Return to Transcripts main page

Isa Soares Tonight

Sri Lanka's President Resigns; Thousands Mourn Japan's Shinzo Abe; Ukraine Says It's Massing A Million Strong Fighting Force To Push Back Russia's Offensive In The South; Conservative Party Step Closer To Choosing New Leader As 1922 Committee Meets; Tuesday Hearing To Focus On Role Extremists Played In The Attack; Elon Tries To Terminate Twitter Deal. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 11, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone. I'm ISA SOARES TONIGHT. Sri Lanka's President and his entire

cabinet are resigning after protesters take to the streets and storm the presidential palace. We are live in the capital this hour.

Then, thousands of people turned out to mourn Japan's Shinzo Abe aftershock assassination on Friday. And we're getting more details on the suspect. And

then later, Ukraine says it's massing a million strong fighting force to push back Russia's offensive in the south. We have the details for you from


But first, Sri Lanka is facing a massive political and economic crisis with protesters angry over the lack of basic goods, taking over the residences

of the prime minister as well as president. Both leaders are stepping down and the parliamentary speaker says a new president will be elected, that's

happening next week.

Meantime, some of the protesters are enjoying luxuries, really most of only can dream of. CNN's Michael Holmes has the story for you.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For many protesters in Sri Lanka, roaming the halls of the presidential residence

they've occupied since Saturday, this is the good life. A chance for many Sri Lankans, many who can't afford to buy enough food or fuel, to live like

a king at least for a short while.

Armed security guards stood outside the compound, but didn't stop the curious from taking a peek inside the palace. This man says he brought his

family here to enjoy a picnic on the ground. He says I got a chance with my kids to come and have lunch here, adding, it's once in a lifetime. This is

after all how their President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lived while the country suffered through an economic meltdown, with soaring inflation, shortages of

critical supplies and rolling blackouts.

Conditions have sparked months of protests that led to Saturdays extraordinary show of people power, where more than a 100,000 protesters

flooded the streets of Colombo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just storming into the president's home as you can see --

HOLMES: A massive public display that finally forced the president to give into their demands, the country's speaker of parliament announcing soon

afterwards the president will resign on Wednesday, the prime minister saying he too will step down. But protesters say promises aren't enough,

and they won't leave the residence until both officially resign.

AKUSHLA FERNANDO, PROTESTER: We don't trust him anymore, because he has already broken our trust, our country's trust, and he has already sold our


HOLMES: The next few days could be a turning point for Sri Lanka if there is a leadership change. But even if that happens, its economic troubles are

far from over, and could take years to reverse. It will be a heavy lift for whomever takes power next, and while the country remains in political

limbo, many protesters say they'll continue to enjoy the luxuries of the house with a warning for the next full-time occupant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the maximum, so --

HOLMES: As this man says, politicians should understand the power of people. And this is the maximum of it. Michael Holmes, CNN.


SOARES: Well, Sri Lanka's President confirmed his resignation hour ago, paving the way for a new all-party government. Emily Schmall is a south-

Asia correspondent for "The New York Times" reporting from Colombo. Emily, thank you very much for staying up to speak to us tonight. Look, it's clear

as we've just heard from that report, there's plenty of anger as well as frustration in Colombo. But paint us a picture of how dire economically it

is, and has been there for so many for so long.

EMILY SCHMALL, SOUTH ASIA CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. So, the important thing to remember about Sri Lanka's is that, it's a middle

income country with a big middle class. Well educated people who travel abroad and go to restaurants and cafes and shopping malls. So the sudden

reversal of fortunes in the past year has been really stark here.

And a number of people in the middle class are now left only eating two meals a day, they've cut out all luxuries, all sorts of entertainment.


So for a lot of the people I spoke to at the presidential house yesterday, where your reporter went, they were just looking for something fun to do

after so many months of austerity at home.

SOARES: And what has led, just paint the picture really. What has led to this reversal of fortune?

SCHMALL: So it started years ago when Sri Lanka got out of war --

SOARES: Oh, do we still have her? No, I think her shot has frozen. We will try to reconnect, of course, as soon as we have, of course, we'll return to

Emily Schmall. Now, I want to take you to China, because peaceful protesters demand -- do we have -- I'm being told that we have Emily. Do we

-- do we -- are you still with us?


SOARES: Right, so thank you for returning. You were telling me that really, this goes back -- this goes awhile back in fact.

SCHMALL: Yes, to the aftermath of the civil war when Sri Lanka was trying to rebuild, and started taking on debts not only from international

institutions like the IMF or the World Bank, but also from other countries. And they went to capital markets to raise money. And some of the projects

they've built with this debt were vanity projects, frankly, for the ruling family, the Rajapaksas, they built a court and an airport that have never

really been used.

