Return to Transcripts main page


Three Killed, 12 Wounded in California Festival Shooting; Hong Kong Demonstrators Block Trains, Disrupt Tuesday Commute; Trump Launches New Attack on Democratic Critic; Mourners Pay Respects To Slain Italian Policeman; India's Tiger Population Jumps By A Third Since 2014 To Almost 3,000. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 30, 2019 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Police search for answers a day after a mass shooting at a festival in California and we are learning more about the gunman who opened fire.

And a Putin critic suggests the Kremlin may have poisoned him. Alexei Navalny's suspicious allergy.

Plus finally some good news around wildlife. We see how conservation efforts are paying off as no-deal's tiger population rises by a third.

Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.


CHURCH: The city of Gilroy, California, is grappling with the aftermath of the deadly shooting, three people were killed and at least a dozen wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival two children are among the dead and people have started a memorial, bringing flowers, balloons and a giant teddy bear.

As police look for the shooter's motive, CNN's Dan Simon has more.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, police identifying the shooter in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting as 19- year-old Santino William Legan.

SCOT SMITHEE, CHIEF OF POLICE, GILROY POLICE DEPARTMENT: The suspect engaged the officers and fired at the officers with that rifle and I had three officers that engaged the suspect.

SIMON (voice-over): Police also revealing the weapon used in the attack.

SMITHEE: The rifle that this suspect used was an SKS. It was an AK- 47 type assault rifle. It was purchased legally in the state of Nevada on July the 9th of this year.

SIMON (voice-over): Before the shooting, posted on Instagram, under an account bearing the shooter's name, mention of a friend's White supremacist book. The caption reads, why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make more room for hordes of mestizo and Silicon Valley expletives? The post features an image of Smokey the Bear and talks of high fire danger today. And in another, a picture of the garlic festival.

According to police, Legan bypassed security by cutting through a fence and then went on a rampage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He looked like he just wanted to shoot at everyone. He didn't have no direct target. He just wanted to be shooting everywhere.

SIMON (voice-over): Officers killed the shooter about a minute after he opened fire, but not before he injured 12 and killed three.

SMITHEE: Despite the fact that they were outgunned with their handguns against a rifle, those three officers were able to fatally wound that suspect and the event ended very quickly.

SIMON (voice-over): A 13-year-old girl, Keyla Salazar; a man in his 20s, Trevor Irby; and 6-year-old Steven Romero were among those killed.

ALBERTO ROMERO, FATHER OF STEVEN ROMERO: I couldn't believe what was happening, that what was she was saying was a lie. 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.

SIMON (voice-over): Police have not identified a clear motive for the shooting and they're still chasing leads on a possible second suspect.

SMITHEE: We certainly are investigating all leads to try to determine who that potential second suspect is and what exactly that person's role was.


CHURCH: And that was CNN's Dan Simon. And we would also like to tell you more about some of the victims killed in Sunday's attack.

Trevor Irby was in his 20s and graduated from a New York college in 2017. He majored in biology.

And there is also 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, she was a resident of nearby San Jose.

Well, president Donald Trump is digging in on a strategy of division and exposing a common theme, once again attacking a lawmaker of color. This time his target is Democrat Elijah Cummings and his congressional district of Baltimore, Maryland. CNN's Pamela Brown has the details. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight President Trump expanding his attacks against Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings, to include activist Al Sharpton.

Trump tweeting, Cummings district "has the worst crime statistics in the nation, 25 years of all talk, no action, adding, "so tired of listening to the same old bull."

The feud with Cummings began Saturday when the president peppered the Oversight Committee chair with tweets, calling Cummings a racist and claiming his district is the most dangerous anywhere in the U.S. and "no human being would want to live there" and a "rat-infested mess."

Cummings fired back, saying he goes to his district every day and fights for his constituents. Cummings recently subpoenaed Trump's family and complained about the administration's --


BROWN (voice-over): -- handling of the border crisis.

Trump is going after Democratic activist Reverend Al Sharpton for supporting Cummings, saying, "Next Reverend Al will show up to complain and protest," adding, "Sharpton is just a con man at work."

Sharpton was also quick to fire back.

AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: I know Donald Trump. He's not mature enough to take criticism. He can't help it. As far as me being a con man, if he really thought I was a con man, he would be nominating me for his cabinet.


