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Al-Baghdadi Dead; Russia Thanked by Trump for Helping; Truck Driver Charged with Migrant Deaths; Prime Minister Boris Johnson Asks for General Election; Hong Kong Recession Due to Protests. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 28, 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: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. It's 8:00 a.m. in Damascus, 6:00 a.m. in London. From Atlanta headquarters, I'm Rosemary Church with you next two hours of "CNN Newsroom." Let's get started.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He died like a coward. He was whimpering, screaming, and crying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: U.S. President Trump describing what he says were the final moments for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. We have new details about the raid by U.S. Special Forces.
A drunk driver accused in the deaths of 39 migrants in the U.K. will be in court in the coming hours, while thousands of miles away in Vietnam, more families fear their loved ones may be among the victims.
And wildfires burn out of control in California, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.
Good to have you with us. So the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi is being hailed as a blow against terrorism, but we are being reminded that ISIS is still a very real threat in much of the world.
U.S. President Donald Trump made the dramatic announcement of Baghdadi's death on a Sunday providing what he described as details of the raid by U.S. Special Forces. Mr. Trump said Baghdadi was chased into a tunnel and blew himself up.
This drone footage shows the destruction left behind from the raid. Terror experts warn there will now be a scramble among Baghdadi's next in command to fill that vacuum. A U.S. defense official tells CNN they must be dealt with immediately before U.S. troops withdraw from Syria. Mr. Trump appeared to allude to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are after these leaders and we have others in sight, very bad ones, but this was the big one. This is the biggest one perhaps that we have ever captured because this is the one that built ISIS and beyond and was looking to rebuild it again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Meanwhile, a source tells CNN Baghdadi's body may be disposed of at sea just like al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's was after he was killed.
Well, it's unknown how long Baghdadi was hiding out in Idlib province, but the location is notable because it's not ISIS territory. Nick Paton Walsh has more now on the aftermath of the raid and the unanswered questions it raises.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The part of Syria where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi chose to hide out was an extraordinary choice in the deepest heartlands of ISIS' ideological rival, al-Qaeda. And it seems also somewhat remote yet also well- defended. Startling images of the destruction of that compound, some of which we have obtained.
WALSH (voice-over): It was the hardest of places to get into and hardest to guess he'd be hiding. This is all that's left of where the world's most wanted man hid possibly for weeks. Much of intelligence value whisked away, flattened to ruble by repeated air strikes. Cleared up it seems by the Islamists who control the area.
We obtained these images from a local camera man able to function in a region where al-Qaeda is strong but where elsewhere, civilians are bombed too often for life to be normal. Two of the dead here, collected and taken away.
Shells littered the area perhaps from the eight helicopters that arrived here in the dead of night before U.S. commandos blew holes through the compound walls.
Ahmed was woken just before 11:00 pm local time and was shocked to see helicopters hovering about 150 meters up. Ninety minutes later, a blast follows. Doors and windows of houses as far as one kilometer away were completely shattered he said.
We waited until sunrise before we came here and we the saw bodies of the martyrs, women and children, body parts, about six to seven dead. In the morning, we heard that Baghdadi was here, but people living here thought displaced people from Aleppo lived in the house working in the Catalan grain trade, no one knows, he said, exactly what happened.
Somewhat below this dust is the tunnel where President Donald Trump said Baghdadi blew himself up, killing his three children with him. But by dawn, there was so little left to pick over here. Baghdadi's sudden end is fleeting as his appearances in the world he cursed with radicalized violence.
WALSH (on camera): Other outstanding questions from that raid, there were a number o children Donald Trump said, where it seemed to have been left with locals there, but also to (inaudible) about who exactly was it that sheltered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi possibly for weeks, possibly for months -- further questions to be answered.
You heard there a local say that these were thought to be displaced from Aleppo, essentially farmers, but it may be a more complex story and one, possibly two, where one of the many Islamist radical groups to function in Idlib province may have provided some infrastructure.
