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Biden Aims to Calm Concerns About His Reelection Chances; Russian Direct Hit Damaged Kyiv Children's Hospital; Ceasefire Deal Faces New Hurdles as Israel Sets Conditions; India's PM in Austria After 2-Day Moscow Trip to Meet Putin; Russian Court Orders Arrest of Yulia Navalnaya in Absentia; Senate Democrats Express Doubt About Biden's Chances Against Trump. No Consensus Among Dems on Biden's Future; Trump Tries to Distance Himself from Project 2025; Team Removes Trash, Bodies from Mt. Everest. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 10, 2024 - 00:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome. I'm Lynda Kincade.

Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM. the NATO summit kicks off in Washington with new pledges of air defenses for Ukraine one day after a devastating attack on a children's hospital in the capital.

As ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas remain at an impasse, the U.N. warns that famine has spread across all of Gaza.

And a deep dive heavy into the Project 2025, a right-wing playbook to radically reshape the U.S. government should Donald Trump become president in November.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Lynda Kinkade.

KINKADE: U.S. President Joe Biden is welcoming NATO leaders to Washington with a strong message about the importance of the alliance and its defense of Ukraine. He said NATO is stronger than ever. And while he didn't address Donald Trump directly, Mr. Biden warned against those who might walk away from the alliance, something his Republican opponent has suggested in the past.

The U.S. president also announced plans to supply Ukraine with new air defenses.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All told, Ukraine will receive hundreds of additional interceptors over the next year, helping protect Ukrainian cities against Russian missile. Ukrainian troops facing their attacks on their frontlines. Make no mistake, Russia is failing in this war.


KINKADE: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also in Washington where he spoke Tuesday on the sidelines of the NATO summit. He said the world is waiting for the outcome of the U.S. election in November including Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he stressed the world must be uncompromising in its support for Ukraine and its resistance to Putin.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: When did it step into the shadows? When did one start thinking that it's better to delay than act, that partial solutions are better than better than victory? And when it started to appear that to defend freedom is allegedly unsafe? America cannot be a leader and the world dream maker without caring for world affairs. America should not shy away from its strands. It is America that keeps the freedom for the world.


KINKADE: Well, Mr. Biden's speech at the NATO summit was not only a message to world leaders, but also members of his own party that he's capable of four more years as president.

CNN's Kayla Tausche reports.


KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: After more than a week of post-debate damage control and more than 36 hours sprinting to shore up support among his party, President Biden stepping publicly out onto the world stage to hail a NATO alliance that he says is stronger than ever.


BIDEN: Let's remember the fact that NATO remains the bulwark of global security did not happen by accident. It wasn't inevitable, again and again at critical moments, we chose unity over disunion, progress over retreat, freedom over tyranny, hope over fear. Again and again, we stood behind our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous Trans- Atlantic community.


TAUSCHE: That message delivered as much to autocrats around the world as to Biden's political opponents here at home. Former president Donald Trump simply shrugged on the debate stage last month when President Biden asked him whether he would withdraw from the alliance that has banded together and expanded to 32 members to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia.

But now it's President Biden that finds himself on the defense after a debate performance that left his party reeling and soul-searching with many prominent party members discussing whether the top of the ticket needs to be changed. And while Biden did receive some high-profile support from some critical blocks of lawmakers, there are still some members of his party who want to see more. They need more evidence. White House officials for their part are placated by Biden's

performance in his NATO speech saying that he hit his marks and that it was delivered as planned with some high moments including when he delivered the Medal of Freedom to outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.


Even so, members of President Biden's party are focused on one more event this week, and that is a press conference where President Biden unscripted will have to take questions from the domestic as well as the global press.

Kayla Tausche, CNN, the White House.


