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Biden & Xi Speak By Phone For More Than Two Hours; Pentagon Preparing For Possible Pelosi Visit To Taiwan; Ukrainians In Liberated Town Struggle To Rebuild Their Lives; U.N.: Final Details Being Worked Out On Ukraine Grain Exports; U.S. GDP Down 0.9 Percent In Second Quarter Of 2022; Pope Apologizes For Church Sex Abuse Of Minors In Canada; New Tensions In Port-au-Prince Spark Fear Of Prison Break; Russian Arms Dealer At Center Of Prisoner Exchange Offer; France's Macron Hosts Saudi Crown Prince; Stenson Addresses Ryder Cup Removal After Joining LIV; Sebastian Vettel To Retire At End Of 2022 Season. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 29, 2022 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up this hour on CNN Newsroom, at least they're talking. For more than two hours with presidents of China and the U.S. were honest and direct, with both leaders issuing threats over Taiwan.

You can never go home again. A month long, Russian occupation brought devastation and death into their homes, and then less survivors of this small Ukrainian village traumatized by the atrocities of war.

Two quarters of negative growth in the U.S. economy, but it just doesn't feel like a recession, says the guy on $400,000 a year, free housing and a $50,000 expense account.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: Was it a warning? Was it a threat? Either way. The message from Chinese President Xi Jinping to his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden was clear, unambiguous, and an escalation in rhetoric. If you play with fire, you get burned. The fire is Taiwan. And while the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her possible trip to Taiwan were not mentioned, it certainly was implied.

U.S. describes the language as standard fare from Beijing. And so the two hours 17 minute long phone call was direct and honest as well as candid, often a diplomatic term for a difficult exchange. The war in Ukraine, the need for China to be transparent about COVID-19, and its human rights records were also discussed but Taiwan was the main focus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: The President was clear, nothing's changed about our policy. It stays the same. And nothing's changed about our desire to not see the status quo between the streets there in the streets issue upset by unilateral force, or unilateral action either way. President has been nothing but consistent. There's no reason for this to devolve into conflict, because our One China policy has not changed.


VAUSE: Live now to Beijing and CNN's Beijing Bureau Chief Steven Jiang is with us. So Steven, this warning about not playing with fire, it has been used before by China. But when it comes from a president directly from -- President of China directly to the President of the United States, this gets a whole lot more serious.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: True, but it's also not a first time Xi Jinping used this phrase to Biden and he actually last to use it in November when the two men talked. What's interesting to me is, officially, the foreign ministry now translate this phrase to those who play with fire will perish by it, which seems to be a more ominous wording than getting burned by it. But the Chinese phrase is exactly the same.

But what's changed between November and now, of course, is the timing. We are now only some three months away from the very important Communist Party Congress, where Xi Jinping is, you know, expected to assume a precedent breaking third term as this country's top leader and paving the way for him to rule for life. So this, of course, is the critical juncture that he has to demonstrate a strength, power and resolve. So that's making any potential Chinese responses to this crisis more forceful and also unpredictable.

So the hope, of course, is after this lengthy conversation between the two leaders, both men would have a better understanding or some clarity on where each stands, so for them and their team to better manage the potential fallout if Pelosi does go ahead with this visit. But I think both sides are also very much trying to highlight the wide-ranging nature of this conversation even though the focus of course is understandably, Taiwan.

That's why one thing that's really interesting in the Chinese readout is Xi Jinping emphasizing to Biden that U.S. has been misreading China and the U.S. perception of viewing China as a strategic competitor and a long-term rival is simply wrongheaded. This is something I've been hearing from senior Chinese officials, both publicly and privately for a long time because Americans -- the Americans have been saying their aim in this relationship is trying to set up these so-called guardrails to prevent things from getting out of control since Mr. Biden took office.

But from the Chinese perspective, what's the point of setting up guardrails if the whole U.S.-China policy is moving in a wrong direction? I think that's a point that Mr. Xi was trying to drive home to Mr. Biden as well. But equally interesting, of course, is what the American said after the conversation doing a background briefing. A senior U.S. official is also trying to -- was also trying to emphasize to reporters that despite all these saber-rattling from Beijing on a working level, lower level officials from both sides, having meeting up and following up on both leaders previous discussions that have commitments and having making progress in a number of areas including continued discussions about possible face to face summit between the two men later this year.


So, I think one thing both sides can agree, as you mentioned is this kind of regular presidential level exchanges candid and in-depth level of exchanges has made all the more important because of all the tensions and the fiery rhetoric being thrown back forth in public. John?

VAUSE: Steven, thank you, Steven Jiang, live for us there in Beijing.

Well U.S. national security officials are trying to convince Speaker Pelosi of the high risks posed by a trip to Taiwan. At the same time, complex security planning is underway to ensure the safety of the House Speaker should she decide to go.

CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Oren Liebermann has details.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon is developing a series of plans and options if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi chooses to go ahead with a trip to Taiwan. Defense officials here at the Pentagon have said such a plan would involve U.S. military assets in the region, such as aircraft and ships, as well as potentially satellites to monitor the area around Pelosi if she were in the region.

The USS Ronald Reagan, a carrier that operates in the Indo-Pacific has just reentered the South China Sea after a few day port visit to Singapore. Already, a defense official has told CNN, the Chinese are shadowing the Reagan as it moves through the South China Sea.

Now it's important to note that that's a standard fairly common place both from the Reagan which operates in those waters, and from Chinese ships, which routinely shadow American ships operating a region. It's happened in this case again. But this is all of what the U.S. is watching here as they wait for the decision from the Speaker of the House on whether she chooses to go forward with this trip.

Defense officials we've spoken with have said they're not really concerned about the possibility or the risk of any sort of shooting happening between American forces and Chinese forces. The concern is more on a potential miscalculation between those forces if there are more in the region around Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. And also what China might do in reaction.

China has used some pretty harsh rhetoric leading up to and responding to a potential Pelosi trip to the region. What might the U.S. expect to see? Well, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley has talked about what he sees as growingly-- increasingly aggressive actions by the Chinese military around the ships and aircraft of not only the U.S. but U.S. allies such as intercepts and unsafe or unprofessional interactions.

So perhaps that would be what the U.S. expects to see should this trip go forward. Behind the scenes, U.S. national security officials have tried to brief Pelosi on the risks of such a trip. But it's unclear if that has influenced her thinking at all.

Oren Liebermann, CNN in the Pentagon,

VAUSE: Jamie Metzl was a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and served as Director for Multilateral Affairs on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. And it's been a while. Great to have you with us.


VAUSE: OK, well, these threats have been made, chests have been thumped. Both sides have been leaking information. So with so much domestic politics involved on both sides here is the only certainty right now that Nancy Pelosi will be going to Taiwan at some point.

METZL: I don't think it's certain, but I believe it's likely and I believe that it's -- it will happen relatively soon. China is making clear that there will be consequences. And from the Chinese perspective, they now have to respond in some meaningful way.

And the United States has made clear and the U.S. government has made clear that if Speaker Pelosi decides to move forward, and there are too many shenanigans, the United States is going to respond very aggressively. And so, if she goes, the best case scenario is there's some kind of kabuki theater where the Chinese make a statement and we make a statement and nothing escalates. But there's a very real possibility that there are miscalculations or calculations. And there's an escalation that could lead to something meaningful and dangerous.

VAUSE: The last speaker of the House to visit Taiwan back in 1997, was Newt Gingrich. He wrote at Newsweek, rather, what happened when Beijing threatened to cancel his trip to the mainland because he was visiting Taiwan. He writes this, "National Security Adviser Gardner Peckham, informed Beijing that the Chinese Communist Party does not dictate the travel plans of the American Speaker of the House.

When the Communist persistent, garden has shocked them by saying we would happily take the extra free days and have a longer more extensive visit to Taiwan. At that point, Beijing back down, and we settled with a face-saving compromise. That was they went to Taiwan via Japan not directly from the mainland.

But in 1997, China is not 2022 China. The economy is 20 times bigger, they spent almost 20 times as much as they do on the military. Do those numbers -- do you take the decision about how to make this trip rather than whether or not the trips should happen in the first place? METZL: Oh, absolutely. The United States treats China differently than we treat most any country in the world because of the size of the Chinese economy, its military, its impact on so many other issues. And that's the way it should be. Big power countries like the United States and China need to be highly cognizant of each other.


At the same time, if the United States puts itself in the position of continually backing down in the face of Chinese blustering and threats, that's going to incentivize them to do it more and more. And our room for maneuver will be more and more limited. And so, whether or not this is the right place to push back, in many ways, it's advanced so far, because Speaker Pelosi just expressed her interest, China has been extremely aggressive and threatening in its comments. And if Secretary Pelosi, sorry, Speaker Pelosi decides to make this trip, United States is going to have to back her fully.

VAUSE: You know, all the usual reasons apply for why Taiwan is such a red line for Beijing. But there's also this leadership conclave, which is happening in the coming months, when Xi Jinping is expected to get the green light for a third term and become the dictator for life. And much of that has been built on his hardline approach towards Taiwan. So, if Pelosi goes to Taiwan, what will be the impact domestically for Xi? What does he do to sort of coming like that?

METZL: Yes. Well that's the essential issue because Xi is now going for his third term, by all accounts, he's going to get it. And he's doing it at a time when the economy isn't going well in China, this zero COVID policy is not going well. And he has invested a lot in being the champion of Chinese nationalism.

