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Trump Willing to Testify on Comey; U.K. Election Complicates Brexit Talks; Trump and Team Send Conflicting Messages on Qatar; Russia Reacts to Comey Fallout; U.K. Election Complicates Brexit Talks; Russia Faces HIV Crisis; Trump Willing to Testify on Comey. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired June 10, 2017 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- under oath to give your version of -- ?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One hundred percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The President of the United States, Donald Trump, willing to tell his side of the story under oath, denying some of the allegations made by the former FBI director, James Comey.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): It was supposed to be a strong and stable victory for the Tories. Instead, Britain's election has weakened Theresa May's hand ahead of Brexit negotiations.
HOWELL (voice-over): And from Moscow, the stigma and the struggles of being HIV positive in Russia.
ALLEN (voice-over): Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We're live in Atlanta.
HOWELL (voice-over): And I'm George Howell from CNN World Headquarters. NEWSROOM starts right now.
HOWELL: Good day to you, 5:00 am on the U.S. East Coast.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, struck a defiant tone when asked about the former FBI director James Comey's testimony. He said that he will 100 percent testify. He's willing to do so to dispute Comey's account.
ALLEN: But oddly enough, he doesn't want to dispute everything Comey said. Here's our Jim Acosta from the White House. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Speaking as he tweets in short bursts, President Trump tried to have it both ways, clinging to the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey as his salvation while also slamming the man he fired in the same breath.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker.
ACOSTA: During a news conference with the Romanian president, Mr. Trump denied he tried to shut down the Russia probe, specifically when it comes to former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.
TRUMP: Well, I didn't say that, I mean, I will tell you I didn't say that.
ACOSTA: The president also rejected the notion that he asked Comey for a pledge of loyalty as the former FBI director said in sworn testimony.
TRUMP: I hardly know the man. I'm not going to say I want you to pledge allegiance, who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean think of it, I hardly know the man. It doesn't make sense. No, I didn't say that.
ACOSTA: Mr. Trump's response when asked whether he would speak under oath on the matter?
TRUMP: One hundred percent.
ACOSTA: But the president dug in his heels on the question of whether he has recordings of his conversations with Comey and others at the White House.
TRUMP: I'll tell you about that maybe some in the very near future. I'll tell you about it over a very short period of time. OK? OK. Do you have a question here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will you tell us?
TRUMP: Over a fairly short period of time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there tapes, sir? PRESIDENT TRUMP: You are going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don't worry.
ACOSTA: In their response to the Comey testimony, Democrats are eager for the president to tell all he knows under oath with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would expect at some point, not right away, but at some point that Mr. Mueller will feel he has to depose the president.
ACOSTA: Once subject the president was not asked about his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The White House has danced around whether the president has confidence in the attorney general. Even some Republicans say it's time to know more about Sessions' interactions with the Russians during the campaign.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-MAINE), MEMBER, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We, on the Intelligence Committee want to know the answers to those questions. We have begun to request information from the attorney general to allow us to get to the bottom of that.
ACOSTA: The president was asked by a Romanian reporter whether he's committed to NATO's Article 5, which would mandate that the U.S. come to the defense of the alliances more vulnerable nations on Russia's border.
TRUMP: I'm committing the United States and have committed, but I'm committing the United States to Article 5. Certainly, we are there to protect. That's one of the reasons that I want people to know we have a very, very strong force by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force. Yes, absolutely, I would be committed to Article 5.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
HOWELL: Jim Acosta, thank you.
Now a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, wrote a letter to her committee's chair, asking that it investigate anything related to obstruction to justice.
She also recommended issuing subpoenas to two intelligence agency chiefs, who refused to answer questions about their conversations with the president. She got an answer out of James Comey on Thursday; though, not quite an answer that she was --
HOWELL: -- looking for. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CALIF.) MEMBER, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Why didn't you stop and say, "Mr. President, this is wrong, I cannot discuss this with you"?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: That's a great question. Maybe if I were stronger, I would have. I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Let's talk more about these developments with Leslie Vinjamuri. She's an associate professor at SOAS University of London. She's on the U.S. and Americas Program at Chatham House as well. She joins us now live.
