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Attack Highlights Afghanistan's Struggles; U.K. Election Much Closer Than Expected; Investigators Probe Kushner Russia Contacts; Trump Defends Ex-Adviser Carter Page In Russian Probe; Sessions Didn't Disclose Past Russian Contacts; Clinton: Trump Team "Guided" Russian Misinformation; Trump & Clinton Get Into Twitter Feud. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 1, 2017 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. Ahead this hour, the deadliest bomb to hit Afghanistan's capital in years; what this tells us about the struggle to secure the country? Plus, could Theresa May's polls of elections backfire - a new projection shows this race is much closer than the British Prime Minister ever anticipated. And will the U.S. quit the Paris climate deal? President Donald Trump's decision is just hours away. Hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay. This is NEWSROOM L.A.

The lethal attack in a heavily forced five district of Kabul highlight: how many security threats Afghan forces face. As the country's war grinds on into its 16th year, the International Community is considering its options for trying to restore peace. Barbara Starr reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The moment, the suicide attack struck at the heart of Kabul. Sirens and security forces piercing the morning rush hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I saw bodies lying everywhere, damaged cars, and dust.

STARR: Killing at least 90, and wounding 400.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Everywhere was full of black smoke, and I saw many burned cars around.

STARR: A water tanker truck filled with explosives detonated by a suicide bomber at an Afghan police checkpoint just outside the security zone where embassies are located, including the American embassy. Up to 11 U.S. citizens assigned to the embassy were hurt; U.S. officials say they were contractors. Nine Afghans, working alongside providing security for the U.S. were killed.

General John Nicholson, the top U.S. Commander surrounded by heavy security a short time later at the blast site; the blast leaving a hole of 20-feet deep and more than 40-feet wide. A U.S. official who saw it told CNN. The devastating attack comes as President is deciding whether to send up to 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to supplement 8,400 already there. The troops would largely be advisers helping local, more air strikes could also be ordered to help push-back recent gains by the Taliban.

SAID TAYEB JAWAD, AFGHANISTAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED KINGDOM: We would like to have more international troops, U.S., U.K., NATO, and other countries to stay with our troops a little bit longer to train and assist us effectively, so we can deal with this threat.

STARR: But this attack is believed to be at the hands of another terror group known as the "Hakani Network." It underscores the nearly 16-year challenge for the U.S.

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER AMERICAN DIPLOMAT: The big question is: do we have to go back into the streets of the cities to help the Afghan government control them?

STARR: One point everyone agrees on: Afghan security forces still need help.

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They are plagued with poor leadership. They are plagued with a lack of pay. And they are plagued with a lot of AWOLs. People are leaving the army. So, they are still challenged with putting an effective fighting force together.

STARR: And the price tag, so far, over $650 billion spent on America's longest war. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well, Major General, Mark MacCarley, joins us now. General MacCarley, thank you for coming into C.S. The finger is being pointed at the Hakani group, a Taliban-affiliated group as being responsible for this attack; they have not claimed responsibility. Let's make it clear, that's who the Afghan intelligence is looking at. Let me ask you this: why would the Hakani group launch such an attack? What kind of statement message would they be trying to send if they did do this?

MARK MACCARLEY, FORMER UNITED STATES ARMY DEPUTY COMMANDING GENERAL: Whether we find corroborating evidence that the Hakani Network was involved or it was a Taliban operation, even though the Taliban has so far denied responsibility, it is a matter of making a statement. And that statement is that our worldwide perception that perhaps Kabul is somewhat secured, that we have made some accomplishments in Afghanistan over the last 16 years, that that's all not accurate. That with that horrible explosion with the loss of 90 plus lives and 400 injured, that once again, the world has to reassess whether it is the right thing to continue - a western presence to provide security in Afghanistan. That's the statement.

[01:05:00] SESAY: That's the statement. Of course, this comes as the President - the U.S. President is considering whether or not to send more troops. In your view, first of all: A. Does this change things in terms of that assessment? And really, do you want to see him send more troops? MACCARLEY: I'll answer the second question first. I think it is the

responsible decision to commit another 3,000 to 5,000 troops. When you look back historically, our previous President, President Obama, was faced with the same sort of requests for a strategic review of Afghanistan in 2009. He was barely in office for what, ten months, when his Commander on the ground, General McChrystal, brought to him questions about whether or not we were going to suffer mission failure in Afghanistan. Now, jump ahead eight years, and once again, we're looking at an Afghanistan that is not quite stable. At best, we're at a stalemate.

