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CNN INTERNATIONAL: European Commission Recommends Ukraine Candidacy; President Putin Blames The West For The Global Food Crisis And Claims The EU Has Lost Its Political Sovereignty; U.K. Approves Julian Assange's Extradition To The U.S.; U.N. Verifies 1,348 Civilians Killed In Mariupol; Hearings Resume Tuesday Could Look At Trump & Justice Dept.; Colombians Vote For President Amid Struggling Economy. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 17, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ZAIN ASHER, HOST, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello, everyone, I'm Zain Asher, you are watching CNN NEWSROOM, coming to you live from New York. Tonight, European Commission backs Ukraine's bid to join the EU. We'll dig into what this means and what the next steps will be. Then, a defiant speech from President Putin as he blames the West for the global food crisis and claims the EU has lost its political sovereignty.

And finally, after years of court battles, the U.K. agrees to extradite Julian Assange to the United States. We'll look at what's next for the WikiLeaks founder. All right, it's a big boost for Ukraine and a strong gesture of unity by Europe. The European Commission recommended today that Ukraine be made a candidate to join the EU.

EU leaders would still have to approve it when they meet next week, and the commission-attached conditions to any final membership, a process that could take years. But the Commission's president said that Ukraine has earned candidates status.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: We all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us, the European dream.


ASHER: This comes a day after the leaders of four EU countries, France, Italy, Germany, and Romania visited the Ukrainian capital. Separately, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Kyiv today. The Ukraine's president tweeted that becoming an EU candidate would certainly bring our victory closer.

CNN's Nada Bashir is following the significant development for us from Paris. So Nada, the European Commission's president Ursula von der Leyen basically issuing a recommendation that Ukraine be given candidate status. It's just a recommendation, the ultimate decision is up to EU leaders.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yes, certainly. Ukraine is now one step closer to joining the European Union, but this is very much a first step in what is a long process. But you'll hear from many Ukrainians, and in particular, of course, from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that this -- for them is long overdue. The Ukrainian president has since the beginning of this conflict, been calling on the European Union to consider Ukraine as a candidate to join the bloc.

Repeatedly stressing that those on the frontlines in Ukraine are not only fighting for Ukraine, but are fighting for the security of Europe at large. Now, this is, as I said, a first step, there's still a long process ahead. We've got the European Council Summit next week. That is where European leaders will come together to make a decision on Ukraine's candidacy, whether or not it should be admitted into the European Union.

There is also still a stringent criteria that Ukraine needs to meet before it can formally join the European Union, as was highlighted today by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Take a listen.


LEYEN: Yes, Ukraine deserves European perspective. Yes, Ukraine should be welcome as a candidate country. This is on the understanding that good work has been done -- has been done, but important work also remains to be done. The entire process is merit-based.


BASHIR: Now, that stringent criteria that the European Union will focus on includes areas such as economic reform because Ukraine would of course have to be integrated into the EU's single market, it will look at strengthening the rule of law and tackling issues like corruption within the government. Ukraine has said it is ready to take on those reforms. It's ready to become a full member of the European Union.

And the message that we've been hearing from both the commission and also from other European Union leaders is that they believe Ukraine is in a good position, but it could take years. And that is the key there. But they have had that strong message of support from the likes of French President Emmanuel Macron, from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, they were of course in Ukraine just yesterday and the day before.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of course, in Kyiv today. So we are seeing in terms of the opposite of such support from key EU leaders. But there's also serious questions over how this will influence Moscow's decisions in terms of its actions in Ukraine over the coming weeks and months. We've heard from the Kremlin's spokesperson today, saying that this is a matter which requires increased attention.

But interestingly, we heard from President Putin speaking today at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. He said that Russia has nothing against Ukraine joining the European Union.


Now, unlike the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, which he sees as a political military association. This is simply an economic association, something that the Russian federation doesn't have anything against. But of course, Russia, since the beginning of this conflict, has expressed concern over the prospect of an enlarged NATO, and the fact that we're seeing now the enlargement potentially of another very prominent western institution on Russia's border. It will certainly not be something that the Kremlin was hoping to achieve by its military actions in Ukraine. Zain?

ASHER: And Nada, you just touched on this, but of course, as you mentioned, Boris Johnson was in Kyiv today meeting with President Zelenskyy. Part of that meeting involves the U.K.'s commitment to train up to about 10,000 Ukrainian fighters at an undisclosed location, potentially outside the country. What more can you tell us about that?

