Return to Transcripts main page


President Versus an Ousted FBI Director; Hanging by a Thread; Iran Helps Qatar; Another Win for Nadal; Sessions is Next to Comey's Blockbuster; Sinking Land. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 12, 2017 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN: Trump versus Comey. More fallout after the president alludes to recorded conversations with the former director. Plus, more testimony could be on the way this time from his attorney general.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: Britain's prime minister may be hanging on by a thread. Theresa May shuffles her cabinet as she fights to stay in power.

HOWELL: And Iran promising to stand by Qatar even if other countries don't. And it's starting with crucial food deliveries there.

CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States, and of course all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Newsroom starts right now.

CHURCH: More riveting testimony in the Russia investigation could be coming up this week on Capitol Hill. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has offered to testify before the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday.

HOWELL: Sessions is skipping a different hearing on the Justice Department's budget that same day. His appearance comes after reports said he offered to resign over tensions with the president about his decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe.

CHURCH: CNN's Athena Jones reports final details of Sessions' appearance have not been worked out just yet.

ATHENA JONES, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: 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 Comey, of James Comey as FBI director.

We know that Comey has said he believes 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.

CHURCH: Well, democrats and republicans are stepping up their demands for President Trump to turn over any tapes of his conversations with Comey.


SUSAN COLLINS, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: 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.

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


HOWELL: And on the heels of Comey's testimony, we're hearing from the former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who says Comey's description of meetings with the president are like deja vu, reminding him of calls he received just before he was fired.


PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF New York: So he called me in December, ostensibly just to shoot the breeze and asked 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 a 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 when he became -- 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.


CHURCH: Some republicans are venting their frustrations with the president's public commentary.


LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: 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.


[03:05:09] CHURCH: And with more perspective on this, we're joined by Steven Erlanger. He is the New York Times london bureau chief. Thanks so much for being with us.


CHURCH: We will get to the tapes in just a moment, but I want to ask how bad is this likely to be for Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he testifies Tuesday, and how likely is it that his testimony will be closed to the public, do you think?

ERLANGER: Well, I think they would like it to be open. I don't know how Sessions feels about it. But the fact that Comey went public, it would be useful if sessions went public too. I think it really is a problem.

I mean, Comey has said openly that he orchestrated the appointment of a special counsel after Jeff Sessions recused himself. So the question is always, you know, how do you define obstruction of justice. When is jollying along someone interpreted as don't go there? And that's a judgment call that's, I think, going to be very hard to make.

CHURCH: Right. So, let's move, then, back to the issue of the tapes that President Trump has hinted exist of his conversation with former FBI Director James Comey. We don't know if they do exist. The president won't answer on that particular question.

So when might we find out one way or the other, do you think, and how does the House intelligence committee get a hold of them if they do exist?

ERLANGER: Well, this is one of those separation of power questions. I mean, as I remember Watergate, it took a young staffer named Butterfield who finally admitted that there had been this whole taping system, and it was a big surprise. Trump has been known in the past as a businessman to tape meetings and conversations. But one would like to think that his staff understood, having, you

know, remembered Watergate, that taping was probably a bad idea. So we don't know. It could be Trump was just making a threat on Twitter that didn't have substance. And it's going to be very hard because, you know, it's very difficult to subpoena the President of the United States.

CHURCH: Right. Indeed. And of course not even five months into the Trump presidency, we have already seen so many problems facing the administration, haven't we? How bad are the optics with all of these issues that President Trump is confronting?

ERLANGER: Well, they're very bad abroad because they just lend a sense of instability and the United States has basically led the west. That's what everybody wants it to do. People may complain sometimes that the United States pushes too hard, but when the United States isn't leading, everyone complains.

And the problem is President Trump has made all these relationships transactional. And transactional relationships aren't permanent. They depend on who does what for whom. And I think this really upsets people very, very much. They're lost in this kind of uncertainty.

Who's speaking for the president? Is it only the president speaking for the president? Are his, you know, secretary of state and defense secretary speaking for the president? How do you jolly along an administration that's clearly feeling its way to a coherent policy on which you can depend as an ally? That's the problem.