And this President - and I think it's a responsible expression of understanding of complexities of Afghanistan, is that we are going through a similar strategic review. Except for this time, the number of soldiers that we are discussing or, at least, as I understand the Pentagon to be discussing - and President Trump's Senior Advisers is between 3,000 and 5,000; not the 30,000, which General McCrystal - 30,000 or 40,000 initially, that General McChrystal asked Obama to commit to that war.

SESAY: You talked about the U.S. being at a point in time where there's another strategic review. But what is the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan?

MACCARLEY: You know, what I can say is that the strategy has become more narrowly focused. I think when we committed U.S. forces to Afghanistan, as early as 2001 when we invaded for the purpose of ridding the country of the Taliban, we incorporated a component called nation building, that there was an expectation that with the infusion of American soldiers, as well as our western allies - our NATO Western allies operating as ICE staff, that we would make tremendous strides in upgrading the country and the lies lives of the Afghanis.

I think we've moved far away from the whole issue of national reconstruction. So, that today, today, as the Pentagon and the White House - when the new strategy is more refined at the Pentagon and then forwarded to the White House, is looking at basically just two things. One is train, advice, and assists. To get that training, advising and assist down to a much lower operational level of the soldiers - the Afghani soldiers who are actually fighting. And then the second component of this very restrained strategy will just be counterinsurgency.

SESAY: OK. What's the definition of success here?

MACCARLEY: You know, I think - I would be a brilliant pundit if I were able to come forth with the answer to that question that has plagued every single U.S. administration throughout the course of this war. In fact, you could extend this back historically with Afghanistan as to the measure of success. But I think right now, it is a matter of stabilizing that country to allow its government to gain ground and traction, to provide some sort of an economy that is based upon Afghan industry and agriculture, rather than economy that's dependent upon American infusion of cash.

SESAY: It's a difficult road. MACCARLEY: It is. No question about that.

SESAY: That we know. Major General MacCarley, a pleasure. Thank you. Well, for the third time in nine days, the Eiffel Tower in Paris is dark to honor terror victims. The French landmark dimmed its lights to mourn those killed and wounded in Kabul suicide attack. This follows the tower's tribute - one night earlier for the victims of the multiple bombings in Iraq, and after last week's terror attack in Manchester, England.

Well, a new projection from pollster YouGov suggests that U.K.'s coming snap election may be much closer than expected. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, called the vote herself assuming she was playing a winning hand. But that is looking less certain now, as the numbers suggest - she could win anywhere from 274 to 375 seats either well under or just above her magic number to keep the majority 326. Now, we should note the methodology that produced those numbers is different from CNN's standards - and Mrs. May saying that those numbers - well, they don't matter anyway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, UNITED KINGDOM PRIME MINISTER: The only poll that matters is the one that's going to take place on the 8th of June. And then, people will have a choice as to who they want to see as the leader, who they want to see as Prime Minister taking this country forward into the future: me or Jeremy Corbyn. I have the plan for the Brexit negotiations, but I've also got a plan to build a stronger and more prosperous Britain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[01:10:06] SESAY: Well, it is clear though, that the narrative has shifted. Labour Leader, Jeremy Corby, suddenly lit like a stronger rival than anyone's thought, and who pulled the fast one entering a televised debate at the last minute to capitalize on the momentum; Mrs. May did not participate, making her the only major party leader absent. Our Katy Balls is a Political Correspondent for the Spectator and she joins now from London. Katie, thank you for joining us! So, that YouGov poll showing that Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the gap on Theresa May, how do you account for it?

KATY BALLS, THE SPECTATOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's looking quite close to the wire, really. I think no one quite expected Jeremy Corbyn to improve as much as he has. He started off on such a low bar that really, actually, he's exceeded everyone's expectations, including the Prime Minister's.

SESAY: And at this stage in the race, what's driving his momentum?

BALLS: Well, he has two things: firstly, Labour has come up with some very popular policies that are really ringing with the public. So, even if you don't like Jeremy Corbyn, personally, then you might like his plans to scrap tuition fees or protect pension benefits. Theresa May hasn't done any of these things. In theory manifesto, it's very no - nonsense and it doesn't really have much good news in it. I think NATO would later just points how left-wing Jeremy Corbyn was, and that would be enough to get to her home safe and dry. And actually, that's not working out.

SESAY: No, it doesn't appear to be. As we just mentioned, Theresa May did not turn up for that debate. Jeremy Corbyn seizing the moment, you know, seizing the limelight. How damaging could this be to Theresa May in an already tight race?