BASHIR: Yes, absolutely, Zain. We are seeing the U.K. stepping up its support on the military front. And that has been the message we've been hearing from the British government for weeks now. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirming his commitment, not only to supporting Ukraine diplomatically. But on that front, we heard from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also speaking just in the last week, saying the British government is reaffirming its commitment to that military support to Ukraine.

But of course, there has been a lot of focus on the diplomatic front. That is certainly the message we've been hearing elsewhere in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated his focus on achieving a negotiated peace. Now, at this stage, what we've heard from Macron is that, the window for dialogue between Ukraine and Russia directly doesn't appear to be open now, but interestingly, he did say that he will maintain communication with Putin when the time is right.

So, we are seeing that double approach from European leaders, and of course, from the U.K. where they are focusing on stepping up their military support.

ASHER: Nada Bashir live for us there, thank you so much. Russia's leader says his country has nothing against Ukraine joining the European Union. In a defiant speech at Russia's flagship economic forum, Vladimir Putin dismissed the bloc, claiming it had fully lost its political sovereignty. He also declared that the age of the unipolar world is now over, and criticized western sanctions as a failed attempt to crush the Russian economy.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): The calculation was clear, to crush the Russian economy with a swoop. Due to the destruction of business chains, the forced withdrawal of western companies from the Russian markets, to hit industry, finance, and the standard of living of people by freezing domestic assets. It did not work out. Obviously, it didn't work out.


ASHER: CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us live now from St. Petersburg. So, Fred, obviously, you listened to the speech. What stood out to you?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I mean, it was an extremely forceful speech that we heard there from Vladimir Putin. I think that you called it defiant as we were leading into this, and I think that's absolutely correct. I think that anybody who would have thought that Vladimir Putin might be on the cusp of possibly changing course in Ukraine, that certainly was pretty much the opposite of what he said.

He said -- in fact, he said that what Russia calls a special military operation, which obviously is the invasion of Ukraine would continue until Russia has achieved all of its military objectives. And it was quite interesting, though, because he called this an operation in Donbas, which is, of course, those areas in the east of Ukraine where a lot of the fighting is currently taking place.

But certainly, if you look at the beginning of this operation, and the Russians tried to take Kyiv, tried to take some other areas, it seems as though the goalpost may have shifted at least to a certain extent. One of the interesting things that we saw today, the speech obviously taking place as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and we're in St. Petersburg right now, is that I spoke to a senior senator here from Russia.

And he says that he even believes that Russia currently, with that invasion of Ukraine, that special military operation staved off a larger conflict between Russia and NATO. Have a listen to this.


KONSTANTIN KOSACHEV, DEPUTY SPEAKER, RUSSIAN FEDERATION COUNCIL: I believe that the Russian military force has prevented a much broader, a much larger conflict between Russia and NATO in the future. So, we are all aware about the losses which take place now.

But I am absolutely sure they have managed to prevent a huge war, probably a third World War nobody knows, but I believe that the price which everybody pays now is affordable.


PLEITGEN: Ukrainians obviously will have a very different take on that, especially with that fighting, of course, right now, really forceful, but especially in the Donbas region of Ukraine. And of course, Zain, the event that we were at today was an economic forum, and that was also a large part of Vladimir Putin's speech about re- digging essentially the Russian economy, re-orienting the Russian economy more towards the east away from Europe and from the United States.

[14:10:00] He repeatedly blasted the U.S., blasted the U.S.' allies, blasted what

he calls his unipolar world, which he says is coming to an end. And I think one of the things that he also wanted to convey is he believes the world is simply too large to isolate Russia, and that he's going to try and bring Russia on a track where it can be economically successful in the future without the West, whether or not that's something that can work is obviously a completely different matter.

But what we certainly did hear today -- heard here today, was a Russian president who was extremely defiant and also seemed to be pretty sure of the course that he's bringing this country on. Zain.

ASHER: All right, Fred Pleitgen live for us there, thank you so much. Right, let's get the European Commission's view directly now, EU Commission's Spokesperson Ana Pisonero joins us live now from Brussels. Ana, thank you so much for being with us. So Ana, just walk us through what Ursula von der Leyen actually said about granting Ukraine candidate status to join the EU.

