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Several Key Witnesses Scheduled to Appear before Congress; Turkey Intensifies Ground Offensive in Northern Syria; Veteran FOX Anchor Signs Off; Power Outages Begin in California to Prevent Wildfires; Typhoon Hagibis Makes Landfall in Japan, Leaving at Least One Dead; Dow Spikes as Trump Says U.S. and China Reach Initial Trade Agreement; Oscar Nominee Robert Forster Dies at 78 after Battling Brain Cancer; Climate Change Protester Climbs on Plane, Can't Get Down. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired October 12, 2019 - 05:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. president and his personal attorney. Why the president may be distancing himself from Rudy Giuliani.

A blistering statement: the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine tells Congress why Donald Trump wanted her out the door.

Also ahead this hour, U.S. troops under fire. The Pentagon says Turkey shelled American troops in Syria.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell. The CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


HOWELL: 5:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast. Thank you for being with us this day.

A brutal week winds down for the U.S. president but he remains defiant at rallies this week. President Trump unveiled what appears to be a new campaign theme, speaking to his supporters with the message. Here is the president of the United States.


TRUMP: The radical Democrats politicians are crazy. Their politicians are corrupt their candidates are terrible and they know they cannot win an election so they are pursuing an illegal invalid and unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.


HOWELL: The president of the United States keeping an upbeat tempo after what by all accounts was a challenging week for the White House. Here's the latest: first, Mr. Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

According to "The New York Times," he is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors. Investigators want to know if his involvement in Ukraine broke lobbying laws.

Also on Friday, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, she testified before Congress. She explained how Giuliani trashed her reputation to Ukrainian officials in an effort to get her fired.

Finally, the acting Homeland Security secretary stepped down. Kevin McAleenan was on the job six months. He is now leaving to spend more time with family and to work in the private sector. Sources say he was frustrated at running a department that was becoming more and more political.

While the former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine's testimony may have been damaging to the Trump administration, there could be more difficult testimony in the weeks ahead. Our Sara Murray has details for you from Washington.


SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Marie Yovanovitch testified about the months-long campaign Trump waged to have her removed as ambassador to Ukraine and a shadow diplomacy carried out by Rudy Giuliani, Trump appeared to waver on whether he still considers Giuliani his personal attorney.

TRUMP: I don't know. I haven't spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He is a very good attorney. And he has been my attorney, yes, sure.


MURRAY (voice-over): Giuliani moved quickly clearing it up, telling a CNN reporter, yes, he represents the president. But a source close to the legal team says Giuliani won't be dealing with Ukraine issues, even though it's at the center of the impeachment investigation.

This as sources say the president has expressed concerns about his personal attorney after two of Giuliani's associates were arrested and charged with campaign finance violations as they tried to leave the country. Both men had been helping Giuliani in his quest for dirt on the Bidens.

More details of Giuliani's efforts were coming out in a closed door deposition with Yovanovitch, a current State Department employee and a 33-year veteran of the foreign service.

"I do not know Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me," Yovanovitch said in her opening statement. According to a copy obtained by "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post."

But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anticorruption policy in Ukraine. REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is a good person who served more than 30 years in the foreign service who was thrown to the wolves by Mr. Giuliani, who was representing the financial interests of his now indicted associates and by President Trump, who is advancing his political interest in trying to get an investigation started in Ukraine of the Bidens.

MURRAY (voice-over): After being asked to extend her tenure in Ukraine to 2020, she testified she was called in late April and told to catch the next plane home. She said she was incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador, based, "as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."

Yovanovitch said in her statement that the deputy secretary of state told her, "The department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018. He also said that I had done nothing wrong. "


MURRAY (voice-over): While Trump trashed the ambassador in his July call with the Ukrainian president, he played dumb.

TRUMP: She may be a wonderful woman. I don't know her but she may be very much a wonderful woman.

MURRAY (voice-over): Yovanovitch's appearance, a sign the White House's efforts to stonewall impeachment inquiries, may crumble in the face of congressional subpoenas. Next week, ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, also intends to testify under subpoena, according to his attorneys.

MURRAY: The Democrats left roughly 10 hours in testimony on Friday, saying that Yovanovitch was a credible witness and they were moved by what They heard. The Republicans, however, took issue with the process and said this all should be playing out in public -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: With perspective, Thomas Gift joins us, from University of College London, live this hour in our London bureau.

