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NATO Leaders Meets in Brussels; Macron, Scholz, and Draghi Travel to Ukraine for a Surprise Visit; China and Russia's Bromance Not Deterred by the West; Federal Reserve Raise Interest Rates; A Suspicious Tour Prior to January 6 Insurrection; Suspect Now Arrested Behind Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira's Death; No Sign of Sympathy from Brazilian President Bolsonaro; White House on Defense Over President Biden's Saudi Trip; Heat Wave Felt in Northern Hemisphere. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired June 16, 2022 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, I'm Paula Newton.
Just ahead on CNN newsroom, the Biden administration pouring another billion dollars of military aid into Ukraine at this hour. NATO defense ministers hold their next round of talks over the Russian invasion. CNN has correspondents right across the region.
The Fed makes a major move announcing the largest interest rate hike in nearly 30 years. We'll look at how global markets are reacting. And we're live at the CNN weather center on the intense heat wave
hitting parts of Europe. Any relief in sight we'll let you know.
And we are following a developing story out of Europe where we are following a couple of things going on here. Now, the first instance. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the Italian prime minister are now in Kyiv for a visit.
But right now, what you are looking at is the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, along with the secretary general of NATO, they are addressing the media as they are about to hold a bilateral meeting. Let's listen in.
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: To further increase the support for Ukraine, because they really need our support. And yesterday, at the defense minister meeting, there is a strong message from all NATO partners that we are prepared for the long haul, NATO allies are also prepared to continue to provide substantial unprecedented support to Ukraine.
We are, at this ministerial meeting over NATO defense ministers, preparing for summit later this month in Madrid. That will be a transformative summit at the pivotal point for our security. We will make important decisions on how to strengthen further our deterrence and defense, in a more dangerous world.
We will agree on the comprehensive package of support Ukraine. We will agree on how to further modernize NATO by agreeing a strategic concept reflecting a new security reality. And then we will engage with partners, including our Asia-Pacific partners, Japan, and South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. And also, with Finland and Sweden, the two countries that have now applied for NATO membership.
And then, we will also pf course address the need to further invest, increase defense spending and improve sharing within our alliance.
So, Secretary Austin, thank you so much, thank you for being a steadfast and strong supporter of our alliance. Welcome
LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Secretary General Jens, thank you for convening this meeting. It's great to be back in Brussels. I think this ministerial will lay the foundation for a successful summit later in the month. So, I look forward to some great discussions with our colleagues in the meetings that are coming up.
Thanks again for your leadership, you've always emphasized that this alliance is built on core values. And our core values are always on display, whenever we do anything, whenever we're together. And I think that's always, always noticeable and important.
Certainly, as we see countries like Finland and Sweden make a historic decision to apply for NATO membership. That's very encouraging. We welcome that. You know, these are strong democracies who have -- who have values that are very much in line with our values. And they're very capable countries. And so, we hope that things will continue to look forward in support their desires to join NATO.
Jens, I look -- again, I look forward to a great discussion. And let me end by saying, the way I started, by saying, thanks so much for your strong leadership.
And thanks for agreeing to stay with us a bit longer, to help us work through some very complex issues in these difficult times.
NEWTON: OK, so, we just got the opening remarks there, as the U.S. Secretary of Defense and Secretary General of NATO are about to begin a bilateral meeting. Of course, the secretary general there of NATO saying that the aid to Ukraine would in fact be substantial and unprecedented.
And he also noted that an upcoming NATO summit in Madrid, in a few weeks, will in fact be in his words, transformative for NATO. Secretary Austin there, again thanking the secretary general and making it clear in highlighting the fact that NATO now has two other countries that would want to join, Finland and Sweden. And saying that they are capable countries, and he welcomes as well that development in terms of adding to NATO's capability.
Now as I said at the top there, we are also following another developing story out of Europe, where French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have arrived in Kyiv after an overnight train trip.
Now Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was also on the train, we just want to let you know, we have not yet seen him arrive in the Ukrainian capital. Now Kyiv has in fact been critical of France, Germany, and Italy saying that they have been slow to deliver weapons to Ukraine. So, this trip possibly an effort to shore up relations but also a message to Russia.