And, Leslie, a lot to break down here with Comey's appearance and the reaction from this president.
Seems like the big question is, what is the fallout from this?
The media seems divided on, does this show some sort of obstruction of justice?
LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, I think, unsurprisingly, that a lot of the reaction to the -- Comey's testimony was refracted through the partisan lens.
And you can see that even in the questioning during the hearing. On the one hand, Republicans were pushing, saying, why didn't you say more?
Did he really obstruct justice?
He didn't really tell you he couldn't -- that things had to stop. And Democrats pushing much more on the inappropriateness of the pressure, the not-so-subtle pressure that Comey felt that he was under in those very private meetings, not only to be loyal but to block and stop the investigations of Flynn.
So the fact that it's being portrayed in very different ways in the media, it sort of reflects that broader division that's going on. So it's a very -- there's a lot of fallout.
But I think the disturbing and difficult thing is that it is being interpreted in broadly partisan terms, which isn't to say that this won't have a broader impact on public opinion on the presidency, on the extent to which President Trump is compliant with the rule of law.
And there is an ongoing question about this issue of obstruction of justice certainly.
ALLEN: What about the tapes?
He was asked about that in his appearance outside the White House. And he kind of flirted with the answer. He first floated the idea that the conversation was taped. And now he's saying he won't answer that yet.
What if there are tapes?
And will we ever get there?
VINJAMURI: Yes, there's a big question mark about the tapes and he's hedging his bets. There's no way of knowing, of course, whether there are tapes. It's clear I think from Comey's testimony that, if there are tapes, he'd very much like for those to be released because as we know, he took copious notes. He's released those memos.
I think wouldn't mind in any way, shape or form having those tapes in the public domain so that there could be more objective evidence that the things that he's saying about the pressure he feels that he came under are evidently true. But it's not possible for us to know right now whether there are tapes
and if there are, perhaps the president is hedging on releasing those because they would potentially confirm some of what Comey said, that Donald Trump is seeking to push back against right now.
ALLEN: So what's the next thing to come from this otherwise?
We don't know how long it's taking Mr. Mueller to do his job but this investigation, it certainly is looking more like it will be a cloud over this administration longer than anything.
VINJAMURI: That's right. There's a couple of things here. One of the most fascinating things about Comey's testimony I think was that he reminded us that the issue, the fundamental issue really, where we began with this, is that there's a very basic question about Russia's activities in the U.S. presidential elections.
And as Comey made it very clear that that's a real issue, that there's absolutely no doubt in his mind that the evidence exists and he says they're coming back for America.
The problem now of course is that we're all very distracted by the secondary but very significant issue of whether or not there is an obstruction of justice charge legitimately to be made against the President of the United States for seeking to block these investigations and to see whether or not there's any relationship between the members of his team, past and present, and that broader question.
But that broader question is getting lost. Going forward, of course, there's going to be a lot of focus and I think Mueller will be pressing forward privately and very intensely.
And he will have watched those hearings very -- the public hearings very carefully and be drawing on that to further his own investigations.
And that's really where a lot of the work will take place. But at the level of the public hearings, now of course there's media attention; the public needs to know. And so there will be more, you know, more, a greater investigation and an attempt to try and drill down on whether or not Comey really legitimately came under undue pressure to block the investigations of Flynn and why he was fired.
It's a very difficult question that's not going to go away anytime soon.
ALLEN: Leslie Vinjamuri for us, as always, we thank you for joining us.
VINJAMURI: Thank you.
HOWELL: The British prime minister Theresa May is dealing with the shock of Thursday's election. She says that she will take time to reflect on how to move forward now that her Conservatives have lost their majority in Parliament.
ALLEN: And Ms. May had hoped for more support in Brexit talks later this month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: As the results started to come -- more results started to come through, it became clear that we were the party that had won most seats and most votes. And I felt it was incumbent on us at a critical time in our country to form a government in the national interest. And that is what I'm doing.
What I think is important in the Brexit negotiations, which will start in 10 days' time is that we have the certainty of a government that can take forward a plan into those Brexit negotiations.
