04] SELLERS: That's correct.

GORANI: -- response -- what should their response be? I mean right now, it's about the presidential race. It is about winning. For Democrats,

it's about defeating Donald Trump. What should the strategy be?

SELLERS: Well, this is a fight for the soul of our country. This is truly a race about identity as much as my Republican colleagues sometimes turn

their nose up to that thought. Because this is about who we want this country to be. And so I advise all -- you know, we got 35, 40 people it

seems like running for president.

But I advise all of them to not let these insults and not let these racial slurs go by. You have to address them, you have to fight back and then you

have to pivot and talk about your vision for the future.

So I think that this -- Joe Biden has it right. This is the fight for soul of our country. And we are looking for a fighter, someone who's going to

take on these challenges, because no one would have ever guessed we could go from Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States to a

racist.

GORANI: But I guess my question is, is there a risk here that if indeed, Donald Trump is trying to hijack the conversation and distract people away

from issues that responding to every single outrageous tweets is playing into his hand. Is there that risk in your opinion?

SELLERS: I mean, I believe there is a risk. However with every inherent risk, there is also is a reward. And one of the things that we have to be

able to show individuals is that you are better than this. And Donald Trump is playing this race card and this is all he has. I mean, it's not

as if he's trying to unify this country. He's not trying to bring us together. But he's playing his race card.

And I think that what he's saying to voters, what he's saying to white working class voters is that he believes that this racist message is going

to attract you. And what these democrats have to show and what they have to keep echoing is that you are better than this. We are better than this.

And we can appeal to the better angels of our nature.

GORANI: I want our viewers to hear from Elijah Cummings because he came to the defense of a Republican lawmaker who had been accused of racism. When

Republicans, this time around, didn't really rise up to defend Cummings. Let's listen to what he said at the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): I think she said that she was not calling you a racist and I thought that we could clarify that. Because, Mr. Meadows,

as you know, and of all the people on this committee, I've said it and gotten in trouble for it. That you're one of my best friends. I know that

shocks a lot of people.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): And likewise, Mr. Chairman.

CUMMINGS: Yes, you are. And I could see and feel your pain. I feel it. And so -- and I don't think Ms. Tlaib intended to call you that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Now, we didn't hear a similar message of support from Meadows. The GOP has been silent throughout this Baltimore tweet controversy over

the last few days, by and large.

SELLERS: I mean, that's the problem we're at right now in this country. The onus is on Victor Blackwell. The onus is on Bakari Sellers. I mean,

we can yell to the mountain tops about how we want this country to be better and how we expect Donald Trump to be better than he is. But the

facts still remains that white Republicans, white male Republicans, white evangelicals are going to have to stand up and say enough is enough.

I mean, we have to begin to call out what is wrong in this country. The irony in all of this is that while you're talking about black and brown

communities being rat-infested. The number one slump lord In Baltimore is Jared Kushner. The own president's son-in-law.

And when you think about all of these things and totality, you understand that not only he's a corrupt-intent, but it's racist-intent. And we as a

country have to do better than this. I refuse to believe that Donald Trump is the best we can do.

GORANI: I just want one question here on the upcoming democratic debates. As a Harris supporter, what are you looking for? Because she landed a few

punches on Joe Biden, still very much the front runner about the bussing program in the '70s. What do you think is going to be the strategy for her

and her campaign this time around?

SELLERS: Well, I think that she definitely has the most upside and she has a path to the nomination. But I expect for her to stay above the fray. I

expect her to only hit when swung at.

And one of the things that she has to do is she has to lay-in her answer on health care, she has to defend it, she has to stand in it. There's nobody

more talented on that stage than hers. She used to being in a courtroom. I expect there to be a lot of fireworks around her. But at the end of the

day, I hope she comes out looking presidential. That's all you can ask.

GORANI: Right. She certainly got momentum, and is polling a whole lot better after that first debate than she was only a few weeks ago.

