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Trump Insists Economy Doing Tremendously Well; British P.M. Lays Out Position On Brexit Deal; Lam Calls For Dialogue After Largely Peaceful Protest; NASA Scientists Track Greenland's Melting Glaciers; A Plea to Congressional Colleagues; Israel Could Be Wedge Issue in 2020 Campaign; Prince Andrew under Pressure. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 20, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. You're watching another hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Forget those recession alarm bells ringing around the world. The U.S. President says it's all high from his political opponents hoping for bad economy.

Plus, Boris Johnson meet Brexit. A month into the job and the British Prime Minister discovers all that Brexit stuff is really tricky especially that one being called a backstop thing with Ireland. And it wasn't supposed to be this bad for another half-century but ice is now melting in Greenland at a record rate which could have serious consequences for all of us.

Just a day after dismissing the increasing bad economic outlook and warnings of a possible recession, the U.S. President has moved even further away from a fact-based world suggesting it's all part of a conspiracy specifically aimed against him.

Over the weekend, the President and his senior advisors were all publicly downplaying the economic news as well as concerns about the trade war with China. And then came the presidential tweets on Monday.

"Our economy is very strong despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed. But the Democrats are trying to will the economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 election. New York Times reported that Mr. Trump has been agitated in discussions of the economy and by the news media's reporting of warnings of a possible recession.

He said forces that do not want him to win have been overstating the damage his trade war has caused. For more on this, we're joined now by political analyst Michael Genovese and global business executive Ryan Patel both in Los Angeles. Good to have you with us.

I want to start with the White House spokesman Hogan Gidley who pulled all these strands together be it Russia, racism, the economy into one giant paranoid delusion. Here he is.


HOGAN GIDLEY, DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: Well, they have tried systematically to destroy this president even before he was sworn into office. And you saw it with the marches on Washington D.C. before he had passed a policy or pushed some type of proposal. It happened from sun up till sundown. The media has been complicit and compliant with those efforts.

But listen, first, they push Russia, then they push racism, and now they're pushing a recession. The fact is this economy is doing than it ever has before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on. Hold on. I'm not disagreeing --


VAUSE: So Ryan, we'll start with your fact check, please. How is the U.S. economy performing right now and are there reasons to be concerned?

RYAN PATEL, GLOBAL BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Well, fact-check is the economy obviously is slowing down. We're obviously down from the last quarter down around to some percent from 3.1 from last year. And you know, how -- you know, consumer confidence is still pretty high. You give it to the economy.

But here's a fact check. The yield curve as we've all been talking about has -- you don't get too caught up into it but have predicted seven of the last ten recessions so that there's some worry there. Well, the facts come on this.

When you are intertwined as a global economy and when there is like places like China and Germany having their kind of slowdown, and then you put a self-inflicted trade war on to manufacturers in the U.S. have been slowing down, right. Investments overseas has already been coming down. We've seen the numbers on that. And then that just provides the U.S. businesses of companies which they've already have not want to spend more money because of this uncertainty, yes, it does have a ripple effect -- ripple effect.

And we need to talk about economists and I think there was a survey that came out, you know, many believe that there will be a recession. The question becomes really when. Is it 2020, 2021? To be debating is it not going to happen or going to happen it's kind of relevant to me because you know, at this point, the way that we are sitting today with this kind of uncertainty and the self-inflicted, you have to assume that maybe we are going down that route.

VAUSE: And Michael, to you, there seems to be a level of paranoia within this administration not just from the president but also those around him which it hasn't really been seen since the days of Nixon.

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, John, even paranoids have real enemies. And also you have to remember, every administration goes through the same kind of thing. They get beaten up, they get hit time from the left in the right, up and down, every day. That's part of the nature of the beast. The question is how do you deal with it.

And in the case of both Trump and Nixon, they have such fragile egos and they need to protect the face that they put out to the world. And they are afraid that something is going to put a crack in that face, that image and the household cards will come down. And so when you're especially worried and especially paranoid, then you take it very personally.

And so I think in the case of Donald Trump, that means that he converts it into his particular style. Nixon style was to use dirty tricks and go after people behind the scenes. Trump goes right after you frontally. He starts calling you names. He starts attacking you personally. All of which is designed to go on the offensive because the best defense is a good offense to get you before you can get him.

[01:05:06] VAUSE: OK. Just to add another expert voice into the mix, here's the chief economist for Morgan Stanley.


CHETAN AHYA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MORGAN STANLEY: Their tariffs go up further to 25 percent on the balance, 300 billion of imports from China and stay there for four to six months' time. And China does take countermeasures somewhat similar to what we have seen overnight. Then we will see global economy entering into recession in 3/4 time, in nine months' time.


VAUSE: OK. So Ryan, just to confirm, the trade with China and other Trump trade policies are hurting the very people who the president promised to help. And to be clear, before he took office, the economy is doing pretty well. It was recovering. It was growing at a steady clip. Much of the economic pain that is being felt and will be felt is the sole responsibility of Donald Trump's policies.

