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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Donald Trump Interested in Purchase of Greenland; Israel Grants Rashida Tlaib Entry; Iranian Tanker Released by Gibraltar Court; Trump Trade Adviser Plays Down Recession Fears; Michigan Weighs In On Impeachment; John Fogerty Remembers Late-Night Set At Woodstock; Nepal Proposes New Restrictions For Climbing Mt. Everest. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired August 16, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:22] BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Bianca Nobilo, in for Hala Gorani.
Tonight, Greenland's not for sale, Mr. President.
CNN is on the island, gauging reaction to Donald Trump's idea of buying it.
Then, Israel allows one of the banned congresswomen in. But find out why Rashida Tlaib is refusing to go anyway.
And later, 50 years since Woodstock: We look back on the festival that defined a generation.
It was a chilly response to an unusual story about an unorthodox U.S. president. Government officials and residents of Greenland are telling
Donald Trump, "Sorry, this island is not for sale."
This comes after news emerged that Mr. Trump repeatedly has expressed interest in buying the autonomous Danish territory. Sources tell CNN, he
even asked his White House Counsel to look into the possibility.
Greenland is the home of the United States' northernmost military base, but it's not clear what specifically about the rugged island has drawn Mr.
Trump's interest. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Greenland, and got reaction to the news from people in one small village. Take a look.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Folks in the very beautiful territory of Greenland don't seem that interested in
President Trump's alleged idea to buy this place. The official government of the semi-autonomous region said, quote, "Greenland is not for sale."
They did say that they were willing to conduct cooperation between what they call "equal countries."
Now, local residents that we spoke to, here in the small village of Kulusuk, said the Americans tried to acquire Greenland in 1867 and in World
War II, and they failed. And one resident said, "It will not happen."
There are some reasons why America might want to have Greenland. It certainly does seem to have a lot of natural resources, and the Chinese
have been trying to get in on that business. It's not really something that the U.S. really likes seeing, with China trying to get a lot of that
business here. Also the U.S., of course, has a big military base here in Greenland as well, the Thule Military Base.
So there are some good reasons why the U.S. might want Greenland. However, if these natural resources really become exploitable here in Greenland,
certainly the folks here would probably want autonomy, full autonomy and independence rather than becoming part of the United States.
One of the things that President Trump would probably have to do, if he were to acquire Greenland, is finally acknowledge that climate change is
real. Because Greenland, with its giant ice sheet, is certainly on the frontline in the battle against climate change. Fred Pleitgen, CNN,
NOBILO: As Fred points out, there is a lot Donald Trump might like about Greenland. It's considered the world's largest island, more than three
times the size of America's second-largest state, Texas. Crucially, this arctic territory is oil-rich. It's estimated to contain as much as 17
billion barrels of crude oil.
In terms of tourism, just more than 84,000 people visited there in 2017. That's more than the entire population of the island. And that population
seems to be against this idea. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We don't trade countries or territories any more. If countries want other territories, it's war. It's
not something you buy or sell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I can only laugh, laugh at Trump with these announcements. I can't take it seriously.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Who takes Trump seriously?
I think this says (ph) it (ph) all about him. He's lost his connection to earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Here to talk more about Mr. Trump's strategy and what it might be, and how he's not the only U.S. president who's shown interest in Greenland,
is CNN military and diplomatic analyst John Kirby, and CNN presidential historian Tim Naftali, who's also a former director of the Richard Nixon
Let's start with you, John. The president is, obviously, interested in Greenland. But how serious is he really? Primarily, what is the existing
relationship between Greenland and the United States, as the U.S. has its northernmost military base there?
JOHN KIRBY, CNN U.S. MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: It's a great question, actually. And I think we have a good relationship with the
people of Greenland, and of course with, you know, with Denmark, which still owns Greenland, although there is some semi-autonomy there.
We have a military base there. I myself, as a young naval officer, my first deployment was to the Arctic Ocean, so in and around the waters of
Greenland. But there is a lot more to that relationship that should be explored.
[14:05:08] For instance, Bianca, we don't have a consulate there. We have no diplomatic presence on the ground. More than 90 percent of the economy
of Greenland is fisheries and seafood. And yet, the United States represents only 1 percent of their exports. So economically, there's a lot
more we could be doing to cement a better relationship with Greenland rather than talking about potentially purchasing it.
NOBILO: Tim, the United States was interested in acquiring Greenland back in 1867. And "The Wall Street Journal," who initially reported this, said
that the president has discussed this idea with varying degrees of seriousness, I think was the term. How serious do you think that President
Trump might be about this? And what is it which has made this prospect appealing to previous presidents?
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN U.S. PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, the United States was very interested in acquiring Greenland after World War II. In 1941,
when Denmark was occupied by the Nazis, the United States, in cahoots with a friendly Danish diplomat in Washington, signed a defense agreement which
gave the United States the opportunity to use bases on Greenland. This was against, by the way, the opposition of the German-run government in
After World War II ended, the Danes, who were back fully in control of their country, said to the United States, "You know, we really want to
break that agreement." The United States was very worried that the Danes would break it. And so said, "Look, we believe that Greenland is essential
to the defense of the United States."