KINKADE: Well, the NATO summit began just a day after the deadly strike on a children's hospital in Kyiv, which the United Nations says was done by Russia. The U.N.'s assessment downplays the idea that an intercepted weapon may have caused the blast, and Volodymir Zelenskyy agrees saying Russia always knows where its missiles hit always.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen shows us the aftermath.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the exact impact site where that missile hit and you can see that it's completely flattened part of that building, which is of course the largest children's hospital here in Ukraine and one of the largest in Europe, sustaining major damage. Behind me, it's evident to see that the floors here just completely got obliterated and all that's left over is rubble right now.

Now the Ukrainians say that the death toll currently stands at two, while dozens of people have been wounded in this attack. They say one of the fortunate things that happened is there was a missile alert and the staff and the children that were being treated here actually got evacuated to a bomb shelter. The staff then immediately came out and started sifting through the rubble.

Now, all of this is currently a clean-up operation, but you can see just how powerful that blast must have been. This is one of the floors of that building. And here it's evident that it just flat pack down. Those are some of the supporting beams.

And the Ukrainians say that there will be a response to this. The Russians claim this might have been a stray Ukrainian interceptor that hit the building. The Ukrainians having none of it saying it was a Russian missile, saying this is an attack on Ukraine's health care system and also on Ukraine's children. And if we look over here, you can see this whole complex was damaged by it. That's another building here as well. And clearly the facade sustained major damage.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KINKADE: Andriy Zagorodnyuk joins me from Kyiv. He is a former Ukrainian defense minister and current adviser to the Ukrainian government.

Appreciate your time tonight.


KINKADE: So Monday marks one of Russia's deadliest aerial attacks on Ukraine since the start of the invasion. It happened in broad daylight. Ukrainian intercepted most of the incoming missiles. Did Ukraine anticipate a major attack like this on the eve of the NATO summit?

ZAGORODNYUK: We certainly anticipated that Russia will continue attacks. We didn't obviously know the schedule, but we understood that this will continue. And of course, that something is going to happen related to the -- either to the summit or just to the Russian plans because we had situations before when there were very serious attacks with tens of missiles at the same time without any events connected. So it just simply happens.

Usually Russia right now is concentrating the rockets and then sending them all in a large quantity in order to exhaust our air defense. So that tactic sometimes work like, for example, in this case out of 38 rockets, 30 were intercepted, but eight got through and as you could see there's been an enormous damage and the hospital of course has been huge and everybody is talking about that, but we need to know that there's been other buildings destroyed, there's been a residential building destroyed, and so on and so. All together 31 person died and over 150, 170 are seriously wondered just in one day.

KINKADE: Yes. And, of course, Russia did deny hitting that hospital. Ukraine State Security Service says it has evidence of a Russian cruise missile. It is Ukraine's largest children's hospital and we are seeing some pretty gruesome images of young children like this one I want to show our viewers injured in this callous attack.

What is the feeling in Ukraine this week? And what is the hope of what they might get from the NATO alliance in terms of the pledge so far and what more there may be to come?

ZAGORODNYUK: But, first of all, of course, to be honest, Ukrainians already even not appalled by Russian statements that it wasn't them. I mean, we already got used to that. That's a standard response. They have destroyed like a huge part of the country. They destroyed cities and towns, and every time there's just somebody else. So basically in this case, there are like fragments of the rocket, very specific one. This is X-101 and essentially this rocket is well-known. It's been hits to Ukraine many times and -- you know, there's no single credible comment from many experts, from many embassy, from many international committee that it might not be that rockets.


So basically there is a common understanding here in Kyiv among here and among international partners and observers that what it has been. So, but of course Russia is spreading the disinformation all around the world. And this is a standard Russia. That's what exactly, that's what they do pretty much all the time.


ZAGORODNYUK: Regarding the generally what the hopes are, the expectations are that there would be a step up in the air defense because of course air defense is going through enormous strain and enormous, you know, test, and there's been a lot of the very unique situations when we've been intercepting the very serious Russian rockets, for example, like a hypersonic Kinzhal, which was originally considered not to be imperceptible.