It's hard frankly to operate there without some sort of broader militia providing sponsorship. That would be a key question to answer and it may also assist in explaining how come the world's most wanted man hid out for so long, so close to Turkey's southern border. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Erbil, northern Iraq.
CHURCH: Turkey's president calls Baghdadi's death a turning point in the battle against ISIS. Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will continue to support anti-terror efforts.
Meantime the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces say that they confirmed where Baghdadi was hiding and shared that intelligence with the United States.
The SDF says the raid was the result of five months of joint intelligence and coordination but was delayed for weeks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINO GABRIEL, SPOKESMAN, SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES: The SDF notes that this operation was delayed for more than a month due to the Turkish aggression on our region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So let's get a more now on this from Jomana Karadsheh. She joins us from near the Syria-Turkey border. Good to see you, Jomana. So, what's Turkey saying about this raid that ended in the death of Baghdadi?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. Like other countries in this region and in the world that have suffered from ISIS attacks, they're welcoming the news of this raid and as you mentioned earlier, we heard from President Erdogan in that tweet basically saying that this is a turning point in the fight against ISIS and the fight against terrorism.
But at the same time, when you look at the current situation in this region, the tensions between the different players here, this is obviously playing a role in the kind of reaction that we are getting.
So, we had senior Turkish officials basically calling for a thorough investigation into how ISIS' leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ended up in that part of Syria. And, you know, they say that those who facilitated, those who helped him get there should be brought to justice.
Now, they are alluding to the fact that he may have gone through areas that are controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, that mainly Syrian Kurdish fighting force, that he may have gone through regime held areas.
Keep in mind that a lot of the speculation and it was widely believed that al-Baghdadi would be hiding in friendlier areas in the desert areas along the border with Iraq, in eastern Syria, in western Iraq.
The last place people really expected him to be was in Idlib province as you heard there in Nick's reporting, basically because this is considered to be hostile territory for ISIS. This is controlled by rival jihadist groups including al-Qaeda affiliates.
Now, at the same time, we are hearing from the Syrian Democratic Forces. They are pointing the finger at Turkey. There is a lot of blame game going on here. They are asking the question as are others. How did Turkey not know that he was in Idlib province?
Just a few kilometers away from Turkey's border and this is a part of -- Turkey does have a number of military outposts in that part of Syria. So lots of questions here about how he ended up there.
But definitely the reaction overall from Turkey and others, Rosemary, is that while this is a big blow for ISIS, this definitely does not mean the end of the group as we have reported in the past when they lost their territory.
This could not have come at a worse time for the group, but definitely ISIS still down but not out, rosemary.
CHURCH: Right. And Jomana, according to the Kurdish-led SDF, Turkey's offensive in northern Syria delayed the Baghdadi operation. What more are you learning about that?
KARADSHEH: Well this is what we're hearing from a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces. They say that obviously they have been, you know, they had this information for months and they shared it with the United States.
That it was their intelligence that led to this operation but they say that Turkey's military operation, that incursion into northeastern Syria, that that delayed this raid by more than a month.
It's really unclear. We haven't heard that from U.S. officials. We heard from President Trump basically saying that the operation had been delayed a couple of times. It didn't go ahead, but that was because of Baghdadi's movements and changes in his movements.
At the same time, a source that has the knowledge of this operation and the situation on the ground, also tell CNN that the U.S. military withdrawal from Syria did have a major impact on the planning of this operation but it did not in any way accelerate the launch of this raid.
And that source is also saying that had U.S. official -- U.S. troops not been on the ground and had they not had the support from the Syrian Democratic Forces, they say that this mission would have been impossible, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Jomana Karadsheh bringing us that live report from the Syria- Turkish border, many thanks.
Well, President Trump also thanked Russia for helping with the mission to kill the ISIS leader. In particular, he praised the cooperation by the Russian government in the operation. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Russia treated us great. They opened up -- we had to fly over certain Russia areas, Russia-held areas. Russia was great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you tell them?