BALLS: Well, I think with the debate - I mean, it's not the end of the world for Theresa May. She said she was never going to take part in these debates. But I think it's a sign of the fact that the momentum is behind Jeremy Corbyn, that he could seize last-minute to do this debate, and it looks like a sign of strength rather than a sign of desperation. And he sent to Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary in her place and Amber Rudd just haven't shown in this debate but there were a lot of gaps as she can imagine. As a fact, Theresa May was running scared that she's going to have to use the final days of the campaign now to really show that she isn't hiding from scrutiny.

SESAY: Let's talk about some of the possible outcomes here. If, indeed, Theresa May does manage a squeaker, and manages to win a narrow majority, where does that leave her hand when it comes to those Brexit talks?

BALLS: Well, she says she called this entire election to strengthen her hand. The annoying thing for her really, is that - since she's become Prime Minister, she's never looked weaker. I think in terms of the Brexit negotiations, she'll still have a strong hand in the sense that the country is still very much behind Brexit. If anything the conservatives wish the campaign was more about Brexit, the problem for them is that they keep talking about domestic issues and their policies on domestic issues are just not popular.

SESAY: OK. And if it goes to the hung parliament situation - I mean, what would that mean for the U.K.? And better yet, could Theresa May survive that? Would she be able to keep her position?

BALLS: I think a hung parliament is still a very unlikely possibility. But, obviously, given the past year we've had across the world, we're not ruling anything out.

SESAY: Yes.

BALLS: I think that - I mean, for the Brexit negotiations, I think that Theresa May had much struggle if she a minority parliament to find - to form a coalition. The Liberal Democrats, who formed the coalition with the Conservatives in 2010, seemed to have ruled that out already. So, you might have a minority parliament or you might have Jeremy Corbin trying to form one, and who knows what that would mean for Brexit.

SESAY: As we go down to the wire, this goes down to the wire in the closing stages of this race, what is your expectation for the tone, for the issues that will be driven home in the final days of this race? BALLS: I think Theresa May and the Tories have two things they like

talking about. One of which is Brexit and the other is how bad Jeremy Corbin is. So, you can expect more of the same from them. And Labor, really, are running a much more positive campaign, where they're trying to say that, you know, they want to change society and make it better. The Labor's big problem is credibility. They have a lot of very popular policies, but what they need to show the public is they have actually, fully (INAUDIBLE), and they can actually pave them.

[01:14:36] SESAY: All right. Katy Ball from the Spectator, joining us there with some great insight, thank you. Kate, we appreciate it. Quick break here, and fired FBI Director, James Comey, prepared to testify before Congress again. And the source tells us, what he's expected to say about President Trump. We'll tell you next on NEWSROOM L.A. Plus, Police in Florida have released dashcam video of Tiger Woods' arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:17:11] SESAY: Hello everyone. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is facing new questions about yet another possible meeting with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Congressional sources say it may have taken place last year when a Session was a Senator. Sessions failed to disclose previous contacts with Russian officials. Meanwhile, we did hear some explosive testimony from the man who had been leading the Russian investigation. CNN's Michelle Kosinski has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: James Comey, the FBI Director fired earlier this month by President Trump, is about to break his silence, and will do so according to a CNN source, in a very public way. Before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating contacts between Trump associates and Russia? This could happen as early as next week.

Comey is expected to detail his one on one meeting with Trump, including any possible pressure he felt from President Trump to drop the investigation into fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Flynn's ties to Russia, which some say could amount to obstruction of justice. According to Comey's own notes sources say, Trump allegedly told Comey, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He's a good guy. I hope you can let this go". Congressional investigators now want to speak to or want records from at least nine Trump advisers and associates.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: Those accusations come up, we have to clear them up, both for the sake of the President and the Presidency. We've got to be able to resolve this issue long terming and get the facts out.

KOSINSKI: One big question, why top Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, according to a source, discussed with Russia's Ambassador setting up a secret channel for communications with the Trump transition team and as reported by Washington Post why such a channel would be housed in Russian diplomatic facilities. And former campaign adviser Carter Page, also under scrutiny from who Trump distanced himself back in February.

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I don't think I've ever spoken to him or I don't think I've ever met him.

KOSINSKI: Today was the subject of Trump's support and tweets after Page revealed he might not be asked to publicly testify. So now it is reported that the Democrats, who have, excoriated Carter Page about Russia, don't want him to testify. He blows away their case against him and now wants to clear his name by showing the false or misleading testimony by James Comey, John Brennan. Witch hunt.

Well now as of today, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee so has fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. In fact, seven total subpoenas were issued today for them have to do with the Russia probe. But three have to do with unmasking or the naming of Americans in intelligence reports. It's something that some Republicans have been furious about, and these three subpoenas are targeting Obama administration officials. Michelle Kosinski CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Well joining me here, the ladies are back Democratic Strategist Caroline Heldman and Republican Strategist Andrea Kaye. OK, ladies, round two. All right, so let's start with this issue of Comey testifying in Congress. Andrea to you first, what's the potential for damage here to the White House?