PATEL: If we weren't even talking about the trade war, you know, the recession would probably wouldn't even be there just yet. And I think you know, just to give some kudos I guess if I'm going to give it to the Trump administration, they realized last week that they had to relax the tariffs for quarter three, quarter four going to holiday season for the U.S. because the consumer spending needed to be there.

So for me, I interpret that they realized that they needed to not get into this trade war because it was going to hurt the economy. We can -- they can say whatever they want to say. They came out on Sunday having this whole kind of everything's OK kumbaya thing, but their actions tell a different story.

And I'm kind of glad that they had some rationale to be in a situation to say why are we going to put our consumers and citizens in a further behind position in this quarter three, quarter four which they don't need. There's other problems we got going on. And I think again, that's a telling -- even Huawei, they spent another 90 days for -- in this trade -- again you tied to the trade deal -- another 90 days to give some time to the U.S. businesses. And again, that doesn't hurt long-term.

VAUSE: You know, the economy though was always seen as the President's strength going into this reelection in 2020. But now, you know, Democrats see an opening and a political opportunity. Here they are on Trump over the weekend.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm afraid that this president is driving the global economy and our economy into recession.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You got an economy that is not working for most Americans. There's a big debate going on right now over whether we're on the cusp of a recession. I think we're probably are.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are a lot of danger signs right now in this economy and I'm very worried. We still have time to pull back but Donald Trump just doesn't seem to understand how.


VAUSE: You know, Michael is the view from the White House that simply by covering those statements from Democrat opponents who are running for president, statements we should note is reasonable that somehow the media is colluding with the president's enemies?

GENOVESE: Well, I think again, if you see enemies around every corner, you see every corner having an enemy. And so anywhere he turns, the president sees someone who is out to get him. And again, there's a bit of truth that the Democrats want to undo his presidency and the media is reporting things that the president doesn't always like.

But the economy for the first two and a half years has been Donald Trump's great strength. And now there are worries. And if there are concerns, those really could affect his reelection bid because all he had and all he has really going into 2020 is the economy. And if that tanks, his popularity is going to disappear faster than cupcakes at a pot party.

And so the president knows that if he can't get the economy at least neutralized not working against him that electorally he's going to be in deep trouble.

VAUSE: Well, this president is well known for making you know a conscious decision to avoid those who would disagree with him or challenge him in a way especially among his senior advisors. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The tariffs have caused nothing in my opinion or certainly very little. WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY, UNITED STATES: Thus for there has no -- not been any real basis for saying the tariffs have hurt the consumer.

PETER NAVARRO, TRADE ADVISER, WHITE HOUSE: They're not hurting anybody here. There's no evidence whatsoever that Americans consumers are bearing any of this.

VAUSE: And again, Ron, to you effect check, what is the reality when it comes to the tariffs?

PATEL: I don't even know. I'm speechless. I saw cupcakes and then I saw this. You know, I think when Tim Cook had dinner with the President and the President comes out and said, oh we had -- Tim -- Apple had a good perspective how the tariffs are hurting the company. Yes. Now, what are we do about it?

You know, if Apple gets hurt, consumers get hurt. This -- follow the business leaders. He was on the call just last Wednesday with all the major banks. He's not doing this for fun, he's doing this because he's actually worried. He's worried about the consumer spending. And the fact-check behind this is what they're saying and what Wall Street believes and what we're looking at in the business community, they're two different things.

You know, like I said, this is something you've got to show what's going to go forward when it comes to these rhetoric. Again, it's the numbers that will be the one -- his actions like Michael was saying, his big things about the economy, he really understands that he needs to get this done before 2020 comes around.

[01:10:06] VAUSE: And Michael, with regards to those around the president, you know, his senior advisor and you know, living in this sort of medically sealed bubble that they live in where they only travel to parts of the country where the president is adored. There was always this belief that Mike Pence, the vice president was the number-one cheerleader for Donald Trump. But there is a report which has appeared in The New Yorker which sort of seems to challenge that notion. And it's not so much the Vice President but it is a Secretary of State.

This report says the senior White House or former senior White House aide says that there is absolutely no daylight between Pompeo and the president regardless of what the president does or say. Here's a little more. The former official said that in private too, Pompeo is mostly among the most sycophantic and obsequious people around Trump.

Even more bluntly, a former American ambassador told the reporter here, he's like a heat-seeking missile for Trump's. So you know, Michael, this seems to be an administration where a narcissist president prefers conspiracy theories over cold hard reality is not only in dollars but almost encouraged.

GENOVESE: Well, you know, I think this is a White House in which flattery will get you everywhere and it is widely known both inside and outside of the administration that you don't bring bad news to the president. You tell him what he wants to hear not what he needs to hear. And that's because the president sends signals that that's what you have to do. Either you do that or you're not in the inner circle.

And so, therefore, flattery gets you everywhere. Pompeo is flattering the president to death but he's got access. Kim Jong-un sends beautiful letters and the president falls in love. So as long as you keep feeding that ego and flattering the president, you're OK. But if you bring truth to power, if you tell the president when he doesn't want to hear, you're in trouble.

