Return to Transcripts main page
Pompeo Confirms He Was On Ukraine Call With Trump; Putin Jokes: Of Course We'll Meddle In U.S. Election; Victim's Brother Hugs Ex-Cop As She's Sentenced To Prison. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 3, 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 thanks for joining us. It's 2:00 pm in Hong Kong, 7:00 am in London. From CNN Center in Atlanta, I am Rosemary Church with the next 90 minutes of CNN NEWSROOM. Let's get started.
President Trump lashes out about the impeachment inquiry at a White House news conference.
Boris Johnson doubles down, the British prime minister plans to ask the queen to suspend Parliament for a second time. We are live in London with the latest.
And mass protests grow across Iraq. Several cities face curfews and Internet blockages after demonstrators turned violent.
CHURCH: Good to have you with us.
Members of the U.S. Congress will get their first chance to talk to a central figure in their impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. The former U.S. envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, will meet with several House committees in the coming hours.
His name was mentioned several times in the whistleblower complaint, which accused the president of Ukraine to investigate his political, rival Joe Biden. The impeachment probe may be taking a toll on the president, he reacted angrily to questions about investigations during two appearances, with the president of Finland on Wednesday. CNN's Jim Acosta has the report.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): Sounding like a man backed into a corner, the president railed against the whistleblower whose complaint about Mr. Trump's phone call with the leader of Ukraine sparked the impeachment inquiry.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look at this whistleblower's -- which I have a lot of respect for whistleblowers, but only when they're real. His report of the phone call was totally different than the fact.
ACOSTA: The president seized on a report in "The New York Times" that the whistleblower sought guidance from the House Intelligence Committee on how to file a complaint.
Mr. Trump then accused the committee's chairman, Adam Schiff, of helping write the complaint, a charge he leveled with zero evidence.
TRUMP: Well, I think it's a scandal that he knew before.
I would go a step further. I think he probably helped write it, OK? That's what the word is. And I think it's -- I give a lot of respect to "The New York Times" for putting it out.
ACOSTA: The president then defended his calls for Schiff to be investigated for treason, still fuming days after the chairman mocked Mr. Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian leader.
TRUMP: Because of the fact that he's lying about the president of the United States as to what the president says. You know, I -- believe it or not, I watch my words very carefully. There are those that think I'm a very stable genius, OK?
I watch my words very, very closely. And to have somebody get up and to totally fabricate a conversation that I had with another leader and make it sound so bad, it was so evil.
ACOSTA: When asked why he raised the issue of former Vice President Joe Biden during the call, Mr. Trump then misstated what happened, insisting it was the Ukrainian President who first brought it up, but that's not true. It was the president who did that.
TRUMP: If you look at what he said, OK -- and he brought it up. I think he brought up the name Rudy Giuliani. What I want is the following. And I have said this loud and clear. We have our ambassadors here. We have Mike Pence here. Why are we the only ones that give the big money to the Ukraine?
ACOSTA: The president was then pressed by other reporters in the room about Biden.
JEFF MASON, REUTERS: What did you want about Biden?
What did you want him to look into on Biden?
TRUMP: Look, Biden and his son are stone-cold crooked and you know it. His son walks out with millions of dollars. The kid knows nothing.
ACOSTA: At that point, the president was blowing his top, blasting Reuters reporter Jeff Mason for his question.
TRUMP: Are you talking to me?
MASON: Yes, it was just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir.
TRUMP: Listen, listen, are you ready?
We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question.
MASON: I have one for him. I just wanted to follow up on the one I asked you, which was, what did you want...
TRUMP: Did you hear me?
Did you hear me?
Ask him a question.
MASON: I will, but...
TRUMP: I have given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question.
TRUMP: Don't be rude.
MASON: No, sir, I don't want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you.
TRUMP: I have answered everything. It's a whole hoax.
And you know who's playing into the hoax?
People like you and the fake news media that we have in this country and I say in many cases the corrupt media, because you're corrupt.
TRUMP: Much of the media in this country is not just fake. It's corrupt.
ACOSTA: The president revealed his call with the Ukrainian President as part of his ongoing effort to prove that he was wrong during the 2016 campaign, an effort that may include bringing lawsuits against federal lawsuits against investigators on special counsel Robert Mueller's team.
TRUMP: And just so you know, we have been investigating on a personal basis, through Rudy and others, lawyers, corruption in the 2016 election.