And so, if he backs down in the face of this, that's going to cost him politically domestically. So he has to, in many ways, bluster. And that's why this is such a dangerous place to be in both for the Chinese and for the United States. Nobody wants a conflict. But nobody also wants to be humiliated by the other side and nobody wants to back down.

VAUSE: Is there any positive from that phone call between Biden and Xi, the fact that it actually happened?

METZL: Well, Biden and Xi have known each other for more than 10 years. It's critically important to have that kind of connectivity. And the United States and China have a lot of shared interests, and some of them are common interests. Some of them are highly divergent.

We have no choice but to be speaking with the Chinese. And we have no choice, but to do everything possible to try to keep those lines of communication open. We're certainly heading into choppy waters, but at very least, we should be speaking with each other

And like I said before, we may need to orchestrate or try to orchestrate a series of back and forth where the Chinese are going to make some kind of aggressive steps. We may need to make some kind of compromising steps. There's already talk of some kinds of compromises on certain tariffs that aren't serving the U.S. economy well.

There may be some kind of give and take. But this is not a coordinated effort. The United States, if Speaker Pelosi goes this will be seen as a very aggressive move by the Chinese. And whatever the Chinese do in response it will be seen as an aggressive move by us.

VAUSE: Well, at the end of the day, talking is better than not talking, I guess. So, Jamie, thanks so much for being with us.

METZL: My great pleasure, John, anytime.

VAUSE: Work appears to be underway by Russia to restore supply routes in the south. Ukraine artillery damaged a Key Bridge. Many heavy damaged weapons could not cross. Ukraine says the Russians are now building a pontoon bridge. In the East, Ukraine says, well, Russian forces have made small gains in two towns in the Donetsk region. Other Russian attacks have been withheld.

In the Northeast, the city of Kharkiv came around a missile fire, which was caught on this surveillance video. Ukraine says at least two long range missiles at the city Thursday morning. One of them had a park adjacent to the city center. Ukraine says other cities also took hit including areas near the Capitol Kyiv.

Air raid sirens were sounding as President Zelenskyy addressed lawmakers on Ukraine's Statehood Day.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): And it doesn't matter with what Russia threatens are, whether it is air raid sirens or something else. What is important is that we make other countries fall in love with our Ukrainian firmness.


VAUSE: Meantime, for many Ukrainians, liberation does not mean peace or peace of mind. CNN traveled to Irpin which was held by Russian troops in the early days of the conflict. And as CNN's Jason Carroll reports, residents are still struggling to put their lives back together.


NADIA KUBRAK, FORMER IRPIN RESIDENT: We live here yes in this apartment and this is our neighbor's flat.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nadia Kubrak says there are times it is hard to recognize that this is the place where she and her husband and their son called home for 10 years.

KUBRAK: This is the place where our son slept usually so we were very lucky not to be at home when it happened.

CARROLL (voice-over): It is when the Russians fired missiles on the town of Irpin, during the early days of the war, destroying pockets of the city located about 45 minutes northwest of Kyiv. The Russians occupied Irpin for about a month until the Ukrainians forced them out. It stopped the Russians marched toward the Ukrainian capital.

Kubrak's town became a symbol of strength and resistance where leaders stood outside her apartment complex and praise the heroic actions of the Ukrainians.


But now the attention is gone. What is left are those wondering if they will ever be able to go home again?

(on-camera): Do you have any help at all, any assistance?

KUBRAK: Not really but, you know, the government is busy currently --

CARROLL (on-camera): Yes.

KUBRAK: -- with the war, so they don't have time for people like us. So I think they told us try to -- try not to die. And after the war is over, we will rebuild everything. But still --

CARROLL (on-camera): Do you believe that?

KUBRAK: No. I think we have to do it by ourselves.

CARROLL (voice-over): According to the Ukrainian government, the war has displaced millions of Ukrainians, all with uncertain futures. People such as Irina Alterenko, now forced to live with friends. She used to live in the same complex as Kubrak.

(on-camera): You still want to come home?

(voice-over): Of course, of course. We want to come back home. We've lived here for seven years. We really like it here, she says.

As for a Kubrak, the family now lives in the country, further away from the missile strikes. She still has home videos and pictures to remind her of what it used to feel like to be at home. As for their future --

KUBRAK: I don't want to live here anymore.

CARROLL (on-camera): You do? Too many -- too sad or just --

KUBRAK: Yes, it's too difficult because we have built our apartment by yourself, by our own hands and we have put into it. A lot of power, love and our efforts and now it's all gone. And I didn't want to do it anymore.

CARROLL (voice-over): Jason Carroll, CNN, Irpin, Ukraine.


VAUSE: It seems Ukrainian grain shipments will be a little longer than first thought and precisely when, an open question. United Nation says the first grain shipments were originally expected to leave as early as Thursday, but negotiators are still working out final details needed for the safe passage of vessels, including the exact locations of the safety corridors.