CHURCH: All right. Steven, Erlanger, thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it.

ERLANGER: Thanks, Rosemary.

HOWELL: For the president of the United States could soon face new legal troubles. The attorney general for the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia say they will announce a lawsuit against the president come Monday.

CHURCH: According to the Washington Post, they claim he accepted millions of dollars in payments and benefits from foreign governments through his businesses after taking office. That would violate anti- corruption clauses in the Constitution.

HOWELL: The president said in January he would turn over management of his business assets to his sons to avoid possible conflicts of interest.

In the United Kingdom, the British prime minister's office says there has been, quote, "no change" in the invitation from Queen Elizabeth to President Donald Trump. The Guardian reported that 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.

CHURCH: Opposition labor leader Jeremy Corbyn had this to say on Twitter. "Cancellation of President Trump's state visit is welcome, especially after his attack on London's mayor and withdrawal from Paris climate deal."

[03:09:58] HOWELL: The first lady of the United States is now officially living at the White House. On Sunday, Melania Trump tweeted this. Looking forward to the memories we'll make in our new home. Hash tag, moving day.

CHURCH: Mrs. Trump was previously living in New York so her son, Barron, could finish up the school year.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on Newsroom, British Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting to stay in power after the snap election she called backfired on her. Next, why Brexit -- well, it's getting even more complicated now.

CHURCH: Plus, a new arrest in the London terror attack that killed eight people. A closer look at the investigation in the east end. We're back with you in just a moment.


DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST, CNN: We are approaching near record- breaking temperature across the big apple. New York City really starting to sizzle under bright blue skies and lots of sunshine. Temperatures nearing 34 degrees for the day today, even tomorrow as well. That is record breaking territory. At least it could potentially tie that. Twenty-five 25 degrees by Wednesday. We've got quite a sharp contrast coming for the second part of the workweek. That means a cold front is on its way.

And of course you get the collision of air masses and that's when we see showers and thunderstorms with our chance of rainfall and cooling off those temperatures.

Look at the heat building across the central and eastern U.S. there's the cold front that's responsible for the cooler weather for the second half of the workweek. We'll have to be patient for that, but anytime we get this amount of heat building, we'll see pop-up thunderstorms across many locations including Atlanta and into the national region.

Thirty-three degrees for Dallas, 33 for Denver. Cooler along the West Coast. Believe it or not they've had snowfall across parts of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

This is of course the middle of June. Very rare for that. Twenty-eight degrees for Washington by the middle of the work week. So they have cooler temperatures starting to settle in. But look at the temperature flip-flop across the southeastern U.S. We start to actually warm up while the northeast cools down. Wednesday, 31 for Atlanta, 34 degrees for Charlotte for the middle of the week.

CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN newsroom. British Prime Minister Theresa May is clinging to power. HOWELL: Her party lost its majority in parliament in the snap

election she called last week, and now the question, what's the impact from the United Kingdom throughout Europe?

Our teams are covering the latest developments for you with CNN's Oren Liebermann live outside number 10 Downing Street in London.

CHURCH: Our Nina Dos Santos is in Strasbourg, France following what the election results could mean for Brexit.

[03:15:01] Oren, first to you. As Theresa May fights for her political survival, her rival, Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Party, is speculating that the country will likely face another election in the not too distant future. How bad is this for her and can she make a deal to save her new government and ultimately herself?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It looks like in the short term she will be able to remain in Downing Street. She will be able to remain in power. The question is how short, how immediate is that turn? Some of chief rivals from within her party, Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, have said they will back her for now.

But that's an indication and an idea of just how disastrous this snap election was for the Tories, introducing any more instability at this point with a leadership fight would only do more harm to them.

So at least for now, they've decided let's keep it together and let's back Prime Minister Theresa May. Again the question is how much longer does she have beyond that, beyond the next few weeks and the next few months? Critically everyone is eyeing what happens in a week and that's the beginning of Brexit negotiations.

