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CNN NEWSROOM

Spicer's Addition To Dancing With The Stars Has Riled Host; CNN Crew Hit With Tear Gas During Hong Kong Protests; Sanders Pushes Back On Crowd For Cheering At Koch's Death; Movie "Bombshell" Takes Aim At Fox News Founder Roger Ailes; 6 Injured When Lightning Strikes PGA Tour Championship; Inferno Rages In The Amazon As World Leaders Blast Brazil; Brazil's Farmers Held "Fire Day" To Show Support For President; Russia Test-Fires Missiles As G7 Leaders Meet In France. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 24, 2019 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You're live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Our breaking news tonight. A lightning strike injuring six people at the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta. Atlanta police say all six of those hurt were gathered beneath a tree seeking shelter from the rain when a lightning bolt struck the tree. Those six injured fans are now being treated at a local hospital. Police say they were all alert, breathing and conscious during transport. Now, play had been suspended prior to that lightning strike due to bad weather.

I want to bring in Patrick Snell, anchor of CNN World Sport. Patrick, you were there at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta when all this unfolded. What did you see?

PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORT ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, really disturbing scenes here at East Lake. Let me set the scene for you, because earlier in the day we had play suspended for the second consecutive day. This, as the weather came in, but it was a period after that, that I was actually in the media center at the time there was a lightning bolt. The whole media center shook and we really felt that.

But, of course, at that point my mind instantly goes to the fans, the spectators out here on this famous old court. Two lightning strikes in total, one of which hitting a large pine tree close to number 15 and 16 holes here, close to where there is a fan engagement zone as well. And as you said a total of six people suffering injuries, in principle, due to the debris that will result from the lightning strike. And there were paramedics out on the course here attending to those who needed attention.

I myself, our production team here as well, witnessing the emergency services coming onto the course here in Atlanta. A police presence as well. It was really, really serious and really, really alarming just to watch unfold what was taking place here when normally all the attention would be on the superstar golfers that the fans have come out to watch. But on this occasion very much a case of what was going on to the spectators.

So what happened? Then they decided to suspend play for the day, the course was evacuated. We do understand, the latest reporting, the injuries not appearing to be life threatening and play will resume, is slated for 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning, Ana.

CABRERA: Okay. Now the PGA, I am told, just held a press conference. Did they say anything about how much warning fans had to take cover?

SNELL: Well, I think it was just a quote. One question that really resonated for me during the press conference was, given the forecast, why did tournament organizers not take the decision to start play earlier during this Saturday? That was something that was put to them.

And the response was, look, they do have a professionally trained meteorologist here at all the events run by the tour, and it was a case of, yes, they were aware of the threat of the pop up storms, but that they still took that decision to go on and continue with play.

And that was the situation that was took. That was the decision they made. And as we know, we do know that this really concerning chain of events that have been taking place. And as I say, the spotlight, and the fallout, one of the questions I put to them, what lessons need to be learned? That is something that is really important now moving forward.

But what we do know, play is set to resume Sunday morning 8:00 a.m., and by the way, spectators, if they do have a ticket in the Atlanta area, the ticket for Saturday providing it's a ground ticket, will be honored for Sunday play as well, Ana.

CABRERA: Okay. Patrick Snell, glad you're okay. Glad those six injured fans, who were impacted by all this, are going to be okay too, it sounds like. Let's speak to one of them now. Joining us on the phone, he was just feet from where lightning struck, we're told. Billy Kramer is with us. Billy, I understand you just got out of the hospital. First, how are you doing?

BILLY KRAMER, MAN INJURED IN LIGHTNING STRIKE: I'm doing fine. Just a mild ankle sprain. I'll be okay and I'll be back in my booth selling burgers.

CABRERA: What kind of injuries did you sustain?

KRAMER: Just a mild ankle sprain. I have (inaudible) in my knees. It's unclear if I was thrown from the cart. I was in a gold cart just (inaudible), just about to have passed the tree when the lightning struck the tree. And I still don't recall whether I was thrown from the cart, or if I jumped from the cart, because at some point I thought the tree was going to fall. And so, I was trying to get away from the tree as quickly as possible. And then, eventually, when I tried to land, I realized it wasn't falling, but there were people on the ground around the cart that I was in.