BROWN (voice-over): Noticeably quiet in the feud is close Trump ally and long-time friend of Elijah Cummings, Congressman Mark Meadows. Cummings has previously come to Meadows' defense during a public hearing when he was accused of being racist.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): Of all of the people on this committee, I've said it and got 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. But you are.


BROWN (voice-over): Today Meadows ignored CNN's shouted question off camera about the matter when he was at the White House for a bill signing. Then his chief of staff defending his boss, saying he isn't a racist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "No human being would want to live there."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is being perceived as racist.

Do you understand why?

MULVANEY: I understand why. But that doesn't mean that it's racist. The president is pushing back against what he sees as wrong --

BROWN (voice-over): All of this amid a shake-up involving the president's Director of National Intelligence. The current director, Dan Coats, now out. Trump's choice to replace him, Texas Republican congressman John Ratcliffe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, who has less than five years of national security experience and who Trump once thought was too nice, according to sources, until he aggressively questioned the former special counsel Robert Mueller last week.

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX), DNI NOMINEE: I agreed 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 --

BROWN (voice-over): "The New York Times" is reporting Senate intel chair Richard Burr, among other Republicans, have privately expressed concern Ratcliffe is too political for the bipartisan post.

And in a statement, Burr said he will move swiftly to confirm Ratcliffe and says he hopes to work with DNI principal deputy Sue Gordon in the interim.

BROWN: Now Congressman Mark Meadows did provide a statement that was read on Jake Tapper's show, where he said neither the president nor Congressman Cummings is a racist.

But what this shows is that the president's comment stoking racial divide are putting some of his allies in a tough spot, like Meadows -- Pamela Brown, CNN, the White House.



CHURCH: CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer joins me now from New York. Great to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, President Trump doubling down on his attacks against Baltimore's Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings. What are the political risks for Mr. Trump going after the man he now calls King Elijah, especially given we are now learning that rental properties in Baltimore owned by the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner are in fact, rat- infested?

ZELIZER: Well, the most obvious risk for him is that this kind of rhetoric even if it's popular or acceptable with certain parts of the electorate, overall it doesn't sit well with a lot of Americans.

And there was even a poll today that working-class women in a lot of the areas President Trump needs to win for reelection are not happy and might not vote for him because of this kind of language.

And then there is the dimension of the president's own family and real estate property in the city, so there is many risks involved with this.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. And I wanted to ask you what you think the motivation is behind Mr. Trump's attacks and how does it look when the president of the United States calls Cummings a racist while at the same time being accused of being exactly that himself.

ZELIZER: Look, the president has a long record both as president and before he was president of getting involved in this kind of racial politics, when they were talking about his role in a case in New York called the Central Park Five in the 1980s, through the birther movement against President Obama through all the tweets and rhetoric's we have seen as president.

So, he doesn't have strong ground to stand on attacking Cummings for being racist. But I think the opposite argument is a pretty strong one.

CHURCH: Yes. Because President Trump has also attacked African- American activist Al Sharpton, so we are starting to see a very clear pattern here. But Republicans don't appear to have any problem with any of this, why is that?

ZELIZER: Well partisanship is very strong, we've seen this on many issues from the president tweeting these kinds of statements to the attacks on the law and order, the Republicans stay silent. And this story --


ZELIZER: -- of the president, is so far one of them is that the GOP is aligned with President Trump at least on paper regardless of what he does. They are one and the same.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, the president's chief of staff Mick Mulvaney insist his boss is not a racist.

You are a historian, have you ever, ever witnessed a situation where United States president has had to have someone come out and insist that he is not a racist and will that denial be enough to convince his critics?

ZELIZER: No, I don't think it will be, this is a unique situation, certainly in the modern period in the last couple of decades, you haven't had a situation like this. Sometimes we had presidents who used coded language like Ronald Reagan which was sad to appeal to racial divisions but never have we had a president openly and continually using language directly connected to white backlash politics again and again.

So I don't think Mulvaney's comments will convince any critic that that's not what's going on.

CHURCH: And at the same time though, it doesn't seem to have an impact on President Trump, does it? He appears to be bulletproof and certainly seems to be held to different standard compared to what people expect from the line up on the Democratic side, for instance.

But why is it that President Trump, what is it about him that allows him to say and do things that no other politician has ever gotten away with?

ZELIZER: Well, it's a good question and I think his base have supported the Republican Party which we discussed is the key to that answer. And as long as the party supports him and his silence when it does things like this, that gives him enormous freedom.

And unlike presidents in recent history he now has an enormous media platform both Twitter and also Fox News and conservative sites that support him whenever he makes the statement. And that is a kind of political firewall that he counts on whenever he's in these moments.

