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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Boris Johnson Meets With Emmanuel Macron; Smoke From Burning Amazon Covers Half Of Brazil; U.S.-Denmark Relations Seem Repaired; Trump's Contradictory Remarks Spark Confusion, Controversy; Russia Cheers Trump's Push For It To Rejoin G7; Rescued Migrants Test E.U. Immigration Policies; Critics Question China's Roles At Hong Kong Train Station; Learning Civil Disobedience At Activist Training Camps. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired August 22, 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: Good evening, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight on the agenda in Paris, the
destiny of Britain and the fate of Brexit. We'll tell you why Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron did not see eye-to-eye.
And any moment now, the Italian president should speak about how mainstream politicians plan to keep Matteo Salvini and his nationalist (ph) League out
of power. You are looking at live images out of Rome, where we'll take you to (ph).
Plus, the Amazon ablaze. That region, so important in the fight against the climate crisis that this blaze could impact the entire world.
But first, it is 7:00 p.m. here in London, and "Britain's destiny is your choice alone." Those words, from the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the two leaders met in Paris, today, to discuss what else but Brexit.
And those who fear a no-deal Brexit won't take any comfort from their meeting. The prime minister, yet again, reiterated his desire to remove
the Irish backstop insurance policy from the withdrawal agreement.
Now, the E.U. say that's not an option, with Mr. Macron describing the backstop as "indispensable." So the French president is making clear that,
to avoid a no deal, the ball is in Britain's court.
Well, yesterday on the show, if you remember, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said the onus is on the U.K. to find a workable plan. Mr.
Macron, today, said that time is also of the essence. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): It is solely for the U.K. to decide its destiny, to decide about the way you will leave
the European Union and the basis of the future relationship.
We are actively preparing for all the possibilities, including that of an exit without an agreement, on October 31st. It's not the choice of the
E.U., but it is our joint responsibility.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: Of course, I want a deal. And I think we can get a deal.
Let's get Brexit done, let's get it done sensibly and pragmatically and in the interests of both sides, and let's -- well, let's not wait until
October the 31st. Let's get on now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Of course, Mr. Johnson has repeatedly said he's prepared to take the U.K. out of the E.U. without a deal. Let's get more on this. Nina dos
Santos is with me, and Nina has been --
You and I have been talking about Brexit all week. This has been a very busy week. We heard from Merkel yesterday. Today, we've heard from
Johnson and Macron. We'll talk about the body language, which I found interesting, between -- the difference between both leaders.
But let's talk about what Macron said. Because he's seen as almost the hard man of Europe. He likes to play bad cop. Did he give in at all?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's not the biggest (INAUDIBLE) in Europe, but the difference is, is that he's in the ascendant, whereas
Angela Merkel's been in power for a long time, and she's considered politically to be in the descendant.
Also, Angela Merkel's economy is far more exposed than France's economy to Brexit. France stands a lot to gain if there is a hard exit because it can
try and tempt financial companies from the city of London, and so on and so forth.
These are all points that Emmanuel Macron's inner circle have been repeating. They're, in this short meeting that lasted a couple of hours,
what this was all about, really, was putting on a good show for the people, particularly the people of Britain.
For Boris Johnson to say, "Well, look, I went there, I put my point of view across. My predecessor has, three times, not managed to get this
withdrawal agreement through your own houses of Parliament. I told them it was impossible, and they wouldn't listen."
Now, the really contentious issue for both of these parties here, of course, is whether or not a hard border could return --
DOS SANTOS: -- to the island of Ireland. You heard, in those press conferences there, between Macron and Boris Johnson, standing next to him,
each side saying, "Look" -- but decoding the language, Isa, basically, what they were saying is, "I don't want to be the person to have to re-establish
So Macron was talking about the integrity of -- protecting the integrity of the single market. That's code language, essentially, for saying, "Look,
I'm going to have to impose customs checks."
Boris Johnson, on the other hand, as a guarantor of the Good Friday peace agreement, because the U.K. is -- does not want to see a return to the
troubles that the U.K. had to suffer, 20-odd years ago. And many people in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland are so scared of that if
any infrastructure goes down at the border.
So he reiterated that he didn't want any hard infrastructure at the border --
SOARES: So, really, none of them really budging on any of their points.
DOS SANTOS: But the reality is, is there may well have to be some kind of infrastructure at the border, but neither one of these two really wants to
be the one to admit it or to put it into place.
[14:05:01] SOARES: And we heard, yesterday, from Merkel, that they -- that E.U. wants to see clear and credible plans from the U.K. And this is
something that Macron also hinted at today.
DOS SANTOS: They do, but they are not willing to reopen that withdrawal agreement for the moment. We don't know what those clear and credible
plans could be.
Boris Johnson talked, in his press conference with Angela Merkel, about something that pro-Brexit members of the Conservative Party, even before he
came into office a couple of weeks ago, have long espoused this idea of having a database of trusted traders, if you like, people ferrying goods
back and forth between the Republic of Ireland in the south, to the Northern Ireland province that's part of the United Kingdom, and that they
would just be waived through because they would be known.