That's why I think, at this critical time for our country, it's important to form a government in the national interest, as we are the party with the most seats and most votes. We're the only party that is in a position to form a government that can do that. And that's what we're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: While the prime minister is trying to put on a stiff upper lip, we're hearing from people who still support her. But many critics and members within her own ranks are now questioning her leadership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Theresa May's got to resign, you know. It's -- she's got to back this down. The gamble didn't pay off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Brexit talks, Britain's clearly the weaker party. So it's going to be up to the E.U. I think the whole (INAUDIBLE) of saying, of having a quick (ph) majority would improve the negotiating position is rubbish.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm relieved because, for a woman who changes her mind a lot, she promises a lot of stability and I think it's only by being held to account that we're going to get that stability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: That's the word on the street. Now let's get some reporting in context. We're joined now by Melissa Bell outside Number 10 Downing Street in London.
ALLEN: And CNN political contributor Robert Oakley from outside the Houses of Parliament.
Melissa, let's start with you there at 10 Downing Street. This has been a tough go of it for this prime minister. And she's still uncertain of her future. MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very great uncertainty about her ability to go forward and to remain leader at this crucial time in British politics.
You mentioned the Brexit negotiations. Remember it was her belief that a majority of 17 wasn't enough to give her the clout and strength that she needed to push through the kind of Brexit negotiations that she wanted that led her to take this catastrophic gamble to begin with.
So the woman who lives here at Number 10 Downing Street really has her work cut out for her over the next few days.
First of all, she's going to have to announce the rest of her cabinet. She's announced a few key positions and a number of important cabinet members remain in their posts and unchanged.
But it is nine middle-ranking and junior ministers that have lost their seats in this catastrophic election from the point of view of the Conservatives, who will now have to be replaced. That's the first thing Theresa May will have to do, even as she continues these talks with the DUP, the Ulster Unionists, in the hope of cobbling together a minority government.
ALLEN: What did her contemporaries think, her fellow MPs, when she decided to do this election?
Was there support for her then?
BELL: It's funny to think back seven weeks, Natalie, what has happened was unimaginable. And it seems like something of a stroke of political genius on her part, that she was going to capitalize on what seemed her unassailable position to reinforce her majority in order to head into those Brexit negotiations and get the kind of Brexit deal that she wants, that is a hard Brexit.
When you consider the size of the challenge, it isn't just the negotiations with European partners but even as those take place, the great repeal bill that is to be introduced in the queen's speech in nine days' time that will allow all the kind of legislative changes that will mean that law comes back to the United Kingdom in a way from the European Union.
The white paper mentions 12,000 pieces of E.U. regulation that will have to be changed. This requires a solid majority to get through this, requires the kind of political clout that Theresa May appears to have squandered.
ALLEN: Melissa Bell for us, outside Downing Street.
For more now, let's go to George.
Thank you, Melissa.
HOWELL: All right. Let's bring in Robin Oakley, outside the Houses of Parliament, CNN political contributor. Good to have you with us, Robin, always a pleasure. So let's talk
just a bit more about these two parties that will now form an alliance, the DUP and the Conservatives.
What does it mean for these two parties to come together?
And what is the danger here for Theresa May and her Conservatives, aligning themselves with the DUP?
ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a humiliation in the first place, for Theresa May to have to turn to the DUP, the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, to rescue her and to give her any chance of surviving as a minority government.
There's also a political danger in her doing so, because the British government is supposed --
OAKLEY: -- to remain neutral in disputes between the nationalists and the unionists in Northern Ireland politics. It's been a constitutional crisis going on there with the power sharing system having broken down.
So it is dangerous, firstly, for Theresa May to be identified with one side in the arguments within Northern Ireland politics.
Secondly, the DUP is regarded with suspicion by some in her own ranks, because of its -- MPs' attitudes on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.
Thirdly, I think there's a complication when it comes to Brexit, because the Northern Ireland party will demand concessions. They're very keen to have no effective border of the -- of course, with Brexit, the only land border that Britain will have with the European Union is in Ireland.
The Northern Ireland MPs will want a soft border that really it hasn't -- looks no different to how things are at the moment. So lots of complications in joining up with the DUP -- George.