But they also built high rise apartments in Colombo and renovated and developed roads and bridges, et cetera. So there was a lot of development

in the first ten years after the war ended, but it was highly leveraged, and essentially --

SOARES: Yes --

SCHMALL: When the pandemic happened and tourism, which is the main stay of the economy here, dropped suddenly, the government didn't have the ability

to repay its debt. And it's now bankrupt.

SOARES: And so now, we find the situation, you know, economic crisis, a political instability, clearly, they wanted leadership change. That much we

know. How soon though, Emily, can this happen? And who is likely to take on this really huge task?

SCHMALL: Well, that's the thing. I mean, since the government of Gotabaya Rajapaksa started being more transparent about the dire straits that the

Sri Lankan economy is in, very few political opponents have been jockeying for the opportunity to join a government where they know there will be

austerity measures that are needed in order to get IMF relief.

And no politician wants to be associated with this economic disaster. So it's hard to imagine that anyone will rush to fill the roles of president

and prime minister. At the moment, there are different coalition possibilities. But the other problem is, it's not exactly clear what will

satisfy the hundreds of thousands of people who have been protesting in Sri Lanka the last few months. Because --

SOARES: Yes --

SCHMALL: What they really want is a clean sweep of the elites in government. They want to start afresh, they want to rid the island nation

of corruption. So they have these big goals. And none of the politicians within the parliament at the moment really fit the bill of what they're

looking for. So, some people worry that, they won't be satisfied, and that this kind of conflict will just drag on and on. And as it does, the country

will not be able to get the much-needed relief from international institutions like the IMF and the situation will just get worse and worse.

SOARES: Yes, and the IMF of course won't step in unless there's some sort of political stability. That is clear. Emily Schmall, really appreciate you

taking the time to speak to us, thanks, Emily.

SCHMALL: Thanks.

SOARES: Now, peaceful protesters demanding for Chinese banks unfreeze their life savings were swarmed and then beaten Sunday by authorities. It

was one of the largest protests in China before the COVID pandemic, and authorities met it with violence. Now banking officials say they will begin

sending payments to some of those who can't get their money. Our Selina Wang is in Beijing for us.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Chinese authorities on Sunday violently suppressed a large-scale peaceful protest by people who were

demanding that authorities give them access to their life savings currently frozen in banks. Since April, several small banks in China's central Hunan

Province have frozen deposits, impacting as many as 400,000 banking customers. That's according to state media.

It is rare to see protests in authoritarian China, but in the past two months, there have been multiple protests. These depositors are desperate.

This threatens the very livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people in an economy already battered by COVID lockdowns. I've spoken to migrant

workers and business people whose decades of hard-earned money are in the banks.


They say they're struggling to survive. Video from Sunday shows police violently quashing the peaceful protests. Security guards are dragging some

protesters down the stairs. Witnesses say they were beating anyone who resisted including women and the elderly. I spoke to a man who was there,

he told me he was also violently dragged from the crowd. He says his entire family's life savings is in one of the banks.

He's traveled to Hunan several times to protest, terrified that his family's future is destroyed. Some of the protesters were left injured,

bloodied and bruised. This was one of the largest protest seen in China since the start of the pandemic. A day after the protest, Hunan banking

regulators said they will start to pay back some of the money on behalf of the banks to depositors.

There's also been widespread fear that COVID health code system is being used to prevent potential protesters from traveling. Last month, protesters

told CNN that their codes turned red, preventing them from going to Hunan. That sparked nationwide outrage. People saw it as a blatant example of

COVID controls being used for political control.

Later, several local officials were punished. Police are investigating the banks, and have blamed fraudulent management practices for the crisis. But

experts worry that this is just the tip of the iceberg, with much bigger financial problems to come because of skyrocketing local government debt

that's been worsened by economic damage from the pandemic.

This social unrest also comes at a politically sensitive time for the communist party. We are just months away from the party congress when Xi

Jinping is expected to seek an unprecedented third term. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


SOARES: Well, two days of somber ceremonies are underway in Japan as mourners pay their respects to assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo

Abe. Thousands of people gathered earlier at the Zojoji Temple in Tokyo, to lay flowers and say prayers for Japan's longest-serving political leader.

Further inside, close family and friends had a private wake, Abe's funeral is set for Tuesday.