Maybe you could use technology to recognize the license plates. But we still don't know whether any of that technology is advanced enough to be
used, or whether or not it's worked (ph) anywhere (ph) else (ph).
SOARES: Nina, I'm going to have to interrupt. I'm sorry.
Because we wanted to take you to Italy, to listen to President Sergio Mattarella is addressing the nation. Let's take a listen.
SERGIO MATTARELLA, PRESIDENT OF ITALY (through translator): -- demands our government. It also -- it is also the role that we have now, with the
European Union, for the next five years. It is needed, due to the economic and political uncertainty worldwide.
It is important to remember that, in the face of these demands, it is only possible to have governments that obtain and held the trust of government,
in relation with assessments by government (ph) and parliamentaries with a good program to lead the country forward.
This condition is lacking. The road will be new elections, is the decision to do things in the right way after a year.
The constitution states that voters have to elect the president (INAUDIBLE). However, it is also necessary that the parliament is not in
the condition to express and provide and support a minority (ph) government.
I have been told by some of the political parties, that they have started initiatives for an agreement in parliament to create a new government, and
I have been asked to see in which time I can develop this.
From other political forces, they have expressed a possibility of further verifications. The president of the republic has the duty not to exclude
the minority parliament vote. And as it happened last year, for the government to have just resigned.
Today, we have the duty, for the reasons I have stated, to request in the interest of Italy, to carry out quick decisions, new consultations which
will start next Tuesday, in order to conclude and take the necessary decisions. Thank you.
SOARES: You have been listening to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, speaking to the media, following what has been a day of consultations with
main political parties.
This, of course, if you remember what we saw this week between the League and the Five Star Movement, that kind of collapse, that coalition has
collapsed. Let's go to Barbie Nadeau, who was listening in from Rome.
Barbie, what did you make of what Mattarella had to say?
BARBIE NADEAU, correspondent-at-large, The Daily Beast: Well, it's not entirely unexpected, that he's basically just kicking the can down the road
a little bit. He said there will be new consultations starting next Tuesday. Part of that, we understand, is going to be because of the G7
happening in France. And Giuseppe Conte, as the acting prime minister, still has to fulfill that role.
And there has been a lot of speculation that Mattarella would allow him to do that sort of unhindered. Those new consultations, the new decision to
be made on Tuesday gives him time to do that, to represent Italy as stoically as he can, given that he's just resigned, and then to move on
next week. It's not entirely unexpected.
But what was interesting about what he said, I thought, was that he did not exclude new elections. And that's something that we've been listening for.
Whether he would try to build a coalition or whether he would call new elections immediately. And the fact that he's not excluding new elections,
saying that the people have the right to choose, is telling.
But he's also giving those parties a chance, a weekend to work among themselves and to see what kind of compromises they can make in order to
try to move forward, out of this incredible crisis.
But for the time at least, he's bought the weekend. And that, I think, is really to give Giuseppe Conte an opportunity to represent Italy at the G7
in France -- Isa.
[14:10:05] SOARES: And I'm guessing, a lot of these talks between coalition parties have already started. What's that looking like, Barbie?
But also, could Salvini possibly have shot himself in the foot here?
NADEAU: Well, you know, it's always remained, if it goes to new elections, it's Salvini's game to win. And if it goes to a new coalition, it's really
Salvini's risk that he -- calculated risk that he took, that he's going to lose. Because there's no way, really, from all of the various talks that
we've heard so far, there's really no way that anyone's going to join a coalition with him.
And we've been seeing is, the P.D. Party, that's the Democratic Party, that's the party of the left, really working towards a compromise and
trying to work with the Five Star Movement. And that sort of a coalition would absolutely be one that would not work in Salvini's favor.
But we'll see on Tuesday, if these parties can spend the weekend making compromises. And remember, they've spent the last 14 months criticizing
everything about each other. So if the Five Star and the party of the left, the Democratic Party, can make some compromises, then I think that
we're going to see a good chance that they'll try to form a government, just to keep Salvini at bay, at least for the moment -- Isa.
SOARES: Barbie Nadeau for us in Rome. Thanks very much, Barbie.
Now, the Amazon rainforest is currently burning at an unprecedented rate. It's one of the environment's greatest bulwarks against climate change.
Meaning, these fires are not only causing devastating damage there, but very possibly the entire planet. Our Shasta Darlington has more.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brazil's largest city, plunged into darkness, black clouds filling the sky,
blanketing Sao Paulo, Monday afternoon, thick smoke billowing for more than 2,700 kilometers away, where fires are consuming the world's largest
The Amazon Basin is burning at a record rate, according to Brazil's research center. More than 72,000 fires have scorched the country this
year, an over 80 percent increase compared to the same period in 2018, flames destroying 1.5 football fields of rainforest every minute of every
Smoke, spreading across nearly half of Brazil, visible from space more than a week ago, even spilling into neighboring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Now, the haze stretches across South America, spreading along the east Atlantic coast.
Though fires are common here in Brazil's dry season, climate scientists say this is far from the norm. Instead, environmentalists point to land razed
at unprecedented levels, as a new government encourages industry to develop the Amazon region.