HOWELL: Robin, let's talk more about Theresa May's advisers; they're taking a great deal of heat in the press today from Conservatives, who feel that she listened to them rather than members of her own party.
OAKLEY: Indeed. And the Conservative Party has been absolutely shocked, embarrassed, horrified, humiliated by this defeat. They want to blame somebody. But for the moment, they don't feel they can blame Theresa May too directly and try and eject her as leader, because that would make a complicated situation even more complicated.
So they want some sacrifices. And the first target for those sacrifices are the two people, her two closest advisers in Downing Street, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, known as her gatekeepers.
Many senior ministers resent their influence and control, they say, of Theresa May. They say they're not listened to, that those two advisers rule the roost. And so there is pressure for one or both of them to be got rid of in this immediate election aftermath.
The question is, though, how dependent is Theresa May on those two?
Her whole style has been of close decision-making with a small-knit group of decision-makers.
Would she be able to adapt to life without those two?
Certainly the pressure is for them go. And they, of course, also held to have stopped the chancellor, Philip Hammond, getting into the election campaign and countering Labour's economic arguments and Jeremy Corbyn being given a free run on those -- George.
HOWELL: We know, Robin, that Theresa May ran on the platform of strong and stable Brexit negotiations, just nine days away now. And the prime minister not nearly as strong as before the snap election and the government not nearly as stable.
Robin Oakley, we appreciate the context. Thank you so much.
ALLEN: Coming up here, Donald Trump is taking credit for a diplomatic crisis that has isolated Qatar. We'll tell you his new message. (MUSIC PLAYING)
HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: The U.S. is sending mixed messages when it comes to the crisis in Qatar. Top diplomats in Washington are urging regional power to stop isolating Doha.
HOWELL: But President Donald Trump has a completely different view on it. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding. They have to end that funding and its extremist ideology in terms of funding.
I want to call in all of the nations to stop immediately supporting terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: Some very strong words there against one of Washington's biggest allies in the Gulf.
Let's bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh following this story in Doha, Qatar. It's great to have you with us, Jomana. The president's words here
having a significant impact across the region.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And there's been so much confusion, George. The theme of this past week has been these mixed messages the United States is sending.
You have senior officials from the administration, calling for calm, trying to resolve this crisis. On the other hand, you have President Trump and his comments that could only be seen as inflaming the situation further.
And when this part of the world is looking to the U.S. for leadership position here, they are not getting that right now. It seems to be contributing to making this crisis worse.
And this is not just a diplomatic crisis. This is one that is having an impact on people's lives.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The holy month of Ramadan is a time when extended families meet and enjoy generations or traditions. But the political crisis in the Gulf is threatening to tear this family apart.
Dr. Wafaa Al Yazeedi is a Qatari single mother. Her children are Bahraini citizens. In Gulf countries, children take the citizenship of their father. And when Bahrain along with other countries severed ties with Qatar this month, it ordered its nationals to leave Qatar immediately.
DR. WAFAA AL YAZEEDI, QATARI CITIZEN: I am in the risk of losing my children. But I believe it is my dream all my life to raise them around me and to get married from around me --
AL YAZEEDI: -- and to be happy all the day. Now I may lose my children any minute.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The situation is uncertain but they believe that if they defy this order, Al Yazeedi's children would lose their Bahraini passports, leaving them stateless.
ALANOOD ALJALAHMA (PH), QATARI RESIDENT: My mom raised us by herself and it's tough especially because she's a single mother but that made us closer. And now, after 21 years, to decide us to pull us apart, based on the passport that we have, I mean, families are beyond passports.
It makes no sense to separate them based on what your passport.
At the end we're all humans, aren't we?
RASHED ALJALAHMA (PH), QATARI RESIDENT: I've been raised all my life in Qatar. I've lived with my mother. I've never like -- I've gone to Bahrain four times and it was just to visit family. And no I don't have any family that's worth visiting in Bahrain.
I wouldn't classify myself as a Bahraini because, you know, there is a English saying. It says your home is where your heart is and my heart is in this place.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): For Rashed, who is an aeronautical engineer, and Alanood, who is studying medicine at a branch of an Ivy league university in Doha, this is not just about being separated from their mother.
