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Trump Co-Defendant Mark Meadows Trying To Move Georgia Case To Federal Court; More Than 100 Dead As Search For Hundreds Continues In Lahaina; Dozens Dead in Worst Violence This Year Between Libyan Factions; More Mass Graves Found In West Darfur, RSF Accused Of Demolishing Camps; Poland Holds Military Parade Amid Tensions With Belarus; 3 Suspected Spies For Russia Arrested In The UK. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 16, 2023 - 01:00   ET




LAILA HARRAK, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone I'm Laila Harrak. Ahead on CNN Newsroom. Team Trump's next legal maneuver. Donald Trump's former chief of staff makes a play to get his racketeering charges dismissed and indications are the former U.S. presidents might be plotting a similar move.

More than 100 people are now confirmed dead following Hawaii's wildfires as U.S. President Joe Biden defends himself against critics of his disaster response and three people arrested in the United Kingdom allegedly for spying.

The clock is ticking here in the U.S. state of Georgia where Donald Trump has less than 10 days to turn himself into authorities. While the former president has been charged with 13 counts in a case alleging he and 18 others schemed to subvert Georgia's 2020 presidential election results.

Trump is expected to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail according to the sheriff and the meantime, he's announced a quote major news conference next Monday to present a report from his team on his own allegations of fraud in the case.

Well, Trump's former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is wasting no time attempting to have the Georgia case move to federal courts. According to new court filings, Meadows argues he is entitled to federal immunity since the Georgia charges stem from his time serving the sitting President. CNN's Sara Murray brings us up to speed on what has happened since Monday.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A 10-day clock for Donald Trump and his allies to turn themselves in here in Georgia.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I am giving the defendants the opportunity to voluntarily surrender no later than noon on Friday, the 25th day of August 2023.

MURRAY: After Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis unveiled the fourth indictment against the former president at a near midnight press conference.

WILLIS: The defendants engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn George's presidential election result.

MURRAY: It's the most sweeping indictment yet charging Trump alongside 18 other defendants, including prominent alleged co-conspirators like his former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and his former attorney Rudy Giuliani.


MURRAY: According to the indictment, Trump and the other defendants charged in this indictment refuse to accept that Trump lost and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump. If convicted of racketeering the defendants could face a five to 20 year sentence.

WILLIS: The RICO charges has time that you have to serve.

MURRAY: The wide ranging indictment covers Trump's infamous January 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I just want to find 11,780 votes.

MURRAY: The harassment campaign by Trump's supporters against election worker Ruby Freeman.

TREVIAN KUTTI, PUBLICIST TIED TO INTIMIDATION OF ELECTION WORKERS: I cannot say what specifically will place. I just know that it will destroy most of them.

MURRAY: As well as the Trump campaigns fake electors plot and the breach of a voting system and rural Coffee County. Trump posting that all charges should be dropped against me and others. There will be a complete exoneration as he clings to baseless claims of voter fraud and vows to hold a press conference about it Monday.

Republican Governor Brian Kemp once a Trump ally fired back on Twitter, the 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen. And the former Lieutenant Governor and CNN contributor who testified against Trump Monday says it's time to let the judicial process play out.

GEOFF DUNCAN, FORMER GEORGIA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: If Donald Trump did nothing wrong if these co-conspirators did nothing wrong, then great. They're going to have their opportunity to share their story.

MURRAY: Raffensperger weighing in saying the most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and the rule of law. You either have it or you don't.

The Fulton County Sheriff says he hopes to keep the surrender process consistent with what local defendants usually face.

SHERIFF PTRICK LABAT, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: Unless someone tells me differently we are following our part, our normal practices and so doesn't matter your status. We got mug shots ready for you.


MURRAY: The district attorney indicating a trial could be massive.

MURRAY (on camera): Do you intend to try all of these defendants together?

WILLIS: Do I intend to try the 19 defendants in this indictment together? Yes.

MURRAY (voiceover): And she hopes to get to it in speedy fashion.

WILLIS: We do want to move this case along and so we will be asking for a proposed order that occurs a trial date within the next six months.

MURRAY: But that might be difficult with Trump's other criminal and civil trials next year.

MURRAY (on camera): Now we've expected Donald Trump and his allies to fight these charges. And we're already seeing that. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has already asked him move his case to federal court and ask the court to dismiss the charges against him. Meadows attorney saying even if Federal Court isn't prepared to dismiss the charges, they should still allow him to move his case and they should hold these state proceedings against him. We also expect Trump's attorneys to make a play to move the case to federal court and we may see this from other Trump allies named in the indictment as well. Sara Murray, CNN, Atlanta.


