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CNN International: Dam in Kherson Destroyed, Zelenskyy to Hold Meeting; Swimming Pool Incident at Mar-a-Lago Gets Prosecutors' Attention; New Hampshire Governor Won't Seek Republican Nomination; House Chairman Pushing to Hold FBI Director in Contempt; France's Eight Major Unions Stage New Protests; Prince Harry to Testify in Trial Against U.K. Tabloids. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 06, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo live from London. Max Foster is on royal assignment today. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The maintenance worker there has spoken with investigators, he was the one that drained that pool that led to the flood, that went into that room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The idea of a flooded room where computer servers were, the idea of phones being seized, it's very clear that they are trusting and verifying every single facet of the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A major dam in the Kherson Region was just destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both sides are blaming each other, although there seems to be some agreement in those conflicting accounts that there was some kind of strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He claims MGN gathered information about him using unlawful methods including phone hacks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: MGN has contested these claims and maintaining there was simply no evidence that the Duke of Sussex was hacked.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

NOBILO: It's Tuesday, June 6th, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 11:00 a.m. in southern Ukraine where officials are giving a dire warning hours after a major dam in the Kherson Region was destroyed. They say water levels in the reservoir are falling rapidly and will reach critical levels soon. And authorities are urging civils on the banks of the Dnipro River to evacuate. Russia and Ukraine are blaming each other for destroying the dam. With

Ukraine's military intelligence saying that Russian forces blew up the dam in a panic. For more on this story we're joined by Clare Sebastian. Clare, obviously Ukrainians are in peril day in and day out, but what is the imminent danger does this now present them?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, this is an emergency. And I think the sense we're getting certainly from Ukrainian officials is that there's a short window to get to safety. A Ukrainian official earlier today said there was basically a five-hour window for the water levels in the river would rise too high and cause flooding further down stream, of course, in the Kherson Region.

We're now hearing from the ministry of internal affairs of Ukraine that more than 700 people have been evacuated. That's really a small amount considering how many people are thought to be in the danger zone. Another Ukrainian official saying 16,000 people on the west bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson Region are in what he calls a critical zone.

The important thing to understand about this is that Kherson is partially occupied by Russia. So the Ukrainians can't actually access the eastern bank of the Dnipro River to try to evacuate people there. And in terms of what we're hearing from the Russian side, they seem to be slightly playing it down a little bit and officials -- a Russian official in Kherson saying earlier that there was no threat to life. But the situation on the east bank of the Dnipro was under control.

But I think it is fair to say that the flooding has already started, according to Ukrainian officials and there is a real threat from this volume of water coming down stream. Not to mention, of course, that the reservoir provided water to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which is upstream of the hydroelectric dam. We are hearing from the International Atomic Energy Agency that right now there is no eminent threat to nuclear safety, but Ukrainian officials are also warning about that.

NOBILO: And there's just been so many threats to this power plant over the course of Russia's invasion that they really don't need another. Now in terms of the blame game here, we've been hearing from Russian officials and Ukrainians as well, but what strategic disadvantage does this now pose Ukraine?

SEBASTIAN: If they were to try to cross the Dnipro River, try to sort of cut off Russia's land bridge somehow in that route to Crimea, then this makes it much harder. Of course, is much harder to drive tanks or armored vehicles across flooded land. So, that is one thing.

And this is something that Ukrainian officials are really hinting at. Mykhailo Podolyak an adviser to the Zelenskyy regime explicitly saying that the Russians are deliberately hitting the residents of the occupied Crimea. A reference to the fact that Crimea gets its water supply via the north Crimean canal from that hydroelectric power plant. He said they exchange them for certain opportunities to deter the offensive. Essentially saying that Russia is prioritizing efforts to deter Ukraine's counteroffensive over the well-being of the people of Crimea. So, that's the hint were getting from the Ukrainian side. Of course, the Russians having initially, by the way, call the whole idea of dam being damaged nonsense and are now calling it a terrorist attack by Ukraine.

NOBILO: Clare Sebastian, thank you.