TRUMP: We told them we're coming in. And they said thank you for telling. They were very good. They were very cooperative. They really were good. And we did say it would be a mission that they'd like too because, you know, again, they hate ISIS as much as we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, Russia on the other hand is saying hold on minute. CNN's Fred Pleitgen tells us the Russian military is questioning the Trump administration's account of the raid that killed al-Baghdadi and even if it happened at all.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first country that President Trump thanked after that successful raid on the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was Russia.
But if President Trump thought that he was going to get any love back from the Russians, he certainly seems to be mistaken, and the Russians instead, putting out a statement, blasting the U.S. and then also calling into question whether that raid was really successful.
Now, this comes from the spokesman of the Russian military, Major General Igor Konashenkov. He said that first of all, the Russians have not registered any sort of air strikes in what they call the Idlib de- escalations zone. Obviously, that area where that raid took place.
He also said that the Russian know nothing about providing any sort of assistance to the United States in that raid, for instance, by allowing the U.S. to fly through airspace that is controlled by the Russians, and then the Russians also calling into question the very success of that raid.
I want to read a little bit of the statement that the Russians put out. This is a quote, "The increasing number of direct participants and countries that allegedly took part in this operation, each one giving completely contradictory details, raises legitimate questions and doubts about its existence and especially the level of its success."
And the Russians didn't stop there. They also said that even if this raid happened and was successful, they don't believe that it's going to make any sort of difference on the ground.
The Russians obviously saying there are still a side from ISIS, a lot of other militant groups out there that they believe still need to be fought, especially in that area where that raid took place in Idlib.
So certainly, the Russians, while President Trump seems to have some warm words for them does, really not returning the favor to him at all. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
CHURCH: Security and terrorism expert Glenn Schoen joins me now from The Hague in the Netherlands via Skype. Thank you so much for being with us.
GLENN SCHOEN, SECURITY & TERRORISM EXPERT: Good morning.
CHURCH: So, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead but ISIS is still very much alive. What will likely happen next and who might replace Baghdadi do you think?
SCHOEN: There's a number of dynamics if we are looking at replacement. What we're hearing is that most likely his so-called minister of defense, Iyad al-Obaidi, an Iraqi who started his career in the security apparatus of the Ba'ath Party in Iraq and has been a close associate of al-Baghdadi for the past six or seven years, is the name we're hearing most about.
This of course is somebody with a lot of military as well as terrorist experience. They also had ties to (inaudible), the overseas intelligence and terrorism operations of ISIS. So, that is sort of the speculation on that side right now that we -- essentially -- we see a pair of safe hands takeover. Whether that will be the case, we will just have to see.
The bigger piece that I think a lot of analysts are looking at right now is what's going to happen on the terrorism front, and there is a number of dynamics there at play.
The first one being that, if we look at death of top terrorist leaders in the past, there is always on the one hand, a few people, sort of that lone wolf level who enthusiastically will try to make a statement and then one, two or three days right after the death of the big leader.
And on the other hand, we will probably see some level of more professional, larger scale operation efforts to essentially make a big point of revenge and show the resilience if you will of ISIS as they did over the loss of (inaudible) in March with a big operation next month Sri Lanka.
CHURCH: Yes. I mean, that is a big concern isn't it. And we also heard President Trump share details of the last moments of Baghdadi just before he died. Mr. Trump said that he was whimpering and crying, cornered like a dog, behaving like a coward. What impacts will words like that have on ISIS and its followers and that concern about retribution?
SCHOEN: Well, Rosemary, I'm not sure. I mean, on the one hand of course the president there was trying to sort of downplay that there was any kind of heroic stance by this person, that he took his life in the face of American troops.
Basically, trying to squash the notion that he should be or could be lionized for what he did at life's end. I think it may anger some people that he was so degraded here by the president in addition to what these people are already feeling.