HARRAK: Norm Eisen joins me now from Washington. He's a CNN legal analyst and former House Judiciary Special Counsel and President Trump's first impeachment trial. Sir, it is so good to have you with us. Let's start with the latest developments. Could the Fulton County case be removed to a federal court? And what would that mean for Donald Trump?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Laila, thanks for having me. Of course, in the U.S., we have our federal courts and our state courts. And there is a provision of law that allows for a state case like Fani Willis's case against Donald Trump and Mark Meadows and the other defendants to be taken from the state case to go to the federal court.

And we do that under the laws Section 1442 when you have a Federal officer who's performing an official duty. The problem for Mr. Meadows, who's asking the federal court to remove the case, it doesn't happen until the Federal Court decides to do so.

The problem for Mr. Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff is that the indictment alleges that he was essentially engaged in a political election interference. That's political, not official, it says, allegedly, and there's powerful evidence that he was part of an attempted coup following the election of 2020.

And of course, that's contrary to the Constitution and our laws if true, so it can't form a basis for removal. It seems that he will have it pretty tough struggle to persuade the federal court that it this case belongs there, but we'll see what happens.

HARRAK: Let's focus now on former President Trump. Can Mr. Trump claim immunity from prosecution because he was after all president and does Mr. Trump have immunity from prosecution because he was president?

EISEN: In our legal system, we don't give absolute immunity. Other systems do parliamentary immunity. But in the United States, Mr. Trump will have to show like Mr. Meadows that he was acting within at least what we call the outer perimeter, the furthest reaches of his official duties.

And again, in the evidence suggests that there was nothing official about what the former president was doing. If you look in the constitutional job description of an American president, nowhere in there when you find attempting to hang on to power after you've lost an election as a political candidate. That's political, not official, and it's beyond the output number.

So, like for Mr. Meadows, perhaps even tougher than his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is the row that Mr. Trump will need to hoe if he wants to achieve immunity or to remove the case. Very difficult uphill battle in deep.

HARRAK: Now, considering the staggering legal jeopardy involving the current Republican front runner of the 2024 presidential election. What does this mean for the country? And can the nation weather this political crisis?

EISEN: Yes, the former president is facing four major criminal actions. But our rule of law system is strong. It's carried us through for almost a two and a half centuries.


I think that this is a sign of the health of the American political and legal system of our founding principle in the United States that no one is above the law. Other countries are very familiar with prosecutions of former leaders for alleged corrupt activity. In this case, the allegations are of political corruption.

The United States will weather this crisis, and we will emerge stronger than ever. It's a testament to the power of not just American democracies, but of all democracies around the world with their rule of law systems that no one is above the law. If the law has allegedly been broken, everyone, even a former president must be held accountable. So we will make it through this crisis, I think, with flying colors.

HARRAK: All right, time will tell. Norm Eisen, thank you so much.

EISEN: Thank you, Laila.

HARRAK: At least 27 people have been killed in Libya and more than 100 injured in heavy clashes between two powerful groups in the capital Tripoli. The fighting broke out Monday after a top commander was detained by the rival faction. The reason for his detention remains unclear when he was released Tuesday after an agreement with the government.

The U.S. embassy in Libya expressed concern over the clashes and called on both sides to de-escalate the situation.

Now to a grim discovery in Sudan, a government form in West Darfur , with representatives from all ethnic groups in the region says there's evidence of 30 mass graves across the state, with more than 1,000 people buried in them.

The group claims some of the bodies were dumped by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and allied militia. A top Sudanese official says the country needs a caretaker government to help stabilize the situation there. He also proposed a ceasefire between the Sudanese army and paramilitary forces after four months of fighting.


MALIK AGAR, SUDAN'S SOVEREIGN COUNCIL DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (through translator): The situation necessitates us to form a government to run the wheel of the state to carry out a couple of basic tasks to provide services and rebuild what was destroyed by the war, to work with the political forces to structure and establish the state and to prepare the environment for a constituent and constitutional conference that will lead us to elections in the peaceful exchange of power.


HARRAK: The International Organization for Migration says more than a million people have fled the fighting and crossed into neighboring countries since April, and more than 3 million are internally displaced within Sudan.

