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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Political Upheaval In Italy; Pentagon Report Warns ISIS Regaining Strength; Boris Johnson Opposes Irish Backstop; Italian Court Orders Seizure Of Rescue Ships Carrying Migrants; CNN Poll: Former VP Biden Expands Lead In Democratic Field; Calls For El Salvador To Reverse Strict Abortion Laws; Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Criticized For Private Jet Travels. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 20, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:21] ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Good evening. Live from CNN London, I'm Isa Soares, in for Hala Gorani.

And tonight, another political shakeup in Italy. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte could soon deliver his resignation to the Italian president.

Also, controversy over a boat carrying migrants, an Italian court has ordered the boat seized in the last few minutes, just hours after some

desperate passengers jumped off-board.

And a CNN exclusive on how the Sargasso Sea is fast becoming a garbage patch in the ocean.

But first, it is 7:00 here in London. We begin with breaking news out of Italy on two major fronts. We are expecting Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

to formally announce his resignation any time now. He announced his intent to step down earlier today, on the floor of the parliament.

Mr. Conte gave what was a blistering speech aimed at the far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who's sitting right next to him, who pulled his

party out of the ruling coalition in a bid to force snap elections.

But Italy's not just dealing with just a political crisis. There are also new developments in a humanitarian crisis, right off its coast. Interior

Minister Salvini has refused to allow migrants stranded on a rescue ship to come ashore. You're looking at footage from there, this is off Lampedusa

in Italy.

But now, it seems he has no choice. A court has, in the last 20 minutes or so, ordered the migrants to disembark in Sicily because of the dire

conditions on board. Let's go straight to Barbie Nadeau, live in Rome for us, for the very latest on these two breaking stories.

And, Barbie, let's start first with the breaking news coming out from Italy's prosecutor. What are you hearing? Is Open Arms ship right now --

where -- this Open Arms ship right now, is it making its way to Italy?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. This ship has been off the coast of Lampedusa, which is a tiny little island off the coast of Sicily,

now, for the last several days. It's been at sea for 19 days, with migrants that were trying to make it across the Mediterranean from North

Africa.

Now, what we heard in the last couple of minutes, that a prosecutor in a Sicilian province has ordered that these migrants, no matter what Matteo

Salvini says, must be disembarked on the island of Lampedusa.

Now, earlier today, we heard from Spain, who said that they would be willing to take these migrants. The NGO, Open Arms, is a Spanish-flagged

ship, and the NGO is Spanish. And Matteo Salvini has argued all along, that the migrants should in fact go to Spain.

So they, as we understand, are, as we speak, sending a boat over to pick up these hundred or so people. Several of the people, as you mentioned, have

jumped into the water in a desperate attempt to try to reach land. They've been recovered, taken back to the boat.

We've also heard of infighting on that ship. That ship is not meant -- it's got -- for all these people. It's got two bathroom facilities for

both men and women. And as we understand, in the terrible heat that they've suffered in the Mediterranean in recent days, it's quite

unimaginable, hygienically, on board.

As a result of that, now, the court has stepped in as a slap in the face to Matteo Salvini, and said that boat needs to get those people onto land

right away -- Isa.

SOARES: And I suspect as of right now, Barbie, we haven't heard from Matteo Salvini because this was, like you say, a slap in the face. But

part of the reason that the ship hadn't been -- accepted the offer from Spain, at least from what we understand, is because it would take them too

long and the conditions would have been too tough and -- for the migrants.

How long -- I'm guessing it's -- how long would it take them to get to Sicily, given it's just off the coast? Is this a question of hours?

NADEAU: No. Right now, they're moments away from Lampedusa. And that's where they'll be disembarking, as we understand. Lampedusa is part of

Sicily, and so when they say they're going to Sicily, they -- we understand, they're going to Lampedusa. Then they'd be taken by a larger

vessel onto the Sicilian island, which is a much larger island, about a couple of hours away by flight, certainly.

But the -- to get to Spain, it would take about five hours. And we've heard, over and over again, we've seen footage on board this ship, that the

conditions just aren't suitable to take a journey that long, with that many people who have been at sea for so long.

Of course, these people have been on the rescue ship for 19 days. But before that, many of them had been at sea for 10 days in rubber dinghies.

It's a dire situation.

And there are other rescues going on currently in the Mediterranean. So Open Arms is at the forefront of this problem right now, but there are

other ships out there, waiting to bring migrants somewhere -- Isa.

SOARES: Thank you for clarifying that. So they could be moments away, something, of course, that we know the ship has been pushing the Italians

and Italian government on.

[14:05:00] Let's switch sides and just let's look a bit at the politics, let's switch gears and look at the politics now. Because there is -- and I

think it's fair to say this, Barbie -- a bit of chaos in Italy right now, because both Conte and, what we've seen in Salvini, having quite a

tempestuous relationship. And I probably think it's fair to say, they've had that sort of relationship for a while.

But now they've both plunged the country into political chaos. And this is during, obviously, the very quiet summer months. So what happens next

here?

NADEAU: Well, what happens next is really anyone's guess. And it's going to be complicated. Two weeks ago, Matteo Salvini pulled the plug on this

government. Everyone's at the beach, all the parliamentarians are on holiday.

And he's created a crisis in which you've got a lot of angry parliamentarians who had to cut their vacations short to get back into the

halls of parliament today, to listen to Giuseppe Conte, 58 minutes, just berating Matteo Salvini for causing this crisis.

Now, what happens next, we've been listening to parliamentary debate for a couple of hours. Giuseppe Conte is expected to go up to the -- to the

Quirinal, that's the presidential palace, here within the next hour or so.