This is a typical, I think, stage fright after the death of a big leader where both sides are trying to frame to the bank (ph) -- both sides are trying to frame what happened and we will simply have to see what we're going to see and what's left over of ISIS propaganda apparatus in the next few days. Are they going to bring that message?
CHURCH: Right. And who do you think sheltered Baghdadi in Ilib province in northwestern Syria, very much outside his territory, so he would've needed help, wouldn't he?
SCHOEN: Likely yes. We have to remember though that ISIS of course had many groups in factions not necessarily bigger political or militia movements that assisted them over the years. Think of organized crimes, think of smuggling networks, think of weapons purchasing networks.
So, it could well be that, for instance, ISIS made use of a larger group belonging to a regional tribe or a regional -- a group that weren't really aware of who was being housed there, that simply they had the message.
Hey, don't pay attention to this. We have a group of people staying here. They're essentially friends. Don't tell anybody. It may well have been one of these types of operations versus an open connection to a larger known entity.
CHURCH: Glenn Schoen, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your perspective. We do appreciate it.
SCHOEN: Thank you. CHURCH: And next on CNN, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is asking parliament to approve a general election. Could this move help prevent the U.K. from staggering towards a Brexit debacle.
And this family fears the worst. Their daughter may be among 39 people found dead inside a truck in the United Kingdom. We have the latest on the investigation. We're back in just a moment.
CHURCH: The truck driver charged in the deaths of 39 people in the U.K. is due to appear in court in the coming hours -- 25 year-old Maurice Robinson of northern Ireland faces multiple charges including manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.
Three others arrested in connection with the investigation have been released on bail. And CNN spoke exclusively with two Vietnamese families who fear their children are among the victims who died in the back of that truck. David Culver has their story.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The faces of this mother and father reflect their exhaustion, despair and shock, sharing their painful story exclusively with CNN from their home in Vietnam.
(Inaudible) holds tight to his cellphone. On the screen, the last text messages received from his 26-year-old daughter, (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): The latest message let me know she was going to die. She knew 100 percent she was going to die so she texted.
CULVER (voice-over): The young woman writing, "I am sorry dad and mom, the way I went overseas was not successful. Mom, I love dad and you so much. I'm dying because I can't breathe. I am so sorry mom."
The family fears (inaudible) was among the 39 bodies found Wednesday morning in the U.K. British authorities discovered the victims believed to be migrants inside a shipping container in an industrial park outside of London.
CNN has learned that container was shipped from Belgium late Tuesday night. They have since made multiple arrests on charges ranging from trafficking to murder. But details surrounding the migrant's journey still remain a mystery.
Well, police in the U.K. initially believe the dead were all Chinese nationals. They now stress they cannot yet confirm the victims nationalities.
MARTIN PASMORE, DETECTIVE CHIEF INSPECTOR, ESSEX POLICE: What we're doing now is trying to appeal to any community that feel that they have got loved ones involved in this incident. And from my perspective, is to try and start building that trust.
CULVER (voice-over): Police do acknowledge they're hearing from many within the Vietnamese community. A Vietnamese government sources tell CNN officials in the same province where (inaudible) family lives, say at least nine other families have reached out expressing concern that their missing relatives could have been in the truck.
(Inaudible) father believes his son was among the 39. He got a call from someone in France Thursday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): The caller told me that my son arrived in England. It was a group and there was an accident, the whole group had died.
CULVER (voice-over): After the call, he says he collapsed as though he just been struck by lightning. (Inaudible) relatives turning to prayer. His journey was to find a better life, much like (inaudible). Her father says she too left with high hopes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): I asked her some information about how she would travel, what transportation type. She answered that she was going by VIP safe route. Go by airlines, go by car. If I had known she would go by this way, nobody would let their kids go. I would never let her go.
