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President Trump Offended by Denmark's Prime Minister's Words; Boris Johnson on his Way to Selling an Agreement for Brexit; Silent Protest that Went Chaotic; Fires in Brazil Affects Global Warming; An Accident and Rescue on Tape. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired August 22, 2019 - 03:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. President lashing out at that Denmark's prime minister calling her comments nasty when she said Greenland is not for sale.

The U.K. prime minister is Brexit bargaining after a stop in Berlin. Boris Johnson looks ahead to meetings in Paris to try to reopen talks on Brexit.

Plus, the Amazon rainforest is burning at record rate, making scientists worry about how it could impact the global warming.

Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.

Donald Trump's opinion of himself has always been inflated, but now it seems to have reached biblical proportions. He was speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Wednesday when he said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Somebody said its Trump trade war. This isn't my trade war. This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other presidents.

I am the chosen one. Somebody had to do it. So, I'm taking on China.


CHURCH: The U.S. President also doubled down on his contention that Jewish- Americans who vote for Democrats are disloyal to Israel and the Jewish people. Many critics call that an anti-Semitic trope. But the president didn't stop there. He insisted Russia and President Vladimir Putin be allowed to rejoin the G7, making it the G8 again.


TRUMP: He made a living on outsmarting President Obama, and frankly, because of it, Obama was upset. And he got Obama out of what was the G8 into the G7. I think Russia should be a part of it because we're looking for world peace and other things. Trade and other things, and it would be a lot easier to have Russia in where they had always been.


CHURCH: The president is also fuming about the ridicule he's received for suggesting that the U.S. buy Greenland from Denmark.

CNN's Anna Stewart has more now from Copenhagen.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: After abruptly canceling a trip via tweet and possibly insulting a long-time close American ally, today President Trump went one step further and attacks Denmark's prime minister.


TRUMP: I thought that the prime minister's statement that it was absurd, that it was an absurd idea, was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say no, we wouldn't be interested.


STEWART: The president referring to the Danish leader calling Trump's idea of buying Greenland, which is owned by Denmark, absurd. And adding, "I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously."

Today, all around Copenhagen, Danes reacting to Trump's cancelation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's truly disappointing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a great display of his character.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's really disrespectful to the queen.


STEWART: The spokesperson for the Danish queen who is scheduled to host the president told CNN it was a complete surprise. This has never happened before. From the prime minister.


METTE FREDERIKSON, PRIME MINISTER OF DENMARK: I've been looking forward to the visit, our preparations were underway. It was an opportunity, I think to celebrate Denmark's close relationship to the U.S.


STEWART: This all started when the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Trump was interested in buying Greenland.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Essentially, it's a large real estate deal. A lot of things could be done.


STEWART: But the Danish prime minister quickly responded telling a Danish newspaper, "Greenland is not for sale."

The continued fallout has left one of the United States most reliable alliances in jeopardy according to the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark.


RUFUS GIFFORD, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO DENMARK: This is just not the way you treat an ally.


STEWART: Denmark has been a robust contributor to U.S.-led military missions despite its relatively small armed forces including joining the coalition of the willing during the 2003 Iraq invasion and sending 750 troops to Afghanistan during the height of NATO-led military missions.

In fact, the Afghan war ended up being the deadliest military campaign in modern Danish history, losing more service members per capita than the U.S. did.


GIFFORD: They went and they fought alongside our troops and they died alongside our troops.


STEWART: Anna Stewart, CNN, Copenhagen.

CHURCH: David Sanger is a CNN political and national security analyst. He also writes about national security for the New York Times. Good to have you with us.


[03:04:58] CHURCH: So, Wednesday was strange than usual with President Trump flip-flopping on payroll tax cuts and tighter background checks. Then declaring he's the chosen one to take on China. The kind of Israel and the second coming of God, calling the Danish leader nasty and even suggested he should award himself the Medal of Honor.

Your reaction to all that we witnessed coming out of the mouth of a U.S. president in just one day.

SANGER: It is pretty remarkable, Rosemary. I mean, after all this is the third week in August when no one is supposed to be around, no news is supposed to happen. And of course, here is Donald Trump doing what Donald Trump always does which is fill a vacuum.

What I think you've seen in the gyrations of the past few weeks on the Fed, on gun control issues, on immigration issues, what you're seeing is a man who is facing some polls that suggest that the country may not be with him, who is getting increasingly disturb about how he is positioning himself for the general election.