CHURCH: Julian Zelizer, always great to get your analysis and perspective, certainly from a historical point of view as well. We always appreciate it.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.


CHURCH: Well, the unrest continues in Hong Kong with hundreds of protesters disrupting Tuesday's peak hour commute by blocking two of the city subway lines. Mass demonstrations began eight weeks ago. The subway is the most recent target with activists accusing the corporation which runs the rail system of colluding with police to suppress the protest movement, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets concerned about a slow but consistent erosion of the city's independence by the communist government in Beijing.

They're also demanding Hong Kong's chief executive resign. On Monday China's top Hong Kong policy office released a statement on the protest, calling them evil and criminal acts.


YANG GUANG, HONG KONG AND MACAU AFFAIRS OFFICE (through translator): No civilized society under the rule of law will tolerate random violence, it is our hope that the general public will understand clearly the seriousness of the current state of affairs and jointly condemn the evils and crimes committed by the radicals and prevent them from harming Hong Kong. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: We will take a short break, here still to come, allergies can be caused by pollen, animals and maybe Russian president Vladimir Putin. Doctors say that is what a top Kremlin critic is suffering from but he says he was poisoned.

The new British prime minister gets a not so warm welcome as he tries to drum up support for his Brexit plans, find out why after the short break.





CHURCH: In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, at least 12 civilians and five military personnel were killed when a Pakistani military plane crashed into a residential area The military says two high-ranking officers are among the dead. No word yet on what caused that crash.

A major critic of Russia's government suggests that he was poisoned. Alexei Navalny ended up in hospital after he was jailed on charges he violated Russia's protest law. CNN's Brian Todd has more from Washington.


TODD (voice-over): He is one of Vladimir Putin's worst enemies, a thorn in the side of the Russian strongman. The opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has led protests and called for Putin to be ousted. But tonight, through his attorney, he says he was the victim of Putin's ultimate form of payback -- poison.

OLGA MIKHAILOVA, PERSONAL ATTORNEY OF ALEXEI NAVALNY (through translator): He really was poisoned by some unidentified chemical agent.

TODD (voice-over): Navalny was arrested last week after he called for protests in Moscow. Once in jail, he says he suffered an allergic reaction and was hospitalized even though he says he's never had allergies.

Today, he was released from the hospital and sent back to detention, all under the watchful eye of a Russian security officer. His personal doctor says there was a chemical substance introduced into his body that caused the reaction, but a hospital official denies the accusation.

ELENA SIBIKINA, HEAD OF THE INTERNAL MEDICINE DEPARTMENT, CITY CLINICAL HOSPITAL NO. 64 OF MOSCOW (through translator): Nothing of what you spoke about has been proven. TODD (voice-over): Navalny is no stranger to Putin's rap. He's been arrested by Putin at least 15 times and was once attacked with an antiseptic green die that he says damaged his vision in one eye.

Despite his arrest, the protests Navalny called for last week still brought thousands on to the streets of Moscow over the weekend where Putin's forces cracked down and arrested more than 1,300 people.

ALEX GOLDFARB, AUTHOR, "DEATH OF A DISSIDENT: THE POISONING OF ALEXANDER LITVINENKO AND THE RETURN OF THE KGB": It is quite possible and actually very probable that they did something out of spite to Navalny who actually was the first one to call for a protest.

TODD (voice-over): Navalny called for the protests because of a decision by election authorities to bar several opposition candidates from running for Moscow's city council, a seemingly minor position but one, experts say, Putin and his cronies still control.

SARAH MENDELSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL: They don't want any outside political forces making their way onto any part of the election ladder, even a Moscow city council.

TODD (voice-over): The Russian president himself wasn't in town, electing instead to preside over a huge parade on the water in St. Petersburg, staged by the Russian Navy.

But analysts say despite being miles away, Putin could have easily ordered Navalny to be punished, especially given the fate of some of Putin's other enemies. Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned and nearly killed last year in Great Britain with a powerful nerve agent, Novichok. British authorities tied to the Kremlin.

And in 2006, former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko, who had dug up information tying Putin to organized crime, was killed in London when someone slipped the radioactive substance polonium into his tea.

Navalny has been on a campaign to expose the alleged corruption of Putin and his cronies --


TODD (voice-over): -- which analysts say is the biggest threat to the former KGB colonel.