And so that means that you get what you want but not what you need which is deadly in a White House.

VAUSE: On that, I'll say thank you to Michael and Ryan. Good to see you both.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

VAUSE: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a list of Brexit demands for Brussels. It's been in the job for nearly a month and now Mr. Johnson has just sent off a wishlist to the E.U. council president. He comes in the same week that the British prime minister meet with the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And they'll find Mr. Johnson is especially adamant about one thing and that is the provision on the Northern Ireland border must go.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I hope that they will compromise, that they have seen that the U.K. Parliament says three times rejected the withdrawal agreement, the backstop. It just doesn't work. It's not Democratic. I hope that they will see fit to compromise. But in the meantime, we get ready to come out on October the 31st.


VAUSE: CNN European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas is with us from Berlin. Dominic, it has been a while. Welcome back.


VAUSE: So apparently, as it turns out, this issue of a potential hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, a bit of a sticking point. The British Prime Minister is about this old backstop mechanism thing which would keep the U.K. in the E.U. customs union indefinitely is in his words undemocratic, inconsistent with U.K. sovereignty. It could put a Good Friday peace deal (INAUDIBLE). Who knew? And Boris Johnson says the U.K. and the E.U. need alternative arrangements.

He wrote I propose that the backstop should be replaced with a commitment to put in place such arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period as part of the future relationship. What does it actually mean? What is he saying there? THOMAS: Oh it's just absolutely remarkable, John. I mean what he's

actually you know realizing is that you know, being at the helm, being Prime Minister and dealing with Brexit is a complicated issue, all of the mechanisms that they have previously proposed concerning new technology and so on and have been debunked and questioned.

Ultimately the choice is quite simple. You either stay in the European Union or you leave and remain in the customs union or the single market and the border issue is resolved just like it would be with any other country that was outside of the European Union.

I think what this is really about here is that Boris Johnson must absolutely bring back into the Conservative Party fray, those Brexit party, Nigel Farage voters. And so ultimately he's pushing attributing blame to the European Union and hoping that they will ultimately help him get this deal over the line so that he can and survive politically.

It's not in the interests of Europe. They're unlikely to go about helping him in any way on this. I think that ultimately what he would like to do is try and push the backstop issue, this insurance policy issue that protects Northern Ireland and the border with the Republic of Ireland beyond the general election when if anything at that particular moment he may not even rely or need to rely on the DUP any longer in this. So you can see the sort of strategizing here and it's quite transparent.

VAUSE: But here's the thing. If they can't resolve this issue of a border on the island of Ireland, then it's hard Brexit city. A no- deal exited. It's see you later. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. But Prime Minister (INAUDIBLE) sticks please it's just all a small trifling detail to be worked out. Here he is.


[01:15:00] JOHNSON: Now, of course, our friends and partners on the other side of the channel sharing in a little bit of reluctance at the moment to change their position. That's fine. I'm confident that they will. But in the meantime, we have to get ready for an ideal outcome.

I wanted you. We're ready to work with our friends and partners to get a deal. But if you want a good deal for the U.K., you must simultaneously get ready to come out with that one.


VAUSE: Here's what a little bit of reluctance sounds like.


NATASHA BERTAUD, SPOKESPERSON, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: President Juncker himself said in an interview a few weeks ago on the 10th of August that if it comes to a hard Brexit, and this is in no one's interest, it is the British that will, unfortunately, be the big losers. This is the situation. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: That doesn't sound like the invitation to begin some friendly negotiations.

THOMAS: No, it doesn't. And so here he is heading to meet with Chancellor Merkel and Emmanuel Macron a few days ahead of when he will be gathered in Biarritz in France for the G7 with Donald Trump.

So you see here very different positions on not just Brexit but the -- but the future of Europe. And ultimately what Boris Johnson is doing is like we say, it is trying to bring back into the fray, the Brexit party voters and ultimately set up a general election that is really a kind of second referendum the Conservative Party as the unambiguous defenders of Brexit versus a rather divided opposition on this particular question. And he's trying to exploit that while showing his commitment to this issue.

VAUSE: Over the weekend, the Sunday Times had leaked details of operation yellowhammer which deals with the you know, the fallout of a no-deal Brexit, wants of food, fuel, and medicine shortages, a hard border on the island of Ireland, also severe travel disruptions on ports. Why is this even making news? All this has been known publicly for more than a year.

THOMAS: Yes, it's extraordinary, John. And we've talked about it on multiple occasions, you know. Lorries jammed, that they're you know, coming into Dover, coming into the French side and so on and so forth.

I think ultimately when it gets down to the Brexiters, they don't really care about these things. It's never being about the pragmatics and the logistics, it's about delivering an emotional Brexit that frees the U.K. up from the European Union and takes them off into this new kind of global era.

In terms of the opposition, and this is really where the opposition and in the guise of the Labour Party is part of the problem not the solution, is that the Labour Party has refused to commit to any kind of real opposition to this issue.