We have been investigating corruption, because I probably will, I was going to definitely, but I probably will be bringing a lot of litigation against a lot of people having to do with the corrupt investigation having to do with the 2016 election.
ACOSTA: Mr. Trump's tantrum was also playing out earlier in the day in his social media bunker, as he tweeted: "The do-nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our country, not wasting everyone's time and energy on bullshit."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted Democrats are pushing forward with their probe.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It's unworthy of the Constitution of the United States to do what he did in that call and he admitted to me -- he said, it's perfect. No, it's not perfect. It's wrong.
ACOSTA: The president suggested the White House will cooperate with the subpoenas issued by House Democrats for information in the Ukraine investigation.
But the president hasn't fully cooperated in the past. Consider the Russia investigation. Recall he never sat down for an interview with special counsel, Robert Mueller. And he's never given up his tax returns -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: Joining me now to talk more about this, CNN political analyst, Nathan Gonzales..
Good to have you with. Us
NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you for having.
CHURCH: We all witnessed the U.S. president's anger spill over into public arena, a fury filled press conference, a tirade of tweets filled with abuse and profanity.
What does Mr. Trump's behavior signal to you?
Was there any evidence of strategy on Wednesday?
Or was it simply chaos, as he called the inquiry a hoax and B.S.?
GONZALEZ: First of all, I'm not sure, in the joint conferences with leader of the other countries, why they agree to stand side by side, it seems like it would be an awkward situation.
But I think the president's reaction is indicative of the stakes are high, I think he realized that this is serious, it's not going away anytime soon.
The president prides himself, when he is attacked, he punches back, he wants to, punch back harder. When he feels he's being attacked maybe harder than he has ever been attacked, he's firing back in response and to a different level that we have seen. Before
CHURCH: Definitely and during the joint news conference with the president of Finland, Mr. Trump insists he did nothing wrong in his phone call with Ukraine's president and attacking House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, accusing him of helping the whistleblower writing the complaint, producing no evidence to support that claim.
This is how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about the call, saying she and the Democrats are pushing forward with the impeachment inquiry. Take a. Listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think the president knows the argument that can be made against him and he's scared. And so he's trying to divert attention from that to where standing in the way of legislation.
I saw the surprise in his voice, that he did not understand that I thought what he did was wrong, that he was undermining our national security, that he was undermining our Constitution by his actions and he was undermining the integrity of our elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: What was your reaction to Mr. Trump's characterization, his call with the Ukraine president, as to what he has to say, he does not think he did anything, wrong but he also attacked Adam Schiff, accused him of treason.
GONZALEZ: I think the mixed messages coming from the president, the White House and the Republican Party right, now because, according to federal law right now, you can not ask a foreign government or foreign leader for help in an election.
It seems pretty clear from the memo that he did ask for a favor against a political opponent. When he said he didn't do anything wrong, I'm not sure whether it means he doesn't think that what he asked for was a favor in an election or that he believes that the law is wrong and it shouldn't be something that's penalized.
So there is mixed messages there but I talked to one Republican operative this week. They were concerned a lot of pushback from the president and the White House was about process, did Congressman Schiff talk to the whistleblower before?
It was about a lot of process and not rebutting the substance of the allegations against the president.
CHURCH: Yes, he asked the president why he was talking about Joe Biden in that conversation, Mr. Trump became enraged, was that a strategy to avoid answering the question or something else?
GONZALEZ: I mean, attacking the media is always the president's strategy. Whether it's Jim Acosta from this network, or others, that's almost a default position, to the president's base, they love it. They're willing to look past maybe some of the things the president does or says, maybe even does wrong.
But if he's attacking the media they like it but because they think the media is out to get him and not representing them as well.
CHURCH: How significant was that report in "The New York Times" about the whistleblower seeking guidance from the House Intelligence Committee, on how to file a complaint?
We saw in the joint news conference, the president using that to support his claim again, attacking Adam Schiff.
GONZALEZ: I think we are at the very beginning of the process, if this is the part of the conversation, that is, weeks and months down the line, there may be something, there. But I think there's going to be so much, that's uncovered, as part of the process, that's going to get lost in the shuffle.
I think what matters, basically the president's supporters believe the president and think it's a witch hunt, Democrats, they want to believe the worst about the situation.
But for the voters in the middle I, think the end result matters. If it ends up uncovering a significant number of wrongdoings by the president, I think they will see that the process was correct.