The suspected assassin is being held in a police station until a court hearing scheduled for July 19th. Investigators say he has confessed, but

his motive remains mysterious. Kyung Lah is in Tokyo for us with the latest on the memorials, the suspect as well as the navigation.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a Buddhist temple in the heart of Tokyo, the body of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrive for a

two-day funeral ceremony. A line of mourners with flowers paused and prayed. The Japanese public to whom gun violence is almost unheard of

struggles to comprehend. "I'm still so shocked", says Hideki Kakinuma, "why did this happen to Japan?"

Answering the why begins with the alleged assassin Tetsuya Yamagami. Police say the 41-year-old Yamagami planned for weeks ahead of the shooting.

Police recovered multiple hand-made pistols from Yamagami's home. Crude weapons made from iron pipe and adhesive tape. NHK reports Yamagami told

police he built them by watching YouTube videos.

Days ahead of the murder, NHK citing police sources say Yamagami practiced shooting in the mountains, officers also recovered wooden boards with

bullet holes in the suspect's car. The day before, police say he practiced shooting against a building in Nara. As Abe began his speech on the

streets, unused camera caught Yamagami standing with the crowd, listening.

The next time we see Yamagami, two shots were fired. Officers tackled Yamagami to the ground, armed with his home-made gun. Police say Yamagami

held a grudge against a group he believe the former prime minister had ties to. The group has not being named by police to CNN, but Japanese local

media report the suspect told police his mother was involved with the group.

But the Family Federation of World Peace and Unification widely known as the Unification Church held a news conference, telling reporters that the

church did have a tie to the suspect's mother. She was a member of their church.

"We struggle to understand why the suspect killed former Prime Minister Abe due to any resentment towards our organizations as a church president." He

acknowledged that he was aware that the suspect's mother had financial difficulties around 2002, but he didn't know why or the impact on the

family. The church pledged to cooperate with police. Among the mourners gathering in Japan's capital, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: We saw in him something rare. A man of vision who's had the ability to realize that vision.

LAH: A towering political figure globally and at home, a country begins to bid farewell. Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.



SOARES: And still to come tonight, going on the offensive. Ukraine says it's readying a million strong fighting force to retake some land occupied

by Russia. And Ukraine's heartlands are now a battlefield as well. How Russia's war is choking grain supplies in North Africa and all around the



SOARES: Now, Ukraine says it's massing a million strong fighting force to try to retake southern areas that are under Russian occupation. It's also

battling a fierce Russian assault on the Donbas. Heavy fighting is underway around Sloviansk, and Russia says a key village has been captured. Further

north in Kharkiv, the death toll from rocket attacks on civilian areas has now risen to six.

More than 30 people were wounded, police say shopping center homes and vehicles were hit. I want to bring in CNN's Scott McLean who is following

developments tonight for us from Kyiv. And Scott, lots of attention of course, has been until now in the Donbas. But talk us -- talk to us about

the plan by Ukraine to retake these areas in the south with that million strong force. How crucial first of all is this area in the south for

Ukraine here?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would really change the game in terms of opening up the Black Sea coast to Ukraine, and trying to get

access to some of those ports, which right now are under sealed off essentially by Russian Naval blockade. But look, this is one of the few

bright spots for the Ukrainians, this is an area where in the past few weeks they've actually been able to retake some territory along with -- the

same could be said for the situation in Kharkiv as well.

They've also been sort of telegraphing this renewed push to retake this area, the Ukrainian officials there have told people living in the occupied

-- the Russian-occupied areas that they should evacuate if they can, even if that means going further into Russia-held territory, Crimea, even Russia

itself. So most of the fighting here, Isa, is between Mykolaiv, that is the Ukrainian stronghold there in Kherson.

This is the city that has been under Russian occupation since the early days of war when the Russians waltzed in there early on and were able to

take it with really not much of a fight at all. So you have the Russians shelling Mykolaiv, you have the Ukrainians firing deep behind enemy lines,

taking out what they say are command post and other military sites to try to choke off the supply of weapons to the front lines.


You also have the Ukrainians saying that they've managed to take a village very close to Kherson, meaning the front lines are closing in on that city

if they could retake it, it would be a huge shift in this war, Isa.

SOARES: And just bring us up-to-date on something that's flashed for us here in the last what? Forty five minutes or so. We've seen that the

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has held calls with the Russian as well as Ukrainian president on that question of grain export which remains stuck of

course in various Black Sea ports. What came out of this conversation, do we know?

MCLEAN: Yes, so we have two versions of what came out of that call, depending on whether you believe the Russian side of things or the Turkish

side of things. So give you a couple of examples. First, the Kremlin read- out said that the two exchanged views on coordinating efforts to safely navigate the Black Sea and get grain exports out. The Turkish side of that

call though, really stressed Erdogan's view that it's the United Nations that needs to get involved to help facilitate shipping lanes so that grain

can safely get out of that area.