Alex de Waal is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation. And he joins me now from Boston, Massachusetts, a very good day sir. Sudan's West Darfur region has suffered such devastating violence in the 2000. And once again, it's an alarming sight of endless agony. Why is this allowed to happen again?

ALEX DE WAAL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD PEACE FOUNDATION: It's quite shocking that it's being allowed to happen again, because 20 years ago, there was a global movement led by young people and celebrities that reached the level of the White House, calling for Darfur to be saved for these kinds of massacres by the same perpetrators against exactly the same people for that to be stopped for the international community to act.

And exactly the same thing is happening today. And almost nothing is being done if anything. The crimes that have been committed in in West Darfur over the last four months, in some respects are even worse than what happened four years ago, which the United States at that time, called the crime of genocide.

HARRAK: Now, we've seen truces in name only scattered here and there, what is keeping warring factions in Sudan from committing to a cessation of hostilities and lasting settlements, especially in the light of the civilian suffering.

DE WAAL: Both of them think they can win, or they can win a decisive battlefield advantage that will allow them to negotiate a -- for them a politically advantageous solution. And the pressure that is being pushed on either side or both sides is wholly inadequate, to dissuade them from that belief.

So even though civilians have been killed in their thousands, possibly their tens of thousands, even though a humanitarian crisis on an unimaginable scale is unfolding, even though the Sudanese state itself is being destroyed, we're seeing state collapse. Yet the two belligerents fighting what is essentially a senseless war.


HARRAK: Now, we are four months into this war. And there are many analysts that say, you know, this conflict in Sudan defies diplomacy and de-escalation efforts. If no mediation is possible between these feuding parties, what options are there?

DE WAAL: Well, I think mediation still is possible. It just hasn't been properly tried. What we have been seeing is different mediation efforts among the regional neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kenya, each of which have their pluses and minuses, but they're not being coordinated.

The United Nations is conspicuously absent. The U.N. should be taking a leading role. The U.N. has had a major role in Sudan over the last 20 years. In fact, it was only two years ago that the U.N. wound down it's one of its largest ever peacekeeping and civilian protection forces in Darfur, but the U.N. is doing nothing. The United States has not raised this to the level that it warrants.

So, I don't think diplomacy properly has been tried. And there's an enormous amount of pressure that could be put on each side. The Sudan governments that are an army side is backed by Egypt, also, possibly by Turkey and other Arab countries. The Rapid Support Forces have had backing from the United Arab Emirates, and if both those, which are insists that no material support at all, if there were to be an arms embargo. If there were to be a financial embargo, then the pressure really would be on on the warring parties. None of this has even been attempted so far.

HARRAK: Why do you think that is?

DE WAAL: I think that the world is distracted by Ukraine by Taiwan. And that just isn't enough of a reason to care about Sudan in such terrible contrast to 20 years ago. HARRAK: Alex de Waal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation, thank you so much.

DE WAAL: Thank you.

HARRAK: The death toll from the devastating Maui wildfires has now risen to 106. The governor says emergency crews and their dogs have covered about a quarter of the disaster zone and hope to get through most of it by the weekend.

Well as the search expands into many wiped out neighborhoods, well the governor also says genetics experts have identified several of the dead and we'll confirm who passed away over the next few weeks. Many of the Lahaina victims had been out in the opening cars and even in the water. Meanwhile, Mr. President is planning to visit Maui soon and survey the damage but doesn't want to be a distraction.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I want to go make sure we got everything they need. Want to be sure we don't disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts. Every asset they need will be there for them. And we will be there in Maui as long as it takes as long as it takes I mean, necessarily.


HARRAK: Well, meanwhile, we're hearing a section of the main road connecting the island, the Lahaina bypass will reopen for the foreseeable future for the first time since the tragedy. CNN's Gloria Pazmino has this report from Maui.


GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The search continues. As the death toll mounts there is desperation in this devastated Maui resort town. Crews now combing through the ruins of Lahaina using cadaver dog strain to find human remains. Only 25 percent of the fire zone had been fully searched as of Monday.

It's still unknown how many people remain on accounted for here. 100 people are confirmed dead including a family of four.

The death toll says Hawaii's governor could double in the coming days. Thousands have lost their homes, and many are now scrambling to find shelter, food and clean water.

ANNASTACEYA ARACANGEL-PANG, LOST HOME IN FIRE: They serve loved ones. That chat for example, my dad -- my dad's still there, and he refuses to come out but there's certain things that he still needs.