[20:05:00]

KRAMER: And so, I went back to get my phone to call 911. And then, eventually, all of the medical personnel were there. And I think they all did a great job. And all the people on the ground from Northside Hospital were fantastic. And I'm just happy. I think we're all (inaudible) and all the others. But I've heard they're okay, so I'm just hoping that's the case.

CABRERA: We are hoping that as well. The PGA says when play is suspended, they encourage spectators to leave, to take shelter anywhere they can. Did you hear any sort of warning or instructions from people on the ground?

KRAMER: I had heard a siren. I was actually on my way back from the compound where we keep our food stored. We were running low on our beef and I was on my way back from the compound to get back to our booth. So I was attempting to go back to a place to seek shelter. But, you know, we just -- it's a really unfortunate, unlucky sequence of events. No one can predict that. It's just unfortunate that it happened.

CABRERA: Do you think the PGA should change its policy for how it handles severe weather?

KRAMER: Well, I mean, I think, they blew the siren. I think, people make the best -- from what I saw, I think, people were heading back, heading to places of shelter. They weren't sprinting. I got to be honest with you, it wasn't raining. Like, it didn't feel -- like, it wasn't a torrential downpour. No one -- I didn't feel unsafe. I was on my way back, you know, to be with the people working with me at the event. I think everybody else was heading towards shelter. They weren't -- there was -- it didn't appear that (inaudible) towards shelter. So I don't know that the tour did anything wrong. I think, again, it's just -- we just got unlucky. I mean, I think it's one in a kagillion chance incident. And we just were unfortunate to be around it.

CABRERA: You described having an injured ankle. Do you know about any of the other injuries?

KRAMER: I don't. I think, and this is just fuzzy memory. At some point, I was probably in shock. I believe I saw somebody with a neck brace on, or somebody looking (inaudible). You'd have to see if you can find out the details on your own.

CABRERA: Yes.

KRAMER: I really just pass the medical staff. So (inaudible), I really just wanted to go back to booth and they wouldn't let me. You know, they were very concerned for my safety and asked me to go to the hospital as a precaution. And I'm happy that I wind up doing that. So I think they did everything that they could.

CABRERA: When you said you couldn't remember exactly what happened, did you understand that it was a lightning bolt that struck? KRAMER: Yes. I mean, when I tried to explain -- the best I can explain to my family was that I felt like I was in a major car accident. But like I was blindsided by a car is what it felt like. And so, in the split second that it happened, I realized it was lightning. Again, I ran. I pulled out of the cart. I was still inside the cart. I just can't remember that part. All I know is, I was on the ground trying to get to my feet to run away from the tree. And when I turned around, I realized it wasn't falling, and there were people lying on the ground. So everybody that was around ran back to help these people. And only 'til I saw the pictures later of the lightning strike did I really understand how close we all were to something catastrophic.

CABRERA: Wow. Billy Kramer, thank you so much for jumping on the phone with us. I'm so happy to know that you are okay. Really appreciate you sharing with us what happened.

KRAMER: Thank you, Ana. We'll be open tomorrow selling burgers, so come on by.

CABRERA: All right. I wish I could.

KRAMER: (Inaudible).

CABRERA: I send you my very best. Hopefully you sell lots of hamburgers.

Still to come, awkward allies. What President Trump is revealing about his meeting with world leaders tonight at the G7 Summit.

Plus, Sean Spicer has a new gig, but one Dancing with the Stars cast member is anything but happy.

And imagine driving down the road and seeing this. Look closely there. A driver apparently asleep at the wheel on an L.A. freeway. We'll explain. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

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[20:10:00]

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CABRERA: Tonight, the president of Brazil says he is sending more than 43,000 troops to fight widespread fires in the Amazon. But will it be enough to stop the relentless destruction? Flames are quickly consuming rare species of animals, potentially life-saving plants, and a tree canopy responsible for 20 percent of the world's entire supply of oxygen. Think of it this way, the Amazon provides one of every five breaths you take and all of it burning at the rate of one and a half soccer fields per minute.

Although the Amazon Rainforest spans eight countries, about two thirds of it lies in Brazil. And Brazil is taking most of the criticism for this inferno. Its farmers use fire to clear land for cattle grazing, or logging, or crops at home. Angry protesters called Brazil's president public enemy number one. And international outcry is growing as well. The EU is threatening to tear up its trade deal with South America. And world leaders meeting at the G7 Summit are also speaking out.