And he is expected to give his resignation to the president, Sergio Mattarella, who then has two choices. He can call for new elections, which

is what Salvini has been pushing for all along, or he can try to work the puzzle pieces together and try to form a new coalition that could actually

put Salvini in opposition.

But those -- that's going to be coming over the next couple of days. We expect the resignation tonight. Tomorrow, we expect more of the fireworks

-- Isa.

SOARES: At this stage, very quickly, Barbie, we do not know whether an election will be called?

NADEAU: No, we don't know whether an election will be called at this point. This is a five-year mandate, they were elected last year. So the

vote will stand until the parliament is dissolved, that's right.

SOARES: Barbie Nadeau, there for us in Rome.

I'll speak to you in about half an hour or so. Thanks, Barbie.

Of course, we'll have much more on the breaking news about the migrants, ahead in the show. I'll talk to a spokeswoman from Open Arms, this is a

charity that's been operating the rescue ship Barbie was talking about, to really learn more about the long nightmare that they've had at sea, 19

days.

Now, five months after U.S. President Donald Trump declared ISIS one hundred percent defeated, his secretary of state is now acknowledging the

terror group is actually getting stronger. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's complicated. There are certainly places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years

ago. But the caliphate is gone, and their capacity to conduct external attacks has been made much more difficult. We've taken down significant

risk. Not all of it, but a significant amount.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOARES: Well, the admission from Mike Pompeo comes as a recent Pentagon report warned that ISIS is regaining strength in Iraq and Syria. Ryan

Browne joins us now, live from the Pentagon.

And, Ryan, let's start first with the report, if you don't mind. Just how alarming is it? And talk to our viewers, explain to our viewers the kind

of capabilities that ISIS has here.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, this report, it's conducted by the inspector general. it's an internal review by the -- that the Pentagon

does. And it was the first one done since President Trump had withdrawn about half the number of U.S. troops in Syria.

There had been close to about 3,000 U.S. troops at their peak, while they were battling ISIS in its last redoubts in Syria. And after those redoubts

were cleared, the U.S. began withdrawing its forces. This report, saying that that has had a huge impact on the U.S. military's ability to combat

the remnants of ISIS in Syria, saying that ISIS is now resurging there.

It says there's a large refugee camps, particularly the Al Hol Internally Displaced Persons Camp, where some 70,000 people are being held, there's

real risk of them being radicalized, of ISIS ideology spreading. The U.S. doesn't have a good ability to monitor what's going on there. So real

concerns in Syria, and in Iraq, that ISIS is using this drawdown of U.S. military presence to mount a bit of a comeback.

Now again, per Secretary Pompeo's comments, the group is not what it once was. They don't control the same territory, they don't have the same

resources. But they are maintaining a presence, they're conducting an insurgency, they're mounting attacks. So it does have U.S. military

leaders concerned.

And, again, ISIS more broadly in the international space, they've gained some strength in Afghanistan. We saw that devastating attack on a wedding

ceremony in Kabul that left 60 -- over 60 people dead, what was claimed by ISIS' affiliate there. In Africa as well, ISIS affiliates have some

strength. So there are concerns about the growing strength of ISIS in these affiliates, in these related organizations as well.

TEXT: ISIS and Its Affiliates: Jund al-Khilafah-Tunisia, ISIS-Libya, ISIS in the Greater Sahara, ISIS-Libya, ISIS-West Africa, ISIS-Yemen, ISIS-

Egypt, ISIS, ISIS-Caucasus, ISIS-Sinai, ISIS-Saudi Arabia, ISIS-Somalia, ISIS-Khorasan, ISIS-Bangladesh, ISIS-Philippines, Jamaah Ansharut Daulah

SOARES: Yes. I suppose some could argue, perhaps, that the removal of troops was a gift to ISIS. We'll keep on top of that story. Ryan Browne,

there for us. Thanks very much, Ryan, good to see you.

Now, U.S. President Donald Trump is publicly touting the economy and putting media and financial market suggestions that a recession could be

looming.

But we're learning that behind those closed doors, White House officials have been considering a fix to offset recession fears by implementing a

payroll tax cut. The White House is denying it.

[14:10:04] This comes after President Trump announced plans to delay proposed tariffs on certain U.S. imports from China until December. Boris

Sanchez is following all of this and joins me now, live from the White House.

And, Boris, the reports are basically, the Fed, when we've heard President Trump tweet about the Fed in the last 24 hours, in fact, this time

yesterday, when we were talking, he was tweeting about it. If the Fed doesn't move or doesn't go far enough and there is no stimulus, there needs

to be some sort of tax cuts. But now, the White House is dismissing this.

I feel like we were talking about mixed messages yesterday, we hear (ph) a bit more today.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Isa. Yes. It looks like the White House is saying something publicly, but then doing

something very different privately.

It really draws into question exactly what the outlook for the economy is from this administration because publicly, what we've seen from President

Trump tweets, from what he said out in front of cameras, from what we've heard from Kellyanne Conway and Wilbur Ross and all these other figures --

Larry Kudlow, is that the fundamentals of the economy are strong and there are really no indications that the U.S. economy is headed toward a

recession in 2020.

But privately, sources have told CNN that they are having conversations about potentially pursuing some kind of payroll tax cut in order to stave

off an economic slowdown. From what we understand, these conversations are still in the early stages. As you said, the White House, publicly has

denied that these conversations are actually happening, they say that these tax breaks are not in consideration at this time.

But we have heard from sources who say that President Trump is concerned about this trade war with China potentially affecting his prospects for re-

election in 2020.

Just this week, you also had Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, scheduling these phone calls with business leaders from

across the U.S., to gauge their impression of how the economy is doing, and any signs of weariness that they may have.