But the volumes, yes, that's what the Russians are playing with. They're trying to send a lot of volume at the same -- in the same hour, literally. And just threw there to get through so we need to deal with that.

KINKADE: Here in the U.S., there's a lot of focus on the upcoming election. If Trump is reelected, which according to the polls here it looks likely, is there a fear in Ukraine that the U.S. will abandon Ukraine?

ZAGORODNYUK: Yes, there's a discussion about that pretty much every day because there's been messages coming from Washington from obviously some politicians that there would be a pressure for Ukraine to enter into negotiations with Putin. Putin obviously stated that, you know, and Ukraine is considered like a no-brainer because we didn't clearly state that he doesn't want Ukraine to exist. He is confirming these statements, at least every month or him or his government, and they are still despite of all setbacks in Ukrainian battlefield, they still are trying to do that.

They still deny Ukraine's existence, a country with, you know, huge history and tens of millions of population and so on. They just should say that we shouldn't exist and so on. So for us, it's an existential war. And of course, when somebody is saying that they would withdraw the help in order to pressure us to negotiations, and obviously some concerns, that seriously it's going to weaken our defense position to say at least. And here that is a concern. That's a huge concern.

KINKADE: Andriy Zagorodnyuk, the current adviser to the Ukrainian government, we appreciate your time today. Thank you.


KINKADE: Well, optimism about an Israel-Hamas ceasefire and hostage release deal is waning as Israeli military action in Gaza ramps up. The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 25 people were killed and more than 50 others wounded in an Israeli airstrike on a school in Khan Younis. The IDF says it was targeting a terrorist accused of taking part in the October 7th attack. But Gaza officials say the school housed displaced people.

Well, the U.N. is warning that famine has spread across Gaza pointing to the recent deaths of Palestinian children due to malnutrition and dehydration.

And in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military says it destroyed dozens of explosive devices during a 15-hour operation. Video shows damage throughout the Nur Shams refugee camp after Israeli forces bulldozed buildings and dug up roads.

Well, the USCA director is in Doha, Qatar to continue talks on a potential Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal. Bill Burns will meet with Qatar's prime minister, the head of Israel's spy agency, and the head of the Egyptian intelligence. Burns discussed the negotiations with Egypt's president in Cairo on his way to Qatar.

Steven Cook joins us now. He is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of "The End of Ambition: America's Past, Present, and Future in the Middle East."

Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So we've had this back-and-forth on negotiations for a ceasefire appearing to be close only to seem to be falling apart again. From your perspective, where are things stand right now?

COOK: Well, you have to give it a hand to the negotiators who have been at this for many, many months already, but the sticking points that have been at the basis of the problem here remain. The Israeli government wants to retain the right to continue to fight to destroy Hamas. Hamas holds Israeli hostages as its only bargaining chip and wants to ensure that it survives after it called for a ceasefire.

So there's really not a lot of touchpoints between the two sides here. In addition the Israeli prime minister has added a number of additional conditions or has made it clear that any agreement would require the Israelis retaining the right to continue their military operations, would maintain Israeli control over the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, would not allow Hamas to return to northern Gaza and would, quote-unquote, "maximize" the number of living hostages to be returned to Israel.


That last point in particular, those living hostages really are Hamas' only bargaining chip here.

KINKADE: Yes. And of course, we've heard so much disagreement within the government and we heard from the Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, who spoke Monday about wanting to see the hostage deal done, even making a promise to the prime minister that he could remain in the job. Let's just take a listen to what he said.


YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI OPPOSITION LEADER: There is a hostage deal on the table. It is not true that Netanyahu has to choose between the hostages deal and the continuation of his tenure as prime minister. I promised him a safety net and I will keep that promise.


KINKADE: Is Netanyahu likely to believe that?