Mr. Macron says they will pass the message to of European solitary to the Ukrainian president. Again, the leaders of France, Germany have now arrived in Kyiv on an overnight train trip. We believe the prime minister of Italy is also there and we will wait to confirm that.
Now CNN's Oren Liebermann is live this hour in Brussels. Clare Sebastian is standing by for us in London. And we begin right there in Kyiv with Salma Abdelaziz. Now, this is obviously, a surprise visit. It is a notable show of support, and as we were just mentioning, perhaps an opportunity for those leaders to again pledge their support to Ukraine.
When President Zelenskyy has been quite blunt, right, that the weapons are -- and military aid is not coming in fast enough.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, this is a historic show of force from arguably three of the most powerful countries in Europe. Some of the largest economies. But it's also about mending fences here.
In particular, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been criticized for not providing unwavering support to Ukraine during this time. His contribution in terms of military equipment and support that's been as extremely small considering that Germany is again, the largest economy in Europe.
But the big criticism has been around Germany's refusal to cut out Russia -- Russia's oil and gas outright. They have promised to phase out their need for Russian oil and gas by the end of the year. President Zelenskyy has had some choice words about that, essentially accusing Germany of funding Russia's war here in Ukraine, saying that that money is going to an illegal invasion of his country, that it will result in more deaths on the ground.
So that's going to be a big sticking point there, is how can the German chancellor tried to toughen these sanctions, try to increase that news, tighten that noose around Russia by cutting off economic ties, at the same still meeting his country's need for Russian oil and gas replacing that somehow.
And then of course, French President Emmanuel Macron has also had a testy exchange with President Zelenskyy in recent says. The French president in comments to French media said, that the international community should find an exit ramp to this conflict, and I am paraphrasing, but they should do it without humiliating Russia. President Zelenskyy immediately response to that, took it as Macron
essentially being soft on Russia, trying to give them the easy way out. And then of course there's the issue of Ukraine's bid to join the European Union. We're supposed by the end of this week as to whether or not the European Commission will recommend Ukraine for candidacy status for the E.U.
Now that process of joining the E.U. could take years, if not decades. It's extremely complicated but it is a symbolic moment if that happens of the European community opening the doors to Ukraine in many ways. You have to remember that Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so this is another way to sort of show the support of the European community for President Zelenskyy.
So, you can expect that this is going to be a tough meeting, and again the Italian prime minister is also there. So, it's going to be a tough meeting between these European Union -- three European leaders, rather, and President Zelenskyy this morning.
President Zelenskyy is going to be looking for more than words, more than rhetoric. He's going to want to hear how Germany is going to increase its sanctions against Russia, how it's going to cut off economic ties with Russia, if that's what the German chancellor seeks.
He's going to want to know that these countries are going to be absolutely tough when it comes to any negotiation with Moscow in the future. And he's going to want to know that this support -- this support is going to be a long-standing, and that the door, the path to his European neighbors is open and welcome. Paula?
NEWTON: Yes. Definitely a big task ahead for those leaders. Now, Oren, to you now. The U.S. laid its cards on the table pretty quickly. The military aid is coming, another billion dollars. But given Russian progress in the east, I'm really going to lean on how much you've been following the U.S. secretary of state around the world recently. What are you hearing about NATO allies and what's their next move might be?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, we should get a sense of that not only today, but also the NATO defense ministerial is setting up the NATO conference, the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month. And that's really the purpose of today. And you heard NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg address this a little bit. Not only talking about the unity of NATO, and promising that aid will continue to flow to Ukraine.
Of course, the biggest provider is the U.S., but we've also seen some other announcements. Germany, for example, saying it will send in three multiple launch rocket systems, the question is how quickly they will send those in. And they certainly faced some criticism there.
But it's also the bigger picture question about how you deal with Russia, not only in the short term, the medium term when it comes to Ukraine. But also, a Russia that has shown itself to be more aggressive, vis-a-vis, NATO. What changes are required to NATO's force posture in Eastern Europe, and those are the big picture questions that the NATO defense ministers and the heads of the militaries will begin to address today.