RASHED ALJALAHMA (PH): My point of view right now is my education and to further develop myself and it's only that. And that is what is really important to me. And this country has given me everything to do that.
And then they say, go back to the country that holds your 48 pages of a document?
KARADSHEH (voice-over): According to Qatari government figures, nearly 6,500 Qatari citizens are married to Emiratis, Saudis or Bahrainis.
ALANOOD ALJALAHMA (PH): It's not right. Children should never be separated from their parents, especially by force. I don't understand it. Especially with like a region that has multiple families from --
ALANOOD ALJALAHMA (PH): -- different countries. It makes no sense.
AL YAZEEDI: I never think that it would be happen in our country and in the Gulf region.
By countries who they are rise (ph). Brothers and sisters and neighbors who live all the life with us. Why?
KARADSHEH (voice-over): No one knows how or when the crisis will end, leaving thousands of families like this one living in limbo.
KARADSHEH: And, George, this is the story of one family. Amnesty International has released a report with so many more stories of families going through just this. And they're calling on Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain to respect human rights and, as they described it, stop toying with people's lives.
HOWELL: Real people being affected by this, Jomana, In the meantime, we understand these mixed messages coming from Washington, also the foreign ministers from Qatar and Russia are set to meet, Moscow set to help mediate a diplomatic crisis.
What more can you tell us about this?
KARADSHEH: Well, this visit that was announced a couple of days ago, we've seen so much movement, George, on the diplomatic scene. You've had foreign ministers and officials from the various Gulf states, traveling around the region; Kuwait has been also trying to mediate this crisis.
But I think the big question here is, what is the end game?
So you know, there's lots of theories about where this is all headed. And possibly here, one theory is that these countries are trying to push Qatar into a corner to try and get some concessions out of this tiny country that has had so much influence over the past few years in different parts of the region, competing with strong countries like Saudi Arabia -- George.
HOWELL: Just a few minutes shy of half-past noon there in Doha, Qatar. Thank you so much, Jomana Karadsheh, for the report.
Still ahead, the U.S. president says there's been no collusion and no obstruction.
ALLEN: And now he's willing to testify under oath to end the Russia investigation, he says. We'll look at how Moscow is reacting to that -- coming up.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): 5:30 am on the U.S. East Coast. We want to welcome back our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. This is CNN NEWSROOM. Great to have you with us. I'm George Howell.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Natalie Allen. The headlines this hour:
HOWELL: Comey testifies. The U.S. president says he's been vindicated after hearing that testimony of the fired FBI director.
ALLEN: And Mr. Trump has made an extraordinary offer to be sworn in and put his version of their conversations on the record. Here's Sara Murray with more.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No collusion, no obstruction, he is a leaker.
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A defiant President Trump says he is willing to testify under oath about his conversations with James Comey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he said those things under oath, would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of -- ?
TRUMP: One hundred percent.
MURRAY (voice-over): After restraining himself during Comey's testimony on Thursday, today, Trump is going on offense.
TRUMP: Frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said. And some of the things that he said just were not true.
MURRAY (voice-over): One day after Comey made clear he thought President Trump lied, Trump accused the former FBI director of lying under oath. But he refused to say whether he has tapes of his conversations with Comey.
TRUMP: I will tell that you about that maybe sometime in the very near future. Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer.
MURRAY (voice-over): This, as Trump and his allies adopt a questionable defense strategy, insisting the president is in the clear because Comey testified that Trump was not under investigation when Comey still led the FBI but arguing other parts of Comey's testimony are a fraud.
Trump insisted that he never asked Comey to back off the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
TRUMP: I didn't say that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he lied about that?
TRUMP: Well, I didn't say that. I mean, I will tell you, I didn't say that.
MURRAY (voice-over): And Trump also said he never asked Comey for loyalty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did he ask for a pledge of loyalty from you?
That's another thing he said.
TRUMP: No, he did not. I hardly know the man. I'm not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance.
Who would do that?
MURRAY (voice-over): Both statements that directly contradict Comey's testimony and while the president may feel exonerated, members of his own party are still airing their concerns and saying the president crossed a line.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-MAINE), MEMBER, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The president asked Mr. Comey to do an inappropriate action and that was to drop the investigation of General Michael Flynn. That was clearly inappropriate. It crossed a boundary that the president should not have crossed.