Remember this was a pre-Space Age time. There were no satellites, there were no missiles. So if you wanted to attack the Soviet Union, the base at
Thule was very useful. In addition, if you wanted to access information about the weather in the Arctic, Greenland was important. In fact, the
Nazis had weather stations in Greenland.
So these were real negotiations between the Danish government and the United States. And the Danes said, "No, we're not interested in selling
Greenland." And ultimately, when Denmark joined NATO, the two governments came up with an agreement in 1951 that gave the United States the rights it
Now, Donald Trump is not a sophisticated follower of international affairs. This interest was all about strategic interest in that period. I think at
the moment, to the extend he's interested, he's looking at it as an opportunity to mine and to exploit the natural resources of the area.
And it seems highly unlikely that the Danish government would be interested -- and the Greenlanders themselves -- would be interested in giving the
United States another oil patch. So I don't take this seriously at all.
NOBILO: Now, John, Tim was just explaining, there, the longitudinal perspective and why this prospect may have had strategic advantages for the
United States in the past --
NOBILO: -- even if those aren't the reasons that President Trump is interested in this, what might the strategic advantages be now? Tim is
mentioning the Arctic region. Obviously, there's more --
NOBILO: -- activity from China and Russia in that region, too. So curious to get your thoughts on that.
KIRBY: Yes. Look, I mean, geographically, nothing's changed. Greenland still sits 750 miles, you know, above the Arctic Circle, which is still
critical waterways. As the climate begins to change, nations such as China and Russia and the United States, Canada are also looking at Arctic
operations. And so having a footprint in Greenland helps us with future Arctic operations, which are going to become both -- not just economically,
but strategically much more important in the future.
Number two is missile defense. Russia remains a significant threat to our security. It's names as one of the principal nation-states that we have to
worry about in the National Security Strategy that Trump himself released. And they have significant missile capabilities that they continue to
We have missile defense capabilities based at Thule. I suspect that that also is important. Plus, the Air Force has their Space Command, or a unit
of the Space Command, there, based at Thule as well. Space is something that Trump has said he very much wants to expand our capabilities in. He's
developing, now, a new armed force, the Space Force.
So there's lots, geostrategically, that still is relevant about Greenland. Not to mention the fact that it sits astride major shipping routes across
the North Atlantic.
NOBILO: Tim, just finally to you, you touched on this just a moment ago, the fact that the president is probably not thinking as deeply about the
strategic implications of this as former presidents. But what might be driving that interest? You mentioned it could be the economic
opportunities. Could it also be that he's thinking about his own legacy?
NAFTALI: Two things. One, I agree with John. We don't have to change our relationship to Greenland to maintain the footprint we already have. One
of the problems with this president is that he doesn't particularly like allies. We could work closely with the Danes and with the autonomous
Greenlanders, as we've been doing for decades, and continue to work with them.
[14:10:01] The president seems to have an America First -- Fortress America mentality, where he wants everything to be part of our system and doesn't
like to share.
So I fear that what's driving this at the moment is the fact that the Chinese have been investing in Greenland. And that the American response
should be to offer the Greenlanders some excellent economic opportunities, not try to buy them.
And so the president, his knee-jerk reaction to the challenge of China in the Western Hemisphere, I don't think is particularly helpful to national
interests, our national interests.
NOBILO: No. And, Tim, as the Greenland's government was saying, "We're up for business, not for sale," I think it was.
Tim Naftali and John Kirby, thank you very much for joining us for that discussion.
NAFTALI: Thank you.
NOBILO: First, a travel ban. Then, a partial reversal. And now, a rejected offer. The saga over two U.S. congresswomen's planned visit to
Israel and the Palestinian territories is taking yet another turn.
Rashida Tlaib now says that she won't travel to the West Bank to see her grandmother, despite being granted a humanitarian visit, saying the
conditions imposed by Israel are "oppressive." Oren Liebermann joins me now from Jerusalem to discuss this.
Oren, how do you think the decisions of the last 24 hours have impacted Israel, particularly how Israel is looking to the international community?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you look at the responses only from the United States, you see Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu in particular have been criticized from just about every side, that includes Democrats and quite a few Republicans as well.
One of the most powerful pro-Israel Democrats, Steny Hoyer, who, by the way, was just here, said he received assurances that these two sitting,
duly elected congresswomen would be allowed in, from Israel's ambassador to the U.S., considered one of those closest to Netanyahu.
And that was betrayed. He called that an outrageous decision, and we've heard similar criticism from, for example, Speaker of the House Nancy
Pelosi, as well as Republican Senator Marco Rubio. So in terms of how Israel looks in the U.S. and how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks,
it is certainly not good.
And if you want to underscore that point, the pro-Israel-American lobby, AIPAC, which pretty much always sides with Trump and Netanyahu, split from
them and said, "Yes, these two congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, may be critics of Israel, they may even be anti-Israel" -- and they've been
accused of making anti-Semitic remarks -- "that being said, they still should have been allowed in so they could experience the country
So at this point, Israel doesn't look very good in the eyes of Republicans and Democrats, and perhaps in the eyes of much of the world as well.