Similarly, the Kremlin readout of the call talked about increasing economic cooperation between Turkey and Russia, the Turkish side though mention

nothing about economic cooperation, instead stressing Turkey's view that it would very much like to be a positive factor in coordinating the peace

negotiations between the Ukrainians and the Russians.

President Erdogan of Turkey also spoke with President Zelenskyy who said that he stressed on that call, the importance of resuming grain in exports.

Remember that Ukraine has some 20 million tons of grain right now which is sitting inside the country, which would normally be exported, but can't get

out of the country because of that Naval blockade along the Black Sea.

It is also -- keep in mind, very difficult to get that grain out via land, because most of it would travel by train. But the trouble is that the gauge

on Ukrainian railways is different than the standard --

SOARES: Yes --

MCLEAN: Gauge in the rest of Europe. And when it gets to the border or near the border, it would need to be transferred to other grain cars in

order for it to carry on its journey into the rest of Europe. Isa?

SOARES: Yes, and this is something we know that the European Union has been trying to find solutions, wants a logistical solution, but of course,

that call not offering much clarity and to the end of this blockade. Scott McLean for us there in Kyiv, thanks very much, Scott. Well, despite

Ukraine's calls to release the grain as Scott was saying, it says Russia is still blocking millions of tons of grain from leaving Black Sea ports.

It's also accusing Russia of trying to steal grain and ship it out of occupied regions of Zaporizhzhia, this crisis is having rippling effects on

countries right around the world. Last week if you remember, we told you about Somalia, this week CNN's David McKenzie reports on Tunisia's growing

food crisis.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Racing to feed a nation, in the closing days of Tunisia's Summer harvest. Russia's cynical ploy to

hold hostage more than 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain is leading to a food crisis here in Tunisia and much of North Africa.

(on camera): Are you worried that it will have a long-term impact on Tunisia?

HABIB MRABET, REGIONAL DELEGATE, TUNISIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTRY (through translator): The war has really impacted both the consumer and our

agricultural production. Right now, every country must become self reliant, if that's not possible, things are going to get very difficult.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): They're scrambling to increase that production and change consumer habits. In sun-baked Tunisia, farmers grow hard wheat to

make pasta and couscous.

(on camera): But for soft wheat, the wheat that makes bread, Tunisia gets around 60 percent of it from Ukraine and Russia. And an official told me

that they'll never be able to make up that number here, not in 5 years, not even in 10.

(voice-over): "That spells trouble", says Shagria Moodi(ph). "We can only sell what the government gives us", he says. The baguettes are subsidized

by a government heavily in debt. Tunisia can barely afford imported flour from outside of Ukraine. "It's about daily survival, when the people are

hungry, they rebel", he says. Here, they are just recovering from a crash in COVID pandemic and a decade of political uncertainty, the impact of the

war in Ukraine could not have come at a worse time.

Even retired professionals like Houria Bousad and her husband can only afford a few luxuries.

HOURIA BOUSAD, RETIRED TEACHER: The prices, all the time they're going up.

MCKENZIE (on camera): And what does that mean for you and your family?

BOUSAD: The young people, they cannot marry now. They don't have enough money to live, they cannot have a family.


MCKENZIE: "I've sold nothing today", says Nasir Tamami(ph), "absolutely nothing". "This place should be jam-packed before the Eid holiday", he

says. "But nobody can afford meat."

(voice-over): On the roadside, farmers like Whaled(ph) are struggling to sell their sheep for Eid's celebrations. The sheep don't seem to mind.

"Animal feed prices are double because of Ukraine, it's a chain reaction that's bad enough now", he says. "But the effect of the war is really going

to be felt next year." David McKenzie, CNN, Tunis."


SOARES: Now, much of Europe is scorching under a terrible heat wave. The dry air help spill wildfires in Portugal. The EU is sending airborne

firefighting units there to help battle the flames. Temperatures exceeded at 40 degrees Celsius in parts of Portugal, France, Spain on Monday, and

the heat wave could last another 9 to 10 days.

Meanwhile, firefighters in California trying to save some legendary trees from the rapidly expanding Washburn Wildfire. Flames you can see are

threatening grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park, inching closer to trees 2 to 3,000 years old, and up to 60 meters tall. A sprinkler

system has been set up around a tree known as Grizzly Giant, at 63 meters, it is the most famous tree in the park.