What adjustments need to be made to the troops, where they are, how many they are, what types of forces there are there facing Russia and to a lesser extent Belarus these. Those are the big picture questions that need to be addressed not only today, but those answers need to move forward into the NATO summit in Madrid later this month.
And then you heard Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaking. He also of course talked about NATO unity coming off of the Ukraine Contact Group and the big announcement of a billion dollars in aid from the United States. But there's the issue of Finland and Sweden joining.
Turkey's issues and objections haven't yet fully been addressed. So, this isn't -- this isn't exactly a problem that's already been solved. That's another issue that NATO has to deal with during what are frankly difficult times. And not only keeping NATO governments united, but also keeping the publics of NATO countries united. And that's perhaps far more difficult.
Everyone realizes that although it's symbolically, and perhaps even realistically, they're united on Ukraine, that unity doesn't come easily. And it needs to be part of this process as well, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, it was interesting, Oren. I'm just getting new information in here from Ukraine. The deputy prime minister saying they're not expecting any big announcements but that in fact, three European leaders have come to Ukraine right in the middle of a total war and making a fine point and saying it's a great signal that strengthen Ukraine and Europe. But we have been talking for last few weeks, really months, with President Zelenskyy pleading nearly every day that he needs more.
Clare, to you now in London. Russia is standing by with all of this and being as strident as ever. The language from the Kremlin really has been notable in the last few days, especially when it comes to its relationship with the United States.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Paula, this the anniversary in fact, today of that meeting last year between Presidents Putin and Biden. And Dimitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman who himself tends to take a fairly measured tone he's not the most strident of the Russian officials that you hear from, but he was very direct about this yesterday.
He said that the hopeful spirit that there was at that meeting would now be impossible to return to. So, you know, clearly for Russia there are, in its views, red lines that are in danger of being crossed by the west or have already been crossed NATO expansion.
You know, Ukraine's application to join the E.U., which the E.U. Commission is set to decide on Friday, then sent to member states the supply of weapons. Things like that. It's clear that for Russia those are red lines. But on the other hand, it was interesting to note what he said about how it's essential to continue communications. He said there might be some hopes for a new type of communication, a
completely different mode of communication, he called it but only on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit.
It's clear that despite the sort of isolation that's happening, the sanctions from the west, Russia is making the point that it feels that it's too big to isolate, that it's impossible to isolate. That you can see on the same day, that Russia held that call with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It's alternative alliances.
At the same time, as the U.S. is trying to expand its coalition and bring more countries into the sanctions regime against Russia. President Biden meeting, meeting with the likes of Brazil's President Bolsonaro last week, and of course, that upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia. So, this is a sort of, redrawing of alliances, but Russia meanwhile making the point that it feels that it is too big to isolate.
NEWTON: Yes, a lot there that will be coming up in the next few hours in fact. Salma Abdelaziz for us in Kyiv, Oren Liebermann in Brussels, and Clare Sebastian in London. We will all get back to you as the news unfolds, both in Brussels, and in Kyiv. Thanks so much.
Now Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting a boost, as Clare was just saying, of support from his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping says China will continue to back Moscow on its core interest including sovereignty and security. And he says China will play its role in promoting the proper solution to the situation to the situation in Ukraine. President Putin and Xi spoke by phone on Wednesday.
We want to bring in CNN's Beijing bureau chief now, Steven Jiang, you've been following all of it. Quite a juxtaposition now, right? You've got three European leaders standing in Kyiv who will now shortly meet with the president of Ukraine, but China saying that look, its relations with Russia have maintained, in its words, a healthy momentum. What more is it saying though about the conflict in Ukraine?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Paula, that was really more of a wakeup call to anyone who still holds out hope that Xi Jinping somehow may change his mind about Putin, or about China's close ties with Russia because of the war.
Now the Chinese readout itself doesn't really contain anything new, they reiterated their so-called independent assessment on the situation based on the historical context and merit of the situation. But the Kremlin's statement is actually lesser about it, saying Xi actually, quote, unquote, "noted the legitimacy of Russia's actions to protect its national interest in face of challenges from the west."