NOBILO: There's also been a reaction now from the family of Rashida Tlaib. What have they said, Oren?
LIEBERMANN: There has been. And this all played out while one of our crews was visiting that family in their central West Bank village. And
they were furious that Tlaib was even considering accepting the conditions under -- that Israel required of her, to allow her to visit. Here's what
her uncle had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLASSAN TLAIB, UNCLE OF REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (through translator): We are against the conditional visit of Rashida to Palestine. Rashida has the
right to visit Palestine as a Palestinian, regardless of being a congresswoman, as any citizen with a U.S. passport has the right to come
and visit their family without any conditions or pressure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: It's worth looking at the political considerations here, given that we're one month out from an election for Netanyahu, a very tough re-
election campaign for him with a fractured right-wing voter base. It's worth considering what his political considerations are, and his political
There, it's clear. Netanyahu has giant billboards of himself throughout Israel, showing him with Trump. The messaging has been how pro-Trump he is
and how pro-Netanyahu Trump is, for that matter. And he wants it to appear as if there's no daylight between the two. That's part of the election
strategy that's been playing out here.
But, Bianca, there's one more point to remember here. And that's right before the last election, Trump made a number of moves that were very
clearly pro-Netanyahu in an effort to try to get him elected: a blatant effort in terms of Israeli -- or American recognition of Israeli
sovereignty in the Golan Heights, putting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on the terror list in the U.S., which Netanyahu took partial credit
And that raises the question of what is it that Trump is going to do this time for Netanyahu. Whatever it is -- and it could be a number of
different issues -- Netanyahu is not willing to put that in jeopardy this close to an election, and that, perhaps, another reason why Netanyahu wants
to be seen as standing right with Trump on this issue.
NOBILO: Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, thank you.
We're watching a developing situation off Gibraltar. The government there has released an Iranian oil tanker it seized last month, that it says was
on its way to Syria, violating sanctions.
Gibraltar is warning Iran not to send the tanker to Syria, but Iran says it's making no promises. Clarissa Ward joins us now, live from Tehran.
Clarissa, what have we learned about exactly what the Gibraltan authorities knew about this oil tanker?
[14:15:01] CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So what we've heard from Gibraltan authorities today, Bianca, is that they believe
that they saw irrefutable evidence, essentially, when they were on board the Grace 1 tanker that they have been holding for some time now, that the
tanker was indeed destined for Syria.
The Iranians had previously disputed that it was destined for Syria, but they have also said that even if it was going to Syria, that would be
nobody's business. The international community obviously feels quite differently about that.
And today, Gibraltan authorities also said that they had received private reassurances from the Iranians, that that would not be the case, that if
the Grace 1 was free to leave, that it would not go to any E.U.-sanctioned country, obviously talking about Syria specifically there. The Iranians,
though, are denying that and saying they've made no such agreement.
So everybody now, really waiting to see where the Grace 1 heads to. But analysts who are watching this closely, Bianca, say they think it's
unlikely that it would continue on its path to Syria, because that really would only escalate tensions further. And quite clearly, it seems that the
motivations behind releasing the Grace 1 are to de-escalate those tensions.
And more importantly, to try to get the Iranians to let the Stena Impero, the British tanker that it seized back in July, to let that tanker go. So
a lot of people, hoping that this will indeed help to defuse tensions rather than further escalate them -- Bianca.
NOBILO: And on that point, what do you think the mindset of the Iranians is at the moment, regarding the release of this tanker? Do you think it
means that they're more likely to reciprocate and release the seized British tanker, and de-escalate the situation?
WARD: Well, I think the Iranians definitely see this as a triumph, particularly because the Americans, the Justice Department, sort of came in
at the 11th hour and tried to prevent the Grace 1 from being released, saying that it had no doubt -- or rather, that it believed that the Grace 1
was helping the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S. since back in April, to deliver
oil to Syria.
But it appears that the Gibraltan and British authorities decided to override U.S. concerns and allow the Grace 1 to go on its way, though it
hasn't left yet.
Now, the Iranians have really seen that as a triumph for them. We heard the foreign minister, Javad Zarif, saying that it has -- you know, an
American attempt at piracy had failed. The U.K., the Iranian ambassador to the U.K. had called it "a humiliating defeat" for the U.S.
So clearly, the Iranians see this as something of a propaganda victory for them. But I think there's also an understanding, or at least an
expectation, that there will be some quid-pro-quo, there will be tit-for- tat. And that within the next few days, we might learn more about the fate of that British tanker and whether the Iranians will indeed allow it to go
on its way and uphold their presumed end of the bargain -- Bianca.
NOBILO: Clarissa Ward in Tehran, thank you.
Well, as Clarissa mentioned, Iran is still holding onto a British-flagged ship that it seized in the Strait of Hormuz. But the release of the
Iranian tanker from Gibraltar could be good news for the British ship.
Joining me now is Malcolm Rifkind, a former British foreign secretary and defense secretary and Conservative M.P.