COOK: Well, this isn't the first time that Yair Lapid has offered Netanyahu a safety net. At other moments when it seemed that the two sides were close to a deal and that Netanyahu's right-wing coalition partners were going to bolt the government Lapid also offered this safety net. Clearly Netanyahu doesn't believe him or more likely Lapid has said he will only support Netanyahu in terms of a hostage deal, but not beyond that, given that Lapid is looking to bring down the Netanyahu government.

So Netanyahu is actually looking for something more, both from Hamas as well as his internal opponents in Israel.

KINKADE: Yes. And speaking of other Israeli politicians who are openly in disagreement about the war and any hostage or ceasefire deal, we did hear from the National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who said this, that when the prime minister conducts himself as a one-man government, makes the decision alone, and isolates his natural partners in the government, including cabinet meetings that are emptied of meaningful content, it is intolerable. The prime minister must understand that right-wing government is not an empty expression and the positions of the members of the government also have weight.

I have to feel for the families of the hostages right now because they must feel pretty disheartened listening to this chaos in government play out nine months after that terrorist attack.

COOK: Yes, this really is not a way to fight a war or get hostages back. All of this political wrangling and struggling among members of the government. What you hear there from Itamar Ben-Gvir both is his frustration for being frozen out from security decisions as well as his ideological inclination to finish off Hamas and begin the resettlement process of the Gaza Strip, something that Netanyahu and the Israeli security establishment would like to avoid, given the international opprobrium that would likely (INAUDIBLE) upon Israel in further international isolation.

So the Israeli political arena is one that is not helping the cause of the hostage families and indeed, as you point out, if you are a family member who has a hostage in the Gaza Strip watching this struggle go on, has to be extremely disheartening.

KINKADE: And talk to us about Hamas' position right now, as we see the death toll in Gaza continue to rise.

COOK: Well, there's some indication that Hamas was softening its position with regard to the deal on the table, suggesting that perhaps they would not demand a cessation of all hostilities during this phase one that would be durable, but nevertheless, there's very little reason to believe and trust Hamas in this. They had dragged out these negotiations almost as much as the Israeli government has had problems coming to an agreement on it.

KINKADE: Steven Cook, we really appreciate your time and perspective and analysis. Thanks so much for joining us.

COOK: Thank you for having me.

KINKADE: Well, India's prime minister has left Moscow after meeting with Vladimir Putin. We'll have more on Narendra Modi's working relationship with Russia's president when we return.



KINKADE: Welcome back. From Moscow to Vienna right now India's prime minister is in Austria as he continues visiting international allies. Narendra Modi will be officially welcomed by Chancellor Karl Nehammer in the coming hours. It's his latest stop after wrapping up a two-day visit to Moscow, where he had official and informal meetings with the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

CNN's Ivan Watson has details on the talks and India's and Russia's long-standing ties.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Warm hugs between the leaders of India and Russia. Their display of friendship a sharp contrast to the ongoing cleanup of what's left of a children's hospital in Kyiv. Ukraine accuses Russia of a deadly cruise missile strike here. A charge the Kremlin denies. It's a huge disappointment and a devastating blow, Ukraine's president announces, to see the leader of the world's largest democracy hug the world's most bloody criminal in Moscow.

Moscow has been a close partner with India for generations, supplying the Indian military with weapons since the days of the Soviet Union. More recently, Russia has become an Indian gas station of sorts. India has been scooping up billions of dollars in Russian crude oil, which most Western countries stopped buying after Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Booming bilateral trade, it's, helping fund Russia's war machine.

In Moscow the two leaders announced plans to expand Russian energy deliveries. But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his most critical public statements to date about the war in Ukraine, appearing to lecture Putin on the heartbreak of seeing innocent children killed.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): As a friend, I have always said that peace is necessary for the prosperity of future generations, but I also know that on the battlefield, solutions aren't easy to come by between guns, bombs, and bullets. We have to adopt a path to peace through dialogue.