So, the Chinese position on the war really has been fairly consistent, and even refusing to call this say, Russian -- a Russian invasion to this day. And despite some tweaking or refining in the domestic propaganda about its war, it's really clear where they stand and who they are siding with. And the reason is also not difficult to find in these latest readouts.
The two leaders really increasingly bonded to push closer by this belief that the U.S. and its allies are gaming up on both countries strategically and economically. That's why Xi Jinping stressed the need to further strengthen their coordination and communication and supporting each other on their respective interest.
Now the Chinese specifically mentioned Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. All of these are obviously having issues where China is facing growing pressure from the west. And interesting just a few days ago, Xi Jinping actually signed this directive that some experts say that could provide Beijing with the legal framework to invade Taiwan without calling it war.
That obviously that is the -- is the Putin playbook in Ukraine, and Russia obviously for its part needs China more and more to really lessen the impact of western sanctions especially when it comes to new export markets for its energy resources.
So, really, this is not lost on people that -- you know, in this context that they are really, you know, having these phone calls, not just the first-time but the second time since the war began where Xi Jinping still hasn't called Zelenskyy since the Russian invasion.
And it's also worth noting, Paula, that this call took place on Xi Jinping's birthday, he turned 69 on Wednesday, this actually was the fourth time the two men talked on Xi Jinping's birthday. So, their bromance, if you will, really goes back a long way and is still very much going strong just like their so-called no limits partnership between their two countries. Paula?
NEWTON: It goes without saying, one of the most important relationships in geopolitics today. Steven Jiang for us in Beijing, thank you so much.
Up next for us, a stocks surge on Wall Street after the Fed signals its commitment to getting inflation under control. Plus, the next hearing into the January 6th insurrection gets underway in the coming hours, and new questions are being raised about a man taking photos during a congressional tour the day before the insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD: We anticipate that ongoing rate increases will be appropriate. The pace of those changes will continue to depend on the incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy. Clearly, today's 75-basis point increase is an unusually large one, and I do not expect moves of this size to be common.
(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: That was the U.S. Federal Reserve chair announcing the
largest interest rate hike since 1994 as it fights to bring down sky- high inflation. Now the increase this time three quarters of a percentage point, an aggressive move to try and slow the economy and tame inflation, but one that will lead of course to higher costs on all things like mortgages, and auto loans.
Jerome Powell says it was the eye-catching May inflation report that led to the need for a more dramatic rate hike. And while Powell did say he doesn't expect such hikes to be common, he also did not completely rule it out. Now the Fed's dramatic rate hike spark a surge on Wall Street.
That was the closing bell wrapping up a rally that's all three major indices and the day in positive territory. We'll see how long it will hold now, though. When we go to Europe there you see not so keen, still a very fragile economy. They are looking at what the Fed is doing and the European investors wondering is it going to be enough.
And we move on now to Asia, where the markets were mixed as you can see there. The Nikkei was at its high. These are actually close to trading at its session lows. But the Hang Seng and Shanghai composite losses on the Federal Reserve announcement.
For more now on that announcement and the global reaction, Anna Stewart joins us live from Paris. Anna, the markets got what they were looking for from Chairman Powell. You know, I monitored the press conference, I'm not sure that they got what they were looking for in terms of his comments.
One thing that stood out to me, right, he said failure is not an option. That he will bring down inflation. Many are still concerned though, right, that the damage to the economy has already been done?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes, and half the battle with these conferences is just convincing the market that they will do enough. And you say that markets got what they wanted, they did, for now. Because I think it's really important. Do you remember that last month when they raised rates markets actually rallied because Fed Chair Jerome Powell said they weren't actively considering a hike of 75 basis points?
Now fast forward a month, this is exactly why investors were practically begging the Federal Reserve to do, and that's what they got. And that's why we saw a great rally on Wall Street yesterday. But will this sustain that sort of sentiment if we get another gloomy inflation report, that really remains to be seen. I also thought, Paula, the doppler (Ph), the so-called doppler was quite interesting yesterday just looking at what the expectations are for rates this year as a whole.