Good to have you with us.

Let's start with Rudy Giuliani. His activities in Ukraine digging up dirt on the Bidens. "The New York Times" reporting Giuliani is facing a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors into whether he broke federal lobbying laws with two of his associates arrested for campaign finance violations.

We even see the president of the United States distancing himself from his own attorney. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I haven't spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He is a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.


HOWELL: We do understand that Giuliani is still Mr. Trump's attorney.

For how much longer, who knows?

Given what we know so far, should Giuliani be concerned?

THOMAS GIFT, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Well, I think that Rudolph Giuliani is in a precarious situation, legally and in terms of his relationship with the president. Legally, he is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for allegedly violating these lobbying laws associated with his dealings in Ukraine.

In terms of his personal relations with the president, you do have to wonder if Donald Trump is right on the cusp of one of his famous 180s, where he is loyal to associates up to the point where it no longer serves his self-interest.

The more details that emerge here with Mr. Giuliani and the more information that we receive that there may have been wrongdoing, especially associated with these two individuals, we might see Mr. Trump completely distance himself from Giuliani.

HOWELL: Also like to get your thought on Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who testified, explaining to Congress, how she says Giuliani was instrumental in ultimately seeing her out the door. Here, again, the president of the United States distancing himself from her. Watch.


TRUMP: Well, she may be a wonderful woman. I don't know her. But she may be very much a wonderful woman.

If you remember the phone call I had with the president, the new president, he didn't speak favorably. But I just don't know her. She may be a wonderful woman.


HOWELL: Thomas, as we continue to see these officials defy, you know, the word from their boss, deciding to testify, the White House strategy of refusing to cooperate with this inquiry, does it hold up?

GIFT: I certainly think that that's one of the most important aspects of this testimony. That it occurred actually in spite of a direct order from the State Department to provide this testimony to Congress.

Despite the fact that it was in response to a subpoena from the House of Representatives. Up until this point, you're correct. The president and the White House has essentially been stonewalling at every single area that they can, saying we're not going to cooperate with this investigation from Congress, especially until they hold a full vote on the House of Representatives to open up this impeachment inquiry formally.

So this could be the start of a revolt from foreign policy professionals who have had enough with the president's actions. I think only time will tell.

HOWELL: Finally, I'd like to get your thoughts about the court ruling that allows Democrats to obtain financial records of the U.S. president. It is something that Donald Trump has fought for years, going against precedent by not releasing his tax returns.

How significant is this ruling in relation to the investigations under way and also in an election that's 13 months around the corner?

GIFT: Well, I think that's a very open question at this point. Of course, it depends on what information is actually disclosed, how much is given to the public. Certainly, you're correct, that the president has been in defiance of disclosing this information up until this point. We're probably going to see more of the same going forward.


GIFT: If, indeed, he is forced to hand over these financial documents, I do think that will be a significant turn of events, especially going into the 2020 election.

HOWELL: Thomas Gift, live for us in London. Thank you for your time and perspective today.

GIFT: Thank you.

HOWELL: There was also another setback for the U.S. president. The man charged with carrying out Donald Trump's immigration agenda is stepping down. He had been on the job six months. As the White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins reports, this time, the announcement isn't that surprising.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump announcing in a tweet late Friday night that the acting DHS secretary, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning from his position. The president says it is to spend more time with his family and children, though, behind the scenes, people inside the White House told us they never thought McAleenan was going to be nominated for the top job anyway.

Instead, he served in this acting capacity, running the agency, at times a frustrating job for McAleenan, who didn't like the hardliners that the president brought in as they purged a lot of the top roles at DHS over the summer.

But in turn, the president himself never really trusted McAleenan, never fully holding his trust there, blaming him at time s for border crossing issues or things the president didn't like on the border. Essentially, it was this match people never thought would be tenable.

At times, the president was fine with McAleenan and it seemed he could hang on. There were also times like over the summer in June, when McAleenan went to the White House ready to resign because he said he didn't feel like he had control over his subordinates at the department.

Now the president says he is going to name a replacement for McAleenan next week, though it is unclear who it is going to be or whether or not the White House has a short list.