WATSON: The visit comes as Modi is increasingly concerned about Putin's blossoming alliance with India's giant rival, Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Competition with China also driving U.S. overtures towards India in recent years. Last year, President Biden and the first lady rolled out the red carpet for Modi, wining and dining the prime minister during a state visit.

BIDEN: Cheers.

WATSON: The Biden administration strengthening defense and trade ties with the world's most populous country and avoiding harshly criticizing Modi's mission to Moscow.

MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: India is a strategic partner with whom we engage in a full and frank dialogue, and that includes on our concerns about their relationship with Russia.

WATSON: But Modi's visit gives Putin a chance to demonstrate at home and abroad that Western efforts to isolate Russia are failing.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


KINKADE: Well, a Russian court has ordered the arrest of the wife of the late opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.


A spokesperson for Yulia Navalnaya says she's being accused of participating in an extremist community. She hasn't lived in Russia in three years and is now on their wanted list.

CNN's Nic Robertson reports.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: What the Russian court system is saying is that if Yulia Navalnaya sets foot in Russia, she should be arrested. Now she hasn't been in the country since 2021. It was a district court in Moscow that has tried her in absentia and has found her guilty of being in an extremist community, membership of an extremist community for which they say she should spend two months in jail.

It's not clear why this is happening now. It's almost five months since her husband, Alexei Navalny, died in a Russian prison. Yulia Navalny has always said that he was murdered by the Russian state and she wants, according to her spokespeople at the moment, she wants people to focus again on what she says is the murder of her husband and not what the court system is doing to her.

Now it's hugely unlikely she is going to set foot in Russia. And the fact that the Russian court system is saying that she should be detained overseas is also exceptionally unlikely. Why this is happening at the moment isn't clear. Of course, part of the backdrop is the NATO summit in Washington. But why specifically Yulia Navalnaya should face this? According to this particular court it's a mystery. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Here in the U.S. Democrats in Congress meets to discuss President Biden's political future. What they're saying about his chances for reelection after a break. Plus U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris raising the alarm about Project 2025, a conservative blueprint should Donald Trump win a second term. Those details ahead.


KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

A trio of Democratic senators are expressing their doubts about U.S. President Joe Biden's political future. Michael Bennet of Colorado tells CNN that he doesn't think Mr. Biden can win reelection. A source says Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana told colleagues just the same. And by all accounts opinion in the House is split as well.

CNN's Manu Raju reports.


MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): President Joe Biden is putting Democrats in a jam.

REP. RITCHIE TORRES (D-NY): If the president declines to leave voluntarily, then he's going to be our nominee and we have to make the best of a complicated situation. I think I'm viewing it pragmatically.

RAJU: Some resigned to support the president even as they fear he may lose to Donald Trump.


REP. SEAN CASTEN (D-IL): The stakes of this are about what is the future for a country in two different scenarios. And I think there's a lot of concern about will we be able to have that conversation in this media environment? But my God, that's the conversation we have to have.

RAJU: Do you support keeping him on the top of the ticket? Biden?

CASTEN: That's what I would say.

RAJU (voice-over): in their first in-person meeting today since Biden's debate debacle, House and Senate Democrats aired out their grievances and left with no consensus.

REP. MARC VEASEY (D-TX): My concerns are the concerns that everybody -- that everybody has. What I said this morning and expressed to my colleagues, particularly for members on the front line, is that I think they need to do whatever it is they need to do in order to come back and be reelected now.

And so, if they need to, you know, distance themselves, then that's what they need to do.

RAJU (voice-over): Yet some, like Congressman Jerry Nadler, now say they are on board with Biden, despite privately calling for a change on Sunday.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): He made very clear he's == he's going to run. He's got an excellent record, one of the most existential presidents of the last century. Trump would be an absolute disaster for democracy. So, I'm enthusiastically supporting Biden.

RAJU: What -- what did you say on that call on Sunday?