So, the midpoint for individual members expectations and (Inaudible) rates to be at 3.4 percent by the end of this year. That is huge, that is nearly double what they were expecting back in March. So that gives you some idea of the rate rises to come, and as you say, Powell did point to the fact that next month you could see another rate hike of three quarters of a percent, it could be a bit less, it depends on the data.
Will this be enough for markets? Well, looking at U.S. futures today, they are actually pointing lower now, Paula, so coming off that rally yesterday, European markets are pointing lower as well. They opened shortly ago, and that's also weighing from the ECB, because the Federal Reserve was not the only central bank in town yesterday.
The ECB held an ad hoc meeting following their rate rise last week, which has sent markets into a bit of a spin over here with bond yield spiking for some of those southern European nations who will struggle with higher borrowing cost.
So, this is a problem across the globe. How do you normalize rates, keep a lid on inflation but not slow economic growth, not push economies into a recession and keep a jobs market strong? That is a huge challenge, and I think we are going to almost see I think month by month a different response from the Federal Reserve and other central banks and markets wanting different things. Paula.
NEWTON: Now, you took the words right of my mouth, because when I looked at what happened today, and I have to tell you, Chairman Powell, were you even at the last meeting? Because you have completely changed your forecast and what you said. You said it wouldn't be higher --
NEWTON: -- than 50 percent, and now we were at 75. Anna, good to see you. I'm not -- I'm not thankful that those (Inaudible) interpretations are back, or whatever. We -- we have to take our economic LUMS.
STEWART: I love it.
NEWTON: Good (Inaudible). Anna Stewart for us in Paris, thank you so much.
Now can U.S. regulators tame inflation without pushing the economy into a recession, that's the question, right? Well, if history is any guide, it's been done three times since the mid-1960s. Earlier, I asked a former top IMF economist if Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell can pull it off?
MAURICE OBSTFELD, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST, IMF: He wanted to send a signal to the Fed's intent, the seriousness, that was reiterated in the federal and market committee statement and in his remarks. He left the door open to another 75-basis point increase in July, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see that. Inflation has a lot of momentum now, and it will be quite a high-wire act to bring that down without slowing growth considerably in the U.S. economy. NEWTON: High-wire acts are dangerous, he actually made the statement
to be clear, we are not trying to induce a recession. This could be collateral damage though, right? Especially given that experts like you are saying they might have to go higher, they might have to go 75 again, three quarters of a percent.
OBSTFELD: Yes, it's absolutely a possibility. The Fed acknowledged that the risks to inflation are should be upside. If that's the case, that means that expectations of inflation going forward are stronger and the Federal have to act more decisively. And that increases the risk of a recession.
NEWTON: Maurice Obstfeld there, and he is now a non-resident senior research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
A Democratic lawmaker tells CNN that then Vice President Mike Pence narrowly avoided being captured, and possibly killed by rioters on January 6th. Today's hearing is expected to focus on the White House's pressure campaign on Pence to block the 2020 election and how it led to the deadly riot.
Now the select committee has released video of a Republican congressman giving a tour of the complex the day before. You see the video there, one person on the tour appears to be taking photos of security checkpoints, and other areas that really wouldn't normally attract any attention.
We get the latest now from CNN's Ryan Nobles.
UNKNOWN: There is no escape, Pelosi, Schumer --
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: New video released by the January 6th select committee showing a man outside the capitol directing threat at Democratic members of Congress.
UNKNOWN: For Pelosi, Nadler, Schumer, even you, AOC, we're coming to take you out. I will pull you out by your hairs.
NOBLES: That same man seen the day before on a tour of the capitol complex with Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk snapping pictures the committee believes are suspicious. Chairman Bennie Thomson writing to Loudermilk, quote, "individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists, including hallway, staircases and security checkpoints."
The committee reupping its concerns after Capitol Police chief Tom Manger said earlier this week, we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious. Loudermilk has refused to meet with the committee, claiming their inquiry has led to death threats against his family.
REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-GA): The committee has never called me to ask anything.
UNKNOWN: They said what --
LOUDERMILK: To who?
UNKNOWN: Do you regret giving that tour now?
LOUDERMILK: Well, I never -- I condemn that type of activities.
NOBLES: The committee continues to push ahead to their hearing --
ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I said to him, are you out of your effing mind.
NOBLES: Out with his deposition from Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann warning John Eastman the day after January 6th to drop efforts to try to overturn the 2020 vote. The Trump ally had also tried to convince then Vice President Mike Pence to stand in the way of certifying the election results.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President Trump had no factual basis for what he was doing, and he had been told it was illegal. Despite this, President Trump plotted with a lawyer named John Eastman, and others.
NOBLES: A plot Herschmann believed may have put Eastman in legal jeopardy.
HERSCHMANN: I said good, John. Now I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you are ever getting in your life. Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer, you are going to need it.
NOBLES: And Thursday's hearing comes at a time where the committee is still deliberating how to handle all this evidence that they have collected as it relates to Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election results.
And we're told, that a majority of the members of the committee believe that Trump committed a crime. The question, is how did they convince the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute those alleged crimes?
Some members of the committee believe a formal referral to the committee of justices necessary but there are others that believe that could create too much political pressure on Merrick Garland, it is a question the committee is still wrestling with as this investigation continues.
Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.
NEWTON: CNN's coverage of today's hearing will begin at noon Eastern Time, that's five in the afternoon in London. The committee says two of Pence's former advisers are scheduled to testify.
Now police say a suspect has admitted to killing two men reported missing in the Amazon more than a week ago.
Still to come, the details on what police found in their search.
NEWTON: New revelations in the case of a pair of missing men in Brazil police say a suspect has confessed to killing a British journalist and a Brazilian expert on the country's indigenous peoples. Human remains were found confirming his claims. More arrests are expected as police piece together what exactly happened.
CNN's Shasta Darlington has more now from Sau Paulo.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A breakthrough in the disappearance of the British journalist and indigenous expert who were last seen a week and a half ago in a remote region of the Amazon. On Wednesday night, Brazilian authorities announced that a suspect being held in relation to the case had admitted to killing Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira.
The suspect was identified as Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira, a local fisherman. Police said he confessed on Tuesday night and the following day he took them to the area where the men were allegedly murdered. There, they found human remains which are being sent to Brasilia for analysis.
The two men vanished during a trip in the Javari Valley in the far western part of Amazonas state on June 5th. The protected region is home to several indigenous communities, including uncontacted tribes, but in recent years illegal activity has flourished with land invasions from illegal loggers, fishermen, poachers, as well as drug traffickers.
Phillips and Pereira were on a trip to do research for a book about conversation efforts and challenges. Both men had recently received death threats. While indigenous groups immediately sent out search parties on the day they went missing, authorities have come under fire for what critics called a slow and inefficient response to their disappearance.
Activists and indigenous groups have staged protests across Brazil and around the world to denounce that official response and also the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro which they say has turned a blind eye to criminality in the region.
During his administration, deforestation has surged while the agencies tasked with monitoring the rainforest have been defunded. Now on Wednesday during an interview on YouTube, Bolsonaro accused Phillips and Pereira of being reckless.
For many in Brazil, Wednesday's announcement by federal police, a tragic ending to two men's efforts to document reality in the Amazon.
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sau Paulo.
NEWTON: The White House is defending President Biden's upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, where he's expected to engage with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Now despite the president calling Saudi Arabia a pariah for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, the White House now says the U.S. has many important interests in the region that need to be discussed.
Now the fact that the crown prince, is also the Saudi defense minister means that he is likely to be present at some of those meetings. An administration spokesperson explained it this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We want to recalibrate the relationship with Saudi, but we don't want to rupture it. And we have to remember, that Saudi Arabia is a key strategic partner and a vital, vital region of the world, in which we have significant national security interest of our own. Counterterrorism, the war in Yemen, climate change, and of course, oil production in today's environment.