Bakari Sellers, thanks so much, joining us live from Detroit. Appreciate it.

[14:40:03] And another programming reminder, CNN will be airing the next democratic debates Tuesday and Wednesday. Coverage begins at 8:00 p.m.

Eastern in the United States. You can see an encore presentation at 7:00 a.m. in London, 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong Time, and that will be the day after if

you don't feel like staying up all night.

Here in the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which we're all getting used to say. It's new for us, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has kicked off his

first full week as prime minister with a trip to Scotland. Where he's calling for strengthening of the ties that bind the United Kingdom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, that's some booing there. As you can see, not a warm reception. Scottish leaders are more concerned with his plans to cut ties

with the E.U.

Remember, Scotland voted to stay in the E.U. They believe they will be hurt economically by Brexit and certainly hurt irreparably some of them say

by a no-deal Brexit.

New Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, says the U.K. is turbo charging its preparations for a no-deal departure and the man Boris Johnson has put in

charge of that plan, Michael Gove, wrote in the Sunday Times that a messy exit is now a very real prospect.

So is the new prime minister simply trying to ratchet up fear and scare the E.U. into negotiating a new deal? Nina dos Santos is here.

So here, you have a group of men, mainly men, who are saying we're going to potentially really hurt our economy so that we scare you into giving us a

slightly better deal. Is that going to work?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the endless situation scenario that we've seen throughout the course of the last three

years, isn't it? From the E.U. perspective, they say, well, the U.K. continues to threaten, to press the economic suicide button and then tell

us to prevent them from doing so.

What's crucial about the next few days is that Boris Johnson has chosen not to go across the channel to go and meet with E.U. leaders, despite the fact

that late last week, he's invited to Berlin by Angela Merkel, invited to Paris by Emmanuel Macron, the two key power brokers of the E.U.

No. He's embarking across the United Kingdom to try and show up the unity of the U.K. So as you saw there, he was in Scotland, meeting the first

administer of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, vehemently opposed towards his Brexit plans, as you mentioned.

Some of these agitating for a second referendum. And people are fearing that that could create a dissolution of the United Kingdom so basically

Brexit could lead to the end of the light between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England.

He's also using this road show, if you like, to throw money along the way. He announced the 300 million pound endeavor to spend on some of these

regions. Late last week, we saw he announced plans to try and beef up the police force to pre-austerity levels.

A lot of people, they are thinking that this isn't about no-deal Brexit preparations at all. It's about preparations for general election.

GORANI: Right. But why is he not meeting with the E.U. leaders? I mean, here is a man who has promised to take the U.K. out of the E.U., come what

may by October 31st. He's promised that he would work on a better deal, that the one Theresa May felt to get through parliament. And he's not even

meeting with his interlocutors.

DOS SANTOS: This is the key curious thinking. So on the one hand --

GORANI: Is it a strategy? Is he trying to scare them?

DOS SANTOS: It seems as though. But we're likely to be a strategy, isn't it? But he's going to have to meet them at the end of August, because

there's going to be an upcoming G7 meeting in Biarritz, in France. So that's probably going to be the first time when he will get a chance to sit

around the table face-to-face with all of these individuals.

In the meantime, basically what he and his team have done is put on the table of precondition to any future Brexit meeting, saying that you've got

to take the Irish backstop off the table. You've got to reopen that withdrawal agreement before you could even sit down to have any meaningful

talks.

Since that's the pre-condition and the E.U. saying they won't buy that, won't adhere to any of that, it's hard to see how the two sides will get

around the negotiating table to find a deal even though Boris Johnson's team say that they do want a deal.

GORANI: By the way, so no movement on either side, it seems like on that one. Let's take a look at the pound, by the way, because markets are not

loving this.

DOS SANTOS: No.

GORANI: The pound is at a --

DOS SANTOS: Twenty-fifth month low. It's the lowest level since about March of last year.

GORANI: And by the way, this is not a two-year graph. This is a two-day graph.