NADLER: I'm not going to come into what I said on a private call.

RAJU (voice-over): Several Democrats pointedly refused to say that they supported keeping Biden atop the ticket.

RAJU: Mr. Corbyn (ph), do you support keeping Biden as your nominee?

Do you support giving Biden at the top of the ticket?


RAJU: Do you think that Biden should stay as your nominee?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love that tie.

RAJU (voice-over): Biden has won strong support from senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): All I can tell you is I am a big supporter of Biden.

RAJU: What about people who believe that he's going to lose?

WATERS: I am going to work as hard as I can for him. Biden is going to win. The team Biden-Harris is going to win, win, win.

RAJU (voice-over): In the Senate, Democrats like Patty Murray raising deep concerns about Biden's viability, while some standing firmly by him, including Bob Casey, facing a tight race in battleground Pennsylvania.

RAJU: You support keeping Biden at the top of the ticket?

SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): Oh, I've said so numerous times. You heard my remarks over a week ago in Scranton.

RAJU: There are other concerns that he could sink vulnerable Democrats like yourself. What do you say to that?

CASEY: I'll leave that to the pundits. RAJU (voice-over): Following an intense afternoon meeting with Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, Senate majority leader, would only say this about Biden.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I'm with Joe. I'm with Joe. As I've said before, I'm with Joe.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, former U.S. President Donald Trump is ramping up campaigning with less than a week to go until the Republican National Convention.

He held a rally in Florida along with Senator Marco Rubio, one of the contenders to be Trump's running mate.

During the rally, Trump lashed out at Democrats once again, taking aim at President Joe Biden.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The biggest problem for the radical left Democrats is that their candidates are very much, if you take a look, mentally deficient. Is that a nice statement? They are mentally deficient. I'm saying that because the other term is too tough.

The biggest problem is that their policies are no good. Their policies are horrible. Americans want strong borders, not open borders. We want low taxes, not high taxes.


KINKADE: Trump also slammed Vice President Kamala Harris, as some Democrats call on Mr. Biden to step aside for the 2024 race and float Harris as a potential successor.

Well, the vice president is raising the alarm over Project 2025. The initiative is a conservative group's sweeping plans for the next Republican presidency.

As CNN's Tom Foreman reports, Donald Trump is distancing himself from the controversial proposal.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As much as the attack on the Capitol, as much as a Donald Trump rally, Project 2025 has become a call to arms for Republicans.

KEVIN ROBERTS, PRESIDENT, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: We are in the process of the second American revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And for Democrats. REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I see this as basically a continuation of the work of January 6. They're basically picking up where the insurrectionists left off.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Project 2025 is the Heritage Foundation' s plan for implementing strictly conservative policies as soon as the next GOP president is elected.

In more than 900 pages, hundreds of conservative contributors propose putting the Justice Department entirely under the president's control, which critics fear could unleash Donald Trump's open desire to take revenge on political foes.

TRUMP: Look, when this election is over, based on what they've done, I would have every right to go after them. And it's easy, because it's Joe Biden.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The plan calls for even further restrictions on abortion rights, wanting every elected Republican in state or federal government to, quote, "push as hard as possible to protect the unborn in every jurisdiction," a notion President Joe Biden is tagging hard onto his challenger.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: His Project 2025 plan will restrict access to birth control. Restricting access to birth control?

I'm fighting to protect reproductive freedom.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But there is much more. Project 2025 would expand the military in the name of defense and dismantle the Department of Homeland Security in the name of savings.

It calls federal civilian employees "largely underworked, over- compensated and unaccountable" and wants thousands of those nonpartisan government jobs given to Republican loyalists.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): This document is creepy. It's a takeover of the American form of government, and it's a collection of extreme MAGA ideas that's going to ruin our way of life.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The plan pushes tax breaks for churches and church schools, goes after health agencies which backed, quote, "un- American mask and vaccine mandates," and says pornography should be outlawed. And while it does not define porn, it says even librarians caught with it should be registered as sex offenders.