[01:20:26] ANDREA KAYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, you know, I don't really know, because I don't really know what Comey is prepared to say and -

SESAY: If he does say the President tried to get him to pressure -

KATE: Well, first of all, I'm concerned is to why we're hearing that the only purpose of his testimony is to come and discuss his conversations with President Trump and not actually the details of the Russian hacking investigation itself. And I think if the purpose of these hearings is to provide oversight and information to the American people, I think the American people have a right to know what's actually involved in the Russian hacking election instead of all the conspiracy theories and nonsense when eight months in there's been no proof of anything.

Meanwhile, Comey did not when he was before Congress before acknowledging an investigation into the only crimes that we know for sure that have occurred and that are the leaks. In regards to what Comey has to say now about President Trump's supposedly attempting to obstruct justice, this supposedly happened back in February. If he thought that President Trump had tried to obstruct justice, why does he say nothing then? To me, that smacks of a cover-up on his part. But I don't necessarily believe him. This is somebody that the Democrats said themselves back six months ago that he had absolutely no credibility, and I agree with them. SESAY: Let's give Caroline a chance to respond. And Caroline to

Andrea's point, he will have some questions to respond to, such as not, you know, bringing any of this up previously when he testified to Congress.

CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right, and his associates are saying that's because he wanted to see the Russian investigation through. And we will actually get information about the Russian investigation, in addition to the potential obstruction of justice from Donald Trump. And really what it comes down to is who is more credible. Are we going to trust the public servant who has been essentially a boy scout his whole life or us going to trust a President who tells the truth according to PolitFact, 12 percent of the time and seems to have a pathological barrier to being honest?

SESAY: So it will go down to an issue of credibility Andrea.

KAYE: Well it will. And unfortunately for the left and for James Comey, he doesn't have any credibility. This was a left the Democrats himself said that he have absolutely no credibility with the shenanigans that he pulled with the Hillary Clinton investigation. And if he thinks this was obstruction of justice for President Trump to say, you know what, there's no there, General Flynn didn't do anything wrong so, you know, I hope you can drop at what's wrong with.

HELDMAN: Why fire General Flynn if did nothing wrong?

KAYE: Did President Obama do the same thing when he went public during the Hillary Clinton investigation and say publicly that there was no there, she didn't any crime and she didn't have any intent.

SESAY: And let's not go there. Let's move on. Let's talk about the fact that the subpoenas have been issued by the House Intelligence Committee for Michael Flynn, the fired Security Adviser, National Security Adviser and for the President personal Attorney Michael Cohen. Again let's talk about this and how this investigation on Capitol Hill on the House side continues to move forward. Caroline?

HELDMAN: So we have the House issuing subpoenas both in terms of the Russian ties but also in terms of the leaks. And then on the Senate side, we have them calling Comey and running their own investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee. And then we have Mueller. So, we really oath essentially three investigations going on. None of them are truly independent from the Trump administration, which is a bit of a shame if you consider that the GOP really, you know, is not going to uncover the details of this if they can possibly help it because it harms their party.

At the end of the day, it would be nice to have a truly independent investigation, but hopefully, this will uncover what appears to be just a growing pile of evidence, that the sheer volume of names that are associated from the Trump administration to the Russians -

KAYE: But names aren't evidence.

(CROSSTALK) KAYE: We actually had the U.K. concern, because the leaks actually compromised a terrorist investigation --

SESAY: That is legitimate, and there were complaints made, but let's stay focused on what's at hand here. Andrea, are you pleased to see that these Congressional probes continue to move forward with Gusto?

KATE: Well I'm actually pleased. That it seems to go on it's expanding it beyond just the witch hunt of the Trump administration. I like that there were subpoenas that involve trying to figure out why American privacy of was violated according to the FISA report, there was issue that was caving involving the gross fourth amendment violation against citizens privacy in the unmasking.

So we now see that there are subpoenas that have been done for Rice, for Powers, and for Brennan. We might actually get some answers because I know that you don't care about the crimes that have been committed with the leaks, but these are actual they are compromising our nation's ability to fight terror, as well as with our allies abroad.

HELDMAN: They are secondary to the concerns about Russians tampering with our elections and having the Trump administration potentially -

KAYE: Russia had no impact on the election and James Clapper himself said that there's absolutely no evidence.

SESAY: That's 17 intelligence agency said that Russia.

[01:25:15] KAYE: Based upon what? You know what, here's what I would like to see -

SESAY: You don't take the U.S. intelligence agencies at their word?