MENDELSON: There's a lot of anxiety around Putin's succession around the elites that are around Putin and I think there is a sense of, is everybody going to hang together? Is there loyalty if somebody dissents? Is the deck of cards going to come down? So, I think that this -- they're in an era of anxiety.

TODD: As for all the poisonings flooded Putin and his aides have denied involvement, calling the accusations unfounded. But analysts say don't expect Vladimir Putin to discontinue this kind of behavior because there aren't any consequences for him at home -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: CNN contributor Jill Dougherty joins me now from Washington, she is a global fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Center and a former Moscow bureau chief for CNN.

Always great to chat with you.

So Alexei Navalny's personal doctor says he was deliberately poisoned with a chemical agent after Navalny was hospitalized for a severe allergic reaction, how likely is it that the Kremlin was responsible, as many critics have suggested?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know at this point, it is still impossible to say who would have done it, because, after all, right now, they are trying to figure out if it was a chemical, what kind of chemical, who did it?

They were talking about his lawyers and supporters saying that they should have access to the closed circuit TV to show whether anybody actually came into his cell. They have apparently taken samples of his hair and his T-shirt and what they want to do is independently analyze those to see what we're talking about.

So there are a lot of questions and if you read what Navalny said on his Twitter account, he says that some of the police looked surprised to see him in that situation, the reaction that he was having, whereas others looked kind of, as he put it "suspicious."

So I think it is pretty early to tell but the problem, standing back and looking at this, Rosemary, he is arrested because of helping to organize these protests and demonstrations and then suddenly he comes down with this. And it does look extraordinarily suspicious. There's no question.

CHURCH: Of course it has to be said that we have seen a pattern of Kremlin and Putin critics poisoned in the past. Some have survived, some have not.

Why would the Kremlin to be so obvious about it?

DOUGHERTY: Well, that is precisely what Navalny him says asks, he says, why would they be so overt and why would they be so stupid?

But of course, the question is, he thinks that they are stupid, that they are mishandling this and why would they do it?

Well, whoever did it obviously wanted to intimidate him, I think that these protests that have been taking place over the weekend especially, you had large numbers of people on the streets of Moscow, about 1,400 people arrested.

And there is a lot of anger right now. And if you look at the reaction from the Kremlin and how seriously the crackdown on the demonstrators is going, it's quite obvious that the Kremlin is very worried about this.

This doesn't look like previous demonstrations that were smaller. There is something that seems to be building and they're absolutely worried about, so Navalny is one of the chief instigators. He's the guy online, on YouTube, he is tweeting. He is the one who can bring people out.

So getting him to decide, intimidating him, not that would intimidate him I think realistically, but that would be what somebody would want to do.

CHURCH: So if this was the Kremlin and the aim was to shut him down, to quiet him down, it could very well backfire because some critics suggested that this poisoning could very well fuel anti-Putin protests.

So how likely is that?

DOUGHERTY: I think this is one of the problems right now. You watched that video over the weekend, there are a huge numbers of security forces on the street. And if you look back, they were beating kids.

And this is not what the Kremlin wants to see on the streets of Moscow. So then out of their fear, they are cracking down but even as they crack down you'd have to say --


DOUGHERTY: -- that it is fueling more anger, they're already, the opposition, they are already announcing another protest for August 3rd and that, just because of the strength of the reaction, they could fuel more reaction from the opposition.

CHURCH: It seems an inevitable response. We will, of course, continue to follow this story. Jill Dougherty, thank you as always for joining us.

Well, Britain's new prime minister Boris Johnson kicked off his first week in office with a visit to Scotland, all in the name of building unity.


CHURCH (voice-over): And as you can see, didn't exactly get a warm welcome and Edinburgh. Scottish leaders are concerned about his plan to leave the European Union in October with or without a deal. As Nina dos Santos reports, Johnson will have a hard time selling a messy exit.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.K.'s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to embark upon a tour of the U.K. for his first full week in office ostensibly to shore up its unity. Well, the first port of call was Scotland where he met with the first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

Remember that Scotland is a place that voted overwhelmingly against Brexit and to stay inside the E.U. back in 2016. But it's also a place that has been agitating for another crack at its own independence from the rest of the Union.

Well, he's likely to stop off in other places like Wales where there's an important by election throughout the course of the week, maybe even Northern Ireland where political leaders there are so concerned about the possibility of there being a hard border with the Republic of Ireland to the south.