And still to come tonight, the race is on to pick the U.K.'s next prime minister, what we know about the hopefuls after this short break. And one

of Donald Trump's most loyal allies may be ready to testify before the January 6 Committee. A preview of what's coming in the hearings next.



SOARES: Welcome back to the show everyone. Here in the U.K., the conservatives are one step closer to choosing a new leader and the

country's next prime minister. This as the party's 1922 Committee was chosen and met today to decide the timeline for the contest. Now, since

Boris Johnson resigned, 11 Tory MPs have launched bids for the top spot. And today is the last day for any last-minute submissions. Johnson's

currently remains as caretaker Prime Minister, of course, soon, we should know exactly when he will leave office. CNN's Nina Dos Santos joins me here

in London to discuss, do we know when he's going to leave office? Any idea of timeline? I mean, that's what people want to find out first and

foremost, Nina, at this point.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. What we do know, Isa, is that that committee that will decide this has now been elected. And then

they've gone into another meeting to discuss this, but they just haven't gone public with the outcome of what exactly is going to happen next. What

we expect is going to happen, given the parliamentary timetable, because they're kind of up against it here, because parliament is set to break for

recess on Thursday, July the 21st, is that they're probably going to have the first series of ballots to whittle down the candidates on Wednesday,

Thursday, and then obviously, MPs go back to the constituencies after Thursday for the weekend.

We'll start again, the week after and they'll carry on doing this in a very aggressive manner, right up until they can get down to two candidates, that

will then, of course, go to the party membership. So this is the crucial thing about Conservative Party leadership contests. It's that what you have

to do is, on the one hand, get past all your fellow colleagues in Parliament who are elected, and then also find somebody who's palatable to

the broader membership of the party.

SOARES: Let's talk about who's coming across as most palatable here. Because of the weekend -- the Sunday papers was full of all the candidates

and what they stand for. I think we've got a graphic to show you, really, the top contenders. Talk us through who is looking like the most promising

so far because I know Sajid Javid threw his hat in the ring today, didn't he?

DOS SANTOS: Yes, well, obviously, now is the time when all of these candidates are announcing their bids, you know, some of them in quite

prominent fashion, as you said, in the Sunday newspapers, but some of them like Liz Truss there, the Foreign Secretary, who occupies the third most

important position in the U.K. Government up until recently. She just announced her candidacy yesterday evening, a few more today. It's a pretty

crowded field, as you can see there. Eleven candidates in total so far. And then there's a bit of a question mark of whether or not before the day is

over, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, will announce her candidacy.

And for this reason, as you can see, they're getting nervous about, given the tight timeframe, trying to whittle this down in terms of the

parliamentary colleagues to then put it to the membership. These people, though, are very much divided along various fault lines here. So one of

them, the biggest issue is tax. Obviously Rishi Sunak, who, with about half of the Party MPs now having declared who they'll back, he appears to be the

frontrunner in the race so far. He is obviously espousing a vision of keeping taxes at their current high level to try and pay down the national

debt, many of them say that the government should actually go back to a pure Tory vision of how to run the country, which is low tax, high growth.

But there's other fault lines like for instance, immigration, linger issues -- lingering issues that are pertinent to Brexit, like the Northern Ireland

Protocol. And, of course, this issue of ethics, getting the conservative back on an even keel to be a party that can be trusted to actually govern.

That's going to be the big issue.

SOARES: A lot on the plate, of course, and for so many people, as you've well known, is the cost of living crisis as well. Nina Dos Santos, as soon

as there is any word as to when Boris Johnson is expected to lead, do let us know.

Well, on Tuesday, the Congressional panel investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold their seventh publicly televised

hearing. It is expected to focus on the role extreme groups like the Proud Boys, as well as the Oath Keepers you remember played in the attack. The

Committee will likely highlight tweets by Donald Trump that calls for people to come to the Capitol to protest.

Meanwhile, Trump's longtime adviser, Steve Bannon, has agreed to testify to the committee. Bannon has been facing criminal charges for refusing to

comply with a congressional subpoena. Let's bring in CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles, and more on what we can expect from the

hearings. So Ryan, talk us through how the committee is planning here to make a direct connection between former President Trump and the far right

extremists. What's the plan?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Isa, the -- there's really two parts to this plan. The first is to demonstrate that these

right-wing militia groups that came to the Capitol on January 6 were premeditating their plans to cause violence and chaos on January 6, and

this wasn't just a peaceful protest that got out of control, that they came here with weapons and a plan to cause chaos. And then they'll take the next

step of drawing a direct connection to people who exist in Donald Trump's orbit and some that were even working for him in the White House on January


And we're told one of the areas they're going to focus on is a meeting that took place in mid-December with a group of individuals that were advising

Trump and filling his mind with these ideas of false claims, of voter fraud and -- that he should be forcefully pushing to try and prevent the

certification of the election. And they are going to try and demonstrate that as one of the launching points toward making January 6th an event that

ultimately led to what happened here on that day.