So, Malcolm, thanks for joining the program. Our chief international correspondent was just discussing the situation, the fact that the British
Overseas Territory of Gibraltar has released the Iranian tanker. What role do you think that Britain should be playing in this situation, if any?
MALCOLM RIFKIND, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE POLITICIAN: Well, the initial question was a legal one. And Gibraltar is a self-governing territory of
the United Kingdom. And of course, it has the rule of law, it has independent courts. And they had to be satisfied, as to what the legal
position was with regard to the detention of the tanker. And they've come to that judgment, and that is respected by the British government.
Now, there is a background, of course. Because although neither the British nor the Iranians will acknowledge it, there was a lot of interest
as to whether there might be a tradeoff, which would lead to the release by the Iranians of another ship in the gulf, which flies a British flag. It's
not got a British crew, the only connection with it is it's registered at the U.K.
But it's -- I would be not entirely surprised if the Iranians now release that vessel.
NOBILO: So, Malcolm, Parliament is currently in recess. But already, it seems that Boris Johnson's new government is beset by problems, the same
that were experienced by his predecessor and some more. A lot of that --
NOBILO: -- revolves around numbers. Do you think that it's likely that Boris Johnson will be able to secure any of the concessions that he's
referred to from the European Union? And if he doesn't, then does that mean an inevitable confidence vote?
[14:20:00] RIFKIND: I think it's almost inconceivable that he'll get the kind of concessions that he's said he requires. And the way he's
approaching this suggests that he thinks that as well. Because rather than going and initially having conversations with Chancellor Merkel or
President Macron to explore what might or might not be possible.
He simply said, well, as a prelude to any discussions, Britain would have to be assured that the Irish backstop -- which is the most controversial
item -- would be dropped and withdrawn.
Now, you don't actually expect to have a negotiation where one side is making that kind of condition for the negotiations, even, to begin. So I
think this is all part of a strategy by Mr. Johnson and his colleagues, seeking to demonstrate how unreasonable, in their view, the European Union
And that way, try and prepare for Parliament, they would hope, giving its support to a no-deal outcome for Brexit. I think they're going to be
disappointed in that, but no one can be entirely certain.
NOBILO: And how robust do you think that challenge would be? The idea of some form of national unity government, so-called, to try and fend off a
Even though there is, clearly, a majority in Parliament that would wish to avoid that outcome, there is the issue of a lot of those M.P.s being
unwilling to back Jeremy Corbyn as a potential interim leader.
So how concerned do you think that Boris Johnson needs to be about the prospect of a no-confidence vote and, following that, his own government
falling and then another government of national unity, coming into its place?
RIFKIND: Well, there are all these sorts of scenarios that are being discussed, but I think it might help your viewers to bear in mind that the
issue that we're talking about over the next few weeks, is not whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union or remains a member of the
It's the -- given the assumption that it will leave, but does it leave with a deal, one that it does not like, or does it go with no deal at all and
all the disruption that could mean in the immediate aftermath of departure? And we are a parliamentary democracy, it's rather like in the United States
Congress, often has to give its approval before the president can get his way.
So in the United Kingdom, the assumption is that members of Parliament, if no deal is to go forward, is going to have to be agreed. And all the
figures don't add up -- seem unlikely to add up.
What we have in addition to that, as you've indicated, is that at any time, the opposition can put down a motion of no confidence. Normally, that
wouldn't be carried. But because the issue at stake is whether Parliament's going to be respected in the judgment that it has made, that
it cannot accept no deal, does the government have a majority to take a different view?
If it is defeated, then the -- I think the most likely scenario we're talking about is not a Corbyn government. It is a -- perhaps a government
with someone more acceptable to Parliament as a whole, perhaps Labour, perhaps Conservative. But that's, in a sense, incidental. It'd be for a
very short period of time. And I think it would be to ensure that a general election of the public as a whole could be the appeal court.
That if Parliament and the government are locked into a real logjam and cannot reach agreement, then in our democracy, it is the electorate who
politicians are ultimately answerable to. And by having a general election, the government could either be re-elected with a mandate to go
for no deal, or be defeated.
NOBILO: Sir Malcolm, as a final point, as a former foreign secretary and defense secretary, I'm keen to get your thoughts. When we're looking at
the global picture here of increased unrest and protests in Hong Kong, the escalation of tensions in the Gulf that perhaps will abate after these
Do you feel that Britain should be playing a bigger role than it currently is? Is Brexit depriving this government and the previous government of its
RIFKIND: Well, I think all the democracies of the world should be giving support to the people of Hong Kong, who, in a remarkable way, have already
forced the withdrawal of the extradition bill, which the government -- the Chinese government were trying to implement. So that was an enormous
triumph for ordinary people.
You know, when Russia and China say that liberal values are no longer relevant, you only have to look at the 60,000 people demonstrating in
Moscow, and up to 2 million people in Hong Kong, who prove the opposite.