PAZMINO: Even the islands firefighters find themselves in need.

ALNA KOHLER, FIREFIGTHER: They watched their homes burned as they fought for the other side's other homes in the neighborhood. And it was quick like everything was happened so fast. PAZMINO: Frustration now mounting as some Lahaina residents remain blocked from returning to what's left of their neighborhoods.

UNIDENDENTIFIED MALE: I want to go back to my home but you guys are killing us. I don't understand why they can't get together.

PAZMINO: Others just beginning to come to terms with so much loss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm praying for them.

PAZMINO: Penny Shilling (ph) says her brother Joe died while helping his elderly neighbors.

PENNY SHILLING (ph), LAHAINA RESIDENT: He helped one too. Escape the last message from him was I have the seniors in my apartment and I'm trying to keep the smoke out.


PAZMINO: Those who were able to escape the flames say they are now reeling from the scale of the destruction.

KANAMU BALINBIN, LAHAINA RESIDENT: It broke me. It still breaks me. This is what keeps me going and helping people. A lot of us are at that stage.

PAZMINO: And beyond the wreckage, the survivors say it's time to come together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lahaina means family and everyone's pitching in doesn't matter where you're from what color you are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the ashes we will survive.

PAZMINO (on camera): And that spirit remains alive and well right here in the Kula community about 40 miles away from Lahaina where so much of the devastation has taken place. It's happened here too many homes have been burned down as a result of the wildfire.

But all day, we have watched as neighbors arrive to help neighbors, people pulling over to volunteer their help trying to help people gather the pieces and clean up. It remains a very active area. There are still several fires that are burning in the vicinity and the fire department has been dropping water in the area all day long. Recovery here remains a long ways away. Reporting on Maui, Gloria Pazmino, CNN.


HARRAK: As Typhoon Lan hits western Japan, evacuation warnings have been issued to hundreds of 1000s of people across 11 prefectures. Well, officials say more than 950 flights have also been canceled nationwide. State media reports at least 26 people have been injured so far, and thousands of customers are without power.

While the powerful storm made landfall early Tuesday with winds equivalent to a category two hurricane. Japan's Meteorological Agency says rainfall in two towns over a few hours exceeded the average for the entire month of August.

The BBC published reports about suspected Russian spies arrested in the U.K. and now London Police are confirming parts of that story, details ahead.

Plus, inflation has made the lives of millions of people in Argentina miserable. Well now they're taking their anger and frustration to the polls.


HARRAK: Poland flexed its military muscle on Tuesday with its largest military parade in decades, hundreds of troops marched through Warsaw to celebrate the country's Army Day. Show a force also comes amid rising tensions with neighboring Belarus, a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian backed Wagner mercenary group has been training with the Belarusian military for weeks now, at times conducting joint drills near the Polish border. And you'll recall Russia used Belarus as a staging ground when it launched its invasion of Ukraine.


And a barrage of Russian missile strikes in Ukraine's Lviv region in the West has injured at least 19 people in the past 24 hours. The missiles damaged more than 100 apartments and destroyed a kindergarten.

The Ukrainian official says Russia built the missiles this year using foreign ships. Moscow claims its overnight strikes targeted at Ukraine's military industry, and continues to deny targeting civilian infrastructure, despite evidence to the contrary.

And we're learning more about an attack on Russia's bridge to Crimea last month, Ukraine security services claiming responsibility the first time it's openly done so. And now new footage shows the moment an experimental sea drone detonated under the bridge. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has this exclusive report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): It's become the most beleaguered symbol of Russian occupation. This weekend, Moscow saying this incident was just a smokescreen, foiling a Ukrainian attack on the $4 billion Kerch Bridge. The link between Russia and occupied Crimea that Putin seems to dote on.

Now CNN has obtained exclusive footage, heralding a new way of warfare of another earlier devastating Ukrainian seaborne drone strike there in July. From Ukrainian Security Services, the SBU who say they did it and more will follow.

This is exactly what the drone pilots saw thermal imagery, the water rippling as up to a ton of explosive approaches to bridge. The feed, then obviously went dead as it hit the concrete. Russian officials said two civilians died in the attack. Cameras on the bridge captured the first blast on the road section. The cursor shows the drone moving in and another on the railway tracks at about the same time.

Ukraine has been coy some officials saying these huge blasts are from quote, unidentified floating objects, but no longer. The head of the Ukrainian Security Services told CNN this is just the start.