And who's going after and creating, you know, a number of enemies perceived and otherwise the most remarkable peer being the, rather commonly spoken, prime minister of Denmark, who merely said that the proposal to buy Greenland was absurd and the president took offense of that.

We're told, by the way that he just did not like the mocking way in which so many greeted the idea.

CHURCH: And Mr. Trump has also said that Jewish-Americans face a loyalty test come the next election? And he has been criticized for that. Here is his response on Wednesday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your critics have said that is an anti-Semitic remark. How do you respond to that?

TRUMP: I haven't heard anybody say that, just the opposite. I think that if you vote for a Democrat, you are very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people.


CHURCH: So, what's your reaction to his words and his actions when he also retweeted Wayne Allyn Root who called him the greatest president for Jews and for Israel, and said, he's like the king of Israel, and the second coming of God?

SANGER: Well, first of all, Israel was recognized by the United States after its creation by a Democratic president, Harry Truman. And while certainly, Democrats and Republicans have had at various moments, some different views about Israel.

What the president seems to be saying here is that, the only loyal thing to do if you are Jewish in America, is to take a view that is completely in support of Prime Minister Netanyahu's approach, which is certainly what the president has done, and he certainly within his rights to go do that.

But the interesting argument that he made was he said that it was disloyal to both America and to Israel to have a different view of how Israel should be dealing presumably with the issue of the Palestinians. He wasn't specific on what he was saying there.

And it is kind of remarkable. I mean, one might say I disagree with the view of the Democrats, but to say that it is disloyal to both nations to have a different view about how Israel should deal with the problem, I mean, it goes right back to the Trump loyalty test, on almost everything.

CHURCH: And finally, I do want to revisit the U.S. president calling the Danish prime minister nasty, because she thinks his suggestion to buy Greenland is absurd, along with the rest of the world. Your reaction to an ally being called nasty, and this sort of treatment of Denmark because he wants to come to his desire to buy Greenland?

SANGER: Yes. I mean, I can understand having difference with allies because you believe they are not spending enough to contribute to NATO, and in fact, he made that complaint about Denmark today.

He certainly had differences with the Germans on that issue, he's had issues with the French, he's had issues with many other allies along the way, including Japan and South Korea and their contributions in the Pacific.

But to say that you are canceling a meeting, that initially he argued was not about the purchase of Greenland, because the prime minister said that it was an absurd notion that they were going to sell off this territory, an independent, or a self-ruled territory that is under Denmark's control. I thought it was rather strange.

[03:09:54] He certainly has said stronger things on his Twitter feed than it's absurd. Which was all that the Denmark's prime minister said in the course of her television interviews. It didn't strike me that she was particularly strident at it, she was just dismissive of it.

CHURCH: All right. All in all, a very strange day.

SANGER: That's very strange day in which he was -- we certainly saw the president in full Trumpian form.

CHURCH: Yes. And maybe we'll see more of this in the days ahead. Who knows? David Sanger --

SANGER: I think he will.

CHURCH: -- many thanks for joining us. we appreciate it.

SANGER: Thanks to you.

CHURCH: Britain's prime minister is heading to Paris in the coming hours. The second stop on his push to try to reopen talks on Brexit.

Boris Johnson is not expected to find a receptive French President Emmanuel Macron, but Mr. Johnson did come away with an offer from Germany's chancellor on the so-called Irish backstop.

Nina Dos Santos has the details.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris Johnson embark on one of his first overseas trip as the U.K.'s new prime minister going to Germany to meet with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Well, this came just three days after he urge the whole of the E.U. to

reopen the withdrawal agreement and take out the unpopular arrangement over the Irish border, the so-called backstop.

That was in a letter that he penned to Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council that convenes the summit at which all of the countries have to agree for anything actually to be said and done.

Angela Merkel had previously said that this withdrawal agreement was not up for renegotiation but then in a press conference she appeared to be a little bit more compliant, saying that she was giving the U.K. 30 days from here on to come up with credible alternatives.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We always said we probably will find a solution in the coming two years, but possibly you may find a solution in 30 days. Why not? And then we would be a step forward and we need to make every effort that we will find something like this.

However, this requires clarity in terms of the future relationship of Britain and the E.U. And I believe now is much stronger.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Blistering time table there of 30 days if I understood you correctly. I'm more than happy with that.


DOS SANTOS: Well, Germany has a lot to lose if the U.K. crushes out of its relationship with its biggest trading partner on October 31st. Not least because one in seven German vehicles go to the United Kingdom. That's about 770,000 vehicles every single year making the U.K. Germany's largest export market as a country.