CULVER (voice-over): (inaudible) father said it cost the family $40,000. He took photos of one of the payments he made. It is a fortune given a couple only makes about $400 month. Their focus now, getting their daughter back.
His wife walks around their humble home in north (inaudible) Vietnam, seemingly lost. She struggles to sit down, leaning on relatives, to think, many families now enduring this agony.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): I have nothing to lose except for my daughter's body.
CULVER (voice-over): David Culver, CNN.
CHURCH: And British politics, Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to ask members of parliament in the coming hours to approve a general election on December 12th.
For it to pass, he will need two thirds of the MP support. Mr. Johnson says if they back the election, it gives them more time to scrutinize his Brexit deal. And E.U. officials are expected to announce soon whether to accept a proposed three-month Brexit extension.
Pro democracy rallies in Hong Kong are now in their 21st week, and they are taking a big toll on this cities economy. Hong Kong's financial secretary says the unrest has triggered a recession and that it will be difficult for the territory to reach its annual economic growth target.
Months of demonstrations have often brought the city to a standstill. Airports have been disrupted, streets have been blocked and buildings have been vandalized.
Well, some key U.S. lawmakers say they were not notified about the Baghdadi raid. Ahead, why President Trump decided to keep them out of the loop and how his critics are responding.
Plus, as Democrats press ahead with their investigation into the Trump-Ukraine controversy, we will take a look at what Ukrainians think about it. That's next. We are back 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. U.S. President Donald Trump says ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. But now, there is a vacuum at the top of the terror group's leadership, the top ISIS members will try to fill. Mr. Trump told the world in detail how Baghdadi died during a U.S. military raid in Syria. A source tells CNN that his body may be disposed of at sea. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Baghdadi's death a turning point in the fight against ISIS. However, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces say Turkey's offensive in Syria delayed the raid by more than a month.
Russia is questioning whether the raid even happened. A Defense Ministry spokesman says conflicting accounts about the operation raised questions and doubts about its existence and success. President Trump had thanked Russia for its help while announcing the raid, but Moscow says it's unaware of providing any assistance.
Well, Democrats are criticizing President Trump for not telling Congressional leaders about the plans for the Baghdadi raid. Here's how House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff responded after revealing that he and other lawmakers usually briefed on intelligence matters had not been notified by the President. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The reason to notify the Gang of Eight is frankly more important when things go wrong. If -- you know, the President said it was dangerous flying in, the Russians could have shot down American planes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Gang of Eight was told about the bin Laden raid back in 2011.
SCHIFF: That's what I understand. I wasn't part of the Gang of Eight at that time, but that's my understanding. But had this escalated, had something gone wrong? Had we gotten into a firefight with the Russians, it's to the administration's advantage to be able to say, we informed Congress, we were going in, they were aware of the risks, we at least gave them the chance to provide feedback. That wasn't done here. I think that's a mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Joining me now, Scott Lucas, a professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, good to have you with us.
SCOTT LUCAS, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: Good morning, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So, let's look at the politics of this raid that ended in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Why didn't President Trump told key Democrats and some Republicans about this operation, even after it was completed and no U.S. lives were at risk. And why would he not tell them but talk to Russia about it instead?
LUCAS: Well, according to Donald Trump, in his conference yesterday, he didn't tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and presumably the other Congressional leaders, because he didn't believe that Pelosi would keep the raid secret. In other words, he effectively accused her of being willing to jeopardize the operation by going out and telling the media. Now, Pelosi immediately made a statement which said that it's important that Congress be consulted not only about these operations, but about Trump's strategy in Syria.
And I think that points to the wider issue on two fronts. The first is, Trump has faced criticism from Democrats and Republicans for his sudden order to withdraw American troops from Syria, effectively in the eyes of many, abandoning Kurdish allies. He has endorsed a Turkish offensive into Kurdish-held areas. And I think Trump is sensitive to that criticism. And secondly, let's be honest here, Donald Trump likes Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump likes to be liked by Vladimir Putin. And that is why he praised Russia repeatedly during his conference yesterday, even as Moscow said, Hey, we didn't know anything about this.