If it just ends up being a mishmash of political attacks, they will think, what did we do all that for?
Why weren't Democrats in the House focused on other issues?
CHURCH: It's going to be a delicate dance isn't, just finally I want to ask you, because former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is set to appear three before three congressional committees Thursday.
He's the first official to testify on the whistleblower charges.
How, important will his testimony be, do you?
GONZALEZ: Without knowing exactly what he's going to say, I think it's going to be important based on the position he had, the role he played previously. But a lot of this again comes back to the messenger.
And if he is viewed as out to get the president, it's not going to change it's, not going to change the president's standing with the base. But if it's viewed as credible, he's coming out as being honest without leveling personal attacks, that could help the case against the president.
CHURCH: All right, Nathan Gonzales thank you so much for talking.
GONZALEZ: Thank you.
CHURCH: The British prime minister will once again as the queen to suspend Parliament for a week beginning Tuesday to launch a new legislative agenda. This comes just after the U.K. Supreme Court ruled the previous expansion was unlawful. Critics claim it was being used to prevent lawmakers from examining
Boris Johnson's Brexit plan.
For more on this, Simon Cullen joins us now from London.
Good to see you, Simon.
How can the U.K. government request another suspension of the government, given the last one was deemed illegal?
So what has changed and what is the strategy behind this?
SIMON CULLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The prime minister's office has been stating the reasons for the Supreme Court rule, the last suspension was unlawful and part of the reason was, as you suggested, the court held that the suspension denied Parliament its constitutional role, to scrutinize legislation.
That's when the suspension was for five weeks. This time around, the prime minister's office is gambling it's only a week and therefore would cause less trouble. The political strategy here is to have a queen's speech, which traditionally opens a new session of Parliament.
It allows the government to have a fresh agenda; in this case; Boris Johnson wants to refocus people's minds on his U.K. domestic political agenda, spending more money on schools, hospitals and education. Also to outline his vision for what a post-Brexit Britain will look like given his insistence the U.K. will be leaving on October 31st
CHURCH: Despite the fact that that would be illegal right. Boris Johnson revealed his much anticipated Brexit deal and it doesn't appear to have been particularly well received.
What is being said about it?
CULLEN: A muted response from Europe so far. Essentially what Boris Johnson has done here is put a new plan on the table to try and deal with the tricky issue of the Irish border, which, of course, is the reason that Theresa May's plan was vetoed by the British Parliament several times.
Johnson's plan is slightly different, two borders for four years.
CULLEN: It would take Northern Ireland out of the E.U. -- sorry; it would keep Northern Ireland in the single market so it would be subject to the E.U.'s rules and regulations but it would take Northern Ireland out of the customs union, thereby creating two borders, one is between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and one between the island of Ireland and the rest of the U.K.
This is where it gets difficult because both sides agree there should be no customs checks along the border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. But Boris Johnson says there will need to be some checks. He hopes they can be done along the supply chain, at businesses and the like.
in terms of the response from Europe, it has been muted, this is what the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said, his office releasing a statement, "He acknowledged the positive advances. However, the president also noted that there are still some problematic points that will need further work in the coming days, notably with regard to the governance of the backstop."
The backstop is the Irish border issue. And there's been a similar response from the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, as well. Keep in mind it's less than a month, until Boris Johnson wants to leave the E.U.
And this is the most concrete proposal he has put on a table. There will be frantic negotiations from both sides to see if this deal will get over the line.
Of course, it's only a small step toward a final deal.
CHURCH: All right, Simon Cullen, many thanks to you to bring us the latest on that. Appreciate it.
For more on this, Thom Brooks joins us now, he's a professor of law at Durham University in England.
Good to have you with us to break this down. Let's start with this, The prime minister wants to suspend Parliament for a week.
How would that be possible this time, given that Supreme Court ruling on the last one deemed the move unlawful?
THOM BROOKS, DURHAM LAW SCHOOL: Great to see you again. I think that he should do better this time. The Supreme Court's decision against him, that he unlawfully suspended Parliament last time, it was about he was taking more time than was necessary and it fulfilled an ulterior motive, that in suspending Parliament for five weeks it sought to change the law of the land in a way he could get Parliament to approve by other means.
So that was the problem. And I think suspending Parliament for three or five working days, it will be lawful under the Supreme Court verdict. But it will remind voters or the public of that issue of being the only prime minister in living memory to have been found to have acted unlawfully by the country's top court.