MURRAY: Now ever since President Trump originally raised the idea that he may have recordings of his conversations with James Comey, something he floated on Twitter, the White House has been playing coy about that notion.
Looks like that game is about to end. Both House and Senate investigators fired off a series of requests, including to the White House, saying they want to see those tapes -- Sara Murray, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Let's look at how Moscow is reacting to these revelations that we saw in Washington this week. Let's go to CNN contributor, Jill Dougherty, she's also the former CNN Moscow bureau chief.
And Jill, certainly, a lot of finger pointing as far as which aisle you were on, as far as the weight, whether the bombshell of Comey's revelations. But now Donald Trump says, wait, he's going to tell his side. So on it goes.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is. And, you know, the Russians essentially --
DOUGHERTY: -- Natalie, are saying, we're not even interested. The spokesperson for President Putin said basically, you know, we're not following this, because we have better things to do. And that's the attitude here; you know, even for Americans, I think, this is all very complicated every single action and reaction.
So the Russians are really standing back, not specifically commenting, except that Mr. Peskov, again, the spokesperson for the president, says they take what Comey is saying with distrust. In other words, they don't really believe what Comey is saying.
But they're not getting into the weeds. I think it could be for the Russians dangerous for the Russians to do that because it is very murky. And it's back and forth in the United States.
Essentially what they stand back and say is that this is a big nothing burger. This is, as one commentator who's pretty well -- he said it's a soap bubble. It's not going to go anywhere. And it's not going to end in impeachment. That's the Russian view.
ALLEN: We will wait and see, because it is going on for some time, certainly, in many different directions.
Let's move to the other international story we're following, that of the isolation of Qatar by the other powerful countries in that region. Mixed messages coming from the Trump team; Trump saying one thing about it, his secretary of state saying another, all the while Russia is stepping in to try to solve it.
DOUGHERTY: Right, and the United States certainly is not on the same page, it would appear, the president and his secretary of state. But the Russians are. And what they have right now is the foreign minister, here in Moscow, greeting and meeting the foreign minister of Qatar, Mohammed Al Thani.
And they are showing -- they're making it very clear that Russia wants to help to solve this. And the Qataris, for their part, are happy to have, you know, a major country that is interested in solving it.
So behind the scenes, there will be a lot of talk about Qatar's isolation, about the blockade and also about Syria and how -- that's a Russian interest -- how all this could affect the situation in Syria.
Don't forget, you know, Russia and Qatar really are dependent upon each other. They're both the biggest gas producers in the world. They have an economic relationship. There's quite a bit of investment by the Qataris here, so the Russians do want to bring it to an end and they also want to show that they have influence in the Middle East.
ALLEN: Jill Dougherty for us out of Moscow, we thank you, Jill.
HOWELL: Time for a recap of the big story we're following out of the United Kingdom. The British prime minister Theresa May is clinging to power after Thursday's snap election that she called. She called the vote to shore up her support ahead of Brexit talks but for Conservatives, they lost seats in Parliament. They lost their majority.
ALLEN: Ms. May says she will form a government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party. But questions remain about what kind of deal she'll make and her approach to Brexit talks. Here's what she said Friday about the new government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I will now form a government, a government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: For more on the election that is set back -- that's been a setback for Ms. May, I should say, we are joined by now by Silvia Borrelli. She is a reporter with Politico Europe.
Silvia, always a pleasure to have you with us this hour.
The prime minister vowed to stay on, to keep her leadership. She's seen as a lame duck.
How sure is her leadership moving forward?
SILVIA BORRELLI, POLITICO: Well, for now, you know, you have to ask yourself, is it, does it make sense to oust her just days before the Brexit negotiations kick off?
And the answer is probably not.
But at the same time, is her position tenable in the long term for the next five years?
And the answer to that is probably not as well. So it is quite complicated.
And if you think about when she called the snap election in April, just two months ago, her popularity was very high and the Conservatives were pretty sure they were going to went this by a landslide. And look how things have changed.