Now to our exclusive reporting.


Sources telling CNN about a series of events at Donald Trump's Mar-a- Lago home that may have federal prosecutors raising their eyebrows. A major focus is now on a swimming pool flood at the resort late last year. Those sources those sources, that an employee who drained the pool which caused flooding in a room where computer service containing surveillance video logs were kept. Now it's not clear if the flooding was intentional, but the incident occurred as prosecutors were obtaining surveillance video to see how documents were moved around the resort.

They're looking into Trump's handling of classified materials after he left the White House and if anyone at Mar-a-Lago has tried to be on structure their investigation obstruct the investigation. As CNN's Katelyn Polantz reports from Washington, Trump's lawyers met Monday with the top prosecutor signaling an end to the investigation may be near.


KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: The top federal prosecutor investigating Donald Trump and the way he handled classified documents after he left the presidency, that prosecutor took a meeting on Monday with a team of defense lawyers representing Donald Trump. They all met at the Justice Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. along with a career official from the Justice Department who also sat down with Trump's lawyers.

This is the sort of meeting that appears to be coming at the final stage or in a final stage of this criminal investigation around the former president and around what happened at his estate in Mar-a-Lago and potentially other places throughout his business empire.

We don't know exactly what happened at the meeting at this time, but it is quite significant that people in the Justice Department would agree to meet with Trump's lawyers whenever they had requested this. And so, there are potentially some additional people who could be brought into a grand jury investigation. We do believe one witness is going to be speaking to a grand jury in south Florida this week. There may still be things happening in this investigation, but this is quite a significant moment for the Justice Department and for Donald Trump's legal team as they prepare for the possibility of a federal indictment against the former president.

And then also, we at CNN were able to understand a little bit more about the obstruction of justice part of this criminal investigation. That's because we have learned and we're able to confirm a flood that happened at Mar-a-Lago, at the resort in October of last year. That flood flooded a room because there was the draining of the pool at Mar-a-Lago and the water from the pool went into a room that stored IT equipment including some of the videotapes and the surveillance system of the property.

The obstruction of justice investigation has looked at a lot of things the past year, but one of the things that they had pursued -- that the prosecutors had pursued was what was happening and how was the Trump Organization or Donald Trump himself responding to multiple requests for surveillance tapes. And we do also know that the maintenance worker that decided to drain the pool at Mar-a-Lago and then caused this flood in the room, that person was captured on surveillance tape moving boxes. And so, it is a moment that prosecutors have been asking about as they ask about many different things that have happened surrounding the surveillance footage and also the moving of boxes at Mar-a-Largo in this ongoing criminal investigation.

Katelyn Polantz, CNN, Washington.


NOBILO: Trump's legal troubles don't stop there. His lawyers have asked a judge to stop writer E. Jean Carroll from amending her defamation lawsuit after he insulted her during a CNN Town Hall last month. Carroll is now seeking at least $10 million in damages. She was already awarded $5 million in her civil sexual abuse and defamation case against him. Trump's attorneys are pushing to have the amended lawsuit thrown out. Saying Carroll is trying to retrofit the portion of the verdict that favors her. And they say Trump's Town Hall remarks should be safe guarded by fair reporting privilege.

The field of the Republicans seeking the party's nomination into next year's U.S. presidential election is growing this week. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to announce his candidacy later today. And North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum released a video on Monday, teasing a potential bid announcement on Wednesday.

Meantime, New Hampshire's Republican Governor Chris Sununu tells CNN he won't be entering the presidential race but he still has sharp criticism for Trump's candidacy. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Sununu shared his vision of a future Republican Party.


CHRIS SUNUNU (R) NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: Former President Trump and his message, his style, his brand, have cost us dearly and he doesn't represent the Republican Party. He doesn't represent that limited government, local control, individual liberty stuff that we all talk about. He's about himself.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: One could argue that you're the one out of step with the Republican Party, not the candidates running.

SUNUNU: Oh, no. Look, you talk --

BASH: The current Republican Party. [04:10:00]

SUNUNU: Well, maybe the base. Right, maybe the base.

