Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Plays The Blame Game; May To Meet With Party Members After Cabinet Reshuffle; May: Government Is Getting On With Work It Needs To Do. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 12, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: British Prime Minister, Theresa May, shakes up her government as she tries to hold on to power. Donald Trump calls James Comey "cowardly" after the former FBI Director called the President a liar. And Russia a brace before a day of protest, why government crackdowns aren't stopping the youth opposition? It's all ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen. We're live in Atlanta, and NEWSROOM starts right now.

The British Prime Minister is trying to cling to power, and we mean cling after the fiasco of last week's election. Theresa May made a few changes to her cabinet and on Monday she's expected to seek support from members of her party furious they lost their majority in parliament. Her Conservative Party cannot win votes in parliament on its own after the election backfired on her. So, now, Mrs. May is negotiating a deal with a small Northern Irish Party to form a working majority. The Prime Minister says she's pressing on with the job and plans to serve a full term.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There is a job to be done, and I think what the public want is to ensure that the government is getting on with that job. I've pointed cabinet ministers today. I'll be meeting with my cabinet tomorrow. On Tuesday, I will be going to France for meetings with President Macron. These are important in getting on with our preparations for the Brexit negotiations, but also dealing with the challenges that people see in their everyday lives.


ALLEN: So, she's steeling herself to stay in there but critics, here are some, are still calling on her to throw in the towel and many say it's just a matter of time. In a BBC interview, former U.K. Chancellor, George Osborne called Mrs. May, "a dead woman walking." Some speculated Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was planning to challenge Mrs. May as leader of the Conservative Party, but Johnson told Sky News, he fully backs the Prime Minister.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I genuinely think that the people of this country - this is the third year running that we have (INAUDIBLE) to the polls, we have asked them to vote in the general election, in a referendum, and another general election. I think they've had enough of this stuff. I think what they want is politicians to get on, deliver Brexit, and deliver on their priorities. And Theresa May is by far the best person - she's the best-placed person to do that.


ALLEN: All right. Boris Johnson, saying that. Their CNN's, Oren Liebermann, is live at 10 Downing Street in London. But at the same time, Mr. Corbin has said he expects there to be another election perhaps this year or next.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is not the only one saying that the next elections are sooner rather than later. And that's because of the disastrous results of the election that was only four days ago. This should have been a celebratory week for Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the Tories. Instead, they're trying to reshuffle and figure out how to make this work as May finds herself in an incredibly weak position, forced to make an agreement with a Northern Irish Party that has only ten seats, just to get that workable majority. And the question is what will change or how will Theresa May change her stance on Brexit? She'd wanted a hard Brexit.

There are now overtures she may have to soften her stance. And all of that instability comes at a critical time with Brexit negotiations just a week away. And that, perhaps, is why you're seeing May get support from Boris Johnson and some of the other big names within her party. That's a reflection of how disastrous these results were for her party. And for those other names that might try to replace her to try to bring a bid to replace her right now would simply introduce more instability into the Tories. So that perhaps a reflection of why she's getting that support at the moment.

Meanwhile, Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, fresh off his election victory although not an outright victory, he's not sitting here behind me in Downing Street. He did have an incredibly successful result. He predicted elections are sooner rather than later when speaking to the BBC's Andrew Mars.


JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I think it's quite possible - it's quite possible there will be an election later this year or early next year, and that might be a good thing because we cannot go on with a period of great instability. We have a program. We have the support, and we are ready to fight another election campaign as soon as may be because we want to be able to serve the people of this country.


LIEBERMANN: The problem for Prime Minister, Theresa May, is that Corbyn's not the only one predicting early elections. And the question at this point seems to be how long. It seems, Natalie, like she's been able to put it off for at least a few weeks with the support of some of the big names within her own party. But the general senses here is that this government won't go via the full term.

[01:05:05] ALLEN: Yes. And we'll wait and see. Certainly, we'll hopefully learn sooner than later about that. Thank you so much, Oren Liebermann, for us. Earlier, I spoke with Dominic Thomas, he's the Chair of the Department of French Studies at UCLA. I began by asking him to react to the comment from the former Chancellor that Prime Minister May is a dead woman walking.