In the meantime, it's emerged that his cabinet is turbocharging their no deal Brexit preparations with one of his key lieutenants who's going to be cheering daily no deal preparation meetings in a special cabinet office room usually reserved for emergency situations.

He wrote in one of the main newspapers that a messy exit was a very real possibility that the government was planning for here. Well, none of this please the markets with the British pound tanking to its lowest level in 28 months.

Also the Confederation of British industries, the major employers and industry lobby saying that neither the E.U. nor the U.K. at this point in time was ready for the prospect no deal hard Brexit on October the 31st -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


CHURCH: We are counting down to the CNN Democratic debate, candidates getting ready for the face-off in Detroit, Michigan, just ahead, who is moving up in the polls and how will the top two progressives get along?

We will take a look.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church, time to update you on our main stories this hour.

Police are searching for a motive in Sunday's deadly shooting at a food festival in the U.S. State of California. Three people were killed and at least 12 others wounded. Police say they shot and killed a 19-year-old gunman who used an assault-style weapon. He appears to have mentioned a white supremacist book on social media, before that attack.

Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong disrupted Tuesday's peak hour commute by blocking two of the city subway lines. Mass demonstrations have been happening in Hong Kong for eight consecutive weeks and this is just the latest move. Protesters want greater Democracy in the city and want Hong Kong's chief executive to resign. Beijing calls the protest, evil and criminal acts.

Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny suggests he may have been poisoned in police custody. He was taken to hospital for what officials say was an allergic reaction, after being jailed on charges he violated Russian protest laws. He was sent back to jail after being released from hospital.

Donald Trump says Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings should investigate himself for billions of dollars stolen or wasted in the city of Baltimore. The president offered no evidence in his Monday night tweet. It's the latest in the series of attacks on lawmakers of color by Mr. Trump.

Well, final preparations are underway for the second round of Democratic presidential debates. This week's showdown will take place at the FOX Theater in Detroit, Michigan, and will be seeing live on CNN, just like the first round. The massive field of Democratic candidates will be split into two panels, with each panel debating on a separate night.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will headline Tuesday's debate, along with Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, and Steve Bullock. Front runner, Joe Biden, will be among the candidates debating on Wednesday.

Well, winning the state of Michigan is, key, if Democrats hope to retake the White House from Donald Trump next year, but no one seems to agree on how to go about it. Here's CNN's Jeff Zeleny.



JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There's a reason President Trump speaks so fondly of Michigan. He's the first Republican presidential candidate to secure the state since 1988 and he's gunning for a repeat.

TRUMP: We're very tough to take out, are we? Very, very --

ZELENY: As Democratic hopefuls gather in Detroit for their second debate this week, there's little appetite for re-litigating Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016, but the collapse of the blue wall of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, is a driving undercurrent of the 2020 race.

Here in Michigan, one number still seared into the minds of many Democrats, is 10,704. That's how many votes Trump defeated Clinton by.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): We were all, kind of, in disbelief. And as we parse through what the numbers were, it was very clear that people didn't turn out to vote. But that 10,000-plus votes that was the difference here in Michigan, was a very low turnout.

ZELENY: Gretchen Whitmer is the State's new Democratic governor, winning office last fall, as the party roared back in the midterm elections, she's closely watching the party's crowded primary, saying the outcome will play a critical role in determining whether Michigan is still Trump country.

WHITMER: Between 2016 and 2018, we had a massive change in who showed up at the polls and the results speak for themselves. When the candidate shows up and listens to people and stays focused on the dinner table issues, that's how you persuade people that you're worthy of their vote.

ZELENY: Do you think any Trump voters from 2016 can be persuaded to vote Democratic in 2020 or are things so entrenched that it's more about turning out the Democratic debates?

WHITMER: No, I think people can definitely be persuaded.

ZELENY: But that is one of the essential questions framing the Democratic fight. Should the party choose a nominee acceptable to more moderate Trump voters, by winning over those who supported Barack Obama but rejected Clinton, or they should find a candidate who electrifies the liberal base.

That dynamic comes alive in Macomb County, just outside Detroit, one of the most carefully watched Obama to Trump battlegrounds. Ed Bruley is the County's Democratic chairman who believes the answer is motivating voters who stayed away from the polls in 2016.

ED BRULEY, DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN, MACOMB COUNTY: I think there's too much fixation on this hybrid voter.

[02:35:12] And I think you need to really look at those who went out to vote and chose not to vote for either candidate.