VASYL MALLUK, HEAD OF UKRAINIAN SECURITY SERVICES (through translator): Sea surface drones are unique invention of the Security Service of Ukraine. None of the private companies are involved. Using these drones, we have recently conducted successful hits of the Crimean bridge, a big assault ship Olenegorsky Gornyak and SIG tanker.

WALSH: This another Ukrainian drone attack on the Russian amphibious assault boats, the Olenegorsky Gornyak, on which Ukrainian officials said 100 personnel were on board. It was a remarkable feat carried out by a growing fleet of what they call the sea babies.

Hundreds of miles away from Ukrainian bases and right in Russia's coastal heartland. It put the Black Seas east suddenly at risk.

MALLUK (through translator): These drones are produced and an underground production facility in Ukraine. We are working on a number of new interesting operations including in the Black Sea waters. I promise you, it will be exciting, especially for our enemies.

WALSH: Ukraine's ingenuity again and again, toppling the lumbering Russian Goliath. Nick paton Walsh, CNN, Dnipro, Ukraine.


HARRAK: The London Metropolitan, rather, police has issued a statement offering some details on its arrest of three suspected spies. The statement follows a Tuesday BBC report claiming three people were arrested earlier this year in the UK on charges of spying for Russia.

The BBC says all three are still being held in custody. The MET confirmed the names and ages of the people listed in the BBC reports but said only that they were charged with possessing false identity documents with improper intention. The MET did not say if the charges were related to Russia.

Bob Baer is a former CIA operative and he joins me now from Colorado. A very good day, Bob. There is so much we don't know. But is it surprising at all that spies allegedly working for Russia are operating in the UK?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: No, not at all. The British are very worried now that these illegal networks, as they're called are all over Britain. These sleeper networks if you want to call them were put in place years ago. In fact, all through the arts, Putin has been building them up. And Britain has only been concerned since the assassination attempt on Skripal, the military intelligence officer and the murder of Litvinenko. And right now, you know, defectors to the west are told they can't be safe in Britain. So, I would imagine the British are all over are there any leads they have they're following up.


HARRAK: And what makes it UK so uniquely vulnerable for these types of cases?

BAER: Well, it is not just the U.K., Austria is much worse. The Austrian Intelligence Services are thoroughly penetrated by the Russians and as we know, there was a murder of a Chechen in Germany a couple of years ago. So nowhere in Europe is safe. But frankly, the British are more efficient running up -- you know, in these illegal networks.

HARRAK: What kind of intelligence gathering would they have been up to, these three individuals.

BAER: Well, what they are doing is -- they get it from two places, they discovered these cells and one is defectors come across. A lot of them are coming out of Moscow and these defectors, these KGB defectors who these illegals are and may point them out. Or the British MI5 is going out and they are getting into databases, big data.

It's almost impossible for an illegal network to operate in the West or the United States without leaving some sort of signature, you know, telephones, old connections.

And really since war on terror we've been getting much better at this, collecting what they call data silos. And they could work backwards and see who was in touch with Moscow.

HARRAK: How difficult is it there for intelligence services to track these particular kinds of spies. You know, they are living in plain sight. We're talking three Bulgarian nationals, fully integrated in British society, working for Russian security services allegedly and living in, of all places, Great Yarmouth and Hart-Harrell (ph) leading very mundane lives.

BAER: It's very difficult because they lived their cover. Whatever they're supposed to be doing in life they do that every day. Day in and day out. And any connections they have with Russian operatives, you know, is probably outside of the country, they travel. So it's extremely difficult to find these people without the data or a defector.

HARRAK: Now I was wondering, in terms of how easy it is to establish a sleeper cell in the U.K. or the U.S. for that matter, compared to, you know, can the same be done in Russia or China?

BAER: Well, it's impossible in Russia. I guarantee you there is no British or American sleeper cell in Russia. It's just impossible to do.

The Russian Intelligence Service, the FSB is all over foreigners. They listen to their phones, they know who they are. They go back and look at their histories. It's impossible.

It's much easier in the United States. And if I were going to run illegals in this country I would do it across the border. People who just come across with no IDs at all. I don't know that the Russians are doing that, but that's the way I would do it.

HARRAK: Bob Baer, former CIA operative, thank you, sir.

BAER: Thank you.

HARRAK: Now, for weeks North Korea uttered not a single word about the American soldier who dashed into its territory. But the North is finally talking about U.S. private, Travis King.



