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Moment of Truth for Benjamin Netanyahu's Power; "High Probability" Saudi Attack Launched From Iranian Base Near Iraq; Lewandowski, Dems Clash As Impeachment Hearing Goes Off the Rails; Hurricane Humberto Aiming at Bermuda; Bahamas Medical Team Goes Door- to-Door to Help Hurricane Victims. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired September 18, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all over the world. I am Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.
Voting has ended in Israel's do-over election but once again the race is too close to call, throwing off Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection plans.
Iran is again denying that it was behind the attack on Saudi oil facilities. And the country aims to ramp up production. The latest on the investigation and the international response.
Plus lawmakers hold their first official hearing related to impeachment on Capitol Hill. Donald Trump's former campaign manager managed to duck and dodge his way through hours of tough questioning.
CHURCH: Good to have you with us. And we are waiting for official results from the latest cliff-hanger election in Israel, where Benjamin Netanyahu's future as prime minister could be in jeopardy.
Exit polls show the centrist Blue and White Party just slightly ahead. That could mean the leader, Benny Gantz, will get the chance to form a coalition government. He said he has already started negotiations with other political parties.
Netanyahu is the longest serving Israeli prime minister ever but he faces mounting legal and political challenges that could end his time at the top.
Now to CNN's Oren Liebermann, who has been covering the campaign.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage here behind me at about 3:30 in the morning with exit polls showing an incredibly tight race between Netanyahu and his rival, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz.
He said they need to wait for all the votes to be counted even as the exit polls began slipping away from Netanyahu and towards Gantz. In his speech he started by thanking his supporters, the volunteers, thanking those who voted Likud. Certainly wasn't a victory speech but it wasn't a concession speech.
Suddenly he changed his language on the type of government he wants to see. He did say he had talked to the right-wing parties but instead of talking about a right-wing government, he said he wants to see a national unity government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Israel needs a strong and stable and Zionist government, a government that is committed to Israel as a national state for the Jewish people. There won't be and there can't be a government that is being supported by anti- Zionist, Arabic parties that doesn't believe in Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: Netanyahu's Likud campaign throughout had anti-Arab rhetoric, saying they're trying to steal the election and accusing them of election fraud. He continued that, saying the Arabs can't be part of a Zionist government in Israel because they are anti-Zionist.
Meanwhile, Benny Gantz spoke a short time before Netanyahu. He said although they still have to count the votes, it appears they have accomplished their mission. They see it now is their job to unify the government.
They are also calling for a national unity government to bring the main parties together and lead this country in what they see as a unifying path to bring all of the sectors into one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENNY GANTZ, LEADER, BLUE AND WHITE PARTY (through translator): I hope to create a wide unity government that is willing to return Israel its social values.
We are one people, one society. The period of polarization is behind us. The work of unity and reconciliation is ahead of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMANN: For Netanyahu, these elections are not just about his political future and whether he can remain as the longest serving prime minister in Israel's history, they are also about his personal future.
He has two weeks now until a preliminary hearing and in three ongoing corruption cases. The attorney general said he intends to indict him on charges of bribery and breach of trust pending that hearing that is now two weeks away.
If Netanyahu got the right religious government he was hoping to have at the end of the night, he may be able to have legislated immunity from prosecution for himself. It appears the path of that government is very far away at this point.
Where does this go from here?
The results will be finalized on Friday. And only on Friday. Then all the political parties will begin meeting with Israel's president. He will see who they recommend. He will then appoint somebody to try to be the next prime minister and put together a government and then we are in coalition negotiations, which is where it all fell apart in the summer leading Israel back to elections -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, Tel Aviv.
CHURCH: joining me now from Tel Aviv is Dahlia Scheindlin, an international political and strategic consultant who has worked in 15 countries, including five campaigns in Israel.
Good to have you with us again. We spoke 24 hours ago and here we are in the midst of this very tight race. The winner will ultimately be the one who can form a governing coalition. And former military leader Benny Gantz is working to form a broad unity government to represent everyone Israel, including Arab parties.
Well, Benjamin Netanyahu is pledging to form a Zionist government.
So which man do you think will have a better chance of succeeding in building a workable coalition?
DAHLIA SCHEINDLIN, INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC CONSULTANT: Right now we have no idea which one will actually be prime minister. The two blocs, Netanyahu's right-wing parties and Benny Gantz with the center and left parties, have come in almost evenly except with one difference.