DOMINIC THOMAS, UCLA DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES CHAIRMAN: If you just look to the last six elections, the only time the Conservative Party has come out with a majority was in 2015, which was the majority David Cameron delivered, essentially making a deal with UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party promising the referendum on Brexit. And so, we know how that turned out. And Theresa May inherited that majority and made a gross miscalculation by going to the polls here not only to try and extend her lead and give herself a mandate but essentially moving away from trying to have any kind of compromise with anyone else in the House of Commons over Brexit negotiations. And it's backfired, and given the fact that prior to that, David Cameron in 2010 had to go into coalition with the Lib Dems, and now they're looking at the DUP. I think a lot of British people are wondering what exactly the Conservative Party stands for today.

ALLEN: Exactly. A lot of questions about the DUP and bringing them on as well. Do you think she will be able to pull this together?

THOMAS: I think it's extremely unlikely. However, as, you know, the previous report said, where does the Conservative Party go if it's not with Theresa May? And the risk there is, you know, to the point to lead there with a very thin majority in Parliament with this. She's not even calling it coalition but its alliance with the DUP would put them in a very fragile position.

And yet the Conservatives also know that if they were to call another snap election in the weeks to come, the outcome would be as equally uncertain as this particular one. So, they're sort of rudderless right now and it will be interesting to see how the meeting goes with the back benches on Monday. The meeting that was initially scheduled for Tuesday has been moved up, which I think points to the urgency of the Conservative Party wanting some kind of resolution here.


ALLEN: Dominic Thomas for us. The U.K. isn't the only country grappling with a big vote. France just voted for its parliament. More from Dominic Thomas now and what this means for President Emmanuel Macron coming up. The British Prime Minister's office says there has been no change to the invitation from Queen Elizabeth to U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Guardian reported he was planning to delay a state visit to the U.K. The White House also denies the report it claims Mr. Trump was uneasy over his perceived unpopularity in Britain. Opposition Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had this to say on Twitter. Cancellation of President Trump's state visit is welcome, especially, after his attacks on London's mayor and withdrawal from Paris climate deal.

Well, the U.S. President isn't done blasting the testimony of former FBI Director, James Comey. On Twitter, he said, "I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal. Very cowardly." Comey testified he leaked memos of his conversations with the President hoping it would trigger the appointment of a Special Prosecutor in the Russia investigation.

Meantime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has offered to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday. CNN's Athena Jones reports final details haven't been worked out about that.


ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there! It's going to be up to the Senate Intelligence Committee to decide whether to allow Attorney General Sessions to testify on Tuesday and whether to have that session be open to the public or closed to the public. According to reporting by my colleague, Manu Raju, this request by Sessions to testify caught the committee by surprise. That's why we haven't gotten immediate definitive answers about their plans.

We also know from Manu's reporting that there are some on the committee who are concerned that Sessions may be trying to avoid testifying publicly. Among those concerned is the Vice Chairman of the Committee, the Top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. Another Democrat on the committee who is concerned about this is Oregon's, Ron Wyden. Wyden has sent a letter to the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committee asking that any session with Sessions be open to the public. And of course, we know that there are a lot of questions that congressional investigators have for the Attorney General when they do get a chance to question him.

Among them, we would expect them to touch on Sessions' involvement in the firing of James Comey as FBI Director. We know that Comey has said he believed he was fired because of his handling of the Russia investigation. And of course, Sessions was supposed to have recused himself from the Russia investigation. So, that is just one of many questions we expect congressional investigators to have for the Attorney General. But the main question right now is when he'll testify and whether we'll be able to watch it? Back to you.


[01:10:13] ALLEN: Athena Jones for us. Democrats and Republicans are stepping up their demands for President Trump to turn over any tapes of his conversations with Comey.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: He should voluntarily turn them over not only to the Senate Intelligence Committee but to the Special Counsel. So, I don't think subpoenas should be necessary, and I don't understand why the President just doesn't clear this matter up once and for all.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: There were no witnesses. If there are tapes, please-and the Presidency's equivocal on this-bring those tapes forward.