Yes, now Jeremy Corbyn is repackaging this as a let's leave the European Union or opposed the No Deal. But all along he's been unable to position himself as merely the party and of the opposition of remain. And in terms of that is quite clear that the Liberal Democrats are capturing that attention right now.

And so he also is trying to ship this sort of particular debate but it's not really -- it's not working. It's not serving to galvanize. And you ultimately will end up with a general election around the question of either remain or leave and we'll have to see what the outcome of that is.

VAUSE: You know, if 2019 sounds a lot like 2018, then really you know, you're right. It's like back in the early days the soap operas in Australia. It'd be like if there was a major star who was not you know, who was out for something and there was a substitute actor, there'd be an announcement you know at the beginning, playing the role of -- you know it seems playing the role of the British prime minister will be Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson. And the problem is he doesn't have any new solutions to what you know, Theresa May had -- she had no idea or nothing -- there are no solutions for these problems. It seems Boris Johnson is in the same position.

Yes. I mean, and this is ultimately this divided opposition where the Liberal Dems are obviously getting some of the votes away from Labour but they're hardly a party that can win an overall general election.

The Labour Party is in disarray. Jeremy Corbyn will not survive an electoral defeat. The Conservative Party are building on this. But yes, you're absolutely right but from what Boris Johnson has taken over, nothing has changed. I mean, Theresa May warn them this that they are nevertheless in control of this particular situation.

And unless certain extension is granted, all the withdrawal agreement works its way through Parliament or they somehow find a way to revoke article 50. The clock is ticking and yet again we will find ourselves leading up to October wondering where we will -- where we will end up with this.

And the European Union has a lot to lose by engaging in the kind of compromises that Boris Johnson expects in order to get his deal through. And I think that's the compromise of it. It's not in the E.U.'s interest to help Boris Johnson deliver a hard Brexit.

VAUSE: We're out of time but it's also this sort of whole thing like you have Donald Trump of the United States sort of living in this sort of Fantasyland of what you know, what he believes is a reality. Boris Johnson seems to be in a similar place with Brexit and where it's going to end up.

And you know, it's just seems to be common threat here for these parties at the moment but there's always something. Thank you for being with us.

[01:20:14] THOMAS: Brilliant. Thanks, John.

VAUSE: When we come back, Chinese troops have been holding very public drills, a not too subtle warning to those pro-democracy demonstrations as they continue in Hong Kong. But what's not so obvious is Beijing's use of social media to undermine those protesters.

Also, could Israel's decision to ban two U.S. Congresswoman mark a turning point in an alliance which had been for the most part bipartisan.


VAUSE: The second major fire this month has forced thousands to flee their homes at Spain's Canary Islands. More than 600 firefighters have been deployed but strong gusting winds and high temperatures are making for difficult work. Fire started over the weekend, so far has left more than 10,000 hectares blackout. After another weekend of mass pro-democracy demonstrations, Hong

Kong's leader is now calling for talks. After just a few hours ago, I should say, Chief Executive Carrie Lam is hoping that Sunday's largely nonviolent protests can lead to peace. And again she said there is no intention to revive the extradition bill which was the trigger for the past 11 weeks of upheaval.

But she said that before and the demonstrators still want the bill completely withdrawn. They also want Lam to resign. They also want an independent commission to look into possible place of misconduct. Lam seems ready to meet maybe at least one of those demands.


CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HONG KONG: I have just explained and elaborates it on two important areas of work that we are doing. One is important fact-finding study. In addition, to a very robust system to investigate and look at the complaints against police over this prolonged period of confrontations and violence.

The other is a more rare arrangement is for the IPCC which is statutory and independent to create a fact-finding study into the causes and the facts of this incidence. So I hope that this is a very responsible response to the aspirations for better understanding of what has taken place in Hong Kong.


VAUSE: CNN's Paula Hancocks is standing by live in Hong Kong again this hour. You know, Paula, Carrie Lam is willing to talk, but for the most part, she doesn't want to talk about the demands the protesters have even when it comes to the investigation into the police. They want that to be an independent inquiry, clearly, Carrie Lam does not.

[01:25:16] PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, John. I mean, it's hard to see how much of what she said this morning would actually placate some of these demands that protesters have. None of what she has said is has actually met those demands. They want an independent inquiry into what they believe is excessive police force. The police deny that. Carrie Lam denies that.

What she has said is this study that the IPCC will be doing, the Independent Police Complaints Council, will have some external factors within it saying that there will be some overseas experts that will be involved in this. She said that the study will be expanded. It will go for six months now. There should be some kind of results from that in six months, but of course, six months is a long way away.

She also said that she's ready to have a communication platform. Now, we don't know the exact details of this but she said she is willing to talk to people to start the dialogue, to start communicating on how to fix what is happening here in Hong Kong. But the devils generally in the detail. We don't know who she will be talking to. We don't know what kind of format this communication format platform will be taking. So that's really the key question.