It's a slight correction to what you said. It's not clear that Benny Gantz and Blue and White want to bring in the Arab parties into a coalition. In fact, they have generally indicated that they will not do that. So this is an open question right now.
We do not know what the relationship will be with the Arab parties, meaning they have fewer seats to go into a government but it does look likely that the Arab parties would recommend to the president that Blue and White should lead this kind of unity coalition.
So that would make it more likely in one way that Benny Gantz might be asked to form the coalition. But this is all extremely up in the air. Just the two blocs are too similar in size. Avigdor Lieberman, the small party that is projected to get around 10 seats, really has become the major factor that has changed the dynamic of the kind of government we will probably see in Israel.
If you look at the actual breakdown of votes, of people who voted for right-wing parties came in almost exactly the same as they did in April and for the previous 10 years. The only thing that has changed is that one of those right-wing parties, Avigdor Lieberman is no longer automatically recommended Netanyahu form the government.
In fact he is insisting on a unity government and that's where everything becomes an open question.
CHURCH: Of course, Mr. Netanyahu sees Israel, thinks it needs a strong, stable Zionist government committed to Israel as a national state for the Jewish people and says that cannot include anti-Zionist Arab parties.
What is your reaction to those comments and his goal for Israel?
Is that the future for Israel?
SCHEINDLIN: I think what he has not totally internalized is that he has been doing things that reflect that approach, that attitude towards governance for the last 10 years. The pinnacle of this kind of attitude that Israel must be essentially a state for the Jewish people, leaving out or somehow suppressing the representation of 20 percent of the population.
The pinnacle of that was the nation state law. And then he went on to campaign very heavily on this issue. Not only since the results were published but as part of his campaign.
What we are learning and we have yet to see the full implications, is that it did not rally any more voters to support Likud. Even as well as he did in April. The projections are showing him at 32; in April Likud got 35 seats, after they incorporated another small party. They should have started off with 39 seats. Their vote apparently dropped, it's an interesting statement, again, we, don't yet know what it really means. But it looks like that big rallying cry. Save Israel from its own minorities did not make a strong impression on all those voters who left what should have been 39 seats for Likud starting from April.
Two other parties, many of them went to Avigdor Lieberman knowing that Avigdor Lieberman was the factor that was going to change the government and probably lead t the end of Netanyahu's reign.
SCHEINDLIN: So it's an interesting statement butt that doesn't seem to be the strongest point in people's mentality for those who change their minds.
CHURCH: So if Benny Gantz succeeds in forming his unity government, how will that work for Israel?
And what future does a unity government offer Israel as opposed to a Zionist government option? SCHEINDLIN: Well, we should not draw a contrast between them. A unity government will still be certainly Zionist and especially if it's a unity government between Blue and White and Likud. It will absolutely not include the Arab parties. The Joint List, representing an amalgam of several Arab parties, will be the head of the opposition.
So we should not expect this to be a contrast to a Zionist government. Moreover, we are not even totally clear on the policy differences with relation specifically to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Blue and White's platform looks quite similar in some ways to what Likud has been doing in government for the last 10 years.
SCHEINDLIN: A status quo, slow incremental expansion into the West Bank, some sort of separation from parts of the West Bank but essentially they do not even say the words two-state solution. Several members of the Blue and White challenger party were former members of Netanyahu's cabinet.
I do not expect huge changes there, even though they talk about it differently. It will probably be a different government if there is a unity government, specifically on issues of religion and state because it will leave out the ultra orthodox parties and be a secular government to some extent, we think.
Again, all of this is open. But it looks likely that Lieberman will insist on the government does not include the ultra orthodox parties, which might mean curtailing the power of ultra orthodox Judaism in Israeli public life.
And maybe we will see some restraint on what has become an assault, a rhetorical assault and, in some cases, a policy assault on the judiciary of Israel coming from the Netanyahu government. There is a lot of talk that the judiciary is an enemy of the people. And a dictatorship of a minority trying to constrain the power of the legislature.
That has become a major theme in Netanyahu's leadership. If we see a unity government with Blue and White and Likud, I imagine that rhetoric will subside somewhat.
CHURCH: All right, we will wait until Friday, we will get more of an idea on where things are going but this could take some time, thank you so much, Dahlia Scheindlin. We appreciate it.
SCHEINDLIN: My pleasure.
CHURCH: A U.S. Defense official says the U.S. has images backing up the assessment of Saturday's attack on Saudi oil sites came from inside Iran. CNN has not seen the classified images but they reportedly include evidence of the weapons used in the attack.