HARRAK: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Laila Harrak.

North Korea has finally publicly confirmed that an American soldier crossed into its territory and says he admitted his intrusion was illegal. It's unclear how the U.S. Army private Travis King is being treated while in North Korea. What is clear, the Pentagon wants him back on American soil and so does his mother.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is tracking this live now from Seoul. Paula, how significant is it that North Korea acknowledges that U.S. Army private Travis King is in the country?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Laila, it is very significant. It has been a month since King dashed across the military demarcation line while on a civilian tour of the DMZ, the joint security area.

And it is a very heavily guarded area. U.S. and South Korean soldiers tried to stop him but could not. He was then taken into custody by North Korean officials.

Since then, there had been very little known about him. Now we still don't know his whereabouts. North Korea has not told us that. We still do not know his condition at this point. And we have not heard from Travis King himself.

What we have heard is from state run media KCNA claiming Travis King had left and gone in to North Korea because of racism in the United States, saying quote, "He harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army."

Also pointing out that King had wanted to seek refuge either in North Korea or in a third country because of mistreatment in his own country. Now, U.S. Defense official says that the U.S. cannot verify the alleged comments at this point by Travis King. Again we are hearing this from state run media itself.

But they say that their main focus remains on trying to repatriate Travis King, to bring him home safely.

Now we have heard from King's mother through a spokesperson for the family. And she has asked Pyongyang to treat her son humanely also saying that she would appreciate a phone call with him.

Now there has not been this kind of communication between families and previous U.S. prisoners in North Korea so it is unlikely that could happen. But what we do know at this point is that there are efforts to try and get more information from Pyongyang as to exactly how Travis King is at this point and where he is and what the plans are for his future.

But this is all that Pyongyang is giving at this point. But at least it is the very first indication that they're even acknowledging that he is North Korea. It has been a number of weeks since he made the run across the MDL. And it's only now that North Korea is even admitting that he is there, Laila.

HARRAK: Paula Hancocks in Seoul, thank you so much.

Inflation in Argentina has cooled slightly in July but not enough to bring meaningful relief. The monthly inflation rate for last month came in at a little over 6 percent, lower than projected but in the past 12 months through July, inflation has soared to more than 113 percent.

Well now, four in ten Argentines live below the poverty line. And the economy and soaring consumer costs are a huge factor in the upcoming presidential election.

Far-right libertarian candidate Javier Milei received 30 percent, the highest share of votes in the primaries. He has vowed to axe the central bank and dollarize the economy.

For more I want to bring in Brian Winter, who is vice president of policy at America Society and Council of the Americas. He serves as editor in chief of the "Policy Journal", America's quarterly. So good have you back with us, Brian.

What are Argentines signaling with this outcome?


BRIAN WINTER, VP OF POLICY AT AMERICA SOCIETY AND COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS: That they're fed up. Argentina is a country that has actually been stagnant economically for more than a decade now. People have been through one of the world's highest inflation rates.

Inflation is above 130 percent right now. Their currency has lost a lot of its value. And so with this election that we saw, it was really just kind of a guttural cry for change. The echoes of what we've seen in a lot of countries around the world over the last couple of years.

HARRAK: Ok. Well, let's talk about the man of the hour, Javier Milei. Is he up to the task. What do you make of some of the radical measures that he has proposed to the voters to break this endless cycle of deep economic malaise. Because, for some reason they seem to resonate with voters. but are they that magic bullet that Argentina needs?

WINTER: Well, he is certainly different. Milei has come on the political scene very quickly and broken what was before kind of a two- party system that had existed in Argentina over the last several years.

And he has come in with this message that is just totally new, proposing easy solutions like dollarization to Argentina's problems. He has also said that climate change is a quote-unquote "socialist hoax". He has been critical of sex education in schools, and talked about more gun rights for everyday people.

And at the same time though I would say that people are not -- maybe paying that much attention to the specific policies. What they hear is somebody saying, I'm just as fed up as you are. He looks different. He has this hair that just screams kind outsider and that people have never seen in politics before.

And again, if you followed the election of Donald Trump in 2016 or even Boris Johnson before that, a lot of this sounds very familiar.

HARRAK: So do you think that this is a case of desperate times call for desperate measures?