Last weekend, the U.N. and Turkey brokered a deal to resume grain exports from Ukrainian ports. But one U.N. negotiator says the devil still in the details.


MARTIN GRIFFITHS, U.N. UNDER-SECRETARY GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS (through translation): We needed to have the elements and the proposals in place or be considered that would lead to a commercially viable operation. And we needed to keep checking with them. If this if - if this happens, that OK. Will that work with you? Will safe channels be sufficient? Will safe channels with guidance by search and rescue topes and pilots from Ukraine is that an added need and so forth.

So those contracts have been throughout the negotiation and largely reassuring. But then as, you know, as we were saying, let's see the implementation.


VAUSE: One way, Vladimir Putin is beating Western sanctions is by exploiting the resources of compliant nations. CNN's Nima Elbagir and her team investigated Russia's involvement in Sudan's gold production, now could be helping support Russia's war in Ukraine. Here's a look.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep in Sudan's Gold Country, miners toil in the searing heat, barely surviving in what should be one of Africa's richest countries, providing gold for a war a continent away.

We investigate a force more powerful than Sudan's government controlling its gold, subverting Sudan's destiny, threatening me and our sources and thwarting democracy to evade sanctions in Russia's war on Ukraine.

(on-camera): Russian manager is on his way, they say.

(voice-over): We uncover the extent of Russia's grip on Sudan.


VAUSE: Nima Elbagir's full reporting starts Friday, 3:00 p.m. in London and 6:00 p.m. in the evening in Abu Dhabi, U.S. Story you will see only here on CNN.

In the meantime, a lot more to come here on CNN Newsroom. We'll look at the disappointing GDP numbers for the United States released on Thursday. And whether or not the United States is actually heading for recession. And later deadly flooding across southwestern Pakistan. The very latest on rescue efforts.



VAUSE: Recession, and what recession. U.S. stocks close in positive territory for a second consecutive day Thursday, despite data showing the U.S. may actually be heading for a recession. All three major U.S. indices and end of the day up more than 1 percent. Wall Street might just be hoping that the economic contraction could actually mean lower interest rates, sometime down the road.

According to data released early Thursday, U.S. gross domestic product fell by nine-tenths of 1 percent on an annualized basis, from April through June. The second consecutive quarter of economic contraction. Usually that's an official indicator of a recession when we have used for a very, very long time. But economists and U.S. officials say GDP numbers alone are not sufficient to make that determination. White House officials insist the economy is fundamentally sound.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Most economists and most Americans have a similar definition of recession, substantial job losses and mass layoffs, businesses shutting down, private sector activities slowing considerably, family budgets under immense strain, and some a broad-based weakening of our economy. That is not what we're seeing right now.


VAUSE: With us now from Los Angeles is Rodney Ramcharan, Professor of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Southern California. Thank you for taking the time to be with us tonight.


VAUSE: OK, so despite meeting this widely accepted definition of recession, two quarters of negative growth, the Fed Chairman also doesn't think we're in recession. Here he is.


JEROME POWELL, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: It doesn't seem that the U.S. economy is in recession right now. I think you do see weakening -- some slowdown, let's put it that way, in growth. And you see it across the -- some of the categories that I mentioned. But there's also just the very strong data coming out of the labor markets still.


VAUSE: The thing about the labor market, though, it's a lag indicator, right? As of today, that's where the economy was. It's not indicative of where the economy is going. We have leading indicators for that, like residential investment, down 14 percent. Business construction, fixed investments, like new factories, warehouses, down almost 12 percent. Consumer confidence slightly down for a third straight month.

And that means after growing at a record clip for 2021, the economy is now slowing. And isn't that precisely what the Fed wanted, by, you know, domestically increasing interest rates? Sometimes bad news is good news.

RAMCHARAN: Yes. So that's exactly right, that all of the interest's sensitive parts of the economy are beginning to slow now. And that's exactly the plan. So as the interest rate sensitive parts of the economy slows, it's going to begin to weaken demand and put less pressure on the inflation front and that's the target that the Fed is trying to get to this point.

VAUSE: Yes. And the U.S. President, he's also -- he's not feeling this talk of the recession either. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've a record job market, of record of unemployment of 3.6 percent today.


We've created 9 million new jobs so far just as to become president. Business are investing in America at record rates. That doesn't sound like recession to me.


VAUSE: It may not feel like a recession to him, but when wages are up, but those gains are eaten away by inflation, when it takes $75 to fill up your tank, not $35. Or when you're shopping at Dollar Tree, and there's nothing under $1.25, you know, these are things actually do feel like a recession to most of us. So, you know, you can pick and choose what you want. But it does seem the opinion out there by, you know, most of the country, is that either we're in a recession, or we're heading towards one.