A court that Johnson argues should be the top arbiter of British laws when he was leading the Vote Leave campaign.
CHURCH: The other part of this -- you've seen the details of Johnson's new Brexit plan proposing an alternative to the Irish backstop, the E.U. is not impressed by it, seeing some problematic issues.
The, U.K. Parliament not impressed either. So where is this going if the E.U. rejects it and Mr. Johnson uses that the rejection to bail out of the E.U. by October 31st?
So despite the illegality of such a move, explain how that's going to work?
BROOKS: This simply can't work. It's been a problem since the beginning, the claim that he has made, that Brexit would allow Britain to have tougher regulations at the border.
And at the same time, seemingly forgetting that there was an open border in Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland, something that helped bring peace at Northern Ireland and ended The Troubles there.
So, it's always been a contradiction. It was always going to be a problem.
How do you keep an open border while trying to have more restrictions?
And there's this kind of bigger problem, which is, that Boris Johnson has committed, you know, part of the reason to leave the European Union isn't just the different border controls that he's been wanting to have, but also having different regulations in terms of worker rights, goods and services, different, you know, restrictions in the workplace and so on.
Having a different type of market than the European Union so that Britain, in his view, could trade more on stronger footing with the rest of the world.
Now, how do you have a different regulatory regime while keeping an open border with a country that has a very different regulatory regime, which is not part of the same free trade agreement like you have in North America?
BROOKS: Or not part of a single market with the freedom of movement and services across.
It is something that it is just simply not going to be able to get out of. This two-border solution as it's been so described, also comes with it a plan to have some kind of treaty for both sides claim to have any hard border in Northern Ireland.
BROOKS: -- if Britain is to depart from the E.U. rules.
CHURCH: Right. Do you think, quickly, do you think this is Johnson's way of moving towards a snap election.
If that's the case, what will be the outcome?
BROOKS: Very much, I think he's aiming for a snap election, I think he's of the view that Parliament may not be getting him what wants but he feels that, he has a chance with the majority if it heads to the polls.
I think it's a very big gamble, if he's not able to deliver Brexit in one form or another, all indications are it will be fairly catastrophic for his party, who has done so much and promising the Brexit it has not delivered on.
He's given a lot of money away, to buying things, new schools and hospitals. No one is sure where this money is coming from, the government has not said how it's going to fund this and if there is the no deal Brexit, the cost to the economy will be particularly significant ,wiping away any money he's got to set aside to pay for half of what he's promised.
So I think that there's a general election he wants to have. But what the outcomes are, whether he will be able to deliver on Brexit or anything else , it's still looking unlikely.
CHURCH: One step forward, two steps back.
Thom Brooks, thank you so much for your analysis, appreciate it.
We'll take a short break, more to come, Iraq on high alert after another day of deadly demonstrations. We'll have a live report.
Plus Vladimir Putin jokes about next year's U.S. presidential election, saying, of course, Moscow will try to interfere. We will explain more when we come back.
CHURCH: Baghdad and other cities around Iraq are being rocked by deadly demonstrations.
CHURCH: At least 12 are dead and more than 650 people wounded, curfews have been imposed and the Internet has been blocked as Iraqis protest the lack of jobs, full services and corruption.
CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joins us now live from Beirut.
So, Ben, what is the latest on these deadly protests across Iraq?
And what are authorities and demonstrators saying about them?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, it's relatively early in the morning in Baghdad. So apparently it is calm. But of course it is under a complete curfew.
As of 5:00 am, this curfew bans all vehicles and individuals from the street with the expectation of people going to and from Baghdad International Airport, where yesterday, demonstrators blocked the road to that airport.
What we, as you mentioned, the latest death toll, according to the independent Iraqi Commission for Human Rights, 12 dead, more than 650 wounded. That includes 568 civilians.
Certainly this is the worst incidents of civil unrest in Iraq in quite some time and it's not restricted to Baghdad itself. A variety of cities from Kirkuk in the north to Basra in the south have seen these demonstrations and violent clashes in some instances, of government buildings torched as well as party headquarters in various Iraqi cities.
Now obviously reason for the protests is growing anger with the fact that Iraq, one of the oil richest the countries in the world, after 16 years following the fall of Saddam Hussein, continues to suffer from high unemployment, corruption, one of the most corrupt countries on .Earth.