Brazil's right-win president has brushed off environmental concerns as he vows to open the rainforest to business interests. Since he took office in
January, rates of deforestation have soared, as Jair Bolsonaro remains indignant to international criticism.
"Take your money and reforest Germany," Bolsonaro bristled at Germany and Norway's decision to suspend funding to Brazil.
Now, as attention turns to wildfires surging at unprecedented rates, Bolsonaro is deflecting blame. Without evidence, he points to
JAIR BOLSONARO, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): Regarding the fires in the Amazon, I am under the impression that it could have been set
by the NGOs because they had asked for money. What was their intention, to bring about problems for Brazil?
DARLINGTON (voice-over): Home to hundreds of indigenous tribes, the Amazon rainforest is rich in wildlife and natural resources. Often called "the
lungs of the earth," the rainforest supplies 20 percent of the world's oxygen. If it burns to a point of no return, environmentalists warn it
could turn into a dry savannah and begin emitting carbon instead, plunging the planet ever deeper into a climate change crisis.
SOARES: Now, let's get more with Shasta Darlington, who joins us now from Sao Paulo.
And, Shasta, this is, of course, the dry season and farmers do tend to burn in preparation for the new season, of course. But this is far from the
norm, and it is highly worrying.
DARLINGTON: That's right, Isa. I mean, as you said, this is the burning season, this is the dry season. When we don't have rains, the humidity is
low and farmers tend to take advantage and prepare their lands for the next crop.
But what we're also seeing is, in this climate, this pro-development climate, people are illegally burning the Amazon, and that's spreading.
And so we have this record number of fires, more than 72,000 in Brazil since the beginning of the year.
[14:15:04] And, really, no sign, so far, that the government is going to crack down on it, with this flippant response from the president, basically
saying, "Oh, well maybe it's the NGOs doing it to attack me." This is an indication that there isn't an immediate response, an immediate plan to
bring things under control -- Isa.
SOARES: Shasta Darlington for us in Sao Paulo, thanks very much, Shasta, good to see you.
Now, to help us understand how important the Amazon is, let's bring in CNN meteorologist Tom Sater.
And, Tom, as Shasta said in that report, 20 percent of the world's oxygen - -
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right.
SOARES: -- is really supplied by the Amazon, and that is critical here.
SATER: Not just the producing of oxygen, but we need this as a carbon sink. Forests around the world absorb the carbon and they store it.
This is not normal. This doesn't just naturally occur. Yes, you mentioned the dry season, and there are fires set by cattle ranchers and farmers, but
that's a small percentage. More on that in a minute.
This is called the Keeling Curve. Since 1950, Dr. Keeling recorded our CO2 output. Look how it goes up and down: That's vegetation growth,
absorbing, putting more out. We've never been this high as far as our output.
Let's break this down. Rainforests take in carbon dioxide, they also store it, and they produce oxygen. We'll start with the 20 percent of oxygen.
If we didn't have 20 percent on our planet right now, it would not be the planet we have. We wouldn't have the population we have, we wouldn't have
the animal kingdom, we wouldn't have a future.
Imagine if you are a patient, in critical condition, living on oxygen in the hospital, and they cut your oxygen 20 percent, you're in dire straits
or you may perish. It would be a different world.
Now, let's talk about absorption, the intake of the carbon dioxide -- if we could lose that, great -- if the entire Amazon was lost, and all the carbon
that is stored was emitted, it would be equivalent to 140 years of human- induced carbon emissions.
It is believed, stored in the Amazon, is 127 billion cubic tons of carbon dioxide. So that's like taking our past 150 years of industrial life, and
then adding 140. We would be past the threshold. We would be past the Paris Agreement right now, of two degrees. We would be at three, 3.5, four
degrees, and our ocean levels would be up seven or eight meters.
This is not normal, this is criminal. You don't have fires that burn in right and left angles. You don't have fires that burn like this. This is
planned. In fact, they know it's the dry season. They can burn more land, they can scorch more earth than they can with any heavy machinery.
There should be a public outcry, and everyone on the globe right now should be screaming at the top of their lungs, Isa, before we're not able to use
SATER: I know it sounds extreme.
SOARES: No, it's not extreme. It is criminal. You're right in your -- you know, it's not just about the air we breathe, which is the most
critical here. But we're talking about the indigenous communities here in parts of Brazil --
SOARES: -- we're talking about fauna, we're talking about flora, this is all critical --
SATER: The whole world.
SOARES: -- to our survival.
SOARES: Tom Sater, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Now, as you heard earlier, the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, is baselessly blaming NGOs for the fires in the Amazon. Our next guest,
Andrew Miller, is the (INAUDIBLE) director for one such NGO, Amazon Watch, and he joins me now.
Andrew, thanks very much for being on the show. I've been speaking a lot - - for quite a bit with your colleague, Christian, in fact, for hours on end, about the Amazon. And I want to first draw your attention -- draw our
viewers' attention to a tweet from Amazon Watch in the last 41 seconds.
If we can bring -- I'm just going to get my producer to bring up the map. It's a map that Amazon Watch have tweeted, said, "We made this map to show
Amazon fire hotspots in the Amazon rainforest overlap with protected areas and-or indigenous territories. Indigenous peoples are the best protectors
of the rainforest. They're also the most at risk from this destruction. Let's stand with them."