Iran denies responsibility but its Houthi allies in Yemen say they are responsible and hit the sites with drones. Meanwhile sources tell CNN the Pentagon has been ordered to plan
potential responses to the attacks. They say the White House is waiting for the kingdom to decide on its own response before the U.S. moves ahead. U.S. vice president Mike Pence made it clear on Tuesday that military action is an option.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We don't want war with anybody. But the United States is prepared. We are locked and loaded. And we are ready to defend our interests and our allies in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Germany's chancellor is taking a more patient turn. Angela Merkel says Berlin will wait on findings from the investigation before assigning any blame. She is also promoting a diplomatic response instead of military action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): We prefer a diplomatic process which we are trying to push ahead, but in recent days tension in the region rose. And Germany will always be in favor of de-escalation and long-term solutions are only possible through a political process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And while the world watches the aftermath of the attack, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo is traveling to Saudi Arabia to consult with leaders there. CNN's Nic Robertson is in Riyadh with more on how both countries are coordinating a response.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: What we are learning from a source familiar with the investigation is that some of the missiles fired at the oil facilities here fell short.
They landed in the desert to the north of those petroleum plants. And what that has given U.S. investigators and military weapons experts to understand and Saudi investigators is access to only partially damaged weapons systems.
We know that the Saudi authorities have said the weapons systems were made by Iran. And this perhaps is where that information is coming from, from those weapons systems that have been discovered. These are partially damaged.
But it will give the investigators a good opportunity to do better forensic examination. But they are also able to draw some other conclusions. They describe these missile systems as cruise missiles that can fly at a low level with drone technology, if you will, added to them. And they say that they believe that this is with a high degree of
probability, both U.S. and Saudi investigators believe right now that these weapons systems were fired from bases inside Iran, next to the border with Iran, that these missiles flew into Iraq over Kuwait and then down towards the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
But it is because some fell short, that is giving investigators such an advantage now. It appears to have a better line of inquiry, a better line of analysis.
ROBERTSON: Now officially, what Saudis are saying is they don't know where weapons were fired. From they say they will continue an investigation.
They are trying to broaden international support. They are inviting U.N. international experts to join in this process. They are saying that they have the resolve and the capacity to respond with force if necessary.
But they say they will take their action once they reach a conclusion of their investigation. But at the moment, they are really trying to draw in stronger international support, particularly by saying that this attack was a strike against the global economy and global security because it had such an impact on global oil supplies -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
CHURCH: Saudi oil protection will be fully back to normal by the end of the month, that's according to top oil officials. Production dropped by 5.7 million barrels a day after the attack but a recovery plan is in motion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE ABDULAZIZ BIN SALMAN, SAUDI ENERGY MINISTER: Where do you find a campaign hope with (ph) have been through this devastating attack and came out like a phoenix from the ashes. (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Currently Brent crude is down more than 6 percent, falling below $65 a barrel in response to Saudi Arabia's news to restore production.
U.S. House Democrats did not get very far in their first impeachment related hearing on Tuesday. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski struck a combative tone from the start, attacking lawmakers and refusing to answer questions. Sara Murray reports the partisan sniping went on for about six hours.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump's former campaign manager stonewalling the House Judiciary Committee as its official first impeachment hearing turned into a spectacle.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Mr. Lewandowski, it is correct that, as reported in the Mueller report, on June 19th, 2017, you met alone in the Oval Office with the president?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I say, is there a book and page number you can reference me to, please?
I don't have a copy of the report in front of me.
MURRAY (voice-over): Corey Lewandowski never worked for the Trump administration but that didn't stop the White House from instructing Lewandowski to limit his testimony to what was covered in special counsel Robert Mueller report.
LEWANDOWSKI: Congressman, the White House has directed I not disclose the substance of any discussions with the president or his advisers to protect executive branch confidentiality and I recognize this is not my privilege but I'm respecting the White House's decision.
MURRAY (voice-over): The White House blocked other former White House aides, Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn, from testifying at all.
NADLER: I think we should call this what it is, an absolute cover-up by the White House.
MURRAY (voice-over): After slamming the investigation in his opening statement...
LEWANDOWSKI: As for actual collusion or conspiracy, there was none. What there has been, however, is harassment of this President Trump from the day he won the election.
MURRAY (voice-over): -- Lewandowski did acknowledge that President Trump asked him in 2017 to deliver a message to then attorney general Jeff Sessions, asking Sessions to limit the Mueller probe and not investigate the Trump campaign.