The idea for May is that she would increase her majority and she would have more negotiating power, more leverage on the entire process. Just the opposite happened and she finds herself incredibly weak at a critical time in her premiership facing Brexit negotiations with essentially an energized E.U. that has more leverage and push on the entire process, especially as compared to a weakened Theresa May at this point.

All of that is weighing on her right now. And remember just to stay in power, just to keep her seat, she will have to make a number of concessions, perhaps even on her approach to Brexit from a harder Brexit to a soft Brexit. Although she's given no indication of how she might do that. And she's had to bring in a very small party from Northern Ireland just to keep her seated at this point.

So her rivals both within her party and from outside of her party now exactly how weak she is at this moment even if she will remain here for now.

CHURCH: There has been a lot of criticism about the party from Northern Ireland. Members of the Conservative Party not happy with that at all. She will be meeting with them. They are furious about the outcome here. And of course even though Boris Johnson has said he won't run against her, that might be for now at least. But how possible is it that he may do that in the weeks ahead?

LIEBERMANN: I think the expectation here is elections will come sooner rather than later. Whether that's the end of the year of the beginning of next year or little later on, I don't think there's any great expectation that Theresa May will make it to the end of this five-year term.

As for that Northern Ireland party, the Democratic Unionist Party, the DUP, they've created a number of awkward pressures on Theresa May's leadership, not least because of their anti-gay, anti-abortion status, which has created unease and some tension, some friction which some of the more liberal members of Theresa May's party.

There's also a very different problem here and that, as it relates to Northern Ireland. The power-sharing agreements, the power-sharing negotiations between republicans and unionists in Northern Ireland are set to begin right now. And often it was the U.K. that would act as the impartial negotiator,

the impartial mediator between the two parties.

But now that Theresa May has aligned herself with the unionists to remain in power, it seems very unlikely that the U.K. can remain the arbiter here. Again, all of that just puts more pressure on May as she tries to remain in power. Brexit negotiations looming and the pressure ramping up especially right now.

CHURCH: Yes, indeed. Oren Liebermann bringing us up to date from 10 Downing Street there in London where it is 8.18 in the morning. Many thanks.

HOWELL: That's a sense there of what's happening in the U.K. Let's switch over into Europe with Nina Dos Santos live with us this hour. Brexit talks just days away. What are you hearing from officials there, E.U. officials about their perception of the British side of this equation?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPPONDENT, CNN: That's right, George. There's Brexit talks set to take place in seven days from now. And remember that the U.K. is already triggered that article 50 which means we have that two-year clock counting down like it or not.

I'm here in Strasbourg which is where the second seat of the European parliament is aside from Brussels. And that means a whole contingency of European members of parliament and commissioners who make very important decisions on the future of Brexit talks will be heading here later on today for a three-day gathering. And you can bet that Brexit will come up first off on the agenda.

Now remember that even though there's been a lot of elation in the U.K. among people who didn't want the U.K. to leave the E.U. because they say that this result that Theresa May has managed to cobble together some kind of government at least at the moment still means that people will push for a softer Brexit.

Well, that enthusiasm isn't necessarily shared here in Strasbourg or indeed in Brussels. And the main reason for this is because what the Europeans really want is and to borrow a catch phrase from Theresa May is to get on with the job here.

They say that they want these Brexit negotiations to happen swiftly. They're ready to negotiate with the U.K., and that if these negotiations start slipping, well that could of course detract from the reform agenda here for a bloc that encompasses some 320 million people.

[03:20:07] Now remember that there's something else that's happened overnight that also won't play in Theresa May's favor. It is the fact that the newly elected President of France, Emmanuel Macron, he has managed to score a landslide in the first round of the legislative elections in France, and that gives him an even stronger hand domestically here and internationally as the second biggest economy in the Eurozone to push perhaps for that sort of harder Brexit if you like.

And remember that Germany has said all along that it doesn't want the U.K. to be in a position to be able to cherry pick what it wants out of the agreement with the E.U. and to avoid certain things like, for instance, the freedom of movement of people, but then to accept the freedom of movement of goods.