Talk to us about exactly what we're seeing here.
ANDREW MILLER, DIRECTOR, AMAZON WATCH: So in this map, it shows the Amazon, which of course is not just Brazil, but there's -- also you have
the other countries in the Amazon basin that are seeing fires, too -- and Peru and Bolivia and elsewhere.
But this map is very interesting because you can actually see where the indigenous territories are. And when you look at the Amazon from a
satellite, you can also see, in many cases, where the indigenous territories are. Outside of those territories, it's deforested. And right
within those territories, that's where you find the forests.
So the indigenous peoples --
SOARES: So really, the yellow parts are the protected areas and-or indigenous territories. The red dots you're seeing on your screen --
Andrew, I'm just telling our viewers -- are hotspots of fire locations for the last seven days, correct?
MILLER: Yes. And in the last week, there have been 10,000 fires that have been set. And, again, as some of the previous commentators have mentioned,
this isn't simply because it's too dry or simply because there are lightning strikes.
This is because these are fires that are being deliberately set.
[14:20:09] And in many cases, because farmers feel emboldened by the extremist right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, who, in policy and in
rhetoric, has been encouraging further development -- you know, what they call "development" of the Amazon. In many cases, within indigenous
territories or within protected areas.
And this is having catastrophic effects. Not just the fires, but also the rates of deforestation are spiking and the Brazilian space agency has been
documenting this very well. Jair Bolsonaro, in a very similar vein to something that Donald Trump would say, has been calling it "fake news"
essentially, has been calling into question the scientific facts. And taking measures -- for example, firing the head of the space agency, et
MILLER: -- to try to control the flow of information outside of Brazil.
SOARES: I mean, he is known as Trumpino (ph), as "Small Trump" because obviously, some of his rhetoric that we've heard from him. He's also
blamed NGOs for the fires. What's your response to this, Andrew?
MILLER: Well, we don't really have much of a response because it's such an absurd claim. You know, these fires happen, this is the burning season,
these fires happen every year at this time. It's just that they're up almost double, this year over last year.
And again, this is a result of the policies that Jair Bolsonaro is putting in place, slashing enforcement of existing laws, attempting to change the
laws, to weaken the protections of indigenous territories and protected areas, of placing climate deniers and environmental criminals as ministers
within his government.
So that's on the policy side. On the rhetoric side, of course, Jair Bolsonaro has been -- has a very anti-indigenous rhetoric. You know, has
been saying that the deforestation is fake news. And then, of course, the most recent news about him, ostensibly blaming the NGOs.
MILLER: That's something that is simply said in order to drive media cycles. It's something that perhaps plays well with certain members of his
base, but has zero basis in evidence.
SOARES: You know, I was -- I thought -- I speak Portuguese, I'm Portuguese and I do follow his Twitter and see what he says, and Brazilian press. And
I was gob-smacked, in fact, Andrew, when he said, not so long ago, that he thought that the indigenous people had too much land, really, that really,
they should be integrated into -- they wanted to be integrated into society.
How do you interpret this? How is this being interpreted by those, also, who have financial interests and see opportunity in these lands that he
thinks should no longer be demarcated?
MILLER: Well, obviously, I mean, Jair Bolsonaro represents the ruralista agribusiness bloc. And every action he's taking is in their interests.
The discourse about indigenous territories of indigenous peoples having too much land is one that we've heard in Brazil and we've heard in many places
around the world. But indigenous peoples want to protect their territories. They want to expand their territories, in certain cases, and
they're really stepping up. Just last week, we had thousands of indigenous women who were protesting in Brasilia.
And we have many cases around the Brazilian Amazon, where indigenous peoples are organizing forest guards, and they're actively going out and
confronting illegal loggers, confronting illegal miners. And they do this at incredible risk to themselves. And we're seeing cases of indigenous
leaders who are being killed and who are receiving death threats.
Brazil, of course, being one of the most dangerous places in the world to stand up on behalf of the environment. So this is a moment where
indigenous peoples, they're standing up. And they're risking their lives to do so, so it's important that international civil society stands in
solidarity with indigenous peoples, calls out the -- what's going on with this government.
It's also important to recognize that we as international consumers are playing a role here, too, in terms of creating the markets for the beef,
creating the markets for the soy. And so we as consumers need to recognize our role, as shareholders and companies that are invested in Brazil, and as
voters, too, in countries like the United States or in Europe, where Brazil is attempting to establish --
MILLER: -- free trade agreements.
And, you know, we wrote last week that a Trump-Bolsonaro free trade agreement is an apocalyptically bad idea, given what we're seeing in the
Amazon right now.
SOARES: You're spot-on. I mean, big -- some would argue that big finance are, in fact, emboldening Bolsonaro, and that's always -- is in tension all
along. But we all play a part. Andrew Miller from Amazon Watch, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us here on CNN.
MILLER: Thank you.
[14:29:55] SOARES: Still to come tonight, the U.S. president called the Danish prime minister's comments "nasty," and then scrapped a planned trip
to Denmark. Now, his secretary of state is doing damage control. We'll bring you the details, just ahead.