But Britain has a particular responsibility because the treaty that exists under which Hong Kong, although now part, legally, of China, is guaranteed
for 50 years to be two systems in one country, to continue to have the rule of law, continue to have the freedoms that, in the West, we take for
granted, that is an international treaty signed by the British government and the Chinese government, and deposited with the United Nations.
[14:25:00] And the Chinese, very often, make a great thing about how they always respect their international treaty obligations. So the question --
the challenge for the Chinese government is a very difficult one. How do they reimpose their authority in Hong Kong without destroying the basis of
Hong Kong's autonomy, which was the basis for the return of Hong Kong to China?
And I think that they are going -- they are not keen to send in either the People's Liberation Army or tens of thousands of Chinese policemen, but nor
are they keep to be humiliated, which, in a sense, is what is happening at the moment.
My guess is that there will be some activity by the Chinese government, to send in probably police rather than soldiers. And the question will then
be, if they're able to restore order, do they preserve the separate system of government in Hong Kong?
Final point -- but it's a very, very important point -- is that it's going to be much more difficult for them than Tiananmen Square, which was
dreadful. At Tiananmen Square, when that took place, that was one square in the center of Beijing, which could be surrounded and taken control of.
Hong Kong is a community of seven million people, most of whom are opposed to China's behavior. So they could win the military intervention, if they
carried one out.
What they would find it impossible, would be to get the consent and the cooperation of the people of Hong Kong without destroying its overall
economy, and that would harm China as much as it would harm Hong Kong.
NOBILO: Sir Malcolm Rifkind, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
Still to come on the program, more on that story that we just discussed. No end in sight for the unrest in Hong Kong, police there defending their
use of force. Stay with us.
NOBILO: Welcome back. In Hong Kong, authorities are defending their actions against protestors. Kristie Lu Stout reports.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm standing outside Hong Kong Police Headquarters. And for the first time since the protest
erupted more than 10 weeks ago, senior police officials have given a media briefing. In a sentence, they tell CNN, "If they don't use violence, we
won't use force."
Hong Kong police have told CNN that they defend their actions during this summer of protest. They also reject the idea of an independent inquiry
into allegations of police brutality. And they also dispute the way Chief Executive Carrie Lam has described the protests. She has said the
situation here is spinning out of control.
Hong Kong police, they dispute that. They say it's firmly under control. They may be demoralized, they may be physically and emotionally drained,
but they have yet to mobilize all of their assets to continue to stabilize the situation here.
Now, there have been some very serious allegations of police brutality. Just last Sunday, tear gas was deployed by police in an enclosed place, in
a subway station. Rubber bullets as well. In fact, a female protestor was seriously injured, an eye was ruptured as a result of that overly
aggressive police clearance operation.
[14:30:09] This is something that's been condemned intentionally like human rights groups, as well as protesters here in Hong Kong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Political oppression now manifests as the police is excessively brutal clearance operations and selective law enforcement.
This poisons what used to be Hong Kong's immaculate public security records as fears spread within the community with citizens and visitors alike
battled at the reality that mobsters are allowed to roam free and that the police may deploy violence without regard to the context and without
LU STOUT: The Hong Kong police, they continue to defend their actions, they say that they give adequate warning, they say that they often have to
defend themselves, while being confronted with aggressive protesters. On this side, the provocative actions by protesters like the throwing of
projectiles like bottles with corrosive fluids inside the bricks.
In fact, the senior police officer told CNN if they come free equipped with bricks, they are rioters. We know that dozens of protesters have been
charged with rioting which carries a very serious sentence of up to 10 years in prison if convicted. As for the number of people arrested in Hong
Kong, in the summer of protesters Hong Kong police tell CNN, 700 people have been arrested, of those arrested one third are students, the youngest
only 13 years of age.
Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back. Even for an unconventional White House, this has been an unconventional week in
politics. U.S. president hold a rally in New Hampshire yesterday. It has no choice but to vote for him because of what he's done for the economy.
But meantime, warnings of U.S. recession are flashing and fears are not being eased by the ongoing and escalating trade war between the U.S. and
China. From Greenland to Israel, let's break down a peculiar week in U.S. politics with CNN political commentator, David Swerdlick.
David, it has been a peculiar week. There's been more tragic gun violence, there has been this story today that the president has a hankering to
purchase Greenland, perhaps. We have the controversy between Trump and Netanyahu. What stands out to you as the most defining moment for this
administration this past week?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, good afternoon, Bianca. You're right. There's a sort of a wide array of things going on here right
now in this week in politics, as we end the summer. I do think the economy has started to creep back up into the discussion. As you said, the market
took a beating on Wednesday, three percent down has come up a little bit yesterday and today.
[14:35:03] But President Trump who has had a good run with the stock market up 29 percent since his inauguration, has basically been in a holding
pattern. It has gone up steadily and held but not really rocketed up the way it did during President Obama's second term, percentage-wise. And
President Trump knows that after 10 years of recovery, there's a chance of a recession which most analysts agree would hurt his reelection chances.
So the White House, I think, is looking at that carefully, as they, at the same time, engage in a trade war with China and also filled a variety of
issues on the domestic front like gun violence and like charges of racism.