KAYE: Well we have an intelligence community that according to the FISA report has been in violation of law.

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: Actually right now, I am very concerned with the intelligence community's failures that include James Comey, that include the unmasking of American citizens that involves leak compromising our security. I'm absolutely concerned with that.

SESAY: Let's move on, and very quickly, because there's so much to get through. I do want to get your reaction to the fact that congressional investigators are once again looking into the Attorney General, that he could have had another meeting with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Is this a big deal that he could have had another meeting that he did not disclose, Andrea?

KAYE: No. I mean, I think as many people have said before, that's what the ambassador's roles are here in this country, is to meet with elected officials and have lunches and dinners and they too all of our parties and there's no there. The fact that he bumped up against him at some point maybe at a cocktail party - SESAY: But did he still a need to disclose it and was asked about meetings and he said he'd only had two and now another one is emotion?

HELDMAN: I would say that unless you have Trump goggles on, it is really clear that there's not only a pattern that where Sessions met with the Russians multiple times but more telling is that he lied about it, he lied about it during his confirmation. He lied about it in his security clearance.

SESAY: You can't reject that. He didn't bring it up, Andrea.

KAYE: Well I'm saying that there's a difference between something being a lie versus something -- I believe him when he says he didn't necessarily remember because as I said this is an Ambassador that meets with all of our elected officials. And I -- there's no there. And what's wrong with the meeting? Which one was he having a meeting with an ambassador?

SESAY: That's really not the question for me, the question is to Attorney General Sessions, why not just say if there's nothing going on and this is a question, I'm just posing the question that others have. If there was nothing to be hidden or there was nothing wrong, if this was all above board, why not just come out with it? I think that's the question people have here.

KAYE: Well, and I can see that people might be concerned about that. But from my standpoint, I think that he-so what is the difference whether he recalls meeting with him two times or three times?

SESAY: Because these are the people that the intelligence community says interfered in the U.S. elections.

KAYE: It wasn't two or three times right? It was zero times initially. I mean the initial claim was that he hadn't met with them at all.

HELDMAN: I have an issue with our Attorney General lying to Congress during his confirmation and then lying on forms and now we're starting to hear the whole story.

KAYE: Well I have an issue with the -- to me this is all one big distraction from the actual crimes has been committed. Why are they more focus on whether or not Sessions met with this ambassador two or three times instead of actual leaks that are harming our entire country?

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: From your war of words, because that is what this is boiling down, I'd like to go to the President's war of words and with Hillary Clinton very quickly. I do want to get your reaction to this because Hillary Clinton spoke on Wednesday and she had this to say, again, about the Russians. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON, UNITED STATES FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: So the Russians, in my opinion, and based on the Intel and counter Intel, people I've talked to, could not have known how best to weaponized that information unless they had been guided. And here's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guided by Americans?

CLINTON: Guided by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is that? Are you leaning Trump?

CLINTON: Yes, I'm leaning Trump. I think it's pretty hard not to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: OK. She said she thinks it's pretty hard not to. The President, he did not like. He put out a tweet. Let's read that for you and see what the president said. And he has this to say. "Clinton now blames everybody but herself refuses to say she was a terrible candidate, hits Facebook and even Dems and DNC." Hillary Clinton did not let that one go. This is what she said because it is the word of the day. "People in Covfefe Houses shouldn't throw Covfefe. Whatever Covfefe House looks like and whatever throwing Covfefe is. Andrea, your thoughts?

KAYE: Yes. Well, my thoughts are, hat tip for her for the most effective use of the word Covfefe today. Who knew Hillary Clinton had a sense of humor? But I actually liked what she did there. What I don't like is the continued excuses for her loss in the election. I think that's what so much of this whole Russian nonsense is about and oh, my God, did Sessions meet with him twice? The whole thing to me is all, you know, a smoke screen for why she lost the election.

It's all meant to undermine President Trump and eight months into this investigation, there's still nothing but leaks that are jeopardizing our national security. And I think that, you know, it's quite brazen of Hillary Clinton after everything that happened with her e-mail scandal to be making these kinds of statements, particularly since if there was any Russian collusion going on. I think it evolved during the Clinton Foundation as Secretary of State.

SESAY: Caroline?

HELDMAN: Well, I would say that I don't like Hillary Clinton's kind of speculative links between the Russians and having to have people in the United States and intelligence. Perhaps she knows something we don't. But without providing that evidence, it felt a little like a right wing, you know, not really based in much of reality. But it's nice to see her out and about talking and tweeting.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: All right, you two. Stick around, because we'll talk about the climate change agreement after the break. So thank you for this first round. We can practice covfefe during the break.