She actually said that Ukraine is ready to die for the EU perspective. We want them to also live with us, the European dream. Walk us through what she meant by that.

ANA PISONERO, SPOKESPERSON, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Well, I think that it's very clear. You know, I mean, Ukraine is a country that has been wanting to get closer to the European Union for many years, and so far, you know, a clear European perspective has not been recognized.

This is exactly what the commission has put on the table today, recommending, you know, EU countries to give a clear European perspective to Ukraine, grant them the candidate status, of course, under the understanding that, you know, a certain number of steps would also be taken, you know, by Ukraine, that they'll continue working on important reforms going forward.

But it's something that they are waiting for. It's something that Ukrainians are wanting to hear, a message of hope that one day, you know, the rest of European countries recognize that they could join the European Union. And this is why, you know, today is absolutely important for the Ukrainians on the ground today.

Where we're seeing clearly, you know, that they are ready to die for the European values, and they're defending, you know, the freedoms that we all want for ourselves. And I think that this is the main message that has come out today from Brussels.

ASHER: Just give us some clarity as to the sort of reforms that Ukraine will have to make domestically, in order to qualify here. I mean, a lot of people have talked about corruption being a major issue, and that this process could take a long time, up to about a decade.

PISONERO: I think we need to take one step at a time. Right now, you know, we are not proposing, you know, recommendations to open a session negotiations, we're not there yet. These are reforms that anyway, Ukraine wants to do by themselves, whether they had applied or not applied to the European Union, because actually, yes, Ukrainian leaders are the first ones recognizing that, you know, these reforms are good for the country, and they'll be good for the citizens.

And you have reforms, of course, you know, linked to the rule of law. You have reforms, yes, to continue progressing on the fight against corruption, to continue, you know, implementing the important law, you know, to -- you know, to get rid of the oligarchization that we see also still today with many vested interest still in Ukraine and so forth. So, there's important reforms still ahead. Ukraine has done many important reforms, and of course, you know, they're not starting from scratch.

We have been working with Ukraine over the many years. We will continue to support Ukraine going forward, and even at a later stage, you know, that the EU is ready to step up massively to support Ukraine in its reconstruction efforts, and of course, here and clearly, also, you know, we want to link investments to reforms that will in turn, also help Ukraine to move forward, you know, down its European path.

ASHER: And actually, President Putin, I just want to get your perspective on something slightly adjacent to this. President Putin actually spoke, as you know, in St. Petersburg today, just a few hours ago. He talked about the fact that he believed that the EU had sort of lost its political sovereignty. I want to get your reaction to what he said, but first, let's play it for our audience.


PUTIN: All attempts to put on a brave face on a sorry business or talk about allegedly acceptable costs in the name of pseudo-unity, cannot hide the main point. The European Union has completely lost its political sovereignty, and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to someone else's tune, accepting everything they are told from above, causing harm to their own population and their own economy, their own business.



ASHER: And in addition to saying that the EU had lost its political sovereignty, he also tried to convince Russians that were listening that the sanctions hadn't worked. That the Russian economy was still as strong as ever. Your reaction to President Putin's speech today?

PISONERO: Frankly speaking, I don't think that it is for me to actually, you know, comment on comments by Putin himself. I think that, you know, the European Union is a project of democracies where we move forward together. We have been able to do so every time. We will continue to do so every time. It's where, you know, our strength lies, you know, in our diversity, in unity. This is the motto of the European Union.

We have seen that, you know, Ukraine also, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia want to join the EU. They see that the EU is the best tool for ensuring their longtime prosperity, security, stability. This is a very clear message that they're sent when they have, you know, applied for EU membership.

And I think that today, we are also sending a very clear message that we firmly believe that every country has the right to decide its own destiny, and to choose the path that it wants -- that it wants to go. So I think that this is what -- this is what I would say from Brussels today.

ASHER: Yes, and it's important to note that despite what Ursula von der Leyen said and her issuing that recommendation, it is ultimately up to EU leaders and it has to be a unanimous decision. All right, Ana, we'll have to leave it there, thank you so much for being on the program.

PISONERO: Thank you so much, thanks for having me.

ASHER: All right, still to come tonight, Julian Assange is now one step closer to being extradited to the United States. The U.K. has officially agreed to transfer him, but his case could still drag on. And a powerful heat wave sweeping the globe. Temperature records are breaking and expected to intensify. Coming up, we'll discuss when we might see some relief.