So it's very hard now to say how things are going to look like six months down the line. But now with the Brexit negotiations about to kick off, it is very tricky.
HOWELL: Theresa May got more seats in Parliament with her Conservatives, so she won, in effect, but lost her stronger position, the position she had before the snap election.
Jeremy Corbyn didn't get as many seats in Parliament with Labour but, in fact, he won because he got more than many expected.
So the question here, with Jeremy Corbyn, how much stronger a voice --
HOWELL: - does he have in British politics?
BORRELLI: Well, definitely a stronger one, George, because, again, Jeremy Corbyn was very unpopular, especially within his own party, just months ago. And now this high, young voters turnout and all this momentum he's gained on the campaign trail, bringing him to actually get more seats than expected and almost to put the Conservative Party in a situation where they might not have been able to even form a coalition, really gives him strength.
It really gives him power and it is very likely that we'll see him run for prime minister if Theresa May or the Conservatives end up governing for the next five years. We are very likely to see Jeremy Corbyn still in this position five years down the line.
HOWELL: Silvia Borrelli, live for us in London, thank you for the insight. We'll stay in touch with you as well.
ALLEN: Coming up here, Russia has an escalating HIV problem. We'll look at why those trying to help say the government is getting in the way.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC PLAYING)
HOWELL: Welcome back to NEWSROOM.
We're taking a closer look now at the spread of HIV in Russia. It's been escalating.
ALLEN: Russia has the third highest HIV infection rate in the world. And it's increasing at an annual rate of 10 percent. CNN's Ivan Watson has more on the epidemic and the challenges patients face just to get help.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Friday night in Moscow. Anna Alimova is headed out to work.
ANNA ALIMOVA, ANDREY RYLKOV FOUNDATION: We are going to the pharmacy. There are a lot of drug users and we are making outreach there.
WATSON (voice-over): Alimova works with a small charity that runs the only clean needle distribution program in Moscow. They give free syringes to injecting drug users, some of the people most vulnerable to the HIV epidemic that's sweeping across this country.
There are a lot of people shooting up on this street corner.
WATSON: This area is littered with used syringes and empty bottles of tropicamide. That's an over-the-counter eye drop used normally to dilate your pupils. Drug abusers inject it into their veins. And reuse of dirty needles is contributing to the spread of HIV in Russia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Globally, the Russian Federation has the third largest number of new HIV infections annually.
WATSON (voice-over): Over the last five years, Russia's HIV infection rate grew at a average rate of 10 percent a year, reaching a peak of more than 1.1 million diagnosed cases in 2016. Experts say the real number may be much higher because so many potential patients are afraid to come forward for testing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talk about an HIV epidemic but what we're really seeing is an epidemic of stigma and discrimination.
WATSON (voice-over): Take Masha, for example, she's a mother and long-time heroin addict who first tested positive for HIV in 2003. When she went to a doctor recently to treat the drug-related ulcer on her leg, Masha says he kicked her out of his office and refused to treat her because she has HIV.
Masha and her friend, Anya, both desperately want to kick their addiction to illegal injected opioids. But methadone clinics, which provide safer oral substitutes, are illegal in Russia.
And the women say they're afraid to go to a government rehab center for fear the state will take away their children.
WATSON: Would methadone clinics, would needle distribution programs make a change in the infection rate, you believe?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, absolutely.
WATSON (voice-over): Last year, the Russian government announced a new plan to fight the spread of HIV. But in a separate move, the government labeled the small non-profit organization Anna Alimova works for a foreign agent because it accepts foreign money to fund its work.
WATSON: Yes, are there other needle distribution programs?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, (INAUDIBLE), no. No.
WATSON: This is the only one?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes and --
WATSON: One bus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, in all Moscow.
WATSON (voice-over): These activists on the front line of Russia's war against HIV now fear their own government may shut them down -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Moscow.
HOWELL: In the United Kingdom, the prime minister, Theresa May, is reflecting on the snap election that weakened her position heading into Brexit. But a very different story for the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.
He may be feeling like more of a rock star these days than a politician. He got a hero's welcome outside his local pub in North London after that election. Supporters shook his hand, they took selfies with him and celebrated his party's electoral gains against the Tories.