ALLEN: Well, now, former U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara, says Comey's descriptions of meetings with the President are like deja vu, reminding him of calls he received from Donald Trump before he was fired.


PREET BHARARA, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY: So, he called me in December, ostensibly just to shoot the breeze and ask me how I was doing and wants to make sure I was OK. It was similar to what Jim Comey testified to with respect to a call he got when he was getting on the helicopter. I didn't say anything at the time to him. It was a little bit uncomfortable, but he was not the President.

He was only the President-elect. He called me again two days before the inauguration, again, seemingly to check in and shoot the breeze. And then he called me a third time after he became President, and I refused to return the call. And in reporting the phone call to the Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, I said it appeared to be that he was trying to cultivate some kind of relationship.


ALLEN: He too was fired. Some Republicans are venting their frustrations with the President's public commentary.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Here's what's so frustrating for Republicans like me. You may be the first President in history to go down because you can't stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that if you just were quiet, would clear you.


ALLEN: CNN Political Analyst and Washington Post Columnist, Josh Rogin, joins us now from Washington. Josh, thanks for being with us. Let's start with the Attorney General. He's going to testify, Jeff Sessions, about his meetings with the Russians. But the dilemma is will it be an open or closed meeting? What's situation?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST AND WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Well, Jeff Sessions sent a letter to Senators stating that he no longer wanted to testify at his scheduled appropriations committee hearing to talk about the Justice Department's budget but would rather testify before the Intelligence Committee under a closed session. And the Intelligence Committee is trying to figure out how to deal with that now. On the one hand, they want to have him in closed Sessions, tell them about his meetings with the Russians. It helps their investigation.

On the other hand, there's a big demand on Capitol Hill, and the press around America for the Attorney General to also testify in public, which he doesn't seem to want to do anymore. So they have to negotiate. They have to figure out how to satisfy both desires. And at the same time, they don't want to be seen as letting Jeff Sessions off the hook. The Attorney General has a responsibility to talk to the American people and Senators about important issues. So, we'll have to see over the next two days whether or not they can convince the Attorney General to speak both in public and in private.

ALLEN: So, it's his decision? Does the President have any sway in this, or is it going to be Jeff Sessions' decision?

ROGIN: Well, Jeff Sessions is in a unique position because he's not in good favor with the President of the United States right now. Remember, he offered to resign only a few weeks ago although that offer was rejected. He has recused himself from the Russia investigation. James Comey mentioned at last week's testimony that they had some information that was classified that supported his recusal. Nobody knows what that is. So Jeff Sessions is looking out for Jeff Sessions.

Of course, that puts him in a terribly difficult position because the White House wants him to testify and back up the President if he can, as much as he can. And Jeff Sessions also wants to do that if he's not going to get himself in further jeopardy. So, he has to choose, in essence, does he publicly defend the President, or does he look out for his own best interests? And I think that's the dilemma he's facing.

ALLEN: Right. He wants to come out better from this, not worse.

ROGIN: Exactly.

ALLEN: Yes. It's almost like the Comey-Trump thing.

ROGIN: Right.

ALLEN: Who you believed that he said, he said - so, where is that situation? First, let's talk about the tapes. It was the President himself who bragged that there may be tapes of their meeting. And then when asked on Friday, he just seems to dodge answering it. Why the hedge?

ROGIN: Nobody knows. It's not only the President but all of the Senior White House staff, all of his surrogates have refused to answer or take seriously the question of whether or not there is a taping system inside the White House. And secondly, whether or not that potential taping system recorded this particular conversation: the dinner between President Trump and then-FBI Director James Comey.

Of course, it was President Trump who brought this up in the first place and now seems to be telling people - seems to be indicating that the tape doesn't exist. But, you know, no one's going to let this go until they tell us one way or the other. And nobody understands why they don't just answer it because they're going to have to do it sooner or later.