ZELENY: In Macomb County, alone, Clinton received about 31,000 fewer votes than Obama. In neighboring Wayne County, which includes Detroit, she received about 76,000 fewer votes than Obama.

GARLIN GILCHRIST, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN: I think it was a matter of turnout --

ZLENEY: Garlin Gilchrist, the state's new lieutenant governor, agrees that inspiring Democratic voters is key, but he also warns against complacency and thinking Trump can't win again.

Should Democrats take seriously the prospect of his re-election?

GILCHRIST: Absolutely, that's why he's president now, because his prospect of being elected the first time, was not taken seriously enough.

ZELENY: Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Detroit.


CHURCH: Well, with the first debate just hours away, a new poll shows Joe Biden regaining momentum and Elizabeth Warren in second place. The Quinnipiac national poll shows Biden with 34 percent support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, up from 22 percent earlier this month.

Warren moved up to second place ahead of Kamala Harris, who dropped eight points. Bernie Sanders is in fourth place. The rest of the Democratic field is in single digits.

Meanwhile, roughly, one-third of all U.S. voters say they will definitely vote to re-elect President Trump next year, while 54 percent say they won't. And I spoke with CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Dave Jacobson, before that poll was released, and I asked him, who has the most to lose and the most to gain in the upcoming debates.


DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is going to be a do or die moment for almost every single candidate, sort of, in that second tier. We know the first tier candidates, you've got Joe Biden who obviously is the consistent, sort of, frontrunner, according to poll after poll.

You've got Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris to, sort of, round out the top tier, but then you have the second and third tier candidates, and for all of them, this is really a do or die, sort of, debate.

And here is why Rosemary, the threshold to make the third and fourth debate, is incredibly high. The poling threshold for the first two debates was only one percent, it goes up to two percent for the third and fourth debates.

But not only that, when it comes to the fundraising threshold, you actually have to get 130,000 individual donations to make it into the third or fourth debate, so for the second tier and third tier candidates at this next debate, if they don't have a break out moment, this could spell failure for the presidential campaign.

CHURCH: Right, and, of course, a lot of people watching will be very relieved to see that line up whittled down, somewhat. And, of course, in that first Democratic debate, we saw Kamala Harris attack former Vice President Joe Biden over his record on busing and that friction helped define Harris and, of course, boost her standing in the polls. Elizabeth Warren got a similar boost.

All the candidates will be looking to the -- to try to do the same thing, in this -- this time around. So, what advice would you give the candidates to help them achieve that breakaway moment and how careful do they have to be to not end up destroying their chances at the same time?

JACOBSON: Right, so it's a tricky balance, because you want to make sure that you're getting air time. That you're actually having an opportunity to talk and be heard, and simultaneous to that, you want to differentiate yourself while landing some potential zingers against those, sort of, top tier or frontrunner candidates that you're going to be on stage with. But you've got to balance that with not, sort of, coming off desperate, or being a nuisance, right? Like, if you're one of those candidates that interrupt every other candidate, as they try to speak, and the moderators have to, sort of, weigh in, and you come off looking desperate, that approach could potentially backfire.

I think Kamala Harris had tremendous success in the first debate, because I think it was largely a function of timing and how the, sort of, conversation was evolving. And she, sort of, broke into the conversation, ended a stellar, sort of, job of standing out. The question is, can other candidates do the same?

CHURCH: Right, and Dave -- and, of course, as you mentioned, Joe Biden is seen as the presidential candidate with the best chance of beating Donald Trump, but all the other candidates are doing everything they can to discredit him and his record and pull Biden off his pedestal.

It's the nature of the game, of course, but do the Democrats run the risk of destroying their chances of winning in 2020 by attacking their best chance of success and offering up left-wing candidates, as an alternative to Trump?

JACOBSON: I'm not convinced that that necessarily is going to play out that way, in my view, I mean, I think that you need a candidate who is battle-tested, in order to have the strongest person possible go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump.

And so, we saw Donald Trump participate, going toe-to-toe with 16 other Republican rivals, they had a slew of debates, and I think that made him more formidable against Hillary Clinton in the general election when it came to the debate.

[02:40: 12] So, I think, having Joe Biden participate in these debates is a good thing, but I think the big takeaway for Joe Biden, Rosemary, is that he needs to do no harm, right? He wants the current configuration of the race and status quo to remain the same.

He wants all these candidates in the race. He wants to maintain, sort of, that nice 10, 8-point buffer ahead of any other contenders behind him. And so, the way to do that is to not have any gas if you're attacked. He should stand up for his record. But also, I think, try to deflect and pivot and bring in that, sort of, Barack Obama nostalgia, right?