Will their words spur action? CNN Senior International Correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, is in Porto Velho, Brazil, and joins us now. Nick, Brazil's Bolsonaro was tweeting tonight about fighting the fires. Is the global backlash now getting through to him?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think probably he's had to realize that Brazil is facing a lot of international condemnation, because of the nature of his government's policy here. Many blame his belief that the Amazon is a resource that people should be using to enrich themselves as being behind the deforestation we're seeing here.

[20:15:00]

WALSH: It's that deforestation, by the way, that's causing one and a half football fields to be disappeared every minute, not the flames we're seeing. The flames are, though, 85 percent up, or what we saw in last year's dry season.

But it's clearly, Ana, (inaudible) on his response, he suggested in a speech last night that actually he recognized this was worse than last year, but still put it down to the normal fluctuation and dry season burning here. But those 43,000 troops, very publicly on their way, were certainly the first ones.

We've certainly seen very heavily televised pictures, over see 130 cargo plane dropping water on some areas. But still, there is a substantial part of the Amazon near where I am, certainly in the worst affected, Rondonia state, of flame, much of it away from the main highway.

We drove down those main highways ourselves and we saw how much of the ground on either side has previously been cleared or has recently burned. We asked police officers where the flames were and actually they said a lot of the surge in flames comes at night when people come out to set the fire to the forest.

You heard that right. That's actually human made, some of this devastation, the police told us today. That tallies with what many monitors have said as well, because of Bolsonaro's government's policy, saying that the Amazon shouldn't necessarily be as protected as the rest of the world would like to see.

People have felt, perhaps license to go out there, clear it, deforest it, allow agriculture in place. We saw hundreds of cattle lining the fields. Either way, they're really behind the beef that you and I eat, as such a ready part of people's diets. And often the land is cleared to let them graze or to grow soy to feed them. And actually, the tariff war, you spoke about earlier on between the U.S. and China, are making Brazilian beef and soy much more popular with the Chinese growing market.

So, so much of the world economy and world dynamics at play here and so much international condemnation now facing towards Brazil. We heard off camera Angela Merkel of Germany, and Emmanuel Macron of France, and Boris Johnson of Britain talking about how they didn't want to make Bolsonaro feel they were against him. They, sort of, seemed like plotting a strategy to try and cajole him into action.

He seems publicly like he wants to do something. But there's still a gulf, frankly, between his belief that the Amazon belongs to Brazil and no one can tell them what to do with it. And people should be allowed to enrich themselves from it. And the world's general panic at the extent of these flames here. They are the worst possibly seen, maybe for decades, certainly since some records were initially kept and they've jumped significantly from last year.

The question is, does the government effort that we're seeing underway here now actually mean that things are going to change in the days ahead? There are some suggestions able to get some of the flames intact. Here where I'm standing in Porto Velho, you can smell the smoke in the air.

We've spent much of the day seeing the sky obscured by it. That's new. That wasn't here last year during the burning season. And many are deeply worried that we could be seeing the Amazon edging towards irrevocable destruction, Ana.

CABRERA: Wow. Nick Paton Walsh, great reporting. Thank you for being our eyes and ears, bringing us the reality of what's happening in the Amazon.

The warning signs have been flashing for years and my next guest has been trying to get the world to notice them before it's too late. Biologist Philip Fearnside lives in Manaus, Brazil, the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. Thank you, sir, for being with me. How worried are you right now as these fires blazed throughout the Amazon?

PHILIP FEARNSIDE, BIOLOGIST: Well, everyone should be very worried about that, not only because of what is being destroyed this year, but also because of what it shows the tendency is, which is an increase in deforestation, tremendous increase since last year and with it an increase in fires, even when it isn't an extreme drought year.

As you just said, this is the record of fires, at least since 2012 when the current system started. And during that time, you had a major El Nino in 2015, 2016. And we're beating that in a normal year. So this is a warning.

And you had a tremendous dismantling of the environmental agencies and policies here in Brazil just in seven months. And we still have three and a half years to go in the Bolsonaro administration.

CABRERA: Yes.

FEARNSIDE: So a lot can happen there.