REP. HANK JOHNSON (D-GA): President Trump was hounding you about when are you going to deliver that message, correct?
LEWANDOWSKI: Completely inaccurate, Congressman.
JOHNSON: Well, he asked you about it a few times, didn't he?
LEWANDOWSKI: No, he did not.
JOHNSON: He never asked you whether or not you had delivered that message?
LEWANDOWSKI: Not on multiple occasions, no.
JOHNSON: One occasion, OK?
He did mention it on one occasion to you --
LEWANDOWSKI: I don't know if that is in the report, sir, or not.
MURRAY (voice-over): Lewandowski tried to arrange a meeting with Sessions at Lewandowski's office rather than the Justice Department.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, Jeff and I are friends socially and I wanted to have the opportunity to have a meal with Jeff and relay the conversation which the president asked me to ask Jeff to consider giving.
MURRAY (voice-over): The meeting never happened. And Lewandowski never delivered the message. But he claims the president's request was aboveboard.
REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): You didn't think that was illegal to obstruct justice?
LEWANDOWSKI: Congressman, the president didn't ask me anything illegal.
MURRAY (voice-over): But the defiant former Trump aide refused to divulge much more.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, then, don't ask me the question if you don't want my answer.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D-TX): -- my time. This is the House Judiciary, not a house party
MURRAY (voice-over): Lewandowski's behavior got a rise out of Democrats...
JOHNSON: Gentlemen, Mr. Lewandowski, you are about like a fish being cleaned with a spoon. It is very hard to get an answer out of you.
MURRAY (voice-over): -- while Republicans leapt at the chance to bash the Russia investigation and their Democratic colleagues.
REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX): This committee has become the search party for impeachment.
MURRAY (voice-over): And Lewandowski piled on.
LEWANDOWSKI: Congressman, I think they hate this president more than they love their country.
MURRAY: Lewandowski was one of his earliest and most loyal aides and he is known for being a compact of guy so they shouldn't have been surprised by what they saw on Tuesday. And certainly President Trump was pleased he took to Twitter to thank Lewandowski -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: We are going to take a break.
CHURCH: Hurricane Humberto is growing in strengthening. We are tracking the storm plus survivors of Hurricane Dorian are in desperate need of medical care. We have a team of doctors making how schools in the Bahamas. We will be back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: More deadly violence rocked Afghanistan on Tuesday. At least 48 people have been killed in two separate suicide attacks north of Kabul. The attacker targeted an election rally where Afghan president Ashraf Ghani was set to speak.
According to officials Ghani was not hurt but at least 26 people were killed. The Taliban have claimed responsibility.
Just hours later, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the U.S. embassy in Kabul; 22 people were killed. U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan have condemned both attacks.
Hurricane Humberto is gaining strength as it heads toward Bermuda. It is now a category 3 that is considered a major hurricane.
CHURCH: The Bahamas is just starting to recover two weeks after Hurricane Dorian smashed into the islands. Some of the hardest hit areas still have yet to receive medical care. Our Rosa Flores followed a team in Freeport helping those in need.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two weeks after Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, a U.S. team of medical professionals went door to door in communities around Freeport.
TIM LEYENDECKER, VOLUNTEER MEDICAL TEAM LEADER: We are a U.S. rescue team.
Are you OK?
FLORES (voice-over): Tim Leyendecker, a U.S. Coast Guard auxiliary officer who specializes in search and rescue operations, is leading this volunteer mission.
LEYENDECKER: Initially it was major injuries and hurt people. Now it is just like they are living in no air conditioning, it's hot; they have no fluids.
FLORES (voice-over): His deputy is Dr. Patricia Harding. Word of mouth spreads quickly that doctors are making house calls on foot. This 81-year-old man was the first patient tended to. He complained of backache and a rash infection.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It hurts?
Your body hurts?
FLORES: So we cannot ask too many questions. We have to keep moving for safety reasons. Tim has made it very clear to us that we have to stay very close to him.
FLORES (voice-over): Then Dr. Harding is asked to check a pregnant woman inside a home.
DR. PATRICIA HARDING, LEYENDECKER'S DEPUTY: It's OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's OK, honey. You're going to be fine.
HARDING: We will find a way to do an ultrasound so we can make sure that the baby is OK.
FLORES (voice-over): Patricia Miller breaks down, the 20-year old says she is worried that the hustle and bustle of riding buses to evacuate and the stresses of the hurricane have hurt her baby.