WINTER: Well, the question now is whether Javier Milei will have staying power because this election that we saw in Argentina was actually a primary election where everybody votes for their candidates on the same day. So what ends up being is actually like a test election or a very, very accurate poll. The actual voting that counts isn't until October, and the runoff won't be until November. What's going to happen now is that all of Argentina's establishment is going to train their sights on Milei, try to paint him as a dangerous radical, and see if they can elbow their way back into politics.

Sometimes, in other countries around the world that has worked. And in many cases, it has not because the more that voters hear that someone is different and kind of a threat, the irony is that they are more likely to vote for him or her.

HARRAK: Now, of course, The economy is a defining issue in this election and how could it not be? It is so hard to fathom how a population, a society trapped in this seemingly forever debt and austerity cycle that has been going on now for decades continues in this way.

I mean how are Argentines dealing with over 100 percent inflation?

WINTER: It is a good question. I mean, it is the reason why people are so angry at a time when inflation is coming down in most of the world. In Argentina it continues to go up.

And as you point out, these woes are not new. Argentina is one of those countries where it is actually kind of treated as an oddity in economic textbooks. It is one of the only countries in the world that ever went from First World status to, you know, the middle income, stagnant status that it has today. It has really had a long fall from grace. And so again this is what a lot of voters are saying. It's like let's -- what we have been doing hasn't worked, and this guy -- you know, maybe he sounds a little bit crazy sometimes, but what we have done so far, you know, hasn't really gotten the job done, so let's try something else.

HARRAK: Brian Winter, thank you so much for sharing your insights with us.

WINTER: Thank you.

HARRAK: Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, Taliban rule in Afghanistan has ushered in a harsh new life for the country's women and girls. We will hear from them directly about their waning hopes for the future.



HARRAK: The Taliban are celebrating the anniversary of their return to power in Afghanistan. Tuesday marked two years since Taliban fighters seized Kabul as U.S. troops withdrew after two decades at war.

In those two years, the Taliban have ruled the country with an increasingly iron grip, systematically restricting the rights of Afghan women and girls, and thus drawn harsh condemnation from the international community with the U.N. global education envoy saying it warrants a criminal investigation.


GORDON BROWN, U.N. GLOBAL EDUATION ENVOY: The legal opinion we have received showed that the denial of education to Afghan girls and employment to Afghan women is gender discrimination, which should count as a crime against humanity, and it should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.


HARRAK: Since the Taliban returned to power, they have barred girls older than 12 from attending school and have kept most women from working or leaving the house without a male guardian.

Anna Coren shows us how Afghan women and girls are coping.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the corner of her room on a piece of string hanging by paper clips, are the treasured memories of 20-year- old Zahra.

ZAHRA, UNIVERSITY STUDENT: They are my favorite people that I have them in my life.

COREN: Photos, drawings, mementos -- a secret world of a life once lived that this Afghan university student now grieves for.

ZAHRA: When I stand in front of the mirror, when I look at myself, I just see a different Zahra from two years ago.

On the 15th of August, 2021 Zahra's life as she knew it was shattered. The Taliban swept to power after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan following its 20-year war, handing back control to the same group of Islamic extremists who ruled in the 1990s.

While the Taliban promised to be more moderate and honor our women's rights within Islamic law, the past two years have brought only a hardline stance towards women. The closure of secondary school for girls, the forced implementation of the burqa, the restriction on travel without a male chaperone, the banning of women from universities and working at NGOs, including the United Nations.

And just last month, the Taliban closed all beauty salons that employed roughly 60,000 women, many of them the sole breadwinners of their homes.

MAHBOUBA SERAJ, AFGHAN WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Women's freedom does not exist. And there is no such thing as women's freedom anymore.

COREN: Women's rights activist Mahbouba Seraj, who stayed in Kabul while more than a million Afghans fled, say s the Taliban government is erasing women from society.

SERAJ: Even the rights we had in Islam, even the rights that we had in Sharia, we are losing all of that. So if it's not annihilation, what is it then?

COREN: For Zahra, an aspiring designer, it's very clear what the Taliban demands of her.

ZAHRA: Just to stay at home, get married, you have to give birth to children, that's it. And this is your life. This is what women are made for.


COREN: While the international community repudiates the Taliban's treatment of women and girls, the Taliban is refusing to listen, saying it will not be pressured.

BILAI KARIMI, TALIBAN DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Afghanistan was freed from occupation. Afghans were able to regain their country, freedom, government and will. The only way to solve the problem is understanding and dialogue. Pressure and force are not logical.

COREN: But human rights activists fear international condemnation is waning, and that the Taliban, desperate for international recognition, is gradually being normalized.