CABRERA: We've known that deforestation has been a growing issue for years. As we mentioned, cattle farmers want land to graze their herds. Soy farmers need space to grow crops. There's widespread illegal logging on top of that. I understand that last week, ranchers actually organized a so-called Day of Fire where ranchers in different parts of the Amazon agreed to burn on the same day as a show of support for their president. Is that true?

FEARNSIDE: That's absolutely true. And it shows a very direct connection between President Bolsonaro and supporters in this event.

[20:20:00]

FEARNSIDE: And, of course, what has happened over the last seven months of the administration since it came into office in January is a constant barrage of anti-environmental rhetoric, plus some concrete actions in preventing the environmental agency from applying fines. So this is way down.

And we've had ministers visiting illegals soy plantation, indigenous reserve, and praising it, and so forth. You have the president himself who was fined for illegal fishing before he came into office and has never paid the fine. And when he came in, the fine was annulled. And he had the person who issued the fine fired.

CABRERA: Wow.

FEARNSIDE: This sends a tremendous message to all the people who are working in environmental agencies and the people who are out there (inaudible) before us that you're not going to have consequences. So is his speech to the nation last night saying that it's going to be zero tolerance for environmental crimes. It's hard to counteract what has happened over the last seven months.

CABRERA: Bolsonaro has seemed to take a dim view on foreign donors. Quoting here, he says, "These countries that send money here, they don't send it out of charity, they send it with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty."

TEXT: BRAZIL'S PRESIDENT SCORNS AMAZON AID. "These countries that send money here, they don't send it out of charity, they send it with the aim of interfering with our sovereignty." Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil.

CABRERA: Philip, does he think the Amazon belongs to Brazil instead of the world? And how do you battle that mindset?

FEARNSIDE: Well, the Brazilian Amazon does belong to Brazil. But the problem is, using this argument as a means of deflecting concern about environmental destruction, which is something which is very much against Brazil's own interests. It isn't that the world is trying to trick Brazilians into doing (inaudible) against Brazil's interests. This is something Brazil very much depends on.

Not only do you have the impact of losing biodiversity and adding to global warming, and Brazil is one of the countries that would suffer the most from global warming. It also is a vital source of water vapor for rainfall in Sao Paulo and other heavily populated parts of Brazil, as well as Argentina and other neighboring countries. Because if you cut down the forests, you won't be recycling the water

that falls as the rainfall, The rain will just fall once and then a runoff to the Amazon River into the ocean. So you won't have all that water vapor being carried to Sao Paulo, which during the peak of the rainy season when you fill up those reservoirs is 70 percent of the water. So Brazil really depends on this.

You're on the line already. You've had tremendous droughts when you almost ran out of water in Sao Paulo and other major cities. And if you cut the supply, it's going to be disastrous for Brazil. So it really is the country's future is to keep the forest standing.

CABRERA: Yes. You explained just how interconnected it all is. Philip Fearnside, I thank you very much for spending time with us.

FEARNSIDE: You're welcomed.

CABRERA: A new movie about the Roger Ailes scandal at Fox News promises a bombshell. Just wait until you see the trailer. You're live in the CNN Newsroom. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: With the G7 Summit heading into its second day, there are new signs tonight that one country not invited, Russia, may be trying to steal the spotlight. This video is from the Russian Defense Ministry. It now says ballistic missiles were test fired from two of its nuclear powered subs in the Arctic and destroyed at least one target.

Meanwhile, President Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, smiled along with their wives as they arrive for tonight's working dinner in Seaside, France. But that moment came just hours after the president threatened to slap new tariffs on French wine. Still, a short time ago, the president tweeted that his lunch today with Macron was the best meeting they've had yet. And he claimed progress is being made.

TEXT: 'France and President @EmmanuelMacron have done a really great job thus far with a very important G-7. Lunch with Emmanuel was the best meeting we have yet had. Likewise, evening meeting with World Leaders went very well. Progress being made!' Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump."

CABRERA: Let's bring in New York Times correspondent and CNN political analyst, Julie Davis. Also POLITICO White House reporter, Daniel Lippman. Daniel, it seems like, you know, the expectations going into this summit have been made so low, what could progress actually look like?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, one thing we could see is some action by world leaders to urge Brazil to get control of those wildfires, which is really concerning everyone in the world. And we could see something related to trade in the global economy. They have canceled any communique that they usually issue after these types of summits, because Macron thought that there was going to be too much disagreement.