BASH: They're the ones who elect the nominee.

SUNUNU: That's right and that's the frustration. So I want to make the base bigger. I want to get more independents into the base. I want more young people that have been disenfranchised -- used to be a part of the base. But we want to get them back in.


NOBILO: The current state of the Republican Party isn't deterring former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who has filed his paperwork to run. He plans to formally announce his candidacy on Wednesday just ahead of his appearance at a CNN Town Hall. This puts him toe to toe with his former boss Donald Trump who says that he wishes Pence a lot of luck despite their disagreements at the end of their term in office.

And be sure to catch that CNN Town Hall with Mike Pence this Wednesday, live from Grandview University in Des Moines, Iowa. He'll take questions from CNN anchor and chief political correspondent Dana Bash. It starts at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday in Des Moines, 9:00 a.m. Thursday in Hong Kong, right here on CNN.

The Republican chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee is moving ahead with plans to hold the FBI director in contempt of Congress. James Comer announced that the hearings will start on Thursday. CNN Sara Murray has the story.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: House Oversight Chairman James Comer says he still wants to move ahead with holding the FBI director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress. And House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he is willing to push this to a full floor vote. This comes after on Monday senior FBI officials came to a secure room at the U.S. Capitol and showed Comer, as well as the top Democrat and House oversight Jamie Raskin, an internal FBI document that Republicans say shows these unverified allegations that Joe Biden while he was vice president was involved in some kind of bribery scheme involving a foreign national. Now here's what the top Democrat and Republican had to say when they came out of that briefing.

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): At the briefing, the FBI again refused to hand over the unclassified record to the custody of the House Oversight Committee. And we will now initiate contempt of Congress hearings.

REP. JAMES RASKIN (D-MD): I'm just surprised that my colleagues want to try to litigate this in public much less hold the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in contempt for complying with their request when there was a whole process. MURRAY: Now Comer had subpoenaed the FBI for this document. It's clear

he still wants a hard copy. The FBI says they've been very accommodating in allowing the lawmakers to view this. Saying it contains uncorroborated information and that it's unwarranted for this committee to move forward with contempt proceedings.

The White House has said this is all a political stunt that's designed to hurt Joe Biden. One thing was clear after this briefing though, Comer and Raskin came out with very differing views on whether the allegations in this document could still be part of an ongoing investigation.

Comer says he believes some of these allegations could still be part of an ongoing Hunter Biden criminal investigation that's based out of Delaware.

Jamie Raskin said when the allegations first came to the FBI, they were checked out while Bill Barr was Attorney General and the FBI could not corroborate them and essentially that was that.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


NOBILO: California officials are investigating a second flight that transporting migrants to Sacramento on Monday. The California Department of Justice has determined they were all asylum seekers and, like the previous flight on Friday, were carrying documents reportedly from Florida. Sacramento's mayor says migrants would be taken care of and blasted the people who were responsible.


DARRELL STEINBERG, SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA MAYOR: We've been working together over the last 48 plus hours to make sure that first and foremost that the people who are scared, who are vulnerable, who are flown here under some lure of jobs and/or services, that they know that they are safe and that they will be well cared for.

And then there's the other side of this. Which is the worst of American values. And that is somebody in the early evidence points to Florida, and we know where that points, who would use innocent vulnerable people as political pawns. Is there no shame?


NOBILO: One potential lead for investigators, some of the migrants took photos and videos documenting their journey and managed to capture images of the people who led them to Sacramento.

The mother of a 6-year-old boy who brought a gun to school and shot his teacher will plead guilty to felony charges according to her attorney and avoid a grand jury indictment. Deja Taylor was charged with unlawful use of a controlled substance while possessing a firearm and making a false statement. Abigail Zwerner, who was shot in the hand and chest has since filed a $40 million lawsuit alleging school officials knew of the boy's history of random violence and were not proactive on the day of the shooting. He will not be criminally charged.