The names floated in the past have been people that Senate Republicans behind the scenes have said are people who cannot get confirmed to this job; though, of course, the president has said he likes people to be in an acting capacity -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Kaitlan, thank you.

Military action along the Syrian-Turkish border. Dozens of people have been killed in these strikes and counterstrike strikes between the Turks and the Kurds. We have the latest from the border ahead.

Plus, could this be the end of a painful trade war?

The U.S. and China say yes to a partial deal. We'll be live in the Chinese commercial hub of Shenzhen with this story for you as NEWSROOM continues. Stay with us.





HOWELL: There is growing concern about the scale of Turkey's ambitions in Syria. A U.S. official says Turkey could be trying to control a wider area than just the Northeast border, where it's hitting Kurdish targets with artillery and airstrikes.

Fighting on both sides of the border, though, has escalated and civilians are caught in the middle of it all. The United Nations says at least 100,000 people have been displaced so far. Arwa Damon is at the Turkish-Syria border, where funerals took place for six civilians killed in the attacks.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are in the border town at the cemetery where earlier this morning there were as you mentioned funerals for six of the eight people that were killed in mortar strikes that took place inside this town. The mourners, the friends, family, loved ones of those who died in

those attacks, quickly buried them and moved on. There are a couple men as you can see there who just arrived a short while ago, saying their final farewells.

Now the reason why the main crowd moved on from here, George, is because as they were telling us, they were worried that they could create a potential target because so many of them were gathered here and because civilians as you were saying there have been caught in the crossfire.

Now this town is right across -- you can see in the distance, the Syrian city where the population here is pre-dominantly Kurdish. And many people who live here, they do also have relatives on the other side.

And they were telling us that first of all they felt as if Turkey should have done more to try to secure them on this side of the border. They are very concerned that they are continuously going to end up being caught in this crossfire.

They however, in this particular town at least, those mourning here told us that they didn't want to flee because this was their land, these were their homes. But they were also saying, given the ties that they have to the Kurdish population on the other side of the border, that they were pained by all of this.

When someone on that side dies, they said that they felt pain. And when someone on this side dies, they felt pain as well.

HOWELL: And as the offensive carries on, I mean it is pushing many, many people deeper into Syria, what does Turkey hope to accomplish with this operation?

DAMON: First of all, the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish fighting force that Turkey views as a terrorist organization effectively, one and the same as the Kurdish separatist group that has been battling for decades, the PKK, they want to push they are saying the YPG away from their own border.

What they are hoping to do and they most certainly, militarily speaking at least, have the upper hand in terms of military might and assets that they bring to this battlefield, is create what they are calling a safe zone.

So clearing 30 kilometers deep into Syria and then potentially hundreds of kilometers along the border.


HOWELL: That was Arwa Damon reporting for us at the Turkish-Syrian border.

While the United States has pulled troops from northern Syria, it is now sending in an additional 1,800 troops to Saudi Arabia. U.S. officials say it is to stop any Iranian aggression. That announcement came the same day Iran's media reported an Iranian oil tanker was hit by two missiles near the Saudi port of Jeddah.

Matthew Chance is following the story, live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this hour.

This comes at a time when questions remain about where the missiles came from.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they do. In fact, this latest announcement of a deployment of U.S. forces brings to 3,000 the number of extra troops that the United States is deploying into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia here in just the past month.

That represents a major step up in the U.S. footprint, that militarily in Saudi Arabia and it underlines how concerned the U.S. is with the security situation in this entire region. It comes amid escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The latest iteration of that came yesterday with the attack, it seems, or the striking of an Iranian oil tanker, 60 miles or so off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea with two missiles. Now the tanker doesn't seem to have been crippled too badly.


CHANCE: There were reports of a fire on the ship and a small oil spill into the Red Sea but it made its way on its journey. Doesn't seem to have been otherwise affected.

Initially, the tanker company pointed the finger of blame directly at Saudi Arabia, saying missiles had struck the ship from Saudi territory.

Later on, the Iranian government rode back on that, clearly mindful of how big an escalation that would be in this sort of brewing, sort of tension with Saudi Arabia and Iran. They've refrained from making any further comments about it.