You, have a country where there are perennial power cuts, you have water cuts, so the level of anger is extremely high. The government led by the prime minister has promised to, give jobs to university graduates.
He said the other day that they would require in the future all companies that do business with Iraqi government, must give 50 percent of their positions to Iraqis.
But it's simply not clear at this point, at this late day, given this has been going on for 16 years, if this is enough to quiet the anger of the people, who are repeating a phrase we heard a lot during what was called the Arab Spring, which is people want the fall of the government.
CHURCH: Ben Wedeman, thank you for bringing us the update across Iraq appreciate it.
It has been the most contentious issue in the Brexit talks. Coming up, concerns on what could happen along the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
While, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo prepares to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, he's also scrambling to help contain a political crisis at, home. We will have live report when we come back.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour.
A former diplomat at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry is set to testify before members of the U.S. Congress in the coming hours. Kurt Volker resigned as special envoy for Ukraine on Friday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, tried to block his testimony. President Trump's anger over the impeachment probe is boiling over in public. He continued to attack Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff. But Mr. Trump refused to say what he hoped to accomplish by asking Ukraine's President to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask for Parliament to be suspended for a week beginning Tuesday to launch a new legislative agenda. It comes after the U.K. Supreme Court ruled a five-week suspension was unlawful. Critics claimed it was being used to prevent lawmakers from debating his Brexit plan.
Well, the European Union's reaction to Mr. Johnson's Brexit plan has been guarded. The Northern Ireland border has been a sticking point in the talks because two decades of peace are on the line.
Should checkpoints appear anywhere along the border with Ireland? There are fear, sectarian violence could return. Nic Robertson has more now from the region.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It is along these busy border roads where Boris Johnson's final Brexit offer to Brussels has the highest stakes.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: We will under no circumstances have checks at or near the border in Northern Ireland.
We will -- we will respect the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
ROBERTSON: And it is in the communities that live along the border that fears of Johnson's failure runs deepest.
ALAN BLACK, SOLE SURVIVOR OF 1976 KINGSMILL MASSACRE: You can see the potential that it has to bring us back to the dark bad old days.
ROBERTSON: Black was left for dead, the sole survivor of a border shooting that killed ten work colleagues during the depths of Northern Island's mostly sectarian violence known as The Troubles.
He fears no deal would mean border posts and historic focus for Irish nationalist terrorists.
BLACK: My big fear is that a customs man and be killed, and some of these attacks. And then, you have the police to protect the customs.
ROBERTSON: Peter Sheridan was a former top cop during The Troubles, doesn't doubt lives are on the line.
PETER SHERIDAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CO-OPERATION IRELAND: There are probably 2,500 people alive today because of the Good Friday Agreement. And tens of thousands of people on injured.
ROBERTSON: He witnessed what it took to shut down terrorist attacks and smuggling along a 10-mile stretch of border.
SHERIDAN: We ended up with 12 army watchers, six helicopter bases, six army bases, four police stations, 40 roads permanently seemed off. And six permanent checkpoints on other roads.
ROBERTSON: Two decades of peace, restored calm, removed border blocks, rebuilt livelihoods, created dependence on an open border, but it didn't fix the underlying tension between aspirations for a united Ireland or a United Kingdom. If Johnson fails in Brussels, no place will be worse hit than the border.
KERRY CURRAN, POLICY RESEARCH MANAGER AT INTER TRADE IRELAND: The impact on Northern Ireland alone could save 40,000 jobs go. There are the farms that create just within their local economy, here close to the border areas would be significantly impacted.
ROBERTSON: Johnson's failure would be a perfect storm for Irish nationalist terror groups. Border posts would be a magnet for recruitment, fewer jobs, meaning more potential recruits and customs checks. Meaning, smuggling making money for more attacks. A lot along this border rides on the British prime minister.
Nic Robertson, CNN, along the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland border.
CHURCH: Well, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican next hour. Pompeo's visit is taking place in the shadow of a political crisis back home.
On Wednesday, Pompeo admitted he was on that phone call, in which President Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. That call of course now the subject of a whistleblower's complaint and an impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill.
CNN's Melissa Bell joins me now from Rome with more on all of this. Good to see you, Melissa. So, just days after it was revealed that Mike Pompeo was listening in on that controversial July call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, the U.S. Secretary of State is in Rome preparing to meet with Pope Francis next hour.
What is the reason for his Vatican meeting and what's expected to come out of this?