Now, the White House has said that these calls were already on the schedule, that they were long-planned. But still, it shows that there is a

concern from this administration about the economy, especially because it's President Trump's strong suit. When he boasts about his accomplishments,

the economy is most frequently at the top of that list. You can bet that if there's any kind of downturn, it will hurt his chances going into 2020 -

- Isa.

SOARES: And, Boris, staying with the economy and staying with the tariffs, we've heard also from U.S. Steel, which has announced it will be

temporarily laying off something like 200 workers. How embarrassing is this for the administration, given that it's been -- what it's been trying

to do when it comes to tariffs?

SANCHEZ: Well, Isa, given the emphasis that President Trump has placed on manufacturing, going back to the campaign, going back to 2015, when he

announced that he was running for president, it's extremely embarrassing. The president, essentially, threatened some of the United States' closest

trading partners with tariffs -- Canada, Mexico, some European allies -- over steel, ultimately having to relent and find ways around these tariffs.

But the message was clear. He was going to support the U.S. steelworker, he was going to support American manufacturing. Now, hearing that these

layoffs, temporary layoffs are happening, it hits the president exactly where his strong suit is.

Ultimately, we have not heard from the administration on this. They have yet to respond to requests for comment on these -- the news coming from

U.S. Steel. But this is obviously something that the president likely will be speaking about soon.

I should point out, he's welcoming the president of Romania to the White House as we speak. Reporters will be asking questions, I bet that will be

one on the list -- Isa.

SOARES: Well, if we hear anything -- if you hear anything, Boris, do come back to us.

Boris Sanchez, there for us --

SANCHEZ: Will do.

SOARES: -- outside -- oh (ph), there (ph) we (ph) go (ph), in Washington. thank you very much. The White House.

Here in the U.K., fears continue to mount that a Brexit deal would not be reached by the October 31st deadline. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has

made his position clear, the Irish backstop must be scrapped.

But the E.U. is standing firm. Mr. Johnson has been reaching out to European leaders on that very issue. The prime minister told his Irish

counterpart in a phone call that another solution to the Irish border issue is needed. But Leo Varadkar says the E.U.'s position hasn't changed.

TEXT: Donald Tusk: The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found. Those

against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support re-establishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.

SOARES: Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk also hit back -- as you can see there -- at the prime minister's position, saying, "Those

against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support re-establishing a border," that's his tweet. Let's get more on

this. Nina dos Santos is here with me.

Nina, let's talk about that Tusk tweet. How has it been received by Boris? Because I saw the British media saying, "Of course, E.U. yet again, just

not prepared to move."

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris Johnson has addressed this in a quick televised comment, saying that he noticed that they were being

reluctant to budge. But again, he's reiterated he thinks that he's confident he can try and get them to blink at the last minute.

For the moment, we've had a bruising two days of claims, counter-claims. And that's left us, the press, and also the British public, trying to

figure out what has changed.

Obviously, the U.K.'s been negotiating its exit from the E.U. for three years now. There is less than two months to go. Boris Johnson, what

essentially he's doing over the last couple of days, is setting out his stall (ph) before he goes to meet with the power brokers of Europe, Angela

Merkel tomorrow and Emmanuel Macron of France on Thursday.

[14:15:03] And then later on in the week, he's also going to be meeting with two other countries, Canada and the United States, at the G7, where he

can try and play one side off against the other.

SOARES: He sent a letter to E.U. leaders -- was it Monday -- earlier this week. What did -- what can we glean from that, in terms of what

relationship he wants to see, what kind of relationship he wants with Europe.

DOS SANTOS: Yes. It's interesting, actually. Because this four-page letter that emerged around about 24 hours ago, about this time when we were

on air yesterday, it emerged that Boris Johnson had penned this missive to Donald Tusk. As you were pointing out before, it started from the premise

that the backstop was so unpopular, three times, it failed to get that withdrawal agreement through Parliament.

So the withdrawal agreement needed to be opened up. Boris Johnson said, this times, formally in writing -- it's something he's communicated before,

verbally -- and the backstop needed to be taken out, to put forward alternative arrangements. But again, he's been very vague about what those

could be.

The key that we're learning from this in writing is that Boris Johnson wants a more flexible relationship with the E.U. He's making it very plain

here in writing, that he doesn't have a huge amount of time for the kind of treaties and hard rules that Europe is famous for. And that, again, is

very much in keeping with the type of prime minister we thought he'd be before he entered Downing Street.

SOARES: Yet Tusk -- because if we can bring that Tusk tweet up -- those against the backstop are not proposing realistic alternatives -- it doesn't

mention Boris Johnson, but we know he's referring to Boris Johnson -- in fact, support re-establishing a border.

DOS SANTOS: Yes. What he's talking about here is, saying, "Don't try and pin the blame on me. You're effectively, by your own behavior" --

SOARES: Yes.

DOS SANTOS: -- I'm paraphrasing Donald Tusk, here --

SOARES: Absolutely, yes.

DOS SANTOS: -- you're effectively, by your own behavior and putting forward what the E.U. believes are non-credible, quote-unquote,

"alternative arrangements," are resigning yourselves to the fact that there will have to be a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Obviously, this alarmed the Irish Taoiseach so much that yesterday evening, Boris Johnson had to have a one-hour-long telephone conversation with him,

to reassure him that the U.K. would do all it could -- Downing Street, again, reiterated this via a spokesperson earlier on today -- to try and

make sure that it's still committed to avoiding any return to the troubles on the island of Ireland that could be precipitated by any infrastructure

being put there, in place alongside the border.

SOARES: And meanwhile, the government has said U.K. officials, stop attending E.U. meetings from the first of September. What's the

significance of this?