But once Trump understands that if there are more trade wars, that you could see the recession come into the U.S. and hurt his re-election chances. Then he might respond to some of those, that self-interest. But it's going to take a while for him to actually get that lesson.

CABRERA: And Julia, the G-7 Summit does follow a rough ride, I should say, on Wall Street as the trade war with China sort of blew up on Friday. Is the president going to find any support among the G7 leaders when it comes to this trade war with China?

JULIE DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's hard to imagine that he will. I mean, one of the reasons that Macron decided not to try for a G-7 communique this time was because of President Trump and his track record of having, sort of, upended the consensus on a lot of issues, not just the economy, but the environment and other things at past summits of this kind. So they don't go in with a whole lot of common ground.

And while the president, I think, had been looking forward to talking up the economic success of the United States and taking credit for it, the timing of this new, sort of, escalation with China, I think, makes that very difficult. A lot of the other countries around that table at the summit believe that the trade war that he has provoked and seems to keep ratcheting up has really contributed to an economic slowdown. And they're worried about the effects on their countries and the global economy in general.

CABRERA: Daniel, before the president left for France, he spent much of the week talking about buying Greenland from Denmark. He was turned down. But you're now reporting Greenland is connected to Trump's overarching strategy on dealing with China and Russia.

[20:30:00]

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, and there's a number of allies he has in and outside the administration who are supporting this effort and have been urging him to pursue a purchase of Greenland.

And so what initially helped spark his interest in that island territory was intelligence reports showing that China was about to build three airports in Greenland. And that kind of got his acquisitive interest in the subject.

But he has not gone it about it any way to actually accomplish the sale, he hasn't involved the State Department. And by insulting the Danes and pulling out of that planned visit to Denmark, it makes it much harder for him to pursue any greater partnership that he has been seeking.

CABRERA: Julie, China and the U.S. have been doing this tit for tat tariffs. But now, apparently, the U.S. and Russia are doing the same with missile tests.

JULIE DAVIS, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, absolutely. I mean, it's kind of interesting. You saw the president, say last week, that he thought that Russia should be back at the table at the G7 and some of the other allies don't believe that to be the case, but they seem to have grabbed attention again with this test. And the timing is -- you know, is probably not a coincidence, they're sort of the odd man out as the rest of the large world economies meet in France.

There's definitely a sort of underneath-the-surface struggle there between the United States and Russia. But the president doesn't seem to be very worried about it. We've heard from him about a lot of other things, but not about that.

CABRERA: Julie Davis, Daniel Lippman, good to see both of you, really appreciate you joining me this weekend. Thanks.

LIPPMAN: Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you.

CABRERA: He was a fashion icon, a design genius, ahead of his time. Tomorrow night, tune in for the CNN film about the rise and fall of "Halston." Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is success fun?

HALSTON: Oh, sure, it's fun, it's not fun. As my mother says, it's the price you have to pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most successful individual in the history of American fashion, Halston.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Halston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halston.

HALSTON: I'm Halston. I made it in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His clothes danced with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halston felt that he had to design everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rugs, sheets, perfume, shoes, bags, blouse. He came like a king.

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knew how to get publicity. The problem was he began to believe it all.

HALSTON: I'm the old-time optimist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took Halston to Studio 54.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He fell in love with it right away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lived out a lot of their fantasies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drugs, sex, and rock and roll.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:35:45] CABRERA: New tonight, presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, pushing back on a crowd for cheering when an audience member brought up the recent death of conservative mega donor, David Koch. It happened while Sanders was taking questions at the Minnesota State Fair. Here's a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday, Oligarch, David Koch, passed away, and we're dealing with his -- we're going to be dealing with pollution and the radicalization of his politics.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't applaud the death of somebody. We don't need to do that. I think what we can say is that the Koch brothers and other billionaires, because of this disastrous citizens united Supreme Court decision have been able to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent the wealthy and the powerful and the fossil fuel industry, which is where the Koch brothers made a lot of their money.

CABRERA: Koch, a billionaire political activist, died Friday at the age of 79.

An ominous new movie preview has the media world buzzing. It's for "Bombshell." A film that tackles the Fox News scandal involving Roger Aisles, Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, another women drawn into Ailes' web of sex and power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hot in here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Did you even recognize Charlize Theron there made up to look like Megyn Kelly? We'll have to wait until December to see what happens next. But in the meantime, there are some other pressing questions to ponder about the odd nexus of media and politics right now.