ASHER: WikiLeaks says its founder, Julian Assange will appeal his extradition order from the U.K. to the U.S. His wife is also vowing to fight every waking hour until he is free. The British Home Secretary signed the order just hours ago, three years after Assange's arrest. Assange faces espionage charges in the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.


He now has 14 days to appeal to London's high court. International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has been following the story for us. So, of course, Nic, Julian Assange is going to fight this.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He is. The British government is saying that they base their decision to go ahead with the extradition on the courts' decision that this is not oppressive. It's not going to be unjust. That it's going to follow due process, and that its human rights won't be violated.

And I think when you sort of look back over the past many months of this process that's been going on, there was a previous judgment that said that this could be a process that could lead to, you know, a breakdown in his mental -- in his mental health. But the British government's view is very clear now, and the judges that are giving them that decision are very clear that if he is extradited to the United States, his well-being will be taken care of and his right of expression will be granted.

But that's not diminishing the concerns of his family. His family are saying that this is a dark day for journalism, and his wife vowing to fight in every way possible.


STELLA MORIS, JULIAN ASSANGE'S WIFE: We're not at the end of the road here. We're going to fight this. We're going to use every appeal avenue, and we're going to fight. I'm going to spend every waking hour fighting for Julian until he's free. Until justice is served.


ROBERTSON: So, the family will appeal through the British courts, but they'll also saying that's a 14-day period that they have to make those appeals. But they're also saying that if they fail to get what they want, and fail to get justice that they believe he is due in British courts, then they will go to European courts as well. That could really slow down the extradition process. They're also appealing -- his family is also appealing the Australian government and saying look, he's an Australian citizen.

You, Australia, Australian government should have a view in this, but the Australian government at the moment, their foreign office is saying essentially what the British government is saying, as long as -- as long as his rights are fully represented, as long as justice is being done in an orderly manner, in essence, then that's their position on it. But the family is looking at every avenue here to get this overturned.

ASHER: Thank you so much. Your European vacation could get a bit rocky. Labor shortages are fueling flight cancellations and other restrictions at two of Europe's biggest airports. Gatwick says it will limit the number of departures and landings in July and in August. Gatwick is Britain's second busiest airport. It's a similar story in the Netherlands. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport will cap the number of travelers per day this Summer due to a shortage of security staff.

Right, around the world, many of the places watching us right now are dealing with extreme heat. In Paris, you can actually see people here trying to stay cool, sitting by the water at the Louvre. Parts of France have already set a heat record. In the U.K., officials issued a level three heat health warning, that alert goes until midnight Saturday. Meantime, in the United States, nearly 40 million people are under heat alerts right now, including in Atlanta, Georgia, where we find meteorologist Allison Chinchar.

So, Allison, we are seeing various cities in the United States and across Europe, temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or roughly around 40 degrees Celsius in various parts of the continent there in Europe. And these temperatures are happening a lot more frequently, and a lot more sooner in the Summer season. Walk us through it.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and you're starting to see that heat spread. You know, we think of the Iberian Peninsula, it's been a very hot place, but that heat is spreading into other areas. So, yes, it's very hot across Spain and even areas of Portugal, southern France, but we've started to see that heat build into areas of the U.K., portions of Germany, areas of Italy where we've also seen those temperatures well above average. France, for example, had its earliest 40-degree temperature recorded

in the mainland, and that was just yesterday on Thursday. But it's not the only place. Again, take a look at all these numerous locations in Spain, topping out at over 40 degrees, also, breaking some daily records there. France, also topping out. Take a look at Cognac, topping out at 38.9 degrees, that wasn't only a daily record, but it also broke their all-time June record as well.

And they're expecting temperatures to be warm over the next several days. Paris forecast is 38 as we head into Saturday. If they actually hit that mark, it will be a record for them as well. Still looking at a high around 40 degrees in Madrid.


Now, one thing to note, though, we will finally start to see some relief as we head through the latter half of the weekend, and especially into next week. So, take Paris for example. Going from 38 for that high on Saturday, which would be a record, finally dropping back down into the mid 20s by the time we get to next week. Although part of the reason for that is we will start to see some of those showers and thunderstorms return.