DOS SANTOS: Now, this is interesting as well because this goes, in keeping with the other statement that we saw yesterday, when Priti Patel, the new

home secretary --

SOARES: Yes.

DOS SANTOS: -- came out, saying that -- and this, again, led to some confusion that Downing Street had to clear up -- came out and said the

freedom of movement would be ending on October the 31st, the next deadline by which the U.K. will leave the E.U.

Then, today, we also learned that those key ministers will not be attending those E.U. meetings any more as of September the 1st. It's all about

ramping up the rhetoric, and ramping up this sort of position that Boris Johnson's keen to put forward, saying, "We're getting ready, guys. We hope

you are."

But one side is hoping that the other one will blink first.

SOARES: So, really, escalating rhetoric to see who -- who, indeed, who moves first, who blinks first.

DOS SANTOS: What I would -- yes. And what I would say that's also significant in terms of an anecdote, standing on Downing Street, outside

Number 10 for the last two days, is that when it comes to the key government ministers not attending those E.U. meetings from the 1st of

September from now on, so that the U.K. can plan for other relationships with other countries.

The security minister, I believe, will probably still be meeting with E.U. counterparts because the U.K. has still said, as per Theresa May's

statements that they would still be involved in security discussions. I noticed the security minister has been one of the most frequent visitors to

Downing Street over the last couple of days -- Isa.

SOARES: Very good. Thanks very much, Nina dos Santos, there, with more. Of course we'll keep on top on the Brexit developments.

And still to come tonight, it's a haven for marine life. But the Sargasso Sea is fast becoming an ocean garbage patch. We'll bring you a report from

there, next.

Plus, why Elton John is coming to the defense of the duke and duchess of Sussex after their climate change message was attacked.

[14:19:07] We'll bring you both those stories after a very short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOARES: Welcome back. This is HALA GORANI TONIGHT. I'm Isa Soares.

Now, as we learn more about the climate and environmental crises we face, it's become apparent that we're drowning, really, our oceans in plastic,

suffocating life in what was once pristine environments.

One such example is the remote Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean. It's fast becoming a new plastic death trap, as microplastics mix with the

algae that provides a habitat for marine life. Our Arwa Damon went there to take a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see more there.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is humbling to be out in the deep blue, hundreds of miles from land. We're in

the Sargasso Sea, named after sargassum, a free-floating seaweed, dubbed "the Atlantic Golden Rainforest."

Under the cloudlike mats, there is an unexpected array of biodiversity. But along with our awe is also the shocking realization of what we are

doing to it.

DAMON: In one little chunk, look at all that.

DAMON (voice-over): There are also tinier pieces, hard to see but everywhere.

DAMON: You find little pieces like this throughout. I have to say, I was quite struck by the pieces that you actually can see, and how much of it is

located down there.

DAMON (voice-over): Each time we got into the water, we found countless plastic pieces, all different shapes and sizes. Most plastic is not dumped

directly into the ocean. Much of what you see has been discarded on land, traveling thousands of miles and breaking up along the way.

The Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic is the world's only body of water without shores. It's defined by the currents of the North Atlantic Gyre,

currents that also carry with them our plastic filth, making it one of the five ocean garbage patches.

ALEXANDRA GULICK, MARINE BIOLOGIST:: I think this one's a good one to do first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow, there's big (ph) plastic in that spot. Got it.

DAMON (voice-over): Alexandra Gulick and Noreen (ph) Constant (ph) are marine biologists.

GULICK: Oh, these are bite marks, like animals taking bites.

DAMON: Really? Out of the plastic?

GULICK: Yeah, you can tell these are fish because they are little half circles.

DAMON (voice-over): The sargassum provides a habitat for baby turtles and fish, shrimp, plus hundreds of other marine organisms. In the oceans,

degrading plastic becomes even more poisonous as it binds with other manmade chemical pollutants. All that toxicity ends up in the digestive

systems of marine life, and travels up the food chain, all the way to our dinner plates.

On board the Esperanza, a manta trawl collects water samples, part of a Greenpeace study into microplastics in this remote body of water, and its

broader campaign for a global oceans treaty.

DAMON: You can see quite a bit of plastic already, just when it's in here. Has this been fairly common in most of samples that have been coming up?

CELIA OJEDA, MARINE BIOLOGIST: Yeah, in most of the samples that we have been sampling, while there was sargassum in the sample, we have seen a lot

of plastics because I think -- because they get entangled in the sargassum.

DAMON (voice-over): The initial results of the study are alarming. In its samples, Greenpeace found similar or greater concentrations of microplastic

to what they found in the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch last year.

OJEDA: we need to change our consumption, our patterns, the way we rule (ph) the planet, the way we do things.

[14:25:04] DAMON: You have a son?

OJEDA: Yes.

DAMON: When you see the way things are now, are you worried about his future?

OJEDA: Yes, I am. A lot. Because I think what -- with this and with climate change, what are we leaving them? It's insane.

DAMON (voice-over): Being out this far from land, you can't help but be struck by how interconnected our world is, and how destructive we are being

to marine ecosystems and, with that, also to ourselves. Arwa Damon, CNN, in the Sargasso Sea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SOARES: Important piece, there, from our Arwa Damon.

And still to come tonight, fresh hope for the migrants stranded off the coast of Italy for nearly three weeks, as an Italian port rules they must

disembark. We'll bring you the latest on the efforts to take them to shore. That is next.

And in the race for president of the U.S., one Democratic candidate seems (ph) to be putting even more distance between himself and the rest of the

pack. We'll tell you what exactly that means, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOARES: Welcome back. I'm Isa Soares, in for Hala Gorani.