Our cameras stay outside the door as Dr. Harding tries to find a heartbeat.
Those sounds you hear, they are coming from the portable machine Dr. Harding is using to find the heartbeat. While it is difficult to pick up the fetal heart tones, Dr. Harding, whose specialty is obstetrics, says she believes Miller is about five months pregnant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meanwhile, take your vitamins, drink lots of fluids.
FLORES (voice-over): Supplies are limited so it's packed in the back of the car. Resourcefulness is a must. See how the team used a nail on the side of a house to hang an IV bag. After a day of consultation on roadsides...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you show us what they gave you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is (INAUDIBLE).
FLORES (voice-over): In homes and front porches, the response from Bahamians, who thought the world was beginning to forget about their devastating new reality, to the U.S. medical team was the same -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Freeport, Bahamas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're important. Yes. They are.
FLORES (voice-over): Rosa Flores, CNN, Freeport, Bahamas.
CHURCH: We are going to take a short break here. Still to come, massive wildfires are raging in Indonesia. Thousands of firefighters are battling the flames and police believe dozens of suspects may bear responsibility.
Plus Brexit looms large over Great Britain's supreme court as it weighs whether the prime minister acted unlawfully. We will be back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. Former military leader Benny Gantz could become Israel's next prime minister. Exit polls show his Blue and White Party with a slight lead in voting for the Knesset. The Likud Party led by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a close second.
Sources tell CNN the Pentagon has been ordered to plan potential responses to the Saudi oilfield attack, but they say the White House is waiting for Saudi leaders to decide on their own response before the U.S. moves ahead. Houthi rebels in Yemen say they are responsible for Saturday's attack, Iran denies any responsibility.
Donald Trump's former campaign manager appeared on the first day of congressional hearings related to possible impeachment of the President. Corey Lewandowski stonewalled on most questions, but he did confirm the Mueller reports' description of President Trump, ordering Lewandowski to tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of the Mueller probe.
Well, the U.K. Supreme Court is considering whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted lawfully by advising the queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks. As Matthew Chance reports, the court's decision could have far-reaching implications on the balance of power in the U.K.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the latest convulsion in the agonizing Brexit saga that's been continuing here in Britain. This time, it's about the British Prime Minister's decision, Boris Johnson, to suspend or prorogue Parliament for five weeks, a move that sparked outrage amongst his critics, who suspected it was intended to stymie parliamentary scrutiny of his Brexit strategy. There have been a couple of court cases challenging it. One in England, which found there was nothing illegal about the prorogation, and that it was merely a political decision.
But another case in Scotland decided the opposite, that the suspension was essentially against the law. It's now up to the Supreme Court here in London to decide which view should prevail. If it goes against the government, i will be a humiliation, another one for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and will mean that Parliament will have to be recalled where it's likely to attempt to further limit Boris Johnson's attempt to room for maneuver as a crucial Brexit date approaches.
It all fueled further arguments and divisions across the country. Remainers say that Britain's pro-Brexit Prime Minister is acting undemocratically and needs to be held back. But Brexiteers say this is all just another attempt by remainers to stop Brexit. Matthew Chance, CNN London.
CHURCH: Firefighters in Indonesia are battling massive wildfires on the island of Sumatra. And the country's president is on his way to visit the area. More than 5600 firefighters are on the scene with help from dozens of planes carrying water. Police say they have arrested 66 suspects in connection with the fires. A devastating new report on the Amazon. It says criminal groups are behind most of the deforestation there. And they don't hesitate to kill those who get in their way. The report by Human Rights Watch says the Brazilian government is failing on two fronts to protect those who defend the rainforest and to protect the rainforest itself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CESAR MUNOZ ACEBES, SENIOR RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The number of deforestation alerts have doubled since these government took office in January compared to last year. The Amazon is suffering the worst wave of fires in a decade. And that is clearly connected to lack of enforcement. This government has weakened law enforcement agencies that are trying to uphold the law there, and we can see the effects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Human Rights Watch says in the past five years, there have been 28 killings with only two having gone to trial, largely due to the failure by police to conduct investigations.
Well, Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill has been withdrawn, but it's not the end of the protests, the city's political outlook, ahead. Plus, U.S. President Trump met with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student who was detained in North Korea, but it's what he said afterwards that many people find shocking. We'll have the details for you, just ahead.