Now, over the weekend, organizers say there was some 1.7 million that came out on Sunday. The police say there was about 128,000 within the park area itself at its peak. The figure might actually be somewhere in between that. But there were certainly massive crowds out on Sunday. They were peaceful crowds, and the chants where they wanted an independent inquiry. They want the extradition bill to be completely withdrawn as opposed to just put on hold, and as Carrie Lam said it won't be revived.

But the people of Hong Kong don't have the trust in the government anymore. All the police, they want that completely withdrawn and that hasn't been offered either. So it's difficult, John, to see what the chief executive said today, if any of that will actually placate the protesters themselves.

VAUSE: And we should mention again, there's seven million people who live in Hong Kong and there's this estimate of 1.7 million who tuned out of this purchase of the weekend. It is interesting to see that turn out amongst other things happening there in Hong Kong. Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks live for us with the very latest.

And will Carrie Lam wants to talk to protesters about who knows what, Beijing it seems wants to undermine them online it seems. Both Facebook and Twitter claim to have uncovered a covert state back social media campaign run from China. Some accounts called the protesters cockroaches and even compared them to ISIS.

Twitter released a statement saying these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground. Twitter says it has suspended more than 900 accounts, and added many were using a workaround because Twitter is blocked in China.

Well, a great milestone on the Arctic Circle coming up. A CNN team following NASA scientists as they investigate the massive ice melt and the climate crisis in Greenland.


[01:30:37] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for staying with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

U.S. President Donald Trump is deflecting warnings of a reception with a tweet claiming the economy is very strong. He said that despite what he called the horrendous lack of vision by the Fed chair Jay Powell. He also attacked Democrats for trying to will the economy to be bad.

Boris Johnson is ripping into the Irish backstop, calling it anti- democratic. The new British prime minister says the current provision for the Northern Ireland border must go. It's among his Brexit demands in a letter to the E.U. ahead of meetings this week with the leaders of Germany and France.

Hong Kong's chief executive says she hopes a largely nonviolent protest over the weekend will help resolve peace. Carrie Lam called for a dialog just hours ago. The city has been rocked for months by demonstrators with a list of demands, including a withdrawal of an extradition bill, as well as Lam's resignation.

NASA scientists are in Greenland tracking melting glaciers and rising sea levels. As CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports this year is set to break a record for melting ice in Greenland.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take-off from a tiny airfield in South Greenland. NASA embarking on its mission to map how warmer ocean water is melting Arctic ice.

Chief scientist Josh Willis shows me the probes they're launching all around Greenland. It's like dropping thermometers into the sea.

JOSH WILLIS, OCEANS MELTING GREENLAND LEAD SCIENTIST, NASA: They got out of the plane right through this tube right here. They fall down to the ocean and then they separate into two parts. The part falls all the way down to the seafloor, so it gives us a profile for the surface to the bottom on the shelf.

PLEITGEN: We've reached today's drop zone -- the massive Helheim Glacier. What you're seeing from our cockpit camera is not even the glacier itself, it's just the ice it's lost in the past days. And this goes on for miles.

PLEITGEN: It is absolutely awe-inspiring to see the size of this glacier -- to see how much ice is coming off that glacier that's obviously then going to flow into the world's oceans. It is one of the largest glaciers in Greenland. The amount of activity is just absolutely overwhelming.

But the scientists spot an ice-free zone right at the mouth of the glacier. It's pretty unusual. With great precision, they have to drop a probe right in that pond.

WILLIS: Five, four, three, two, one -- drop, drop, drop. Fourteen away. I see water.

PLEITGEN: Bullseye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It goes in the drink -- perfect.

PLEITGEN: I saw it -- yes, yes. Oh, wow.

WILLIS: I see it.

PLEITGEN: But the readouts they get are troubling. Warm water along the entire depth of the glacier more than 2,000 feet below the surface. DR. IAN FENTY, OCEANS MELTING GREENLAND SCIENTIST, NASA: And these warm waters now are able to be in direct contact with the ice over its entire face, supercharging the melting.

PLEITGEN: And it's not just this glacier. The ice melt has been supercharged in all of Greenland recently.

This year is on pace to set a record for ice melts here in the Arctic and the NASA scientists are finding out that it's not just hotter air but also warmer ocean water that's causing a lot of the attrition that's making these glaciers lose so much ice.

PLEITGEN: And while it may look majestic, the ice melt is also dangerous. These billions of tons of ice are causing sea levels to rise. The scientists from NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland Project saying all of us need to pitch in to try and slow down global warming or face the consequences.

WILLIS: There's enough ice in Greenland to raise sea levels by seven and a half meters. So it's an enormous volume of ice -- that's about 25 feet -- and that would be devastating to coastlines all around the planet.

PLEITGEN: The changes to our planet's environment can already clearly be seen here in Greenland, a remote Arctic paradise whose warming climate will affect us all.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Kulusuk, Greenland.


[01:34:55] VAUSE: For more now on the real world implications of Greenland to melting ice, we are joined by Bill McKibben, not just an environmentalist, not just a journalist but one of the world's best environmental journalists. And he's with us from upstate New York.