You're right, it does underline the deteriorating situation here. It comes a couple weeks after Saudi oil fields were badly hit in drone attacks that were blamed by the United States on Iran, cutting off Saudi oil production by half. They have some of that back online now. Clearly, the tensions in the region are very fragile indeed.

HOWELL: Matthew in Riyadh. Following the Russian delegation, as well, which has a relationship with the nation and close ties to Iran, as well.

How does Russia factor into all of this?

CHANCE: Yes. I mean, look, the Russian factor in this region is increasingly important. Obviously, they have a big presence in Syria. They back the regime of Bashar al Assad. They have good relations with the Iranians and they're political and military and economic backers of Iran, as well. But there is this growing relationship between Russia and Saudi

Arabia. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is coming to this country in the next couple of days for a state visit. The two countries have cooperated on supporting the energy crisis that both, of course, are big oil producers in the world. They've cooperated on that level.

There are arms sales between the countries; increasing personal chemistry, as well, between the Saudi leadership and the Russian leadership. So I think, you know, one of the factors playing into Washington's unflinching support for Saudi Arabia, with President Trump talking about what a good ally they are constantly, despite all the shortcomings, the war in Yemen, their treatments of dissidents like Jamal Khashoggi who was, of course, killed by Saudi officials in Turkey.

One of the other things playing into this is the U.S. knows very well that if it were to step away from Saudi Arabia, there are others who would quite happily step in and fill the vacuum. Of course, Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is at the front of that queue.

HOWELL: Russia looking to raise its profile in all geopolitical issues. Thank you, Matthew.

An air safety panel says the certification process of Boeing's 737 MAX airliner was flawed. It singles out Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, for their roles in the development of the now-grounded aircraft, which was involved in two large and deadly crashes. CNN's Rene Marsh has this report.


RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: A newly released report faults both the FAA and Boeing for the failures in the overall certification of the Boeing 737 MAX.

The joint authorities' technical review released their report on Friday, looking at the FAA oversight of the certification for this plane as well as the process involved in approving the plane's MCAS system. That's its anti-stall system.

Now the report finds that Boeing failed to explain thoroughly just how much the MCAS system, which is at the heart of these two deadly crashes, had changed from previous models. The panel found that Boeing failed to update safety documents regarding the evolution of this system.

Therefore, the FAA could not adequately review the safety of MCAS. They also note the FAA's difficulty in finding and hiring certification engineers who have enough knowledge of the aircraft, which is becoming increasingly complex and automated.

They say that, too, contributed to deficiencies in reviewing this plane. All in all, the panel made a dozen recommendations -- Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Rene, thank you.

Here in the United States, there was a surprise announcement from the chief anchor at the FOX News network. Watch.


SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This is my last newscast here. Thank you for watching today and over the decades as I traveled to many of your communities and anchored this program, "Studio B," and "Fox Report," plus endless marathon hours of breaking news.

It's been an honor and my pleasure. Even in our currently polarized nation, it's my hope that the fact will win the day.


SMITH: That the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.


HOWELL: The distinction between people who have a lot of opinions to share with you and journalists who report the news, Shep Smith was a journalist, well-known for using his show to aggressively fact-check the U.S. president, calling him out when he was wrong. It caused some conflict with FOX commentators and the opinion hosts. Sometimes the U.S. president himself.

Shepard Smith was a FOX lifer. He joined that network when it started in 1996. Sources tell CNN the recent conflict between the news division and its late-night opinion hosts and shows drove Shep Smith out the door.

We're following the situation on the U.S. West Coast, where wildfires are scorching north Los Angeles. Many people had no time to think, only time to run. We'll take you to the front line ahead.

CNN is also live in Shenzhen, China, as China and the United States decide to end their economically painful trade war, at least for now. Stand by.




HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from the ATL. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.



HOWELL: For viewers on the West Coast, the race is on in southern California to contain several wildfires that are happening there. More than 30 homes have already been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their communities.

Take a look. Those fires playing out, this scene from Los Angeles. Some people are beginning to return home. Officials say the Saddleridge fire is just 13 percent contained. CNN's Paul Vercammen is there.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The focus for firefighters tonight as the winds kick up again is looking for those hot spots, making sure they keep them out, especially in homes that burned down. One of 31 structures just like that one behind me.

REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): Mandatory means mandatory. If you're instructed to leave, please leave.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Tens of thousands under mandatory evacuation orders after the Saddleridge fire exploded overnight in the San Fernando area of Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire quickly evolved into a wind-driven fire.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): It spread in what officials call an uncontrolled fashion, crossing major freeways. Officials are already starting to evaluate homes that have been lost to the fire and they say residents should not wait for someone to knock on their door to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I don't want to tell family they lost a deputy because you stayed behind.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Despite the strong Santa Ana winds and the evacuation orders, some residents are staying put.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just decided to stay. My brother decided to stay. Our neighbors decided to stay.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): Hoping to protect their homes a little longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that they gave us notice but still I cannot leave. I know we're to leave, you know. The minute it is going to be very, very bad, then I have to leave.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): The fire started around 9:00 pm Thursday, growing rapidly, engulfing more than 7,500 acres.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It appears there is a lull in activity there but don't be fooled. There's a lot of open fire line and potential for continued growth of the fire. VERCAMMEN: They say the fire is 13 percent contained, although they didn't update that containment number at the last news conference. Also, that wind. They have extended the red flag warning into tomorrow evening -- reporting from Granada Hills, California, I'm Paul Vercammen.


HOWELL: Let's talk more about what is happening with Thomas Fuller, he is the San Francisco bureau chief for "The New York Times," not only reporting on the fires but also dealing with them in his own neighborhood.

Thomas, thank you for taking time with us.


HOWELL: Let's start out with the latest on the fires. Fire crews report that the Saddleridge fire is growing.

FULLER: So yes, there are two fires in southern California. One of them has led to 100,000 evacuations. And a smaller fire has destroyed more structures but it has had fewer evacuations. But they are both being pushed by very strong winds that happen every year in the fall in California.

HOWELL: And talk to us about the forecast, the expectation, given that weather certainly is a main factor here.

FULLER: Yes, well, you know, California has this kind of desert climate in the summer months. In many parts of the state, it doesn't rain a drop from, you know, April until about, well, November.

So by the time you get to late fall, everything is very desiccated. And when the winds whip up, that is the very dangerous combination that we're seeing now, that we saw last year. We had that horrific fire in northern California that killed 86 people.

And then the year before that, it was right around the same time of year -- as a matter of fact it was almost two years exactly this week, that we had the fires that went through Wine Country north of San Francisco that did a tremendous amount of damage as well.

HOWELL: Also PG&E decided to turn off power, leaving people upset, angry and feeling helpless.

What are you hearing?

FULLER: This has never happened before in California. Because of those fires in northern California the last two years.


FULLER: The largest electricity company in the state decided to turn off the power for millions of people. It was a deliberate power cut that lasted for some people several days. We're at the tail end of that now. But you can imagine that, you

know, a society that is very much connected to the grid online, interconnected, really struggled when the power went off. We had just very strange juxtapositions.

I mean, this was happening just at the doorstep of Silicon Valley, this was happening in the very wealthy San Francisco Bay area, although not in San Francisco itself. And it was happening all the way up to the Oregon border.

So you had this very wealthy, developed state, the fifth largest economy in the world, having this tremendous power cut, deliberate power cut. And the idea is that electrical equipment in the past has caused a number of very serious fires, including the one that killed 86 people last year.

And so if you turn the power off, the idea is that you might be able to prevent one of these horrible fires.

HOWELL: I've never, as a reporter, been right in the center of a story that I was reporting on like you are doing right now. You are dealing with this. You've written about your personal reflections of the power outages and fires as they make their way to your front door.

What is the situation right now in your neighborhood?

FULLER: Things have calmed down a lot. We had -- I'm in a suburb of San Francisco. And we had quite a hectic week, where the power went out. And several hours later, there was a fire directly across from my house. And so many neighbors were evacuating.

And all the while, we were supposed to be writing about it. It wasn't a very large fire, only about 50 acres. But it really brought home what many people have suffered through in, of course, much more serious conditions than what we had here.

But you know, fire is such a threat for every community across California at this time of year. Things are so combustible that you do have dozens of dozens of fires in a month, some of them as small as the one we had here. But then you also have these huge conflagrations that authorities can do very little to solve.