Tonight, more now on the two breaking news stories we're following for you out of Italy. An Italian court has ordered the seizure of the migrant

rescue ship that's been stranded off the coast of Lampedusa. Now, the migrants will be taken to the shore due to the deteriorating conditions on

board.

And this comes while we're waiting for Italy's prime minister to formally resign at any moment. Barbie Nadeau is back with me now from Rome.

And, Barbie, as we were just coming to you, I was looking at a tweet from Open Arms. They're tweeting in Spanish, of course, because they're

Spanish. They're saying the prosecutor's office of Agrigento dictates immediate disembarkation of all persons on board Open Arms -- I'm just

translating from the Spanish -- at the port of Lampedusa and the provisional seizure of the ship. "Finally, the nightmare is over," they

tweet, and the 83 people on board will receive immediate assistance on land.

What are you hearing from Italian authorities, meanwhile?

NADEAU: Well, this has been an ongoing battle, and this is part of why we have the government crisis. Matteo Salvini has closed the ports in Italy

for the last year, starting last June when he took office, to any of the NGOs who have gone out and rescued migrants trying to make it across from

North Africa into Europe by way of Italy.

And Open Arms is just the latest in a string of these standoffs, where the migrant boats, in desperate, desperate need of a port to take their

passengers to, have found themselves just sort of listing off the coast, the Italian coast, as Salvini and other politicians, right-wing

politicians, say, "No, no, no, you can't come here."

[14:30:00] If the NGO isn't an Italian NGO, if the boat isn't flagged with an Italian flag, you don't come into Italy. And this is exactly where we

find ourselves.

Now, we've seen with Open Arms, people have been taken off that boat for the entire day. We've had a couple of evacuations due to emergency health

situations. We had some minors, there's under age minors traveling alone that were taken off yesterday and the day before. And so the 83 people who

remain, we understand, will be taking off tonight, taken to the tiny island of Lampedusa and then on -- further onto the Italian shores.

But it is just one of many, many issues with regard to the migration crisis. There's another NGO boat, a few hundred miles out at sea right now

with about 400 people on it and that's going to be the next crisis. It won't go away.

And Matteo Salvini has earned popularity on his hard line approach to it with the humanitarian side of it, of course, is what we're seeing unfold

here, Isa.

SOARES: But, Barbie, you and I were talking at the top of the hour, you know, you were saying, this has been going on for something like 19 days.

Why is it taking the prosecutors so long to make the decision given that we heard from Open Arms that the conditions on board and how traumatizing it

has been for the migrants on board.

NADEAU: Well, we have had some complications in the story in the sense that the Spanish boat was offered a port in Spain. Now, that would take

five days to get there, and that's one of the issues that the court, I think, was waiting to find out if the Spanish would be able to actually

facilitate the disembarkation of the people, which of course, doesn't guarantee that they're going to be allowed to stay in Europe by any mean.

They have to be processed and to see if they have a case for asylum and things like that.

It's just been an ongoing problem. This court is actually the second court. We had a court earlier in the week that also tried to allow, for at

least, the minors to be taken off that ship. So we've got some internal politics, so these are courts that are in strong opposition to Matteo

Salvini's close port policy, and we are seeing a little of that battle play out in any way that humanitarian groups can work.

The system in the court system, as we see right now, is what's the best chance scenario. But it is a slap in the face to Matteo Salvini and he was

on his Facebook feed a short time ago saying that he did not agree with Open Arms being able to disembark. So it's a battle that's ongoing, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. I was going to ask you about the politics of it. How much is this, the rescue ship just off Italy, this story, how much is that

really split government in Italy, given now the situation in Iran really political crisis in Italy.

NADEAU: Well, I think that you can't separate the two by any means. You cannot separate Matteo Salvini's popularity from his hardline anti-

immigration stance, that is, first and foremost. And Salvini has used that popularity to just essentially pull the plug on the government.

Now, when we see a boat like this and that height of summer, this is something that we are seeing in fits and spurts right now. Two years ago,

you would see hundreds of thousands of people come across, 600,000 came across in the five-year period before Salvini came into power.

So we have seen a decrease in people coming across the sea. But then if you look at the increase in humanitarian disaster in Libya and what the

people are going through there, you're just simply moving the problem and making it someone else's. Isa.

SOARES: And very quickly also, Barbie, I know that Italy's Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has not been speaking. Do we know what this point when

he's going to resign, officially, resign and what the -- when the president may make a decision whether they're go to a new elections here?

NADEAU: Well, he's on his way to the presidential palace as we speak right now. And he's expected to arrive there shortly. He'll give his

resignation to Sergio Mattarella, the president, and then he'll have two choices, call early elections or try to make another government.

I don't think anyone thinks and the second attempt in the government is going to -- you know, turn out into a five-year mandate. It's almost sure

that early elections are imminent. It's just whether there'll be this fall or whether they'll be able to -- you know, buy another six months or even a

year on this government, on this particular election.

SOARES: And as you and I talk and looking out live pictures, out of Rome, waiting for Conte, of course, to take his resignation to the president.

Is this -- Barbie, very quickly, is this a risk for Salvini? I know he wants his election and even said that, in fact, Conte accusing him of

personal and political interest and putting his interest first. Could this backfire on him?

NADEAU: Well, he could be in the opposition if Mattarella chooses to try to form a new government. If not, he very well could win elections, if

polls are on his side right now. If the elections are held sooner, that's going to work to his advantage. If they're held later, that's another

entirely different story right now.

But it's very emblematic that you've got a migrant crisis happening and unfolding right as this government is collapsing. Isa.