Everybody -- most Democrats think very fondly of the former president, and I think Joe Biden didn't do enough of them, the first debate, and so the question is, will he do more of that these go around?

CHURCH: Right. So, what will you be looking for as you watch these two nights of debates and what time, what, you know -- what is viable? What do they have to be doing? What do they have to achieve on this debate?

JACOBSON: Well, one of the things that I think will be really fascinating is watching the dynamic between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on the first night, and that's because, philosophically, they're very much in line with, sort of, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

And they're also personal friends. They worked together in the United States Senate. So, the question is, will there be a rift? Will there be, sort of, a wedge issue between the two or maybe Elizabeth Warren tries to, you know, define herself in a different way from Bernie Sanders.

And then separately, on that same debate stage, you have a number of moderate candidates, all of which were on the second and third tier, right? You've got Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana, you've got Kirsten Gillibrand, New York senator, you've got John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado. Those are all moderate candidates.

So, I think, they're going to setup collectively, sort of, a contrast, ideologically, between the progressive wing of Bernie and Elizabeth, versus themselves. As it comes to the second debate, you know, I think, obviously, we had this very, sort of, competitive debate between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

Cory Booker wasn't on the stage with them at the last debate. He's going to be standing right next to Joe Biden, and he's interesting in the sense that, you know, he has proven himself as a prolific fundraiser, as a U.S. senator.

Obviously, he's charismatic, he's very smart, and he's been going toe- to-toe with the former vice president. But the question is, will he have a stand out and, sort of, break out moment at this debate, because he's really been pulling it one, two percent.

And he hasn't skyrocketed to that top tier nor has he been able to raise real resources like Pete Buttigieg with those frontrunner candidates. And so, it'll be really interesting to see whether he uses this opportunity to try to stand out.


CHURCH: And that was CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Dave Jacobson. Be sure to stay with us for the CNN Democratic presidential debates, 2 big days, 10 candidates at each debate, live from Detroit, only here on CNN.

We'll take a short break here, still to come, the funeral of a murdered policeman shown across Italy. We will tell you about the two Americans accused of the killing and their different accounts of what happened.


[02:45:58] CHURCH: At least 57 inmates at a prison in northern Brazil are dead, killed in a riot at the prison. Brazilian media report it all started when one gang stormed an area at the prison controlled by a rival group.

Prison officials say, 16 inmates were decapitated and the rest died when prisoners started a fire in the rival gang's wing.

We turn now to Italy, where the killing of a policeman in Rome, dominates the Italian headlines. Two Americans, 18 in 19 years old have been accused of the crime. With national attention focused on it, the funeral for the slain officer was televised, held in the same church where he had recently been married. CNN's Isa Soares, reports.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This church in the small town of Somma Vesuviana filled with tears and grief as mourners pay 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 web site, 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.

SANDRO OTTAVIANI, COMMANDER, FARNESE SQUARE CARABINIERI HEADQUARTERS (through translator): He was a person that was always, always, always available. Everyone could count on him. Everyone in the neighborhood knew that they can count on him. He'd never tried to cut corners, he was very altruistic.

SOARES: 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 be involved in the scuffle, perhaps 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 LEE ELDER (through translator): He exercise 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: Authorities of the tragedy started when the two Americans attempted to buy drugs. After realizing they had been duped in 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, she get a life sentence. Isa Soares, CNN.


CHURCH: We are keeping a very close eye on a hurricane in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The details ahead when we go to the CNN Weather Center, that's next.

And these big cats are bouncing back in numbers. Find out how much India's tiger population has increased in the last four years when we come back.


[02:51:28] CHURCH: Well a tropical storm is brewing west of the Philippines, and could bring heavy rain to southern China this week. The storm looks to be growing stronger as it moves towards Hong Kong and could make landfall sometime in the middle of the week.

And, of course, it's that time of year as the tropics begin to warm up. Storms from the Caribbean to East Asia are threatening land areas. And our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us now with all the details on this. Pedram, what do you seeing?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Rosemary. We start to get busy across the weather, world's activity certainly picking up, you take a look across the Pacific, low probability of formation, well out there east of Guam. But all eyes on what's happening right here west of Luzon right now because thunderstorms abound and it is something you see this time of year, of course, with the wet season upon us.