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this had been a long- planned visit, of course. Long before he emerged as a figure who was at the heart of this particular political storm.
And remember that as we prepare to watch and to keep an eye on what will be a closed-door session in Washington later today that a former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who be giving evidence to the committees that are in charge of that impeachment inquiry, bear in mind that this is one of the five former or current State Department officials that have been called to give testimony to those committees.
Initially, Mike Pompeo had sought to block that and that's something that he's been talking about here today and yesterday. Of course, because everything that is happening in Washington clearly has all eyes firmly fixed the American secretary of state. At this moment, given that standoff with the Democratic chairs of those committees.
But, of course, this was a long-planned visit. It had nothing to do with what was happening in Washington or indeed with Ukraine. This was a visit that was all about talking about religious freedom, the rights of religious minorities.
And bear in mind, Rosemary that there is very little common ground between the Vatican at the moment and Washington. Things like the rights of immigrants, things like the environment, things that matter a great job to the pope are simply not priorities for the American administration.
So, on this, on the question of the persecution of religious minorities, on religious freedom, this is one area of common ground that Mike Pompeo, a representative of the administration and the Vatican can share. And that has been the focus of this particular visit.
So, yes, a meeting with the pope in a little while for Mike Pompeo, a part of this three-day visit to Italy. He also spent some time yesterday going to the homeland of his ancestors as a proud Italian- American that was something he reminded us.
But again, the real focus of this visit, this is a visit that's been almost entirely overshadowed by Ukraine. And, in fact, it was yesterday at that press conference that Mike Pompeo for the very first time, Rosemary recognized, announced, and confirmed that he had been on that crucial July 25th phone call between the American and Ukrainian presidents.
And that is important because it goes to the heart of that claim by the Democratic chairs of those committees that he is a conflict of interest as this impeachment inquiry continues. Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right, Melissa Bell, bringing us the very latest there from Rome as we wait for that meeting to take place. Many thanks.
Well, many Republicans in the U.S. Congress have been silent about President Trump's phone call with Ukraine -- Ukraine's leader, but not the Kremlin. Russia's president thinks that call was just fine. Vladimir Putin even jokes he'll interfere with next year's U.S. election.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports now from Moscow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Russian President Vladimir Putin trolling the United States. Joking about meddling in the presidential election and saying he'll do it again.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I'll tell you a secret. Yes, of course, we'll do it to finally make you happier. Just don't tell anyone.
PLEITGEN: Putin also backing the demands of some in Washington to see further transcripts of President Donald Trump's interactions with other world leaders, including the Putin summit in Helsinki last year.
PUTIN: When there were attempts to launch a scandal regarding my meeting with Trump in Helsinki, we directly told the administration to just publish it. If somebody wants to know something, just publish it. We don't mind.
PLEITGEN: But, Vladimir Putin also echoing President Trump's talking points on the now infamous Ukrainian phone call.
PUTIN: They began this impeachment proceeding and always bring up Nixon. Nixon's team was wiretapping their rivals. But this is a completely different situation. Trump was wiretapped. Some anonymous special service staffer leaked this information and based on what we know from the calls, there was nothing wrong there. Trump asked his colleague to investigate possible corruption schemes of previous administrations.
PLEITGEN: With the congressional Democrats turning up the heat and polled showing a growing number of Americans supporting impeachment proceedings, the Kremlin has shown President Trump that he can count on Vladimir Putin to be in his corner.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
CHURCH: Donald Trump, says the impeachment probe is weighing on Wall Street. We will see what else dragged about to its lowest level since August. That's still to come.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. World financial markets are hoping to reverse the downward trend on Wall Street. Let's take a look at where the Nikkei stands. It's lost around two percent. Their markets in China are closed for the National Day holiday week.
In New York, the Dow dropped nearly 500 points with growing concern over a U.S. recession. CNN's Zain Asher has more.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It was a global sell-off starting in Asia, then spreading to Europe and to United States. The Dow fell as much as 600 points before bouncing back very slightly. Every single sector closed in the red, volatility spikes higher, investors are reacting to a host of factors. From the impeachment inquiry into President Trump to weak manufacturing numbers. To report showing the pace of private-sector hiring in the United States is slowing.