Another country that is crucial relationship to this relationship and will have a big say in what kind of deal Boris Johnson can negotiate if indeed he manages to do so is France. It has quite a bit less to lose. And the French president is making it clear that he values European integrity over giving the U.K. any special treatment.

Emmanuel Macron reiterated that from France's point of view the withdrawal agreement was not up for renegotiation and the Elysee Palace went further in saying that a no deal Brexit is now France's best-case scenario.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN, in London.

CHURCH: We'll take a short break here. When we come back protesters stage a sit-in at the same metro station where they were violently attacked one month ago. When we return how this protest turned out chaotic as well.


CHURCH: Some pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong try to hold a silent sit in at a subway station on Wednesday. But as Will Ripley report the protest turned chaotic.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here at the Yuen Long MTR station in the new territories near the border with mainland China, this is one of Hong Kong's areas that has been ripe with confrontation.

This was the scene of a stabbing attack one month ago, tied to triad gang members who, some in the protest movements suspecting of collaborating with the government in mainland China and now you have this. A small group of protesters after a largely peaceful gathering.

Hundreds of people staging a sit in of the Yuen Long MTR station on the one month anniversary. You can hear the announcement telling people to kind of move on so they can get the station cleaned up and get operations back as soon as possible.

But this has been the scene of disruption one month ago, it's the scene of disruption tonight for a different reason. The reason to raise the tension of Hong Kong's protest movement which over the weekend held a gathering, that protesters estimated to be some one and a half million people or even more.

You started in Victoria Park and flooded through the streets of central. This is the kind of thing that protesters want to highlight, the large peaceful gatherings and not this kind of pop up violence that can shut down a public area, you can see in the walls beyond there, there is graffiti just beyond the area where you would swipe your card to get on the MTR.

So, clearly, a group of perhaps dozens of protesters have once again affected an active disruption on Hong Kong infrastructure. Remember, it was the airport and then before that it was the legislative council building and now here.

This is the area where fire extinguishers mark where some of the protesters actually lit trash bins on fire that activated the building's sprinkler system which is why we saw such extensive flooding in other areas. These were the fire extinguishers they used to put out those trash can fire.

And now they're shutting down the station and everybody is being told to leave. Operations are finished and will resume in the coming hours for morning commuters presumably. There are still a lot of work here as you can see that needs to be done to clean up after Hong Kong's latest act of disruption.

Will Ripley, CNN, at the Yuen Long MTR station, Hong Kong.

CHURCH: Polio has been the scourge of developing countries for generations, especially in Africa, but now Nigeria is close to declaring itself polio-free. Thanks to aggressive immunization.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo has our report.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The World Health Organization announced that three years to today since wild polio had been found in Nigeria there had been no other cases for three years. Wild polio is coming now to a very close date of being completely eradicated from the African continent. But of course, that does not mean that Africa is a 100 percent free of polio.

There are still cases of vaccine derive polio that the medicine people are trying to eradicated. This has been done by a huge partnership of African governments the U.S. Center for Disease Control of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many other individuals who have gone in an army of volunteers door to door in many African cities affected by this disease to try and educate people about the importance of immunization.

At the moment, Africa is very close to consigning the disease of polio to the dustbin of history, but at the same time, the World Health Organization is still fighting other fires on many fronts, including Ebola and of course, the rise again of measles.

But for now, it seems certain that Africa's good news about polio is becoming a fact that there may be no more polio on this continent which causes paralysis for many people and 17 cases have been saved by polio vaccines.

Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Nairobi.

CHURCH: Well fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest are burning at a record rate and the country's president is blaming an unlikely group for igniting them. That story, next.

Plus, a plane goes down off the California coast. Its passengers are saved and the whole thing is captured on camera. The amazing video of the crash and rescue after the break.


CHURCH: Stunning images out of Brazil with the Amazon rainforest just burning at a record rate. The fires have been raging for weeks now.

This area provides 20 percent of the world's atmospheric oxygen, something scientists say is key to slowing global warming. Activist groups have blamed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for relaxing environmental controls which have accelerated deforestation.

But the president says the fires may have been started by environmentalists trying to make his government look bad on the world stage.

So, let's turn to our meteorologist Derek Van Dam, he's tracking the fires in Brazil, he joins us now live. So, Derek, what is the possible cause of these fires. How bad is this going to be and what are the ramifications?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The issue here really revolves around deforestation. We know that the president of Brazil ran his campaign on not only expansion but also deforestation of the Amazon.