A fire aboard a small cruise ship called the Wilderness Discoverer forced the evacuation of 51 passengers and 16 crew members in Alaska. The group ordered a water shuttle, then a large cruise ship, the Sapphire Princess. A small group of crew members remain aboard the damaged ship, which will be towed to shore by tugboat. And there are no reports of any injuries.

Still to come, a 10-year-old in Michigan steals his mother's car and leads police on a car chase. Why they say he did it? Details ahead.

Plus, investigators have a new theory on what may have caused a plane to crash in Virginia over the weekend. We'll have those details just ahead.

And Prince Harry is due in London's High Court to testify in a lawsuit against British tabloids. But the trial is off to a rocky start for him. We'll have the latest from outside the courthouse.


NOBILO: Police in the French capital and other cities are bracing for a 14th day of major protests Tuesday against France's new pension law. One media organization says it expects as many as 600,000 protestors across the country angry after the government raised retirement age from 62 to 64.


And it comes two days before France's National Assembly is set to debate the law. One French journalist has made covering the protest his exclusive beat and he spoke with CNN's Melissa Bell.


MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another pitched battle between protesters and police in the heart of Paris. The images captured by a journalist who has made this his specialty.

Clement Lanot has covered every major French protest for the last seven years. His focus: to document that many uprisings against the government and tell the stories of the anger behind them.


BELL (voice-over): "The money is there," says one protester. "We just have to go and get it."

Traveling across the city, the protesters hush each other, as they get closer to the Euronext Stock Exchange. There, they pause, then charge.

(SHOUTING) BELL (voice-over): Through the flames and the smoke that engulf the building lobby, the sound of anger at the French president.

Shocking scenes, but for Paris, nothing new. The protests against the government upping of the pension age from 62 to 64 are just the latest round to draw people to the streets.

CLEMENT LANOT, VIDEO JOURNALIST (through translator): In Paris, there are protests almost every day, some smaller, some bigger, because in France, we are used to it. As soon as something goes wrong, the French protest.

BELL (voice-over): The hardest to cover, he says, were the Yellow Vest protests of 2019 and 2020.

LANOT (through translator): The police, the protesters, we've never seen protests that violent. Everyone was a little shaken. Everyone was a little changed.

BELL (voice-over): Over the years, the 25-year-old has been on the receiving end of rubber bullets, police batons, and angry tussles with protesters. Being a journalist is little protection, he says.

LANOT (through translator): Several times, I found myself in the middle of the police charges. They hit me with their shields, even though they could say I was a journalist, and they could have avoided me.

BELL (voice-over): But despite the dangers, images like these have been earning Lanot a decent living for the last seven years, covering hundreds of protests, he says.

LANOT (through translator): Once a demonstration is over, everyone goes home and life goes back to normal. You'll probably see bus stops that have been shattered, but life goes on and everything is OK for the Parisians who go back out for a walk when the protest is done.

BELL (voice-over): In a city where the culture of protest runs deep, it's just another day and another clean-up of the streets of the French capital.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


NOBILO: In the coming hours, a Washington D.C. court will hear arguments from a conservative think tank on whether Prince Harry's immigration record should be unsealed. They claim the Duke of Sussex may have previously been ineligible to enter the U.S. after public confessions of drug use in his recent memoir. But that's not his only legal battle. Court is set to resume here in the U.K. next hour where the Duke of Sussex will make an incredibly rare appearance as a royal testifying in a trial against British tabloids.

CNN's Nada Bashir joins me from outside that very courthouse here in London. Nada, what kind of arguments are we expecting in Prince Harry's cross-examination?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, look Bianca, we got a sense of that argument will look like yesterday from his legal representative, David Sherborne, giving his opening statement on the first day of that three-day hearing here. Of course, they are accusing the Mirror Group Newspapers of invading Prince Harry's privacy, using unlawful practices, publishing articles featuring details of personal information, personal matters which they believe were obtained through methods including phone hacking, the interception of voice mails that Prince Harry from those around him, and also by using private investigators.