CHURCH: Hong Kong's pro-democracy advocates are urging U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation to protect their human rights. The city has had more than three months of demonstrations, some of them violent. The protests were triggered by a now withdrawn bill that would have allowed people from Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The protesters see it as growing interference by Beijing in Hong Kong's promised autonomy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSHUA WONG, HONG KONG ACTIVIST: Our most important demand is general structural change in Hong Kong, which means free election. Our government's lack of representation lies at the heart of the matter. As I speak, Hong Kong is standing at a critical juncture. The stake have never been higher. We are confronted by the huge Chinese military buildup just across the border in Schengen.
DENISE HO, HONG KONG ACTIVIST: If Hong Kong falls, it would easily become the springboard for the totalitarian regime of China to push its rules and priorities overseas, utilizing its economic powers to conform others to their communist values, just as they have done with Hong Kong in the past 22 years. The U.S. and its allies have everything to fear if they wish to maintain a world that is free, open, and civil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Emily Lau joins us now from Hong Kong. She is the former chairwoman of the Democratic Party. Good to have you with us.
EMILY LAU, FORMER CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CHINA: Hello, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So, after 15 weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations, what exactly has been achieved and what's the end goal here?
LAU: Well, of course, this dreaded bill is finally going to be withdrawn when the Legislative Council reconvenes next month, but we still don't know when because the chief executive Carrie Lam, still hasn't given the date. So, that shows you how nervous she is. And of course, if the council resumes, I mean, there is concerned that it would be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people. Again, and the council proceeding cannot proceed.
And also, as we speak, Rosemary, I don't know whether you've heard the latest news, is that the Hong Kong Jockey Club has cancelled the horse racing tonight in Happy Valley. Why? Because the horse of this very obnoxious legislator Junius Ho is going to run in the race. And the netizen said they are all going to Happy Valley to give him support. And the club is so worried, they've cancelled horse racing. And when the late Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping, said, after '97, you have one country, two systems, the horses will continue to run, you can continue to dance. Now, horse racing is gone. What's next, Rosemary? That's why people are very, very concerned.
CHURCH: So, what do you think is next? LAU: Well, I think that the protesters, the netizens, the Hong Kong people, as you've seen in the last hundred days, they are very persistent. They are very tenacious, but they are not fighting for independence. They are fighting for what is within the confines of one country, two systems, and the basic law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. And so, we want the government to respect the human rights of Hong Kong people, to respect the rule of law, to fight against police brutality, and to give Hong Kong democratic elections like our people were saying to Congress.
CHURCH: And as you mentioned, Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong's chief executive is set to withdraw that extradition bill that triggered all of the protests and all of these chaos. Will that be enough, ultimately? Does she need to resign? The protesters, most of them, have called for her resignation, does that need to happen to move forward?
LAU: Well, I think if she steps down and some of the senior officials steps down, you will hear the champagne bottles popping. I will, myself, get a few cases, to share with my friends. But that's not enough. What we are saying is the government has to defend one country, two systems. So, although we don't have democracy, we've never had democracy. But we enjoy human rights and the rule of law and personal safety, much more than many democratic countries.
That's the irony of Hong Kong. But this system is crumbling. And there is no trust between the people and the government of Carrie Lam and with Beijing. So, they have to show sincerity that they are willing to listen to the wishes and demands of the Hong Kong people, and not just to the pro-Beijing politicians and the businessmen.
CHURCH: How would they do that? Are you hoping that Carrie Lam would sit down with protesters and talk about the way forward? That hasn't been done as yet, and that they've said that that's not really possible where things stand now. So, how do you move this forward? And the reality, too, is that if Carrie Lam leaves, she'll only be replaced with someone who is also there representing the same way forward, right?
LAU: Well, be that as it may, but the message must go out. Any chief executive, even if chosen by a few hundred votes, if the person commits a big blunder, he or she has to go. I think that message has to go down very, very clearly. And you know, tonight in Hong Kong, Carrie Lam has invited 400 district councilors to meet with her. 400, and she's giving them two hours.
So, many people, including those from my party, they are boycotting the event, because she has no sincerity. So, if she shows sincerity, if she will positively respond to the public demands, and one key demand, apart from withdrawing the bill is to set up a truly independent commission of inquiry to look into the whole saga, not just task targeting the police, but look at police brutality, of course, and all the thing why this whole thing blew up? It's the biggest, biggest crisis since 1997. How did they come about? So, we want that, and she's resisting it. So, if people say you have no sincerity, how can I meet with you? CHURCH: Emily Lau, thank you so much for joining us. CNN will, of course, continue to follow this story. We appreciate it.