[01:15:16] ALLEN: That's the point. They are. Maybe he -- they aren't and he doesn't want to admit that he said that. But he's been ordered to hand them over if they're there. Does he have to do that?

ROGIN: There's been no subpoena. The Senators are trying to give him a chance to do the right thing of his own volition. He doesn't seem to be taking them up on that opportunity. I think what you're going to see is if he doesn't deny there are tapes and he doesn't provide the tapes, then the Senators are going to start to take more coercive measures like subpoenas to figure it out one way or another. They're not going to let this go at this point.

ALLEN: All right. Another big week on Capitol Hill. Thank you so much, Josh Rogin. I appreciate you joining us.

ROGIN: Thank you.

ALLEN: One of the key moments in Comey's testimony was his description of President Trump saying he hoped Comey could let go of the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Mr. Trump's lawyer denies the President ever said that. And Mr, Trump's son says there was no direct order.


DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: When I hear the Flynn comment, you and I both know my father a long time. When he tells you to do something, guess what? There's no ambiguity in it. There's no, hey, I'm hoping. You and I are friends. Hey, I hope this happens, but you got to do your job. That's what he told Comey. And for this guy as a politician to then go back and write a memo, oh, I felt threatened, but he didn't do anything.


ALLEN: Donald Trump Jr. also questioned Comey's credibility, saying Comey got caught up in his own nonsense.

President Trump could soon face some new legal troubles. The attorneys general for the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland say they'll announce a major lawsuit against the President on Monday. According to the Washington Post, they claim he's accepted millions of dollars in payments and benefits from foreign governments after taking office through his hotels and other businesses. If so, that would violate anti-corruption clauses in the constitution. The President said in January he would turn over day to day business management to his sons to avoid possible conflicts of interest.

First lady Melania Trump is now officially living at the White House. On Sunday, she tweeted, "Looking forward to the memories we'll make in our new home. #MovingDay." Mrs. Trump was previously living in New York so her son could finish up the school year.

After a week of isolation, Qatar is getting help from Iran and hiring a special adviser to get through the diplomatic showdown with its Persian Gulf neighbors. We'll tell you about that in a moment.

Plus, an opposition leader calls for protests across Russia. How youth are standing up to the Kremlin.


[01:21:53] ALLEN: And welcome back. Iran is promising to stand by Qatar even as other Gulf nations are cutting all ties. As you know, Iran is sending in food and helping out Qatar. They have been cut off from supplies. They're sending in plane loads of fruit and vegetables because Qatar heavily relies on imports for food. Since the blockade began, many Qataris began stockpiling supplies. In the meantime, the government has hired former U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft, to handle its response to the diplomatic showdown. The crisis started about a week ago when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism. Doha denies the allegations and over the weekend asked for open dialogue to resolve the conflict. Our Jomana Karadsheh takes a closer look.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The worst diplomatic crisis in decades hit one of the Arab world's most stable regions after years of simmering tensions. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates in a coordinated move severed ties with Qatar. Several other countries including Egypt joined the anti-Qatar campaign. The reason, they said, was Qatar's destabilizing impact on the region through its support of terrorist organizations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever being thrown as an accusation is all base the on misinformation.

KARADSHEH: Qatar rejected the accusations as baseless and unjustified. Qatar says it is the victim of a coordinated campaign of misinformation and the crisis being triggered by a hack of its state news agency last month. Quotes attributed to this country's leader appeared on the state news agency's website on May the 24th, praising Iran and Hezbollah, criticizing its neighbors and President Trump. U.S. investigators confirmed the hack, and an FBI team was sent to Doha to investigate.

Some also believe that President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia last month may have been the real catalyst for this crisis, emboldening countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia to use his call for combating terrorist funding as a pretext to settle regional scores. President Trump, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, not shying away from taking credit for the isolation of one of America's key allies in the region. Qatar is home to an air base, an important staging area for the fight against ISIS and where more than 11,000 U.S. troops are based. Throughout the past week, diplomatic efforts led by Kuwait were under way to try and resolve the crisis. And this weekend, Qatar's Foreign Minister meeting his Russian counterpart in Moscow. This as the U.S. continued to send mixed messages.

REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar. There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade.

KARADSHEH: Just a short time after this statement from America's top diplomat, the President yet again singling out Qatar.

TRUMP: The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. So we had a decision to make. Do we take the easy road, or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism.

[01:25:20] KARADSHEH: Backed into a corner with mounting pressure from its neighbors enforcing a blockade and shunned by allies like the U.S., Qatar may have very few options out of this crisis, forcing it to agree to long-sought concessions by the Saudi and Emirati alliance. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Doha.


ALLEN: CNN's Fareed Zakaria has given the U.S. President some input on the crisis in Qatar. He says Donald Trump's plan to pull closer to Saudi Arabia has backfired and cautioned the President on making any hasty decisions.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN FAREED ZAKARIA GPS HOST: The premise of Trump's strategy was to support Saudi Arabia fully in the belief that it would be able to fight terror and stabilize the region. In fact, Trump gave a green light to the Saudis to pursue their increasingly aggressive sectarian foreign policy. The first element of that policy has been to excommunicate its longtime rival Qatar. The Saudis have always viewed Qatar as a troublesome neighbor and are infuriated by its efforts to play a regional and even global role by hosting large American military bases, founding the Al Jazeera television network, planning to host the 2022 World Cup, and punching above its weight diplomatically. It's true that Qatar has supported some extremist Islamist movements. So has Saudi Arabia. Donald Trump recently learned that health care is complicated. Well, welcome to the Middle East.


ALLEN: For more from Fareed Zakaria and his take on the rift in the Gulf and other global issues, visit

Coming up, what Marine Le Pen says about Sunday's French parliamentary vote. How her far-right National Front fared. We'll tell you about that ahead here.


[01:30:31] NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen, with our top stories.


ALLEN: French President Emmanuel Macron's party is set for a landslide victory in parliament. The first round of voting was Sunday and the centrists are projected to win well over 400 seats in the lower House. There are 577 seats available. Such a margin of victory would give Mr. Macron a strong majority to further his political and economic agenda.

The French prime minister is praising the recent gains.


EDOUARD PHILIPPE, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translation): My dear fellow citizens, France is back. For the past month, the president of the republic knew how to embody confidence, will and boldness in France as well as on the international stage. As for the government, its composition shows a radically new grouping, and it is determined to serve France and to respond to the French people's expectations.


ALLEN: Meantime, Marine Le Pen blamed low voter turnout for her far- right party's performance. Right now, they're expected to come in third place with around 13 percent of the vote.

I spoke earlier with Dominic Thomas, who chairs the French department at UCLA. He talked about how the election in France differs from the one we've seen in the U.K.


DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR, FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA: What's interesting in some ways, it's a big distinction between the French and the British system, between a constitutional republic and a constitutional monarchy, where the two-party system in Britain essentially perpetuates the sort of the ways in which these two parties have ended up. The thing with Emmanuel Macron is, back in 2002, the elections were changed to five-year terms so that they would match the legislative elections, and all parties and presidents elected have carried forward that momentum.

The big question around Emmanuel Macron is he had a movement going into this election and he won, and the with two traditional parties all the way back to the begins in 1958 had always made it through into the second round, except in 2002 when Marine Le Pen's father made it. The big question was whether he was going to be able to carry that momentum forward and create a political party. And it looks like he's been able to do that, building on the divisions in society but also running deputies in all these races. He has the youngest average age of deputies, the greatest number and percentage of women, the greatest diversity, and things are looking very good.

The voting system is a strange one. It's sort of an aggregate of voter turnout and the percentage that you get. And the low voter turnout has paradoxically helped him as well. He looks to carry arguably what will be one of the largest victories in a legislative election in the last 25 years. So it's a completely different story than what's happening across the channel.


ALLEN: The second round of voting in the French election is set for Sunday.

Protests are set for cities across Russia in the coming hours. It's a national holiday, and opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, has called for anti-government rallies. His supporters say they'll take place in 200 cities, regardless of whether the government allows them. Navalny says he wants to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential race. He's been mobilizing support on social media and hopes the rallies will rattle the Kremlin.