RAMCHARAN: So I think that's the sense, right, that the Fed is trying to calibrate with this interest rate policy to slow things down just enough, but not really kill the labor market and drive up the unemployment rates. So we're beginning to see the effects of that policy now. And the hope is that the policy works enough to contain inflation, but it doesn't really annihilate the labor market itself, it doesn't really lead to a big job losses and so forth. So that's the fine line that they're trying to walk at this point.

VAUSE: I just wondering, all this sort of recession denial, if you like, it's obviously driven by politics with the midterm elections coming up. No one wants to be talking about the country being in recession. But, you know, if they don't own it, could they get it wrong? You know, like, they got inflation wrong. They deny that inflation was, you know, a systemic problem, is all transitory for so long, and now, it's out of control. So if they don't own it, are they're going to get it right? RAMCHARAN: So you're absolutely right that on the political side, the politicians and people in the administration have a strong incentive to put the best spin on things. But mind you that the definition of recession is very standardized? It's a task that the National Bureau of Economic Research, the NBER, the nine people on a committee that they have the final say on that. So you're right, that the administration wants to spin this as much as possible, but ultimately, it's a scientific call.

VAUSE: There is one sort of note in this report, we've seen to be worth mentioning, marketplace reports that the main reason why GDP didn't technically grow in the second quarter, is because a bunch of companies for too many goods, we didn't want that hold off on buying more while their warehouses cleared out. And that showed up in the data for this quarter. And I guess, to your point, this is why GDP numbers alone are not used to decide if the economy is in recession, right?

RAMCHARAN: Indeed, indeed. So they look at a wide range of things, including the consecutive contraction in output. But they also look at the labor market as well and mass unemployment. So if companies are laying off 50 or more people at a given time, so these are some of the factors that they consider. And it could be that if you have a consecutive contraction, it could be a technicality. So you need to have a wide look at the data in order to come to the conclusion that the economy is in a recession.

VAUSE: Professor, thank you very much being with us. We appreciate your time.

RAMCHARAN: It's my pleasure.

VAUSE: Rodney Ramcharan there in Los Angeles. Thank you, sir.

RAMCHARAN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well violence again erupting in Haiti. Heavily armed gangs taking over parts of the capitol. surge in violence leads to new fears in the very latest in a moment.



VAUSE: Wherever you are around the world, welcome back. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN Newsroom. For the first time since arriving in Canada, Pope Francis has acknowledged and apologized for the sexual abuse of children and minors by members of the Canadian Catholic Church. At a cathedral in Quebec City, he caught the crimes evil, but put the blame on church members, not the institution as a whole.


POPE FRANCIS (through translation): The church in Canada, after being wounded and devastated by the evil, perpetrated by some of its children has begun a new path. I'm thinking in particular of the sexual abuse committed against minors and vulnerable people, crimes that require strong actions and an irreversible fight. I would like to, together with you, once again, apologize to all of the victims. The pain and shame that we experienced must be an occasion for conversion. Never again.


VAUSE: His remarks were preceded by a protest ahead of the papal mass. Demonstrators called for the church to rescind a 14th century edict which permitted explorers to take possession of new lands, particularly in the Americas. The Pope has been apologizing to indigenous communities during his pilgrimage of penance over the role of the church in Canada's residential schools abuse scandal.

He'll visit northern Canada briefly on Friday, and then return to Rome.

The power of gangs and gang violence have surged in Haiti since the assassination of the president last year. One neighborhood alone reports hundreds of people killed, injured or missing so far this month. CNN's Matt Rivers reports, there now fears that a prison in Port-au-Prince may soon be overrun.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For months now, Port-au-Prince has been trapped in a brutal cycle of gang violence and the latest crisis point in the city's downtown. In a video obtained by CNN first published by the Miami Herald, officers with the Haitian national police can be seen engaged in a tent shootout with suspected gang members on Wednesday. The fighting brought this part of the city to a virtual standstill with fears mounting over what might happen here, Haiti's National Prison, just a few blocks from the fighting.

A source inside the prison said that when the fighting broke out, prisoners had not received food or water for three days. Desperate and scared amidst the gunfire, the source says hundreds of prisoners managed to escape from their cells and into the prison's courtyard, where they were met by police. Quote, "The police began to shoot indiscriminately," said the source. It's still unclear if there were any injuries.

The Haitian law enforcement source confirmed the partial breakout to CNN, saying the hundreds of prisoners were eventually put back in their cells when riot police entered. But the source added that this could happen again. Gangs in the area could attempt to overrun police and free prisoners from inside. Quote, "The gangsters are taking over the area around the prison and they have pushed the police back. The police keep losing with poor management and a command staff that is not qualified," said our source.