Berlin also expecting an incredibly hot weekend, but then seeing a little bit of a dip-down Monday when showers returned before jumping back up, Zain, again, by the middle of the week. And look at the U.S., over 130 locations in the U.S. could break record temperatures, not just today, but likely over the next several days as well.

ASHER: Yes, and I just checked my phone. Atlanta is getting -- where you are, 96 degrees Fahrenheit, about 35 or so in Celsius. Stay cool, it does not sound fun at all. Allison Chinchar live for us --

CHINCHAR: Thanks --

ASHER: Thank you so much. The severe weather isn't limited to heat. One of the greatest national parks in the U.S., the Yellowstone could partially reopen next week after historic flooding. The flood waters got so high, they've threatened fresh drinking water supplies in Montana's largest city. And there's more rain to come. CNN's Nick Watt reports.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The water plant here in Billings was built to work when the river runs at 15 feet or below. This week, it hit 16.5, a 500-year event, a record high. That plant, forced to close briefly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is pretty surreal, seeing all the bridges go down across the state. I mean, just glad this one is still here.

WATT: Here's one upriver that did not survive before and after. Just how abnormal, unpredictable was this rush of water? Well, this time last year, the Yellowstone River at Billings was running at 8,000 cubic feet a second. A record low. This week, it hit 87,000, peaked around here, Wednesday afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started moving cattle about noon in the back there, and moving them towards the front up here where it's a little higher ground. The last ones had to swim out. It was that deep, they were -- all you could see was their heads.

WATT: Further up the Yellowstone tributary and red lodge, the river ran through it. Broadway Avenue now covered in rocks, left behind by flood waters. The southern part of Yellowstone Park might open as early as Monday. The north entrance going to be months. New satellite images show what little is left of the only road in. This flooding was fueled by heavy rain and high temperatures melting snow. Our exclusive video shows what this river has already wrought.

(on camera): So for now, the Yellowstone River is still falling. Wednesday, this was all under water. The good news, that forecasted rain and snow-melt over the next few days is only going to raise the river by about 2 feet. It should be manageable. Fingers crossed. Nick Watt, CNN, Billings, Montana.


ASHER: Right, still to come tonight, an angry mob at the U.S. Capitol chanting, hang Mike Pence. We're learning more about how perilously close to danger the former vice president was on January 6th, 2021, the latest on the hearings when we come back.



ASHER: Each day, the toll of Russia's war on Ukraine becomes clearer. The United Nations says it has verified the deaths of more than 1,300 civilians in the fight for Mariupol, 70 of them are children. The Human Rights Commissioner says it's likely thousands more people were killed in the city. She says that bodies have been found nearly everywhere. Russia now occupies Mariupol. An advisor to the city's Ukrainian mayor says conditions there are medieval. He says water is scarce. People are washing their clothes in puddles on the streets.

Meantime, fierce fighting in Severodonetsk is making it nearly impossible for civilians to escape. Hundreds are sheltering now inside a chemical plant. Ukrainian officials are trying to negotiate a ceasefire to allow them to be safely evacuated.

President Joe Biden says he has been briefed on the three Americans who have gone missing in Ukraine. They had traveled to fight alongside Ukrainian forces. Now, their family members fear they've been captured by Russian forces. Barbara Starr joins us live now from the Pentagon. So Barbara, just tell us what we know about these three American individuals who traveled to Ukraine.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, today the Kremlin said, Zain, that they don't know anything about them, but somebody must know something, because some photos have emerged. And let's go first to the most recent one perhaps. These are the two Americans, one former Army soldier, one former Marine, apparently in the back of a vehicle with their hands behind their back.

On the left-hand side is Alexander Drueke, former U.S. Army. On the right, Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, a former U.S. Marine. According to their families, they traveled to Ukraine, they felt very much that they wanted to contribute to helping there in training, in fighting perhaps, and help the forces of Ukraine push back against the Russians. Their families have not heard from them since earlier this month. Not clear if they're in the hands of Russians or Russian-backed fighters. There is another former U.S. military member, and this is Grady Kurpasi. He is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He went earlier shortly after the invasion. His family has not heard of him since April.

So, where are we? Well, everyone is being urged not to go to Ukraine to fight because it's very dangerous. But clearly, Americans are going. They feel the urge and the want to help the Ukrainians. And where this is right now is very tough for the families. The State Department talking to Ukraine authorities, also talking to the International Committee of the Red Cross, but no word, Zain, that's the bottom line, no word on where these men are and who may be holding them.