[14:35:03] SOARES: Indeed, Barbie Nadeau, thank you very much, good to see you. Keep us up to date in the breaking news. You just heard from Barbie,

Italy's Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, on his way to hand off his resignation to the president. We'll keep on top of that.

We go now to the spokeswoman for the organization behind the migrant rescue ship that Barbie and I were just talking about. Laura Lanuza joins me now

from Barcelona via Skype. Laura, thank you very much for joining us. I know you must be very busy.

We just heard in the last few minutes that report is ordered the migrants to disembark in Sicily. Bring us up to date, what are you hearing, where

is the ship right now?

LAURA LANUZA, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, OPEN ARMS: Well, the ship right now is where it has been for the last four, five days which is 800 meters from

the port of Lampedusa. In fact, the prosecutor of (INAUDIBLE) have decided that has said and sentence that these -- all these people have to be

disembarked immediately.

So hopefully, in maybe an hour or so, all the people we have involved will be disembarked and will be able to be assisted to get the assistance they

need as soon as possible.

SOARES: So, Laura, what you're hearing is that, roughly, in and out, so almost 100 or so people inside, migrants inside, will be able to disembark

following the prosecutor's notice there.

LANUZA: Yes. In fact, there was already sanitary inspections two days ago. The doctors, they came in the boat, they realized that the patients,

they were living for, now, 19 days or not, few months. And so they had already (INAUDIBLE) we have these patients.

Right now, the prosecutors came this (INAUDIBLE) how they were living, with his own eyes and he, you know, he really realized that the situation was

critical and they needed -- they were in need to be disembarked as soon as possible.

SOARES: Laura, explain to our viewers right around the world, what were conditions like there? Because we're talking about 19 days that these 88

or so migrants have been inside that boat board -- on board that boat. Talk us through the conditions. We're looking at some footage of the ship,

of the migrants. But bring us up to date just how bad, how much it had deteriorated.

LANUZA: Well, in fact, we rescued 163 people in three different rescue operations. The first hundred, around 100 people, were rescued the same

between the same first 24 hours. They were living covered, which means sleeping, living, and two bathrooms for 100 people (INAUDIBLE) and they

were living there for 10 days.

Then we rescued a third boat with 39 migrants more. So they were (INAUDIBLE) they were really, for hours, they went really overcrowded.

They didn't really have really much space and they couldn't move from there. We were waiting for safe boats to disembark from the day one.

We have been living with a terrible story for night and then it is not really -- it's not understandable that we have not had a port to disembark

people today.

SOARES: Yes. And that's, of course, like you're saying, it's not just the hygiene condition, the lack of hygiene, but also the psychological pressure

that they've been facing for those 19 days.

Laura Lanuza, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time speaking to us here on the show, on CNN. Do keep us abreast of the

situation.

Now, I want to take you to the U.S. presidential race. It looks like Joe Biden has bounced back after some slips.

A new CNN poll shows the former vice president reestablishing himself as the clear frontrunner. You're seeing there, among the 2020 Democratic

candidates. Biden now holds a double digit lead over his closest rivals, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He's at 29 percent.

Today, his campaign launched a blistering new T.V. ad in the state of Iowa where the nation's first big votes will be at the (INAUDIBLE) of what could

happen if President Donald Trump is reelected. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know in our bones this election is different. The stakes are higher. The threat, more serious. We have

to beat Donald Trump. And all the polls agreed Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job. Most of all, he restored the soul of the nation,

battered by an erratic, vicious, bullying president. Strong, solid, and stable leadership. Biden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOARES: Well, joining me now is CNN's Senior Political Analyst, Mark Preston. Mark, good to see you.

[14:40:03] Just coming off of that -- of that ad that we just saw there, Biden seems to say that the key issue here is beating Trump. And I'm sure

many Democrats would agree. Do the numbers suggest that he has a chance?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he certainly do right now. And it's really interesting if you hear the very end of that

commercial, strong, stable, solid, this is the theme now that we're hearing from Joe Biden's campaign. We heard it from his wife last night. In fact,

she was out in the campaign trail and she talked about the fact that perhaps some of those people in the audience may not be supporting her

husband, but in the end, it's her husband that can beat Donald Trump. And it's something we've seen over and over again.

When we look at where Joe Biden gets all his strengths from, that's due in part from Democrats who think that he is the only candidate right now that

has the best chance right now of beating Donald Trump in 2020.

SOARES: But, Mark, you mentioning that the former second lady of Joe Biden, she said you need to swallow a little bit, basically, saying, you

may not agree in all aspects, but collective bottom line is it has to be that we have to beat Trump.

Within the Democrats, within those who would be voting, is there a sense that they're getting to that point? Are they all on the same message,

singing from the same hymn sheet here?

PRESTON: Well, you know, what's interesting is at this point in the campaign, Democrats still don't haves a clear leader. Now, they have a

clear leader in the polls and that Joe Biden has a double digit lead. But if you look at the poll numbers, Joe Biden sits by himself and then

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders come in at second. They're about tied.

Their support is driven entirely by the left, by liberals, and then you have everybody else. So even though Joe Biden has this clear lead right

now, there is really no cohesive message for the Democratic Party, especially on some of the really, really big issues.

So I do think that this primary fight that we're seeing playout right now, is going to continue to play out over the next few months. And Joe Biden

might be at the top now, perhaps he may be at the bottom, if we look at what happened to Kamala Harris, just two months ago, she was doing really

well. She has now plummeted to five percent in the polls.

SOARES: Well, I was going to ask you about Kamala Harris, because I was actually surprised to see those numbers. Why the sudden plummet?

PRESTON: Well, couple things. One is that she started talking and when politicians start talking, candidates start to get to know them a little

better and start to form opinions.