So, there is a sense here from the Europeans that the U.K. -- this has been here all along. The U.K. should be set an example of. But if they're trying to advocate a softer Brexit, that's going to be harder for the Europeans to stick to that message to try to swayed other countries that might want to leave the bloc in the future. And also it does mean that the timings may well slip.

They don't even know, as Oren was pointing out before whether or not it will be Theresa May who they're going to be negotiating with in a few weeks' time, maybe even in a few days' time when those negotiations are officially set to begin on June the 19th, George.

HOWELL: That is the big head scratch every. Will Theresa May be there for, you know, those negotiations and also will she be there for the talks that are supposedly set, that are set for the DUP in the U.K. We'll obviously continue to follow this story.

Nina Dos Santos, live. Thank you for the reporting.

Let's get some context now with this with Quentin Peel. Quentin is an associate fellow of the Europe program at Chatham House and a commentator for The Financial Times, live with us from our London bureau this hour.

It's good to have you with us, sir.

Let's first talk about the prime minister's future. So she's been seriously weakened since the snap election that she called, a snap election that backfired on her. Her members of her own party are furious with the outcome. Some lost seats. Now the question, how long can she hold on?

QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, EUROPE PROGRAMME AT CHATHAM HOUSE: It's a very good question. She faces a very difficult meeting later today with her own back benches in parliament, who are as you say, very unhappy.

It was her election. She ran it as an election basically to crown her as prime minister and give her a completely open hand in the Brexit negotiations, and she failed dramatically.

Now, the question is have they got an alternative, or did they want to leave her there as a sort of lame duck prime minister to try and get these negotiations going? She's going to be in a very weak position both at home and in Brussels.

HOWELL: Let's talk about the delicacy also moving forward and the dangers of the Tories aligning with the DUP for a confidence and supply arrangement. Big implications from Northern Ireland.

PEEL: Yes. This is very difficult. The DUP is the most fundamentalist of the loyalist Protestants -- the parties in Northern Ireland. Nobody has ever really wanted to do a deal with them before because their absolute obsession is Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom and anything else comes second to that, including Brexit and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Now, the peace process in Northern Ireland requires the United Kingdom government to be an objective peace maker, and if they take the DUP as their partner in government, as the party on whom they're going to depend to stay in power, then how can they be seen to be objective?

So it's a danger to the peace process, and as for Brexit, it's just unclear what the DUP really want from Brexit. They voted for Brexit, but they don't want a hard border with the south of Ireland. So they're really quite ambiguous on the whole issue.

HOWELL: So, you know, we've seen a cabinet shuffle. We've seen the prime minister's close advisers resign after this election that has been branded in the press as humiliating, as disastrous for her.

Will these changes be enough for Ms. May to regain support from her members, members of her own party who feel she wasn't listening to them enough, that she was too close to these advisers and they felt they didn't have enough connection to Theresa May?

PEEL: She's very damaged politically. Everybody sees her now as just a caretaker prime minister, not somebody who is there for the duration.

[03:24:54] But having said that, they're terrified, I think, within the party of opening up the huge division that's always been hidden within it between effectively the Brexit -- pro-Brexit politicians who want us to leave the European Union come what may, and those who wanted to remain and therefore want the best possible deal.

That's a very bitter division in the party. Theresa May's tried to paper it over by appointing a very close ally, effectively her deputy, Damian Green, who is pro-E.U. But at the same time, bringing back into cabinet Michael Gove who is a Brexiter, and this balancing act might buy her a little time, but I don't think it's going to save her career at all. HOWELL: Quentin Peel, again, she ran on the platform of strong and

stable but now branded a lame duck in the press there, and her longevity questioned. We appreciate your insight. We'll stay in touch with you.

PEEL: Thanks.

CHURCH: Another arrest has been made in the London Bridge terror attack. A 19-year-old man is being held on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.

HOWELL: Scotland Yard says police carried out the raid in East London on Sunday night. Six other men remain in custody. This after the June 3rd rampage - rampage that left eight people dead and dozens more wounded.