Bill -- it's been a while and it's good to see you.

BILL MCKIBBEN, ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALIST: It's good to be back with you -- John.

VAUSE: Thank you.

Now, whether we focus on the fact that Greenland's ice melt this past month was predicted to be the worst-case scenario 50 years from now or whether we look at the ice is melting six times faster now than it was during the 1980s there seems to be an overall trend here. It is becoming increasingly obvious that a lot of the forecast for the impact of global warming seem to be way too optimistic and gave us a much longer timeline on how to deal with this and avoid disaster than we actually have in reality.

And you know, yet again we're going to say here it is, Greenland it is just one of those -- another five-alarm warnings in this climate crisis.

MCKIBBEN: It sure is. I was in Greenland last summer and just watching it firsthand is pretty damn sobering.

Look you are correct in your estimation, I wrote the first book about climate change and for a general audience it came out 30 years ago next month. And back then we knew we were facing trouble but we didn't know exactly how hard and how fast it was going to pinch. The story of those three decades it has pinched harder and faster than we thought.

And for two reasons. One, scientists by their nature are conservative. They underestimate always instead of overestimating.

And two, this was an experiment, you know. we haven't ever in the course of human history done this. A few other times over the hundreds of millions of years of earth's history carbon dioxide has accumulated in the atmosphere and heated the planet. But we never got to watch it firsthand so we didn't know how finely balanced the earth was. It turns out it was pretty finely balanced.

VAUSE: I want you to listen to Iceland's prime minister talking about the urgency of this climate crisis with the German Chancellor. Here she is.


KATRIN JAKOBSDOTTIR, ICELAND PRIME MINISTER: You can see actually that everything scientists have predicted is happening now. and that is why I think it is so important to do everything that is humanly possible to prevent the climate crisis that you are already seeing around the world with heat waves, droughts, floods, and glaciers disappearing.


VAUSE: Here's the problem, assuming we do everything we are meant to do, everything humanly possible, a report in (INAUDIBLE) puts it like this. "The problem few people seem to realize is even if this did happen overnight the momentum is too great. The human race is a passenger in the car of climate change that is hydroplaning to the cliff's edge of an environmental catastrophe."

So just taking one example we've already crossed the tipping point -- have we for Greenland's glaciers and they can't be saved.

MCKIBBEN: Well look, there is no outcome where we stop global warming altogether. We are past that point but there are a whole range of different outcomes still possible depending on what we do. That's why, you know, millions of people will be joining in this big climate strike on September 20th around the world, the one that young people like Greta Thunberg and her colleagues have called on adults to join them because we've got a little bit of time, a little bit of time in order to make big changes it'll have massive consequences 500 years from now, 10,000 years from now. The next few years are absolute hinge moments in human history.

VAUSE: You know, it's not just Greenland which is seeing, you know, the loss of glaciers. It's Iceland as well. And they're saying there's accelerated ice melt.

In the photograph here you can see on the top of the glacier, it was taken back in 1986. Below it same location, the photograph was taken earlier this month. The glacier is gone, officially declared dead, memorialized with a ceremony. There was a plaque (ph) and then a eulogy as well. Listen to this.


DOMINIC BOYER, PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY, RICE UNIVERSITY: We were hoping that this memorial may serve as a prototype for other communities around the world who are interested in finding ways to come to terms emotionally and intellectually with the loss of glaciers as with climate change more generally.

We do hope that this idea, quirky as it is, of creating a memorial to a fallen glacier is something that other people use as inspiration in their communities as well.


VAUSE: It just seems to me though that the reality is that, you know, having funerals and services for glaciers is one thing but if we don't do anything we should have one for ourselves as well because we are creating the conditions for own extinction.

MCKIBBEN: Well, you're right and that is why it is good news that there really is a movement building now, with millions and millions and millions of people young and old across the planet. There are certain things it is too late for. Look we're going to have to have a contest to rename Glacier National Park in the U.S. because the glaciers are going to be gone.

[01:39:53] But we still have a bountiful and beautiful earth and we have a little room, a little room to do the things that might preserve it, leave some of that beauty and bounty for the people who come after us.

VAUSE: You know, with the rising sea levels which will be caused by this melting ice from Greenland, and they will be significant, and really substantial. But along with that there is sort of no end of other falling dominoes here like, you know, maybe it's the changes to the islands gravitational pull as a result of shedding so much ice meaning that some areas are being affected more than others.

"In Miami where coastal flooding on sunny days has become a regular hazard, Greenland ice melt has greater effects than in other vulnerable coastal cities such as Boston."

You know, at this point, when it comes to climate change we don't know what we don't know. And that is terrifying. Give me a reason to hope here because could that be a reason for optimism as well?