HOWELL: It must be very difficult obviously to watch this yourself and so many other people who are in the same situation. Thomas Fuller, we wish you safety and we'll stay in touch with you.

FULLER: You're welcome. Thanks so much.


HOWELL: Now to Japan, where several areas are under the highest weather warning as a powerful typhoon gets closer and closer. That storm has already caused damage. At least one person was killed and five others injured when a tornado touched down near Tokyo. CNN is live in the capital city. Paula Hancocks on the streets of Tokyo with us. Paula, tell us more about the preparation for this storm and the

impact it's already had.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, there is an emergency weather warning out now from Japanese officials. That's for Tokyo and also for the surrounding areas, so greater Tokyo.

There's five levels they can call. They've called for level five, the highest, saying that it is very important that people do everything they can to protect their lives. They are making sure that residents know that this is a dangerous storm. Now it has been lessening in intensity as it approaches landfall but it is still a very dangerous typhoon.

Now we understand there have also been more than 250,000 residents that are now under evacuation order, meaning they should seek shelter, official shelters, or try to protect themselves. There's hundreds of thousands more that are under advisories of evacuation.

We also know that there is a serious concern about the level of rainfall, the amount of water that is falling at this point and is in the rivers. Half a dozen of those rivers have a level four flood warning, which is the second highest it can get to. When it gets to level five, they have flooded. One of the rivers has already broken its banks.

The typhoon has not reached this particular area yet, so there is a real concern among authorities about the potential for record-breaking rainfall from this storm.

HOWELL: Paula Hancocks on this story. We'll continue to watch this with you. Thank you.


HOWELL: Now to an incredible feat of human endurance and athletics. A Kenyan distance runner became the first person to run a marathon in less than two hours' time. It is amazing to look at this.

Eliud Kipchoge won in Vienna in 1:59:40. He smashed the previous record, which was his own, by about 1:40. He spoke with Richard Quest last year about whether he believed a sub two-hour marathon was in his reach.


ELIUD KIPCHOGE, MARATHON RUNNER: The professors intends to buck minister (ph) saying it there is no one even that came close before the (INAUDIBLE). So I had actually to prove them, that I am one of them. And I can run that time. So I am happy. I am the happiest man because I ran exactly close. But I was five seconds away from it.

RICHARD QUEST, CNNMONEY EDITOR AT LARGE: Somebody will run under two hours. Will it be you?

KIPCHOGE: It might be me. It may be another person. But I know a human being can run under two hours.


HOWELL: Wow. Here's the thing, today's race was an unofficial marathon. That means that it will not be recognized by the sport's governing body because it was not an open competition.

Still ahead, it may be a limited deal but it is a deal nonetheless. The U.S. and China call a halt to their trade war. CNN is live on the story in Shenzhen.

Plus, a mission not so possible. One that was scary for a man who climbed to the top of a plane to protest. That story ahead as NEWSROOM continues. Stay with us.






TRUMP: I've got to tell you, I just made a great China deal today for energy, for the farmers, for so many. It'll be 40 to $50 billion in bond purchases. I don't think our farmers can produce that much. I said, that's OK.

Our people said, sir, can we make it 20?

I said, no, make it 50. Our farmers will buy more land and they'll buy bigger tractors. Right?


The U.S. president there at one of his rallies, upbeat after he and China called a halt to the trade war. Mr. Trump says it is just the first phase.

HOWELL: This comes as some NBA teams are also making a controversial visit to China. David Culver is following both stories. David is live in Shenzhen, China.

Let's start with the trade war. The president calling it good news for American farmers.

What does it mean for China, as well?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Calling it "unbelievable," George, for the American farmers. He has repeated that line over and over, including at the campaign-like rally you saw in Louisiana from last night.

He says this is substantial and it includes $40 billion to $50 billion of agriculture purchases from China, mostly of soybeans and pork.

To your question of, what is China getting out of this?

For one, making those purchases is crucial for them. They have had this pork shortage here for the past year or so because of the African swine fever that's decimated about one-third of the pig supply. This is something they desperately need.

And they are going to be benefitting from a lack of increase in tariffs. The tariffs were supposed to go up from 25 percent to 30 percent next week. President Trump saying he is halting that.

Other parts of the deal interesting to point out, the president says they have reached an agreement on intellectual property. They have reached also an agreement on currency exchanges.