CHURCH: After a week of isolation, Qatar is getting help from Iran and hiring a special adviser to get through a diplomatic showdown with its neighbors. We'll have all that when we come back. Stay with us.


[03:29:59] CHURCH: And a very warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

In the United Kingdom, the prime minister is expected to seek support from members of her own party, members who are angry that they lost their majority in parliament.

Theresa May has made a few changes to her cabinet. She's still negotiating as well a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to support her conservative government.

CHURCH: Rafael Nadal is celebrating his 10th victory at Roland Garros. He beat Stan Wawrinka in straight sets at the French Open Sunday, his first title since 2014. Nadal now has 15 career titles, just three behind all-time leader Roger Federer.

HOWELL: Philippine forces believe they have killed the leaders of an ISIS-linked group on the island of Mindanao. They say there are strong indications that brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute were killed in a gun fight in Marawi. Troops have been fighting for three weeks there to retake the city from militants.

CHURCH: More now on our top story. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is offering to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. It hasn't been decided whether that meeting will be open or closed to the public.

HOWELL: In the meantime, the president is still reacting to the former FBI director's testimony last week. He went to Twitter. Quote, "I believe James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible. Totally illegal, question mark. Very cowardly!" Exclamation point.

President Trump has hinted that his taped conversations with Comey, that they may or may not exist. Still not clear. Lawmakers, though, demanding answers on whether they do actually exist.


CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: There are tapes. He alluded to the fact there are tapes maybe as a threat or taunting Comey, he should make them public right away. If there aren't tapes, he should let that be known. No more game playing. And, of course, he said he would testify. So I'm inviting him to come testify, and we could work that out.


CHURCH: Another story we're watching closely, Iran is promising to stand by Qatar even as other Gulf nations are cutting all ties. Five planes packed with fresh vegetables arrived in Doha on Sunday, and theran is pledging daily fruit deliveries. Qatar heavily relies on imports for food.

HOWELL: Since the blockade started, many Qataris started stockpiling supplies. The government has also hired the former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to handle its response in this diplomatic crisis.

CHURCH: Well, that crisis started about a week ago when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism. Doha denies the allegations.

Let's bring in Jomana Karadsheh. She is following the story in Doha, Qatar. So this is very problematic for the region. What happens next?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, you know, Rosemary, as we've seen this past week, this is not just a local crisis. It's not just about this region. It's an international one. You have so many countries that have a stake in this as we have seen this past week.

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.


MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL THANI, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTER: Whatever been thrown as an accusation is all based 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 web site 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 shy ago way from taking credit for the isolation of one of America's key allies in the region. Qatar is home to an Al Udeid Air Base, an important staging area for the fight against ISIS and where more than 11,000 U.S. troops are based.

[03:34:55] 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.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.


KARADSHEH: And so far the message that we are getting here in the Gulf from kuwait that is leading the mediation effort and also from Qatar is that they want this to be resolved regionally, within the GCC countries.

But also there is this feeling that you're seeing Qatar backed into a corner here, and the pressure is mounting when you have its neighboring countries enforcing a blockade. It is being shunned by allies like the U.S. So it really has very few options out of this crisis. Perhaps it would

be looking at agreeing to the terms and concessions that have been long sought by the Saudi and Emirati-led alliance. That's what it looks like at this point, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Watching this crisis play out from Doha in Qatar. Jomana Karadsheh joining us. It is 10.36 in the morning. Many thanks.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on Newsroom, confronted with climate change and losing their land, residents of a sinking island explain why they're still on the Trump train.

CHURCH: Plus, we are watching a rapidly developing tropical storm threatening to batter Hong Kong. Back in just a moment with that.


HOWELL: Welcome back to Newsroom. The month of June is gay pride month and all around the world people are celebrating. In the United States, there were dozens of marches including the one you see here. Sunday's equality march for unity and pride that took place in Washington.

CHURCH: Buildings around the world also lit up in solidarity. This is Tel Aviv city hall decked out in the colors of the rainbow. The Alberta legislative building also had a similar display, and the U.S. consulate in Mumbai is embracing the rainbow and equality.