In addition to Haitian prisoners, the facility houses the roughly two dozen Colombians accused by authorities of participating in last year's assassination of President Jovenel Moise. They've sat in prison for more than a year and is still yet to be formally charged. The National Police did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

Downtown Port-au-Prince just the latest part of the city where gangs have laid siege. Roughly 75 percent of the city is either under the control of various gangs or in the crosshairs of ongoing gang violence, according to the Haitian law enforcement source. Including the neighborhood of Cite Soleil, where more than 200 people have been killed in July alone due to fighting between gangs according to the mayor.

He says the situation is very critical. People are in a very bad place and the ongoing violence makes it worse. It has created a dire humanitarian crisis in the neighborhood, where people are struggling with basic access to food and water, a bleak reality that might be replicated in more parts of the city if this fighting continues unabated.

Matt Rivers, CNN.



VAUSE: Reaching out to Russia, a U.S. offer to swap high value prisoners hasn't received the reaction Washington was hoping for. Even though the U.S. is offering up the merchant of death and infamous Russian arms dealer. Closer look at Viktor Bout and how he was captured in a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did the Americans want you so badly?



VAUSE: A deadly monsoon season across of southwestern Pakistan. At least 106 people have died, 62 injured, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. Many families are stranded without food or water. Pakistani army says two helicopters with relief supplies have been dispatched to the region. But rescue efforts have been hampered by ongoing severe weather. More heavy rain and storms expected in the coming days.

At least eight people have died from flooding in Eastern Kentucky. And the state's governor says that number is expected to rise. More than 25,000 homes and businesses are without power. When 8 inches of rain fell on parts of the state from Wednesday into Thursday morning, everyone in creeks, streams and rivers already fall from earlier rains.

The governor warned it could take years for families to rebuild calling it the worst flooding disaster of his lifetime.

He was pitched for a high profile prisoner exchange. He's not gaining any traction in Russia, at least not yet. Moscow says its top diplomat is busy and will decide whether to discuss the trade with the U.S. Secretary of State when time permits. The Biden administration has offered up the notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was once one of the world's most wanted men .

In exchange for American basketball star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan. U.S. officials are apparently frustrated by Russia's slow response to this proposed swap.


NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPT. SPOKESPERSON: The fact that now several weeks later, we are where we are. I think you can read into that as being a reflection of the fact that this has not moved to the extent we would like. And we want to make very clear to the Russians directly in this case in a conversation with Secretary Blinken the priority we attached to this.


VAUSE: Viktor Bout eluded capture for years traveling under different names with different passports. The former Soviet military officers speak six languages and lie at his life inspired a Hollywood film. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh interviewed Bout after his arrest in 2008. And he has this report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): He's the Lord of War, according to this fictional movie starring Nicolas Cage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say what you like about warlords and dictators, they always pay their bills on time.

WALSH (voice-over): Or the merchant of death per book about his alleged life. But despite much evidence, Viktor Bout has always denied being one of the biggest arms dealers of the 90's fueling civil wars and bolstering Moscow's interests if you still never really wanted to be a nobody.

(on-camera): Why did the Americans want you so badly?


VIKTOR BOUT: Go and ask them. Go and ask the Bush administration, the Obama administration. Go and ask Mrs. Clinton (INAUDIBLE) explain why they need me. I don't know. I have no clue.

WALSH (on-camera): Mr. Bout, Mr. Bout, good morning.

(voice-over): He gave me his last interview in a Thai jail 13 years ago when he denied the worst charges against him.

BOUT: This is a lie and just bullshit. I never supplied arms as such at all and I especially never didn't have any deal with Al-Qaeda.

WALSH (voice-over): In a noisy packed visiting area as he sat behind the glass, the bit I remember most was his mother interrupting.

BOUT (through translation): Thanks, mom. We're trying to talk. Why do you come here every five minutes.

WALSH (voice-over): And that he admitted he had worked for the Russian government.

BOUT: I don't want to say now this or that.

WALSH (on-camera): You did work for the Russian government.

BOUT: Sometimes, yes. We did the flights.

WALSH (voice-over): In the end, he was not superhuman, and arrested in Thailand after a U.S. sting operation. And while his decades of life in the shadows had left him full of faced, he was always just a pilot career, he insisted even as he was led into this Bangkok courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today in Manhattan Federal Court, accused arms dealer Viktor Bout begins to face American justice.

WALSH (voice-over): The U.S. Sting was complex over many months and countries catching him offering weapons to U.S. agents pretending to be Colombian terrorists. He was eventually extradited to face a New York trial for conspiring to kill Americans. It saw him sentenced to 25 years in prison in a medium security facility in Illinois.

There, he told me in emails, he was in good spirits, brushing up on his many languages. And in 2019, very glad when his wife and daughter visited. But he was slowly edging towards the end of his sentence. Perhaps, a reason his role in a swap was more appealing. But the biggest mystery about Bout was why the U.S. wanted him so fiercely.