MCKIBBEN: Well, we know enough to know what we need to do, I mean there is no doubt about what our task is. It's to get off coal and gas and oil just as fast as we possibly can. If there is a reason for optimism, it's that engineers have dropped the price of solar power and wind power by 90 percent in the last decade. That gives us a chance if we seize it, if in this case we are able to break the political power of the fossil fuel industry which is what has kept us locked in this -- well, in this sterile debate for 30 years about whether or not global warming was real.

A debate that is a long since come to end. The question now is not is it real, the questions now is can we still do anything about it.

VAUSE: Yes I need some reason for hope, you know,. I need some optimism, Bill -- you gave me a little which is good. September 20, right. That's the big day.

MCKIBBEN: September 20, It's going to be a big day, probably the biggest day of climate action in the planet's history.

VAUSE: September 20th, remember that day, everybody. September 20th.

Bill -- thank you.

MCKIBBEN: Thank you.

VAUSE: And when we come back how Israel's entry ban on two U.S. lawmakers might just redefine the terms of an alliance which have always tried to remain above the political fray.


VAUSE: The first two Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress have aimed sharp criticism at President Trump and his best friend the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after their trip to Israel and the Palestinian territory is blocked.

Israel banned (ph) Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib over their support of a boycott of Israel which has (INAUDIBLE) and the occupation of the West Bank. Both women urged greater congressional oversight of the $3 billion dollars in U.S. aid.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D), MINNESOTA: So I would encourage my colleagues to visit, meet with the people we were going to meet with, see the things we were going to see, hear the stories we were going to hear. We cannot -- we cannot let Trump and Netanyahu succeed in hiding the cruel reality of the occupation from us. So I call on all of you to go.


[01:45:07] VAUSE: With us now from New York is CNN political commentator and contributing editor for the "Atlantic", Peter Beinart.

Peter -- it's been a while. Thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: Ok. This now seems to be the first tangible consequence of this, you know, over-politicization of the Israel-U.S. alliance.

I want you to listen to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Here she is.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: As a young girl visiting Palestine to see my grandparents and extended family, I watched as my mother had to go through dehumanizing checkpoints even though she was a United States citizen and proud American.


VAUSE: You know I spent years in Jerusalem as a correspondent for CNN. And the only time there was a discussion about congressional support for Israel, it was a debate over who supported the country more. It seems incredible not to see this type criticism but also the sort of language which is coming from an elected -- an elected U.S. official.

BEINART: Yes. I think a number of things are at play. First of all we are now starting to see American Muslims being represented politically, you know. Most -- the United States didn't have a significant Muslim population until they changed the immigration law in 1965 (ph) and now we have like other ethnic and religious groups that have come to the United States these Muslim Americans like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have come and started to enter the political process and, you know, have a vested interest in this particular issue especially as far as Rashida Tlaib being a Palestinian American. That is part of it.

What also happened is the confluence of a right wing government with Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel and a right wing in the United States under Donald Trump has created a sense of identification between the government, the right in Israel and the United States. And it has made people in the United States who are hostile to Donald Trump and see Donald Trump as anathema to their values more able to recognize that Benjamin Netanyahu's government is also anathema to their values.

And that is why you're seeing this shift that's going to take place on the American left.

VAUSE: Well, the Democrats Mark Pocan, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he's seems ready to up the ante. He told the Hill, "No more members of Congress, now delegation should be going to Israel unless this decision is reversed." This is the important part. "I think we're going to have to have some serious conversations, even about financial support."

No country receives more financial assistance from the U.S. than Israel. The few times it's been questioned in the past has been questioned from the Israeli side. You know, complaints about, you know, they insist in calling Israel back. Were he against innovation trying Israel's hands. I can ever recall a serious conversation or any serious questions coming from the U.S. Congress.

BEINART: I think this debate is going to emerge in the Democratic Party. I disagree with the idea that members of Congress should not go visit Israel. I think that, actually, it's really, really important that, even if sadly Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar can't go, that American politicians continue to go but demand to go and see the West Bank and to meet Palestinians and see what life is actually like for people who live for their entire lives without basic rights.

But I do think that a debate inside the Democratic Party is about to break open over the question of the military. Bernie Sanders said that he supports some kind of conditionality on military aid. I personally feel that some American military think some aid and Israel is important. Eight for the iron dome, an arrow missile defense system.

But why should the United States giving $4 billion -- almost 4 billion a year. In no strings attached to a government that is taking steps that brutalized Palestinians and destroy the two-state commissions.

VAUSE: The White House seems to be the statement of Monday. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and a Ilhan Omar have a well-documented history of anti-Semitic comments, anti-Semitic social media posts and anti-Semitic relationship Israel has the right to prevent people who want to destroy it from entering the country.

And Democrats' pointless congressional inquiries here in America -- cannot change the laws, Israel has passed to protect itself.

Yes. Israel does have a law which prevents entry by anyone who supports that Israeli Boycott Group. And also it seems that Tlaib and Omar retweeted a cartoon which is not anti-Semitic but it was drawn by an artist who has reputation for anti-Semitic cartoons.

But all of this seems to be a sideshow. The reality is that the U.S. president, and it could be argued that aggressors within the Democratic Party are moving to make Israel a wedge issue in U.S. politics.