For instance, how did former White House press secretary and proven liar, Sean Spicer, become enough of a celebrity to land a gig on "Dancing with the Stars?"

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: How did former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also notorious for not telling the truth, manage to swing a seat on the "Fox & Friends" couch? She starts that job next month.

Nothing judgmental with the fact the Mueller report documents multiple falsehoods from Spicer and Sanders. And what about the current White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham? What's she actually doing?

She was appointed to the role on July 1st, but 54 days later she has yet to hold a single White House press briefing.

Let's bring in CNN senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy. So much to talk about here. Oliver, let's start with Sean Spicer. I know you have some reporting that some ABC staffers are dismayed that he got this new gig on "Dancing with the Stars." After all, his celebrity really was sparked because of his reputation for not telling the truth and for his unending loyalty to a president who has dubbed the American press, the enemy of the people. Is he, in effect, getting rewarded for that?

[20:40:12] OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: That's what some ABC News staffers think. Brian Stelter, our colleague, and I talked to ABC News staffers. And we were -- we're trying to get a feel of how they're reacting to Sean Spicer being picked to be on "Dancing with the Stars," which is an ABC entertainment show.

And it really range. Some people said there's just some eye rolling, some grumbling inside the newsroom. But other people, and I think people who may be worked more closely covering the White House and dealing with some of the spin and lies coming out of the White House, specifically maybe from Sean Spicer, they're a little more upset. They tell us that it's like a slap in the face to put him on an ABC entertainment show.

One thing that they point to is that "Good Morning America" plays a pretty crucial role in promoting "Dancing with the Stars" and that's an ABC News program. And so an ABC News program promoting an ABC entertainment show, effectively than having to promote Sean Spicer. And that's really a source of tension within ABC News.

But some people are pretty up in arms, and I think that was a quote we had about Sean Spicer being picked for this role.

CABRERA: Let's talk about Sarah Sanders now, just one more example of this revolving door that seems to exist between President Trump and Fox News. Here are just a few of faces who started at Fox and came to the White House and vice-versa, you have Sanders, Hope Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci, Heather Nauert, Bill Shine, Mercedes Schlapp. Are there any lines that haven't been crossed or that still exist separating the two?

DARCY: Right. And might not even be a door there anymore. It just seems like people are going in and out quite often. I mean, it's not even surprising at this point that Sarah Sanders went to Fox. I think it was probably the least surprising piece of news that came out last week. It seemed natural, you know, day turns to night and Sarah Sanders goes to Fox News.

So, you know, there doesn't seem to be much of a separation. People have gone from Fox to the White House and people have been going from the White House back to Fox. Sarah Sanders like you pointed out is the third top communications staffer from the White House who has then found a home at Fox after leaving the Trump administration. Hope Hicks is the director of communications, was director of communications at the White House, now is the director of communications, basically, at Fox Corporation.

Raj Shah, the deputy press secretary, who recently went to Fox. And now Sarah Sanders is going to be making her debut on the "Fox & Friends" couch pretty soon.

CABRERA: Sarah Sanders, Sean Spicer, familiar names, familiar faces to the American people. Stephanie Grisham though --

DARCY: Not so much.

CABRERA: -- not so much. I mean, she -- here she is. In case you didn't know, this is the newest Trump White House press secretary. Not only has she not held a press briefing, since she took over, the New York Times has reported, she also has a checkered past, accusations of plagiarism in past jobs, two DUIs, she probably went and made it passed sending in a resume to other administrations.

But in this one, she's hired and is presumably well paid. I mean, we know Sarah Sanders was getting $183,000 a year. And yet, we don't really have a clue what Stephanie Grisham is doing on a day-to-day basis.

DARCY: Yes. I think most people don't know who she is, because she hasn't been in the limelight the way Sanders and Spicer were, sparring with the press in the briefing room every day. And so most people don't really know what -- who she is or what she's really doing. I think, at this point, we're not going to see probably a daily press briefing resume. That just doesn't seem to be something in the near future we're going to see.

She's seemingly doing more logistics, answering questions and responding reporters and trying to give them background information. But you're right, we're not seeing her in front of the cameras like Sean Spicer, like Sarah Sanders, answering questions on television from reporters. And I don't expect us to see that anytime soon, at least not with Stephanie Grisham, that just does not seem to be something she's going to be doing.