But the water temperatures across the South China Sea sitting at 27 degrees Celsius, just shy of the 28-degree threshold which typically is what it takes to develop a full-blown tropical system. So, the system here will have warm waters but doesn't look like we'll have enough time here to become fully organized.

But regardless, of course, very dense population across Hainan, Guangxi, Guangdong, certainly across Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam as well. So, a tremendous rainfall. We're talking about near the top of the charts in some of these spots.

Nanning for example, upwards of nearly half a meter of rainfall in the next few days. Hong Kong potentially, 150 to 250 millimeters of rainfall over the next week or so. And yes -- and climatologically, this is the time of year you expect tremendous rainfall. We are in the peak of it here from July into August among the wettest periods of the year.

So, not unusual to see the amount of rainfall that is in store here, and the seven-day forecast really lays this out well across Hong Kong. So, if you're tuned in, get ready for this. A lot of rainfall had to be the next couple of days, keep those temperatures very uniform, generally, right around 30 degrees with the thunderstorms abound every single day.

Now, on the other side of the Pacific, the eastern impact we go, south of Acapulco, we do have a disturbance in the works Tropical Storm Flossie has already developed, and then, Hurricane Erick sitting there on approach towards the Hawaiian Islands.

We want to show you what's happening across this region. 120 kilometer per hour winds, that is equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane across this region. And we expect, at least, further strengthening briefly in the next couple of days to Cat 2.

And then, beyond this, the model suggests the storm will want to stay south of the islands, gets within close proximity of it, but there is another system, of course, we talked about Flossie. This is a tropical storm and this particular storm actually does have a trajectory that would be more in line with the Big Island of Hawaii or potentially anywhere across the Hawaiian Islands sometime late this weekend or early next week. It does get into a major hurricane Category 3 status, and then, on approach begins to weaken just a little bit to Category 2.

And you notice, water temperatures, they are up there as far as the threshold of 28 degrees Celsius we talked about, it is going to be an area to watch carefully here for a potentially quite a bit of rainfall if not anything else that comes out of it.

And you take a look, since 1959, only 15 named storms have come within 100 kilometers of the Hawaiian Islands. It was last season we touched on Olivia that was one of the storms that came across this region in a very close to land.

Of course, we'll continue to cover this if anything develops across the Hawaiian Islands the next several days, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, thank you so much, Pedram. Appreciate that.

Well, a Syrian refugee who escaped the violence in his homeland to go to Canada came within seconds of being heard or maybe worse when a road he was about to cross with his car collapse.

Tareq Hadhad stopped just short of a stream in Nova Scotia that was undermining a road. He started shooting this video as it crumbled into the boiling water. Hadhad said there's been so much rain recently. The stream tripled in size. He says everyone with him is safe.

Well, some good news for India's tigers, new numbers are out on International Tiger Day. That was -- that was Monday. And it looks like the big cat population has increased by a third in the last four years. Amara Walker tells us how these endangered animals are slowly making a comeback.


[02:55:33] AMARA WALKER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: India's national animal is bouncing back. The tiger population has increased by a third in the last four years and doubled in the last 12 years to nearly 3,000. And that's good news for tigers everywhere because most of the world's tigers live in India.

NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA: The regions of the just declared tiger census would make every Indian, every nature lover happy.

WALKER: And until recently, the news hadn't been so good. The World Wildlife Fund, says since 1900, the world's tiger population dropped by 97 percent. In 2010, 13 countries in the tiger range pledged to double the world's tiger population by 2022.

In announcing the latest census figures, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted India's pace.

MODI: Nine long years ago, it was decided in Saint-Petersburg that the target of doubling the tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years early.

Welcome to India.

WALKER: As part of his conservation message, Mr. Modi tweeted out a trailer from an upcoming Discovery Channel India episode of man vs. wild, featuring his trip to India's wilderness with adventurer, Bear Grylls.

BEAR GRYLLS, BRITISH ADVENTURER: You are the most important man in India. My job is to keep you alive.

WALKER: India has 50 tiger reserves and strict laws against capturing and killing wild animals. Despite that, there are still conflicts with humans, especially when tiger reserves border villages. Amara Walker, CNN.


CHURCH: Well, Ethiopia says, it set a world record by planting more than 353 million trees in 12 hours. It's part of a reforestation campaign led by the country's prime minister. Millions across the country were invited to take part in the challenge, their bigger goal though is to plant 4 billion trees during the rainy season that lasts until October.

And thanks so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter, @rosemaryCNN.

And I'll be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.