LAU: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, President Trump says his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is very good. His comment comes days after a secret dinner with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who was held prisoner by Pyongyang and died in 2017 soon after he was released.
[02:45:09] CNN's Brian Todd has more on the future of the U.S.-North Korea relationship.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: North Korea's dictator now seems open to something he'd previously brushed off, working-level meetings between officials, lower-ranking than he and President Trump. Meetings that could jumpstart nuclear talks.
Kim Jong-un's foreign ministry saying it hopes working-level talks will improve relations. But also warns, "On the contrary, they may add to the hostility towards each other."
FRANK JANNUZI, PRESIDENT, MAUREEN AND MIKE MANSFIELD FOUNDATION: The message they want to get across is that they are not over-eager for these talks. And that it is the Americans who should bring some concessions with respect to sanctions relief and some softening of the demands on the North in terms of the extent of the denuclearization steps.
TODD: The North Koreans latest overture comes just after the parents of American college student Otto Warmbier went to the White House.
Warmbier was a prisoner for 17 months in North Korea, after being tried for stealing a propaganda poster. He went into a coma in North Korean custody and died just a few days after being returned home in 2017.
Despite President Trump's embrace of Warmbier's parents, there is been tension between them. Since Trump, said he doesn't hold Kim Jong-un responsible for Otto Warmbier's death.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He felt badly about it. He tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word.
TODD: The Warmbiers were furious, issuing a statement criticizing the president for making excuses for the dictator. Warmbier's mother, later calling Trump's diplomacy with Kim, a charade.
CINDY WARMBIER, MOTHER OF OTTO WARMBIER: How can you have diplomacy with someone that never tells the truth? He lies, he lies, he lies -- all for himself. TODD: CNN has asked the White House, the State Department, and the Warmbiers for information on their weekend dinner at the White House. None of them would comment. But the dinner could have served to remind the president of the Kim regime's brutality. JANNUZI: Human rights issues have fallen completely off the table.
The president has praised Kim Jong-un's leadership, he's praised his integrity as a leader. And he's made no mention of either Otto or the broader human rights concerns that the U.S. has.
So, so, this dinner was an opportunity for the parents of Warmbier to remind the president that these issues matter.
TODD: Meanwhile, veteran diplomats are concerned that President Trump has allowed Kim Jong-un to get the upper hand in other ways. Especially by not holding the dictator accountable for conducting, at least, nine short-range missile tests since May.
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER UNITED STATES UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: This is letting them get away with too much. One of the first objectives of any negotiation should get -- should be to have them freeze these missile tests. The fact that they're conducting them is really -- I think, defiance of the United States.
TODD: This comes against the backdrop of a window of opportunity for a nuclear deal which may be starting to close. Experts believe President Trump is getting more eager by the day to reach a nuclear deal with Kim in parts so that Trump can bolster his own re-election campaign. And that Trump is willing to overlook missile tests, human rights violations, and other transgressions by Kim to get that deal.
The dictator, experts say, is all too aware of Trump's eagerness and is trying to play that to his own advantage. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: The U.S. Justice Department is suing Edward Snowden over his new book, Permanent Record. The government, says he broke contracts he signed with the CIA and the National Security Agency.
But this new lawsuit isn't trying to stop publication of the book, the government says it wants money, the royalties. Snowden fled to Russia after he leaked U.S. intelligence about its surveillance programs, including one that tracks the phone records of Americans. He spoke to a teleconference in Germany.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD SNOWDEN, AUTHOR, PERMANENT RECORD: People say I violated my oath because it was an oath of secrecy. But there is no oath of secrecy, it does not exist. There is a secrecy agreement, but this is a civil contract, the government, a nondisclosure agreement.
On the other hand, we do have a very dramatic oath of service. I swore allegiance, an oath of loyalty not to the CIA, not to the intelligence community, not even to the government of the United States.
But it says, I swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, our basic law. Against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Snowden recently said he would like to return to the United States, but only if he could get a fair trial.
Well, the next big thing in tech, Samsung is banking on its sensors and robots. Ahead, we get an exclusive look inside their ideas lab. Back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shark, shark, shark, evacuate the water immediately. There is a shark in the water. Please evacuate immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Wow, that warning you hear came just in time for a surfer in Australia. An amateur drone pilot spotted a shark circling the waters. Thankfully, that drone has an infrared camera and a speaker system as you heard. So, the pilot could blare out that warning. And he says, the shark was spooked, swam away once that surfer started splashing towards the shore.