Even as a candidate, obviously he took the murder of Jamal Khashoggi very seriously. And when he became president, he carried that -- that thought process into the Oval Office with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now with Mr. Biden's trip a month away, a group founded by Jamal Khashoggi is sending Saudi Arabia a blunt reminder about the murdered journalist. A joint human rights groups in unveiling Jamal Khashoggi way, right across from the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C.
Now the district's council voted in December to rename part of the street for the murdered journalist. The director of the group has told -- was telling onlookers that the street sign should remind passersby to Saudi royals, to Americans, to all humans of conscious that Jamal's legacy will live on.
Still to come for us, searing heat is making parts of the U.S. and Europe sweat. And summer has not even arrived in the Northern Hemisphere. Is cooler weather ahead. We'll let you know when we come back.
NEWTON: So soaring temperatures have caused historic flooding and major damage to several areas in Montana. Heavy rains and melting snow have cause rivers to swell and spill over their banks. Now, the rising water has damaged homes and businesses and washed-out roads and bridges right across the street -- state.
The Montana National Guard says it has carried out more than 80 helicopter rescues so far this week.
Now, other parts of the United States are also gripped by an unseasonable heat wave, with blistering temperatures right across the southeast and Midwest. Nearly 120 million people were under heat warnings in advisories Wednesday. And more than a dozen U.S. cities set record highs.
Western Europe, yes, also in the grips of a heat wave. The brutal highs are coming even before summer officially begins. Spain is experiencing its earliest heat wave in more than 40 years. And France is bracing for extreme heat that's set to last right through the weekend. The central part of the country could see temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius.
CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is following all of it right now. And I, you know, we just said look, it's going to last for a few days, but what's it looking like in the extended forecast for this heat wave.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, across parts of the United States, it's going to get hot again, potentially even hotter this time next week. But across Europe, maybe some relief in sight. We'll show you what's happening, because really the only areas you'll find relief across Spain at least are going to be the higher elevations are on the immediate coast.
Because just about everyone under these heat alerts, then temps expected to touch near 40 degrees in Madrid, in Paris up to 31. Notice the warmth building in across London and even Dublin as well, climbing up into the middle and upper 20s. And it just gets warmer going into Friday, potentially even into Saturday.
Before Sunday and Monday bringing some significantly cooler air, which is going to be the better news here. But the heat really kind of going to linger here for at least a couple of days. So, my friends in areas around France, especially the southern tier and the western tier of the country, extreme hear alerts also in place.
And I just want to show you the impressive nature of this heat wave. Because in Paris this time of year, 23 is what you'd expect. Thirty- five would be warm enough to be the sixth warmest temperature ever observed in the month of June. I just received verification that at 38 would indeed be the single warmest day we've ever seen in the month of June in Paris.
Again, remarkable disparity between where we should be at 23, where we will be at 38. Again, warm enough to set all-time June records. And in fact, you compare it to a city such as Tehran on the same day. And notice, Paris should be warmer as well.
So incredible heat across a large area of Europe. And as we talked about across the U.S., similar sort of a setup. Big-time heat in place. That heat dome does want to pull away a little bit, give us a brief break of cooler air moving into Saturday and Sunday around the northern United States. But it's important to notice that about 300,000 people are still in
the dark across portions of the Midwestern and southern United States because of recent severe weather. Now notice this, Atlanta temperatures want to climb up into the middle 30s with the humidity certainly going to feel warmer.
Notice just a brief break going into the weekend. But this time next week, incredibly, it could be warmer. Some models are even suggesting potential all-time records across the southern United States this time next week. So if you think it's hot now, seven days from now, it could be even hotter. I send it back to you.
NEWTON: Wow, it's incredible.
NEWTON: And we think that 32 degrees here in Atlanta is a break from the heat wave.
NEWTON: So, yes, definitely. Stay tuned. Pedram, thank you so much. We really appreciate it.
And I want to thank all of you for joining us. I'm Paula Newton. Have a great day. Continue to stay with CNN as we will bring those live developments both from Brussels and Kyiv. But for right now, Inside Africa is next. You are watching CNN Newsroom. Isa Soares will be back at the top of the hour with more news.