Now according to Prince Harry's legal representative, these elements featured in articles published between early 1990s and 2011. Including the details of private conversations between Prince Harry and his brother William, the Prince of Wales, as well as with his former long- time girlfriend, Chelsy Davy. The details of which led to a breakdown in that relationship.

Now according to legal representatives, Prince Harry is today set to go into graphic detail as to how this invasion of privacy by the Mirror Group Newspaper -- Mirror Newspaper Group impacted Prince Harry on a personal level. They said he suffered from bouts of depression as a result. And they have submitted more than 140 articles published within that period. Which they say show that telltale signs of information being gathered through unlawful means.

Of course, today is the day where we do expect Prince Harry to give evidence to stand before the court. But we also are waiting for his arrival outside the court here in central London.


There was a bit of frustration yesterday from both the judge and defense lawyers representing MGN over the fact Prince Harry wasn't present for the first day of the hearing. The judge saying he was a little surprised given the fact that he'd asked all those providing evidence to be present for the first day in case time permitted for that evidence to be heard.

Prince Harry is of course, one of four selected representatives to give evidence in court, but there are more than 100 claimants in this case accusing MGN of obtaining information, private information through illegal means. This is a huge lawsuit here in London. This is a very high-profile case. You can see the media gathered behind me here, all eyes watching and waiting for Prince Harry. We'll have to say later today as he stands before the court -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Nada Bashir live outside the courthouse in London, thank you.

In India train services have resumed on both lines after restoration work was completed at the site of the deadly train crash in Odisha. Officials say more than 150 bodies have been identified so far. They've also launched an official investigation into the accident that killed at least 275 people and injured more than 1,000. CNN's Ivan Watson has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is what happens when a passenger train moving at 80 miles per hour that's run 128 kilometers per hour slams into an immovable object, you get enormous train cars like this thrown over, overturned as if they were children's toys.

Now, just days ago, this was the scene of one of the deadliest train disasters in modern Indian history. And already the railroad has been reopened and we can see what looks like a brand-new modern train moving down the tracks here. That is even as scores of people are still looking for their missing loved ones from the accident that took place on Friday night.

Now the initial accident authority say was caused by a switching malfunction. So, a passenger train was moved on to a track where there was a parked freight train loaded with iron ore. And that crash sent some of the train cars into the other track where there was an approaching passenger train coming from the other side. So, that mistake led to absolutely catastrophic results.

As you can see, the railroad here has been reopened. We have another train moving through right now. And the railroad system in India, it dates back in origins to when this country was a British colony. And it is essential to this country, more than 13 million people a day move around on trains in India. So, that's part of why the authorities have worked so hard to reopen the rails after the train crash.

I'm going to show you over here. This is an example of a railroad station in the Indian countryside. And it also happens to be just within sight -- ff you see the lights down there of where the terrible train crash happened on Friday night.

The very next day, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he was supposed to go inaugurate a brand-new high-speed train. Instead he had to rush to the crash to survey the recovery efforts and to meet with some of the survivors.

The Indian government has great ambitions to modernize this country. But as this terrible tragedy has highlighted, there's also a lot of work to be done to maintain aging and essential infrastructure.

Ivan Watson, CNN in Odisha state in eastern India.


NOBILO: In Canada, it's estimated 26,000 people remain evacuated from their homes as more than 400 wildfires burn across the country. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempted to ease people's concerns.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Year after year with climate change, we're seeing more and more intense wildfires and in places where they don't normally happen. Our modeling shows this may be an especially severe wildfire season throughout the summer. We're going to get through this together.


NOBILO: In all more than 2,000 wildfires have broken out in Canada since the start of the year. The government says more than 3 million acres have burned.

In Haiti at least 42 people are dead and another 85 injured after heavy rains triggered widespread flooding and land slides. Officials says rain caused several major rivers to overflow. Nearly a dozen people are still missing and more than 13,000 have been displaced.

Apple unveiling its new mixed reality headset but will the price be a concern for some users. Details on that ahead.

Plus, airlines are finally bouncing back from the pandemic. How much money they're expected to bring in this year when we return?