So this is something that the committee has been teasing out for some time. Isa, their job tomorrow will be to show, you know, hard evidence that there

is a direct connection between Donald Trump and people like the members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

SOARES: And, Ryan, on the question of Steve Bannon, of course, he defied as we all remember congressional hearing, now he's saying -- we're hearing

that he's willing to testify. How come, the change of tune here?

NOBLES: So the first thing you need to know is that you shouldn't expect to see Steve Bannon testifying publicly at a January 6 select committee

hearing anytime soon, you know. The -- what Bannon is offering is what the prosecutors involved in this case are describing as a Hail Mary pass to try

and prevent the criminal prosecution of him for denying and not cooperating with a congressional subpoena.

The January 6 Committee would be happy to talk to Steve Bannon, but they want to do so under their terms, which means a closed-door deposition where

they can talk to him for hours, not, you know, 45 minutes in a public setting that would give Bannon the opportunity to filibuster and frankly

lie, which he's been known to do. You know, what one source inside the committee described this is Bannon, as if he had robbed a bank and then

went to prosecutor six months later and said, I'm sorry about that, you can have the money back now just don't prosecute me. It doesn't work that way.

They believe that he's already committed the crime, and he needs to be held accountable. If he still wants to cooperate with the committee, well,

that's a separate conversation that they can have. But this is really just a legal tactic by Bannon to try and really prevent himself from going to


SOARES: Ryan nobles there for us in Washington. Thanks very much, Ryan. I appreciate it.

NOBLES: Thank you.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, political tensions turn deadly in the run up to Brazil's presidential election, how the country's growing

polarization cost the life of one supporter. And, well, it's been a year after this rare sight on the streets of Cuba. We'll see how the

government's grip is as tight as ever after the mass protests. That is next.


SOARES: Scenes of devastation in South Africa's families and friends react to a mass shooting which killed 15 People in Soweto, Johannesburg's largest

township, on Sunday evening. Police say the motive for the brutal attack, which saw an armed group open fire on a crowded bar, is not yet known. The

incident came just hours after the shooting in South Africa's East, which left four people dead.


This recent wave of attacks is unleashing frustration with police who are being accused of not doing enough to control gun violence in the country.

While in Brazil, political tension has turned a 50th birthday party into a tragedy on Saturday, a supporter of current president Jair Bolsonaro broke

into the event themed around the President's opponent, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, before fatally shooting the host. CNN Correspondent Shasta

Darlington joining me now from Sao Paolo. And Shasta, of course, the shooting comes ahead of a highly polarized presidential election in

October. What do we know happened here and what have Bolsonaro and Lula, the two candidates, of course, had to say on this.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, that's right. This was a brutal attack over the weekend that has shocked Brazil, and it's raising

the alarm over political violence with still three, four months to go before presidential elections.


DARLINGTON (voice-over): It was supposed to be a happy occasion. Marcelo de Arruda, a member of the left-wing Workers' Party, celebrating his 50th

birthday with a politically themed party. But things quickly turned into a tragedy when a supporter of far right President Jair Bolsonaro broke into

the party and shot at Arruda. Before he died, Arruda, a city cop, shot back at the attacker seen here entering the room. The shooter is hospitalized.

Jorge Guaranho, a prison guard, is an ardent Bolsonaro supporter, seen here with one of the President's sons. He had crashed the party earlier with his

wife and baby returning 20 minutes later to carry out the attack. The victim's son told CNN Brazil.


LEONARDO ARRUDA, VICTIM'S SON (through translator): My dad said, "Man, get out of my party. Let me enjoy my party and peace." And the guy pulled out a

gun and pointed it at him. The man returned a few minutes later and started shooting. He shot my dad three times and my dad was able to shoot back and

shot him five times.


DARLINGTON (voice-over): The Workers' Party said in a statement the crime was a result of Bolsonaro's "Hate speech that encourages his followers,

militiamen and terrorists to act practically unaccountable." The party's presidential candidate and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

extended his condolences to the family, saying the incident was motivated by the hate speech promoted by a "irresponsible president."