DOS SANTOS: Well, indeed, funnily enough, since Boris Johnson became prime minister, the British pound is actually the worst performing currency

anywhere in the world over that short time frame.

Now, obviously, a lot of this had to do with Michael Gove's writing in the -- one of the main newspapers over the course of the weekend that a no-deal

Brexit is a very realistic scenario.

One that we learned today, the cabinet is actually preparing for actively with Boris Johnson having decided to have emergency cabinet meetings every

single day by Michael Gove. And that famous cabinet room, a briefing room office which was often referred to as COBRA. It's a type of place where

you see the government convening at the time of the terrorist attack, which doesn't inspire confidence.

[14:45:13] Boris Johnson himself, incidentally, Hala, will also be hosting a twice weekly meeting on the subject to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Now, you're right to mention the markets and business, because the confederation of British industry, the big business lobby has also come out

with another note today saying that neither the E.U. nor the U.K. is actually well prepared enough for a no-deal Brexit.

GORANI: All right. Nina, thanks very much.

So, do you know who British Vogue was guest edited by this time?

DOS SANTOS: Funnily enough I do, yes.

GORANI: Meghan Markle. The Duchess of Sussex. But because we're in the U.K., some of the tabloid newspapers have found -- have had issues with who

she selected. Of course, that's not too surprising.

We'll give you a sneak peek coming up next. Stay with us. Thanks, Nina. We'll see you soon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Now, British Vogue is using its most important addition of the year to highlight the inspiring stories of women who are a force for

change. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My force for change is greater than Vogue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My force for change is (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, I think Chimamanda is incredibly inspiring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are at a crossroads in the world right now. The decisions that we make and every country around the world about how we're

going to treat women, how we're going to treat immigrants, how we're going to treat trans people and people of color, how we treat our planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, the September issue of British Vogue is being guest edited for the first time ever by none other than Meghan Markle, the Duchess of

Sussex.

Anna Stewart joins me now to discuss. So what's -- this issue highlights powerful women and women who change things, who want to change things in

the world. Greta Thunberg being one of them. What else is in there?

ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, force of change is on the front cover, and it's all about trail blazing women who are enacting

change. And it's a huge way. It spans different ages, different ethnicities, different kinds of jobs.

And it really aligns with everything that the Duchess of Sussex has, so far, stood for in terms of she's always been interested in mental health

with female empowerment.

So I think it fits in with her sort of brand, I'd say. It's surprising given she's just had a baby. I didn't know how she's had the time to do

it.

GORANI: I mean, yes, I'm sure she had help. Because so low editing the whole thing. But how -- did she select all the candidates, all the women

who are featured?

STEWART: She was definitely worked with the editor of British Vogue and it's British Vogue which I thought was interesting rather than the lead

U.S. Vogue edition. They've worked together. Some of them are obviously have friends.

[14:50:01] And the interview in it with Michelle Obama, which was now been published is the Q&A at that page, of course, they've developed a good

relationship in recent months and she started dating Prince Harry and ever since they got married.

So, yes, it plays to her strengths, but also plays her friendships, her relationships. She thanked everyone on her Instagram.

GORANI: And because we're in Britain and British tabloids loved to criticize people who are in the public eye, and Meghan Markle is in the

public eye, of course, now, as the Duchess of Sussex. Some have wondered, why is the queen not included in this list?

STEWART: I mean, that is just one of many critiques for the four duchess of the other state. Why isn't the queen there? Why is there no one from

Asia in that grid? Why is there no one that represents the armed forces? Why is she guest editing a magazine when she's a royal? People seem to

forget that Prince Charles did just that with country life. And Prince Harry had radioed, of course, today program.

This is not unheard of. But she does face such a backlash at the moment with the media. She can't really get anything right. Whether it was to do

with christening of her son, Archie, and the fact that it was very private, no information was released. Whether it was the renovation of her home

which the tax payer picked up a lot of the bill, or whether it's how tall her baby. She can't seem to catch a break, at least in the British

tabloids.