NOBILO: Speaking of reelection chances, David, there was this quite striking poll from Fox today which had the president losing head to head
against all the Democratic -- well, not all but for several Democratic primary presidential candidates.
Talk to us through how the president might be affected by seeing something like that for Fox.
SWERDLICK: Yes. So that poll suggests that there's a trend of momentum toward those big four Democratic candidates. There are still more than 20
Democrats in the field which is a lot. But those big four Senator Warren, Senator Harris, Vice President Biden, and Senator Sanders clearly out
fronted the rest of the pack.
And all in that Fox poll doing better nationally versus President Trump. They're beating President Trump. President Trump getting less than 40
percent in that poll versus any of those four candidates. Here's the key for our international audience to remember which is that in the U.S., it's
not one big national election for president. It's really 50 individual state elections.
And when you look at the Electoral College map and go state by state, the map slightly favors President Trump. That does not mean that Trump will
win or that a Democrat will win, but it doesn't look as stark as that national poll. Remember, that a big state like California has 55 electoral
votes, a small place like Washington, D.C. only has three. So that's what we're going to start looking at as the election goes on.
NOBILO: When do you consider the sheer amount of things which the president has got involved in this week whether it's being tweeting about
the protests in Hong Kong to, as I mentioned, Greenland today, the issues with Israel to Greenland, obviously, the gun violence and any kind of
action that might be taken over that? I mean, do you see any type of strategy emerging from all of these events that you can extrapolate that
the Trump administration has sort of pinning as they begin that route to try to achieve that electoral success the second time around?
SWERDLICK: Yes, Bianca. If there is a through line through all of these seemingly desperate events, it's that President Trump wants a big win. He
wants to put up a homerun on the board, or for our international viewers, he wants to hit a six, right? Isn't that what you say in cricket?
He wants a legacy event that he's got to achieve and he hasn't gotten that yet. You know, he's done all these diplomatic efforts with North Korea,
but those have not really yielded anything. Again, as I said, the economy is doing well, but it's a continuation of the Obama recovery.
Something like Greenland, you know, he reaches out and thinks according to reports, hey, if I could buy Greenland, that would be a big deal. This is
President Trump who we know, after 2.5 years, wants an achievement that reflects well on him individually, whether or not, let's say it looks good
for the country but, of course, that's been rebuffed by the government of Greenland and also behind them the kingdom of Denmark which, you know, over
It's basically a non-starter, but that's the kind of thing that I think he muses about, even if the more mundane that's involved things of governing
are not as interesting to him.
NOBILO: David Swerdlick, thank you for helping us analyze a whirlwind of a week.
SWERDLICK: Thank you, Bianca. Have a good weekend.
NOBILO: You too. Now, while all of this is going down, calls of impeachment are growing from House Democrats, at least. But for residence
in the battlegrounds state of Michigan, the issue of impeachment is a far more divisive one.
Our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, has the story.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To a growing number of House Democrats, there is no question that President
Trump must be impeached for breaking the law.
But here in the Republican leading suburbs of Detroit, major battleground in the 2020 presidential race, and for control of the House, the question
is much more complicated.
RAJU (on-camera): Why not impeach if he's --
REP. HALEY STEVENS (D-MI): You know, I have mixed reviews on that from people in my district.
RAJU (voice-over): Congresswoman Haley Stevens, a freshman Democrat is navigating a fine line in this bellwether district that's been dominated by
the GOP for over a decade. She's projecting an image as a bipartisan pragmatist, accessible to our constituents.
[14:40:01] STEVENS: Well, I'm not going to let you down.
RAJU: Pushing on issues like education reform, manufacturing, and protecting the Affordable Care Act.
STEVENS: The sabotage agenda is showing that it will not stop. But your member of Congress is not stopping either.
RAJU: But she soon may have to pick sides in the debate raging in Washington, whether to impeach the president. No matter what she does,
voters in this closely divided district, are bound to be angry.
RAJU (on-camera): If she were to vote to impeach the president, how would you feel about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would not be happy about that and neither would be my friends.
RAJU: Do you think that the president should be impeached?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what they want the do with him, but I think they should get him out of there.
RAJU: Out of there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, but he's egotistical maniac and I don't really care for the man.
RAJU: Stevens prefers to wait until there's a conclusion to the court fights between House Democrats and the Trump administration.
STEVENS: I don't want to be in a rush to say. Some of this, Manu, is so deeply personal. It really is. I'm spending time with my church, my
family evaluating the documents, and I'm holding tight here.
RAJU (voice-over): The predicament helps explain why House speaker Nancy Pelosi has, so far, resisted calls to move forward on impeachment. Pelosi
is eager to defend the 31 seats won by Democrats like Stevens, in districts that Trump carried in 2016.
In this, that a misstep by House Democrats could cause their party, the majority and help reelect Trump. The divide is especially stark among the
Michigan congressional delegation.