HOWELL: A year ago on this day, Monday, marks the Pulse Nightclub massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States history. It happened during these hours, in fact, in Orlando, Florida, a year ago, the night that 49 people were killed. This when a gunman opened fire inside the nightclub. Dozens of people were wounded as well.

CHURCH: Cities around the world are expected to pay tribute. Pulse will open its doors in a ceremony to honor victims and their families. Florida's Governor, Rick Scott, declared Monday Pulse remembrance day.

A rapidly developing tropical storm is threatening Hong Kong with strong wind and rain.

HOWELL: Following it all, our meteorologist Derek Van Dam is there at the weather map. Derek, pretty serious situation here.

DAM: Yes, I expect actually conditions to deteriorate in Hong Kong within the next eight to ten hours. But look at what central and eastern China has had to contend with this week alone. Flooding rains leading to landslides and mudslides. You can see the devastation that that has brought to the region.

It has been a difficult week, and you could say that it's the calm before the storm now in Hong Kong. This was a shot taken earlier this morning.

Remember, local time it's about 3.41 in the afternoon in Hong Kong. You can see some of the puffy cumulus clouds in the background here. That is just kind of a precursor of what's to come.

Let me lay the situation out. We've got our annual plum rains known locally across this area. It's all thanks to this stationary front. But you add in the tropical storm that recently developed, really within the past 24 hours, this thing strengthened in the South China Sea to tropical storm status. Current sustain winds 75 kilometers per hour.

And we expect this to make landfall about midnight local time with tropical storm force winds just east of Hong Kong but still feeling some of the effects of the outer rain bands near the city.

There is obviously a very populated part of the world. The big concern going forward here is that we do anticipate heavy rainfall across this region leading to the potential for more localized flooding and landslides.

So we're going to monitor this situation very closely as time unfolds here going forward, but really we do expect conditions to continue to go downhill for Hong Kong and the surrounding areas in the hours to come. Rosemary, George?

CHURCH: Not good at all. Thanks for keeping an eye on that. Certainly appreciate it.

DAM: Absolutely.

CHURCH: Thanks, Derek.

DAM: All right.

CHURCH: When President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, he faces criticism not just overseas but in the U.S. as well. Some coastal communities are literally vanishing due to rising sea levels.

HOWELL: And that is what makes one Virginia island so fascinating politically.

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


JAMES "OOKER" ESKRIDGE, MAYOR, TANGIER, VIRGINIA: We're running out of land to give up. We don't have the time to fool with.


JENNIFER GRAY, WEATHER CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Residents of Tangier, Virginia, don't have time to wait for Washington to debate climate change.


BRUCE CLARK GORDY, RESIDENT, TANGIER, VIRGINIA: I agree with science, but our problem is our community is eroding away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always in the back of your mind.

GORDY: Yes, it is. Always.


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 super storm Sandy in 2012, the island is buried under feet of water. The army corps of engineers tells CNN 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.


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


GRAY: In a small room in the old town clinic, Mayor James Ooker Eskridge meets daily with fellow lifelong residents to discuss the island's fate. There are people out there that say, well, just move. Why do you live here?


[03:44:59] ESKRIDGE: That's a silly statement. We shall stay. You don't just leave your home.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we are. Very savable right now.

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


GRAY: 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: The army corps of engineers will begin building a jetty to protect the harbor here 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. We just need something to earn.


GRAY: Mapping data shows how rapidly the shoreline has waned in the past. And without significant intervention, this small American town will continue to disappear into the bay at the rate of 16 feet a year in some places.

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.

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 shoreline and reflect on the past.

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, 7TH GENERATION RESIDENT: Well, I mean you know like 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 it's our home. If we don't get help, it's going to be like Uppards, just 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 picking up pieces of glass. Wondering about my life


MOORE: Yes. This is my life.

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


EARL SWIFT, JOURNALIST: 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 would 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 kin.


ESKRIDGE: 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. 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: Yes, 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.