SOARES: Now, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is doing damage control after President Trump abruptly postponed his visit to Denmark, and call the
Danish prime minister "nasty." Pompeo spoke with the Danish foreign minister to (ph) reiterate U.S. appreciates Denmark's cooperation as an
ally. More now from CNN's Anna Stewart.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Isa, the U.S. president said that he wanted to buy Greenland, a Danish territory which is not for sale. He cancelled a
state visit with less than two weeks to go. And he said that the Danish prime minister's comments were, quote, "nasty."
Last night, the president tweeted once again. This time, criticizing Denmark's contributions to NATO, effectively saying that they don't pay
TEXT: Donald J. Trump: For the record, Denmark is only at 1.35 percent of GDP for NATO spending. They are a wealthy country and should be at 2
percent. We protect Europe and yet, only eight of the 28 NATO countries are at the 2 percent mark. The United States is at a much, much higher
level than that...
STEWART (voice-over): Now, his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, did have a phone call with Denmark's foreign minister, clearly to try and smooth
things over. And perhaps it worked because in a tweet, the foreign minister, as you can see here, Jeppe Kofod, said he appreciated the "frank,
friendly and constructive talk" with Pompeo, which affirms a strong U.S.- Danish bond.
Saying, "U.S. and Denmark are close friends and allies with long history of active engagement across the globe. Agreed to stay in touch on full range
of issues of mutual interest."
And interestingly, Isa, some analysts here in Copenhagen have actually said that this flurry of diplomatic activity to try and smooth things over may
end up actually strengthening the relationship between Denmark and the United States.
However, it may not do much for the popularity of the president here on the ground. Some of those protests that were scheduled to be here when the
U.S. president made his state visit, now of course cancelled, are expected to still take place. Back to you, Isa.
SOARES: Thank you very much, Anna Stewart there.
And still to come tonight, the U.S. president's tone takes a messianic turn. Find out why he's calling himself "the chosen one."
[14:28:59] And President Trump is getting cheers from Russia. The Kremlin- controlled media's applauding him for urging the G7 to let Russia back into the fold. So why is President Putin giving Mr. Trump the cold shoulder?
We'll explain, next.
[14:30:32] SOARES: Welcome back to the show. It is 7:31 here in London.
Now, U.S. president Donald Trump heads to Europe in a few hours for the G7 Summit in France. He'll leave behind a fog of confusion, as well as
controversy in Washington after all that had him contradicting himself on taxes, as well as gun rights, threatening the guaranteed birthright
citizenship from immigrant children, slamming Jewish voters who support Democrats and proclaiming this about himself when it comes to China. Take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somebody said it's Trump's 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He doesn't only say he's the chosen one, but he actually looks up to the sky when he says it. Now, of everything Mr. Trump said in his
whiplashing-inducing rant, his comments about Jewish voters in U.S. might be, perhaps, the most shocking. Some inside the administration are telling
CNN that the president has gone too far.
Here's Tom Foreman with more.
TRUMP: You vote for a Democrat, you're being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you're being very disloyal to Israel.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From naming Jerusalem the capital of Israel to siding with the Jewish nation on territorial matters
to his stand on Iran,
Trump is painting his support for the Israeli government's causes as so profound, only idiots would not agree.
TRUMP: I think it shows either total lack of knowledge or a great disloyalty.
FOREMAN: He has even embraced a right-wing trope that says Israelis see him like he is the second coming of God, retweeting a conspiracy theorist
who, like Trump, has questioned President Obama's birthplace.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): It's outrageous, it's offensive, and it's dangerous.
FOREMAN: Jewish lawmakers, rights groups and several Democratic candidates for president are howling.
"Trump's stance as anti-Semitic, pure and simple."
"These comments are insulting and inexcusable."
"The Jewish people don't have to prove their loyalty to you."
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am a proud Jewish person. And I have no concerns about voting Democratic.
FOREMAN: The fury is not merely because Trump is winking at an old stereotype, suggesting American Jews may be as loyal to Israel as they are
to their own country.
Rather much of the anger flows out of a sense that Trump has been here before, inviting the creator of an anti-Semitic comic to the White House,
telling a group of Jewish Republicans the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is your prime minister.
And when rightwing marchers in Virginia changed, "Jews will not replace us," there was Trump, acknowledging their violent clash with counter
protesters, but also giving them comfort.
TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
FOREMAN (on-camera): Still politically, this all makes sense. Less than a quarter of Jewish voters supported Donald Trump in 2016. He has a strong
group of support among white supremacists who don't like Jews much anyway.
And among Christian evangelicals, there are those who believe that Trump is an historical figure sent to fulfill a Biblical prophecy that will raise up
the State of Israel before the coming end of days.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
[14:35:03] SOARES: Absolutely fascinating.
Now, Mr. Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are both orthodox Jews, and top presidential advisers, as you all know, and both
have remained publicly silent in the aftermath of all of this.
Joining me now, CNN Senior Political Analyst, John Avlon. And, John, we have got so much to go through him. So glad we've got you in the show.