Without referring to the incident directly, Bolsonaro tweeted saying, "We dismiss any kind of support from those who practice violence against

opponents," and he accused the left of an undeniable history of violent episodes. Speaking to his supporters on Monday, Bolsonaro said the shooting

"Was a fight between two people." And he mentioned the 2018 incident where he was stabbed by a man affiliated with a left-wing party during a campaign



JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): You saw what happened, didn't you? A fight between two people. They are in (INAUDIBLE)

Bolsonaristas, what have you. No one said that earlier, my attacker is affiliated to left-wing party, do they?


DARLINGTON (voice-over): Tensions are high ahead of upcoming elections in October, as the country becomes more and more polarized. A day before the

birthday party shooting, two explosives were thrown into a crowd at a Lula rally. At another event, Lula was also heard thanking a local Councilman

who was arrested for attempted murder against the man who insulted Lula at a rally in 2018. The president of the Supreme Court has even warned Brazil

could see "An incident even more serious than what happened on January 6th in the U.S. Capitol."


BOLSONARO (through translator): I don't need to say what I'm thinking but you know what's at stake. You know how you should prepare, not for the new

Capitol. Nobody wants to invade anything, but we know what we have to do before the elections.


DARLINGTON (voice-over): Brazilians go to the polls in October. As the campaign intensifies, so does the concern about the potential for further

violent crimes, especially from Bolsonaro supporters like this one.


DARLINGTON (on camera): So, Isa, the problem here is there's still so much time left to elections. Now the -- this particular case is being

investigated. The attacker is in the hospital. In the meantime, authorities have said they will imprison him if that comes to that, if he's -- if he

leaves the hospital. But we've seen Bolsonaro questioning the legitimacy of the elections. We've seen these tensions rising, security's being stepped

up around candidates and political events. And yet these candidates actually won't officially start campaigning until August. So, there's just

a lot that could happen. And a lot of speculation and concern, the feeling that Brazil really is heading into uncharted territory, Isa.

SOARES: Shasta Darlington for us there in Sao Paulo. Thanks Shasta.


Well, a year ago, if you remember, Cuba faced the most widespread protests since is revolution. Hundreds of people were sent to prison from going out

and demanding better living conditions on the islands. CNN's Patrick Oppmann explains why many think a new revolt could be on the horizon.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the largest anti- government protest here since the Cuban Revolution took place last July, thousands of people poured into the street. Demonstrators demanded food,

medicine, and political changes in spontaneous marches across the island. Protests even took place in smaller cities like San Jose de Las Lajas,

where brothers Nadir and Jorge Perdomo, both teachers, addressed this crowd of people that residents say remain peaceful.

"My sons went out because, like every Cuban, they were desperate over the situation." The two men's mother told us. "They're fathers. Every day here,

we have less." The government crackdown was swift and harsh. As police arrested hundreds of protesters, Nadir and Jorge made a last video where

they said they were merely expressing the discontent that many Cubans feel.

Days later, the two brothers were arrested. According to court records that CNN reviewed, neither man had a prior criminal record, and both were well

regarded in their community. All the same, Jorge was sentenced to eight years in prison and Nadir to six years after being convicted of charges,

including disorderly behavior and insulting public officials. Human rights groups say the Cuban government is trying to intimidate their own people

from taking to the streets again.


JUAN PAPPIER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: And we found that constantly, prosecutors were charging Cubans for exercising their basic rights, such as the right

to protest peacefully, the right to insult the President or to insult police officers, exercising their freedom of expression.


OPPMANN (voice-over): It remains to be seen, though, whether the mass trials will succeed in silencing dissent.

A year after the protests took place, and many of the economic problems that Cubans confront have only gotten worse. There are frequent blackouts

that last for hours and seemingly endless lines for food and fuel. Although the Cuban government has succeeded in cracking down on the social unrest,

many Cubans say it could explode again in any moment.

So far, the government here says nearly 500 people have been convicted and sentenced for the roles in the protests, with some demonstrators receiving

up to 25 years after being convicted of sedition. Officials say the protests were not the result of worsening living conditions on the island,

but a campaign of sabotage carried out by Cuba's Cold War enemy, the United States government. But Marta Perdomo says no one had to encourage her sons

to protest.

"My sons weren't paid. They didn't have to go out. But they felt the pain of Cuba," she says. "My sons were free that day," she says. Marta says that

local officials have ordered her to take down a sign she put up on the front of her house in a rare act of defiance, calling for the release of

her two sons. But the sign will stay up, Marta says, until her sons finally are able to come home.


OPPMANN (on camera): And, Isa, Cuba's president on Monday, Miguel Diaz- Canel was quoted as saying that the crackdown on those protests was "A victory of the people over imperialism." With food prices at a record high

and the largest exodus of Cubans in a generation, many of the people that we are talking to say they have little to celebrate here, if anything at

all. Isa.