ASHER: I see you point out President Biden warning Americans against traveling to Ukraine. It is very dangerous here. It is a warzone. Certainly, no joke. Barbara Starr, live for us there, thank you so much. Right.

In the U.S., the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection is trying to nail down more witnesses. The next hearing is set to get underway on Tuesday. On Thursday, witnesses -- witness after witness, rather, painted a grim picture of the events on that fateful day and how close rioters came to former Vice President Mike Pence. CNN's Pamela Brown has more.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Former President Trump relentlessly pressured his Vice President, Pence, to prevent the certification of the presidential election despite knowing Pence didn't have that authority.



BENNIE THOMPSON, CHAIRMAN, JANUARY 6TH SELECT COMMITTEE: He resisted the pressure. He knew it was illegal. He knew it was wrong.


BROWN: The select committee investigating the January 6 Attack chronically in the plan to have Pence overturn the election that was pushed by Trump's lawyer, John Eastman. The 11th hour pressure campaign reached a boiling point on the morning of January 6, during a contentious phone call between Trump and the Vice President.


IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: He was on the telephone with, who I later found out to be, was the Vice President. The conversation was pretty heated.

NICHOLAS LUNA, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP (voice-over): I remember hearing the word "wimp." Either he called him a wimp. I don't remember if he said you are a wimp, you'll be a whim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's also been reported that the President said to the Vice President that -- something to the effect of you don't have the courage to make a hard decision.

GEN. KEITH KELLOGG, FORMER PENCE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I don't remember exactly. It was something like that, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like being -- you're not tough enough to make the call.

I. TRUMP: It was a different tone than I'd heard him take with the vice president before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you remember what she said her father called him?



BROWN: The President then took his last-minute plea to a crowd of his supporters.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us. And if he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country.


BROWN: The violent mob then proceeded to the Capitol, many enraged Pence wouldn't do Trump's bidding.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America.


BROWN: The rioters made it within 40 feet of the Vice President. The committee released a play-by-play of how close the violence was to Pence, featuring pictures of Pence from that day.

Minutes before Pence was taken to a secure location within the Capitol, Trump put out a tweet blaming Pence. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP PRESS AIDE: The situation was already bad. And so it felt like he was pouring gasoline on the fire by tweeting that.


BROWN: In the months before the Capitol attack, Eastman continuously peddled the theory within the White House that Pence could overturn the election in his capacity as president of the Senate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they thought it was crazy.

ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I said, "Are you out of your 'F'-ing mind? You're going to cause riots in the streets."


BROWN: Pence had pushed back repeatedly that it was not within his authority to act.


GREG JACOB, FORMER COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Common sense and structure would tell you the answer cannot possibly be that the Vice President has that authority.

There is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could chose the American president.


BROWN: In previously recorded testimony, Pence's counsel, Greg Jacob, said he was party to conversation on January 4th, where Eastman conceded to Trump the plan was not lawful.

Nevertheless, on January 5th, Eastman renewed the plan, requesting Pence reject the electors.


JACOB: I said, John, if the Vice President did what you're asking him to do, we would lose 9-0 in the Supreme Court, couldn't we?

And after some further discussion acknowledged, well, yes, you're right. We would lose 9-0.


BROWN: Eastman, for his part, emailed Rudy Giuliani a few days after the Capitol attack, asking to be considered for a presidential pardon, and pleaded the Fifth over a hundred times before the committee.


EASTMAN: I assert my Fifth Amendment right against being compelled to be a witness against myself. Fifth. Fifth. Fifth.


ASHER: That was CNN's Senior Washington correspondent Pamela Brown reporting. The House committee will hold two hearings next week on Tuesday, another one on Thursday, both starting at 1pm Eastern Standard Time.

All right. Still to come tonight, two men with two different visions both vying to become their country's next leader, a live report on Columbia's presidential runoff when we come back.

And if you thought inflation in the U.S. was bad, compare that to what's going on in Turkey. The inflation rate there has reached 73.5 percent. We'll take a closer look for you.