CABRERA: OK. Oliver Darcy, good to have you with us.

DARCY: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Coming up, the moment a CNN crew got caught in the middle of protests and tear gas in Hong Kong.

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ANDREW STEVENS, CNN HONG KONG CORRESPONDENT: Five thousand protesters standing here and have been here for several hours. Just getting slight the effects from the gas here.

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[20:45:06] CABRERA: New tonight, Britain's Prince Andrew speaking out about his formal friendship with accused sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein, denying he knew of any criminal activity going on. Here's the statement.

"I met Mr. Epstein in 1999. During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more. Then only once or twice a year, I have stayed at a number of his residences. At no stage, during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness, or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."

The statement comes after the male online published video reportedly showing the royal inside Epstein's mansion in 2010. That's two years after Epstein first pleaded guilty to sex crimes. Epstein took his own life in a Manhattan jail cell about three weeks ago. Since then, Prince Andrew's friendship with the convicted sex offender has come under scrutiny, especially, in the wake of court documents in which a woman claims Epstein forced her to perform sex acts on the royal.

In Hong Kong this weekend, police fired tear gas at protesters for the first time in nearly two weeks. This was the scene there earlier when officers arrived in riot gear to demonstrators throwing rocks, bricks, and glass. This marks the 12th week of unrest in the region.

CNN's Andrew Stevens is on the ground with more.

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STEVENS: Police have begun their clearing-out operations just in the last 10 minutes or so. The riot teams swept through the barriers and swept thousands of protesters further down the street. They've now drawn the line here, as you can see. And they're now firing tear gas into the remaining protesters. And slowly now advancing forward in a more orderly fashion.

The first charge was literally just that, a charge down to the protesters. And the protesters absolutely fled. You can now smell the tear gas in the air. Not much of it. The police have cleared this place out where there were probably 4,000 or 5,000 protesters standing here and had been here for several hours. Just getting the slight effects of the gas here.

But as you can see, continuing to push the protesters back, continuing to use tear gas to try to clear this street. The protesters have actually been here protesting against new high-tech surveillance measures being used by the police, and actually being rolled out in this area in Kwun Tong, and they have come here to protest that. It was a standoff for several hours. And as you can see now, the police are sweeping down the road, sweeping protesters before them in clouds of tear gas.

Andrew Stevens, CNN, Hong Kong.

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CABRERA: Coming up a sight you would never want to see on a busy freeway. A car cruising along with the driver, apparently, asleep at the wheel.

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[20:50:44] CABRERA: As politicians in Washington continue to clash over immigration policy and the migrant crisis, one American and one Mexican are taking the political hot topic to new heights. Literally. Corbin Kunst and Jamie Marrufo successfully crossed the U.S.-Mexico border walking across nothing but a thin wire. Five hundred feet in the air. They actually did this back in January, and their harrowing politically charged endeavor is now featured in a new documentary that premieres tomorrow.

[20:55:16] The two men describes the endeavor is now featured in a new documentary that premieres tomorrow. The two men described the adventure as an act of solidarity and an example that people can come together despite political differences.

This is not something you want to see in the car next to you while you're driving.

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CABRERA: The couple who spotted that driver says it looked like the car was going about 70 to 75 miles an hour with what appeared to be a driver asleep at the wheel. But it still managed to stay in its lane. At the very end of the clip, the driver appears to wake back up and he puts his hand on the wheel. It's not clear if the vehicle was on auto pilot, but Tesla warned it's no substitute for an attentive person behind the wheel.

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CABRERA: Finally tonight, a story about new beginnings for Paradise, California. A crowd of about 5,000 people gathered last night to watch the Paradise High School Bobcats played their first football game since last November, when California's most destructive wildfire in history, essentially, leveled their entire town. It destroyed nearly 20,000 buildings and left all but three of the paradise football players homeless.

Now, the Paradise Bobcats won their football game. It was a blowout. Final score 42-0.

And a reminder, Mayor Bill de Blasio will be joining me tomorrow night. We'll have back-to-back CNN presidential town halls. Up first Montana governor, Steve Bullock at 6:00. And then I'll moderate the conversation with New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, at 7:00.

I'm Ana Cabrera. That does it for me.

Up next, it's "The Nineties." Have a great night.

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