Now, the numbers are scary, but Ted Weisberg of Seaport Securities told us investors shouldn't panic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED WEISBERG, FOUNDER, SEAPORT SECURITIES: The U.S. economy, all things being equal has been bumping along at a very positive level. The unemployment numbers are terrific, you know, but you get any kind of glitch in the positive story with a market that's trading within two and three percent of its all-time highs, clearly, you're going to get a negative reaction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: You had Ted say that the U.S. employment numbers are terrific, Wall Street is looking ahead to the latest batch of numbers for September that you out on Friday. Unless expect the unemployment rate to stay steady at 3.7 percent.
CHURCH: Thanks to Zain for that report. And investigators are trying to find out what caused a World War II-era bomber to crash near Hartford, Connecticut.
13 people were on board, seven were killed. The pilot reported a problem shortly after takeoff, requesting to return. The B-17 Flying Fortress crashed at the end of the runway. It hit an airport de-icing facility along the way. The Flying Fortress was the famous workhorse bomber of World War II. Only a handful remain airworthy.
Well, the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is off the campaign trail. His campaign announced the 78-year-old is recovering from surgery for a blocked artery. He complained of chest discomfort, Tuesday, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. And after a medical check, he had two stents put in.
Sanders tweeted his thanks after his surgery writing, "None of us know when a medical emergency might affect us. And no one should fear going bankrupt if it occurs. Medicare for All." His campaign rivals have sent him wishes for a speedy recovery.
A jury has sentenced a former Dallas police officer to 10 years in prison for murdering her unarmed neighbor in his apartment last year. And as our Ed Lavandera reports, things took a surprising turn after the sentence was read out.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TAMMY KEMP, DISTRICT JUDGE, DALLAS COURT: We the jury find unanimously that the defendant did not cause the death of Botham Jean while under the immediate influence of sudden passion arising from an adequate cost, and assess the defendant's punishment at 10 years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The words left Botham Jean's family appearing dismayed and shocked. Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years in prison. She'll be eligible for parole in five years at just the age of 36.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.
LAVANDERA: Outside the courtroom, the sentence angered protesters sparking chants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police department around the country has done to our people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So unfair. So unfair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not a joke. This is our lives.
LAVANDERA: But at the same time, inside the courtroom, a dramatic scene was unfolding.
BRANDT JEAN, BROTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: I forgive you.
LAVANDERA: Botham Jean's 18-year-old brother, Brandt, spoke directly to the former Dallas police officer who killed his brother. He told Guyger that he didn't want to see her rot in prison and that he had one request before she was taken to her jail cell.
B. JEAN: I love you as a person. And I don't want to say anything bad on you. I don't know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please? Please?
LAVANDERA: Guyger's attorney called it humbling and the most amazing moment he had ever seen in a courtroom. The emotion lingered long after the case ended. Judge Tammy Kemp hugged Botham John's family. And in a rare move, also hugged Amber Guyger, the convicted murderer and gave her a Bible.
KEMP: You can have mine. I have three or four more at home. This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month.
LAVANDERA: Allison Jean, Botham's mother shared her hope for how Amber Guyger spends her years in prison.
ALLISON GUYGGER, MOTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: That 10 years in prison is 10 years for her reflection and for her to change her life.
If Amber Guyger was trained not to shoot in the heart, my son would be standing here today. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No threat.
A. GUYGER: He was no threat to her. He had no reason to pose a threat to her because he was in his own apartment, in his sanctuary.
LAVANDERA: Botham Jean's mother, says her family will never be the same but they must go on living. The hope is the composure and grace shown by her son Brandt in the courtroom today will be the first steps in that long journey.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
CHURCH: All right, we'll take a very short break here. Still, to come, the calendar says its fall in the United States, but millions are wondering when the cooler temperatures will arrive? More on the rare record-setting October heatwave, that's next.
Plus, President Trump denies he once suggested using alligators to deter illegal immigration. Apparently, unaware, the ludicrous idea started as a joke.
Well, several cities in the U.S. are breaking records for the warmest October temperatures ever. And our meteorologist Derek Van Dam is here to explain why it stayed so warm and when we're going to get these cooler temperatures.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL WEATHER ANCHOR: Stubborn weather pattern. I mean, basically, that's what it boils down to. But there is a huge relief in store for many Americans and for many residents that are visiting some of our larger cities, including New York City and Boston today, a big relief from yesterday's heat compared to today.
So, let's check it out. Talk about what is actually occurring, because today, and the past few days, since the month of October has started, we have shattered all-time record high temperatures across the southeast, and that's set to continue.