ASHER: CNN Brazil reports a forensic dental examination confirms that human remains found in the Amazon do belong to British journalist Dom Phillips. He and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira were reported missing from a remote region of the Amazon nearly two weeks ago. Two suspects have been arrested. Brazilian Federal Police say the killings were not part of organized crime, although an indigenous association disagrees with that assessment.

In neighboring Colombia, voters head to the polls Sunday to choose their next president. Their choice is between two starkly different candidates. Business magnate Rodolfo Hernandez shown here on the left, and Gustavo Petro who promises major social reforms. The two men also have very different visions on how to revive Colombia's economy struggling to find its footing after the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's war on Ukraine.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon joins us live now from Bogota with details. So, Stefano, these two men are very different from each other, but they're also very different from what Colombia has opted for in the past. One thing is very clear in this election, and that is Colombians want change. Stefano, walk us through it.

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, exactly. We keep hearing, Zain, perhaps in this time that an election is historic or that a country is facing a defining -- era defining choice. Well, this election here in Colombia on Sunday really carries all that potential with it because this country is historically one of the most conservatives in South America. I mean a key vote last month, the Colombians put through not just one, but two outsiders through the president, through the runoff for the presidency.

So, Colombia will definitely start a new chapter in -- come Monday morning. The question is, who will be the one to write the main part? Take a listen.


POZZEBON (voice-over): Nomer Syagama and his extended family live in two rooms in a cheap hotel in Bogota. At nighttime, 12 People squeezing two bunk beds and on the floor, sleeping wherever there is some space. It wasn't always like this. Last year, this group of indigenous people lived in a house in another part of town. But in January, rent became too pricey. They had to leave. Now they must pay for their rooms every night to have a roof over their heads. And money is very tight.

"Everything got more expensive," says Syagama, who told us he sometimes skips his meal to let his two children eat a little more.


NOMER SYAGAMA, COLOMBIAN RESIDENT (through translator): I know I can make it. I have faith in myself. And I know with my work, I can get through this. But sometimes the system plays against you.


POZZEBON (voice-over): Their situation is not unique. Millions of Colombians are increasingly struggling to make ends meet and food insecurity is on the rise.

According to the World Food Programme, Colombia's food prices have increased the most across Latin America since the start of the year, in part as a consequence of the war in Ukraine.


YURITH SUAREZ, BUTCHER (through translator): I'd say it started about five or six months ago that prices have really gone up.


POZZEBON: It sounds like a paradox after 10 years of solid economic growth.


But three out of five Colombians responding to a late April poll said young people will be worse off than their parents. But things are set to change.

After decades of the same economic recipe, Colombians have voted for change. (INAUDIBLE) have progressed to the second round of the presidential election on Sunday, each with his own plan to fix the country's economy. But even within change, throughout different trends, and which one of the two will come up on top.

Left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro, he's at his third attempt to win the presidency. Laying out his proposal in an interview with CNN, he sets his eyes on household income. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUSTAVO PETRO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): There is a gap between how much the salaries grew little and how much food prices grew a lot. And that has caused rising levels of hunger. And that's where you have the crisis.


POZZEBON (voice-over): Petro plans a radical rethinking of Colombia's economy, doing away with exporting fossil fuels, and focusing on food production supported by public spending. That will include renegotiating a free-trade agreement with the United States.

His opponent, Rodolfo Hernandez, instead is in favor of free enterprise and lower taxes on basic goods to help everyday Colombians. Running on a campaign against corruption, he pledges to leave a government of austerity.


RODOLFO HERNANDEZ, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): I'm going to rule by example. Let's start there. Taking away all the privileges of the politicians that have no justification and are no good to the common people.


POZZEBON (voice-over): The two candidates are neck and neck and Syanaga is still undecided. He hopes, however, that whoever prevails will be able to open a new chapter for Colombia. What we have now is unbearable, he says.


POZZEBON (on camera): The Colombia was have to vote without ever seeing the two candidates speak to each other because Rodolfo Hernandez refused time and time again to appear in a broadcast debate with his opponent. Zain.

ASHER: Yes. And we're seeing populous candidates really sweep various countries in the world. Rodolfo Hernandez, you just talked about there, has been likened to Jair Bolsonaro, he's been likened to Donald Trump. What more can you tell us about his style, Stefano?

POZZEBON: Yes, that comparison has been made time and time again here in Colombia. It's a comparison that Hernandez himself, at the beginning, was sort of just trying to distance himself from it. And now he's learned to embrace, has called both Nayib Bukele of El Salvador and Donald Trump, former U.S. President, great statesman.