Because, look, it's pretty easy, John, to kind of brush off some of the president's comments as farcical, but we've seen weeks of statements which
are seriously raising eyebrows in Europe, and I suspect more so in the U.S.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, those statements should cause questions and concern. When you've got a bottle of confusion on
spooling on the White House lawn yesterday. And Tom Foreman's package is surreal.
I mean, if it was a dark satire, that package would be just as appropriate but, of course, this is reality. In the course of one day, yesterday,
Donald Trump looked up to the sky and said he was the chosen one. He retweeted a conspiracy theorist suggesting he's the second coming of God
and told a group of military veterans and medal of honor winners that he'd inquired about awarding the medal of honor to himself, which is our
nation's highest military honor. Donald Trump, of course, avoiding the draft during the Vietnam War.
None of this is good. None of this is a great sign of stability. What's extraordinary is during this civic press test for going into the United
States, the administration and much of the government is trying to continue on as it would normally. But the president is the prime distraction. And
that's a polite term for it.
SOARES: And, John, you said it's not a good sign of stability from White House officials, from those you've been speaking to. How worried are they?
Is anyone worried about this erratic behavior?
AVLON: Concerned, but I think this has been basically -- behind the scenes, things are always worse than they seem in front of the cameras.
And in some respects, Donald Trump is radically transparent with his tweets. You get a decent sense about what's on the top of his mind at any
given time no matter how ugly and politic or inarticulate it might be.
But, you know, you've seen for a long time, White House staff and administration leaders basically playing an ornate game of contain the
president. They basically treat him almost like a malevolent child who's likely to lash out, and they're trying to go about doing their jobs as best
Lest we forget none of this is normal. There are other countries who have suffered through something similar, perhaps a different distant epochs of
history, but this is a first for us in the United States. It's not, I think, a particularly proud chapter, but the Republican Party is sticking
with him because they like judges, they like taxes, they like the economy. At least for now.
And I think what they need to remember is they're going to own this, because a lot of the values they say they professed, are being violated by
the president's comments, in some cases, actions almost every day.
SOARES: You mentioned the economy. And my question, really, is going to be, how much is this a divergence? How much is this a distraction from
other issues in the United States?
AVLON: Well, it's clearly a distraction. Some of the president's closest allies in Congress wish he would just shut up. To lay off the Twitter and
let the economy go forward. That said, there are signs that America's longest economic expansion which began under President Obama continued
under Donald Trump, maybe seeing dark storm clouds ahead.
Look at all these self-inflicted wounds when it comes to foreign policy. I mean, good gosh. We're having a debate about whether the president's
snubbing Denmark because they wouldn't agree to talk about selling him Greenland. I mean, this is the stuff of parity.
But beneath that all, there's also serious stuff. You know, not only a climate change denier being president at a time when that's a, clearly, a
rising global issue. But now, lobbying to have Russia readmitted to the G7, which is raising eyebrows appropriately. So there's always the noise
and then there's the signal. And you need to, sort of, pay attention to both when you're dealing with Donald Trump.
SOARES: Let's talk about then the noise and the signal on this topic which is the birthright citizenship. What we've heard is comments on this and
how much he's flip flopped on this. Can the president, John, just for our international audience, can he sign an executive order basically changing
what is written in the constitution when it comes to this?
AVLON: No. Simple answer, no. But that's a good example of how the president's unspooling can touch so many things that they don't rise to the
surface. Among the many things the president discussed yesterday was challenging the aspects of the 14th amendment in court. The 14th Amendment
passed after the civil war with an immediate eye towards making former slaves U.S. citizens, regardless of state law or their birth status at the
It has been consistently interpreted since to apply to all people who were born in the United States. The Trump administration and some conservatives
have looked to try to overturn that as a means of curtailing illegal immigration, giving their focus on what some of them call invasion and
replacement and all that kind of nonsense that you've seen and then might too many people on the far right.
The president trotting that out almost casually yesterday, and it getting subsumed under the general chaos.
[14:40:04] SOARES: And so on that point, John, on the birthright citizenship comments, on the offensive remarks regarding Jews as well, the
Jewish people, how -- I mean, who is that directed to? I mean, we heard in Tom Foreman's packages, basically saying that less than a quarter of Jewish
voters supported him in 2016. So, who is he targeting here?
AVLON: I think it's sometimes a mistake to read too much strategy in the president's impulses. They are just that. Impulses. That's it. He is a
canny politician when it comes to dog whistles for certain constituencies, conservative populists, nationalists, who are seeing a resurgence of course
And sometimes those folks are themselves, simply replying to instincts, sometimes, it's something more sinister resembling ideology. But I can't
stress enough how dangerous it is and how much of a departure it is for U.S. president to be saying that Jewish Democrats in the United States are
One of the hallmarks of our foreign policy has been bipartisan support for Israel since Harry Truman recognized it in the wake of World War II. This
attempt to drive a deep wedge. This is all electoral winner. But it's raised a lot of eyebrows. And that's not to say the president is anti-
Semitic. You made the point about his daughter and son-in-law, both of whom, inappropriately, work in the White House. At least, in contradiction
of American tradition.
But why does he keep hammering at this point home? It's not about electoral gains. And again, the president, sometimes, bleats things out
that are heard as dog whistles to other folks.