Two is that she started to lose support among liberals. She's had about 10 points. She's lost amongst liberal voters or actually even more than that.

It might be up to 20 points amongst self-describe liberals. That's a huge plummet.

Now, where did they go? They went to Elizabeth Warren or they went to Bernie Sanders and they went to Joe Biden. I wouldn't count her out but it

just goes to show how volatile the American electorate is right now.

SOARES: When we go back to Biden, if we go back to Biden, I was quite interesting looking at some of the data, how does he compared to, for

example, earlier frontrunners at this point? I mean, when we look at the numbers - just putting to perspective for us, in terms of the other front

runners.

PRESTON: Right. So it's a little bit difficult when you talk about this presidential campaign when you go into the near presidential campaigns. I

think we haven't seen a field so big in the Democratic Party. I think what this does show though, it does show that Joe Biden has incredible staying

power.

I mean, even through all the gaffes that he's had, he didn't have a great debate performance. Kamala Harris really laid into him about his positions

on bussing and called into question, his willingness to work on race issues. That's where she rose and that's when he fell.

But still, he still has this group. The strong group of Democrats across the board who think that he's the only one who can beat Donald Trump and

that is key. He has gone up seven points since June. And, again, he hasn't had a good -- he hasn't had a great summer so far.

SOARES: And, Mark, I was looking at the numbers. And Biden's supporter is 15 points higher among those 50 and older than those age 50. But it's also

12 points higher. Interesting enough. I think it's interesting. Among moderates and conservatives than liberals. Explain that to our

international audience.

PRESTON: Well, right. So couple things. One, older voters why that's important is that older voters tend to be more in tuned or tuned in. They

have more stake in the game, financially, if anything. They also tend to go to the polls, so that's good for Joe Biden.

When you look at some of the other demographics as well, he's going to do better with conservatives and moderates, because they don't see him as

somebody that is going to go out and bring pitchforks and marching against Washington. He's not Bernie Sanders. He's more of an establishment type.

But one thing that is interesting about our poll that we don't highlight is that Biden, although he does better with conservatives and he does better

with moderate Democrats, he's actually tied with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for the liberal vote.

So Joe Biden has been around for a long time, eight years with the Obama administration. He still has a lot of staying power.

SOARES: Very good point. Mark Preston there for us. Appreciate you taking the time to speak to us here. Thanks, Mark.

PRESTON: Thank you.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, El Salvador has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world. But one woman's case had inspired new calls

for change. We'll bring you that story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:45:57] SOARES: Now, police in Brazil shot and killed the suspect who hijacked a crowded bus earlier today. Police say the man was armed when he

took nearly 40 people hostage on a bridge in Rio de Janeiro. They say the suspect threatened to set bus on fire with gasoline. The standoff ended

when a police sniper killed the hijacker. All of the hostages made out unharmed.

Now, Amnesty International is calling for El Salvador to reverse its strict abortion laws. That's after a young rape survivor was retried for the

death of her newborn baby and acquitted of all charges.

Now, back in 2017, Evelyn Hernandez, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors claimed she terminated her pregnancy and left

the baby for dead. Abortions in El Salvador are illegal, even when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother. Hernandez who neither claimed, and

says she didn't even know she was pregnant until the stillborn delivery. Monday, the judge from her trial found there wasn't enough evidence to

convict her. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVELYN HERNANDEZ, ACQUITTED IN ABORTION CASE (through translator): Thank you for being here and thank God justice prevailed. I also give thanks to

all of you that have been here for me and I also give thanks to all of the intentional and national countries. I also thank my mother for always

supporting me in everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOARES: CNN's Rafael Romo joins me now with more details. And, Rafael, this is really a victory for women's rights in El Salvador. We've heard

from Evelyn Hernandez, she's sounding -- what she's gone through, sounding very happy considering the turmoil she has gone through.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, definitely. And when he came out of that courtroom, Isa, a lot of people who had been

supporting her for months, for years, indeed, were just elated to see here in freedom.

Let's go back to 2016 when this case began. She says that she started feeling ill, went to the bathroom. And unbeknownst to her, she had an

obstetric emergency. That's how her attorneys described what happened to her. She has maintained all along that she never knew that she was

pregnant even though the pregnancy, according to doctors, was 32-weeks.

After that, she was taken to a hospital, she was bleeding profusely and doctors saw signs of Evelyn Hernandez haven't had a delivery, but there was

no baby, and that's when they decided to notify authorities and that's what got the case started.

Now, she was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison in July of 2017. But back in December of last year, her attorneys took the case back to the

Supreme Court and said that there was really no evidence to convict her. The Supreme Court agreed with them and ordered a new trial and the end of

the trial, that's what happened yesterday. We saw that she was acquitted, Isa.

SOARES: And really, her case, and correct me if I'm wrong, was really the first of its kind in El Salvador and which a full retrial has been

reordered. What does this mean going forward in terms of women's rights in El Salvador, because you and I were talking we're seeing women, we have

been seeing women protesting just outside, I think, from the court in Ciudad Delgado.

[14:50:03] ROMO: Yes, that's a really good point, Isa. It's not only about Evelyn Hernandez. It's about abortion laws in El Salvador, which

have galvanized on only people in the Central American country itself, but in other parts of the world.

Even the president whose only been in power for two months says that these laws, disproportionately target impoverished and rural women and that's a

problem, he said. So there's a political will to change the laws. But they have been denounced for many, many years.

Even Amnesty International said in a statement after the -- after she was let go from court yesterday calling the laws in El Salvador shameful and

discriminatory. The practice of criminalizing women, once and for all, they're calling for an end to this. And so it is only the beginning

women's group hope of what can be a change in the laws.