CHURCH: Well, then, yes, let's look at that because I mean, Russia, it's a big slap in the face to President Trump, isn't it? Why do you think Russia is denying any knowledge of this raid even questioning whether it happened at all despite President Trump saying he consulted with Russia?
LUCAS: Well, because Russia wants to keep Trump on a string. I mean, you'll notice this isn't just true about yesterday, that whenever Trump praises Russia, they will stand back and say, Oh, well, we're not quite sure about this. We're not quite sure about his policy, because it has the effect of making him try even harder to appeal to Moscow. But secondly, Russia wants to keep the Americans on a string in Syria. And not just during the Trump administration, but during the Obama administration, Russia is taking the initiative, not only in defending the Assad regime, which has been responsible for most of the killing there, but in taking advantage of the political process and pushing the Americans to the sidelines. And the Russians do not want Washington to come back to the center of Syrian politics through the claim that they have killed Baghdadi, and therefore they are the leading military force in Syria right now.
CHURCH: Interesting. And presidential hopeful, and former Vice President Joe Biden was asked if he thought President Trump deserved credit for the raid that killed Baghdadi, and this is what he had to say. Let's bring that up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know what part the President played in it. And I'm not being facetious. I don't know. And if he had part of the planning, and if he were part of the execution, then yes, I think the President just spend more time, like President Obama did, giving credit to the incredible military and intelligence community that planned it, and so -- and if he was an intricate part of that, and he was -- and he listened to these folks, then yes, it's a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, Joe Biden admits the death of Baghdad is a good thing, but says the military should be getting more credit for this along with the intelligence community. But doesn't every President take credit for raids like this? And will this give Mr. Trump a boost, politically, do you think?
LUCAS: Well, I would just ask viewers to compare the tone of Trump's statement yesterday, with the tone of Barack Obama's statement eight years ago upon the killing of Osama bin Laden, and they can make up their own mind about which statement in effect gives credit or not just credit -- in other words, reflects the operation, reflects its significance and reflects what it means for American agencies.
And I'll add this fact. And that is American officials said yesterday after the press conference, two outlets like the New York Times, that Donald Trump almost led to the operation being cancelled, because his sudden order to withdraw American forces from Syria put that operation in jeopardy, and indeed, it had to be rushed to this past weekend to make sure it took place before that withdrawal occurred.
CHURCH: Scott Lucas, we thank you for your analysis. Appreciate it.
LUCAS: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, President Trump's announcement of the death of the ISIS leader may score him some political points, but it's not likely to slow calls for him to be impeached. House Democrats are pressing ahead with the impeachment inquiry with four hearings expected on Capitol Hill this week. Now, much of the focus is on the administration's dealings with Ukraine. But Ukraine's leaders and Ukrainians are trying to stay clear of the controversy. Some of them tells CNN's Clarissa Ward, it's not their problem.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ukraine is
still front and center in the U.S.'s political crisis, more than a month after the impeachment inquiry began. The country has gone to lengths not to take sides and risk much-needed bipartisan support from the U.S. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admits it is an uncomfortable position to be in.
During a recent press conference, he joked to journalists that he really wanted to be world famous, but not for this. At the English Language Kyiv Post, the political scandal is very much front-page news. The paper recently made waves with this headline that quickly went viral.
I mean, this one is so striking to me because you're talking about a shady cast of characters here they all are. And there is the President of the United States. Did you know that it would create such waves online when you came out with this cover?
OLGA RUDENKO, DEPUTY CHIEF EDITOR, KYIVPOST: No, no, we did not see it coming. We did not expect it when we were making it at all.
WARD: Did you have a moment at all thinking, are we going to get in trouble at all for having a picture of President Trump right under the word shady?