That was pretty close, want to see more of those, right?
With global smartphone sales declining, electronic companies are searching for the next big thing. For Samsung, that's sensors and wearable tech. It's all coming from there secretive research and development labs in South Korea.
Our Kristie Lu Stout got an exclusive tour inside their facility.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Samsung Electronics has one of the most secure R&D labs in the world. Security is tight and everyone and everything is scanned to make sure that all intellectual property remains on site.
But, we managed to get in and to get rare access to go inside and see a wide variety of yet to be released innovations, including a robot that you can wear.
LU STOUT: In 2010, the company released its first medical device in a calculated bid to turn health care into a new growth engine. Recently, Samsung is focused on sensors and wearables. These robot guys developed a product they call, the Gait Enhancing Motivation System, or GEMS.
It doesn't feel heavy. Oh, my goodness, this sounds weird, but there's a tingling sensation.
Those are sensors located on my hips. They measure the angles created by the distance each of my legs moves in a typical walk. And then, motors lift my legs based on that personalized gait, giving my muscles a big boost.
Oh, goodness, it just kicks up my feet.
LU STOUT: Of course, Samsung's biggest competitors -- I'm talking companies like Apple, Huawei, Google, Amazon, all have secretive labs as well. But Samsung has a reputation for throwing things against the wall to see if they stick often at a faster rate than its rivals.
Now, that strategy is great when it works, but it can lead to the occasional flop. But for a company built on what they call a crisis culture that constant cycle of inventing, failing, and iterating is baked into its DNA.
And according to analysts, it's what's keeping them on that leading edge of technology. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHURCH: Well, sometimes getting the shot means you have to take the fall. Look at what happened to this cameraman trying to film Corey Lewandowski on Tuesday. We understand he's OK, but he just joined a pretty long list of epic wipeouts.
Jeanne Moos rounds up some of the best.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You see all those feet coming towards you, except for a couple of pairs facing the wrong way? That is known in the T.V. news biz as backpedaling.
It's what a camera person does when a candidate is on the move and the faster they move the more likely this is to happen. The guy had happened to CNN's D.J. Judd, shrugged it off. He was unhurt and his camera --
DONALD JUDD, CNN VIDEO PRODUCER: My gear is fine, my dignity not so much.
MOOS: Here is what it looked like from D.J.'s point of view.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.
JUDD: There goes your streak.
MOOS: That's candidate Pete Buttigieg, noting the end of D.J.'s no fallstreak. Watch this guy tear by Buttigieg to get in front of him, and then, wipe out.
Here's the replay of him zipping by from another angle. Instantly, back on his feet. Backpedaling isn't confined to news. There was a time the Alabama Crimson Tide flooded the field and a sports photog bit the dust.
Of course, a camera person doesn't have to be going backwards to fall.
But rather, it is some black ice, which at times can be a very slippery thing, let me tell you.
MOOS: At least, his reporter joined him on the ground. President Trump, not so much.
T.V. crews were furiously backpedaling when man down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How does it make you feel when you --
TRUMP: Are you OK?
MOOS: The president barely broke his stride. But on the slippery floor of the U.S. Capitol, a reporter got some TLC from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
There is a trick cameraman used to fall correctly.
JUDD: It's to tuck and tumble. And first and foremost, to protect your gear.
MOOS: And to heck with the human roadkill. Jeanne Moos, CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How does it make you feel --
TRUMP: Are you OK?
MOOS: New York.
CHURCH: Some dangerous work there.
Well, President Trump was a reality T.V. star before he was in the White House. His former press secretary Sean Spicer has taken the opposite route showing off his moves on Dancing with the Stars.
His new gig is keeping late-night comics very entertained.
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC: Sean Spicer made his debut on Dancing with the Stars and everyone was talking about his outfit. Take a look at this. Oh, man. He looks like your fun aunt after three wine coolers.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, NBC: Somehow, Dancing with the Stars found a way to humiliate Sean Spicer more than the president of the United States.
I'm not sure if that technically counts as dancing, but this is how it went over with the judges.
ANNOUNCER: Bruno Tonioli.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Four!
KIMMEL: Yes. That's right, he got 12 out of 30 or as he described it, the highest score ever recorded in the history of Dancing with the Stars.
CHURCH: Yes, they're having lots of fun at his expense, right? Thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Do stick around.