You'll recall, the U.S. declared China is a currency manipulator. Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, said they will potentially rescind the declaration. All of this is still to be hammered out.

You make out the reference here where we are, a stadium in Shenzhen for the Lakers and Nets game. They're not exclusive stories. The NBA-China crisis was sparked from a tweet related to the Hong Kong protests.

The trade deal just reached, according to two sources, we know President Trump promised President Xi in a phone call in June he wouldn't mention the Hong Kong protests. It seems he mostly lived by that going forward.

Yesterday in the Oval Office, he was asked by reporters about Hong Kong and President Trump said the situation has seemed to tone down. He also says that he believes it will take care of itself and praised President Xi Jinping here, saying everyone has come together for what is a big deal, substantial deal and progress.

China praising this, as well. The state media is touting this likewise as a great move and, of course, made sure to put in the quotes from President Trump praising President Xi Jinping.

HOWELL: David Culver reporting on both stories, including Hong Kong and how it relates to your backdrop right now. David, thank you.

Speaking of Hong Kong, a line of protesters has been on the move, marching. This is the 19th straight weekend that pro-democracy protesters hit the streets. Some marchers are covering their faces.

Keep in mind, that is against the law after the city's leaders announced an emergency measure that bans face masks last week. Other protests are planned, including a sit-in for the elderly and a demonstration at a shopping mall.

It was quite a stunt, you could say, but the protester on top of this commercial jet got more than he bargained for. We'll explain.





HOWELL: An actor best known for playing the tough guy in Hollywood, Robert Forster, has died after battling brain cancer. He appeared in more than 100 films and TV roles often as the villain.

He is known for his work in "Reflections in a Golden Eye" and "Medium Cool." He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the film "Jackie Brown." He was 78 years old.

Now to an unusual protest. Getting on a plane isn't really newsworthy unless you really, really get on top of that plane. That's what this protester did in London. Our Jeanne Moos has this story.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The view was better than a window seat, but don't expect meal service atop this British Airways flight at London City Airport.

JAMES BROWN, PROTESTER: I'm on top of a plane. There it is.

MOOS: James Brown was protesting the lack of action on climate change. A fellow protester was shooting the stunt.


MOOS: Brown wasn't acting so brave.

BROWN: I hate heights. I'm (INAUDIBLE) myself. I can't believe I managed to get on the roof and it's windy.

MOOS: He managed to board when the plane was still empty because he has a disability.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James, being partially sighted, was the first one to be taken on board.

MOOS: He climbed up, sat for a while, livestreamed his motivation.

BROWN: This is for my kids. This is for everybody's kids. Oh, God, this is too scary.

MOOS: He ended up lying face down.

Not surprisingly, there were Tom Cruise comparisons.


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR, " ETHAN HUNT": Open the door! Oh, my God! (END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Unlike Tom, James Brown never made it to cruising altitude.

BROWN: Oh, good. The security is coming. I hope they don't take too long, cause this is (INAUDIBLE) scary.

MOOS: Some passengers were angry about the delays caused by protests all over the airport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you proud about this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes. We are very proud of what he's doing.


MOOS (on camera): You know, in some ways, it was almost an upgrade to be on top of the airplane rather than in it.

MOOS (voice-over): "Plenty of legroom, though."

"No need to fly business to be able to lie flat."

"The Daily Show" tweeted, "This is economy plus on Spirit Airlines."

After 20 minutes or so, the woman shooting the video was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting endangering an aircraft.

BROWN: I don't know how the hell I got up here. I don't know how the hell I'm going to get down again.

MOOS: Firemen got him down, sort of sliding him off into their arms. Instead of "Mission: Impossible," this was mission can't wait until it's over.

BROWN: Really shaky. Hate heights.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HOWELL: Jeanne, thank you.

Finally this hour, this year's Nobel Peace Prize has gone to a man who is determined to heal the bitter wounds of the past and to move forward.

The Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed is being honored for his role in ending the two-decade war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in which 100,000 people died. The Norwegian Nobel Committee acknowledges there are those still unresolved issues in that region.

That wraps this hour of the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. For our viewers watching on CNN USA, "NEW DAY" is next. For viewers around the world on CNN international, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is ahead. We thank you for your time. [06:00:00]