That said, Rodolfo Hernandez is a complete, I would call it a pure populist, that he doesn't come from conservative or right-wing populist the same way that Donald Trump, for example, ruled while at the White House. Just in stark terms, the equivalent of the Colombian Party does not support Hernandez. Hernandez is really a brand by himself and really a jump to the void, if you wish to hear, Zain.

ASHER: Yes. He's been called the Old Man of TikTok and he said, listen, if they call me the Colombian Trump, hey, I'm fine with that. Stefano Pozzebon live for us there. Thank you so much.

POZZEBON: Exactly.

ASHER: Turkey right now has one of the highest inflation rates in the world. And while many countries are raising interest rates to tackle the problem, the Turkish President is taking a different approach. CNN;s Jomana Karadsheh explains.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is one thing that dominates conversations here and that is the state of the economy. While so many countries around the world are facing rising inflation, Turkey is facing its worst inflation in more than 20 years. According to government figures, inflation rate hit 73.5 percent in May. Yes, thought is more than 70 percent and many believe that, in reality, it is much higher than that.


People are struggling to keep up with this continuously rising inflation rates. The cost of pretty much everything has gone up. Transport has gone up by more than 107 percent in May compared to the previous year. Household goods, furniture, more than 82 percent, but the one that has hit so many so hard is the cost of food. Everyday staples that have gone up by more than 90 percent.

Restaurant owner Barish says with prices going up several times a month, they can't have fixed prices anymore. Costs are going up, but they can't keep raising their prices, he tells us. "We used to see some customers four or five two times a month. Now, we see them once a month, if at all," he says.


"It's an economic crisis," says business owner, Begum. "We used to talk about people in Russia buying one tomato at a time. Now, that's our situation. We are in the same boat."

Restaurant worker Farhat says he's struggling to make ends meet and is drowning in debt. "It's like we work for nothing. Our work goes down the drain," he tells us. "Every day, we sink lower and lower," he says.


KARADSHEH: The war in Ukraine, rising global energy prices and the local currency, the Turkish Lira, losing about half of its value over the past year have all contributed to this situation. But many economists blame much of this on President Erdogan's unorthodox economic policies. Turkey has been facing double digit inflation for years now. And many

countries, to fight inflation, would raise the borrowing costs but not in Turkey. The President is a staunch opponent of interest rates that he describes as an evil that makes the rich richer and the poor, poorer. And he's recently doubled down on that and said that Turkey will continue to cut interest rates.

He believes that a depreciated currency, lower interest rates will boost production, jobs, exports, and tourism. But experts have been questioning the President's plan and warning that it will backfire and that it is the Turkish population that will continue to bear the brunt of this. Jomana Karadsheh CNN, Istanbul.

ASHER: We'll be right back after a short break. Don't go away.


ASHER: FIFA is laying the groundwork for its biggest ever World Cup four years down the line. 16 cities across Mexico, Canada, and the United States will host matches in 2026, has expanded tournament. That year, the World Cup will expand to 48 teams from across the globe. They'll play 80 matches, the most ever for international football's showpiece. FIFA president was enthusiastic as he looked ahead four years.


GIANNI INFANTINO, FIFA PRESIDENT: This was the most competitive process ever for the FIFA World Cup. And, of course, congratulate the 16 cities. I mean, we'll have the world coming here. We'll have an exciting tournament. As I said, the greatest show on Earth.



ASHER: Hosting the tournament isn't just an honor for these cities but a major tourism windfall. Matt Rivers is in one of the host nations, Mexico.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, big news here in Mexico, a country that we of course know is already obsessed with soccer with the announcement of which Mexican cities will be joining their counterpart cities in both the United States and Canada when the World Cup is played in 2026.

The announcement that three of Mexico's better known cities, including Monterrey, Guadalajara, and here in Mexico City, will be hosting some games during the World Cup. This is not Mexico's first go-around hosting the World Cup. In fact, it's its third time acting as host, the first coming in 1970, the next time, coming in 1986. And of course, Mexican culture, very known for hosting guests. So given that experience and the Mexican culture, maybe the Canadians and Americans can come down here to ask the Mexicans for some friendly advice. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ASHER: Thank you so much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is up next.