And the problem here is that we need the Amazon and forest across the world because that absorbs carbon dioxide. The heat trapping gases that cause global warming. Without the forestry and because of deforestation we lose that ability to absorb our CO2.

And unfortunately, not only are we losing that ability to absorb CO2, we're also creating it by these wildfires burning out of control across the world from the Arctic through Greece. That's what we're talking about two weeks ago and even before that was Italy.

And now we're talking about Central America or South America into the Amazon. Look at the spike in 2019. Just in the wildfire CO2 emissions very concerning. You're looking at a map behind me of all the current wildfires burning out of control across South American.

And what's particularly concerning is across the northwestern sections of Brazil in the state of Amazonas where we've been clearly able to see these fires burning out of control from satellites in space. We know that there are over 74,000 fires that have already burned year to date.

The issue here is that we have seen an uptick of over 9,000 fires just since last week Thursday. We're talking about 85 percent more than 2018 combined and that's the year when we burned and deforest of nearly 8,000 square kilometers, which by the way is five times the size of London.

And of course, 2019 not done yet, so it will take time to get the full numbers, full scope of the change in the deforestation pattern since the new president has taken into effect. But the bottom line here is if we continue with this path, we're going to change forests into dry savannas and we need the rainforest to hold their humidity not become dry arid places because that will prevent wildfires from burning out of control into the future.

And unfortunately, the peak of the wildfire season in the Amazon, Rosemary is in the middle September so this could get worse before it gets better.

CHURCH: Right. A sobering warning there. Thanks so much, Derek. I appreciate it.

VAN DAM: All right.

CHURCH: Well a twin-engine Cessna citation burst into flames at a municipal Airport in Northern California. It happened right after the pilot aborted takeoff. All 10 people who were onboard this plane walked away without injury. It is incredible.

[03:25:03] The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the safety board are investigating.

And there was another scary accident involving a plane in California and this one was all caught on video. It happened when a scenic aerial photo shoot went horribly wrong. The pilot and his passenger are OK, but they have quite a story to tell.

As CNN's Nick Watt reports.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pilot David Lesh and his passenger leapt onto the wing and crash-landing miles from shore and that wreckage sank fast.


DAVID LESH, PILOT: There she goes.

WATT: What happened?

LESH: I wonder if there is something in the fuel.


WATT: Even in summer this water is cold.


LESH: Started to feel (Ph) cold out here. There's a jellyfish bobbing around.

We got stung like the whole time. Definitely I got a little bit hypothermia because I was doing pretty bad after about half an hour.


WATT: Here's how all this happened. Lesh bought this single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza just a couple months ago and ask his buddy Owen Leipelt, a fellow pilot to go on a joint mission.


LESH: We were planning on going up over, you know, San Fran over the Golden Gate Bridge and stuff and do a photo mission to take photos of the new airplane.


WATT: Instead, something went very wrong. Leipelt flying another plane find himself filming his friends suddenly losing altitude skimming the Pacific.


LESH: I'm just doing everything I can do different combinations of, you know, throttle and mixture. If you freaked out, you can install and spin in into the ground and that's how you dive.


WATT: They ditched as Leipelt watch from above, not knowing if his friends were OK.


OWEN LEIPELT, PILOT: I lost them. I had been circling and I couldn't see him anymore and David called me on the phone as he was bobbing in the water.


WATT: Yes, Lesh had saved his phone the wreckage. Use it to call his buddy and film the fix they were in.


LESH: All right. We're floating around now (muted) Pacific Ocean. I'm holding on to my window shade as a floatation device.


WATT: And they called for help.


LEIPELT: I've been circling for the past hour. The Coast Guard are here now. My God, I can't believe that just happened.


WATT: Lifted to safety. A miracle out there on Half Moon Bay.

Now the quality of the video is so good that there are rumors that it must be fake. No way. The pilot tells our San Francisco affiliate KPIX, he says, "why would I risk my life just to gain about a thousand Instagram followers?" But as KPIX notes the actual cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

CHURCH: Well, managing the work life balance was on full display at New Zealand's parliament while presiding over a debate, the speaker held and fed the one-month old son of a lawmaker. The baby's father had just returned from the paternity leave and was sitting nearby.

Social media was quick to praise the speaker and the lawmaker for, quote, "normalizing the family unit."

New Zealand is something, isn't it?

Thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. CNN Equestrian is up next. But first, I'll be back with a check of the headlines. You're watching CNN. Do stick around.