Navalny's presidential bid faces hurdles, though. He's been convicted of embezzlement and cannot run under Russian law. He says the charges were politically motivated. But government crackdowns haven't stopped young people, opposition, from speaking out.

For more on that, Diana Magnay reports from Moscow.



[01:35:28] DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Discipline and obedience --


MAGNAY: -- the order of the day on Victory Day, Russia's annual military parade.


MAGNAY: The weekend around Victory Day, a different tune.


MAGNAY: "Russia without Putin", they chant --


MAGNAY: -- shouting into the wind perhaps in a country where the president enjoys upwards of 80 percent approval ratings.

But what marks these demonstrations out is the number of young people here, some just teenagers who have never known anything other Putin's rule.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): A lot of my friends live below the poverty line, and then there is the corruption. (CHANTING)

MAGNAY: Corruption was the rallying cry behind a day of protests in late March organized by opposition activist and blogger, Alexei Navalny. Tens of thousands demonstrating in cities across Russia.


MAGNAY: The Putin generation out in force.


(on camera): And you were given no warning?

(voice-over): Daniel Pilchin was there, but he already made a name for himself on line, ridiculing a list he was asked to read out of supposed Fifth Columnists within Russia, in a new and mandatory class on cultural politics.

DANIEL PILCHIN, RUSSIAN CITIZEN: The government just can't tell us what to do. It can't tell us what shows we could make, what music should we play. And when government is invading the culture, it's always propaganda. It's always inappropriate.

MAGNAY: Popping up around the same time, videos uploaded by schoolchildren, their teachers lecturing them on topics like patriotism and hidden dangers of liberalism.

This man is a lawyer specializing in digital rights. He says Putin has left it too late to control the web in the same way as he does tv.

UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: In the very beginning, there was no control. There was no regulation. That's why here we saw how appeared some big services, and that was the best time for Russian Internet. And after 2012, they decided to make some control, but technically, they had no opportunity to make that control effective.

MAGNAY: The Kremlin recently shut down four online chat services, and Russian lawmakers are currently debating whether to go ahead with a ban on VPN and Tor browser to stop people from accessing the web anonymously.

(on camera): Dissent is easy to disseminate online. And unlike the firm grip the Kremlin has over the nation's TV screens, on the web, it is playing catchup. Ahead of next year's presidential elections, there is no doubt that it will be trying hard.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Moscow.


ALLEN: Still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, confronted with climate change and losing their land.


JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEROLOGIST: There are people out there that say just move. Why do you live here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a silly statement. A silly statement. You don't just leave your home.





ESKRIDGE: Yes, we're very savable right now.


ESKRIDGE: Yeah, Donald Trump, if you see this, whatever you can do, we welcome any help you can give us.


ALLEN: The residents of a sinking island explain why they're still on Team Trump.


[01:41:58] ALLEN: Welcome back. A rapidly developing tropical storm is threatening Hong Kong with strong wind and rain.

Our Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is on top of that for us.

Hey, Derek.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEROLOGIST: Natalie, it is the calm before the storm. You have about eight to 10 hours before you start feeling the winds and rain pick up.

This photo was taken in Hong Kong earlier this morning by one of our viewers. Again, the calm before the storm. You can see some puffy kind of cumulus clouds in the distance. But believe me, the clouds will darken and we'll start to see some of that rain falling out of the sky.

But look at what they've had to contend with across southeastern and central China. Flooding lately has caused havoc across several different provinces across southeastern portions of the country. You can see the flooding there. Landslides, mudslides. It has caused serious travel disruptions and injuries as well.

Getting back to the graphic, it's all thanks to the annual rainfall here that's called the plum rains, a front responsible for the heavy precipitation. On top of that, a rapidly forming tropical storm that's just developed across the South China Sea. Again, it's about eight to 12 hours or so away from rainfall and we're expecting a tropical storm about 100 kilometers east of Hong Kong, but you'll definitely feel the wind and rain across that city. 75 kilometers- per-hour sustained wind. It's the second name system of the season. We are expecting the activity to really pick up here in the next several weeks as the waters warm across that area. The bigger problem here is that once it dissipates over land, more rainfall and then more potential for flooding and landslides.