GORANI: Or when she was at Wimbledon, for instance, and the story circulated that her bodyguards told people they couldn't take pictures,

when in fact, a few moment later there she was picture taking selfies with fans. So --

STEWART: It's hard as well, because I think -- because she's coming from a Hollywood background, where you do, to some extent, have control of your

narrative. If a report is wrong about you, you can get your publicist to get out there and say, no, that's actually not correct. When you're a

royal, you can't. It's very much never complain, never explain. That was the mantra of the queen mother and it's what they hold true to.

So this, in a way, is interesting because she is guiding her own narrative, I guess, by guest editing this showing the things that she cares about and

trying to straighten that record, I suspect.

GORANI: Right. Well, she's going to have to get used to it because I think, yes, it would be crazy making to try to respond to every single

factually incorrect or a bit of criticism that may be unwarranted.

Anna Stewart, thanks so much. Interesting development there, as far as British Vogue is concerned. I'll certainly check it out.

More to come including a U.S. teenager just took home the top prize at the Fortnite championship. You're not going to believe how much money he made

for winning a video game.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Parents around the world might just be thinking they should allow their kids to play more video games, after all. After a 16-year-old gamer

took home a full $3 million at the first-ever Fortnite World Cup. The teen bested 99 others in New York to become champ of the popular battle Royale.

Claire Sebastian is staying on top of all of this for us from New York. I have no clue what Fortnite is, what it's about. But tell us how you can

end up winning $3 million playing the game.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of practice, Hala. These kids, some of them spend, you know, 8 to 12 hours a day playing this

game. It really does take a lot to become a champion.

You also need to be someone who streams it online. This isn't just something that people do in their basement. It's a spectator thing as

well. This YouTube, there's Twitch, which is a platform owned by Amazon.

But this prize money staggering, Hala, when you look at it in the context of other actual sports. Sports that involved not sitting in a chair. In

Wimbledon, you don't win as much and the open golf championship. Tour de France which happened this weekend. The Fortnite World Cup when they won

about six times what the Tour de France champion one.

[14:55:15] Also in that same stadium, the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. Next month, they'll have the U.S. Open. The winner there gets $3.8 million

which was a little bit more than Fortnite. But still within the range. So you get a sense of the staggering amounts of money here.

And everyone who turned up to the finals who qualified after 10 weeks of heat got at least $50,000. So for these kids, the average age is about 16.

These are life-changing amounts of money.

GORANI: But where does the money come from? Sponsors?

SEBASTIAN: So I mean, Epic Games is the one that's holding the event. They are the company behind Fortnite. They get their money -- actually,

the interesting thing about Fortnite is that the game that's become so popular is free. It doesn't actually sell it. You can download it for

free across multiple platforms. That's part of the reason why it's become so popular that it's zero dollar barrier to entries.

But once you're in the game, you spend money on what's called V-Bucks. That's the currency that upgrades within the game and you use that to buy

different cosmetic aspects to your players, different modes which make them dance in certain ways. And all of this has led to a lot of spending and a

lot of profits for this company.

GORANI: Right. I mean, obviously, people who say that kids shouldn't spend eight, 10, 12 hours a day playing video games, this is going to be --

this is going to come as bad news to parents because this could be an incentive now.

SEBASTIAN: It's an incentive. It's a career. It's not just the winnings that they get from these tournaments, Hala. These kids are making five,

six figures salaries, even without -- you know, their audiences that they've build up on Twitch. They can get ticked by their audiences. They

get sponsorships and endorsements. This is a very lucrative business.

But it's interesting, you know, we've seen the schools when this initially started to peak last year. We're very worried about this. Now, E-sports

is part of high schools at eight U.S. states including in Georgie.

GORANI: Unbelievable. Clare Sebastian, thanks much. Appreciate it.

I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you next time on HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Stay with CNN. A quick break and then it's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END