Next up, the world is waiting to see if the U.S. will walk away from the Paris Climate Accord. Senior officials are now revealing which way President Trump is leaning. Details when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

The headlines this hour --

(HEADLINES)

SESAY: The Trump White House is just hours away from making a historic decision that could dramatically affect the future of them planet. At issue is the Paris Climate Accord and whether the U.S. will honor the landmark agreement or not. A short time ago, President Trump tweeted he would announce his decision on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. eastern.

CNN's Sara Murray has the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very soon.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president is expected to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement, sources tell CNN, as Trump teases a formal announcement coming soon.

TRUMP: I'm hearing from a lot of people, both ways.

MURRAY: the monumental move would fulfill one of Trump's core campaign promises.

[01:35:07] TRUMP: We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement, and stop --

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Unbelievable. And stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.

MURRAY: But it would also isolate America from nearly every other nation on the globe, after 195 nations pledged in 2015 to take action to curve global warming. Every nation signed on but war-torn Syria and Nicaragua, which insists the deal isn't tough enough.

The precise mechanism for withdrawal and how far the U.S. will go are still being determined. And White House officials cautioned the plan could change before Trump announces publicly.

The expected decision drew swift backlash from Democrats. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed the move, saying, "President Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord is a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet's future."

But some Republicans welcome the news.

REP. MIKE LEE, (R), UTAH: I hate to see us harm our own economy by agreeing to something other people aren't going to follow through on.

MURRAY: Trump's decision also exposes a growing rift inside the nationalist and globalist views inside the West Wing. Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt had lobbied for leaving the climate agreement, arguing it creates burdensome regulation and harms job creation. But Ivanka Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who Trump met with today, have pressed the president to remain in the accord, warning that withdrawing could damage America's credibility and international negotiating power.

With major policy decisions looming, and the president still irritated about his staffing situation in the West Wing, Trump has been turning to his usual outlet for stress relief. Overnight, Trump appeared ready to take aim at the media, but instead, fired off this reflective missive, "Despite the constant negative press, covfefe." That tweet offered a moment of levity that delighted the Internet, even if it was eventually deleted.

Today, White House Pres Secretary Sean Spicer shed little light on the president's true intent.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.

MURRAY (on camera): So will the mystery of the president's late-night tweet continues. But that wasn't the only thing that Sean Spicer was evasive about on Wednesday. He also refused to say whether President Trump had made a decision about the Paris Climate Accord, except to say when the president is ready to announce it, everyone will know, and that President Trump is the ultimate decider.

Sara Murray, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Let's get perspective on the climate accord from China. Our own Matt Rivers is there in Beijing.

Matt, much of the world is addressing concern about the prospect of the U.S. pulling out of this agreement. What's the view from Beijing? How do they feel about that possibility of the U.S. no longer being part of this climate agreement?

MATT RIVERS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Isha, Beijing is seemingly ready to go it without the United States moving forward. They have been incredibly consistent in their public positions, in their public statements going from President Xi Jinping on down to the likes of the U.N. ambassador to China, to the foreign minister, to the premier, the second in charge of China's government. They say the right path forward is to remain in this agreement, this hard-fought agreement, as President Jinping described it, that it's the only responsible way for nations to move forward. So no matter what the United States does, you'll see China continue on this path. And you look at the numbers that back it up. Recently, $360 billion in funding announced by the Chinese government for clean energy projects by 2020. And they also say they're going to peak their carbon emissions by 2030, if not sooner. So China putting its money where its mouth is, regardless of what the United States plans to do.

SESAY: Matt Rivers in Beijing. Matt, appreciate it. Thank you.

All right, let's bring back the ladies. Caroline and Andrea are still with me. So let's talk climate change.

Caroline, to you first.

You heard Matt just talking about China being willing to go it alone if the U.S. pulls out, many worried that basically what you're doing is ceding ground to China. What do you see as the price here if the U.S. pulls out of this agreement?

FRIEDMAN: I think it makes us in some sense an immoral country. China is the number one polluter, we're number two. In addition to not really having a leg to stand on in terms of being concerned about future generations -- because climate change is real, 97 percent of scientists believe that, and I believe in science. But in addition, there's all these incentives that will dry up for clean energy that China is putting in their economy that we should be putting into our economy. So focusing on dirty coal, which is also known as coal, and focusing on these antiquated types of energy, we will lose the arms race for clean energy. We are already behind globally, and this will put us further behind morally.

[01:40:25] SESAY: Andrea, do you see this as an acceptable price to pay?