Let's switch gears, bring you to the eastern parts of the United States where we've had a summer sizzler in the Big Apple. If you're traveling to New York City anytime, well, this is the sit sight you'll expect to see. Very hot conditions, record-high temperatures leading to an unpleasant day. If you are an asthmatic, we've got a high air quality index across this region. What does that mean for new code orange across the eastern United States? Generally, the public not likely affected. But what we want to do is try and prevent that from becoming a code red or perhaps a code purple because that's when sensitive groups really start to feel the effects of poor air quality like asthmatics, anyone with breathing problems, and we definitely don't want to see that happen.

Check this out, Natalie. Temperatures in the nation's capital setting records today, even into the first parts of next week.

Back to you.

ALLEN: And this is June. A long summer ahead of us.

VAN DAM: Yeah, that's right. That's right.

ALLEN: I liked your graphing. But that guy was barefoot. He should have tennis shoes on.

VAN DAM: I wish I could be barefoot.

ALLEN: Thank you.

When President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord he faced criticism not just overseas but in the U.S. as well, of course. Some coastal communities are literally vanishing right now due to rising sea levels. That's what makes one Virginia island so fascinating politically.

CNN's Jennifer Gray found out why its voters are firmly behind Mr. Trump, even though their survival is threatened by the environment.


[01:45:08] ESKRIDGE: We're running out of land to give up. We don't have the time to fool with.

GRAY (voice-over): Residents of Tangier, Virginia, don't have time to wait for Washington to debate climate change.

ESKRIDGE: I agree with science, but our problem is our community is eroding away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always in the back of your mind. GRAY: They live fewer than 100 miles from the White House on an

island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Population, about 450. Area, just 1.3 square miles, and shrinking.

During severe weather, such as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the island is buried under feet of water. The Army Corps of Engineers says erosion and rising sea levels alone will make this historic crabbing community uninhabitable in as little as 20 years, adding that, quote, "A major storm event striking the island directly could cause abandonment sooner."

It's a heartbreaking prospect rejected by many locals, whose families have been living and fishing off the island since the 18th century.

ESKERIDGE: What I tell our citizens, as mayor, do not lose hope.

GRAY: In a small room in the old town clinic, the Mayor James "Ooker" Eskridge meets daily with fellow lifelong residents to discuss the island's fate.

(on camera): There are people out there that say, well, just move. Why do you live here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people out there that say just move. Why do you live here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a silly statement. A silly statement. You don't just leave your home.

ESKRIDGE: We're savable.




ESKRIDGE: Yes, we are. We're very savable right now.


ESKRIDGE: Yeah, Donald Trump, if you see this, whatever you can do, we welcome any help you can give us.

GRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump received 87 percent of the island's presidential votes last November. Some of Tangier's locals say they care less about his controversial view on climate change and more about his views on infrastructure.

ESKRIDGE: He's cutting the regulations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe he's concerned about our safety.

GRAY (on camera): The Army Corps of Engineers will begin building a jetty to protect the harbor next year, but the rest of the island will need a far larger and more expensive barrier to survive. ESKRIDGE: He's going to cut down on the time it takes to study

something. We've been studied to death. We need something done.

GRAY (voice-over): Mapping data shows how much the shoreline has shrunk in the past. Without significant intervention, the small American town will continue to disappear into the bay at the rate of 16 feet a year in some places.

(on camera): So what could Tangier Island look like for future generations if the predictions do come true? Well, we're about to go find out at a place called the Uppards.

(voice-over): Carol Pruitt Moore is a seventh-generation islander. She takes the short boat ride from the main island every day to walk along an abandoned shore line and reflect on the past.

(on camera): As recently as the 1920s, the entire community lived right here. We're only about a mile and a half from Tangier, and this is all that's left of the Uppards.