A Republican left his party after calling for impeachment proceedings. One freshmen Democrat and outspoken leader of the charge. And other Democrats
in neighboring districts uncertain about pressing ahead.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): I'm somebody who's conflicted for myself about impeachment. I think we got to be very careful in our approach. Many of
my folks here actually elected me because I was very strong, even during the campaign that this president needs to be held accountable to the United
RAJU: The House Speaker has thrown cold water for months and moving forward on impeachment, but she's increasingly left the door open and is
endorsing House Judiciary Committee moves, signaling it is considering moving on articles of impeachment and that decision could be made later
this year, meaning those Democrats in difficult races holding seats in Republican areas could be forced to make a decision in just a matter of
Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
NOBILO: Accusations of a $38 billion fraud against General Electric from a renowned forensic accountant. He spoke on CNN's "FIRST MOVE" earlier,
telling on Julia Chatterley that the company will be lucky to make it to 2020. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY MARKOPOLOS, CERTIFIED FRAUD EXAMINER: They're a cash flow negative. How long can you burn cash and lower interest rates actually kill them. It
hurts their investments on their long-term care reserves and it also hurts them in their pension liabilities. Their pension liabilities have
increased so much with long-term rates so low, less than two percent. Their pension liabilities have ballooned, from 27 billion to who knows what
they are today?
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN HOST: Could you have made a mistake? Because to your point, this is sensitive to a market environment. We're talking about
such huge numbers here. It is 174 pages. Could you have made a mistake?
MARKOPOLOS: Yes, we are probably too low in our loss estimates. We're trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.
CHATTERLEY: So this is you being conservative on lost estimates.
CHATTERLEY: And to those that say you're a profiteer, you're a market manipulator, what's your response?
MARKOPOLOS: I'm not. I'm a fraud examiner. I'm a seeker of the truth. If I see accounting fraud, I go after it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: GE's CEO, denied the claims and announced he's just bought $2 million in GE stock. In a statement, the company said the claims made by
Mr. Markopolos are meritless. The company has never met, spoken to, or had contact with Mr. Markopolos and we are extremely disappointed that an
individual with no direct knowledge of GE would choose to make such serious and unsubstantiated claims.
GE operates at the highest level of integrity and stands behind its financial reporting.
More on that story in just about 15 minutes time on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS".
And more to come on this program including 50 years on from Woodstock. CNN caught up with singer, John Fogerty, and he describes performing at the
iconic music festival like it was yesterday.
[14:45:37] NOBILO: Welcome back. It was a music festival that defined an era, a muddy field in New York State altogether, idealistic young people,
and some of the best musicians of the generation, that was Woodstock, now half a century ago.
Felt of nostalgia this week from people who were there or wished that they've been there. Bill Weir join us now live from New York.
Bill, you were able to catch up with some of the iconic musicians from that festival tell us what you learned from your conservations with them.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It was so fascinating, Bianca, because of all the music festivals in all the world, this is the one that
gets a golden anniversary. This is the one that allows me to wear my "Don't Eat The Brown Acid" t-shirt to work.
And I want to know why. What was it? Was it the music? It turns out that to a person, it's not about the music. It's about the human connection
that kept those half million people from spiraling into a humanitarian disaster.
Even John Fogerty, who was so disappointed in his Creedence Clearwater Revival set, he refused to let filmmakers used it in a documentary. And
today, he looks back at one particular human connection.
JOHN FOGERTY, AMERICAN MUSICIAN: Half a million kids, right? And not one umbrella, and nobody brought food.
WEIR: This is John Fogerty.
FOGERTY: This is --
WEIR: It is Creedence.
FOGERTY: This is Creedence.
FOGERTY: My wife named this beautiful dog.
WEIR: At '69, his band Creedence Clearwater Revival had three hit albums on the charts and were promised a primetime spots. But like everything
else at Woodstock, the schedule went off the rails.
FOGERTY: By the time we hit the stage, it was 2:30 in the morning. And people were asleep. I went after the mic, I actually said something like,
we're playing our hearts out for you up here. We sure hope you're enjoying this.
Actually, I fell out in the darkness. There was lighter comes on. I've never seen anything -- I see this lighter going like that and I hear them
say, "Don't worry about it, John. We're with you." Right? Well, he was anyway. And so I played the whole rest of my big Woodstock concert for
WEIR: Just one of half a million stories from Woodstock, all of them bringing back the same thing, human connection was so powerful. There was
something in the air that weekend.
NOBILO: Bill, do you think that there could be another Woodstock on that like you or I could go to or do you think that the world has changed too
WEIR: That was part of the questions I went into dive -- dove into for this special we put together, Bianca. And it's so hard. They tried. The
original organizer, Michael Lang, tried to mount Woodstock 50, they get $32 million less of Jay-Z and then company, and Miley Cyrus. And ultimately,
they couldn't find a venue just like in '69, but this time, there was no Max Yasgur's farm for them all to settle on.
The live music industry now, it's an industrial complex worth about $32 billion. And so just the thought of a place with that many people where
the fences are down, no ticket booths, no metal detectors, it's really hard to imagine that ever happening again. It was of its time, for sure.
Bill Weir, thank you for joining us, especially in "Don't Eat The Brown Acid" t-shirt, which is great.