CHURCH: Jennifer Gray reporting there from Tangier Island in Virginia.

HOWELL: Moving ahead here on Newsroom the 71st annual Tony Awards handed out in New York. Host Kevin Spacey kicked off the show with a ten-minute song and a little help from some friends.

CHURCH: Plus, Rafael Nadal does it again, and this time he's making history. We'll tell you all about his record breaking performance at the French Open. Don't go anywhere. [03:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PATRICK SNELL, SPORTS REPORTER, CNN: Hi there. I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN world sport headlines.

As the undisputed king of clay, Rafael Nadal celebrates a tenth French Open title after comfortably beating Swiss Stan Wawrinka on Sunday in Paris for yet another record.

The man for Majorca overpowering his opponents, 6-2, 63, 6-1 to win a 15th major crown. Nadal now moves past Pete Sampras on the list of all-time slam winners into second place behind Roger Federer. He's now the first man or woman in the open era to have won a major on ten occasions.

Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix has ended in victory for Britain's three time world champion Lewis Hamilton. His pole position in qualifying would be 65th of his (Inaudible) it tied him with great Ayrton Senna. He followed that up by dominating the big race in Montreal for his third off the season.

Sebastian Vettel could only finish fourth for Ferrari. His points lead over Hamilton now down to 12.

Four years ago, New Zealand sailors thought they had the America's Cup in the bag. They were 8-1 up against Oracle team USA, but they couldn't go on to win it. Now they're on the brink of a chance, though to avenge that epic collapse.

This weekend, Emirates team New Zealand competing in the challenger series against Sweden's Artemis Racing. They're 4-2 up already which means they only need to win one of the last three races. It's the Americans who again lie in wait for the winners for the America's Cup itself later this week.

That's a look at your world sport headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Rafael Nadal is celebrating his tenth victory at Roland Garros. He beat Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in straight sets at the French Open Sunday, his first title since 2014.

HOWELL: No man or woman has ever won the same major ten times in the open era. The win gives Nadal his 15th Grand Slam career title, just three behind all-time leader Roger Federer.


RAFAEL NADAL, 2017 FRENCH OPEN MEN'S CHAMPION: Just the passion for the game, you know. I always loved what I am doing, so I always have been working hard to keep doing the things that I really like.

Some tough moments, some injuries, but that's part of my career too. That makes things a little bit more difficult but at the same time when you win after all these things, it's more special.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: He's a very happy man there.

So it's not every day you get to shake hands with a president unless you're on a flight with Jimmy Carter. The former U.S. president was boarding a plane from Atlanta to Washington Thursday, and he wouldn't sit down until he shook every passenger's hand.

HOWELL: Look at that. Just walking down the aisle, happy to do it. Mr. Carter, seemed to be joking at one point, saying it would be his fault if the plane was late. He made it a habit of shaking hands with fellow passengers.

CHURCH: That's very nice.

CHURCH: Well, what would Broadway's biggest night be without a little song and dance?

HOWELL: And host Kevin Spacey was among those who delivered.

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

CHLOE MELAS, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER, CNN: The 71st annual Tony Awards took New York City by storm Sunday night live from radio city music hall. And 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 longtime host for the Oscars and things.

[03:54:58] And he actually told him just put on a dress, and Kevin Spacey did it. And things seemed to go pretty smoothly from there.

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.


CYNTHIA NIXON, ACTRESS: It is a privilege to appear in Lillian Hellman's eerily prescient play at this specific moment in history. Eighty years ago, she wrote, "there are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it, and other people who just stand around and watch them do it."

My love, my gratitude, and my undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.


MELAS: And you know, it's one of the most talked about speeches of the evening. Now, Kevin Kline won an award for best leading actor in a play for "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 2.

Now, 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 he 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.

CHURCH: That sounds good to me.

HOWELL: Absolutely.

CHURCH: And thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. Time for us to dance and sing right on out of here, but Early Start is next for viewers here in the United States. And for other viewers around the world, the news continues with our colleague Max Foster live in London. This is CNN.

CHURCH: Have a great day.