PAUL DANS, DIRECTOR, PROJECT 2025: We are an historic movement of the conservative coalition, coming together to make sure that the next conservative president is ready to hit the ground running day one.

FOREMAN (voice-over): For now, Donald Trump is keeping Project 2025 at arm's length, calling parts "ridiculous and abysmal."

But he hasn't said which parts. FOREMAN: Part of Trump's political problem here is that several of the

authors of this plan are part of his inside team, making it considerably harder for him to say he didn't know much about it.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


KINKADE: Opening statements will begin in the coming hours in the involuntary manslaughter trial of actor Alec Baldwin.

The jury was seated Tuesday in the case in New Mexico, where Baldwin is accused of firing a prop gun with a live round, which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the "Rust" movie set in 2021.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty, saying he didn't pull the trigger and didn't know the gun contained seemed live ammo.

Well, every year, hundreds of climbers attempt to summit Mount Everest. And every year, tons of trash is left behind. How Nepal's army is dealing with that problem, just ahead.


KINKADE: Welcome back.

Clearing waste from the world's tallest mountain has been a focus for Nepal's army in recent years.

Well, this year, a team of soldiers and sherpas not only removed tons of trash from Mount Everest, but also the bodies of climbers who died.

CNN's Michael Holmes reports.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of people have tried to climb Mount Everest, some successful. Others have lost everything trying.

But it's not the glory of summiting the tallest peak in the world that's motivating these climbers. It's about cleaning up the mountain that's a beacon to hundreds of adventurers a year.


Once again, a cleanup team of soldiers, sherpas and porters braved some of Everest's most inhospitable conditions to remove hazards that have collected along the route. One of the team leaders says it is dangerous, but increasingly urgent work.

MAJOR ADITYA KARKI, LEAD, MOUNTAIN CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN 2024 (through translator): Because of the effects of global warming. The bodies and trash are becoming more visible as the snow cover thins.

HOLMES (voice-over): The team recently battled Everest's frigid temperatures, whipping winds and altitudes with low oxygen levels to remove 11 tons of garbage from the mountain, and at times uncovering much more difficult things.

Viewers might find the next image disturbing. It took painstaking work, hours, if not days, to dig out some of the bodies of dead climbers entombed in the ice.

KARKI (through translator): We have to bring them back as much as possible. And if we keep leaving them behind, our mountains will turn into a graveyard in the future. We have to bring them back.

HOLMES (voice-over): The bodies were flown to Kathmandu for identification, the trash sent to sorting facilities to try to recycle what's salvageable.

New rules now require climbers to haul their own garbage off the mountain. But there's still a backlog of unwanted materials on Everest, some from decades ago.

SHILSHILA ACHARYA, DIRECTOR, AVNI VENTURES (through translator): The garbage collected is what climbers leave behind on the mountains. Mostly, there are packaging of food, like can and tin and plastic. Apart from that, there are shoes, clothes, and tents. There's also a lot of broken glass and some ropes.

HOLMES (voice-over): The lead sherpa of the recovery team estimates there could be 40 to 50 tons of garbage near the summit of the mountain, layers deep and frozen solid, an almost insurmountable task to remove.

But just like climbing the mountain itself, if there's a will, it can be done.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


KINKADE: Argentina has earned a spot in the Copa America finals after a high-stakes match against Canada Tuesday.

It ends a fairytale season for Canada, who performed better than expected in the tournament.

But the FIFA No. 1-ranked team, 2022 World Cup winners and holder of the 15 Copa titles wouldn't back down.

Argentina will face off against either Uruguay or Colombia on Sunday, with that decision being made in the last semifinal game on Wednesday.

Thanks so much for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade. I'll be back with much more news at the top of the hour. And now, WORLD SPORT is next.


[00:45:29] (WORLD SPORT)