KAYE: I agree with President Trump when he said on the campaign trail that he thought that climate change, which originally was global warming, but they had to change it to climate change because global warming ending up not being true.

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: "The Inconvenient Truth" is Al Gore is going to have to do a sequel, because the predictions in the first one didn't come true.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Let's stay focused on the price to be paid here.

KAYE: The price to be paid for us as a nation is that we have the right as a nation to stay sovereign, that our policies and agenda, whether foreign policy, domestic policy, we have the right to decide that as a nation. And what this is really about is pressure from the left to move to -- it's all about globalization and diminishing our national sovereignty, and we need to not go down that path. And this notion of --

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: There's a price to paid for globalization that is damaging the United States.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: How is your sovereignty damaged if you're able to set your own limits, which every country is able to do? How is your sovereignty --

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: It's not settled science by the way.

SESAY: 97 percent of --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: Let's not do that.

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: I don't know where you got that number, because many scientists have been under death threats --

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: I wasn't trying to be insulting.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: Here's the thing. Climate is different from weather. That's why the name change, and --

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: 97 percent is what's known as a scientific consensus.

(CROSSTALK)

KAYE: I think we have the right to debate climate science --

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: As long as you're a scientist, jump in.

KAYE3: Are you a scientist?

FRIEDMAN: I'm a political scientist and I can read data.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: We're going to hit pause here. I think you will accept, one would hope, that most scientists, the majority of scientists stand by the findings that climate change is happening, and that it's not something that you can deny at this stage after all the research that's been done.

But we will hit pause and see what the U.S. does at 3:00 p.m. You two will be back and we'll pick it up again, round three.

Ladies, always a pleasure. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: All right. Yes, a well-earned break here. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., we're learning more about Tiger Woods' arrest in Florida. Police have just released dashcam video of the incident. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BRAK)

[01:45:52] SESAY: Police have released dashcam video that sheds more light on Tiger Woods' arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence. Officers say they found him asleep at the wheel on the side of a road in Florida early Monday. The golfer claims he had a bad reaction to prescribed medication.

Rosa Flores has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A dashcam video released by police show a very impaired Tiger Woods. It starts off with him having trouble getting out of his vehicle. Then the police officer tells him that one of his shoes is untied. He has trouble tying his shoe. So the police officer tells him that it's probably safer for him to take off his shoes. Then the police office asks him a few questions. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Have you had anything to drink tonight?

TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Are you sure?

WOODS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: 100 percent?

WOODS: 100 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Have you taken any illegal drugs?

WOODS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Have you taken any medication?

WOODS: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: What are you taking?

WOODS: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: OK. Do you remember what happened when my partner came up behind you?

WOODS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Do you remember being asleep in the car?

WOODS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: You don't?

WOODS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLORES: After that, the police officer administered a field sobriety test. He asked Tiger Woods to put his feet together, and he had trouble doing that. Then he asked him to follow a light with his eyes only. The police officer told him, sir, you're not even looking at the light. After that, he asked Tiger Woods to walk in a straight line, which he had difficulty doing. And then asked him to recite the ABCs, and he responded saying, "Not saying the national anthem backwards." Shortly after that, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

The next time we see Tiger Woods could be in open court. He is scheduled for arraignment on July 5th.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Jupiter, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Joining me now is clinical psychologist, Howard Samuels. He's the founder and CEO of the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles.

Samuel, thank you so much for joining us.

You're welcome.

SESAY: Take a look at more of this sobriety test they gave Tiger Woods. Take a look at this with me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODS: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Do you remember the instruction to touch the tip of your nose and put your hand back down by your side?

WOODS: No.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Can you recite the entire English alphabet in a slow, non-rhythmic manner, meaning, you're not going to sing it? Do you understand the instructions?

WOODS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: What were the instructions?

WOODS: Not to sing the national anthem backwards.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Not to sing the national anthem backwards?

WOODS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Clearly, he's in a bad state, as you see this. What is your reaction to seeing that video?

DR. HOWARD SAMUELS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: First of all, you know, you have to understand he had major back surgery I think a couple of months ago. So he's probably on some kind of pain medication, because for back surgery, it's very painful. You know, if he took the medication as prescribed, there's no reason why he would look like that.

SESAY: OK.

SAMUELS: That's the first problem.

SESAY: Let's be clear. To end up like that, first of all, pain meds could do that, but only if taken incorrectly.

SAMUELS: Absolutely.

SESAY: Now, is this a case where -- I mean, he ended up behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. I mean, is there any possibility that he wouldn't have been told it was dangerous to operate?