RUDENKO: Not really. I mean, we're not making anything up here. Here's his personal journey who's been making this dealings in Ukraine and he was wrong. It's not farfetched, it's all very clear they're all connected.
WARD: Anti-corruption activists Daria Kalenuik has spent years investigating many of the figures on the Ukrainian side and was disturbed to see the White House dealing with such dubious characters.
DARIA KALENUIK, ANTI-CORRUPTION ACTIVIST: We now see more last, the clearer picture what was happening during the last half a year. It is outrageous.
KALENUIK: It's absolutely outrageous. It's very disappointing. I could never believe that something like that could happen.
WARD: On the streets of Kiev, Few Ukrainians have such strong opinions about America's political turmoil.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you care about the story?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me, too. Yes, we don't care so much about the story.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Problems of President of United States is not about us. We have our own problems.
WARD: Chief among them for President Zelensky, the war against Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country. Ukraine depends heavily on U.S. military aid in that fight. Kalenuik says that those who understand what is at stake here are uneasy.
Do you think people are angry?
KALENUIK: Absolutely. People are angry and scared. And I will explain why people are scared. It is existential need for Ukraine to have the support of the United States. We want to leave under the western values, under the values of liberal democracy. But in order to resist the pressure from Russia, we need to rely of the support of our key partners.
WARD: But as America's political crisis deepens, Russia's Hand is only strengthened, leaving Ukraine with few good options but to try to ride out the storm. Clarissa Ward, CNN, Kiev.
CHURCH: Well, Mr. Trump is probably not happy with the reception he received at a Major League Baseball game on Sunday. The President and First Lady made an appearance during game five of the World Series in Washington. He was greeted by boos and chants of lock him up, after his picture appeared on the jumbotron. Now, this is the first baseball game Mr. Trump has attended as President, yet he didn't throw out the first pitch which is usually the custom. Instead, that honor went to Trump critic and Chef, Jose Andres.
Well, Voters in Argentina have cast their ballot for president. We will tell you which candidate they picked to lead them out of a tough recession. Plus, the unrest is growing on the streets of Iraq, and sadly, so is the death toll. The latest on the turmoil sweeping that country. Back in a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the ongoing and often violent demonstrations across Iraq are claiming more lives. A source with Iraq's Independent High Commission for Human Rights, says 74 people have died in the unrest, and more than 3,600 have been injured.
The streets of Baghdad are becoming battlefields as clashes between protesters and security forces rage on. Demonstrators are angry about unemployment, alleged government corruption, and lack of basic services.
Voting in Argentina's presidential election has ended. And it looks like a new leader will take the helm. Incumbent president, Mauricio Macri conceded defeat on Sunday after voting results show that challenger Alberto Fernandez had a commanding lead.
Stefano Pozzebon is in Buenos Aires, with more on the outcome. STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: The scenes of jubilant joy here at the headquarters of the center-left party coalition -- the headquarters of the new president-elect of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez.
Late on Sunday, the current incumbent President Mauricio Macri said that he spoke on the phone with Fernandez to concede the victory and inviting for a breakfast to smooth out the transition as much as possible.
But now that these results are though very expected in the -- in the last weeks ahead, finally become official. The page can turn to the consequences, and there still many questions about how this new administration in Buenos Aires govern and rule in the next four years. With a perhaps, a new approach on the economy from the liberal free- market policies of Mauricio Macri to the return of populism with Alberto Fernandez and his radical and former president of Argentina, his radical Vice President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Still, many questions to be answered here in Buenos Aires, question that will take place starting from tomorrow morning when they saw the exchange -- when exchange House seats will open.
For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Buenos Aires.
CHURCH: Well, California is under a state of emergency is wildfires forced tens of thousands to evacuate. We will find out how bad the damage is. We'll be back with that in just a moment.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fire is over here now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm getting over. I'm getting over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my -- it's all around us. Oh, my God.