ALLEN: And on social media, the #CansForCorbyn is trending. The posts show supporters cracking open beer cans to celebrate Corbyn's newfound success.
All right, well, people in the United States who like NBA may be popping open beer cans soon. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs are still alive in the NBA finals. They put up 86 points in the first half of --
(CROSSTALK) ALLEN: -- that's a great shot -- you might see over an entire game. Final: Cavs 137, Golden State, 116. The Warriors taking their first loss of the post season, spoiling their chance at a full sweep of these playoffs.
HOWELL: Now they're looking at the same situation as last year, up three games to one, heading back home to Oakland with a chance to clinch the game.
Students of history will remember that didn't work so well last time. But this is a different team from last year, so we will see. Game five is set for Monday.
HOWELL: Man, that's a great shot.
ALLEN: I know.
HOWELL: Fans of the hit HBO series, "Game of Thrones" are learning new details about its next season, which starts July 16th here in the U.S. "Entertainment Weekly" reports that season seven will include a supersized episode with a runtime of 90 minutes. So it's essentially a movie that you'll be watching.
ALLEN: Also the new season will feature its shortest episode, just 50 minutes. Mixed news there for "Game of Thrones" fans but it's all good if you're loving "Game of Thrones."
HOWELL: For sure.
All right, returning to our top story, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, says that he's been vindicated after hearing the testimony of the fired FBI director, James Comey.
ALLEN: Comey's hearing was either really bad for the president or really good. It depends whom you ask and where you get your information. Here's our media reporter, Brian Stelter.
BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a hearing seen in the eye of the beholder.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: A huge victory for Donald Trump today and a massive defeat for the Democrats and, of course, the propaganda media.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Well, this will end bad.
STELTER (voice-over): And on the Right, some Conservatives are declaring victory and saying it's already over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Jim Comey's credibility is at about zero right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that this is all passed, he can go back to doing what he promised he was going to do. There is no clouds, there's nothing getting in his way. They can't be obstructionist.
STELTER (voice-over): Trump's son says the clouds have parted. But if you change the channel, it is stormier than ever.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Well, today was, really was, as it was predicted to be, the worst day of the Trump presidency.
STELTER (voice-over): It's like hearing about a different hearing.
O'DONNELL: Imagine, right now at this moment, the seething rage that you know the president is living with.
STELTER (voice-over): This battle of ideas is not going away. It's a choose-your-own-news --
STELTER (voice-over): -- situation.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: So let's see, where are we now?
A month of shrinking hype, millions of words of ink, hundreds of hours of the shrillest television ever produced add up to pretty much nothing.
STELTER (voice-over): There is a split between the pro-Trump media and the mainstream media. FOX opinion hosts are hoping for the best while veterans of D.C. scandals know there is much more to come.
BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think there is a big task. I think we now have about 5 percent to 10 percent --
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: Five percent to 10 percent?
WOODWARD: -- of the answers to the questions we need.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're sort of in the middle, beginning of the middle of this process, certainly not the end of this process.
STELTER (voice-over): Contradicting Trump's son, experts are saying this is far from over.
BOB SCHIEFFER, FORMER MODERATOR, "FACE THE NATION": My general rule is, when things look pretty bad, from what we know, it's usually worse. This is extremely serious.
STELTER (voice-over): Try telling that to Trump backers like Corey Lewandowski, who claim leaks are the real story.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: What we've seen from Jim Comey is his goal is manipulate the media, manipulate the press. He is part of the deep state. He's everything that is wrong in Washington.
STELTER (voice-over): On Twitter, the president confirms that he is watching, thanking FOX's conservative themed morning show for its "great reporting" and blasting what he calls "false statements and lies" from Comey.
The two men can't agree on the facts. And in a polarized media world, neither can the country.
HOWELL: And Brian Stelter there, also pointing out in his piece the difference between journalists who report the news and opinion hosts, who basically have opinions.
Thanks for being with us. This is CNN NEWSROOM. For viewers in the U.S., "NEW DAY" is next.
ALLEN: For everyone else, "Destination Philippines" is coming next. Thanks for watching.