SOARES: Well, I think we, perhaps, are looking forward to some fireworks at the G7. We shall see.
SOARES: John Avlon, good to speak to you. We could speak for hours, in fact, but we have to wrap up. Thanks very much. John Avlon there.
AVLON: Thank you.
SOARES: Now, while President Trump's comments this week have bewildered and angered others, as John and I were just talking, Russia, for one, is
thrilled about at least one thing, he said. I'm talking about Mr. Trump's call for Russia to rejoin the powerful G7. John touched on that there.
Well, he may reiterate that push this weekend at the G Summit in France. More now on Russia's reaction from CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Moscow.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kremlin-controlled media is celebrating after President Trump says he wants
to see Russia rejoin the group of strongest industrial nations, the G7. A translated version of President Trump's remarks getting massive applause on
the state TV.
TRUMP: That's not the way it really should work.
PLEITGEN: State TV already showing graphics of the G8 logo, now, with a Russian flag, claiming President Trump made the move because he feels he
owes Russia after the U.S. recently tested a land-based Tomahawk cruise missile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Trump just tested the new Tomahawks. That will soon probably be deployed next to our borders to
scare us. So it looks like the American president feels guilty or ashamed, saddened. Trump decided to unburden himself and agreed with Macron to
invite us to G7. They missed us.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Russia was kicked out of the group in 2014 after it invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The decision was made during the Obama
administration but was approved by a majority of the member nations. Still, President Trump choosing to praise Putin over his predecessor.
TRUMP: Because Putin outsmarted him. President Obama thought it wasn't a good thing to have Russia in. So he wanted Russia out.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Despite Trump's words, Russia's leader is showing Trump the cold shoulder, saying Russia is developing new advanced weaponry
and even blaming the U.S. in part for a recent explosion during a botched Russian weapons test that led to a radiation spike.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The tragedy in the White Sea that took lives of our specialists have enduring works on
advanced weaponry. We are not hiding that. The people who suffered were doing critical work to ensure the security of our state, because our
partners, including the Americans, are testing new systems. So we also need to pay extra attention into this.
PLEITGEN (on-camera): For all of President Trump's apparent enthusiasm, the Russians themselves, so far, haven't even said, whether or not, they
would want to join the G7 again. Several Russian officials coming out and saying the Russians really would like to see sanctions relieved before even
thinking about rejoining that organization like the G7.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
SOARES: We'll have more news after a very short break. Do stay right here.
[14:45:47] SOARES: Welcome back. Now, in Italy, President Sergio Mattarella is pushing political parties to step up their work to form a new
government. We've brought you that breaking news at the top of the show. It was breaking news in the show.
It's the breaking news that we've been following this hour. He said, if you remember, the last 46 -- in the last half an hour, I would say, he said
he gave them a deadline, if you remember, until Tuesday to report on progress in those coalition talks.
That's after the parties told them they needed more time to come up with a majority. Italy's ruling coalition collapsed this week and Mr. Mattarella
is deciding whether to give someone a mandate to form a new cabinet or call a snap election.
Now, one of the issues that really sank the ruling coalition was immigration. The sticking point? The fate of hundreds of migrants rescued
in the Mediterranean. A story that we have been covering here on this show this week.
As Simon Cullen now reports, they're becoming a test, not just for Italy, but in fact, for the entire European Union.
SIMON CULLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For nearly two weeks, these migrants have been languishing onboard the Ocean Viking.
JAY BERGER, PROJECT COORDINATOR, MSF: Each day, the conditions are deteriorating. The anxiety is growing amongst the people we have on board.
CULLEN: The 356 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean by two French charities off the coast of Libya. Plucked to safety from their rubber
Almost a third are children. Many of them traveling without a parent or guardian. But there's nowhere for them to go. The two closest countries,
Italy and Malta, are both refusing permission for the rescue ship to dock.
BERGER: We implore the E.U. to find its humanity and stop this disgrace and find us a place of stay as soon as possible.
CULLEN: Another rescue ship, the Open Arms, was allowed to disembark at the island of Lampedusa earlier this week, but only after the Italian
courts intervened to overrule the government.
CULLEN (on-camera): The cycle of migrant rescues followed by a political standoff, is becoming all too familiar in Europe as the continent continues
to struggles to come up with a unified position on how to deal with those arriving by boat.
CULLEN (voice-over): And the reality is there's little the E.U. can do right now beyond urging member states to cooperate on migrant rescues.
NATASHA BERTAUD, SPOKESWOMAN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The commission would welcome the same spirit of solidarity which has been shown by member states
in the Open Arms case for the migrants on board the Ocean Viking vessel.
CULLEN: The French president acknowledges something needs to change.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): We need to find the European solution to deal with this impasse. Solidarity is lacking in
Europe. Unacceptable decisions have, again, been taken by some, and the handling of the recent cases remains deeply unsatisfying.
CULLEN: Unsatisfying, too, for those caught in the middle waiting and hoping to begin a new life in Europe.
Simon Cullen, CNN, London.