Just to remind our viewers. Abortion is not allowed even of the cases where the mother's health was is at risk or in cases of rape, which Evelyn

Hernandez said was this case when this happened.

SOARES: What an all-day for Hernandez, but I'm glad that she's well and I'm glad that it's over for her.

Rafael Romo, thanks very much. Good to see you.

ROMO: Thank you.

SOARES: We'll have much more news after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOARES: Welcome back. I'm Isa Soares for you in London this hour.

Now, superstar singer, Elton John, is defending the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after environmentalist charged them with being hypocrites. It all

started when Prince Harry and Meghan, known for being outspoken of the climate change, use private jets to fly to the south of France and they

said the environmental footprint of a private jet is much greater than that of a commercial plane.

But Elton John said he's the one who paid for the jet. And in a tweet, as you're seeing there. He told the press to back off the, "Relentless and

untrue assassinations on their character."

Well, Elton John is not alone in jumping to the royal's defense. CNN's Melissa Bell has more now for you from Paris.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Isa, a string of celebrities have now come out in defense of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, this of course,

of the latest series of attacks from the British press, focusing very much on their use of private jet these last few weeks for their summer holidays.

In discordance say the British press with their stance on fighting climate change. Now, Elton John was the first to take home the press by tweeting

about that private jet that he says he's paid for, ensuring, in fact, that the flight was also carbon neutral.

But ten going further than that and referring, Isa, to his very close friendship with Prince Harry's mother, the late Princess Diana. They've

been very close friends. He'd sang, of course, famously at her funeral. It was in her name, he tweeted that he felt an obligation to try and

protect Meghan Markle and Prince Harry from the source of press intrusion that ultimately had contributed to her death.

And the wake of that, Ellen DeGeneres and Pink also tweeted that the sort of abuse that she's seen leveled at Meghan Markle was simply beyond any

bullying she'd seen in a very long time. Isa.

SOARES: Melissa Bell, thank you very much.

And finally tonight, it can be difficult to comprehend just how quickly most of the earth's glaciers are receding now. An artist in South Africa

is combining scientific data with art to help us visualize how climate change is reshaping our world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[14:55:59] DILLON MARSH, ARTIST: I've combined photography and CGI to show the amount of arts that's being lost on various places.

They are volume metric representation of the ice that's being lost every minute, hour, or half hour.

My name is Dillon Marsh and I'm an artist from Cape Town, South Africa.

I photographed all the scenes within India and Nepal.

The previous trip, I had gone up to the -- one of the glaciers in the Himalayas. I could see that it had receded by quite a long stretch.

I think people are generally surprised that the rate of which these glaciers are receding. The overall glacier monitoring service and pile

start from researcher around the world. So I've used that to record all my data.

I've got a few favorites. The one that stands out for me is the one that sit within the center of Delhi. I quite like that because I think that's

the one that I think is the clearest indication of the volumes that had been lost.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SOARES: And that does it for me tonight. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Isa Soares. Do stay right here with CNN "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up

next with Richard Quest.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- you know, I've been quite vocal on that. They also did quantities taping which was ridiculous.

And despite that, you know, if you look, I guess you could call it normalized. But if you look, our economy is doing fantastically. And if

you take a look at the previous administration, they weren't paying interest, they had no interest rates, they had loosening tat tightening.

And frankly, it's big difference and our economy is incredible our jobs. You look at the jobs market.

But you have to be proactive. And so we really need a Fed cut rate, because if you look at what's going on with the European Union, as an

example, they're cutting. You take a look at Germany, what they're doing and what they're paying, I mean, they're actually doing something in verse.

I've never seen -- nobody's ever seen it before.

We have to, at least, keep up to an extent. So right now, we're paying a very much higher rate of interest and we didn't follow the world. And

generally speaking, that's OK. But you can't have that much of a disparity. So we're looking for a rate cut. We could be really greatly

helped if the fed would do its job and do a substantial rate cut.

Also, they were doing quantitative tightening, very bad to do. They should do easing, actual easing, no tightening or a minimum they should be doing

nothing about that. But they have to do a rate cut. The other thing is, you know, we're looking at various tax reductions, but I'm looking at that

all the time.

Anyway, tax reductions, that's one of the reasons we're in such a strong economic position. We're, right now, the number one country anywhere in

the world by far, as an economy. Europe's got a lot of problems and Asia's got a lot of problems.

You look at China. China's had the worst year they've had in 27 years. And they want to make a deal with us. But I can tell you, I'm not ready to

make a deal. Unless they're going to make the right cut of a deal. I'm not ready to make a deal. So I don't know. But I will say this.

Something will happen, maybe soon and maybe a little bit later. But China very much wants to make a deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of tax cuts would you look at? We've heard again potential cut and payroll tax, indexing capital gains. What would

you accept?

TRUMP: Well, you know, we've been talking about indexing for a long time. And many people like indexing. It could be done very simply. It could be

done directly by me. And so we've been looking at that. As you probably have heard, I can do it directly.

So we're talking about indexing and we're always looking at the capital gains tax, payroll tax. We're looking at -- I would love to do something

on capital gains. We're talking about that. That's a big deal. It goes through Congress. Payroll tax is something that we think about and a lot

of people would like to see that. And that very much affects the workers of our country and we have a lot of workers right now by the way.

We have more people working today than we've ever had before the history of our country. We have almost 160 million people working today.

I think the word "recession" is a word that's inappropriate. Because it's just a word that the certain people, I'm going to be kind to certain people

and the media are trying to build up, because they'd love to see a recession. We're very far from a recession.

END