What do you think about when you come here every day and take your walk?

CAROL PRUITT MOORE, TANGIER ISLAND RESIDENT: When I find pieces of glass and pottery, I try to imagine the people who may have used them and, you know, what their lives were like.

I'm sure they never thought, you know, we would have to leave Uppards, because this is our home. If we don't get help, it's going to be like Uppards is just a memory.

Her name was Polly Parks. She died in 1913.

GRAY: It wasn't many years after this that the entire community was under. One of your fears has got to be somebody like you one day walking around Tangier --

MOORE: Oh, yeah.

GRAY: -- picking up pieces of glass, wondering about your life.

MOORE: Wondering about my life.

GRAY (voice-over): Sea level rise isn't just affecting Tangier and its 450 locals. With many larger waterfront cities such as Miami and New Orleans threatened by climate change, convincing outsiders this small town is worth saving is a challenge.

EARL SWIFT, JOUNRALIST & AUTHOR: It seems to me that the decisions we as a country make about whether or not to save this place will inform how we deal with much bigger problems in cities like Norfolk and New Orleans and Miami and New York City.

GRAY: Earl Swift is a journalist working on a book about Tangier's climate plight. He lives part time on the island researching life here where residents say they refuse to be climate change refugees. SWIFT: If you make the decision that whether or not you save a place

is simply a function of head count, then Tangier doesn't have a chance. You can't make it cost effective.

You know, that's a dangerous slope to start sliding down if that's your chief decider, because then you find yourself having to come up with what number is the baseline. I think it will be a real shame to see us get to that point.

GRAY: For now, the mood on Tangier is optimistic with some welcoming the new president, like Ken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love Trump as much as any family member I got.

GRAY: And hoping his view on climate change won't prevent funding for their future.

(on camera): If you could say anything to him or his administration today, what would it be?

ESKRIDGE: I would say --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Build us a wall.

ESKRIDGE: Yeah, build us a wall. They talk about a wall. We'll take a wall. We'd like to have a wall all the way around Tangier. We'd love a wall.


01:50:06] ALLEN: Yes, they need one. Tangier Island, Virginia, disappearing. That's sad.

The 71st Annual Tony Awards are handed out in New York. Host Kevin Spacey kicked things off with quite a little show with some help from his friends. We'll show you next.


ALLEN: What would Broadway's biggest night be without a little song and dance? Host Kevin Spacey was among those who delivered.

CNN's Chloe Melas takes a look at the Tony Awards' biggest winners.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 71st Annual Tony Awards took New York City by storm Sunday night, live from Radio City Music Hall.

Kevin Spacey was the host this year for the first time ever. Now, he kicked off the show with some jokes, a little bit of dancing, some singing. But he told the audience that he felt like he was the last choice to host the show. That's why he enlisted some help from his Hollywood pals, including Stephen Colbert, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal, who is known to be one of the long-time hosts for the Oscars and things, and he actually told him just put on a dress, and Kevin Spacey did it. And things seemed to go pretty smoothly from there.

[01:55:07] Now, there were some big awards of the night. "Dear Evan Hansen" is a breakout musical this year, won several awards.

A lot of people, though, are buzzing about Cynthia Nixon, who took the stage for her role in "The Little Foxes" when she won tonight. And she got political, and people are buzzing about that. And, you know, it's one of the most talked-about speeches of the evening.

Now, Kevin Klein won an award for best leading actor in the play "Present Laughter." And Laurie Metcalf, after being nominated four times, finally won a Tony Award for best leading actress in a play for a Doll's House, Part II.

One of my favorite moments of the night came when James Earl Jones was given the Lifetime Achievement Award, and he took the stage and thanked his wife and said that she looked dazzling.

The night did not disappoint. And definitely, it seems like Kevin Spacey might be back to host again next year.

Back to you.


ALLEN: Thank you, Chloe.

Thank you for watching this hour. I'm Natalie Allen.

Don't go anywhere. My friends. George Howell and Rosemary Church, host the next hour of your news from around the world. Thanks so much for watching CNN.