HEATHER BARR, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, WOMEN'S RIGHTS DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: They're posing in photographs with smiling diplomats. They're getting on private jets to fly off to important high-level meetings, where people roll out red carpets for them. They're being permitted to take control of embassies in a growing

number of countries. So, I think that, you know, I think that from their perspective it's going pretty well.

COREN: A terrifying assessment for the women of this country. Protests have all but disappeared, apart from a small group who faced the threat of arrest, as they try to get the world's attention.

For most, they suffer in silence, convinced the world no longer cares.

ZAHRA: If it continues like this, the future not only for me, but also for other girls, it is horrible. And it is a disaster.

COREN: Anna Coren, CNN -- Hong Kong.


HARRAK: And CNN spoke to the Taliban and they proudly listed their achievements such as restoring security and cracking down on the drug trade.

When we asked them about girls' education, they were evasive. Refusing to say when girls will be allowed back to school or university, all they said was that they need to wait for the environment to be favorable.

This was the same line the Taliban gave in the 1990s when they ruled for five years. And under their rule, girls were never allowed to return to school.

Still to come, how a former NFL player who was subject of the Oscar- winning film "The Blind Side" now says he was tricked by the family he thought wanted to adopt him.


HARRAK: Fewer Americans are watching broadcast and cable television than ever before. And the ratings researcher Nielsen has the proof with a new report showing traditional TV viewership in the U.S. has fallen below 50 percent for the first time ever.

Meanwhile those watching streaming services like Netflix and YouTube is at a record high. Almost 40 percent of all TV viewing. The jump in streaming was particularly notable up more than 25 percent from a year ago.

A lawyer for the family at the heart of "The Blind Side" book and movie says his clients are heartbroken over allegations made by Michael Oher. Oher, a former NFL player filed a petition to end Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy's years long conservatorship over him. He accused the family of tricking him into signing the paperwork saying they were looking to profit from his athletic ability and his story.


HARRAK: The attorney for the Tuohys said in a statement, "Anyone with a modicum of common sense can see the outlandish claims made by Michael Oher about the Tuohy family are hurtful and absurd. The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous."

Our Brynn Gingras has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. Big smile, Tuohy family.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael Oher, blind-sided he says by his family at the center of the Hollywood blockbuster.

SANDRA BULLOCK, ACTRESS: This team is your family, Michael. You have to protect them. Tony here is your quarterback, you protect his blind side. When you look at him, you think of me.


GINGRAS: In a lawsuit, the former NFL player alleging he was tricked by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy believing they were adopting the 18-year- old budding football star.

SEAN TUOHY, ADOPTED MICHAEL OHER: He became part of our lives.

GINGRAS: When in fact they became his conservators and quote, "have total control over Michael Oher's ability to negotiate for or enter any contract despite the fact he was over 18 years of age and had no diagnosed physical or psychological disabilities." It is a lie Oher says he discovered in February.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never had one before.

BULLOCK: What, a room yourself?


GINGRAS: Oher's life story from poverty to NFL stardom with the support of the Tuohy family became a best-selling book. Then an Oscar- winning film, reportedly netting more than $330 million. Oher says he has seen none of that money and now nearly 20 years later is asking the Tuohys for a full accounting of his share.

The suit reads, "Where other parents of Michael's classmates saw Michael simply as a nice kid in need, conservators Sean Tuohy and Leigh Anne Tuohy saw something else -- a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit.

Sean Tuohy telling a local Tennessee newspaper we did not make any money off then movie. His son S.J. not named in the suit told Barstool Sports he did make some money, but it didn't make him rich.

S.J. TUOHY, SON OF SEAN AND LEIGH ANNE TUOHY: Something like 60 or 70 grand towards the last four or five years.

GINGRAS: The suit also claims Oher who just published a book about overcoming obstacles this month unknowingly sign over the rights to his name, image and likeness in 2007 without payment. Oher has publicly stated he does not like how he was portrayed in the movie.

MICHAEL OHER, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I think the biggest for me is, you know, being portrayed of not being able to read or write. When you go into a locker room, your teammates don't think you can learn a playbook. You know, that weighs heavy.

GINGRAS: The Tuohys say they are devastating by the claims in the filing, quote, "It is upsetting to think we would make any money off any of our children. We're going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.

Brynn Gingras, CNN -- New York.


HARRAK: I'm Laila Harrak, the news continues with Rosemary Church right after this.