SOARES: Well, critics are wondering if Hong Kong's high-speed train can become a one-way ticket to a Chinese jail. British consulate employee,
Simon Cheng, was recently arrested after going through a train station in Hong Kong. China says he was soliciting prostitution, but his friends are
not buying that.
As Kristie Lu Stout now reports, that train station asked China to make arrests in the heart of Hong Kong.
[14:50:01] KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been hailed as a vision of the future.
LU STOUT (on-camera): The West Kowloon Station is a gigantic $10 billion glass and concrete structure that houses a high-speed rail link between
Hong Kong and Mainland China.
LU STOUT (voice-over): The Hong Kong government considers this an economic game changer. It helps the city's economy by bringing in more visitors
while linking Hong Kong to Macau and cities across southern China.
But this glittering development is deeply controversial. That's because the station has an area where all passengers going to the mainland are
prescreened by Chinese immigration.
LU STOUT (on-camera): Yes, it's a setup similar to those seen in the U.K. and Canada where officials from France and the United States prescreen
passengers for the sake of efficiency. But those officials only have the power to approve or deny entry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Departing passengers will need to comply with mainland laws.
LU STOUT (on-camera): It's more complicated here. In part of the West Kowloon Station, mainland Chinese laws apply. That means Chinese
territories can make arrests inside the terminal or even transfer people to the mainland. Critics fear this foothold could allow Chinese police to go
after government critics in the city.
LAM CHEUK-TING, HONG KONG LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL MEMBER: It will evolve the autonomy of Hong Kong and against the one country, to a system principle.
LU STOUT: Defenders say that joint checkpoint makes for a smoother immigration process to facilitate the journey from Hong Kong to over 40
destinations in China.
LU STOUT (on-camera): And that's why mainland Chinese police are stationed here in the commercial heart of Hong Kong.
Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
SOARES: More to come tonight, including the future of protesting. Why some climate activists are headed to camp for civil disobedience training.
We'll bring you that story after this.
SOARES: Now, contaminated drinking water is just one concern for environmental activists. And as they try to call attention to the problems
they want to address, they're using new tactics, strategies for civil disobedience that they've learned at training camps.
Saskya Vandoorne takes us to one in France.
SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN FIELD PRODUCER: Clashes between police and protesters, angry chants, arrests, seemed all too familiar in France. Only
this time, it's not a real protest.
This is the culmination of a 12-day climate activism training camp for as little as seven euros a day, participants here in this small town of
Kingersheim in Eastern France, can learn a range of techniques. From role- playing exercises like learning to go limp when arrested, to sewing and creating eye-catching placards.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It must be understandable by everyone, very fast.
VANDOORNE: Cecile Marchand has been a driving force behind the camp for three years now. She says, there were 300 participants when it started.
Today, there are over 1,000.
CECILE MARCHAND, CAMPAIGNER ON CLIMATE AND PUBLIC ACTORS, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: The idea is more to give concrete tools to the people like how can
you interest the press, how do you coordinate direct, non-violent action. How do you trained people to follow the legal part of an action?
VANDOORNE: Participants are of all ages, and have come from across Europe.
VANDOORNE (on-camera): Environmental activism has entered a new phase of planned acts of civil disobedience. And it's camps like these they are
teaching activists how to coordinate. And camps all across Europe, the Netherlands, Belgium, the U.K., and in France. More and more people are
learning how to possibly resist police and stage peaceful protests.
[14:55:03] Now, what are the police make of it? Well, they along with the interior ministry, said that they didn't want to comment. But with
activists here gearing up for the G7, it will be the police will be on the receiving end of their newly acquired skills.
It's thanks to the permission granted by the mayor of Kingersheim, that these 700 activists are able to stage this fake protest today. He says,
elected officials need to do more to fight the climate crisis.
JO SPIEGEL, MAYOR OF KINGERSHEIM, FRANCE (through translator): I think this government is about the present and not the future. This is why I
believe nonviolent protests and civil disobedience can change our government's perspective and policies. I know it's not easy, but that's why
we have to work together.
VANDOORNE: Critics say that these camps can radicalize activists and are a threat to the public order. Cecile disagrees.
MARCHAND: People are not fighting against climate change after its against the public order. We do want to change the system. For that, we need to do
more than just convince people, and to put pressure on them. And to do that, we think about civil disobedience can be an important part of the
VANDOORNE: A strategy that will be put to the test when leaders from the world's seven most developed nations are set to gather in South West France
Saskya Vandoorne, CNN, Kingersheim.
SOARES: Now, finally this hour, heated debate online demands an answer to one simple question. Bird or bunny? It's all because of this viral video
showing someone petting, well, something. Some think it's a bunny getting a nose rub. Others say it's a bird leaning back for a head scratch.
We did fact check this, so cover your ears if you want to keep arguing and keep staring at this video. It's an African white-necked raven aptly named
mischief. He lives at the World Bird Sanctuary in the U.S. State of Missouri. He's actually gone viral a few times before for talking. But
this was his first go at pretending to be another species.
And you have to admit it, he's done a pretty good job of it. I can only see one thing. So maybe I really can't see the other. I could be staring
at it for a while, though.
That does it for us. Thanks very much for watching. Do stay with us. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next with Richard Quest.