Yes, he had allegedly dealt arms to a lot of bad people across Africa in the 90s. But that was known and exposed. Observers searched for another way to your reason and wondered if he had served alongside in a Kremlin insiders in his long past overseas. That remains a huge question mark, both over him and any swap. Is he a pilot in the wrong place at the very worst times? Or as so many have said, a profiteer and policy tool for Moscow in the world's nastiest wars?

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


VAUSE: French president Emmanuel Macron welcome Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the handshake at the Elysee Palace on Thursday. Next, a working dinner which the French President apparently raised human rights, that's according to a French government spokesperson. This is Mohammed bin Salman's first trip to European almost four years ever since the murder of prominent Saudi journalist and critic of the Crown Prince Jamal Khashoggi.

U.S. intelligence found the Crown Prince directly ordered the assassination of Khashoggi who was dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. And that's why human rights groups have condemned the recent high-level meetings between bin Salman and Western leaders who, according Saudi Arabia to try and bring down the cost of oil. The Crown Prince met with U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month in Jeddah.

Thank you for watching CNN Newsroom. I'm John Vause. I'll be back in about 15 minutes from now with more news. In the meantime, a short break and then World Sport is up next. See you soon.



PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORT'S ANCHOR: Hi there, welcome to CNN World Sport. For the first time addressing reporters, Europe's now ex Ryder Cup Captain speaking out. Henrik Stenson is present, may well be the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf series. What the suit (ph) is now saying, though, about his future?

Also making headlines, the 46-year-old from Gothenburg revealing he hasn't given up hope of taking part in the prestigious team event against the USA every two years at some point down the line. This despite being effectively sacked as Europe Captain following his decision to sign with a multimillion-dollar LIV circuit. It was back in March that the 2016 open champ Stenson described being chosen for the Ryder Cup captaincy as what he called a huge honor. A dream come true, as he put it.

Well, that was then. This is now. Stenson shedding new light, and it'll add in the latest LIV event which begins Friday in New Jersey.


HENRIK STENSON, 2016 OPEN CHAMPION: I'd say I'll be in -- a golf professional since the late 1998. And, you know, power sizes, prize money on offer, financial parts, always been a part of where we made up our schedules and where we've gone to play. And it's been a part of it, absolutely. So there was no different than in this case.

I made every arrangement possible here to be able to fulfill my captain's duties. And I've had great help here from LIV to be able to do that. And still the decision was made that I was to be removed. And I'm, obviously, disappointed over the situation. But it is what it is. And yes, we move on from there now.


SNELL: Well the golfer is joining the new LIV series have had to answer some tough questions over the last month or so including having to react to serious criticism from families of the victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. Here's what Stenson had to say on that matter.


STENSON: We can just say that our hearts goes out to anyone who lost a loved one in that terrible tragedy. And that's all we can say really. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SNELL: Henrik Stenson there speaking on Thursday.

This is truly a changing up da guard for Formula 1 at the moment as we move on. The young Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, chasing his second straight title after holding Lewis Hamilton's run a four consecutive titles last year. Now former World Champ Sebastian Vettel announcing he will retire at the end of the season. The veteran German driver won four straight titles a decade ago with Red Bull, but has steadily declined in terms of performance levels on the track.

Vettel saying it was a difficult decision but wants to spend more time with his family. He is currently 14th in the driver standings while racing for Aston Martin.


SEBASTIAN VETTEL, 4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION: I know how much I can give and dedicate to this sport in order to also, you know, achieve the things I want to achieve. And it also takes a lot of time and time that you have to, you know, probably the beginning take away from nowhere else because there's nothing else. But since I grow and things grow around me, my children are growing, it's time away from them, and time away maybe from other interests that I've grown.

And at some point, you reach a point where it starts to feel maybe not so clear about the next year. And the truth is it's been a process of, you know, several years. It is a bit strange to look into the unknown. And I'm also a little bit afraid of what's coming. But I guess, yes, I'm looking forward to it. I, obviously, made my decision and, yes, I'm excited to see what's behind the corner.


SNELL: Vettel previous teams including Ferrari and Red Bull, he enjoyed his most dominant period in F1, winning four successive driver's championships from 2010 to 2013. His total of 53 Grand Prix victories and his 122 podium finishes are both third on the all-time list behind. Only Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton responding on Twitter by writing, "Seb, it's been an honor to call you a competitor and an even greater honor to call you my friend. Leaving this sport better than you found it is always the goal. I have no doubt that whatever comes next for you will be exciting, meaningful, and rewarding. Love you, man."

Ahead of this weekend's race, the drivers also speaking out highly of Vettel.


MAX VERSTAPPEN, 2022 DRIVERS STANDINGS LEADER: It's something that, you know, you can see coming. Everyone is getting older. At one point everyone is retiring. And is, of course, never nice when that moment arrives, especially, of course, for his fans. But yes, these things happen.