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CHURCH: Destructive scenes playing out across California. Dry conditions and heavy winds feeling wildfires that have scorched thousands of hectares. The governor has declared a state of emergency in California's largest utility has cut power to nearly a million customers to prevent more fires.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov has more.
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it's been a weekend of devastation and trepidation here in California's wine country. Those winds, 80-mile per hour winds spreading the flames far and wide. You can see the destruction behind me.
We actually got woken up at 5:30 in the morning on Sunday, a mandatory evacuation in an area that wasn't under evacuation when he went to bed. A lot of the folks went south to safety, we went up north to see just how much devastation these fires have brought. Take a look at what we saw.
KAFANOV: I want to show you a little bit of what the fire crews have been dealing with this morning. You see the bulldozer here. They've been coming to try to dig containment lines. Up on the hill, a structure is on fire. This is one of many here in Sonoma County in Northern California that have been burning since those winds picked up at around 4:00 a.m. local time.
We're going to let this bulldozer get past us. It's a critical, critical way of helping to fight the fires. They are clearing the roadways, moving aside the brush so that cars and rescue crews could get through.
And I want to show you what we are looking at over here. This was somebody's, home. It was too late for crews to save this one. You can see there as is the remains of a fireplace. That's basically the only thing that's left standing. This might have been a kitchen, perhaps, a laundry room, some sort of a laundry machine -- a washing machine there, but all of these turned to rubble and dust.
KAFANOV: So, and you can see the difficult conditions that fire crews are dealing with, those winds making it impossible to predict just how far this fire could spread. Of course, folks here are doing everything they can to try to get it under control. But it's not just people who are affected. We are standing on a farm right now, a ranch.
We've been given permission to spend some time here, and you can see the cattle. Most of them survived, this family did lose some livestock they said. The most important thing everyone in the family made it out OK. But you can see there are no structures left standing. Almost everything here devastated, just one of the many tragic stories in the heart of California's wine country.
CHURCH: And our thanks to Lucy Kafanov for that report. We turn out to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, who joins us from the International Weather Center with more on one people in California can inspect in the coming hours and days. Pedram, what do you seeing?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Rosemary, you know, certainly, not over yet across this region. What an incredible weekend it's been across portions of California when it comes to the ferocity of which these fires were consuming land. We're talking about significant rapid potential for growth and, of course, an explosive fire weather set up here when we have winds of Category 2 hurricane-force across this region.
So, nine active fires to be had across the state of California, we know across this region, of course, the most significant of which, the Kincade Fire to the north, only five percent containment. Notice 50 plus thousand acres of land consumed.
JAVAHERI: To the south across Southern California, much more containment taking place to the Tick Fire, and a much smaller fire as well.
But, you take a look, we're talking about several thousand people working on this particular fire that only has five percent containment. And the concern is, of course, 94 structures destroyed. Officials' concern this would cross Interstate 101. If it does cross -- Highway 101, I should say, and if it does that, it's the first time since the 1940s this particular area of Sonoma County has seen fires of this magnitude.
And again, the winds in the past, just 24 plus hours -- in 12 hours to be precise, exceeding 90 miles per hour across portions of Northern California. We'll expect the winds to continue, high pressure still firmly in place to the east there and we do have high wind warnings across not only the northern portion of the state but also the southern tier of the state.
The concern is going in from Tuesday into Wednesday. Areas of Northern California will see winds potentially once again return to that Category 2 kind of comparison, which will push close to 100 miles per hour to the north, could see that again across some areas of Southern California.
And notice we are in the extreme levels for concerns there with humidities below 10 percent, winds pushing up to hurricane forest, and then fuels remaining very high. So, the fire season very young and this particular fire has a long way to go before officials get a hold of it as well, Rosemary.
CHURCH: That is not good news at all, Pedram.
JAVAHERI: Not at all, yes.
CHURCH: Thank you so much for keeping such a close eye on all of that. Appreciate it.
And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter, and I'll be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN, do stick around.