BEINART: They are, that's true. It will not, I think, convince most American Jews to vote for the Republican Party, because most American Jews voted on domestic issues and find Trump's agenda of denial of climate change, of opposition to abortion, of opposition to LGBT rights is really anathema to the values that most American Jews have.

[01:50:07] And there is a sliver on the American U.S. right that identifies with Trump, there's no question about it. But the more that people actually begin to grapple with these realities right, the realities of the Palestinians asking for the basic rights that we all take for granted and seeing the humanity of ordinary Palestinians as people who are really not that different from any of the rest of us, you know.

Like Rashida Tlaib talking about her grandmother. I think that we can kind of strip away a lot of this kind of demonizing language and get to the heart of the issue, which is our Palestinians entitled to basic rights?

VAUSE: Here's part of an opinion piece that Thomas Friedman wrote for the "New York Times". "Few things are more dangerous to Israel's long term interest than it becoming a partisan matter in America, which is Israel's vital political, military and economic factor in the world."

Assuming this situation continues on the course that it is currently on, what are the consequences that Friedman is warning about?

BEINART: I'm an admirer of Thomas Friedman. But I think the problem with his argument is that Israel has to become a part of an issue in the United States for there to be a real debate about Israel emerging. The values of the two parties, the Democratic and Republican Party have diverged so much that it's like wanting a bipartisan consensus on climate change or on guns. When the Republican Party does not believe that climate change exists and doesn't believe that America has a gun problems.

The Republican Party, which is deeply bigoted towards Muslims and Palestinian pervasively throughout the party is not going to ever adopt the policy that respects Palestinian human rights, and supports Israeli democracy.

I mean (INAUDIBLE) entirely fine for Israel to make permanent its undemocratic control over the West Bank. It will have to be in the Democratic Party that this struggle is waged and that's why I don't -- I think it's a good thing that this becoming more of a partisan struggle because the partisan struggle, the partisan debate is really a proxy for a moral debate. And the moral debate is what we need to have in the United States.

VAUSE: Peter -- we're out of time. We'll leave it there. But great to see you. Thank you so much.

BEINART: Thank you.

VAUSE: When we come back Britain's Prince Andrew under pressure and facing questions about his ties to convicted (ph) sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, this after a video surfaced of the (INAUDIBLE). Details in a moment.


VAUSE: Buckingham Palace says that Britain's Prince Andrew is appalled by the sex abuse claims against his former associate Jeffrey Epstein. The statement was released after the video surfaced over the weekend appearing to show the Duke of York inside Epstein's New York mansion in 2010. Epstein was a registered sex offender at the time.

Investigators say he killed himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial on underage sex trafficking charges.

Here's CNN's Hadas Gold reporting from London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For years, Prince Andrew has been tangled up with Jeffrey Epstein. But this new footage puts Prince Andrew literally inside Jeffrey Epstein's home after Epstein had already spent time in prison on sex crime charges.

The footage obtained by "The Mail" on Sunday was allegedly shot in December of 2010. The video starts with Epstein who is shown leaving a town house and getting into a car accompanied by a woman who returns to the home.

[01:55:07] In a separate clip Prince Andrew is seen opening the door and waving goodbye to a different woman. Prince Andrew had already been photographed with Epstein around the same time but they were seen walking together in Central Park.

This new footage adds to the image that Prince Andrew continued his associations with Epstein long after Epstein was a convicted pedophile.

Now CNN has not independently verified the video but in a statement, Buckingham Palace said, "The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent."

The palace did not respond to specific questions as to why Prince Andrew was with Epstein in 2010, saying only referring to a statement from last month that "The Duke of York accepts it was unwise to have met Mr. Epstein in December 201. The Duke has not met with Mr. Epstein since."

Now the footage only further complicates the current situation for Prince Andrew who was named in court papers connected to Epstein's case this month. A woman claimed that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 -- a claim that the Prince and Buckingham Palace have strenuously and repeatedly denied.

In what is likely an important symbol of support though, Prince Andrew was pictured clearly riding in the same car as his mother Queen Elizabeth on the way to church last week. A clear message that the Queen is standing by her son.

Hadas Gold, CNN -- London.


VAUSE: Now there is some other British royals under pressure. Prince Harry and his wife are being accused of hypocrisy after using a private jet to fly to Ibiza (ph) and the South of France on trips which were just days apart.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have spoken out repeatedly on environmental issues, (INAUDIBLE) to point out that the carbon footprint of a private jet is much greater than a commercial plane. The singer Elton, who is a close friend of the couple revealed he paid for the jet to France where he has a home. He also defended the Royal par on Twitter accusing the press of relentless and untrue character assassinations. Buckingham Palace declined CNN's request for comment.

Quick reminder, September 20 will be the start of a week demanding action on climate change.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

The news continues right here on CNN after the break.


[02:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: No recession -- a defiant Donald Trump says the economy is doing just fine despite some dire warnings from experts.

Plus Boris Johnson.