And I think it's important now that he's just going to enjoy his life with the family because F1 is such a short period of time in your life that you work so hard to achieve all these things he has achieved. And now it's time to enjoy.

GEORGE RUSSELL, F1 MERCEDES DRIVER: You know, he's good fun to be around. So I'm sure he's going to be looking forward to firstly, the last half of the season. But everything he's got planned for the future, family, kids, wife. And I'm sure he's not going to stop and I just said inspiration.


SNELL: All right. Well, we have much more to come. The 2022 Commonwealth Games now underway in the English city of Birmingham. I will tell you why it's history in the making for this British swimmer. Why breaking down racial barriers simply is not enough.


SNELL: Hello welcome back to you. Well, for most of us, the British swimmer Alice Dearing, just could not lose at last year's delayed Tokyo 2020 games just by diving into the waters. In fact, at the start of the women's 10-kilometer marathon event, she was making history as Britain's first black Olympic swimmer, but that's not how Dearing sees it. She was unhappy with her 19th place and is determined to make amends at the 2024 games in Paris.


ALICE DEARING, MARATHON SWIMMER, OLYMPIC TEAM GB: My name is Alice Dearing, I'm British marathon swimmer. And at the Tokyo Games, I was the first black woman to represent Team GB in swimming at an Olympic Games. Being an Olympian feels amazing. It's something I never thought I would be or would achieve. So to have had the opportunity to have achieved it, to have gone to the Olympic Games, it's just incredible.

It's tough being a first time Olympian. I didn't give it as much thought as I think I should have. I thought, you know, I'm racing against the same women but I always race against that World Championships, Europeans, World Cups, et cetera. Yes, how different will the games be.

My result in Tokyo wasn't what I anticipated or expected of myself at all. I was really disappointed by it. Having that result kind of end up reflecting like my lifetime of work is what's really hurting me at the moment. So I'm just using it as fuel for the fire. They say you're only as good as your last race or whatever, but I'm looking to improve on that.

I'm really excited for hopefully another opportunity at an Olympic Games. My first one was an incredible experience, but it was still my first experience and it was a bit of a shock. And I think having knowledge of all of those emotions, or everything that's going on is only going to make my mind frame, my position stronger for Paris.

At the moment, I'm working really hard and it's been really intense. It's been really tough, but I'm really enjoying it. And I'm really ready to move to a new stage of my career.


Barriers to black athletes on an elite level, I think, often start at the very base level. Haven't come across any barriers at the level I'm at currently. But I have faced barriers when I was younger, and issues where people just don't think that people should swim or do swim or, you know, think that we're better suited to the sports and so shouldn't even learn to swim.

If you have less black people learning to swim, you're going to have less people going into the club programs, you're going to have less people from the club programs moving to the elite, and then eventually making the Olympic Games.

I definitely think I've seen the positive signs since Tokyo. I've had so many great messages on social media from loads of different people who have been really proud of me. I'm trying to be the best athlete and best role model that I can be to show people that they can do the sport, that the sport is for everybody.


SNELL: History making and courageous, indeed. Well newly minted Evian Championship winner Brooke Henderson telling us this week she's not competing in the women's Scottish golf open which started on Thursday citing the need to rest ahead of next week's AIG Women's Open and Iconic Muirfield.

Meantime, day one action on the west coast of Scotland, decent weather one-minute. Look at that. And then look at this, shall we just say par for the course as they say. As for the actual golf, the French player Celine Boutier in contention. She will be looking to rebound from Ms. Carter (ph) last week's Evian Championship. A monster put that 15. She's one behind the leader. That's the 22-year-old Hagey Joy (ph), a long, undulating Eagle part at number five. The South Korean shooting 64 on the opening day. Good for a one stroke lead over three players.

These are groundbreaking times indeed for the sport of cycling with a Tour De France farm. Now in full swing, following an absence of more than three decades Thursday bring with it though a day a pack full of drama and chaos a huge 30-women clash with some 45 kilometers to go this during stage five. It split the peloton and would eventually see the movie star racer and daily cyclist Emma Norsgaard having to abandon the race injured and she would later be hospitalized. Wishing her well in her recovery.

Meantime, another special day for the Dutch competitive arena weavers who sealed victory having also won Sunday's open up. The 23-year-old finishing clear of the Italian Elisa Balsamo and the overall race leader Marianne Vos who's also from the Netherlands. Joy and elation. Look at this. For their recently crowned Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard in Copenhagen on Thursday. Thousands of flag waving Danes on hand to pay tribute to the 25-year-old, who won the sport's most famous race and it just be second attempt. An amazing story. Vingegaard was working as a fish packer, would you believe, in a factory five years ago in the morning before training in the afternoon.

Thanks for your time. We'll see you next time. Stay with CNN and take care.