SAMUELS: No. He definitely would be told. Plus, usually, it's on the prescription bottles that these kinds of drugs create drowsiness and you should not drive a motor vehicle. Now, that is quite insane for somebody like Tiger Woods to be on the highway at 3:00 in the morning asleep or passed out.

And there are other drugs besides pain medication, muscle relaxers, OK? Anxiety drugs like Valium or Xanax. There's a whole slew of drugs in those three areas that would create this kind of behavior and intoxication.

[01:50:18] SESAY: So when we look at the situation at face value, he says there was no alcohol involved. The breathalyzer didn't register and he said it was pain medication. To get this kind of effect, could you take one type of drug incorrectly and get this? Or would you have to be mixing it with other things?

SAMUELS: You could be taking the drugs as prescribed, but maybe take an array of them.

SESAY: Sure.

SAMUELS: Which no doctor would suggest, right? That's what is very suspicious here about what's going on, because no way that he would -- if it was one doctor prescribing these drugs, he wouldn't prescribe a combination that would create this kind of behavior. So that is sort of the biggest concern here. At my treatment center, I see this every day of people coming into treatment --

(CROSSTALK)

SESAY: You see this kind of situation?

SAMUELS: I see this kind of situation that walk into my treatment center or are carried in by loved ones with people that look exactly like this, because they have abused the medication, and they've been, you know, acting out in that kind of manner.

SESAY: This kind of medication, I mean, it's highly addictive. It's habit forming.

SAMUELS: Absolutely. Absolutely.

SESAY: What is the kind of oversight or support or just kind of supervision that comes with prescribing them to anyone who has had this number of physical ailments?

SAMUELS: Well, for somebody that -- somebody like Tiger Woods, I don't think anyone is going to be holding his meds, although they should. But for normal people, they have the leeway to take whatever they want. They go home, they've got the prescription bottle. It says maybe one every four hours. Maybe they take four every four hours, which would then create this. Now, I don't think anybody is supervising him at home as far as what he can and can't take, but I'll tell you, now they will be after this episode.

SESAY: I mean, listen, we're speculating here. We don't know the finer details of this. But there are those that are wondering or expressing concern as to whether this may be some kind of habit or addiction that may be in the mix here. Do you have those same concerns?

SAMUELS: I do have those concerns, because there are already red lights in Tiger's behavior. Remember, he went to a sex addiction clinic a number of years ago, because he could not sexually stop acting out, which is in the world of addiction. Now we have this issue. I don't think it's a coincidence that these two are tied together.

SESAY: Howard Samuels, thank you so much for coming in and shedding light on this.

SAMUELS: You're welcome.

SESAY: Thank you.

SAMUELS: Absolutely. You're welcome. My pleasure.

SESAY: Quick break here. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., the kerfuffle over covfefe. Social media goes nuts over President Trump's head- scratching late-night tweet.

(COMJMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:54:52] SESAY: OK. So where is autocorrect when you need it? Certainly, not there to clean up President Trump's tweets, which set off a frenzy on social media.

Here's our own Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gibberish goes presidential. It wasn't even a complete sentence tweeted out by President Trump just after midnight. "Despite the constant negative press" -- what's that word?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.

MOOS: Professionals could only guess at how to pronounce it. In the public --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is hilarious.

MOOS (on camera): How do you say it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been saying it covfefe.

MOOS (voice-over): We're sure the president meant to type negative press coverage.

But the covfefe tweet stayed up for almost six hours. It was then deleted, and the president tweeted, "Who can figure out the true meaning of covfefe? Enjoy."

Which the Internet did. It was turned into a "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle. A "make America covfefe again" mocked up T-shirt. Eventually, the White House press secretary only confused things more.

SPICER: The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.

MOOS: Hillary Clinton probably wasn't part of that group.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I thought it was a hidden message to the Russians.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Tweeted one joker, "Are you suffering from small dysfunctional hands? Ask your doctor if covfefe is right for you."

Tweeted another, "I thought covfefe is what you say when someone sneezes."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds French, covfefe.

MOOS: Covfefe was turned into an Ivanka fragrance. A California man bought the license plate as soon as he noticed the non-word trending.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: What is a covfefe?

SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D), MINNESOTA: A Yiddish term for I have to go to bed now.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Ted Cruz tweeted, "Covfefe, hard to say, but I hear Al Franken's new book is full of it."

Many assumed President Trump just fell asleep -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covfefe.

MOOS: Mid tweet.

TRUMP: I know words, I have the best words.

MOOS: The best non-words, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe.

MOOS (on camera): You say that with such assurance.

(voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Covfefe.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SESAY: Covfefe, covfefe. Let's call the whole thing off.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. I'll be back with more news right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:00:07] SESAY: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour --

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