We have to be a little more patient for places like Atlanta into Birmingham, Charlotte, as well as, Raleigh region. Temperatures in Atlanta, by the way, have never been this warm in the month of October.
We're feeling like the middle of July right now, just like Rosy had mentioned. In fact, some locations in the Ohio River Valley have better chances of seeing snow this time of year than temperatures in the lower 30s.
New York City, you reached a high of 34. This is the first time since 1941 you've seen a temperature above 32 degrees in the month of October. I mean, we're talking about sweltering heat, but you are going to absolutely love this weather forecast more on that in just a second.
50-plus record highs potentially shattered today across the southeast. Again, we have to be patient, that stubborn high pressure in place in control of our weather. So, Memphis, Nashville, Raleigh, Charleston, Tallahassee, all the way to Atlanta and Tampa.
Temperatures in the middle and upper 30s for the afternoon. But I promised relief, we're talking about an over 15-degree temperature swing for temperatures today compared to yesterday for places like Philadelphia, in New York City, as well as, Boston.
We're going to struggle to reach 15 for the afternoon in the Big Apple with temperatures yesterday in a lower and middle 30s. It's all thanks to this cold front, it's racing eastward that's going to bring us the much-needed well-deserved relief. We like to see the shades of orange and red replaced with the greens and blues.
That means that the weather is going to be cooler, bring on the pumpkin spice lattes if you're a coffee fan like myself. And you can see temperatures across the southeast, well, still in the lower 30s today for places like New Orleans as well as Atlanta -- middle 30s, I should say.
But look at the cooler weather settling in just in time for the weekend. That's what this weatherman likes to see. So, Rosy, I think we just need to give it another 36-48 hours for us here at the CNN world headquarters. And then, finally, we'll feel the first taste of fall in this city.
CHURCH: That's good because I can't wait.
VAN DAM: Yes, me too.
CHURCH: It's really interesting coming in on the night when it's still really hot.
VAN DAM: And that's some of the problems because we don't cool off enough overnight.
VAN DAM: And that makes it difficult for our bodies to adjust.
CHURCH: Derek Van Dam, many thanks. Appreciate it.
VAN DAM: Thanks, Rosy.
CHURCH: Well, President Trump denies he ever suggested that the southern U.S. border be defended by alligators and snakes as reported by The New York Times.
But a misspelling in Mr. Trump's denial only invited more mockery on the Internet. CNN's Jeanne Moos, explains.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the same day, President Trump said --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I watch my words very, very closely.
MOOS: He tweeted moot when he meant moat. "A moot stuffed with alligators and snakes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moat.
MOOS: But maybe the whole idea of a gator-filled border moat is now moot since the president is denying he ever suggested it.
TRUMP: Never said it, never thought of it. It was a total lie.
MOOS: It was The New York Times that reported the president brought it up in a meeting. "A water-filled trench stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate."
I'd estimate it cost an arm and a leg in mockery.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Did Dr. Evil come up with that?
MIKE MYERS, PORTRAYED FICTIONAL CHARACTER DR. EVIL: And that is to have sharks with fricking laser beams attached to their heads.
MOOS: There were sketches of a border moat and memes -- "Get back in the moat!" and silly gator GIFs.
People have been floating the border moat idea for years as a joke. President Obama jabbed Republicans.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat.
MOOS: Did what The Onion satirize 12 years ago actually make it to the White House?
JENNIFER DORR WHITE, PORTRAYED JULIANNA MCKANNIS, THE ONION NEWS NETWORK: Should America build a moat?
DUNCAN BIRCH, PANELIST, THE ONION: It's a well-known fact that Mexicans are not buoyant. They sink like rocks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I also think we should look into sea monsters.
BIRCH: I was going to say alligators, but -- yes, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some sort of monster.
MOOS: Forget Snakes on a Plane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had it with this mother -- snakes.
MOOS: "We've got to get these mother -- snakes into this mother -- moat." Read another tweet, "What do we want? A snake and alligator- filled moat! And who's going to pay for it?"
AMERICAN CROWD: Mexico!
MOOS: Moot-moat is not potato, potato.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Potato, potato, tomato, tomato.
MOOS: When it comes to gators and snakes in a moat --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's call the whole thing off.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Imagine what the comedians are doing with this. Thanks so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment. Do stick around. You're watching CNN.
CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. It's 3:00 p.m. in Shanghai, 9:00 a.m. in Paris. From CNN headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Let's get started.