[14:50:02] Watch the full special Woodstock at 50 Saturday at 9:00 P.M. in New York or tune in the morning for late nighters in London. And that is
only on CNN.
Still to come tonight, Nepal is working to prevent more tragedies on Mount Everest. Find out how the government hopes changing the rules will help
NOBILO: Welcome back. Hong Kong has been a huge story this week. It's even permeating the entertainment world. Some global celebrities are now
weighing in on the political unrest in Hong Kong.
Liu Yifei is the Chinese born actress starring in Disney's upcoming live action remake of the brilliant movie, "Mulan." She posted it on a Chinese
social media platform the following statement. "I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong."
She received some praise on Weibo, but immediately after her comment, the #BoycottMulan, started trending on Twitter which is banned in China.
North Korea fired two short-range missiles into the sea early Friday morning. Just minutes before Pyongyang said it's done talking with South
Korea. This is the sixth missile test in the past month for North Korea. The North is unhappy about ongoing joint South Korea military exercises
with the United States.
Pyongyang is also denouncing a speech by South Korean president, Moon Jae- in, who expressed hope for Korean reunification. South Koreans gathered on Thursday to mark liberation day from Japan's colonial rule. Many of them
condemned the Japanese government refusing to apologize for wartime crimes.
Organizers say about 100,000 people came out for a vigil in Downtown Seoul. Protesters denounced the Japanese prime minister for curving exports to
South Korea. They say that the move by Shinzo Abe is retaliation for the feud overtime forced labor.
Now, some new rules may be coming to the world's top floor. The government of Nepal is looking to crack down on who will be allowed to climb Mount
Everest after nearly a dozen climbers died this year.
The mountains are always been a hostile place for human beings. But officials hope that new rules will address another lethal danger in
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Images remained of a crowded mountain path, scores of climbers jammed packed into a single route, all clamoring to reach the
world's highest summit.
Eleven people died on Mount Everest in this year's spring climbing season. Not from a single climbers this event, but in part because of fatal traffic
jams like these.
Now, Nepal wants to keep it from happening again by changing who is allowed to scale the tallest peak on earth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All taking system and (INAUDIBLE) system.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nepali officials are formally proposing a series of restrictions on would-be climbers and tour companies leading expeditions at
Mount Everest. It's an effort to deter inexperienced hikers and guides which experts told CNN at base camp in May contributed to the deaths on
bottlenecks this season.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're super slow, they didn't have much techniques about mountains. It looks like they have -- they have never been on the
mountains except Everest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, many veteran climbers welcome a possible change in the lack of oversight and regulations on the mountain.
[14:55:00] ADRIAN BALLINGER, MOUNTAIN GUIDE: So you got inexperienced climbers with inexperienced leaders.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Adrian Ballinger summited Mount Everest eight times and spent 12 years on the mountain. He says the number of people there has
steadily increased overtime, particularly as tour companies have few requirements for climbers.
BALLINGER: There used to be somewhere in the vicinity of about 10 to 12 companies guiding the mountain and most had years and years of experience.
And today, I would guess in Nepal there's 40 to 50 companies guiding on the mountain, and many of them have come out of nowhere with no experienced
leader, but seeing the opportunity of financial gain. There's no barriers to entry to start a company.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The proposed changes suggest requiring minimum qualifications to get a climbing permit including basic and high-altitude
training. A fee of at least $35,000, experience climbing at least one other Nepali peak over 21,000 feet or 6,500 meters high. And tour
companies would need, at least, three years' experience organizing high- altitude expeditions.
For expert, climbers like Ballinger, who himself going to tour company that takes climbers to the summit, the proposals may not go nearly far enough.
But he says they are stepping in the right direction. That is if they can be executed.
BALLINGER: I want to believe it's possible and I want to find ways to support Nepal and the ministry of tourism in implementing these rules. But
I think it is going to be very, very difficult. And the companies of the ones that we're going to have, actually, make these changes and thus far we
haven't seen the companies that interested in making the mountain safer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ultimately, Ballinger says the owners may still to climbers to ensure their own safety. A risky proposition on one of most
dangerous ascents in the world.
NOBILO: And to the United States, one lucky grandmother is going a journey of a lifetime. When Brad Ryan's 89-year-old grandma, Joy, told him how she
regretted how few trips she'd taken in her lifetime. He got her in gear. And after a trip to see the Smoky Mountains, he started a GoFundMe page.
So now, the two of them are on a mission to visit all 61 national parks in the U.S. And you can follow their adventures @grandmajoy'sroadtrip on
Instagram. That's very cute.
And finally, it may not be when pigs by moment, but it's pretty close. This is the moment the reigning Iowa pork queen, Gracie Greiner, Tiara and
all, jumped into the action, during the Iowa State Fair. When they all got in trouble birthing the last of the 13 piglets.
The 18 years old stepped up to pull the piglet to safety and proving that she well and truly deserves to wear her crown. Whatever floats your boat
or whether you are birthing domestic animals this weekend or doing something else, have fun and thank you for watching tonight, stay with CNN.
"QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.