SOARES: Thanks very much, Patrick. And still to come tonight, Twitter is threatening to sue the richest person in the world as it takes a beating on

Wall Street. Elon Musk is backing out of a deal to buy the platform his response next.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Now Twitter is threatening to sue Elon Musk now that he's pulling out of his $44 billion takeover deal. And it looks

like it's going to get messy. Shares for the social media platform are down and down quite significant, as you can see there, down more than 9 percent

-- almost 9 percent early on Monday, nearly $2 billion had been wiped off the company's market value.

The Tesla CEO revealed he was ditching his offer on Friday. If you remember, he's now making his first public response since then on Twitter.

And Paula Newton is standing by New York. And Paula, I mean, look, this is pretty -- it's going to be quite a saga. And it seems like we said he's

laughing it off with a meme. Tell us what he said, first of all.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting, right? He chose Twitter to respond. So why don't we go to those, right? You know, I don't know,

Isa, why they don't just block them from Twitter. But I digress. OK, let's get to those tweets. So basically, both sides lawyered up. And when Twitter

said they were going to fight this, Elon Musk took to Twitter and put this, you know, all those smiley faces, they said I couldn't buy Twitter, then

they wouldn't disclose bot info. Now they want to force me to buy Twitter in court. This is the key one here. Now they have to disclose bot info in


And just before I explain what this is about, let's go to Chuck because we all want to go to Chuck and he put the meme up there. Chuckmate, as if he

knows what he's doing. And Twitter is up against it. As I said, they're all lawyered up. When we talk about bots, right, Isa, this is about how many

users Twitter actually has. And he says that Twitter misled him, that therefore the valuation of Twitter is way off. Remember, that is how

Twitter makes its revenue, right on those users. If there are fake users, as in bots, then that means Twitter is not valued at what it should be. And

that gives him a reason, a legal reason to get out of this.

But, Isa, you know, the bottom line here is that both companies, whether it's Twitter, or whether it's Tesla, the company that Elon Musk is supposed

to be running, remember, arguably, both are already worse off. We just looked at the Twitter price. He doesn't know where it's going now. It's now

in this big legal fight. People are running for the exits that that Corporation had already had tons of trouble beforehand, trying to figure

out how it would grow revenue and what it would mean.

And, Isa, going back to Elon Musk, unless you know something I don't, he is still human, and that means if you're distracted by all of this, you know,

how best can you keep your eyes on the road? And that would be Tesla, SpaceX, everything else he's got going on.

SOARES: Yes, nice transition, Paula. But look, the -- in terms of the Delaware court, where do you think it will side with? Because I was reading

a piece today, it says it probably -- it tends to side -- in terms of the historic cases, it tends to side with the companies. But doesn't Elon Musk

have a point here, if they lied to him? He doesn't like the product, he should just really pull out what he's what he's doing.

NEWTON: Yes. And the Delaware point is material here. It's not a small point. Almost half of all public companies in the United States are

centered there. They're headquartered there for that reason, because they go to the special legal process in Delaware. OK. I said they were both

lawyered up. Isa, this could go either way. And remember, it depends on what the disclosure said. When we go back to Elon Musk's tweet where he

says they're going to have to be made to disclose this in court, That's what he wants. He wants, on the record, he claims for them to actually have

to fess up.


How many users do you have, how many are real, how many are fake and then we'll get to a real valuation on what Twitter is worth.

SOARES: And, yes, he's basically, as if we can bring up that meme again, Anna, my producer, I mean, he really is, Paula, in many ways, rubbing his

hands with glee at that last point. But, you know, what does Twitter have to say to -- on the back of this meme, when he says now they have to

disclose bot info in court?

NEWTON: Well, Twitter says that we have disclosed everything that we can disclose. So the truth is apparently going to be disclosed in court who is

actually telling the truth. But, Isa, I also have to bring up the Security and Exchange Commission, right? They're supposed to be a governing body

here, we look at all these tweets, we look at everything else flying back and forth. The people that are getting hurt here are the shareholders and

the SEC needs to look out for their shareholders.

When we look at Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, if he can have that much fun with a $54 million deal on Twitter, it gets to the point

where, you know, he would normally have to pay a billion dollars. Well, that's pretty much a grocery trip for him. So let's see where all of this

goes. And as I said, a lot of hurt shareholders in the meantime.

SOARES: Yes, get the popcorn. It's going to be a long one. Paula Newton, great to see you. Thanks very much, Paula. And thank you for your company.

Do stay right here with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.